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I Put Meat in My Magic Bullet….OR Meatloaf Muffins Two Ways

13 Dec

In hindsight that sounds kinda dirty.  Oh well.  Sorry mom!  Aaaaaanyway…I realized that my blog is heavy on the carb-y side and wanted to put something up here that was a great base for an every day meal.  I’m trying to get a lot of protein, and I’ve seen recipes for turkey meatloaf muffins fly around.  I think it’s a great idea.  Make your meatloaf in a muffin pan and then you have easy to see servings all premade for the week.  In my case, it’s also helpful that I can make them a couple ways using one good base recipe.  I am a leftover hater.  I’ll do it, and sometimes its great, but a lot of times whatever it is sits in my fridge and my brain goes “yuck” every time I look at it, no matter how amazing it was the first time around.  I am also so burnt out on “meat-veggie-small carb” meals that if I see another one I’ll run away (I’m not a screamer….more of a hider).  Chicken-salad-sweet potato just isn’t doing it for me.  Truth be told, I don’t like chicken so much any more because…it’s leftovers to me.  It’s every day, all the time, and gosh darn it I need something else.  Here’s where I came up with this recipe.  AND found out that you can indeed put meat in your Magic Bullet and get a great meatloaf base.

I had over a pound of 99% lean ground turkey, but I wanted to be able to split this and do other things with it.  I also had a very lean pork tenderloin that was staring at me going “I’m anooooothher booooring slaaab of meeeeaaat.  Beeee afraaaaaid.”  Or, you know, whatever other scary things a non-appetizing pork tenderloin would say.  I have tons of frozen chicken breast (frozen chicken breast just says “I’m boring.”) too, so that part was simple.  I took 1/2 a pound of the tenderloin, and a large defrosted chicken breast and trimmed them very well.  I cut them into large chunks and then did the tenderloin as a test.  It worked great.  Chicken went in…also great.  I ended up with 2 lbs, 4 oz of ground meat.  Yaaay!  Being on a budget, this was a big money saver for me.  Ground meat can be so expensive, especially to get it extra lean like I want it.  I usually buy the leanest meat I can on special, so this is a great way to stretch your dollar a little further as long as you don’t mind the actual process of meat in a blender.

Here’s the meatloaf base:

2 lbs, 4 oz extra lean ground meat (I’m sure 2 lbs-2.5 lbs would be just fine)

1 cup quick cooking oatmeal

3 egg whites

2 tsp pepper

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp worchestershire sauce (I CANNOT for the life of me say this word.  I’ve attempted it and it’s the one word in the English language that makes me giggle every time)

Mix it all up by hand (gross but it is the most effective way) and then divide it in half.  Put each half in it’s own bowl with enough room to mix and add more ingredients.

First meatloaf I did:  Apple-Fennel with Prunes

1/2 cup chopped granny smith apple

1/4 cup chopped yellow onion

1 chopped celery stalk

4 minced prunes

1 tsp rosemary

1 tsp ground sage

2 tsp dried fennel

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

Dash cinnamon

This one was sweet and had deep fennel-y flavors (refer to the pizza…I fennel) and just a hint of spice behind the sweetness.  I liked it a lot, although I wish I’d put in more apple and a teaspoon or two more worchestershire.  All in all, delicious.  The prunes added just a hint of something different and blended so well with the other flavors.  They also add moisture, which is great in a meal based on very lean meat.  You could take this one and serve it with potato (experiment with different kinds…sweet potato, purple potato, heck you can use cauliflower!)  pancakes and unsweetened apple sauce and it’d be super delicious.

Meatloaf #2: Spicy Red Bell Pepper-Veggie

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper (my cup was a little overflowing, but it was delicious in the end)

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped yellow squash

1/4 cup chopped zucchini

1 heaping tsp paprika

1 heaping tsp garlic powder

3 dashes cayenne

Extra salt and pepper to your liking

This one was also awesome.  It’s chock-full of veggies and spice (I may add more spice next time, but I’m always cautious with a first attempt…better to underspice than over).  You could serve this with salsa to dip it in and it’d be great.  Or slice avocado on top.

And here’s how they look (yummm…the final product, not the ground meat…):

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For either recipe,  preheat the oven to 375.  Mix everything up (wash wash wash your hands, before, after, and inbetween mixes) and use 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop your mix out into muffin tins sprayed with cooking spray.  I got 9 of the veggie, 8 of the apple, probably simply because there was more “stuff” in the veggie.  I’m going to add an additional 1/4 cup of apple to the apple recipe next time I make it, so that will likely even out.  I baked mine for about 40 minutes, but depending on your pans and your oven it may take less.  Check on them at around 35 minutes.  The tops start to brown and they pull away from the sides of the tin when they’re done.  They also go from pink to white.

All in all, this was a great experiment.  I’ve now got 15 (I had to eat one of each) muffins to get me through the week and two very different flavors to tackel my leftover snootiness.  It’s a perfect base to take and make your own, as many ways as you can think of.  I might try a center cut bacon, spinach, tomato one next with minced garlic and tomato sauce on top.  Mmmm.  The possibilities are really endless and it’s a very good-for-you meal!


Protein Waffles (Mine Look Like Mickey Mouse…)

13 Dec

Sooo…I had a boyfriend a few years ago who didn’t like to eat.  Or rather forgot to eat because, like the rest of us, he was super busy and trying to do a million things at once.  He was the inspiration for this recipe, as I was trying to make something he could grab quick for breakfast, heat up, and get a good meal out of without much thought.  The result?  A protein waffle.  I haven’t tried these as pancakes, but they’d work just fine that way.


Mickey waffle…

1 cup oat flour, plus 4 tablespoons wheat germ (or just more oat flour.  I just like the little bit of crisp and texture the wheat germ adds).

1 cup liquid egg whites

1/2 cup fat-free or 2% cottage cheese (I actually opted for 2% here…less sodium, more carb, more protein when I crazy-lady’d the labels)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3 scoops protein powder (I think any flavor would work, but I did vanilla)

1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp reduced sodium salt (it’s what I had…regular is fine!)

2 packets stevia

Options: cinnamon, blueberries, whatever…be creative!  Cinnamon was delish though.

Mix it all up til smooth and pour into heated waffle iron or on a hot skillet.  Be sure to use cooking spray before and between batches, as there is no fat in here and they will definitely stick (I annihilated a Mickey face and had to scrape him out of the waffle iron because I forgot on one round…).  When I made them, I dunked them in unsweetened apple sauce.  Mini-me even ate half of one of these, which is miraculous.  I tried reheating one this morning, and spread it with just a tiny bit of sunflowerbutter (peanutbutter and I are frenemies…I love it, my stomach disagrees) and sprinkle on a Stevia in the raw packet…it was great.  Reheating was no problem at all!  I also got about 10 waffles out of this, so that was happy too 🙂

My breakfast

Breakfast-waffle, sunbutter, veggie sausage, raspberries.

Pizza w/ Cauliflower Crust

12 Dec

While you may or may not have read about using cauliflower as a substitute for potatoes and in crust, I’m here to tell you that regardless of anything else, this crust is now the only crust I will use.  Ever.  Seriously, it is that good.  Not only does it have more flavor and taste waaay better than any crust I’ve ever had, you can eat it as “bread sticks.”  When my baby sister and I are finally reunited, I’m going to make this for her and watch her happy gorgeous face light up.  Yep, baby girl has celiac’s (booo).  She was a pasta and bread lover to the Nth degree (come on, if it wasn’t so bad for you wouldn’t you be too?) , so for her to be diagnosed was extra hard.  But I think this recipe will help anyone who has an issue with gluten.  Or just doesn’t want to deal with a wheat-based crust!

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Here’s the recipe for the crust.  The original made teeeeny little crusts, so I automatically doubled it:

1  head washed cauliflower with leaves and bottom of stem removed, (this makes two crusts, and trust me this stuff vanishes…make two), grated or put through the grater in a food processor (super easy that way)

2 cups mozzarella cheese (I use a mix of low fat and fat free)

2 eggs (I’m gonna see what happens with egg whites tonight)

4 tsp dried parsley

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp fennel

Any italian seasoning combo will work, but I HIGHLY recommend the fennel.  It added an amazing flavor to the crust that has my mouth watering now.

Preheat the oven to 450 and spray your pan with non-stick spray.

Heat the grated cauliflower in the microwave for 4 minutes.  You’re not cooking it, you’re just softening it a little.  Then set it aside but fluff regularly until it’s slightly cooled.  This prevents it from cooking the egg you’re gonna add.

Once it’s cool enough not to make scrambled eggs, scoop out two cups and add the cheese, eggs, and spices.  Mix well and shape into a pizza crust shape on the pan.  However deep you make it is how deep it’s going to be.  There is no rising or expanding that’s going to happen here.  I recommend aiming for a half inch. Thinner and it’ll fall apart pretty easy.  But the thicker crust held up great for us, was even foldable, and did not need anything but hands.  Pop it the oven for 15-20 minutes, and pull it out when it looks browned and the bottom looks a little black (trust me, this is good.  It means you have a solid base and it’s done)

You can then take it out and use it right away OR freeze it after it’s cooled (put the whole sheet in the freezer til solid, then wrap it up and store it in the freezer).

Top your crust with whatever you want, put it under the broiler until your topping cheese has melted (I don’t mean the crust…and as a tip, you don’t need a lot of cheese because of the base in the crust.  Cheese in this is more of a garnish.  Your ingredients are the “meat” of the recipe, literally or figuratively depending what you use.)

Eggplant Parm pizza

1/2 eggplant, cut into rounds or strips

Breadcrumbs (I used the plain old italian seasoning kind but you can use anything…gluten free, whole wheat, panko…whatever!)

1 egg, beaten

This one you’ll do while your crusts cool a little.  Leave the oven on 450.

When making eggplant, the first step is to sweat your eggplant.  This removes some of the liquid in it and along with it some of the eggplant’s natural bitterness.  Lay your rounds out on a couple layers of paper towel.  Sprinkle the rounds with salt, and let them rest.  You’ll see the liquids bead up like sweat.  Flip and repeat.  You can wipe off some of the salt with the paper towel after.  Dip the rounds in egg, then bread crumbs and place them on a cookie sheet.  I season them a little more at this point, with garlic, pepper, a little shot of cayenne, and whatever else I feel like on that day.  Then bake until they’re browned, flipping half way through.  It doesn’t take long.

Top your crust with sauce, mozzarella, and the eggplant.  Season as desired.  Sprinkle on a little cheese for some “pretty,” then bake under the broiler until the cheese is melted to your liking.  Done!


I also did a pepperoni and mushroom pizza.  For this, I sauteed the mushroom ahead of time in salt, pepper, and garlic.  Because all you do is broil the pizza on a pre-cooked crust, cooking time is fast and the mushrooms will come out mostly raw if they’re not cooked a little ahead of time.  Sauce, turkey pepperoni, mushrooms, and cover in cheese.  Again, under the broiler until it looks the way you want it.

I cannot say enough about how good this was.  The crust all on its own can be pressed in a loaf pan and made into bread sticks.  Dunk it in sauce and it’s sooooooo amazingly yummy.  I made this for my boyfriend, his brother, and his roomate…both pizzas vanished almost instantly with all of us wishing we’d made more.  I don’t know how the cauliflower in this doesn’t taste like cauliflower.  It really tastes like crust…but 100x better.  I’ve been challeneged by AB’s (awesome boyfriend’s) roomate to make this with a healthy version of white sauce with a ton of flavor to enhance the eggplant.  I’ll let you know how that goes 🙂

Hot Cocoa, guilt-free

12 Dec

So I woke up this morning (yaaaay!  Seriously, I live in baby steps.  Waking up=step one) and made my little boy breakfast, including hot chocolate.  Now…as previously mentioned my son is not an eater.  I spend a lot of time in this house making two very different meals.  I eat mostly clean, and try to keep my meals very high protein, low sugar, low carb, low fat.  For mini-me, I’m loading him up with whatever I can get in there.  His hot chocolate is real milk, Ovaltine, a packet of hot cocoa, and this stuff called Duocal that adds calories and fat without altering taste.  That way when my little one only eats a bite of a poptart and proclaims himself full and puts his jaw on lock down, at least I know he drank his hot chocolate and got a few hundred calories and good fat.  Luke has ADHD and after years of trying to avoid stimulant meds, is just one of those kids who legitimately needs them.  I know, I’ve heard all the opinions on this, I HAVE opinions on this, but we’ve tried E V E R Y T H I N G (I would define our version everything, but it’d take up even more room here)  and then tried Concerta.  I got a call from his teacher saying he was so different that she was a little frightened.  He feels great, he’s doing great, he has zero appetite.  Rarararararar.  I could start another blog called “I Wish My Son Would Eat Cake.”  I giggle sometimes at the suggestions people give me.  I know they’re with love, but for example last week a family member suggested I put sweet potato baby food in his macaroni and cheese.  Well…the issue isn’t veggies.  He’ll eat carrots and celery like a champ.  Super!  But I can still see his ribs and sternal notch because three bites in he’s full.  Macaroni and cheese takes hours.  I WISH we were at the “sneak stuff into his food” stage.  I’m great at that.  Sadly we’re still at “how much fat and calories can I cram in here so he doesn’t lose another half pound,” stage.   He won’t eat cupcakes.  He won’t eat a pancake.  He won’t eat french fries.  He might have one M&M.  And if you threaten him with starvation he’s all “Yessss….I’m great at this game!”

Aaaanyway…I took one smell of Luke’s hot chocolate and that was it…it became a “gotta have it,” morning.  Sometimes all this healthy stuff does feel like deprivation.  It’s why I cook like I do.  I like variety.  I like flavor.  I enjoy the heck out of food.  So what did I do?  Took my son to school (he had to drink the hot chocolate in the car because finishing it at home was going to take all morning) and went home to make my own.  Here’s what I came up with:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon cocoa powder (I like dark chocolate….a lot.  This makes it very “Hershey’s Special Dark,” kinda dark.  You could cut it down for a lighter cocoa taste.)

2 packets stevia in the raw

1 tsp vanilla extract

A dash of cinnamon (totally optional, but really  yummy)

1/2 scoop chocolate whey protein powder (I use Jay Robb…it tastes the best to me and at 110 calories and 25 grams of protein a scoop, sweetened with stevia  it just makes sense to me)

I put all the above in my blender to make sure I got all the protein powder chunks out and it was smooth.  Then I poured a cup of boiling water over the whole mix.  Is it Swiss Miss?  No.  Did it totally satisfy my craving without making me feel horrible and setting me back?  Absolutely!  And it’s way better than just a scoop of heated up protein powder and water.  I drank the whole thing, but you could have two 1 cup servings and divide the nutrition facts below in half.

105 calories, 0 grams sugar, 3 grams fat, 13.5 grams protein, 4 grams of carbs, 2 grams fiber.  48% of your daily value of calcium, 50% of your daily values of vitamins E and b12, 25% of your daily value of vitamin D.

Cheater pasta

2 Dec Looks like a ton of pasta, but it's mostly squash :)

Looks like a ton of pasta, but it's mostly squash :)

OK, maybe not in an actual sense…I wanted chicken, I wanted spicy, and I wanted fresh veggies. I also wanted to feel like I was eating a big bowl of pasta (Uhm yeah…it’s that time of the month that will also require chocolate protein bars later.  Seriously..they taste like brownies.  I kid you not.  So good my 5 year old ate half the pan and thanked me.  Said 5 year old won’t eat cake.  Or pancakes.  Or french fries.  Or most things made for human consumption.  But he ate these and said THANK YOU *faint*).  Aaaanyway….so how do I make the above happen?  Easy.  Just like this.  This lunch is delicious, healthy, and in a world where even 30 minutes is tough…it took me about 15 and gave me leftovers.


– Two large chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut into tenders (Why? Weight. I’m a believer in food scales. Tough to get 6-8 oz of chicken from a giant breast. You’ll end up cutting it up anyway. And as tenders right away, the seasoning is better distributed than on a cut up whole breast. Plus it cuts cooking time. All good things!)
– 1/2 Spaghetti squash (mine was steamed from last night. If you pierce your squash, 7-9 minutes in the microwave will steam the whole thing. Then c a r e f u l l y open it up and scoop it out. It will pour steam and the burns are no fun. It’s easier to do the whole thing than cut it when it’s not steamed.).
– 4 large handfuls of baby spinach
– 1 cup of spaghetti sauce (here’s where I cheated…I used jarred. I usually have some frozen, but I haven’t made sauce in a while. So today it was Muir Glen Organic Italian Sausage with Peppers.)
-Two cloves minced garlic
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Big blast of creole seasoning (paprika, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne, oregano, and thyme)
-2 oz dreamfields pasta or low carb pasta (optional)

Put deep frying pan on medium/medium-high heat.  Take the chicken tenders, season them in the creole seasoning and place them in the pan.  At the same time, start a pot of water boiling if you’re going to toss in a little pasta.  Once the chicken is cooked through and blacked, take it out, let it rest for a minute, and carefully cave it into chunks (In all seriousness, you can do this at the beginning. It’s a time saver. But when you cook larger pieces of meat I find they hold moisture better than the chunks.). Try to go with the grain of the meat (What? Grain you say? Yep…grain. When you slice it, if the knife isn’t going through easily and you’re not making nice cuts..if it feels more like sawing and tearing…turn the meat until it’s easy to cut. Then you’re with the grain and it’s much easier.). Put the chicken back in the pan and turn the heat to medium. Add your pasta to the boiling water at this time if you choose. Scrape out the spaghetti squash, add the spinach, garlic, and sauce all right to the pan. Cook everything down til the spinach is wilted but not demolished (spinach will turn to mush quickly). Once it looks done, and your chicken is coated and it’s all saucy and yummy, take the pasta out of the pot and add it. Give it a few tosses so it’s well incorporated in the chicken and veggies.  That’s it. That’s the whole thing.  It was spicy and delicious, tons of protein, lots of good nutrients in all the veggies, and I got my little bit of pasta (Dreamfields has 5 grams of digestible carbs, and 2 oz is considered one serving. By having half of that, you still feel like you’re eating pasta but you really aren’t hurting your diet at all! Plus it’s high in fiber and protein all on it’s own. Yay!).

Lunch(or dinner) can seem daunting, but now I’ve got leftovers waiting, I’m totally full, and I ate a great healthy meal (although those protein bars are totally calling my name).  It’s fun to experiment with what you have in your kitchen.  If it sounds good…do it!  You don’t need a recipe.  But learn my lesson…write down what you do because if it comes out awesome and you can’t remember exactly how you did it you’ll be kicking yourself.  I do it all the time and then grumble about how I have no idea what exactly I threw in it ’cause my hands get flying, I get busy cooking and chopping, then it’s done, it’s great, I wanna to it again….buuuuut I can’t.  Cause ADHD took over.  Lol.  Anyway, happy eating 🙂

Giant pancake filled with raspberry…

2 Dec

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OK…so given this is a healthy (uhm…healthy mostly, sometimes healthier) blog, maybe saying “a giant pancake filled with raspberry!” is a little misleading. But if I said what it was a lot of people would go “eeew no, I’m not clicking there.” Yes I’m manipulative. No, I’m not sorry because what I made was delicious, healthy, and definitely worth trying. PS: I’ll totally keep doing this too you dear reader. It’s for your own good, and mine as well. I want you to read, you want good food. Hopefully if you’re here you want healthy good food, or at least some ideas to tweak. Enough babble (babbling is one of my skillz. Again, not sorry. I’d be apologizing a lot if I had to be sorry for rambling and babble.  And you’d be waaaaay less amused!)  Drum roll….this morning….I made…Wheat Germ Pancakes filled with Raspberry Cottage Cheese. Ok, now that I’ve typed it it doesn’t sound nearly as bad.

Jamie Eason (you can and should find her on both and Facebook) is an incredible role model for fitness and healthy eating and a  major inspiration of mine.  She had posted the original recipe for these.  Look up her other recipes too…they’re awesome!!  I took use the  recipe as a base and I add to it and play with it.

The base of the recipe is as follows:

1/2 liquid egg whites
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp wheat germ

Mix all the above together and cook like a pancake over just above medium heat. The first time, I had no idea how big of a pancake this would make. It’s dinner plate-sized, so prepare a large frying pan with cooking spray. A tiny one won’t flip. After you’ve poured the pancake into the pan, wait until it looks nearly dry. I promise you that unlike a pancake, it’s not burning. The wheat germ is more dense than the liquids, and sinks to the frying pan surface and comes out almost like crispy, egg-y pastry before it rests. It’s golden and pretty…check it if you don’t believe me.  Then flip (again…big spatula and make sure it’s really ready to flip or you’re going to end up spilling liquids all over), cook finished, and flip it golden side down onto a dinner plate.

The filling:

1/2 cup cottage cheese (I use whichever fat free brand has the least sodium…cottage cheese can suprise you with the salt. I’ve also used 2% milk-low sodium. Jamie’s recipe calls for lactose free, which I can never find)
Salt and pepper (maybe common sense maybe not…please skip the pepper if you add fruit.  Pinch of salt..OK, maybe.  But in the land of sweet things, pepper works better with chocolate than fruit.  Think I’ve just planned another post…)

Here’s where I play. This morning I took my “pancake” recipe and when I put it in the pan, I sprinkled it generously with cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.   Yes, you can totally whisk all that good stuff in, but it was an afterthought for me.  Then I took my cottage cheese, added one packet of Stevia in the Raw (or any Stevia..but I have to tell you I’m a Stevia in the Raw only girl.  Here’s why: the others like Truvia or generic Truvia have Erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol like malitol or sorbitol, added. Actually as the first ingredient. Learning opportunity: Stevia itself is about a blagillion times more concentrated than sugar. They have to add a bulking agent or you’d be using a teeny fairy-sized spoon to dish this stuff out. So to Truvia they add 3 grams of Erythritol. To Stevia in the Raw it’s dextrose. This isn’t supposed to be a problem, but Truvia landed me in the bathroom for hours and had me walking around like I was dying whenever I used it for anything larger than a cup of tea.  Actually, I’m still bloated from double checking that it was indeed the source of my distress.  Stevia in the Raw…no problem. You do the math, but Erythritol is the only difference.) and a small handful of fresh raspberries. I mashed it all together with my little silicone spatula eh voila…pink pretty cottage cheese. In the middle of the cinnamon-y pancake, it was delicious.

I’ve also added the cinnamon straight to the cottage cheese, along with unsweetened apple sauce. A packet of Stevia put into the pancake is also yummy.

Seriously, there’s a million ways to do this (I’m picturing tiny bowls of multicolored pastel cream cheese…purple, pink, yellow, green,  more pink…OK, I like pink things). And Jamie Eason’s recipe starts at 198 calories, 32 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbs. This changes a little with added fruits, but it’s minimal and with Stevia instead of sugar you may add 1 gram of carbs, but no sugars.

Other options: Honey and almonds, roasted veggies folded into the cheese, any fruit, a maple syrup drizzle…the list goes on. Be creative.

I’m going to experiment with making a gluten-free version of this soon. I have a baby sister with Celiac’s, so another challenge is coming up with things for her.  A lot of pre-packaged gluten free items are devoid of nutrients and heavy on carbs/low on fiber.   I’m thinking that 2 tablespoons of oatmeal or oat flour might work. Or ground flax. Or almond meal. Or some combination of all of the above! Suggestions welcome 🙂

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