Tag Archives: healthy eating

Bacon Cheddar Quinoa

So lately I’ve been trying to do a gluten-reduced diet. I also recently learned that I have a mild food intolerance to rice. This means that I have to limit my rice intake to about once a week. The gluten-reduced part means no more cous-cous either :(. So I’ve been playing around with quinoa as a lunch-time alternative. Quinoa is what is known as a supergrain because it is an amazing food. It is a complete protein, heart-healthy, contains fiber, folate, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, and it’s low allergy risk making it a great choice for children/toddlers and the gluten intolerant.

So here is the first of many Quinoa recipes to be appearing here on Homemaker Chic.



Here’s what you need:

  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces (I like to use scissors for this)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • Salt and Pepper

Makes 2 servings.

Here’s what you do:

how-to-cook-quinoa-homemakerchic.comIn a small saucepan, bring the quinoa and stock to a boil. Boil for one minute then reduce the heat and simmer on medium heat for about 15 minutes.


In a non-stick skillet saute the bacon and the onions until the bacon is crisp and the onions are caramelized. Drain off most, but not all of the bacon grease, and set aside.


When the quinoa is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, pour the cooked quinoa into the skilled with the bacon and onions. Add the cheese, salt and pepper. Stir and cook until the cheese is melted and the quinoa is lightly sauteed- about 5 more minutes.


Serve alone as a hearty lunch, or as a side dish to a meal.


Real Food: How to Cut Processed Foods Out of Your Life

Among my New Year’s resolutions this year is the desire to become healthier and to eat better. I will be talking a lot in the coming weeks about all the different things I’ll be changing about my diet this year. One of the benefits for you is that you will be seeing a lot more nutritious, healthful recipes on Homemaker Chic in 2013. This week I want to talk about Real Food. I am learning about it from Lisa Leake author of the blog 100 Days of Real Food. The basic idea is to cut out processed foods in exchange for REAL healthy simple foods from nature. Check out the link for more information from Lisa about the 100 Day challenge.


I didn’t think I was really all that unhealthy to be honest. I eat a lot of fresh vegetables. I don’t use a lot of packaged products. I steer clear of anything that seems über unhealthy. But when I began reading the ingredients lists of basic foods in my home (like Peanut Butter, Tomato Soup or Pickles) I was shocked at all the junk in there that I did not want in my body! Why do pickles need to have 16 ingredients? With all the supposed benefits from science and technology, why is it that people seem to be more sick than ever before? Cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, celiac disease, anxiety, depression. All of these health problems are more rampant today than ever before. With all these “advances in medicine” shouldn’t we be getting better and not worse? Something just isn’t adding up here. With all the problems I’ve had with pregnancies, and the battery of tests they’ve put me through to find out what’s wrong, none of my doctors thought to ask, “Hey what are you putting in your body?”

Sorry medical profession, you’ve failed me. I’m taking things into my own hands.

So this year I am taking the plunge, and going all in. I’m getting back to basics. Basically if a food requires some sort of technology or treatment to be prepared I’m not buying it. Only fresh, simple ingredients this year (and hopefully beyond!) I will also be talking next week about going Gluten Free, so keep an eye out for that post, and for some yummy GF recipes this year!

Here are some of Lisa’s rules about what to eat and what NOT to eat if you decide to try the Real Food Lifestyle. I hope you’ll consider this for you and your family. Being healthy and vibrant is the best gift you can give yourself this year.


What you CAN eat:

  1. Whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry
  2. Lots of fruits and vegetables (we recommend that you shop for these at your local farmers’ market)
  3. Dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese
  4. 100% whole-wheat and whole-grains (find a local bakery for approved sandwich bread and check the Understanding Grains post for more info)
  5. Seafood (wild caught is the optimal choice over farm-raised)
  6. Only locally raised meats such as pork, beef, and chicken (preferably in moderation)
  7. Beverages limited to water, milk, all natural juices, naturally sweetened coffee & tea, and, to help the adults keep their sanity, wine and beer!
  8. Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and popcorn
  9. All natural sweeteners including honey, 100% maple syrup, and fruit juice concentrates are acceptable in moderation
  10. Also check out the Recipes & Resources page for a more detailed list of meal options including links to recipes

What you CANNOT eat:

  1. No refined grains such as white flour or white rice (items containing wheat must say WHOLE wheat…not just “wheat”)
  2. No refined sweeteners such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice, or the artificial stuff like Splenda
  3. Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredientslisted on the label
  4. No deep fried foods
  5. No “fast foods”


    How to Avoid Processed Food in General

    If you feel that you have the will, but not the skill to do the 10 Days of Real Food pledgethen here are some general lifestyle changes to consider instead…

    1. Read the ingredients label before buying anything. For years, if I even looked at food labels, I was reviewing items such as fat grams, calorie count and sugar content. While this may be important to some, the best indicator of how highly processed a food is can actually be found in the list of ingredients. If what you are buying contains more than 5 ingredients and includes a lot of unfamiliar, unpronounceable items you may want to reconsider before buying.
    2. Increase your consumption of whole foods especially vegetables and fruits. I am sure you’ve heard similar advice a thousand times, and I hate to tell you that it couldn’t be more true. This will help to displace the processed foods in your diet, and will actually make your food selections in general very simple. No more counting calories, fat grams, or carbs when your only concern is selecting whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry.
    3. Buy your bread from a local bakery. I actually used to eat white bread, but what I bought for my husband from the grocery store was what I thought was whole-wheat bread. When we finally checked the ingredients and found 40 different items on the list, including white flour and sugar, we decided it was time for a change. Why would there be so many on the list if it only takes a handful of ingredients to make bread? We since started buying our bread from Great Harvest Bread Company. Not only do they grind their own wheat every morning, but their honey whole-wheat loaf only has five ingredients – whole-wheat flour, water, yeast, salt and honey.
    4. In addition to your bread choice, when selecting foods like pastas, cereals, rice, and crackers always go for the whole-grain option. And don’t just believe the health claims on the outside of the box.  Read the ingredients to make sure the product is truly made with only 100% whole grains – not a combination of whole grains and refined grains which is unfortunately how a lot of “whole grain” products are made. The white flour or other refined grain alternative is simply high in calories and low in nutrition.
    5. Avoid store-bought products containing high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and those “that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) listed among the top three ingredients” according to Michael Pollan. Despite the mixed research on if HFCS is really worse for you than good ol’ white sugar, it just happens to be “a reliable marker for a food product that has been highly processed”.
    6. Don’t order off the kids’ menu. The next time your family is out to dinner try to avoid the kids menu. Those selections are most often things like pre-made chicken nuggets, fries, and pasta made with white flour, among other things. Instead try assembling some sort of side item plate (like baked potatoes and whatever else your kid will tolerate) and/or try sharing some of your meal.
    7. Visit your local farmers’ market the next time you need to restock your fridge.According to Michael Pollan not only will you find “food that is in season, which is usually when it is most nutritious”, but you will also find a selection of pesticide-free produce and properly fed meat products. It is also better for our environment to purchase locally grown products as opposed to the supermarket produce, which travels on average 1500 miles from the farm to your plate.
    8. Lastly, to once again quote Michael Pollan, he says to “eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” If you had to peel, chop and deep fry potatoes every time you wanted French fries then you might not eat them very often. Only eating “junk food” such as cakes, sweets, and fried foods as often as you are willing to make them yourself will automatically ensure the frequency is appropriate.

Southern Field Peas O’Brien


Down south we call them Black Eyed Peas, but the fancy schmancy name is Field Peas. I like to be fancy schmancy. Technically they’re different peas but to me they’re all the same. All I know is that they’re delicious and I eat them a lot!

Here is a tasty and healthy recipe!

FACT: Did you know that 1 Tbsp of Bacon Grease has the same amount of calories as 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil? About 115 calories for each. Butter comes in the lowest at 100 calories for 1 Tbsp. So don’t think you’re being all low-cal by using Olive Oil. Its all the same folks, so bring on the BACON!!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 strip of Bacon
  • 2 cups of Field Peas
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced green pepper
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tsp Creole Seasoning
  • 2-3 cups of chicken stock

Here’s what you do:

Step 1: Using a pair of scissors, cut the bacon into small strips. You could do this with a knife but I find that scissor make the job much easier. They don’t have to be perfect. Fry the bacon until crisp.

Step 2: Once the bacon is nice and crisp stir in the onions and peppers. Fry them in the bacon grease until the onions are sweating and the peppers have softened a bit.

Step 3: Stir in the Field Peas. I like to use Today’s Harvest Field Peas w/ Snaps. They come in the freezer section and I add them right to the pot still frozen. If you can’t find this brand at your super market they will probably have some kind of frozen field peas (or black eyes peas) and they are very easy to prepare right from the freezer so I highly recommend going this route.

Step 4: Cover the peas just to the surface with chicken stock. You don’t need to drown them, you just need enough to cook them down. All the liquid is going to cook out.

Step 5: Add the seasoning. I like to use S&P of course and a little bit of Tony Chatchere’s creole seasoning because it has a nice kick and there’s nothing else like it. I call it Chatch 🙂

Cover the pot and let the peas simmer for about 30 minutes on medium/low heat (About a 4 on my stove). Give it a stir every now and then just to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. You know its ready when the peas are tender and all the stock has absorbed. Enjoy!

Don’t forget we have a giveaway coming up this Monday, August 27th! Stay tuned…

Weight Loss Wednesday – Part 5

Well I’ve been off the work out wagon this week because I’ve come down with a sinus infection and I feel like rubbish. I never thought I’d say this but I have actually kinda missed exercising. I did get out for a walk yesterday to hopefully feel better but I think its gonna be a few more days before I feel well enough to get back to the gym. I’ve been faithful to the 1500 calorie diet though and I wanted to talk a little bit today about how I keep to it.

Now the number 1500 is not for everyone. You need to do some research to find out what amount of daily calories is going to be a healthy amount for you. The more you weigh, the more calories you need even if you’re trying to lose weight. Ultimately you need to be burning about 500 more calories per day than you consume. So if you’re exercising a lot you will need more calories to keep you energized. You also need to consider that everyone burns a certain amount of calories per day during normal activity. If you have a job sitting at a desk you will burn less than someone who, for example, does landscaping. Using an app like Calorie Counter will help you account for all of this.

My daily diet usually looks a little something like this:


Breakfast:  Smoothie = 590 calories

This is really filling! And the calories are total calories, not fat calories. This smoothie is really high in nutrients, vitamins, and extremely low in fat.

2 bananas (200 calories)

1 pot of yogurt (100 calories)

2 cups of spinach (30 calories)


6 oz carrot juice (60 calories)

Protein Powder 2 scoops (200 calories)


1 cup of ice


Lunch: Campbell’s Soup = 100 calories


Lately I’m really into the Harvest Orange Tomato. Its sooo good! Plus, eating hot soup actually burns calories as your body works to cool it to a digestible temperature.


Snack: 20 pretzels = 100 calories

There are lots of great 100 calories snacks like Rice Cakes, granola bars, wheat thins, almonds. Crunchy snacks are great for holding you over until dinner.






Dinner: Grilled Chicken with Vegetables = 650 calories

6 oz grilled chicken (280 calories)

1/2 Tbsp olive oil (60 calories)

Sauteed Veggies (160 calories)

Beer (150 calories) You can still drink on the diet, just skip sugary drinks like margaritas and go for a light beer instead.









Cauliflower and Butternut Squash Soup – Only 150 calories!

Since I’m on a cauliflower kick I thought I’d keep going with the fun new recipes! Last night I was looking for something delicious and healthy with veggies I had on hand.

I’ve been loving the Archer Farms frozen butternut squash lately because it is so much easier to get cubed squash this way! Seriously, have you ever tried cutting into one of those bad boys? I always feel like I’m going to chop my hand off. This is a really easy solution and it makes me much more likely to cook with healthy veggies.

In fact I use a lot of frozen vegetables. Whenever I buy fresh veggies I immediately chop them, transfer them to zip bags, and pop them in the freezer. This way I know there are no preservatives, and my veggies don’t go bad. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thrown away perfectly good produce because we just can’t get to it fast enough.  I especially love doing this with onions and peppers. I love having these chopped and ready to go, to add a bit of flavour to tons of dishes. It really makes dinner time a cinch. This is also great for smoothie fruit. Currently my freezer is stocked with frozen strawberries, mangoes, pineapple, spinach, and blueberries all ready for a delicious smoothie.

So for this recipe I had one head of cauliflower and one bag of frozen butternut squash. This made for a super delicious really low calorie soup that i’m sure you’ll love! I had originally planned on adding some herbs and spices, but once I tasted the soup, the incredible vegetable flavours just spoke for themselves. I love when a recipe with so few ingredients tastes so amazing. You’ll find that it favors the taste and texture of potato soup, but without all the carbs! I think in the future I might try it with more squash, I love the orange color.

Here’s the best part: The whole pot was only 624 calories! This recipe serves 4, so that means only about 150 calories per bowl. I can’t wait for you to try it. It is definitely going to be a new favourite in our home.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 medium (4″-5″) head of cauliflower, greenery  and stalks removed
  • 2 cups of butternut squash cubed
  • 5 cups of chicken stock. (I like the swanson cartons because they are always bogo at publix and I stock up… lol no pun intended. I wish I was fancy enough to make my own but I just don’t have that kind of time.)
  • 2 T butter or spread
  • 1 cup of half and half or milk (low fat milk will make this lower in calories but less creamy)
  • Salt & Pepper

Here’s what to do:

Start by boiling the cauliflower for about 8 minutes, add the butternut squash and boil for another 10 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Add the stock and with an emersion blender, blend until everything is smooth. Add the cream, s&p, and butter, then simmer for about 15 minutes. Do not boil.

Seriously, that’s it. This recipe is so easy, delicious and healthy. Go make it!

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