Salad Dressing 101

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via Earthbound Farms

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Babes and Beignets

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Beignets, how do I love thee.

Remember how I mentioned I will post mostly healthy, occasionally sinful recipes for you all? Well this is one of those sinful recipes. Like, sugar covered crispy fried pastry sinful. Proceed at your own diet risk…

Beignets are a well known staple of Creole cuisine, brought to Louisiana by way of French colonists in the 1800’s. Growing up in the south with a mother from New Orleans, these tasty treats are a dessert I have loved since a tender age. They have the same affect as a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day. They just take you there.

Fairly easy to make, just a bit time consuming. Things like folding, rolling and letting the dough rise do not allow for a rush job on this recipe. Be prepared to wait. Let your kids or significant other help. Baking with someone you love helps to ease the process. And its just fun! My son helped me roll the dough and loved it. He got to show me how strong he was AND stick his fingers in an enormous mushy ball of dough.

I thought this version, by way of http://www.halfbakedharvest.com, was easy to follow and is actually a beignet tiramisu with chocolate ganache recipe. Yes, you read correctly, tiramisu and ganache… I mean we’re already going there. Why not? I only used the beignet recipe this time, everything turned out very well. I’m definetly adding the ganache next go round. The beignets were perfectly sweet and soft on the inside.

My tips: Keep an eye on how quick they cook. Be prepared to flip the beignets often. Don’t cut the pieces too big or they will have a hard time cooking through. Bon appetit!

Under The Sea Day!

Today I surprised my big little guy with an under the sea themed day. Its summer & he’s a nine year old boy who would spend AT LEAST half of his day playing video games if I didn’t tell him to do otherwise. The reality of summer is you can’t go on a vacation everyday. There are so many days that can fall to the wayside if you don’t keep you and your family busy with what I like to call, “mini adventures”. Hence, where my idea for “Under the Sea Day” came from. I just wanted a little something we could do in our own friendly quarters that would take his mind off of his PlayStation for a moment. Nothing incredibly outlandish, just plain old fashioned good times. I started with waking him up with “fish cakes”. Just pancakes in the shape of sea creatures, bacon seaweed & a side of fruit. Simple and he loved it. Score one for mom.

We let the food settle and then I started him on a “research project”. I asked him to pick a sea creature, research and write down seven facts about it. http://www.kids.nationalgeographic.com/ is so awesome, even I got into it. Easy enough to navigate for a child and interesting enough to captivate the attention of an adult. He chose great white sharks and I sat with him and helped him sift through the reading to find facts for his project.  He wasn’t thrilled about having to do a project but within two minutes of reading about the sharks he forgot it was a “project” and it ended up being fun for both of us. Score two for mom.

I try my best not to be a tyrant, so I did give him some free time following the project. I let him play outside. Use some of his never ending energy (so jealous) before I sat him down to watch a movie. Not just any movie… Free Willy! My son loves animals and movies. I love showing him movies I grew up on. How perfect. Free Willy was just as great as I remember, with lessons on life, love and family. Don’t tell him I told you, but my son has a heart the size of Texas and he cried Texas size tears watching this movie. It was the good kind of tears, and I was happy to see him get so into a movie I myself use to be so attached to. More points for mom.

We ate lunch served with a homemade ocean water (Ocean water: sprite, coconut extract, little extra water/sugar and blue food coloring). I added swedish fish for extra cool points. Take that Sonic!

After lunch it was pool time! Can’t have an under the sea day without a trip to the pool. We made it home in time for showers and a nap for Bailey before I started dinner. A dinner including wild caught cod no less. It was a really easy going day. Easy going but very special. I don’t know that my son will remember this day forever. I don’t know that it will be his favorite thing he did this summer, but I do know that he had fun. He had fun without touching the PlayStation. He used his imagination, he learned new things and he smiled really big today. Just a couple of funny shaped pancakes and a little thought and we had ourselves a pretty awesome mini vacation. Pick a theme and a few activities and have a wonderful day with your children!

 

 

How to shop clean

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I am a list maker… like, I LOVE lists.

They are both a super power and weakness of mine. So to put it politely, coming across this particular list made me all warm and fuzzy inside. This awesome list via www.blogilates.com is a great help in getting started on your clean eating journey. I know for many people who are changing their lifestyle, much of the initial struggle comes from not knowing how to shop for their new diet needs. Of course, everyone is not going to have the same taste, so the first few shopping trips will still be a bit of an experiment. However, this list is a great guide to the sometimes daunting task of grocery shopping. Things like bags of dry beans, frozen veggies, protein (that can also be frozen) and some grains are things that can be bought in bulk. I call them my ever present “go to” meals. I know I will always have at least one or two of the items on hand. Fresh fruits and veggies can be a bit more fickle. Particularly if you are buying organic, fresh fruits and veggies can spoil quick. If you are one of those people that can go grocery shopping twice a week (one big trip and one small one for extra produce), then do it. If not, I find it always helps to prepare and wash my produce as soon as I get it home. Both myself and the kids are more likely to eat that honey dew melon I bought if its already cut, staring at me when I open the refrigerator vs. walking into the kitchen starving, and not wanting to take the extra 5 minutes to cut it up. Shopping clean doesn’t have to be a weekly buzz kill. Shop smarter, not harder! Oh, and don’t forget the sriracha.