Top 12 Tips to Eating Healthy on a Budget

Most of the country has been hit by this snow covering arctic freeze.  California has been the extreme exception to this weather.  In contrast, we have been hit with a recording breaking drought.  So bad that experts are predicting our food costs to increase by 10 – 15% for the next year to year and a half.

Unfortunately not only does this effect California, but the rest of the nation as well.  Our sunshine state produces many of the crops that the rest of the country enjoys year round.

For anyone that made a resolution at the beginning of the year to eat healthier this may concern you.  For those of you that have made it a lifestyle to eat healthy, like myself, this could put a huge dent in your grocery budget.

Fortunately with some small adjustments to the way you shop you can still maintain your budget.  You can even afford organics.

I keep my grocery bill within $90 – $120 for a family of 4, every week.  I buy a lot of organics, but not exclusively.  I have 2 growing boys that eat like wolves, a husband that needs to feel satiated, and I like all of us to eat clean foods 80% of the time.

You must be asking yourself at this point how on earth I accomplish that trick?

Here are my 12 tips that I use every week to keep my family healthy and on budget.

bigstock-Meal-Plan-31027910#1  Plan, plan, plan!

  • Plan meals weekly for you and your family; breakfast, snack, lunch, snack & dinner.  Plan all seven days.  Mark days that you will eat leftovers and go out for dinner too.
  • Use your grocery stores weekly ad to make money saving menus.
  • Make a grocery list using your weekly menu.
  • Do not buy anything that is not on your list.
  • Use ingredients multiple times in your menu.

#2  Buy Generic Products

  • Especially organic ones.
  • Benefits:  they cost less, have the same nutrients, and taste the same.

#3  Buy Only Items on sale

  • Use the weekly store ads to build weekly menu.
  • Use sales to stock up when possible
  • Even though a sale is 10/$10 you do not have to buy 10 items, most of the time.
  • Look at the unit price to verify the sale item is the cheapest.

#4  Buy in Bulk

  • Especially if the bulk item is on sale
  • Items can be frozen if they are not going to be used within 5 days of purchase.

#5  Buy Frozen Fruits & Vegetables

  • They are usually half the price of fresh
  • Have longer shelf life
  • Saves you time, if they are already washed and cut
  • Nutrient dense.  If they are frozen when picked they contain more nutrients than fresh.
  • Less waste = More money saved!

#6  Buy Whavocadosole Foods

  • Shop the perimeter of the store, avoid the aisles.
  • Unprocessed foods are cheaper and more nutritious.
  • Gives you complete control over ingredients.  Processed foods have dangerous levels of sodium, added chemicals to preserve the food and maintain color.
  • Avoid anything that comes from a box 90% of the time.

#7  Buy Calorie Dense Foods

  • Eating calorie dense food leads to eating less because you feel full.
  • Examples:  Avocados, beans, peanut butter, brown rice, oats and dried fruits.
  • Watch portions, in excess they can add unwanted weight.

#8  Buy Cheap Protein

  • Buy ground turkey, pork, chicken breasts/thighs & turkey bacon in bulk when on sale.
  • Buy packs of chicken with skin on and remove skin yourself.  Huge savings!
  • Beans, mushrooms, eggs, nuts and tofu are good money saving replacements for meat.
  • Look for discounted items to expire.  Freeze them immediately if not using that day.  There are some very expensive cuts of meat that can be purchased for up to 90% off in this section!

#9  Buy in Season Fruits & Vegetables

  • In season items are cheaper and taste better.
  • Winter – Root Vegetables
  • Fall – Apples & squash
  • Summer – Berries & Cucumbers
  • Spring – Artichokes & asparagus
  • Freeze any fruits and vegetables you haven’t used by the end of the week.
  • Look for resident farmers market assistance programs.  In my city, Rancho Cucamonga, there is a program for families with children 5 years and younger, or pregnant women.  Participants receive $50 to spend at the local farmers markets each month.  Follow this link to sign up.

unit price#10  Max Out Your Discounts

  • Get the store card for your supermarket and know how to use it.
  • Clip coupons.  You can find them at online or in your Sunday paper.
  • Check the unit price for the best deal.  Least expensive isn’t always the smartest buy.
  • Walmart will price match.  Bring the competitors ad with you and be prepared to let the clerk know which products you are price matching before she/he rings them up.
  • Sign up on product websites to receive their coupons via email.

#11 Be Drink Smart

  • Stop buying bottled water.  Buy a Brita pitcher.
  • Make your own coffee.  One year of Starbucks will cost the average person $790 (not daily).  One year of daily Keurig coffee consumption is $156.52 a person.
  • Stop drinking costly, body harming sodas.

#12  Grow Your Own Food

  • Much more cost efficient than purchasing fresh or frozen in the store.
  • The taste is unbeatable.
  • More cost effective way to consume organics.
  • Even in a small yard you can plant in raised beds or containers.

So, there you go, that is how I eat healthy on a budget.

Yes, it will take you some time to put together your menus and list.  Before you know it this will become second nature.  You will slowly evolve into a healthy, money saving machine.

I will testify that it is worth the time it takes to do this every week.  It actually becomes addicting.  I look forward to seeing what I saved at the bottom of my receipt every week.

Can’t see yourself doing this, but would love healthy balanced menus and/or meals to be made for you?  If so, click here.

Do you have a tip you would like to share?  If so, leave it in the comment section below.

Best Blogger Salad Ever WINNER! {Giveaway}


{giveaway has ended}

I guess the title completely gives away my amazing news.  Thanks to all of you, I won the Better Recipes Best Blogger Salad Ever!  Your support means the world to me.  I know some of you voted every day, and I am extremely grateful for your efforts.

To say thank you, I have partnered with Fit Body Boot Camp in Upland, CA to do a giveaway.  The lucky winner will receive a one month membership!  This isn’t just an ordinary gym.  Leandro Cabico runs a body tightening, health driven ship.  All of the workouts are based on high intensity interval training (HIIT).  In a 20 minute window you will have worked out every muscle group and will continue to burn calories for the rest of the day.

I have personally worked out at his gym.  Not only was I impressed with the workouts, but loved the camaraderie of the staff and clients.  If results are what you are looking for FBBC is the place for you.fbbc-logo-flat

If you are in the area on Saturday (2/22/14), I will be teaching a short seminar at FBBC, 10:30 a.m. Topic will be How to Eat Healthy on a Budget.  With the current drought in California, residents could see a 10 – 15% increase in their groceries bills for the next 1 – 1 1/2 years.  I will be sharing my tips and tricks on how to stay on budget.  The address is 1334 W. 9th Street, Upland, CA 91786.  Free to all.  Hope to see you there!

To enter this amazing giveaway valued at $257 all you need to do is like FBBC on facebook, and share this post directly from Decadently Fit’s FB page.  All entries will be drawn at random on February 26, 2014, @ 8:00 p.m. PST.

Good luck and thank you for voting in the Better Recipes contest.  Here is the link to my winning recipe.

broccoli slaw gawk border

Turkey & Pork Chili (crockpot)

turkey chili2Well it finally happened, winter has graced us Californians with her presence.   I was enjoying our overly extended fall/summer.  But, it was truly time for our state to be blanketed with precipitation and a temperature drop.

We are always in a state of drought, but this year has reached an all time high.  The perfect weather party needed to end.  The rest of the country can stop cursing at us now.  Or maybe not.  This is what our weather forecast looks like through the next week.


For the next couple days, I’ll enjoy our ‘cold’ spell and enjoy the unforcasted sprinkles of rain.  I am thankful for the brief cleansing effect the rain has on our smoggy skies and the opportunity to organize my house.

What does organization have to do with the weather?  You don’t really think Californians go out in this do you?  We will hibernate our wussy weather selves at home till Storm Warning 2014 passes.

Until then I will organize everything I can.  For inspiration I will head to my friend Kristy’s amazing organizational blog, Giftie Etcetera.  Her tips and tricks will give my tornado of organization exactly the umph that it needs.

I always look forward to this short window of winter.  I love making comforting soups and warming chili.  Actually, I love making chili all year long.  It just tastes better when it the temp goes below 60 degrees.

Chili is food that has many different personalities.   Like snow flakes not one is the same.  Some people like chili with beans, some like it only ‘con carne’.  Some add ingredients that should never be in chili, like pumpkin.

I personally prefer mine con carne or with a very small amount of black beans.  Though I forgot to put in the 1/2 cup of black beans I normally add before I took the picture above.  Oops.  Pretend they are there.

Now that I have cleared that up, let’s move onto an enticing description of the dish.  This chili is simple, so simple that you brown the meat, stir in all the ingredients in the crock pot and 6 hours later you can eat.

turkey chili5

The main ingredients are lean proteins; ground turkey, and ground pork.  The blended flavor of the meat, onion, garlic and spices, combine to create a perfect balance of healthy comfort.

There is even a secret ingredient.  Readers from the mid-west won’t be surprised to see that there is dark chocolate in this crimson meat melody.  The chocolate melts into the dish intensifying the flavor of the chili.  The small amount of sugar in the chocolate helps to reduce the acid in the tomatoes.  You won’t be able to tell it’s there, but I insist on you adding it.  It adds a layer of yum you will regret leaving out.

If being efficient while cooking is an area you need help on, you need to head over to Giftie Etcetera for step by step instructions on how to maintain organization in the kitchen.

The chili is perfect ladled into a bowl, or over an egg white omelet.  The options are endless.  Whether you make this chili to eat in -14 weather or in 72 degree and sunny, make lots.  It freezes well.  Enjoy!

I would like to welcome visitors from Giftie Etcetera.  If you like what you see please subscribe so you can receive new recipes as I post them.  Thanks for stopping by!


Turkey & Pork Chili

Serves 8

1 lb. lean ground turkey

1 lb. lean ground pork

1 T. olive oil

1 medium brown onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

4 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (I love Muir Glen)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups water

1 oz. dark chocolate, chopped (70% works well)

1 cup black beans, rinsed

Crock Pot Instructions

Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven.  Brown the meat, then add the onions, garlic, salt and black pepper.  Transfer the meat to a large crock pot.  Stir in the remainder of the ingredients, except chocolate.

Cook on low for 5 – 6 hours.  During the last 30 minutes, stir in chocolate and beans until melted.

Stove Top Instructions

In a large dutch oven heat the olive oil.  Brown the meat, then stir in the onions, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cook till onions are soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.

Add in the water and scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add in the rest of the ingredients, except beans, stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.  Simmer on low with lid on for 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Add in beans, stir and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Serve with your favorite toppings.  ex:  diced onions, reduced fat cheese, or greek yogurt.

Servings: 8• Size: 1 cup Calories: 226• Fat: 5.6g • Carb: 19g • Fiber: 4.2g • Protein: 28.8g • Sugar:  7.8g Sodium: 464mg • Cholesterol: 37mg

Fudgy Flourless Dark Chocolate Torte

flourless choc cake 3If you were on a desert Island what one food would you bring?  A sane person would most likely bring something that they can grow.  They might even bring something that can continually reproduce like chickens.

Not me.  If I was stuck on a desert Island, I would bring chocolate.  More specifically dark chocolate.

Since I was little I have craved the midnight colored confection. As I have grown into adulthood my love for the treat has increased. It’s not my fault though.  The addiction runs in my family. Here are 3 cases that prove my theory.

Case #1:  After my grandmother passed away, the tough job of cleaning out the house had to be done.   Hidden all over the house we found loads of chocolate.  I’m pretty sure it was even in the bathroom and laundry room.  Buried treasure everywhere.

Case #2:  Starting at a young age my aunt would find chocolate and ice cream containers under my cousin’s bed.  She has since learned to hide her addiction better.  She now has learned to lock herself in the bathroom, consume said treat and dispose of the wrappers in the outside trash.  Her 3-year-old daughter caught her once, but she bribed her with chocolate not to tell.

Case #3:  I have passed on this gene to both of my boys.  The biggest addict is my oldest mini me.  He won’t even glance at a dessert unless it is entirely composed of chocolate. He’s seven people.  I’m sure the amount of chocolate I consumed while pregnant has nothing to do with this.  It’s the genes.

Now that I have proved my point I’ll move on.

Valentines Day is just around the corner.  Over the past couple years we have celebrated as a family rather than just the husband and I.  We love celebrating our love for our family.

I cover the dining room table with a shiny red table-cloth, and set it with my fine china and crystal glasses.  We dim the lights, light a few candles and indulge in a meal saved for this day.  The last two years the menu consisted of lobster tails (bought on sale of course), wedge salads and a nice steak.

Since V-day is synonymous with chocolate, we always finish off our evening devouring it any way we can.  Last year we scoured the pantry and fridge for items to dip in chocolate.  The short list of items include:  bacon, strawberries, raspberries, pretzels, and pistachios.

flourless choc cake 4

This year I opted for a gluten-free, healthier, decadent chocolate dessert.  After many attempts at a perfect flour-less chocolate cake, this dark temptress was born.

The cake contains zero butter and zero flour (gluten).  Coconut oil and coconut milk have taken the place of the butter fat.  Bob’s Red Mill ARROWROOT STARCH has taken the place of flour, making sure that it doesn’t fall apart.  These three super foods create a smooth fudge like texture.

What exactly is arrowroot?  The easily digested root based powder is used in place of cornstarch.  The flavorless thickening agent is low in calories and doesn’t cloud your finished product.  Instead it adds a beautiful sheen.  Arrow Root is being used more and more in Gluten-free and Paleo cooking.

If you are gluten-free, follow a Paleo Diet, low-carb diet, have celiac, or just like to eat clean lower calorie versions of your favorites, this luscious chocolate dessert is for you.


Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Torte

Serves 12

flourless choc cake 3

8 oz. 72% dark chocolate (if GF make sure you choose a GF one)

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 c. hot coffee

1/2 c. full fat coconut milk (canned)

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup coconut sugar

4 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill (coupon) arrowroot powder

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Line the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan with parchment paper, cut to fit.  Cut another piece of parchment the exact same size and set aside.  Lightly grease the sides of the pan with coconut oil.  Cover the bottom outside of the pan with enough foil to prevent water from seeping into the pan.

Break apart the chocolate and place in food processor.  Process until crumbly.  Add in the sugar, salt and the arrowroot.  Process for 30 more seconds.

In a small saucepan melt the oil and coconut milk with the coffee and vanilla.  Heat till it just starts to simmer.  Remove from heat.  With the food processor on, pour carefully into the chocolate mixture.  Be careful not to burn yourself! Process till a pudding like consistency is reached, about 1 minute.

Pour into prepared pan.  Tap pan on the counter to level, or use off set spatula.

Cover the mixture with the second piece of parchment paper.  Place the spring form pan inside of another larger pan.  Pour enough boiling water into the second pan, so that it reaches halfway up the side of the spring form pan to create a water bath. Place the pans in the oven.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from oven.  Allow to cool completely, and remove parchment paper before serving.

Refrigerate any leftovers up to a week.  Can be frozen up to 3 months.  Defrost in fridge over night before eating.

Questions about this recipe?  Please post a comment below, or email me at

Servings: 12• Size: 1/12th of the torte Calories: 238• Fat: 19g • Carb: 17g • Fiber: 1.4g • Protein: 3.5g •    Sugar:  12g Sodium: 44mg • Cholesterol: 61mg

This post was not sponsored, all opinions are my own.  I just really love Bob’s Red Mill products that much.  

Strawberry Hot Wings (baked)

strawberry hot wingsIn four days Americans will gather to watch the Seahawks and Broncos battle for the coveted Lombardi Trophy and declare themselves World Champions.

For us non-NFL lovers, thankfully Superbowl parties are not just about watching the game.  It’s an excuse to hang out with friends and of course eat.  Next to Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday is the second highest eating day.  On average, 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat are consumed by fans of pig skin chasing.

Domino’s Pizza has reported they deliver 11 million pizzas on game day.

11 million pounds of chips are consumed, 4 million pounds of pretzels, and 51.7 million cases of beer will be purchased for the day.

Among the more popular, traditional foods are hot wings.  More than 1.23 billion wings and drumettes will devoured by cheering fans this Sunday.  A successful Superbowl party must have these among the smorgasbord.

As much as I love a spicy, sauced covered wing, I cringe at the nutritional facts.  In only five Hooter’s wings, there is 866 calories, 63g of fat, and 25g of carbs.  Lord help us.  You would have to run 95 minutes, maintaining a 10 minute mile pace the entire time to burn those calories.  Not even in moderation would these be beneficial to your waist line.

In my super skinny version of the North American favorite, there is only 172 calories, 7.8g of fat, and 6.1g of carbs for the same serving.  A huge savings in your calorie bank.

How did I reduce the calories that dramatically?  I removed the fatty skin and I baked them.  There is zero butter in the sauce.  Instead I replaced it with Melt rich and creamy spread.  Melt contains only good fats, like virgin coconut oil, and ghee.

This spicy, sweet, hip friendly version of wings would be a great addition to any Superbowl party.  Even if your team loses at least you will have won bragging rights to the best tasting, healthiest dish of the day.  You also won’t have remorse for what you ate.

What ever team you are rooting for I hope you have a fun, safe, calorie friendly day!  Go Trojans!


Strawberry Hot Wings

Serves 6 – 3 wings each

30 chicken wings/drumettes, skin removed (half of each)

salt, pepper & chili powder to season

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 flats of strawberries, you need 1 1/2 cups of pureed strawberries

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

4 tablespoons Melt buttery spread

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon mustard

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 tablespoon tabasco (more or less to your desired heat level)

Organic Canola oil in a Misto sprayer (preferred) or store bought non-stick version

green onions, diced (optional for garnish)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Rinse and dry the chicken completely.  Sprinkle each side of the wing with a small amount of salt, pepper and chili powder.  Set chicken on a wire rack that is resting on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper.  Spray each piece of chicken lightly on both sides with canola.  Bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and crispy.

When chicken is done remove from oven and baste both sides with sauce.  Return back to oven for 1 minute.  Remove from oven and baste one more time.  Serve hot.  Garnish with green onions.


Melt the buttery spread in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat.  Add in the strawberry puree, garlic powder, garlic, pepper, worcestershire, onion powder, honey, tabasco, mustard, and vinegar.  Bring to a simmer.  Reduce by half.  Remove from heat.

Servings: 6• Size: 5 pieces Calories: 172• Fat: 7.8g • Carb: 6.1g • Fiber: 1g • Protein: 21.3g • Sugar:  4.9g Sodium: 239mg • Cholesterol: 0mg

The Best Cauliflower Pizza

cauliflower pizza 5I am sure if you have a Pinterest account you have at least heard of the cauliflower pizza.  You may have even attempted to make one.  The consensus seems to be that most fall apart, and are just o.k.

Just o.k. doesn’t cut it on Decadently Fit.  Just o.k. won’t have you telling your friends about it.  Just o.k. keeps healthy food in the “I’ll eat it, but I don’t really like it”, realm.  So not o.k.

After researching the good, bad, and hideous recipes, I came up with this bad boy.

I figured out that one of the most important factors in making the crust is removing as much liquid as you can.  When you think you have removed it all, use your brute strength and remove more.  Leftover moisture will be the down fall of an otherwise successful *fake-out meal.

*fake-out meal – a mother/father’s attempt at making their family think what they are eating is not a healthy, sub par version of their favorite food.

One more tip, make the cauliflower ‘dough’ as smooth as possible when processing.  I left mine the consistency of cauliflower rice, and my 7-year-old gourmand asked if there was rice in the crust.  Albeit, he devoured his piece in record time.

cauliflower pizza

Have fun with this recipe.  As you can tell by the horrible picture taken on my iPhone (above), I made one half for the adults and one half for the kids.  You can add any combination of toppings that fit the tastes of your home.

I would love to see your combinations.  Feel free to post a picture of your version on our Facebook wall.


Cauliflower Pizza

Serves 4


1 head of cauliflower, stem removed

1 garlic clove minced

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

4 oz. goat cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 jar organic pizza sauce

12 oz. bag Trader Joe’s Lite Mozzarella (I used maybe 2/3 of the bag for the entire pizza)

In two batches pulse the cauliflower pieces till as smooth as possible, adding a little bit of water if needed.

In a microwave safe dish combine the cauliflower puree, garlic, basil, oregano and salt.  Microwave for 5 minutes on high.  Let sit with the lid on for 20 minutes.  Remove the lid and let cool.

When cool enough to touch place mixture in a kitchen towel and ring out as much liquid as possible.

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine cauliflower mixture with remainder of ingredients.  Form into a ball.

Coat a large pizza stone with a thin layer of coconut oil or ghee.  Place the cauliflower ball in the middle of pizza stone.  Work the dough out to the edges forming a circle, making sure the dough is not too thin.  Thicker is better.

Bake the dough without toppings for 10 -15 minutes, or until the edges start turning golden brown.  This is a very important step.  Do not under-bake.

Remove from oven.  Add your favorite pizza sauce, and toppings of your choice.  Cover in Trader Joe’s Lite Shredded Mozzarella Cheese.  Bake another **5 – 10 minutes.  Remove when the cheese is golden and bubbly.

**(all ovens bake at different times, please watch your pizza to keep from burning)

Nutrition facts only reflect the dough

Servings: 4• Size: 1/4 of pizza Calories: 176• Fat: 9.3g • Carb: 13g • Fiber: 5.3g • Protein: 13.2g • Sugar:  5.3g Sodium: 591mg • Cholesterol: 73mg

Top 13 Recipes of 2013

newyearhealth(2)It’s the last day of 2013!

I wasn’t sure the direction Decadently Fit would take when I started last January.  I wasn’t even sure it would last this long.  What I can say is I love what it has become.

I love that my knowledge about food has increased with every post.

I love that there are 391 people in the DF community.  That far exceeds any number I thought would join.  That being said, hitting 400 in 2013 would be awesome!

I love that my food photography has dramatically improved.  The obvious progression is exciting and embarrassing all at the same time.  I have a long way to go in this department, but I am thrilled with my progress.

I love working with healthy food brands and hope to begin new partnerships while maintaining existing ones in 2014.  Thank you to Bob’s Red Mill, Attune Foods, and Klondike for believing in a small blog.

These are a few goals  I hope to express through each post in 2014:

  • To help my readers reach a new level of health through the foods they eat.
  • To express how wonderful food can be in healthy forms.
  • To teach my readers about foods they normally wouldn’t touch.  To be adventurous with food.
  • To love whole, clean foods by seeing them in healthy, yet decadent forms.

I don’t want to go too much into the future vision I have.  Know this, as the readership grows, this blog will grow.  Keep sharing recipes with your friends.  Keep interacting in the comments section and on the social media.  I read each and every one of your comments and take every single one to heart.

Thank you for your support!  I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for Decadently Fit.

To tie up the year in a nice pretty best of list, here are theTop 13 Recipes of 2013.

(Based on highest views)

portobello border#13 Portabella Chicken Pizza

Enchilada casserole (gluten free) no words border#12 Enchilada Casserole

jajic holiday no words border#11 Mediterranean Dip

bruschetta chicken border#10 Simple Brushchetta Chicken

chia banana maple pudding border#9 Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Banana Maple Pudding

spag squash goat cheese2border#8 Spaghetti Squash Goat Cheese Bake

cali rice border#7 Cauliflower Rice

turkey meat balls border#6 Paleo Friendly Turkey Meatballs

broccoli slaw gawk border#5 Broccoli Slaw & Virtual BBQ

casserole border#4 Lasagna Casserole

hatch chili chicken tostada border#3 Red Chili Chicken

zucchini lasagna  border#2 Zucchini Lasagna

peach pie protein shake border#1 Peach Pie Protein Smoothie

Gluten-free Chicken & Waffles w/ Mustard Maple Syrup

chickenwaffles 4 frameIt’s that time of year again.  The time where everyone will start pinning healthy recipes to their Pinterest boards.  Gym memberships will be bought.  New Year’s resolutions will be made in the hopes that 2014 will be the year they hold their weight. No pun intended.

Most likely you are reading this blog because you came upon it on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Google, or Twitter.  You may have pinned this as part of your master plan to keep that weight loss/health resolution.  Let me tell you, you scored on this find.  Especially if you are a foodie who struggles with typical bland diet/health food.

This recipe is what I would like to call the light amongst the dark.  We are spoiled with the ability to access great recipes with a simple Google or Pinterest search.  Unfortunately, a lot of the so-called replacement recipes make me want to go eat card board instead.

waffle batterThis Paleo/gluten-free waffle is an adaptation of the Amazing Paleo version.  I was a little nervous when I initially saw the list of ingredients.  The ratio of eggs to coconut flour scared me.  It sounded like it would be the consistency of a crepe, not waffle.  Due to the addition of baking soda twafflehe eggy batter transforms into a fluffy, savory waffle.

If you stop at the waffle you will most definitely be satisfied.  But, in the words of Emeril Lagasse, I think you should “crank it up another notch”.

chicken split 2The chicken is really easy to make.  Start off by splitting each lean chicken breast with a knife.

Next each of the slimmed down breasts marinate in tenderizing

buttermilk for 30 minutes.

crackers 3While they marinate, the gluten-free cracker crust is pulverized into a fine powder. and the eggs are whisked into a sunny yellow binding liquid.

After marination is complete, each breast is dunked into the egg mixture and then covered with the cracker coating.

After each breast has been coated, they are baked for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.  chicken cooked

I topped 2 -3 waffles with a piece of chicken, and dressed them with a cloud of spicy arugula that was tossed in a mustard maple syrup.  Then of course I had to drizzle a little more of the syrup on top of the crunchy goodness.

prelim waffle

If you did stumble upon this post on via the many different vehicles the internet provides, I hope you subscribe.  I would love to help you keep your resolution.

  Whatever your resolution(s) are for 2014, if they involve your health or not, aspire to keep them.  Remember, you made them for a reason.

Happy New Year!



3 boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise (see picture above)

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

1 box Van’s gluten-free Multi-grain crackers

2 eggs, whisked till slightly frothy (small bubbles)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

salt & white pepper to season



4 eggs, whisked

2 tablespoons coconut flour (or brown rice flour)

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled

3 tablespoons full fat canned coconut milk

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon baking soda


2 tablespoons prepared mustard

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

2 cups arugula

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Marinate the chicken breasts with the buttermilk in an air tight Ziploc bag for 30 minutes.

While chicken marinates, combine all ingredients for the waffles and let rest.

Whisk together all the ingredients for the syrup and refrigerate.

In shallow bowl whisk together the eggs, season with salt and pepper.

In a food processor pulse entire box of crackers until a powder forms.  Transfer powder to another shallow bowl. Mix in the garlic powder, then season with salt and pepper.

Remove the chicken from the Ziploc one piece at a time.  Coat all sides with egg mixture, then the cracker mixture.  Set each piece on a cookie sheet covered with foil.  Each chicken piece will sit on a cooling rack coated with olive oil or coconut oil cooking spray.  Repeat the process till all 6 pieces are coated.  Sprinkle each piece of chicken with paprika.  Bake for 40 minutes.

When there is 10 minutes left in the chicken’s cooking time, start cooking the waffles in waffle iron.  Use the highest setting possible.  Cook till iron indicates they are done.  Check waffle, leave in till waffle is the color you prefer.  I like mine to have a nice light brown crust.

Toss the arugula with 1 tablespoon of the syrup.

Assemble each plate with 2 – 3 waffles, 1 piece of chicken and a handful of arugula.  Drizzle each plate of goodness with more syrup.  Serve immediately.

Servings: 6• Size Calories: 356 • Fat: 16.1g • Carb: 26g • Fiber: 3g• Protein: 23.3g • Sugar: 9g Sodium: 345mg • Cholesterol: 224mg

(A regular plate of chicken and waffles has 941 calories and 30g of fat!)

After the smell has gone

photo-5It’s been 85 days or 13 weeks since the smell of dying kitchen led to it’s full blown demise.  Let me tell you, when you are eating almost every meal out, it feels more like  a year.

We are still in final stages of the remodel.  The back-splash still needs to be installed, and there are a few cabinet/drawer details that need to be addressed.  Other than that we are back to full function.  I have never been so happy to wash dishes.

Our kitchen went back to fully functional at 8 p.m. the night before Thanksgiving.  If we had been crazy enough to host the holiday at our home it would have been a nail biting finish.

Making pancakes for my family on Thanksgiving morning truly encompassed the meaning of the day.  Obviously I have more than a kitchen to be thankful for, but I appreciate the first world convenience more than ever before.

The old adage, “you don’t appreciate what you have till it’s gone”, held true during the last three months.  Each day that we had to go out and purchase pre-made, non-organic food from restaurants or grocery stores made us realize how spoiled we are.

During the remodel I was unknowingly conducting an experiment.  I normally get sick maybe once a year.  During the three months I was sick multiple times.  I am sure stress played a part, but I can truly say that I believe it was due to the quality of food I was eating.  Although I ate as healthy I could at most places, I know not everything is scratch made.  A majority, if not all, was not organic.

There is something to be said for that.  It was a good experiment, but not one I would like to repeat any time soon, or ever.  On the flip side I am happy for the experience, because it confirmed what I already knew.  You are what you eat.

I am ecstatic to start developing recipes and blogging about them again.  I have so many ideas planned for the very near future and plan to start offering cooking classes out of my beautiful new classroom.  Stay tuned!

Now for the unveiling of my beautiful new work place.

Here is the before again for shock value:

IMG_0597 2  IMG_0587 2photo-5

Here is the beautiful after:



IMG_4136 IMG_4137

And a side by side:

IMG_0597 2 IMG_4135

This experience has also taught me that there is beauty in every situation, even the stressful, inconvenient, stinky ones.

The case of the smelly kitchen

Have you missed me?  Wondered where I went?  This should clear things up.

I notoriously have an extremely sensitive nose.  When food is involved my super smeller is a great asset.  When bad smells are involved it is a curse, usually.  In this case it was a blessing.

Four weeks ago, on a normal summer morning I stumbled into my kitchen half awake.  As I made my way to the Keurig, I noticed a distinct, awful smell.  After a quick check on the usual smelly suspects, I spent the day searching for the ghostly smell.  I took out the trash and washed the trash can.  I bleached the sink.  I cleaned out the fridge.  The smell still held firm to it’s position in my culinary domain.  Not only did it hold on, a couple of days went by and it got worse.  Much, much worse.

My gut instinct told me we needed to look behind the dishwasher.  Easier said than done.  The people before us had remodeled the kitchen, but did so in an extremely strange fashion. One of their decisions was to not put tile under the dishwasher or cabinets.  Instead they are below floor level about an inch and a half.   Due to this there was no pulling the dishwasher out without pulling the counter top off.  Thinking that the smell was only the dishwasher we were not willing to create that much damage.

With my husband curiously watching me, I removed the bottom face plate of the dishwasher.  Immediately the smell grew ten times worse, and we saw the inch of standing water.  That oh (fill in the blank) look crossed our faces.  The husband quickly grabbed a flash light and revealed mold growing on the back wall.  Not the most exciting thing to find in your kitchen.

We had no idea the controlled chaos this revelation would create.  In the past few weeks we have had an abatement company remove half of our kitchen cabinets and a large portion of the back wall, 4 feet high.  The removal had to be done in a controlled environment due to asbestos being present in the joint compounds of the wall.

We had multiple visits with cabinet companies, the insurance adjustor and a general contractor.  The process has had it’s moments of seamless orchestration and moments where I feel like I have just walked out of a tornado.  At this point I just want my kitchen back.

We wanted to remodel the kitchen eventually, but the timing isn’t the greatest.  But, when would it have been?

I have decided my attitude on this is one of gratitude.  I am grateful we have insurance.  I am grateful for wonderful friends taking care of us.  I am grateful that because of this I appreciate my modern conveniences on a new level.

As you have most likely assumed my cooking is very limited at this point.  Without a sink, counter, dishwasher, range or disposal it’s very hard to prep, cook or clean up a meal.

So, in the next couple months this blog will be taking some what of a detour.  I will still be posting recipes (cooking in some amazing kitchens of friends), but I will also be posting what to order at restaurants to stay on a healthy road. A lot of the recipes I post will be in the appliances I have available to me (crock pot, toaster oven, oven while it is still in tact).

Detours don’t have to mean derailment.  Two weeks before our kitchen fiasco my husband decided to jump on the healthy band wagon.  This could have been a huge blow to his new plan.  I am happy to say we are both still on target to reach our goals.   Even though we have eaten out a majority of our meals in the last 25 days.

Lesson to this story:  Regardless of your situation, if you have a goal in mind, you will get there.  If you want it bad enough, nothing will get in your way.  The lack of kitchen hasn’t hurt our waist lines.  The temptation of tons of options on a menu, or the lack of healthy prepped meals, are just small obstacles to over come.

I’ll also be posting periodic updates on the progress of our kitchen (with pictures).  Here is what it looks like currently and what it looked like before.

IMG_0587 2
IMG_0597 2