Tag Archives: clean eating

Clean(er) flourless brownies with fudge frosting.

Gluten-free | Mostly clean eating | Soy-free | Nut-free | Egg-free | Dairy-free option | Vegan option

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If you’re looking for a healthier treat (maybe for Valentine’s Day?) that still tastes just as rich as sinful, these might just be it. They’re moist and fudgy (especially with the fudge frosting!), without all the butter, flour and (most of the) refined sugar (depending on which brand of yogurt you use; more on that later).

Now, I will say that these are not something I would make when I’m having a spur-of-the-moment chocolate craving because they require a lot more planning and time than my one-bowl delicious brownies, but when you’ve got a chocolate craving AND you’re trying to work around dietary restrictions, the little bit of extra work makes it worth it. Plus I don’t feel like a total blob after eating a couple of these–and it’s much easier to stop at one or two with these than with my usual go-to recipe because they’re so much richer. So wins all around!

As for the brand of yogurt, this is important: You need to find a vanilla Greek yogurt that’s pretty thick. I like Oikos Triple Zero, but wound up using an organic variety that happened to have refined sugar in it instead of the stevia because I wanted a truer flavor; either way, you usually need two of the small cups to make this recipe. If you’re going dairy-free, you can try a coconut yogurt, but your ordinarily-very-thick batter will be thinner, which may affect baking time, so keep an eye on it. Borderline underdone is better than the alternative. If you do try the coconut yogurt, please let me know how it goes! I just couldn’t do coconut yogurt when I was dairy-free: not enough protein to warrant the expense and all the sugars. But when that’s what you’ve got to work with, I totally get it, and I would love nothing more than for these to work for you!

Cleaner Flourless Brownies

Adapted from here

  • 1 1/2 cups Enjoy Life semisweet mini chocolate chips, or similar, divided
  • 3 fl oz (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) melted virgin coconut oil (measure after melting)
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt (see note above about brand)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cups oat flour (blend or process regular oats in a blender or food processor until fine)
  • Fudge Frosting (below)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a square baking dish–8×8 or 9×9–with parchment, then lightly spray with soy-free cooking spray.
  2. Place melted coconut oil and 1 cup of the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until chips are melted. (Should take only 2 or 3 rounds in the microwave.)
  3. Pour melted chocolate into a medium mixing bowl and add yogurt; mix well. Stir in vanilla, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Stir in oat flour until incorporated, then fold in remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
  5. Spread mixture (it will be quite thick) evenly in prepared pan, then bake 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in pan, then frost with Fudge Frosting (below).
  7. Frosted brownies will keep on the counter in a sealed container up to a week.

Fudge Frosting

Adapted from the more time-intensive version I made here

  • 1/2 bag Enjoy Life semisweet mini chocolate chips
  • 2-4 Tbsp coconut cream,* or similar amount of yogurt used above, or combination

*Coconut cream: refrigerate a can of coconut milk several hours, until it separates. Remove the can very carefully, without shaking it, and open it without disturbing the cream. Carefully spoon the cream from the top of the can, reserving the coconut water at the bottom for later use in a smoothie or something.

  1. Place chips and coconut cream or yogurt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat while stirring constantly, until melted and incorporated.
  2. Add more cream or yogurt until the mixture reaches a smooth, medium consistency. You want it to be not too thin but still spreadable. I started with a couple tablespoons of coconut cream because that’s all I had, then added yogurt a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Pour into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator a few minutes until just set, then remove, stir, and spread evenly over the cooled brownies.
  4. Allow to set–may take up to an hour–and then cut brownies into 16 squares and enjoy!

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Crock Pot Beef Curry.*

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Gluten-free | Clean eating

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I put an asterisk by the word “Curry” because it’s not as traditional a curry as I usually make. And if you’ve stuck around here awhile, you know how I am about my curries. BUT – that doesn’t make this dish any less delicious. Kind of like a stew or a ghoulash with a different array of spices. My husband called this, “like my mom’s beef tips, but with curry powder.” So there you go. That’s the best we can describe it. The low, slow cooking tenderizes the stew beef to fork-tender, making this my girls’ new favorite stew.

Slow Cooker Curried Beef Stew

Adapted from here

  • 2 lbs cubed stew beef
  • 1 1/2 lbs petite red or yellow potatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 2 Tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 28-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • optional: 2 Tbsp cornstarch, to thicken
  1. Place the beef, potatoes, and carrots in the slow cooker. Add the spices and garlic and toss to coat.
  2. Pour tomatoes and coconut milk over the top, then cover and cook on low 7 hours.
  3. If desired, 20 minutes before serving, stir in cornstarch, then re-cover until ready to serve.
  4. Serve over jasmine rice (or brown rice, for clean eating).

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Flourless double chocolate peanut butter muffins.

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Gluten-free | Clean eating | Paleo

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Not much to say about these muffins, except they’re quick, easy, and delicious! Don’t be dubious of the pumpkin – you can’t taste it at all. All it does is make these muffins incredibly moist! (And add a little extra veg to your daily intake…) This recipe yields about 18 muffins, or a dozen each of standard and mini muffins. The cupcake liners are purely optional; as you can see from the photo, the papers were practically falling off of the muffins straight out of the pan, and the mini muffins did just fine without liners of any kind.

Flourless Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

Adapted from here

  • 2 large eggs, room temp, beaten
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life (or other vegan brand) mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray wells of muffin (or mini muffin) tins with soy-free cooking spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients except the last in a large bowl with a rubber spatula. You’ll have to stir quickly at first to get the peanut butter to incorporate, but soon it’ll all come together. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Use a 1/4 cup (for standard) or 1/8 cup (for mini) triggered ice cream scoop to divide the thick batter into the wells of your muffin tins.
  4. Bake 23-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Do not overbake!

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Grilled chicken and green beans.

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Gluten-free | Clean eating | Paleo option

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Lately I’d been finding myself both in a dinner-making rut, and feeling lazy about our clean eating; I wonder if the two are related!

Then one day I found a new recipe for the most delicious-looking and easy green beans. I’m generally not too good at the vegetable side dish thing, to be honest; I try to incorporate the veggies in the dish itself and serve fresh fruit or salad on the side because I want to do as little extra cooking as possible, especially on a weeknight. But these just looked worth it. So I went looking for a good, and easy, chicken recipe to complement it. And I was blown away by the flavor! Usually you need to marinate a chicken breast for hours to get this kind of flavor and tenderness, but here you just brush on a spice rub that took literally 2 minutes to combine! Suffice it to say, this has become one of my favorite weeknight meals. I serve it with brown rice to bulk up the meal, but you can easily omit that, especially if you’re trying to eat paleo or low-carb. I start the green beans first, and as long as the chicken breasts aren’t too thick (tonight mine were), everything finishes at once.

Honey-Dijon Green Beans

Original recipe here

  •  1 lb green beans, washed and ends trimmed
  • 1-2 Tbsp grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 Tbsp organic Dijon mustard
  • coarse Kosher salt
  • pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a large glass bowl, whisk together oil, honey, and mustard into an emulsion until very well combined.
  3. Add the green beans and use a rubber spatula to coat them thoroughly and evenly with the mustard mixture.
  4. Spread the beans in a single layer on the baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast for 7 minutes, then remove and carefully flip the beans. Return to the oven for another 6 minutes or until crisped and glazed. (Aren’t they pretty???)

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Flavorful Grilled Chicken with Spice Rub

Original recipe here

  • 2-3 chicken breasts, halved (make sure they’re less than 3/4 inch thick or they won’t cook evenly)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  1. In a small bowl, combine the spices and olive oil.
  2. Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  3. Brush the spice mixture onto both sides of the chicken using a silicone brush or small spatula.
  4. Grill 4-5 minutes to a side until no longer pink in the middle.
  5. Enjoy with green beans and maybe some brown rice!

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My favorite bolognese sauce.

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Gluten-free option | Clean eating option

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Okay, so it’s not the most beautifully lit or composed photo, but I just couldn’t wait another day for good enough light to share this. I love this sauce. I love how fresh and light, yet hearty it is. I love that I can literally get SIX MEALS out of one recipe for my family, thanks to the miracles of freezers and 25-oz Tupperware. And I really just love how it tastes!

One of my very first recipes when I started this blog was a bolognese sauce I loved at the time, but even then I could tell it was missing something. One thing it had that I didn’t want was milk added for richness. This sauce leaves the dairy out and tastes even richer for it. This is our new, current, and hopefully forevermore, favorite. I hope it becomes the same for your family.

Homemade Bolognese Sauce

Original recipe here

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced and divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs. lean (93-95% lean) ground beef or turkey, or a combination
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (12 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. coarse Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 cans (14 oz each) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (28 oz each) crushed tomatoes
  • optional: 8 oz. button or baby Bella mushrooms, chopped (I omit this)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • optional, if using coconut sugar: 1/2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. good quality Balsamic vinegar
  1. In a very large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add half of the diced onions and saute until translucent and beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and continue sauteing, stirring constantly, about 1 minute or until fragrant.
  2. Move the onion mixture to the sides of the pot and add beef and/or turkey. Brown the meat, breaking into small pieces – you may need to increase the heat slightly – and gradually stirring the onion mixture in as the meat browns. Drain excess grease.
  3. In a blender or food processor, puree the remaining onions with the red pepper. Pour the mixture into the pot and stir to incorporate.
  4. Add tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and thyme, and cook 1 minute, stirring to combine.
  5. Add diced and crushed tomatoes, mushrooms if using, broth, and sugar (and honey), stir to incorporate, and then add bay leaves.
  6. Bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove from heat, stir in Balsamic vinegar, and let rest 10-15 minutes before serving. (I usually do this while I’m waiting for my pasta to cook.)
  8. Serve over whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta, with Parmesan cheese if desired.
  9. Freeze excess in portioned containers, then pull one out and thaw for an easy weeknight meal! The sauce gets better and better the longer it rests.

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Lean Mean Clean Turkey Chili and Cornbread.

Clean eating | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Gluten-free option

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You guys. This chili. It is so easy, so flavorful, and all of my girls love it! I have to compete for leftovers with my 2-year-old, so you know that’s good!

And the cornbread? We are lovers of sweet, buttery, dessert-y, there’s-nothing-good-for-you-about-this cornbread; slathered in honey, these 100% clean muffins really do check the boxes for us! I first made them when I was still eating dairy-free and they work great that way. These muffins are absolute heaven.

Florida “fall” is finally starting to peek out its head a little around here; I got to wear jeans 2 days this week! So of course I’m pulling out all the cool-weather comfort food. And this meal is comforting without the post-comfort-food bloat and blech that I so often feel. I was sick all week, and the two dinners I needed were this (albeit with storebought tortilla chips instead of the cornbread) and my Chicken and Dumpling Soup. If I can make these while half-dying of plague, you know they’re weeknight easy!

Clean Turkey Chili

Original recipe here

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 to 1.5 lbs lean ground turkey (I often split half turkey, half lean ground beef because we don’t eat much red meat and we can always use the iron)
  • up to 4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1, 28-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2, 15-oz cans dark red kidney beans (I always choose low sodium)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  1. Heat oil in a large pot on medium-high heat. Add onion and red pepper and saute a few minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic and saute and stir another couple minutes until fragrant.
  2. Push the veggies to the edges of the pan and add the meat to the middle, breaking it up to cook until no longer pink. Gradually mix it into the veggies.
  3. Stir in the spices and salt and cook 20 seconds to toast the spices.
  4. Stir in the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes or until thickened and flavors come together. Taste to adjust salt and seasonings as necessary.
  5. Top with toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, tortilla chips, etc. and serve with cornbread! This chili tastes even better the second day!

Clean Cornbread Muffins – usually makes 12-13 muffins

Original recipe here

  • 1 1/8 (1 cup plus 2 Tbsp) cup whole-wheat pastry flour (for gluten-free, use a hearty gluten-free flour of choice)
  • 7/8 cup (3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp (plus a pinch, optional) salt*
  • 1 1/3 cups milk*
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled*
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup honey

*Dairy-free: 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/3 cups unsweetened almond milk, 6 Tbsp soy-free buttery stick like Earth Balance Brand, melted (it’s usually salted, which is why we decrease the added salt in the recipe)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray wells of a muffin tin with soy-free cooking spray.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add liquid ingredients and stir until just combined; do not overmix.
  3. Ladle 1/4 cupfuls into each well of the muffin tin. Bake 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you want them a little more golden on top, place them under the broiler for a minute to brown slightly.
  4. Let cool in pan before carefully removing. Serve dripping with honey!

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Legendary NYC Street-Cart-Style Chicken and Rice–Clean!

Clean | Gluten-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Dairy-free option

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Half a decade ago, we lived just outside New York City, which meant we were just minutes from some of the most delicious and diverse food options in the world. When we moved to Tampa, I needed to learn to cook some of our favorites myself, and it wasn’t until just weeks ago that I found this gem. Finally our cravings for street cart chicken with yellow rice and yogurt sauce can be satiated!

Clean NYC Street-Cart-Style Chicken and Yellow Rice

Adapted from here

Chicken:

  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • juice of 1 lemon (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Yogurt sauce: (you only need half of what’s below if not everyone loves it with the sauce; omit for dairy-free)

  • 1 cup plain lowfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Rice:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter, olive oil, or dairy-free buttery spread
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 2 cups basmati, jasmine, or brown (for clean) rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • optional: additional water for jasmine or brown rice (see instructions below)
  1. Toss together chicken marinade ingredients with chicken; marinate an hour.
  2. Whisk together yogurt sauce ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Heat a large saucepan on high heat with enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom. Add chicken thighs and cook in batches until done. Remove to a plate and keep warm.
  4. If there are burned bits of garlic in the bottom of the pan, remove those. Then in the same pan, add butter, rice, and spices. Stir to coat and cook on medium-high 1-2 minutes to toast the spices.
  5. Add chicken stock, and water if needed. Basmati: no additional water. Jasmine: 1 1/2 cups water. Brown: 2 1/2 cups water.
  6. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat down to low. Cook 15 minutes for basmati and jasmine; 45 for brown rice. Fluff when finished and remove from heat.
  7. When rice is done, dice chicken.
  8. Serve chicken atop yellow rice and drizzle with yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with harissa, sriracha, or other hot sauce if desired.

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