Thursday, July 28, 2011

Homemade Wheat Sandwich Bread

I have been on a quest lately to come up with a really good sandwich bread recipe that not only meets the requirement of being healthy but also edible by kid standards.  Store bought bread is convenient without a doubt, it also has a lot of junk in it.  Most supermarket brands have high fructose corn syrup in them.  Did you know that when you make bread the amount of sweetener needed is very small, just enough to feed the yeast.  My recipe has 2 tbs of honey for the entire loaf.  So the bread companies are putting high fructose corn syrup in because they are too cheap to spring for the tiny amount of more expensive, better quality sweetener.   Not to mention preservatives, that don't really seem to work that well considering my bread lately has been moldy  after a couple of days.

Homemade bread may seem very daunting, but it really is easy, especially if you have a bread machine.  You can do this in a kitchen aid mixer fitted with a dough hook or by hand if you don't have a bread machine.  With the machine it takes only a few minutes of my actual time.  This recipe was adapted from The Bread Bible but I did change a few things.

2 2/3 c. all purpose unbleached flour
1c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. buckwheat flour
1/2 c. flax seed
2 c. warm water
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs honey

In the pan of your bread machine or your bowl if not using the machine combine the flours and flax, make a well in the center and add the honey, yeast and salt followed by the water.  Set the machine to the dough cycle and leave it alone.  If mixing by hand or machine mix ingredients until a smooth ball of dough forms and let rise for 40 minutes.  After the dough is done, remove from machine or bowl and punch down on a floured surface, the dough will be slightly sticky. Place in a well greased loaf pan and cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap.

Let rise for 50 minutes.  Meanwhile heat oven to 375 and place racks on the lowest two positions, place a cookie sheet on each rack.  When the dough has risen, very carefully remove the plastic wrap and gently but quickly score the top with a sharp knife.

 Very gently place loaf pan on top of the top cookie sheet in oven, pour 1/2 c. ice cubes onto the lower pan and gently close the oven.  Let bake for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven and remove loaf fro pan to cool.  Let cool two hours before cutting.  Keep bread tightly wrapped and it will keep for 3 days.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More Homemade Yumminess

Even though it is unbearably hot outside this week (heat index of 110) I've still been spending a good amount of my time in the kitchen.  I try to avoid the oven though.  I'm still working my way through the Eating Well cookbook, which I love and yesterday I checked out a book on making bread and one on ice cream as well.  So this is what has been in the kitchen the last two days.

This morning the kids wanted chocolate chip pancakes and I happily obliged.  I was so happy to have local farm fresh milk, eggs and honey to use in this recipe.

1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. milk
1 egg beaten
1 tbs honey
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
2 tbs canola oil or butter
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together in bowl, the mixture will still be slightly lumpy.  Spoon 1/2 c per pancake onto either a hot griddle or pan.

This was my crazy amazing breakfast.  Irish oats with farm fresh blackberries and drinkable peach yogurt.  This tasted like dessert, it was sooo good.

Blackberry Peach Oatmeal
1/2 c. irish oats
1c. water
handful of fresh blackberries
1 tbs agave nectar
1/2 c. drinkable peach yogurt or kefir

Place water, oats, agave and berries in bowl and heat for 3 minutes in microwave.  Stir and let cool for a minute, then add a few more fresh berries and pour the yogurt on top.

This was last night's dinner.  I made the mozzarella burger from Eating Well although I changed the recipe quite a bit. I added in some steamed green beans and a little leftover orzo from the night before.

Mozzarella Burgers
1lb lean ground turkey
2 tbs Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp Worcestershire
salt and pepper
1/4 c. mozzarella cheese plus an additional 1/4 c for the tops
foccacia bread
Muir Glen Pizza sauce
1 tbs lemon zest

Mix together the turkey, spices, Worcestershire, garlic and lemon zest.  Make into 8 thin patties.  In the center of 4 patties add a spoon full of cheese top with another patty and press the edges closed.  Cook until done through.  Place cooked burger on top of a thin slice of foccacia and top with the pizza sauce and a sprinkle of cheese.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Day Of Food

I've really been enjoying the slow pace of summer and making nutritious meals for my family.  I've been trying to make a new recipe every day and I'm trying hard to keep those recipes healthy and full of local fresh veggies.  So I thought I would share my day in food with you guys.

For breakfast I had banana bread oatmeal.
1/2 c. Irish oats
1 c. water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp agave nectar
1 banana
7 walnut halves

In a bowl combine oats, water, agave, cinnamon and nutmeg heat in microwave for 3 minutes.  Stir in sliced banana and walnuts

For lunch I had a homemade veggie burger with some shreds of local cheddar cheese on it.
2 cooked red potatoes
1/2 c. black beans
1/2 c. irish oats
1/4 c. shredded zucchini
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1 clove garlic
seasonings to taste ( I like McCormick Hickory Maple)
sometimes I add a little egg if the mixture doesn't want to stick together

Puree all ingredients in food processor until no large lumps are visible.  It will be like a paste.  Spread four equal size portions into burger shapes in a hot greased pan.  Cook until firm and brown.

For dinner we had 'Disappearing Zucchini Orzo' from "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle"

Finally this is what dessert has been looking like in our house these days.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Shoe Giveaway

Danielle at Sometimes Sweet is hosting a great shoe giveaway all this week.  Make sure you stop by and sign up!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Power Smoothie Recipe

Well I've had a whirlwind week here at the abode.  The 4th of July was tons of fun, so much so that I took no pictures at all!  I was just so busy being.  I wish I had in hindsight.  We also started doing p90x this week.  Today is day 5.  Let me tell you it is not for the weak of heart .  I have had some days were I've made it all the way through the grueling hour plus workouts and some where my body has given out before the end of the tape, and I literally mean that.  I haven't just given up my arms have given out.  I'm trying to push myself for as long as I can in each workout.  Last night was by far the toughest and it was the one I was most looking forward to, Yoga.  The Yoga is 1.5 hours long, I only made it through about 35 minutes of it which was all plank and downward facing dogs into runner pose, with a few warrior poses thrown in.  My arms were trembling and I just could not do one more. I wish I had stuck with it, my husband did and said that as soon as I left they stopped doing planks, of course.  With that being said I've been reading Tony Horton's Bring It book, and I really like his philosophy on food, I've been trying to get rid of so much processed unhealthy food for more whole foods and natural foods.  I feel so much better when I don't eat bad and getting rid of the artificial sweeteners, caffeine and garbage makes me feel great.  So this week I made a little jaunt to Whole Foods to get a few things and made my take on a power smoothie.  I don't use protein powder in mine but I do when I make my husbands, but for me it's too many calories.  I made this yesterday afternoon before my workout and it gave me such great energy, better than an energy drink!

Power Smoothie Recipe
4 oz. Strawberry Kefir
5 frozen strawberries
7 frozen blackberries
1 package or serving Amazing Grass Chocolate Flavor
1 tbs Chia Seeds soaked in 2 tbs water
splash of skim milk if needed to thin

Pour everything into your blender and puree until smooth.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Back on Track

Well, I lost 2 lbs this week getting me to the 50 lb mark! I also bought a new pair of Reeboks, tossing out the old crappy New Balance. Such a difference. Today I did Yoga with the kids and then the treadmill and topped it off with weights. I also should say that I have thrown the Candida diet out the window. I tried I really did, but I wasn't doing good. Part of my success at Weight Watchers has been eating a good breakfast with lots of fiber. It's really hard to get enough fiber on such a limited diet. I'm glad I went back to eating normal, I feel better.  I have been changing some foods, trying to find better alternatives.  I use to eat a lot of Fiberone bars, but recently switched to GNU bars, they are all natural and have more fiber and no high fructose corn syrup.  I also switched to Kashi bars for snack bars.  This morning I had a bowl of shredded wheat with kefir and a banana, so good and so filling.  How is your week going so far?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Shoes?

So this morning I woke up bright and early, donned my workout gear and went downstairs to do my Bootcamp video. I was about 10 minutes in and in the middle of doing jumping jacks when I felt a pop in my knee and couldn't do another jumping jack. Also my feet were killing me after only 10 minutes. I'm 100% sure that it's my shoes that are to blame. I've had the same pair of poorly fitting New Balance for the last 5 or 6 years (sad, I know) They give me no support, it feels like I might as well be wearing flip flops. They are too wide and too big and just bad. I have another cheap pair of tennis shoes from Target (also at least 4 years old) that are too small and hurt my toes when I wear them. I think I'm just going to break down and get a new pair and I guess I'll stick to Yoga and weights for a few days until my knee feels better. Anyone have any good suggestions for shoes?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quinoa Breakfast Porridge

Well on my quest to find suitable foods for this Candida diet I have found breakfast to be the hardest. Most mornings I just drink a glass of Kefir and call it a day. After a while though, that gets pretty boring. So I decided to try out quinoa for breakfast. In case you don't know about quinoa let me fill you in. Quinoa is a grain-like seed that can be cooked as you would rice, it is also a rare complete plant based protein, containing 12-18% protein and having a balanced set of amino acids. It is a good source of fiber, phosphorous, magnesium and iron and it's gluten free. It's pretty much a perfect food. We often make it for dinner with lots of veggies, beans and a little chicken. This week I bought a box of it and cooked the whole thing so I would have it ready in the fridge. So one morning for breakfast I mixed a little unsweetened coconut milk, stevia and fresh berries into and heated it up like you would oatmeal. At the end I added a little cinnamon. It was really good although the texture took a little getting used to, and I was really full all morning. If you have never tried quinoa before I can't recommend it enough, it's such a versatile food.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weight Watchers Update

Had a great week this week. I weighed in yesterday and lost 3lbs!! I think doing the Candida diet has made a difference. I'm still doing Weight Watchers but I've cut out most of the sugar and all of the bread. I've been trying really hard on the Candida diet but I've decided there is no way to go cold turkey on it. I've been easing myself into it. I've had a few slips I ate a regular tortilla, a scoop of ice cream and some balsamic vinegar dressing, not together of course :) Those were my big slips, so not too bad for a week. I've been eating a lot of quinoa, veggies, kefir and brown rice cakes, tortillas and crackers. I've eaten a ridiculous amount of cucumbers, they are just so good. As far as workouts go, last week they were all in the pool, except for one day when we went to the zoo and I counted walking the zoo as a workout. It was in the upper 90's here all last week and that was all I could make myself do. I did do strength training a few days, but this week I really want to make sure I'm doing it everyday switching between legs and arms. So looking forward to another good week this week, we're off to the zoo again today.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Candida Diet Day 1

Have you ever had that moment where you realize something so obvious that that you feel kind of dumb for not thinking of it sooner? I totally had that moment this week. I've been battling a really bad sinus infection that I'm sure was allergy induced. I am seriously allergic to mold. When I was tested the doctor had to redo all of my tests because I reacted so strongly to mold that it covered all the other test marks. So knowing this I try and avoid mold. I don't go into the basement or damp areas, I wear a mask when raking leaves and I take an allergy medicine every day. Yet I still end up getting sick from my allergies a lot. I always have this drainage going on. So here I am making something to eat the other day and I had this realization that I never considered the foods I eat as a culprit in my allergies. I mean hello, cheese and mold go hand in hand!

I started reading up on it and found that a lot of people have relieved themselves of their allergy symptoms by following a yeast free/mold free diet. It's kind of extreme, there is a lot that you can't have. You have to avoid sugar since it feeds yeast and mold in your body, a lot of fruits are out since they have high mold contents, basically you can have berries. Starchy vegetables have to be avoided for the same reasons. Peanuts, out. Breads or anything made with wheat or oats, out. Dairy, out. The good news is that vegetables are in and beans are okay as long as they are made from dried and not purchased canned. Meat and eggs are okay and kefir and yogurt are in. Stevia is the only sweetener that you can have. Most nuts are okay and grains like brown rice, buckwheat and quinoa are all acceptable. I have been thinking for a long time about giving up dairy since it absolutely kills my stomach and makes my drainage way worse. So I don't think that will be that bad. I also can't have caffeine, so no coffee, which is also okay because every time I drink that I feel terrible also. I can drink water and ginger tea and some almond milks.

After thinking about my day and how I eat I've realized that i really only need to make a few changes. This is what my typical meals look like and the Candida/Mold free changes that I hope to make;

I always eat a fiberone bar and banana

Candida/Mold free switch will be 1 cup Kefir or greek yogurt and berries.

I most often have a lo carb tortilla with black beans, peppers, lettuce, onion and a tiny amount of dressing.

Candida/Mold free switch will be either finding a buckwheat tortilla or skipping the tortilla and adding extra lettuce. The dressing will have to go but I'l either replace it with a dressing made from greek yogurt or a squeeze of lime.

I usually have either kefir, yogurt or carrots dipped in a greek yogurt dip.

Candida/Mold free switch: I'll probably just switch the carrots for bell pepper strips.

I usually have a lean protein (chicken, fish, beef) and veggies. Sometimes we have pasta or wraps.

Candida/Mold free switch: I'll be eating more brown rice and quinoa in place of pasta and as I said I'm hoping to find a tortilla substitute. We usually have fish that has a very light breading so that's out. I also love potatoes so that will probably be the hardest thing to give up. I'll be increasing my intake of greens, broccoli, squash and green beans.

This is the tough one. If I have dessert I usually eat a weight watcher ice cream. Ice cream is my weakness, even though my stomach hurts every time I eat it.

Candida/Mold free switch: I'm hoping that I can find a sorbet that is made with Stevia that would be awesome or maybe a coconut milk ice cream with Stevia.

So anyway, I'm headed to Whole Foods today to see what I can find and to get some Grapefruit seed extract since I keep hearing how great is is for sinus infections. I'm at least committed to giving this diet a good try while maintaining my weight watchers diet. If it made a change in my life where I didn't feel sick all the time it would be worth giving up any food.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Weight Watchers Update

I was back on track this week at my weigh in and lost 2lbs. I worked out quite a bit this week and would have worked out everyday if I hadn't ended up with Strep throat and a crazy bad sinus infection mid week. I spent several days just lounging since any movement caused a serious amount of coughing and sweating. I did follow the plan very carefully and tried to stick to mostly whole foods. I ate a lot of red, yellow and orange peppers, pineapple, black beans and bananas this week. I also tried salmon burgers for the first time and they are delicious. So this week I am trying to get back on track with the workouts, at least doing weights for strength and some pool workouts until the coughing fits subside and I can start doing some treadmill and boot camp workouts.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Deals From This Week

This week has been a good week for deals on my end. I broke down and bought a few dresses from Avenue this weekend since they had summer dresses on sale for 14.99 with an extra 25% off and free shipping which made them 11.24 each. Can't beat that! I also went to Walgreens and bought 38 dollars worth of merchandise which included: 2 Axe deodorants, a Gilette Fusion Razor, 2 Suave lotions, 2 Suave Conditioners, 4 packs of Orbit gum and a pack of Cottonelle Fresh Wipes. My total after coupons and two register rewards from the previous week was 7.12 and I got 8 dollars in register rewards to use on my next purchase. So far I'm having a great week for deals, what are some good deals you have come across?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Weight Watchers Update

(image at weheartit)

This week was rough. I didn't lose anything at my weigh in Sunday. I know it was because I didn't pay close enough attention to my nutrition. I'm not going to make any excuses for myself, the week was really busy with my husband out of town and preparations for my son's birthday party and I let that get in my way. I know better and this week I'm kicking it up a notch and making sure I follow the program to a tee. I want to be down 50 lbs by my daughter's birthday on June 20th, so I have a few lbs to lose over the next few weeks. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Fitness Routine

(image at weheartit)

I'm just going to go ahead and state the fact that I hate working out. I've tried and tried over the years to get into a fitness routine, but I just hate doing it. I know that it's something I have to do if I want to reach my fitness goals. I don't really want to be thin and flabby I'd like to be a healthy weight and fit. I'm never going to be one of these people who exercises for 2 hours everyday. I read an interview with Gwyneth Paltrow recently were she talked about the fact that she does 2 hours a day 6 days a week and she says that is doable for all women. Well maybe for all women who have a nanny and a housekeeper. I'm aiming for an hour a day at least 5 days a week. If I only do 40 minutes though then that's fine too. I've been going between working out in the pool with pool dumbells where I do water jogging, swim laps and do strength training in the pool to doing the treadmill and strength training with weights. The husband and I are also doing crunches before bed. I can do 25 right now and my goal is to add on 5 each week. I'm also doing some modified push ups, and hopefully soon I can do the real thing. I've also been trying to incorporate fun things into working out. Both of the kids are learning to ride bikes without training wheels and let me tell you running behind them holding onto their bikes is quite the whole body workout! We also bought a zoo pass so hopefully I'll be hitting th zoo at least once a week and getting a workout walking through there. It's definitely going to be a challenge over the summer to get my work out in with two kids home so I'm sure I'll be getting more creative with the workouts as time goes on this summer.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Weight Watchers Update

So this Sunday when I weighed in I had lost 3 lbs. I was kind of surprised because the week before I only lost 1. I've been pretty consistently losing 2 each week, so maybe it just balanced its self out. So that brought my weight loss to a total of 41 lbs. I'm loving that I'm losing weight and I feel so committed to weight watchers but I have been struggling with the fact that nothing fits. I don't want to keep buying a new wardrobe every 2 months. I've been getting a few pieces as I go down each size. I'm officially down two sizes. I'm just trying to imagine the awesome wardrobe I'll buy when I reach my goal weight :)


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Summer Shoes I'm Dreaming Of

Oh if I had a million dollars I would spend a big whopping chunk on shoes.  I've been drooling over a lot of cute styles for summer this year.  In the past I've spent the summers in flip flops, but I'm really trying to branch out and honestly so far this year I haven't even glanced at a pair of flip flops.  So here are some of my favorites for summer and I've put them together with some cute outfits to show how I would wear them.  I tried to keep all of the items under $50 dollars.

Look 1: The Flat Sandal
Keeping the little black dress casual and fresh with flat braided sandals, pops of color, a straw bag and a denim jacket.

Look 2: The Wedge Sandal
I would keep these towering wedges simple with a maxi dress and earthy jewelry.

Look 3: The Sneaker
I love the look of the classic Ked sneaker in red, I would pair it with some ethnic inspired jewelry and punches of turquoise.

Look 4: The Colorful Flat
I would pair this mustard flat with navy and gold.


Monday, May 9, 2011

This Weekend in Pictures

We had the best weekend.  Friday afternoon was spent at the park playing and taking a walk around the lake.  Saturday we cleaned out the flower beds, hit the Home Depot for some pretty new flowers and planted all of the pots and beds.  Tim surprised me with tickets to see Junip this coming Saturday as my Mother's Day present.  It was really sweet, and it happens to be on the same day that we had our first date eleven years earlier and at the same place.  Sunday I got up and cleaned and then my mom and dad and sister and her family came over for lunch and then we went for frozen yogurt, but the frozen yogurt machine was broken so that was a bummer, but the kids had ice cream so they were happy.  After that we walked across the street to a flower market and my mom and dad let the kids each pick out some flowers to buy for my sister and I.  Later we came home and the kids played for a while and then we went over to the church next door and the kids practiced riding their bikes.  It was the first day for Iris without training wheels and while she was a little scared at first she was doing pretty good by the time we left.  Harper was riding his balance bike and the kid is a little demon on it.  He figured out how to ride with his feet up and was cruising all through the parking lot. He was even going down hill and through puddles.  It was a great weekend spent with my family and just hanging out with the kids.

I drank too many of these, they are so good but they don't sell them in our city so Tim buys them when he's away on business.

Iris having fun on the swings in the park

H hanging out in the tunnel

I love this little face 

Daddy and Iris


Harper made me this at school on Friday.  So sweet.

My little garden helper

My big garden helper :)

Homemade pizza on Saturday, yum.

Strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Sunday bike riding.

Iris, getting the hang of it.

How was your weekend?


Friday, May 6, 2011

My Best Coupon Deals of the Week

Hey all, here is a round up of the best coupon deals that I actually used this week.  I know there might be better deals out there but I want to show you what I actually did.

Target deals

Deal 1:  I bought two sets of Old Spice body wash, they come with one full size and one half size and can be found on an endcap at Target.  The price is 4.00 for each set, which is already a good deal since one bottle is normally 4.00. I used a BOGO coupon found in the 5/1 newspaper and a 1.00 off coupon found in the Target coupons that were in the 5/1 newspaper.

2 sets- 8.00
-4.00 (BOGO)
-1.00 (Target Coupon)
= 3.00 for two sets of body wash

Deal 2:  I bought two boxes of John Frieda Foam Hair Dye.  I used two 5.00 off coupons found in the 5/1 newspaper plus two 5.00 off Target coupons found on their website.

2 boxes John Freida Hair Dye- 23.98
- (2) 5.00 (5/1 paper)
- (2) 5.00 (Target online)
= 3.98 for two boxes of hair dye
* bonus, they give you a 5.00 giftcard when you buy two boxes so you actually end up making a dollar off this deal.

Deal 3: I bought ten Weight Watchers Smartones frozen meals on sale for 1.89.  I used a 3.00 off 10 coupon found on the Weight Watchers site.

10 Smartones- 19.80
-3.00 (ww printable)
=16.80 for 10
*bonus, you get a 5.00 giftcard when you buy 10 so they actually end up costing you 1.18 per meal.

JCPenny Deal

If you got a 10.00 off of 10.00 coupon in the mail you only have a few more days to use it.  They have lots of jewelry on sale for 50% off this week so I bought a cute charm bracelet and pair of Liz Claiborne Earrings.

Charm Bracelet 18.00 - 50% off = 9.00
Earrings 10.00- 50% off = 5.00

Total before tax=14.00
-10.00 coupon

So those are my favorite deals of the week, I hope you are getting some good deals with your coupons!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

House Party!!

Are you down with House Party?  If you haven't heard yet this site works with companies to offer up party opportunities.  All you have to do is go to their site and register.  After that keep your eyes open for a party that you are interested in hosting, apply for it and then wait.  After a few weeks they will let the chosen folks know.  If you are selected you get a party package for the item you are promoting.

I hosted my first House Party this past Saturday for Weight Watchers Ice Cream.  It was a pretty great experience.  They provided me with coupons for all of the ice cream, a few items to help with the party and some fun activities for my guests.  We had a great time hanging out and eating some yummy snacks.  One of my favorite activities was making inspiration boards with the ladies.  We cut out magazine pictures and words that went with our goals and made little collages.  Mine is hanging on my fridge and every time I see it I remember my goals.

Check out some of the fun pictures from my House Party and head over there now to register for yours.

inspiration boards

girls working hard 

strawberry shortcake kabobs

Drink bar

All the yummy goodness