Friday, April 30, 2010

Questions I ask Myself

I feel that my sweet tooth is my biggest road block to feeling fully healthy.  Avoiding sweet treats, candies and pastries is something that is important to me because I think sugar wreaks havoc on my body.  As I have omitted sugar from my diet, the effects when I do eat it are immediatly obvious.  Yet, even with my desire to stop indulging in sweets, I've still been know to eat a few too many cookies.  I don't think I will ever fully give up sweets, because I want to be able to enjoy birthday cake with my kids and an ice cream on a warm summer night, but I really want it to be the exception rather than the rule.  So when I am deciding whether I am going to have a cookie (or another one), here is a list of questions I am trying to get in the habit of asking myself.

  • Am I hungry?
  • Is this a food that will aid me in my long term goal of being healthy?
  • Would I let my children eat this?
  • Am I setting a healthy example for my children by eating this (or this much) ?
  • What is this food going to do to my body?
  • And when I am out, would it be better to donate the money I would spend on this treat to someone who is REALLY hungry?

I am not perfect, and despite answering these questions, I still eat more sweets than I want to, but getting in the habit of answering them before I eat my sweets has helped me cut out a lot of junk and I hope they take me even further.

Do you have questions you ask yourself to curb what temps you?

Thanks for the photo Bossacafez

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless: The Tomato Man my Garden Grew

Tomato Man

Sunday, April 25, 2010

OXO Strawberry Huller Review

Last week I got the OXO strawberry huller.  Overall, I like it.  It doesn't do a perfect job at removing the hull of the strawberry because sometimes the hull will push inside of the strawberry, but as I use it more and more, I am getting better at efficiently removing the hulls of the strawberries.

As I mention in the video, I got the OXO strawberry huller because I wanted to find a quick way to hull the strawberries while wasting as little of the strawberry flesh as possible.  I have always felt that a knife, while fast, just takes a little too much of the strawberry away.  Maybe my knife skills just need to be a little better?  I don't know, but I do know that I am happy with how the OXO strawberry huller preforms and see myself using it after I go strawberry picking with the kids this summer to quickly remove the hulls and freeze them for use during the rest of the year.

Here are a few more pictures:

OXO Strawberry Huller

Hulling Strawberries with OXO Strawberry Huller

Hulled Strawberries from OXO Strawberry Huller

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Whole Foods Fast: Double the Recipe

Lentil Soup for Today and Tomorrow

One technique that I use frequently in order to have real food on hand in a hurry is to double up on things that freeze well.  We usually have soup for Sunday evening dinner.  Generally we have a bigger lunch, so we aren't too hungry for dinner, but still need something to fill our bellies until the morning.  Tonight it was Lentil soup.  Instead of making just once batch, I doubled the recipe and put the extra in a pyrex to freeze for next Sunday's dinner.

Two tips when freezing soup:
  • Store it in a shallow container.  The soup will cool down faster because it is spread out thinner and you have less risk of food spoilage.  For the same reason, it will defrost faster when you are ready to heat it up again.
  • Know how many ladles your soup bowls can hold.  My soup bowls hold 4 ladles of soup for adults, and 2 for the kids.  When it comes time to freeze the soup, I know that I need to ladle out 12 ladles of soup into the storage container (4 for me, 4 for hubby, 2 for daughter, 2 for son).

No Frills Pressure Cooker Lentil Soup:

1. Put all of the ingredients below in pressure cooker and bring to high pressure for 10 minutes.  Let the pressure come down naturally.
1 lb dried lentils, picked over to remove stones
4 carrots, sliced (I cut the carrots in half lengthwise, and then slice them with my 2mm food processor disc.
1 and 1/2 onions chopped
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 quart of homemade chicken stock
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon oregano
4 bay leaves
optional: a few slices of chopped bacon.

2. Open Pressure Cooker up.  Salt & Pepper to taste, add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.  

3. Ladle in bowls and drizzle with olive oil.  

NOTE: Ideally you soak the lentils the night before you make this.  If you soak them, you probably won't need to add the extra two cups of water.  If you open it up and your soup looks too watery, turn up the heat and boil it down a bit.  If it looks to thick, add some boiling water.

Do you have a favorite soup to freeze?

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Grape Tomato Scrambled Eggs Recipe

    One of my current favorite things to have for breakfast is Grape Tomato Scrambled Eggs.  These work with any type of tomato, but I find that I often use grape tomatoes because I usually have some in the fridge that are looking a little wrinkly.

    1.) Put your burner on Medium High (closer to medium), put in some butter, and heat up your pan.  When the pan is hot, throw in your tomatoes and lightly salt them.

    2.) As they heat up and cook, use the back of your spatula to put them down gently so they let out their juice.

    3.) Turn the heat down to medium low (closer to medium).  Add 5 eggs that have been mixed together into the pan.  Cook the eggs slowly, string as they cook.

    4.) Yum!  I like to top it with a few hits of Frank's hot sauce and a side of Arugula salad with raw Parmesan for a tasty and filling morning breakfast.

    - Serves 2

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    My Favorite Things: Canning Jars

    Canning Jars

    Why I LOVE Canning Jars:

    • They are made of glass so I don't have to worry about storing my food in toxic plastic.
    • They are cheap so I don't care if I break one (although I haven't broken one yet).
    • The lids are easy to store and interchangeable so I can always find one.
    • They come in a variety of sizes and the smaller ones nest inside the larger ones for easy storage.
    • They easily stack in my lunch bag.
    • They fit perfectly in the dishwasher top rack.
    • I can store so many things in them: prepared soups, food prep, yogurt, dried beans, bulk spices and mixes, craft supplies, you get the picture.

    Try some you'll love them too!

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Yogurt and Fruit Popsicles ... or Smoothie

    Ingredients for Strawberrie Popsicles

    The kids and I came up with a recipe for yogurt Popsicles that we have been having a blast making (and eating) together.  It is a great quick treat for the family because it tastes amazing, yet is good for you.  Why? The full fat yogurt provides protein and fat to keep you full, and according the The National Yogurt Association, when frozen yogurt maintains the beneficial bacteria it contains so you are still getting the benefits of the active live cultures of yogurt.  The strawberries are also a great source of Vitamin C.  The honey or real maple syrup are completely optional, these pops still tastes great without the added sugar.

    Yogurt Popsicles Recipe
    1 Cup Full Fat Organic Plain Yogurt (I prefer homemade, but any yogurt with active live cultures will do)
    1 Cup Organic Strawberries OR blueberries (frozen are fine!)
    2 Tablespoons of Real Organic Maple Syrup or Raw Honey (Optional)

    1. Blend everything together using your blender, or your hand blender.  If you don't have a hand blender, I highly recommend getting one because they will greatly simplify the blending of any soup or smoothie you are trying to make by saving you LOADS of clean-up time.

    2. Drink as a smoothie or freeze in Popsicle molds.


    Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles

    This recipe can EASILY be adapted, double, tripled, etc. to suit your individual tastes.  Try different fruits, try adding a vegetable like spinach or some ground flax seed meal.  Enjoy!

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    My Favorite Things: Reusable Sandwich Bags

    Reusable Sandwich Bag

    About a year ago I bought this awesome reusable sandwich bag from  Don't you love it?!   This is the sandwich size, but I also bought a couple of the snack size, which I actually use more, because my little man brings them to preschool everyday with his snack inside.  I love that I don't have to continually buy new plastic bags, and that our family isn't contributing extra waste to the environment.

    Tuesday, April 06, 2010

    Crinkle Cutter Review

    If you know me, you know I LOVE kitchen gadgets; and I just tried out a new one that is great, the OXO crinkle cutter.  I bought it because I thought it would be fun to slice up the kids veggies in a fun way.  I always maintain if food manufacturers can market their foods by slicing and dicing it to look appealing, so can I!

    I bought the crinkle cutter to make wavy carrots, but once I got it and saw the package directions, I realized I could also waffle cut things like potatoes.  We don't eat a lot of potatoes in our house, but if we are going to have fries, I will make them myself with this fun tool!

    btw...I bought the Crinkle Cutter on Amazon because they have an awesome 4-for-3 deals on a lot of their kitchen gadgets .  Buy four of their gadgets, but only pay for three.

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