Tuna salad with sautéed onions and sun-dried tomato feta


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Tuna salad is boring.

You really can’t get much more boring unless you go with peanut butter and jelly. Or maybe plain ham and cheese with nothing else on it. Yuck.

Then it happens: that brief momentary pause when you taste something amazing that you think you dislike. And it blows your mind.

That moment occurred last week in my kitchen. While deciding that I was going to “suck it up” and try tuna again since it affordable and a great source of protein, I ended up eating something so amazing, I didn’t even believe it was tuna salad anymore. It was more of a Jessica Simpson moment…”Does Chicken of the Sea mean this is tuna or chicken?” Ok , maybe not that bad…but it was close!

Attempting to make a spice clone for one I was out of, I used a mix of parsley and cinnamon in my recipe. The results were unreal. This makeyourtastebudsgocrazy version is full of savory spice and grown up flavor that will make you fall in love with tuna all over again. Who says relationships can’t be saved?

Tuna salad with sautéed onions and sun-dried tomato feta

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 15

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, sliced into thin half moons
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 8 cans albacore tuna packed in water (BPA free)
  • 2 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup soy free Veganaise (the variety with the light green top)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (sun-dried tomato is amazing! but optional)
  • 3 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
  • Romaine lettuce, Ezekiel bread or Gluten Free bread for serving

Instructions

  • Saute red onion until very tender, about 8-10 minutes. While onion is cooking, add parsley and cinnamon to hot water and let steep for about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to large bowl. When herb water is done steeping, add 3 tbsp to tuna mixture. Add sautéed onions and mix very well. Serve on lettuce, Ezekiel bread or a gluten free bread variety.
http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2014/01/16/tuna-salad-with-sauteed-onions-and-sun-dried-tomato-feta/

OMG it is so good! I was going to put pictures up of tuna salad dressing up some Ezekiel bread, but I was trying to save your keyboard from drool.

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Enjoy!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Mexican Taco Bake

It all started with this almost rotten tomato. After that, it was meant to be.

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There are days when I feel like I have nothing in the house to make a meal. Then comes along the rare days when the angels are singing from heaven and a “meant to be” meal appears. This was one of those days. I had been planning my freezer meals for the next few weeks (more on that at the end of the post), and for some reason I was stuck on Mexican food. Taco bake, enchiladas, etc. Right around that time I realized that food planning and the fact that I was hungry probably wasn’t going so well, so I needed to make something for lunch. I just returned from a 7 day cruise and had not shopped for food in over a week. The gourmet style cruise cuisine also had me completely spoiled, and a basic sandwich just wasn’t gonna cut it. Then I remembered the tomato. The one I showed my husband the night before. We were actually both kind of surprised how long it had held on since I bought it 2 weeks earlier. It had a purpose and somehow knew not to rot before it was fulfilled.

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In my quest for Mexican food I remembered the leftover taco meat I had frozen. I buy expensive healthier brands of meat, so I don’t want to waste anything. Plus, if an animal is going to sacrifice its life for me, I want to be respectful and eat it all. I recommend that if you have any bits of meat left over…just throw them in the freezer for another small meal later on. As I started looking around the kitchen, I had enough ingredients to make a taco bowl. YAY! It turned out so amazing I want to share it with all of you. A quick, easy, delicious meal. The only thing better that that would be if someone made it for you :)

Mexican Taco Bake

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 3-4

Ingredients

  • Cooked Taco meat, frozen or thawed (can be vegan too)
  • 1-2 tomatoes, diced
  • Non-cow dairy cheese
  • Corn relish
  • Black bean hummus
  • 1-2 cups blue corn chips
  • Coriander
  • 3-4 ramekins

Instructions

  • 1) Fill Ramekins up 1/3 with taco meat
  • 2) Top with diced tomato
  • 3) Add cheese
  • 4) Place 1 to 2 spoonfuls corn relish over cheese
  • 5) Add 2 tablespoons black bean hummus over relish and try to spread out in dish
  • 6) Crush blue corn chips and place over all ingredients
  • 7) Sprinkle each ramekin with coriander
  • 8) Bake 15-20 min on 375 or until heated through and cheese is melted
  • 9) Enjoy!
http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/11/05/mexican-taco-bake/

Continue here for picture tutorial:

Fill Ramekins up 1/3 with taco meat (can use vegan meat as an alternative).

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Top with diced tomato. Add cheese.

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Place 1 to 2 spoonfuls corn relish over cheese. Add 2 tablespoons black bean hummus over the relish and try to spread out in a dish.

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Crush blue corn chips and place over all ingredients. Do you think it was a coincidence my husband left the hammer on the counter after doing housework? I think not!

 

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Sprinkle each ramekin with coriander

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Bake 15-20 min on 375 or until heated through and cheese is melted

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Enjoy!

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Stay tuned for a new section coming up on Tiffany’s Trim Treats! I am finding myself SUPER busy lately (obviously…I haven’t blogged since July :/ ) and have taken a liking to bulk cooking. I am not a freezer meal kinda gal because they usually end up disgusting and the store bought ones are full of sodium. My sister and I have been creating delicious meals that you can cook once or twice a month, freeze and truly enjoy. This section will give you ideas for meals that are balanced with the right amount of protein, carb and veggies. They are not loaded with preservatives and empty calories. Each tutorial will also include how to freeze your meals so that they stay fresh. I look forward to sharing this will you all soon!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Homemade Crock Pot Red Sauce

There have been many times in my life where I loved a recipe, but wasnt so keen on the length of time to be involved in making it. I don’t want to have to be stuck to the house because something has to sit on the stove for 3 hours. Ain’t nobody got time for dat!

I can’t remember how old I was when I first started applying recipe modifications to my cooking style, but it was probably one of the best milestones of my “kitchen” life. My mother likes to call me a savory cook…I can kind of feel my way through a recipe rather than follow it step for step. I also figured out how to use my crock pot, and to use it often. I can modify almost any recipe that requires quite a bit of cooking time in the stove or oven, and make it crock pot friendly. If someone asked me which kitchen appliance I couldn’t live without, it would definitely be that one!

This recipe is actually a Rachel Ray modification. I make it every 2 months or so in large batches and it is INCREDIBLY easy! We use it in lasagna, over chicken, on pizza, etc. Really, anywhere you use a red sauce, this one will work for you…and your time schedule :)

You’ll never go back to the jar!

 

Homemade Crock Pot Red Sauce

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Yield: 6 cups (3 servings)

Serving Size: 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 4 - 28oz cans organic crushed tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup organic red wine (merlot is best)
  • 1 can anchovies (optional)

Instructions

  • 1) Open cans of red sauce and pour them into crock pot. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  • 2) Crush garlic cloves and remove skins (no need to chop). Add to crockpot
  • 3) If using anchovies, chop fine. Add to crockpot. Side note: the anchovies don't given the sauce a fishy flavor at all. It actually helps to give a more authentic italian flavor.
  • 4) Add wine to crock pot.
  • 5) Stir all ingredients well.
  • 6) Set crock pot to low for 4 hours. Walk away and enjoy your day!
  • 7) When sauce is done and cooled, stir well and separate into freezer bags in 2 cup portions. Freeze unused sauce.
  • *When ready to use frozen sauce, remove from freezer bag and thaw over low heat in a sauce pan. This is the most effective method. Stir well before using.
http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/07/11/homemade-crock-pot-red-sauce/

Continue here for picture tutorial:

Open cans of red sauce and pour them into crock pot. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and olive oil.

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Crush garlic cloves and remove skins (no need to chop). Add to crockpot . If using anchovies, chop fine. Add to crockpot. Side note: the anchovies don’t given the sauce a fishy flavor at all. It actually helps to give a more authentic italian flavor.

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Add wine to crock pot. Stir all ingredients well. Set crock pot to low for 4 hours. Walk away and enjoy your day!

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When sauce is done and cooled, stir well and separate into freezer bags in 2 cup portions. Freeze unused sauce.

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When ready to use frozen sauce, remove from freezer bag and thaw over low heat in a sauce pan. This is the most effective method. Stir well before using.

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

 

 

Roasted Garlic Brussel Sprouts

Inspiration: The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something.

That’s how I felt before the creation of this deliciously tasty treat.

One of my absolute FAVORITE things to eat is Roasted Broccoli. I could literally eat it every day. I do not like it raw, steamed, boiled, etc. But roast it with olive oil until it is golden brown and it takes on a whole new personality. For the most amazing broccoli recipe in the world, check out this blog, The Amateur Gourmet. It is here that I fell in love with the idea to roast every kind of vegetable I could.

This recipe may seem very similar to the broccoli recipe (which is why I call it an “inspired”), but I have changed up a few things to add a little of my own flair. It is great as a side dish for a meal or can be eaten alone as a snack by itself. I typically roast veggies a few times a week, whether it is broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, etc. Brussel sprouts are now one of our family favorites. Oddly enough, I grew up hating those little green sprouts. I guess you have never tasted a good sprout until you have had it eaten it smothered in garlic with delicious crispy brown edges. Soooooo good….

Another cool tidbit about brussel sprouts is that they are a vegetable from the cruciferous family, as is broccoli. Is it any coincidence that these veggies that are amazing for us come from a food group that was named after the cross they represent in their flowers? I think not. A lot of good stuff comes from the cross :) Check out more about the healthy benefits of cruciferous veggies HERE.

I hope this recipe will inspire you to go out and roast some veggies this week. You won’t regret it!

Roasted Garlic Brussel Sprouts

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1215 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 cups or 1.5 pounds brussel sprouts, washed and dried completely
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup shredded Manchengo Cheese (optional)

Instructions

  • 1) Preheat the oven to 450°
  • 2) Slice 3 cups of Brussel sprouts in half. If you wash them first, make sure they are completely dry. This is important so that they turn out crispy.
  • 3) Peel 4-5 garlic cloves and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt. Finely mince garlic with large knife that has a big flat blade on it. Be kind to your fingers.
  • 4) Once you have minced the garlic as fine as you can get it, take the flat blade of the knife and push the garlic into the cutting board as you drag the knife in one direction. Pick up the knife and drag it across the garlic in the opposing direction. Chop a little more in between the smushing process. You are trying to create more of a paste using the garlic and salt. This will help the garlic coat the sprouts easier.
  • 5) Place Brussel sprouts in a bowl with garlic paste, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Toss to completely coat the sprouts.
  • 6) Pour the entire mixture out on a foil lined baking sheet.
  • 7) Put sprouts in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until they begin to turn brown and crispy on the outsides.
  • 8) Before removing from the pan, toss with 1 more tbsp olive oil and the juice of a lemon. 9) 9) If using the cheese, grate 1/4 cup-1/3 cup manchengo on top and let melt.
  • 10) I dare you not to eat a few before you put them on a plate. Soooooo good!! I love to eat the little crispy flakes that fall off by themselves on the baking sheet. It's like a delicious garlic veggie chip. A guilty pleasure you don't have to feel guilty about!
http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/05/01/roasted-garlic-brussel-sprouts/

 

CONTINUE HERE FOR PICTURE TUTORIAL:

Preheat the oven to 450°. Slice 3 cups of Brussel sprouts in half. If you wash them first, make sure they are completely dry. This is important so that they turn out crispy.

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Peel 4-5 garlic cloves and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt.

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Finely mince garlic with large knife. Be kind to your fingers.

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Once you have minced the garlic as fine as you can get it, take the flat blade of the knife and push the garlic into the cutting board as you drag the knife in one direction. Pick up the knife and drag it across the garlic in the opposing direction. Chop a little more in between the smushing process. You are trying to create more of a paste using the garlic and salt. This will help the garlic coat the sprouts easier.

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Place Brussel sprouts in a bowl with garlic paste, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Toss to completely coat the sprouts.

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Pour the entire mixture out on a foil lined baking sheet.

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Put sprouts in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until they begin to turn brown and crispy on the outsides.

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Before removing from the pan, toss with 1 more tbsp olive oil and the juice of a lemon. Grate 1/4 cup-1/3 cup manchengo cheese on top and let melt.

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I dare you not to eat a few before you put them on a plate. Soooooo good!! I love to eat the little crispy flakes that fall off by themselves on the baking sheet. It’s like a delicious garlic veggie chip. A guilty pleasure you don’t have to feel guilty about!

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These also go great as a side dish for dinner!!

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Enjoy!!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Dozen Bread

IMG_3223I think small things are super cute. Like babies. You know how people are always googling over a cute little baby? I do that with all kinds of small things. “Awww, look at that cute little sweater!” or because I work in a radiology department, “That six month old’s skull xray is adorable!”

Sticking with the theme of small cuteness, when I decided to post my recipe for dozen bread, I could’ve easily made it one big loaf. But who wants that when you can have a bunch of cute baby loaves? Plus, when starting out with a smaller portion, we tend to eat less. These baby loaves are so versatile because you can wrap them up in foil, thrown them in the freezer and pull them out to thaw when you are craving some dozen bread. When I say craving, I mean it. This bread was an overnight success with my coworkers. In fact, more than any other recipe I am frequently asked, “Do you have any of that bread with you today?”

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This bread is great because it doesn’t require any fancy flours to make. And boy does it pack a protein punch! Dozen bread gets its name from the fact that it takes a dozen eggs to make one batch. Eggs have taken on a bad rep through the years as a cholesterol raising culprit, but new research begs to differ. They are one of the best natural forms of protein available. In fact, they may help raise HDL (good cholesterol) in the body. From my personal experience as a person with outrageously high cholesterol levels, I can tell you that eggs have not increased this number. In fact, as my egg intake went up, and dairy went down, so did my cholesterol numbers. I can happily say I am in a normal range today due to my natural food diet changes. Click here to check out more on eggs.

Dozen Bread

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 5 mini loaves or 1 large loaf

Serving Size: 15

Dozen Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almonds
  • 2 cups unsweeted coconut, shredded
  • 2 cups oats, gluten free, plus more for sprinkling
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 5 mini loaf foil pans (optional: 1 large loaf pan)
  • coconut oil for greasing

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Place 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup coconut, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Add remaining coconut, oats and almonds to food processor. Blend for 1 minute.
  • When mixture is done blending, it should appear more like a meal, with the almonds in very small pieces. If there are any large chunks of almonds, remove them from the bowl.
  • Add the blended mixture to the unprocessed oat/coconut mixture and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, crack open 12 eggs. Add honey to eggs.
  • Whisk with a fork until blended well.
  • Pour egg mixture into “flour” mixture.
  • Stir until all ingredients are blended.
  • Prep 5 mini loaf pans by greasing generously with coconut oil.
  • Divide bread mix between all 5 mini loaf pans. Sprinkle the top with oats.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown on the outside. You should be able to push on the top lightly and it will feel firm.
  • Once bread has cooled completely, cut into thin slices. You can speed up this process by placing warm loaves wrapped in the foil and put in the refrigeraor until cool. Store any unused loaves in the freezer. Wrap in foil and place in a freezer bag before freezing.
  • If you decide to make one large loaf instead of mini’s, generously grease a regular sized loaf pan. Cut a rectangle of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of the pan. Place in pan and then pour mixture in . Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until the bread does not give when pushed lightly in the middle.

For more on ways to use Dozen Bread and a step-by-step picture tutorial, visit http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/03/06/dozen-bread/

http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/03/06/dozen-bread/

 

CONTINUE HERE FOR PICTURE TUTORIAL: 

Place 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup coconut, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

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Add remaining coconut, oats and almonds to food processor. Blend for 1 minute.

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When mixture is done blending, it should appear more like a meal, with the almonds in very small pieces. If there are any large chunks of almonds, remove them from the bowl.

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Add the blended mixture to the unprocessed oat/coconut mixture and mix well.

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Crack open the dozen eggs in a separate large bowl. Add honey to eggs.

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Whisk with a fork until blended well.

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Pour egg mixture into “flour” mixture.

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Stir until all ingredients are blended.

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Prep 5 mini loaf pans by greasing generously with coconut oil.

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Divide bread mix between all 5 mini loaf pans. Sprinkle the tops with oats.

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They are so cute…fits right in your hand :)

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Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown on the outside. You should be able to push on the top lightly and it will feel firm.

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Once bread has cooled completely, cut into thin slices. You can speed up this process by placing warm loaves wrapped in the foil and put in the refrigerator until cool. Store any unused loaves in the freezer. Wrap in foil and place in a freezer bag before freezing.

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If you decide to make one large loaf instead of mini’s, generously grease a regular sized loaf pan. Cut a rectangle of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of the pan. Place in pan and then pour mixture in . Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until the bread does not give when pushed lightly in the middle.

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So once you have your dozen bread, what do you do with it? You can obviously eat it plain, but I love making little snacks out of mine. Here are 5 ways to shake up snack time using dozen bread:

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1) A slice of pepperoni with a small wedge of manchengo cheese (manchengo is from sheep milk, not cows milk)

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2) Almond maple butter with banana slices

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3) Almond cheese with a homemade garlic pickle spear (click here for recipe)

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4) Toasted dozen bread topped with Bruschetta (recipe coming soon!)

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5) Dip bread in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Italian spices. Yum!!

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There are sooooooo many ways to use this bread! How would you use your dozen bread?

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Italian Deli Roll-up with Homemade Garlic Pickles

I am not a fan of processed foods (Obviously! If you missed this, check out my bio). I feel the best possible flavor and health benefits come from cooking with whole foods. There are times though, when the only way to make a specific recipe is to use something that has been processed. When that happens, instead of completely avoiding the dish, I choose to make better choices in what processed food I would like to use. I don’t think people should have to avoid something completely. We just must decide whether or not we are making a healthy choice when deciding on using an ingredient. Fortunately, there are so many good options and alternatives out on the market today! In a sense, we can have our cake, eat it too, and not have the horrid after effects that regular sugar laden cake does to our bodies.

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I absolutely LOVE Italian subs. It’s kind of hard to get the full effect of a sandwich like this one without some tasty deli meats. Fortunately, this tasty treat is so delicious, you won’t even notice the bread is missing. Seriously!! Now a major controversy surrounding deli meats is the fact that they contain nitrates. I choose to buy nitrate free products, such as Applegate, however, there are very few studies to show that nitrates are damaging to the body. In fact, nitrates are produced naturally in many vegetables and fruit we eat every day. However, I do recognize the fact that so many people have a sensitivity to added nitrates (myself included) and choose to go with the healthiest brands available. Another great brand I recently discovered is Troyer. You can check out their product info here. For a full list of healthier deli meats, click here.

Anyhoo, back to Italian sub talk. This gluten free, low carb version is awesome. It is super easy to make, and has a special homemade touch with the delicious pickles created by my step-mom Lana. She was kind enough to share her recipe so that I could share it with all of you :)

What you’ll need:

1 slice turkey deli meat

2 slices pepperoni

2 slices salami

1 homemade pickle

2 tsp natural brown mustard

For the pickles:

12 pickling cucumbers, thoroughly washed

2 tbsp coconut sugar

5 tbsp sea salt

2.5 tbsp safflower oil

5 tbsp vinegar (I used white distilled)

2 tbsp minced garlic

1/2 tbsp pepper

 

Kitchen Equipment:

Large Jar for Pickles

Knife

Measuring spoons

Toothpicks (optional)

Directions:

Make the pickles a day ahead. Make sure you wash them thoroughly as the crevices tend to hold dirt.

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Cut each cucumber in half long ways, then cut that half in half again. You should have 4 long spears from one cucumber.

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Place all cucumbers in a large jar.

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Add sugar, salt, oil, vinegar, garlic, and pepper.

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Place lid on tightly and shake well, coating all the cucumbers. For the next day, every time you walk in the kitchen, take the jar out and shake it up. Eventually, the cucumbers will release water and the juice will grow in the jar.

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These are what they should look like the next day. Ready to eat! They are seasoned with a slight crunch. Delicious!!

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Onto the italian roll-up…Lay out one piece of turkey and evenly distribute mustard.

 

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Lay 2 pieces of salami, next to each other, on top of the turkey and mustard.

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Lay 2 pieces of pepperoni on top of the salami.

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Take a pickle and lay it across the the meat stack perpendicular to the long side of the turkey slice. Make sure it is all the way at the end.

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Gently fold the meat over the pickle and continue to roll away from you.

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Hold roll up in place with a toothpick to hold it in place as a snack for later. Or eat it right now. You know you want to.

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Italian roll-up served with a side of Way Better Snacks' Gluten free Simply Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips

Italian roll-up served with a side of Way Better Snacks’ Gluten free Simply Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips

 

These are soooooo good. I honestly don’t even miss the fact that it doesn’t have cheese or bread. The combo of flavors from the pickles and good quality deli meat make this roll-up an instant favorite. Enjoy!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Easy Peasy Trail Mix to Go

IMG_3098We have a staple in our household: trail mix. It’s one of those things I know my husband will go for when he is past the point of starving to hold him over, and is a healthy alternative to what he could grab instead. Don’t get me wrong…he is a super healthy eater, but you know how ravenous someone can get when they past the point of no return with an angry tummy. I’m pretty sure I would start eating the plants on my patio if I had to. No regrets either. Except that we forget to water them, so it would be a pretty dry snack…

This is probably the easiest trail mix you could ever throw together. I make it about every 2 weeks and takes me no more than 10 minutes to mix and separate into individual portions. I use what I affectionately call my “trail mix bowl” for measuring, mixing and storing. When it is empty, the hubster puts it out on the counter and I make some more. This version is not only pretty dern tasty, but also allows you to customize based on what you like. It’s really that simple.

 

What you’ll need:

A mix of nut varieties, dates, raisins, healthy chocolate chips, banana chips, dried fruit…whatever you like in a trail mix. Buy enough to fill your “trail mix” bowl

3 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp powdered maple sugar

 

Kitchen Equipment:

“Trail Mix” bowl

wooden spoon or a long kitchen spoon

measuring spoons and cup

sandwich sized ziplock baggies

 

Directions:

Step one: Find a large bowl that you don’t use for cooking all that often. It will become your trail mix bowl :) This is what mine looks like.

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Fill your trail mix bowl until you only have about 2 inches left on the sides without any mix. Use a combo of your ingredients. For this mix, I used banana chips, dates, almonds, walnuts and cashews. If all of your stuff won’t fit, just set it aside for next time.

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Add cinnamon, maple sugar and mix well with a big spoon. This makes the trail mix so tasty! You can also add apple pie or pumpkin pie spice around the holidays to mix it up a bit.

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Using a 1 cup measuring cup, portion the trail mix out into sandwich baggies.

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Keep portioning the mix out until you have no more. See, all gone :) Rinse and dry your trail mix bowl.

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Put your portioned baggies back into your trail mix bowl. I usually get about 13-15 baggies. You could get more with a smaller portion size if you want.

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Place your trail mix bowl in a very obvious place in your pantry. Mine is in the front of the other stuff I have crammed in there lol. IMG_3110Enjoy!

 

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Greek Chicken Skewers with Cashew Tzatziki Sauce

My husband and I have a special place in our heart for greek food. In fact, during one period of our lives, we frequented the local greek restaurant at least once a week (or one made the other one pick it up as take out on the way home). Sadly, our beloved greek restaurant vanished one day. The good news is it didn’t close; it had only moved to a new location. The bad news is that location was a little farther than we are able to go on a weekly basis. So alas, our greek food fixes do not occur very often anymore without a 45 minute drive north.

Recently when I was planning out our lunches for the following week, I got a little craving for something greek. But it needed to be easy to throw in a bag in the morning, so after giving it a little thought (while still drooling over the prospect of eating something greek very soon) the Chicken Greek skewers were born. They combine a great spice combination with a new twist on the usual dairy based Tzatziki sauce. These skewers are lean, dairy free and packed with a nice little protein punch! As with many of my recipes, I make these in bulk, and freeze out portions so I can grab and go in the morning. They make a great lunch and an even better afternoon snack!! Nothing like a little mid-day protein to power your brain so you are ready to conquer the second half of the day :)

What you’ll need:

For the skewers-

1 tsp black pepepr

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp oregano

1 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp pink himalayan salt (or sea salt)

1/4 cup olive oil

3 medium cage free chicken breasts ( I use Harvestland)

2 large zucchini

1 container cherry tomatoes

1 jar kalamata olives

 

For the sauce-

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup water

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 of a cucumber

6-8 mint leaves

1/2 tsp salt

 

Kitchen Equipment:

Food processor, Ninja, magic bullet, or coffee grinder

cutting board

1 plate

4 bowls

2 baking sheets lined with foil

aluminum foil and freezer bags for storage

 

Directions:

Soak 25 skewers for at least 30 minutes before starting to bake so that the wood doesn’t splinter when you are eating it (ouch!). If you are soaking them for more than 4 hours, make sure they aren’t becoming too flexible under the water.

Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Put all spices (black pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt) in food processor and blend for 20 seconds to grind all the ingredients together.

Place ground spices in a small bowl.

Add 1/4 cup olive oil and mix well.

Take out chicken and place on a large plate.

Coat chicken well with all the spice marinade. This works best if you use your hands. Set chicken aside.

Cut zucchini into 3/4 inch slices and then cut each slice again into 4 pieces. Place in a bowl and set aside.

After zucchini is diced, cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces and place in a bowl. Set remaining marinade aside for later.

Rinse the tomatoes and leave them in the container they came in. Place kalamata olives in a bowl (for easy handling) and set out all 4 skewering ingredients next to each other: chicken, tomatoes, zucchini and olives.

Drain skewers. Put skewering items on the stick one at a time, making sure you have done one of each item before rotating another layer. Depending on how close you put them together, you should be able to get 2 or 3 of each item on one skewer. If you run out of one item, just use more of the other items until you have run out of ingredients. You can mix and match what you place on your skewers as well if you have someone that doesn’t like one of the ingredients that you do.

Set all skewers to where the ends are resting on the long sides of the baking trays. If the baking sheets are too large for this, spray the foil with olive oil and place the skewers directly on the trays. Fill up both trays and space skewers out evenly.

Brush skewers with remaining marinade.

Place baking sheets in the middle of the oven side by side and bake at 350° for about 20-25 min or until chicken is cooked through and zucchini is soft.

While skewers are cooking, place 1/2 cup cashews and 1/2 cup water in food processor and blend for 2 minutes until creamy.

Add lemon, cucumber, mint leaves and salt to cashew mixture and blend for 1 minute.

When skewers are done, take out of oven and let cool for a few minutes before eating. The tomatoes are extremely hot!!! It’s like liquid fire inside that little red ball!

Serve skewers 2 at a time with a little bowl of tzatziki sauce :)

Wrap up the remaining skewers using aluminum foil. Place 2 skewers in a sheet of aluminum foil and wrap up tightly, concentrating on the ends so that the skewers don’t poke through the foil.


Or you can just keep eating them instead…

Enjoy!!! To get more recipes like these sent directly to you, sign up for a subscription to Tiffany’s Trim Treats (the box at the top right corner of this blog) or you can “like” me on Facebook or “follow” me on  Twitter :)

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog Pops

 

I have always loved this time of year. The cold weather, the holidays, and something special that I will always hold near and dear to my heart: the Volusia County fair! There is something about the fair that gets me every time. I think it all comes back to the smell….yes the wonderful smell of fried fair food. I have given up most of the rides years ago, but the smells keep me coming back year after year for a night of shameful snacking. I usually always leave with a stomachache from the binge eating, but it’s a traditional that has become an annual happy outing. This year, I was unable to make it to the fair due to my work schedule. Instead of missing out on the food…I decided to create something that was a much more healthy but none-the-less fair worthy treat to enjoy throughout the week.

I always get a sampling of many different treats, but the fair food I never skip is the corn dog. It’ s kind of my go-to snack. This is probably one of the worst foods I could consume, not just because it is deep fried, but also because it contains a hot dog that is loaded with nitrates and who knows what else! Rodents come to mind… Anyhoo, I searched for quite a while before I found an acceptable hot dog for my healthy version of the corn dog. I chose to use hot dogs from the company Applegate.  Not all of their meats are organic, but these specific hot dogs are organic, nitrate free and grass fed! YAY!! No added soy feed or fillers. This is probably the least processed hot dog you could find right now. Click on the picture above to search where you can find these in your area.

This recipe can also be done meatless using vegan approved hot dogs and bacon if you don’t want to use actual meat. I suggest choosing an organic variety that has as few ingredients as possible. The less processed the better!

 

What you’ll need:

3 packs applegate organic hot dogs

2 packs nitrate free bacon

2 packs wooden dowel rods (found in the craft section of Walmart)

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup water

 

Kitchen Equipment:

pencil sharpeners

2 baking sheets liked with foil or parchment paper

small saucepan

basting brush or spoon

 

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°. The first step involves prepping the dowel rods. You can skip this step but they may not push into the hot dogs too easily without it.

 

Sharpen one end of the dowel rod until it has a slight point to it. It doesn’t have to be super pointy, but it needs to have enough of a shape so it glides into the hot dog without a lot of resistance.

Slide the dowel rod about 3/4 of the way into the hot dog.

Trim the dowel rod down to a shorter length if desired using a wire cutter. Or you can keep them long for a fun fair effect. Just make sure they will fit on your baking sheet.

Take one piece of bacon and wrap it around the hot dog, starting at the top and twisting it down to the bottom.

Place all the hot dog pops on the baking sheet and make the sauce to coat them.

To make sauce, place 1/2 cup honey and 1/3 cup water into a pan and bring to a boil. Take pan off of heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

The next step can be done in two ways.,#1) Baste the hot dog pops with honey sauce, coating completely or…

#2) hold hot dog over the sauce and coat using a spoon.

Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until bacon is cooked through.

When hot dog pops are done, grab some honey mustard and enjoy!

I make lots of these so I can snack on them for awhile. Once they are completely cool, wrap each pop in saran wrap, put in a freezer bag and place in freezer. Pull them out one at a time for a yummy healthy carnival inspired treat!

They are great with ketchup, mustard, honey mustard, or plain. Delish!!!

What is your favorite fair food?

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

Chilly Chili

 

I am so excited! Today is the first fall day in Florida where we have had really cool weather (in the 40′s!). I know, that is probably mild to some of you, but when 40 degree weather rolls around here, we all pull out our winter jackets. This is, sadly, usually a combo of a long sleeve shirt and a hoodie layered together lol.

For being born and raised in the sunshine state, I really enjoy my cold days. I don’t know if it’s because we get so few of them, or the nostalgia of  happy wintery memories that come flooding back, but they always makes me smile! Whether you love or hate the cold weather, almost everyone agrees: chilly days make warm foods taste amazing! A piping hot dish just doesn’t taste the same on a sweltering humid day.

I really like chili when it gets chilly. Because our winter days here are so sporadic, you kind of have to plan in advance with weather forecasts if you want to make a fresh warm bowl on a cold day. So, in an attempt to get a one-up on the weather, I started making large batches and freezing them in individual baggies. I can pull out a bag to snack on without going through the process of starting from scratch, and possibly missing my winter weather opportunity window. I can have my chili anytime it gets chilly…no extra fuss.

Side note: This chili is amazing with Chocolate-Covered Katie’s Totally Addictive Cornbread. Delish!

What you’ll need:

6 strips nitrate and hormone free bacon

1 large sweet onion; roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic

1 organic steak

1 lb organic ground beef or sausage

1 cup organic red wine

1 cup corn

2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed (omit for paleo)

1 cup tomato sauce

3 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

2 tsp salt

1 tsp cacao powder

1/2 – 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like it hot)

1/2-1 cup beef broth or water if chili is too dry after ingredients are added (optional)

 

Kitchen equipment:

Large deep skillet (or electric skillet)

cutting board

sandwich bags

freezer bags

 

Directions:

Fry bacon until brown and crispy.

 

When bacon is done, chop roughly into pieces and set aside.

While bacon is cooking, chop onion and set aside.

Mince garlic and place in bowl with onion.

Slice steak into 2 inch strips. Slice strip in half again and dice into 1 inch cubes.

When bacon is done, add onion and garlic to the same pan. Do not remove bacon grease.

Saute for 5-7 minutes or until onions start to become translucent and soft.

Add ground beef and steak.

Cook for another 5 minutes or until meat is about 90 percent cooked through.

Add remaining ingredients (including bacon) and stir well.

 

Simmer for 30 min.

Pour into a crock and enjoy!

Don’t forget your spoon :)

To store for later (or a good chilly day), place 1 cup portions into sandwich bags and place all bags into one large freezer bag. Pull one out and thaw using the defrost setting on the microwave. You can heat it to the desired temperature at that point or stick it in your lunchbox to enjoy later.

Ok cold weather…keep giving me a reason to heat up my Chilly Chili :)

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

 



Using the Whole Pumpkin – How to Carve, Puree, Cube, Snack and Display your annual Halloween Jack-O-Lantern!!!

Did you know that you can eat a carving pumpkin? Yes you can! A carving pumpkin, aka Jack-o-lantern, is just as edible as it’s small sized siblings that are more commonly used in the kitchen. There are also no toxicity issues as some have feared. If that were the case, I would not be sitting here sharing this with you today…I have eaten a TON of it over the last few days lol. Plus, my presently living and breathing boxer decided to sneak half a pan for himself while I wasn’t looking.  Bad dog!!

The main concerns about eating a Jack-O-Lantern are that many have been sprayed with pesticides. As with many other thick skinned vegetables, they are  safe to eat as the pesticides do not typically penetrate to the insides. Just don’t eat the outer shell and you’ll be fine. If you still feel uneasy about it, you can sometimes get a pesticide free pumpkin from your local farmers market or health food store, however, organic pumpkins are extremely rare and may not be very easy to find.

Some people also claim that the carving pumpkin is not as flavorful as the small ones specifically bred for pumpkin dishes. I thought mine tasted wonderful! I used it in my Pumpkin Flan with Maple Glaze (coming soon), Wilted Spinach, Pumpkin and Apple salad (coming soon), as well as some pretty tasty roasted pumpkin seeds! If you are still skeptical of eating a carving pumpkin, you can choose a smaller variety, just try to buy the largest one possible. You will still be able to use the entire pumpkin as shown in this article.

After I did all the research to make sure a carving pumpkin was safe to eat, I decided to go for it! How many times do we just use a carving pumpkin for fun Halloween decorations without taking full advantage of what it can offer?!? So at the risk of ending up on Extreme Cheapskates, here it is:  How to use the entire pumpkin, without throwing anything away :)

What you’ll need:

1 Carving Pumpkin (or a large pumpkin pie variety)

Coconut Oil

1 tbsp Olive Oil

2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp chili powder

 

Kitchen Equipment:

Large cutting board

Assorted knives

4 medium to large sized bowls

Baking sheets lined with parchment paper

sandwich baggies

Gallon freezer bags

 

Directions:

Wash the Jack-o-lantern in the sink with soap and water to remove any mold or dirt from the outside. This will help to preserve the life of the pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Slice the top off of the pumpkin by carving a circle out around the stem.  Keep this piece as it will go back on as your topper. Make sure your knife is at an angle pointing in toward the middle of the pumpkin so the topper will fit back on without falling into your pumpkin. Super annoying when that happens…

Complete the circle and pull the top off.  Set aside.

Using a medium sized knife, make a slit one each side of the pumpkin as if you are going to cut the whole pumpkin in half…because you are :) Surprise!!!

Finish cutting down the sides of the pumpkin one side at a time. I found this was easiest using a bread knife.  Make sure your knives are SHARP! This makes all the difference in your pumpkin project.  If your line start to swerve off course, just readjust and keep cutting. Cut your lines all the way through until they meet on the bottom and split the pumpkin open into two parts.

Time to clean out the seeds. The easiest way is to grab the orange pulp (gently) with your hands and the seeds will slide out easily. Place them in a bowl and set aside for later.

Once all the seeds have been removed, use a spoon to carve out the bright orange pulp all the way down to the light colored pumpkin meat. Place all the pulp in the second bowl (not the one with the seeds in it).

Without cutting through the outer shell, slice some of the pumpkin meat off the sides of the pumpkin. Cut off as much as you can and place into the third bowl.

To get the rest of the meat out, use a spoon and scrape against the inside of the pumpkin. It will create pumpkin shavings.   Place all the shavings in the last bowl.

It may be easier to stand the pumpkin half up and scrape the meat down onto a piece of waxed paper.

Scrape down as far as comfortably possible without going through the outer shell. Notice the difference in sizes between the shaved pumpkin on the right and the non-shaved pumpkin on the left.

Don’t forget to save the meat from the topper! Make sure you save the top stem with about an inch or two of the meat.

Place all the shavings on parchment lined baking sheets. You may need to do this step in multiple batches depending on your pumpkin size.

Coat each pan with 2 TBSP of coconut oil. This helps to give the pumpkin a richer flavor for the recipes. Bake for 40 min.

While pumpkin shavings are baking, roughly dice the rest of the pumpkin meat and place on another baking sheet.

Coat diced pieces with 2 TBSP oil and set aside until oven is free. Once open, bake for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, while the pumpkin insides are cooking, start carving the face.  Lay the half you plan on carving rounded side up on cutting board.

If your pumpkin is not level, use a folded washcloth to make sure the pumpkin is not wobbling back and forth (don’t want to cut yourself!).  Draw a face on the pumpkin with a magic marker. Mine was very basic. I am good with food…not so much with drawing lol…

Carve the face out with a knife and place the scraps in the bowl with the orange pulp.  If the pieces are super large, break them down to a more manageable size. Do not throw anything away! Remember…we are using the ENTIRE pumpkin in this project :)

I decided he needed eyebrows.

Once the pumpkin is carved,  squeeze one lemon into an empty bowl and add 2 TBSP water. Brush lemon mixture all over the inside and outside of the pumpkin to help preserve it.  Set aside until the lemon juice has dried on the outside.

Once the pumpkin shavings are done, let cool for 10 min. Pick up the parchment paper and let the shavings fall into a food processor. Do not put the parchment paper in the processor. But you knew that. Just making sure… :)

Alternately, you can use a spatula to scrape it from the pan into the processor. Puree each batch for at least 2 minutes or until creamy.

Take a glass and place a bag in it with the top of the bag flipped over the outside of the glass.

Place 1 cup of pumpkin puree in the bag and seal. Do this for each cup of pumpkin puree until the mixture is evenly divided among the bags. Repeat this process with the cooked diced pumpkin as well. Store all sandwich bags in one large freezer bag and freeze for later use.

Ok! It is time to put humpty dumpty back together again! I used super glue, but feel free to use a hot glue gun if you are more comfortable with that. Squeezable super glue gel worked the best for me. You will need to work fast before the glue sets. Place the back part of the pumpkin, rounded side down, on the cutting board. Once the glue is on, immediately place the front of the pumpkin onto the back.  Make sure the edges line up and hold in place for a minute or so until the glue is set. If you are like me you will get super glue on your fingers. Nail polish remover will take it right off.  You’re welcome.

Stand the pumpkin up and reinforce the sides with glue if needed.

Place on a piece of plywood or large cutting board covered in foil. Arrange the leftover “guts” falling out of the mouth of the pumpkin.  Naughty cannibal pumpkin…don’t you know what happens when pumpkins eat pumpkins?!?

You can either set the pumpkin up for display with candles as a great accent or…

Wrap it completely in saran wrap and place into the fridge until the big day! I live in Florida…we typically don’t put pumpkins out until the day of or a few nights before Halloween so it doesn’t mold too quickly.

Once the pumpkin is put away or out for the world to see and the pumpkin meat is all cooked, heat the oven to 450°. Take the bowl with the pumpkin seeds and clean off any remaining orange pulp. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp chili powder.

Roast until golden brown and crispy for about 8 to 10 min. I like mine a little over done, so I tend to leave them in for the full 10 minutes.

I don’t know about you, but I feel a strange happiness knowing that I got as much out of this pumpkin as possible. I hope you all get that same feeling. You are not an extreme cheapskate…you are a person that knows to appreciate something for it’s full potential. Have a safe and fun Halloween everyone!

Please send pics of your carved pumpkins to healthysnacks@tiffanystrimtreats.com and I will upload them to a future post!!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

Herbed Goat Cheese and Tomato Caprese Stacks with Balsamic Agave Drizzle

There is something about food presentation that changes everything about a meal. For some reason, when it looks prettier, it seems to taste better overall. Of course there are exceptions, but for the most part, this seems to be the rule. I have the same rule with a bottle of  wine. If the bottle looks pretty, I’m probably going to try it (as long as it is a vintage I am into). I guess you could label me as a food and drink snob lol.

This recipe busts right through the rule.

You could literally pile it all on a plate and it wouldn’t matter how it was presented. Yup…it’s that good.

But for the sake of fun, and pictures, I have decided to make it look pretty for you, so you too can make it look pretty at home.

At least for the 30 seconds before it is devoured.

 

What you’ll need:

6 medium sized tomatoes (sometimes you can get them in a pack and are labeled as tasting sweet…these are the best!)

4 oz herbed goat cheese, log formed

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup agave nectar or honey

 

Kitchen Equipment:

small saucepan

Cutting board

Knife

Storage container for sauce and stacks

 

Directions:

To make sauce, combine vinegar and agave nectar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil for about 5 min. Place in a container and let cool completely.

Slice tomatoes into 4 even pieces, leaving top intact with stem. Top with small sliver of goat cheese on each tomato.

Stack tomato slices on top of one another, arranging so that the goat cheese packed in between slices. Top with stemmed piece.

Drizzled with balsamic glaze.

Drool.

If you were able to keep yourself from inhaling this freshly made tempting tomato stack, you can store it in plastic containers. I recommend not putting the glaze on until right before it is served. These will stay fresh for about up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Occasionally the juice from the tomato will settle in the bottom of the container if you decide to store them instead of making them fresh, but this does not affect the flavor at all (just the presentation). I am a huge fan of traditional tomato caprese, but the mozzarella gets me every time. Oddly enough, when I created this recipe, I actually thought it tasted BETTER than the mozzarella version and you don’t have to use fresh basil to get the herb flavor because it is incorporated into the cheese. Plus, who can resist anything drizzled with balsamic agave vinaigrette? Yum!! Time to eat…:)

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Grown-up Chicken Fingers with Honey Dijon sauce

Did you know that October is National Spinach month? Yup…me neither. Thank goodness for Twitter :P

What’s the perfect way to honor the month of green leafy goodness?

Grown -up chicken fingers :) These chicken fingers are unique not only for their green appearance, but because they pack a great nutritional punch with high levels of iron and calcium from the addition of spinach powder. This is a super easy powder you can make at home for much cheaper than purchasing online. If you decided to add the chia powder, you are also getting the additional benefits of fiber, protein, magnesium, phosphorus as well as those wonderful Omega-3′s!

I may say “grown-up,” but these chicken fingers are so tasty that your kids will probably be after your food. Run, hide, and snack before they are gone!!!

 

What you’ll need:

2 packages chicken tenderloins (I use Harvestland hormone free, cage free chicken)

1 cup pecans

2 tbsp spinach powder (homemade or store bought)

2 tbsp  nutritional yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tbsp chia seed meal (optional)

2 eggs

2 tbsp olive oil

Brown Mustard and Honey to make sauce (see later on how to make individual portions)

 

Kitchen Equipment:

food processor or Ninja

2 plates

baking sheet lined with parchment paper

multi-purpose plastic mini cups

 

Directions:

Place 1 cup of pecans in food processor with spinach powder, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder and chia powder. Pulse until pecans are small and crumb-like, and all ingredients are combined.

Place eggs and olive oil on one plate and whisk with fork until combined.

Place pecan-spinach mixture on a plate. Put both the plates side by side and get ready to coat the chicken!

Pull out chicken tenderloins. I use Harvestland. It is hormone free, cage free chicken and it very tender compared to most chicken. You can buy them at Walmart.

Coat the chicken in the egg mixture first.

Take chicken out of the egg mixture and place into the pecan mixture. Coat chicken well on both sides.

Place chicken on baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 25 min. Do not over bake or chicken will dry out. Eat immediately or store for later.

To make sauce, combine 2 tbsp mustard with 1 tbsp honey in a plastic mini cup and stir well to mix. I use the Diamond multi-purpose mini cups that are BPA free and recyclable. They can be found near the plastic wrap/paper plates/foil etc isle at Walmart and are less that $3 for a pack of 50. If these cups are not available, make extra sauce in one large container and pull it out when you are ready to snack.

I hate to brag, but these things are awesome! If you are planning snacks for the week, you can put them in a sandwich bag 2 at a time and place all sandwich bags in one large freezer bag. Pull out one bag at a time and let thaw for a snack. Either reheat in the microwave or crisp them up in a toaster oven. Both ways are fabulous. Don’t forget your dipping sauce!

Go and feel good about yourself. You are a guilt free grown-up-chicken-finger-eating snacker :)

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Trick and Treat with Homemade Spinach Powder

I am always trying to come up with ways to make food healthier. Even healthy food. I increasingly want to push the envelope to see what I can conjure up. The problem with some recipes is that the healthier you try and make them, the more “healthy” they taste. We all understand what the meaning of “tastes healthy” is right? Here’s an example: When I first started experimenting with vegan food several years ago, I wanted to make cookies. They came out ok, but definitely didn’t taste like a fresh baked normal cookie. I was proud of them (and slightly defensive…) because they were good for me, and while I wanted so badly for someone else to like them, something about them was just, well, off. I think my coworker actually used the term ‘horse treats’ to describe the flavor. She was right, they did taste like horse treats. They tasted too “healthy.”

Over the years I have definitely refined my recipes to be healthy, without tasting “healthy.” So in my quest to amp up the good-for-you-ness of what goes into my mouth, I have decided to trick myself…and others. Yep, that’s right, good ol’fashioned trickery. There are many different ways you can add things to your food, not taste it, and get amazing benefits for your body. One such ingredient is spinach powder. Spinach is full of Omega-3 not to mention a slew of other great nutritional benefits. For more info on the benefits of this green wonder-food, click here. When added to the right recipe, it goes virtually un-noticed. If you think about it, there are so many places we could add a dash of spinach powder…to our breadings, muffins, eggs, smoothies, noodles, even dark chocolate fudgy brownies. That’s right. I said brownies. Are you drooling yet? I am :)

The only problem I have found with spinach powder is the price and availability.While you can buy most anything exotic at the health food store, I have yet to find spinach powder at any of my local retailers. The price can get also get very expensive and you don’t always know if there are any preservatives added to it. Fortunately because it is so concentrated, you don’t have to use very much to get the health benefits. One tablespoon of spinach powder is equivalent to about 98 grams of spinach, which is about one third to half a bag of fresh spinach. Something I love about spinach powder is how cheap and easy it is to make! I usually will wait until fresh spinach goes on sale by one get one free and then make it in batches. With halloween right around the corner, I think I will trick and treat myself to some wholesome sneaky spinach foods.

 

What you’ll need:

1 bag pre-washed spinach (preferably organic if it’s available)

Preservative free olive oil spray

 

Kitchen equipment

Food Dehydrator

Food processor

Magic Bullet or coffee grinder (optional)

 

Directions

Spray dehydrator trays with a light coating of olive oil spray. You can skip this step, but your spinach may be harder to remove at the end of dehydration and cleanup isn’t as fun either.

Open bag of regular sized spinach leaves (pre-washed).

Place leaves overlapping on dehydrator trays. I can usually fit one bag of spinach throughout the entire dehydrator by spacing the leaves out on the trays evenly. It is ok if they are touching and on top of one another.

 

Place the top on and dehydrate on vegetable setting for about 4-5 hours.

When spinach is done, the leaves should feel dry and fall apart when handled, much like dry leaves on the ground during the fall and winter.

Remove spinach from dehydrator and place in a bowl. Let cool completely.

When completely cool, in batches, chop spinach in a food processor for about 1 minute. It will turn into tiny spinach flakes.

These are the spinach flakes, you can stop at this step and use in recipes, they will just be slightly more noticeable to the eye in some recipes.

Or you can go one step further and grind them down in a coffee grinder or magic bullet for 2 minutes until soft and powdery.

I usually make a few batches of this back to back while I have my dehydrator out. It lasts for quite a while too. Stay tuned for upcoming recipes where we will be putting this powder to the test. I look forward to helping you fulfill your propensity for sneaky spinach shenanigans :)

 

Grown-up Chicken Fingers with Honey Dijon sauce

 

Mint Walnut Brownies with a Secret…

 

 

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

Sweet Pork Potato Stack-Snack

I am SUPER excited today!!! The Ancient Olive, and amazing oil and vinegar company announced today on facebook that it will now have products available for purchase online. YAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!! This is so great because I use their products all the time and unfortunately they are currently located only in St Augustine and Winter Park, Florida. Seeing that I live more than 45 min away from each location (and much farther for many of you), this is an ingredient problem for some of the recipes I create that use their products. Well, not anymore. Welcome to oil and vinegar heaven people!!

The Ancient Olive is a company that creates flavor infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars without any added sugars. It is much healthier than using butter, syrups or processed flavors to achieve that specific or unique taste you want to achieve in a dish. Unlike many other “flavored” vinegars, these really taste like the ingredient infused in them. Imagine this: coconut white balsamic vinegar paired with a lime oil marinated over tilapia for a Key West inspired fish dish. Sweet chocolate vinegar drizzled over a bowl of strawberries with no need for added sweetener. Red apple vinegar and walnut oil dressing over a goat cheese salad with candied pecans. Butter flavored olive oil topping your popcorn with the same great flavor. Yes please! If you can manage to make it to one of the “tasting rooms,” the very knowledgeable and friendly staff will let you sample the exquisite flavors and combinations of oils and vinegars that pair well together. For me, it really was love at first taste.

In honor of this glorious day, I would like to share a yummy snack that uses one of the tastiest vinegars I own…Vermont Maple Balsamic Vinegar. I have used it on several things, but it really tastes amazing on anything with pork! This recipe also pairs well with the Strawberry Barbecue sauce from last weeks post.

 

What you’ll need:

6 microwave ready sweet potatoes (found in the produce section next to the regular sweet potatoes)

1 pork loin (4 or 5 pounds)

3/4 cup Vermont Maple Balsamic Vinegar

1/3 cup maple syrup or agave nectar

Strawberry Barbecue sauce or organic low sugar barbecue sauce (for drizzling)

 

Kitchen Equipment:

Crock pot

cutting board

12 sandwich baggies and 1 large gallon freezer bag

saran wrap or tupperware to unused half of potato

 

Directions:

Place pork loin in crock pot. Pour vinegar and maple syrup over pork and rub to coat meat.

 

Slow cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. When pork is done, it should pull apart easily with a fork. Place pork on a cutting board and pull apart into pieces with two forks. Separate into 12 portions and place each portion into a sandwich bag. Place all 12 bags into one large freezer bag. Place into freezer. (Picture shown below was done with chicken)

 

Microwave one sweet potato as directed on package. When it is soft and cooked through (test by piercing it with a fork or squeezing with your hand that had an oven mitt on it…don’t forget the oven mitt or you will be really angry at me and the sweet potato) remove and place on a cutting board. Remove the wrapping and slice through the potato lengthwise to make 2 portions. Using a fork, mash one of the halves, loosening the flesh of the potato. Wrap the other half and place in the refrigerator for a snack later.

When you are ready to assemble, thaw one bag of the pork and heat through. Place pork on top of sweet potato half and drizzle with barbecue sauce.

Do I really need to say more….:)

This recipe is DELISH! It is one of those snacks that is super filling with a nice combo of healthy carbs and protein. Plus it uses flavor infused balsamic vinegar and very little sugar so really, how can you go wrong! I once made these as lunch snacks for my family and it was seriously the easiest thing to throw together last minute in the morning.

If you’d like to check out more about the amazing oils and vinegars you that will be your new favorite kitchen companion, click here. They also have sleek and efficient pour spouts available to purchase on their site that fit perfectly in the bottles. I use silver for my vinegar and gold for my oil. Check them out!

The Skinny Shepherd

My husband and I were very blessed to be able to take a trip to Ireland last year. It is and will always be one of the most amazing places we have ever been. This country has spun out some of the best dishes I have eaten in my entire life. One of my absolute favorites is Shepherd’s Pie. This is my Ireland inspired “skinny” version that is to die for! I cook them in small ramekins so I can grab one and enjoy a nice warm afternoon snack while my mind drifts back to the emerald isle…

 

What you’ll need:

2 lbs ground free range turkey

1/2 lb (1/2 bag) organic baby carrots

1 cup peas

1 small red onion

2 tsp agave nectar or honey

1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt

1 tsp nutmeg

2 tbsp olive oil

For the topping:

1 head cauliflower

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt

3 tbsp olive oil

cracked pepper

 

Kitchen equipment

food processor or Ninja

medium stockpot

colander or strainer

Large frying pan or Magic green pan ( My favorite pan!)

cutting board

8 lightly greased ramekins placed on a baking sheet

 

Directions:

Bring 6 cups water to a boil in medium saucepan. Chop white part of cauliflower into medium sized chunks and place in boiling water.

Boil for 20 min or until cauliflower is tender.

While the cauliflower is cooking, place onion and carrots in a food processor and pulse until minced. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large saucepan heated to medium high heat. Saute carrots and onions for 5 min.

Turn heat off on stove. Add ground turkey, peas, agave nectar, salt and nutmeg and stir to combine mixture. You do not need to cook the turkey.

Divide turkey mixture evenly among 8 ramekins.

Drain cooked cauliflower and place in food processor or ninja. Add nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, and olive oil. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Top the turkey mixture with cauliflower mixture by dividing it evenly among the 8 ramekins. Top with cracked pepper.

Bake on 350 for 30 min. Turn oven to broil and cook for another 5 min or until tops begin to turn a golden color.

Let cool for at least 10 min before eating. These pies are piping hot on the inside!!!

There is something so comforting about these Skinny Shepherds. I’m not sure if it’s the hint of nutmeg, the fact that they are so good for you, or the warm goodness in your belly after eating them, but I never get enough of this snack. It’s a great way to experience an Irish culinary treasure right in your own backyard.

Renal Diet exchanges: Eliminate all salt from recipe, use fresh or frozen peas (not canned) and do not use honey as an option in the meat mixture (agave nectar only).

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Almond Herb Cheese

One of the downfalls of having a dairy allergy is not enjoying a simple pleasure of life…cheese. Me and Cheese, we were best friends. We did everything together…pizza, sandwiches, soups, etc. You should’ve seen what we could do with a cracker! Ahhh…good times. But ultimately, cheese betrayed me and I was left alone, overweight, and sporting a puffy face with a daily headache. Enter my friend the almond. It really is one of the most versatile foods and makes a mean cheese spread (without the cheese of course). This is one of my favorite snacks EVER! It pairs well with crackers, veggies, as a replacement for ricotta, or just eating it straight out of the container. Guilty :)

What you will need:

1 cup almonds (blanched if you want a white cheese)

1 lemon, juiced, seeds removed

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp dried italian herbs

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt

5 or 6 garlic cloves

 

Kitchen Equipment:

Tupperware container or bowl with plastic wrap (for soaking)

strainer or colander

Food Processor

Spatula

 

Directions:

Place almonds in a plastic container or bowl and cover with water (make sure container has enough room for almonds to expand). Cover. Let soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.

After soaking is finished, drain and rinse well under cold water.

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process for 6 to 7 minutes until smooth and creamy.

Every 2 to 3 minutes stop food processor and scrape down the sides with a spatula.

When mixture is done processing, place in container and chill. If it is still too thick, you may add more olive oil to get it to the right consistency.

Serve with veggies, gluten free crackers or a spoon :)

The consistency will not be completely smooth if you use non-blanched almonds, but I like it with a little crunch to it. If you prefer a smooth cheese (that looks like cheese), definitely go for the blanched almonds. After soaking, they will have a strong vinegar smell to them (from the blanching process), so rinse well. I hope you enjoyed meeting my new best friend, almond cheese!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

Tiffany’s Turkey Meatballs

There really is no good way to satisfy a craving for Italian food without just eating Italian food. For me, I start out in complete bliss, surrounded by the gobs of bread, cheese and oooey warm goodness. I shovel it into my mouth with no regard to how I am going to feel in about 10 minutes. And then…the agony! It’s like an Italian slap in the face and it leaves a mark! Plus I want to be in nap city, so doing anything productive is usually out of the question. I decided to come up with a way satisfy that Italian craving without sacrificing my poor sinuses in the process. And so, Tiffany’s Turkey Meatballs were born. I usually make these in really large batches (3 or 4 times the recipe I posted) and freeze them so we can pull them out whenever. You never know when an attack craving will sneak up on you..

What you will need:

1 pound hormone free/cage free ground turkey (Harvestland is the brand I use)

1 egg

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp dried Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp cracked pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp olive oil + more for tops

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup almond cheese, goat cheese or nutritional yeast (not brewers yeast)

 

Kitchen equipment

1 large bowl

Cookie sheet lined with greased foil or parchment paper

 

Directions:

Heat Oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix thoroughly with hands (yes your hands…after you have washed them :) )

Rinse your hands off, and keeping them slightly moist, roll turkey mixture into 9 meatballs and place on baking sheet.

Brush each meatball with olive oil and place in oven. Bake for 25 – 30 min or until slightly browned and completely cooked through. Try not to over bake as it will make them tough.

Enjoy! These are great by themselves, or with a little organic tomato sauce on top. I freeze them by putting 3 in a small sandwich bag and placing all the sandwiches bags in one large freezer bag. They you can grab one out in the morning for a great little protein packed afternoon snack…or morning snack. I’m not judging :)

Renal Diet replacements: exchange almond flour for rice flour, and dried herbs for 2 tablespoons each fresh basil and parsley.

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Zac and Cheese

When you hear the words “Comfort Food” what comes to mind? For me, mac and cheese has to be somewhere at the top of the list. The biggest problem with that is that cheese doesn’t like me all too well. I am very fortunate not to have all the lactose intolerant stomach cramps (and all the other gross stomach issues we won’t go into…), but my sinuses and kleenex will most definitely become best friends after a night of milk binging. What’s a girl to do?! Come up with something better :)

Putting together a list of ingredients for mac and cheese usually looks something like this: milk, wheat noodles, cheese (usually not hormone free), butter, lots of salt, and more cheese. Occasionally people might add something healthy like an onion to it. And that’s only the healthy homemade version! Boxed mac and cheese (depending on the brand) adds sodium tripolyphosphate, disodium phosphate, and or calcium phosphate as a food preservative. You can find many of these preservatives in household cleaners and corrosion inhibitors. Let’s not forget  our friends Yellow number 5 and Yellow number 6, the food colorings that turn mac and cheese a strange fluorescent orange sci-fi color. I don’t even think it even comes close to the color of sharp cheddar which usually is the brightest orange cheese. I once watched a family member consume an entire box of mac and cheese while thinking to myself, “That can’t be good…”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want chemical cleaners or something with a number in my food. Preferably, I’d also like to feel good after eating it as well! This led to my creation of the new and improved “Zac and Cheese”!

What you will need:

For the sauce

2 cups raw cashews

2 cups water

2 cups organic nitrate free chardonnay

2 tbsp nutritional yeast, not brewers yeast

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 lemon

 

For the “Macaroni”

5 medium zucchini

 

For the topping

1 cup almond flour

1 TBSP olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp onion powder (optional, but recommended)

 

Kitchen equipment

food processor or Ninja

fine sieve strainer

non-stick frying pan or Magic green pan ( My favorite pan!)

cutting board

3 bowls

8 lightly greased ramekins placed on a baking sheet

 

Directions:

To begin, blend the 2 cups cashews with 2 cups water until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). I love using my ninja for this because it seems to take less time and purees really nice. Once the mixture is smooth, strain through the strainer into a bowl and throw away the chunky pieces left in the strainer. Set cashew puree aside.

Bring wine to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 12 minutes.

While the Chardonnay is cooking, prep your zucchini. Peel using a vegetable peeler (recommended) or a knife.  If you want the macaroni small, cut zucchini into 3 pieces lengthwise. If you want it a little bigger, cut in half. Next slice along the length if the zucchini in half moons, about a half inch apart. Place zucchini macaroni aside in a large bowl.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Once the wine has reduced by about half, add cashew puree, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook another 2 minutes. Squeeze lemon into sauce and stir.

Pour “cheese” mixture into zucchini noodles and stir well

Divide noodle mix evenly among 8 ramekins.

Place all topping ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork until small pea sized pieces appear throughout mix. Top zucchini mixture in ramekins.

Bake for 30 minutes or until tops are slightly browned. If you are in a hurry, you can turn the oven on broil after 30 min and cook for another 2 min to get the tops browned a little faster.

Let cool for at least 10 minutes because they are extremely hot coming out of the oven (my husband actually burned his mouth!) We enjoyed these as our afternoon snack for the next few days and they were really filling due to the use of almonds and cashew protein added to the recipe. The zucchini worked perfectly as a noodle replacement. The sauce almost resembled a creamy white alfredo cheese. Yum! I also didn’t have a sluggish feeling after eating them so…success! I hope you love them as much as we do!

Renal Diet Exchanges: exchange cashews for 16 oz cream cheese, no salt, exchange almond flour for rice flour, and add 1 tsp garlic powder to both the sauce and topping.

xoxo

Tiffany

 

 

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