A Sweet Pea Chef 2017-03-28T21:25:58Z http://www.asweetpeachef.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Lacey Baier http://www.asweetpeachef.com <![CDATA[Perfect Avocado Toast with Soft Boiled Egg]]> http://www.asweetpeachef.com/?p=19506 2017-03-24T16:32:57Z 2017-03-25T13:00:49Z I admit.  I am very much a minimalist when it comes to avocado toast. Not that I have anything wrong with other versions – they just weren’t really my thing. Avocado + Toast = Perfection. Despite making and enjoying it for years, I’m somehow always in shock at how tasty and delicious it is. It’s quite possible...

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Perfect Avocado Toast with Soft Boiled Egg | This is the BEST most perfect avocado toast with soft boiled egg I've ever had and is so easy to make. | A Sweet Pea Chef

I admit.  I am very much a minimalist when it comes to avocado toast.

Not that I have anything wrong with other versions – they just weren’t really my thing.

Avocado + Toast = Perfection.

Despite making and enjoying it for years, I’m somehow always in shock at how tasty and delicious it is.

It’s quite possible the best easy snack or breakfast ever.

Perfect Avocado Toast with Soft Boiled Egg | This is the BEST most perfect avocado toast with soft boiled egg I've ever had and is so easy to make. | A Sweet Pea Chef Perfect Avocado Toast with Soft Boiled Egg | This is the BEST most perfect avocado toast with soft boiled egg I've ever had and is so easy to make. | A Sweet Pea Chef

You’ve got your fiber, healthy fat, complex carbs, and protein all in hand-held snack.

I mean a good avocado toast with thick, whole grain bread, and a perfectly ripe avocado can really make your day, ya know?

It’s filling, creamy, crunchy, savory, and delicious.

Plus it FEELS healthy to eat.

And it’s super easy.  No need to be a kitchen whiz to make this fancy and yummy snack.

Perfect Avocado Toast with Soft Boiled Egg | This is the BEST most perfect avocado toast with soft boiled egg I've ever had and is so easy to make. | A Sweet Pea Chef Perfect Avocado Toast with Soft Boiled Egg | This is the BEST most perfect avocado toast with soft boiled egg I've ever had and is so easy to make. | A Sweet Pea Chef

I would see so many amazing photos of sprouts, radishes, asparagus, and other fancy pants toppings and intricate avocado toast recipes on Instagram, but I would be like why mess with perfection?

But then, one day about six months ago, Dustin and I ordered avocado toast at Flower Child (<—FAVE) and fell in love — again — with avocado toast.

And it wasn’t my usual.

It had egg and cheese and sesame seeds.

And it was amazing.

Perfect Avocado Toast with Soft Boiled Egg | This is the BEST most perfect avocado toast with soft boiled egg I've ever had and is so easy to make. | A Sweet Pea Chef

So I have now changed my go-to beloved “simple” avocado toast to this very luscious, creamy, and perfectly balanced avocado toast.

It’s just perfect, friends.

It’s everything you could ever want on a slice of bread.

If you don’t know how to make a soft boiled egg, don’t worry – it’s very easy as well and I explain how in the recipe and video below.  Totally worth the few minutes it takes.

Tip: If you know you’ll be making avocado toast the next day but have unripe avocados, place the avocado in a paper bag with a banana and let it sit overnight.  The next morning, it’ll be perfectly ripe!

Perfect Avocado Toast with Soft Boiled Egg

Stop everything and make this perfect avocado toast with soft boiled egg right now. It’s easy, yummy, delicious, and filling!

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices whole grain bread
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp white cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 1/8 tsp black sesame seeds
  1. To soft boil the eggs, bring a few inches water to boil in a deep saucepan over high heat. Once the water has reached a rapid simmer, lower the heat to medium-high and slowly lower the eggs into the water using a spoon, one at a time.

  2. Cook 6 minutes for a very runny yolk (cook one more minute if you’re wanting a more set yolk).

  3. Remove the egg, carefully, with a slotted spoon and place directly into an ice bath (a large bowl filled with cold water and ice). Allow to set in the ice bath for 2 minutes to stop cooking.
  4. To remove the peel, gently tap the bottom, flat end of the egg with a spoon, then carefully slide the spoon around the egg, in between the out layer of the egg and the inside of the peel to remove the entire peel.
  5. Toast a thick slice of whole wheat bread until well-toasted, then set aside.
  6. In a small bowl, mash an avocado until it’s mostly pureed, then spread it evenly over the top of the slice of toast.
  7. Sprinkle the avocado spread with a little sea salt and ground black pepper.
  8. Place the soft-boiled egg over the avocado spread and gently slice open, spreading to cover the entire toast.
  9. Then, sprinkle with the shredded white cheese and some black sesame seeds.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

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Lacey Baier http://www.asweetpeachef.com <![CDATA[Announcing Baby Carolina – Coming July 2017]]> http://www.asweetpeachef.com/?p=19755 2017-03-22T03:19:18Z 2017-03-21T13:00:43Z When I was a young girl, I always thought I wanted two children when I grew up: one boy and one girl.  The simplicity and equality appealed to me and just seemed right. Then, I got married in my early twenties to the best thing that ever happened to me, Dustin.  Being high school sweethearts,...

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Announcing Baby Carolina - Coming July 2017! | A Sweet Pea Chef

When I was a young girl, I always thought I wanted two children when I grew up: one boy and one girl.  The simplicity and equality appealed to me and just seemed right.

Then, I got married in my early twenties to the best thing that ever happened to me, Dustin.  Being high school sweethearts, we wanted to wait until we both graduated college before getting married.  So, we dated for 6 years, graduated college, got two dogs and a cat along the way, and then got married in August of 2004.

Just like we planned.

And it always seemed right.

Announcing Baby Carolina - Coming July 2017! | A Sweet Pea Chef Announcing Baby Carolina - Coming July 2017! | A Sweet Pea Chef

But, as time went on and I attended grad school, I found myself not really wanting to have kids any longer.  It began to feel forced on me by society and the idea of becoming a “mom” threatened the identity I had created for myself.

What would I be like as a mom?

Would I be able to love my child as much as I felt he or she deserved, but still have time to be me?

What if I didn’t have the love I was supposed to for him/her?

What if I regretted it?

I mean…there’s no take backs, here.  And I might be the biggest culprit of buyer’s remorse that ever existed.  Eek.

This revelation did not go over very well with Dustin.  He wanted a big family and the love of his life was slowly second-guessing whether she even wanted a child.

Announcing Baby Carolina - Coming July 2017! | A Sweet Pea Chef Announcing Baby Carolina - Coming July 2017! | A Sweet Pea Chef Announcing Baby Carolina - Coming July 2017! | A Sweet Pea Chef

So we decided to table the family idea for a while, focus on our careers, and enjoy our life together as a couple.

Over time, Dustin even started to convince himself he didn’t want children, either.  That man is the most supportive, loving, and giving man I will ever know.

It wasn’t until we had been married for about four years that it happened.

My brother had a baby.

Then, our friends started having babies.

And we were envious, jealous even, of having a little one to call our own.

The thing we had convinced ourselves we didn’t want was actually calling us.

The time felt right again.

Announcing Baby Carolina - Coming July 2017! | A Sweet Pea Chef

So, as we always do, we planned.

We decided it was time to start a family of our own.

I realized it was time for me to face my fears and to accept that I can’t control everything.  To trust in love and life and take this new journey.

Looking back on my scared self about to have my first baby, I wish I could go to her and tell her how incredible this experience was about to be.  That she was going to have a love she never knew was possible for her baby girl.

That this love would change her life forever, make her realize she had only lived in black and white before discovering it.

That she would understand what happiness is.

But I actually learned that pretty quickly once Jordan was born in May of 2009.

And everything seemed right.

Announcing Baby Carolina - Coming July 2017! | A Sweet Pea Chef Announcing Baby Carolina - Coming July 2017! | A Sweet Pea Chef

Having Jordan was actually the reason why we started A Sweet Pea Chef – wanting to spend more time with her, I looked for a career that would allow me to be home for her as much as possible.  It also made me realize I needed to escape a career path I had been going down that would only lead me to depression and sadness.  More on that here.

We really owe all of this to Jordan.

To facing our fears and going for it.

To choosing happiness.

Deciding to have children was the best decision I ever made.

It’s not for everyone, but it was for me – I just didn’t know it yet.  I needed to do it and get over myself to learn that.

Somehow, our sweet little Jordan will be 8 years old this May.

And, since Jordan, we’ve welcomed Savannah, who will be 6 this April, and Hunter, who turned 3 this past January.

My heart is so full with these three nuggets and I love my family more than anything.
Announcing Baby Carolina - Coming July 2017! | A Sweet Pea Chef

As it came time for Dustin and I to decide whether we were done with having more children, we realized weren’t quite ready to end this phase.  While I was adamant after having Hunter I was done, as time passed, I couldn’t escape the desire for a new sweet baby to hold and care for again.

After all, look what amazingness each new journey has brought.

I look through these photos and feel overwhelmed with how fortunate we have been in this lifetime.

Announcing Baby Carolina - Coming July 2017! | A Sweet Pea Chef

So Dustin and I, along with the very expressed excitement and consent of our three kiddos, are happy to announce we will be welcoming sweet Baby Carolina this July.

The kids are so excited to meet their new baby sister and Hunter can’t wait to be a big brother.

Thank you for your support for our family over the years, as it has grown to be what it is today.

It’s been so amazing to share with you along the way.

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Lacey Baier http://www.asweetpeachef.com <![CDATA[Mini Grasshopper Pies]]> http://www.asweetpeachef.com/?p=19674 2017-03-17T15:16:53Z 2017-03-17T13:00:23Z To be honest, I’ve never been that big a fan of St. Patrick’s Day.  I can remember forgetting to wear green when I was in second or third grade and hoping no one would pinch me. But, of course, I got pinched.   A lot. Kids can be mean.  I can even remember intentionally wearing green...

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Mini Grasshopper Pies | Delicious, cool, and creamy mini Grasshopper Pies that are vegan, nondairy, and super yummy. | A Sweet Pea Chef #sponsored

To be honest, I’ve never been that big a fan of St. Patrick’s Day. 

I can remember forgetting to wear green when I was in second or third grade and hoping no one would pinch me.

But, of course, I got pinched.  

A lot.

Kids can be mean. 

Mini Grasshopper Pies | Delicious, cool, and creamy mini Grasshopper Pies that are vegan, nondairy, and super yummy. | A Sweet Pea Chef #sponsored Mini Grasshopper Pies | Delicious, cool, and creamy mini Grasshopper Pies that are vegan, nondairy, and super yummy. | A Sweet Pea Chef #sponsored

I can even remember intentionally wearing green and STILL getting pinched.  Sigh.

Nonetheless, it’s St. Patrick’s Day today and I’m no longer an elementary schooler.  Instead, I now have two sweet girls now in elementary school – one in kindergarten and one in second grade.  And I get to spend this day with them since they’re off for Spring Break.

But you know what I can totally get on board with for St. Patrick’s Day?

Green foods, like mint and matcha.

And Pies.  Obviously.

Mini Grasshopper Pies | Delicious, cool, and creamy mini Grasshopper Pies that are vegan, nondairy, and super yummy. | A Sweet Pea Chef #sponsored Mini Grasshopper Pies | Delicious, cool, and creamy mini Grasshopper Pies that are vegan, nondairy, and super yummy. | A Sweet Pea Chef #sponsored Mini Grasshopper Pies | Delicious, cool, and creamy mini Grasshopper Pies that are vegan, nondairy, and super yummy. | A Sweet Pea Chef #sponsored

And peppermint whipped cream.  Always peppermint cream.

Yep, I can sure get on board with those. 

Okay okay and corned beef and cabbage, which I owe to St. Patrick’s Day, is like my all-time favorite comfort food.

Still though.

So, for the St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to embrace all the green-ness and festivities and make these adorbs mini grasshopper pies.  Do you see the adorableness?

Mini Grasshopper Pies | Delicious, cool, and creamy mini Grasshopper Pies that are vegan, nondairy, and super yummy. | A Sweet Pea Chef #sponsored

Plus any day I can get to make something in my cute little 4-oz. mason jars is a good day.

For the grasshopper pie crust, I essentially made an energy ball mixture and turned it into the crust (which means you could totally repurpose any leftovers or make the crust into energy balls any time as well). 

I love combining dates, raw nuts, and cocoa powder in the food processor and using it in all sorts of ways, like these mini raspberry beet cheesecakes.

Mini Grasshopper Pies | Delicious, cool, and creamy mini Grasshopper Pies that are vegan, nondairy, and super yummy. | A Sweet Pea Chef #sponsoredMini Grasshopper Pies | Delicious, cool, and creamy mini Grasshopper Pies that are vegan, nondairy, and super yummy. | A Sweet Pea Chef #sponsored

The grasshopper pie filling is made green using matcha powder, fresh mint, Coconut Dream non-dairy yogurt, and soaked raw cashews, all of which gives it a strong, cool flavor that is delicious and creamy, especially when combined with the sweet chocolate date crust and the peppermint whipped topping. 

OMG yum.

These mini grasshopper pies are completely gluten free, vegan, and non dairy so most any one can enjoy them this St. Patrick’s Day.  They also refrigerate pretty well for 2-3 days IF you find you have left-overs.

Mini Grasshopper Pies

If you’re like me and you avoid St. Patrick’s Day ‘cuz it’s just not your thing OR you can’t get enough green on the big day, I think you’ll love this healthy, non-dairy, and vegan sweet treat.

Mini Grasshopper Pies

These Mini Grasshopper Pies are a great and healthy sweet treat to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. They’re delicious, cool, and creamy plus vegan and nondairy!

Grasshopper Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole almonds
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Grasshopper Pie Filling:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 6-oz. container Coconut Dream plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp matcha powder
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted and cooled)

Whipped Peppermint Topping:

  • 1 can coconut cream (chilled at least 2 hours)
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • chocolate shavings (for garnish)
  • fresh mint (for garnish)
  1. Start by pouring boiling hot water over the raw cashews and letting set for one hour to soften.

  2. To make the crust, add the almonds, cocoa powder, dates, and sea salt into the bowl of a food processor and process until the almonds are finely ground. 

  3. Add in the pure maple syrup and process again until the mixture clumps together. 

  4. Divide this mixture among several 4-oz. jars or whatever sized mason jars you have. Try to pack the crust gently so it’s easier to eat later once it’s hardened some.

  5. To make the filling, add the drained soaked cashews into a kitchen blender, along with the pure maple syrup, Coconut Dream plain non-dairy yogurt, and melted coconut oil.

  6. Blend for 2-3 minutes until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.

  7. Add the fresh mint leaves and matcha powder to the blender and blend again until the mint is broken down into very tiny pieces.

  8. Place a fine mesh strainer over a large mixing bowl and pour in the filling from the blender.

  9. Use a silicon spatula or spoon to press the mixture through the strainer spatula, removing any pieces of mint leaves.  

  10. Now, pour the filling into the jars over the crust. 

  11. Place into the refrigerator and chill the jars until the filling is firm and set, about an hour.

  12. To make the whipped peppermint topping, remove the hardened coconut cream from a refrigerated can of full fat coconut milk, scraping the top creamy part into a large bowl. 

  13. Add the pure maple syrup and peppermint extract and whip using a hand blender or stand mixer until the mixture holds soft peaks.

  14. Once the mint filling for the grasshopper pies are firm, remove from the refrigerator, and top each with a dollop of the peppermint whipped cream and some fresh chocolate shavings.

Sponsored By Coconut Dream

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Lacey Baier http://www.asweetpeachef.com <![CDATA[Kiwi And Kale Smoothie]]> http://www.asweetpeachef.com/?p=19510 2017-03-28T17:54:14Z 2017-03-11T14:00:21Z Breakfasts used to be such a hassle for me, especially on busy weekday mornings. Before I found the beauty of clean eating and this healthy lifestyle I now love, I would rely on sugary cereals, baked goods, or just skip it entirely. Aaaand in about an hour and 14 minutes or so after eating my...

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Kiwi And Kale Smoothie | This Kiwi & Kale Smoothie is so easy to make for breakfast or a snack and is loaded with fiber and protein to start your day off right. | A Sweet Pea Chef

Breakfasts used to be such a hassle for me, especially on busy weekday mornings.

Before I found the beauty of clean eating and this healthy lifestyle I now love, I would rely on sugary cereals, baked goods, or just skip it entirely.

Aaaand in about an hour and 14 minutes or so after eating my breakfast, I was hungry again.  And tired.  Sigh.

No wonder I snacked all the time and had no control over my eating back then – I was hooked on sugar and empty carbs.  More on that here.

Kiwi And Kale Smoothie | This Kiwi & Kale Smoothie is so easy to make for breakfast or a snack and is loaded with fiber and protein to start your day off right. | A Sweet Pea Chef Kiwi And Kale Smoothie | This Kiwi & Kale Smoothie is so easy to make for breakfast or a snack and is loaded with fiber and protein to start your day off right. | A Sweet Pea Chef

Starting to eat unrefined foods, for me, truly started with introducing protein shakes and smoothies into my daily routine.  They allowed Dustin and me to have a quick and easy breakfast we could actually make then take with us in the car on the way to work.  They also worked for a quick and healthy snack.

Just blend and go = snacking and breakfast perfection.

Over time, I’ve added lots of fun, new, and yummy protein smoothies to our routine.  It’s always nice to add new flavors, colors, and textures to keep things interesting, I think.

Smoothies are great too because you can create similar flavors to foods you love, but in a healthier way, like this Blueberry Muffin Protein Smoothie, this Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Protein Shake, and this Pumpkin Cheesecake Protein Smoothie.  Yum.

With how many smoothies we’ve made over the past few years, I’m still shocked that my blender has held up!

Kiwi And Kale Smoothie | This Kiwi & Kale Smoothie is so easy to make for breakfast or a snack and is loaded with fiber and protein to start your day off right. | A Sweet Pea Chef Kiwi And Kale Smoothie | This Kiwi & Kale Smoothie is so easy to make for breakfast or a snack and is loaded with fiber and protein to start your day off right. | A Sweet Pea Chef

For the longest time, I avoided adding kale to my smoothies.  Instead, I usually chose to add fresh spinach, if adding greens.  I always worried the kale wouldn’t break down enough in the smoothie and it would be all grainy.

Plus I knew Dustin wouldn’t touch it if it had kale in it.

But I was so wrong.

While kale does require a bit longer to puree in the blender (like an extra 45 seconds or so), it tastes great and adds tons of nutrients, making it the perfect food to chow down on first thing in the morning.

Plus I love the combo of the kale with the kiwi in this smoothie, too – it’s so green, vibrant, and fresh.  Hard to NOT feel super healthy when you’re drinking it.

Kiwi And Kale Smoothie | This Kiwi & Kale Smoothie is so easy to make for breakfast or a snack and is loaded with fiber and protein to start your day off right. | A Sweet Pea Chef Kiwi And Kale Smoothie | This Kiwi & Kale Smoothie is so easy to make for breakfast or a snack and is loaded with fiber and protein to start your day off right. | A Sweet Pea Chef

Shockingly Dustin probably likes this kiwi and kale smoothie even more than me!  He loves the flavor and can’t believe he enjoys drinking kale.

A couple notes on preparing this yummy smoothie…

One. If you want to add in some protein powder to make this a full meal, I recommend using a vanilla or unflavored protein powder.  Both work beautifully.

Two. This smoothie is very dependent on the sweetness and ripeness of the fruits so the riper, the better.  If you have unripe kiwi or banana, you’ll probably need to add in a little more raw honey.

Three. If you’re nervous about the kale, please try it – just once – to see what you think.  I bet you’ll love it.

Four. To make this vegan, just replace the raw honey with pure maple syrup.

Five. For more recipe ideas that use only unrefined ingredients, grab my free one day cleanse to get started today!

Kiwi And Kale Smoothie

 

Kiwi And Kale Smoothie

This Kiwi and Kale Smoothie is so easy to make for a healthy breakfast or snack and is loaded with fiber and protein to start your day off right.

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 ripe kiwi (peeled and diced)
  • 1/2 cup kale (washed and tightly packed)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp . raw honey (optional)
  • 1 tbsp . flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup ice
  1. Add the unsweetened almond milk, banana, kale, kiwi, raw honey, flaxseed meal, and ice to a blender.
  2. Now, blend everything until it’s very smooth. You may need to blend a good minute or so to really puree the kale, depending on the strength of your blender.
  3. If your shake is too thick, you can add a little more almond milk or, if it’s a little too runny, add a little more ice and re-blend.
To increase the protein and make this smoothie a whole meal, you can also add 1 scoop vanilla or unflavored protein powder.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

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Lacey Baier http://www.asweetpeachef.com <![CDATA[How To Quit Sugar: The 7 Steps I Took To Finally Quit Sugar And How You Can, Too!]]> http://www.asweetpeachef.com/?p=17892 2017-03-10T02:50:22Z 2017-03-09T18:00:52Z We all know, more or less, that sugar is bad for us and that manufactures put it in pretty much everything they can because, as consumers, we have developed an insatiable need for more and more sugar to make our tastebuds happy. This isn’t really news to you, I’m guessing. But, just how bad is...

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How To Quit Sugar | The 7 steps I took to quit sugar and how you can, too! | asweetpeachef.com

We all know, more or less, that sugar is bad for us and that manufactures put it in pretty much everything they can because, as consumers, we have developed an insatiable need for more and more sugar to make our tastebuds happy. This isn’t really news to you, I’m guessing.

But, just how bad is sugar, really? 

Well, research shows that refined sugar is associated with weight gain, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, and depression, among others.  <— NONE of those are good things.

How To Quit Sugar | The 7 steps I took to quit sugar and how you can, too! | asweetpeachef.com

But, let’s clear one thing up: It’s actually not SUGAR, by itself, that is the main problem here.

Stay with me, here…

I propose we need to rethink how we approach our viewpoint on sugar. 

Just like the demonized calories and carbs, sugar gets a bad wrap that is not necessarily deserving. “Real” sugar — the kind that exists in natural foods, like fruits, vegetables, and milk, to name a few — actually satisfies a legitimate nutritional and functional purpose in our bodies.  Yep: sugar is something that exists in natural, whole foods and it provides our bodies with energy.  Energy is good, in this sense. 

Wanna see how I go a whole day without refined sugars and still love the food I eat?

Grab my free one day cleanse.

How To Quit Sugar | The 7 steps I took to quit sugar and how you can, too! | asweetpeachef.com

What’s NOT good is that us sweet tooth freaks have (myself totally included), over time, developed a certain need for sweeter and sweeter things.  Couple that with becoming addicted to sweet stuff and you got yourself a gold mine, if you’re a manufacturer selling sweet foods.  This has led to processing sugar (i.e. high fructose corn syrup, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and so on) into what we now have in most of the packaged foods out there. 

How To Quit Sugar | The 7 steps I took to quit sugar and how you can, too! | asweetpeachef.com

These highly (highly highly highly x10,000) refined forms of sugar are no longer taken from a fruit or a bean or a vegetable.  When we consume those real foods, the naturally occurring sugar enters our bloodstream slowly as we digest the food and all the other nutrients provided by those foods. This is what we WANT.   

How To Quit Sugar | The 7 steps I took to quit sugar and how you can, too! | asweetpeachef.com

Refined sugars, on the other hand, don’t work in our bodies in the same way.  They are pure energy from the very start – no need to digest and process the fibrous tissue of an apple to get your naturally occurring sugar.  Instead, you get a shot of the straight sugar without any chance of slowing it down.  This is NOT what we want.  Over time, this will put such a toll on our bodies and our organs will start to fail (i.e. Diabetes, heart disease, etc.).

So, how can we quit PROCESSED sugar, then? 

The good news is you can totally do this.  I did.  Many others have.  

We start one day at a time.

And it’s as glorious as it sounds.  BUT, there are some steps I recommend you take to be successful.  Let me share the 7 steps I took for how to quit sugar and work towards a refined sugar free life and how you can, too!

Step 1: Read your nutrition labels.

How To Quit Sugar | The 7 steps I took to quit sugar and how you can, too! | asweetpeachef.com

This is possibly the most important thing you can do to take charge of what foods you’re putting into your body.  For any drink, cereal, package, energy bar, or whatever prepared food you purchase at the grocery store, read the label.  What is this going to tell you?  Everything! 

Most of us, after reading the label and seeing high fructose corn syrup as one of the top 5 ingredients in the list would realize that food probably isn’t a good choice.  But, what if you saw brown sugar, fruit juice, malt syrup, or organic cane juice?  Would you stop and think this is just as bad? 

Because, despite how much nicer they may sound, they’re still forms of refined sugar. 

How To Quit Sugar | The 7 steps I took to quit sugar and how you can, too! | asweetpeachef.com

Another very easy way to spot sugar in the nutrition labels is by recognizing the “-ose” suffix. So, when you see words that end in -ose, like sucrose, maltose, dextrose, fructose, glucose, galactose, high fructose corn syrup, etc., there’s a good chance it is sugar. 

Step 2: Choose healthier, more real sources of sugar.

How To Quit Sugar | The 7 steps I took to quit sugar and how you can, too! | asweetpeachef.com

Like I mentioned before, sugar exists in whole foods, like beans, vegetables, and fruits.  Sugar provides us with energy and is not a bad thing if consumed in moderation from whole foods and within a well-balanced diet.  There are several healthier alternatives to adding sweeteners to your food.  They are the following:

  • Coconut Palm Sugar – this sugar is actually sap from the coconut palm which is heated and evaporated which reduces it to granules. Coconut sugar is nutritious and has a low score on the glycemic index (which essentially means it doesn’t tax your body and make you crash after giving you a sugar rush).  Coconut sugar tastes similar to brown sugar, but slightly richer.  (Here are some recipes that use coconut sugar).
  • Raw Honey – is simply honey that has not been filtered or pasteurized so it includes beeswax, royal jelly, bee pollen and propolis (a substance collected by honeybees from tree buds, used to fill crevices and seal honeycombs.). Raw honey is pretty awesome.  It’s used by many cultures as a remedy for ailments, including ulcers, digestion problems, and as an antibiotic. Raw honey contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes.  Make sure to look for raw in the name, as processed honey has no such health benefits.  A honey simply labelled as un-pasteurized is likely filtered, but hasn’t been heated. It would not be considered raw because it has been filtered and had the royal jelly, beeswax, bee pollen, and propolis removed.  (Here are some recipes that use raw honey).
  • Pure Maple Syrup – contains beneficial nutrients, lower Glycemic Index score (so not as harmful to liver), helps with digestion, and contains antioxidants. When used in appropriate amounts, pure maple syrup benefits can lower inflammation, supply nutrients, and better manage blood sugar.  (Here are some recipes that use pure maple syrup).

While these three better-for-you sugars do contain many more health benefits than processed sugar, I want to stress they are all still…sugar.  Therefore, make sure you consume them in moderation.  

For more recipe ideas that use only unrefined ingredients, grab my free one day cleanse to get started today!

Step 3: Beware of artificial sweeteners.

How To Quit Sugar | The 7 steps I took to quit sugar and how you can, too! | asweetpeachef.com

Many people turn to artificial sweeteners when trying to avoid excess sugar in their diets. While many consider these type of zero calorie sweeteners “safe” or “guilt-free,” they’re not helping you one bit.  No, they don’t contain calories, but they also don’t contain any nutritional value so your body wants more and more of them, thinking the sweetness will provide you, at least, with energy, which it never does so you’re left craving more and more sweets.  You are still used to highly sweetened food and this is what you need to move away from. Artificial sweeteners can also increase your cravings for sugar and carbs and they can deplete your body’s store of chromium, which is a crucial nutrient in blood-sugar metabolism.  There’s a reason why diet soda is highly correlated to weight gain and obesity.   

For all you Stevia lovers out there, the same goes for Stevia.  Forget the notion that “natural” sweeteners that contain zero calories are actually good for you.  Yes, the stevia plant contains green leaves that are naturally very sweet and calorie-free.  However, the extracts and powders you can purchase in the grocery store have very little to do with the original plant.  Stevia, as an extract, is highly processed and only contributes to your continued dependency on needing more and more sweets.

Step 4: Identify the main culprit.

How To Quit Sugar | The 7 steps I took to quit sugar and how you can, too! | asweetpeachef.com

We all have one type of food or drink that is probably the most major of all the culprits of our continued dependency on processed sugar.  Maybe you are a sweet coffee drinker.  Maybe you love your Dr. Pepper.  Maybe you sneak a candy bar every day at 2:30pm to get you through the afternoon at work.  It’s likely this one culprit that scares you about letting go of processed sugar and quitting for good.  It’s also likely this one culprit that is holding you back from reaching your health-related goals.  

Each change you make during this process of quitting processed sugars will help you with the next change.  Attacking this main culprit head-on will certainly work to help you remove the need for sweets within the rest of your diet.  Start looking at that “treat” as your ball and chain to sugar.  Get rid of it and you’ll be soooo much better off – I promise.

Step 5: Start to remove sugar from your home.

How To Quit Sugar | The 7 steps I took to quit sugar and how you can, too! | asweetpeachef.com

It all needs to go.  Otherwise, it will be there for you when you’re feeling week and just want to give up.  If you don’t have it, you won’t eat it.  Donate, give away, or throw away all processed sugar from your home.  That means sugary cereals (and even many of the so-called healthy cereals you think you purchased), candy, cookies, granulated sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc. You won’t be needing those anymore.

A note on fruit juices.  Yes, they are made from from fruit.  NO, they aren’t good for you.  Believe it or not, they actually contain the same amount of sugar as a can of soda.  While the sugar is natural sugar, not added sugar, it still is a show to your system and is too much sugar to be combining at one time.  Instead, opt for eating a piece of fruit instead of drinking what is essentially 3-4 pieces of fruit very rapidly.

How To Quit Sugar | The 7 steps I took to quit sugar and how you can, too! | asweetpeachef.com

Also (and this goes along with reading your nutrition labels) check your condiments, pasta sauces, fruit juices, barbecue sauces, breads, and so on for lurking sugar.  You’ll be surprised with just how much hidden sugars you’ll find.  There are so many ways to make the foods you love WITHOUT refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup.  

Step 6: Make it a transition.

If you’re ready to jump right in and start taking action, that’s great — you can try out my free one day cleanse to finally kick that sugar habit.

For others, change can be very scary and difficult for us to swallow, especially when we consider the years and years we’ve likely been addicted to refined sugars.  Start small, take baby steps, and keep moving towards removing refined sugars from your diet.  Each teaspoon of sugar you remove a day, the better off you’ll be. 

How To Quit Sugar | The 7 steps I took to quit sugar and how you can, too! | asweetpeachef.com

As much as you may want to throw everything out and quit for good, that is not always the best choice because we have habits and routines and likes that will all be unhappy and thrown out of whack.  Instead, make the transition gradual to the point where you don’t even feel like you’re working to remove anything.  Then, one day, you’ll not even feel like that extra soda or white mocha latte or cookie.  Your body and mind are capable of amazing things – so stop letting sugar control them and take charge!

Step 7: Just start.

One of the most common complaints I hear from men and women trying to get healthy is how they just can’t get past their addiction to sugar,  Their sweet tooth is just too strong and is always sabotaging them from reaching their health and weight goals.  They’re worried they’ll never be able to eat ice cream again, enjoy chocolate, sip a sweet latte, or have pancakes with syrup again.  They focus on all the things they’ll lose and this is terrifying and keeps them from taking that jump into quitting sugar.

Get started TODAY by downloading my free one day cleanse to quit sugar.

How To Quit Sugar

 

But, instead of thinking about all the things you love that you’ll lose by quitting sugar, let’s reframe it and think about all the things you’ll gain.

You’ll gain control over your health and body. 

You’ll gain an understanding of all the marketing you’re letting tell you what to eat even though it’s bad for you. 

You’ll gain a newfound appreciation for naturally occurring sugars, like apples, ripe bananas, and even carrots. 

You’ll enjoy regular, non-sugared, foods and appreciate the balanced meal more than you ever did before inc your tastebuds were so tuned in to wanting sweets. 

You’ll gain a pride and confidence in yourself and your body – that you’re doing this because you’re worth it and granulated sugar is toxic for you. 

You’ll learn new and exciting ways to still enjoy sweets, through making ice cream using just bananas, experimenting with healthier forms of more natural sugars, and enjoying the simplicity of foods and all their varied flavors. 

You will have significantly reduced your chances for obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and depression. 

Most importantly, you’ll have actually quit sugar!

Free 1 day cleanse

You’ve got this!  Feel free to ask any questions in our free healthy community as you get started taking back your health.

What’s next?  Click here to download my free one day cleanse and see how easy it can be to quit sugar and LOVE your food.

Good luck!

The post How To Quit Sugar: The 7 Steps I Took To Finally Quit Sugar And How You Can, Too! appeared first on A Sweet Pea Chef.

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Lacey Baier http://www.asweetpeachef.com <![CDATA[Baked Carrot Fries + Homemade Ketchup Without Sugar!]]> http://www.asweetpeachef.com/?p=19267 2017-03-28T17:54:20Z 2017-03-04T14:00:12Z Let’s be real here. Fries are delicious and addicting. There’s no shame in admitting it. There’s just really no getting around this fact. That’s why we need these Baked Carrot Fries in our lives.  They’re easy, very much with the oh-so-fry-like goodness, and (yay!) healthy. I’m a huge fan of turning veggies into fun, savory...

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Baked Carrot Fries with Homemade Ketchup Without Sugar | See how super easy it is to make your own fries and sugar-free ketchup at home? Now, who’s up for some guilt-free fries? | A Sweet Pea Chef

Let’s be real here.

Fries are delicious and addicting.

There’s no shame in admitting it.

There’s just really no getting around this fact.

That’s why we need these Baked Carrot Fries in our lives.  They’re easy, very much with the oh-so-fry-like goodness, and (yay!) healthy.

Baked Carrot Fries with Homemade Ketchup Without Sugar | See how super easy it is to make your own fries and sugar-free ketchup at home? Now, who’s up for some guilt-free fries? | A Sweet Pea Chef Baked Carrot Fries with Homemade Ketchup Without Sugar | See how super easy it is to make your own fries and sugar-free ketchup at home? Now, who’s up for some guilt-free fries? | A Sweet Pea Chef

I’m a huge fan of turning veggies into fun, savory bites of goodness, like with these parmesan zucchini spears, these baked zucchini fries, and these broccoli tots.  Those are some of our favorites and have been big hits on the blog, too.

Not only does this sneaky trick allow you to get more veggies in your diet, it also makes it even easier to avoid the high carb, high salt, high fat, high grease fast food options you might ordinarily be drawn to.

That’s what I LOVE about clean eating – all the goodness, all the flavor, and none of the guilt.

Baked Carrot Fries with Homemade Ketchup Without Sugar | See how super easy it is to make your own fries and sugar-free ketchup at home? Now, who’s up for some guilt-free fries? | A Sweet Pea Chef Baked Carrot Fries with Homemade Ketchup Without Sugar | See how super easy it is to make your own fries and sugar-free ketchup at home? Now, who’s up for some guilt-free fries? | A Sweet Pea Chef

BUT we’re still missing something, aren’t we?

I mean…it’s not really french fries without a tasty dip or sauce, am I right?

Yep, I see you’re head nodding along with me.

That’s why I wanted to make a great healthy ketchup alternative to enjoy with these fries.

Baked Carrot Fries with Homemade Ketchup Without Sugar | See how super easy it is to make your own fries and sugar-free ketchup at home? Now, who’s up for some guilt-free fries? | A Sweet Pea ChefBaked Carrot Fries with Homemade Ketchup Without Sugar | See how super easy it is to make your own fries and sugar-free ketchup at home? Now, who’s up for some guilt-free fries? | A Sweet Pea Chef

Yes, ketchup is amazing, but it’s actually loaded with high fructose corn syrup which is a big no-no if you’re trying to rid your body of all those refined sugars and processed foods.

Fortunately, homemade ketchup is quite simple to make.

In fact, this homemade ketchup without sugar is shockinlgy similar to real deal.  You can even throw in extra flavors to make it your own favorite version, like a little more garlic powder or even some cayenne to spice it up a bit.

Baked Carrot Fries with Homemade Ketchup Without Sugar

 

All in all, these baked carrot fries are a fine substitute for the real thing and are so easy to make, too!

Here’s to getting your fry craving and still reaching your healthy eating goals!

Baked Carrot Fries + Homemade Ketchup Without Sugar!

These Baked Carrot Fries with Homemade Ketchup Without Sugar are the perfect healthy + vegetarian treat to kick that fry craving to the curb!

  • For The Baked Carrot Fries:
  • 2 lbs . medium carrots
  • 1 tbsp . olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp . sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp . ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp . Italian parsley (chopped)
  • For The Homemade Ketchup Without Sugar*:
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 ounce, no sugar/salt added)
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 ounce, no sugar/salt added)
  • 3 tbsp . raw honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp . onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp . sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp . apple cider vinegar (or regular vinegar)
  • 1/8 tsp . garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Start by peeling the carrots to remove the outer skin and then slicing off both ends. Next, slice the carrot in half to create the length of a fry.
  3. Carefully slice each carrot half into planks, making them as even as possible. (I try to keep them around 1/4 inch thick.)
  4. Slice the planks into long fries – again, making sure to get them as even as possible.
  5. Repeat with the remaining carrots.
  6. Place all the carrot fries onto the baking sheet and add the olive oil, sea salt, and ground black pepper. Toss to coat.
  7. Spread out the carrot fries evenly onto the baking sheet so they are all laying flat and not overlapping.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Then carefully flip the fries over and then return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until the carrot fries are tender and are starting to turn golden brown on the edges.
  10. Remove from the oven.
  11. To make the homemade refined sugar free ketchup, in a small bowl, combine no sugar or salt added tomato sauce, no sugar added tomato paste, raw honey, onion powder, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, and garlic powder and stir to combine well.
  12. Garnish with minced Italian parsley, if desired.
*As written, the homemade ketchup makes quite a lot of sauce. You can either halve the recipe or store the extra in the fridge for later.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

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Lacey Baier http://www.asweetpeachef.com <![CDATA[Paleo Apple Crunch Muffins + A Look Back At A Sweet Pea Chef]]> http://www.asweetpeachef.com/?p=19512 2017-03-28T18:02:55Z 2017-02-25T14:00:29Z Happy Saturday, my friends. And what’s better for breakfast than a hearty, delicious, and fresh apple muffin? About these paleo apple crunch muffins: “ummm YUM” is really the only thing that comes to mind to explain how delicious they are.  They’re moist, tender, bursting with apple cinnamon sweetness and an amazeballs crunchy, golden topping. Oh...

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Paleo Apple Crunch Muffins | These paleo apple crunch muffins are easy, healthy, full of flavor, and will make your home smell amazing! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad

Happy Saturday, my friends.

And what’s better for breakfast than a hearty, delicious, and fresh apple muffin?

About these paleo apple crunch muffins: “ummm YUM” is really the only thing that comes to mind to explain how delicious they are.  They’re moist, tender, bursting with apple cinnamon sweetness and an amazeballs crunchy, golden topping.

Oh my, these are delish and super easy to make, thanks to Bob’s Red Mill’s Paleo Baking Flour.

Paleo Apple Crunch Muffins | These paleo apple crunch muffins are easy, healthy, full of flavor, and will make your home smell amazing! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad

If you haven’t tried this paleo flour, I highly recommend it – it’s pretty amazing.  I rarely bake with coconut flour anymore because, frankly, I find it a little too finicky compared to other clean flours, like spelt and whole wheat pastry flour.

BUT then I tried this paleo baking flour.

Now, truth be told: I’m not a big baker.  I can make a savory recipe pretty easily nowadays on the first shot.  But baking?  It usually takes me a few times to get it perfect so I can share it on the blog.

BUT then I tried this paleo baking flour.

First time I tested it, I had the keeper recipe.  This is big, guys.  I mean: this is not only a baked good recipe, but it’s using coconut flour – WHUH?

I’m tellin’ ya.  Bob’s Red Mill has created a magic combo of coconut flour, almond flour, tapioca flour, and arrowroot starch for like the perfect baking flour for those of us who appreciate a healthy, clean, and even paleo baked good.  Heck yea!

Paleo Apple Crunch Muffins | These paleo apple crunch muffins are easy, healthy, full of flavor, and will make your home smell amazing! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad Paleo Apple Crunch Muffins | These paleo apple crunch muffins are easy, healthy, full of flavor, and will make your home smell amazing! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad

Not that I should be surprised though, given the story of Bob’s Red Mill.

If you’re not aware, Bob’s Red Mill is a pretty awesome company.  It was founded by Bob Moore when he was 49 and, even at 88 years old, today, he still goes in to work each day, ensures the highest quality of healthy food products, and takes incredible pride in the company he has created. 

Yep: 88.  Love it.

That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to share a little bit more about my business with you when Bob’s Red Mill asked me to write about how I relate to Bob’s story.

First off, I totally appreciate the hard work ethic and dedication Bob puts into each and every product Bob’s Red Mill creates.  This is something Dustin and I also try to do with each and every recipe, blog post, and recipe video we share.  This takes dedication!

Paleo Apple Crunch Muffins | These paleo apple crunch muffins are easy, healthy, full of flavor, and will make your home smell amazing! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad Paleo Apple Crunch Muffins | These paleo apple crunch muffins are easy, healthy, full of flavor, and will make your home smell amazing! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad

If you don’t my full story, I am not a trained chef.

In fact, I have a Master’s Degree in psychology, of all things.  For years, I worked as a child welfare social worker, helping abused and neglected children find safe homes or return home if their parents successfully worked on whatever brought them into the system.

For whatever reason, I got some of the most difficult, gruesome, and heart-breaking cases.

To be honest, I don’t even like to think about it any more.  It feels like another lifetime, like someone else’s story.  But it is big part of my story and shaped my future in so many ways.

When our first baby girl, Jordan, was born in 2009, Dustin and I decided it was time for me to move on from social work.  It had really torn me down and left me raw with pain and disgust for people and love.

Those harsh feelings literally melted as I stared at my baby girl, in aww of her beauty and innocence.

Yep, I needed a change.

Paleo Apple Crunch Muffins | These paleo apple crunch muffins are easy, healthy, full of flavor, and will make your home smell amazing! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad

So, with Dustin’s help, we created a personal chef business called Sweet Pea Chef in San Diego where I trained myself to cook dinners for others in their home so, when they came home, they’d have freshly prepared meals waiting for them.

To help try to grow the business, Dustin suggested I start a blog to allow potential customers get to know me.  I mean — hello — I was going to be in their home cooking food for them, right?

We laugh about it now, but my response to Dustin’s suggestion was, “What’s a blog?”

But, as you know, I started a blog called A Sweet Pea Chef <— get it?  Because the company was Sweet Pea Chef so this was a cute way to separate, but be connected to the “real” business?

Yea, neither do most people!  It’s cool.  But that’s what we named the blog, for better or for worse.

Paleo Apple Crunch Muffins | These paleo apple crunch muffins are easy, healthy, full of flavor, and will make your home smell amazing! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad

Well, over time, I uncovered a real passion for cooking, creating recipes, and photographing my creations.  And I discovered I loved writing and sharing my story with people, helping them find their passion and, eventually, helping guide them to a healthy eating journey, just like I was able to accomplish.

This business has certainly been an experience – one that has been so powerful, empowering, and amazing.  One that I’d never trade for anything.

But you know what?  It’s also been trying, LOTS of hard work, and daily commitment.

This is what resonates so much with me when I think about Bob’s story.  Yes, Bob’s Red Mill is a huge, successful company with over 400 employees…

Paleo Apple Crunch Muffins | These paleo apple crunch muffins are easy, healthy, full of flavor, and will make your home smell amazing! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad

But you know what I see?

I see the beginning of it all.  The fear and excitement of trying something new – even later in life, when it isn’t what you planned.

I see a dream of helping people be healthy, of making it easier to find and create quality food with ingredients they trust.

I see it as helping to provide a positive solution in the world, in his own unique way.

I see Dustin and me, sitting in our apartment with our baby girl, making things work, day by day.  It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been ours and it is exactly what we make of it, each and every day.

I see the possibility and amazingness of helping people, of touching their lives, and of creating your own story, with a little hard work and a dream.

Paleo Crunch Muffins + Behind The Scenes Food Video

 

Paleo Apple Crunch Muffins + A Look Behind The Scenes of A Sweet Pea Chef

These paleo apple crunch muffins are easy, healthy, full of flavor, and will make your home smell amazing!

  • For The Muffins:
  • 2 3/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
  • 1/2 tbsp . ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp . baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp . sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1 med. green apple (diced)
  • For The Cinnamon Crunch Topping:
  • 1/2 cup almond flour/meal
  • 1 1/2 tbsp . ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp . sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp . coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp . raw honey
  1. Lightly grease a muffin tin with coconut oil and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients for the muffins, which include the Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour, ground cinnamon, baking soda, and sea salt. Whisk together to mix well.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients, which include 4 large eggs, unsweetened applesauce, and raw honey. Mix this together as well.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until just incorporated.
  5. Add the diced green apple and fold it into the mix.
  6. To make the cinnamon crunch topping, combine almond flour, ground cinnamon, sea salt, and chopped raw walnuts in a small mixing bowl and stir to combine. Then, add in melted coconut oil and raw honey and stir again until everything is evenly incorporated.
  7. Using a spoon, divide the batter into the greased muffin tin. The batter is quite thick, so you’ll need to really pack it into each cup. You should be able to fill up all 12 cups to the top.
  8. Sprinkle the cinnamon crunch topping generously and equally over all the muffins.
  9. Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow cool on a rack before serving.

Sponsored By Bob's Red Mill

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

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Lacey Baier http://www.asweetpeachef.com <![CDATA[Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole]]> http://www.asweetpeachef.com/?p=19265 2017-03-28T18:02:57Z 2017-02-21T14:00:40Z When I was growing up, one of my family responsibilities was to cook dinner every Thursday night.  Thursday nights were particularly difficult for my parents to make dinner, since they usually both came home well after 8pm.  Strange how incredibly late this sounds like to me, now that I work from home and am fortunate...

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Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole | A healthy take on an old favorite. | A Sweet Pea Chef

When I was growing up, one of my family responsibilities was to cook dinner every Thursday night.  Thursday nights were particularly difficult for my parents to make dinner, since they usually both came home well after 8pm.  Strange how incredibly late this sounds like to me, now that I work from home and am fortunate to pick the kiddos up from school every day.

Looking back, I didn’t really see this “responsibility” as a chore.

Instead, I looked at it as an opportunity to prepare dinner for the family and help out.  I enjoyed cooking, especially when the house was quiet and I could just take charge.

Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole | A healthy take on an old favorite. | A Sweet Pea Chef Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole | A healthy take on an old favorite. | A Sweet Pea Chef

I didn’t have many recipes in my repertoire back then, though.  In fact, it was pretty much one major recipe: tuna noodle casserole.

Now, I have no idea how I even learned to make tuna noodle casserole, nor why nor how it became my go-to signature dish.

But it did.  And we all loved it.

From the creamy, savory noodles, to the slightly chewy and crispy toasted parmesan topping, I remember savoring it and eating more than I probably should have before anyone else got home.

Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole | A healthy take on an old favorite. | A Sweet Pea ChefSkinny Tuna Noodle Casserole | A healthy take on an old favorite. | A Sweet Pea Chef

Nowadays, I rarely make this childhood favorite.  Sadly, Dustin doesn’t like tuna (like…at all) and the kids don’t really get or appreciate casseroles.

But that doesn’t stop me from my old family fave.

The other day, I made this healthier, skinny version of my tuna noodle casserole.  I took the recipe I knew by heart from when I was younger and replaced some key ingredients to lighten it up.

Instead of condensed cream of mushroom, I used fresh mushrooms and low sodium chicken broth.

Instead of all-purpose flour, I used chickpea flour.

Instead of overly salted and oily canned tuna, I used humanely-caught tuna in it’s own juices.

Finally, instead of breadcrumbs on top, I used almond meal.

Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole | A healthy take on an old favorite. | A Sweet Pea Chef

And it was still fabulous.  Every bit as creamy, savory, and as perfect as I remembered.

It’s crazy how some recipes will never leave your memory, no matter how long it’s been.

I’m so excited this tuna noodle casserole recipe was just as delicious as the old version from my youth, since that means I can throw it in the rotation more often.

Heck – even if I’m the only one who’ll eat it in my house, it is still a satisfying, filling, and delicious easy weeknight dinner and makes great left-overs, too.

Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole

This Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole is a healthy take on an old favorite.

  • 12 oz . brown rice pasta (I use farfalle)
  • 1 tbsp . olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 large celery stalk (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tsp . sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp . ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 6 cremini mushrooms (diced)
  • 3/4 cup peas (frozen)
  • 2 5- oz . cans tuna*
  • 2 tbsp . parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 2 tbsp . almond meal
  • 1 tbsp . fresh Italian parsley (chopped)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9×12 casserole dish with olive oil, then set aside.
  2. Add the noodles to a deep stock pot of boiling water and cook until al dente, about 6-7 minutes. Then, drain and set aside. (I use brown rice farfalle noodles for this recipe, but you could also use quinoa noodles if you prefer.)
  3. Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet, and add the diced yellow onion and sliced celery. Cook on medium-high until soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the diced mushrooms and minced garlic, and cook until tender and beginning to turn golden, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle in the chickpea flour and stir well to incorporate.
  6. Slowly stir in the low sodium chicken broth and unsweetened almond milk until well combined, increasing the heat to bring to a low boil.
  7. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-8 minutes, or until the mixture starts to reduce and thicken.
  8. Add in the tuna along with the frozen peas, and stir another minute to heat through.
  9. Add the cooked, drained noodles to the sauce and mix well until evenly coated.
  10. Pour into the casserole dish and top with a mixture of parmesan cheese and almond meal.
  11. Place into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top becomes crisp and slightly golden.
  12. Sprinkle some fresh Italian parsley over the top and serve.
* For canned tuna, I look for tuna that is responsibly caught and with no added water, oil, or salt. I like Wild Planet and Safe Catch if you can find them.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

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Lacey Baier http://www.asweetpeachef.com <![CDATA[Low Carb Turkey Burger Bowl with Sriracha Mayo]]> http://www.asweetpeachef.com/?p=19270 2017-03-28T18:48:20Z 2017-02-18T14:00:49Z Okay, so it’s mid February, getting close to March.  How go your healthy eating resolutions? Have you been able to stay on track with eating whole, real foods and steering clear of refined sugars? Or, has it been more of an uphill battle thus far? It’s okay – either answer is okay.  Let’s hear it. Resolutions...

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Low Carb Turkey Burger Bowl with Sriracha Mayo | Try this delicious low carb turkey burger bowl that is full of lean protein and lots of other goodness! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad

Okay, so it’s mid February, getting close to March.  How go your healthy eating resolutions?

Have you been able to stay on track with eating whole, real foods and steering clear of refined sugars?

Or, has it been more of an uphill battle thus far?

It’s okay – either answer is okay.  Let’s hear it.

Resolutions can be tough.  They are big changes to our world and require work.

But you know what makes them so much easier to keep?

Low Carb Turkey Burger Bowl with Sriracha Mayo | Try this delicious low carb turkey burger bowl that is full of lean protein and lots of other goodness! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad Low Carb Turkey Burger Bowl with Sriracha Mayo | Try this delicious low carb turkey burger bowl that is full of lean protein and lots of other goodness! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad

Having a plan.

Seriously.  A plan makes ALL the difference.  Planning out your meals can be so so so SO helpful so you don’t find yourself hungry at 5:39 p.m. on Tuesday evening, wondering what you’re gonna do for dinner, ultimately decided to just order a pizza because it’s easy and quick.

Meal planning means you can actually plan to eat easy and quick HEALTHY meals that will (1) taste amazing, (2) make you feel awesome, and (3) keep you on track with your goals.

See?  Having a plan = 🙂

Low Carb Turkey Burger Bowl with Sriracha Mayo | Try this delicious low carb turkey burger bowl that is full of lean protein and lots of other goodness! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad Low Carb Turkey Burger Bowl with Sriracha Mayo | Try this delicious low carb turkey burger bowl that is full of lean protein and lots of other goodness! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad

So, today, I want to share my favorite new easy and healthy dinner recipes with you.

These Low Carb Turkey Burger Bowls came about because I had some Honeysuckle White ground turkey in the fridge and wanted to try something new — something fresh — something that would get me excited about dinner.

Of course, my mind went to burgers.  Turkey burgers.  But I wanted something…new.

So I decided to make a yummy and low carb twist on a turkey burger.  I love using lean ground turkey over ground chicken breast for these bowls because it actually has more protein, fewer calories, and less total fat and cholesterol than ground chicken.  Plus, I find turkey burgers more flavorful and have a better texture than chicken burgers.

Aaaand because bowls are so hot right now, I had to put it in a bowl!

And zucchini noodles?  Are you kidding me?  Nom.

Low Carb Turkey Burger Bowl with Sriracha Mayo | Try this delicious low carb turkey burger bowl that is full of lean protein and lots of other goodness! | A Sweet Pea Chef #adLow Carb Turkey Burger Bowl with Sriracha Mayo | Try this delicious low carb turkey burger bowl that is full of lean protein and lots of other goodness! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad

This bowl is great because it changes up your typical dinner AND makes great left-overs – you just need to store the pieces separately and assemble when you’re ready to eat.  Then, all ya gotta do is fry the egg and slice the avocado and your dinner prep just took you 8 minutes.

Ok, so can I talk about how much I love all the different textures, colors, and flavors in this bowl?  We’ve got juicy, vibrant tomatoes in sweet balsamic vinegar and tangy lime juice, crispy and tender charred sweet red onions, smooth and creamy sliced avocado, yummy and fresh zucchini noodles, a savory, high-protein turkey burger, all topped with a hot fried egg and drizzled with a cool spicy sriracha mayo sauce.

So much yum.

So healthy.

So easy.

Fit and healthy meal plan perfection.  Basically.

Low Carb Turkey Burger Bowl with Sriracha Mayo | Try this delicious low carb turkey burger bowl that is full of lean protein and lots of other goodness! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad Low Carb Turkey Burger Bowl with Sriracha Mayo | Try this delicious low carb turkey burger bowl that is full of lean protein and lots of other goodness! | A Sweet Pea Chef #ad

So, whether you’re totes on track with your healthy eating resolution, you’re one candy bar away from completely giving up on this healthy diet thing, or you just need a fresh new dinner idea to keep up your interest, check out Honeysuckle White lean ground turkey at your local H-E-B store or here and make this low carb Turkey Burger Bowl with Sriracha Mayo for dinner tonight!

Low Carb Turkey Burger Bowl with Sriracha Mayo

Try this delicious low carb turkey burger bowl that is full of lean protein and lots of other yummy goodness.

  • FOR THE TURKEY BURGER:
  • 1 lb . Honeysuckle White lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 tsp . sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp . ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp . garlic powder
  • FOR THE SRIRACHA MAYO
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil mayo (or olive oil mayo)
  • 1 1/2 tsp . Sriracha
  • 1/8 tsp . sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp . freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp . unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 large zucchini (spiralized)
  • 2 eggs
  • FOR THE BALSAMIC TOMATO SALAD:
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1/2 tbsp . balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp . freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ADDITIONAL TOPPINGS:
  • 1 avocado (thinly sliced)
  • 1 medium red onion (sliced into wedges)
  1. To make the balsamic tomato salad, in a small mixing bowl, combine the halved grape tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and some freshly squeezed lime juice. Set aside.
  2. To make the Sriracha mayo to drizzle over our bowl, in a small bowl, combine either avocado oil or olive oil mayo (the less ingredients, the better), Sriracha, sea salt, fresh, lime juice, and unsweetened almond milk and stir to combine. You can set this aside as well.
  3. To make the turkey burger patties, grab about 1/2 cup of the ground turkey and form into a patties. Try to make the patties as evenly sized as possible so they cook evenly and are done at the same time.
  4. Season both sides of the patties with a mixture of sea salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add a little olive oil.
  6. Add the patties, being careful not to overcrowd them, and cook about 5-6 minutes per side, until golden brown on both sizes and 165 degrees F internally (you can use a digital meat thermometer to help with this). Remove from the heat and set aside.
  7. To the same skillet, add the quartered red onion and cook on all sides until golden brown and tender, about 3-4 minutes per side. Then remove from the heat.
  8. To make the zucchini noodles, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add the spiralized zucchini noodles, sea salt, and ground black pepper, and toss to coat. Cook until the noodles are just tender, about 6-8 minutes, tossing frequently.
  9. To make the fried egg, add a little olive oil to a small skillet and heat over low heat. Add the egg and season with a little sea salt and ground black pepper. Cook until the egg whites are solid and the yolk is heated through, about 5-6 minutes. You can either flip over to cook the other side, or keep sunny side up.
  10. To assemble the bowl, start by adding a bed of the sauteed zucchini noodles, followed by our seasoned lean turkey burger patty, the balsamic tomato salad, half the sliced avocado, the charred red onions, and then top off with the fried egg. Drizzle the Sriracha mayo over the top to bring it all together.

Sponsored by Honeysuckle White

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

 

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Lacey Baier http://www.asweetpeachef.com <![CDATA[Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes]]> http://www.asweetpeachef.com/?p=18938 2017-03-22T03:19:50Z 2017-02-16T14:00:10Z First off, I’m gonna come clean and share I love mashed potatoes.  So I *may* be a teeny weeny bit biased when I say I think these crock pot mashed potatoes are amazing. But…these mashed potatoes are amazing 😉 Why are they amazing?  Let’s go over the goodness here: They are made in a crock...

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Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes | Such an easy dinner side, especially when the crock pot does all the work! | A Sweet Pea Chef

First off, I’m gonna come clean and share I love mashed potatoes.  So I *may* be a teeny weeny bit biased when I say I think these crock pot mashed potatoes are amazing.

But…these mashed potatoes are amazing 😉

Why are they amazing?  Let’s go over the goodness here:

  • They are made in a crock pot, making them almost entirely hands-off and easy to do on the side.
  • They require just a few easy ingredients, but have great flavor.
  • They are mashed potatoes – ‘nuf said.
  • They use a combination of creamy yukon potatoes, parmesan cheese, and greek yogurt to make the perfect texture.
  • The recipe can easily be halved, doubled, tripled, etc. for whatever the occasion.
  • You don’t even have to peel the potatoes, making them easier to make!
  • See above regarding mashed potatoes.

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes | Such an easy dinner side, especially when the crock pot does all the work! | A Sweet Pea Chef Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes | Such an easy dinner side, especially when the crock pot does all the work! | A Sweet Pea Chef

I know mashed potatoes tend to get shared more around Thanksgiving or other end of the year holidays, but they are a dinner side that can be enjoyed year round, if you ask me.

They go great with any protein — like steak, pork chops, or chicken.  Toss in a steamed or fresh green veggie and you’ve got yourself a balanced, healthy, filling, and delicious meal.

And, in case you’re worried about whether mashed potatoes fall under the “clean eating” label, good news: the answer is yes, if prepared appropriately. Since these mashed potatoes are made with whole ingredients and don’t have a ton of excess fat, cream, or cheese, they’re a great option. You could even spread a little organic, grass-fed unsalted butter over the top for a special yummy treat and they’d still be clean — just make sure to enjoy them in moderation.

Learn more on clean eating here, if you’re interested 🙂

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes | Such an easy dinner side, especially when the crock pot does all the work! | A Sweet Pea Chef Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes | Such an easy dinner side, especially when the crock pot does all the work! | A Sweet Pea Chef

Just so I make sure to mention it for those of you who are still bothered I said you don’t have to peel the potatoes, you can certainly peel the potatoes if you’d prefer them that way.

Me?  Not so much.

Believe it or not, the time the potatoes are in the slow cooker makes the skin barely even noticeable.  Then — once it’s all mashed up nicely — the texture is smooth and creamy.

Plus: keeping the skin on not only cuts down on prep time, but it also keeps valuable nutrients (vitamins/minerals/fiber) in the food and not thrown away in the trash.  In fact, I rarely peel any of the veggies I cook.  I just wash them really well and then use ’em, peel and all.

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes | Such an easy dinner side, especially when the crock pot does all the work! | A Sweet Pea Chef Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes | Such an easy dinner side, especially when the crock pot does all the work! | A Sweet Pea Chef

A note on how to mash potatoes.  I’ve found a lot of people complain they aren’t able to get their potatoes smooth so they avoid making mashed potatoes in general.

If that’s the case, I highly recommend getting yourself a potato masher to help you out. This is the one I use and it works beautifully, though they do come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  I also use it my masher to make applesauce or mash sweet potatoes as well.

Finally, if you don’t have the time to make this yummy side in a slow cooker, you can also make them on the stove following this Parmesan Mashed Potato recipe.

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes

These Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes are the easiest and tastiest mashed potatoes ever since the crock pot does all the work!

  • 4 medium yukon potatoes (skin-on)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cloves garlic (smashed)
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1/2 tsp . sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp . pepper
  • garnish: chives or green onions (if desired)
  1. Cut the potatoes into quarters and then add them, along with unsweetened almond milk, low sodium chicken broth, sea salt, ground black pepper, and a few whole garlic cloves into a slow cooker.
  2. Toss to combine.
  3. Now, cover the crock pot and cook for about 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
  4. When the potatoes are very tender, mash them directly in the slow cooker to your desired consistency using a potato masher.
  5. Next, add the plain greek yogurt and grated parmesan, and season to taste.
  6. Place the lid back on the crock pot and heat through for another 15-20 minutes before serving.
  7. Garnish with sliced chives, if desired.
  8. If you find the consistency to be too thin, you can add a little more greek yogurt and stir in. If you find the consistency to be too thick, you can loosen with additional almond milk or chicken broth and then re-season with salt and pepper, as necessary.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

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