Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chicken Broth Recipe

When I was little, I remember my grandmother making homemade chicken soup. She'd be in the kitchen forever with the only pot big enough to hold an entire chicken. She made it seem so simple, but it tasted so good. Now that I'm all grown up, I decided to pull out my own big pot and make some broth. I hate copying other people's ideas, so I pulled out my cookbooks for inspiration. I spent a long time researching recipes, and they all called for chicken bones (which freak me out) and they required you to "skim the scum off the top" at various points in the process. I'm sorry, but I don't think the word "scum" has any place in a tasty recipe. Back to cans for me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Son is Underweight

I'm not sure if it's because he's so active or if he just has a metabolism people would kill for, but my ten year-old has always been a string bean. Even back when we were eating processed food and fast food, the scale simply wouldn't budge for him. When he was about two and a half, his pediatrician simply said to let him eat as much of whatever he wanted, including junk food, just to try to get his calorie consumption up. It never worked.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Refried Beans / Bean Dip

We love mexican food, so bean dip and refried beans are pretty common around here. Unfortunately, the store-bought varieties of these classics tend to leave a lot to be desired. Determined to make an easy version that could double as either, I came up with the following recipe.  We use it on our tacos and fajitas, in our chimichangas, and straight up with tortilla chips. The best part? You can use whatever beans you want. Love this stuff!

Snack Cravings Guide

When I was participating in the 7-day real food challenge, I had tons of cravings for foods that were not "real". So I drew up this list and posted in right on the fridge so I had no excuses. Whether you are doing your own real food challenge, or simply trying to snack healthier, this should definitely help. Even though our challenge ended a few weeks ago, I still use this as a guideline when the cravings strike.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Food for Thought

School Lunches

I loved buying school lunch when I was a kid. Bringing my own brown bag fare just seemed embarrassing, but not anymore. Have you seen the cool lunch gear available to kids today? Bento boxes and divided trays that come with their own silverware and cartoon shaped food picks and flower shaped cutters... it's awesome!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Super Simple Chili (A.K.A. Even-people-who-hate-chili-will-love-this Chili)

I hate used to hate chili. I have tried so many chilis, but they were too spicy or too bland, and the beans were always still hard or total mush. I finally realized the only way I was going to get a chili I liked was if I made it myself. I have been serving this up for years and have converted many other chili-haters. Enjoy!

6 Veggie Spaghetti

I grew up eating pasta - a lot of pasta. And I like it in a lot of ways, but a bowl of white spaghetti with some plain tomato sauce thrown on top is just depressing to me. So I came up with this easy alternative, which cleverly disguises tons of veggies for even the pickiest of eaters, husbands and children included!

Easy Granola Recipe

Finding cereal that isn't all hopped up on artificial flavors and colors is not an easy task. Few things make me crazier than seeing a box of cereal (or anything, really) that says "Strawberry flavored". We are big cereal eaters around here, so finding a healthy but tasty option is really important. I don't know about you, but I can only stand brown rice puffed cereal for so long. I refuse to pay $5 for a small 3 cup bag of packaged granola, so I decided to bring out a recipe I used to make often.

Real Food Challenge

I don't remember how it happened, but I stumbled upon Lisa Leake's blog, which chronicles her choice to switch her family's entire diet over to non-processed foods. It was such a simple idea, eating only food that nature has provided for us, yet it read like a gripping novel. I had it open on my smartphone, my tablet, and my home computer just so I had easy access to it whenever I had a free two minutes - I just couldn't stop reading it. I read through the 100 days part, and then went back to read the before and after stuff as well.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Cheese, Please

I am a total cheese addict. Cheddar, colby jack, port wine, cottage, american - anything but the stinky or moldy cheeses. I can totally live without those. But my favorite has got to be mozzarella. Now keep in mind that this whole loving food thing is relatively new to me. I am used to pre-shredded bagged cheese that is coated in various starches (to prevent caking, or so the bag tells me) and has mold inhibitor (?!) in it.

French Apple Tart

This is one of those recipes that looks way too good to eat. It is the perfect dessert when you are having company or need to bring something to a get-together. I have received so many compliments on this tart - for both the eye appeal and taste. Feel free to change it any way you like - use whatever apples you have on hand, or even pears, and try out different jellies. Make it your own - and don't forget to let me know how you did it and what you think.

Banana Berry Smoothie

I seem to have a new food obsession every few days. I eat something every day (or a couple times a day) until I find something new to drool over. Last week it was mini Triscuits and Garlic and Herb Boursin cheese. This week's fave? Banana Berry Smoothies. I can't get enough! The funny thing is I hate bananas, but the berries make it so worth it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's All About the Food

I love food. I love cooking and baking and grocery stores and cookbooks and produce outlets and restaurants and, well, you get the idea.

I was not always this way. I grew up in a "clean plate" house where my sisters and I would sit at the dining room table until our food was gone, or until bedtime, whichever came first. After a while, you just don't really like food anymore - it becomes a chore, not an experience. When I first moved out, I ate simply out of habit. I rarely prepared meals that required more than a microwave and I was terrified of spices. (To this day, I still make my chili with a taco seasoning packet.) To be honest, the thought of spending hours thumbing through cookbooks, comparison shopping for the required ingredients, and then actually cooking a meal that will be eaten and gone in 20 minutes just seemed ridiculous to me.

But then I became a mom. There's something about having kids that forces you to slow down and really learn to pay attention, to live a little, to try new things. Food suddenly became this whole new world for me to conquer and share with my growing family. I love writing weekly menu plans, watching Food Network, reading cookbooks and food magazines, trying new things, and I have not one, but two spice racks! I like to share my own recipes, thoughts about new foods and restaurants, and find the best food around without going broke.

But that's enough chit-chat... Bring on the food!

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