Thursday, March 29, 2012

Earth Day, Every Day with Cascadian Farms

Win it!

I posted yesterday about Cascadian Farms contacting us to work with them to raise awareness for Earth Day. We have been giving this a lot of thought. We are already doing a few small things but know we could do better. 

The girls as I did a small amount of planting last year and also purchased a weekly farm share in the form of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). It was one of the hottest summers we have had in a while. Our garden did not do that well. Good thing we had the CSA. 

We also love to visit our weekly Farmers Markets to see what is fresh. There is a farm there we love to purchase our meat from. These actions are just about the extent of our deeds to save the earth. I wish we did more and I would like to try for better but it has been tough. 

  • Audrey is in a school that recycles extensively and she has been asking to implement it at home. 
  • We are also going to start using our composter. It sits in the back yard with not much in it.
  • The girls love riding the mass transit. We do much less in the summer so that is more feasible. 
  • Our summer garden is already planned. Should have a post soon with the beginnings.
  • This summer we are organizing a local park tour. 
  • We will continue to use second-hand clothing as much as possible.
These are ideas that will be doable for us. Cascadian Farms is inviting fans to share pictures of what they are doing to celebrate the earth on their Facebook Page. Look for our pictures soon.

On to what we made for dinner with some amazing Cascadian Farms Organic products. This was so much fun and delicious!

We started during snack-time with simple fruit, granola, and yogurt parfaits. Audrey helped me place the homemade yogurt in the glasses then she topped it with organic granola and the organic frozen fruit of choice. Audrey picked strawberry and Maurene mixed berry. Both devoured the fruit as fast as they could.

Preparing to make parfaits.

Audrey's strawberries.

Maurene's mixed berries.

For a drink we selected organic frozen apple juice concentrate. This is a great option for us because we often run out of juice and could keep this in the freezer for a backup. Audrey loved stirring the concentrate and pouring the juice into cups.

Pouring by herself.

For dinner Audrey helped me cook pork chops, pasta, and organic green beans. We enjoyed the pork chops with organic fire roasted tomatoes. It was a simple and very tasty meal. I was able to serve it to my girls knowing it was nutritious.

Tossing the chops in the pan.

Maurene placed green beans in a bowl for heating.

A lovely toddler meal.

Mamma had a small lunch so she had a big dinner.

The wonderful people at Cascadian Farms would like you to be able to feed your family a healthy organic meal as well. They gave me an extra picnic basket full of organic foods, a water bottle, a recipe book, and coupons for other Cascadian Farms goodies.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, Obese

Medical Coding Career Guide

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What's For Lunch Wednesday, Cascadian Farms

Bunnies like carrots and celery.

It is getting close to Earth Day. We love celebrating holidays that are about doing good. When I mentioned this holiday to Audrey she asked me what it meant. The best I could come up with for a four-year-old was it is a good day to love the Earth and learn how to protect it. She liked that idea.

We were recently contacted by Cascadian Farms and asked if we wanted to participate in their Earth Day celebration. Cascadian Farms is one of our favorite organic products so I jumped at the opportunity. They sent an amazing package full of yummy organic products. The girls got into the granola bars immediately.

Tearing the wrapper off.

Enjoying her yummy snack.

As I said we are big fans of Cascadian Farms and only recently learned they made granola bars. And they sent us blueberry jam as well as a box of granola. I have to admit to having several bowls of the granola as a midnight snack. Of course I saved some for the girls as well. They were just as excited by the blueberry fruit spread as I was the granola. I helped Maurene make a blueberry fruit spread and peanut butter bunny sandwich for a picnic lunch.

Cutting sandwiches is hard work.

We packed our fun bunny lunches into our new picnic basket and headed out for a picnic with friends on a fine March day. In Kansas you never know what a fine day will look like. Our picnic was stalled before we even got to the park. No matter, we packed up and invited friends to our house for a picnic in the living room.

No raining on our picnic.

Check back with us to see how we enjoyed some of the other organic products by Cascadian Farms and what we are doing to change for the better. Better yet, head over to Facebook and "like" Cascadian Farms so you can keep up with the Earth Day Celebration there. Earth Day is a great way to learn and celebrate the Earth!

And to see what everyone else is having for lunch check out What's For Lunch Wednesday.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Baked Oatmeal, To Go!

Yummy, healthy oatmeal.

I have had this Baked Oatmeal To Go recipe pinned for quite a bit now. They look so yummy and healthy! We went to see my family for Spring Break last week and my in-laws were visiting until this morning. As soon as Audrey got up I pulled out the ingredients and had her help me. They were so good! I altered the recipe so I will include it here.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients. Place in greased or lined muffin tin and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes. We had enough batter for 12 regular and 12 mini muffins. Audrey helped me place chopped apricots on the mini muffins. 

Adding ingredients.

Filling tins.

So proud of the results.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

MOMables, Lunch Solved

Yummy pasta lunch.

We were recently invited to try the lunch solution, MOMables. What a great idea! Now busy parents do not have to struggle every morning to come up with a fun, nutritious lunch before they have truly woken up. They offer "picky eater, kid-tested recipes" that can be made in 10 minutes or less. Lunch, solved!

MOMables is a lunch service that provides a fun, healthy lunch menu along with a shopping list and preparation instructions. Each lunch has a picture to show you (and your lunch eater) how fun the meals can be.

I loved the simple shopping list with room to customize the items for your child. We enjoyed putting together fun lunches that took us outside our usual rut. There are tips with every lunch to let you know how to prepare the meal in advance and how to properly store it until lunchtime. Almost  makes me wish I had to pack a lunch for Audrey. Soon enough.

On vacations and during the summer lunches are augmented with fabulous dinners and snacks from sites like Fresh 20 and The Six O'clock Scramble! I was really impressed with the dinners and enjoyed all that we tried.

This program solves all of your lunch problems. Head over now and read the blog for all sorts of great food tips. And be sure to check out the recipe section!

Healthy and delicious!

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

24-Hour Emergency Food Kit

My supplies.

I was surfing around Pinterest the other day while I should have been cleaning and came across an interesting post about potty-training in a day. I read the article and realized it was for children who do not know how to associate peeing with the potty. Maurene knows she should pee in the potty but she does not always want to stop what she is doing and go. We are getting better but it may take several weeks, just like it did with Audrey, for her to get tired of being wet and having to stop what she is doing and change her pants. I am ok with this. 

Anyway, while on the potty-training site I found a post for a 72-hour emergency kit. The blogger spoke about getting her kits updated twice a year and it made me realize that I had no idea what shape my emergency supplies were in. We live in Kansas and tornado season is not a good time to be without emergency supplies. 

It turned out all of my food supplied expired in 2009 so I have not been keeping up with that important parenting chore. None of the food was salvageable so I tossed it all and planned a quick trip to the store. 24-hour emergency kits for four people are not that hard to put together. The hard part was deciding what to include.

When I thought about how I would feel about the girls eating junk food in an emergency I realized I did not care. What I did care about was throwing the food away every six months as I updated the kits. For this reason I selected foods I did not mind the girls eating as they helped me update our supplies. This could be the treat for helping with the chore.

I selected fruit cups in 100% juice, unsweetened apple sauce, raisins, Goldfish Crackers, single peanut butter servings, crackers, granola bars, fruit and vegetable juice boxes, lemonade packets, and Vienna Sausages. I had a hard time with the last product and could be easily steered to a similar product that was not mechanically separated. 

I divided the items into 4 piles and placed each pile into a gallon zip-top bag. All the bags went into a roller backpack from my college days. This backpack in kept in the garage which is on the way to the basement if we need to take shelter from a tornado. It is also easy to grab if we needed to leave by car,

The only items I want to add to the bag are boxes of Horizon shelf stable milk and small bottles of water. I keep gallon jugs of water in the garage as well as in the freezer in the basement.

My plan is to update this kit each change in Daylight Savings Time. Same as I do with the smoke detectors. The girls will help me next time and will be allowed to make a fun picnic out of the previous supplies. 
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Five Spring Foods, Come Link Your Favorites

Making Green Monsters.

Spring is here! It has been so Spring-like in our area, warmer temperatures, green grass, lots of rain, that we have been thinking about fun Spring foods. For us that means crisp greens, asparagus, and flower sandwiches. Here is a list of our Five Favorite Spring Foods:
  1. Asparagus Soup. Actually, any preparation method is a favorite. The girls love to go pick the tender shoots and then help me break the stalks. We save the tenderest for roasting and the larger stalks for soup.
  2. Flower Sandwiches. We make these in a different shapes. This flower one was to remind us how the flowers grow.
  3. Strawberry Salad. This is a paternal family favorite and the salad that brought Audrey into the kitchen. When we are out of strawberries we make it with crisp pears.
  4. Green Monsters. This is a repeat from the green food post but since it is made with spinach we have been enjoying it more recently. Fresh spring spinach means fresh green monsters!
  5. Strawberry Freezer Jam. This is so easy to make with the kids and the rewards are almost instant. As soon as the pick-your-own farms open up we will be out picking strawberries and stocking the freezer.
What are your favorite Spring foods? Come share them with us!

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Eggplant Chips

Only a few left.

While thumbing through Pinterest recently I came across an interesting article about an eight-year-old girl who cooks dinner for her family once a week. It was a fascinating article for me because I was thinking that it would be nice for Audrey to be able to make dinner for her family by the time she turns eight. While I was thinking this Audrey crawled into my lap and noticed a video on the website. She asked to see it.

The same eight-year-old girl explained how she and her mother made eggplant chips. Audrey asked to watch the video twice. 

The next time we were at the store I picked up a small eggplant. After we made the chips I wished I had selected a large eggplant. Don't make the same mistake I did.

Our friend Leah came for dinner the next night and I thought it the perfect time to try the new recipe as we were having lasagna.

I chopped the eggplant and Audrey did the rest. They turned out amazing! Leah and I gobbled them up so fast no one else had much of a chance to eat them. Audrey had one but Mo decided not to try them this time.

I am going to pick up a couple of eggplant next time we make a shopping run. Eggplant chips are so easy to make and they are purple so they fulfill a challenging color on our Rainbow Chart!

Audrey making eggplant chips.

One quick tip: go easy on the salt as they need very little in order to be very salty tasting.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What's For Lunch Wednesday, It's a Puzzle

Apple, PB&J, and Grapes.

While picking up a few items  for our 24 hour emergency kits I stumbled across several adorable sandwich cutters at the store. For some reason I was drawn to the puzzle shape. It might be because Audrey is in a puzzle phase right now. She loves them and will complete the same one over and over.

Wednesdays are an odd day for us. I have a Social Media Club meeting first thing that the girls attend with me. For being good I let them have a baked good and a glass of milk. After that meeting we head to a regular Wednesday playgroup with plenty of snacks. For this reason they are rarely interested in eating much lunch on Wednesdays. So we packed more of a snack than a lunch. Here are the girls helping make this meal:

Adding milk to the blender.

Can't go wrong with PB&J.

I forgot to mention that Audrey decided to make a smoothie for lunch. She planned it all by herself and asked for very little help in the process. She brought the Green Monster to our playgroup and offered her friends a sample. I have no idea why.

Check out what the rest of the lunch crowd had for this fabulous meal today at What's For Lunch Wednesday.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Carrot Muffins, Bunny Style

Mini muffin bites.

Still working on the best muffin recipe ever! All of the muffins we have been baking over the last week have been passed around to several friends for taste testing and feedback. We have such amazing friends who are able to give such good advice about how to make our healthy muffins taste decadent. This version is carrot instead of zucchini.

Here is the latest version of our Yummy Healthy Muffins:
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup juice (we like apple)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp apple sauce
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 cup dried dates, soaked overnight and mashed
  • 1/2 cup pureed carrots
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
Mix dry ingredients together in medium bowl. In another medium bowl mix wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until just combined. Bake in your desired shape for 15-20 minutes at 350F.

Audrey measures the dry ingredients and Mo the wet. It is easier to let Audrey work un-assisted and keep a closer eye on Mo with the messy wet ingredients.

The girls helped me mix this recent batch up real quick for a play group. I did not take time for pictures until we arrived. That is why the plate is sitting on my unappetizing kitchen towel.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Muffin Tin Monday, All The Pretty Flowers

Pretty flower tin meal.

Even Muffin Tin Monday is not enough to convince the girls to eat much these days. I am certain it is because we are in a lunch rut. So I bought some pretty flower muffin tin liners. Decorative liners are easy to find this time of year with spring and Easter. 

The girls helped pick out a rainbow and even ate most of this yummy meal. It was colorful but made up entirely of fruit so it was not the most well rounded meal. Better than fast food.

Loading up pretty tins.

Showing me the best food.


The girls had strawberries, grapes, bananas, blueberries, oranges and mini Teddy Grahams. Check out what everyone else had in their Muffin Tin Monday this week.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Parade


Parade starts at 1pm, hope to see you there. We will likely be at South Park after for a snack and to play. Join us!

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Five Favorite Green Foods

Tomorrow we will be celebrating the life of St. Patrick. Our city has a fun parade that doubles as a fundraiser. This is the first year we will be around for the parade AND we are going to be walking in it as well.

To get in the mood for this holiday we rounded up a collection of our favorite green foods. Here are five of our favorites:

  1. Green Monsters. These spinach smoothies are truly delicious. Audrey always begs to drink some of mine.
  2. Salad on a Stick. This was a trick we came up with to get Audrey to try eating salad. She loves making and eating them now.
  3. Monster Soup. This is an avocado and zucchini soup that taste like guacamole soup. The girls make it after their daddy catches a monster in their room.
  4. Zucchini Muffins. These healthy muffins taste yummy and are easy to make. Muffins are the best food to make with young helpers.
  5. Roasted Asparagus. The girls love to help make this dish because they get to break the stalks. Audrey will even taste the asparagus. The link is for an asparagus soup because I can't find the roasted post.

Salad on a stick.
Last week we had a lot of fun with the March Muffin Madness post and had several fun links. We will be testing the Skinny Muffin in a Mug to see if we like it as much as our healthy muffins.

We would love to have you share your favorite green foods with us.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Patty's Day Healthy Muffins

These need a better name. We make them a lot and I have started to realize how yummy and versatile they are. This most recent incarnation added dates and zucchini to our basic muffin recipe. We need to add a little spinach to make them green for the parade this weekend.

Audrey and Maurene love to make them in mini muffin tins because they do not usually feel like eating an entire regular-sized muffin. I decided to pull out our bunny ears tin and make a few in that adorable shape as well. In any shape, they were good.

Healthy Muffins

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 3 tbsp apple sauce
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup dates, soaked in water overnight and smashed
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix wet ingredients in another medium bowl. Add dry to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Place in muffin tins and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

We found that the muffins baked in the metal tins cooked faster than those in the silicon mold. Makes sense but I just did not think about it.

Adding batter to mini muffin tins.

Maurene's turn.

I entered the ingredients into a recipe calculator and got the following information. This is based on one regular-sized muffin. Mini muffins make about 36 servings per batch:

Nutrition Facts

Zucchini Muffins
  12 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Total Fat3.3 g
     Saturated Fat1.3 g
     Polyunsaturated Fat0.6 g
     Monounsaturated Fat1.1 g
  Cholesterol77.5 mg
  Sodium224.6 mg
  Potassium130.8 mg
  Total Carbohydrate24.1 g
     Dietary Fiber1.9 g
     Sugars5.1 g
  Protein5.0 g
  Vitamin A5.4 %
  Vitamin B-123.3 %
  Vitamin B-64.3 %
  Vitamin C5.3 %
  Vitamin D4.1 %
  Vitamin E0.8 %
  Calcium4.3 %
  Copper3.4 %
  Folate8.7 %
  Iron7.4 %
  Magnesium4.8 %
  Manganese25.1 %
  Niacin6.6 %
  Pantothenic Acid    1.7 %
  Phosphorus    10.1 %
  Riboflavin8.9 %
  Selenium15.3 %
  Thiamin9.0 %
  Zinc4.2 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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