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Recipe: Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup

creamy-sweet-potato-and-carrot-soup

Recipe: Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 52 ounces

Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, about (3/4 cup), chopped
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about ¾ pound)
  • 1 ¾ cup water
  • 14.5 oz can chicken broth
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons half and half
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley
Instructions
  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a stockpot over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook until tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Add remaining butter to the pan. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook for 1 minute or until butter begins to brown.
  4. Add sweet potatoes, water, chicken broth, and carrots. Bring to a boil.
  5. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  6. Place soup mix in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid; secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid. Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl.
  7. Stir in half-and-half, salt, and pepper.
  8. Pour into bowls. Sprinkle with parsley.

 

October Unprocessed 2016: 31 Days of Real Food – The Results

october-unprocessed-2016

The Results

This year was my 4th attempt at this October Unprocessed “real food” challenge.  I certainly did not stick to this challenge 100% of the time, but I feel like I did better than my previous 3 attempts at the challenge and I learned more than ever this time around!  I also participated in a few Clean Eating challenges throughout the month, so that helped me to stay on track.  My weight did not change at all as a result of this challenge, but I didn’t expect it to and that wasn’t one of my goals, so that is completely fine with me.

I did find myself feeling exhausted a few weeks into the challenge because I was having to make 2 completely different meals much of the time – one for me and my husband, and then something completely different for the kids.   The last few weeks of the challenge, I just decided to compromise and make something I knew the kids would eat, and then I would make a healthier version for me to eat (for example, when the kids had tacos in taco shells, I just had the taco meat over rice.)  I let go of my need to have everything 100% unprocessed for simplicity (for example, the first time I made our favorite meatball recipe this month, I modified it to use oats instead of breadcrumbs.  As a result, the kids didn’t like it.  I didn’t feel it was worth the effort to make it 100% unprocessed and have the kids not eat it, so the next time I made it, I used the usual breadcrumbs, and I ate it.)

This year, my husband decided to join me in the beginning of the challenge, and that made it so much easier because he wasn’t bringing unhealthy foods into the house.  I think the first step to clean eating begins in the grocery store.  If you don’t buy it and you don’t bring it into the house, then you’re not going to eat it.  If you can get other family members on board, then that is a huge help, but I am not a believer in forcing anyone to take the challenge with me, especially the kids.  I believe they will learn by example and be more open to trying new foods the more they see me eating them.

This year, I’m in no rush to go back to eating junk food.  I actually WANT to continue on with the challenge and continue to find some new, healthy recipes.  Right now, I don’t even crave the Halloween candy that has filled my kitchen, and that is a big deal for me and my sweet tooth.

What Did I Learn?

I found some AMAZING new recipes this month, and I’m so excited to add them into our meal rotation and share those recipes in this post!   Continue reading

Recipe: Taco Meat

Taco Tuesday has become one of our favorite traditions at our house!  I love it because I don’t have to decide what to cook on Tuesdays, and the kids look forward to it because they love tacos and they are able to customize it to their own tastes.  Finally, something the whole family enjoys!

When I took the October Unprocessed challenge this year, I discovered a taco seasoning recipe that my whole family loves.  I love it because it costs less than buying the seasoning packets, it is very quick and easy to make, and I know the exact ingredients that are going into it.  If you’re trying to avoid bread, this is just as delicious served on top of rice.

taco-meat-with-jasmine-rice-logo-top Continue reading

Recipe: Haddock Chowder

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Being from Maine originally, I grew up on haddock chowder.  This chowder is the perfect comfort food on a cold, winter day.  Feel free to modify the following recipe to suit your own tastes (add celery, other fish or seafood, etc.).  Enjoy! 🙂  Continue reading

Recipe: Chocolate Banana Smoothie

I am in the middle of taking the October Unprocessed Challenge (a challenge to eat only REAL foods for the entire month of October.)  I have been drinking lots of smoothies this month, and I have discovered a new one that I love!  This  smoothie tastes great, and it’s made with ingredients I usually always have on hand.  So, when I have plans to make a different smoothie and discover that I’m out of yogurt or berries, this is usually what I’ve been going to.  It tastes a lot like chocolate milk to me, only without the added white sugar!

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Prep time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 16 ounces

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces Milk, any type (Cow's milk, Almond, Soy, Coconut...use what you prefer)
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey, preferably raw and local
  • 2 Bananas, ripened and frozen
  • 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy! 🙂

 

October Unprocessed Challenge 2016: 8 Days of REAL Food

october-unprocessed-2016

We are almost halfway through the October Unprocessed Challenge (eating only REAL food for the entire month of October)!  This is my 4th year taking the challenge, and I am still learning so much every day!

My greatest accomplishment so far this year was finding a recipe for taco seasoning that my whole family loves!!  Taco Tuesday is so much better now, and I feel great knowing exactly what is in the seasoning!  If I get nothing else out of this challenge, I will be happy about my new taco night discovery! 🙂

This year has seemed the easiest so far of all the years I’ve attempted the challenge (last year I only lasted a few days, and then I gave up!).  This blog is what is keeping me accountable this year, and knowing that I’m going to post everything I eat is one of the main reasons I haven’t given up.  Although it seems easier than previous years, this challenge is still a LOT of work and takes a lot of planning and prep, since I often have to make 2 meals for dinner since my kids will not eat some of these new foods (although I do make them try everything.)

Below is a list of EVERYTHING I have eaten for the first 8 days, along with links to many of the recipes.  It’s not 100% unprocessed (chocolate chips are my weakness), but I am happy with my progress so far.  I am surprised that I have not really had any cravings for sweets, and I have not felt hungry at all.

For more real-food recipe ideas each day, check out the Journey To Complete Wellness Facebook page.

If you have any favorite real-food recipes, please feel free to share them in the comments on this post or on the Journey to Complete Wellness Facebook page!  I’ll take all the help I can get! 🙂

October Unprocessed 2016

Saturday, October 1

Breakfast: Omelet with Peppers, Onions, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

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Snack:  Grapes ,cashews, raisins
Lunch: Salad (Romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, raisins) w/balsamic

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Dinner: Honey Balsamic Sheet Pan Chicken

This is delicious!  I will be making this again (maybe a few more times this month)! 🙂

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Sunday, October 2

Breakfast: Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes

I love these, and my 12-year old daughter does, too!

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Snack:  Celery Stick, Raisins, Grapes, Cashews
Lunch: Leftovers from Dinner and  Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

The soup is so tasty!  My 13-year-old daughter loves it as well!

Dinner:  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

This was good, but my family was not crazy about it.  I had a lot of leftovers that I froze in individual portions to use later in the month.

 

Monday, October 3

Breakfast:  Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

chocolate-banana-smoothie

Snack: Plain Greek Yogurt w/1 T honey & 1T chocolate chips, Popcorn
Lunch: Leftover Chili
Dinner: Mozzarella-Stuffed Slow Cooker Meatballs

This is a favorite in our house!

 

Tuesday, October 4

Breakfast: Leftover Banana Pancakes/Kiwi/Slice of Boar’s Head Deli Turkey
Snack: Fuji Apple, 5.3oz Greek Yogurt, ½ T Honey & 1T chocolate chips
Lunch: Leftover Chili
Dinner:  Taco Meat w/Jasmine Rice, Lettuce, Tomato. Taco Seasoning

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Wednesday, October 5

Breakfast: Leftover Banana Pancakes with Grapes
Snack:  Grapes, Chocolate Chips
Lunch: Raspberry Peanut Butter Green Smoothie (I used grape juice)
Dinner:  Slow Cooker Chicken Tortellini Soup (w/brown rice noodles)

 

Thursday, October 6

Breakfast: Scrambled Egg w/Diced Tomatoes;grapes
Snack:  Peanut Butter Cookies, cashews

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Lunch: Leftover Chicken Soup
Dinner:  Pate Chinois

 

Friday, October 7

Breakfast: Leftover banana pancake, PB cookie
Snack: Yogurt w/honey & cc; apple; cucumbers,celery,dip,chips,salsa
Lunch: Leftover Tomato Soup
Dinner: Leftover Pate Chinois

 

Saturday, October 8

Breakfast: Leftover chicken soup
Snack: Kettle corn; Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Lunch: Strawberry/banana/yogurt/milk smoothie
Dinner: Baked Haddock,rice pilaf, and Roasted Broccoli

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Recipe: Avocado Smoothie

avocado smoothie jtcw

I love this smoothie!  To be honest, I did not expect to like this the first time I tried it.  I had an avocado that I wanted to use up, so I searched the web for a recipe, and I found this Avocado recipe from Allrecipes.com.   To my surprise, it was creamy, cool, and delicious!  Since then, I have made a few modifications to suit my taste and preferences, and it has become one of my favorite smoothies.  This smoothie is a nice change from my usual smoothies that contain banana.  My other recipes usually use at least one frozen ingredient, so ice is not necessary, but I think this one is perfect as is with the ice.  Even if you’re not a huge fan of avocado, I think you may be surprised.  Give it a try and let me know what you think! 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 6 oz. strawberry yogurt (or flavor of your choice)
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 8 ice cubes

DIRECTIONS

Add all ingredients to blender.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy! 🙂

 

Recipe: Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

 

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 8 pancakes

If you love pancakes and bananas, but you're trying to cut down on white flour and white sugar, I think you are going to love this recipe. These pancakes are healthy and delicious! I love that they are very quick and easy to make and the ingredients are all real food ingredients. I put all of the ingredients in the blender, and the batter is ready to pour within minutes! Enjoy! 🙂
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ripe banana
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Coconut oil or butter for coating pan
  • Maple syrup (for topping)
  • Berries (for topping, optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine milk and vinegar in a cup or small bowl. Set aside for a few minutes to sour.
  2. Combine baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and oats in a food processor. Grind until smooth. (A NutriBullet works well for this.)
  3. Add milk mixture, eggs, banana, and dry ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
  4. Heat coconut oil or butter in nonstick skillet over medium-low heat (or use a griddle pan at 300 degrees). Pour ⅓ cup batter onto the skillet for each pancake. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until bubbles form around the edges of the pancake. Flip and cook for an additional 90 seconds. Continue with the remaining batter.
  5. Top with maple syrup and/or berries (if desired)

Recipe: Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries

Seasoned sweet potato fries

Do you want to get more sweet potatoes into your diet?

Sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutritious Superfood.  They are high in vitamin B6, they are a good source of Vitamin C and magnesium, and they also contain Vitamin D, Iron, and Potassium. Packed with nutrients, I have been trying to incorporate more sweet potatoes into our diets, but it has not been easy since they are not a favorite food in my family.

I was so excited when I discovered this recipe originally intended for russet potatoes.  My family loved it with regular potatoes, so I decided to try it with sweet potatoes as well, and it was a hit!!  I usually prepare this using a combination of sweet potatoes and russet potatoes.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 Russet Potatoes (or 2 Russets and 1 Sweet Potato), quartered
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Directions:

  1. Quarter potatoes. Place into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Coat potatoes evenly with olive oil and parmesan cheese.
  3. In a separate small bowl, mix together salt, Italian seasoning, Garlic powder, and paprika
  4. Cover potatoes evenly with spice mixture.
  5. Lay potatoes in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  6. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes.

 

REAL Food Recipe: Green Bean Casserole

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In my family, Green Bean Casserole is a must at any holiday meal.  In the past, I have made the “traditional” green bean casserole with the canned soup and processed onions, but in my opinion, this very simple recipe with all real food ingredients is much better!  The onions and peppers caramelize, and it is SO good!  I make it for every holiday and the adults love it!  (My kids don’t like anything that is made with onions, but hopefully that will eventually change.)

Ingredients:

gb casserole ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, cut (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large (or 2 small) onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, cut into cubes

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Butter the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish.
  3. Wash green beans, remove ends, and cut into bite sized pieces (about 1 inch)
  4. Place 1 cup green beans into the baking dish.
  5. Top with 1 cup onions and 1 cup green peppers.
  6. Sprinkle paprika, salt, and pepper.
  7. Cut 1 Tablespoon butter into 4 cubes.  Place one cube in each corner on top of the vegetables.gb casserole
  8. Add one cup of green beans, then the remaining onions and the remaining green pepper.
  9. Sprinkle paprika, salt, and pepper.
  10. Cut 1 Tablespoon remaining butter into 4 cubes.  Place cubes over this layer, spaced evenly.gb casserole2
  11. Add the remaining green beans.
  12. Cut remaining Tablespoon butter into 4 cubes.  Place on top of this layer, spaced evenly.gb casserole3
  13. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  14. Bake until green beans are tender (about 1 – 1 1/2 hours).gb casserole time

This is what it will look like when it is finished cooking.  Enjoy!! 🙂

gb casserole cooked

Green Bean Casserole

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Ingredients
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, cut (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large (or 2 small) onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Butter the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish.
  3. Wash green beans, remove ends, and cut into bite sized pieces (about 1 inch)
  4. Place 1 cup green beans into the baking dish.
  5. Top with 1 cup onions and 1 cup green peppers.
  6. Sprinkle paprika, salt, and pepper.
  7. Cut 1 Tablespoon butter into 4 cubes. Place one cube in each corner on top of the vegetables.
  8. Add one cup of green beans, then the remaining onions and the remaining green pepper.
  9. Sprinkle paprika, salt, and pepper.
  10. Cut 1 Tablespoon remaining butter into 4 cubes. Place cubes over this layer, spaced evenly.
  11. Add the remaining green beans.
  12. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  13. Bake until green beans are tender (about 1 - 1½ hours)