Monthly Archives: September 2013

Sausage, Egg, and Veggie Casserole

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Since our chickens have been laying wonderfully the last couple months, we have tons of fresh, organic, free range eggs at our fingertips. We get roughly 4-6 a day, so that’s about 3 dozen a week. We originally thought that would be way too many eggs for our family of 4 but we have been using them pretty easily. Especially once I really start cooking again and am no longer sick, I am sure I will use a lot more in baking.

I brought this casserole to a military wives meeting I attend at my church. You can’t go wrong with the basics. There is no unhealthy pie crust like a quiche, bread soaked in the eggs, or a bag f frozen hash browns like many other egg casseroles have. Just a thin layer of seasoned potatoes at the bottom for a crust.

Sausage, Egg, and Veggie Casserole

serves 6 (or cut into 10-12 smaller slices for a gathering)

10 eggs

1/2 lb breakfast sausage

1 cup milk

1 large potato, sliced thin + 1 tsp olive oil + salt and pepper to taste.

1 small tomato, diced

1 green onion, diced

2 cups fresh spinach, chopped

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

3/4 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese

Thinly slice potatoes with a mandolin or knife. Toss in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Line bottom of a 9 X 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, brown breakfast sausage. Drain fat if you used a higher fat meat.

Beat eggs in bowl. Add milk, tomato, onion, spinach, salt, and peppers. Mix in sausage.

Take potatoes out of oven. Pour egg and sausage mixture on top of potato layer. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Bake 25-30 minutes more or until eggs are set.

Nutritional Information (based on 6 servings):

Calories: 364

Fat: 23 g

Sodium: 600 mg (25%)

Carbohydrates: 14.5 g

Dietary Fiber: 2 g

Sugars: 4 g

Protein: 24 g

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Customizable Baked Oatmeal

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For some reason since I’ve been plagued will all day pregnancy sickness, regular oats just don’t work for me. However this baked oatmeal recipe is able to settle my stomach for a little while. Since my body is used to eating just bagels and cream cheese, it was probably excited to get all these nutrients from oats, almonds, apples, chia seeds, cinnamon, etc. Not to mention it was one of those meals where neither kid made a single peep and inhaled their breakfast in 2 minutes. Nothing beats that.

You can swap different fruits, nuts, and flavors to switch it up.

Baked Oatmeal

serves 4-6

2 cups oats

1 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup applesauce

2 Tbs chia seeds (or ground flax)

2 Tbs honey

2 Tbs coconut oil, melted (or grass fed butter)

1.5 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

1 apple, diced (or fruit of choice or 1/3 cup dried fruit)

1/2 cup almonds, chopped (or nut/seed of choice)

Mix together the dry : oats, salt, chai seeds, and baking powder.  Mix together the wet: applesauce, coconut oil, vanilla, and beaten egg. Add milk and water.

Mix together the dry, wet, and the apples and almonds.

Place in a greased 9 x 13 and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, depending on how crispy you want the edges.

Can garnish the top with nut butter, fresh fruit, or a splash of milk.

Nutritional Information (serving 5)

Calories: 336

Fat: 15 g

Sodium: 154 mg (6%)

Carbohydrates: 42 g

Dietary Fiber: 7 g

Sugars: 16 g

Protein: 10 g

Simple Chocolate Buttercream

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Chocolate buttercream is by far my favorite icing and I use it on any cake I make. This recipe is a “crusting” recipe so if you can smooth it out using a Viva paper towel. Other crusting buttercream recipes I find have crisco instead of part of the butter. No thanks. This will very generously ice a whole cake with a some leftover. You can freeze the leftovers, just rewhip it after it defrosts. Or your husband can make an icing sandwich. Unfortunately I am not kidding.

It is simple and delicious and it will result in little fingers repeatedly getting at the cake if left unattended…

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Chocolate Buttercream Icing

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp vanilla extract

4 cups (one 1 lb bag) confectioner’s sugar

2-6 Tbs milk, as needed

Beat butter until smooth. Add cocoa powder and sugar a little at a time. Add vanilla. Add milk by the tablespoon until desired consistency is reached. I like to whip it for a while so it gets fluffier.

I like it thick versus runny but it still needs to be spreadable. Remember if you store the cake in the refrigerator (I usually do the day its served since I make the cake in the morning and use a whipped cream filling that I want to keep from spoiling), the icing will firm up some.

No need to add nutritional information here. Its butter and sugar. Use sparingly but enjoy every bite! It makes me feel a little better that I use grass fed organic butter. A little…

Basic Vanilla Cake Recipe

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If I am at a party with a store bought cake, I don’t usually eat any. Homemade cakes are where its at. However most cakes that are “homemade” are not so homemade. They are still out of a box that contain preservatives and additives. And to find one with organic ingredients is near impossible. But unfortunately I have always felt boxed ones taste better. Until I found a recipe for chocolate cake and modified it to make this vanilla cake. I now have go to recipes for chocolate and vanilla cakes that I feel good about feeding to my family.

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Alyssa actually requested a pink cake for her birthday this year so I will puree strawberries and substitute those for part of the water in the recipe. No food dye required.

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(we don’t eat the fondant, I peel it off before serving. It has artificial food dyes and it just doesn’t hold a candle to the homemade buttercream underneath)

Basic Vanilla Cake

makes 20 pieces

2 1/4 cups flour*

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup warm water

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup oil or applesauce or plain greek yogurt*

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)

*For a large birhtday party I usually use organic all purpose flour and oil. For a family gathering or weekend dessert, I use organic whole wheat pastry flour and applesauce/greek yogurt.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl mix all wet ingredients. Gently combine the two just until its not too lumpy. Don’t overstir.

Place in greased cake pans and bake 350 F for 25-35 minutes, just when tester comes out clean (depending on if its 2 8 inch, a 9 x 13, cupcakes, etc).

If it starts pulling away from the sides, its done. Take out of oven and let sit for 5 minutes before taking cupcakes or round cakes out of pans.

Nutritional Information: (with applesauce. Oil adds 22 calories and 2.7 g fat per serving)

Calories: 137

Fat: 3 g

Sodium: 189 mg (8%)

Carbohydrates: 25 g

Sugar: 14 g

Protein: 2.4 g

Coming in February

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Weekly meal planning, cooking, working out….all things I havent done since the beginning of June. But for very good reason…

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Baby #3 coming in February! (Body on right. Legs pointing left with her left ankle crossed over her right. Arrow pointing to tiny toes.)

I have rough rough first half of my pregnancies and it seems to get worse with each child. I have spent time in the ER for bleeding which put me on bed rest and no working out allowed, I have been to urgent care twice for strep throat, and I have horrible all day sickness/vomiting and frequent migraines. But given all that , I am so excited. But to say I am slightly jealous of those girls who have waves of nausea for a week or two and are able to work out, eat, get off their couch, and live normally during pregnancy would be an understatement.

I am a little over 16 weeks now and we just found out its another little girl! have been able to feel her rolling around for a couple weeks now and just last in the last week I was able to feel my first real kick. I have gained 4-5 lbs (which is 5 lbs more than I gained with either of my first 2 by this stage but oh well). I am totally looking forward to wearing stretchy maternity leggings all winter long. I had my other daughters at the end of summer in the south so I was horribly uncomfortable and hot. Here is my 16 week shot…I know my head is cut off, that’s intentional. I’m looking about like I feel right now, which is not good. My uniform of sweatpants and tshirts doesn’t help matters. No, my sickness does not go away with the first trimester. It faded at 15 weeks with Alyssa, 20 weeks with Cassidy, and to be determined with this one.

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So my meal plan all summer has been eat whatever I don’t think will make me throw up. I succeed maybe half the time. Vegetable? Zero chance. Protein? Maybe. Straight carb? Most of the time. There is really just no telling. I will find a meal that sits well so ill eat it again the next day, lose it, and then I cant eat it again. Much like people who can never again drink a liquor that made them get sick. At this point I am literally out of foods to eat. I am struggling. I have even tried foods that I would never dream of putting into my body (mcdonalds, processed cereals, poptarts, mac and cheese from a box). I am now eating bagels from a bagel shop 20 minutes away, and that’s literally about it. Store bought ones don’t work. This leaves my poor husband and kids fending for themselves.

Alyssa told me she “misses seeing real life people”. We have left the house maybe 10 times all summer long. Good thing its been pouring nearly every day though so it makes me feel less guilty for not being at the park, pool, beach, or other normal summer activities. I told her to make a list of all the things she wants to do when I feel better and we will check them all off as soon as I am physically able. She said “oo, burpees”. Not so sure about doing them pregnant, but I guess we can give it a try before my belly gets too big. Its on its way, much faster with the 3rd than my first two!

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Hopefully I’ll be back to cooking and working out soon. I’m starting to feel a tad better, some days. Im thinking for the next couple weeks I may be able to muster up some energy to cook some very basic meals. My plan is to try…

spaghetti with meat sauce and frozen mixed vegetables

crockpot chicken and dumplings, side of frozen vegetables

chicken pot pie

mild chili with cornbread

I really hope to start cooking healthy meals again soon. I crave salads and roasted vegetables like I never have before. I would never eat another dessert in my life if I could stomach a veggie right now. And that’s saying a lot coming from me. My head wants veggies SOO bad, but my stomach greatly disagrees. I can’t wait to start creating new recipes again soon too!