Tuesday, January 25, 2011
My sister Heather gave me this recipe. In my no sugar state I really appreciated it! But even my kids and husband who still consume sugary sweets on a somewhat regular basis, love these. Don't be expecting fudge because it isn't. It is gooey goodness with lots of wholesome flavor. Your first taste will be surprising. Then you will be intrigued. The next thing you know, you will not be able to go into the kitchen without digging these out of the freezer. And before you know it, they will be all gone!
Not Really Fudge
1/2 cups soaked and pitted dates (soak at least 15 minutes)
1 heaping Tbl of coconut oil
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (I like to soak mine for a few hours but it is not necessary)
1/4 cup cocoa
natural peanut butter (optional)
process all ingredients in a food processor except peanut butter
smooth out onto wax or parchment paper on a small cookie sheet
swirl peanut butter through fudge with a knife (or spread on top once fudge starts to freeze)
serve frozen in bite size pieces *
*This fudge thaws really quickly. It cuts easily frozen and by the time you get it on your plate or pop it in your mouth it is perfect.
Eat fish at least once this week.
Why should you eat fish? Because of those omega 3 fatty acids for one. Eating fish is good for your heart, your immune system, etc, etc....
I know that some people (most of my kids, most of my sisters) do not like fish. But you can do it. If you are a seafood hater, I recommend trying a mild white fish like Tilapia for starters.
Here are a couple links to some recipes using Tilapia that I love:
Parmesan Herb Baked Tilapia
One of the easiest ways I like to prepare Tilapia is thus:
*Thaw a fillet
*Throw it in a frying pan with a tiny bit of oil (maybe 1/2 -1 tsp)
*Sprinkle both sides with some spices (I have been loving Kirkland's Organic No Salt Seasoning)
*Cook it, turning it over once, until the fish flakes easily with a fork (anywhere from 4 to 10 minutes).
Then I like to eat it with a potato and a big pile of veggies. I also love to eat it on toasted homemade wheat bread with some lettuce and tomato. Yum!
Now go to!
Monday, January 24, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
It happened one night as my husband and I sat down with our little kiddos to watch a Sunday night Disney movie on ABC, as was our custom at the time.
Then on came a questionable commercial. Then another one. And then another.....
My husband and I looked at each other and said, "enough"
And that was it.
We still had the TV and the VCR. And later the DVD player.
But we were no longer slaves to the boob tube.
And thus it will ever remain.
So over the years when everyone would talk about Lost and now House or The Office--
I really had/have no idea what anyone is talking about
and I like it that way.
I have a confession to make.
I have become addicted to a TV show.
It is this really inspiring show called The Biggest Loser
Have you heard of it?
I joke. Of course you have.
Even I had heard of it.
I just didn't really know what it was.
Yes, I live in my own happy world.
But thanks to Hulu, our family is now regular viewers of The Biggest Loser.
Every Wednesday night.
Yes, I know it is on Tuesdays but at our house we watch it on Wednesdays, because we don't watch TV
There really is a point to this and somewhere it does have something to do with food. The point is that in the future I will probably be referring to The Biggest Loser a lot-because I am kind of fanatical about it. And so this post was the ice breaker. I needed to let my readership in on this and by readership I mean my sisters, because you know probably no one else reads my blog. And anyway, I just didn't want you to get all in my face about the fact that we watch a TV show ----on the internet-fyi--- and jump to the wildly ridiculous conclusion that we had started watching TV and start mocking me etc.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Again, a post and recipe from my awesome sister Jessica. Josh is her husband and he is awesome too. Not only is he a talented artist and an incredible Dad, he is a master in the kitchen.
Josh’s Famous Guacamole
Josh has experimented with his guacamole quite a bit and has finally developed a recipe he loves. And I love it. And so does everyone who’s ever tasted it. Many people agree that it is one of the best guacamoles they’ve ever tasted. It has definitely ruined some other guacamoles for me. Josh’s Famous Guacamole is most often eaten at our house with Heather’s fajitas, but was a great accompaniment to the Bacon and Black Bean Quesadillas.
3-4 Roma Tomatoes, diced
½ Large Red Onion, diced
½ bunch Cilantro
2-3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Garlic Salt, to taste
Chipotle Powder, to taste (Josh prefers chipotle powder, but you can also use 2-4 Serrano Chilies. Make sure to remove the seeds and wear gloves!)
Black Pepper, to taste
Cut the avocados in quarters. Throw out the pit and peel the skin. Combine the avocados, diced tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro. Mix. (Josh’s mixes it by hand so he can squish the avocados. We like chunky guacamole.) Add the lemon juice. Mix again. Mix in garlic salt, black pepper and chipotle powder one at a time. In between adding each seasoning, do a little taste check to make sure the flavor is where you like it. Go easy on the chipotle powder because it packs a powerful punch.
Use with: fajitas, burritos, tacos, quesadillas, taquitos, chips, 7-layer dip, turkey sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, burgers . . . you get the idea!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
This is a guest post/recipe from my sister Jessica, who is awesome.
Black Bean and Bacon Quesadillas
I love recipes, which is odd because I hardly ever cook. But I am constantly on the lookout for new recipes. In my perusing the other day, I found a recipe for a bacon quesadilla and one for a black bean quesadilla and I thought, why not combine the two? So I took a little of this and a little of that from each recipe and added something of my own and VOILA! Bacon and Black Bean Quesadillas. These were seriously delicious. Alek, Josh and I all devoured them. They’re especially tasty with Josh’s Famous Guacamole, the recipe of which Jen will post later. The other thing is – they’re super easy, which I am a big fan of. I love, love, love Mexican food and could eat these every night.
Bacon and Black Bean Quesadillas
4 strips of cooked bacon (we used maple-flavored, which was awesome; also, when I say 4 strips, I guess that’s not right. I used two long strips, which I cut in half and then cooked.)
1 can of black beans, drained
1 can of corn, drained
1 small can of diced green chilies, drained (or dice your own green chilies – make sure you take out the seeds!)
1 green bell pepper
4-cheese Mexican cheese blend, grated (or any kind of cheese you like)
4 large flour tortillas
Open your cans of ingredients and drain them all in a strainer to get as much moisture out as you can. Dice the green bell pepper and add it to the strainer. Once drained, transfer the ingredients to a mixing bowl. Crumble the strips of bacon and add to the other ingredients. Mix well.
Warm a pan to medium heat and spray a generous coat of cooking spray on it (or spritz olive oil, if you have one of those cool spritzer things – you know what I mean).
Lay a tortilla flat in the pan.
Sprinkle a light layer of cheese on the tortilla – just enough to help everything stick together.
Spoon in about a fourth of the mixture onto one half of the tortilla. Sprinkle a little more cheese on the top and, using tongs fold the other side of the tortilla on top of the side with the filling. Cook on one side until the tortilla is browned (a few minutes) then flip over (carefully, the filling will want to escape) and brown on the other side. Once browned on both sides, the filling should be plenty warm.
Serve with your favorite salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole.
Makes 4 quesadillas.
I didn’t use a lot of cheese in these quesadillas (so perhaps I need to rename them!) and they were still awesomely delicious. If you finely grate your cheese (or purchase finely grated cheese), a little can go a long way. Of course, you can use as much cheese as you want, but just know that it’s not necessary to use a lot.
I have recently begun cooking my bacon in the oven, which is so much better than cooking bacon on the stovetop. You can cook a lot more bacon at one time and you don’t have to stand over the stove and have hot grease fly up and hit you in the face. I cook my bacon at 350 for about 20-25 minutes and it gets pretty crispy, which is how I like it.
I didn’t use any seasonings or spices when I cooked these, but would recommend one or both of the following:
Garlic salt (go easy on this, though, because the bacon is already salty) or garlic powder
Chipotle powder (But not if you eat the quesadilla with Josh’s Famous Guacamole, because that already has chipotle powder in it and a little of that can go a long way)
You could also add some sautéed red onion to the filling, but we didn’t because Josh’s Famous Guacamole has red onion in it.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Ready for your challenge this week?
Make a green smoothie.
Yes, you probably should eat more than one of these a week, but let's start out small, shall we?
Some weeks, I am more consistent than others. My goal this year is to have a green smoothie at least 3 times a week.
You will find my sister Heather's post and recipe for green smoothies here.
But really, there is no wrong way to make a smoothie is there?
Well, unless you add sugar to it, in which case that sort of, kind of defeats the purpose doesn't it?
If you have picky kids like mine, start out with just a little of the green stuff and maybe don't let them see you do it.
I am not one for lying to children. I mean, we don't even keep up pretenses about Santa or the Tooth Fairy around here (don't judge me). But sometimes what they don't know, will help them.
One of the best ways to disguise the greenness of the green smoothie is to use blueberries (a super food) and voila, you have a purple smoothie. The only caution with that is make sure your kids are either wearing clothes you do not care about, stand over top of them every second as they drink it, or strip them down.
My sister heather is anti-dairy and has no joy in life. Just kidding. She is really happy. But I prefer to skip the water. I like to add some yogurt to my green smoothie and use frozen bananas which add to the smoothiness of it all. If the concoction is too thick I like to add some almond milk as well.
Green smoothies really are an awesome way to make sure you are getting plenty of fruits and veggies in your diet.
Try it. You will like it, you will see.
Friday, January 14, 2011
No, this isn't the recipe for the pie.
I think you can do a Google search though.
I am talking retro as in Latin for "backward"
Lets' go back a little to a couple of former recipes posted on Food Ophelia just a few short months ago.
These are two of my all time favorite dessert recipes, I kid you not. And I am worried you missed them.
My number one favorite thing about both of these recipes is that I can eat these desserts without feeling like I am doing some sort of irreversible damage to my body.
In fact, I would say that these actually do a body good.
Although I have no scientific proof to back this up.
This is not that kind of a blog.
That is just my opinion based on the little knowledge that I have that whole grains, fruit etc are good for you.
You know what the sweetener is in these glorious shakes? Bananas and dates. That is it.
In my no sugar state of being I am loving these peanut butter shakes more than ever. These are heaven and I dare say I would choose to drink one of these babies over some sugarfied concoction any ol' day of the week-even if sugar was an option for me right now.
I just love you so much I had to get these back on your radar. Do yourself a favor and make some shakes tonight. Try to share with your family because that is the right thing to do.
Second-oh these peanut butter cookies ( that was a link too).These definitely have more of a sugar factor but they are so delicious. Make sure you have lots of people to share them with or you could be in trouble.
I love these cookies better than any other peanut butter cookie recipe ever. That is saying a lot because I love all peanut butter cookies.
Try making these with agave* which is a low glycemic food. I did and they turned out just as delicious as the honey version.
I hope you have enjoyed George Washington Carver week* on Food Ophelia for that is what I dubbed this tribute in my mind. Now I am letting you in on it.
George Washington Carver did much to popularize peanut production in this country and for that, I am truly grateful.
* George Washington Carver Appreciation Day is actually January 5th. So I am a little late. But my motto in life is "Better Late than Never" -as everyone who knows me can attest. So, because I have loved Mr. Carver since childhood I hope to make up for the fact that I missed his big day, by dedicating this whole week to him.
** When using agave nectar, use 3/4 cup for every 1 cup of sweetener you are replacing. Reduce any other liquids by 1/3.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Did you ever wonder how it is a peanut grows?
Did you ever wonder why the peanut is sometimes referred to as a goober?
Did you ever wonder who first invented peanut butter?
Did you know that it takes 720 peanuts to make a one pound jar of peanut butter?
Did you know that South American Indians were the first peanut farmers?
Did you know that my Dad refused to eat peanut butter ever again after eating it everyday for two years on his mission for our church?
Well you will read all sorts of interesting things like the above (except that last tidbit, that one was free from my memory bank) in the cool kids book, "The Life and Times of the Peanut" by Charles Micucci.
It is full of fun illustrations and lots of cool and interesting facts.
And since the peanut is the 10th most important food crop in the United States and since you probably feed it to your children, you really should learn a little bit more about it.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I can think of two reasons you would not like these:
1-because you do not like peanut butter in which case, I am sad for you
2-If you like peanut butter and do not like this recipe it is probably going to be because you are used to sugar laden desserts. Wean yourself off of that bad magic food and taste and love real food. That is all.
Peanut Butter Bars
1 C. rolled oats
1 C. very hot water
1/2 C. butter, softened
1/2 C honey or agave
1 C. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 C natural peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Optional: I like to melt dark chocolate chips and spread on top. My kids like it when I actually add chocolate chips into the mix itself before baking. It really is yummy of course, because chocolate is just like that.
Soak oats in hot water in a bowl for a few minutes. Meanwhile cream butter, honey, and egg in another bowl. Add the oats, soda, peanut butter, and vanilla and stir until well combined. Spread in a 9 x 13 pan*. Bake at 350 for at least 15 minutes until done. Cool and cut into bars.
* I actually usually double this recipe and still put it in the one pan. This makes for thicker bars and you will need to cook them longer of course.
Mmmm....this will be one of the wholesome home made desserts I will turn to once I start eating sweets again.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
While we are on the subject of peanut butter, I thought I would post one of my all time favorite no sugar recipes.
I could eat these all day-and actually I have. I keep them in an airtight container in my fridge and whenever I get a hankering for some peanut butter goodness, I go and (try to) eat (just) one.
Peanut Butter (Power)Balls
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 T frozen 100%orange juice concentrate, thawed
6 T frozen 100% apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 Tsp vanilla
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut OR nonfat dry milk
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flax seed OR sesame seeds
1/3-2/3 cup chopped nuts of your choosing
Blend the peanut butter, juices, and vanilla in a bowl. Add coconut (or dry milk), oats, and flax seed (or sesame seeds) and mix until thoroughly blended.
Roll into balls 1 Tablespoon at a time. Then roll into the chopped nuts. Place the balls on wax paper to dry. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
This is not a low fat food in case you couldn't figure that out on your own. But it is very nutritious and delicious and high in protein. Enjoy in moderation-if you can!
Monday, January 10, 2011
So in the spirit of getting back into the swing of things I am picking up where I left off.
If you missed the first two Healthy Family Challenges, they are here (don't worry, they are painless):
This week's challenge is....
Switch to Natural Peanut Butter!
Are you shocked?
Is this a dead horse I refuse to stop beating?
Yes it is.
C'mon people. You can do it!
And here is why you should:
It is so much better for you.
Let's let the list of ingredients speak for themselves shall we?
Most true Natural Peanut Butters will or (should) contain just two ingredients: peanuts and salt
More than this is a no, no or what I like to call pornographic peanut butter.
Compare the ingredients on these popular brands:
The famous peanut butter that starts with an "S":
Roasted Peanuts, Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Cottonseed, Soybean and Rapeseed) to Prevent Separation, Salt.
This famous spread that begins with the same letter as my name:
ROASTED PEANUTS AND SUGAR. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: MOLASSES, FULLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (RAPESEED AND SOYBEAN), MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, SALT.
Both of these popular peanut butters not only have added sugar and hydrogenated oils, they also have 150 mg of sodium compared to just 45 mg in my favorite brand of peanut butter that I buy at Costco.
Just try it. It isn't going to kill you.
It may just add some years to your life.
And it tastes really good. I promise!
P.S. Stay tuned for more posts on peanut butter this week including some yummy recipes.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
So, yeah, I am off of sugar again.
The first time was my greatest success-5 years of being sugar free!
To read the sad story (which my sisters find funny) go here: My Sad Sugar Story
Since that time I have taken periodic breaks from sugar.
Now is such a time.
7 days and counting....
This is a deal that I have made with my daughter who is a sugar addict too.
We agreed to abstain from the sweet stuff until her 18th birthday at the end of February.
On that day we will be selective about what sweets we inhale-for inhaling is no doubt what we will do.
After that my plan is this: I will allow myself to have homemade treats made with wholesome ingredients once a week.
And if I break that rule (which could happen) I will impose the no sugar rule on myself once again.
I have talked about my inability to be a moderate sugar eater before. If you are the sort of person who can control your sugar consumption, I am happy for you (and maybe a little jealous).
But that is not working for me.
I am a work in progress.
P.S. For those of you who may be interested in my thoughts about food and health you can find those posts under "The Philosophies of Jen" in the labels section. They are not scholarly, nor particularly well-written, but may provide insight and/or be good for a laugh.