Friday, February 29, 2008

Living A Healthy Lifestyle

Living A Healthy Lifestyle

For those of you who have just read my Diet Coke article, (IF not, read it) Check out this blog. This lady has great ideas. Read her blog on Nov. 12th and read about this lady. Very interesting and scarry.

If you want to claim Diet Coke ignorance, DO NOT READ THIS!

So this is the big one. If you are just not ready to hear it, stop reading. If you are not a pop drinker, good for you. You may be dismissed. However, if you are one of the millions ruining their bodies by the addiction to soda, more specifically diet drinks, read for your healths sake and follow directions! I have always said, and with conviction that I would sooner drink a beer than a diet coke. Most of you know you shouldn't be drinking soda but now you will know why. I will use scare tactics if I must. I cringe when I see someone with a diet drink. All soda is bad for the body, but diet is toxic. First let me explain regular soda - We all know that it is packed full of sugar. Each can has at least 7 -8 teaspoons of sugar. More importantly, constant drinking of soda will erode the lining in your stomach which is one of the most important ingredients for good health. Without the lining, you cannot absorb nutrients and cannot keep the bacteria out. The caffeine actually binds calcium and magnesium to the urine when it passes instead of absorbing them into the body where needed. And, of course, soda drinkers have the notorious "pop bellie" which extensive exercise still doesn't seem to dissolve the problem area. I am one to indulge on a good Dr. Pepper now and then, very sparingly, especially when I have a killer headache, but this is a special indulgent and won't kill anyone. The constant drinkers need to stop immediately. If you are a diet drinker, you must read this article. If you have not heard about the dangers of aspartame or refuse to believe it is a problem, start reading and start googling. You are killing yourself. Read the article, spread the news and change your habits today, if needs be. We need to take care of our families and that means taking care of ourselves so we can be our best. I am convinced that if the Word of Wisdom was written today, it would list soda and aspartame next to strong drinks .

Read this article here

Now is the time to change your lives, I am not afraid of dying, I am afraid of living in a decayed body, subject to the mercy of others. I want to live everyday, to climb mountains, surf oceans and look great in a pair of jeans!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

BBQ Chicken Chop Salad

I love salads and my kids seem to accept them quite well lately so I have been trying out some new recipes. This one is from a new cookbook I bought from my fellow blogger Molly. It is so easy and so yummy. Try it out this weekend to get your greens in.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or about 6-8 chicken tenders
1 cup barbecue sauce
Marinate chicken in sauce, then bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Chop into pieces and refrigerate.
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped
3 to 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 jicama, peeled and diced ( I omitted this)
1/2 Cup cilantro, chopped
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 Cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
1/2 pound monterey jack cheese, grated
Combine chicken in large bowl with salad ingredients and toss. Serve with Ranch dressing and additional BBQ sauce and crispy corn chips.
I served this with cute little corn muffins. It was a perfect meal, especially as it starts to warm up!
Have a great weekend and I will be back next week with some great topics! Don't miss it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Hello! I'm Molly who Shari once introduced many months back as the one who would be posting organizational tidbits for you! I have to apologize for the delay, but now I'm ready to roll and have lots of new ideas for you! I have to say, that none of these things are rocket science, and most of them I feel pretty silly even posting, but I figure that we all learn so much from each other, so here we go! First, I'll have to give you a little backround about me, I LOVE to organize things. It doesn't necessarily mean that I "am" organized, I just love to organize things and make sure that things have there place. I have a hard time functioning in a place that is un-organized and really just a mess. I remember growing up my mom had this never ending stack of junk on the counter that just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Mail, bills, cards, wedding announcements, you name it, it all landed in this pile. She would constantly complain about this pile and how badly she wanted to get rid of it. But, to this day- it's still there! And now every time I visit home I tease her about the pile and that she has to get rid of it!

So, fellow bloggers- whatever your "pile" may be- I want to help you get rid of it! Let's get organized together. Today, I chose to write about baskets. You're probably laughing, but I have baskets all over my house! First, I use them to organize my cards- greeting cards that is. I have a small stationary obsession so for a while I had cards all over my house. I finally got a long basket ( I buy most of my baskets at Cost Plus World Market), and made note cards and labeled them with my *p-touch. Birthday cards, wedding, everyday, Easter, etc. I have them all 3 baskets up in my closet so I just have to pull them down whenever I want a card. They're all right there and I just have my pick out what I want. Baskets also work great is closets to hide "stuff". At the end of my hallway is a closet and in the baskets I have rags, travel toiletries, candles, etc. Each one has something different, but when you open it up it looks so much nicer that all of my stuff just thrown in there. You can see I also have my kids board books in baskets, and baskets on my living room bookshelf to hide more "stuff". You can get these type of baskets at target, Michael's, Joann's, cost plus, wal-mart, etc.

Go through your house and identify spots where you can use baskets to help organize things. Closets, cards, foods, snacks, craft supplies, ribbon, you name it- it can all be neatly organized with a basket!
* If you don't know what a p-touch is- I'm so happy to be the one to tell you! All office store sells these amazing little label machines. You can label anything and everything. And example is in the photo ( a little blurry) of how I labeled the notecards. These labelers come in very handy and range in price from $20- over $100. I've found that some are very tricked out with various fonts and sizes, but you really only need the basic one for everyday labeling. Good Luck!

Beyond Thanksgiving

Like I have mentioned before, there are so many foods out there packed with nutrition that just aren't even talked about or used. Today's little lesson in food is the seldom-used sweet potato. I am not quite sure why, but this little nutritional powerhouse is usually only featured during Thanksgiving. I , myself, am new to the sweet potato world as I was ruined as a child, only believing that these were used in that hideous casserole with brown sugar and little marshmallows baked on top, usually having the consistency of baby food. Well, my dear friends, this isn't just for Thanksgiving anymore! Check out these stats: In one half cup of sweet potatoes, roughly 4 oz, you are supplied with 2 g protein, 3.4 g fiber, 24.6 mg of C, 28 mg Calcium, 22.6 mcg folic acid, 20 mg magnesium, 348 mg potassium and tons of Vitamin A! Why are we not using these! For me, knowing how to use them was the key! They are simply delicious and I cannot get enough of them. You can cook them just like a potato and even eat them raw. There are usually two types out there in the stores, the oranger one and the yellow one. Contrary to U.S. beliefs, one is not a yam, they are both sweet potatoes. The U.S. doesn't have yams. I like the orange one for eating raw and the yellow ones to cook with. You can shred them in salads for a little color and sweet crunch. I made some roasted sweet potatoes last night in a delicious little seasoning. Try these out. Your kids will never know they are anything but regular potatoes. This marinade is delicious on plain potatoes also and you can use these potatoes in breakfast burritos and even enchiladas with black beans! It is so easy to make:
Roasted Southwest Sweet Potatoes
2 Large Yellow Sweet Potatoes
2 T. Ketchup
2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Chili Powder
2 tsp. Cumin
Mix sauce together, peel and cut Sweet potatoes in 1/2 inch cubes. Toss sweet potato in sauce. Spread some oil on bottom of cookie sheet, just enough to cover and spread out potatoes. Bake at 4oo for about 20 min or until tender, turning once at half time. Then, put oven on broil at 500 and cook potatoes until a bit crispy. This won't take too long. Enjoy! Don't let them get mushy! These have so much flavor and are a huge crowd pleaser.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Artzy Blogger - Creating Unique Header Graphics

Artzy Blogger - Creating Unique Header Graphics

This website is my sister-in-laws, Wendi who made my header. She is so creative and for a great price will make a header for you, any style. Check out her web page above.

Bread Class

My bread class will be on March 6th, Thursday at 7pm for those who wanted to attend. If you want to know the location, please email me for details.

The Tell-Tale Runny Nose

Do you have a child that has a constant runny nose , ear infections, eczema or coughs? Most of the time, if not all of the time, this is an indications of allergies. Ask yourselves these questions: Did the symptoms start shortly after the introduction of solid foods or formula? Does your child crave a certain food? Does your child have irregular stools, colic or gas? Does your child have a hard time sleeping at night? These are just a few of the signs of allergies that may be wreaking havoc on your little ones bodies, and bigger ones too. Allergies don't just affect the nose and eyes, they affect the brain and how we act. They affect our temperament and our attention span. To find out what foods are triggering the problems, you must start an elimination diet. This isn't so easy but can be done and the benefits are tremendous. If allergies are left untreated, new allergies can form. I found this out the hard way with my little guy. By the time we had him tested, he was allergic to so many small things that feeding him seemed impossible. After removing the offending items for 6 weeks, we were allowed to slowly introduce foods back, one by one to test for a reaction. With allergies, the body becomes inflamed and starts to create new allergies. If you remove the problems, the body heals and the food may not be an allergen any more. There are certain foods that are high allergen triggers. What you need to do is start with this list. Completely remove these items from their diet for at least a week . This means not even a trace so you need to check labels and brown bag it to school. This is definitely harder with the older ones. At least start with the first two allergens and see if that helps. If at all possible , eliminate the whole list. If you can, do so for six weeks, especially on a younger child. Add one item back at a time. Feed that food to them all day, see if the nose starts to get runny and if they are irritable. If not, chances are that this is not the problem. Start a new food the next day. Make sure to keep the foods on separate days so you can chart what is causing the problem. There are definitely environmental allergies also and those can be tested by allergist pretty easily but food is more apt to cause the constant runny noses. Here is the top offending list:

Dairy product, everything from butter, yogurt, formula, etc
Wheat, even in gravies, crackers, soy product, read the labels!
Soy, 25% of children with milk allergies develop soy allergies

This elimination process can be done, it is so worth it but must be done very strictly. You can save them from so many future problems if you nip the problem in the bud now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

" I don't cook"

I have never quite understood what people mean when they say, "I don't cook." First of all, I want to say, "Is that an option?" But what are they, or you, saying? Does it mean that you never cooked because your mom never taught you and that it somehow doesn't apply to you? Does it mean that you tried a few times and failed? Does it mean that you would rather just eat out and not do dishes? I am not sure but however you paint it, it's just a stupid excuse for something you really should be doing. Now, I don't mean you have to cook every night and it doesn't have to be a gourmet meal, but you need to cook. Period. First of all, it is a form of love and service for your family. Second, it is making sure that your family gets nutrition. Third, you are teaching your daughter what she should be doing when she gets married.
If you are just intimidated by the whole process, you just need to start. You will mess up and try things that just don't work out right but you need to just start. And for those of you who do cook but make the same 10 recipes, you need to learn a few new tricks too. No one should feel over burdened, dinner is a hard time of day when the kids are all asking for your help and you are just tired. Start small. For me, I have lots of recipes that I have made over the years, but I am getting tired of many of the old stand byes. This year I am going to make one new recipe a week. By the end of the year, I will have tried 52 new recipes. That is a lot. I am sure I will only keep half of them around but at least we will have a little adventure. If you even just try one new one per month, you have 12. I make out a two week schedule and plot out my meals, I take 2 days off max per week. This way, I make sure I have the ingredients ahead of time and I am not surprised each day at 6 that dinner has to be made. It was planned ahead of time.
For some great recipe ideas, I found a great little magazine at my son's Dr.'s office the other day. It is the size of a Reader's Digest and is full of healthy and yummy recipes. It is called Everyday Food. It is from PBS network. I am ordering it. They had 12 different copies in the office and while I waited for him, I copied several recipes. It is so easy to get stuck in the same old routines. I shy away from recipes that have different ingredients but have vowed to change this year. I just stocked my pantry with Chinese spices and sauces and my recipe repertoire has just been expanded greatly. What a little Hoisin sauce will do is amazing! Try it out. Be adventurous! Your kids are developing their taste buds at this stage in life, they will not like a lot of variety at first, but if you keep feeding them the same old stuff, they will never learn to appreciate the fine food in life!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Did you know that blueberries are one of the highest yielding antioxidant fruits? Antioxidants help rid the body of free radicals which age us and pollute our bodies. The berry family also helps you have beautiful glowing skin. So, throw in those berries wherever you can! Here is one of my favorite muffin recipes , many of you already have this but many of you might not yet. I love to make this in mini muffin style, much cuter that way. They are great to freeze.

Banana Blueberry Muffins

2 extra ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup blueberries,frozen or fresh
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Mash bananas well in bowl until puree'd, add eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Fold in the blueberries. Bake at 350 for about 12-15 min. for mini muffins, 20-25 mn for bigger muffins or until center springs back when touched.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Story

I figured that after 35 posts, it is time to get intimate. Many of you know me, but I am amazed at how many of you who log in do not know me. This is my unavailing. But, what I really wanted you all to know is why I am doing this, why I feel compelled to type each night, many times asking myself that same question. Here is my story.

My quest for enlightenment really began many years ago. I have been health conscience a major part of my life to some degree or the other. My first real experience was in jr. high- the first time I could really choose what I wanted to eat for lunch. I ate Hostess Cherry pies and milkshakes for a good part of the 7th grade. I started to get headaches everyday and felt horrible at the end of the day. In the 8th grade, it dawned on me that maybe it was what I was eating. Me and one of my best jr. high friends decided to go off sugar for a couple of months. It was the best thing I did. I understood the power of food. Throughout the rest of my school years, I was on and off again on the food craze. I went away to college and for the first time, gained weight. When I came home, I decided that eating right needed to be a priority, I was not a little teenager anymore who could eat what she wanted. I was married and thankfully married a guy who was very health conscience so it made it easy to eat right. We were very dedicated to a strict diet, no pizza's , milk, cheese, etc. We lived like this for a good 5 years. However, my real quest for knowledge in food as a healing tool began when my first child was born.

My son started getting ear infections at about 8 months, the time he went off breast milk as he couldn't nurse and after 8 months of pumping milk, I was done. He had constant ear infections for 8 months. He was on antibiotics nearly the whole time. The last time I went to the Dr. for his ears, he once again handed me the prescription. I was so upset. I had seen several Dr's and not once did any of them ever ask why he was having infections, all they could do was hand out a prescription like a robot. I tore up the prescription in his face, yelled at him that he knew nothing and stormed out of the office. I took my little child and promptly went over to the nearest book store. (This was 13 years ago, no luxury of the google.) I found a great book by a leading specialist in ear infections. The book told how 99% of ear infections are caused by allergies and listed the top allergens. It discussed the problems with antibiotics and the misuse. I immediately eliminated the top allergens from his diet and within a week, 8 mos of problems were gone, never to return. Why couldn't a Dr. tell me that? That was the beginning of my frustration with Western medicine.

Now, to speed things up to my last child. This sweet little boy, although born with a few little problems was doing well and very happy. At about 6 months, he started to get eczema all over his body. He started to get angry at about 9 months and would bang his head all of the time. He developed late, walking only at about 16 months. Since I had 4 other children, I knew there were things not right. I knew that his body was off since his skin was so bad, he also had ear infections and had to be on antibiotics from a surgery. I took him to the Dr. and the Dr. told me that some kids just have eczema, just put some cream on it, mind you he had it from head to toe. I asked him about allergies, he just said that he would grow out of it. I knew in my heart that he had problems. I started to see him slip. I started to suspect autism. I took him back to the Dr and in a matter of 2 minutes, the Dr. assured me that I was a neurotic mother and was overreacting, that he definitely did not have autism. Well, unfortunately for the next six months, I went off his statement and wasted precious time in treating him. My mother intuition told me otherwise. I had him screened by a different person six months later and he was autistic. I poured my attention into research and found so many links between his skin problems and other issues with nutrition and learned more than I ever wanted to about autism, the role of the gastrointestinal tract and what America is doing to children. I began to get so angry. So angry that Dr's don't know this. So angry that kids are not treated correctly and are deteriorating. I talk to moms all of the time who have so many problems with their kids, constant stomach aches, constant ear infections, anger, ADD, etc. I always ask them one question: "Has your Dr. ever asked you about your child's diet? " Without exception, the answer is no. The truth is, the Dr.s don't understand nutrition, they only recieve about one week of training in this area. Most mothers, truthfully don't want to know. A pill is so much easier. However, the pill only masks the problems. In the meantime, autism has soared from 1 in 10,000 in the 80's to 1 in less than 100 now. What is that saying?

For my little son, I changed his diet, a very strict diet and the anger and the eczema went away. He still has problems with speech and a few areas, but most wouldn't know he is autistic and every day we are making progress. I have learned that the stomach is the most powerful organ in the body. What antibiotics do is destroy the lining of the stomach that helps absorb nutrients and fight the bad things. It is very difficult to get that lining back. Allergies start to develop and cause so much havoc on the body, developmental problems, autism, ADD, etc. You have to take away all the allergies and let the stomach heal. I now have a great Dr. that knows everything and has learned through the problems with her own children. She is a very small percent of physicians that study the stomach. The sad thing is that Eastern medicine has know this for centuries.

This is long, but the moral of my story is this: I write because I am angry every day when I hear your stories, angry that you haven't been asked the right questions by your Dr. Angry that kids have to go through unnecessary trials in life. But, what I have learned through this blog is that there are wonderful mothers out there who love their children and want nothing but to be the best mother's for them. I hope that through my endless research and quest for information I can shed a little knowledge unto you, that you will also ask questions. That you will not just accept what the Dr.'s give you when you know something is wrong. There is a cure out there and a cause almost all of the time. Do your homework, ask questions, google, google, google. What we are feeding our children is as important as what we teach them. Don't waste time that could end up costing your child permanent damage. Disease can be erased. It is our jobs as moms to save little lives, make them better and give them the best future possible. This is my passion.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Rollin' In The Dough

For some reason, when you can finally make a good loaf of homemade bread, you feel somehow that you have "arrived" at some station of motherhood. I am not quite sure why, but somewhere in the handbook we are told that we should make bread. It is not easy to do without knowing the tricks, but when you do finally get it right, there is a sense of accomplishment like no other and everyone appreciates it. So, to those who have asked for a good bread recipe, here you go. I have made bread since I was married almost 16 years ago. I started by hand, it was a brick, but tastey. I then bought a little bread machine, now a little square brick, still tastey. Finally, bouth the coveted Bosch. The bread was better but I still didn't understand why I couldn't make the picture perfect loaf. (The picture above is not mine, mine looks better!) I even took a bread class from Chef Brad. It still took me a few more years to really get it down. I went through lots of different recipes and took time to really understand what the dough should feel like. Not all loaves are perfect, but, most of the time they are now, finally, 16 years later. To you, women who want to be the "breadmakers" of the family - I pass on my secrets:

First, you must use fresh ground whole wheat. You can buy it, but, it will not be as good.

Secondunfortunately, the Bosch is the way to go. It is a bit pricey, but will last a lifetime. It is made for bread. The way it kneads builds up the gluten better than any other method. You will only have to let it rise once with a bosch.

Third, the dough must have an elastic texture. To get this, add the last flour slowly and stop when the dough pulls from the sides, leaving the sides and mostly the bottom clean. The dough should then feel like a womans breast when poked with your finger.(real breasts!)

Fourth, I like to roll my dough out in a long rectangle then roll up into a loaf shape, tucking and creasing the ends. This will get all the air out so you will not have holes in your bread.
This recipe is from a friend, Carol Killian. Thanks Carol if you are out there!

5 C. Hot water
2/3 C. Honey
2/3 C. Oil
3 C. Whole Wheat flour (I use 100% sprouted flour)

Mix until smooth

3 T yeast
1 T salt (don't put right on yeast, it will kill it)
1/4 tsp Vitamin C crystals (can get from most drug stores, get crystals, not powder)
5 C whole Wheat flour

Mix then add as much four as needed so the dough pulls clean from the bowl. Should still be a little tacky, not real sticky. I usually end up using 11-12 cups flour total. I use about 3 cups of white flour. You can add other grains if desired, but stick to original recipe until you perfect it. After the dough is the right consistency, mix for 6 minutes in the bosch on 1. Take out dough, shape into loaves, about 4 - 5 loaves. Let rise until double, usually only takes about 30 mn especially if flour is fresh. Bake in preheated oven, 350 for about 30 - 35 mn. I have found that different ovens cook differently. I lower my middle rack down one so my tops don't get burned. Let cool on their sides on cooling rack. Cool for an hour before you put them in a bag.
I also use this dough to make cinnamon rolls, using brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. I also like to make indian fry bread with it and top with refried beans.

Top Ten Excuses To Not Eat Healthy:

A few years ago I made this top ten list for an enrichment class. It is a little funny, but the funny part is that it is a little true.So, whats your excuse? This is the year to make no more excuses, if it was your New Years resolution, it is almost March, how are you doing?


1. Whole Wheat doesn't go well with my Diet Coke.
2. I don't need to worry about it, my CoCo Puffs are fortified!(someone really told me this!)
3. My kids don't like healthy foods and their happiness is far more important to me than their health.
4. If I eat my whole grains, I'll be using up my year supply and I need to save that for when there isn't
anything else to eat!
5. It's too much pressure, besides, I'm counting on the resurrection to give me that perfect body.
6. With the new lipo dissolve technics out there, I can eat what I want and get it sucked out later.
7. I don't have time, if I had to cook a healthy dinner, I would be late for Bunko!
8. Yes, I'm very health conscience, I take a one-a-day vitamin every day and I eat lots of chocolate because it's an antioxidant.
9. I'm trying to loose weight so I'm cutting back n my calories. I drink a 44 ouncer of Diet Coke to keep my hunger down, that way I can save up my calories for something that really tastes good like a Big Mac.
10. Cancer doesn't run in my family so I'll take my chances. Besides, they're working on a cure!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Ultimate Smoothie

Many of you already have my smoothie recipe, but many have been requesting it from me. For those of you who are new to the smoothie world, get ready for the ultimate way to con your kids into eating their veggies and fruits. Just make sure that they don't see what you are putting into their drink. They will never know, I promise. As soon as you get the basics down, you can freestyle it, put in whatever you have around the kitchen. My little one would live completely on smoothies if I let him. Since he is Autistic and very picky about textures of food, this is how I get his nutrition into him. I don't have to worry about what he eats because I know that he is getting everything in this shake. Everytime I give a class and I show them what I put in them, people always say that their kids will never drink it, after they taste it and the kids at the class taste it, they are hooked. I have only had about 2-3 kids refuse to drink it and they are usually the ones who see what is in it. I make these a couple times a day for my little one, my others drink it about every other day. I especially make it if they are having a meal that isn't the healthiest, this way I can justify a little of the junk.
I have a Vita Mix blender which is what the Commercial smoothie companies use. It gets it really blended and smooth. You can use whatever blender you have, but the more powerful the better. I always make a full container full, but if you don't have a powerful blender, start small.
Basic Smoothie Recipe
I start with frozen fruit, you don't have to, but it gets the drink slushy. I like the triple berry mix from Costco, it hides the flavors best or frozen strawberries. Any fruit will do , but these are the best to start with to get the kids hooked.
I usually put in about 2 cups. I then put it one banana, an orange, peeled and quartered, a handful of RAW spinach, a couple baby carrots and a T. of flax seed meal. I fill up the container to cover the fruit with pineapple juice. I buy this at Costco as well in a three pack of Dole Cans. You can buy those at Walmart. Pineapple juice is real sweet and hides it all. You can use orange juice also. Blend this up until it is completely smooth. You will not see the spinach.
You can add anything to this smoothie. I add raw zucchini, raw cabbage, even raw brocolli. Just keep the fruit at about 2/3 and veggies at about 1/3. My little one will drink anything. I add millet, yogurt, quinoa, etc. Put in any fruit that you have on hand. You can also add ice if you want too. Start with the basic and then play with it. You can add a little honey if you need to but it really is sweet. I love these in the morning.
One more recipe that I keep getting emails for is the blender wheat waffles, here you go!
Blender Waffles
1 C. Whole Wheat kernals (not flour)
1 C. Milk
Blend on high until smooth.
1/2 C oil
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp salt.
Blend again until all mixed.
Cook on waffle griddle. I top with fruit and whipped cream. These are real yummy and very hearty. If your kids are not used to whole wheat, make sure you give them ample time in the morning for a bowl movement! You can throw in flax and other grains with this, just keep it mostly wheat. Add more milk if needed.
P.S., My kids loved the Valentines Day celebration! Guess I have to do it every year now!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentines surprise

Thanks so much for all the great Valentines Ideas. My kids are going to be so surprised in the morning as all they have received in any form of Valentines celebration ever has been going out to eat at night. They have no idea that they are waking up to a candlelight breakfast at the wee hour of 6am (piano lessons are at 6:45). I have the kitchen all decorated with hearts, flowers and cheesy Valentine paraphernalia. I have a heart on each of the plates with 10 reasons why I love each of them and a little gift. I am so excited to see their surprise, especially my only girl who is so frilly and was born to an unfrilly mother. She will be so happy with me. I am making their favorite breakfast, I am not even using whole wheat flour! So, if you want to just have a breakfast without worrying so much about getting your whole wheat fiber, try out these strawberry crepes. They are delicious! If you don't have ultra gel, you can just add a little more flour if needed. Lemon oil is also optional.


1 3/4 C milk
3 eggs
2 T melted butter
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 1/4 C flour
2 T Ultra Gel
3 T sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

Combine all and mix in blender until smooth. Lightly butter small frying pan and heat over medium heat until sizzling. Pour about 2 T batter into pan, swirling to coat bottom. Cook until golden on bottom. Flip and lightly cook other side. I serve these with all different kinds of fruit. Strawberries sliced with a little sugar, apples chopped and cooked with a little sugar and brown sugar until soft, blueberries, etc. I add real whipped cream on top after I roll them up. To make French Apple filling, try out this recipe below. Delicious!

French Apple Filling

3 1/2 sliced fresh apples, slices about 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
3 T cream
1 T ultra Gel

Melt butter in medium frying pan. Add apples and saute until tender. Sweeten to taste. Add cream and Ultra Gel and stir gently into apple mixture. Cook until thick. Add nuts if wanted.

Happy Valentines Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Emergen-C RX

In case you haven't noticed, everyone seems to be sick right now. My family is getting it's very first dose of the "bugs" in well over a year. Other than my husband who is down flat with the flu right now, the rest of us have escaped for the most part in great health for a long time now, Tate and I just had a bit of a cough. What I attribute this all to is daily doses of Emergen-C and of course good nutrition. We started with the Emergen-C last year when it seemed we were getting one little thing after another. I started giving everyone one of these most everyday and no one seemed to be able to really catch a bug. Sometimes they would try, but it just never seemed to materialize. These come in lots of flavors and my kids think they are great. If you are feeling sick, you can take up to 4 a day. If I feel something comming on, I take the max or if someone else has something, we all take the max (I give the little ones half the dose). Emergen-C contains seven mineral ascorbates including 1000 mg of Vitamin C. It is also pumped full of the B vitamins and gives you a good energy boost. It is my morning coffee. There is no caffeine and all the ingredients are very well balanced.
Another great thing to use to boost your immune system is Oil of Oregano and Garlic. You will smell like a pasta dish but they are also a natural immune system enhancer. I purchase my oil of oregano at Sprouts by Nature's Answer. It should tell you what dose to take, I take 4 drops 2-3 times per day. It is also very important to be getting you Super-B complex daily. I will discuss those benefits another day and the list is very long. My kids and I are having a contest to see who can not get Dad's germs. Since Homemakers don't get sick days, I will not have the option of laying down for a couple days. I simply cannot get sick so double dose of Oregano for me. We have a snow trip planned for the weekend, that's our motivation. I let you know the results after the weekend.
Just a tip: the regular box of Emergen-C sells for about 10 bucks for about 20 packets. Costco has a big box of 80 for $15. Stock up though, Costco has a way of discontinuing items.
Drink Up!

Valentines Day Help

The other night we had a little Enrichment activity at church and told a few Valentine ideas we had for our children and spouses. Well, I had very little to contribute. We have never done much for Valentines Day in our house. I came home and was telling my husband about the class and some ideas, my daughter overheard the conversation and said, "Hey, wait...other kids actually get things for Valentines Day from their parents?" She just realized she has been deprived. We take them to dinner most of the time but nothing creative. So, fellow readers, give me some cute ideas. I am not quite sure I want to start something at this point, but maybe it is time. I had a friend who would tie a string to each of the childs bed and in the morning, they would have to follow the string around the house to a special prize. I am not one to do big presents, but something cute and thoughtful. Help me out. Also comment any good ideas for spouses, other than the obvious of course, lets keep it clean.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Benefit of Flax

There are so many wonderful foods out there that provide us with so many health benefits, unfortunately it seems to be a secret. I still never understand why America is so behind on the natural foods, I guess because we are lazy and want everything the easy way - a pill, something prepackaged and premeasured, something a Dr. gives us and just tells us to take without really understanding it. We really have everything we need to be healthy and to combat disease right in our supermarkets.

Flax is a wonderful and easy to use seed. This is an ancient food that has been used for hundreds of years for all kinds of purposes. This seed is rich in linolenic acid which is a plant-derived omega 3 fatty acid. This is similar to what is found in salmon. It also is rich in lignan which is a powerful antioxidant and is high in fiber. Because our diets are so poor in fiber, Americans are suffering greatly from many intestinal diseases such as Chrohn's and Colitis, just to name a few. Flax seed is so important for digestion, to provide a good fiber base to help clean out the system.

What does Flax treat? As mentioned, flax oil is great for Chron's and Colitis because the oil form seems to be able to heal the inner lining of the inflamed intestines. The linolenic acid is very helpful in lowering total cholesterol and LDL levels. It may also help lower blood triglyceride and blood pressure.

You don't want to overdue your flax, as this is just the omega3, and you need to have the omega 6 as well. I buy the big jar of Flax oil capsules at Costco and take 2 a day. I also buy the flax seed meal and sprinkle it in my smoothies, you don't need much. You can add it to muffin recipes, cereals, etc. You just want to make sure that it is ground up first, as the seed itself will just come out undigested. Once ground, keep it refrigerated to keep it from going rancid.

Flax is easy to find and relatively cheap. Grab a bag today and enjoy a better digestive system tomorrow!

Friday, February 8, 2008

The World is figuring it out.

Back in the early 90's when I first really started researching good foods, it was almost impossible to buy anything from a store to snack on. I literally had one bag of chips I could buy at Trader Joe's, everything else had to be made. I couldn't understand why no one could understand what we are eating is making us sick and fat. Slowly, the companies are catching on and now , it is quite easy to buy prepackaged snacks and foods. Yesterday I went in to one of these new markets, Fresh & Easy that are popping up everywhere. I don't know if this is just and AZ thing or not, but when I really went through the store, I was instantly in love! There is so many good foods to choose from. The instant oatmeal is free from junkie fillers and tastes great. We had the strawberry cream this morning. They have good whole wheat and honey pretzels and tortillas, great chips and organic pastas. The best thing is, the prices are great. They also carry hot dogs and lunch meats that are preservative and nitrate free. They mark things half off all of the time in the produce and meat section. The prices aren't real great on the meats and produce but when the markdowns happen, which is in the afternoon everyday, the prices are smokin'. I bought 10 packages of the hot dogs yesterday, which usually cost me $5 per package at Sprouts for on $1.99. I bought the hormone free chicken for half price too. A 10 lb bag of oranges was about $3.5 dollars and a 10 lb bag of potatoes was $2. They also had a really good deal on tomatoes. I talked to the manager about the store and he told me a bit about it. He said that what Fresh & Easy did was research the big stores to figure out what people buy most. The big chains make most of their profits off of only 10% of their food. Fresh & Easy sells this 10%. They also buy directly from the manufacturer and package very simply to save cost. I was so impressed with the manager and the store, that I actually brought my cart all the way back into the store when I unloaded the bags into my car. I hope these stores stay in business. They even sell fresh whole wheat pizza dough for only $.99. I get so easily excited when it comes to food! Try it out. If you don't live in AZ, sorry. AZ is just getting cool.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Start the Day Off Right

Like I have said before, I am a huge breakfast fan. Breakfast is so important to get the body going, giving it a reason to wake up and greet the day. Now, I am not talking fruit loops. A good hearty, warm breakfast. It doesn't have to take much time, in fact most breakfast dishes are quick. Breakfast foods also freeze well so you can make a big batch and freeze them. I love to try out new recipes, especially pancakes. Here is one of my favorite from a little Bed and Breakfast we stayed in Patagonia, AZ. You must serve this with real whipped cream. Syrup will ruin it. Enjoy!

Honey 'n' Spice Blueberry Pancakes

2 cups whole Wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 T Sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter
2 T honey
1 egg
2 C buttermilk (Regular Milk OK too)
1 C blueberries, fresh or frozen

Stir Dry ingredients together. Mix in wet ingredients. Cook on griddle.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Eat Your Food Naked.

OK, so leave your clothes on, keep the food naked. For instance, lets have a little chat about peanut butter. If you are one to have a jar of JIF in your cupboards, go take a look and listen up. Peanut butter is a simple thing, in the melodic words of Barney, "first you take the peanuts and you squishem' you squishem'" The end. That should be peanut butter, throw in a little salt and you have your spread. Well, the good people of JIF along with most other peanut butter manufacturers like to add a few more ingredients. Lets take a look:

roasted peanuts, sugar, molasses, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, fully hydrogenated vegetable oil, mono and diglycerides and salt.

Real Peanut Butter
roasted peanuts, salt.

What does this all mean? It means that your good, nutritious, naked peanut has been adulterized. To hydrogenate something, it means to change the form. It is forcing a liquid form of oil to change to a solid form by introducing a catalyst, usual
ly nickel. What this does is make the fat molecules take on a different shape which are foreign to the body. The body doesn't know what to do with them and this makes this form of oil far worse than any saturated fat. Cancer, heart disease, digestive problems, obesity. Just to name a few. Costco has a great natural peanut butter that is very affordable and tastes great. So, you have to stir it the first time you use it - no big deal. Just take the time to think about what you are eating. Keep your food naked and chances are you'll look better naked too!

Monday, February 4, 2008

A "stick to your ribs" breakfast

I have had a couple of fellow E.H. chicks email me some oatmeal recipes that are great for our chilly weather. I would love to pass them on. Try them out, see what you think! Its a good way to sneak in those new grains! I hope you all are trying them. So far, the ladies who have ,reported that their kids have loved it all! FYI, my greatest fan , Anne, found a website, that has the yogurt maker for a better price and has many other great items. She also said that she found the square containers at Walmart. Thanks, Anne, for all your research!
Master Oatmeal Mix
3 C Rolled Oats
3 C 7 or 11 grain mix
1 C powdered milk
3 tsp cinnamon
1 C Raisins (opt)
1 C Dates (opt)
To make, Boil 3 cups water with 2 cups mix (can double or decrease as needed). As soon as it doubles, remove from heat and let stand until it thickens and cools.
**From Cindy Thomas, hope I got it right!
Oatmeal Quinoa Cereal
1/4 C Quinoa
3/4 cup water
Boil 10 mn
Add :
1/4 Cup quick oats
1/4 Cup water
Boil about 1 mn more
Add a little milk and brown sugar and anything else you like
**From Laurie Lee

Sunday, February 3, 2008

In Bed for Back Rubs

I don't know about you, but 8:00 pm is bewitching time at my house. This is the time of day that I no longer want to be a mother and need everyone to go to bed so I will still like them. However, they seem to feed off this and work very hard to make bedtime a ritual of not obeying, hurting each other and waiting until mom starts to elevate the voice (pleasant way of saying "screaming). I am tired of this ritual and am quite tired of not being heard until I get mad, so here is a little game that has changed all of that - My friend Tracy was telling me one day how she started to give her son back rubs at night to bond with him better and to help him calm down. She told me how much this helped both of their relationships. I thought that was a perfect idea for one of my boys that desperately craves my attention. We all need to be touched and nurtured, especially by our mothers and it seems that it is so hard sometimes to just find the time to spend with each of them. I decided to give this a try. Of course, he loved it and the other little ones wanted one too. I decided to make a game out of it, If they were in bed by 8pm on the dot, they would get a back rub. If I didn't have to ask them and they were in bed, they would get a back rub with lotion. I didn't know how long this game would work, but it has now been one month and it is golden. I don't have to get mad at them every night and they can't wait for bedtime to get their alone time with mom. I love it too, to just be with them one on one. My older ones don't play this game but the little guys think it is the best game ever. Little do they know how this simple back rub has transformed my evening ritual from one that I dread to one that I look forward to.