Category Archives: Food

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Chicken Thighs with Carrot Fries

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It was sometime in the afternoon on a weekday. The baby was at home with my husband and I was on my way home from work. Tears were streaming down my face from lack of sleep, a stressful day at work, and the stress of knowing my child wouldn’t leave my side once I got home. As the tears began to turn into one big ugly cry I pulled into a deserted parking lot and it all came pouring out.

“I am just so tired, Lord. Why won’t this baby sleep? Where did the loving and peaceful relationship with my husband go? Why did you put so many dreams and ambitions in my heart only to let them sink to the bottom of this tear filled lake????”

There it was. The sentence that put everything else into perspective. Why did God place these dreams in my heart for me only to fail at trying to achieve them? That is when I realized that God did not push aside the dreams in my heart, but rather molded them into something so beautifully different. God did fulfill his promises to me, but I had to be open minded to see them.

On December 22, 2015 I gave birth to a beautiful healthy 7 lb 14 oz baby boy. That day, without my knowledge, God began to mold me into a mother and adjust my priorities to reflect this innocent baby’s needs. As I thought back on the birth of my son I realized my expectations didn’t reflect reality and was forced to change my priorities. In this season of the church we are celebrating Pentecost. The birth of the church. I am sure that the apostles did not expect to be filled with the Holy Spirit as it is depicted in Acts, but God gave them grace in that season to redirect their priorities and dreams. That is my challenge for you this season. Ask God where you need to redirect your priorities and dreams. My hope is that as a church we make our community and health a priority this season. Obtaining a healthy life style is about setting priorities. Whether letting the laundry sit a little longer while you cook a new recipe or choosing to play at the park with your kids rather than mowing the lawn. While both laundry and mowing your lawn may feel crucial in the moment ultimately by adjusting priorities such as these we can find that we are a bit happier and healthier.

I hope that the recipe included will help make at least one meal this week a little easier and encourage a healthy life style.

Chicken Thighs with Carrot Fries

Serves 6

Time: 30 minutesIMG_2161

Ingredients: 

  • 6 bone in/skin on- chicken thighs
  • 12 Carrots (medium-large)
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • olive oil
  • Mixed greens/salad

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Chicken: Rinse and pat dry your chicken thighs. Place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger and 1-2 TBS olive oil

Carrots: peel carrots. Chop off the top and about 1/2 inch off of the bottom. Cut in half and begin to cut carrots into strips. Try to keep them as uniform as possible. Thin edges will burn quickly. Place all carrots into a large bowl and drizzle with 2-4 TBS olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp garlic, 1/4 tsp cayenne. Lay carrots out onto a baking sheet.

Place both carrots and chicken into the oven and cook for 20 minutes.  After the 20 minutes have been completed, make sure the chicken is on the top rack. Turn the oven to broil at 500 degrees. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the skin is crispy and browned. Remove chicken from oven and continue cooking the carrots until they begin to crisp/brown-about 3 minutes.

Enjoy your chicken and carrots with some fresh mixed greens.

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Asparagus and Ricotta Pizza *Gluten Free*

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Hello!  I have been trying out lots of new recipes and this is definitely a favorite. It is unique and very filling. I can go with just 1-2 wraps for a meal and be full for a couple hours.

Ingredients:

GF Naan from Living Gluten and Grain Free – a lot of times I change up recipes, but this one is spot on. Check their site out for more great Gluten and Grain free options. 

Naan

  • 1 Cup Blanched Almond FlourIMG_3035
  • 1 Cup Tapioca Flour (or Arrowroot)
  • 2 Cups Full Fat Organic Canned Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • Pastured Butter or Coconut Oil

Filling

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 bundle asparagus (trimmed and washed)
  • 1 tsp garlic

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Directions:

Start by roasting your asparagus. Preheat the oven to 425 and place asparagus on a pan in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Cook for roughly 10 minutes or until it starts to roast (brown)

While the asparagus is cooking begin mixing together all of your gluten free naan ingredients. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix. Then heat up a non-stick skillet to medium heat. (In my experience no butter or oil was needed in the cooking process, but feel free to add a little butter or oil to the pan)

Cook the naan just like you would pancakes. Pour 1/4 cup batter into the pan and cook until the bubbles pop and stay open. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and place on parchment paper or a towel. It will need some space to cool properly so that it doesn’t become soggy.

Once all your Naan is made, mix together your ricotta cheese and garlic. Spread 1-2 TBS onto the naan and top with asparagus. I found that less is more with the ricotta.

 

Feel free to eat it like a pizza or roll it up.

Best served immediately, but can be refrigerated and eaten cold or heated back up in a toaster oven. I would not recommend heating in a microwave as it will get soggy.

 

I hope you try this recipe out and enjoy it as much as I did!

 

Living Satisfied!

eating bread

Handling the Influx of Sugar

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Hello! It is that time of year again. A huge influx of sugar has come upon us. There are sweets continuously coming in at work, schools, parties, and even within your home. The question lies in not whether or not to partake, because we all know we will be partaking in these delicious sweets, but rather being disciplined in when and how much you eat.
Note: Obviously I would recommend limiting sugar as much as possible! We don’t NEED sugar and we all know it isn’t good for our bodies, BUT if you must partake here is what I recommend. 

Here are some quick tips for limiting sugar during this season.

1) Set a goal for yourself as far as how many sweets per week you will be consuming

I see most people eating sweets as if they will never see them again. They continue to grab just one more bite in fear that the goodness will all be gone. Allowing yourself sweets is OK. Just put a cap on it. I find that I eat more sweets when they have been unavailable to me. Therefore I always keep a little stash in my pantry, fridge, or freezer for those times when you just need something sweet. This way I know that “X” number of days I can partake in sweets. Limit how many sweets you will be consuming on a weekly basis.

2) Don’t say no to all sweets it just won’t happen. Choose wisely.

Try to focus on enjoying your favorite desserts and not just anything that is laying about. There are always going to be sweets lying around this time of the year, but wouldn’t you rather have your favorite item than that two-day old brownie that has been sitting in your office kitchen? If you need to indulge do it right. You will end up eating less of the item because it will satisfy that craving. Do your best to avoid the every day sweets and hold off for the good stuff. You will feel less guilty in the end and will end up with less sugar in your system.

3) Avoid artificial sugars, diet drinks, and anything labeled lite/diet/fat-free

Just because something is “sugar free” or “fat free” doesn’t mean it is any bit healthier! Items like these have a dark side and are filled with unnecessary artificial ingredients and added carbohydrates and sweeteners to help them taste better than they actually do.
I always vote for real food and that includes desserts. Opting for real sugar, minimally processed flours, and real fats like coconut oil and butter should be your first choice. Obviously all is best in moderation, but by eating foods that contain real ingredients you will be satiated much quicker! This leads to eating less. Foods filled with empty calories such as refined white flour, vegetable oil, and artificial sweeteners will leave you unsatisfied. Just think about those 100 calorie granola bars…one is just not enough. However eating an apple with 2 TBS of peanut butter will have you filled and ready for the next task with the same amount of calories!

4) Fill up on good food first!

Before you head off to the next party, event, or even work, grab a good healthy meal or snack. Filling up on real food will help keep those cravings at bay. Focus on vegetables cooked in a good fat like butter, olive oil, or coconut oil and seasoned well. Then grab a protein source. Once your tummy is filled head off to your event. Knowing that you have had a meal will help your mind keep those cravings at bay. It is just like the idea of never going grocery shopping when you are hungry. You will pick up items more strategically when your body has what it needs. :)

 

I hope these tips were helpful for you! Enjoy the holidays and enjoy your desserts. :)

For some yummy desserts click here

Living Satisfied

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How to build a perfect Thanksgiving Dinner

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Hello!
Building a Thanksgiving Dinner can seem like a daunting task, but with a little bit of planning you can have great success. Here are 5 tips to build an unbelievable Thanksgiving Dinner.

1) The protein.

Thanksgiving protein is typically turkey, but it doesn’t have to be. Choose a protein that you will enjoy. This could be ham, whole chicken, steak, deer, lamb, etc… The biggest thing to remember is to have a lot of it and to cook it appropriately. Here are links to some great recipes.

Basic Turkey: Click here 

Ham: Click Here

Whole Chicken: Click Here

Steak: Click Here

Deer: Click Here

Lamb: Click Here 

2) The over all flavor.

When we think of Thanksgiving we typically think of a big plate full of a variety of foods. You want all of these foods to blend together. When choosing side dishes keep in mind the seasonings you are using in each dish and whether or not you would mind them melding together on your plate.

3) Favorite side dishes.

Side dishes typically include stuffing, sweet potato casserole/mashed potatoes, casseroles, rolls, etc…When choosing your side dishes be sure to try them before the big day. If you have never made them before cook them now to test it out. Thanksgiving isn’t the time to go all out on new dishes. If you have a new dish you think would work great be sure to prepare it at least once prior.

Pick side dishes that are your favorites. Don’t go crazy outside of the box, but stick with the classics that you love! Try to make sure each item you make you will want seconds of. We all know that there will be left overs so pick items that you will be happy to reheat and eat again.

4) Vegetables!

Don’t skip the veggies! Even if you aren’t a huge veggie fan, veggies help even out your plate. Try making vegetable dishes that have lots of flavor. Some of our favorites are stir fried or baked green beans with loves of butter, sliced almonds, and bacon. OR if you are a fan of brussel sprouts check out this recipe *Click here*.

Having a crunchy cooked or fresh vegetable can help diversify your plate by giving it a little bit more texture.

5) Prepping your meal.

The week before Thanksgiving plan out your menu. Then create a shopping list. A great place to do this is PlantoEat.com *click here*. You can upload recipes and it will build your shopping list for you! That way you don’t forget anything.

Begin prepping 2 days in advanced. Cook as much as you can the day before. This will help ease stress. Cooking most of your side dishes the day before leaves you to just reheat the day of. This means that you can really focus on the protein the day of.

Bonus tip:

Relax!! After you follow the tips above and plan out what foods you desire, remember that Thanksgiving is about being together! It is about family and friends and being thankful for all that you have. A delicious plate of food is just a perk. If the meal is stressing you out as for assistance and/or don’t feel bad about skipping out on certain dishes or needing to purchase pre-made meals. Places like Wholefoods, Trader Joe’s, and Sams/Costco have great options that can ease your meal prep time!

 

I hope these tips were helpful! Enjoy!

 

Living Satisfied.

 

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Crowd Pleasing Brussel Sprouts

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Oh Lord, Brussel Sprouts! Yes, I am going to show you a recipe that will turn you into a lover of brussel sprouts! Vegetables are all about how you prepare them. No offense to my mother, but I grew up with a lot of steamed and mushy vegetables. While my mother was doing her best, she was also stuck in the trend that said steaming is the only way to eat vegetables. Needless to say, I didn’t grow up loving my veggies. I have always been a picky eater and it wasn’t until college that I really started to try new foods.

 

Brussel Sprouts were one vegetable that I was convinced I hated. Seriously, until last year I had never even tried them. How sad! The first time I tried them was at Thanksgiving. I watched as my brother made them and while he sprinkled bacon and breadcrumbs over top I knew it was time to give the veggie a chance. Thank God I did! I have been making them this way for a couple weeks now and can’t get enough. Are you ready to learn how???

 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts IMG_3176

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bag brussel sprouts
  • 1/2 pack organic nitrate free bacon
  • 1 pack shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (organic/gluten free/whichever) G
  • garlic and Salt to taste

Directions:

Cut the sprouts in halt length wise and steam for 8-10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer to a greased baking sheet. Place brussel sprouts on the pan and lightly sprinkle breadcrumbs, salt, and garlic. Chop Bacon into small pieces and sprinkle on top of the sprouts.  Roast for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the shredded carrots 5 minutes before done.

Feel free to add other veggies to the mix like asparagus and green beans!

 

Living Satisfied!

carrot cake

Carrot Cake *gluten free*

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Hello! I have been craving carrot cake for about a week now and decided to just go for it. I looked at a couple different gluten free recipes and decided to just wing it the rest of the way. This is paired perfectly with cream cheese icing. I unfortunately didn’t have enough cream cheese to do this part, but feel free to make some. The extra ingredients/directions are listed below the recipe.

Hope you enjoy this carrot cake! It took no time at all to prep and is moist, spongy, and delicious!

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Makes 1 sheet 6×10 pan serving about 10+ depending on how much you eat. :)

Ingredients:carrot cake

  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda (gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped nuts of choice (pecans and walnuts preferred)
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 8 oz cream cheese (1 block) (room temperature)

Directions:

Do not over mix. Simply mix until well incorporated and stop.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat your sugars, eggs, and butter together until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together your flours, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly add this mixture until well combined on medium-low speed.
  5. Add your cream cheese and grated carrots. Continue to mix on low to medium speed until combined.
  6. Add to a greased pan and cook for 45-1 hour depending on your oven.
  7. Top with your chopped nuts. Add as much or as little as you would like!
  8. If making muffins begin checking for doneness after 30 minutes.
    It is done when you can poke it with a toothpick and it comes out “clean”. You will need to do this step because it is the only real way to tell it is done. Cake will appear dark in color.
  9. Let cool for at least 15 minutes. It will be soft when it comes out, but will stiffen up upon cooling.

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Cream cheese icing:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (gluten free)

While cake or muffins are cooling place butter, cream cheese and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat on high until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.

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Basic Chili Recipe

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Hello! If there is one thing I love during the fall/winter season it is chili! Nothing beats a hot bowl of chili with a slice of sour dough bread.
Today I wanted to bring you a basic chili recipe. This is quick and easy and can always be adjusted based on your desires. To see the winning chili Jay and I made click here! 
This recipe does use canned food. You can always adjust this with fresh ingredients!

Basic Chili
Serves 6
Ingredients:photo

  • 2 lbs ground beef (grass-fed)
  • 2 lbs Ground pork (organic)
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 2 cans kidney bean
  • 2 cans roasted tomatoes
  • 1 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 TBS cumin
  • 2 TBS chili powder
  • 1/2 TBS cinnamon
  • 1 TBS salt
  • 2 TBS olive oil

Directions:

In a large pot add 2 TBS olive oil and diced onions. Cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until onions become translucent. Then add garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes.

Once onions and garlic are beginning to cook down add in your pork and ground beef. Cook until the meat is mostly cooked. A little pink is fine.

When meat is almost done add in kidney beans, black beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices. Turn the temperature to low and leave for 30-45 minutes.

Optional: when your meat is done cooking, add protein and the rest of the ingredients into a crock pot and turn on low for a couple of hours. Chili is best when it has time to sit. :)

Serve hot with some great bread or a salad. 

Great add ins for Chili:
  • Bell peppers
  • Different types of beans
  • jalapeno
  • Cheese
  • Variety of spices: oregano, cayenne (a little goes a long way), brown sugar
  • Beer (yes!) Click here for how we used it

 

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Tips on Keeping Your Fridge Organized

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Hello!

Keeping my fridge clean is actually quite important to me. Not only does it make it easy to find what you need and helps food not go bad, but it saves a lot of money. I use these practices not only in my own home, but also in the kitchen I manage at Mercy Ministries. For the purpose of this post I am not focusing on how to clean your fridge, but rather how to purchase the appropriate amounts of food, drinks, sauces, act… I hope that you find these tips helpful!

1) Figure out what you actually eat._DSC0109

For many people this can be tough, especially with the urge to purchase only “healthy” food because summer is here. I think a lot of us go through the store and pick up a bunch of fruits and veggies thinking that if you have them stocked you won’t eat “bad” foods. Then we open up our fridge a week later to find most of it is starting to go bad.

  • Start by doing a food log for 1 week. You can type this up _DSC0113on your phone in a note or e-mail. Figuring out what you are eating and how much is a great indicator of what you should purchase.
  • Plan 2-3 easy dinners for that week knowing that you will have left overs.
  • Realistically plan out how many times you will go out to eat or choose an unconventional meal (such as just snacking for dinner).
  • Account for your “unhealthy” snacks. Yes we would all love to purchase and only eat veggies andhummus or fruit and nuts for snacks, but that isn’t the reality for most individuals. Figure out 1-2 unhealthy snacks that you know you would want and portion them out into serving sizes. That way when you just need that piece of chocolate or bag of chips they are ready for you in appropriate portions.
    • For me this is chocolate. I like to purchase chocolate from Trader Joe’s and portion them out. I then place them in the freezer that way when I want a piece I have to go into the freezer and let them thaw for a few minutes before consumption. This almost always deters me from going for seconds.

2) Purchase the minimum amount that you need.

If all else fails you can go to the store for a forgotten item, but stick to the ingredients you need for your dinners and lunches and be on your way. It is really easy to go over board with picking up lots of fruits and veggies, but in reality how much of that will you actually eat. It may look nice in your cart, but when a week goes by and they are still sitting there you probably won’t feel as good.

  • Plan 2-3 dinners for that week and set days to cook them.
  • Plan out your lunches. Most people eat basically the same items for lunch or they eat left overs. Stick to what you are comfortable with. Use your food log to determine how much you actually need to buy.

3) Inventory

Keep track of what you eat by the end of the week. What ever you had excess of repurchase less next time. That may mean that you have to run out before the next shopping trip, but that is a good thing! Your fridge should be almost empty before the next trip.

Aim to never throw out anything! While we all end up throwing out food due to spoilage, do your best to not let it get to that point. This will help you save money in the long run.

4) Condiments/dressings

  • Always make sure all condiments are in date.
  • Keep some masking tape and/or a sharpie in your kitchen. Write a quick date on your condiment when it is opened. If you haven’t used the already open condiment in a month, toss it. It obviously isn’t essential in your kitchen and is just wasting space. (It also probably isn’t sanitary anymore being open that long)
  • Set a limit for yourself: decide how many condiments you will allow to be in our fridge and stick to it. Condiments take a lot of space and most likely you only use a couple on a regular basis.

4) Freezer

Some weeks you may not be sure how much you will be eating at the house. The best way to avoid spoilage in those weeks is to either purchase some frozen veggies and protein or put them in the freezer yourself when you get back from the store.

I almost always put the protein I purchase straight into the freezer. While we do eat animal protein often, sometimes our daily lives can get busy and we can’t eat it before the expiration date.

 

 

I hope these tips help you for your future shopping trips!

 

Living Satisfied!

 

**Pictures were taken at the end of the week.

 

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Perfect food for a Brunch!

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Hello!

I wanted to give you all some options to make for an Easter Brunch. _DSC0043Easter is just a week away and if you are like me nothing says Easter like some good food and family time! Holidays such as Easter is a great time to make some new recipes that are bright and colorful. This spread of food is a guarantee  crowd pleaser and will be sure to impress your guests. Feel free to try out some or all of the recipes for your next event.

Salmon (or beef) encroute

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French Toast Casserole with Lemon and Berries

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Asparagus with Hollandaise sauce and Poached Eggs

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Roasted Potatoes

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Ginger Basil Grapefruit (virgin) Mimosas

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Hope you enjoy these recipes!! Have a great Holiday and remember to check back when you have any other food needs.

 

Living Satisfied