Almost Thanksgiving! Plus last-minute side-dish ideas

Thanksgiving is only a few days away and I still have to figure out what I will be bringing to family dinner. Homemade bread (the no-knead, no-fail kind) has been requested, but I also need to figure out a side dish and maybe a dessert.

If we weren’t already having several potato dishes, I would definitely make our favorite side dish: Sweet potato, brussel sprouts, and bacon. It is really easy to make and all the flavors taste great. There is a nice balance of sweet and salty and the brussel sprouts pair nicely with both the sweet potatoes and bacon.

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I have also compiled a list of 15 healthified traditional Thanksgiving sides, which you can find HERE.

I’m looking forward to enjoying great food and company and kick-off the start of the holiday season! This year I am also even more Thankful for the blessings in my life; my son, my husband, our home, and my new job working at an elementary school library 🙂

What are you making this week? What are you thankful for this year?

 

You may also enjoy:

recipes and meal plans

 

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Healthy pumpkin pancakes – Low-carb and full of protein (and fluffy!)

This week I had a request from the husband to make a healthy pancake with protein, that was low-carb and grain-free. I’ve had some success with grain-free, healthy pancakes, but I’ve also had a few failures. This time I lucked out and ended up with a great recipe I’ve already made a few times. I even made a double-batch and stuck them in freezer for quick breakfasts or snacks.

Find the recipe after the jump!

proteinpancakes

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Crustless pesto mini-quiches with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes

I’ve never been a huge egg fan, but they are pretty much the perfect food, so I am learning to like them, especially since we eat them pretty much every day. For our household of 3 adults, we usually go through about 4 dozen eggs a week! In my quest to cook some things out of our normal routine, I thought that making mini pesto quiches would be a good idea. And you all know I love pesto. Making these quiches was also a good way to use the leftover goat cheese/pesto/spinach mixture from the stuffed chicken breasts I posted yesterday.

I looked up a million different quiche recipes, all different, yet all very similar, so I just winged it. One recipe said to add Parmesan cheese at the bottom of the cups, as it acts like a little crust, but I was all out. I meant to add a little heavy cream, but I totally forgot about it and they turned out fine. So fine I actually ate two out of the oven the night I made them instead of waiting until the morning. My favorite were the ones with the sun-dried tomatoes. These were great to make ahead. I wish I would have made a few different kinds for Lenten Fridays. The next morning I popped a few in the toaster oven and they were just as good as they were fresh! I really loved the ones with the sun-dried tomatoes, so I think I will make another batch and put in the freezer for weekends we don’t feel like making breakfast… or if we don’t feel like cooking dinner, either.

mini quiches

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Pesto, spinach, and goat cheese stuffed chicken and garlic asparagus recipe

I am working on growing an herb garden in our new house, but birds keep eating my herb sprouts. I put out a bird feeder, so hopefully that will deter them. Along with fresh cilantro and chives, I am really looking forward to fresh basil! I love making pesto and I enjoy eating it even more. This week I was craving some pesto goodness so I decided to pick some up and use it for a stuffed chicken recipe (and maybe a quiche recipe too).

I haven’t made stuffed chicken in a while, and it did not disappoint! This pesto and cheese and spinach stuffed chicken is a yummy and rich meal. Whoever said you can’t eat delicious food while still eating healthy doesn’t know what they are talking about! My husband was happy that it was grain-free and had goat cheese, and I was happy merely because it had pesto.  It may seem like too much work, but it’s all in the preparation. After you put it together, you can stick it in the oven and forget about it for a while!

I paired the chicken with a garlic asparagus side, recipe below as well.
stuffed chicken

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Grain-free, junk-free, two-week meal plan with grocery list Feb 25- March 10th

Week 3 and 4 of junk-free eating and my mom started the Whole 30 program last week and quit smoking, too! This household has really been working hard to eat healthy and exercise; as I type this, I am delightfully sore from working out.

I bought a 3 pound bag of almonds and finally made almond butter in the food processor. SO. EASY. Plus it was 1/3 of the cost! I will also use the almond for snacking and making almond flour. I bought a bag of pistachios (because I LOVE pistachios) and oranges for snacks.

February 25th-March 3rd

Monday:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and bacon
Lunch: Protein shake with coconut and almond milk and almond butter or leftovers
Dinner: Roasted chicken and steamed broccoli

Tuesday:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and bacon
Lunch: Protein Shake with coconut and almond milk, almond butter, half a banana or leftovers
Dinner: Fajita meat salad with baby spinach, lime juice, and salsa

Wednesday:
Breakfast:  Eggs and Bacon and an orange
Lunch: El Pollo chicken and protein shake with almond milk or leftovers
Dinner: Paleo pizzas, sauteed asparagus and baby spinach

Thursday:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and bacon
Lunch: Leftover paleo pizzas and salad greens
Dinner:(dinner at my dads) – bunless burgers

Friday:
Breakfast: Eggs
Lunch: Protein Shake with coconut and almond milk, almond butter, half a banana
Dinner: Salad with dressing, cheese, salsa, beans

Saturday:
Breakfast: Chicken-fried steak (grain-free) and fried eggs
Lunch: Protein Shake
Dinner: Ham, green-beans, sweet-potato fries

Sunday:
Breakfast: Skipped breakfast
Lunch: with in-laws – chicken enchiladas, salad greens
Dinner: BBQ chicken and brussel sprouts (also made paleo cookies)

March 4-10

Monday:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and bacon
Lunch: Leftover chicken and vegetables
Dinner: Taco Salad

Tuesday:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and bacon
Lunch: protein shake
Dinner: Spicy BBQ chicken, asparagus

Wednesday:
Breakfast: Eggs and bacon
Lunch: leftover chicken and salad
Dinner: pork loin in crock-pot, green beans

Thursday:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and bacon
Lunch: pork-loin and salad
Dinner: (Take-out at my dad’s house) chile verde and vegetables

Friday:
Breakfast: eggs with salsa verde
Lunch: Protein Shake with coconut and almond milk, almond butter, half an avocado
Dinner: Avocado tuna cakes with dipping sauce and salad greens

Saturday:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and bacon
Lunch: protein shake
Dinner: Out for a birthday party

Sunday:
Breakfast: protein shake
Lunch: (at in-laws) a Portuguese pork dish with green beans and yams
Dinner: Roasted chicken from Costco

2 week food list and cost breakdown:

*This is incomplete, but I figured I should post it now, and fill in the blanks later*

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Paleo pizzas: easy and delicious

Paleo pizzas

I had seen a few “paleo pizzas” on Pinterest, like this one and this one and I had to give it a try. Ground beef is the cheapest cut of meat and when you are buying grass-fed beef, it can get expensive! That is why we try and use ground beef more than other cuts of meat, so these “pizzas” are a nice way to switch things up. These have actually turned into one of my favorite meals.

I guess if you are adding cheese they would be more “primal pizzas,” but either way, these rock.

These pizzas are really easy to make and personalize, so don’t be scared to do your own thing! Here’s how we make ours:

Ingredients:

Patties:

  • 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef (we make 6 large patties)
  • 3 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dehydrated chopped onions
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

Pizza sauce:

  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • a dash of pepper
  • 1/4 tsp beef bouillon (I’m not a fan of sweet sauces and this mellows it out)
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

Toppings:

  • You choose! We like to use:
  • Sliced olives
  • Raw sharp cheddar
  • Pepperoni
  • Prosciutto
  • Onions (any kind!)
  • Sweet peppers

Directions:

  • Combine your patty ingredients with your hands and form into patties
  • In a large pan, grill, or BBQ grill, cook patties until cooked through
  • Place patties on tin-foiled cookie sheet and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Top your patties with whatever pizza toppings you want
  • Place in oven and cook until toppings are cooked to desired “done-ness” and cheese is melted
  • Turn your broiler on for a minute or two if you want your toppings to get a little crispy

Enjoy!

Two-week, grain-free meal plan and cost breakdown Feb 11-24

This post is a couple days late, but I’ve had a sick baby on my hands and an over-worked husband!

I’ve been following a pretty strict primal/paleo diet these last few week and it’s going great. I’ve lost a few pounds without trying very hard and I’m feeling pretty good. We aren’t doing a diet as strict as the Whole30 program, but trying to do about 90/10.

Usually I post meal plans for the week coming up, but I’ve decided to start posting meals, shopping lists, and cost breakdown for two weeks at a time, since a lot of what we buy is in 1 or 2 week cycles.

The Lenten season has begun and I will admit, the start of Lent was not very self-sacrificing. I thought Lent was the following week and did not plan very well. I am breast-feeding my baby, so I am not fasting, but I am replacing breakfast with a shake that has lower calories than my typical cooked breakfast.

My husband eats dinner leftovers for lunch, but I have started enjoying protein shakes as meal replacements because it is quick and easy (which is necessary with my 9 month old!) and it ensures I get plenty of protein. We try and order the cleanest protein we can. We aren’t perfect, we aren’t nutritionists, we are just trying to figure out what works best for us.

two week meal plan 1

We eat a little cheese here and there, so I guess you can say we eat more primal than paleo. There are places to get paleo-friendly protein powder so if you are more strict in your diet, you can certainly find it. We could use more veggies in our diet (especially for breakfast), but we are a work in progress 😉

Meal plan, grocery list, and price breakdown after the jump.

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Prosciutto-basil chicken and Brussel sprouts recipe

My friend Jen is a great cook. She likes trying new things and we sometimes get lucky and are invited over for dinner! I’m not a huge fan of prosciutto and my husband isn’t a huge fan of basil, but in this dish, this prosciutto-basil chicken, it tastes amazing! Jen got this recipe from a friend who got it somewhere online. It’s been altered a bit here and there along the way. I don’t think mine came out quite as good as Jen’s, but that could be because I didn’t have to cook it the first time!

basil and prosciutto chicken Ingredients

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Easy Paleo treats and healthier sweets

We usually have a ton of candy around during the holidays, but all that has changed! My husband and I are really working to keeping our foods clean and healthy and not keeping junk around. Not to say that we can’t have a treat, but I would rather splurge on something truly delicious than eat 12 crappy heart-shaped candies.

My husband also has no desire to be tempted with store-bought candy that has an ingredient list long and hard to pronounce. So this year I am not loading up his gift basket with high-fructose corn syrup; I’m making my own sweets!

Most Paleo (and GAPS, Primal, and other healthier grain-free/sugar-free options) usually contain the following ingredients: coconut, coconut oil, coconut butter, dark chocolate, cocoa, honey or pure maple syrup, almond flour, almond butter, and coconut flour. There are a lot of healthier options out there that taste just as good.

Here are a few simple treats you can make for your sweet heart or yourself!

mounds truffles

Homemade Mounds (or Almond Joy) from Detoxinista: I’ve made these before and they taste like the real thing! I had to use a bit more coconut oil then the recipe called for, but maybe my coconut was stale. I might also try and put the filling in cute molds before freezing and coating in chocolate.

fudge

Paleo Fudge from Practical Paleo: I have a friend who loves this stuff, and it is super easy to make!

Paleo-Chocolate-Cupcakes-5875

Paleo Chocolate Cupacakes from Elana’s Pantry: And chocolate frosting! I want to make these!

coconut klondite bites

Coconut Klondike Bites from PaleOMG: I really need to get some coconut butter so I can try these out. I love mint.

white fudge

Coconut Orange White Fudge from The Nourishing Gourmet: This looks so good. Like I said, I really need some coconut butter.

Chocolate-Covered-Cookie-Dough-Bites

Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Bites from The Unrefined Kitchen – These seem easy to make and a nice chewy treat.

reeses hearts

Almost Reeses’ Candy from Whole New Mom: My husband loves Reeses, so I really want to try these.

Don’t forget about chocolate covered strawberries! Melt some dark chocolate with a little coconut oil and dip the berries, drizzle the chocolate on top, or look for other creative ways. Chocolate fondue and mixed berries is a fun dessert, too!

 

You can find more Paleo treats on my Pinterest Board “Healthified Sweets”

board

This week’s meal plan (2/4-2/8)

It was a sad day yesterday in our house after the Niners lost the Super Bowl. So close, yet so far away. You know what was also so close? The number on my scale being lower. But then I splurged a little too much at our Super Bowl party. Oh well, back on the wagon today!

I’m working out and eating healthy and looking forward to pushing myself to be healthier and more fit (and growing a butt would be awesome sauce, too). I’m trying to work up the courage to post my progress so that I will be challenged and accountable! Maybe soon.

We ordered grass-fed ground beef and fajita meat from a local company and subscribed to eggs from grass-fed chickens. We bought chicken from a family member that works for a chicken company and I bought pork ribs on sale. I stocked up on lots of fruit this week to make protein smoothies.

I really need to learn to like fish. Maybe next week I will add in some sea food. Although, Lent is coming up and I am sure we will be adding more sea food at that time.

meal plan

Need more dinner ideas and meal plans? Click HERE for grain-free and gluten-free, budget-friendly, and even Whole30 meal plans and recipes.

What’s on this week’s meal plan for you?