Eating Healthy – from a kids’ point of view

For those of you who are pizza aficionados, as I am, (My craving when pregnant with the twins) I have found the pizza from Costco to be the best tasting for the value. I also tend to add extras like extra cheese, pineapple or olives before popping in the oven.

So, the other day, I asked my husband to go by Costco and pick up pizza for the weekly pizza Friday. I don’t care what school district you are from, pizza is not a vegetable to me. Unless I can count wine as a fruit, but I think my doctor would frown on that. We pair the pizza with a salad starter, limit slices and end up with a fruit chaser, usually a banana. So, I like to think I am providing healthy eating in addition to the manna that is Costco pizza.

On the way out, he grabbed a cookbook they were handing out for free. I also collect cookbooks in an effort to provide a variety of meals and not just the stuff I grew up with. I handed the cookbook to the kids and said, “Here is a stack of sticky notes. Tag anything you think is healthy and you want me to make. I will see if we can fit it in the budget and make it over the next few weeks.”

Needless to say, they tagged every other dish in the appetizer section and the dessert section. Clearly, I need to have a discussion about what healthy means. Healthy to me means whole foods/grains, a balance of meat, grain and veggie with an occasional sweet thrown in. To my boys, the strawberries on a cheesecake look healthy. Hmmm….

Staying healthy is for many a resolution in the new year. How do you eat healthy? What do you try and focus on- getting enough calcium, vitamins etc or limiting sweets? Or is it a free-for-all, following your cravings because your body knows what’s best?

Homemade Cheez-It Crackers

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Im pretty stoked about this reblog. My family loves Cheez-It crackers! But, with all the strange ingredients and general un-healthiness of them, we generally reserve these as ‘Treats’ for a special occasion. Then I stumbled up on this recipe from the Americas Test Kitchen Feed and Im sold. Soooo good. In order to make sure I give credit where it is due (definitely not me) I have linked the picture to the left from the original blog and the link at the bottom to the original recipe. Enjoy!

Homemade Cheez-It Crackers from America’s Test Kitchen Feed (step-by-step pictures also available here!) {Note: the annatto seeds are completely optional, they just give the crackers their orange color. I didn’t have any luck finding them locally and ordered mine from Amazon.}

3 tablespoons boiling water 1 tablespoon annatto seeds
Coarsely ground 6 oz (1 1/2 cups) finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a heatproof bowl, stir together the water and annatto seeds. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, then pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the seeds and save the (now orange) liquid. Let the liquid cool to room temperature. Add the cheese, butter, salt, and pepper to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture comes together and starts to stick to the sides of the bowl, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and cornstarch, beating until incorporated – the mixture should look like coarse sand. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the reserved liquid the annatto seeds steeped in and mix just until the dough starts to come together. (If the dough seems too dry, you can add up to 1 tablespoon of additional plain water to bring it together.) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a rectangle with a thickness of 1/16-inch. Using a pastry cutter (or if you don’t have one, a pizza cutter or sharp knife will work) cut the dough into 1-inch wide strips, then cut 1-inch squares from those strips. Transfer the squares to the prepared baking sheets – you can pack them in pretty tightly, they don’t spread much.

via Tracey’s Culinary Adventures: Homemade Cheez-It Crackers.

Roasted Tomato Salad Dressing

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I usually eat Salads for lunch. I find them filling and dynamic. Nothing I hate more than eating the same thing day after day after day, unless it incorporates bacon and cheese. Unfortunately, those two things are not on my healthy eating plan. (*pout*)

One way to change things up in a salad is to change up the ingredients. Recently, Ive been all about red peppers, cucumbers, and tuna or chicken. But another way to change up the taste of the salad is to change the salad dressing.

Historically, I love blue cheese dressing, another no-no in the new eating plan. So I rotate usually between italian or a drizzle of balsamic with olive oil. The cafeteria in my building has recently started offering a Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette. I am in LOVE! The tomatoes lend a creamy and hearty substance to the vinaigrette and just taste good. So, I have scoured the web and found the following recipe that looks extraordinarily promising. Im going to make this this weekend.

via the For the Love of Cooking website:

Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette:
Recipe and photos by For the Love of Cooking.net
Inspired by Mingo

Drizzle of olive oil
8-9 small vine ripened tomatoes, sliced in half
2 cloves of garlic, skins on
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil then coat with cooking spray.
Slice the tomatoes in half then place them on the baking sheet; put the two cloves of garlic (leave the skins on) in the center of the tomatoes.

Place into the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cooled, remove the skin from the garlic cloves and place into a bowl along with the roasted tomatoes.

Add the olive oil, canola oil, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, sugar, fresh basil, and sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Mix using a emulsion blender until smooth and creamy. Taste and re season if needed. Set aside and let the flavors mingle for at least 30 minutes before using.

Why should you get a Vitamix blender today?

Vitamix

Why should you get a Vitamix blender today?.

I love my Vitamix – it is simply amazing. Yes, it was expensive, but I use it instead of so many other appliances in my kitchen and it’s a great way to eat wonderfully whole and raw foods.

I make my gravy, smoothies, and a host of other recipes in the Vitamix. If you want to eat healthier, include more veggies in your lifestyle, then yes – Buy the Vitamix! It is something I promise you won’t regret.

And, if you click on the link above to the NaomiShreds blog, you will see a link to a promotion code for buying one. If the promo code is still a little steep for you consider checking out Costoc, they sell the Vitamix (Its where I got mine) and they also sell refurbished Vitamixes on the website. The refurbished are a little less expensive so that can be the way to go too.

So, today you get two Tuesday Tips:

  1. Buy a Vitamix, you won’t regret it
  2. Buy nothing at fully price 🙂

What I’ve Been Eating

Courtesy of pfitblog.com Click for full article

From my last Fitness Friday post, you have learned that I have been working out and *gasp* losing weight. Its not all fun and games and in fact I suspect my personal trainer might be just the right amount of sadistic in that he always makes the exercises we do harder and harder. Exercise is only 1/2 the battle however. I knew if I kept eating the way I was going (snacking late at night and too much ice cream) it wouldn’t matter HOW much I exercised, I wouldn’t see any results.

So, I reached out to a nutritionist through my health care plan. It took some finagling, especially since I needed a referral, but it was well worth it. I highly recommend seeing a nutritionist who can assist you in meal planning and portion size control. They can help you see what you might have been doing wrong and how to correct it. My weakness, late night snacking. After the kids were in bed, I would reward myself with something yummy either as I cleaned the kitchen, snacking on leftovers, or in my room watching a video. Neither activity was great for my waistline.

So my nutritionist helped me understand:

  1. Bacon is not a food group (bummer!)
  2. No eating after 6pm (this gets fudged a bit during the work week when we get home at 6pm.
  3. No eating within 3hrs of bedtime (This I make because I never get to bed on time anyway)
  4. Higher protein/lower carb is best thing for me to have higher energy and grow muscle, which will in turn burn more calories. (My personal goals are 15% healthy fat/ 55% lean protein/30% carb. Yours might be different)
  5. Whole foods: stay away from processed or white sugar as well as things like high fructose corn syrup.

 

On any given work day:

  • Green Smoothie or Scrambled Eggs
  • Yogurt for snack (a surprising source of high fructose corn syrup!)
  • Salad for lunch (spinach, carrots, turkey, sunflower seeds, parmesan cheese, vinegrette)
  • Apple with peanut butter for snack
  • Baked Poultry with pasta sauce, steamed or roasted veggies and brown rice

There are some variations in that some mornings, usually once a week I cave to the temptation of bacon or even a waffle on the weekend when Im cooking for the kids. But I keep it to one and add some eggs on the side. I also will eat a hot dog from time to time, especially when I go to Costco because they are so GOOD! Nothing is set in stone, this is life. But, if something is off from this plan, I jump back on as soon as I can. I heard a speaker one time comment: “I’m not fat because I eat bad things. I’m fat because it takes me 3 years to get back to eating right.” Its taken me about 6 years or so, but I’m back on that train and am focused more than ever about making this a lifestyle choice. And, just today, I ran across this grocery shopping list on a blog I absolutely adore, pfitblog.com. This blog is about fitness, nutrition and is so motivational. I can’t recommend following her enough. Or try the JFoYoHealth.com blog. She is a fellow 30 Second Mom contributor and always has great tips and ideas!