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Month: May 2012

Ice Cream for Breakfast!

Ice Cream for Breakfast!

To start my birthday off right, I made my family ice cream for breakfast! I’ve seen the recipe floating around the blogosphere and wanted to give it a whirl myself. Here’s what you do:

Slice and freeze 5 or so bananas. Mix them in a high powered blender or food processor in the morning.

Voila!

I added a tsp. of vanilla and around 1/4 cup of milk, but you don’t have to. Granola and berries were super yummy on top, too.

Can’t wait to show you all my smore’s cake that I am whipping up right now!

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Unphotogenic Deliciousness

Unphotogenic Deliciousness

Looks appetizing, doesn’t it? DOESN’T IT?

I know, it looks like cat food. I blame it on the turkey. However, this dinner dish is so absolutely fabulous it will have you running to check which channel BBC America plays on here in the states.

The secret of this comforting, yet totally healthy dish, lies in the faux-tatoes! My kids had no idea they where eating whipped cauliflower with chives, onion and garlic on top of their meat and veggies. To find the recipe, head over and read all about cauliflower at DAMY Health’s site. This too, is where you will find the recipe for the Shepard’s Pie you see above!

Short and sweet this morning. Coffee has still not entered my blood stream. Talk more once the joe gets flowin’!

 

Food Is Messin’ Us Up, Man!

Food Is Messin’ Us Up, Man!

Do you ever wonder what happened in our world of food and that caused our digestive tracts to become so sensitive and off balance? We know that the ever growing popularity and convenience of processed foods has thrown us down an unhealthy rabbit hole, but is it really the main cause? Why are there so many allergies and intolerance to so many types of food? Has there always been a large population of gluten sensitive people, who just never had the right term to label their symptoms with? Doubtful, right?

I’m not going to be answering my questions above, sorry! It’s just what is on my mind. I really just wanted to get my thoughts on the topic out there tonight. No new recipes, just some food chat!

If you have a child with food allergies or know one, you’ll want to see what I found!

These are cute allergy bands from Lauren’s Hope. They are $10 (extra for the special allergy buttons), waterproof and comfortable for kids.

Allermates.com has some pretty cute products as well.

If you have food allergies or are avoiding gluten, dairy or just want to learn more about food sensitivities, LivingWithout is  a must read!

Now…on to my mom.

Me and my mom at my wedding. You probably figured that out already.

My mom has, for at least a decade now, been very sensitive to gluten and spices. She’s stumbled on to something else now. Something I had yet to know about, histamine intolerance. I wanted to write about it, but it’s more involved than I realized and I’d just be copying and pasting from other sites. I know that anxiety, low blood pressure, hives and headaches are some major markers. If you live with those symptoms, I’d start hitting the Google-monster!

Mom, I found this tip, try it and let me know what you think…

Raw, organic apple cider vinegar. Taking a tablespoon of raw, organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) every morning — before going outside – works by blocking our body’s histamine reaction and it reduces inflammation. Mix 1 tablespoon of ACV with a cup of warm water and a spoonful of local, raw honey and you’re good to go! Note: If you are able, I strongly suggest making up a batch of thisMaster Tonic and taking your daily dose of ACV in this form. It’s an incredibly powerful boost for the immune system! ACV can be found in most grocery stores along with the other vinegars or in a health food store. – Frugally Sustainable

I have an unopened bottle of ACV in my fridge. I keep reading how it is supposed to help you feel energized and blah-bitty-blah-bitty (unofficial spelling). I just can’t do it though. I’ll let you know when I woman up.

I have gluten-free drink that I’d love to talk about. It is something I know plenty about, because I drink this stuff whenever I am looking for something naughty, but not too naughty.

 Bolthouse Farms makes this amazingly yummy and totally caffeinated protein drink. It’s a taste-tastic mix of coffee, cocoa and vanilla with milk and whey protein. No way! Whey. Oh, that was so dumb, I’m sorry.

  • Excellent source of 7 vitamins and minerals.
  • Good source of Potassium and Iron.
  • Provides 8g of Protein per 8oz serving.
  • Contains 18 Amino Acids.
  • Low Fat and All Natural.
  • Contains 60mg of caffeine per 8oz serving (One cup of brewed coffee contains 115mg).
  • No preservatives and nothing artificial.
  • Flash pasteurized and cold-filled to preserve taste and provide superior nutrition.
  • Gluten free.

I love comfybelly.com and if you are looking for resources, head over to her links!

A little of this and a little of that tonight, huh? Thanks for checking in and I hope to be sharing something yummy tomorrow!

I Love Fridays! Let’s Eat a Cow.

I Love Fridays! Let’s Eat a Cow.

When Maxwell saw the 4 corn cobs on the table, he screamed, “Popcorn!” We ate a summer inspired meal tonight, complete with heirloom tomatoes, which are totally not in season here. Luckily, Whole Foods isn’t afraid to sell food from Mexico. Local schmocal when a craving strikes. I’m not sure where Costco trucks the melon in from, but I am loving topping off my honeydew and watermelon with some big, fat grains of Celtic Sea Salt. I’ve never tried salting fruit until this year, when I heard it mentioned on Martha Stewart’s XM radio station.

Whole Foods was running their Friday special, per usual, and today happened to be $1 hamburger patties. I needed to check google to ask what the level 4 on the package meant. Pasture Centered? That could mean anything. Are the cows kept in the middle of the land? It means as much to me as seeing the label on chicken packages which reads, “all natural.” Well, um…yeah, what else would a chicken be. You mean, I am not buying robot chicken?

 You can read Whole Food’s rating system here. Apparently, 4 is good. However, 5 is best. Anything above 5 means the cow escaped and is somewhere out there, living off the grid.

Off the dinner subject, do you want to see what desperation looks like? Desperation looks a lot like a pantry raid (read: pantRy raid, not the other kind), searching for something healthy which also happens to resemble a dessert food. Desperation looks like baking a scoop of protein powder with beaten egg whites to come up with something that looks like a cupcake, tastes like a meringue and satisfies like a single Life Saver. (Meaning, not so much.) Desperation my friends, looks like this:

It’s prettier than you thought, right? Looks can be deceiving. And yep, those plates have scratches too. I kind of feel obligated to go out and get some attractive blogging dishes. Alas, I’d better just wash the ones I have first. I’m over and out for the night. I have just finished 72 hours of keeping keratin in my hair and I am ready to wash it right out. I’ve endured one child falling flat on his face and a follow up (get better) trip to Toys R Us, a cranky and late napper and now a Lego ridden home. This chick wants to go squeeze in a Friday evening walk.

Happy Friday folks, tomorrow is the best day of the week and my favorite morning to garage sale (yes, it’s a verb too)!

Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Thursdays used to be my baking morning and they are finally back. It is so wonderful to be back in an actual routine. I braced myself for the winter holidays last year and smoothed through, unscathed. Too bad I didn’t prepare myself for Spring, though! Between birthdays, Easter and our trip to Disneyland, I have been spun in way too many directions and there is nothing like being straightened out again!

I realized just how off things had gotten after my bowl of Fiber-One cereal I ate for dinner. I wasn’t sure what I was feeding the kids for their dinner and it was already 6 p.m. (oh, and they were both napping). Not exactly June Cleaver’s ideal day, right? But then, who really wants to be June Cleaver anyway? All that hairspray and no Facebook? No thanks.

Back to Thursdays.

Thursday mornings usually means muffins in the oven. I never intend on eating the muffins I make for my kids, but I try to make them extra healthy…just in case I do. Um, I always do. There is a fine line between healthy enough for mom to eat and tasty enough for my kids to enjoy. Today, that line was shattered!

There is a superb blog floating out there in blogospace, The Dashing Dish. A recipe created two years ago, called Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffins, just begs to be replicated. The super cute creator, Katie, develops healthy alternatives to favorite foods.

This makeover was meant to replicate VitaTops. You know, the uber-expensive healthy muffin tops you find in the freezer? I can safely attest to her claim of victory. These muffins are so much yummier than the frozen chocolate disks that sell for $6 a box.

Her version is lower in calorie than mine, as she uses stevia. My kids don’t love stevia baked goods and I don’t blame them. I have yet to find a brand that does not leave a slight metallic taste in your mouth. I also noticed that I needed more chocolate chips than the recipe calls for. Perhaps it is because I chose to use maple syrup as my sweetener and the batter is thinner because of it. Either way, I think I’ll try mini chips next time, to see if they go further in covering the muffin.

Visit The Dashing Dish for the full recipe and instructions.

 

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I think I have mentioned before, how this is the time of year (in mom world), to volunteer for the upcoming year’s committees and events. I have already noticed that I have committed to more than I wish to and now have to slowly back out of a few things.

At the start of this year, I mentioned my goal of growing this blog and attending a food blogger conference. That is still one of my big goals for 2012. In addition to spending time in my son’s kindergarten classroom, I will also be starting school again (next week!) to finish earning my teaching credential and second Master’s degree. The first degree will only serve me in the teaching world, so I better get on that credential if I plan to put my education to use!

The point I am (slowly) getting to is, Food It Forward, kindergarten and college will be my main points of focus in 2012. So, though you may have heard it before, prepare to hear more and more from me!

Now it’s time to go and get my kids dressed. It is almost 11 a.m., after all. Otherwise, I’ll just stay here on the computer and airbrush out the scratches off the orange Ikea kids’ plate you see above.

Happy almost Friday!

Kim

This photo (from the movie, Magic Mike) has nothing to do with muffins. However, it will show up as a thumbnail on Facebook and drive more traffic to the blog. Hey, I warned you about my goals.

Summer Coconut Cashews

Summer Coconut Cashews

Roasted nuts aren’t just for the holidays, summer is a great time for cooked nuts, too! Just (insert joke here about sunburned crazy neighbors, relatives, reality show stars). When the temperature starts to rise, so does the frequency of dinner salads. Nothing tops a salad better than roasted nuts! These guys are especially yummy mixed in yogurt or even on top of ice cream.

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Summer Coconut Cashews
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Nuts
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • ½ cup raw coconut
  • 2 tsp. honey
Instructions
  1. Mix the ingredients together and roast for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, stir half way through.
That’s it! These nuts are not overly sweet, so sprinkle sugar (before roasting) if you are creating a dessert type nut. 

Summer Cashews would mix well with dried mango, pineapple or banana. They would also be heavenly with some dark chocolate chips!

Crunchy, munchy!

 

My Drink for the Summer

My Drink for the Summer

I know it is still spring, but I have my sipping plan all set for the summer.

I loved drinking fresh, crisp Skinnygirl Pina Colada over ice, it tastes like summer!

My brain doesn’t have many working cells after an afternoon feast at the park. Most of the food was brought in by a friend of a friend, who cooks authentic Mexican food and knows where to buy some serious pinatas.

This pinata was the real deal. It took many adult sized swings to bust open the staple-laden beast.

Check out the serious Mexican appreciation happening here. The carnitas are kind of hidden, which is a shame, because they were the star of the show!

  

Homemade Horchata is my second sipper for the summer. My friend Jody made this stuff from scratch and it tasted amazing! I think it would be wonderful in iced coffee and Jody thought she’d try freezing some into popsicles.

Like I said, all this food has stolen most brain cells and I don’t have much to say, I just wanted to share some photos with you. I’m also blaming a full week of tiredness on this “Super Moon” that’s up in the sky right now. I will be back with a recipe tomorrow though, and hopefully on a more regular blogging schedule again!

 

 

 

Disneyland Tips Part Two

Disneyland Tips Part Two

 

More Notes on Eating

  • Ruby’s Diner is one stop north on the I5 and has some amazing shakes and burgers. I ordered the skinny plate, which comes with a breast of chicken that tasted freshly plucked from the freezer and thrown into the microwave. Go for the burger instead. Sign up for their e-club and you’ll get a free shake. They have car hop service as well as a total space-case waitress on roller skates. They offer “fit” burgers and gluten-free choices as well.
  • IHOP is right across the street from the park and kids can eat free after 4 pm, with the purchase of an adult meal. You can find IHOP coupons in your Sunday paper too. Don’t expect this place to be super cheap.
  • A friend warned me to steer clear of Captain Kid’s Buffet and I did. I wouldn’t try it if I were you either.
  • Mimi’s Cafe is in between HoJo’s and the Fairfield Inn. Sign up for free meals on their site as well. Lots of food, pretty good service.
  • Eating in Downtown Disney will  be pricey, but there are lots of coupons and deals if you research online ahead of time.
  • Target is a couple of miles from the park and a great place to grab a case of water, Lara Bars or whatever you want to stock up on. Be sure to check where the new Target is located, it moved! It’s now on Euclid St.
  • Double check restaraunt.com for updates. They were selling gift certificates for House of Blues, I don’t think they still are, but it is worth checking out. There are always codes for Restaurant.com, just do a little googling. There are burger & Mexican eateries galore, just search 1 or 5 miles out of the zip code 92802.
  • The Golden Horseshoe Saloon has gigantic ice cream sundaes and root beer floats. Good place for parents to sit and laugh at the show, while kids get their sugar on.
  • California Adventures has a really good smoothie shop in the Hollywood Backlot section. They cost about $6 a drink, but they are perfect for getting some fruit down your kid’s throats There are also fatty mocha smoothies too. Dieters beware.
  • Across from the smoothie stand is a hot dog cart that offers tasty dogs.
We saw lots of characters around the smoothie shop, including Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. He told me he wouldn’t sign an autograph if I didn’t buy him a smoothie. Well, he mimed it.
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The full service restaurants are slow. They offer some tasty food, but don’t bring impatient kids there. Our mistake.
Cool Spots to Seek Out
Across from the smoothie (still in the backlot) is a theater which houses, Turtle Talk with Crush, Animation Academy, Sorcerer’s Workshop and Character Close-up. These four different attractions are all placed on the outskirts of a large (really large) open room that plays scenes from some of Disney’s best films. The open theater allows food and strollers and gives both parents a place to sit and relax and kids some room to dance and run around.
Older kids can learn to draw Disney style at the Animation Academy and little ones can be amazed by Crush, the interactive turtle. Check it out, dude.

Notes on Rides for Little Guys
  • I know that Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlasters and Toy Story Midway Mania are HUGE hits with the kids. I just wanted to throw in a couple warnings. If you have a toddler that has not ridden either of these, keep these notes in mind;
-AstroBlasters is loud and overwhelming. It can be fun if you can get your toddler into the whole shooting the bad guy aspect, otherwise it might be a recipe for tears.
-Toy Story spins quickly and requires 3D glasses. I put Max on my lap and still felt like he could have flown out of the car!
  • Remember your audience. If your kid hasn’t seen the movie and the ride isn’t super toddler friendly, it might end up as a lot of time wasted in line. Thinking mostly of Alice in Wonderland here.
  • Don’t forget to make time for attractions where kids can run and get energy out. Waiting in line all day can create one antsy kid. Think, Tarzan’s Treehouse (all those stairs to climb), Tom Sawyer’s Island or best of all, the Redwood Trail at California Adventure. The trail is now called Wilderness Camp and hinges itself on the movie, Up. I guess no one really cared about Brother Bear.
  • The Bug’s Life 3D show is loud and intense, be warned.
  • Bring pennies to toss into the wells while waiting for The Tikki Room. Bring money for some Dole Whips while you are at it!
  • Bring little things that light up, but don’t pull them out until it’s dark. Kids seem to be amazed by colored light. Ahh, 10 seconds of relaxation for you. The princesses were totally impressed with Dallas’ finger lights. The whole audience was wearing them on The Voice this week. Very cool.

Other Tips

Before you go, plan which parades and shows are must see events. It’s easy to say, “We’ll make sure to see that tomorrow.” We totally missed the Pixar parade, which I am sure my boys would have loved. We tried to do naps around 2, which meant we’d go from naps to dinner and then back to the park. Going to the park at 6 is late enough to miss the characters and put you back in line for a ride during the night time parades. Next time, I’ll do naps earlier. Most characters call it a night at 5 pm.

Bring more wet wipes than you think you’ll need.

Be prepared for your kids to want to wear costumes. Bring fun stuff if you don’t plan to buy it at Disney. Also, pack another outfit and pair of shoes to keep in your stroller or locker. No one wants to be the mom with a daughter shuffling with blistered, princess high heeled feet.

If You are Driving from the Bay Area

You have more stopping options than you think! Get going onto I5 before you make any stops, you’ll want some road under your belt. Here are kid friendly stops we have found useful.

1. Split Pea Anderson’s has really large bathrooms that are fairly nice. (At least the women’s). There is also a penny crushing machine!

2. If you can’t wait that long, Patterson has a Starbucks on the way down.

3. The next most logical stop is Harris Ranch in Coalinga. Hopefully you have remembered to hit the button on your a/c that uses the air that’s already inside the car. This is a little further than stinky cow land. They have nice restrooms and a gift shop complete with good coffee, homemade beef jerky, chocolate and magazines.

4. Other than gas stations, you’ll want to push on until the foot of the Grapevine. If you park in the lot between the Mexican restaurant and hotel, you’ll find a large(ish), shaded strip of grass. Best place to kick a ball around and have a quick picnic.

5. Once you see Magic Mountain, you can exit if you need to find another restroom. We snuck into the potties at the Embassy Suites, right off of Newell. Super nice. (They have a Starbucks there too).

6. If you are headed down when traffic may be an issue, you may want to exit in Santa Clarita and hit up Ralph’s. Grab a sandwich, if you hit LA traffic, the last leg of your trip won’t be super fun. Chances are, you are gonna hit traffic. Next time, we will leave super early on a Sunday. We left Danville at 7:10 and hit plenty, plenty, plenty of traffic in LA.

That’s all I can think of for now. Happy travels!