Friday, March 30, 2012

Instead of This, Use That to Clean Up You Recipes

Yesterday a co-worker asked me about how to Clean up a recipe that called for bacon flavor in it. I recommended Bacon Salt - and remembered this post from over 1 1/2 years ago.

Here are some great CE alternatives to try to "clean" some of your favorite recipes. In most cases, the alternate is much lower calorie, fat, and without the preservatives and salts we're trying to avoid!

Instead of heavy cream in recipes, try evaporated milk. Instead of 400 calories and 40 grams of fat per 1/2 c of the stuff, evaporated milk is only 160 calories and 2 grams of fat per 1/2 c. The color and consistency are similar, so it works - if you need it whipped, just make sure it is ice cold before you attempt! In the right dishes, you could also try low fat coconut milk as a base instead of cream, or change the recipe so low fat organic chicken broth is the base.

Instead of bacon in recipes, try Bacon Salt or paprika in your recipes. You get the smoky taste of bacon without the harmful nitrites, fat and calories - just use that Bacon Salt sparingly. It is, after all, salt - and just on the wrong side of clean. It has some starchy fillers and preserving chemicals. Smoked spices can also be a fun alternate - chipotle chiles have a potent, almost meaty flavor.

Instead of butter, try dijon mustard. It's creamy consistency can help lower the butter or other fats needed in a recipe - but be prepared to use it only in a recipe that can handle its tangy bite.

Instead of oily sauces, try balsamic vinegar. The sweet, fruity flavor of quality balsamics is smooth, so you can use it to replace the oil in many salad dressings, or over meat and fish. There are many different kinds - experiment!

( Note: look for the more expensive bottles of balsamic marked "Aceto Balsamico di Modena or Aceto Balsamico tradizionale di Regiio Emilia."  These are vinegars that are the real thing and have a standard level of grape must ( juice ) by Italian law. Low quality / non clean balsamics might be sweetened vinegar with caramel coloring in it - so check the labeling - and don't cheap out on your balsamic vinegar! )

A few other items to try: anchovy paste, capers, hot sauces, low sodium soy sauce, roasted red peppers, low sodium worcestershire sauce, spices and herbs. Try mixing it up and experimenting substituting some of the above in your favorite recipes. You'll definitely have some trial and error, but may come up with a new riff on an old classic in your attempts to Clean the recipe.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Change Your Mind, Change Your Diet

     Everyone starts Clean Eating with the best of intentions. From "I want to be healthier" to " I need to lose X number of pounds"...but despite our goals, Unclean food is always lurking silently in the wings - ready to give you a bacon wrapped Twinkie hug. Last week, I wrote about asking yourself "Why Clean Eating?" to keep yourself on track.  This week, I'm thinking about altering your perceptions of food in order to really wrap your head around "This ( a banana, yogurt, a bowl of oatmeal, a turkey meatball, a hardboiled egg, an apple ) is an acceptable food." and not "This ( a bag of potato chips, processed meats, white bread, soda, Pop*Tarts ) is an acceptable food."

     1. Examine, think, cogitate, ponder - heck, even grok this: Food is nourishment for our bodies.  
Nothing more.  Your body is a machine. You put food into your body to fuel the machine. 

     The machinery of your car takes gasoline to fire the combustion engine. Not maple syrup. Not Diet Coke. Put either of those in your car, and you are signing the death warrant for your car. The machinery of your body is a little more forgiving than that of a combustion engine, but the end result is the same. Put fuel in your body that slowly fouls the machinery - and your body's machinery will inevitably fail. 

     2. As a society, we are all about self gratification. The thinking has regressed to "I deserve this." and "I've worked hard for that." and even "This will make me happy."

But did you? Did you work hard for it? Or is it convenient? Does it scratch that nagging itch in the back of your mind that food is a reward? A replacement for some happiness missing in your life?

Food isn't love. Food isn't companionship, Food isn't a reward.

      Have you ever thought of yourself as self indulgent? Do you have a hard time denying yourself things?  These are serious issues to examine and think about; the inability to rise above a shortcoming like this is an issue. You need to put on your big girl/boy panties and really think about it. Is it an immaturity? Is it a self doubt? What is that is urging you on to repeat this mistake, over and over? 

     3. Think back to the manner in which our ancestors ate: from the hunter-gatherers of pre-historic times, to the more agrarian, less nomadic peoples of the last 2,000 years. They survived just fine without Dr. Pepper and Cheetos. While life expectancies then were short mainly due to lack of medicine and poor living conditions, when food was abundant, those people thrived. Why? They ate the foods they could collect from their local area, they lived off the growth from their gardens and ate directly from "the source." - None of their food was factory made, mass produced. It was a simpler time. If you planted a pumpkin, you ate pumpkins. If you had too many pumpkins, you traded with your neighbor who kept chickens. If there was a walnut tree within walking distance - walnuts graced your table. 

     Of course with the advent of the supermarket, we now have access to thousands of products - many of which are unhealthy, full of preservatives to extend shelf life, and loaded with salt, sugar, or fat to appeal to our more base side. 

     When you go to the grocery store this week, I challenge you to bring home only those foods your ancestors could have found ( regardless of their climate ). Bring home fresh meat, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and dairy products. Look at the product and ask yourself: Did my ancestors have access to this food? Don't bring home those that were invented in the last 150 years. Don't bring home any that detract from your body's machinery instead of enhancing it. Don't bring home a food that you roll your eyes afterwards and mutter "Why on Earth did I eat that??"

     Changing your mind about what food is, and what it means to you is a core thought process behind Clean Eating. Anyone can say "I'm not going to eat processed foods!!11!" To really carry that out and adopt Clean Eating as a lifestyle in these Gummy Bear and Diet Coke times, one must really, truly wrap your head around the pivotal concepts that food is fuel, food isn't a reward, and food that was invented for the modern lifestyle and modern supermarket are largely unwholesome.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Whole Grains Cooking Guide

      I found a great whole grains cooking guide  while I was out and about on the Internet this week. Go check out the Enlightened Cooking blog, and pledge to try a new grain this week. Ever wanted to try bulgar wheat, farrow, or amaranth but didn't have a clue how to cook it correctly? Here's a handy little chart to grab and print out. Now you have no reason at all to explore some new grains.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Valued Naturals Products - No Frills Clean Eating

At Shoprite the other day, I noticed a nondescript wooden rack, out of the way and off to the side.
 No big advertising sign, nothing screaming "Hey look at me!" 

 I found plastic bags of food on the racks. The simplest of packaging- as Friday would say "Just the facts, Ma'am..."  

1 lb of steel cut oats for $1.59?? Seriously? In the oatmeal aisle, a package of McCann's steel cut is well over $4. The new Quaker Oats steel cut product is just over $3. I was a little more than taken aback.

22 ounces of couscous for $2.99? Wow - a small box of couscous is normally that price. My son and husband love couscous. Couscous is actually a pasta product, and the bag listed a single ingredient: semolina. I've never seen or heard of a whole grain couscous - so if you are a fan, this is as Clean as it gets.

They had nuts, grains, dried fruits, and snack mixes ( think granola trail mix, etc ). Color me impressed. Some items weren't Clean, but a vast majority of them were perfect for the Clean Eater.

The company that produces these "no frills" bags is the Valued Naturals company.  They distribute to the following grocery stores nationwide, and perhaps more that aren't shown here:

High quality foods, simple foods, low prices. Look in your local grocery store for a wooden ladder like rack piled with plastic bags. Clean food at a good price. Can't beat this Clean Eating with a stick. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Clean Eating In The News: MD Teen Dies After Drinking Monster Energy Drink

 Think that Monster energy drink perched on your desk is harmless? Think it's ok to drink a Red Bull before going out to a club?  Think again.

     Back in December, 14 year old Anais Fourier of Maryland died after drinking 2 - 24 ounce Monster Energy drinks. The next day, she went into cardiac arrest, and six days later - tragically passed away.

 The official cause of death, according to the teenager's death certificate, was cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity.

Though Monster Energy drink " vehemently denies that drinking two cans of Monster Energy by itself can cause a death from caffeine toxicity" - the coroner's report was pretty conclusive. Anais did have a heart ailment : mitral valve prolapse. However, the doctors and coroner don't link her heart condition specifically to the caffeine toxicity.

The day before she went into cardiac arrest, Anais's family says she drank two 24-ounce Monster energy drinks, unwittingly guzzling 480 miligrams of caffeine -- that's nearly five times the limit recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. To put it another way: By drinking just two large energy drinks, Anais drank as much caffeine as you'd find in about 14 cans of Coke.
      There are also several other additional reports, including an otherwise healthy 28-year-old man who suffered a cardiac arrest after a day of Monster Energy drinks and motocross racing… and a healthy 18-year-old man who died playing basketball after drinking two cans of Red Bull !

      Anyone can buy these - anyone with a few dollars and access to a 7-11. Currently there are very few restrictions on the kinds and amounts of ingredients and the claims that are made about them by their manufacturers.  Manufacturers have labeled the beverages  as “  dietary supplements  which absolves them of the federal regulations that govern soda and juices, and allows producers to make structure and function claims, like “ Enhances athletic performance ” and “ Increases caloric burn and mental sharpness. ”
These drinks contain high levels of caffeine and certain susceptible people risk dangerous, even life-threatening, effects on blood pressure, heart rate and brain function.

How does this relate to Clean Eating? You don't drink Monster energy drinks, do you?

People are eating unwittingly, without thought or contemplation. We as a society are blind to ingredient lists, to additives, to false or misleading advertising claims. Americans smile and nod and think "I can consume this; if it is sold in the US, it must be ok." Wrong. Everyone should be aware of everything they put into their body. Everyone should be aware of certain types of harmful products their children may be consuming.  Everyone should be aware that certain portions of the population should not consume energy drinks - or even high caffeine drinks like Mountain Dew or Starbucks - those who have a chronic illness, those who have heart irregularities or ailments, children and young adults. I remember when I was pregnant, I was managing a Barnes & Noble with a Starbucks in it, and my obstetrician specifically said "You have high blood pressure, and you are pregnant. No Starbucks for you. Drip coffee from home? Yes, one a day. One a day. Starbucks? None for the duration. The caffeine level of a Starbucks coffee is too high in comparison to homemade brewed coffee.

I love coffee, and I drink a cup every morning. But I no longer consume multiple cups a day.

Check out caffeine content poster.  If you can't see it really well, click the link below for a bigger size.

Link to the article about Anais Fourier: I didn't know Anais, but I hope her family finds some peace.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Clean Eating Sweet Treat : Yogurt Drops

Spoon flavored yogurt ( this pic uses Yoplait; not a Clean yogurt - use a 0% fat Greek yogurt ) into a plastic bag.
Snip a TINY hole in the corner of one side of the bag.
Squeeze dots onto cookie sheet and place in freezer. They'll be ready in about an hour!

Keep them in a bag in the freezer for whenever you want a little sweet treat.

Edited to add: Tiffany over at The Gracious Pantry   posted her take on these as "Dip N Dots" last Sunday - turns out these are great to try with the little Clean Eaters in your household!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Quaker Oats Recipe PDF

Last week, I signed up over at to get a PDF from Quaker Oatmeal with some recipes. I was pleasantly surprised to find several of the recipes are quite Clean, and a few more could easily be Cleaned Up with a few quick and easy swap outs.

Quaker Oats Recipe Book from

( Save the PDF to your desktop once open so you can refer back to the recipes when you need to! )

Check out the veggie burger and garden salmon loaf recipes!  I'm always looking for good things to do with canned salmon. The salmon loaf is a definite must try. The muffin and cookie recipes look good, too - but I'm trying to avoid sweet carbs - so I think these won't be for me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Need Reinforcement to Stay On Track? Ask Yourself "Why?"

     If you find yourself jumping back and forth between eating Cleanly and falling off path and eating Uncleanly - I'd challenge you to ask yourself a question:: Why? Why do you want to eat Clean? Physically make a list. Write down your reasons, and examine them.

     I thought about this question - Why - for the last few nights, and my list is short but direct. These are in no particular order of importance. They are all equally important to me.

1. My outsides weren't matching my insides. I felt trapped in a body not my own - overweight, and ungainly. I felt young and vital inside. I looked older than my years on the outside.

2. I have a long family history of heart disease in my family. My parents died young. I have a husband and son who love and depend on me. I didn't want to leave them too early; I didn't want my selfishness and inability to control myself to take me away from them prematurely.

3. I have a lot of really nice clothes I simply couldn't wear anymore. I had outgrown them.

4. I didn't feel well. I was easily winded, unable to keep up with my family, and had zero energy. I snored - loudly. I was irritable and cranky. I found myself easily discouraged and depressed. I wasn't healthy.

     What are your reasons to stay on track? Why? Why are you Clean? When you examine the ( probably multiple ) reasons for you to eat Clean - you'll agree, you have a lot of good motivation to stay on track. I know I do. The list above is strong motivation for me. Self examination is tough - probably one of the toughest things a human can do. However, when you remove the excuses of low will power or lack of'll find that list of reason you prepared. Put that list somewhere you will see it daily - on the fridge, next to your computer. Refer to it as needed. Think about it as you say your focused imagery phrase.
These things will help keep you on track, and keep tempting Unclean foods at bay.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What Is Clean Eating ?? Clean Eating as Defined by Clean Eating Magazine

     While scoping out this months issue of Clean Eating Magazine, I reread their definition of Clean Eating ( it's on page 6 this month, across from the mast head ) and I thought I'd repost it here.

The soul of Clean Eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. It is not a diet, it's a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to an improved life - one meal at a time. 

* Eat five to six times a day - three meals and tow to three small snacks. Include a lean protein, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate with each meal. This keeps your body energized and burning calories efficiently all day long.

Drink at least two liters of water a day

* Get label savvy - clean meals and foods aim to contain just one or two ingredients.Any product with a long ingredient list is human-made and not considered Clean.

* Avoid processed and refined foods - such as white flour, sugar, bread and pasta. Enjoy more complex carbs such as whole grains instead.

* Know thy enemies - Steer clear of anything high in saturated and trans fats, anything fried or anything high in sugar.

Shop with conscience - consume humanely raised and local meats.

* Consume healthy fats - essential fatty acids, or EFA's

* Learn about portion sizes - and work toward eating within them

* Reduce your carbon footprint - eat produces that is seasonal and local. It is less taxing on you wallet and our environment. ( Maura's note: I would add to this "Eat foods produced in the US" to avoid unknown and potentially harmful additives. )

* Drink water with a lemon wedge instead - a glass of red wine for a special occasion is ok but it should be a rare indulgence. The health benefits of red wire are reversed after more than one glass a day.

Slow down and savor - never rush through a meal. Food tastes bets when savored. Enjoy every bite.

Take it to go - pack a cooler for work or outings so you always have clean eats on the go

Make it a family affair - food is social glue that should be shared with loved ones. Improve the quality of your family's life along with your own.

I've also read in the pages of Clean Eating another tenet : Consuming spices with meals such as cinnamon, curry, red peppers ( any "hot" spices ) increase the metabolism. But this is not something listed above - but it is something to keep in mind.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Newstand Alert: Clean Eating Magazine April / May 2012

The new issue of Clean Eating showed up in my mailbox yesterday, and with it another month of inspiring recipes and great tips!

1. I buy and cook fresh spinach on a regular basis, so I liked seeing spinach highlighted on page 18-20. Because you need a lot of spinach to feed a few people, don't underestimate! You need at least 2 full bags of spinach to feed 3 people with a healthy portion of cooked / wilted spinach. It sounds like a lot, but those leaves wilt down to nothing.

2. Check out the 4 additional uses of Nut Butters on page 24! Salad dressing? I would have never thought of that - but I like the idea of an almond butter dressing.

3. I tried cherimoya last May, and really liked the flavor and consistency.  There's a nifty recipe for a cherimoya mango smoothie on page 32 that really piqued my interest.

4. I'm not a big fan of Guy Fieri,   and to see him highlighted on page 40 this month seems a little hypocritical of CE Magazine. I'd much rather they highlighted some of the other famous chefs out there who are promoting healthy eating - something Guy Fieri isn't really known for. This to me is like having Paula Deen promote Clean Eating. NOT!

5. My family and I love Mexican food, so the taco recipes on pages 46 to 51 are really welcome! Just remember to chose a low sodium and low fat tortilla  ( keep in mind, tortilla wraps are a border food! ) and you'll keep your Mexican feast on Path.

6. I liked the article on page 62 about making your own apple chips, but in reality, apple chips are really tricky to make on your own. It takes a lot longer than 2 hours in the oven stated in the recipe, and they get a burnt taste really easily. This is one area I say "Stick to the commercially dried apples you buy in the store." Just make sure they have no additives, and also they are produced in the US. A lot of apples are grown in China, and they have been shown to be much higher in arsenic than US apples. Stick with the Made in America logo, and you'll be fine - and you won't have a hellacious baking sheet to try and scrub.

7. The OCD cutting board shown on page 92 made me grin a little bit:
8. I love lemons - LOVE the flavor. Check out the great looking Meyer Lemon bars on page 98. They look slightly crispy, with a thin sheen of lemon on top. Want...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Italian Lentil Soup with Cabbage - Quick Cook OR Crock Pot

      I've been looking for an easy way to incorporate lentils into evening meals - except every recipe I find takes forever to cook...until I found this soup. I could easily get this recipe onto the table in under an hour - especially if I cooked the veggies the night before and tucked them into the fridge for the following evening.

If you choose to do this in the slow cooker, I would set it for about 4-6 hours, and check the lentil tenderness at the 4 hour mark to see how it is doing.

 Italian Lentil Soup With Cabbage
2  medium carrots, sliced (1 cup) 
1  stalk celery, sliced (1/2 cup)
1  small onion, chopped (1/3 cup)
1  tablespoon olive oil
5 cups water
1/2 head small cabbage, cored and cut into 1" pieces
1 c dry lentils, rinsed and drained
1 c organic tomato puree, low or no sodium
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons stevia ( or another sugar-like substance )
2 tablespoons crushed dried oregano / Italian Seasoning blend
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a large saucepan cook carrots, celery, and onion in hot olive oil about 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in water, cabbage, lentils, tomato puree, sugar, salt, oregano, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are very soft. Ladle into bowls. Makes 5 servings.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

CAPTCHA is Off...

Just a quick note - I'm so irritated when I go to leave a comment on someone else' blog and I've got to put in that horrible, unreadable CAPTCHA word verify thing ...I've turned it off here on my blog. No more word verify if you want to leave a comment.
I'm doubtful that I will see an uptick in Spam - but you never know. I'll deal with it, I guess.

I hope others will consider turning theirs off, too. They are a nuisance, and I think when people can't read the words, a deterrent to comments.

Thank you!

A Week of Mini Frittatas - Prep Ahead Clean Eating!

     I love making my Clean Eating easy. When I found this quick and simple step by step to making a freezer bag full of mini frittatas, I knew I had to share them with you. What could be better - storing a few days of these individually baggied up to take to the office with you. These little eggs can be eaten out of hand in the car, at your desk with yogurt or with a Grape Nuts breakfast bar. 

This is another great Sunday Clean Eating Prep Ahead idea ( read about Sunday Prep Ahead HERE and HERE  )  you can do for the coming week which will make your Clean Eating almost effortless. 

Mini Frittatas

  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 c milk ( 2% for better flavor, skim for low fat )
  • 1/2 + teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 + teaspoon pepper
  • Assorted mix-ins (such as shredded organic cheese, diced vegetables, and cooked / chopped chicken or turkey sausage )
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1.  Heat your oven to 350ยบ F and spray a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2.  Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, and salt in a medium bowl, then evenly distribute the egg mixture among the muffin cups.

3.  Add about 2-3 tablespoons of mix-ins to each cup, then sprinkle on a bit of Parmesan cheese, if you like.

 4. Bake the frittatas until they are puffy and the edges are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. (If necessary, run a butter knife around the edge of each one to loosen them before removing them from the pan.)

Let these cool completely and then store in a plastic container or freeze individually in plastic bags for grab & go convenience. ( Just remember to take one out of the freezer the night before to thaw! )

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Overnight NO COOK Steel Cut Oatmeal - A Clean Eating Shortcut!

      With the summer months coming up and warmer weather right around the cereal
( multi-grain or oatmeal ) tends to fall off the menu. Why? Eating the grain cereal hot just isn't the way many people want to start an already warm day. But don't let that get in your way. Did you know you don't have to cook the oats? This is also a wonderful shortcut when time in the morning is precious. Just mix this up the night before, and grab the jar the next morning.

(  Edited to add: What are steel cut oats and why are they better than regular oatmeal?   Steel cut oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into only two or three pieces by steel rather than being rolled. Quaker oats, and other oats, are rolled and are not whole with the nutritious groat. )

     Obviously, the recipe below can be tweaked and customized to your personal tastes. With the addition of cardamon and ginger, you get a chai taste. Take those out and you'll have just as delicious a result if chai isn't your thing. Not a big maple syrup fan? Try honey - or even stevia instead.

     Note - try this to see if you like it. The end result is a chewier, firmer oatmeal. It isn't the creamy, soft oatmeal you may be used to. I liked it, a lot - but I tend to like my oatmeal and grain cereals a tad chewy.
 It reminded me ( texture wise ) of Grape Nuts that had softened considerable but not at the mushy stage.

Overnight Steel Cut Chai Oatmeal - a No Cook version

1 cup steel-cut oats
1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons ground flax
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon maple syrup
 Optional toppings–shredded coconut, pecans, almonds, toasted hazelnuts, etc.

In a medium bowl combine oats, almond milk, flax, cardamon, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup.  Divide, in equal portions, into two 8 ounce glass bowls with lids. Close the lid and refrigerate overnight.
Open lid, stir and sprinkle with toppings of your choice.

Makes 2 servings

Note: your can also use any other container that has a lid. The lid is important to prevent evaporation of liquid while in the fridge overnight. You want to keep the moisture at the oat - not evaporated into the fridge atmosphere.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Clean Eating Testimonial From A Friend

     One of my readers sent me a wonderful email over the weekend - it made me smile so much I asked for permission to reprint it as a post. Part testimonial, part inspirational - I really wanted to highlight these words for my other readers who may be having trouble sticking to Clean Eating or who haven't yet felt the health benefits of Clean Eating. .

Once a week I still make a recipe just because it tastes good, a dessert, bread, something with sugar and/or bacon, but the rest of the time I've been doing Clean Eating. No more packaged brined chicken breasts or cellophaned salt and preservative filled lunch meat. I get fresh meat. No more white bread, I get whole grain. No more sugar laden diet shakes with a sugary granola bar for breakfast I have fruit and yoghurt for breakfast now or a cup of whole grain cereal and an orange. I will have a small glass of wine with dinner or a tiny jigger of Jameson on non work nights and probably always will. But I don't eat a bag of Skittles at 4 PM each day either and Doritos and I are no longer having an affair.

Today I woke up tired, had a very stressful work week, I went to the super Target to shop where I got an "Icee" drink. Large, Grape. For YEARS I had one every week after shopping. I loved them as a kid. but I'd not had one in probably a year now.

Within 30 minutes I had a raging headache, then an upset stomach and the headache stayed with me for six hours despite taking pain reliever. Only after my body "purged" it did I fbegin to feel better.


Dinner was steamed veggies with a little olive oil and some lemon pepper, sliced fresh chicken baked with herbs and with roasted garlic and a slice of apple and green tea. I feel SO much better.

I've only lost 12 pounds, but I'm still eating too much, but I feel so much better and my skin looks better than it has in 20 years. I got carded the other day and I'm 53. (my boyfriend, who is 29, just chuckled at that). Thank you Maura, for all the inspiration. When I've been tempted to get into the junk food, I read your blog and got inspired again. When I select ingredients for even my "splurge" recipes I go for organic, farm raised, real ingredients (even if there is sugar and fat)

Today confirmed everything you ever told us. Thank you.

Thank you!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Problems Posting Comments in Blogger??

If you are having problems viewing certain Blogger sites or commenting on certain sites and you use Firefox...try switching to Internet Explorer or Chrome as your browser for that site.

     Apparently either an update to the Firefox platform doesn't quite like certain Blogger sites, or a Blogger update doesn't quite like Firefox. Either way...until this is smoothed out., you may have to view certain sites with a different browser.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Spicy Tomato Shortcut Soup - Another Giada Video

     I like soup. I like shortcuts. I like shortcuts to making great soup. The fact it is presented by my husband's future wife Giada doesn't bother me as much as does the fact I'm kicking myself I didn't think of this first - and believe it or not, the shortcut works - really, really well.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

4 Nutriton / Food Websites to Try

     In my travels in and around the Net, I often come across useful, helpful - or downright genius websites that I like to pass on to my readers. I'm not one of those bloggers who pretends the rest of the Internet doesn't exist - there are a lot of great nutrition / food websites out there!

1. allows you to enter two foods and with a click of the button, compare the base nutritional values of the two - calories, carbs, fat, and protein ( I wish it compared sodium too... ). Take it for a spin - enter 2 foods into the search fields. It can be a generic word, like :"polenta" or a brand name, like "Twizzlers."

2. is a fun spot where you can search for recipes. Have a chicken but no dairy in the house? Enter "chicken" in the first box, and "dairy" in the "without" box, and you'll pull up recipe after chicken recipe with no dairy in it. Sometimes I'll pop by this site if I have something like ground beef in the fridge but no clue what I want to do with it.

3.  is a fun site - essentially a collection of links on various topics. Pick a topic, and the page will display a few hundred links on the topic of your choice. Clicking "recipes" from the list on the right hand side of the main page, you get a large collection of cooking blogs and sites. Populair: Recipes.
 Most are not Clean, but I enjoy reading more for techniques and ideas than anything else.

4. I use a lot of recipe aggregators when I search for my "Recipe of the Day" selections for the upper righthand corner of the blog - but  one of my favorites is The site is crisp but bare bones - just you and the food porn, tastily arranged before you. You can see what is top rated and trending, you can sort them to just see what is new on the blogs they track, or you can just see vegetarian offerings. I like my aggregators ( now, I can't tell you ALL my secrets! ) but I like roaming Punchfork almost as much as I like

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Green Smoothies

     I'm not a big fan of smoothies in general - anything that is a "meal replacement" is really not satisfying mentally. It's at best something to keep hunger pangs away. I do recognize, however, that smoothies have a lot of fans - more so than I ever imagined.  If you have a blender on your counter, or have thought about making one for yourself, try this interesting pick and choose chart for ingredients.
     Do you like smoothies? Do you find them satisfying?  Do you have a favorite blend?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Off Topic, But Look Anyway - It's Firefly Related

Q: Is that candle Heaven scent? 

Another Clean Eating Jarred Tomato Sauce: Gina Rispoli

     Last week,  I was in the grocery store and noticed a new ( to my store ) tomato sauce: Gina Rispoli. A large jar, it was on sale for a low introductory price and with a visible $1 off peelie coupon attached, I couldn't help but pick it up and examine the ingredients:

     Ingredients: whole Italian plum tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, pure Italian olive oil, fresh white onions, fresh chopped basil, fresh garlic, sea salt, spices.

     Really? Wow - a remarkably Clean tomato sauce! I brought a jar home and served it with my turkey meatballs.  It was delicious! A bright tomato taste - not muddled with chemicals, not sickeningly sweet like many tomato sauces with added sugar, not too was just perfect. A lot of times, you just don't have time to make it yourself - this is where relatively Clean processed choices like Gina Rispoli come in to fill the need.

     If you have this brand in your stores and have been looking for a good "go to" jarred pasta sauce - consider Gina Rispoli. I was quite impressed.

Monday, March 5, 2012

How Diet Soda Makes You Gain Weight

      If you have had trouble freeing yourself from diet soda...if you don't do anything else for yourself today, take the next 9 minutes and watch this video.Watch it. It will really clarify all kinds of questions you might have as to exactly why soda is bad for you.

I'm asking, please. Please watch this.

Note: Since this video is 2 years old now, the Food Target mentioned at the end of the video is no longer freely available. You can buy them at the link above for $5 if you want - but I'm not sure it is terrible necessary. Just knowing truly acidic foods aren't good for the body's machine should be good.

I drink at least 2 cups of coffee a day, but no soda at all. I need to think on this.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Congratulations To...

Post #12 - Jennifer!

( Random number generated Mar 3 2012 at 7:12:40 by )

     Unfortunately I couldn't find a number generator that allowed me to post the results as a pic online without paying for it - Urgh! - but trust me, I entered the 23 numbers ( taking the single post I made into the contest out ) and had the generator select a number between 1 and 23. This weirdo psychic network generator was the only one I could find with a time stamp.

Congratulations, Jennifer. You are the winner of my Clean Eating 2 cookbook giveaway.

    Thank you to ALL who posted. I've enjoyed reading your posts; I'll definitely do this again in the future.
Jennifer, please email me at this address: clean eating eve at yahoo dot com ( take out the spaces! ) and we'll coordinate that cookbook getting to you!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Final Day of the Cookbook Giveaway!


     Today is your last chance to enter my Clean Eating 2 cookbook giveaway! Tomorrow mid morning ( or whenever I wake up on Saturday morning EST... ) , I'll be using a randomizer to pick one of the comments in the post as the winner. I'll ask that winner to email me at my address listed in the right hand column and we'll take care of the details from there.

     Thanks so much to everyone who has posted kind words so far! I've been really warmed to read your posts - whether about this blog or CE in general. I love knowing my blog and my efforts are helping and making a difference.

      Enter now!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Clean Eating Lunch On The Fly: Deviled Eggs

    This wasn't the post I planned on for today at all - but something happened yesterday afternoon at lunch that I decided to take pictures of it and share.

     I had a small lunch planned for yesterday - eggs, carrot sticks, a cheese stick, a handful of almonds, and an orange. As I unpacked my lunch, I looked at my eggs, then to the little snack bag I'd packed my carrots in, and then to the bottle of Dijon mustard someone had left on the counter.

Deviled eggs.I had just been planning on 2 hardboiled eggs when I was suddenly eager for a deviled egg. Yolks, mustard, mayo, fork, bag. Yep - I could do it!

     I took a knife, and sliced the eggs in half, scooped out the yolk, placed them in the baggie, and mashed them with a fork. See the yellow bits in the bag?

     Then I added a small squeeze of Dijon to the mashed yolks - and yes, I did add a little mayonnaise. Had I been more prepared, I would have used plain Greek yogurt - but I didn't plan that far ahead. I zipped the bag closed and mashed the yolk mixture around until mixed. Then I snipped the tip off the baggie, and piped the dijon yolky mixture back into the shells. ( Thanks to my co-worker Lee who took the pic for me! )

The only thing that is missing is a dash of Old Bay - it's literally a prerequisite for life here in Maryland. Unfortunately, I had none. ( Ugh, that pre-planning thing! )

     The eggs were delicious, and I had a more satisfying meal with the simple addition of a little Dijon and a little ingenuity. Special thanks to North who helped with the pictures - thanks!