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?

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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.

Chinese Buffet Disaster and Recipe for Fried Rice

I love my boys, but they need culture. We live in the great Pacific Northwest and that means we have access to a wide variety of food genres. In an effort to expose their mac-n-cheese loving pallets beyond the typical ‘kid friendly fare’, my husband and I decided to hit up a Chinese buffet. It was an unmitigated disaster, even if the kids did complement me.

We walked around the trays and found items of interest, but it was mostly ‘yucky’ until we reached the table with the cheese pizza and french fries. Maybe this stuff is out there because the owner anticipates children like mine, who have a difficulty getting that first ‘just TRY it’ bite down. But, that is about all they wanted to eat. Honestly though, I couldn’t really blame them. The food at this particular establishment was pretty horrible. I could barely eat anything. Perhaps if I want to win them over to yummy Asian food, I need to find a place that actually serves YUMMY Asian food. It was a new place, and it bombed. So, they ate pizza and I tried to find anything that was worth eating that wasn’t fried. I went home and ate a piece of peanut butter toast.

But as we left, Archie said to me “Mommy, your rice is better.” What a sweetie! (I am training him well for his future spouse!) So, here is my very white-girl version of fried rice. To all my Asian friends, I apologize for probably making this horribly, but my kids eat it. I like it because it contains some sort of vegetable and is a quick one-pot meal to use up random leftovers.  In fact, click on the picture below to a recipe I found here on WordPress that contains many other ingredients like shrimp. Be creative, throw in what you think will taste good and have fun!

Picture from Ohashi Method – click for recipe

Fried Rice

4C cooked short grain brown rice
6 Eggs
4C Chopped cooked protein (Chicken, Pork (Ham), Turkey etc.)
1 bunch Scallions (Green onions)
2C peas or finely chopped broccoli, cooked
6Tbs Sesame oil
1Tbsp Olive oil
pinch of pepper
Soy Sauce

Heat large dutch oven on the stove over med-high heat. Whisk eggs and pepper in bowl, set aside. When pan is hot, use the Olive Oil to hard scramble the eggs, set aside. Put chopped protein in the pot and brown off any excess fat (In case you are using ham or other slightly fatty meat). Bring pan to heat again and add the sesame oil with the meat and crumble the rice on top of the meat. Toss to coat the rice in the Sesame Oil. Let sit, while the bottom of the rice browns and toasts. Toss the rice 3 times and keep browning between tosses. Add Scallions, Peas or Broccoli, stir to incorporate. Add Soy Sauce to taste.

**You can also use broccolini n this, whole, but cook it first. My kids have a hard time cutting the broccolini in pieces to chew, so we just use frozen chopped broccoli (I hate eating peas, so I serve more broccoli.)

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 🙂