Thanksgiving Sides with a Twist

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I haven’t figured out what I will be making. I also figured I should probably do a Thanksgiving post before I continue on about Christmas (which I am very excited about). Here are some recipes I found online that put a little bit of a twist on the classics.
Sweet Potatoes/yams:

Cranberry Sauce:

Vegetable Side Dishes (with seasonal produce)

 

What are you making?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This week’s meal plan

Last week we fell off the wagon a little bit. Starting with my husband’s birthday, I consumed far too many grains and it made itself known. I broke out with these really annoying bumps on the backs of my arms and legs. Plus I felt icky all week.

Back to business!

I have a ton of squash and peppers in my fridge right now from my CSA box. I think I am starting to grow tired of the summer squash! I’ve been craving beets and sweet potatoes lately and couldn’t pass them up – especially since they were local and on sale!

All the fish we bought was wild caught and all the meat and chicken we purchased was organic and 100% grass fed. All of our produce was from local, organic farmers as well.

Also on my list to make is hummus to dip peppers, carrots, and cucumbers. I have all the ingredients, just need to blend them together. Plus I still need to make that delicious-looking tomato pesto!

This week’s dinner menu:

Monday:
Pan grilled Mahi Mahi
Served with mashed sweet potato and green beans

Tuesday:
Lemon-pepper chicken in the crockpot
served with summer squash and a beet salad

Wednesday:
Stir-fry beef with onions, peppers, garlic, and squash
served with quinoa

Thursday:
Cauliflower Crust vegetable pizza (experimental)
served with a beet salad

Friday:
Hamburger patties with bacon and avocado
served with baked sweet potato fries

Saturday:

BBQ pork chops
served with fruit salad and spinach salad

Roasted Chicken: Recipes From This Week’s Meal Plan

Chicken with potatoes, carrots, and squash

I think that roasted chicken is one of the easiest things to make for dinner. You just stick it in the oven for a while and leave it alone. If you bake a chicken you can have leftovers for tacos the next day, and keep all the chicken bones and extras to make chicken broth that you can freeze for later. Warning: if it’s a hot day it may not be the best solution to keep your oven on high for over an hour. But this recipe does make magic potatoes.

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Dinner Menu for a Week

What's for dinner?

This Post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday

While I don’t always enjoy grocery shopping, I do enjoy meal planning. I meal plan for two weeks at a time (hello paycheck). I love Excel, I love making lists, and I enjoy being organized so before I do my grocery shopping, meal plans are a must for me. Having a plan and a stocked house makes it easier for us to eat at home and to eat healthier as well.

Most of our produce comes from our CSA box. For the season, we can expect potatoes, squash, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, berries and pit fruit. We have also had beets, radishes, melon, and chard. Having a CSA box supports the local organic farming community and helps us eat seasonally.

Most of the food we buy at the grocery store is animal products and other proteins. We buy grass fed beef and chicken, wild caught fish, organic nuts and nut butters, organic eggs from chickens that are free range and grass fed, and whole milk dairy products that are local and organic (and although not raw, they are not ultra-pasteurized or homogenized). We always try and buy seasonal, local, and organic whenever possible, even if that means we drive a little farther to do so or grocery shop at more than one location.

Usually the only produce I buy that isn’t from California is bananas (because we don’t have them here!). And I love bananas. I eat them in smoothies quite often. Otherwise we buy produce from the farmers market or organic produce from CA at the grocery store, if we need more than what came in our CSA box.

Breakfast and Snacks:
I don’t plan out breakfast or lunch. My husband usually takes leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day, so we don’t usually have to worry about buying additional lunch foods, maybe just snacks. For breakfast we usually some sort of egg (omelet, eggs with tortillas and salsa, etc), with bacon or sprouted grain toast, steel cut oatmeal, yogurt with fruit and granola, peanut butter and banana smoothies, fruit smoothies, or nuts and fruit. Click HERE for other ideas. Snacks include nuts, cucumber slices, vegetables and hummus, and fruit.

Dinner Plan:
Friday: Sirloin steak with peppers, onions, and potatoes
Saturday: BBQ with the in-laws (Chicken-legs, tri-tip, fruit salad, vegetable skewers, tomato salad)
Sunday: Grilled lemon-pepper white fish with corn, peppers, squash, and onions
Monday: Vegetable Pizza with salad
Tuesday: Roasted Chicken with root vegetables
Wednesday: Leftover chicken tacos with sprouted corn tortillas, cabbage, salsa, sour cream, avocado and black bean salad
Thursday: Garlic-pepper pork tenderloin with garlic squash and green salad

Ingredient List:
Sirloin steak
Chicken Legs
Fish (you pick! We usually get some sort of white fish)
Whole chicken
Pork tenderloin
Pizza crust
Corn tortillas
salsa
sour cream
black beans
kidney beans
Oil and vinegar for salad dressing
Salad fixings – cooked beets, nuts, cheese
lemon
garlic
Cheese for pizza (we use raw cheddar and Parmesan)
Seasonings – pepper, garlic, salt, Italian seasoning, chili powder, paprika, etc.
Olive, palm, or coconut oil to cook with
CSA veggies:
Corn on the cob (enough for one meal + 2 cobs for black bean salad)
squash
mild peppers
lettuce or other salad greens
onions
potatoes
tomatoes
eggplant
avocado
carrots
cabbage

Stay tuned this week for more recipes!

What are you cooking for dinner?

Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas

If I can’t make breakfast quick, I am less likely to eat in the morning. Here are a few simple meals that leave me satisfied AND I enjoy:

PB Banana Smoothie:

1 banana – prefrozen in chunks
2-3 TBSP natural peanut butter or other nut butter (I like to keep mine frozen in ice cube trays)
½ cup of milk (whole milk works best)
A handful of ice

Blend all ingredients together and serve! I also use this as a sweet fix after dinner as well. You can lessen the amount of pb for a simple but tasty dessert.

Cheater Chilaquiles
1 corn tortilla cut into strips (works great with leftovers, I use sprouted corn tortillas)
1 egg, scrambled (the best eggs are from chickens who pastured!)
Salsa
Sour Cream (we use organic sour cream – and not the light stuff)
Salt, to taste
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of garlic powder
Olive oil, butter, or coconut oil

Sauté tortilla strips in oil until they begin to get crispy. Salt to taste. Add egg , 1 spoonful of salsa, and seasonings. Scramble mixture until cooked to desired doneness. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Green Smoothie:
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
Handful of spinach
Juice from 1 orange
½ frozen banana
½ cup frozen pineapple
¼ cup yogurt
Handful of ice

Blend and serve. Because of the apple, the texture might be a little grainy, but I still think it tastes good.

Make Ahead:
I also know someone who cooks little quiches in muffin tins as well as a whole pack of bacon – that way she has breakfast already cooked for the week, she just has to warm it up.

If I am running out of time to prepare anything I grab any combination of the following:
a glass of whole milk
a cup of yogurt
a cup of kefir
a handful of nuts
a piece of fruit
PB toast

What’s your favorite breakfast fix?

For Some, Growing Your Own Vegetables is Illegal

There are some days I read the news and I just feel incredibly disgusted, confused, and terrified. It scares me when I hear about people who are persecuted by the government for doing something natural and non-harmful, like refusing dangerous medications or growing vegetables (among others).

Today’s head shake comes from Michigan and the city’s action against a woman who has grown vegetables in her front yard. Apparently you can fill your yard with cement, but vegetables are a no-no. Kevin Rulkowski, the city planner from Oak Park, Michigan feels passionately that vegetables are not suitable to grown in front of your house.

Sign the petition and speak out against the officials wanting to persecute Julie Bass for growing vegetables in her front yard.

You can also visit her blog, Oak Park Hates Veggies.

I understand that there are some communities that are very particular with how your lawn and houses should look. You can’t paint your door a different color, the trim must match, your lawn must be mowed, etc. It just seems so counter-productive to put so much work and effort to criminalize growing a kitchen garden. Shouldn’t we be promoting this? Shouldn’t we teach our children the value of the land and eating from it? I would think a vegetable garden that could provide teaching opportunities about gardening, earth, and health would be more beneficial then making sure a yard fits the cookie-cutter mold.

Kevin Rulkowski, the city planner from Oak Park, cited vegetables are not considered suitable for your front yard. What if you had a plant or two in your flower bed – would it still not be suitable? At what point would it be suitable? Would vegetables never be suitable, regardless if they take up the whole lawn or just a corner of it? I understand (regardless of whether I think it’s right or not) that some communities would like their homeowners to maintain a nice lawn and take care of their yards, but how is concrete and rocks more suitable than vegetables?

What do you think?

Quick and Easy Garden Pizza

Use leftovers and extra veggies for a simple meal

I’m a fan of Food Renegade, and as part of their Fight Back Friday, here is simple recipe for a healthy meal with lots of vegetables.

Sometimes we have trouble eating all the vegetables we get in out CSA Box or sometimes we just don’t feel like cooking. The solution?

Easy Garden Pizza

Ingredients:
Premade or precooked crust – I use organic gluten-free or sprouted-wheat crust
Olive Oil
Seasonings (basil, pepper, garlic, etc)
Vegetables (we use organic vegetables from our CSA Box or garden)
Cheese (we use raw cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan, or goat cheese)

The winning combo for us this vegetable season?
Yellow squash
Eggplant (a great way to use this veggie if it’s not your favorite)
Leeks
Red onions
Peppers
Tomatoes
Garlic

I brush the crust with olive oil and 2 spoonfuls of fresh organic salsa. I sprinkle minced garlic throughout.
I top with sliced and chopped vegetables, then sprinkle with cheese. (if using leftover meat, place on the pizza before the cheese).
I then sprinkle basil and sun dried tomato flakes all over the pizza.

Place on a pizza stone after following crust directions for temperature. Should be ready in 8-12 minutes. We find the pizza pairs perfectly with a fresh salad with oil and balsamic vinegar.

This recipe can easily be changed to be gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian.
A friend of mine uses veganaise as a dip to serve with pizza.

Don’t be afraid to use whatever vegetables you have on had. You can put anything on pizza and it can be healthy!