Friday, August 29

Coconut Chicken Curry

I'm pretty much in love with everything coconut. One of my favorite dishes is my Coconut Curry with Shrimp & Mushrooms.  Currently, I have a sister living in India and cooking with these warm spices seem to make the long distance just a little bit closer. Marinading the chicken in plain yogurt and fragrant spices ensures for melt in your month tender and juicy chicken pieces. The amount of spices used are for a mild-medium heat level but feel free to adjust to your preference.

*Similar to my Coconut Curry with Shrimp & Mushrooms this dish also uses sumbar powder.  It's a combination of about nine different spices. You can often find the powder at an Indian market or make your own Here. The sumbar powder gives the dish a great robust flavor. If you like more heat just increase the sumbar powder to your desired taste.

Yield: 6 Servings

Coconut Chicken Curry
2 large chicken breasts, cut into bit sized pieces
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sumbar powder*
4 Yukon gold potatoes, diced
Olive oil
3 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
1-13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon butter

Combine chicken, yogurt, cumin, curry, garlic, pepper, salt and sumbar powder in a medium sized bowl. Mix well and then cover and refrigerate while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Add diced potatoes to a medium sized pot and cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork tender. While potatoes are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add carrots and saute for a few minutes or until they begin to soften and then add in onion and continue cooking until carrots and onions are soft. Remove mixture from pan and saute chicken until juices run clear then reduce heat to low. Drain potatoes and add to cooked chicken along with the onions and carrots. Add coconut milk and heat through. Check for seasoning and stir in butter until melted.

Serve with rice and garnish with parsley if desired.

Monday, August 25

No Bake Cranberry Coconut Clif Bars

As you know from my Peanut Butter Chocolate Clif Bars post I LOVE Clif Bars! This variety is just as easy and delicious with a cranberry and coconut twist. Last night my husband and I had to promise each other we would try our hardest not to finish off the pan in one night. So far we're both staying strong! Resist the vending machine temptation by grabbing one or two of these on your way to work to school. I promise you, your wallet and taste buds will thank you. 

Yield: 16 Bars

No Bake Cranberry Coconut Clif Bars

Olive oil
1 1/4 cups unsweetened dates, pitted and minced
1/3 cup peanuts or almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup quick oats

1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3 tablespoons ground flax 

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1  cup crisp rice cereal
2/3 cup all natural peanut butter (no oil or sugar added)
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lightly coat an 8 x 8 inch or 9 x 13 inch baking dish with olive oil and set aside. Pulse pitted dates in a blender or food processor until finely chopped and then add to a large bowl. Add in the nuts, oats, coconut, flax, cinnamon and cranberries. Using a pastry cutter work the mixture together until it resembles course crumbs then stir in rice cereal.

In a small pan over medium heat, combine the peanut butter and rice syrup stirring until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and pour over cereal mix. *Hint* I find it easiest to coat my hands with a little olive oil and combine the mixture together with my hands.

Firmly press down mix in prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm then cut into individual bars and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Friday, August 22

Meals for the Week

Happy Friday! You will love these favorite FIVE meals. Happy weekending.

1. Starting off the week and a great frugal meal is Lemon Garlic Tuna Burgers by Can You Stay for Dinner. I love that these are baked instead of fried, easy to make and great on the budget. Instead of sour cream cream try Greek Yogurt and use whole wheat bread crumbs instead of the panko. 

2. Keeping with the chicken theme is my Grilled Chicken Sausage with Spinach & Lemon Linguine. This dish is pure bliss. Serve with garlic and olive oil grilled pita bread.

3. Another favorite dish is Chicken Piccata from the Food Network. The chicken is so tender and delicious with the tasty citrus sauce. Serve with whole wheat pasta and your favorite greens. 

4. Ready for some beef? These slow cooker Beef Gyros by Eat at Home Cooks will hit just the spot. Pack in the veggies by filling your gyros with fresh bell peppers and spinach. If vegetarian is more your style try subbing the beef for falafel patties. 

5. Finishing off this week are Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers by Kraft. The light coconut coating keeps the chicken super moist and adds a great crunch without having to pull out out the fryer. Use unsweetened coconut flakes and reduce the butter if desired. Serve with steamed carrots and a fresh salad.

Thursday, August 21

Grilled Chicken Sausage with Spinach & Lemon Linguine

I seriously cannot get enough of the Al Fresco chicken sausage, and no, I haven't been paid to keep eating it. Tonight I threw it on the grill and served it with an awesome whole wheat linguine pasta. Easy enough to throw together for a weeknight dinner and super tasty. You will LOVE this simple rustic dish.

Grilled Chicken Sausage with Spinach & Lemon Linguine 

Yield: 4 Servings

12 oz whole wheat linguine pasta
4 oz button mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
Drizzle of olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
10 oz fresh spinach
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1 pound chicken sausage links
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to instructions on the package. Once pasta is cooked, drain and set aside. Meanwhile in a large skillet over medium heat add mushrooms, butter, olive oil and garlic cloves. Saute until mushrooms are soft. Remove mushrooms and saute spinach just until it wilts. Remove Spinach and set aside. In the same skillet or over a grill cook sausage links until heated through and then thinly slice. Add drained pasta, spinach, mushrooms, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese to the sliced chicken. Combine and heat through. Drizzle in additional olive oil or cooking liquid if desired. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

Monday, August 18

Spinach Banana Baby Pancakes

As a Mom with a 9-month old I've been on the lookout for baby and mommy approved finger foods with extra points awarded for low mess snacks. After some experimenting in the kitchen I have to say these Spinach Banana Baby Pancakes are awesome! My lil man loves them, they're soft, nutrient dense and free from sugar and salt. If your little one doesn't eat the whole batch in one sitting, refrigerate or freeze the leftovers.

Last night we had dinner at this fun outdoor venue. Lil man enjoyed his pancakes and entertained himself with his food the entire meal. 

Spinach Banana Baby Pancakes

Yield: 5 Dollar Coin Pancakes

1 tablespoon minced fresh spinach
2-inch chuck banana, mashed
2 teaspoons multi-grain hot cereal
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon plain yogurt
1 egg yolk
Pinch of aluminum-free baking powder
Pinch of cinnamon
Olive oil 

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Heat a small drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drop batter by spoonful. Flip pancakes when bubbles form. Cook thoroughly before serving.

Friday, August 15

Meals for the Week

Welcome to the weekend! I've got some easy grill and crock pot dinners for you this week. Perfect for effortless entertaining and laid back family dinners.

1. These Crock Pot Pork Carnitas have to be some of the most tender and juicy meat you will ever taste and bonus budget friendly. Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce and a garden salad to round out this easy dinner.

2. Chicken Florentine Pasta by Pioneer Woman is one of my favorite pasta dishes. Saute or grill the chicken and sub the white pasta for whole wheat. And with tomatoes going full power it's a great way to use them in a tasty meal.

3. This week's menu wouldn't be complete without a quinoa dish and this Grilled Shrimp Quinoa Salad is incredible. Leave out the shrimp for a meatless dinner or sub it for a different protein if desired.

4. Barbecue Chicken Dinner Packets are easy to prepare and cook fast on the grill. Personally, I'd skip the Hunt's BBQ sauce and go with some Stubbs Original. With ingredients you can actually pronounce and less sugar than most BBQ sauces on the market it's an easy switch. Serve with some fresh steamed broccoli on the side. 

5. And lastly Very Berry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette from Tried and Tasty. This salad shouts summer, looks beautiful and tastes amazing. Use honey instead of sugar when glazing the almonds and serve with some grilled chicken. 


Wednesday, August 13

Healthy Summer Berry Lassi

Not many things in life are just about perfect and this refreshing and healthy summer drink takes all the credit. You'll love how simple this drink is to make and once you taste it you'll wish you had made two. Perfect for an after dinner treat or midday refresher. 

Yield: Serves 1

Healthy Summer Berry Lassi
7-8 strawberries, stems removed
Handful of blueberries
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 heaping tablespoon chia seeds
Small handful of ice
Honey, optional 

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately. Add honey to taste if desired.

Saturday, August 9

Peanut Butter Chocolate "Clif" Bars

I love Clif Bars, chewy, subtle crunch, a natural source of protein, satisfying, tons of variety and healthier compared to many of the other energy bars on the market. What I don't love is their price. At over a $1.50 a bar (if they're on sale) I just don't stock up on them.

A couple months ago my sister made the most delicious copycat Clif Bar. The recipe is super easy, no-bake and you can whip up a whole bunch at a fraction of the cost of buying them in the store.

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: 16 Bars

Peanut Butter Chocolate "Clif" Bars
Olive oil
1 1/4 cups unsweetened dates, pitted and minced
1 cup quick oats
2 tablespoons ground flax
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal
1/3 cup peanuts or almonds, roughly chopped
2/3 cup all natural peanut butter (no oil or sugar added)
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Lightly coat an 8x8 inch baking dish with olive oil and set aside. Pulse pitted dates in a blender or food processor until finely chopped and then add to a large bowl. Add in the oats, flax and cinnamon. Using a pastry cutter work the mixture together until it resembles course crumbs then stir in rice cereal and chopped nuts.

In a small pan over medium heat, combine the peanut butter and rice syrup stirring until smooth. Stir in vanilla and pour over cereal mix. *Hint* I find it easiest to coat my hands with a little olive oil and combine the mixture together with my hands.

Firmly press down mix in prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm then cut into individual bars and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Friday, August 8

Meals for the Week!

Happy Friday and welcome to the weekend! For once it is not 100 degrees outside and we're hoping to get outside and soak up some vitamin D. Call me crazy, but I think I'm getting the Fall itch! Anyone else?

If there is anything in particular you would like to see in this weekly post please comment below! I'd love to hear your favorites! In the meantime enjoy these top 5 meals!

1. One of our favorites this week was Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad by Gimme Some Oven. Not only does this salad look absolutely beautiful but the taste is marvelous! To avoid soggy leftovers the next day, serve the peanut dressing on the side.

2. Another great dish and one pot meal is Healthy Arroz Con Pollo from Women's Health Magazine. I prefer the texture of brown basmati rice over brown short grain and felt the basmati rice gave the dish a lighter texture. Use fresh rather than canned tomatoes if you have them on hand.

3. If you haven't tried my Turkey Panini with Almond Basil Pesto you are missing out my friend! This recipe could easily end up on a weekly rotation at my house. The easy homemade pesto is also a great way to use garden basil.

4. We all love fast and easy meals and Rachel Ray's Mexican Lasagna is just that. I've made this recipe with ground chicken, turkey, beef and even meatless and each time is still delicious! Use whole wheat tortillas instead of white for a healthy substitute. 

5. And lastly Falafel from Melissa d'Arabian. I serve these tasty patties with whole wheat pita pockets, fresh sliced tomatoes, spinach, red onions and my favorite Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce


Thursday, August 7

Kale & Feta Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is delicious, super quick to whip up and reminisce of a Mediterranean Greek salad. Enjoy as a tasty vegetarian meal on its own or serve with some marinated grilled chicken on the side. Either way, light, summery and the perfect weeknight meal.

Yield: 2 Servings

Kala & Feta Pasta Salad
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pasta shells, cooked
1 cup kale, chopped and tightly packed
1 large tomato, diced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Dash of pepper
1/4 cup feta cheese
1 tablespoon chives

Bring a medium pot of water to boil and cook pasta until al dente. Drain, rinse and run under cool water then set aside. Saute kale in a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat until lightly wilted. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard and pepper in a small bowl. Combine pasta, diced tomato, and kale. Drizzle with the olive oil mixture and stir. Gently fold in feta cheese and chives. Serve cold.

Wednesday, August 6

Graze Box Review and FREE Box for You

I'm a snacker, grazer and a 2nd and 3rd supper type of person. I really like snacks. It's a good thing I'm married to a snacker or else I might have to be a closet muncher. Okay, maybe not really, but it's not uncommon for the Hubs and I to pull out something to nibble on after the dinner dishes are cleared. All that to say, when I heard about a company that delivers healthy snacks to your home or work I was intrigued. Graze runs as a subscription service delivering to you four individually packaged snacks anywhere from once a week or as you request them.

They offer over 90 snack choices that you can rank as trash, try, like or love.You never know what you'll get in your Grazebox but the higher you rank an item the more often Graze will send you that particular snack. If you never want to try a certain snack you can select trash. They also offer a low calorie option with snacks between 50-150 calories per package. For those with dietary preferences you can trash packs containing gluten, milk, spicy foods and snacks that are not vegan friendly. Currently all snacks are vegetarian. All this sounded awesome to me, my only hesitation was the $6.49 per box price tag so I set off to determine if the product was worth the price.

My 1st box arrived this morning in good shape and with no dents or rips in the brown cardboard like box. I opened the package to find four small but very trendy looking individually packaged snacks. Included in the box was a nutrition facts card with all of the ingredients and nutrition information listed. 

My box contained the following snacks:

Mississippi BBQ Pistachios- Smoked BBQ Pistachios
Garden of England- Mini strawberries, apple and blackcurrants
Hot Cross Yum- Orange raisins, sponge pieces & cinnamon honey almonds
Fruity Mango Chutney with Black Pepper Dippers

Overall I was impressed with the flavors; the mango chutney tasted fresh and had the perfect chutney to dipper ratio. The dried fruit was sweetened only by fruit and the nuts were crunchy as desired. My only complaint was the size. For a $1.62 per snack I would have liked to receive for than 1/3 of a cup. Graze did get the packaging, taste and the element of opening a surprise package spot on. Personally, for me even though the snacks were delicious and pretty healthy, I just couldn't justify paying $6.49 for the portion size at least not on a regular basis. 

Now you're probably wondering where the FREE part comes in? If you want to try Graze you can use the following code and you'll receive a FREE box, no shipping, no taxes and if you decide after the 1st one that don't want any more you can easily cancel. So here's the code and link!


If you decide after the first box that you want to continue to receive them the code will also give you your 5th box for FREE. 

Happy grazing!

***This review was neither sponsored by or received compensation from Graze.***

Monday, August 4

Free 5-Day Clean Eating Challenge {Guest Post}

Have you ever wished that you had a personal coach who would help you eat healthy, exercise, provide nutrition tips and support you and your goals ? I know I have! I am thrilled today to have my friend Britney Ammen writing and sharing some EXCITING news with you!!! 


Hello! When Alyssa asked me to write a guest post for her blog, I was beyond excited. As a fellow clean-eater and mama to a sweet one year old, I have often found myself pouring over Alyssa’s blog for fun, healthy meal ideas. And let me tell you- we have not once been disappointed. (The Cinnamon Swirl Whole Wheat Bread and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad are currently on a weekly rotation at our house. As they should be in every household.)

I am also so excited to be able to offer my FREE 5-Day Clean Eating Challenge to anyone interested! After becoming a mom, I realized much more fully my need for simple, nutritious meal ideas that don’t consist of mac and cheese or pb and j (though don’t get me wrong- a good stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth pb and j will always have a spot in my heart). And so began my journey of clean eating.

As a Beachbody coach, I have the opportunity to help people define their health, fitness, dietary, and financial goals, and then provide them with the support, accountability, and resources they need to reach those goals through challenge groups and one-on-one coaching. It has been a fantastic way for me to share all that I have learned over the past several years and to inspire others to really look at their eating and lifestyle habits.

My clean eating challenge will begin on Monday, August 11 and will consist of meal plans, a grocery list, healthy snack ideas, nutrition tips, and support/accountability. The goal is to encourage your body to become less dependent on processed foods as well as to help you realize that not only is clean eating affordable and simple, but it is delicious as well! Hopefully by the end of the 5 days you will be able to tell a difference in your energy and want to continue choosing to eat less processed foods.

All you have to do to join is find me on facebook and from there I will add you to the challenge group page. This is where I will post the grocery list, daily recipes, tips, answers to questions, etc. Each day, you be able to check in, post any questions or insights, and get the meal plans for the day.

Each day also incorporates Shakeology into one the meals/snacks. Shakeology is a dense superfood protein shake filled with naturally derived vitamins and nutrients and is soy-free. I personally drink shakeology every day and have noticed a huge difference in my energy levels and reduced cravings, as well as my overall health. For more information, or if you are interested in adding Shakeology to your challenge, click here.

I hope you will join me in my challenge as I seek to transform the lives of those around me through clean eating. It will be delicious!

Sunday, August 3

Turkey Panini with Almond Basil Pesto

Looking for an easy and delicious dinner? These sandwiches are fast and taste fantastic! The hubs and I are currently in love with these toasted sandwiches and think you will be too. They are super tasty and fast to whip up for a quick lunch or dinner. What better way to serve a delicious warm panini than with a fresh basil pesto. I love using whole wheat pita pockets, Monterrey Jack cheese, fresh spinach and some Cajun rubbed sliced turkey breast.

Yield: 4 Sandwiches and 1/3 cup Pesto

Almond Basil Pesto
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons raw unsalted almonds
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
Dash of black pepper
Approximately 3 tablespoons olive oil (more or less depending on your preference)

Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, almonds, lemon juice and pepper in a food processor or blender, slowly drizzle in olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Turkey Panini
1/2 pound sliced turkey breast (our favorite is Cajun rubbed)
8 thin slices of Monterrey Jack cheese
Handful of fresh spinach
8 pita pocket halves
A couple shakes of garlic powder
Olive oil

Build panini, layering one pita half, one slice of cheese, a couple slices of turkey breast, a few spinach leaves and another slice of cheese. Top with a pita pocket half and set aside while you prepare the rest of the sandwiches.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat, drizzle in a little olive oil and add a couple shakes of garlic powder. When oil sizzles add sandwiches, using a firm spatula press down on the panini, flip when golden brown and repeat on the other side.

Serve warm with basil pesto.