October 2011 Archives

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Message: Hello,
What does a day in the life of a Sneaky Chef Household look like meal-
wise? I would love a daily food log that I could sort of use as a mold
to create my own family menus.
I hope you answer this question, it would be vital for my home!!!

I LOVE that question, Stephanie! That's the best email I've gotten in a long time...this is for a typical day in my house - I must admit, a little prep ahead of time goes a long way toward easier weekdays when schedules are busy - not sure if you have my books, but I cook out of all of them....although I end up using my first book a lot (and my newest book, coming out in January-see below):

School Day 5-minute Breakfast: Breakfast Ice Cream (from my first book-blue border) - frozen chopped banana/frozen strawberries/Greek yogurt/touch of honey and milk in mini food processor - puree to "soft serve" consistency; serve in a parfait glass with a little squirt of organic whipped cream for fun!

Lunch box: Quick Fix for Tuna Fish Sandwich (from my first book - blue border) - mix chunk light tuna with skinless/boneless sardines and my White Bean Puree/touch of light mayo and a little wheat germ - add chopped celery or dill, if desired; serve on whole grain bread. Carrot sticks/apple or applesauce on side.

After-school snack: Red pepper slices with light ranch dressing/plain nonfat Greek yogurt dip (I try to do less and less Ranch, more and more plain Greek yogurt) or No Doc Guacamole (guac with my Green Puree mixed in - I keep my purees made in baggies in the freezer); they also love the homemade corn chips (just brush corn tortillas with olive oil, salt, cut into triangles, bake for 10-15 minutes on 400 degrees until crisp)

Dinner: Saucy Turkey Meat Sauce (from my first book - blue border) over whole grain pasta (one of my girls is gluten-free now, so we make 2 kinds of pasta) - served with a romaine salad with olive oil and vinegar (they'll eat it if I call it a "Caesar Salad" and add grated Parmesan)

Dessert: a "sometimes" event - My Say Yes to Sorbet (also book 1) - frozen berries and pom juice in food processor; or an orange or an ice pop from one of my books - sometimes I just pour chocolate coconut water into popsicle molds and freeze - they love this too (so do I - and very few calories)

Hope that helps!

And great news - 80+ more recipes coming your way this January! You can pre-order my new book, The Speedy Sneaky Chef, here at amazon:

With healthy regards,



Let the kids have some squishy spooky fun this Halloween! 

I love putting out a healthy (but no less FUN) dinner before the kids go out to Trick or Treat! My motto is, if you feed them good protein and whole grains and veggies before going out, the temptation to fill up on candy will be so much less….and even if they do eat some candy, the sugar spike (and corresponding crash) won’t be nearly as bad if their bellies are filled with nutritious foods.

So let’s play Spaghetti, Brains ‘n Fingers! 
Just make a bowl of whole grain spaghetti, toss it with olive oil and add some chopped Veggie Patch Veggie Dogs – cut in varying lengths so they resemble fingers (or pieces of cut off fingers….mwahaha!!)
Add some lightly steamed cauliflower florets for “brains” and to take it one step further, let the kids eat out of their own bowls with their clean hands….blindfolded!! Tell them to find the cut off fingers among the spaghetti “intestines,” but to watch out for the edible “brains” along the way. So fun, and a really tasty, healthy meal!

Another “trick” I use for Halloween is to make special spooky dipping sauces for my kids favorite Veggie Patch Corn Dogs. They go great with seasonal colors and flavors like “bloody” ketchup with some baby food carrot puree mixed in, and green “slime” (guacamole) with my Green Puree mixed in!

Here’s some more of my sneaky tips to help us all get through this nutritionally challenging holiday – these have saved my kids and me lots of lots of extra calories!:

-Don’t buy Halloween candy early – get it only the day before – that’ll prevent eating it before the 31st.

-As described above, give kids a good dinner (high protein and fiber) before they go out trick or treating - this will keep them full and prevent overeating candy during the evening; see ideas above.

-If your kids want to eat candy throughout their time trick or treating, give them a lollipop to suck – this will keep their mouths happy for very few calories (it’s a trick I use on myself when I take the kids out – so I don’t nibble on too much candy!).

-After Halloween, give away a handful of candy everyday until it magically disappears – tossing the entire bag out at once will cause a riot. Allow kids to eat a piece or two of candy a day.

-To avoid temptation, keep the candy somewhat out of sight (and hopefully out of mind) – not in clear glass bowls/jars out on the counter.

Have a sneaky and spooky Halloween!!

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Hi Missy,

I have really enjoyed your books and have tried several recipes which have gone over well at our house.

I am wanting to implement this at every meal but am struggling with setting up an easy grocery list. Do you have an easy way to shop that you could share?

Thanks in advance!

Jessica L.

Hi Jessica!
Thanks for taking the time to write, and I'm so happy to hear my recipes are working well for you!

Below is an exclusive preview – a new master shopping list - from my new book The Speedy Sneaky Chef - 80+ more recipes coming your way this January!

Also, here are some meal planning tips:

Sneaky Chef's Meal Planning Tips:
-try a new fruit or veggie every week

-make meals once, use leftovers in another form next day (e.g., meat sauce one day, cheeseburger stuffed potatoes next day)

-choose one puree a day and make all recipes using that puree

-make several batches of purees ahead – one time a week; store in refrigerator for 3 days or freezer for 3 months

-clean and chop veggies and store in plastic bags for a few days so they are ready to use

You can pre-order my new book here at amazon:

With healthiest regards,


Sneaky—and Snappy—Staples to Keep in the Kitchen (reproduced from The Speedy Sneaky Chef, Jan 2012)
Stock your pantry, fridge, and freezer with the following items and you’ll be ready to cook up any healthy Sneaky Chef recipe, in an instant! Copy this Sneaky Chef Master Shopping List so you always have it in your purse:

• Baby spinach
• Zucchini
• Broccoli
• Sweet potatoes (or yams)
• Cauliflower
• Berries, in season
• Bananas
• Avocados
• Onions
• Russet potatoes
• Lemons

• Beef, lean ground (ideally “grass fed”)
• Turkey, lean ground
• Hot dogs (no nitrates)
• Fish fillets—salmon, tilapia, or flounder (ideally not farm-raised)
• Chicken—skinless, boneless thin sliced breasts and tenders

• Wheat germ, unsweetened
• Oat bran
• Old-fashioned and quick cooking rolled oats
• Shredded Mini-Wheats®
• Whole-grain Cream of Wheat® packets
• Instant oatmeal packets, variety flavor
• Cereal, high-fiber flakes
• Cereal, brown rice
• Flour, whole wheat (stone ground)
• Flour, white (unbleached)
• Pancake mix, whole grain
• Whole-grain “pastry” flour
• Cornmeal
• Flaxseed, ground
• Corn muffin mix, ideally whole grain

• Brown rice
• Macaroni and cheese, boxed (ideally whole grain; without artificial colors)
• Whole-grain pasta, elbows and ziti
• Wonton wrappers
• Lasagna noodles, “no boil”
• Whole grain white rice
• Quinoa

• Bread, whole wheat
• Tortillas, whole wheat
• Tortillas, corn
• Bread crumbs, whole wheat
• Pita bread, whole wheat, pocketless
• Bagels, whole wheat

• Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
• White beans (butter beans, navy, or cannellini)
• Refried beans, low-fat, vegetarian
• Baked beans, vegetarian
• Tomatoes, plum, whole
• Sardines, in water, skinless and boneless
• Tuna, in water (preferably “chunk light”)
• Tomato paste
• Evaporated skim milk
• Tomato soup, ideally low-sodium

• Baby foods—especially sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, zucchini, garden vegetables, prunes, plums, apricots, blueberries, spinach, squash, and broccoli
• Pomegranate juice
• Salsa
• Applesauce
• Ranch dressing (no MSG)
• Ketchup
• Marinara sauce
• Tomato sauce

• Blueberries (without added syrup or sweeteners)
• Strawberries (without added syrup or sweeteners)
• Cherries (without added syrup or sweeteners)
• Green peas, sweet
• Corn, yellow, off cob
• Edamame (soybeans in shell or shelled)
• Frozen pureed butternut squash
• Cauliflower florets
• Broccoli florets
• Onions, chopped

• Almonds, blanched and slivered
• Walnuts
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Canola oil
• Cooking oil, spray

• Cocoa, unsweetened
• Green and herbal teas, decaffeinated

• Chocolate chips, semisweet
• Gelatin, unflavored
• Chocolate syrup
• Whipped cream, spray can
• Frozen yogurt, low-fat

• Yogurt, low fat, plain
• Yogurt, low fat, Greek style
• Cheese, reduced fat, shredded cheddar
• Cheese, reduced fat shredded Mexican blend
• American cheese slices, 2% milk
• cheese, reduced fat shredded Italian blend
• Ricotta cheese, part skim
• Tofu, firm block
• Eggs (with added Omega-3)
• Parmesan cheese,
• Powdered milk, nonfat

• Chicken broth, boxed (no MSG), ideally low-sodium
• Vegetable broth, boxed, (no MSG), ideally low-sodium
• Cinnamon
• Honey
• Pure maple syrup
• Pure vanilla extract
• Baking powder, non-aluminum
• Baking soda
• Powdered sugar
• Brown sugar
• Raw or Turbinado sugar
• Jam, no sugar added
• Lentils (dried or canned)
• Hummus
• Italian seasoning
• Taco seasoning (no MSG)
• Chili powder

Nothing says autumn like the abundance of fresh, crisp, juicy, colorful apples. I get giddy when I go to my neighborhood farmer's market and see the beautiful display of barrels filled with red, yellow, and green apples!

I usually end up buying bags (yes, plural) of apples and still never have enough the upcoming weeks! Between snacking throughout the day on crisp apples, making apple pies & apple puree and using in numerous recipes like pancakes. It's the most versatile, healthy, loved fall fruit at the market! And the most amazing thing about apples are they actually have such great health benefit. We all grew up with the phrase, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" and it kinda does! Apples are a good source of fiber and loaded with protective phytonutrients.

Here's a sneak peek from my new book, THE SPEEDY SNEAKY CHEF (due out Jan 2012):

HOT APPLE PIE PARFAIT (5 minute recipe)
The aroma of apples sautéing in butter and cinnamon on an early school morning is a sure way to get things moving! This dish will lure even the grumpiest kid—or hubby—out of bed with a smile.

Makes 2 parfaits
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 large apple, cored, and thinly sliced, ideally unpeeled
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon or apple pie spice
1/2 cup low-fat granola
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed and/or wheat germ
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

Add butter to saucepan and melt over medium heat. Mix in the apple slices, brown sugar, and cinnamon or spice, sautéing for about 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of water to pan, if necessary, if apple mixture gets too dry.
In parfait or serving glasses, layer granola/flax/wheat germ, yogurt, and apples as desired, and serve.


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