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Friday, October 24, 2014

Black Bean and Tomato Stew

It was one of the first chilly fall days and ALL that I could think of was enjoying a hot and soothing bowl of chili. Because I had failed to plan that day and put the chili in the crockpot, I found myself looking in the refrigerator and pantry at 5:00 trying to find something that would satisfy my appetite. I came up with this dish that did the trick and took less than 20 minutes to prep and cook.
I suggest serving this stew over cooked quinoa, brown rice or sprouted whole grain pasta, it becomes a delicious sauce bursting with flavors due to all of the seasoning. If you have kids that are picky about onions, be sure to finely chop the onions. As you cook them, they will soften and blend into the tomatoes avoiding the crunchy texture that most kids (and some adults) dislike.
Most of the ingredients are spices along with black beans, onions and tomatoes. You can add more black beans for additional fiber and more protein, and increase the cayenne pepper if you like a more intense kick. You can easily add chicken or beef to this dish for the meat loving family. If you do not have quinoa, rice or sprouted grain pasta already prepared, be sure to begin cooking these before you begin prepping and preparing this meal.

·         1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes (with juice)
·         1 can organic black beans (drained and rinsed)
·         1 medium onion, chopped
·         4 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
·         ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
·         1 tsp. cumin
·         ¾ tsp. ground coriander
·         1 tsp. dried basil
·         ½ tsp. oregano
·         2 Tbsp. olive oil

1.       Heat skillet on medium high. Add olive oil, onions, garlic and spices. 
2.       Cook until onions are soft (approximately 4-5 minutes).
3.       Add tomatoes and black beans to skillet. Reduce heat to medium and bring mixture to a simmer. Allow to simmer for approximately five minutes.
4.       Remove from heat and serve over rice, quinoa or sprouted whole grain pasta.
That’s it! For more amazing whole food recipes, we suggest The Healthy Edge for over 300 recipes available to their online community. They even offer 7 days free to try it out and see if it’s a fit.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Healthy Halloween

So it’s that time of year again…the candy filled craziness of Halloween.  Many of you may remember our Candy Exchange method when it comes to the full bags of candy that many of our children will accumulate through Halloween parties and Trick-or-Treat.

We still implement the Candy Exchange method in our homes.  If the kiddos decide to trade in their candy, they get FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS to take to the Dollar Tree and roam the store picking out any five things that they feel, “they just can’t live without”.  The candy can then be donated to your spouse’s work place or literally thrown away.

Below you will find five fun and delicious options to keep Halloween entertaining (and healthy) for your kids.  They all would make perfect ideas for school parties or any Halloween party you are invited to or hosting.  We would love to hear your Halloween traditions and treat ideas! 

Healthy Halloween Ideas

 Spider Sandwich:  These is a great idea to surprise your kids with in their lunch.  Using whole grain bread and natural peanut or almond butter, you can cut the sandwich into a circle, use thin carrot slices for the legs and raisins for eyes.  Super fun and cute!

Banana Ghosts: By cutting bananas in half, they make the perfect ghost shape!  Use three chocolate chips or raisins and secure with your favorite nut butter to make the eyes and nose. 

Spider Eggs:  Turn regular grapes into fun spider eggs!  Simply put in a bag, print off a fun label and add a spider sticker or spider ring to give it a spidery affect!  Perfect for school parties!!

Monster Melon: This would be a great idea for older kids who enjoy anything to with vomiting (like boys of all ages).  Carve your mouth out of the watermelon, hollow out as much watermelon as you can and cut into chunks.  Add other fruits and have it spilling out of your mouth.  Use two cucumber slices, grapes (or whole olives) and a toothpick to secure the eyes.

Fruity Pumpkin Afro!  This is probably my favorite! This would be great for any Halloween party!  Could you imagine being the mother/father who supplied this fun treat at your kids class party?  Draw your face on the pumpkin, make your fruit skewers (enough for amount of kids that will be there) and secure them all around the top of the pumpkin to make it look like an afro.  This is also a perfect project to have your kids help create!

Happy Healthy Halloween!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Butternut Squash Bisque

Butternut Squash is considered a winter squash, not because it is grown in the winter months, but because it is harvested in the fall and can last throughout the winter months.  You may not have the faintest idea what to do with this “winter” squash, but the options are plentiful!  From soups to desserts, butternut squash has wonderful health benefits and a delicious sweet taste!

This bisque has become a family favorite!  I cannot tell you the joy I felt when I served this bisque to my son and daughter and they asked if their was leftovers and if we could have it for lunch tomorrow in our thermos. Wow!  Total approval from a 5 and 7 year old!   Hope you enjoy this bisque as much as we do!

Butternut Squash Bisque

4-6 cups chicken broth
2-3 carrots, cut into small slices
2-3 celery stalks, cut into small slices
1 small sweet onion, cut into small pieces
1 large butternut squash, cut into 1 inch chunks
6 garlic cloves, minced (more or less depending on your preference)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle of nutmeg

1. In a large pan, add all ingredients.  Bring to a boil and continue boiling until vegetables are soft (approximately 20-30 minutes).
2. In batches, add mixture to a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Tip: We prefer our bisque thick so we do not use all of the broth.  If you like your bisque thinner, use most or all of the broth.

** To spruce it up a little, we sometimes will add 1 lb. organic sausage (browned in a skillet) and 1 ½ cup sweet corn.  Delicious!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Quinoa and Chicken Crock Pot

As Summer comes to an end and Fall begins, our meal plans tend to shift also.  Instead of grilling out on hot days, we like to bring out the crock pot and let the aroma of what we are cooking fill the house.  The Healthy Edge Online Community offers many crock pot recipes that will have your family counting down the seconds until dinner time!

This is a recipe that was formed by using ingredients we had on hand. Most are staples that we always have in our refrigerator or pantry!  Feel free to season as you like and enjoy! 

Quinoa and Chicken Crock Pot

4 chicken thighs
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
1 can organic black beans
1 can organic garbanzo beans
2 cans organic diced tomatoes
1 sweet onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic
6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 green bell pepper, cut into small pieces
2 tsp.sea salt

Seasonings to taste (This depends on your preference; we used 1 Tbsp or more of each of the following. You can add more seasonings as you taste the dish after the chicken is fully cooked.)
Basil, Paprika, Thyme, Red Pepper Flakes, Coriander, Black Pepper


1. Put 1 Tbsp. olive oil in the bottom of crock pot. Use paper towel to spread. 
2. Lay chicken thighs on the bottom of the crock pot. 
3. Add diced tomatoes, chicken broth, onions, carrots, sea salt, garlic and spices. 
4. Cook on high for three hours. 
5. Stir to break up chicken thighs. Add quinoa. Let cook for additional 30 minutes. 
6. Turn crock pot to "warm" or "low" and add black bean, garbanzo beans and green bell pepper.
7. Let sit until ready to eat. 

This is amazing to add hot sauce too or Greek Style Yogurt as a topping. 

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