Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Cook Day with TheCrystalDish





Life is so funny sometimes. Some days are great and then some days, days like today are simply amazing. Who knew that a kitchen full of 5 women would be just what the doctor ordered. A kitchen to teach, bond, laugh, and share my gift with. It was truly an honor to share what I am so passionate about with these 5 beautiful ladies. We all have our different stories, our different backgrounds, some meat eater, some vegetarian, but in the kitchen we are all ONE…. ONE in the Kitchen…

Years ago I had originally started up a meal prepping biz on the side where I would just meal prep for people and drop off meals to them, but then you know, life happens…. That whirlwind of life happens and it hits you sometimes…. WHACK!!!! And then 3 years later…. Now a mom with 3 kids, a little bit more freedom now that all three are in school, 4 years since I auditioned for Masterchef, 3 years since I had my youngest and 3 years since I really gave some time to me…. Time to do what I love… and that’s cooking and teaching others to cook. 

Today when we started, It was so natural for me to teach…. So easy for me to deligate these duties and I loved it, loved every minute of it… Is this what I was meant to do in life? Teach others to cook? Was it a sign? Well if it was, then HELL YEAH!!!! I’ll take it because my soul felt amazing when I was done teaching and my cup was full and overflowing with positive energy and I’m sure the pure essence of the food we made today was permeating on my clothes as I left my girlfriend Amanda’s house who so graciously offered to host at her home. 

As a busy mom of 3, I’m always looking for meals that my kids will eat and different ways to make some comfort food favorites into healthier versions. We made an abundance of food today…. From Thai Turkey Meatballs to an amazing healthier version of chicken parmesan…. And when I say amazing… oh yes, that’s just what it was and it was lightly breaded… but guess what? Not with flour! Cause Flour is a NONO if you’re on the Arbonne 30 days to Healthy living, and let’s face it, it’s not good for us anyway, so I of course found a healthy alternative…

So let’s get to the food right, cause that’s why you’re all here, you want the FOOD FOOD FOOD!!! The Meat! The grit! The veggies!!!!! Why am I holding out on you? OK… I’ve made you wait long enough…. Here are the recipes… I hope you all enjoy them and try some of them for yourselves! 

Happy Cooking and Good Health! 

~ Crystal 

Thai Turkey Mini Meatloaves

Ingredients:
1 lb ground turkey
½ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1/8 cup mint, chopped
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 ½ tsp ground curry powder
¼ cup basil, chopped
½ tsp dried tarragon
1 egg
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tbs sriracha 

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place all ingredients into a large bowl for mixing…. Here’s where you get a little dirty. Make sure your hands are clean of course and stick those babies into that bowl and start mixing up that mixture with your hands until everything is well combined. After everything is mixed together, get a ½-1 cup sized measuring cup depending on the size you want your mini meatloaves. Place meat mixture into measuring cup and then turn measuring cup over and put meat onto a greased baking sheet. The measuring cup is so all your little meatloaves are all the same size. And here’s what I do for those of you who have littles, use ¼ cup for your littles and it’s perfect kid sized. Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on size of meatloaves until no longer pink and slightly browned on top.  Let cool 10 minutes before serving. 





Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients:
4-5 Chicken Breasts
2 eggs
½ cup almond milk
1 cup almond flour
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp tarragon
½ tsp rosemary
½ tsp thyme
2 tbs avocado oil or cooking spray for pan
Marinara Sauce (Simple Recipe Below)
Almond Mozzarella Cheese
1 large Spaghetti Squash

Instructions:
Alright ladies and some of you gentlemen… here’s where you’re going to take out some of your aggression. Place 1 chicken breast in between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper (either works great, I typically prefer plastic wrap, but they both get the job done!). Here’s where it gets fun, next you’re going to take the flat side of a mallet and start pounding the chicken breast until it’s about an inch thick. I usually give it a few good whacks on one side, flip it over and then give it a few more good whacks… This is what I meant by take out some aggression, but remember…. Don’t mutilate you’re chicken, we’re not making ground chicken, we’re just giving it a good whack to tenderize that baby a little bit! Once you’re done with the first breast, go ahead and set it aside on a plate and repeat the whacking process for the remainder of those chicken breasts.

Next you’re going to put together your dredging station, so you’ll need one bowl/deep plate for your egg and almond milk (this mixture should be whisked together), and the other bowl/deep plate mix together your almond flour, paprika, tarragon, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper.  






The Girls - We shared many laughs and it was such a great morning to cook great food together.




My beautiful friend, Amanda.... Thank you for opening up your beautiful home to us and hosting this event.



My sister from another mister... Maricris, my filipino soul sister!!! Love this girl right here!



Doing what women do best. Bonding and conversing around a kitchen island while we cook.



And back to work.....



These beauties.... On the left we have Radishes that we quartered, lightly drizzled with avocado oil and thyme, and on the right we have white sweet potatoes that we drizzled with a little avocado oil and tarragon.  Cook these in a 350 oven for 30-40 min until tender, rotating every 15 min





Look at these beauties.... Veggie Noodles. Have you ever seen something so beautiful?  These are yellow squash.



Right here we have the homemade marinara we made for the Chicken Parmesan.

Marinara

Ingredients:
28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato paste
5 garlic cloves minced
1 white onion minced
2 tbs fresh basil minced
1 tsp fresh tarragon minced
1 tsp rosemary minced
1 tsp oregano minced
1 tsp sage minced
1 tbs avocado oil

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm avocado oil and sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic cloves and sauté until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients and cook 20-30 minutes until your sauce is cooked through... Here's the Fun Part...... Using either an immersion blender or regular blender, pulse mixture to desired consistency.

I myself like my sauce a little this for Chicken Parmesan, but it completely depends on your preference.


Here are some more pictures from our day of fun:



























Monday, July 16, 2018

Greek Chicken Bowl

Jack and I just started another round of Arbonne's 30 days to Healthy Living, so for lunch today, I was in the mood for a little Greek, which for those of you who know me, know I love me some Greek food!!!!  Jack's lunch was slightly different than mine because he doesn't like all the veggies I included in mine, so he got a green apple, but I was pleased as always with this dish. This is actually one of my favorite go-to meals for meal prepping or for a quick lunch to throw together when I have some chicken.

We actually would've started our 30 days last week, but I was away camping with the kiddos and my family, so I wanted to relax and enjoy time with family, rekindle those family bonds, and have fun like we all use to as kids. Last weeks festivities were amazing, but even though we had so much fun, my body definitely was feeling it this week and I needed a reset.... and what better way to reset then with our Healthy Living products, I mean hello!!! That's what they're designed for right???? To reset our bodies and get back to that healthy living lifestyle that we should be living.... so here's to it!!!!!!!

Day 1: It's been a lot easier today than I thought it was going to be. My body definitely needed this reset and I have been pounding the water. Definitely got my gallon of water in, my shakes, a healthy meal and couldn't forget my fizzles.... those are my amazing coffee replacers.... I'm actually going on Day 3 without Coffee!!! Whoo Hoo!!!!!! Now to get through the rest of these 30 days with no coffee.... I've got this. I know I can do it!!! I hope some of you join me on this journey. Whether it's the 15 or 30 day.... I'll be doing this right along side you, but enough about me... you don't want to hear just about me... you're here for the food!!! All about that Food, bout that Food bout that Food!!!!!

Ok, so, the Greek Chicken Bowl. There's some variations you can do with this. I have made this meal many times. I've done it with leftover chicken from dinner the night before, shredded chicken, pork, or today, since I needed to shop, because we literally had NO FOOD in our fridge from being gone for a week and I purged the fridge, so I needed to shop, so off to Trader Joes I went. Today I found the Shawarma Chicken Thighs at Trader Joes, so this is what I used today for the chicken, but you can use whatever chicken you would like. Here's what I use when I'm doing this recipe from scratch:


    Ingredients:
    Greek Chicken
    2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1/4 cup olive oil
    3 Tbs garlic, minced (Note, adjust to preference)
    1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
    1 Tbs red wine vinegar
    1 Tbs dried oregano
    1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use Silk Plain Almond Milk Yogurt)
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    Cucumber Salad
    2 English cucumbers, peeled and sliced
    1/3 cup lemon juice
    2 Tbs olive oil
    1 Tbs red wine vinegar
    1/2 Tbs minced garlic
    1/2 tsp dried oregano

    Tzatziki Sauce
    1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used Silk Almond Milk Yogurt)
    1 English cucumber, finely diced
    1 tsp - up to 1 Tbs minced garlic (adjust to garlic preference)
    1/2 Tbs dill weed, or 1 Tbs fresh dill, chopped fine
    1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
    1 tsp lemon zest
    1/2 tsp chopped fresh mint (optional)
    Salt and pepper to taste

    The Fixin's 
    3 cups cooked brown rice
    1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
    1/2 cup red onion slices

(this bowl I omitted the rice, but usually I have rice with mine)



Monday, April 2, 2018

Paleo Cheeseburger Casserole






Tonight I had to throw dinner together fairly quickly. Our son had a baseball game so we didn’t get home until passed dinner time. While the kids took their nightly bath, I threw together this yummy perfection. It was amazing and hit the spot perfect.

I could’ve gorged on some fast food, I wanted to make something for the fam that was still within our 30days to healthy living guidelines. I topped this casserole with my favorite cheese from Trader Joe’s, their Almond Mozzarella Cheese. It’s my absolute favorite vegan cheese and it melts just like dairy cheese! My kiddos can’t even tell the difference.


Ingredients

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, spiralized
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  •  1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 ½ cups chicken bone broth 
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • Dairy free cheese and green onion to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion, carrot and celery. Cook for 3 minutes until onion is translucent and veggies are softened. 

  • Increase heat to high and add ground turkey.  Cook for 5 minutes, breaking meat up as it cooks, until beef has browned and is no longer pink. Add oregano, garlic powder, smoked paprika and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

  • Stir in the chicken broth and the crushed tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer; add spiralized sweet potatoes and cook for another 10 minutes until sweet potatoes are slightly softened and sauce is reduced. Remove from heat and top with chopped tomatoes and spring onions. Serve warm.
Spiralized Sweet Potato Goodness..... love my Spiralizer

The finished Yumminess




Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Healthy Chili Mac




As silly as it seems because I am such an outgoing person, being on video scares the crap out of me, but they say do one thing that scares you. Challenge yourself because fear will drive you more right? Well, I refuse to let fear take over me because I know what I am capable of, so here’s to doing my very first live cooking show since I was on Good Day Sacramento!!!! EEeekkkk!!!

It went wonderful though, I prepped all my food, battled with my can opener because I need a new one and I was somehow at ease or in my own world once I hit that LIVE start button on Facebook. 

I really want to incorporate my cooking to this amazing program I am a part of because I love it and it’s so easy, plus, teaching others is my passion, especially when it comes to the kitchen. I’m again in my own world in the kitchen. I’ve been cooking for years, since I was little and I love it. From cooking dinners nightly with my parents, to now teaching my kids and you all how to cook my recipes. I hope you all enjoy it and I am always willing to take food requests if you want to see YOUR FAVORITES here! 

When I started the 30 days to Healthy Living with Arbonne, I’ll admit, I was nervous because I was afraid I was still going to be hungry in between meals and I was nervous about cutting out the gluten and cheese, but I know I needed to because my body was not happy with me when I would ingest a ton of dairy. Those flare ups that I use to get post gallbladder surgery started coming back again and I knew I needed to do something to get back to healthy me again, so I took the plunge, bought the nutrition value pack which is amazing, and who knew Jack would love it… his favorites (Tea + Fizz Sticks = Tizzy, although he refuses to call it a tizzy!)

So, to kick start sharing with all of you, I wanted to share with you a comfort favorite that my mom use to cook as a child and I remember eating as an adult with cut up hot dogs and corn in it… I remember Chili Mac as a child… It was Kraft Mac n Cheese and a can of Chili, and I remember growing up it was SOOOOOO Good!!!! And so I wanted to try and figure out a healthier option for it since I’m doing the 30 days to Healthy Living, so I came up with this… 

Healthier Chili Mac

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used homemade bone broth)
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 oz red lentil pasta (or gluten free pasta of your choice)
  • 2 cups almond cheese shredded
  • Cilantro, optional for garnish

Directions:
In a large pot, cook ground turkey, onion and garlic until onion is soft and translucent.  Add chicken broth, kidney beans, white kidney beans, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper.  Mix well and bring to a boil. 

Add pasta and boil 12-15 minutes, until pasta is cooked through.  Stir as needed. When pasta has absorbed liquid and is cooked through, add cheese and mix well. 

Cook for another 3-5 minutes until pasta is cooked through and cheese has combined into mixture. Serve warm and top with cilantro.

And of course always taste test!!!!




Here’s how to cook this yummy goodness

The finishing touches

Bone Broth




For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you'll know already that I am a firm believer in Bone Broth, or as I like to call it, Liquid Gold. I didn't always know about the benefits of Bone Broth, until I researched it and tried it for the first time. It was about 2 years ago when I first tried this amazing Liquid Gold. There are so many different types you can make too and they have amazing health benefits as well.

For those of you who aren't familiar with bone broth, let me break it down for you a little bit. The Aesthetic Collagen that you get from it. We all want to feel younger right? Or look Younger Right? Well guess what, bone broth can make you feel amazing and confident and sexy. The collagen in Bone broth helps with skin, hair and nails, so hey, why not right? And you don't need any kind of procedure done to get that collagen into your skin, you literally just drink the liquid gold and over time you'll notice a difference in hair, skin and the growth of your nails. 

Here are the different types of broth you can do:

Beef Bone Broth
Beef is full of rich flavor and helps give you strength and stamina. It can also help you feel stable and at ease. Beef is actually my favorite.... I have noticed that the Beef actually gives me the most Gelatin (don't be alarmed by that thick gelatin consistency after it's cooled! that's what it's suppose to do!)

Chicken Bone Broth
Chicken is the immune booster, just think about what we eat when you're sick. Most of the time it's probably going to be a soup and for most its Chicken soup. We all love it from kids to adults. Chicken broth is also the most versatile for cooking with. 

Fish Broth
The Fish broth I actually have not made yet, but it's mostly of fear of that fish smell in my house. I know how good it is for you too, but I'm so nervous about making it, I haven't brought myself to making it yet..... I will definitely make it soon so I can share it with you all. The Fish broth is so beneficial for your health because it gives you those wonderful omegas and 6 essential fatty acids, you know, the stuff that everyone takes those fish oil pills for, but in liquid form... say goodbye to those daily pills and just broth it up. 


Vegetable Broth
Most of the Collagen is from the meats in broth, but for those of you who are vegan or vegetarians, you can still do vegetable broth and you are still getting high nutrients from all the vegetables.


Why the Apple Cider Vinegar you ask? With a low pH, the apple cider vinegar acts as a solvent, helping to pull calcium and other minerals from the bones as it simmers.

As part of my Arbonne 30 days to Healthy Living, guess what???? The amazing Liquid Gold Bone Broth is totally acceptable.... So you know what I do? If I start to get hungry, I broth it up. I warm up an amazing cup of broth and just drink up. It's filling, and it can help tie you over until it's time to eat your next meal. I am a total snacker, I will admit it, but this magical broth or for those of you who are part of the Arbonne family, you may have heard it referred to as Alkaline Broth.  Why is it called Alkaline you ask, well here it is... Alkaline is to help maintain proper pH levels (the measure of acidity or alkalinity) in the blood.  The blood pH of human is naturally slightly alkaline.  The immune systems, internal organs, digestion, and other bodily functions will work better if your pH is within the right range (7.35-7.45). 


So, what's in it you ask, well tonight I did chicken bone broth, so here's what goes into this beautiful concoction. You can also change it up a bit too. I usually have leftover veggies from my last shopping trip, so I usually see what veggies I have on hand and use those veggies I have in fridge (the ones that aren't bad.) Sometimes it's tomatoes, mushrooms and always a wide array of herbs. Beef Bone broth is definitely my favorite for flavor, but I usually use what bones I have or what I'm planning on meal prepping for the next week. I have made several different bone broths, and each batch has had an amazing richness in flavor. 


Chicken Bone Broth
  • 5-Pound chicken (organs & gizzards removed, but keep the neck for flavor in broth)
  • 3 large carrots
  • 3 large stalks celery
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons real salt (I like using Pink Himalayan salt)
  • 2 teaspoons peppercorns (more if you want a little spice in your broth)
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • 2 oz chunk fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Directions:
Place chicken in a large slow cooker. Rinse off Vegetables. 

Chop celery, carrots and onions into large chunks.  Slice the head of garlic in half. Remember it doesn't have to look perfect because you're just throwing it all in the slow cooker. Here's where you throw the veggies into the slow cooker. 

Next you're going to throw all those beautiful herbs on top and then finish by putting the salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger and apple cider vinegar on top of the herbs. 







Cover with water to 2 inches above the chicken and veggies (depending on your slow cooker, you may have to cook down a bit, and add more water after the chicken has cooked). Set the slow cooker cook for about 12-15  hours on high or 24-36 hours on low. You want a slow simmer, so adjust cook speed accordingly. If it's more than a simmer, it may absorb all the water. 




After the chicken broth has cooked for 2-3 hours, the meat will completely fall off the bone, and you can take a pair of tongs and just remove the meat and save for another meal. I like to take the entire chicken out because I don't want to miss any pieces of chicken, especially that little piece of back meat which has the most flavor. Return bones and cartilage to slow cooker and continue cooking. 

When broth is finished, allow it to cool slightly. Pour the broth through a strainer covered with cheesecloth (so the herbs don't seep through the strainer) into a large bowl. 

Transfer broth into a glass container and put in fridge. 



Storing your Bone Broth:

There are ways to store your broth for up to six months in the refrigerator and here’s how you know if it’s ok to store. This is for those of you who do not drink bone broth daily of course. I on the other hand usually go through a batch of bone broth every 1-2 weeks so my batches are always fresh.  

Once your batch of bone broth is made, in order to preserve it for 6 months without canning or freezing, all you have to do is ensure that a good 1/2 inch or so of rendered fat sits on top of each jar that you strain your broth into. As the fat hardens in the refrigerator, it acts as a seal for the broth below it. The fat eliminates any air and will keep your homemade broth preserved in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. 

That’s it… It’s literally that easy…. Easy Peasy right???
This is what the beef bone broth does... it has a large fat layer to help seal that liquid gold in the jar for storing. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fajita Chicken Soup

Everything in life happens for a reason they say.... sometimes it's funny how things in life work out and how some things in life don't work out. The universe definitely works in mysterious ways. 5 years ago I auditioned for Masterchef and although I didn't make it on the show at that time, it is not because I didn't deserve to be on there, but because everything happens for a reason. 

Never in a million years did I think I would be inspiring my fellow teammates with Arbonne with my cooking and inspiring others. I am so blessed that Arbonne found me and the amazing people that came along with it. Arbonne came to me at a time that was just right. It was at a time where I was struggling with myself emotionally and I needed to once again find that happy me that had been lost for so long. Within a month of starting with this amazing company, my husband could see how much I was turning back into the woman that he fell in love with. The woman who lost herself emotionally was coming back to him and it was all because of Arbonne and the amazing team that came with it.  

As I came out of my shell, I kind of half did the 30 day challenge by doing Shakes, Fizzies and doing Keto thinking that my digestion issues wouldn't act up, but after about 60 days of Keto, my body said "STOP EATING DAIRY!!!!" and I started getting super sick when I had dairy, so I immediately had to cut it out, so Jack and I decided to take the plunge and go full force with the Arbonne 30 days to Healthy Living and it's been a blessing for my digestion and so fun in the kitchen for me. 

I never though Arbonne would lead me to inspiring these team members with my cooking. That "Me" That was lost has finally once again been found and I'm ready to conquer and inspire and teach. I am so grateful for everything that has come along with all of this and it has helped step out of my comfort zone a little more and EEEEKKKKK even do some Live videos which scares the crap out of me, but you know, if I want to inspire others, I need to step out of that comfort zone more often. 

Along with stepping out of this comfort zone aka SAFE zone as I like to call it, I also have been trying some amazing new recipes and creating some amazing yumminess that the entire family has been enjoying.  This is one of our amazing recipes we tried this week for the 30 days to Healthy Living and it made plenty for the whole week. I made the recipe without brown rice, but Jack's servings, I put rice in his cause he needs a little more carbs than me. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 - 15 ounce can black beans, drained
  • 15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 8 cups chicken or beef bone broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • teaspoon oregano
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, optional
  • Possible Garnishes: Almond Mozzarella Cheese, Scallions, Avocado

Directions:

Place a large sauce 6-8 quart pot over medium heat. Add the oil, chopped bell peppers, onions, and garlic. Saute for 3-5 minutes to soften.

Add whole chicken breasts, black beans, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.  If adding rice, stir it in with an additional 2 cups of water. Bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Use tongs to remove the cooked chicken breasts. Allow the soup to continue simmering to fully cook the rice, another 10-15 minutes. Allow the chicken to cool for a few minutes, then shred with two forks.

Once the rice is tender, add the shredded chicken back to the soup. Taste, and salt and pepper as needed.