Friday, December 31, 2010
"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man." – Benjamin Franklin
My family is busy playing Wii Party followed by the movie Bed knobs and Broomsticks (an annual favorite) then a camp out in the living room floor. I'm sure there will be some chocolate eaten in there somewhere, as there should be.
I hope you all have a fun and safe New Year's Eve followed by a Happy and Healthy 2011. May the next year bring you much Happiness!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
The basic concept of a cake pop or a cake ball involves mixing crumbled cake with pre-made icing then forming the mixture into small balls and chilling or freezing. After freezing you coat the balls with candy melt coating and then decorate.
The first attempt at making these pops didn't go very well. They fell off the stick into the candy and made a general mess. After trying unsuccessfully to make a few, I put the balls back into the freezer to harden up more before trying again. It turns out that for me, a frozen cake ball works much better than a chilled one. Secondly, found that trying to dip the balls into the candy coating also usually resulted in the balls falling off of the stick into the candy. So I improvised by spooning the coating over the balls instead of dipping. That worked much better.
The rest of the project is pure decoration and imagination. Finding the perfect sprinkle to mimic a monkey ear or a chick's foot is all part of the fun. The book gives you a ton of ideas, but I think coming up with our own will be something we try to do as we make more of these. It was a lot of fun once we figured out the technique that worked best for us. And we'll definitely be making more of these in the future!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Son has been a big Nintendo fan for a while and loves Mario and company. So his choice was the new 25th anniversary DSi that comes with a Mario Cart game. After I explained the different devices out there right now, Daughter chose an iPod Touch. I downloaded a bunch of free games and apps for her, and she's in heaven. I think she would have gotten bored with the DS sooner than the iPod, and I think son would have dropped an iPod touch and broken it on day one. So both made good choices for them. And I think having them use their own money was the correct choice as well. I'm still not sure they have a grasp of the concept of money, but I think they felt some pride in being able to use money they've saved to buy something they wanted.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Although I don't want to, I'm letting the fact that most of their friends have one influence my thinking on this. I don't want my kids to think that they get something because "everyone else has one", but there is some social acceptance component that comes into play here. If most of the kids in daughter's circle of friends are talking about something and she can't talk intelligently about it, that will make her feel left out of that social circle. Now, I didn't' have one of everything my friends had growing up and I think I turned out OK. So I'm trying to not let this line of reasoning influence me...but I'm not exactly winning that battle.
The other thing is that with a big price tag, they would only be getting a DS on a major gift-giving occasion like their birthday or Christmas. I also don't really want to get one for one child on a birthday then have to wait 6 months for the other child to get one simply because the fighting it would cause would drive me crazy. I'd like to get them one at the same time, which basically means Christmas. So if I don't get one for them this Christmas, it will have to wait a year until next Christmas before we'll consider it again.
So, I'm torn. Thoughts?
Sunday, October 17, 2010
- Breakfast: Cleanse friendly pancakes, banana and pure maple syrup
- Lunch: Amy's lentil soup and WW crackers
- Dinner: the LAST of the leftover soup and a chicken sausage. For dessert I had a piece of my no sugar banana bread and a drizzle of honey.
Friday, October 15, 2010
- Breakfast: same old, same old
- Lunch: WW wrap with hummus, baby spinach and pico de gallo, dessert of dehydrated bananas and cherries, chamomile tea
- Dinner: Will probably be grilled chicken, corn on the cob, salad and maybe brown rice
- Breakfast: Cheerios, rice milk and banana
- Rode stationary bike 30 minutes
- Lunch: Jamba juice all fruit smoothie and chicken veggie wrap (this came with a mango sauce that contained sugar, so I just didn't use it)
- Dinner: Leftover chicken veggie soup with brown rice crackers and pears
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
- Breakfast: cheerios, rice milk and banana
- 1 hour of yoga class and 1/2 hour of stationary bike
- lunch: peanuts and raisins, dried veggie chips, peach green tea
- 1/2 hour swimming with the kids
- Dinner: leftover chicken veggie soup from sunday
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
- Breakfast: Cheerios, rice milk and banana
- Lunch: Amy's Lentil soup and a few whole grain crackers, Pseudo Banana Pudding
- Dinner: Will probably be salmon, some garden veggies sauteed in olive oil with garlic and salt and some whole wheat or brown rice pasta.
- I'm also planning to take a walk with the kiddos in this nice weather!
Monday, October 11, 2010
2 hand fulls of raw almonds (or other nuts)
1/2 C water
1/2 C dried plums (prunes)
Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth, adding more water if necessary to blend.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Makes 8 small pancakes
• 1 cup whole grain flour (WW, whole spelt or other whole grain flour should be fine)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 egg
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 cup rice milk or other milk alternative
• 1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Make a well in the center, and pour in the vanilla, water, egg and rice milk. Mix until all of the dry ingredients have been absorbed, then stir in the nuts.
2. Heat a large skillet or griddle iron over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour about 1/3 cup of batter onto the hot surface, and spread out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, then flip and brown on the other side. Serve warm with 100% maple syrup. I like to top mine with sliced banana or strawberries.
- Breakfast: cleanse friendly pancakes with banana and 100% maple syrup and took fiber pills
- Lunch: Had the last of the corn and bean salad and the last of the rotisserie chicken leftovers from Friday
- Dinner: Made soup from the chicken carcass, cabbage, green beans, scallions, squash and broccoli from the garden. This made enough soup to put into the fridge for dinner a few nights this upcoming week. So I won't have to cook then!
Entering the last week of the cleanse I don't know that I've really paid much as much attention to what I ate this time as I have in the past. I think I've incorporate a lot of this way of eating into my regular diet. The main think I find it hard to give up during a cleanse is sugar. I love chocolate and like to have some after dinner most days. But I guess by doing these cleanses every so often, I can "make up" for eating chocolate the rest of the time. And although I find eating dried fruit a good way to take care of a sweet craving, a prune is not chocolate!
- Breakfast: steel cut oats with rice milk, raisins and banana and fiber pills
- Lunch: 2 boiled eggs, corn and bean salad with chicken, and a couple of mini muffins with a drizzle of maple syrup
- Dinner @ Red Robin: Ordered the Simply delicious chicken sandwich, which is a grilled chicken breast on whole grain bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle. It came with fries but I substituted a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette. I had hot mint tea to drink.
Friday, October 8, 2010
- Breakfast: cheerios with rice milk and banana and fiber pills
- Walked all around the zoo today with the kids who had the day off school
- Lunch: 2 boiled eggs, corn and bean salad, an apple and a couple of mini muffins
- Snack: several hand fulls of peanuts and raisins
- Dinner: All bought at PCC on the way home from the zoo. Leg and thigh of a rotisserie chicken, several pieces of brown rice and veggie sushi, bottle of Cha-Dao Japanese green tea
Thursday, October 7, 2010
- Breakfast: cheerios with rice milk and banana and fiber pills
- 30 minutes on stationary bike
- Lunch: 2 mini muffins, 1 boiled egg and several handfulls of peanuts and raisins
- Dinner will probably be bean salsa burritos on whole wheat tortilla with some chicken and a couple of mini muffins for dessert
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
- Had the usual for breakfast, cheerios with banana and rice milk
- took fiber pills
- Did an hour on the stationary bike and rode about 10 miles
- For lunch I had some noodles with veggies and sesame soy dressing and a Jamba juice all fruit and juice smoothie
- For a snack I had a boiled egg
- Dinner will probably be corn and bean salad and some grilled chicken
So far the cleanse isn't leaving me feeling deprived of anything. I guess my method is to specifically NOT deprive myself of, say, dessert but to find something that can fill that spot that fits the guidelines of the cleanse. So I'll sometimes make my no sugar banana bread or have apples and natural peanut butter or some dried plums to feed the sweet tooth. If I'm in the mood for comfort food like spaghetti and meatballs, I'll use whole wheat spaghetti, a great sauce and turkey or chicken meatballs. So I eat what I like, but find alternatives that are healthy to replace the not so healthy versions.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
- Breakfast:Ate plain cheerios with a banana and rice milk and took fiber pills
- Did a 1 hour Body Sculpt Class and 1/2 hour on the stationary bike
- Lunch: Ate a toasted WW tortilla with hummus and pico de gallo, 1 boiled egg, homemade pickled beets, apple slices, smoothie made with frozen berry mix, banana, peaches, carrot, spinach and apple juice
- Dinner: Plan to make a soup from my crock veggies from Sunday along with some lentils, soybeans, onions, and maybe chicken.
- Will take the rest of the cleanse pills (8 total at bed time)
Monday, October 4, 2010
Today is day 1 of my 2 week cleanse. My intent is to document my cleanse in order to keep myself honest and possibly motivate others to give it a try. Along with eliminating some foods I'm also using a Cleanse kit to aid in the cleansing process. The one I'm using this time is called Whole Body Cleanse. In the past I've used the Advocare Cleanse kit and liked that one as well.
So here goes the documentation!
- Had plain cheerios with banana and rice milk for breakfast and took the fiber pills from my kit.
- Went to yoga class.
- I have a cold and the cough drops I used to get through yoga probably have some form of sugar in them, but I didn’t have a lot of choice. Hopefully tomorrow will be cough drop free.
- Planning to have a 2 egg, cabbage and sundried tomato omelet for lunch with some peaches. (The eggs and cabbage came from my garden.)
- Dinner is yet to be decided but will include some carrots, cabbage and rutabaga I cooked in the crock pot yesterday added to some chicken or fish probably. May make some whole wheat or brown rice pasta to go with it, too.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I think the true winner in the garden this year is the rutabaga. One of those guys was as big as a cantalope. I can truly see how they carve those at halloween in England, although I wouldn't really want to try.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
Another one reposted by Stephanie that I made the other day was Lemony Kale Chips. Mine didn't really get crispy throughout, but they were very good, and I'd definitely make them again.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
So far I've been able to harvest a couple handfuls of red strawberries and a couple handfuls of white Alpine strawberries. The white ones are still producing a few berries every week and the red Ever bearing varieties will probably come back and produce some more later in the summer. I've harvested some lettuce, but it's now bolted. My first round of spinach started in the greenhouse bolted very early before I could harvest it and since the temperatures at the time were in the 50's I have no idea why it did. But my second planting, which went directly into the garden has done pretty well. We ate some of it the other day.
I planted some peas this year as I do every year and then threw away the seed packet. When the peas started producing decent sized pods I picked them and put them into a salad to eat. The pods were so stringy and tough we just couldn't eat them. In past years I've had no problem with my snap peas being tough. Hubby asked me what variety I planted and I had no idea. I'm not very good at keeping track of that kind of thing when it comes to my garden. But that got us thinking that maybe I'd planted shelling peas. To test the theory I let them grow and mature more before I picked more of them. Yesterday I brought in a decent sized bowl full of pea pods, shelled them and had a small bowl full of peas! They tasted great, so I guess I planted shelling peas. I'll have to read the packet more carefully next time. :)
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Artisan bread basic recipe
2 tsp yeast (I used active dry yeast)
3 tsp salt
3 C warm water (about 100 degrees. too hot will kill the yeast)
3 C AP flour
3.5 C Whole Wheat flour
Dissolve yeast and salt in warm water. Mix flours in a container with a lid (not air tight) then add water mixture to flour. Mix until all flour is incorporated, about 50 strokes. Let the dough sit at room temperature covered for at least 2 hours. You can let it sit for up to 5 hours if need be. At this point you can refrigerate to use the dough at a later time or can use it right away. When you are ready to use dough sprinkle the dough in the container and your hands with a dusting of flour so you can handle the soft wet dough. Quickly shape into whatever shape you want by stretching the dough into a ball or oval with the ends on the bottom. If you're making pizza crust stretch dough into a flat disk using a rolling pin if needed. Sprinkle a flexible cutting mat with corn meal then put shaped dough on mat to rest for about 40 minutes. 20 minutes into resting turn on your oven to 400 degrees and place a pizza stone in the oven. On another rack place a pan of water. After 20 minutes take a serrated knife and cut an X or a few slits into the dough then slide your dough onto the hot pizza stone from your mat. Bake for about 30 minutes until the crust is nicely browned.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Chocolate chip granola bars
1/3 C brown sugar
2/3 C natural Peanut butter
1/2 C Honey
1/2 C applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
1.5 C Oats
1.5 C Brown rice cereal
1 C chocolate chips
1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 C flax seed meal
1/3 C wheat bran
1/3 C wheat germ
Mix all ingredients and press into a greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 30-40 minutes at 350 then cut into granola bar shapes.
2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese (use the real stuff if you can)
4 Tbs butter
2 Tbs sweet potato puree (to give it more orange color and add more healthy stuff)
1/4 C cream or half and half
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease cookie sheet. Mix butter, sweet potato puree, cream, butter, salt and cheese in a bowl. When combined, slowly add flour until a dough forms. Roll out dough on a floured surface. Roll as thin as you can - no more than 1/4 inch thick; the thinner the better. Place rolled out dough onto cookie sheet and cut into squares with a pizza cutter. The farther apart on the tray the crackers are cooked the crisper they will be. Bake for 15 minutes then check for doneness on the edge crackers. The crackers on the edge may be cooked before the ones in the middle are crisp. Remove those crisp ones and keep cooking the middle crackers until they reach the desired crispness.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The first set of energy bars I made were very cakey so I looked around to find ones that were more chewy. I found this one on Allrecipes.com and altered it to fit what we had in the pantry. I'm going to keep looking around and experimenting, though, until I find one that is like the chewy granola bars you buy in the store. Enjoy!
Granola Energy Bars
These bars are a foundation to create your own granola bars to your liking. The original recipe called for raisins, toasted sesame seeds & sunflower seeds, but my kids don't like those things, so I substituted some less healthy things in small quantity to make them seem more like a cookie. I'm going to try to slip in some grains, seeds and dried fruit that I've run through the blender next time. Chocolate chips may be mixed in or sprinkled on top of bars, melted and spread over bars in last 10 minutes of cooking.
3 C oats
1/2 C wheat or oat bran
1/2 C Wheat germ
1/2 C flax seed meal
1 C Chocolate chips
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 C honey
1 C Peanut butter
1/2 C apple sauce
Mix Oats, bran, wheat germ, flax seed, salt, cinnamon, chocolate chips (if mixing in) and any other nuts, seeds, or dried fruit you are adding together in a large bowl. mix honey, peanut butter and applesauce in a separate bowl. Add wet to dry and mix. Press dough into a 1/2 sheet pan covered in parchment paper or well greased. If putting chocolate on top, sprinkle chips onto bars in last 10 minutes of cooking and spread on top when chips are melted. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Homemade Healthy Energy Bars
•1 1⁄2 cups whole wheat flour
•3⁄4 cup flaxseed meal
•3⁄4 cup wheat bran
•2 tsp. baking soda
•1 tsp. baking powder
•1⁄2 tsp. salt
•2 tsp. cinnamon
•1⁄2 tsp. allspice
•1 Tbs. cocoa powder
•1 1⁄2 cups carrots, shredded
•1 1⁄2 cups apples, cored and shredded
•1 cup mixed nuts finely chopped
•3 eggs, slightly beaten
•1 cup applesauce
•1⁄4 cup honey
•1 tsp. vanilla extract
Stir together dry ingredients.
Add carrots, apples, nuts, and stir well.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs , applesauce, honey and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and stir just until ingredients are moistened.
Spray a half sheet pan with cooking spray then add batter spreading evenly over entire pan.
Bake in a 350-degree F oven for 25-40 minutes. cut into squares. Makes 32 2-inch squares.
The same night I made the energy bars I didn't really want to make a big dinner so I found a recipe for a healthy cheese souffle that included veggie puree. We called these cheese puffs and both kids ate them! With a serving of veggies, protein from the eggs and whole wheat flour, each serving of these cheesy puffs is a meal for a child.
Healthy Cheesey Puffs
3 egg whites
1/2 C veggie puree (I used sweet potato puree - don't peel the sweet potatoes.)
2 T shredded cheese (I used a blend, but cheddar would be great.)
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and coat 4 ramekins or small glass bowls with cooking spray. Mix all ingredients and pour into ramekins. Put ramekins on baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until the puffs are puffed.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Bees love Chive flowers!
My HUGE strawberries! I moved the strawberries from pots to the garden last spring. They Love the garden apparently. They are sending out baby runners all over the place making new plants and producing the biggest strawberries I've ever had. Now they just need to get enough sun to turn red...
Red Beets. I planted golden ones as well, but they aren't as far along as the red ones. Beet greens are yummy, too.
Soybean sprout in the corn rows. Soybeans add nitrogen to the soil and the corn needs extra nitrogen.
Miner's lettuce! We ate some for dinner last night and it's really yummy. Turns out that each plant grew a ton of these little flower/leaves. so 2 plants worth of leaves were more than enough for a dinner salad. I've heard that they self propogate if you let them, so I guess I'll have a miner's lettuce corner to my garden next year.
Pansy in a planter.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
For the Canning Party I invited some friends over to help with with the chopping and processing... and chatting and laughing. My only issue with the House Party is their invite tool, which seemed to send a lot of invites either into people's spam folders or into never never land. (so if you didn't get an email invite and you live close by it probably went into your spam folder, but we'll do it again in summer and anyone who's interested is invited. ) But even with half of the invites getting lost we had enough people to make Salsa, Strawberry jam and apple chutney. The apple chutney was made ahead and brought by a friend, then we canned it at the party. The Salsa and jam were both made start to finish at the party.
Water bath canning can be used to preserve any high-acid food like pickles, tomato sauces, fruit jams and jellies and the like. Anything that's not high acid must be processed in a pressure canner. That always sounded really intimidating to me. Although water bath canning seemed intimidating as well, and it was a timing challenge but not really hard.
So the basic process for water bath canning is this:
1. run your jars - not lids and bands - through the dishwasher sanitize cycle.
2. hand wash lids and rings in warm soapy water