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Unintentional Treat for the Kids.

11 Dec

I was recently approached by another mom, from Positively Kids, wanting to do a raw food challenge.  Since I’ve been working on regaining my healthy eating and not grabbing handfuls of fish crackers and the other ‘kid’ snacks that manage to find their way into my house, I accepted.  We (like everyone else!) have been super busy with all of the holiday planning and celebrating, so I really need to head to the grocery store and load up on more items for this raw eating endeavor, but did already have a good amount on hand to start right away.

It does take a bit of prep and planning, but for me, prepping food satisfies part of the craving.  It’s all part of the eating experience.  Taking the time to cut, slice, shred and prepare causes me to think more about my food choices and what I am feeding myself and my family.

I started out really simply with fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds.  The other day I was trying to think of something to prep for the next morning and decided to try these oat cookies.  When the kids saw them, they were begging for them!  Looks like this will find its way into our morning rotation…or even as an after dinner treat – which is what my 3-year-old just requested.oat cookies

This recipe is the amount I would eat for breakfast.  Truth be told, I just eat it by the spoonful out of the mixing bowl, but it will make about 5 cookies.  Feel free to double or triple the batch size to suit your needs.

 

Oat Cookies

1/4 cup oats (I did use rolled oats which are not raw, but need to get to the store for raw oats this week)

2 TBL natural nut butter – use whichever type you prefer

1 tsp raw honey

Mix together, cover and let sit in the refrigerator over night.  If you are planning to make cookies, roll the mix into a tube shape with parchment or plastic wrap before placing into the fridge.  In the morning, use a sharp knife to slice.  Cover any unused portions and store in the refrigerator.

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Cookies…It’s what’s for breakfast!

20 Nov

Don’t get me wrong, my kids are great eaters, but sometimes it’s helpful to make something sound more exciting than it really is.  I discovered this when my middle-little was about a year or so old.  That is when I started serving waffle cookies.  What are these little treats?  Absolutely nothing more than plain and simple, regular whole wheat waffles.  Because she heard cookie, she was hooked!  She will often eat them without syrup or any other topping, just holding and eating it…like a cookie.

Now, I have fallen victim to a few Pinterest-fails.  When I tried the individual baked oatmeal, it wasn’t a total disaster, but I had a heck of a time peeling them out of the muffin papers.  The other day my niece said she was eating 2-ingredient cookies; just quick oats and bananas.  I thought – c-o-o-k-i-e-s!  I won’t have to peel the wrappers off and what kid wouldn’t like breakfast cookies?!

I didn’t use quick oats and I also like to add flax seed meal to these types of recipes, so I fiddled around and came up with these, which turned out to be VERY kid-approved!

Keep in mind, these are not going to taste like the oatmeal cookie recipe that comes on the oatmeal container, but you can eat these knowing they are a guilt-free, healthy breakfast and are even good on-the-go.

Please don’t hate on my ingredients; in a perfect world everything would be organic, maybe even grown at home, free of any controversy, totally perfect for the world brands.  I don’t know if there are any specific issues with these brands, but feel free to use whatever brands you care to.  The only thing I would say is, make sure not to use quick oats, in my opinion, things turn out a little too gummy with them. 

Breakfast Cookies

1 cup oats

2 very ripe bananas, smashed

¼ cup flax seed meal

A big handful of raisins

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup milk (I use regular, but use almond, soy, etc., if that’s what you use)

Mix all ingredients together and spoon out on a cookie sheet.  Because there is no oil in the cookies, I placed them on a piece of parchment that I spritzed with vegetable oil.  Bake at 350F for 15 minutes, flip the cookies and bake for an additional 7 minutes.   

Makes 12 cookies

Note:  If you need to hide veggies in order to get your kids (or you) to eat them, I would add shredded carrot or zucchini to this recipe.  I’ll update this page once I try it.  My guess at this point would be to add about ¾ cup of either shredded carrot or shredded zucchini.

Fear not, my Twinkie loving friends…

17 Nov

I am a huge lover of books.  Actual books.  Though I adore my Kindle and Kindle Fire, I still can’t let go of the huge bookcase full of books in the garage.  When I can see how many pages I’ve read and pace myself as I read the remaining pages, I feel like I read faster.  I do the same thing with mileage when we take long car trips – it drives my husband crazy!

Many, many years ago, I purchased a cookbook; not odd, since I love cooking and will actually read through every single page of a cookbook as soon as I get it home.  However, this was not a cookbook that would have normally appealed to my tastes.  It was a cookbook with recipes that emulate “America’s Favorite Foods”, as quoted on their website.  I am not a huge fan of fast-food, but I was so intrigued by this book, that I had to have a copy!  Lucky for my Twinkie-loving friends, I remembered this book and can share it with you now.

Unless you are living under a rock, you have likely heard that the Hostess shutdown has prompted a run on Twinkies across America.  In this age of Pinterest, DIY and everything about homemade anything, it should be no problem for the crafty, cooking folk to whip up a batch of homemade Twinkies!

I have not tried this recipe myself, but with all the talk about Twinkies in the last 24 hours or so, I may give it a go.  If you are like me and need to have the book, it is sold on the author’s website and on Amazon.

This recipe is from Todd Wilbur’s book, Top Secret Recipes.

Top Secret Recipe’s Version of Hostess Twinkie 

You will need a spice bottle, approximately the size of a Twinkie, ten 12×14-inch pieces of aluminum foil, a cake decorator or pastry bag, and a chopstick.

*It should be noted that the author has updated the crème filling recipe, here is the link.

I imagine you could also make these in a muffin tin, and save some of the time of setting up the forms – but if you are a die-hard, classic Twinkie eater…knock yourself out!  If you end up making these, let me know how they turn out!

We Just Ate the Great Pumpkin

13 Nov

Photo credit: Urban Farmer

Well, to be honest, it wasn’t all that big of a pumpkin.  It was a sugar pumpkin.  The kids didn’t want big pumpkins this year, so we picked out some sugar pumpkins.  Instead of carving them into jack-o-lanterns, they were just as happy painting them with non-toxic, water based paint (I knew I would be cooking them after Halloween).  When they decided to go with the smaller pumpkins, I instantly started scrolling through my pumpkin recipes.

I learned a few years ago that you could just bake the pumpkin whole!  I thought this was the neatest idea and after trying it, realized how super simple it is!  Just place the pumpkin on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes.  Let it cool for a bit before you cut it in half and scrape out the seeds and stringy parts with a spoon.  After peeling it, run the pumpkin through the food processor  or a blender and use it in place of canned pumpkin in your recipes.We strayed a little from the original recipe this time around.  In addition to using fresh pumpkin, you can use your own chicken stock.  We also did not have the pear nectar, so we used our juicer and juiced some apples and carrots instead.  With grilled cheese sandwiches, it was the perfect fall meal!

Ginger-Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

2 can(s) (15-ounce) pumpkin puree

3 can(s) (14 1/2-ounce) chicken broth 1 can(s) (11 1/2-ounce) pear nectar

1/3 cup(s) creamy peanut butter

2 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoon(s) grated fresh ginger root

2 tablespoon(s) finely chopped green onion

1 tablespoon(s) fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon(s) salt

1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cayenne pepper

Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

Chopped chives (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a 6-quart saucepan, combine pumpkin puree, chicken broth, and pear nectar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes.
  2. In a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with chopping blade, process 1 cup pumpkin mixture with peanut butter until smooth. Return to saucepan with the remaining pumpkin mixture. Add garlic, ginger root, green onion, lime juice, salt, and cayenne pepper; cook 10 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Divide soup among soup plates and garnish with pumpkin seeds and chives, if desired. Serve immediately.

 

Why did the chicken cross the road?

3 Nov

He clearly didn’t know my slow cooker was on the other side!  With the unseasonably hot weather, roasting a chicken in the oven was not happening!  We scored a great price on a roasting chicken, so into the slow cooker it went.  We pretty much followed this recipe from food.com, but to be honest, next time I will follow their cooking time (hubby cooked it on high for 3 hours and low for 1 hour), I would definitely cook on low!  The flavor was great, but it seemed a bit dry to me.  No one else complained,  but I’m certain I can get it right!

Spice Rub

Ingredients:

4 tsp salt (per recipe reviews, 2 tsp is better)  – I went with 2 tsp.

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp cayenne pepper – I used chili powder, because it’s what I had.

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp thyme – This invoked an entire “whose on 1st” scenario in my house.

1 tsp white pepper – Didn’t have it, didn’t use it.

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp black pepper

1 large roasting chicken

1 cup chopped onion (optional) I opted to use it.

Ready to cook.

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the spices.
  2. Remove any giblets from chicken and clean chicken. (I didn’t dry the chicken enough prior to putting on the rub.)
  3. Rub spice mixture onto the chicken.
  4. Place in resealable plastic bag and refrigerate overnight. I skipped this step.
  5. When ready to cook, put chopped onion in bottom of crock pot.  I used the onion.
  6. Add chicken. No liquid is needed, the chicken will make it’s own juices.
  7. Cook on low 4-8 hours.

The original recipe recommends a pop-up timer.  I didn’t use a pop-up timer, but will cook on low next time.

Slow Cooker Chicken

This easily fed all five of us and we had leftovers for the next night.

Leftover Chicken

I boiled pasta and chopped the leftover chicken.

In a pan with about a ½ cup of olive oil, heat the following until warm:

Leftover chicken

1 lb of pasta (prepared)

Steamed broccoli

A handful or two of toasted pine nuts

Juice from 1 lemon

A handful of seasoned breadcrumbs – I use garlic powder, salt, oregano, basil and parsley in mine.  No one ever likes the heels of the loaves of bread, so I save them in a Ziploc in the freezer until I’m ready to make breadcrumbs.

Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Add more olive oil if necessary

Quick Update on Juicing

23 Oct

I mentioned in a previous post that Luke had recently been inspired to start juicing.  The discussions we had following the documentary we watched, forced him to see that he really wasn’t making the best food choices when he was not at home.  In the past week and a half, he has taken the lead in doing all the juicing for us and even sent me this pic today, of what he is having with his chicken sandwich at lunch.

Veggies, almonds and cheese

He is not choosing to do a juice fast at this point, but starts each day with a glass of water with approx. 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, followed by a cup of freshly juiced veggies and fruits (primarily veggies).  At the end of week 1, he is down 5 lbs, and has stopped drinking caffeine.

It is amazing how little changes can make such a big difference!  We have been keeping track of the juices we like, and will include them when Luke writes his first post about his experience with juicing.

Forgetting to Prep the Slow Cooker Items

16 Oct

Like many families, everyone is running in a million different directions all at once.  Our typical week contains homework, karate, swimming lessons, physical therapy, play dates, Sunday school and any number of other projects that come up.  Luke and I have been trying to simplify things by planning ahead and using the slow cooker, but on occasion, we don’t get the prep done in time.  What can I say, our meal planning is a work in progress.  We have, however, discovered a new weapon in the kitchen; a pressure cooker!  Ours is a 6 quart, that is similar to this one.

Fagor Cookware

While Luke had some experience using a pressure cooker before, I never have.  My mom just happened to give one to us over the summer when we were visiting her.  (She REALLY likes to buy things from QVC – I’m sure I will write about that another time!)

Let’s get back to the pressure cooker.  The other day Luke and I were planning to make a slow cooker recipe with beans.  We woke up that morning and realized that neither of us had soaked the beans.  I recommended that we soak them, then use the pressure cooker later on that evening.  It worked great!  Since then, we have steamed artichokes, made rice and last night we made Kalua Pork.  The artichokes were a pretty good size, and even kept whole, steamed in 6 minutes!  The Kalua Pork was WONDERFUL and super easy!  I’ll post the recipe in a bit.

Finally, this brings me to the rice.  Plain brown rice.  Every now and then, I will admit to resorting to the frozen, pre-made rice that we have found at Trader Joe’s.  I wondered, why can’t we just make our own rice and freeze it for those nights that we get behind schedule?  Since we are able to make quite a bit of rice in a 6 quart pressure cooker, we did just that!  We portioned it in Ziploc bags and now we are ready for nights we don’t have an hour to cook rice!

Frozen brown rice

The only thing I would do differently is to put the rice into the bags in a thinner layer, so they stack better in the freezer and you can loosen up the rice a bit prior to reheating.  Luke loaded the Ziplocs, and in an attempt to get all the air out, forced all of the rice to the bottom of the bag and the top few inches of the bag are folded over.  We’ll try the flatter way next time, but this still works.

Getting Our Health On!

14 Oct

Some friends recently watched the movie Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, and decided to start juicing.  I have always eaten healthy, and constantly preach about everything in moderation.  I do love the ABC (with spinach added) from Robeks, but don’t know that I could do a juice fast.  People who know me will tell you, I NEED food, and lots of it!  I realize that I have a fast metabolism, and I am fortunate for that, but I always do my best to make sure that I am making healthy food choices.  This is especially important to me since my son has a congenital heart defect (feel free to ask me anything about it) and has already had five open heart surgeries!  I need to build a good foundation for him to understand healthy living, which is why I always promote healthy eating and discuss food choices with him.  My husband and I watched the movie this weekend, and we are now the proud owners of a…

Breville Juice Fountain Plus

We purchased it with a 20% off coupon at Bed, Bath & Beyond!  Do I need to remind you how much I love a deal?!

While I don’t intend on putting the kids on a juice fast, I think they would benefit from the surge of nutrients they would get from a morning juice with their normal breakfast.  Additionally, I have been planning to add a “Dad’s Corner” section to this blog, so be on the lookout for posts from Luke as he learns to juice and incorporates more fruits and vegetable into his diet!

Here’s to healthy eating!!

In Their Tummies

1 Oct

I have been wanting to add a section for cooking with the kiddos, and have also been very intrigued by all of the prep your meals for a week/month/slow cooker recipes that have been posted around the internet.  Since the little-ones who will be cooking with me are 3 and 6, I don’t want anything too elaborate and think starting them with food prep for a slow cooker will be a great introduction.  Another consideration is that my 6-year-old has a congenital heart defect (CHD), so I don’t necessarily want to resort to old-school slow cooker recipes that seem to be higher in fat and salt.  I have been preaching healthy eating from the beginning; healthy fats versus unhealthy, not too much salt, not too much sugar, everything in moderation.  I was so excited today, when I learned that the American Heart Association had just released their latest version of their Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook!

I jumped right on Amazon and ordered a copy with my Amazon Prime membership!  Be on the lookout for our review of the recipes and track my progress cooking with the littles!

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