Monthly Archives: August 2016

Peach Lemonade

I recently attended BYU education week, and Chef Brad was the presenters. He did some cooking demonstrations and he made this really yummy peach lemonade, that really, you could sub out the peaches and use whatever fruit is in season. It was so yummy, I came home, and made a batch, making a couple of small modifications mostly because I didn’t have the exact ingredients he had, on hand. The whole family loved it!

Before I share the recipe, let’s talk for a minute about lemons. They are a power food. Really, they are. They cleanse your system, flushing out toxins. They help stop hunger cravings. Lemons are very Alkaline (they decrease acidity in your body) which keeps your body in a state where diseases and cancers etc cannot survive. That alone is amazing! Greens are another great alkaline food, but we won’t go there today. Lemons also provide energy and reduce anxiety and depression; even the smell can help with that. In fact, I  have a lemon essential oil that I will diffuse during the day for that very reason; the smell is calming. If you could get into the habit of having a glass of warm lemon water every day, before you eat anything in the morning, that would be ideal.

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This recipe uses fresh lemons so here’s another good way to get lemons in your diet, and without the sugar rush you’d normally get while drinking lemonade. Why? Because we’re using stevia, a natural plant extract that has zero impact on your blood sugar level. To make this lemonade, I squeeze the juice from my lemons, add the juice to my blender, add the peaches, stevia and a little water and ice and blend it until smooth.

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Then I dump that into a 1/2 gallon jar, add another cup of ice and fill the jar with water until it’s nearly full, give it a stir and it’s ready to serve!

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Peach Lemonade- lightly adapted from Chef Brad
*makes 1/2 gallon

1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons)
3 packets stevia or to taste(1 gram packets. If you’re using the stevia with a filler that converts 1:1 with sugar then use about 1 c stevia; or can  use 1 cup agave)
2 peaches
1 c ice
1 c water

Add ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into 1/2 gallon container and add 1 c ice and enough water to fill nearly to the top. Stir and enjoy!

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Filed under drink

Healthier Options for Packaged Foods

This post is a little different from most, there’s no recipe, but instead I’m going to share a few foods you can buy at the store that are better for you than most. I’ve shared others in the past, so this is just adding to some of those other favorites (like Ak Mak crackers, rice cakes, triscuits, Lara Bars, Naked Juice when I’m traveling without my blendtec and need a green smoothie etc).

Our four oldest kids went back to school this week so it’s just me and the baby left at home all day(and by baby I mean she’s 4, but still our baby), which means it shouldn’t be as hard to get a post on here each week, like it was in the Summer when we are all home working and playing together! But I did it; I kept this up even though it was challenging, yay for me! The summer flew by and we made lots of memories: with family, on trips, camps, at the pool and with friends. Our oldest daughter who is 12, did her first mini triathlon this summer, with me and Scott (hubby/daddy). I placed third for women which was rewarding :).  And our 10 year old son ran his first 5k race! These races don’t just all happen on one day, but they were training several days a week with me or Scott for months, which gave us some special time together. We encourage our children to be active each day through our words and example and we hope they will continue to do that throughout their lives. We remind them regularly that the foods we eat (and how we sleep) directly affect our level of activity, so we need to put good fuel in our body and not junk foods that are not nutritious like white flours/sugars, fried foods, processed meats, etc so that we can perform to our best abilities. They have experienced this for themselves and know it to be true, but reminders are good :).

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This, by the way, is one of my favorite snacks to have during a long run (longer than an hour):

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My sister-in-law, who is an amazing runner, introduced me to these last year. They sell these waffles gluten-free or not, I get both, and the ingredients list is mostly organic and whole grains, though their is a little cane sugar. They have all different flavors and I’ve loved each one so far. This is so tasty that I actually look forward to my long runs just because I know I’ll get to eat this part way through :). I have found these at running stores, on amazon, at Sierra Trading Post and health food stores by the power/granola bars. The cheapest I’ve found them is $1/each(at Sierra Trading Post), and they go up to around $1.50.

The week before school got out my Mom and brother came for a visit from Washington and New York, and we attended BYU education week together which was awesome. My mom shared a couple of foods with me that I loved and am passing along to you! These Mariani Honey Bars are made with all whole foods, nuts, fruit and honey and that’s it! No preservatives or refined sugar. My mom found them at Safeway in Washington but so far I haven’t been able to find them locally, but you can order them on amazon here. They run about $1.60/bar on amazon, which is about right for this healthier type of granola bar, and honestly, besides Lara Bars, there’s not much else out there that is this natural. And I personally like the taste of these more than Lara Bars, and my kids definitely do, too! The kids favorite flavors were Sweet and Salty and Granola. I liked all of them.

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We found these Van’s Simply Delicious waffles at Walmart (also at Sprouts and other whole foods stores), and they make them gluten-free or not. They have a couple choices that are sweetened with 100% fruit juice which I think is great! It will state it right on the front of the box if that’s the case, like the box below, otherwise they’ve got some added sugar. Our Sprouts had them on sale, buy 1 box, get 1 free, so we got a few :).

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These really are ‘simply delicious’! Notice I topped mine with a little peanut butter, pure maple syrup and fresh strawberries! So yummy!

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So if you don’t have time, like I sometimes don’t, and can’t make your granola bars or waffles from scratch, these will be great options for you. Have a wonderful day!

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Filed under Snacks/Sides/Appetizers

Whole Wheat Cottage Cheese Pancakes

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I think I’ve mentioned before that I have each of my 5 children help me make dinner one day a week. That way I get some special time with that child and they’re learning to cook at the same time, plus cooking with someone makes it seem more fun! It’s great! This time we were making Sunday morning breakfast and it wasn’t really anybody’s turn but both my 12 and 6 year old daughters wanted to help.

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I know we have a couple of pancake recipes on this blog already, but each recipe is so different(all so yummy though!) and produces a different result, and these are just fabulous so I had to share!

We got this recipe for Cottage Cheese Pancakes from a good friend of mine who loves them, and since it uses less flour (lots of flour  tends to make me feel bloated), I thought we’d give them a try, and we loved them! They aren’t as wheaty and they are more white in color, even though they also only use whole white wheat flour, because there is less flour and an addition of cottage cheese. These pancakes are light and filling and they are great as leftovers.

You can use any sugar in this recipe but I either use pure maple syrup (substitute 1:1) or coconut sugar.

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These kids love helping in the kitchen which I love! Great bonding time.

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Place all your ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

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You can either mix it with a hand mixer, in your blender or with a whisk. We mixed vigorously with a whisk for less than a minute until it was well blended and the big chunks of cottage cheese were broken up, but little chunks remained.

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Should look something like this:

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Then we used a 1/4 measuring cup to measure out the batter and we placed it onto a hot pancake griddle, preheated to around 300 degrees. Once they get bubbles on top and the underside is golden, flip them (about a minute or tw0), and then cook again until that side is also golden in color (around a minute)and it’s done.

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Top with whatever you like on your pancakes. We love peaches and cream, peanut butter or butter, pure maple syrup, fresh fruit and sometimes whipped cream! Yum!

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THE RECIPE:

Cottage Cheese Pancakes
*feeds 6-8

2 c Cottage Cheese
8 eggs
1 1/2 c whole white wheat flour
1/4 c olive oil
2 Tbsp coconut sugar (or pure maple syrup)
1/8 tsp sea salt

Toppings(choose whichever you like):
natural peanut butter
butter
warm maple syrup
sliced fresh strawberries
blueberries
whipped cream
Peaches and Cream Topping

Heat a pancake griddle to 300 degrees. Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk vigorously for a minute, or combine in blender and blend until most chunks are gone. Use a 1/4 measuring cup to measure the batter and pour onto hot griddle. Repeat spacing pancake batter out about an inch apart (or more). Flip once the pancake batter begins to bubble on top and the bottom is golden. Cook another minute or so, until golden on both sides. Serve immediately or place on a cookie sheet and keep in a warm oven (200 degrees), until ready to serve (but serve within half hour). Store leftovers in fridge or freezer for longer term storage. We love these pancakes topped with peanut butter or butter and pure maple syrup, fruit and whipped cream.

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Filed under Breakfast

Pasta Salad and Dressing Recipe

We eat a lot of different salads for dinner during the summer; it’s nice to have something cool to eat on a hot day. I’ll typically add whatever veggies I have on hand in my fridge at the moment, so it changes from week to week, and in the pasta salad pictured below we have tomatoes, celery, bell pepper, cubed cheese, white beans and onion. Sometimes we’ll add nuts or serve some chicken or pepperoni on the side for the meat lovers in our house.

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I will sometimes use an Italian salad dressing or something similar for convenience, but I actually love homemade dressing so much more; it really makes the salad. So if I have 5 minutes, I’ll whip this up.

Here are your ingredients for the dressing:

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Whisk it all together in a glass measuring dish and stick it in the fridge while you cook your pasta.

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We use various shapes but one of our favorites is the bowtie, and it’s fun when we get a pasta with a little color. We cooked up a bag of costco pasta which is just over a pound, drained it, rinsed it with cold water as I swish the pasta around with my hand (to help quickly cool it down…we don’t want our cheese cubes melting onto our pasta), then transfer it to a large mixing bowl, add the dressing, stir it to combine and then you can serve it from there or transfer it to a pretty bowl. If you’re not going to eat it right away, you can store it in the fridge for at least a day.

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Pasta Salad:
*serves 6-8

1 lb uncooked pasta (we love to use bowtie)
Topping Ideas:
bell pepper, chopped
grape tomatoes, halved
celery, chopped
red onion, chopped
1 c cooked and drained white beans
1 c cubed cheddar cheese
1 c cubed chicken, or pepperoni quartered

Pasta Salad Dressing:
*makes enough to cover 1 lb pasta

1/2 c mayo
1/3 c white wine vinegar
1/4 c  olive oil
1/4 c plain yogurt (or sour cream)
2 cloves minced garlic (1 tsp)
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sea salt

Combine all your pasta salad dressing ingredients into a glass measuring dish and whisk to combine. Set aside, in fridge. Follow package directions for uncooked pasta, bringing water to a boil and cooking until done. While it’s cooking, chop up any combination of veggies/cheese/beans/meat you like and place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.  Dump pasta into a strainer over your kitchen sink, then rinse with cold water as you move pasta around with your hand (be careful, it’s hot). Once pasta is cool, add it to your veggies in the large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over top. Stir it all together to combine. Serve right away or cover and store in fridge.

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Filed under Dinner, Lunch, Salads, vegetarian

Peaches and Cream Pancake Topping

Just about every Sunday we eat breakfast for dinner, or at least while we have 9am church, which is for the year of 2016…after that we will probably go back to making a big breakfast for breakfast :).  This past Sunday I went onto my blog to find this peaches and cream topping recipe and it wasn’t there! I ended up finding it in my binder of favorite recipes and then I took a couple of pictures as I made it so I could share it with all of you, and so now it’s online, for my own convenience.

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I first came across this recipe, or a similar one, years ago while I was watching Chef Brad on the BYU channel. He used agave, and Freekah flour (another whole grain), but I’ve substituted a raw sugar and whole white wheat flour in it’s place.

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This peaches and cream topping takes about 5-10 or so minutes to make, so it’s pretty fast and easy, and the consistency is not as thin as syrup, but not as thick as gravy, just in between.

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After my kids were full from their pancakes with peaches and cream, they asked if they could have a little more of the peaches and cream on the side, just to spoon into their mouths from the plate :), so even the kiddos like it!

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THE RECIPE:

Peaches and Cream Topping– adapted from Chef Brad’s recipe
*serves about 8

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 frozen peach, thawed (or 1 can of sliced peaches, drained, cut in half)
1 c whole milk (heavy cream or half and half work too)
1/3 cup raw sugar or agave (I used turbinado, you can use any granulated sugar)
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp sea salt

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and lightly toast wheat flour to create a rue. Add milk/cream and whisk together for a couple of minutes as it thickens. Add sugar/agave, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Whisk again a couple more minutes until thick and add peaches and stir. Serve warm over pancakes or waffles. This should not be gravy thick nor watery thin; if it’s too thick add more milk/cream.

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Filed under Breakfast