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Friday, November 16, 2012

Playgroup Recipes

Elia and Lily have been attending Playgroup at Prairie Hill Waldorf School, where they will eventually attend school. We love the school atmosphere, love the focus put on the children, and also appreciate their take on whole foods. Every day of Playgroup starts out with the kids (and parents) helping prepare our snack for the day. Attached are the amazing recipes that were shared with us. I have only been lucky enough to try the Tricky Quesadillas and Baked Oatmeal, but I was told that the Stone Soup and Banana Pumpkin Muffins were amazing! I have made both the Tricky Quesadillas and Baked Oatmeal at home. I make about 12 quesadillas worth and freeze them individually. Whether it's lunch or dinner I just throw them in an oven and let the oven get to 350...they're usually done by then. The Baked Oatmeal is so amazing, especially drizzled with some maple syrup...what a way to start the day!


Morning Glory Playgroup
Recipes for Autumn 2012

Week One: Dragon Bread and Butter
(Whole Wheat Dough for Breadsticks, Rolls, Pizza, Pretzels, Cinnamon Buns, Dragon Bread)

Ingredients:

1 ½ Tablespoons Yeast
1 ½ Tablespoons Sucanat (found in health food stores)
2 cups Warm Water
3 Tablespoons Oil
5 cups Flour (1/2 Whole Wheat and ½ unbleached White)

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Dissolve the yeast in warm water.  Add the sucanat.  Let rest until bubbly.  Add the oil to the liquid.  Stir into the flour mixture and knead.  Add flour as needed. Either, (1) roll into buns, (2) form pretzels, sprinkling the finished product with kosher salt, (3) make cinnamon rolls by rolling the dough into a snake.  Form the snakes into a spiral, then finish by placing a pat of butter on top and sprinkling with cinnamon. (4) roll out flat and pinch into a pizza crust, pouring organic tomato sauce on top and sprinkling with cheese. (5) form into dragons with raisins or almonds for eyes, scales, etc.


Week Two: Millet Porridge

Ingredients:

1 ½ C  Millet (hearty grain with protein found often in bulk section of health food stores)
3 C Warm Water
3 T Yogurt, whey, kefir or buttermilk
¾ t Sea Salt
3 T butter (or more)

Instructions:  Place millet in warm water and yogurt mixture.  Leave in a warm place overnight or at least 7 hours.  Bring to a boil, skimming off the residue that rises to the surface.  Reduce the heat, stir in salt and butter.  Cover tightly.  Without removing lid, cook over lowest possible heat for about 45 minutes.  Serve with maples syrup, nuts and seeds (optional).


Week Three: Rice with Spice

Ingredients:

1 C Rice
2 C Water
3 T Butter
4 Cloves of garlic
Spike Seasoning to taste
Braggs Amino Acids to taste

Instructions:   Cook rice with butter, crushed garlic, Braggs and some Spike.  Once done, add more Spike or Braggs to taste.


Week Four: Tricky Quesadillas

This is a spin off of the recipes from Jessica Seinfeld’s “Deceptively Delicious” recipe where vegetables such as squash and carrots are pureed and hidden in your meals!

Ingredients:

1C Shredded Cheese
1C Orange Puree (Squash, carrots, sweet potato, etc)
¼ t salt
½ - 1 t Garlic Powder
4 oz Cream Cheese
6 large Tortillas (use your favorites!)

To make puree – bake or steam your vegetables, puree in food processor using the water from steaming or cooking to create a spreadable consistency.  Refrigerate or freeze unused portions.

Spread cream cheese, then puree on tortilla.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese and fold in half or top with another tortilla.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes and enjoy!
You can add beans, onions, etc and the children will STILL love them!  The puree is easy to freeze and re-use.  We add it to our homemade mac-n-cheese.


Week Five: Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
1 cup Pumpkin, cooked & mashed, or canned
¼ cup Olive Oil
½ - 1 cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Nutmeg
2 ripe Bananas, mashed
¼ cup Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Mix wet ingredients together, then combine with the dry ingredients and add nuts.  Bake in oiled loaf pan for 45-50 minutes.   The batter can also be placed in a cupcake pan for 20 minutes, or until done.  Cool and eat with yummy  dragon butter!


Week Six: Pizza with Red Sauce
See Week One for the recipe.


Week Seven:  Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:

3 C Oats
½ C Oil
¾ C Sucanat or 10 – 15 drops liquid stevia (Sweet Leaf Vanilla is my favorite)
3 eggs
1 ½ C Milk ( we use coconut milk)
½ t Salt
1 T Baking Powder

Instructions:   Mix together wet ingredients, adding dry ingredients with the oats last.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Bake in a buttered pan for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.


Week Eight: Stone Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups Broth
1 Tablespoon Butter
Seasonings to taste
Friends with vegetables to share
Instructions:  Bring broth to boil and add butter to flavor.  Cut the vegetables into bite-size pieces and simmer until the vegetables are tender.  Season and serve.


 Week Nine: Healthy Harvest Cookies

Ingredients:

1 C Sucanat
1 C Cooked Mashed Sweet Potato
1/4 C Oil
1/4  C Applesauce
1/4  Tsp Ground Cloves or Allspice
1 Egg
1 C Oatmeal
1 C Flour
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Apple, Finely Chopped (optional)
Instructions:  Mix together the Sucanat, Sweet Potato, oil and applesauce. Add the remaining ingredients. Teaspoonful on to greased baking sheet. Bake 15-25 minutes at 350.



Week Ten:  Cheese, Crackers, and Apples

Week Eleven: Apple Gingerbread with Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

1 cup unbleached Flour
½ cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/3 cup Grapeseed Oil
1 Egg
2/3 cup Sucanat
3 Tablespoons Molasses
½ cup Plain Yogurt
1 ½ cups Chopped Apples
Instructions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour an 8 inch square baking pan.  Stir together the flours, ginger, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.  In another bowl, beat the oil and egg until combined.  Add the sucanat and molasses and beat until combined.  Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the yogurt.  Stir in the apples.  Spoon the batter into the baking pan.  Bake 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan.  Cut into 9 squares.

Our Favorite Cookie Recipe

Just because you're eating unprocessed organic food doesn't mean you can't be a Cookie Monster! I have two little Cookie Monsters living with me...or Tootie Tootie Monsters, per Lily! Here's my favorite recipe, courtesy of my sister, which I've adapted slightly to be just what I want. They end up more like little granola cookies, but we love them.

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Honey - I use Raw
3 Tbsps Organic Butter (Room Temperature)
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Egg (Room Temperature) or 1 Tbsp Ground Flax + 3 Tbsp Water
1/2 Cup Organic Whole Wheat Flour
1-1/2 Cups Organic Oats
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Baking Soda (Non-Aluminum)
Additional:  Raisins, Chopped Raw Nuts, Dark Chocolate Chips, Apple Juice Sweetened Cranberries, Hemp Seeds, Ground Chia Seeds, Unsweetened Shredded Coconut, etc.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Mix your wet ingredients then slowly add in your dry ingredients. I gently mix in the additional items, then form into 1/2 Tbsp size balls. They will be sticky, but squeeze them and they'll stick together. I bake on reusable parchment for about 12-15 minutes then set out to cool. Like I said, they make a dense granola-like cookie, but how can you go wrong with such good ingredients?!?! Have your organic carrot and a cookie too!









Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cheesy Crackers

Today, while I perused Kiwi magazine, I found some amazing recipes. Every time I look at this magazine I find great ideas, so it is definitely on my Christmas list...but this copy I could not take with me...so I snapped pictures of the recipes! First recipe to try was the homemade crackers, which are great for getting the kiddos involved! They're a perfect cracker for everyday snacking, but would also make a great snack at a holiday get together or wine tasting party.

Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1-3/4 Cups Grated Cheese (I use my favorite...Cedar Grove Marbled Colby)
  • 6 Tbsps Chilled Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Flaxseeds (Amazing to have on hand to add to smoothies, etc. and in case you need an egg in a recipe and don't have one...1 Tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 Tbsps water)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2-4 Tbsps Ice Water
  • All Purpose Herb Mix (if you want-I use the Frontier Organic brand)
Preheat oven to 400. Start by pulsing flour, cheese, butter, flaxseeds, spice mixture and salt in food processor until you have a sandy consistency. Elia is in charge of pulsing and dumping ingredients in. Then begin by adding 2 Tbsps of water and pulse until you get a dough that comes together and will hold when mashed between your fingers. Add more water if needed, remembering you don't want the dough to feel sticky. Then roll out on a floured surface, prick with a fork to prevent from puffing up a lot and cut out shapes with little cookie cutters (you don't want really big crackers here). Place on parchment or wax paper lined pans and bake for 12-14 minutes, until lightly golden. Let them cool and then eat at room temperature. The recipe recommends not putting them in an airtight container as they can get soggy. I've tried making homemade crackers in the past, very similar recipe, but the girls did not like them. These are amazingly good and Lily likes asking for a "star cookie". I will definitely make these again. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October Unprocessed Day 1


DAY 1

BREAKFAST:
Homemade Whole Wheat Pancakes with Maple Syrup
Recipe:  http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/04/21/recipe-whole-wheat-banana-pancakes-freeze-the-leftovers/ I doubled the recipe and instead of using 4 bananas I used 2 bananas, 1 grated carrot and 1 grated honey crisp apple. I have plenty left over so they'll all be going in the freezer for breakfasts this month.
Elia also decided to eat a whole carrot and some raisins for breakfast...

LUNCH:
I had 2 AkMak crackers with cheese, apple slices, celery and a maple syrup latte.
Elia had, per her request, cottage cheese with banana, apple slices and celery.
Lily had a grilled cheese (maybe 1 bite), applesauce and 1/2 of a banana.
DJ took leftover homemade pierogies with salsa and sour cream to work. (recipe to come)

DINNER:
Vegetable Stir Fry-I used brown rice and a mixture of vegetables (eggplant, bok choy, zucchini, onion, garlic, green pepper, celery, carrots and broccoli).
Start by getting your rice going. Meanwhile sautee 1/2 of onion, 1/2 carrots, 1/2 celery and garlic in olive oil. Add about 1/4 cup soy sauce and 2 cups water to mix then put in blender to puree. I use San-J Organic Tamari (gluten free soy sauce with reduced sodium), which only has water, organic soybeans, salt and organic alcohol in it. In the pan start sauteing the rest of your veg in olive oil, then add in about 1 Tbsp of Whole Wheat Flour, allowing it to cook about 2 minutes. Then add in your pureed sauce and bring to bubble. Once the brown rice is done, mix it all together and serve. The girls really liked it, and don't mind eating their veggies prepared this way.
Mama and Papa had a little bit of white wine (Sterling's Sauvignon Blanc-AWESOME!), which is not considered a processed food.

DESSERT:
Elia and Lily had some carob covered raisins (I'm pretty sure they're processed a bit, but I'm more lax with them) I had a little dish of whole milk yogurt with a sprinkle of homemade granola and DJ had part of an apple.

Monday, October 1, 2012

What's Soaking?


I've got, from top to bottom, almonds, a mix of primarily black and red kidney beans and garbanzo beans soaking. The almonds need to soak for making almond milk, the mix of beans I wanted to prepare and freeze for go-to protein for lunch and dinner and the garbanzo beans are going to be used in making Falafel. 

Almond Milk:
1 Cup Almonds - Soaked for 6 hours in enough water to coat
3 Cups Water
Optional - 1 tsp Vanilla Extract, 1 tsp Cardamon, 1 tsp Cinnamon, 1 tsp Almond Extract

Soak almonds then rinse. In a blender combine 2 cups water and almonds. Strain using a fine mesh strainer or milk bag, then add remaining pulp and blend with remaining 1 cup water and again strain. Add any additional flavoring you want and serve. Almond milk keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days and can be used in smoothies, in baking, with cereal, in lattes, etc.
Nut Milk Bag (purchased at Whole Foods)

Falafel:
For the falafel recipe, I like this one, from Epicurious.com http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/My-Favorite-Falafel-231755
I'm making a double batch and am planning on baking them instead of frying. 
To bake:  Preheat oven to 375F. Either place balls on a parchment lined and lightly oiled baking pan, or in lightly oiled muffin tins. Bake for 40 minutes or till golden. If you want, flip half-way through, for more even cooking. I love to freeze these and serve on whole wheat pita with greens, peppers, cucumber, onion, and a yogurt sauce, kind of like tzatziki. YUM!
Uncooked/Rolled Falafel




October Unprocessed Month is Here!!

As many of you know, I am very excited to be taking part in the October Unprocessed Challenge 2012 (http://www.eatingrules.com/october-unprocessed-2012/). Why am I so excited about this you may ask? Well, here's my story:

This past summer, as I sat around my house nursing my silly broken foot, I was enlightened. I began to understand food in a much deeper way. It all started when I stumbled upon Lisa Leake's Blog, "100 Days of Real Food." (http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/) In her blog, Lisa, a Wife and Mom of 2, cuts out all processed food (in her family) for 100 days. She starts out on her mission like most of us, thinking we're eating healthy, but not quite understanding all that we are eating. Although I've always considered myself a "healthy" eater, there was much that I did not understand either.

I love to cook and make many homemade meals/food items, made all organic baby food for my two little girls, started gardening to grow our own vegetables, always purchased whole wheat breads/pasta when possible and went for organic items at the store as often as I could. That sounds fairly healthy to me, and yet what I did not grasp, was the actual ingredients of the food I was eating. I can guarantee you that I looked at the Nutrition Label on my food, but I was looking at the Calories, Fat, Sugar and Sodium. I was not looking at the actual ingredients. Well, ok I did look to make sure there was no High Fructose Corn Syrup in my foods, but that was about it. Like so many of us, I was blind. I did not think to understand why oatmeal at Starbucks had added coloring in it, nor did I even know that it did. I did not think to understand what "All Natural" flavorings meant and/or where they come from. If I could not quite understand a word on a label, I figured it must still be ok, it's FDA approved afterall...Wow!

Now that I've learned about food, I do not want to put all the extra chemical products and shelf stabilizers in my body, especially products that are banned and highly regulated in many other countries; like GMOs (genetically modified organisms), artificial food coloring, etc. I will not take the time to explain the risks, based on literature, that surrounds all of these highly processed items, but I highly encourage you to learn more. Both of the above mentioned blogs offer a great insight into these topics, as well as Vani Hari's, aka the Food Babe, blog http://foodbabe.com/.

I took a slowish path to unprocessed food over summer, and did not set unachievable goals for myself. I started by shopping at my local organic grocery store, Good Harvest Market in Pewaukee. I decided, with my husband, that we would only buy organic produce from now on. This is not a frugal choice by any means, but we decided that investing in our health now may alleviate higher costs in the future. There are many websites that list "must buy" organic produce items and those that are ok to buy conventional. Either way, you need to decide what works for your budget and family. We also started buying organic dairy and eggs only. About a month in, and after no longer wanting to have processed foods, I decided to completely purge my pantry and fridge of those items. This was easy in some respects as I could donate the unopened products to Second Harvest. Fridge items that were almost full were harder for me, as I did not like the idea of wasting food, but either way, it was a choice I was ready to make. I dumped almost a whole bottle of Hershey Syrup (and yes I think it had HFCS in it...it was a treat at the time), which was a bit harder to see go to waste. The next step, for us, was a juice cleanse over Labor Day. DJ and I embarked on a three day "Juice Only" cleanse to get rid of extra toxins, that I felt would be a good idea as we're now eating clean. That was a challenge, but I'll share more on that later.

So here I am, happy to be eating in the light and understanding what I am truly doing and how it affects my body and health. You find, as you start on this journey, that your taste buds really do change and you begin to taste each item of food you're having. You no longer crave salty and sweet snacks and you definitely know when something you eat is over seasoned. You get to a point where veering off the path for a meal sounds fine, but you actually end up feeling sick afterwards.

I am so excited to spread the word of October Unprocessed because it is an awesome idea, and start, for so many people that, like me, care about their health and truly want to understand the food they eat. I love that this challenge is only a month long, so it's manageable. On the Eating Rules page you will find a whole guide on the challenge, and it starts by having you set your own goals and making it as achievable for yourself as possible. This is a hard month for many as Halloween is near, but I feel it is a great time to really step up to this challenge!

P.S. If you want to sign up for the challenge and would like to have an unprocessed potluck dinner sometime, let me know...that would be fun! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Night Packers - Bison Chili

Gotta love Packer Season!! For tonight's game, I'm making a ground bison chili. Something about Fall, Packers and Chili always seems to go together. With my little ladies I have to hold back on the spice, but you can spice it up as much as you like!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5lbs Ground Bison
  • 2 Cups Dried Beans (Prepared-Soak 1 part beans to 2 parts water 4-6hrs, drain, cover with water, bring to bubble, cover and cook on simmer for 1hr, drain)
  • 2-15oz Cans Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Sweet Potato (Chopped)
  • 1 Medium Onion (Chopped)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Chopped)
  • 1 Stalk Celery (Chopped)
  • 1 Carrot Stick (Chopped)
  • 1 Zucchini (Chopped)
  • 1 Cup Fresh/Frozen Corn 
  • 3.5 Cups Water
  • 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon (Organic Chicken)
  • 1.5-2 Cups Pureed Tomatoes (Crushed/Homemade Sauce)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Frontier Brand Mexican Fiesta Seasoning (or whatever seasoning you prefer)
  • Tiny Sprinkle Cinnamon
I prepared the beans first, and while cooking, cooked up the bison meat and added the onion and garlic in to cook. Then I started adding my additional vegetables to cook a little longer, then dumped in the cans of tomatoes and frozen corn. Soon my pan was getting too full, so I transferred to my slow cooker, which I set on Low. I added the tomato sauce, water and extra seasoning, then threw in the beans when they were done. To serve I have some Organic Valley sour cream, my favorite cheese as of late - Cedar Grove Marble Colby Jack, and have some whole wheat macaroni noodles that I purchased in bulk at Good Harvest. I'm hoping for a Win...for both the Packers...and the Chili!! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Beautiful Grilled Vegetable Dinner

I've mentioned in prior posts that we like to  make a simple dinner by grilling vegetables and mixing them into a prepared grain like brown rice, etc. Well, here's some pictures and tips on what we do.

Ingredients:
  • Pick an assortment of your favorite Vegetables (Cut in sections/lengths depending on the vegetable)
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasoning (Salt, Pepper, Greek, etc.)
  • Prepared Grain ( Brown Rice, Quinoa, Israeli Couscous)
  • Optional (Feta, Shredded Mozz., etc.)
Coat your veggies in olive oil and seasoning. Place on a hot grill and cook till tender. Chop and mix in with your grain of choice, then top with Feta or whateva' you enjoy! You can always add in some prepared beans for added protein.








Homemade Tomato Sauce

Like I've said, the tomatoes in my garden are wild and crazy and ready to attack. We planted 4 different varieties and have had an abundance of them this summer.





Ingredients:
  • Tomatoes (Chopped)
  • Garlic (About 2 Cloves Chopped)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Honey
  • 2 Frozen Cubes Pesto (if I have on hand)
  • Seasoning
Preheat oven to 400. Chop the tomatoes and garlic and lay on a sheet pan. Drizzle everything with olive oil and a about 1 Tbsp of honey then season and toss to coat. Place them in the hot oven for 30 minutes to an hour depending on how fast they cook (my oven doesn't stay hot so it takes longer). Once done puree in your favorite blender, adding in the pesto if you have it on hand. Either pour it into ice cube trays for freezing or bowls for the fridge. Get ready to enjoy a very fresh and tasty sauce! 



Grilled Pizza

Remember several posts back when I said I would comment on making grilled pizza...well here it is! We started making grilled pizza this past summer and absolutely love it! I've found it takes a few extra steps and hands, but is well worth it.

Ingredients:
  • Pizza Dough (If not homemade I use Sprouted Wheat Dough found at NuGenesis Farm, Good Harvest Market or Sendik's)
  • Tomato Sauce (I have only been using homemade...have you seen my garden?)
  • Sauteed Veggies (I like a combo of garlic, onions, greens, zucchini or patty pans and green pepper)
  • Cheese (I use part of a block of Mozzarella and some Parmesan)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Oil to coat grill
I start by preparing my dough and getting it rolled out to the size I want. I place it on a lightly floured baking sheet and rub olive oil on the top side. I sautee my vegetables in a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper...meanwhile I have my grill preheating to 350. While the veggies are cooking, I shred my cheese and get a little dish of oil and a paper towel ready for prepping the grill. Now I'm ready to get out to the grill. I start by rubbing a small amount of oil on the grates using tongs and the paper towel. Next flip your dough onto the hot grates and coat the side of dough now up with olive oil. Close the lid and let it cook for about 5 minutes, checking occasionally to see how the bottom is doing. I usually use a metal spatula to lift a corner up. Once you have grill marks, use 2 spatulas to flip the dough over. Spoon sauce onto dough, add a light layer of shredded cheese, place veggies on top, and cover with another light layer of cheese. Close the lid and again let cook for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the dough looks done. Again use your 2 spatulas to lift the pizza off the grill, or if you have a flat pan, just slide it under. Get ready to enjoy a super tasty pizza! Obviously you can choose whatever toppings you like, but I prefer an all veggie pizza, especially when you can utilize home grown goodies or those purchased at your local farmer's market or favorite farm. 


Elia's Creamy Corn and Rice Dinner

Today I stopped at my favorite grocery store, Good Harvest, to grab bananas and chamomile tea, and ended up coming home with corn because it looked good. When I got home and showed it to Elia she was very excited and we discussed what we should do with it for dinner. I mentioned maybe using it in a soup, but she said she wanted it cut off the cob and served with rice. When I asked her if she wanted a creamy sauce with it she said yes, and from there I created a really tasty dinner that Elia and Lily loved...and their Mama and Papa too!

Ingredients:
  • 2 Corn on the Cob (cut and scraped off the cob)
  • 1 Sweet Potato (cut into small pieces) 
  • 1/2 Large Onion (diced)
  • 1 Broccoli Stalk (finely chopped)
  • 2 Carrots (finely chopped)
  • 1 Celery Stalk (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 Green Pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1 Cup Chopped Greens (Kale, Swiss Chard, etc.)
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1-1/2 Cups 2% Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Whole Wheat Flour
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Seasoning Blend
  • Prepared Brown Rice, Quinoa, Israeli Couscous, etc.
Sautee carrots, 1/2 sweet potato, celery, corn from 1 cob and 1/2 of diced onion in olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and your choice of seasoning blend. Once cooked, add 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour and cook for about 2 minutes. Add heated milk and water to the mix and bring to a bubble. Cook for about 5-10 minutes longer, then puree in your favorite blender or food processor. Back in the pan, sautee remaining corn, onion, sweet potato, broccoli, greens and green pepper in olive oil and season to taste. Once soft (check the sweet potato), add pureed creamy sauce and prepared grain. Serve and enjoy! The flavor was really one of creamed corn, and could have been a great creamed corn side dish with an extra cob or 2 of sauteed corn and without the addition of the prepared grain and added sauteed vegetables. With the cooler weather today this was also a very warming dish! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

What's for Dinner?

Sometimes the thought of making dinner is daunting. What should we make, what is everyone hungry for, what food do I have in the house, are there ingredients I will need to pick up, etc. This does not necessarily come off as the most fun idea, but try for 1 week to make a plan. Look at what you have in the fridge and cupboards and make a dinner plan that fits for you. It can be as fancy as you want, and/or as easy as you would like. Working on your list the weekend prior gives you time to shop for any ingredients you may need and time to prep your ingredients, which is the best when you're just getting home from a day out with the kids, work, etc. I also like to make a list, which doesn't change often, of breakfast and lunch ideas. Having them written down in front of me makes me feel a little more at ease when the next meal is coming.

Here's a sample of my list for the week:


I live with an Excel Wizard, aka my husband DJ, so this can all be speedy and automated with pre-printed pages and room for you to fill in the blanks, or it can be as simple as a hand written note on scrap paper. A neat idea would be to add room at the bottom for necessary grocery items for the week. Grab it when you go to the store and you're set. By the way, for all of us fortunate enough to work weekends, the list can be tailored to incorporate all days of the week.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Delving into Mayonnaise

Some people dislike the taste of mayonnaise, however, I am one that does like it in moderation. I do enjoy the occasional egg salad sandwich, and sometimes use it in making homemade vegetable dip. Like many of you, I have purchased Kraft's Mayo made with Olive Oil, and no doubt a Hellmann's variety as well. Did you see it's 1/2 the fat and just looks like it would be more healthy? To my disappointment, and I knew this would happen, the ingredient label is ridiculous. Laden with artificial / processed garbage, to make it shelf stable no doubt, it has absolutely no right entering one's body. So much of the food we think is healthy, or at least "healthier" is filled with junk. DJ recently told me that an oatmeal from McDonald's, which I've never thought to try, has as much sugar in it as a can of soda. All I can say is WHY? The person choosing the oatmeal at McDonald's is no doubt thinking they are going with the "healthier" option. Well anyways, this is about mayonnaise, I'll touch base on fake food later.

So now how do I make the egg salad that I was planning on for dinner? I know...I'll make homemade mayonnaise. Guessing I most likely added too much oil in at the beginning, a runny mess was all I was left with. Also, when they make it in the food processor on tv, it looks so simple...my mess kept leaking out of the cover. What was with that? I have a nice KitchenAid processor, so why did it leak when the cover was on? Seriously runny ruined mess. Not happening. Next idea...??

I'll use yogurt instead! We have plenty of that on hand, and only buy organic plain whole milk yogurt. Best idea ever! The egg salad turned out great, and was simple to make.

Ingredients:
  • 6 Hard Boiled Eggs (Peeled and Diced)
  • 1-2 Stalks Celery (Finely Diced)
  • 2 Tbsps Onion (Finely Diced)
  • 3-4 Tbsps Whole Plain Yogurt
  • 1 tsp Mustard
  •  Garlic Powder (1/2 tsp or as much as you like)
  • Mural of Flavor (or other seasoning you like)
  • Salt and Pepper 
I mixed the sauce separate so I could make sure it tasted alright, but afterwards just combined it all. It tastes great, and I'm pretty sure Lily likes it...she licked the spoon clean, along with help from Barley the Dog. So don't fret if you are out of mayonnaise, don't want the garbage in your body, or maybe don't like the flavor. Yogurt can be a good substitute. Also, if you're going to purchase mayonnaise, try the Ojai Cook Lemonaise (not the Light version) or look for something that is in the refrigerated section. Best is to always check the food label. 

Frozen Summer Snack

If your kids are like mine, they seem to want to snack all day long. Breakfast done....let's have a snack. Frozen grapes are a fun summer snack. They will cool the kiddos down, make the ice eaters happy, and will satisfy them while being healthy. They're a great snack for the adults too! I simply put clean organic grapes in a Ziploc bag, throw in the freezer, wait a couple hours, and they're done. The more simple healthy snacks I can find, the better! If you haven't tried them before, or it has been a while since you did, give it a whirl! 
 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Shredded Chicken Tacos with Mango Salsa

After receiving an organic mango from my Mom, I needed to figure out what I would do with it, before it would sit in my fridge and go bad. We had wanted to have some kind of taco dish...tada...shredded chicken tacos with mango salsa it is. Not hard to make, and to our surprise awesomely yummy!
  • 2 Chicken Breast Pieces (poached and shredded)
  • 1 Mango (diced)
  • 1/4 Red Onion (finely diced)
  • 1/2 Lime (zeted/juiced)
  • 1/2 Green Pepper (finely diced)
  • 1/4 Zucchini (diced)
  • 1 Large Clove Garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 Cup Poaching Liquid
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable or Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tbsp Flour
  • 2 tsps Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Beans (if you have them - we have fresh ones that are frozen)
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Cilantro (if you have it)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flake
  • Pinch of Cayenne
  • Taco Shells of your choice
  • Chopped Lettuce to garnish (home grown if you have it)
  • Whole Milk Yogurt / Sour Cream to top (just a small dab will do)
To start, thaw then poach your chicken breast. I poached in plain water. To poach bring chicken breast and water to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, turn off heat and let sit an additional 10-15 minutes. Then shred, add 1/2 cup of poaching liquid to shredded chicken and either use immediately or refrigerate for later use. To make salsa, start by removing flesh from mango and dicing. Add about 3 strips of green pepper and small piece of red onion that have been finely diced. I added the lime zest and juice, beans, olive oil, salt, pepper, and pinch of cayenne and put in refrigerator overnight for flavors to meld. To make the chicken taco meat, I started by sauteing the onion, garlic, remaining green pepper, and zucchini in the Tbsp of butter. Once cooked I added salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, then added the chicken and poaching liquid. Once the chicken had warmed up I added the flour, stirred the mixture and cooked for another minute or so...then added the broth. Bring to a bubble then simmer an additional 5 minutes or so until it starts to get a little more thick. To enjoy, put chicken in taco followed by lettuce and diced onion, mango salsa, and a tiny spot of yogurt. It fed our little family of 4 and gave us a bit of chicken to spare, yet we surprisingly finished all the salsa. If your family can tolerate more heat, by all means add more spice, or a jalapeno to the salsa. My little ladies are not big on spice...yet. What a great and fresh summer meal!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Salads and Barbecues

I have been wondering why summer salads, like pasta and potato, always have to be in thick and heavy cream and/or mayonnaise based sauces? Summer is a time that can be fresh and light, as we all shove ourselves into shorts and swim suits. Why all the meat and cream? Even though I worked all of Memorial Day weekend and holiday, I ate more meat than ever, from grilled chicken to hamburger and grilled pork. Each meal came fitted with heavy beans and a cream salad or two. I am very thankful for any prepared meal I can get, especially when I get home after 8:00pm from work, but I need a complete overhaul in diet just from this past long weekend.
My thought is make it light. Instead of a heavy cream pasta salad, make your own dressed with olive oil and vinegar. If you want a little bit of a cream consistency add some cubed mozzarella or crumbled feta. Same holds true for potato salad. Try dressing it with a sauce made from lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, mustard, and maybe a hint of honey for sweetness. To go with more of a creamy side, try humus or find a recipe that utilizes Greek yogurt. Instead of a barbecue of hot dogs, brats, and burgers, try grilled portobello mushrooms or a medley of grilled vegetables. I usually marinate and grill onion, red pepper, green pepper, zucchini, eggplant and sweet potato. Once grilled I chop them up and mix them into prepared quinoa,  pearl couscous, or regular couscous. Top with a little bit of feta cheese and you have a wonderful tasting, yet light, meal.  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Super Easy Mac n' Cheesy

I don't know of anyone that doesn't love mac n' cheese...especially when it comes to the little ones. Here's an easy way to make mac n' cheese at home, that's not much more challenging than ripping open a package of powdered cheese.
  • 1 Box Pasta (Choose whatever kind you like...I prefer whole wheat and love cavatappi)
  • 1-1/4 Cups Milk (I would recommend using something stronger than skim)
  • 8ozs Cheddar Cheese (You can add a 1/4 cup of Parmesan too if you have it and would like)
  • 2 Tbsps Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg
Cook your pasta according to package directions. Once drained, add back to pot and cook slightly longer to remove extra liquid. Next dump in the remaining ingredients and cook till cheese is melted and incorporated. This will be a gooey mac n' cheese, but it couldn't be more simple. It kind of turns out a bit like the recipe at Noodles. I found this recipe while watching Emeril's Table one day. I'm not usually that interested in watching Emeril, but this particular episode was targeted for kids...how fun! Here's the link to the recipe:  http://www.emerils.com/recipe/8113/Merils-Mac-and-Cheese

Friday, May 11, 2012

Greek Gyro Burger Dinner

I had some ground lamb that I wanted to use for dinner, and decided to make a Greek themed dinner. The dinner has flavors of a Gyro, and was super tastey! I've also heard that lamb is fine, even if you're Vegetarian. ) Here's how to make it.
  • 1lb Ground Lamb (just as a side note...you could substitute any ground meat)
  • 1/2 Zucchini (grated)
  • 1/2 Red Pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1 Clove Garlic (minced)
  • Whole Wheat Pita (4 whole or 8 halves)
  • 2/3 Cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cucumber (peeled and finely diced)
  • 1 Green Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 Lemon (squeezed)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tsps Greek Seasoning (I use McCormick Gourmet Collection)
  • Feta (to top pita burger)
  • Fresh Greens (to top)
Mix ground lamb, grated zucchini, finely chopped red pepper, minced garlic, salt/pepper and 1 tsp Greek seasoning together and form into 4 patties. If you had other greens on hand, such as Spinach or Kale, you could finely chop that and add it to the burgers. Meanwhile mix the yogurt, lemon juice, diced cucumber, chopped green onion, salt/pepper and 1 tsp Greek seasoning together. For grilling, you may want to oil the grates as the burgers are a bit wet and can stick if not well seared. To assemble, lightly toast pita halves. Cut burgers in half and place a half in each half of pita. Top with greens, cucumber sauce and feta. Good sides may be a salad and some roasted potatoes...and as always...a nice red wine. This was a great dinner and tasted very fresh! Opa!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Com Post

Today, May 9th, is the start of our compost. We are utilizing a bin, available for purchase through the City of Milwaukee. First items in:  coffee grounds and filter, egg shells and a banana peel. It was fun taking the girls out to do it this morning, and Elia got to dump all the items in. Hopefully by next year we can utilize our own organic compost for our garden.  


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Homemade Tomato Soup

Elia and I enjoy having a lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup, however, I'm not the biggest fan of canned condensed soup. Here's an easy way to make your own, and oh...it's way better than the canned stuff!
  • 6 Roma Tomatoes (You can substitute whatever kind you have and adjust the amount depending on how much you want to make)
  • 1 Clove Garlic chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 Onion chopped
  • 1 Handful Kale chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 Cups Vegetable Broth
Cut the tomatoes in 1/4s and place on a sheet pan. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven at 400 F for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile sautee the chopped garlic, onion and kale in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add vegetable broth to cooked vegetables and heat. Place tomatoes and the sauteed veggie/broth mixture in a Vita Mix or blender and blend till pureed. Serve with grilled cheese if you like...and enjoy!! : ) It's yummy!!



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Slow Cooker Lamb Stew

I have been thinking of having more of a stew lately, and wanted to make it with lamb. I think I saw a Diner's Drive-In's and Dives episode where a lady put a lamb dish over couscous...anyways that gave me the inspiration for this dish. When I was at Whole Foods the other day, I bought some Israeli Couscous in bulk. If you haven't tried it, it's more of a pearl size when cooked, which we find is easier for the girls to eat, and easier for us to clean up off the floor. : ) I also asked the meat guy what he would recommend for the lamb portion of the lamb stew. He suggested boneless shoulder cut and chopped it into stew-size pieces for me. Since I only got a pound, and didn't check for recipes prior to going to the store, I made up my own concoction. Here it is:
  • 1 lb-Lamb Stew Meat
  • 1 Medium-Onion chopped
  • 5-6 Carrots chopped
  • Handful-Kale chopped
  • 1-Zucchini chopped
  • 1/2-1 Red Bell Pepper chopped
  • 1-Sweet Potato chopped
  • 1 Stalk-Celery chopped
  • 1 Can  (14.5oz)-Fire Roasted / Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup-Beef Broth
  • 1 Cup-Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 tsp-Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp-Coriander
  • 1 tsp-Cumin
  • Sprinkle of dried Cilantro
  • Salt / Pepper to taste
  • 2 Cups-Dried Israeli Couscous + 2.5 Cups-Water (or Broth)
  • 1 Tbsp+- Olive Oil
I threw all of the above ingredients, minus the couscous, into the slow cooker and set it to high, with a little drizzle of olive oil. Originally it looks a bit low on the liquid, but as it's cooking, everything is starting to release their juices. For the Israeli  Couscous, put 2 cups in a pot with 1 Tbsp olive oil and lightly toast, about 3 minutes. Add 2.5 cups water to this and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a low simmer, cooking an additional 8-10 minutes. For added flavor, broth can be added to the couscous instead of plain water. If too much water remains in the pot, drain the couscous as you would any other pasta. Serve the lamb stew over the couscous. A nice green salad and red wine would pair well with this. Haven't tried it yet, but I'll let you know how it is tonight. It looks yummy!

















Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yeah for Earth Day!

Tomorrow, April 22nd, is Earth Day! What are you doing to celebrate the Earth? I made it my goal, this year, to do a couple things to help out the environment. The first thing I decided to do was to bring reusable bags to the grocery store. (This concept is so yesterday, right?!?!) I have plenty of bags at home, but always seem to forget to bring them with me, and don't make the effort to remember. What a lame excuse, considering all the waste it causes. My second Earth Day goal is the start of our first ever raised bed garden! The wood was purchased last week, the structure assembled (by DJ...he's handy), the plot was dug out and today the setup is complete (organic compost, organic mulch, cow manure and all)! I am getting very excited to start planting our organic seeds. I am hoping to have the girls involved, as much as possible, and hope it gives them a better appreciation for where food comes from, and makes them excited for their home grown organic vegetables. One other conservation method I heard of, but haven't yet tried, is placing a bucket under the faucet as you wait for your water to heat up. The water you collect can be used to nourish indoor and/or outdoor plants. Sounds like a fun idea, I'm just not sure what kind of bucket would be effective to use. I hope you give Earth Day some thought and maybe try to find one thing you can do to help the environment. Although what we do seems so small, even the littlest effort can make a big difference.







Friday, April 20, 2012

Beans Beans the Magical Fruit

Beans are super nutritious. Just 1 cup, of these complex carbohydrates, contains about 16 grams of protein, not to mention they're a great source of fiber, calcium and folate (americanbean.org). WebMD reported a study that showed, "bean eaters weighed, on average, 7 pounds less and had slimmer waists than their bean-avoiding counterparts". Well, I'm sold! My favorites are probably black and lentil, but I like having a wide assortment on hand. Have you ever tried reconstituting dried beans? If you haven't tried, you should. Now that we do this, it's hard to think about having canned beans. The only trick to this is knowing you're going to want them so you can prepare them. To reconstitute beans, except lentils, add 3 parts water to 1 part beans (6 cups water to 2 cups beans). Let the beans soak 4-6 hours (or overnight), then drain and rinse. To cook, add just enough water to cover, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 1 hour, or until tender. Lentils are much easier to prepare as they don't need to soak. Just add them to boiling water (3 parts water to 1 part lentils) and boil 20-30 minutes (red lentils take less time than the more popular green, or French, lentils). A great tip is to make a large batch of beans, then freeze what you don't need for your dish. We usually do a rice and bean dinner once a week, make black bean burgers and add them to soups. Whatever you do, give beans a chance!  

Like a Big Pizza Pie


I love pizza! Making homemade pizza dough is fairly easy, can be made in large batches and frozen for future use, and is super rewarding. My favorite pizza dough recipe is by Alex Guarnaschelli, Food Network chef and executive chef at Butter restaurant in NYC. I make minor adjustments here and there, and it always tastes great. Sorry, this one's a bit lengthy.

·         2-1/4 tsps-Active Dry Yeast
·         1-1/2 Cups-Warm Water (about 110 degrees F-I microwave for 1 minute on high)
·         3-1/2 Cups-All-Purpose Flour (plus additional for rolling dough-I usually substitute 1/2 with whole wheat flour)
·         2 tsps-Salt
·         1/2 tsp-Ground Pepper (recipe calls for white, I always use black)
·         1 Scant Tbsp-Honey
·         1 Tbsp-Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Plus additional for coating bowl and greasing trays)
·         Additionally I add Greek or Italian Seasoning into the dough for added flavor

In a large bowl combine the yeast and warm water. Stir to dissolve the yeast and allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes. Using a sieve, "sift" about half of the flour over the yeast mixture and blend until smooth with your hands. Add the salt, pepper and honey and mix to blend. Sift in the remaining flour and mix to blend.
Lightly flour a cutting board or flat surface. Turn the pizza dough onto the floured area and knead for 3 to 5 minutes. The flour should feel smooth and the ingredients fully integrated. Place the dough inside a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or towel and let rest in a warm place, about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in volume. 
Press gently on the dough and turn it onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into 2 or 4 equal parts, depending on size of pizza you would like. Roll each dough into a loose ball, cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to rest for an additional 15 minutes. Flatten each ball, and roll into a 12-inch round, if making 2, or 6-inch round, if making 4. Place each round on a lightly greased baking sheet. If your dough is not cooperating, you can just keep working it, or let it rest longer. I've found that the more rested my dough, the easier it is to roll/stretch. I try to incorporate some fancy pizza parlor skills, but there's no pizza dough tossing in my kitchen...
To Top:  I always brush with olive oil and use pasta sauce since I have that on hand and never go through a whole pizza sauce before it goes bad. I use about 3 large spoonfuls of sauce. If I use chopped fresh garlic I sprinkle that on next, then a layer of cheese. Top with whatever vegetables and/or meat you choose and sprinkle lightly with remaining cheese. As a side note, for pepperoni lovers, Hormel's turkey pepperoni is a great alternative and comes in a resealable package. Bake at 425 degrees F for 18-20 minutes. If the crust is not as crispy as you would like, place back in warm oven after slicing. Baking on a pizza stone also helps. Now the best part...ENJOY!! This will be our dinner tonight. I had pre-made the dough and frozen it. To thaw and use, I pulled it out of the freezer this morning, and it is already starting to thaw. When first making it I let it rose, so that's not hugely important, but I do have it in an oiled bowl to get to room temperature. If you're working all day, just pull it out the night before and put it in the fridge. Cold dough is pretty easy to roll out, just divide it and let it rest the 15 minutes and it should roll well. Those are my tips! : ) I haven't tried to grill the dough, but if I do and it works out, I'll let you know. That sounds like a fun idea for summer.
 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Whole Foods Oatmeal Pie

This is an amazing recipe from Whole Foods, if you like oatmeal. The pie makes a great breakfast for either at home or on the go, as it's easy to slice a piece and throw in a container. Lily, our 15 month old, also really loves it, which makes it even better in my book! Did I mention it's super healthy??
  • 2 Cups-Frozen Mixed Berries (I always use a combination of blueberries and raspberries or strawberries) 
  • 2 Cups-Old Fashioned Rolled Oats 
  • 1/2 Cup-Chopped Nuts (The recipe calls for pecans, but I've always used almonds. These could be completely omitted if you wanted) 
  • 1 tsp-Baking Powder 
  • 1/2 tsp-Salt 
  • 1-Organic Apple (Grated-about 1 cup-The recipe says to peel the apple and I never do) 
  • 1 Cup-Milk (Your fat preference) 
  • 1/2 Cup-Nonfat Vanilla Yogurt (I've also just used plain yogurt, which tastes great, just a bit less sweet)
  • 1/3 Cup-Maple Syrup 
  • 2 tsps-Vanilla Extract 
  • 1-Egg Plus 1-Egg Yolk 
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray or butter and set aside. In a large bowl mix together oats, baking powder, salt, grated apple, nuts and berries. In a separate bowl mix the yogurt, milk, eggs, vanilla and maple syrup. Combine the wet with the dry ingredients and place in the pie pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, until lightly golden on top; slice and eat. This can be eaten soon after it's cooked, or put in the refrigerator to have the next day. Fun additions to this would be grated carrot and/or zucchini. We sometimes put a little whip cream on top...it is a pie after all!
http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/3073

Super Cheap / Super Easy Pierogie Dinner

Here's a great idea for a cheap dinner that's easy to prepare and super tasty.
  • 1-2 Boxes Mrs. T's Pierogies (Found in the freezer section-We usually get the potato and cheddar)
  • 1 Jar Salsa or Pasta Sauce
  • Shredded Cheese  to cover (Cheddar or Mozzarella)
So it's really that easy! Adjust the amount of pierogies you use based on your family size. Layer the pierogies and sauce in a baking dish, sprinkle with cheese, cover and bake at 350 till hot and bubbly, about 45 minutes. This recipe could be easily adjusted, with chopped up vegetables or frozen corn and beans added on top of the layers. Having frozen pierogies on hand, although I'm sure not as good as homemade, is an awesome go to for a main dish or side item for any dinner. The little ones really like it too!   

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Smooth-tastic!

I love smoothies, especially after a morning run. Here's how I like to make them.
  • Greens-lots of them (I like baby spinach, kale, Swiss chard, cabbage, etc.)
  • 1-Carrot
  • 1-Stalk Celery
  • 1/2-Apple
  • 1-Banana
  • 1/2-3/4 Cup-Frozen Fruit (Blueberries, Strawberries, Cherries, Cranberries, Raspberries, Mango, etc. - I like to use a mixture)
  • 1 heaping tsp-Spirulina Powder
  • 1 heaping Tbsp-Hemp Seed
  • 1 heaping Tbsp-Ground Chia Seed
  • 1/2 Cup-Plain Yogurt (Fat Free)
  • 100% Juice and/or Milk (soy?)-Add enough to get to your preferred thickness
I use a Vita Mix so I throw everything in and blend, no chopping/juicing necessary. The above makes a good amount; enough for 2 large and 2 small glasses, which is exactly the size of my family. : ) I always let Elia take the first sip, and if she likes it, I know it's good. : ) We've gotten lucky, because this combination always creates an awesome Smoothie!!




Cooking is Easy

I take a lot of inspiration for cooking from various cooking programs I watch and recipes I read, however, I have a very hard time following recipes. In my experience, except for baking, recipes can be changed and tailored to whatever  you want them to be. Always try to incorporate fresh vegetables into everything you make. Who needs a thick greasy meatloaf made entirely of ground beef when it can be made with ground turkey breast and packed full of finely chopped peppers, onion, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, etc.? Whatever you do, don't fear the unknown, for it could be amazing! As long as you understand the basics of any given recipe, take the creative challenge to make it your own and integrate new ideas week after week. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Great for the Bum Baby Wipes

Lily has been very sensitive to baby wipes, even Huggies and Pampers Sensitive Wipes, so I've done some research and this is our method. We found a recipe for homemade wipes, and her bottom has been amazing since.
  • 1 Tbsp Witch Hazel (I use Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera)
  • 1 Tbsp Rose Water (I use whatever I find, and have used 1 tsp of a concentrated rose water)
  • 1/2-3/4 Cup Water
  • 25 Large or 50 Half Sheets Paper Towel (Cut in 1/4s or 1/2s depending)
Cut your towel and place in a Ziploc bag. Mix the liquid and pour over the wipes. Let it stand, and the towel will absorb all the moisture. You can always adjust the amount you make and just remove or add extra liquid.
Her bottom will still get red on occasion, so using the zinc oxide creams like, Bordeaux's Butt Paste, work nice, but also just a little squirt of Aloe Vera gel works for everyday use. We usually use the zinc oxide paste only when it gets really red, as sometimes the Aloe will sting. Another great tip is a warm baking soda soak, and warm olive oil wipes when the bottom is already red and sore. Since we've started using these, her Bum looks great.  

Awesome Smorgasbord Soup

Our 3-1/2 year old, Elia, is not the biggest vegetable fan, but in an attempt to get a dinner together that would be ready after our Kindermusik Family Class, out came the Vegetable/Bean Smorgasbord Soup.

Ingredients:
1-28oz can diced tomatoes
3-medium carrots peeled and diced
2-large celery stalks diced
1-small/medium onion diced
1-large clove garlic minced
1/2-zucchini diced
1/2-red pepper diced
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups dried beans (I used 1 cup of black and 1 cup of soup bean mix)
2/3 cup quinoa
8 cups broth (I used 4 cups vegetable and 4 cups chicken broth)
salt to taste
other spices you desire (I used some Mural of Flavor by Penzeys)

To Make:
Soak beans in 6 cups water 4-6 hours, then drain. Put enough water in pot to cover beans and bring to a boil. Once boiling turn down to simmer and cover, cook for 1 hour. Add all the other ingredients to a slow cooker. Once beans are done throw them in the slow cooker and mix. Cook till ready to eat.

Elia said she loved all the vegetables in the soup and ate 1-1/2 bowls full. This was amazing since she usually has issues eating certain cooked veggies. Either way, I love it and it's packed full of protein without having meat, something I prefer not to have that much of. Please try it and adjust the vegetables and seasonings to what you have at home.