“Spaghetti” and Homemade Meat Sauce

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Who doesn’t love a delicious plate of spaghetti and sauce? I know I sure do! 🙂 Plus, now that I have discovered how wonderful it is to use spaghetti squash in place of noodles, I can’t say enough about this dish. Of course, if you are still craving noodles with your sauce, there are plenty of gluten-free options out there. In fact, Trader Joe’s sells an excellent brown rice noodle which actually cook up quite nicely. Without further ado, here is the recipe for homemade meat sauce! 🙂

Meat Sauce Ingredients:

1 pound organic ground beef (grass-fed is best)
1 pound organic italian chicken or pork sausage (I get ours from the local health food store.)
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 cloves of crushed garlic
*1 (28 oz.) can of crushed tomatoes (If you can find the crushed tomatoes with basil, this is definitely the best option.)
*2 (6 oz.) cans of tomato paste
*13 oz. canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons organic white sugar
1/2-2/3 cup chopped, fresh basil (This is so much better than dried! Trust me! 🙂
1/2 teaspoon fennel
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3/4 tablespoon sea salt (If you can, choose the Himilayan Pink Salt for the health benefits.)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley

*Note about canned tomato sauce: Make sure you look for BPA-Free cans. The acidity in the tomatoes causes this chemical to be leached a lot more easily.

Directions:
In a large pot, brown the beef, sausage, onion, and garlic until the meat is no longer pink. Add the crushed tomatoes, paste, sauce, and water. Stir. Add the remaining ingredients, and combine well. Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure there is no burning on the bottom of the pot. Your house will smell amazing!!! 🙂 Serve over spaghetti squash or gluten-free noodles. This makes a very large batch, so it works well to freeze the leftovers. It also works well as the sauce base in lasagna. This meat sauce recipe has actually been adapted from John Chandler’s Recipe: World’s Best Lasagna. If you feel ambitious, go ahead and make the entire lasagna recipe, subbing the lasagna noodles for your favorite gluten-free option. You still will have leftover sauce! 🙂

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Protein Packed Peanut Butter Cups

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This past week, my precious sister was in town to visit for the Thanksgiving holiday, and boy, do I miss her sweet presence, as well as that of her family, now that she has traveled back home to her place. Amongst the many things that we enjoy doing together, one of them is eating chocolate, and we definitely made sure that we tried a few good treats from the kitchen while she was here. One favorite that came as a result of her stay here was these beautiful protein packed peanut butter cups! They are tasty, yet filled with an extra dose of healthy fats and protein. You can feel good about placing these on your holiday tray this Christmas. 🙂

Protein Packed Peanut Butter Cups
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons organic crunchy peanut butter
*2-3 tablespoons high quality protein powder ( I would suggest this protein powder)
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup (Grade B preferred)
2 ounces dark chocolate + 1 tablespoon coconut oil for melting

Directions:
Melt the the coconut oil, peanut butter, and maple syrup in a sauce pan on low. Stir frequently. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the protein powder. Fill approximately 10 mini muffin liners with the peanut butter mixture. Each liner should be half full. Place in the freezer to set for 10 minutes while you melt the chocolate topping. In a small sauce pan, melt together the chocolate and the coconut oil on low, stirring constantly, making sure not to burn. Remove the peanut butter cups from the freezer and pour chocolate on top of each cup. Place back in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove and enjoy! 🙂 Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 🙂

*Thank you to my lovely sister for this great recipe. 🙂 It will be consumed often. 🙂

*Note about whey protein: Above all, I still recommend getting the majority of your protein from high quality grass-fed meat. This is still the most natural way to consume protein and the most easy for one’s body to recognize. If you are still wanting to supplement with a whey protein, then there is some information worth noting.

I do not recommend using several whey proteins on the market as many of them have been denatured, filled with artificial sweeteners, and are very hard on one’s gut. Dr. Axe gives a well written response to what to look for in whey proteins as well as the risks of using one that is not in its natural form:
“Unfortunately, not all whey protein is created equal. Most of the protein powders on the market today have undergone acid treatments, been injected with steroids and hormones like rBGH, contain artificial sweeteners and are denatured.

Consuming denatured protein powder is hard on your digestive tract and can lead to a condition called leaky gut, which can then cause inflammation and autoimmune issues.

 So, I urge you to stay away from all processed non-organic protein powders because they will likely do you more harm than good. 

Instead look for organic and Grassfed whey proteins. 


When buying whey protein, make sure you’re getting both “organic” and “grass-fed”. 

Along with these, here are 7 others important things you’ll want to consider:

Cold Processed, NOT heat processed
Only ORGANIC so it’s free of pesticides, hormones and heavy metals
Grass-fed, NOT grain-fed, which is important for healthy fat ratios of CLA
High Bio-Availability, so better option than rice or vegan protein powders
Sweetened naturally, No artificial sweeteners
Easy to Digest, No protein isolates which harm the digestive tract, concentrates are less processed.
Low Carb, No fructose or other processed sugars
…”

*To read more about Dr. Axe, you can find his website here.

*This page contains affiliate links.

Homemade, Nutrient Rich Bone Broth

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I wish I could take credit for this amazing recipe, but it is quickly becoming a more popular recipe amongst health circles. Known for its amazing health benefits, homemade bone broth is full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and collagen. It is extremely beneficial for a strong immune and digestive system, as well as excellent for the joints, skin, nails, and hair. It is great for both children and adults, can be used in place of store bought broth in a recipe (with much higher nutrient quality!), and is super easy to make! I actually have been giving it to my one-year-old son in his sippy cup, and he loves it! Being that I am weaning him currently, I personally feel good knowing that, in addition to the rest of his diet, he is getting valuable nutrients from this broth. If you haven’t made this recipe before, I would really encourage you to start. It helps our family stay healthy during flu/cold seasons, gives the kiddos extra nutrients that I feel are far richer than standard milk, and is so versatile! I order my bones from Northstar Bison, or I save bones from whole chickens that I roast. I follow the recipe on the Wellness Mama blog, and you can find it by clicking on this link. She does an excellent job discussing the “why” and “how” of bone broth. Enjoy, knowing that you are adding a great staple to your family’s diet. 🙂
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Disclosure: This blog contains links/ads of which I may earn a small compensation/commission by your purchase.

Why Grass-Fed Meat?

In my quest to share the passion I have for wellness and healthy living, I have talked with several women who are looking to make positive changes, but don’t know where to start. I agree. It can oftentimes seem incredibly daunting with the wealth of information out there. While I am not saying that much of the information is invalid, I do believe that we can quickly become quite overwhelmed when we try to do all at once. Moms especially face an overwhelming amount of information as they seek to keep their children healthy and well; it can be downright exhausting. Yet, the truth is, there is grace, and the most important thing to remember is that “baby steps” toward healthy living are to be celebrated. So when it comes to diet, where is a positive place to start?

 

As I mentioned, several people whom I have spoken with ask me, “Where do I start making healthy changes?”.  My answer is simple: start eating high quality, grass-fed meat, and avoid gluten as best as possible. I am going to take some time in a future post to share my convictions on why gluten should be avoided by all people, not just those with diagnosed celiac disease, Crohn’s, colitis, and a host of other conditions irritated by consuming gluten containing products. So, why grass-fed? First of all, I can attest to the fact that, hands down, the taste is superior. The flavor is richer and the product is far less greasy. I love that I don’t have to drain so much fat from my meat as I am preparing my family’s meal. I have had the opportunity to buy our meat from Northstar Bison, which is owned by people whom I have the privilege of knowing, and is sold nationwide.  Their meat is both grass-fed and organic; in my mind, it is the best of the best! 🙂  Yet, suppose I did not have the option to choose both grass-fed and organic. Which is better and why?  Aren’t they the same? In her article, “Beyond Organic,” New York Times bestselling writer, Jo Robinson of Eat Wild, explains the reason behind going grass-fed and takes time to decipher between the characteristics of pasture raised meat and grain-fed meat. Even organic, grain-fed meat is far less nutrient packed than non-organic, grass-fed meat. I’d encourage you to take some time to read her short article as you consider the meat your family consumes. Check out her article here. I think you will find it very informative and helpful. Happy grocery shopping! 🙂