Healthy Dinner Ideas – 7 April

I promised to write about food. So here it goes!

I just announced on my FB that I was becoming a vegetarian. Some people were very excited that I was finally being honest with myself and the fact that eating meat was leaving me feeling sluggish, my body was struggling to break down the proteins in animal flesh. Animal flesh from cows that should have been happily grazing and rollicking in green pastures, eating lush green grass, and feeding their babies; chickens that should be running around, gobbling bugs and seeds off the ground. But I will stop myself before I continue the animal rights tangent…

As I raise my own children, I wonder what if the roles were reversed. What if I feared for my children’s safety every day that someone stronger than myself might rip my child away from my arms, only to eat them? Sickening, I know. But after reading a news article about the Chinese government apprehending a company that was using dead babies in some “magical” energy pill that other humans were actually consuming, anything can happen! 

With all these disturbing thoughts on my mind, I decided to finally nix all the meat in my life! I am still opting to eat a few eggs and cheese, I just can’t give up cheese – there is nothing as incredible as raw gorgonzola atop spinach leaves, paired with some dried cranberries and fresh Bosc pear slices, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. Needless to say, the cheese is staying! 

As if THAT didn’t make you hungry enough, I am now going to give you a few simple, healthy, and delicious dinner ideas! 

For the record, I do a lot of gluten-free cooking, but we do eat some gluten around here. I will alert you when you can use a gluten-free option or when something is naturally gluten-free. Also, keep in mind that I normally just cook for my husband and myself. Our toddler son is incredibly picky, our daughter just eats whatever veggies we are eating. I don’t try to force my toddler to eat with us, I just let him graze on veggies and fruit throughout the day. I focus on feeding myself because this hard-working mama deserves it! 

Dinner Inspiration #1: Greek Tortilla Pizzas

Time until Dinner: 20 minutes

Ingredients (enough for 2 adults):

4 Whole Wheat Tortillas (or GF) – I really need to start making my own instead of buying the organic ones from Whole Foods

Hummus – We are in love with Red Pepper Hummus

Cut up veggies – I use a mix of red, green, yellow, and orange bell pepper; mushrooms; spinach leaves; baby broccoli 

Kalamata Olives (pitted, sliced in half)

Feta Cheese (omit for vegan meal) and Shredded Cheese (optional)

Instructions:

1. Place tortillas on a cookie sheet, turn oven onto 350 degrees F.

2. Spread tortillas with hummus. Arrange sliced up veggies and kalamata olives over this, sprinkle with feta cheese. If you want, you can add shredded cheese for more of a “pizza” feel. You could even nix all the cheese and have a completely vegan meal if you like!

3. Place pizzas in oven for about 10 minutes, until the tortillas are crispy on the edges.

4. Take out of oven, allow to cool for a minute before slicing and serving. Best served with a nice salad on the side.

Dessert Option: Throw a few small sweet potatoes in the oven as it preheats and leave them in until you are done with dinner (about 40 minutes). They should be very soft and are best served with a drizzle of honey.

 

Dinner Inspiration #2: Pasta with Italian style sauce 

Time until Dinner: 10-15 Minutes

Italians don’t just throw tomato sauce on pasta during the summer, they take advantage of a variety of vegetables! This simple recipe seeks to capture some of the flavors of summertime.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup yellow squash, thinly sliced and halved

1/2 zucchini, thinly sliced and halved

5 Small Mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/4-1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 28-oz can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes (we buy ours from Target)

1 16-oz package pasta (we used the organic Cappellini from Target, GF may be used here)

Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Dried or fresh basil

Instructions:

1. Bring water to a boil for pasta.

2. Heat a pan to sauté vegetables in (we use cast iron, so it takes a few minutes). While waiting, wash and chop vegetables. 

3. Saute vegetables in pan with a little olive oil. Throw pasta in now boiling water in pot, add a dash of olive oil to prevent sticking.

4. Stir the vegetables, cover with a lid for a couple minutes. Add canned tomatoes and some dried or fresh basil. Stir together.

5. Drain pasta when thoroughly cooked.

6. Serve pasta with sauce, sprinkle with cheese. Enjoy!

Dessert option: Fresh berries (we buy organic), served with a drizzle of warm chocolate sauce (equal amounts coconut oil, honey, and cocoa powder heated on low). 

 

 

Eryana’s 1st Birthday

It is SO hard to believe that one year ago on this date, I was in labor. 

I can’t believe our baby girl, our Bagel, has been in this world for one year now! It is so hard to see her walking all over the place. Where has time gone? Where is my baby!?! I feel like she came into this world ready to meet it head on, ready to explore and learn. There was no sweet and snuggly baby, just sheer determination. 

Now here she is one year after birth, she loves exploring the world – as of late, she enjoys knocking over block towers built by her brother, she savors snuggles with daddy, and eats a variety of food! Her vocabulary is ever-growing, but already includes “Da-dee,” “Lee,” “Thank You,” and more. She just blows my mind! 

We celebrated her amazing self yesterday with a party. In attendance were my dad (Dooda) and my brother; Aaron’s parents and brother, and our niece; my dear friend, (Aunt) Stephie. 

I have been on a gluten-free and sugar-free kick. I have a plethora of friends who have children with serious food allergies, so I am always trying my hand at making treats geared towards them. The cake I made for Eryana was one of these creations… it turned out well, although I think it needed a couple extra things in it to turn out perfect. I am sharing the recipe for all those who have children with food allergies and don’t know where to begin on making a birthday cake.

Eryana’s Birthday Cake Recipe

2 cups Brown Rice flour

1 TBSP baking soda (I did not use baking powder, as this contains corn, a common allergen)

1 tsp finely ground sea salt

1 TBSP cinnamon

1/2-1 cup water

2 cups apple sauce (I made my own apple-pear sauce, but jarred would work just as well)

1 large tablespoon Spectrum Organic shortening (palm oil based)

1/2 cup honey (I did not put any honey in, all the mainstream family was weirded out)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).

2. Mix dry ingredients together. Add water, applesauce, shortening, and honey. Stir thoroughly.

3. Grease a cake pan with the shortening. Pour batter in. 

4. Place in oven. Cook for 20 minutes, possibly longer depending on the shape and size of your cake pan. 

5. Allow to cool before frosting

 

Eryana’s Birthday Cake Frosting

Every girl deserves to have delicious pink frosting! But all those icky artificial dyes are just NOT okay. 

1 cup Spectrum Organic shortening

1 cup Strawberries (de-stemmed) 

1 Banana, smashed (optional)

1/4 cup Brown Rice Flour (helped everything stick together)

Instructions

1. Place strawberries into a blender until a fine pulp. Pour into a shallow pan.

2. Place shortening into pan, turn on low heat. Stir strawberries and shortening together. Add Banana and flour. 

3. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit before frosting cake. 

 

We decorated our cake with loads of fresh berries! It was really beautiful. The cake is very dense, as most gluten-free items tend to be.

Eryana mainly chowed down on the berries, which was totally fine with me!

We also made really yummy ice-cream that had honey in it. We will definitely be making more over the summer!

 

Eryana is such a spunky girl, I hope I can continue making her healthy treats for years to come!