Kale and Potato Soup

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Here is a healthy, easy meal that I made last week when it was deathly cold outside. It gave me something to look forward to on my walks home from the gym. No matter your cooking ability, this one is pretty hard to mess up and it makes a nice amount of food that you can easily reheat.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 bunches of kale (tough stems removed)

1 onion finely chopped

1 lb. sausage (Eat Well- get ground pork and add sausage seasonings that you prefer- there are many different ways to do this depending on how spicy you like your food, Google it)

8 cups chicken broth

1 large white sweet potato

Salt and pepper

Instructions:

Brown sausage meat in olive oil. Add onion and cook until onions are soft. Add potatoes and stir for a few minutes. Add chicken stock and simmer until potatoes are soft (about 20 minutes). Add kale and cook for a few minutes (until kale is wilted and bright green, but not soggy). Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.

Green Smoothie For Breakfast

IMAG3815Since starting the Eat Well Challenge a couple weeks ago, I have woken up every morning and made a green smoothie. At first I was skeptical; I didn’t think a smoothie would fill me up. But as usual, my wife was right. A smoothie for breakfast leaves me satisfied for hours and gives me energy to kick off the day with a hard workout. Here’s one variation of what I have made:

1/2 C mango kombucha

1 banana

1 red Swiss chard leaf

sm handful spinach

sm handful parsley

2 brazil nuts

4 walnuts

2 splashes filtered water

1 T finely ground chia seeds

5 ice cubes

Blend the ingredients and enjoy!

Paleo Pizza Bake

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You can probably tell from the title that this is one you need need to try. It’s a recipe that I got from PaleOMG and have now made multiple times in less than a month – it’s that good.

You’ll need these items:
1 lb. ground Italian sausage
1 spaghetti squash (I used one roughly the size of a football)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 cup spaghetti sauce (this stuff is free of any sugar/weird ingredients)
1 tsp. basil
3 eggs, whisked
salt & pepper to taste

Now do this:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°
2. Halve the squash the long way, scoop the seeds out, place open side down on a baking sheet and bake until the skin is soft (30-40 minutes)
3. Remove squash and turn heat down to 350°
4. In a frying pan over medium heat, fry Italian sausage and onions until sausage is no longer pink
5. Use a fork to pull the squash from the skin and into a 8×8″ baking dish
6. Pour spaghetti sauce and basil into frying pan and mix with sausage/onions, then add to baking dish and mix everything together
7. Add whisked eggs to baking dish and mix until you can’t see the eggs anymore
8. Bake for one hour or until there’s a small crust on top of the dish

You’re going to like this one. Go make it!

Shepherd’s Pie

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Eat Well is in full force and here is a recipe from Sunday nights potluck.

Funny story is that I forgot to take a picture of the first batch that I brought to the potluck, so this lovely piece of deliciousness pictured is from round two. And let me tell you it was as good as the first, for those of you that were at the potluck a few days ago.

The original recipe is from my favorite paleo cookbook, Well Fed. I have cooked this many times, but have made my own additions to this recipe.

The author, Melissa Joulwan has another book out that I do not own yet, Well Fed 2, and I’m sure it has equally tasty recipes in it.

Here are the instructions on cooking this dish for those of you that are interested:

Ingredients

1 batch cauliflower rice- (riced in a food processor)
1.5 TBSP- coconut oil
1 medium onion- diced (about 1 cup)
2 carrots- peeled and finely diced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
2 lb. ground lamb (I used ground beef instead)
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP tomato paste
1 cup beef or chicken broth
1 tsp coconut aminos
1 tsp dried rosemary
.5 tsp dried thyme leaves
3 egg whites
paprika

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Over medium heat, add the coconut oil for 3 minutes. Once it is heated add the onion and carrot and reduce heat to medium-low and cover; allow the veggies to get soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic to the pan until fragrant, about 1 minute.

With your hands crumble in the ground lamb/beef and break up big chunks with a wooden spoon.

Sauté until the meat is browned, 5-10 minutes. Taste and season with pepper.

Add tomato paste, broth, coconut aminos, rosemary and thyme to the pan.

Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Then let mixture simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes.

Set the pan aside and let cool for 10-15 minutes.

Scramble the egg whites until frothy and blend into the meat mixture.

Add 1 TBSP of coconut oil to another small pot and heat on medium. Once oil is heated add the riced cauliflower along with 1/8 cup water.

Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes then take off heat.

Now it’s time to combine everything. In a 12×6 baking dish, first put in the meat mixture and smooth it out evenly. Next, add the cauliflower rice to the top and also spread out evenly. Lightly sprinkle the top with paprika.

Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top begins to brown.

Remove and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before eating.

Homemade Reese’s Cups / Protein Balls (Cheating Done Right)

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Earlier this week, Katie made some (really, really, really) delicious treats for the sale that we had at the gym. More than a couple people reached out to find out how to make the snacks at home, so Katie was kind enough to put together a little blog post talking about what she made, and how you can make them for yourself. Take it away, Katie…

Let’s face it, we all need a lil cheat every now and then, but what exactly is in said cheat and how is it affecting your body? One of the main things I look at when assessing my purchases at the grocery store is the ingredients list. You would be surprised at how many ingredients can fit into 1 serving of a chocolate bar.

With just a little effort, it’s actually pretty easy to make satisfying treats at home without the added ingredients and calories that you’ll find in store-bought snacks. Plus, if you’re a little OCD like me about cleanliness, you’ll appreciate knowing exactly what came in contact with your food vs. it getting processed in some huge mystery food factory (I mean think about the chocolate river in Willy Wonka, ew).

Remember, everything in moderation! Don’t eat these all in one sitting. Savor your treats (and the rest of or your food) and really connect with how they are affecting your mind and body.

Protein Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup cashews (or other nuts)
  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp SFH Pure protein powder (chocolate or vanilla would work best)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions:

  • Put all of the ingredients in a food processor (nuts first) and blend
  • Roll into little balls (roughly an inch)
  • Roll finished snacks in shredded coconut until evenly coated
  • Place finished product on parchment paper in fridge

Home-made Reese’s cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup smooth almond butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand – gluten, dairy, and sulfite free)
  • 1 tbsp salt

Instructions:

  • Place almond butter, oil and honey in a glass bowl then microwave for about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in shredded coconut until evenly combined. Divide the mixture into each opening of a mini muffin tin.
  • Place the chocolate chips in a glass bowl and microwave until melted Pour melted chocolate on top of each muffin tin then place the tin in the freezer for about an hour.
  • I used a fork to pop out the little cups – a knife may work just as well.
  • Sprinkle with salt
  • Store in refrigerator or freezer

Enjoy!

Italian Sausage Stir Fry

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When cleaning up your diet (or working to keep it clean), feeling satisfied in your meals can be a real challenge. This is a recipe that I started making during our Eat Well challenge earlier this year and I’ve found is a great way to be able to eat a satisfying meal without filling up on junk. The recipe makes numerous hefty servings, is pretty straight-forward, and is reminiscent of some of my favorite Italian dishes (win!).

It takes a little over a half hour to make and is well worth the effort. Give it a shot if you’re looking to try something new for dinner!

What you’ll need:

2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
5 Italian sausage links (I used the sweet Italian sausage from the Wedge)
2 red bell peppers
1 green bell pepper
1 can fire roasted/diced tomatoes
Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper

How to make it:

1.Cook the sausage in a frying pan until browned (grill them is the weather is cooperating!)
2. Cut the peppers into strips and the broccoli into florets
3. In a separate pan, add some coconut oil and fry the peppers until tender, then add the broccoli and cook until it softens. Stir frequently.
4. Once the broccoli is cooked, add the can of tomatoes, seasoning, and salt and pepper. Turn heat down to low.
5. Cut the sausage into 1/2″ pieces and add to the stir fry.
6. Mix everything together and serve!

 

Paleo Oatmeal

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The breakfast game-changer is here!

When I first heard about paleo oatmeal, I quickly dismissed it because I have never been a big fan of oatmeal. I didn’t care for the consistency and how it left me feeling hungry minutes after eating it.

But this oatmeal leaves me satisfied for hours and the consistency issue is the farthest thing from my mind as I’m in a non-stop shoveling motion to get this in my belly.

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Feel free to add or take out anything that you want to what is listed here. I discovered this formulation through experimentation.

Paleo Oatmeal Ingredients:

- Coconut Oil

- Raisins

- 3 Eggs

- Banana

- 1 Tbsp Almond Butter

- Large handful of blackberries (Can also use- blueberries, raspberries, apples, etc.)

- Small handful of pecans and walnuts

- Splash of Vanilla Extract

- 1 Tsp Pumpkin Spice

- 1 Tsp Cinnamon – (I have also used 1 tsp nutmeg a few times)

Directions:

1) Over medium heat sauté raisins, pumpkin spice and cinnamon in coconut oil while you prepare the rest.

2) In a food processor (can also use blender if you don’t have FP), combine banana, eggs, nuts, almond butter and process until almost liquified.

3) Add the mixture to the pan with the sautéd raisins. Continue to stir until desired consistency. For me, I error on the side of cooking to much. I add in the blackberries for a minute or two at the end of the process, just enough to heat them up.

4) This make enough for one person. Double everything, if cooking for two. Enjoy!

Coconut Curried Mussels – Thai Style

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This is a delicious recipe for seafood lovers. In fact, this one was even enjoyed by the person in our household who is not quite sold on seafood yet. Give it a try and let your palate experience the flavor explosion.

Here’s what you need:

1 lb mussels
1 stalk lemongrass
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, peeled and minced
1/3 cup shallots, sliced
1 tbsp red curry paste
2 cups coconut milk (get the kind without guar gum or whisk in organic creamed coconut like we did)
1/2 cup chicken stock (we used bone broth)
1/2 tsp lime zest
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2  Thai red peppers, chopped
2 kaffir lime leaves
1/4 cup cilantro, minced

Cooking Instructions:

Soak the mussels in cold, fresh water for about 20 minutes. If any mussels are still open after soak, give them a light tap on the sink to see if they close. If they do not close, throw them away. Remove the beard from the remaining mussels. I just grip it and rip it off with a quick tug at the corner. Place the mussels in a clean bowl of cold water.

Remove the tough outer leaves of the lemongrass until you get to the softer, yellow stock. Remove the bulb and slice up the yellow, fleshy part of the stalk. Put the lemongrass in a food processor and set to high until it is well processed.

Heat the coconut oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, red curry paste and lemongrass and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, chicken stock or bone broth, lime zest, lime juice, Thai peppers and lime leaves. Cook for another 8-10 minutes over medium heat. Add the mussels and cover the pan. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the mussels open. Throw away the lime leaves. Spoon the opened mussels and broth into bowls, garnish with cilantro and enjoy the deliciousness!

Cajun Chicken Marinade

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Here’s an easy recipe for a wonderful dry rub marinade for the chicken cut of your preference. I used chicken breasts, but this would make for some great wings too. I got this recipe from week 3 of the meal plans that the Eat Well Challenge participants are using.

Here’s what you’ll need:
2 chicken breasts (I made 3, so I added a little more of each seasoning)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

How it’s done:
Combine all the spices in a bowl big enough to contain all the chicken. Score the chicken breasts multiple times, then coat it thoroughly in the rub. Cover the bowl and marinate the chicken in the fridge for at least two hours. 
Preheat the oven to 375°. Warm a skillet over medium heat and add enough coconut oil to coat the pan. Sear the chicken for two minutes per side, or until both sides have browned. Then put the chicken on a baking sheet in the over for 10-12 minutes (flipping halfway through). Enjoy with your favorite side!

Creamy Spiced Kale

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Tired of eating the same old chicken breast, wishing that you had a great side dish to compliment it?

Say no more.

Try this tasty kale dish that takes less than ten minutes before its ready to devour.

Ingredients:

- 1 large bunch of kale

- 2 teaspoons Ras el Hamout (bunch of spices thrown together- look below)

- 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed

- pinch of salt

- 1 teaspoon coconut oil

- 1/2 cup coconut milk (make sure to buy a brand without guar gum in the ingredients)

- (optional for more spice)- 1/2 jalapeño pepper finely chopped or 2 tsp crushed red pepper

Ras el Hanout- This is good to have on hand for different dishes that you make. Combine all spices and herbs together and mix. Store in airtight container.

- 2 tsp salt

- 2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp powdered ginger

2 tsp ground black pepper

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Directions:

- Wash kale and remove large stems. Tear into smallish pieces. Don’t dry off leaves before cooking. Wet leaves are good for steaming and softening harder greens.

- Over medium heat, toss in half the kale and stir until it begins to wilt and then throw in the remaining leaves. Cover with lid.

- In a small bowl mix Ras el Hanout, garlic and salt. If you chose the optional jalapeño or crushed red peppers, add them in.

- When leaves are dark and have begun to wilt, remove the lid and slide the kale to the side of the pan.

- Now add coconut oil to the pan and pour spices directly into the melted coconut oil.

- Lastly pour in the coconut milk and stir until everything is mixed evenly.

This was an instant classic at our house and probably will  be in yours too!!!