Root Vegetable Beef Stew

You've gotta love quick and simple Crockpot meals that are as healthy as they are delicious. This dinner is especially good on a day when you've got one million and three things to do and you were already exhausted before you even got up this morning.  Maybe knowing that you've got a healthy dinner waiting at home for you and your family will help you get through the day and check one thing off your to do list... one million and two :)

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Inside-out Egyptian Cabbage Roll and Pork Roast

 

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Butternut Sage Soup with Toasted Pine Nuts

Happy Halloween everyone!  This holiday is so much fun with kids- the decorations, fall leaves and dressing up! It's the aftermath of Halloween that gets hairy though -the sugar crashed, sleep deprived kids the next day is what's really scary! So to help counteract the inevitable I always make a yummy and veggie filled soup to fill up on before the trick or treating begins.  We have a tradition of making our soup extra scary by turning it into "eyeball" soup! Just set a hard-boiled egg in the middle and an olive half on top! Healthy and simple.

This soup is perfect for any busy day since you do all your prep in the morning and then let it simmer in your slow cooker all day. You and your little monsters will love it!

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Recent Comments
Guest — Nicole Callahan
Yummy I've never roasted the squash and onions before. I will need to try this. And I feel dumb but I've never known for sure what... Read More
Monday, 27 October 2014 03:50
Guest — Melissa
Thank you! Let me know what you think of the recipe.
Wednesday, 29 October 2014 17:19
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Avocado Chicken Salad

 

Lunch is so hard for me. Oh, don't get me wrong I'm always hungry for lunch, but I usually end up alternating between staring into the fridge and pantry for a while trying to decide on what to have. The situation becomes even more frustrating if I'm out of the house running errands during lunch time. Having a child with a special diet means that we just don't eat out, order out, or pick up a pizza when we're in a rush and need sustenance. So this has become one of our go to quick lunch or dinner options. This recipe will feed 2-4 hungry people.

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Herb Pork Chops with Apples, Mushrooms, and Caramelized Onion


After all the intensity of this last year it really has made me stop and realize how precious each moment is. Not to sound like a Hallmark card, but for Christmas all I really wanted was not to worry too much about meaningless things that fill our time and instead give the gift of an experience together. Memories last much longer than that cute pair of boots or a toy that will break next week. If I didn't appreciate my family before then this last year certainly put all that into perspective.

Even though Christmas is over I'm still loving the holidays, the prospects of a crisp new year, and being around lots of friends and family. If you're planning on entertaining over New Years this dish will impress! Caramelized onions and mushrooms, juicy herbed pork chops and apple slices...mmmm. Not only is it good, but it's healthy. No breading or cream of anything. 

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Jamaican Jerk Mahi Mahi with Coconut Quinoa

 

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Tex-Mex Gluten Free Turkey Burgers


 
Have you ever had a turkey burger? 

It's not just about the burger, it's about the toppings -- tomato, avocado, mango, sauteed onions and bell peppers! I kept mine dairy free, but you could certainly melt a slice of pepper jack cheese on top. 

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Poached Egg on Kale Caprese Salad

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Cajun Chicken Kabobs


The deep South is known for it's great barbecues and after my visit to the south recently, I got inspired to make some Cajun-style kabobs! This dinner was light, flavorful, fun (cause my kids love finger food), and yummy. Plus, this dinner just has summer written all over it! 

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Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce


Maybe it has something to do with sensory development or something, but seriously what is it about  finger foods and kids? I'm not complaining, I'm just wondering why my children opt to use their hands to eat instead of their forks (and I'm not just talking about my 1 year old). Most of the time I demand table manners and the use of modern eating utensils, but to curb whatever primal need they have to use their hands to eat, I make finger food. 

Over the last several years we've come a long way in teaching our children how to make good, healthy food choices. (Here is our family's 5 Philosophies for Raising Healthy Eaters). No more mystery meat chicken nuggets or bleached wheat flour pizza dripping with cheese. Now-a-days I make made-from-scratch, gluten free finger food that tastes good and is good for you too! Having fun eating it is a bonus ;)


 

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Chilled Tomato Basil & Roasted Squash Soup (Gluten Free)


Soup seems like a silly thing to make in the heat of the summer...but not this soup. This soup utilizes fresh vegetables from your summer garden. And the best part is, it can be served chilled. I know what you may be thinking, "Umm, I don't do cold soup." Well, I used to think the same thing. Then, as I was enjoying some catered appetizers at a wedding reception recently I picked up a little bowl of cool tomato basil soup. And what do you know? I really liked it!

So I set out to recreate my version of this cool summer soup that can also be served warm on a crisp fall night. The problem was I had eaten all but 4 of the fresh tomatoes I'd gotten from grandma's garden. As I paced around my kitchen, taking inventory of what I had to work with, I passed by for the upteenth time this week a huge banana squash that had been given to me. Hmmmm....this could work. I had been wondering how to get my kids to eat up this squash. Hiding it in a tasty soup could be just the trick. Turns out it, that was a good choice!

* If you don't have a banana squash you could also use any other year round squash like butternut or cushaw. Or if you're making this in the fall try pumpkin or acorn squash. No matter what squash you use, follow the same roasting directions.


I paired it up with some Seared Balsamic Chicken for a filling and healthy dinner. Yummy!

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Gluten Free Stir-Fry With Zucchini Noodles & Spicy Peanut Sauce



I love Asian cuisine, especially sushi...mmmm, sushi...

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Seared Balsamic Chicken (Paleo)

 

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Zucchini Paleo Pizza Crust!

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Spiced Apple Cider Chicken


"So long as you have food in your mouth you have solved all questions for the time being."  - Franz Kafka

Amen, Franz. Amen.

It's so easy to be swept up in the extraordinarily mundane or struggle for composure during the turbulent times of life. But both routine and stress melt away for just a moment when you're enjoying a homemade meal. For me, the preparation is part of my release. I've learned to love the process.

Sure it's nice to throw everything into a crock pot once in a while, but more often than not I truly unwind when I spend a half hour and just cook. I savor the smells, often sniffing as I go until it's just right. I kind of get in a zone where I don't mind the little 1 year old at my feet pulling every pot and pan out of the cupboard and filling them with plastic cups from the other cupboard, or the kitchen table covered in homework, artwork, and puzzles.

I sometimes turn on my favorite Pandora station and let myself get carried away. You know the rat on Ratatouille? I must look just like that when I cook.

Tonight I lost myself in the smells and tastes of this Spiced Apple Cider Chicken. It's savory with a hint of sweet that my whole family devoured. And while our mouths were full all the questions were solved...if just for that moment.

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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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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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Crock Pot Enchilada Chicken

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Meatballs & Mushroom Marinara Sauce

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Gluten Free Spanish Pork Paella


 
Ah, Spain! Warm Mediterranean breezes, siestas in the middle of the day...okay, so I've never been to Spain. In fact, I've never even left the country! Ugh, lame! Man, I need a vacation. It doesn't matter who you are there is nothing like getting away from the routine of everyday life and experiencing something new. Alex and I would love to do some serious traveling. Honestly, if I could, I would live in a different country every year. How amazing would it be to immerse yourself in Italian, Irish, or French culture for a whole year? (I hear there is a lot of gluten free awareness in Ireland.) But the reality is...that's not going to happen any time soon...or ever.

So how do you break up the norm? Keep your enthusiasm and a sense of adventure? If you would have asked me that a year ago I probably would have told you lots of great things that all would have begun with the word "I". "I need...", "I want..." Yes, taking care of your own needs and wants is very important - I absolutely need some time to myself to pray, to read, to workout, to get lost playing the piano, to think, to just sit still and breath. Now, however, I think my answer would also include serving others. There is so much joy, and self-fulfillment when you help others fulfill their needs and wants. It seems like a counterintuitive notion doesn't it? But I've been on the giving and receiving end of selfless service and no matter how you slice, service is key.

So even though I hope to one day, I won't be going to Europe in the near future. I can, however, keep my passion, adventurous spirit, and excitement for life alive and encourage my kids to do the same. Dream big. Hope. Aspire. Work for it. Until we get there though, there is one way to experience a taste of it. Eat it!    
So last night we visited Spain ...at least during dinner (gluten free, Food L'amor style!) Fancy right?! No, this wasn't a dinner for two. I wish! This Spanish Pork Paella has a easy going mild, all-around, tasty flavor and the kiddos liked it too. Even without the peaceful siesta's and ocean breezes it was perfect!

Paella is just the Spaniards version of comfort food using meat, veggies, and rice. There are a ton of different ways to make it and you could still call it paella. So here's my gluten free version...

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Melissa Moore 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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