no one’s perfect

Breakfast this morning was a very lazy one.  I didn’t feel like eating the usual oat bran.  Not to mention that my blender AND my food processor decided to break on me, so green smoothies are out of the question. I’m just not myself without them. I try making them in my new mini food processor, but let’s face it, it’s no Vitamix.  Do it right or don’t do it at all. And no one likes pieces of spinach in their teethsmoothies.

I try not to eat boxed cereal for breakfast because it doesn’t fill me up for more than an hour.  If I do eat cereal, it’s usually Grape Nuts or Trader Joe’s Bran Flakes.  Cheerios and I were in love for quite some time–love me some soluble fiber, but the modified corn starch…. that I don’t love.  But hey, no one’s perfect.

So with green smoothies and oat bran out of the question, I turned to my go-to lazy breakfast/lunch/dinner.  Drumroll please….

Amy’s line of frozen foods is unreal.  It’s NOT easy to find a frozen dinner that’s healthy, mostly organic, free of preservatives, funky chemicals, mystery meat…the whole shebang.

Hey, Lean Cuisine! SEEEE YA, wouldn’t wanna be  eat ya!

I don't haaaate it!i'm full just LOOKIN at this baby

 Pretty darn near perfection. Okay, the tortilla isn’t 100% whole wheat…but come on, no one’s perfect.I love pretty much everything Amy’s sells.  My favorites are the chilli, the veggie loaf, the burritos (obvi), the veggie pizzas, the non-dairy lasagna, the lentil soup, the black-eyed pea rice bowl, I could go on forever.  If it’s Amy’s, you’ll probably like it.  Enda story.If you’re not trying to break your bank, look out for Amy’s at Target.  They sell the soups, burritos and a few frozen meals there for much cheaper than other grocery stores.  Trader Joe’s also makes a non dairy veggie pizza for a few bucks cheaper than Amy’s, and I’m pretty sure they have a nearly identical list of ingredients.
Onto cuter things…

totally natural, obviously

To answer your question, yes, we did  iron all of those little doggies onto LiaBanana’s shirt.  The kiddies may not like my overnight oats, but they do love overnight braids!!!!

Back at the casa, the tumbly was grumblin’.  Thyme 4 lunch.

Sweet Potato, Bean and Kale Stew

serves 4

lightly adapted from this recipe (thanks Mama Pea)

  • 1/2 c. diced onions
  • 2 c. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 2 medium potatoes)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 t. chili powder
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • One 28 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with juices
  • One 14 oz. can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c. vegetable broth or water
  • 1 medium head of kale
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro to garnish (optional)

Spray a large pot with cooking spray or a bit of coconut/olive/canola oil if you’re feeling sassy. Saute onions, sweet taters, garlic, chilli powder, nutmeg and cumin for about seven minutes, stirring A LOT!

Add tomaters, beans, and a cup of stock or water.  I used water, but veg broth would be more flavorful, obvi.  Bring to a bowl, lower heat, cover and simmer for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, wash and de-stem kale.  Tear into medium-sized pieces. (It can be any type of kale, but you’ll get the best deal at a local farmer’s market.  I was lucky enough to score a bunch of kale twice the size of my head at the North Market on Saturday, for….wait for it…….. $1.50.)  Mix kale into the stew after it has simmered for twenty minutes.

Sweet potatoes should be fork tender. Season to taste with salt and pep!

Give the BestieRoomie a bowl, lick the spoon, then serve yourself!

recognize this pic?

Kale is a superhero in the veggie world. It is the most nutrient dense green around, high in Vitamin A, C, K, calcium, iron, and the list goes on.  It can be bitter if eaten raw, but incorporating it into a soup takes away the bitterness factor.

See that spillage of stew on the side of the left bowl? Gets me every time.

But hey, no one’s perfect.

"she looks like a demented chipmunk." -saun-baun

She comes pretty darn close.

beans and rice and everything nice, that’s what girls are made of

Buenos dias.  Lunch today was…..LEFTOVERS! I know, don’t all gasp at once. Hoisin tofu, brown rice, broccoli and mmmm sauce topped them with chopped roasted almonds, which added a nice healthy crunch factor.

Notice the Solon mug? LYLAS, Solon.

What’s small, brown and hairy?

KIWIS of course!! More like  little green powerhouse.  Kiwis are an excellent source of vitamin C–just one has 95% of the daily value.   They are also a very good source of fiber as well as a good source of copper, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin E and manganese. 

Price tag?

46 calories.

What?  I didn’t hear you correctly.

46 calories!!

***

Last week I was sitting with the kiddies brainstorming names for the blog.  They both had excellent suggestions. My personal favorite was from LiaBanana…

1.  www.howtobeabetttercookerofananny.com 

In English, that’s How to Be a Better Cooker of a Nanny.  Because“most nannies just make mac and cheese.”  It has a nice ring to it. But WAIT! There’s more:

2. http://www.howtobeabettercookerofananny.org !!!!

 Her other ideas included:

3. http://www.chocoavohummus.com 

4. www.outeravocado.edu. 

The kid is a genius. 

Saun-Baun gets full credit for hummusapien.  As soon as the word came out of her mouth, I died of laughter (it’s amazing that I’m still alive with all this laughing and eating). I thought it was hysterical.  Incidentally, so did my mom and dad and BestieRoomie, so it stuck.  Saun explained that she was learning about the word homosapien in Latin, so that’s where the idea came from.  Who would have thought Latin could be so useful??

Anywho, if you know me at all, you know that I think it’s extremely important for kids to grow up eating well.  It will shape them for the rest of their lives.  Pass on the boxed crapola.  Throw it back in the freezer if it has a bunch of ingredients you can’t pronounce.  Have you ever heard a child ask for sodium aluminate for lunch? Or, “Nanny dearest, I’m craving some BHT.”  I didn’t think so.  But hey, at least they’re eating at home!

“The crappy food that kids are served at school is not an accident. The crappy food that’s advertised to them (and everyone) on television and any other waking moment by people with psychology and marketing PhDs, that’s not an accident, either. The proliferation of cheap burgers and nachos, the banishment of carrots and leafy greens to the upscale neighborhoods, this is not an accident either.

I’m not one to insist that people swear off meat and cheese, but the stuff they serve at most schools … whatever people can eat, they need fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, food that very obviously came from a recently living plant. For kids, doubly so.”                               

http://news.change.org/stories/school-lunch-bad-on-purpose                                                                                                                                                                          

  Amen.

 Babysitter’s Easy Beans and Rice

-serves one hummusapien and two kiddies

  • 1 can of [organic] black/pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of [organic] diced tomatoes, partially drained
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  •  1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • jarred salsa
  • garnish: avocado slices, organic cheddar/monterey cheese
  • Nanny of the year award: Chipotle dressing

no, we didn't use eleven bottles of wine.

Warning: Once again, these measurements are estimates since I didn’t measure, so taste along the way and season accordingly!

Spray a medium saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and spices.  Saute until onions have softened.  If they start to stick, add a tablespoon or two of water or vegetable broth to the pot. 

Meanwhile, chop your cilantro and heat up your rice.  If you’re lucky, you’ll peek into the freezer and find frozen Whole Foods long grain brown rice, ready to use after heating.  If you’re not so lucky, heat the rice according to package directions.  This will take about fifty minutes, so plan accordingly!

Drain and wash your beans and partially drain the tomatoes.  Add both to the pot along with the cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper and taste test.  Add a few tablespoons of jarred salsa and stir.  Cook until heated through.  To serve, mix in 1/4 cup of cheese to the kiddies’ bowls. Top with Chipotle dressing for extra points. Pass on the cheese when you make your own bowl, and add avocado slices and baked tortilla chips for dipping. Garnish with a cilantro spring (that the kids will immediately pick off.)

without avocado and Chipotle magic…not the same.
much better.

Well hello there, complimentary protein!!

three’s a crowd

Mornin’ all.  It was hard for me to fall asleep last night because I was so excited about finally starting the blog, so naturally, I stared at the two lonely posts I had written and decided that they needed a friend.  A friend that would have to wait until tomorrow morning, after I dropped the kiddies off at camp.

I have the best job ever.  Everyday I get to hang out with two adorable, sweet, and extremely smart little girlies.  LiaBanana is wise beyond her years.

“Do you have a job?” 

“Yes, of course! This is my job, silly!”

“But this is too fun to be a job!”

Amen, sista.

Zoombezi Bay!

Then there’s the pet store, where puppy#1 is the cutest little bugger I’ve ever seen, puppy poopy #2 “has a pooping problem” and dog #3 (who was way too big to be called a puppy) scratches LiaBanana’s leg.  You win some, you lose some.

puppy numero uno, obviously

Look at those eyes!

still puppy#1

you guessed it… #1

Poopy#2 and dog #3 didn’t make the cut. Sorry, guys.  Just like Lia said, “That dog is never gonna find a home if he scratches everybody.”  True dat.

 
***
 
Back up to this morning, when I indulged in the most important meal of the day.  Lately I’ve been enjoying Trader Joe’s toasted oat bran.  In one serving, it packs 6 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein.  Not to mention 15% of the daily value of iron.  I don’t hate it.

the goods

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN  BRAN ALL MY LIFE??
 
Let’s chat for a bit about these all star ingredients. As you can probably tell, I have a mild but healthy obsession with Trader Joe’s.  Their spices are only $1.99–good luck finding that anywhere else, excluding the value time ones that have been alive longer than I have.  Their peanut butter costs $1.79, and it only has two ingredients: peanuts and salt.  That’s where it’s at.  The chocolate chips don’t have any funky milk solids or preservatives–in fact nothing under the Trader Joe’s brand name has preservatives, which is humbelievableThe baby stevia hanging with the cocoa powder is what I use to sweeten my oatmeal.  It’s great in a pinch, and that’s all you need–a pinch.  No artificial sweeteners…I don’t haaaaate it. 
 
Reese’s Cup Oat Bran
serves one
  • 1/3 cup toasted oat bran
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk/whatever milk you don’t hate
  • 1 tbsp DARK unsweetened cocoa powder (for extra iron) or the reg. kind
  • 1 heaping tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1/2 banana
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • half a packet of stevia or to taste (or use sugar/agave/100% maple syrup)
  • handful of dark chocolate chips (optional required)

Combine everything except the nanner and chips in a covered bowl, tasting for sweetness.  Stir and then put that bad boy in the fridge before bed.  When you wake up, add more milk/water until you get a smoothie-like consistency.  Tear the half a nanner into big chunks and add to oat bran. The nanner will become gooey and carmelized and yummilicious a la Katie . Microwave  for a minute to a minute and thirty seconds until you like the consistency.  It shouldn’t need too long since the oats were soaking all night.  If you’re feeling sassy, throw in and some chocolate chips.  Stir, eat, repeat.   You’ll be full for hours.  Nothin to hate about that.

Looks don't matter. It's what's on the inside.

 

First Pealightful “Recipea”

I didn’t eat lunch today until about 3:30, which is NOT normal.  I usually stare at the clock until 11:30am, when I feel it’s socially acceptable to start noshing on everything in sight.  I scarfed down deeelish leftovers before picking up the kiddies from camp.  Leftover hoisin ginger tofu (courtesy of Mama Pea) with brown rice,  chick peas, steamed broccoli, and mmmm sauce.  AMAZING.  The good thing about cooking for one is that there are leftover for almost a week. 

con Siracha

Broccoli is loaded with folic acid, vitamin C, and potassium. Score!

And hey, when I get sick of them, there’s always Nikki.

me and the bestieroomie (aka Nikki)

When it came to the kiddies, LiaBanana and Saun-Baun wanted hummus after camp.  Sabra roasted red pepper hummus. YUMMUS.

That's my girl!

 The acorns don’t fall far from the nanny-tree.

It was hard to pick a recipe for dinner, but  I wanted something easy, so I flipped through the new cookbook.  Of course Whole Foods was out of whole-wheat hamburger buns, TJ’s was too far away, and although I love Target dearly, they don’t really believe in selling packaged food with less than a hundred ingredients.  I settled on one without HFCS and with only a couple things I couldn’t pronounce.  Beggars can’t be choosers.  Sigh.

I made the “better than ever black bean burgers” with some roasted brussel sprouts and carrot fries.  If you want the recipe, buy the book!! Bestieroomie, bestieroomie’s friend and I ate until we could eat NO more …except for  chocolate-chip zucchini muffins we inhaled for dessert.  Who would have though you could get so full on veggies? Fabulous.

Back up.   The three of us finished off a whole pound of carrots, a feat we could not have accomplished had they not been roasted into the disguise of carrot fries.  The kiddies love these, too.  They are a great way to squeeze in Vitamin A, shine-ifying your skin, bones, hair and eyes. Double score.

Carrot Fries:

-serves three, with the risk of turning orange

  • 1 lb. of organic carrots
  • Canola Oil Spray
  • 1  tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt

These measurements are estimates because I eyeball the spices, so go crazy! Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash carrots.  Using a sharp knife, carefully cut carrots into “fry” spears and spread onto a cookie sheet sprayed liberally with cooking spray or canola oil. Sprinkle with desired seasoning and then spray the fries once more.  Toss to coat.  If you’re feeling sassy, try coconut oil.   Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning if neccesary, until fries look crispy and spotted(or when it’s 9:00 and you told bestieroomie that dinner was at 8:00).  EAT!

Organic Kosher Dill Pickle Spears were on sale at Whole Foods today.  Home run.

Once upon a hummusapien

It all started when I was sitting at Organic Energy  (aka the best thing that ever happened to Solon, Ohio) with my dad whom I affectionately call Faj (think pasta fajioli).  I ordered the…

  1.  Swamp Monster Juice:  pear, carrot, beet, apple, kale. Or simply, green greatness.
  2. Protein Salad: chickpeas, grape tomatoes, cucumber, sunflower seeds, currants, alfalfa sprouts, grilled tempeh on baby spinach with creamy cilantro lime dressing.  I could rave for a page, but I’ll spare you.
  3. Vegan Coconut Cream Pie.  Sold out, obviously.

Fajol ordered bean and cabbage soup—sounds boring, tastes pretty divine.

 When I really enjoysomething, I usually say “Oh my god; this is divine.” But calling that salad beast and fresh juice merely divine would be a grave injustice.  The array of organic veggies and their ridiculously creamy partner in crime were the epitome of divine, thus the classic, “Oh my god; I’m dying,” was in order.  But I actually didn’t die. 

Something happens when I eat something that is beyond good, and it would be a lie to say that a little part of me isn’t happier after each bite.  If a cat has nine lives and a homosapien has one life, then a hummusapien has about a million, considering that I nearly die every time I eat something amazing.  Take the Whole Foods hummus quartet, for example.  When the adorable kiddies that I babysit showed me this goldmine hiding from me in their fridge, I nearly passed out .  I thought, wait–what could be better than Whole Foods black bean hummus? Whole Foods black bean, roasted red pepper, original, AND garlic hummus!!  Humbelievable, I tell you.

My passion in life is all things nutrition, health, and whole foods (the real ones and the store).  I love eating about as much as I love being healthy, so when the two come together, you can imagine the near death experience.  I don’t live for food and nutrition—I die for it.  At least twice a day.

 This day is not only important to me because it marks the day that I  finally start the blog I’ve always wanted to start, but also because it is the day that the Peas and Thank You cookbook is released.

After a quite haphazard parking job, I arrived at Barnes and Noble armed with my tall Starbucks iced coffee- light ice-skip the sweetener-add soymilk at 10:00am sharp to get my hands on the book of all books. Yes, I already pre-ordered one a month ago, but according to Amazon,  it won’t arrive until tomorrow… and let’s be serious, I had to read one today. Mama Pea is my all time favorite blogger, not to mention an inspiring mother/chef/yoga-er/Trader Joe’s connoisseur. Her inexpensive, meatless, straight-up delicious recipes have long inspired me to start my own blog and help my friends and family see how fun it can be to give veggies a little love here and there.  So gracias, Mama Pea!  Honorable mentions go to an extremely hungry Hippie, a glowing gal and Kwirky Katelyn.  You all rock my socks off post after post and cause me to utter those words-that-shall-not-be-named waaaaaaay too often… Dare I say it?

“Oh my god… I’m dying.” 

 I was so excited to start the blog and read Peas and Thank You that I nearly forgot to eat my beautiful-babysitting-toasted oat bran-overnight oats! They sat there in all their delicious glory, accidentally covering the face of a woman who believes in “one easy move to SLIM all over!”  Hmm, sounds familiar. Just like when I  consider telling the babysitting kiddies, “The tooth fairy is real! She’s just a very busy lady.” Believe what you will.

 A million and a half healthy food comas later, here I am, beginning my life long journey loving and talking about all things healthy, humbelievable and dee-vine.   I hope to inspire you all to embrace your inner hummusapien, avocado-sapien, chocolate-sapien…or whatever divine delicacy that defines you.  Because hey, you may die every time you eat double chocolate-single chin brownies, but you only live once!