Whole Wheat Pasta – Fresh Tomatoes, Spinach, + Garlic

When I was pregnant with my oldest kiddo, 6 years ago, I came upon this recipe in my doctor’s office. I found it in some pregnancy magazine, committed it to memory and have been making it since. Over the years we’ve added things, like pine nuts and bacon (and I think I’m going to throw in goat cheese next time).

This makes for a ridiculously fast, healthy, and yummy dinner complete with leftovers for the next day. You can add veggies in, or meat – its delicious with grilled chicken. So a very flexible recipe, indeed.

As always, we’d love to hear how you alter it for your family! Be sure to leave us a comment and let us know!

Whole Wheat Pasta (with Spinach, Cherry Tomatos, Bacon, and Garlic)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 pound 100% whole wheat spaghetti or linguine noodles
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bag of washed baby spinach or 1 bunch of spinach leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil (can add more after everything has been tossed with the noodles, if needed)
  • Few shakes of red pepper flakes (to your liking)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • Freshly shredded mozzarella to toss in at the end, optional 
METHOD:
  1. Cook your pasta according to package directions. With only one minute left of cooking time, add the spinach to the boiling water. Strain noodles and spinach.
  2. While you wait for the water to boil – in a large bowl, add your olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, some salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
  3. Add the tomatoes, cooked bacon and pine nuts to the bowl and make sure they get coated with the olive oil mixture.
  4. Pour the strained noodles and spinach into the large bowl and toss everything together. If your noodles are too dry add a couple more tablespoons of olive oil until it’s just right. Add salt (probably about 1/2 teaspoon) and pepper and top with mozzarella. Enjoy!
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible
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“Paleo” NorCal Margarita (gluten free)

Put the word “Paleo” in quotes there because technically alcohol isn’t Paleo.   But really, if you have more than one small child (or honestly even just one small child), you too will understand our sentiment – some nights just call for a drink.  A stiff one.  I read today that 4-year-olds ask an average of 437 questions each day.  Each day.  That statistic has got to be true, I have a child that can prove it.  And sometimes it feels like only 37 of those questions were unique – the other one was the exact SAME question asked 400 TIMES. Ok, I’m digressing.  Mostly, it has been awhile since you guys got a good alcoholic beverage recipe on here… (If you missed the past ones, try our Whiskey Sour or Bourbon + Bubbles).  This little drink has become our favorite in the past few months.  When husband and I did super strict Paleo challenge where alcohol consumption wasn’t allowed, we cheated one day a week and made this drink… I know, I know.  We are failures for cheating, but really – 5 drinks in 5 weeks wasn’t too bad given the number of questions we were fielding each day from a certain child.  So famous Paleo Nutritionist, Robb Wolf came up with this recipe… He has lots of scientific reasons why this drink is his drink of choice when it comes to alcohol, which you can read here (scroll down to page 26 of the transcript).  We think that stuff is cool too, but mostly we think it tastes good.  Really good.  Hope you all enjoy it too.

Oh, and did you know that most margarita mixes contain gluten?  Since you will be mixing this up from scratch, and since tequila doesn’t have gluten, you will be drinking a gluten-free margarita.  If you’re into that.

paleo norcal margarita gluten freeINGREDIENTS:
  • 2-3 shots 100% Agave Tequila (we like silver tequila)
  • Juice and pulp of 1 lime
  • Ice
  • Splash of soda water
METHOD:
  1. Pour lime juice / pulp and tequila into a glass
  2. Shake it up with a few ice cubes
  3. Top off glass with soda water. 
  4. Give it another quick stir.  Drink.  
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Robb Wolf.

Rachel’s Morning Glory Muffins (loaded with seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables)

Good morning! I have a super special treat to share with you guys. Today I am introducing you to these most amazing muffins. These babies are packed full of good-for-you ingredients to start your day off just right or to give you an energy packed treat as an afternoon pick-me-up. But there is more as to why these guys are so special… If you live in Seattle and haven’t attended a class taught by The Joyful Kitchens, you need to. The Joyful Kitchens is made up of three lovely Seattle ladies who are like the quadruple threat in the kitchen, if such a thing exists. They teach, they cook from scratch, they cater, they photograph – and most importantly they are wonderful, sweet, hospitable, and beautiful women. I have taken three of their classes in the past year and have learned so many fun new recipes and tricks that range from cocktail parties and holiday treats, to most recently fun brunch food. These muffins came from that class. I asked Rachel if she would let me share this recipe with you guys, because I know that you will love them just as much as we have. They will be a staple in our home for sure. They are great as a quick breakfast and perfect for a snack. I’ve been sticking them in Jonah’s lunchbox everyday too, to get him through the rest of his afternoon at school.

So run out to your favorite bulk bin location and stock up! We love to hear from you, so let us know how you liked them and I will be sure to pass all compliments along to Rachel!

morning glory muffins with seeds, fruit, and nuts.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup natural raw wheat germ (this was the only item I forgot when I went bulk bin shopping for these muffins so I used an additional 1/4 cup almond flour)
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (would be great with shredded zucchini, too)
  • 1 tart apple peeled, cored, and shredded
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped and pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped super dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon course sea salt
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
METHOD:
  1. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. Add in the shredded apple and carrots, the raisins, dates, walnuts, seeds, chocolate, and coconut.
  2. Using your hands, mix all of the ingredients together to ensure everything gets coated with the flour.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add the applesauce, maple syrup, molasses, melted coconut oil, almond and vanilla extracts.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated and moist. If your mixture is too dry, add just a touch more applesauce.
  5. Scoop batter into greased muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 20-35 minutes at 350 or until the middle is set if using regular muffin tins. If using mini muffin tins, bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Eat warm out of the oven with butter! Enjoy!
  8. Makes 12-18 regular size muffins or about 26 mini muffins
  9. NOTE:  We are working on a gluten-free / paleo conversion for this recipe as well.
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Taken from Rachel @ The Joyful Kitchens.

Oven Cooked Bacon

This is another one of those duh posts, but seriously people – if you eat bacon (which you should), then this is the best way to prepare it.  I’ve tried all kinds of bacon cooking methods, and for the last year or so, this is the only way I cook it.  I used to get so annoyed at the messy bacon splatter all over my cooktop, and this way is completely mess free… Anyways, hope this simple little method helps you guys out – I like to make a whole pack and then stick whatever we don’t eat in the fridge…. Just about 20 seconds in a fry pan on the stove over medium heat and it is hot and ready to go for the next time.  Clean up is so easy.  Throw away parchment paper, and put cookie sheet back in cupboard.  And lastly, this post is for my super awesome brother, whom I adore, but who has asked me no less than 100 times how to cook bacon in the oven.  Here you go, bro!

oven cooked bacon

INGREDIENTS:
  • Approx 10-12 slices of organic, pastured bacon
METHOD:
  1. Preheat oven to 360F.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread out bacon on cookie sheet, taking care that none of the pieces overlap.
  4. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until desired crispness is achieved.  Bacon preference is a very personal thing, you know.  
  5. Take out of the oven, pour off grease into mason jar to be kept in refrigerator for later use (See Fats + Oils for reasons why we cook with bacon fat on a regular basis). 
  6. Eat.  
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Crock Pot Refried Beans

We have been making these beans for about a year now and I cannot get enough of them. They couldn’t be easier to start first thing in the morning, let cook all day, and enjoy for a simple but delicious dinner. These beans go hand-in-hand with the Whole Wheat Tortillas, Erin’s Pulled Pork, and my husband’s homemade guacamole (recipe coming soon). Add some shredded cheddar, sour cream, and dinner is set! Also, this makes a ton – the beans freeze beautifully in a freezer-safe container for another day. Enjoy!

crock pot refried beans

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups dried pinto beans, thoroughly rinsed (you can also use black beans if you’d like)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped roughly
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (If you like a bit of heat like we do, we sometimes add a jalapeño and a serrano or a poblano… you can’t mess this up. If you aren’t so into spice, either omit the pepper entirely or seed it and just use half.)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2-4 crushed cloves of garlic
METHOD:
  1. Dump your rinsed pinto beans into the crock-pot, pour in the water. Add your chopped onion, garlic, pepper, and spices. Give it a stir and cover.
  2. Let this cook on high for 8-10 hours.
  3. Remove the biggest chunks of onion and the excess liquid. With a potato masher, mash the beans until they are the consistency you’d like them to be. If you want them extra smooth, save some of the excess liquid to add back in while mashing.
  4. These are SO delicious and taste like restaurant quality beans.  Enjoy!
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible
**Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food.

Granola Bars (grain, gluten, dairy free, paleo)

These are for sure one of our favorite new snack items.  All four of us love them.  They are grain-free, gluten-free, salty and sweet, and couldn’t be easier to make.  They are crunchy and chewy at the same time, too… which really is the way a granola bar should be.  These are almost vegan…. replace honey with maple syrup if you need a yummy vegan snack!

granola bars (grain, gluten, dairy free, paleo)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup almond butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons 100% pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (I like “Enjoy Life” brand)
METHOD:
  1. Combine nuts and seeds in food processor, and pulse until roughly chopped.  You can use any combination of nuts and seeds you want, as long as it totals 2 1/2 cups.
  2. Pour nut/seed mixture into a large bowl.
  3. Add shredded coconut and cocoa nibs and stir to combine.
  4. Add dried fruit, and stir again.  You can use any type of dried fruit as well, as long as it totals 1 cup.
  5. In a medium saucepan over low heat melt coconut oil, almond butter, honey, vanilla, and spices.  Simmer for 3-5 minutes once combined, until thick and bubbly.
  6. Pour mixture into nuts / seeds and stir until everything is evenly coated.
  7. Pour into 8×8 baking dish, lined with parchment paper and press down firmly.
  8. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top, and press into bars.  If you mix these in, they will melt and creat a gooey mess.  Trust me, I’ve tried.  So just save them for the last step and press them on top.  
  9. Put in freezer for 1-2 hours to harden.
  10. Cut into desired size bars, store in refrigerator.
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Seasonal Family.

Artichoke Chicken with Mustard Vinaigrette (grain / gluten / dairy free, paleo)

I am always on the look-out for weeknight dinner recipes that are quick and easy but also delicious enough to serve to company on the weekend if I wanted to. This one fits the bill. It’s also a one pan dinner which equals quick and easy clean-up as well.

This dish has great flavor. I love the combination of the artichoke and mushroom with the mustard vinaigrette. I hope you enjoy it, too!

artichoke chicken with mustard vinaigrette, gluten grain dairy free, paleo

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 organic chicken breasts (thighs/legs would do great, too)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of brown mustard 
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (If you aren’t familiar with this, it’s basically just a fabulous blend of spices – I use it for practically everything.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
METHOD:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Line a 13 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper. Arrange the artichokes on the bottom of the pan, place the onions next, then the mushrooms.
  3. Lay the chicken on top of the veggies.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine and mix the mustard, garlic, oil, vinegar, wine and spices. Pour this mixture over your chicken. I let mine marinate in this for about an hour before placing it in the oven, but you certainly can skip that step.
  5. Cook for about 45 minutes. *If your chicken pieces are on the thinner side, check your chicken for doneness around the 30 minute point, you definitely don’t want to overcook it. However, the thicker pieces may need to cook for as long as an hour.
  6. Serve hot and pile all the veggie goodness on top of your chicken. Hope you like it!
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from The Chew.