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Month: March 2012

New News?

New News?

New news coming in tomorrow. The past couple of days have been pretty full around here. Mostly full of fun, but without much blogging time. Thanks for always be faithful, patient readers! Tonight Jy and I went to see The Hunger Games for a fun date out, complete with a drink before hand and dinner with dessert after! The movie was fun, but the grapefruit sorbet was even more fun.

I have a morning moms’ club meeting at one of my favorite restaurants tomorrow. So, don’t cry for me, Argentina, things are looking good around here! Go to bed and start planning your last minute April Fool’s jokes!

Weelicious Nut Crusted Fish

Weelicious Nut Crusted Fish

I bought a zillion-pack of Tilapia from Costco last week. I didn’t freeze smaller portions of the pack, as I should have. So, I found myself with 12 or so pieces of fish that needed to be cooked, pronto!

I always trust Weelicious.com when it comes to kid-friendly food, the kids almost always gobble up anything inspired by one of my top ten favorite recipe sites. Unless I make chewy granola bars with chocolate chips, then I eat them before the kids figure out I’ve baked anything.

Nut Crusted Fish Strips are super simple, with light flavor. Dallas thought we were having chicken strips, so the appearance deserves some applause as well.  I ate some left over turkey meatballs while the kids (and the husband) ate the little fishies. I needed to get the darn balls out of the fridge and they were just way to spicy for the kids. After setting my tongue on fire with meatballs, I tasted a bite of Max’s fish to test how well the recipe came out. I might as well have taken a bite of a potato, I couldn’t taste anything at that point! So, the next afternoon, I had some for lunch. I think that statement goes to prove what a great recipe this is. Any crusted fish that can be microwaved and eaten the next day and still taste good, well…that’s just a recipe for pigs flying, right there.

To check out this recipe, head over to Weelicious and print. You’ll want this for your recipe file! The only change I made was with the bread crumbs. I toasted two pieces of wheat bread and blended them up along with the nuts.

We are on the last day of eating what is on hand before I head out for another big shopping trip. I’ve gotten pretty inventive these past few days and have started to actually use the staples I stock up on. Tonight’s dinner for the boys includes brown rice with red & white kidney beans sautéed in carrots that I bought about 3 weeks ago (shhh!), some ground turkey meat with seasoning and some cheese on top. Just call tonight’s dinner, crappy Scrappy-Do!

I don’t eat carbs at dinner now, so I am not sure what I’ll make for myself. But it probably involves Tilapia. Yesterday, the boys had mock sushi for dinner, I should have taken a picture, they loved it. I puffed up some Tortilla Land wheat tortillas, smothered them with a mild flavored guacamole (made from 2 avocados, garlic, salt, pepper and lime juice), and loaded the inside with balsamic flavored fish, sautéed spinach, red bell pepper and rolled them tight. Talk about taking a chance, right? They loved them, sometimes I just never know what is gonna fly and what isn’t.

Did you know I don’t have a grill? It is almost grilling season and our big, fat, bbq died a couple years back. I won’t go another summer without bbq, people. I just won’t! Better get back in the kitchen and keep working on our gourmet hodge podge. See you tomorrow, when it is FRIDAY!

Go to Fresh & Easy today with your questionable beef!

Go to Fresh & Easy today with your questionable beef!

!
Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out this video I posted back in August in the post, It Ain’t Fro Yo

 
Go to any Fresh & Easy today (March 28, 2102)
We’ll swap any competitor’s ground beef for our fresh, never frozen,
guaranteed pink slime-free ground beef*. No questions asked.
Questions? Read our FAQ’s.

We have never, would never, and will never use the
ammonia treated filler known as “pink slime” in our ground beef.

*While supplies last. Limit 1 package per customer, up to 2 lbs

Cottage Cakes

Cottage Cakes

My kids are not nearly as excited about the DAMY protein pancakes as I am. I love getting a good protein/carb balance with a full plate of healthy food. I have found a great kid-friendly pancake alternative that I could not wait to share. I didn’t understand how this recipe would hold together, but once I made my first batch, I knew I had found a recipe that will stick with this family for a long time to come.

The recipe comes from The Toddler Bistro, a book I mentioned in a post about carrot spread. The cottage cakes are basically fluffed up pancakes, made without sugar, but with extra protein. Sounds good, right? You could absolutely pimp these pancakes out with some flax or chia seeds, pumpkin pie or apple pie spice or perhaps diced up fruit.

 

Cottage Cakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Pancakes
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour (give gluten-free flours a try too!)
  • 2 T. applesauce
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
Instructions
  1. Mix together ingredients and pour a heaping tablespoon (I used a 2T. coffee scoop), on a hot, oiled griddle. Cook both sides until golden. The book suggests you top with cheddar cheese, applesauce, maple syrup or fruit spread.
After reading the topping suggestions, I realized that these pancakes are reminiscent of potato pancakes. Of course without potatoes, but I am talking more about the mildly savory flavor.

I guess I’ll need to stop avoiding my children now. They have fought this morning over baby wipes, entrance into the fort and Squinkies. Ah, the joys of Tuesdays.

 

White Rabbit Salad

White Rabbit Salad

I think I would have loved this recipe more if it hadn’t caused the lyrics from “Go Ask Alice” to glue themselves into my brain. I’m not a child of the 60′s and have no attachment to any Woodstocky bands. I find most of the music depressing, confusing and demotivating.

I guess it was a good thing I was born in the late 70′s, because I am all about the 80′s. I really need to dig up my favorite school photo from around 3rd grade. I loved sweatshirts with torn collars that hung over shoulders, mini-sunglass pins and butterfly clips in my hair. I have fond memories of throwing a heart-shaped eraser with a pal and singing along to Madonna, “Love Dont’ Live Here Anymore!” Plus, I had curly hair at the perfect mullet time. Challenge me with your mullet photo, I dare you.

I think my brother wore that Goofy hat for two years straight. Hey! I just noticed something I have never seen before! I think my Guess! jeans are unbuttoned in this photo. Dang, maybe I was a sugar addict back then to.

I found the Moosewood Cookbook this weekend at a garage sale (of sorts), it was more of a storage shed sale. Anyway, the classic recipes are all vegetarian and well reviewed over the 34+ years they have been out! Moosewood and I are the same age. This salad is cool, clean and filling at the same time. It seems like it might be a great addition to any potluck or bbq, if brought on ice.

I have to share a happy find from this past week. In addition to the brand new set of Harry Potter notecards I found at the warehouse sale (I know, not that special), I found a friggin’ awesome skirt. This skirt was at Sally’s, which is my Grandma’s code name for a thrift store. I bought three skirts that day, all three with their original tags on them, never worn. The one I want to tell you about has brought me joy for many days now. Ann Taylor, 100% silk, originally $158, bought by me for…$8.50. Ahh, the joys of looking through other people’s crap to find gold.

White Rabbit Salad, Adapted from Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

  •  3 cups cottage cheese
  • 1-2 Tablespoons honey, agave or a mix of both
  • 2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice, to taste (don’t use fake lemon juice, it won’t work as well)
  • 1/4 cup (packed) raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted, nuts
  • 1 Tablespoon poppyseeds
  • 2 medium-sized tart apples, diced
Add your favorite fruit if you wish. I’ve added grapes. Combine all and chill!
Chocolate Protein Bars

Chocolate Protein Bars

These protein bars needed to be “Easterized” and I had just the silicone pan to do the job. I am one of the volunteer bakers at church and I’m prepping four dozen cookies and a loaf of bread for next weekend’s Palm Sunday service. The oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for church are certainly not what I can eat on my path to a healthier me. If you’ve ever baked holiday treats (well, any treats) for someone else, you know that you need something for yourself too. Otherwise, you’ll be hoarding your “gift” cookies and sneaking bites until you’ve eaten a half dozen yourself.

Because Jamie Eason’s Carrot Cake Protein Squares were so delicious, I thought I’d give her chocolate recipe a try! While these turned out great, I’d have to say that I still prefer the carrot version. The only substitute I swapped in her recipe was 4 oz. of pumpkin, rather than berries. You know that I tend to go with what is on hand.

You can find the recipe on bodybuilding.com’s website by clicking here!

Back to the kitchen I go! Barefoot and most certainly not pregnant!

Clean & Creamy Dressing

Clean & Creamy Dressing

A bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch includes the following ingredients:

Soybean oil, water, egg yolk, sugar, salt, buttermilk, natural flavors (soy), spices and less than 1 percent of dried garlic, dried onion, vinegar, phosphoric acid, xanthan gum, modified food starch, monosodium glutamate (MSG!!!), artificial flavors, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, according to the label.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/379405-ingredients-of-ranch-dressing/#ixzz1ptf6Plaq

Let’s say you are on a “diet” and only buy the fat free bottled dressing. Check out what Maria Emmerich has to say about eating a healthy salad along with fat free ranch.

Are you using fat free salad dressing? Well, did you know that vitamins A, D, E and K are FAT-SOLUBLE vitamins? You can’t absorb these vitamins without a fat, which is why fortifying skim milk with vitamin D is a waste of money! I have so many clients deficient in vitamin D. Could our low fat diets be the problem? Taking a vitamin d supplement with a bowl of cereal and skim milk will NOT let the vitamin D absorb into the bloodstream. –http://mariahealth.blogspot.com/2011/05/ranch-dressing-and-facts-on-vitamin-d.html

Ingredients in Free Ranch: Water, Corn Syrup, Maltodextrin, Sugar, Modified Food Starch, Buttermilk (Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat, Adds a Trivial Amount of Cholesterol)Salt, Less Than 2% of Vinegar, Garlic Puree, Onion Puree, Garlic (Dried)Onion (Dried)Green Onion (Dried)Spice, Sour Cream (Cream, Nonfat Milk, Cultures; Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat, Adds a Trivial Amount of Cholesterol)Xanthan Gum, Lecithin, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil and/or Soybean Oil; Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat)Monoglycerides (Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat)Natural Flavor, Artificial Color, Monosodium Glutamate, Lactic Acid, Phosphoric Acid)Disodium Phosphate, with Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, TBHQ and Calcium Disodium EDTA as Preservatives, Alpha Tocopherols (Vitamin E

Ready to make your own creamy dressings? Me too. Except…I’m not supposed to be consuming creamy dressings while following the DAMY Health program. What to do, what to do? You know what to do! Make do!

This dressing has a serious KICK to it, so spice-haters, beware! However, Spice Girl lovers, you are ok.

Clean and Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

I made about one cup of this dressing and did not use specific measurements, so don’t feel tied down to the exacts. Making dressing should be fun! Taste as you go to prevent over seasoning.

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. agave nectar (less is fine too)
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 med. shallot, minced
  • dash sea salt
  • dash pepper
  • 1 tsp. 21 Season Salute (I have a Trader Joe’s version, use what you can find! Just look for one that is salt, preservative and chemical free.)
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds

Mix, blend or shake and enjoy. Use as a salad dressing or dip and keep refrigerated.

What You’ll Find on my Phone

What You’ll Find on my Phone

I haven’t backed up all my photos or my phone and I’m trying to do so before I get taught a lesson. There are tons of food photos on my phone, as now everyone reminds me to, “Take a picture for your blog!” I wish I would have had my phone or camera yesterday, during a MOMS club event. We made friendship soup, which is sometimes called stone soup too. Everyone brings an ingredient and we all take home some of the final product. Great idea and no camera.

I’ve been cooking up a storm this morning, but I made recipes you have seen before! Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Whole Wheat Muffins for the kids. Cherry Pie Lara Bar for me. Lots of other boring numminoes. Maybe you will have more fun with some of the interesting finds found on my phone: 

1. Conundrum 2010 California White Wine – Nice and crisp. Yums.

2. Ken, posing in the bathroom.

3. My Little Pony vs. Christmas Nativity (On Pay Per View)

4. Grape Nut Pudding. An East Coast thing?

5. Max chompin’ on a candy cane and the perfect napkin. (It reads: There is nothing a glass of wine and a flat iron can’t fix). True dat.

6. Jody’s stuffed tomato app.

7. Dallas pickin’ up a ‘Bux.

8. French Toast bread pudding, pre-DAMY.

9. Photo of Banh Mi from Bon’ Appetit. Drooly-wooly.

10. Max, keeping himself busy with Trader Joe’s White Bean Hummus. So messy and so delicious.

11. Breakfast at a local favorite, Denica’s. Egg white and spinach scramble with chicken sausage. So good.

12. More of Jody’s apps. Apricot stacks. Addicting.

Makeover Monday

Makeover Monday

I finally have a haircut appointment! Thanks Stephanie (G.) for the referral, I have an appointment in less than two hours. The last real haircut I had been the day before Max’s first birthday party. He’s going to be two in June, so yes…it is time.

One of the hardest parts of the DAMY program I am on, is having to take weekly photos of yourself. It’s not fun to come face to face with real photos. I wear jeans and a tank top, not something I’d normally wear in a photo. If I was going to be in a photo with a tank and jeans, it would be a flowy tank top, not a cami looking one. On the upside, I can see the small changes happening. Actual shoulder muscle is under that arm fat? Who knew? Another semi-upside is seeing what my hair looks like outside of the bathroom mirror. It’s a new style called, not good.

Hopefully, I will love the cut enough to post a before and after photo!

The other makeover happening today is snack time. The kids can eat refined carbs like no other, and it is my job to change that. If I don’t offer them muffins and sandwiches all the time, they will have to eatsomething, right?They are, like most kids, hooked on string cheese. I had to police the cheese section of the wheel I put together.

I was checking out  a great “mom” website yesterday and came across their tip for having a snack tray available for kids. They suggested keeping the tray or basket and kid’s level, so they can “Know what they can help themselves to.” Guess what was in their basket? Chips, cookies, granola bars, Corn Nuts and Chex Mix. Really? Really? You want your kids to help themselves to any of that stuff, whenever they want? Not the best plan, in my opinion.

I feel guilty enough offering the dried snap peas. The ones in the center of the wheel in the photo. You know, the ones that we all consider “healthy-ish.” They are really just glorified potato chips, made with peas instead of potato. All the oil is still there and baked or not, they don’t offer much nutrition.  The kids didn’t hoard the peas, as I thought they would. They went bananas over the eggs and peaches and I believe at least one prune made it into each belly. So much better than my favorite go-to of pb&j!

I’d write more, but I can’t concentrate. I’m too excited for my haircut. Woohoo! Happy Monday!

Just a Wee Bit Of Crazy

Just a Wee Bit Of Crazy

Jillian Michaels and L.L. Cool J walk into a bar. Jillian asks, “Do you really use all those periods in your name, or am I thinking of L.L. Bean?” I mean, Jillian says, “I’m gonna knock you out!” Wait, that’s not really a good joke either. I guess I have that song in my head after watching a couple rounds of Happy Feet 3. Mama did knock something out today and it was more than just two kids napping at the same time. Lordy, Lordy!

I downloaded Jillian Michael’s Kickbox Fast Fix on to my Kindle (thanks for the suggestion, Jessica!) If you are looking for a high energy, fast paced workout, this is the one you’ll want. You’ll also want to get your hands on some Meth first, I have no idea how human bodies can move that fast.

I do have to say that all this healthy food has given me more energy to exercise, which is something totally new to me. I’ve always had to drag myself to sweat, but now I have this energy that is dying to get out. Am I being annoying? Probably, let’s talk about something else.

I took the kids to get some Starbuck’s this morning. They were begging for scones, not coffee. When someone asks me to take them to Starbucks (or Peet’s) I always say yes. Always. Max fell off his chair and hit his head on a stroller tire, and we had created enough crumbs to lead Hansel and Gretel to Blackhawk, so we made our stay short.

We are lucky enough to live near Blackhawk Plaza, which is an outdoor shopping center loaded with fish, ducks, swan(s?), a playground, a toy store and lots of beautiful scenery.

Here’s what it looks like during one of their summer concert nights. This place is beautiful, day or night. Stores come and go, and I’m guessing it is because the rent is outrageous. I really think that store owners forget that rich people get rich by not spending.

*Added note. We are by no means rich. We are probably the poorest family in this zip code. I hate to say stuff like that, because poor should mean reusing disposable diapers (which I’ve heard stories about). Poor shouldn’t mean we don’t have a million dollar home.

**Spinning off on this topic for a minute. Do you ever start to label something really stupid as the bane of your existence? I was telling myself this morning that the dumb salad spinner was totally the bane of my existence. Why is it so hard to rinse the little lettuce bits out? Then, I stopped and thought about how God should probably slap me around for a bit. I should be lucky enough to have salad to eat. I should be lucky enough to have eyeballs to look at my salad spinner!

***Going a little further off the digressing edge. Sorry to friends and family who are Jewish (in particular) and are supposed to spell God like G-d or g-d or something. I hope it isn’t offensive that I don’t write it that way.

Alright, back to Blackhawk. The ridiculously overpriced grocery store, Draeger’s, sells duck food for $2 a box. It’s worth buying, the ducks have been stuffed with people’s left over bread for so long that they must have become gluten intolerant. There are lots of signs around the center instructing visitors to buy the darn box of food and quit feeding the ducks Wonder bread already!

I guess no one has fed those ducks lately, they saw the white box in Dallas’ hands and they came a running! Dallas threw out handfuls of seeds and ran away from the charging little guys. It was hilarious to hear him scream, “Help!” and watch 30 or so duck tails wiggle-waggle their way behind him. It’s probably one of the few times hearing your kid yell the word help is funny, but I wasn’t the only one laughing!

They both melted down as we left the toy store we stopped to visit. But, that is to be expected.

It was Max’s turn to freak out, so he screamed his head off about pizza, which he has finally stopped calling “tulla”.

So, you can understand why a good kickboxing was in order. Even if I had to do it in my tiny kitchen with the blinds closed. Even if I stopped twice to get Max back to sleep. We are working on three hour naps today and I am pretty close to mom heaven. (Other than the mani/pedi, clean house, clean laundry, shopping done and salad spinner stuff…)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I don’t celebrate the saint that drove the Protestants from Ireland, because I would have been one of those pushed away. I do however, celebrate all (other) things Irish. Our last name was originally O’Nolan and I’ve asked many, many times if we could just change it back to that. You know, to make Jy’s ancestor’s happy and all. That, and people would stop saying “Nolan” instead of “NOWlin.”

So much for food talk. My head is spinning with “My husband gets home from his trip” endorphins. Later gators!

In My Kitchen

In My Kitchen

Today is a day that ends in y, so that means I need to pick up some groceries. We are out of yogurt, fruit, vegetables and now meat. Why is it anytime I need to go to Costco, it is always raining? Total conspiracy between Al Roker and Costco, I know it.

I thought I’d show you what I do have in the kitchen and what I am especially loving right now. I’d also like to quietly slip in the fact that some of these foods have help me lose 9.7  pounds over the last month. Yeehaw!

From left to right:

1. Tortilla Land Whole Wheat raw tortillas. 60 seconds on a hot pan and you have a fresh tortilla. They don’t have the really long list of ingredients that shelf stable tortillas have. Try ‘em!

2. Carrot Puree. My stock of Costco carrots just wont seem to die! Having puree on hand has really been helpful in sneaking vitamin A into my kids’ foods.

3. Exhibit A: Carrot drenched french toast for the kids. They had no clue I smothered this bread in carrots along with the french toast mixture!

4. Dallas’ favorite cereal, Honey Wheat Puffs. These are from the Goodness Organic line for kids at Fresh & Easy. Super short ingredient list, and usually $2.50 a box. They are a healthified Honey Smacks.

5. Big, fat bag of roasted sweet potatoes. If you have any ideas what to do with all these potatoes that doesn’t involve marshmallows, let me know. I’m going a little crazy here.

6. Pure Protein powder. One of two protein powder options at Fresh & Easy. Probably not the best for me, it tastes way to good. But, it’s better than trying to eat chicken, eggs or yogurt at every meal! (I’ve been having 6 meals a day).

7. Steel Cut Oatmeal. I swear, this is the secret power breakfast of champions. 1/2 cup a day with lots of ground flax, fruit, cinnamon, a dash of agave nectar and a protein shake…I am never hungry after breakfast, which is new for me. Cereal, bagels and toast would always make me hungry for more!

8. Tempting Toddler Turkey Meatloaf. Out of the book mentioned in the last post, The Toddler Bistro. The kids loved it, I think it’s a little mushy from the bread crumbs, but you can see by the green, orange and white bits that I’m working those veggies back into the kid’s bellies!

9. Prunes. Strangely addicting, super sweet and has lots of added…benefits.

10. F&E Ice Cream. Right before Jy went to Vegas he asked me to bring home a tub of vanilla. This is the first time in, uh…ever, that I have not even been tempted to take a bite of the ice cream in my freezer. I think I’m off the shugahs! Maybe if it was a chocolate gelato or something, I’d be crying over it, but not today!

11. Costco Natural Peanut Butter. Tastes good, better ingredients than standard PB and a totally good Costco value. PB is expensive right now!

So, that’s what is in my kitchen right now. I’m not sure I have it in me to take Max to Costco today, but the lure of cheap Fage Greek yogurt just might be too much to keep me away! If the kids cooperate, I’ll be making some green food tomorrow. Get out your green sweaters and make yourself some organic, from-scratch Lucky Charms.(Kidding about the charms).

Happy Friday!

Road Trip Series: Carrot Spread

Road Trip Series: Carrot Spread

The rain has finally made it to town and boy, do we need it! There was a general sense of tiredness in the air yesterday, as we are still adjusting to the time change and I am still adjusting to a life not laden with bread and sugar.

Dallas has been asking me why he is such a chatterbox and I have to tell him that he just takes after his mommy. I am gentle enough to leave out the end of the sentence which is, “After she’s had her coffee.”

Dallas never made it to Awanas last night, he was just too cranky, so I toted him along with me to the library. He picked up a copy of his new favorite movie, Mary Poppins. How cute is that? I found the book, The Toddler Bistro: Child-Approved Recipes and Expert Nutrition Advice for the Toddler Years. I have realized lately that although I make my children vegetables for dinner every night, they aren’t eating them. Oops. Plan B.

As we continue to get geared up for our trip to Disneyland next month, I am plotting and planning food to bring along that will keep our money in our wallets and cholesterol out of our blood. Traveling is tricky, especially the days in between driving to and from home, when eating out seems like the best plan at every meal! I found the recipe, Creamy Carrot Spread in The Toddler Bistro and I think it may come in handy.

Carrot spread can take the place of cream cheese on morning bagels, toast or even muffins. We can make quick sandwiches with what meat is on hand and keep the big, nasty jar of mayo at home. The spread can even be used as a veggie dip!

Carrot Dip

 

 

Road Trip Series: Carrot Spread
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dips & Spreads
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Puree of 2 large carrots (or a jar of baby food!)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 T. orange juice
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
Instructions
  1. Blend and keep chilled. Dat is dat!
 

Wish me luck as my husband heads off to Vegas. I’ll take two out of the following four:

1. My kids are angels the whole time.

2. Jy comes home a thousandaire or more.

3. The scale totally cooperates when I finally get to weigh/measure myself again on Friday (it’s been 30 days).

4. I don’t have to deal with any poop or barfy issues alone. (This blog was started long after we needed to clean the ceilings in two rooms, the doors and change our heating vents due to a serious poop/underwear-flinging incident). You can begin to understand my fear now.

Carrot Cake Protein Squares

Carrot Cake Protein Squares

Bodybuilding.com has a lot of crazy looking folks on their website, but they also have some seriously healthy recipes that (wait for it)…taste fantastic! The first time I tried making carrot cake protein bars, I utterly failed. After finding a recipe from inspirational fitness model, Jamie Eason, I thought I’d give this snack just one more try. I am so glad I did! I still have about 80 pounds of Costco carrots in my fridge and plan to make a few batches of these squares to freeze.

Jamie suggest you use jarred baby food in place of the carrots, but if you are like me and have an abundance of orange roots at home and very little drive to go to the grocery store again, you can use fresh carrots. Just boil or steam and puree them up in a blender or food processor with some water, as if you were making baby food.

I called my brother Matt this morning to ask what he thought of these squares. This is the brother that doesn’t despise my cooking by the way. He said he enjoyed the cinnamon flavor and thought they were good. Translation: make these.

Quick story. These squares came fresh out of the oven yesterday, right as we were about ready to head over to my parent’s house, which is about a 15 minute drive away. The kids were tired and we were rushing out, so I just grabbed the pan and a spatula with me into the passenger seat. This was my protein snack and I didn’t want to miss it! When I saw Matt at my parent’s house, I offered him a square. Matt is a personal trainer and loves healthy food (he also loves totally crappy food too). He mentioned his thrill over the new Taco Bell taco with a Dorito shell. Anyhow, I pulled the pan out from the car and stuck a spatula of carrot cake to his hands. He wasn’t exactly expecting the snack to be served this way and ran off to get a napkin. The humor of it all was lost on me until we drove away. Maybe the humor is lost on you too, sorry if that made no sense.

So, these have no flour, use only egg whites and taste really, really good! Plus, they hold some protein powder within.

Carrot Cake Protein Square
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Baked Good
Cuisine: Healthy Snack
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oat flour (grind oatmeal into a flour consistency)
  • 2 scoops vanilla whey protein
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp allspice
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
  • 4 egg whites
  • ¾ cup stevia, agave nectar, honey or pure maple syrup
  • 8 oz pureed carrots
  • 4 oz water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix flour, whey protein, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Mix egg whites, Splenda, baby food carrots and water (optional) in a bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together.
  5. Spray glass pyrex dish with non-stick butter spray.
  6. Pour ingredients into 8×8 dish.
  7. Bake 20-30 minutes.
 

Here’s a video where Jamie Eason will teach you to make these sweet snacks, too!

Bitchin’ Kitchen – Barbie Breakfast

Bitchin’ Kitchen – Barbie Breakfast

Do you watch this show? It’s hilarious! Nadia G took one episode to grow on me, but now I can’t take my eyes off of her Cooking Channel show, Bitchin’ Kitchen.

I probably shouldn’t have titled this post BK, because that is not what it is about! However, today is a girly day in my kitchen, so I guess that mentioning the Canadian tough girl wasn’t too off topic. I was able to head out for a (moms club) meeting this morning and grab a nice big Peet’s latte. An hour or uninterrupted Target shopping later, I was home to a clean kitchen (thanks, Jy) and happy kids. I’ve tried two new recipes today and am writing this as all the boys are out riding bikes. Sounds good, oui?

In honor of everything going my way, I’ve made a girly dish to share with you. Barbie Breakfast! So, it probably goes without saying that I have had that utterly obnoxious song, “I’m a Barbie Girl” stuck in my head this afternoon. I hope karma serves justly the one hit wonder band, Aqua.


Pink Quinoa
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups cranberries
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • ⅓ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup honey
Instructions
  1. Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil before reducing heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes and then take pot off burner and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, boil cranberries until they pop. You can choose to cook your cranberries in sugar and water now, or mix them into the quinoa unsweetened and add more honey later.
  3. Toast your pecans over medium heat in a dry pan. Move nuts around in pan for 5 minutes and take off heat before they turn dark brown.
  4. Mix all components together and serve!
This could easily be served as a lunch or dinner side dish, but alliteration rules in the world of recipe naming, therefore Barbie Breakfast it is! Wondering what this pink bowl of texture may be? I’ll break it down. Warm couscous with cranberries, raisins, toasted pecans, agave nectar and honey.

Ok, the honeymoon is over. The boys are back. One is tired, one is antsy and I have yet to see what the third has to say. Happy Sunday friends, go to bed early tonight to make up that hour we have lost!

Peanut Butter Hummus

Peanut Butter Hummus

Hello and happy late in the day Thursday! Today we are talking household favorites. I’ll let the boys go first.

Max and Dallas’ Favorites

  Wild hair, neon dry erase markers and the big blue exercise ball. Oh, and doing their favorite chant which goes something like this, “Hop! Hop! Pickaliss!” I have no clue what it means, but when Dallas was Max’s age (21 months) he had his own favorite saying, “OH shauntee!” That was right before he invented his wrestling move, where he would put his diapered butt on your face and announce, “BOOJY!”

Kim’s Favorites

I was about to call this section, Mom’s Favorites, but I sometimes remember that I do have another identity. Lots of my volunteer duties for the year are slowly wrapping up, but I still have more than I probably should on my plate. I’ve had to let things slide a bit lately, because I am trying my best to no longer put myself last. It’s taking longer for our home to get clean, we aren’t going on as many field trips, I’m not blogging at night like I’d prefer and so on. However, I am also not eating scones for breakfast, pb&j for lunch, a small dinner and then lots of cereal before bed. I am taking the time to take care of myself and my energy level and jeans are thanking me for it.

The things I’m loving right now are:

  • Flaxseed – I doubt details are needed here. But life is much better with a cooperating GI system
  • Trader Joe’s chocolate protein powder
  • my Kindle Fire – it’s totally life changing!
  • Once Upon a Time – such a fun show
  • The Cooking Channel – a modern, younger Food Network
  • DAMYhealth.com
While this should be a family favorite, I’ll add it here…DAMY’s Peanut Butter Hummus. I wasn’t so sure that we would enjoy this recipe, many of the homemade hummus trials of the past have led to dry, garlic laden, pasty dip. Not this dip. I have made this three times so far, each time because we ran out. The kids love it, I love it and even my meat loving husband loves it!
PB hummus works with anything that regular hummus pairs with, my favorite being apples! I like that I don’t have to buy Tahini for this recipe, too. To learn how to make what I am sure will be your favorite dip too, go to DAMYhealth’s blog and you’ll find the recipe along with 8 others for healthy hummus.

 Jy’s Favorite

 

The Voice (Television)

 Still feeling the Oscar hangover, Movie Fuel is going to jump the shark this week.  Since its inception 11 seasons ago, I have always been a big closeted American Idol fan (and still am for the most part).  Recently, however, my attention has turned to a new singing reality series.  With less drama, better judges and a more fun format, The Voice has quickly replaced the stale Fox network overkill that was once the perennial favorite on our family television week in and week out.  Why I like these shows, I am not quite sure, but there is something special about an average citizen like you and I shooting to superstardom basically overnight because of an opportunity  to show off their singing talent.

Drama versus Singing

American Idol used to be about the music, but has gradually transgressed into yelling, fainting, obnoxious, poisonous prima donnas.  The last straw this season, was when an entire show (two hours!) was dedicated to the squabbling that took place during “group week” with absolutely no singing that took place the entire episode?  First of all, why do solo artists even have to  have a group format?  It always seemed ridiculous to me.  I understand, part of the show is to do terrible Brady Bunch style group songs with bad dancing and horrid costumes, but when trying to find a star in the making, why waste the time?  Well, luckily, The Voice doesn’t care if you can sing in a group as long as you can sing!  The NBC hit starts with what are called “Blind Auditions”; the judges can only listen to the artist (without seeing them) and base their decision to move them on to the next round based on their voice only.  And, while there is a story line for each contestant, it is quick and painless.  The best part of the show is that all of the contestants have been prescreened and by the time we see them on our televisions, we already know they will be good singers, it is just  a matter of how good!  We can do without the William Hung’s and the costumed freaks who are sent in front of the judges just to be lambasted.  While some people watch American Idol just for the train wrecks, it has gotten old after a decade.

Judges

Let’s face it, the judges on American Idol without Simon Cowell are just plain boring and lost.  Two has-beens and one never-been, repeating the same judgments and recommendations about being “pitchy” or being “born with it” or being compared to past Idol contestants who we barely remember.  Steven Tyler is like your crazy grandmother (literally), Randy Jackson keeps trying to be hip with his weird outfits and overuse of the word “dawg” (which was popular in the 90′s) and Jennifer Lopez still wants one of her entourage to pick out the green M&M’s from her candy dish (it’s not happening!  You’re done!).  With The Voice, you have four relevant music stars with positive feedback and informed recommendations based on what it has taken them to become top selling artists today. Cee Lo Green has had huge hits and is still going; from underground hip hop to mainstream pop, the Gnarls Barkley front man and “F*%$ You” balladeer, you can just tell, really knows and loves music (watch him lip synch every song that the contestants sing). Yes, the Dr. Evil cat is a little weird, but part of being a superstar requires being eccentric and Cee Lo is as close to a contemporary Elton John as our generation is going to get. Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine is the a-hole with a heart of gold (well maybe not so much).  His past transgression and well known escapades as a womanizer and general miscreant is almost forgiven while watching his nice guy persona encourage the budding stars on stage.  Of the four judges, he seems to know what he is talking about the most and has a natural confidence that makes you want to root for him and his team of singers.  Country singer Blake Shelton is easily the funniest judge on the show and has the quickest wit.  One of the best parts of watching the show is hearing him take digs at his fellow judges; Christina Aguillera’s ridiculous chest, Cee Lo’s height and jewelry, Adam’s pretty boy persona and so much more. The dynamic of having a country singer judge on a pop singing show only helps its credibility that much more.  Then, there is Christina Aguillera.  By far the most annoying and fake contestant (no pun intended), she reminds me of a louder, dumber, blonde Elvira.  But her personality contrasts really well with the other judges, similar to Paula Abdul in the early Idol days.  And, what’s not to like about the judges hugging each contestant picked as part of their team?

Talent

American Idol is about singing, but it is also about image (as they say, “that is what sells albums”).  Because of this, there is a tendency to pick out the youngest and prettiest contestants on the show, not always the most vocally talented.  With The Voice, especially during the blind auditions, image is nothing.  The talent is prescreened for quality chops and regardless of age, sex, race, gender, etc. the best talent is chosen.  The elimination rounds are fun too.  Instead of group competitions filled with cat fights and people hitting the floor do to exhaustion, each contestant on The Voice goes head to head with one another and then are paired down from 48 to 24 and then go to the live show where America votes.  There’s no triple elimination or situations where groups are piled into a conference room just to be made to wonder whether or not they made it and then tricked when the judges come into the room, etc.  It’s a purer version of a reality singing contest.

The best part of The Voice is that it is only one once a week , Monday’s at 8pm.  So check it out!  You won’t be disappointed!