Why you should make green smoothies?

IMG_0440Not just for yourself, but also for your loved ones.  Especially your toddlers.  Probably the biggest and best reason for this is because they are delicious.  A close second is they are super healthy.  And coming in right behind that, it’s an easy way to teach kids they like spinach!

My recipe is super easy.  And super duper delicious.  And SweetPea asks for it, on a regular basis.  And if I try to make some just for me, she won’t stand for it.  And who am I to say no when my kid asks for some of my vegetable yumminess?

If you haven’t already jumped on the green smoothie band wagon, now’s the time!

Green Smoothie Recipe

1 cup orange juice
2 bananas
2-3 handfuls of spinach
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Put the orange juice and spinach in a blender, blend until smooth.  Add bananas.  Blend.  Add chia seeds.  Blend.  Serve and enjoy.

The most important thing when making a green smoothie is blend the liquid (juice, water, milk, whatever you choose) and the greens BEFORE adding anything else.  Or you end up with confetti in your mouth.  Now this may sound like a party, but it’s not.  It’s actually awful.  However if you blend the greens before adding in banana or fruit or ice it will turn out smooth, amazing, and oh-so-good.

The second most important thing is to make enough to share.  Or you won’t get enough.  You will, however, have a kid with a pretty awesome green smoothie mustache.  Which is pretty awesome.

IMG_0437

First Birthday!!

IMG_0340

This post is a little late going up.  But last month we celebrated our Bub’s first birthday.

Unsurprisingly, we’ve been busy.  So getting pictures up took a little longer than I would have liked.

But on to the show!

There were presents.  And Bub loved them, so did his sister, SweetPea 🙂 .  But even better than presents were chocolate cupcakes.  With pink frosting, of course.  And yes, SweetPea did pick out both the flavor of the cupcakes AND the color of the frosting.  Bub can pick those things next year, you know, when he’s talking.
IMG_0395

This next picture proves that Bub is my child.  I make that same face every time I eat chocolate.  Every single time.  It’s just so dang good.IMG_0401

This next picture proves that Bub is related to my husband.  He does the same thing whenever he eats chocolate.  Or spaghetti for that matter.  That’s actually not true, he’s a bit of freak about getting food on his hands and face.

IMG_0417

But this face is why we love him so!

IMG_0429

Also this face.

IMG_0435

Happy Birthday Bub!  We’re so lucky to have two wonderful kids.  And here’s to lots more crazy, messy, wonderful adventures. I hope you all are enjoying your families and your chocolate as much as I am.

Getting in the Groove

Call me crazy.  But after having kiddo #2 (how the heck am I old enough for 2 kids…I am certainly not mature enough…ohmy), starting my first job as an RN (and working the nightshift to boot), and purchasing our first home (what!!?!) a few little things have slipped through the cracks.  Like vacuuming.  And working out.  And while the not vacuuming does eventually drive me crazy, this whole being too tired to move makes my whole life body feel like poo.  So call me silly, but I’m doing a DietBet.

A DietBet, what’s that crazy nonsense? (that’s what I imagine you’re saying)

Well I gambled 35 dollars. Online. And made a bet that I would lose 4% of my bodyweight in 4 weeks.  That’s almost 6 pounds for the whole time or about 1.4 pounds a week…which if you know your stuff about losing weight that is on the higher end of healthy weight loss, but still healthy.  It will also get me really close to my best weight.  I say best weight because at that weight  I tend to just feel really good.  To maintain that weight I have to continue eating healthy (most of the time) and I have to move my body (more than just running up and down the halls of the hospital) a couple times a week.  This makes my body happy.  Which makes me happy.

Did I also mention that I’m trying yoga right now?  With a back that has a history of going out every few months I started seeing a physical therapist.  Diagnosis: my hamstrings are so stinkin’ tight they’re pulling my back out.  Shocking, that the person who loudly proclaims how much she hates bending has gone so long without bending that now I can’t bend…without some painful repercussions.

Needless to say, yoga!  Not so fun right now.  But my goal is to do it 3-4 times a week during this DietBet challenge.  Hopefully I’ll get flexible enough that I stop crying during class (yes, that was me with the tears in Thursday’s class, and no, I really didn’t bend that far, and no again, I didn’t injure myself) either that or going will become a habit and I’ll just keep going until it stops hurting.  Cross your fingers for me (I would but that is classified as bending, and I don’t do that).

So 1 week down. How’d I do? I dropped some weight. Whoop, whoop. Went to yoga 2 times (better than 0).  And realized how pathetically unfit I am.  Oops.  But now that I’m moving, it doesn’t feel too bad to be out of shape.  Because I know it’s only temporary and decent shape (and maybe, dare I dream? good shape) will follow!

Spicy Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

Spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

Spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

Oh man.  Not that this soup is souper spicy (see what I did there?) or anything but it does have a little more heat than my 2-year-old typically eats.  However, I put a small serving (I wasn’t planning on wasting a single drop of this deliciousness) in front of her; she took one bite and started saying how good the soup was and then continued to plow through her bowl like a champ.

Toddler approved spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

Toddler approved spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

I need to remember that whenever I give her something that has a little spice in it, as long as I don’t say, “Oh, this might be too spicy for SweetPea,” there’s a good chance she’ll give it a shot and maybe like it.

Unfortunately for me, she liked this soup…which means I had fewer leftovers…which means I got to eat less of the soup…which kind of sucked because this soup is really good.  However, it’s also really easy to make, so I might just have to make it again in the near future.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound spicy chorizo sausage
2 Tbsp butter (or olive oil, but butter is delicious)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I used closer to 1/4 tsp to keep the heat down)
1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped (about 2 very large handfuls)
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite size bits
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk or cream (I used 2%)

Directions:

Heat large pot over medium high heat.  Add chorizo and brown it.  Once chorizo is browned, remove it from pot and set aside.
Lower heat to medium, add butter and let it melt.  Then add the onions and let them cook 5-10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Cook another 5-10 minutes.
Add chopped kale in smallish batches (I did mine in 4 batches).  Let each batch wilt before adding the next.  Add the nutmeg and stir.  Cook another 2-3 minutes to allow the kale to fully wilt.
Add potatoes, cooked sausage, and chicken broth.  Bring to boil.
Lower heat and let simmer an hour or more (the longer it simmers the better the flavors).
Stir in the milk (or cream).

Serve and enjoy!

Spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

Spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

Roasted Roots – with a zippy twist

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Roots

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Roots

I love vegetables.  And I feel pretty lucky to say that…mostly because I know so many people who don’t like vegetables and one, they’re missing out on tasty food and two, they have a hard time eating healthy.  I just think it’s sad when people don’t like veggies.  And the saddest thing about it, is the reason they don’t like veggies.  They’ve probably never had them prepared in a delicious way.

Roasting veggies happens to be a delicious way to prepare them.  And roasted veggies might be one reason I love fall and winter so much.  They’re just so good!

This recipe is one of the first ways I’ve cooked parsnips.  And guess what?  They’re pretty dang good!  So get ready to rock your taste buds and make a delicious (and healthy) side dish.

Ingredients:

1 pound carrots, cut to about the size of fat french fries (fat french fries is a technical cooking term…promise…)
1/2 pound parsnips, cut to about the size of fat french fries
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp molasses
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

In a medium bowl toss carrots and parsnips with olive oil, red pepper flakes, and salt until well coated.
Spread in single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, at 400 degrees.
Toss with molasses, and roast another 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Serve and sprinkle each serving with a tablespoon of feta.  Enjoy!

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Roots

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Roots

Roasted Garlicky Squash

butternut squash recipe

Roasted Garlicky Squash

I admit.  I was never a big fan of squash until recently.  I think the problem with so many squash recipes is that people make them sweet.  And yuck.  That is just gross.

However, add a little oil, garlic, and cheese…wahlah! you’ve got yourself a dang tasty treat.  And (depending on how much oil and cheese you add) a pretty healthy one too.

Another thing I like about this dish is the color.  Call me crazy, but I love it when my plate is bursting with different colors, that might be one of the reasons I like having a green salad with most dinners.

A third thing I like about this dish is how easy it is to make.  Cut the squash and garlic, toss with oil, sprinkle cheese…that’s about it.  Easy peasy, right?

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 medium butternut squash, cubed into bite size pieces
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a medium bowl mix olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Add squash and toss until coated.

Put squash in a baking dish and roast, uncovered, for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, roast another 10-15 minutes until squash is tender.

Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Garlicky Squash

Roasted Garlicky Squash

Roasted Garlicky Squash

Roasted Garlicky Squash

Strawberries ‘n Cream Oatmeal Smoothie

toddler friendly smoothie

Strawberries ‘n Cream Oatmeal Smoothie (and yes, that’s a green smoothie in the background…gotta have it!)

What!?!

Ok.  If I’m being completely honest, this recipe was mostly just a series of mistakes.  Mistakes that turned into a gloriously tasty smoothie (if you don’t believe me, ask SweetPea).

It started with homemade yogurt.  That didn’t turn out.  Way to soupy.  But I wasn’t going to throw it away…that would have been a waste of perfectly good milk.  Besides, when I make refrigerator oatmeal I add both yogurt and milk…so soupy yogurt is the perfect combination, right?

Well, it was the first few times I made it.  Then I finished that jar of homemade yogurt and started on another jar…which was even soupier.  How does that happen?  It was from the same batch.

Whatever.  I still made my refrigerator oatmeal like I have been.  However, when I pulled it out the next morning it was still soup.  Not a nice creamy oatmeal consistency at all.  More like liquid…with oatmeal flakes floating in it.

That’s when I had to get creative.  I threw it in the blender.  Then added a handful of strawberries.  And came up with this.  Which tastes just like strawberries ‘n cream instant oatmeal packs that I ate when I was younger.

It’s super delicious.  And healthy for you.  And my toddler loved it (and the pink smoothie mustache she got from drinking it 🙂 )

Now, I can make this again with my soupy yogurt…but when I run out of that, this will be the recipe I follow (and it uses no soupy yogurt).

Ingredients:

1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp honey (add more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
handful of strawberries (I used fresh, but I think frozen will work just as well)

Directions:

The night before:
Put the first four ingredients in a mason jar.  Stir, shake, roll…anything to get everything mixed together.  Put in fridge.  Leave overnight.

The morning of:
Dump all of the mason jar contents into a blender.  Add your strawberries (sans stems).  Blend until smoothie consistency (feel free to more milk if it’s too thick).

Drink and enjoy!  And if you’re feeling particularly giving, share it with a toddler or a husband…but know this makes a small smoothie…so you might need to up the ingredients if everyone wants some!