Feeding a Child Healthy Foods: Mission Impossible?

Do you resort to quick, packaged and unhealthy foods just to avoid your kids’ meltdowns? Do they turn their nose up at your seemingly normal pot of chili? Do they scoff at the few florets of broccoli on their plate? If getting your kids to eat healthy exhausts you, be on the lookout for my contribution in the June issue of Today’s Woman where we discuss a few ways to sneak healthy foods into one of your child’s go-to meals – the infamous mac and cheese!

I’m sure we all know a tiny human or two who arrives at each meal time with a warrior’s mindset. “If that weird looking corn even so much as touches my chicken finger, so help me God.” “Oh, is that a tomato on my burger? You better call in your back up, woman, because it’s about to go down….” If you have any weapons in your arsenal for mealtime battles, start the convo here. I’m sure all my mommas would love a couple new tricks up their armor.

A Perfect Harmony

When my wildy successful Paleo blogger friend, Tarah, invited me to write a guest post on her site, of course I immediately obliged. Notice I said Paleo. If you’ve even done the smallest bit of research, you know that the Paleolithic diet consists of strictly meats, vegetables and fruits. Considering meat is pretty much a foreign subject to me these days, you’re probably wondering what kind of business I have posting an article on her website…

Hop on over to What I Gather and check out my post about protein sources on a Vegetarian diet. While you’re there, check out all of the recipes and advice that Tarah has to offer. She truly is a Paleo guru and has a wealth of knowledge about healthy living!

Crustless Broccoli, Spinach & Mushroom Quiche

It was one of those Sunday mornings when I woke up and decided I wanted something a little more than yogurt or a smoothie for breakfast. Every now and then, it’s nice to whip out the hand mixer, wipe down the baking dish and warm up the oven.

I had quiche on my mind as soon as my feet hit the floor this morning, so I was off to the grocery store before the sun even came up. I wanted to make the healthiest version that I possibly could, so I left out the crust and opted for half & half instead of heavy whipping cream. It turned out so perfectly… I think I just saw my husband go back for thirds. Happy Sunday, friends! 🙂

Ingredients:

1 package frozen spinach
1 small head of broccoli
1 cup mushrooms
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream (I used half & half and it worked just fine.)
S & P
1 tsp garlic powder

Optional:
Chopped green onion
Shredded cheese
Hot sauce

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spinach according to package and drain well. Boil broccoli for 10 minutes, drain. Cook mushrooms in skillet over medium heat 6-8 minutes. Separately, beat eggs and cream in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Place spinach, mushrooms and broccoli in the bottom of a greased or nonstick baking dish. Pour egg mixture over veggies. Sprinkle with cheese and add green onion. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until center is firm. Serve with fruit salad and a warm cup of coffee. Enjoy!

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Munchy Seeds – Rip & Tip!

I was immediately intrigued by Munchy Seeds. Their name alone was enough to make me want to go straight to the “shop” page and start filling my virtual cart full without even thinking twice. Upon further research, I found out this company has so much more to offer than just a catchy name…

In the process of researching and digging deeper into the exciting world of Munchy Seeds, I got my hands on some samples. I could not wait to try them out and share my thoughts with you all!

Munchy Seeds offers a healthy, tasty alternative to snack foods and promotes mindful munching. With sweet, savory and even some spicy flavors, Lucinda and her British hubby are continuing a family tradition:

Our healthy snacks were originally created by my Granny in New Zealand to keep us out of the sweetie jar….”

How cute is this company? I am just giddy with Munchy Seeds’ unique products and cannot get enough of their outstanding customer care. Let’s get munching!

OmegaSprinkles

Choccy Apricot – Belgian chocolate coated sunflower & pumpkin seeds with apricot. Pair Choccy Apricot with your morning cup of coffee for a breakfast filled with protein, vitamins, minerals and a little boost of caffeine. 🙂 This blend tasted more like a treat than a healthy snack, which is always a nice surprise.

Omega SprinklesSavory roasted sunflower, pumpkin, hulled hemp, sesame, rape, linseed and flax seeds. You are truly hitting a home run with this blend, because how often do you eat things like linseed and hulled hemp? If you’re like me, these items rarely (or never) make the grocery list. These seeds are great sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Amino Acids, which are predominantly found in oily fish. All my vegetarians, please stand up! This blend is packed full of vitamins and minerals crucial for vegetarians. Sprinkle over a salad or roasted veggies (like I did) to add a healthy crunch to your greens.

Chilli BitesSpicy roasted sweet apricot kernels, sunflower & pumpkin seeds. Spicy lover? This blend is for you! I sprinkled Chilli Bites over some breakfast leftovers and that was a fantastic idea on my part. Delicious.

I cannot say enough good things about this company and their idea to provide healthy and filling snacks. Munchy Seeds can be sprinkled over any of your daily meals and they provide much needed vitamins and minerals that most of us don’t get enough of. Happy Munching!

Angel Hair Tomato Basil Toss

If you have Carrabba’s taste on a Fazoli’s budget, you’re in the right place…

But, really though… How good is Carrabba’s? I could go on for days about their Tag Pic Pac pasta dish and that heavenly house salad they serve. Don’t even get me started on the warm, crusty, rustic bread and herb-olive oil dip that I gorge on every single time we’re there. We use Carrabba’s as a “celebratory” date, and this is exactly why. If we went there as often as I would like, we’d both be wider than our door frames and my whole health mantra would be absolutely null and void.

This recipe was handed down to us by Wesley’s momma and we’ve held onto it for dear life ever since. We usually stick to making it on anniversaries and birthdays but, sometimes you need nothing more than a carbohydrate laden meal and a glass of wine…just because. It’s Monday and I’m happy to see another day of life, so you know what? That’s my “just because.” Heck, I think I’ll even put pants on and we’ll sit at the kitchen table tonight… Cheers!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil

2 cloves of garlic (Minced garlic works perfectly.)

1/4 cup chopped green onions

3 large tomatoes, chopped

2 tbs fresh basil (There is something to be said about using fresh basil in this recipe. If you can’t find fresh, I would honestly recommend holding off until you can get your hands on it. It makes a world of difference. Dried basil and basil paste can be used as substitutes if you’re just dying to try it out.) 🙂

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 package of angel hair pasta

Grated parmesan cheese

FreshBasil

Directions:

Prepare pasta according to package and drain. In a large skillet, heat oil, add garlic & green onions. Stir fry 1 minute on medium/high heat. Stir in tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Toss tomato mixture with hot pasta. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

The Million Dollar Question

“If you don’t eat meat, what do you eat?”

I get it all the time. The general assumption for vegetarians is that, given we don’t eat meat, we simply eat nothing and we just eventually wilt away and die. Yep.

I’m here to let you know I’m still trucking along and I show no signs of wilting away at any time in the near future. (My scale tells me that every morning.)

But, seriously. Is that really the world we live in? It boggles my mind to think that we believe a meal must be based around meat.

If you don’t eat meat, you simply are not getting enough protein. How do you maintain muscle mass if you only eat vegetables? Isn’t your fiber intake on overload? I hate vegetables; how do you do it? I have to have my cheeseburgers.

All of these are valid questions and comments that I hear on a daily basis. Do I have all the knowledge in the world about the pros and cons of eating a vegetarian diet? Absolutely not. Do I eat a vegetarian diet for health or ethical reasons? Both. Do I ever crave meat? Honestly, not at all. Am I getting enough protein? First of all, know that our bodies do not need the amount of protein we are accustomed to believing. And yes, I get plenty.

This post is basic, and that is my very intention. I want to make you aware of just how many meatless options there are. And by no means will I list all of them, but I will list what we eat on a regular basis just to get your veggie gears turning.

Breakfast:

The idea here is quick and easy meals for on-the-go working people. If you’re like us, you give yourself no more than 15 minutes to brush your teeth and throw on some clothes before running out the door in a full-on sprint in the mornings. Quick and easy breakfast ideas to the rescue!

Overnight Oats — There are hundreds of recipes online. Here is one of our favorites. (Organic oats, almond milk, almond butter, chia seeds, strawberries & shredded coconut)

OvernightOats
Peanut Butter Banana Shake — Almond milk, peanut butter, banana, kale. Throw in the blender, blend, GO.

Super Smoothies — Any combination of almond milk, spinach, berries, banana, ground flax seed, chia seeds, etc. Blend and go.

Greek Yogurt — Saute a banana in coconut oil and add to your yogurt. Top with pecan pieces for a healthy and filling breakfast.

Banana & Peanut Butter — Simple as that.

Eggs

Fruit Bowl

“Bars” — We love LaraBars. Typical “granola bars” have more ingredients in them than I can possibly count, so do yourself a favor and skip that garbage. Here are some of our favorite LaraBar flavors. (Keep these on hand, as they are always convenient for road trips.)

LaraBars

Lunch:

Peanut Butter Sandwich

Nuts, seeds — Salt and Pepper Pistachios from Trader Joe’s will rock your world.

Salad — Make the night before and store the dressing in a separate container. Add nuts, seeds and dried fruit to make it more filling.

Dinner Leftovers — This is key. Make enough dinner the night before to take for lunch the next day. So simple and time efficient!

Trader Joe’s Organic Lentil Vegetable Soup — One of the best canned soups you will ever eat and no weird ingredients to boot!

TJsVeggieSoup

Dinner:

Egg Sandwiches — Fry up an egg and add your favorite toppings to this easy-to-make sandwich.

Summertime Tomato and Goat Cheese SandwichesThis one just applies to Summer when you can get those juicy garden tomatoes. Store this recipe away for now.

Spaghetti — This can be as simple or complex as you feel like making it. Be on the lookout for a family tradition Angel Hair Tomato Basil Toss recipe later this week.

Couscous & Beans — Prepare couscous according to package. Top with beans and your own concoction of spices and veggies. Get creative!

Veggie Fajitas 

Sweet Potato Hash

Stuffed Mushrooms — Stuff baby portabella mushrooms with goat cheese and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Crock Pot Recipes — Make use of the Crock Pot that you’ve had stored under your kitchen counter for years. Dust that baby off and make it do the work for you. Soup and chili season is here, folks!


 

Jump out of your comfort zone and experiment a little. You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with. Do you have questions or ideas you would like to share with me? What are some of your favorite vegetarian-friendly meals? Send me a message via the link on the right-hand side of the page. I would love to hear from you!

I hope this list wraps your mind around the fact that finding meatless options is very feasible. You’re talking to the girl who orders a side of broccoli, a sweet potato and a salad when dining at an upscale Steak House. It’s doable. I promise. Have no shame….

Protein Packed Fried Rice

A dinner that will magically morph your worn-down kitchen table into an upscale dining experience at an overpriced Chinese Restaurant… Think dim lights and an ice-cold Tsingtao. Dig into this Protein Packed Fried Rice and don’t feel a bit guilty about it. This meal is packed with, you guessed it, protein, healthy fats, vitamins and antioxidants. It also gives you an excuse to try one of our favorite Soy Sauce alternatives, Bragg Liquid Aminos. Make a simple version of P.F. Chang’s Shanghai Cucumbers to top it all off and, if you’re like me and decide that the meal just isn’t colorful enough, surround it with a fresh garden tomato. Enjoy!

LiquidAminosServes: 2

Ingredients:

1 cup jasmine riced, cooked according to package

1/2 white onion, diced

1 head of broccoli, chopped

5 whole eggs (or egg whites)

3 pickling cucumbers, chopped

Bragg Liquid Aminos

Sea salt

Fresh cracked pepper

2 “swirls” of EVOO (You’ll hear me refer to a “swirl” of olive oil a lot. Swirl until your pans are coated, simple as that. FYI — EVOO is a great source of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants, so happy swirling!)

Directions:

Coat two separate pans with olive oil. In one pan, sauté onions and broccoli until tender. In the other pan, fry your eggs. Combine eggs and rice with the veggies and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes on medium heat. S & P to taste. Mix cucumbers, sea salt and a generous amount of Liquid Aminos in a bowl. Add on top of your bed of rice and serve. (If you’re like my husband, you’ll even add a few “swirls” of Liquid Aminos to the finished product.)

Sweet Potato Hash (Huevo Style)

When we first started down the road to healthy eating, sweet potatoes sure weren’t the first items on our new and improved grocery lists. In fact, they weren’t even on our lists at all. It took us a long time to warm up to that strange orange potato in the produce section that we walked by every week. What the bejeezus are those? At the time, we only associated those crazy looking things with Grandma’s Thanksgiving casserole. That ooey, gooey casserole topped with marshmallows and mixed with enough brown sugar to kill an ox… Never forget.

Little did we know, sweet potatoes are actually delicious without all of the sugar, butter, and loss of one’s dignity. They’re easy to make, very versatile and, to beat it all, cheap. That’s why, after some research and experimenting in the kitchen, I decided to give them a go.

We do a lot with sweet potatoes. Bake them at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, top with greek yogurt, a drizzle of agave nectar and a dash of cinnamon for a warm, sweet treat that will make Texas Roadhouse’s Loaded Sweet Potatoes seem pretty much inadequate. Make Stuffed Sweet Potatoes by baking as usual, then scoop out the insides, mix with your favorite spices and veggies and “stuff” the insides back into the skin. Cut them into chunks or slivers and make Breakfast Hash Browns just like you would with a regular ol’ white spud. There are so many options here!

How does a Mexican-tasting dish with a breakfast attitude sound?

Sweet Potato Hash

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato, cut into chunks

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 onion, diced

1 cup fresh mushrooms

2 eggs, fried

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp cumin

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

S & P to taste

Optional: Pico De Gallo, hot sauce

Directions: Place sweet potato chunks into pan with olive oil. Fry for 5-7 minutes on medium-high heat until potatoes are slightly soft. Add bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, minced garlic, cumin and s & p. Cook on medium for 5 minutes. Transfer sweet potato mixture onto two plates. Top each serving with a fried egg. Add fresh pico de gallo, hot sauce and/or fresh cracked pepper.