Back in the Groove

Well, I blinked and the summer is over!  We had a fantastic summer filled with lots of swimming/competing, family visits, summer camps, trips and sleep away camps.  We are going into this school year with a 5th grader, 3rd grader, Kindergartner and Preschooler. That’s A LOT of snacks and lunches!  Here is my first post to get things started – a day’s worth of food for my preschooler:

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Snacks (in handmade sandwich bags at the top):  one has sliced carrots with mini pre-packaged Sunbutter, other has a fig bar and mini container of peanuts

Lunch:  Vanilla Almond Milk, half a Tofurkey/Veganaise sandwich on wheat bread, popcorn, sliced cucumbers and a Clementine

This entire lunch/snack combo was packed the night before.  Think about your child’s day and what his/her needs are, as well as what you have to work with.  For example, the containers you might use for a preschooler would be different from the containers you would use for an upper grade schooler.  Size of the lunchbox is a factor.  Do they need an ice pack?  Snacks probably will be in a backpack or perhaps not refrigerated.  Carrots are a great veggie to pack for snacks because they can last in the backpack until morning snack. Pair them with a nut butter, and you have great brain food to power your child through until lunch.  Most preschools provide snack, but I still choose to send my own for numerous reasons.  My daughter will only attend 3 days a week, but I still want her to eat what I would give her at home.

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Interested in handmade lunchbox napkins, sandwich bags and other creations?  Check out my Etsy store here or click on the link below:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/WholeFoodFriday/items

 

Spiralizer Recipe #2: Curly Fries

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The title of this post is somewhat misleading.  I don’t know that this is technically a recipe, but we will proceed as such!  I have been serving a lot of organic potatoes lately to my family, in many different forms.  My children informed me the other night that they were tired of potatoes and they refused to eat anymore.  Well, I considered that a challenge since I had just bought another bag of potatoes that I didn’t want to go to waste!!!

There they were, sitting in the pantry, day after day being ignored because of the potato strike of my children.  I waited and waited, and then this evening I had a brainstorm.  I wanted to do something else with my Spiralizer after the zucchini, but I was definitely not in any mood to cook.  And then it hit me – curly fries!  I could use up my potatoes and present a fun dish without much effort at all!  It really worked out perfectly.  The kids had been at an all day swim meet, so they came home famished (despite stopping for a burrito on the way home!). Enter curly fries……needless to say they devoured them, and there wasn’t one mention of potatoes!

Here is what I did:

Wash 6-8 organic potatoes, leaving skins on.  Preheat oven to 425 F.  Put potatoes through the spiralizer using the large spiral blade.  Line baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with olive oil spray.  Load on the fries and cover with a healthy dose of olive oil, sea salt and nutritional yeast (Old Bay would be delicious also OR some diced onions mixed in!!!).  Bake until cooked throughout and crispy, and devour with dipping sauce of your choice!

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New Recipe (GF, Raw & Vegan) & One Great Birthday Gift!

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If you know  me well, then you know that I was beside myself when I opened one of my birthday gifts and it was……….a Spiralizer!  I know, its’s hard to contain the excitement isn’t it?!? Seriously, though, I was so excited to get this because I have wanted to delve into the world of veggie pasta for a long time now.  Last night I finally made a dish using my Spiralizer, and it was super easy!  Cutting the zucchini took a few minutes, tops.  It was fun to make and eat.  There is just something about eating “pasta” that you cannot resist! There are some of you I will never convince to eat zucchini pasta, but for those of you who are interested, here is what I did!  I followed this recipe from Pinch of Yum with some changes; my version is below.

I paired this with a yummy salad and corn on the cob for a delicious, filling meal.  I also made cheesy pasta for my swimmers.  It was their favorite by far.  They ate the entire bowl, saying it was even better than the boxed pasta that I buy from Amy’s!  I have made homemade Mac and Cheese before, following recipes to the ingredient, and I have never had this much raving about it.  I literally cooked some pasta, pulled it off the stove, and mixed in a few Tbsp. of butter and a handful of Mexican cheese!  Seriously, that’s it! LOVED IT!  It will definitely be a staple in my house over the next few weeks.  Without further ado, here is the recipe for zucchini pasta:

Zucchini Spaghetti with Avocado Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini, spiralized
  • handful sliced cherry tomatoes
  • handful sliced red, yellow, and orange bell peppers
  • handful sliced carrots

Avacado Sauce:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Cup fresh parsley
  • 3 green onions (only green part), sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix.  Mash avocado, parsley and green onions together in a separate bowl, then whisk in all other sauce ingredients.  Pour sauce over zucchini noodle blend and mix to combine.  Best eaten the same day!  ENJOY!

Recipe: Go Nuts Raw Cookie Dough

This is the first of several new recipes I will have to share with you this week.  I received a cookbook recently as a gift, and it has really motivated me to go back to eating more raw foods and gluten-free options.  I spent the morning preparing to go to Whole Foods to shop for the week.  It is the only affordable option around me that has everything I need.  I am a one-stop shop kind of gal.  Everything I have tried thus far today from the new cookbook has been fantastic.  Keep in mind that if you are not used to eating a lot of raw foods or baking gluten-free, then these things will be very different for you, both to make and to eat.  Keep an open mind and remind yourself that you are what you eat!  That in itself is motivation enough for me to stay on the right track!

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The cookbook is Whole Food Energy by Elise Museles (pictured above with one of my favorite cookbook authors, Robin Robertson).  This is the first recipe from it that I tried.  2 of my 4 kids loved it, but the other 2 did not.  I think it is because it has a pretty strong coconut flavor, and some of my kids are not a fan of strong coconut.

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For the record, I thought these were absolutely fantastic, so rich and moist.  You really could only eat one or two, and that is saying a lot for this gal with a huge sweet tooth!  It is the perfect kind of treat that is filling and satisfying.  They are also gluten-free, vegan and raw with no added sugar!

Go Nuts Raw Cookie Dough

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup pecans
  • 1/2 Cup walnuts
  • 1 Cup cashews
  • 1/4 Cup goji berries
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cacao nibs

Place the first 3 ingredients in a food processor (I used my Vitamix!) and process until the nuts are in small pieces but not powder.  Add remaining ingredients and process until everything mixes together, and you have a dough-like consistency.  Roll** into small balls and freeze for 30 minutes prior to eating.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days

**dough feels oily in your hands

Taco Night!!!

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Taco night might be our favorite here.  It’s really the perfect meal for a large family , any family really, because everyone can pile what they want on their taco (our only rule is that they have a protein and one or more vegetables on their plate.  It’s also really easy to prepare, which is a bonus for me, and it fills everyone up.  Use whatever kind of protein you like; this meal can so easily be whatever you want it to be.  Carnivore, omnivore, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, you name it!  I usually use black beans, soy crumbles, or a combination of both.  I saute them with a bag of frozen organic corn.  Trader Joe’s has a nice box of 12 taco shells made with organic corn.  Add a nice salad on the side and the meal is complete!  You can see the picture below of my latest salad dressing obsession.  I try to stay away from dairy, but a little bit of this on your salad goes a long way.  It is really delicious!  I picked it up at Publix.  Also pictured are some of my favorite salad greens from Trader Joe’s.  It is a nice combination of organic baby greens ready to eat.

All of the following deliciousness made it onto our table this evening:

  • salad (tomato, roasted pumpkin seeds, mixed Power Greens, artichokes, olives, red onions with white cheddar dressing)
  • salsa
  • black beans/soy crumbles/corn
  • shredded cheese
  • avocado

Have a great night!

Fall in Love with Healthy!

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I feel that one of the most important messages you can send your children is to love feeling good and being healthy.  For me, this translates to feeding them healthy, home cooked whole food meals (MOST of the time; I am not shooting for perfect!).  We have very little processed foods in our home, no candy, chips, sodas, juice, sugar snacks, etc.  We have very little cereals (other than granola).  These things do make an appearance (except for the soda, never soda), but it is on a very limited basis. Most of the junk my kids eat is done out of my home.  Your children will eat what you eat, and what you provide for them.

If cooking from scratch every day feels overwhelming or unrealistic given your schedule, then I would encourage you to start with one day of the week to dedicate to cooking and eating whole foods with your family.  Breakfast is a very important meal, and one that is often overlooked or not given the attention it deserves given most families busy mornings.  One thing I do to ensure that my children eat a healthy nourishing breakfast before heading off to school is to make a huge batch of pancakes, waffles or muffins on Sunday. Freeze them in small portions, and then throughout the week you can just pull a muffin out of the freezer and defrost it, or pull a pancake/waffle out of the freezer and heat it in the toaster. Pair it with some fruit, and you have an awesome whole food breakfast that will start their day off right.

You can find the recipe I use for pancakes here.  It is really simple, and there is no excuse to not have made from scratch pancakes from now on!  Need some other ideas for a healthy, nourishing breakfast for your kids before school?  Try some of the ideas below:

  • yogurt with fruit, nut butter & granola
  • whole wheat muffins like the ones here
  • oatmeal with fruit, honey and granola
  • apple slices or banana with nut butter
  • whole wheat waffles like these (leave out the blueberries if you want)
  • overnight oats

Enjoy your day, and remember, fill your body and your kid’s bodies every day with LOVE!

Recipe: GF Vegan Creamy Potato Soup

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Vegan Creamy Potato Soup

This was a slow cooker soup recipe from Robin Robertson’s “Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker”. I cannot say enough about this awesome cookbook.  It is filled with so many awesome, simple recipes!  This soup was very filling, and it offered a great base that allowed people to dress it up as they liked.  It can be made gluten-free by choosing appropriate toppings.  If you are not vegan or GF, then you can modify ingredients as needed.  Use dairy cheese, milk or sour cream. Use pork bacon if you love meat!  Change it to suit your needs; this recipe is perfect for that.  I slightly modified the recipe, of course, and here is my version:

Creamy Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • ghee
  • 1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 tsp. vegan butter
  • plain unsweetened soy milk
  • vegan sour cream
  • vegan shredded cheese (I used Daiya)
  • fresh scallions, chopped
  • vegan bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

Heat a few spoonfuls of ghee in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker. Add diced potatoes, broth and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until potatoes are tender.  Blend in Vitamix until smooth.  Pour into saucepan, and add butter.  Stir in milk until desired consistency is reached. Top soup with any (or all!) of the garnishes listed above. Tonight for leftovers, we mixed in broccoli broiled in ghee, and it was delicious!!!