Gluten Free Cajun Turkey Burger with Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

This week my husband is working out in the field and has nowhere to heat up his food, so I didn’t make a large crock pot meal this week. Because of his acid reflux issue, he can’t eat past 6pm, and he’s been getting home later than that. He is also not allowed to have me bring him anything. What does all that mean? Well, I’m making individual daily meals for only me. In a few weeks, we have ½ a deer coming, so I’m trying to eat some things that we have in the freezer to make room for the meat.

We had half a sweet potato left over from Thanksgiving, and we had the frozen turkey patties on hand. We also had one Kinnikinnick gluten free hamburger bun left, so it was perfect! The dogs’ noses were going crazy while I was cooking this meal! My little living vacuum cleaners were hanging around by my feet waiting to clean up any little morsel I might have dropped 🙂

This week’s featured meal is delicious, stays within my dietary restrictions (no gluten, dairy, unfermented soy, refined sugars or anything artificial), and satisfied my craving for a burger and fries! Never one to do things in the typical manner, I don’t’ care for sweet potato fries with brown sugar. I actually prefer them with Cajun spices. It may sound weird, but the sweet potato with spicy actually went very well!

Ingredients

  • One turkey burger (fed proper diet & free of hormones & antibiotics)
  • 1 gluten free hamburger bun
  • ½ a medium sweet potato
  • ¼ cup organic baby arugula
  • Dijon mustard to taste (or mayo if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder & Cajun seasoning to taste

Directions

  • Use toaster to heat bun (I toasted it one round at the highest setting in our toaster & that was perfect)
  • When toasted, remove and spread condiment of choice
  • Lightly coat each side of burger with dry seasonings
  • Place thawed turkey burger in a skillet (I used a small cast iron skillet)
  • Cook on medium heat for approximately 5 minutes or until top of burger begins to turn light brown
  • Flip & cook on the opposite side for 3-5 minutes
  • When done, remove & place on bun – allow to cool while potatoes are cooking
  • Peel & slice the sweet potato into strips (no more than ¼ inch in thickness)
  • Heat olive oil in skillet on medium to high heat
  • Place potatoes in skillet & turn to coat with oil
  • Spread potatoes evenly across skillet & lightly coat with dry seasonings
  • Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes, then turn
  • As potatoes are cooked completely, remove from skillet & place on a paper towel to soak up some of the oil
  • Once the potatoes are cooked and plated with the burger, add the arugula & the top of the bun – if you put the arugula on top of the burger fresh out of the pan, it may wilt the arugula.
  • Enjoy the meal!!

If you’ve never had turkey burgers, keep in mind that they have less fat than beef & have a tendency to stick to the pan. You may want to use a light coating of olive oil to prevent this. However, if you keep the heat low enough & watch the burger closely, it should be fine. When I cooked this, the best way that I could tell the sweet potatoes were done is by the change in color. The flesh is a bit darker & seems almost translucent. Another way to tell is by sticking a fork in them & if it goes through easily, the potato is cooked.  In case you’re wondering, the Kinnikinnick gluten free hamburger bun was really good!  It didn’t fall apart & it didn’t leave that weird coating in my mouth that I sometimes notice with other gluten free products.  Definitely buying these again!

Please note: I DO NOT recommend using a nontstick pan, as the chemicals used the coatings are toxic (especially if there are scratches in the pan).  There’s some awesome nontoxic cooking options in my Amazon store in the kitchen gadgets section:  http://astore.amazon.com/mycrnoli-20

If you’re in the market for a burger & fries but want to do it in a healthier way, this meal is for you! Of course, you can make this for your entire family instead of just for one the way I had to.  I plan to make this for my stepson while he is here visiting us for the holidays.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!  As always, thanks for reading!

Leftover Slow Cooker Turkey Soup

For Thanksgiving we bought the smallest turkey we could find, which was 15 pounds! Too much for two people, even though that’s all we ate for days! We invited a few people over to share the day with us, but they weren’t able to come by, so I had to find something to do with the leftover turkey. After four days of eating the same thing, it’s time to move on but of course it doesn’t make sense to throw away perfectly good food because you’re tired of it.  It just needs to be re-invented in such a way where it feels like something new!  What to do with a Thanksgiving leftovers?  Since turkey was all we had leftover, I decided to make soup because it’s rainy and cold here. Not to mention, soup is kind of my go-to easy meal. I can simply dump the ingredients in a pot or the slow cooker, let it cook, and have a delicious healthy meal with minimal effort.

This soup is very similar to my slow cooker chicken soup. The hardest part about it was chopping the turkey into small pieces. Even with the time it took to cut the turkey, this was super simple to make. That’s the way I to cook, though: quick, easy, and healthy. I’m such a creature of habit! I can eat the same thing all week & it doesn’t bother me at all. Right now I need to focus on my upcoming ebook anyway, so the last thing I need is to spend all day in the kitchen. We had the chopped frozen veggies on hand, the turkey was left over, and we had plenty of broth on hand. When I’m feeling ambitious, I like to chop up mixed veggies, put them in a plastic bag & stick them in the freezer. Doing this has made my life much easier on many occasions!  Like this week – I wasn’t feeling ambitious, at least not in the kitchen anyway!  My ambition is focused on finishing my ebook – which is a guide to nontoxic living where I share the insights I’ve gained over the years of living a nontoxic lifestyle.

Ingredients

  • Leftover turkey, chopped into bite sized pieces (we had approximately 4 cups)
  • 3 32 oz boxes organic vegetable broth
  • 2 cups chopped organic celery, carrot, onion & garlic mixture
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 tbsp salt (I used pink Himalayan sea salt)
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp sage
  • Note:  you may need to adjust amounts of ingredients to compliment the amount of turkey you have leftover

Directions

  • Dump everything in the slow cooker
  • Let cook on low all day (about 8 hours)
  • Cook rice separately & add just prior to serving

You probably already know this, but to make it Vegan, skip the turkey & add more veggies and/or a grain.  To make it Paleo, leave out the rice.  Rice & quinoa are two of the few grains I still eat & my husband really likes a heartier n soup, so I added.  If you have a house divided, I suggest storing the grain in a separate container and those in the house who want it can add it to their bowls. I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating:  use organic food whenever possible!

This recipe is clean eating approved.  Hope you enjoy it!  Thanks for taking the time to read!

Ninja Bender Review

My husband and I have been making smoothies for years on a regular basis. 5 days per week as a quick on the go healthy breakfast since mornings can get pretty hectic. We’ve always used frozen fruit instead of ice to avoid the smoothie getting watered down. That kind of use on a typical blender motor wears it out quickly! We broke several inexpensive name brand blenders this way. Each time one broke, we would buy one that was a bit stronger (and more expensive!). After we burned up the motor in a third one (in less than six months of use this time!), we decided it was time to get a high quality blender.

Because it’s just what I do, I researched. I looked into juicers, but most of them were only capable of making juice. Don’t get me wrong, I love healthy juice, but we make blended smoothies, so we needed a different capability. We decided to get the Ninja since it has three sets of really sharp blades, and a strong motor – a 1,000 watt motor to be exact. We went with the professional series that came with the single serve attachments and blade. This was perfect for what we needed. We use the large attachment when making smoothies for more than one, and the single serve when only one of us needs to make a smoothie.

We’ve had this blender since mid-2012, and it’s still going strong! Let me tell you, we don’t play when it comes to making smoothies, especially with the Ninja. We put in large clumps of frozen fruit & they turn to mush quickly! Add milk & it’s turned into a smoothie! When I use fresh unfrozen fruit the blender turns it into liquid within just a few seconds. It’s quite impressive! We’ve actually saved money on blenders since buying the Ninja. We’re no longer replacing an $80 blender every 6 months or so. If we had continued to do that over the period we have owned our Ninja we would have spent $480 if the prices for the same quality of blender stayed the same for three years. Instead we bought our Ninja on sale for $149. That’s a savings of $331 over the three years we’ve owned it. As it continues to last, it will continue to save us money on replacing lower quality blenders.

A few things to note: 1) it has suction cups on the base to keep it in place on the counter & they are strong! 2) the blender is not the best when it comes to food processing – if you’re looking for finely chopped instead of liquid, make sure you get the processor version (and pulse instead of using a steady blend), 3) if the blade and lid or not secure it will not start – that is for user safety since the blades are sharp and the motor is strong 4) you cannot take the lid off while the blade is moving for safety reasons. It took a bit of getting accustomed to at first, but that’s because I was used to blenders with low-powered motors.

Overall, this is a great product. For us it has been well worth the price. Because we use it so often, we definitely got our money’s worth out of the Ninja blender. We loved it so much we also got the food processing Ninja, which by the way also works for smoothies larger than single serve but not quite big enough to use the large blender for. It also travels well because the motor sits on top of the blender lid. It’s great for when we go on road trips and still want to have our blended Shakeology smoothies. We took it on a trip with us last year when we visited my niece and it was used to make cranberry orange relish and gravy for the turkey. Absolutely a must have in our kitchen!

Hopefully you’ve found this review helpful. If you have any questions about the blender please feel free to contact me and I’ll be glad to help! The blender is available in my Amazon store here:  http://astore.amazon.com/mycrnoli-20

As always, thanks for stopping by!  I hope you had a Happy Healthy Thanksgiving!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie with Cashew Crumble

Pumpkin pie is my favorite food item at Thanksgiving!  I want to continue to eat clean and avoid dairy, but I refuse to give up my pumpkin pie!  When I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Pie Minis with Coconut Milk and Cashew Crumble I knew I had to make it.   Wish I had come up with it because it’s really yummy!  The casein in dairy is a no-no for me, and I don’t want to eat all the chemicals in the typical nondairy whipped topping, so we topped it with coconut milk ice cream instead.  Delicious!!

I made a large pie instead of minis, because it’s just the way I’m accustomed to eating pumpkin pie.  This can be made a few days ahead of time, which will save room in the oven on Thanksgiving day.  Hope yours is a Happy Healthy one!

 

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

Since changing my diet back in late 2012 to help combat my hypothyroid symptoms, I’m always on the look out for new and interesting dishes to try.  So when this Spicy Roast Cauliflower recipe appeared on my social media several times, and it looked so delicious I just had to make it.

The picture above is how mine came out.  There were a few adjustments I ended up making:  1) I completely missed the part about the vegetable oil so I didn’t include it 2) I didn’t have any curry, so I used 2 tsp of Cajun seasoning, 3) I can’t eat the casein protein in dairy, so I substituted coconut milk yogurt for the Greek yogurt.  Coconut milk yogurt has a higher water content than Greek, so I ended up “basting” the cauliflower several times with the yogurt that ran off.

This was absolutely phenomenal!  The yogurt mixture would be great as a sauce on another dish for sure.

I hope this helps you have a Happy Healthy Thanksgiving!  Thanks for stopping by!

Crock Pot Review

Recently I’ve been posting quite a few slow cooker recipes, so I thought I would share with you which slow cooker I use to make these yummy meals in! Whether it’s chicken soup, pork loin, chili, or quinoa dressing for Thanksgiving, the slow cooker is an essential kitchen tool! It’s a great way to make easy, healthy, delicious meals the whole family will love!  Once I finish my ebook guide to nontoxic living, I’ll be releasing another one with slow cooker recipes.  Can’t wait to share it with you!

When I rented my first apartment, my mom gave me a small 1 quart Crock Pot. It was an old one with an ugly print, but it worked and I was a broke college student, so I didn’t complain. It was perfect for me as a single woman and even a few years into married life. When we got to the point where we needed to do meal prep for an entire week, though, the small slow cooker wasn’t working.

At different functions I attended, I kept seeing these large slow cookers where the bowl was removable from the base. That was one of the bigger selling points for me aside from the size. It was always so awkward to try to wash the old-style cooker where it was all one piece and I was trying to avoid getting the controls/wiring wet. This was pretty difficult with a 1 quart pot, so imagine how much more difficult that would be with a 6 quart pot! While there are several brands of slow cookers to choose from, I chose to buy the Crock Pot brand since that’s what I had before. I think the one I had was the 1970s version and was still working in 2012 when it was time to upgrade. For that reason I felt that I could trust the Crock Pot brand and decided to stick with it. Late 2012 was the time when I reached my breaking point with hypothyroidism and decided to change my eating habits. The problem was that my husband and I both were commuting two hours a day. My husband was doing pretty much all the household chores because I was pretty exhausted most of the time. We really needed something that we could use to make easy, healthy meals for the week. It became a Sunday ritual for us (him) to make a healthy Crock Pot meal and we that’s what we ate for the majority of the week. It really was a life saver for us.

We purchased the 6 quart version so that we could make large meals for the week, for pot lucks and/or family gatherings. It’s all black and the design is sleek and modern. The base is metal, the bowl is ceramic, and the lid is made of glass with metal trim around the edges and a plastic handle. There are also handles on the side of the cooker which make it easy to carry even when the cooker is hot. There are rubberized feet on the bottom of the cooker that help keep it in a sturdy position while it’s sitting on a flat surface. The definitely thought of everything with this product! It’s really been a life saver when it comes to meal prep. I’m so happy that we decided to get this cooker.

If you have a need for quick, easy, tasty meals (who doesn’t?), you need a slow cooker! The Crock Pot brand is the original and in my experience a trustworthy brand and the price is very reasonable for such a useful product. You can get one here: http://astore.amazon.com/mycrnoli-20 .

Hopefully you found this review to be helpful.  Thanks for reading!  Wishing you a Happy Healthy Thanksgiving!!

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little weird.  I like things that are a little off the wall, and I don’t like a lot of things that are traditional.  For example, that red jelly-looking cranberry sauce stuff from a can that was a staple at our Thanksgiving dinner table in my family was NEVER something I would eat.  It didn’t look appetizing and I hated the taste of it.

A few years ago my mom said she was making cranberry relish, and I was immediately grossed out.  She assured me it would be really good, so I reluctantly tasted it.  Well, turns out mom was right, the cranberry orange relish she made was DELICIOUS!

I want to be clear, this is not a recipe my mom or myself created, so we aren’t taking credit for it.  It was given my mom verbally by a former colleague and we don’t know where she got it from.  Since the origin of the recipe is unknown to us I’m not sure exactly who to give credit to.

Ingredients:

  • 1 8 oz bag of organic cranberries
  • 1 medium orange, quartered, rind on
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar

Directions:

  • Put all ingredients in a blender and pulse until chunky
  • The orange rinds should stay on!

I know it sounds odd to leave the rind on, but it’s delicious!

Honestly I probably never would have changed anything about a traditional Thanksgiving meal if I hadn’t experienced the health issues that come along with Hashimotos.  Even though it really sucks to have this disease, without it I wouldn’t have discovered this and many other yummy alternatives!  There is a quote that I have recently read that I really identify with.  “I’m grateful for my struggle, for without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength” by Alex Elle.   Had I not developed hypothyroidism and not done well on medicine, I never would have discovered the knowledge I’m now sharing with you.

Thanks for reading and have a Happy Healthy Thanksgiving!