Banana Pancakes

So I found this recipe on Pinterest for banana pancakes. It looked so easy which made me want to try it. Although I could probably cook just about anything I really don’t enjoy cooking, it’s more of a chore then anything else. So when I try recipes I like to try the ones with minimal ingredients. This one only has two ingredients.

One banana & one egg…yes you read that right!

Mash up the banana, scramble the egg, mix together and cook just like you would cook any other pancake. I topped mine with fresh strawberries and a really light drizzle of honey. They were so delicious & so easy!photo

This recipe only makes 1 serving of 3 small-medium sized pancakes so if you want more then double or triple the batch.

Enjoy!

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March Meal Plan….Or Lack Thereof!

Hi everyone! So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted! Life has been crazy! My sweet little man is crawling & walking on furniture so I feel like I never sit down! I’ve also been participating in a bible study called “Unglued” which is amazing but has taken up a bunch of my free time.

So the March Meal Plan…I went back and forth about whether or not to post one and I ultimately decided against it…here is why. Recently I’ve watched a few documentaries about food (Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, & Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead)…and they are really challenging me. Normally I make a lot of casseroles, and soups that start with cream of whatever or other canned items. The more I learned, the more I’m realizing I need to change the way I cook for our family. My plan is to eat “cleaner”. If you don’t know what that means clean eating is basically whole gains, organic meats, no processed foods, no refined sugars and lots of organic plant-based foods (fruits, veggies, beans, & nuts). The blog, “100 Days of Real Food” has been an amazing source as I navigate what this means for our family. Check it out here if you want more info (and recipes!!).

This may sound extreme but the more I learn the more I feel like it’s a good thing to do for my family. What I want to say is – I’m going to try to do better, not be perfect! As a whole I’m trying to cut out most canned and boxed foods but I will likely still buy some from time to time (I totally bought a pizza at Costco yesterday – I’m not perfect people!!).

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My daughter loves mac & cheese and I have not be able to find a homemade version she likes so we will probably just cut back on how much of it we eat. It will be more of a treat instead of a staple in our lunches.

Yesterday I stocked up on fruits and veggies a Costco. I’ve started educating myself on the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists and shopped accordingly. When I got home I immediately cleaned the strawberries and prepackaged them for easy snacks for my daughter. I also filled my Little Green Pouches with applesauce – again for easy snacks.20130312-134750.jpg

I wanted to set some goals for myself:

  • Cut out as most processed foods
  • Add more fruits & veggies to our diet
  • Eat more organic foods (the Dirty Dozen, Milk, & Eggs)
  • Tweak my current recipes to fit these guidelines
  • Teach my kids to like healthy foods – this may sound hard but really it’s about learning to cook yummy, healthy foods. My daughter LOVES green beans, & broccoli when cooked the right way.
  • Cook healthy food that is just as yummy as the other food I used to cook! I’ve had a lot of gross healthy food. It doesn’t have to be that way and I’m determined to figure out how to make it yummy!
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle in our family!

This isn’t going to be easy but lucky for me I have a couple of other friends that are on this same journey!! Hopefully we can support each other and share recipes! I’d encourage you to think about what you are feeding your family and start reading labels. If you have some healthy recipes you would like to share I would LOVE to have them!

While I’m navigating what this means for my family I will not be posting meal plans. At this point I don’t even know what to cook for dinner tonight let alone what to cook for a whole month! As I try new recipes or tweak old ones I’ll try to post those. Tomorrow I’ll be posting a really easy recipe for banana pancakes!

 

 

February Meal Plan

Here I am, month two and I’m already behind! Sickness hit our house all in the midst of my husband working 19 days straight (with long hours).  Basically I was playing mom & nurse and trying not to lose my mind! So the blogging/meal planning had to be put on the back burner. We are almost better but my son has a cough that won’t seem to go away! Prayers are appreciated!

Here is the Link to the Google Doc that has the meal plans.

FebMealAs a reminder a couple of tips for printing:

  • Check the box that says “no grid lines”
  • Layout – select “fit to width” and “landscape”

I’ve already heard from a couple of people that they tried some of the recipes and loved them – which is great!! I hope this can be helpful for people! To be honest I probably only made about half of the recipes I planned. But it was still really nice to have the ingredients in the house and not have to put too much thought into the question “what are we having for dinner tonight?”.

Is there a certain recipe you and your family love? I’d love to know about it! I always love trying new recipes and would love to put it into our rotation in the next couple of months!

Green Pork Burittos

Last year we spent Christmas in Colorado with my aunt and uncle. My aunt is probably one of the most amazing cooks I’ve ever encountered (and I’m surrounded by amazing cooks!!)! So to say we ate well is an understatement! While we were there she introduced me to this wonderful recipe. I love it because it’s yummy, a crock-pot recipe, pork (i don’t cook pork often so it’s a nice change), and it makes a lot so you can freeze the left overs!  IMG_3762_edited-1

Ingredients IMG_3749_edited-1

  • 3-4 pound pork roast cut into 4 large pieces & fat trimmed
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cans Stokes Green Pork Sauce – I couldn’t find that Safeway or Fred Meyer but did find it at Wal-Mart in the same area as the green chillies.
  • 2-3 cans of canned chicken – drained (next to the Tuna – but don’t buy tuna!!)
  • 1 regular can of chicken broth
  • 2 small cans diced green chilies (I used one large can – it was cheaper)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 a bunch of chopped cilantro
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder
  • 2 TBSP  cumin  powder
  • 1 TBSP chili powder

Directions:

Prepare your meat by cutting it into 4 pieces and trimming the excess fat.

Chop cilantro, then mix together all ingredients in the crock-pot except the meat. Once everything is combined add your meat. I pushed it towards the bottom so that it was mostly covered in sauce.

Cook on low all day – I did mine for roughly 8 hours

Once the meat is done cooking remove your large chunks of meat from the crock-pot. At this point I removed more of the fat (it really grosses me out) and then shredded up the meat. When shredding shred some of it really fine and some of it chunkier. Put your meat back into the crock-pot. It will be really “soupy”. IMG_3752_edited-1

The assembly:

Some of this may seem a little weird but trust me it’s worth it. First put your tortilla on the plate. To add meat use a ladle or slotted spoon to get some chunks of meat but try to drain of as much of the juices as possible. Add cheese. Microwave for about 15 seconds. This will help melt the cheese and it softens the tortillas to help during the folding process.
IMG_3755_edited-1Fold all 4 sides in then flip it over! This has to be done quickly or you will have a big mess. Pour some of the juices over the burrito and add your favorite toppings! We topped ours with, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, green onions, lettuce and more cheese. Enjoy!

This makes a lot of food so left overs can be frozen and reheated for a later meal if you want!

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Baby Food Making & Reusable Baby Food Pouch

Let’s talk about making baby food…I started making baby food when my daughter Taylin was a baby. I had never thought about it but our pediatrician mentioned it and told me to check out the website wholesomebabyfood.com. I thought I’d give it a try and now I’m hooked! Now I’m making food for my 8 month old son and what he likes is totally different from what his sister liked. He tends to like the veggies more then the fruits (weird right??). Also he doesn’t have as many teeth so I’m still really pureeing things.

Today I made two different kinds of baby food so I’m going to share the step by step process I followed. I used a food processor but you can use a blender, Magic Bullet, or baby food making appliances.

Blueberries, Banana & Yogurt

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1 large banana
1/3 cup plain yogurtIMG_3598IMG_3599Puree everything until it’s really smooth – Once I think it’s smooth I stir it up and see if there are any chunks left. Puree again, if necessary. IMG_3601Once everything is the texture you want transfer the puree to a Ziplock bag and cut the tip off IMG_3603Fill the ice cube trays with the puree, cover with plastic wrap (to help prevent freezer burn) and put into the freezer.

One thing I want to point out is that this was really runny…more like a smoothie so I plan to mix this in with his baby cereal just to thicken it up. If you want it thicker try adding more blueberries or banana to the puree.

IMG_3645Once frozen, pop the cubes out and transfer to a freezer safe bag

For more detailed information on pureeing and baby food storage check this link out – Baby Food Storage/Puree

Carrots/Applesauce

Ingredients:

8 pealed and cut up carrots
3/4 Cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3-1/2 Cup of leftover water from boiling

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Put carrots into a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil then simmer on low for about 10 minutes or until tender. IMG_3613

Remove from pan with a slotted spoon – DO NOT DISCARD JUICES – we may need them later to thin out the puree. The juices have a lot of nutrientes so it’s best to use them to thin out the puree. IMG_3614I moved mine to this loaf pan to let them cool a little bit before pureeing them.
IMG_3619I pureed them with about 1/3-1/2 cup of the juices, stirred, then pureed again. Once they were the right consistency (similar to the consistency of apple sauce), I added in the apple sauce and turned it back on to mix it all together.IMG_3625

Put it in my Ziploc back, cut the tip off and filled the ice cube trays! IMG_3627 Each cube is roughly 1 ounce. My son started out doing one or two cubes but now eats roughly 4-6 cubes for lunch and 6-8 cubes for dinner (in addition to his normal bottles of formula).

So here is the other thing I wanted to mention. Baby food pouches…they are A-MA-ZING! But can be really expensive. I love them for when we are on the go so I broke down and bought some Little Green Pouches. They are reusable and are $14.99 for a 4 pack. They hold 6 ounces (a lot of the other ones on the market only hold 2-4 ounces). The reviews are great on them and I love that they are dishwasher and freezer safe. They are back ordered right now so I’ll let you guys know how I like them after they arrive in a couple of weeks!

The other awesome thing about these is that my daughter can use them next year for kindergarten in her lunch box. I plan to fill them with applesauce, smoothies and yogurt!

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Let me know if you have any questions about baby food making. I’d love to help you get started. I love knowing exactly what my son is eating, and it’s a lot cheaper to make your own food!

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or baby food expert. This is just what I do for my son and it seems to be working well. If you have questions or concerns about introducing food to your baby please talk to your pediatrician.

January Meal Plan

This morning I posted on FB about doing a whole month worth of meal plans…and was surprised at how many people wanted to see it! I’ve never done this much at one time but I figured it wouldn’t take me that much longer to do a whole month vs. a week or two.

Here is what I think about when I plan our meals:

  • Our family favorites
  • A good assortment of chicken/beef
  • Easy meals
  • One Crock-pot meal a week (this is a goal but doesn’t always happen)
  • Making meals in mass quantity to freeze – spaghetti sauce, and chili both make huge batches so I free the extra. When I make lasagna and meatloaf I always make two so we eat one and freeze one.
  • It’s a guideline – you don’t have to do each meal on the specific day! If you buy all the ingredients you can switch it up based on what sounds good!
  • I meal plan, then shop for the ingredients for two weeks at a time (you may want to buy produce weekly though)

JanMeal

Click on the image to be linked to the Google Doc

I have included links to the recipes that are already online and will try to document/post the recipes for our other favorites in the next few months.

Printing Tips:

  • Check the box that says “no grid lines”
  • Layout – select “fit to width” and “landscape”

I color coded the calendar which is mostly for me but maybe it may help you as well!
Let me know if there is any additional info you want to know!

Happy cooking!

Friends, Farms and Fun!

Well it’s that time of year again…the berries are ripe so it’s time to make freezer jam! Normally I just buy some berries at Costco and make the jam but this year we did things a little different. The moms group from my church organized a trip to Raising Cain Ranch to pick organic raspberries with the kids. I’ve never picked berries before so I was really excited.

When we arrived the man explained that the you pick berries were $4 per pound and you were allowed to eat as many berries as you want while you picked! The kids were super excited about that!!

So away we went!! I strapped Bryson into the Baby Bjorn and Tay and got to picking!

We had an amazing time with all our friends. After we were done picking we found a spot on the grass and ate our picnic lunch.

When I got home I washed all our berries in a vinegar rinse, laid them out on a cookie sheet and flash froze them before I transferred them to a gallon sized freezer bag. If you want you can make the jam right away instead of freezing but I knew we had a jam making day planned a couple of weeks after the berry picking so I wanted to save the berries for that get together.

Today was that day and we had a fun time making jam together. I ended up with 6 containers of raspberry freezer jam.


Last week I also spent a morning with my husbands grandma and my sister in law making strawberry and raspberry jam. We had a wonderful time with her and I ended up with 15 containers of strawberry jam and an additional 4 containers of raspberry jam!

If you’ve never made freezer jam before it’s super easy! I always use the Sure Jell brand pectin so these are the recipes they include in the package of pectin.

Raspberry Freezer Jam:

3 cups prepared fruit (buy about 6 cups fully ripe red raspberries)
5-1/4 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
3/4 cup water
1 box SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin

CRUSH raspberries thoroughly. (Press half of pulp through a sieve to remove seeds, if desired.) Measure exactly 3 cups crushed raspberries into large bowl. Stir in sugar. Let stand 10 min., stirring occasionally.

MIX water and pectin in small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling and stirring 1 min. Add to fruit mixture; stir 3 min.or until sugar is almost dissolved and no longer grainy. (A few sugar crystals may remain.)

FILL containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator before using.

Strawberry Freezer Jam:

2 cups crushed strawberries (buy 1 qt. fully ripe strawberries)
4 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
3/4 cup water
1 pkg. SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
CRUSH strawberries thoroughly. Measure exactly 2 cups prepared fruit into large bowl. Stir in sugar. Let stand 10 min., stirring occasionally.
MIX water and pectin in small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling and stirring 1 min. Add to fruit mixture; stir 3 min. or until most the sugar is dissolved. (A few sugar crystals may remain.)
FILL containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or in freezer up to 1 year. (If frozen, thaw in refrigerator before using.)
Happy berry picking and jam making!

Freezer Meal Challenge

So I have decided to give myself a challenge! I want to make some freezer meals before the baby comes so I decided it would be kind of fun to see how cheap I can make the meals!

I’ve couponed off and on over the last year or two, so I decided if I plan all the meals I want to make now, then I can try to coupon/watch for sales on the ingredients that I need. This will keep me motivated to watch the sales each week and watch my favorite coupon blogs for the deals!

In addition to making freezer meals I decided I wanted to try a couple new recipes this time around. I do enjoy the ones I normally make but I’m hoping for some variety this time around.

So here are the meals I’m going to shop for:

Soups/Sauces

Ground Beef

  • Taco Meat
  • Lasagna – I may tweak this one a little this time…I’ll let you know how it turns out!
  • Hamburger Patties
  • Meat Loaf/Meat Balls

Pork

Chicken

Pastries

  • Banana Bread
  • Zucchini Bread

All the bold items are new recipes. My baby is due at the end of May so I decided that it would be good to make some hamburger patties and freeze them ahead and also to marinate some chicken and freeze it. Both of these are super easy but I know Tom will be excited to start grilling again so It will be nice to have them on hand and ready to go!

I’m going to make two or three loafs each of the banana bread and zucchini bread – I’ve gotta make sure this mama eats breakfast every day!

Now onto the planning/tracking spreadsheet…I put together a spreadsheet of all the ingredients I need for the meals. Then I went through my pantry/fridge to figure out what I already have.

Here is what I’m working on….it’s a lot! But I think I can make it happen!!

Meal Planning Spreadsheet

Impossible Spinach Pie

So tonight I threw together my mom’s recipe for “Impossible Spinach Pie” which is really just a recipe from Bisquick. It took me no more then 10 minutes to put it together and it’s super yummy! The nice thing is that it has Bisquick in it so you don’t have to make a crust!

The last time I was at the dr. for a check up they told me I was anemic so I thought this would be a good option because of the spinach. I normally serve this for dinner but tonight I made it as a breakfast option for me to take to work.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen spinach, thawed & drained
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 c. shredded monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 3/4 c. milk
  • 1  c. Bisquick
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, grease a 10 inch pie plate.  Saute the onions until tender. Mix spinach, onions and cheese together in pie plate.
Beat remaining ingredients until smooth, 15 seconds in blender on high or 1 minute with hand beater. Pour into pie plate.
Bake until knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool 5 minutes.  Refrigerate any remaining pie.
I like to eat it just like it is but you could also add sausage, ham, bacon or anything else that sounds good to you!
Makes 8 servings

Crockpot Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce

My boss turned me onto this recipe. It’s super yummy and so easy. It’s from the cookbook “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook”.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 pound pork roast or tenderloin
  • 2 –  large red bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 1/3 cup prepared teriyaki sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Optional Toppings:
chopped green onions
chopped peanuts

Coat slow cooker with pan spray. Put all ingredients except peanut butter in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours. Remove pork from slow cooker, remove all fat, and coarsely chop. Add peanut butter to liquid in slow cooker, stir well until PB is dissolved and blended in with the liquid. Add pork to sauce and toss to coat meat. Serve over hot rice.