Sunday, July 22, 2012

Zucchini Patties

Last night I was too exhausted to cook, but I wanted something homemade. Cause I've been too exhausted to cook for about 2 months, and I needed some good home cookin'. Oh, and I was out of practically every ingredient (because, like I already mentioned, shopping is a chore best left for times of the year that aren't summer). Oh, AND I had already made the tuna salad sandwiches I bragged about earlier one too many times this week. So I was at a loss. I got on Pinterest, since flopping down in a chair and staring at a computer screen were the only two things I could convince my body to do.

I came across these little gems, and my stomach growled, so I took it as a sign. Well, that, and we have zucchini coming out our ears around here, so I had at least one of the ingredients. And THAT is basically how I decide what to cook these days.

Anyway, here's my version of Zucchini Patties (I knew that if I called them 'cakes', the kids would be too disappointed to give them a fair shake):

1 large (mine was huge) zucchini, shredded and rung out between paper towels
1/2 C. parmesan cheese
1-2 eggs (start out with one, but if your "batter" doesn't stick together at all because your zucchini is the size of a transatlantic jet plane, add another)
1 C. bread crumbs (I just took two slices of bread and broke them up)
Nutmeg (maybe 1/8 tsp? I don't know. Just sprinkle some in)
Smoked Paprika (again, no idea. But make sure there's enough that you can taste it and everything is tinged orange. If you don't have smoked paprika - it's not the same as regular paprika! - go get some. It is amazing stuff.)
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt (lots)

Heat large skillet over med heat. Add some olive oil. Place 2" patties in skillet and cook 2 minutes (or more - use your judgement) on each side. Transfer them to a cookie sheet. Broil them for 2-5 minutes. Serve with ranch dressing.

I loved them. They made a perfect light summer dinner when served with melon, blueberries, and cherries. While no one asked for seconds, my children all ate their serving without complaint, and then ended up eating a LOT of fruit.

And that, dear readers, is what I like to call,


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Improvise: Tuna Tuesday

What happens when you are planning on Cafe Rio (Taco Tuesday - every Tuesday!) for dinner, and out of nowhere your husband tells you he has to leave at 5:00 for meetings. And it's 4:30. And your car is in the shop, so that means you'll be stranded at home. And you haven't gone grocery shopping in almost two weeks (because it's summer, and who has time for grocery shopping in the summer?), so your fridge is empty? And your husband's answer to your despair is, "How about tuna sandwiches?" But you hate sandwiches (unless they are hot)?

You google 'Tuna Melt'. That's what happens. Because you remember a few years ago when you found this fabulous tuna melt recipe (before Pinterest was invented), but you didn't print it out like a level-headed person, and instead lost it to the black hole of cyber space.

What then happens when you find a recipe that tickles your fancy over at Pioneer Woman's blog, but you don't have any of the ingredients? Except for the tuna?

Why, you channel your Grandma Orton, of course! You improvise like it's going out of style!

(minus the raisins, though)

You combine tuna, zucchini, onion, tomato, dill pickles (you were just barely smart enough to can oodles of your own last summer - whew!), mayo, spicy brown mustard (remind yourself to buy more of that, cause you canoodled every last scrap out of the jar), Parmesan cheese, pepper and salt. Then you pile it onto sandwich thins, bake it, top it with shredded cheddar, broil it, and dinner is served! In about 15 minutes flat. Well, with a little help from fresh cherries, melon, and chips. Gotta have some fruit and chips to make it a real meal.

That's what.

*No pictures were taken because I didn't expect it to be terribly good. But it was. Terribly. In a very unterrible way. Also, I am convinced that you could add whatever vegetables you have in your fridge, and it would be fabulous. Just make sure you have the pickles and onions in there. And the cheese.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


(sorry, no picture. again.)

I love Orange Julius. I love it so much, that I am willing to risk the inevitable brain freeze that follows a sip of this delicacy.

I have been missing orange julius since we banned refined sugar, and meaning to experiment with a healthy recipe for it, but haven't had the time. What was I thinking? It wasn't rocket science. In fact, it wasn't even regular science. It was just plain logic.

This is what I came up with:

1 C. milk (you can use almond or coconut, but real milk works better, for reasons unknown)
1/4 C. plain yogurt
1/2 container 100% orange juice concentrate
12 (or so) ice cubes
honey (to taste) (my original recipe calls for 1/4 C. sugar, but I'd be willing to bet I only use 2 TBSP of honey)

Blender it all together. It isn't as sweet as my old version that used vanilla yogurt and sugar, but it is surprisingly delightful, for being healthy. In fact, I add egg whites to it (and every smoothie under the sun), and it gets nice and frothy, and I don't feel one smidge bad about having it for breakfast. Or snack. Or dessert.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Reader Recipe Friday - Waffles

First of all, I apologize for the lack of photographic evidence, but these waffles are seriously off-the-charts divine. Actually, the missing photo is BECAUSE they are so good. We eat them so quickly, there is no time for taking pictures.

Second of all, I know you probably all know this recipe by now. It's been around for a long time. But I have "cleaned" it up a bit, just to get rid of some of the less-than-perfect ingredients. And it is no worse for the wear! It tastes exactly the same. Now I don't know about you, but THAT is how I like my healthy recipes: tasting exactly the same as the unhealthy ones.

Third of all, here's the recipe:

Whole Wheat Blender Pancakes (yield: 6 large waffles)
1 C. wheat *
1 1/2 C. milk, divided
3 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 C. coconut oil (melt it on low in the microwave while you blend the wheat)
1 tsp. salt
1 TBSP honey

Combine wheat and 1 C. of the milk in blender. Blend on high for 3 minutes. Add the rest of the milk (1/2 C. if you weren't keeping track) and blend 1 minute more. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until mixed. Let it sit for a couple minutes while your waffle iron warms up, as it will thicken. Cook.

*I have substituted already-ground whole wheat when I didn't want to wake someone up who was sleeping (grinding the wheat for 4 minutes is really loud, as you can imagine), and it worked just fine, so that's an option. Just play with the amount a little - I think I used more than a cup. It's not AS good, but it works. Also, if for some reason the batter ends up really runny (like mine did this morning - probably because I 1-and-a-half timesed the recipe), add some whole wheat flour until it's the desired consistency. Basically, you can't go wrong.

Fourth of all, this morning I topped my waffle with peanut butter, maple syrup and blueberries. DEeeelicious!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Topic for Friday Announced

Once upon a time I got a waffle iron for my wedding. It sat, unopened, for a couple years.

Then I had a baby who was allergic to basically everything I ate, so I made waffles for practically every meal for 15 months while she nursed:

Waffles with raspberry jam. Waffles with applesauce. Waffles with syrup. Waffles with peanut butter. Waffles with peach preserves. Waffles with cool whip (non-dairy, of course).

Waffles and I were close. Too close. Especially since my waffles were always limp and dejected-looking. My husband wouldn't touch them, but I eventually forgot that waffles are supposed to be crispy, and I survived.

Until I stayed with my sister, and she made waffles for breakfast. REAL waffles. The kind of waffles that make you want to cry. And eat until you throw up.

It was then (but mostly after I got her recipe and tried it over and over with disappointing results) that I realized the problem: my waffle iron was a hunk-a-junk (unless you, reader, are the person who gifted it to me, in which case I say, "Thank you. It was a thoughtful gesture always to be remembered."). So I tossed it in the trash. Then I bought a fancy Belgian waffle iron, which worked alright, but which broke (as in crumbled into a heap of burning-hot rubble) half-way through a batch of waffles.

I swore off waffles. Who needed them? Not I! My house was a waffle-free zone for over a year. And then someone posted something on facebook or Pinterest about waffles, and I suddenly felt that I would sell my first born if it meant I could have a waffle.

So it was time to start shopping, again, for a waffle iron. My previous experiences with waffle irons had traumatized me into being very anxious about buying a new one. What kind was best? What brand was trust-worthy? How much money would I have to fork over? I actually ended up stumbling upon one at D.I. It was in its original, unopened box (otherwise, my overly-germ-freaked husband would have had nothing to do with it), and it was $8.00. It was fate! Especially when you consider that it has a fire-alarm-volume beeper that tells me when the waffle is finished cooking. Fate knows me so well.

I made waffles that night for dinner. AND THEY WERE SO GOOD. So I made them for breakfast the next day. And lunch. And now we have them twice/week. Once as a breakfast, and once as a dinner (usually Saturday nights when I have some wonderful gourmet thing planned, but then always decide that the last thing I want to do is cook).

Anyway, that was a very long and winding road to our destination. Which is the topic for Reader Recipe Friday:


I want your favorite recipe or favorite way of changing up an old recipe. Or topping suggestions.

I can't wait! Cause, you know, Saturday is (unofficial) waffle night.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chocolate Protein Shake - Revised

Same Picture, Different Ingredients

This morning, I had one of these shakes for breakfast (I am actually still sipping it as I write - it is delicious!). Except I didn't add the spinach (because I am all out - today is grocery day). And I forgot to mention in the earlier post that I add egg whites (the kind in the carton that don't kill you if you eat them raw - I've been doing it for years, and I'm still goin' strong, so I assume they don't kill you...?). I just pour some in. I have no idea how much. Anyway, that adds some extra protein. Also, the last few days I've been adding a handful of oatmeal to it, too. It makes it a little more texture-y, but I like texture. I added a handful of granola on Saturday, and that was good, too. I figure it brings the stick-to-my-ribs factor up a few notches. Which is always a good thing for me, since I hate stopping to eat every ten minutes. 

Oh, yeah, and I edited the old recipe to reflect how much cocoa I put in my shakes. It's not a TBSP. Just a big teaspoon. 

And now I am off to attend to this 84 degree weather!

Friday, April 20, 2012

It's Recipe Friday! Woohoo!! And the theme is Crockpot. 


This is our newest favorite. It is adapted from the recipe here.

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken 
1.25 lb. chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/2 C. honey
1/4 C. soy sauce
2 TBSP diced onion (or some dried onion flakes)
2 TBSP Ketchup
1 TBSP oil (olive or coconut)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 TBSP water (I usually omit this, cause it doesn't seem to thicken the sauce at all)
Sesame seeds

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Place in crock pot. Combine honey, soy, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low 3-4 hours or high 1.5-2.5 hours until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken, but leave sauce. Pour in the cornstarch/water and stir. Put the lid back on and cook on high for ten minutes until slightly thickened. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and return to sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice (we use brown rice).


This is a recipe that I have borrowed from my sister-in-law's blog. She has some fantastic recipes over there, and this one is perfect on the side of anything Mexicana (say it with an H.) Or even in burritos. It is to die for.

Bodacious Black Beans

3 cups dry black beans
1/2 onion – diced
2 garlic cloves – diced
3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 jalapeno – seeded and diced
9 cups water
1. Rinse black beans and place in crock pot. Add all the ingredients. Cover and cook on high for eight hours. If the water gets low just add some more.

Now it's your turn!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Unexpected Sore Throat Cure

picture courtesy of here

I am no proponent of artificial sweeteners*. Never have been.

I would never touch a "diet" or "sugar-free" anything, because I can't stand the idea of the freaky chemicals and cancer-causing agents associated with them. Plus, I just can't handle the taste. Plain and simple.

I know what you're thinking: "But they don't taste like anything." My husband and I argue about this all the time. He can't taste artificial sweeteners. But I can, and they give me the shivers and an instant headache. Every time. And that has been enough to keep me far, far away from them ever since I was a little girl.

So, when I was at my mom's house a few weeks ago, complaining of a sore throat and impending cold, I wrinkled my nose at her suggested cure:


I objected. She insisted. And before you know it, I was downing a shot-glass (actually just a little kid plastic cup - my mom doesn't keep shot glasses handy, c'mon!) of water with 3 drops of Stevia added.

It was disgusting. And miraculous.

My sore throat was gone instantly.

And when I say 'instantly', I mean as soon as my body stopped convulsing from the ultra-sweet nastiness, and I became once again aware of my throat.

It stayed away, too. I didn't get sick at all! It was awesome!

Maybe I just happened to catch whatever-I-was-getting at the exact right moment (I spent the rest of the next day downing Airborne like a fiend, so that may have played a role in my not getting sick. I don't know), maybe it was a complete fluke (my mom said it worked for her, too, the week before - I guess you need to take it as soon as you feel the sore throat coming on), but I am now a believer in Stevia as a sore throat cure!

Apparently, according to certain studies, Stevia can help hinder the growth of certain bacterias and prevent infection. Maybe that's why it works. There are also several believed side effects associated with its use. Which is why I would never consider using it in my food, or on a regular basis of any sort.

But I believe that plants and herbs and everything was put on this Earth for a reason, and who knows? Maybe Stevia was put here for my throat. And yours.

I'd like to know if it works for anyone else. So if you try it, let me know.

*Stevia is said to be completely natural, as it is derived from a plant. But it tastes like every other artificial sweetener to me, and so I make this comparison.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortillas

What is it with kids these days? What is wrong with the youth of this generation? Don't they know there are Starving kids in China who would kill for one morsel of their most dreaded meal?

And why doesn't explaining that to my kids have any effect?

They stagger to the dinner table like they're on their way to the electric chair. Even if what awaits is a mystery, they know it's not going to be lucky charms, so pretty much every other option known to man will be a disappointment to at least 1/3 of those ungrateful little..

And then one day, a miracle happened.

I didn't have to go through the process of eating with my 11 yr old, who seams to have short term memory loss.

"Ok honey, remember? get some food on your fork, then put it into your mouth.. oops, try again and this time close your mouth around your fork before you pull it out. Good. Now move your jaw up and down with the food between your teeth. This is called chewing. Now swallow.. There's a party going on in your tummy and that food REEEEALLY wants to go. Ok, now let's try it again. Is there something wrong with your eyes? They keep rolling around your sockets and it looks really uncomfortable."

I didn't have to set the timer for my 9 yr old.

"I guess you need practice if it's too hard to eat mashed potatoes. Tell you what, I'll set the timer for 5 minutes, and if it's not gone, I'll add to it for extra practice."

I didn't have to spoon feed my 4 yr old.

I didn't have to send anyone to bed.

"THAT'S IT!!! If you aren't going to eat, there's no point in being at the table. good night!"

I didn't have to make a lovely meal to basically transfer directly into plastic containers, and refrigerate.. except for what I ate out of the pot.

"I guess I'm not very hungry after my $50 steak at my lunch appointment with grown-ups at a swanky restaurant.. what did you have for lunch? Oh, you didn't have time for lunch?"

That last one was my husband.

..Not that those ALL happen, ALL the time. It's usually "You don't have to eat anything, but this is dinner, and there is no other option."

Sometimes I get bored with that and need to spice it up with aforementioned threats.

But like I said, One day, A miracle happened. While I was at the grocery store, I grabbed a Fix-It and Forget-It magazine, in the checkout line. I skimmed it and thought what the heck, and tossed it into the pile of Items waiting to be purchased, prepared, and scraped into the garbage. Upon closer examination, I decided to try Chicken Tortillas, because of the simple list of ingredients, and quick/easy prep. When It came time for dinner, and the inmates drug their feet into the kitchen and plopped their hopeless little bodies in front of their plates, there were a few extra grumbles and moans and even a desperate cry to the heavens, "WHY," from our melodramatic middle child.

And then Something happened.

The room grew quiet.

There were only the sounds of utensils on dinnerware.. Oh, sweet music to my ears, and then just when I thought it couldn't get any more strange, They all started to dish up seconds. SECONDS! I am not exaggerating when I say that I don't think that has ever happened before. By my kids (excluding pizza/mac n' cheese).. at least not by all 3.


Ok, I'll give you the recipe. It might not be that great. It just happened to be a crowd pleaser for us.

First, I'll tell you the adaptions I made..

I used homemade, whole wheat tortillas. I'm sure store bought would work just fine, but I wanted to make mine so that I could use the extras in my lunch.

This is how excited my 9 yr old was about the tortillas (which taste DELICIOUS btw)

Then I used this recipe instead of cream of chicken soup. (Has anyone else noticed that what used to be creamy is now corn starchy?) It has a good consistency, and I can't tell a difference in cooking. Obviously cheaper, and beans are nutritious.

Cream of Chicken Condensed Soup Recipe:

• Grind 4 T of any white bean (lima, navy, etc.) to make 5 T bean flour (on course setting)
• Combine: 5 T bean flour, 1 ¾ c. water , 4 t chicken bouillon into a saucepan
• Cook: On stovetop at medium temperature until thick and delicious (whisk frequently).The soup should cook in 3 minutes! (this may be longer if your grinder makes a very coarse flour).

I had shredded chicken in a baggie in the freezer, so that saved a lot of time as well. I cook as many chicken breasts as will fit in my crockpot with a little water, garlic salt, onion (fresh would work, but I use dried onion flakes from my food storage.) and pepper, until it comes apart easily, and then shred it. I put the shredded chicken in little freezer baggies by 1-2 cups. (I do tend to season it well. I don't like chicken that tastes too much like poultry.)

Chicken Tortillas

2 cups shredded chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup (or the above recipe)
(14 1/2 oz) can tomatoes, drained
(7 oz) can diced green chilies, drained
6 (6 inch) tortillas (torn if needed)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups grated cheese (cheddar, mexican blend..)

1. Combine chicken, soup, chilies, and tomatoes. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
2. Line bottom of slow cooker with 1/3 tortilla pieces. Add 1/3 chicken mixture, sprinkle with 1/3 onion, and 1/3 cheese. Repeat layers twice.
3. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hrs. Garnish if desired.

Oh, let's not forget about recipe friday. The theme is, hmm.. Let's go with the theme of crock pot. It's spring, and who want's to come in early from the back yard to heat up the house by making dinner?. Remember; no sugar, no processed recipe.

Word of Common Sense

Photo from here. And yes, I realize this is a dairy cow. But isn't she a beaut?

Today I would like to share a little wisdom nugget.

You probably already know this, because you are smart. And because it is common knowledge.

But, for reasons still unidentifiable, I never knew this. Or if I did, it never sunk in.

It should have. It makes perfect sense. I just never stopped to think it through. Or something like that.

Anyway, ya'll ready for this?

You know how the Word of Wisdom (a scriptural guide for nutrition and respect for our bodies that Merica and I believe in, and aspire to live by) tells us to eat meat sparingly, in times of winter, cold or famine?

Well, stay with me here, do you know that meat has a season?

I know. It's increasingly difficult in our age of processing and freezers and refrigerators and season-defying food growing/producing practices to determine the true season of just about everything.

But even meat has a season.

And can you guess what that season is?

Yep. Winter.

Cause when are the baby cows and lambs and pigs born (on a small, family farm)? Spring.

And how long does it take for them to grow and mature before they are/can be sent to the slaughter?

About the same amount of time it takes for winter to come.

Anyway, I found it an interesting coincidence.

But maybe that's just me. I find random small things interesting.

I figure, if the "hidden treasures" promised for keeping the Word of Wisdom are half as good as the ice cream at the end of the treasure hunt I set up for my kids last night for FHE, then I'm going to figure out how to live it a little better.

Also, the "not faint" part would come in pretty handy. Especially since I have a tendency to random fainting. But that's another mysterious story.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Too Darn Tasty to be Healthy

It's been a while.. I am not a good multi-tasker, so I basically took an Internet hiatus while getting my bearings on everything else in my life.

So, I lost the filter to my wheat grinder a couple weeks ago, and thought I might try grinding some wheat without it.. after all, it's just a little spongy disk thing.. I was sure I could get away without it until I got a new one.

Yeah.. not so much.

That is just a small little sample of what the rest of my kitchen looked like. I quickly got on the Internet and ordered some replacements. But they wouldn't arrive for who knows how long, so it was a long and unhealthy week of white dinner rolls, pancakes, and noodles (yum). Store bought wheat tortillas (eh), and bread (yuck). I think the kids were in bleached flour heaven, but I was missing my fresh ground whole wheat like crazy!

Once my new filters arrived, balance was restored and I have a weeks worth of whole wheat recipes to share.

Last night we had breakfast for dinner. I'm not usually in the mood to mess my kitchen up first thing in the morning, so we like to go all out at dinner time.

What you see below looks too gooey and delicious to be healthy, but I'll shed some light on exactly what is in the photo. And let me assure you it is certainly at least as good as it looks.

These are Whole wheat pancakes, sugar omitted, and coconut oil added. Coconut oil is really good for you, it's actually the only oil that is stable enough to withstand heat, according to this dude. (BTW, if you click on any link, it will take you to studies and listed health benefits)

On top of the pancake, you will find 100% natural peanut butter, bananas, and topped with walnuts toasted in 100% natural maple syrup, and then drizzled with said syrup. (Not too much. It's already pretty sweet.)

And that's it.

The recipe I use (and adapted) is Marianne's. I think she's married to Andrea's brother.. Anyway, I got it from our trusty Orton Family Cookbook. Just a little shout out to Marianne here; Her recipes have been some of my favorites, and I hope if she reads this she'll feel inspired to contribute to all the recipe Fridays.

Marrianne's Favorite Pancakes

1 1/4 cup Flour (whole wheat)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 T sugar (which I omit)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 T oil (I melt the coconut oil in pan and add to the mix. stir fast so that it blends well.. it's hot)

Combine dry ingredients. in separate bowl combine egg, milk, and oil. Add to dry ingredients. Cook on medium heat in lightly greased skillet until golden brown and set. Turn once. Yields about 6-8

Friday, April 13, 2012

Reader Recipes - Bread

I tried a new bread recipe this morning so I would have something to post about.

The bread turned out good. It is dense and small, as you can see, but really tasty.

I have no idea where I got the recipe this morning. I basically just grabbed the first recipe off Google (jotted it down on a scrap 1st grade spelling list) that I could find that only made two loaves. So I can't source it. Luckily, I changed it a little, so it won't be total copyright infringement. Right?

I am curious for someone else to make it and see if theirs is as dense as mine. You know, because lately every time I make any bread it is dense.

This recipe is a multi grain bread with a lot of flavor and TONS of texture. I don't think I would make it for a regular bread recipe (every-day bread for sandwiches and such) unless I could figure out how to get it to be fluffier. But the taste is excellent.

We'll call it...hmmmm...

Easy Multi-Grain Bread

2 C. 10-grain cereal (I used some multi-grain hot cereal mix I had in my pantry. I think it was Hodgson Mills brand)
2 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. white flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/2 C. old fashioned oats
2 TBSP flax seed (optional)
1 1/2 heaping TBSP yeast
1/2 TBSP salt
2 TBSP dough enhancer
2 TBSP gluten
1/4 C. honey
1/4 C. coconut oil
1/2 C. applesauce (all I had was cinnamon apple sauce, so my bread smells and tastes just a little cinnamony - yum)
1 1/2 to 2 C. hot water

Mix dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients. Mix well. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Form two loaves. Sprinkle with oatmeal or other grain (I skipped this step just because I was in a hurry). Place in greased pans. Cover with a towel and let raise for 25 minutes. Then Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Now, someone out there, please share with me the bread recipe of my dreams. Cause I am seriously considering giving up on homemade and buying my bread from Great Harvest!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Staff of Life

We never had store-bought bread growing up. One of my earliest memories is sitting on the kitchen linoleum with my little brother while my mom mixed the dough in her Bosch. We would hum along to the sound of the mixer, and repeat made-up phrases that we thought the motor was "saying." Recently my brother and I reminisced about this particular memory, and I realized why I associate feelings of warmth and peace with the smell of home-baked bread.

To this day, there is little else that brings about the strong feelings of home and goodness that making my own bread does.

Not to mention the fact that, at long last, I really do prefer the taste of homemade to store-bought.

(A fact that gives me hope that, although they don't appreciate it now, someday my own children will long for the wholesome goodness of made-from-scratch bread)

Anyway, I am currently having a bread-making crisis. The recipe - my mom's recipe - that I have been making for a few years now, is not working for me any more. As in, it literally will not work. As in, it is dense and flat and weird (and it gets soggy after the first day). I have tried changing temperatures, changing yeasts, changing amounts of every ingredient under the sun. It just won't work. It is baffling. Especially when my mom brings me one of her loaves, and it is perfect (pictured). What is wrong with me (/my oven/my ingredients/all of the above)?!

Which is why our Friday Reader Recipe theme is going to be:


Whole wheat is preferable, of course. As is low sugar content. And easy. PLEASE easy!

Oh, and if it's not too much trouble, a recipe that makes 3 loaves, I'm just getting nit-picky.

I really need to find a good go-to recipe, so I am counting on all of you.

Don't let me down.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chocolate Protein Shake

It's chocolate. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Before we suddenly cut out sugar and processed foods, I had a favorite workout recovery drink:

Dark chocolate almond milk, peanut butter, banana, and protein powder (or yogurt, when I wasn't feeling tough enough to put up with protein powder). Yum. So tasty, I would drink it even if it wasn't good for my muscle development!

Even after we went sugar/processed-free, we drank it.

Until I looked at the Nutrition Facts on the back of the almond milk. Yikes. There is a lot of sugar in them thar goodness.

So, because smoothies are an essential part of my happiness, and aid in the quick recovery of my puny muscles after an exhaustive (because I'm a wimp) weight-lifting session, I decided to reinvent the proverbial wheel. Or, more accurately, to come up with a way to have my chocolate and eat it, too. Without the sugar.

This is what I came up with:

1 C. No Sugar Added Chocolate Almond Milk (It in no way tastes like chocolate. 'Water' would be a better flavor-description)
1 Big Handful of Spinach
1 heaping tsp. Cocoa Powder (Bonus: Cocoa is actually good for you!)
1 Tbsp. Peanut Butter (Natural, no sugar kind, of course)
1 Frozen Banana
1 Drizzle of Honey (to taste - I like a DARK chocolate flavor, so I don't add much)
1/3 C. Plain (or Greek - barf!) Yogurt (I freeze mine for added frozen-ness) - optional, good added protein if you think you need it.

It's not much to look at (as you can tell - note the grayish-green hue), but it tastes delicious. And it doesn't have any nasty protein powder or processed sugar in it!

You'll need to double the recipe, because your kids will want some, too.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Meatless Tacos

Last night we had tacos. Finally. I planned to have them Tuesday, but then I had a fateful run-in with a waffle iron, and the family enjoyed a waffle-induced coma for 17 straight hours. Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch.

So by dinner time last night, we were ready for a very non-waffle taco meal.

It was so fresh and summery-feeling, I think we'll do it again tonight.

(plus, we have LOTS of left-overs)

I made these slow-cooker beans, but used black instead, and didn't mash them. I think next time, I will add green chiles and lime.

Then I whipped up some

Easiest Spanish Rice Ever

1/4 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1.5 C. rice (one day I will be brave enough to try brown, but I love my Jasmine too much just yet)
2 C. chicken broth (homemade, if possible)
1 C. salsa (also homemade, if possible)

Melt the oil in a large pan. Saute the onion for 5 minutes. Add the dry rice and saute until it starts to brown. Then add the broth and salsa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

(That reminds me, if you have a favorite Spanish Rice recipe, let me know. This is the only one I have ever made, and I always wonder what else is out there.)

I made some

Guacamole (I'm sure you know how, but just in case...)
1 avocado - mashed
garlic salt - to taste
lime - squeezed over, to taste
cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, whateverelsesoundsgood

I heated up the corn tortillas, chopped some fresh stuff, and threw some cheese in a bowl.

Such an easy meal (well, as long as you plan a little ahead for the beans - they take all day).

Also, for lunch yesterday I filled a bowl with brown rice and black beans. Then I poured over a little salsa and sour cream. It was super tasty and, more important, easy!

I am determined to find more ways to eat beans and rice. They are cheap, nutritious, and delicious (not to mention crock pot-able, which is so helpful). So, if you have any ideas, please share them here!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I'm back! And ready to return to my seat on the healthy wagon.

I enjoyed 10 sumptuous days of eating without concern for nutrition. I highly recommend it - occasionally. What is a vacation if you have to worry about additives, anyway?

The drive down to Phoenix actually went very well. We all stayed hydrated and snacked on fruit and vegetables (thank you very much for all the suggestions!).

Until after lunch. When I passed around the m&ms (peanut butter, in case you're curious), licorice, and animal cookies.

After that, it was basically a free-for-all, in which I convinced my cute little sister in-law to make Texas sheet cake, caramel syrup for waffles, and lemon bars (which, by the way, you have never really even had unless you use fresh-picked lemons. Yep, I spend a week in AZ and I am suddenly an expert. Get used to it).

Anyway, I am still trying to catch up on all my grocery shopping and cleaning after being gone, so I will just quickly share a couple tips I learned over the last few days:

1. If you live in Arizona or California (or any other place where fresh fruit and whole foods markets abound), you have no excuse for not eating healthy. Unless you are like me and just can't seem to get enough lemon bars.

2. The granola recipe I shared here a while ago, and that I make every single week, ready for this...indestructible! Seriously. One more reason to love it! Apparently, if you happen to leave the house right before it is finished baking, and don't return for over an hour, not only will your house not burn down, but your granola will be just as delicious as always. Now THAT is a granola miracle, if I ever heard of one. Especially since it costs so much to make! You can't ruin it. It's fail-safe. Try it. You'll thank me some day.

3. If you stop drinking your 2 quarts of water/day and exercising for two weeks, it is really hard to start again. So don't stop, if you can help it.

4. Go on vacation! Seriously. If I had the wherewithal to describe the benefits I have felt physically, mentally, and yes, even spiritually, from our recent get-away, you would be convinced to leave. Right now. It was that good.

5. I am willing to participate in a study on the health benefits of vacationing. If anyone is looking to fund one...

p.s. I really did try to include pictures with this post, but I have no patience for things that don't work the first time exactly how I desire. Sorry.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins

There's nothin' like California strawberries. They say folks came for the gold, but stayed for the strawberries.. ok, no one said that.. that I know of, I made it up. But I wouldn't doubt if it were true. Or maybe they stayed because there was no way in H-E-double hockey sticks they were going to go back over the Rockies through a blizzard, past Savage native American tribes, and icy rivers for months on end with little food or provisions, burying family along the way..

I feel like we need to take a moment of silence.

I'm serious. Can you imagine?

Anyhow, I have been juicing, juicing, juicing, and between my parents visiting (best weekend ever), and having a SUPER busy week full of running around and planning and preparing, my juicing schedule has been a little thrown, and my goal a little fuzzy. I know, it's disappointing.. I am still juicing, but this morning I woke up and looked at all of the beautiful strawberries and felt adventurous. I found a recipe at and modified it to suit my preferences. I ground up some wheat, omitted the sugar, and added a couple tablespoons of honey. If I would have had bananas, I would have added one for sweetness. Oh, and I am out of coconut oil (haven't been cooking much these days), otherwise I would have replaced the olive oil with it which would have enhanced the flavor even further I'm sure. Also, I didn't really measure the strawberries, I just chopped/mushed what I felt was adequate.

They're baking now..

The house smells divine..

pulled em' out. snapped photos..

And now for the review: Subtle homemade bread flavor, but definitely muffin consistency. I can see where the sugar would enhance the flavor, but I do love the taste of the strawberries without it. I would make these again. I'm now on my second one.. But I am anxious to try them with coconut oil, banana, and more strawberry chunks!

I feel that I should add that my kids wont try them per the strawberry chunks.

OH YES!! I am a recipe Friday (among other things) flake. So sorry I didn't give you a category.
I'm going with breakfast, since that's what I have contributed today, so if you have a favorite healthy breakfast recipe or ideas, do tell!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Merica is having a crazy week, and I am getting ready for a vacation, so this blog has been a little sparse lately, for which we both apologize.

Today I am packing, packing, car wash, errands (did you ever try to get ready for an 8-day trip AND buy a house AND make multiple trips - including a discharge - to the hospital AND take care of an 87-year old invalid in the same 3 days? Yeah, not recommended), packing to be ready to leave by 5 p.m.

Which brings me to my quick little post subject:


Just want to make sure you're all getting your 2 quarts/day minimum.

I just finished reading a book about water. I don't necessarily endorse the book - it was very poorly written (I am willing to forgive that, since the author was from Iran - maybe it was translated into English?), hard to follow, a little hard to believe, and gave no clearly-defined remedies (just a vague "increase in water and a little extra salt added to the diet").

I DO, however, heavily endorse the drinking of water. And the book served to remind me of its importance, and strengthened my resolve to make sure I get my 8 generous cups every single day.

In case you're like me, and need detailed instructions on how other people do something in order to get your mind rolling with your own ideas, here's my routine:

I have to guzzle it, a cup at a time. Which means (aside from the fact that one of these days I am going to pass out while drinking my water - but if I don't do it all at once, I won't do it) it has to be around room temperature, or it makes my teeth scream in agony. So, I fill my cup the night before and set it on the counter. In the morning, I drink my first cup. I try to drink at least 16 ounces during my workout, so that's 3 cups before breakfast. And I make a mark for each on my calendar to keep track.

I try to do 5 cups before noon. Because I don't want to remember at 6 p.m. that I have to drink 7 cups of water, and feel like I am drowning. Plus, I don't want to be having to use the bathroom every ten minutes in the afternoon and evening, because that is when the majority of my not being home happens. Every time I go in my kitchen, I fill up my cup and down it. I like to keep a piece of citrus peel (orange, usually) in the bottom of my cup (I change it every day). That makes the water taste a little more special.

Anyway, there's my 2 cents on water.

Anyone else have tips to share on getting your daily water?

Oh, and thank you, one and all, for the wonderful advice on travelling. It was so helpful! You guys are the greatest!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Little Help?

Riddle: How many electronic devices does it take to drive to Arizona?

I must be out of my peaked little head, because I am taking a 16-hour road trip with my three children on Friday. By myself.

We've got the ipad packed. Ipods are downloaded with at least 11 hours-worth of books-on-cd. New coloring/activity books - check.

What else does one pack to keep children, ages 5 to 11, entertained and happy for that long?

I really need ideas, so...anyone?

What I also need to know is, what are my options for healthy eating on the road?

I'm going to need lots of munchy things to keep me awake, but I would rather not blow the entire healthy-eating-style in one (very l-o-n-g) day.

I like to think that this blog is a place for others to come for sound advice and inspiration of the healthy sort, but today, I need YOU.

I am not a traveller. We don't travel. At least not with our kids. And never me alone with my kids. So this is intimidating, to say the least.

So please, offer up your tips, advice, warnings, what-have-you.

I'm begging you.

(riddle answer: Probably one more than you own, but no worries, there are plenty of cords with which to strangle yourself in an emergency)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Reader Recipes - Sandwiches

I chose Sandwiches as the Friday theme, because I need recipes! I want to incorporate more of them into my menus, but have a hard time getting excited about them. You know how Merica feels about fish? Well, take that aversion, square it, and you'll have my opinion of sandwiches. I just can't stand them. Which has made lunch a dreaded affair in my life since Elementary School.

It doesn't make sense. My favorite food item is the hamburger, which is just a glorified sandwich, right?
Same goes for Mexican food - it's all just a tortilla sandwich. And I can eat Quizno's subs all day long. Or chicken salad on croissants. Or Thanksgiving turkey on left-over crescent rolls.

So, I guess what my problem is, is sliced bread. It just wasn't meant for anything but toast! I finally realized that as long as my sliced bread is toasted, I really enjoy a good sandwich. Oh, and the filling has to be greater than or equal to the volume of the bread (more filling than bread).

That, combined with a heavy dose of lazy, is why I made a few modifications to this recipe for California Sandwich:

Filling (combine the following):
1 avocado, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 cucumber (I use half a really big English cucumber), diced
squeeze of lime juice
2 TB. chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Toast your bread (I find that the recipe makes three generous sandwiches, so I make one for me, one for my husband, and then I have enough left over for another sandwich - for me - the next day)
Spread it with mayonnaise.
Sprinkle it with garlic salt.
Add the filling on top of one slice.
Pile on lots of alfalfa sprouts.
Slap on a slice of pepper jack cheese (has to be pepper jack - that's what makes the sandwich).
Top with second slice of toast.

It is really delicious. We have been partaking for a couple weeks now, and even my husband (I pack his toast and filling separately, to be assembled @ lunch time, so as not to get soggy) can't get enough of it; the same husband who hates the following items:

avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cilantro.

That's why I call it the Magic Sandwich.

(also, it is just fine without the tomato, if you happen to think you have some and then find that you don't - like I did yesterday)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Are all oils created equally?

Image from here

As I spend time with my new best friend Pinterest, my tummy grumbles.. my mind grumbles too. Can we just ban the pinning of baked sweets? PLEASE?! I swear if I see another peanut butter bar, I'm going to.. I don't know.. something drastic.. EAT SOMETHING!!

Ok, now that I got that off my chest..

I love drooling over all the healthy recipes. I have been fantasizing about the day when I can make and partake. I am trying to collect as many as I can so that I can start meal planning. (remember? Juice fast)

Speaking of meal planning, I decided to finally do a little research on fats and oils. What are the healthiest to cook and bake with, or use on salads.. Man there is a lot to consider.. which ones lose nutrients when heated, which ones are supposedly healthy but due to processing really arent.. y'know. And who has done all that research for me so that I can just copy, paste, and be healthy?

I researched

I read

I didn't know what I was reading

I determined that there are contradicting claims

I became more confused

Then I went into a grove of trees..

wait.. what?

Oh, I found this blog with comprehensive information and a fantastic chart, that I'm going to PIN.

Basically, Coconut oil and animal fats are your best bets at high temps. Should I be afraid of lard? My focus is on nutrition, not dieting, so... NOPE.. other than the fact that I have never cooked with it.

Oh, I also did a little reading up on agave nectar as a sweetener. My 2 cents: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Sweetener is sweetener, so although I'll probably have some on hand and use it as an alternative to sugar, I shouldn't have it on a glowing pedestal in my pantry.

A comment from the link: use WAY less to achieve the same sweetness. Fructose is what you find in NATURAL fruits like apples, etc. Fructose is absorbed into the body slower than sucrose (therefore the much lower glycemic index) so there's no Spike then Crash of your blood sugar which causes one to lose energy and BURN LESS CALORIES. And Sugar is processed

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Glass Half Full and Squeaky Clean

When I was a young pup, my mom made her own window and glass cleaner, among other (almost every) things.

As soon as I was old enough to realize that the blue liquid advertised on television was the "correct" thing to use for glass, I grumbled as I washed windows. Who makes their own cleaner? That's just weird, right? It was to me and my "everyone else's lives are beautiful and perfect just like t.v., and if we only had store-bought glass cleaner (and white bread...), mine would be, too" way of thinking. I was convinced that homemade = inferior.

I swore that when I had my own house to keep, it would be nothing but the best, most expensive cleaning supplies for me! None of this two-bit, makes-your-life-boring-and-keeps-you-all-repressed homemade crap.

No, Ma'am. I had things to prove!

It took me 11 years of dissatisfied washing, and countless bottles of every brand of glass cleaner on the market to finally break down and call my mom for her recipe.

I whipped it up and washed my mirrors. Then I washed them again the next day. And the next. I was hooked. I kept directing my husband's attention to the mirrors and exclaiming things like, "Look at that!" and "Holy Moly, that's clean!"

I mean, they were cleaner than they had ever been. No streaks, no residue.

Just pure, unadulterated, boring old clean.

I felt sheepish. And thrilled. Enough more thrilled than sheepish to swear allegiance to home-concocted glass cleaner forever more.

And so, I present to you today, the glass cleaner that dreams are made of:

(and, again, I always just make enough for my bottlesworth (1 quart), so I have revised the recipe to reflect that)

In a large (at least 1 quart) measuring cup, mix the following:
1/2 C. rubbing alcohol
1 TB. ammonia
1/2 TB. liquid dish soap (Joy is supposedly the best to use)
Enough water to make 1 quart

Pour the solution into your spray bottle (again, it must be a heavy duty one, or it will stop working after a while), and clean like the cleaning lady you always aspired to be!

Also, the Friday Reader Recipes theme is SANDWICHES. Got that? SANDWICHES.

(No peanut butter and jelly or processed lunch meat allowed)

p.s. Today is pi day (3.14 - I know it's kinda nerdy, but who doesn't love an excuse to eat pie?), so if you find a healthy pie recipe to make for your family, let me know!

p.p.s. Last Saturday when Ty was cleaning his car, he noticed for the first time the corrections I had made to the Great Value Glass Cleaner bottle that I have been using for my homemade cleaner for the last 3 years. He asked (as he chuckled), "Did you do that completely for your own benefit?" And I replied, "Yep." Because I believe in doing little things for my own benefit. My own benefit is a worthy cause.

(Also, knowing me, I would otherwise forget that it was homemade and that I had ever made my own cleaning solution)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Strong stomach required.. a little on the gushy side

I love these. I see them on Pinterest and in boutiques and they crack me up. Because they're so true.. most of them. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love being a housewife.. a desperate housewife if you will. at times it is a thankless, draining, monotonous, emotional beating that I don't think I deserve, but I wouldn't trade spending time with my kids and taking care of my home.. well, at least spending time with my kids, for anything. And days like today make everything that I put up with worth it.

By days like today, I mean that I am in the apex of a flare up. This is the day that I need to for the most part remain motionless. Usually when this happens, it's at a THE worst time. I have laundry piled up, My 4 yr old doesn't have preschool that day and needs to climb all over me to make up for my lifelessness. Damian has meetings in the morning, then again in the evening, so no help there. That's where the picture for this post comes in, only it's not a nervous breakdown. It's a physical one. (Not that the nervous breakdown doesn't ever apply)

Today is different. Damian still had to leave extra early this morning and will be home extra late (meetings), Reese (4 yr old) doesn't have preschool, and my laundry is teetering dangerously close to the point of no return. But my wonderful daughters (10 & 9) have risen to the occasion and taken control of everything. Taking care of Reese so that she doesn't need me, getting and cleaning up breakfast, doing laundry, and making sure that their activities don't cause any extra mess. I could cry. I am so full of gratitude today and THIS is why I love being a desperate housewife. Because there is nothing more. Nothing better on this earth than having your needs in a desperate hour be taken care of by your own children. I love feeling gratitude toward them. I love that they feel needed and valued and that they are making a significant contribution. It's just a good day.

I'll briefly explain what happens when I flare up. I feel inflammation around my heart and lungs, so in other words, sharp stabbing pain in my chest.. but only when I breath, so it's not so bad. Every movement, change in position, (bending over, lifting, sitting down..) or increase in heart rate (walking, going up or down stairs, watching kids put toys away in the WRONG bin..) is manifested in what I have read be compared to a cardiac arrest. But sitting here at the computer, or in bed, I feel ok.

Juice Fast Update

I am on day 15. Half way. I wish I could say I'm feeling great, but in light of said flareup, I'm not.

I have abandoned most of the recipes I was using, and even went to the farmers market on Saturday with out a list. I just buy what I know I'll like and try to get a good variety. I'm not spending as much because I'm getting better deals as a return customer buying so much and I've been too lazy to go to the store to get expensive berries, etc..

I won't bore you with the thought process that lead me to this decision, but I'm extending my juice fast to 6 weeks (so I guess not quite half way done..) with the 6th week juicing all day except for dinner of which will consist of super healthy whole foods.

I did have an epiphany on Sunday.. That's when I have most of my epiphanies, for obvious reasons. This juice fast, as I have said before, is turning out to be a lesson in discipline. I'm a good person by default. I naturally and with not a lot of effort on my own part do good things. Take care of people, have a strong testimony, but the buck stops there. Discipline is where I'm lacking. Which is why I have decided to extend my juice fast. Last week I cheated.. not a lot, just a bite here and a bite there, but I realized that I need to discipline myself to complete my goal with exactness. Out of principle. Because I need to learn that. I need to know that I can. I decided to write down my goal (specific and measurable) and I'm sticking to it.

Just let me be weird.

The other thing I thought about was the idea of a "reboot." like I have said before, I'm getting better about not being tempted by food that isn't good for me. Well, can't that be applied to other stimulus? So I have also decided to reboot my music preferences. When I listen to uplifting and spiritually provoking music, my thoughts are often turned toward the gospel, or service, or forgiveness, and I feel more patient, and more love toward my family. This usually happens but once a week. (Sunday.)

I have decided to go through the end of my juice fast with a music fast as well. I am only going to listen to uplifting music that invites the spirit. That doesn't mean only LDS music.. but probably a considerable amount. Just no "popular music" on Pandora, and nothing with questionable themes or lyrics. I know it's extreme. I know. Or maybe this is a discipline that comes naturally to most mature adults and I missed the boat. Either way..

My goal is that by the end of my "music fast" I'll be reset to desire that more than once a week.

I am working on my play list. There's only so much MoTab a girl can handle.. sorry, it needed to be said. I love Mindy Gledhill and have a lot of her music, but any other recommendations would be really appreciated.

What would YOU like to reboot?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Adventures in Cleaning and A Warning

(Pretend there's a really cute picture here of me smiling, full manicure, wearing a crisp spring gingham dress and apron, cleaning. Concentrate now, I know that's a difficult image to conjure)

Last week I started a new cleaning regimen. Why? Because my cleaning ambitions have lately shrunken down to a size practically imperceptible to the naked eye. I have far too many cleaning years ahead of me to give up now. I'd like to save the giving up for a more appropriate time, like when I'm 80. Or 40.

So, I thought a little change in my strategy would do me good. You see, I rebel against schedules of any sort. Rebel, I tell ya. It's a disease or something. And it keeps me from being organized, and lately it's been cramping my get-everything(or at least anything)-done style.

After cutting (gnashing?) my teeth on a very timid attempt to follow a menu plan (with success!), I decided I would take the next step and try a cleaning schedule. So, I found a couple on Pinterest, and went with the one most unlike my current one.

(I was going to do a link here, but I can't find it. Suffice to say it is strict, it is every day, and it is a lot of work)

I fell off the wagon a few times last week, but I enjoyed putting on my pink rubber gloves and looking at the schedule magnet-stuck to my back door, and dreaming of what would happen if I adhered to it's stringent laws. It was great. Almost as great as that run-on (and on) sentence.

This week I plan to carry it out a little better. Except for Thursday and Friday, because my kids are off school, and so we must play. Also, today and tomorrow are looking to be full to the rafters with craziness. So, that leaves Wednesday. Which is a half day of school for my kids, so I guess maybe we could team-up, doubling the cleaning power. Or I could just leave them with a list of chores and get the heck out of here...hmmm.

And now, a very important public service announcement/warning:


I'm speaking from experience. I will now, at the risk of sounding like a complete idiot, debunk the following Pinterest myth:

Recycling your citrus rinds by soaking them in a bottle of vinegar to be used for a fresh-scented cleansing agent later doesn't work. If used to mop all the tile in your house, it will produce a floor so sticky, you will have to mop it five more times with Mr. Clean. Which will cause you to not have time to go on a date with your husband. Which will cause you to be grumpy and ready to strangle Pinterest with your bare hands.

And, for my piece de resistance, I will share the recipe for my most favorite homemade all-purpose cleaning spray. Guaranteed not to make your tile/counter tops/sinks/toilets sticky. Ready? Get a pencil. Or turn on your printer and get ready to copy this sucker.

Here it goes:
(this is enough to fill a spray bottle - buy a heavy-duty one or use an old, rinsed-out 409 - or similar - bottle)
1 TB. Borax (If you don't have any, get some. What are you waiting for? Don't you know you can't make slimy sludge play stuff without it? Buy it in the laundry aisle.)
3 TB. White Vinegar
2 C. Warm Water
1 TB. Dish Soap
1 Drop Essential Oil (doesn't have to be food-grade, just any cheap ess. oil is fine. My personal favorite is peppermint, but this last time I had a bunch of old imitation lemon extract that I was going to throw out, so I dumped that in, and wow! It smells good!)

Put it in a spray bottle and shake it up (I actually put it in a big bowl and whisk it to make sure the borax dissolves - plus, I'm always needlessly afraid I won't have room for all of it in my spray bottle).

If you tune in again on Wednesday, I just might share my top-secret, 502%-better-than-Windex, homemade window and glass cleaner recipe. See you then!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Recipe friday - FISH

photo ripped off from here

So Andrea and I are kind of just flying by the seat of our pants with this blog. (If you haven't noticed :) Either way, it's been a fun medium to share with eachother our recipes and ideas in our efforts to make a full conversion to a whole foods and no sugar (at least in our meals.. save it for the good stuff.) lifestyle. Anyway, remember last week when I had the idea to make friday our recipe day? Well that was AFTER we had just determined that it would be Andrea's week to post on friday. So she was a good sport and posted about MY idea, using MY theme. Well, now this week is MY day to post on friday, and it's HER theme. Why does it MATTER you ASK? (ok, sorry.. I'll quit yelling) It doesn't.. except that since I don't like sea food (a cardinal sin in the bay area.. I know), I don't even have 1 tried and true recipe to share. I have cooked Salmon a time or two in a failed attempt to overcome my dislike (abhoration), but I can't really recommend that which I don't like (abhore.. My family actually sit's around and watches me try to choke down sea food for sport.)

look. I know what you're thinking. Maybe I should try crab, or shrimp, or lobster, or white fish.. I have OK?! I've tried it all.. on multiple occasions. I just HATE that fishy taste. HATE IT. DON'T MAKE ME EAT IT.


leave me the heck alone.

no wait.

come back.

So.. where was I? Oh, yes. I am going to share a recipe anyway. I did once eat a fish taco at a restaurant in San Diego and liked it, (Forget what I said before..) so although I haven't tried making my own, I just might.

We do make chicken tacos sometimes, and the tortilla makes all the difference, so if you don't have a tortilla factory near by like we do, (I'm tellin' ya, the California is the 8th wonder of the world when it comes to food. You should see our farmers markets.. YEAR ROUND. That will be a good post one day) You might consider making your own..

Ok, ok, we usually make our own tortillas. I usually don't get all the way out to the tortilla factory. We just follow the directions on the back of the Maseca bag. Go ahead.. click it. it's a link.

And then flatten it in the cast iron tortilla press I got for my birthday.

You could also use a whole wheat tortilla recipe. I like this one and there's even a video tutorial to go with it.

So moving on..

Here's Andrea's recipe.

I would trust hers before mine.

Baked Fish

1/4 C. butter - melted (I cut it in half and only use 2 TB)
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (one Pizza Hut packet will last a long time with this recipe)
1 lb. any white fish (I always use tilapia, and I do 5 or 6 fillets)

Place fillets in 9x11 oven safe dish. Mix everything else in a small bowl. Pour over fish. Bake @ 400 for 30 minutes, basting twice.

Ok, I've probably scared you with my bipolar-ness, but don't let that stop you from contributing your favorite fish recipes.



please :D

Thursday, March 8, 2012

You've Got To Be Kidding Me

Photo from here

This morning I made Baked Oatmeal.

No, no. Let me back up.

This morning I woke up at 4:30 (that's a.m., in case you're not from around here) so that I could go to a spinning class (I know, I hate it when people tell me about their workouts too, but in this instance I felt I should tell you WHY I had to get up so stinkin' early), and get home in time to make lunch for my husband, and Baked Oatmeal for my children for breakfast. 

The Baked Oatmeal takes 45 minutes to bake, so I knew I had to get a real move-on if I was going to get everything done. 


The moment I return home, I fly around my kitchen like a rabid tornado, making a huge mess, and oil pulling (I'm an enthusiastic supporter of multi-tasking). 

Then my husband comes in and says, "You know I don't need a lunch today, right?" 

You've got to be kidding me #1.

So I abandon the chopping of vegetables for lunch, and start working on the Baked Oatmeal. Ten minutes in, I decide to bag it. Then I remember it's my turn to blog today, and decide to go for it. Again. 

When my children emerge from their rooms with sleepy eyes, I push plates of bananas into their hands and motion for them to chop like there's no tomorrow.

Oatmeal in oven, I tear my clothes off as I race down the hall and jump in the shower. I shout reminders and commands to children who can't hear me. Cause it makes me feel better.

With five minutes to spare before their ride gets here, I shovel three bowls full of piping-hot Baked Oatmeal, and tell the girls to eat fast

It's hot like molten lava. And they wrinkle their noses and ask if those are grapes on top.

You've got to be kidding me #2.

I pour milk over it. They make faces as they pick out the pecans and take tiny, hesitant bites (of the pecans - nothing else).

You've got to be kidding me #3.

I tell them to flippin' eat it for the love of Pete. And mutter about how they can just make their own goll-dang food from now on, as I walk into my bedroom for a few cleansing breaths, cause I'm about to lose it. 

They ask if they can be done, and their bowls are still full.

You've got to be kidding me #4. Four is all I can take.

I tell them I don't care. It's them who will be hungry until lunch, not me.

And then, after kissing them goodbye with my wet hair and growling stomach, I taste the stuff, and it. is. so. good.

You Have Got To Be Kidding Me.

Which (finally) brings me to today's point:

People often ask me how I get my children to eat nutritious meals. I will tell you that it is not easy. In fact, it might be the most challenging part of our foodstyle change. At least once a day, I say, "I give up!" and I mean it. Until the next meal. We have a little saying at our house that goes, "You don't have to like it, you just have to eat it." Which means, they have to try it. Then, if they still don't like it, they have to take a couple bites of it. Then, if they are gagging, they can get themselves something else to eat, or wait for the next meal. I spend so much time and energy preparing food, that I just don't have enough left to care whether or not anyone likes it. And while that sounds harsh, it is finally paying off. Yesterday I noticed that Sylas (my hardest sell and most addicted to sugar) only asked for healthy snacks, and later he decided he really liked dinner (after I made him eat a few bites of it). He finished it, and asked if he could have it the next day for lunch. And then he thanked me emphatically for cooking for him. It just about brought a tear to my eye.

So I am going to focus on last night's success, and not on this morning's failures.

What is your strategy for getting your children to eat healthier?