Tuesday, March 15, 2011

gettin' on my soapbox

I am about to get all judgy and controversial. Maybe you won't like me anymore. This is definitely a hot button issue in some circles, so I understand if you disagree. But, here goes.

Preschool snacks.

I remember a conversation I had with a friend of mine before I had kids. She was upset over what her kids were being fed at school, and I kind of got it, but not really. But now I have a preschooler of my own and I totally get it. We are not crazy health nuts, trust me. We are a family of donut lovers and coffee drinkers (well, not the kids - they need no help in that department). In general, though, I try to make sure everyone gets a well-balanced diet consisting of lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein. When the little guy started preschool this year we got a handout explaining the rules of snack - no peanuts and generally healthy. 

"So buddy, what did you have for snack today?"
"Ooooh, it was good, Mama! Chocolate milk and chocolate pudding!"
"Uhhhh, that's it?"
"Oh, and some grapes."

Really, people? Chocolate milk AND chocolate pudding? At 10am? Really?

Those things aren't necessarily bad, but I mean, come on. Let's pace ourselves. And also, I have to deal with that sugar rush right before nap time. Geez.

Anyway, it's our snack week. I did send grapes and juice, even though my kids really never drink juice. It's a treat and it's fun to take something you like to school. I also made breakfast cookies, and I am going to share that recipe one more time, because kids do not even know it's healthy, and I did want my little man to be kind of excited about announcing his snack. 

So here it is!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


2010 was not my healthiest year. It was a year of indulgence, actually. I cooked with a lot more butter, said yes to a lot more donuts, enjoyed a few extra mochas. I am not against any of those things... in moderation. But the problem was that instead of losing those last few pounds of baby weight, I gained eight of them back. Turning it from baby weight into regular old butter weight. And despite the fact that I was nursing my little guy up to five times a day, those pounds still snuck up on me. As the holidays approached, I thought to myself: you have two choices. You can gain another seven pounds (the average for most people from Thanksgiving to New Years), or you can kick these pounds to the curb.

So I did. I counted my calories and exercised, and now six weeks later I am ten pounds lighter. I am totally against calorie obsession, but I needed to reprogram my brain to what is normal and what my daily intake should look like. 

So, I am going to hop back on this blog and hopefully keep myself accountable. I am not saying a final goodbye to butter or donuts or mochas, but I am most definitely going to keep my relationship with those dudes a little more casual. 

Here is to a healthy 2011!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

i am so sporadic

I realize I am totally inconsistent in my posting. I am kind of thinking of giving up the notion that I will be here regularly. I have all these good intentions and take photos of my food, but then I never seem to find the time to get it together enough to post it! So, I wanted to just link you up to my newest recipe , which I posted on Tasty Kitchen. Have you guys been over there yet? It's a fun site and not yet overwhelmingly huge.

Also, I have kept this blog pretty anonymous. I think my mom might be the only reader who knows me in real life (hey Mom!). But I do have a blog that I keep up pretty regularly , full of the adventure I am living with three little dudes at my feet. You all are welcome to pop over any time and check it out!

Thanks for following me and my attempt at healthy living. I will still post here from time to time, and I will be putting recipes up a bit more frequently over at TK. 

All the best!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

vegetable pie

This is one of my favorite dishes. It's rich and comforting, it's full of vegetables, and it's (relatively) good for you. My mom has made it for years, and I started making it shortly after I got married. It's a great vegetarian option and I swear you won't even miss the meat. Serve this up with a green salad and you'll have yourself a nice little meal.

½ medium eggplant, cubed
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½  teaspoon basil
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar 
1 cup shredded mozzarella 
double pie crust 

Toss eggplant, onion, green pepper, zucchini and garlic with olive oil, spices, salt and pepper in a roasting pan or large baking sheet.  Roast at 425 degrees until soft, stirring every 10 minutes for about 30 minutes. 

In the meantime, prepare your pie crust (I swear I don't work for Trader Joe's, but they make a really really good frozen crust).

Once your vegetable are done, layer half of vegetables, half of the cheese, and half the tomato. Repeat. Make a lattice top pie crust (or fake it like I do)  and bake for 25 min at 425 degrees. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.
And enjoy! 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

a little update

Remember back in January when I told you about my little weight loss competition? It is finally over! I don't know if I won - I was a close second last week. But I have lost FIFTEEN pounds! I am so excited. Pre-pregnancy weight? Yes. Pre-pregnancy body? Not so much. I have to admit, most of the weight loss is from watching what I eat and drink (while still eating chocolate, of course), nursing, and chasing my children (48 trips up the stairs to replace fallen pacifiers can burn a few). Haven't quite gotten back into working out like I hoped I would. I am getting a treadmill from my generous parents, and I have had every intention of starting up The Shred again, but at the end of the day I am just not super motivated. I would LOVE some tips on getting it going from moms who have been there. Let me know what has worked for you!

Monday, March 22, 2010

cookies in the morning

This breakfast cookie is one of the best I've tried. It's an adaptation from the Sneaky Chef. We eat them more as a mid-morning or after-nap snack, but they are great to grab on your way out the door to eat on the go (and much safer than the usual bowl of cereal in the car trick my husband likes to try).

And of course you can mix up what you add in. We like dried cranberries and sunflower seeds. You could try raisins, apricots, coconut, almonds, pecans - or nothing at all! Play around with fun combinations.

So, here it is.

3-4 cups whole grain cereal flakes (like Total)
1/4 cup wheat germ or oat bran
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup dried fruit (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Use a rolling pin or mallet to crush the cereal in a plastic bag. Or just stick it in the food processor. You should have about 2 cups of coarsely crushed cereal when you're done.

Mix together cereal, wheat germ or oat bran (oat bran has a more appealing flavor for kids), flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, stir together egg, sugar, oil, vanilla and cheese. Combine the two mixtures.

I like to make bigger cookies, so I use about 1/4 cup per cookie and flatten them slightly on the cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, until the edges are just slightly brown. Let them cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Enjoy... And let me know if you come up with any noteworthy combinations!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

it's that time!

The weather isn't exactly right for planting around here yet, but I went a little crazy with my seed purchases last week. This year I am trying something new: rather than buying a bunch of starts in April or May, I am starting my own in my basement this week. Tomatoes, jalapenos, fennel, parsley, onions, carrots... the list goes on. I am even doing a seed exchange this year with a few friends to get a little variety. My husband has agreed to build me a couple of raised beds in the next few weeks, and my parents and I are going to do a "crop share". Don't I sound like I know what I am doing? This may be a huge disaster, as I am anything but a seasoned gardener. Actually this is only my second year and last year I only dabbled.

One huge inspiration was the new book Grow Great Grub which came out last month. I have just started looking through it, and I love love love it. 

I'll let you know how it goes. Successes and failures and what I learn from all of it - and hopefully a few recipes along the way!

Friday, March 5, 2010


My brand new (dumb) refrigerator broke last weekend. Not convenient. It was four days of freezing ziploc bags of ice to rotate in and out of the cooler. Four days of hoping we weren't ingesting some mutant bacteria that had formed in our jerry rigged cooling system. Thankfully we didn't, and on the plus side, my fridge is very, very clean.

On the negative, I haven't cooked a lot this week, as I didn't want to have leftovers to store and wanted to use what we had. That meant lots of grilled cheese and fruit. Oh well, what can you do? I am just thankful for the repairman that came and fixed it. I am not excited about the $250 invoice, but I am pretty sure it's covered by warranty.

One thing I've learned since we moved a couple of months ago: I really really like modern conveniences. The house was appliance free for almost a month - no fridge, no dishwasher, no washer and dryer. I had to be creative and I spent a lot of time at the sink. I was very happy every time a new appliance arrived at my door.

Now if I could just get myself to go use them...

Monday, February 22, 2010

super easy peasy teething biscuits

These were so easy and simple and my little dude is just so excited to feel like he is eating real food. He feels like he's part of the "in" crowd, I can tell. He doesn't have teeth yet, so I am going to recommend this for babies who are just gumming at this point, since that's what I know works. And of course, always stay close by to watch your kiddo when they're eating. But he sucked on these for at least twenty minutes at a time with no crumbling at all. Then it'd end up on the floor... and then he'd want another one. So, I call that success!

1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
1/2 cup baby rice cereal
1/4 cup baby food (I used homemade sweet potato puree)
1/4 cup 100% juice

Mix all of your ingredients together. Lightly flour your surface and the dough (it's really sticky, especially with whole wheat flour). Roll out to a little less than 1/4" (think thick cracker) and use a glass or cookie cutter to cut them (nice round edges are best). Bake on a lightly oiled cookie sheet at 325 degrees F for about 30 minutes.  Store in an airtight container.

I noticed on my first batch that the dough tends to bubble. Maybe it's the flour I used. With the second batch, I checked on them after about ten minutes and pressed them with a spatula to prevent the bubbling. I also pricked the surface with a fork. After another ten minutes, I flipped them to finish off. They get a little dark around the edges, but they're nice and hard and shouldn't break in baby's mouth.

You can feel good about them - nothin' bad for your baby. I keep them in the fridge - this recipe makes 7 or 8 biscuits - perfect for the week!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

valentine delight

This has not been the healthiest week of my life. I have eaten a lot of really delicious, not so health conscious food. It's all about balance though, right? I've also spent the week steaming a lot of vegetables, pureeing them, and freezing them in cubes for my little pumpkin, but that wouldn't make for the most interesting post. Mamas, stay tuned this week though if you're interested in homemade teething biscuits... that's my next project.

Tonight was one of the best dinners I have made in a long time. I am not bragging, I am just excited to share. It was easy, if slightly time consuming, but totally worth it. And it got the response I wanted from my husband: grunts of satisfaction with every bite. And all thanks to Real Simple. I love that magazine.

So, here it is: Potato Leek Flat Bread. I used a recipe at Food Network for the pizza dough  (which, by the way I have used before, using whole wheat flour, and it was a little dense. Tonight I used all purpose and it was really good).  You can used ground thyme instead of fresh, and you can skip the cheese if you want to lighten it up. But you can also add a couple of slices of prosciutto, like I did, for a little something special.

All you need to go with it is a nice little salad and you've got yourself one delicious meal (we also had seared scallops, but honestly, they were secondary to this flat bread). Enjoy!