Friday, October 31, 2008

coming soon...

My oh my. My computer has been out of country for many days (long silly story). But I have fun recipes coming! Scones, chili, chocolate frosting... Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

did you know?

Did you know that the acidity from a lime or lemon is a natural deodorizer and germ-killer for your wooden cutting boards?   Just slice off the end and rub it around on your board.  It will kill all the gross bacteria that lingers and get rid of any funky garlic/onion smells hanging around. Plus you get that fresh citrus scent!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

want some fries with that?

My kid's newest culinary discovery is french fries.  Since a recent trip to California where we made two stops at In-N-Out, he makes regular requests for fries.  I considered picking some up in the frozen food aisle the other day and then thought to myself, "Why?"  I mean, it takes about 3 minutes to prep your own, so that's what I did.
Here is what you need:
2 russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch strips.
Put them on a cookie sheet and toss with oil, sprinkle with salt
Lay them out all nice and neat, give them their personal space so they can crisp up.
Cook for 12-15 minutes and then flip each of them over with a spatula, and make sure they stay nice and spaced out.  
Put 'em back in for about 10-15 minutes.

Mmmmm....fries.  Or as the kid likes to call them: fwies.
Russet potatoes are high in vitamins C and B6, and are even better for you if you keep the skin on.  Sweet Potatoes can also be prepped this way, and they are definitely a superfood, full of vitamin A and beta carotene.

Either way, you can feel pretty good about this side dish, and they are a snap to prepare!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

the best dip ever

 Some people call it Cowboy Caviar, some people call it salsa, some people call it dip.  I just call it amazingly good. Not just because it is really good for you, but because it tastes so good, so fresh, so tasty.  It tastes so tasty?  Anyway, you really should try this as soon as possible.  It's so good you'll probably want to have some on hand all the time.   

Here are your ingredients:

(actually this photo shows how much you need to double it, so just pay attention to the recipe)

1 lb. bag of frozen white corn
1 15.5 ounce can black beans, rinsed
2-3 roma tomatoes diced (or 1 15.5 oz. can diced tomatoes)
1 bell pepper, diced (I used orange because it was on sale and it completed my rainbow, but any color will work)
1 large, semi-ripe (still kinda firm, no mush) avocado, diced (optional)
1 4 oz. can jalapenos (optional.  you can also use fresh or pickled)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced  *this was missing from my photo - oopsie.
1/4 cup italian dressing (I like the light balsamic vinaigrette myself)
juice from 1/2 lime
salt to taste (I don't use it because the chips are usually salty enough)

Combine all ingredients and chill for at least an hour to let the flavors kind of meld and marry and get prepared for delighting your palette to no end.

I serve mine with the blue chips because they are better for you than regular old corn chips.  You choose what works for you and yours.  This is so good, you could just use a spoon if the situation was right.  

What makes it so beneficial?  Corn has vitamins B1, B5, folate, and vitamin C.  Black beans have antioxidants and are full of fiber, plus they maintain blood sugar levels.  Tomatoes contain iron, vitamins A and C, potassium, and can seriously reduce the risk of cancer.  Peppers contain more vitamins, plus thiamin, beta carotene and folic acid.  Onions can also reduce your risk for cancer. Even cilantro is known to help control blood sugar and lower cholesterol.  And I've already told you about the avocados. 

So don't just make it because it's so delicious, do it because your body needs you to.
And let me know whatchya think.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

really really healthy (and delicious) soup

  This is an amazing recipe.  I adapted it from a "fat-burning" soup I found on my favorite recipe site - changed it up here and there to our tastes, and I think it was well worth the effort!  (Okay, it didn't take that long, but still.)

This super hearty, vegetable laden, semi-stew is so filling and only has about 170 calories per serving! It's a great lunch and makes about 10 servings, so you can freeze a bunch for later.  Don't be intimidated by the chopping - it took about 30 minutes of prep time.

3 carrots, chopped
1 large onion, sliced in half, then sliced into thin strips
5 stalks of celery, chopped
1 head of green cabbage, chopped
3 yellow squash (like zucchini), sliced
1/2 lb. fresh green beans, chopped
1-1.25 lbs ground turkey breast (optional)
1 bottle (1 qt + 14oz) low sodium V-8 juice
32 oz low sodium chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
1 packet onion soup mix
1 28oz. can whole tomatoes
pepper to taste

Don't all those vegetables just make you feel healthier?  Get chopping!
Now brown the turkey with the onions until cooked through.  Add in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes.  

I know something this good for you doesn't seem like it would be very satisfying, but this is seriously delicious.  And what better time of year for a hot, steamy bowl of soup?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

good for you granola

Granola is packed with hearty, filling, nutritious goodness.  It can also be packed with calories.  I looked at a few recipes, did some tweaking, altered some ingredients and came up with this delicious alternative to the high-fat, expensive stuff in a box.

As usual, you can adjust some things to your liking.  Switch up what nuts/seeds you use, alternate the dried fruit.  Do what you want.  A little of this goes a long way.  One serving is about a 1/2 cup with 230 calories.  Sprinkle it on your yogurt, douse it with milk, warm it up on a cold morning for a hot treat.

4 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup flax seed, slightly ground in food processor or blender
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped

Preheat your oven to 300 F.  
Mix oats, wheat germ, flax and nuts.  In another bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, applesauce, honey, vanilla and water.
Combine wet and dry ingredients until well coated.
Spray 2 9X13" pans with cooking spray and divide mixture evenly.
Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
Once the granola has cooled a bit, add in cranberries and apricots and keep in an airtight container.  Makes about 18 servings.

This is a fiber-rich, protein packed, hunger-curbing breakfast that will keep you going all morning.  Did you know cinnamon naturally keeps your blood sugar from crashing?  And the flax seed has omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy heart, clearer thinking, and beautiful skin.  Every ingredient does something good for your body - and how fun is it to say you made it yourself?

i've been tagged.

Thanks to The Ordinary Housewife, I've been tagged.  Watch out - you might be next!

Here are 7 little known facts about me:
  • I love green tea.  I wish I loved it as much as I love chai, but I really do like it.
  • I love fun projects: from gardening, to sewing, to cooking, to painting.  Anything I can create that's "me", that's what gets me going.
  • I have been to 5 out of 7 continents.
  • I think reality tv makes us less intelligent, but I really like it.
  • I met Punky Brewster when I was little.  I know that's not her real name, but that's who she is to me.
  • I wish I was a good swimmer, but I'm really not.
  • I don't like bananas.  Unless they are baked into something or in a smoothie (see post below).

If you have been tagged (ha ha, gotcha), here are the rules of the game:

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog.  Some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving there names and links to their blogs.
4.  Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are some of my favorite blogs (I admit most of them don't know who I am). Check them out and let them know how much you love them, too:

Friday, October 10, 2008


Something I've realized lately is that I just don't eat enough fruit.  Vegetables I can eat until the cows come home, but fruit is just sort of meh.  My husband and kiddo down it like it's going out of style, and that just makes me feel guilty.  Solution?  

Smoothies.  I love them and it's basically a fruit salad by straw, which I can handle.  I throw in a few extras to make it more filling and even more nutritious. 

Here is my recipe, which can be altered to taste.  This version has about 120 calories per serving, and makes about two servings.

1 banana
1 cup frozen fruit (I mix it up.  blueberries + strawberries, mango +  blackberries, etc.)
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 cup low-fat milk
2 tablespoons wheat germ

Put the bananas and frozen fruit in the food processor or blender and give it whirl to break it all up, but not pulverize it.   Add in the yogurt, milk and wheat germ and blend 'til smooth.  Taste it.  If it's too tart, depending on your fruit, add a little less than a tablespoon of honey to sweeten the deal.

For my toddler, I cut this with milk for a thinned out sippy cup treat.  He slurps it down in about 30 seconds. 

The frozen fruit makes it nice and icy without being annoyingly slushy, which is what happens with ice. Sometimes I even throw in a little frozen spinach for extra iron (you can't taste it, I promise).  You can sub juice for the milk if you like, but I like the extra calcium and less sugar that comes with milk.  But, like I said, mix it up to your liking and share the love with your kids.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

quite possibly the perfect snack

I love avocados.  I really, really love them.

Do you know how good these are for you?  They have vitamins A, C, K, E and B6.  Not to mention niacin, biotin, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and protein.  Oh yeah, and they cover 30% of your fiber for the day.  It also has plant compounds that help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. What more could you ask for?  Plus they are creamy and delicious.

They can also be a great snack for the little ones.  You can mash it up and throw in a teaspoon or two of wheat germ for an extra punch of protein.  Sometimes I'll throw in a hard boiled egg yolk.  Even a little pureed spinach for extra iron.  It's all masked by the buttery goodness of that yummy avocado.  My kid will eat just about anything smothered in it.

Yeah, I know, they run about 3 bucks a pop at the grocery store right now.  But, you can buy a 4 pack for about 4 dollars in most stores (we get ours at Trader Joe's).  The beauty of bulk.  

I am so thankful for the first guy that cracked one of these things open and dug in.  The world is a better place.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

let's start with the basics

Water.  We all know we're supposed to drink it.  Our parents, doctors, teachers have told us our whole lives: drink 8 glasses a day.  Did you know your body, which is 60-70% water, needs 64 ounces of water per day?  It doesn't want it, it needs it.  Did you know it helps circulation, digestion, concentration, energy levels, complexion and diet?  And no, coffee, caffeinated tea, juice, soda, alcohol, and milk don't count.  

So get going!  Fill up that bottle or glass and drink drink drink all day long.  You'll feel better, trust me.

(disclaimer:  this does not apply to babies - breastmilk, formula and milk - that's what the little guys need)