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Monday Meals: Lime & Cilantro Quinoa Salad

Summer hasn’t really started here in Portland but that hasn’t stopped me from preparing summery dishes (even if it is a little cold for them – I can’t believe how long the cold has hung on here this year!).  This is one of my favorite recipes every summer because the flavors meld so well and it’s perfect served cold.  Quinoa is a superfood, full of 8 amino acids, gluten free and full of protein so it’s also perfect for the littles!

Lime, Cilantro & Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Ingredients: Yields 8 servings

  • 2 cups vegetable broth (chicken works great as well)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in cold water
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2T freshly squeezed lime juice (I often do more because I like the zestyness but you can always add at the end to your own personal taste)
  • 1tsp lime zest
  • 1/2 cup of black beans(can is okay just rinse them)
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced or halved
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions: In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, garlic, lime juice, lime zest, stevia and salt & pepper. Put aside. In a large pot, add quinoa to boiling vegetable broth, stir, turn heat down to low, cover and let quinoa cook for about 20min. Once cooked, fluff quino with a fork and place in a medium size bowl.

Add lime dressing, black beans, cilantro and tomatoes. Mix. I like this cold, but you can also serve warm.

Also, pair it with plain yogurt – so yummy and the flavors really compliment each other!  I hope this recipe helps contribute to some fabulous summer Bar-b-ques!

meg

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Monday Meals: Healthy Chicken Nuggets

It’s Monday Meals!

What makes these chicken nuggets extra healthy is that recipe has veggie puree (your choice) and flax seed meal (vitamin B, omega 3s, fiber, magnesium, manganese).

My nuggets came out a little dark looking because I used flax seed and not flax seed meal.  It really wasn’t that obvious that I used the seeds in stead of the meal, and they came out really good!  They were surprisingly easy to make.

I opted for sweet potato veggie puree, because I had it on hand.  The recipe:


Infused Chicken Nuggets

(serves 4)
Combine the following in a bowl/container:
  • 1 pound of chicken rinsed, dried, and cut into chunks.
Egg Batter (combine the following in a shallow bowl):
  • 1 cup veggie puree (broccoli, spinach, sweet potato, or beet)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Breading (combine the following in a shallow bowl):

  • 1 cup whole-wheat, white, or Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup flax seed meal
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: paprika, garlic, and onion powder
How to cook:
  1. Place the breadcrumb mixture and egg mixture next to each other.
  2. Turn a skillet on medium-high heat and coat with nonstick cooking spray.  When the skillet is hot add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Dip your chicken chunks into the egg batter first and then into the breadcrumbs making sure they are completely coated, then toss in the skillet and cook about 4-5 minutes each side till golden brown.  Check a piece by cutting it half and making sure the chicken is cooked all the way through (I check the thickest piece).
NOTE: you can spice your chicken with some salt if you want before adding it to the egg/breadcrumbs, but I didn’t add any and they came out great.  Also, I kept the breadcrumbs to the side and added a little at a time to a plate.  I only used about half the breadcrumb mixture this way, which means I was able to store the rest in the fridge for the next time I make them.  I served them with some steamed organic peas.
recipe adopted from Deceptively Delicious

Wouldn’t it be fun to have green (broccolli or spinach) or pink (beet) chicken nuggets!

I would love to figure out how to bake these instead of fry.  Frying doesn’t appeal to me as a mother and I think popping these in the oven seems easier.

Hope you enjoy!

ENJOY! ash

Monday Meals: Veggie or Fruit Infused French Toast

It’s Monday Meals!

I thought this was such a smart idea – infuse your french toast (or just about anything) with veggie or fruit puree.

not the prettiest picture. i guess i need to work on my food presentation.

I have done this with pancakes (pumpkin) before, but I  had never thought about doing it with french toast.  French toast is our main go to in the morning.  I whip up the mixture and make sure to double the recipe so I’ll have extra for the week.  I mix it in a small, rectangular casserole container with a lid so that I can store the left over mixture in the fridge for use the next morning (think the size of bread slices).

I opted for sweet potato veggie puree, because Jax will always eat fruit so I don’t really need to “supplement” these into his diet.  The recipe:

Infused French Toast

(serves 4)

Combine the following in a bowl/container:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp veggie or fruit puree (banana, pinapple, sweet potato, carrot, butternut squash, pumpkin)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla (the recipe doesn’t call for this either, but I love vanilla in my french toast)
  • (the recipe doesn’t call for it, but I add a little milk too, about 1/4 cup.  That’s how my mom always made french toast)
  • 4 slices of bread
How to cook:

  1. Soak your bread in the mixture for about 30 seconds.
  2. Turn a griddle on medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot coat the bottom with butter (roll it around to melt all over).  When the butter melts, place your soaked bread slices on the griddle and cook till each side is golden brown.
  3. Serve with your pure maple syrup (I make sure it’s the real deal, not corn syrup with “maple syrup” flavoring) and/or these toppings; applesauce, peanut butter, fruit.
recipe adopted from Deceptively Delicious

Jax usually has 1/2 piece of french toast (I eat the other half), a 1/8 cup of fruit, with an egg.  I get both fruit and egg too.

Let me know what you think!

ENJOY! ash

Monday Meals: Iron & Your Wee One

So in lieu of an actual meal, I decided to do some research on foods that are good sources of iron.  However, you should note that if your baby is still breastfeeding, breastfeeding is a really good source of iron.

Jax just had his one year check up and was a little low in iron (just barely – .1% lower than “normal).  We are starting to phase out breastfeeding, so I’m not sure if that is the cause.  Typically people think iron comes mainly from meat, which is what my pediatrician suggested I add more of to his diet.  Meat is also a great source of protein, which is doubly important for your babies developing mind and body.

Jax isn’t really into meat (we try to include a meat option at every meal, but getting him to eat it is another issue altogether).  Yes, I’ve got a somewhat vegetarian child.  I wonder if this has to do with my mostly vegetarian diet when I was pregnant?  Well here are some websites with lists of high iron foods and explanations of the benefits of iron:

http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/Iron.htm  (also has a list of how much iron your child should be getting and at what age – I love these types of list.  They aren’t always easy to find.)

http://kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/iron/)

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/dietary-sources-of-iron-for-vegetarians.html

http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/iron.htm

I didn’t want to copy and paste a huge long list, sorry . . . it just seemed redundant.  The important thing to note is there are two types of iron – heme (protein/meat foods) and non-heme (plant foods).  Adding foods with Vitamin C into the meal with iron rich foods will aid the absorbtion of iron, especially with non-heme (plant) foods.  Non- heme foods are where we get most of our iron, but it doesn’t absorb as easily as  heme foods do.  Here are some sources of Vitamin C rich foods:

  • Citrus
  • Berries
  • Green Veggies (broccoli & cabbage)
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Tomatoes

The non-heme foods that I’ve been trying to incorporate into his diet are:

  • Spinach- freshly steamed and added to a smoothie that has a berry or peaches (Vitamin C rich food), we usually have a smoothie at snack time or as part of one of his meals
  • Beans- he likes black and pinto especially.
  • Oatmeal – about every other day for breakfast
  • Quinoa

I normally include a heme type food, but like I said, he usually won’t eat those.  I include it so that at least he tries it, since they are good sources of iron that aren’t as hard to absorb as non-heme.

Take a look at the list provided in the links.  For me,  I was able to realize, yeah I am providing lots of foods with iron, but here are some other ones that are higher in iron that I could include more often so that I can increase his iron.

Just wanted to share this with you if your little one has the same issue!  Or keep doing what your doing if they don’t!

Hope you had a great Monday!

Ash

Monday Meals: Low-fat Cranberry Almond Scones

Perfectly golden brown Cranberry Almond Scones

We thought we’d post something for a Mother’s Day breakfast for Monday Meals since Mother’s Day is this Sunday.  Plus, this hidden nutrition – baking edition will spoil mom but also make her feel nice and healthy!

This recipe is adapted from the blog Farmgirl Fare with some tricks from some of her other scone recipes. Farmgirl Fare is a treasure trove of delicious home-made recipes. If you’re going to try baking your own bread, her farmhouse white is the place to start!

I like to use whole-wheat flour and sneak flaxseed meal into pretty much everything I bake for added nutrition. Flaxseed meal is so good for you I love using it, but I try not to add more than 1/2-1/3 of a cup so I don’t mess with the texture of the final product. But in my opinion, every little bit helps!

Also, the best-kept secret to low-fat baking? You can use cream cheese in place of butter and yogurt+milk in place of buttermilk for some recipes like these!  Talk about cutting down on calories!

Low-fat Cranberry Almond Scones
Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour
1/3 cup flaxseed meal
1/3 cup almond meal (you could sub another healthy grain here, I just used it to add nutrients and boost the almond flavor)

Hidden nutrition!

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried nutmeg
1/2 cup low-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 egg
2 Tablespoons yogurt
3/4 cup low-fat milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add the cream cheese to the dry ingredients and mix with a pastry blender or with your fingers to make fine crumbs.
  4. Toss in the dried fruit and nuts you want to use and mix well.

    Add your favorite nuts and dried fruit

  5. Whisk together in a small bowl the egg, 2 tablespoons yogurt, and 3/4 cup low-fat milk. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing well but not overworking the dough (it doesn’t seem like the wet ingredients will be enough, but I promise the dough will come together!).
  6. Turn out the mixed dough onto a floured surface and use your fingers to push the ball down into a circle about an inch thick and 6-8 inches in diameter.
  7. If you want little scones make two circles to cut into slices, for larger scones make a single circle.

    Make 1 large circle if you want big scones, 2 circles for small

  8. Use a serrated knife dipped in flour to slice the circles into triangles and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes until they are golden brown. Then enjoy the crumbly goodness!

And okay, we all know eating a diet of just scones isn’t healthy, but at least now when you have a craving for some baked goodies you can feel better about indulging on these!

Enjoy!
D”

Monday Meals: Hearty Vegan Kale and Suasage Soup

We’re thinking of adding Diana (“D”) on as a full-time writer to our blog since her Monday Meals are SO yummy . . . and healthy to boot!  (Plus she’s quite the little thrift-fashionista and I promise once I get back to Portland I’ll prove it to you guys by forcing asking her nicely to be featured one week).

delicious, hearty, and vegan!

Here’s something quick and hearty, an easy solution when I feel like a home-made lunch but don’t want to spend more than 15 minutes. It’s one of my favorite things to do with kale, too. It was originally adapted from some food network recipe (www.foodtv.com) but it’s been modified enough at this point that I can’t remember which one it was.

Hearty Vegan Kale and Sausage Soup

Ingredients:

1/4 onion, finely chopped or sliced
1 veggie sausage (something spicy is best, I recommend Tofurky Italian sausage. I suppose you could do real sausage if you’re a meat-eater)
a few tablespoons oil
2-3 tablespoons cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 -1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on your desired spice level)
1-2 tablespoons salt (less if you can stand to be that healthy like Ashley!)
1/2 bag or ~4 cups uncooked kale
1 can white/cannelini beans
3 cups vegetable stock

  • Sautee the onion and the sausage in a large saucepan at medium heat in a few tablespoons of oil until the onions are well carmelized and the veggie sausage is good and brown (this helps the texture).

you want well carmelized onions and browned sausage to start

  • Add in the spices and salt and toss the onion/sausage mix, then add in the kale and mix well.
  •  Cover and sautee at medium heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale has turned bright green and wilted/softened so that it is about half its original volume.

wilted kale ready to become soup!

  • Next, pour half of the contents of a can of white beans into the pot, then mash the other half in the can to make a bean paste. Add this paste to the pot as well – this will make the broth thick and hearty!
  • Then add 3 cups of vegetable stock, plus 1-2 cups of water, stir and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Bring the pot to a simmer and allow to cook for at least 10 minutes (longer would make the kale even softer, but I can never wait that long to dig in!). Serve hot, ideally with crusty bread for dipping.

Makes 4-6 servings. I don’t have tips for freezing this one because even these big batches get eaten within 2 days in this house!

Enjoy!
D

Monday Meals: Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Perfect for birthday breakfasts! Perfect for ANY breakfast!

OK so this is what we SHOULD have done for Dee’s birthday.  The Plan was to fill her room with balloons while she slept so she woke up to a surprise and then finish the morning with chocolate chip pancakes but . . . Hong Kong happened!

So Saturday we threw the “party” I had planned for no reason, and you know what?  I think it was better that way – just a nice surprise for the weekend! So without further ado, here’s my recipe for healthy semi-healthy Chocolate Chip Pancakes:

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour (or regular flour)
  • 1/3 cup oats (I actually used one a pack of brown sugar oatmeal and left the next two ingredient out)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and optional 3 drops almond extract
  • brown sugar or stevia, if desired
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder (and optional: pinch baking soda for flavor)
  • 1 egg (or egg substitute)
  • 1/2 cup w milk (or water or maybe even juice, if you wish)
  • chocolate chips galore!

Steps

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients. (This can be done days in advance.)
  2. Put liquid ingredients into dry, then stir.
  3. Cook on medium-low, flipping 1/2-way through.
  4. Top with grated chocolate or chocolate syrup sauce.

Optional:

5.  Add a toddler and a room full of balloons and you’ve got yourself one happy little camper!

Had to test the waters first but then she dove right in!!

Fun times with a room full of balloons!

meg

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