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.





Sunday, March 11, 2018

Seared Scallops, Quinoa Salad and Butternut Squash Puree

Where do I even start with this one... Let's just say, Scallops are one of my specialties and I am always looking for new ways to change it up and different ways to eat them.  It is definitely a dish that may not come easy for some, but in my few years of trial and error, I have perfected cooking scallops, thanks to my grandma.... She is a wise one in the kitchen and I love picking her brain with how to cook certain things.

This scallop recipe is everything amazing mixed into one. At first, I was nervous about this combo together because I wasn't sure it would go together, but to my surprise, everything in this dish complimented each other so well. It was amazing. The scallops were cooked to the perfect doneness to where they almost just melted in your mouth. The flavor of the quinoa with the butternut squash and scallop together.... It was like a Party in my Mouth! So freaking good!!! My husband is not a huge quinoa fan, but he loved this dish because of how it all taste combined together.

If you are like me and LOVE LOVE LOVE scallops, I would definitely recommend trying this one. You will not be let down.... 

Seared Scallops, Quinoa Salad and Butternut Squash Puree

Ingredients:
For the butternut squash puree
1 small butternut squash (about 2 lbs)
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt
1 tablespoon butter
For the quinoa salad
1 cup quinoa
2 apples
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 ounce lemon juice
Salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
For the seared scallops
1 pound sea scallops
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
Black pepper
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Trim both ends of the butternut squash and cut it in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds. Drizzle olive oil over the cut side of both halves and sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over them. Place the halves face down (that's the cut side) on the baking sheet and cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until a sharp knife easily pierces the flesh.
2. While the butternut squash is cooking, prepare the quinoa. Place the quinoa and water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer until all the water has been absorbed, approximately 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, open the lid, and let cool.
3. Transfer the flesh of the butternut squash to a blender (or you can put it in a bowl and use an immersion blender), along with 1 tablespoon butter, and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth.
4. Transfer the quinoa into a bowl, along with chopped apple, parsley. In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over quinoa salad and toss to combine.
5. Dry the sea scallops with paper towels.  Season with salt and pepper.
6. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter on high heat.  Once it begins to smoke, add the scallops and cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until it has browned on one side.  Using tongs, flip the scallops and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the size of the scallops.
7. To plate, start by spooning 3 tablespoons of butternut squash puree onto the plate (or shallow bowl). Top with a couple spoonfuls of quinoa salad, followed by the seared scallops. Spoon some of the remaining melted butter from the pan on top of the scallops.

I drizzled mine with a little balsamic reduction which was amazing.


This was Jacks, he didn't want the Balsamic. He doesn't have a love of Balsamic like I do.