Monday, April 30, 2012

Alexander+Baseball=Fun Times

Baseball season is in full swing.  So far Alexander loves playing the catcher position.  I love watching the boys play. Some of the boys are so in to the game while others, well, as we had a talk with Alexander, they (and he sometimes) need to get their heads in the game.  This past weekend the Jets participated in a tournament.  The first game was ugly--ugly weather, ugly playing.  The second game however was impressive!  The boys seemed to have settled in and were more focused. The weather was MUCH better.  The Jets played so well, they were in the lead, but sadly lost at the end. I'm excited for several more fantastic games this season.
at bat
on deck

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sweet Treats

In my desire to cut the amount of sugar we consume, I've come across many sweet treats that I'd love to try.  Some are naturally sweetened by fruit others honey, and yes, some with sugar and chocolate chips.  Did you know that a high consumption of sugar rots teeth not just on the outside, but from the inside as well. So, indulge as a special treat and enjoy! :)
This Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie is in.cred.i.ble!  It's from Chocolate Covered Katie, so it's got some nutritional value and is dairy free.  It's also gluten free.  The recipe calls for a hefty amount of brown sugar, but I've made it with only about a half cup of brown sugar which is less than half the amount called for in the recipe. Also, when we've eaten it, I haven't topped it like in the picture, but that sure does look good!
This next one is one I found via Pinterest, but haven't had a chance to try yet.  It looks and sounds so delicious.  Let me know if you try it.  Don't be scared to use coconut oil.  I had a jar for several months before I started using it.  I'm in love with the stuff now!  It's extremely nutritious and versatile to use.  These treats are called Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Candy Bars.  This recipe calls for dried cranberries--remember not all dried fruit is created the same, some have added sugar, so read the labels if you really want to watch how much sugar is used.
And, if you're going to indulge, eat something yummily good for you either before or after.  I suggest this version of a kale salad.  It's got a satisfying sweet and salty combo with a crunch and fiber to fill you up.
When I made it, I made a few changes to it.  I didn't use 8 cups of chopped kale--probably about 5, I just chopped up one and a half bunches.  I used more than a pinch of salt, didn't let my quinoa cool, no macadamia nuts, entire avocado, a handful or two of dried cranberries.

When you're cooking, don't be afraid to change up a recipe a bit to meet your needs, substitute ingredients, or try something new.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

John Paul's SIX now!

Today is John Paul's sixth birthday!  The day started with him waking us up asking to open up his could we say no? :)
Then we had a quick breakfast and got ready for his soccer game.
My new 6 year old scored a goal too!
After soccer, Grammie Julie brought over the requested chocolate chip scones.  It wasn't even 10am and the boy had consumed copious amounts of sugar already because "it's my birthday!"  Jolly Ranchers and pop rings are my nemesis.
 Later we went to Target and got him some new thin tipped markers that he requested and he said, "now I'm in business!"  After Alexander's baseball game, we picked up some GF/DF pizza from Spin! and came home to enjoy it.  At both his request and Penelope's we sang Happy Birthday several times :)
I love you little man, you're growing up so fast!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Weekly Menu

We've got quite the busy weekend coming up and I'm rather excited for it.  John Paul turns 6!  We've got 2 soccer games for John Paul and a baseball tournament for Alexander.  The tournament is the wild card for the weekend--don't know game times yet.  This can be tricky for meals, especially when fast food isn't an option.  I've already told the kids we'll probably have at least one picnic this weekend.  They are SUPER excited!  Penelope and Jaime have been having picnics almost weekly when Jaime takes a lunch break when working from home.  They are pretty sweet and a memory that I hope she keeps forever.

Saturday--picnic food--hummus, carrots, celery, strawberries, ham and lettuce rolls
Sunday--grilled steak salad with onions and mushrooms
Monday--Chick-un Tikki Masala Pizza
Tuesday--Chickpea and veggie Quizza
Wednesday--BBQ chicken, grilled pineapple, salad
Thursday--nachos--ground beef, tomatoes, avocados, black beans, chips
Friday--Quinoa, kale, and cranberry salad

Monday--eggs, coconut yogurt, fruit
Wednesday--eggs and sausage, fruit smoothies with kale
Thursday--granola and coconut yogurt
Friday--eggs and cereal or oatmeal

*popcorn cakes with almond butter and dark chocolate chips
*apple slices and carrots
*breakfast cookies
*Carrot cake bites
*No bake granola cakes

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Stella's Baptism

Stella's baptism was on April 15th.  It was a simple and peaceful sacrament and as Fr Tom said, "made a Christian of her." :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy Easter

Because it's still the Easter season I don't feel any guilt about getter this Easter picture up here 2+ weeks after Easter.
And, because trying to get a really good picture of all 4 at the same time is near impossible, I'm sharing just a fun one :)

Well, I suppose I should put a "serious" one on too
Happy Easter!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Peanut Butter Crispies

These have been a yummy treat and even breakfast here.  It's got some protein, fiber, carbs, healthy brain fat, and a bit of sweetener.

Peanut Butter Crispies (Inspired by this recipe)

scoop of peanut butter (or any nut butter of your preference)
scoop of coconut oil
a sweetener of choice--sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, coconut sugar*--but not too much
crispy rice cereal (I use Barbara's Brown Rice Crisps--they're gluten free)
Place the nut butter, coconut oil, and sweetener (if using) in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat in microwave for about 20 seconds to warm and soften.  Stir the ingredients in the bowl.  After mixed, add in some cereal and stir to coat the cereal.  Enjoy warm or stick it in the fridge to harden.  My kiddos like this with a couple chocolate chips on top :)
*Check out this info about Coconut Palm Sugar.  I need to research it more, but it is worth it!  Coconut oil is so important and nutritious for us.  Our brains and cell walls need the healthy fat in coconut oil.  Chocolate Covered Katie has some fabulous treats using coconut oil!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Supercharged Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

Spaghetti and meat sauce is quick and easy dinner in our gluten and dairy free home.  It's an easy meal that you probably already have in your meal rotation, so why not give it a nutritional boost?

Supercharged Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
Pasta--any size or shape, can be gluten free
1 lb ground beef
1/2 to 1 onion, diced
1 jar organic pasta sauce--have fun with this and choose a family favorite, but watch for added sugar or allergens
1 zucchini, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
fresh or frozen spinach, if frozen, thaw
red wine (optional, when I add it I add probably about a 1/2 cup, but it also depends on how much is left in the bottle)
Bring a large pot of water to boil.  In a large saute pan, brown the ground beef.  Add the diced onion and saute for a few minutes.  Add the jar of pasta sauce and heat through.  Stir in the veggies and red wine.  Let simmer while the pasta cooks in the pot of boiling water.  When the pasta is done cooking, drain the pasta.  Add the pasta to the meat sauce and toss to cover.  I like to serve this with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast seasoning and/or some Parmesan cheese.  It also tastes great with a side of kale salad!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kale Salad

This kale salad is adapted from the kale salad at Unforked and is a fraction of the cost.  And, because you are making it, you can easily create it to be gluten and dairy free.  :)
I was quite skeptical at first, but after a friend swore that it was the most delicious thing, I had to give it a try.
And now, I think you should too :)

Kale Salad
1 bunch green kale (I've made it with the green kale and the purple kale.  The purple kale was a bit tougher and didn't taste quite as good in our opinion.)
lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil
bread crumbs (Glutino makes some great gluten free bread crumbs)
Parmesan cheese and/or Bragg's Nutritional Yeast Seasoning (the yeast seasoning has a Parmesan cheese flavor and is quite healthy and a great alternative to the Parmesan cheese)

Rinse the kale and pat it dry.  Pull the leaves off of the tough center stem.  Discard the stems.  Chop the leaves and place them in serving bowl.  Sprinkle the leaves with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  (The amounts of these are to your personal liking.  Start with about 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice and olive oil and adjust from there.)  Toss the kale.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheese and/or seasoning.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Weekly Menu

I'm so excited because more and more people are asking me about gluten/dairy free diets, shopping for these foods on a budget, preparing the foods, etc.  I'm having so much fun planning meals and helping to educate people about nutrition and that eating healthy tastes great and feels even better too.

Saturday--Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta--lunch for Jaime and me,  Chicken Tamale Soup--dinner
Sunday--kale salad, Thai Chicken Pizza
Monday--Barbacoa beef tacos, guacamole, salad (I froze the left over beef, it was pretty tasty!)
Tuesday--spaghetti and meat sauce, kale salad
Wednesday--Green Chili Chicken Burgers (for the dairy free, use Daiya pepper jack "cheese"),
Thursday--Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Cups
Friday--Thai Peanut Noodle Salad

This week's snacks:
Popcorn--I buy the organic kernels and pop them on the stove top.  You can also put kernels in to a paper bag, fold it shut and pop it in the microwave like the expensive store-bought microwave popcorn.
Breakfast cookies (I've made double batches of these twice now.  The first time I added some sugar and the second time no sugar (except what's in the dark chocolate chunks) at all.  Everybody loved both versions.  I will be making these without the added sugar because, have you checked out how much sugar we consume?!  Simply amazing.)
Fruit, Veggies, Roasted Chickpeas

Monday--microwave berry muffins, breakfast sausage
Tuesday--scrambled eggs, fruit smoothies
Thursday--scrambled eggs, microwave muffins
Friday--peanut butter crispies, fruit

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Weekly Menu

Easter is tomorrow! I'm not sure at the moment of what I'll be fixing, but I know lamb is NOT on the menu. I've had lamb before and it is okay in my book, but not worth breaking the bank to purchase or worth the effort to cook it. My husband strongly disagrees with me :). Do you have any traditional Easter meals? I have found some fabulous sounding meals that I'm excited to put on the menu and make. I'm really enjoying Thai food lately and am most excited to try the Thai Chicken Enchiladas--gluten free of course.  Next Sunday is Stella's baptism.  We've got a busy week and weekend ahead, so I'm planning ahead through next weekend.

Saturday--pizza, salad
Sunday--kale salad, risotto, grilled steak and shrimp, Thai noodle soup
Monday--Meatloaf, asparagus, roasted parsnip fries
Tuesday--Veggie and beef stir fry, rice
Wednesday--Thai Chicken Enchiladas
Thursday--Smoky Pork chops in crock pot with coconut milk and sriracha and pasta, salad
Friday--hamburgers, kale salad, oven baked fries/roasted broccoli
Sunday--Barbacoa Beef Tacos, guacamole,

Happy and blessed Easter!


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