Friday, January 29, 2010

Catching up

I thought I would play a little catch up on this snowy afternoon. Here are some pictures of Abbey on Christmas. Enjoy!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The pity party is over...

... and I'm back to my old self. I think the problem I am having is a time issue. It is difficult as a working mom to find time to organize, clean and cook. It is hard to stay one step ahead or stay on top of things and it doesn't help to have a someone going behind you messing things back up (and having a two year old around the house doesn't help either :) ). Well, I'm trying to get back in the saddle and back on track. The one thing that my husband has mentioned is that he really needs to eat better and is willing to help with the baby so I can focus on cooking healthy. So, I'm taking him up on that offer. I have spent a great deal of time this week putting together a meal plan according to the government pyramid guidelines using the most fresh fruits, veggies, and whole wheat/grains that I can. For my first plan, I think I did pretty good. It will require a lot of prep work on my part and organization since I do work, but I'm willing to give it a shot. I'll let you know how it works for my family next week. As for exercise, I have fit in a couple of workouts this week and hope to add more next week, but I'm taking it slow and hoping it will stick better. The same with some of my other goals. In the mean time, here is another great recipe for this week from Ellie Krieger from Food Network. I love the flavor in these potatoes, and in season you can use fresh dug potatoes and fresh snipped chives. You can also use new red potatoes (they have less starch) and home made chicken broth. (Surely this one is simple enough, Shanna!)

Smashed Potatoes with Chives and Sour Cream

1 1/4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (4 medium) unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, warmed
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper

Place potatoes in a steamer basket fitted over a large pot of boiling water. Cover and steam for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Add the broth, and coarsely mash the potatoes. Stir in the sour cream and chives. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Old Habits

Is there anyone else out there in blog land that feels their old habits creeping up behind them, ready to attack? I have had this feeling for the past couple of weeks. I made very clear goals for the new year and when I looked at my list to see if I had made any progress with them, it looked pretty bad. Maybe I was a little over excited at New Year's and I was unrealistic. Maybe it is just hard to break old habits. And maybe some habits can't be broken at this very moment. I wanted to eat healthier and try to lose some weight. I have posted some great recipes on here so far, but finding the time to cook and the budget to eat better is really hard for me right now. I'm finding it difficult to try to do it on a regular basis. I believe for now I will try one truely healthy meal a week, then move my way up. As for exercise, I started a video series this morning that has three videos. Each video is a little harder than the one before so I'm going to take my time and work on my fitness level instead of being so concerned about numbers. In the mean time, I'm going to try to incorporate Renee's workout ideas into the mix each week so I don't get bored with a video. I guess in the long run, instead of breaking New Year's resolutions, it is alright to adjust 2010 goals. On the down side, you may be disappointed in me when I start posting some not so healthy recipes from time to time, except for Shanna who has asked me to please post anything simple, good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fresh Salads

There are many ways to make a salad and I would like to share a few great ideas, but I'm going to begin with a basic one. Salads are a wonderful way to get fresh veggies in your diet, but all the "additives" can add up and what about the dressing. Nothing beats a good ranch dressing on a basic lettuce and veggie salad. Well, with this recipe you will be screaming for more. Ellie Krieger from Food Network has a lighter, fresh way of making your own Ranch dressing at home and it truely beats the store bought stuff. My hubby even prefers this over any store bought dressing and it is simple to make. Remember, all the veggies can be fresh from the garden and local in the summer, organic or bought from a local merchant in winter so experiment with different veggies. Just remember to go light on things like cheese, boiled eggs and meats in a salad.

Fresh Garden Salad with Ranch Dressing

Combine your favorite fresh veggies such as:
Lettuce (Dark lettuces like green leaf and romaine have more nutrition), Spinich,
Tomatos, cucumber, onions, carrots, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, zucchini, etc.

For the dressing

1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt, or 1/3 cup nonfat Greek style yogurt
1/3 cup lowfat buttermilk
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (fresh is best, but sometimes I just don't have lemons, so I have used the bottled stuff)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives (You can grow these in a pot at home in the summer)


If using plain yogurt, place it in a strainer lined with a paper towel and place the strainer over a bowl. Let the yogurt drain and thicken for 20 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the strained or Greek-style yogurt and the rest of the ingredients. Add salt, to taste.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

So far, so good!

Well, I now have some people on board to do this healthy, local eating and I couldn't be more excited. I've already been asked to post more recipes. I have gathered a list of our favorite family recipes, and my idea is to try to make them healthier and use as many local ingredients as I can without sacrificing the taste. Since I haven't had the time to work on any recipes myself, I'm going to steal another one from a friend. Carrie B. has shared this on her blog and I have tried it so although it was not originally my recipe, I can certainly say that it is a good one. Give it a try!


Soak 1/2 cup black beans in water for 6-8 hours. Drain. Cover beans with water and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 1 hr. or until tender. Drain all but 2 Tbsp. of the water. (Or you may also substitute 1 cup canned black beans. It's much easier) Mash beans with a fork, leaving a few of them whole.

Prepare brown rice for one person according to the package directions. Use 1.2 cup of the cooked rice for your patties. Very finely chop 1/2 onion, 1/4 red pepper, and 1 stalk celery.

Grate 1 carrot and 1 slice of frozen whole grain bread. Combine all of the above ingredients.

Add 1 1/2 Tbsp of freshly ground flaxseed and 1Tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce.

Mix well. Form 8 patties and place on a cookies sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove, turn patties over, bake 10 more minutes. Prepare as you would a regular burger!

Notes from Carrie B.: I don't usually use the flaxseed but it does really help them stick together. You could also try oats to help stick together. Recipe makes 8, but I usually make 6 big ones. Cheese is always good on these, because it helps it stick together a bit better. They also freeze great with a little parchment paper between the burgers!)

Notes from me: These have great flavor and of course you are using a lot of fresh veggies (that you can get at the farmer's market or the garden in the summer time). Serve them on whole wheat hamburger buns and try them with some sweet potato fries. Slice sweet potatoes lengthwise, tose them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper then spread on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes or until they are soft in the middle.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Eating Healthy, Eating Local!

My friend, Renee, mentioned in her blog that one of her goals for 2010 was to eat more local food, which in turn helps you to eat healthier in many cases, I believe. I started thinking about that and quickly sent an email to some girlfriends to issue a challenge for the new year. Many of them mentioned that they would like to eat healthier, so I challenged them to find more local foods to help meet that goal. Back when I was pregnant and even up to the time Abbey started eating table food, I shopped at more local places including the farmer's market. Although I always had good intentions to can my own garden goodies and those purchased at the farmer's market, I never made the time. One of my goals this year, like Renee, is to eat healthier and shop locally for what I can. Also I would like to can the extras for the Winter, so I'm counting on this challenge to help me with my goals as well. I'm starting off with a simple soup recipe with tons of veggies and I'm going to borrow Renee's corn muffin recipe (hope you don't mind Renee)because they go great with the soup and is made with honey instead of refined (white) sugar. The recipes are great basic recipes with ingredients you could buy at the regular grocery store, but you will notice that to the side I have added how you can make them more local and fresh. Always remember that veggies bought frozen hold more nutrients than those that are bought in cans, but freezing and canning fresh at home is always the best way to go. I hope you will check back with me because I would love for this challenge to help you in your goals as well. I will do my best to pass along recipes that can be made with local ingredients, give tips for gardening and buying local and pass along any other information I can to boost your interest in getting your family healthy, helping our environment and helping the local economy (farmer).

Veggie Soup

2 cans beef broth (Or you can make your own)
1 can tomato sauce (Canned fresh in the summer)
1 can diced tomatoes (Canned fresh in the summer, or cut fresh from the garden)
1 can whole kernel corn or half bag of frozen (canned fresh in the summer, or cut fresh from the garden)
2 cans mixed veggies or 1 bag frozen (can be frozen in the summer, or cut fresh from the garden)
1 teaspoon basil (dry herbs are best for soups)
1 teaspoon parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
Ground Beef (Optional)

If you like meat in your soup, as my hubby does, brown a ½ pound – 1 pound of ground beef and drain.
Add the other ingredients and simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve with corn muffins.
It is also a very forgiving soup so if you don’t happen to have something or like more of one veggie than another, you can almost put anything in it and it will turn out good.

To make it a little healthier with the meat choice, you can add cooked chicken instead of the beef. Just change the beef broth to chicken broth to match the flavors.

Honey Corn Muffins

Makes: 12

1/2 stick, unsalted butter
1 1/4 c flour (check out the local mills, we even have a bakery that sells a local mill's flour)
3/4 c cornmeal (same for cornmeal, even some farm CSA's carry it in there boxes)
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt1/2 t baking soda
2 large eggs (Fresh eggs from local farmers are wonderful)
1 c buttermilk
1/3 c honey (Local bee harvesters have different flavors of honey depending on the flowers the bees use to make it, so try some local favorites)

Heat oven to 375. Grease muffin tin.In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, honey and butter. Add the flour mixture and stir.Divide into muffin cups and bake until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy Birthday!

To my sweet baby girl. We love you!!!!!

(Boy, she slept a lot when she was a baby, didn't she?)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year

It's my first post of the new year and it is going to be short. Just wanted to let you know that I'm still here. Here are a couple of pictures from the past month of Abbey. She is getting so big.