Category Archives: Recipes

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Bob’s Chili Recipe

ChiliWatching the movie Ratatouille with my family inspired my 13-year-old to want to do some cooking. I enjoy cooking for my family, even trying new recipes, but doing this task with my son was a true treat!

AJ’s first task was to choose a recipe. I was open to just about anything and he is willing to eat just about anything so the options were endless. He ventured into the notebook titled, “Traci’s Favorites”. This notebook was a craft created at a MOPs event at least five years ago. Please don’t let the title fool you. Although this notebook does contain many of my favorite recipes it also contains many recipes that I have yet to attempt.

The recipe selection: Bob’s Chili Recipe (from the notebook) and Cornbread (from the Original Betty Crocker Cookbook).

Chili2I’m not actually sure why I have never made Bob’s Chili. Years ago (not sure how many) I was trained and then facilitated health and weight-loss classes through a program called Trinity Health. The founders of Trinity Health are Bob and Vicki and this recipe is Bob’s. So, this is not only a good-tasting chili recipe, but it is also a good-for-you recipe! Win-win!

The recipe was simple to follow. Check.

The recipe did not involve any crazy or hard-to-find ingredients. Check.

There was plenty of chili for leftovers. Check.

Everyone in the family liked the chili. Priceless.

Bob’s Chili Recipe

Ingredients (ingredients we used, if different, are placed in parenthesis)

2 lbs. lean ground beef or ground turkey (beef)

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic

1 green pepper, chopped (red pepper)

3 stalks celery, sliced

2 cans (15-16 oz each) whole tomatoes, cut into pieces (petite diced tomatoes)

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp Splenda (Stevia)

1/4 cup chili powder

1 tsp red pepper sauce (Tapatio Salsa Picante)

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 small can diced green chilis, or 3-4 whole roasted green chilis, peeled and diced (canned)

1 can black beans

1 can rd beans

Directions

Chili3Cook and stir meat, onion, and garlic until meat is light brown, then drain. Stir in remaining ingredients, except beans. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans (don’t drain) and simmer another 45 minutes or until desired consistency, stirring occasionally. (30 minutes, followed by 15 minutes)

Honestly, I can’t wait to make this recipe again. It was so delicious! Yet, even more than making the chili, I can’t wait to cook with AJ (or one of my other children) again. It was awesome!

Even the simple, mundane, everyday tasks can Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Baked Almond Chicken

I made a decision years ago to embark on the journey toward healthier eating. The philosophy I chose then and still believe in today is that of eating low-glycemic. I also chose long-term lifestyle changes rather than short-term diet fads. This has definitely been a journey of progress, not perfection! (If you would like to learn more about low-gi eating and the program I use and recommend, click here.)

I am a simpleton when it comes to cooking. I thrive in baking more than cooking because I am good at following directions, but not so good at improvising with a little this and that in the kitchen. In fact, when I began this journey I didn’t even own a proper knife. I didn’t even know that I didn’t own a proper knife!

The person who supplied me with the greatest recipes, resources, and support during my slow journey was my friend, Kendra. I am so thankful for Kendra and her patience with the pace of my health journey as well as her patience with my lack of kitchen supplies. It was so bad that Kendra would bring her own knife or peeler to my house, and then eventually gifted me my first set of “real” knives. I feel so professional cutting my veggies now!

Today’s recipe is one that Kendra gave me and it quickly became a family favorite. It fits my criteria of being simple to make with ingredients that don’t require a search on wikipedia.

* Note: The quantities of this recipe are not exact. I actually don’t measure and don’t feel like I need to. You can decide if you like more or different spices, more cheese, etc.

AlmondsBaked Almond Chicken

1-2 pounds fresh chicken tenderloins (This is my favorite cut of chicken for this recipe.)

1 cup ground raw almonds

1 cup fresh grated parmesan (not the stuff in the green can!)

Seasonings to taste (i.e. fresh ground pepper, thyme, oregano, etc.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 deg.

Mix all dry ingredients.

Coat chicken in dry ingredients and place on a non-stick baking sheet (or parchment paper)

Almond ChickenBake 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite, healthy chicken recipe that meets a criteria of healthy and simple? Please share in the comments below or post to my Facebook page.

This extraordinary journey is tasty and fun. Let’s enjoy it together!

Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites

Whenever a commitment is made to remove something from our lives, it is important to find a positive alternative. I made the decision to remove sweets, treats, candy, and soda from my life beginning back on February 20, 2014. The cravings for candy bars, soda, and sugary treats are lessening for which I am very grateful! As part of this health journey, it is fun to find healthy treats that fit within the boundaries of my commitment.

I do not know the origination of the “No Bake Energy Bite” recipe. (If you do, please send me the info). The recipe was passed along through a friend on Facebook. Many good recipes have made their appearance on social media platforms. I hope you will enjoy this one and pass it along so others can enjoy it too!

Dry Ingredients - Oats and Flax

Dry Ingredients – Oats and Flax

A delicious combo - honey and peanut butter

A delicious combo – honey and peanut butter

Recipe:
1 cup slow cooked oats
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (original recipe calls for 1/2 cup)

No need to bake. Simply refrigerate for 30 minutes and then enjoy. It may be helpful to store them in an air-tight container so they don’t disappear too quickly!

Replacing old habits to keep us in line with our commitments is an important step to success on this extraordinary journey called life.

Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen Recipes:
Green Smoothies
Grain-Free Cookie Dough Bites
Nut Butter Muffins

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Green Smoothie

Smoothie #1

Smoothie #1

I love green. It’s my favorite color. I love to wear green and I love to see green in the grass and trees in the summer. There are so many beautiful shades of green. I even like to eat green foods – celery, cucumbers, broccoli and spinach. In spite of all of this love for green I have never wanted to drink a green smoothie. Actually, I may have wanted to but couldn’t get past the thought of it tasting like wheat grass. I know some of you love that, but I have a limit in eating things that taste too much like the earth. Personal problem, I know.

Smoothie #2

Smoothie #2

I decided to get over my fear and brave the green smoothie. I was very pleasantly surprised, in fact, a little shocked. Since my first green smoothie adventure I have tried a few varieties of the beautiful green drink. If you have not yet ventured into the world of green this is a great (and pretty tame) way to do it. If you are a green smoothie expert, please share your recipes below, on my Facebook page, or on my Pinterest Smoothie board.

I have included several “Traci Tested” recipes to get you started.

Smoothie #3

Smoothie #3

Very Green Smoothie #1 (this was the first recipe I tried)
– Extra large handful baby spinach
– Half an avocado
– One cup frozen strawberries
– Half a banana
– 1 cup water

Super Berry Green Smoothie #2
– Extra large handful baby spinach
– One scoop Vanilla Nutrimeal
– Two scoops Orange Cream Nutrimeal
– Half cup Bolthouse Farms Berries + carrot
– Half cup water
– Five ice cubes

Smoothie #4

Smoothie #4

Apple Blueberry Green Smoothie #3 (made by my sister-in-law, Naomi)
– Large handful baby spinach
– One cup blueberries
– Half an apple
– Ice
– Water

Chocolate Green Smoothie #4
– 3 scoops USANA Chocolate Nutrimeal
– Large handful spinach
– Ice
– Water

The green smoothie world is a great, healthy adventure!

Be Extraordinary!

Traci’s Test Kitchen: Grain-Free Cookie Dough Bites

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I am choosing to avoid refined sugars. I don’t like to admit this, but I feel physically better when I avoid these sugars. I love sweets and want to keep eating them; however, sweets seem to like me quite a bit too. The reality, in this extraordinary journey, is that I must master this vice rather than letting it master me.

During my recent 90-day challenge, one of my victories was eliminating iPad and iPhone games from my daily habit. I made this a goal because I realized how much mindless time I spent playing these games during the day and late into the night. It was tough at first, but today (nine days after completing the challenge), I still haven’t played a game. It has definitely become a new, positive habit in my life.

Mastering my iTime played a role in my decision to eliminate refined sugar. The other motivation and encouragement in choosing this new habit is the inspiring story of my son, AJ, completing a one-year, No Candy No Soda Challenge. Here’s what AJ had to say, “Without doing challenging things (like this challenge), I wouldn’t be ready or able to do other challenging things God has for me later.” He’s right! I want to be ready. I want to inspire, motivate, teach and coach. I don’t want to be in this same space, working on this same vice five years from now. It is a challenge, no doubt, but it is worth it.

I strongly believe in replacing old habits with new ones, replacing iTime with new productive habits, and old sweets that don’t serve me with new ones that do. Simply eliminating anything from our lives without replacing leaves a gaping hole that desires to be filled. The easiest thing to put in the empty space is the old habit I am attempting to eliminate. Therefore, I must fill it with a new healthy, positive habit that serves my long-term goals.

I want to thank my friend and blog editor, Sharilyn, for this awesome recipe. If you would like to see the original recipe from Texanerin Baking, click here.

20131104-165048.jpgThis recipe is delicious and relatively easy (necessities for me to choose a recipe). Here are a few pointers:
1) Make this recipe!
2) Use a food processor. I do not currently have a full-sized food processor and I would highly recommend that tool for this recipe because the ingredients are fairly dry. (Magic Bullet, which can do wonders with so many things, didn’t work well here).
3) Follow the instructions for “natural peanut butter”.
4) Enjoy a healthy, guilt-free, sweet treat.

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (165 grams) natural peanut butter or almond butter – room temperature
  • ¼ cup (80 grams) honey (commenters have used agave and maple syrup with success!)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt if your peanut butter doesn’t have salt in it
  • ½ cup (90 grams) chocolate chips (use vegan or dairy-free, if needed)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F / 175°C. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they’re combined.
  2. Put in the chocolate chips and stir it if you can, or pulse it once or twice. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.
  3. With wet hands, form into 1½” balls. Place onto a Silpat or a piece of parchment paper. If you want them to look more like normal cookies, press down slightly on the balls. They don’t do much rising.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes. The dough balls will still be very soft when you take them out of the oven. They will not set like normal cookies.
  5. Store in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the fridge) for up to 1 week.

Don’t want to bake but still want to enjoy yummy, healthy, sweet treats? Click here to see what I use and recommend.

Be Extraordinary!

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Traci’s Test Kitchen: Nut Butter Muffins

I love cookbooks, especially ones with beautiful photos. In fact, I actually love cookbooks more than I love cooking. If I could look through wonderful food photos and simply pin them in the kitchen for my personal chef that would be a dream come true.
Since the personal chef is not yet in the kitchen, I am making attempts at some beautiful, healthy, new recipes. I made one the other day that met my criteria:

1. Simple
2. Tastes good
3. Contains ingredients I usually have on hand
4. Turns out reasonably close to how it should

Bonus: Gluten and dairy free for the many who choose to avoid those ingredients.

This recipe is from a new cookbook of mine, Raw Food Chef, by Dr. Libby Weaver. I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Libby speak at USANA’s 2013 International Convention. Dr. Libby is super knowledgable about how our bodies work and I am inspired to eat healthier and take my USANA supplements every time I hear her speak. She also has a fantastic Australian accent – so jealous!
Recipe: Nut Butter Muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup nut butter (we love peanut butter!)
2 bananas, peeled and smashed
2 eggs, well beaten1175000_10151797156384362_87162544_n
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit
Blend nut butter until smooth
Add banans and eggs and mix until combined
Add baking powder and apple cider vinegar until well mixed
Fold in the blueberries
Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups and bake for 10 minutes (took my oven 12-13 min.)

I hope you will give this recipe a try and share similar (healthy muffin) recipes in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

Be Extraordinary!

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