Monday, April 30, 2012

Quinoa Dishes and Life Run

Quinoa with cinnamon, walnuts and a drizzle of honey.  Breakfast done a little different.  This was my first time eating it in the morning.

Quinoa is such a protein power punch.  In the winter I add it to soups and in the summer serve it as a cold salad.
My favorite way recently,  is to serve it warm with garlic, onions,and spinach.  They compliment each other so nicely.   

   I only like healthy food that tastes good.  This lunch was so tasty, made with fresh garlic, sweet onions, a lot of spinach and about 1 1/2 cups quinoa.
This past weekend I ran in my first "fun run" of the season.  It felt s good to be in the open air, sunshine, and surrounded by other people.  People also wanting to run and walk for a good cause.   The "Life Run" was in support of our local crisis pregnancy center and maternity home. I realized how much I do enjoy running.  I  have taken a long break from it over the winter.  I am ready to dive in  now and  continue.  Here I am with my dear sister in law.  We ran together.  It was super energizing to run it with her. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Homemade Baked Beans

Eating outside
Baked Beans
Three things that seem to go together.

     I have been tinkering with my baked bean recipe for several years.  My Grandma Faith shared with me how she made hers in the crock pot.   My tips are to help you be a success if you have never tried it.  Jump in and try it, and say good bye to canned beans.  You need a crock pot and the willingness to plan ahead.
     The following is for a large batch.  Perfect for family gatherings or potlucks.  I use fresh onion and garlic and soak my beans for at least six hours.
Baked Beans
3 cups dry small navy beans
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 chopped sweet onion (if you are a big onion fan add the whole thing)
1/3 c molasses
1/3 c honey
1/2 cup Ketchup (no high fructose corn syrup kind)
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 tsp. mustard powder (or a small squeeze of yellow mustard)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
If you prefer a meaty taste I have used a ham hock or added a polish sausage
I drain and rinse beans, then mix these all together in crock pot.  Add just enough water to slightly cover beans.
I put it on high for four hours in the crock pot. 
The last hour check and add some water if they look dry.
Before serving, I usually add a little more BBQ sauce or a little salt.
I say, why not have fancy beans.  When done right, they are a fabulous side dish.  The flavoring possibilities are endless.  My husband especially likes the beans with the ham hock, and the kids like it if I add extra honey.  Hooray for eating outside and for baked beans.  
Since as a whole I'm eating less meat, beans are a perfect way for me to still feel like I'm getting that BBQ experience.  Lately, for me, I'm trying to fill up on plant based protein and not relying on animal protein.
Thanks for stopping by my blog.   I hope you get to eat outside real soon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Garden Ready

I get excited about seeds, dirt and and growing my own food.  It is such a simple process and pleasure to grow something then eat it.
I am trying a "hot house" over my raised bed to get the lettuce, spinach and swiss chard a jump start.  When I stuck my fingers into the soil, it was very warm.
I started watching the documentary Forks over Knives.  This movie confirmed what I already knew, a plant based diet, is the direction that is best for our health.  I transitioned my whole way of thinking about food about three years ago.  I need reminders, I need encouragement to keep me going.  Trying to feed a family whole foods, is not easy, junk and fast food is so easy and convenient.
Getting my seeds out watching Forks over Knives, revitalizes my hopes for eating better, living better.

These wildflowers are a little pop of color in the woods near our house.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Garlic Beef

     I love bringing out this little blue tea set.  I use it when we have Chinese food.  The little cups for tea add a fun tradition to our family dinners.  My husband and I got the tea set on our honeymoon in Victoria Canada.
     I added minced garlic during the last few minutes of cooking the sirloin beef steak.  It flavored the meat so well, no salt needed.  I cut one steak for seven people.  I wanted the vegetables to be main substance to this meal.  on the side I have brown jasmin rice and bean threads.  
    Traditions, customs, habits and attitudes often start around the family table.   

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Baby Chicks

Some people dream of exotic beaches, Mount Everest, or an expensive make-over.  I have been dreaming about having chickens.  I am now a proud mama of six baby chicks.  Yippee! 

     I have had four years to mentally prepare for this adventure.  Yes, they do poop a lot.  Yes, it is one more thing to take care of.  We are ready.  Ready to be chicken parents.
Helen Keller said,
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Eggs in a Nest

     Swiss chard is so tender, sweet, and best in the spring.  Delicate and delicious.  One of the books that profoundly changed the way I looked at food was "Vegetable, Animal, Miracle," by Barbara Kingsglover.  The Eggs in a Nest recipe is from that book.

     I ate this for lunch, it took about 10 min to make.  Simple yet, full of great nutrition.

My cooking notes: I used garlic, with the swiss chard, and once you crack the eggs, cover the pan for a few minuets, so the eggs cook better. 
     I also made garlic knots, which take time to make, but make my family happy.  Butter, garlic, baked on bread, is such a happy thought.  Little bites of happiness. 

     I love that I can show you what I 'm cooking in my kitchen, and what I have been thinking about.  Thanks for stopping by.  Eat well, live well.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Learn, Live, Hope

Learn from yesterday,
Live for today,
Hope for tomorrow.

I keep thinking about how much I have learned about parenting, health, nutrition, my own inner strength, from the time I had my oldest girl, now eleven, to my youngest who is almost four.
I have learned from yesterday, Cheetos as a snack do not fuel a growing body.
I do live for today, I giggle with my children.
I hope for tomorrow, that I can guide them to the best of my abilities.

In the picture above they are opening candy filled eggs.  I still lean towards wanting sweet junk food and treats, but, I have a goal.  A goal to provide things for my family that taste good but aren't artificial.  My goal keeps butting up against holidays.  The aftermath of candy in the house after Easter has been interesting.  I did tell them everyday as I packed lunches for school, "I am sending candy, but, you must eat your veggies first."  The whole family knows I'm the food police.
This is my eight year old after a Easter egg hunt.  We all love a good game of hide and seek.  It is one of my favorite games to play with my kids.  We have been spending time outside as a family, and my hope is that my children will flourish with a love for the outdoors, even as adults.  I know my parents passed that on to me.

My son was playing catch with dad.  I think the dog enjoyed it just as much.

My niece Emma, is laughing in this picture.  What sweet joy.
As I live for today, I choose joy and laughing.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mushrooms All Week

Mushrooms have been in most of my dishes this week.  Saute to perfection.



The last dish is one that I will try again.  Fast and Easy.
Rosie's Red Rice
1/2 onion
2 peppers
7 mushrooms
I then added:
1/2 c. tomato sauce
1/2 c. salsa
1 T. cider vinegar
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 c. cooked rice
I let everything simmer together for about 15 min. 
We served them in corn tortillas, but this dish would be great without.
If you like reading about my cooking ideas. . . take a moment and join this site.

Carrot Muffins

 I have a partial opinion about carrot cake.  I love it.  I pick it first over any other kind.  So, when I made these morning muffins,  it made me super happy that they reminded me of a moist carrot cake.  The amazing thing about these is that it has great breakfast fuel, like oats, banana and carrots.   I think that the family really liked them too, the muffins quickly disappeared.
Magic Morning Muffins
1 1/4 c. wheat flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. old fashioned oats
3 T. virgin olive oil
1 large egg
1/3 milk
4 medium carrots,shredded
1 medium ripe banana, mashed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and coat 12 cup muffin tins generously with cooking spray. 
Stir dry ingredients together, then add wet. Stir until blend.
Bake for 20-25 min
Best eaten warm.
(if you or your  children are us to sweet muffins, add an additional 1/4 c. sugar)
I was inspired by a basic carrot muffin I saw in a magazine and made this my own recipe by adding the ripe banana, oats and omitting the nuts and  raisins (which would be good too).
I keep posting recipes to inspire you to bake and cook at home filling up on food that is fuel.  I try to post things that have been approved by my taste testers. . .my four children.  This one was given a five star rating (out of five.)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Books, playground, thrift shop and a lot of walking.  I took my three girls on a walk and we returned to two and half hours later, no car involved.

     We found some old sheet music from the local thrift shop.  The above is in German and is a great aged yellow brown color.  My oldest located the pink heels.  It was a great treasure finding day. 
     It is great to incorporate my kids in exercise that is good for me and them.  On thee trail to our first stop the library, we encountered some snow and mud.  I was so happy to be outside, I didn't mind.  When we returned home I wanted to create a simple art project with my new treasures.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fresh and New

Two of my children were in the drama production "School House Rock" this past week.  This musicals was fun and fresh.   It was a huge challenge feeding the family fresh healthy food on the go, and not around the dinner table.    

We survived the long hours of getting ready for the production and are on to baseball and softball now.      I am anticipating more days outside and the fresh spring air re-energizing my outlook.  Being outside, playing with my children or doing yard work is like chicken soup for my mind and body.   Re-energizing!

My chive plant is starting to come up out of the ground which brings me a smile.  Revival of fresh, newness, and health, comes with gardening and seeing things grow.  Lettuce, peas, and squash out of a garden are some of  my favorites.
Fresh ranch dressing helps all veggies taste zestier.  My sister-in-law Julianne brought some and shared this ranch recipe with me.  Blending it gives it a nice smooth texture.

Julianne's Ranch
3/4 c. mayo
3/4 c.  sour cream
1 T. olive oil
1 T. lemon juice
1 small bunch chives
1 small handful parsley
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper
blend above ingredients in blender
Add 1/4 c. buttermilk then stir  (omit buttermilk if you want thicker consistency)
refrigerate for at least one hour to let flavors join. 

It is my goal to enjoy fresh food, and the fresh air this week,  I hope you can do the same.  Thanks for stopping by, take a moment and "join this site."