Category Archives: Recipes

Love This Simple Warm Lunch Idea!

I am loving this simple warm lunch idea. My kids can help and enjoy eating it as well. Basically you layered vegetables (tomates, cucumbers or be creative and add other favorites) on some sour dough or french bread and then top with thinly sliced of fresh mozzarella. I like to sprinkle salt and pepper on top of the cheese. Then bake in the oven for 3-5 min on broil (500 degrees) until the cheese melts and the bread looks a little toasted. It is so fast, delicious, and healthy, too!

DSC_1559 DSC_1563

Quality Time With the Kiddos

Kids love to create and especially when it comes to making sweets. Here we are getting ready for a music recital and making treats for it.  They were easy and the kids loved going all out with the sprinkles.  I am not a fan of actually eating these but maybe it is just me- it was not a temptation to eat them. 😉  So it was a win-win activity for all. They got to help and later eat, we did a fun productive activity together, and made the very important treats for the recital.

DSC_7503Click the more button to see what ingredients I used for this fast and easy, no bake dessert… Continue reading

And a Dash of Protein!

Having trouble bypassing that freshly baked pie? Maybe there you found a snickers bar from Halloween? Don’t get me started on the Christmas cookies. Tis is the season and you need to be prepared to be ambushed by all the goodies. Don’t get me wrong, you can have a treat here and there, but you need to do what you can to armor yourself.

So how do you guard yourself. The secret. Protein. Protein is your body guard.

Whatever you eat, make darn sure that you have some protein with every meal or snack.

While the amount of protein you should eat a day depends on your exercise level, your gender, your age, and your goals in health, protein is a very important macronutrient for nutrient cell growth, development of the muscles in the human body, and support for the immunity for sicknesses. Also, adding more protein to your diet is a great way to decrease your appetite.

Here is short article from Webmd (a very credible American Dietetic Association source)

High-Protein Diet for Weight Loss

Some people turn to higher-protein diets to lose weight. That’s because some researchers suggest that higher-protein diets help people better control their appetites and calorie intake.

Diets with 30% protein are now being considered “reasonable” and the term “high protein diet” is now reserved for diets with over 50% protein.

Diets higher in protein and moderate in carbs — along with regular exercise — are often thought by experts to reduce blood fats. It also helps maintain lean tissue while burning fat for fuel. And this happens without dieters being sidetracked with constant hunger.

Researchers don’t understand exactly how protein works to reduce appetite. They think that it may be because a protein causes the brain to receive lower levels of appetite-stimulating hormones. Fewer insulin spikes lead to less fluctuation of sugar levels — and therefore fewer cravings. It may also be due to eating fewer carbs or the specific protein’s effect on hunger hormones and brain chemistry.

http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/high-protein-diet-weight-loss

 

So how much protein do you need a day??

The Institute of Health’s Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) recommendations allow for a wide range of protein intake. The range is anywhere from 10% to 35% of total calories for normal, healthy adults.

For example, on an 1,800-calorie diet, you could safely eat anywhere from 45 grams (10% of calories) to 158 grams (35% of calories) of protein per day.

But the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is:

  • Men: 56 grams a day
  • Women: 46 grams a day

Most Americans have no problem getting this much, but would struggle to take in enough protein to make up 35% of their calories.

And for Weight Loss??

To get the potential weight loss benefit, experts advise aiming for around 120 grams of protein a day. If you want to increase your protein intake, do it slowly over the course of a week.

Remember: add lean meats to your diet when you are adding protein such as turkey, chicken, lean beef, low-fat dairy and beans. This is an easy way to have you stay satisfied throughout the day and bypass the sugary bites on the way.

Protein Examples:

Snack Ideas:

Apple + cottage cheese/light string cheese

Banana/any fruit + greek yogurt or high protien yogurt

Rice cakes + peanut/almond butter (be careful though because they are high in fat)

Low carb wrap/corn tortiilla + hummus + feta cheese + roasted red peppers (heat up in microwave)

Breakfast Ideas:

Corn Tortilla wrap with scrambled eggs and cottage cheese (add turkey, bacon bits, deli meat, peppers, etc)

Fruit smoothie: 1 cup of berries, some almond milk (or skim milk), a banana, and a scoop of protein.

Quiche: eggs, spinach, deli meat, a little garlic, salt, pepper. Walah!

Protein Pancakes: quaker oats, hot water, low carb protein, egg whites, ground cinnamon, almond extract

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=520681

 

 

Lunch Ideas:

Black Bean and Corn Salad: tomatoes, green onions, green pepper, black beans, sweet corn, garbanzo beans, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, and salt

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=55627

Mac and Cheese Revamped: quinoa, black pepper, fat-free plain greek yogurt, shredded/reduced fat cheddar cheese, dijon mustard

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2425851

 

Green Chile Enchilada Casserole with Chicken and Black Beans: corn tortillas, sweet corn, salsa, green Chile, chicken breast, reduced fat Mexican cheese, black olives (optional)

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=135872

Dinner Ideas:

The best tuna salad sandwich: tuna, cottage cheese, plain low-fat yogurt, red onion, celery, dijon mustard, lemon juice

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=323203

Balsamic Grilled Chicken Breast: boneless chicken breast, water, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, onion flakes, Italian seasoning, ground mustard, thyme, salt, black pepper

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=221852

 

Chinese Luncheon Party

Our friend was moving to Idaho last week so my friend Ashlee and I hosted an authentic Chinese Food Luncheon for her. Chinese is her favorite food and she doesn’t get to eat it much since her kids and husband do not like it. Ashlee made the Spring rolls and a special “Pho” soup. I made sushi and provided the house and decor. It was fun and good to see her off on a good note.

“All grain is ordained for the use of man…”

In my church we believe in a decree of wisdom in health or a “The Word of Wisdom,” was revealed by the Lord to his prophet back in 1822. It is still every much correct and up-to-date for God has all wisdom and knowledge beyond the present beliefs of mankind. It was actually very ahead of its time.

Within it, it reads that “all grain is ordained for the use of man.” Why as a society have we stuck to one variety of grain for the past several decades? I don’t think we realized what great varieties were even available nor always had the means to get them. Amazingly we have come a long ways in the past ten years and the shelves at the grocery store are brimming with unique varieties of grains… all of which can be found in the gluten-free section.

I personally do not have to worry about a gluten intolerance nor do any of my kids or spouse but I have sought out this opportunity to sustain these scriptures which I believe to be true.

This past week I decided to really buckle down on this goal and experiment with some recipes. Although I haven’t made a ton of recipes, one that I made and loved were these incredible Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies from Gluten-Free Goddess. They were amazing. I made them for the girls I teach at church for our bi-monthly activity and they loved them too! I even used only 1/2 the butter called for and substituted white bean puree to cut out fat and add protein. If you are interested in this, please comment and I will write a post about it. It is absolutely amazing!!! I love substituting pureed beans into baking recipes. The cookies were delicious and I plan on making more wholesome breads now and other things I typically use normal flour for.

The trick to beginning your journey in this is to know where to find the flours in your community at a reasonable rate and to buy them all up front.  Most of the recipes I’ve found online require several different flours and of course the solidifying agent the Xanthum Gum or Guam Gum.  My friend who is gluten-intolerant buys them online for less in bulk.  I didn’t want to do that because I wanted to make sure I could use them comfortably first.  Another friend of mine told me the best place she’d found them for less is at our nearby Asian market.  Look around and don’t be afraid to ask friends.  Good luck!

No-knead Artisian Bread

I did it! I have had this on my list of “to learns” for a while now. I had read several sources online that said it was super easy and it really was. I am no pro when it comes to bread making but I have slowly been trying different recipes out this past year. My sister Lori inspired me on this one because she said it was the bread everyone was making right now in NYC where she lives because it was in the New York Times and sooooo easy apparently. Here is where I got my info. Try it out for yourself. You can’t go wrong!

Mealtime

I decided recently my dishes and serving pieces needed a little makeover. So out with the old and in with some really cute and yet, practical pieces. There are only a few featured below. It has added a little extra sparkle to our family meals and I am only sorry I didn’t do this earlier. I guess I was so used to our old stuff, I didn’t think twice that about it. I was actually inspired to do this by watching the popular TV series Downton Abbey and seeing how their mealtime is such a focus each day and art form.

For us, it is also special time of the day even if we aren’t eating anything near as fancy, having cuter dishes and putting even just a second or two of thought into the aesthetic of the table setting makes me happy. Since this is such a special time each day, might as well jazz it up to enjoy it even more!

I even bought a really cute new ruffly apron to wear when I am preparing these special family meals. All these little things make a difference. Try it, you don’t have to spend much. Just get a few pieces that you love and start using them each day. Don’t you dare try to save it for a “special occasion.” Everyday is a special occasion, start acting like it. 🙂

Cooking Improvements

To update you, yes I have since made rolls!  It was a bit of a push one day and I’ll admit it wasn’t totally on my own but I did it.  I had my bread machine make the dough but then I was responsible for letting it rise in a warm place for one hour and then rolling it into little balls to be cooked in the oven, so yes I am getting there!!!

Here is a picture of the little whole wheat beauties!

I also made ourThanksgiving Turkey and everything on the side this year for our small little family. My spouse had to work all day but was able to help out with the clean up- which is also a grand event. 🙂

Breadsticks

As a hungry pregnant person, I having been scoring the internet these last few weeks for delicious, healthy, and not too complicated recipes that I can make for my family.

This Sunday as I listened to the Relief Society lesson regarding thrift and living within our means, I felt inspired to again make things from scratch and save our money for a rainy day.  It also occurred to me as I was grocery shopping today, that grocery stores are not responsible for feeding my family and I by providing all these ready-made meals and delicacies although convenient. I am responsible.  It is a blessing that we have grocery stores to cut out these steps if we so choose of bread baking, raising farm animals, and growing the produce but should remain just that- a blessing and privilege to keep us in the right mind set. As I improve my craft in the kitchen through time and experience the food is and will be delicious because of my own skill and creativity not necessarily by expensive ingredients and ready-made entrees I buy.

That said, I want to get to the point where I can whip up bread/bread sticks/rolls without much effort.  I have been a small slave to the bakery department for too long and I know I am not that original in this goal but it is my goal still the same. I’ve heard of and even checked out once from the library an easy Artisian Bread in Five Minutes a Day book but never cracked the cover… Hold me to this.  The idea is daunting and I am tempted to erase this all right now in fear of making a fool of myself. Yeast scares me in that I have failed with it in the past, but I am going to set aside these fears and work on it until I am good. I am not professing to be the next Julia Child by any means, just to make bread/bread sticks and use yeast.

In a beginning effort, I decided to make crepes. Here is a great recipe and a cool site that is pretty inspiring. You can find it at this site, The Prudent Homemaker.com

Beautiful, eh? So it isn’t the healthiest thing in the world but it sure isn’t bad either. Especially if you use whole wheat flour and a tablespoon of buckwheat flour, which I did in my last batch and it turned out great. Even if you don’t have those special alternative ingredients on hand, I wouldn’t sweat it. There is no oil in the recipe and only 2 eggs so it really isn’t all that bad. Plus, if need be all ingredients can be used from food storage items as she describes even the mug of hot chocolate on the side.  Delish. 🙂


 

 

 

Stretching the Buck

One of my New Years goals this year has been to be more creative in finding ways to use what I have and stick within my budget.  I really wanted a new cover for my carseat so I decided to use some material I already had and make a cover.

 

Then this baby bjorn I had was totally shot, so instead of getting a new one I covered it with material I bought on discount to give it a whole new look! The Baby Bjorn is probably one of my favorite things I have in caring for a little one.  I like to keep active so having my hands free while still “holding the baby” is the best.

 

Also, earlier in the week I was talking to a friend and she raved about how she loves making homemade granola for her family for snacks.   I decided this was a great idea to try since Aurora’s toddler snacks can get pretty expensive after a while.  Plus, they aren’t healthy at all.  Granola is much better and I could use my food storage to make it.  We added some nuts and dried berries but the main filler is the oats which we have in abundance. 

On Monday Jason, Aurora, and I went to our favorite thrift store that was having a 50% sale and later I also went to Old Navy’s once a year 90% off sale over the weekend for a few treasure finds! Needless to say, I had a lot of fun this week.

 

Easy Homemade Granola
from “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking”                                                                                                           by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
(Marilyn’s Note: I tripled the recipe, (except the salt and cinnamon) and then added 4-6 cups of additional oats to lower the sugar ratio.  It was still plenty sweet and delicious!  This makes 2 comfortably full gallon-sized Zip Lock Bags.  I also used much less nuts and dried berries.)

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup nuts                                                                                                                                      
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon and salt.
In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until completely combined.
Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands to combine them: Gather up some of the mixture in each hand and make a fist. Repeat until all of the oats are coated with the honey mixture.

Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture.
Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the almonds over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven.
Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven.
Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven. Let cool completely. Sprinkle the raisins and cherries over the granola.