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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Mexican Inspired Chicken

I just made a really yummy (if I do say so myself) impromptu dinner. I went to volunteer at my kids school’s Farm To Table Lunch Program. A very cool program in which the kids enjoy a healthy lunch made by a group of volunteer moms (headed by a professional chef), that includes some ingredients actually grown by the students. Today I was inspired by a chicken marinade we created. I took my own spin on some of the ingredients and added some sides that came together really nicely. This was a really good way to use up extra cilantro, parsley, basil from my CSA share (Community Supported Agriculture) that did not have many more good days left in my fridge.

Here’s what I did-

Ingredients-

boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 TBL olive oil

2 TBL balsamic vinegar

parsley, cilantro, basil, chives (can really use any mixture of fresh herbs)

2-3 cloves garlic

2-3 TBL parmesan cheese

vegetable broth- enough to thin marinade

salt (to taste)

I put the garlic and the roughly chopped herbs in the blender, pulsed with balsamic, olive oil, parmesan cheese and added veggie broth to thin a bit. Put chicken in a ziplock bag with marinade and refrigerate a few hours. I then baked mine at 375 until cooked through and browned, but I think grilling would also work nicely. A word of warning the marinade is very green, like a pesto, but its super yummy!

I served it with a homemade guacamole, black beans, brown rice and fresh salsa. The sides really seemed to be a good combination and good even be served with some warm tortillas.

Bon appetit!

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Halloween is Scary-Treats are Not!

Good morning! Here is the latest from my junior activist,Kyle. I’m hoping that the powers that be at our school see and hear what these young people are saying. I feel there is middle ground to compromise on. I hoping as an educational institution, we can use this opportunity to teach our children and educate them on responsible choices and moderation.

When my children were babies, I once read an article from a parenting “expert” on limiting the times they you say “no” to your children. Now this is not about being overly permissive, indulgent and allowing them to do whatever they want. Rather, it is about teaching them choice and alternative and consequence to their actions. When possible I tried to limit the word “no” so that I could teach them what they could do instead of always telling them what they couldnt do. because in reality, does any of us want to be told “no” all the time?? Of course the word “no” has its place in parenting, but as we’ve raised these intelligent, thoughtful, reflective and inquisitive kids that have been taught to stand up for what they believe in and whats right, i think we should give them the opportunity, within guidelines and framework, to solve this problem. Maybe a class on nutrition would be good, teaching the kids how to read labels, count fat, sodium, teaching them the benefits of exercise and movement. Instead of saying no, no, no, lets tell them what they can do and how to go about it with an informed decision-making process.

What do you think? Do you support the kids???

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Healthy Pumpkin Bread

Healthy Pumpkin Bread.

Healthy Pumpkin Bread

It’s officially autumn and that means I’m baking a lot with one of my favorite ingredients…pumpkin! The house right now smells warm, inviting and full of pumpkin cinnamony yumminess! I’ve created a low-fat, healthy pumpkin bread recipe that I’ll share today, because after all recipes are meant to be shared aren’t they?!

In the picture below, you’ll see some great ceramic mini loaf pans I found at Michael’s for $1!!! Such a cute an inexpensive presentation for quick bread gift giving.

Healthy Pumpkin Bread

1 whole egg and 3 egg whites

1 regular can of pumpkin

1/3 cup of water

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (replaces oil)

1/3 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt (replaces oil)

1 cup of sugar

1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 generous tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

To add some extra yumminess, add mini chocolate chips, dried cranberries, raisins, etc

Beat egg and egg whites, add pumpkin, water, applesauce, yogurt, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients together and add slowly. Spray pans with non-stick cooking spray, makes 2 large loaves. Bake large loaves for approximately one hour at 350 degrees or until there is no gooiness on the top of the loaf.

If you’re into counting “points” and you make 2 large loaves of this bread and cut each loaf into 12 pieces, each piece is worth 3 points (with no add-ins)! More on that later…

Enjoy!

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S.O.S. (Save our Sweets)

Recently, my children’s grade school has tightened the reins on their “wellness policy.” This doesn’t really sit well with me and it especially doesn’t sit well with my 4 kids! The policy is a very vague as to what is or is not healthy and gives a few suggestions, such as fruit or cheese and crackers, and then refers parents to consult with the administration if they are unsure what to send in. Recently, some very well-intentioned muffins were sent home from the monthly birthday celebration. This is what got my 2nd oldest child started, as well as quite a few other parents and theor children.  My son seems to be our little activist lately, creating signs, gathering signatures and trying to garner support for his cause. I fully support him and his right to express himself as well as quite a few other parents and their children peacefully and respectfully; as long as he’s not tardy for school!

This is my stance on the subject..I’m all about healthy eating, it’s actually a huge focus in my household, ask my kids they have more than their fair share of swiss chard, whole wheat this and whole grain that!  But as far as the school stance goes, I am hoping and still remain optimistic that some common ground can be reached, that we teach our children about HOW to make healthy choices and HOW to exercise control and practice moderation. I believe school should be somewhat fun, is that too much to ask?!?!? I mean they are there all day, let’s make their birthday celebration somewhat enjoyable. And yes, IMO, food does play an integral part in birthday celebrations, any celebration for that matter. Food brings people together, it’s something we share and can enjoy socially. Let’s let the children enjoy and feel special about their birthdays, let’s celebrate their childhood and let them feel proud and empower them as to how to decide what is best for them. If we actually teach them about healthy foods and choices, they might actually surprise us and make great choices on their own :)  As a school that focusses on the environment and healthy lifestyles, I would really like to see this become a teachable moment for the children. Let’s teach the kids how to read labels and recipes, how to decide if they have had enough sweets for the day, how much exercise they’ve had for they day and maybe if they should decide to move a little bit more…how to make recipe substitutions for more healthy ingredients, etc. It’s not too early, they are sponges, they need to learn this stuff! My oldest, who is now in high school sees first hand kids who are given their first shot at making food choices in a cafeteria full of foods-some healthy and many that are not. Many kids have no idea as to how to pick a well-balanced meal, read labels or make choices as to what their bodies really need. Most end up with soda, cookies, fries and candy bars. Given some information about what their bodies need to perform academically and physically in their various sports, maybe more would choose the salad bar or whole grain sandwiches and fruit??

I’d love to hear what you think about this??! Let’s chat :)

What to make for dinner???

What should I make for dinner?! The never-ending question…It’s been a crazy weekend around here, with Jeff traveling and my kids going in a hundred different directions, I want to make something healthy, but quick at the same time. I have a beautiful eggplant in my fridge that is still in its prime so im thinking something around the eggplant is what I’ll make :) I’ve got basil, lovely fresh lettuce, garlic and some shallots…so a pasta dish im thinking….. After perusing some web-sites, I came up with “Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta” from the Eating Well Magazine site. I’m excited to try my take on this recipe because I just happened to subscribe to this magazine last week! I havent received my first copy yet, but im anxious to see what it’s all about and how the recipes are.

I’m always asked about where I find my recipes, I definitely have my favorite sources..I read a lot of cooking magazines (Cooking Light and Everyday Food by Martha Stewart are a couple of favorites) I scour websites, buy cookbooks and exchange with friends, both online and in-person. Ive really been into healthy cooking the last year. Pinterest has been a great source and Weight Watches Magazine another for some healthy options and modifications. With 4 kids,  I spend a lot of time in the orthodontist, dentist and doctors offices…my latest recipe source is taking pictures with my beloved iPhone and saving for later. For the record..I am not ripping out of the doctors magazines! Although when desperate have been known to do that too :)

Off  transport another child, then I will deal with my eggplant :)

Review: It was good, a nice dish to use up a lot of produce and/or if you are trying to go meatless! The feta was a nice addition, a change from my usualy parmesan.

Bon Appetit!

Snack Mom Today!

Snack Mom Today!

Rice Krispie Treats in school colors for my daughters high school group today…

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