Get Real!

Finding ways to enjoy the hell out of life, while on our journey towards a healthy, authentic and passion-filled life.


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Real Clean: Enchilada Stuffed Bell Peppers

As you may have noticed, I love making different dishes and then ‘enchilda-izing’ them! This one is no exception. I just love all these flavors! Now to make things easier (well for every night, not just for enchilda-ized dishes), I cook and pre-shred 3-4 chicken breasts, 5+ cups of brown rice and a couple cups of black beans in the beginning of the week and store them all in airtight containers in the fridge. It makes meals like this (and so many others) easier, quicker and far less messy.

Enchilada Stuffed Bell Peppers

Serves 2 comfortably (each to have two halves of bell pepper over stuffed), or can serve 4 with a side dish (like salad, or brown rice with chopped up cilantro and lime juice mixed in)

Ingredients:

Bell Peppers

  • 2 Bell Peppers
  • Olive Oil

Stuffing

  • 2 Medium Tomatoes (juicy tomatoes, not roma)
  • 1/2 an onion (yellow, white or sweet)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalepeno
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro
  • Your favorite spanish style Spices, I use 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 Tbs Chilis in Adobo Paste (optional, but I always keep this on hand for all my enchilada dishes)
  • 1 shredded chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup cooked black beans (if canned, rinse them)
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • small amount of cheese to top it off (optional, I used about 2 tsp worth of goat cheese on each half)

Directions:

First things first, if you don’t have your rice pre-cooked and your chicken pre-cooked and shredded then this must be done first. Cook the rice according to package directions, and as for the chicken boil the breast for at least 15 minutes and then shred with two forks (if it doesn’t look 100% done after that don’t worry, because these will be baked in the bell pepper later as well).

For any stuffed Bell Pepper, start out pre-heating the oven to 350. Cut the bell peppers in half vertically and scoop out any seeds or ‘guts.’ In a square casserole dish (sprayed or rubbed down with a little extra virgin olive oil), place all bell pepper halves in and spray the inside of each bell pepper with olive oil as well. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

While the Bell Peppers are pre-baking, prepare the enchilada stuffing. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and toss all of it into a pan on medium-high (all juice included), next chop and add the jalepeno, onions, garlic and cilantro. Add in the seasonings. Mix all together and let cook for at least 5 minutes until it all thickens up a bit. Next add the chilis in adobo paste and re-stir. Followed by the black beans, shredded chicken, and brown rice. Stir all together well and continue cooking a few minutes longer.

When the Bell Peppers are done pre-cooking, take them out of the oven and scoop stuffing into the halves with a spoon, overstuff them! Use as much stuffing as possible! Re-cover with foil and bake for 25 more minutes.

If desired, take them out after this, top with a little cheese and bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Enjoy!

Remember we all have different constraints. Do the best you can with what you have and what you know, and if you do that you will continue to grow!

 

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Real Clean: Chicken Enchilada-Lasagna

Chicken Enchilada-Lasagna

Serves 2 people a very large portion, though can still serve 3-4 (especially if you have a side dish like a salad!).

Ingredients:

For the Chicken:

  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Oregano
  • 2 Teaspoons Chile Powder (any type of chile powder)

For the Enchilada Sauce (can use store bought to make this simpler, but highly recommend checking the ingredients, there should basically be only vegetables listed, no sugar or syrup, etc):

  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 Onion (any type, yellow, white or sweet)
  • 2-3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Oregano
  • 2 Teaspoons Chile Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Chilis in Adobo Paste (optional, but highly recommended)
  • 2 Cups Tomato Sauce (plain sauce, not pasta sauce)
  • 3/4 cup Vegetable Broth

For assembly of the Lasagna:

  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 2 Large Handfuls of Kale or Spinach (technically optional**)
  • 1-2 Cups Shredded Cheese, the less the ‘healthier’ (recommend buying blocks of cheese and shredding yourself, as the pre-shredded mix has a couple yuckies in the ingredients added in)

 

Directions:

  • Start a pot of boiling water. Chop each chicken breast into quarters, and sprinkle the spices (a little on each side). Once water is boiling, set chicken inside and set kitchen timer to 15 minutes.
  • In another pot, melt/heat the coconut oil (or can use extra virgin olive oil) over medium-high heat while dicing up the onion, garlic and jalapeno into tiny pieces. Then throw all the veggies into the oil and mix all around. Add all the spices in and mix all around again. Allow this to cook for about 5 minutes. Now, add in the chilis in adobo paste, followed by the tomato sauce and then the broth. Mix it all up very well and turn the heat up to high. Once this starts boiling, cover pot and reduce to low heat. Let simmer until ready to put it all together.
  • The chicken should be done any moment now, and once the timer goes off, drain the chicken and (with two forks) shred it all. It will take a few moments but will be worth it!
  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 as you assemble the lasagna!
  • In a square glass baking dish (8X8 or 9X9), assemble! When pouring the sauce keep in mind that you will need 4 total layers of sauce. Pour a thin layer of sauce in the empty dish and spread around, then a layer of corn tortillas (two tortillas per layer, I tear them in half and then place them in the rounded edges are all facing inwards sort of like an envelope), followed by a layer of spinach or kale, half of the shredded chicken and half of the cheese, another layer of the enchilada sauce spread around. Repeat process, with another layer of tortillas, layer of spinach or kale, the rest of the chicken and cheese, almost the rest of the sauce (leave a small amount for the top). Now one more layer of tortillas followed by the rest of the sauce. (If this is a splurge meal, which is on the weekends for me, feel free to top it with another 1/2 cup of shredded cheese or so).
  • Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
  • Can top with some salsa and organic sour cream if you wish.

Enjoy!

And remember, we all have different constraints. Do the best you can with what you have and what you know. If you do that, you will continue to grow!


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Get Real (about cooking clean, simple meals!)

Those who know me have come to learn that I have found a passion in healthy cooking, understanding ingredients, and making smart eating choices (almost all the time anyway). The question I feel that I get asked the most is about simple meal ideas. The real secret is that living this way needs to be formed as a habit, a way of life, a matter of fact. And you just need to start. Start somewhere!

If I were to take a look back at the meals I was making every night when I first started with healthier eating/cooking, I would think that the portions were way too large, some of the ingredients were full of added sugars, salts and other chemicals, etc. And right now, if I ate that way, I would GAIN weight. However, at the time I was making huge improvements and was losing lots of weight! As I learned more, I adjusted my eating habits more. And as I lost more, and my stomach could get fuller on less, I was able to eat less. It all happens in time. We don’t (generally speaking) go from a fast food or junk food diet to a completely clean one overnight. Well, wait, we do when we are on a ‘diet.’ But who the heck wants to be on one of those!!??

All that said, at this point I eat small simple meals Monday-Friday nights, and splurge a bit on the weekends. Here is my #1 tip for beginning to make healthy eating a habit. As well as what I am making for dinner these days!

My tip? Plan Ahead! Though I go in phases where I am planning out my meals for the week, or where I am not. It makes it a whole lot easier when I do. Financially and time-wise (less trips to the grocery store, planning meals using ingredients more than once that week, etc) it makes sense. It also gives me an opportunity to look forward to my meals, knowing what I have planned (and therefore less likely to deter from that on a whim). It also makes it less stressful at the end of the day to just stick with the plan, instead of spending time mulling over what to eat.

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2-3 times per week, I make a ‘mexican’ egg bowl:

2-3 scrambled eggs, 2 slices turkey or regular bacon, a couple tablespoons of black beans, a couple tablespoons of salsa, and about half of an avocado. Takes me 10-15 minutes to make. Buy a can of black beans, rinse them, drain them and store them in a Tupperware or glass container in your fridge and one can will last a couple weeks this way!

1-2 times per week, I make a ‘taco’ salad:

2-3 large handfuls of chopped romaine lettuce, 1/2 chicken breast (boil for 10-15 minutes until no pink in the center, and then shred and season it with any type of chili powder), 2 tablespoons black beans, about half of an avocado and 2-3 tablespoons salsa instead of dressing.

about 2 times per week, I make some variation of chicken (or fish) and veggies:

With the chicken, I usually cut it into bite size pieces and pan-grill it (season it on both sides with sea salt/pepper, etc.), using just enough olive or coconut oil to keep things cooking (instead of burning). Or I will slice up a link of chicken sausage (like Adells) and saute right with the veggies. For fish, I use salmon or cod (well seasoned) and pan fry for just a few minutes on each side. Some common veggie sides that I will use are:

  • Bell Peppers and Onions (sauteed along with the chicken)
  • Mushrooms and Asparagus (trim asparagus and chop mushrooms in half, then in a large bowl mix with a couple garlic cloves minced finely, some rosemary minced, and some olive oil, and mix it all together very well… spread it all out on a baking sheet and broil for 5-10 minutes or bake at your ovens highest temp 450-500 for around that time)
  • Roasted Red Potatoes, Carrots and Garlic (Chop the potatoes and carrots into bite size pieces and boil for 10 minutes, drain and throw into a large mixing bowl with whole cloves of garlic, add sea salt/pepper and olive oil and mix all of it together well, pour all of it into a glass baking dish lined with aluminum foil — a large enough piece of foil to be able to wrap it all up like it was in a pouch, bake at 350 for 40 minutes or so)
  • Salsa! Just saute the chicken pieces in salsa. Any type of salsa! Tomatillo, Tomato/Garlic, Peach/Tomato, any kind you can think of.
  • Kale (chopped into small pieces, making sure that the stem is not included as it is too tough and uncomfortable to bite down on, mixed in a bowl with olive oil, sea salt/pepper, minced garlic cloves, and minced rosemary leaves.. saute on the stove for just a few minutes)
  • Spicy Green Beans (trim green beans and boil for up to 5 minutes, mix with a little olive oil, and some crushed red pepper flakes, saute about 10 minutes)

Remember, we all have different constraints! Do the best you can with what you have and what you know. If you do that you will continue to grow!


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Real Clean: Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup

Soups are an amazing way to get a ton of veggies in, without having to add any dairy, grains, or even meat (if you are avoiding that too) to your meal. And they can be delicious and filling as well. All of my soups basically start off with the same key ingredients and then I just play around from there to find different combinations (think pot roast potato and veggie soup, Indian spiced soup, and this chicken enchilada soup). So please! Feel free to adjust the ingredients and add others as you like! The ingredients I have placed a ‘*’ next to are the ones that I would recommend as your base if you do choose to play around!

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Makes 5 good size bowls of soup (feeds 2 more than comfortably, and 4 if you add a side dish), and takes about 1 hour-1 hour and 15 minutes to fully prepare (most of this is letting the finished soup simmer)

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 chicken breasts
  • *1-2 T coconut oil
  • *3 cloves of garlic
  • *1 onion (any kind white, yellow or red will do)
  • *various spices: in this case- cumin, coriander, sea salt/pepper, oregano, chile powder
  • *3 cups chopped tomatoes (I like to mix it up with some roma, and some heirloom, but there are no wrong answers here!)*
  • 1 bell pepper (any color)
  • 1 jalapeno, de-seeded
  • 2 T chipotle paste with adobo (might take you a moment to find in your grocery store, but it’s there)
  • *2.5 cups low sodium chicken or veggie broth
  • *6 oz can tomato paste
  • *2-3 large handfuls of greens (chopped spinach, kale, etc.)

Directions:

Get two pots on the burner (one large enough to hold the 5+ bowls of soup — this one needs to have a lid — and a smaller one that will hold the chicken breasts to boil). Start boiling water on high heat in the smaller pot and add the whole chicken breast/s once boiling (you will want this to boil about 15-17 minutes which should be how long it takes you to chop everything else up).

Place the 1-2 T of oil (coconut) into the big pot, and turn the heat to medium high. Peel and chop the garlic up into small chunks (does not have to be minced super tiny), and do the same with the onion. Dump the garlic and onion into the now melted coconut oil and stir around. Add spices as you like, at least a teaspoon of each! Keep stirring mixture. Let the garlic/onions/spices cook (while stirring occasionally) while you chop up all the tomatoes into bite size chunks of various sizes and dump those in too. Let this all cook while you chop up the bell pepper and jalapeno into bite size chunks and add those in.

Add the chipotle paste with adobo, stir. Add the chicken or veggie broth, stir. Add the tomato paste, stir. At this point, I would add a bit more spice as well, again a teaspoon or so of each.

The chicken should be about boiled by now (after 15 minutes for one, 17 for two), so take this out and chop into bite size pieces (use a fork and knife as chicken will be hot!), and add the chicken to the soup. Add the 2-3 handfuls of chopped greens (I promise you won’t taste them and it is a great way to get these suckers in your diet). Stir everything altogether once more.

Turn the heat to high and once the soup is starting to boil, put the lid on and turn it down to low (1-2 if numbered). Set your timer for about 45 minutes to allow chicken to cook a bit more if needed and the rest of the flavors to all meld together and intensify!

YUMM!

And remember, we all have different constraints. Do the best you can with what you have and what you know. If you do that, you will continue to grow!


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Healthy Recipes Worth Sharing

Hi all! I’ve had more than a couple friends or family members ask about healthy meal ideas. I will be posting more of my own recipes soon. But before I got to the point where I could just ‘wing it’ without a recipe and make a ground beef stew my boyfriend was willing to stuff himself on like I did last night, or a smoothie that is yummy enough to drink daily… I used these recipes! Well, of course, I still do. But I Just wanted to pass them all on to you guys as well! These are all simple and very healthy!

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Pan-Roasted Chicken with Mushrooms and Rosemary Recipe : Tyler Florence : Recipes : Food Network

I paired this mushroom, onion, rosemary chicken with salad made of romaine lettuce topped with sliced strawberries and pomegranate seeds with a quick dressing made of blended apple, strawberry, pomegranate seeds and fresh apple juice.

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Skinny Chicken Enchiladas | Skinnytaste

Chocolate Covered Strawberries from Scratch! — Oh She Glows

I surprised my sweetie with champagne and candles (and some flowers for myself) for a romantic night in. I topped the enchiladas wih organic sour cream. And the strawberries speak for themselves, which have a nutty chocolate sort of taste… not your traditional chocolate covered strawberries, however they are actually Vegan and much healthier than those would be.

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All-Natural Pumpkin Butter From Scratch + Many Ways To Use It! — Oh She Glows

I have used this pumpkin butter on pancakes, on half a whole wheat bagel while my boyfriend made cinnamon rolls in a can (yes, gasp, I read him the ingredient list and he still insisted on that for himself), or on a large multi-grain cracker as a yummy snack. First you will have to roast your own pumpkin though! I will post more on this later, but basically cut around and pry off the stem, cut pumpkin in half and scoop out all the guts and seeds as you normally would to carve. Lay parchment paper on a cookie sheet and set the pumpkin halves face down. Set oven to 375, and place pumpkin halves in for an hour. If your fork goes into the pumpkin easily you are done, if not cook for a bit longer. Then peel off the skin and throw the pumpkin flesh into a blender or food processor and puree.

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Gingerbread Pancakes | My Whole Food Life

I used pumpkin puree (as made right above) instead of the applesauce, and white whole wheat instead of the spelt flour. Also, one time (for a friend that doesn’t especially enjoy the flavor like I do) I used maple syrup instead of molasses. I use these in our waffle maker. You can use grass fed butter or ghee instead of coconut oil if you prefer.

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Homemade Sriracha Sauce – Foodie Crush

I will admit I could not find thai chiles, so I used half serrano and half jalepeno. It was quite spicy, I don’t know that I would say it tasted like sriracha (although I wouldn’t think so since I didn’t use the right peppers) but it is still a great hot sauce! I have used this on my eggs in the morning, on tacos, and on stir frys. Yum! You can play around with different peppers depending on what level of heat you prefer! Also I used coconut palm sugar instead of regular sugar.

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Remember, we all have different constraints. Do the best you can with what you have and what you know, if you do that you will continue to grow!


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Healthy, Simple & Clean Meal Ideas

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Pictured above is one of my meals from last week… I had wanted to make some sort of mushroom chicken so I googled ‘healthy mushroom chicken recipe.’ I ended up choosing this one: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/pan-roasted-chicken-with-mushrooms-and-rosemary-recipe/index.html. I had planned to make a salad that night and it just happened that my boyfriend had brought home a pomegranate from work, (very lucky that he works at a fresh food market!) so I decided to use strawberries and pomegranate seeds on the salad. Then I put some of the pomegranate seeds, a few strawberries, an apple, and a tiny bit of fresh apple juice (with my juicer, again lucky to have) in my blender to make the dressing.

I usually don’t photograph my meals but I was kind of excited about how this one looks (and how it tasted too). I definitely am getting more creative, and it’s getting easier to come up with ideas, make things up on my own, etc. And the best part is the ingredients! No yucky added sugar or high fructose corn syrup or MSG, etc. None of that, just real food : ).

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Keeping it clean for two:

The last several weeks, I have been trying something new and I’m loving it so far. When the week is almost over I create a dinner menu for the following week and a grocery list. My boyfriend and I then buy everything we need for the whole week. It makes it easier for me to stick with my healthy dinners since they are all planned out already and since I have everything needed in the fridge. It’s also nice, financially, because we timed it out where we grocery shop for the week right after payday! Then, no last minute worries pop up of having no money for food. I start with a few nights of ideas using things I already have and go from there.

For example for this coming up week, here is my plan:

Sat: Breakfast for dinner (eggs, turkey bacon, hashbrowns, whole grain corn tortillas)

Sun: Mango Habanero Chicken/ Salad (going to google a recipe for the mango habanero marinade and salsa to go on top too)

Mon: Adult Grilled Cheese (whole wheat toast, avocado, tomato and cheese), homemade baked fries

Tue: Stuffed Bell Peppers (lean ground beef, tomatoes, onions, brown rice and cheese)

Wed: whole grain pancakes (with cinnamon) and turkey bacon

Thur: Spaghetti (whole grain noodles, lean ground beef)

Friday: Healthy-ish frozen dinner (I work late Friday nights so it’s a little break for me, this is usually like a pre made stir fry, etc… paying attention to the ingredients listed of course)

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Some tips that have worked for me (for health purposes and to save money :)…

I buy chicken in the larger packages (at least 5-6 + breasts), then I use medium size freezer ziplock bags to bag 2 breasts at a time to freeze (I do two because I have found that’s the perfect amount to feed two, for us anyway, but bag however many would feed the family or yourself). This way it’s easy to just defrost them as needed and not waste any.

I have been making all my own marinades for chicken (because unless you want to spend a generous amount on a healthy natural marinade, you end up with high fructose corn syrup, etc everytime) …. generally you want to have either a vinegar (apple cider vinegar or white or red vinegar, etc) or a citrus (orange, lemon, lime) which has the acid needed to break into the meats, and then you can add oils, spices, herbs, zest (grate a ginger, or any of the citrus fruits), soy sauce, etc. I will either come up with an idea (like mango habanero) and look on google or pinterest for ideas…. or just come up with my own combination. Take care as to the amount of time to marinade the type of meat you are working with, steak can be hours, chicken should be about one hour, and seafood about 30 minutes.

I try to avoid red meat for the most part. We eat it every couple of weeks (yes it is on our menu two nights this upcoming week!! But that is so we don’t waste any meat :). But chicken all the time can get boring. I spice it up with my own marinades (as I was saying above), and by changing up the cooking methods. One night I will cut it into chunks, another night I will leave it as whole breasts. I will pan fry it with olive oil, or bake it sitting in the marinade in a glass pyrex dish covered with aluminium foil (usually around 50 minutes at 350), or recently I have been trying a combination (using an oven safe pan) where I pan fry it for 5-10 minutes with olive oil and then throw herbs or slices of lemon, etc into the pan and bake it at 350 for 15-20 minutes afterwards.

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You might be wondering what I eat for breakfast and lunch, while it varies a bit, I generally stick with the same things all the time. Juice (with my $30 black and decker juicer), which is cucumber, strawberry, ginger and greens (either chard, spinach, kale, etc). Smoothies (generally banana, almond milk or greek yogurt and whatever else I have, peanut butter or pumpkin or other fruit). One egg and a slice of turkey bacon. A slice of toast with whole foods 100% peanut butter and slices of banana on top. Things like that.