Monday, March 31, 2008
Dr. Russel Blalock: The Devastating Effect of MSG, Aspartame and Excitotoxins.(click here to read)
Sunday, March 30, 2008
It is that glorious time of year again, Spring Cleaning! I have my various stages of cleaning: the "surface clean"; the general wipe down of the house , no deep scrubbing or toothbrushes involved. I then have my "two year old clean". This is when I get on my knees at a two year old level and see a whole new dimension of fingerprints and marks never seen before. I also see a bit more dust on the baseboards and carpet spots this way. Then, I have my "new house clean". That is the bi-annual deep clean, get all the marks off the walls, retouch any paint , scrub all the nooks with toothbrushes, restore the house to a new house clean. Like I said, this only happens twice a year. So, for any of you also in the spring cleaning mode, make sure you arm yourself for the truly mystifying MAGIC ERASER! Be prepared to be wowed. It gets everything off. You know when your child throws a toy against the wall and the blue paint from the toy spiderman car rubs off on the wall? Well, this will get it off. All the black scuffs on the baseboards...Gone! Murals from your two year old ;crayon, marker or even white board marker...Gone! I bought one last year and was so excited that I couldn't put it down. My house looked repainted in an hour. You all must have a box of these in your home. Watch out and test on paint first. I am sure it wears down a layer but I haven't had a problem yet. This is a must in any home. They are cheap and truly magic!
Friday, March 28, 2008
So Miss Enlightened Homemaker has been humbled. After bragging in my class Wednesday that my children are never sick and no one has had a broken bone due to lack of calcium from not drinking milk, I got a slap of humility. Tate came home with a fever that day and Randi broke her wrist the next day. I guess I am human after all. Tate is all better today and after an all nighter at the lovely St. Josephs Hospital in Down Town Phoenix, the wrist is back where it should be. I get the point. Stuff just happens sometimes.
For the first "Safe Food" Friday, I thought I'de tell you about this Soy Vay sauce I used the other night. It is very hard to find Chinese dressing, sauce or food of any kind that is on the Safe list. This is a great product and also very tasty. I have tried a couple of their products and have loved them all. This one, the "Veri Veri Teriyaki" was a great little sauce for chicken and broccoli stir fry. Using my pressure cooker for rice that took about 5 minutes, I had this little simple dinner done in 10 minutes flat! I bought this at Fresh and Easy but have seen it at Trader Joe's and at some grocery stores.
April Heymore emailed me about a friendly peanut butter she tried and liked called "Naturally Made". It does have sugar but everything else is great. I love the Costco Organic Peanut butter that only has peanuts and salt but if you have kids that are hooked on the jif, this may be an easier switch. It also does not need to be refrigerated or stirred.
I have a great recipe that incorporates both of these ingredients to try out on your little eaters. It is one of my families favorites by far and adapted from a recipe from Miss Molly. The peanut sauce is the best homemade recipe I have tried and is great to make extra for a Thai Pizza. Try it out and see what you think.
Thai Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce
2-3 chicken breasts, minced
half red onion, chopped finely
1 cup shredded green cabbage ( I add about 2 cups)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 T or more of grated or minced ginger (not powdered)
2 cloves garlic, minced
soy sauce or Teriyaki Sauce
Lettuce cups, washed and chilled (cut iceberg in half and peel cups apart)
Cooked Rice, about 2 cups
Saute onion in hot oil until tender. Add chicken and saute until no longer pink. Add the rest of the ingredients except soy sauce and saute about 2-3 minutes until tender. Sprinkle with soy or teriyaki sauce as desired for flavor. I also like to add some Chinese Red chili paste, About 1 T. for a little kick. Keep warm while you make the sauce, don't let cabbage get soggy!
1/4 C. Creamy Peanut Butter
1/ C. Sugar
3 T soy or Teriyaki sauce
4 Cloves Minced Garlic
3 T Water
2 T oil ( I use grapeseed oil)
Thai chili paste if desired, about 1 tsp or more
**I usually double this
Cook sauce in pan on low to medium heat until sugar dissolves. Whisk until smooth. Stir often and keep warm. To assemble wraps, spoon rice in first, top with chicken mixture, spoon on sauce. Dig in. This is such a nutrient packed little meal! Enjoy.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Fruit Roll Ups "Electric Blue": Ingredients
Pears from concentrate (DON'T EVEN THINK THIS HAS ANY FOOD VALUE)
Dried corn syrup
partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil
acetylated mono & diglycerides
natural and artificial flavors
color red 40, yellow 5 blue 1 and red 3
Hello! Is this even legal! Where is the food in this food product! And... we let our children eat this?! May as well go let them drink some battery acid in the garage.
Monday, March 24, 2008
I hope you all had a great spring break! If you are like me, you now need a vacation to unwind from the week. I had a great list of all the things I was going to do, the list is still there but we had some great park time and that is what matters. The weather was beautiful!
Now that there are so many great fruits and veggies coming into season, I thought we would chat a bit about how to select good produce. There is so much more to it than how they feel or look. In fact, that really isn't what matters so much. If you have been to a local farmers market, you will notice that the produce looks a bit on the rough side. The taste is great but you wouldn't really want to set them out for company. We much prefer the beautiful waxed appearance of the fruits at the grocery stores. I am sure we all know that what is on the outside of these perfect looking apples and oranges is not what we really want on the inside of our bodies. It is hard to determine sometimes what to buy, what really is organic, what is genetically modified and what will taste good.
There is a number system out there. You know those cute little stickers on the fruits and veggies that are hard to get off? Look at the numbers when you are in the stores. They will let you know about what you are buying. I really try to buy organic when I can, but you can't always be sure that you are truly buying organic unless you know the code system. If there isn't a sticker on the fruit or veggie, there usually is the number on the sign. Here's how it goes:
If the number is:
4 digits, it's conventionally grown using pesticides
5 digits starting with 8, its genetically modified with pesticides
5 digits starting with 9, its organic
If you shop at a local farmers market (which is the way to go if you can), even if it isn't marked organic, most of the time if it is local they don't spray pesticides or use a very low grade. The food will usually taste better since it is usually picked when it is ripe. For you local gals, I love the Guadalupe Farmers Market on Power just South of Elliot. They also stock raw honey and Gluten Free products half the price of other stores. They are also great about trying to order what you ask them for. They have fresh roasted peppers, tamales and tortillas too.
It is almost impossible to buy organic all of the time and it is definitely more costly, but well worth if you can. Try to buy local and at the least try for conventionally grown. I just try to do my best and eat as little pesticides if I can. I know I am still eating plenty of them on my berries but I hope that I dilute them a bit with eating organic in other areas. The more we buy organic, the more we are telling the growers what we want. We vote with our buying power! Shop smartly.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
My son informed me that we need to change up our snacks a bit. We have had the same stuff for quite some time so I ventured off to Sprouts to load up on some new items. We had a little taste testing session when I returned and everything was delicious. So delicious in fact that I had to lay down some ground rules. Although these snacks were free from the bad stuff, they were still snacks, still a bit sweet and still needed to be limited. The rules are, at least when Mom is looking, is that they have to eat fruit or a veggie first then they can have the snack.
You can find some of these products at grocery stores in the healthy section, they are just cheaper at Sprouts. They are probably about $1 more than the junk brands but think of it as less copays to the Dr. since you will be much healthier! They are organic, made with expeller pressed oil, cane juice and nothing artificial. Best part is that they taste as good or better than the other brands. Not all of these are with whole grain wheat flour but most are, I don't mind a little white now and then especially if sandwiched with healthy ingredients.
Here are the items that we tried today:
Nature's Path: Toaster Pastries (just like pop tarts)
Back to Nature: Crispy Wheats (crackers just like wheat thins),Classic creme cookies,Honey Graham Sticks
Annie's Organic: Bunny Grahams (Three varieties)
New Morning: Graham Wiches (Way too good to keep in the house!)
Sprouts brand: Cheddar Curlz (better than Cheetos)
My children are very happy to have some new treats around the house. I warned them that if they are demolished too quickly, we will be back to corn chips and pretzels! That will scare them! I don't think kids really need to snack all day, two times is plenty, if they are still hungry - here's a banana!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Tonight I wanted to try a new recipe, (picture above is not the actual product!) I was pretty sure no one but me would enjoy it but so what. It was a sweet potato quesadilla in my quest to get more sweet potatoes into my diet. I dished it up, waited to see the subtle look on their faces of displeasure and to my surprise, they enjoyed it. We are growing up! Try it out! These would go great with the Caribbean tacos or with some black beans on top. I loved them but I think you need something with them or they get boring.
Sweet Potato Quesadilla
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
2 minced cloves of garlic
3 T. oil
4 cups grated and peeled sweet potatoes, I used the yellow variety
1/2 ts. dried oregano
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
generous pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated mexican cheese
Saute the onions and garlic in oil until limp. Add grated sweet potatoes and herbs and spices. Don't add the salt yet or pepper. Cover and cook for about 10 mn until potatoes are firm but tender. Stir frequently.Salt and pepper to taste. Spread filling and cheese on tortilla and cook in quesadilla style. Serve garnished with beans, lettuce, salsa,sour cream, etc, whatever you like!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Back in the 7th grade I won the state oratory contest for a little speech I wrote about succeeding in life through preparation. I remember this speech so well and especially the quote, "Failing to plan is planning to fail." I use that little gem on my kids all the time when they just "happen" to run out of time to do the things that they need to do or want to do. It's all about the planning. As I have talked on previous blogs, I usually lay out my dinner plans for two weeks. This past week, I just didn't make the time. The day I usually make out the list was on the night of my bread class so I was busy. It just didn't happen after that. So, each night I stand in the kitchen with a look of puzzlement of what I am going to make and a quick run to the store to get the ingredients if I don't have what I need. Consequently , my week has not run too smoothly. My lack of planning has really cost me lots of time. I get asked quite frequently how much time I spend in the kitchen, with all of the cooking that I talk about, surely I must live there 24/7. Well, to the contrary, because I plan, I probably spend less time on meals than those who think they don't cook. This past week reaffirmed this for me. My meals have been a lot less creative and I have spent a lot more time in the kitchen. We have eaten dinner late each night and I still need to go to the store, again! The moral of the story, No plan of action= wasting time. Wasting time=still laundry to fold, still shower to clean, still tired. What a little lack of planning has done to my night time schedule is amazing. I can't wait to write my list again.
On that note of saving time, I wanted to fill you in on one of my favorite time saving tools. The George Foreman grill. A few years ago, my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I really didn't know so just to give her something, I told her the George Foreman. I really didn't understand what I was asking for but it was something for the kitchen that I didn't have yet. Little did I know how much I would fall in love with George. George has delivered me beautiful cooked chicken from frozen tenders to cooked tenders in 4 minutes. He has given me perfectly cooked steaks, pannini's , grilled veggies and burgers. The time to cook is so quick because it cooks from both sides. It is also great because you don't need to add oil. Everyone needs one of these.(Go for the bigger & better one, they work better.) I am a huge fan of the chicken tenders because you get more marinated flavor with them since they are thin and they cook really fast. Always have a big frozen bag in your freezer for dinners in a pinch. Everyone has 4 minutes to make chicken. While it is cooking, tear your lettuce, cut some fruit, toast a bagel and have a great chicken salad all in under 5 minutes! You can't even get through a drive thru in that time.
My point is this, you don't have to spend all day in the kitchen to eat a home cooked, healthy meal. You just need the tools and the plan.
Here's a little marinade recipe my sister-in-law passed on to me. It is great for salads and any southwest type dish.
Southwest Chicken Marinade
2 T. olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
1 t. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. dried oregano leaves
1/2 t. salt
1 pound chicken
Combine all ingredients, coat both sides of chicken. Marinate in fridge a couple hours or just go ahead and grill on the spot if no time! Still tastes great.
Remember to make extra and freeze some for the future dinner!
Monday, March 10, 2008
My Grandfather-in-law always sends me cute little emails to read, but this one in particular caught my eye! It was research from a professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class. He was teaching his class about bananas. Now, I always knew bananas were good for you. I knew they were a good source of potassium and energy, but I never knew just how good they were for you. I have been enlightened. After you read this, you will definitely want to go bananas! Let me share:
"Bananas contain three natural sugars- sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90 minute work out. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.
The banana isn't just a source of energy, however. It can also help overcome and prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions.
Depression: The banana contains tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts to serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
PMS: The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels which affect your mood.
Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.
Blood Pressure: Extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. FDA has allowed the banana industry to now make claims for the fruits ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
Brain Power: Research has shown that the potassium packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.
Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.
Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
Mosquito bites: Before reaching for insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. It helps reduce swelling and irritation.
Nerves: Vitamin B help calm the nervous system.
Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because it is soft and smooth. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates you body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels.
Warts: Take a piece of bananas skin and place it on the wart with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a band aid or surgical tape."
When you compare a banana to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals.
I loved this article and just had to quote it for you. I love reading about the amazing healing powers of food. We really have all we need to make us healthy right in our grocery stores. So, if you are not going bananas yet, maybe it's time; especially when all of those little monkeys around the house are making you a little crazy!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
My friend, Kristi Moak, sent me a great recipe for a Honey Lime Chicken Enchilada. It was delicious. I loved the chicken so much I tried it in a few other venues. Here is one I loved particularly and was very quick. If you love the chicken, make a bunch and freeze it. It would be great in soft tacos, enchiladas and pannini's. Try it out!
Thanks for all of those who signed up for my class, I have two spots left so let me know quickly if you would like to come. If you have to cancel, please let me know so I can give your slot away. I am trying to keep the class small for an intimate gathering. If I have enough people that need another date or night class, I may try one more class. I am not really looking for a career at this point so we will see how it goes. I am excited though to get to know some of you and to show you my favorites!
4 T. Honey
3 T. Fresh Lime Juice
1 T. Oil
2 tsp. Chili Powder
1/4 tsp. Garlic powder
1 - 1 1/2 pounds shredded and cooked chicken
Mix marinade and toss with cooked and shredded chicken. Take soft corn, table tortillas (these are the kinds that fold without breaking) or you can use regular corn tortillas, just fry them a bit or get them real crispy If you want to eat them saucer style.Fresh and Easy has cute mini corn tortillas. layer a little shredded green cabbage , chicken and some fresh mango salsa. I bought some great mango salsa from Costco. Vitamin A source. I wanted my tortilla a little crisp but didn't want to fry it so I put it in the toaster.It is very low fat that way.Someday's I just don't care and would go straight for the oil! Get creative! Enjoy!
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
What are we doing to our children because it is just easier to ignore what we know is best? They don't do the grocery shopping. It is up to us, the moms.
I hear so many emails from you and many are overwhelmed. I understand. Changing a lifestyle is the hardest thing you can do. But, it needs to be done. I have thought about this so much as I want everyone to find out how healthy of a life they can have and how they can overcome almost all of their afflictions. I want kids to stop having autism, ADD and chronic immune problems. Through the suggestion of some of you, I will have a class to have those who would be interested to come over and taste my favorite recipes and snacks. I will have a booklet with the recipes (about 15 to get you started), lists of grains and what they do and I will have a laminated card with ingredients to avoid to keep in your purse. Then you will have it with you when you grocery shop as this is the most confusing part. I will talk about how to start to change your eating lifestyle and your families to make it a little less overwhelming. I am not sure where all this is going. I just started this as a way to share recipes and it took on a whole life of its own! I feel so inspired to write now and so inspired by all of your stories.
If you are interested, the class will be on March 26th, 9:30 Am. There will be a $10 cost to cover my expenses and some of my time. I will email you the location if you email me that you will attend. If you cannot attend and would like the card and the booklet, let me know and I will mail it to you for $6. If you are interested in this class but cannot attend at that time, let me know and I will see about another class if people are interested.
Thanks for all of you who care, who are doing such a good job and are making changes. Thanks to all of you who inspire me and give me such great tips.
Nothing Tastes as good as Healthy Feels!
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Read Here: Diary on Dairy.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
I have had quite a few emails lately about dinner planning and execution. Dinner is always a hard time of day, but we all must eat dinner. We shouldn't be shocked everynight and most of the time, we are in charge. The more you can do to plan ahead of time, the easier it will be when the time comes. For me, I favor the two week list. I write out a list of meals for two weeks, I cook usually 5-6 nights a week. I write down recipes that I like and a few new ones to try. I then save these lists so that I have ideas to pull from other times when I can't think of ideas. If it is a new recipe, I will write down what recipe book it is in and what page. I try to plan out the meals so that I am cooking ahead. Here's a little example from last weeks schedule:
Monday: Thai Peanut Wraps
Tuesday: BBQ chicken chopped salad
Wednesday: Shredded pork chalupas
Thursday: Linguini with Basil and fresh tomatoes
Friday: Grilled pizzas
So, here is the execution - Since I had already shopped for the two week menu all the ingredients should theoretically be in the house. I know ahead of time what I am going to make that night so many ingredients are planned ahead. For instance: the Thai peanut wraps had nothing prepared ahead of time but I saved some of the peanut sauce for the grilled pizzas at the end of the week, Thai pizza's are delicious. Then next day, I made the BBQ chicken salad and used some left over grilled BBQ chicken from a previous week that I had frozen and chopped. All I needed to do is chop the lettuce and add the other ingredients, I had beans in the freezer also from a big batch I had made a few weeks ago. The next day I made shredded pork in a big batch also to freeze for another week to make enchiladas. Thursday was Linguini with Basil and tomato. Since I had bought a big bag of basil, I made some pesto to store for the following week. I just used that pesto last night for a pesto pasta dish. Simple and delicious. Friday night was supposed to be grilled pizza's but we went out instead. I saved the ingredients to make this week, some pesto for a pesto chicken pizza, some peanut sauce for a thai pizza.
Not all weeks go as easy, some weeks are more of the preparation weeks but if you get in the habit of thinking ahead, dinner time can be cut in half. You can make a dinner faster than you can get take out. It just takes time to plan. You must first take the time to be "dinner organized." Stock up on reusable tupperware containers to freeze everything. I hate to waste anything. I feel that it is not showing gratitude for my food if I do. I also hate leftovers so I will freeze what's freezable then bring in back, reincarnated into a different type of dish. I saved about 3/4 cup of spahetti sauce a few weeks ago for a calzone another week. I also buy a big bulk size of ground beef and will cook it up with onion and garlic. I freeze it up in small containers and can pull it out easily for tacos, sloppy joes, etc. When you grill chicken, double batch it, chop it and freeze it. You can use that chicken for all kinds of quick dinners.
Move over Rachel Ray...I can get dinner done in 15 minutes!
**Fellow E.H. April Haymore says the Happy Baby baby food is great for the little mouths to feed. You can find it at Target in the freezer section. So much better than the canned junk! Thanks, April for the comments!
Monday, March 3, 2008
Also, just a report, after my husband had the flu for a week, the lay in bed, high fever one, I am pleased to report that none of the other 6 household inhabitants caught it! Thanks to the Oregano Oil and Emergen-C! I swear by it!
Hopefully you have all had a chance to read the previous post and article on aspartame. But I just had to add a few more notes to those blogs. Aspartame isn't just an ingredient in diet sodas, it is slowly creeping up everywhere. If something says "sugar free" , chances are that it has aspartame. It's so much better to just have the sugar content. I used to buy the only gum out there, shy of Bubblicious, that didn't contain aspartame but now Wrigley's spearmint contains it. So, I just sort of decided that it couldn't be that bad in a little piece of gum and started chewing orbit. Great gum. I chew gum all the time, it is a great way to keep food out of my mouth. Well, unfortunately I can't stop googling and just had to look up aspartame in gum. Darn it. Why can't I just let things be! After reading this article: Aspartame in Gum (click to read), I had to change my school of thought. Read for yourselves. My children also constantly chew gum. I can't stand the thought that they have had so much of this poison. Now, I will pop a good orbitz now and then, I am not a fanatic, a little won't kill anyone, but I have switch to the original gum, GLEE.
I ordered it from Amazon in bulk so it turns out to be about 70 cents each. They are in chicle form and taste good but the flavor doesn't last long. If you order $25 worth, you get free shipping. It is made from all natural products, including the original rain forest chicle! (not quite sure what that is but sounds interesting)
Anyways, sorry to fill you with too much info, maybe you just don't want to know so much, but I feel I need to get the info out there since the Today show certainly won't tell you!
Thanks for all the emails and phone calls asking for certain blogs, I am busy doing my research on your questions so hopefully the blogs will be out this week!