Broccoli Salad

This week I tried to incorporate one of the babe’s favorite veggies into my summer of salads and decided upon a Broccoli salad. As always I found a salad that looked interesting on Pinterest and then modified it using what I had on hand. (This is what I call the fly by the seat of your pants method to cooking).  You can find the original recipe I modified here courtesy of Julia’s Album

In my version I used
Broccoli (I used about half a head)
Cauliflower (I tried to match the amount of the Broccoli)
Red Bell Pepper, (About a 1/3 of a bell pepper chopped fine)
Olives (about 8-10 sliced up)
Mild Cheddar Cheese (About 4 slices off a block chopped into tiny squares)
and Raisins. (I raided the babes stash and used 2 little boxes)

I then mixed up the dressing using
1/4 and 1/8 cup of Mayo
1 TSP of vinegar
not quite an 1/8 cup of sugar

I’d like to find a different dressing for my next try that doesn’t include sugar. . .

The babe helped “Mix, Mix, Mix Mix” (which is his favorite thing to do when we cook) and then munched on it while we waited for the rest of dinner to cook. The hubby must have also liked the salad as when I went back for seconds there was none left. . . When we talked about salads during dinner the hubby did request another round of the fruit/spinach salad I made last week, so hopefully Summer Salad’s will become a year round tradition, but. . . for now I’ll take it one week at a time. . .

BrocSal

Strawberry Banana Popsicles

Who doesn’t love popsicles during summer time? In my quest for healthier eating habits I decided for the summer (along with my salads) I am going to make sure we have access to healthy, yummy popsicles.

After perusing pinterest and googling a half dozen recipes on how to make strawberry popsicles I flew by the seat of my pants and made my own using what I had on hand.

A dozen strawberries
One Frozen banana
One Cup of Almond Milk
1-2 TBSP’s of Honey (Okay, so when it comes to stuff like this I don’t actually measure, I just squeeze, so this is just an approximation.)

Blend all the ingredients in a blender and then pour into your popsicle molds. This made 8 popsicles (and as that was all the molds I had, the rest was a yummy nighttime snack for me and the hubby).  It would probable make 16 smaller popsicles though, if I had another set of molds, (which is now on my shopping list.)

photo

Tips: Sometimes the popsicles don’t want to come out of the molds, just run them under warm water for 15-30 seconds and they easily free out of the molds.

When you Bring A Leftover Salad to Work for Lunch

When I retrieved my salad out of the fridge at work I got a “So that’s your salad? Everyone has been asking who’s salad that is, it looks good!”  It made me a little nervous, and it somewhat amazed me how closely people investigate the food that you bring to work.  I guess I just don’t ever pay any mind to what is in the fridge I just try to find a little spot for what I’ve brought.

After thinking about Salads ALL DAY yesterday I picked up a few things to start my tour of summer salads.  Spinach, Strawberries, Mushrooms, Almonds.  I already had the Romaine Lettuce, Cheese and Blueberries on hand.  I mixed it all together and this is what it looked like:

Summer Salad

I thought I had a vinegerette dressing in the pantry, but after a desperate search I turned up nothing and googled a recipe.  I actually had all the staples on hand: Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Garlic Clove, Honey, Dijon Mustard, Salt and Pepper and I even found a salad dressing jar hidden at the back of the cupboard that had been a wedding present that was perfect for mixing it in.

When I brought what was left of the salad in for lunch today I added the leftover peas and kidney beans from dinner on Monday.  I meant to add the hard boiled eggs I had made last night too, but sadly I forgot.  To everyone at work I say YES, it was as good as it looked. . . but please bring your own and quit staring so intently at my food,  it makes me uncomfortable.

Simple Meals

I planned M-F on the meal menu this week and I desperately need to stop at the store for some fresh produce to go along with the main courses. . . Monday, was well, very Monday like, so when I left work the last thing I wanted to do was face the grocery store.  I had planned on making sausage as the main part of our meal last night, but was unsure of what I would be able to scrounge up for sides.  I ended up settling on kidney beans and peas. . . Talk about simple meals.  It took all of 20 minutes to prepare so we got an extra long outside play session in before dinner and I would not take back those extra 20 minutes of bouncing on the trampoline and toddler giggles for anything.  The sausage I cut into bite size pieces and threw in the skillet to warm.  I dumped a can of kidney beans in a pan with a little garlic and boiled some water for the frozen pieces. . .and I added about a tablespoon of butter, just for a touch of flavor.  Such an easy dinner.  I am happy to report the babe ate everything on his plate (with the exception of a few peas he just couldn’t manage to get on his fork) and then proceeded to steal some of MY kidney beans.  Dinner doesn’t have to be a lenthy complicated affair.

This dinner promted a discussion about cold foods we can eat during summer, as I believe kidney beans, cold on a salad are absolutely heavenly and a mom in my mommies group suggested cold kidney beans as a snack for toddlers, what a great idea!  Her suggestion started the wheel are churning in my head for healthy cold summer salads.  My hubby isn’t a big fan of mayonaise based pasta salad and neither am I, I’m going to see how he likes a vinegrette based one, but I also am thinking bean salads, maybe broccoli salads, I’m sure the possibilities are endless. . . I will definetly report back on what I come up with but any suggestions are more than welcome.

 

Clean Eating Taco Salad

Instead if normal tacos we have been eating a taco salad version of tacos as of late. It’s delicious and simple, right up my alley and you can modify to include whatever veggies are a hit in your house.

In a skillet brown your meat (we use ground turkey but you could use ground beef, venison or whatever meat you like).  When the meat is browned add in Taco Seasoning and about 1/8-1/4 cup of water and let simmer for 10-20 minutes so the meat sucks up the flavor.  Add this point I also like to throw in onions, bell peppers and a can of black beans to the meat mixture.  I also boil some corn kernels while the meat is simmering.  While the food is stewing on the stove I grate some cheese and cut avocados and lettuce.  If I have any taco shells I’ll heat them up.  (If I don’t I just use tortilla chips.)

To put together make a bed of lettuce, add your meat mixture, the corn, then garnish with tomatoes, avocado and cheese.  We also throw Salsa (and maybe a little sour cream) in the mix to.  Crumble up some taco shells or tortilla chips for some crunch factor and Bam . . . Clean Taco Salad.

Easy, peasy.  Cheers and Happy Eating!

.002

Food Revolution Day

Today is Food Revolution Day!!!!

FOOD REVOLUTION DAY IS FIGHTING TO PUT COMPULSORY PRACTICAL FOOD EDUCATION ON THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM.

With diet-related diseases rising at an alarming rate, it has never been more important to educate children about food, where it comes from and how it affects their bodies.

1b

WHAT’S THE ANSWER?

“By educating children about food in a practical, fun and engaging way, we can provide them with the knowledge and skills they so urgently need to lead healthier, happier lives. We need to make practical food education a compulsory part of every school curriculum across the world, and that’s why I’ve launched a petition calling on all G20 countries to action this. With enough support from millions of people around the world, I truly believe that we can create a movement that’s powerful enough to make governments take action.”

Jamie Oliver

Read more at http://www.foodrevolutionday.com/campaign/#9wggYYhjQlktp34o.99

SIGN IT!  SHARE IT!

Happy Dinners

My husband and I were discussing how enjoyable dinner has been lately.  One of the main reasons dinner has been enjoyable is that we have been working really hard at avoiding snacks before dinner with the little one.  I am not a snacker so this isn’t hard for me, but my husband likes to munch when he gets off of work. The little one has a snack in the car on the way home from school but if he get’s home and sees his Daddy eating he wants to try that snack out too!  If Daddy lets him then dinner can turn into a grumbly affair where the babe takes two bites and proclaims he’s “all done” and stands up in his chair waiting for us to take him out because he’s full on snacks and doesn’t want to eat anything else.

My husband and I had a discussion about snacking in front of the babe over a week ago.  Okay it wasn’t really a discussion it was a forced educational experience for my husband.  I pointed out to him what I just explained above.  He grumbled a little but also stated he understood.  I explained to my husband that he could still snack himself, he would just have to become stealthier about it and not let the babe see him snacking.

If you think institution of no snacks before dinner is easy, let me warn you it can be a little painful at times.  A few times the babe would go to the refrigerator or cupboard and ask for milk or a snack while I was in the kitchen preparing dinner. After his one after school snack I now have to tell him NO to any other snack (although I will let him steal a tomato, or a bite of cheese or other tidbit while I’m cooking if he’s “helping” me cook) .  I tell him no and he moves into totally meltdown mode with protests, crying, and laying on the kitchen floor. He is quite stubborn and sometimes these antics can last for quite a long while, but I try my hardest to mean No when I say No so I let him carry on with the world is ending routine.

I’ve also instituted dessert for the little one.  If he eats his dinner than he is allowed to have dessert which can be anything from a cupcake or cookie, to fruit or his current favorite yogurt raisins.  If he doesn’t eat a good portion of his dinner he does not get dessert.  I leave his dinner on the table for a while in case he had a bad night and if he asks for dessert I tell him he can’t have any because he didn’t eat his dinner, but if he’d like to eat some of his dinner then he can have dessert.  This usually does the trick and he will let me feed him what’s on his plate until I’m satisfied and hand over dessert.

These few little changes have made our dinner routine so much happier.  I challenge you to try for a week and see if it works for you too!

Cheers and Happy Eating!

Garlic Parmesan Shrimp

This recipe is dedicated to my girlfriends who are not big into the culinary arts.  My friends seem to either fall into one of two categories. . . The Cooks. . .These are the ladies who seem to know everything there is to know about the kitchen and make cooking and all the strange terms and sometimes gadgets involved seem like a breeze,  and The Non-Cooks. . . these are the ladies who struggle in the kitchen, who don’t want to be in the kitchen and who have perfected the art of take out.  I used to be a Non-Cook.  I didn’t turn myself into a Cook until I was almost in my 30’s, (and even then I didn’t get decent until I learned the law of the budget which meant cooking meals at home and not ordering out or going out more than once a week if I’m lucky).

These shrimp are delicious, easy and can be used as an hor d’oeuvre at a party or be used as the base for a main dish.

Ingredients:
Shrimp
Butter/Olive Oil/ (or other vegetable oil depending on your preference)
Garlic
Parmesan
Lemon
Salt
Pepper
Basil/Oregano/Parsley

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Rise your shrimp and pat the water off the shrimp, or leave the shrimp sitting out in a strainer for a little bit until they dry off some.  When the shrimp are dry throw them in a bowl with about two TBS of olive oil/butter, 2-4 cloves of diced garlic (I squish two cloves through the garlic press), about a 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper to taste and a few shakes of basil/oregano/parsley (you can choose one, two or all three I prefer all 3 and a few shakes plus some more).  Mix the shrimp around so all the flavors get equally distributed then transfer the shrimp in a single layer onto a baking sheet (covered in tin foil for easy clean up).  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until shrimp or pink and firm.  Squeeze the other half of lemon on the shrimp when you pull them from the oven.

For a more detailed recipe go to:
http://damndelicious.net/2014/12/05/garlic-parmesan-roasted-shrimp/
(And then stop and browse her other yummy recipes!)

If eating as an appetizer mix up some cocktail sauce (that would be ketchup and a dab of horseradish sauce) and go to town.

There are several ways to use this as part of a main course for dinner, these are two of my favorites.

Option One: Lay the shrimp on top of a bed of pasta with alfredo sauce (and add a vegetable like broccoli or peas to round it out).

Option Two:  Stir fry some vegetables (Use what’s in your fridge spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots,  onions, whatever you have!  Throw the veggies in a skillet with some butter or olive oil and maybe some spices to taste). Boil some rice, mix it all together and turn it into yummy parmesan shrimp stir fry!

Simple.  Yum.  Happy Eating!

Food Revolution Day is this Friday May 15th!

064065

Did you know that Food Revolution Day is this Friday May 15th?  Do you know what Food Revolution Day is?  Neither did I.

FOOD REVOLUTION DAY IS FIGHTING TO PUT COMPULSORY PRACTICAL FOOD EDUCATION ON THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM.
Read more at http://www.foodrevolutionday.com/campaign/#W33gCf4RdtK7CZQL.99

This is Jamie Oliver’s message:

Hi guys, Jamie here.

I urgently need your help to make a real difference. We’re currently facing a global obesity epidemic, with 42 million children under the age of five either overweight or obese across the world. The bottom line is the next generation will live shorter lives than their parents if nothing is done to rectify these alarming stats.

So I’m asking that you do two simple things – first, please sign this petition to show your support for compulsory practical food education in schools across the world, then, most importantly, share it via your social networks.

It’s essential that we arm future generations with the life skills they urgently need in order to lead healthier, happier, more productive lives. I passionately believe this is every child’s human right and I hope you agree.

If you can help me get millions of people to sign this petition, we cancreate a movement powerful enough to force all G20 governments to take action. Food education will make a difference to the lives of the next generations, so please help. I can’t do it without you.

Sign it, share it and let’s inspire governments to do the right thing.

Big love

Jamie Oliver x

www.foodrevolutionday.com

Sign the petition here:
https://www.change.org/p/jamie-oliver-needs-your-help-fighting-for-food-education-foodrevolutionday

Sign it. Share it. Support @JamieOliver on #FoodRevolutionDay change.org/jamieoliver

I immediately signed this petition as a while back I had stumbled across the below article which displays pictures of school lunches from around the world.  The US lunch is the most unappetizing, and unhealthy looking lunch tray of the bunch and the only way this will change is if we, the people, the parents, the students, make it change.  So join Jamie Oliver in the food revolution fight!  Sign it, Share it, and TEACH YOUR KIDS TO EAT HEALTHY!

Learn more about Jamie Oliver and his mission here:

http://www.jamieoliverfoodfoundation.org.uk/