Thursday, June 30, 2011


It's been a while. I know. I'm not even going to ask for forgiveness, because I've been trying to enjoy life. It is summer now. Maybe I will get in more updates. Maybe not.

I've been walking down memory lane lately. I've decided to sell my piano (and have sold it, just waiting for it to be moved to the buyer's house. It is going to a teenage girl who will play it instead of use it as furniture like I do, since I didn't learn enough during my piano lessons to play it well). The only reason why I was holding onto it was because of the sentimental memories attached to it. But I can write down some memories and hold onto them, and still let the piano go to someone who will give it life and use it the way it was meant to be used.

When I was a kid, my parents let me take piano lessons. They bought a piano and my piano teacher came over to the house and gave me a lesson. I hated to play the piano. Well, most of the time. There was one song I played over and over and over. "The Little Birch Canoe". Today I called my mom and said "listen!" and put down my phone and played the song for her. I haven't played the piano in years but I remembered that song and played it for her. She laughed.

There is a mark on the piano bench. It looks like a bunch of scratches in one concentrated area. When I was young I used to do everything I could do to avoid practicing. Where the piano was located, I could see down the stairs to the family room, straight to the TV if I bent down enough. I would sit on the bench and plink around a bit to give the illusion that I was actually practicing, and then I would get on my knees on the bench and bend down and lay my head on the bench (kind of like in a yoga child's pose) so that I could see the TV. I would watch and every commercial break I would plink around. I don't think I was fooling anyone. :) But I still tried. Well I had a pair of boots that I loved to wear. It was the kind where you had to twist the laces around hooks in order to pull it tight and tie it. I wore those shoes one day while practicing, and the shoes, while in my child's pose position on the bench, scratched the piano bench. I was afraid of losing that memory after passing on the piano. I wanted to write it down.

I hope that the girl getting the piano will have her own memories attached to it. In the meantime, I will be learning the art of photography with my new camera (well when I buy it... sometime between tomorrow and Wednesday!).

Monday, April 4, 2011

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Lasagna Rolls

I have a bunch of requests for this recipe, and I've been meaning to blog about it... so here it is! They are SUPER yummy and VERY easy to make! We doubled our recipe this time and it made 14 rolls, so that is the recipe I will put on there. It came from the Clean Eating magazine March 2011 issue, but it had tilapia in it instead of chicken. Since we do not eat seafood, we substituted chicken breast and it was very good! So without further ado...

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
*1 carrot peeled and either shredded or chopped into small pieces (we chopped with our Pampered Chef hand chopper... best kitchen tool EVER)
*1 package of whole grain lasagna noodles
*1 cup of skim milk
*8 oz of low fat cream cheese
*7 oz of all natural mozzarella cheese
*1 tsp of dill weed
*1 tsp of sea salt
*spring onions (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350*. In a large pot, boil the lasagna noodles. For the last 90 seconds, throw in the layered shoots of the spring onions to get them limp so that you can tip them around the spring rolls if you would like. We have done it with and without. They don't add much flavor, but they do give it a neat look.
2. While noodles are cooking, boil and shred the two chicken breasts.
3. While both the noodles and the chicken are boiling, peel and chop the carrots.
4. After the chicken is finished, in a medium saucepan combine milk, cream cheese, dill weed and salt into a saucepan and cook on medium to low until the cream cheese is broken up into the milk, whisking continuously. When the cream cheese is broken up, add half of the mozzarella cheese into the mixture and continue to whisk until the cheese is melted and it is a thick sauce (about 1 minute). When it is finished, remove from heat, pour about 1 cup into a liquid measuring cup and set aside.
5. Remove noodles from heat when they are finished and drain.
6. Combine the chicken and carrots with the sauce and mix until evenly distributed.
7. On a non-stick pan, lay out a lasagna noodle. Spoon about 2 tbsps (I just eyeball it) of the mixture onto the lasagna noodle and then roll it up. If you are using spring onion shoots, take a shoot and tie it around to hold the roll closed. If not, then just place the roll on top of the loose end so that it stays shut. Continue until you run out of the chicken mixture.
8. Pour the sauce that was set aside evenly over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese evenly over the rolls and sauce.
9. Place in oven and bake until the cheese starts to brown. Remove from the oven and ENJOY!

I have even had this leftover and it is wonderful left over as well!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I love giveaways!

I'd like to do one someday on my blog! But for now, I can enter them and share them. Here is a giveaway that Katie from When Hello Means Good-Bye is doing. The giveaway is something from Etsy seller, the r house, who makes beautiful, encouraging jewelry and is a major supporter of adoption.

Check it out and check out Katie's blog! She is one of the most positive bloggers I have ever read, especially after her heartwrenching but amazing life story!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Baked Ziti

So I haven't made a whole lot of brand new recipes to blog about lately... more of the same stuff that we've already made. We did make one or two things that we didn't like (like Tandoori Chicken... EW! Definitely not good!), but tonight I made Baked Ziti from the Clean Eating for Family and Kids book (which I highly recommend! As long as any of the other Clean Eating books) and it ROCKED. I don't have a picture because facebook changed their photo settings and now for some reason I can't get the image address from my own picture. So now I need to figure out another option.

Ok... so enough babbling and on with the recipe:

Baked Ziti (with my changes... there are some changes in the recipe itself, but I am not going to note those because I think the way I made it was wonderful)

*1 lb ground beef or ground turkey (I used beef)
*2 cups of shredded carrots (I did not put this in)
*1 small onion, peeled and diced
*2 cloves of garlic peeled and pressed (or 1/4 tsp of dried minced garlic)
*26 oz can of crushed tomatoes (I used 28 oz)
*1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock (I didn't have this so I used low sodium natural chicken broth)
*8 oz of whole grain penne, ziti, rigatoni (I used 12 oz of rigatoni)
*2 tbsp of fresh basil leaves finely chopped (I used 2 tsp of dried basil leaves)
*1/2 cup of fresh mozzarella (I used an 8oz bag of natural, shredded mozzarella)

1. In a large skillet, combine meat, onions, and garlic and cook until meat is brown. Drain the fat. At the same time, in a separate pot, boil water and then put the noodles in to cook.
2. Add to the meat the tomatoes, chicken/veggie stock/broth, basil and let simmer.
3. When the noodles are al dente, drain and then combine with the sauce.
4. Put the noodle/sauce mixture into a lightly greased baking pan (I used a 9x13) and the coat with the mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake at 350* until cheese is brown.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Crispy Chicken Sandwich and our menu for the week

So I will have to find a new way to put pictures on here. I was uploading them to my facebook and then copying them over to here, but with facebook's new changes in their photos, I can't get the photo address anymore.

We made a pretty yummy chicken sandwich today! My Clean Eating magazine finally started coming (HOORAY! I love it!) and you will be seeing a TON of recipes from these magazines when I get them. Today we tried the Crispy Chicken Sandwich. We used to LOVE going to Wendy's and getting a Spicy Chicken Sandwich and we have been missing having a chicken sandwiches because they are usually friend. This is as well, but it is in olive oil and it is pan fried, so it isn't unhealthy. It was very yummy! We did not like the sauce that was with the recipe, so I am not going to include it in the recipe. I dipped my sandwich into some agave nectar as I was eating it and it gave it a very sweet, yummy taste. I am the type of person who liked to dip my chicken into honey, and agave nectar is the perfect substitute.

Here is the awesome recipe from the Clean Eating Magazine, March 2011 edition:

*1/8 tsp each of sea salt and ground black pepper, divided
*4 egg whites
*1 tsp Dijon mustard
*1 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs (our grocery store only had regular panko, so we used whole wheat bread crumbs instead)
*1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
*4 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken cutlets, pounded 1/4 inch thick
*1 tbsp olive oil
*4 thin whole-grain sandwich buns, toasted

1. In a small bowl, whisk together egg whites, Dijon, salt, and pepper and set aside. Transfer panko/bread crumbs to a shallow pan or plate.
2. Dredge each chicken cutlet in flour, shaking off excess, then in egg white mixture. Press cutlets gently into panko and transfer to a baking tray or plate.
3. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet on medium-high. Working in batches if necessary, sear breaded chicken cutlets for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and fully cooked. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.
4. Toast whole-grain buns and assemble your sandwich!

We served this with baked potatoes. It was very yummy and I have 3 left to last for a few lunches this week. Yummy!

Also on our menu for the week:
Tandoori Chicken
Chicken Stir Fry
Potato Chowder (we need to see if we can find low sodium, nitrate free ham before we make this)
Chicken Cheese Steaks

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our life has been crazy and tonight's dinner

Jeff has been working some strange hours and I've been pretty tired by the time I get home, so we have either had leftovers, gone out for Valentine's Day, or gone out to grab a quick bite. For a quick bite, I like to go to Panera because they have a lot of pretty healthy foods and I can pick and choose what I do and don't want to eat to a point.

I didn't take a picture of tonight's dinner. We had turkey breast and I had mashed/smashed sweet potatoes and Jeff had mashed regular potatoes. The sweet potatoes were good, but I didn't cook them enough! They still were good.

I used for the sweet potatoes:
2 cut up and boiled sweet potatoes, 1 tsp of pure maple syrup, and about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, as well as a splash of soymilk.

The turkey breast was seasoned with 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of rosemary, 1 tsp of basil, 1 tsp of thyme, 1 tsp of sea salt, and 1 tsp of black pepper. I mixed them together and rubbed them on top of the skin and under the skin and then baked. It was very good!

We were missing some sort of gravy. We need to learn how to make our own because we used to use the powder gravy in the packets.

Overall, it was decent. It felt great to cook tonight.

Jeff made the menu this week and it was just too much of the same (for example chicken tacos and Mexican chicken wraps. We made the tacos but not the wraps because we weren't in the mood for it after having tacos. He loves mexican food... I don't). Next time we will make the menu together. There are a few recipes from the Eat Clean books that we got that I really have been wanting to try.

Tomorrow we are having soup my grandparents homemade. They have a tradition that every winter, when it snows a measurable snow for the first time they spend the day making homemade vegetable beef soup. It is so good! I am sure it isn't 100% clean, but I'm not asking because it is just too good! There is a lot of natural ingredients in it, so I will be a happy camper. YUM! I can't wait! Maybe we will make some bread to go with it. Depends on the time I have in the afternoon tomorrow. I have a half day but it has been so nice that I have been hitting the streets on a few runs.

Come on weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A look back at Skillet Chicken Cutlets with Button Mushrooms and Peas

We made this meal last month and made it again today. It was very good! This time we actually followed the recipe and instead of using lemon pepper seasoning, we used lemon juice and salt and pepper. I think I like the lemon pepper seasoning better because I wasn't as thrilled with the lemon juice seasoning the mushrooms, but it wasn't terrible either. Once again we added peas and they were great!

Another note... I lost 8 lbs!!! I had a doctor's appt today to follow up from starting the metformin for my PCOS and the doctor was happy that I lost 8 lbs! I have another at the end of March. I really hope I lost more by then! I do have to say that it wasn't the medication that made me lost the weight. It was the clean eating and the exercising. The meds helped my PCOS symptoms and the amount of insulin my body needs because PCOS makes the body insulin resistant. There is no such thing as a magic pill! Get out there and do the work! :) I hope I keep losing!

Oatmeal Banana Pancakes

Once again no picture... they didn't look the best just looking at them so a picture wouldn't have convinced you to try it or not.

We liked them. I liked them more than Jeff did. You can't go into it thinking that they are going to be just like regular pancakes. They were a lot heavier and very sweet. I had them with pure maple syrup and it was just too sweet for me. I ended up cutting up a few strawberries to give me a bit of a tart taste with them. It came with a recipe for homemade pomegranate syrup and I think I would make it with that next time. The pomegranate would give it the right amount of tartness. I will include the recipe for it, although it has honey. I would use natural honey or agave nectar instead of the stuff with added sugar.

Ok here is the recipes, both from

Oatmeal Banana Pancakes
Source: Clean Eating magazine
Makes 10 to 12 five inch pancakes, or 20 four inch pancakes

For the syrup:
1 cup Pomegranate Juice
2 tablespoons of honey

For the pancakes:
3 medium bananas (I used frozen), plus 1 sliced banana for garnish
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats, ground to a course flour in food processor
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 egg whites, whipped to soft peaks
Olive Oil cooking spray

Whisk juice and honey together in saucepot. Bring mixture to boil over medium high heat, then drop the heat to medium. Simmer mixture and reduce it to syrup, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let syrup cool before using. (Mine thickened as it cooled.)

To make pancakes, add bananas, milk and vanilla to blender and puree until smooth. In large mixing bowl, whisk together ground oats, rolled oats, flour, salt and baking powder. Fold banana puree into dry ingredients to a form a thick batter, taking care not to overwork it. Gently fold in the whipped egg whites into batter. Heat a large nonstick griddle coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Drop 1/4 cup batter for 5-inch pancakes onto griddle. Cook until lightly browned, about 1 1/2 per side. Serve with banana slices and a drizzle of pomegranate syrup.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Steak and Farfalle Pasta

No picture... sorry.

I made steak and farfalle pasta last night for dinner. It was OK. Not my favorite. Not the worst either. I am really not a tomato sauce kind of person, but I did enjoy it. I would think that someone who likes marinara sauces would like this. I will give the recipe. I ate it before I remembered to take a picture! OOPS!

Here is the recipe, from


  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced, divided
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 lb lean eye round steak, cubed
  • 16 oz whole-wheat farfalle pasta
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 28-oz jar or can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 8 oz low-fat sour cream


  1. Prepare marinade: In a bowl, whisk together 3 cloves garlic, vinegar, Dijon, cinnamon and pepper. Pour marinade over steak cubes in another container, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (You can also leave steak to marinate overnight.)
  2. Cook farfalle according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Drain steak cubes and discard marinade. Heat a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-high, mist with cooking spray and sauté steak until browned on each side, about 4 minutes total. Remove steak from pan and set aside.
  4. Mist same pan with cooking spray again, add onion and remaining 2 cloves garlic and sauté until brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium low. Add seasoning, basil and sour cream and combine. Cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then mix in reserved steak and cook for 2 more minutes, until meat and sauce are completely warmed.
  5. Serve 1 cup farfalle with 3/4 cup steak sauce. Garnish with an additional sprinkling of Italian seasoning, if desired.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hamburgers and Breaded Mushrooms

Today we made hamburgers on the George Foreman Grill and then breaded mushrooms. Our whole grain hamburger rolls were moldy!!!Ew! They weren't that old either. So we had to put the hamburgers on bread. Sigh. They still tasted good.

The mushrooms were OK. We dipped them in eggwhite and then rolled them in whole wheat breadcrumbs and baked them at 375* until they were hot. I feel like the breading needed Parmesan cheese in it as well. They weren't amazing. Jeff liked them though, so that is good!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicken and Brown Rice

Tonight we made chicken breast with whole grain bread crumb and Parmesan cheese breading. We also made brown rice in our rice cooker, as well as sauteed broccoli and mushrooms in a homemade sauce which didn't work out so good. I would definitely do the breading on the chicken again and we really loved the brown rice! No real recipes to share since it was just the rice and the breading and cheese on the chicken and then we baked the chicken.

Tomorrow I am hoping we are having oatmeal banana pancakes, but we will see.

I had a snow/ice day today. I did nothing. I really wanted to go for a run, but because it was so icy I just didn't feel comfortable. If we have off again tomorrow I may go out in the afternoon depending on the roads.

I also may be starting Zumba for my cross training! I can't wait! It won't be until March, but it sounds like it will be fun!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Beef Stew

We made Beef Stew from It was good but it was missing something. I'm not sure what. It needed something to make it heartier. But it was still good and it is a recipe that I will play with to make it better.


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 lb lean bison or beef stew meat cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat a medium saucepan on medium-high and add oil to coat pan. Add half of meat and cook for 5 to 7 minutes turning to brown all sides. Transfer browned meat to a rimmed plate, then repeat cooking steps with remaining meat. Cover plate with meat and set aside.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add onion and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until onions are softened and lightly browned. Add thyme and allspice, stirring for 30 seconds. Add vinegar, then increase heat to medium-high and cook for about 1 minute, until most of liquid has evaporated.
  3. Return meat to pan, adding 3 cups water and bay leaf. Bring mixture to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for about 1½ hours, until meat is tender.Add carrots, parsnip and potato and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove and discard bay leaf.
  4. Remove 1 cup liquid and vegetables from pan and transfer to a blender. Purée vegetables and liquid until smooth. Return purée to pan, add peas and cook on low heat for 5 minutes or until peas are heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Our Menu for the Week

This week we are having:

Beef Stew
Oatmeal Banana Pancakes
Mexican Chicken Wraps (we didn't get to them last week either! They are on the plans for tomorrow)
Steak and Farfalle Pasta
Hamburgers with Breaded Mushrooms and Broccoli

Keep and eye out for the yummy recipes!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What is Clean Eating?

If you want to find out more about clean eating, here is a great article to check out:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fondue with Zen Cooking Style

*I want to start out by saying that I am not sponsored and I did not post anything on here by request of any company.*

We made fondue tonight and it was SO YUMMY! We love fondue. Our favorite restaurant is The Melting Pot. It wasn't until we started to go to The Melting Pot that we even knew we liked fondue. Now we go for as many occasions as possible (birthdays, graudations, celebrations, just because...). Well they recently came out with a cookbook and of course we bought one (and gave two as gifts!). Tonight we made the Zen Cooking Style from their cookbook and it was SO GOOD. We had chicken for our meat, and we had baby bella mushrooms, potatoes, broccoli, and carrots in it. We love fondue. :) The best thing about it... it was completely clean!

Here is the recipe (but to get any more, you have to buy the cookbook!)

*5 1/2 cups of warm water
*Juice of 1/2 lime
*3 tbsp of chopped lemon grass
*3 tbsp of finely chopped onion
*1 tbsp of finely chopped celery
*1 tbsp of finely chopped carrot
*2 tbsp of kosher salt (I used sea salt)
*1 tbsp of freshly ground pepper (I just used regular black pepper)
*1 tbsp of ginger
*2 tsp of garlic powder (I made a mistake and used 2 tbsp! Oops! It was still good and you couldn't tell)

1. Combine all of the ingredients into a pot and heat on medium-high until it is in a rolling boil.
2. Pour into a fondue pot and keep it on a low boil.
3. Put your veggies into the fondue pot.
4. Put the raw meat (which should be cut into cubes) one at a time on a fondue fork and cook (about 2 minutes) in the pot until it is completely cooked and then eat it (but not off the fondue fork! It is too hot!) and put a new piece on and back in the pot! The veggies should be ready as soon as they are cooked through. The mushrooms don't take so long. The potatoes and broccoli and carrots do take a while, but they are good once they are ready! We dig our veggies out with a spoon (The Melting Pot calls it a search and rescue spoon! Haha!). If you use metal, don't leave it in the pot because it will get hot!

Enjoy! Fondue is one of my favorite things to cook and eat! I just wish we could make all 4 courses of their meal at our house. We will have to just go out to the restaurant for that! (And I won't complain one bit!)

(Recipe from The Melting Pot Cookbook)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Frozen Mixed Berry and Granola Bars

This was a nice yummy treat and easy to make. This would be a great summer time dessert. There is one change I will make in the recipe, but I will note that below.

Without further ado, here is another recipe from


  • 1 cup whole-grain granola
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, raspberries or combination
  • 3 cups low-fat Greek-style yogurt (I would use vanilla, not plain. I used plain today and it was too tangy. Vanilla would make it great!)
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract


  1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil.
  2. Sprinkle granola evenly on bottom of pan and set aside.
  3. In a blender, whirl together berries, yogurt, agave nectar and vanilla until blended. Pour berry mixture over granola, smoothing mixture to the edges of the pan. Cover with foil and freeze until firm, approximately 4 hours. Keep frozen until serving.


I made yummy meatloaf tonight! I did my best to make it clean. The loaf itself was clean and it was super yummy. It is my grandmother's recipe, so you better feel special that I am giving it to you! BUT I put in homemade ketchup! I was a little nervous to use the homemade ketchup in this recipe because it is such a classic recipe in my family and I didn't want to ruin a good thing. But it made the meatloaf even BETTER!

The one thing that was not clean was the brown sugar used in the topping. I need to figure out what I can do for that, or just use brown sugar and deal with it. One item out of all isn't so bad. Ok, so here are the recipes:

Homemade Ketchup from
*3 tbsp of tomato paste
*2 tsp of grated onion (I used onion powder and only used about 1/2 tsp)
*1 glove of minced garlic (I used garlic powder and only used about 1/4 tsp)
*1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
*1 tsp of agave nectar

Mix them all together into a bowl and refrigerate.

Meatloaf Recipe (I do have to warn you that I eyeball everything when I make this recipe, so I can't promise I have the right portions for some of the ingredients)
*1 lb of ground beef (the less fat the better)
*1 egg
*1/2 tsp of garlic powder
*1 or 2 cups of whole wheat bread crumbs (you want to make sure that the meatloaf isn't too damp and squishy. If it forms into a loaf and holds pretty well you should be good)
*3 tbsp of ketchup (the whole amount that the above recipe makes would be good)

1. Set oven to 400*. Put foil on and in a broiler pan (makes it easier to clean!) and cut holes in the foil so that the grease can drip to the bottom.
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Add breadcrumbs as needed until it forms well into a loaf.
3. Form into a loaf and place on the broiler pan.
4. Poke holes in the loaf (all over) and then cover the loaf with the topping (recipe below).
5. Bake until the meat is cooked through.

Meatloaf Topping (This recipe is what we put on our meatloaf before it bakes. It is super good!)

*Dark Brown Sugar (I think I will try to use pure maple syrup next time)

Combine in a bowl equal parts ketchup to brown sugar and mix. Put on top of meatloaf before it bakes.

I used to eat this meal with pierogies, but I had it with steamed broccoli with a little bit of melted cheese on top.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Barley Stew

This was OK. I don't see us making it again because Jeff was not a big fan of it. I did not like the texture of the barely. The potatoes and carrots were so good and the overall flavoring was pretty good, but I just don't see us making it again. BUT since I thought it was OK, here is the recipe, which I got off of

Slow Cooker Chicken Barley Stew (3 g of carbs)


  • 32 oz low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic sea salt
  • 1/2 tbsp thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp basil
  • 1/2 tbsp cilantro
  • 1/4 tbsp dill
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked through
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cubed
  • 20 oz potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 10 oz carrots (3 large), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 8 tbsp low-fat sour cream (optional)


  1. Fill a slow cooker with broth, 8 oz water, garlic, herbs and pepper. Add chicken, peas and barley, then layer onion, potatoes and carrots overtop. Liquid should just cover vegetables. Do not stir.
  2. Allow to simmer overnight, at least 4 to 6 hours. Remove bay leaves and stir before serving. Spoon 1 cup into each bowl and top with 1 tbsp sour cream, if desired.

Nutrients per 1-cup serving without sour cream: Calories: 230, Total Fat: 2.5 g, Sat. Fat: 0.5 g, Carbs: 3 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 4 g, Protein: 21 g, Sodium: 240 mg, Cholesterol: 40 mg

I know it is Wednesday... but here is our Menu

Here is our Menu for the week:

Monday: Whole grain spaghetti (I am not blogging about it because we ended up needed to cook something fast, so we used whole grain noodles and the jar of sauce we had in the cabinet instead of making our own. We will make our own next time and I will blog about it then)

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Chicken and Barley Stew

Wednesday: Taco/Loaf night (I hate tacos, so Jeff eats tacos and I eat meatloaf)

We are also planning on having:

Mexican Chicken Wraps

And keep an eye out for my reviews on homemade ketchup as well as frozen granola berry bars!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chicken and Pineapple Skewers and some fun buys!

Oh yum! This meal was so good! It was from the Clean Eating Magazine website, however we changed the recipe a bit. It was so sweet and good and WONDERFUL! We both loved it and once again, I can't wait for my lunch tomorrow! We served it with jasmine rice, which was WONDERFUL, but we should have used brown whole grain rice, as it is much healthier for you and not so processed! We just didn't have the time for the brown rice today.

Ok so here is the recipe:

*2-3 tbsp of low sodium soy sauce
*1 tbsp of agave nectar
*1/2 tbsp of ginger
*2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
*fresh mushrooms (we used baby bella cut into halves)
*1 onion cut into 1 inch thick and long slices
*grape tomatoes
*1/2 of a pineapple, cut into 1 inch cubes

1. Combine the soy sauce, agave nectar, and ginger and whisk until blended. Then pour over the chicken breast and marinate for 30 minutes.
2. Once the chicken is marinated, string onto either bamboo kebob sticks or grilling skewers (we used the metal ones that were bendy and very long, but we do have both), alternating between desired veggies, fruit, and meat.
3. Place on the grill (either indoor our outdoor... we used our George Foreman grill because it is cold and snowing outside!).
4. After about 3-5 minutes, flip.
5. When the chicken is done, take the skewer off the grill and take the food off the skewer.


I am also so excited! We bought a rice cooker tonight! It has a brown rice setting too! WAHOO! I can't wait to try to make brown rice! I wish we had to the time to do that tonight.

AND we bought a food processor! If I have time this weekend, I WILL be making larabars!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Super Exciting Goal!

Ok, I have an awesome goal that I can't wait to share (though if you know me, you probably already know it!).

Barring unforeseen circumstances, I am going to run a half marathon in October! I am hoping to join Team in Training to train and run with them! I went to a meeting the other night and I am so excited about this opportunity, and my opportunity to run for a GREAT cause! I can't join this training season, but the one that starts in April I will be joining to train for this race! I can't wait! I will post more when I know more. :)

A year ago I wasn't even working to run a 5K! Now I am hoping to run a half! I never thought I would say something like that!

Chicken Nuggets and Broccoli with a Low Fat (but not so clean) Creamy Cheese Sauce

Once again, PLEASE excuse my terrible pictures! I really need to work on using my camera instead of my cell phone, which is so much handier!

This meal was SO YUMMY! I can't wait to eat my leftovers for lunch! The chicken nuggets were very healthy and clean and had only 3 grams of carbs! The broccoli was very healthy too. The one thing that that wasn't clean, but it was low fat (though we really want to make it as clean as possible next time! We just were in a pinch for something to go with the broccoli!) was the Creamy Cheese Sauce from our Low Fat Vegetarian Cookbook (Thanks Steph!).

The chicken nuggets were super easy to make and took 30 minutes total (including cooking time) to make. I think that kids will LOVE it (especially with clean, homemade ketchup... which we didn't have so we used a tad bit of regular ketchup). I love to dip my chicken in honey and I think that next time I am going to try to dip it in Agave Nectar.

Ok, ok... enough talk. Here is the chicken recipe! See below for the review and recipe for the Creamy Cheese Sauce!

Crispy Chicken Nuggets (3g)


• 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts weighing about 6 oz / 170 g each
• 1/4 cup / 60 ml oat bran
• 1/4 cup / 60 ml wheat germ
• 1 Tbsp / 15 ml coarsely ground flaxseed (I used my Pampered Chef slap chopper and chopped them... it worked OK, but took a while)
• 1/4 cup / 60 ml coarsely ground almonds (I used my Pampered Chef slap chopper and it worked great on these!)
• 1/2 tsp / 2 1/2 ml sea salt
• 1/2 tsp / 2 1/2 ml white pepper (I didn't have white so I used black)
• Pinch garlic powder
• 1/2 cup / 120 ml water or low-sodium chicken broth (we used low sodium, all natural chicken stock... but water would have been fine and I will use that next time instead of spending the extra money!)
• 1 large egg white, lightly beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F / 232°C. Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or coating lightly with best-quality olive oil.
  2. Cut chicken breasts into nugget-sized pieces, about 1.5 inches square. Set aside.
  3. Next, combine all dry ingredients in a large container with a tightly fitting lid. Shake well. This is your coating mixture.
  4. Combine water and egg in a medium bowl. Dip each piece in the water/egg-white mixture. Then dip each piece in the coating mixture. Make sure each piece is well coated.
  5. Place on the baking sheet. When all of your chicken has been coated and your baking sheet is full, place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden.

Ok... the Low Fat Creamy Cheese Sauce from 1001 Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes... I think I said in the beginning that we aren't going to be making our own cheese or anything TOO extreme, but that we are going to try to get as clean as possible. I just wanted to say that from the start of this recipe! We decided to make this recipe because we wanted something on top of the broccoli that wasn't going to be too full of calories or unhealthy junk. So here is the recipe, with our alterations to it. It was very yummy and we can't wait to make it a little cleaner next time!

*2 tbsp of minced onion (we didn't have fresh onion on hand and it was such a small amount that we used dried minced onion, which was fine)
*2 tbsp of whole-wheat flour (this was another change we made... we used whole wheat instead of regular, which was great!)
*1 cup of skim milk
*1/4 tsp of dried mustard
*2-3 drops of red pepper sauce
*1/2 cup (2 oz) of cheese (we used what we had... a little bit of all natural mozzarella and some American Cheese to make up the difference since we didn't have 2 oz)

1. Saute onion in 1 tbsp of margarine (we didn't do this step since we used dried onion so we excluded the butter/margarine) in small saucepan 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in flour; cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Whisk in milk and heat to boiling; boil, whisking constantly until thickened, about 1 minute. (We started with the milk and whisked everything into the milk since we weren't sauteeing the onions, etc.
2. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, dry mustard, and pepper sauce, whisking until cheese is melted.

We drizzled a small amount over steamed broccoli and it was very yummy and added that flavor we wanted!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Menu for the Week

My Clean Menu for dinners for the week is as follows (in no particular order):

-Chicken and Pineapple skewers on the grill (we may use the indoor grill for this, but it won't be as good)
-Chicken Nuggets (I can't wait to try this! The breading sounds very interesting! We are having steamed broccoli as a side.
-Hamburgers on a Whole Wheat roll
-Whole Grain Spaghetti with homemade spaghetti sauce
-Mexican Chicken Wraps on Whole Grain Tortillas

I am also hoping to make homemade granola bars. I also found a recipe for larabars that I really want to try, but I have to get a food processor. Any recommendations?

I do have to say that so far it has been fun trying all of these recipes, but it is frustrating when you really look forward to a recipe and it turns out not so good! I hope that this turns around and we build a base of foods we really like! We are also spending a lot on food each week because we are still in the "stocking phase" (we didn't have much of the spices, flours, etc that the recipes called for). Hopefully we will be out of it soon and just be able to cook! But it is fun, especially exploring them with my husband!


We had my husband's brother and his girlfriend over to make pizza with us. It was a lot of fun! We made our own dough and our own sauce. The sauce turned out GREAT. We kind of winged it with what to put in it, but we did have a recipe to follow with the spices in the sauce. We did have a recipe to follow for the dough. I didn't like the dough. It tasted like frozen pizza dough to me, which I don't like. I'm not a pizza person anyway... but I thought it would be a lot of fun. If you would like the recipe for the dough, let me know. Below is the recipe (sort of) for the sauce. Like I said... we didn't follow it exactly. We used fresh tomatoes instead of canned. We did use some tomato paste, but not a lot. And we put more spices in than it called for. But the sauce was SO GOOD! So without further ado:

Pizza sauce Ingredients

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (or 1/2 tsp of dried minced garlic)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (only if you are sauteeing the garlic. If you are using dried minced you won't need this)
  • 1 (29 ounce) can tomato paste (we used 18 oz and then 2 fresh, finely chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (we did not use this because of our fresh tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (we put in 4)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (we put in about 3 tbsp! Too much but it really added some great flavor to the sauce!)


  1. In a large saucepan, saute garlic in oil until tender (only if you are using fresh garlic! If not start with the next step by combining everything in a pan). Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until sauce reaches desired thickness. Use in Deep-Dish Sausage Pizza, Tomato Artichoke Chicken or any recipe that calls for pizza sauce. Sauce may be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Chicken Cutlets with Button Mushrooms

Another yummy meal from! We will definitely make this one again! And once again, sorry for the bad picture!

We decided to add peas to this and the peas were wonderful! We also didn't use button mushrooms because our store didn't have them this trip, but we did find a baby mushroom that was yummy. We also didn't use capers.And we used a lemon seasoning because we didn't have any lemon juice and I had used our fresh lemons the day before (oops!). But the flavoring was still good! Here is the recipe:

  • 1½ lbs Chicken cutlets (about 6)
  • ¼ t sea salt
  • ¼ t pepper
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 2 t olive oil
  • 1 c fresh button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Italian Parsley
  • 2 t whole capers
  • Lemon Slices for garnish (optional)

Season chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 T lemon juice. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and mushrooms and cook chicken for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and until mushrooms are softened. Add remaining 2 T lemon juice, parsley and capers and cook for 2 more minutes. Garnish with lemon slices before serving if desired.

French Toast

No picture! Sorry! I forgot to take a picture!

I had very yummy french toast this week. I always pack my leftovers (actually, I cut what I am eating in half and put it in a dish) for lunch the next day and I was concerned about the french toast, but this turned out pretty good even left over! I froze them in the freezer and then just took them out and put the bag with the 2 pieces in my lunchbox with a cold back and it kept them cold but thawed them by the time I got to lunch.

I got the idea from I did change their recipe, but the directions were similar. Here is what I did:

*Whole wheat bread (desired amount... I used 8 pieces for dinner and lunch the next day)
*6-8 egg whites (I did include 2 yolks)
*1 tsp of nutmeg (I won't use this next time. I wasn't a fan)
*1 tsp of cinnamon (or more if you desire)

-Mix the eggs and the spices together and then coat each side of the pieces of bread. Cook them on a medium pan at medium heat on your stove until they are browned on both sides and cooked through in the middle. Enjoy!

Not So Fried Chicken

This was YUMMY! YAY! Finally a recipe I can talk about and proudly share! We got it from The one thing we changed was that we used whole wheat bread crumbs instead of whole wheat panko. We can't find whole wheat panko anywhere in our grocery store! You also need to remember to marinate this in the buttermilk for 6 hours! We kept forgetting and then have to change our plans for dinner that night. But once we remembered, we were happy!

With this I made my own version of "fries". I cut up a potato into chunks, brushed it with olive oil, and then sprinkled it with garlic salt. I baked them the same amount of time I baked the chicken on the same tray as the chicken, taking them out and turning them halfway. They were yummy also!

Here is the recipe copied from

Not so Fried Chicken (17 g of carbs)


  • 4 7-oz bone-in chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • Extra-virgin olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup whole-wheat panko


  1. Using a sharp knife, thoroughly remove skin and visible fat from chicken breasts.
  2. Place chicken breasts in a resealable plastic container that is slightly larger than the breasts. Pour buttermilk over breasts, then turn them so they are completely coated. Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight, rotating them once or twice.
  3. Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly mist a medium, nonstick baking sheet with spray.
  4. In a small bowl, mix mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne.
  5. Add panko to a medium, shallow bowl.
  6. Remove 1 chicken breast from buttermilk, allowing any excess liquid to drip off. Sprinkle both sides of breast evenly with 1/4 of seasoning mixture. Then transfer it to bowl of panko, covering it completely with crumbs. Place breaded chicken breast face down (ribs up) on prepared pan. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
  7. Lightly mist top of breasts with spray. Bake chicken for 10 minutes, then gently, being careful not to remove any breading, flip the breasts. Lightly mist them again with spray and continue to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until breading is crispy and chicken is no longer pink inside. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days to eat cold. Tip: To make your breaded chicken a bit more golden in color, try toasting the panko in a skillet over medium heat before using it to cover the chicken. Just remember to consistently shake the skillet over the stove to ensure you don't burn the panko.

Nutrients Per Chicken Breast: Calories: 267, Total Fat: 5 g, Sat. Fat: 1 g, Carbs: 17 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 37 g, Sodium: 255 mg, Cholesterol: 91 mg

Chicken Pot Pie

(Once again, sorry for the crappy picture. There will be a bunch of posts with crappy pictures! Sorry!)

Anyway... this did not wow us. I am not going to post the recipe. If you want it, please feel free to ask and I will send it to you. This was very bland. It had almost no flavor. I think we were having issues for a few reasons. Reason 1- I grew up on PA German cooking, which is pot pies, casseroles, breads, pastas, etc. I am used to that creamy, not very spicy but yummy taste. I love bland foods, so for me to say this was bland wasn't very good. Reason 2- We are still getting used to the whole wheat flour. We aren't a fan yet, as that is all we tasted!

It wasn't BAD, but it definitely isn't something we will make again. I think I've realized that I can't recreate the recipes that I LOVE that aren't clean with clean and healthy products because they won't be the same and I need to get over that and find NEW recipes that we love.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Menu

Here is my menu for this week:

Beef Chickpea Chili (see review in previous post)
French Toast
Not So Fried Chicken
Chicken Pot Pie
Homemade pizza
Chicken Cutlets with button mushrooms

I can't wait to see if chicken pot pie will be as good as the chicken pot pie I am used to eating! And I think Jeff is most looking forward to the homemade pizza. I have also been craving french toast since seeing this recipe for french toast on Clean Eating magazine's website!

Beef Chickpea Chili

Please excuse the crappy picture! I took it with my phone, which doesn't have the best camera (get on that, BlackBerry!). I promise better pictures of the future meals!

I got this recipe from

This was OK. There are definitely some changes I will make. I give it one thumb up, and the husband gives it NO thumbs up (except he did like the meat in it... he isn't a fan of beans so the chick peas weren't awesome to him). Part of the problem with the meal was that the chick peas weren't cooked enough, though I followed the directions on the bag (I bought them hard, so I needed to cook them before I prepared the chili. We are trying not to eat canned beans because of the high amounts of sodium in them). I am hoping they will be better left over after they absorb some moisture. Next time I make it (I want to make it one more time to give it another chance) I am going to only do one cup of chopped tomatoes, and I am going to half the chick peas. I am also going to include some greens in this (peas, zucchini, those fuzzy green bean things that look like snap peas... I have a long way to go with the names of ingredients!) . It tasted more like a vegetable beef soup than a chili, so I want to play on that instead of turning it into chili, which I already make.

So here is the recipe, though please take what I said above into consideration! It will help!

Beef Chickpea Chili


  • 1 lb top-round buffalo steak or lean beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 tbsp cumin, ground
  • 2 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp saffron (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup frozen corn (no need to thaw)
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 6-oz jar tomato paste
  • 2 lemons (optional)


  1. In a large nonstick pot, cook steak for 2 minutes over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, celery, carrots and all spices. Cook for 5 minutes. Then add chickpeas, cooking for 2 more minutes.
  2. Turn up heat to high and pour in 4 cups water, corn, tomatoes and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and stir in tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces and chili thickens. Squeeze juice of both lemons into chili, if desired, and stir. Remove bay leaf before serving. Chili can be stored in refrigerator for 5 days or frozen for 2 to 3 months.

Clean Eating

The husband and I have started to eat clean (or as clean as we can without going completely overboard... for example, we don't make our own cheese or cut our own meat, or anything along those lines). But basically we go by this quote that I heard recently "If it was grown on a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, avoid it". Clean eating cuts out all of the processed foods and preservatives. It doesn't cut down on flavor or things you can cook. it just changes the way you make your food and the way you eat. We now eat a lot of whole grain products, we eat a lot of fresh veggies, and we are cooking almost every night at home. I am trying to make sure we have lots of protein in our foods. I am also watching carbs on top of it all.

So the hunt as been on for meals and snacks that are clean and low carb. It has been fun and difficult all at once! Everything is new to us. I likened it to when we switched grocery stores last year. We switched from the grocery store we had been going to since we moved to this house 3 1/2 years ago (then it was 2 1/2 years) to another grocery store. When we came to this new grocery store we felt lost. We had no idea where to find certain items and it was hard to get used to. We were so tempted to go back to our other store, but then it started to get easier. We learned where we could find things in the store, and we now feel like we are used to the store. When it comes to eating, we were so used to eating the food we had all of our lives. We aren't going to be used to this change over night. For Jeff, he was brought up on meat and potatoes. What was made was what you ate. I was brought up on Pennsylvania Dutch foods. Lots of pot pies, casseroles, carbs, carbs, carbs. It isn't something that is going to change overnight. But as we make recipes we see what we like and don't like and we will begin to find a base of foods we like and will make regularly.

It has been an interesting week and a half of food so far. It has been expensive as we build the things we need in the house to make regular meals. It has been excited to try new meals, disappointing when we find meals we don't like that we really hoped we would like (like the chicken and dumplings that we made last week... yuck) but we've found some that we do like.

So here we go on this journey to change our lifestyle. I am going to try to take a picture of each meal and give a review on the meal. If we like it, I will include the recipe so that you can enjoy it as well. I am also going to post our weekly dinner menu. If you see something you would like to try and I haven't included the recipe, please feel free to send a message and ask! Not everyone's tastes are the same.

I was also told that if we were successful 90% of the time, then that is considered successful. We aren't always going to be able to eat clean (like when we go to family's house. We have no desire to dictate what they cook! Or when I am craving chocolate because I just can't give that up!).

So on top of life and exercise (which has been lacking the last few days!), I will be hopefully blogging about food.