good food takes time

9/33

i was peeling a clementine for the babe the other day and she was getting whiny. she’s 1 so she gets whiny a lot, growing into a toddler is hard work! off the top of my head i told her to be patient because real food takes time. i’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. real food does take time! it’s a lesson i really want to teach my kids. there’s a place for fast food but i really want to stay in good habits and make fast food for unique occasions. i want them to learn how to cook and enjoy it, like i’m only beginning to do now in my 30s. today making the thanksgiving meal was awesome and everything was from scratch. i actually enjoyed it and a big reason is that i just felt good about how healthy it was, no shortcuts, no junk. it was a meal i could feel good about feeding my family, including the baby!

oh and my pomegranates all went rips so i spent the good portion of nap time seeding these. see, real food takes time!

you are what you eat – costco run

 

5/33

remember when i used to blog about healthy eating? well as i said in one of the posts, where i shop changes all the time because of prices and selection. so here’s my latest costco stash! they are getting more and more organic and all natural products and that’s exciting!

organic apple chips

organic fruit snacks (seriously like candy these are so amazing!)

organic sugar

chocolate chips (ethically sourced)

organic squeeze pouches (i try to use these more for when we’re out and i really need something on the go, otherwise i think it’s better for kids to eat whole fruits and veggies)

organic chickens (the best deal around! 25 for 2!! see my chicken post on how to cook a whole chicken – put one in the fridge and freeze the other)

organic string cheese

organic uncooked tortillas (2 pack which is great because you can freeze one)

kerrygold butter and cheese – see below

organic eggs (not pictured, they didn’t have any this time wah)

organic mac and cheese (annie’s brand)

ok so this brand is amazing! super affordable and grass fed cheese and butter!!! no need to be organic if it’s grass fed 🙂

obvi this is the best thing to get at costco though…you really can’t tell how big these are with this angle, i think you really need to go check them out for yourself. and then buy a u-haul to bring the thing home and then snuggle forever and forget all your responsibilities like making whole chickens and eating healthy…

holiday treats

not ready for the holidays to be over? me neither! so here’s a holiday treat to keep you festive, unless of course you are counting calories now…then this is definitely not for you! but then again, it’s still december…so you have another day to not worry about calories right?? 😉

i hosted a little dessert/drink party and i wanted to make something that would use the pomegranate seeds i had from my tree and found two lovely recipes, one dessert and one drink.

the dessert is a chocolate pomegranate tart, recipe here.

she calls for two household items that most people don’t have, a food processor and a double boiler. you don’t need either for this recipe. if you have a simple pastry cutter that will do the trick for the crust

and by far the easiest way to melt chocolate is to microwave it. i’m sure a double boiler is easy too, but when you are dealing with a lack of kitchen space, it’s just one item that isn’t worth taking up room in my opinion. you can also boil some water in a pan and put a bowl with chocolate over the pan…a makeshift double boiler! i’ve done this method before and it works great too, BUT you have to be careful not to get even a drop of water into the chocolate or it will ruin the chocolate. that’s why i use the microwave, super duper easy. i just do a minute at a time and stir in between 🙂

and voila! perfectly smooth, not burned, not seized chocolate…

i seriously love how this turned out!!! it’s beautiful and pretty tasty too! the crust and pomegranate glaze and seeds are just the right amount of plain and tart to balance the rich chocolate filling. and i love that it’s all natural and that i used my own fruit! it also really wasn’t that hard, i was able to make it during nap time, and the only thing i needed to buy from the store was pomegranate juice for the glaze! not too bad.

the drink i made was a rosemary pomegranate martini, recipe here. (and yes, that is a dharma initiative shot glass)

also a super easy recipe, and i only bought the pomegranate juice for this recipe as well! i used pomegranate arils, lemon juice (i actually had to substitute some limes because i only had one ripe lemon on the tree, it was still delicious), and rosemary from my backyard.

i infused the vodka with the rosemary for a few hours, then put it all together in festive glasses.
it’s amazing how easy it can be to make something so much fancier with a sprig of an herb! i want to grow more herbs than this past year. i only had mint, rosemary and basil…what should i grow next?

so if you ever have an abundance of pomegranates, there are two things you can do with them. i would have used my own juice too instead of buying it but i had eaten most, i only had three left and not enough to juice and use the arils. but next time i’ll probably juice some. and next time i’ll also try making my own grenadine! since going all natural, i’ve been so sad about things like grenadine because it’s basically high fructose corn syrup and red 40 so it’s definitely out. but then i learned that grenadine comes from the french word grenade, which means pomegranate and the original syrup is pomegranate syrup, so i’m totally making this next year, yum!!!

some other desserts at the gathering, yum! although i think i’m still coming down from a sugar high

well, hope you enjoyed the holidays…time to say goodbye to all the ornaments until next year…even the weird ones

 

stroepwafels – a family tradition

my mom mentioned at thanksgiving that we don’t do enough home movies…i thought, she’s right! we do our annual christmas card films and travel films, but we really need to do more everyday things for memories to get into the habit for our little girl!

unfortunately, i don’t know too much about my own ethnic background. i know that i’m half dutch, and what i know further is limited pretty much to dutch desserts. pretty sad huh?

so here’s a fun little time lapse of stroepwafels in the making. My mom and I make these every year, it’s a dutch tradition! every christmas we make them. they literally translate to ‘syrup waffle’ and we have to make them each by hand. don’t bother asking for the recipe, you need a special waffle iron from the netherlands to make these. you also shouldn’t bother asking nutrition facts, they are buttery, sugary and delicious…you do the math! come on, it’s the holidays, splurge a little!

anyway, enjoy our last minute, fun little video 🙂

you are what you eat part 6

you are what you eat part 6 – after a year and a half, what we’ve learned

this is part 6 (and the last installment) of a healthy eating series, to read the rest go here: Read part one hereread part two hereread part three here,read part four here and read part five here.

if you are reading this post for the first time, be sure to check out our whole journey above.

now that we’ve been a year all natural, here are a few things we’ve learned:

i get WAY less headaches. i’ve tried and tried to create food journals over the years to figure out why i get random headaches (i.e. i’m not tired, dehydrated, pmsing, stress or had one too many glasses of wine) and i could never put my finger on it. over this past year and a half, i pretty much only get one headache a month (you know, that time…), and sometimes i don’t even get that one! what’s nice is that going all natural has just fixed that problem for me. now i don’t even have to bother with figuring it out and avoiding that one thing because i just avoid all those things that were bad for me anyway!

we both lost weight. this may sound obvious, but that wasn’t our purpose for doing this. we lost weight as a side effect of eating healthy and it wasn’t because of doing a ‘diet’ for a short period of time, counting calories, or working out more. all we did was create new habits!

habits are easier to keep up when you meal plan. meal planning has always been a huge struggle for me. you would think that a two person family would be easy, but when my husband says he’s fine with oatmeal for dinner most nights, it’s hard to be motivated to cook ever. but i know that we need to get in good habits before children or else we’ll never get into good habits. another problem with meal planning for us is that i’ll have it all set up and then one of us will just not be hungry for a full meal or we’ll go out with friends and i have to push everything back and since i’m still learning to cook, it’s tough to rearrange things. but i’m learning to be flexible and just make sure to use everything i buy. so the meal planning is still a work in progress but we’re definitely getting there!

this leads me to the pantry challenge. i saw one of my friends was doing this on facebook and thought it was a great idea. you take inventory of everything in your cupboards (which was a shocking amount since i feel like we never have food!) and then you make sure to only buy fresh items to go with those things you already have. you have to get creative and it really forces you to pay attention to what you have. my favorite part about it is that it prevents food waste! i hate wasting food when there are so many people who don’t have any, it seriously kills me to throw away a bunch of expired food that i paid good money for. so i did this for a few weeks, and it was fun!

balance…one of the hardest things about changing your diet so dramatically (sad that going all natural kind of feels like a dramatic change, it’s not like i went vegan!) is finding a balance with others. what i mean is that you can completely control what you cook and buy for daily things, but if you go over to a friend’s house for dinner or go out to eat at a place that is likely to have ‘no’ list items, it makes it tough. on the one hand you really don’t want to go back to eating certain things or getting symptoms from troublesome foods, but you also don’t want to be rude. we’ve decided that we will do everything in our power to eat an all natural and organic diet, but at the same time, we don’t want anyone to bend over backwards to try to figure out meals they can make for us. we’re also not going to be ‘those people’ at a restaurant asking a million questions about ingredients (but that’s mostly because i’m afraid i’ll get an extra special ingredient if they don’t like me…)

this wraps up my series on healthy eating! i’m sure i’ll post some about my garden which has helped a lot this summer, and other projects related, but i’ll leave you with a very cool video from chipotle’s ad campaign. i haven’t researched anything about what they really use in their food, but i just love the commercial and the story they tell, enjoy!

you are what you eat part 5

you are what you eat part 5 – sweets
this is part 5 of a healthy eating series, to read the rest go here: Read part one hereread part two hereread part three here, read part four here
another common thing that people say to us when we say we went all natural is ‘wow, you guys are so good’, ‘how can you function without any bad food?’ well, honest answer? we don’t. just because we eat all naturally doesn’t mean that we avoid sweets. when we made this decision, it was spring. we forgot we’d have to deal with saying no to a lot during holidays, especially halloween. for me, it’s almost easier to just say to myself, ‘well, it has high fructose corn syrup or dye so i just can’t have it’. but sometimes, we just really need a piece of candy or chocolate. so here’s what we’ve found…WARNING: don’t read this post if you are hungry, tired or at ‘that time of the month’ because you will probably go out and buy everything…
red and black licorice – trader joe’s has an all natural one, colored with beets. it does have corn syrup but supposedly trader joe’s doesn’t make anything with gmo’s…take it for what you will. vons also carries a brand of red licorice that is all natural.
fruit chewy candy and salt water taffy! – trader joe’s has this as well, colored with vegetables, also with corn syrup
chocolate – this has been the most tricky thing for us because as much as i’ve researched it, i just can’t figure out if soy lecithin is bad for you. we’ve cut out all soy, but they say that soy lecithin is from fermented soy which isn’t bad. other places say, well it’s probably gmo so it’s still bad, and others say that because it’s such a small amount, it doesn’t matter. so it’s up to you on the soy lecithin issue, but trader joe’s has a mighty plethora of delicious all natural chocolate products, YUM!
another thing i do to get around the sweets issue is just bake things myself. this is actually a great way to talk yourself out of junk food because you have to decide if you REALLY want it since you have to make it yourself. i do love baking but i don’t always have time, so i can usually talk myself out of the sweets this way. but, if i NEED chocolate (you know what i’m talking about ladies…) i bake with chocolate chips or chunks from jimbo’s. they are all natural, NO soy lecithin ANDDDDDD they are fair trade, yippee! they also have baking m&ms at jimbo’s with all natural coloring. i also found all naturally colored sprinkles at sprouts so cupcakes can have some color once in a while 🙂
there are a lot of cookies at trader joe’s but again, much of it has soy lecithin or enriched flour, so i just bake these myself to be safe. plus, i can buy the flour non gmo at jimbo’s.
sweet breads like pumpkin bread or any kind of muffin i also bake myself. this is mainly because most of the muffins out there are full of all the things we cut out and so full of calories. i sometimes steam my own pumpkins, puree and freeze them in baggies until i need it for recipes, that way i don’t have to worry about pesky aluminum (see, everything is bad for us!!!)
so enjoy some goodies! hopefully i’ll post some fun recipes soon 🙂