Mom and I are super excited to bring you our latest creation from the test kitchen: the much-anticipated (drum roll please)....Dark Chocolate Cherry Smoothie. Party-in-your-mouth does not even begin to describe this decadent treat.
Our blenders worked overtime on this one, as over the course of many weeks of sampling and RE-sampling, we strived to find the perfect balance between sweet and tart (then later, we strived to fit into our jeans).
Initially, we weren't sure what kind of liquid to use. Almond milk gave it too much of a twang, water was bland, and cherry juice was too tart. Eventually, we hit the jackpot with apple juice.
Ahhhhh....finally. Sweet, chocolatey, frozen bliss.
Now, we'd like to reveal some of this smoothie's most important ingredients. Ready?
1. Lindt Bars
2. Lindt Bars
3. Lindt Bars
Okay, maybe there's some other stuff in there too:
CHERRIES are packed with antioxidants, and according to Dr. Mercola, this delicious fruit can "relieve pain, help you avoid premature aging, and add years to your life." Mom and I are working on a deal to package and sell these things on the Home Shopping Network.
Next up: BLACK BEANS
Stop scrunching up your nose. You won't even know they're in there. But you'll be glad they are, since black beans are a great source of protein and fiber, and they contain at least 8 types of cancer-fighting Flavinoids. And cancer is bad.
Now, can I just take a moment to brag on my mom and her mad photography skills? As I type up this post, I keep getting the urge to lick my computer screen. (But don't worry, I won't).
Hello friends! It's finally spring in earnest, and we're loving us a balmy day here in the heart of Oklahoma. We hope that wherever you are, you're also enjoying the blessings of spring. Speaking of warmer weather, I can't believe that I'm already packing for our family vacation, and scheduling summer camps for the kids. How can it be summer already?
As a mom, I think the best part about summer is going to the pool and lounging around in my swimsuit . And of course, the worst part is going to the pool and lounging around in my swimsuit. If you're like me, and you'd like to shed a few pounds before summer, but don't have time for a full workout, here are three super easy calorie-burning/reducing strategies that you can start using today. Here's to a relaxing summer by the pool!
1. The North 40
When going to the grocery store or mall, park as far from the entrance as you can, and walk briskly to and from the front door. This little bit of extra walking can help you burn several hundred extra calories a day.
2. Water, Water, Everywhere
Drink a glass of ice water before each meal. Not only will the water curb your appetite and help you eat less, but your body will burn extra calories warming it up. If you're not a big fan of water, keep some lemon, lime, or orange slices in the fridge to snazz it up.
3. What's Yours is Mine
My husband and I shared an entree at P.F. Chang's last week. After we both stuffed ourselves silly, we couldn't believe there was enough left over to feed another person! As the wait staff rolled us out of the restaurant in a wheelbarrow, we were definitely glad that we had shared.
Restaurant portions might be out of control, but the good news is that you can save money, cut calories, and avoid that "so stuffed you feel sick" feeling by making a habit of splitting your meals.
Besides, sharing can be downright romantic....don't you think? ;)
Here's hoping that in the coming weeks and months, you'll find that happiest, healthiest version of YOU! Happy summer!
Love, Katie and Barb
Did you know that Eat For Your Life is on Pinterest now? We'd love for you to follow, and check out our collection of Skinny Jeans Recipes!
Earlier this month, Mom and I left our covered wagons behind, and boarded a plane for the big city. Our destination? Austin, home of all things artsy and bluesy. Also home to my big brother, Jason, whom we were long overdue to visit.
My brother took us to all of Austin's must-see destinations...namely, Mia Madre's Mexican, the Thai Noodle House, and Milto's Mediterranean. However, while he was working, we decided to do what any prairie girl would do when she finds herself in a big-time city...shop for things she doesn't need.
We'd barely set foot on 6th street, our hearts all-a-flutter at the prospect of finding an Anthropolgie and a West Elm on the same block, when Mom suddenly grabbed my arm and spun me around. "I forgot something," she gasped.
"What?," I said, peeling her fingers off my arm. "Your 20% off coupon? Don't worry, I have an extra."
"No, I'm serious," she said.
I looked her over. "You're right," I said, "That belt is hideous. You should have worn the other one."
"You don't understand," she moaned, "I forgot my celery."
Apparently, she doesn't leave home without it. And apparently, she meant business.
Wow, I thought. She needs a 12-step program.
So I may have grumbled a bit as we made our 1-mile trek back to the car (passing up all the shops along the way). And I may have grumbled some more as I threw the car into reverse and backed out of a parking space that we'd found only after 30 minutes of circling.
But as we stood at the check-out line of Whole Foods, loading bags of vibrantly colored veggies into the cart, a smile crept across my face. My mom, who once lived for Dr. Pepper and Snicker Bars, couldn't get to the store fast enough to load up on celery, snap peas, and carrots. And if my mom can make that kind of transformation, I do believe that anything (and I mean anything) might be possible.
* * *
So the question is: when we have the munchies, what kinds of foods do we reach for? Salty? Sweets? Carbs? (I personally have an achilles heel for all three). So I was grateful for the snack alternatives that my mom came up with below. We hope you enjoy them too!
SNACKS TO ENJOY AT HOME
We've found that one of the best ways to tackle the Munchies is to sneak up on them...meaning that if you normally get hungry at 10:30 a.m., grab a healthy snack at 10:00. It's not unusual for my mom and I to eat 6-8 healthy snacks a day (no joke!) Whether it's a handful of snap peas, or a bit of fresh pineapple and yogurt, we are all about snacking between meals!
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Katie: I love, love this combination of fresh pineapple chunks, plain yogurt*, and cinnamon. (I use a LOT of cinnamon, and stir it all up).
I'm too lazy to cut up a fresh pineapple, so my one supermarket splurge is to buy pre-cut pineapple in the produce department. This also works well with peeled, chopped apples. Enjoy!
*Non-fat, plain Dannon Yogurt
VEGGIES & HUMMUSBarb: I like to keep my veggies front-and-center in the fridge, already chopped up, and ready to munch.
For a variation on snap peas, I like to steam them in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, then add a dash of salt. Delicious!
The hummus in the photo is "Sabra" from Walmart, shown with slow roasted tomatoes. For other ideas on dressing up your hummus, click here.
| |DREAMSICLE SMOOTHIEIf you've ever enjoyed a Dreamsicle, then you will love this refreshing smoothie, made with oranges, mangos, and peaches. You can almost hear the Melodie ice cream truck coming down the road as you sip this tasty treat!
Click here for full recipe.
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There's nothing like fresh, crunchy celery paired with the sweet goodness of nut butter (we like the Smart Balance variety from Wal-Mart). Try some fresh berries on the side for a filling, mid-afternoon snack.
SNACKS TO ENJOY ON THE GO
Katie: Snacking on the go is super easy if you take a few minutes to prep your snacks on the weekend. I like to organize my snacks on Sunday afternoon, while the school uniforms are in the wash (ha!) Remember to keep the portions small. The Ziplock "snack-size" baggies are perfect for this. When you're out running errands, you'll love the convenience of having baggies full of delicious, healthy munchies in your purse!
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HEART TO HEART TRAILMIX
We <heart> this combination of cranberries, toasted pecans, 70% dark chocolate, and Kashi Heart-to-Heart cereal. The kids love it too!
Make up several snack baggies, and take 'em with you throughout the week.
Don't leave home without your sweet red bell peppers, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, and crunchy celery!
Hint: buy as much of it "pre-cut" as you can to save on prep time.
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BEL VITA COOKIES
These are amazingly delicious whole grain cookies, readily available at Wal-Mart. They come in packs of four (which is way too much sugar for one sitting), so we divide them into baggies, and only eat two for a snack. Enjoy!
DARK CHOCOLATE ALMONDS
These delicious almonds (also from Wal-Mart) are covered in a decadent, dark chocolate coating. Pack some into a Ziplock snack bag to enjoy on the go!
A serving of 16 almonds makes a perfect handful.
| |We hope you've enjoyed the snack ideas this week! Just to let you know, we also have a Facebook page where we often post new recipes and health tips. Click here to follow us on Facebook.Happy Eating!Love, Katie and Barb
Katie: This October marks two years since my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her journey has been an arduous one, with a double mastectomy, drug infusions, and a huge diet overhaul
along the way (you can read her story here
). I'm so proud of her for sticking with the nutrition plan! The good news is that after looking at Mom's recent test results, the doctors say that for now, she is 100% breast cancer free. So far, so good. Woo-hoo!
(Mom, you look beautiful, dahling).
The irony is not lost on us that Mom was diagnosed during October, which just happens to be Breast Cancer Awareness month. And now that "Think Pink" month is in full swing, we'd like to share some important tips with you about early detection and prevention of breast cancer.
ONE IN EIGHT
You may have heard the startling statistic that breast cancer affects ONE in EIGHT women in this country. Golly gee willikers...If our odds for winning the lottery were that high, we'd probably all run out and buy a ticket. It's important that we (and the women we love) learn as much as we can about the prevention and early detection of this horrific disease.
Photo Source: Thrive Oklahoma Magazine
OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD...
Okay, ladies....let's be honest. How many of us perform REGULAR monthly breast exams? I have to admit that I don't do it regularly. And after watching this video from Dr. Oz, I realized that on the rare occasion when I DO perform a self-exam, I'm not even doing it right. (Leave it to a man to tell us how to do a breast exam).
However, today, I've decided that I will be a Self-Exam Slacker NO MORE. This morning, I took five minutes out of my important Facebook surfing time to mark my self-exams on the calendar. And now, I think I'll watch this Dr. Oz video and figure out the right way to do it. Who's with me?
Photo source: TV Guide
In the time that it takes us to brew up a cup of Keurig coffee, we could all learn how to do a self breast exam...a simple, yet potentially life-saving habit. Please, PLEASE click here
to see the video. Then forward it to your mom, your sister, your great aunt Gertrude, and your cousin Fifi.ARE YOU DOING IT RIGHT?
Here are Dr. Oz's four steps for doing a self exam:
- Step 1: Examine breasts in mirror for visual changes in the size and color of the breasts, particularly in the nipple area and the skin.
- Step 2: Lay down with one hand above your head. With the other hand, start the exam all the way up by the collarbone and work your way over to the armpit. Move toward the nipple in an outward concentric pattern, using the pads of your 3 middle fingers. Repeat on the other breast.
- Step 3: Lumps won't feel perfectly round or smooth. They will feel irregular, hard and not moveable. Note any lumps and talk to your doctor.
- Step 4: Gently, with your thumb and forefinger, check for nipple discharge by applying pressure at the 9-3 and 12-6 clock positions.
THE JOY OF WOMANHOOD
Now, let's move on to everyone's favorite topic: the memorable mammogram. You may remember that the FDA changed its mammography recommendations in 2010. Prior to that time, they suggested that all women over 40 get a mammogram every year. Now they've changed the recommendation to every two years. However, if my mom had followed the new recommendation, she might not be here today.
Mom's type of breast cancer is HER2+, one of the most aggressive kinds. Thankfully, though, she was diligent about scheduling her yearly mammograms, and they were able to catch it early. While not everyone agrees on who should receive a mammogram and when, the American Cancer society still recommends that all women over 40 receive yearly exams. And for those who are at a higher risk due to family history or other factors
, your doctor might suggest that you start getting exams earlier. My doctor wants me to start next year, when I turn 35.
If you have trouble remembering to schedule your exam, you can take a few seconds to sign up for a reminder email from the American Cancer Society (this is so cool). Click here
to get your reminder.
BRING ON THE SKINNY JEANS!
While there are several risk factors
for breast cancer, one that's received much attention in recent years is a woman's waist circumference. Studies by the World Cancer Research Fund suggest that women who have excess body fat around the middle have an increased risk for developing breast cancer. None of us likes to talk about waist circumference, though. So let's not. Let's talk about something shinier and happier...like fitting into those skinny jeans! Now that's what I'm talking about.
Skinny jeans doesn't have to mean huge overnight changes. Many people prefer to start off the way my Mom did: by taking one small step at a time. It's very doable! She's lost 35 pounds, and has been able to keep it off by using the simple ideas below:1. SNACK TIME!
We found it was much easier to start by ADDING new foods, rather than taking anything away. So let's start with some healthy and DELICIOUS snacks
! (Try one snack mid-morning, and another mid-afternoon).2. PANTRY INVENTORY
Consider taking an inventory of your pantry staples. Check out our recent blog post, Wal-Mart Pantry Stapes: Our Top 10 Picks.3. WHAT'S FOR LUNCH?
Take a break from deli meat, and try some of these healthy and delicious lunch alternatives
.4. SKIP THE ICKY STUFF
Eat foods in their most natural form (meats, produce, dairy, whole grains, etc.). Avoid processed foods/frozen dinners with un-pronouncable ingredients. Here's our most widely-read article: The Nastiest Foods in America
, which talks about some of the "icky" foods we would do well to avoid. (Read at your own risk).5. VEGGIE MANIA!
Eating veggies every hour helps us stave off cravings for JUNK. Start with baby carrots or red bells, and dip in hummus. Here's a great idea for dressing up your hummus: Hummus with Olives and Walnuts
.6. SWEET CHECK
Start thinking about ways to reduce your sugar intake. For the occasional treat, try some of our low-in-sugar, high-in-delicious dessert recipes
.7. WHAT'S YOUR BEEF?
If beef is your main protein, try adding more chicken and fish recipes
to your weekly menu.
THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!
We're glad you joined us this week to help celebrate my Mom's two years of health! We wanted to let you know that we also have a Facebook page, where we post clean-eating recipes, weight-loss ideas, and book reviews, etc. Click here
if you'd like to follow us on Facebook.
Here's to your health!
Katie and Barb You might also like:
Not Yo Mama's
Harvest Tomato Soup
Caty's World Fusion Stirfry
Andrea's Whole Grain Waffles
This month we pay tribute to the humble sweet potato.
This down-to-earth spud is chock-full of fiber, which is essential for slowing down the digestion process, and preventing a spike in the body's blood sugar. A diet high in fiber also contributes to the "skinny jeans" phenomenon, an added benefit that no one seems to complain about! Finally, sweet potatoes are packed with important nutrients such as vitamin C and beta carotene, both of which help bolster the immune system. (In your face, Cancer).
Unlike some vegetables (such as asparagus), the sweet potato is not a playground snob. His mother beams at the behavior section of his report card each year where the teacher always writes, "plays well with others." As you'll see below, his personality complements a pineapple-kiwi salad just as well as it does a burger or a mid-morning brunch buffet.
And, at just .88 per pound, this budget-friendly spud simply makes "cents."
| || |Sweet Potato Cakes with Coconut Crust If you're tired of the same hum-drum side dishes each week, you might give these dreamy sweet potato cakes a whirl. Our cakes are shown here with Glazed Blackened Chicken and Roasted Pineapple/Kiwi Salad.
| |Sweet Potato Hummus Sweet potato hummus and pita chips are an excellent choice for party appetizers, lunches, or snacks.
Our hummus is shown here with toasted whole grain pita chips, snap peas, and baby carrots. see recipe
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Sweet Potato WafflesIf we could take all the wonderful, cinnamony tastes of autumn, and combine them into one recipe, this would be it. These mouth-watering waffles are great for brunch or an anytime snack. (P.s. This is Katie's all-time favorite recipe!) see recipe
| |Baked Sweet Potato SoupA surprising addition of peanut butter gives this soup a rich, delicious flavor. This soup is perfect for cold winter evenings by the fire. see recipe | |
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Sweet Potato Fries
Along with our sweet potato fries (see recipe
) we've served up a Prime Veggie Burger from Morningstar, topped with a light sprinkling of swiss cheese, sauteed red onions and mushrooms.
You've tackled four stores already. You will not be defeated again. You rip off your shirt sleeve to make a bandana, and smear some charcoal-colored paint across your cheek bones. Camo? Check. Artillery? Check. You zig zag through women's clothing, then hide out behind a tower of diaper boxes. Beads of sweat form at your temple. It's now or never. You turn into the aisle, and let out a war cry as you fly past the pens, past the erasers and the manilla envelopes.
There it is! Encouraged by the sight of it, you pick up speed. Faster, faster. But NO!...what's this? Someone else is racing towards it from the other end of the aisle. It's that menacing woman from the PTA. Her son beats your daughter in the spelling bee every year. "NOOOOOOOO" you groan, running in slow motion. You're just a few paces away, when a toddler waddles across your path to pick up a sippy cup. PTA lady grabs the folder first. The only purple folder in town with brads but no pockets. "Nice outfit," she says, with one eyebrow raised. She tosses her flaming red hair over her shoulder, then walks away...clutching your folder under her arm.
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Yes, it's back-to-school time. Time for school supplies, hair cuts, new Nike's, and yes...lunch boxes. To help us all get a healthy start on the school year, and to take some of the monotony out of packing (and eating) made-at-home lunches, we've put together some FRESH lunch box ideas for you below. Can we get a fist bump?
In this issue of Eat for Your Life:
-Super Cute Lunchbox Photos (Way to go MOM!)
-What's Wrong with Typical Lunchbox Fare?
-Print-And-Go Shopping Lists
-Share YOUR healthy lunchbox ideas!
(By the way, these lunch ideas can go to the office too!).
How to Rock Your Kid's Lunchbox
Banana & Nut Butter Sandwich
with Raw Honey
Orange Slices & Grapes
Vruit Apple/Carrot Juice
Tip: Make sure to store Veggie Booty tightly wrapped in the freezer.
Tuna Salad (made with non-fat Dannon Yogurt)*
Whole Grain Crackers
Snapz Apple Chips
Honest Kids Berry Berry Good Lemonade
*Or Greek yogurt.
Spinach/Black Bean/Cheese Roll Up
(with Salsa for Dipping)
Fresh Berry/Kiwi Mix
Soy or Almond Milk
Tip for Tortilla Roll-Up: Melt cheese on tortilla (20 seconds in microwave), quickly add beans and spinach, then roll it up while it's still warm.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Hummus and Veggies
Cuties Fruit Smoothie
Applesauce with Cinnamon
| |APPLE OF MY EYE
Apple & Cheddar Sandwich with Honey Mustard*
Plain Yogurt Mixed with Raw Honey/Topped with Fruit
Baby Carrots & Sugar Snap Peas (or Edamame)
City Girl Ranch Dip
(Click HERE for recipe)
*Try Apple and Brie for an adult take on this tasty sandwich.
What's Wrong with Typical Lunch Box Fare?DELI MEAT
Deli meat is America's number one go-to sandwich filler. It might be tasty, but is it worth it? Recent scientific research indicates that eating just ONE serving of processed meat per day can increase your risk of cancer by 21%.
CHIPSWe're going to pick on Doritos, because we're pretty sure they're radioactive. However, many of the heinous ingredients we've listed below can be found in other types of chips. (Where ingredients are concerned, the fewer the better. These are just a few of the THIRTY-TWO ingredients than can be found in Nacho Cheese Doritos).
Monosodium Glutamate, Hydrogenated Oil, Artificial Color (yellow 6, yellow 5, red 40), Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Casinate, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Maltrodextrin.
Our rule of thumb? If we can't pronounce it, we probably shouldn't eat it.FRUIT LEATHERYou would think that something called a "Fruit Roll-Up" would contain mostly fruit. Guess not. Of the NINETEEN less-than-palatable ingredients found in a Fruit Roll-Up, only one of them is fruit. Also, they are chock full of food coloring, which has been linked to ADHD. Our take on this: why not just eat fruit? (BTW, fruit leather made our list of "Five Nastiest Foods in America." You can read all about it here).SUGARY DRINKSMany kids drinks on the market (like Capri Sun) contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). A study conducted by UCLA found that HFCS can cause insulin resistance, which leads to learning disruption and memory loss. Be sure to check food labels before tossing those drinks in the cart.
Print-And-Go Shopping Lists
(Availability may vary by location)
WALMART:Fresh Fruit: Strawberries, Blueberries, Kiwi, Grapes, Oranges, Apples, Cuties Smoothie Drinks
Fresh Veggies: Baby Carrots (or sticks), Sugar Snap Peas, Spinach, Red/Green Peppers, Cucumber, Broccoli
Grains: Oroweat 100% Whole Grain Bread, Mission Whole Wheat Tortillas,Triscuit Whole Grain Crackers
Canned: Black Beans (whole or refried), Tuna
Dairy: Shredded Cheddar, Cheddar Slices, Cage Free Eggs, Dannon Fat-Free Plain Yogurt
Condiments: Smart Balance Nut Butter, Salsa, Fischer's Raw Honey (or local Raw Honey), Sabra Hummus
Snack Items: Great Value (Walmart Brand) All Natural Applesauce, Tostitos Multigrain Scoops
Drinks: Soy or Almond Milk, Minute Maid 100% Juice, Cuties Smoothies (in produce section) TARGET:Condiments: Koops Mustard (for Honey Mustard)
Snack Items: Snapz Apple Chips, Pirate Veggie Booty
Drinks: Honest Kids Juice PouchesWHOLE FOODS (OR ON-LINE):Drinks: Vruit Juice (or, you can order it on Amazon in Bulk).
Sweet Relish: Cascadian Farm Organic Sweet Relish (on-line at Vitacost)
Share Your Ideas!This is a community forum! We'd love to hear about your healthy lunchbox ideas. Please respond in the comment section below.
If you'd like to subscribe to our blog, please enter your email on the home page. The blog features recipes, health tips, stories, book reviews, and more.
See you next time!
Katie and Barb
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:Healthy Eating Habits in the Real World (Getting your kids to eat the good stuff)
Eat Well, Save Well (Money-saving tips from a homeschooling mother of four)Nastiest Foods in America (Read at your own risk)
Change (and Snowflakes) are in the Air...
Katie: We've got some crazy changes going on in our family right now. Want some hints? I just loaded 18 bags of stuff onto the Salvation Army truck, I've got streaks of red touch-up paint in my hair, and I've started checking Zillow.com more often than I check my email. That's right....we're moving. :( (Anybody got a Kleenex for my mom?)
My husband just accepted a job in Oklahoma City; so we'll be living in a suburb just north of there called Edmond. Is it possible to be equally happy and sad? I'm excited about my husband's new job, excited to meet new people, excited to find a new home....but overcome with sadness when I think about leaving those we care about most...my mom, my dad, aunt, and cousins who will now be 3 hours away, our small faith group and friends from St. Mary's, our amazing neighbors...our precious little goddaughter, Ellie. Okay, now I need a Kleenex.
Anyhow...needless to say, things are a little hectic right now (has anyone seen Matthew? Hey, what's that noise coming from the back of the Salvation Army truck?)...So we'll need to put the blog on hold for a little bit.
Don't worry, though..."Eat for Your Life" will go on! While Katie and her family getting settled, I’ll be experimenting with new recipes and adding them to our site.
For now, please enjoy Honey Tortilla Snowflakes, created by Grammie and Carolyn.
Carolyn: A few weeks ago it was my turn to visit Grammie and Granddad's for the weekend. My favorite part about going to their house is that we always get to create something in the kitchen! This time Grammie had the ingredients ready for a new treat.
Barb: First you need to gather your ingredients: 1 tablespoon butter, melted, two tablespoons raw honey and cinnamon. Oh, and you'll also need some multi-grain tortillas.
Fold the tortilla in half but don't crease the fold.
Fold again. Now with scissors (that have been washed really well), start to trim the outer edges, just like you would a paper snowflake. Warning: don't cut too much or Carolyn says "it will go collapsie."
Carefully unfold the tortilla and lay it out on some parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
Add the honey to the melted butter and shake in some cinnamon.
Stir it up!
Make sure you put on a lot of honey/butter or else (according to Carolyn) it will taste like "chopped liver." And she says to make sure you get the edges because that's where you take the first bites! Caution: this is a very messy recipe but well worth it!
Put the baking pan under the broiler for a minute or so until the honey bubbles and the edges turn up a bit. When it's cool, you can move it to a plate.
Let's see how it tastes...........
Just one more bite to make sure...... Great!
Julian's wondering what happened to that chopped liver...
Arsenic, Agent Orange...Sugar?
Barb: I was BETRAYED....
betrayed by my best friend. We used to go everywhere, side by side. She was such a party girl, she invented new names for herself wherever we went. At the movies she called herself Kit. Kit Kat. She showed up at church, mingling during coffee hour and introducing herself as Chocolate Glazed. She’d linger at the check out counter, whispering, “Just call me Snicker.” But each time we got together, I felt empty...unfulfilled. Like any abusive relationship, I finally realized that she didn't care about me. That Sugar! What a mean-hearted woman.
We hear reports nearly every day about the damage that sugar can do to our bodies. Just this month, the University of California, San Francisco Medical School released a report stating that sugar is so toxic, it should be regulated like alcohol. (You can read about the the report here). Their research was based on the United Nations 2010 study, which indicated that people are dying of obesity and preventable "lifestyle diseases" at an alarming rate. While the regulation of sugar might be controversial, the fact that sugar contributes to disease has been around for decades.After my cancer diagnosis and double mastectomy, Katie and I did lots of research on health and nutrition. The book, "Anti-Cancer" by Dr. Servan -Schreiber became one of our favorite resources. We decided that the risks of sugar far outweigh the momentary high of its consumption. We said good-bye to Cinnabon, Hershey's, and Twinkies...but that doesn't mean that we let go of sweets altogether (that's crazy talk). We found a way to indulge our sweet tooth without compromising our health...We found raw honey and coconut palm sugar. These are two excellent sugar alternatives that we've included in many of the desserts on our website. Just as a side note, while we DO like our sweets, we try to limit ourselves to one or two baked goods per month. (For our daily indulgence, we eat one square of 72% Dark Chocolate each day after lunch.) :)
First let's talk honey. Raw honey is the best choice because it has a lower glycemic level than table sugar. That means you won't spike your blood sugar and put yourself on a roller coaster ride, returning to the ticket-taker exhausted but begging for another ride. Use raw honey to sweeten your tea or coffee, or to flavor your yogurt or oatmeal. Because it's sweeter than table sugar, it actually takes less.
Buy local raw honey when you can because it contains immune stimulating properties needed for your body to adapt to your environment. I’ve been buying a local natural honey from Tuckerbee's. I've found it in several shops and at Bartlesville Farmer's Market. Before bottling, it's heated at a low temperature and it's not overly filtered.
Coconut Palm Sugar scores a nice low 35 on the glycemic index scale, compared to 70-80 for refined sugar. It's granulated, has a caramel flavor, and can be substituted for regular sugar in all your recipes. Click here to read the many health benefits of Coconut Palm Sugar. http://www.livestrong.com/article/280219-healing-benefits-of-coconut-palm-sugar/ Hopefully you know by now we don't like sending people all over the place to buy obscure/expensive products. But this one we can't do without. We always try to find the best deals on these products. For example, you can get Coconut Palm Sugar in bulk on Amazon (with free shipping) for way cheaper than you can get it in health food stores. Check it out here
Once you have your Coconut Palm Sugar in hand, you'll be ready to try Andrea's Whole Grain Waffles. Instead of drowning your waffle in syrup, try pouring about one tablespoon raw honey on your plate and dipping each bite. Delicious!
The Secret to Sweet Success
Katie: This month on Eat For Your Life, we'll be talking about "Sweet Smarts"...specifically, how to cut back on sugar, but still satisfy your sweet tooth by using better ingredients (you can read all about one of our favorite pantry staples at the bottom of this post). These melt-in-your-mouth cream puffs are filled with a creamy, honey-sweetened pudding, and lightly drizzled with dark chocolate. You can probably tell that Mom and I like our sweets..but we try not to eat them too often (usually a couple times a month). However, Valentine's Day is coming up next week...which we think is the perfect opportunity for a little indulgence. Don't you agree?
Barb: Cream puffs are elegant and suprisingly easy to make. Besides the filling and glaze, these are the only ingredients for the pastry: Butter, water, whole wheat pastry flour and a dash of salt.
Ready to get started? Cut parchment paper to fit your baking sheet. Draw heart shapes, at least 1 inch apart on the underside of the parchment. (Discovered that the hard way when lead pencil imprinted on my cream puffs.) I use a heart-shaped cookie cutter (about 3" width) to draw around.
In a small saucepan, bring water, salt and butter to boil. Next add the flour and stir for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add eggs, one at a time. Stir until smooth.
Place a sandwich baggie in a cup. Pull the zipper top over the outside to keep it clean. Fill the bag with pastry dough. Place the baggie on a flat surface and press the dough to the bottom. Zip and roll the top of the bag so the dough is confined to the bottom part.
Clip about 3/4 inch from one corner of the baggie. Squeeze the baggie gently and pipe the hearts along the lines that you drew. Fill in the center with more piped dough. Dip your finger in water and smooth out the heart.
After baking, the heart puffs should be placed on a rack. Once cool, they can be cut in half with a serrated knife. A small spoon is needed to remove any unbaked pastry. (It happens to us all.) Here's the good part: the cream puff shells can be frozen (tightly sealed) for up to 6 weeks! Or you can begin the filling process right away. Your choice. How long can you wait?
For the cream filling, go to our recipe for Honey Banana Pudding, and make one batch. But leave out the bananas. Spoon the cooled pudding into the pastry shell and add rasberries.
Put on the top and add chocolate glaze and you're ready to roll. I would have dusted with powdered sugar with the warning "sugar for display only" but I figured my daughter would see right through that one. See complete recipe for Valentine Creme Puffs here. | |So what's the deal with "Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?"Katie: Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (WWPF) is a wonderful alternative to the non-nutritive, bleached, white flour that has become the staple of American baked goods. Why?1. WWPF is made from 100% Whole Grains, and has not been stripped of its nutrients.2. WWPF is higher in dietary fiber. Fiber helps lower cholesterol & protects against disease.3. Unlike regular whole wheat flour (which is ground from "hard" grains), WWPF, is ground from soft wheat berries, and hence, does not have that wheaty, card-boardy, unedible texture.And most importantly...4. It tastes pretty darn good...and gosh darn it, people like it.When my mom first started making waffles using WWPF, I said, "Mom. Are you SURE this flour is healthy? These taste just like regular waffles." No joke. Not only do my kids LIKE the Whole Grain Waffle recipe (listed below), but they frequently request it.Check out some of these SWEET recipes, all using WWPF:Oatmeal Apple MuffinsAndrea's Whole Grain WafflesValentine Cream PuffsHow does one use "Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?"Much like regular pastry flour, WWPF has a light and airy texture, and is perfect for any kind of baking--including cookies, muffins, cakes, pancakes, and pie crusts.The ratio is 1:1, when substituting for white flour. If just starting out with WWPF, you can try using half white flour, and half WWPF.
Where can you buy "Whole What Pastry Flour?"1. Whole Foods (in the bulk section)2. Reasor's (in 5 lb. bags, in the baking section...cheaper than Whole Foods)3. Order from Amazon (Bob's Red Mill 5 lb. bag)--only .02 per ounce, (AND free shipping after purchase of over $49 with Vitacost).4. If you know where to find WWPF in your area, please share below!For even more about WWPF, visit our Tips and Tricks section.See ya'll next week!Love, Katie and Barbp.s. If you'd like to subscribe to our weekly blog, you can enter your email address on the home page. The blog features recipes, stories, health tips, and more.
What's Lurking in Your Popcorn?
Barb: Our neighbor and her son came to the door, sales sheet in hand. Popcorn. His troop was selling popcorn. Well, we thought, we'll just buy something and give it away - we don't want all those bad ingredients in our house. However, perusing down the list we saw that they had whole kernal corn in the bag--with no gimmicky stuff.
We couldn't remember how to pop corn the old fashioned way. I had vague memories of a skillet, a lid, and lots of noise as the pan rattled across the stove burner. But I couldn't find the lid for my skillet. I tried microwaving the corn with some oil in a bowl...but the bowl broke in half.
We needed another plan...
We needed Google.
We discovered it would only take four ingredients...and one of them was a paper bag.
Add one tablespoon of olive oil to 1/2 cup corn.
Important step: fold a paper towel and put it down flat in the microwave.
Pour the popcorn/oil combo into a paper bag.
Things are getting a bit messy here but don't worry, Dad's on top of it. Fold top of bag over 1 inch (not the 2 inches as seen in photo) and secure it with one staple. (Yes, one staple can be microwaved without an explosion...or at least, not too much of one).
Place bag in microwave, on it's side, on the pre-described paper towel. Press "popcorn." You might need to add another 30-60 seconds. Microwave just until the popping stops.
Add salt. Shake. And pour into a large bowl.
Those boy scouts really know their popcorn. We thought about adding some butter...but actually, it tasted so good already that we just plain forgot. Heinous Ingredients Found in Microwave Popcorn:-Artificial Flavors: These are chemical flavorings that have been artificially synthesized in a laboratory. Yum.-Artificial Colors: Unnatural dyes added to foods to change their color. Also called the "Rainbow of Risks" by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Food dyes have been linked to ADHD in children, and many have been banned in the UK.-TBHQ: A preservative and stabilizer used to extend the shelf life of foods (but not people). Has been linked to stomach cancer and damage to DNA in lab animals. If In Doubt, Go With the Short ListOPTION 1: ORVILLE REDENBACHERS, MICROWAVE RANCH POPCORNINGREDIENTS: Popping Corn, Palm Oil, Salt, Freshness Preserved with TBHQ and Citric Acid. Pouch Ranch Seasoning, [Buttermilk, Salt, Tomato Powder, Monosodium Glutamate, Cornstarch, Sugar, Whey, Sodium Diacetate, Onion Powder, Citric Acid, Garlic Powder, Spices, Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Lactic Acid Natural Flavor and Artificial Flavors, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate Canola Oil, Artificial Color (Including Titanium Dioxide, FD&C Red 40, FD&C Blue 2 andFD&C Yellow 5) Maltodextrin, Disodium Phosphate, Less Than (2%) Silicon Dioxide Added as an Anticaking Agent], Buttermilk Powder, Salt, Onion Powder, Natural Flavoring,Modified Cornstarch, Tomato Powder, Citric Acid, Spice and Herb, Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Spice and Coloring, Artificial Color, FD&C Blue 1, FD&C Red 40. OPTION 2: Kernal Popping Corn INGREDIENTS: Corn.