Saturday, May 15, 2010

Keeping a balance

In my own life, I find it really hard to keep a balance. I overeat, I overwatch TV, I don't exercise at all. People say "just do it in moderation!" like it's a new idea and I laugh and laugh. Moderation, for me, is almost impossible. Sometimes it really is impossible.

But somehow, with the boys, I'm a little better at it. Not perfect, not at all, but better.

I am very good at feeding them healthy food, but somehow I'm also good at relaxing about it and not making it too strident. We have McDonalds once a week. They eat cake and cookies, and meat when they're at my parents house. And the other day their Aunt Deborah bought them a treat that was a big hit. So this is what their after-school snack looked like:

Ooh, what a lovely snack! Is that healthy kiwi? Yes! Yummy healthy oranges and organic apples? Of course! And...what else? A cake? A...twinkie?!?!

Yes. A twinkie. And not just a twinkie:

A Shrek-themed green twinkie. Yuck. It was a big hit. :-)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We have a winner

Rainy days always relax me. I think the pressure is OFF for being outdoorsy and productive, so you can hunker down, wear pajama pants, and enjoy the day inside.

While Jack resisted his afternoon nap, I decided to try these energy bars. I wasn't in love with the earth balls and this recipe used a lot of the same basic ingredients, so I was skeptical.

To say they were good would be an understatement. Let's say this: they were GOOD in a sincere OMG way, not in a "pretty good for vegan" way.

I played around with her recipe a bit, and frankly I'm glad I'm writing this down so I can replicate it!

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup (plus 2 more) dates
2 dried apricots
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp raw pepitas
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
3 tbsp dried coconut
1 tbsp goji berries
1 tbsp dried cranberries
vegan chocolate chips, melted in a small saucepan with flax and hemp oils to make it spreadable

I ground the almonds to a fine powder, then added the dates and apricots until everything stuck together. Added in all the other ingredients and ground well. Spread it in a pan, covered with chocolate, and froze for 10 minutes. It was dense, chewy, sweet (but not overly sweet - I was worried about the dates), and delicious.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Slipping the vegan through

I try to volunteer for anything at Nate's school that keeps me from having to actually participate in the classroom. I help them with craft projects by prepping materials at home (peeling crayons, cutting out shapes, etc.) and I always volunteer to cook if they need food.

This week was "teacher appreciation" week and there was a luncheon on Wednesday. I offered to make my version of summer rolls, which is tasty and surprisingly vegan. I don't miss the shrimp at all!

They're rice paper with the traditional noodles, thick slices of avocado, cilantro, and chives. I served them with a bottled asian dipping sauce (I usually use a peanut sauce but the school is nut-free so that wasn't an option).

I love showing people that vegetarian / vegan food can be so delicious that you'll never miss the meat!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


A flash from the old days: Nate's lunch for tomorrow!

Sandwich is a ww tortilla spread with hummus and lettuce, sprinkled with wheat germ and flax seed, with a squirt of organic hemp oil for bonus omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

Then (clockwise): chocolate cat's cookies from Trader Joes, baked sweet potatoes (canola oil), an earth ball, mandarin orange, dried peach, and teeny-tiny pickle.

Snacks for after school (one for each boy):

Organic watermelon, kiwi, raw almonds, goji berries, apple slices, dried peach slices, raw cashews, and a mandarin orange.


Friday, April 30, 2010

Ice cream for dinner?


Pulled a few cans of organic coconut milk out of the pantry and decided we'd make some ice cream. Needless to say, Nate and Jack were enthusiastic helpers.

I just used the coconut milk, cacao powder, sugar, and cinnamon. Set it to stir and waited for the results.

While the boys watched (and dipped in a finger once or twenty times for tastes), I made up some bowls. I put in raw almonds, raw walnuts, organic raisins, and a crushed-up oatmeal cookie.

(I love the irony of drinking my most favorite, guaranteed not-particularly-healthy, snack while I load my kiddos up with wholesome nutrition. But man do I love a cold Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi!):

Ice cream all ready to eat:


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Upping the ante

So a few weeks ago I stumbled over this blog called Green and Crunchy and it was so inspiring. She is a super-healthy vegan home-schooling Mom to five little ones and she got me fired up about healthy eating!

I've been working on a small kitchen redo to give me more storage and counter space (I'll unveil before and after pics when it's done in a few weeks) and I'm using the smidge of extra space to implement some things I learned on her site.

Mostly, I'm working way more raw nuts and seeds into their diet, as well as flax (oil and seeds), wheat germ, goji berries, coconut milk, cacao powder, and a few other healthy add-ins, sometimes sneakily. Both boys have gotten a bit pickier, and initially balked when I started sprinkling "toppings" on top of everything I gave them. They're used to it now, but I'm still in the habit of using a small coffee-grinder to grind up an assortment of walnuts, almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds into a powder and mixing it into whatever I can. It's fantastic!

So, a few meals from recent days:

From the upper-left: pickles (Nate's on a pickle kick right now), broccoli sauteed in canola oil with Soyaki on top, an apple salad with peanut butter and my nuts-and-seeds powder mixed in, banana-sushi (tortilla spread with pb, sprinkled with flax seeds, wheat germ, and cacao powder for a chocolate kick), and some leftover mac & cheese with the nuts-and-seeds powder mixed in and sunflower seeds visibly sprinkled over the top.

From the upper left: pear slices, a teeny-tiny pickle, sweet potatoes coated with flax and canola oils and minced garlic then baked, an "earth ball" (recipe below) and goji berries, tortollini covered in EVOO and some cheese sauce with the nuts-and-seeds mixture in and some sunflower seeds visibly sprinkled on top. These boys don't know how good they have it.
So, earth balls! Recipe here at Green and Crunchy. I made our first batch a few days ago and, frankly, it was a little much for me. Weird texture. But Stewart and Nate both loved them, and Jack finally tried one tonight and liked it as well! So that recipe is a keeper, and I'm thrilled.

I made ours with 3/4 cup raw almonds and 1/4 cup raw walnuts in the food processor until powdered, then added in a cup (combined) of mejdool dates and dried apricots. Once it was sticky enough to stay together, while it was still processing, I added in sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, and vegan chocolate chips.

I'm looking forward to making this again and trying out different combinations! The freeze-dried strawberries from Trader Joes are calling my name...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More fun at Giant!

Total haul:
  • 8 boxes organic cereal
  • 2 big bags Chex Mix
  • 2 boxes Toaster Strudels
  • 2 tubs frosting
  • 4 boxes brownie mix
  • 5 4-packs of yogurt
  • 5 Warm Delights

Net cost before sales and coupons: $87.93
Net cost after sales, coupons, and $10 OYNP coupons: $6.36