Monthly Archives: October 2012

100% Whole Wheat Tortilla Recipe

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Getting away from packaged cookies, crackers, chips, etc was pretty easy since we ate so little of those things. However sandwich breads, wraps, and English muffins just seemed so intimidating to make. I am so glad I got over it though and gave them all a try. I will admit I have not found the perfect sandwich bread but I don’t think I care enough to keep trying after how great my English muffins and tortillas turned out! These are 100% whole wheat and so simple to make. Most store bought tortillas are made with all kinds of unpronounceable ingredients and misleading labeling like “whole wheat”. That just means they are at least 51% whole wheat and the rest is white flour.

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100% Whole Wheat Tortillas

makes 16

2 cups white whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 Tbs oil (olive, canola, or coconut)

1 Tbs plain yogurt

2/3 cup warm water

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Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in oil and yogurt and work in with fingers. Add water and knead all together. Let it sit for 5 minutes, dough should be smooth.

Divide in half, then half again, and again, and again. Just divide it into 16 equal sized balls. Let dough sit for at least 30 minutes. It becomes way easier to roll out if you let it sit. You can let it sit for up to a couple hours if need be and it will be even easier to work with.

Heat a pan to high heat (needs to be very hot).

Roll out a ball of dough in between 2 silpats. Each ball should roll to about 6-8 inches in diameter and should be VERY thing. Carefully peel it off.

Spray pan with cooking spray. Place tortilla on hot pan. Let cook for 5-10 seconds, until it starts bubbling up.

Flip tortilla. Cook for another 5 seconds.

Flip again. Cook for another 5 seconds.

Repeat with remaining tortillas.

If you use olive oil or coconut oil, you can taste it slightly. I like the hint of olive oil but i f you don’t, use something milder like canola.

I have been using these for soft tacos, breakfast burritos, quesadillas, chicken salad wraps. Pretty much anything and they’re great! Even my non bread loving (who I don’t understand at all, carbs are the best!) 14 month old is enjoying these.

If you want thicker, doughier tortillas versus thin ones, divide the batter into 12 balls but still roll them out to 6-8 inches diameter.

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Nutritional Information:

Calories: 73

Fat: 3 g

Sodium: 65 mg (3%)

Carbohydrates: 10.7 g

Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g

Sugars: 0.6 g

Protein: 2 g

Weekly Meal Plan

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I am using the power of positive thinking and assuming everyone will be well in my house this week. We have been hit with the stomach flu so I think I am on load 12 (ETA: 14) of laundry since Wednesday and tons of sanitizing spray! Cassidy is better now, but Alyssa is currently sick. (Edited to add: Cassidy is on round 2 and has gotten sick again) I am hoping and praying im not next, I need some sleep! Assuming all is well this week here is my tentative meal plan…

Monday: Potluck dinner for Alyssa’s end of season soccer party

Tuesday: Chicken oven roaster, roasted zucchini, mashed potatoes and gravy

Wednesday: Homemade whole wheat pasta mixed with spaghetti squash, meatballs and homemade sauce.

Thursday: Leftover chicken and gravy, brown rice, sautéed mustard greens from my garden

Friday: Out at a free fall festival event with Dave’s work

Saturday: Leftover spaghetti and meatballs from Wednesday night

Sunday: Honey mustard chicken over brown rice, side of broccoli from my garden

So I guess I am really only going to cook 4 times this week since I will have some leftovers and 2 nights of dinners out, which is rare for us. We have so many parties this time of the year and although I eat far from healthy at them, they are fun and its nice to have a night away from dishes. Dessert tables are my weakness. Although I will have to cook for the potluck, I have dessert so I am made team spirit cake pops to go with their team name. Dessert is always fun to make though. Their team is the Pirates so I made skull and cross bones cake pops. They took much longer than expected!

I can not wait until my broccoli is ready in my garden, I am so excited. I had never grown broccoli before, well at least not successfully. The past few summers I have had a little bit of produce but my garden this fall is actually making me enough produce that I barely have to substitute with veggies from the grocery store. Doesn’t get any more fresh, organic, and local than that!

Healthy Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies Recipe

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I love fudgy brownies. I always cut out the very center piece of a tray of brownies. However every time I try a healthy brownie recipe, they are always way too cake like and dry and not fudgy enough.  I am happy to report I finally found my go to healthy brownie recipe! I typed this recipe up about 10 minutes after eating my brownies so I didn’t forget what I did. The pumpkin spice gives it a nice fall touch which was inspired by a pumpkin hot chocolate I tasted the other day. If pumpkin isnt your thing, just omit the pumpkin spice. You can still use the pumpkin puree and the chocolate will overtake the pumpkin taste, don’t worry. Oh and they are 99 calories a piece. Say goodbye to processed 100 calorie packs and hello to homemade nutrient dense brownies with 100% whole grains, veggies, and very low in sugar!

Healthy, Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies

Makes 16

3 oz chocolate chips

2 Tbs butter

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

2 Tbs honey

1/4 cup + 2 Tbs sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk, almond or cows

1 egg

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3/4 tsp pumpkin spice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbs chocolate chips + 1/4 tsp coconut oil for drizzle (optional)

Melt chocolate and butter in microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until melted. Stirring frequently. Add pumpkin through egg.

Stir together dry indregents; flour, cocoa, baking powder, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and salt.

Combine wet and dry.

Bake in greased 8×8 baking pan at 350F for 30 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

If you are adding the drizzle, melt chocolate chips with coconut oil in microwave and drizzle over slightly cooled cooked brownies.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 107

Fat: 3.4 g

Sodium: 50 mg (2%)

Carbohydrates: 16.3 g

Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g

Sugars: 10.4

Protein: 2 g

Although I kind of wish I didnt know how not bad these brownies are for me because i find myself justifying eating way too many. They have less sugar per brownie than a small serving of cereal or 100 calorie packs but much more satisfying!

Garden Success

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My garden this fall has been doing great! The summers in Eastern NC are so hot that I havent had the best of luck with summer gardens. This year I decided to plant a fall crop as well since its stays warm here pretty late into the year. I am so glad I did. Today I picked 5 green peppers, 5 eggplant, 3 huge bunches mustard greens, and a batch of green beans. I also have 4 heads of broccoli that should be ready to pick before long. Oh and the okra plant is doing well too but I can’t seem to get my hands on any. The second I pick them, they are stolen and devoured raw by this little one…

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I also have some tiny pumpkins starting to grow. They won’t be ready by Halloween for sure but I have been eating so much pumpkin lately, I can’t wait to pick them straight from my backyard. I may start turning orange from all the pumpkin I have been consuming. At least it’s a vegetable, right?

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

Breakfast: 1 cup plain greek yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup pumpkin. 2 pumpkin scones. decaf coffee.

Lunch: Egg and cheese with hot sauce on a homemade tortilla. Big salad with roasted beets, goat cheese, and chick peas. Pumpkin brownie. A couple fresh out of the oven graham crackers (in the shape of gravestones for a Halloween party).

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Dinner: BBQ shrimp and zucchini, fresh off the griddle homemade English muffin with jam.

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Plus another English muffin…they are one of the best things I’ve made in a while.  Good thing my recipe made 24! I should be set for maybe a week. Unless Alyssa gets her little hands on them, then they may only be around for 2 days.  She was in love.

Dessert: another healthy pumpkin brownie (recipe to come on friday!)

Protein Pumpkin Pancakes (Gluten Free)

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Boxed pancake mix is another processed food I have just recently gotten away from. The boxes and Bisquick are just so easy, but homemade recipes only take about 5 more minutes. I can take 5 minutes for my health. I have found my base recipe, after LOTS of trial and error and mushy pancakes. I like the addition of greek yogurt and skim milk for protein. I also like to make sure it uses all whole grain, and has a source of healthy fats. And if I can sneak a veggie or fruit in there, all the better. This recipe is fall inspired of course and is even gluten free.

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Pumpkin Greek Yogurt Pancakes:

serves 2 (5 medium sized pancakes per serving)

1 cup old fashioned oats

2 Tbs ground flax seed

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 Tbs sugar

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup greek yogurt

1/2 cup skim milk

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

2 eggs

2 Tbs mini chocolate chips or chopped pecans (optional)

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Place milk, greek yogurt, and pumpkin in microwave safe bowl. Warm it up for 45-60 seconds. You want to take the chill off it and warm it slightly, but not have it too terribly hot. This will help activate the baking powder when mixed together and make for fluffy pancakes. Don’t skip this, the pancakes will not fluff up.

Lightly beat the eggs and mix into yogurt mixture.

Grind oats into flour.

In a separate bowl stir together the dry ingredients: oat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice.

Mix together wet, dry ingredients, and chocolate chips and stir JUST until combined. Don’t over stir or else again, they won’t fluff up.

Let sit for 5-10 minutes for the baking powder and soda to activate. The batter should get more airy while it sits.

Batter will be kind of thick. Cook on griddle set to 325F. Since batter is thick, spread it out slightly with the back of the spoon.

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I love that these have lots of healthy fats from natural sources. Lately, I have been trying to make sure my food has more healthy fats for the growing brains of my babies. And it helps me stay full longer too.

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Nutritional Information: not including add ins

Calories: 280

Fat: 9 g

Sodium: 173 mg (7%)

Carbohydrates: 34 g

Dietary Fiber: 6 g

Sugars: 15 g

Protein:17 g

The chocolate chips take the pancakes to 340 calories per serving, but no syrup is needed. Or just have a little of both!

Soaked Oatmeal “Formula”

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I have been doing some reading on and off about the importance of soaking grains. Apparently whole grains have something called phytic acid that block absorption of vital nutrients and minerals. Whole grains also have enzyme inhibitors and without soaking whole grains, they can be much harder for your body to digest and extract the nutrients. Therefore its debatable how much better whole grains are for you than “white” refined versions if you don’t soak them first. Traditionally grains used to always be soaked but the practice has stopped since it adds a little bit of time and effort and we all know packaged processed foods are all about more yield, not more health. So pretty much just soak all beans and grains in water with 1 Tbs acid (yogurt, lemon juice, etc) overnight or up to 24 hours before eating. It is actually pretty easy and it makes the cooking time less, so it doesn’t actually add any time to the cooking process, just a little forethought.

From what I read, if you don’t have the time or efforts to soak first, then whole grains are still better, but you just aren’t getting as much out of it as you could. So I do it when I can and when it works well with a recipe. I usually do it with oatmeal, especially because it’s a huge time saver in the morning. Here is my go to recipe or “formula” for oatmeal. It’s a formula rather than a recipe so I have endless combinations to avoid boredom.

Oatmeal “formula”:

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup warm water

1 Tbs yogurt or kefir (IF soaking grain overnight)

1 Tbs ground flax seed

1/2 cup milk

1/2 mashed banana or chopped apple, or 1/2 cup berries or pumpkin depending on season

1 tsp cinnamon

1 Tbs nut butter or 2 Tbs whole chopped nuts/seeds

Place oats, flax, water, and yogurt in a non-metal bowl, cover, set in a warm place, and let soak overnight.

Add rest of ingredients (If not soaking overnight, just add oats, flax, and water in the pot now as well), besides nut butter, in a pot and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Stir/whip vigorously and frequently with a fork.

If you are short on time, place it all in a microwave safe bowl, cover with a paper towel and cook for 2-3 minutes, checking every minute to stir and  ensure it doesn’t overflow!

Add nut butter or nuts on top.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 401

Fat: 14 g

Sodium: 134 mg (6%)

Carbohydrates: 54 g

Dietary Fiber: 10 g

Sugars: 15 g

Protein: 16 g

Don’t fear the fat. Its all healthy fats. It comes from the peanut butter, oats, and flax seeds. I almost hate to put the fat content since people are so focused on low fat but I have found the more healthy fats I eat, the better I feel and more full I feel for longer. It also helps your body process carbohydrates and stabilize blood sugar, something I learned from eating while having gestational diabetes.

I had this oatmeal for breakfast this morning as part of my What I Ate Wednesday…

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon oatmeal with peanut butter and ground flax seeds (warning, ugliest picture ever)

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Snack 1: decaf skim milk latte with 1/2 pump pumpkin spice

Lunch: Crackers, goat cheese, smoked salmon. Big salad. Lots of homemade wheat thins

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Snack 2: almonds and an apple

Dinner: Leftover Lentil Quinoa Stir Fry topped with mozzarella

Snack 3: 1/2 orange, slice of colby jack cheese, 2 herseys kisses

Does anyone else soak their grains? There is so much information to weed through and I feel like every food or preparation technique has its pros and cons, its just all about weighing them.

Lentil Quinoa Stir Fry

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For those of you that have kids, you know how nice it is when your child eats all their dinner and asks for seconds.  Especially when it is no where near “kid food”. Alyssa asked for seconds and Cassidy was doing the sign language for more when her bowl was empty. And when Alyssas was gone she said “Do we have leftovers? Because I want the same thing tomorrow for dinner”. That’s really rare since Alyssa is just like Dave, not a leftovers fan (weirdos, I love them). I went to the computer right away and typed up the recipe so I didn’t forget what random ingredients I threw together. I have since repeated it and the recipe is very forgiving. If you don’t have the specific vegetables on hand, substitute. Don’t have ground beef? Use ground turkey. No quinoa, use millet.

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Lentil Quinoa Stir Fry

Makes 4-6 servings

1 cup lentils

1/2 cup quinoa

2 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 tsp olive oil

1 cup chopped carrots

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 large red pepper, chopped

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1/4 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup diced tomatoes, canned or fresh

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/8 tsp ground pepper

1/16 tsp salt

1/4 cup sunflower seeds for garnish

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Chop all veggies.

Place olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, carrots, and ground beef in a skillet and cook until beef is browned and veggies are starting to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add all other ingredients besides quinoa and sunflower seeds and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add quinoa and simmer another 20 minutes.

Check to make sure it doesn’t dry out. If it does, add a little more chicken broth.

Portion into serving bowls and sprinkle sunflower seeds on top.

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Variations:

Vegetarian: omit the ground beef, keep everything else the same. The lentils and seeds provide plenty of protein.

Grain free: omit the quinoa

Soup: Add 1.5 cups more broth

Nutritional Information (for 4 very large servings):

calories: 425

fat: 8.5 g

sodium: 246 (10%)

carbohydrates: 53 g

dietary fiber: 19 g

sugars: 8 g

protein: 35 g

Check out all that fiber, thats a sign of a great whole food meal right there.