Monthly Archives: October 2012

White Chicken Chili

Happy Halloween! I like having soups on Halloween to warm our bodies up either before, or after we’re out trick or treating in the cold. Either that or Jack-O-Lantern Pizza. I make that using my whole wheat pizza dough and then use pepperoni to make eyes, nose and mouth for our jack-o-lantern. When my kids hear we’re having soup for dinner, they’re usually not very excited (Charles is the exception), unless it’s tomato soup with cheese sandwiches, or this one? Why this one? Well, Annabelle loves the beans, Elisabeth loves chicken and mexican type foods, Charlie loves brothy soups, and all the kids like to dip tortilla chips in anything; so this pretty much covers everyone! Granted, a couple of our kids eat A LOT of chips with this soup (I’m pretty sure our 8-year-old Elisabeth eats more chips than soup. She’s our pickiest), but it’s all good. I’m just happy we don’t have to break out the PB & J for those of our children who will only eat the mandatory three bites; with this soup, they’ll eat until they’re no longer hungry, some of them have several servings.

Here’s what you’re going to need: chicken broth or water and ‘better than bouillon’, onion, cubed chicken, garlic, cumin, lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, cilantro, and  diced green chiles(be sure you read the label and make sure it’s diced rather than whole chiles to save yourself some work, and definitely do that before you buy an entire case of 24…not that I did that :))

Chop up your cilantro. Generally when I cut up my cilantro, I line up the ends, cut off a good part of it and toss, and then chop up the top half. It’s fine if you have the stem in there, I always have some, but I do like to get rid of big pieces all in one cut.

Saute your onion over medium heat in a big pot with olive oil until the onion is translucent. Once you’ve done that, sprinkle your chicken with a little salt and pepper and throw it in with the onion. Add the garlic and stir it all together. Cook the chicken for several minutes, until there’s no more pink. *

Then you’ll add your can of chiles, your beans, seasonings and broth. Stir it all together and bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add in the chopped cilantro and lime juice. You can then ladle it into your bowls and add some toppings. Give it a couple of minutes to cool so you don’t burn your tongue…or just add extra sour cream and cheese if you can’t wait that long :).

White Chicken Chili Soup- lightly adapted from Our Best Bites

1 T Extra virgin Olive Oil
1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 medium onion, diced (white or yellow)
2 tsp minced garlic (3-4 cloves)
4 c cooked Great Northern Beans (about 3 cans, drained)
1 3.5 oz can green chilies
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t dried oregano leaves
1/2 t salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
3 Tbsp lime juice (or 1 lime squeezed)
1/2 C chopped cilantro
4 c or 32oz chicken broth

Optional Toppings:
Sour cream
Cheddar or Pepperjack cheese, grated
Avocado slices
Tortilla Chips

In a large pot over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add diced onion and cook about 2 minutes- just until it starts to become translucent. Sprinkle cubed chicken with a little salt and pepper(not the half tsp listed above, just a little sprinkle) and add to pot. Add garlic. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add the whole can of green chilies, juice included. Add beans, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and then add chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the juice from one lime and the 1/2 C chopped cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with sour cream and other toppings.

Makes about 8 cups of soup.

*Instead of cooking your own chicken, you can also buy an already cooked rotisserie chicken (Costco has them for a great price and they’re hormone free), pull off a couple cups of the meat with a couple of forks, and throw that in with your onion.

**A lot of soups freeze well, and this is one of them. You can put single servings into freezer zip-locks or freezer-safe containers for a quick lunch, or freeze in larger quantities and allow to thaw in fridge the day before.

***After you’ve sauteed onion with oil and have chicken cooked through, you could also throw all the ingredients in a crockpot on low for a few hours. I’ve cooked hard white beans in the morning on high for 5 hours in a crockpot and then saved 4 c of the water I cooked it in, drained everything else, dumped the water back into the crock pot and added chicken or vegetable bouillon(better than bouillon) the sauteed onion, cooked chicken and everything else and cooked it on low another hour or two.


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Filed under Dinner, Soups

Blueberry Spinach Breakfast Smoothie

I read a couple of Joel Fuhrman’s books recently, Eat To Live and Disease-Proof Your Child. Both of which I liked and were very informative and both of which contained some recipes…some of which I liked :). Everyone has opinions about foods they like (which I could never forget while in the company of my 5 children..which is always). Now that being said, I tweaked a green smoothie recipe from his book which has become a new favorite in our house. Since I make green smoothies for my family each morning, it’s nice to change things up sometimes and this recipe does just that. I have another green smoothie variation I really like that has a little cinnamon and only uses tropical fruit…I’ll share that one with you another day. But for now, here are the ingredients and then the recipe for the Blueberry Spinach Breakfast Smoothie.

I have used both orange and apple juice and really like them both in this recipe. I’ve also used rice and almond milk and can’t really tell a difference with those. In the picture below I have some almond milk in a pitcher because I made it from scratch. And no, I don’t usually make milk from scratch, it’s more of a rare thing, but I do on occasion, particularly when I’m making a certain ‘ice cream’ that calls for almond milk with it’s pulp. But I do always have on hand, boxes of rice and almond milk which I buy from Costco. Also pictured is ground flaxseed, in a baggie. Sometimes I put flax in my smoothies and other times I’ll add oats, but always one or the other. I’ve used both golden flax and brown flax; both are great and give you a good dose of omega 3 fatty acids. Oat groats are a whole grain and are very protein rich. Adding a little of this to your green smoothie will leave you feeling more full and satisfied.

Blend up your spinach, oats and liquid. Then add in the bananas, blueberries (and ground flax if you’re not doing oats) and ice and blend until smooth. It’s that’s simple; and what a great start to your day!

Blueberry Spinach Breakfast Smoothie

1 c rice milk (almond milk fine too)

1 c 100% orange or apple juice

3-4 c spinach

2 bananas

2 c frozen blueberries

2 Tbsp ground flaxseeds (or can use 2 Tbsp steel cut oats or oat groats; this makes it feel like a complete breakfast)

4 ice cubes (about 1/2 c)

Blend all ingredients in high powered blender until smooth.

*You can easily grind your own flaxseeds in your high power blender. Do this first and then add in all the other ingredients.


Filed under Breakfast, Smoothies

Gingerbread Spice Cake

Gingerbread Spice Cake sounded like the perfect seasonal treat to make this past weekend, and so we made some. We made enough that the kids could take some in their lunches and have some for an after school snack one day; I wish they could’ve enjoyed it for several days but our self control only stretched so far. We like to switch lunch/snacks up sometimes for a change and this was perfect.

This is a recipe I adapted from the Deceptively Delicious cookbook written by Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica. I made a whole wheat version and one that used Sucanat(a dehydrated cane sugar) in place of brown sugar. I also didn’t have broccoli puree, but I did have a TON of zucchini left over from my garden, so I sliced it, steamed it and pureed it in my Blendtec. I used some of the puree for this recipe, and froze the rest in ziploc bags for later use. The carrot puree I just pulled out of the freezer and let thaw on my counter in a bowl of hot water…I had made it the same way I made the zucchini (cut, steam, blend), but almost a year ago.

Besides the purees, everything else about this recipe is pretty straightforward: mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients, combine the two and bake. One tip for coconut oil is that if it’s solid(which it most likely will be since the temps are cooler now for the Fall), scoop it out with a spoon and into a measuring cup, or into a bowl, and then stick it in the microwave for maybe 15 seconds. Or you can warm it up in a saucepan if you’re not a microwave person.

liquified coconut oil


As it bakes, your house will smell wonderful and people will gravitate toward the kitchen :).


Gingerbread Spice Cake

2 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c Sucanat (or raw sugar or could use brown sugar…I suppose)
1/4 c coconut oil
1 large egg
1 c zucchini puree
1/2 c carrot puree
1/2 c plain yogurt (greek works great too)
1/4 c molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan (or 3 mini loaf pans). In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl beat together sugar, oil and egg until smooth. Beat in the vegetable purees, yogurt, molasses and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center, 45-50 minutes for one big loaf, 25-35 for the small loaves. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then turn onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

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Filed under Breads, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers

Lunch Boxes, Trays and Snack Ideas

I don’t know about you, but I have a few kids that don’t want their food mixed together or touching other foods in any way. So when I found these 3 partitioned lunch trays at Walmart for $1(in the kitchen/utensils area), I picked up 5, one for each of our children. Here is Jane eating some home-made mac and cheese, grapes and carrots. I especially appreciate these trays when we have mexican foods(which we have a couple times a week) with things like salsa and sour cream on the side…those run and get messy if they’re not in their own little space, so these are perfect. Also, pasta with a bread stick and some veggies…yeah they definitely don’t like when those mix.

Another thing I LOVE are our Goodbyn lunch boxes. My cousin Rachel had these on her blog about a year ago and so I picked up a couple then. I bought two different sizes, a large and a small. The large has 6 different compartments. The smaller one has three. The smaller one is just the right size for my kids who take school lunches. The big one I mostly use when we go on a family picnic or take lunch to the park for playgroup because it’s really big. But it doesn’t look like they carry the large size anymore.

When I bought these lunch boxes, they came with a drink bottle. Now they’re sold separately but the price of the lunch box has also gone down significantly, about $10(was $20 when I bought it and now it’s $9.) You can buy the drink bottle for $5 but I rarely use mine because my kids always take a different water bottle with them anyway since the lids are a little hard to open on these. The nice thing about the bottles is that you can freeze water inside and use it as an ice pack for a cold lunch because it fits perfectly in one of the compartments. So it would have been nice if they’d had this ‘sold separate’ option back when I bought mine, because I would have just bought one bottle that we could share for when someone needs an icepack in their lunch(like for  hard boiled eggs).

Here’s a sampling of some things we put in lunches. This is what we brought for lunch last week at playgroup: pasta salad and a home-made crescent roll for me, half a pb and honey sandwich for Jane, 2 hard boiled eggs for Annabelle and grapes and a home-made trailmix (raisins and peanuts) for everyone to share.

The edges of each compartment come all the way up to the top so you don’t have things leaking into another area. Elisabeth, our third grader, always brings some plain yogurt with a little honey in one of her compartments and throws a spoon in there. The smaller lunch box won’t fit an adult sized spoon, so if they need a utensil I usually throw one of the toddler sized spoons or forks inside, or you could just throw one in their back pack and remind them to take it to lunch.

We took this for lunch at the park another week: 2 pb and honey sandwiches(stacked on top of each other), pistachios, rice crackers, carrots, strawberries and hummus.


I bought mine online here. You can also purchase it on Like I mentioned above, I bought mine for $20(small) and $25(large) last year, but now they just sell the smaller ones and they’re only $8.99! Since the price is so good, I’m going to buy a couple more of these small lunch boxes for my other kids. Think of all the money you’ll save from not buying and using so many sandwich bags and/or juice boxes! And of course they’re dishwasher safe, BPA free, recyclable and all that good stuff!

And just for fun, here are a few real food ideas for snacks, many of which you could put in your kids lunch boxes. These are all things we snack on pretty regularly at our house:

  1. string cheese or sliced cheese

  2. cooked black, pinto or great northern beans (annabelle is a HUGE fan of cooked, whole beans)

  3. trail mix (I like to mix raw almonds, raisins and salted cashews)

  4. banana and natural peanut butter

  5. apples and natural peanut butter

  6. apple

  7. peach

  8. strawberries

  9. blueberries

  10. celery, peanut butter and raisins (ants on a log)

  11. air popped popcorn

  12. whole wheat zucchini bread

  13. whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter

  14. hard boiled egg

  15. carrots and hummus

  16. plain yogurt with fruit and honey

  17. salsa and tortilla chips

  18. rice crackers and hummus

  19. guacamole and rice crackers or tortilla chips

  20. almonds

  21. banana

  22. raisins

  23. cashews

  24. peanuts

  25. pistachios

  26. lara bar

  27. grapes

  28. frozen grapes (neighbor kids always ask me for these in the summer when they’re out playing)

  29. dried apple chips

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Filed under Lunch, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers

French Toast (whole wheat)

What is it about breakfast foods that children seem to love? When the menu I have displayed in the kitchen reads, “breakfast” my kids get so excited, even though they don’t know which breakfast item it’s going to be. At our house, ‘breakfast’ generally means German pancakes, waffles, pancakes, french toast, or eggs, even though during most week days, we don’t eat any of that. If it’s a school and work day, we usually have home-made granola with milk, fruit, or toast; something fast, quick and simple. Oh, and green smoothies.
Back in the day, I’d buy one of those Texas bread loaves and make french toast with it…you know, the ones with the ginormous white bread slices? When we switched to eating real foods, I tried french toast on a normal sized piece of wheat bread and really didn’t care for it much. Every once in a while we’d have it, but it wasn’t something that got me excited anymore. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I thought, “maybe I should try cutting my home-made whole wheat bread into thick slices for french toast.” And so I did. And it was amazing! Such a difference compared to the typical thin slices of wheat bread. And that must be why the Texas french toast always seemed so good to me, because of how thick the slices were. When they’re thick, they soak it a lot more of the egg mixture and they just have this really nice, fluffy and substantial feel to it, if that makes sense.

Next time you make home-made whole wheat bread (I like this recipe)be sure to save a loaf for french toast, and once you cut off the ends, slice it into about 12, 1/2-inch slices, though you only need about 8 of those for this recipe.

Then grad a shallow bowl or tupperware container, mix together eggs, vanilla, milk and cinnamon. Dip your bread in the mixture and then flip it over and dip the other side. Place it on a preheated griddle, or you can cook it on a pan over the stove with a little butter, over medium heat. I like doing the griddle because there are seven of us and my griddle will cook 6 at a time. Allow it to cook until it’s golden brown, about 2 minutes, and then flip it to the other side and do the same.

These bread slices are thick and filling enough that I cut them in half for my 4 and 2 year old children, though my 6 and 8 year old kids can handle a whole slice.

I love to top mine with home-made whipped cream, pure maple syrup and some fresh fruit (or frozen, and thawed). So fast and easy! We’re going to make some to eat before General Conference this weekend, which has become a biannual tradition in our house.


French Toast
makes 4 servings…or more if you’re feeding kids(feeds me and my hubby and our 4 children ages 2-8)

8,  1/2-inch slices whole wheat bread (I like this recipe; cut loaf into twelve thick slices. The key here is thick slices)
4 beaten eggs
1/2 c milk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter

Optional Toppings:
Pure maple syrup
whipped cream
fresh fruit (or frozen, thawed)

In a shallow bowl or tupperware, beat together eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Dip bread slices into egg mixture, coating both sides. In a skillet melt 1 Tbsp butter over medium heat, or warm a pancake griddle to 325 degrees. Add half of the bread slices and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Repeat with remaining butter and bread slices. Serve warm with syrup and optional toppings.


Filed under Breakfast