Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kid friendly Granola

A couple of years ago I spent the summer hunting for the perfect Granola recipe. There are all sorts of awesome Granola recipes out there but I was looking for one that would satisfy a bunch of picky eaters, otherwise known as my children. I finally found the best Granola recipe for making my kids happy. They don’t care for coconut and sunflower seeds in their Granola and were always whining about it.

I love this recipe because I can throw it together in a matter of minutes and while it is cooking I can get on with my day.

This stuff gets scarfed up immediately. Husbands love it too. My kids say it reminds them of Honey Bunches of Oats – only so much better (and so much better for them)! I usually quadruple this recipe so we can eat it all week. Store it in an airtight container.

Feel free to add raisins, coconut, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, or whatever if your kids aren’t picky like mine. In fact, my kids are so picky that I even leave out the almonds in half of the batches I make. Meanwhile the adults in the house have a plethora of nuts (pecans, walnuts, and almonds) in their Granola. Eating it with yogurt is my favorite! One day I will tell you about yogurt.

Here’s the easy recipe:

4 Cups Old-fashioned Rolled Oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup sliced almonds (may substitute other nuts or leave out entirely)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Heat 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup honey until honey dilutes. Add 1 tsp vanilla and pour over dry ingredients. Stir well so that all the oats are coated with the liquid.

Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cook at 300 for 40 minutes, stirring every ten minutes. Let cool and serve.



  1. Posted February 26, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Barely made this recipe…I’ve been looking for a granola recipe and found a winner! Thanks for sharing…now I need to get back to my munching.

  2. Rachel
    Posted March 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Can you please explain the difference between Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats and the Rolled Oats-Quick from the storehouse? Is there any? Can I use my food storage oats in granola? Because I have a lot of those and would like to make some granola.

    • Posted March 2, 2010 at 4:59 pm

      From what I understand the difference is that quick oats are just chopped up into pieces to speed up cooking time when making oatmeal. I think using these in Granola is totally fine. The texture might be a little different because the oatmeal is in smaller pieces, but it will still work.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pita Bread

I love pita bread! There is so much you can do with it. My kids’ favorite is “Pita Pizzas”. Just top them with pizza fixings and plop them in the oven. I love to stuff them with veggies and chicken.

The problem with store bought pitas is they are expensive, not as good for you as home made, and certainly not as yummy.

The problem with home made pitas is making them.

But if I can do it, so can you!

This might seem like too much work but it goes really fast and it is so worth it.

This is an easy recipe and my personal favorite. Pitas freeze well. Even with my huge family, we end up with enough to store in the freezer for future use. I like to warm them up in the toaster.

Here’s the recipe:

2 1/2 C very warm water

1 Tbl active dry yeast

1 Tbl salt

5 1/2 C whole wheat flour

In a large bowl, combine water and yeast. Let stand for 2 minutes. (I use my Bosch to make these but you can also do it by hand)

Stir in salt and 4 cups of flour.

Beat for 4 minutes.

Stir in 1 more cup of flour. Keep adding flour until you have enough to make a stiff dough. Knead for about 8 minutes and dough is elastic and smooth.

Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let double in size. Punch down dough. Then divide into 20 pieces.

Preheat the oven to 450, with cookie sheets inside.

One at a time, knead each piece slightly and form into balls. Press into a circle with your palms, then roll out into about 6 inch diameter circles.

Place about 4-5 pitas on the heated cookie sheet and cook for about 6 minutes or until the pita starts to get a little brown on edges. I keep two cookie sheets in the oven at a time. One with pitas cooking on it, the other to heat. Meanwhile, I keep rolling out more pitas.

Cool the pitas on the counter top. Once they are cool you can cut them in half and gently (be patient-it almost always works*) open the middle pocket. Store in an airtight container.

*Some of the pitas might not open into pockets, because they are too flat. You can usually tell by looking once you get the hang of making these. I always have about 2 or 3 that won’t open. No worries! Just set these aside and designate them as the pitas to use for pizzas.


  1. Jessica
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    It’s not true, you know, that if you can do it, I can do it too. I can’t do half of what you do.

  2. Posted February 24, 2010 at 11:53 pm


    How about you do twice as much!

    We are both so awesome:)

It's My Philosophy?

So, apparently I have earned a reputation amongst my peers (well okay, maybe just my sisters) of being somewhat of a food nazi.

So when I announced that I was starting a “food blog” , I guess some people who know me personally figured that this would be a forum for me to rant and rave about the evils of high fructose corn syrup and pasteurized milk.

It is true that sometimes I get a little uptight about food.

But that my dear readers, is exactly why I have started this blog.

I don’t want to be so uptight about food.

Yes, I do want to be smart about it.

I don’t want to be like the proverbial ostrich with her head in the sand.

But let’s get one thing straight. Just because I hold certain views on food doesn’t mean I don’t want to know your views. The truth is, is that sometimes I don’t know what it is I think about food. I just know that I like to think and talk about and eat food.

And another thing. If you have a recipe that you love that you would like to share but you are worried about it because it has condensed soup in it, lay your worries to rest. It is all good. Please share and stop worrying so much!

This blog’s mission, if you will, is to share knowledge/opinions, impart wisdom, trade recipes, raise (and hopefully answer) questions, and in the process maybe create some peace for some of us where food is concerned.

I guess that is a pretty big mission statement.

I am aiming high.

At the very least it should be good for a few laughs and maybe some epiphanies every now and then.

And it definitely will have good food involved.

Even if some of it is not all that “good for you”.

Blog on….


  1. Jessica
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 1:35 am

    I have a love hate relationship with food. I love it and it in turn hates me and makes me fat. :) What I want is to love food that is good for me instead of junk. Because honestly I love junk food, not food. I am not sure why. But I am pretty sure I got a fat old warning about this when I was 17 and have been ignoring it ever since.

    I know one thing — thinking about eating better stresses me out. It just seems like a lot of work. And the way I eat and the way I feed my family makes me feel like a failure. But I don’t feel like I have the time or energy to focus on fixing the situation. There are so many other basic things that are going undone.

    I hope that this blog will help me find some recipes that are quick and easy and better for us than what we’ve been doing that I can convince Josh to make. Because, let’s face it, I’m not the one making dinner around here.

  2. Heathermommy
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 11:38 am

    It can be very overwhelming making changes. I think the key is one thing at a time. You need to find just one easy change and focus on that.

    Don’t feel like a failure, your family is being nourished. Healthy eating is a challenge and a journey. You don’t have to do every thing at once and you don’t have to be 100% perfect at it. No one is.

  3. Posted February 25, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    I’m so excited to try the pita bread recipe…I love to eat it with hummus…almost every day! I too am obsessed with food…this must be food-aholic anonymous, or something ;)
    But I am obsessed with eating healthy and making healthy food taste amazing, although I will never give up on chocolate. Thanks for sharing your cooking talent with us!

  4. Rachel
    Posted March 1, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I like to buy my milk at the grocery store. And I use condensed soups. And we eat too much meat. I sometimes do feel like some people are food nazis. But I don’t worry about it all that much. We eat how we eat mostly out of financial necessity. When you pinch your pennies, they all count. Therefore I do what we can afford to do. And a lot of the time that means eating beef again! Still I like reading this blog. Mostly because I like you.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Shakes

One of my all time favorite recipes! The following is a post/recipe from my awesome sister Heather:

Almost two years ago my amazing husband gave up sweets. He has amazing will power. I have joined him on and off. I know that it is important for my family to get off refined sugars. When I stared getting into the raw food movement I found a version of this recipe in a raw food recipe book. The only sweeteners in this are bananas and dates.2 cups unsweetened almond milk (buy in a box at health food stores – can find them at regular grocery stores as well. You can use regular cow’s milk but I like the almond flavor better, then you can also serve this to all your vegan friends.You can also make your own almond milk with water and raw almonds, but I have been too lazy to try this yet.)

4 frozen bananas (Important – they must be frozen or it won’t be a “shake”)
2-3 medjool dates with pits out (we like 2)
1-2 Tblsp of unsweetened cocoa (we like closer to 1)

2- 3 Tblsp of natural peanut butter

Blend it all in your blender – yummmmmmm
Start out with the smaller amounts of cocoa and dates and taste it, if you want more, add them.

These are seriously so delicious. They taste like a shake you can get from a malt shop. So good.



  1. Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:09 am

    I have to put a plug in for these shakes. I absolutely love them. I try not to eat too much sugar and these babies fix me up real good:)

    Seriously, you must try them.

  2. Posted February 24, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I even liked them.

  3. Posted February 24, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    I have to say one more thing. Okay, two.

    Do not be intimidated by the almond milk. Just use cows milk if you have to. I do all the time (gasp). These shakes are just so delicious and wonderful I cannot say enough about them! Try them, you will like them.

    The second thing? The dates. You do not have to go to a health food store to find these dates. Dole sells whole pitted dates with no added sugar and I can buy them right here in my dinky little town.

    We had these again tonight and I just fall deeper and deeper in love.

    Have I said enough?

    • Ed
      Posted February 25, 2010 at 10:56 am

      What the heck is wrong with cow’s milk? I almost like my cow as much as my dog.

  4. Heathermommy
    Posted February 25, 2010 at 11:35 am

    If you can get real cow’s milk there is nothing wrong with it – meaning raw. But the almond milk in this particular recipe is just a preference for me. Rick doesn’t notice a difference.

  5. Melissa
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Mmmmmm!! I just purchased a new blender so I will definitely try this one!

  6. Traci Cozzocrea
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Where do you find the dates?

    • Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:52 pm

      Hi Traci!

      I sometimes buy the dates at the health food store (in the bulk food section). But Dole’s pitted whole dates are a great product and I can buy them in my tiny local grocery store.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Heather's Pasta

A post and recipe from my sister Heather:

Here’s a pasta dish I made up. So I don’t really have amounts.

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil, then add artichoke hearts (drained from a can), roasted red peppers (from a jar) and sun dried tomatoes (I added some of the oil that the tomatoes were packed in- came in a jar). Heat that through, add some grated Parmesan cheese and then mix in with wheat penne pasta. My husband LOVED this. I think it would also be good if you added some spinach to the saute mix.

** There are so many things you can do with pasta that are vegetarian. For spaghetti – just add veggies to the sauce instead of meat (like onions, shredded carrots, peppers, whatever you like).


Enchiladas and Spanish Rice

A post and a recipe from my sister Heather:

I actually got this recipe from my sister, Jen. I made it for the second time tonight and we still love it.

Spread thin layer of green enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan (actually this recipe makes 2 pans and then some)

Fill 6 inch corn tortillas with this filling :

Spanish rice:

2 tblsp oil
2 tblsp chopped onion
1 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
3 cups chicken broth (okay so not totally veggie- I could try it with vegetable broth or water but I haven’t yet)
1 cup chunky salsa

Get a pot – heat oil – stir in onion cook about 5 minutes until soft – add rice – stir and cook until lightly browned – add broth and salsa – bring to a boil – the turn to low and simmer for about 40 minutes to an hour.

In a big mixing bowl dump in Spanish rice with 2 cans of black beans (drained and rinsed) a little green enchilada sauce and maybe some shredded cheese ( You could also add more onions, red peppers, chopped tomatoes, or whatever else sounds good)

Place all the rolled up enchiladas in the pan and pour more green enchilada sauce on top and then some shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Serve with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and maybe some fresh cilantro.


Green Smoothies

A post/recipe from my sister Heather:

I originally got this idea from my sister-in-law, Olga . Then I stared reading and got even more insights on “green smoothies.” This smoothie is delicious. My kids LOVE them and they are a great way to get more greens in your diet. I try to make these every day. Ideally, I would like to drink them for breakfast , since my breakfasts don’t usually include veggies. It is easier to get the veggies in at other meals. I save my husband’s portion in the fridge in the blender, then when he gets home he just reblends it quickly and drinks it. If I haven’t had a chance to do them during the day, we will have these for dessert.

Step one: put water in blender and add spinach and kale. I do about 2- 3 cups of water and several handfuls of each. I use pre-washed spinach and I do not include the stems of the kale.

Step two: add 2 bananas, one orange, some frozen blueberries and frozen strawberries.

Step three: mix it up and then add a bunch of ice. Mix up and drink. And say “hello” to a great tasting, easy way to get more veggies in your diet.

** I took this from an old post when I first started making these. Here is how I have changed them.

1. Water 2-3 cups- add several handfuls of greens. Blend. (When you first start making these you may want to have more fruit than greens but then as your family gets use to them up the greens portion.

2. Add 1-2 tblsp of flax oil and 2-3 bananas. Blend. (You don’t have to do the flax oil but flax is so good for you and as Americans we don’t get enough omega 3′s in our diet, Here is an easy way to get more.)

3. Add frozen fruit. Blend

I no longer add ice because I like them cold but not slushy. You can do this recipe so many ways. Here are some suggestions:

Greens: (you want to use mild tasting ones)

spinach, chard, kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce


blueberries, strawberries, oranges, pears, raspberries, blackberries, apples, peaches, mango, pineapple etc… I have also used avocados, which really add a nice smooth texture.



  1. Posted February 23, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Absolutely amazing! I love the look of the layered goodness!
    Nikki aka Bake Sale Girl

  2. Posted February 23, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    I really want to start doing these in the morning and oatmeal too. I will need to get up earlier.

Heather's Fajitas and Seriously Yummy Salsa

This is from my sister, Heather. We make this pico ALL THE TIME!

From Heather:

This is one of the yummiest things we eat in this house.

1. First make the salsa (this is really what makes this recipe special. So easy but so good.)

Cut up a lot of roma tomatoes in chunks (about 10 or so)Add a chopped up avocado, chopped green onions, and chopped fresh cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and stir in 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Mix it all together and put in fridge until ready to eat.

Cut chicken breast, onions, and peppers in strips ( I use red, yellow, orange, and green)

Cook chicken with a little bit of olive oil. When it is cooked through put on a plate and set aside. Then warm up a little more oil and saute the onions and peppers till soft. Return the chicken to the pan. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin,and garlic powder. (Sorry no exact measurements, I do it by feel. ) Then I add 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Cook it till every thing is heated through and the sauce is mostly evaporated.

Take a whole wheat tortilla and put warmed up black beans on the bottom, add chicken and pepper mixture, cheese, sour cream and the yummy salsa you made at the beginning.

Warning: this gets messy. But it is oh so worth it.
We also do a variation as a fajita taco salad with romaine lettuce as the base then pile on all the stuff you put in the tortilla, then crumble tortilla chips on top.

** P.S. one of my biggest pet peeves is that most of the wheat tortillas you find in the store have partially hydrogenated oils in them. I have found good tortillas without them at Trader Joe’s. You can probably find some good ones at other health food stores or make your own.



  1. heathermommy
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    So I have to say that since writing this, my family has become vegetarians. We still make this pico but we eat it on taco salads with no meat but with seasoned black beans. It is still delicious and we don't miss the meat at all!

  2. Posted February 23, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    I love this recipe. I passed it on to my ward to include in the cookbook and to my Laurels who graduated last year. Josh doesn’t use this recipe very often for fajitas, though, and it makes me sad. But he has a good recipe, too and lots of good recipes for other things, so I will pass those on. Soonish.

  3. Ellen Walker
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Mmmmm, these look yummy. I can’t wait to try it! And I love that you are doing them vegetarian now. I am not vegetarian, but I like to experiment with meat-free foods.

Why This Blog

Another one?


Here’s why:

I am obsessed with food.

Here’s why:

1. I need food to survive

2. Food is a major contributor to my health and happiness and also (but hopefully not) my destruction and misery.

3. Everyday I have to make 3 meals for 11 people, often a daunting task.

4. I have had a lifelong love/hate relationship with food. I would rather just love it.

5. I am on a quest to understand this and what I am supposed to do about it. (That is a link-click on it if you dare)

6. Michael Pollan speaks to my soul.

7. After giving birth to 8 kids, 5 of them c-section, my body is begging me to treat it a little better.

Here’s another reason for this blog: I want to know what you think about food. And I really want to know what you are having for dinner!


  1. Kim
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Jen! This is such a neat idea. Like you, I have a love-hate relationship with food. I’m trying to feed the four kids and my husband more whole, natural, local, foods, but I get easily side-tracked. I’m looking forward to watching what you have to say.


  2. Rachel
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Awesome idea, Jen. If only I made healthy recipes I could contribute some! One questions, why is there a picture of yummy looking cupcakes at the top of this blog? You are a temptress! I promise to check your blog often.

  3. Posted February 23, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Ahhh, Rachel. That is a good question. I will answer you soon!

  4. Posted February 23, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    HEY! Those are my cupcakes! Made from a BOX MIX. And with CANNED FROSTING!!!!!

    Of all the things I cook/bake, you use a picture of the one time I made totally fake food. I wasn’t about to exert myself for a home school party where it wouldn’t be appreciated.

    Does that make me selfish?

  5. Ellen Walker
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Jen, thanks so much for inviting me to view your blog. What a great way of sharing good food. Already I’m excited about the recipes you’ve posted, and I am going to share your blog with my daughters, who will also be interested. In fact, I should connect you and my daughters to each other (if you know what I mean, lol). They have blogs, too, and are raising children, too, and are trying to do good things, too, and I think y’all would get along really well.

  6. Christie
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    O yum!
    I so love food and when I get off of this dumb diet I am on I am going to savor my food, slowly and enjoy it!!!
    I am excited to share recipes, as I get soooooooo tired of trying to think of something new to fix!
    I have a couple of family favorites I would like to share,
    Thanks for including me and thanks for sharing!!!

  7. Amy
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    I too hope to one day be able to truly understand and fully live the word of wisdoom. Also, I hope that pink cupcakes have a place in it, or a least cheese cake, and chocolate, and ice cream. (PS All the pictures of yummy food are making me hungry :) )

  8. Cara
    Posted February 24, 2010 at 1:20 am

    I too was a little curious about the cupcakes considering the amount of high fructose corn syrup involved but I had reserved judgment. “Maybe they were made from scratch with applesauce?” (I actually have an amazing recipe for vegan cupcakes) Then Shauna sabotaged you Jen! Those cupcakes are sacrilegious, JK. Although, I do think you were being a temptress, luckily I have have an affinity towards cheese and not sweets, so just as long as you don’t switch the picture to a block of cheddar I will be ok.