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Eating Pretty!

I am many things and among them, I am a cook. I am not a gourmet chef, or a sous chef, I do not work at a 5-Star restaurant or own a food truck, I just enjoy cooking, I'm pretty good at it, and once or twice I've taught a cooking class (out of my home to my sweet neighbors and friends).

A few years ago I started eating clean and lost weight and loved it but then fell off the band wagon and was never able to really get back on... until recently. I had forgotten how fun cooking clean was. It pushes me beyond my comfort zone and helps me revitalize food like never before. Now don't get me wrong, this whole cooking and eating clean thing isn't that big of a leap for me... most of the foods I cook are not packaged but I think, for me, it's the addition of so many vegetables, and the subtraction of so much sugar that really makes the difference.

Now, I'm not 100% totally clean but as you can see when you read the recipes, for the most part I am and it wouldn't be hard to switch out just a few ingredients to accomodate any diet. I am keeping my calories and I do have my vices but I try to find substitutions and choose healthier ways.

I drink almost all water almost all the time... I'd say like 95% of the time I drink water. I like my coffee though... well I like my creamer with a little coffee I should say. When I tried Califia Mocha I was so stoked. Especially during the summer time.

It just gives me that little OOMF I need to get me through. I don't drink it every day and I haven't been drinking it first thing... it's more like a mid-afternoon treat. I think of it like a little dessert.

Anyway, on to the pretty food. For breakfast this morning I made these amazing breakfast tacos. I love tacos! I use Ezekial Sprouted Grain Toritillas as a base. I don't go completely paleo or whole 30 but I do what I can and some things I just don't want to let go of. I like tacos... I'm just reiterating my point here...

I cooked down some spinach in a little butter (but you could use coconut oil or olive oil) and I added in my eggs. I always cook my bacon in the oven then soak up the extra grease in napkins or paper towels. I warmed up my tortilla and filled it with the egg and spinach, a piece of bacon, and topped with fresh chopped cilantro and Rojo's Fire Roasted Salsa (it's my all time favorite store salsa, like ever!).

Seriously, doesn't this look beyond delicious?? It was!

Tonight we had to throw together a quick dinner. I knew I had some chicken, broccoli, and pasta at the house but I had run out of spinach. Spinach is my favorite filler, you can add it in to almost anything and it blends right in and adds so much to a dish.

Anyway, I ran by the store and grabbed a bag of spinach, a package of baby bella mushrooms, then found some prosciutto on sale. It was Creminelli, which is local, so I bought it and a piece of Asiago cheese. Our local grocery store, Smiths, has a nice cheese selection (again not totally clean or paleo but still more natural then the packaged stuff).

When we got home I recruited my son to help me cook and by cook I mean chop everything up.

The pasta I had was made in Italy, it only had like 2 ingredients. I don't buy a lot of pasta but when I do I try to buy the Italian kinds, I feel like their crops are less GMO than ours (absolutely no research or science behind that statement) I also think they taste better. I do buy some pastas from the farmers market where a local company makes the pasta fresh. Or I use zucchini and julienne it to make zoodles... anyway, moving on.

First Ant (my son) chopped the broccoli while I started the water to boil. Once he was done chopping broccoli I started him on the shallot and garlic. He hand minced them, he's a lot like his dad that way, precise. I cut up the chicken into cubes and chopped up the prosciutto. Once the water started to boil he dumped in the noodles and broccoli. As that boiled we sautéed the garlic and shallots in a little olive oil and butter, added some pink Himalayan sea salt, then added in the prosciutto. Once the ingredients had started to meld together I threw in the chicken and the sliced baby bella mushrooms. I also tossed in two spoonfuls of capers because capers.

I covered this yummy plethora of goodness and let it cook down just a bit. We put the fresh spinach in the bottom of the pasta bowl, spinach cooks so quickly that just adding warm ingredients will suffice.

Once the pasta was done we drained it and added it to the top of the spinach. I uncovered the chicken mixture and added a little chicken stock and heavy cream. Yes, heavy cream (don't judge me). As I whisked the mixture Ant grated that little piece of Asiago into it. and wah-lah! We're talking a good, mostly clean, meal within 20 minutes. You can skip the heavy cream... to thicken your sauce you can use arrow-root powder (a healthy alternative to cornstarch or just use cornstarch).

You can't lie, it really is beautiful. This is the pasta pictured at the very top also.

Last night, I was alone... the kiddos were out with my mom so I made me a little bowl of food. I had some brown rice on hand, already cooked. I took a small pan, melted a little butter, added garlic, shallot, chopped spinach, shrimp, and grape tomatoes then added a 1/2 cup of rice. Within five minutes I had me this little bowl of goodness.

This was really delicious! I guess what I'm trying to get across is that eating "clean" or healthy doesn't have to be overwhelming or overly complicated. You don't need a bunch of hard to pronounce or expensive ingredients to get started and you don't have to be a master chef either. A few staples in your pantry and a couple of better decisions can get you on the fast track to eating better and really enjoying it. Looking at my meals I don't think I am eating clean, paleo, or whole 30... I think I have a more Mediterranean style and you know they have gorgeous bodies over there!

Until next time, eat pretty!

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