Friday, November 30, 2012

In this moment

A Friday ritual.  A single photo- no words- capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Soup for Me!

After having a couple 'non vegan' soups lately I was ready for something for me.  Well, not just for me, but something that I could enjoy!  And of course I always hope the kids will at least have a 'no thank you' bite.  Last night was Lentil and Sausage soup; courtesy of Linda McCartney.

Linda McCartney was a pioneer of vegetarian cooking.  Many of her recipes are suitable for vegans as well.  Linda McCartney on Tour is a wonderful cookbook, one of my favorites for over 13 years. 

For the record, cooking with a glass of wine is a cook essential! ;)
I used a Chorizo Veggie sausage for the spice in the soup, instead of the chili pepper ingredient of the recipe.  I felt the spice would be more subtle for the kids.

Red lentil cook up much quicker than green or brown lentils.  The soup cooks up thick in about 20 minutes!

When the kids finish their bowl, you know it's good!

My biggest critic gave it a thumbs up!  Reluctantly, for he just knew he was going to "hate it".  But after his 'no thank you' bite, this was his verdict!  That works for me!

Spicy Lentil Soup with Sausages

Serves 4-6
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 dried red chili pepper (optional. I used Chorizo veggie sausage instead.)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup of red lentils
6 cups vegetable stock
2/3 cup tomato juice
8 vegetarian sausages, grilled
sea salt and pepper to taste.
freshly chopped parsley to garnish

Heat oil in a large saucepan.  Add the chopped onion, carrots and celery and optional pepper, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the garlic and spices.  Cook for a further minute or two, then stir in the lentils.  Gradually stir in the stock and tomato juice.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Cut the grilled sausages into thick slices.  Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the sausage slices.  Season with salt and pepper.
Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Soup time!

As the days get colder there's nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of soup.  What's even better is making it in your crock pot!  Dinner is cooking away while you're at work, helping kids with home work or whatever is on your schedule for the day.

On the menu is Hearty Aphabet Soup.  This is a kid friendly soup loaded with veggies, a bit of meat (if desired) and alphabet pasta.  I love it when the kids search out the letters and shout out the recognition!  A little education at meal time is always a great thing.

Hearty Alphabet Soup
makes 5 to 6 servings
ideal slow cooker: 3 1/2 quart
1/2 lb beef stew meat or round steak, cubed.*
14 1/2 oz can stewed tomatoes
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup of water
1.25 oz envelope dry onion soup mix
10 oz package frozen vegetable, partially thawed
1/2 cup uncooked alphabet pasta
1. Combine meat, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water and soup mix in clow cooker
2. Cover and cook on high 1 hour and then on low 4 to 6 hours.
3. Turn heat to high. Stir in vegetable and pasta.  Add more water if mixture is too dry or thick.
4.Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
*My family doesn't eat alot of meat.  When they do (I'm a vegan) I only serve organic or meat from animals raised without GMO's and are grass.  I strongly believe that in order to be healthy, we need to eat foods that are healthy.

I served this with fresh drop biscuits.  Perfect on a cold night!
Next crock pot concoction: Split Pea and Ham soup.  I must really love my husband!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Baking Workshop

What is one of the things that all parents wished they had during the holidays?  Time!  There is so much to do; shopping, decorating, cooking, baking.  It becomes overwhelming!

Kids love to bake; especially around the Holidays.  Treat yourself and your child to a day of baking for them and extra time for you to get those last minute things done. Or just an afternoon of quiet for that matter! ;)

Holiday Baking Workshop
 For children ages 5 and up

Saturday, December 15th

Noon - 3pm

A healthy holiday snack will be provided.
$40 per child.

Children will bake holiday cookies and treats while listening to holiday music to get us in the spirit of the season.  Recipes will be sent home along with cookies in a festive tin to share.

**Space is limited, this is a first come first serve basis.**
Reserve a spot for your little one today

Monday, November 26, 2012

Post Holiday

I'm late getting to the party here today, I apologize!

Last night I returned from a fun filled weekend in the mountains with some special ladies. Every year, we get together the weekend after Thanksgiving for a little shopping, little eating, drinking and lots of laughs!  We get a head start on our Holiday shopping( I think I'm pretty much finished! :D ), eat at some fabulous places such as Peaches (of course!) and tried a few new places such as Front side Grind. I really liked this place!   And the laughs...!  As when the search for the perfect place for that perfect martini got us a little lost.  All we wanted was a warm fire to sit by while sipping that martini!  Luckily we kept our humor and found this place.  And I'm so glad we did because now I want to go back with the hubby! ;)  The laughs and libations continue at our hotel room; all the while remembering "quiet hours"!   Even when a couple of the ladies felt under the weather, cold induced not alcohol, we still managed to have a great time!

Today, with my cheeks still a bit sore from laughing, my belly and heart very full, my wallet not so much, I return to my home.  A place I always love to be.  I missed my babies so.  But they had a great time with their daddy and for that I'm very grateful.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and long weekend!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


So much activity going on around this house.  Of course Thanksgiving.  We also have birthdays and family traveling and arriving from a distance.  Soon we will gather around the table and remember all we're thankful for.  I'm so very thankful for my family and friends.  The blessings that my children bring me each and everyday.  The opportunity to write and in turn have people read.  Thank you to YOU.  I'm thankful for the chance to help Healthy Appetites come to life.  So much thanks!

For now I will sign off to spend quality time with my family.  I will return on Monday with a recap of the days events. 

Happy Thankgiving to you all!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stone Soup

Yesterday I had the pleasure of cooking in my son's first grade class.  We made our version of Stone Soup.  Stone Soup is a wonderful story about :Three strangers, hungry and tired, pass through a town, torn by war.  The people of the village are wary of strangers and lock their doors and windows tight not wanting anything to do with them.  Until the strangers suggest making a soup from stones.  The villagers are intrigued by the idea.  They decide to bring whatever they have on hand to contribute to the soup.  The strangers and villagers make a soup fit for a king!

                              This was a fantastic activity to bring a wonderful story to life!

Our soup was full of veggies; carrots, red peppers, celery, onion, red potatoes in a chicken stock base.
The kids were so excited to make soup out of stones.  "Is there a real stone in there?"  "Where did you get the stone from?"  I love how curious the kids were; about the story and the soup! And what better time of year to teach children to come together, bringing a little something with them to create something new?!  Brilliant!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Holiday Eats.

This time of year brings much excitement in the kitchen.  The aromas, sounds, tastes...ooh so much to enjoy.  Much of this excitement is sparked by ideas.  For me,ideas start with the arrival of a few of my favorite magazines.   Their glossy pages just overflowing with delectable delights!  See...I'm getting excited just thinking about it.

I can sit for hours, if allowed to, and read page after page of these magazines.  Like reading a novel, cookbooks and magazines are just as entertaining.  Really, food tells a great story.  The beginning (planning), the journey (cooking), the ending (eating).  Truly a best seller!

The holiday I host is Christmas Eve. A small gathering of family.  appetizers, drinks, main dishes, deserts...the works.  I usually start the planning now.  Gathering ideas of exactly what I'd like to make 'this year'.  Many times, I find I cook up an Italian meal.  Maybe because of my heritage, I love to keep tradition alive.  My grandmother always had a traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner.  With Bacala salad (salted cod and vinegar peppers), the traditional fish dishes (I remember wanting to burn my clothes when coming home the smell seeps into everything!),  spaghetti aioli.  Such special times for me and my family.

But I will continue to read through all these delicious magazines and cookbooks and get my creative juices boiling.  To pick the perfect meal to make this holiday.

What do you cook for the holiday?  What are your fondest holiday food memories?

Friday, November 16, 2012

In this moment

In this moment
A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A most special day

            Our sweet Roman turns 7 today!  As I type this sentence, I'm at a loss for words as to how this is possible.  These years have just flown by.  It was just yesterday that he joined us, wasn't it?
7 years ago. 

 Here he is the funny, loving, sweet, thoughtful,strong, talented boy he's become.
My heart just swells with so much love for this little boy. 

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy! xxoo 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fruit yogurt smoothie

With winter right around the corner, whether we like it or not, cold season is never too far behind.

This time of year,  it's so important to drink plenty of fluids, get lots of protein and vitamin C.  This smoothie packs a healthy punch!  We used Greek Frozen Yogurt for extra protein and nutritional value; and the OJ is a good choice for your Vitamin C.

Fruit Yogurt Smoothie-Makes 1 serving
Fill a cup half way with frozen yogurt
Pour yogurt into blender
Pour juice in blender just to cover yogurt
Blend. Enjoy!
Two simple, nutritious ingredients for one tasty smoothie!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Stir fry

Some nights there just doesn't seem to be enough time.  With homework, activities, work and life the task of getting a healthy meal on the table can be daunting.  But I've found that a stir fry is great for those busy nights.

Packed with veggies, it's nutritious.  I like to add peppers of various colors, mushrooms, pea pods, onions and whatever else I may have on hand.  The more colorful it is, the more appealing it is to eat.
Sometimes I'll add some chicken for when Dan thinks he needs a little something extra. ;)

Roman loves to add bamboo shoots.
"Mama! Did you know that bamboo is a kind of grass?"
"No buddy, I didn't!"
I'm thinking he may have learned this here.
I also love this Chinese Brown Sauce recipe.  It's lower in salt than straight up Soy Sauce.  And for that I like to use Braggs.
Chinese Brown Sauce - via Forks Over Knives
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup date molasses or brown rice syrup
2 tsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tsp arrowroot powder
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Store refrigerated in air tight container for up to 1 week.
And really, what's more fun or a better excuse to use your chopsticks?
I found Sophia's chopsticks here.
What are some of your quick and healthy meal ideas?

Monday, November 12, 2012


During the month of November, we tend to become aware of what we are grateful for.  I assume it's because of Thanksgiving.  But I also find it 'funny' that we tend not to remember this year round.

A very dear friend of mine, Jessica, got me thinking.  A family project of a grateful journal. During the month of November, and randomly throughout the year, she and her family share what they are grateful for that day.  She records them in a journal and then has a hard copy to reminisce what each other has said.  It's a fantastic way to get your children to think about what means the most to them.  To appreciate things daily.

Such a great idea.  One I'd like to start with me family.  Not only this month, but all year long.

Thanks my dear friend!

Friday, November 9, 2012

In this moment

Again, another Friday and I'm finding that I have more to share than just one photo.

Old man winter decided to pay us a visit this Autumn day.  My son was so excited to find snow when he looked out our bedroom window.  Even more excited that there was a 2 hour delay of school.  He quickly got dressed, geared up in his winter coat, hat, gloves and boots.  Grabbed his snow shovel and was out the door.  Roman LOVES to shovel! He'll shovel anything;  the deck, patio, sections of yard and of course the driveway.  Our neighbors frequently comment on how ambitious his is taking on the snow and working so hard. 

Unfortunately, the snow then turned to rain.  As I brought him inside, got him warmed up by the fire, he said; "Mama, will it snow again?"  Oh yes, my baby, it will snow again.  For that we can be certain.  After all, we do live in New England!

Happy Friday to you all!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Slowing down

For me, daylight savings is met with mixed reviews.  On the one hand it's not my favorite time for the simple fact that it really effects the way my children sleep.  Me too for that matter.  The kids are up even earlier than before; they've never been late sleepers.  I'm finding myself awake in the middle of the night staring at the clock. Sleep deprivation is a really problem.

On the other hand, I enjoy the way it 'forces' us to slow down.  When the sun goes down at 4:30, I feel the night closing in on us.  In a good way!  It envelopes us.  Quiets things down, a bit anyway.  The rushed feeling I feel when the kids are still outside until past dinner time is gone.  The nights seem longer ( that can be good and bad depending on the day).  

It really is a love-hate relationship.  I will chose to embrace it.  For now.  I'm sure I will feel differently in the late, dark nights or winter.  Craving my warm sunshine and long sunny days.

For now, I like slowing down.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Change is here - New Name

As you can see, my blog name is changing.  This is all part of the process as I start my own business, Healthy Appetites, LLC!  This is the BIG news I've been dying to share with you!

I'm very excited to bring  a healthy outlook on food to school aged children in the form of cooking classes.  I will be offering 6 week courses in after school enrichment, preschool/home school programs, school vacations; as well as cooking themed birthday parties!

I hope that you all continue to join me each day as I share recipes, class news and insightful tips to be shared with your little ones.  As well as any grandchildren, friends, nieces and nephews out there!  And if you know of anyone interested in encouraging a child's excitement about cooking, please pass along my info.  You can also find me on Facebook at Healthy Appetites, LLC.

As my blog name is changing, so will the address of this blog.  Please note the new address is:


Healthy Appetites - Last class

Sniff!  I can't believe we've come to the end of the enrichment class. The last 6 weeks has simply flown by.  Sniff!

In the beginning, I wasn't sure how the kids would respond to this class. Requests for baking cupcakes, brownies and cakes were what they were asking for.  In turn, I wasn't sure how I was going to teach 12 kids how to cook healthy food...and like it!

But we seemed to have surprised each other!  The kids were excited about most of the foods we were making.  Soon they were requesting ravioli's and seafood!  When they weren't thrilled about something we made, they tried it first before coming to that conclusion.  That's huge for a kid!  In my house we call that the 'No thank you bite'.

Alas, the request for cupcakes and smoothies are what they are hoping for the last class.  I can't deprive them of every "fun" food.  I've found a healthy cupcake recipe that I think they're going to enjoy.   Due to the lack of access to an oven, and time constraints, I will bake the cupcakes at home and bring them in for the kids to decorate.  We'll also make a smoothie that I think will go well with the cupcakes.

Carrot and Pineapple Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
1 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup agave or honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and shredded
1/4 cup pineapple, drained, crushed in juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a medium sized bowl.
3. Using a mixer, beat the agave, oil and eggs until thoroughly combined
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
5. Add the carrots and pineapple and beat until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
6. Line 14 regular muffin tins or mini muffin tins with  paper liners.
7. Scoop batter into cups, filling 3/4 full.
8. Bake for 30 minutes for regular sized muffin tins or 15 minutes for mini muffins tins.
9. Cool (cupcakes can be made 1 day ahead, cover and store at room temperature)
10. Spread top of each cupcake with 2 tbsp of cream cheese icing and serve.

Cream Cheese Icing
1 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1.Place all ingredients in a mixer and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy.

I have truly enjoyed the time I've shared with this great group of kids.  I hope their curiosity and eagarness to cook continues at home and their parents will join them in their excitement!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

I am not one to stand on a soap box on any social media and pledge my political beliefs.
I am not going to start here. 
I will say that I hope you all go out and vote.  No matter whom you vote for, every vote matters.
This election seems very different from recent ones. I, for one, am still not sure what the right choice is. I've never experienced this. My past decisions have always been cut and dry. Black and white. Easy.
I will not let this deter me.  If anything, it makes it even more important to get out and vote.  I matter!  My family matters!  YOU matter! 

Good luck today. 

Monday, November 5, 2012


 Yes, I know.... I'm late to getting things going here this morning.  I do apologize.

Though, it was a busy morning.  A drive to the state's capital for some paperwork and business.  Just a few pieces left in the big plans I have in store. ;)

Hold tight my friends.... soon!

Friday, November 2, 2012

In this moment

This week, amongst all the wicked weather, I found lots of beauty.  It was difficult to capture just one moment from the week that was extraordinary and special.  Instead, I will share with you a few moments I'd like to pause, savor and remember....

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Change is coming...

I'm almost at the end of teaching Healthy Appetites for the enrichment program. With only one class left,  I have to say I'm a bit sad.  As much as I hear the theme song of OO7 - Mission Impossible- playing in my head most weeks, I can honestly say I've really enjoyed this!  These kids have come a long way!  Wanting to participate, create, explore and have fun.  It's been a wonderful experience!

This week, with our class meeting on Halloween, I thought it would be perfect to make Mummy Pizzas.  Just the mention of making pizza with kids, and instantly you're a Rock Star!
It was great fun watching the kids create their own Mummies.  Some were "traditional", some were "blindfolded" aka, no olives and some still were more like grilled cheeses!  It amazes me how creative they can be.  And isn't it even more amazing that the kids are comfortable enough to make them exactly the way they want them to be.  Oh, how wonderful this class has been!

The kids are already asking what we will make for our last class.  The consensus is cupcakes and smoothies.  Hmmm....wonder if I can find a healthy cupcake recipe.  I'm sure I can in find something here.  Smoothies are generally healthy with fruits and yogurt. My thinking cap is on already.

But as this class is coming to an end; I'm excited to say it won't end here.  Friends, great things are coming.  I'm very excited, jumping out of my skin, but not wanting to jinx things.  Please stay tuned.... the future sure does look bright! ;)

Wishing you a Terrific Thursday!