Monthly Archives: May 2015

Sweet Potato Fries

I once heard Michael Pollan, a whole foods guru, say something like,  ‘it’s okay to have junk food every once in awhile, but when you do, you should always make it from scratch.’ I think the reasoning behind making something from scratch rather than eating it from a drive-through or a store, is that when you make it, it probably won’t have preservatives or high fructose corn syrup or MSG etc, and because with the time it takes to make said food, you’ll probably eat it much less. We make cinnamon rolls, donuts, cake etc on occasion, but it’s a  special treat because all of those things take hours to make so we probably make them a couple of times a year. I also like french fries and sweet potato fries and because these are baked instead of fried, they’re less messy to make and better for you than your typical fry, but still crispy because of the olive oil and the right bake time.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Next, you’ll want to cut your sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch matchsticks. I cut mine in half horizontally, then I cut those halves into 1/4-inch thick slices  and then I slice matchsticks like pictured below.

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Pile your matchsticks onto a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the seasonings and then toss it all together with your hands until they’re well coated.

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Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer so pieces are not touching each other. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Gently flip fries with spatula then return pan to oven and cook an additional 15-20 minutes until fries are starting to lightly brown and crisp. Remove pan from oven and cool 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

100_8667THE RECIPE:

Sweet Potato Fries- lightly adapted from Our Best Bites
*serves 4-6

2 medium-large sized sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch matchsticks
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place sweet potatoes in a pile on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the seasonings and then toss together with hands until everything is well coated. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer so pieces are not touching each other. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Gently flip fries with spatula then return pan to oven and cook an additional 15-20 minutes until fries are starting to lightly brown and crisp. Remove pan from oven and cool 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Filed under Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan

Chicken and Cabbage Salad

I don’t like meat so I rarely eat it. Scott and most of the kids like meat so I still cook it about once a week, and it’s usually shredded or cubed chicken that is a part of something else like in enchiladas or burritos or salad. My aversion to meat started during one of my pregnancies, because I couldn’t stand the smell.  With each consecutive pregnancy, it got worse and I finally realized I just really don’t like meat.  The only time I’ll have some chicken is 1.) I’m at a friends and that’s what they’re serving so I’ll have a little with more of whatever else is being served and 2.) if it’s shredded and served in a chicken salad where the dressing will mask the flavor of the chicken, and even then, I’ll still pull a lot of the chicken out. This chicken salad recipe has a very yummy, homemade dressing and it has more plants in it than meat which I like.

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I’ve made this salad several different ways with mango and without, with jalapeno and without and they were all good. My favorite was with the mango and with just a little bit of jalapeno. If you don’t like spicy foods, you can leave the jalapeno out all together. Or, if you like just a little bit of spice, you could add 1/8 tsp of red pepper flakes to your dressing.

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For the dressing, I like to use plain yogurt rather than your typically used mayo. I also used an all fruit mango and pineapple jam, but any mango jam would work.

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You’ll want to chop, dice and shred all your salad ingredients and add them to a medium sized mixing bow. In a separate small bowl or in a liquid measuring dish, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad mixture and toss gently to combine. It’s best when it’s been refrigerated for at least 30 minutes. It’s also great as leftovers for several days.

 

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2015-05-09 13.15.57THE RECIPE:

Chicken and Cabbage Salad

1 c shredded cooked chicken
1 stalk diced celery
1/4 c sliced green onions
2 c thinly sliced cabbage
1  peeled and diced mango
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c slivered almonds
optional: 1 Tbsp diced jalapeno (if you like these spicy)
optional: 1/4 c craisins

Dressing:
1/4 c mango jam (I use an all natural, no refined sugar added, mango and pineapple jam)
1/4 c plain yogurt (I like the fage brand)
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp sea salt
Black pepper to taste, (I do 1-2 twists)

Combine chicken, celery, onions, cabbage, mango cilantro, almonds and craisins in a medium sized bowl. Whisk together the dressing in a small bowl or liquid glass measuring  dish. Add the dressing to the chicken mixture and gently combine. For best results, chill at least 30 minutes before serving. Can eat as is or serve on a croissant or roll.

 

 

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Filed under Dinner, Lunch, Salads

Grilled Cheese, Tomato and Pesto Sandwich

 My two young girls and I were invited over to a friends house for lunch last week (while older kids were in school). She made us all grilled cheese sandwiches and salad, though the adult sandwiches she made gourmet-style and added some tomato and pesto which I loved! Later that week I made them a couple of more times for my family and added avocado as well, since we’re all big fans of avocado around here. My young girls ate theirs with avocado, but preferred to go without the pesto and tomato. My ten and 9 year old ate it, but minus the tomato.  I love the slightly crispy outer bread texture, combined with the melted cheese, fresh tomato and creamy avocado; it makes my mouth water just writing about it :).

This recipe makes one sandwich because, these days, I’ll  make one for myself for lunch, while Jane and Nora eat a PB&J or a plain cheese sandwich, but feel free to double, triple, quadruple the recipe for a group.

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THE RECIPE:

Grilled Cheese, Tomato and Pesto Sandwich
*makes one sandwich

1/2 Tbsp butter
2 slices whole wheat bread
2 Tbsp Pesto
1/3 c mozzarella cheese, grated or sliced
2 slices Roma tomato (or one slice of beef tomato)
optional: 3 slices avocado

Warm up your pancake griddle or skillet to medium heat. On one slice of bread, spread half of your butter. Place it on the skillet, butter side down, and immediately spread with 1 Tbsp pesto, cheese, tomato and optional avocado (this layering process should only take you a couple of minutes, during which time your cheese will begin to melt). Spread second slice of bread with pesto and lay, pesto side down, onto the sandwich. Spread top of bread with remaining butter and then flip. Allow it to cook another minute until light brown, and crispy.

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Filed under Dinner, Lunch

Top Ten, Family Favorite, Whole Food Recipes

Today’s post is a recipe roundup, of my families top ten, favorite whole foods recipes. In preparation for this post, I started jotting down our favorites and soon had over twenty. I went back through the list and decided to narrow it down by crossing out any that I don’t make regularly and any that not everyone in the family loves. The list includes dinner, breakfast, snack and dessert recipes. In no particular order, here is our top ten favorite whole foods recipes:

1. Homemade Pizza (whole grain crust). We eat this every single weekend. I usually make three: pepperoni (no nitrates or msg), cheese, and veggie (onions, bell peppers, artichokes, spinach etc). The crust is crunchy on bottom from the pizza stone and corn meal, and soft and chewy everywhere else. So yummy!

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2. Granola. I make this very large granola recipe once a week, because that’s how fast we go through this batch. Several of the kids(and Scott and I), eat it daily, usually with a little milk or with some plain yogurt sweetened with honey and berries. This is a recipe I’ve altered many times over the past 4 years and we finally have it exactly the way we love it with lots of crunchy clusters. The key to getting those clusters: cooking it low and slow and then allowing it to cool completely before stirring or breaking it up.

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3. Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie is something my husband, Scott, makes a lot more than me, mostly because I make a green smoothie daily and so I usually feel like making another smoothie. But the kids and Scott love it and so he makes it several times a week. Scott usually drinks it in the morning as a post-workout protein shake. He likes to add a scoop of his Sunwarrior chocolate protein powder.

4. Waffles are a favorite Sunday meal. We love to top it with whipped cream, fruit, peanut butter and pure maple syrup. I like to cook mine a little longer so they’re a little crispy on the outside.

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5. Enchiladas are a comfort food for me. They remind me of my home in Seattle, and of my dad who made them regularly, and our family. I’m so happy that my husband and children love them too! We usually finish one 9×13 pan, which is 12-14 corn tortillas, in one sitting. I can’t even imagine how many more we’ll need once all five kids are teenagers! But, since they cook with me now, they will cook with me then and we’ll have a family tortilla rolling party :). The homemade enchilada sauce makes these enchiladas so tasty!

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6. These Peanut Butter Cookies are made with whole wheat and sweetened with honey and pure maple syrup. No refined flours or sugars! I feel completely at ease when my kids gobble up several of these after our Monday, Family Home Evening lesson, or even if they decided to have a couple after school as part of their snack. They are chewy and so delicious.

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7. Honey Banana Muffins are great for a snack or a quick grab-and-go breakfast. Knowing they are whole wheat and honey sweetened, I feel better about eating muffins. I usually make a double batch for our family of seven, and we freeze half of them. Then, if the kids want to bring one for lunch, they pull one out of the freezer, put it in a tupperware or baggie and by the time lunch rolls around, it has defrosted perfectly and is ready to eat.

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8. Crock Pot Black Beans is not only great to eat with Mexican dinners, but a couple of my kids take it for lunch, in a thermos, several times a week. They are that good! And, the house smells amazing while they cook in the slow cooker with all those yummy Mexican spices. And, no need to soak, just rinse them and put them straight into the crock pot. This is another great recipe to freeze and have later if you don’t think your family will eat it all within a week.

9. Pasta with Alfredo Sauce is one of my kids favorite dinners so we have it at least every other week. I will usually leave some of the noodles plain, without any sauce on it,  so that I can put a little marinara sauce on my portion since this is quite a bit of dairy for my milk sensitive body :). We like to throw in some frozen peas with the noodles while they cook. Some of the kids will try and pick them out, but they still usually eat a few of them by accident.

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10. Almond or Peanut Butter Protein Bars/ Balls , and yes, click on both the bars and the balls links to the left because they are two separate recipes. These little bars and balls are probably the most requested snack. I switch off and will make balls one week and bars the next. I love that my older children (ages 9 &10) can make these all on their own without any help from mom…except when they don’t fully clean up their mess, then mom does get involved some :). But not a big mess, usually just a mixing bowl, wooden spoon and a couple of measuring cups.

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I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast, Desserts, Dinner