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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Healthy Homemade Fruit Snacks

May I just say for my fellow mothers-of-children-with-special-diets: irately glaring at the snack aisle of the grocery store does nothing but add wrinkles to your forehead.

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Cherry Chocolate Energy Bites

These bite-sized balls of yum are packed full of natural protein and fiber, and will give you a kick of energy! They're grain free, gluten free, clean eating, and are easy to make, freeze or refrigerate, and have ready for whenever you need them.I have been experimenting with energy bites for a while now. The inspiration started with my 10 year old son announcing after doing a kid's CrossFit class with his dad that he needed to eat more protein. Haha! I guess the lean and lankiness he inherited from me isn't as much appreciated for a boy.I tried making them out of my Homemade Protein Powder and with different ingredients blended together (which turned out really yummy by the way), but I needed to make some energy bites that were completely grain free as well - in other words, no oats. This inspiration came after realizing that in order for my youngest daughter to enjoy one I had to make a oat-less batch just for her (we've found that with her possible Crohn's and/or Celiac that she feels much better without any grains at all). The inspiration for the flavor came from my husband's birthday cake he requests every year....cherry chocolate!I guess another inspiration is that I'm running my first marathon! A bite of energy to get me started will definitely come in handy on race day.Anyway, regardless of where or how these bad boys came about, now they can be enjoyed by everyone!

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Simple Pickled Mint Cucumber Beets

Having things prepped and ready to just grab out of the fridge, freezer, or pantry is so essential when you eat a clean, preservative free diet. One of the best ways to naturally preserve food, especially all the fresh summer produce, is by pickling them. This simple recipe can be tossed together into a jar and set in the fridge to use whenever you need a kick of tart pink goodness!

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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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Oriental Chicken Salad & Sesame Dressing

I saw a picture once with the caption, "gluten free, grain free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free, and vegan"....it was a sad looking piece of lettuce with a tomato slice on top. I had to laugh! (1. because it was clever, and 2. because it was so wrong!)

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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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Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Beets

The colors in this dish are so amazing! The more vibrant the natural colors of your fruits and veggies, the more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they hold. Dark oranges from the sweet potatoes means your getting lots of bete-carotene (vitamin A), along with vitamin C. flavanoids, lycopene, and potassium. The deep purple-red of the beets provides vitamins like A, B & C,  and minerals like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. Roast them together with sliced sweet onion, oil, and seasoning and...hello beautiful!   Another great thing about this simple dish is that it's great for camping! What?! Yep. Instead of the usual tin foil potatoes for your family camping trip, try wrapping some of these babies up and roasting in the coals. The fun part of doing the tin foil dinner is that each person can season their potatoes and beets how they like - sweet or spicy, simple herbs or a little bit of everything.

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{Dairy Free} Chocolate Banana Creamies

Summer showed up out of nowhere! The kids and I have been cooling off by playing in water wherever we can get it along with snacking on some cool treats. As a kid, a special treat in the summer was a Creamy. Have you ever had a Creamy? The originals are made of milk, some sugar and corn syrup, with flavors like chocolate, banana, and orange. Now of course there are probably a few more flavors added to the list, but my favorites were always the originals. My normal homemade popsicle recipe usually is just some blended fresh fruit and/or juice in a popsicle mold, but sometimes I like to go all out. With the strict diet we follow thanks to my youngest daughter, coming up with clean eating, gluten free, dairy free, simple, and yummy substitutes can be tricky. I was so excited when I came up with the recipe for Dairy Free Orange Creamsicles, but I still wanted chocolate or banana Creamies too!  Which got me thinking...why not Chocolate Banana Creamies!? No stove top prep time with these either. Just a blender, some popsicle molds, and a freezer.

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Grain-Free Banana Muffins & Pancakes

  The kids are home for the summer (sigh of relief and dread). Now the fun begins with playing outside all day, staying up late, sleeping in, playing in water wherever you can find it, camping, barbecues, vacations....and everyone's always hungry!

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Chia Seed Fruit Leather: Energy Snack

  

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Healthy Grape Lime Rickey

A cool drink on a hot day doesn't have to come from a can of carbonated corn syrup or a soda fountain. There has been so much already said about the health benefits of reducing or eliminating carbonated and sugary beverages from our diets that I don't really feel like I could say more to add to the conversation. I will simply say this - I have never been a soda drinker. I was raised on water or at the very worst Kool-Aid. The only reason my mom kept a few cans of Sprite or Coke around was for medicinal purposes (settling an upset stomach). I realize though that for some the love of soda is real! However, I will also say as a young teen I remember going to Warren's Burger Bar just to order a Grape Lime Rickey. The original Lime Rickey usually consists of soda water or a lemon lime or grape soda with a syrupy flavoring added in. But I didn't know or care what was in it then. It just tasted good. So, this Healthy Lime Rickey was a treat for my kids and brought back some good memories for me too. I'll show you guys the shortcut version and the slightly more labor intensive, yet healthiest version. Both ways taste great and is a huge step up health wise compared to the original.

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Crock Pot Enchilada Chicken

 

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Mango Guacamole

Want something simple, healthy, and and quick to make? I made some yummy crock pot enchilada chicken with homemade enchilada sauce for dinner one night and this guacamole was the perfect topper for it. It's really great for any taco Tuesday night special and comes together in minutes. I like mine with big chunks of mango and avocado, but if you prefer your guacamole more blended then just use a fork and mash them up a bit.Be sure your mango and avocado are nice and ripe. The mango should give a little when you gently squeeze and have a nice sweet smell. If it smells like a pine tree it's not ripe yet. You can tell if an avocado is ripe by this same method. The avocado pit should come out easily by using a sharp knife. Act like you're going to chop right into the pit with your knife and when it gets stuck in the hard nut just pull up the knife and out will come the pit with it.

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Frozen Blueberry Tart

Remember those delicious Orange Creamsicles I made a while ago? I shared them with my friends on Good Things Utah. Well, when Miah asked me for a "Frozen" cake for her birthday those creamsicles sounded like they might, with a little tweaking, make an easy and yummy (and literal) frozen cake. It would need a crust on the bottom, so I guess it's more of a frozen tart than a cake.

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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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Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Fries

It's hard to resist the smell of fries when you're hungry. And whether you love it or not you can't seem to get through childhood in America without them either! So, when I want to give my kids all the wonderful experiences of hamburgers and fries without the health risks I make Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Fries!This seriously is so quick and simple to make and will definitely hit the spot! I used an O'Henry white sweet potato. Normally I use the orange Covington, but the white is slightly less sweet and holds up a little better than their orange cousins.

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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

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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Homemade Protein Powder {Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free}

 

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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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