Lent…that time of year we all either love or hate. Whether you are giving up something like chocolate or social media, or doing something positive, like a random act of kindness each day, it’s about making a positive change for 40 days, that hopefully you can continue beyond Easter. I love this time of the year, counting down the final days of winter, swim suits in the stores, and planning those summer vacations. But if you’re like me, Lent also means no meat on Fridays. I always have flashbacks of fish sticks or fried fish sandwiches from 12 years of private school. Now those options are fast and easy, but not really good for you. Luckily Kroger’s Easy For You Seafood program, gives you fast and easy options that are also much healthier than fried processed fish.
I was first introduced to Kroger’s Easy For You Seafood a few weeks ago at the new Oakley Kroger Blogger Event, you can read about that HERE. That first time I got the wild caught salmon with fresh organic herbs, lemon, garlic, and butter and it was delicious (see image above)! I knew I would be using this program again and again, making it easy for someone like me with a busy schedule to have a quick and easy healthy option for dinner.
Today is the first Friday in Lent and Kroger is offering a $1 Off Easy For You Seafood, every Friday during Lent, Feb 12-Mar 25. You all know I love to save money, but what makes this even cooler is the fact that the $1 off coupon is automatically added to your plus card account (SO simple right!) and you can use this an unlimited amount of times (score!)! So if you buy 5 Easy For You Seafoods, you get $5 off! Can’t beat that!
It really is that easy! Plus this service is free!
Today I got the USA wild caught cod loin (see above)! I don’t eat farm-raised fish, and the employee behind the counter was so helpful and got a binder out to give me all my wild caught options. You also know eating clean is very important to me, last time when I tried the salmon I just got fresh organic rosemary, lemon, garlic, and butter and that was a delicious clean option. This time I wanted to try a seasoning because cod can sometimes be a boring fish. I got it seasoned with the Vegetable Pepper Medley which is an all-natural gluten-free seasoning consisting of dehydrated red and green peppers, onion, black pepper, celery, and parsley. I then had them add fresh organic rosemary, lemon, garlic, and butter for added flavor. Another nice thing about this service is they had sealed seasoning jars right out on the counter so it was easy for me to read the ingredients and find a clean option for me. Me and the hubby both loved it and it paired great with Old Bay Cauliflower, one of my favorite recipes!
So happy Lent! I encourage you toss out those fish sticks and visit your Kroger today to try the Easy for You Seafood program and don’t forget on Fridays through lent you get $1 off! Be sure to share this, so your friends can save too! If you want more information about Kroger’s Easy For You Seafood program, click HERE.
*This post is sponsored by Kroger, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Old Bay Roasted Cauliflower is one of my absolute favorite things to eat! It’s my go to side dish whenever we have seafood, and it also makes the perfect snack for watching the game. But let me back up a minute. This Kentucky girl used to have no idea what I was missing. When I first met my husband, who is a good old Maryland boy I might add, I can remember one of the first things he asked me was if I liked seafood. At that time, popcorn shrimp and fish frys were the extent of my seafood history and knowledge. He quickly introduced me to “real” seafood when he took me back to the Chesapeake Bay and let me try all kinds of fresh new things. I swear you haven’t had a crab cake unless you’ve had one from Maryland. Okay, back to the Old Bay Roasted Cauliflower….
So my husband puts Old Bay on everything, and I mean everything. This recipe was actually his idea and typically I’m not as much of an Old Bay freak as he is, but this recipe is a keeper! Cauliflower is a great source of Vitamin K and Vitamin C and is packed with antioxidants and has some amazing anti-inflammatory benefits too. The added benefit of Old Bay, is that is makes my hubby happy! 🙂
Chop a small head of cauliflower and put into a bowl.
Drizzle about 2 Tbsp of olive oil over the cauliflower and mix until well coated.
Add a Tbsp of Old Bay and mix until coated evenly.
Spread onto a baking sheet and bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and enjoy! If you don’t have Old Bay Seasoning, you can get it HERE!
One of my favorite parts about eating clean is updating some of my old favorite foods and recipes by substitutions and modifications. I can enjoy just about everything I always did, but in a new healthier way. Everything from pizza to tacos and more.
Everyone loves taco night right? But have you looked on the back of those taco packets and read the ingredients? Can you pronounce everything they put in there? Taco seasoning is so easy to make and tastes so much better than the packets, plus you know exactly what you are putting into your body.
2 tbsp Chili Powder
1 tbsp Cumin
2 tsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Sea Salt (I like Pink Himalayan Salt)
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Paprika
½ tsp Arrowroot Powder (or Corn Starch)
½ tsp Onion Powder
½ tsp Oregano
½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
¼ tsp Cayenne (for more heat, add more Cayenne)
Mix all ingredients together and store in a glass container. Add 2 tbsp seasoning & 1/3 cup water to 1 lb. browned ground beef and simmer for 5 minutes. You can also add to chicken, vegetables, or anything else you’d like and enjoy!
Have you ever felt like your belly was “happy” after eating? 🙂 Has it ever smiled with delight after lunch? 🙂 If your answer is “no”, or you are unsure to either of these questions then you must check out Happy Belly on Vine! I promise it will make your belly smile…and maybe your mouth drool a little too. So grab a napkin, wipe that drool away, and read down to the bottom to enter to win a $20 Gift Certificate to Happy Belly on Vine!
Happy Belly on Vine is a clean eating restaurant on Vine St. in OTR. With limited healthy food options downtown, Happy Belly’s mission is to provide you with nutritious clean food where every single ingredient in their kitchen is picked out with a purpose. You won’t find any empty calories or artificial ingredients at Happy Belly. In fact, most of their ingredients are locally sourced, allowing them to hand-pick only the finest, most nutritious ingredients.
As a “clean eater” I was beyond the moon excited to find Happy Belly on Vine. If you know me, you know I rarely eat out. Mainly because most restaurants aren’t an open book about their menu and I need to know what I am putting in my belly. (After all, I don’t want it to be “un”happy!) Clean eating limits highly processed foods, preservatives, and anything that has been stripped of its nutritional value. Eating clean allows you to use food as an energy source and nourish the body, it makes your belly happy. You simply just feel better and have more energy if you eat clean. Gone are my days of bloat, fatigue, and brain fog after meals.
Abby Reckman, owner of Happy Belly on Vine, opened her doors in July 2014. She has always had a passion for the way food affects the body and what is happening on the inside and effecting your overall health. So much in fact that she enrolled into UC to study Food and Nutrition Sciences to gain a more in-depth knowledge of how food is used by the body. She loves sharing clean food with her customers and says, “Our customers love talking about healthy food which is part of what makes it so fun!”
Abby invited me to try some of their most delicious menu features. After an afternoon of tasting, trying and drooling over some delicious food, I can tell you it is not only good for you, but absolutely delicious as well. So now to the fun part, the food. (Warning: The images below will make you hungry and possibly drool.)
First up, The Hans, which is part of their all-day breakfast menu. This sandwich, served on a sprouted English muffin or gluten-free bread, is a free-range egg with spinach, turkey bacon, avocado, tomato, and Amish cheese. The flavors just melted together in my mouth and with just one bite of this and you’ll never say the words Egg McMuffin again!
The Hans, shown below on gluten-free bread instead of the sprouted English muffin.
The Black Bean Burrito, one of their most popular lunch items, is a house-made black bean burger, goat cheese, avocado, roasted onions, lettuce and tomato on a whole wheat wrap.
I love me some soups in the fall and these unique flavors were the perfect comfort food for a chilly afternoon. I was excited that all of these soups were also gluten-free. From left to right we have Chicken Pot Pie, Bean & Kale, and Coconut Curry.
Happy Belly is here to make eating healthy convenient! It can be hard out there, especially during busy times when you are running late to work or only have a few minutes for lunch. Life is busier than ever! If you didn’t pack your lunch you are limited on healthy options downtown and Happy Belly wants to make it easy for people of Cincinnati to make the right choice! Eat a clean lunch and then go back to work fueled for the rest of the day! They also have a variety of mid-afternoon/morning snacks to get you through those mid-day slumps. And there are many gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options for those that have allergies or food restrictions. Did I mention they deliver too? You don’t even need to leave your home or office for a healthy meal!
So if you are a clean eater, wannabe clean eater, or are just curious about healthy breakfast or lunch options downtown, then Happy Belly on Vine is the place for you! They want you to leave Happy Belly feeling happy about what you put in your belly and remember you did something positive for yourself by eating at Happy Belly!
Ahhhh, football season! You know what that means, it’s chili season! Back in August we had tomatoes out the wazoo! I mean literally tables of tomatoes! Between our backyard garden and our weekly CSA Shares we had more tomatoes than we could handle. Of course we didn’t want any to go to waste, but we also wanted to enjoy our tomatoes well into the fall and winter months. During football season we make chili in the crock pot just about every Sunday and buying organic tomatoes in the fall and winter can really get expensive. This is where freezing tomatoes comes in and is a great alternative to canning. It is super easy, affordable, and allows you to enjoy this delicious red fruit all year-long.
Before we get started, isn’t this Kentucky shaped cutting board just the cutest?! My dear friend Sarah and fellow blogger of Simply Sarah Style gave it to me for my birthday and I absolutely love it! She got it at one of my favorite local boutiques Ft. Thomas Central. If you live in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area you must check it out, they have so many great gift giving options.
Aren’t these so pretty! So how do you freeze them? It is so easy, let’s get started. Since our tomatoes come right from the dirt, be sure to give your tomatoes a good washing before you get started.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and drop in your tomatoes. I used a draining spoon so it was easy to get the tomatoes in and out, because well, boiling water is really hot! 🙂
This is the fun and really cool part, when you boil them for a few minutes the skin splits like shown above. That is how you know it is time to remove them from the boiling water and put them into another pot filled with ice water to cool your tomatoes down. I also wait to remove the stem until after they are boiled. I found that it works better than removing the stem before boiling, if you remove before, the split doesn’t work as well when you boil.
Next, once your tomatoes have cooled down, put them in a 9×12 Pyrex dish and remove the skin and stem. The Pyrex dish will catch all the yummy juices that will flow once you start chopping and you will want to put the tomatoes, juices and all, into the freezer bags. Repeat this process until you fill up the Pyrex, this will give you just the right amount to fill up a gallon freezer bag.
Now grab a knife and go to town. I mainly wanted my frozen tomatoes to be used for chili and soup so I went ahead and cut them up pretty well. You could keep them whole, but I found cutting them up works best for defrosting and for easy future cooking.
Then label your gallon freezer bag, press it tight, and lay it flat in the freezer for when you are ready to use. This is a process, and I would give yourself at least an hour the first time you do this depending on how many batches you have. But once you get going, it will go faster and become easier. I can’t wait to enjoy my freezer full of tomatoes all fall and winter long, in fact I’m gonna go make some chili right now. It is Sunday Funday after all!
I love avocados, there are so many ways to eat them, and all around I think they are just an awesome fruit. They have such amazing color inside and instead of removing a million seeds like some other fruits, it only has one big seed. Easy peasy seed removal at its finest. Plus avocados are packed with potassium, protein, and antioxidants. So…do they really taste good in brownies? Absolutely!
Now here’s the thing, the big butt gods blessed me with only a small, and I mean very small, sweet tooth. I’ve just never had big cravings for sugar and sweet things. However, I do have a weakness for chocolate. Especially real, dark chocolate. So every now and again, I really crave me some chocolate. When I heard you could make brownies out of avocados I knew it was something I had to try. And I am pleased to say these were so satisfying when I was craving some sweets, plus they were quick and easy to make – a big plus in my book!
One more thing, after I made these, I walked into our office where my husband was editing some pictures (he’s an amazing photographer by the way), and he took one look at me and started literally LOLing! He said go look in the mirror. So I did. And I had a little bit a ton of brownie batter all over my face. Busted…I licked the bowl, I see no harm in that 🙂
Pre-heat your over to 350°, remove the seeds from your avocados and scoop into a food processor. Blend until smooth, and I mean smooth – you don’t want chunky brownies!
Meanwhile melt your chocolate chips and coconut oil and pour into a bowl. Then add your blended avocados along with your remaining ingredients into the bowl and mix on low until smooth.
Grease your baking dish with coconut oil, and then pour in your brownie batter.
Bake in the oven on 350° for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cut and enjoy. I especially love these warm and gooey, right when they come out of the oven. My mouth is watering just thinking about how tasty these were. See healthy food can be savoring! These brownies did not come from a box, contained no chemicals, were super easy to make, and are filled with potassium and protein. Next time you make your kids brownies, give these a try and see if they complain. Just don’t forget to let them lick the bowl….if you don’t get to it first 😉
One of my absolute favorite spots in my home is my pantry. 1. Because I love food. 2. Because I love organized food. 3. Because with these staple pantry items I can simply throw a healthy meal together in no time.
The question I get most often is what items should I have in my pantry to eat healthy? It can be very overwhelming to know what to buy and have on hand. These are the items that I always keep stocked because I use them most often. Plus y’all know I like to save money and since I frequently use these items, I save money by only purchasing them when they are on sale. That way when I am meal planning or making a recipe, I am prepared and don’t have to make special trips to the store and possibly have to pay full price for an ingredient.
I got lucky when a local spice store was going out of business and they were selling all their glass jars. I bought about 20 of them and they work perfectly in my pantry. I also like to up-cycle and have saved old glass jars from salad dressings to use to store my seeds. I prefer glass over plastic, because glass does not contain BPA, so I encourage you to save and clean out your used jars to create this look. And of course no pantry organization is complete without my best friend, my label-maker. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of this post where I share all my tips to achieve an organized pantry.
I love the clean and organized look that clear jars give a pantry. You can look right into the jars to not only see exactly what you have, but how much you have left. I do have another cabinet that I keep a back supply of the items that I stock up on when they are on sale. That way when something is getting low, I can easily fill it up.
Nuts are awesome to have on hand. I love throwing them into recipes for added protein and fiber, and they are also incredible snacks to help curb hunger in between meals. Nuts are packed with vitamins and nutrients and have been linked to lowering cholesterol and better heart health.
Tip: Try adding nuts to your favorite salad for added flavor and texture.
Beans Beans they’re good for your heart, the more you eat the more you…put them in your cart. LOL you thought I was going to say something else didn’t you? But beans really are amazing in so many ways. Not only are they loaded with protein, but they also are digested slowly which helps stabilize your blood glucose levels. These nutrient packed legumes are also super affordable, and for those living on a budget beans go a long way.
Tip: Try to mostly use dry beans, but when time isn’t on your side, be sure to have your canned beans stocked as well.
I love the Simple Truth Organic canned beans because of the ingredients, they are simple – water, beans, sea salt.
Seeds may be tiny, but they are mighty when it comes to nutrition. They are perfect to add to salads or your own trail mix. My favorite seeds are chia seeds and I add them to my morning smoothies everyday. Chia seeds are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, plus give you protein, fiber, calcium, they’re packed with antioxidants and are a great detox for your body.
Tip: Up-cycle old salad dressing bottles, making the perfect container to store and pour your seeds when needed.
Dry Foods are also important to have on hand. Dried fruit especially makes great snacks. (My husband is obsessed with the dried papaya, he claims it taste just like swedish fish!) You can find a lot of these items in the bulk foods sections at Whole Foods, and some Kroger stores have also started a bulk foods section. Quinoa is a must in our household. Many times when I don’t feel like being creative in the kitchen, roasting some vegetables and serving on top of quinoa can pull a healthy and easy meal together in no time.
Tip: There are so many options for dried snacks, but be sure you read the labels, often you will see added sugar to items that don’t need it and you can usually find a similar option without the sugar.
Healthy oils are essential for cooking. I recommend extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil. I also have local honey on hand to add to tea or to use as a sweetener instead of added sugars. Broths are also great to keep on hand for those quick and easy crockpot meals.
Tip: Buy a large container of coconut oil. It costs around $24, but lasts us about 2 months and you get more bang for your buck with the larger jar.
There are also a variety of other essential pantry items that I always have on hand. Tomato sauce and paste to use as a base to make homemade sauce. Also, many crockpot meals – soups and chilis call for these ingredients so it is important to always have these items stocked. Also tahini, this is used to make homemade hummus and stir-fry. And of course salsa, because who doesn’t love salsa.
Tip: I love making my own homemade pasta sauce to put over zoodles (zucchini noodles), but it is always good to have back ups and have some healthy pre-made sauce on hand for those quick dinners.
Spices are simply a must. They are what can transform your meal from bland and boring to delicious and indulging. It took me a while to get comfortable with using spices (a lot of spices). We grow basil, oregano, and cilantro and I love fresh spices, but you definitely need to have dry spices on hand. But beware of spice “blends” most of the time these are laced with natural flavorings and chemicals. You can usually make your own blend using a combination of spices. There is however one exception to this rule in our household. My husband is from Maryland and he puts Old Bay on everything! And I mean everything. That is something I have learned to accept. (I mean did I really have a choice?)
Tip: Experiment with spices and flavors on chicken. Everyone has different taste buds and you need to explore to see what flavors make your mouth water. Cut up some chicken and use a different spice on each section, this will help you get comfortable with tastes and flavoring.
Another Tip:Whole Foods has a new bulk spice section and I am in love with it. It is so much more affordable to buy organic spices in bulk.
Essential Oils are also frequently used in our household and in our kitchen. I use dōTERRA essential oils I love adding a drop of Citrus Bliss into our green smoothies in the morning or a drop of lemon into hot water or tea. There are many many many uses of oils and I honestly could not live without them.
Tip: Don’t have a lime? Use a drop of lime essential oil in your beer.
Essential Oils (ones I use to cook with):
To create an Organized Pantry, here are some additional tips:
Up-cycle or purchase stackable clear containers.
Clearly label your jars for easy reference.
Group items by type so you know exactly where to find an item.
Purchase a tiered rack for your spices, cans, or jars to maximize space and visibility.
Strategically place the items you use most frequently low and accessible.
Don’t let your husband put your groceries away. (hehe)
(Okay that last tip was a joke, but if you create a system together with your spouse and family giving every item a place, they should easily be able to help themselves to items and put them back where they’ve found them. It may take practice and patience, but remember kind reminders will eventually turn into routines for everyone.)
Thank you for taking a look inside my organized pantry. By having a stocked and organized pantry it makes grocery shopping easy. Each week I buy my fresh produce and meat for my meals and any other staple items that are getting low (if they are on sale). When you create an organized and balanced pantry you have a sense of zen in the kitchen. Cooking doesn’t seem as much of a chore when you are at peace with the ingredients you are using. I love opening my pantry and knowing what we are putting into our bodies and that gives us reason to smile. I like to think my jars are smiling back at me.
Oh I have been so excited to post this recipe! Kohlrabi is this funky root that I received in my CSA Share and I had no idea what this alien looking root was all about. So I did some thinking and came up with these Kohlrabi Krisps. An awesome thing about Kohlrabi is that it lasts a long time in your fridge. I went on vacation for 2 weeks and when I returned, these were still perfectly firm and ready to be eaten. I heard you could bake or fry these like potato chips and I knew I had to try it since I am a sucker for a good homemade potato chip. Plus these are much healthier and make a great snack!
One of my favorite things about the CSA is getting to try new fruits and vegetables that you can’t find at your typical grocery store. Kohlrabi is one of those things, and to be honest if I saw this is the grocery store I would have no idea what it was or how to eat it. So this my friends is a delicious way to eat this funky root…
Start by cutting off the extra “limbs” to this root and peel it with a vegetable peeler.
Put coconut oil in pan and heat on medium-high heat and then add the kohlrabi. I did these in sections so I could flip them. If you put them all in the pan at once, you might steam them and loose the crunchyness (the best part). You could also bake these in the oven if you toss them with oil and then bake, but I wanted a crispy chip so I decided to “fry” them on the stove.
Cook over medium-high heat and flip once the bottom side is golden brown and do the same to the other side.
Remove from heat and put on a paper towel to absorb some of the oil. While they are still glistening, sprinkle with salt & pepper and garlic powder. You could also add whatever seasoning you’d like. Steve, being from Maryland and all suggested Old Bay. Shocker! (He puts old bay on everything…seriously everything!)
Don’t these look delicious? Yum, they were so good! I dipped them in ketchup, but they were also yummy plain!
Sometimes a good stir-fry can soothe the soul. It’s something that I used to make all the time back in “the day”. The back in the day that I am referring to is when we didn’t eat clean and I used to make stir-frys using those spice packets and lord knows what ingredients were really in those. So this is something I have been excited to make for a while. Since we had some delicious asparagus, snow peas, and bok choi this week in our CSA, I thought this was a perfect time to give it a try and it turned out heavenly!
I used the bok choi, asparagus, snow peas, and scallions from my CSA weekly share.
In my pantry I grabbed a red pepper, onion, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, and a lime.
For the sauce, you know the part that makes this scrumptious, I used:
Do you ever open your fridge, see what’s inside that needs to be used and boom dinner is ready? Okay I wish it was that easy, but I hate wasting food. Especially delicious fruits and vegetables so a lot of our dinners are creations to use up whatever we have.
I have never tasted beets before, like ever. And frankly I always “told” myself I didn’t like them. So tonight when I decided to cook with them, I was pretty scared. But I knew I had a bunch of other deliciousness cooking as well, so if I didn’t like the beets I could always push them aside, right?
This was everything we had left from our Week One CSA Share. I was stoked that we had used everything up in dinners, salads, and shakes other than these items which you can see needed to be used up soon.
Here is what I used from our CSA: beets, peas, asparagus, green garlic and scallions
Here is what I used from my fridge, garden and pantry: mushrooms, carrots, onion, garlic, rosemary, and quinoa
I wanted to use all parts of the beets so I chopped them up to separate the beets, stems, and greens.
I got my garlic and scallions cooking into the olive oil.
Then I added the beet stems and cooked those down a bit before adding the mushrooms, peas, and greens.
This is the carrots, onion, beets, and asparagus after it was nice and roasted.
And here it is before I ate it all up. Super healthy and yummy. However, my taste buds weren’t jumping for joy over the beets, they were just okay. I love roasted vegetables and everything was delicious, but I’m gonna have to work on this beet thing.
Ingredients from our CSA:
Baby beets and their greens
Scallions – chopped
Olive oil – 3 Tbsp
Mushrooms – 5-6 chopped
Carrots – 2-3 chopped
Yellow Onion – 1/3 chopped
Rosemary – 1 Tbsp
Garlic Cloves – 3 minced
Garlic Powder – 1 tsp
Red Pepper Flakes – ½ tsp
Quinoa – ½ cup
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Prepare quinoa as directed, set aside
Pre-heat oven to 400 °
Wash beets remove from stems and slice in half, slice stems in 1-2 inch pieces and chop the greens and set aside.
Chop asparagus, onions, and carrots and add with beets to cookie sheet.
Coat chopped veggies in olive oil and put on baking sheet, sprinkle with rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in cast iron skillet then add minced garlic and chopped scallions and sauté for 3 minutes
Add beet stems and sauté for 2-3 minutes
Add chopped mushrooms and peas and sauté for another 3-5 minutes
Add chopped turnip greens and sauté for another 2 minutes
Add Red Pepper Flakes, Garlic Powder, Salt & Pepper and sauté for another 1-2 minutes
Remove roasted veggies from oven and serve with with greens over the quinoa
Top with scallions
For more recipes from our week one CSA share, click HERE.