Tag Archives: whole wheat

Last-minute dinner solutions.

You guys, this pregnancy has been kicking my butt: something to do with it being my first time being pregnant in my 30s, combined with having to keep 3 kids alive–including a 2-year-old part-tornado, part-monkey, part-evil genius. At 23 weeks–the usually FUN! trimester–I’m already acutely feeling every single third-trimester ache and pain, and I’m spending most afternoons on the couch. Definitely not the speed I’m used to.

So dinner time has been interesting!

Most of the time, eating out actually makes me feel worse, so what’s a mom who’s solo for dinner time going to do? Simplify. Which, honestly, means a lot of pasta. My girls are kind of sick of pasta. But it’s easy, it’s versatile, and aside from the overuse it generally doesn’t elicit complaints from the under-5′ set. (I still can’t believe that my 7-year-old is already over 4 feet tall.) And I’m really not operating on enough cylinders to think far enough ahead to do the Crock Pot thing.

Rather than blog each recipe individually (I’m tired, remember? And my back is already hurting just sitting typing this… How many weeks do I have left?), I’m just going to make a roundup of the last-minute dinner saviors I’ve been using lately. Some are from my blog, and some are from others; all photos are property of their original publishers.

Peas and Pasta, from Weelicious

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

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This has been a last-minute staple in our family for years. It is SO easy, SO fast, and uses ingredients I always have on hand, so when it’s 4:40 and I haven’t even thought of dinner, this is it. I use whole-wheat pasta to keep it clean and up the protein and fiber to make it more filling; you can use gluten-free pasta if needed. Also, because this is a very mild dish, easy on the seasonings and spices, it’s usually one of the first recipes I attempt when I’m coming out of morningsickness, and it’s a good one when a bout of nausea blindsides me again.

Creamy Garlic Alfredo, from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe:

Meatless | Mostly Clean eating | Soy-free | Gluten-free option | Nut-free

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Again, super easy, super fast, and uses things I already have in my fridge. The only forethought required is softening the cream cheese a bit, though in a pinch I’ve just thrown it in cold. Again, I use whole-wheat pasta, but gluten-free would work.

Southwest Chicken Wraps:

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

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For a break from pasta, here’s what we had tonight. These are great because I can cobble together leftover bits from other nights when I’m feeling well enough to make more of an effort for dinner (read: weekends, when my husband’s able to be home to wrangle girls) to make a hearty meal with very little effort. I always cook up extra rice and extra chicken to keep in the fridge, and the rest comes together quick. The best part is that I can stretch the filling recipe over two meals, and freeze half, so that on nights like tonight, all I had to do was pull it out in the afternoon to thaw on the counter, then grab the cheese, sour cream, and tortillas, and in less than 15 minutes dinner’s on.

Vegan Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta:

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

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(I really need to update that photo now that I have a Vitamix that actually makes the cashew sauce legitimately creamy.)

Anyway, here’s another really easy pasta option. As long as you’ve got the ingredients on hand, it comes together quick. The sauce literally cooks for maybe 5 minutes. So your dinner is done in the time that it takes to boil some water and cook some pasta. And my girls consistently down this one. I used to dial down the garlic and basil, but I don’t need to anymore.

Skinny Chicken Broccoli Alfredo:

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

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This one is really versatile. Lately I rarely add the step of turning the sauce green; I just leave it white. Sometimes I make it without chicken if I don’t have any cooked chicken on hand. Again, I make a habit of keeping all of the essential ingredients in my kitchen, so that I can make some variation of this protein-filled dish any time. The roux sounds intimidating, but even though there are a few steps to it, the sauce comes together really fast–again, just in the time it takes me to boil a pot of water and cook my pasta.

Creamy Chicken Taquitos:

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

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Another non-pasta option! This week I dusted this one off from a long time ago–when I was still firmly in my semi-homemade days. I think this is from when I was pregnant with my second kid. It’s been awhile. I bought a rotisserie chicken from the Costco that just opened a couple miles away (yay!!!!!), chopped it up, and whipped these up. They’re easy to freeze for later, so now I have another dinner waiting for me to just throw in the oven!

If dinner time has become a chore or a panic-inducing time at your house, I hope that some of these ideas help you a little. Even as tired, gross, unmotivated, or sore as I might feel, I’m so grateful that I have so many options in my back pocket to pull out to keep my family–and myself and my growing baby–fed and healthy. Now, I’m not going to lie: the other night we had oatmeal. And we do hit the Chick-fil-A drive-through or order pizza or Thai takeout not infrequently. But I’ve noticed, more acutely this pregnancy than ever, that even though it takes effort I just feel better after a home-cooked meal. Even if it is just pasta with some kind of sauce on it.

I do have a few new recipes to post, hopefully soon. In the meantime, I’m going to spend some more quality gestating time on my couch.

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(Mostly clean) Honey Greek Yogurt Blueberry Muffins.

Soy-free | Nut-free | Mostly clean

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It’s blueberry season in Florida! We went picking on Wednesday at a farm just 15 minutes up the road. We were there less than an hour and came home with 4 pounds of blueberries, 2 pounds of the season’s first peaches and nectarines, and a pint of blackberries for good measure. So much amazing local fruit!

So needless to say, there will be some blueberry recipes popping up in the near future.

loooove blueberry muffins. They’ve always been my favorite, but usually they are so laden with butter and refined carbs that they can hardly be called breakfast. So I was so excited to find this recipe! I love the added protein from the Greek yogurt and whole-wheat flour. It still does have some refined sugar, but after much testing it’s really the only way to keep them both palatable and the right consistency.

Honey Greek Yogurt Blueberry Muffins

Original recipe here

  • 3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour*
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp. brown sugar**
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • heaping 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup lowfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk (any percentage but skim)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup mild-tasting olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried well
  • optional: cinnamon-sugar for sprinkling

*Whole-wheat pastry flour is more finely sifted than regular whole-wheat flour, so it more closely approximates all-purpose flour in texture. You can sub in up to a cup of regular whole-wheat flour, but more than that and your muffins will end up too dense.
**I did sub in coconut sugar for those extra 3 Tbsp. and it didn’t affect the taste.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 (400 if you’re using a silicone muffin tin) and line your tin(s) with about 18 paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together liquid ingredients until well blended.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated.
  5. Fold in blueberries.
  6. Scoop 1/4 cupfuls into each well of the muffin tin. Optional: sprinkle each with a little cinnamon-sugar.
  7. Bake 18 minutes. (For a silicone pan, decrease oven temp to 375 after 9 minutes of baking.)
  8. Let cool a few minutes in the pan before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

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Clean Carrot Cake Cookies (with or without nuts).

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

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These babies are poised to usurp the title of “favorite clean snack” from my Maple Pumpkin Oat Muffins for me–or at least tie. My advice right off the bat is to freeze 3/4 of the batch right away. Or you WILL eat all of them. Speaking from experience.

The flavors mix perfectly in these to match my favorite carrot cake recipe–minus the cream cheese frosting, which my husband did not hesitate to remind me after his first bite–but was missing one thing. No, not raisins or pineapple. I never understood why people would put raisins or pineapple in their carrot cake. If it was meant to have those things in it it would be called carrot-raisin-pineapple cake. But I digress.

Walnuts!

So I added some. And my daughters told me in no uncertain terms to never ever do that again. So I think next time I’ll just add them to half of the cookies.

I’ve given you a double batch of the original recipe so that you have a bunch to keep in the freezer for lunches. They’ll still go way quicker than you expect!

Clean Carrot Cake Cookies

Adapted from here

  • 2 cups instant oats, spooned and leveled
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or your favorite gluten-free flour mix, spooned and leveled
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup maple syrup, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots (about 4 small)
  • optional: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or add 1/4 cup to the last half of the dough if not everyone likes nuts)
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk in the maple syrup until incorporated.
  3. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring until just incorporated. Fold in the carrots, and if desired, the walnuts.
  4. Cover with waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
  5. Preheat your oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  6. Use a 2-Tbsp. dough scoop to drop rounded scoops onto the prepared sheet. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake 12 minutes or until edges are golden and middles are set. Cool on the baking sheet several minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack.

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Whole-wheat Pancake Mix.

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

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Today I succumbed to the cold that my 3 girls have been passing around, and the last thing I want to hear when I’m feeling crummy is complaints about dinner. So I went to the grocery store for some soup for myself and my husband made pancakes for the girls. And it was quick and easy, thanks to the tub of whole-wheat, clean pancake mix I had mixed up a few weeks ago and kept in the pantry! I had taped on a Post-It with the list of “wet” ingredients to add, so no need to look up recipes. As easy as Bisquick, with whole foods instead of additives!

Whole-Wheat Pancake Mix (makes approx. 6 small batches)

  • 6 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large, airtight container, making sure to break up any clumps of coconut sugar. Store in your pantry until needed.

To make pancakes: (I usually double this to feed our hungry family)

  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  1. Whisk ingredients together until just combined.
  2. Heat your griddle on medium and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  3. Ladle 1/4-cupfuls onto the griddle, wait until bubbles form and edges look set, then flip and cook until done.
  4. Repeat for remaining batter.
  5. Serve warm with pure maple syrup and maybe some peanut butter spread on top.

*Make your own buttermilk–you can even do nondairy! Add 1 Tbsp. white vinegar to a measuring cup, then fill the rest of the way to the 1-cup mark with regular milk. Even almond milk curdles this way! Give it a try!

Original recipe here

 

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Maple Oat Pumpkin Muffins.

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

Maple Oat Pumpkin Muffins

One major discovery I’ve made in my clean-eating journey is that I have an inherent sweet tooth–and depriving myself on this or that diet plan just sets me up for failure because I never feel quite satisfied. So now I’m learning to find clean, healthy ways to satiate that need for sweetness, and as a result I don’t need “cheat days” or “when I’m done with this 21-day challenge I’ll gorge myself on X, Y, and Z.” So on here you’re probably going to be seeing a lot of clean sweets.

I don’t think I could ever get sick of good pumpkin treats. My friend recommended these beauties to me a couple months ago, and I’ve made them at least four times since. They disappear SO fast–even when I freeze 2/3 of the batch. (They do freeze beautifully, by the way; just wrap one in a paper towel and zap it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to thaw.) My whole family loves them; even My Husband The Reluctant gave them the glowing review the first time he ate them of, “I would like these even if I weren’t forced to eat clean!” They’re sweetened with real maple syrup in addition to the natural sweetness of the pumpkin, and the oats and whole-wheat pastry flour make them hearty enough to be a light breakfast–without weighing you down.

Maple Oat Pumpkin Muffins

  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of choice)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • (heaping) 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
  • (heaping) 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice (or cloves)
  • 1 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour*
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned (not instant) oats, plus more for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 325 and grease** the cups of a muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut oil and syrup. Beat in eggs. Mix in pumpkin and almond milk until smooth, then mix in soda, vanilla, salt, and spices.
  3. Switch to a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Add flour and oats at once, stirring until just combined.
  4. Scoop scant 1/4-cups of batter into muffin cups (an ice-cream-style scoop works really well for this), then sprinkle with a few oats and some cinnamon.
  5. Bake for 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Wait until cooled (or try to) to remove them from the pan.

* Whole-wheat pastry flour is ground finer than other whole-wheat flours, so baked goods come out lighter and less dense; it is an ideal substitute for all-purpose flour. I pretty much only use this now, even in my less-clean recipes.

** If you’re going soy-free, PAM for Grilling is the only mainstream brand of cooking spray I’ve found that does not contain soy lecithin. I use it for everything!

Original recipe here.

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Sweet potato pancakes.

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

sweet potato pancakesWell, I’ve done it. I actually managed to get my child sick of one of her favorite foods in the world. Looks like Pancake Friday wasn’t such a great idea after all… So in tribute to the demise of Pancake Friday, I give you my final pancake recipe for awhile.

Now, for the record, these Sweet Potato Pancakes were not the straw that broke the camel’s back. They were amazing. My husband’s cousin asked for the recipe & they were a hit at her house too! These are perfect for fall, & just sweet enough with real maple syrup.

  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups mashed baked sweet potatoes (about a tuber & a half)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used almond)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil, melted & cooled
  • 2 Tbsp. brown or coconut sugar
  1. Sift together dry ingredients.
  2. Add remaining ingredients & mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Heat a griddle on medium heat & grease with cooking spray (PAM for Grilling is soy-lecithin-free).
  4. Drop 1/4-cupfuls of batter onto hot griddle & cook until edges are set & bubbles begin to form. Flip & cook until both sides are golden.
  5. Serve topped with maple syrup & a dusting of cinnamon.

Adapted from here.

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Whole-wheat blueberry pancakes.

whole wheat blueberry pancakesFriday night has become pancake night at our house. The girls love their pancakes, & it makes my meal planning easier knowing that pancakes will always be that night. But pancake night brings with it 2 challenges: 1) How not to get sick of the same recipe every week, & 2) How to make a carb-heavy meal hearty & healthy. So let’s just say you’ll probably be seeing lots more pancake recipes on here in the future… (If you haven’t seen my banana walnut pancakes yet, go there now. I’ll wait. You can thank me later.)

The base of these whole-wheat blueberry pancakes is remarkably similar to those banana walnut pancakes. It has me thinking that I could probably interchange fruit mix-ins with very little changing of the recipe! Once again, I’ve subbed some Greek yogurt into the original recipe for added protein, & flaxseed for fiber, omega-3s, & general awesomeness. If you still have blueberries in your grocery store, hurry & make these before you have to wait until January for the Chilean ones!

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal (pour into a 1-cup measuring cup, then add flour below)
  • 1 cup (minus 2 Tbsp.) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (make by adding 1 Tbsp. white vinegar to a 4-cup measuring cup & filling with milk to the 1-cup line & waiting 5-10 minutes before adding remaining liquid ingredients)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • extra milk for thinning batter (about 1/4 cup)
  • blueberries
  1. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  2. Combine liquid ingredients in a large measuring cup, then pour into dry ingredients & stir gently until just combined (batter will be lumpy). Stir in milk to reach desired consistency.
  3. Heat a griddle on medium to medium-low heat, then spray with cooking spray. Ladle 1/4-cup portions of batter, then sprinkle several berries in each (extra points from your Munchkins for smiley faces). Let cook until bubbles form in the batter & edges are set, then flip & cook on the other side a few more minutes or until golden brown & done in the middle. Because the batter is relatively thick, a lower temperature for longer may be your best bet.
  4. Repeat with remaining batter & berries, spraying the griddle between every batch or two.
  5. Serve immediately as desired (with additional berries & some cream, or just with plain old maple syrup). Extra pancakes can be frozen & reheated in the toaster.

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