Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pesto Chicken Salad Wrap

I was so excited to find some whole wheat tortillas at Costco that have 12 grams of fiber each, no hydrogenated oils they are only 80 calories each and they actually TASTE GOOD! Score. I Love Costco, and we got all of the ingredients for this fantastic wrap during our last trip there.

Ingredients for filling (makes 4-6 rolls):

2 cans white meat chicken
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced red grapes
1/2 cup mayo
3 Tablespoons pesto

You will also need:

4-6 cups fresh baby spinach
1 tomato (diced)
4-6 whole wheat tortillas

To Make Filling:

Drain chicken and shred with a fork. Mix mayo into the chicken. Mix pesto into chicken, mix well. Mix celery and grapes into chicken mixture.

To Assemble Wraps:

One at a time; Lay tortilla down flat. Place about 1 cup spinach in the middle of your tortilla. Top spinach with about 3/4 cup chicken mixture. Top with 1/4 cup diced tomato and roll up like a burrito.

A healthy lunch with protein, loads of fiber and whole grain, nearly 2 servings of vegetables and some fruit for good measure. Serve with a side of fruit and a tall glass of water.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Meat & Dairy Free Week Menu Plan

This is the menu plan I made for our meat & dairy free week. We are attempting to see if eliminating dairy helps Joshua with his "issues." I'm also curious to see how eliminating dairy effects the rest of us. It's really not something we need in our diets so I'd love to learn how to at least limit our dairy consumption. We generally don't eat a lot of meat so I just threw that one in there.

What I discovered this week (so far anyway) is that we consume more meat & dairy than I thought. Mike and I went out to sushi Tuesday night (thanks Mom and Dad for watching the kids!) Before we went I had already borrowed the excuse of "fish isn't really meat" from many other vegetarians I'd met. I never understood this, but I was willing to borrow it as my excuse to eat sushi. What I didn't realize until I got my sushi roll was that there was cream cheese in it! Oops. The things we don't even think about..... I was not about to let it sit there, nobody's perfect. There are plenty of sushi options that fit in with the meat and dairy free, like the other roll I got which was the avocado roll. I am just so used to ordering the same two rolls, Alaskan ( I think) with salmon, cream cheese and crab and an avocado roll, that I do it without even thinking.

Wednesday we went to a favorite sandwich place of ours for lunch. I got the veggie sandwich on wheat and remembered to ask for no cream cheese. Mike also remembered to ask for no cheese, but it wasn't until we got our order that we realized his had turkey on it.... oops again. Old habits die hard, but we're working on it.

The smoothie recipes I link to may contain dairy, I substituted soy this week.


Breakfast - Cereal with soy milk & fruit
Snack - Whole wheat toast with peanut butter
Lunch - Split pea soup and breadsticks
Snack - snack tray with almonds, pistachios, fruit and pretzels
Dinner - Quinoa casserole


Breakfast - PB & J muffins with fruit
Snack - Fruit smoothie
Lunch - Pasta salad
Snack - peanut butter crackers & fruit
Dinner - Sushi


Breakfast - Eggs, fruit & whole wheat toast
Snack - Apple & peanut butter
Lunch - Veggie sandwich
Snack - Fruit & pretzels
Dinner - Leftovers


Breakfast - Cereal with soy milk & fruit
Snack - Whole wheat toast with peanut butter
Lunch - Peanut butter & jelly with fruit
Snack - Fruit smoothie & popcorn
Dinner - Pad See Ew & Curry with tofu & veggies & Miso soup


Breakfast - Waffles & fruit
Snack - Whole wheat toast with peanut butter
Lunch - Tabouli salad & fruit
Snack - Fruit smoothie & pretzel/nut tray
Dinner - Vegetarian chili & salad


Breakfast - Frittata, pancakes & fruit
Snack - Fruit
Lunch - Leftovers
Snack - Hummus, veggies and fruit
Dinner - Vegetarian spaghetti & roasted cauliflower


Breakfast - Eggs, whole wheat toast, veggie sausage & fruit
Snack - Fruit
Lunch - Veggie stir fry
Snack - Hummus, veggies & fruit
Dinner - Leftovers

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Creamy Pasta Salad

This was lunch for Day Two of our dairy free, meat free week. It is not vegan, but can easily be made vegan by using vegannaise instead of mayonnaise. The beans add protein where the meat would be for some and the variety of colorful veggies makes this as pretty as it is tasty! Pair it with a side of fruit and you have a perfectly balanced meal with food from all the food groups.

I'm eating this right now.... it's good :) I made it last night and let it chill overnight. I sent some with Mike for his lunch at work and he enjoyed it too.


16oz. pasta of your choice. I had a mix of misfit macaroni that I used. The ends of the bags of some large macaroni, small & whole wheat.
1 cup chopped baby spinach
1 cup diced carrots
2 tomatoes (seeded and diced)
1 can white beans (any beans really) drained and rinsed
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or vegannaise)
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper to taste


Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Mix diced veggies and beans together with pasta.

In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, vinegar and other spices. Mix well and adjust as needed.

Pour dressing over salad and mix well. Refrigerate overnight.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Split peas are full of healthy fiber, helping to lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar. Just one cup of cooked dried peas provides you with over 60% of your daily fiber needs.

Day One of meat and dairy free week. I thought I'd try a vegetarian split pea soup recipe. I found this one on I made some changes and ended up with the following recipe. This isn't your "traditional" split pea soup. Knowing my Father-In-Law would say "This would be great..... with ham" as soon as he looked at it I wanted to wow him with how much flavor this soup could have without ham. I looked at what I had on hand and what the recipe called for, tweaked some things around and ended up with a fantastic soup! Joshua gobbled this up with amazing speed :)


2 cups dry split peas
1/2 cup barley
1 cup diced carrots (I had baby carrots on hand, this was about 15 of them)
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon basil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups tomato & roasted red pepper soup
5 1/2 cups vegetable broth (this makes a thinner soup. If you like it thicker start with about 2 cups less broth, you can always add more later if you want to.)
2 cups water


Mix ingredients into your slow cooker. Turn on high for 4 hours and then low or warm until you are ready to eat!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

This Irish Soda Bread was part of our St. Patrick's Day feast... okay it wasn't really a feast, but dinner was good :) This was my first attempt at making soda bread and although I'm sure I've had it before, it's been a very long time. I have to say I was pleased with how it turned out. Maybe not my first choice in breads, but good for what it is supposed to be. This is a very dense bread and the flavors are strong (good, but strong.) I was joking at dinner saying one piece of the bread was a meal in itself... it really is. Mike says this is what they use in an "Irish Breakfast," they pile all sorts of goodness on top of it. I will probably make this again next year.... but most likely not anytime in-between. Maybe we'll try an Irish Breakfast next year.

I found this recipe here on I did a few things differently, but stuck to the recipe for the most part. Here was my final recipe: Ingredients:
  • 3½ Cups flour
  • 4 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 Cup sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 oz. Raisins, softened (soak in hot water, drain)
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 2 Eggs beaten
  • 1 Cup sour cream
  • ½ Cup buttermilk
  • 3 Tablespoons melted margarine
  • Oil for brushing
Heat oven to 350 F.

Grease and lightly flour 9x9" pan.

Combine wet ingredients in one bowl (not oil) and dry ingredients in another.

Mix wet and dry ingredients together.

Add to greased, floured 9x9” pan and brush with a little oil.

Cut an “X” in the top.

Bake 50 minutes at 350° F **I covered the top loosely in foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent the top from browning too much.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Green Smoothie!

Use St. Patrick's Day as a chance to get your kids hooked on green smoothies! They are so good for you and tasty! Once they get past the green color (which is easier when you say "It's green for St. Patrick's Day!") they will love them and ask for more!

Remember to use very ripe fruit for the best tasting smoothie!

St. Patrick's Day Green Smoothie


2 bananas
2 oranges
1 pear
2 cups fresh baby spinach
2 cups almond milk (or any milk)
1/2 cup yogurt (we use honey Greek)
Ice (if using frozen fruit skip the ice)


Place all of your ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more milk for a thinner smoothie.

And now that they love green smoothies keep some fresh baby spinach and fruit on hand for this healthy and tasty snack!

Quick Alfredo Casserole

So I'd love to make my own white sauce and all, but it's 4:00PM, I'm tired and everyone is hungry.... NOW.

This is a pretty inexpensive dish, easy and quick to prepare and hey, it's pasta. I Love pasta :)
Most of the sauce is cooked up, but if you use the milk in the recipe there is just enough to drizzle over the pasta as a sort of dressing.

**Tastes EVEN BETTER cold the next day! Yum!

Us grown ups thought this was delicious. The crunch of the veggies against the pasta, the flavor of the different veggies with the Thyme.... good stuff. It is very filling too!

As for the kids: Thomas loved it and even ate what his brothers didn't. As soon as I put Michael's plate in front of him he said "You want us to eat this?" and pushed it to the center of the table. Joshua ate the noodles out of it and that was it. But that's okay.... the smoothie they drank up seconds before was full of spinach, hahaha. Mommy wins.


2 small zucchini
1 head cauliflower
1 Bell Pepper ( I used about 4-6 mini ones because it's what I had on hand)
1 16oz. package pasta (whatever noodles you happen to have)
1 jar Newmans Own Alfredo sauce
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup almond milk (you can leave out the milk if you prefer, see note above)
1/2 cup parmesan
2 teaspoons Thyme


Heat oven to 350F and grease a 9x13" pan

Wash all your veggies and cut into bite size pieces.
* I like my veggies barely cooked so they stay kinda crunchy. If you prefer softer veggies steam them first.

Cook pasta 7 minutes in boiling water, drain (don't rinse)

Mix all ingredients except cheese and 1 teaspoon Thyme.

Pour into greased 9x13"pan. Top with cheese and Thyme.

Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

Let sit 10 minutes and serve.

Serve with a green salad or fruit salad, yum!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Orange, Mango, Banana Smoothie

We visit Starbucks at least once a week. I used to laugh at the thought of someone ordering a drink that takes 10 minutes just to order because the name is so long, custom drinks to the extreme. I am now that person... Me and my double tall, one pump, soy white chocolate mocha with no whip. I can't help it, I'm spoiled.

The kids like the Vivianno smoothies; the Orange, Mango, Banana is their favorite.

We've recreated this deliciousness at home to make it cheaper, healthier and tastier because it's made with Love :) I'm drinking one right now... Mmmmmmm. The perfect mid-morning snack.

Having very ripe fruit is essential to a good smoothie; brown spotted bananas, squishy oranges and mangoes are a must!

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):

2 very ripe bananas
1 large very ripe orange
2 very ripe mangoes.
1/2 cup yogurt (we used honey Greek)
1 cup almond milk (more or less to achieve desired consistency)
Handful of Ice (unless your fruit is frozen, then you can skip the ice)


Throw it all in the blender and blend until smooth. Add more milk to thin it out if needed.

For even more fun, throw it into popsicle molds and freeze!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Black Bean Dip

A healthy side dish or appetizer!


1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup hummus
1/2 cup salsa
salt to taste
1/4 cup sharp cheddar or Mexican blend cheese (shredded)


Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a small (4x4x2" ish) casserole dish.

Blend all ingredients except cheese in a blender or food processor.

Lay mixture in prepared dish and top with cheese.

Bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes.

Eat as is or use as a dip for veggies or chips. I actually mixed this with a little guacamole and it worked perfectly as a dressing for my fajita chicken salad!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oatmeal & Yogurt Pancakes

This is a really great recipe because it's so easy to make different flavors and it's healthier than a box mix. Use any flavor yogurt you have on hand, blueberry would be great and you could also add extra fresh or frozen blueberries! These are very filling!

Oatmeal & Yogurt Pancakes


2 cups oats (ground to a flour like consistency)
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 cup yogurt
1 cup applesauce
2 eggs


Mix all ingredients together and brown both sides on a heated skillet, cook through. Serve with fruit preserves or syrup.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oatmeal Pie

How many different ways can you eat oatmeal? I don't know, but I'm determined to find out :) This recipe was adapted from the book Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. What they call "Baked Oatmeal" we re-named "Oatmeal Pie" because when I handed Michael a bowl of this and he was expecting just oatmeal he was a little skeptical. "What kind of oatmeal is it?" he asked. "It doesn't look like oatmeal." Well it's Oatmeal..... uhhhh (come on super Mommy be brilliant here) Pie! It's Oatmeal Pie." And with that he got a huge smile on his face, hopped up in his chair and said "Yum! I Love pie!."

After my alterations here is the recipe we ended up with -


2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup (or more) raisins
2 ripe bananas (mashed)
1/2 cup brown sugar (reserve about 2 Tablespoons for the top)
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons oil
1 egg (beaten)


Heat oven to 350 F and grease a 8x8" pan.

Mix all of the ingredients together (dry in one bowl, wet in another and then all together).

Smooth into prepared pan and sprinkle with reserved brown sugar.

Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes.

Serve warm.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Breaded and Baked Zucchini

We used this as a side dish for a veggie casserole on Meatless Monday this week. It was a huge hit with most everyone (Michael (3) and Joshua (2) preferred to just eat the ranch dip with their fingers instead.... can't win 'em all.

Thomas however begged us to save some for his lunch the next day. Baking is a great, healthy alternative to frying and was much safer for someone like me who hates cooking with hot oil, ouch!


2 medium zucchini (sliced into 1/4" thick slices)
1 egg
1 Tablespoon milk (I used soy)
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup ground flax seed


Preheat oven to 450F

Grease a baking sheet well.

Dip zucchini slices in egg mixture and then cover in crumbs and place on your baking sheet.

Bake at 450F for 10 minutes, flip and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Serve with some ranch for dipping!