Category Archives: Kids

Awesome Mushroom Lo Mein

Chinese food is one of my husband’s favorite cuisines. Come the days leading up to Christmas Eve, it’s all he talks about.  It’s been challenging finding great Chinese food recipes to make at home…until now.  This Lo-Mein recipe is awesome.  The flavors are so good, it was really hard for me to stop noshing on it between finishing making it and serving it.  The recipe called for steak seasoning, but since we don’t cook red meat at home, I splurged on this seasoning by Nom Nom Paleo instead, and it’s definitely worth it.  I opted to use sweet chili sauce instead of chili paste, because all the options at the store had wheat and/or soy in them.  I read that Avocado oil can be subbed for sesame oil because it’s also nutty in flavor – that worked great here!  If you’re craving Chinese food, these noodles are worth a try.  Happy holidays!

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Mushroom Lo Mein

serves 8

adapted from Whitney Bond

INGREDIENTS

Mushrooms

2 8oz. packs mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and quartered

2 tbsp coconut aminos

2 tbsp rice vinegar (unseasoned)

1 tsp minced ginger (fresh or from jar)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp avocado oil

1 tsp Magic Mushroom Powder (recipe here or sold at Whole Foods)

Noodles

10 oz. brown rice spaghetti noodles (I like Tinkeyada)

1/4 cup coconut aminos

1/2 tbsp Sriacha

1 tbsp rice vinegar (unseasoned)

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp sweet chili sauce (I like Thai Kitchen brand)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp grated ginger (I use jarred by Ginger People)

1 tsp avocado oil

TOPPING – Scallions, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare mushrooms first.  Mix all ingredients for the sauce together in a large bowl.  When well combined, toss quartered mushrooms in sauce.  In a large cast iron or nonstick skillet, add mushrooms and extra sauce to pre-heated pan.  Cook until mushrooms have cooked down in size and majority of the sauce is evaporated.  Remove mushrooms from heat and set aside in a separate bowl.
  2. Prepare noodles according to package.  Cook and drain immediately, rinsing with cold water/according to package instructions.  Return cooked, drained, and rinsed noodles back to the pan.
  3. While noodles are cooking, mix all sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. After noodles are returned to the pan, add in the sauce and toss well.  Add mushrooms, and stir until well combined.  Cook over low heat until warmed throughout.
  5. Enjoy!
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Chili Dog Chili

The last chili recipe is one I found that’s meant for chili cheese dogs, though we don’t eat it with hot dogs (or the cheese).  We double the recipe so it can last a few extra meals, and it’s not only easy to make, but it’s also really good.  I first made it for the last night of the World Series, and have since altered it, to what I think is the perfect meal.  I don’t have any pictures of this one, but I am including a picture of a fun serving idea – over butternut squash “fries” – i.e. crinkle cut butternut squash. It’s also great on a sloppy joe type sandwich for kids (and kids at heart).

BONUS – If you want to check out the cookbook where I found the recipe, the Kindle version of the cookbook is on sale now for less than $5!  It has other great recipes like Grown up Beans on Toast and the Go-To Frittata.IMG_8132

Chili Dog Chili

serves 6-8

adapted from Dude Diet Cookbook

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs ground chicken breast

3 tsp olive oil

2 small onions, chopped small

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp chili powder

4 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen Fire Roasted with Garlic)

1 15 oz can tomato sauce (I use Muir Glen Organic)

2 small cans mild diced green chiles

2 tsp coconut aminos (or Worcestershire sauce)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot.  Add onions and garlic and saute until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add spices and stir in until toasted, about 30 seconds – 1 minute.
  3. Add chicken and cook while breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon.
  4. Once the chicken is all just cooked, add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chiles and coconut aminos.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes, or longer, until desired thickness is reached.

 

 

Slow Cooker Taco Chili

Another favorite chili in our house is this Taco Chili.  The recipe is meant for a chicken chili, but I attempted to make it vegetarian by adding extra beans instead.  It’s very easy to make (even without a slow cooker).  At least once a week, swapping out a meat meal for a vegetarian one, is one way I’ve found to cut down our weekly food budget. It can be challenging getting a dairy-free child to have enough protein with a vegetarian meal, but this recipe is a winner! B loved this chili mainly because it was topped with avocado and served with our favorite lime tortilla chips*  In his words, “Chili?! With avocado and lime chips?!  [jumping up and down] I love Taco Chili!  [hugging me] Mama, you make the best food.”

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Slow Cooker Taco Chili

serves 4-6

adapted from Skinnytaste Fast and Slow

INGREDIENTS

Taco Seasoning

1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tbsp chili powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Chili

1 (8oz) can tomato sauce

2 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 yellow pepper, diced small (or you can use 1-10 oz. package frozen corn kernels)

2 (10oz) can chopped green chiles (mild)

1 small onion, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Taco Seasoning – In a small bowl, combine the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.

Chili – In a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker (or a large stockpot if not using a slow cooker), combine the tomato sauce, beans, tomatoes, green chiles, onion, yellow pepper, and taco seasoning. Stir well.

SLOW COOKER – Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.

STOVETOP – Bring mixture to a boil and the simmer for 30-45 minutes, until chili reduces to desired thickness.

To serve, scoop the chili into individual serving bowls and top with avocado, cilantro, and your favorite tortilla chips.

*These chips are found MUCH cheaper at Whole Foods.  Link in post for reference.

 

Pumpkin Chili (Meatless Monday)

Making easy and nutritious meals everyone will actually eat is an ongoing experiment in our house.  As much as I’d like us all to eat the same thing for dinner, several nights a week I’ve resigned to being a short order cook.  There are few exceptions, chili being one of them. This week, I’m going to post three chili recipes we like the most.  First up, Pumpkin Chili, from the Thug Kitchen cookbook.  Don’t let the name fool you, this meatless chili is full of flavor, and made heartier with the addition of pumpkin puree, without tasting like pumpkin.  It’s super easy to make and topped with avocado and some good chips, it’s a great meal for everyone in the family.

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Thug Kitchen Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili

serves 4-6 (double the recipe if you want extra to freeze)

adapted from Thug Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

1 yellow onion

1 carrot

1 red, orange or yellow pepper

1 tsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp coconut aminos (soy sauce or tamari also works)

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp cumin

1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes

1 can pureed pumpkin

2 cups vegetable broth or water

2 cans beans, any kind you like – kidney and black beans work well

1 tbsp lime juice

TOPPINGS – avocado, cilantro, red onion, vegan cheese (we like to make shreds from the Daiya Cheddar block), vegan sour cream (plain unsweetened non-dairy yogurt works well)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Chop up carrot, onion, and pepper to the size of a bean or smaller
  2. In a big pot, heat the oil, and cook vegetables until they begin to soften and brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, coconut aminos, and spices – cook for about 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes, broth, pumpkin, and beans – stir well so everything is nicely combined and all the flavors are getting to know each other.  Turn down the heat and keep covered for about 15-30 minutes, until it reaches your desired thickness.  The longer it cooks, the better it’ll taste.  (We like it thicker, so I simmer it longer than 15 minutes.)
  3. When done cooking, stir in the lime juice and serve right away. Top with your favorites and enjoy!

NOTE – This makes great leftovers.  After reheating the next day, add some more fresh lime juice and cilantro to make it taste just as good as the first day.

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Wednesday Wishlist

I’m always looking at new cookbooks and in my dream kitchen would have a separate library (and sitting room) for them like Ina Garten.  I recently discovered checking out e-books from the library, and have been looking at several I’d love to add to my permanent collection.  I’m a minimalist when it comes to kitchen appliances, partly because we have a small kitchen, and mainly because the thought of more to clean after meal prep is pretty much the last thing I want to do.  But cookbooks, can never have too many of those.

Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion

This cookbook includes grain free and dairy free recipes for a year’s worth of holidays and seasonal celebrations – there are plenty of kid-friendly recipes, holiday sweets, and party foods like sweet and sour meatballs.  It’s kind of hard to not want to make it all!

The Moosewood Cookbook: 40th Anniversary Edition by Mollie Katzen

There’s something about the lack of pictures and handwritten style of the recipes that’s always made this book so appealing and comforting to me.  I recently made the Minestrone Soup and it couldn’t have been easier, and more delicious. The cool thing about the soups is they all were tested with water instead of stock, which makes them even easier to throw together mid-week.  I was first introduced to these cookbooks from a nutritionist I worked with in college.  Moosewood is a vegetarian restaurant that’s been around since 1963 in Ithaca, New York — many of the cookbook recipes are pretty easy to adapt to gluten-free and dairy-free.  SIDENOTE:  If you’re looking for an inspiring follow on Facebook, Mollie Katzen, is a great add!

Kitchen Matters by Pamela Salzman

OK, I own this one, and it’s been the best cookbook I’ve read/used in a long time.  Almost all the recipes have tasted great, and they’re all very easy to put together.  I discovered her through some rabbit hole I was down on Instagram one day, and I’m glad I found her.  My favorite recipes are the Chicken Shawarma, Slow Cooker Burrito Bowl Chicken, and Chocolate Zucchini brownies.  The main reason I’ve never like cooking chicken is because I’m horrible at it…until this cookbook.  The two chicken recipes I’ve tried have resulted in perfectly cooked chicken almost every time.  Many recipes also feature tips to accommodate dietary restrictions.  Her website is awesome too, and every week she writes a Dinner Planner for the week.  Her approach has helped me cut down on our food budget, find recipes our whole family can enjoy, and inspire me to try new ways to be organized about the week.  DREAM = taking one of her LA-based cooking classes.

Feeding a Family: A Real-Life Plan for Making Dinner Work by Sarah Waldman

I found this cookbook while searching library books, and it’s such a cool format – organized by Season, and every recipe includes a way to adapt it for a baby to enjoy as well.  What a great way to make meal prep easier!  We’ve tried the Autumn Meatballs and Butternut Squash Casserole – both were delicious!  I adapted both for gluten free, dairy free – they weren’t perfect when tweaked, but the flavors were incredible; especially, the Butternut Squash Casserole.

Feed the Resistance:  Recipes + Ideas for Getting Involved by Julia Turshen

I love her earlier cookbook Small Victories for its easy recipes and ways to alter them to be even simpler than they start, not to mention most of the dishes include basic ingredients.  I keep seeing this new cookbook of hers pop up in my feeds, and I’m so curious about the recipes and the content – from what I can tell it seems like an all around inspiring win.

Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes by Gina Homolka

One of the best cookbooks out there because the recipes are easy and contrary to the title, you don’t have to own a slow cooker to make the recipes.  Within the first few pages, she includes a chart of how to make all slow cooker recipes on the stovetop or with a dutch oven.  We’ve had the Chicken Pumpkin Chili, Taco Chili and Teriyaki Chicken (adapted with Coconut Aminos).  All are really delicious, super easy, and feel like an indulgence without splurging.  Though I’ve yet to own this cookbook, I’ve looked through it at the bookstore and it has beautiful pictures and the format is easy to follow (even includes markings if the recipe adapts to dietary restrictions). I have her first cookbook, and this one is drastically better – the recipes are easier and more appealing.  

Life Update + [Pepperoni] Pizza Pasta

When I first started this blog, it was a way to keep myself accountable after nearing the end of a weight loss journey, I had spent nearly a year and a half on.  I lost weight using Weight Watchers, and by adapting recipes I’d see on blogs and TV, with the Recipe Builder feature on the App, it was a fun way I could still enjoy “regular” food, just in a more healthful manner.  In this process, I discovered I preferred meatless meals to ones with, and it was so fun to explore a whole new world of recipes.  I reached my weight loss goal and shortly after, I became pregnant with my first child.  In the year after he was born, we discovered he has multiple food allergies.  Because I was nursing at the time, this meant my diet also had to be tweaked to accommodate him.  While frustrating at first, over time, years of my own stomach problems labeled as IBS, nearly all went away.  For the sake of my health and our son’s, we adapted to a kitchen free of wheat, dairy, and soy – also including anything made in facilities with these ingredients.  B is now 4 years old and has a new little sister.  As we’re trying to figure out her allergies, I’m back in a similar situation, accommodating my diet to help identify the culprit.  I can now add nuts, eggs, corn, and a few other items to the list of foods my cooking is free of.  B, can eat them, but my current list has set me on a new path, yet again, of finding some great resources to help me eat healthy, while also making meals our whole family can enjoy – what this means is I’m back to eating chicken and turkey, and very occasionally red meat (though I still don’t cook that at home).  We’ve always enjoyed fish (sans shellfish), so nothing has changed there.  I have found some really amazing recipes and chefs who cook pretty close to the way I am eating right now.  The other fun thing is I’m finally finding a way to cut down on our weekly food costs, while still making delicious and nutritious meals. (Ask anyone who needs to be mindful of food allergies, and they’ll tell you just how costly it can be – article).

All of this brings me to one of our new favorite recipes – Pepperoni Pizza Pasta.  I don’t have my own picture of it because we’ve eaten it too fast, the past two times we had this.  It is SO good and very easy to adapt – you can sub your favorite pasta noodles for the squash noodles, and you can leave out the pepperoni and use mushrooms and garlic instead.  What really makes this taste like pizza is the tomato sauce, oregano and nutritional yeast.  It’s also incredibly easy to prep the night before, so the whole meal can go from stove to table in less than 30 minutes.  I keep the spiralized noodles in a large ziplock, airtight in the fridge, and get the mushrooms pre sliced.

Danielle Walker is the author of this recipe, and she herself, has a wonderful blog (and cookbooks) called Against All Grain.  Her recipes are super creative, and you’d hardly know they were grain free and mostly dairy free.  My mom and I have looked through all three of her cookbooks and there’s enough that appeals to both of us.  She even inspired me to purchase a Spiralizer, which I’m LOVING!

Pepperoni Pizza Pasta

serves 3-5

adapted from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime

INGREDIENTS

3-5 yellow squashes, spiralized like noodles (OR your favorite pasta)

2 cloves garlic, minced

12 oz. sliced mushrooms

4 oz. kosher salami or turkey pepperoni, diced

3/4 cup tomato paste

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

If using pepperoni or salami, heat in a large pot (I used a enameled cast iron one like this) until crispy. Remove from pan when crisped.

If making vegetarian, add mushrooms and garlic until mushrooms have reduced and are soft and you can smell the garlic.  If making with pepperoni, do this step after the pepperoni has been removed.

Take squash noodles and add to garlic and mushrooms.  Cook for a few minutes until noodles are softened.  Add tomato paste, oregano, and nutritional yeast.  Heat until all combined  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook a few more minutes.

Mix in pepperoni and serve warm.

NOTES: To make Kosher, use Kosher salami; to make vegetarian/vegan, omit pepperoni and use double mushrooms; to make Gluten-free with out squash noodles, use your favorite brown rice noodles – we love the Tinkeyada brand.  If you run out of tomato paste, your favorite tomato sauce also works fine here.

No-Bake Tahini Cherry Bars

These no-bake bars are the perfect treat to hit the spot, when it’s hot outside, you want something sweet,  but also something wholesome.  Prep was really easy, and a child could easily help with the stirring parts.  I added mini chocolate chips on half, to make it more appealing to little ones, because I think it’s going to be hard to convince a toddler to eat a dessert with tahini, if they’ve never tried it before.  These are perfectly sweet, and the hit of salt, is just what they need to make them really good.  Now to think what else I can add in other than dried cherries…

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Ready for the freezer

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No-bake Tahini Cherry Bars

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A great summer sweet & wholesome treat

No-Bake Tahini Cherry Bars

adapted from One Part Plant

makes 8-24 bars depending on how you cut them

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp pure maple syrup

1/3 cup tahini, stirred well

1 1/4 cups gluten-free rolled oats (not the instant/quick cooking kind)

pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup dried cherries

handful of Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Line a 4×8 loaf pan with parchment paper.

On low heat, melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan.  Once melted, remove from heat immediately and stir in vanilla and syrup.  Stir in the tahini.  Once combined, add oats and salt.  Stir until all the oats are coated.  Stir in the cherries.

Pour mixture into loaf pan and spread evenly.  If desired, sprinkle on chocolate chips, lightly pressing them in with your fingers.

Put in freezer for at least 45 minutes.  Cut and serve immediately. Store any leftovers, covered, in the freezer.

Broccimole (aka Broccoli Guacamole)

Who doesn’t like a good guacamole adaptation?!  True, why mess with a good thing, but I was still curious about what adding broccoli would do, and I’m very glad I did.  This is a much lighter alternative to guacamole, and it makes you feel good because there’s broccoli in it.  I thought this would be a kid-friendly recipe, which it’s not completely, but if yours are willing to taste it, they may just love it (or take three bites and realize they don’t yet).  It is definitely husband approved, and he thought the jalapeno would add a nice kick.

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Broccimole

makes about 1 1/2 cups

adapted from Malibu Farm Cookbook

INGREDIENTS

1 cup broccoli florets

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

Jalapeno pepper, chopped and to taste (optional)

1/2 bunch cilantro

2 limes juiced OR 2 tbsp lime juice

1/2 avocado – or more (up to 2), if you want it creamier

DIRECTIONS

Cook broccoli florets in boiling, salted water for 1 minute.  Remove and place in food processor with the rest of the ingredients (except the avocado).  Pulse until all chopped up.  Taste, and if desired, add 1/2 avocado, up to 2 avocados total.  Add salt to taste if needed.  Enjoy with chips.

Grown-up Beans on Toast

Another great cookbook I’ve been using lately is The Dude Diet.  Along with the great frittata recipe I made awhile ago, we recently made ‘Grown-up Beans on Toast.’  The recipe calls for chicken sausage, but we made without, and it still tastes great – even kid approved!  It’s pretty quick to make – took about 30 minutes start to finish – and, it tastes great as leftovers too.  The author says the recipe makes 2 servings, but I think it can make about 6-10 toasts, depending how much you use to top the bread.  If you eat meat, go ahead and use your favorite chicken sausage.  I’ll list those steps as optional below.  We made ours wheat and dairy-free using gluten-free bread, and Vegan Parmesan shreds.IMG_4052.JPG

Grown-up Beans on Toast

adpated from The Dude Diet

makes about 6-10 toasts

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp. olive oil

2 chicken sausages (sweet or spicy), diced – OPTIONAL

1/2 sweet onion, chopped finely

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. tomato paste

3/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 15 oz. can cannelini beans (or great white northern beans), rinsed & drained

1 15 oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup water

Your favorite gluten-free (or traditional) bread, toasted

Chopped parsley, to sprinkle on top

Vegan Parmesan, to sprinkle on top (I like Follow Your Heart, found at Whole Foods)

DIRECTIONS

  1.  In a medium saute pan, heat pan and add olive oil.
  2. [OPTIONAL] Saute diced chicken sausage for about 4-5 minutes, until browned.
  3. Add onion and saute until translucent, just starting to brown.
  4. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.  About 30 seconds.
  5. Add dried oregano, tomato paste, salt, and paprika.  Cook for a few minutes more.
  6. Add drained beans, tomatoes and water.  Heat until boiling.  Then, reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes so flavors can combine.  I waited until most of the liquid had evaporated.
  7. Serve warm on toast.  Top with chopped parsley and vegan parmesan.

 

Sweet Potato Kugel

Cooking is the easiest way for me to zone out. I think that’s why I like making new recipes so much – I can focus on something and completely forget everything else going on around me. And, when there’s a day that I can go spinning and cook new recipes- well, that’s the ultimate. 

I read about this Sweet Potato Kugel recipe on a holiday round up from the cooks that authored The Yiddish Kitchen. I made bagels from their cookbook a few months ago, and I completely forgot about this kugel. I didn’t grow up on kugel like most. Actually, I was so particular, I would only eat it at my friend’s mom house, because then I knew it would be good! Anyway, this recipe is super easy and simple.  I even found precut sweet potatoes at Trader Joes to make the recipe even easier to make. You could certainly use regular sugar (the color will likely be different if you do) and you could use full-fat coconut milk, which probably makes it taste even more like the holidays. Enjoy!


Sweet Potato Kugel

Adapted from The Yiddish Kitchen

Serves 8,12,16, or 25 – depending on how you cut it 

INGREDIENTS

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into rubble or noodles with a spiral slider or vegetable peeler (or 1.5 pkgs of Sweet Potato Ribbons from Trader Joes)

3 tbsp olive oil 

Canola oil for greasing the pan

1 cup canned lite coconut milk (or full-fat, canned)

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease an 8×8 inch casserole dish. Then, in a skillet, heat the sweet potatoes in the olive oil over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes, or until sweet potato softens. 

While the sweet potato is cooking, mix all the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl, stirring well to combine. Once the sweet potatoes are ready, remove them from the heat and incorporate into the egg mixture. 

Next, pour the mix into the prepared casserole dish and bake for about 30-50* minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Slice and serve warm. 

*the recipe says 30-40 minutes, but maybe because I used lite coconut milk instead of full fat, it took more like 50 minutes. After 35 minutes, I kept adding 5 more until it was set – the center took the longest time to do so.