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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May…

Can you believe it is May already… Ever since the beginning of March I feel like I’ve blinked and totally missed both March and April! I usually love May, it’s my favorite month of the year if only it did not have my birthday in it (turning one year older is just no fun anymore)… I love the trees turning green, I love the warmer sunny days, I love the longer evenings of daylight and I just love the thought of the next few months of summer! This year is different… The trees around our house still look like it’s winter, the weather is not as sunny and warm as usual and I feel like if I blink May will be over too, it’s already the fifth of May and we are heading into our long weekend of celebrations in five days time… Wedding anniversary, has it really been 28 years, when I last checked we were celebrating our silver wedding
anniversary, Mother’s Day followed by yet another birthday!

The month of May is now all about Florrie for me these days… Despite other celebrations her birthday is all I can think about, planning her cake, planning her presents and making sure she has a wonderful day! Florence is a complete Frozen fan, or ‘Let it go’ as she calls it! From the moment she watched the movie she was hooked like so many other little girls, she watches endless YouTube videos of each song, she constantly sings the songs and wants to dress up in the costumes! Frozen came out in December, five months later the shelves are empty in places where Elsa and Anna should be… Really five months later… Is this a marketing ploy by Disney to keep us all interested, well really they did not need to do it, all these little girls are totally hooked!

As you may have guessed the theme for her Birthday this year is Frozen, not that we are having a party, as the day will be spent at various soccer games, but as it is on a Sunday we will be able to celebrate in the evening with nearly everyone home from work… As we could not get a dress up costume we headed to Jo Ann’s for the perfect fabric to turn my little Florrie into Queen Elsa, and yesterday after Dom did a little bit of research we managed to get an Elsa and Anna doll, very, very happy about this! I’m planning a very easy coconut cake with a frozen theme and of course you need a few balloons in icy colors to make a little three year old’s Birthday a Frozen Day!

Here are a couple of links to tutorials for Queen Elsa’s dress if you need a costume and don’t want to spend $150 and up…
Queen Elsa costume ideas
Queen Elsa cape… no sew
Frozen dress up costume

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To BBQ or not to BBQ… That is the question?

I have decided that change of seasons means changing up my menu plan, and I am not so good at doing that… After a long hard winter of cooking casseroles and hardy soups, it’s time to crack out that BBQ, throw together salads and think about side dishes for your burgers… Easy, peasy you would think, not for me though, I struggle with change in any situation, but thinking about cooking is even more difficult, my mind goes completely blank!

So this is how far I have got this week with menu planning and grocery shopping…
Burgers
Sausages
Risotto
Some kind of chicken dish
Lots of salad
A pasta bake of some kind

Pathetic really, but my mind is totally blank to what we normally cook when Spring arrives!

Of course breastfeeding a newborn restricts my choices, no tomatoes or onions, in fact absolutely no gas producing veggies at all, so that rules out favorites like kale and broccoli, not that my children are too upset about those being on the menu, but I am missing them!

My reduced dairy diet has been good for me, I had a non fat milk drink in Starbucks yesterday and it seemed to have had no affect on Tate, but I think for me a low dairy intake diet seems to have improved my digestive system, so this will be something that I will keep ongoing, I’m not saying no dairy just reducing my intake, hopefully this will keep the IBS at bay!

Now to try the gluten reduced diet, one diet at a time to see what helps me feel better! I have kind of reduced my gluten intake anyway… I always buy Trader Joes gluten free oatmeal and pasta now, of course things like rice and quinoa are naturally gluten free, but this week I actually looked for gluten free foods, cereals and flours, I was very surprised how easy it was to find lots of dairy and gluten free foods and how well they were priced!

After spending the afternoon cleaning the BBQ, of course when I say this I do mean Paul spent the afternoon cleaning our BBQ, it was time to light it up and cook the first outdoor grilled meal of the year… Yay, Spring is here! The weather was beautiful yesterday, 70f, sunny and just purely wonderful after a very long and very cold winter… Of course I did not get any photos as I had to take a nap, feeling very tired with waking every two hours throughout the night, but I did wake up just as the food was finished cooking!

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Here is the link for this recipe… Very easy gluten free waffles

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Bye bye January…

I am wondering how I am meant to be resting up at 32 weeks pregnant with 35 minute drives twice weekly for iron infusions, Ultrasound appointments and two weekly OBGYN appointments… I’m doctored out right now, Florrie is fed up of being in the car and I’m really fed up of not being able to wear my normal warm clothing for this time of the year… Moan over!

Everyone says I look a lot better from the iron infusions, thankfully, but I’m still waiting for this magic drug to burst into the much needed energy I need to finish the projects I wanted to complete before this little man arrives, on the plus side I think all this iron is giving this baby super strength, he is a real wriggler and loves head butting my rib cage (he is breach at the moment) and kicking my bladder… All the fun moments of pregnancy… Ha, ha!

I am in love with the Baby Gap at the moment, the baby bargains have been in abundance this January, I think I have managed to get a whole newborn baby boy wardrobe for less than $100, he has long sleeve and short sleeve vests and cute little onesies, I love newborn babies in nighties, boy or girl they look so cute, so I have a few nighties too! I have very cute long johns in a variety of colors and I have my Mum and a close friend on knitting duty, cute little cardigans as I am sure the weather will be chilly and I love newborn hand knitted sweaters… All in all he will be the best dressed March newborn baby boy!

Of course I cannot forget my little Florrie’s spring closet, so I have been picking up a few bargains for her too, I love the Target Osh Kosh girls clothes… They recently had a very Cath Kidston raincoat and boots in there, of course a must for every toddler girls Spring wardrobe, they also have just reduced a few Osh Kosh items by 30%, so I got her a little spring jacket and red spotty dress… With Spring clothes appearing in the shops now, I just cannot wait for the warmer weather to arrive!

I have a small list of need to get items before the birth, but I’m very pleased with my bargain baby buys so far, we got 20% off the stroller! a super cheap managers clearance on our Chicco car seat $60 from $199, lots of clearance items from the Baby Gap, we already have the crib, it just needs converting from a baby girl to a cute boy crib! On my list still to get are little socks, some swaddle blankets, a head comforter for the car seat and a small nesting bassinet that can be used in the crib and our bed if needed… Not too many things left to get, so I am happy!

On a totally different subject, I am now going totally green with my dishwasher, I am totally addicted to Pinterest and have found a recipe for making your own dishwasher powder, I have bought the ingredients and am very keen to try it, our dishwasher does not seem to clean well and items do not sparkle, so in an effort to use less chemicals, be more economical and get the dishes cleaner, I’m trying out this recipe…
dishwasher powder recipe
Wish me luck, I will let you know how it works and report back here with my findings!

Just a few free pattern ideas for all you crafters out there… These are the ones I am loving!
crochet moose beanie… very cute?
crochet striped beanie… various sizes!
crib sheets… they look easy peasy!

Just a few recipes you might want to try this weekend…
The best broccoli and cauliflower cheese… Jamie Oliver style… thanks to friend sending me the link!
Super Bowl Sunday guacamole
Of course the Super Bowl would not be complete without chips and Queso… skinny style!

Happy first weekend in February… Hopefully this means the temperatures will get a little bit warmer, and we will see the grass again soon!

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Happy Wedding Day…

Yay for March… Lets hope Spring is truly on it’s way now! Here in New Jersey the sun is shining, today, friday march 1st, temperatures are meant to be slightly into the 40’s, which I know is not high, but hey it’s not freezing, so I will take it and the snow is still lingering in large dirty piles in a few places, but at least we have a kind of strawy looking grass again!

My learn a new craft is coming along, I am deeply addicted to crochet, after being a knitter for so many years now, I am discovering how much I love crochet, I love the way the finished article looks very shabby chic retro, just my style, and I love sitting with my hook and yarn and just yarn over and create a stitch , I even took my growing blanket along to the baby gym yesterday and crocheted whilst Florrie played, I got a few looks from other mothers, but hey, it beats sitting on my phone for 2 hours! Mollie Makes is a great British magazine for the avid crafter, this month has a few crochet projects worth taking a look at, so here is the link if you want a sneak peak Mollie Makes

My menu plan for the week is very basic, I have totally had a spring clean of my pantry and now there is nothing left… I love to do this occasionally, you can start afresh and know that everything in there is tidy, necessary and fresh… But what it does mean is that you don’t have a lot in to plan your weekly menu…

Sausage pasta
White turkey Chili
Dumpling and bacon soup
Tortellini pesto chicken soup
Stuffed baked potatoes with sausages
Meatball sub
Spaghetti bolognese

Sausage pasta is an old recipe I have been creating for many years, it varies each time i make it, the secret ingredient is a can of Heinz vegetarian baked beans, it just creates a totally different texture to the sauce coated pasta

Take any sausage you would like, I used polish kielbasa last night, but anything works great, slice into 1/2 inch rounds and sauté in a little olive oil with one chopped onion, after 10 minutes add whatever vegetables you would like, I used chopped broccoli and cabbage, 2 chopped cloves of garlic, a teaspoon on red chili flakes, a jar of tomato pasta sauce, 1 teaspoon of boullion, 1/4 cup of water and one can of baked beans bring to the boil, cover reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes whilst you make your pasta. Once the pasta is cooked add your sausage, vegetable mix and coat evenly, serve with garlic bread or a green salad… Very basic, but very delicious!

My shout out recipe of last week was the dumpling soup recipe from the food network not only was this recipe quick and easy, but it tasted delicious too, I used bacon instead of ham, which I think enhanced the flavor, and I also added a few wide ribbon noodles too… Try it, it was delicious… So good it’s on my menu plan for this week!

Today my friends daughter who I have known since she was 4 years old is getting married, she is a few months older than Dominic, we spent so many school holidays out and about with them I lost count, I have watched her blossom from childhood into her teenage years and now beyond… I cannot believe that she is old enough to get married, but she is… I hope she has a wonderful day and I am very sad I could not be there, sometimes the miles between us make a huge difference and sometimes they really don’t… Today is one of those days I wish I could still live in the same town and be there to watch her marry the boy of her dreams!

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