Friday, August 28, 2015

Is Your "New Diet" Breaking the Bank?

I am about to reveal one of my favorite ways to save money on our food budget. It doesn't involve coupons and may seem too obvious to even state, but it's been revolutionary for us.  Wait for it. . .use the food you have to the fullest. Let nothing go to waste. How often do you clean out your freezer and find yucky frost bitten stuff that you need to chuck? How often does the same happen with your fridge? Or you find stale nasty things in your pantry that you kick yourself for not eating sooner?

1. Menu plan. If you take what you already have in your freezer, fridge and pantry and use it to plan meals you can make the most of what you have and save money. You can use and put in the ingredients you have on hand to come up with recipes. If menu planning feels like a pain, my friend highly recommended the site which makes menu planning easy and almost fun.

picklebums has this great free printable for menu planning 
2. Use what you have to make more. You can take little bits of veggies (ends of carrots, leaves of celery, etc) and throw them in a bag in the freezer. After you get a bunch of veggies, throw them in the crockpot with a bay leaf, salt  and water. Boom! You have veggie broth with hardly any work.  You can also take the bones of most meat and put it in a crockpot to make broth.  If you have just a few extra berries, mint or a random lime, you can add them to cake or drinks to make something special.

3. Eat up the leftovers. Even if I have a little bit left over I still keep it. Then periodically we have a smorgasbord buffet where I heat up everything and people get to pick what they want. Those little nibbles add up and can make a difference. Sometimes I throw a bunch of snacky things together on a divided plate or muffin tin and call it lunch (i.e. carrots, blueberries, rice, ham).  If I have one meals worth of leftovers and know my kids will all want it I divide it between them into small servings and then add snacky things as side dishes to make it a meal. (i.e. chips and salsa, red pepper slices, apple slices). Every last bit can be used.

4. Reinvent leftovers. Do you have a bunch of random veggies? How about making a stirfry or soup? Do you have leftover rice and chicken. How about frying it with some heart healthy oil and veggies to make a fried rice. Do you have noodles? Make up a new pasta dish or add them to a frittata. I sometimes even have a "make it up" meal on the menu for dinner. We have ended up with twice baked potatoes and other yummy delights by "accident". Having a potato bar is another great way to use up leftovers. Chili, meat, and veggies can go really nicely on a potato. You can take random leftover fruit and make a unique fruit salad (for a punch you can add some marshmellows, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries or raisins!)

5. Your freezer is your friend. If you think you won't use something before it goes bad, your freezer is your best ticket. You can throw spinach, chopped onion or peppers in there. If you have sandwich meat that might go bad you can chuck it in there and take it out later when you really need it. Don't forget to label with with a permanent maker and a date. Everything looks the same in 2 months!The hard part is just not forgetting it is in there. You can put a sheet of paper on the freezer and list what you put in there (or do the same for the bottomless abyss otherwise known as a deep freezer). That way menu planning is easy and you don't lose sight of those random items you stored in there. (of course that never ever has happened to me.  I'm just sayin') We store Daiya cheese and corn tortillas in the freezer. When we need to make something with "cheese" we just take the Daiya out and sprinkle some on top, throw it in between tortillas to make quesadillas, lasagna or put it on fajitas. If I want it thawed I can take out a serving an hour or so before hand and it is ready to go by meal time.

What are you favorite ways to make the most of the food that you have? I'd love to hear!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

{Gluten and Dairy Free} Korean Grilled Chicken Breasts

I've been on a Korean culinary kick lately.  I don't know why, but I can't seemed to get enough Kimchi.  (much to my husbands shagrin).  The Skinny Taste features these delicious looking Korean Grilled Chicken Breasts. Yes, Please!! Are you avoiding soy? You can sub in Coconut Aminos. If you are avoiding sesame, you can leave it out and sub in a light cooking oil like grapeseed or canola. 

Korean Grilled Chicken Breasts
Servings: 4 • Size: 4 oz chicken • Weight Watcher Points+: 3 pt 
Calories: 121 • Fat: 3 g • Carb: 6 g • Fiber: 0.5 g • Protein: 17 g • Sugar: 4 g
Sodium: 445 mg  • Cholest: 48 mg


  • 1 pound (2) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup low sodium or gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, plus more for topping
  • 2 thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts


Place the chicken breasts, 1 at a time, in a Ziploc bag. Pound the chicken breast to an even thickness, about ½ inch thick, being careful not to puncture the bag.

photo credit:

In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, apple sauce, onion, sesame oil, ginger, brown sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes, if using and sesame seeds.  Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade and transfer the remainder to the Ziploc bag with the chicken. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 1 hour.

Over medium-high heat, grill the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes or until it no longer sticks to the grill.  Turn the chicken, spoon the reserved ¼ cup of marinade over each breast and grill an addition 2 to 3 minutes.

photo credit:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

{Gluten and Dairy Free} Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

This is on my to do list!  Gluten Free On A Shoestring does it again with these Zucchini Chocolate chip bread. I would use chia eggs instead of the eggs!  (2 TBS chia with 6 TBS water)

Prep time:  Cook time:  Yield: 1 loaf

1 1/2 cups (210 g) all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Better Batter)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup (4 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips (use dairy free chips to keep the recipe dairy free, if necessary)
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar
2 1/8 cups (215 g) grated zucchini
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature
1/4 cup (56 g) neutral oil (like grapeseed, canola or vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease a standard 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan and set it aside.
  • In a large bowl, place flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon, and whisk to combine well. Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl, add about 1 teaspoon of the dry ingredients to the chips and toss to combine. Set the chips aside. To the flour mixture, add the granulated sugar and light brown sugar, and whisk to combine (working out any lumps in the brown sugar). Add 1 1/4 cups (125 g) of the grated zucchini to the dry ingredients, and mix gently to combine. Set aside the dry ingredients.
  • Place the remaining 7/8 cup (88 g) of grated zucchini, the eggs, oil and vanilla in a blender, and pulse until well-blended and beginning to emulsify. Create a well in the center of the bowl of dry ingredients, and add the wet ingredient mixture. The batter will be very wet. Add about 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and reserved dry ingredients to the batter and mix until the chips are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and smooth the top with a wet spatula. Scatter the remaining chocolate chips on top and press down lightly to adhere.
  • Place the loaf pan in the center of the preheated oven. Bake, rotating once, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of each loaf comes out with a few moist crumbs attached (about 50 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes in the loaf pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.
  • Originally published here on the blog in 2012. Recipe tweaked to increase eggs slightly and replace mashed banana with pureed zucchini, blended with eggs and oil. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

{Gluten and Dairy Free} Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ok. Ok. I know what you're thinking.  Pumpkin in August?  I catch what you are throwing!  I got a can of pumpkin on clearance and these bad boys started calling my name.  However, these don't taste like pumpkin pie since I deviated from using all of the pumpkin spices.   There was just a hint of pumpkin and lots of chocolate. If you use the coconut milk, and chia these muffins have a surprising amount of nutrition. The chia has omegas and the coconut increases your good cholesterol, HDL (according to Nutrition and You). Yet it tastes like dessert. The pumpkin has vitamin A, and flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, xanthin, and carotenes in abundance (according to Nutrition and You).We ended up enjoying them despite their October/November connotations!  I love it when some random thing you got on sale turns into a great surprise!

1 and 1/3 cup brown rice flour (or sorghum)
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 and 1/2 tsp bakign powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 TBS GF vanilla
2 "Chia eggs" (2 TBS chia with 6 TBS water)
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
1 cup of pumpkin
1 cup coconut milk (I used So Delicious)
1/2 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Combine the flour, starches, xanthan, baking powder, soda, salt, brown and white sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add the oil, chia eggs, vanilla, non-dairy milk and chocolate chips. Stir well. Put in muffin tins.  Cook for about 13 minutes for mini muffins and about 22 minutes for regular sized muffins. Cook until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Amy's Kitchen: The First Vegetarian Drive Thru (with Vegan and Gluten-free Options!)

6 ABC reports on this great breakthrough. Amy's Kitchen that makes the freezer meals that I love is opening a Vegetarian Drive thru in California!  Check out the rest of the article and the video here! Here is their menu. The Huffington Post has this great article about it, too!
photo from the Huffington Post

The crowds have been non-stop during the first week of business at a California fast food restaurant, with a twist. It's a drive-through that is actually good for you.

It is the nation's first organic drive-through restaurant. It has only been open five days and already it is struggling to keep up with demand.

Hungry customers at the new Amy's drive thru were patient and determined to order lunch. The wait is really long. Some said they heard the wait was 20 minutes long.

The line inside the restaurant was almost out the door, all for a chance to try organic, vegetarian fast food.

Kelsea Baraga is trying a veggie Amy burger and brought her mom along to try it too.

"Processed foods definitely are big on my mind. My daughter keeps bugging me about going vegetarian," customer Amy Braga said.

You won't find burgers or fried chicken on the menu, but you will see healthier options such as vegan Mac 'N' Cheese and gluten free pizza.

"The actual demand has been a bit overwhelming," Paul Schiefer from Amy's Restaurant said."

Later the 6 ABC article says. . .

"The food is sustainably grown, including the roof. Employees are paid a living wage with health benefits.

If business stays like this Amy's plans to open other drive-through across the Bay Area."

Friday, August 21, 2015

And the Winner Is. . . .

I randomly drew a person and the winner is "ingodslove".  Thank you so much to those of you who participated. I will contact "ingodslove" privately to work out the details! Thanks so much!

{Gluten and Dairy Free} Peach Pineapple Smoothie

The pretty Bee has this Delicious Smoothie Recipe. It is So healthy, Too!  I'm totally in!It's like a hawaiian vacation in a cold glass!
photo credit: The Pretty Bee
A frosty and delicious peach pineapple smoothie recipe that's perfect for a summer breakfast or snack!
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves: 1
  • 1½ cup frozen peach slices
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • ½ cup unsweetened refrigerated coconut milk (I used SO Delicious) or non-dairy milk of your choice
  • ½ - 1 Tablespoon maple syrup (optional, adjust according to your taste)
  • unsweetened shredded coconut and chia seeds for on top (optional)
  1. Place the frozen fruit in the blender. Let thaw slightly for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the coconut milk and blend on high until very smooth.
  3. Taste and see if sweetener is needed, if so, add maple syrup, and blend again for a few seconds.
  4. Pour into a glass and top with chia seeds and coconut.
  5. Enjoy!