For the Love of Aldi

Dear Aldi, how I love thee! Let me count the ways.

  • Affordable
  • Simple set up, easy to maneuver
  • Great selection of organic and gluten free items

We started shopping at Aldi during the seminary days, the years when we had waffles or hot dogs for dinner and Doritos casserole was a staple (insert a thousand cringe faces here… yes, it’s a casserole made with Doritos, chicken and sour cream). While it was hard to get used to the idea of inserting a quarter into the shopping cart and bringing our own bags, it eased the burden of a tight budget that was based on a single income teacher salary.

Fast forward to today. Aldi has evolved at about the same rate my own nutritional philosophy has. It’s kind of cute actually. As I grew to understand the importance of organic produce and products, so did Aldi. As I learned about my need (and my children’s need) to limit inflammatory gluten, Aldi offered assistance. As I began eliminating extra ingredients like processed vegetable oils, high fructose corn syrup and GMO corn and soy for my mental well-being, Aldi had me covered. It’s like we’re grocery soul mates, really.

So I figured I’d share some of our favorite staples, the things we get every week. And full disclosure – Richard is the one who does the grocery shopping most of the time. But because he has learned that he feels better eating things with cleaner ingredients, he has become a master shopper!

Continue reading “For the Love of Aldi”

Muffins with Sneaky Veggies

When it comes to meals, I’m alllll about getting in as many veggies as I can. That’s why I love these muffins over any other kind I’ve made with my kids. They contain all kinds of prebiotic fiber from the vegetables, as well as flax and gluten free oats – so their good bacteria can flourish. They’re gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free. The recipe may seem lengthy and time-consuming at first, but now I just throw everything in the blender and the result is sooooo worth it!

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Since I started working on my bonus baby’s gut a year and a half ago, I’ve definitely learned a lot about cooking and baking. We don’t use enriched flour anymore, due to the gluten and folic acid, we don’t have dairy in the house (other than Kerrygold butter, a great source of butyrate), we buy organic as much as possible, and we limit refined sugar and processed foods. They also take the BEST methylated multivitamin/probiotic chewable ever.

I have seen massive results in my 2 and a half year old’s health. He was well on the road to asthma at a year old, needing breathing treatments just about every month with a chronic runny nose. I’m happy to say that at the time I typed this, we have gone 3 months without a breathing treatment and he hasn’t had a runny nose in far longer…and the pollen count in Dallas is at a crazy high.

I’ve adapted this recipe and doubled it from the version I first saw here. The original calls for almond butter, but have you seen the price on organic almond butter??? I sub organic peanut butter, Costco brand, and it works great. For sweetener, I think organic maple syrup brings an added richness raw honey doesn’t have. I love raw honey for the health benefits, but again – you’re using a lot in this recipe and that stuff ain’t cheap.

Continue reading “Muffins with Sneaky Veggies”

Grain-Free Goulash (AKA Upgraded Hamburger Helper)

It may not look all that picture perfect, as it’s kind of a brown blob, but trust me when I say – this grain-free version of goulash/hamburger helper is LEGIT.

I really hate the word goulash. Say it out loud. GOO-LAWSH. Gross. But hamburger helper makes me think of the cute little hand with a face – anyone remember that? My mom says when she made goulash I disliked it, but I don’t remember that. When I made this, the scent took my mind to a happy place in my childhood.

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It took about 15 minutes to make and it is such a tasty, whole-food-packed version of the original. Cauliflower goes in place of the pasta. If you think that’s disgusting, or you fear your people won’t eat it like this, you could probably do a bit of undetectable riced cauliflower to keep the veggie content up, and then stir in cooked pasta instead of cauli florets. It will still be delicious! Continue reading “Grain-Free Goulash (AKA Upgraded Hamburger Helper)”

Spicy Black Bean Hummus

While the kids and I have been LOVING my homemade hummus, I felt the urge to switch it up today. And in the words of my husband, “it’s legit.”

Beans are a bit polarizing in the nutrition world. They can be inflammatory for some, especially for those with autoimmune issues. If that is you, be sure to soak dry beans for 8 hours or overnight and don’t use the canned kind. Soaking will make them easier to digest. However, for most people, beans are an excellent source of fiber and folate (hello, healthy neurotransmitter function)!

That being said, the key to this recipe is in a secret ingredient – “chiles de arbol,” or “tree chilies,” if you’re a Gringa like me and Spanish is your second language. But seriously, these things are just magical! I blend them with tomato sauce for a quick smoky salsa, so I figured they would add some good flavor to this dip. I start by rehydrating them in avocado oil, along with a couple garlic cloves. Continue reading “Spicy Black Bean Hummus”

Dump and Blend Pumpkin Custard

I’m not one of those pumpkin-with-everything girls, but I do love pumpkin pie. This pumpkin custard is reminiscent of that, but it is gluten free, dairy free, and hassle-free! Just to show you how easy it is, I’m going to shut up and throw out the ingredients and directions NOW. No need to tell a cute story with it, though I will say this is a great dish to bring to a breakfast potluck in lieu of a sugary, carby insulin rocket. 🙂

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Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Squash

I dared myself to make a dairy-free, grain-free chicken spaghetti recipe, and I totally nailed it!

This dish is creamy, flavorful, and comforting just like the chicken spaghetti I used to make that was filled with mounds of cheese and edible food-like substances.

Time out. In case you don’t make old-fashioned chicken spaghetti, I’m talking about cream of “fill-in-the-blank” soup. Those ingredients are not real food!!! The words “modified,” and “dehydrated mechanically separated” make me pause. Disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate come with a host of unfavorable side effects, including migraine headaches. Then factor in genetically modified soy, chicken, and dairy…no thanks.

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So back to my creation. Instead of spaghetti, I use spaghetti squash. Instead of a canned, cream soup I use… CASHEW SAUCE. It is delicious. So delicious, my 2 year old dipped his Veggie Straws in it. Trust me. That is a very good sign for him.

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Honey Nut Bars

My kids love to eat bars, but like so many convenience foods in stores these days, even the “healthy” kind, there are ingredients I’d prefer not to have on the regular.

These nut bars, adapted from Kelly Brogan’s book “A Mind of Your Own,” are delicious and SUPER easy to make. The hardest part about making these bars was cleaning the food processor afterward.

 

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Taco Bowls with Sneaky Veggies

My goal with every meal is to sneak as many veggies into my kids’ food as possible. This taco bowl recipe is probably the most veggie-packed meal we make. And we make it alllll the time.

Start with grass fed ground beef. I used to hate ground beef until we switched to grass fed. It isn’t as heavy in my belly and it’s packed with omega 3s and B12 for brain health!

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Dump it into a pan and start cooking on low to medium heat. Don’t overcook it! Midway through cooking, I add a shredded zucchini or two. Continue reading “Taco Bowls with Sneaky Veggies”

Not Your Average Salad

Salads and I have a pretty shady history. In fact, salads give me a little PTSD. They make me think of diets and all the trauma associated with dieting. The idea that if I only eat “good” food, I’ll look better and be a new and improved version of me. Spoiler alert – I’m always the same me, and no amount of salads or promising diets will change that.

So salads and I needed healing time. We took a break from each other. I focused on food for brain health and began retraining my mind on how I think about food and what motivates me to eat healthy. After listening to a podcast about phytonutrients in different colored vegetables, I knew it was time to re-enter the world of salads. Continue reading “Not Your Average Salad”