Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Go Bananas!


I am pretty sure I have mentioned once or twice that I have a bit of a sweet tooth, well I am always looking for new ways to satisfy that tooth with out dissatisfying my waistband. I found this pin and thought I would give it a go,  PB ‘Nana Cream BitesI really like white chocolate, that was the only change up I made. I used 2 bananas, 3-4Tbs of PB and about a cup of melted white chocolate, which in our house we call mocha choca latte, it just sounds funner and might even make it taste just a bit better. After I made them they looked so good I couldn't wait for them to freeze (or for the chocolate to harden for that matter), my husband and I had a couple each before I popped them in the freezer. When the boys got up from their nap a couple hours later we all dove in, they were delicious and did the trick in satisfying my sweet tooth. A sweet treat that has potassium plus manganese (helps in the creation of healthy red blood cells) plus protein equals awesome! Next time your sweet tooth and waist start arguing this is a great compromise. I would have to say I kinda like them just as well not frozen as I did when they were frozen. Total calories, 30 per banana bite.

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From the kiddo files: When I asked my kids what they wanted to name our next pooch they came up with Unicorn Snicker Doodle Saddler, kinda has a ring to it=) They originally wanted Unicorn Snicker Doodle Chow Mien Saddler (it must have been dinner time) but I told them that wouldn't fit on doggy forms.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day Tribute Blog

There are many ways for us to conserve our precious resources and help our Mother Earth. In this blog I will go over a couple and give some facts along the way.

Reusable Water Bottles:
This is probably the easiest way to start reducing our carbon footprint. You can find reusable bottles in almost any store from Starbucks to Target to your local grocery store. They now come in a plethora of colors, shapes and sizes; I literally bought one the other day that holds almost 40oz of water!!!! That is over half of the recommended daily water intake for the average American. I think the priciest one I have seen (I own this one too) is the one from Starbucks at about $11.95 and I can fill that bad boy up for pennies a day. Of course we all know that water bottles pile up in our landfills but that isn't even the worst part of why you should make the switch. Here are 3 facts about the production of water bottles:
1. 3 times the amount of water in the bottle is used to make just the bottle alone!
2. 17 million barrels of oil are used in one year to make bottles, that amount of oil could fuel one million cars for a year!
3. The waste and Carbon Dioxide emitted by the factories is far worse for the planet then the bottles in landfills themselves.
When Sheryl Crown was diagnosed with Breast Cancer she admitted that she drank a lot of bottled water that had been left in her car and the dioxins in those bottles contributed to her cancer. 95% of the reusable bottles I have seen are BPA free. Bottom line, go buy one of these reusable bottles and save the planet's green, a little green of your own and reap the health benefits of being BPA free.

Reusable bags:
I have to admit when I first bought my reusable bags I forgot them in the car 50% of the time, I used to think 'oh well next time.' Now I feel horrible if I forget my bags and will either carry my Target loot to the car or run back to the car to get the bags. For literally a dollar a bag I am not sure why some people leave the grocery store with 500 grocery bags or bag things like their bananas in the produce bags. I know sometimes, for example when you buy meat, it is a necessary evil but lets be real your bananas aren't going to leak on the other food in your cart. Everyday when I take my oldest to school I see tons of these bags strewn along the freeway and it breaks my heart.  The flowers have started to bloom in Southern California and what catches my eye the most are these bags drifting along or caught on a bush. I do sometimes get these bags at the grocery store and I use them for various things like garbage liners or to put dirty diapers in when we are out and about. In Canada where my mom lives they charge 5 cents a plastic bag, you better believe most people do not forget their reusable bags. Three facts about plastic bags:
1. 12 million barrels of oil are used in the production every year.
2. Only 1-2% of all plastic bags get recycled each year.
3. Thousands of marine animals and an estimated 1 million birds die each year as a result of plastic pollution, most confuse it with food and die from trying to consume it.

These are two simple things you can do to make a huge difference for our planet and for those we share it with.
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Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

P.S. One of my favorite quotes from Modern Family:
"I haven't been judged by this many people since I forgot my canvas bags at Whole Foods." ~Mitch

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cookie Dough Yogurt

Girl Gone Counrty
I usually like to come up with quirky titles for my blogs, usually I have the title before I even start writing and sometimes it comes to me right in the middle of a blog. Well this blog, I think will speak for itself, it is cookie dough yogurt!!! And it is AMAZING, in fact I am going to go on the blog right now to praise the author for her genius! Ok I am back, her blog is called Girl Gone Country you should go right this minute and check it out. Anyway I followed the recipe almost to a tee except since I don't have honey and I used the last of our agave for pancakes on Sunday I substituted the sweetener with Stevia, I used white chocolate chips and I also used a tablespoon and a half of chunky peanut butter. Calories: Greek yogurt: 100; peanut butter: 140; vanilla extract: 5; Stevia: 0; white chocolate baking chips: 35; for a total of 280 calories and 23g of protein!!! I have a horrible sweet tooth and I may have just found my answer to a sweet treat that is made with all natual ingredients (yes the white chocolate chips are all natual, they are the Ghiradelli brand) and is packed with protein! This recipe is sooooo good, why are you still sitting there go right now and make it, if you don't have the ingredients go to the store!
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Quinwhat! Quinwhoa!

The first time I had quinoa I made it for breakfast and of course I was impatient and I didn't let it set long enough and the recipe was so-so. I was ready to throw in the towel on this whole grain and go back to my jasmine rice as my go to side. Then I thought I just bought this bag of organic quinoa and it is going to sit in my pantry until it goes bad in  2052 (not really but for a long time). I thought lets give it another go and see what transpires. I pinned probably 5 recipes that included quinoa and a couple days ago I decided to try a couple and oh by George I actually like it! Here are the pins but as a disclaimer I, again in my usual form, did not follow all the directions; Avocado Quinoa Salad and
7 Salads to Shrink Your Waistline. I started the night before by making the quinoa, confusing my whole family making dinner after dinner, say what?! Well, in the first recipe it said that the quinoa had to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours before serving with the salad, well I was not going to take any chances so I wanted it to sit over night. I used organic vegetable broth instead of water and I also added about 2tbs of canned diced green chili. This is what I put in mine: 3/4C quinoa, 1/3 California avocado, 1/4 tomato, 3oz left over chicken and spicy Sriracha sauce. The past couple weeks I have been hearing all about Sriracha; Sriracha Lay's and in recipes all over the place, I was like 'Oh I need to try some of this Sriracha and see what the buzz is about!' I was under the impression that it was some new hot sauce, competing to replace my beloved TapaTio. Well I opened my fridge and one bottle caught my eye and low and behold it was a bottle of Sriracha, Uncle Chen's to be exact; apparently you have to be an uncle to have your own hot sauce. My dad has been buying this hot sauce from the same man in China Town in San Francisco for years and last visit my husband grabbed one of the three bottle's my dad was hoarding in the pantry. Anyway I digress, this recipe is really yummy and has restored my faith in quinoa. Total calories for that recipe is 340 and it has, 26g of high quality protein and quinoa is a whole grain. Win! Win! Win! The last recipe is a citrus quinoa salad, I used 3 cups of Organic Girl brand baby kale and spinach mix, 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/4 avocado, 1/4 tomato, 1/4 cucumber, and 1 small tangerine and 2tbs Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette. Total calories 275. Bottom line quinoa is quinoawesome!
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Monday, April 8, 2013

Mostly Muesli

So about every three months or so I pack up the kids and sometimes the husband and make the 7-8 hour trek
to my Dad's home and vineyard in Northern California, it is nestled in the quaint appellation of Yountville in the Napa Valley. On my recent visit to the Vinatieri homestead I discovered something amazing and it goes by the name of muesli. Muesli is rolled oats, rye, wheat, triticale, barely, almonds, date crumbles, raisins, sunflower seeds, and walnuts. Apparently this stuff has been around since the early 1900's but has only been a part of my health regiment for the past couple of weeks. When it was first introduced in the early 1900's they mixed it with orange juice, not sure how that tastes, however I find mine to be super tasty with mango pineapple or berry Greek yogurt. I mix 1/4 cup muesli with 6oz of Greek yogurt and let it sit over night and it is delicious! While at my Dad's I noticed he had 3 Costco sized bags of this goodness so I asked if he wouldn't mind if I took a Ziploc to go. When I got home I transferred it to one of those snack containers with the pop up lids that I usually use to put the kids snacks, like Pirate Booty in. I had muesli every morning for like 4 days straight and on that last day I noticed something that felt like a hair, I thought it must be one of those stringy things off a piece of pineapple. That's when I looked down and noticed I was eating the berry flavor not the pineapple and low and behold I pulled out a long blond hair! Gross! Luckily I am the only one in the house that fits the description, if it had been another color I probably would have thrown up. Upon closer inspection I saw  what looked like dog hair, what!!! How did Cali (our black lab) hair get in my muesli?!?! As Desi would say; My 6 and 4 year old had some "splaining to do!" What happened was they thought it was their snack realizing the mistake my four year old made the run back to the pantry and on the run back he tripped and spilled most of it on the carpet. Being the smarties they are they scooped it back up and put it back in the pantry. Long story short I almost ate one of my hairs and who knows how many of the dog hairs. I recommend it with just muesli, sans hair. Needless to say I had to buy a new batch, I bought the Bob's Red Mill brand that I found at Ralph's but I am pretty sure that most stores do carry some form of muesli. Total calories with the Greek yogurt is 240, 20g protein, 4g fiber and a great source of calcium. You can make it with your favorite yogurt, I just happen to like Greek because it is a good source of protein. 
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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Chicken Parmigiana Fantastico!

The best chicken parmigiana I have ever had in my whole 31 years on the planet was when I was 18 years old at a little hole in the wall Italian joint in Pismo Beach. The chicken was fried to perfection; crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. The marinara was obviously homemade and the mozzarella could have been made that very morning by a little nonna in the back. Ahhhh I can tell you my all time three favorite meals ever. The first; the shepherd's pie at the Angel Inn at Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada. The salmon fettuccine at a hole in the wall in Venice, Italy (the owner, chef and buss boy were playing cards when we walked in to the restaurant; now tell me that's not Italian) and last but not least the chicken parmigiana in Pismo. Well I came across this pin for baked chicken parm. and thought I would give it a try and as always I did not follow all of the directions but it came out... well fantastico! I used 4 chicken breasts covered them with about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of marinara (I use Victoria White Linen Collection, it is all natural and don't tell my dad or my Gramma, God rest her soul, but the best I have ever had and surprise surprise it is sold at Costco), sprinkle with Parmesan and cover with mozzarella bake at 450 degrees until the internal temperature of the chicken is 180 degrees (about 35 minutes). The total calories for the chicken is about 300, I serve mine with a side of pasta or a side salad. This meal is healthy, delicious and one of my favorites.
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P.S. My fourth favorite meal would have to be my mom's beet rolls. Love you Mom!