Saturday, September 25, 2010

Interactive (Deconstructed) Breakfast Burritos (First Video Post)

We had a lot of fun shooting the first video for this blog, even though the toddler declared at one point that he was bored… And, yes, the toddler was daring in his climbing adventures, but he is quite the pro… :-)

As the title indicates, we made breakfast burritos with three different Pace Picante sauces that I received through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program. In addition to the sauce, I also received a flip video camera to record the video through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program. Again, we had lots of fun and very much enjoyed the tasty sauces. Thank you Foodbuzz, Pace Picante Sauce, and Flip Video!

Questions: What was the last “interactive” meal that you ate? What was the last “deconstructed” meal that you ate?
Be well,

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Busy Schedule, Easy Meal, Lots of Veggies, and First Video Post Coming Soon

Sorry that I’ve been absent for the last week or so. As much as I love teaching, sometimes it completely takes over my life…

One of my priorities when things get hectic is to eat as many meals as a family as we can. We aren’t able to eat breakfast together every morning because I teach a very early morning class a few times per week, but when we can eat together in the morning, I try to make it somewhat special: scrambled eggs with sausage, bagel, strawberries, blueberries, and figs. We are lucky as my in-laws’ fig tree has awesome figs this year!

We also got a CSA delivery; most of it is already gone…

Meals have been easy, too. One of my recent finds is a rice/barely/spelt mix from Trader Joe’s. The box says it’s great for risotto, and that’s what I made with part of it. There are directions on the box, but I didn’t really follow them. But I think what I did was very similar.

I started by sautéing sliced mushrooms in some olive oil. In the meantime, I cooked one cup of the grain blend in some vegetable stock. After the mushrooms had cooked for a few minutes, I added  the mushrooms into the pot with the grain blend and cooked it until the water was absorbed (a total of about 15 minutes). Then I added some Parmesan cheese. That’s it. Hubby added some sliced basil leaves to his plate, and it was delicious. I’ll definitely add some herbs next time. I don’t think the texture and taste is exactly like risotto, but it’s good and a lot less work and a lot faster than “real risotto.”

The toddler recently got his first face painting. He was sooo excited. But he didn’t feel like posing for a photo… Oh well.

Look what I got in the mail from Pace via the FoodbuzzTastemaker Program!

Lots and lots of salsa! I’m so excited to use it. I’ll make breakfast burritos with some of it, and I’ll post my first video blog about it over the weekend. I’m in the process of recruiting some “actors” (hubby, toddler, and my brother-in-law) as “tasters.” We’ll see how it all turns out…

Questions: What have you been eating lately? What fall foods or drinks are you enjoying right now? My guilty pleasure is just a bit of pumpkin spice syrup in my coffee… :-)

Be well,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Can You “Make” People Eat Healthy Foods?

Lunch 001 Breakfast Fruit 04

Over the past few months, I have gotten numerous e-mails asking me how I get my kids to eat healthy foods and if they really ate the food I cook. My first reaction to questions like that is always, “Why, is my food THAT bad?” People have even asked if hubby really ate my foodHmm. After reading the emails I think that usually the questions are asked because I try to cook pretty healthy foods with a focus on vegetables. Not exactly what pleases a meat and potatoes guy I guess. (And, yes, if hubby were left to his own devices he would be a meat and potatoes rice guy.)  But I think I don’t do anything extreme. I make homemade pizza (and sometimes buy the dough versus making it myself), try to bake desserts once in a while, and we eat the occasional burger.

 Greens 0004 Homemade Pizza 19

Do I try to “make” my family eat healthy foods? Yes, but I also try to give them options. I have been meaning to write this post for a while and was reminded of it this morning during breakfast. Hubby, the toddler, and I sat at the table and ate breakfast. I had oatmeal, Greek yogurt (thanks Janetha for the great idea) and walnuts. Hubby and the toddler each had half a whole wheat bagel with a little cheese, eggs, and a tomato. The toddler, who usually loves cheese, took the cheese off the bagel right away. And that was fine with me. He proceeded to eat the bagel and the tomatoes and then asked for more tomatoes. He didn’t touch the eggs. I cut up another tomato and hubby was more than happy to eat the toddler’s egg… It wasn’t a big deal that he didn’t eat the cheese or the egg. He ate what he felt like, which happened to be tomatoes. It’s not always tomatoes. Sometimes he feels like only cheese. And I let him eat it (as long as he doesn’t go totally crazy…). Sometimes he only feels like eating one or two bites, and that’s fine, too. Yes, in a perfect world it would have been nice if he had had some protein with breakfast, but he’ll be fine and will have some later…

When it comes to eating food what matters to me is that it all “equals itself out” by the end of the day or the end of the week. What I mean by that is I want to make sure we all eat lots of veggies and fruits plus protein and healthy carbs. But I don’t stress about every meal. I think if you have healthy foods available, people will eat them. And the less of a fuss you make about them, the better. Because once you tell someone (kids or adults!) that they have to eat something, they often don’t want to. And there starts a whole cycle of “food battles”…

I remember when the teenager was little people would always make a big deal about the fact that he ate so many different vegetables and so much of them. I really didn’t like the comments (usually right in front of the teenager.) To me eating fruits and veggies is normal and shouldn’t be a big deal. At the same time, when he didn’t feel like eating something, I didn’t make a big deal either. I knew he would get veggies at the next meal.
Ultimately, I think it’s important to listen to our bodies and eat what we feel like. If we truly do that, we will eat the right foods at the right time. And that includes kids. And yes, sometimes we have to “quiet” the voice that always asks for brownies; that’s not our “real” voice anyway… :-) Plus, if we have mainly healthy fresh fruits and veggies available, brownies aren’t an option most of the time anyway…

Questions: Do you try to “get” people to eat healthy foods? If so, what do you do? Do you “make” yourself eat healthy foods? Do you listen to your body and what you really feel like eating when deciding what to eat?
Be well,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lots of No-Fuss Veggies

We had a relaxing weekend and spent a lot of time outside, enjoying the warm weather. We also made it to two Farmers’ Markets and bought lots of fruits and veggies. We really enjoyed the fresh fruits and veggies and kept the meals really simple. In my opinion there is nothing better than fresh, quick, simple food (with little clean up.)

Farmers’ Market Trip #1

What we got:
  • Raw milk (for my thoughts on raw milk and raw milk products you can read my post here)
  • Raw milk cheese
  • Celery
  • Yellow and red bell peppers
  • Green and red grapes – they were delicious, sweet, and firm
  • Nectarines – they were juicy and flavorful
  • Marinated tofu – a little shortcut. The tofu is organic and tastes great. I love adding it to some stir fried veggies for a quick, delicious meal.
I sautéed the bell peppers and celery along with some carrots and onions and seasoned the veggies with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds.

We ate the veggies with the marinated tofu and a grain mixture. Fast, simple, and good.

We also had some sautéed salmon and a simple salad. I sautéed the salmon in some olive oil on both sides. Then I added the juice of two lemons over the salmon pieces. I seasoned the salmon with salt, pepper, and dried dill. When the salmon was almost done, I melted a small piece of butter on the top.

Farmers’ Market Trip #2

Here is what we got:
  • Salad mixture with edible flowers – I love the salad mixture and buy it whenever I can. It has about seven different greens in it and is really fresh. Plus, the edible flowers are so pretty.
  • Corn – The “corn guy” has THE BEST corn. He said he’ll be at the market two more weeks; I’ll miss the wide variety of fresh, local produce. But I have to remember that we are quite lucky here in California as there is some local produce year round…
  • Baby bok choy
  • Cantaloupes
  • Tomatoes
  • Grapes – They were even better than the grapes from trip #1!
  • Figs – They are quite ripe and will have to be eaten fast. I’m volunteering… :-)
  • Red and white radishes – They are sooo good with the salad mixture.

Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? I really enjoyed our Farmers’ Market trips. What summer produce will you miss most? I will miss tomatoes the most (my favorite food ever). I’ll also miss sweet grapes and juicy stone fruit.

Be well,

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mini Burgers with Mushroom Pepper Cheese Sauce and Weekend Fun

I hope everyone had a good weekend. I always get a bit sad after Labor Day as life is back to “normal.” More school, more work, less play. However, this year, I have decided to live in the “now” more and not long so much for the past (=summer). :-)

We had a fun, relaxing weekend. If you follow me on Twitter, you may already know that my weekend included two long hikes. I also spent some time recuperating from them… :-) But there is truly nothing better than spending the early morning hiking to the top of a mountain. I loved every second of it.

On Friday, I saw a tweet from Whole Foods that announced that their Friday deal was grassfeed ground beef for $3.99/pound. I decided to make hubby happy and got some.

As I mentioned in my last post, last week’s CSA box included some hot peppers, and I asked for suggestions what to do with them in my last post. Several of you suggested using the peppers in a sauce for meat or chicken. And that’s exactly what I did. I actually only used two of the peppers so far. I plan on using the others in a salsa (which several of you suggested).

Mini Burgers with Mushroom Pepper Cheese Sauce
The sauce was super easy but tasty. Here are the ingredients:

Mushroom Pepper Cheese Sauce
  • 1 onion
  • 6 mushrooms
  • 2 hot peppers (I’m going to use the other two in a salsa)
  • 2 Blue Cheese Laughing Cow wedges
I sautéed the sliced onion in some olive oil and then added the sliced mushrooms and peppers and sautéed the mixture until all veggies were soft. Then I added the cheese wedges and let them melt. Super easy, yet very good…


I mixed the ground beef with the following:
  • 1 egg
  • 6 ground whole wheat crackers
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ketchup
  • Dijon mustard
  • Worcestershire Sauce
And here are the burgers, served on mini sesame buns.

The toddler felt the need to attack them for some reason…

Questions: How was your weekend? What was the best thing you did or ate? I loved my hikes and my mini burgers…

Be well,

Friday, September 3, 2010

What Should I Do With My Beautiful Spicy Peppers???

We got another great CSA box today. Here is what we got and what I’m planning to do with it all:
  • Lettuce – dinner tonight
  • Broccoli – I think we’ll eat it raw, part tonight and the rest over the weekend
  • Onion – I will probably use it in a stir fry
  • Tomatoes – I could eat them all right now all by myself… However, I won’t. We’ll eat some of them with mozzarella and basil. The others I will use to make a cucumber/tomato/feta salad.
  • Apples, Plums, & Pears– We’ll eat them over the next few days as a snack.
  • Cucumbers – I’ll slice part of one up to add to my water pitcher with some lemon slices to make cucumber/lemon water. The rest I’ll use in a cucumber/tomato/feta salad.
  • Sweet peppers – I’ll probably use them in a stir fry with onions and mushrooms.
  • Spicy peppers – Not sure what to do with them. Do you have any suggestions???
  • Figs – they were really, really ripe, and we ate them as soon as we opened the box. They were delicious but certainly had to be eaten right away. Not that I’m complaining or anything… :-)
Okay, so do you have any suggestions what I should do with these beautiful, spicy peppers?

Questions: Do you have any “spicy pepper suggestions” for me? What are your weekend plans? What will you be eating and drinking?
Be well,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More Veggies: Vegetable Lentil Stew

As I mentioned before, we are trying to eat more veggies after several weeks of indulging a bit too much. We have been eating lots of salads, so I thought I’d mix things up a bit and made a vegetable stew. I love making a big pot of stew - enough for dinner, leftovers for the next night, and enough for lunches and “mini meals.” I even froze a few individual portions. I haven’t frozen this dish before, so I’m not sure how it’ll hold up. But I’m not that picky when it comes to textures, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy the defrosted leftovers soon. There is nothing better than eating your own “frozen meal” when you are hungry and there is nothing to eat… 

Having veggie soup or a veggie stew in the fridge is a sure way for all of us to get our veggies. I added lentils to the stew to add some protein and heft.

  • Onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Zucchini
  • Crushed tomatoes (I used Pomi)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dill
  • Lentils (I used precooked lentils from Trader Joe’s)
  • Garlic (not shown above)
  • Organic ketchup (not shown above)
  • 1 – 2 cups of water
I love Pomi crushed tomatoes. They taste great, and the package includes nothing but tomatoes.

I also used precooked lentils. While I prefer to cook my own lentils, having some precooked lentils around is very convenient. One reason I prefer cooking my own lentils is that the precooked ones contain quite a bit of sodium. I always rinse them very well in the hopes to get rid of some of the sodium. Not sure how much sodium I’m able to wash away…

  1. Sautee diced onion in olive oil. After sautéing the onions for a few minutes, add minced garlic (about 3 – 4 cloves).
  2. Add carrots, cut into rounds, to the pot and sauté a few minutes.
  3. Next, add diced celery, crushed tomatoes, and water to the pot and cook for about 12 – 15 minutes, until carrots start to soften.
  4. In the meantime, rinse lentils well. Add lentils and diced zucchini to the pot and cook another 5 - 10 minutes, until all vegetables are soft but not mushy.
  5. Season with salt, pepper, dill (I used about 2 tablespoons dried dill) and organic ketchup (2-4 tablespoons).
  6. Serve over cooked quinoa or brown rice. Or you can add more liquid and eat the dish as a soup.
  7. Enjoy!

Questions: What are your favorite vegetables? I love corn, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, green beans, cabbage… Yes, the list is long, and I’m sure I forgot some of my favorites… What’s your favorite way to eat vegetables? I love salads, vegetable stews and soups, as well as roasted veggies. I’m actually really looking forward to lots of roasted veggies in the fall and winter…

Be well,