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I’ll try not to rant too much, but while I was watching the national news today at the gym, a segment came on about how those who ate breakfast couldn’t lose weight and those that skipped breakfast didn’t gain weight. Ugggh. If you saw me, you might have noticed steam coming from my ears. With so much conflicting information on the subject of health out there, do we really need something like this to confuse us even more? Okay, so here is the link to the article.

To sum it up, based on trials on overweight and average individuals, “those who ate breakfast experienced no weight loss and people who skipped their morning meal also saw no weight gain”. So they are basically telling us to skip breakfast if we want to lose weight or rather not gain. What that really means, is, I hope you have good willpower tonight and likely every night after, because at some point, your body is going to want the calories (energy) it needs and deserves.

Also according to the story, “the latest findings should be interpreted with caution because some of the 13 trials used in their study didn’t last long”….because they were hungry!

If they ate breakfast, “they ate more calories in their day” and hence no weight loss. Ok if we left it at that, then we might say, “hmm, must work, so no more breakfast for me.” And then your daily meal plan might looks something like this, which I hear a lot from clients.

Sample meal plan:

  • Breakfast: Nothing or just coffee
  • Lunch: Salad grilled meat
  • Dinner: Grilled fish and veggies
  • After dinner: Ice cream
  • After after dinner: Large Pizza

What is SUPER frustrating for me is that the article doesn’t go into detail on what study subjects ate for breakfast when they “ate more calories.” If someone is hungry after breakfast, which again, I hear often with clients, then what are they eating? And typically, it’s almost 100 percent certainty it was something that raises (refined carbohydrates) their insulin/blood sugar and then they had a drop in blood sugar, so here come the cravings, intense hunger, etc.

What raises insulin levels? Well, the standard American diet, which includes lots of refined carbohydrates, does exactly that. What if the study included what the people ate and different people ate different things in the study. Let me pick out what they get to eat and I can almost guarantee that their appetites would not increase. And not only that, they would be fueling their brains, body and GREATLY reduce the risk of that late afternoon early evening binge that is certain to come when we are tired, hungry and will power has left for the day.

Refined carbohydrates = Insulin spike, then drop = cravings, increased appetite, drop in energy/focus and our body then stores fat.

Image result for pancakes
 

Now if you’re Intermittent Fasting or IFing (which doesn’t mean restricting calories but it’s just fasting for 12-16 hours) and you don’t have low blood sugar or adrenal/cortisol issues, then that is totally fine, and seems to work well, mainly for men (of course! :)), and that is a whole different story. But for those of us that don’t IF, what if we had a breakfast, I mean a big breakfast, that allowed our insulin/blood sugar levels to stay stable for longer and never spike. I bet our energy would be more stable, our cravings would diminish and our appetite would be regulated. And, we wouldn’t be hungry after dinner! Yes, Landria, sounds great. So how do we do that? Well I’ll tell you. The three things that keeps our blood sugar and insulin stable include FAT (healthy), FIBER and PROTEIN. Don’t be afraid to fill up on these things. Try it one morning but instead of an egg and toast, have 3 eggs cooked in butter or ghee or coconut oil, with a side of sauteed shredded brussel sprouts cooked in butter (cooked the night or Sunday before of course, no time for cooking in the more except for eggs, right??) or half an avocado and bacon. I can almost guarantee you’d feel great. And, you’re not telling your body to hang on to fat with a big ole insulin spike. If I’m wrong, and you don’t feel great, tell me and I will personally write you a check for $500. Ok, I am totally lying. I am not going to do that, but I am just that sure that you will feel great (baring no personal physical issues with digesting fats or proteins)!

What do you have to lose? Okay, besides possibly some weight, and gaining more energy.

Speaking of things that will keep insulins stable and blood sugar levels stable….

As you may have noticed by now, I love casseroles. Being the carb addict that I once was, I love all foods that feel hearty. There is just a comfort level that I enjoy, but also it’s satisfying. I love salads too, like in the summer, once in awhile. I’m kidding. Kinda.

Ok I do like salads but I’ll take a casserole most any other time. Some of my favorite “casserole” type dishes that I love and cook (not just in the winter) include Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, Pizza Casserole, Chicken Pesto Pasta, Paleo Bolognese just to name a few. And you know what is great about all of these meals, they will keep insulin steady and blood sugar levels stable. 

My sweet friend made this Buffalo Chicken appetizer, which would be GREAT for the Super Bowl by the way(!), the other night and it was fabulous with chips and guacamole on top. All she did was dump 3 ingredients, plus some chicken, into a crock pot for about 2 hours and wahlah. And, if you don’t have time to slow cook it, according to Dana who posted the original recipe, you can just bake it in a dutch oven or casserole dish for 30-35 mins at 350 F, until lightly brown.

Because it was sooo delicious, I wanted to make it into a hearty meal. And I did just by adding cooked spaghetti squash. It was so easy!! 

So here it is…. maybe even try it for breakfast if you don’t love or are sick of your eggs. Hey, dont knock it until you try it!

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buffalo recipe
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Then cut your spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and then put both sides, face down on a cookie sheet. Cook on 400 for 20-25 minutes or until soft.
  2. While that is cooking, combine the other ingredients in the slow cooker and stir until well combined.
  3. Set the slow cooker for approximately 2 hours on LOW. The chicken should start to fall apart with a fork.
  4. The last 45 min, scrape the cooked spaghetti squash into the slow cooker, shred the chicken with a fork and stir well.
  5. Enjoy!

By the way, look at these two good lookin’ guys, althought my son could use a hair cut. Anyway I use to have my dad, and my kids, in more of my post just to mix it up some. It’s been awhile so thought I would share to add a little color to this post. I’m pretty sure my dad looks the exact same from years ago….

Oh look what I found from a post from 2012!

If you have access to the restaurant Kale Me Crazy then you must try their chicken pesto wrap! We had it on a gluten free wrap and it was delicious!! I thought we HAVE to recreate this. And we did and honestly, I have to say, I think our version turned out even better. And it was a lot cheaper! 

Tate literally slapped his hands together after he ate this dinner and said “done in record time!”. And, while I don’t advocate eating quickly (althought he typically is the slooooowest eater),  I will take that as a compliment to the meal. He loves it but we all do. This is our new favorite meal! 

With our creation, we decided to use grilled chicken instead of sliced deli meat. And while their gluten free wraps were really good (they use Food for Life rice tortillas), we used our favorite Siete tortillas (the same ones we use for our enchiladas – see picture in post). But since the Siete grain free tortillas are smaller we made quesadillas instead of wraps. For the pesto, I was able to make it dairy free (I think KMC’s) has some parmesan. And, I was also able to make it nut-free using my favorite pumpkin seeds. Anyway you could easily just buy some of your own pesto but I love it fresh and really it doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to make. And it’s sooo worth it!!

Sometimes you gotta mix the pics up and it’s been awhile since I’ve used my kids in the pics. They are getting so old! Alice just told me a few minutes ago that she will be doing a Drivers Ed course this summer. That just about blew my mind. Anyway, the reason I got this picture is because she actually volunteered to “hold the plate”. Needless to say, I got this snapshot before she devoured the quesadilla!!
The pesto is what really makes this wrap, I mean quesadilla. But after making it twice last week (yes, we had this dinner two times last week since my hubby grilled so much chicken the Sunday before anyway), I am realizing that I need to put this pesto on everything. Just this morning, I added some to my breakfast mash it was awesome!!I tend to munch a lot when I am cooking. I mean, don’t we all? Anyway I thought this (below) was delicious just this way. What a great little appetizer this would make!

By the way, does anyone have an air fryer? I hear people love them and use them every single day. I got one for Christmas but haven’t had a chance to try it yet. I am excited to try all kind of veggies, buffalo wings, and chicken parmesan with it. I would love to hear your experience/recipes if you have one!

Chicken Pesto Quesidillas
Author: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Chicken 1.5-2 lbs breast grilled (or rotissier chicken or even deli slices)
  • Some lettuce (Butter or a cripsy lettuce)
  • Jar of Sundried tomatoes in oil, cut into strips or small pieces
  • Siete wraps or whatever you like
  • Cheese if you desire (mozzarella is my daughter's preference for this
  • Pesto (you can buy or make your own)
  • Our pesto ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (I like 1 cup cilantro and 1 cup basil)
  • ½ cup walnuts or pine nuts (I use pumpkin seeds go raw brand)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. If you make the pesto which I highly recommend, just blend all of the ingredients together. That's it! For the quesadilla....
  2. Take your grilled chicken (rotisserie chicken or deli slices chicken) and cut it into long thin slices unless it's deli meat.
  3. Heat a large frying pan onto medium heat and add 2 tsp of butter.
  4. Add 2 tortillas (and sprinkle cheese on it if desired) and cook until brown.
  5. Place the cooked tortilla on a plate, add the chicken, sun dried tomatoes and lettuce.
  6. With the other tortilla, coat it with pesto and then place it on top of the tortilla with the chicken.
  7. Use a pizza cutter to cut twice through the middle and enjoy!

 

 

I love a good salsa verde! I fell in love with that stuff back when I lived in San Francisco after college. But once I moved back to Atlanta, I found it fairly difficult to find a good, fresh one. Often, they were sweetened with sugar, which is a weird choice on an ingredient in a salsa verde in my opinion. Anyway, I’m happy to say I’ve finally found one that I love!

I used these three ingredients (see picture below) and mixed them with some blended tomatillos, (jalapenos if you’d like, just take the seeds out and it will be fairly mild), garlic, onion and cilantro, and it made for an amazing salsa verde!!

I also love many crock pot recipes made with pork, but I always felt like when I used a pork shoulder (which is what most of the pork crock pot recipes call for), there was always just way too much fat to cut/pick out. My son is totally grossed out by big chunks of fat, as am I.  So for this recipe, we used pork tenderloin (bite-sized pieces) and it was way better. As much as I am a fan of fat for flavor, I think we will be pork tenderloin for the crock pot from now it. I also feel like it saves time in the end. 

I love that the cauliflower made this so much thicker and heartier. You could also use white potatoes or a white beans if you prefer!

You can use canned tomatillos or you can roast some fresh ones along with fresh jalapenos (peel off outer layer of the tomatillos, cut them in half, coat with avocado oil and bake on 400 for 10 min) if you would like.

You can also prep this meal ahead of time. I blended tomatillos (and jalapenos), onions, garlic and cilantro (and jar of salsa verde, green enchilas sauce, and green chilies) ahead of time, so all I had to do the next morning was brown the meat, turn on the crock pot, place the meat in it, along with the sauce (salsa verde you’ve made) and let the crock pot do it’s magic!

And I really loved this Kite Hill (dairy free) cream cheese with it. I think that is what really made this dish but the kids said I was “alone on that one”. But they did enjoy the stew with some avocado and hubby loved it with sour cream. I hope you all enjoy it too!!

I found this after Whole Foods 365 and also Publix carries it….

Pork Salsa Verde Stew
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs pork tenderlon, cubed
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 28 ounce canned tomatillos (or 1.5 lb fresh tomatillos and 3-4 fresh jalipenos, optional)
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 14 oz. green enchilada sauce
  • 16 oz. salsa verde
  • 4 oz. diced green chilies
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bag cauliflower rice (12-16 oz)
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized skillet, add avocado oil and heat over medium high heat. Brown the sides of the pork (for about 2-3 minutes on each side) and add them to the slow cooker.
  2. In a food processor add the tomatillos, onions, garlic and cilantro and blend until fairly smooth. Add it to the slow cooker along with the cauliflower rice, green enchilada sauce, salsa verde, green chilies, cumin, dried oregano, and salt.
  3. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 5 until the is fork tender.
  4. Garnish with avocado, sour cream (or cream cheese :)) if desired.

 

 



I love almost all soups, not to mention, they are probably one of the easiest things to make. It’s an all-in-one meal. No need sides needed! And, with Hot & Sour Egg Roll soup, I didn’t even have to cut anything. I just dumped, cooked and mixed and that was it. And thankfully, even though there was ground meat in the sauce, which they weren’t a huge fan of last post, the whole family loved this!! I’m looking forward to the leftovers for the rest of the week. Hope you all like this nice easy meal the weekend before the holiday break. 

Add an onion, or a pre-cut onion pack if you’re a lazy cook like me, to this picture…

Happy Holidays!!

Hot and Sour Egg Roll Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground pork
  2. 1 pack pre-cut cabbage (about 10 oz.) - Trader Joes and Whole Foods carry the pre-cut
  3. 2 small white onion, chopped
  4. 1 tbsp grated, ginger
  5. few dashes, cayenne peper
  6. 2 cloves or 1/2 tsp powder garlic
  7. 1 tbsp tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  8. 3 tbsp coconut aminos (or you could use an extra tbsp of soy sauce and 5 extra drops of stevia if you don't have the aminos)
  9. 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  10. 6 drops stevia or 1 tsp sugar (coconut sugar is fine)
  11. 1 tbsp chili paste
  12. 1 tsp pepper
  13. salt as needed
  14. 4 cups chicken broth
  15. 3 tbsp seseame oil
  16. about 3 tbsp worth of chopped scallions
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, turn the stove on medium high and pour the sesame oil, onion and cabbage (and garlic if you're using fresh) and cook until they start to become soft and translucent.
  2. In a pan, cook the ground pork until no longer pink.
  3. Pour the sausage, and grease, into the large pot with the cabbage and onion.
  4. Add remaining ingredients.
  5. Once it's done cooking, throw in the scallions and enjoy!
  6. Allow to simmer on low for about 15 or so minutes.
Notes
  1. You might want to add some extra hot sauce, pepper or cayenne. I couldn't get it quite "hot" enough at first.
  2. Also I added some steamed broccoli to the soup and really liked that addition. Next time, I will use shiktake mushrooms.
Stir It Up! https://stiritup.me/





I love soups this time of year, and it’s finally cold enough in Atlanta to really enjoy them. I made this one the other night and thought it was the best thing ever. It was hearty, full of flavor, and just so delicious! The kids said they liked it, but I could tell they didn’t necessarily love it quite as much as my husband and I did. I asked my daughter to rank what place she would put this soup. As I was eagerly awaiting her answer (she could tell I was really excited about this recipe), I was thinking she would have this one ranked 2nd or 3rd place, for sure. Turns out this was her list, as she said sweetly with a shy smile…

  1. Chicken Tortilla soup (or my favorite version)
  2. Chicken Noodless Soup
  3. Black Bean soup 
  4. Buffalo Southwest Chicken soup
  5. Bacon Cauliflower soup
  6. Butternut Squash soup
  7. Zucchini soup

and then the Chorizo Cauliflower Rice Stew.  So…8th place. Okay fine, maybe she didn’t love it quite as much as I did. But she did say she still “liked it”!

It could have been that the texture was a little weird. Instead of cooking the sausage whole and then cutting up pieces for the soup, I took it out of the casing and cooked it like I would ground beef. I loved it that way! But maybe I’ll try it the other way next time. My son liked it, but did say the “texture was a little weird with soggy meat.” I tried to explain that meat didn’t get soggy, not really, but it just wasn’t worth the argument so we took some of the broth out of his soup and then he liked it just fine. It’s so hard to know what kids are going to like, isn’t it??! Regardless, I loved it and will be making this again very soon! I hope you AND your family love this. It really is, in my opinion, and clearly just my opinion (in this house) SOOO good! I would love to hear what you guys think!

Sorry about this recipe format. I can’t seem to get the other one to work tonight and wanted y’all to have this recipe since it’s about to get really cold here in Atlanta! Anyway it’s a recipe I adapted from Family Style Food (https://familystylefood.com/chorizo-chickpea-stew/). Stay warm out there!! 

Chorizo Cauliflower Rice Stew
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter or avocado oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp crushed red chili (optional)
  • ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large package (32 oz) of chicken or bone broth (we used unsalted)
  • 1 package of cauliflower rice
  • 2 roasted red bell peppers, peeled, seeded and chopped (see note) or 2 jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1 pound cooked chorizo sausage (about 4 links) cut into ½-inch pieces or taken out of casing
  • 2 cups loosely packed leafy greens (kale, chard, spinach) torn or chopped into bite-size pieces
  • ½ cup grated Manchego cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pour the butter or avocado oil into a large soup pot and place over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is softened, stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in the paprika, chili, black pepper, bay leaf and 2 teaspoons salt to coat the spices.
  4. Add the cauliflower rice, red bell pepper and 4 cups chicken broth to the pot and bring to a simmer.
  5. Cook, partially covered, 20 - 25 minutes.
  6. Adjust the heat to medium-low if it starts to boil.
  7. While that is cooking, in medium or large pan, cook your chorizo. You can cook it in the casing and then cut it into ½ inch slides or you can take it out of the casing (that is what we did) and cook it like ground beef.
  8. Once the sausage is cooked, set it aside.
  9. Scoop out half the soup, puree in a blender and add back to the pot, or use an immersion stick blender to blend to a thick but chunky texture right in the pan.
  10. Add about ½ cup more water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
  11. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Stir the chorizo and greens into the hot stew to wilt the greens.
  13. Serve in bowl topped with the grated cheese if you would like but it's just as good without 🙂
Notes
We used Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Bone Broth (from Costco!). If you use salted chicken broth, then omit the extra 2 tsp of salt.

We took the sausage out of the casing and cooked it like ground beef. I think the texture was a little odd to the kids in the soup but my husband and I sure loved it. But next time I might try to cook the sausage as a whole and then cut up slices to add to the soup.

We skipped the crushed red pepper for the kids's sake.