Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thinking of Spring

I went to a craft store this week and was distracted by all the glittery eggs.  I decided that paying 99 cents per egg was way too expensive. I knew I could do it at home.  Glitter, decoupage glue and a plastic egg, so simple and easy. 

I love bringing beauty from outside into my home.  The pussy willows are the first things to have buds around here.  It makes me hopeful for spring.
I have been craving chicken.  I made my first chicken pot pie.  I used many veggies and made my own gravy with low sodium chicken broth.  My kids were skeptical but were easily swayed once they tried it.  I added rosemary to give it that, oh so, comfort taste. 

March Madness equals many games on the big screen at our house.  I love basketball.  I would rather play it than watch it any day.  I took my son to get some fresh air and play a game of "horse."  I loved it.  Thanks for stopping by and letting me share with you as I continue my journey of healthy eating and living. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Projects and Green Tea

My mind has been filled with re-decorating ad re-arranging things in my house.  Call it spring fever, stir crazy or what have you. . . I have been obsessed with changing things around.   I thought I would show you some of my projects and spring inspiration that I have been working on. 
The first is this gold stripped hat box.  When my friends came over on my birthday they decoupaged it with decorative napkins and I added the bird.

Since we live near a lake I have been changing our color scheme in our living room from burgandies to sea greens.  I am loving my empty frames I hung.  My kids think I need to put pictures in them, I keep telling them they are graphic art.

My last spring fever craze is "Iced Green Tea"  I make it in an old Starbucks cup (which makes me feel like I just went shopping in town) with honey and lemon.  It is so refreshing and perfect after walking, exercising or cooking up a storm in the kitchen. 

Happy first day of spring to you all.  Thanks for taking the time to let me share with you. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring Spinach Pasta

Garlic and spinach are an amazing combination together.   When poured over hot pasta, it becomes an instant super dish.  This recipe is incredibly fast and easy.  I love the color green especially on days that are cloudy and grey. 

I was low on time and items in my pantry.  This dinner came together in about 15 min.   This would be great with chicken, and transports well in a casserole dish.

Spring Spinach Pasta
4 cloves fresh garlic
8 oz  of spinach ( I used roughly half of my 16oz bag from the grocery store)
1/4-1/2 c. olive oil
dash of salt and pepper

Blend together in blender until a creamy texture forms.  Pour over hot drained pasta of choice.  Make sure you lick the spatula after scraping all of this green goodness out of the blender.  You won't want any of this to go to waste.

If you are wondering if my kids ate this.  Yes, all gone.  Not one complaint.  If I had a lemon I would of been good to give it a little bit of zestiness.   Other than that, this spinach dish was a slam dunk!

The color of the blended spinach screams spring!  I am in full anticipation of spending more time outside, green grass, leaves and spring flowers.  Here, where  I live,  it seems to take a long time.  Today, I will be thankful for the green that the pine trees provided.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Three Fast Meals with Ground Turkey

This week I took three pounds of turkey and cooked it up.  I then used it in three totally different dinner dishes.  This saved me time and was easy to prep. 
The three dishes I have above are:
Turkey Kale Chili
Turkey Tacos
Turkey Noodle Bowls   

The following are the ingredients for Turkey Kale Chili
(Serves 6)
1/2 onion
3 large cloves garlic
1 can small navy beans
1 can tomato sauce
3 cans water
1 lb. ground turkey
whole bunch of chopped kale (I chopped the stems and added since they were small and tender)
salt and pepper to taste
three dashes of garlic hot sauce

I saute the onion and garlic for 5 to 7 min.  I then add the rest of the ingredients to the soup pot.  I then simmered it for 20 to 30 min.  This was so fast to assemble since the turkey was already cooked.  The kale cooks down and looks and tastes a lot like spinach.  

The possibilities for turkey tacos and noodle bowls are endless.  Add what your family likes. 

All three of these dinners took about 30 min to prepare.  I hope these ideas help.  Eat well, live well and continue to make good choices for your health.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Snow, Rain, Sun and Granola

There is a song by Jaime Grace that says, "the sun came out for me today." That is my theme for this moment.  Snow yesterday, rain,sun, and sweet granola today.

With snow still on the ground here, my thoughts are on summer time.  I keep thinking about wearing flip flops, the sun and taking granola to the beach.  The lake is a great place to eat it.  When my kids ate it, all the crumbs would fall on the sand.  The ducks would gather the crumbs later after all the beach people left.  A win for everyone!  The "Sweet Almond Granola" recipe is at the end of this post. 

Today, on this snow, rain, sun kind of day,  I have revised my health goals.  I think for success, you have to be aware of what is working for you physically and emotionally.  I had set goals in January under the post "A Plan."  I am getting even more specific with my goals. 

1.  Be active everyday and sign up for races. (journal my miles)
2.  Stick to my menu plan, writing it out weekly
3.  Drink 60 oz of clear liquids daily

I am signing up for my first fun run of the season.  Life Run 2012 set for April 28th in Colville Washington.  It is a 5k.  I have been only jogging for one week, and realize I need to build up my stamina.  Taking a winter long break from running has consequences.  My plan is to build up over the next 7 weeks.  If you are interested in this race go to N.E.W. Family Life Services website  to find out more.

Sometimes the sweet tooth wins.  The recipe for this granola is full fat, full sugar.  It isn't my ideal healthy recipe, please use a measuring cup and  limit it to 1/2 cup per serving. Pairing it with a plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (high in protein) is excellent.
Sweet Almond Granola
4-5 cups quick cook oatmeal
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup almonds
dash of cinnamon
On stove in a small sauce pan melt 1 stick of butter and sugar.  Bring to a simmer for 3-5 min.  Take off the heat and add 2 tsp.  vanilla.  Pour over oats, cinnamon and almonds that have been roughly chopped.  Stir until sugar mixture coats that oats.  Bake at 325 degrees for 20-30 min.  Check and Stir every 10 min. Depending on baking sheets you own you may need to do this in two batches.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Birthday Wishes

For my birthday, I requested that my friends come to my house.  Friendships based on common ground gives me inspiration.  They help me strive to be the best wife, mother, friend, eat a nutrient rich diet and reach my fitness goals.       

My friends are my cheerleaders.  I feel blessed.  My friends also know how to make great food.  They brought over beautiful food for us to eat.   Cooking and sharing in the kitchen is a gift they gave to me that day.  It may seem silly to some who don't enjoy cooking.  Making something beautiful and that taste good, for me is using the creativity that God gives.

The cake is "Death by Chocolate," that my friend Tiffany brought and the "creamy pesto" crackers Misty brought over.  If you are interested in the recipes, leave a comment and I will try to get it for you.  

My friends know that I like quotes.  One quote said on a gift,
Make yourself at home!  CLEAN my kitchen.
One quote in my birthday cards said,
"Be Cheerful, keep things in good repair.  Keep your spirits up.  Think in harmony.  Be agreeable.  Do all that and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure."  From second Corinthians 13:11
I think these are great words for the coming year.  My birthday wish for all of you is Be Cheerful!  My desire for March is to get up to 20 members on my site.  Go to "join this site,"  It just takes a minute or two. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Stinky Sock Dinner

     My kitchen had many aromas, scents and smells while I was cooking.  My kids kept saying,  "What is that smell?"  I kept cooking my potato salmon chowder and my cucumber salad joyfully.  I have been thinking and dreaming of summer and  fresh veggies from the garden.   My cucumber salad had:
sliced cucumbers
caramelized onions
apple cider vinegar
olive oil
two torn basil leaves
pinch of salt and pepper 
     We we finally sat down to eat.  My oldest girl said, "Mom, this smells like dirty socks."  I can't say they enjoyed dinner as much as I did. 
     Our snow is starting to melt and being outside in the afternoons, is wetting my appetite for spring, summer and lots of smoothies.

     I have recently started adding ground up chia seeds to my smoothies.  I like how easy they are to add, plus they are tasteless. 
     For a little over two months, I have been blogging about food and fitness inspiration.  I am not an expert at cooking or meal planning, but I strive to keep getting better.   Hundreds of pictures later, my husband and kids have noticed how many pictures of food I take.  Our son said to me, as he was waiting at the table, "Do you have to take pictures before we eat?" My three year old has a little different view on it.  Every time, I cook anything, she tells me in her bossy three year old manner, "Take a picture mom."  My plan is to continue to invite you into my kitchen and our lives as we strive for eating well and living well, one meal at a time.  If you haven't yet, take a moment to join this site.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rock Star Cookies

Our family ended our short vacation by going to the Rock and Worship Road Show in Spokane.  We rocked out to some great music by Hawk Nelson and Lecrae.  After being gone from our house for five days I felt like baking some homemade cookies.  Warm, chewy cookies that created this incredible inviting smell in our house.  I decided to name them "Rock Star Cookies" since I came up with the recipe myself and thought they needed a strong name.  This recipe is at the end of post.
While we were traveling I got to see many of my family members.  Seeing and being able to connect with the people you are closest to is like eating  a really good cookie.  Warmth, friendship, to refresh the soul with gooey goodness.  Ok, maybe eating a cookie isn't refreshing to someones soul, but, I know I felt refreshed being able to see my family.  I don't get to see my Grandparents very often.  It felt great to give them a hug and let them know they are important to me.

On one of our stops to stretch our legs we stopped at the first memorial built for WW I veterans which overlooks the Columbia River.  We stopped and played a quick game of tag.  I quickly realized that my eleven year old can out run me.  I think I need to work on sprinting.  It is funny how you have a flash back from when you are a kid. I remember my mother making us run on the sidewalks at rest stops when we traveled.  I Loved this picture of my youngest as the wind whipped my scarf around.

  If you are interested in Rock Star Cookies, the two secret tips are to use unsweetened shredded coconut and a cranberry infused with blueberry juice.  Two super tastes that go good together.

Rock Star Cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix with blender until fluffy:
1/2 c. butter
2 T. cold pressed coconut oil (can omit if you don't have this)
3/4 c. sugar
Once it is fluffy:
Add one egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 oats (I used quick because I was out of old fashioned)
1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Gradually add oat mixture
1/2 c. coconut
1/2 c. cranberries
1/2 c. chocolate chips
Drop cookie batter on cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-16 min. Let cool on sheet for 5 min then transfer to wire rack.
Then enjoy the warmth.