Zucchini Boats

How is it, that of all the plants in my garden, Zucchini is the most fool proof one?! We tried to go conservative this year and only planted two plants but have still been taken over by wheelbarrows full of zucchini. It’s wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but those suckers grow BIG and FAST! Most days when I remember to pick the zucchini it’s already the size of my forearm arm or larger. That’s a heck of a lot of zucchini noodles!

Gary likes to cut zucchini and squash into rounds and sauté them until they are caramelized or even a bit crispy. But this year my stomach just couldn’t do it every day. He had been such a champ and has eaten zucchini almost every meal this summer but I hit a breaking point and needed. A different option.

One day my cute neighbor reminded me about Zucchini boats! How could I have forgotten?! I was so stuck on what I couldn’t stand eating any more that I had a mind block and lost all cooking creativity whatsoever.

Typically with zucchini boats you use nice, cute, appropriately sized zucchini to make sweet, little personal boats of deliciousness. But let’s face it, I had monster zucchini I had to get rid of. So now I’m sharing my ah-ha moment with you.

We decided to use our giant zucchini to make two huge boats that we then sliced up to serve. And even though the zucchini was extra large it still tasted delicious!

I am pretty Plain Jane when it comes to things I like so I often times just re-use the same list of ingredients I’m different dishes. For my zucchini boats I used the same meat/cheese combo I often times use for stuffed mushrooms and quinoa meatballs. I also try and use what I have on hand that day to avoid a trip to the store if possible. Change the recipe to suit your preferences but you can use my ingredients as a guide:)

Zucchini Boat Ingredients

(Serves 2 very hungry people or 4 -6 people who are less of gluttons than we are 😉)

  • 1/2 lb of sausage
  • 1/2 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 8oz container of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 8oz package of mushrooms
  • 1-2 large zucchini or 4-6 normal size small zucchini
  • Salt/pepper/seasoning to taste

Directions

1. Preheat overnight to 375 degrees. Slice the zucchini length wise (hot-dog style ;)) and remove all seeds, leaving a large space for meat/cheese mixture. 2. Slice mushrooms then combine them with sausage, ground beef, 1 egg, 3/4 of the Parmesan cheese, and seasoning until all ingredients are mixed together well (sometimes I just have to use my hands an mash it all together…I don’t have the patience to daintily mash it slowly with a fork)3. Fill the zucchini boats with the meat mixture until it is heaping. The meat will cook down …I personally like a healthy meat to veggie ratio. 4. Bake until the meat is cooked thoroughly and a fork can easily be inserted into the zucchini. (You May like your zucchini firmer/softer than me so cooking time may vary). My food is usually ready in about 20 minutes. 5. When food is about done, sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top and let melt for about 5 minutes and then remove from oven.

(We decided to make stuffed mushrooms with the extra meat mix and used the stems of the mushrooms for the zucchini boats! I get a lot of enjoyment from not wasting food and finding ways to use it all up!)

This is definitely a basic recipe and I love that it is quick to prepare yet delicious. And it gets rid of those giant zucchinis taking up all your counter space. Many people like to put pasta sauce on top or use other meats or cheeses to give it a different flavor. You can even add cream cheese to make it even creamier. This is our favorite combo so far and I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think! Katie

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Sweet Potato Lava Brownies

My girls asked for a treat tonight and I had a sweet potato in the fridge and thought….well let’s find a recipe for sweet potato brownies! I made sweet potato brownies once before, a few years ago, but lost the recipe. After searching good old google and not finding any recipes that looked good or that I had all the ingredients for, I just made my own recipe…and… it turned out AWESOME! I was too excited to not share it right away.

A few weeks ago I was at Happy Sumo for sushi and decided to try out their “lava” cake for dessert. There wasn’t so much “lava” in it but it was moist and dense and delicious. My sweet potato brownies had the EXACT same consistency + a bit more lava. I have some friends who are always looking for desserts that are healthy but also tasty enough that their non-healthy friends will eat them. This recipe checks both boxes! Throw some vanilla protein goat milk ice cream on top and you’re golden! (I’ll share my goat milk protein ice cream recipe soon).

If you need a chocolate fix this recipe will do the trick! PLUS you can feel good about knowing you’re using wholesome ingredients + free of gluten and refined sugar. Try it out yourself or tweak the recipe like I did and tell me what you think! I plan to use applesauce instead of butter next time to see how it turns out and maybe even add a bit of protein powder too…hmm…

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baked sweet potato (bake 1 large potato at 400 degrees until its super soft)…now that I think of it, you could probably use pumpkin instead of sweet potato too… now my wheels are turning! ha
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 stick butter melted (sub 1/2 cup coconut oil or other “fat” and see how you like it!)
  • 1/3 c cocoa
  • 1/4 c honey (you could sub agave or pure maple syrup)
  • 3/4 c oat flower (I just put whole oats in my Vitamix and blend until flour-like)…try other flour substitutes and tell me what you like best!
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 c dark-no sugar added chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Pre-cook your sweet potato @ 400 degrees. Then turn oven temp to 350 degrees to prepare to cook brownies. Melt butter in a sauce pan.
  2. Combine wet ingredients and mix on low speed until smooth
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated
  4. Add chocolate chips and stir in
  5. Pour into greased 9×9 baking dish. Cook at 350 degrees for about 22-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting + Enjoy!

 

Spaghetti Squash & Quinoa Meatballs

When Gary and I first got together I was on a pretty strict no flour/sugar diet. I almost never ate sweets and I NEVER ate pasta. Come to find out Italian food is one of Gary’s favorites. Lucky for me I am married to the best man ever and he has met me in the “middle” (the term middle being questionable, I think I got the better end of the deal). I decided I wanted to be able to make spaghetti and meatballs that we both liked, that our kids would be willing to eat, and that allowed me to steer clear of flour and sugar (they are my “trigger” foods). Thus was born spaghetti Squash and Quinoa meatballs. It has been a hit at our house and is one of my favorites…(ok, so I have a lot of favorites…I just love food).

Some people really love noodles but for me they just taste empty. I over eat them and then feel yucky afterward. I really appreciate the flavor that noodle substitutes add to meals and prefer them over traditional pasta. If you are trying to make healthier choices in your food but come from a pasta loving family, spaghetti squash may help make the transition a bit easier.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a simple food to prepare and is such a tasty substitute to regular noodles. We also use zucchini noodles and sweet potato noodles as other pasta substitutes. Try them all and let me know which one you like best!

Directions: 

Cut a spaghetti squash in half and remove the guts. The “meat” of spaghetti squash is stringy and will separate easily after cooking. I like to cover both faces of my squash with a bit of olive oil or coconut oil and sprinkle them with seasoned salt. Place the squash face up on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. I bake the squash at 400 degrees until I can easily stick a fork in. While the squash is cooking I prepare my meatballs.

spaghetti noodles

~

Quinoa Meatballls

Most meatball recipes have a lot of flour in them to help the meat stick together. Although it is convenient to use it isn’t necessary. I mean, lets be honest. We just need them to look round and stay put until we’re ready to cut them up anyway…its not like we are going to be playing catch with them.

My meatballs can hold together without flour or you can use a bit of flour substitute or corn starch if you are having a hard time getting the mixture to stick together. The quinoa is like a “filler” that helps the meatballs to stay light and adds a healthy form of complete protein.

  • 1/2 lb ground beef/turkey
  • 1/2 lb sausage
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c quinoa
  • 1 can Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (3/4 cup for meatballs, 1/4 cup for topping)
  • (optional) 1/8-1/4 c of flour substitute, corn starch, or flour if you aren’t GF.
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/4 t everything seasoning

1. Mix everything except the diced tomatoes in a bowl. You can mix it with a fork or just use your hands until everything is combined well.
2. Roll into 25-30 meatballs and place in a 9 x13 baking dish
3. Cover meatballs with the diced tomatoes. I don’t like a lot of sauce on my meatballs so one can is  enough for me. If you like a lot of sauce, go ahead and double the sauce.

meatballs2
4. Bake @ 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes until the inside of the meatballs are no longer pink.
~OR~
You can cook the meatballs on the stove in a large saucepan. They taste great either way. If you don’t have a double oven or oven large enough to cook the spaghetti squash + meatballs at the same time then cooking on the stove is a great option.
5. Remove from oven/stove and sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese on top
6. Serve your meatballs on top of your spaghetti squash and enjoy!

If you get a chance to try this yummy dinner I hope you’ll give me your feedback! If you like it, please share the recipe with others! I’m all about spreading the goodness.

Love,

Katie

 

 

Grain Lovers Breakfast Ideas

Some breakfast foods that can really be hard for people to avoid are cereal, pancakes, french toast, etc. When you cut out gluten and sugar from your diet these things become a big no-no and they are often times difficult to replace. Some of these breakfast ideas help my family to get some good grains in our diet that are more filling, tasty, and nutritious.

Katie’s Protein Pancakes/Waffles

This pancake recipe is my go-to for pancakes or waffles in the morning. They are more dense than regular pancakes and far more tasty. Don’t be surprised that they don’t taste like regular pancakes, they are definitely different, but I personally enjoy them much more.

Ingredients: Serves about 3 people

  • 1/2 cup whole steel cut oats
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (whichever protein is your favorite)
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Directions: 

  • Put all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until the consistency is smooth
  • Cook on low-medium heat until pancakes are firm.

Toppings: 

  • Peanut Butter (this is my favorite)
  • Sugar Free Jam/Syrup*
  • Nothing- they taste great plain too

Sugar Free Strawberry Jam Recipe (from my sweet friend Lacey):

Sweet Lacey in my neighborhood knew that Gary wasn’t eating sugar or flour so she sent her boys over with a jar of the most delicious home made strawberry jam one day. It was the perfect amount of sweet and I loved the texture that the Chia seeds added. It is my girls new favorite jam for their protein pancakes and waffles and the best part is there are only 3 ingredients! I plan to test this recipe with raspberries and other fruits too!

Ingredients/Directions:

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries washed and stemmed
    • put into a blender with
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
    • blend until it is as chunky/smooth as you want
    • put into a pan and bring to a light boil + stir for 5 minutes
    • pour into mason jars suitable for fridge or freezer

    • let cool in the jar and either freeze or refrigerate

Home Made Granola Cereal

If you simply cant live your life without some sort of cereal then I suggest you make your own granola that you can eat to satisfy your cravings while actually giving you some sort of nutrition instead of eating empty calories. Even though I do substitute oats for flour in some of my recipes these should still be eaten sparingly and should not dominate your diet in any way. Check your allotted macro levels (go to bodybuilding.com for an easy macro calculator) and makes sure any grains/complex carbs you do eat stay within the healthy limits you have.

Granola is great because you can definitely make it your own and add the things you love to help you truly enjoy your food. To make your own granola you’ll need a few components:

  • Raw Whole Oats- the backbone of your granola
  • Honey/Agave/Maple Syrup – to make it “stick”
  • Flax Seed Meal, Protein Powder or another gluten free “powder” that will act as the “mortar” to bond the honey/agave to the oats/other ingredients and make yummy clumps
  • Yummy add-ins – we like dried blueberries, cranberries, almond slivers, & raw coconut flakes
  • Other flavors- Mexican vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc, & salt to bring our flavors
  • Oil/fat- helps make the granola a bit crispy.. if you’re into that

Ingredients/amounts

  • 4 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup honey/agave
  • 2 cups nuts, seeds, dried berries,
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder and/or 1/3 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/4 c oil
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of any other flavors you like

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet/cake pan with parchment paper. Add all dry ingredients into a bowl, stir.
  2. Add honey, vanilla, oil and stir until the “glue” is evenly coating the dry ingredients.
  3. Pour mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet/pan and cook until the oats turn golden. about 20-25 minutes. Stir the ingredients after about 10 minutes to make sure all sides cook evenly and get crispy. Press the mixture  back into the pan to get it to stick together as it cooks the rest of the way.
  4. Let cool before breaking into pieces & enjoy!

 

Protein Oatmeal

In college, my friend Zach introduced me to quinoa, pre-workout, and protein oatmeal. I loved this simple way protein oatmeal turned a carb loaded breakfast into a power breakfast that incorporates healthy grains, proteins & fats..and its so quick! The protein powder you use will make a big difference in the taste so give a few tries before you make up your mind about it:)

PB Chocolate Protein Oatmeal:

Directions: Prepare oatmeal as usual with oats and water. When oats are cooked (either on the stove or microwave) add the protein powder + peanut butter and possibly a bit more water or milk depending on how thick you like your oatmeal.

Vanilla/Fruity Protein Oatmeal:

  • 1/2 cup Whole Oats
  • 1 cup water/milk
  • 1/2-1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • dried berries, nuts, fruit, cinnamon, or any other add ins you might like

Other Ideas:

  1. Peaches + Cream: Vanilla protein, milk, peaches
  2. Berries + Cream: Vanilla protein, milk, berries
  3. Mexican Hot Chocolate: Chocolate protein, milk, cinnamon
  4. Fruit + Nut: Vanilla protein, fruits, nuts
  5. Try something different and send me your idea!

 

I have so many more ideas to share and they are coming soon! Hopefully these can give you a starting point in your search for breakfast alternatives! Enjoy!

 

 

Meat/Egg lovers Breakfast

Over the years I have had many people ask me what I eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner if I don’t eat flour or sugar. I wanted to share some of them with you here in case you are trying to transition into healthier meals. If there are certain foods you love or hate and want ideas of how to incorporate or avoid those foods let me know so I can add more recipe ideas for you!

Meat Lovers Breakfasts

The easiest way to avoid carbs during breakfast is to stick with eggs and meat. This may not be for everyone but if it is, you know who you are. When I am eating very clean I find that my metabolism gets a boost and I get very hungry come breakfast time. A good hearty breakfast can help hold you off until your next meal and control your eating throughout the day. Here are some common Meat Lover breakfasts we enjoy at my house.

But before we get to meat, lets talk about Eggs- Lots of eggs.

If you hate eggs than let me know and we’ll come up with a solution for you. But eggs are a wonderful source of protein and can be made a plethora of ways.

  • Scrambled*
  • Fried*
  • Poached
  • Boiled
  • Made into an Omelet*
  • Quiche*
  • etc

Depending on your fat allowance for the day you can eat whole eggs or separate the whites from the yolk to increase protein without increasing fat. If I am eating predominantly eggs for a meal I’ll use one whole egg and maybe two egg whites scrambled together with a little bit of my favorite meat.

*Our Favorites

Andersen Omelet

If an omelet is made at our house it usually includes:

  • 4-6 Mushrooms Chopped
  • A handful of Spinach
  • Gary likes to add peppers or onions to his omelets. I prefer just the mushrooms and spinach.
  • Sliced Turkey meat/sausage/or cut up bacon pieces (maybe a 1/4 cup of meat)
    • put into a pan with a bit of olive oil and cook until spinach is wilted and meat + mushrooms are cooked.
  • 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites (Gary likes to add a dash of milk and water to his eggs to make them light and fluffy)
    • mix in a bowl and pour over the veggies and meat
    • cook until eggs are firm enough to flip
  • Add cheese to cooked side (if desired)
  • Salt/Pepper
    • fold in half and enjoy!
  • Top with avocado, salsa, hot sauce, etc

Here’s where I get weird. Instead of eating salsa or cheese on my eggs I’ll usually put a scoop of cottage cheese on top instead. It adds a bunch of protein and helps avoid the taste of dry bland egg in my mouth. Feel free to knock it after you’ve tried it 😉

Favorite Meats

Whenever I make eggs I usually combine them with a meat I’m digging that week. Some of my favorites are:

  • Uncured Bacon
  • Turkey Bacon
  • Low Fat Ground Turkey
  • Ground Sausage
  • Deli Turkey
  • Ham

Cook up a fried egg and slap that on top of any of these meats and I call that a great breakfast.

Andersen Scramble

My house is also the castle of scrambles so we’ll throw a bunch of meat and veggies in a pan, scramble in eggs and maybe some cheese and we’re set. The scramble came about because I suck at perfecting the omelet (while Gary’s omelets look like works of art). I ruin the omelet every time when I try and flip it. It either gets stuck to the bottom of the pan or I turn it too soon to avoid “dry egg” from overcooking it, blah, blah, blah, I gave up. The easiest solution? Mix all that shit together.

Our favorite scramble includes:

  • 1 yam/sweet potato peeled + diced
    • Cook in the pan first with 1 T olive/coconut oil until sweet potato begins to get soft
  • Add 4-6 mushrooms chopped
  • Add 1/4 cup of your favorite meat- ground or cut into bite size pieces
    • Cook the potatoes, mushrooms, meat  & any other veggies until the meat is cooked and potatoes are soft.
  • Next you can either scramble in your egg/egg whites/milk/water mixture or remove the “hash” from heat and fry up some eggs to put on top (my favorite).
  • Top with salt/pepper/salsa/hot sauce/or Katie’s weird low-fat cottage cheese.

Meal Prep- Breakfast Quiche Muffins

Growing up my Nana made the BEST quiche and if there was ever a brunch party I looked forward to that delicious egg-pie-thing that I knew would be served. Obviously this quiche had pie crust in the bottom and became off limits when I started paying attention to the amount of flour I ate. But I found a solution, quiche muffins!

Things to love about quiche muffins:

  1. East to meal prep and have on hand for on the go breakfasts
  2. No Crust
  3. So versatile! Quiche muffins can be different every time and will help use up whatever leftover meat/veggies you have in your fridge
  4. Fun for kids to help make and eat. Great for little people portions too

Ingredients: 
Spinach/Kale, Mushrooms, Favorite Meat, Favorite Cheese, Eggs, Milk/Cream, Salt/Pepper

Directions:

  • Get a regular sized muffin tin and either grease it with butter or fill with muffin wrappers.
  • Begin filling with the veggies. fill about 1/3 of the cup with pre-cooked veggies. Some of our go-to’s are
    • spinach/kale
    • mushrooms
    • peppers
  • Add meat (if you are a meat lover…which you should be if you are still reading this post). Fill the cups another 1/3 of the way with Pre-cooked meat. This is best for quiche because you’ve been able to remove excess moisture and grease before adding it to the muffins.
    • Crumbled bacon
    • Ground Sausage
    • Diced Ham Steak
    • Chopped Deli Meat
    • etc
  • Add Cheese – fill the rest of the cup with shredded cheese. Use your favorite cheese. If I am trying to cut back on fat I’ll use low-fat mozzarella cheese or maybe not even add cheese. Some delicious/flavorful cheeses are
    • Swiss
    • Smoked Guda
    • Sharp Cheddar
    • Pepper Jack if you like a bit of a kick
  • Eggs- Your egg mixture will change depending on your fat allowance. Anyone doing keto can dump the cream or whole milk into their eggs and be just fine. Those of you trying to cut out some fat, I suggest using a low fat milk (dont use fat free milk, you might as well just add sugar water and it wont add any creaminess).
    • Depending on how full your 12 cups are you probably only need 4-6 eggs. If you want to cut out more fat then you can sub egg whites for some of the yolks. But the consistency will definitely be better if you just use the whole egg.
    • Add 1/4 teaspoon and 1/4-1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • Add a 1/4-1/2 cup cream/Milk to your eggs and beat until the consistency is smooth.
    • Fill each cup up to the top with your egg mixtur & put in the oven

* Bake at 375 degrees for 30 min-1 hour…once the muffins are firm to the touch you’ll know they are ready to come out. The amount of fat/water in each batch will alter baking time. Let muffins cool completely before wrapping/covering and putting in the refrigerator. These should be good for about a week:)

What about Hash Browns?

If you grew up like Gary and Me you are probably used to having some sort of carb or starch with your breakfast. That can be a hard habit to shake! The easiest way to change your eating habits is to substitute what you are used to for something healthier. The Hash brown substitutes we use are:

  • Sweet potatoes or yams instead of white potatoes
    • Peel uncooked potatoes and use a cheese grater to make your own hash browns. Cook them in a bit of oil just like you would with regular hash browns and carry on as usual.
  • Spaghetti Squash
    • Yep, here is a weird Katie thing again. Go ahead and knock it after you’ve tried it. Spaghetti squash is such a simple substitute for regular hash browns and tastes SO good! So much more flavor.
    • The easiest way to incorporate this food is to plan a bit in advance. The night before, cut the spaghetti squash in half, gut the seeds, cover in a bit of oil + bake at 400 degrees until soft. Eat one half for dinner the night before and then refrigerate the rest for hash browns the next morning.
    • Scoop the squash out the next morning and “fry” them up in a bit of oil or butter the way you would usually make hash browns. They taste delicious if you get them a bit crispy too.

Did I forget something? Let me know if there are other Meat Lover breakfast you like that I can add to this list! And share any of your own variations of quiche muffins, favorite omelets, or scrambles that you love! Enjoy!

Energy Balls

Let’s face it, I’m a sweets girl. I have a weakness for cookies, and chocolate. So when I’m off sugar and flour I definitely get my sweet tooth cravings. The longer I go without sugar and flour the easier it becomes to stay away from it but there are always those hard days along the way that really test my self control that I have to push past. For those days I LOVE to satisfy those cravings with Energy Balls! These nutrient packed “treats” are also great for taking on hikes or eating any other time you’ll need some satiating nutrients. My doula introduced me to theses goodies when she brought them to the hospital as a post delivery treat for me.This recipe is SO versatile I usually don’t even measure the ingredients; I just throw in a bunch of stuff that looks good and make sure it sticks together! I’ll post a fool-proof recipe below for you to try out. I’d love your feedback and your own personal variations!

Energy Balls

  • 1.5 Cups whole Oats (I get the big box from Costco)
  • 1 Cup unsweetened coconut flakes (Harder to find but I’ve seen unsweetened coconut sold at Walmart and Whole Foods stores. You can also order some Bobs Red Mill coconut online)
  • 3/4 Cups natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/3 Cups ground flaxseed (this helps the mixture to stick together. Use more/less as needed)
  • 1/3-1/2 Cup raw honey or agave (I usually play around with this quantity to get the most stick out of the least amount of honey as possible)
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla (this really makes a big difference in the taste so don’t skip this ingredient!)

Optional: Chocolate mmmm….

  • At the Whole Foods store you can find real dark chocolate chips that have no sweetener in them but still taste SO yummy. As much as I love chocolate my girls and I love these Balls even without it. When I put in chocolate I usually just end up picking out and only eating the chocolate 🙄

Directions: throw ingredients in a bowl and mix it all together. If you know how to stir you are certified to tackle this recipe. When ingredients are mixed evenly, use a tablespoon to scoop the mix out and roll into balls between your hands. They are ready to eat right away!

ut just in case these directions aren’t fool proof enough for you I took some glam shots today while I made my own batch! I hope you love these as much as I do and can find a way to make them your own by substituting other ingredients you love + then sharing!

Love, Katie

Super Bowl Snacks

One of the biggest sporting events is soon to be upon us and if you are like me, eating healthy isn’t too hard until there is a holiday…or birthday…or event…or someone brings cookies home…or I pass the baking isle at the grocery store…ok, so its never “easy.” It takes a lot of work to get into a good eating habit! One thing that makes eating healthy MUCH easier is identifying foods that you love that are within your personal eating plan. For me and my family we try to stay away from added sugar and gluten and try to incorporate veggies in every meal. Planning meals and snacks ahead of time also allows us another level of control over our diets; preventing us from caving when we are hangry and have to make quick decisions about what to eat.

In honor of the Super Bowl, one of those days where diet usually goes out the window, I thought I would share with you some ideas for super bowl food that I love that are sugar free & gluten free.

#1 Cowboy Salsa

Image result for cowboy salsaphotocred: tablespoon.com

My sweet friend SueAnn introduced us to cowboy salsa and we fell in love. Full of healthy fats and yummy flavor, this filling appetizer is a favorite at our house. Make this salsa your own by incorporating ingredients you love or prefer more than what I’ve listed.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 avocados diced
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed) substitute white beans or any other beans you love.
  • 1 can corn (drained)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes or 3/4 cup of your favorite salsa
  • 1/2-1 purple onion diced (depending on how much you like onions)
  • fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • lime juice
  • salt/pepper/other seasoning
  • Chips: our new favorite chips are the Garden of Eatin’ Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

Really like heat? add some minced jalapenos!

I mix all the first 5 ingredients together and then add cilantro, salt. pepper, and lime juice until it tastes just how I like it. Its different every time! My favorite seasoning for guacamole or cowboy salsa is Flavor God’s Himalayan Salt and Pink Peppercorn. It tastes so yummy and its the only seasoning you need for this dish. 

#2 Loaded Potato Skins

Image result for loaded potato skinsphotocred: delish.com

I love loaded potato skins! This is another delicious snack that fills you up and leaves you satisfied. The most nutrients in a potato are found in the skin so this is definitely the way to go when eating a potato. Plus there are SO many versions of loaded potato skins you can create to fit your families food preferences. 

Ingredients

  • Potatoes
  • Cheese (pick your favorite, my husband has been loving smoked Guda lately but you could use a lower fat substitute like fresh Parmesan, mozzarella, etc. Others love low fat The Laughing Cow cheeses which could substitute your sour cream too!)
  • Uncured Bacon or turkey bacon. Cook before hand. (cured bacon contains added sugar)
  • Sour Cream (If you are on the cottage cheese train you can sub cottage cheese for sour cream. If that’s not up your alley, get low fat or fat free sour cream.)
  • Chives
  • Seasoning (we love all the Flavor God seasonings)

optional add-ins:

Directions: Wash potatoes. Bake at 350-400 degrees until you can stick a fork in them (I crank up the heat when I’m short on time). When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes in half and scoop out a majority of the inside of the potato, enough to leave a stable “shell”. Fill with your preferred meat or meat substitute, veggies, and top with cheese.Put in the oven on broil until the cheese is melted. When the potatoes have cooled add sour cream or dressings. 

Want extra flavor? Smoke these bad boys in a smoker (we love our Traeger) when melting the cheese on them. 

No waste: Use the insides of the potatoes to make mashed potatoes, potato salad, or breakfast potatoes the next morning for breakfast. leftover potato shells can be grated into hash browns for the next morning too!

#2 B (Healthier Options) Loaded Zucchini Boats

Image result for loaded zucchini skinsPhotocred: The Skinny Fork

Literally do the exact same thing as loaded potato skins except use zucchini instead of potatoes. However, in the case of the zucchini skins, I would recommend cutting the zucchini in half first and creating the ‘”boat” while the vegetable is still firm. It gets quite a bit weaker after cooking. Don’t overcook the zucchini or it will get soggy and wont hold its shape well. Bake @ 400 degrees for about 5 minutes. 

#3 bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos

Image result for stuffed jalapenoPhotocred: I Breathe I’m Hungry

Leave it to my husband to come up with the best bacon wrapped recipes ever! The first summer we were married we managed to grow a few plants in our tiny side yard and somehow the jalapenos were the most successful…ironic because I don’t care much for spicy things…but they were good! Just like the loaded potato skins these guys are as versatile as you want them to be. Load them up with your favorites and enjoy them for an appetizer on game day!

Ingredients

  • Jalapenos. The bigger the better (they fit more food)
  • Low fat cream cheese (1 package should do unless you are feeding a flock of people)
  • 1-3 cups Your favorite cheese or low fat cheese (we love parmesean)
  • 1 package uncured Bacon (or bacon substitute)
  • Your favorite seasonings. Flavor God “Bacon Lovers” & “Ranch” would pair well for these.
  • Optional: Bacon bits

These ingredients should give you enough food to fill about a whole cookie sheet with jalapenos. 

Directions: You may want to wear food handling gloves while preparing jalapenos…just to be safe. Wash and cut jalapenos in half. Remove all seeds with a small spoon or knife so you are left with a shell. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, cheese, bacon bits, and seasoning together until it tastes right to you. With a spoon, fill jalapenos as desired with the cream cheese mixture. Cut strips of raw bacon in half. Then wrap 1/2 piece around each jalapeno so that the contents of the jalapeno are wrapped in a delicious bacon blanket 😉 

My preference would be to smoke these guys until the bacon is cooked and almost crispy. If you don’t have a smoker, go ahead and bake them in the oven at 375 -400 degrees until the bacon is cooked. should be ready within 15 minutes.  Tip: if you don’t love the heat of jalapenos you can boil them before stuffing them to cook them and get some of the flavor out. 

#4 Stuffed mushrooms

Image result for stuffed mushroomsPhotocred: tablespoon.com
(note: this pic looks a bit different than my mushrooms look because I don’t use breadcrumbs in my recipe)

Our family eats a lot of mushrooms and often times I’ll make stuffed mushrooms as an entree for dinner. They are also great appetizers!

Ingredients

  • 1 large Costco package of mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb of  sausage (make sure to find a kind that has no sugar added, ask the meat department at your store what kinds they offer without sugar. If they only have an unseasoned version you will need to add your own seasoning) If I am trying to cut back a little on fat I’ll often times mix 1/4 lb of sausage with 1/4 lb of lean ground beef or ground turkey rather than use all sausage.
  • 2-4 oz shredded Parmesan cheese (or cheese of choice)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt/Pepper (add to taste)

Directions: Wash mushrooms and remove stems. You can choose to use the stems when filling your mushrooms, save them for breakfast the next day. or discard them. I like to include mine. Chop mushroom stems in to small diced or minced pieces and put them in a bowl. Add sausage, 3/4ths of the shredded cheese (leave the rest for topping), 1 egg, and anout a 1/2 of salt & pepper to the bowl. Mix with a spoon….or with clean hands if you can’t stand trying to mix it with a spoon, like me. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and use a spoon to fill each mushroom very full with the filling. Top mushrooms with cheese. Bake at 375-400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the sausage is cooked and the mushroom is melty and bubbly (I realize “melty” isn’t really a word). 

#5 Home Made Popcorn

Image result for home made popcorn
photocred: Brown Eyed Baker

This is definitely not an original recipe. But I think we sometimes forget that popcorn can be a great “munchy” snack that can satisfy our desires to fill our faces without consuming a ton of calories. I also consider making popcorn at home much healthier than buying a microwave bag of popcorn. Why? 1. I don’t use microwaves at all. We don’t even own one. (I’ll have to post some studies about microwaves later). 2. I get to see what goes into my popcorn. No preservatives, no fake cheese or butter flavors. 3. I think it tastes better

Ingredients

  • Popping corn – Good ole’ Orville R is  my go-to but brand doesn’t make a huge difference.
  • Your preferred cooking oil – Olive or Coconut oil are my main oils.
  • Salt

Get a large saucepan, cover the bottom with a layer of oil about as deep as one popcorn kernal. Turn your stove heat to medium-high and let the oil heat up. I put in one kernal to test the oil…when it pops its ready. Pour in a layer of popcorn kernals so they are covered by the oil. Put a lid on the pot……..wait……….pop………pop, pop, pop…when the popping is going crazy go ahead and turn your heat down to low to avoid burning. When the popping slows down with a few seconds in between pops dump the popcorn into a large bowl. Cover with salt to your liking. 

Sweet Tooth Cravings

Image result for berry medleyphotocred: Hopeful Things

I know the recipes so far have satisfied more of a salty sort of hunger so I thought I would list some of the things that help me overcome that sweet tooth craving. 

  1. Fruit: melon, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, clementines. Any whole food that is sweet is ok in my book (unless you have specific inflammatory limitations).

  2. Apples and Peanut butter: PB may not be low fat but it sure hits the spot sometimes when I pair it with apples. Use natural PB with no added sugar. Even better, go to a whole foods store and grind your own peanut butter or almond butter.

  3. Protein Ice Cream (more to come on that in a later post)

  4. Energy Balls (also soon to come)

  5. Home made 100% fruit juice Popsicles

  6. Fresh fruit smoothie or cold pressed juice

  7. Dessert flavored gum – my husband things I’m crazy but chewing on some delicious watermelon gum or any of the ‘dessert” flavor gum often times helps keep my mouth busy and my sweet tooth craving satisfied when I really need to ignore the dessert table.

These are just some of the MANY sugar free/gluten free foods I love to make but they were the first that came to mind when thinking of what I like to eat during a Super Bowl party. I hope you’ll try one of these recipes out in the near future and give me your feedback! If you like the recipe please share and if you don’t…just keep your mouth shut 😉

p.s. If any of you are freaking out because there are not specific quantities of ingredients in my recipes or specific baking instructions its because that’s just how I cook ha, ha. Every time is different because every day is different. Sometimes I’m in a rush so I crank the heat up, sometimes I’m cooking for just my family of 4, other times I have 10 or more mouths to feed, so its always different. If you don’t feel strong in your ability to improvise on your own or “guesstimate” when things are done just message me and I can give you more specific help.  Happy Eating!

Love, Katie