Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Bites

Last week, I asked my Facebook friends for food ideas for their toddlers.  My son, Macon, loves green beans and raw carrots.  But those are pretty much the only veggies he eats. He does love avocado, hummus, peanut butter and ketchup on any kind of meat we will give her.

As my husband and I become more and more aware of the types of foods we put in our body, we don’t want to leave our son out of the loop.  We both want to make sure that we are teaching him how to love a variety of clean and healthy foods so that he doesn’t grow up so tied to processed foods.

I find that anything that is easy to pick up and bite-sized is perfect for a toddler.  When I found these Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Bites, they looked like the perfect thing to try.

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INGREDIENTS
  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (be sure to rinse thoroughly!)
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth or water (for cooking quinoa)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, finely diced (I used frozen, thawed them out and then chopped)
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely diced (I was out of onions and just used dried onion flakes.  Worked out fine, but fresh onion would be better)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Crushed red pepper (optional) to taste (left out due to a toddler’s pallet!)
DIRECTIONS
  • In a medium sauce pan, combine quinoa and water (or broth) and cook according to package directions. Let cool.

 

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  • In a large bowl, combine cooled quinoa, eggs, broccoli, onion, garlic, cheese and paprika.

 

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  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray mini-muffin tins with cooking spray.

 

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  • Put a heaping tablespoonful of quinoa mixture into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until edges turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes and then gently remove from pan to cool completely

 

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They were really good!  I hope you will give them a try and let me know what you think!

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Ice Cream Cups

A few weeks ago I shared a Chunky Monkey Ice Cream recipe and decided to try something  a little different this time.  I mean, who can have too many different ways to enjoy guilt free ice cream?

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Look at these super cute ice cream cups!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Frozen bananas
  • A dash or two of unsweetened almond milk
  • 2-3 tsp of peanut butter (optional and not included in the above pictures)
  • Mini, Semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

  • Slice 3-4 ripe bananas and freeze.
  • Once frozen, add to food processor

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  • Add a few dashes of unsweetened almond milk and peanut butter if using
  • Set to puree/blend until creamy
  • Stir in mini chocolate chips

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  • Scoop into mini muffin tins and freeze

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  • Use a spoon to pop them out. Store extras in a freezer bag ready to serve whenever the whim for ice cream comes calling!

I hope you enjoy this nice little treat!  Please comment if you try it and let me know what you think and share with your friends!

Healthy Mac and Cheese

My go-to casserole dish to take to picnics, covered-dish parties, holidays, and pretty much anytime someone asks me to bring something is Mac and Cheese.  I have a recipe that was from Southern Living way back when that my Mama passed to me.  I love it and so does everyone else.  I think it is by far the BEST Mac and Cheese recipe there is.

But it is definitely not the healthiest.  Sometimes you still want comfort food that is delicious and cheesy but doesn’t wreck your 80% clean eating plan!  And that recipe doesn’t include any lean protein to keep me full.

I was really in the mood for some comfort food this week and turned to Fixate, by Autumn Calabrese, the creator of 21 Day Fix and prepared her Mac and Cheese.  The only difference is I had already cooked all of my broccoli before I got to this recipe and just went without, deciding I would pair it with a salad.

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MMMMmmmm doesn’t that look delicious!  And it was!

I will include the complete, original recipe for you if you want to prepare a one dish wonder for your family.

Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli and Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 oz dry whole wheat macaroni (I used penne)
  • 4 tsp organic grass-fed butter or organic coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp unbleached whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/4 cups freshly grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups cookec chopped chicken breast, boneless, skinless
  • 6 cups chopped broccoli florets, steamed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  • Cook macaroni according to package directions (omit salt)
  • Melt butter or coconut oil in large saucepan over medium heat
  • Add flour; cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until brown (don’t let it burn).
  • Slowly whisk in almond milk; cook, whisking constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until mixture thickens and there are no lumps.
  • Reduce heat to low. Add cheese; cook, whisking constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until melted.
  • Add chicken, broccoli, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, or until heated through.
  • Serve immediately

Serves 8. 21 Day Fix Container Equivalents: 1 green, 1 yellow, 1/2 red, 1/2 blue.

It was a hit with the littlest Anderson too!

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Secret Ingredient Brownies

If you have been following my blog, you know that I have been eating clean and following the 21 Day Fix Meal Plan since January.  I absolutely love baking but I find it hard to avoid the temptation of delectable sweets in my house. But I really wanted something ooey, gooey and chocolatey this weekend. I recently discovered Chocolate Covered Katie who believes in eating chocolate everyday.  I decided I would give her number one recipe a test, even though one of the main ingredients seemed to be a really odd fit…. black beans.  In a dessert.  Really!

And surprise, surprise, they are AWESOME!  I know, it sounds crazy. But they are really delicious.  Of course they don’t taste as sweet and delectable as full sugar, white flour, full butter, whole milk, milk chocolate brownies that we know and love.  But those brownies also don’t love us.

So next time you want a chocolate treat, give these a try!  Share this with your friends to enjoy too!

Black Bean Brownies (adapted from the original recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (40g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

Black Bean Brownies Recipe: Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. If they still look a bit undercooked, you can place them in the fridge overnight and they will magically firm up! Makes 9-12 brownies.

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National Nutty Fudge Day

Today is National Nutty Fudge Day.  I find these “National Day” days really fun!  And really, who needs another reason to celebrate by eating fudge?!

But since I just got back from a week of vacation with tons of indulgence and desserts, I do not want to wreck my momentum as I get back on track with 21 Day Fix.

So I decided to try out this delicious looking Clean Eating Almond Butter Fudge recipe that I have had saved on my Pinterest wall for a while.  If you haven’t tried anything from Chocolate Covered Katie, stop what you are doing and go there NOW.  She has tons of awesome clean desserts that make you feel like you are having a cheat meal when they are actually healthy!

But I didn’t have any Almond butter. What to do?  Well I did have a HUGE tub of natural organic Peanut Butter and decided to go with that.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Natural Organic Peanut Butter
  • 2 1/2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp raw honey
  • a few drops maple extract (I actually used a drop or two of pure maple syrup)

Instructions

Combine the peanut butter and coconut oil, and gently warm (I used a small saucepan on medium heat) until the nut butter is easily stir-able and the coconut oil is liquid. Stir in the sweetener, then spoon into a plastic container or candy molds. Freeze a few hours until solid, and store leftovers in the freezer.

The only trick here now is to just eat ONE serving!  It is absolutely delicious!

I didn’t have candy molds so I just put it in a Tupperware container, let it freeze then broke it up.

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How will you celebrate National Nutty Fudge Day?

Learning to Say No

My two year old son has a favorite word.  I bet you can guess it…..??  If you guessed “no” then you would be right!  Isn’t it amazing how little ones know what they want and what they don’t want and aren’t afraid to tell you!  Most of the time they will get overruled for whatever they respond “no” to because they don’t often know what is best for them. Like when they get really mad and fussy and we know it is time for bed. They are tired and they know it. But they just want to play longer. We have to tell them “no” so that they can rest.  We have to lead them and give them direction in life so that they can learn how to live happy, productive, and respectful lives.

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I have been studying Priscilla Shirer’s Bible Study- Breathe, Making Room for Sabbath with some women from my church.  I don’t know about you, but when I hear Sabbath, I immediately think of Sundays.  Going to church, coming home and having lunch with family and hanging out around the house.  But most of the time, Sundays are filled with so many other things to get ready for the week.

One thing that I learned in reading this study and learning about the Israelites after they were freed from slavery in Egypt, is that Sabbath is not about any specific day but rather a mindset.

On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.

It is clear that the Sabbath was not an accident- God had it in mind from the beginning of creation.  On the seventh day, all of God’s work was done except one little thing.  He created the seventh day. He created that day of rest.  He was intentional about it and called it holy.

But then life happened.  Adam and Eve at the apple and the world was opened up to a life filled with sin and separation from God.  And we forgot to take that time for rest with God. Fast forward hundreds of years.  The Isrealites were in slavery in Egypt and God freed them.  But they weren’t free. They still had a mindset of slavery. They didn’t know how to rest because for generations all they knew was to wake up and work and work and work and sleep and repeat.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day.  I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual. “Moses said, “Eat this food today, for today is a Sabbath day dedicated to the Lord. There will be no food on the ground today.  You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day.” Exodus 16:4-5 and 25-26.

God provided for the Isrealites for the 40 years that they were on their way to the promised land by giving them manna every night to gather the next morning. They were not to keep any food for the next day because God would provide for them again.  And He told them that on the 6th day they would have enough for the next day.  But they didn’t listen to God.  Or maybe they just didn’t trust Him enough.

But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell.  Exodus 16:20.

You would think that would have done it. God had told them not to keep any for the next day, that he would provide and when they kept it, look what that had left! YUCK!  Moses reminded them what God had said and that on the 6th day they would gather enough for two days so set it aside.  This time they some listened and trusted but others were skeptical.

So they put some aside until morning, just as Moses had commanded. And in the morning the leftover food was wholesome and good, without maggots or odor.  Moses said, “Eat this food today, for today is a Sabbath day dedicated to the Lord.  Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food. The Lord asked Moses, How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions? They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord’s gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days.” Exodus 16:24-25 and 27-29.

Wow!  Did you catch that?  God said that the Sabbath was a GIFT.  It is not a bad thing. Taking time to rest is a gift that He has given us.

So does this mean we supposed to sit on the couch and do nothing on Sundays? As I have been learning in this study, the Sabbath is not just a day but a mindset.  In Hebrew, Sabbath means rest, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t do anything.  We need to find little bits and pieces of Sabbath margin throughout our days.

Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27.

Jesus then went on to heal a crippled man on the Sabbath.  He didn’t sit there with his hands crossed and say “Hey, today is the Sabbath, I can’t do anything today.”  He did what the needed to do to meet the needs of people.

We need to learn how to make time for rest in our lives so that we are able to enjoy the many gifts God has given us.  The gift of rest is so that we can live abundantly in Him and share His good news in the way we live our lives. And to make that time for rest, we need to learn to say “no.”

There are so many things that take up our time and we fill our days with work, running the kids to and from dance class and soccer games. We help them do homework, play trains. We clean the house, do the laundry, volunteer. But we also sit on the couch and watch tv. We live in a mindset of excess, not just in the things we do but how we think.  We want more. We do more, we buy more.  But God has told us that we need to realize his gift to us.

Sometimes we need to say “no.” What I say “no” to may be completely different than what you need to turn down.  For me, excess food and excess TV have been told “no” lately. Also, multitasking has had to take a back burner at times. I love working on things for my Beachbody Coaching business. But I realized that when I am trying to do that while spending time with my husband and my son, I am not enjoying those gifts to the fullest.

Sundays for my family are spent at church. Then in community with our Life Group. Then preparing meals for the week and then finally family time. Yes- I do prepare my meals on Sundays and that might be considered “working.” But I am making time for rest to cherish the time with my family during the week so that we can enjoy a meal together and have fun playing outside or with trains and balls and cars and whatever else suits my son’s fancy.

I am learning to say “no” to things that keep me from enjoying God’s gift of rest. Some days that may mean wearing my hair up and not fixing it so that I can take time to read my Bible study. Or it could mean that I don’t fix my meals on Sunday one week so that we can serve someone in our community. For many of us, we need to say “no” to late nights at work so that we can get home to our family.  Maybe we need to say “no” to doing laundry so that we jump in the piles and play with our sweet little children and show them how much we love them.

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And sometimes, we parents need to say “no” to our children. Make time to have special date nights and quality time with your spouse.

How will you make time for Sabbath margin in your life?

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Chocolate Shakeology 90 Second Cake

90 Second Chocolate Cake

Who doesn’t LOVE a warm chocolate cake for dessert? I know I do.  Its funny that I say that though because I used to HATE chocolate cake and desserts.  But over the years my tastes buds developed to love tons of different sweets that I used to not eat.  Ironically, over the same time is when I started to gain weight!

But now I am learning ways to modify the sweets that I eat to be a healthier and cleaner.  One of the tools that I have used to help satisfy my sweet tooth is drinking Shakeology every morning for breakfast.  It is like a dessert, BUT is equivalent to eating 6 salads.  How awesome is that?!

Last night I was hungry, but wanted something chocolatey.  But I didn’t want to blow all the hard work I had put into my workouts and meals for the day.  I decided to give a Shakeology dessert a try, and it was really good!!  Not too sweet. But it quenched that desire for chocolate and was healthy and full of protein and superfoods.  How can you beat that?!

Chocolate Shakeology 90 Second Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp Stevia (optional)
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
  • dash of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tbsp vanilla almond milk (unsweetened)
  • Optional: 1 tsp peanut butter, cocoa powder

Directions:

  • In a mug mix Shakeology, baking powder, salt, cocoa, and sweetener.
  • Next, mix in an egg and  2-3 tablespoons of water/milk.
  • Mix until dry ingredients are wet.
  • If you’d like to add peanut butter, put one dollop in the center and push it down a bit.
  • Microwave for 90 sec.
  • When it is done the edges will pull from the sides.
  • Enjoy!

Calories: 230
Calories with PB: 260
21 Day Fix: 1.5 Red, (& 1/2 Grey if PB added)

Want to give Shakeology a try?  Comment below or email me at maconsmommy@gmail.com for more information!

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