Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pear Crisp for the "Clean" Eater

I've been making a real effort to eat a lot cleaner. I am trying to cut most processed food in general. I'm trying to eat almost no white flour. And I'm doing my best to cut out processed sugar. It's all hard, but we take baby steps as a family. 

I am making a real effort to just not buy the junky processed food at the store. Very few boxes, frozen dinners, and canned food make it in the house these days.  We've switched to Annie's organic Mac and cheese. I skip the frozen dinner aisle at Costco. I make my own spaghetti sauce. I only buy bread with basic ingredients (luckily Costco carries a great whole wheat bread without all the junk for only $3 a loaf). And I actually try to make my own bread more often than buying it. Daisy sour cream (truly just cultured cream) instead of western family with its unpronounceable ingredient list. Plain yogurt that we sweeten at home with fruit and honey. It costs a little more but I know it's the best choice for my family. 

And I'm far from perfect. I still splurge on Lin Lin potstickers, the occasional frozen pizza for the kids, and I have a hard time giving up cold cereal (I do only buy cereal where the first ingredient is whole grain and not corn). I know I have a long way to go, but like I said baby steps. 

Eating whole grains is fairly easy for us. The kids do get excited if they get to eat a sandwich on white bread. And I do love white flour tortillas. And if I'm making Kalua pig and panipopo, you better believe I'm making those rolls with all white flour.  But for the most part, whole grains are the easy part for us. 

Sugar on the other hand, not so easy. I'm kind of torn on this subject. If I'm making a delicious dessert and splurging, why not just use good old a fashioned processed white sugar? I bought the organic raw sugar and tried it, but really it's still sugar, its still processed and it still has zero nutritional value so why waste my money? We've omitted fake maple syrup from our diet. I use honey to sweeten many things. So in general we eat less sugar, but I'm still not all on the no sugar train. 

But I'm still looking for ways to cut back but still be able to satisfy my many many sweet teeth I have. So tonight I had a fridge full of ripe pears that needed using, and I thought I would try a naturally sweetened pear crisp with all clean ingredients. And I think the result turned out fabulously. 

The pears were so naturally sweet and juicy, the crisp was exactly what a good crisp is supposed to be - crispy, lightly sweet and a perfect compliment to the hot, juicy pears. I think this recipe is a definite keeper. But I'd love to hear what you think. 

Pear Crisp the Clean Way

6 c peeled ripe sliced pears (home canned would also work as long as they were canned in juice or super super light syrup. I make mine with a 10% sugar solution and I figure that would be ok, but fresh is obviously better).

2 T lemon juice
2 T apple juice concentrate (basically sugar, but I figure its better than just putting in table sugar)

1 1/2 c old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1 cube cold butter, cut in cubes
1/4-1/2 c honey
1 t cinnamon 
1/2 c unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut
1/2 c pecans 

Combine filling ingredients in a bowl and pour into a 2 qt baking dish. 

For topping combine oats, flour, cinnamon and butter in food processor or mix with pastry cutter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add in honey and combine until clumpy but not too sticky. Mix in pecans and coconut if desired. Mixture should be moist but not like a batter. This is where you need to watch the honey. Drop over filling to cover but don't press down. 

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes. Pears should be bubbly and crisp should be brown and crispy. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lime Basil Chicken Salad

I had an abundance of fresh basil growing in my garden and was in the mood for a fast, fresh meal. The Lime Basil Chicken Salad hit the spot. 

I found the recipe for the chicken on Pinterest and was deciding how to serve it. When I looked in my fridge and noticed all the garden fresh produce, I knew a salad would compliment it perfectly. 

I marinated the chicken for a few hours, grilled it, sliced it, mixed it with the basil dressing And put on top a bed of fresh greens, cucumber and tomato (avocado would have been splendid addition). I topped the whole thing with a roasted tomatillo ranch dressing (which in itself was divine).

Lime Basil Chicken Salad

  • 3 Limes (juice and zest) Divided
  • 3 T Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 T Dijon Mustard
  • 3 T Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 T Soy Sauce
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Minced, Divided
  • 3 T Chopped Basil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 lbs Chicken Breasts

  1. Combine the zest and juice of 2 limes, Olive Oil, Mustard, Worcestershire, Soy, 2 garlic cloves salt and pepper in a gallon ziplock. 
  2. Cut chicken into even cutlets and place in a gallon sized baggie.
  3. Mix marinade and chicken, squeeze out all air and seal. Let marinate 1-8 hours. 
  4. Preheat grill.
  5. Place chicken on grill and grill for 7 minutes.
  6. Then flip and cook until internal temp reaches 165.
  7. Remove from grill and let meat rest.
  8. Meanwhile combine juice and zest of one lime with extra virgin olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, basil.
  9. Slice chicken into bite-sized pieces and pour sauce over top.
  10. Serve atop a fresh bed of greens and other garden veggies for the world's greatest summer salad. 

Roasted Tomatillo Ranch
2 parts Daisy sour cream, 
2 parts buttermilk,
1 part mayonnaise, 
2 tablespoons of my homemade ranch mix ( parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper) 
2 roasted tomatillos. 

Combine everything in a small food chopper and blend until smooth. 

The chicken was simply awesome-moist and flavorful. The fresh salad was crunchy and great. And the creamy dressing just put it all together.  I will definitely be making this again and again.

Original recipe for the chicken can be found at

Friday, June 14, 2013

Crispy Pinto Bean Tacos

It's been a long time since I've blogged and even longer since I've posted a recipe. Other modes of social media are so much easier, but tonight's dinner is worth the effort. 

I pinned a similar recipe and adapted to fit my needs. It was a hit with the family. Simple to make, easy to adapt and utterly delicious. 

Crispy Pinto Bean Tacos

2 cans pinto beans (or black beans)
2 t ground cumin
1 t smoked paprika
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 T chopped cilantro
Grated cheese of choice
1 dozen corn tortillas (costco's uncooked tortillas are awesome)
Lettuce, avocado, salsa, sour cream and limes

Combine beans, spices, onion and cilantro. Smash beans a bit but leave many beans whole. Cook tortillas on dry skillet if using uncooked tortillas. Heat cast iron skillet with 2 T oil. Place cooked tortilla on pan, flip. Fill with a scoop of bean mixture and a bit of cheese. Fold in half and flatten with spatula. Cook on each side for a couple minutes until tortilla is crispy and golden. Depending on size of pan, cook 2-4 tacos at a time. 

Serve with lettuce, avocado, salsa, sour cream and fresh lime. This recipe is a definite keeper. 

Original recipe can be found at