I am excited to write about all things I am passionate about...and some, well, that I may not be passionate about. But all things are happening in this LIFE. And, I want to document and have accountablity to living life with intention. And so it goes...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Grilled Chicken and Lemon Pasta

TANGY!!! Wow. That's what we can all say about that. Kind of a flavor that shocks you initially, it proved to be a yummy dish. Grilled Chicken with Lemon Pasta was so easy to put together tonight. I had Steve grill extra chicken last night for this dish tonight. So all I had to do was boil pasta and make the sauce. That's what I'm talking about! EASY!

The kiddos liked it for the most part. Personally, I think the flavor is good in small amounts. But it is VERY powerful, tangy, and rich. We had fresh cut up veggies and a fruit smoothie to round out the meal. When asking for seconds, only Natalie asked for the pasta AND chicken. Everyone else said just CHICKEN please. Landon said "it is TOO lemony". And to finish off the meal, Kassidy left me with this thought: "Could you please just make an alfredo sauce next time?"

So, if you like LEMONS and tangy-ness in an alfredo type sauce, you will love this dish. But seems like my critics would rather make lemonade to drink with chicken alfredo...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Donuts for breakfast!!

Yes, this recipe is very similar to the French Breakfast Puffs that I made months ago without the baking powder, remember?

Muffins that taste like Donuts just had to be made this morning. I didn't take the time to look closely at just how similar they are to the French Breakfast Puffs, but the kiddos said they taste almost the same.

When I told them I was making Muffins that taste like Donuts Kassidy said to me: "Well, I will be the judge of that..." Oh my, I think we are gonna be in for an adventure with that girl. In my kids' minds, donuts taste like long john's or chocolate covered donuts---so the sugary cake donuts (which is what these taste like) they don't really know. But none-the-less, the each ate two and were begging for a third.

Super easy to make--you don't need a mixer. It's as simple as adding dry and wet ingredients together. And on a side note, I did half white and half wheat flour. Truly, dipped in butter and rolled in sugar, the kids had NO clue. Yep, I am sneaky.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The POPeye of Popcorn!

Popcorn is almost a food group in itself here at our house. And I have a great name for it...the "I am so hungry and it's almost bedtime" food group. In the summertime, it never fails that staying up later results in the "hungry before bedtime" syndrome. I often wonder why in the world we even bother with supper???? Let's just get all of our evening swims, bike rides, swinging, jumping on the trampolene, driveway basketball and front yard whiffle ball games over with and THEN eat supper!!

It won't work. I've tried it.

In all honesty, I love the carefree living of summer evenings. And if that means a snack before bedtime, then it does. Because all too soon summer will come to an end and ROUTINE will dominate our lives once again (which I secretly love too!)

So, back to the popcorn. Steve is the one who always makes the popcorn on the stove. I melt the butter and hold the bowl for him. See why I like when we make popcorn? When I grew up we always had popcorn and apples on Sunday evenings, and it counted as supper. I have had a hard time convincing my family that this is an appropriate menu choice for the last meal of the day. But I am working on it. I have discovered a new love...nutritional yeast. It is amazing on popcorn!! You just sprinkle it right on. And get this--it adds a whopping 4 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein to your popcorn. How awesome is that? It kind of tastes like cheese, in a sense. Like the popcorn you get that has the cheddar cheese covering it. You can find all the health benefits of nutritional yeast here.

I am just excited that with popcorn, apples, butter, and nutritional yeast you're almost hitting every food group---which means, popcorn can be served for supper. (Just drink a green monster with it)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cherry Banana Coconut Butter Bread

Oh my word, this bread is amazing! A couple of different blogs I have read recently have showcased this bread and have swooned all about it. So, you guessed it...I went straight to the store to get the ingredients I needed and made this nutrient beast last night. (Mostly for a little snack before bed for me, but the critics RAIDED the loaf pan!)

Cherry Banana Coconut Butter Bread was very simple to make. No mixer, no cracking of eggs--just incorporating the wet and dry ingredients. Generally I am drawn to recipes that have very common ingredients that I would have on hand. That is what makes PW's recipes so enticing to me. So when you check this ingredient list, you may be disheartened to find that you will have to go in search of spelt flour, coconut butter, and perhaps pure maple syrup. And admittedly, I did NOT find the coconut butter but instead tried to make my own in the vitamix. Not sure if the coconut butter turned out the way it should, but the BREAD was delicious.

The bread is made out of all whole foods. I am becoming fond of spelt flour which you can find at your local whole foods stores. I read that it keeps its nutrition when refrigerated. You can read all about the health benefits of spelt here.

The critics loved this bread, by the way. And if I find something they love that is nutrient dense such as this?? Well, I'm gonna go make another loaf...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ok...a Confession and a Recipe

So, some of you may have noticed that I have been trying other recipes in addition to the PW recipes we all know and love. Yes, I said it--and admitted it! My love for The Pioneer Woman will never die, I promise. But I have been trying new recipes and have put in the "healthy" twist version of some of PW's.

As those of you who know me well, know...I become addicted to things quite easily. It is a sickness! But I figure if I am choosing wisely the things I become addicted to, then it is ok, right? For instance, I choose not to try cigarettes, cocaine, marijuana, gambling (ok, well I did try that once on our cruise) for fear of my addiction to addictions. SOMEBODY admit me!!

So are you ready for it? My newest addiction? Is food, health, and fitness for both me and my family. I am just having a blast coming up with new and creative ways to feed our family well. And by well I mean, getting the most nutrition you possibly can. I have found that a little bit goes a long way. When making some of PW's pasta dishes, I simply switched to whole grain pasta. Which you can find anywhere and has become much cheaper in price the last year or so. Or like last night when we had the Mini Meatball subs---just by making your own marinara sauce versus buying it in a jar will save you in cost, calories, and add tons of flavor just the way you like it. In addition, layering your meatballs on a whole wheat bun instead of white packs in nutrition in so many ways. The extra fiber you get in whole wheat not only sustains you longer, it is an overall cleansing for your system.

Not all the time are the critics as impressed with some of the changes as I am. I am working on that. But little by little, I hope to make some lifestyle changes that will stick with them for a lifetime. Not to say that there isn't room for all kinds of food. There is LOTS of room! And I really believe that anything (when it comes to food) is just fine in moderation. It's what you strive to do MOST of the time. I have yet to switch over flours in PW's cinnamon roll recipe--but believe me, I will at least try it. And if it doesn't work? Well, then those rolls you just leave alone and appreciate all of their yummy goodness in their original white floured, buttery and sugary form!

So as I cook and bake my way through PW's recipes (which I will most definitely continue to do because she and her food are so awesome!) you may notice some changes to some of her recipes. And when I come across other recipes that I just love and think you should know about, I will post those too.

Which brings me to this yummy recipe we made for breakfast this morning...

Gotta tell you that I made a few changes to the Hearty Whole Wheat Waffles too. First of all, I doubled them because you are going to get very few waffles out of a single recipe. And I am trying to feed SIX of us! Doubling this recipe worked well and left us with 2 waffles leftover. Steve got up too early on this summer morning to participate in our family breakfast, so this recipe would be just right if we were all eating together. As far as the ingredients go, I used 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup spelt flour. Spelt flour provides extra protein, fiber, and yumminess---google it! I also added two heaping Tbsp. of ground flax seed (more fiber), and used pure sugar, and of course went the butter route. I am here to tell you that these waffles were delicious! The kids coined them the best they have ever had. Maybe they were really hungry, I don't know. But what I do know is that they loved a very nutritious waffle and you NEED to try this recipe. On top were strawberries, bananas, pure maple syrup, and chocolate chips.

Go for it. They are really, really yummy. I promise.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quickie Meatball Sandwiches

Was kind of funny...a friend of mine thought maybe I wasn't feeding my kids anymore. Let me assure you---they are WELL FED!!! Maybe not all the time fed by the infamous PW recipes, but well fed none the less. These last few days haven't really even been that crazy. More like lazy, I guess you could say. We've eaten with family quite a bit, sent one girl to camp, ended our softball season, and are anticipating and planning our family vacation in August.

I decided tonight I had to make a PW recipe and this was it. Mini meatball subs were a huge hit with the fam tonight! Although I should have made my mini meatballs a bit more "mini". They practically had to eat the sandwiches with a fork (and I wish they would have!) they were so thick. Very simple and very tasty---especially when you wait to feed them until 7:30 pm. I used the panko bread crumbs as PW suggests and made my own marinara sauce out of canned diced tomatoes, tomato soup, and spicy spaghetti seasoning (from Sam's). I then sliced fresh mozzarella on whole wheat hoagie buns and laid the meatballs on top.

They loved them. Quick. Easy. ~~~~~~PW strikes again.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blackberries and Cream

I have been wanting to try this recipe for the last few weeks. Just when I almost forgot about the recipe, PW posted about it again, and Dillon's had blackberries on sale for 10 for $10. Guess since all the stars were aligning, I was going to make Blackberries and Cream for this long July 4th weekend!
First of all, the blackberries just on their own were delish. They were huge and sweet with just the right amount of tart to them. I got started right away in the morning and made the cream sauce. My family was coming over in the evening for a fish fry, so this was going to be our fruit of the meal. Does fruit still count as fruit when you cover it in cream sauce?????
Excellent!! The cream sauce drizzled over the berries in our pretty parfait dishes was so yummy. It almost tasted like my homemade ice cream recipe coating each blackberry. I still have some sauce left over in the fridge and am wondering what to do with it? I am pretty sure if I got out a straw, I would have some volunteers to slurp it down. But I would NEVER do that...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

POPEYE the sailor man...

"Does spinach weally make you stwong like Popeye, Mommy?"

Well, yes. Yes it does. Spinach is a superfood!! We eat spinach almost every day in the form of a Green Monster. Read all about those here. But for lunch today, I decided to try the Spinach and Garlic Chips that PW posted about a few days ago.
Got to admit, spinach is not really that appetizing when all shriveled up. But the flavor of the olive oil soaked garlic chips and spinach over noodles was very good. And the critics, with the exception of one, liked it too! Amazing.
I've got a feeling that the Green Monsters will be more of a staple around here than this spinach dish, but it was a nice change of pace for a summer lunch.