Keeping it real on the blog today. Nothing makes me feel more like a failure as a wife and mother than when I'm scrolling through my Facebook page or my Instagram feed looking at pictures of families sitting around the dinner table happily eating kale and Brussels sprouts. Even though I'm convinced that there are bribes behind those cheery vegetable smiles, it still stings a little when I see families willingly consuming healthy food.
Don't get me wrong, my family is pretty good about trying new foods. Let's face it - they're forced to act as my culinary guinea pigs A LOT! The only thing that they absolutely refuse to eat are beets.
Chances are, I will not be posting pictures of my family blissfully consuming their evening meal - trust me - I've tried to photograph them while they eat and they HATE it. (Casualty of living with a food blogger I guess.) Just a warning: If there's food in the vicinity - chances are, I WILL photograph it - and the probably the people eating it as well.
The fact is that as wives and mothers, our desire is to provide healthy, nutritious meals to our loved ones. We all would like to have our family sit down to healthy, social media worthy meals on a daily basis but let's face it - that rarely happens. Heck, I write a food blog and I still struggle to get nutritious meals on the table.
We need to encourage each other in our struggle to create balanced, nutrient rich foods for our families instead of being discouraged over glamorized photographs of meals that may or may not have even been edible. That is precisely why I choose to share my recipes with all of you and why I ask for your ideas and recipes in return.
Today, I'm sharing a healthier version of my daughter's favorite: meatloaf. Turkey meatloaf is a little risky because she's such a fan of beef. The goal was to create a meatloaf that contains less fat but that she will love just as much as traditional ketchup covered beef meatloaf.
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 onion, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons quick oats
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 pound lean ground turkey
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
Whisk together glaze ingredients in saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes.
Brush remaining glaze over loaf. Bake 35-40 minutes longer. Until internal temperature reaches 160. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.
Verdict is in - my carnivorous daughter LOVED this meatloaf. There was no keeping the fact that it was a turkey loaf instead of a beef loaf a secret either - because she helped me make this delicious meatloaf.
Meatloaf is not one of my favorite foods but this turkey meatloaf has changed my mind about meatloaf. I'm not a beef eater but this turkey meatloaf was a game changer.
,Today feels like Christmas and my birthday all wrapped into one. Researchers at Syracuse University have determined that eating chocolate for breakfast can help boost brain power. BEST NEWS EVER. I have no idea what kind of studies they conducted to reach this conclusion because quite honestly, I was too involved in my happy dance to continue reading the article. Who can concentrate after finding out that we should be kickstarting our brain with chocolate every morning?
Diets are constantly changing so I'm totally jumping on this chocolate for breakfast bandwagon before someone comes along and declares that chocolate consumed before noon is formidable. My only regret is that I missed out on participating in this study. If only I had known that I could have been eating chocolate for breakfast everyday - for research!
Chocolate, oats and nuts - this is the stuff that breakfasts are made of. I'm going to be indulging in a dark chocolate revel bar tomorrow morning. The science is out there friends. Morning is the best time to power up the brain with a little cocoa boost. I'm on board. Who's with me?
Dark Chocolate Revel Bars
3 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup almonds, chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
16 Tablespoons butter, melted + 2 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
Remove bars using sling and cut into 24 bars.
I'm happy to report that morning isn't the ONLY time that we should be eating chocolate to increase blood flow to our brains. Just in case you need a few suggestions about occasions to indulge in chocolate, I've got you covered:
When you're facing a pile of dishes to wash after preparing an epic dinner to your family, when you miss out on dinner because you've been stuck in traffic for over an hour or when you're up late at night blogging dark chocolate revel bars and you have an overwhelming desire to eat ridiculous amounts of chocolate.
Feel free to borrow my excuses for come up with your own but either way - you need chocolate. It's good for you.
You know that moment when you serve a new burger recipe to your son's fiance and you neglect to tell her that it's made with mushrooms until after she consumes the entire burger and then tells you that she may or may not be allergic? Yup, that happened to me the other night. I felt terrible. In retrospect, I realize that I should have disclosed all ingredients to everyone at the table PRIOR to serving dinner.
The truth is that I didn't forget to tell everyone that the burgers were made with mushrooms. I was trying to trick my daughter who is somewhat finicky eater, into eating the scrumptious fungi. My strategy actually worked too. Unfortunately, I never even considered the unfortunate bystandards who got caught up in my surreptitious mushroom scheme. And I certainly never even dreamed that anyone would have a mushroom allergy. Luckily, my poor victim (and future daughter in law) did not have a reaction to the mushrooms. Lesson learned. From now on, I will only serve secret ingredient foods to people who I gave birth to - or married.
Using low fat ground sirloin to make hamburgers is a great way to make them healthier but it can also leave you with dry and tasteless patties. Adding mushrooms to a ground sirloin burger can really boost the nutritional value and also add flavor and moisture. (Just make sure that you let your burgers know that they are eating mushrooms please.)
Grilled Beef and Mushroom Burgers
4 ounces button mushrooms
1 pound 90% lean beef
2 Tablespoons oil
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped cucumber
4 garlic cloves, roasted
1/4 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon parsley
8 butter lettuce leaves
4 heirloom tomato slices
4 red onion slices
Grill burgers until desired degree of doneness.
Top tomato slice and heaping Tablespoon yogurt sauce. This cool and creamy cucumber yogurt sauce is a great way to boost the flavor of your burger.
Summer is here and that means burgers will be on the menu. Burgers, chips, watermelon and raspberry lemonade - the essentials of summer. Enjoy friends.
I take it upon myself to make sure that the deliciously sweet and perfectly ripe bananas don't go to waste. I make it my mission to disguise them and turn them into something great so I can trick my family into unknowingly consuming the very bananas that they rejected. (I'm very competitive. lol)
Combining bananas, eggs, flour, sugar and a handful of cinnamon chips is a simple idea but it's oh so delicious. This recipe has no butter or oil but it's one of the moistest and most tender coffee cakes that I've ever had. This cake really is the most delicious way that I can think of to use up those last two illusive overripe and blemished bananas.
Banana Cinnamon Chip Coffee Cake
2 very ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cinnamon chips
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Bake 35-40 minutes at 375.
Slice and enjoy.
I'm not sure how this cake got grouped into the "coffee cake" category because it really is a perfect little snack cake for any time of day. I can tell you from experience that a piece of this fat free cake is a great little treat with a cup of afternoon tea. I think you will love it too.
Hangry. That is exactly what happens to me when I start scrolling through the stunning array of food pictures on Pinterest. I get HANGRY. Even if I've just eaten. I'm not sure what type of wizardry goes into those amazingly styled food pictures but they can make even the most well fed observer - hangry. My hangry feelings are only secondary to my overwhelming need to make those delicious looking meals immediately.
This may be obvious but I don't claim to be a food stylist. I don't have the proper lighting or the right camera lens for food pictures. I also take pictures of the ACTUAL food that we eat. I don't paint grill marks on steaks or use plastic ice cubes or fake syrup to make my pancakes look more appealing. My pictures may not be Pinterest worthy but the photographed food IS edible.
Obviously, some foods are easier to photograph than others. A mouthwatering chicken pot pie is just one of those things that is super hard to capture in pictures. Sure the crust of the pie looks great but as soon as I try and cut a "slice" - it turns to an oozing mess of deliciousness. You're going to have to just take my word for it that this double crust chicken pot pie is delicious - even though the pictures aren't what I would call "drool worthy".
Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie
1/2 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
12 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped fine
2 carrots. cut into 1/4" pieces
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4" pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 Tablespoons flour
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half
1 small potato, cut into 1/4" pieces
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
3 cups rotisserie chicken meat, shredded
3/4 cup peas
Reduce oven to 375 and bake 12-15 minutes longer. Let cool 45 minutes.
Slice and serve.
To make this pot pie ahead of time, assemble the pie without baking and wrap in plastic wrap then in foil. Store in the freezer. When ready to serve, remove frozen pie from freezer, cover with foil and place on baking sheet. Bake for 1 1/4 hours at 375. Uncover and brush with egg. Continue to bake for another hour. (Or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees.)
I highly recommend that you double this recipe for chicken pot pie. Cook one for dinner and put another in the freezer for a rainy day. Trust me - you'll me glad you did.
Like my page on facebook.
Follow me on Instagram