Thursday, March 31, 2011

banana oat bread

It's been cold and rainy and all we've wanted to do was bake. 
This banana bread is made with whole wheat flour and oats, 
and lightly sweetened with maple syrup.
banana oat bread

Banana Oat Bread

1 stick butter (1/2c), melted
1/2c pure maple syrup
2 eggs
4 very ripe bananas
1/2 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2c whole wheat flour
1c whole oats (not instant)
1/4 c ground flax seed
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

in separate bowl mix together flour, oats, flax, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

mix butter and maple syrup.
add eggs, one at a time until mixed in.
add vanilla, bananas, and buttermilk until well mixed.
slowly add in flour mixture, mix just until blended.

spoon batter into greased 9" loaf pan
place on bottom rack in oven and bake at 350° for about an hour--when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, you're done! 
*I covered mine with foil the last 15 minutes to prevent the top from getting too dark.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

your kids eat what?!

It's been a few weeks since I've done one of our "Big Change" posts, so if you're just joining us, you can go back and see what has been talked about previously. 

Discussed my past romance with fast food.
You'll often find me indulging, guilt free.


We've been slowly making our way through my own personal journey to a healthier lifestyle. 

So the last place we left off, was me having babies. 
Teeny tiny people left in your care, for you to raise.
And grow.
And feed. 
But what should they eat?? 
With your first, you'll read every book, scan every baby website, and subscribe to every baby newsletter out there to help guide you on the way....right?
At least that's what I did. 
Start with this, try some of that. 
Wait a while to introduce that, but not before you let them try this.
It's all a bit annoyingly confusing.
But I loved feeding time with both my babies--nothing beats mashed carrots smeared in blonde hair 
(theirs and mine).
But then what??
They do have to start eating non-baby foods eventually, and I was anxious to stop buying those expensive little jars. 
So, they ate what we ate.
All of it. 
No separate dinners for baby. 
Whatever we ate, went right into my little chopper and out came instant baby food.
Our pasta.
Our chili.
Our enchiladas.
And they ate it--because it was dinner. 

So I have a hard time answering people when they ask me how I get my kids to eat this food or that food, or most commonly asked, how to eat vegetables. 

My kids have never known they had an option.

You can't expect your kids to like something if you don't let them experience it.

At three years old, I caught they boy's tiny hand up on the cutting board sneaking chopped onions. 
I was disgusted, but let him do it, because hey--he liked it! 
If you ask him his favorite food today he just might tell you cilantro. 

My kids like strong flavors, but only because I've always exposed them to different things. 

If you have little teeny tiny ones at home, give them all the veggies you can. If they turn it down once, try try again--chances are they will change their mind. 

If they are older, here are some ideas on getting them to try new things 

-Let them help. If you involve your kids in the kitchen--let them add this and stir that, have them help plan the menu, they will be more excited about eating it.

-Plant a garden. For many of you it's planting season already! We are getting ourselves ready for some cold weather veggies soon. Let your kids get dirty with you--
they will love to dig and look for worms. 
Ask them what they want to plant, and let them do it. 
If they watch their very own plant grow, chances are they will be excited to try it out.
If you don't have the space for a garden--plant one or two pots. One tomato plant can be so fun for kids to watch grow.

-Take them to the grocery store with you. Let them pick out any fruit or veggie they like. 
Anything goes. 
You may end up having to try something new too:)

-Take them to your local farmer's market. They will LOVE it, as will you. This is one of our favorite places to be in the summer. Most of the farmers are giving out samples, which will allow them to try all kinds of yummy produce. And again, let them pick out something they want to try.

-Don't take no for an answer.....haha does that sound mean?? But really, remember that YOU are the mom/(do dads read this thing?), and you know what's best for your kids. In this case, vegetables are best for your kids. If they don't like it, make them eat three bites. Three bites won't kill them, I promise.
Have it again the next week, make them try three bites again. If you avoid certain foods, they'll never learn to like them.

-Be a good example. Your kids watch EVERYTHING you do ("but mommy, YOUR room isn't clean"), so if you're not eating your veggies, chances are they won't either.

My challenge for you this week, is to try a new fruit or vegetable-whether it's one you choose, or something your kids want to try. 

It's never too late to get a good variety of produce into your kids' (and your:) diet. 

I would love to hear what you are trying, and also any tips you have on getting kids to try new things! 
I'll be posting my favs on my facebook page, if you'd like to come join the discussion.

happy eating!

Friday, March 25, 2011

friday senses

from yesterday's shoot...

Smelling: Whitney's enchiladas.....the cookbook is coming along, I wish I could share more....
Feeling: super excited about The Book this week! We have been brainstorming some amazing ideas.
Seeing: rain clouds. snow clouds. hail clouds.
Hearing: rain. snow. hail.
Tasting: We licked our plates clean at Chanon Thai last weekend.
Reading: The Glass Castle. craaaaaazy.
Cleaning: EVERYTHING! frantically!! brother is coming soon and there are not enough hours....does anyone else wait until the last minute like me?
Watching: We recently watched The Fantastic Mr. Fox and I LOVED it! It's so cute and clever, and I was fascinated with the animation.
Making: Bean and Bacon Soup
Craving: Hatch Family Chocolates hot is the BEST.
Anticipating: Meeting my new niece this weekend!!

feel free to play along in the comments!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

for the birthday boy

I'd like to thank Ina Garten for the fabulous recipe (I say that like we're pals). 
Thank you Whitney Leigh Ingram for the fresh picked lemons. 
And thank you, sir, for having a birthday.
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he looooooves lemon cake, this one.
lemon cake

Lemon Yogurt Cake
recipe by Ina Garten (the only thing I changed was I used melted butter instead of oil, and I added the candied lemons.) 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.
I made my glaze a bit too thin, so it mostly just seeped into the cake. Delicious, yes....but no fun to look at. 

So Martha told me how to candy some lemon slices.

1 large lemon
1 cup sugar

Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut lemon into 10-12 paper-thin slices; discard seeds and ends of rind.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, and add lemon slices; stir until softened, about 1 minute. Drain, and immediately plunge slices into ice-water bath. Drain.

Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium skillet, swirling to dissolve sugar. When liquid is clear and bubbling, reduce heat to medium-low. Add lemon slices, arranging them in one layer with tongs. Simmer (do not let boil) until rinds are translucent, about 1 hour. 4. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Let stand until ready to serve.

Top cake with candied lemons and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

change of pace

photos 100% irrelevant to content.....I just can't post without a photo...

My saturday runs usually go something like this:
Map out a route, each and every mile accounted for. 
Drive to starting location. 
Turn on music.
Start watch. 
Run down roads.
Up sidewalks.
Across streets.
Look at watch.
Pick up pace. 
Smooth path.
 Even pace.
Mindless, foot over foot running.
Stop watch. 
Calculate pace.
that's it.

Last week was different.
I had no plan. 
No route. 
No idea where I was heading. 
I let Charly's leash out and let her lead the way.
Down a ravine.
Over logs. 
Over a creek.
Over the same creek. 
Again and again.
Coming up short into the water.
No music. 
The squish of the mud, and branches snapping under my steps.
Cuts on my legs. 
Shoes filled with brown muck. 
Over a log, 
ducking tree branches before they could swat me in the face.
An uneven path of rocks, 
my eyes watching carefully where I placed each step.
It rained. 
And then snowed. 
And then both at the same time. 
Charly lead us up hills and down. 
And back to the car. 
Clueless to how far we ran,
or how fast or slow we ran it. 
It was the best run......ever.

Completely opposite of what I'm used to, yet perfect. 
I can't wait to get out again. 
I'm craving it. 
Wondering where we can go, and what new obstacles await.

I feel like I've woke up from a long hibernation of doing the same thing over and over and over. 

That same day I broke away from my usual panang curry when we were at dinner and tried something new. 
No surprise, I loved that too. 

As nice and easy as routines are, I think it's nice to shake it up every now and then.

 A book you wouldn't normally read. 
A dinner you may be nervous to cook.
A path you have never thought to take.

It feels really good, I  promise.

Monday, March 21, 2011

this little piggy

At least once a week (or two, or three times...) it will happen. We'll be in the store, or looking at a magazine, and my kids will say "mom can we buy that?" Whether it's food or anything that can be turned into a project, they usually get the same answer. "Noo.....let's make it instead." My almost-6-year old has perfected his eye roll. "Mom why do you have to make EV-ER-Y-THING?"

They  have both been wanting a big piggy bank for quite some time and we finally got down to business and made our own.....and they LOVED it (no eye rolling!)
This is a project I remember doing from 6th grade art.....which is really funny since I did it with my 3 and 5 year's super simple, and they were able to do almost all of it (minus taping, cutting) by themselves.
piggy1 copy

What you will need:
-newspaper. We don't get the paper, so I saved all the ads for a few weeks--forget about the slippery magazine type pages, and just use the newspaper-ish ones.
-an egg carton
-masking tape
-school glue
-tissue paper
-foam paint brush
-large corks
-adorable children to help
supplies copy
Day 1
Blow up balloon. 
Cut 5 sections out of egg carton. Tape onto balloon as "legs" and a "nose" over the balloon tie.
Mix flour and water to form a thin paste. 
Everyone has paper mache'd before right??
Cut newspaper into strips and put a thin coat of flour paste on each strip, and smooth it onto ballon. 
piggy7 copy
Over and over and over. It's messy and it's fun.
Smooth down the pieces the best you can (the kids do it a bit sloppy but you'll be able to go back and smooth it down)
After pig is covered in paper, set to dry over night.
*don't do too many layers or it will take forever to dry. 
*we added a few extra strips on the bottom since we'll be cutting out a hole. 
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Day 2:
Decide on your colors. The boy wanted his pig to look like it was on fire. 
The girl wanted hers to look like a princess. 
Of course, and of course.
Cut tissue paper into smaller pieces--we did squares and rectangles.
tissue copy
Mix school glue and water to make a runny glue that can be "painted" on. 
Glue tissue paper onto pig. (they'll need help around the feet and nose)
This kids loved this part. They learned quickly that they needed to start out with darker colors, or several layers of lighter colors to cover the newsprint. 
They also loved seeing how colors turned out when they combined tissue squares.
Allow to dry over night.
piggy5 copy
Day 3
Make sure pig is dry and hardened all the way around.
Cut a slit in the top, and a hole in the bottom. 
You should be able to pull the balloon out of the bottom hole.
I cut a cork in half so it didn't stick out too far.
piggy2 copy

load it up!

the end.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

for japan with love

If you're anything like me, you've spent the last week reading, watching, and pouring over photos from Japan. I fear. I worry. I feel for them. Their families. Their friends. Their lives. 
But the difference is, I can turn the computer off, change the tv channel, and go about my life, in my happy home, with my healthy family nearby. 
They don't have that option. 
I feel so helpless, and I am happy to see so many people taking action to help.

Utterly Engaged and Ever Ours have teamed up and  put together 
For Japan with Love.

They have set up a donation page for Shelterboxes.
"Each large, green ShelterBox is tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items."

Every little donation helps.

See here for more info.

I'll also be participating in the bloggers day of silence on Friday--and turning off the computer to spend extra time with my littles. Hope you can too:)


greengreengreengreenstripesherbsvine copycelery

happy st. patrick's day!

hahaha see an awesome video here
"who all seen the leprechaun say yeah!"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On a cold November afternoon of last year, 
I sat down in my (once upon a time) garden. 
I felt tears in my eyes.
It was gone. 
Our lush, green, personal jungle that we had worked so hard on, and spent so much time in....
Wilted and frosted to the ground, limp and lifeless. 
No vegetables to offer.
No bees. 
No green.
Winter had been trying to take over for weeks,
and it had finally succeeded.

I hadn't been back there since. 
Until today. 
We have spent the last few afternoons warming our winter skin in the yard. 
Playing in the grass until the sun sinks lower into the sky (much later now!)
We decided to go back and take a peek. 
It's coming to life.
Slowly making their return.
A few tufts of grass. 
Some tiny baby weeds.

We ripped up the ground cover. 
Pulled out the withered plants. 
The kids dug and dug and dug, oohing and aaaahhhing a worms. 
Dirt smudged faces, muddy fingers and toes.
We filled pots with warm, spring earth, 
and planted teeny tiny seeds, with wishes they would grow. 
Just a few simple herbs. 
To set in our window. 
And let winter know...
....we survived.
pots5 copypots4 copypotspots1 copy

the end.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

burrito bowls

This is one of my favorite go to meals--we have it at least once a week for lunch, and it's a perfect quick dinner--especially if you already have the rice cooked. 
Burrito Bowls
-cooked brown rice
-black beans
-pepper jack cheese
-sour cream
-tortilla chips that not the easiest thing you've ever made??
And the good thing is, you can mix it up. As spring and summer veggies come into season, you throw them in too. 
-potatoes....really, anything goes.
burrito bowls....


I'd love to hear if you have a favorite, quick go-to meal...

Monday, March 14, 2011

over the weekend..... was quiet. it was nice.
we ate pizza.
we read.
we stood out in the sunshine and declared it to be spring.
we raked. 
took off our shoes, and grass stained our knees.
we liked it.
pizza copybook copyrake copylu copyrun copy

the end.

Friday, March 11, 2011

friday senses

Chicken and Bulgur Stew

Bulgur wheat makes chicken soup a bit more hearty....this soup is thick and lemony and a favorite comfort food of ours. Bulgur can be found in the bulk section of health food stores.

1 small onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 medium carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, diced
10 cups chicken stock*
juice of two small lemons
2 chicken breast**
1 cup bulgur wheat (use less if you want it to be more "soupy" rather than thick and stew-like)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
s&p to taste
chopped parsley to top it off

Saute onion, carrots, and celery in a large pot with a bit of olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add remaining ingredients, and bring soup to a low boil, and then reduce heat and let simmer for a few hours. 

*My chicken stock was homemade, and was already very well seasoned with herbs and spices. If you're using canned stock, you may have to add a bit more of your favorite dried herbs.
**If you want a quick soup, add cooked chicken to your soup, and simmer for 30 minutes or so to let the flavors combine.

Top with fresh chopped parsley and enjoy!

look at those adorable hands.
chicken and bulgur stew

Laughing at: Arrested Development. Watching the three seasons over and over and over never gets old.
Seeing: green grass!!! It's poking up everywhere.
Hearing: Ingrid is singing me lullabies right now. The kids' favorite song this week is 1983 (hey, that's when I was born, and I'm sure that's how my parents dressed.)
Smelling: a breeze. we opened up the windows yesterday.
Tasting: Robby brought me home more Ruby Snap cookies....I cannot get enough.
Feeling: Sweat drip down my forehead, and rolling off the tip of my nose as I worked off every last bite of Tartine this week. It felt awesome.
Reading: Just about done with Catching Fire. Moving on to Mockingjay over the weekend.
Wishing: The littles will sleep in this weekend......fingers crossed.
Loving:  A trip to the zoo on a warm spring day. 
Craving: Watermelon. The kind with seeds. So we can spit them in the summer grass.
Anticipating: We had a 60° day yesterday....looking forward to more! The girl asked when we can run through the sprinklers.

feel free to play along in the comments!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

book talk and some photos

I know I know. I owe you a big wordy healthy living post. 
I sat down to write one super distracted. 
(um, Hunger Games, etc, not Twilight....ew)
(please don't send me hate mail for not liking twilight)
(please also know I think Edward is booooooring)
(I think I just lost half my readers)
I read the first last week, and I'm now on the second and in no time I'll be on number three (which I hear is not so good...?)

So instead you're getting a bunch of photos, taken out the car window as we drove down I-80. 
I can't tell you how crazy eerie it is out there, especially during a sporadic sunset rainstorm.
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happy thursday.