Sunday, February 26, 2012

Secret Smoothie

I also learned this from the real foods class at church. I just made it and it got good reviews from the kiddos so it shall be posted.

Secret Smoothie

Frozen spinach
Frozen blueberries
Frozen strawberries
Milk
Maple syrup
(if any of the above is not frozen, use an ice cube or two to keep frozen)

- I did not measure the above, but I used roughly the same amount of each
(spinach, blueberries, strawberries)
- I started with maybe half cup of milk and added more as needed.
- I poured a "glug" of maple syrup (maybe 1/4 cup??)
- grab your blender and add the above and blend.
- Enjoy.
- The great thing about this recipe is that the blueberries completely take over the color of the smoothie so the kids did not know there was spinach in it until I told them!

Kombucha update: we have a winner!

So, I decided this past Monday to try again at making kombucha. I let it ferment only until Friday. I tasted it...yummy! It was fizzy; it was a little tangy; IT WAS GOOD!

So what did I do? I grabbed that gallon jug and put it in the fridge to deal with yesterday. Yep, call me Mrs. Procrastination! (Ok, I will be fair, I remember at 6:45 about it and was heading to a church function so I really didnt procrastinate...kinda)

Yesterday, I grabbed my jars and the gallon of kombucha and some cran-grape juice and got pouring. I added about an inch of juice to the bottom of quart jars and then filled the rest with kombucha (with an inch of headspace) and put a lid on and put back in the fridge.

Last night we tried it. The boy was spending the night at a friend's house so he hasnt tried it yet, but I am guessing he will like it. The man and I thought it was good. The picky baby girl described it as "delicious". Yep, we have a winner, folks!

I will be starting another batch soon enough...maybe even today!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I did it! Yep, sure did!

I started exercising. Ok, so I started only today, but at least I started right?

We have a wii and we also have wii fit. It is okay. It does make me mad how every time I step on it to get weighed it makes a grunting sound. I really dont think it means anything (I mean, it IS just a video game), but it still pisses me off! Well, the man brought home an accessory to the wii fit. Active something or other. It was clearanced down to about $10 and who doesnt love a clearance?!?

So today was the day that he made us all get up and exercise. He did it (and yelled at the tv about half of the time...I giggled). Then the boy did it and complained some, and then the baby girl tried. She complained a little, but not too much. My turn...I tried to get out of it by saying I was writing a paper, but I knew I could set aside 20 minutes to do it.

So, I started. And I yelled at the tv. The stupid digital instructor made me mad!

Did I enjoy it? Eh. It was okay. But honestly, I feel so much better, energized after the workout and a shower. Even the twinge in my back seems to feel better! I guess working out CAN be good for you ;)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Clean chocolate chip granola bars

As you may have noticed from all the ranting I have done, I am changing my family's diet. It is hard.

The truth is: We snack. We may not eat complete meals all the time, but we sure like to snack. So healthy snack recipes are a must to find.

I have been searching different sites and found a great one.
The Gracious Pantry. It is one of my new faves. Her recipes are awesome..at least they look awesome. I have only tried one and it is a keeper. I tweeked it for my liking. Here is the original recipe. Below is mine.

Chocolate chip granola bars
2 cups oats (I used the quick cook and I didnt roast them)
1 cup PB (I used the fresh grinded stuff I bought at Whole Foods)
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of applesauce (I used what I canned last fall)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (i used the milk chocolate ones I had in pantry)
1 tbl cinnamon (this doesnt add a strong taste at all)
2 tbl chia seeds (bought in bulk at Whole Foods)

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix all ingredients together. Like the original recipe, I found kneeding it much easier.
- Lay some parchment paper on a cookie sheet and press the mix on it. It ends up using about half of a regular size cookie sheet.
- Bake about 10-15 min, until the bar is golden brown. (Mine needed about 13 minutes).
- Wait about 30 minutes to cool and then cut into bars and eat 'em up!

Monday, February 20, 2012

If I could turn back time, if I could find a way....

I am hearing Cher's voice this morning as I am reflecting on the "real foods" class I attended at church yesterday.

I would LOVE to be able to turn back time and start this journey with whole foods when the kids were younger. You see, one disadvantage of having kids while you are barely out of being a kid yourself is that you just dont know what you want out out of life to be able to share it with them!

Whole foods is one item I really wish I knew about when the kids were younger. I tried, really tried, to get them healthy foods and such, but it just did not happen. At the time whole, clean foods just wasnt all the rave it is now. I did not know all about the great nutritional values. I only knew that making items from scratch at home was cheaper and healthier. Everyone was all about couponing and saving and reading "The Tightwad Gazzette". Trust me, I was all into that. Box of processed mac and cheese for a dime, yes please! And I will take 20! I look back and think of all the crap I fed my kids...yikes! I did make some items myself which made it healthier, but as we made more money, we bought more crap to eat. So sad.

Well, there is no good day to start the healthy eating like today! I just wish my oldest girl was closer to home to get the benefits of the foods too. I may try to develop a plan for her to get whole foods at college. That, we will look at over the summer when I have more time and have gotten some of the ideas under my belt here at home. For now, I will concentrate on those who still are living in this house.

I may not be able to turn back time and give my kiddos all the benefits of good foods their whole life, but I can start now. Some people dont get introduced to healthy eating until they are adults (like me!)

So, who's with me?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

cran-orange water

I got this recipe from the woman who taught the real foods class at church. I LOVE this drink! It is hard to believe that it is mostly water!

Cran-orange water

1 cup of pure 100% cranberry juice
1 tbl liquid stevia (I think next time I will use a little less)
juice of 2 oranges
enough water to bring everything to a gallon

Get a gallon container.
Pour the cranberry and OJ, and stevia into it.
Add water until it reaches the gallon point.
Mix and enjoy!

The start to a 'real foods' life

I have really been giving this real foods some thought this week (as I totally did nothing but munch on pizza and pop and cake and junk). I think we are going to go for it! I want to do it in steps though so not to shock the family or the checkbook. At the real foods class that I attended last week at church, I received a pie graph of sorts on areas to change up to have a real foods life.

One was filtered water. We do this and have been doing this for a few years now. The one thing we did not do is use the filtered water to make things with, as in drinks. I think I am going to start doing that, or at least try to. For cooking and baking and such, I am okay with using tap as I feel everything will be cooked out, ya know, all the bad stuff. For making drinks, I am going to start using the filtered water.

The next step is to switch out our sweeteners. We already have local honey in the cupboard and we have organic syrup (although I am going to need to order some more). I also have some dehydrated cane juice (aka sucanot, or rapadura) on hand. I still have some white sugar, but will use that for the kombucha and kefir. Oh and I did buy some liquid stevia today to use. Shoot! I forgot to buy some molasses! That's okay, I dont think I will need it anytime soon.

As far as meats go: we will only buy 'wild caught' fish, as opposed to 'farm raised' fish. Wild caught fish are loaded with omega 3s while farm raised tend to be higher in omega 6s (which can be linked to inflammatory responses). This is what I have learned. You dont know if the farm raised ones were all cramped in an area or not. With wild caught, these fish have the ocean at their fins and know all about keeping personal space, ya know for reasons such as pooping and all. These farm raised have no control of their personal space and can be swimming all around in other's yuckiness and who wants fish that basically could be swimming in filth? Not me...so wild caught it is for us. Also, we are going to stay away from nitrate and nitrites as much as we can. I think this is more for things like hotdogs (which have too much sodium for the boy so we dont consume) and bacon, and lunch meats. We learned about some great deals at BJs for the bacon!

Veggies/fruits: Trying to slowly ease into organics when able. So far we are going to do celery and apples as we consume lots of them and those should be bought organically anyways.

Dairy: We have not really touched on this subject yet

Oils: We are going to be using only butter (unsalted), olive oil (extra virgin for fresh things and regular ol olive oil for cooking), and coconut oil.

Breads: This is something that is in the works for us.

I think we are slowly getting there! Oh and we have already drastically reduced the amount of processed foods since the boy's kidney disease diagnosis so we really were on the way to a real foods diet!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Kombucha....vinegar??

Well, I think I failed at the first attempt of making Kombucha.

Bummer!

I was so excited to try it! I placed it in the fridge Saturday evening after running around with my baby girl. I let it chill until Sunday evening. I take out sample glasses and begin to pour. I had the family gather around for the taste test.

(I had never even tasted this stuff before. I just know it is super uber good for you and with the health issues in our family, I was just thinking, GO FOR IT!)

I take one jar out. I open it and can see the tiny fizzy goodness inside. I remove the little film on top and set aside (I do not remember what I was supposed to do with it so it just sat there). I poured a little bit into each cup.

We smelled it. "Hmmm...interesting", my husband says as the kids look to him for courage to take a sip.

We sip slowly. The kids look to me and announce that it tastes like vinegar. WHAT?!? I tried to convince them to try again. Nope. The room cleared faster than I have ever seen.

It isn't BAD tasting. Just not something I want to sit and sip from. It does have a sort of apple vinegar taste to it. I am so bummed! I have been researching what could have gone wrong. I think what I did was let it ferment too long. I did read that I can use it in place of vinegar so I am not throwing it out. I hope the SCOBY is okay. I still have some reading to do. Currently the mama SCOBY is in the fridge chilling in about 25% of the liquid. I don't want to throw "her" out and start over, but I will if need be. I will update for sure!

Now, what are some good recipes that use, oh say, a gallon of vinegar!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kombucha update

Ok, so my attempt to grow a SCOBY was successful! I started brewing a batch of Kombucha and tomorrow will be the day that I add the fruit juice. I am using the recipe from the Food Renegade. Here is the link for the recipe I used. I hope it is yummy! I will find out Saturday!

I have water kefir grains waiting for me as soon as I get well enough to go get some...I hope we like this too. My goal is to make healthy drinks so that we will stop buying pop. Keeping fingers crossed here!

Update on Saturday on our taste test!

Another CRUD?!? REALLY?!

Ok, so my head cold morphed into something else. I personally think the flu, but who knows. Tonight I am feeling a little better, but I thought that Tuesday night when I went to work...and then had to leave three hours later because I was too sick to do much. I went to the doctor and was given antibiotics (yeah I know. antibiotics dont work on the flu but I didnt think it was the flu until I went to work and another nurse mentioned it...and yes, I got the flu shot...go figure). Damn these medications I take for RA!! Seriously...three weeks of this crap!

So, here I am sitting here and whenever I attempt to do anything, I get tired and then take a nap. Of course the nurse in me (who also is in a public health rotation for school) is freaking out and wanting to scrub the house to disinfect it. It also does not help that I am currently watching the movie, Contagion, as I type this post. CRAZY! I will be neurotic by tomorrow for sure now.