Meal Recap From The Week/Plus Readers Requests

Finally, we are once again back to nightly meals at the dinner table as a family. Holidays are great but the grazing from appetizer to appetizer gets old really quickly for me.

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Here are the meals that got us all back on schedule once again:

Saturday: grilled chicken, homemade stuffing, and corn….grilled food tastes so fabulous when the temps are down right frigid

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Sunday: out for sushi with my husband

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Monday: chili lime seasoned chicken, bulgar, and sauteed veggie bowls IMG_0077

Tuesday: stuffed manicotti and side salads

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Quick Tip: to easily stuff your manicotti noodles, prepare your cheese stuffing and scoop it into a ziplok bag, cut the corner and squeeze the filling into the pasta tube until it hits the other end.

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Wednesday: homemade chicken breakfast sausage(recipe here), egg, and cheese on Annie’s Homegrown biscuits IMG_0094

Thursday: homemade sloppy joes, sweet potato rounds, and homemade coleslaw IMG_0153

Friday: out

Coming up soon here I will be answering some of your requests from over the holiday break. More specifically in regards to meal prepping and how I manage to get dinner on the table every night when I care for small children as a career. To all of you that asked for suggestions, just know that I feel your pain, trust me I do. Being a parent is the hardest job you will ever do….but one of the most rewarding. I will offer some advice on how I manage to cook every night coming up soon.

That will do it for this week. Not bad considering we have been so out of routine. Plus, life is pretty busy here. More on all this as life happens.

Any other reader requests can be left in comment form and I will do my best to answer your questions.

 

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Leek, Bacon, and Eggs Skillet

Fast, healthy, and easy are always a must during the week for me. My days are long, my workouts are top priority, and when things fall apart and I don’t get my movement time I get pretty darn cranky. Alright, maybe I should be honest and just say I get plain old bitchy. So while trying to figure out one evening how to come up with a meal since the original meal plan was not going to happen for various reasons I decided to give something new a try.

I am someone who loves eggs. I eat them every single day for breakfast and almost never eat the yolk. I honestly would live on them if I were single and not a mom. No such thing on either aspect there, so once in a while I will try serving my boys eggs for dinner and neither really complains….if its only once in while.

What I did this evening was superb! It turned out way better than expected. And to my surprise, my son ate it and said it was good. Thank goodness I was sitting down for this comment since I knew this meal would be a long shot for him to give approval on. Here is what I did.

Leek, Bacon, and Egg Skillet

1/2 lb bacon-pre cooked to save time

eggs-I prepared two each but this number is optional

4-5 oz. box of fresh spinach-roughly chopped

3 medium leeks-cleaned and diced

1/2 medium onion-diced

1 garlic clove-minced

8 oz of sliced mushrooms-diced

parmesan cheese-shredded

pinch of salt

hot sauce if desired

In one large skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray add your spinach, onion, leeks, mushrooms and garlic. Sprinkle the pinch of salt over this which will help draw out the water from the veggies and help in the saute method without adding extra fat.

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When the liquid is cooked off(about 15-20 minutes) add your pre cooked bacon and stir together evenly letting your bacon heat up.***NOTE: I pre cooked my bacon in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes the morning I made this dish. I knew time was limited and did not want the hassle of cooking bacon along with the rest of this meal all at dinner time. So upon adding my bacon, it was refrigerator cold. If you prepare your bacon while your leeks are cooking you simply would add your hot, chopped bacon to the pan directly.

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About the time this mixture is finished, spray another pan to prepare your eggs. Crack the amount of eggs you will need and prepare them until they are sunny side up. Unless you prefer them fully cooked….go for it.

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While these are cooking, which only takes a few minutes at the most, begin serving your leek mixture into bowls. Then, lay your eggs carefully over the leek mixture, sprinkle it with a bit of parmesan cheese and a shake of hot sauce if you prefer.

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When your ready to eat, break your yolk and let the creamy filling mix with the leeks. I served mine with Annie’s Homegrown refrigerator rolls on the side to soak up all the creamy goodness at the bottom of the bowl.

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This was a filing, easy, and  delicious dinner enjoyed by all. I hope it will inspire you to think outside the box and try new things.

Cleaning a leek: If you need help on how to clean a leek click here. Then scroll down to the bottom of this recipe and directions will be located there.

 

Food Allergies and Family Meal Traditions Are High On My Priority List This Year

With the arrival of November and then December right around the corner, I have been working on revamping our holiday meal traditions. I am determined to make them cleaner and healthier for my husband to be able to enjoy without feeling the ill affects afterwards. Since finding out artificial sweetener was the cause of all his abdominal issues for the past few years, I have been working diligently at cleaning up our diets even more than before. We no longer have food in our house with artificial sweetener BUT some of our holiday family traditions that we are not willing to give up are going to be prepared a bit differently this year.

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Take for instance the stuffing to go with the turkey at Thanksgiving. Typically, I buy the sage flavored bread cubes and prepare stuffing using these, chicken broth, poultry seasoning, celery, onion and dried cranberries. This year however, I have been reading labels like crazy trying to find a bread crumb/cubes that do not contain any artificial sweeteners. Breads are a big downer since most companies use this stuff in place of the more expensive basic sugar. Thankfully, I finally found one at Costco and we gave it a try one evening for dinner. Sweetened with real sugar and molasses, this one is perfect….now…does it taste good?

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Yeah….The trial dish came out wonderful although, I did not have any dried cranberries to add to the dish. I am however, thinking that I may go even healthier and substitute pomegranate berries instead or dried cranberries. That sounds tasty and should be even less sugar in the long run.

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Another big change we have to make is to the Christmas morning pull apart cinnamon bread we have once every year. Our original recipe is here and has been a family tradition since our son was little. It is a fabulous recipe and cooks perfectly while we open gifts and is ready to enjoy by the time the gift wrap is all cleaned up. However, this year we picked up the box of Jello cook and serve pudding one night wile grocery shopping to read the label and BAMMM full of artificial sweetener. Super big downer for us. So we made our way over to the natural organic section and thankfully found one brand of cook and serve that used real sugar and nothing fake. I don’t know who was happier, my husband or my son since this is a favorite among them both and my husband feels bad that some things we have had to give up have not been easily replaceable with an alternative yet. So this year will be using this pudding mix with all the other same ingredients and still be able to enjoy our once a year family breakfast together without illness to follow.

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I also recently had a friend tell me that Annie’s Homegrown makes refrigerator biscuits. I finally found them in the grocery store I always shop in and was very happy to see no artificial sweeteners in the ingredient label. You may wonder why I even had to read it but I will tell you for certain that not all organic products are artificial sweetener free. Seriously…can you believe this??? So as always, I read the label and smiled when I got to the end. This will be perfect for the holidays since #1 I am not fond of baking and #2 they are quick and easy. Plus, I can go back to preparing my husband favorite meal of chicken potpie that we had to give up since the original refrigerator biscuits we always used have ingredients in that we are no longer consuming.

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And then we have to issue of get togethers and parties to attend with numerous amounts of foods with any variety of who knows what in them. Much like when his employer puts on food Fridays….he rarely participates and never eats something homemade without being able to read the label first. When we go to others homes we will always bring a dish or two that he knows is “safe” food. And thankfully, for both sides of our family get togethers, we do the hosting so 90%-100% of the food is prepared by us and he knows he can enjoy what ever there is at the time.

I am still trying to figure out whipped cream since we are not able to find a single one that does not have artificial sugars in it. I may give a go at making my own with heavy whipping cream and sugar to see how it turns out. Apparently, its easy to do from what I read….I may find out for myself real soon.

It’s really is amazing the products we have found that contain so much artificial sweeteners in them since this all came about. From cottage cheese, mouthwash, to cold medicines….its in so much stuff. It’s not shocking to me anymore why we are all suffering from one ailment or another….since the food, medicine, and personal hygiene things we use everyday are tainted with chemicals instead of real ingredients. My hope for everyone this holiday season is to stay safe, read your product labels, and educate yourselves on what you and your family are putting in your bodies. It’s been life changing for our family!

Do you have food allergies to work around in your family at holiday times?

When everyone is asked to bring a dish to pass do you ask them to prepare it with out the ingredient that causes issues?