Category Archives: Eat

Peanut butter-Peanut butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I should have done this a long time ago. I received these Nestle® Toll House® Delightfulls™ back in November as part of a BzzAgent® campaign. Unfortunately, they melted in the mail because I live in Arizona. So, I stuck them in the freezer and sort of forgot about them.

Lucky for me because as has become a small tradition when I have the day off with Finn, we bake! Cookies, cupcakes, cakes, rice krispy treats, pretty much whatever we have on hand. Today I was hoping to make some post-Valentine’s chocolate chip cookies (we were going to dye them pink) but as I start looking for cookie ingredients, I find that we have no butter or margarine. Womp womp. However, lo and behold, I find a bag of Betty Crocker® peanut butter cookie mix and that frozen block of peanut butter chocolate chips. And the wheels start turning and I came up with these peanut butter – peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

So, I got to chopping that chocolate bar up into small pieces and then added it to my peanut butter cookie dough… plopped some pretty large heaps of dough onto a pan and called it done. So good. That chocolate made all the difference for that pre-mixed cookie dough. Finn got to help every step (except cracking the egg which of course I ended up dropping anyways… should’ve had him do it!) and he loved it. And I love this little tradition of ours.

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After we made cookies, I thought this was a good time to prep all of our healthy meals for the week that the Count and I had planned. It took about 5 hours, but I made a ton of meals and I’m so excited to have healthy, fresh meals everyday to grab instead of resorting to fast food during my lunch. Now I’m researching how to prep oatmeal ahead of time, because yes, even a few minutes in the morning to prepare oatmeal is too long for me. I’ll let you know how that goes!

meal prep

Here’s what I did. I cooked white rice (we were out of brown) and quinoa along with roasting broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and asparagus. I also used a can of corn and a can of black beans. Then I cooked 6 chicken breasts. 3 were done teriyaki style and the other 3 were a spicy honey style. I chopped everything up and put it in bowls and then just started putting little tupperware meals together with whatever struck my fancy. The black beans and corn I mixed in with my quinoa. I’m so proud of myself! Next up, we’re going to get gym memberships this week. :)

Italian Lentil Salad

I spent the day at my girlfriend’s house last week and she mentioned that she only had lunch stuff for kiddos. So, I stopped at Trader Joe’s on the way with Finn (where he charmed me at the checkout and got chocolate and a banana), grabbed a few items and was able to quickly throw together this favorite grown-up salad for us. It’s fresh, delicious, perfect for summer, and super easy to make! I’m not kidding, it was literally ready and on the table in less than 10 minutes.

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Italian Lentil Salad

1 cucumber
1 bell pepper
tub bruschetta
package cooked lentils
1/2 tub crumbled feta

Mix ingredients in a bowl and enjoy as a salad or a dip!

I usually like to add green onions for an extra crunch but didn’t have any this time around, and I used the whole tub of feta because, why not?

In the Garden: July 9

So this is what the fruits of our labor look like right now:

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Our bell peppers are getting big, but are not quite ready to be picked. Herbs are used daily. Strawberries are meh, but we keep trying! All of our vine plants are going crazy and growing into each other and all over the place and we have lots of baby cucumbers and cantaloupe. We can’t wait to be able to pick homegrown jalepenos and thai peppers on the regular, and we’re anxious to see how our carrots (and onions) are doing underground, though that’s a ways away! We’ve got tomatoes coming out of all of our ears, which we’re totally not complaining about. This gardening thing has just become such a great little hobby for our family.

Other parts of our garden: our squash and zucchini which are out of control, our tomato cage (notice the huge basil plant on the bottom), and our corn which had gotten really big and unfortunately fell over in our first big haboob/monsoon storm of the season. :(

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Garden Fresh

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We planted a garden a couple months back, I would say as a little family activity/therapy together. It’s (mostly) 70% my dad, 20% my brother, and 10% the rest of us. But it’s 100% good for us and something we are all benefitting from in one way or another. Be it physically, emotionally, or nutritionally. The Count will actually eat Sweet 100 tomatoes whereas he does not normally like tomatoes! So, it’s already a success to me. :) Well that and the fact that we eat green onions, lettuce, and tomatoes out of it on a daily basis. We did do this once before but our hearts weren’t in it and it wasn’t that successful.

Our process was this: we bought some seedlings from the nursery, we also grew some of our own seedlings (below – but weren’t the most successful with those), and some we just grew from seed right in the ground and were very (slowly) successful. We used many different types of soil, mulch, and our own compost we’ve been working on for many years and compost tea that we made using our compost. Our process has been trial and error. Lots of Google research. Many hours of YouTube videos.

Basically we’re learning but in the process our garden has taken off and we are filled with excitement and already thinking about the next growing season! So much to learn. And Finn loves it! He goes out with us and helps pick tomatoes off of our many plants. We’re trying to teach him to only pick the red and yellow ones and to leave the green ones, though.

Things that have been successful: lettuce, green onions, yellow onions, tomatoes, thai peppers, squash, zucchini, carrots, basil, parsley, and spearmint.

Things that are doing good but have yet to bare any fruit: cucumbers, cantaloupe, broccoli, corn, bell peppers, watermelon, and jalapeños.

Things that have struggled: strawberries (I’d almost call them a failure but they’re hanging on!) and peppermint (but are better now!).

Things that have failed: peas, big boy tomatoes and marigolds.

These are mostly old pics but I’ve tried to take you through from the beginning. The tomatoes and squash plants grow very fast so you will see the most progress from them in the pics. We also have a potted garden on our patio and around our pool of many different types of hibiscus, succulents, and other ground plants that my mom is working on. I have so many pics of all of the individual plants but will save those for a later post maybe.

garden_2garden_3garden_1garden_5garden_6garden_7This isn’t even what the garden looks like today but I don’t have a real clear picture of it (it was dark the last time I took pics) and now my dad has added a tomato cage to tame those suckers. I can’t wait to update you again. Happy gardening!

Fall Baking

With it being fall, my heart wants nothing more than to bake yummy sweet things and stuff my face with them. So, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

I brought these delicious Pretzel-Chocolate-Peanut Butter Chip cookies to a scrapbooking meet up that I went to at our friends’ house on Saturday. They were a big hit, I’ll definitely have to make them again.

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I also brought this Almond-Poppy Seed bread. It was also raved about. And I loved it so much I made another loaf last night at 9pm because I needed it so.

bread

I’ve also made blueberry and banana muffins. No pictures of those though. The banana muffins were tasty and a last minute idea as I saw that I had some bananas that had reached the end of their counter life. They were perfect in these muffins! And I really liked that they had no sugar, just honey to sweeten them.

Can’t wait for Christmas, so many delicious sweets. And let’s not forget about pies on Thanksgiving! What are you baking?

NaBloPoMo November 2013

 

This is post #14 of NaBloPoMo.

National Blog Posting Month is an annual event that takes place each November where bloggers commit to writing everyday in November.

Chorizo Pizza

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Recipe : Pinterest as usual.
Crust : Our usual store bought thin crust.
Sauce :  Enchilada sauce from Trader Joe’s.
Cheese : Medium Cheddar.
Toppings : Grilled onion, chorizo, sliced jalapenos, fresh garlic & TJ’s fresh salsa.
Thoughts : Super spicy but packed with flavor. I could only eat 2 pieces as chorizo is typically just a wee bit too spicy for me, but Dan loved it.

PS… I recently got a tablet and am trying it out. Like my Kindergarten scratch on the first photo? I don’t. It’s harder to use than I thought.

Summer Food

This summer has been the summer of delicious food for Dan and I. We’ve been trying all kinds of delicious recipes on Pinterest and also making up our own. Here’s a few so far:

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BBQ Ranch Pork Sliders a la crockpot.

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Dan’s Father’s Day Meal: bratwurst, veggie “fries”, and corn on the cob (something I was able to cross off my summer list!)

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Dan, my dad, and grandpa’s Father’s Day dessert: peanut butter cup cookie cups!

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And Dan’s second Father’s Day dinner (well actually third since we also went to Prescott and had a Father’s Day BBQ in between there): carne asada tacos a la Trader Joe’s

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We were really taking advantage of our fresh propane tank by now… grilled chicken and I love nothing better than a baked sweet potato.

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Last night’s meal while we endured record breaking heat of 119 degrees: Trader Joe’s pollo asada tacos and pineapple beer. Yum!

pasta salad

And today I made a refreshing pasta salad with sauteed zucchini, red peppers, heirloom tomatoes, some leftover bacon from breakfast, some basil from my pot outside, and green onions tossed with olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon.

What are you cooking?  Happy Sunday!

Toddler Meals

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The other day I was reminded as I made Finn his cut up dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets (yes those are dinosaur parts because he couldn’t have our ranch and cream of chicken pork chops), margarine covered brussel sprouts and chopped seedless grapes that making healthy toddler meals is something I do everyday. I have to get pretty creative because I don’t want him to eat the same thing everyday, for every meal, and I still want him to eat healthy. We try to make sure what we eat is Finn-edible, but we failed this night. I didn’t even think about the ranch mix having powdered milk in it and the cream of chicken soup. =/ So we had to resort to the never fail frozen chicken nuggets which he loves so much. I think he picked up a lot of healthy eating habits from the Baby Led Weaning that we did and so he eats a lot of really good foods, but admittedly for his proteins we do have to resort a lot to Costco’s frozen selection but that’s mostly due to the fact that you can’t make a hungry toddler wait very long for food, so the trusty ol’ microwave or toaster oven are our friends!

Having a kid with almost every allergy in the book is hard, but it’s not that hard. It’s only hard because we can’t share with him all the amazing foods that we’d love to share with him like pizza (CHEESE), ice cream, ants on a log (raisins and peanut butter on celery), things that I pictured making for him when I was pregnant. I pictured sharing an ice cream cone with him when we were out at the fair. Now I guess it will have to be cotton candy instead. And he may not be able to be a Cheese Head like he dad and enjoy the delicious cheese curds that we found at Costco last weekend, but that’s okay. Maybe he’ll still like the Packers which is in his blood, afterall, and be a Cheese Head in another way.

Breakfasts are easy with Finn. He loves avocadoes, as I’ve mentioned many times before. He eats one every day. He’ll have either a whole one for breakfast or eat half and have the other half for lunch. It’s one of the more expensive foods, but it’s worth it for his little brain and heart. We’ll also make frozen waffles or have muffins for his carb on the weekdays. If it’s a weekend I will make fresh pancakes. If he’s at Grandma’s she’ll make hashbrowns and disguise scrambled eggs in them since Finn hates eggs. Doesn’t matter what way they are cooked. He will not eat them in a box, he will not eat them with a fox, he does not like eggs, no siree, unless we can disguise them. ;) He’ll eat breakfast sausage or deli meat, too, but no bacon, please, he’s not a fan. He also will eat a banana, and he used to eat blueberries by the cupful but lately he’s been throwing them to the dog much to our di$may!

For lunch or dinner Finn loves fish sticks (with ketchup), corn dogs or hot dogs (both with mustard), chicken nuggets (with ketchup), kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, avocadoes, corn, rice, plain chicken taquitos (no cheese), leftovers like pork, fried rice (again another great meal to disguise eggs in!), special quesadillas with soy cheese on occasion but we mostly stay away from soy products, deconstructed tacos, mixed vegetables (we keeps tons of bags of frozen veggies on hand and he eats them with every meal since they are quick and easy and we make sure he has veggies with every meal), bananas, grapes, strawberries, spaghetti, and many other things that are escaping me. He will eat most of our meals and anything he won’t eat we’ll heat something else up of his that he will eat.

For snacks he eats the fruits above mentioned, Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal, cheerios, raisins, pretzels, Belvita breakfast bisbuits, and for his “treats” we have frozen watermelon (yum!), Oreos, and he loves Italian Ice. We make him smoothies with strawberries, bananas, hemp milk, and ice and he LOVES them.

He drinks hemp milk watered down 2/3rd-1/3rd (it’s very high in calories and if we give it to him straight he won’t eat hardly any food and we need him to get his cholesterol, and other vitamins and minerals from his FOOD). We keep lots and lots of bananas on hand since the only thing hemp milk is lacking is potassium. He gets apple juice and white grape juice watered down 50% once or twice a day but we try to give him mostly water since he’s an Arizona baby and he plays hard and needs lots and lots of water!

So that’s our feeding routine. Not that you asked, but now you know. :)

Dirty Dozen + Clean Fifteen?

I’ll be honest. I don’t buy anything organic. I should. And I’ll probably start based on this list below:

dirtydozen_cleanfifteen

This is from the Environmental Working Group and every year they release the The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ which can help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and thus are the most important to buy organic and which can most safely be skipped. Ta da! The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen! I will remember this for the things we buy the most for Finn like strawberries and grapes, and then rest easy with our avocadoes and sweet potatoes. :)

Composting 101

Dan and I have delved into the wonderful world of composting.  I’m not exactly crunchy granola, I’m more chewy.  I try to cloth diaper.  I tried to use glass baby bottles.  I try to conserve water and energy where possible.  I recycle.  And now, I’m composting.  We do a lot of cooking with fresh produce and have a lot of waste.  We also have a huge tree in our front yard with a lot of dry leaves that end up on our ground.  We’re hoping to turn all that into some nice mulch in about a year so that we could eventually do the un-enviro-friendly thing of planting grass and a yard for Finn to play in.  I know, so contradictory.  But we also want to use it to grow some of our own vegetables in our backyard.  Hey, we’re trying to keep things balanced here!  We’ve been saving all our crap from the kitchen as well as dry leaves from the yard (and friends’ yards!) and it’s building up quite nicely.

So, here’s our process.  In the kitchen we have an air tight container (an old crock pot with lid, lined with a bag) to keep smells in.  Throughout the week we throw all our unused produce, peels, coffee grinds, egg shells, etc. and then at the end of the week we dump it in our compost bin (free via the city!) and cover it with some dry leaves and clippings.  Turn it a little with the shovel and that’s it.  Very simple.  And awesome.

Here’s a cool infographic I found on Pinterest with the basics of it, I thought I’d share: