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Chicken, Hummus and Avocado Wraps- Lunch on the Go!

Are you always searching for lunch options?  Ones that taste good, are easy to make, fast to take, and that the kids will eat?  Something with some versatility, but a reliable enough base recipe that you can be sure you always have the goods on hand? Me too.  Thats why I LOVE these wraps.  The are pretty healthy, super adaptable, and best of all, super delicious.

At some point early in the week I make up a couple of chicken breasts worth of either grilled or pan sautéed chicken with herbs.  My personal favorite seasoning for grilled chicken is original Mrs. Dash.  If I’m cooking it in a skillet, I slice the chicken and add Weber Grill seasoning Garlic and Herb.  Seriously, so easy and so good.  Then I have enough cooked chicken on hand for a few meals.

My base recipe is to use a whole wheat wrap, some homemade hummus (but store bought is fine!), 2-3 ounces of chicken strips (you can adjust this based on your needs), 1/4 sliced avocado and a handful of spinach.  Spread the hummus on the wrap, add the avocado, chicken and spinach, roll and enjoy!

My kids love this, and don’t even seem to notice the spinach.  It travels well.  It’s even good served with the chicken hot or cold.  combined with a salad, it’s a meal that weighs in right about 300 calories.  It’s a great midday boost of chicken, fiber, monounsaturated fat, protein, and iron.  We love it.

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And you can change-up the ingredients.  Don’t like spinach?  Try it with kale or romaine.  Not a fan of chicken?  Try falafel, seasoned beef or turkey.  I also love to do wraps with greek seasoned turkey burger, spicy sautéed green beans, humus and a bit of feta cheese.  The sky is the limit with these tasty wraps!

You can also stick them with toothpicks and slice them into rounds to go in lunch boxes for little ones.  I think they are a great lunch to take on outings.

I hope you enjoy these, I’m excited to take them with us to the pool, zoo, botanical gardens and all of our summer adventures!

photo credit: Breakfast at the Fog via photopin (license)

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Sweet Potato Noodles and Chicken- a delicious twist!

Some of you may have a veggie spiralizer.  Like you, it may be collecting dust in a drawer.  This recipe is a great way to get some use out of your spiralizer, and is super delicious and packed with nutrients.  It’s also a great veggie rich dinner dish.  If you don’t have a spiralizer, fear not, you can use a mandolin slicer or a vegetable peeler instead.  I apparently have a low grade spiralizer, because i was only able to spiral slice half a sweet potato before I lost traction.  So I ended up using my mandolin anyway, and then just cutting the coins into ribbons.  You need super thin slices.  I also used the mandolin for the onions.

This recipe is adapted from the Get Inspired Everyday blog, and their recipe for Cajun Sweet Potato Noodles.  I almost think “cajun” is a misnomer, because this dish is not at all spicy.  I also did not have chicken thighs on hand, so I used breast.  I think this dish would be even better with beef or pork.  Even my kids loved it!  It is super easy to throw together, and I loved that my kids were able to help! I served it as a main course, but you could serve it as a side dish either with or without the meat.  It’s pretty versatile.

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Ingredients
Sweet Potato Noodles:
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and the ends cut off
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • ½ Teaspoon sea salt
Chicken:
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 Teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • ½ Teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
Veggie Noodles:
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, about 15, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and the ends sliced off
  • 1 large zucchini, about 12 ounces, ends sliced off
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
  • 3 tomatoes, about 12 ounces, chopped (I used frozen from my garden last year because that’s what I had- it worked great, and I imagine canned or grape tomatoes would work well too)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, about ½ of a small bunch
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
  2. Start by spiralizing the sweet potatoes, and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Spiralize the red onion and zucchini and set them aside. Clean the spiralizer right away for easy cleanup! Slice the red pepper into matchsticks and slice the mushrooms.
  4. Toss the sweet potato noodles with the avocado oil, Cajun seasoning, and sea salt. Set them aside while you prepare the chicken.
  5. Cut the chicken thighs up into bite-sized pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, when the pan is preheated add the avocado oil, cut up chicken, Cajun seasoning, and sea salt to the pan. Sauté the chicken until it’s no longer pink. Transfer it to a bowl and set aside.
  6. Place the sweet potato noodles in the oven to roast.
  7. While the sweet potato noodles are roasting sauté the prepared bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, zucchini, and garlic in the remaining 1 tablespoon of avocado oil until the veggies are just tender.
  8. When the sweet potato noodles have softened, but not turned to mush, about 8 minutes. Remove them from the oven and add them to the pan with the sautéed veggies. Add the sautéed chicken, chopped fresh tomatoes, and fresh cilantro.
  9. Cook just long enough to heat through and serve immediately!

Enjoy!!

Read more: Cajun Sweet Potato Noodles | GI 365 http://gi365.co/food/cajun-sweet-potato-noodles/#ixzz43kerDh3F
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Pure Spoon baby food can make great recipes better!

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I was thrilled to try a new baby food on the market called Pure Spoon, anytime we are improving what are babies are eating is a win for me.  They are using what is called High Pressure Processing or HPP for the baby food.  It is a method that uses pressure as opposed to high heat to pasteurize food.  It has little to no effect on the nutritional value or flavor of the whole food, while heat can and does destroy some nutrients.

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Alyson Ebrele the founder of Pure Spoon

Fruits and vegetables are hard to get your family to eat and it seems the more nutritious they are the more they don’t like them.  It is a problem that I run into daily around my house as most of my kids only like the basics of green beans and corn.  When they were babies they all started out on only fruits and veggies and you would think that it would be a given that they would continue to like them, but I have found the opposite to be true.  I am convinced it is because of the way the baby food is made and processed that has us longing for other flavors as soon as we can.

 

 

Pure Spoon is here to change all of that with their Organic purees made from 100% fresh, certified organic fruits and veggies. I first knew it was different when they were shipped to me in a cooler box and they were all cold. These are not just the jars you can store in the pantry forever, this is fresh food for your baby.  Making baby food is easy but honestly it is labor intensive and honestly rather messy.  You also never know if the consistency is right as it tends to vary when you do it yourself.  I love that Pure Spoon now makes it easy to get the homemade flavor and nutrition in simple containers.  These are good for sick or elderly people who have trouble swallowing or chewing as well, as they can get pure fruits and vegetables in awesome flavors.

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I was inspired to make something delicious with this baby food to get fabulous nutrition in something that would never expect.  I was making a carrot cake for our Easter dinner and it seemed a perfect way to get some of those in there.  I made my recipe as normal and added one half a container of just carrots and half a container of sweet potato and apple to it.  This made my cake so much more moist and flavorful I was amazed at the result.

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Pure Spoon Boosted Carrot Cake

1 8 oz can of crushed pineapple

1/2 container of Pure Spoon Carrots

1/2 container Pure Spoon Carrots and Sweet Potato

2 cups of grated carrots

4 eggs

1 cup of granulated sugar

1 cup of packed brown sugar

1 cup of vegetable oil

2 cups of flour

2 tsp of baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp of cinnamon

1/2 cup of chopped pecans

 

Directions

Drain pineapple except for 2 tbs of juice.  In a mixing bowl beat carrots, eggs, Pure Spoon foods, sugars, oil, and pineapple with juice until well blended.  In a different bowl mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the carrot mixture and then stir in pecans.

Pour into a buttered 13 x 9 inch cake pan and bake at 350° for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean.  Cool completely.

For the frosting mix 2 packages of softened cream cheese with 1/4 of a cup of butter add 2 tsp of vanilla and gradually add 1 to 2 cups of powdered sugar until smooth.  Garnish with chopped pecans and refrigerate until serving. Serves 12.

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Whether you are looking to improve nutrition and sneak in some extra fruits and veggies in your family’s diet or just want the best and most nutritious baby food for your baby Pure Spoon has you covered! You will be amazed at the difference in taste, texture, and nutrition!  Check out their website, and also their social media channels.  Be on the look out for a fantastic giveaway on this blog, where you can win your own full set of baby foods to try.

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Egg Cups- The Easiest Single Serve Omelettes You’ll Ever Make

As part of my 3 month personal diet challenge, I needed to find some breakfasts that were healthy, had enough protein to sustain me for a few hours, and were also ready to grab and go on school days.  These little omelettes are the perfect solution!

eggcups

Ingredients:

12 eggs (medium to large)

Shredded cheese I used Monterey Jack

finely diced veggies I used sweet peppers and green onions (I forgot the spinach because I set it aside)

Deli meat (I used Black Forest Ham)

splash milk

 

This is about as easy as recipes get.  First, spray a 12 large muffin tin with nonstick spray.  I didn’t.  I was sorry.  Next, line each cup with one slice of ham.  Dice your veggies and put about a tablespoon of veggies in the bottom of each cup.  Add a tablespoon of shredded cheese.  The crack your eggs into a large measuring cup (something with a spout will really help you pour more accurately), beat and pour into each cup slowly.  You want to get them about 3/4 full.  I actually found that with the medium eggs I was using, one egg filled one cup exactly.  Pop them in the oven at 350 and bake for 20 minutes.

The variations are endless mushrooms, ham, bacon, green peppers, hash browns, asparagus, broccoli, the sky is the limit on veggies.  And you can switch up the meats too.  Or add an extra slice for a little extra protein.

 

Based on this recipe, each “muffin” has 116 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 1 g total carbohydrate, 201 mg sodium, and 11 g protein.

 

 

 

 

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Peeps-a-licious! Cookbook

Peeps-LogoDo you love PEEPS? My husband is a huge PEEPS fan and every time they come out with new ones we are buying up all he can find it is sometimes a little crazy, but he thinks they are the best candy that is out there!

I had never thought to make anything out of PEEPS besides Easter Baskets, until I saw this awesome book called Peeps-a-licious, this features 50 recipes  that are PEEPS inspired from some favorite food bloggers.  I had no idea there were so many things you could do with a PEEP.

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There are Easter, Christmas, Valentines, and even Thanksgiving recipes for you to try your hand at baking and cooking with PEEPS!  There are also lots of PEEP styled cupcakes, pops, cookies, cakes, brownies and more.  I am looking forward to making the No-Bake Lemon PEEPS cake, as those are two of my husbands favorite flavors.

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This 128 page full color dessert cook book has simple and complex recipes for just about any occasion you can think of.  If you love PEEPS or like me have a PEEP lover in your house this is something you are going to want to get and hang on to.

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Just Born, Inc. is a family-owned candy manufacturer that has been in business since 1923. Just Born is the manufacturer of PEEPS, MIKE AND IKE, HOT TAMALES, GOLDENBERG’S PEANUT CHEWS, TEENEE BEANEE Gourmet Jelly Beans, and JUST BORN Jelly Beans.

Just Born acquired the Rodda Candy Company of Lancaster, PA, in 1953. As a result of the acquisition, the PEEPS Chick was “hatched”! What once took 27 hours to make by hand with a pastry tube was cut down to a 6-minute process through mechanization created by Bob Born, son of founder Sam Born. On average, more than 5 million PEEPS marshmallow confections are made every day in the USA. For over 60 years, PEEPS has traditionally been an iconic brand found in Easter baskets everywhere. Today, PEEPS Brand marshmallows can be found in a variety of colors, shapes, flavors, and sizes and for all seasons.

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Delicious, Tangy Sourdough Bread

Do you wanna bake the BEST Sourdough Bread at home??

Everyone loves a fresh, hot loaf of bread.  But a lot of people are intimidated by bread baking.  And for a long, long time, I too was one of those people.  Now I can say with confidence that most bread recipes are fairly straightforward and can be successfully accomplished by any baker.  But for some reason, people (again, myself included!) continue to be terrified of sourdough.  Well, I’m here to tell you that sourdough bread is perhaps the MOST easy of all the breads to make! What’s that you say? Easy? Are you sure? YES! I’m sure! And I’m going to teach you how.  I will use two recipes, one for those who want to make and keep a starter and one for those who don’t want to have to worry about keeping a starter going.  Again, a starter isn’t scary.  If I can keep one alive, ANYONE can.  I have gone a month or more forgetting to feed mine and it always bounces right back.

starter

First, the recipe for folks who want tasty, tangy sourdough bread but don’t want to keep a starter in the fridge.  We shall call this:

No Knead Sourdough Bread

This recipe is loosely based on the Alton Brown ‘Knead Not” sourdough bread recipe (I LOVE Alton Brown)

Ingredients17 1/2 ounces bread flour, plus extra for shaping
1/4 teaspoon active-dry yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
12 ounces filtered water
2 tablespoons cornmeal

Directions

Whisk together the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and stir until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 19 hours.  Alton recommends the 19 hours.  I personally recommend more like 36 hours for super tangy sour taste.  You can throw it in the fridge if you feel the need.  But its not necessary.

dough

After 19 hours, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Punch down the dough and turn it over onto itself a couple of times. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rest 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, shape the dough into a ball. Coat hands with flour, if needed, to prevent sticking. Sprinkle the tea towel with half of the cornmeal and lay the dough on top of it, with the seam side down. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the other half of the cornmeal and cover with the towel. Allow to rise for another 2 to 3 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

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Oven baking: While the dough is rising the second time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a 4 to 5-quart Dutch oven in the oven while it preheats. Once the dough is ready, carefully transfer it to the pre-heated Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 210 to 212 degrees F, another 15 minutes. Transfer the bread to a cooling rack and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Outdoor coals: Heat charcoal in a chimney starter until ash covers all of the coals. Place 20 to 24 coals on a Dutch oven table. Place a cooling rack (or other wire rack that is at least 2-inches high) directly over the coals. Set a 5-quart Dutch oven on top of this rack and allow to preheat during the last 30 minutes of the second rise. Carefully transfer the dough to the Dutch oven and cover with the lid. Place 20 coals on top. Bake until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 210 to 212 degrees F, about 45 minutes. Transfer the bread to a cooling rack and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

This is a super easy, super high “Ahhhhh!” factor bread that requires no kneading.

 

And for those who want to start a starter and keep it going, here are the instructions for a starter as well as my personal favorite sourdough bread recipe.

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Extra Tangy Sourdough Bread (courtesy King Arthur Flour)

  • 1 cup “fed” sourdough starter
  • 1 2/3 cups lukewarm water
  • 5 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon to 5/8 teaspoon sour salt (citric acid), optional, for extra-sour bread
  • Instructions

    1. Combine the starter, water, and 3 cups of the flour. Beat vigorously for 1 minute.
    2. Cover, and let rest at room temperature for 4 hours. Refrigerate overnight, for about 12 hours.
    3. Add the remaining ingredients: 2 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and sour salt, if you’re using it. Knead to form a smooth dough.
    4. Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl until it’s relaxed, smoothed out, and risen. Depending on the vigor of your starter, it may become REALLY puffy, as pictured; or it may just rise a bit. This can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. Understand this: sourdough bread (especially sourdough without added yeast) is as much art as science; everyone’s timetable will be different. So please allow yourself to go with the flow, and not treat this as an exact, to-the-minute process.
    5. Gently divide the dough in half.
    6. Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves, and place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 2 to 4 hours. Don’t worry if the loaves spread more than they rise; they’ll pick up once they hit the oven’s heat. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
    7. Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
    8. Make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
    9. Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.

    To make starter, all you need is STONE GROUND flour of any sort.  It must be stone ground to contain the wild yeasts necessary to get your starter going.  I have crafted starters from stone ground amaranth, even stone ground corn meal.  Anything is fine as long as it’s stone ground.  Then you basically put equal parts water and grain in your starter.  My first starter was 2 oz of regular all purpose flour, a pinch of sugar to feed the yeast, 2 ounces of stone ground amaranth and 4 ounces of water.  You let it sit at room temp and stir every 12 hours and every 24 hours you take half out and add 2 ounces of flour and 2 ounces of water.  After a week it should start to smell of bread, beer or alcohol.  It’s now ready to use!

    Today I tried a new starter strain and I used a few spoonfulls of my old starter, 2 ounces of stone ground corn meal, 2 ounces of all purpose flour, 4 ounces of water and 1/4 tsp of commercial packaged yeast.  It is already bubbling away on my counter and I’m pretty excited to use it!

Happy Baking!

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