Tuesday, August 30, 2011

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Mexican Lime {grilled} Chicken

This marinade is simple and packed with lots of flavor.  The chicken from this marinade would be great on tacos, nachos, quesadilla, etc.  I am pretty sure I could eat Mexican flavored foods every day of the week.  I know, for a fact, that if I were to be stranded on an island and given two things to bring with me they would be chips and salsa. An endless supply of course!

I am one of those people that grills year round, even on a cold snowy day. I just love the flavor it adds to a dish with very little effort.  I'm always looking for simple meals to create with items found in my everyday kitchen. Who wants to be always running to the grocery store, I sure don't!

 This recipe is just that, a creation of my love for Mexican food and items I had on hand.  I really think you can never go wrong when marrying cumin, chili powder, and lime. 

Mexican Lime {grilled} Chicken

  • 3 {all natural} chicken breasts
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 c cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c {fresh} lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
1)  Mix all ingredients (minus chicken) together in a bowl or large ziploc bag.
2)  Cut breasts in half, lengthwise and add to marinade. (this will help the flavors penetrate)
3)  Marinate in fridge for 2-3 hours.
4)  Grill chicken until no longer pink. Chop, shredded, or slice your chicken.

NOTE: This is a mild recipe. Feel free to add chipolte powder, cayenne or fresh jalapeno. 


Friday, August 26, 2011

{clean} Cheeseburger Pizza

I saw a Cheeseburger Pizza recipe in my Clean Eating Magazine a few weeks back and decided that was something I wanted to try for Pizza Friday. The recipe is the magazine wasn't quite what I was going for so I set out to create my own Cheeseburger Pizza recipe.  

This pizza is the best of both American classics, cheeseburgers and pizzas. I don't eat red meat very often but I decided to give a low fat, good quality beef a try.  I truly enjoyed sinking my teeth into this pizza. I hope you enjoy it as well.
{clean} Cheeseburger Pizza
  • Wheat Pizza Dough
  • 1 can {organic} tomato paste
  • 2 Tbps {all natural} ketchup
  • 1 Tbps {all natural} yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbps {all natural} worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small sweet onion (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Approx 1 lb. Grass-fed {extra lean} ground beef 
  • Cheddar cheese (I use Trader Joe's Mild Cheddar, which is rBST free), shredded
  • Fresh Mozzarella , shredded
  • baby dill pickles, sliced
  • fresh tomatoes, chopped
  •  romaine lettuce, chopped

1)  To make the sauce combine paste, ketchup, mustard, and worchestershire sauce. Set aside.
2)  To make meat, saute garlic and onions until translucent (Remove from heat to a small bowl) then add beef to pan. Cook until no longer pink. Drain any grease and return to pan, adding in the onion/garlic mixture plus the Italian seasoning.
3)  To make pizza roll out dough and top with a thin layer of the sauce.  Add ground beef, tomatoes, pickles and cheeses. 
4)  Bake at 450 degrees 10-12 minutes on a preheated stone. Top with lettuce.

NOTE: A little amount of good quality cheese goes a long way, don't over do it! Also this would be great with any type of cheese that you like on your burgers!  I get my dill pickles at Trader Joe's. I can't seem to find them many places without added colors.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chocolate Banana "Pudding Pops"

Who remembers eating Jell-O pudding pops growing up?  I sure do!

Last night at dinner my husband was going on and on about how the homemade Popsicle he was eating reminded him of the {old school} ones when he was a kid! (and then they couldn't stop laughing from doing Bill Cosby impersonations together-and yes, you are correct in thinking...my daughter, age 6, doesn't have a clue who Bill Cosby is!) 

Chocolate Banana "Pudding Pops"


  • 1 c Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk 
  • 1 Frozen or fresh banana
1) Blend the two together in a blend and pour into Popsicle molds. 
2) Freeze

NOTE: Feel free to add whey protein powder to this or add more bananas. I never measure when making these. Most of the time it's just leftover mix from smoothies I make. The Choco Loco recipe makes awesome Popsicle as well. We always have fresh homemade Popsicle on hand. 

These two give them a thumbs UP!

Check out this video from the 80s...Prepare to FLASHBACK:

And I'm here to say, YOU CAN BE A KID WITHOUT 'EM! :) Sorry Bill Cosby, I'll make my own without the chemicals, sugar, and artificial colorings!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chicken Piccata with Israeli Couscous

I have fond memories of eating Chicken Piccata. It was one of the menu items served at my wedding rehearsal dinner over a decade ago. I just love the taste of capers and lemon together. 

I'm always up for tasting new and interesting things and last week was no different. I had the opportunity to taste a new(to me at least) type of couscous. Israeli Couscous. It was different from the type I have made in the past (Moroccan) because the grain was much larger (and I liked it better).  Israeli couscous are little balls of pasta that resemble the size of a peppercorn. I know it will be one of my new obsessions when it comes to pastas.

Chicken Piccata with Israeli Couscous


  • 3 Tbps {organic} no salt added butter (I use Horizon brand)
  • 3 Tbps Olive Oil
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1/3 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 c capers (drained)
  • 1 c {low sodium} chicken stock
  • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
  • white whole wheat unbleached flour
  • Israeli Couscous (approx 2 cups or 11 oz)
  • 3 {organic} chicken breasts, flattened with a meat mallet
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
1) Heat butter and olive oil in large skillet over medium/high heat. (also, start a pot of water to boil for couscous)
2) Place flour in a shallow dish and dredge chicken breast in flour, evenly coating each breast.
3) After chicken is dredged in flour, add to hot skillet. Cook approximately 3 minutes each side or until browned.
4) Add couscous to boiling water (see package for details) and reduce to a simmer for 8-10 minutes. 
5) Remove chicken from pan and add garlic, lemon juice, chicken stock, capers, and sliced lemon to the pan. Stir and scrape bottom of skillet to loosen any brown bits. Cook for approx 2-3 minutes.
6)Add chicken back to pan, reduce heat and cover.
7) After couscous is completed cooking, add it all to the skillet and stir. Salt and Pepper to taste.
8) Serve.

NOTE: This recipe serves 2-3 people.  Next time I make this dish I WILL be doubling it. I loved it! It was great the next day as leftovers too. You can find Israeli Couscous at Kroger near the boxed rices. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Cheese! I love cheese! There was (and still is) SO much to learn about cheese.  I was raised on processed cheese. I can remember eating cheese from a tube, jar, and each slice you had to unwrap individually.  The thought today makes me ill. But, then again, I didn't know any different. I wasn't taught the difference between fresh {real} cheese and processed cheese. I feel if you don't know any better, how can't you do better. 

Well...that's all about to change for you today! You will soon know what you need to know if you are still living off processed cheeses. One of my biggest rules that is easy to follow is, if it lasts more 7-10 days, it's probably processed cheese or has many chemicals added. Not to mention, lots of added sodium!

I have revamped my cheese intake during this journey. I quit buying bagged cheese because of all the added chemicals and additives.  Which, in turn, has lowered my amount consumed since I can't grab handfuls of it from a bag. 

I now buy fresh Boar's Head cheese from my deli each week, fresh grated cheese from the cheese department, and blocks of cheese to shred at home.  I have noticed that it really does take less of good quality cheese to be satisfied. The flavor is incomparable!

Processed Cheeses

If you are eating cheeses like the photo above you are missing out on the taste of {real} cheese.  You are also missing out of all the options of cheeses the world has to offer. Not to mention causing more trash in the world by unwrapping each and every cheese slice you consume.  

Wanna know how processed cheese is made? Check out the video below:


Kraft brand has 250 mg of sodium. Some of the generic/store brands have up to 350 mg of sodium per tiny slice. For a healthier alternative you could try the Boar's Head {no salt added} Swiss cheese at 10mg of sodium and almost triple the amount of protein per 1 oz(one thin slice). My favorite now is Boar's Head Muenster cheese, at 190 mg of sodium per slice. Only 60 mg less than Kraft, but a lot more flavor than the processed "cheese". 

I encourage you to read the labels on your current cheeses and see if there are  simple changes you can make to better your health.

Here's a great article suggesting some healthier cheese options:The Truth About Cheese and Health

2014 UPDATE: Always look for Organic or Rbst (hormone free) cheese when shopping for cheese. Trader Joe's has a lot of hormone free cheese at a great price in blocks. It has been 3 years since I have bought a SINGLE bag of processed cheese. This is a huge deal as I would buy them by the dozen!!!!

Please do not think this is an impossible task to grate your own cheese each time you want cheese. It's very possible! I have bought tiny containers of Pecorino or Parmasean shredded for me at the cheese counter and sometimes sliced Boar's Head, but other than that I buy Organic or Rbst Free.

If you have a Vitamix it can shred cheese for you too! It will last a few days in the fridge after shredding. The cheese doesn't stay longer than that in my fridge so I can say how long it would last before molding.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Grilled Corn Medley

This recipe is very simple to make.  It's packed with awesome {grilled} flavor and is a perfect summertime side dish. It could easily be doubled or triple to take to a pitch in or cookout.

The smoky flavor of the cumin makes this a great side dish to serve with your tacos or enchiladas.  Fire up the grill, grab your veggies, and make this super fresh {clean} side dish.

Grilled Corn Medley

  • approx 4 cups corn (grilled)
  • 1 large Red Pepper (roasted, skin removed, and chopped)
  • 1 large sweet onion (grilled and chopped)
  • 1 jalapeno (seeded and chopped)
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • dash of sea salt
1) Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve hot or cold.

CF Note: Fresh cilantro would be a great addition to this side dish. I didn't have any on hand when I made it. Since I didn't have corn on the cob on hand either, I used frozen organic sweet corn and roasted it in a grill pan on the grill.  Less work if you ask me! I buy large bags of Organic Super Sweet Corn at Costco. It's SO good!

Watermelon "Granita"

My kids love cold treats! They used to love snow cones and shaved ices. Now I find when I give in and buy them one they can never finish them because of all the sugary syrups that are poured on top of them.  I have witnesses many times since starting the {eat clean} journey that they have turned down processed sugary treats because they know they will feel ill afterwards! YAY! That makes a mama proud!

This recipe is adapted from Weelicous.com using honey instead of sugar.  I wasn't sure what to think about adding Cinnamon to Watermelon but I am happy to report it tastes great! My kids love it, it's healthy, and fun to eat.

Since the recipe called for checking on it(scraping the sides) every hour in the freezer, I found it easier to freeze the recipe overnight in small freezer containers(with lids) and then microwaving them individually for 30 seconds or so to thaw a bit. After microwaved, breaking it up with a fork to create the snow-cone texture.  

Watermelon Granita (Serves 6-8)
5 Cups Watermelon Chunks
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/3 Cup Sugar (I used 1/4 cup of honey)

1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and puree.
2. Place the puree in an 8×8 inch Pyrex dish and put in the freezer for 1 hour.
3. Remove from the freezer and scrape with a fork to break up pieces.
4. Place back into freezer for 1 hour.
5. Remove from the freezer and scrape with a fork to break up pieces.
6. Repeat this process one or two more times over several hours until the
granita is similar in consistency to shaved ice.
7. Serve (cover the dish with tin foil to keep the rest in the freezer).


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Inflammatory Foods

Do you struggle with poor cardiovascular health? Do you have MS, Arthritis, Asthma? Or any other inflammatory diseases?  If so, you should pay close attention to the top 10 list below of things to AVOID to better your overall health. 

Also, you can check out more about MS, clean eating, and my friend, Ivy's journey after being diagnosed with MS at age 22 on her website: www.cleancuisineandmore.com. You can read how she made drastic changing in her life and her families by living {clean}-and the impact this lifestyle has had on their life.  It really is amazing how we hold most of the power to control our interior and exterior being. 

Feel like this doesn't apply to you? Think again! The foods listed below will actually accelerate the aging process. And who on earth wants to look older than they truly are???

TOP 10 Inflammatory Foods to Avoid

1. Sugars

  • Refined SugarPro-inflammatory Agent: Excessive sugar intake causes tooth decay and has been linked to increased risks of obesity, inflammation and chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Recently, it has also finally been proven that sugar, as well as dairy, are the causes of acne.
    Find them in: Sugar-sweetened beverages like soft drinks, fruit drinks and punches are one of the major sources of dietary sugars that many have overlooked. Do you know that drinking a can of Coke is as good as sucking ten sugar cubes? Other obvious sugar-loaded foods to avoid or at least limit include pastries, desserts, candies and snacks. And when you’re looking out for sugar in the ingredients list, note that sugar has many names: corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, golden syrup, maltose, sorghum syrup and sucrose are some of the creative names used.
    Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Got a sweet tooth? Opt for natural sweeteners like steviahoney, or blackstrap molasses to flavor your beverages and foods modestly. Natural sugars found in fresh or dried fruits and fruit preserves with no added sugar are also great choices. Not only do they give you the sweetness you crave for, fruits also supply you with vitamins, antioxidants and fibers that you won’t find in sugary foods and drinks. Dates, figs, persimmons, kiwis, tangerines and various types of berries are but some of the natural healthy snacks you can sink your teeth into.

2. Common Cooking Oils

  • Common Cooking OilsPro-inflammatory Agent: Common vegetable cooking oils used in many homes and restaurants have very high omega-6 fatty acids and dismally low omega-3 fats. A diet consisting of highly imbalanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratio promotes inflammation and breeds inflammatory diseases like heart disease and cancer.
    Find them in: Polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as grape seed, cottonseed, safflower, corn and sunflower oils. These industrial vegetable oils are also commonly used to prepare most processed foods and takeaways.
    Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Replace your omega-6-saturated cooking oils with macadamia oil, extra virgin olive oil, or other edible oils with a saner omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids ratio. Macadamia oil, for instance, has an almost one to one ratio of omega-6:3 fats, and it’s also rich in oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acid.

3. Trans Fats

  • Trans FatsPro-inflammatory Agent: Trans fatty acids are notorious for their double whammy effect: they increase the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, while lowering levels of the ‘good’ cholesterol. But that’s not all they can do. They have also been found to promote inflammation, obesity and resistance to insulin, laying the ground for degenerative illnesses to take place.
    Find them in: Deep fried foods, fast foods, commercial baked goods and those prepared with partially hydrogenated oil, margarine and vegetable shortening. Note that items that list 0g trans fats on the label may still contain some amount of this toxic fats. This is because in the US, the government allows items containing less than 0.5g of trans fats to be declared as trans-fat free. Commercially prepared peanut butter is one good example. Your best bet is to read the ingredients list and make sure partially hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening is not used.
    Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Look for alternative products that contain no trans fats, or don’t have partially hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening in the ingredients list. When in doubt, assume that all commercially prepared foods contain trans fats unless stated otherwise.

4. Dairy Products

  • Dairy ProductsPro-inflammatory Agent: As much as 60% of the world’s population can’t digest milk. In fact, researchers think that being able to digest milk beyond infancy is abnormal, rather than the other way round. Milk is also a common allergen that can trigger inflammatory responses, such as stomach distress, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, acne, hives and breathing difficulties, in susceptible people.
    Find them in: Milk and dairy products are as pervasive as foods containing partially hydrogenated oil or omega-3-deficient vegetable oil. Apart from obvious milk products like butter and cheese, foods with hidden dairy content include breads, cookies, crackers, cakes, cream sauces and boxed cereals. Scanning the ingredients list is still the safest way to suss out milk.
    Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Kefir and unsweetened yogurt are acceptable in moderation for those who are not allergic to milk. They are easier on the stomach as the lactose and proteins in the milk have been broken down by beneficial bacteria and/or yeasts.

5. Feedlot-Raised Meat

  • Feedlot-Raised MeatPro-inflammatory Agent: Commercially produced meats are feed with grains like soy beans and corns, a diet that’s high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids but low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. Due to the small and tight living environment, these animals also gain excess fat and end up with high saturated fats. Worse, to make them grow faster and prevent them from getting sick, they are also injected with hormones and fed with antibiotics. The result is one piece of meat which you and I shouldn’t be eating.
    Find them in: Unless otherwise stated, most, if not all, beef, pork and poultry you can find in the supermarkets and restaurants come from feedlot farms.
    Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Organic, free-range animalsthat fed on their natural diet like grasses instead of grains and hormones contain more omega-3 fats. Having more room to roam freely, they are also leaner and contain less saturated fats.

6. Red Meat & Processed Meat

  • Red Meat and Processed MeatPro-inflammatory Agent: Researchers at theUniversity of California San Diego School of Medicinefound that red meat contains a molecule that humans don’t naturally produce called Neu5Gc. After ingesting this compound, the body develops anti-Neu5Gc antibodies – an immune response that may trigger chronic inflammatory response. And low-grade simmering inflammation that won’t go away has been linked to cancer and heart disease.
    The link between processed meat consumption and cancer is even stronger. In the 2007 report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, processed meat has been stated as a convincing cause of cancers of the colon and rectum, and possibly esophagus and lung cancer too. Processed meat includes animal product that has been smoked, cured, salted or chemically preserved.
    Find them in: Common red meats are beef, lamb and pork, while processed meat include hams, sausages and salami.
    Inflammation-dousing Substitute: You don’t need to avoid red meat totally, though the same thing can’t be said for processed meat. No amount of processed meat is safe. Replace the bulk of your red meat with organic vegetables, poultry and fish, and relegate red meat to a weekly treat. When you do eat red meat, remember to choose lean cuts and preferably, that of grass-fed animals.

7. Alcohol

  • AlcoholPro-inflammatory Agent: Regular high consumption of alcohol has been known to cause irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, larynx (voice box) and liver. Over time, the chronic inflammation promotes tumor to grow and gives rise to cancer at the sites of repeated irritation.
    Find them in: Beers, ciders, liquors, liqueurs, and wines.
    Inflammation-dousing Substitute: A refreshing and thirst-quenching glass of pure, filtered water, anyone? :) How about a cup of anti-aging and anti-inflammatory jasmine green tea? If you find the idea of swapping ethanol for water or tea implausible, at least limit your consumption to no more than one drink a day.

8. Refined Grains

  • Refined GrainsPro-inflammatory Agent: A lot of the grains we eat nowadays are refined. They are devoid of fiber and vitamin B compared to unpolished and unrefined grains that still have the bran, germ and the aleurone layer intact. This makes refined grains as good as refined sugars, which are practically empty calories. And like refined sugars, refined grains have a higher glycemic index than unprocessed grains and when they are consistently consumed, can hasten the onset of degenerative diseases like cancer and coronary disease.
    Find them in: Refined grains and products made out of them are almost everywhere. The common ones are: white rice, white flour, white bread, noodles, pasta, biscuits and pastries. To make things worse, many products with refined grains undergo further processing to enhance their taste and look, and are often loaded with excess sugar, salt, artificial flavors and/or partially hydrogenated oil in the process. A prime example is boxed cereals which contain substantial amounts of added sugar and flavorings.
    Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Go for minimally processed grains if you are not gluten intolerant or allergic to grains. If you’re an avid bread or pastry maker, invest in a grain mill to produce your own flour. It will be much fresher than the stale one found in stores. When buying cereals or other products made from grains, don’t take the words on the packaging for granted. Just because the box says whole grains, it doesn’t mean the grains inside are 100% intact. The problem is due to a lack of an internationally accepted definition for the word ‘whole grain’. When in doubt, if it doesn’t look close to its natural state, don’t buy.

9. Artificial Food Additives

  • Artificial Food AdditivesPro-inflammatory Agent: Some artificial food additives like aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG) reportedly trigger inflammatory responses, especially in people who are already suffering from inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
    Find them in: Only packaged foods contain artificial food additives. If you need to buy them, read the labels carefully and weigh your risks. If you order Chinese takeaways, make sure you’ve the option to ask for no MSG. Otherwise, look elsewhere.
    Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Besides limiting the consumption of processed foods, use anti-inflammatory herbs, spices or natural sweeteners to add flavor to your dishes instead of relying on food additives.

10. <Fill in the blank>

  • Allergic FoodPro-inflammatory Agent: Why is this blank? Because it is meant for you to fill it with the type of food that you’re allergic or sensitive to. Many people are sensitive to certain food and yet are unaware about it. Because symptoms caused by food intolerance or allergy can be delayed and when they do appear, they are mistaken as common ailments such as tiredness and headaches. But repeated, long-term exposure to food that irritates can cause inflammation and lead to chronic diseases.
    Find them in: Common food allergens are gluten, milk, nuts, eggs and nightshade vegetables. Contrary to common belief, it is possible to develop an allergy to the foods that you eat often.
    Inflammation-dousing Substitute: If you suspect that a particular food may be responsible for your food intolerant response, try avoiding it completely for about two weeks and monitor your reaction. At the end of the abstinence period, re-introduce the food back into your diet. If you’re in fact incompatible with it, you should be able to notice the difference in how you feel easily.