Strawberry Surprise Summer Pops

If you don’t like surprises, then don’t worry this is a good surprise!

These strawberry pops are a refreshing & nourishing summer treat that can double as part of a meal or snack because they are that good for you! Made with nothing but fruits and veggies and only sweetened with a plant-based sweetener if you desire! The recipe is super easy, all can be done in a blender and frozen for a few hours.

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Strawberry Surprise Summer Pops

Ingredients: 

2 pints strawberries

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 beet (cooked+ peeled)

1/2 cup carrot juice

2 teaspoons balsalmic vinegar

1/2 cup Madhava Agave 5 (optional)

Directions:
Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Strain before pouring into popsicle molds, ice cube trays, or silicone muffin cups. Freeze until solid (depending on size of molds, freezing time needed + recipe yield will vary).

Surprise! There’s a few secret ingredients! There’s an extra fruit in here (applesauce) as well as some veggies (beets + carrots) not to mention the key ingredient to make the veggies taste less pronounced (the balsamic vinegar). The vinegar with the strawberries will not be like eating a strawberry balsamic salad, I promise! It really helps to deepen and enrich the strawberry flavor without adding a vinegar flavor.

For babies + tots, I’d recommend keeping these unsweetened, but the adults (the hubster even likes these!) and older kids might like the added sweetness from the Agave 5.

Stay cool (as much as possible) this summer! =)

Becca

Chicken Parmesan + Zucchini noodles

Before we met, my husband lived in Italy for almost 2 years while he was in the Navy. Needless to say he has high demands for an Italian dinner and almost refuses to go out to a restaurant.

I am by no means Italian, I’m from Northern Illinois for crying out loud. My version of Italian is the American version of meatballs and spaghetti or ordering pizza.

He’s hard enough to please when it comes to food anyways so when I prepare something he gobbles up even all the leftovers, I surely better share it with y’all!

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Lighter Chicken Parmesan

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

 1 lb chicken breast

2 pinches kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups or so marinara (homemade is best, but a store bought version makes an easy swap)

4 thin slices mozarella cheese or 1/2 cup part skim mozarella

2 tbsp parmesan cheese

zucchini, as needed

pasta, as needed

 

Directions:

Trim the chicken of any perimeter fat. Place between a top & bottom layer of plastic wrap and pound out (with a mallet) to an even thickness.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss and evenly coat in the egg wash.

Dip in the bread crumbs on each side. Can use whole wheat bread crumbs for more fiber and nutrient rather than panko.

Heat a large non-stick pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil.

Sear the chicken on one side for about 2-3 minutes. Flip when there is a golden brown color on the breading and cook on the second side for another few minutes.

Pour in the marinara and cover. Let simmer to heat through the sauce and finish cooking the chicken (about 20 minutes). Add the mozzarella cheese, cover again until melted.

Sprinkle with parmesan right before serving. Garnish with parsley if desired and serve with pasta (whole wheat, brown rice, or lentil pasta are nutrient-rich options), salad and/or zucchini noodles.

Note: if you don’t need or want any pasta with it, you can omit the carb. 100% whole wheat, brown rice, or lentil pastas provide more fiber and nutrients than regular enriched white flour pasta. I’ll be the first to tell you though I don’t deprive myself of regular pasta, especially for certain meals. Some nights when the family is eating pasta with the meal, I have a small portion of whatever they are eating. Other nights I omit it and completely swap in spiralized zucchini or spaghetti squash. I used a veggie peeler here for the zucchini just for a different shape. Other nights I combine the veggie ‘pasta’ with regular pasta just to help keep everything in balance (my goals, appetite, and cravings!).

-Becca

 

 

 

 

 

Black Bean Salsa

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

A simple dish that is a great accompaniment to many summer party line ups or a delicious topping to add to your tex mex night!

Black Bean Salsa

2 cans no salt added black beans, drained + rinsed

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1-2 fire roasted tomatoes, diced

1/4 red onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 bunch of cilantro, diced

1-2 limes, juiced

pinch of salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Toss everything together. That’s it!

This can be made ahead of time for a party and it saves for a good 5 days in the fridge to be used throughout the week.

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

For a touch of fresh, summery-sweetness I’ll also add pineapple or mango chunks and you can really tailor this to fit your taste preferences. if you don’t like tomatoes, just skip them. If you like less bell peppers or only have 2 on hand (or the mini peppers like me that are a staple in my fridge), just use what you have.

I also often omit the olive oil and will use avocado for the creamy, fatty flavor desired and then it becomes more like a guaca-salsa as I called it in my recent instagram post.

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Happy summer-ing!

-Becca

week day oatmeal

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Make weekday breakfasts a cinch with classic oatmeal with the enhance flavor and nutrients.

Simply make a batch of oatmeal on Monday am (or even Sunday) and then portion into 5 jars.

Each morning take one container, microwave the oats with a splash of milk or cream for about a minute or two to warm through. Stir to combine the warmed oats with the liquid.

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Top with berries and nuts for sweetness + crunch!

All you need is about 10 minutes and you’ll have breakfast ready for each day!

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Berries & Cream Oatmeal 

Makes: 5-6 servings

 

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

3 cups water

For the toppings, divided among the different containers:

1 teaspoon cinnamon

5-6 drops stevia extract, optional

1 1/2 cups Fairlife milk

1 1/2 cups berries

3/4 cup nuts, chopped

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine the oats + water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer until the oats are soft and have absorbed most of the water (about 5 minutes). Stir occasionally as needed.

Divide the oats into individual containers (about 1/2 cup cooked oats per portion).

In each container, sprinkle in about 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, a drop of stevia extract, 1/4 cup of Fairlife milk, 1/4 cup berries and two tablespoons nuts of choice.

Store in the fridge until breakfast each day. Reheat as needed or enjoy chilled on warm summer days!

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This strawberry cashew cream is delish, but oranges + pistachios or blueberries + pecans are also great flavor + texture combos to try!

-Becca

Turkey Shepard’s Pie with Roasted Cauliflower

Whenever you look at a recipe, the steps may seem long and cumbersome at first.

Read through them once to understand what you’ll be doing overall and then break it to in simpler steps:

1- cook the meat & veggies by sauting and adding flavor

2- prepare the cauliflower topping by roasting and then blending

3- combine it all and bake

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Turkey Shepard’s Pie with Roasted Cauliflower 

~ 1 lb ground turkey breast

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, chopped

4 carrots, diced

4 stalks celery, diced

1 package mushrooms, diced

1/2 cup cooking Sherry, red wine, or stock

1 heaping tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Beef Seasoning

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets

1 tablespoon olive oil

pinch of kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 cup Fairlife skim milk

1 teaspoon butter

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425.

In a large non-stick skillet, brown the turkey meat until fully cooked {can add a touch of olive oil or stock to the pan if needed}. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same skillet, add the veggies (garlic through mushrooms). Saute until the veggies become soft, stirring often to not burn the garlic. Splash in the liquid of choice {sherry, stock, or water}  and stir in the Better than Beef seasoning & Worcestershire sauce. Turn heat down to medium low and allow to simmer.  Sprinkle in the corn starch and stir everything together to thicken the liquid and create a slight sauce to the mixture.

Add the meat back into the veggie mixture, cover and let simmer on low while preparing the cauliflower {can turn off and leave covered on the stove until ready to pour into baking dish later}.

On a baking sheet, spread out the cauliflower florets. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss well to coat the cauliflower. Roast in the oven until the cauliflower is charred (about 30-45 minutes).

Turn the oven down to 350.

In a blender, combine the cauliflower in a blender with the milk, butter, and parmesan cheese. Puree until you reach your preferred consistency of “mashed potatoes”.

Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. Pour in the meat + veggie mixture. Top with the blended cauliflower mixture. Sprinkle on another spoon of Parmesan cheese.

Bake for approx. 30 minutes until the cheese is golden brown (may need to broil at the last couple minutes to make the top golden brown.

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Variations:

Vegetarian: Replace the turkey with lentils and substitute with Better Than Bouillon Veggie seasoning.

Potato lovers: Use half potatoes, half cauliflower for the pureed topping.

Convenience praisers: Use a store-bought frozen cauliflower mash in place of roasting and pureeing your own cauliflower. Simply warm it in the microwave according to the package instructions before adding to the meat + veggies and roasting everything together.

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

 

~ Becca ~

 

Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas

First post in over 4 months.

It’s been a while, I know. But my hands (and heart) has been full! Finding the time to write just doesn’t come easily.

I’ve even thought about discontinuing my recipe sharing for a while. But then a reoccurring need pops up when I’m a work: recipes and ideas are the top requests for my clients! So here we are, I’m back and sharing recipes that are centered on easy, fast, and family friendly meals + snacks. This was always the goal, but it’s even more so now.

Today I’m sharing a recipe right out of my own kitchen and meal plan from this week. It was meant to be a quick one dish dinner either on a sheet tray or in a skillet. I had actually prepped it over the weekend and stored in a glass dish & planned to use for a dinner early in the week after a busy and tiring work night. Then we could eat off of it for a few lunches & dinners.

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

One night though we decided to eat leftovers//fend for ourselves with what’s in the fridge (happening more and more these days) and also discussed what we’d do the next night with the intended-fajita-dish.  “Why not use the slow cooker?” said the hubby who last time I did this he had some opinions about how the meat should be cooked differently next time…?? Works for me though! I could toss everything in the slow cooker dish, store in the fridge overnight and turn it on in the am. A great option for a night of leftovers before so you don’t feel like you’re cooking or prepping two meals at once.

Wouldn’t you know despite my planning I forgot to do all that til the next am! So I’m rushing to do so before leaving and fortunately it was easy peasy since I had it all prepped ahead of time! That’s one of the slight tricks of slow cooking, it can still be challenging if you’re working because you gotta throw it in and turn it on before you leave. Sounds easy enough, but it still takes some thought and planning ahead.

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Ingredients:

1 flank steak (1-1.5 lbs or so)

2-3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

1 onion, sliced

1 bag mini peppers (or 2-3 large peppers sliced)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

freshly ground black pepper

pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

Place the peppers and onions in the bottom of the slow cooker dish. Place the meat on top of the veggies. Sprinkle on the seasoning and spices (I literally sprinkled them the morning-of, you know me, I don’t measure much and as I shared I didn’t have much time that day!)

Turn on low for 8 hours and walk away!

Shred with two forks when you get home or just before dinner time. Serve with all your favorite fixins: cilantro, lime, & avocado or guacamole, etc. Wrap in lettuce wraps or whole grain tortillas (Hola Nola whole wheat or corn are my faves)! I had some extra cauliflower rice that I added to mine!

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This is family friendly meal in the fact that it’s modifiable for each person pretty easily without cooking separate meals.

The hubby and I both eat the meat & veggies, our toppings & grains usually differ. He makes an extra pot of saffron rice for himself and uses a regular white flour tortilla. I’m not saying that’s what I recommend, but this is how we take one meal and fit two + people.

LEM (my 3 year old strong willed daughter) doesn’t really eat the meat- she’s practically a vegetarian, but we encourage the cauliflower rice (or blend it with saffron rice that she likes. I would do brown rice if I could but that’s too many additions and modifications to one dish for me to stay sane and likely for you too) and I’ll make her a whole grain (using 100% whole wheat tortilla) quesadilla using 2% cheddar + part skim mozzarella shredded cheese.

So all in all everyone eats roughly the same thing, but with a few accommodations for palates and preferences. It can be done my friends!

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Pack it up to serve for lunch the next day! Got all the components: protein, veggies, plant-based fats, and whole grains. Check, check, check, and check! And something hydrating as well without cals + sugars but doesn’t have to be flavorless!

 

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-23,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

The next morning I decided at the last minute to skip the tortilla (just for time + logistics that day at work) and added a “dessert” for myself in the form of the Greek yogurt instead.

Instead of whole grains here, I’m still getting in good for you carbs, but adding in extra protein, probiotics and a dessert-like flavor with no added sugars! The Dannon Oikos triple zero has a similar texture to Yoplait, if you are used to loving that brand, but it’s made with stevia.

Hope you learned something here about how to plan, adjust, balance and satisfy your cravings all while eating foods you love. Of course, I hope you add this to your recipe box and try it soon! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

-Becca

Homemade holiday treats

Last week I shared some nutritious holiday gift ideas for various important people in your lives. Adding an extra special touch with a homemade edible treat is always a nice addition. I’m particular fond of some of my recipes that are easy, affordable and tasty to add that extra touch of gratitude and thoughtfulness to your gift sets.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Truffles img_5836

 

Chocolate BarkIMG_4674

 

Whole Grain Apple Oat Cookiesimg_5516

 

And not everything has to be sweet, you can even make some homemade soups and package them up in mason jars tied with pretty ribbon.

Butternut Squash SoupIMG_6316

Well that’s a “wrap” for me for a while! I’m all set with Christmas gifts for everyone in our lives from teachers & caregivers to friends & family to colleagues & co-workers! Now it’s time to relax and not run around frantically checking off my to do list!

 

View More: http://photographybyjami.pass.us/miller-july17Time to just enjoy the last of my pregnancy, spend quality time as a family of 3 (plus 2 dogs) and wait for baby’s arrival!

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Have a Merry Christmas everyone and don’t follow me on instagram for quick posts and updates- both nutritionally & personally!

xo,

Becca