Hello 2017!!!

2016 brought many changes for our family.  The Papa opened a new practice at the same time my sewing business took off.  I ended up having to step in and take on a bigger role in the practice than anticipated, so needless to say we were BUSIER than ever.  The Mama wasn’t “at home” anymore, and this required much adjustment on many different levels for everyone in our family.  One of the biggest areas that suffered was our healthy lifestyle, both with exercise and eating.  It became easier and easier to brush off exercising and homemade food in exchange for quicker, easier options.  I can honestly say that I firsthand have a brand new appreciation for working mamas.  That is not to say that being “at home” isn’t hard work; it is!  But trying to maintain that same level of everything that I had while at home while also working outside of the home on a daily basis was a brand new challenge for me.  I have given myself 6 months to transition, but now it is time to get down to business!  I have never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions being a requirement in one’s life.  I believe that any time is a great time to make a decision to change.  BUT, the new calendar year brought a perfect opportunity to give me the push I needed to buckle down.  I have a renewed desire to feed my family healthy, homemade snacks and meals.  It is just going to require a stronger desire, incredible organization and forethought and planning.  I know that I am capable of all of these things, and I am excited to see what this year brings for our family.  Let’s start the year off with this delicious smoothie we had this morning for breakfast.  I did not have all the ingredients, so it was modified.  I will post the original recipe below, along with my changes.  ENJOY and make it a great 2017!!!

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Blueberry Blast Smoothie (Whole Food Energy by Elise Museles)

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 pitted Medjool dates*
  • 2 Tbsp. hemp seeds**
  • pinch of sea salt

*I used 2 Tbsp. raisins instead  **I used 2 Tbsp. Tahini  ***I also added 2 Tbsp. Peanut Butter and some crushed ice

Add ingredients to high powered blender in the order listed and blend until smooth.  This smoothie has a strong lemon flavor, and also a nutty flavor the way I made it.  It was delicious and very filling.

We enjoyed this before and after a family run.  We are embarking on a mostly whole foods diet this month.  Check back often for recipes and ideas.  Happy New Year!

Cuties: The Perfect Snack!

Clementines

Clementines

I have not seen clementines in the store until lately.  I had forgotten how delicious they are and what a perfect snack they make!  They are a wonderful combination of the following: quick, simple, juicy, thirst-quenching, naturally sweet and kid portion friendly. They are especially fun for young children to eat because they can peel them themselves.  This makes them feel useful and accomplished!  Grab some cuties today!

My 2 and 4 year old peeling clementines!

My 2 and 4 year old peeling clementines!

Super Simple Snack Series: Starfruit

Enter starfruit:  refreshing, quick and wholesome snack!  One of my husband’s patients gave him a huge amount of starfruit.  We have eaten this fruit before when given to us by others, but I have never purchased it.  After a little research, I realized how easy this fruit is to prepare to eat, and I was very excited!  Carambola, also known as starfruit, is the fruit of Averrhoa carambola, a species of tree native to the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

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Starfruit

The starfruit can sit on the counter to ripen.  It is ready when it is mostly yellow with some green and brownish edges.

How to prepare the starfruit to eat:

  1. Wash thoroughly
  2. Cut off both ends
  3. Trim 5 brownish edges (optional – I think it makes it nicer to look at when eating)
  4. Slice and enjoy!

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Fruit Spotlight: Papaya

Papaya

Papaya

Have you tried papaya?  It has a unique taste, and it is so delicious!  Moist and refreshing;  I think I could eat an entire papaya in one sitting!  If you have never tried it, buy a smaller one or a few pieces of one that the grocery store has packaged.   Try mixing it with some other fruits like mango, pineapple or grapes for a delicious breakfast or snack.

Fruit Spotlight: Mango

Fruit Spotlight:  Mango

Fruit Spotlight: Mango

Mango is one of our favorite fruits, and it is a treat in this house!  It is pretty expensive, and we need 2-3 mangoes for our family of 6 for one serving.  It takes some practice to pick out the perfect mango.  I like to buy them when they are just starting to get a little soft, then let them sit out on the counter for a day or two until they are ripe.  I buy conventional due to the price point.  Mango is on the list of lest contaminated fruits in terms of pesticides, plus you don’t eat the peel.  Ideally, I would eat 100% organic, but we are on a budget, so I carefully choose what I buy organic.  Visit this link to see the dirty dozen list.  Talk about delicious!  So the next time mangoes are on sale, stock up and enjoy!

mango

mango

Fruit Spotlight: Apples

Apples are one of our favorite fruits.  They are so versatile, and who doesn’t love that delicious crunch? Honeycrisp is the apple of choice in our house lately.  These apples are huge, so they are not the ideal apple to eat whole.  They are perfect for slicing, though, and of course dipping them in something makes them even yummier!  Here is my morning snack today.  This looks like a lot of food for a snack, but we went for a run and ate breakfast 4 hours prior.  I was hungry!!!  My girls had the exact same snack, but a smaller portion.

Morning Snack

Morning Snack

  • apple slices
  • peanut butter
  • raisins
  • sunflower seeds
  • roasted seaweed

5 Easy Steps to Eliminate Processed Foods: Part 4 – “Go-To” Foods & A Well-Stocked Freezer

One of the things that people often complain about when the topic of whole foods comes up is the time involved in cooking things from scratch.  Hopefully I will be able to show you through this site that there are plenty of healthy, whole food dishes that you can make which are not time consuming at all.  A key to success is flexibility and, in my opinion, accepting that some times making a meal just isn’t feasible.  Life happens, which is why you have to have a back-up plan.  My first back-up plan is an arsenal of “go-to” foods that are quick and easy and can be served on the fly, all the while still allowing me to feel comfortable that my family is eating a nutritious snack/meal.  My second back-up plan is a well-stocked freezer.

Larabars

Larabars

It is imperative that you have quick snack options at your disposal, especially if you have children, even more important if you have young children.  Our family exercises a lot, and sometimes we just need an extra boost of energy.  Perhaps we miss a meal or will be late eating and need a meal replacement of sorts.  This is where the Larabar is key for us.  With only a few ingredients of fruits and nuts, it is a winner for sure with us!  It does not make a daily appearance in our diet because I save it for when it is really needed, but I always have some on hand (hidden in the pantry!).

Fresh Fruit

Fresh Fruit

Fruit is my main go-to snack item if I need something quick.  I also love having plenty of fresh fruit in the house at all times because it is a great option in between meal and snack time if the kids need a little extra something to hold them over.  Raw veggies are also a great option!

Pantry Go-To Staples

Pantry Go-To Staples

I always have certain items available in my pantry; some of mine are pictured above.  Whole wheat pasta can be ready in 15 minutes if you have pesto sauce or another sauce available.  Refried beans are a quick and easy source of protein in a meal.  Your pantry staples may look different than mine, but you should have some go-to products that you can turn into a quick, nutritious meal.

Lastly, it is imperative that you build up a supply of whole food meals in your freezer.  I try to stick to things that I know my family will eat.  Breakfast options are great for those mornings when you are in a rush.  Popular things that can be found in my freezer are pancakes, muffins and soups.  Pictured below are pancakes ready to go in the freezer.  On a morning when you are short of time, pull these out of the freezer and toast them in the toaster like a waffle.  It could not be quicker or easier, and what kid doesn’t like pancakes before school?

Pancakes Ready for the Freezer

Pancakes Ready for the Freezer

Check out my Super Simple Snack Series and my Whole Food Friday Lunch posts to get some idea for snacks and school lunches.  Check out my recipe section for snack, lunch, and dinner ideas.  What will you stock in your whole food pantry?