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Copycat Wendy’s Chili

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 Wendy's Copycat Chili

I don’t like to eat out and I especially don’t like to eat out at a fast food restaurant but on the rare occasion that we do, Wendy’s is one of  the few places we’ll go.  They don’t use pink slime and their burger patties are actually made from beef.  It’s not pastured organic beef but it is beef, no soy crap substitutes. On the good, better, best scale, it’s at least an ok.

Anyway, this isn’t meant to be an ad for Wendy’s.  Avoid eating out (especially fast food) as much as you can. One of their menu items that we love is their chili. My kids ask for it all the time but I’m not going to to buy it for them as often as they would like.  So I’ve set out to create my own version at home.

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The Lazy Way to Cook Squash

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I don’t know about you, but I’m always scared I’m going to chop a finger off while cutting a large squash in half. I was bemoaning my fear to my mom at Thanksgiving and she said, “Why do you cut it in half?”

“Because everyone does.”

She said, “I don’t.”

My mom just sticks the whole darn thing in the oven then cuts and scoops out the seeds after it’s cooked.  It takes a little bit longer that way but nothing noteworthy.  It only added about 15-20 minutes which was totally worth saving my fingers.

I took it a step further.  I stick the whole squash (if it fits) in my pressure cooker.  Instead of 1-1.5 hours, it only takes about 15-20 mins.

You can also do this in a slow cooker.

Bigger squash take longer than small squash so you’ll want to test poke occasionally.

The Lazy Way to Cook Squash

Pressure Cooker Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 spaghetti squash, small enough to fit in your pressure cooker (or squash of your choice)
  • 1 cup water

Place water in your cooker, set spaghetti squash on the bracket to keep it out of the water. Bring to pressure and cook for 17 mins.  Quick release the pressure (according to your cookers directions), do not open until the pressure valve is open.  Test squash with a fork.  If it’s not soft enough for the fork to enter easily, bring back to pressure for another 3-5 mins (it’s already hot so it shouldn’t take too long to bring back up to pressure).

Once your squash is soft, cut in half and scoop out seeds.

 

Whole Cooked Squash in an Oven 

  • 1 squash
  • olive oil or coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat squash with oil.  Place on a cookie sheet. Cook squash for about 1 hour or until soft enough to pierce with a fork.  A larger squash will take longer than a smaller squash.

Once soft, cut squash in half and scoop out seeds.

 

Whole Cooked Squash in a Slow Cooker

  • 1 squash (small enough to fit in your slow cooker)

Set squash on top of a wire bracket (or anything to keep the squash out of the water).  Add about 2-3 cups water, just enough so that it doesn’t quite reach the squash.  Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

For some great ideas on how to use your squash now that it’s cooked, check out my Winter Squash Round Up.

Step By Step Paleo Plan

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Step

Are you a “jump in head first” or a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of person?

I tend to jump in and go full steam ahead but studies show that people tend to stick with changes over the long run if they are done slowly, step by step, week by week.

The Paleo diet is gaining in popularity and I think it’s great.  My biggest rule for nutrition is to eat real food.  You can read my definition of “healthy” here: What Does Eating Healthy Mean? The Paleo diet fits perfectly with that.  It’s all real food.

Ruth from Paleo Diet Basics asked me to review her e-Book series “Step by Step Paleo“.  The title of the series intrigued me as well as the format so I said I would love to.

What I love most about this series, you can choose your format.  If you are a “jump in head first” kind of person, you can buy the e-Book all together, read it in a couple days, and make the changes as fast as you want.

If you are a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of person, you can opt to receive each step by email once a week. I love this option because it prevents information overload.  Read about 1 change, why you should make the change and how to do it, and no more than that.

Now the book itself.  It’s very easy to follow, easy to understand, and entertaining.  When you get to week #2, you’ll understand why I posted this picture on Ruth’s Facebook wall.

Chuck Norris Like His Meat Rare

Each weeks gives you the basics of what to foods to get rid of, what foods to add, why you should and if you’d like to read more, she has included links to “Dig Deeper”. There is a recap of earlier weeks (just in case you need a reminder).  The changes you make aren’t overwhelming changes either.  If the thought of cutting out grains is too daunting, with this plan, you cut out a little bit at a time.  So instead of saying so long to bread in one jump, Ruth has you first move to eating healthier bread like a natural sourdough bread or spelt bread.  Then you begin limiting how much you eat to 2 slices a day and then you cut it out. It’s a much friendly weaning processes than going cold turkey.

This eBook series gets a big thumbs up for me.  If you want to move toward a more Paleo type diet, this is a great place to start.

 

Step By Step Paleo

Nourishing Our Kids: One Bite At a Time

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Nourishing Our Kids: One Bite At a Time.

We are up against a mighty giant when it comes to what goes into our kids’ minds. There are commercials, candy-lined store shelves, parties to go to, school events and friends influence all with the mentality or mindset that if it looks good or tastes good, then by all means have some. The brainwashing starts young and never relents. Our influence is of no small matter though. We must train them up in the way they should go and give them some solid roots as they face this world of convenience at the cost of health. We have far more influence over their mentalities than we realize. I think it was designed that way for a reason! ~ Lydia

Anyone here struggle with feeding their kids healthy?  Whether you have a picky eater or just want know what to serve them?  If you follow me here on the blog and on Facebook, you might be aware that I am the mom of four boys ages 13, 11, 7, and 3.  Between the four of them, I’ve dealt with the pickiest of picky eaters to the child who will eat anything I place before him.  I have a passion for nutrition, especially concerning children.

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Heal Your Gut Online Course

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The following is a guest post from my good friend Lydia from Divine Health From the Inside Out.  Lydia is a certified Nutritional Therapist Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association.


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Do you experience any of these digestive complaints/symptoms on a regular basis?

  • Belching or gas within one hour of eating
  • Heartburn or acid reflux
  • Bloating within one hour of eating
  • Bad breath
  • A sense of excess fullness after meals
  • Sleep after meals
  • Stomach pains of cramps
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Undigested food in stool
  • Sweat with a strong odor
  • Nausea
  • Light or clay colored stools
  • Food allergies
  • Alternating constipation and diarrhea
  • Pain between your shoulder blades
  • A history of morning sickness
  • Pain under right side of rib cage
  • Hemorrhoids or varicose veins
  • A pulse that speeds up after eating
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Itchy anus
  • Less than one bowel movement per day, or constipation
  • Blood or mucus in your stool
  • Excessive foul smelling lower bowel gas
  • Cramping in lower abdominal region……………

If you answered yes to any of the above, this online course could really benefit you and help you to resolve your health maladies. Many symptoms of gut dysbiosis don’t even resemble digestive complaints. Not to mention, having optimally functioning digestion is the KEY to overall health and resolving major health issues not seemingly related to digestion, along with autoimmune diseases.

START ON YOUR DIGESTIVE HEALTH JOURNEY WITH LYDIA TODAY!

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My name is Lydia Shatney, and I am a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner offering my online course; Heal Your Gut for anyone in need of support to work through plaguing health problems. Having worked through many of my own health and digestive issues, I can really understand the importance of support for those that need direction and guidance. Finding answers can be so tedious and time consuming, it’s so much better when you’ve got someone trained to help right by your side. That’s my goal in this course, to walk you step-by-step through ways to support yourself and find your way to a happier, healthier you!

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5 Topics ‘Heal Your Gut’ Will Cover

 

  1. Healthy Elimination (Bowel Movements)- Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “Death begins in the 1376979_10151860251702310_1224793758_ncolon”. It’s critical to have healthy bowel movements daily to keep wastes from wreaking havoc on your overall health. It is really, really important not to go more than 24-36 hours without having a bowel movement. Did you know that constipation affects up to 28% of Americans? (I suspect that percentage is actually much higher). Learn how to get your bowels working optimally on a daily basis, and watch your entire health improve as well. (Read: ‘Are You Constipated? Tips To Keep Things Moving‘)
  2. Food Sensitivities, Intolerances & Allergies – ‘It is estimated that 10 to 20 percent of us have food sensitivities. Food sensitivity reactions, also called delayed hypersensitivity reactions and in the past called “serum sickness”, occur when IgA, IgG and IgM antibodies are triggered in response to foods, chemicals, and bacterial toxins. The most common antibody reactions are IgG to mold and foods; exposure to molds and foods is quite high compared to pollens. These IgA, IgM and IgG responses are called “delayed” sensitivity reactions because the symptoms they cause can take from several hours to several days to appear, which makes it very difficult to track down the offending food or substance.‘ Learn why food sensitivities often occur, how to test for them and how to eliminate problematic foods. Most everyone alive today has several food sensitivities they are not aware of that could be hampering their health.
  3. Fermented Cultured Foods & Probiotics -Fermented foods can aid with digestion at every step of the way! Fermentation offers immense health benefits, such as; Probiotics, Enzymes, Beneficial Strains of Yeasts, Easily assimilated & enhanced nutrients – such as vitamins and minerals, Beneficial acids, Predigest/Break down the foods for easier assimilation as well as neutralize the harmful aspects of the given food and they also help with preserving the harvest – fresh food year round. The bioavailability of nutrients in our food is improved by the fermentation process. Bioavailability is how available nutrients are for our bodies to absorb. Fermented foods allow for nutrients to be more easily absorbed as they essentially predigest the food for us. I’ll teach you the basics on how to get started with proper anaerobic fermentation. Finding the right probiotic supplement can be tricky – I’ll teach you why you may need to supplement, what supplements are best and how to implement probiotics. (Read: Probiotics 101 for a small sampling of some of the material that will be covered in this course).
  4. Holistic Treatment Options For Candida- Did you know that 1/3 of the world’s population is affected by candidiasis? Candida is a fungal infection, and is a type of fungi that belongs to the yeast family which is why it is commonly called a yeast infection. Candida is found in most everyone and in small amounts should still allow a person to be in good health. It is a yeast found in our guts and in the vagina as well. Normally, it is controlled by good microbes and causes no complications. It’s when one goes through antibiotics or is on the birth control pill that candida can grow and get out of hand if not treated properly. Take this Candida Questionnaire if you feel candida is an issue you need to tackle. In this course, I’ll cover a safe approach to treating candida with food and supplements.
  5. How To Heal Leaky Gut -What Supplements To Use.
    Anything that can overstimulate the pores in the lining of the gut and keep them open too long is said to cause leaky gut. Things like; food allergies, alcoholism, Celiac Disease, certain drugs, Giardia and other parasites, Intensive illnesses, Malnutrition, Pancreatitis and many more!
    Learn all the why’s and hows of why you may have a leaky gut, how to find out and heal it in this course!

You will learn more about all of these 5 topics and MUCH MORE in this amazingly insightful course (see the course outline here)! Plus, have access to a private facebook group for further support from both myself and others on the same journey to health! Not on facebook, that’s okay – you can ask your questions on the site after any lesson and I’ll answer them. Don’t miss the savings when you register early through February 17th noon EST – $199! It goes up to $249 after that! Lessons start March 5th!

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LydiaLydia Joy Shatney is a certified Nutritional Therapist Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association. Additionally, she is the chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation in Delaware County, Pa. (Find the group here on Facebook). Lydia is also a member of the Nourished Living Network. Lydia founded Divine Health From The Inside Out in March of 2010. You can find Lydia on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. Sign up for the Divine Health From The Inside Out newsletter! Pick up a copy of Lydia’s eBook; ‘Divine Dinners: Gluten-Free, Nourishing, Family-Friendly Meals’.

Lydia offers specialized step by step counseling to transform your health. Personalized consultations to suit your specific needs are offered via phone or in person. Lydia offers a variety of packages offered to suit your individual needs. Lydia also offers 3 online course: Heal Your Gut, Get Healthy To Lose Weight and A Calm Mind. Contact Lydia today to get started as well as to learn more about what she has t

Dairy Free Chai Latte (with an ingredient you won’t believe!)

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Dairy Free Chai Latte

Check out that yummy frothiness!

My husband has been on a chai streak lately.  I swear he drinks it by the gallon.  He made a huge batch and saved a little for me this morning (I think he just ran out of room in his gallon sized thermos but I’ll pretend he left me some on purpose).

Going dairy free doesn’t mean leaving lattes behind.  Nor does it mean having to resort to soy milk (bleh!).  Other milks like almond, cashew and coconut milk are ok but they just aren’t as rich as I would like.  In my dairy days (only a few weeks ago), I used cream to make my lattes.  So I guess technically they would be breves (I know there is an accent in there, I’m too lazy to find it.) Yes, it is possible to make a rich and creamy dairy free latte using…eggs.

I posted a recipe a few weeks ago for Egg and Butter Coffee Lattes.  This is basically the same concept using tea instead of coffee though I’m using ghee in place of butter.  Coconut oil would be a decent substitute or leave out the fat. I use Frontier’s herbal Chai Blend with black tea but you can assemble your own chai blend if you would like. Crunchy Betty has some great suggestions here: The Epic Guide to Making Your Own Chai Tea.

Mmm, breakfast in a cup.

Dairy Free Chai Latte

Ingredients

  • 8 oz near boiling water
  • 2 tsp tea (black, green, white or red all are yummy)
  • 1 tsp chai spices (make your own here: Chai Blend)
  • Sweetener to taste
  • 2 pastured eggs
  • 1-2 tbsp ghee (coconut oil or butter)

Instructions

  1. Add tea to water and let steep for 15 mins (5 mins for green or white tea). You can also use a pre-blended chai tea. Use 2 bags per serving, this works better with a strong brew.
  2. In a blender, whirl together the eggs, sweetener and fat (a stick blender in a large cup works great).
  3. Quickly pour in brewed tea while blending.
  4. Blend until smooth and frothy. Should only take about 10 seconds.
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Squash Cashew Alfredo (Vegan or not)

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Squash Cashew Alfredo, Vegan or Not

 

I tried really really hard to keep this dish from looking like a baby pooped on my noodles but it is what it is.  I had hope the garnish of rosemary would help but it still looks like baby poop on pasta garnished with rosemary.

Now that I’ve thoroughly disgusted you (sorry, I’m the mom of 4 boys, cut me some slack), if you can get past the look, it’s crazy good.  Like, I can’t believe this is dairy free, it’s so cheesy yummy good. I’ve had to go off dairy so I’m looking for substitutes to quench my cravings.  I love dairy.  I buy sour cream by the 5lb bucket, I have three 10lb blocks of cheese in my fridge, the entire top shelf is milk and a variety of yogurts. I would buy my own dairy cow but I just don’t think I’m ready for a 2 times a day, regardless of the weather, kind of commitment.

I called upon my vegan goddess friend, Kristen from Stop and Smell the Veggies, for help.  We have a mutual appreciation for our dietary choices yet tease each other relentlessly over them.  All in good fun.  I do respect her lifestyle and if I had Kristen cooking for me, I could easily go vegan (though I may sneak bacon once in a while). She has some mad vegan cooking skilz.

So, back to the recipe.  This recipe is a version of Kristen’s, Vegan Cashew Alfredo.  While mine is not vegan how I made it (sorry, sausage and broth are definitely animal products) it is easily converted back to vegan by leaving out the meat and using water instead of broth.  It still tastes amazing that way. I’m on a mission to sneak in as much squash into our food as possible and this alfredo sauce sounded like the perfect medium.

You will want to plan a little bit ahead to make this since the cashews should be soaked for at least 8 hours. Soaking them and rinsing them will help reduce phytic acid which is an anti-nutrient.  Start them soaking in the morning and they’ll be ready to saucify by evening. If you forget but still want to make this, cover the cashews with water and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and let set for about an hour. But a long soak is the best method for flavor and reducing phytic acid.

Squash Cashew Alfredo (Vegan or not)

Squash Cashew Alfredo (Vegan or not)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked for at least 8 hours and rinsed)
  • 2 cup broth (or water)
  • 1 cup squash puree
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional but adds a cheesy flavor)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage, sliced, optional (cooked chicken, bacon or bulk sausage taste great too)
  • fresh herbs for garnish (I used rosemary)

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine drained cashews, broth, squash, garlic cloves, nutmeg, nutritional yeast, and salt. Blend on high until nice and smooth.
  2. In a medium saucepan, brown sausage (or bacon).
  3. Add cashew/squash mixture to the sausage and heat just enough to serve warm.
  4. Serve over your choice of noodles (gluten free noodles for us).
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Friday Favorites

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Friday Favorites. Awesome things I found this week on the internet.

Friday Favorites!

I find lots of great things from my fellow real food bloggers throughout the week that I would love to share with you.  Recipes I’d love to try, recipe round ups I come across, articles on nutrition that stick out, DIY’s and How To’s, basically whatever suits my fancy.  I hope you enjoy these blogs as much as I do!

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Nutrient Dense, Turmeric Spiced Rice

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Turmeric and Cumin Spiced Rice

My boys eat a lot.  A lot!  It’s actually quite astonishing the amount of food they can put away.  Since they are all tall and slim, I know they are eating as much as their growing bodies need.  As much as I would like to feed them a grain free diet, they really seem like they need more carbs/starches than is easy to do with going completely grain free. So we eat rice and quite a lot of it.

I was worried they might be eating too much when I consulted my fellow crazy boy mom friend, Lydia from Divine Health From the Inside Out.  She pointed me to some pretty compelling evidence that rice is good and the amount they are eating is well within the fine range.  She directed me to Paul Jaminet who says eating a pound of “safe starch” a day is good, The Perfect Health Diet.  Yes, white rice is a safe starch.

Eek, did I say white rice?!  We don’t do brown rice here for many reason.  First of all, we don’t like it.  Second of all, my husband is allergic to it.  Seriously.  Thirdly, have you ever seen some one from Asia eating brown rice? I doubt it. Fourthly, read this http://butterbeliever.com/brown-rice-vs-white-rice-which-is-healthy/.

Still, there’s not much nutrient density going on with plain rice so I make rice this way to improve on that aspect.  Not only does this rice have turmeric, which has so many wonderful health benefits, but it’s also made with bone broth. Bone broth is rich in gelatin and minerals. I consider it a super food and look for ways to sneak it into everything I can. So all together, making rice with stock makes me feel even less bad about letting them eat rice to their hearts’ content.

When I make bone broth, I usually make multiple batches with the same bones.  The first 2 batches contain all the wonderful gelatin.  The 3rd batch contains the minerals.  The first 2 batches are the ones that are full of flavor and are used for drinking or a base for soup.  The 3rd batch, while it still tastes good, doesn’t taste as rich and amazing as the first ones.  This broth is still great for cooking.  It’s also wonderful for making rice.  Just sub stock for water 1:1.  If you don’t have stock on hand (You should!  Why don’t you?!) you can use plain water just fine. You can also use the gelatinous first batches just fine but rice is a good way to use the less flavorful stock.

We serve this rice as a side or under a saucy dish like Murgh Mahkani or Lemon Dhal. With leftovers, we’ll make it into fried rice by just stir frying some eggs with the rice.

Recipe can be scaled up or down easily, just keep 1 part rice to 1.5 parts liquid and adjust spices as needed.

Turmeric and Cumin Spiced Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp fat (butter, lard, coconut oil, etc)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1" piece of fresh turmeric or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 3 cups stock (or water)
  • 2 cups rice

Instructions

  1. In a med. sized saucepan over med. heat, melt fat.
  2. Add cumin when it's sizzling hot.
  3. Add stock and turmeric. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for about 20 mins.
  4. Add rice.
  5. Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 mins.
  6. To make in a pressure cooker or rice cooker, just add all the ingredients and follow devices directions.
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60 Winter Squash Recipes Round Up

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Winter Squash Round Up

Winter squash is one of my favorite things to grow in the garden.  Our garden is long dead but we are still enjoying stored squash. The amount of food we get from just a few plants is amazing.  We had 5 squash plants this year and ended up with nearly 20 very large squash type yummies.  They are stored in shelves in the basement, which stays just above freezing in the winter.  I’ve been trying to prepare squash at least once a week and was running out of ideas.  I called upon some of my wonderful blogger friends and they came to my rescue.  We will not get bored with squash. I received so many drool worthy recipes, I’m planning on planting more squash this next season. Now what different varieties to plant…

Squash is an incredible nutritious food.  Squash is listed as one of the top sources for caretenoids like alpha-carotene and beta-carotene  lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin.  Squash is easy to digest and even though it has a sweet flavor, it is known to have the potential regulate blood sugar. They have varying amounts of sweetness.  If you are unsure of the sweetness level of the squash you have, this is a great post from It Takes Time, The Scoop on Squash talking about a few different varieties of squash. Here is how to make your own pumpkin puree from fresh pumpkin, any squash can be made this way, Make Your Own Canned Pumpkin Substitute. And here is a great article on how to properly store squash from Five Little Homesteaders, How to Store Your Winter Squash. And freezing tips from Melissa K. Norris, Freezer Tips.

To make things easier for my food sensitive friends, each entry is label whether it is gluten free (GF), grain free (GrF) and dairy free (DF). Many are GAPS legal and Paleo friendly.  If not, most recipes are fairly easily adjustable.

Gluten Free = GF
Grain Free = GrF
Dairy Free = DF

Savory Squash Recipes

 

Soup Recipes

 

Sweet Squash Recipes

 

Beverages

 

 Pies

 

Other Squash and Pumpkin Round Ups

Resources: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=63