Diet and nutrition, Uncategorized

Chopped Salads… 

I try my very hardest to eat healthy and cleanly as much as I can, of course it’s more difficult when you are out or busy but on the whole we eat a good healthy diet… this is a difficult thing to do when you have a large family of picky eaters.  Getting my two youngest children to eat well is a challenge, I believe in never forcing them to eat, but I do try and encourage them to try something, sometimes they love it, like Florrie with fresh peas at the farm when we were picking them,  she took one taste and loved them, but when I was spiralizing the carrots she asked to taste them and hated them straight away, the face she pulled was quite funny.  I have discovered recently that their best meal of the day is breakfast, they love fresh eggs fried with coconut oil every morning, and now we get freshly laid eggs from our neighbor next door, they are delicious, they love strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and watermelon, they love smoothies and homemade pancakes, Jamie Oliver’s one cup recipe, so simple and quick, they will eat these until the cows come home, they are also delicious when you swap the flour out for a gluten free flour too. I try most days to make breakfast their most important meal of the day as they eat really well, then I feel there  is not so much pressure for the rest of the day as I know they have eaten one good meal that day.


Lunch is another meal I kind of miss with,  it’s usually just me I’m making lunch for, my babies are happy to graze after a large breakfast, I kind of always fail for myself.  I make fresh salads for Paul and Mabel, but I always forget myself… I’ve come up with a new plan, Salad lunch prep for the week, I will make enough basic salad for a week, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and scallions,  a tip I have just learnt is to line your containers with kitchen roll paper to absorb the moisture, then daily using leftovers from dinner change each salad up daily, today we will be having a lemon rosemary roasted chicken, I’m having shrimp, with a kale Cesar salad and tortilla wraps, so I’ll shred some chicken, or add shrimp and add it to the salad and bake a couple of wraps to crisp them up to add to the salad… I’m hoping this will keep me on track instead of snacking with my children.  

I have recently discovered I absolutely love chopped salad, we have had it before a few years ago, recipes from Jamie Oliver again, but I really hadn’t thought about chopping every salad we have until I visited a new salad place that has just opened in a local town, in Chopt you pick your salad then they ask if you want it chopped up, Kale Cesar salad with tofu totally chopped up and it was totally delicious.  I thought I’d try it out on my family… huge success, they prefer their salad ingredients chopped up, but as you can imagine chopping 8 salads is very time consuming, each person likes certain things in their salads, so I’ve been tossing salad ingredients into separate bowls then emptying the bowls onto a board and finely chopping them… until last night when I came up with the genius idea of the food processor, you can start with the harder veggies like carrot and broccoli, pulse them a couple of times then add the rest of the salad ingredients, it worked perfectly, and it was a lot quicker, you just have to clean up the food processor bowl and blade, but not too bad.  So my chopped salads have been a huge success, my family are enjoying them so much they are saying they do not need the carbs along with their protein just the salad it’s so filling… My only problem now is how much Salad veggies I am getting through, but at least everyone is eating their greens, well except for one extremely picky eater, who likes everything as plain as it can be.


I’ll leave you on a sweet note… I was visiting friends for lunch yesterday, I usually take desert with us, but I’ve been in search for healthier sweet treats, some I’ve made have been ok, but just not quite right, yesterday I came across this recipe for Lemon coconut muffins, they were healthier because the sugar was very low, and could easily be swapped out for honey, or some other healthy substitute, they contained coconut oil and yogurt, I think they would even be good with gluten free flour instead of all purpose flour… they were a huge success both at lunch and at home, but be warned if you try these at home, the batter is extremely thick, she does say that on the recipe, but I was surprised at just how thick it was, I added a little more coconut milk just to loosen it a little… but despite that they will definitely be something I will be making again and again.


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Life through my lens… Easter!

I’m a big event planner for special days… I like Birthdays to be special for the person who’s day it is, I plan what we will be doing, the food, the cake, the decorations, sometimes it doesn’t always go to plan, but I like to try to get it right, and Easter is no different! This Easter started on Thursday for us, unfortunately not for Paul though as he doesn’t get Good Friday or Easter Monday off, so with that in mind we headed to meet Paul for what turned out to be a late lunch at his office…

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The afternoon was slightly rushed due to car restraints that come with sharing your car… the weather was beautiful, if not a little windy, and the scenery was fabulous, so a few photos had to be snapped!

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As the weather was going to be reasonable for the weekend, we decided to head to my happy place… The beach on Saturday! It was a bright sunny day with lots of sunshine and blue skies, but oh, that wind was brutal… Paul was a trooper and spent along time playing in the sand with Florrie, even with the mother of all hangovers (no sympathy there though)!

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Easter Sunday was not a restful and relaxing day for me as I’d imagined, there was the basket making, the gift opening the egg hunt organization, cake making and dinner prep, but thankfully my mum did most of the last one, by late afternoon I sat with my glass of wine and breathed a sigh of relief…

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Easter Monday was girls shopping day out, of course Tate was the only boy allowed until at the last minute Jordan decided to gate crash our fun Urban Outfitters day shopping…

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There is just something about Easter weekend that I love, perhaps the promise of spring just around the corner, or the thoughts of an alarm free week ahead as my children had Spring break… Or just some quality time with my family… One thing is for sure though, getting home after a fun packed weekend, kicking my shoes off and sitting on my new rug, hand dancing with my children to Jordan’s new vinyl was the perfect way to finish our Easter off!

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Will we have anymore children?

A lot of people think Paul and I are crazy, and maybe we are… The standing joke at the moment is when will number 9 be coming along? Of course having 8 children is unusual, well not as unusual as I used to think before I got addicted to the social media and blogging, it is hard work at times having 8 children of all ages to give your love and attention to… But the rewards can be the best ever!

I never saw myself as a mother of eight who wallowed in every moment, I only wanted one child, at the ripe old age of 19 when I had my first son I was very happy, who would have thought 27 years later I would have just had my eighth child and that I would be so happy and enjoying every moment of new motherhood in my forties!

This last weekend, just gone was a crazy mix of celebration and despair… First off celebration, on Saturday we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary… The first time I ventured out for a couple of hours, baby less… Very weird but wonderful both together! Sunday of course was Mothers Day, most of my children were working or playing soccer, but I did get treated to a little shopping trip together with a slice of cheesecake and a glass of white wine in the very crowded Cheesecake Factory… Thank you Farrel, it was a lovely thought, although next time I think we will avoid the Mall on Mothers Day! I was also lucky enough to have my own Mum here which made it all the more special too! Finally the despair part, Monday saw my Birthday, yet another year older, despair I’m getting nearer to the big 5 0… But there was joy too, eight children come into their own on special days, you realize through all the pain, the heartache and the worry x8, that there is pure joy… Each and everyone of them brings kindness and a love that cannot be compared! Through every worry for each of your children, there is a life you have created and a love like no other… So we may be totally crazy, life is hectic, expensive and sometimes very noisy… But I have come to realize we are very lucky and it’s just the family we are!

So in answer to the question on everyone’s lips right now… Will we have number 9… I guess you will just have to watch this space, who knows what the future will bring, but for now we are just enjoying getting to know our new little bundle of pure joy!

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The Magic of Christmas…

In this crazy world of bigger and better, must haves and technology, I really do believe we have forgotten the true meaning and magic of Christmas… As people crowd into the shops, they lose all sense of decency, manners and just plain respect… I was listening to some of the old Christmas songs on Lite Fm, my favorite at this time of year, I was listening to the words and I realized that Christmas really isn’t about the huge pile of presents we get, but really it once was a magical time of year, with warm glowing lights, trees tall and bright, food, family and love… We really have forgotten these values as we barge from one shop to another trying to get as many presents as we can… Well my advice to you all, is stop, take a huge step back and look around you, we should take more value in the love we have, just because we get the biggest present or spend the most money doesn’t mean we are the best person, it’s all about love, family, friendship and life… And just remember those that are less fortunate than ourselves… True Christmas magic is only held within and can only shine through when we are truly happy… Gifts come and go, next year there will always be something bigger and better to buy!

On that note… I am spending this last Sunday before Christmas at home… I got up extra early yesterday to get into the mall before the dreaded crowds of people appeared, we arrived outside the Mall at 8.30am, 30 minutes later than I had planned, but still I got a perfect parking place right outside Macy’s, Starbucks was quiet and civilized, we left after getting everything we needed just as the crowds began to appear. So today is a quiet make the mince pies kind of day, the home made mincemeat is made and in jars, my Mum has just made the pastry and everything is ready for the putting together of the tiny pies!

Dinner is cooking in my new Ninja slow cooker, for the first time in a very long time we have lamb… Costco’s had a very good deal on a joint of lamb, so I found a recipe crock pot lamb, so far it smells delicious… Together with baked potatoes cooking away in my second slow cooker!

The weather is very mild for December in New Jersey, all the snow of last week has melted away, so I’m guessing all hopes of a white Christmas this year are gone, still I’m not moaning as I am enjoying the milder temperatures… Long may they continue!
Merry Christmas to one and All!

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Funky mojo…

It may be because it is 2013… 13 being the part I am focussing on right now, but the universe seems to be against us right now, or there is some funky mojo going on… Last night on one of my son’s way home from work a deer charged into our car and has left it with a lot of damage, $2300+, the deer even left some of its skin on the bumper just to remember it by. The whole head light is smashed and damaged and the front fender is buckled and cracked in several places, thankfully my son is fine but he was very shaken when he got home!

I am trying to remain positive as really once again the situation could have been far worse, but really how many more bad things are going to come our way, we are only a couple of days into January… I guess the only way is up!

On a more positive note though, I had a fun shopping trip to Shorthills Mall, I had several Anthropologie gift cards to use up, presents from Christmas… so with the lure of an extra 30% off sale items I spent way too much money, well over my budget… It was so much fun though, all followed by a yummy lunch in the Cheesecake Factory, one day I will actually eat the cheesecake in there as it looks sooooo good, but every time I am so full after eating the delicious entree’s!

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Life on the Jersey Shore


3 days, 2 nights away is just not enough time away in my opinion, it’s a wonderful break away from home but I need more time away to rest, relax and rejuvenate! We are here on the Jersey Shore near Long Branch, a place I have been to only once before with my children and my parents… I hated it last time, but I think I must have gone to the wrong place because this time I love it, the beach is so clean and vibrant, Pier Village is a wonderful seaside shopping, eating experience and the boardwalk is so nice, not tacky, just very pleasant lined with palm trees!

Now I have been to Florida and California, believe me I know these places have fantastic beaches but for New Jersey, Long Branch has it all for me, that’s why next year we are thinking of booking a room at the Ocean Place hotel for a week… No long drives for hours and hours, it’s 1 hour 30 minutes away from us, no flights to book and pay for, the hotel is right on the beach, there is a swimming pool for the children, and we are loving the outdoor pools right now, and most importantly the hotel has its own Tiki Bar… What more could you ask for, cocktails overlooking the ocean! The best thing about New Jersey too is the summers are usually hot, hot, hot, even if it does rain, the sun arrives soon after! Long Branch, NJ… Summer vacation for us next year!

Right now we are in a hotel about 5 miles away… The children are loving it here, the pool is outside, which is perfect with this beautiful weather we are having, we have a free buffet breakfast and our room overlooks the pool, so Blu and Mabel can play and we can still see them… Perfect!
Yesterday Blu and Mabel were in the water all day, they had a morning swim in the pool, followed by riding the waves at the beach, then after our cocktail at the Tiki Bar, well that was Paul and I, they had soda, then another evening swim back at the hotel… Needless to say they are still asleep this morning as I type this!

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Happy Birthday Jord

Years ago when we only had our boys, no girls for us, or so we thought, it would have been hard to imagine a Saturday afternoon shopping with just us girls, and for Paul even harder to imagine, but with Blu firmly attached to the Xbox controller at home that’s how we spent yesterday afternoon… 2 gorgeous girls, their Mom and one very lucky Dad having the best afternoon shopping in Rockaway… Yay, mine and Mabel’s favorite pastime ever!

Now don’t get me started, but years ago it would have been not only hard to imagine a girls and their Dad afternoon shopping but an afternoon shopping in a Mall 3500 miles away in the USA, now that would have been really hard to imagine too, but these days we take that all for granted, Macy’s, Target, Abercrombie to name but a few, these are all stores that have become an everyday name to us, sometimes I find it hard to believe that M&S, Monsoon, Laura Ashley are not those stores I just pop into for a quick browse… It’s hard to believe that life has changed so much, yet still in many ways is exactly the same!

With the hot sticky weather upon us I have been finding it harder and harder to menu plan, we are on a healthy eating plan, but we are not taking it too seriously so it does not become an obsession, take yesterday for example we had a healthy breakfast and lunch but then after a long afternoon of shopping we bought a pizza, and instead of feeling guilty which is exactly what I normally do, I’m just excepting it and moving onto another day… A real break though for this Mom who used to be anorexic!

So with the cooking happening outdoors right now, I have been making healthy chicken/salmon and veggie foil parcels for the grill… I bought some Trader Joes sauces to flavor the chicken, I know its cheating a little bit, but its just so much easier, I’ve then been adding my Farmers Market veggies then grilling them until just cooked… They are very healthy, delicious and extremely popular in my house at the moment!

On the menu for tonight is chopped Swiss chard, bruschetta topped chicken served over Alfredo whole wheat spaghetti, with maybe a Mojito on the side!

We were going to head to the beach today but as it is Jordan’s 22nd… Yes I do feel old saying the baby of my older children is going to be 22, anyway as I was saying, Jordan’s Birthday is on Wednesday and most of us are around, we are having an early start for a Birthday breakfast on the beach, with that in mind, Mabel has now chosen a beach theme for Jord’s big day so I’m off to the Christmas tree store for supplies for the big day today… I’m officially getting old, it only seems like yesterday that I was 22 and pregnant with him… Oh well, Happy Sunday everyone!

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