Friday, July 12, 2019

Egg Crust Pizza

It seems like everyone I know these days is trying to follow a more low carb lifestyle, which makes my heart happy! Our bodies don't need all of these processed food products and grains. We can get enough carbs in our day just through wholesome foods like vegetables, for instance. I'm not saying you shouldn't ever turn down your favorite foods and treats, it's just that we don't need them in our lives as often as we probably are consuming them.

Life would be pretty boring without some of our favorites like pizza. Pizza is good! We probably have it for dinner almost once a week. I came up with this healthier version so I can still satisfy my pizza cravings, but not feel so bloated from the dough afterwards. The girls have yet to try it, but I did make one for the hubby last night and it passed his test. He can be pretty picky at times too, so this is a win in my book.

I'm definitely not the first person to ever make a pizza crust using eggs, I've seen them before. But, I'm using the whole egg and not just egg whites. I pay a pretty penny for my local eggs and I don't want to waste any bit of them. Plus, the egg yolk is so good for you! You've heard me say this before, just eat the whole egg!

So far we've only tested out pretty basic toppings on our pizzas, but I'm sure anything will work. Get creative with these and send me pictures, I want to see! While it's very easy to make and will fill you up, my biggest tip is to make sure your pan is greased very well. I used butter with Josh's pizza and definitely did not get it as well as I should have, it ended up sticking a bit and came close to falling apart when I tried to serve it on his plate. Coconut oil has worked best for me so far.

If you want video directions for this pizza, check out my story highlights on Instagram, you'll see the "egg crust pizza" there.  I can't wait for you to try this recipe. Enjoy pizza as much as you want with this healthier version!

Egg Crust Pizza

2 whole eggs
Coconut oil, butter or avocado oil; for greasing pan
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Choice of toppings

Grease a 10-inch saute pan well with choice of healthy fat (coconut oil, butter or avocado oil). Make sure to grease up sides of pan.

Let pan warm up on stove over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat together two eggs.  Pour eggs into pan and let cook for a few minutes. As eggs are cooking, make sure to run spatula along the edges and lift egg to prevent sticking.

Once egg is cooked almost completely through, add a little bit of pizza sauce on top of egg. Spread with a spoon, the amount you use is up to you. Sprinkle toppings over the sauce and finish with mozzarella cheese. Place a large plate over the pan and turn down to a very low temp, let the cheese melt and toppings heat for 2-3 minutes.

Remove plate, if cheese is melted, turn off the stove and remove from the pan. Your pizza should slide out nicely with the help of your spatula. Serve on a large plate, cut into slices and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

DIY Coconut Milk

I've never been much of a milk drinker, not even growing up. Chocolate milk was something I remember drinking on occasion, but I really just never liked the taste of cow's milk. I even preferred my cereal dry because I hate soggy textures. I seriously would try to eat my bowl of cereal so fast, just to prevent any of it getting soggy!

I have never forced my girls to drink cow's milk, although the majority of them enjoy it. But, they also have come to love other types of milk, such as almond. Up until a few months ago, almond milk was a huge staple in our house. I make a smoothie every single day and have always liked to something other than just water as my base. Unsweetened almond milk was generally my choice. Unsweetened because of the high sugar content in the sweetened variety. Remember, read those labels! And honestly, when you're mixing it into fruit and other ingredients, you can't even tell the difference.

If you follow along on my social media platforms, then you know I had a hard time with kidney stones earlier this year. I ended up needing surgery and it wasn't fun at all. Since this was my second time getting stones, I have followed up with my urologist and did some testing. My lab results came back showing that my calcium levels were high. Without having seen my doctor and knowing exactly what that meant for me, I decided to start eliminating some things in my diet where I might be getting too much calcium.

Almond milk was the biggest change. I don't know if you have ever paid attention, but the majority of our foods nowadays are fortified with additional vitamins and minerals. Almond milk has 45% of our daily requirements for calcium. And, that's just in an 8 ounce glass. There are times where I was using a good ten ounces for my smoothies. I began to really pay attention to the labels and searched out a new alternative.

I started using this brand of coconut milk, again the unsweetened kind, of course. The ingredients matched what I was looking for and the calcium level was by far the lowest I had seen in any other variety of milk in my area. In fact, I can only find it at my local Target store. It's also $4.00 for one half gallon container, more than double the amount I typically paid for the almond milk. But, it was exactly what I wanted, so you just learn to pay the money and I stuck to only using 8 ounces and adding a little bit of water.

I've since discovered a way to make my own though and saving myself some money. Literally this is so simple and I'm a little disappointed that I didn't think of it sooner! Making your own almond milk on the other hand, yes, that requires more time and energy.

Did you know how healthy coconut is for you, by the way? It's a form of a healthy fat, something that we need in our bodies and for our brains. Even if you don't typically like the taste of coconut, I would challenge you to give it a try; especially when blended into a smoothie or protein shake, you won't necessarily taste the coconut flavor.

If you're into DIY projects and making things at home, rather than purchasing at the store; this is for you. If you're already a fan of coconut milk, you must try this. And if you're an avid almond milk consumer, try this variety. I think you'll be pleasantly satisfied. Cheers!

DIY Coconut Milk

13.5 oz. can coconut milk (found in health area or by other canned milks)

Open can of coconut milk and dump into blender. Fill can with water about 3 times and add to the coconut milk. My blender was completely full, I was able to get almost three full cans in there. Cover with lid and blend together well.

Divide milk into large mason jars or any large beverage container of your choice. I like the mason jars just so I can shake before using in my smoothies.  Store in fridge, use within 7-10 days.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Bacon Wrapped Pesto Chicken

Chicken can be a hard sell in my house, especially with the kids. Do you have this problem as well? I can't really blame them, if you're not careful, chicken breasts are can be really bland and tasteless.

I've spiced up these chicken tenders with a little bacon and pesto, because who doesn't love bacon?! If you're not sure about the pesto, go ahead and bake some without the sauce. Experiment with others if you'd like as well, buffalo is great, ranch might even be tasty!

Add this main dish to your summer lineup, it will go perfect with all of the fresh veggies coming out of the garden. Break out the grill if it's too hot to cook inside, and this would be fantastic topped over a big salad the next day for lunch! So many simple ways to enjoy this dish, the kids will be begging for more.

Bacon Wrapped Pesto Chicken

1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders or breasts cut into smaller strips
1 pound bacon

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Spread pesto over top of each strip, then wrap one slice of bacon around each piece of chicken.

Place chicken onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve chicken with desired sides.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Food Labels 101

Food labels, do you pay attention to those when you're shopping? If you don't, then I'm going to encourage you to begin now. When we become more aware of what's in the food that we're eating, then we can start to make better choices. Not only for ourselves, but for our family members.

I'm not talking about worrying about the calories or fat content. I'm specifically talking about the ingredients. It's no surprise that we should aim to be eating a whole foods based lifestyle, one with foods that are pure to the earth. One without a ton of processed food products and fast food.

A lot of times I find that especially as women, we can get caught up in reading how many calories we are taking in; but yet, not giving any thought to the artificial sweeteners and other crazy things that are put into our food.

I also get that not everyone cares like I do. I get it! But you should! This is your only body you get, it's up to us to take care of it. I don't expect you to be perfect, or to become obsessive. That's not exactly healthy either. I just want to help educate you and for you to be more aware.

So, where do you start?

The absolute first thing I want you to focus on is eating more REAL food. Food that doesn't come in a box or from the freezer with fifteen ingredients. If you're not used to eating like that, it will take some time. It won't be exactly easy, but I promise, it's worth it and you will begin to feel so much better! If you need help in getting started or not sure where to begin; email me and let's chat. I want to help you, so you can be around for a long time for your family!

Okay, moving on. Let's cover some ingredients you need to consider avoiding. I encourage you to educate yourself even more, do your own research, and you will need to decide which are important to you and your family. There are some ingredients that we absolutely avoid, and others that I try my hardest to but let's be real; it's not always possible. Especially when you eat out at restaurants or are eating with other friends and family. And let's be completely honest, there are times when the Oreos get tossed into the cart.

Pay attention to the following:
High fructose corn syrup
Vegetable, canola, corn oil
Aspartame, Sucralose and other artificial sweeteners
Anything that you cannot pronounce 

There are tons of additives and chemicals that are put into our foods everyday, and it's hard to know what they all are and what they do. But if you can just be aware, that is the first step in the right direction.

There's actually a rule you might have heard of; only purchase processed foods that contain 5 or less ingredients, minus salt and pepper or other herbs. Especially ones that you can read and know what they are. That might be something you want to keep in mind when shopping.

Get the kids involved, let them practice their reading skills and help them to understand why we're passing on the fruit snacks and instead choosing fresh, in season watermelon instead. Make it fun! If it's not around, they can't have it and are less likely to ask for it. Yes, it takes time and it's an adjustment. But, I promise, it's more painful on us than it is on them. Give it two weeks and I think they will come around and it won't even be a big deal anymore.

I certainly don't want to overwhelm you and I hope that's not how you're feeling today after reading. There is so much to learn and understand when it comes to ingredients and what's going into our food; it would be impossible to cover everything in one sitting. Keep doing your own research and learning for yourself. Follow along on my stories on both Facebook and Instagram so you can see more about what to be looking for when reading ingredient labels.

If I could leave you with a little homework, it would be this:
* Eat real food, the majority of the time
* Read your food labels in your pantry and when you're shopping; just look at the ingredients and see what's in there. It just might be enough to make you think twice about your purchases and to look for better alternatives.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Coconut Flour Pancakes

Pancakes are always a favorite for not only breakfast, but dinner time as well. Whether it's due to an allergy, not liking the bloated feeling afterwards or just wanting to experiment with different ingredients; these pancakes are perfect for the whole family!

Regardless of your own particular food beliefs, flour isn't what it used to be. Our society eats a mostly high carbohydrate and processed food diet, and it's just not good. But, that's honestly for a whole 'nother discussion.

I have tried many recipes for grain free and healthier pancakes, and I have finally found the perfect recipe I want to include in my own family's rotation going forward. You know those banana/egg/oat pancakes that everyone was going crazy for not long ago? Yeah, those have nothing on these.

These are a closer consistency and texture to your standard all purpose flour pancake, and they do not taste strongly of coconut. I won't lie, there's a hint of taste, but it's not overpowering. Especially, if you were to slather these in butter and enjoy with some syrup (real maple, please!), homemade jam or almond butter as I did.

Try them, see what you think. They are not complicated at all and use wholesome ingredients. Ingredients which will help keep you feeling satiated much longer than your typical American pancake recipe.

Coconut Flour Pancakes

2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon Swerve sugar substitute (or honey)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt

In a small bowl, mix together eggs, cream, vanilla and Swerve. In a separate bowl, combine coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Add wet ingredients into the dry, and stir together.

Melt about 1 tablespoon of butter onto a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Pour batter into the skillet to form pancakes. Be careful not to make too big, they can be difficult to flip the bigger they are. Cook on each side for 2 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 6-7 pancakes. Top pancakes with desired syrup or toppings.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Take Back the Kitchen Series

Gosh, it's been awhile! Almost a full year. I've missed writing. A lot! Even though I'm very much active on social media, it feels good to be sitting here typing away. I've missed writing blog posts and it's something I really am ready to jump back into. I hope you're ready!

I told you all about how I was feeling a little frustrated with some of my family's eating habits and what was being brought into the house. Yes, I do the majority of the grocery shopping. I take the blame. I also am pointing fingers at the hubby. The girls sure do know how to work him over!

Regardless, we're putting some brakes on. I declared, mama's taking back the kitchen!

What does that exactly mean for you and your family this July?

Well, whatever you want it to be. I'm hoping you'll join forces with me and take back YOUR own kitchens! It can look different for everyone, and I encourage small steps.

Maybe you will cut back or eliminate pop or soda in your house, and encourage more water instead.
Begin reading labels more and paying attention to ingredients.
Cooking at home more often.
Taking family walks in the evenings.
Having each child or family member choose a new vegetable or fruit to try each week.

And, maybe you're not going to be quite ready to embrace this as a whole family. As parents, it's important that we are taking care of ourselves first and foremost. So that we can be around and be at our best for our children. It's okay if you focus on making some of these changes in yourself first, and then in your family when the timing is right.  It's just important that you start.

What can you expect from me in July?

Well, my hope is to bring you recipes, valuable information and tools that you can use in your own busy lives to become even just a little bit healthier. We are all at different points in our lives and that's okay.

I plan to share new recipes in all food categories: breakfast, lunches, dinner, snacks and even side dishes. I'll be sharing some new healthier spins on some of my favorites as well.

I will also be covering the importance of learning to read food labels and what that can do for your family's health.

Dealing with picky eaters, getting your family to drink more water, dinners on the go, what happens when we allow ourselves to survive on so much sugar. I've got it all covered!

Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be new post days for this July series. I hope you are as excited as I am! If there's anything else you'd like me to cover and incorporate, leave me a comment below.

Are you ready? Let's join hands and take back our kitchens, together! You never have to do this alone!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Homemade Peach Frozen Yogurt

We're just a week away from school starting back up and we're trying to enjoy every moment as much as possible. Getting back into routine, earlier bedtimes, waking earlier; you know, the usual. It's also prime peach season right now! I ordered a 25 pound box from a local farm back in June when we picked strawberries, it's become part of our summer routine. They have connections with another farm in Michigan where they get blueberries and peaches every summer for customers. We place our orders and they arrive all boxed and ready to go. It's quite wonderful, and these peaches are always so delicious! The ones you get from the grocery store just do not compare.

So now I'm playing the what do I make with all of these game? I slice and flash freeze the majority of them; we'll enjoy them all winter long in smoothies, oatmeal and just by themselves. I did make a peach crisp on Sunday that was fabulous. Our little 8x8 inch pan didn't make it long in our house between the five of us. But, if you've been following me on social media for any length of time, then you know I just cannot make all these desserts. It's not apart of my lifestyle anymore, and I just don't need them. I wanted to come up with a little healthier of an option. And I just haven't been feeling like canning much lately, even though jam is a great way to use up so many.

That's when I decided to try making my own frozen yogurt. A little bit healthier (when done right) than regular ice cream, and a way for me to be able to enjoy some without wrecking my weight loss goals. I don't know about you, but I feel like we go through a ton of ice cream in the summer months with the kids. They request it almost every night after dinner it feels like. And going out for a treat just adds up, it gets very expensive to feed that many people.

Made in the food processor, and with just four ingredients, this has quickly become a favorite in our house. In fact, I told you that the girls have already requested I try making strawberry next. I will say, Greek yogurt will definitely give it a pronounced tangy aftertaste, so if that's not something you like then just stick with regular yogurt. I liked the Greek batch, but the girls said it tasted funny. They're not big Greek fans though either. The agave syrup gives it just enough sweetness, plus peaches are typically sweet to begin with.

I just love the fact that I'm getting even more nutrients into my day and getting to enjoy a sweet treat all at the same time! You'll even notice in my pictures, that I keep the skin on when I freeze my peaches. Why not? They process just as well, and again, if I can get more nutrients into our day, then we will. This will certainly be a welcome treat come those long winter days. Feel free to experiment with different frozen fruits, the combinations are endless!

Peach Frozen Yogurt

4 cups frozen, sliced peaches
1/2 cup plain regular yogurt (Greek also works)
1/4 cup agave syrup
Juice from half of a lemon

In a food processor, dump in all ingredients. Secure lid and begin to process. It will take a good 5 minutes to come together, you will have to stop a couple times to scrape down sides. Once the mixture is all combined, you may transfer to a freezer safe bowl and enjoy immediately. Place the remaining frozen yogurt covered in the freezer and it will keep for one month.
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