Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Herbal Tea Gelatin Gummies {Paleo Friendly, Clean Eating}

One of my new favorite ingredients/supplements to always keep in the kitchen is high quality (grass-fed) gelatin. Besides being a great source of pure protein, I also love that it has many other heath benefits that pretty much make it an awesome superfood! To read more about the health benefits and creative ways to incorporate more gelatin into your diet, I highly recommend you check out these awesome articles from the Wellness Mama:
I have yet to try some of the cool ways to use gelatin as shown in the first article, but my absolute favorite that is now a staple in my house is using gelatin for homemade jello. I like to experiment with using different fresh-squeezed juices and herbal teas.

Listed below is the 'template' that I use to make a large batch of jello that sets in a 13x9 pan, and I make it thick enough to easily cut out into squares. Feel free to use whatever tea or fruit juice that you'd like!

I also want to note that the brand of the gelatin you use is very important! You want to make sure that it is sourced from grass-fed, humanely raised animals, which is not typically the kind that you find in your average grocery store (such as the popular Knox brand). The gelatin I buy is from Great Lakes, and you want to look for the containers that are red or orange, as the green container is a different type of gelatin that does not gel when mixed with liquids. You can find all types of gelatin on Amazon or at health food stores like Whole Foods, but I typically buy mine from Vitacost as it is often on sale and I can usually find a coupon code to make the cost even lower! If you are new to Vitacost, feel free to use my referral link (https://www.vitacostrewards.com/hs8JlOw) for $10 off your first purchase of $30 or more!

  • 5.5 cups of filtered water (or you may also use any juice of your choice), divided
  • 7-8 herbal tea bags
  • 8 tbsp Gelatin (or less if you don't want it very thick)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (optional - I use this for mine as I find that it intensifies the flavor of whatever tea I'm using)
  • Optional - Sweetener to taste (stevia or raw honey is ideal)
  1. Bring 4.5 cups of water to a soft boil (about 180 degrees). Add tea bags and steep for 5-6 minutes or until desired.
  2. While the tea is steeping, add the remaining 1 cup of water to a separate bowl, and whisk in the gelatin one tablespoon at a time using a fork. The mixture should become very thick and gelatinous but free of lumps. 
  3. Once the tea is done (but still hot), remove the tea bags and immediately add the gelatin mixture, lemon juice, and sweetener (if using) and stir until all is well incorporated and any lumps have dissolved. 
  4. Pour into a 13x9 inch pan, or silicone molds of your choice, and place in the fridge to set. I find that the texture is best for cutting once I refrigerate overnight or about 6-8 hours.
Make sure to avoid adding gelatin to liquids such as *fresh* kiwi, papaya, pineapple, peaches, manga, guava, and fig - as these fruits contain enzymes that prevent the thickening properties of gelatin.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Paleo Sloppy Joe's {Paleo Friendly, Clean Eating}

So first things first - sorry for the terrible quality picture! I was so hungry I just quickly snapped a picture and then proceeded to shove this entire plate down my throat in a matter of minutes. Haha! It was seriously that good. 

I used to looove sloppy joe's as a kid and found myself randomly craving 'that' type of flavor recently, so I of course set out on a quest to make a paleo-approved version and I am so so happy with it!

  • 1 lb ground meat (I have tried both ground turkey and grass-fed beef and both are delicious!)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bell pepper (green or red), chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3/4 cup bone broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable stock will also work)
  • 1- 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard (I typically use regular organic mustard, but dijon will also work)
  • 10 drops stevia (This adds a very, very slight sweetness that you normally find in sloppy joes. You can omit if you don't mind not having any sweetness, OR you can also sub for about a tbsp of honey or other sweetener such as coconut sugar if you don't mind the added sugar content)
  • 1/4-1/2 salt (I started at 1/4 tsp then added more to taste as it cooked)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder

  1. Pre-heat large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground meat, garlic, peppers, onion, and celery, and cook until the meat is almost completely browned. 
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients (bone broth, tomato paste, ACV, mustard, stevia, salt, chili powder) and mix well. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes so the flavors can mend and vegetables soften.
  3. Continue stirring occasionally, and after about 15 minutes start tasting the mixture to see if any additional flavors need to be added (such as extra salt, pepper, chili powder, or stevia - depending on your own personal taste). 
  4. This is delicious served over some steamed or mashed cauliflower, or any other vegetable(s) you enjoy! Or if you want to get real crazy and make some delicious grain-free hamburger buns, head on over to Against All Grain for a REALLY awesome recipe!
  5. Enjoy!

    Saturday, September 21, 2013

    Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup with Smoked Gouda and Chicken {Paleo Friendly, Clean Eating}

    Let me just tell you something: This soup is PHENOMENAL! The combination of roasted peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and onion just work so incredibly well together. If you like creamy tomato soup, I promise you this won't disappoint!

    • 8-10 vine-ripened tomatoes
    • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled
    • 1 onion
    • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
    • 12 oz. jar of Roasted Red Peppers, drained
    • 1 quart bone broth (chicken or vegetable broth will also work)
    • 1/4 cup grass-fed butter (kerrygold brand is ideal)
    • 1 tbsp garlic powder
    • 2 tbsp dried basil
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 1/4 tsp paprika
    • 1-2 dashes of liquid smoke (optional)
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1/2 cup coconut milk (non-Paleo eaters may use heavy cream instead)
    • 4-8 oz smoked gouda cheese, shredded (this is optional, especially if following the paleo lifestyle. But if you are able to tolerate dairy on occasion, this really gives it an extra level of flavor that is super delicious!)
    • About 3 cups shredded chicken (I simply poached 3 chicken breasts in a seasoned broth for about 20 minutes, then shredded with a fork)

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut each of the tomatoes in half and place the cut sides down on a rimmed baking sheet. Cut the onion into quarters and peel all cloves of garlic, then add them to the baking sheet. Drizzle the tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves with olive oil. (I prefer to use my Misto here, so I can simply spray an even layer of olive oil over everything.) Roast for 1 hour. 
    2. While those are roasting, now is a good time to start cooking your chicken if you don't already have some pre-cooked and shredded.
    3. Transfer the roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic cloves, and residual liquid from the baking sheet into a large stockpot. Next, add in your roasted red peppers, bone broth, butter, garlic powder, dried basil, oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, liquid smoke, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.
    4. Remove the bay leaves and transfer the mixture to a blender, only about 3-4 cups at a time (or less, depending on the size of your blender), being careful not to overfill as hot soup tends to want to shoot out otherwise. ;-) A hand/immersion blender may also be used. 
    5. Add the puréed soup back to the stockpot and keep on low-medium heat. Add in the 1/2 cup of coconut milk, smoked gouda cheese, and shredded chicken. Simmer another 2-3 minutes and serve.
    6. Enjoy!

    Thursday, August 8, 2013

    Chicken & Veggie Bake {Paleo Friendly, Clean Eating}

    This dish has quickly become one of my favorites. It's so simple, delicious, quick to throw together, and most importantly only uses one dish! YAY for less dishes!! The boyfriend REALLY loved this one too, so it's just a win all around. 

    The leftovers also reheat really well, so it's perfect to make in huge batches for meal prepping.

    • 3-4 chicken breasts, or 6 small chicken thighs
    • 1 large sweet potato
    • 3-4 carrots
    • 1 large zucchini
    • 1 small onion
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    *Get creative! Feel free to add additional spices or change up the veggies to whatever you like or have on hand.

    1. Preheat oven to 375. Chop all of your veggies into bite sized pieces, and finely chop the onion.
    2. In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and minced garlic.
    3. In a 13x9 baking dish, add in your chicken and chopped veggies. Then pour your lemon mixture on top and mix well to coat all the chicken pieces and vegetables. (This is easiest when using your hands!)
    4. Bake uncovered for 35-50 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and veggies are fork-tender. Note: depending on your oven, thickness of your chicken, and how small you chopped the veggies - your chicken might become cooked before your veggies are tender enough to your liking. If this happens, simply take the chicken out and set aside, then add your veggies back into the oven for another 5 minutes or so until they are cooked through. 
    5. Enjoy!

    Friday, August 2, 2013

    Key Lime Pie Larabars {Copy Cat Recipe}

    I'm obsessed with Larabars. It's just... I'm not all that obsessed with the price! Especially for something with only a few ingredients that I know I usually have on hand at home and could totally make myself! This was my first go at making a Larabar-copycat recipe and I think this really nailed it. I can't wait to try experimenting with all the other flavors and come up with some new flavors of my own. ;-)

    I promise you these are super easy & unbelievably tasty!

    • 1/2 cup almonds
    • 1/2 cup cashews
    • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
    • 3/4 cup chopped dates
    • 1 tbsp lime juice
    • 1/8 tsp sea salt (optional)

    1. In a food processor or high speed blender, mix together the almonds, cashews, and coconut until finely chopped.
    2. Add in the 3/4 cup dates, lime juice, and sea salt and process until you reach a dough-like consistency.
    3. Once done, you can roll the mixture into balls, press into a 8x8 pan and cut into bars, or simply empty the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper and roll into desired length/thickness then cut into bars.
    4. Place in an airtight container in the fridge for best consistency.
    5. Enjoy!

    Thursday, August 1, 2013

    Steak & Asparagus Stir Fry {Paleo Friendly, Clean Eating}

    Stir fry is a pretty much a staple in my house because it allows me to easily throw together a meal with protein and lots of veggies based on whatever I have on hand at the time. It's highly versatile and typically difficult to mess up!

    Feel free to use this recipe as a base and just mix in whatever meat and veggies you have on hand. If you end up using a little more meat and/or veggies than the original recipe calls for just be sure to add in a little extra spices and oil if necessary. And also be careful adding any extra liquid aminos or soy sauce, as the dish can end up too salty very quickly!

    Serves 4-5
    • 1 lb flank steak, cut into thin strips
    • 1 bunch asparagus, washed and chopped in half
    • 1 bell pepper, chopped into strips
    • 2 tbsp oil, divided (I used MCT oil but you can also use olive, coconut, or sesame oil)
    • 3 tbsp liquid aminos (can also sub coconut aminos or regular soy sauce)
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (can omit, or add more if you like it hot!)
    • 2 tsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
    • 3 tbsp water

    1. Wash and chop up veggies. Slice meat into strips.
    2. If serving with a side of rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice, start that process now (according to the package instructions) and let cook while you start on the stir fry.
    3. In a small bowl mix together the liquid aminos, garlic, ground ginger, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
    4. If you like your asparagus more tender, place them in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes, drain, rinse with cold water, then drain again. Skip this step for crunchier asparagus.
    5. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok or skillet on med-high heat. Once hot, add steak and stir fry until browned, but ideally still slightly pink in the middle. Remove with a slotted spoon to transfer to plate and keep warm.
    6. Reduce heat to medium. Add the last tbsp of oil to the pan along with your veggies and stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until slightly tender.
    7. In a small bowl, mix together arrowroot powder and water. Stir the mixture in with the veggies and return the meat to the pan as well.
    8. Cook just until the meat has reheated and sauce thickens.
    9. Serve over a bed of rice, quinoa, or seasoned cauliflower rice.
    10. Enjoy!

    Monday, June 24, 2013

    Healthy Raw Chocolate Cheesecake {Paleo Friendly, Clean Eating}

    Ohhh my goodness, THIS cheesecake! It is literally one of the best clean desserts that I've ever made. Ever. I literally gasped with excitement after taking the first bite because I just couldn't believe how good it tasted for how healthy it was. 

    Not only does it taste amazing, but it's also low in sugar and filled with 1.5 cups of green veggies - YES, you read that correctly - veggies!! And I promise you cannot taste them even a tiny bit. 

    This recipe originated from one of my favorite blogs - detoxinista.com. Be sure to check her out for more delicious recipes! I promise you will not be disappointed. :)


    For the crust:
    • 2 cups raw walnuts (or pecans)
    • 2 tbsp coconut oil
    • 1/4 cup raw cacao or regular cocoa powder
    • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
    • 1 tsp stevia (I recommend the NuNaturals brand)
    • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
    For the filling:
    • 2.5 cups of raw cashews
    • 1.5 cups raw zucchini, peeled & diced
    • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder (I usually like to do half & half of each)
    • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
    • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
    • 2 tsp stevia
    • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

    1. Begin to prepare the crust by placing the 2 cups of walnuts (or pecans) into a food processor and pulse until they are ground into a fine meal. Add in the coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup, stevia, and sea salt. Process again until all the ingredients are well combined.
    2. Next, line an 8 inch spring form pan with plastic wrap and then press the crust evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place the crust into the freezer while you prepare the filling.
    3. For the filling, you may either use a food processor or a *high speed* blender to mix the ingredients. I chose to use my Blendtec because I knew that it would yield a smoother filling much quicker compared to my food processor. So if you have the option of using either one, go for the  blender. If you don't have a high speed blender, use a food processor. 
    4. Process the cashews into a fine powder, then add the rest of the filling ingredients and blend very thoroughly! You want to ultimately reach a texture that is very smooth and creamy without any lumps whatsoever.
    5. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour all of your filling into the prepared pan. Place back into the freezer to set for at least 5-8 hours, or overnight. You may serve directly from the freezer or allow to thaw in the refrigerator. Either way is delicious!  (Just be sure not to leave at room temperature, otherwise the cheesecake will become too soft.)
    6. Enjoy!

    Tuesday, May 7, 2013

    Cauliflower Fried Rice - Minus the rice! {Clean Eating, Paleo Friendly)

    I have developed a deep, deep love for cauliflower this year. Yes - for cauliflower. The possibilities with it are literally endless!

    Don't believe me? Go to Pinterest and simply type in a search for 'cauliflower'... and prepare yourself to be amazed. 

    Besides the oh-so-popular cauliflower pizza that seems to be all the rage right now, this 'fried rice' recipe has also recently found its way onto my top favorite recipe list. It's just SO good! When the boyfriend first tasted it, he could hardly believe that 1) there wasn't any rice in it, and 2) it was primarily made up of cauliflower. SCORE!

    This makes a perfect side dish for Chinese night, or even as your main course by simply adding an extra protein source such as shrimp, chicken, beef, tofu, or edamame. The recipe is super versatile so also feel free to add in whatever other veggies you'd like! Next time I think I'm going to add broccoli and water chestnuts. Mmmm...

    Recipe adapted from Family Fresh Meals
    • Half a head of raw cauliflower (about 4 cups), riced
    • 1 Tbsp sesame oil 
    • 1 small onion (or half of a medium), chopped
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 3/4 cup frozen peas
    • 3/4 cup carrots, thinly sliced
    • 2 eggs (or 4 egg whites), scrambled
    • 3 Tbsp Coconut Aminos (you may also use soy sauce or liquid aminos for a non-paleo version instead)
    1. To rice the cauliflower, the easiest way is to break it into smaller pieces, place it in a food processor, and pulse it a few times until it gets to a rice-like consistency. You want to be careful not to over-process it though, or else you'll end up with mush! If you don't have a food processor, you can also use a cheese grater to produce the same consistency - and get a nice little arm workout in the process. ;)
    2. Heat sesame oil over medium/high heat in a large pan, and then saute garlic and onions for about 2-3 minutes until the onions become transparent. 
    3. Add in carrots and peas next, and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the carrots begin to soften.
    4. Stirring frequently, add in the eggs, coconut aminos, and cauliflower. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until eggs & peas are cooked through and cauliflower has softened. (If you find that the carrots and/or cauliflower are still not tender enough at this point, feel free to add in 1 tbsp of water and cover the pan for 2-3 minutes to allow the veggies to steam a little bit)
    5. Serve immediately and enjoy! 
    (ps. even the leftovers are amazing!)

    Sunday, May 5, 2013

    Homemade Almond Milk {Paleo Friendly, Clean Eating}

     *Pictured above is a double recipe.

    Ok, so I know everyone and their mother has already posted about homemade almond milk, but I feel the need to myself as well because it's just SO. FREAKIN'. GOOD! And good for you. 

    I went off the cows milk bandwagon about a year ago and started buying Silk Almond Milk... then one day looked at the back of the carton and read the ingredients (new habit you'll have on the quest of clean eating - which is REALLY awesome but kinda crappy at the same time since it ruins just about everything in a regular grocery store! But I definitely suggest you do it too!) and at that point I decided that there must be an easier way to get milk that's not filled with unnecessary fillers and preservatives. 

    So once I discovered homemade almond milk online and tried it for my first time, I vowed never to buy the store bought stuff again as long as I can help it. I make it about once a week, and the process gets quicker and easier each time you do it. 

    I bought these bottles online, but have also seen them at TJ Maxx for around $2 each. You can also use any type of container you have around the house, and mason jars will also work just as well!

    • 1 cup almonds, soaked in water for at least 4-8 hours or overnight
    • 3.5 cups fresh water (do not use the water that the almonds soaked in)
    • Optional for additional flavor:
      • For vanilla flavored: 1 tbsp vanilla extract (I love me some vanilla flavor, so feel free to use less depending on your taste!)
      • For sweetness: A few drops of liquid stevia or 1/2 tsp powdered stevia  (NuNaturals brand is my favorite by far), or 2-3 dates. You can also experiment with pure maple syrup or honey if you don't have stevia or dates.
      • 1/8 tsp sea salt (I use Real Salt)
    1. Drain almonds from soak water and rinse thoroughly. 
    2. In a high powered blender, blend together the almonds and 3.5 cups of water until smooth and creamy.
    3. Strain the milk to remove the almond pulp using a cheesecloth or nut bag. You can find cheesecloth at most grocery stores in the baking/cooking section (I know Target also has them), but the downside to this is that you can usually only use them once. If you plan on making almond milk frequently, I highly suggest you invest in a nut bag which I purchased online here.
    4. Place the strained milk back in the blender along with any ingredients you'd like to use for extra flavor and re-blend. I personally like to just use vanilla extract and tiny bit of sea salt.
    5. Pour into desired container(s) and store in the fridge for up to a week. 
    6. ENJOY! :)

    *Curious on what to do with the leftover almond pulp instead of throwing it away? 
    - Make almond meal (flour) of course! Spread the almond pulp evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet and place in your oven on the lowest setting (mine goes down to about 200 degrees) for 2-4 hours until completely dry. It typically takes me around 3 hours. Once dry, place the almond pulp in a food processor or high powered blender and pulse until the texture thins out into a flour-like consistency. 
    - I haven't found my favorite 'go to' recipe using the leftover almond meal yet, but I'm actively experimenting and will definitely share it with you all once I do! :)

    Monday, April 22, 2013

    {Clean Eating} Puffed Quinoa & Goji Raw Energy Bars

    I am *loving* these bars! I bought goji berries for the first time ever this past weekend and to be honest, I wasn't quite sure what to do with them. All I knew is that I've seen a ton of people post about them on instagram and that they're an antioxidant-rich superfruit.

    So after doing a little bit of research, I figured these babies would be perfect in a raw energy bar. 

    For those of you who have never heard of (or used) goji, quinoa, or chia seeds - here's a little run down of all the fantastic health benefits from some of the main ingredients I've included in this recipe:
    Goji Berries: Touted to be one of the most nutrient-rich fruits in the world since they are jam packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants. They are considered a complete source of protein, have 500 times more vitamin C per ounce of oranges, and a single goji berry can contain up to 21 trace minerals, including zinc, iron, copper, calcium, and 18 different amino acids. (Umm.. why didn't I start eating these sooner?!)

    Quinoa: Seriously one of my favorites! I rarely cook with rice anymore since quinoa is SO much better for you! And like goji berries, quinoa is also a complete protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids. It contains iron, lysine, magnesium, Riboflavin (B2), manganese, and almost twice as much fiber as any other grain.

    Chia Seeds: In JUST 2 tablespoons of these little guys, chia has 5x the amount of calcium than milk, 3x the amount of antioxidants in blueberries, 3x the amount of iron in spinach, 3x the amount of fiber in oatmeal, 2x the amount of potassium in a banana, and 2x the amount of protein than any other bean, seed, or grain. I actually had to start buying these in bulk because I add them to everything!

    (Makes 18 small bars or 12 regular size bars)
    • 2 cups puffed quinoa
    • 1/2 cup quick oats
    • 2 tbsp chia seeds
    • 1/4 cup goji berries, finely chopped (I pulsed them a few times in my mini-food processor)
    • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (my scoop is 1/4 cup)
    • 1/4 cup raw honey
    • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
    Chocolate Coating:
    *You can also simply melt some dark chocolate if you prefer. I like to make my own to avoid added sugar, chemicals, or preservatives.
    • 1/2 cup raw cacao or cocoa (I use half and half of each since the raw cacao is still a bit strong for my taste)
    • 1 tbsp vanilla protein powder (optional, you can also use 1 extra tbsp of cacao in place of protein powder if you'd like)
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
    • 1/2 tsp powdered stevia (the NuNaturals NuStevia brand tastes the best in my opinion)

    1. In a large bowl, mix the quinoa, quick oats, chia seeds, goji berries, protein powder, honey, and coconut oil until thoroughly combined. 
    2. Cover a cookie sheet or large cutting board with wax or parchment paper. Pour the mixed ingredients onto the lined cookie sheet/cutting board and spread the mixture out into a square shape, using your hands, until you have reached the desired thickness of the bars. *You'll likely notice that the mixture is a bit crumbly, but just form the shape as firmly as you can and the next step will firm it up for you.
    3. Place the sheet into the freezer to set for a couple minutes. Once your mixture has hardened, take the sheet back out and *carefully* cut into bars. Since these bars can get a little crumbly it's very important that you cut slowly to avoid any pieces from breaking off.
    4. Place the cut bars back into the freezer (or fridge) to remain cool while you make the chocolate coating. 
    Chocolate Coating:
    1. Mix the cacao, protein powder, melted coconut oil, and stevia in a small bowl. Then stir, stir, stir! It will likely take you a couple minutes until all the lumps are out and the chocolate is smooth. 
    2. To drizzle the bars, simply pour the chocolate mixture into a small ziplock bag and cut a small hole at the tip.
    3. Or you can coat the bottom of the bars either by dipping them straight in the bowl you used to mix, or pour some of the mixture on to a plate and dip them that way.
    4. Since these contain coconut oil (which melts very easily), be sure to keep these stored in your fridge until ready to eat.
    5. Enjoy!
     *Note: These are also SUPER delicious when plain, without any added chocolate. If you wish to skip the chocolate, I would definitely recommend just adding a little bit more liquid (such as coconut oil, honey, maple syrup, or coconut nectar) just to give the mixture more 'sticking' power since you won't have the extra help from the chocolate.