Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Matthew & Benjamin Ate Wednesday Jan. 31, 2012

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This is a very special WIAW.

Yesterday was Benjamin's half-birthday.  He turned 6 months old, which means he had his first non-mommy milk meal.  (Actually, it was mommy milk mixed with rice cereal.)

We returned home from Arizona on Monday night.  My husband and I took our 4 year-old on his first plane ride down to Phoenix.  (Benjamin had his first plane trips in my womb last February when we went to Savannah, GA.)  I have to brag that both boys did a great job travelling this last week.

My parents have been snow-birding in Picacho, AZ.  We stayed in a camper beside theirs for five days.  We ate hamburgers, steak, tamales, and yummy pastries from a Mexican bakery in Eloy.  My mom took me to the grocery store in Eloy, so I was able to get string cheese, grapes, bananas, and strawberries for snacks, too.  Matthew ate applesauce, bananas, string cheese, and lots of bean and cheese sopas.  He also ate grilled cheese and french fries when we went out to eat.

I came home feeling bloated and meh.  On the upside, we kept our resolutions not to drink soda.  My husband said he was up 5 lbs. since we left.  I gained 3.

There wasn't much for groceries in our house when we returned, so I had to improvise a little.


For breakfast, Matthew had oatmeal with raisins and a little brown sugar.
He drank almond milk throughout the day. 
 For lunch, he wanted cottage cheese. 
I talked him into putting a little Kashi cereal on top.
He thought it was pretty good.

I gave Matthew the choice of carrots or broccoli for supper.
He asked for broccoli, which is his favorite vegetable.
I also made him two mini "pizzas" with sliced black olives,
a few spinach leaves, pizza sauce, and shredded cheddar cheese
on sopas.

I picked the sopas up from the grocery store in Eloy
and tucked them into my luggage.
They are corn tortillas with concave centers,
perfect for filling.

Here are a few pictures of Benjamin, eating his first meal.


He was really excited!
I think he ate about 1/8 c. of rice cereal mixed with mommy milk.
He would have eaten more,
but I didn't want him to get a tummy ache.


Here is a picture of Benjamin and Matthew together.
Matthew is of average height for other 4-5 year olds,
but Benjamin is really tall!
He is already into 12 month size clothes.

Benjamin has only had breastmilk to eat until yesterday.
I wonder if he will grow even faster now that he is eating solid food!

How do you eat when you travel?

I am sharing six healthy super bowl snacks with you this week. 
  • Sunday: Skip the pizza and make some Mini Mushroom Pizzas instead.
  • Monday: Learn how to make light and crispy Baked Kale Chips.
  • Tuesday: Still craving something salty and spicy during the game? Try my recipe for Spicy Roasted Almonds.
  • Wednesday: I will show you how to make Tortilla Spirals, a great finger food for your guests.
  • Thursday: I will share Four Healthy Dips for your veggie tray.
  • Friday: See How Fruits Can Add Color and Nutrition to Your Super Bowl Feast.


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RECIPE: Spicy Roasted Almonds

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Every few months, we end up ordering take out pizza.  Each time we get mushroom and black olives for toppings, usually with mozzarella stuffed into the crust.  My mom and I have been eating mushroom and black olive pizza for about twenty years.  Now my husband loves it and my four year-old always asks for pizza this way.

We usually order buffalo wings, too.

I'm crazy for spicy food.  I like to order the wings with medium-hot sauce, though my husband would prefer mild.  There is something so delicious about sweet-salty-spicy flavors mixed together. 

For the Super Bowl next weekend, you could eat greasy buffalo wings like most Americans or you could get your spicy fix from something that is actually good for you. 

Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, containing 26 mg per 100 g. They are also rich in dietary fiber, B vitamins, essential minerals and monounsaturated fat, one of the two "good" fats which potentially may lower LDL cholesterol. Typical of nuts and seeds, almonds also contain phytosterols, associated with cholesterol-lowering properties. (wikipedia)
These almonds have just the right amount of chili powder to make them spicy without being too hot.  They are a perfect to serve at your Super Bowl party or for a healthy snack anytime.
First, I added olive oil to the almonds, then chili powder, and salt. 
The trick to making perfect roasted nuts at home is to use super fine salt. 
You can make it easily by putting regular salt in your blender and grinding it into the
desired consistency.
 I mixed the almonds and seasonings well.
 Then, I spread them out on a large baking sheet.
They came out perfect!
[Print this Recipe]

SPICY ROASTED ALMONDS

Ingredients:

*2 c. raw almonds
*1 Tb. olive oil
*1 tsp. chili powder
*3/4 tsp. superfine salt

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325F.  Combine all ingredients in large bowl.  Stir well until almonds are coated with oil and seasoning mixture.
2.  Spread almonds on large baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before serving.

What is your favorite spicy food? 

I am sharing six healthy super bowl snacks with you this week.


Sunday: Learn how to make Mini Mushroom Pizzas.
Monday:  See my recipe for light and crispy Baked Kale Chips.

Wednesday: I will show you how to make Tortilla Spirals, a great finger food for your guests and you can see What Matthew Ate Wednesday, my four year-old vegetarian son.
Thursday: I will share Four Healthy Dips for your veggie tray.
Friday: See How Fruits Can Add Color and Nutrition to Your Super Bowl Feast.
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RECIPE: Baked Kale Chips

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[Print this Recipe]

 
Americans will consume 28 million pounds of potato chips on Super Bowl Sunday. That figure doesn't even count all the tortilla chips, typically covered in artificial flavorings and dipped in greasy dips.

 
Instead of choosing a processed potato chip or corn chip with chemical flavorings, make your own Baked Kale Chips. Kale lowers your risk five specific types of cancer, detoxifies your body, and decreases inflammation. 

 
My husband was afraid to try them at first.  Then, he ate some and thought they were delicious!

 
If you are making it for a crowd, I would definitely make two or more batches.

 
 First, I chopped the kale and removed any large stems.
I drizzled olive oil over the kale,
then sprinkled the salt and chili powder over it
and tossed the kale really well.
 Next, I spread the kale all over the parchment
and baked it in the oven for 10-20 min.
 I kept picking at it while it cooled!
So yummy!

 
[Print this Recipe]

 
BAKED KALE CHIPS

 
Ingredients:

 
*1 bunch fresh kale, rinsed and drained well
*1 Tb. olive oil
*1/2 tsp. finely ground salt
*1/2 tsp. chili powder

 
Directions:

 
1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.  Carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems with a knife and chop into bite size pieces.

Drizzle olive oil over kale then sprinkle with salt and chili powder.  Toss well until all leaves are coated.
3.  Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.

 
What is your favorite potato or corn chip flavor?

 
I am sharing six healthy super bowl snacks with you this week.


 
  • Sunday: Learn how to make Mini Mushroom Pizzas.
  • Tuesday: Still craving something salty and spicy during the game? Try my recipe for Spicy Roasted Almonds.
  • Wednesday: I will show you how to make Tortilla Spirals, a great finger food for your guests and you can see What Matthew Ate Wednesday, my four year-old vegetarian son.
  • Thursday: I will share Four Healthy Dips for your veggie tray.
  • Friday: See How Fruits Can Add Color and Nutrition to Your Super Bowl Feast.

 

 

 

 

 
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Monday, January 30, 2012

RECIPE: Mini Mushroom Pizzas

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[Print this Recipe]

Take out pizza is one of the most eaten foods at Super Bowl parties.  At 350 or more calories per slice, it can also be the most fattening.

At our house, we always choose mushroom and black olive pizza.  It has always been my favorite and I'm proud to say it is now the favorite of my four year-old, too!

I saw a picture of these somewhere on the internet one day.  I thought they would make a perfect snack food for the Super Bowl.

Depending on the type of mushrooms you use, they provide vitamins, protein, and valuable fiber, including the type that may lower cholesterol.  I added a slice of olive for healthy fat and antioxidants. They contain a small amount of lycopene-rich pizza sauce and a sprinkle of mozzerella cheese.

 First, I washed the mushrooms and removed the stems.
Some came out easily, others I had to cut out with a knife.
 Then, I dropped a teaspoon of pizza sauce inside
and put a slice of black olive on each mushroom.
 And I sprinkled mozzerella cheese on top
before baking them.

[Print this Recipe]

MINI MUSHROOM PIZZAS

Ingredients:

*16 oz. fresh mushrooms
*1 small jar of pizza sauce
*1 small can of sliced black olives, drained
*1/4 c. shredded mozzerella cheese

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Use non-stick spray to grease a large baking sheet. 
2.  Wash mushrooms and drain well.  Pull or cut stems from mushrooms and place on baking sheet. Using a small spoon, drop a small amount of pizza sauce into the mushroom cap.  Top with a slice of black olive and mozzerella cheese.
3.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted.  Serve immediately.

What is your favorite type of pizza?

I am sharing six healthy super bowl snacks with you this week.


  • Monday: Learn how to make light and crispy Baked Kale Chips.
  • Tuesday: Still craving something salty and spicy during the game? Try my recipe for Spicy Roasted Almonds.
  • Wednesday: I will show you how to make Tortilla Spirals, a great finger food for your guests and you can see What Matthew Ate Wednesday, my four year-old vegetarian son.
  • Thursday: I will share Four Healthy Dips for your veggie tray.
  • Friday: See How Fruits Can Add Color and Nutrition to Your Super Bowl Feast.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

PREVIEW: Healthy Super Bowl Snacks

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According to the USDA, Americans consume more food on Super Bowl Sunday than almost any other day of the year.  The only day we eat more is on Thanksgiving.

In fact, the Huffington Post estimates that Americans will consume 1.25 billion chicken wings during the game.

scaredy_cat/flickr.com
USA Today gives a disturbing snapshot of how much the average person may eat watching the game.
To give you an example of just how quickly all of this can add up, imagine a typical Super Bowl party where over a three- to four-hour game, you eat four slices of pepperoni pizza (1135 calories), grab a beer (150 calories), eat six chicken wings (400 calories), then grab a couple dozen tortilla chips with some cheese salsa (600 calories). The total for just that short time: 2,285 calories.

Do you want to keep your New Year's resolution to lose weight and eat better?

Or if you just want to avoid that sick feeling after feasting during the Super Bowl, I am sharing six healthy super bowl snacks with you this week.

  • Sunday:  Skip the pizza and make some Mini Mushroom Pizzas instead.
  • Monday: Learn how to make light and crispy Baked Kale Chips.
  • Tuesday: Still craving something salty and spicy during the game?  Try my recipe for Spicy Roasted Almonds. 
  • Wednesday: I will show you how to make Tortilla Spirals, a great finger food for your guests and you can see What Matthew Ate Wednesday, my four year-old vegetarian son.
  • Thursday: I will share Four Healthy Dips for your veggie tray.
  • Friday: See How Fruits Can Add Color and Nutrition to Your Super Bowl Feast. 

Are you 1) hosting a Super Bowl party, 2) going to someone else's house, or 3) skipping the Super Bowl all together?Pin It Best Blogger Tips

Friday, January 27, 2012

RECIPE: Haystacks (Vegetarian/Vegan)

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[Print this Recipe]

When I was eight years-old, I began going to summer camp along the Platte River here in Nebraska.  For three years I would spend a week away from home each summer, swimming, canoeing, and singing around the campfire at night.  One of those nights, we would have hot dogs and S'mores cooked over the fire, much like other kids at camp across the country. 

Unlike most other summer camps, our meals were entirely vegetarian, even the vegetarian hot dogs over the campfire.   How cool is that?? 

Haystacks are one of those foods we would eat at summer camp. I didn't invent it, but I thought I would share.  It is very quick and easy to make.  It's kind of like a taco salad and my family loves it!

The beans add fiber and when mixed with the corn chips, provide a complete protein.  The tomatoes give the salad lots of vitamin C and lycopene.  Topping it with guacamole gives the salad heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

HAYSTACKS

Ingredients:

*1 bag Fritos or other corn chips
*1/2 head of lettuce, shredded
*1 can of chili beans
*8 oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese or soy cheese
*1 diced tomato

Directions:

1. Heat chili beans over medium heat in saucepan. 
2. Place desired amount of corn chips in bowl, then layer with lettuce, chili beans, cheese, guacamole, and tomatoes.
3. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

What kinds of foods did you eat at summer camp?

This week, I shared six satisfying salads with you that can be eaten as a meal or to accompany a main course.


Sunday: I shared my favorite salad, Spinach with Chickpeas and Mushrooms.
Monday: See how I made an Asian Salad with Napa cabbage, Mandarin oranges, and cashews.
Tuesday: Check out the recipe for Southwest Salad using romaine lettuce, spicy ranch, shredded cheese, and salsa.
What Matthew Ate Wednesday: See what my four year-old son ate! I also shared Mixed Berry Salad with feta cheese and raspberry vinaigrette.
Thursday: I made Classic Romaine Salad with shredded Parmesan cheese, grape tomatoes, and black olives.

Next week, I will bring you healthy snacks for your Super Bowl party!







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Thursday, January 26, 2012

RECIPE: Classic Romaine Salad

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Sometimes simpler is better.

Take classic cars, for example.  Why do cars from the past two decades last such a short time when cars from the 1950s can last so long when maintained properly?

Food is often the same way.  Too many ingredients (especially when they are heavily processed) can ruin the taste of things we eat. 

This salad isn't made of anything particularly special: romaine lettuce, olives, grape tomatoes, balsamic vinaigrette, croutons, and a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan.  Surprisingly, the result is dramatic.  The crunchy romaine and croutons combined with the smooth olives and juicy tomatoes, tossed with Parmesan and vinaigrette make a salad perfect for anytime.

Romaine lettuce is high in vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate.  It also has fiber which may help you feel fuller.  Adding tomatoes gives you even more vitamin C plus lycopene, an antioxidant which helps prevent types of cancer, heart disease, and high cholesterol.  If you choose to use balsamic vinaigrette, you may aid your weight loss efforts and help with your digestion.  The olives give you heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs).
MUFAs may lower your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. MUFAs may also help normalize blood clotting. And some research shows that MUFAs may also benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.  (Mayo Clinic)



CLASSIC ROMAINE SALAD

Ingredients:

*Chopped leafy romaine lettuce
*1 pkg. grape tomatoes
*1 can medium olives
*1 pkg. shredded Parmesan cheese
*1 pkg. croutons
*balsamic vinaigrette

Directions:

1.  Add desired amounts of leafy romaine, tomatoes, and olives to large bowl.  Add desired amount of balsamic vinaigrette.  Toss lightly.  Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and croutons.

What is your favorite simple meal?

This week, I will share with you six satisfying salads that can be eaten as a meal or to accompany a main course.
  • Sunday: I shared my favorite salad, Spinach with Chickpeas and Mushrooms.
  • Monday: See how I made an Asian Salad with Napa cabbage, Mandarin oranges, and cashews.
  • Tuesday: I made Southwest Salad using romaine lettuce, spicy ranch, shredded cheese, and salsa.
  • What Matthew Ate Wednesday: See what my four year-old son ate! I also will share Mixed Berry Salad with feta cheese and raspberry vinaigrette.
  • Friday: I will show you Haystacks, the only salad my four year-old eats. We make it with corn chips, chili beans, and guacamole.

Next week, I will bring you healthy snacks for your Super Bowl party!





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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

RECIPE: Mixed Berry Salad

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[Print this Recipe]

I wish I could always buy organic, but organic food is just too expensive.  I don't buy food with chemical additives or preservatives, which is a start.  I will purchase more organic food when we can afford it.

However, I do buy local food when I can.  Recently, I found local, organic produce at Sunmart here in Holdrege, Nebraska.  I snatched it right up!

It was grown about 15 miles from where I live, outside of Bertrand.  Here is more information about the Schwarz Family Farm on Nebraska Rural Living.  You can also check out their website at  www.schwarzfamilyfarm.com.
The label says "Mixed Lettuce," but I think it looks like lots of spring greens.

Isn't this absolutely beautiful??
The lettuce was DELICIOUS and FRESH too!
Imagine, getting fresh organic lettuce in NEBRASKA
in WINTER!
Great!
I used the lettuce for my Mixed Berry Salad.  I added dried mixed berries, feta cheese, walnuts, and a raspberry vinaigrette.  The berries add more color and sweetness, while the feta cheese provides lowfat protein.  Walnuts give the salad more fiber and heart healthy omega 3s.  They also protect your arteries from saturated fat.
[Print this Recipe]

MIXED BERRY SALAD

Ingredients:

*spring greens or mixed lettuce
*dried berries
*feta cheese
*walnuts
*raspberry vinaigrette

Directions:

1.  Combine desired amounts of all ingredients in large bowl.  Toss and serve immediately.

Can you find local, organic food where you live?

  • Sunday: I shared my favorite salad, Spinach with Chickpeas and Mushrooms.
  • Monday: I stirred up some Asian Salad with Chinese cabbage and Mandarin oranges.
  • Tuesday: I will make Southwest Salad using romaine lettuce, spicy ranch, shredded cheese, and salsa.
  • What Matthew Ate Wednesday: See what my four year-old son is eating!
  • Thursday: I will share Classic Romaine Salad with shredded Parmesan cheese, grape tomatoes, and black olives.
  • Friday: I will show you Haystacks, the only salad my four year-old eats. We make it with corn chips, chili beans, and guacamole.




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What Matthew Ate Wednesday: Jan. 25, 2012

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We are very busy this week!

We are getting ready to go out of town for the weekend.  Our sons have never been in a plane before, which means we have never flown with them!  I don't know exactly how it is going to go, but hopefully it won't be too crazy and the other passengers will be patient with us.

I am also trying to get all my blog posts done for the week and the first part of next week.  My husband is working every day and every night this week before we leave, so I am flying solo with all of the travel preparations.  I have to get the house ready and pack for all four of us. Yikes!

My husband's mother came and watched the boys the day I filmed Matthew's What I Ate Wednesday.  I usually try to get him to eat veggies at supper. However, since we went out and left him with Grandma, I went with congress's designation that pizza is a veggie.

I pulled some homemade whole wheat biscuits out of the freezer
and popped them in the oven for breakfast.
We usually go to church on Saturday mornings
so we almost always have biscuits.
They make a great breakfast-on-the-go
and have higher fiber and protein than regular biscuits.
For lunch, Matthew ate his favorite:
graham crackers dipped in unsweetened applesauce.
I really need to try other fruits than bananas
and applesauce, but at least they are healthy choices!
For supper, Matthew ate black olive and mushroom pizza.
It is what we always get if we order pizza in.

Matthew is still slowly getting stickers for his fruit and veggie chart!

You can get yourself a copy here.

I keep hearing from my friends that their kids are sick.  While I sure there are many other factors, I have to wonder what diets their kids have.  Benjamin is five months old and has never been ill.  I think Matthew has only vomited twice in his life and is always well.

What do you eat when you get take out?

This week, I'm sharing with you six satisfying salads that can be eaten as a meal or to accompany a main course.


  • Sunday: I shared my favorite salad, Spinach with Chickpeas and Mushrooms.
  • Monday: See how I made an Asian Salad with Napa cabbage, Mandarin oranges, and cashews.
  • Today: Check out my Mixed Berry Salad with feta cheese and raspberry vinaigrette.
  • Thursday: I will share Classic Romaine Salad with shredded Parmesan cheese, grape tomatoes, and black olives.
  • Friday: I will show you Haystacks, the only salad my four year-old eats. We make it with corn chips, chili beans, and guacamole.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

RECIPE: Southwest Salad

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[Print this Recipe]

One of our restaurants here in town makes a Southwest salad. 

After hearing for years that Runza had great salads, I finally tried one.  Whenever I did go to Runza, I always ate runzas and fries or onion rings.  It just seemed wrong to get a salad at a fast food joint.  If I was going to eat there, I wanted the greasy food.

So, one afternoon back in November, my sons and I went to a birthday party at Runza.  Feeling motivated to lose weight, I ordered a Southwest Chicken Salad.

WOW!  It was great!  I think I have had 15 Southwest Chicken Salads from there since.

In an effort to save money and because I don't like dragging my sons to restaurants, I made my own recipe for the salad.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

I made this salad with leafy romaine lettuce, a little shredded cheese, green onion, spicy ranch dressing, salsa, and a few crushed tortilla chips.  The result is a slightly spicy, hearty salad that is great with or without diced cooked chicken breast. 


[Print this Recipe]

SOUTHWEST SALAD

Ingredients:

*chopped leafy romaine lettuce
*diced cooked chicken breast (optional)
*1/4 c. shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
*1 chopped green onion
*1/8 c. salsa
*2-3 tortilla chips
*spicy ranch dressing (below)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine desired amount of romaine, green onion, chicken breast, and shredded cheese. Toss with desired amount of dressing and salsa.  Before serving, crush tortilla chips on top of salad.


SPICY RANCH DRESSING

[Print Dressing Recipe]

Ingredients:

*1/2 c. ranch dressing
*1 tsp. chili powder

Directions:

1. In small bowl, mix thoroughly.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

  
Have you tried a salad at a fast food restaurant?  Did you like it?
 
This week, I will share with you six satisfying salads that can be eaten as a meal or to accompany a main course.

  
  • Sunday: I shared my favorite salad, Spinach with Chickpeas and Mushrooms.
  • Monday: See how I made an Asian Salad with Napa cabbage, Mandarin oranges, and cashews.
  • What Matthew Ate Wednesday: See what my four year-old son is eating! I also will share Mixed Berry Salad with feta cheese and raspberry vinaigrette.
  • Thursday: I will share Classic Romaine Salad with shredded Parmesan cheese, grape tomatoes, and black olives.
  • Friday: I will show you Haystacks, the only salad my four year-old eats. We make it with corn chips, chili beans, and guacamole.



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Monday, January 23, 2012

RECIPE: Asian Salad

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[Print this Recipe]

  
I have never eaten a salad at a Chinese restaurant. 

I always go for the battered chicken, rice noodles, or General Tso Chicken.  (I don't know if General Tso was a good military leader, but he could cook!)  I also love spring rolls. 

We have stopped going to the Chinese buffet and instead choose the Mongolian Grill.  There we can load up on lots of fresh veggies.  They also don't have fried food there.  But I still don't eat the salad.

I thought I would give an Asian Salad a try.  I'm glad I did!

This salad is made with Chinese cabbage, also called "Napa cabbage." The fiber in cabbage helps lower cholesterol and may prevent certain types of cancer.  I used clementine oranges, but Mandarin oranges can also be used, providing vitamin C and fiber.  The cashews may protect against cancer.  They also give you healthy fat, fiber, and protein.  For more protein, you may add diced cooked chicken breast.  You can use a high-quality store-bought ginger salad dressing or make it using this recipe.


[Print this Recipe]

ASIAN SALAD

Ingredients:

*chopped napa cabbage
*1 clementine orange or can of Mandarin oranges
*Whole cashews or cashew pieces
*Diced cooked chicken breasts (optional)
*Asian Ginger Dressing

Directions:

1.  In a large bowl, combine desired amount of cabbage, oranges, cashews, and chicken.  Toss with desired amount of dressing.

What is your favorite Asian food?

This week, I will share with you six satisfying salads that can be eaten as a meal or to accompany a main course.
  • Sunday: I shared my favorite salad, Spinach with Chickpeas and Mushrooms.
  • Tuesday: I will make Southwest Salad using romaine lettuce, spicy ranch, shredded cheese, and salsa.
  • What Matthew Ate Wednesday: See what my four year-old son is eating! I also will share Mixed Berry Salad with feta cheese and raspberry vinaigrette.
  • Thursday: I will share Classic Romaine Salad with shredded Parmesan cheese, grape tomatoes, and black olives.
  • Friday: I will show you Haystacks, the only salad my four year-old eats. We make it with corn chips, chili beans, and guacamole.

 

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

RECIPE: Spinach Salad with Chickpeas and Mushrooms

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[Print this Recipe]

My son's favorite restaurant is Valentino's buffet.  He usually chooses smiley fries, pizza, pasta, cheese biscuits, and soft serve ice cream for dessert.

I like the pasta and pizza too, but they are not my favorite thing to eat there. 

I always make myself a spinach salad at the salad bar.  I add chickpeas (garbanzo beans), sliced mushrooms, black olives, croutons, feta cheese, and a little ranch dressing. 

Spinach is packed with vitamins A and C and folate.  The olives add healthy fat and the chickpeas give fiber and protein.



[Print this Recipe]

SPINACH SALAD WITH CHICKPEAS AND MUSHROOMS

Ingredients:

*White sliced mushrooms
*1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
*1 small can sliced olives
*Small container feta cheese
*1-2 Tb. high quality ranch dressing
*Croutons

Directions:

1.  Assemble all ingredients in desired amounts.  Serve immediately.

What restaurant do you think has the best salad bar?
 
This week, I will share with you six satisfying salads using Chinese Cabbage, romaine lettuce, mixed greens, spinach, and even iceberg lettuce. With dried fruit, nuts, olives, beans, and a sprinkle of cheese, each can be eaten as a meal or to accompany a main course.

  • Monday: Check-in for Asian Salad made with Chinese cabbage and Mandarin oranges.
  • Tuesday: I will make Southwest Salad using romaine lettuce, spicy ranch, shredded cheese, and salsa.
  • What Matthew Ate Wednesday: See what my four year-old son is eating! I also will share Mixed Berry Salad with feta cheese and raspberry vinaigrette.
  • Thursday: I will share Classic Romaine Salad with shredded Parmesan cheese, grape tomatoes, and black olives.
  • Friday: I will show you Haystacks, the only salad my four year-old eats. We make it with corn chips, chili beans, and guacamole.
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Preview: Six Satisfying Salads

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Liz West/flickr.com
My husband and I made the typical New Year's resolutions. 

Like many people, we want to lose weight and live healthier. 

So far, we have done well.  We workout at the YMCA again.  We don't eat out anymore.  We eat a salad almost every day.
"Greens are the No. 1 food you can eat regularly to help improve your health," says Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, a culinary educator in Northern California and the author of The Veggie Queen. That's because leafy vegetables are brimming with fiber along with vitamins, minerals, and plant-based substances that may help protect you from heart disease, diabetes, and perhaps even cancer. " (WebMD)
However, a salad with iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing can get really dull.
 
I have tried to keep our salads interesting by adding fruit and veggie combinations to the different types of leafy greens.

This week, I will share with you six satisfying salads using Chinese Cabbage, romaine lettuce, mixed greens, spinach, and even iceberg lettuce.  With dried fruit, nuts, olives, beans, and a sprinkle of cheese, each can be eaten as a meal or to accompany a main course. 
  • Today, I will share my favorite salad, Spinach Salad with chickpeas and mushrooms.
  • Monday: Check-in for Asian Salad made with Chinese cabbage and Mandarin oranges.
  • Tuesday: I will make Southwest Salad using romaine lettuce, spicy ranch, shredded cheese, and salsa.
  • What Matthew Ate Wednesday: See what my four year-old son is eating! I also will share Mixed Berry Salad with feta cheese and raspberry vinaigrette.
  • Thursday:  I will share Classic Romaine Salad with shredded Parmesan cheese, grape tomatoes, and black olives.
  • Friday:  I will show you Haystacks, the only salad my four year-old eats.  We make it with corn chips, chili beans, and guacamole. 
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Friday, January 20, 2012

RECIPE: Peach Raspberry Smoothie

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Several years ago, I started couponing and price-matching at Walmart to buy groceries.  I was in awe of how much money I was saving!

 
Then, I started looking at the ingredients in food.

 
I may have been "saving" money, but I was poisoning my family with additives, preservatives, and artificial ingredients.

 
I began only buying "real" food.

 
It costs so much more to buy fresh food. 

 
In order to save some money without losing much nutrition, I started using canned fruit in fruit juice as a base for some of my smoothies. This is one of my favorites.

The peaches in juice add sweetness to the tart raspberries with no added sugar.  The result is a refreshing smoothie that is full of antioxidants.

This recipe makes one large serving at 350 calories.



PEACH RASPBERRY SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:

*1 15 oz. can peaches in juice
*1 c. almond milk
*1 c. frozen raspberries

Directions:

1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

How do you save money on your grocery bill?

This week, I am sharing some of my favorite smoothie and protein shake recipes.

Come back next week for satisfying salad ideas!

  

 

 
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

RECIPE: Peanut Butter Cup Protein Shake

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My four year-old and my dad are buddies.  Whenever my dad watches my son, he turns on cartoons and they hang out.  Dad also lets Matthew eat his "candy," mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups my dad keeps in his bedroom. 

I love peanut butter, but can't stand anything peanut butter flavored.  However, I love Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.  The taste of the sweet chocolate with slightly salty peanut butter inside is one of my favorites.

This protein shake captures the mix of chocolate and peanut butter, but at only 340 calories per serving.  I used natural peanut butter, without hydrogenated oils.  The recipe makes two servings.


[Print this Recipe]

PEANUT BUTTER CUP PROTEIN SHAKE

Ingredients:

*4 c. almond milk
*2 scoops (6 Tb.) Soy Protein Powder
*2 Tb. peanut butter
*2 Tb. cocoa

Directions:

1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

What is your favorite candy bar?
 
This week, I am sharing some of my favorite smoothie and protein shake recipes.

 
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

RECIPE: Chocolate Cherry Protein Shake

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When I made my 12 Cookies of Christmas, I made sure I included a chocolate cherry cookie.  My grandfather LOVED cordial cherries, so in his memory I made Hidden Kiss Cookies with a Cordial Cherry Hershey's Kiss inside.

Unlike those yummy Hidden Kiss Cookies,  this protein shake has no added fat or refined sugar and it is good for you!  The chocolately tastes comes from cocoa that may decrease blood pressure, improve the health of blood vessels, and reduce cholesterol.  The addition of cherries to this shake adds anthrocyanins which may reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer.

This recipe yields two generous servings at 232 calories per serving.



CHOCOLATE CHERRY PROTEIN SHAKE

Ingredients:

*4 c. almond milk
*1 c. frozen sweet cherries
*2 scoops (6 Tb.) soy protein powder
*2 Tb. cocoa

Directions:

1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


How do you get your chocolate fix?

This week, I am sharing some of my favorite smoothie and protein shake recipes.

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What Matthew Ate Wednesday Jan. 18, 2012

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I hope your week is going well!

My family has been going to the YMCA again.  We have a great facility in our city.  It is clean, the staff is friendly, and the machines are state-of-the-art.  I love it because I can drop both of my boys off at child watch and workout!

Going to the Y in the mornings also helps us maintain a routine.  We get up, have a quick breakfast, and load up to go to the Y.  After we get home, I can usually get Matthew to eat something.  Some days, he can't be pulled away from his Legos or PBS kids to eat.

Though my husband and I eat meat a few times a week, four year-old Matthew is a vegetarian.

 Matthew started his day with Oatmeal Waffles I pulled out of the freezer
and reheated in the toaster.
He doesn't eat syrup with them, only a little butter.
He also drank a glass of almond milk.
He uses a real glass now, which is a really big deal.

 For lunch, he had a bowl of unsweetened applesauce,
a glass of almond milk, and two pieces of oatmeal bread toast.
I made the bread from scratch using a recipe
He likes to dip his toast in his applesauce.

For supper, Matthew ate cottage cheese, a slice of oatmeal bread with butter,
and broccoli, yellow carrot sticks, and sugar snap peas.

After doing What Matthew Ate Wednesdays for the past month, I realize how BORING his diet is.  He doesn't complain and eats the same things over and over, but I feel bad as a mommy.  I talked to him today about the fruit and veggie chart I found over at Peas and Crayons.  I'm printing it out for him in the hopes he will be inspired to try new foods (and I will remember to buy them)!



You can print this chart at foodchamps.org.

How do you get your child to try more fruits and veggies?








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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

RECIPE: Coconut Pineapple Smoothie

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It has been a horrible winter here in Central Nebraska. 

I'm sure some people are loving it.  The temperatures have been in the 40s, 50s, and the high hit 60 for a few days.  We have had very little snow.

I hate it.  Blame it on my Scandinavian ancestry, but I want snow and cold weather.

For those of you craving summer, here is a smoothie that will remind you of the tropics.  Made with pineapple and coconut, its refreshing taste is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. 

To make it, I used a combination of pineapple juice, pineapple chunks, coconut milk and shredded coconut.  Because of the healthy oils in the coconut, it takes quite a bit of blending to reach the right texture.  You can add a scoop or two of soy protein powder for added protein.

The recipe makes two servings at 215 calories per serving.


[Print this Recipe]

COCONUT PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:

*1 20 oz. can of pineapple chunks in juice
*1/2 c. Silk coconut milk
*2 Tb. flake coconut

Directions:

1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Are you sick of the cold or do you like cold weather like me?

This week, I am sharing some of my favorite smoothie and protein shake recipes.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

RECIPE: Oatmeal Cookie Protein Shake

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Oatmeal cookies are one of my guilty pleasures. 

 
When I have a warm plate of oatmeal cookies in front of me, I lie to myself.  Oatmeal is healthy, I say.  It's true; oatmeal is healthy.  Oatmeal cookies with butter, sugar, and white flour are not healthy.

 
This protein shake is good for you.  I promise.  It is also tasty.  The plain soy protein powder gives it a slight taste of oatmeal with a touch of cinnamon and vanilla.

The recipe makes two servings at 200 calories for each serving.


 

 
OATMEAL COOKIE PROTEIN SHAKE

 
Ingredients:

 
*3 c. almond milk
*2 scoops (6 Tb. ) soy protein powder
*1/2 tsp. cinnamon
*1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 
What recipe do you make that feeds your sweet tooth?

 
This week is all about smoothies and protein shakes.
  • Sunday-I shared my yummy recipe for Mixed Berry Protein Shake.  I also gave you some tips about making protein shakes and smoothies. 
  • Tuesday-Coconut Pineapple Smoothie
  • What Matthew Ate Wednesday-See what my vegetarian four year-old is eating. Also, I will post a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Protein Shake.
  • Thursday-Peanut Butter Cup Protein Shake
  • Friday-Peach Raspberry Smoothie.

 
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Sunday, January 15, 2012

4 Tips to Making Your Own Protein Shakes and Smoothies

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You have probably read why you should make your own meal replacements and smoothies and how they help you lose weight.  They are convenient, full of nutrition, and an easy way to count calories.  Making your own helps you avoid added fats, sugars, and chemical additives. 

Using your own blender instead of buying them prepackaged can save you money and cut down on waste.

Here are some tips to help you get started.

1.  Make your smoothies and shakes the night before or early in the morning and store them in glass mason jars or plastic freezer jars.  By preparing them the night ahead, you save yourself time and you are more likely to drink them instead of grabbing fast food or other junk.
The screw top lids keep them from leaking if the jar gets tipped.


2.  Use an insulated lunchbag and a freezer pack to keep your smoothies and shakes cold when you are going to be away from home.  The soft bag also protects the glass jar and keeps your smoothie or shake cold. 
 


3.  Add 1-2 cups of loosely packed fresh spinach to your shake or smoothie.  Very low in calories, spinach provides niacin and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese.
The taste of the spinach is so mild, you will probably not even be able to tell it is there.



4.  For extra fiber, mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into your shake or smoothie.  Flaxseed is high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and phytochemicals called lignans.  It may reduce total blood cholesterol and reduce your chances of developing heart disease.


Do you have any tips to share about shakes or smoothies? 

Check out the Mixed Berry Protein Shake I posted earlier today! 
What you will find here this week:
  • Monday-Oatmeal Cookie Protein Shake. 
  • Tuesday-Coconut Pineapple Smoothie
  • What Matthew Ate Wednesday-See what my vegetarian four year-old is eating.  Also, I will post a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Protein Shake.
  • Thursday-Peanut Butter Cup Protein Shake
  • Friday-Peach Raspberry Smoothie.
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RECIPE: Mixed Berry Protein Shake

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Flavonoids and phytochemicals give berries their deep colors.  Did you know they also may help prevent types of cancer?   

Berries are rich in nutrients.  Strawberries and blueberries are full of vitamin C.  Cranberries and blueberries may prevent bladder infections.   Strawberries also contain calcium, magnesium, folate and potassium.

Instead of choosing a ready-made protein shake, make this one yourself using berries, protein powder, almond milk, and a little vanilla extract.  You avoid all of the chemicals, fat, and sugar added to commerical meal replacement shakes. 

This recipe makes over a quart of protein shake and contains about 470 calories.  Divide it in half as a meal replacement with 235 calories.

Mixed Berry Protein Shake
[Print this Recipe]

MIXED BERRY PROTEIN SHAKE

Ingredients:

*3 c. almond milk
*1 c. frozen mixed berries
*2 scoops (6 Tb.) soy protein powder

Directions:

1.  Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
2.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Have you ever used frozen berries for smoothies or shakes?

  • Check back today for tips to help you make meal replacements a success!
  • Monday-Oatmeal Cookie Protein Shake. 
  • Tuesday-Coconut Pineapple Smoothie
  • What Matthew Ate Wednesday-See what my vegetarian four year-old is eating.  Also, I will post a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Protein Shake.
  • Thursday-Peanut Butter Cup Protein Shake
  • Friday-Peach Raspberry Smoothie.
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