cucumber wrapped veggies

Much like our zucchini wrapped veggies, these cucumber wrapped veggies are fantastic for parties, barbecues, or just having at home for the family and kids.

The zucchini wrapped veggies aren’t all that fantastic when it comes to kids. The zucchini flavor just isn’t really what they’re into. These cucumber wraps are great with homemade ranch dressing!

food-prepThe prep work for cucumber wrapped veggies

The cucumber is a bit different than the zucchini when it comes to peeling. The center of a cucumber doesn’t hold together well when thinly peeled. What I do is peel one side of the cucumber almost to the center, then flip the cucumber and peel the other side, followed by the two remaining untouched sides. When I peel cucumbers this way, I end up with a rectangle of the inside leftover. I keep these to chop up and add to salads the next few days. No waste!

The prep work for this appetizer is not super clean. While I absolutely love all my pictures (and those I see on other cooking blogs), I also like to show some real prep pictures, with a little mess and the true looks of a used cutting board 🙂

cucumber wrapped veggies
A simple, yet beautiful appetizer for any occasion.
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 medium sized zucchini
  2. 2 medium sized carrots
  3. 2 medium sized celery stalks
  4. 2 medium sized radishes
Instructions
  1. Peel the cucumber into thin strips (using a Y-peeler makes this easy).
  2. Peel and cut (or just chop) carrots, celery stalks, and radishes into matchstick sized pieces.
  3. Lay out cucumber strips, add vegetables (usually 3 sticks of each veggie is good), roll the cucumber and pop a toothpick through the zucchini to hold it all together.
  4. Enjoy with your favorite vegetable dipping sauce!
Homemade Health Food http://homemadehealthfood.com/
This recipe is Whole30, Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free.

 

zucchini wrapped veggies

zucchini-wrapped-veggies-ranchZucchini wrapped veggies are a great finger food for any party or barbecue! They go great with our homemade ranch dressing or any other type of vegetable dip! And given the fact these are bite sized with a toothpick already in them, there’s no chance for double dipping! Super bonus! Of course, since these are made only from fresh veggies, they are Whole30 compliant, Paleo, and vegan!

These zucchini wrapped veggies look like they take forever!

They don’t, I promise! Simply peeling the vegetables and then chopping them into the right sizes makes the process go fairly quickly. I generally peel my zucchinis first to determine just how many I need to feed the amount of people I’m aiming for. Since the zucchini is the wrapper for all of these, it’s best to get all those done first. I then peel and chop as many veggies as I think I need to fill all my zucchini wrappers, knowing I have more of all of them in the fridge and can prep more later if I need to. I try not waste anything, but if I end up with leftover veggies for the inside (which I often do), I simply throw them in a stir fry within a day or two.

carrot-wrapped-radishes-celeryOh no! I ran out of zucchini!

NO PROBLEM! Though they will be smaller, thinly peeled carrots can replace the zucchini at the drop of a hat! Simply do the exact same thing but use carrots as the wrapper instead of zucchini.

When I run out of zucchini part way through, or just want to add more color to the overall veggie display, I use carrots as the wrapper. I generally only fill the carrots with one other vegetable. Maybe a few slices of radish or celery. I don’t usually fill the carrots with more carrots… as that seems a little redundant!

Lets go through all the steps!

zucchini-peeledFirst, peel your zucchini. I use a Y-peeler for mine. I go from one end to the other, and the Y-peeler slices my zucchini in perfectly thin strips, exactly what I need for these zucchini wrapped veggies.

zucchini-and-veggies-preppedSecond, chop your veggies. Sometimes I peel them and then cut them down to size, sometimes I simply chop them into match-sized pieces. Either way works, I usually tell people to do it whichever way they can do faster.

zucchini-with-veggies-before-rollingThird, lay out your zucchini strips and put some veggies on them. For these particular rolls, I did 3 pieces of carrot, 3 pieces of celery, and 3 pieces of radish. You can leave any of those vegetables out, add in different ones, it’s entirely up to you. Just remember that you need to watch how much you put o your zucchini strip. It still needs to be able to roll up and take a toothpick.

zucchini-wrapped-veggies-finishedFourth, roll your zucchini, add a toothpick, and enjoy! My family likes these veggie wraps dipped in ranch, but they are fantastic dipped in just about any type of dressing or sauce. I like them in cucumber sauce, and they’re even good in some sweeter sauces! Have fun with the dipping sauce and enjoy this awesome little dish!

Zucchini Wrapped Veggies
Simple side dish that looks awesome and is super healthy!
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 medium sized zucchini
  2. 2 medium sized carrots
  3. 2 medium sized celery stalks
  4. 2 medium sized radishes
Instructions
  1. Peel the zucchini into thin strips (using a Y-peeler makes this easy).
  2. Peel and cut (or just chop) carrots, celery stalks, and radishes into matchstick sized pieces.
  3. Lay out zucchini strips, add vegetables (usually 3 stick of each veggie is good), roll the zucchini and pop a toothpick through the zucchini to hold it all together.
  4. Enjoy with your favorite vegetable dipping sauce!
Homemade Health Food http://homemadehealthfood.com/

homemade ranch dressing is incredible

ranch dressing

This is a simple homemade ranch dressing that was modified from the Whole30 version a little bit to make it a little thinner and add a bit more of a kick (that’s the extra chili powder!). Though the recipe was modified, it is still Whole30 compliant and Paleo… delicious!

homemade ranch dressingHomemade ranch dressing is awesome!

My family can seriously eat some ranch dressing! My family says homemade ranch is better than Hidden Valley, which I think is fantastic, and here’s why… Hidden Valley bottled ranch dressing contains MSG, added sugar, added salt, artificial flavoring and other ingredients that simply aren’t necessary. Here’s a great post I found explaining all the ingredients in Hidden Valley ranch and any issues with them: Inside the Label: Ranch Dressing.

We use this ranch for dipping, and as a dressing on salads and other foods. When I use it as a salad dressing, I either add a little extra coconut milk or water to get the consistency I need. It’s a great dressing and I love it that our kids think it’s better than the store bought stuff!

This recipe calls for a cup of mayonnaise… I use our homemade mayo for that, recipe here.

Homemade Ranch Dressing
A deliciously creamy ranch dressing that is Whole30 and Paleo compliant, no added junk!
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup mayonnaise
  2. 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk with some cream (I put a can of coconut milk in the fridge for an hour and use 1/3 cup of the soupy mixture it ends up becoming)
  3. 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  4. 1 clove garlic (pressed or finely minced)
  5. 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  6. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  8. 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  9. 1/8 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until fully mixed.
  2. Eat and love it!
Adapted from The Whole30
Adapted from The Whole30
Homemade Health Food http://homemadehealthfood.com/

simple spaghetti sauce

Simple Spaghetti Sauce
Super simple homemade spaghetti sauce, easy for anyone to make!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. crushed or diced tomatoes, 1 can, 14.5oz
  2. tomato paste, 1 can, 12oz
  3. 2 tablespoons oregano
  4. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  5. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  8. 1/3 to 1/2 cups water (depending on how thin you want your sauce)
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and mix it all up.
  2. Heat on stove when ready to eat, adding water to thin it out.
Notes
  1. Ground meat makes an excellent addition to this recipe!
Homemade Health Food http://homemadehealthfood.com/

This super simple spaghetti sauce is awesome!

zoodles-with-homemade-meat-sauceWe absolutely love this spaghetti sauce. Our kids love it, our friends and family love it, and best of all… it’s super easy to make! I love easy recipes that take a minimal amount of time. Wonderful. Making this spaghetti sauce only takes about 10 minutes. And the best part is that you don’t have to heat it up until you actually need to use it. So there’s no initial cooking involved!

Have it over zoodles or noodles, or add it to some alfredo sauce for a different flavor. I personally prefer to have it over zoodles because I absolutely love them. I sautee our zoodles in a little olive oil with fresh garlic to add some extra flavor to the zoodles themselves.

homemade-meat-sauceLove meat in your spaghetti sauce?

Add meat to your simple spaghetti sauce to make it even more delicious! Ground turkey or deer are fantastic additions. Simply brown the meat and add it in to the amount of sauce you need for the meal  you’re making. I like to make two batches of sauce and freeze half so I don’t have to make it later. It freezes really well and tastes just as good when it’s reheated.

This sauce can also be used for sloppy Joe’s, just add more meat than you would for regular spaghetti sauce and BAM! Awesome sandwiches for the win!

 

Creamy Garlic Sauce

creamy garlic sauce

Creamy Garlic Sauce
Serves 4
A nice and creamy garlic sauce to add wonderful flavor to a huge variety of meals.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  2. 3 tablespoons clarified butter
  3. 1 tablespoon coconut cream
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 2 teaspoons oregano
  6. 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Instructions
  1. Heat saucepan over medium-low heat, add butter.
  2. Once the butter is melted, add all other ingredients.
  3. Simmer on low, stirring often, until all ingredients are mixed together well.
  4. Pour over kale, zoodles, or whatever other dish you're having and enjoy!
Notes
  1. For a little extra kick, double the amount of chili powder in the recipe.
Homemade Health Food http://homemadehealthfood.com/

This creamy garlic sauce goes great with lots of dishes. Pictured, I have the garlic sauce over sauteed kale and cashews, with chicken. Delicious!

This sauce is also fantastic with shrimp dishes, like shrimp and zoodles (or noodles if you’re not a zucchini fan). Spicy shrimp with this awesome creamy garlic sauce is incredibly delicious!

For an added kick of flavor, double the amount of chili powder… great on the taste buds!

sweet creamy bacon sauce

sweet creamy bacon sauce

This sweet creamy BACON sauce is incredible. And, as the name of the recipe coveys, it does indeed have bacon… so you know it’s good!

Sweet Creamy Bacon Sauce
Serves 2
An amazingly sweet and creamy sauce, with bacon of course! Fantastic over chicken.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 strips bacon
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 3/4 cup mayo
  4. 1 tbsp butter (or ghee or clarified butter)
  5. 1 tsp chopped parsley (1 1/2 tsp if fresh)
  6. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 tsp onion powder
  9. 1/4 tsp paprika
Instructions
  1. Cook the bacon and chop into bits- this is the part of the "cook time" that takes the longest.
  2. Heat butter in sauce pan over medium heat.
  3. Once the butter is melted, add the bacon and garlic.
  4. Let simmer until the garlic becomes aromatic, about 2 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Add all other ingredients. Simmer, stirring often for about 2 more minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
  6. Add mayo, simmer another 1 minute to allow mayo to heat up, then remove from heat and whisk mixture until sauce becomes creamy (aside from bacon bits).
  7. Best over a chicken dish... enjoy!
Homemade Health Food http://homemadehealthfood.com/

Have your sweet creamy bacon sauce over chicken and sauteed kale with cashews!

This is a fairly straightforward thing to make. Simply put about a teaspoon of butter in a saucepan, add chopped up cashews and kale, moving it all around in the pan often. Serve with baked chicken.

When chopping up cashews or other nuts, especially when they’re to be served as above, sauteed, large chunks good, I usually throw the nuts in a plastic bag and bash them with the handle of a butter knife. This allows for a variety of chunk sizes and it’s super quick. Not to mention you don’t have use a food processor or anything, which means fewer dishes.. always a win!

Sweet Potato Burger Buns

Delicious Whole30 compliant sweet potato burger buns that the entire family will enjoy!

Sweet Potato Burger Buns
Delicious Whole30 compliant sweet potato burger buns.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. Sweet potato, large and fat
  2. 1 to 2 tbsp clarified butter or ghee
Instructions
  1. Peel and rinse sweet potato.
  2. Cut into thin slices, approximately 1/6" wide
  3. Heat clarified butter or ghee over medium heat. The amount of butter required will depend on how many slices of sweet potato you have to cook.
  4. Lay sweet potato slices in pan and cook for approximately 2 minutes, flip over and cook for another 2 minutes. The sweet potato slices should be fork tender when done.
  5. Enjoy with a burger!
Adapted from The Whole30
Adapted from The Whole30
Homemade Health Food http://homemadehealthfood.com/

Seriously, these are awesome! These sweet potato buns are also gluten free, which is a wonderful added benefit! These buns only take a few minutes to make, which is fantastic. When I first made these, I thought they would completely fall apart when we tried to actually use them as burger buns. Incredibly, these sweet potato buns held together just fine, not one of them broke in half or anything, and they tasted great!

These sweet potato buns also freeze pretty well. I generally keep them for about two weeks in the freezer if I make a large batch. My husband loves having turkey burgers with these buns so much that we usually run out pretty quickly, as they are his go-to meal if nothing else is planned. Makes for a great quick lunch or dinner and it’s healthy!

The Whole30 – RESTART!

the whole30Yep, that’s right. Hubby and I have started The Whole30 again! We didn’t make a new years resolution to do it or anything, but we decided that after all the junk we ended up eating over the holidays, it was time to get our bodies back on track!

We started on Monday, January 4th, so today is day 4 of The Whole30. So far we have done very well, as this time we made a point of taking time to prepare. I will be adding information on what we did to prepare and what we purchased to help us as we go along. Our very first Whole30 experience can be found here, its a day by day log of everything we did and everything we ate. This time around I will focus more on food preparation and what we do instead of focusing on how we feel. We know eating this way feels good, so now we need to focus on maintaining this type of healthy eating.

One thing we’ve noticed in the time from our first experience with Whole30 to now is that preparation really matters. Big time. In order to maintain a very healthy diet and not slip and have Burger King or Subway, healthy food needs to be available quickly. We knew not having the right foods readily available would make it easier for us to eat out and go completely unhealthy for day after day, but we did nothing about it for several months. This time around, we have made daily and weekly preparation a priority, ensuring we will not come upon a meal time without having something fairly quick we can make and eat.

As we do our prep, I will take pictures and write about how we prepare all the different things needed to maintain this type of healthy eating. I plan to include my grocery lists, staples that I always have in the kitchen, new kitchen gadgets that help make things easier, and information on getting the kiddos to eat and love healthy foods!

For The Whole30, Preparation is Key!

Whole30 Day 31 – totally got on the scale 

finished-whole30Because the Whole30 is over! Even though hubby and I do plan to continue eating this way (my ice cream thoughts from yesterday are gone, lol), I wanted to see what 30 full days of this program would really do for my weight. I did start working out, but have only been doing an intense workout for 2 days so far (today will be day 3). So this weight loss really is all about eating right.

Drum roll please…

I am down a total of 9.7 pounds! Hubby is down about 15! 

I don’t plan to weigh myself constantly going forward just because my Whole30 is over. I feel so good that aside from really wanting to know this morning, weight doesn’t matter much to me at this point. 

Here’s to finishing the Whole30, finding a healthy way to eat that we can maintain, finding a workout program I’m excited about, and magically losing some weight over the last month! I still seriously believe owning the book matters. At least it has for me. I know they sell both The Whole30 book and It Starts with Food on their website HERE. I would really recommend reading both!

Whole30… Thank you!

Whole30 Day 30 – we did THE WHOLE 30!!!!

Today, as the last day for our Whole30 program, we decided to just eat some amazing meals! Why make amazing on the last day? Because we wanted a reminder of why we don’t. want. to. stop. Though I must admit, I am really excited to get on the scale tomorrow morning… just want to see if I actually lost weight!

This last 30 days has been incredible for us. We feel better. We look better. We are happier. We have more energy. The list of benefits we have seen from completing the Whole30 program goes on and on and on!

IMG_4807.JPGBreakfast this morning was a great frittata (or egg bake, or whatever you’d like to call it). Hubby and I and our teenaged son all ate it and enjoyed it! The one I made was a slight variation from this recipe that can be found on The Petite Professional. Everyone in the family really loves these things and they’re great to make the night before and heat up in the morning. As long as everyone only eats his or her share (HA!), it can last 2 mornings for a family of 4. I personally love meals I can make ahead of time so I don’t have to think. This is especially true in the mornings!

IMG_4810.JPGLunch for me was leftover artichoke chicken from last night. The boys had kale salads with homemade ranch, turkey meatballs, walnuts and raisins (yum!!!). 

After lunch I decided to prep for dinner as we’re having my father-in-law in town for a visit tonight. I made some awesome balsamic vinaigrette (p.328, The Whole30) and chopped a bunch of walnuts in my little food processor. When I have family over, I like to be as prepared as possible for any cooking I may need to do in an attempt to keep myself visiting instead of in the kitchen! Doing the prep work ahead of time just makes my life so much easier, lol!

IMG_4819.JPGFor dinner I made walnut-crusted pork (p.252, The Whole30) which we had over my new baked balsamic zucchini recipe, topped with homemade balsamic vinaigrette. We included side salads and apple slices with the meal as well. The meal was awesome! The kids ate everything on their plates, zucchini, salads, and apple slices included 🙂 It always makes me happy when our kids enjoy the Whole30 meals I make, because the two of them (and actually hubby included) can be extremely picky eaters!

After dinner we were talking with my hubby’s dad and we actually ended up ordering him The Whole30 book. We’ve purchased this book for several people lately, and the main reason is that it works wonders! And we want other people to feel this good too. I am also very fond of actually owning the book, which I know I have mentioned before. I love looking through the recipes again and again, rereading things to remind myself of how I used to feel, and of course I super love looking at the Non-Scale Victories!

So, our Whole30 experience is officially over. I’m not sure if we’ll add anything tomorrow (though a small Blizzard sure sounds awful yummy right now!), but I am glad we made it through to the end! I will continue writing about food (and will have one more Whole30 post about the SCALE!), the things we eat each day, and of course the fitness programs I’m in the middle of doing. But these posts will probably move to their own separate area under our Healthy Eating category (something we’re adding since we’ve completed the Whole30). Hubby and I are both extremely excited to continue on this healthy path and hope we can maintain it for the most part for a long time to come. While we release we may have a treat here or there, mind back on Blizzard, lol, we hope to continue having a healthy relationship with food and not use it as a reward or go back to eating out of boredom. This is the right way to eat and we will continue it. I hope to start creating more of my own recipes that are Whole30 compliant and gluten-free to assist others who are also working to get healthy.

Whole30 Day 30… WOW! We feel INCREDIBLE!