Sunday, November 16, 2014

Quinoa Sage Stuffing

Thanksgiving is around the corner and once again, I'm on a mission to try and "clean up" as many of our traditional favorites as possible. I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving, but probably for all of the wrong reasons. In the past, I've been guilty of eating way too much, trying every dessert and then spending the rest of my evening strategizing for Black Friday! 

Last year, I was able to cut back on my portions and realize that I was FULL after just one plate and this year, I'm taking it a step further and trying to find healthier options, without giving up all the flavor. Stuffing is my FAVORITE Thanksgiving food, and I've made it my mission to create a healthier option that is SO delicious hopefully I can trick a few of my family members into enjoying it, without knowing it's healthy! Here is the recipe I came up with and let me tell ya, my husband and son DEVOURED it during our taste test last week.

1 C Quinoa, rinsed well (I purchase mine already rinsed)
2 1/2 C Organic low-sodium chicken broth (you can use vegetable for vegan option) - separated

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 heaping C Celery, diced
1 medium White onion, diced

1/4 C Dried cherries (or cranberries)
1 small handful of fresh sage, chopped {about 1 tablespoon if using dried herbs}
1 Organic, Granny Smith apple, Cored and diced1 tsp garlic, minced
Hymalayan salt
fresh ground pepper

In a medium sized pot bring 1 cup of vegetable broth and 1 cup of water to a boil. Add in the quinoa, salt, pepper and stir. Set to low heat and simmer with a lid on for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat {do not lift lid} and allow the quinoa to steam for another 10 minutes. When that is over, you will have picture perfect quinoa – trust me, no  more soggy mess!
Heat the olive oil in a pan over low heat. Add in the minced garlic, chopped celery, onion and cherries. Cook until veggies begin to become clear, about 5-10 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium and add in the remaining broth, sage and season with more salt and pepper if needed; simmer for a few minutes.
Combine the quinoa with the veggie mixture and stir together.

TIP: If you find the mixture to be too dry for your taste, add a bit more broth. If you prefer your stuffing to be a bit drier, add to a pan and bake on 375 for 10 minutes

If you are interested in learning more recipes like this one, send me a message on Facebook. I'm running a FREE Thanksgiving Makeover group and we'll be sharing tons of clean(er) option recipes, tips & tricks to not overeat and Fun facts!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

RECIPE} NO BAKE: Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies

NO BAKE: Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies

Make ~ 2 dozen cookies
1/2 C honey
1/4 C coconut oil
1/4 C Chocolate Shakeology
1/4 tsp Pink hymalayan Salt
1/2 C All Natural Peanut butter
1/8 C Peanuts (shelled and unsalted)
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons flaxseeds, wheat germ or chia seeds
Combine the honey, coconut oil, shakeology and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the coconut oil is completely melted and the mixture is smooth and warm, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the peanut butter and stir until completely melted, about 2 minutes. 
Remove from heat and stir in the oats. Cover with a lid for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in 1/3 cup of the coconut and the flaxseeds, wheat germ or chia seeds.
Use a round tablespoon to scoop, then level, the mixture. Sprinkle with some of the remaining coconut and press lightly onto the cookie. Use a small offset spatula to gently coax the cookie onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, coconut-side down. The mixture will be a little delicate and sticky at this point. Lightly flatten the cookie with the spatula or your fingers. Repeat this process with the remaining cookie mixture, to make about 2 dozen cookies.

Refrigerate the cookies on the baking sheet until they are completely chilled, at least 30 minutes. These cookies are best served very chilled.

Monday, November 10, 2014

10 Ideas for a Cheap Date Night!

As a parent of two, I know how difficult it can be to get away with your significant other for an evening on the town. As a mother of two, I also understand that money and budgets can really throw a wrench into the plans! So, My husband and I have come up with our 10 favorite date ideas, for all types of interests, that are relatively inexpensive.  So, no need to keep you waiting any longer, drum roll please...

1. Take a class together
Check with your local community college or Park and Recreational department. We have a ton of classes where we live, that can be anywhere from FREE to less than a hundred dollars for a few months worth of classes. Find something you both are interested in OR try something brand new!

2. Farmer’s Market in the Morning, Making Dinner Together That Evening

Spend Locally and spend time together throughout the day from the farmer's market all the way through the evening when you make dinner TOGETHER. 

3. Game & Movie Night In
Can't find a babysitter? Put the kids to bed and have a game night or watch movie. If you can handle waiting a few weeks for movies to be released, you can rent them for cheap from Redbox OR stream them from Amazon Prime or Netflix!

4. Browse through a bookstore
Have fun with each other browsing through an old book store. See if you can find an old classic, or search for your favorite childhood book and the memories that come with it OR find 50 Shades of Grey and read that to each other and make some new memories ;) 

5. Support the local musicians
You can always find local musicians playing at a local bar, park, or fair. If you have a favorite one, search their web site and see what their schedule is. 

6. Sweat together
Working out together is one of the best things you can actually do for your relationship. It builds trust, raises endorphins, reduces stress and goals reached together create great memories. 

7. Visit a museum
Most museums have a free day per month or one day a week that the admission price is reduced. 

8. Act like a child
You know all of those activities you used to do when you were a kid and don't do anymore? Why not? Go sledding, bike riding, roller blading, go to an indoor trampoline park. Whatever you used to do as a kid, give it a try today!

9. Be a tourist in your own town
Ever notice you never take advantage of all your city has to offer? We are all guilty of "we'll do it one day..." but why not today? You live there, so you should be the first to have taken advantage of all the cool exhibits, sites, etc.

10. Volunteer for your favorite cause
We all have used the excuse that we don't have time to volunteer, so why not turn it into date night? Pick something fun - an organization or cause you are both passionate for and do it! Besides, did you know that people that help others live longer than those who don't AND are happier and healthier?

One last piece of advice - Check Groupon or other flashbuy sites for awesome local deals. My husband and I get a TON of great deals doing this!

What are YOUR favorite inexpensive date ideas? Share them with us in the comments section below!