• In The CEBH Kitchen
  • My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure

    My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure | cookeatbehealthy.com

    In the interest of full transparency, I have a confession to make.  I’ve fallen off the wellness wagon!  Not only have I fallen off, but the horses spooked and ran away with the wagon trailing behind!  So, basically I’m saying I’ve lost control of my eating…again…😒  It’s so frustrating as this is a pattern that has repeated over and over again my entire life.  I have some success at diets with resulting weight loss, only to be distracted or derailed by my old eating habits.  I’ve spent countless hours thinking about what my root problem is, and why I have such an incredibly difficult time committing and following through with a healthy living lifestyle.  What I finally realized is that I’m a food and sugar addict!

    Hello.  My name is Lisa, and I’m addicted to food.

    23 years ago I quit smoking – cold turkey!  I was newly married and I knew we’d be wanting to have a baby so I had a pretty appealing carrot dangling in front of me!  And while quitting smoking was hard, and I felt horrible the first couple weeks, it was NOTHING compared to the struggles I have with my diet.  And you know why that is?!? It has only taken me 30 years to figure this out, but it’s because when I quit smoking I could resolve to never ever have another cigarette.  Recovering alcoholics and former drug addicts can resolve to never have another drink or take another drug.  I know that’s an over-simplification, because we all know there’s much more to ending addiction than just never smoking, drinking, or shooting up again!  However, with a food addiction that’s not even an option.  If I never eat again, I will die.  Pretty strong deterrent to that particular method of weight loss!

    Flash back to last week after I made my astounding self-realization that I was a food addict…I stumbled upon something on the interwebz that caught my eye…a moment so serendipitous that I could not ignore it.  I read about a gentleman from Australia named Andrew Taylor, who ate nothing but potatoes for an entire year and not only lost 117 lbs., but also improved his health by lowering his cholesterol, his blood pressure, his triglycerides, and his blood sugar.  He also experienced a reduction of inflammation and pain in his joints.  As I was reading his story I was drawn to a line about how he realized he was a food addict, and that while he obviously couldn’t stop eating all together, he could certainly simplify his life by eating only ONE food – and that food was potatoes!  Brilliant, right?!? I was intrigued, so I bought his book, “The DIY Spud Fit Challenge”, and read it in about an hour.  

    After reading Andrew’s book, and feeling so inspired and actually hopeful for the first time, I found another resource in a book called “The Potato Hack: Weight Loss Simplified”, by Tim Steele.  This book took me all afternoon to read, and it’s much more detailed as far as the scientific reasons why a potato diet can be an effective, and most importantly, healthy method of weight loss!  Suffice it to say, after reading both these books, and many anecdotal testimonies as to the diet’s effectiveness,  I’m ready to jump in with both feet and see if I can make this whole ‘potato hack’ thing work for me!

    My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure | cookeatbehealthy.com

    I think it’s amazing that Andrew ate nothing but potatoes for an entire year!  But realistically – I’m not even going to try that!  I know myself well enough to know that I’d probably never manage a year on strictly potaoes!  Tim’s book actually has several different hacks or ways to approach a potatoes only diet, but what they both have in common is this: a potatoes only diet means only eat potatoes!  No oils of any kind, no dairy – this means no cheese or sour cream on that baked potato, no meat, and actually no other vegetables or fruits.  Seasonings are limited to a tiny bit of salt and perhaps some dried herbs. I recommend that before you start any kind of a diet such as this that you read both the books I linked to above – and nope…not being compensated in any manner…just endorsing them for their knowledge and experience in regard to this particular diet hack.  Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say you should check with your doctor before beginning any diet of this kind – especially if you intend to maintain a potatoes only diet for an extended period of time!

    After thinking long and hard about my lifestyle, my level of commitment, and my personal issues with food, I’ve come up with a plan for the next 4 weeks – a modified, personally suited ‘Potato Hack’ that I’m determined to follow through with.  I’m going to post weekly about what I’ve eaten, and how much weight I’m losing, as well as my mental and emotional health during this time!  I’ve set some goals for myself which include losing 10 pounds or more by the end of 4 weeks, reset my metabolism, and most importantly for me, to kick my sugar habit again!  I’m also hopeful that my overall health will improve, resulting in a significant reduction in inflammation!  That will enable me to amp up my exercise routine again to include a minimum of 30 minutes on the elliptical or a brisk 30 minute walk at least 5 days per week.

    My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure | cookeatbehealthy.com

    At this point, I know you’re probably thinking I’m totally nuts – and that’s ok with me!  And in case you’re wondering how a diet consisting solely of potatoes can be healthy, let me share some nutritional data with you before I outline my plan for the next 4 weeks.  The World Health Organization recommends that we get at least 5% of our calories from protein, and 6-8% of the calories in potatoes comes from protein. Potatoes are rich in iron, calcium, Vitamin C, and fiber.  Potatoes also contain a good balance of omega fats in healthy amounts, and they contain zero saturated fats which make them extremely heart healthy!

    As for my modified Potato Hack Diet, I have it planned out as such:

    Days 1-3 ~ Potatoes and potatoes, and then some more potatoes…but nothing else other than a teensy bit of salt and pepper.  Beverages to include unlimited water, black coffee, and unsweetened tea throughout the next 28 days.

    Days 4-14 ~ Potatoes and only potatoes for breakfast and lunch.  For dinner I’m planning to dress my potatoes with onions, mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes in any combination that appeals to me.  At this point, I’ll be adding more dried herbs and seasonings, as well as vinegar and lemon juice to flavor my potatoes.  I will also be making a gravy with organic chicken, beef, or vegetable stock and potato starch.  I’ll pass along that recipe on social media and in my next post.

    Days 15-28 ~ All meals to include potatoes with onions, mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes, and gravy made from stock and potato starch as desired.  I’m also going to add in Sweet Potatoes at this time.  I realize they are a completely different food, but in the interest of maintaining enough variety to make this Potato Hack doable, I feel like it’s a good compromise.  πŸ‘

    After 28 days I’ll re-evaluate progress I’ve made and the struggles I’m sure to encounter to see what worked and what didn’t.  But I’m so confident and pumped up about this Spudtacular Adventure that I know it’s going to be a positive experience for me!  Hopefully after this 4 weeks I’ll be able to judge better how often to include a Potato Hack in my regular (healthy) diet!  At this point, I’m thinking at least one day per week of only potatoes, and perhaps one or two days of the Days 15-28 protocol!

    Am I crazy?!? Oh for sure!!!  But for trying this Spudtacular Adventure for 28 days…not so much! πŸ˜‰  If anyone has tried a Potato Hack, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!  If you’re interested in trying it with me – also please comment and send me an email or Facebook message so we can connect one to one…we can do this…but it never hurts to have a friend along for the adventure! πŸ˜€

    My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure | cookeatbehealthy.com

  • Breakfast
  • Sweet Potato Hash

    Sometimes simple is best.  And this recipe for Sweet Potato Hash is incredibly simple.  It just so happens to be incredibly delicious and nutritious as well!  Plus, I love coming up with recipes that are easily made from ingredients I usually always have stocked in my fridge, freezer, and pantry!  

    Sweet Potato Hash | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Today’s recipe is a favorite of mine because sweet potatoes….enough said!  These babies pack a powerhouse of nutritional goodness and flavor, making them one of my favorite foods!  They are low in calories – 115 per one cup of cubed sweet potatoes, and they are LOADED with vitamin A which plays a critical role in maintaining our vision, immune systems, and neurological functions.  Even if they didn’t taste fantabulous, I’d still want to eat them just for their nutrients.  

    Sweet Potato Hash | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Today’s hash recipe is perfect for weekend brunch, or as a simple weeknight dinner.  In fact, it’d be perfect to serve for a Meatless Monday dinner!  Add a little chopped avocado for some healthy fats and fiber, top it all with a soft poached egg for some protein, add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for a zippy bit of spice, and you’ll have what I consider to be a perfect simple meal!  Flavor, nutrition, spice, and gorgeous color all in one dish…see…it is the perfect meal!

    Sweet Potato Hash | cookeatbehealthy.com

    For those of you who prefer meat with their meals (like Mr. CEBH), feel free to add some chopped ham or bacon!  I made it with ham for my husband and even though he’s not a huge sweet potato fan (how is that even possible?!?), he thoroughly enjoyed it.  I think the ham helped disguise the sweet potato flavor for him…husbands and kids…the lengths we go to in order to get them to eat healthy! πŸ˜‰

    Sweet Potato Hash | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Just look at that yolk…it makes the perfect sauce for this bowl of hash goodness! 

    To compliment the sweet potatoes in this dish I also added Yukon gold potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions.  Feel free to follow the recipe exactly, or sub in your family’s favorite vegetables.  Either way, you’ll have a dinner on the table in practically no time with this Sweet Potato Hash recipe!

    Sweet Potato Hash
    Serves 6
    A simple, flavorful, nutrient dense dish perfect for brunch or dinner.
    Write a review
    Print
    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    30 min
    Total Time
    45 min
    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    30 min
    Total Time
    45 min
    264 calories
    30 g
    185 g
    12 g
    10 g
    4 g
    280 g
    591 g
    5 g
    0 g
    7 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    280g
    Servings
    6
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 264
    Calories from Fat 106
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 12g
    19%
    Saturated Fat 4g
    22%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
    Monounsaturated Fat 5g
    Cholesterol 185mg
    62%
    Sodium 591mg
    25%
    Total Carbohydrates 30g
    10%
    Dietary Fiber 7g
    27%
    Sugars 5g
    Protein 10g
    Vitamin A
    212%
    Vitamin C
    63%
    Calcium
    7%
    Iron
    12%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    Ingredients
    1. 1 onion, diced
    2. 2 large carrots, cubed
    3. 2 medium yukon gold potatoes, cubes
    4. 2 large sweet potatoes, cubed
    5. 1 green pepper, diced
    6. 4 large baby bella mushrooms, diced
    7. 2 cloves garlic, minced
    8. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    9. 1 tsp salt
    10. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    11. 1 tbsp coconut oil
    12. 6 eggs, poached ~ optional
    13. 1 large avocado, diced ~ optional
    Instructions
    1. Heat coconut oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, pepper, and mushrooms. Toss to coat in oil.
    2. Cook, stirring occasionally over medium to high heat 10-15 minutes.
    3. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.
    4. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until vegetables are fork tender ~ about 10 more minutes.
    5. Divide evenly into 6 portions.
    6. Top each portion with diced avocado and a soft poached egg, if desired.
    7. Season with an additional sprinkle of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if desired.
    beta
    calories
    264
    fat
    12g
    protein
    10g
    carbs
    30g
    more
    Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/
  • Non-Food Related
  • 21 Pearls Of Wisdom For My Daughter On Her 21st Birthday

    Anna Marie…age 1!!!

    Today is a very special day in our family…it’s our daughter, Anna’s, birthday! So today’s post is a departure – no food, no recipes – just a little something especially for Anna!  I knew I wanted to write a special blog post to honor her on her 21st, but it took me several days to decide how I wanted to approach it.  I thought about writing about all the reasons I love her, but I thought she might find that a little too personal.  And besides – she knows we love her because she’s brilliant, beautiful, independent, courageous, kind, confident, funny, driven, organized, generous, a hard worker, determined, a fantastic friend, a wonderful blogger (check her out at Five Foot & Fabulous), the world’s most amazing example to her niece, passionate about the state of our country, and just the most awesome person I’ve ever known in my whole life!  So…no need to mention all those things! πŸ˜‰

    Anna…age 21!

    Anyway, I decided that maybe what would actually be fun is to share a few Pearls of Wisdom and Words of Advice with her as she makes the officially-official transition into adulthood!  So here we go, Anna!  Some of these I’m sure you already know as we’ve seen you live a life of which we could not be more proud.  And some of these you probably won’t appreciate until you get even older.  And a few of these are Pearls passed down from other members of the family – little gems that I’ve found myself recalling and putting into use at certain times during my life!

    1. Be kind!  Even something as small as letting someone cut ahead of you in the check-out line at the grocery store can make a difference in that person’s life!  Being kind is free, but pays huge dividends!
    2. Laugh…as often as possible!  Laugh at yourself especially – you’ll find it’s what helps get you through even the toughest of times!
    3. Read as much as time allows!  Read fiction and non-fiction alike.  Both can help us escape, and both can teach us so much!
    4. Never stop learning!  Attend Grad School if you want, sign up for community college courses for fun, learn a new hobby or a different language, read those books we talked about in #3…just never stop learning!
    5. Pray!  I don’t mean you have to go to church, or follow a certain religious protocol.  Whether you pray to the God we learned about in church, or the Source, or the Universe itself – prayerfully give thanks for your blessings, and humbly ask for help when you need it!
    6. Be thankful!  Your life is one of privilege, and for that you must always be thankful. 
    7. Get plenty of sleep!  This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s so important!  
    8. Eat Healthy Food!!!!  Your body will thank you for this, especially as you get older.  When you’re young, it’s much easier to get away with eating junk and fast food – but trust me when I say – it’s not worth it in the long run!
    9. Make exercise a priority.  Right now you do a lot of walking on campus, but once you finish school there’ll be less physical activity and movement in your days.  Be sure to find time to walk or work out at least a few days per week.
    10. Learn to cook at least one fantastic meal.  You’ll be grateful for this skill someday when you’re looking to impress a future husband, in-laws, or bosses.  
    11. Dazzle ’em with your brilliance, or buffalo ’em with bullshit!  This one is thanks to Gran – it’s something she told me when I was about your age, and it’s come in handy many times.  I’ve done my fair share of dazzling, but honestly I’ve probably employed the other tactic much more frequently!  Turns out – people can’t really tell the difference anyway! πŸ˜‰
    12. Work hard and pursue your passions!  People appreciate hard workers – and if a future boss doesn’t appreciate your hard work, maybe you need to move on and make that person a former boss!  And don’t be afraid to switch career goals…if your passions change, follow your heart!
    13. Remember your roots.  This place, and this family (warts and all), fashioned the person you are today!
    14. Invest as much as is allowed in your retirement account or 401K.  It might seem like a waste of money now, but the next 40 years are going to fly by, and when you get to be in your 60’s you’ll be so incredibly glad you saved that money!
    15. Travel!  You’ve had a chance to do some of this, but I really encourage you to do as much as possible.  The world is an amazing place and I’d love for you to experience as much of it as you possibly can – besides I like living vicariously through you! 😘
    16. You’re a long time old, and a short time young, so enjoy your youth while you’ve got it!  Lester told me this one…he was a very wise man!  
    17. Never settle!  Marry the man you don’t want to live without, take the job that makes the days fly by, do what makes your heart soar!
    18. Always be on time – or better yet – always be 5 minutes early. 
    19. Don’t get so busy planning and dreaming of the future that you forget to live today!
    20. Be the friend you want to have.
    21. Call your mom…call me often, call me many times per day even!  In fact, even if you think you’ve called me enough, call again!

    So there you have it, Darlin’…21 Pearls of Wisdom for your 21st Birthday!  Given time I’m sure I could come up with many more…but I’ll quit for now!  You’re welcome!  πŸ˜œ  And while I didn’t include it on the list, what I want you to remember most is how much you are loved.  It’s been the greatest privilege of our lives to be your parents.  We’re incredibly proud of you, of the life you’ve cultivated, of the generous heart you share with your family and friends, and we cannot wait to see where your life takes you!  

    HAPPY TWENTY-FIRST BIRTHDAY, BABY!  LOVE YOU!!!

    Mom xoxoxoxo 

    Through the years…..πŸ’—

     

     

  • Soups
  • French Onion & Mushroom Soup with Parmesan Crisps

    French Onion & Mushroom Soup with Parmesan Crisps | cookeatbehealthy.com

    I remember very well the first time I had French Onion Soup, I was 16 and a friend and I decided to go out to lunch at one of the “fanciest” restaurants in town.  We were so excited, and felt so grown up!  The restaurant was along the river, and for a smallish Iowa town in the mid 1970’s it was pretty up-town…or at least we thought it was! πŸ˜‰  Anyway, we both had jobs so we thought we were pretty rich…that is until we looked at the menu!  Imagine our surprise when we saw the prices and decided the only thing we could afford was a bowl of soup!  But we played it cool, and each of us ordered the French Onion Soup like we’d had it dozens of times before!  It was new to both of us, but we were 16 and wanted to be grownup, and we thought that sounded like the most “adult” soup on the menu.  Yep…we were really cool!!! πŸ˜‚

    French Onion & Mushroom Soup with Parmesan Crisps | cookeatbehealthy.com

    In retrospect I think it may have been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!  That bowl of soup was the most divine thing I’d ever tasted!  In fact, it ignited a life long love affair with French Onion Soup…the rich broth, the sweet onions, the toasted bread, the ooey gooey cheese…all combined in one decadent and perfect bowl of soup!  Up until that day I don’t know that I’d ever heard of French Onion Soup – I’m pretty sure it doesn’t come in a can!  And I know we never had it growing up.  My dad was a strictly meat and potatoes kinda guy.  He would have scoffed at the idea of a bowl of soup with no meat and only onions in the broth!  

    French Onion & Mushroom Soup with Parmesan Crisps | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Fast forward to today and innumerable bowls of French Onion Soup later, I’ve been craving a bowl of authentic French Onion Soup, but it’s not exactly a dish for someone trying to maintain a health conscious lifestyle.  When made traditionally, the soup typically contains around 400 calories per serving, thanks in most part to the bread and cheese.  So the dilemma…yummy, rich, flavorful soup without all the calories and fat…challenge accepted! 

    Parmesan Crisps | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Tip: To make the Parmesean Crisps simply place little mounds of grated Parmesan cheese on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and bake at 400 degrees for 5-6 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly golden.  They will crisp up very quickly upon removal from the oven.  Watch them closely while baking as once they start to brown, they can get over done very quickly.  Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

    I decided to eliminate the bread because I don’t feel like that’s a make or break component of the soup for me, and I’m happy to nix the calories and carbs that bread contributes to the final nutritional score board.  The mushrooms add a little more flavor and texture, which helps compensate for not having bread in the final recipe.  The cheese, however, is a must-have to make this soup extra special.  I avoid dairy for the most part – it doesn’t agree with me, and I’ve become accustomed to having it eliminated from my daily diet.  The one dairy product I do splurge on, however, is the occasional little bit of Parmesan cheese.  It seemed to me that serving  Parmesan Crisps with the soup would be the best of both worlds…cheesy flavor, a little crunch, and when they melt into the piping hot soup it adds a little bit of that gooey goodness!

    French Onion & Mushroom Soup with Parmesan Crisps | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Is the finished product as decadent as that first bowl of French Onion Soup when I was 16?  Nope…but that doesn’t mean it’s not just as delicious!  And trading decadence for healthy is much more important to me at the age of nearly 56 than it was at 16!  This recipe is simple, but takes a little more time than many of my soup recipes because the onions and mushrooms need to cook slowly, and require frequent stirring.  But while they are cooking, it’s the perfect time to make the Parmesan Crisps.  As with many soups, I think the flavor is more intense after refrigerating over night, so I recommend making the soup the day before you plan to serve it.

    French Onion & Mushroom Soup with Parmesan Crisps | cookeatbehealthy.com

    French Onion & Mushroom Soup with Parmesan Crisps
    Serves 6
    A lightened up version of traditional French Onion Soup!
    Write a review
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    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    2 hr
    Total Time
    2 hr 15 min
    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    2 hr
    Total Time
    2 hr 15 min
    288 calories
    18 g
    40 g
    14 g
    21 g
    8 g
    464 g
    1602 g
    8 g
    0 g
    5 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    464g
    Servings
    6
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 288
    Calories from Fat 123
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 14g
    22%
    Saturated Fat 8g
    42%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
    Monounsaturated Fat 4g
    Cholesterol 40mg
    13%
    Sodium 1602mg
    67%
    Total Carbohydrates 18g
    6%
    Dietary Fiber 2g
    10%
    Sugars 8g
    Protein 21g
    Vitamin A
    8%
    Vitamin C
    14%
    Calcium
    43%
    Iron
    12%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    For the Soup
    1. 4-5 medium sweet yellow onions, thinly sliced
    2. 1 pound baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
    3. 6 cups beef stock
    4. 1/2 cup red wine
    5. 2 tbsp butter
    6. 1 tsp real maple syrup
    7. 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
    8. 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
    9. 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
    10. 1 tsp dried thyme
    11. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    12. 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    For the Parmesan Crisps
    1. 2 cups finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
    2. 1/4 tsp dried thyme
    For the Soup
    1. Melt butter in large stock pot over medium heat.
    2. Add onions, mushrooms, salt, and pepper, stirring to combine.
    3. Place lid on pot, and cook over medium-low heat for about 35-40 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent and mushrooms softened.
    4. Remove lid and add maple syrup, garlic, thyme, and worcestershire sauce.
    5. Continue cooking uncovered and stirring occasionally, for approximately 20-30 more minutes until onions are dark and caramelized.
    6. Sprinkle flour over onions and mushrooms, stir to combine, and cook another 3 minutes.
    7. Pour in wine, then beef broth and stir well.
    8. Simmer an additional 30 minutes over medium-low heat until flavors are well combined and broth is slightly thickened.
    9. Check and adjust seasoning as desired.
    For the Parmesan Crisps
    1. Heat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
    2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
    3. Toss grated Parmesan with 1/4 tsp thyme.
    4. Divide the Parmesan into 6 equal mounds on each baking sheet, then flatten slightly.
    5. Bake for 5-6 minutes, until melted and slightly golden, watching closely after the first 3-4 minutes.
    6. Remove from oven and slide paper onto counter to cool.
    7. The melted cheese will start to crisp up almost immediately as it begins to cool.
    To serve
    1. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls and garnish with 2 Parmesan Crisps.
    Notes
    1. The soup flavors intensify and deepen after refrigerating over night, so I recommend preparing the soup a day ahead.
    2. Serve with extra grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
    beta
    calories
    288
    fat
    14g
    protein
    21g
    carbs
    18g
    more
    Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/
  • Beverages
  • Key To My Heart Coffee ~ πŸ— 2 My ❀️ β˜•οΈ

    Key to My Heart Coffee | cookeatbehealthy.com

    The way to some women’s hearts is by gifting her a sparkling diamond. πŸ’ Some can be wooed with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. πŸ’ Some are ecstatic when they receive a heart shaped box of chocolates. 🍫 Others might find the perfect gift to be something a little more intimate. πŸ‘™ Now don’t get me wrong…these are all lovely gifts…ones which I’ve been lucky enough to have received!  But now that I’ve gotten older, and I’d rather not have more “stuff” there is still a way to my heart that doesn’t involve a lot of money or even shopping for hours to find the perfect gift!  The way to this girl’s heart is through her stomach, and anybody who knows me knows there are 2 sure-fire things that’ll have me gushing with thanks and adoration…COFFEE & CHOCOLATE!!! Throw in a shot of bourbon and I’m yours for life!

    Key to My Heart Coffee | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Valentine’s Day is less than 2 weeks away, and no matter whether you’re celebrating with a special someone, spending Galentine’s Day with your girlfriends, or whooping it up by treating yourself, if ever there was a holiday that deserves a splurge, it’s this one!  I happened to be perusing (please don’t judge) the alcoholic beverage section of the grocery store a few weeks ago when I spotted this jug of Bourbon Cream!  Be still my heart!  What could possibly be better in my celebratory mug of coffee than bourbon cream?!?  But then I thought…ya know…if we’re talking celebrating love and devotion and all things mooshy, then I sure as heck better add some chocolate to this πŸ— 2 My ❀ β˜•οΈ!  

    Key to My Heart Coffee | cookeatbehealthy.com

    I started by making some dark chocolate (cause it’s healthier) and milk chocolate (cause it’s milkier) spoons in my handy dandy silicone spoon mold.  Once the spoons were set I drizzled them with melted white chocolate (cause it’s pretty) and sprinkled them with crushed dark chocolate covered espresso beans!  These would also be fun for the kiddos by replacing the espresso beans with sprinkles and putting one in a cup of hot chocolate for their Valentine’s treat!  Obviously the spoons are optional, but if you’ve got – or want to get – a spoon mold, then go for it!  It’s a little touch that goes a long way toward the specialness of this drink!

    Key to My Heart Coffee | cookeatbehealthy.com

    The drink itself is super simple to put together….a shot (or two) of the Brown Jug Bourbon Cream in a pretty mug, fill to near the top with good strong coffee, top with a squirt of whipped cream, sprinkle with shaved dark chocolate or crushed espresso beans, and serve with a chocolate spoon!  I know this is an indulgent coffee, and clearly not one I’d drink on a regular basis, but Valentine’s Day is most definitely a day to indulge and to share a little love with someone special!  And for me…nothing says love like coffee and chocolate…except coffee, chocolate, and bourbon of course! πŸ˜‰

    Key to My Heart Coffee | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Key to My Heart Coffee | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Key to My Heart Coffee | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Here’s wishing you all an especially indulgent Valentine’s Day surrounded by those whom you love the most!  β€οΈ

    Key to My Heart Coffee ~ πŸ— 2 My β€β˜•οΈ
    Serves 2
    An indulgent coffee drink perfect for sharing with your favorite someone special!
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    Print
    Total Time
    10 min
    Total Time
    10 min
    375 calories
    18 g
    48 g
    21 g
    4 g
    13 g
    374 g
    17 g
    13 g
    0 g
    7 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    374g
    Servings
    2
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 375
    Calories from Fat 183
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 21g
    32%
    Saturated Fat 13g
    63%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
    Monounsaturated Fat 6g
    Cholesterol 48mg
    16%
    Sodium 17mg
    1%
    Total Carbohydrates 18g
    6%
    Dietary Fiber 1g
    5%
    Sugars 13g
    Protein 4g
    Vitamin A
    9%
    Vitamin C
    0%
    Calcium
    8%
    Iron
    6%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    Ingredients
    1. 2 cups strong brewed coffee
    2. 2 shots bourbon cream
    3. 2 squirts canned whipped topping
    4. 2 tbsp crushed chocolate coated espresso beans
    5. 2 tbsp shaved dark chocolate
    6. Chocolate spoons ~ optional
    Instructions
    1. Pour 1 shot of bourbon cream into each of two coffee mugs.
    2. Add 1 cup of coffee to each mug.
    3. Top with a swirl of whipped topping and crushed chocolate coated espresso beans or shaved chocolate.
    4. Serve with chocolate spoons if desired.
    Notes
    1. Certainly add more or less bourbon cream as desired.
    2. If you prefer a sweeter drink, a drizzle of maple syrup is wonderful in this as well!
    beta
    calories
    375
    fat
    21g
    protein
    4g
    carbs
    18g
    more
    Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/
  • Baked Goods
  • Flourless Tropical Muffins

    Flourless Tropical Muffins | cookeatbehealthy.com

    This has been a weird winter.  We’ve had a few cold snaps, but on the whole it’s been warmer than usual.  When it reaches the mid 40’s for high temperatures in the middle of January – in the middle of Iowa – we know it’s an unusually warm winter!  We’ve had one or two decent snows, but mostly our precipitation has fallen as ice (waaaaaay worse than snow) or as rain!  It’s also been gloomy and foggy and just plain blah this month!  Now don’t get me wrong…I’m not a fan of the snow per say – but I’m also not a fan of this gloominess!  Honestly, though it pains me to say it, I’d rather have things slightly colder and snowier if we could get some sun as part of the deal!

    Flourless Tropical Muffins | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Personally I think the ideal solution to my mid-winter doldrums would be to jet off to Hawaii or Florida!!!  But since that doesn’t seem to be in the cards (can you say college tuition payments?), I’m making do with what I have here and baking up a sweet and tasty – yet still healthy – batch of Tropical Muffins!  If I can’t actually BE in the tropics, at least I can treat myself to muffins baked with the flavor of the tropics in mind!

    Flourless Tropical Muffins | cookeatbehealthy.com

    This recipe started with a couple of over-ripe bananas that I wanted to use in some sort of muffin.  I like to use bananas not only because they taste fantastic, but aslo because they’re naturally sweet which makes baking sans refined sugar so much easier!  Several months ago I made Flourless Banana Berry Muffins from oats instead of flour and I really like them, so I went back to that recipe for inspiration and used old fashioned oats ground in the blender in place of flour.  The sweetness in these muffins comes not only from the bananas, but also from pineapple, dried cherries, coconut, and honey.  They’re simple to put together because the batter is mixed in the blender, then stirred together with the fruits and nuts in a separate bowl. The crunchy topping is tossed together and sprinkled on top of the muffins before baking.  Once the centers are baked, and the topping is brown and crispy, the muffins are removed and set aside to cool.  

    Flourless Tropical Muffins | cookeatbehealthy.com

    I like them either fresh and still warm from the oven, or about 2 or 3 days old…I know…weird like our winter! 😜  Let me explain…when they first come out of the oven they are warm and tender, the coconut topping is crispy, and they smell divine!  Then about 2 days later the topping is no longer crispy, but the muffins have become dense and moist, and somehow the flavors have even deepened and developed.  Gah…I just can’t decide whether I like fresh or 2 day old muffins the best!  Luckily we can enjoy them both ways!  Whip some up for weekend brunch, then save the rest for weekday breakfasts or a mid-afternoon snack with a cup of tea! 

    Flourless Tropical Muffins | cookeatbehealthy.com

    So if you’re suffering from the mid-winter blues like I am, make yourself some of these Flourless Tropical Muffins and dream of sandy beaches and warm ocean breezes!  And chin up…only 53 more days until Spring!

    Flourless Tropical Muffins
    Serves 15
    Beat the winter doldrums with fresh-from-the-oven muffins loaded with tropical flavors!
    Write a review
    Print
    Prep Time
    20 min
    Cook Time
    25 min
    Total Time
    45 min
    Prep Time
    20 min
    Cook Time
    25 min
    Total Time
    45 min
    277 calories
    32 g
    25 g
    15 g
    7 g
    8 g
    86 g
    134 g
    10 g
    0 g
    5 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    86g
    Servings
    15
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 277
    Calories from Fat 124
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 15g
    23%
    Saturated Fat 8g
    41%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
    Monounsaturated Fat 3g
    Cholesterol 25mg
    8%
    Sodium 134mg
    6%
    Total Carbohydrates 32g
    11%
    Dietary Fiber 5g
    22%
    Sugars 10g
    Protein 7g
    Vitamin A
    2%
    Vitamin C
    11%
    Calcium
    5%
    Iron
    11%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    For the Muffins
    1. 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
    2. 2 very ripe bananas
    3. 2 eggs
    4. 3 tbsp unrefined coconut oil, melted
    5. 1/4 cup honey
    6. 1 orange ~ zest and juice
    7. 1 tsp vanilla extract
    8. 1 tsp baking powder
    9. 1/2 tsp baking soda
    10. 1/2 tsp salt
    11. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    12. 1 tsp poppy seeds
    13. 1 can crushed pineapple, undrained ~ 8 ozs.
    14. 1/2 cup chopped pecans
    15. 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
    16. 1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
    For the Topping
    1. 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil, melted
    2. 1 tbsp honey
    3. Dash cinnamon
    4. 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut
    5. 1/4 cup chopped pecans
    6. 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
    2. Combine muffin topping ingredients in a small bowl, stir to combine, and set aside.
    3. Place 15 muffin liners in muffin tins and set aside.
    4. In a large mixing bowl combine 1/2 cup chopped pecans, cherries, 1/2 cup coconut, pineapple, and poppy seeds. Set aside.
    5. Grind oats in blender until fine and resembling flour.
    6. Add eggs, bananas, 3 tbsp coconut oil, orange zest and juice, 1/4 cup honey, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and poppy seeds. Blend until well combined.
    7. Pour batter over fruit and nuts in large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
    8. Evenly distribute muffin batter among 15 muffin liners.
    9. Place an even portion of topping mixture on each muffin.
    10. Place in oven and bake 22-25 minutes until the centers test done, and the coconut is crispy and golden brown.
    11. Remove from oven, cool in baking pans for about 5 minutes, then remove to cooking rack to cool completely.
    12. Store in air tight container for up to 5 days.
    beta
    calories
    277
    fat
    15g
    protein
    7g
    carbs
    32g
    more
    Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Behind Closed Doors: A Well Stocked Pantry & Spice Cupboard

    Thanks for checking out the third post in my series “CEBH…A Behind The Scenes Peek Inside My Kitchen”!   Today I’m sharing a list of all the highlights and must-haves that I keep stocked in my pantry and spice cupboard.  These are the items I try to have on hand pretty much all the time.  There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to make a recipe and finding you’re lacking one or more items to make said recipe!  So over my many years of cooking and baking I’ve whittled and honed and fine-tuned my list of what constitutes a well stocked pantry and spice cupboard down to the items I stock today.  And because I hope you can benefit from my years of whittling, honing, and fine-tuning, I’m really hoping these lists will be of value to you as well!  

    A Well Stocked Pantry - Baking Essentials | cookeatbehealthy.com

    I’m going to start with the ingredients I keep in my pantry for baking. I don’t do a lot of baking anymore, but there are certain items I never want to be without if my granddaughter wants to spend a day with me learning to bake, or if I’m feeling like my husband needs a little sweet treat from the kitchen! He’s super supportive and 100% on board with the whole healthy lifestyle thing…but he’s also skinny as a rail and I know he misses my baking. So, every once in a while I like to whip up a little surprise for him..he’s a good guy and deserves something made especially for him!

    Baking Essentials: 

    A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Sweet Things | cookeatbehealthy.com

    These are next because they quite frequently are used in baking as well.  Though honey is one of those things that I keep on he counter because of how frequently I use it!  Dates and dark chocolate are also excellent for snacking when a sweet tooth needs to be satisfied!

    Sweet Things:

    • Good Quality Dark Chocolate 
    • Organic Unsweetened Coconut 
    • Raw Honey – local if possible
    • Dates

    A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Oils & Vinegars | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Oils & Vinegars:

    • Organic Coconut Oil – both refined and unrefined.  I use the refined for cooking and when I don’t want a coconut flavor.  The unrefined is lovely in baked goods like muffins because it does impart a slight coconuty flavor.
    • Apple Cider Vinegar 
    • Balsamic Vinegar – For marinades, dressings, and sauces like the reduction for Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Balsamic Reduction.
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil ~ Regular for cooking and extra light tasting for mayonnaise, dressings, marinades, and hummus.

    A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Nuts & Grains | cookeatbehealthy.com

    I love everything in this category and use items from it daily – sometimes many items and sometimes frequently throughout the day!

    Nuts & Grains:

    • Lentils – so tasty and so versatile!  Try them in Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables!
    • Rice – I have a preference for Basmati, but use what you like best!
    • Pasta – always great to have on hand for a quick last minute dinner…and for daughters who are carbaholics! πŸ˜‰
    • Wheat Berries – Just plain delicious and fun to eat – they add flavor, texture, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals!  Try them in this Apple Wheat Berry Salad!
    • Oats – both old fashioned and steel cut.
    • Quinoa – such a wonderful addition to a recipe as either a main ingredient or a co-star!  Try it in Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms & Asparagus!
    • Pecans
    • Almonds
    • Raw Cahsews – for Cashew Cream.
    • Walnuts
    • Peanuts and Peanut Butter

    A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Cans, Boxes, & Jars | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Here are some of the nitty-gritty heavy hitters in my kitchen – the ingredients that called on over and over again!

    Cans, Boxes, & Jars:

    • Curry Paste – both green and red because yum – these are some of my favorite flavors!  Try it in Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables!
    • Organic Coconut Milk – perfect in savory dishes like the red curry lentils, but also so incredibly rich and creamy in dairy free desserts like Maple Walnut Ice Cream!
    • Chipotles in Adobo – perfect in so many dishes to add heat and smoky richness, like in this Butternut Soup recipe!
    • Garbanzo Beans – because homemade hummus rules!
    • Black Beans – such great flavor and added protein which is especially important when eating a diet that is light in animal protein!  Try them in Spicy Quinoa and Beans!
    • Canned Tomatoes- Diced, whole, paste, sauce, seasoned, purΓ©ed, juiced…you name it – I have it!  Tomatoes make everything better!
    • Organic Chicken and Beef Stock – one of my most essential essentials!  I use these in so many recipes, but I also use it cook rice and quinoa for a little added flavor!

    A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Beverages | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Not a morning goes by that I don’t drink at least one cup of coffee, and rarely does an afternoon or evening pass without a cup of tea!

    Beverages:

    • K-cups ~ Because coffee is a necessity!  I really love this Verena Street brand because it’s roasted and packaged locally!  Try it in my Popsicle Affogato!
    • Green Tea – like a warm embrace…I love this in the evening when all my work is done and I’m relaxing with a cup of hot tea and Netflix!
    • Espresso – Some days I just need it…no excuses!
    • Whole Bean Coffee – This is a special treat!  I grind just what I’m going to use and brew it in a French Press – it tastes fabulous and I feel so continental when I drink it!
    • Mint Tea – Also to be enjoyed in the afternoon and evening, plus I find the mint soothes my stomach if it’s a little upset!

    A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Spice Cupboard | cookeatbehealthy.com

    These are the spices, dried herbs, and seasonings I turn to again and again to flavor and enhance my cooking and baking!

    Spice Cupboard:

    • Curry Powder – use it to season this Grilled Sweet Potato Salad!
    • Rosemary – try it in this bread!
    • Oregano 
    • Thyme
    • Red Pepper Flake – Because if you know me, you know I like it hot! πŸ˜‰ I use this in many of my main dish recipes as well as sprinkling it on pizza, pasta, and avocado toast!
    • Cayenne Pepper – See above! πŸ˜‰
    • Ginger – I added it to my Roasted Beet Salad
    • Sage – One of the herbs in these Homemade Herbed Noodles!
    • Black Pepper
    • Salt – I keep many kinds…kosher, pink Himalayan, smoked, truffle – each has a special place in my heart!
    • Cumin – How do I love thee?  So much so that I’d be lost without it! I used it to season these sweet potato curls!
    • Basil 
    • Turmeric 
    • Poppy Seeds – Such a fun addition to baked goods and dressings like this raspberry vinaigrette!
    • Cinnamon
    • Fresh Nutmeg
    • Cloves

    So there you have it…a long and if not exhaustive, then definitely exhausting list of what I keep stocked in my pantry and spice cupboard! Now you can say you really do know what goes on here behind closed doors ~ at least behind my pantry door!

    And now it’s your turn – what do you keep in your pantry and spice cupboard? I’d really like to see what you keep that’s different from my list – or what I have included that you’d never dream of keeping!  GO!!!!

  • Grains
  • Roasted Beet & Orange Wheat Berry Salad

    Roasted Beets & Orange Wheat Berries Salad | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Do you ever get a really random intense food craving?!?  Something that just strikes out of the blue with no rhyme nor reason?!?  It happened to me one day last week.  I was quilting away and all of the sudden…BEETS…I just had to have some beets!  Now don’t get me wrong – I like beets!  I like beets quite a lot actually.  But considering I’m not pregnant I just thought it was an odd craving!  Has anybody ever heard of menopausal cravings?  Maybe that’s a thing and if so, I need to know about it so I can blame one more thing on menopause!  If it’s not a thing – tough!  I’m blaming menopause anyway! πŸ˜‰

    I use my quilting (my “real” job) time to think deep thoughts…thoughts about life, family, politics, the afterlife, relationships, business, etc., and oddly enough…to develop recipes! πŸ˜‰  I just figure if I’m standing behind a noisy machine for a couple hours, doing something that for the most part comes as second nature and thus requiring little thought, I may as well put that idle thinking time to good use!  So by the time I’d finished the quilt I was working on, I’d come up with a recipe for those beets I was craving!  And today I’m sharing it with you…just in case you have a sudden random beet craving!

    Roasted Beet & Orange Wheat Berry Salad | cookeatbehealthy.com

    The beets are peeled and cut into bite sized pieces, tossed with olive oil and a few seasonings, and roasted until they’re fork tender.  The wheat berries are simmered in a mixture of water and orange juice to infuse them with a hint of orange flavor. The dressing is a simple vinaigrette made from olive oil, white Balsamic vinegar, orange juice, honey, poppy seeds, and seasonings.  The cooked beets and berries are combined along with a little of the dressing and refrigerated for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld and to completely chill.  

    Roasted Beet & Orange Wheat Berry Salad | cookeatbehealthy.com

    There’s something really wonderful about the earthy sweetness of the roasted beets and the subtle orange flavor and chewy texture of the wheat berries that combine to make an incredibly hearty and flavorful mid-winter salad! A bed of mixed greens with spicy arugula, the roasted beets and orange wheat berries, some roasted sunflower seeds for crunch, a few shavings of Parmesan cheese, and a tangy citrus dressing make this a perfect lunch! Serve it alongside a piece of baked fish or chicken and you’ve got a satisfying dinner! Any way you choose to serve it, it’s a little departure from the typical winter fare…a uniquely bold salad to satisfy my kooky beet craving!  I hope my beet-craving-inspired salad brightens your day and helps chase away the mid-winter doldrums!  

    Roasted Beet & Orange Wheat Berry Salad | cookeatbehealthy.com

    What have you been craving lately?  Anything as random as beets?!? Let me know in the comments what you’ve had a hankering for and what you made to satisfy your craving!  Or…share your craving and we can brainstorm a recipe together!

    Roasted Beet & Orange Wheat Berry Salad
    Serves 8
    A uniquely bold and flavorful salad perfect for chasing away mid-winter doldrums!
    Write a review
    Print
    421 calories
    24 g
    19 g
    31 g
    13 g
    8 g
    286 g
    805 g
    17 g
    0 g
    22 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    286g
    Servings
    8
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 421
    Calories from Fat 274
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 31g
    48%
    Saturated Fat 8g
    39%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
    Monounsaturated Fat 18g
    Cholesterol 19mg
    6%
    Sodium 805mg
    34%
    Total Carbohydrates 24g
    8%
    Dietary Fiber 4g
    14%
    Sugars 17g
    Protein 13g
    Vitamin A
    9%
    Vitamin C
    77%
    Calcium
    38%
    Iron
    9%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    For the Wheat Berries
    1. 1 1/2 cup uncooked wheat berries
    2. 1 1/2 cup unsweetened orange juice
    3. 1 1/2 cup water
    4. Zest of 1 orange
    For the Beets
    1. 6 medium to large beets, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
    2. 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    3. 1/2 tsp salt
    4. 1/2 tsp dried thyme
    5. 1/4 tsp dried ginger
    For the Dressing
    1. 2/3 cup extra light tasting olive oil
    2. 2/3 cup unsweetened orange juice
    3. 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
    4. 2 tbsp honey
    5. Zest of 1 orange
    6. 1/4 tsp dried thyme
    7. 1/4 tsp dried ginger
    8. 1/2 tsp salt
    9. 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
    10. 1 tsp poppy seeds
    For the Salad
    1. Fresh salad greens
    2. Arugula
    3. Shaved Parmesan to taste
    4. 4 tbsp roasted sunflower seeds
    For the Wheat Berries
    1. Bring orange juice, zest, and water to a boil.
    2. Stir in wheat berries, reduce heat, and simmer approximately 1 hour, or until wheat berries are tender and liquid is absorbed.
    For the Beets
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
    2. Toss chopped beets with 2 tbsp EVOO and seasonings.
    3. Place on baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until fork tender.
    4. Remove from oven and combine with cooked wheat berries and 1/2 cup dressing.
    5. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or until ready to serve.
    For the Dressing
    1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until emulsified.
    2. Transfer to jar and refrigerate.
    For the Salads
    1. On each plate, place a generous amount of greens and arugula.
    2. Top with 1 cup Beet/Wheat Berry/Dressing mixture.
    3. Sprinkle with a few sunflower seeds and Parmesan shavings.
    4. Drizzle with a little more salad dressing as desired.
    Notes
    1. The dressing can also be made by combining all the ingredients in a lidded mason jar and shaking well to combine.
    2. This salad makes an excellent light yet satisfying lunch, or a perfect accompaniment to an evening meal.
    beta
    calories
    421
    fat
    31g
    protein
    13g
    carbs
    24g
    more
    Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Let’s Get Fresh In The Kitchen

    C’mon…get your minds outta the gutter! πŸ˜‰  By fresh, I mean all those perishable items that need to be refrigerated, frozen, or stored in cool dry places!  Today I’m moving on to the second post in the series CEBH…A Behind The Scenes Peek Into My Kitchen!  Whether new to cooking, or a seasoned pro with many years of experience, every home cook has certain ingredients that they always like to keep on hand.  The following lists are what I like to keep stocked in my kitchen.  I’ve been cooking long enough to know that with a few basics always at the ready I’m guaranteed to be able to whip up a healthy and delicious meal whenever the mood strikes!  Are these lists all inclusive?  Heaven’s no!  But they’re a great foundation upon which many healthy and delicious meals are built!  In subsequent posts I’ll be talking about pantry staples and spices/herbs/seasonings, but today I’m going to focus on what I keep stocked in my fridge, freezer, and produce bin!

    Refrigerator Basics | cookeatbehealthy.com

    These are the things I keep stocked in my fridge at all times – the items that I consider basics that I automatically replace when I’m running low.  I like knowing that I can make a recipe which calls for any of these ingredients and be confident that I’ve always got them at the ready!

    REFRIGERATOR BASICS:

    • Almond Milk ~ Used for Smoothies, and preparing Oatmeal, Soups, sauces, etc.
    • 1% Dairy Milk ~ I avoid most dairy, so this is for my family.
    • Parmesean Cheese ~ The one little dairy indulgence I allow myself.
    • Eggs ~ Excellent for a quick breakfast or lunch, and a great source of protein.  Plus I really love them!
    • Butter ~ Once again…mostly for my family.  I have a hard time eating just a little, so I try to not eat any!
    • Real Maple Syrup ~ A natural sweetener to use instead of sugar.
    • Mayonnaise ~ I like to keep Homemade Mayo on hand as a base for sauces, dips, and dressings.
    • Tahini ~ I’m addicted to homemade Hummus, so I always have tahini on hand to add to my hummus.
    • Worcestershire Sauce ~ I keep this to add extra flavor to sauces and beef or bison dishes.
    • Dijon Mustard ~ Because mustard is life!  And it’s also good on sandwiches, and in dressings and marinades.
    • Soy Sauce ~ A necessity for any Asian dish.
    • Chia & Hemp Seeds ~ A little extra boost of protein, omega acids, and all sorts of good things…plus I really like the way they taste when added to a smoothie or my oatmeal!   

    Go-To Freezer Items | cookeatbehealthy.com

    It’s confession time…I’m pretty sure there are things in the bottom of our chest freezer that haven’t seen the light of day in many years.  I love having the extra freezer storage space, especially around the holidays or when I binge shop for frozen vegetables and fruits at Sam’s Club.  But the real problem with a chest freezer is that items just continue to get buried deeper and deeper until I forget what I’ve got down there!  My freezer in the kitchen is much neater and the stock gets rotated much more frequently.  The list of what I consider my Go-To Freezer Items are always in my kitchen’s freezer…along with dishes of leftovers that are perfect for work day lunches, cold packs for injuries, and usually leftover bananas which I freeze for smoothies or baking.

    Go-To Freezer Items:

    • Frozen Vegetables ~ Peas, Corn, and Broccoli…all perfect as a quick side dish or to add to recipes like Cashew Creamed Peas & Potatoes or Spicy Quinoa & Beans.
    • Fish Fillets ~ typically I like to keep a mild white fish for recipes like Grilled Fish Taco Lettuce Wraps or for a quick dinner of baked or grilled fish.
    • Chicken Breasts ~ My favorite meat, and the one I use most frequently in soups, casseroles, salads,  and when the weather is nice my favorite dinner is grilled chicken and fresh vegetables!
    • Fruit ~ I always keep sweet cherries, wild blueberries, and mixed berries in the freezer.  I add them to smoothies, to oatmeal, and to the occasional baked goods like muffins when I don’t have or can’t find quality fresh fruit. We live in Iowa and quality fresh fruit can be hard to come by certain times of the year, but frozen is always a great option because it’s picked at it’s peak of freshness and maintains its flavor and nutritional benefits despite being frozen.  Obviously the texture changes, but in things like oatmeal or baked goods I don’t find that to be an issue – at least not one that bothers me when the alternative means not having certain fruits available! 

     

    Produce Bin Staples | cookeatbehealthy.com

    The final list in today’s post includes the produce items that I always keep on hand in my kitchen.  As with the list of Refrigerator Basics and Go-To Freezer Must Haves, this list is far from all inclusive as I buy seasonal fruits and vegetables when available.  Thankfully I’m able to stock my kitchen with the following list of fresh produce all year round!  And for my style of cooking, as long as I’m stocked up on these few fresh produce items I consider myself well prepared!

    Produce Bin Staples:

    • Onions & Garlic ~ There are very few dishes I make that don’t include one or both of these items.  In fact I love garlic so much that if a recipe calls for 2 cloves, you can bet I’ll use 4 – and probably even add one more for good luck! πŸ˜‰
    • JalapeΓ±os ~ I use these in soups, stir fries, casseroles, sliced in wraps, in hummus…I just love the perfect level of heat these little beauties impart to my recipes!
    • Bananas ~ Probably my favorite fruit, though I am very particular about the level of ripeness at which I’ll eat them.  Once they get too ripe for me I peel them, cut them into 4th’s and freeze them for smoothies or to use in baking.
    • Lemons & Limes ~ I use these daily for flavoring water and tea, and adding zip to marinades and dressings.  
    • Apples ~ Perfect for snacking, making applesauce, delicious salads…plus…an apple a day keeps the doctor away!
    • Potatoes ~ I would write a love song for potatoes if I were musically gifted!  This starchy little blob of deliciousness is so versatile, and only unhealthy if loaded with gobs of butter, sour cream, cheese, or gravy!  There are plenty of ways to prepare potatoes that won’t bust your healthy eating plan!
    • Sweet Potatoes ~ Packed with Vitamin C and fiber, these are so delicious and healthy that I have been known to make an entire meal out of just sweet potatoes!  Try them curled, roasted, in a salad, or any way you prefer…just make them a regular on your dinner table!
    • Celery, Carrots, & Bell Peppers ~ Much like onions and garlic these 3 veggies end up in most all my recipes!  Plus – they’re all delicious eaten raw as well!
    • Tomatoes ~ I always have cherry tomatoes on the counter.  They are perfect for snacking, yummy on sandwiches, and even in the dead of winter in Iowa we manage to get tasty cherry tomatoes.  Come farmers market season my preference switches to whatever variety is fresh.  Is there anything more delicious than a fresh tomato just picked from the garden?!?
    • Avocado ~ How do people (Mr. CEBH) not like avocado??? It’s creamy, buttery texture and delicious flavor makes me incredibly happy!  I love it on toast, spread on a sandwich, sliced in a salad, added as a topping to soups and casseroles, and of course…guacamole!  Yum!!!
    • Mushrooms ~ I buy huge containers of mushrooms at Sam’s Club and put them in so many recipes! I prefer baby bellas because the flavor is slightly more intense and they hold up well to cooking.  Earthy and delicious…mushrooms have a constant presence in my kitchen!

    So there you have it…a fairly comprehensive list of fresh ingredients I like to keep stocked in my kitchen all year round!  With these items, plus additional seasonal selections,  I’m able to keep things “fresh” in the kitchen!  What are your favorite items that you keep in your fridge, freezer, and produce bin?!? 

  • Side Dishes
  • Chili Lime Sweet Potato Curls

    Chili Lime Sweet Potato Curls | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Sweet potatoes seem to be a very en vogue culinary trend right now…one which I happily embrace!  If being trendy is wrong, I don’t want to be right!  I’ve been a fan of sweet potatoes for as long as I’ve been cooking – and let’s just say that’s a VERY long time! Not just any sweet potato recipe though – only ones made with fresh sweet potatoes! You know…the ones purchased from the produce section at the grocery store, from the local farmers market, or perhaps even grown in one’s own garden!  I am wholly opposed to canned sweet potatoes – the texture and flavor cannot match fresh!  Does that make me a sweet potato snob?!?  Probably!  But, like my friend the sweet potato, I’m thick-skinned and I can take any blow back regarding my sweet potato snobbery!

    Chili Lime Sweet Potato Curls | cookeatbehealthy.com

    A few years ago when spiralizing vegetables first became a ‘thing’ I bought a counter top spiralizer.  It worked great on soft vegetables like zucchini, but it couldn’t handle anything as firm as a fresh sweet potato. Then one day I saw an advertisement for a spiralizing attachment that fit a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer!  In less than 30 seconds I had purchased one (thank you Amazon Prime and 1-click ordering) and anxiously awaited its arrival!  Let me tell you…I was excited when it arrived, but my excitement level really amped up when I tried it for the first time!  I spiralized all sorts of fruits and vegetables…cucumbers, zucchini, potatoes, apples, onions, carrots, and of course sweet potatoes!  It cut through them all easily and I could finally join in on the spiralizing mania!

    Cookeatbehealthy.com

    Cookeatbehealthy.com

    For some reason the spiralizer attachment feels like a secret agent spy-kit to me…throw back to watching Kim Possible cartoons with my daughter maybe!!! πŸ˜‰

    I especially like spiralizing sweet potatoes because they just naturally take longer to bake or roast, and sometimes time is of the essence when rumbling tummies are involved!  For today’s recipe I’ve seasoned the sweet potatoes with chili powder, smoky cumin, spicy cayenne, garlic, and salt.  Then I added some freshly grated lime zest and a little lime juice and roasted them in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  Once I pulled them out of the oven, I sprinkled on a little cojita cheese mixed with more lime zest and served them with a homemade chipotle ketchup dipping sauce.  Not exactly sweet potato fries, and not exactly roasted sweet potatoes, these fall into a category all their own…a category of full on flavor, texture, and aromatic goodness!  Serve them alongside a meat main course, as a vegetarian main dish, or as a brunch dish with a couple soft poached eggs and diced avocado on top!  

    Homemade Chipotle Ketchup | cookeatbehealthy.com

    Homemade Chipotle Ketchup is perfect for dipping Sweet Potato Curls!

    Chili Lime Sweet Potato Curls | cookeatbehealthy.com

    I wonder how many other ways you can envision serving these amazing sweet potato curls?!?  Leave me a comment and we’ll talk!!! πŸ˜‰

    Chili Lime Sweet Potato Curls
    Serves 6
    Spicy and zesty, these Chili Lime Sweet Potato Curls are perfect as a side, and delicious enough to be served as a vegetarian main dish!
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    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    25 min
    Total Time
    40 min
    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    25 min
    Total Time
    40 min
    307 calories
    49 g
    15 g
    10 g
    8 g
    4 g
    265 g
    1236 g
    15 g
    0 g
    6 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    265g
    Servings
    6
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 307
    Calories from Fat 87
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 10g
    15%
    Saturated Fat 4g
    19%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
    Monounsaturated Fat 5g
    Cholesterol 15mg
    5%
    Sodium 1236mg
    52%
    Total Carbohydrates 49g
    16%
    Dietary Fiber 8g
    32%
    Sugars 15g
    Protein 8g
    Vitamin A
    566%
    Vitamin C
    30%
    Calcium
    18%
    Iron
    15%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    For the Sweet Potato Curls
    1. 2.5 pounds fresh sweet potatoes, spiralized
    2. 3 ounces cojita cheese, crumbled
    3. 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    4. Zest of 1 lime, divided
    5. 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
    6. 2 tbsp chili powder
    7. 1 1/2 tsp salt
    8. 1 tsp cumin
    9. 1/2 tsp cayenne
    10. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    11. For the Homemade Chipotle Ketchup Dipping Sauce
    12. 1 can tomato paste ~ 6 ozs.
    13. 2 chipotles in adobo
    14. 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    15. 1 tbsp honey
    16. 1 tsp salt
    17. 1/2 tsp cumin
    For the Sweet Potato Curls
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
    2. Combine crumbled cojita cheese with 1/2 of the lime zest and set aside.
    3. Toss spiralized sweet potatoes with olive oil, 1/2 of the lime zest, lime juice, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp cayenne, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder until well coated.
    4. Evenly divide coated sweet potato curls on 2 baking sheets and place in oven.
    5. Bake 22-25 minutes until tender and slightly browned, rotating pans and stirring curls once halfway through baking time.
    6. Remove from oven, sprinkle with crumbled cojita cheese that has been tossed with half of the lime zest.
    7. Serve with Chipotle Ketchup Dipping Sauce.
    For the Homemade Chipotle Ketchup Dipping Sauce
    1. In a food processor combine all ketchup ingredients and process until all the ingredients are well combined, and peppers are finely chopped.
    2. Check flavor and adjust seasoning, adding more salt, honey, and/or vinegar as desired.
    3. Serve with hot Sweet Potato Curls.
    Notes
    1. The Chipotle Ketchup Dipping Sauce can be made ahead to let the flavors develop while resting in the fridge. It will keep for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.
    2. The Sweet Potato Curls can be served as a side dish, vegetarian main dish, or as a brunch selection when topped with poached eggs and fresh diced avocado.
    beta
    calories
    307
    fat
    10g
    protein
    8g
    carbs
    49g
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    Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/