Friday, February 27, 2009

Recipe: Breakfast Tacos

These breakfast tacos are great on the go. I make a huge batch in advance and then wrap them individually in plastic wrap or a baggie and pop them in the freezer. Then, when I want a quick breakfast, I take it out, microwave it for 1 minute (if still frozen, 30 seconds if thawed) and eat! I also will grab one on my way out the door and just pop it in the microwave when I get to work. You can really pump these up with more vegetables or more meat if you prefer...or you could also add potatoes....just throw in there whatever you like.

1/2 onion chopped
1 bell pepper chopped (I prefer yellow/orange/or red)
1 cup shredded cheese (whatever you prefer, I used cheddar)
1 hand full of fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste
9 eggs
16 tortillas
2 teaspoons of Mrs. Dash
1 tablespoon Oil or butter (I used olive oil)
1/2 to 1 cup of chopped up ham, bacon, or some other breakfast meat, I really like the ham, so I put about a cup in there but for bacon bits I would probably use less.

Place oil in large skillet and melt, then add onions and peppers (and any other veggies you might want to throw in there). Once they have started to get translucent and toasty, add the spinach and stir it around until it is fully wilted, then add the seasonings and continue to stir as needed.

While that is cooking, I will lay out about 5 tortillas and put a little shredded cheddar on each.

Back to the skillet....Crack your eggs into a container and mix them with a fork to break them up, then add them to the skillet. You can also add a little milk here if you prefer...or cream if you want to live high on the hog. Continue stirring to make scrambled eggs until they are done to the firmness that you desire. My husband wants them WAY question on whether they are that is how I do it. That is what you get when you have a Poultry Scientist for a hubby.

Once the eggs are done, taste them to make sure the seasoning is right, then just take a large spoon and place the egg mixture down the middle of every tortilla, fold the tortilla in half and then wrap up in plastic wrap or place in a baggie. You can really make these tacos or burritos...its your choice. Then, I usually hold a few out for tomorrow's breakfast and just put those in the fridge, and the rest I place in the freezer individually wrapped.

I love them! I made 16 last time I made them but if you want to bulk them up a bit, you would make less and use more filling. This is a great grab and go breakfast on those busy mornings....and its easy for older kids to fix themselves since it just involved a microwave.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

I will be out in the garden all weekend preparing my raised beds for my plants. I have somethings that are ready to plant now and a few more I will plant at Spring Break and a few more in April, like melons. I have been taking pictures as we go so I will post pictures soon. Its supposed to be in the high 60s here so it should be a beautiful day to be outside.

I hope you all have a great weekend and that your hearts are lifted and inspired to greatness!


Monday, February 23, 2009

Gardening: Planting Tomatoes

Howdy--we are almost to planting season for tomatoes. In my area, you shouldn't plant tomatoes until after March 5th, so check your local gardening zone information to see when a good time is to plant tomatoes in your area. Tomatoes need a night temperature above 32 degrees F and a daytime temperature above 60 degrees F. They are readily killed by a mild frost and a week of cool daytime temperatures, like 55 degrees F, will stunt plants, reducing yields.

I have a few Tomato Tips from my gardening class that I attended the other day and I thought I would share them with you.
  • Its always good to go to a gardening store as opposed to a local chain because you may actually talk to someone who has gardened before at the gardening stores as opposed to the chains. They can typically give you some advice on which variety works well in your area and when to plant.
  • Tomatoes need cages or something to grow up, so be sure to purchase tomato cages. i found the round kind at Wal Mart the other day for less than $3 each, but you can also buy them in the straight kind of cages or other types.
  • You can take a metal bucket and drill holes around the bottom and plant tomatoes in the bottom. The tomatoes will find the holes and grow down instead of up and you don't need a cage if you do this kind of hanging bucket/basket.
  • Birds and other animals will eat holes in your tomatoes when they are ripe and turn red. Some ideas to deter these critters are to pick the tomatoes when they are orange, they will continue to ripen and turn red on your kitchen counter. You can also take red Christmas ball ornaments to red Solo cups and hang them on the cage, the critters will think they are tomatoes and when they discover they are not, they will leave your tomatoes alone when they turn red.
  • If you want to do cherry tomatoes, a hanging basket works well.
  • Tomatoes need wind to pollinate. If you have blossoms, but no fruit is setting, give your plants a good shake.
  • If you keep your plants watered throughout the summer, they will produce again in the Fall. (at least in this part of Texas)

Here's to tomato basil soup, tomato salads, spaghetti sauces....and all the other wonderful things that come from tomatoes!

A few suggestions on varieties...

Sweet 100 is the most popular home garden cherry type tomato. It says that on a large vine, it produces hundreds of sweet, cherry sized tomatoes with very tender skins.

Early Girl is a popular variety among mid-sized fruits and will mature in less than 50 days.

Celebrity, Big Boy, and Better Boy are examples of popular main season varieties.

Roma tomatoes are preferred for making salsa, chili sauce, and other tomato products requiring less time to cook down.

Look for VFN resistant stands for Verticillum wilt, Fusarium wilt, and nematodes. the V and F are common soil-borne fungal diseases.

Most of the above information was learned at my class and also by reading this article at

Good luck!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Recipe: Egg Puff Stuff

This recipe is great for a brunch or a bridal or baby shower. The green chilies give it flavor but not heat and that with the eggs and cheese make a wonderful mix. I seriously love this stuff. My friend Jan made it for a bridal shower I was attending and I had to have the recipe. You can change out the cheeses, but if you use a cheddar, the cheddar cheese seems to have a lower melting point and will likely burn, so I would just stick with jack or mozzarella.

Egg Puff Stuff
10 eggs
½ cup flour
1 lb. Jack cheese, shredded
½ cup butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cans (4 oz.) Green chilies
1 pint small cottage cheese

Beat eggs in mixer until light and lemon colored. Add flour, baking powder, salt, cottage cheese, Jack cheese and melted butter. Blend until smooth. Stir in chilies. Pour into a buttered 9×12 inch dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until the eggs are set all the way through.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

High Heels Camp-Day 6


I am back in workout mode and have decided that I am going to run in the Blue Bell 5K in April, so I have combined my normal "High Heels" workout with a "Couch Potato to 5K" program and have High Heels to 5K! So, here is what I did today.....

(By the way, I call it High Heels in reference to the "Boot Camp" workouts that are going on now, I just call mine high heels because I am a lot more likely to wear high heels that boot camp boots!)

So, I am starting slow....

5 minute brisk walk warm up

60 seconds of jogging then 90 seconds of walking....repeat for 20 minutes (I only did 15 today because it started rainy and I tend to get a little clumsy and didn't want to slip.)

Then I did 30 seconds of each of the following...
push ups
sit ups
arm kick backs
arm lateral raises
triceps extensions
(then repeat, starting at the squats and going through the whole thing again for 30 seconds each)

Then I did 2 planks with a short rest in between, one was 45 seconds and the other was 30.

Stretch and cool down

So, I hope you can spare 20-30 minutes to work out too so it will be a fun summer season full of energy and muscle!

Do this 3 times during the first week with a break day in between to get started.

Have a great night!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Things to do: Home Depot Kid's Workshop

Home Depot has moved up to be one of my favorite stores lately, and its all because of the Kid's Workshop they do.

This is a FREE workshop where kids go and build things. They do this the first Saturday of every month, so the next one will be on March 7th, and it runs from 9am-12 noon. The suggested age is for kids 5-12 but my son is 3 and we helped him a little but he had a great time.

We went to the February one and made this trinket box.

They provide all the supplies, you provide the kid! You will need to stay with your child because they may need assistance if they are younger, but they are simple...and very cool....building projects. We made this trinket box with our son. They also get a Home Depot orange tool apron to wear with their name on it and when they finish, they get a little tie tack pin with the project picture on it. The next month they come back, they are supposed to wear their apron again and they will get another tie tack pin with the new project picture on it to show that they have finished another workshop. They also get certificates for finishing the projects. It is so great!

All the kids I saw there were having a great time and feeling so proud to wear their little tool apron.

Next month they are making this little raceway for cars.

I think this would be fun for girls or boys, so I hope you will try out one of these workshops. You can check out the information at the Home Depot Web page at

Recipe:Strawberry Cake

My friend Joani made this Strawberry Cake last week for our office and it was almost completely gobbled up in now time. It was so moist and yummy...really spectacular!

Here is how she does it! ( Thanks Joani! )

Strawberry Supreme Cake Mix
Mix according to directions
Wild Strawberry Jello - empty contents of jello packet into the cake batter and stir well

Pour prepared cake batter into a well greased 9x13 pan and bake for about 25 minutes - each oven is different but mine takes about 25 min. on 350 degrees

remove cake from oven and poke holes into the cake - not like a mind field but a few holes here and there

Frozen Strawberry's w/juice - thawed

Pour the thawed strawberry's with juice over the warm cake and refrigerate overnight - then ice with cool whip & Enjoy! Sometimes I garnish with a few fresh strawberries but not really necessary!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Son's Valentines for his class mates

Just thought I would post the Valentines that my son is giving to his friends at school. These are super simple. I let him pick out which stamp he wanted and he picked the doggie stamp. Then he helped me for a while and then lost interest, so I finished them but honestly, it was much easier to do it by myself....but at least he took part in some if it!

I just took a small cellophane bag and put a Valentines fruit roll up and a heart shaped container of bubbles in it, I stapled them in an X with blue staples and then I put a Valentines sticker on the closure.

Here they are all together (click to enlarge)

Here is one up close.

And here is a view from the back.

Happy Valentine's!


Scrapbooking: Using a Dobber

I love to use dobbers and create little shadows around the edges of the things that I make. I only discovered "dobbing" last year at my scrap booking retreat and I use it on practically everything now.

This is a mini scrapbook (its about 5X5 inches) that I made out of small brown lunch sacks. This is for my friend Sheena and her new little boy Kyler.

This is just a chip board "k" that I inked with a Stampin Up chocolate chip brown marker, which is my favorite color these days.

This first shot below is the cover without any dobbing.
This paper is one of Stampin' Ups Designer Series and I cannot remember the name, but I am sure Lindsey will read this and can enlighten us because she just knows all that kind of stuff.

This is a dobber, its this little round thing that is hollow that you can put on your finger, it has a fabric kind of end that you use to dob with.

First thing you do is put the dobber on the ink of a stamp pad. If you want just a little color then just barely tap it, if you want a lot of color, then really pound the thing!

Then you just "dob" the color in the area where you want it. I typically go around the edges of things and make shadows on the edge. It also brings out the edge of the paper which is a nice addition if you are layering your picture mats.

If you want a less visable shadow, then you can pic up the paper and just dob the very edge of the paper.

After dobbing around the entire edge, this is the finished product. I just liked the softness and subtleness of the shadow. Plus, I think it gives it a little more depth.
Then I took another matching sheet of designer paper that was slightly larger and adhered the "k" sheet to it, which really brings out the dobbing more, then I adhered that to the same polka dotted designer paper that I had used before, just slightly larger and dobbed around the edges. The ribbon that is used to close the book is adhered in between the layers of designer papers.

I think it turned out so cute!

Here are 2 of the inside layouts, just to give you some ideas. They are very simple.

I love it when things bleed from one page to the other, so I liked that Kyler's name went onto the next page.

This is what I call a "stats" page. It has lines for you to put the date, weight, etc of the baby. All the important stuff! And a spot for the picture or journaling on the right.

On the same day, I was making another little lunch sack scrapbook for my son's friend Marc. Mark was having a Harley Motorcyle themed birthday party. The "Wanted" part on the cover was taken from the actual invitation. The Invitation talked about the "Notorious Biker Marc" so I used that on the front page as well.

When you use these little lunch sacks, they have natural little pockets for you to use because it would be the opening of the lunch sack. So, I made little pull out pages with tabs for things like who came to the party, what gifts he got, etc.

Here is the page layout, and then to the right there is a tab that you pull out

and it looks like this once you pull it out.

And here are just a couple of the other page layouts to give you some ideas. Below, the truck is a stamp from Stampin Ups Load of Love set and then I just hand drew the Happy Birthday sign.

His Mom told me this was her personal favorite and my husband said she almost cried when she opened it! (Mark, the 3 year old had gotten distracted with another gift so she was opening them for him).
These are great gifts, and they are easy. They do take some time but you can save some money if you already have the supplies around your house.
Happy Scrapping!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The first shoots of the Garden

I hear from Gardeners that this is the best time....when you start gardening and you start to see the shoots coming up!

First we bought these on Saturday, just 4 days ago.

Then we bought some of these....

And we watered the pellets in the tray and added the seeds....

And yesterday when we checked them...we had these!!!!

in this one we have a little red beet coming up too...

It really is that simple....once these grow a few inches, we will move them into the ground!

4 days, pellets, seeds, and watered only once when we first watered the pellets, put the lid on the tray and it makes a little green house....EASY!

Freezer Meals:Basic Lasagna

Another meal you can make with the basic beef recipe for Freezer meals is a basic lasagna.

Basic Beef recipe here


Small container of low fat Ricotta cheese (feel free to use the full fat version or cottage cheese, either work just fine)
2-4 cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese or Italian blend (this just depends on how cheesy you want it and how much you love cheese)
lasagna noodles (I do not pre cook my lasagna noodles, whether I use regular or whole wheat, you just have to make sure you push them down into the sauce but they will cook and soften while you are baking it and you should have no problems.)
Jar of Spaghetti sauce or homemade
1/2 cup to 1 cup of Grated Parmesan or hard Italian Cheese

For this one I just took the portion (1/3 of the above recipe) and added some spaghetti sauce. (You can make your own if you want, I occasionally do but this time I just used the good old jarred stuff).

Then I took an aluminum pan and put down a layering of sauce with beef.

Then added the noodles and both kinds of cheese

And then I just repeat doing that until I am out of stuff.

Pop it in the freezer and you are done! When you want to cook, you can take it from the freezer and defrost it, then cook it for 45 minutes to an hour on 375 or if it is still frozen, you can just cook it longer, but I like it better when I remember to defrost it!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Gardening-Starting Seeds with Peat Pellets


Gardening Season is fast approaching and for some veggies, we are already in the time to plant them. So, check your local gardening resources and see what planting zone you are in and when you need to start! If you are in Texas, he is a map of the zones

I am in if you are too, its time to plant or start thinking about what you want to plant. For instance, you can plant carrots now but tomatoes are not until March 5th!

This past weekend, we went to the garden center and bought some peat pellets. What are peat pellets, you ask? This is what a tray of them look like

You can buy a peat pellets tray of 72 for $6.99 at Home Depot and Wal Mart. It comes with 72 little dirt disc like things and it is a great way to sprout things from a seed. It is a tray about 2 ft by one foot and it has these 6 rows of 12 discs and you water the discs and they puff up to be a little bigger than a ping pong ball.

Then you take 3 seeds and put then in the center of each little pot/disc and you wait to see them grow. Once they grow a few inches (like for peas it will take about a week), then you start taking the tray outside and getting the plants used to the sun. Take them out during the day and bring them in at night. This is called "hardening them off." Then eventually you take each little plant and you just plant the pod with the plant in the ground. Its a way to get the seed growing and sprouting before you put it in the ground.

See, like in the picture, the right is the disc, you add water, plant the seeds, then once it sprouts, you take the whole thing and plant it.

Its a good way to make your own starter plants and can save you some money. You can always try to just put the seeds in the ground, many people have success with that as well. This just provides a little green house environment for the beginning of the plants life.

If more than one seed grows and you have 3 stems, then you just cut off all but the strongest looking one and then plant it.

We did one tray of these this weekend with our little boy and it was fun. We did peas, carrots, beats, basil, and chives. I also bought a starter plant for kale and jalapenos. We plan on buying more and doing a raised bed garden once we get our tax return money back.

So, stay tuned for more!

P.S. I should put out this disclaimer...I am not a Master Gardener...I am not highly skilled in this, I kind of just wing it. I took the Master Gardner lab in college because I needed a one hour science class and I took a Horticulture class....but I have only had one in ground garden and a container garden in my I know enough to be dangerous but not enough to really know anything, so please do not take my word as Gardening Law...because I may say something totally kooky! But I am happy to share whatever knowledge I have and hope to inspire you to plant a tomato plant or something!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Freezer Meal: Saucy Beef Chili

This is another freezer meal made from the PC Basic Beef found here

After dividing up the beef into 3 freezer bags, take one bag and add:

1 can chili beans
1 can tomato paste
1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1.5 cups water
1 pkt (1.48 oz) of chili seasoning mix

When you are ready to eat

Microwave the packet on DEFROST (30% power) for 8-10 minutes or until softened. Pour into skillet and simmer over medium heat.

Finish and Serve:

  • Spoon bowls into chili
  • top with shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, or sour cream

(note from Heather)For an interesting variation, serve on top of chips and top with the above plus pecans and shredded sound weird but its quite good!

Yields 6 servings.

Freezer Meal: Zesty Beef Tacos

This is another freezer meal made from the PC Basic Beef found here

After dividing up the beef into 3 freezer bags, take one bag and add:

1 cup chunky salsa
1 can tomato paste
3/4 cup water
1 pkt (1 oz) of taco seasoning

When you are ready to eat

Microwave the packet on DEFROST (30% power) for 8-10 minutes or until softened. Pour into skillet and simmer over medium heat.

Finish and Serve:

  • Arrange 12 taco shells on a serving plate
  • Fill with beef mixture, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1 cup shredded lettuce, and 2 seeded and diced tomatoes
  • Garnish with snipped fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Yields 6 servings.

Freezer Meals: Easy Beef Stroganoff

This is one of the Pampered Chef meals made with the Basic Beef.

Once you have taken your basic beef recipe found here
and separated it into 3 freezer bags, take one freezer bag and add:

8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup of water
1 tsp. ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

Combine in a large (I used 1 gallon size) resealable freezer plastic bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.

When it is time to eat it:

Microwave packet on DEFROST (30% power) for 8-10 minutes or until softened. Pour into 10 inch skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Finish and Serve:

  • Stir in 8 oz. of sour cream into the beef mixture
  • Cook 1 pound of egg noodles; drain. Toss with 1/4 cup of parsley and 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
  • Spoon Stroganoff over noodles and sprinkle with additional paprika and parley if desired.

Freezer Meals: Basic Beef

This is the base for the Pampered chef Beef Freezer meals. You make up one batch of this and then you divide it into 3 freezer bags, then add the other ingredients for the recipe.

PC Basic Beef
3 pounds of ground beef
3 onions chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced or through a garlic press

Place chopped onions in a non stick pan and cook them until they start to get translucent and slightly brown around the edges. If you don't have a non stick pan, just spray the pan with Pam or use a little butter or oil. Then add the ground beef and garlic and cook until browned all the way through.

Divide the mixture into 3 different freezer bags and prepare as the other recipe directs.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A day off from work to work on the house

The weather here in Texas has been absolutely beautiful this week, cool at night in the 30-40s and in the 70s during the day. While I like for it to be cold during the winter, after spending 10 days in ice and snow for Christmas, I remember why I live in Texas and love the approach of Spring. Now mind you, it may decide to be cold again and we could have a Winter Mix visit us and it drop to the teens in just a matter of hours...but for now, I will just love this weather!

Yesterday I was off from work to work at home. I like to move things around and rearrange furniture in my house. I like the change and I like to look at things from new perspectives and use things/furniture for a different purpose that their original purpose. Most of the time, to do this, I have to make a huge mess....and I did....but I am hopefully more than half way to finished and should finish and have a clean house tomorrow. Our bedroom has been really messy...and while busy schedules can accommodate for some of that, I always figure that if I have a hard time keeping something organized and tidy, then I probably do not have it organized or set up in the most efficient manner. Hence, reorganizing the bedroom. So far, I like the furniture rearrangement and we will see how it all looks once I get stuff where it needs to go. Its a process...but one that I enjoy and they say your bedroom should be a we will see if that is how I feel once I am done!

I also went to a class on gardening! I am still a novice gardener, but I am excited about this growing season and getting started. I hope that our tax return will give us enough money to put in some raised beds and plant us some veggies. So, I will share my gardening tips with you as I take on that endeavor....see, the view is always changing around here! I do believe that there is something beautiful about growing your own food...its such an accomplishment and yummy and cost effective and all that! It also makes you feel a little more self reliant.

My sisters and I had to postpone our "cook 'till you drop" marathon making our freezer meals yesterday, but since I already had some of the stuff, I went ahead and tried out some recipes. I made the ones from Pampered Chef using ground beef. I made the basic ground beef recipes and then from that you have your choice of 6 meals to make. The basic ground beef makes enough for 3 meals. All the basic recipe is 3 pounds of ground beef, 3 onions chopped, and 3 cloves of garlic minced or garlic pressed. Brown all that together and then you separate it into 3 freezer bags and then add the other ingredients for each recipe. I will be sharing all those recipes with you shortly! It was so simple, in about an hour, I had made 3 of the Pampered Chef ground beef recipes and bagged them I made extra for a lasagna and layered that up and washed and cut up my vegetables while the meet was browning. So, in about an hour, I had 4 meals and easy prep for the rest of the week! Wahoo to that!

So, have a great Friday and a beautiful weekend! Stay tuned for the freezer recipes!

Who loves ya? I do!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Recipe: Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

Can you tell I have been trying out lots of recipes? I swear I will post some crafts or other things here sometime soon as I get out of the kitchen! (Which may be never with all the dishes I keep dirty-ing when I test these recipes!) Tomorrow I am off work and will be doing my freezer meals and possibly some pre-Spring cleaning!

I made this recipe last night for dinner and it was so easy and so good...the perfect combination! I have never made really good pork chops. My mom did not make them much, if at all, when I was little. My room mate, Jubilee, in college made them one time and I remember thinking they were really good, but I have never been able to make a really good chop...until last night!

The recipe is from Giada De Laurentis on Food Network. I love the crusty Parmesan crust. I actually used Panko bread crumbs when I made it and just mixed in some Italian Seasonings because I had those on hand.

I threw on some instant potatoes and added some Mrs. Dash and a little Parmesan and had a lovely meal with an awesome fruit smoothie.

Then...are you ready? I worked out! Wahoo! I am so glad that my husband found my shoes! You know where they were??? In his backpack!?!?! They must have been put in there at some time on our trip and he had not looked in it...he also found his pants that he had wondered where they were. It pays to unpack right away darlin'! :)

2 large eggs
1 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
4 (1/2 to 3/4-inch thick) center-cut pork loin chops (each about 10 to 12 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon wedges, for serving

Whisk the eggs in a pie plate to blend. Place the bread crumbs in another pie plate. Place the cheese in a third pie plate. Sprinkle the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere. Dip the chops into the eggs, then coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops, in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown and the center reaches 150 degrees, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009



Here are the recipes for the smoothies that we made at the Smoothie Class the other day by my friend Kali. She did such a great job and I have been truly inspired and have made a smoothie every day since then and really feel great! Enjoy! And share your fav smoothie recipe if you have one!

The handout from Kali:

Mix and Match- once you get used to adding vegetables in your smoothies you really can’t go wrong, you just more fruit or sweetener if it’s not coming together.

Add in the following order:
(Contrary to the infomercials out there, you do not need a fancy blender or juicer to make these smoothies, but I have found that putting things in a certain order can help if you have a standard low-end blender like mine (Oster). I have no experience using hand held blenders, let me know if you try it.)

#1.Banana (fresh or frozen)-Essential for getting everything else down! Provides your sweetness and creaminess. Use fresh for normal consistency or frozen to make your smoothie very thick (almost like a sorbet)

#2.Vegetable (fresh and RAW): pick one--

-Baby Spinach: A great place to start. Baby spinach adds very little taste but lots of nutrition. Regular fresh spinach is fine but can add a little more bitter taste especially if its getting old. I haven’t personally used frozen chopped spinach, although some people have made it work (use a lot less since its much more condensed)

-Kale: A real superfood – like Spinach on steroids. The fact that this can even be consumed in its raw, most nutritious state is miraculous – and delicious!

-Carrots: Carrot juice is always sweet and delicious – making it into a smoothie just gives you more fiber and nutrients. You may want to blend it a little longer for texture reasons (otherwise it is like drinking applesauce).

-Beets: Another super super food. No need to cook or peel, just scrub and chunk. I find 1/3 beet adds a good amount of color/nutrition without totally overpowering the fruit. Beautiful red/pink color for your little girls.

#3.Fruit (usually frozen): pick a few

Berries: Any kind and combination. Darker (blueberries, blackberries) are more healthy and hide the green colors. Strawberries and Raspberries are standard, people (kid) pleasing. I most often use the bags of frozen berry blends.

Mango: A very nice addition to any smoothie – right up there with Bananas. Very nice fresh, but frozen is very convenient.

Peaches: Nice undertone, but “peachy” taste is very hard to pull out unless you really pump it up with white grape/peach juice and peach yogurt

Pineapple: Common green smoothie sweetener

Mixes/Melons: I know these can be great, I’m not a huge melon fan so I haven’t played around as much with these.

Crisper drawer produce. Apples – I’ve seen green apples used a lot for fresh/tart additions as well as the juice of limes. I assume you can’t go wrong throwing in grapes or pears although I haven’t tried them.

#4. Liquid

-Orange Juice
-100% Clear Fruit (Apple, White Grape, Peach, etc)
-Others – I have no experience with grape juice, V8, lemonade, other things you could try.. let me know if you try something else and like it

If things don’t taste right or you want to add additional things consider the following:

-Ice--The more intense the vegetable is (read: Kale and Beets) the more important it is that the smoothie is cold and thinned (not so fibrous) – start with 1-2 ice cubes
-Mix-ins – obviously there are dozens of things you can mix in for added health benefits, these are some I’ve experimented with.
-Parsley – a little sprig can add more fresh green taste.
-Cilantro – some studies suggest it’s a mood elevator (anxiolytic), it has a unique taste which some people love and others despise.
-Flaxseed – Contains high amounts of lignans, Omega 3 fatty acids, fiber to benefit heart, diabetes and anti-cancer (make sure you grind it up or it doesn't do any good!)
-Coconut Oil – A “good cholesterol” fat used as an energy boost in energy bars, Asian cooking
-Yogurt- adds creaminess, and plain adds tartness

-Honey – 1 tsp goes a long way
-Agave Nectar – low glycemic index (although high in fructose) an alternative to honey – a little sweeter and dissolves quickly in liquids
-Sweetened yogurts

Tried and True combinations

Kali’s all-time favorite:
Flaxseed, 1 Banana, 1 handful of baby spinach, 1 handful of frozen berry blend, 2-3 peaches, 2-3 mango pieces, Orange Juice.

Traditional Green Smoothie:
2 Bananas, ice, Kale, 2-3 pieces pineapple or mango, water

Carrot Juice:
Banana (optional), Handful of baby Carrots, Frozen Strawberries, Apple or white grape juice

Beautiful Beet:
Banana, ice, 1/3 raw beet, 1 handful frozen berry blend, apple or white grape juice

Refreshing Cilantro:
Banana, Pink Grapefruit, Spinach, Cucumber, Lime, Cinnamon, Agave

Monday, February 2, 2009

New Look and Freezer Meals

Hello again,

As you may have noticed, I have changed the background on the blog. Lindsey told me she was having a hard time reading it with the other background, so I hope this one is better. Please let me know, I don't want to strain any one's eyes! I try to keep the background seasonal, so it will change periodically anyway.

Also, I am working on a compilation of recipes for freezer meals. My sisters and I are getting together this week to make a bunch of freezer meals together. We plan on making 7 meals for each of us. Our plans are Italian Lasagna, Smoky Black Bean Chicken Wraps, Chicken Alfredo Lasagna, Zesty Beef Tacos, Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Fajitas, and Saucy Beef Chili. Plus, we also will make homemade spaghetti sauce and wheat bread. We are compiling the lists for what each person will bring and I will post everything once we get it all compiled and will let you know the best coarse of action to take.

If you are considering getting together a group to make freezer meals, here is a list of questions to ask the group before you get started to see how everyone wants to do it. This list was compiled by Holly in my ward and they used it as a guide for their group.

1 - How much freezer space do each of us have available?
2 - How many meals will we each prepare? 6? 12?
3 - Will we do only frozen main dishes or sides as well?
4 - Do we want to assemble meals beforehand so our get together is mainly a swap? Or do we want to assemble meals during our get together?
5 - How often will we do the swap? Once/twice a month?
6 - Do we want to bring treats or have a luncheon when we do the meal swap? (This is nice to keep a social aspect to the group)
7 - How can we keep the cost balanced between all of us? Maybe it will just even itself out in the end?
8 - Are there food allergies/dislikes (onions, mushrooms, etc.) to be considered?
9 - And of course... decide which meals we'll be making, how many servings, packaging, and a date/time for the actual meal swap (1 to 2 weeks after the planning)

We planned out meals tonight on a conference call. (2 of us have 3 way calling, so we each call one other and get all 4 on the line.) We discussed meals and amounts and now Lindsey and I are compiling the recipes into one huge list so we can divey out the items to purchase. Once we get that done, we are meeting at one of our houses and making them all, so we will all leave with 7 freezer meals, 2 bags of spaghetti sauce, and 2 loaves of bread. I will keep you posted and give advice later on in the week as we accomplish this!

P.S. I found my running shoes...hallelujah! So, another high heels workout coming soon!

Variations on the breadsticks

Happy Monday to all...I hope we all have a great week and that something beautiful happens to everyone!

(And CONGRATULATIONS to my friend Jenn who just had her baby Corynn yesterday! Another red head!)

I experimented with the bread sticks recipe I posted here

and came up with some other variations and goes...

  • My friend Suzanne told me she made them and substituted half of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour and they were still very yeah for whole wheat!
  • Pigs in a blanket-I used the same recipe in the link but I rolled out the dough and cut little rectangles, about 1 inch by 2.5 inches and placed a little mound of shredded cheddar in the middle and then rolled up a little smokey in the dough. I took the cookie sheet and melted about 2 tablespoons of butter (instead of the whole stick) on the cookie sheet and then put all the little rolls on the cookie sheet and baked it for about 20-25 minutes. If you want them to brown, you will probably want o brush some melted butter on top of each. I did not sprinkle anything on top of them. They were the best pigs in a blanket I have ever had.
  • Pizza rolls- For this I used the same recipe in the link but I cut them into triangles and pressed into the triangles some mozzarella cheese and then tore up pieces of turkey peperoni and placed them on the cheese, I then took the corners and brought them together in a little pouch. I put them on a cookie sheet with 2 tablespoons of melted butter on it and then brushed with butter and sprinkled the top with mozzarella cheese. These were also great and could be served with ranch dressing and tomato sauce for dipping.

Beautiful Basics

Life is about a journey, and you are the only one who can make yours... So, embrace life: the good, the bad, and the is the only one you've got.

Here's to being Beautiful, inside and out!