A Little Taste of Italy Omelet

I love eggs! I love fresh eggs! Have I mentioned that I love eggs? Eggs are also a  wonderful and healthy source of protein. I limit myself on my intake of yolks to help maintain my cholesterol, but at least one morning a week, I thoroughly enjoy an omelet for breakfast. Other mornings, I love to create healthy dishes with egg whites. I am working from home today on this beautiful fall-like morning, which is one of the many perks about being a college professor. My hours allow me more time to work for the Lord with various activities in my church, spend time with my family, read, work in our garden, host my bi-weekly book club, blog, and work on an exciting upcoming novel. Yes, I’m writing a new book, but that’s a story for a future blog. Now, back to a delicious Italian omelet that make you feel like your dining in an Italian bistro!

egg

I use two fresh eggs for an omelet

Ingredients

two farm fresh eggs (if available, if not you can buy organic eggs at most supermarkets)
1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
cooking spray (I prefer coconut oil spray)
1/3 cup diced sweet onion
1 large whole white mushroom
2 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon of either fresh garlic, or minced garlic
1 teaspoon organic low-fat feta
sprinkle of parmesan cheese
Chives (optional)
turkey sausage (optional)

Process

1.) Heat skillet over medium low heat. Spray with cooking spray and add extra virgin olive oil. Allow oil to heat and add diced onions and ground turkey sausage.
2.) Stir gently with wooden or rubber spatula. Once onions begin tendering, add washed and sliced mushrooms. Add garlic and season gently with sea salt, and black pepper. Keep a close eye on the garlic to prevent it from burning.
3.) Wash two medium size fresh basil leaves. I prefer Italian basil for this recipe. You can cut the basil, but I prefer to use my kitchen scissors and snip it to the size I prefer without bruising it. Add basil and gently stir lowing the heat.

basil leaves

Fresh is better!

4.) Add oregano. I like to use oregano from my herb garden that I have dried, and have used fresh. Either are great.
5.) Crack two fresh eggs into a bowl and add milk. Gently whisk briefly and then add the egg mixture to a strainer to do most of the whisking.
6.) Whisk the eggs through the screen of the strainer. This helps remove any of the membrane or chalazae that may exist in the white of the egg. This also helps your eggs to be more fluffy. When it seems that there is some of the egg that just wont go through the strainer, your ready to add your eggs to the skillet. You don’t need what’s left behind in the strainer.

whisking eggs

Whisking eggs

7.) Add egg mixture with feta into the now browned turkey sausage, tendered mushrooms, and onions. Don’t over stir while cooking. You may add a dash of salt and pepper if desired.
8.) Gently fold with a rubber, or wooden spatula until thoroughly cooked, and slightly brown on either side.
9.) Plate your beautiful Italian omelet, and top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
10.) Serve your Italian omelet with marinara sauce for dipping, or to top your omelet. I also like to add chopped chives to my omelet. My husband enjoys this omelet with garlic toast. I’ll admit, the garlic toast tempts me like crazy!

italian omelet

Delicious Italian Omelet

This is one of my favorite omelet recipes. I love Italian food, clean eating, delicious breakfasts, and that quiet time when I can sit and enjoy my breakfast with hot cup of coffee, and a great book! I love the early morning hours as well, but I think I’ve mentioned that before. If you enjoy Italian foods, I’m sure will enjoy my Little Taste of Italy Omelet! Be sure to check out one of my earlier posts, Breakfast for a King or Queen, another great idea for a tasty healthy and clean breakfast. I would love to hear your feedback.

Quick and Delicious Apple Pie Smoothie

It’s only Tuesday, and it’s been a busy week already! The campus was buzzing with life yesterday as students were rushing about making schedule changes, exploring the campus, and enjoying a brand new start to a brand new year! College life, you gotta love it! As I made my hour and a half commute to work yesterday, I was reminded of one of the reasons that I love smoothies so much! I love their health benefits, their taste, and I love the fact that they are easy and quick to make, and I love that I can drink my power breakfast on the go! It’s also a healthy alternative to the popular fast food breakfast sandwiches, and just as satisfying!

A delicious, clean, and easy apple pie smoothie!

A delicious, clean, and easy apple pie smoothie!

I am a true believer that we should take what could be a stressful situation, and turn it into a positive one. For example, my long commute could be stressful, even though I love arriving at my destination, the drive on the Interstate has its disadvantages.  What better time to forget schedules, multi-tasking, drivers with road rage, speeders, slow pokes, and deadlines… and instead crank up a little K-Love on the radio, meditate, or pray, and sip on a delicious smoothie! The commute passes quickly, and before I know it, I have arrived on campus in a positive frame of mind, and a full stomach! I’m ready to get my day started!

I like to make smoothies that are simple, quick, tasty, clean, and healthy! My apple pie smoothie meets all of those requirements. I find myself fixing this smoothie more often than any of my other favorites. My grandchildren enjoy this smoothie as well. Imagine that…you could replace a milk shake, or any another high calorie snack with a healthy delicious smoothie. That’s good news for the entire family.

Ingredients

1 cup of ice
1/4 to 1/2 cup almond milk (depends on the thickness you desire)
1 tablespoons of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of unsweetened apple sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons of raw honey
1 scoop of Pure Protein Vanilla, or French Vanilla flavor
1 medium apple peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger (I prefer grated, fresh is always better)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Greek Yogurt

Delicious Vanilla flavored Greek yogurt is my favorite!

French Vanilla is great in all smoothies!

French Vanilla is great in all smoothies!

Process

I like to use a Ninja to process my smoothies. I recommend them highly, as they can double as a food processor and a blender. I reach for my Ninja more often than my food processor. However, most blenders will work if you don’t have a Ninja. If you’re interested in purchasing a Ninja, check out the Amazon link titled A Few of My Favorites, for an amazon link to purchase one. Now, back to the simple process of making an Apple Pie Smoothie.

Adding the ingredients in my favorite kitchen gadget, a Ninja!

Adding the ingredients in my favorite kitchen gadget, a Ninja!

Pulse ingredients to the desired texture.

Pulse ingredients to the desired texture.

1.) Add ice to the Ninja
2.) Peel and slice apple add to Ninja
3.) Measure and place wet ingredients in the Ninja
4.) Add dry ingredients
5.) Pulse until you reach the desired thickness and texture that you prefer.

Pour yourself a delicious Apple Pie Smoothie!

Pour yourself a delicious Apple Pie Smoothie!

That’s all there is to it! It’s that simple to have a smoothie ready to drink, or take on the go for a fast and nutritious breakfast. I’ll be honest, when I drink one of these healthy and filling smoothies I feel full until midday, or later. Trust me…it’s that satisfying. I know your family will enjoy this sweet, but healthy treat as much as mine. If  you enjoy this smoothie, be sure to check out my previous post for Almond Butter Fruit Dip. Also, be sure to watch for upcoming fall smoothies in future posts. Feel free to leave comments. I’m anxious to know how you enjoyed your smoothie! Cheers!

A delicious, clean, and easy apple pie smoothie!

A delicious, clean, and easy apple pie smoothie!

Almond Butter Fruit Dip

Living on a farm, no matter the size, means there’s always work to be done. So, what better time to find a little relaxation than in the early morning hours? I’ll admit it, I’ve always been a morning person. I can recall as a child waking up early on Saturday mornings just to get outside and enjoy the day. I still enjoy waking early, sitting on the front porch, drinking morning coffee, and allowing nature to inspire my day.

Through my journey to lose weight, achieve better health, and maintain a healthier lifestyle, I’ve discovered that relaxation is a must. For me, a brisk morning walk right after, or just before breakfast while the dew is still on the ground is one a greatest methods of relaxation. It’s also quiet time that allows me to meditate, pray, and enjoy the beatify around me. I can always find beauty in some form of nature on my early morning walk.

While walking Freckles this morning beauty seemed to erupt everywhere!  As we walked out the front door the sweet aroma of roses filled the air! I couldn’t resist…so, I took a few minutes to smell the roses before our walk began!  As Freckles, and I started down the lane for our two-mile walk, I noticed our usual early morning visitor, Mr. Crane had returned for a few minnows from the creek. He’s a handsome sight! Here are a few pictures that I snapped on our walk this morning.

Our summer roses are in full bloom.

Our summer roses are in full bloom.

crane

I spotted Mr. Crane a regular morning visitor enjoying a few minnows from the creek.

Enough about our morning…let’s get started with this delicious almond butter fruit dip. Honestly, this will make you feel like you’re cheating…when you’re not! It’s clean, easy, and delicious…all the qualifications of a great recipe! This sweet treat will also help stop that craving for something sweet that we all have. It’s a great snack for any time of the day, and a great snack for the kids lunch. Trust me, they will love it as much as you do.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of organic almond butter
2 tablespoons of Plain, or vanilla Greek yogurt
dash of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root
2 tablespoons of raw honey
apples, or preferred fruit for dipping

almond butter

A delicious alternative to peanut butter that my family loves!

Greek Yogurt

I prefer vanilla yogurt for this dip!

Process

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.

Mix all ingredients in one bowl.

Mix all ingredients in one bowl.

Believe it, or not, that’s all there is to it!

 A simple, delicious, and clean treat!

A simple, delicious, and clean treat!

Now, for the best part! Eating this sweet and delicious treat. You can experiment and try a variety of fruits, but my favorite is apples. You can also increase the ingredients to make a larger amount of dip to serve at a party, family reunion, or any social gathering. This is a dip that is sure to be a hit, and among your guests favorites!

Delicious with apples

Delicious with apples

A delicious dip for any kind of fruit!

A delicious dip for any kind of fruit!

I would love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment telling me about your experience with this easy and delicious fruit dip. If you enjoyed this quick and easy clean recipe, be sure to check out my post, Quick Easy, & Clean Coffee Mug Blueberry Muffins. Also, watch for my upcoming post, How to Make an Apple Pie Smoothie!

Quick, Easy, & Clean Coffee Mug Blueberry Muffin

For me, living a healthier lifestyle consists of healthy delicious food, easy recipes, moderations, decreased stress, exercise, and a positive attitude. We know that it’s nearly impossible to avoid stress in the fast paced world we live today. However, I have found that by simply taking time each day to find a place of tranquility, and enjoying the serenity, the following day of stress is easier to cope with. In other words, take time for  yourself everyday, whether it be that warm bubble bath that you’ve been promising yourself, a walk in the park, reading a great book on the porch swing, or simply enjoying the bounty of nature. For me, church, the mountains, family, a good book, and a little “me time” does wonders.

My husband and I recently took a ride to grab a little evening relaxation. We took a cooler of drinks, snacks, a camera, and a desire for a little peace and quiet, Kentucky style. The scenery of the mountains was breathtaking. and the ride was serene. We traveled for hours and never saw another human being. However, we kept the camera ready for the beautiful wildlife that can spotted at almost any given time along the many trails that wind through the mountains. Truthfully,  you never know what you’ll see in the mountains of Kentucky!

An afternoon ride through the mountains of Kentucky.

An afternoon ride through the mountains of Kentucky.

Two Kentucky elk.

Two Kentucky elk.

Now, if that’s not a beautiful site…I’m not sure what would qualify as beautiful! Not to mention, elk is a great source of clean meat. Our son has been drawn for an elk hunting tag the past two years, which allows for our family to have a years’ worth of fresh elk meat. But these two handsome guys pictured above are primarily for the sheer enjoyment of their beauty! They are safe from hunters.

Okay, enough about the tranquil life in the Kentucky mountains, let’s move forward with a great recipe! Everyone likes quick and easy recipes. I especially like quick, easy, and clean recipes. But, there’s an element that I want all recipes to have, and that’s flavor! This recipe is packed with flavor! I get really excited when I create, or discover a delicious clean recipe that is quick and easy to make…I want to share it with everyone! Clean eating has changed my life in many ways. Not only do I feel better both physically and mentally, but I’ve also lost sixty-eight pounds. My blood pressure is great, cholesterol is down, and my risk of diabetes has decreased tremendously. Okay, enough about me! I am excited to share one of my favorite breakfast recipes…clean, quick, low-calorie, low-fat, easy microwaveable blueberry coffee mug muffins!

Quick, easy, delicious, and clean microwavable blueberry muffin.

Quick, easy, delicious, and clean microwavable blueberry muffin.

The muffins are simple to make, and delicious to eat! You can experiment with a variety of fruits and create different family favorites. For this wonderful breakfast treat you will need the following ingredients;

Ingredients

1/4 cup quick oats
1 fresh, or organic egg
splash of almond, or soy milk
handful of blueberries
raw, or organic honey
1 teaspoon of stevia
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)
cooking spray (I like to use organic coconut spray)

A hand full of clean blueberries.

A hand full of clean blueberries.

Stevia is a great sweetener, and can be grown at home. That will be in a future blog!

Stevia is a great sweetener, and can be grown at home. That will be in a future blog!

Quick oats cook faster and taste great

Quick oats cook faster and taste great

Tools

microwave
spoon
coffee mug

1.) Wash blueberries and lay on a paper towel to drain.

2.) Very lightly spray a coffee mug with cooking spray.

3.) Mix oats, egg, stevia, cinnamon, and blueberries in a microwave-safe coffee mug until well blended. You may also add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. (this is optional)

4.) Place in the microwave and bake for one minute intervals. Depending on the microwave your muffin will take between 1 and 3 minutes.

5.) Remove the muffin from the microwave and drizzle with honey.

6.) Allow to cool, if you are going to remove the muffin from the cup. You may also eat the muffin warm from the cup with a spoon.

I love to eat the blueberry muffins warm by the spoonful.

I love to eat the blueberry muffins warm by the spoonful.

Quick, easy, delicious, and clean microwavable blueberry muffin.

Quick, easy, delicious, and clean microwave-safe blueberry muffin.

This is truly a quick, easy, and delicious muffin! I have altered the recipe by using different types of fruit. Apples and strawberries both make wonderful muffins. I’ll share those recipes in upcoming blog posts. For now, happy baking, and bon appetite!

Drying Apples for a Healthy Snack

Life for this college professor has been quite busy this week with blogging, scoring graduate work, attending meetings, book club, canning apples, apple butter, and making a few other delicious treats. I’m not complaining…I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Our recent trip to Haney’s Apple Orchard resulted in more than just apple butter. In my last blog post, I promised that I would share more of the delicious treats that we made from the beautiful sweet apples that our family picked. I’m excited to share with you how I turned one full bag of sweet and juicy fresh picked apples into delicious healthy dried apples.

apple two  dried apples

Ingredients and Tools

apples
lemon juice
water
cinnamon (optional)
oven or dehydrator
knife
parchment paper

1.) When I buy fruit, I prefer to buy organic fruit. I wash all fruit before I begin to ensure that it’s clean and free from garden pests and dust. I like to use Fit organic clean spray. It’s simple to use, inexpensive, and can purchased at Wal-Mart.

organic spray

2.) Next, you will need to peel and slice the apples and soak them in a lemon water bath mixture for eight to ten minutes. This helps prevent discoloring during the dehydration process. Remove the apples from the lemon bath and gently pat them dry with a clean paper towel.

There are several methods to dry fruit. I personally like to use an electric dehydrator. It’s quick, the cleanup is easy, and I can dry more apples at one time.

Dehydration Method

dehydrator

3.) Place the apple slices in the trays of the dehydrator. It’s okay to place them close. They can even touch. The apples will shrink as the they dry. If you are using a dehydrator follow the instructions that came with it for time and temperature. For example, my dehydrator instructions recommend apples to be dried at 135 degrees for 8 and a half to 9 hours. I love this dehydrator! I purchased it at a very reasonable price on Amazon. If you would like to purchase one, click on my Amazon link titled, A Few of My Favorites. Okay, back to dried apples. If you like your apples a little more crispy, you may leave them an additional thirty minutes. Also, for an even tastier treat, you may sprinkle the apple slices with cinnamon. This is one of my favorite sweet treats, and your house will smell wonderful while the apples are drying! Allow the apples to cool in the dehydrator. Remove when they are cool and store in zip lock bags. There is no need to refrigerate dried fruit. If you are planning to cook with the apples, you can vacuum seal them for a longer shelf life.

drying apples

almost dried

dried ready to cool

Oven Method

You can also dry apples in an oven. It’s fairly simple and works well.

1.) Wash, peel and slice apples. Soak them in a lemon juice bath.

2.) Line cookie sheets with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Set your oven temperature to 150-200 and bake the apples for one hour. Take the apples out of the oven and carefully turn the apples over. Bake them for an additional hour. If you like your apples a little crisper, you can bake them an additional thirty minutes. Check your apples frequently, as all ovens bake differently. Once you turn the oven off, leave the apples in the oven for an additional one to two hours. You may crack the door to your oven slightly while the apples are cooling. Allow the apples to cool completely in the oven and remove.

Both methods work really well and produce a wonderful sweet treat to snack on, or use in recipes such as apple stack cakes. That’s a recipe for another blog! I know your family will enjoy your fresh dried apples as much as mine does!

dried apples

Dried apples are a clean, healthy, and delicious treat

Canning Green Beans the Time-Tested Way

My husband and I both grew up in the mountains of Kentucky where summers were long, hot, and filled with outdoor adventures. Playing in the creek, swimming in the river, and exploring the mountains was part of our weekly routines. But, mountain living was not all fun and games. We had daily chores to do as well, many of our chores were garden related. Neither of us are strangers to garden-work, or the work that comes with harvesting.

Speaking of harvest time…it’s harvest time on our small farm! We’ve been picking green beans for weeks to eat for supper, and we’ve put a few quart bags in the freezer. But, it’s that time of year when the vines are hanging full of beautiful green beans, which means it’s picking time! Last week, while my husband and I were picking beans and canning, we began reminiscing about the jobs we were given as children during canning time. It was unanimous, both of us were always designated, the washing jobs. Yes, we were washers. We determined that it was our small hands that landed us this job. We didn’t mind, because we both loved canning, even as children. We still enjoy the pleasures and work that comes with the bounty of a garden.

It’s not too late to fill your pantry shelves with your very own canned green beans. I’m excited to share my family’s recipe for canning green beans with you. This is an easy and time-tested recipe that our family has used for generations. I know your family will enjoy these tasty green beans this winter when the snow is flying as much as we do!

Ingredients & Tools

1 bushel of fresh green beans (this yields 12-13 quart jars)
1 dozen quart canning jars with lids & rings
iodized table salt
water & canner

1) Find somewhere comfortable to string and break your beans. We prefer sitting outside on the porch and stringing in the early morning hours. However, when it’s too hot, we’ve been found stringing them in the kitchen where it’s nice and cool!

green beans                          Beans II

2) Next, wash the beans in cool tap water to remove any traces of garden dirt, or insects.

wash beans

3) Wash jars, rings, and flats carefully in hot soapy water.

wash jars II

4) Sterilize jars, rings, and flats by placing them in boiling water for ten minutes. I use the canner to boil my jars in. Sterilizing jars is a must. It helps prevent bacteria from forming.

wash jars

5) Fill warm jars with clean beans and add boiling water. Allow an inch for head-space. Add a teaspoon of salt to each jar of beans. Place flat on the top of the jar and tighten the ring. The ring doesn’t have to be extremely tight, as you will tighten them again after the canning process.

fill jars

6) Carefully place filled jars in canner of hot water. The water should cover the jars with at least one inch of water. Place the lid on the canner and turn the heat up to medium high.

canning beans
My Canner holds seven quart jars

my canner
This is my canner that I have used for years! I found
it at the Dollar General Store for 10.00!

    

7) After the water comes to a boil, set the timer for one hour. Process beans for the entire hour.

8) Turn the burner off and carefully remove jars out of the boiling water with a jar lifter. If you don’t have a jar lifter, you can dip some of the water out and remove the jars with an oven mitt, or a rubber glove. I place my jars on the counter top on a bath towel to cool. You should immediately hear that wonderful popping sound that ensures your jars are sealing! Once they’ve cooled check rings, and tighten as needed.

canned green beans

9) After the jars have cooled, write the month and year as well as the variety of beans on the lid with a permanent marker.  Now your ready to fill your pantry with your very own beautiful green beans!

dates on jars

My family has loved these tasty beans for generations.  I must admit, I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and small sense of pride that I feel when I open a fresh jar of my very own green beans. They’re a wonderful treat in the winter when the ground is covered with snow!  They’re also a great addition to homemade vegetable soup, but that’s a recipe for another blog! Truthfully, they make a fine addition to any meal, any time of the year! I hope you and your family enjoy my time-tested green beans year after year! Feel free to share my blog with family and friends. I would love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment and share you families canning experience!

Breakfast Fit for a King, or Queen

Through my journey with clean eating I have tried various recipes in search for that tasty, satisfying, clean, and delicious breakfast. Along this journey, I have stumbled onto some terrific recipes, as well as been given quite a few delicious ones. But, out of all the recipes that I have experimented with, this recipe is among my favorites! It’s definitely a keeper, and occupies a special place in my recipe box. As you know my husband and I garden, which makes clean eating much more economical. This year, we’ve been blessed abundantly with squash and zucchini. I’m not complaining! I love squash and zucchini almost anyway they’re prepared. After canning countless quart jars of each, vacuum sealing and freezing dozens of quart bags for future use, giving away too many to count, eating them in stir fry, and enjoying them in a variety of recipes…my delicious vegetables were still beginning to pile up. I So, I decided one of the best ways to eliminate them from taking up space in my kitchen would be to experiment with them. After all, what did I have to lose. I wanted a new breakfast or brunch dish. I wanted that appetizing dish that was also satisfying. After a few mishaps, this delicious, filling, satisfying, and totally clean recipe emerged! Now, I enjoy it at least once a week. It’s clean, loaded with fiber, low-fat, low-calorie, tasty, and very filling. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I actually enjoyed this tasty dish for brunch today!

Ingredients

1 fresh or organic zucchini
1 fresh or organic yellow squash
1 fresh or organic egg
fresh or organic chives to taste
organic olive oil or organic coconut oil
sea salt to taste
cracked black pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese (optional)

squash and zucchini     egg

Procedures

Heat oil in small pan. Cut squash and zucchini into small cubes/chunks and place in the hot skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with vented lid. Turn squash and zucchini occasionally to prevent sticking and promote even cooking.

sauteeing in the skillet

When squash and zucchini have reached the desired tenderness you may plate them and fry your egg. You may also poach the egg. Either way this is a great dish. I prefer the egg to fried with cooking spray in the same skillet. Season egg to taste.
Place the egg over the plated squash and zucchini and top with fresh chopped chives. You may also add a light sprinkle of parmesan cheese. I like it either way it’s a breakfast fit for a queen!

Enjoy

final squash and zucchini breakfast

Trust me this is a great dish that is totally clean when the parmesan cheese is omitted. I have also experimented and added salsa to this dish. I must say that it was delicious as well! This dish is approximately 300 calories per serving excluding the parmesan cheese.