Easy Tortilla Soup

This is one of my GO-TO recipes that I have been cooking for years! It's super easy, loaded with chicken and has an amazing flavor!!! My husband loves it, kids love it, and really who doesn't love tortilla soup!! I made this last week while visiting my husbands side of the family and we made a huge pot of it to feed 6 adults and 5 kids... it was the easiest dinner we did all week! Then we set up all the toppings in separate bowls so everyone could build their own soup the way they like... it was a unanimous liking!! When I cook this at home for just the 3 of us, I make a large pot as well, that way there are lots of leftovers!!

5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 (32oz) cartons chicken stock
1-1/2 cups brown rice
2 (16oz) packages of frozen corn, thawed
16oz jar salsa (I use mild Picante)

Optional Toppings:
shredded cheese
sour cream
tortilla chips, crumbled (gluten free)
fresh avocado, sliced

Servings 8
~ Boil chicken in water until done. Then shred chicken
~ Cook rice in water (as package directs) until done
~ In separate pot combine chicken stock, corn, cooked rice, and shredded chicken. heat over med-high for 15-20 minutes.
~ Add salsa and salt (to taste) cook for another 3-5 min.
~ Finished! Top each serving with desired toppings...

Apple Granola Crisp

While visiting family in beautiful Malibu, CA I wanted to make a big dessert for everyone that was something amazing and yet healthy. My husbands side of the family has a major sweet tooth (including my husband) so everyone was craving sweets but didn't want the sugar. Soooo... we thought long and hard, and came up with this amazing dessert!! I love apple crisp and its also my Dad's favorite dessert so when I get home I know he will be begging me for this!! I did the filling and then actually used my granola recipe for the topping and it came out great!! The combination of protein powder, flax meal, and almond meal when baked with coconut oil, actually gave it this crumbly brown sugar taste and texture... I was surprised how perfect was!!
Match this with some homemade ice cream OR in a bowl topped with cream OR or even with yogurt in the AM and you got yourself one amazing yet guilt free dessert!! Enjoy!

6 mcintosh or granny smith apples, pealed & sliced
grated zest of 1 orange
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 TBS freshly squeezed orange juice
2 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup swerve (OR your choices of sweetener)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup peacons, chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup almonds
1 cup cashews, chopped
1/2 cup flax meal
1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 cup protein powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup swerve (OR your choice of sweetener)
1-1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond butter

Preheat 350 / Servings 10
~ Peal and slice all apples. Place apples in large bowl and add all filling ingredients. stir together so all apples are coated
~ In separate bowl combine pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews, flax meal, almond meal, protein powder, salt and cinnamon.
~ In sauce pan over medium-low heat combine coconut oil, swerve and almond butter until melted and smooth.
~ Pour coconut oil sauce over nuts and stir together until completely saturated
~ Spray large baking dish. Place apples on bottom and top with nut topping... spread out so all apples are covered.
~ bake for 50-60 minutes or until done.

Granola Crisp Cereal

I'm always looking for snacks that I can take with me on the road that are healthy and easy to travel with!! This is a winner!! Also, you can make this in big batches and keep in the fridge... It's a handy snack or great breakfast!! I love the fact that its filled with coconut oil... always looking for ways to get coconut oil in my body! So filling, so good, perfect snack, perfect breakfast... what else can I say besides IT TASTES GREAT AND GREAT FOR YOU!!

2 cup raw pecans, halves
1 cup raw walnuts, halves & pieces
1 1/2 cup raw almonds, sliced
1 cup raw cashews, pieces
3/4 cup flax meal
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup swerve (OR your choice of sweetener)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup almond butter (No added Sugar)

Preheat oven 300 / Servings 6-8
~ In a large bowl add pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews, flaxmeal, protein powder, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. stir together
~ In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, melt coconut oil, swerve, salt, and almond butter, until all is smooth.
~ Poor sauce over nuts and stir with spatula until all is mixed evenly
~ Spray large baking sheet (with rims) and spread mixture out evenly.
~ Bake for 20 minutes
~ When finished let sit in fridge for 20 minutes before crumbling.

 **(Optional, before making granola) Soak nuts for 7-24 hrs & dry in oven.
  • Clean
  • remove or reduce phytic acid
  • Increase the amount of vitamins, especially B vitamines
  • prevent many health conditions
  • Proteins are partially broken down for better absorption in the body 
  • Many other benefits...
Read more 

Gingerbread Scones

 This was a mother and daughter creation... my mom and I had a fun day of baking together!! She also has a food blog called the LC Kitchen... Full of low carb goodness!! We went through a couple batches making these scones, trying to change and alter to perfection. My husband and dad loved being our taste testers!! These scones are absolutly delicious and perfect for heading into the fall/holiday season!! No one would ever know that they are mostly made of almond meal and protein powder. they taste like the real thing and yet they're HEALTHY!! These could easily be made into cookies as well and would be a great recipe for kids to decorate gingerbread men!! We decorate them every year... you're never too old!! I will definitely be using this recipe a lot!

2 -1/8 cups almond flour (OR almond meal)
1/4 cup swerve (OR your choice of sweetener)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup vanilla protein powder
1 large egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 TBS heavy cream
1tbs Just Like Brown Sugar (OR 2 tsp molasses)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

*if dough is too wet then add 2 or 3 more TBS of almond meal

2 TBS butter, soften
1/4 cup powdered swerve (OR your choice of sweetener)
1/4 tsp vanilla
4 oz cream cheese

Preheat 325 / Servings 8
~ Whisk together almond flour, swerve, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves in a large bowl.
~ Add eggs, butter, cream, brown sugar, vanilla, and stir until dough comes together
~ Turn out dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet and shape by hand into a rough circle (7-8 inch diameter).
~ Using a very sharp knife, slice 8 even wedges and seperate carefully, then space evenly around the baking sheet.
~ Bake 18-20 minutes, or until scones are firm and lightly browned. (keep eye on the bottoms to make sure they don't burn)
~ Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

~ For the frosting, beat butter, powder swerve, vanilla, and cream cheese

Spread over COOLED scone.


Southwest Black Bean Salad

This dish is so so so tasty and one of my favorite things to make!! I actually originally saw something similar on Pinterest (gotta love pinning) but it was a little more work then I wanted to do, so I researched some more bean salads and came across this recipe by Gina's Skinny Recipes... it was perfect!! Its incredibly easy and great for guests, parties, or just home with the family!! My daughter loves this dish and lets out a little happy scream every time I make it!! My husband tells me I should make this every time we have guests over... the flavor is so good! super refreshing and light!!! I usually make this with my Tuscany Lemon Chicken... compliments it well!!!

1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed & drained
9 oz frozen corn, thawed
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1 lime, juice
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS cilantro (optional)
salt & fresh pepper
1 avocado, diced

Servings 4
~ Combine beans, corn, tomato, onion, scallion, lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, salt & pepper
~ let marinade for 30 minutes in refrigerator
~ Add avocado just before serving

Zucchini Lasagna

Family favorite!! I got this recipe from a Clean Eating magazine back in 2009 and have been making it ever since... however, I did change a few of the ingredients along the way!! Tastes like lasagna with all the same great flavors without the pasta!! The zucchini is such a great alternative to this noodless dish! My family loves this and I make plenty so there's leftovers for lunch the next day... Tastes just as good if not better!! This is a great dish to make and freeze... I'm always so happy when all I have to do is throw it in the oven!! Its refreshing sometimes to have easy choices when its been a long day!! Try and enjoy... Let me know what you think!! :)

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (24 oz) jar Spaghetti sauce (sugar free)
1 lb ground beef, ground turkey or ground chicken
sea salt & ground pepper
1 egg
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
1 cup mozzarella
4 zucchini (sliced length-wise) OR 2 eggplants

**Sweating the Zucchini - slice all zucchini and sprinkle both sides with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes then  pat dry with paper towel to get all access moisture off. (This prevents dish from getting soupy... zucchinis are full of moisture and will be released during baking if they are not sweated beforehand)

**Eggplant - if you decide to use eggplant for this recipe you will need to bake them first before layering them on your lasagna. make 1/2" slices, sprinkle with salt and pepper, spray both sides with olive oil spray, place on baking sheet and bake until soft (10-15 minutes). Turn slices half way through.

Preheat 350 / 6 Serving
~ In a large frying pan, saute garlic and onion over medium heat until tender
~ Add ground beef and tomato sauce, bring to a consistent heat for 10 minutes (until browned)
~ Season with salt and pepper to taste. remove from heat and set aside.
~ In a small bowl, slightly beat egg. stir in cottage cheese, and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
~ Pour 1/2 meat mixture into a 3quart baking dish. Top with zucchini slices and then cottage cheese mixture. cover with remaining meat mixture and last layer of zucchini slices.
~ Bake uncovered for 30 minutes
RAOS VODKA SAUCE 24 OZ - No Size'~ sprinkle remaining mozzarella and bake another 10min
~ Let stand for 10 min before serving

Rao's Homemade Vodka Sauce is great for this dish!! 
Gluten free, sugar free, and very low carb!!
You can find it at Whole Foods, Amazon, and probably other health food stores.