Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A compromise - no bake chocolate rice crispy treats

So a few weeks ago my sister-in-law and her six boys came to visit for a week and a half. Yes, I said six boys. And you know what? It was awesome! We used paper plates the whole time (sorry Earth), My SIL and her boys did my dishes the whole time (my kitchen has never been so consistently clean) and the younger boys played with my girls the whole time. I actually had more free time because they took over all my jobs for me. It was awesome. Plus they are a really fun family so it was great. I was a little nervous about what to feed them. I made them some of my vegan recipes and I got thumbs up on most of them. The one issue we had was the lack of sweets in my house. One of my nephews ( I won't name names) was convinced he was having headaches from sugar withdrawals. It's called detox, buddy!!  :) At one point they were skyping with some of their other cousins and one of my nephews shouted out (kind of in a panicky, help me voice) "They have no sugar here!!!"

But I did make them sweets. I am not totally mean. I made them fudge balls and chocolate smoothies and this recipe from Greensmoothie girl:

No Bake Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

1 cup almond butter, peanut butter, or sunflower seed butter ( I usually use peanut butter)
1/2 cup raw honey or agave
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt
6 cups puffed brown rice ( can find at health food stores)

Cream together wet ingredients in large bowl by hand. Add flaxseed, cocoa, salt and blend. Add crisped rice and stir until evenly mixed.

Spread onto greased (with coconut oil) 9x13 pan. Then put in freezer for at least 30minutes. Cut into squares.

** This recipe is a compromise recipe to me because I really only want to use dates for sweeteners but sometimes my girls want more so I make these. I have also been known to let thme eat this as cereal in the mornings. Sometimes...Not all the time...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sprout Love

I'm back... (Cue screaming) So I have been kind of dead to the Internet lately. We had family visiting from out of town (more on that later) and I just didn't feel like I would be a great hostess if I was on the computer a ton doing my blog. So that is my excuse. But I really don't feel like I need excuses. I mean I will blog when I feel like it, okay??? If I sound a little bit snippy it is because my husband is out of town and I get kind of grouchy when he is gone. Yet another excuse. ANYWAY...

The good news is I finally started using my sprouter that my wonderful sister-in-law bought me a couple of years ago. Remember the one that has been sitting on my counter for forever?? Anyhow, wouldn't you know it, it really isn't that hard to sprout. So we can just add sprouting to my list of easy things that I needlessly procrastinate doing.

So here is the low down on sprouting... You can sprout seeds, nuts, legumes, beans, etc... Just soak what you want to sprout overnight in filtered water. I just did it in a regular bowl. The next day drain and rinse them using a fine mesh strainer. Then if you have a sprouter (which I suggest getting) you just lay them out on the tray and rinse them morning and night for a few days until they have nice long sprouts. Different things take different times to sprout. You can find this information in your sprouting kit instructions or online.

I have this sprouter,

which I recommend for a couple of reasons. 1. It's the only one I have ever used. 2. The tray drains easily with it's built in holes and then when you are done sprouting you can just stick the tray in the fridge with the lid on and they will keep for a while that way.

You can stick the sprouts in salads, wraps, and even smoothies. A loves them so much she just eats them plain. But she is a little weird. I mean that kid inhales salads.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Weigh in, keeping track, and sweet potato fries

So I weighed myself this morning and I lost 3 pounds last week. I am very happy. So far I have lost 14 pounds. I am almost to my goal weight but I would like to go even lower. We'll see. It is kind of boring to talk about my weight so much so  I will stop.

So last week I kind of threw out the challenge of keeping a food journal. Did anyone do it? I did, although not faithfully the whole week. But I will tell you, keeping a journal really keeps you honest with yourself and helps you to realize a lot of things about your eating patterns.

So here is a sample of one of my days last week. I could do the whole week but that would be boring and long to type and I am a bit lazy. So there you have it.

Friday May 6 I ate:
Breakfast - oatmeal with almond milk and a banana
Lunch - Green smoothie, green salad with hard boiled egg
Dinner - stuffed grape leaves, Caesar salad, and some kale chips

 As I was looking back at my journal I realized that I actually didn't do a great job keeping track all week. So I am going to renew my efforts this week. and I renew my challenge to you: keep a food journal for one day. You can do it!!

Anyhow here is a yummy and easy recipe:

Sweet Potato Fries

5 - 6 sweet potatoes, sliced like fries
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp sea salt

Put the oil and salt in a large zip lock bag and mix up. Then dump in sliced fries and mix up with the oil. Bake on a oiled cookie sheet at 425 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes. Flipping once during cooking time. You might want to cook them longer if you like them really crispy.

* The coconut oil is really yummy with these!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Variation on a Theme: Oats for breakfast

I eat some form of oats almost every morning for breakfast. Boring, you say? Easy, I say. Breakfast is the one meal of the day I don't have to put too much thoughtinto (not to mention time.) And oats are great for you. So here are 3 ways we do oats at our house.

1. Rolled oats - or old fashioned oats. You can get these at any store. Don't get quick oats - they are even more processed. You can do these on the stove top or just microwave an individual serving. I think a key to good tasting oatmeal is putting in a bit of sea salt.

2. Steel cut oats - even less processed than rolled oats. You can get these at most stores. I think it is more cost effective to get from the bulk bins. We do these on the stove top. The proportions are 1 cup oats to 2 cups water. Add water and oats  and a few dashes of sea salt to a pot. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat. Cover the pot and leave it on the burner. Let sit for about 20 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed.

3. Raw Oat Groats - the least processed. We get these in the bulk section of the health food store. Soak these over night. In the morning rinse them in a fine mesh strainer. Here is the recipe:

1 cup oat goats
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup pitted dates
few dashes of sea slat.


All of these taste great with almond milk and whatever else you like. But try not to add any other sweeteners. Oats taste great with bananas, strawberries, blueberries, flax meal, nuts, cinnamon, etc...

Monday, May 9, 2011

contest winner and strawberry and date vinaigrette

And the winner is ... Toni!Way to go girls. I am glad you guys found a way to fit in your exercise. There weren't a ton of entries so this tells me a couple of things.

1. It IS really hard to fit in exercise.
2. You can't really motivate other people to exercise, even if you offer them money.

Even with the pressure of not sounding like a hypocrite on my blog was not enough motivation to overcome the busyness of life. So somehow we have to make the time and make exercise a priority. It takes a lot of discipline. When you find out the secret, let me know!!

So here is a recipe...

strawberry and date vinaigrette

Little less than 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Little less than 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
3 medjool dates
5 frozen strawberries

Blend in blender till smooth.

** This is great with a fruit/green salad. Some possible combinations:

1. spinach, pecans, strawberries
2. romaine, apples, raisins, walnuts, thinly sliced red onion
3. mixed baby greens, pear, almonds

Here is how we had it last night:
mixed baby greens, apples, raw pumpkin seeds

Friday, May 6, 2011

Contest Day and another challenge: keeping track

So first up: the contest! If you exercised 3 times since last Friday make a comment telling us how you fit in your exercise. You need to comment by midnight tonight and then I will randomly choose a winner. I will announce the winner Monday. I barely got in my 3 days of exercise and I feel very sheepish about it. I definitely need to step it up a bit.

One way I have been fitting  in exercise is to walk up and down my stairs for 5 minute increments throughout the day. Sometimes I feel like this is a little silly but having a baby I can't break away for more than 5 minutes some times. But it gets my heart pumping and my leg muscles burning so I assume it is helping.

Next up: I weighed myself this morning and I am CRABBY. I GAINED 1 pound! I kind of stopped paying attention to what I am eating and I think that is one of the culprits. My friend and I were just talking about this yesterday. It is really easy to overeat the not so best of foods and a lot of time you don't even realize you are doing it. So that is why most weight loss programs encourage you to keep track of what you are eating. I was doing that for a while and then I stopped. I mean keeping track is not the funnest thing but I see it's benefits. So this next week I am recommitting myself to keeping a food journal. Next week on my blog I will document what I am eating. (I know you can't wait!!) So my next challenge to you is to keep a food journal. Try for one week, but even doing it for one day I think can be beneficial.

** Well, I better go. A is trying to run away from home and E is running after her crying. Just another fun-filled morning at our house!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Date Syrup and a Vinaigrette recipe

So in my quest to only use dates to sweeten my dishes I came across this video from the raw chef. This will make a date syrup that you can use to replace maple syrup, agave, or honey in recipes. The date syrup is not as sweet as those other sweeteners so you might want to add a little more or you might just like your recipes a bit less sweet than usual.

Date Syrup
1 cup pitted medjool dates (soak them in the water for a while if you don't have a high power blender)
1 cup water

Blend water and dates in blender until nice syrupy texture. (See video)

You can store this in jar in your fridge to have on hand to add to your recipes.

Here is a vinaigrette recipe that uses the date syrup:

Balsamic Date Vinaigrette (adapted from ohsheglows)

2 1/2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 TBSP date syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 clove minced garlic (optional)
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

*** Don't forget to exercise this week.!!!