Category Archives: Yummy!

New Year…New Me? Today’s Healthy Menu

I woke up this morning from a holiday food coma and felt inspired to start 2016 on a healthy note. I felt the need to “detox.”

I refuse to jump on a diet fad and eat artificial and chemical-ridden packaged diet food…not that I haven’t tried. I also have very little success with diets requiring that I eliminate something I enjoy from my diet, such as carbs or fat.

This year (or perhaps more accurately, this week) I’m going to surround my family and myself with super foods and make every effort to choose these super foods throughout the day. Here’s Day 1:

Daily Smoothie Juice

I started seeing a new internist a month ago. When I asked her what kind of daily supplement I should be taking, she said she’d rather I eat my nutrients. She said I should start every day by drinking this particular juice made in the blender rather than the juicer, so I drink all the fiber from the ingredients.

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Fill half the blender with dark greens (e.g., spinach, kale, chard).  Add a handful of blueberries, an apple (cored, not peeled), and an inch-long piece of ginger.  Throw in a few ice cubes (to make this concoction tolerable) and pour some water in the blender to get it moving.  Puree until smooth.  Don’t strain!  It’s actually quite yummy.

Breakfast: Chia Seed Pudding

This was way outside the box for me. I saw it in Giada DeLaurentis’ new book, Giada’s Feel Good Food, and thought it looked tasty. I expected it to be super-weird and gross, but I LOVE it! It’s like a healthy and crunchy version of tapioca pudding.

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Lunch: Light Waldorf Chicken Salad

Inspired by Giada’s Updated Waldorf Salad with Apple Vinaigrette from the same book, Giada’s Feel Good Food, this recipe eliminates the mayo in the traditional Waldorf Salad. Hers doesn’t have chicken, which means it’s a side salad in my opinion. Still, the vinaigrette is so flavorful, I never missed the mayo. I didn’t have grapes and I added chicken, celery and lentils.

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Dinner: Chicken Tacos…Sans Tacos

This is a regular go-to meal that I make with ground turkey, but when I made chicken for the salad, I made extra and threw it in the mix instead. I only used one chicken breast for two adults and one child! I made up for the meat with beans, corn, and peppers. We eat this with blue corn tortilla chips, so if we control ourselves with the chips, it’s very healthy and low-cal.

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In a large skillet, heat a bag of frozen sliced peppers, 1/4 cup of frozen chopped onions, half a bag of frozen corn, and a can of black beans. Chop up the chicken breast and add to the mix. Sprinkle in the following taco seasoning mix.

  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp corn starch or arrow root
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp oregano

Add 1/4 cup of water, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Day 1 of healthy eating was a success. I have to enjoy what I eat, but if I remind myself that food is fuel, maybe I can continue to make healthy choices. Wish me luck!

Long Island Apple and Pumpkin Picking at Harbes Farm

Today, we  truly had the best Fall visit to the pumpkin patch and orchard at Harbes Farm in Riverhead, Long Island. Despite the fact that it’s a beautiful Saturday during Columbus weekend, we had a fun and stress-less trip at Harbes.

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Harbes is Huge

We only visited the Riverhead location (there also are Harbes locations in  Mattituck and Jamesport). Here, we were able to do every single Fall activity on our list.

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We were disappointed with ourselves for arriving a half hour after it opened (at 10:30), but, with so many attractions,we had no problem with crowds. By what felt like a miracle, there still was plenty of parking when we arrived, and the lines didn’t appear until about 1 p.m.

At Harbes, there are enough activities to fill the day, all without a bouncy castle in sight!

Apple Picking

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Pay by the person ($8); each person gets a bag to fill. There are 24 varieties of apples in 15 acres, so there are plenty to pick. This was such a memorable experience for the kids.

Pumpkin Picking

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Pick your pumpkins off the vine and find all shapes sizes colors and varieties in the 4-acre patch.

Wine Tasting

What? Taste and purchase wine produced at the Harbes farm by the glass or bottle. This is an unusual but delightful little perk that makes a trip to the farm a fun adult activity.

Candle Making

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Dozens of different scented wax powders are lined up to guests to use to customize their own candles. My kids made their own and they’re so proud of their creations.

Apple Cider Donuts

Holy mole, these are the most amazing donuts I’ve ever tasted. Don’t bother with sticky messy candied apples. Have a donut and a roasted corn cob, and you’ll be good until dinner. It hit the spot for us!

Hayride

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Must do. Nice and quick so the line wasnever too long.

Robin Hood Corn Maze

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Adventure through the corn maze and even grab equipment in the maze to help Robin Hood defeat the Sheriff’s Companion.  At night there’s a Spooky Maze that sounds like a blast.

I’m so glad to have found a one-stop farm for Fall activities. Where do you go to pick your pumpkins?

What to eat when you have morning sickness

Many pregnant women experience “morning sickness,” but for many, the sickness lasts all day long.  For most of my first trimester, I experienced intense nausea during most waking moments of the day.  It usually occurs between the 6th and 12th weeks, but can last even longer.  Some remedies, like ginger tea and vitamin B6 may help the nausea sufferer, but I found that the best way to deal with it was to manage my entire diet.

I found it helpful to eat small meals frequently, so it was important to have easy options requiring little to no preparation.  A variety of options were necessary because as soon as I would find a great food that made me feel good, I quickly developed a repulsion for it.  It was just cruel.  Also, my nausea was paired with heartburn. Ideal foods for me were high in protein and fiber (to keep me full longer) and low acid.

Skip acidic foods (tomatoes/tomato sauce, pizza and citrus) and fried foods.

 

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My favorite filling meals/snacks:

  • oatmeal
  • yogurt
  • granola
  • Kind bars
  • nuts
  • salad
  • chicken
  • cheese

Fresh fruits and vegetables. But skip the citrus.

  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • mango
  • watermelon
  • cantaloupe
  • honey dew
  • carrots
  • celery

 

5 Ways to Make an Easier Lunch Salad #saladideas

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I enjoy a good salad and know I should eat them more often. So, why don’t I? My biggest obstacle to making a healthy salad is preparation. Fresh ingredients require some planning and preparation, and I seldom have the time to put them together to make a healthy and filling salad. I came up with some tips that help me to have all the necessary ingredients ready to throw together lunch in a flash.

1. Cut and wash vegetables in bulk.

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Cut enough lettuce for a few salads and leave it all in the salad spinner after washing it. Keep it in the fridge and grab a bowl full when you’re ready to make a salad. Also, wash and chop extra veggies that will keep well (carrots, celery, cucumbers, etc.) and keep them in the fridge too.

2. Cook proteins in bulk

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I don’t see the point in eating a salad without a hearty protein unless it’s a side salad. I’ll never feel full with only roughage. My favorite salad protein add-ins are grilled chicken, egg whites, and steak. I suppose some people put beans in their salads, but haven’t taken a liking to that. Problem: all these require cooking. So grill up triple and keep them in the fridge to have a few days of salad proteins on hand.

3…Or Use Leftovers

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Save that last lonely burger for tomorrow’s salad or triple the meat in your dinner recipe so you can use it in your salads. I even make extra chicken nuggets for my salads when it’s dinner for the kids.

4. Use healthy pantry items
Keep on hand some favorite non-perishable salad add-ins so it’s not just another boring lettuce-and-chicken salad. My favorite pantry salad add-ins are sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, hearts of palm, olives, and pre-packaged beets.

5. Learn how to make dressing
Have you ever made yourself a salad, then reached for the dressing on the door (that you haven’t used in quite a long time, evidently) and found that it’s expired? I have many times. My advice is to learn how to make your favorite dressing so you’re never stuck without it. My favorite is a balsamic vinaigrette that I don’t even mix ahead. Instead, I splash the ingredients on top of the salad and toss.

Quick Balsamic Vinaigrette

Splash of blasamic
Splash of my best olive oil
Dash of garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Healthy Detox #Smoothie #Recipe @FoodBabe

I found a fresh and healthy smoothie recipe on FoodBabe.com and tried it out.  Strawberries and blueberries make it sweet and ginger and greens make it fresh.  Her recipe was a bit raw and bitter for me, so I jazzed it up by heavy-handing the fruit.  Now I’m obsessed.

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The recipe contains hemp protein powder made by Nutiva.

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Hemp protein is a great substitute for whey protein, which can be rough on the digestive system.  I found that the hemp protein thickens the smoothie and doesn’t overpower the other ingredients, as long as I didn’t add more than three tablespoons.

What’s your favorite detox smoothie recipe?

Summer Birthdays

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I just finished packing up the cupcakes I made for my son’s birthday celebration in kindergarten today. His real birthday is in July, but each student with a summer birthday gets to celebrate like everyone else during snack time on one’s own day in June. Hmm. I’m feeling a little bitter.

Ok, I know it was ages ago, but my birthday is in August and I NEVER celebrated my birthday at school! One exception: my friends decorated my locker and bought me my favorite candy (sour watermelons) one day before the end of year in middle school. I remember it vividly because I felt that special feeling of importance that a kid has when she’s the center of attention.

Clearly, my lack of a birthday celebration in school didn’t scar me for life.  And I’m not really bitter, nor do I disagree with giving each student a special day just like the rest of the kids. I’m so glad my summer baby will have his special day today. He’s so excited for it!

Oh, and check out my picture!  I used a J. Crew box to hold the cupcakes.  It was perfect because of it’s deep height.  Then, to separate the chocolate and vanilla and secure the cupcakes in their positions, I put an empty paper towel roll in between them.  A genius diy hack, totally by accident!  Score!

Dinner tonight: First Barbecue

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We inherited a grill at our new house, and I’ve been dying to try it out since January!  I finally grilled dinner for the first time (without my father-in-law’s help) tonight.  Sliders, dogs, and corn on the cob were on the menu.

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Our grill is a Weber gas grill.  Beyond that, I have no idea.  Oh, I bought replacement grates to cook on, just to be safe. Probably wasn’t necessary.  My father-in-law taught me all the safety and grilling basics that I needed to know in order to fly solo today.  It was all totally yummy!

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Oh, and I can’t forget the S’MORES!  We used those massive jumbo ones, and this is what they look like.


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I think I found something healthy at McDonald’s!

Yesterday was our first day of the season at the beach.  This usually means a lot of preparation, a little anxiety, and an exhausting amount of fun.

…And then I have to figure out dinner. With nothing at home and restaurants closed for Memorial Day, my husband suggested McDonald’s.  “Haven’t you read the disturbing facts?” I ask.  Pink slime and chemically fortified fries that never go bad.  “I want a salad!”

I put up a little fight, then realized I was so hungry I could eat 20 pink slime nuggets, no prob.  So I looked up the menu on my phone to see the salads.  I think I found a great choice!

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I had the Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken.  I asked for no shredded cheese to cut calories and because I don’t love cheese on my salads.  The dressing comes on the side, so I didn’t use the whole Newman’s Own packet. Therefore, the calorie count was no more than 360!  And I was totally satisfied!  (Full disclosure: I had a few of my husband’s fries, too.)  It was so yummy too, with corn, black beans, little jalapeño bits and crunchy tortilla strips.

I was not compensated for this post and I didn’t get anything free.

 

M&M Pancakes

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My kids’ favorite weekend pancake recipe has evolved from various recipes I’ve read. I feel good about making them because I know exactly the quality of the ingredients I put in them, including the sneaky sweet potato puree! My son always helps me, which is not only fun, but educational; over time, he’s learned about measurement and fractions. These pancakes seem like a treat because I put 1-2 chocolate chips or M&Ms in each pancake and serve them as is, without syrup. Today, I made them with Unreal candy coated chocolates.

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Dry Ingredients

  • 3/4 c white flour
  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 oz jar sweet potato baby food (optional)
  • 2 tbs honey

Non-stick spray or butter

1/2 cup chocolate chips or candies

Wait for the bubbles before you flip!
Wait for the bubbles before you flip!

In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients gradually, breaking up any lumps. Fire up the griddle to medium and grease it with non-stick spray or butter. When the griddle is hot, pour the mix into 2 inch circles for “silver dollars.” I use the Tovolo Pancake Pen to dispense the mix because it’s so easy and clean. When the edges begin to cook and bubbles appear on the pancakes, flip them. Makes about 26 silver dollars. Serve warm and as is!