sweet potato hash browns {whole30}

this recipe is saving breakfast for me during my whole30 journey.  so delicious.

sweet potato hash browns
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1/2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp thyme
cracked pepper and salt to taste
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
few sprigs of fresh oregano, chopped

melt the ghee in a skillet over medium high heat.  

toss the potatoes with the dry seasonings (saving the parsley and oregano for right before serving).

once ghee is melted, add the sweet potatoes and let cook until slightly browned on one side before flipping. 

after both sides are browned, reduce heat to medium, cover and let cook for 10 minutes or until softened (with a little crunch on the outside).  toss in fresh herbs and serve.

(serves 2)


open-face philly cheesesteak

this recipe was adapted from another i've had saved on my pinterest for philly cheesesteak stew for some time.  the problem was, i couldn't find sourdough bread bowls so i bought sliced sourdough to go for open face sandwiches instead but then, after making the steak mixture, i realized it was too runny to put on top of the bread and be broiled without resulting in a big mess.  what a predicament.  i knew by putting the bread in first, it was likely to become soggy once baked but, it actually turned out good enough for me to want to save the recipe here and make a few tweaks at another time. it was a little soggy in some places so next time, i will try drying the bread out in the oven (on low) for a few minutes before i add it to the casserole dish or, making sourdough crostini's to serve alongside the steak mixture.

this dish is not exactly "clean" as far as clean-eating standards go but, i'm trying to be kinder to myself, to be more patient, to live a little more true to me, even if this includes having to embrace the fact that i am not a stick-thin woman and the natural and balanced version of myself does not desire to survive on chicken, broccoli, green smoothies, no-sugar, no carb, low salt, no this, no that etc.  food should not be feared and the complexes that i've developed over the years have left me so unbalanced, i've had one fight with myself after another as i've tried to figure out how to live in a healthy and balanced way.  i desire, intensely, to be at peace with myself.

so far, as i've made small changes here and there, i feel a sense of relief that i cannot even describe.  i've been practicing yoga regularly, going outside to run, listening to my favorite music, reading as many books i can find the time for and learning to grow plants and food in my yard.  spending time doing this that rejuvenate and inspire me.  making a real effort to eat foods that fuel my body, when i'm hungry and that i enjoy preparing.

in the past, holding myself to an unrealistic standard has had a tenancy to drain me in a such a way that i forgot to sit back and truly live my one and only life.

no more.

my point, partially, is that sourdough bread is delicious and so is cheese.  together, my goodness, they're wonderful.  i won't berate myself for enjoying it.  i will get up in the morning and go running because i enjoy it, not because i ate what i "shouldn't have" and, i will eat a salad for lunch tomorrow because i am darn good at making delicious salads, i can enjoy it and it's good for me.  balance.   onward ....

open-face philly cheesesteak
printable recipe

1.5 lb thinly slice top sirloin*
4 tbsp flour, divided
salt & pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
8 oz fresh button mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 cups beef broth, hot
8 slices (1/2 lb) sourdough bread, cubed and dried
10 slices provolone

*the butcher at our supermarket sliced the sirloin for me

add the thinly sliced beef sirloin to a medium sized bowl and season with salt, pepper and the onion powder.  toss to coat and then toss in 2 tbsp of flour and mix again. 

heat a heavy-bottomed skilled over medium-high heat with 3 tbsp of olive oil.  once hot, add half of the sirloin (i had to put each piece in by hand because they were sliced so thin and stuck together in clumps).  sear the meat a minute or two per side and then remove it onto a plate; repeat with the other half.  set aside.

once the meat is cooked,  add a little more oil to the pot and toss in the sliced onions and peppers.  season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequenting, just above medium heat until they begin to caramelize (5-6 minutes).

add the mushrooms to the onion mixture and continue to cook until they are soft (another 5-6 minutes).

at this point, add the dried thyme and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant.  sprinkle the remaining flour over the mixture, mix it in and then slowly pour in the hot beef broth.  as you pour in the broth, continue stirring so the flour will not clump.

reduce the heat to medium and allow the stew mixture to simmer while you prepare the bread.

slice the bread into cubes and toss in the bottom of a 9x13" casserole dish.

add the steak back to the skillet, mix well to incorporate all of the ingredients and then pour the mixture over the bread.

cover the mixture with the slices of cheese and bake, uncovered for 10-15 minutes (until cheese is bubbly and browned).

delicious! i'll update this post when i make it again with some changes to the bread portion.


toasted coconut cashew energy bars

toasted coconut cashew energy bars
recipe via food52

2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups unsalted cashews
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp coconut butter
1 tbsp coconut oil

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  spread the coconut evenly across a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 2 minutes, stir and then toast for another two minutes (or until golden and fragrant).

set the coconut aside and toast the cashews on the same baking sheet for 5 minutes (stirring 1/2 way through cook-time).

pit the dates.

add the coconuts, cashews, dates, cinnamon and salt to the food processor.  because my processor is smaller, i had to do this in two batches.  pulse the ingredients until you have crumb sized pieces.  add the coconut butter and 1/2 of the coconut oil.  pulse until the mixture forms clumps, adding more oil if dry.

spread mixture in a 8x8 baking dish lined with parchment paper.  freeze for 20-30 minutes and then cut into bars.  i cut mine into 16 snack-sized bars.  wrap each bar in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator.

makes 16 bars
nutritional data per bar:

160 calories, 9.5 g fat, 3.8 g sat. fat, 18.4 mg sodium, 18.8 g carbs, 2.6 g fiber, 12.9 g sugar, 3.1 g protein


winter minestrone ~ slow cooker

(*this recipe was inspired from another i found via pinterest.  personally, when i make it again, i will use sweet italian turkey (or chicken) sausage in place of the pancetta.  pancetta is not very flavorful in my opinion and i believe the sausage would add a nice flavor).

winter minestrone
printable recipe
recipe adapted via crave by random house

6 oz pancetta*, diced
1 large yellow onion
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 large stalks of celery, diced
2 large red sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp thyme
26 oz can crushed tomatoes, no salt added
4 cups lower sodium chicken broth (swanson's)
4 cups no-salt added chicken stock (kitchen basics)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp store-bought pesto
parmesan cheese, for top

using a heavy bottomed stock pot or preferably, a slow cooker with a stove-top option for browning, brown pancetta (6-8 minutes).  - my slow cooker is a non-stick stove top cooker so i did not use any oil to brown the pancetta or cook the veggies (there was plenty of fat from the pancetta to cook the veggies).  if you're using a pot that is not non-stick, you might want to add some oil while pre-heating.

turn the heat up to medium-high and add the onions, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.  cook until beginning to soften, about another 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

add the tomatoes, chicken stock, beans and bay leaf.  at this point, you can either leave the soup on the stovetop and simmer over medium heat for at least an hour (for vegetables to fully cook) or, transfer everything to the slow cooker and cook over low heat for 4 hours (up to 6) or high heat for 2 (up to 4). don't want those potatoes to get too mushy.

about 20 minutes before serving, stir in the pesto and wine (i did hear my daughter say to her brother as a warning, "i saw mom put green throw up in that."  nice).

drink the rest of the wine.

top with bruschetta (or a nice garlic loaf) and parmesan cheese.

yields 6-8 servings
calories: 326
fat: 9.3g
saturated fat: 3.4g
cholesterol: 15.5mg
sodium: 790mg
carbs: 37.5g
fiber: 8.5g
sugar: 10.8g
protein: 13.1g

chicken "cordon bleu" ~ lightened up version

chicken cordon bleu
printable recipe
recipe adapted via skinny taste

parchment or wax paper
olive oil cooking spray
4 chicken breasts, halved and then butterfly sliced
kosher salt and cracked pepper
8 slices deli ham
8 slices swiss cheese
1 cup whole wheat seasoned bread crumbs (winco)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs (no need to shy away from whole eggs, folks)

preheat oven to 375 degrees.

spray 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray

line cutting board with parchment/wax paper. slice each chicken in half and then butterfly slice each breast (take care not to cut all of the way through when butterfly slicing, keeping the breast in one piece).

cover the chicken with more parchment/wax paper.  using a rolling pin or mallet, flatten the meat by pounding each piece through the parchment paper.  remove paper, season each piece with kosher salt and cracked black pepper.

whisk eggs in a shallow dish/bowl.  combine bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in another shallow dish/bowl.

place one slice of ham and one slice of swiss cheese on each breast (use thin sliced deli cheese if you're worried about fat grams).  roll tightly and then dip rolled chicken in egg mixture (use 1 egg and 1 egg white if you're worried about cholesterol).  roll chicken in bread crumbs and then place, seam down, in prepared baking dish.  repeat with each piece of chicken.

bake for 35-40 minutes at 375 degrees.

yields 8 servings
calories: 406
fat: 12g
sat fat: 5g
cholesterol: 201.8mg
sodium: 597mg
carbs: 8.1g
protein: 63.9g

honey lime chicken enchiladas

(not even remotely "healthy" but soooo delicious)

honey lime chicken enchiladas
recipe via my lovely friend melissa

6 tbsp honey
5 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

4 chicken breasts (1 1/2 lbs), cooked and shredded (i poached the chicken seasoned w/kosher salt and cracked pepper).
8-10 flour tortillas
1 lb monterey jack cheese, grated
16 oz green enchilada sauce (i only had red so it's what i used and it was still delicious)
1 cup heavy cream

whisk the first 4 ingredients and toss with shredded chicken in a zip-loc bag.  let marinate in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour up to 24 hours (i let mine marinate overnight).

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

pour about 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  fill tortillas with chicken (saving whatever marinade is leftover) and shredded cheese (save 1 cup of cheese for top).  put rolled enchiladas seam side down in dish as you go.  mix the remaining enchilada sauce w/remaining marinade and heavy cream.  pour sauce on top of the enchiladas.  top with remaining cheese.  bake, uncovered for 30 minutes (until edges browned and crispy).

this dish is perfect for freezing before cooking and pairs well with cilantro lime rice.


pumpkin protein muffins

today i tried to make some pumpkin protein pancakes without following a recipe.  epic fail! it's embarrassing how badly they turned out and how horrible they tasted.  not even remotely palatable.  so there i was, on a rainy day, in my kitchen with not one extracurricular activity to have any particular person(s) to and an open can of pumpkin puree.  what more could a girl ask for?

pumpkin muffins, that's what.  a girl could ask for pumpkin muffins and these did not disappoint.  totes healthy and plenty palatable.

pumpkin protein muffins
printable recipe

1 3/4 cup quick cooking oats (i prefer "mom's best" brand)
1/4 cup vanilla whey
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup truvia baking blend
1 whole large egg
2 large egg whites
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1/2 cup low-fat yogurt (i used vanilla but plain would be just as good and greek, even better)
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 tsp vanilla

preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a muffin tin by using liners or spray.

using a food processor or blender, process the oats into oat flour.

in a small bow, mix all of the dry ingredients in exception to the truvia baking blend. set aside.

add all of the wet ingredients and the truvia blend to a larger bowl and mix until combined (fluffy).  add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until blended.

pour batter into prepared tin, filling each full.  the batter will be thick.

bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until tops are golden.

yields 12 muffins

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