Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Healthy Dairy Free Buffalo Tenders!

Now I love me some Buffalo Sauce - which is generally made up of a stick of butter, hot sauce, salt, pepper and maybe a kick of tabasco... Well- how can I have my favorite western NY treat without gluten or dairy? I got it!

Ghee! It is the most wonderful thing - granted I can only find it at Whole Food but if you are industrious there are tons of website that will tell you how to make it yourself. Basically it's clarified butter. Clarified of all the things that lactose and casein protein intolerant people can't take. So it's butter without all the stuff that makes you sick and it TASTES Devine! Just find it in the dairy section at Whole Foods or maybe your local international market as it originated from India.

Here you go - Gluten Free Dairy Free Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Boneless & skinless chicken tenders 6-8
1t ghee - melted
1/4c olive oil
1/4c Texas Pete or other hot sauce

Preheat oven to 350
Melt ghee in microwave for 30secs
Mix into ghee, olive oil, hot sauce S&P - mix well
In a large bowl place the chicken & pour buffalo mixture over it. Mix well & let marinate at least 20-30mins

Line a cookie sheet w/ parchment & place chicken on cookie sheet.
Bake for 20-30mins, flipping & re- basting half way through.

While in the oven prepare another batch of sauce in a sauce pan or large bowl.
When chicken is done, dip each one in the 2nd batch of sauce before serving.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Clean Eating, Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free FABULOUS Winter Chili!(Phew that was a long one!)

I don't know about you but I love chili. It is my go to food if I am trying to cut down on simple carbs, need a comfort food during a winter storm, hosting a casual get together, or just need a quick and easy weeknight meal.

This is a great crockpot meal that is healthy too. If you put all this stuff in the crockpot in the morning before you leave by the time you get back from work you have a meal that is great and left overs that freeze super easy!

Fabulous Winter Chili (which is good any time of year)
Chili Mix (gluten free, dairy free, paleo & clean eating friendly)

Chili Spice mix:
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 teaspoons seasoning salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
1/2 tablespoon coconut flower (optional for thickening)
salt & pepper to taste

For Chili:
1lb ground beef or other lean meat
1/2 large jar of salsa ( i get mine from the Farmer's Market)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes & green chilies
1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 cup beef bouillon
1 recipe for Chili spice mix (above)

You can double this, which I do, and use two different kinds of meat - I generally use grass fed beef and lean turkey. Also, if you want to bulk it up add in a can of pinto or kidney beans as well.

Put everything in a large slow cooker/crock pot and simmer on low for 8hrs.
Your house will smell Fantastic when you get home - you'll wonder if someone snuck in and made dinner for you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Crockpot Latin Beef for Fajitas, Quesadillas, by itself - whatever youlike!

Crock Pot Latin Flank Steak for Fajitas, Quesadillas or just by itself!

Beef Fajita Night! Or Quesadillas...or Whatever - yum yum yum! I love mexican but again - it's full of gluten and dairy. No no's for everyday eating for us to stay happy and healthy. Also, I was looking for a flank steak recipe that didn't involve the grill - I am not a goddess with the grill at all. So after reading through a couple recipes and figuring out you can make more than soup or stew in the crock pot - I came up with this.

Crockpot Latin Flank Steak

1/4C olive oil
2 lbs flank steak
1 bag frozen tri-color peppers and onions
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 recipe for spice rub

for spice rub---
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

optional add ons:
gluten free tortillas
avocado slices
your favorite salsa
dairy free cheese (unless you can tolerate dairy. If so go for it use the real thing!)


Put olive oil into the crockpot. Then place your flank steak in there.

Mix together all spices for the spice rub in a small bowl. Using a teaspoon sprinkle the spice rub on top of the steak using the back of the spook to pat it down so it makes like a layer or crust on top.
Pour the frozen pepper and onion mix over it and then the chopped jalapeno.

Close up your crock pot and cook on low for 8hrs.

Now when it's done you're probably going to want to toss the peppers - they served their purpose to flavor and now they must go.

Take out the flank steak and shred with two forks.

Now you have meat for tostadas, quesadillas or fajitas. We made quesadillas.

On a flat pan that can go in the oven (or a cookie sheet) place a gluten free tortilla. Then top with the beef and some cheese (or cheese substitute) put it under the broiler for a minute - watch it so it doesn't burn. When it starts to melt - top with another tortilla and flip. brown on both sides and then it's done! You can stick fresh peppers or avocados and other veggies in there if you like.

The beef comes out great for fajitas or tostadas as well. We also had it as a main with a side of rice and cuban black beans (see recipe)

Check out our Quesadilla lunch - easy and YUMTASTIC!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

5 Ways to Eat like the Earl of Granthom on Mr. Carson’s budget (that’sDownton Abbey talk for how to eat like a King on the budget of a butler)

I hope you all watched Season 3 premier - it was AWESOME!!!

Well, I have always had champagne tastes and a Budweiser budget, as they say. So to meet both those needs, we have a family motto that goes back about three generations, “We don’t pay retail in this house!” I also take this to work with me, which most employers appreciate. So here are 5 tips on getting a great kitchen and meal for a price we all can afford!

1. Cookware & Kitchen Tools: I have found great name brand finds for less at TJMaxx, Marshalls, Big Lots, Tuesday Morning and Salvation Army – where I found a Williams Sonoma garlic roaster for $2! These places are great to find those fancy kitchen gadgets you see on Food Network or in cookbooks that usually you have to get at Williams Sonoma for a fortune! But if you have a couple of the discount stores near you, that I mentioned and you can go once a week – please do. I have found a potato ricer for $12 and they are $30 retail – even on Amazon! They have Le Crusette cast iron enamel cookware for under $90 where at the retail store they are over $150 for the same one. I have even seen AllClad pans for under $100 that go for more than $300 EACH at Williams Sonoma. The day to go? Thursday afternoon or on a Friday because in chatting with one of the managers one day while I was there they told me they get their shipments in on Thursdays. If you can go on your lunch hour or better yet when they open on a Friday for the best pickins. (It may be different if you’re in another part of the country but just chat up the manager at your local store and they will be happy to tell you.)

2. Kitchen Gadgets: You can get cheap stuff anywhere but cheap is cheap…Iif you want the good ones – Kitchen Aid, Cuisinart, etc – at a good price - Shop discount! Again TJMaxx, HomeGoods, Marshalls & Tuesday Morning– I have seen Kitchen Aid Mixers for under $150. They’ve had Cuisinart coffee makers – the fancy ones – for under $100. So you can outfit your kitchen with high end items that last a super long time for a fraction of the retail cost. Again, shop on a Friday morning if you can or lunch or after work for best selection.

3. Kitchen Linens – From dish towels to table cloths, again I recommend the places above. However, during January when you see signs for the White Sale or Linen sales at Macy’s, Bloomies or yes even my favorite store to window shop at, Williams Sonoma, that doesn’t just mean sheets and quilts. It also means KITCHEN STUFF! Sometimes you can find better deals on these clearance sales. So make time during the sales in January to check out things you may have been visiting in case they’ve been marked down. You never know.

4. Cookbooks – Now I love me some cookbooks! I know this is probably obvious. They do tend to be expensive so here are some ideas to help. I love the internet – so when I am in the mood for a new recipe I just surf and it’s FREE! Plus if you sign up on several of the recipe websites they will send you weekly emails with ideas – again FREE. I do also love the touch and feel of a real book though and I will tell you that I have found bargains on cookbooks at yard sales, Tuesday Morning and used book shops. Another way is to make your own. At Costco for about $12 (which is about what you’d pay for a plan old white one with no dividers at an office supply store) I found a 3-ring binder with cookbook like dividers and other things us home chefs use to squirrel away that awesome recipe find – but it’s all in one book. They have all different styles and you can fill it with all your favorite recipes finds from magazines, family recipes, or ones you have formulated yourself. This book will be priceless, a family heirloom to pass down and all you would have spent out of pocket is about $12!

5. Groceries – this was a tough one because I am not a super couponer. I don’t have the time, but I do like to save money. I have found that Aldi, if you have one near you, and Trader Joes are great for pantry items – canned goods, paper goods & wraps, specialty items and some great healthy things too. Aldi has also started carrying organic, gluten free and dairy free items within the last month or so. YIPPEE FOR ME! Trader Joes, which is owned by Aldi, is also a great resource for healthy non-GMO, organic, gluten, dairy and soy free items at a reasonable price. As far as veggies go – I try to buy as much as I can when things are in season at a local Farmer’s Market and then freeze them so I can have fresh and cost effective healthy veggies for dinner and fruit for smoothies. When it comes to meat though – I don’t skimp. So, that can be pricey but there are ways to save. I usually get my grass fed organic beef and organic ground turkey at Costco – they also have a great selection of non-GMO and organic pantry items at reasonable prices if you have the room for bulk purchasing. Then I check the circular for Whole Foods and see what is on sale in their meat department and stock up. Tip – if you are going to Aldi – go on a Wednesday! That is when they get all their weekly specials in as well as fresh veggies and fruits for the winter months. You can sign up for their weekly email blast to see if anything floats your boat on their weekly special items – then get on over there on your lunch break or after work on Wednesday to get the pick of the day! You may have to shop around for healthy non-processed items BUT it is doable.

There will always be things that you have to pay full price for because you need them but there are ways to save 90% of the time. Happy bargain hunting my little maters!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Portobello Pizza!

I love pizza - LOVE IT!  But alas, I need a dairy, egg and gluten free version.

I was told to do this a million times, use a portobello mushroom cap as a crust, and I thought it would be just yucky - but OMG!  I was wrong!  Using a portobello mushroom cap as a pizza crust tastes great AND you can have 2 with no guilt!  So here is my recipe - you can put whatever you want on it and if you don't have dairy issues, please fee free to use real cheese.

2 large portobello mushroom caps - cut the stem off and then take a spoon and scrape away the accordion looking things on the inside
1 medium tomato - seeded and diced (this is not as hard as it sounds)
1/4lb lean ground turkey
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
1t garlic powder (or 1 chopped clove fresh garlic)
11 onion powder (or 1/4 of an onion chopped)
2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1t dried thyme
1/4 - 1/2C Daiya mozzarella flavored shreds (or if you can have real cheese then use real)

In a medium sauté pan put 1T of olive oil, garlic, onion, thyme and the turkey - brown until all the pink is gone.  Then add the tomatoes & spinach.  Cook until soft - about 5-8minutes.  Set aside.

On a non-stick cookie sheet or one lined with parchment paper, put your mushroom caps.  Drissel olive oil on each and salt & pepper them.  Broil on low for 4-5 minutes.  Flip them over and do the same to the other side and broil for 4-5minutes - this will make them tender.  Then, with the mushroom caps top down, divide the turkey mixture in half and spoon half into one mushroom cap and half into the other.  Top with shredded mozzerella cheese (or non-dairy cheese substitute - such as Daiya) and put back under the broiler for 2-3minutes.

Serve!  You can eat both for under 550 calories!  So if you intend to make this for 2 - you best double the recipe.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I resolve in 2013 to be a healthier version of me!

Well, 2012 was a great food year for sure!  I even attended Disney's Epcot Food and Wine Festival back in October.  A must go if you are a foodie.  I ate and drank in pure unadulterated foodieness for 7 whole days and it was fantastic....and I would do it again.  It was great break from eating healthy and doing all the right things.

Then I realized in November, that at 40yrs and 2months...I was not getting any younger and I needed to take care of myself better.  One day I was watching PBS and JJ Virgin, a nutritionist, was on there explaining her new Virgin Diet method.  She said, “Are you doing everything right and still not losing an ounce?”  I answered – if she was talking to me.  “Are you feeling draggy, or sicky or achey and your doctor tells you – you're over 40, deal with it.  Here are some pills?”  Yes, I said again....

For the next hour I let her tell me that everything I had been told was working against me.  There were seven foods I needed to give up – just for three weeks to see if she was right...and boy was she!

That dairy stuff that the advert said – “women who drink milk lose more weight.”  I found out, it just made me have sinus infections, bad skin and in some cases hives....  all those soy protein bars that the adverts and labels told me were good for me...Soy is the 2nd most genetically modified food (found in nearly everything) and mimics estrogen and throws off your hormones.  Well that might be causing the hormone issues I've had – well if not it didn't help – that's for sure.  And then eggs – I found out the hard way – when I cheated – eggs were not my friend either.  Sugar because it converts immediately to fat, not to mention spiking insulin leading to insulin resistance but also sugar substitutes which cause more cravings AND have shown to cause serious health problems.  Then there was gluten, which I thought was a fad.  I gave it up because it was a processed carb and the doc said it had to go.  However, Darren being the good boyfriend that he is, was following the diet with me and gave it up too.  His arthritis went away in three days.  He thought he could cheat – went and had a fast food fried chicken sandwich and by 6pm that night he was aching so bad he said he felt 80.  Since then he hasn't touched the stuff and he's pain free and sleeping like a baby!  I must say I am too – plus with out the gluten, the only choice is a complex carb and those are good for you.  Then there was corn.  It's out, according to JJ because it is the most genetically modified vegetable on the list.  Also, again – a starchy grain (think of it as a grain – not a veggie and this will help).  I thought this would be easy but I love tortilla chips.  Well, I found a company that makes them out of lentils and pinto beans and they aren't half bad.  The last forbidden food on JJ's plan are peanuts for two reasons.  First, a lot of people have sensitivity on varying scales to them and you maybe and not even know.  Then there is a mold that can grow in the peanuts that studies have shown to be carcinogenic.

So the above bolded items are your 7 no-no foods but not forever...just for three weeks.  After that you can add one back one week at a time and see if it has any affect.  IF it does – then it's a no-no food.  If not go with God.  

She encourages you to make a shake according to her recipe – which you can get in the book or online.  I had never done shakes or smoothies before and I thought – this can't be satisfying.  Again – I was wrong.  I LOVE THEM!  In fact, I make one for Darren every morning too and for the first time in the 15years that I hav known him – he eats breakfast.

What were our results?  Well – I lost three pounds and Darren lost seven.  I found out the root of my health issues come from dairy, eggs, soy and possibly gluten.  Darren found his come from gluten and sugars.  Now that we know we have slowly began to modify our life styles and eating habits.  We feel a ton better and when you fall off the wagon – boy do you know it. You get right back on again because the only medicine you need is real food.

JJ Virgin's book, The Virgin Diet, goes into way more detail with explanation much more detailed than this, with recipes, menu plans and encouraging stories from other folks that have seen it help.  
I am finally on a path based around health rather than vanity.  So you will see healthier recipes here and some other resources if you want to check them out too.

I highly recommend JJ Virgin's book – The Virgin Diet.  Maybe it can help you like it helped us.  I am not saying I follow it every day to a T but it is a good guide.

Happy New Year Friends – I hope for you good eats, good lucky and good health!