Pinterest Wins

Oh, HEY! How is everyone doing?

So, since Bode was born, I haven’t been the most creative cook in the kitchen. The recipe creation has been close to zilch. HOWEVER, this doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking!

I have been letting Pinterest inspire me to try new recipes. Good ol’ Pinterest. My Pinterest page is stocked full of delicious looking food ideas. I have started to make my way through  some of the pinned recipes and I what I want to do today is share with you not Pinterest fails, but Pinterest wins! Here are some of my Pinterest finds that I have successfully made and really enjoyed (I said Pinterest 6 times in this paragraph in case you were wondering…7 including this sentence)!

  1. BLT Lettuce Wraps. I’m not against bread, but this was seriously so good without it! It was definitely messy, but so worth it.

Pin Win 1

2. Banana Chocolate Almond Squares. This is a clean dessert that seriously fulfills my sweet tooth. It’s been way too long since I’ve made these!

Pin Win 2

3. Chickpea tacos with guacamole! I used this picture as inspiration but didn’t follow their recipe at all. I made my own taco seasoning and cooked the chickpeas with the homemade seasoning. I LOVED these.

Pin WIn 4

4. Slow cooker Texas BBQ Pulled Pork. I. LOVE. THE. SLOW. COOKER. It is my best friend. I served this pulled pork with coleslaw and baked beans of course. Winner.

Pin Win 5

5. Broccoli and Cheese Soup. Yum.  I recall I went a little heavy on the spiciness when I made this, but it was still very delicious. This will be a must-make this winter.

Pin Win 6

6. Carmelitas. And now you are all officially drooling, right? You can’t go wrong with these. Bring them to your next get-together, I dare you.

Pin Win 7

7. Crock Pot Chicken Wild Rice Soup. I just made this last weekend and OMG! I made a few of my own tweaks but it didn’t need much because it was SO good. I added some extra poultry seasoning , a little nutmeg and garlic powder. Salt and pepper to taste. Make this once the weather cools! This competes with Panera’s soup. That’s a bold statement and I said it.

Pin Win 8

8. Slow Cooker White Bean Chicken Chili. Weird, another slow cooker recipe! I made this for my family and they all loved it and asked for the recipe. This is a super simple to put together recipe. I served this chili with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and cilantro.

Pin Win 9

How about those for Pinterest wins?! I think I need to stop pinning more recipes though so I can make the ones I have already pinned! That won’t happen. I love Pinterest! BTW follow me if you don’t already: https://www.pinterest.com/NuttyMelanie/

What are some of your Pinterest wins or successes?

Ham, Bacon & Potato Soup

What oh what to do with those delicious Easter leftovers from yesterday’s celebrations? Make some soup of course!

Ham, bacon, potato, veggies…..you know you want to.

ham bacon and potato soup   ham bacon and potato soup

I whipped this together in about 45 minutes and was SO pleased with the end result!

After I snapped these photos I sprinkled a generous handful of cheddar cheese on top so that it melted into this perfect bowl of soup. Um, YUM!

Recipe adapted/inspired from: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cheesy-ham-chowder

Ham, Bacon & Potato Soup
Print
Serves: 3-4 servings
Ingredients
  • 5 pieces of bacon (I used turkey bacon)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 1½ cups potato, chopped into about 1 inch pieces
  • ½ cup corn
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup ham, diced
  • cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • green onions, chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook bacon until crispy using your preferred method. I cooked mine on the stove top in a large pan. Remove from heat once cooked through. Let cool. Once cool, chop into small pieces. Set aside.
  2. In that same pan, saute onion, carrots, and celery in butter. Cook for 3-4 minutes until tender.
  3. Add potato, corn, chicken broth, water, and black pepper to the pan. Simmer for 25 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
  4. Add cooked ham and cooked bacon to the pan. Stir. Let simmer for 10 more minutes.
  5. Serve hot with cheddar cheese, sour cream and green onions (all optional).

Go get busy in the kitchen.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Soft Serve with Almond Breeze

Thank you for all of the love on my last post. It means so much to us. Each day is getting a little bit easier but I still find myself doing things like closing the bathroom door when we leave the house (so he doesn’t sneak in and raid the garbage) and waiting for his howl when the UPS guy comes by. It will take a long time to get used to not having our big guy around. Forever loved and remembered.

moose

 

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On a different note…

I teamed up with Blue Diamond Almond Breeze and whipped up an incredibly delicious (and healthy) dessert or snack!

I’ve mentioned it before and I will mention it again: Banana Soft Serve. This time I added cocoa powder and peanut butter to create Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Soft Serve!!

chocolate peanut butter banana soft serve

This is the EASIEST dessert ever!

All you need is:

  • frozen bananas (about one medium or large banana per person)
  • A few splashes of Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 scoop of peanut butter (I generally use Smuckers Natural but used Smart Balance this time)
  • 1 heaping spoonful of cocoa powder (add more or less to your liking)
  • Optional: vanilla wafers and sprinkles to top the creamy soft serve

almond breeze banana soft serve

In your blender, blend bananas, almond milk, cocoa powder, and peanut butter until smooth and creamy.

banana soft serve

banana soft serve

Serve it up and eat right away! Feel free to top the creamy soft serve with vanilla wafers, fresh berries, sprinkles, chocolate chips, whipped cream, or whatever you have around!

Smooth and creamy and such a naturally sweet little dessert!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.

Chocolate Chip Date Cookies

Happy Friday! I’m keeping it short and naturally sweet…

MAKE THESE NOW!

chocolate chip date cookies chocolate chip date cookies

 

K, that was a little bossy but seriously, you should make these. These cookies are sweetened with dates and dark chocolate chips, are grain free and insanely delicious in my opinion!

Chocolate chip date cookies recipe courtesy of:  https://cheffingit.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/date-sweetened-chocolate-chip-cookies/

This girl knocked it out of the park.

YUM.

xoxo

Clean Eating: Back At It

Helllllooo! How are you all?!

I finally found my way back into the kitchen and I am stoked about it. After 11 weeks of eating whatever the heck I wanted, including loads of chocolate, ice cream, and Christmas goodies, my body was less than thrilled. I was starting to just feel pretty blah. I decided it was time to get back on the clean-eating train.

I’m doing a bit of a “cleanse” where I am removing caffeine, alcohol, dairy, soy, peanuts, processed sugars and gluten for a little while. I plan on sticking to this for at least a few days to give my body a jumpstart, and then I will continue with a much cleaner eating plan versus what I had been eating! I will definitely add soy back in eventually and a little bit of dairy, but I do know that I am somewhat intolerant to cow’s milk so I will continue to moderate my dairy intake.

Here is what I have been eating these last few days!

Egg salad: This time I left out the capers though because I forgot.

egg salad

Raw “brownies”–I can’t keep my hands off of these.

fudgy brownie bites

A lentil salad from the book, “Clean” by Alejandro Jungers. I wrote a bit about the Clean diet back when. It’s full of lentils, veggies, and pineapple. It’s definitely different; not my favorite but not terrible.

Homemade gummy snacks with grape juice, gelatin, and a drop of lemon essential oil. A nice little treat!

grape juice gelatin

Katie’s buffalo chicken quinoa which I made for dinner last night! This was so delicious and so easy to make! I used red quinoa which is why it look different from Katie’s.

buffalo chicken quinoa

I stocked up on veggies and made sure they were cut up and ready to go:

  • bell peppers
  • carrots
  • celery
  • broccoli
  • asparagus
  • spinach
  • romaine lettuce

Mini mini burgers with grass-fed beef from the local co-op.

Cashews to snack on as well as brown rice cakes. I also made sure to buy a bunch of brown rice tortillas.

Almond butter and sunflower seed butter. Not as good as peanut butter but just wanted to give my body a bit of a break from it.

Frozen fruit, frozen spinach and almond milk for smoothies.

We have LOTS of good food around here!

Needless to say our grocery bill was a little high this week but it is SO worth it. I need to get my body back into a clean state. I’m already feeling better after just a short time of eating better. The saying is true, “you are what you eat.”

What are your favorite healthy whole food snacks?

Homemade Baby Wipes

Hey you all! How’s everyone doing after the holidays?! We were very busy and had so much fun with family and friends, and Bode did a pretty good job with all of the attention! He’s got to get used to it. 😉

This is just a quick post to let you know that I posted about how to make your own baby wipes on my oily blog. Here’s the link if you want to check it out if this interests you!

baby wipes

https://coconutladies.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/homemade-baby-wipes/

I love making my own baby wipes. They are so easy to make, quick, cheap, and natural!

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Off subject, but someday I hope to get back in the kitchen and get creative, but for now things are looking pretty boring around here:

Smoothies for breakfast, something quick like an egg sandwich for lunch, and meat, veggie, and whole grain for dinner if I get ambitious. Food is fuel—half the time I don’t even taste what I’m eating. Yikes! It’s so worth it though!

Beautifully Nutty will look delicious again someday hopefully!!

Take care my friends!

Quick Black Bean Burgers

Happy Monday to you all! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Mine was great! We got a lot done around the house and finished up some last details in preparing for baby’s arrival.

We had our last prenatal meeting with our doula over the weekend which means the next time we see her I will be in labor. Yay! We are getting so close!

So this weekend I was a rollercoaster of energy; pretty typical at this phase in the game. I would go nuts in the kitchen, go through old bins I haven’t touched in literally 10 years, clean, organize, and then all of a sudden, whoa, I need to sit down and have a snack because I am wiped! By the time dinner time rolled around, I was hanging on to only a few last bits of energy, but I still wanted to make something healthy for dinner.

One of my kitchen tasks completed earlier was making black beans (from dried). They were still out and needing to be put into zip-loc baggies and then into the freezer, so I thought I would incorporate some of those into dinner somehow.

I decided on black bean burgers. Here is what I came up with! My apologies for the photos in advance, I was too hungry to really get any good ones.

black bean burgers black bean burgers black bean burgers black bean burgers black bean burgers

I literally whipped these up in a little over 15 minutes. This recipe is incredibly easy! (recipe inspiration from The Pioneer Woman).

Black Bean Burgers
Print
Serves: 4 patties
Ingredients
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained (I used fresh from dried and measured 1 and ⅞ cups to equal about 15 ounces---it's not exact, it's okay!)
  • ½ c. oats processed in food processor into smaller crumbs (bread crumbs would work great too)
  • a few sprinkles of garlic powder
  • a few sprinkles of onion powder
  • a sprinkle of chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. salsa
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, smash beans using a fork. Some bigger pieces are ok. You don't want it to be a complete mush.
  2. Add remaining products to bowl. Mix well.
  3. Warm a skillet over low-medium, to medium heat. Spray heavily with olive oil. Let pan warm.
  4. Form four fairly flat patties with hands. Place onto skillet.
  5. Cook for 6-7 minutes on the first side, and 5 minutes on the second (or until both sides have darkened slightly).
  6. Serve warm on a bun or with a salad. Add cheese, onion, tomato, and whatever other toppings you would like!

**To make this dairy-free and gluten-free:

  • replace egg with 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed and 3 Tbsp. water
  • make sure to use gluten-free oats
  • serve on a salad with a side of quinoa and eliminate cheese

And then I crashed…:smile: It was a very nice productive weekend!

What is your favorite way to use black beans?

I love tossing them into salads, into soups, and into tacos or nachos! Num.

Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast

Following along with my beef cravings, I made one seriously delicious and SUPER easy meal last night.

I was inspired by this recipe for Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast!

crock pot beef pot roast

I let the crock pot do the majority of the work. All I had to do was brown each side of the beef roast, and cut up garlic, onions and potatoes. I used baby carrots so no need to chop there. To season I used worcestershire sauce, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper.

crock pot beef pot roast

Eight hours in the crock pot on low. crock pot beef pot roastcrock pot beef pot roast

Top with gravy if you so desire!

crock pot beef pot roast

Botta-bing, botta-boom. An insanely delicious, satisfying and comforting meal!

Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast
Print
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 potatoes, chopped in large pieces
  • 1-2 cups baby carrots
  • 2 small onions, chopped in large pieces
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp worcestershire
  • 2 lb chuck roast
  • 1 beef bouillon cube in one cup hot water
  • sprinkle of thyme
  • sprinkle of paprika
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large crockpot, toss in potatoes, carrots, and onions. Set aside.
  2. In a medium pan, sauté garlic in olive oil for about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add worcestershire to pan. Turn up the heat to medium/medium high.
  4. Add roast to pan and brown each side of roast; about 1-2 minutes per side.
  5. Add beef and sauce from the pan to the slow cooker on top of the veggies.
  6. Add bouillon water, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper to the slow cooker.
  7. Set slow cooker on low for 8-10 hours.
  8. Serve hot with gravy if you wish!

ENJOY!

Honey Nut Banana Oat Muffins (w/ Blue Diamond Almonds)

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past couple of months or so, you have learned that I am already into the hardcore “nesting” mode. I am wanting to organize everything in sight, I can’t stop thinking about the baby room and projects I want to tackle to decorate, I clean the house on Friday nights….yea that’s what’s happening.

Another part of nesting is food prep. I plan to make a handful of freezer meals to have on hand for when baby arrives. I’ve got a little list going of meals I want to prep in the next month or two (I will share this with you hopefully!).

I began my fresh freezer food stash this week.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a package from Blue Diamond which included two new flavors of almonds: Honey Roasted Vanilla and Honey Roasted Chipotle. The honey chipotle ones have been a serious hit for me. I love snacking on them. They are spicy and sweet and my taste buds are very happy with that combo.

The honey roasted vanilla are incredibly tasty too. I had to ration them because I knew I wanted to use them in a baking experiment, and the baking experiment turned out to be a success.

Enter: Honey Nut Banana Oat Muffins with Blue Diamond Almonds. A fully loaded recipe title.

honey nut banana oat muffins

I used the food processor to process oats and Blue Diamond’s honey roasted almonds to use as my flour!

honey nut banana oat muffins

The muffins are sweetened naturally with bananas and honey.

honey nut banana oat muffins

They take very little time to prepare and only 25 minutes to bake!

honey nut banana oat muffins honey nut banana oat muffins honey nut banana oat muffins honey nut banana oat muffins

These babies turned out fabulous. I kept a few out to enjoy now, but froze the rest so I could have a quick and healthy snack to grab from the freezer upon baby’s arrival!

Honey Nut Banana Oat Muffins
Print
Makes 12 muffins.
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups oats
  • ¼ cup plus 2-3 Tbsp. ground honey vanilla almonds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use cooking spray to lightly coat a 12 muffin, muffin pan.
  2. In a food processor, process oats into flour consistency. Mine turned out to be a little coarse and that worked out just fine too.
  3. In a medium bowl combine oats, ¼ cup ground almonds, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl beat together remaining ingredients until smooth.
  5. Slowly beat in flour mixture. Beat to combine.
  6. Pour mixture evenly into muffin pan. Sprinkle with remaining 2-3 Tbsp. of ground almonds.
  7. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into middle of muffin (towards the middle of the pan) comes out clean.
  8. Enjoy as is, with butter, peanut butter, honey. They are a perfect on the go breakfast or snack.

Keep an eye out for these new flavors. They are very palate pleasing!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. I was given samples for free, however all opinions expressed on the products are solely my own.

Cranberry BBQ Chicken

A while back, I was contacted by The Cranberry Institute to help spread the word on cranberries and not only their deliciousness, but their many health benefits too.

I will admit that when I think of cranberries I think of Thanksgiving. That’s one of the few times that I actually eat whole cranberries throughout the year. Besides that, I will buy dried cranberries and add them to salads or trail mixes. But there are other ways to use cranberries!

Ways to use cranberries:

  • Sprinkle dried cranberries on cereal or yogurt
  • Add cranberry sauce and make a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce (recipe below!)
  • Add dried cranberries to muffins and bread mixes
  • Combine cranberry sauce with cheese for a sweet and salty quesadilla
  • Blend frozen cranberries into smoothies

Health benefits:

  • Cranberries contain flavonoids which prevent bacteria from sticking to the cell walls—example: they prevent E. coli from sticking to the walls in the bladder which is associated with bladder infections
  • They can help to improve heart health
  • They may improve blood cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure, inflammation and oxidative stress
  • Can help boost the immune system

For more information on cranberry health research: http://www.cranberryinstitute.org/health_research/Healthresearch_HR.html

Cranberries are tart as we are all well-aware, and that is because they are so low in sugar. They have similar sugar content to a lemon! Pucker up. Adding sugar to the cranberries makes them more palatable (just be aware of your sugar intake always)!

So how about a fun cranberry-inspired recipe for your Wednesday courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee?!

Cranberry BBQ Chicken! 

cranberry BBQ chicken

cranberry BBQ chicken cranberry BBQ chicken cranberry BBQ chicken

Cranberry BBQ Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 cup minced onions (white or yellow)
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. dark molasses
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water if needed (I didn’t need any)

Directions

  1. In a sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat; add onions and sauté 2 minutes. Mix in garlic, mustard, chili powder, and continue cooking 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook 1 more minute.
  2. Add cranberry sauce, vinegar, and molasses and bring to a simmer, whisking often until mixture becomes smooth. Lower heat and simmer 15-20 minutes or until mixture reduces and thickens. Add water to mixture if needed if it gets too thick. Remove from heat and serve on top of chicken!

Their recipe recommended mixing the BBQ sauce with shredded chicken, putting it onto a sandwich and topping it with coleslaw. I thought that sounded great, but what I decided to do was place the BBQ sauce on top of baked chicken breast that I seasoned with onion powder, salt, pepper, and dry mustard. I also melted monterey jack on top of the chicken.

SO good!

Such a fun and different kind of BBQ sauce. Give it a shot for yourself!

Do you enjoy cranberries? How do you use them?