Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Adult Grilled Cheese

Sometimes, I am in the mood for a grilled cheese sandwich, especially when it is paired with tomato soup.  However, those times don't necessarily happen as often as my boys want grilled cheese sandwiches, especially now that they are on break from school.  The other night, was one of those nights in our house!  So I had to figured out a way to have my grilled cheese "grow up" and become a sandwich worthy of dinnertime, while still appeasing their "need" for grilled cheese.

I use Kretchmar deli cheese and meats because their meats do not have fillers, no MSG and are gluten free.  They are a bit on the pricey side, but my local store has at least one type on sale each week, so I wait to buy them until they are on sale.  

I also use real mayo.  This may not seem like the healthiest option at first glance.  However, if you look at the ingredients of real mayo vs low fat mayo, you will notice a difference (I used the Hellmann's website for my ingredient information).  Real mayo uses 3 ingredients; eggs, oil and vinegar.  This list of ingredients in low fat mayo the list is a lot longer including; water, modified corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, salt, calcium disodium edta, phosphoric acid and more.  Because of this I tend to stay away from the low fat versions and stick to the original.  

Bread-I use Aunt Millie's Multi-Grain Bread
Brummel and Brown-or the margarine/butter your families normally use.
Kretschmar Deli Cheese- I used 1 sliced Colby Jack and 1 slice Pepper Jack
Kretchmar Deli Meat- I used 2 slices of Turkey off the Bone
Guacamole-I use Wholly Guacamole
Zucchini sliced lengthwise to the thickness you desire.
Non-stick spray
Frying pan or Panini pan

Spray your frying pan (I use a Panini pan) with a non-stick spray.
Heat your pan on medium
Place zucchini in the pan to grill, flip after 1-2 minutes, then set aside
Butter your bread and place both slices in the pan.
Place the cheese and turkey on the bread in the pan, leaving them open faced
Mix guacamole and mayo in a bowl, making enough the amount desired
Remove sandwich from the pan and place on a plate
Spread Guacamole Mayo on one half of the sandwich
Place zucchini on top of the Guacamole Mayo, then place the other side of the sandwich on top.

I hope you enjoy this sandwich as much as we did!!

Healthy Eatings,


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to get kids healthy Part 1.1

So, I was planning on doing Part 2 today about incorporating exercise, and that may come later, but I just found a GREAT article about getting kids into the kitchen and I just had to post it!

I can't even summarize my joy over this article and some of the research behind the importance of teaching our kids proper nutrition and encouraging their help in the kitchen.  The findings about how nutrition curriculum and practice can impact children's behavior in the cafeteria alone solidifies the fact that if we teach our kids about their food and why they need to make good choices, they will do it and they will ASK for it! Now, if we could just get Congress to put down their pizza and fries, or as they call them vegetables, and let kids learn and grow with proper nutrition and encourage them maybe we will become a healthier society!

Please share your thoughts!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to get kids fit in the era of video games-Part 1

So many parents wonder, how do I get my kids healthier and active in the era of video games and technology?

Activity and healthy living have always been a focal point in our family because it is such a passion of mine.  But that is not the case in all families, especially when there are so many inactive options for kids between iPads, computer games, video games, television, etc.  One of the most important things we can do is to start when our kids are young setting the example of getting and staying active, teaching them about proper nutrition, what consequences food has on their bodies (both good and bad) and how they can help keep your family healthy.

Life isn't always perfect and we all make mistakes and forget that we are setting the example for our kids.  I have been guilty of picking up a pizza because of soccer practices or running through the drive-thru because I stayed late at work, but every now and then should be the exception and not the rule.  The other night my son reminded me of that when we were driving to my parents house.  He was so excited that he had received a McDonald's gift card from his prayer partner at church and wanted to buy the family McFlurries with his "debit card".  The joy on his face that he got to order and pay for the treat was so cute, I almost wished I had video taped it to go with this post!  Later in the car he said to me, "You know mama, I really should not have had this today."  His reaction surprised me, so I had to ask, "Why is that?"  His response in a wise 7 year old voice, "Because I had hot lunch and 2 birthday treats at school today, so another treat was probably not appropriate."  I was so happy that my kids were getting the point about good nutritional choices and voicing it on their own, I doing a little dance in my head.  But I know that everyday cannot always be full of perfect proper nutrition, to say otherwise would be hypocritical.  I just responded, "I am proud of you for realizing that too much junk food is not healthy for you.  But, you know, it's okay to have a free day now and then where you can enjoy special days and treats with your friends and family.  Tomorrow you will just need to remember the treats you had today and make wise choices for meals and snacks."  He finished that McFlurry with a big smile on his face.  As we celebrated Thanskgiving with my family the next day I had a big smile on my face, and doing that same little dance in my head, when he asked if we could split a piece of apple pie because he was "making good choices today".

So in my story about the pride in my son and his "ah-ha" moment, I know that not all people have the passion and the knowledge that I do around nutrition and healthy living, but that there are resources out there that can help.  I was on WebMd  yesterday looking at an article when I noticed an icon called "What's fit for Kids?" and thought I would check it out.  While there are video game type activities on this portion of the site, I really think they get kids and families thinking about the right things as far as how foods and exercise help our bodies so we can have healthier days!

I love that the site has different sections depending our your children's ages; 2-7, 8-12, and 13-18.  This allows for a tailored age appropriate messages around 4 main areas of Food, Recharge, Move and Mood.  Kids can answer quizzes, take on a challenge, learn about new foods, and more.

Another great feature actually links to foodnme.com's, "What food am I?" game.  This game is great!  It allows parents and children to pick out their meal choices from the day before, then gives results and offers what your child should eat more of in order to achieve a healthier diet based on age, gender and activity level.  It also has a graph of how many calories the child should intake versus how many were actually consumed, a shopping by color guide, recipe tips and a funny chef who makes recipes.

One last think about cooking, no matter what you choose to make, it is educational!  Not only does it teach your kids how to make food that is good for them, it helps with their reading, math and science skills!  Make it fun for them; wear silly apron's together, have them pick out the recipe, allow them to stir or pour the ingredients into the bowl, let them turn on the food processor, the options are up to you and your child's age!

Try out these websites with your kids tonight!  Then go outside and take a quick walk around the block before you make your meal together!!

Healthy Eatings,


Wednesday, November 23, 2011


My family does Thanksgiving the Saturday before the big day.  This year I made the stuffing and it turned out quite good.  My sister said I should post it on the blog, so here it goes :)

I do need to mention that I adapted this recipe from one I found in the November issue of Food Network Magazine

17 cups of cubed bread-I used 8 cups of pumpernickel, 4 cups of white and 5 cups of whole wheat
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups diced celery
2 cups carrots
1 tablespoon sage
1 tablespoon thyme
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon parsley
Buttered 9x13 pan (I cooked mine in a 5 quart baking dish)

Note: for a “crispier” stuffing, use day old bread or place the bread cubes in the oven on 300 degrees for about 15 minutes. 
-Heat ½ cup butter
 in a large skillet over medium heat.
-Add onions, celery, carrots, sage and thyme.  Stir occasionally until the vegetables are tender, but not mushy, or about 5 minutes.
-Add chicken broth, bring to a simmer then remove from the heat
-Pour the eggs over the bread, then stir into the broth mixture, make sure the bread is coated well.
-Pour into your buttered pan and cover with foil.
-Refrigerate overnight or put it in the oven right away, I refrigerated mine overnight.
-Cook for 30 minutes covered in the oven at 375 degrees, then uncovered for an additional 20 minutes.

Healthy Eatings, 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cherry Spinach Salad with Yogurt Dressing-Thanksgiving style

This is a "repeat post" but I think it is a great salad to add to your Thanksgiving table!  

1-8 oz bag of spinach
1-5 oz container of reduced fat blue cheese, I used about 3-4 oz.
1-5 oz container of vanilla or honey greek yogurt, I used Dannon's Honey Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup of white wine, I used [yellow tail] Reisling
1 cup of fresh or dried cherries or dried cranberries, halved and pitted 
Optional-your favorite nut; walnut, pecan, or almond

Rinse Spinach and place in a medium size bowl.  Add the blue cheese and cherries/cranberries and toss.
Place yogurt in a small bowl.
Add the wine and mix until blended together nicely, then set aside.
You can either mix in the yogurt dressing into the salad until everything is coasted nicely OR serve it on the side, so everyone can add their own.
If you add the nuts into the salad.  I suggest having the nuts on the side because if they are mixed into to the dressing they may get soggy.  The nuts provide a great crunch and should be sprinkled on top, they also provide a great presentation.

Healthy Eatings, 


Monday, November 21, 2011

Pork chops with tomato pesto and polenta

Yesterday was a balmy 45 degrees at my house, perfect time to find the deep freezer in need of defrosting.  I suddenly found myself knee deep in meat and ice and wondering, what should I fix for dinner?  Naturally I chose pork chops, but unlike the Brady's we did not have "porkchops and applesauce".   This recipe uses a nut free pesto that provides great flavor and a gluten-free side, that is also very tasty.

Please note: If you click on the links below to the Frieda's products, please note that the prices are for multi-unit packages and the prices at your local store will vary.

4-6 pork chops, thawed
1-2 jars Frieda's Tomato Pesto
1 package Frieda's Sun Dried Tomato and Garlic Polenta

-Place pork chops in a marinating container or glass pan.  Cover with the pesto, place lid or saran wrap on the container, then place in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.
-Turn oven to broil or preheat your grill.
-Cut polenta into slices
-Place pork pesto side up on foil covered grill or on in a pan in the oven
-Flip after about 7-8 minutes, cooking to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees
-Place polenta on grill or in oven, flip after about 4 minutes until golden brown and soft
-Transfer to a serving plate with the polenta placed on top of the pork chops.

Healthy Eatings,


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Be careful how close you watch what you eat!

The holidays are right around the corner.  Which means eating lots of good food and treats with family and friends.  After the holidays, is when many start to think about loosing weight and getting healthy, which explains why so many new years resolutions are to lose weight and get healthy.  When you want to lose weight you might think cutting calories is the best and fastest way.  However there is a real danger in consuming too few calories in your day.  Everyday Health covered this topic in an article on the health dangers of cutting too many calories from your day.

A rule that I try to follow is to eat all day long!  Kidding, kinda.  What I actually do is eat a few smaller meals throughout the day with healthy snacks in between those meals.  My go to snacks include: greek yogurt with honey, hummus and pretzels, fresh fruit, applesauce, hummus and veggies, veggies and guacamole, or rice chips and salsa.  To learn more about eating small meals throughout the day and calorie guidelines for that type of eating check out Boosting Metabolism with Mini Meals.

Healthy Eatings,


Saturday, November 12, 2011

no fail steaks

I made these on vacation for some friends because I wanted something that would taste great without a lot of work or extra pressure to get it just right.

1 bottle of beer-I used Bud Light
4-6 steaks-I used Top Sirloin Filets
McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning
6 oz feta cheese
3 portabello mushroom caps, de-gilled, and diced

Early in the day:
Place steaks in a container and pour beer over top until the steaks are covered.  Sprinkle about a table spoon of the seasoning on top.  Place lid or cling wrap over the container and refridgerate for at least 3-5 hours.

Grill the steaks to you preferred temperature.
Place mushrooms in a small sautee pan with a bit of olive oil or butter.  Sautee until soft then, reduce heat to low and add the feta cheese until it is soft and melting.

Serve the steaks with the mushrooms and cheese on the side or on top.

I paired this recipe with broiled garlic asparagus (recipe below) and boiled baby yukon potatoes.

Garlic Asparagus:
1 bunch asparagus placed in a baking dish.
Spread about a tablespoon of butter over the asparagus
Use a clove of fresh pressed garlic and spread over top
Broil about 5-8 minutes, flipping the asparagus every couple of minutes

Healthy Eatings,


Thursday, November 3, 2011

What is happening to me??

Ever have those days or weeks where nothing goes right??  In the past few weeks I have been in such a cooking rut and to top it all off, I had lost my newest issue of Food Network Magazine.  I was really struggling because I wanted to post a new recipe, but had nothing to post.  A couple of good friends brought to my attention that maybe I was so excited for my upcoming vacation that my heart wasn't in it and could post some healthy tips when I have "cookers block" (my version of writers block).  So, in addition to some new recipe posts I am going to be infusing some quick health tips into the blog.  I really hope that you enjoy these posts in addition to enjoying my recipes.  I am also hoping to gain some "southern inspiration" while on vacation in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Healthy Eatings,


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chicken and Rice 2.0

One of my favorite meals that my grandma and my mom used to make was chicken and rice. However, I could never perfect the rice and I wanted a version with less sodium.  This is one of those recipes that has taken me years to perfect into something that I would eat again because it was just not where I wanted it.  I was not overly positive that this recipe was going to turn out because I was starting to get frustrated by not being able to "perfect" it.

A side note...The rice I used in this recipe is on the pricier side (and my youngest thought it was birdseed at first :) ).  I feel the health benefits outweighs the higher price, as it is higher in dietary fiber and protein than regular white or brown rice.  Also, this is a gluten free rice option for families who have special dietary needs. With that being said, if your budget does not support this rice or it is not available at your local grocery store, you can substitute what works best for you.  Coupons are also available through the Lundberg website, linked in the Ingredients section.

I have listed some very specific ingredients because they are what I used and I really liked the result.

1 to 1 1/2 pounds of chicken pounded thin and as uniform as possible
16 ounces of Lundberg Wild Rice Blend, cooked to the package directions.
1 Teaspoon of Mrs. Dash Onion and Herb Blend Seasoning
1 can Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 container Philadelphia Cooking Creme
3-4 cups brussel sprouts, steamed for 4-5 minutes depending on size of sprouts.
1/2 cup milk

-Broil the chicken for about 6-8 minutes (3-4 minutes on each side)
-In a large bowl mix together the cooked rice, soup, cooking creme, brussel sprouts, milk and seasoning
-after the chicken is finished, cut it up into pieces (how big is up to you) then add to the rice mixture
-spread everything into the pan, cover with foil and bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees
-remove foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes if needed.

Healthy Eatings,


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Junk food is NOT cheaper than healthy food!

The statement and myth has always been that junk food is cheaper than healthy food.  A recent Op-Ed in the New York Times has proven what many of us have known for years, junk food is NOT cheaper than healthy food.  My thought process on this is of course!  The potential and probable increase in costs due to a diet containing mainly processed foods and junk food related to; health concerns and health care, absenteeism from work and/or school, and general mental well-being or dissatisfaction with life .  People who eat a diet with variety of foods, natural ingredients and a rainbow of colors in their fruits and vegetables tend to be healthier and have a more positive outlook on their lives because their brains and bodies are getting the proper nourishment that they need.

Another reason why we should start our kids eating better foods right from the start! This is the first generation of kids in two centuries that will not have a life expectancy longer than their parents (read the New York Times Health article for more information)! Children today are exposed to so many processed foods, chemicals and junk food and it is really taking a toll on their health.  The rates of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and kidney failure is affecting younger people at an alarming rate.  We really need to take a look at what we are feeding (and teaching) our children and why:

*School Lunch Programs-With more and more kids each year qualifying for Free and Reduced Lunches we need to do a better job at properly feeding our kids.  The reality is that for some of these kids, the meals they eat at school are the only meals they will eat during the day.  So lets give them proper nutrition that will help them learn and grow and that is not pop tarts, donuts, Rib-e-que sandwiches and Lunchables.

*Home Meals-Lets face it, our society is busy and my family is no exception.  That is one reason I started this blog, to help others learn that good meals can be easy, affordable, healthy and fast!

*Society-Our society has become for manipulated by marketing-print, radio and television.  How many of us as parents have heard our children clamor for a cereal because of the cartoon character on the box or to go get a Happy Meal because of the toy inside  or to have a certain food in their lunch because their best friend does.  It is all a societal pressure game.  We need to stop listening to society and take a stand for what is good and right for our families health and well-being.

*Lack of Food education-We need to teach our children where food comes from, how it grows, what it does (both positive and negative) to our bodies, to taste a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, to explore different foods from other cultures, learn to cook or better cooking techniques, and what it means to eat a variety in our diets.

*Lack of Exercise-Families need to take more time together exploring the outdoors, playing a game of soccer together, going on a hike, walking instead of driving, etc.  For a busy society we all tend to sit far too much and it is growing our backsides and not our brains and true family time!  

So, I just gave you my soap box sermon for the day.  What thoughts do you have on these two articles, healthy foods, obesity, or any of my comments?


Breakfast Casserole

I love eggs for breakfast.  But lets face it, on busy weekday mornings it is hard to cook eggs for the whole family and get out of the door on time.  My mother in law had a great recipe for a breakfast casserole, but I wanted to make it my own--easy to remember, and toppings my family would enjoy.  This recipe is great to make the night before and cook in the morning (it does take about an hour to bake) or to make over the weekend and just re-heat during the week.  So here it is:

1/2 loaf of wheat bread-I love to use home made or artisan wheat bread because it is heartier
10 eggs
1 cup of heavy cream-you can use milk, I just like the thickness of the cream.
2 cups shredded cheese-I like to use a colby jack or whatever I have in the fridge.
Toppings (whatever you like):
My usual toppings included:
Red Peppers
Portabella Mushrooms
9x13 pan

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Grease 9x13 pan
-break bread and spread it evenly across the bottom of the pan, and set aside
-in a bowl break eggs and whisk them about 30 seconds
-add cream and 1 cup of cheeses to the eggs and whisk together, then set aside
-chop you toppings then layer them on top of the bread
-pour the egg mixture over the bread and veggies
-let the pan sit for a couple minutes to allow the egg mixture soak into the bread
-Cover and place in the oven for about 45 minutes
-Uncover and spread the remaining cheese on top, place back in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the middle is firm.

I hope you enjoy this great breakfast with your family!!

Healthy Eatings,


Friday, September 16, 2011

Corn and Cheese Stuffed Shells

I love corn and we had some left over ears that we had to get eating right away, so here is a great recipe to use up those last few ears of corn or in the winter when you need a hearty meal and you can substitute frozen corn.

Jumbo Shells-I used about 1/2 of the box or about 20 shells)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of white wine-I used a Pinot Gris
2 eggs
16oz of  tomatoes-I used cherry and baby heirloom tomatoes
12 oz can of tomato paste
1 cup cooked spinach
Italian seasoning
15 oz of Ricotta cheese
4 ears of corn (or about 2 cups)
8 oz feta cheese
8 oz Italian or mozzarella cheese
1 jar of artichoke hearts
9 x 13 pan lightly greased

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees
-Cut the tomatoes (how small you cut them depends on how chunky you want your sauce) and the artichokes then place in a large bowl.
-Add the white wine to the bowl with the tomatoes and artichokes and set aside.
-Set 2 pots to boil, 1 for the corn and 1 for the shells (Add a little olive oil to the pot for the shells).  After they are brought to a boil, add the corn and shells and cook until tender.
-mix the ricotta cheese, feta cheese, eggs and spinach together in a bowl and set aside.
-Take the tomatoes and artichoke mix and simmer in a pot until the tomatoes are soft, then add in the tomato paste and Italian seasoning to taste and mix until it bubbles, then remove from heat.
-drain the corn and use a sharp knife to remove the corn from the cob (I use a Kyotsu knife).  Add the corn to the cheese mixture.
-Drain and rinse the shells
-Spread a soup ladle nor two worth of sauce on the bottom of the pan.
-Stuff the shells with approximately 2 Tablespoons (I did not really measure it out, just eyeballed it) worth of the cheese, spinach and corn mixture and place in your pan
-Cover the shells with the remaining sauce
-Cover with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes
-Remove the foil, sprinkle with shredded cheese and place back in the oven for 30 more minutes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Where did the time go?!?!

Hard to believe that my last post was in July!!!  The summer is filled with such great vegetables and fruits, just ripe for recipe creating and experimenting (that was supposed to be a bad joke, it is okay to laugh a little to yourself).  I guess I got carried away with all the eating and creating I forgot to post.  That will change today!!  I will be posting some of my latest and greatest (or at least my family thinks they are great) throughout the rest of this week.

Thanks for your patience...

Happy Eatings,


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cherry Spinach Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Hello again friends!!  Berry and Farmer's Market season are upon us here in Michigan.  In honor of the fresh cherries that I purchased at our local market, my love of spinach, and it being too hot to cook.  Here is a simple and delicious summer salad recipe that I hope you enjoy!

1-8 oz bag of spinach
1-5 oz container of reduced fat blue cheese, I used about 3-4 oz.
1-5 oz container of vanilla or honey greek yogurt, I used Dannon's Honey Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup of white wine, I used [yellow tail] Reisling
1 cup of fresh cherries, halved and pitted

Rinse Spinach and place in a medium size bowl.  Add the blue cheese and cherries and toss.
Place yogurt in a small bowl.
Add the wine and mix until blended together nicely, then set aside.
You can either mix in the yogurt dressing into the salad until everything is coasted nicely OR serve it on the side, so everyone can add their own.

Healthy Eatings!!!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Steak Oscar Pasta

I few weeks ago I had some leftover steak from a cookout. I am not a huge fan of leftover steak, so I wanted to think of something I could do to use that steak in a whole new way.  While thumbing through a cooking magazine, I found a recipe that I thought was good, and made it a little better.  What I came up with was Steak Oscar Pasta.

8oz pasta-I used Barilla Plus Elbows
Steak-I used an Angus Sirloin, grilled to medium the day before.  
Asparagus, about 1 pound, cut
Green onions, one bunch, chopped
Crab Meat-I used about 6 oz
1/2 cup mayo-I use Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning-I used about a 1/4 tsp-1/2 tsp of seasoning

Cut up the steak and place in large bowl (I kept my steak cold, you can have it warm or cold)
In a separate bowl, mix mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese together
Add the seasoning and crab meat, and mix well then set aside
Cook pasta according to the directions.
For the last 2 minutes add the asparagus and green onion to the pasta water.
Drain and place in the large bowl with the steak, add sauce and mix well.

Happy Eatings,


Saturday, July 2, 2011

I have no idea what to make but I know I want grilled chicken!

This statement is exactly what I said to my husband the other night at our boys baseball game.  I knew wanted grilled chicken, but I did not know what to make with it.  So, I decided it would come to me in the store while I was getting chicken.  What I came up with even surprised me at how good it turned out :)

Boneless skinless chicken breast
red peppers-I used Delallo Roasted Red Peppers in Olive Oil with Garlic
Mozzarella-I use Fresh Mozzarella
Guacamole-I used Wholly Guacamole because I have not perfected my own guac recipe yet :)
Seasoning for the chicken-I used McCormick Grill Mates 25% Less Sodium Montreal Chicken Seasoning
Tin Foil

Preheat your grill (or the oven on broil, if you prefer)
Pound the chicken breast to a uniform thickness
Season the chicken to your liking on one side
Place spinach on a piece of tin foil (make sure the tin foil is large enough to become a packet as it will go on the grill)
Cut up the red peppers and the garlic and place on the spinach
Add a small bit of the olive oil from the pepper jar on to the peppers and spinach, then seal up the foil
Place chicken on the grill seasoning side down, if you like you can sprinkle a little more seasoning on the side that is up.  Grill for about 4-5 minutes before flipping, cook the other side for about 4-5 minutes also.
A couple minutes after placing the chicken on the grill, place a piece of tin foil on the grill and then place the spinach pepper packet on that piece of foil. The packet will be on the grill for about 6-8 minutes total, I flip my packet about half way through (this is why I put another piece of foil underneath because I don't want the oil to catch fire).

After removing the chicken and the spinach and pepper packet.  Let them both sit for 1-2 minutes.
Slice your Mozzarella and get your guacamole ready.
Place chicken on your plate, top with the spinach and pepper mixture
Place Mozzarella on top of the spinach and peppers
Finally place a dollop of guac on top of the Mozzarella

I remembered to take a picture and post it...so you can see what my finished product :)

Healthy Eatings,


Friday, July 1, 2011

Turkey Veggie Burger

So I wanted to try to make veggie burgers, but with my own spin of course.  So here is my turkey veggie burger that even my husband will eat :)

2 pounds ground turkey
1-15 oz can black beans, drained
1-15 oz can lima beans, drained
2 portabella mushroom caps
your favorite add-ons/toppings-I like avocado and Havarti cheese
whole wheat buns

Scrape the gills of the mushroom caps with a spoon, then put into the food processor
Add both types of beans into the food processor, then pour the mushroom and bean mixture into a medium sized bowl
Add the ground turkey to the mixture and mix together well.
Heat your pan on medium with a bit of oil (I use soybean oil), just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
Make patties and place in the heated pan.
After thoroughly heated, place on your bun add your topping and enjoy!

You could always cook these in the oven on broil or the grill.

*One side note.  I did not have the same amount of shrinkage with these burgers that I normally have when making straight Turkey Burgers, so don't make them too large, expecting them to shrink up.

**I planned on freezing these for later, but ended up sharing them with a friend and her family.  I will have to post the freezing instructions the next time I make them.  I plan on freezing them the same way I do traditional hamburgers...in a freezer bag, separating each patty by wax paper and trying to eliminate as much air as possible when sealing the bag.

Happy Eatings,


Portion and recipe size

I should make a special note before we get in to this too far :) You will notice that my recipes tend to make a lot of food.  This is because I make things to either freeze for another meal or for leftovers. I travel for work and want my family to eat healthy  while I am gone, so you will notice that my portions make more than some families will eat (depending on size and appetite) in one meal.

If I freeze any portion of a recipe I will make note of it and any special instructions.

Happy Eatings,


Easy healthy pizza for the whole family

I love to make homemade pizzas with my boys.  I love it because we can all have what we want for pizza, the boys can make their own, it does not take long at all and the Chicken Spinach Pizza is a great alternative if you are like me and don't really care for pizza sauce.

What you will need for all the homemade pizzas:
"crust"-I like to use Naan bread, Flatout Bread, or whole wheat tortillas
cheese-for my boys I let them use string cheese, I use fresh mozzarella
Sauce-I use Ragu Pizza Sauce for my boys pizzas.
Toppings-whatever you like

The directions are the Chicken Pizza listed below.

For the Chicken Spinach Pizza you will need:
fresh uncooked spinach
chicken, grilled/cooked and cut up-you can use chicken breast that you grilled previously, or just for the pizza.  I sometimes use a rotisserie chicken if I am really hungry or in a hurry.
fresh mozzarella cheese
reduced fat feta cheese
olive oil
spices-I prefer Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb or Mrs Dash Italian Medley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
in a small bowl place a small bit of olive oil and the seasonings you prefer and mix together (you may not use it all)
On a baking sheet or pizza pan place your "crust"
Use a marinade brush, small spatula or spoon to cover the "crust" with a layer of the olive oil mixture.  *Be careful not to add too much or your "crust" will be soggy*
cover the crust with spinach (how much is up to you)
then add you chicken pieces
finally add your cheeses

Place in the oven for about10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the outside of the "crust" is crispy.

Healthy Eatings!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Spinach Asparagus and Mushroom Quiche

10 ounces of cooked spinach (I use a whole bag of fresh spinach chopped and cooked down)
1 bunch of asparagus, chopped up
2 portabella mushroom caps, chopped up
4 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
8 ounces feta cheese
1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded cheese-whatever kind you have or like (depending on how much cheese you like)
1 pastry shell (store bought or homemade whatever you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Toss spinach into pot of boil water to cook down.
After the spinach is cooked down, use a strainer to drain the water.  While the spinach is in the strainer use a spatula to squeeze the excess water out of the spinach. If the spinach has too much water, it will make the quiche runny.
Sautee asparagus and mushrooms in olive oil until just tender
Put the pastry shell in your pie pan and throw it in the oven for about 3-5 minutes.  I have found that cooking that shell for a few minutes prevents the crust from being soggy in the middle.
Combine cheeses and eggs in a bowl then fold in the asparagus, mushrooms and spinach.
Place all the ingredients in the the pie plate and cook for about 40 minutes or until the middle is firm.

I take a little extra of the shredded cheese and sprinkle it on the top for the last 5-10 minutes, just for a little extra :)

Add your own flair!   I like to play with my recipes so they don't become boring or expected...
-If you like things spicy try adding some jalapeƱos or Cajun spices
-add artichokes
-add chicken or pork sausage
-if you don't like mushrooms or asparagus, substitute the vegetables that your family enjoys!

Other varieties to try:
-green peppers, onions and sausage
-corn, red peppers and black beans
-eggplant, zucchini and summer squash

As always if you have a variety of this recipe that you love...please share it!!

Healthy Eatings, 


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Grilled Veggie Wrap

While in Disney over Spring Break I had one of the best grilled veggie sandwiches...so I decided that I needed to make my own version, a little better, a little healthier and simple enough even a husband could make it :)
So, here is my "Better than Disney Grilled Veggie Wrap"!

Whole wheat tortilla wraps
Summer squash
Red pepper
Portabella mushrooms
Low fat cheese (I use a provolone or havarti)
Spinach (do not sautee)

1-slice your veggies, I slice the summer squash, zucchini, and eggplant length wise)
2-spray the pan with non stick spray or a light coating of oil (I use soybean oil)
3-heat sautee pan on medium
4-sautee the veggies until they are tender
5-add tofu in for the last minute
6-warm tortilla (I use the microwave fro about 10-15 seconds)
7-place veggies, tofu, spinach and cheese to the tortilla
8-wrap it and enjoy!!!

I hope you enjoy this great wrap as much as we do in our house!!!

Feel free to substitute your own favorite veggies...let me know if you come up with other great combinations!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Better Oats!

We love oatmeal in this house but, many contain artificial flavors and colors.  Naturally, I was delighted recently to find Oat Revolution Instant Oatmeal by Better Oats at our local grocery store.  It is made with whole grains and real fruit!  Did you know that Quaker Oatmeal's strawberry oatmeal does not contain strawberries?  It actually has dehydrated apples injected with artificial strawberry flavors.  However, Oat Revolution Oatmeal has pieces of dehydrated strawberries along with flaxseed and more vitamins!

My 2 favorite parts of Oat Revolution Oatmeal are: 1-the measuring cup pouch to ensure that you have the right amount of water going into your oatmeal. 2-the price is right at $1.25 for Oat Revolution's box of 5 packets, compared to Quaker which is $3.99 for 10 packets.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

And so it begins....

It is official!  I am now sharing my recipes, tips and insight with the virtual world.  Before I begin posting the things I really want to post, I thought I would give you a little more background on why I decided to start theis blog and my "philosophy".  My passion really is in health and healthy living.  While I may not be employed in that arena right now, I am using my knowledge how I can to help others find their successful health journey through this blog. 

From working with a state-wide initiative in Michigan, Great Start, my knowledge of what children need from the time they are born to succeed in life has increased ten fold.  When you have a child nobody hands you a manual and a cookbook to prepare you for all the things you will need in the next 18 years.  So through trial and error, research and dedication I have tried to give my boys the tools they need to succeed.  Not all parents have this opportunity, but as a child's first teacher it is our job to teach them the best that we can.  My parents did not have the internet or the same tools I have now, but they did the best that they could and that is what all parents should strive to do.  We should do the best we can for ourselves as well.  Adults sometimes need guidance or helpful tips to grow and become healthy, happy and feel good about what they are doing, for themselves and their families.  We have become so busy in our day to day lives we sometimes forget that nutrition, exercise and other healthy habits play an important role in our personal and professional lives.

Moving to Fremont, which is an hour north of Grand Rapids, was a huge adjustment for me.  Starting a new job and a new life is an adjustment for everyone, but when you throw into the mix not knowing what is available at the store.  Heck, even the store hours was a challenge!  I was used to Meijer being open 24 hours a day and now the local grocery store was not open past 11 and reduced hours on Sunday, even the WalMart closed at 11pm.  I was lucky that my  husband and in laws were familiar with things and I could ask them, but what a shock.  I quickly learned that living in a small town puts you at a bigger disadvantage than a larger town because you don't have the options and selection for healthy foods.  Over the past 12 years things have changed a bit, with me and the community.  I am also fortunate that Fremont and Newaygo County has such a great history and future in responsible agriculture! I can purchase fresh fruits and veggies from roadside stands (when my family does not have them in their garden), local farms and the farmers markets, meat from the agriculture fair's 4-H auction and local farmers, and other artisan goods from local businesses.  The best part is I have learned to do it on a budget!

I love the European way of going to the grocery store every few days and only purchasing what I need when I need it and mainly fresh items.  Especially because I like to use fresh fruits, vegetables and other items in my cooking and baking.  I know that if I shop this way I am less likely to buy this I do not need or buy too much.  I also do this because of how busy my life is, if I had to plan a trip to the store that was going to last hours...I would lose my mind and a child or two in the process.

I don't clip coupons, period end of story.  I would LOVE to be able to save another 25 cents on something.  But lets face it, I don't have the time to sit and clip coupons and I would forget them when I needed them anyways.  Instead I focus on buying quality, healthy items  for what I need (generic or name brand) if it is on sale then bonus.  For those who do clip coupons, great!  Then you may find my recipes and tips even more beneficial when you combine them with coupons. 

I have a strong dislike for our schools lunch program.  I refuse to believe that what our children are being served is the best we can do for them.  I know that there are healthy, fun, good tasting options out there, trust me my boys eat them on almost a daily basis!  I know that schools are having to make difficult cuts and revenue is needed, but not at the expense of our childrens' health.  There has to be a better way to bring in revenue for food service and teach our children better food habits that will stay with them for life!  If they would just realize that healthy foods reduces absenteeism and increases test scores, not to mention that if parents saw the changes more (like me) would probably encourage their children to eat school lunch, thus increasing revenue.  I will post some of my lunch tips in upcoming blog posts, for other families who would like better options than school lunch.

I have recently added another layer in my family's healthy living quest.  My oldest son was diagnosed with ADHD within the last year.  Due to my own struggle with ADD, I know that certain dyes, chemicals and ingredients can react differently and increase those hyperactive symptoms.  So I have decided to remove as many of these from our diets as possible.  This can make buying items such as cereal, crackers, cookies, ice cream, and even jell-o difficult, but it is a choice I have made.  Due to this we have begun to purchase more organic items, which can be difficult in a small town, especially when I refuse to shop at WalMart.

I think I have babbled more than enough for one post, so I will sign off for now.

Thank you for following me!!