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Good morning everyone! It has been awhile since my last post because I recently had a baby and things have been a little crazy around here. We are both healthy and doing well so far, although I am a little sleep deprived, but that was expected.

Prior to giving birth I did make some meal preparations because I knew it would be difficult to make healthy meals while dealing with a newborn’s eating and sleeping pattern….I feel like my life is currently in two hour increments. Having some prepared meals in the freezer have been really helpful and I’m super glad I had the foresight to prepare a variety of foods. I highly recommend stocking your freezer with some prepared meals if you know you are going to be very busy in the near future.

One of the meals I decided to prepare and freeze was a lentil veggie soup. Lentils are a great source of protein and fiber and adding any type of vegetables is always a good healthy choice. I also used unsalted vegetable stock and no salt added canned tomatoes so I could control the amount of salt that I wanted to add. My husband did add some hot sauce to his bowl so that is always an option too if you like a spicier bolder soup. Anyways, this recipe is super easy and freezes well and I hope you enjoy it!
 Slow Cooker Lentil Veggie Soup

Lentil Veggie Soup

Ingredients
4 Cups Unsalted Vegetable Stock
1 Cup Uncooked Lentils, Rinsed
1 Can (14.5 oz) No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Zucchini
1 Cup Chopped Carrots
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
3 Cups Raw Chopped Kale – Ribs Removed
Salt and Pepper

Directions
Add all ingredients except for the kale, salt and pepper to slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. Add kale and stir in until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or allow to cool and freeze in smaller containers for future use.
Slow Cooker Lentil Veggie Soup
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Butternut squash is a great fall and winter staple. There are so many things you can do with it, such as making a flavorful soup or just roasting it with your favorite spices. It is fairly low in calories and fat, full of potassium (great for blood pressure), vitamin a (good for vision) and fiber (can help get those sluggish bowels moving). Also, it does not spoil as quickly as some other veggies, so you don’t have to worry as much about it going bad before you have a chance to use it. The only thing that bothers me about butternut squash is cutting it up….I am not best with knives. However, I have found that poking some holes in it and putting it in the microwave a few minutes does help soften it up so it is easier to cut. You can then continue to cook however way you like after you have the squash slightly softened and cut up.

I love little mini breads topped with deliciousness, so a few weeks ago I decided to make an appetizer that was a seasonal take on bruschetta. Instead of a tomato basil topping, I decided to make a kale and butternut squash topping. And I also added some goat cheese because cheese is delicious and of course adds a little calcium that most of us don’t get enough of. For my recipe I used Udi’s gluten free french baguettes but if you don’t need to make it gluten free you can always just use any other baguette type bread…preferably one that contains some whole grains.

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Crostini

Butternut Squash Crostini

Ingredients
3 Udis Gluten Free French baguettes (freezer section)
1 T Olive Oil + extra for brushing on bread
1 Butternut squash peeled and diced ~6 cups
4 Cups Chopped Fresh Kale
1 Teaspoon Ground Sage
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
6 oz Goat Cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice baguettes into 1/2 inch slices after bringing frozen baguettes to room temperature. Brush 1 side of each piece with olive oil, using a pastry or silicone brush. Put slices oil side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cook for about 5 min on top rack of oven or until bread appears lightly toasted around edges. You may have to make in batches. Remove from oven and turn oven down to 400 degrees.
Add butternut squash and kale to a large glass baking dish. Mix in apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper and sage. The kale may look like an excessive amount but it will bake down. Stir until evenly coated. Bake in oven for 35 minutes in lower rack or until butternut squash is cooked through (if you bake on top rack, kale may burn a little). Top olive oil side of bread pieces with a thin layer of goat cheese and butternut squash mixture just prior to serving.
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Sweet potatoes are a great fall favorite. Delicious and full of Vitamin A they can be used in many different ways. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning it is stored in fat in your body. Adding a little good fat (not too much, or you can end up adding a lot of extra calories) such as olive oil to your sweet potatoes will help your body to better absorb the Vitamin A. Sweet potatoes also have a lot of potassium which can be helpful with controlling blood pressure.

I have been wanting to try and make a frittata since this summer when I first attempted to make one. It was a zucchini and yellow squash frittata that got overcooked and I ended up having to scrape off the bottom layer because it was all burnt. Apparently it was still decent though because my husband managed to eat it…. Although he may have just eaten it so I wouldn’t feel bad that I ruined dinner. This time I wanted to try using fall flavors so I got sweet potatoes, a bunch of kale, onions and goat cheese to give it a more hearty autumn feel. I was more careful with the cooking time and it turned out perfectly cooked.

A Healthy and Delicious Fritatta

Sweet Potato and Kale Frittata

Ingredients
4 Large Eggs
1/4 Cup Skim Milk
1/4 Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Rosemary
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/3 Cup Diced Raw Red Onion
1 Cup Cooked and Diced Sweet Potatoes*
3 Cups Raw Kale

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix eggs, milk and cheese together in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in rosemary and salt, set aside. Add olive oil to an 8 inch skillet on medium heat.  Add garlic and onions and sauté until almost translucent. Turn down to med low. Add kale and stir to ensure kale cooks down evenly. After kale shrinks and becomes wilted, add in sweet potatoes and distribute evenly. Pour egg mixture into pan with veggies and stir until uniform. Remove pan from heat and bake in oven on 400 degrees for 20 min or until edges appear slightly browned and frittata is firm.

*I just popped a sweet potato in the microwave for a few min after poking some holes in it and then chopped it up after it cooled down

 

Sweet Potato and Kale Frittata

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