Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Use it up! What do you do with leftover Chili?

I love leftovers!  I conserve money, time and energy by making more than we will eat at once to heat up for later.  If we don't want to eat it up right away it goes in the freezer!

One of our favorites for leftover chilli is Scrambled Eggs topped with Chili!

Another great meal is tacos using chili as the filling.  
I always add a bunch of veggies and a bit of fat free sour cream on my taco!

What about a baked potato?  
Chili over a baked potato with a little cheese is a great meal for a gym day.  Full of protein, carbs and potassium...not to mention vitamin C and vitamin B!

How do you use up leftover chili?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bean Salad and Quinoa-Meatless on Monday #14

Looking for a high protein, high fiber, low-fat meal?  
This is it!  I have to admit that in order to make this dish I used canned beans.  If I had the time I would have made the beans from scratch.  Now that I have a pressure canner, cooking beans will be a snap!

Bean Salad

1 can Cannellini Beans 
(white beans)
1 can chili beans or pink beans
1 can Garbanzo Beans
1 can whole kernel corn
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons lime juice
pepper to taste
*Do not add salt if you are using canned food*

If you are using canned beans, rinse and drain.  Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly.  Refrigerate 1 hour before serving to let the flavors mix.

For the Quinoa, prepare according to the package.  
Mine says to use twice as much water as quinoa.  
I used 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water.  Once it was fully cooked I added 1 tablespoon of coconut oil while it was still hot and mixed thoroughly.

My preference: Add the quinoa and bean salad to a bowl and top with a dollop of fat-free sour cream.  Best served cold.

This is a great make-ahead meal.  I made this for lunch today and there is plenty for tomorrow and maybe the next day.  Saves time and money!

I didn't forget about the Coconut Oil Givaway winner!!!
Kristen Y. you have been notified.  Check your email!  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Texas Chili and Non-GMO Blue Corn Chips

This is just too exciting not to share!  Yesterday I was checking out coupons at CouponMom when I found a coupon for blue corn chips.  We don't normally (like never) eat chips but I'm on a coupon trip lately so I printed it.  I almost fell over in the store when I read the package...NON-GMO certified from the Non-gmo Project!  SCORE!!!
I'm all about non-gmo and you can read about why at Back to the Basics!

I made a few changes to the Texas Chili recipe from 
Mary's Real Food Cookbook but it was still super delicious.

As you can see!

And the Blue Corn Chips...Definitely worth it...Especially with a $1 off coupon!
Happy Friday!

Linking up HERE.  
If you have a moment, link up at Battling the Homefront!
Have another moment, link up at Sweet Saturday

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mary's Breakfast Sammies!

I'm so excited to share one of our special little meals.  We actually eat them for lunch but they're perfect for breakfast.  We're cleaning up our diet a bit but that doesn't mean we can't have fun meals.

Find out more about My Journey HERE.  Also, there is still time to enter the Coconut Oil Giveaway AND the gmo-free Open Pollinated Seed Giveaway at It's Your Life.

Mary's Breakfast Sammies
makes 2 sandwiches

2 English Muffins
2 eggs
2 slices of ham or Canadian bacon
cheese, sliced or grated
non-stick spray
Small bowl or large coffee mug.
MUST be microwave safe!

This is a rapid-fire sandwich.  I rush around the kitchen so that everything is done at once.  It's actually pretty funny.

Cook or warm up your ham/bacon.  Toast the English muffin.  Spray your small bowl with non-stick spray, crack an egg and add it to your bowl.

Microwave your egg for approx 50 seconds.  It will make a "pop" sound and it should be done.

Once your muffin is toasted add cheese then add the ham/bacon.  Once your egg is done place it on top of the ham. 

Cover with the top piece of the English muffin.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Serve hot!

Linking up HERE!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Meatless on Monday #13 Brussel Sprouts with Quinoa

Have you notice I've been on a bit of a Coconut kick lately?  This Coconut Oil is great stuff!  You can enter to win a 32 oz jar of non-gmo, certified organic Virgin Coconut Oil HERE.

Also,  I was interviewed by Joyce at It's Your Life and I'd be thrilled if you checked it out!

Since I had so much quinoa, coconut milk and Coconut Oil left I made Garlic Ginger Quinoa again.  This time I served it with roasted Brussels Sprouts.  I was a bit surprised that my husband asked for seconds!  Quinoa is very high in protein and low in fat.  The coconut milk is higher in fat that I normally use so next time I'll substitute coconut water.

Stovetop Roasted Brussels Sprouts

2 cups quartered brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon coconut oil
a dash of salt and pepper (optional)

*I prefer to steam my brussels sprouts for 4 minutes before I "roast" them.  I also use the stove instead of the oven so I don't heat up the house.*  If you prefer to use the oven use THIS recipe.

Stovetop: place coconut oil in a pan on high.  Add steamed brussels sprouts and "roast" for up to 12 minutes or until browned.  Stir occasionally.

Garlic Ginger Quinoa recipe HERE.

Top Quinoa with roasted brussels sprouts and serve hot!

I'm so excited to share a post from Healthy Mommy, Healthy Baby!  Jessica hosts Meatless Monday AND Sweet Saturday linkups.  Today her post just sent my heart soaring!  Thanks you Jessica for making my day.  
Check her out, add a link and say Hi!

You might notice a few changes coming to Mary's Kitchen.  I have started documenting at Back to the Basics about a few changes I am making to our eating habits and lifestyle.  If you have a chance please stop by It's a Fight to the Finish.  If you are interested in sharing your story you can email me at mari_backtonature@yahoo.com

Friday, October 19, 2012

Garlic Ginger Coconut Quinoa and Coconut Oil Giveaway!

Can you believe that up until the last few weeks that I had never cooked with Coconut oil?  Seriously!  I'm pleased with the results so far, especially since I made cookies and chocolate first.  
Can it get any better?  Yes!  Garlic.Ginger.Coconut.

I am thrilled to share a simple and delicious recipe with you AND a Super Duper giveaway.  Check out all of the details below.  Let me know if you have made any of the coconut oil recipes so far.  Inquiring minds ya know!

Garlic Ginger Coconut Quinoa
adapted from Sarah Shilhavy
Servings: 8 to 10 side dish servings
Preparation Time: 25-30 minutes

2 tablespoons coconut oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cups Quinoa
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 1/2 cups water (adjust as needed)
salt (optional) 

Sauté garlic and ginger in oil briefly. Add quinoa, stir well. Add coconut milk, water and salt.

Bring to a boil, stir quickly, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes or more.

To reduce the total fat in this recipe, substitute Coconut Water for the Coconut Milk.
Note: Very good served with chicken breast or turkey keilbasa 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!
Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another Fab Coconut Recipe: Coconut Balls

Living in South Florida means I miss the crisp fall mornings and the chilly mornings of winter.  However, an 80 degree Christmas isn't something to complain about.   
Where was I going with this?  Hmm, dessert!  
I feel like I've skipped fall desserts and jumped right into a tropical Christmas!

Coconut Balls  
adapted  from Melissa in CA 
½ cup carob powder
(or unsweetened cocoa powder)
3½ cups shredded unsweetened coconut
¾ cup coconut oil
½ cup honey or agave
*Be careful using agave as it is very sweet!*

Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add coconut oil and honey (or agave) and stir to combine. 
Mix thoroughly!
Mold into small balls by using a spoon, small ice cream scoop or your hands.  If you choose to warm your coconut oil you might need to let it get cold again before you shape into balls.   

Freeze for minimum 30 minutes and enjoy. These are best when frozen or refrigerated. 

Next time I make these I might add sunflower seeds or chopped pecans.  Or maybe smother them in white chocolate! 

In case you don't want "balls" or you don't want to handle the coconut mixture, just scoop it up and place it on a pan.  Put the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes and you're done!

In case you missed my Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip cookie post {you seriously need to read it} here's the scoop:  I have a super delicious, absolutely fabulous and healthy Virgin Coconut Oil from the awesome people at Tropical Traditions.  For the next few days I'll be experimenting with a few super fab recipes.  Friday I'll give you a chance to win a jar of your very own! 

Stay tuned for more delicious coconut creations!  

Linking up HERE. Coconut Oil Giveaway HERE.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Oatmeal Cookies with a Coconut Tweak!

Just when I thought I had mastered the Oatmeal cookie...

The good people at Tropical Traditions sent me a sample of their Virgin Coconut Oil. Wow!  Not only do they offer amazing deals on their products, they also provide super recipes for you to try.  
*Banana Orange Smoothie*Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Pancakes*Homemade Granola Bars*Thai Coconut Curry*Garlic Ginger Coconut Rice*  YUM!!!

Before I get started on any new recipes I decided to try one of my favorites.  My favorite tweaked dessert so far is Mary's Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies.  I just made these cookies with coconut oil and chocolate chips and they are better than ever!
Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil is simple to use and delicious all by itself.  Coconut oil can be used in DIY hair care and skin care as well as a substitute in many recipes for vegetable or olive oil.  It is easy to cook with!  Want to know one of my favorite facts about this particular brand?  Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil is NON-GMO!!!  It is also handmade (not machine made), Certified Organic and made from fresh coconuts!
Now that's my kinda stuff!

Vanishing Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

¾ cup coconut oil

1/4 cup organic apple sauce
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 cups Quaker Oats (old-fashion, uncooked)
1 1/4 cup raisins or chocolate chips (or half or each)

1/4 cup coconut flakes
*omitted* 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Heat oven to 350 F.  Gently melt coconut oil.  Beat together coconut oil, apples sauce and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.

Add combined flour, baking soda and cinnamon.  Mix well.  Stir in oats, raisins, chocolate chips and coconut flakes.  Mix well.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
I use foil with pam for less dishes.  
Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. 
Cool 3 minutes on cooling rack (if you can wait that long).  Enjoy!

I see more coconut recipes in our future and a fabulous giveaway!  My next recipe is no-bake!

Would I recommend Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil?
Absolutely!  While I was given a free sample, I plan on making this product a staple in our house.  I have already recommended the product to friends and family who are interested in a quality oil at an affordable price.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. 

Linking up HERE.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Health Alert Follow-up and Post-Gym Super Meal!

Almost all of my posts here have been about food.  Okay, ALL of my posts have been about food.  My first blog, Back to the Basics started out 3 years ago as health and nutrition but has evolved into DIY, health/nutrition and organic gardening.  I thought I'd share a little health information with you today.  Don't worry, there's a recipe at the end!
Last week at Back to the Basics I shared 
Rare form of Meningitis and Why I choose Chiropractic.  
This post is only just the beginning.  This morning I read that 15 people have died, 198 people have been infected with Meningitis and 14,000 people are at risk all because they received contaminated steroid injections

This is a perfect example of the potentially life-threatening side effects of "modern medicine." Between drug interactions, overdose and misuse the statistics are staggering!  In 2009, more people died from prescription drugs than in car accidents!  In 2008, prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone, the main ingredients in Oxycontin and Vicodin, landed 305,885 Americans in emergency rooms -- more than double the 144,644 visits in 2004, according to a 2010 study by Samsha and the CDC.

Why not try "alternative" forms of treatment for pain, discomfort and to improve you quality of life?!  I encourage you to read Why I choose Chiropractic and let me know what you think!

And now for my recipe!  I thought I would share my favorite post-gym power meal.  Potatoes are high in potassium and are great for after a hard workout.  Eggs are high in protein which is important for your muscles post-workout.  Since we eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning I make eggs for lunch or dinner on workout days.

Power Meal: Eggs and Potatoes
2 large servings

For the potatoes:
1 large potato, chopped into medium cubes
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
1/2 packet of Liptons Onion soup mix
dash of pepper

For the eggs:
4 eggs
3 inches of turkey kielbasa, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
2 handfuls of raw spinach, steamed or sauteed and then drain

The potatoes take the longest to cook so I start on them first.

Bring a pot of water to boil while you chop the potato.  Add the potato to boil for about 7 minutes.  In a large skillet combine oil, potato, soup mix and pepper.  Cook on high for approx 20 minutes or until browned and slightly crispy.

While your potato is cooking, crack and scramble eggs, chop onion and bell pepper and steam spinach.  Be sure to squeeze out the spinach so your eggs aren't watery.  I use non-stick spray but you can use grapeseed oil if you prefer.  In a large pan on medium-high (with spray or oil) add chopped kielbasa, onion and bell pepper. 

Once the onion and bell pepper are cooked, pour in the eggs and mix.  Add the spinach in small pieces so you don't have a big chunk of spinach.  Cook as you would scrambled eggs.  Serve hot!

Linking up HERE.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Super Simple Spicy Wings

This is another recipe that I literally through together.  There was no prep.  I took stuff out of the fridge and cabinet, dumped it in the slow cooker and that's it!

Super Simple Spicy Wings

20 large wings
1 can tomato soup
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup salsa
1/2 onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, sliced or chopped
pepper  (approx 1/2 teaspoon)

Mix all liquid ingredients in a large bowl.  Place Wings in the slow cooker on high.  Add jalapenos, onions and pepper.  Pour prepared sauce over wings.

Cover and cook for 3 hours.

Linking up HERE.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What do I do with Pear Preserves?

First of all...SHARE!  
Remember the Pear Preserves?  It was my first time and it turned out perfect!

Three of the jars of preserves went to my family in California.  I bought English Muffins for the first time in years so the hubby could have delicious pear preserves on "toast."  I don't normally buy bread so most of the muffins went into the freezer so we can eat them whenever and not have to worry about them going moldy.

My favorite so far?  Pear Preserves over Vanilla Frozen Yogurt!  It's so simple and so easy!

Linking up HERE.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I've been Featured! Twice!

Good morning and welcome to my kitchen!  
Smoothies for everyone!
My recent post about Healthy Smoothies which includes a recipe for Pumpkin Pie Smoothies has been featured  over at

Adorned From Above

parents as teachers

Stop by and check out their link-ups!  I bet you'll find more new recipes and projects than you'll know what to do with!

For more Smoothie Recipes:
Mango Smoothies includes Blueberry Mango, Mango Cardamon and Mango-Pineapple
Delicious Banana Smoothies include  Peanut Butter and Banana as well as Strawberry, Banana and Flax
SP Complete Shake part 1
SP Complete Shakes part 2
Summer Smoothie Series
Why Smoothies?

Thanks for stopping by!
Linking up HERE.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Meatless on Monday #12 Veggie Lasagna

I only make lasagna about twice a year but when I do I go all out.  I usually make 2 veggie, 2 meat and 2 meat with veggie.  This time however I am making a few as a gift.  What do you do for a single guy who has just about everything for his birthday?  
Yep, make him food!
This was my trip in 2010 with my Mom watching me blow out the candles!
I don't really use a recipe so I'm taking notes as I go.  As a kid my mom made Lasagna for special occasions and she normally made 2 or 3 for the party.  When I was visiting last year my mom made 8 (i think) for a huge get together to welcome me home!  I am one lucky girl with one amazing Mom!  Btw...the cake in the picture above is the famous 14 Karat Cake.  You can find it in Mary's Real Food Cookbook!

Low-carb noodles are diabetic-friendly!
Veggie Lasagna
These ingredients are estimates.  
I would recommend having more on hand just in case.
I usually have a bit of something left over which I save for another meal.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1- 1 1/2 pound raw spinach, lightly steamed
OR 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach
2 cups chopped mushrooms, sauteed
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (32 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 cups water
3 cups non-fat ricotta cheese
2 cups part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs 
8 ounces lasagna noodles, cooked

The first order of business is to  boil your noodles, steam the spinach and saute the mushrooms.  Set aside to drain and cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large pot over medium heat, saute onion, oregano, basil and garlic in the olive oil. Pour in spaghetti sauce and water; simmer 20 minutes. In a large bowl mix ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley, pepper and eggs. 

Place a small amount of sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan. Place 4 cooked noodles on top of sauce and top with layer of sauce then spinach and mushrooms. Add 4 more noodles and layer with ½ or ¼ of cheese mixture, spinach, mushrooms and then sauce.  Add another layer of noodles and repeat until all is layered, finishing with sauce.  Cover with mozzarella cheese.
2 down...2 to go!
Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven for 55 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
The directions above are for a large lasagna.  I usually make mine smaller since I'm not feeding a family of 5.  

To make small pans: use just enough noodle to cover the pan and layer just like you would a large lasagna.  The above ingredients should make about 4 small lasagna pans.

**There is still time to enter 

Mary's Salsa Garden Pack Giveaway**
Ends October 12th

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Homemade Salsa

In honor of the Mary's Salsa Garden Pack Giveaway that starts today at Back to the Basics I'm going to share a SUPER simple Salsa recipe.

This recipe was originally posted in Create a Salsa Garden at Back to the Basics!

Fresh Salsa

5 large tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tomatillo, diced (optional)
salt to taste
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, tomatillo, and salt to taste. Mix well. Add 1/2 of the jalapeno pepper, and taste. If you desire your salsa with more of a kick, add the remaining 1/2 jalapeno. If you are satisfied with the salsa's heat, do not add the remaining jalapeno pepper. Cover the salsa, and chill until ready to serve.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I missed Meatless on Monday #11 (almost)

Many of you are gearing up for fall, getting out those sweaters and pulling out your stew recipes.  I on the other hand am trying to stay cool.  Sunday the temp her in sunny south Florida was 89 degrees.  While that doesn't sound outrageous, it's still warm.  Add to that...On Monday our AC went out.  Guess what, It's STILL out!

So why am I telling you all of this?  There was no way I was cooking or eating anything warm on Monday.  We ate cold salads and yummy veggie/protein shakes all day.  Below I added a few of my favorite smoothie recipes.  Enjoy!

Banana Berry Blast
from Standard Process
1/2 cup Blueberries
1/2 cup strawberries
1 banana
2 scoops SP Complete
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (optional)
1-2 cups water
Ice cubes

Blend all ingredients thoroughly.  Optional ingredients: Flax seeds, yogurt.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
from Standard Process
1/2 cup organic pumpkin
1 banana
1 tablespoon flax oil
a dash of ginger and cinnamon (or ground cloves)
1 scoop SP Complete
1/2 - 1 cup water
Ice cubes

Blend all ingredients thoroughly.  Optional ingredients: yogurt, pumpkin pie spice.

Also check out Eat to Beat Cancer!  You might learn a thing or two.