Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shhh...There's Veggies In It {make mama laugh}

Ok, so I could not resist finding this commercial and posting it here. I find it to be not only hilarious but true in many cases.

I can't tell you how many times I have hidden veggies in my meals and especially in homemade fruit juices and smoothies. I remember the day when our son saw me put some spinach leaves in his fruit smoothies and he goes: "hey, you put spinach in my smoothies?". Hilarious, but as we all know, it can be a challenge to get the kiddos to eat their veggies.

Not to long ago I came up with this recipe for some muffins in which I have named "Garden Harvest Muffins" LOL. I think they came out great and the little one loved it. I also put a light coat of icing on top and that was a big hit, but these really don't need any icing and would make a great breakfast muffin. Here is the recipe:

Garden Harvest Muffins

Inspiring Tip: Instead of icing, try using lowfat vanilla yogurt to top these muffins off!


For the Fruit & Veggies:
1 Apple, peeled, cored, and dices thin & small
1 C. Shredded Carrots
1/2 C. Grated Zucchini
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Directions: Mix all together and set aside.

For The Batter:
1 C. Whole Wheat Flour
2 C. Unbleached Flour
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup natural Organic Apple Juice
2 Tbsp. Honey
1/2 C. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Dark Brown Sugar
2/4 C. Canola Oil
1 C. Almond Milk - vanilla flavored (I use Blue Diamond)

Directions: Mix all of your ingredients together until smooth and then add in your fruit and veggie mix. Spray your muffin pan with non-stick canola spray. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, pour your batter into your muffin pan or cupcake liners. Sprinkle the top with a little raw sugar and bake at 350 degrees until golden browned and when the top of the muffins spring back! Enjoy!

One book to check out for creative ideas is "The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals" by Missy Chase Lapine. I have heard all but good things about this book, so I think it is safe to say that I would recommend it too!

There is another book out there in which I personally own called Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. While I do not necessarily suggest this book for the recipes, I do however think that it is a great book to have on hand for inspirational ideas. the photos are fantastic and there are some pretty helpful tips in the book. For instance the Oatmeal raisin cookies did not come out so good..they tasted good, but came out more like a bread...so they were a no go. Yet, i used the same veggie purees and used them in my own recipe! So I would suggest this book for meal inspiration, and hey you can grab a copy for just $6 bucks on amazon!

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

Here is a one recipe from the book. I have heard both good and bad things, so it's best that you be the judge according to your taste!

Blueberry Cheesecake Cupcakes(with yellow squash, blueberry, and spinach)

{excerpt from Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfeld}

Non Stick Cooking Spray


4 oz. reduced fat or non-fat cream cheese
1/3 C. Confectioners Sugar
1/2 C. Yellow Squash Puree
1 Large Egg White
1/8 tsp. Salt

Cupcake Batter:
1 C. Granulated Sugar
1/2 C. Nonfat (skim milk) milk (psst. I would use almond milk!)
1/2 C. Blueberry Puree
1/2 C. Spinach Puree
1/4 C. Canola or Vegetable Oil
1 C. All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tap. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Coat 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with baking cups.

For the filling: beat the cream cheese, sugar, squash puree, egg white, and salt in a bowl until smooth. Set aside. For the batter, combine the sugar, milk, blueberry and spinach purees, and oil in a large bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Add flour, making soda, and salt, and mix until just combined.

Using about half of the batter, fill each muffin cup about one-third full. Drop a teaspoon of the filling on the top of each, and then cover with the rest of your batter. Bake until the tops of the cupcakes are lightly browned and spring back to the touch (about 20-25 minutes). Let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to two days or wrap individually and freeze for up to 1 month.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Strawberry Banana Pancakes {what's for breakfast}

We had these for breakfast this morning and they came out pretty good in my opinion(I was experimenting with my pancake recipes), so I thought I would share the recipe here! After the first bite our son goes: "What did you put in these...they taste healthy"...LOL, he says this anytime I use wheat flour, anyhow, he ate every bit of it and said that it tasted good! Ok, here is the recipe:

Strawberry & Banana Pancakes:

1 C. Unbleached Flour
1/2 C. Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
2/4 C. Sugar
2/4 C. Nonfat Plain Yogurt
1 Egg
2/4 C. Almond Milk: Vanilla (I use Blue Diamond unsweetened vanilla)
2 tsp. Olive Oil

Directions: using your mixer, mix together all of your dry ingredients. Add your egg, yogurt, and milk & mix. Fold in your olive oil.

Pour batter into a non-stick skillet(i use canola non-sticking spray) on low heat. Using a 1/4 measuring cup pour batter into your skillet and spread batter a bit to create a larger circle. Place the top on your skillet and let cook/steam on one side until the edges are firm enough to turn. Do the same on the other side & continue this process until your batter is gone.

Serve pancakes warm and top with sliced bananas and strawberries. Here i used a sprinkle of powdered sugar, but that is totally optional.

Suggestion: Blend some strawberries with your syrup or honey to make a great strawberry flavored syrup!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

10 Things I Hope To Do for My Kids {raising them up}

What things do you hope you instill in your children that they will carry and remember when they are all grown up?

There are so many things that I hope and wish for our children. It is beyond scary when you sit and visualize their future, especially when we as parents know how intense life can get. I always just hope that my husband and I will succeed on teaching them gems of how to get through the rough and smooth patches of it all. Nevertheless, I thought I would share 10 things(yeah, and there are a lot more, but these are the basics...LOL) that I hope to surround,teach, and instill in our kids:

1. I want to cook & bake delectable dishes and sweets that they will talk about when they are all frown up.

2. I want them to reminisce about how their mother was always creating something new.

3. I want them to have a special memory/ritual that they can't wait to share with their own children.

4. I want them to not feel like they have to be obligated to love me, but to love me for who I am with all of my flaws and all.

5. I want them to see that true love can exist between a man and woman.

6. I want them to never fear failure.

7. I want them to always think outside of the box and to be open minded.

8. I want them to remember that if you don't have it or if you cannot afford it then try to create your own!

9. I hope that they will always stay true to their dreams and respect the dreams of others.

10. I want them to carry a huge appreciation for all forms of art, music, and cultures.

Handmade Home {amanda soule}

There are so many mothers out there that are doing amazing things within their careers and within their families, and one mom that never ceases to inspire me is Amanda Soule of Soule Mama. I absolutely adore every aspect of motherhood that she lovingly takes the time to provide and create within her home. I am so inspired by her and I only hope to grow into the type of mother who takes pride in the domestic arts, enjoys teaching my kids at home, instilling free-thought within their minds, and I guess just providing that one-of-a-kind experience that each one of us as mothers have the gift to give!

Ok, so with that said, I wanted to make sure I posted about Amanda's new book entitled "Handmade Home", which is currently available for pre-ordering for just $12.89. This book focuses on re-purposing cherished objects and making them home treasures. Handmade Home will be available August of this year! Also, you may want to pick up her first book called "The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination & Nurture Family Connections", which is filled with so many wonderful ideas on keeping the creative flow within your abode.

Playroom Inspiration {colorfully fun}

Colorful inspiration for a cute and fun playroom for a little girl!

Monday, March 16, 2009

14 day Menu 3/14- 3/27 2009

The Menu:
1. Spaghetti & turkey meatballs

2. Chicken Cacciatore w/steamed green beans & jasmine rice(recipe & pic coming this week)

3. Turkey Burgers & homemade onion rings

4. Shrimp Salad sandwiches

5. Calzones & salad

6. Jerk Chicken K-bobs, gingered green beans & sweet plantains

7. Pad Thai Stir Fry (I have yet to fix this from my previous menus..lol)

8. Vegetable vindaloo w/ lentils & flat bread

9. Vegetable Minestrone w/ Rustic Bread

10. Broccoli & Rice Casserole, fish & steamed cabbage

11. Gumbo w/peach muffins

12. Turkey Subs & Chips

13. Turkey Tacos (hard & soft)w/ pico de gallo, chips, & salsa

14. Wild Card..LOL..I have no idea!

Dessert Ideas:
Frozen yogurt pops, blueberry oatmeal bars, white chocolate cake w/ chocolate icing.

Cooking for Baby: Purees {mom watch}

I very much hope to have the opportunity to make my own baby food for baby girl when she arrives, even if it is not for every meal. It would be nice to know that I am taking out a bit of time to concoct some gourmet mash for her liking..LOL.

Cooking for Baby: Plum Porridge Pancakes {mom watch}

Monday, March 9, 2009

One Day You Should Get a Real Job{words from the kiddo}

So, what do you do when you are sitting on the couch watching an Episode of Spongebob Squarepants with the kiddo for the 400th time(because nickelodean loves their repeats) and your little one goes: “You should get a real job like BaBa(this is what he calls his dad)? I was a bit caught off guard with his statement as part of me wanted to laugh and then another part of me felt quite offended and a little paranoid (yes I can get offended by a 5 year old). But it made me think, maybe he really does not understand my role here as a Stay At Home Mom. He knows that his BaBa wakes up every morning, gets dressed, goes out to work, comes home, and makes money. Now with me on the other hand, the only time he feels that I am “working” is when I pull the laptop out.

So, instead of reflecting on all of the articles that I have read on how stay at home moms don't do anything or that they are bored out of their minds (which is totally not the case for myself). I just took that time to explain to him that both his BaBa and myself work, but that we just have different jobs; and that my job was to be a good YaYa(mother). I explained to him that my job was to make sure that he learned, ate his veggies and fruit, and to make our home warm and fun. I also told him that I also work at night on the computer after he has gone to bed.

He seemed to understand and that made me feel good, because even though I am a stay at home mom, the last thing that I would want is for my son to feel that their is no “work” put into such a role. So, if you are stay at home mother yourself, I highly suggest you explain to your kids what you do, your job, your responsibilities, and why your job as well as your husbands are equally important and how you two work together for their sake!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fort Couch {imagine your playtime}

So, what do you get when you leave me with a five year old, lots of blankets and pillows and a combination of little imaginations and grownup daydreams? You get the "Fort Couch", that's what you get. I'm writing this post from his so called clubhouse in which he insists has windows and a rooftop, yet I see neither...LOL. Nevertheless, I must admit that there is a magical element to playtime "undercover". It's like you are separated from the rest of the world and anything your imagination carries can happen within those few inches..ahem, with that said..do they make big people forts? These "patchwork" forts are my favorite, made with all sorts of blankets carrying different patterns and colors, and the amount of imagination that your child can put into building them is amazing...true architects they are indeed!

Nevertheless, I love that our son has the imagination to build and I always imagine a space where I could make him a teepee to play in outside or a small one for our future house..I can see it now: Him and his little abode upon hardwood floors, flashlights, random toys, and reading books. Aaah! So, with all this talk about play forts and clubhouses I though i would search around a bit to find some cute teepee style tents. needless to say they were all well overpriced but I did find this awesome tutorial on making your own teepee by Meg of Boutique Nutmeg Designs Click here for the tutorial: Make Your Own Teepee

I also ran across Three Monkeys and Sewing, in which she makes the teepees for you at a pretty decent price of $100-175 bucks!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Make Your Own Baby Registry Cards {happy monday}

Happy Monday everybody! I went for my check up for baby this past Friday and everything seems to be fine. She had me have an ultrasound as she wanted to monitor the kidneys after she saw a slight dilation from the previous ultrasound. They are no longer dilated and little baby bella now weighs 3 pounds! During the ultrasound she was yawning and smacking her lips:)

So, I finally finished my registry announcement cards! I hope I have not waited to late, as we have not acquired much for baby yet. But I am sure everything will come together fine. I also have to make the bedding for her crib(bumper & blanket). Oh my, so much to do. I remember when it felt as though we had so much time and now I feel as though March is already over. Here are the registry cards that I sent out this weekend. I did them on the computer and I was a bit tired, so they are not totally up to par as to what I envisioned, but they will do. I registered at both Target & Wal-Mart to make things simple. If you are on a budget such as I, then I highly suggest making your own invites and announcements, heck, even if you are not on a budget, it is still quite fun to make your own!

14 day Menu 2/28- 3/13 2009

Ok, so this week, I only have 11 dinner ideas for you as I have no clue what I am going to cook for the remaining 4 days. I am supposed to find one dinner idea a day, yet it never fails that I find myself scrambling for recipes and ideas the Friday before I am supposed to go grocery shopping! Hopefully I will stick to my plan as it would make things even easier when grocery shopping time comes around. Anyhow, here is our menu for the next couple of weeks:

1.Black Bean Burgers w/ Sauteed Mushrooms & Onions & Provolone w/ Homemade Oven Fries

2.Turkey Meatloaf, Asparagus & Corn Salad, & Herbed Mashed Potatoes

3.Chicken Parmesean w/ Linguine & baby Portobella Mushrooms

4.Roasted Chicken w/ Pico De Gallo, Rice & Avocado

5.Potato & Leek Soup w/ Broccoli & Chicken Quiche

6.Stuffed Eggplant w/ Baked Penne Pasta

7.Shrimp Scampi w/ Herbed Rice & Steamed Broccoli

8.Pad Thai w/ Broccoli or Spinach

9.BBQ Chicken w/ Mac & Cheese & Veggies

10.Lobster w/ Lemon Butter Sauce, Pasta, & Salad

11.Cannellini Bean Soup w/ Foccacio Bread

12.Shrimp Stew w/ Hush Puppies

13.Tomato Basil Soup w/ Bruschetta & Marinara

14.Shrimp salad Sandwiches w/ Chips, Pickles, & Lemonade

Dryer Sheets Refreshed {tips that work}

Need a quick boost of fresh air in your abode? Then try placing several dryer sheets on top of your air conditioning/heater filter & the next time you run your heater or AC you will get a nice little whisk of fresh air!