Friday, August 19, 2016

Slice It Up Wrap + Tex Mex Yogurt Spread



My husband has a really sweet coworker at his gym who's one of the RDN's for the facility, and she has a food blog + does cooking demonstrations at the local Whole Foods. I swiped this from her, and tweaked it to amp up the Tex-Mex flavors and reduce the sodium even more (we're kind of obsessed with cumin, and all things spicy). And bonus - if you cut up extra veggies like I did, it's a great 5 minute meal since you can grab all your Tupperware bins out of the fridge and whip up a wrap in minutes for a speedy lunch or dinner (which is great for me, since I usually eat my meals standing at the kitchen counter while the kids are trapped in their high chairs 😆). 

Slice It Up Wrap
Serves 1

1 whole grain tortilla
2 tbsp Tex Mex Yogurt Spread (see recipe below)
1/4 bell pepper of choice (red, orange, yellow...)
1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced
4 oz rotisserie chicken 
2 oz baby kale or baby spinach

On the whole grain tortilla, evenly spread on the Tex-Mex yogurt spread. Layer on the veggies and chicken, and top with kale. Roll the tortilla into a wrap, and slice into 1 inch sections. Stand each piece upright to resemble sushi rolls.

Tex-Mex Yogurt Spread

1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt (I used 0% Fage)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/4 onion, roughly chopped
1/4 jalapeño, cored and seeded
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp skim milk
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp dried cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley
Sriracha sauce, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients and blend until coarsely puréed together. 
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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Chicken, Apple, Sweet Potato, & Brussells Sprouts Skillet


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This is a traditional German dish I adapted to remove the high sodium culprits (which meant I had to remove the delicious, delicious bacon and their drippings 😭). But even though the bacon had to be sacrificed, this dish is still *plenty* hearty and flavorful, and would be perfect for a cool Fall day (not that we get many of those down here in New Orleans).

And in case you're a parent cooking for littles like me, the bite sized pieces are perfect for little hands to grab and munch, which makes this dish close to perfect since it includes protein, fruits, and veggies for them in one fell swoop!

Chicken, Apple, Sweet Potato, & Brussels Sprouts Skillet
Serves 4-6

  • 2 tbsp avocado/olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups raw Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup warm water + 1 tbsp melted unsalted butter (this is a sodium-free substitute for chicken broth)

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium high, until hot and shimmering. Add the chicken and black pepper. Cook until lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels. 
  2. Pour in remaining 1 tbsp avocado/olive oil and allow to heat until thin and runny. Add Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender and the onions are beginning to look translucent, about 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the apples, garlic, thyme, and cinnamon. Cook 30 seconds, then pour in 1/2 cup of the water/butter mixture. Bring to a boil and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved chicken and remaining 1/2 cup water/butter mixture. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. 
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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Crispy Rosemary Chicken & Fries



Adapted from this recipe

This is one of those super easy dinners you can have in the oven within 15 minutes, which makes it perfect for busy weeknights, lazy Sunday afternoons after church...pretty much anytime, really. It's simple and delicious (the juices from the chicken soak into the potatoes while they cook and Mmmmmmm), which also means kids and toddlers will enjoy it - always a perk in our household! And completing the trifecta, the ingredients are cheap. In a nutshell, you can't go wrong making this!

Crispy Rosemary Chicken & Fries
Serves 4

8 chicken thighs
6 small red or yellow potatoes, quartered
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (1 1/2 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried oregano
Olive oil, drizzle in to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Place chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over them and toss to coat, then sprinkle in herbs and garlic and continue tossing until evenly distributed.

Scatter evenly on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake uncovered for 1 hour. 

 

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Heart-Healthy Banana Oatmeal Muffins



My wonderful friend Heather made some of these for Ray while he was in the hospital, and we've been hooked ever since! I tweaked the recipe a bit (no surprises there) to make them a little more in line with Ray's dietary restrictions, and also to reduce the sugar because they were a little too sweet between the mashed bananas and all the honey. 

Even if you aren't on a diet, I highly recommend making these because they're delicious, my uber-picky toddler loves them, and the abundance of oats make them great for breastfeeding moms like me ❤️ They're the definition of a crowd pleaser!

Heart-Healthy Banana Oat Muffins
Yields 1 1/2 dozen

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
2 tbsp flax seeds
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use 0% Fage)
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, mashed
(Chopped Walnuts are a yummy addition if you're so inclined)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin pans.

Place the oats in a food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds. Pour in a large bowl, and stir in flax seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.

Add remaining ingredients, and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into muffin pans and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.


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Green Lentils & Rice with Chicken



I always knew I had a tendency to tinker around a little bit with recipes, but I didn't realize my habit was a full-fledged addiction until I started cooking every single day. It just feels so right for some reason....

This recipe originally started as more of a side dish, but I quickly morphed it into a full-fledged dinner by adding shredded chicken and some spices - yum! I have a feeling I'm not done messing with it though, so stay tuned for future experiments 😉

Green Lentils & Rice with Chicken
Serves 6-8

1 cup dry green lentils
2 cups water
4 tbsp olive oil, divided into 2 tbsp portions
1 cup basmati rice (brown rice also works)
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric 
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 pound chicken breasts, grilled and shredded

Place the lentils in a pot, and cover with water. Bring to a roiling boil over high heat for 5 minutes, then cover and remove from heat.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. 

Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the rice and cook for about 1 minute (toasting it a bit heightens the flavor), then stir in the lentils, onions, spices, and water. Bring the rice mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low for 5 minutes. Stir once, then re-cover and reduce heat further to low, cooking until the rice is tender (about 15 minutes). 

When rice mixture is finished cooking, toss in chicken and serve. 

Helpful tip: This makes quite a bit, so you'll probably have leftovers. It dries out a little in the fridge, so I'd recommend stirring in a touch of olive oil before reheating. 


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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Steelhead Trout (or Salmon) Kabobs with Basil Lime Marinade

 

Ray met with a sweet friend who's a nutritionist this week to make sure we're on track with his diet, and she encouraged him to try and eat fish at least twice a week (which is no hardship for us 😉). So while we were at Costco yesterday spending a ridiculous amount of time in the seafood section (my apologies to any poor souls that got caught behind us 😬), we spotted Steelhead (aka Rainbow) Trout and after some extensive Googling, figured we'd roll the dice and give it a whirl. I'd never had it before, and it had been a looooong time since Ray had, so we weren't quite sure what to expect. To our delight, it tasted almost exactly like Salmon, and was a dollar cheaper per pound to boot! #winning

The great thing about this recipe is you can use pretty much any veggies you have on hand. We used yellow squash, green pepper, and a skinny eggplant, but you could substitute zucchini, red peppers, mushrooms, etc. The sky's the limit!

Steelhead (or Salmon) Kabobs
Makes about 8 kabobs

About 1/2 pound Steelhead/Salmon, cut into 1-1.5" cubes
1 small yellow squash, cut into 1" cubes
1 medium green pepper, cut into 1" pieces
1 small eggplant, cut into 1" pieces 
8 10" wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

For each kabob, you'll need 2 pieces of each of the 4 ingredients listed above. Thread them onto a wooden skewer in an alternating pattern, and set in a Pyrex dish when finished.


Basil Lime Marinade

3 large garlic cloves 
1 small jalapeño, cored and seeds removed
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup basil leaves 
3/4 cup avocado or olive oil
4 tbsp lime juice (1-2 limes)
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a food processor, pulse garlic cloves, jalapeño, mint and basil for about 10 seconds. Then, with the food processor running, gradually pour in oil, and then lime juice and pepper. Reserve 1/3 cup for basting, and pour the rest over the kabobs and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Grill for about 10 minutes, brushing every few minutes with reserved marinade.




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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Chocolate Raspberry Overnight Oats



I love overnight oats, and I love raspberries. But search as I might, I couldn't find a recipe combining the two that appealed to me... they all seemed to lack a little something.

Well, I finally had an epiphany yesterday, and realized the only thing better than raspberries is chocolate + raspberries. So I decided to let my hair down, and throw some cocoa powder in the mix! The verdict this morning? AMAZING. I should have known you can never go wrong by adding chocolate to anything 😉

Chocolate Raspberry Overnight Oats
Serves 1-2

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tsp flax seeds
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I use 0% Fage)
1/2 cup milk of your choice (almond, coconut milk, regular cow's milk, etc)
1-2 tbsp honey, to sweeten as desired (you can also substitute a packet or two of Truvia - that's what Ray prefers)
1/4 cup raspberries

In a mason jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid, stir together first 3 ingredients. Add remaining ingredients except for the raspberries, close the lid, and shake well to combine. Let sit in refrigerator overnight, and add fresh raspberries before eating. 


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Sunday, June 26, 2016

No Sugar Added Sweet Potato Muffins

 

I am not a morning person. "Cave troll" would probably be the most accurate description of what I'm like in the morning. But now, with having to make all our food from scratch, it took me about 2 days to discover I didn't want to wake up early enough to make breakfast for the family every.single.morning.

The answer? Making muffins and overnight oats the evening before. They have been my savior. Not only that, but my picky toddler will actually eat muffins because she thinks they're "cake cake". This recipe was  born out of my desire to make muffins that are actually healthy, but have *just enough* sweetness to continue tricking my toddler. I know you feel me moms of toddlers ((fist bump)) 

These aren't overly sweet, but I promise they don't taste like your typical "healthy cardboard" muffins. They're really dense and moist, and I imagine if a sweet potato pie and a muffin got together and had a baby, this is what would happen. 

And if blueberries aren't your thing, I think toasted pecans would be an amazing substitute! 

No Sugar Added Sweet Potato Muffins
Makes roughly 1 1/2 dozen

About 2 1/2 cups boiled and mashed sweet potatoes 
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 350. 

In a medium bowl, combine mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, honey, and vanilla. Stir in baking powder and baking soda (I know it's weird to add them to the wet ingredients, but it actually distributes the levening agents better than mixing them with the dry, which is important because these muffins are dense and need all the help they can get).

Add the flour and cinnamon, and stir until just combined. Right before spooning into the muffin pan, gently fold in blueberries. 

Spoon batter into muffin pan, filling almost to the top (these won't rise much). Bake for 25-30 minutes, erring on the lower end because baked goods make with honey instead of sugar tend to brown faster (but it all depends on your oven). 

Remove from oven and let cool on rack for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Honey Vinaigrette Spring Pea Salad


 

adapted from this recipe by Food on Fifth

We have a great local produce market not too far from us called the Hollygrove Market, and twice a week they offer a flat rate $25 box of seasonal produce from local farms. This week's box included a pound of pink-eye beans, which frankly I'd never heard of before. After scouring the internet, I ended up doing another one of my hodgepodge recipes where I mix and match recipes depending on what we like, and which ingredients we have on hand. I ended up substituting in the pink-eye beans and keeping the cooking time at 5 minutes, which gave this salad a nice crunch!

Also, I realize pea shoots might be a little hard to find if you don't live in the city, but I think you could easily substitute some baby spinach leaves and turn this into more of a traditional salad.

Spring Pea Salad
Serves 6-8

3 cups each pink-eye beans, and fresh or frozen green peas (if frozen, make sure they are No Sodium Added)
6-8 leaves of fresh mint
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest from rind
1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
2 cups loosely packed green pea shoots (I used sunflower plant shoots because that's all I could find at Whole Foods)

Honey Vinaigrette
1/2 cup olive or avocado oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp dijon mustard
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and toss in the pink-eye beans and green peas. Cook for about 5 minutes. Pour beans and peas into a colander to drain. Rinse with cool running water, and leave to drain and cool down for about 10-15 minutes. Place in a large serving bowl.

Pour the olive oil, vinegar, honey, and mustard into a mason jar (or other container with a tight-fitting lid) and shake to emulsify. Season with fresh black pepper to taste, and set aside.

Roughly chop the mint leaves and add to the bowl of beans and peas, along with the lemon juice and zest. Cover and chill until read to serve.

When ready to serve, add in the pistachios, pea shoots, and vinaigrette, and gently toss.

Note: You can substitute frozen or fresh edamame or lima beans for the pink-eye beans - I was just using what I had on hand!
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Grilled Salmon with Sautéed Garlic Patty Pan Squash

 
One of the perks of switching to a low-sodium diet, is the ingredients you have to work with are generally much simpler, and meals come together more quickly. There aren't dozens of packaged ingredients to schlep from the fridge and pantry (and then back again). Just you, some fresh meat and produce, and whatever herbs and seasonings your heart desires ❤️
Grilled Salmon
Serves 4
1 Garlic clove, minced
2-3 tbsp olive oil (we use avocado oil we buy at Costco)
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
Four 6 oz salmon fillets
Pepper, to taste

Mix first three ingredients together. Place salmon in a small pan, and pour marinade over top. Let sit for about 10 minutes while you heat up the grill to Medium-High. Place fish on oiled aluminum foil and grill 3-4 minutes per side. (Note: it's easy to flip if you loosen the fillet a bit with your spatula first, and then flip it by lifting up the edge of the foil)

Sautéed Garlic Patty Pan Squash
Serves 4
2 Patty Pan yellow squash (or regular yellow squash), roughly chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
4-5 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
Pepper (or salt-free Tony's 😉), to taste

Pour oil in skillet and heat to Medium. Once oil is hot, toss in squash, minced garlic, and pepper (or other seasonings). Cook 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender. Top with fresh chopped basil once it's in the serving bowl, or on plates.
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Whole Wheat Chicken & Veggie Pasta Salad



Pasta coated with just a drizzle of oil doesn't cut it for me. I need a full-bodied *sauce* that has a flannel shirt and a beard. Problem is, all the delicious sauces out there have oodles of sodium...and after spending about an hour searching the internet for a low-sodium pasta salad that had more than just a wimpy oil/vinaigrette dressing, I gave up, and came up with my own. 

Whole Wheat Chicken & Veggie Pasta Salad
Serves 6-8

16 oz bag whole wheat bowtie pasta
2-3 chicken breasts
1 medium garlic clove, minced 
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
2 medium yellow squash, roughly chopped into 1/2' pieces
1-2 tbsp olive/avocado oil 
Pepper, to taste
Sodium-free Tony's (optional)

While water is boiling for the pasta, grill chicken breasts and cut into strips or cubes once fully cooked.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions (usually 10-11 minutes). While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a pan and toss in garlic, onion, pepper and squash. Cook about 8 minutes, or until veggies are soft. 

Drain pasta, add veggies, grilled chicken, and toss with mayo to coat. Season with pepper and Tony's as desired. Can be served hot or cold - if serving cold, you might want to "refresh" the pasta with a tablespoon or two of mayo before serving, because the pasta will absorb it overnight in the fridge (and it might be a little dry). 

Tip: If your pasta finishes cooking before your vegetables, you can toss it with a tiny bit of olive oil to keep if from sticking together before you add the remaining ingredients 
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5 Minute Avocado Oil Mayonnaise

 

Back before I'd ever tried it, hearing people talk about making mayonnaise from scratch conjured up images of Julia Child and my Navy-wife grandmother who was the hostess with the mostess. I imagined lots of fussy ingredients, cracking a million eggs, and hours of whisking (not to mention a pile of dirty dishes).

But then I read the most beautiful thing a few years ago - you can make it in a food processor, or with an immersion blender. So I tried it. And it was AMAZING. But then I had 2 kids, and I had to choose between making condiments from scratch, or washing my hair for the first time in days. The shower won. 

Fast forward a few years, and now that we have to eliminate as much sodium as possible from my husband's diet, we've come full circle. In an attempt to control his sodium as much as possible, and be 100% certain of what's going in his body, I'm making mayo again. And it's not so bad - my incredibly picky toddler, surprise of all surprises,  loves it and dips her fries in it. Mom win!

5 Minute Avocado Oil Mayo 
2/3 cup avocado oil
1 egg
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
Pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in your food processor except for the avocado oil. Pulse a few times to mix, then leave running and gradually drizzle in the avocado oil. It might take a minute or two, but it will eventually emulsify and thicken. You can use immediately, or make ahead and refrigerate so it has a firmer texture. 
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Meet the Telschows

This is us last Christmas - can't wait to see the "after" picture!

I'm currently fighting to keep the laptop in my actual lap right now, because I have a bulldozer of a 9 month old frantically swatting at the keys, while my 2 1/2 year old attempts to climb in my lap so she's closer to me than the baby (and thereby gets more attention, according to her logic).

And that's my life in a nutshell! This is going to be a no-frills (well, more like "rarely frills) blog, because I'm a stay-at-home-mom being pulled in about 1,000 different directions on any given day. The reason I'm starting this is to share yummy low-sodium recipes with our friends and family, and also to help document my family's adventure from grossly out of shape Louisiana eaters, to fit and healthy parents! My 32 year old husband was recently diagnosed with a heart condition in a very unexpected and terrifying fashion, and we still don't have a lot of answers about his diagnosis or long-term outlook, so we're trying to control the variables we're capable of controlling. The day he got out of the hospital, we started following his dietary and exercise recommendations to the letter, so here we are! We've completely overhauled our pantry and refrigerator, and a few million dollars and 30 kinds of dried beans and grains later, we're embarking on a whole new lifestyle. Come join us!
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