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Vegetable, Chicken Sausage, Quinoa Stir-Fry!

vegetable, chicken sausage, quinoa stir fry!I am one of those people who can’t cook something unless I want to eat it…have you ever felt like that? I just can’t get excited about cooking something unless it ‘sounds good to me’ at the moment. Last night I whipped up this vegetable, chicken sausage, quinoa stir-fry! It’s quick and delicious! One of the best parts about it is that it takes just over 30 minutes-start to finish! I love being able to walk in the door and prepare a healthy dinner—super fast! That’s my style. I love cooking…but I also love playing outside with Wells.  My recipes have to work with my schedule. This one gets 5 stars for that!

Alright, here’s a quick picture overview, then on to the actual recipe!

vegetable, chicken sausage, quinoa stir fry!These are the basic ingredients. Plus whatever veggies you have on hand, need to use up, or have partial bags of in your freezer. For me it was this bag of organic green beans (I love these and they are only $1.99 at Trader Joe’s!!), a partial bag of organic snow peas, and a partial bag of organic tri-colored peppers. Clean. Simple. Affordable!

vegetable, chicken sausage, quinoa stir fry!First, rinse your quinoa! I bought two strainers (like the one pictured above) from World Market last year for under $10. I use them…All. Of. The. Time. Prepare the quinoa in a separate pot according to the package directions. If you’re new to quinoa. It’s easy to cook and I describe it as a couscous and grits hybrid. It’s delicious! Fun fact: it’s the only grain that’s also a complete protein. Or, better said–it’s a starch with a purpose. Side note: *Can you find my little helper’s hand in the photo above?*

vegetable, chicken sausage, quinoa stir fry!Next, chop your onions (I had some left over red onion, so I threw that in too), and chicken sausage. Saute for about 6-7 minutes on medium-high. I use olive oil as my non-stick base. I do not use Teflon pans. More on that later–that could be a post all by itself!

vegetable, chicken sausage, quinoa stir fry!When the onions are translucent and the chicken sausage is heated through, add your frozen or fresh veggies. Cover the pan and saute for an additional 10 minutes. This is the point where you want to add your seasonings-garlic, tumeric, black pepper, and salt.

vegetable, chicken sausage, quinoa stir fry!When the veggies are done (but not overcooked) it’s time to dump in the quinoa! *The golden color of this dish comes from the turmeric spice that is added. It has amazing health benefits! We eat this as a ‘one dish’ dinner. I did top it with organic broccoli micro greens–just for a little added crunch!

vegetable, chicken sausage, quinoa stir fry!David, Wells, and I all love this dish! It’s easy, healthy, and can be modified! It’s a great way to use up any veggies you have hanging around! There are many different combinations that I’ve used to make this recipe and all have been delicious! It re-heats well too, we ate it for lunch the next day!

If you’ve never cooked quinoa…don’t be scared! It has a great texture and doesn’t have a strong flavor. This is a great dish to start with! If you’re familiar with quinoa–do you love it as much as we do? Try it out and leave a comment…let me know what you think! Also, please comment with any other great quinoa recipes you’d like to share!

ENJOY!

Vegetable, Chicken Sausage, Quinoa Stir-Fry!

Rating: 51

4-6 servings

Great weeknight one dish healthy dinner! Great for kids and adults! Delicious re-heated as leftovers too!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 medium onions, chopped*
  • 1 pack nitrate/nitrite free chicken sausage (about 5 links) I like the mild italian flavor
  • 1 bag frozen french green beans*
  • 1/2 bag frozen peas*
  • 2 c quinoa*, prepared according to package instructions
  • 3 cloves garlic*, minced/pressed
  • 1 t turmeric*
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1 1/2 t sea salt
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • *denotes organic ingredient
  • Optional-microgreens* for garnish

Instructions

  1. Rinse and prepare quinoa according to package instructions
  2. Chop your onions and chicken sausage
  3. Sauté onions and chicken sausage for 6-7 minutes (medium-high or until onions are translucent) *use olive oil for sautéing if your pan is not non-stick
  4. Add your frozen or fresh veggies to the chicken sausage/onion mixture
  5. Sauté an additional 10 minutes, partially covered
  6. When veggies are cooked, but not overdone, add your spices and stir well
  7. Stir in the quinoa, make sure to distribute the spices
  8. Serve immediately!
  9. Optional-top with microgreens or finely chopped greens (spinach/kale,etc...)

Notes

*I prefer to buy organic chicken sausages, but I couldn't find them in mild italian the day I went shopping. If you can't find organic chicken sausages, be sure to choose ones that are antibiotic/hormone free and do not have added nitrites/nitrates. Remember, if you don't have these exact veggies on hand, feel free to substitute what you do have. I've used: broccoli, chopped spinach, mushrooms, squash, zucchini, etc...It always turns out great! You can use any variety of quinoa (red, tri-colored, white, etc...) You can try different flavors of chicken sausages too-mild italian is just our favorite!

http://cancerchangesthings.com/vegetable-chicken-sausage-quinoa-stir-fry/

 

What we’re eating this week…

Happy Sunday…it’s almost back to work time after a 2 week Winter Break for me. That means I’m back to doing my meal plans for the entire week. I try not to run too many errands after school so that I can spend more time with Wells! I usually do my meal planning on Saturday and my shopping for the week either Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Disclaimer: this will be a ‘no frills’ post. I’m not going to include any pictures, etc…Just information. I’m just going to post about what we are going to eat this week. I work full time, have a 2 year old, and exercise 3-5 times a week. The dinners I cook have to be start to finish under an hour. I will be posting many more dinner recipes as 2015 gets going, but just wanted to share my menus for the week-in case anyone needs some ideas/inspiration! Many people have asked me what we eat-so here goes! I hope this helps. My posts of this nature in the future will probably be a bit more fancy! Here’s our ‘whole food’, healthy, plant rich meal plan for the week!

Note: I know I didn’t type organic by everything, but all of the veggies and fruit we eat are organic. Just FYI. Also important to note: David and I are going dairy free (pretty much) in 2015.

What we’re eating this week:

Breakfast Choices:

  • Organic Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats (add raw organic honey, frozen blueberries {cool it off quickly}, and organic chia seeds)
  • Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel bread-toasted with a smidgen (literally) of organic butter
  • These banana/blueberry muffins, YUM!
  • A scrambled egg (organic)
  • Some protein smoothie (used to use VEGA, but it bothers me that it’s not organic and not all ingredients are non-GMO, so I’m trying organic hemp protein this week)- When I make the hemp protein smoothies, I will  use organic unsweetened almond milk, a half of a frozen banana, and flaxseed.

Lunch:

  • Lettuce wrap sandwiches (turkey/ham-nitrate/nitrite free!), veggies (organic squash, zucchini), organic olives, etc…with hummus on large romaine lettuce leaves
  • Spinach salad-with raw walnuts and homemade dressing (will post recipe soon-balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper)
  • Baby carrots
  • Organic fruit choice-banana, apple, pear
    • WELLS: homemade lunch able (with the turkey/ham above, grass fed organic cheddar (Trader Joe’s), organic pretzel sticks, baby carrots and hummus, Annie’s organic peanut butter/chocolate chip granola bar, fruit (banana, pear, or apple chips)

Dinner:

  • Sunday-Omelets: organic eggs, spinach, onions, etc…with sliced avocados melted in the middle
  • Monday-Leftovers from last week-White Turkey Chili with side salad
  • Tuesday-Chicken Taco Salads (chicken and jarred organic salsa in crockpot to make the salsa chicken) Making my own cashew sour cream this week-Trying this recipe: scroll down until you see the sour cream. Serve with homemade guacamole, organic corn chips. Top salad with organic micro greens, organic black beans, etc…
  • Wednesday-Chicken Tacos-using the chicken, sour cream, guacamole, micro greens, and black beans from yesterday. Using romaine leaves as shells for the tacos.
  • Thursday-Quinoa Stir-Fry- Cook quinoa according to package directions (rinse first!!). Next-sauté onions, chicken sausages (organic or nitrite/nitrate free) and then add in other veggies (green beans, edamame, peas, mushrooms, peppers, etc…) I have frozen green beans and peas, so I’m using those. Combine veggies with quinoa and add salt, pepper, turmeric, etc…
  • Friday-We’ll grill something in our freezer (grass fed steaks, or chicken) and eat it with veggies and a salad…

Snacks:

  • Green drinks (we all take one to school/work each day. Here’s a recipe and I will be posting more soon!
  • This granola, yum!
  • Tea-I love organic decaf green and organic rooibos (always decaf)!
  • Wells-Even though his school provides snacks, I send organic and non-GMO snacks for him that resemble the things the other kids are eating…some regulars are non-GMO veggie straws (whole foods), Annie’s organic cheddar bunnies, organic pretzel sticks, low sugar KIND bars, fruit, and more.

I hope this helps! I promise I’ll have some pictures in the future and that I will post more recipes. Remember, any step toward eating ‘whole foods’ is a great start! Moving away from processed foods is a PROCESS, literally…but it is doable, even if you work full time and have kids!

Happy 2015!

Lilla

Refined Sugar Free Granola-Delicious and Healthy!

IMG_7530Happy November…can you believe it’s November? I know that November follows October, but seeing November 1 as the date on my phone yesterday was still shocking…I immediately started thinking about how close Christmas is! Time really flies. Another example of time flying was today when I went to my blog and realized that I haven’t posted anything in TWO MONTHS! What? How could that be? It seems like I just posted yesterday….Luckily, I know what the problem is. I need a blog fairy. Someone, ‘some fairy’ to be exact, that can come visit my house once a week…take notes as I am cooking, take pictures, edit them, and then type the posts as I dictate. That would be great. Feel free to message me if you’d like to volunteer. Joking aside, I like posting–it’s just that other responsibilities get in the way and at this point I have to prioritize. I’m not allowing myself to feel ‘guilty’ for not posting. I give myself permission to do it when I get around to it, but I don’t add it to my ‘to do’ list. That way it’s enjoyable when I can do it and I don’t have to feel like I’m ‘just crossing something off of my list.’ That said, I’ve wanted to post this recipe for a while. When we changed our diet over two years ago one thing I found VERY frustrating was that it was impossible to find affordable granola that was also low sugar. Next time you are shopping for granola check out the back of the package. Granola, in general, has a TON of added sugar. Not welcome in our home. I tried to few recipes and then modified one to suit our needs. This refined sugar free granola recipe is the result!

refined sugar free granola ingredients

When shopping for ingredients for this granola, I do not purchase organic nuts. Mostly because organic nuts are very expensive–well, let’s be honest…nuts in general are expensive. Nuts are safer than most conventional food items, so I feel fine making this granola with conventional nuts. I DO purchase raw nuts. Raw nuts have more beneficial nutrients than pre-cooked nuts…and I plan to roast them a bit anyway to make this granola. Other than the nuts, the rest of the items I do specifically purchase organic: oats, cinnamon, coconut oil, apricots (optional), and honey. Everything pictured above is from Trader Joes-except the coconut oil, sea salt, and cinnamon. You can buy organic coconut oil from Trader Joes (they are just sometimes out of it)…it’s the same price at Whole Foods (just FYI). I buy organic cinnamon from Earth Fare (bulk spice area) and refill my cinnamon container. Check out this post for more details about that! This granola is REALLY easy to make, stores well, and is a filling and healthy snack! We use it in cereal, yogurt, with fruit…the options are endless. David and Wells love it. David’s brother John is a huge fan too!

refined sugar free granolaFirst, place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together. This includes: oats, all of your nuts and seeds, salt, cinnamon, and that’s it. Next, mix all of your wet ingredients together. You will need to heat the coconut oil to liquefy it. It doesn’t take long…about 30 seconds in the microwave. Add the almond butter, vanilla, and honey to the coconut oil. I like to use a fork and/or a small wire wisk to mix the coconut oil with the other ingredients.
refined sugar free granolaNext, pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and toss together. Using two spoons to toss the mixture (like tossing a salad) works well! Make sure you coat all of the dry ingredients!

refined sugar free granola

Next, line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. If you haven’t ever used parchment paper you will want to hug me for this tip! I buy the unbleached parchment from Whole Foods. I don’t like the idea of our food cooking on paper that has been bleached with chlorine. It’s not expensive and saves A TON of time. You won’t have to wash the pans…at most you’ll just need to wipe them down. It’s a huge time saver. Bake the granola for 10 minutes on 350, stir, and then bake for an additional 10 minutes. The granola should be golden brown on the edges when you are done. Do NOT overbake…you don’t want your granola to taste ‘charred.’ Tip: Be careful–nuts can get overdone REALLY quickly. If you stir it after 10 minutes and set a timer for 10 more you should be good. It has worked for me….and I’ve made this a TON!

refined sugar free granolaThis is what it looks like when it’s done! Let it cool completely. Some of the nuts will be chewy until they are fully cooled. After they are cooled, they will be crispier.

This is a GREAT snack. Here are a few serving suggestions:

  • Serve with almond milk/milk as cereal (or serve with cereal)
  • Serve with chopped organic apricots (I cut them with scissors) they are lower sugar than raisins or cranberries (but those are good additions too)!
  • Serve with yogurt
  • Eat plain (this is my preferred way)–I eat it with a spoon!

You can store this covered for at least a week. We’ve never had any left past a week–so I don’t know how long it keeps, exactly! I store it in a glass dish with a lid on the counter. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do. Feel free to experiment with your favorite nuts/seeds. Note: I would NOT use pistachios. I tried it and they tasted charred. We don’t eat peanuts if we can help it–other nuts are just so much healthier. Actually, peanuts are legumes, not nuts…almonds are a healthier option. More on that later. Anyway, leave me a comment if you try it. Post any questions you have or suggestions! I enjoy hearing from people who are reading my posts! Happy November. I’m going to really focus on my blessings this November-will you join me?

refined sugar free granola

Granola-Delicious and Refined Sugar Free!

This granola is delicious, refined sugar free, healthy, and makes a great snack!

Ingredients

  • 5 cups organic old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup raw pecan pieces
  • 3/4 t salt (I use celtic sea salt)
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (I use creamy)
  • 1/4 cup organic honey (I use raw)
  • 3/4 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • Organic apricots, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix the oats, seeds, nuts, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
  3. Heat the coconut oil until it liquefies.
  4. Mix the almond butter, honey, and vanilla in with the coconut oil. Use a wisk or fork if needed.
  5. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients.
  6. Toss together like you're tossing a salad.
  7. Spread (in a single layer) on a parchment paper line baking pan (or two).
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, stir, then bake for 10 more minutes.
  9. The mixture is done when the edges are golden brown.
  10. Be careful not to over bake or the nuts will taste charred.
  11. Allow the mixture to cool completely.
  12. Toss in chopped apricots (if desired).
  13. Store in an airtight container.
  14. ENJOY!

Notes

Adapted from 'Joy the Baker' homemade granola.

http://cancerchangesthings.com/granola-delicious-refined-sugar-free/

 

Almond Meal Banana Nut Muffins

Almond Meal Banana Nut Muffins

These are a great for breakfast, snack, or dessert! We love these!

Almond Meal Banana Nut Muffins

photo provided courtesy of justapinch.com

Lilla’s Notes: Hands down the best almond flour muffin recipe I’ve tried…and trust me, I’ve tried a bunch! I use Trader Joe’s Almond Meal for this recipe. Also, I regularly buy more bananas than we eat and freeze the leftovers in a big bag. I break them in half before freezing them. That way I always have a stash to use for recipes! I only put half of the honey this recipe calls for. I also use 2 bananas, not three. We find them plenty sweet and super delicious! I use Trader Joe’s Organic Coconut oil in these, not butter. Also, I LOVE to add frozen blueberries–MMM! Banana/blueberry muffins! This past weekend I added 70% cacao chocolate chips…those were delicious with the bananas as well! Tips: I don’t put the chopped nuts. Wells likes these better without the added nuts. I LOVE that these are packed with protein too! We do like to heat them before eating and David likes to add a tiny dab of butter! I, however, don’t need the butter! Delicious!

Cancer Changes Things…the beginning!

Cancer Changes Things

I’m currently working on this site. I hope it will be a helpful compilation of recipes, ideas, and tips to make eating clean easier! I also plan to share information about our story and the way we have grown spiritually as well. Thanks for visiting…and thanks for bearing with me as I figure out how to start a blog! Please check out our story for more information about how cancer changed our lives. Please sign up for my newsletter for more ongoing information and posts about how cancer changes things…