On The Menu: Breakfast Cupcakes

  • Bacon, spinach, bell pepper and egg cupcake

My biggest problem with consistently eating right is the availability of choices. Good versus bad choices or to not eat at all. I am a snacker and used to be a bread lover (trying really, really hard). If I don’t have a “good choice” ready to go or in my face, there’s a huge temptation for me to just go right into the pantry and grab a ramen or bag of chips. You might be thinking why then would I even have such options in my pantry? Well, because I live with my husband (again, I shall remind everyone that he’s Mr. 12% body fat)  who grew up with snacks galore in his pantry and every single kind of Costco freezer food. He loves them and is able to regulate how much he eats so we have them in our house. Also, as much as we love whole nutrition, we can’t help but indulge in that bowl of steamy ramen with a runny egg once in a blue moon. If you’re Korean, it’s like a sin if you don’t enjoy that stuff. Ok, so moving along. Breakfast is the toughest for me. I love breakfast food (bagels used to be my bff) but most of the time mornings are hectic so if I skip breakfast, I usually make a really bad choice at lunch because I’m starving.  Smoothies are a great and easy option but I love bacon and eggs. These cupcakes are popular but mine do not have potatoes in them. They fit the “clean eating” and “paleo” bill but I just love these as my go-to in the mornings. I eat 2-3 depending on how hungry I am. Just make them all, put them in the fridge and pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds to reheat. It’s truly an easy and satisfying breakfast without all the junky carbs. Oh, Abby loves them too! Seriously, who wouldn’t? Next time I make them, I’m going to put half of the recipe in the mini muffin tin for her. Great finger food idea!

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup of frozen spinach chopped up
  • half a large bell pepper or one small pepper diced into small chunks
  • half an medium onion diced into small chunks
  • 4 slices of bacon or 4 sausage patties

Cook the bacon to your liking first. I like it a bit more on the crunchier side. After it’s done cooking, cool and chop up into small pieces and set aside.

IMG_7931

Dice and chop up all your veggies. You can actually put any kind of veggie into this recipe. I have used mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and onions before with a bit of basil for a more Italian-y (I just made that word up) breakfast.

IMG_7933

Crack all of your eggs and whisk thoroughly

IMG_7934

Everything in the bowl. I do not add extra salt to this recipe. For us, the bacon is already salty enough for us but if you like things salty, I suggest you stop liking salty things. Haha…just kidding… kind of… not really…But honestly, add a couple of dashes if you wish

IMG_7935

Line your muffin tin with paper cups. I tried it without cups and it was a mess because the cupcakes would not come out cleanly at all. Pour the mixture into 12 cups and try and make them as even as possible.

IMG_7936

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. They will be super puffy right out of the oven and deflate once cooled

IMG_7937

Once your cupcakes have cooled, peel the paper off and then toss them in a ziploc bag or tupperware for the fridge (you don’t want soggy paper cups). These will not peel cleanly but you should be able to get the majority of the muffin out of the cup.

IMG_8121

Enjoy!

On The Menu: Super Green Juice & Good For You “Cereal Bars”

Well hello there!

It’s been awhile… a minute… forever and a day… ok, it has been way too long. The wonderfully fantastic thing is, ever since I started this little humble blog of mine, I have received SO many positive responses and many have asked me to update. Life has been so crazy busy because of Abby’s bi coastal birthdays and so far, our summer has been filled to the brim with play dates, friends, projects, work, church and most importantly family time. On a personal note, I had my body fat measured this past Saturday. You know, those trucks that come and you completely submerge yourself under water and feel like you’re going to die because you’re supposed to blow at least 95% of the air out of your body. Yeah, I did it and although the results were better than I thought, they still were not great. Boooo. On the other hand, my hubby received fantastic results and since the doc did say 80% of your fat/health/weight is from your diet, I received a huge thank you from him. Abby also received great remarks on her 1 year visit and the doctor was super impressed with her iron levels saying that her numbers weren’t expected to be seen until at least 6 years old, which she said was awesome! If any of you are curious, Abby clocked in at 50% weight, 50% head circumference and 80% height. Sooooo, I guess I’m taking care of my family well with their meals but ugh… woe is me… not. I feel great when I eat well and the doc this weekend said that doing 80% paleo was going to be good for me. Such positive words of encouragement because I do enjoy paleo but by no means am I a hard core cave woman. On that note, here are two recipes that have been big hits in our home. Yes, the juicing recipe requires two contraptions and why yes (insert best Asian British accent), I know my Vitamix can blend all the stuff without having to juice but seriously, the texture is a difficult one to gulp down so you really think a baby would be keen to that stuff? Uh, no… negative… bye. For babies and kids, texture comes first then taste. There have been many times where something touched the tip of Abby’s tongue and she was done.  I always want Abby to know how great something tastes so I am sensitive to blah textures. So if you are one to say that your child is picky or doesn’t like a certain ingredient, I always say to try and prepare it another way! Also, for the cereal fruit bar inspiration and recipe, I will have to say a huge THANK YOU to Against All Grain!

Super Green Juice

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Banana

Prep apples, carrots and cucumbers for the juicer

IMG_7657

Juice away! This amount made enough for all 3 of us. Once I portioned out Abby’s 4-5oz, I added 2 medium beets to our juicer and that was enough for 2 16oz mommy and daddy juices.

IMG_7658

IMG_7659

Grab a handful of spinach. I make sure it’s baby spinach because the texture and taste are very friendly once blended. Yes, this was all for Abby.

IMG_7660

Add half an avocado, half a banana and all the spinach into the blender along with the juice

IMG_7662

Blend away… so beautiful

IMG_7663

Abby, enjoying her cup with saran wrap because we didn’t have any clean straw cups at the moment. No Judging 🙂

IMG_7664

Good For You “Cereal Bars”

Have you ever tried the bars that are meant for babies and kids that are in the stores? Heck, even the nutri grain bars. They are gross and even if it’s organic, there are so many unnecessary ingredients. On top of that, it’s stupidly overpriced for sugar and grain. Ok, end rant. This is my solution to those bars. They taste really great, have half the sugar of a nutri grain bar and 30% less sugar than a Plum bar. Abby enjoyed them today as well as both hubby and I.

  • 3/4 cup of almond flour (The finer the better. Honeyville is a great brand)
  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 2 eggs (must be at room temperature or your oil will harden up like mine did.. yayee)
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup or agave
  • 1tsp of vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons of a preserve (I mixed strawberry and guava). You are free to use as much filling as you want, technically.
  • 3 tablespoons of water

Combine all the dry ingredients and incorporate well then set aside

IMG_7675

Combine all of the wet ingredients (minus the preserves) and whisk them until creamy. For mine, I think the coconut oil messed things up so it became frothy. I told you I couldn’t bake!

IMG_7677

Combine all of the ingredients together and either use a stand mixer to blend well or do what I did and use your hands. Again, I can’t bake and I’m really lazy when it comes to it.  Once it forms into a dough, divide it in half and wrap each in saran wrap. Place them both in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Once they are a bit harder, roll one out to a 1/4″ thickness and cut the sides off to form a rectangle or square. A pizza cutter works best for this. Then cut it down the center then cut vertical strips that are about 2-3″ across. Spread a thin layer of preserves

IMG_7678

Use a spatula to lift the other side and press all of the edges together. This dough is very easy to work with so doing this is simple and quick. Repeat for the other piece of dough that is in the fridge. I came out with 11 bars but I think it’s because my measurements were inconsistent. Obviously…

IMG_7680

Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes until they turn golden brown.

IMG_7681

These were yummy… not too sweet and filling. I love giving Abby something like this as a snack because it has a good amount of fiber, protein and healthy fats.

IMG_7683

Enjoy!

On The Menu: 1 Healthy Dessert & 1 Not So Much

  • Fresh Strawberry Pie
  • Chia Seed Pudding

There’s this place called Marie Callender’s. You might know the name because there are frozen dinners with that name everywhere. But no, you don’t know Marie Callender’s until you’ve actually been in the restaurant and have had their fresh strawberry pie. Every summer, my family and I would have it at least once. Fresh whole strawberries piled high with an unusually red glossy glaze, which then are all placed in a buttery pie shell. Red coloring sort of freaks me out but it’s ok in Sprinkle’s Red Velvet Cupcakes (found out they’re opening a location in Lenox with a cupcake vending machine and ice cream!!!!), red gummy bears and Marie Callender’s Strawberry Pie. So, the other day I was craving it and although I’m trying to be really really good with my eating habits, I just had to find a recipe and make it. Almost all of the recipes I came across added way too much sugar and strawberry jello powder or gelatin for the glaze. Ok, let me be honest. I don’t like fake strawberry crap so that was out. I tried the first batch with gelatin and ugh, it was disgusting. There’s a certain smell/taste that comes with gelatin and it did not belong in a strawberry pie. Also, why mask the wonderful taste of ripe organic strawberries with a ton of sugar?? I guess I felt daring that night so I decided to make my own pie shell (haha, I really don’t bake). It actually came out pretty decent so if I can bake it, anyone can bake this easy peasy crust. I lost my pie tin so I had to use my tart tin but it all worked out.

But I will start with the chia seed pudding recipe since it’s so ridiculously easy. This recipe isn’t only for the baby because I eat it and enjoy it. Sam tried it once… that’s it. It may sound gross but it’s pretty good and dare I say kind of “fun” to pop the seeds in your mouth. The texture resembles tapioca. Well, Abby LOVES it but I have to control her portions because the first day she had it, she pooped 4 times. I was happy and surprised because she usually deals with a bit of constipation but this had things moving along! Sorry, I’m very blunt about poop now. I think it’s a mom thing. Anyways, I looked up the nutritional facts on the chia seed and it’s packed with crazy goodness. It’s loaded with protein, fiber and good fats. Plus it’s paleo, gluten free and vegan so major bonus points there. Did I mention how easy it is to make??

Chia Seed Pudding

  • 2 cups of coconut milk (or almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup of chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • if you want it on the sweeter side, add honey or maple syrup

Pour the seeds, milk and extract into a bowl with a lid. Mix thoroughly, cover and place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours with occasional stirring. I made this after dinner and stirred it right before going to bed.

IMG_6682

In the morning, I stirred it once more it was done! Sorry for the picture quality. Yes, those little hands wanted that pudding so badly!

IMG_6718

Fresh Strawberry Pie

PIE SHELL:

  • 1 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 8 tablespoons of really cold butter diced into small chunks
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of ice cold water

Put half of the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients into a food processor and give it a couple of pulses. Add the butter and give it a go until the mixture is crumbly. Add the rest of the flour and pulse a couple more times until everything is still crumbly and the flour is mixed in. Take the mixture out and place it in a bowl. Add the water and start pushing everything together to form the dough. It should come together rather quickly.  Press it into a flat oval shape and keep it in the fridge for at least 1 hour (you can leave it overnight). Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Take the dough out and form it into the pie shell. Place it back in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then take it out and prick the bottom with a fork. Place a piece of foil over the pie crust and use pie weights or beans to weight it down. Bake for 15 minutes then take out the foil and weights and bake for another 5 minutes or until it’s golden brown. Cool while the filling is prepared.

FILLING:

  • 2-3 pints of strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of sugar (sounds like a lot but you don’t end up using a lot of the glaze)
  • 2 tablespoons of corn starch
  • 1 cup of water
  • Juice of 2 strawberries mashed through a sieve

Clean and cut the strawberries

IMG_6691

Put the sugar and water into a pot and cook on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Once dissolved, add the corn starch and whisk until smooth. The mixture will become thick rather quickly. The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon without running down.

IMG_6697

This is the mixture with the strawberry juice added

IMG_6698

When the mixture is cool, add the strawberries and toss to coat

IMG_6700

Scoop the strawberries into the baked and cooled pie shell. Feel free to pour the remaining syrup on top but that’s where I cut a significant amount of sugar.

The end product! It was so pretty and so good!

IMG_6709

Enjoy!

On The Menu: Confetti Spaghetti & You Got The “Beet” Pouch

  • Spaghetti with all the fixins’
  • Beet and Strawberry pouch

A couple of weeks ago, we went to lunch with friends of ours to The Patio here in Georgia. When I was in the hospital for 14 days due to my water breaking early, they brought me cookies and a sandwich from this place and OMG, it was good! Now that Abby was with us, I had to find something to order besides a sandwich. Their special of the day was “confetti spaghetti.” It’s a casserole that has lots of cheese, bell peppers, onions and meat. Since Abby LOVES spaghetti, I thought this would be perfect for her. She ate so much of it and got her white shorts all dirty (ugh! mommy’s fault). Now that Abby has reached a point in her oh so refined palate where she can discern what is good and tasty to what is bland and boring, I have found myself at a loss sometimes of how to get this girl to eat her veggies. My little broccoli floret eating baby is gone (sad face). We try and do the gluten free thing but I can’t deny this girl her spaghetti and we are pretty flexible because WE LOVE FOOD. I say everything in moderation! Thus, I decided to make confetti spaghetti and put as much goodness in it as possible without comprising taste. I was thinking of how to make the sauce sweeter to cut the acidity. Well duhh, use vidalia onions! They are everywhere here in Georgia and they are super delicious. Pair that with some sweet bell peppers and no sugar is needed… I promise.  This sauce is paleo friendly if you use pure tomato sauce and it would taste amazing over some zucchini noodles.

Sam even took it to work and ate it twice in a row! Abby ate it 5 times for dinner last week and loved it every single time.

  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 package of whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 4-5 mini sweet peppers
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the beef first. We got our amazing local grass fed beef from White Oak Pastures .

IMG_6327

Chop up all your veggies into similar sizes

IMG_6342

This is the pasta and sauce I used

IMG_6333

Cook your noodles then drain and set aside

IMG_6345

In a pot, add the veggies, olive and oil, pepper and salt.  Cook them for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Then add the beef and sauce. It should look like this chunky mess.

IMG_6344

Cook the mixture on low heat for about 30 minutes. All of the veggies will have softened. Gosh, this looks so good!

IMG_6347

Toss the spaghetti with the sauce  and half of the parmesan cheese. Place it in a casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake it at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

IMG_6351

Abby enjoying it on day 2! Yes, she likes eating with her leg up.

IMG_2784

You Got The “Beet” Pouch

  • 1 large beet (about 4 inches in diameter)
  • about 10 strawberries

This is another one of Abby’s favorites as a snack now! This pouch got it’s name from the fact that every time I make it or pull one out for Abby, I sing the song “We Got The Beat” and start dancing in front of her. Weird, I know. Anyways, it’s great for any age (seriously, I would eat this like a slushy because I don’t like beets by themselves but the strawberries make this pouch taste really great). Cut the beets into fourths and boil until tender. Combine with washed and hulled strawberries in a blender and puree until the desired consistency is reached. If this is for a younger baby, adding some water will thin out the mixture. For some added health points, sprinkle some ground chia seeds in. Pour it into your favorite Squooshi character or the Infantino pouches. This will make approximately 4 pouches that are 4 ounces in size.

IMG_2646

Enjoy!

On The Menu: Paleo and Gluten Free + Baby Pouch

  • Almost Mexican Style Chicken
  • Chicken Dinner Pouch

When I was trying to look my best for my wedding 5 years ago, I ate this meal a lot. I also grew up eating it so for me, this is comfort food. When my mom comes and visits, we make and eat this at least once. It’s that good and that simple. Perhaps it’s so good because it’s so simple. This is also the chicken you’ll find when you go to your local Americanized Mexican restaurant and ask for a chicken salad, chicken quesadilla or chicken tacos. If your chicken isn’t grilled, this is the same shredded chicken but mine is better. Seriously. The stuff at restaurants almost always lacks flavor because it’s so watered down. This meal is also incredibly figure friendly and there’s absolutely no guilt with this meal. I make a huge batch of this but it only lasts for 2 meals because my hubby and I love it. We also found out that Abby loves it too.

Almost Mexican Style Chicken (salad or tacos)

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 7-8 cloves of garlic finely minced (this is what makes this dish… do not skimp out on the garlic!)
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • jalapenos (optional)
  • cilantro (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Corn tortillas if you want tacos

Boil the chicken breasts in water until cooked through. Save about 2 cups of the chicken broth and set aside. While waiting for the chicken to cool, chop the veggies.

IMG_6020

IMG_6024

Cut the lettuce pretty thinly so you can use it either for a salad or tacos. You need to use iceberg. The crunchy-ness of the lettuce goes really well with the chicken. I have also been pretty lazy and just used iceberg lettuce cups with the chicken.

IMG_6023

Shred the chicken

IMG_6026

Toss the chicken back into the pan (do not use oil… this recipe does not need ANY oil) along with the broth that was set aside. Toss in the garlic, onion and tomatoes. Salt and pepper the mixture and toss once more.

IMG_6027

Then cover for 15 minutes and cook in medium heat while stirring occasionally. The mixture will cook and all the veggies will have melded together to create a wonderful smell and taste. Check for seasoning once more. If you do add more salt, let the mixture cook for another minute. At this point, I set aside a small bowl for Abby before adding in the jalapenos. If you choose not to add the jalapenos, it’s done! If you do add them, cook for another 2-3 minutes.

IMG_6028

Warm corn tortillas for tacos or make a bed of lettuce and scoop the mixture on top. Garnish with cilantro or add as much cilantro as you like. My mom adds a whole cup of it. She loves cilantro. I actually got seconds because it hit the spot! Abby enjoyed alternating taking bites of the chicken and tortilla. She wasn’t a fan of the lettuce at all.

IMG_6032

I even ate leftovers for breakfast this morning with 2 eggs and avocado after my workout at Crossfit Reliance. I was starving and this only took 2 minutes!

IMG_6038

Baby Chicken, Peas, Corn and Squash Dinner

  • 1/2 cup of chicken mixture
  • 1/2 cup of peas
  • 1/2 cup of corn
  • 3 oz. of squash

Toss the chicken mixture into a blender. Add the peas, corn kernels and squash. Then blend. I had to add about a tablespoon of water to get it to somewhat of a smooth consistency.

IMG_6034

IMG_6036

Enjoy!