Archives for October 2016

How to Cook Chickpeas in the Slow Cooker

How to Cook Chickpeas in the Slow Cooker

How to Cook Chickpeas in the Slow Cooker. You don't need to soak them beforehand!

Before we get to the recipe, I’m just wondering: Do you call them chickpeas or garbanzo beans?

Personally, I love the name garbanzo beans. Garbanzo is just one of those fun words to say. Like Bazinga. Or Gizmo.

But today I’m calling them chickpeas because when I went to buy a bag at the grocery store, that was what the bag said.

See?arrowhead-mills-organic-garbanzos-chickpeas

Canned beans are pretty inexpensive. So why would you go through the trouble of cooking dried chickpeas?

Because when you cook chickpeas in the slow cooker, you don’t have to soak them beforehand!

BAZINGA!

This makes them incredibly easy to make, and since you are using your slow cooker, it is practically no work at all.

Plus, you can freeze your cooked chickpeas. In fact, chickpeas can be frozen for up to a year. Yes, I said a year!

It’s so easy to cook chickpeas in the slow cooker, I’m almost embarrassed to call this a recipe.

How to Cook Chickpeas in the Slow Cooker:

1 16-ounce bag dried chickpeas
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Put the chickpeas in a slow cooker and cover with water by 2 inches. Add baking soda. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

SEE??? I told you it was hardly a recipe.

chickpeas-cooked-in-the-slow-cooker

Chickpeas are great additions to salads and soups, but Chili Flavored Crispy Roasted Chickpeas are my favorite way to eat them. They are like a healthier Doritos.

OR if you prefer sweet to salty, use your cooked chickpeas to make Dark Chocolate Chickpea Cookie Dough. It satisfies your sweet tooth with the added bonus of fiber to fill you up.

Dark Chocolate Chickpea Cookie Dough Recipe

Enjoy this dark chocolate chickpea cookie dough recipe with fruit, pretzels, or by the spoonful.

Enjoy this dark chocolate chickpea cookie dough recipe with fruit, or pretzels, or by the spoonful. Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthier way.

Are you someone who enjoys eating raw cookie dough?

ME TOO!!!

When I bake cookies, I usually get about a dozen less than the recipe says it makes because of all the spoonfuls of the dough I sample.

Enjoy this dark chocolate chickpea cookie dough recipe with fruit, or pretzels, or by the spoonful. Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthier way.

When the urge for something sweet kicks in, this sweet treat can be whipped up in a matter of minutes.

All the ingredients get dumped into a food processor. Then, you simply blend the ingredients together until you have a smooth consistency.

I keep the ingredients for this recipe stocked in my pantry at all times. It has just the right amount of sweet to satisfy my sweet tooth. Pairing it with some apple slices always leaves me feeling like I’ve had an indulgent treat when really I’ve had a healthy dose of fiber and natural sweeteners.

In the middle of the afternoon, when you just need that sweet something, this is so tasty.

If you haven’t used tahini before, it is made from ground sesame seeds. I know a lot of schools have gone nut-free, so using tahini means this can be tucked into a lunch or snack box.

Tahini tends to be a bit bitter – it isn’t inherently sweet like a nut butter. So if you substitute almond or peanut butter in this recipe, you’ll have an even sweeter dip.

Dark Chocolate Chickpea Cookie Dough Recipe

Dark Chocolate Chickpea Cookie Dough Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/4 cup tahini (may substitute almond or peanut butter)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cacoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to the workbowl of a food processor and blend until smooth.
http://naturalgreenmom.com/dark-chocolate-chickpea-cookie-dough-recipe/

I do want to throw this out there: just because this recipe is made from real, whole foods, and it is sweetened with a natural sweetener, this is not a low calorie food. I try to make sure I serve this with a fruit such as apples, bananas or strawberries. Or, I limit myself to just one big, sweet and satifying spoonful.

How to Make Ropa Vieja in the Slow Cooker

How to Make Ropa Vieja in the Slow Cooker
How to Make Ropa Vieja in the Slow Cooker. A healthy real life, real food recipe. Paleo, Whole 30 and 21DSD compliant too!

Do you get tired of fussy slow cooker recipes? You know the ones. First you saute, then you brown, then you slow cook?

Sometimes those recipes don’t feel like short cut recipes. Not to mention, you have extra dishes you then have to clean.

When you make Ropa Vieja in the slow cooker, it really is as easy as dumping in the ingredients and setting the slow cooker on low. Then, it cooks all day. A full 8 hours all day. It’s the kind of recipe you can set and forget.

How to Make Ropa Vieja in the Slow Cooker. A healthy real life, real food recipe. Paleo, Whole 30 and 21DSD compliant too!

If you’ve never had Ropa Vieja before, it is a Cuban recipe where a cut of beef is stewed in a tangy tomato sauce then topped with salty green olives.

This is not a time to skimp on the olives. Head to the olive bar and get good quality ones. You don’t need much, and a good quality olive will make this recipe.

Due to the long cooking time, the flank steak used in this recipe becomes unbelievably tender and is easily shredded with two forks.

You’ll find this recipe is perfect if you follow a paleo, whole 30 or sugar detox diet.

How to Make Ropa Vieja in the Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 15 ounce can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon organic tomato paste
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon organic pure cane sugar (optional)
  • sea salt and ground pepper
  • 3 pound flank steak
  • 1/2 cup pitted and sliced green olives
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. In the bottom of the slow cooker, combine the broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, green pepper, garlic, cumin, oregano, and sugar. Stir to create a sauce.
  2. Lay flank steak on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Remove steak from slow cooker. Add apple cider vinegar and olives to the sauce and stir.
  5. Shred steak with two forks. Return to the slow cooker and toss with the sauce before serving.
http://naturalgreenmom.com/make-ropa-vieja-slow-cooker/

If you are, or you know of, a working mom who needs healthy, satisfying, and easy to make recipes, (or maybe that describes you!) please share this recipe with them.

Have you tried Ropa Vieja before?

Breakfast Meal Prep Idea: Easy Toppings Bar

Here’s an easy DIY idea for breakfast meal prep: set-up a toppings bar!

Here's an easy DIY idea for breakfast meal prep: set-up a toppings bar!

Are you ready to save time and energy and still be able to deliver healthy meals in the morning?

I’ve found a solution that is working for our family that I wanted to share with you. It’s an easy toppings bar that fits on your countertop.

Here's an easy DIY idea for breakfast meal prep: set-up a toppings bar!

Our house has limited kitchen counter space, so in my home, I’ve set up a separate coffee/breakfast toppings bar on a spare piece of furniture we have set up by our kitchen table. On this spare hutch I’ve placed a tray and gathered together all the toppings we regularly use.

How does this help you in meal prep? The tray holds healthy toppings for cooked oatmeal, overnight oats, plain greek yogurt, or chia puddings.

Breakfast can be as easy as grabbing a yogurt or chia pudding out of the fridge and loading it up with healthy goodness. Or make up a pot of oatmeal and let everyone decide how to top their own bowl.

Here's an easy DIY idea for breakfast meal prep: set-up a toppings bar!

So what do I have on my countertop toppings bar?

BREAKFAST MEAL PREP TOPPINGS BAR IDEAS

  • dried cherries
  • dried cranberries
  • raisins
  • chia seeds
  • coconut flakes (Make sure they are unsweetened! This is what I buy.)
  • freeze dried fruit (NOT dried fruit, which can be sugar coated. Freeze dried bananas are really good!)
  • cacoa nibs
  • nuts
  • honey
  • maple syrup
  • cinnamon
  • chocolate chips

Here's an easy DIY idea for breakfast meal prep: set-up a toppings bar!

If you haven’t tried cacoa nibs yet, I’ve fallen in love with them. They are the purest form of chocolate before anything gets added to it. It has a definite chocolate taste but will finish bitter. That said, if you have sweetened your yogurt, oatmeal, or chia pudding, it negates that bitter aftertaste, so what you are left with is a hint of chocolate with none of the bad fats or sugars!

We prefer slivered almonds when we use nuts as a topping. I buy the big bags from Costco. I put out only a small mason jar of them, then store the rest in the freezer.

For the chocolate chips, I’ve started buying Lily’s. Do you know about these? They are stevia sweetened – so no added sugar! They don’t bake well – as in they don’t really melt- but they are great for this purpose.

Since my Keurig won’t fit on my counters, I’ve also got a jar with my organic compostable coffee pods on my breakfast tray. These pods are only $0.31/each and they are environmentally friendly! The price is great for a cup of coffee.

The cinnamon on my tray doubles as a breakfast topping and a coffee topping. I don’t usually sweeten my coffee, but sometimes I like a dash or two of cinnamon – especially on my second cup.

I’m all for easy ideas that make breakfast meal prep and mornings go smoother.

Would this idea work for you? What would you recommend I add to my tray?

Simple Cold Peanut Noodles Recipe Perfect for Lunches

This cold peanut noodles recipe couldn’t be simpler.

These simple cold peanut noodles are the perfect make ahead lunch. Prep at the beginning of the week, divided into lunch boxes, grab and go in the mornings.

Cold Peanut Noodles are a fun and different way to serve pasta.

I buy the whole wheat spaghetti from Costco and use it to make these peanut noodles. They stand up well to being refrigerated for several days.

While I love this vegetarian version of the recipe, if you prefer something hardier, you can add cooked chicken or shrimp in this dish.

I like the simple combo of noodles and cucumbers, but if you have carrots at home, try adding some shredded carrots for variety.

The beauty of this recipe is it can be made at the beginning of the week, divided up into portable containers (like these) and stored in the fridge. It then makes the perfect grab and go lunch.

The easy to make sauce keeps the noodles from hardening in the fridge.

Toss some orange slices and sugar snap peas in your bento lunch box and you’ve got the perfect healthy lunch.

Simple Cold Peanut Noodles

These simple cold peanut noodles are the perfect make ahead lunch. Prep at the beginning of the week, divided into lunch boxes, grab and go in the mornings.

 

Cold Peanut Noodles

Ingredients

  • 4 small cucumbers
  • 16 ounces whole wheat pasta
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (white or rice)
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta as directed on the package.
  2. While the pasta cooks, peel the cucumbers. Slice them in half longwise and use a spoon to scrape out any seeds. Chop finely and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, peanut butter, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and water. Add cucumbers.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Add to the sauce and cucumbers. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
http://naturalgreenmom.com/cold-peanut-noodles/

In case you like spicy, like me, you can add a little Sriracha sauce to your noodles. It adds just the kick I like!