from South. Must grow sh…stuff

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?  With a lot of weeding, sweating and luck!!  This is a pic of my little garden plot in my backyard.  Not only am I new to the blogging world, but I am new to the gardening world as well.  I blame it on my Southern heritage (G.R.I.T.S)!  Anyone from the South has probably snapped a bean or two in their time.  I have wanted a garden for the past couple of years, and this year the hubs humored me and bought a tiller – tilled up some rows and let me have at it.  I have to say….it has been AWESOME!!  Who ‘da thought watching crap grow and playing in dirt would be so rewarding!!  It has it’s frustrations too, don’t get me wrong.  It does take some work (which I like to think of as getting my exercise in for the day) and as I found out, it takes bug/worm killer.  Those nasty boogers wiped out my cabbage.  You would NOT believe how much a one inch green nasty gross disgusting worm like creature can eat in one night!!!  Anyway, maybe I’ll talk more on that later. (breathless anticipation, I know).  MY POINT to all this is….my kids rather eat dirt than most vegetables.  However, my 7 and 9 year old have been involved with the garden since the very beginning.  We started with seeds, threw them in the ground, and everyday they “checked on the garden”.  When seedlings actually began to sprout, they were uber excited!  They planted the sun flowers all by themselves, and have done a little weeding (make that VERY little), but they watched me some.  They have also enjoyed picking the cucumbers, green beans, zucchini and lettuce. 

Yeah, baby, I have/had lettuce, spinach, carrots, onions, cabbage, basil, cilantro, strawberries, watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, peppers, tomatoes and some flowers!!  Most were seeds found at the Dollar Tree (gotta love the Dollar Tree) for 4/1.00 – so I bought some of everything!!  A few things were bought as plants (from the WAL-MART) b/c I was afraid my little seeds wouldn’t grow.  Which is why I have a gazillion cucumbers right now!  Got me a mess of beans too 😉  But again, getting back to my POINT – the kids were excited about growing things, were involved in the process, and have been more inclined to EAT IT!!  My oldest won’t eat green beans, aka “snap beans”, but she has eaten her weight in cucumbers.  They also ate more lettuce, which is dying off now b/c it’s so hot here in NC and they are very excited about the carrots!  Lots of blooms on the watermelon, which you need to have a large area for, b/c that baby has got arms growing EVERYWHERE, so that will be great if we can pick our own watermelon.  So anyway, that’s my little garden.  I was very lucky more than anything else, b/c as I said, I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing.  God helped out a bunch with great garden weather, frequent light rains, so I didn’t have to remember to water it!! 

If you don’t have the space to have a garden, you can still grow several things in pots – I did grow cucumbers right on my deck one year….just let them run up the side rails!  Also, those thingy-me-bobs that grow tomatoes upside down…I’ve heard they actually work!  And of course, people do herbs in pots all the time.  i think I’m going to try that with a couple of things for the winter, b/c I love basil!!  Guess I’ll go look up some cucumber recipes, b/c I seem to have quite a few.

Blueberry Smoothie

BIG accomplishment made today!! Got my 2 year old, who basically lives off Rice Krispies, Cheerios, French Fries and apples (and I’m not kidding, that’s been his main diet for weeks now – except french fries only occasionally) to try, and actually drink a Blueberry Smoothie!! My version was SUPER simple, one container of

  • Vanilla Greek Yogurt (6 oz)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • splash of skim milk so it would mix well.
  • I also added a pack of PureVia sugar sub b/c I wanted something SWEET (as usual).
  • Blend in blender!  Viola!

However, if you’re looking for other healthy Smoothies recipes, check these out. There are tons on the net. There are actually entire sites devoted to just smoothies.  I don’t know why I never fix them, but so excited that Terror (ok, that’s not his real name) tried something new AND healthy!!! Yay-me!  The yummy picture is not mine, b/c I didn’t think to take a pic before we consumed the entire glass – it’s from http://www.wildblueberries.com/ (who also has a blueberry smoothie recipe that looks good).  So anyway, serving of fruit, serving of dairy.  Not something kids need to drink all day b/c of sugar content (my yogurt had 13 grams), but a good little snack.

Fresh Start

So this is what I’d like to be doing today instead of sitting at home!  I started a blog months ago, have deleted almost all the posts, and now I’ve decided to start over…with a purpose!  Sort of…  My goal is to motivate myself, and MAYBE a few others to live better, in baby steps, of course. 
I am a mother of three, and I am trying to raise them to be happy, healthy, confident people.  I am finding THIS IS A HARD JOB!!!  For the healthy part,  the slogans parents hear are great – EAT LESS, MOVE MORE….FIVE A DAY….MCDONALD’S IS EVIL (okay, I made that one up), but my point is….it is SO much easier said than done.  Some days are just plain HARD – and you REALLY want to go through a drive through (at said evil place maybe?) and order junk food!!!  Junk food is good!!  I mean, it’s BAD!!  But it tastes good – sometimes.  So how do we teach our kids moderation?  Healthy eating habits to last a life-time?  Prevent Type II Diabetes, elevated blood pressures and cholesterol, obesity….Do I have the answer? NO!  Sorry, didn’t mean to get anyone excited.  But again, my point is – I am trying.  I am trying to set my children up to live a healthy lifestyle – when they are away from home, especially.  It’s easy to control what they eat at home.  Hopefully the habits will stick with them throughout their life times.  With a strong family history of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, we have to eat right, eat healthy and hopefully live and eat well! 
I am especially challenged with my children b/c I have one that is super thin and muscular – every girls dream; one that is >95% for weight on her growth chart; and a son with food allergies! Not to mention a diabetic husband, and myself, who is still working on losing baby weight…from 9 years ago 😉  So…maybe if I actually write things down, I’ll feel more accountble.  I’ll be more motivated to not buy Kid Cuisine’s, fish sticks and chicken nuggets.  We’ll see….wish me luck.

Egg-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

If posting recipes becomes a regular thing, then I guess I’ll start a separate blog, so unsuspecting souls will not be subjected to my other off-the-wall ramblings. For some background, my almost 2-year-old son is allergic to eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, (and dogs)! Therefore, I’ve had to play with a lot of recipes to find ones that work and the entire family will enjoy. Also, I try to keep things low-fat, so sometimes all these substitutions are a disaster! However – today was not one of those days!!! I made some FAB chocolate banana muffins (and we don’t even LIKE bananas!) Since I did not find another recipe like this – I thought I would share, not that anyone is likely to find it here…but who knows 🙂

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins – I can’t say they are healthy, but def. better for you than other recipes I found!

1 cup flour
3/4 cup wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg** (substitute 1 T. vinegar, 1 T. milk, 1 tsp baking soda – I mix these in a separate cup and let foam up, then add to recipe)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup vanilla* yogurt (*I used Horizon Natural Little Blends Apple Butternut Squash – sounds weird, but you never know it’s in there)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas
1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (which ends up being A LOT – may want to cut back if you are not a big chocolate person (do those people exist?) or want to cut fat)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray – I ended with enough mix to do more than 12 muffins, so I made some mini-muffins for the little man). In one bowl, mix your white and wheat flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, white and brown sugars. In another bowl, mash up your bananas and add the oil, applesauce, yogurt, vanilla and egg substitution – mix well. Add your wet and dry ingredients and mix until just moistened, do not overmix. Fold in chocolate chips. Bake 19-21 minutes or until you think they’re done – hey, I’m not a professional cook here. Cool on rack and then chow down!! My little one ate several mini-muffins, finally I had to cut him off b/c of all the chocolate!!