Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today’s Crave...

     Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yup, and I am pretty sure they are not exactly considered healthy. Oh well, they sure are yummy! So yummy in fact, I have eaten almost all the leftovers today. And this is not even counting all the batter I ate when I made them. That’s ok, because tomorrow you will get to hear all about Kefir, and maybe some delicious chinese food creations soon as I will be picking up my food co-op basket this weekend too. More yum to come!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Purify and Simplify

      This is my message of the week. Why? Because I am constantly reminded of the importance of these two little verbs in my life. The hubs was supposed to leave for a month of training yesterday (yeah I am due in less than 6 weeks) but due to some unforeseen events (he didn’t pass a test first) he will be delayed in attending this particular class. Good to be home for the next few weeks, but def. some re-adjusting to be done!    

     And then there are my kiddos. As much as health is an important part of my life, so is sanity. And finances! Most of us can’t afford hundreds of dollars a week on organic snacks or all natural soaps, cleaners, and other products, and even much organic produce for that matter...(well maybe you can, but I know that I can’t!) SO, the point of all this contemplative reflection is this. What is most important to you? Where can you afford to make some allowances, and where is it that you just cannot budge? This is my motto for each day. I approach everything from what needs to be done around the house, to what I can squeeze in by way of activities to what we are going to eat for lunch. This is my recipe for mental health. We eat as clean (meaning little to NO preservatives, corn syrup, MSG that sort of thing) and as simple as possible. So what if I may not be able to buy perfectly fun and delicious snacks all the time. If I have fresh fruit and hormone free all natural milk around, there are at least 10 different things I can provide my kids with that is nutritious (and yummy too!) So what if my floors are not always sparkling and shiny, my kitchen and dishes most of the time will be! Maybe laundry isn’t always put away, but it is washed regularly and you can find clean clothes in any number of places if you look hard enough. I do try to keep things clutter free though, and leave my living room and family areas warm and inviting. It is all about what works for you, what is best for you, and then don’t worry about anything else!
     And when I say leave the rest, don’t beat yourself up about it either! Kinda funny for a food blog I guess, but to me so much of this overlaps each other. I mean, how many eating disorders and other controlling behaviors or tendencies surround the obsession with and inability to maintain a healthy relationship with food? Make it simple for yourselves; decide today what is best and leave the rest. Then you can take the time saved over worrying or going to long lengths for that perfect healthy meal and savor it. Sit back and drink up the delicious ice cold glass of lemonade that you whipped up from the lemons life has given you. You won’t regret it, your family, your mind, and your taste buds will thank you too!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

How to make any green smoothie yummy

     Hi there and welcome to tip #82907. Seriously though, when my mother in law tried this little trick on me, I not only thought she was joking but turned up my nose. To my pleasant surprise she was right about getting some super green veggies in a shake, and I even learned a thing or two (after experimenting with new versions of super green smoothies all week) about how to make just about any combo of fruit and vegg taste good when pureed together to form some little punch of compact nutrition. Check it out...

One Version of the Super Green Shake

1 1/2-2 c leftover green salad from dinner (yes, cucumbers, tomatoes, even a little red onion doesn’t hurt!)
1 banana
1 apple (pear is a sweet substitute too!)
large handful any variety frozen fruit (my current fave is Costco’s smoothie mix complete with peaches, strawberries, melon and blueberries)
1/2 c. vanilla lowfat natural yogurt (try Mountain High Vanilla Lowfat Yogurt, mostly natural sweeteners and no RBST hormones. Super yum too!)
1/4-1/2 c juice or water depending on ingredients. (The little cans of pineapple juice are a cheap and yummy way add pineapple to a morning smoothie, especially one that might have onion etc in it, orange juice is great too)
Puree the heck out of all the above ingredients. Even the kids will love it! Makes over 4 c at our house which is enough for the 3 kiddos and me and the hubs.

The real beauty of this is how flexible it is. Don’t have frozen fruit? Add ice and a half can of peaches, or some leftover strawberries. No leftover salad? Try with handfuls of spinach, spinach and kale, even spinach and raw zucchini or squash. The key is the banana, and in my opinion the yogurt. You can use a little milk if that is all you have, make sure you use juice for the sweetner if you do though. The frozen fruit or ice goes a long way to chill and help with palatability. Experiment a little on your own and find your personal fave. Drop me a line if you do, tell me how it passes the kid test (mine think green drinks and funny colors are cool luckily!)
Truly, this is a perfect start to your day! Add a piece of multi-grain toast (or in my case 2 bowls of cereal!) and you are good to go. Enjoy! (And thanks mom for making me a believer!)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Quick Summer Orzo Pasta

     Or maybe even fall, winter, or spring pasta. The point here is it is easy, light and feels like a pasta dish perfect for summer. Whatever the season, try this little number on for size and see how it fares at your table!

     Quick Summer Orzo Pasta

1/2 of a 1 lb. box of orzo
2 14 oz cans chicken broth or 3 c water and 2 heaping tsp chicken bouillon
1 scallion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic peeled and popped (use your knife and press the blade horizontally with your palm to “pop” the garlic without cutting it up)
3 tbsp pine nuts sauteed till lightly browned and fragrant
2-3 large handfuls washed and finely chopped spinach
1 large handful cherry tomatoes halved or left in tact if small
olive oil and butter to coat the pan
parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper to top

Bring the broth or water and bouillon to boil (you may only need about 3c. of the cans, reserve extra or set aside incase more needed for orzo) Add orzo and follow directions on package for cooking times.
Meanwhile, brown your pine nuts. Set aside. Bring olive oil and butter to melt and lightly bubble in a 12 inch or larger saute pan. Add diced scallions and garlic cloves. Cook for 1-2 minutes till lightly browned. Add cherry tomatoes. Saute a little longer with spinach till wilted. Remove from heat, add orzo when done...(if there is too much extra broth, drain it. Otherwise a little wet adds to the “sauce” in the dish) Stir slightly to incorporate vegg. Add pine nuts, Serve with fresh cracked pepper and a little parmesan cheese if desired. Delish!

Monday, August 9, 2010

P.S. spray paint will kill your grass

That’s right kids, in case you didn’t know, even a tarp is not enough to prevent such a foul occurrence. How do I know this? Because I have spent the last 6 weeks 3 hours and 27 minutes working on just about every single type of house project under the sun. From refinishing kitchen cabinets to hanging new bathroom hardware to simple decorating projects, and even clean up recovery from redesigned fireplaces. Brings “It’s all in the wrist” to a new level doesn’t it?
     For a while there, I didn’t even have any exciting news to put on my blog. Well, not exciting related to the food department anyways. Each day has honestly been filled with such interesting little tidbits of random discoveries and information (all related to house remodeling and cleanup), that I guess I decided not to bore you with such trivialities. I mean, this is not a home renovation blog anyway right? Well, as much as I would like to stay away from the dark side of home remodeling and moving in my personal posts on life and home, family, and food, it is still rather related don’t you think? Point being, I may bore you a time or two with some photos of my re-vamped kitchen. Maybe even a quick how to on some casual decor project, but I promise that will be all! Here’s to re-subjecting my readers to more delicious culinary creations, the ever present home cooked family meal, and my newest healthy discovery of the week. Hold on to your seats. The hubs is going to be gone for a month right before this baby is due and things are bound to get fascinating, at best!

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