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!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

for all the little sickies

The junk struck our house a few weeks ago - coughing, sniffling, sore throats, headaches... blech. By the time it made its way through all of us, we had spent about 3 weeks wiping noses, sleeping next to humidifiers, and listening to pathetic little coughs from all corners of our house.

I wanted so badly to alleviate that loud, hoarse, sad cough for my little guy. Over-the-counter medication isn't recommended for kids under 4, so apart from a little cherry scented VapoRub, chances of relief looked dismal.

Until mama did a little research. Turns out those OTC meds really only help them sleep, but don't do much for the cough so they weren't really worth pining after anyway.  The more I looked into it, the more I heard that a tablespoon of honey is a natural, quick remedy for a cough. After three nights, we were more than ready, willing and able to test it out. Guess what? It totally worked! Nearly instant relief, and almost a full nights sleep. 

After further research, I also found out that the antioxidants it contains are natural immune boosters. Double bonus!  Since you can't give honey to babies under the age of one, the littlest guys just had to deal, but big brother definitely benefited.

So, if you find yourself stricken with the junk, or you've got sick little cuties hacking the night away, try a spoonful and you'll all sleep a little better.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

even your kids will like it

My husband loves coleslaw. LOVES it. I have never liked it. The only exception I make is when you can get it on your barbecue sandwich - a real southern treat. We don't live in the south, so this has happened once in my life. Anyway, I digress.

This salad is where we meet in the middle. It is kinda, sorta like coleslaw, but so much fresher, crunchier, and better for you. Not sure if you've noticed my love of carrots, but I try to put them in everything. My kid says he doesn't like them, but he is going on looks alone because I don't think he has ever knowingly put a carrot in his mouth.

This is a quick, simple side dish and goes especially well with barbecue - which is what we're having tonight. This Zesty Chicken is awesome and amazing - another thing worth trying. 

OHM's Carrot Salad
6 large carrots, peeled
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 apples (I prefer honeycrisp or pink lady), peeled and chopped
1/4 reduced fat mayo
1/4 cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon (or a little more) honey
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
salt to taste

Using your peeler, or a grater, shred carrots into a bowl. Add raisins and apples. In a separate container, whisk the remaining ingredients and combine with salad. You can eat this right away, or put it in the fridge for up to three days.  Mmmmm, good good good.

When I told the little dude what I was making, he informed me he would just like the apples and raisins, thankyouverymuch. But with a little coercion, even he had to admit it was pretty darn good.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

man pleasin' food

I live in a house full of testosterone, so I suppose some of my food should fit the stereotype. This is the meal that makes husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers, and little boys... happy. It's simple, sweet, meaty, and if you want, spicy. There are no visible vegetables. It's man food. So, in honor of the all the boys in my life, and because it's almost time for the big game, here is a recipe that should go over well. It can be football food, or it can be a very, very easy weeknight meal.

It takes about five minutes to throw all this stuff in the crock pot. Doesn't get much better than that!

Barbecue Beef and Beans
1.5 pounds boneless beef round, cut into 1-inch cubes.
2 15 ounce cans butter beans, drained
2 15 ounce cans cannelini beans, drained
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, finely grated
1.5 cups hickory smoke barbecue sauce**
1/3 cup water
several dashes hot sauce (optional)

Put everything in the crock pot, except about 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. About half an hour before serving, stir in the rest of the barbecue sauce and some freshly ground pepper.

Fill up a baked potato with it or serve it with some hot cornbread and a big side salad (just to satisfy your girly side, of course).  My husband loved it, and my two year old gobbled it right up. You don't have to tell them how easy it was.

** Almost every bottle of barbecue sauce on the shelves contains high fructose corn syrup. Despite the ads on tv, it's really, really not good for you. Read the labels and look for one without.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

not so healthy

I am feeling sorry for myself today. Two sick kiddos and one sick mama. It could be worse, though, so I will try to think of some things to be thankful for. Right after I finish this cup of tea.

In the meantime, I am going to share some random tips that have come in handy lately. First, my friends and I started doing that "biggest loser" challenge again this year. I am so glad, because I am not always a huge self motivator. I've lost five pounds! One thing that's helped me is Calorie Count, which is a free online tool where you track your food intake and activity and it calculates everything out for you. I've never been one for counting calories, but it was eye opening, to say the least. They have just about every activity on there from dusting to cooking indian bread on an outside stove (seriously, that is specific). And it motivates me to get moving. Yesterday was my first post-pregnancy run. It wasn't pretty.

If you're looking for a fun and delicious kid project, I am going to direct you to The Ordinary Housewife, who made Alton Brown's homemade marshmallows. We decided to try it and they are GOOD. I don't usually like marshmallows, but these are really great. They make me want hot chocolate every day, so that's the downside. But it's a really delicious downside, no? And if you want to get crazy, you can melt chocolate chips and dip those marshmallows right in, and let your kids go crazy with the sprinkles. It's a fun treat without all the additives, and they make cute gifts.

Lastly, let me tell you my latest way to get moving. Time is short these days, taken up most days by my three little darlings, so I have to be creative. Thankfully, my toddler LOVES dancing. And should I even admit that I let him bust a move to Rihanna? It gets us going together, and I feel a little bit better about those marshmallows. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

a new take on tuna salad

This is so good. I served it with wild rice and sauteed spinach for a nice, light dinner. It was a nice change of pace. And I just set a little tuna aside to make a plain ol' sandwich for my toddler* who probably wouldn't appreciate this particular change of pace. I was inspired by a recipe I saw in Real Simple. Try it, I think you'll like it.

4 large tomatoes
2 cans albacore tuna, drained 
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 large carrot, grated
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Hollow out each tomato, and add the pulp to a bowl. Combine with the remaining ingredients and spoon mixture back into the tomatoes. You'll probably have some left over, and it keeps really well. Top mixed greens with it, eat it on crackers - I think you're going to like this one.
Plus, it looks cool.

*mama note: grate a little carrot and cheddar into some tuna, mix with some reduced fat mayo, and make your little one a healthy melt. Mine never noticed the carrot, I promise. If he did, I'd be in trouble. No matter how many times I compare him to a bunny.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

breakfast sandwiches...

... are one of my favorite ways to start my day.  And they keep me full a lot longer than a bowl of cereal, which is good when you've got little guys running and crawling around, needing you most moments of the day.  Plus it comes together in just a few minutes!

Here is one worth trying.  Bonus: sneaking in an extra serving of vegetables for the day.

I used cracked wheat sourdough, but use what you've got - don't forget your whole grains!  If you have a toaster oven, top the bread with an ounce of reduced fat cheese.  Right now I have havarti, and it is so good on this sandwich! If you don't have a toaster oven, just grate the cheese into your egg and throw your bread in the toaster. Now chop up one broccoli floret and microwave it for about 45 seconds to soften it. Scramble up an egg with the broccoli, and a little salt and pepper (and the cheese if that's how you're doing it). Now make yourself a little sandwich and enjoy! And feel good about it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

a public service announcement

First of all, I need to share with you how thankful I am for my latest step into the 21st century. Or maybe it's a step back in time, I'm not sure. Anyway, I had my groceries delivered yesterday. I never thought I would do it, but when you have three little kids, any spare moment to leave your house is not meant to be spent in the grocery store. Seriously. It was great - no impulse buys, plus I had to actually plan my meals for the week, and I could do it all in the comfort of my living room while watching bad tv.

Okay, but here is the deal. They really break the prices down so you can see how much you're paying per pound or pint or whatever quantitative word pertains. I realize that you can find this information on most of the price tags at the store, but I don't usually pay much attention unless I am comparison shopping.

So imagine my shock when I was buying some fresh herbs for a new recipe and I find that they actually cost $43 per pound. And that's on sale. Okay, so I only shelled out two bucks for them, but that amazed me, considering you can buy the plant for about a dollar and have yourself more than you could ever use for almost a year. I think I've found my new business.

So, here is the lesson. 1. Have your groceries delivered. You deserve it.
And 2. Run to the nursery, pick out your favorite herbs, and get planting! (and sell them to some schmuck like me to really start rolling in the dough)

Friday, January 1, 2010

welcome 2010

What a crazy, wonderful year 2009 was!  And I am always excited, if not a bit wistful, when a new one begins. Last January a few friends and I had a "Biggest Loser" competition to see who could lose the highest percentage of weight in 8 weeks. None of us were going for huge numbers, but wanted to drop some post-holiday pounds.

Here we are in January again, and here I am seven weeks postpartum. I have a beautiful baby boy (actually I have three, but he is the newest) and 15 excess pounds to prove it.  So, what better time to get some goals set for a healthy 2010?

I am nursing, so I am not going to do any crazy dieting (not that I would anyway!). And I have three boys under the age of three so my workouts and the time I schedule them in will have to be creative, but I am ready to get this show on the road.  Since it's been so long since I have been consistent with my blogging, I thought this would be a good way to kick start it and keep me accountable. Log my progress, how I stay active, what healthy (and hopefully tasty) meals I cook up.  

And I want you to share your experiences, too! It doesn't have to be with weight loss... what are your goals for this year? Eat better? Exercise more? Kick a habit that's bogging you down? Read more? Train for an event? Spend more time with your kids? Learn to garden or speak another language or...?  Fill me in!  And if you want some support, let's do this together.

To a happy and healthy new year!