Monthly Archives: September 2012

Weekend Wrapup and Meal Plan for the Week

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We had a pretty low key weekend around here compared to normal. Friday I actually had a night out with the wives in Dave’s squadron. We made jewelery at a local shop although I’m not sure how much I will actually wear the piece I made. It was fun, but not sure if it was worth the 630 am wake up call Saturday morning from Cassidy.

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She had a rough time getting to sleep the night before since I always nurse her before bed and no one else had ever put her to bed before. I know I know, shes over a year old. But I am always home at bedtime so I have always just done it. She woke up early just to check if I was here I guess. And I know I am spoiled calling 630 early, but my kids sleep in until 8 or even 830 most days. It made me a little tired for our next activity, a small 5K on base that morning. I was trying out my new Brooks running shoes (which I think I am going to return for a different color, do black shoes make anyone else feet hot?) and pushing both kids in the double stroller. The day after the race, my legs felt fine, but my back and shoulders are SO sore. Its hard pushing 60 + lbs of child plus whatever the stroller itself weighs. I assume I am pushing close to 100 lbs. Hence the sore shoulders. Anyway, we finished in 27:58 so exactly 9 minute miles. Not great, not terrible considering I have been doing more circuit workouts than running lately. It was free to run and included a t-shirt for me and the kids, so all in all a good time.

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And of course we have soccer games on both Saturdays and Sundays. A little intense for a kid that just turned 4, right? She has taken the position of goalie and is really good actually. Her defense skills are great, we just won’t talk about offense. She has no interest in offense but put her in the goal and game on. She told me Saturday “I didn’t let any scores in MY goal”. I loved that she called it her goal!

Laura at Mommy Run Fast emailed me about joining their meal planning link up. I usually have a good idea of the meals I am going to make all week so it leads to less impulsive buys at the grocery store which means a healthier and cheaper grocery trip. I also end up going to a couple different grocery stores to get what I need. I get the basics at the commissary, the military grocery store. It is SO much cheaper than any other food store. They now carry organic meats, dairy, and some produce. Although it is getting better with carrying more organic food, I often have to stop by the organic market to pick up what the commissary didn’t have. Usually that’s just some extra fruits and vegetables. ]Some weeks Dave is home, sometimes he’s not, and that makes a huge difference in how much we get. But we made the decision a while ago that healthy whole foods are worth our money. And where I try to watch what I spend, we figure it’s a good investment in our health. This week we plan to have…

Sunday: Dinner at a friends

Monday: Grilled chicken, green beans, brown rice

Tuesday: Homemade pumpkin chili topped with cheese and greek yogurt and side of homemade bread

Wednesday: turkey sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches, fruit salad

Thursday: salmon, cucumber salad, quinoa risotto

Friday: roasted chicken, zucchini, and potato bake

Saturday: butternut squash soup plus any leftovers

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Hope everyone has a great week!

What I Baked Wednesday

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Joining a CSA this fall has been such a great experience. I love that we get different veggies each week and it helps me have a starting point for meal planning. I also love that its all local, so its much fresher than produce from the grocery store. This is my last week I will receive my CSA box but they sure did go out with a bang! This week’s box was the best yet! It didn’t have any fruit in it however, so I stopped by the organic market to pick up a couple apples, bananas, grapes, and eggs. Those 4 things cost me almost $16. It was hard to fork up the cash when I just got all this produce the night before for only $20…

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2 butternut squash

2 cucumbers

2 bell peppers

3 large banana peppers

3 jalapeño peppers

4 squash

2 cucumbers

6 sweet potatoes

3 tomatotes,

1 eggplant

1 huge bag of okra

2 huge bags of green beans

a bottle of homebrewed strawberry cider (!)

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I bought a bottle of sparking water and have been making mocktails with the strawberry cider. I drink so much water that every once in a while I want to drink something with some more taste or fizz. We don’t drink soda or juice in our house but this was the perfect treat!

So far today I ate a butternut squash, bag of green beans, and some cider. Honestly, I was too busy snacking on my baking endeavors and my amazing veggies kind of took a backseat. Tomorrow its game on with the veg box!

Cassidy napped today from 1230-415. So I had almost 4 hours to kill. She is now taking only 1 nap a day on days we are busy in the mornings so when we get home she crashes. Although I did notice she was running a little fever when I put her to bed so she may be coming down with something too. I hope its just from the 4 teeth she is currently cutting.

So instead of what I ATE Wednesday, its going to be what I BAKED Wednesday. Although I guess the phrases are interchangeable since I ate some of everything that I baked, even bagel dough. Alyssa helped taste test and stir inbetween coloring and doing her workbooks so we had a nice quiet afternoon.

Peas and Crayons

So, lets see, we made…

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2 batches of graham cracker cereal

8 cinnamon raisin bagels

1 loaf of whole wheat/oat bread

whipped pumpkin cream cheese

roasted and pureed a pumpkin

roasted pumpkin seeds

roasted butternut squash seeds

My silpats were worn out by the end of the afternoon!

This was some of the best sandwich bread I have made. Although for some reason as I was ooing and ahhing over how much my dough had risen, I decided to pat it. Why? not a dang clue. I then watched as it deflated, and it wouldm’t rise back up. Seriously, what was I thinking? Anyway, it still turned out with a nice fluffy texture and a nice flavor. Definitely saving and posting that recipe soon. I like that’s its made with whole wheat flour and oat flour, gives a lighter texture I think.

I will freeze the extra bagels (after I cook them in the morning. They have to sit in the refrigerator overnight). The cereal will be breakfast some days and Alyssa requested a baggie of it for her preschool snacks this week. The cream cheese has already been eaten on top of bread at dinner and by the fingerfull. And I foresee some egg and cheese, grilled cheese, and chicken salad between that sandwich bread for lunches.

Between making my own “boxed” items like cereal, bread, and bagels and having my CSA box, I have barely been grocery shopping. I just pick up some dairy and meats and I am all set for the week!

Hope everyone has a great Hump Day, this week is dragging on for me for some reason!

Healthy Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

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It is definitely fall around here and I am so excited. It is by far my favorite season. And this fall something incredibly important is happening in our lives which I will write about more as the time comes closer. This event will pretty much be like Christmas morning times a million. Anyway, I love making winter squash soups in the fall. They are quick, easy, and healthy. I foresee myself making this quite often this fall since I just bought an immersion blender for this purpose alone. I am already in love with my new kitchen gadget. Instead of cleaning an entire blender, I just had to rinse off the attachment real quick. Who doesn’t love something that eliminates dishes? And the fact that my kids loved it, that always makes life easier too.

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Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

serves 4

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 large green onion, roughly chopped

3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1/4 tsp garlic salt

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

Place all ingredients besides the greek yogurt in a small crockpot and set on high for 5 hours. You could also set it on low and let it go all day while you are at work. We ate it at lunch, so therefore we used high heat.

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When squash is tender, add greek yogurt and use immersion blender and puree until desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky so I don’t puree it too smooth.

Top with extra greek yogurt and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

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It was mom, preschooler, husband, and baby approved…

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Nutritional Information

calories: 126

fat: 1 g

carbs: 27.5 g

dietary fiber: 4 g

protein: 6 g

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

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I know pumpkin is everybodys new obsession but I am still getting zucchini in my CSA box. This recipe meshes the two veggies. There are still a couple weeks left of zucchini season so I am taking advatage of it while I can. Like all of my quick bread recipes, this is lightly sweetened and can easily be eaten for breakfast. We had it for breakfast this morning and Alyssa said “Mom, I can’t eat this for breakfast, I think its dessert”. I have trained my little girl well. However, even though it tastes delicious, it is definitely healthy enough for breakfast when paired some plain greek yogurt mixed with  homemade jam like this morning!

Zucchini Bread:

Makes 12 1-inch slices

1 1/2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 + 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (or 1 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp pumpin pie spice if you want it more pumpkin-y)
1 egg
1/4 cup milk, skim or almond
1/4 cup pumpkin or mashed sweet potato
1/2 cup organic sugar
1+ 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1+ 1/2 cups grated zucchini, not drained
1/4 cup chocolate chips or walnuts/pecans (or both!)

Grate zucchini with peel on. Make sure you remove any big seeds, they are tough when cooked. Add milk, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, and egg. In another bowl combine flour, salt, soda, powder, cinnamon. Mix with wet ingredients and stir in chocolate chips or nuts.

Place in a greased loaf pan and bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes, until tester comes out clean.

And I am not the best blogger apparently because I didn’t take a picture. I still wanted to make sure I recorded the recipe before I forgot it. Between Alyssa and myself, we ate the entire loaf in less than 24 hours. We ate it for breakfast,  some at lunch, then finished it off for dessert.

Nutritional Information (1 slice)

Calories: 118

Fat: 1.7 g

Sodium: 165 mg (7%)

Carbs: 23 g

Fiber: 2 g

Sugars: 11.5 g

Protein: 3.2 g

Picnic Lunch Options

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I love the theme of Munchkin Meals this week…picnic lunches. We eat picnic lunches all the time. Dave works about 5 minutes from home and we meet him at the park on base to eat and play for a couple minutes on days he can get away for lunch. We also end up eating lunch on the go sometimes, like today, if we end up running errands after picking up Alyssa from preschool around lunch time. I usually go one of 3 routes for lunches away from home:

ONE: Today, we had smoothies…the best portable healthy meal there is. In today’s smoothies was

1/2 cup milk (some whole, some breastmilk) plus a little extra if needed to thin it out

2 cups spinach

1 Tbs flax seeds

3/4 cup frozen fruit

1 organic yotoddler yogurt

all put in the magic bullet and split between the 2 girls…fruit, veg, protein, healthy fats…check! They also split a bagel thin for some whole grain.

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TWO: Snack plates like veg and hummus, homemade fruit roll ups, and homemade cheeze its. Again, a little from each food group.

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THREE: The sandwich route. For the kids I usually make grilled cheeses with sharp cheddar on whole wheat bread (not the “cheese food” kraft singles). They are cooled down by the time we eat them at the park which is a good thing because then the cheese is cooled and holds the sandwich together. Warm grilled cheeses are too messy but cheese sandwiches (not grilled) don’t stay together. Cooled grilled cheese is where its at for kids. We will pair that with some carrots and cut up fruit usually.

I pretty much just try and hit every food group. Protein usually is in the form of cheese, yogurt, or hummus though since meat just isn’t as easy to pack. Although we usually get our protein from those sources when we are home for lunch as well and save meat for dinnertime.

We are actually going to pack a lunch today and enjoy it at the park, weather permitting!

CSA Eating

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I only have 1 week left with my CSA box, I am so disappointed. I wish I could pick one up every week all year long. Fresh, local, organic produce all sitting in a nice box waiting for me every Monday night. And cheap! Have I talked it up enough over the last 6 weeks? I truly am obsessed!

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This week I got 3 tomatoes, 4 apples, 2 acorn squash, 3 banana peppers, 2 bell peppers, green onions, green beans, lima beans, lettuce, and 1/2 dozen eggs. Seriously, for $20, unreal!

And as always, I did some damage on it the first day. I need to learn to ration it out better, but its just too good!

Peas and Crayons

Breakfast: oatmeal with pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, and peanut butter. Tis the season!

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Lunch: 2 green peppers, 3 celery stalks, hummus, crackers and cheese, bowl of homemade almond bran cereal with skim milk

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Snack: 1.5 cookies from the freezer and too many handfuls of whole grain goldfish to count

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Dinner: 7 oz salmon, sweet potato, lima beans

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Dessert: frozen cake ball, handful of chocolate chips, part of the girls’ baked apples

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The goldfish and cake balls are leftover from Alyssa’s birthday party over the weekend. I froze the leftover cake balls. Problem with that is they are even better frozen! I was thinking I could take one out every now and then but I forsee them all being eaten within the week. Those cookies are also from the weekend, and once again I froze them, but they are even better frozen too! It seriously is a good thing I love vegetables as much as I do dessert or else I’d be in trouble!

Fruit Roll Up Recipe

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Alyssa has officially started Pre-K. When I thought about being a mom, I always envisioned myself making my kids awesome homemade lunches and feeling good about what I sent them to school with. Well that time is upon me and I am so excited! I know, this excitement won’t last long but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. I don’t feed my kids fruit snacks and packaged cookies. They have never had a fruit roll up, tasty cake, or anything little debbie. However I am sure many of the kids in her class will be bringing all the above in their snack (only a half day so it’s a snack and not a full lunch). I am hoping Alyssa doesn’t see what they have and want that nasty processed food over her carrots and hummus I will be packing her for some snacks. I figured I’d meet her half way and make her some “kid food” to take occasionally. The first day of school calls for something special for sure! I made her fruit by the foot that is 100% fruits and veggies and NO sugar! She also has some homemade graham crackers in her homemade reusable snack baggie…And yes, I know, I am going a little nuts here!

Fruit roll ups/Fruit by the Foot

makes 4-5

1 pear, cut up, skin on

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

2 cups fresh spinach

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Put all ingredients in a pot and simmer for 5-10 minutes until fruit is softened and spinach is wilted.

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Pour off juice into a cup. Don’t throw this away! Add some ice and drink it or add it to a smoothie. Don’t lose all those good nutrients. I drank the juice right on the spot. Well I planned on it. I let Alyssa have a sip and 2 seconds later it was gone. She said “I just couldn’t help myself Mommy”.

Puree the fruit and spinach.

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Spread the puree out thinly on a silpat baking sheet. It should be as thin you can get it without seeing the silpat through it.

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Bake at the lowest setting your oven has (mine was 170) for 5-7 hours. Put a small metal spoon or something heat proof to prop the oven door open a little to keep air flow. I left it open during naptimes but had to close it for a couple hours while Cassidy was awake and it worked just fine. Or you could use a dehydrator if you have one.

After a few hours when it is all set but not quite finished, cut it into desired pieces and spread apart a little so it cooks evenly. Otherwise the edges will be finished before the center. You could also just check it occasionally and cut the edges off and remove from oven as they are finished (that’s what I did the first time and it led to me eating all the edges as I took them out of the oven leaving me with 1 fruit roll up to pack Alyssa).

Either slice it into quarters and roll in wax paper or cut into 1 inch strips and roll up like a fruit by the foot in wax paper.

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Place a little piece of tape on the end to hold it together.

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Both kids tear these things up! Use whatever fruits you want. Peaches work well, as do strawberries. I haven’t used any other vegetable besides spinach though but be creative.

Too bad Alyssa only goes to school 3 times a week…I have so many ideas for “kid snack” makeovers. Cheeze Its are next (and they were goood!)