One of the big things that separates a good meal from a great meal is a sauce! If you like to eat out at nice restaurants like we do, that is something that they all have in common, a fantastic sauce pairing that goes along with the main course.
It can provide a balance of flavors, it can tie a dish together, and it can provide a needed level of moisture/fat with a leaner cut of meat. After years of watching cooking shows and a little experimentation myself I've learned some basics in sauce making and how to combine flavors. If you are novice learning some basic skills in this world will certainly help.
Here is a link to an article talking about the 5 French Mother Sauces. Might sound a little fancy but most sauces that exist in the world are a spinoff of these base sauces. From this you can play with flavors that pair with your main dish. Another thing I would recommend is a book that I pull out on occasion, The Flavor Bible.
This book is fantastic in that it allows you to look up a food, say pork, then it gives you a list of other foods, veggies, and spices that pair well with it. So combine that with the basics of how to make a sauce and you are pretty much set!
The cool thing about The Flavor Bible is that it highlights the ingredients that work best. For this Bacon Apple Butter, I knew we were making pork so take a look at pairings above...
What is a Beachbar?
A place that serves fruity cocktails that have umbrellas in them... No but I do like that kind of Beach Bar too!
Beachbody recently launched an all new snack bar to their line of nutritionals and supplements to help promote healthy eating. Somehow their marketing department landed on "Beachbar" as the winner for what they would call it. Not the most clever but oh well as long as it tastes good and has quality ingredients I guess I could care less what they call it.
So I wanted to share a little bit about this bar;
What It Is and What It Isn't
I would call Beachbar a snack bar. The term protein bar gets thrown around way too loosely in the nutrition world out there. In my opinion in order to qualify as a protein bar the bar would have to get a majority of it's calories from protein. Very few bars on the market are a true protein bar. If you are curious to start doing math, a gram of protein and carbohyrdrate both have 4 calories, and a gram of fat has 9 calories. With 10 grams of protein in each bar it get's roughly 26% of it's total calories from protein. That leaves 74% to come from fat and carbs. Overall I would consider it is a balanced macronutrient bar.
This bar is made from whole foods with no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. That's a win in my book and something I definitely look for in other bars that I've consumed in the past.
It is a snack, not a meal! At only 150 calories you likely wouldn't want to replace a meal with solely 1 bar. With the protein and fiber content it will for sure stave off some hunger for a while. When I sampled it, it was good enough to hold me over between breakfast and a late lunch.
The Nutrition Facts
At this point they only have 2 flavors, I have no idea if they will release more in the future. However I did participate in a poll that asked me what kind of flavors I would enjoy if they added others, so that's promising!
Facts are facts so they don't need a whole lot of explaining. As I mentioned above they are pretty balanced from a macronutrient standpoint. The are pretty low in sugar for a snack bar. They are a decent source of protein and fiber. They are low in sodium. They are also lower in vitamins and minerals which is pretty much the norm for this kind of bar.
Let's see what's in them...
Peanut Butter Chocolate Ingredients: Peanuts, Cocoa Whey Crisps (Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Tapioca Starch, Cocoa Powder [Processed with Alkali]), Isomalto-oligosaccharides (Prebiotic Fiber from Tapioca), Chocolate Coating (Cane Sugar, Palm Kernel Oil, Cocoa Powder, Sunflower Lecithin, Salt), Pea Crisps (Pea Protein, Rice Starch), Pea Protein, Chocolate Chips (Cane Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter), Cane Sugar, Vegetable Glycerin, Tapioca Syrup, Sunflower Oil, Sunflower Lecithin, Pomegranate Juice Concentrate, Himalayan Pink Salt, Natural Flavors, Almonds, Stevia Leaf Extract, Mixed Tocopherols (Mixed Tocopherols, Sunflower Oil) to preserve freshness
Chocolate Cherry Almond Ingredients: Almonds, Cocoa Whey Crisps (Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Tapioca Starch, Cocoa Powder [Processed with Alkali]), Isomalto-oligosaccharides (Prebiotic Fiber from Tapioca), Chocolate Coating (Cane Sugar, Palm Kernel Oil, Cocoa Powder, Sunflower Lecithin, Salt), Pea Protein, Chocolate Chips (Cane Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter), Dried Cherries, Cane Sugar, Vegetable Glycerin, Tapioca Syrup, Sunflower Oil, Sunflower Lecithin, Pomegranate Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavors, Himalayan Pink Salt, Stevia Leaf Extract, Mixed Tocopherols (Mixed Tocopherols, Sunflower Oil) to preserve freshness
A few more ingredients than a Larabar, or Rx Bar but let's take a look at what they all are and what their purpose is and how they can affect you.
Peanuts and Almonds: If you have nut allergies these bars aren't for you. Both of these ingredients provide some of the total protein in the bar plus a majority of the fat content. It's nice to see that they are the main ingredient rather than some obscure ingredient. Good Ingredient!
Whey Crisps: These are a blend of a few ingredients to give the bars a bit of texture and another source of protein. Whey comes from milk, so if you have allergies, steer clear. If you just have an intolerance I doubt the level of lactose in these is significant enough to affect you but consult your physician if you are concerned. Overall I believe these add to the value of the bar by upping the protein content. Good Ingredient!
Isomalto-oligosaccharides: This would be one of those things that if you follow the rule, if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it. Well I could help you pronouce but that will take too long so let me just say this is actually a pretty good ingredient to include in the bar. Essentially it is a fiber that helps with satiety, improves your gut health, and improves your digestion and it is derived from plants. If you want to read more on it, this was a pretty easy to read article that cited some scientific studies. Good Ingredient!
Chocolate Coating: We love chocolate! We believe in moderation and if you choose the right kind it can actually be good for you. I wrote a whole other article on that, Let's Talk Chocolate! The ingredients in the chocolate coating are... ok! I wouldn't consider this healthy chocolate but looking back to the nutrition facts you are getting very little sugar overall so the serving size of chocolate would have minimal effect if any negative health consequences. It's more here for taste then anything. I do like that they sourced a chocolate made with sunflower lecithin versus the soy version, so that's a bonus. Neutral Ingredient.
Pea Protein and Crisps: These things are there to help with the protein content. They are further down the ingredient list likely because too much of them would likely negatively affect the taste of the bar. Good ingredient!
Chocolate Chips: Same thoughts here as the chocolate coating for the most part. Slightly better but still likely not a healthy chocolate. Neutral Ingredient.
Sweeteners (Vegetable Glycerin, Cane Sugar, Dried Cherries, Pomegranate Extract, Stevia Leaf Extract): I figured I would lump all these together rather than address them individually. Overall there is a total of 5 grams of sugar in this whole bar. Some of that comes with the chocolate ingredients listed above, some because of these ingredients. Overall I wouldn't be concerned with 5 grams of sugar in this bar. The cherries and pomegranate extract do bring along some good phytonutrients and antioxidants along for the ride so that is a positive. I know some are turned off by the stevia aftertaste, but having tried these bars I didn't notice any of that. Vegetable glycerin was a new one to me so I had to look that up. Essentially that is a plant based sugar alcohol likely made from palm or coconut. Browsing a few articles it doesn't appear to have any negative health effects other than it's potential as a laxative in HIGH doses, but you aren't getting that in this bar. This bar did get a low glycemic certification also which would suggest it has minimal impact on a healthy person's blood sugar levels. If you have blood sugar issues like diabetes you may want to consult your physician. Neutral Ingredient.
Sunflower Oil and Sunflower Lecithin: I would say there is nothing good or bad about these items. They help create the texture of the bar. There isn't anything inherently bad with them or good with them. Since they are at the end of the ingredient list, I wouldn't worry about them. Neutral Ingredient
Natural Flavors: Oh that elusive word you see on so many labels. What does it really mean. Well good news the FDA does regulate the use of it so it isn't a catch all for all the chemical crap. Here is there definition, “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.” Knowing Beachbody's track record with the ingredients that it puts in it's other supplements I doubt anything shady goes into this bar as a natural flavor. It would be great if they could make this bar taste good without this but I guess it isn't a deal breaker for me. Neutral Ingredient.
Himalayan Pink Salt: Salt makes things taste good! At 85-90 mg of sodium I wouldn't worry about it and at least they got it from a good source. Good Ingredient!
Mixed Tocopherols: This is a natural antioxidant/preservative that is derived from sunflower seeds. Let's be honest this is a packaged food and they want it to last longer than a week on a shelf, a warehouse, or shipping truck so some sort of preservative is needed. There is some mixed messages I got this ingredient whether it is good or bad for an individual. There were some studies published on Pubmed that said it was completely safe for human consumption. There were some animal studies that suggested it may raise the risk of cancer, at least in mice. I like always like to think of the quote, "The Dose Makes the Poison." Beings there isn't definitive human studies from what I found, I would say that the small amount in these bars would have no negative health impact on a person. If you are concerned I suggest you do your own research. Neutral Ingredient.
So those are the ingredients, sorry I wrote so much but if you are thorough enough to search out information on these bars you are likely the kind of person that wants all the information and not just the cherry-picked data that has a marketing slant to it.
Overall I would say this food is neither a health food nor a unhealthy food. It's calories come from quality sources. Is it better than a Snickers, yes! Is it as good as bowl of broccoli, no! So it really depends on how you use it and what it displaces in your diet whether or not it would improve your health. I think it would be a quality snack for most. Personally I really like that they kept it gluten and soy free too!
What Does It Cost?
Affordability... we know your money doesn't grow on trees and neither do Beachbars...well the almonds in them do, so... I'll be honest these aren't the cheapest bar on the market but they certainly aren't the most expensive either.
Beachbars will be sold in packs of 15 and retail for $39.80 or $2.65 per bar. That price puts it on the higher end compared to other snack bars but pretty close to most protein bars.
How Does it Compare To Other Bars?
There are hundreds of other bars on the market and a lot of different ways you can compare them. I thought this graphic highlighted a few key pieces and how the Beachbar stacks up against some of the more popular snack bars.
It's lower in sugar, higher in protein and fiber! Basically what that means is that it isn't going to spike your blood sugar as much as others. It will also likely keep you full longer due to the slower digesting protein and fiber elements. Which means if if you are trying to lose weight, you won't be hangry in between meals if you use a bar like this to tide you over.
How Can You Add This Into Your Daily Meal Plan
As I've eluded to already, this bar is going to be best be used as a snack substitute. It could replace other bars that you've maybe used. It could replace a trail mix that you used to snack on. It could replace the chocolate chip scone from Starbucks, please don't eat those everyday!
If you've never been a snacker you could also use it as an experiment and add it in to your morning or afternoon and see how you feel. Some people do just fine without snacks and can keep portion sizes in control. Some need that little shot of food to keep their energy levels up.
I could certainly see us eating this when we travel as a convenient snack that tastes great, doesn't take any prep work, and will satisfy our hunger. I could also see them used as a great pre-workout snack. Combine it with some Energize and you are fueled up for a workout with a decent shot of protein and carbs to get you through it.
If you are a diehard Beachbody person and using the containers a Beachbar will count as a 1/2 a red and 1/2 yellow container, just FYI.
Hope that information has helped you learn more about these bars. If you have any questions by all means reach out via email or in the comments below.
If you would like to try a box of these bars just follow the link below that matches up with your flavor and quantity preference. Bars go on sale beginning April 7th, 2018.
1 Box - 15 Count
2 Boxes - 15 Count per Box/30 Total
3 Boxes - 15 per Box/45 Total
East Meets West...
All the comfort of my grandma's homemade meatloaf combined with all of the flavor you would get from some of the best Indian curry dishes that I've had. Sounds about perfect, right???
This dish is pretty straightforward to make, nothing fancy, unless you want to make your own curry powder. If you do make your own curry powder with fresh roasted spices, please let me know how you do it or let me know where I can buy it. Even without your own curry powder this is one of those dishes that you can make and impress the heck out of some friends or family.
Don't take my word for it though. If you like meatloaf but love some ethnic food, this is a great combo. Pair it with one of your favorite veggies. We did some roasted asparagus but anything will work. Can't wait for you to try. After you do, we would for you to come back and let us know what you thought.
I know some people that begin to drive heave if they are threatened to eat a brussel sprout. A couple are in my immediate family. Growing up my mom on occasion would make them but they were usually either steam or boiled with some butter on them. Although I could probably stomach that now, at the time it was one of the most disgusting flavors. The smell was similar to what a Band-Aid smells like and I could only imagine what they taste like.
Had my mom prepared sprouts this way, I'm guessing there would have been a 50/50 chance that I would have actually eaten them. I mean they are still green and green food in our house was immediately met with rejection, unless it was Jello. That stuff was delicious! Just don't ruin it by putting fruit in it!
The process of roasting brussels is pretty straightforward. One key is making sure you start with fresh brussels not the frozen version. If you get the frozen ones, they will be more apt to just steam and bring you and I back to that Band-Aid flavor and smell. So start fresh! Then all you need to do is trim a little bit of the chewy stem off of them if there is some. We like to half or quarter ours from there depending on the size. You could roast them whole but they would take a LONG time so that's not advised. Once you halve them, spread them out evenly on a baking sheet. Drizzle with roughly 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per pound of brussels. Season generously with salt and I like a little pepper also but not always.
Once seasoned, put them the oven that was preheated to 425. Depending on the size they should take anywhere from 20-30 minutes and I like to stir them half way through. What you are looking for is for them to start turning slightly brown if not black. In the cooking world that's called carmelization! Do it! They aren't burnt, they are perfect that way. It will bring out some of the natural sugars that are in a plant that is inherently bitter and if prepared poorly can taste like Band-Aids!
Try it this, I bet you will like brussels for the first time! Or at worst you won't hate them.
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Simple. Delicious. Sweet. Spicy. Hearty.
If you've made soup before you've probably tried version of this soup. I see it on menus all the time especially this time of year. I've made it a handful of times and this version is by far my favorite. Call me a sucker for some good sausage. Or maybe just the simplicity and letting the fresh veggies and quality stock.
This recipe only has a few ingredients but it is built on a solid chicken stock. We have our recipe over here on how you can make your own. I think some of the keys to a good stock is getting a good pressure cooker, because who has time to cook stock for 48 hours. Also chicken feet! Yup I said it, chicken feet. The collagen from all the connective tissue in chicken feet add a richness that nearly impossible to get any other way. Just try and thank me later. You can find chicken feet at most groceries. I've seen them at every Asian market that I've ever been to also.
To make this soup even better and because we like pretty pictures, we added a maple crema. Sound fancy but it basically is just a dairy product mixed with something else that is liquid. Calling it that is just my inner chef coming out. Or maybe it is from watching too many episodes of Top Chef! Either way it is delicious and makes this dish well rounded. Sweet from the apple and maple, slightly smokey from the sausage, and a hint of spice from the cayenne. So good!
We would love to hear from you if and when you try this and what you think.
It wouldn't be fall if we didn't throw a pumpkin recipe at you. Since we love pancakes here you go! We've been making a variation of these pancakes for the longest time. However the texture on those other ones just wasn't quite where I would like it when it comes to a pancake. So just a couple little tweaks and we have this new one which I think will be our go to pancake recipe for a quite some time.
If you are wondering what the hell the broccoli is doing in the picture, I thought this was a pancake recipe, you aren't the first one to think that is a weird combo. This combo is a great a solution for a number of people that we work with on a regular basis. Two staples that people usually fall short of on a daily basis is protein and veggies. Why not start your day with a healthy dose of both?
Why are protein and veggies important? Particularly for people trying to lose weight these two things will likely be your biggest help in seeing measurable progress in a short period of time. By getting adequate protein, 20-40 grams, per meal you will fill yourself with bulk but with lower calories. Same goes for the veggies, due the high fiber in veggies you are adding bulk without adding calories. It's because of this that you are able to eat to the point of being full all while staying in a calorie deficit.
If you are curious how much protein and fiber you should specifically be eating head over to our Calorie Calculator page and submit some information and I will get you a customized plan to let you how much of each you should be eating. This will be based on your size, activity level, and your goals.
Otherwise enjoy the heck out of these pancakes, we sure did!
Protein: 10.9 g
Fat: 4.4 g
Carbs: 3.5 g
Sugars: 0.9 g
Fiber: 1.6 g
One of Laura's favorite things on the planet is a good meatball! One of my favorite things on the planet is some good pasta! Being gluten free now for almost 3 years I don't nearly get good pasta all that often. One item that didn't make the cut on things to bring in our RV was my pasta roller and cutter! So we have to stick to store bought GF pasta which isn't always the best. W'eve had pretty good luck lately with the Barilla GF pasta. It's a corn based pasta which obviously isn't health food but every once in a while we are all for having a good pasta meal.
I know you didn't come here to learn about GF pastas, so let's about this meatball!! One challenge with meatballs is they traditionally have breadcrumbs in them which unless they are made from GF bread is off limits in our house. Some things that I've used as that binder substitute in other recipes are sweet potatoes, quiona, ground up GF crackers. With this recipe I opted to skip the binder. It did make the meatballs a little stickier when rolling them into balls but is was manageable and still made a good meatball, texture-wise. If you want to alleviate that stick meat batter, go ahead and add a 1/2 cup of bread crumb or any other binder to the mixture.
We also like to find any opportunity to sneak greens into our food. Feel free to follow suit and add some like we did or leave them out. If it would have just been Laura and I eating these we would have likely added more. We were able to sneak these in and Eli still enjoyed the meatballs which is a big bonus.
We paired this meal up with our basic marinara sauce that you can find here, just leave out the ground beef since you are doing the meatball.
Here's a little treat for ya!! We posted about these in our Instagram stories earlier last week but here's the recipe again. They were SOOO good and honestly tasted just like a Girl Scout Samoa...seriously...I couldn't believe it. Don't be fooled, these are NOT protein bites and to be honest, most of the ones you find on Pinterest aren't either because the fat is higher than the protein....so we'll just call these like they are: Chocolate Coconut Fat Balls.
These will make a great little treat to help you curb your sweet tooth! You don't have to be worried about crappy ingredients which is nice. But... there's always a but, right? I would advise that you are aware of the calories and limit yourself to 1, max 2 per day! Well that's unless you are working your tail off to gain weight, then go ahead and eat all 1,600 calories, maybe!
MACROS- This batch made 8 balls.
14 g of fat
13 g of carbs
6 g of protein
3 g of fiber
One food that I have yet to find since going gluten free is a fried egg roll...they just don't exist out in restaurants and we didn't opt for the RV with the deep fat fryer. We've had a number of our challengers post in our accountability groups about creating different versions of this dish. I finally got around to make some myself and have to say it hit the spot.
We were a little spoiled too, since the two days before this my aunt picked most of the veggies that went in this dish straight out of her garden. Fresh cabbage, fresh carrots, and fresh onions!!! The only thing we added to the dish was some red pepper, garlic and the pork. Oh and a few spices and some asian sauces!
Pizza... everybody loves it! Even those of us that are living a healthier life love to indulge in it. It's actually one reason why I bought the domain, www.healthierpizza.com. Don't try heading over there yet, at this point it is just an idea in my head. The idea came to me because a healthy life shouldn't be one that is absent of pizza.
Upgrading some of the ingredients is the place to start. We have other posts on upgrading the crusts with whole wheat flour or using cauliflower. We have a fun recipe where we eliminate dairy and add some extra veggies with this Thai pizza. We even love the pizza so much we incorporated the flavors into this lentil dish.
With all of these, I had yet to create a delicious and healthier option for one of the most basic components, a good red sauce. Last night while Laura was away, Eli and I decided to make some pizzas. We tried out a new premade gluten free crust from Mikey's. The crust is made from paleo friendly ingredients and was pretty tasty! We topped that with a homemade red sauce that took 2 minutes to mix up then just a little time to simmer on the stove.
Check it out and let us know what you think. If you end up tweaking it feel free to comment below with what you did. This is one thing I'm always playing around with and improving.
Meatloaf... it was a staple in our house growing up! My mom would always make it with beef and slather on the ketchup sauce on top. It was actually quite tasty, except for the onions. I despised onions when I was a kid. Not the flavor as much as the crunch that you would occasionally get from one that wasn't cooked enough.
Times have changed quite a bit! The breadcrumbs that you would normally add to meatloaf would now make me breakout in a rash. The high fructose corn syrup in the ketchup, yeah... we are just going to avoid that if we can. That's the backstory on how this recipe got created.
I suppose with mushroom sauce this maybe is closer to the salsibury steak that we would occasionally have in our tv dinners. No matter what you call it, I hope you call it delicious! We certainly enjoyed it!
We are creatures of habit. When we find something we like we don't change. Brussel sprouts and the way we prepare them is a prime example. Our normal preparation is clean, cut, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and roast in the oven. If we are feeling crazy we might add a little bacon, balsamic or galic. I've learned to not mess with Laura's brussels!
This past weekend we did a Chrismtas dinner with my side of the family and my mom had found some beautiful brussel sprouts. I've tried exposing to my family to brussels before and other than my mom and sister in laws haven't had much luck. So I figured what the heck let's try something different in the hopes they will try it. It got a couple more to try but I don't know if I turned them to be brussel fans.
This recipe was simply inspired by what was in the kitchen. We had brought some fresh pecans home from Texas. We had an orange that we didn't eat on our flight up to Minnesota and I had saved some bacon grease from our breakfast that morning!
The orange definitely livened the dish up quite a bit and pecans added a nice texture contrast, so I would say this is a win and we would love to hear what you think if you make it yourself.
One variation you could certainly try would be to add bacon to the dish. We didn't since we had it for breakfast that morning. But if you wanted to, just chop and cook the bacon in your skillet until the fat is rendered out, remove the bacon and start the brussel sprout process listed below. Then just re-add the bacon pieces the same time as the pecans.
We are currently parked in a campground in central Texas between Houston and San Antonio. There isn't anything super fancy about this park or its location. One upside though is that there are pecan trees everywhere and it's pecan season! If I had the patience I could easily fill up a 5 gallon bucket in less than hour. We've been snacking on them a bit but decided to try to use them the other morning in combination with a new pancake recipe.
If you follow us you know that we love our pancakes and they are a weekend tradition. You also know we need gluten free options since I can no longer eat anything glutenous! I wouln't consider these pancakes health food but they are close. The flax in them provide a ton of Omega 3 fats which are super good for you. You also get a decent dose of protein and fiber too!
The sauce/sryup that I made is the thing that turns a fairly healthy pancake into a bit of a treat! Enjoy it though because it's delicious and a much better way to enjoy pancakes then use a boxed premix.
Cooler temps equal soup season! Although we are staying in warmer climates this winter we have still seen temps dip into the 40's at night and not get much past 60 during the day. I know, I know it could be so much worse. This year I guess it is all about perspective and it is cold to us!
We are also in a season of trying to save some money and our food budget is one area where we can save some money. Soups are a great way to stretch your dollar, get loads of nutrition, all without starving yourself.
Just in case you aren't convinced on soups yet, they are also super easy to make. This one could easily be a crockpot meal where you just throw everything in and forget about it. Also when we make soup, we always have leftovers, which means even easier, healthy meals for days.
I've tried a couple dozen different ways to make baked sweet potato fries and most of them haven't turned out until now! The two things that have typically happened are either horribly burnt fries or soft squishy fries. Been there?
I wish I could remember where I saw this trick but it made all the difference. I know I saw it on some Facebook cooking school type page. They talked about the differences in sweet potatoes vs regular white potatoes. The thing that separates the two is the starch to sugar ratios. White potatoes are higher starch less sugar and sweet potatoes are just the opposite. If you are somewhat experienced cook you know that sugar burns. It's because of this and this balance that makes sweet potato fries harder to get that nice crispy texture without burning.
You could approach this problem a few ways. Cook them incredibly fast so they don't have time to burn, aka fry them. Not the worst thing in the world if you are using a quality oil like coconut oil, but that becomes a pretty expensive batch of fries if you are using a whole jar of coconut oil to make them. The next option is to reduce the sugar content, that's not really an option as far as I know. The last one would be to up the starch content. That can be done!
The process of adding starch is pretty simple. You could use a number of different starches to do this but I would recommend tapioca, arrowroot or corn starch/flour, I used tapioca. You create a slurry of the starch plus a little water and toss the potatoes in the slurry while they are warm and slightly softened from boiling. That way the starch mixture gets absorbed into the potato.
I'm going to continue to experiment with this process and hopefully fine tune it a bit more. For now, we hope you enjoy this little tip. I would also love to find the perfect fry seasoning to add to these. If you have any suggestions drop them in the comments.
I don't know why I don't always have a batch of this soup in our fridge. So good!!! Five years ago I would have laughed at you if you would tell me that soup can be an entire meal. I guess I was used to terrible canned soups or the tiny cup of soup that you get at restaurants. Oh how the times of changed.
Now my view of soup is basically it is liquid salad! Seriously though if you make a good soup it should resemble a salad. So if you don't like to eat salad, I suggest you try soup instead. This version of chicken tortilla soup is loaded up with veggies, quality protein, and of course some amazing chicken stock.
When I make soup I love to make a huge batch because it tastes better the next day! Feel free to scale this recipe up or down but it makes about 6 large bowls of soup. Also as a little bonus here is a how I like to make my chicken stock at home which is super simple.
Homemade Chicken Stock
Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
Ladies if you need a way to get your husbands to eat a salad, start with this one. I mean what guy doesn't like steak, then you combine that with mushrooms and gorgonzola cheese, it's a win! The asparagus and tomatoes are there as a way to sneak in some more veggies! The dressing is super simple and adds a fun punch of flavor. It's crisp, it's herbacious, it's delicious.
We would love to know if you try this one out! Leave us a comment below. If you love it don't forget to Pin It so you can save it for later!
One thing we really encourage a lot of our clients to work on is to be more veggies, especially greens. One of the easiest ways to get more greens in is to eat more salads. We love our salads, and try to it one 5 days a week. We aren't just talking about a little side salad with dinner. We are talking full on, stuff my face and stomach salad that is loaded with greens and veggies. We see a lot of people that grasp that concept which is awesome, but then they douse all those quality veggies with some low quality salad dressing.
A couple of tips if you do buy store bought dressings;
If the idea of eating more veggies and cleaning up your eating sounds like something you would be interested in, we will be hosting a special group on Facebook in a little over a week. The group will revolve around having a salad a day for week. We will provide recipes like the one above and some more tips on how to put together an amazingly healthy salad. If you are interested click on the image below and RSVP.
It's been awhile since we've shared some of our travels. I wanted to catch up on our posts over the next couple weeks. For now, here is our New York and New Jersey adventures.
We stayed at an RV Park about 2 hours south of NYC but there wasn't really wasn't anything much closer unless you wanted to pay a premium. So we took 2 hours away and camped for free! This was our first 2 week stay with our Thousand Trail membership and it was so nice to slow down a bit and setup shop for longer than 4-5 days.
Both times we came into the city we opted to park on the Jersey side of the river and take the ferry across. If we wouldn't have run into road construction on our second day coming into the city this would have been super slick both days. One day we parked close to the Hoboken ferry terminal and the second day (on the weekend) we parked by the Jersey City ferry terminal. We figured this was the cheaper and more convenient route to explore the city versus driving downtown and paying tolls and parking over there.
We did pretty much everything you would want to do in NYC. We spent some time down around the water watching some of our friends play in the professional volleyball event that was in town and found a couple parks that Eli could play at with some other kiddos.
After some volleyball watching and park playing we headed towards the 9/11 memorial and were blown away. We didn't do the museum but just being on the grounds where it all happened was pretty powerful. From there we walked towards the Brooklyn Bridge and made it half way across before we turned back, LOL!!! We then hit up a NYC pizza place in Little Italy that made gluten free crusts. Pretty tasty but given the price tag, I may have to pass next time. Then we were back to watch more volleyball! Yeah that was all in Day 1, it was a lot of walking!
Day 2 we did a little more volleyball watching then made our way to Bluestone Lane for brunch and lattes! This might have been the highlight of our NYC trip, especially the avocado toast that I got on GF toast!
After brunch, we hopped on the Subway or as Eli calls it, choo-choo, and headed to Central Park. It was a hot day and we were starting to get tired from all of our walking so we didn't get into the park too far but explored the south side and just sat for awhile and let Eli run around.
After sitting a bit we started walking towards Time Square. We hit up a little detour on the way and stopped at Momofuku Milk Bar where Laura got a little treat. Unfortunately they didn't have anything that was gluten free so I was forced to watch Laura and Eli enjoy their ice cream. Which apparently when you get to the bottom it tastes just like the milk in the bottom of a bowl of cereal. We continued on and swung past Rockafeller Center and Radio City Music Hall.
We cruised through/past Time Square...but because it was absolutely nuts and we were starting to get tired frustrated with the crowds...it was literally a "oh hey, there it is" and kept walking. We continued on to the Subway Station which we found out after buying our ticket that we went in on the wrong side of the street and were heading uptown and not downtown. So, we bought ANOTHER ticket, crossed the street and started heading home!
We hit up the salad/hot food bar at Whole Foods and made our way back to our ferry. After watching the sunset from the NYC side of the Hudson River we hopped on the ferry and started heading home after a couple long days in NYC. So fun!
We had a couple whirlwind days in New York but part of our adventures were just hanging out at our RV Park too. It was a great park with a huge playground for Eli and a nice new pool. On top of that Eli (and us) made some new friends. Eli loved playing with Chloe and Carson. They were so nice with him and were really like nice older siblings, not the mean kind that pick on you. Oh and like I said we made new friends too with their parents. We had so much in common and loved chatting while the kids played. Can't wait to meet up with them again in California!
We also explored the Jersey area closer to where we were staying. That included Atlantic City which was about 20 minutes away. We were very underwhelmed with the city. We walked up and down the board walk and explored the beach a little. You could tell that it was hit hard by the economic downturn. So unless you like casinos...it really isn't that great. We did find this statue that recognized that AC was/is the home of Miss America Pageant.
We also took a trip down to Cape May which was a a lot more our style, laid back beach town. We met up with some friends, Laurie and Trey, that actually took a ferry over from Maryland. Trey was racing in a triathlon in the area the next day which sounded like a lot of fun. The beach area was fantastic down there. We also heard, but never went, about a zoo that was down in Cape May that was supposed to be fantastic. By the time we knew about it, we were already too busy to make it down there.
All in all, we really enjoyed our time in this area! Jersey was a good change of pace and was nice to slow down. NYC was fantastic and fun to see all the sights!!
Laura loves curry!!! So what do you do when your wife loves curry, you make curry for her. Sometimes I'm all about doing things from absolute scratch. In the case of curry, it would be fantastic to toast my own spices then grind them fresh and use my mortal and pestle to make a paste. But let's be honest that takes time and energy.
Instead we found a pre-made curry paste, added in some fresh veggies and fish and a couple other ingredients and we had a delicious dish in under 30 minutes. This was my first time ever using fish in a curry and it turned out pretty great. If you are completely scared of fish or don't like the flavor, too bad, try it anyways. I think you will be surprised that the curry is the dominate flavor and not the fish, so it is a good way to give fish a try.
Feel free to add your favorite veggies to this dish. You don't have to use what we used, we just had these on hand and that is why we love curry dishes so much, because they are so versatile. You could also sub out the quinoa for rice or even zoodles or sweet potato noodles if you want to go grain free. The possibilities are endless. We hope you enjoy this one as much as we did.
Laura almost didn't let me make these for her. Apparently she has a thing about eating chia seeds because they get stuck in her teeth. I get it... kind of. I was able to twist her arm and get her to try them and I'm pretty sure she was glad she did. We all loved these pancakes, even Eli. Another bonus: zero chia seeds stuck in her teeth too. Talk about having your (pan)cake and eating it too!
Seriously if chia seeds aren't part of your diet you need to consider adding them. Even if a few stray seeds end up in your teeth the benefits far outweigh any social anxiety from being caught with something in your teeth. Even if you do get caught it also gives you an excuse to share this amazing seed story with someone new!
I think I first heard of Danielle Walker on one the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis. She has a pretty incredible story of beating an auto immune disease, ulcerative colitis, through dietary changes she made. It's a great story that really shows the power of food. I would encourage to check out her blog or book Against All Grain.
Danielle has a recipe for this same dish that was my inspiration for making this. It was super simple and even Eli ate it. You can pretty easily scale the spice up or down depending on if you are feeding kids or you just don't like spicy food. Eating healthy food doesn't have to be flavorless which I think a lot of people fear. You just need a well equipped spice cabinet. You could easily sub out the ground beef in this recipe for ground turkey, shredded chicken or beef if you happen to have those on hand instead.
This dish was totally inspired by leftovers. To be honest a lot of the meals we make are throw together at the last minute. We try our best to just keep healthy ingredients in our fridge, freezer and pantry. Then I (Dan) find inspiration either from Pinterest, Google, a random cooking show or something I've made before to dictate what we eat. I'm not the most creative person when it comes to other things, but food, that's my jam - pun intended!
Seriously this soup was so easy to make and you could easily scale it up if you wanted to make it for a larger group. Like most soups the key to flavor is using a flavorful broth/stock and letting it simmer for a long time. I recently made up a batch of chicken stock in our pressure cooker. Homemade stock makes a huge difference in my opinion both in flavor and quality of ingredients. I probably need to write up a post about our stock recipe. Very simply we just add water, old chicken bones, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, apple cider vinegar, peppercorns and a little salt into our pressure cooker. We pressure cook it for about 3 hours and it turns out great!
We hope you enjoy this soup! We always love to hear if you try out our recipes, so if you give it a try, drop us a comment on the post or shoot us a message.
Our pressure/multi cooker has been a lifesaver while we've been on the road. For convenience I wish I could just say we have an Instant Pot because 90% of the people that own a pressure cooker own an Instant Pot. We just happened to find an incredible deal on a different model, a Fagor. Doesn't exactly have the same ring as Instant Pot, does it. Either way, like I said this piece of equipment has been fantastic for us to make quick one pot meals. If you are an Instant Pot user hopefully it has similar settings and you can translate my Fagor talk to your machine.
If you are all about fast, tasty meals that are easy to clean up I highly recommend you look into getting one of these. With RV living this is perfect, because it means less dishes and dinners that can be made last minute after a day of exploring or swimming in the pool. Win for everyone!
Seriously this recipe maybe takes 20 minutes of active cooking time and 27 minutes of downtime letting the pressure cooker do its job. If you really want to kick up the flavor of this dish, add some chopped bacon, 3-4 pieces worth right away with your chicken. We had bacon for breakfast the day we made this so opted to not have anymore that day.
So easy and so good! Go make it and lets us know what you think.
Citrus and summer go hand in hand in my book. I know it isn't technically summer yet but the weather in South Alabama has felt like it is the middle of August. I'm sure if you were to talk to locals they would tell you how great the weather has been. For this Minnesota boy it's a different story. Temps were in the 80's everyday and the humidity was above 90% everyday. That's hot!
Being in South Alabama we had the benefit of getting some really good shrimp and it was cheap. This has definitely been one of the things that I've enjoyed about traveling so far, local food! Getting to eat food that was picked, farmed or fished recently is so fun and adds so much more flavor. We've tried to take in local markets wherever we are and get some fresh veggies and proteins, then fill in the gaps with some food from the big box stores.
I made this while in Gulf Shores, Alabama and it was super light and perfect for a warm day. We hope you enjoy it!! If you have a shellfish allergy you could easily leave out the shrimp and do a piece of baked whitefish.
The Cook & The Coach
Healthy is a LIFESTYLE.