Friday, April 24, 2015

Veggie-Packed Pizza Rolls

This post deserves a preamble. Mainly because a year ago, I would have never posted such a recipe or even considered it. Why? Because at that time, I had a very different definition of clean eating. It would not have even occurred to me to make a recipe out of refrigerated crescent rolls. It was not even on my radar.

I need to be clear this preamble does not mean that our family no longer 'eats clean'. We still follow the same rule that we do not eat foods that contain chemicals. We are loyal label readers. And I don't foresee that ever changing. 

But our eating habits have changed and I think that is worth addressing.

Defining Clean Eating Then and Now

THEN: we were a lot stricter in our definition of clean eating. With the exception of hummus, salsa, condiments (ketchup, mayo, etc), and occasionally marinara sauce, we didn't buy anything pre-made. If we wanted crackers, I made crackers. If we wanted bread, I made bread.  Not surprising that I wrote a book called Homemade Snacks and Staples, is it? Until Baby G was a year old, processed foods or even foods-made-by-someone-other-than-me never touched her lips.

Then our baby grew into a toddler.
And I got pregnant.
And I was writing another cookbook.
And I wrote that book with a toddler always at my side. My pregnant side. My first trimester pregnant side.

And we got a little looser in our eating habits.

NOW: We still don't eat chemicals, but we do buy pre-made foods that have all real food ingredients. My dad used to complain that there was nothing in our pantry that he could just take out and eat. That has changed. You will find crackers and even fruit snacks in our pantry. I am falling in love with a brand called Immaculate Baking Company.  They make refrigerated crescent rolls and cinnamon rolls with no chemicals. They even have baking mix with (gasp) all real food ingredients.  It's about damn time if you ask me.

Now that things are settling down, I foresee us having a balance between homemade and pre-made. I enjoy baking and making crackers, so I want to keep doing that, but I also forgive myself for buying shortcuts.

These pizza rolls are a short cut and I hope you love them as much as we do.

Veggie-Packed Pizza Rolls

If you are a mom and a fan of Pinterest, you have probably seen some sort of recipe for pizza crescent rolls. Most involved pepperoni, pizza sauce, and a hunk of string cheese. When I developed this recipe, I had these recipes in mind, but wanted something a little healthier. I developed this because G won't eat pizza and I happen to like pizza. A lot. And when I would order bread sticks for her, that meant I was also eating bread sticks with my pizza. Bread sticks that were loaded with cheese and had no redeeming nutritional value. So I wanted something bread-stick-y but with some added veggies so I could feel a little good about giving them to her (and eating them with my pizza). 



1 container Immaculate brand crescent rolls (or another brand that does NOT contain any chemicals)

approx. 1/2 cup pizza sauce

[1/4] cup shredded carrots, chopped

[1/4] cup spinach, chopped fine

[1/4] cup shredded mozzarella cheese OR 3 pieces string cheese cut in 1-inch chunks*

Sprinkling of garlic powder and Parmesan cheese

*Older kids may like the string cheese better, but for G, it was too much cheese. She just pulled it out or spit it out. She did better with the shredded cheese.


1. Preheat oven to 350 dg(F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, combine pizza sauce, carrots, and spinach.

3. Roll out crescent rolls. Put a thin layer of sauce on each roll. If using shredded cheese, sprinkle some on top. You don't need much! If using string cheese, roll dough around string cheese.

4. Sprinkle garlic powder and Parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with leftover sauce.

This was a huge hit with Baby G. She devoured two rolls in one sitting. It wasn't as popular with her buddy, Hudson. You can't win them all, I guess. I liked them better than my pizza.


I think the shredded cheese works a little better for the toddler crowd. Older kids would probably like the string cheese version.

I used shredded carrots that I just cut up more finely. You could also grate carrots and that would probably blend into the sauce a little better. Finely chopped cooked broccoli could also work well here. When I cut the spinach, I rolled the leaves together and then cut it into thin strips. That was enough for the spinach to blend into the sauce.

What are some of your favorite chemical-free packaged foods?

Fun Facts Friday April 20-24

First of all, I owe you a recipe post. It's half written and if I get a good nap today, you will get it later today. If not, then soon. I promise. No more Fun Fact Fridays without a recipe. After today.

I am so glad it's Friday.

Here goes...

1. Both my husband and I are always exhausted by Friday. I used to get a little bonus sleeping in every morning but I have started running so good bye extra zzzz's. It's totally worth it, but what I would give for a morning to just sleep. Thank goodness for coffee. Do you remember when we all used to go out on Friday nights? Now I look forward to lounging on my couch and hopefully getting G to bed at a decent time. And going to bed really early. I feel old and boring, but I'm so tired I don't care.

2. Speaking of running, I have registered for a 5k and have a second one picked out. With Baby G, I ran until 32 weeks, but most of it was treadmill running. I have been running every day and am up to about 2.5 miles. I am really excited to do some races pregnant. Now, to be honest, to call it running may be a stretch. I can definitely say that I am not walking, but running? I won't even wear my Garmin because I don't want to know how slow I am going, but it makes me feel happy when I do it, so I'm going to do it til I can't.

3. In other preggo fitness news, I am having a heck of a time finding maternity golf wear. I am also determined to play golf until I physically can't.  I already don't fit into my regular golf clothes (thank you hips), but given the lack of selection and the price of what I have found, I may need to buy just bigger non-maternity pants and skirts, and then pair it with some maternity tank tops. Hope the club isn't strict on the collared shirt rule.

4. We went to Costco this week. Until this point, I have not been a huge Costco person. We don't eat a lot of packaged snacks or foods. I was super impressed with the produce section. I don't know if I should be proud or embarrassed, but this family of 3 has almost polished off 4 pounds of strawberries in 4 days. I think they should be gone by the weekend. In addition to snacking on them, I have been serving them as a dessert to Baby G (and me) with plain Greek yogurt for dipping. Yum! I will definitely have to add Costco in my grocery store rotation for produce.

5. This was my other big Costco find.

It came with 20 individual packs of freeze dried fruit for $18.  There were 10 packs of apples, 5 packs of red grapes, and 5 packs of strawberries and pineapples. No added chemicals, oils, salt, or sugar. I have tried them all and they have been great. I love throwing them in my diaper bag. I feel better about giving G these as a snack instead of crackers.

6. In other food news, G pays no heed to what I consider 'food rules.'

In case you can't tell, she is dunking freeze dried mango slices into roasted red pepper hummus. I am trying not to edit her. Maybe she will be a culinary genius? She has also dunked fresh blackberries into adobo sauce (think soy sauce and vinegar). Anyone else's kid like weird combinations?

7. I also want to point out in the above picture that she was two water glasses. My niece bought her a Frozen and Sophia the First (aka Ham the first in our household) glasses and she insists on having both of them at all meals and snacks. With ice.  She's a bit of a prima donna if you ask me.

8. Have you seen this article on creating wardrobe capsules? I am working on minimizing my clothes. I have decided on 2 plastic bins for pre-pregnancy clothes, 1 for post partum clothes, and probably 2 for maternity clothes. Yesterday I got rid of 50 pairs of socks. It felt amazing. I am a bit of a socks hoarder. I hope Goodwill accepts socks.....

9. I kicked butt on my meal plan this week. So far, all of the recipes have been super tasty and the right amount of work and we have kept up on leftovers. It's rare that it works this well so I wanted to celebrate it.

That's all I have for today. I have a recipe blog post I need to write (and laundry to do, a dishwasher to unload, a shower to take, the list goes on and on.....).

Have a great weekend!

Do you have any favorite Costco (clean eating) finds?
Does your toddler like any weird food combinations?
Do tell.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fun Facts Friday April 13-17

One of my favorite bloggers, Clean Eating Chelsea, runs a Fun Facts Friday series. It's just her sharing random facts about her week. For whatever reason, I just love reading it. I thought I would attempt to do my own version of Fun Facts Friday. I can't think of a better name so I'm just going to go with her idea and hope she understands that imitation is the best form of flattery.

1. I can't even express how happy the weather this week has made me. I love our house in the summertime. With our gated deck, I feel like we have an extra play room in our house. It has also meant Baby G has been taking great 2-3 hour naps since we have spent all of our mornings outdoors.

2. Speaking of naps, I continue to struggle with making the most of nap times. I know that I need to get some rest during nap times, but taking a nap leaves me feeling groggy. I can usually snap out of it after a snack and lots of pinning, but it also means I feel way behind on housework.   I also don't want to be working on housework/cooking the whole time. Today was an okay balance of house stuff (1 load of laundry, cleaning out bathroom vanity, emptying the dishwasher) and stuff for me (calling my mom while sitting on the deck, blogging, and hopefully paging through some new magazines).  As for actual working, I try to save that for when my husband is home because I get in a zone when I am writing and I don't like stopping in the middle. Any fellow SAHMs want to share what they do during nap time?

3. My aversion to meat is getting worse and worse. Since the beginning of this pregnancy, the thought of eating a steak has made me gag. Now the only meat I can even think of eating (in small doses) is chicken. And oddly, I am craving lunch meat like no one's business. I guess it's good I have a lot of vegan cookbooks, right?

4. We are planning to go out with another couple tomorrow night to a new-ish restaurant in Madison, Sujeo. It's been way too long since I have gone anywhere even remotely trendy. I am really excited. Oh, and Madisonians, if Sujeo is so last year, don't tell me. Let me live in my bubble.

5. I can't believe how much Baby G is changing every day. She talks like a magpie and it seems like every day she is saying more complete sentences. So far, it hasn't gotten me in trouble, but I know the day is coming soon.

6. I caved in and bought the Frozen soundtrack on my phone. To prevent us listening to it 24/7, I told her we can only listen to it when her friend, PJ, comes over. He comes over at least once a week, so it's often enough for her to accept it. I suspect that she is going to grow up really liking PJ and associating him with the joys of Frozen. I hope this does not lead to therapy of any kind for either of us.

I could probably go on rambling, folks, but I will stop here for now. I would love to hear one great thing you did or thought this week. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chocolate and Greens Smoothie Packs

This is going to be a short post. I wanted to share with you a recipe from my other blog, that grown-up one, Badger Girl Learns to Cook.

I just shared my recipe for Chocolate and Greens Smoothie packs.

With just a little prep, you can have a freezer stocked with healthy smoothie packs. It works wonders on busy morning and allows a chance for little hands to help you in the kitchen.

It's a great solution if you are having trouble getting your little one to eat vegetables, or hey, if YOU have trouble eating your veggies. And the best part? Tastes like a chocolate shake!

I will be back soon with some meal plans AND a recipe for veggie-packed pizza rolls. Here's a preview:

I promise they tasted even better than they looked. Even Baby G ate two of them!