Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's one more?!



My girls had a friend over for the day, and around noon I started thinking "crap, what am I going to feed everyone!"  Because, of course, I had not thought ahead, and had not been to the grocery store.  No bread, no frozen pizza, no money for takeout - what's a mom to do?  Well, I looked at what I had....lots of fresh fruit and LOTS of cucumbers (still!).  So, i made a(nother) fruit and veggie tray - cucumbers, grapes, apples, and a fresh picked straight-from-our-garden watermelon!!  The kids thought this was great, my girls finally got to pick their watermelon and they all enjoyed it.  We took pictures with our prize and everything!  I know, I'm the dorkiest mom - but my kids are little, so they haven't figured that out yet.  I also gave the kids some Sun Chips, and cut up the remaining Chocolate Banana Muffins (in quarters).  They never complained or asked for pizza once!  Score for mom! 




(p.s. when children take pictures looking up at you, it makes you look gi-normous!)

It wasn't the ripest or best watermelon I've ever had, but the girls ate it ALL!  Who knew you could get so excited over growing stuff?!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Going bananas


After a visit to Sam's Club, I have about 100 lbs. of bananas.  I knew when I bought them, they would not all get eaten b/c only one of my children even likes bananas.  (including me)  However, subconsciously I was probably thinking about the awesome recipes I have that call for bananas.  Somehow, when you mix bananas, sugar and chocolate, they go from blah, too AWESOME!  Imagine that.  So last night I decided that we (read "I") would make Chocolate Banana Muffins this morning.  I did really good and gathered all the ingredients I would need (and utensils) and put everything on the counter last night so I wouldn't wimp out and not fix them this morning.  This really made things easier since I'm so NOT a morning person.  Made the muffins, and all I can say is....THANK YOU PAM!!  I don't personally know Pam, who does the For the love of cooking blog, but, I heart her.  Some of my favorite recipes are from her site.  Check it.



Don't they look yummy and delicious and chocolaty?

  I love that the recipe calls for whole wheat flour, and only a 1/3 cup canola oil.  The only changes I made were:  instead of 1/2 cup white sugar, I cut it back to 1/4 cup - b/c I figured bananas are pretty sweet.  We did not miss that extra 1/4 cup.  Next time I might cut the white sugar all together!  Of course, since I cut back on the sugar I thought, hmmmm, why don't we add some powdered sugar on top?!  It looks so pretty on chocolate.

see!

Also, I had to make it "eggless" for my little allergy boy, so I used my standard baking substitution - 1 T. milk, 1 T. white vinegar, and 1 t. baking powder in place of the egg.  The only difference I can tell is that the muffin is a tiny bit crumbly, but not bad - and a little butter on the hot muffin takes care of that ;)   I use Smart Balance Light w/ EVOO.  Adding mini chocolate chips would make it even mo'betta, and I would definitely cut the sugar then.  Also, this would be a good recipe to add in zucchini or some pureed carrots/squash whatever.  I didn't do this today b/c I am making zucchini bread later....lots of carbs today.
My little runny nose man after eating TWO muffins - he "stole" the second one!

Monday, June 28, 2010

pretty as a picture

I have found that packaging has a lot of influence over decisions children make.  I know.....DUH!!  That's why companies spend so much money gearing their advertising, etc towards children.  However, I've never noticed it being that much of an issue with food choices my girls make, but it is a big factor with my little 2 year old terror.  If given a choice - which he likes - he will study the 2 things, whether it be movies, cereal, fruit, etc. and it takes him a couple of minutes to make a decision.  But he looks at the pictures and decides from there.  For example, Cheerios vs. Rice Krispies - RK have the cool little snap, crackle, pop men on the front; Cheerios - a yellow box with....well, Cheerios on the front.  He chooses the krispies.  There are other examples, but the point is, packaging makes a difference.  Now, the easy solution to that is only give him 2 good choices, so it won't matter what he chooses.  For my older children, I have been teaching them how to read nutrition labels and what they mean, so hopefully they will be able to make better choices when away from me.  But what about fruits and veggies that don't come in pretty, fun packages?  How can I get them to choose the "ugly" one?! 

okay, so maybe not this ugly


But this is what I have been working on - presentation.  I'm thinking that if I make healthy foods look fun and pretty and just, well, HAPPY, then the kids will want to eat them.  This is an ongoing "project", but I'm sure I will post pics of things that work and don't.

You can't get much prettier than this!  My kids love a fruit salad.
I'm trying to keep containers full of fresh fruits and veggies - ready to eat, in the fridge.


I thought this was a beautiful fruit/veggie tray!  I just knew the kids would be excited about trying all the different things, some from our own garden!
My 7 yr old is trying squash in one hand, and has a cucumber in the other.  I'm thinking this is a good sign!
But after dinner, all the veggies are still sitting there - but the fruit is history!

Obviously, it's a work in progress!!  We'll see how my "making happy food" works out.  I've been checking out the blog lunchbox limbo, there are many cute ideas for making food look happy :-D

Sunday, June 27, 2010

it's H O T!!



Record breaking temperatures, no rain, high humidity.....it's hot, hot, hot!!  My poor little garden is suffering.  But we are not!  What is one of the best things to have when you are hot?!  An ice cold beer!  But I meant for the kids....and that is POPSICLES!  However, some that you find in the grocery store are LOADED with sugar.  An easy alternative - make your own.  The molds can be found pretty much everywhere (Dollar Tree, Wal Mart, Target) and are super cheap. 


You can fill them with anything, but I decided to make the Blueberry Smoothie (from earlier post) and make yogurt popsicles!!  I used the same basic ingredients (Greek yogurt, frozen blueberries) but I added some strawberries and a banana, a little V-8 Fusion Strawberry Banana juice and just a little milk.  I blended it all up and poured it into my molds.  It didn't take long for them to freeze, and other than being a little annoying trying to get out of the molds - they were yummy and refreshing!  My 2 yr old loves them, and I feel good about serving them.  The kids feel like they are getting a treat, and I feel like they are getting something wholesome, with the yogurt and fruit!

Partially eaten popsicle :)


Saturday, June 26, 2010

pizza, pizza, pizza



The BOMB.

Everyone in my house luuvvvs pizza.  This is my fav - Buffalo Chicken Pizza.  A little too spicy for the chillins', which is good.  Means more for me!  I am actually the only one who eats this at my house, so, I end up eating on it for several days.  I did freeze some the last time I made it, using my handy, dandy food sealer - and it was still pretty good.  Not as good as when fresh out of the oven, but....duh. 

Whenever we have pizza I try to make my own crust, using 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat flour, and small amounts of olive oil.  It's a healthier version of pre-made crusts and WAY better for you than take out.  Some frozen pizzas taste okay - but then you have all those added weird ingredients (preservatives, added colors and crap), so I just prefer to prepare my own.  The recipes I use do not require a lot of rising time and are easy to prepare with just a few ingredients.  I'm still experimenting and playing with the recipes.  When I find THE one, I'll post.  The kids like to help with the dough (for about 5 minutes) and they really like to add their own toppings.  We use whatever cheese we have on hand, but almost always the standard mozzarella and parmesan.  I like to use fat-free or reduced fat cheddar on my Buffalo Chicken and parmesan.  I also use Fat Free Bleu Cheese dressing (I only use 1/2-3/4th bottle) and omit the butter when I make this.  I don't see that butter makes a difference, so why add the fat?  For the kids, it's usually just cheese, but sometimes they like turkey pepperoni, or turkey sausage or even ham. 
When I'm in a hurry, or for lunch, we'll make pizzas on english muffins, pita bread (both wheat) or whatever bread we have on hand.  My youngest daughter likes "pizza sandwiches" - I take a roll of some sort, add pizza sauce and cheese and stick it in the George Foreman - it makes a pizza panini!  I like these too, what can I say, I don't have a very mature palate. Speaking of the George Foreman - I have recently discovered that it makes awesome sandwiches and have been sticking everything in there.  Even my terrible-two boy will eat a grilled George cheese sandwich!

pizza on a pita


The George Grilled Cheese

After looking at these pics, I want pizza.  Being that it's 8 AM, I guess I'll have to wait. 


Friday, June 25, 2010

Cereal Recall (gasp!)

Just in case you need another reason to stay away from sugar-laden, nutritionally void cereals - check out this recall!
Kellogg's Cereal Recall Due to Odd Smell

less is mo'betta

The Secret Ingredients In Your Food Eat This, Not That

Came across this and thought I'd share...goes back to reading your nutrition labels and eating REAL food. I tell my kids - if you can't pronounce it, you probably shouldn't be eating it!

sweet summer time

It's Friday, I'm tired, and I don't have that much to write about today.  All I want is some rain for my garden (it's a thousand degrees and sunny) and maybe a nap.  And an ice cold adult beverage.  At the beach.  okay, maybe I want a lot of things, but I thought I'd post a few summer-time pics!

The beach....my happy place



No shoes!!


Chillaxin'


This baby is growing in our garden!

This baby came from SAM'S Club - and is delicious!


This also came from SAM'S Club - and is delicious


and this is just plain cute, from Target :)




Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Low Fat Cooking - 20 Tips for Low Fat Cooking - How to Cook Low Fat

Low Fat Cooking - 20 Tips for Low Fat Cooking - How to Cook Low Fat

I do all these!! Except for eating fish twice a week...I really need to work on that. I have a phobia of buying fresh fish b/c I don't know enough about what to buy or how to tell if it's really fresh.

Anyway, good tips and easy to do!

Garden pics


In looking at my previous posts, it looks like we live off on snacks, cereal, and chocolate chips.  Oh....yeah.....I do. Hmmmm.  Well, I AM trying to feed my kids healthy meals, it's just that they aren't that interesting to write about nor take pictures of.  For instance, last night we had boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked in some EVOO (and if you've never watched Rachel Ray - this is extra virgin olive oil!) and some stir fried veggies - zucchini, squash, onions, green pepper, carrots, and a little garlic; and brown rice.  Who wants to see a picture of BROWN rice (instant).  The kids ate it okay, except for the Terrible Two-er.  They weren't begging for seconds.  But I am still lovin' my little garden, and it is really trying to take over the world.  My cucumbers literally take up half the garden space!  I am definitely learning things for next year.  Of course, my husband asked me today when he could mow it down :(  He doesn't realize that I'm looking into what I can plant next for a second planting or things I can plant for late summer and early fall.  I want a year-round garden :O  Anyway, thought I would post some pics of my "harvest", b/c I'm sure some people think that there is more to life than chocolate chips.


Another first, freezing fresh veggies - love my food sealer.

This pic makes me feel like I'm awesome.

Conjoined twins - this pic makes me feel....weird

My oldest daughter, very proud of our first baby carrot!

1st green pepper!  And getting just a few strawberries, I think they will do better next year?!

So, I'm sure NO ONE really wants to look at pictures of vegetables either.  But it's my blog and I think they are, can I use the word AWESOME again?!  (I'm a product of the 80's what can I say.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Southern Comfort


Check out Think Tank Momma for more awesome breakfast recipes!! Or link up and post your own!


and I'm not talking about a drink, of course, nothin' wrong with a drinkipoo or two (or more, depending on the situation).  I'm talkin' good old Southern COMFORT FOOD.  The list is loooonngggg - but right now I'm talking about a biscuit.  You CAN NOT be from the South (capital "S" - show some respect) without having consumed some homemade biscuits.  Maybe with molasses........mmmmmmm.  Or some homemade strawberry preserves.  It's a right of passage.  HOWEVER, unless I want to walk around looking like I have two giant, lumpy bisbuits in the back of my pants, I have to avoid my beloved biscuits.  BUT (I love prepositions) the other day I wanted to make something good, and comforting.  I did not want high fiber cereal.  SO, as I was perusing the internet for a recipe, I came across Chocolate Chip Breakfast Biscuits, found here http://stolenmomentscooking.com/chocolate-chip-breakfast-biscuits/ .  Hold up!!!!  Chocolate and biscuits TOGETHER!!  Who is this genious?  I must make them immediately.  Which I did.  And they were awesome.

This is my little Terror, enjoying some Southern comfort (food).

Of course, in keeping with my quest to eat healthier, I made some modifications to the recipe.  As listed, I'm sure it's even more awesome - but I wanted to cut the fat, yada yada. 
My changes were: used 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white flour;
1/4 c. butter (Smart Balance 50/50) and 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce;
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips (but 1-2 cups would have been orgasmic) and 1/2 c. skim milk. 
Right out of the oven, these were yummy.  The next day, they were a little dry, but we ate them anyway.  Because face it, add some dark chocolate chips, and I'll eat just about anything. 

I was not trying to make a happy face.  They did make me and the kids happy though.  Obviously, I served them with some fresh kiwi, and on my fine china.  Gotta love paper plates.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Follow up

Well, I did make the cheese cake for the hubs for Father's Day, but didn't get to the other.  The cheesecake was the bomb.  The nut crust is sooo good and the cheesecake filling was better than last time I made it.  I "tweeked" it a little.  I used 2 packages of 1/3 less fat cream cheese and 1 fat-free, added 3/4 t. vanilla instead of 1/2; added 1&1/2 T. lemon juice (but no lemon zest) and the artificial sweetener instead of sugar :P  We skipped the fruit on top since it's added carbs, but I think the fruit would make it mo' betta.

I didn't get a picture of the whole cheesecake, and this is what was left when I got home from spending the day with my dad.  I assumed it was  good.

As for the cereal update....we are eating Grape Nuts, well, I am eating Grape Nuts (with blueberries!) and the kids have been eating Cheerios and Rice Krispies.  I'm trying to get more fiber in these kids, but it ain't easy!  They are drinking V-8 Fusion once a day, which is 100% juice and a combo of fruit and vegetable juices.  It's got a lot of natural sugars in it, but at least they are getting some fruit/veggies in this way - okay, not a lot and no fiber, but it's got to be better than nothing!  I am also making myself MEASURE my cereal and whatever else, to get a grip on portion sizes.  Hopefully this will help in my IREALLYWANTTOLOSE10POUNDS quest.  What would really help is to get my butt exercising again.  But it's so much more fun to sit at the computer.  We'll see....

Sunday, June 20, 2010

hello, my name is Kim and I'm a junk-food-aholic

Wean Yourself Off Processed Foods in 7 Steps

Just saw this awesome article which describes what I've been thinking and trying to do in my own family. It's definitely a work in progress, because convenience foods are so.....well, convenient. It's all about eating healthier by eating REAL foods and getting away from high fat, high sugar and high salt content. Of course, I had french fries at lunch.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day

For Father's Day I have a couple of things in mind to make. For the hubs, who is a really great father to our 3 children, I'm going to make this philadelphia 3-step low-fat berry cheesecake recipe at kraftfoods.com. This is their pic, not mine - I have made it before, but didn't take any pics - and it didn't look this pretty!

I will use a low-carb almond crust in place of the graham cracker crust, b/c my husband is diabetic. I made this for his birthday, and it was really good. I used reduced fat cream cheese instead of fat-free, b/c he doesn't really like the taste of fat-free. I also used a sugar substitute instead of sugar. I have lots of mixed feelings about sugar substitutes, especially for children, and am currently trying to avoid using Splenda and Aspartame. This is a personal choice, but if you want to read a little about the dangers of Splenda, here is just one of MANY articles out in cyper-land http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/archive.cgi?read=42764 .  My preference is Stevia - there are several items on the market now using Stevia, which has been used for many years over in Europe and other countries, but has only recently been FDA approved for use here.  Anyway, enough about my sugar/fake sugar preferences.

The almond crust recipe was found somewhere on the internet, but I can not find from where, so I can't give props, but it was AWESOME, easy and very low carb!  It may be hard to do if you do not have a food processor, but you take -
  • 2 cups of whole almonds (unsalted)
  • 5 T. of sugar sub
  • 1/4 t. almond extract (I used vanilla b/c that's all I had)
  • 5 T. room temp, unsalted butter. 
In food processor (one of the best inventions ever), blend almonds, sugar and almond extract until almonds are coarsely chopped.  Add butter and process until almonds are finely chopped.  Then take the mixture and press firmly (very firmly) into a springform pan and up the sides a little.  Bake the crust until light brown, about 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.   I could eat the crust by itself!  After making crust, you just follow the cheesecake (or whatever pie filling you want) recipe.

For my DADDY, I am thinking of making this http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/angel-lush-51103.aspx
This is Kraft's pic - I have not made this before, and feel quite sure mine will not look like this.  Especially since I don't have any strawberries....hmmm, guess I need to go to the grocery store :P  Scratch that, my dad can't have any fresh fruit b/c he is post-transplant (http://www.marrow.org/ for more info and to register to become a bone marrow donor!)  I think the canned fruit will be okay, but I'll check to make sure. Of course, I'll see how the day progresses.  I may blog later to tell you I either changed what I made or didn't have time to make anything!!  With kids, you just never know what your day is going to turn out like.

I hope everyone enjoys their Father's Day.  If you are lucky enough to have your Dad with you, count your blessings and let him know how much you love him.  I feel truly BLESSED that my daddy is still here, he has been through SO much.  If your Dad is not here, honor his memory, b/c regardless what kind of father he was, he is (half) the reason you are here!  Not to slight the moms....moms are the BOMB.COM (a brother-ism).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Worst Foods in Your Fridge

How many of these are in your fridge?

Worst Foods in Your Fridge

I had most of them :/
Except my mayo and salad dressings are fat free (most of them anyway - I'm a condiment queen) Maybe that will be my next blog...what's in the fridge! Scary....

on 'nack

"On 'nack, on 'nack".  In my world, that means "I want a snack".  and I hear it a lot.  My 2 yr old and my 9 yr old have a high metabolism (oh, how I miss those days) and are constantly hungry.  I try to keep fresh fruit, yogurt and some veggies they will actually eat available to them.  I seem to have a few cucumbers laying around.
Yeah, ooohhh emmmm geeeee.  I know, I need to make pickles.  That's my next venture, but my crappy grocery store didn't have any fresh dill yesterday.  Anyway.... it's not just the kids that want a snack.  Sometimes I want a real SNACK - some sugar, maybe a little fat, and CHOCOLATE.  So, I thought I'd mention a few of our favorite snack items, for kids and mommy too!!  Because let's face it, you can only eat so many cucumbers. 
 
These are a favorite of everyone!  Problem is, around here, I can only find them at Target - and last week they clearanced them out.  B--TURDS.  I guess I'll have to search the internet and see if I can get them anywhere else.  I love them b/c ONE, they taste good.  TWO, they are made with 66% fruit ingredients (all different kinds of pureed fruit) - this is not found in other so called "fruit snacks".  THREE, they are made in a nut free facility - nut free/gluten free, no artificial colors/preservatives, etc.  If you have a child with food allergies, this is a great thing.  Lastly, there are only 3.3g of added sugar.  Natural sugars are 6.7g - so you don't want to go around eating them all day, but for an occasional snack, we like these, and they are 50 calories a pack.
Now these are MY favorite snack.  Obviously they are not a health food, but do a great job in satisfying that IHAVEPMSANDNEEDCHOCOLATENOW craving.  Which I seem to have often.  They are not expensive, come 2 in a box (and yes, I have been known to eat them both in one sitting - but not recently) and are 170 calories w/3 g of fat.  Made by Weight Watchers (3 points).  I don't do WW, but have thought about it a lot.  Just like exercise, I think about doing it a lot.  That's almost like doing it, right?!  Okay, no.  Anyway, moving on.  The kids love these too, but I don't share often.  Such a mean mama.

Another MOMMY snack is this.  Just discovered it in Sugar Free - so decided to try it.  It's 50 calories and yummy.  Helps when I want something sweet, but don't want so many calories.

Then there is our good 'ole "go to" snack - CEREAL!  But my last post was about cereal, so I don't feel like talking about it again.  I did buy some Grape Nuts, which I'm getting ready to have for breakfast.  And Cheerios.  And Fiber One Shredded Wheat - it's mo' betta than a lot of other cereals, but not great with 12 g of sugar :P.  Good fiber content and the kids like it, so I bought it anyway.  What can I say, I'm a work in progress.

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