Banana-berry Muffins

What do you do with the entire pint of berries that your picky toddler won’t eat? Make muffins!

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The Simple Healthy Life : Banana-berry Muffins

I get really hopeful at the grocery store when I see that beautiful, shiny pint of blueberries on sale. I think, “she’ll try these because they’re blue…and round…and look like tiny balls.” Then, she crushes my dreams when we get home and she snarls her nose. Yep, it happens time after time. You feel me mama, I know you do. Instead of letting her completely win this battle, I decided to try to turn it into something that she would actually eat. So, I threw them in with some sure fire ingredients – sugar and flour, of course – and it was a win! No longer will she waste my precious $3 pint of blueberries…or blackberries. Yes, you can use this with any berry – so far, I’ve tried this same recipe with blueberries and blackberries, but I’m waiting for her to snarl her nose at raspberries so I can give them a try. *adding raspberries to grocery list…*

If you don’t have a mini muffin pan, I highly suggest you purchase one. The muffins are the perfect size for those little toddler hands. Plus, you won’t feel bad when you eat 3 of them.

Banana-berry Muffins

3 ripe bananas
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 egg
1⁄3 cup melted coconut oil or butter
1 cup berries (any kind)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 cups flour (I use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mash bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, egg, butter, and berries. Combine dry ingredients and gently stir into banana mixture. Pour into well-greased muffin tins or use muffin cups.
Bake for 20 minutes.

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Butternut Squash Noodles with Chicken Sausage & Kale

Every time I make something outside of the box, my husband gives me a snarl. Then, he tries it and 9 out of 10 times goes back for seconds and thirds. This was one of those. We literally ate the entire pot and my 1-year-old ate the chicken sausage like it was Apple Flavored Puffs (her favorite).

I wanted to venture away from zucchini with my Vegetti and when I saw butternut squash at our local produce stand, I knew I had to experiment! Thus, this new little dish was created and will be duplicated!

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Butternut Squash Noodles with Chicken Sausage & Kale

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1lb chicken sausage (could use pork or turkey)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 chopped sweet onion
8 oz. of baby kale
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chicken broth
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground fennel
2 dashes of nutmeg
2 tsp ground sage

Remove the sausage casings if using links – I just squish it out of the ends. Heat a large wide and deep pan over medium heat. Add the oil, then brown and crumble the sausage, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Add the chopped onion and cook until the onions soften and become translucent.

Add the kale, and stir until it is wilted. It will look like it won’t fit in the pan, but it will shrink!

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chicken stock, apple cider vinegar, and spices. Stir and cook uncovered for 2-3 minutes to reduce a bit of the liquid.

Add the “noodles” to the pan and toss until will mixed.Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole

Oh my ya’ll, I just love this one! Whenever I break out my Veggetti, I get weird looks from my hubby, but then he always gobbles up whatever I put on the table. This is just another one of those recipes. While I do use my Veggetti to make sweet potato noodles, you could just dice the sweet potatoes if you don’t have a spiralizer. By using sweet potatoes in place of the normal tortillas or pasta, the amount of calories, carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats that are typically found in casseroles is significantly reduced. I would say that gives you every right to have 2 servings! 🙂IMG_3023 (2)

Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole

1 lb  chicken breasts, cooked and shredded*
2 cups red enchilada sauce
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 oz) corn, drained
salt and pepper, to taste
2 medium sweet potatoes, spiralized
6 oz Mexican cheese blend, shredded
Optional garnishes: avocado, sour cream, green onions, salsa

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Add the shredded chicken, enchilada sauce, black beans, and corn to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Grease a 9×13 casserole dish with coconut oil. Add the sweet potatoes. Then, pour the shredded chicken mixture over the sweet potatoes and top with shredded cheese. Cover tightly with aluminum foil (this is important to keep cheese from burning like mine in the picture!!).

Bake for 50 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the sweet potatoes are cooked through. Allow the casserole to rest a few minutes before serving.

*I just boil my chicken, then shred with a fork.

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Baby Eats: Avocado + Spinach + Oats

Just throwing it out there before we even get started that this is one of the stinkiest blends that I’ve made! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I can tell you that my little one loves this blend despite it’s rank smell. The good fat of the avocado combined with the fiber rich oats and nutrient dense spinach make this puree a near perfect meal for your little one. It is packed with fiber, good fat, calcium, iron, Vitamins A and B, and protein – quite the baby food win if you ask me.8f23ee1c-4b6d-4a87-91f1-7fa4b532b56a

Avocado + Spinach + Oats

1 medium to large avocado
1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup oats
2 cups water

Cook oats and water in saucepan over medium high heat for 10 minutes. Place oats, spinach, and avocado in blender and puree until desired consistency is reached.

This will store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days. I typically pour mine into ice cube trays, freeze, and store cubes in freezer bags.

 

Slow Cooker Margarita Chicken Soup

When I heard that it was National Margarita Day, I knew I had to share this recipe that I made last week. I was given this jug of Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Margarita Mix at one of my husband’s bike races and it’s been staring at me every time I open the fridge. I’m not a huge drinker, so I had to figure out another way to use this mix. I will say, I did enjoy a margarita made with the leftover mix tonight (in celebration of National Margarita Day of course) and it was delicious! Ole! It only has 3 ingredients – limes, water, and natural pure cane sugar – which is great compared to a lot of other mixes out there that contain high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors.

This soup is easy, goes right in your slow cooker, and is done at the end of your day! It’s a great twist to the classic chicken tortilla soup and has just the right tang of the lime juice. Enjoy!

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Slow Cooker Margarita Chicken Soup

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (I used frozen)
1 can diced tomatoes with chilles
1.5 cup margarita mix
1 (15 oz) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can of corn
1 packet of taco seasoning*
Optional toppings: avocado (highly recommended!), shredded cheese, green onions, tortilla chips

Layer the first 7 ingredients in your slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours or on high 3 to 4 hours.

When ready to eat, shred the chicken with two forks inside the slow cooker or remove, shred on a plate, then return shredded chicken to slow cooker.  That’s it!

*Make your own taco seasoning by combining 1 tablespoon chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.

Basic Baby Food Puree

Making homemade baby food may sound like a daunting task and just one more to add to your list as a mom. I’m certainly not here to do any mom-shaming if you just don’t have time to do it, but I do want to tell you how easy it is to make if you’ve been thinking about trying!

Babies triple their birth weight in the first year and it seems like they are constantly eating whether it be milk/formula or baby food or a combo of both. I remember when my little one was closing in on 4 months, I was so excited to start giving her cereal. I thought, “you’ve got to be tired of milk kiddo!” We started with a basic organic rice cereal and moved on to avocados, then sweet potatoes, beets and the rest is history – she now has the pallet of a 40-year-old hippy!

Creating homemade baby food is a faster, healthier, less expensive alternative to jarred or pouched baby food. While it may seem convenient to just buy the jars or pouches from the store, I can make weeks worth of wholesome baby food in less than an hour. With one sweet potato, I can typically make 24 ounces which equates to roughly 12 meals for my girl.

Sweet potatoes are one of the most popular first foods for babies and often are the first food they try after rice cereal. Today, I’m going to share with you a basic puree for sweet potatoes. As a side note, I accidentally picked up white sweet potatoes at Earth Fare, so that’s why they aren’t a beautiful orange.

Tools Needed:
-blender, immersion blender, or food processor
-steamer, steam basket, or medium sauce pot
-vegetable peeler
-vegetable wash and brush
-cutting board

Step 1: Prepare Sweet Potato
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Spray sweet potato with veggie wash or simply wash thoroughly. Peel potato.

Step 2: Slice Sweet Potato
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Slice sweet potato into 1/2 – 1 inch slices.

Step 3: Steam Sweet Potato
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Using a steamer* or steam basket, steam sweet potato until tender. If you do not have a steamer, simply use a sauce pot to boil the sweet potato until tender.

Step 4: Puree Sweet Potato
Using a blender or food processor, add sweet potato and 1/2 cup water and blend. Add water to find desired consistency.

Step 5: Freeze Puree
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Pour the puree into ice cube trays and freeze for 1 hour or until hardened.

Step 6: Store Puree
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Once frozen, pop the cubes out and store in a freezer bag. Take cubes out as needed, thaw, heat (if desired), and feed to your little one.

I hope you find this to be simple – if you have any questions please feel free to ask!

*I use the Baby Bullet Steamer.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup

I’m so excited to share this recipe! It’s gloomy and rainy here, so it seems like the perfect time to share. We love Thai food in all forms in our household – I would even go as far to say that it would be “my last meal” request if I ever had to make that decision. Let’s hope I don’t! Ha. When I found this recipe that combined two of my favorite things – the slow cooker and Thai food – I knew I had to give it a try and put my twist on it.

Some of the ingredients may sound foreign to you, but you can actually find them all in any grocery stores international/oriental section. So, get on that!

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soupthai chicken soup

2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 (12 ounce) cans of coconut milk
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1½ pounds chicken breasts
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cups cooked rice or quinoa

Mix the curry paste, coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, and peanut butter in slow cooker. Place the chicken breast, red bell pepper, onion and ginger in the slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 4 hours. After 4 hours, remove chicken breast and shred. Return to slow cooker.

Add in the peas and cook for ½ hour longer. Stir in lime juice. Serve over rice or quinoa – you can also just add the rice or quinoa to the soup and mix it in the slow cooker.

 

Made-Over Sloppy Joe’s

IMG_0939Sloppy Joe’s are somewhat of an American past time and often forgot about when trying to eat healthy. Forget about opening up a can of Manwich, adding it to some ground beef, and slopping it on a bun. Hank and I have been making this made-over Sloppy Joe recipe and topping a baked sweet potato with the mixture. We can’t get enough! What’s even better is that it is cheap and easy to make AND you probably have all of the ingredients on hand!

One thing that discredits the typical Sloppy Joe is the sugar content. While a lot of recipes add brown sugar to the recipe, I leave it out and use ketchup. Ketchup has enough sugar in it to make it sweet and I add a squirt of honey. I do try to use an organic or natural version of sugar – whatever you do, make sure it is free of high fructose corn syrup.

Made-Over Sloppy Joe’s

1lb lean ground beef
1/2 green pepper, diced thin
1/2 onion, diced thin
1 cup ketchup
1 tsp mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp cider vinegar
Honey
Salt & Pepper
2 large sweet potatoes

1) Preheat your oven to 450 and bake sweet potatoes for 45 minutes.
2) In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with onions and peppers seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Drain and add back to skillet.
3) Add the ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire, and cider vinegar and mix well until heated through.

Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli

I’m not sure what inspired me to cook beef & broccoli, but I’m sure glad I tried it! After throwing this in the slow cooker, our house started smelling like this dish immediately and I must say that it was hard not to continuously peak into the slow cooker in hopes that it was ready for a little taste. It was worth the wait!

We served this over quinoa, but you could serve it over brown rice or just eat it plain.

Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli beef and broccoli

Ingredients:
1 lb. stew beef
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup soy sauce, tamari, or liquid aminos
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp cornstarch or tapioca starch
1 bag frozen broccoli florets (about 3-4 cups)

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the beef broth, soy sauce, dark brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic.

Lay the beef in the slow cooker and pour the sauce over, tossing the strips to coat.

Turn the slow cooker on low and cook for about 6 hours. Be sure to check it at the 4 hour mark, as you don’t want the beef to get overdone.

When it is just about done, take 4 Tbsp of the sauce and whisk it in a small bowl with the cornstarch.  Slowly stir this into the slow cooker.  Add the broccoli and cook for about 30 more minutes.

Serve over quinoa or rice and enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

In an attempt to lose the baby weight, I’m trying so very hard to stop eating the way I did when I was pregnant – pasta, bread, ice cream…basically anything I wanted. This was the demise that my doctor used as the reason Baby D was such a big baby weighing in a 9.2 lbs. Giving up the deliciousness that is pasta and Italian food makes me sad, but there are always equally delicious alternatives! Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite alternatives to pasta. I’ve yet to try using zucchini noodles, but that is coming soon. This week I took to creating a “lasagna” out of spaghetti squash. It was fantastic and will probably be added to the rotation in our household. Hank and I ate the whole pan – yikes! It’s just some veggies, meat and cheese, no worries! Ha!

If you aren’t sure how to cook a spaghetti squash, it’s easy! Follow these easy steps:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Place spaghetti squash in a microwave safe dish, pierce it a couple of times with a knife, then microwave for 5-8 minutes to soften.
3) Cut squash lengthwise and place face down in an oven safe dish with 1/4 cup water. Bake for 30 minutes.

I didn’t get a great picture of the inside of it, but here’s a shot of the dish before we devoured it.

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1lb Italian turkey sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1 cup of cottage cheese
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 cooked spaghetti squash (about 2lbs)
1 cup of mozzarella cheese
Italian seasoning, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 and b

2.Brown the turkey sausage until no longer pink

3. While turkey is cooking, discard seeds from the squash and remove your “spaghetti” using a fork (similar to how you’d shred chicken with a fork)

4. Spoon a little bit of sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish then layer squash + sausage + a little more sauce + 1/3 cup mozzarella + cottage cheese + remaining sauce + remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle with a little Italian seasoning and garlic powder if you wish. And, as always, feel free to add more sauce and cheese if you like things a little more saucy and cheesy!

5. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly – probably about 15 mins.