Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Faith in humanity

It seem surreal to me to, yet again, be shielding my children from tragedy.  Keeping away the newspapers, choosing to talk about Monday only after they are fast asleep.  Then today Sophia and Roman told ME that there was a bombing in Boston.  They heard about it at school. In class, from other classmates.  It took me off guard.  But in that moment I knew I would need to try to explain to them what happened.  But how do we explain such madness?  Gently.  Honestly.  Giving them just enough information, but definitely not too much.

We sat down as a family at dinner and talked.  Talked about how some "bad person or people" hurt innocent people.  But that the "good guys" will find them, as they always do, and the bad ones will be sent to a place where they will never hurt anyone again.

At the same time, it's very important to me for my children to understand that there really are still good people in this world.  That the world is not full of "bad guys".  To teach them to have faith in humanity. If more people had faith, maybe this world would be a better place.

Hold your family close, shake hands with your neighbors, smile at a stranger, random acts of kindness for all.  Let's not wait for tragedy to strike to be the humans we all should be!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Around the World....and back again

For the past several weeks, our daughter has been working so hard studying her heritage.  We started with our family tree.  This step was very fun.  Writing down where parents, grandparents and great grandparents came from. Discussing what this means, why, how and when.  Our heritage consists of Italy, Sweden and Finland.  Sophia decided to concentrate her studies on Sweden.

So much thought and research went into this project.  Each day there was a large amount of time blocked for work in the library, computer lab and classroom.  Many of her classmates chose different ways to display their work.  From Power Points, Posters, and Brochures - which was Sophia's choice - it was wonderful to see the creativity of each student.  Such detail, personal touches, absolutely wonderful.

Of course I was excited when I learned we could make a food from our country of origin! ;)  Sophia decided to make Swedish Meatballs.  A savory, bite size meatball in a brown gravy sauce.  Quite different from an Italian Meatball but just as delicious.

Sophia wrote out the recipe to display as part of her brochure.  She and I shopped for ingredients and   made the meatballs together.  This was such a special time.  Sophia was so excited and proud of what she was creating.  So excited to share with her classmates at the Around The World Day at the school.
We are so proud of our little girl today!  She's growing up so fast.  Most days I want to hit the pause button.  Just to slow things down a bit.  At the same time, I enjoy watching and participating in the transformation of the lady she is becoming.  I look forward to what she brings to the world in the future!

Sophia and I would like to share the recipe for Swedish Meatballs with you.  Enjoy spending time with your family; learning from each other, talking, and of course cooking together!


Tip of the Week

High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

HFSC is an inexpensive additive that's found in nearly all processed foods.  The latest research has shown that it can affect an area in the brain that controls your appetite; making you feel NOT full.  This leads to over eating.

Children's consumption of sugar is off the charts.  This fact is not doubt contributing to the rise in Type 2 Diabetes.  Not to mention that more and more kids today are becoming much more sedentary, but that's a topic for another day.

Eliminating HFSC from your family's diet can be tricky.  The key is to eat fresh, wholefoods.  Also being super vigilant in reading every label when you do choose a processed food.  HFCS may also be listed as glucose-fructose syrup, isoglucose, or fruit fructose.

Remember, if you can't pronounce the ingredients in your food, you shouldn't be eating it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


As the temperature rises and the sun shines a bit brighter, it's time to fire up the grill!  I love cooking outside.  There's so many things to make.  Whether it's meat, veggies, fruit or even pizza the possibilities are endless!

I stumbled upon this wonderful marinade on Pinterest. Oh Pinterest, how I love you!  You completely sap up most of my free time, have caused me to make sub folders for all my recipes and you have me completely convinced I'm in need of a Pintervention!  BUT, I do love you dearly!

The title is for a Chicken Marinade.  But honestly, it's good on everything.  Sunday I marinated some beef tips for the Mister and the kids and also used it for portebello mushroom caps for me. I did this in the morning, letting it marinade all day in the fridge. It's so good, you must make some!  One recipe makes quite a big batch so I end up putting the rest into a glass jar and storing it for next time. It would depend on what and how much you plan to marinade at one time; but it takes no time to make.

I served the tips and portebellos with some pasta salad and sauteed kale.  I was impressed with the amount of veggies in the pasta salad; there was a ton!  Sophia has asked for it for lunch at school on Monday!  Roman had some as well, along with his ham and cheese sand which request ;).

I hope you're having a fantastic week!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies

It seems more and more people, children included, are developing food allergies.  It does raise the question whether it's truly developing or awareness that's actually going on.  Have we abused our bodies so much with GMO's and other environmental risk factors that we've reduced our body's natural ability to digest foods?  Or is it that we've become more aware of our bodies and how they should feel and function?  I'm willing to say that it's a bit of both.  This is my own opinion however.

One thing is for certain, we must honor our bodies, feed them right in order for it to function properly.  Many times, this is not an easy task for families. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, the list goes on and on.  Time spent in the grocery store reading labels is no picnic but it must be done.

Luckily there are so many great resources out there to turn to for help. From the internet, grocery stores, restaurants people are coming together to help.  It's a wonderful thing!  If you have any favorite resources, please share them.

This weekend I tried making GF Oatmeal Cookies.  I used GF oatmeal,  grinding half of the measurement into flour for a nice consistency.  These smelled insanely good and taste amazing!


1/4 cup butter (I used Earth's Balance)
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
3 cup Gluten Free Oats (Grinding 1 1/2 cups to a flour)
3/4 cup brown sugar
6 oz chocolate chips
2 eggs (I use cage free organic)
1/2 cups sunflower seeds and pepitas (total)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup peanut butter (organic)

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine sugars, and butter and beat until creamy.
3. Add eggs, peanut butter, vanilla and baking soda and mix well
4. Stir in oats and oat flour, chocolate chips, and seeds.
5. Place teaspoon full of dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper about 2" apart
6.Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly brown around the edges.
7. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Berries...and more berries

My kids are anxiously waiting to go fruit picking!  Whether it's blueberries and raspberries from our own yard or every other kind of fruit from our favorite local farm, they love it all!

To satisfy their craving, if only for a short while, I made up some muffins using frozen berries we picked last summer. I love opening my freezer or going into the basement to "shop" for ingredients that we ourselves have put by.

These delicious muffins are jammed packed with berries, 2 cups to be exact.  Along with other yummy things like oats and chia seeds you can feel good knowing the family is starting their day off right!

I changed up this recipe from the original to fit my family's needs so feel free to do the same.


  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup rice milk
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 cups frozen berries


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. 2. Place the first 6 ingredients in a bowl and combine.
  3. 3. Combine the egg, vanilla extract, milk, oil and chia seeds in a separate bowl.
  4. 4. Slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  5. 5. Gently mix the frozen berries into the batter, do not over mix or the berries will bleed.
  6. 6. Pour batter into greased or muffin lined regular sized tins.
  7. 7. Bake for 20-22 minutes.
  8. 8. Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack.
  9. 9. Serve
When my son says "Mom, these are the best muffins you've ever made" I know they're good!  These will be good in the school lunch boxes for a healthy snack as well.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tip of the week!


This is a superstar of green foods!  In 1 cup there is only 36 calories, zero fat and 20% RDA of dietary fiber which promotes regular digestion.  This makes it great for kids with tummy troubles and recurrent constipation ( Ahem).

Kale is loaded with Vitamins such as A, C including a megadose of K which regulates the dody's inflammatory process; great for those with arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.

Antioxidants such as carotenoids and flavanoids help to protect our cell from free radicals.  Kaempferol in particular fight against formation of cancer cells.  There are also 45 other antioxidants found in the Kale!

Kale helps to prevent, even combat cancer; such as prostate, ovarian, bladder, colon, breast and gastric just to name a few.

This is one fantastic food!

A fun, easy and healthy way to feed kale to your family is in the for of chips!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Chop 1 bunch of Kale into 2" size pieces.
Lay out leaves onto large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Drizzle with 1tbsp of olive oil
Back for 18-20 minutes.  Keep an eye on them during the last few minutes to make sure the leaves don't burn.

How easy is that!?  Absolutely delicious. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Meatless Mondays

Yes I realize it's Tuesday but I'd like to chat about Meatless Monday!

I love the concept of Meatless Monday.  Eating humanely, decreasing our carbon footprint.  For a vegetarian like me, it's no different from any other day.  However, it's getting more and more people to think about what kinds of foods they're putting into their bodies.  I love it!  Maybe soon there will be GMO Free Friday??  Just some food for thought.

Yesterday I was in Trader Joe's (one of my favorite places) and I was thinking of what to make for dinner.  As I was walking up the eisles, I thought "Ooh, a can of this, a jar of that, a bag of greens and some pasta." Perfect!  This is how I love to cook most often, no real measurements just creativity and "A little of this and that."

I will do my best in recreating this recipe for you, because it was oh so good.  Everyone loved it!  When you have kids, that's a big deal.

1 pound bag of Orchiette pasta (or your favorite) Orchiette means 'little ears' in Italian. I love the cup shape, scooping up little bits of other ingredients with every bite. - Cook al dente, drain

1 14.5 oz can of Cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 8.5 oz jar of Julienne Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil
1 6 oz bag of Organic Baby Spinach
1 cup sliced baby portabello mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Italian seasoning
salt, to taste
parmesan cheese

1.Heat saute pan over medium heat.  Using the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes saute garlic making sure not to burn (it get's bitter)
2.Add mushrooms and saute until tender
3.Add sun-dried tomatoes and beans, cook until warmed through. Add about 1 tbsp of Italian Seasoning and mix
4.Add spinach and cook until wilted
5. Transfer to large serving dish and add cooked pasta and stir to combine
6. Serve with parmesan if desired

I hope this recipe and directions are clear to you.  My husband and I also addred red pepper flakes to our individual dish  It's a delicious on pot meal for the entire family!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Carrot Cake Pancakes - An Easter Breakfast

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and Passover.  A time for renewal. 

A day filled with good food, family and of course Easter candy.  The candy part is a tricky one for me.  Although I want my kids to enjoy the day and all that comes with it, moderation is key.  Sometimes, this can be a challenge.

One thing I can do is start their day off nutritiously.  So I made Carrot Cake Pancakes.  Filled with a substantial amount of carrots in a whole wheat base, I feel good knowing they have a good foundation in their bellies. :)

Carrot Cake Pancakes via Weelicious

  • Cook Time: 3 minutes,
  • Total Time: 15 minutes,

  • Ingredients

    • 1 cup white whole wheat flour ( I used Whole Wheat Pastry flour)
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1 cup peeled and finely grated carrots (about 2 large carrots)
    • 1 large egg, whisked
    • 1 cup milk ( I used Rice Milk)
    • 1 tablespoon oil


    1. 1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and sugar. Add the grated carrots to the flour mixture and toss to coat.
    2. 2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and oil.
    3. 3. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.
    4. 4. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and lightly coat with butter or oil.
    5. 5. Pour about 1 tablespoon of the pancake mixture onto the griddle, making as many pancakes as will fit and cook for 2 minutes.
    6. 6. Flip the pancakes and cook for one minute longer.
    7. 7. In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese and honey until thoroughly combined and serve on top of the pancakes
    These were absolutely delicious!  There's alot of carrot in here so I wondered if they would have the consistency of a fritter versus a pancake.  Each cake was light and fluffy!  The carrots were tender and the cake resembled the spice cake of a traditional carrot cake.  I think I've started a new Easter breakfast tradition!  But truly, these are delicious any time!  In fact, I'd love to make these with my rainbow carrots I will be growing in the garden this year!