Monthly Archives: August 2012

Not Your Typical Sloppy Joes

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When I think of Sloppy Joes I think of that scene from Billy Madison where he is eating lunch in the cafeteria and the lunch lady walks by and slaps another sandwich one his plate and says “I made them extra sloppy for ya”. They look so greasy and it gives the dish an unhealthy reputation. But these are anything but unhealthy. They are made with lean ground turkey, diced tomatoes, and whole wheat buns. That stuff that comes out of a can doesn’t hold a candle to these.

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Turkey Sloppy Joes

Serves 5

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

1 green pepper, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 pound ground turkey, 93% lean

2 cups canned diced tomatoes

1/4 cup barbecue sauce

1 tsp worcestershire sauce

1 tsp vinegar

1/16 tsp garlic salt

pepper to taste

5 small 100% whole wheat hamburger buns (I use the potato ones that are only 100 calories each)

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Put olive oil, onion, green pepper, and garlic in a non-stick frying pan and cook for 5-10 minutes, until onion is translucent.

Add ground beef and cook until browned.

Add remaining ingredients (besides buns obviously) and simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes. If sauce starts getting too thick, add a lid so the water can’t escape.

Add to buns and enjoy!

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and with nutritional stats like these, have 2!

Nutritional Information (including Bun!!):

Calories: 269

Fat: 9

Sodium: 429 (18%)

Carbs: 29 g

Fiber: 2.3 g

Sugars: 7.5 g

Protein: 22 g

What I Ate out of my CSA Box

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Monday nights are like Christmas for me with the pickup of my CSA box every week. I  could seriously live off produce (and dessert) alone! This week my box had the standard produce for the season.

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3 eggplant

1 seedless watermelon

6 ears of corn

8 red potatoes

1 carton yellow cherry tomatoes

2 large tomatoes

2 peppers

large bag of okra (eaten before picture was taken, I couldn’t help myself)

I usually use some of the produce right away monday night (which is why the okra was unpictured) and then come Tuesday it’s a free for all and I go nuts.

Peas and Crayons

Breakfast: 7 greek yogurt pancakes. Eaten in the car without syrup on the way to Alyssa’s first ballet/tap class (SO cute!)

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Lunch: leftover grilled chicken (1 drumstick, 1/2  a breast), 1 cup steamed okra, veggie chips, and a tomato mozzarella sandwich.

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Snack: the entire watermelon (filled a 7 cup container) and a piece of toast with peanut butter.

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Dinner: salmon, roasted potatoes, and corn on the cob

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Dessert: Handful of chocolate covered pretzels and some chocolate pudding with whipped cream on top

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So lets see out of my CSA box came the okra, watermelon, tomato, potatoes, and corn.  Not too shabby. I actually had to refrain myself from making some hummus and using the peppers to scoop it up. I ran on the treadmill last night after I put the girls to bed and even though I had a large snack afterwards before bed, it always leaves me starving the next day.

And who wants to see my sweet ballerina (and her new dance bag I made her over the weekend)?

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Breastfeeding After 1 Year Old

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Now that Cassidy is 12 months, everyone keeps asking me when I am going to stop breastfeeding her. Breast milk or formula is supposed to be their main source of nutrition until 12 months, meaning they need a good amount until 12 months, and then they can start being weaned. Well we are at that point now. And it really snuck up on me. I knew it was coming up soon, but then all of a sudden it was here, she is 1! How did that happen??

With Alyssa I felt pressure to stop at 12 months. People know they are supposed to breastfeed for 12 months but after that I just assumed I should stop, mainly because that’s what I was told. I started weaning her at 12 months and by 14 months we were done. After I weaned her I learned of so many moms who did continue on nursing until 18 months or a little longer. And the World Health Organization recommends 2 years! After reading that I kind of felt like I weaned Alyssa too early. Why did I stop just because I felt like that’s what society wanted me to do? Well our society at least. Now don’t get me wrong, I would not want to nurse well into the toddler years, but I don’t judge moms who do. To each their own. Breastfeeding just takes a huge toll on my body and I need to give it a break before I get pregnant again (God willing). I also, personally, can not get pregnant while nursing. I did not get my cycle back until Alyssa was weaned to 1 feeding a day. Not complaining there!

So with Cassidy, I don’t feel the pressure to wean her right at 1 year. My views on breastfeeding haven’t changed, I am still a huge pro breastfeeder. But I guess whats changed is that I don’t care what others around me think. I am much more laid back in every sense with my second child. I use a nursing cover in public but if I am in my own car nursing her in a parking lot, you better not look in my windows unless you want to see some boob.  If I stop nursing, I need to give cows milk instead. But cows milk is still breastmilk, just from a cow. So if I could continue giving her my breastmilk, her own species, why not? And I know some people say “well just pump it out and give it to them in a sippy cup after 1”. Yeah well those people have clearly never pumped. It is a pain in the butt to pump! Nursing directly is just SO easy and convenient. There is nothing convenient about pumping.

So where am I at now and where will I go from here?

I still nurse Cassidy 5 times a day and pump in the mornings. I have almost cut out the pumping. I have to do it slowly because I have issues with mastitis on one side. Mastitis is not fun, at all, so I really have to wean slowly and let my body fully adjust before cutting another feeding. I hope to get Cassidy down to just morning, night, and 1 feeding during the day in the next month. I will wait at least 2 weeks between dropping feedings. That will still be 3 times a day and she will be 13 months old then. From there, I would like to get it down to just morning and night. After that, I don’t have any further plans. I do foresee her being completely weaned by 18 months. It may be 16, it may be 19, we’ll see how it goes. But for now…I love it, she loves it and at 12 months she is still a baby (especially since the little stinker refuses to walk).

Slightly Sweet Almond Granola

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I think granola is one of those foods that is often mistaken as a health food. Traditional granola is loaded with sugar, in the form of honey and brown sugar, and lots of oil. I like my granola very lightly sweetened, especially if its going to be eaten on flavored yogurt. I don’t need to be eating pure sugar first thing in the morning, lets save that for dessert. This granola is slightly sweet, crunchy, nutty, and delicious. Its my new breakfast (and snack by the handful) staple. Make sure you check out the amazing nutritional stats at the bottom of the post.

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Lightly Sweetened Almond Granola

Makes 7 servings (1/2 cup each)

2 Tbs honey

1-2 Tbs brown sugar (optional for a sweeter granola)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 cup applesauce

1/4-1/2 tsp almond extract

3 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup almonds, chopped

2 Tbs ground flax seed

1/4 cup craisins + 1 Tb water

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Place craisins into a large microwave safe bowl with 1 Tbs water and microwave for 30 seconds. This will prevent them from drying out when baking the granola.

Measure honey, coconut oil, applesauce, and brown sugar (if you are adding it) into the bowl and microwave for another 30 seconds to melt everything together. Give it a stir. This is just very slightly sweetened so if you are accustomed to a sweeter granola add the brown sugar. I personally omit it most of the time.

Add almond flavoring. I like mine very almond-y so I add 1/2 tsp. If you want a more subtle flavor only use 1/4 tsp, it is pretty strong stuff.

Add oats, almonds, and flax seed to wet ingredients and mix very well. If your almonds aren’t salted, add 1/8 tsp salt. I use my hands to make sure its evenly distributed and to massage the wet into the oats.

Place on baking sheet and lightly push down, kind of like you are making granola bars. This will help it clump better since there is so little oil and honey.

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Bake at 300F for 45 minutes, stirring gently every 15 minutes (breaking it up as little as possible).

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Enjoy on top of yogurt, dredged in milk, on top of ice cream, or by the handful!

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 171

Fat: 7.5 g

Sodium: 50 mg (2%)

Carbs: 23 g

Fiber: 3.5 g

Sugars: 9 g

Protein: 4.2 g

Quick Healthy Meals for Toddlers

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All of my kids meals are quick and easy to make. So why is it that I feel like I spend all day cooking and cleaning up the kitchen? I guess since I do love to cook I end up baking mid-day quite often, so I can’t blame the kids. We eat similar foods most days and just try and aim for mostly fruits and vegetables with some protein and carbs in there as well.

Breakfast quickies:

cottage cheese or yogurt and peaches

Breastmilk with oatmeal cereal, 2 tbs greek yogurt, 1 tsp flax seed

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homemade cereal and fruit

smoothies with almond milk, fruit, spinach, and ground flax seed

Lunch:

cottage cheese or yogurt and fruit (if we didn’t have it for breakfast)

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1/2 grilled cheese and frozen vegetables

leftovers (at least half of the time we eat leftovers. A balanced healthy meal pre-cooked, sounds good to me!)

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roasted veggies…most days I freshly roast some vegetables if we don’t have any leftover.

Dinner:

I make dinner at home every night and the kids eat what I eat. For breakfast and lunch we kind of eat a mish mosh of foods but dinner is much more planned and not as random. We eat as a family at the table every night. Last night it was homemade turkey joes on whole wheat buns and green beans.

Snacks: our quick snacks are pretty much always fruit. Sometimes homemade granola bars. Cassidy is a fruit addict and I think she would eat it until she made herself sick if I didn’t cut her off.

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Preparing ahead is the name of the game when you have kids. So make a little extra dinner every night and lunch is done for the next day! So its turkey joes and green beans for lunch today. You don’t have to rely on frozen chicken nuggets and chips, it is just as fast to heat up healthy leftovers.

Random story: we were at a playdate yesterday and there were some lays BBQ chips on the table. Alyssa already ate lunch of fruit, broccoli, chicken, and blueberry muffin. She came up to me and said “Can I have some of those chips, I’ve never had them and don’t know what they taste like”. Another mom started laughing and was like “yea right sweetie, you trying to pull one over on your mom huh?”. But she was serious. She hadnt ever had them. She has had tortilla chips and has tried chips at parties before, but not those. We have not had a bag of chips in our house in years. She had one, said it was ok, and went on playing. I really believe you form their tastes very young, and moments like that just reinforce my feeding them so healthy.

Simple Tomato Salad from my CSA Haul

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I got another CSA box tonight! It is seriously like Christmas morning, I get so dang excited! And my box did not dissapoint. All of this local organic produce for $20, seriously amazing!

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As far as vegetables go I got:

a huge bag of okra

2 tomatoes

a bundle of carrots

2 eggplants

1 red onion

1 carton yellow tomatoes

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And for fruits:

4 peaches

1 canteloupe

1 seedless watermelon

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Check this one massive peach out, I had to essentially palm it. And look how tiny it makes my lens cap look.

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And then I got an extra little surprise…half a dozen eggs!

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It was 6 but I ate 3 within 10 minutes of getting my box. Along with some tomatoes and the watermelon.

My plan for all of this. Lets see…the fruit will all be eaten as snacks and with breakfasts. The large tomatoes will be made into grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches, yellow tomatoes will be made into tomato salad, carrots will be dipped in hummus, okra will be lightly breaded in cornmeal and baked, and the eggplant I am still undecided.

Simple Tomato Salad:

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 tsp olive oil

1 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 Tbs freshly chopped oregano (or basil)

1/8 tsp garlic salt

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Chop tomatoes into halves or forths and salt with garlic salt. Let sit while you chop the oregano. Mix the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and oregano. Stir into tomatoes and sit in refrigerator to marinade. Let sit for at least 15 minutes or as long as overnight before serving.

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I am so happy to be putting all of this fresh local food into my babies’ bellies!

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Whole Grain, Gluten Free Waffle Recipe

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I have  read about how if you soak your grains in liquid plus an acid, it helps break down the whole grain so your body can use it better. It reduced the phytic acid in the grain. Phytic acid prevents healthy cells from absorbing what they need to. The general rule seems to be for every cup of liquid add 1 Tbs acid (lemon juice, cultured milk or yogurt, kefir, vinegar).  Combine liquid the recipe calls for along with acid and the freshly ground flour, cover tightly, and let soak. Grains require between 7-24 hours of soaking so it takes a little planning ahead.

But the planning ahead just takes away some of the prep work when you are ready to continue with your recipe, so it all evens out. These waffles were so good and really filling. They had a nice crust on the outside and were perfectly flavored.

Whole grain, Gluten free, Overnight waffles

Serves 4-6

1 1/2 cups whole grain (oats, millet, quinoa, etc)

1 – 1.5 cups almond milk, water, kefir, or buttermilk

1 Tbs yogurt (if using almond milk or water)

2 Tbs coconut oil, melted

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2  tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cinnamon

The whole grain can be brown rice, millet, rinsed quinoa, oats, anything really. I have done half oats half millet. I have also used quinoa, but you can really taste it so unless you love the quinoa flavor, I wouldnt suggest it. Use what you have on hand. I have also used 1 cup oats and 1/2 cup brown rice.

Put whole grain, 1 cup almond milk, and yogurt in a blender and blend for roughly 2 minutes. You want to make sure all that grain is blended. keep the lid on the blender and let sit overnight (up to 24 hours). This should be pretty thin. If not, add a little water so it will blend well.

In the morning add egg, vanilla, sugar, and coconut oil and give the blender another whirl. Pour into a bowl.

Sift together baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir into wet ingredients. Do not over stir or else it will make leavening agents not work properly.  Add in some or all of the remaining 1/2 cup almond milk if needed to make it a pourable consistancy.

Cook in waffle maker on high setting. These come out so crunchy on the outside and very airy on the inside. They aren’t overly dense.

I love these because a lot of the batter is made the night before so when you are ready to eat the next morning, they come together quicker. I am starving in the morning so I like to eat asap!