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I love Trader Joe’s! They make it so easy! The veggies, the meats, nuts, you name it… And, their prices are mostly reasonable. My weekly shopping list tends to be a lot of the same stuff. As you are starting to learn, I love roasted veggies. In fact, I roast something just about every single day. Typically that includes, okra, eggplant, kale or some precut, prewashed, prepackaged veggies like sweet potatos, brocolli, or brussel sprouts. The sweet potatoes are probably one of my favorite veggies but I try to limit my tubers as they can increase insulin levels and sometimes cravings. But, if I’ve got a long run or ride ahead of me, I will almost always eat these before I heading out.

Here’s how to roast them:

  • Preheat oven to 450
  • Spray cookie sheet
  • Place sweet potatoes flat on tray. Spray again with coconut oil spray
  • Cook 25 min., stiring once or twice so all sides cook 
  • Add Celtic sea salt and cinnamon. For picky eaters, add a little stevia.

If you want them cripsy, cook them for 20 minutes, turn off the stove and leave them there for about 50 minutes. They will end up similar texture to freeze dried fruit. On a day when you’re craving carbs and something crunchy, this hits the spot. Check on them periodically though to make sure they aren’t burning. 

Brussel Sprout for lunch

Now these brussel sprouts aren’t roasted but they are so easy to make thanks to TJs. Here’s how to make this yummy and filling meal:

  • Put bag of brussel sprouts in the microwave for 3 1/2 minutes
  • Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Careful not to burn yourself opening the bag
  • Cut brussel sprouts in half length-wise
  • Cook Trader Joe’s Vegetable Chicken Sausage (take out of casing)
  • Add sausage, roasted flax seeds (you could use sunflower or other seeds), about 1 tbls EVOO, some lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and/or apple cider vinegar, and some avocado. I didn’t have any but adding avocado or guacamole makes this especially good!

So I use to despise IKEA (especially on the weekends), just ask my buddy Marla, but now I have found a new love for the kitchen area. What a great place to help you get organized, which I so greatly need. Anyway, she was blogging about some amazing Almond Joy Bars from Elana’s Pantry so I had to make them early yesterday. I typically don’t eat the treats I make (try not to at least) but after going to IKEA yesterday afternoon and smelling those freakin’ cinnamon rolls, I came home and dove into the Almond Joy Bar and let me tell you, this is my new favorite treat. Not only are they absolutely fantastic (you have to try them!), but I love the simple ingredients. I hope you love them as much as I do!  Anyway, enjoy this rainy day treat. Here is the recipe:

  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup coconut milk (I used Trader Joe’s but Publix has some too)
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract (I used Vanilla)
  • ¾ cup coconut palm sugar (Love this stuff! I get it from Whole Foods)
  • ½ cup blanched almond flour (Do NOT use ALL coconut flour instead if you have allergies. It will be too dry so I need to figure out a good substitute)
  • ½ cup coconut flour (Whole Foods or online)
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cups unsweetened shredded coconut (Whole Foods)
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips (Whole Foods has 70% cacao chips)

-In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, almond extract and palm sugar
-In a smaller bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, salt and baking soda
-Mix dry ingredients into wet with a handheld mixer
-Stir in ½ cup of the chocolate chips
-Grease an 8×8 inch Pyrex baking dish
-Pour batter into dish, then sprinkle shredded coconut and remaining chocolate chips on top
-Bake at 350° for 30 minutes
-Cool for 1 hour (if you can wait that long!)

Notice his hair too. Oh my gosh, he’s a mess! Clearly he liked the smoothie. My riding buddy and good friend Erin gave me this awesome & easy recipe:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • Coconut milk (love the can of light coconut milk at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbls Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter (yes the stuff you just bought at WFs!)
  • 1/2 tbls raw cacao powder
  • some honey (optional)
  • and a handful of ice

Blend with hand mixer (or blender) and drink, or inhale if you’re my son!

We will also do a berry smoothie. Basically the same ingredients but instead of nut butter and cacao, we’ll just use blueberries. Tate is actually loving those for a change.

 

Many people have asked what I buy at Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I do have a few staples and treats that I’d love to share. I’ll go with Whole Foods for now.

Let me start by saying that at all the grocery stores I shop at, I spend 90-95% of my time on the outside isles — meaning with the fruits, veggies, meats and eggs. That’s really all you need but there are a few fun treats we have discovered.

The turkey sticks are a good protein (turkey and spices only) snack or part of lunch. Most jerkys or portable proteins have added sugar. Trader Joe’s also has a pretty good turkey jerky with low sugar.

The Jennie’s Omega 3 Macadamias are amazing! This is one of my kids favorite treats (and mine) and they are good for them. The ingredients are coconut, egg whites, honey, flax seeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and cocoa. I’m quick to offer these to my kids when we hear the lovely sounds of the ice cream man (my nemesis!) coming down the street, yet again.

Coconut water is great for pre or post work. Coconut water naturally has 650 mg of potassium (15x more than a banana), 25mg of magnesium, and 35 mg of sodium!

Apple Cider Vinegar has many health benefits I can’t possibly include them all but here are a few examples. It can help with: diabetes, arthritis or joint pain, indigestion, blood pressure, and reportedly kills cancer cells. Also, it breaks down fats and keeps you alkaline (more to come on being alkaline in a future post). That’s pretty potent stuff!

Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter or Macadamia Butter is a family favorite. Great on apples or bananas, in smoothies, or just on a spoon. You can also buy it in single-serving packages like GUs, so it’s easy for kids to eat on the go. There are 7 grams of sugar per 2 tbls. I love the quote on the side of the box. He’s the gist of it: “Quick question: Do you eat cake frosting for breakfast? Justin didn’t think so. Yet some chocolate hazelnut butters have more sugar than cake frosting. Really. You can check. We’ll wait…see?” I love that. I wonder who they’re talking about. I bet it starts with a “N” and rhymes with “new fella”. 20 grams of sugar for that stuff!

Flax oil is great for salads and I add it in my kids steamed veggies, spaghetti, whatever I can, without them noticing. The taste is okay but the benefits are great. I eat it in my spinach salad every day with lemon juice and some apple cider vinegar.

Celtic Sea Salt is nothing like sodium chloride (white table salt or sea salt). Celtic (and Himalayan) has over 70 minerals in it. It can benefit everyone – even people with hypertension who are suppose to avoid “salt”.

So Delicious..Chocolate Milk Boxes

Tate was trying to help me with this Whole Foods treat since the first picture is so boring. Anyway, once in awhile my kids want chocolate milk and most of the chocolate milks out there, like Organic Horizon’s has 27 grams of sugar. Twenty-seven! That’s almost as much as a Coke. And don’t try to rationalize it with the calcium. : )

With 8 grams of sugar, and all the benefits of coconut milk, this makes for a great treat. I buy it at Whole Foods only when it’s on sale because it is pricey but you can occasionally find it for $1.70 off the pack. It does taste delicious!