Surf N' Turf Veggie Fajitas

Surf N' Turf Veggie Fajitas

Meal prep dinner #2 coming at you. This bad boy goes from the bag into a hot skillet and is done so quick. It took me a few extra minutes since I made some Homemade Quinoa Tortillas to go along with it, but you could just as easily make some cauliflower rice or quinoa to go along with it...or just enjoy as is. I don't know who said healthy eating doesn't taste good, because it totally can. This meal is great for anyone following the Paleo or Keto diet, and even simply leaving out the meat and shrimp makes it vegan. So, it's versatile and yummy too. 

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10 minute Shrimp Scampi

10 minute Shrimp Scampi

I love plans, but to be honest, I think I love being spontaneous even more. I love the challenge of taking whatever ingredients I have on hand in the house and making something right on the spot. Now, having said that I am also a mother of four busy, hungry, and sometimes picky kids (lest you think I'm not a human), my joyful spontaneity in the kitchen is sometimes less than joyful and far more stressful. It's moments like this (and they happen far more often), that I am very grateful for meal prepping and my Instant Pot.  Thanks to a little prep ahead of time and the best invention ever, this dinner was ready to eat in about 10 minutes!

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Vegan White Bean Chili

Vegan White Bean Chili

Chili is a hit at almost any time of the year, but especially during the doldrums between Christmas and New Years. This vegan chili is especially good for the after-the-holiday-food-coma we sometimes succumb to once all the festivities and goodies have been consumed with reckless abandon.

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Italian Lentil Soup With Meatballs

Italian Lentil Soup With Meatballs

With a single day of cool breezes summer was blown away and autumn took it's place. Alex has laughed at me since we were dating about my love and over-anticipation that comes with each change of season. But in all honesty, fall is my favorite....or spring...no, it's fall for sure. Oh, but the first snow of winter is magical...or sunny days of summer...okay I love them all!I made some yummy Italian Lentil Soup one night when the cool evening breeze was blowy through the open windows. It was one of our meat free/vegan meals and it was so yummy and filling. Luckily, I made plenty and we had extras. So a couple night later as a cold rain fell I made meatballs and added to the left over soup for a hearty meal. I love stretching meals and giving leftovers double duty. It's so economical and time saving, but even better than that, the flavors have all marinated and it seems to taste better on round two! Bonus!

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Stuffed Acorn Squash with Orange Spiced Pecans

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Orange Spiced Pecans

 Hello beautiful!Yes, you...and this dish!If there's anything that makes me feel fed, both body and soul, it's healthy beautiful food. Have I mentioned that I love this time of year and it's bounty of produce? Fall is the ripe pinnacle of a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds that are all ready to be eaten. Harvesting the summer's spoils and getting our first taste of the winter crop too.Instead of the traditional brown sugar and butter baked into my acorn squash, I used a less refined sugar option of real maple syrup to make a sweet and tangy balsamic reduction baked into the squash. Then I topped it with some sauteed kale, onion, uncured bacon Orange Spiced Pecans, and raw sunflower seeds. Drizzle a little more of the sweet reduction over everything and...so satisfying. Just omit the bacon to keep it vegan and plant-based.My kids poured extra balsamic reduction on theirs. It's always fun to let them try something new and watch them discover that they actually like it. Of course, my philosophy is anything drizzled with balsamic reduction is going to be fabulous. Period. It's nice that my kids agree. Well...other than my 2 year old. He was not as open to the idea of something new and strange on his plate. However, if it came off my plate it tasted good. Haha! Oh well, whatever works, right? (P.S. you may want to double the balsamic reduction recipe in case you want extra too.)

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Chicken & Shrimp Lime Soup

Chicken & Shrimp Lime Soup

Big black storm clouds rumbled in last night bringing a heavy down pour of rain. The 100+ degree temperature of this last month of summer seemed to leave the ground sizzling as the big rain drops splashed down - like cool water in a hot skillet. The effect released all the aromas of sage and earth. It was delicious! (Although the littler kids didn't appreciate the "growly" thunder.)

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Meatballs & Mushroom Marinara Sauce

Meatballs & Mushroom Marinara Sauce

The kids are starting school and schedules are set with sports, music lessons, and whatever else keeps us busy. No matter what's going on in our lives I always make sure we sit down to eat dinner together. It may have to be a little early or a little late to accommodate everyone's schedules, but dinner as a family is not negotiable for me. I mean, where else would you find out about everything that happened at school, share our latest "knock-knock" jokes, or just enjoy the quiet of one another's company?

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Chili Lime Tilapia with Garlic Lime Butter

Chili Lime Tilapia with Garlic Lime Butter

The 4th of July is approaching fast and while everyone is gearing up for parades, county fairs, and late night firework shows you're probably also already wondering what you'll be grilling up before you head out for the festivities. Hotdogs and hamburgers are the standard and can be good in their own right, but I'm in the mood for some fish. Fish provides omega-3 fatty acids which has been proven to boost brain function, maintain healthy arteries, is low in calories and high in protein, but it also may help those with autoimmune diseases since it's easy to digest and full of all the rich vitamins, minerals, and natural goodness our bodies can't make on their own. You should be eating at least 3 servings of fish or shellfish per week. So, maybe it's time for everyone to get in the mood for fish more often. I used some wild caught Tilapia fillets for this savory yet light fish dish. However, any white ocean fish would work. Fresh trout or base would be just as delicious (or more so if you caught it the day of. It doesn't get fresher than that!)

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Crock Pot Sloppy Joe's {Gluten Free & Vegan}

Crock Pot Sloppy Joe's {Gluten Free & Vegan}

 Sloppy Joe's are such a simple go-to dinner. Most kids and adults make and enjoy these deliciously messy sandwiches with hamburger meat seasoned from a packet mix or a can of sauce. Too bad those packets and cans have gluten fillers, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. Homemade sauce and organic beef would be a huge step up! But I've found that, especially as Americans, the amount of meat (more especially red meat) consumed on a daily basis is way higher than necessary. There's a great article in the Washington Post by Roberto A. Ferdman about this very topic.It's not as hard as you might think to cut out meat and processed food, even it it's just a few nights a week. It's even possible if you follow a gluten free and/or Paleo diet. This is how we feed our family so I know it's possible, along with going meatless 3 or 4 times a week. It not only saves us money on groceries, helps reduce our carbon foot print, and maybe saves a few animals, but is also really healthy. Our bodies naturally need less meat in the hot summer months anyway and never need the toxic overload of processed foods.So when I wanted a classic Sloppy Joe dinner, I did a little tweaking to make it vegan (hello, quinoa!)...while still being super filling and yummy. I also added some beans for more filling protein. I piled the filling on my GLUTEN FREE, GRAIN FREE, & PALEO HAMBURGER BUNS - recipe coming soon! It was a hit! And what made it even easier was that I threw everything in my slow cooker - I love my Crock Pot, BTW.

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Crock Pot Enchilada Chicken

Crock Pot Enchilada Chicken

 

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Pork Chops with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Pork Chops with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

We don't always have meat with dinner. Usually twice a week we skip the meat and fill up on plant-based proteins like beans or maybe when dinner is rushed I throw together a simple gluten free pasta something. But when it's not a meatless night, we like our meat! (and veggies).

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Grilled Chicken Sweet Potato with Mango Vinaigrette

Grilled Chicken Sweet Potato with Mango Vinaigrette

 Sundays after church when the sun is shining and you just feel good inside, you sometimes find yourself in the kitchen (hungry) and wanting something to eat that's as beautiful and satisfying.All the kids were helping themselves to hard boiled eggs, carrots, tomatoes, slices of turkey, apples, and whatever leftovers were hanging around. I was about to settle for a similar plateful until I saw the sweet potatoes. I piled chicken on the baked sweet potato along with some steamed broccoli and a yummy spicy mango dressing. Just add some pureed mango to an old favorite vinaigrette recipe and you've got a loaded sweet potato that's bursting with flavor and oh so satisfying and healthy!

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Clean Eating Teriyaki Salmon

Clean Eating Teriyaki Salmon

If I'm ever feeling run down, the best pick me up isn't a kick of sugar or caffeine (although the sugar is definitely a temptation!) It's a meal that makes me feel like I'm indulging. Fish can make a meal fancy! While I feel like I'm indulging in fine dining, what I'm really doing is indulging on omega-3s, zinc, iron, selenium, vitamin D, and the natural anti-inflammatory characteristics of fish oil. *Chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on your body. 

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Barbecue Chicken Chili {clean eating & gluten free}

Barbecue Chicken Chili {clean eating & gluten free}

The weather has been a little bipolar lately. Warm and spring-like, followed by a fluke snowstorm, and now rain for three days straight. It's the perfect weather for chili! I have this chili recipe I've made forever - whenever we've stayed at our family cabin or on a rainy day at home, but it calls for things like prepared barbecue sauce, ketchup, and brown sugar. Hello? Can we say sugar overload. I love the smokey, spicy, sweet flavors of barbecue sauce, but I don't so much love high fructose corn syrup or the artificial colors and flavors. Even ketchup has a bunch of corn syrup in it.Now that we eat clean, gluten free, mostly dairy free, and refined sugar is pretty much non-existent in our home, I needed a new chili recipe.This made from scratch Barbecue Chicken Chili is a great one pot or Crock Pot meal. And it has bacon. Who doesn't love bacon?!FYI when shopping for ingredients:*It's important to use SMOKED paprika to get the right flavor. You won't get the same taste with regular, sweet, or spicy paprika.*Uncured bacon is actually cured but done so without the use of nitrates or nitrites. It's usually cured with celery powder and/or sea salt which makes it much better for you. 

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Asian Sweet Pork Salad & Tangy Basil-Lime Dressing

Asian Sweet Pork Salad & Tangy Basil-Lime Dressing

The best thing about crock-pot dinners (besides the obvious low-maintenance) is that you usually end up with leftovers. One of the easiest and tastiest things to throw in a slow cooker is meat. The longer it cooks the more tender and flavorful it gets and my favorite for the crock-pot is pork.

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Southwestern Caprese Chicken

Southwestern Caprese Chicken

I sometimes get asked how I make meals that are gluten free, dairy free, and still appeal to kids. Well, the truth is...I don't try to make the meals appeal to my kids, I try to help my kids appeal to the meal. In other words, I've just gotten good at tricking them into eating whatever's for dinner.

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Tomato Basil Soup - Dairy Free

Tomato Basil Soup - Dairy Free

We went to lunch at this cute restaurant called Breakfast At Tifiny's for grandma's 91st birthday. No kids, so I didn't have to worry about gluten and cross contamination. Just enjoyed a yummy French inspired meal...well, except for my soup, which was most definitely Italian inspired. Normally I like my tomato soup smooth and pureed, but the version I enjoyed at lunch that day wasn't. So I recreated the tomato basil soup a few days later for the kids. Tomato basil has always been a favorite, plus it's so simple to make and very versatile, naturally gluten free, and easily made dairy free as well. We like it with some salad and gluten free bread all on it's own one night, take the left overs and add some meat and veggies using it as a base for stew the next, or toss in some gluten free noodles and call it goulash. This is our favorite gluten free pasta.To make a dairy free heavy cream alternative you can choose from a couple options.

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Citrus-Basil Coconut Chicken

Citrus-Basil Coconut Chicken

I love meals that involve one or two utensils and a skillet. They are so versatile and can be easily adjusted for however many seats are filled at the table - this is one of those meals. It's not just any old skillet chicken dinner though. This meal is Paleo worthy, gluten free, dairy free, and oh my goodness, so tasty! Tropical flavors come together in a unique way that makes this a dinner kids and adults will love! It's only 10 ingredients too (8 if you don't count the salt and pepper. Does S&P count as an ingredient or just a given in a dish like this? Your thoughts?).  Another bonus is that this dinner is ready in under 30 minutes, which is great for entertaining dinner guests or just entertaining your kids (gotta love that on a busy weekday). Serve with rice or quinoa and some veggies and you're done!

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Citrus Herb Brined Turkey

Citrus Herb Brined Turkey

 The holiday season calls for amazing food and plenty of it. I'm so thankful for good food and family to share it with. If you're in charge of dinner, the turkey needs to be the flavorful star of the evening. The best way I've found to get that amazing juicy flavor throughout is with a brine bath. According to Google...Brine (verb): to soak in or saturate with salty water

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Poached Egg on Orange Quinoa & Greens

Poached Egg on Orange Quinoa & Greens

Something simply satisfying is what I need right now. This week of CrossFit workouts has left me questioning what in the world was I thinking even showing up. But then, after some hectic errands and preschool drop off, I go home and enjoy some quiet during naptime. So, I cooked up something special just for me. It fits right in with my nutrition plan for this crazy CrossFit challenge I got myself into.Come back tomorrow for the details on what my 8 week CrossFit challenge nutrition plan looks like! My after-workout lunch included some dark green kale and sauteed mushrooms with orange, thyme, and parsley quinoa, and a poached egg on top. It may seem like it should have taken me a lot more effort and energy to prepare my fancy meal-for-one, but really it only took about 15 minutes.  A tall glass of water to go with it and the frustrating morning at the gym is a distant memory...well until I see what tomorrow's WOD will be.

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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