PURPLE POWER SMOOTHIE

My kids and I are always looking for fresh, new smoothie recipes.  And I, as mom, am always looking for ways to make smoothie recipes a tad healthier and nutrient full.  I feel the recipe I am about to share combines all those factors: it’s delicious, fresh, and full of hidden veggies and other good-for-you ingredients!

PURPLE POWER SMOOTHIE

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups frozen pineapple
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 6-oz. cups Chobani blueberry Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. ground golden flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup milk
  1. Assemble all ingredients in a high powered blender (like a Vitamix).
  2. Blend for one minute, or until smoothie is consistent and chunk free.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

My kids also love to help me assemble the smoothie, which is another win.  I hope your family enjoys this smoothie as much as mine has!!

Zoo!! 100 Zoo!! 110

35 Healthy Snack Ideas (plus links to a bunch more!)

This is actually an idea I started developing back in February…and am just getting around to publishing in May.  It’s sort of a work-in-progress, as I continue to wade through what it means to be a “Whole Foods Family”.  I want to make sure that my kids have access to healthy food, which admittedly is easier said then done.  Eating healthy takes planning-so it takes a little planning ahead to make sure there are healthy food options on hand at all times.  This seems to be hardest at snack times, as sometimes it seems like those little tummies are ALWAYS hungry!

Switching to a whole foods diet has been a bit of work (and it sometimes can make going to the grocery store a bit depressing), so in the spirit of sharing, I thought I would provide a list of healthy snack ideas.  Of course, there are plenty of other healthy snack ideas and recipes out there-these are just some family favorites (including a few that we would like to try but haven’t had the chance to yet).

  1. Fresh fruit of any variety (When feasible, I buy organic, especially know that the World Health Organization released a study in March stating that glyphosate, the main ingredient in herbicide Round Up, is probably a carcinogen.)  Try eating fruit with this Creamy Peanut Butter  -(try subbing vanilla yogurt for plain and adding a bit more honey) -or- this yummy yogurt dip (just sub honey for the sugar)!
  2. Fresh veggies, by themselves or with “ranch” dip (When feasible, I buy organic for these, too…for the same reason quoted in #1).
  3. Dried organic raisins (or other dried, unsweetened fruit-like cranberries, another kid favorite)  I recommend organic raisins because raisins are on the Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Dirty Dozen List.
  4. Organic Apple Sauce (again, the Dirty Dozen)
  5. Granola Cereal (or try this other recipe for granola)-we like it w/ milk or w/yogurt-or-homemade granola bars
  6. Yogurt sweetened with fresh fruit and 100% maple syrup
  7. Coconut steel-cut oats or regular steel-cut oats w/ 100% pure maple syrup
  8. Baked oatmeal squares (regular or blueberry variety)
  9. Smoothie pops or smoothies (these are fun to experiment with and make your own, but I posted a few links for ideas)
  10. Homemade fudge pops
  11. Homemade popsicles -or- these Whole Fruit Popsicles
  12. Homemade gogurt
  13. String or block cheese
  14. Cottage cheese
  15. Homemade cheddar cheese crackers
  16. Homemade graham crackers
  17. Banana oat Greek yogurt muffins
  18. Chocolate muffins (sub sugar for honey)
  19. Chia raisin carrot bran muffins
  20. Banana chia pudding
  21. 3 ingredient chocolate-banana cups or chocolate-peanut butter cups (make your own chocolate-yum!)
  22. Overnight oats-MANY recipes, this one for Cherry Flax Overnight Oats is our absolute favorite
  23. Whole wheat bread w/ butter and honey (We like a yogurt bread recipe, super  yummy!)
  24. Whole wheat banana bread
  25. Homemade tortillas with melted cheese
  26. Raw, unseasoned nuts
  27. Energy bites (also wanting to try these Almond Joy Energy Bites, but haven’t gotten around to making them yet!)
  28. Homemade larabars (I like the coconut cream larabar version)
  29. Homemade Clif bars
  30. Hard-boiled eggs
  31. Ants-on-a-log
  32. Popcorn -or- homemade popcorn balls
  33. Medjool dates with or without homemade almond butter
  34. Skillet bananas
  35. DIY fruit leather

NOTE: Some of these recipes call for sugar, which I generally just sub out for honey (equal parts).  I also have been known to use turbinado sugar on occasion (the less-processed version of the super refined white sugar you’ll find in the super market).

For more healthy snack ideas, check out:

85 Snack Ideas for Kids (And Adults) on 100DaysofRealFood.

A couple of other great sites with great healthy snack ideas for kids:

weelicious.com & superhealthykids.com

For those who are vegan or have wheat allergies, definitely check out MyWholeFoodLife.com!  (I am neither vegan nor have allergies, and I still enjoy these awesome, tasty recipes!)

Also, follow my Pinterest Board Healthy Clean Eating Snacks!!

Who says eating healthy has to taste bad?!?

Katie

eat clean

Day 7: The Messy Bun + Why I Want to Become More of a Minimalist

So for Day 7 of the 30-Day Hair Challenge I “tackled” the Messy Bun.  It was really very straight forward, but I wanted to take the time to go through the tutorial because so many more complicated hairstyles incorporate the Messy Bun.

The trick to this hairstyle (as I found out by watching numerous tutorials) is to use two hair elastics.

The end result:

messybun

Here is the link that provides a tutorial on 2 different ways to do the messy bun if you’re going to do it on someone else’s hair, and a second link that breaks it down if you want to do it on yourself for some totally stylin’ mom-hair!

Also, I came across some staggering statistics today on the amount of excess we have here in America, and it really hit home.  This has been something that has been heavy on my heart lately, as I have been feeling suffocated by all of the clutter in my life.

I have been slowly whittling away at the junk in our house, but somehow it always finds a way to creep back in, especially after birthdays, holidays, etc.  I am trying to force myself to be a little more brutal and get rid all of the STUFF we just don’t use! The goal is to get back to the bare minimum of what we NEED so I can then focus on what’s important: following hard after God and spending time with family.  And hopefully this will cut back on the time spent cleaning as well, because who really LIKES to clean?  Not this girl.

Wish me luck!  I may have a rummage sale in my future…

Katie

Day 6: Fishtail Braid + DIY Teacher Appreciation Gift!

So I was busy patting myself on the back for the last two hairstyle successes, but also looking to the upcoming fishtail braid with a little bit of dread.  I mean, it looked hard.  Then I watched the tutorial, and I was all like…”You mean, that’s it?”  This is what I had been dreading?  It looked…easy.

And then I pulled it off on the first attempt, and you know what?  It was pretty easy!  All that build-up in my head for nothing!  And you know what else?  I am actually beginning to start to enjoy braiding.  Added bonus:  my girls are LOVING trying all these new hairstyles!  T wakes up every morning and says, “What are you going to do to my hair today, mom?” all excited.  It makes my day!

So the moral of the story is: when you face things head on, the outcome is generally a lot better than you initially picture in your head.  Face your fears and you just may surprise yourself!  Yes, I learned all that from doing hair. 🙂

Oh, yes, the picture:

fishtail

Much as I have enjoyed braiding, I think next I will take a step back and try a few non-braiding hairstyles, starting with the messy bun, which is all the rage these days!

Also, just finished making my daughter’s teacher appreciation gifts, as she has her last day of preschool tomorrow.  Actually, she helped earlier (the hands that you see pictured below are hers)-I was just putting on the finishing touches.

teacher-app

teacher-app-back

Added bonus: Her teachers will all get Roma tomatoes this summer as these are some of our tomato plants from the garden! The gift that keeps on giving, as they say.

Well, that about does it for me tonight…all that hair-doing and crafting has gone and worn me out!  Until we meet again-

Katie

 

Best Ever Caramel Rolls – Family Recipe

When I was growing up, one of the BEST things my mom made were her caramel rolls.  They were (and still are) melt-in-your-mouth delicious!  She got the recipe from her mother, who got the recipe from her mother…well, you get the picture.  I do use actual sugar (although not the super-refined white sugar you’ll find in grocery stores), because these rolls are just not the same with honey or maple syrup.

So without further ado, I present to you….

BEST EVER CARAMEL ROLLS

DOUGH: (recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com)

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached Pastry flour)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg

FILLING

  • 1/2 cup Sugar-in-the-Raw (turbinado sugar)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

TOPPING

  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup organic brown sugar

1.  For the dough, combine all ingredients in your breadmaker, following the manufacturer’s instructions.  Then set on the “Dough” cycle.  That’s it!  No need for super-complicated steps.  It’s easy, and the dough turns out fantastic.

2. After the dough is done, you can immediately continue or you can refrigerate the dough for a couple of hours (this will make it easier to work with).  Grease some wax paper with a little bit of butter, and roll out the dough using a floured rolling pin. (You will have to roll out the dough in batches, there will be too much to do all at once.)

3.  Lightly butter the surface of the dough.  Then sprinkle with the Filling Mixture.  (I never really measure my sugar to cinnamon ratio, so this is approximate.  Use your best judgment!)

4. Roll up the dough, and cut into about 1-inch segments.

5. Grease a 9 X 13 in. pan.  (The wax paper your butter comes in works great for this, if you have any handy.) Fill the pan with the cream and brown sugar mixture, and stir until evenly combined.

6. Place your cut rolls in the pan, making sure to give them a little space to allow them to rise.  Place a dish towel over them, and let them rise for about an hour or so.

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bakes rolls uncovered for 20-25 minutes (this may vary slightly depending on your oven).

8. Remove the rolls and allow them to sit 1-2 hours until they have completely cooled off.  Flip the pan over onto a piece of aluminum foil, and scrape any left over topping out onto the rolls.

ENJOY!

caramel rolls

PRINT THIS RECIPE

*Note:  Any basic bread recipe will work for these rolls…the one provided is one that I have tweaked over time and really like.  Even store bought would work…but don’t do that.  Just kidding, you can do that….but seriously, don’t. 🙂

 

 

When life hands you lemons…you make natural, non-harsh-chemical cleaners with them… :)

Ok, ok, so I know that it has been awhile…but I have one kinda’-lengthy and super eclectic post (read-I talk about a lot of unrelated topics) to make up for it!  This is what I have been doing for the last two weeks while I have not, ahem, been posting to my blog…

1) I took my son to the emergency room because of respiratory distress, boo!  He was okay, but we are still dealing with issues due to what the doctors now believe is asthma.  My husband had this as a kid, so he was all over the situation (in a good way).  The staff at the hospital were great, too…we were seen right away (which in an Emergency room setting, is saying something).

Four hours later we were discharged.  They sent us home with a cute frog nebulizer, with directions to use as needed.

CREEPY SIDE NOTE: When I left the emergency room at 3:30 am, the car parked beside me had the driver’s door open.  No one was around.  It was super eerie.  I ended up calling it in to security after Mateo and I were safely in the car with the doors locked.  That parking a lot is scary enough to begin with, with no cameras or security.

OK, so back to my son and his nebulizer.  I was grateful that they sent us home with the thing, because this wheeziness and shortness of breath has been an issue with him since birth.  However, I also read how over time albuterol can be harmful, so I began to research alternatives to the nebulizer.  (*Remember, I am a nerd.  I research things.  A. Lot.)  I found some super helpful articles, which suggested keeping a journal to find the triggers, using essential oils, different herbs….and cutting out chemicals as people with asthma are typically more chemically sensitive.  (Which is already important to us, and why we switched over to a no-processed foods diet.)

So after we began to eat healthier, it kinda’ made me want to get healthier in other areas, as well (funny how that works)…and this asthma episode with my son was the final push I needed to get rid of ALL of the harsh chemical cleaners in our house.  I had already gotten rid of most of them, but there were a few that still lingered on..yeah, solved that problem now.

2) I have been researching natural cleaning recipes and getting rid of harsh-chemical cleaners in a half-crazed spring cleaning frenzy.  So far I have found really good recipes for all-purpose cleaner (or use this one, there are a lot of diy all-purpose cleaners out there!), dusting, glass cleaner, floor cleaner and even diy-sanitizing wipes.  Oh, and you have to check out the BEST DIY sanitizer!  (If you want the recipe, just follow the link.  One side note…the hydrogen peroxide and vinegar CANNOT be mixed in the same bottle.  They each must have their own separate bottle.  When they are mixed together in the same bottle they create a toxic gas.  I just put a spray nozzle from a cleaning bottle right on the hydrogen peroxide bottle and it fit perfectly!)  Also, I have been dabbling with cleaning with essential oils, as I have been intrigued by the many great things I have heard about them!

green cleaning

3) I have been researching essential oils and their many uses/benefits.  Right now I am most interested in their cleaning powers and in conjunction with treating my son’s asthma.  (Side note: I am aware that my son still may need nebulizer treatments, I am just trying to do some preventive care so we can lessen the need for the treatments-if not altogether eliminate it.)  When my husband was younger and suffered from asthma attacks, he was given donkey’s milk as a home-remedy.  As I don’t have any of that readily available, I figured essential oils may be the next best thing available. 😛

essential oils

One of my good long-time friends, Danielle, was telling me about all the ways she used essential oils, and it intrigued me to find out more.  She has even ingested them as a DIY allergy shot…I had previously not known you could do that!  She said it worked, but it tasted nasty and only lasted about four hours…

4) I have been transplanting plants.   I ran out of containers and so some of them are in milk cartons, some of them are in plastic cups, some are in planters…one is even in a coconut oil jar.  It’s like they live in their own little hobo-plant-village (pictures to come).  I don’t know if the broccoli are going to make it.  They have grown spindly, and I put waaaay to many seeds in a cell.  I wish I could blame it all on my kids, but that was me trying to go too fast.

5) We celebrated my son’s first birthday!   We had a small family get-together, which was sooooo nice.  I remember when my oldest daughter turned one, we had a huge party and invited everyone we knew.  That doesn’t even sound appealing anymore.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and family.  But there is something to be said for the small, intimate get-together with LIMITED CLEAN UP!  I made him a whole-wheat carrot cake with whipped cream cheese frosting that was a hit (and pretty darn healthy to boot).

swingingTeo

6)  I have been dreaming of outdoor adventures.  Since moving back from Peru, my husband and I’s travels have been limited, much to my chagrin.  Prior to living in Peru, I was based out of Colorado for almost six years where I was a snowboard instructor and outdoor trip leader.  Oh, and I occasionally attended college.  (Hey, I DID finally complete all my coursework to get my degree…in Recreation/Outdoor Leadership. Seriously.)  Suffice it to say I like to get outdoors and I like to travel.

So I have been tentatively researching national and state parks that are relatively close where we could possibly have a camping adventure with the kids…

7) I found an awesome gently used-clothes website where you can get designer labels for super marked down prices!  I stumbled over Schoola, and placed my first order yesterday.  If you want to check it out, just click here.

8) I actually watched the Dr. Oz show for the first time.  I wanted to see him “defend himself against his critics“, in his own words.  Plus, I was stoked to hear he is in favor of GMO-labeling.

These are just SOME of the reasons I have been so lax about my blogging.  Don’t even get me started on that time-black hole Pinterest…

 

Matzah, matzah, matzah (Plus a tad overdue garden update)…

It only seemed fitting to order the book about Passover.  I think I get more excited about Scholastic book orders than my kids.  Ever since I was little, as soon as I caught a glimpse of those book order sheets, it sent my heart all a flutter.  I’m a dork, I know.  So I was super excited when my oldest child went to preschool, and they sent her home with her first Scholastic book order form.

There was a book on the Passover, entitled A Sweet Passover, that caught my eye.  Right now in Bible Study Fellowship we are looking at the life of Moses and Israel’s mass exodus from Egypt.  Passover originated there.  It celebrated the angel of death passing over the houses of the Israelites who had all painted the doorframes with lambs’ blood, and claiming the first born in all of Egypt.  It was what finally broke the Pharaoh,  who then gave the Israelites their freedom (even though he later changed his mind, and paid dearly for it…because even though Pharaoh changed his mind, God didn’t-he still had plans to make Israel a nation set apart).

Plus, it’s just that time of year!  So I ordered the book, and my daughter LOVED it.  AND it comes with a fun recipe in the back for matzah brei, which she wanted to make.  Unfortunately for her, I didn’t know how to make matzah, which is a requirement to make matzah brei. So we looked it up on AllRecipes.com (what a great site!) and it turned out to be incredibly easy.  And delicious. T covered hers in applesauce and declared it tasted, “Just like cake!”  She now has it in her head that we will be making matzah brei for breakfast.  Ok, so we probably will.  It is cool to see her and her sister make the connection back to what they are learning in Bible Study Fellowship.  Plus I love their adorable excitement over reading and trying new recipes.  (T offered to lend me her book with the matzah brei recipe.  This was after she read it to her babies-they were all lined up and “listening”.)

matzah

The matzah.

 

Tmatzah

T loving her some matzah!

 

In other news, no major news from the garden.  Most of the plants have sprouted and are cover free.  I have yet to plant bell peppers for lack of time.  I also have a little fluorescent light, but have yet to install it.  Noticing a theme here?  I am convinced that the plant babies need more light, and light (of the fluorescent variety) they shall have.  No spindly plants for us (hopefully!).

plants033115

Our indoor plant-starting setup.

 

broccoli33115

Broccoli gone wild.