sweet summer time

It’s Friday, I’m tired, and I don’t have that much to write about today.  All I want is some rain for my garden (it’s a thousand degrees and sunny) and maybe a nap.  And an ice cold adult beverage.  At the beach.  okay, maybe I want a lot of things, but I thought I’d post a few summer-time pics!

The beach….my happy place
No shoes!!
Chillaxin’
This baby is growing in our garden!
This baby came from SAM’S Club – and is delicious!
This also came from SAM’S Club – and is delicious
and this is just plain cute, from Target 🙂

Garden pics

In looking at my previous posts, it looks like we live off on snacks, cereal, and chocolate chips.  Oh….yeah…..I do. Hmmmm.  Well, I AM trying to feed my kids healthy meals, it’s just that they aren’t that interesting to write about nor take pictures of.  For instance, last night we had boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked in some EVOO (and if you’ve never watched Rachel Ray – this is extra virgin olive oil!) and some stir fried veggies – zucchini, squash, onions, green pepper, carrots, and a little garlic; and brown rice.  Who wants to see a picture of BROWN rice (instant).  The kids ate it okay, except for the Terrible Two-er.  They weren’t begging for seconds.  But I am still lovin’ my little garden, and it is really trying to take over the world.  My cucumbers literally take up half the garden space!  I am definitely learning things for next year.  Of course, my husband asked me today when he could mow it down 🙁  He doesn’t realize that I’m looking into what I can plant next for a second planting or things I can plant for late summer and early fall.  I want a year-round garden :O  Anyway, thought I would post some pics of my “harvest”, b/c I’m sure some people think that there is more to life than chocolate chips.
Another first, freezing fresh veggies – love my food sealer.
This pic makes me feel like I’m awesome.
Conjoined twins – this pic makes me feel….weird
My oldest daughter, very proud of our first baby carrot!
1st green pepper!  And getting just a few strawberries, I think they will do better next year?!
So, I’m sure NO ONE really wants to look at pictures of vegetables either.  But it’s my blog and I think they are, can I use the word AWESOME again?!  (I’m a product of the 80’s what can I say.)

Southern Comfort

Check out Think Tank Momma for more awesome breakfast recipes!! Or link up and post your own!

and I’m not talking about a drink, of course, nothin’ wrong with a drinkipoo or two (or more, depending on the situation).  I’m talkin’ good old Southern COMFORT FOOD.  The list is loooonngggg – but right now I’m talking about a biscuit.  You CAN NOT be from the South (capital “S” – show some respect) without having consumed some homemade biscuits.  Maybe with molasses……..mmmmmmm.  Or some homemade strawberry preserves.  It’s a right of passage.  HOWEVER, unless I want to walk around looking like I have two giant, lumpy bisbuits in the back of my pants, I have to avoid my beloved biscuits.  BUT (I love prepositions) the other day I wanted to make something good, and comforting.  I did not want high fiber cereal.  SO, as I was perusing the internet for a recipe, I came across Chocolate Chip Breakfast Biscuits, found here http://stolenmomentscooking.com/chocolate-chip-breakfast-biscuits/ .  Hold up!!!!  Chocolate and biscuits TOGETHER!!  Who is this genious?  I must make them immediately.  Which I did.  And they were awesome.

This is my little Terror, enjoying some Southern comfort (food).
Of course, in keeping with my quest to eat healthier, I made some modifications to the recipe.  As listed, I’m sure it’s even more awesome – but I wanted to cut the fat, yada yada. 
My changes were: used 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white flour;
1/4 c. butter (Smart Balance 50/50) and 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce;
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips (but 1-2 cups would have been orgasmic) and 1/2 c. skim milk. 
Right out of the oven, these were yummy.  The next day, they were a little dry, but we ate them anyway.  Because face it, add some dark chocolate chips, and I’ll eat just about anything. 
I was not trying to make a happy face.  They did make me and the kids happy though.  Obviously, I served them with some fresh kiwi, and on my fine china.  Gotta love paper plates.

Follow up

Well, I did make the cheese cake for the hubs for Father’s Day, but didn’t get to the other.  The cheesecake was the bomb.  The nut crust is sooo good and the cheesecake filling was better than last time I made it.  I “tweeked” it a little.  I used 2 packages of 1/3 less fat cream cheese and 1 fat-free, added 3/4 t. vanilla instead of 1/2; added 1&1/2 T. lemon juice (but no lemon zest) and the artificial sweetener instead of sugar 😛  We skipped the fruit on top since it’s added carbs, but I think the fruit would make it mo’ betta.
I didn’t get a picture of the whole cheesecake, and this is what was left when I got home from spending the day with my dad.  I assumed it was  good.
As for the cereal update….we are eating Grape Nuts, well, I am eating Grape Nuts (with blueberries!) and the kids have been eating Cheerios and Rice Krispies.  I’m trying to get more fiber in these kids, but it ain’t easy!  They are drinking V-8 Fusion once a day, which is 100% juice and a combo of fruit and vegetable juices.  It’s got a lot of natural sugars in it, but at least they are getting some fruit/veggies in this way – okay, not a lot and no fiber, but it’s got to be better than nothing!  I am also making myself MEASURE my cereal and whatever else, to get a grip on portion sizes.  Hopefully this will help in my IREALLYWANTTOLOSE10POUNDS quest.  What would really help is to get my butt exercising again.  But it’s so much more fun to sit at the computer.  We’ll see….

hello, my name is Kim and I’m a junk-food-aholic

Wean Yourself Off Processed Foods in 7 Steps

Just saw this awesome article which describes what I’ve been thinking and trying to do in my own family. It’s definitely a work in progress, because convenience foods are so…..well, convenient. It’s all about eating healthier by eating REAL foods and getting away from high fat, high sugar and high salt content. Of course, I had french fries at lunch.

Father’s Day

For Father’s Day I have a couple of things in mind to make. For the hubs, who is a really great father to our 3 children, I’m going to make this low-fat berry cheesecake recipe. This is their pic, not mine – I have made it before, but didn’t take any pics – and it didn’t look this pretty!

I will use a low-carb almond crust in place of the graham cracker crust, b/c my husband is diabetic. I made this for his birthday, and it was really good. I used reduced fat cream cheese instead of fat-free, b/c he doesn’t really like the taste of fat-free. I also used a sugar substitute instead of sugar. I have lots of mixed feelings about sugar substitutes, especially for children, and am currently trying to avoid using Splenda and Aspartame, however Splenda is my husband’s preferred artificial sweetener in baked goods.  My preference is Stevia – there are several items on the market now using Stevia, which has been used for many years over in Europe and other countries, but has only recently been FDA approved for use here.  Anyway, enough about my sugar/fake sugar preferences.

The almond crust recipe was found somewhere on the internet, but I can not find from where, so I can’t give props, but it was AWESOME, easy and very low carb!  It may be hard to do if you do not have a food processor.

Almond Crust

  • 2 cups of whole almonds (unsalted)
  • 5 T. of sugar sub
  • 1/4 t. almond extract (I used vanilla b/c that’s all I had)
  • 5 T. room temp, unsalted butter. 

In food processor (one of the best inventions ever), blend almonds, sugar and almond extract until almonds are coarsely chopped.  Add butter and process until almonds are finely chopped.  Then take the mixture and press firmly (very firmly) into a springform pan and up the sides a little.  Bake the crust until light brown, about 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.   I could eat the crust by itself!  After making crust, you just follow the cheesecake (or whatever pie filling you want) recipe.

For my DADDY, I am thinking of making this 
This is Kraft’s pic – I have not made this before, and feel quite sure mine will not look like this.  Especially since I don’t have any strawberries….hmmm, guess I need to go to the grocery store 😛  Scratch that, my dad can’t have any fresh fruit b/c he is post-transplant (http://www.marrow.org/ for more info and to register to become a bone marrow donor!)  I think the canned fruit will be okay, but I’ll check to make sure. Of course, I’ll see how the day progresses.  I may blog later to tell you I either changed what I made or didn’t have time to make anything!!  With kids, you just never know what your day is going to turn out like.
I hope everyone enjoys their Father’s Day.  If you are lucky enough to have your Dad with you, count your blessings and let him know how much you love him.  I feel truly BLESSED that my daddy is still here, he has been through SO much.  If your Dad is not here, honor his memory, b/c regardless what kind of father he was, he is (half) the reason you are here!  Not to slight the moms….moms are the BOMB.COM (a brother-ism).

on ‘nack

“On ‘nack, on ‘nack”.  In my world, that means “I want a snack“.  and I hear it a lot.  My 2 yr old and my 9 yr old have a high metabolism (oh, how I miss those days) and are constantly hungry.  I try to keep fresh fruit, yogurt and some veggies they will actually eat available to them.  I seem to have a few cucumbers laying around.
Yeah, ooohhh emmmm geeeee.  I know, I need to make pickles.  That’s my next venture, but my crappy grocery store didn’t have any fresh dill yesterday.  Anyway…. it’s not just the kids that want a snack.  Sometimes I want a real SNACK – some sugar, maybe a little fat, and CHOCOLATE.  So, I thought I’d mention a few of our favorite snack items, for kids and mommy too!!  Because let’s face it, you can only eat so many cucumbers. 
 
These are a favorite of everyone!  Problem is, around here, I can only find them at Target – and last week they clearanced them out.  B–TURDS.  I guess I’ll have to search the internet and see if I can get them anywhere else.  I love them b/c ONE, they taste good.  TWO, they are made with 66% fruit ingredients (all different kinds of pureed fruit) – this is not found in other so called “fruit snacks”.  THREE, they are made in a nut free facility – nut free/gluten free, no artificial colors/preservatives, etc.  If you have a child with food allergies, this is a great thing.  Lastly, there are only 3.3g of added sugar.  Natural sugars are 6.7g – so you don’t want to go around eating them all day, but for an occasional snack, we like these, and they are 50 calories a pack.
Now these are MY favorite snack.  Obviously they are not a health food, but do a great job in satisfying that IHAVEPMSANDNEEDCHOCOLATENOW craving.  Which I seem to have often.  They are not expensive, come 2 in a box (and yes, I have been known to eat them both in one sitting – but not recently) and are 170 calories w/3 g of fat.  Made by Weight Watchers (3 points).  I don’t do WW, but have thought about it a lot.  Just like exercise, I think about doing it a lot.  That’s almost like doing it, right?!  Okay, no.  Anyway, moving on.  The kids love these too, but I don’t share often.  Such a mean mama.
Another MOMMY snack is this.  Just discovered it in Sugar Free – so decided to try it.  It’s 50 calories and yummy.  Helps when I want something sweet, but don’t want so many calories.
Then there is our good ‘ole “go to” snack – CEREAL!  But my last post was about cereal, so I don’t feel like talking about it again.  I did buy some Grape Nuts, which I’m getting ready to have for breakfast.  And Cheerios.  And Fiber One Shredded Wheat – it’s mo’ betta than a lot of other cereals, but not great with 12 g of sugar :P.  Good fiber content and the kids like it, so I bought it anyway.  What can I say, I’m a work in progress.

go to dinner

“Honey, where would you like to go to dinner?” HELLOOOO – Wake up chickie, you have THREE kids, there is no going out to dinner anymore.  Special occasions only.  What I’m talking about is….your “go to” dinner.  That meal you make when time is short and you need to throw something together for above said THREE kids.  And it’s nice if me and the hubs can eat too.  In the past I’ve relied on good ‘ole Chef or  Kid Cuisine, but then I have to fix something different for me, the big man….then the little man came along with his food allergies and extreme pickiness, so I was fixing something different for everyone and that’s a PAIN, and quick and easy turns out to be long, drawn-out, pain-in-the-derriere.
So, these are still occasional go to meals – but when I want to fix a fast, fairly easy, family meal I usually go to BREAKFAST!  I love breakfast food, so this is always a good option for me.  Luckily, my kids like breakfast food too.  Now, if you’re idea of breakfast looks anything like this:
then, you probably need to schedule an appt to see your doctor and have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked.  Now, I’m not knockin’ bacon and sausage – I’m from the South, and we’ll eat damn near anything and everything off a pig!  You know what I’m sayin’…you check out a grocery store round here and we’ve got hamhocks, pig ears, pig feet, shitlin’s, oops, I mean chitlin’s (I have no idea how to spell that, it’s not even in spell check! It’s pig intestine if your inclined to wonder), smoked ham, baked ham, salt-cured aka “country ham“(YEAH BABY), and anyway – you get the picture.  I love me some bacon and sausage, but unless I want to have an a*s of a PIG – I try to limit it.  But, I’m all about substitutions.  Turkey bacon and turkey sausage are actually very good.  They really are.  My experience with turkey bacon is that if you have an electric griddle, it turns out nice and crispy.  After you eat it a few times, you’ll forget how awesome regular bacon is. Not really, but you’ll be glad you are not cramming all that fat down you and your kids throats. Of course, I’m sure some people can sit down and eat ONE SLICE of regular bacon every once in a while, but what’s the fun in that.  So anyway, as I ramble on and on – about our breakfast dinner – we had turkey bacon (Butterball makes a turkey bacon called ‘Everyday Turkey Bacon’ and it’s the one with lowest fat content in our grocery store)

and we had pancakes with light syrup ( I used sugar-free).  I make pancakes with Bisquick Heart Smart/Heart Healthy (something like that, I’m too lazy to go find the box) mix, b/c I can make them egg-free and they are low fat ( I add cinnamon to mine ) and we had some good ‘ole GRITS!!  I used instant, b/c, one, that’s all I had, and two, in a hurry.  Spent all day at the hospital, get home to a very messy kitchen and limited food supplies.  So, instant it is.  Since I was using my trusty electric griddle to make my crispy turkey bacon, I cooked my pancakes at the same time, and nuked the grits – so everything was ready pretty quickly.  Normally, we would have had some fresh fruit to go with this….but payday ain’t till Friday! Not gourmet I realize – but fast, easy and my kids will eat it!!!  We did have some Diet Ocean Spray Blueberry Juice (it was new, I had to try it), so that sort of counts as a fruit.  Maybe.  Sometimes we’ll have Egg Beaters scrambled eggs for everyone but the youngest, but I generally let my husband fix those, b/c for some reason I can’t make scrambled eggs that are any good.  Egg Beaters are another one of those things you have to get used to, but are pretty good and no fat and cholesterol!  My other go to is pizza, but that will have to wait for another day.  So anyway, I wonder if other people have “go to” meals?

after an afternoon in the dentist chair, cookies make it mo’betta!

Getting ready to make these yummy delights. I’ll be adding dark chocolate chips of course, so that blows the low-fat out the window. However, it’s LOWER fat than regular recipes and dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants….so it’s actually GOOD for you (well, in moderation). It’s important to try out different substitutions to lower the “bad stuff” in recipes, and find what works for you. Unsweetened applesauce is my fav – and usually works out very well. If a recipe has a lot of oil/butter in it, you do better to only sub out half – and use a healthier oil (I usually use Canola for baking and Olive oil for most everything else) or better yet, find a different recipe :-O
Oh Yeah, I went there. Pics to follow….
So I made these cookies and have eaten a 1/2 dozen  or so…wanted to make sure I gave an accurate description.  and the verdict is – they’re good.  mine were actually VERY good, but I didn’t follow the recipe exactly.  After telling how great it was to use substitutions and how it’s so good to use applesauce, I started making these with my girls and realized I used the last of the applesauce in the muffins yesterday.  And you can’t just tell a 7 & 9 year old you’re not going to make chocolate chip cookies once you’ve started.  That’s just wrong.  SOOOO, I used canola oil instead 😛  Not my first choice, but it was only a 1/4 cup, guess that’s not too bad.  I added the cinnamon, 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips AND 1/2 cup of mixed dried fruit.  The combination of oatmeal, choc. and fruit was yummy.  I’ll be taking the rest to my mom and dad tomorrow.  My dad is in the hospital….5 days post-bone marrow transplant for the treatment of leukemia.  But that’s a post for another day.  (but to learn more about bone marrow transplants and to become a donor, visit http://www.marrow.org/!!!)

she’s so lame

Since I started the day with yummy, homemade, blueberry muffins – which the little man would not eat – what other fabulous concoctions did I come up with?  uhmm, isn’t one homemade item a day enough?  Lunch was basic (and lame), PBJ sandwiches (at least it was whole grain bread, PB without hydrogenated vegetable oil and lower sugar grape jelly!), except for said little man – I think he ate some grapes.  I gave him some gross, processed cheese slices – because he picked them out, but of course, then he refused to eat them.  Oh, and he had some chips. (what?! they were baked…does that count as a vegetable?)  Okay, so LAME.  Then I had the great idea that we would all go outside and play.  It was like 100 freakin’ degrees in NC today, the humidity so thick that my head feels like it’s going to explode.  But hey, let’s go OUTSIDE and PLAY!  Eat less, move more….WHAT.EVER.

So we go outside and decide to ride bikes.  I have one of those great little baby seats on the back of my bike that my 2 year old had NEVER sat in…so today was the day.  He has a helmet and everything.  Pictures here would be hilarious, but lucky for me, I didn’t think to take any – or have my child take one of how ridiculous I looked panting up and down the street.  And that’s how many times we made it, up and down the street.  As in once.  My legs were burning so bad – I blame it on my slightly fat as*, I mean flat tires…but the truth is, well, who wants to hear the truth.  Let’s move on.  Needless to say, outside play time did not last very long.  We all came in to the wonderful invention of A/C!!  Which, while I’m on the subject, I should add that the upstairs unit decided to quit working sometime this afternoon.  All the kids bedrooms are upstairs, and it’s 80 something degrees up there now.  Which is why—-

my kiddies are chillin’ on the blow up mattress  on the living room floor.  This is fine.  For about 30 minutes.  Now the natives are getting restless…and not sleeping.  It’s gonna be a long night.  And I should mention that the a/c unit is less than 2 years old. @##$@#$@#*! and that’s how I feel about that.
I did do a little better at dinner time, sort of.  I have read many things about sitting out a veggie tray while preparing dinner and kids will munch on it.  Well, that happens to be true!!
I’m aware that pickles can’t really be counted, and cucumbers don’t have much nutritional value – but I’ll take it.  We gotta start somewhere!  Obviously I added some fruit here as well.  My kids ate the whole tray!!  Without a fattening salad dressing or dip – even though if that’s the only way kids will eat it, I say let them have it.  Just find a lower fat option of whatever they like.  But after the vegetable tray I digress, the main course was chicken nuggets.  NOT homemade.  Tyson.  And for me, I added a margarita, b/c nothing says processed chicken like Tequila.  So…gotta work on that.