Friday, November 1, 2013

Weelicious Lunches Review- Recipe #1

You may remember this summer I announced that I was honored to be given the opportunity to write a review for Weelicious Lunches by Catherine McCord.  I have been slowly....ever so slowly.....but heartfelt and surely (if that makes sense) getting this done.  It has not been for a lack in the cookbook whatsoever; definitely not.  It's more for my time management handicap and the simply delicious fact that I can't put the cookbook down long enough to get out of the kitchen and put finger to keys and write the darn thing!

My family and I have been fans of Weelicious since the debut of the first cookbook:  Weelicious One Family. One Meal.  So I was over the moon excited when the announcement of  Weelicious Lunches was made.  As a mom who wants to feed her children healthy all day, not just when they are home, this was exciting.  But c'mon moms, lets admit, the idea of packing a school lunch every blessed day is taunting.  It's exhausting!  I'm not going to lie....I'm tired of packing lunches.  But the cookbook has made it easier.  With out of the sandwich bento box recipes, there are many options to choose from.

I don't feel that writing one blog entry about this fantastic cookbook will do it justice. As well as finding ways to make my life a bit easier (I'm all about staying sane lately....) I will write the review in installments.  Letting you sink your teeth into 1 or 2 recipes at a time and savoring the deliciousness that is Weelicious!

I was so excited to find that the cookbook wasn't filled with run of the mill sandwiches (not that I really thought it would be).  My kids love salads, dips, chicken and the like for lunch more so than an sandwich.  However there are some in here that they absolutely loved!

One salad that is a new favorite of ours is Greek Israeli Couscous Salad.  Couscous is actually a pearl-like pasta rather than a grain.  If your kids are like mine, they love pasta.  With feta, cucumbers, tomatoes this is a complete meal itself.  Feel free to add diced ham, chicken or tuna along with it if you feel so inclined.

Makes 4 servings
1 1/2 cup Israeli couscous
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 Persian cucumbers or 1 English cucumber, seeded and diced
1 tbsp chopped parsley

1.Place the couscous and 1 tbsp. of the olive oil in a pot and toast for 5 minutes over medium heat.
2. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 12 minutes.
3.Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside to cool.
4.Add the lemon juice, salt, feta, cucumbers, tomato, parsley, and the 2 remaining tbsp. of olive oil and stir to combine.

I hope you enjoy cooking through this cookbook as much as I have.  Next installment......Apple Cinnamon Muffins.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Trick or Treat

Halloween is not always a fun and exciting time for all.  For some, it's a stressful time filled with scary happenings (costumes, ringing doorbells) and loads of sugar that tiny bodies aren't use to.
Add into the mix of a child feeling under the weather and a parent could only hope to scare Trick or Treat away!  Or hope for the Switch Witch quick visit! ;)

However, for some Halloween is a fun time filled with dress up, pretend and adventure.  All feelings are valid and should be respected.

One tradition of Trick or Treat that both of my kids look forward to are Mummy Pizzas!  It's my one guarantee that they will have a healthy base in their bellies before the on slot of sugar!

This year I'm excited to make Weelicious Lunches Veggie-Heavy pizza sauce.  Loaded with veggies and absolutely delicious, I only use this pizza sauce for all our pizza making.  The recipe makes 4 cups and freezes great; just defrost when you need it.

Veggie Heavy pizza sauce by Weelicious Lunches
Makes 4 cups
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. tomato paste
Two 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained.

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the pepper, carrot, celery, onion and garlic and sauté until the veggies are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
2. Add the tomatoes, turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion hand blender (or in a regular blender) until almost smooth.
4. Return the sauce to the heat and simmer 10 to 20 minutes until thick.  The longer you simmer this sauce, the thicker and more flavorful it will become.  You can simmer it up to 2 hours - just be careful to stir it often to make sure it doesn't scorch.
5. Serve

Whatever your family may be doing on this Halloween may you be safe!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

One hive

Dan went out to check the bee hives.  Upon opening the newest hive, he found it empty!  Yes, empty!  Beside a few bees flying about there was nothing but an empty hive and empty frames.  No wax or honey on the frames at all.  "What do you mean it's empty?!" I said.

" let's not panic!" I say.
Searching the original hive, Dan found the second box (which name I can't figure out...honey? brood? It's really quite confusing.  As long as he's got it figured out....) to be very heavy!  Full of honey!  Between both hives, they had been eating about 20 pounds of sugar water every couple of days!
Dan decided that, due to the weight of the second box, it would be best to add a third and hopefully the bees will draw out more wax and honey up to that one.  With this decision, he thought it best to shut down the other empty hive.  Keeping it open and feeding it would only attract wasps, yellow jackets and other insects that are not welcome. 
The bees had decided to leave the newest hive, only using it for the food source, and blend themselves with the second hive on their own.  Originally, the plan would have us blending them gradually between newspaper within the hive.  For whatever reason, they did this on their own. 
This entire process has left us scratching our heads.  Did the bees know something about the original queen?  Was she sick?  Is this why they made a new queen?
"These darn (not the exact word used, ahem) bees have got me so totally confused!" says Dan.
I find myself, every so often, checking the blueberry bushes for another swarm.
They definitely keep us guess!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Change is in the air

I remember the feeling of 'nesting' when I was pregnant.  It amazes me that this feeling happens again during other life events.  For me, it happens with the change of seasons. 

The ending of summer vacation and beginning of school, the coolness of the mornings.  All these evoke a nesting feeling within me.  Baking new things.   Pots of soup.  Knitting.  Organizing the home.  Rearranging of furniture.  Amazing how change pulls your body into different directions. 

Don't get me wrong.  I do not want to see summer end.  Our long, lazy days.  Sun dresses, bare feet, sun kissed skin.  Dinner outside.  Lakes, oceans, sand, friends.....All into the late hours of the day.

With the end of one there is a beginning of another.

All we can do is roll with it.  Surrender to it and enjoy....

Friday, August 16, 2013

Right now....

Right now I'm....

*Baking a Peach Cobbler with just a fraction of the peaches we picked this week.

*Sipping coffee and enjoying the aroma of said cobbler in the oven

*Freezing peaches to enjoy in smoothies, cakes, jams and other yummies in the dead of winter....

*Watching busy bees flying too and from the hives at an excited rate of speed

*Wishing that there were just a few more weeks of summer vacation

*Sharing this deliciousness with you...

Peach Cobbler Recipe (Dairy Free)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a saucepan; combine and mix 4 cups of peeled, sliced peaches, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 10 min then remove from heat.

Put 8 tablespoons of Earth's Balance butter into a deep baking dish and place into oven to melt.

Slowly mix 1 1/2 cups self rising flour, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 cups of rice milk.

Pour mixture over melted butter (do not stir), spoon peaches on the top and gently pour in syrup.  Batter will rise to top during baking.

Bake for 35 - 45 minutes.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Now there are two....

If you remember from my last post we had quite an unexpected week.  Although a swarm is a natural occurrence, we were not prepared for it.

 After two days, Dan began the set transfer of the swarm from the temporary box to a permanent bee box.

He will continue to feed both hives with sugar water and a pollen patty; a cake of sugar, water and pollen.  Usually this is given to colonies in very early spring before abundant natural sources of pollen is available; but because the bees ate a significant amount of honey before swarming, we're adding this now to assistant in a good chance of survival over the winter.



We're hoping for the best.  We've noticed that the bees are eating quite a bit of the sugar water, so this is a good sign. 

"Busy little bees" they are!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Queen Bee Drama

  A sight for sure I didn't want to see, nor a phone call from me that my husband didn't want to hear: "It's the bees.  I think we have a problem!"

The bees have swarmed.  Meaning half of our hive left.  Left their hive with a new queen bee that they created and found 'residence' in our blueberry bush.  This is not a good situation.  A situation that would become tricky to resolve.

  After my account of the situation, Dan called in reinforcements.  We knew that we would need help from someone more experienced.  Luckily, there is a great support system of beekeepers and the president of the association said he'd be over!

Dan knew that there must have been a problem within the hive for this swarm to happen.  This is where Jeff could figure out what that problem was.

Jeff went through the hive, frame by frame and determined that the original queen was a great queen.  Laying fantastic eggs and producing many bees.  So many that the bees were running out of room in the hive.  Leading them to produce a new queen cell and following this new queen out of the hive.  You can not have more than one queen in a hive.

We all agreed that we wanted to keep the bees that fled the hive, if possible.  So Jeff and Dan set about the tricky task in trying to do this.  My next few picture are from a safe distance away as I was not suited up or protected other than a hooded sweatshirt!

The bees are sprayed with a sugar water solution prior to transferring into a temporary box.  We were fortunate to start this task late in the day when the bees are quiet.  Though it did lead to a long night.

After shaking the swarm off the bush, hand shoveling the bees into another box and when we knew the queen was in the box (you will know this by the trail of bees that voluntarily walk into the box, following the queen) we waited.  Waited for the bees to mostly be in the box before moving it safely into the garden.  Dan prepared food (sugar water solution) for both hives.

It was a job for the headlamp!
And now we wait.  Dan will need to get more supplies for this new hive.  But we will wait and see how this new queen reproduces; to see if she's a 'great queen' like the original.  Once we figure that out, we will choose the best queen to remain with the hive and blend both bees together.  This will be another process but one that is necessary.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Busy Busy

Things have been moving along quite nicely so far this summer.  Lots of day trips, swimming adventures, quality time spent with family.  The kids are happy, momma and daddy are happy....what more could we ask for?! 

Good things continue to bloom throughout the yard as well.  Well....the vegetable garden isn't as prolific as in years past but our fruit gardens and honey bees are doing magnificently!

 I noticed this little lady on my Echinacea plant while weeding the garden yesterday!  Such an amazing sight to see.  The yellow on her legs is the pollen that she has collected.  She will then bring it back to the hive.

The hive has gotten a bit taller since last time I shared with you. The term 'Busy as a Bee' shouldn't be used lightly.  It's amazing what these bees do....all the time!

Many of the blueberries are ripe and ready for picking.  I've had to cover them with cheese cloth today because the birds have started eating them.

 The raspberries still have a while to go before we'll pick.  There are a few red, ripe ones here and there but I'm thinking in a few weeks they should be ready.

 My first Chamomile plant.  I'm going to attempt to make my own tea.  I'll let you know how that goes....

Hope you all are enjoying the summer with your family!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Another Hail to Kale!

Many of you know how much a I love and appreciate Kale.  Of all things, I know.  But it's so incredibly delicious and good for my kids love it!

Recently when I found a recipe for Kale and Cole Slaw salad, I was immediately intrigued.  Though the original recipe called for the standard Cole Slaw mix of cabbage and carrots I decided to use Broccoli Slaw instead.  Similar to the original,  it uses the stalk of broccoli instead of cabbage.  Same crunchiness as cabbage but to me it gives it more nutrition value.  And I don't know about you, but I  like to try and avoid mayo based salads during the summer and use a lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette instead.  Mayo in the heat of summer creeps me out!

Kale and Broccoli Slaw salad.

5 cups each: Organic Tuscan Kale and Organic Broccoli Slaw mix.  (Tuscan Kale is the curly, dark green variety)
Mix together the veggies in a large bowl.

1/4 cup fresh squeezed organic lemon juice.
1/3 olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt.
Whisk all the ingredients together.  (If bringing this salad to an outing, I like to make the vinaigrette and store in a mason jar.  Shake jar and pour onto salad right before serving.)

Pour vinaigrette onto slaw and sprinkle with 1/2 cup sunflower seeds.  I also like to use pumpkins seeds if I don't have any sunflower seeds available.

Sometimes I double the recipe to feed a crowd or my son who most often has seconds or thirds! :)  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Wise advice

A wise man once told me that I should write everyday!  "Did you know Ernest Hemingway wrote five hundred words everyday?"  he asked me.  "Wow!  No I did not" was my reply.  "Not all his words were published, but he wrote them down everyday."  he added.

Ok, I got the hint.  I've let this blog fall by the wayside due to being "busy".  Work, kids, a business, life.... these are but excuses.  If I am passionate about writing, than I must work at it.  And maybe my words will not be published everyday; but I should write them anyway.

It's good to be back.  And welcome back to you!

Thank you Uncle Tony.  Thank you for your wise words. ox

Tip of the week!

It's that time of year, finally, Strawberry Picking!  For us it's a fond past time spent with great friends.

We're fortunate to live close to an amazing farm which we frequent from June through September/October.  Fields filled with strawberries, raspberries, peaches, plumbs, cherries and of course the apple orchards.

We often pick an over abundance of strawberries; and this is after we've all, mama included, gobbled up some berries before they were able to reach the bin!  I do find that such gorgeous, fresh picked berries can and will go by rather quickly.  I refuse for such delicious gems to go to waste!  Freezing them at their peak is essential.

I place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, placing the sheet into the freezer and letting them freeze completely.  I then transfer the frozen berries into freezer bags.  This way you don't have clumps of frozen berries all stuck to each other.

Oh and eating frozen berries in the summer is a delicious way to stay cool....if only for a moment!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Healthy Appetites will be offering a summer camp July 29th thru August 2nd 9am – 2pm.  Each day children will prepare a healthy lunch and dessert.  We will be harvesting vegetables and berries from my gardens (to be used in our recipes) as well as take a trip to the Horne Street School garden to help weed, harvest and listen to a UNH grad student talk about agriculture.  We’ll also discuss the wonderful world of beekeeping!  Class size will be small enabling your child to have hands-on time in my kitchen.  Healthy Appetites, LLC is fully insured.  If your child is looking for something fun to do this summer, contact me at 603-953-5709 for details and to register.  Registration deadline is July 1st.

Cost is $150 for the week.  Ages are 6 and up.

Monday, May 20, 2013


They are finally here!  Thousands of little worker honey bees have finally made their way to our home.

It has been such a long road for these amazing creatures.  They traveled here all the way from Georgia. Their arrival had been delayed for about a month due to low supply, but Dan met up with other beekeepers in Hudson, NH on Saturday to pick up our new friends.

I can't even describe the sound of this bee box in the picture.  The humming buzz of thousands of bees in unison was truly incredible.


Such an amazing day.  The swarm has died down and it seems the bees have started to get down to business within the hive.  They begin with pushing out the dead bees and acclimating themselves to their surroundings.  We will introduce the queen; who has been kept in a separate compartment from the rest of the bees, in a few days.  If you introduce her too soon, they will kill her (Gasp). It will be about a year until we can harvest honey for ourselves.  The bees will use the honey to eat until then.

I'm so excited to be sharing this adventure as a family.  And sharing it with friends and students is an added bonus!  Check back often as I share with you our journey with the bees!