Thursday, January 26, 2012

Last Minute Trip to Omaha

*Pictures courtesy of Hollie, as I left my good camera home, and, I was driving.*
The day after Christmas we were at my family's house having our important horse around, let the kids go nuts while the parents and oldest grandkids exchange silly white elephant gifts get together.  We had gotten word that my Grandpa wasn't doing well, wasn't eating, or really responding to people at the care center he lives in.  We hadn't been to visit since Grandma had died and we went out for the funeral.  I knew I would rather go see Grandpa now while he was still here than to go out to attend his funeral, and I wanted my kids to have one last chance to see him, if that is what this would be.  Most of my family felt the same.  So we all headed home a little early and packed like crazies so we could leave in the morning.

The drive from Salt Lake to Omaha we have done numerous times.  I have decided Wyoming is the land of the Devil.  I have lost track of how many near misses we've had with death while driving across that plateau of insanity, always in the winter.  Maybe it was a blessing so that we could get to Grandpa, but this year was the driest winter I've experienced in my 19 years of Utah living.  Wyoming (and everywhere else) has also been pretty dry.

The drive was unbelievably easy in comparison, but there are always those patches of crazy on the top of the plateau as you head into Laramie and Rawlins.  The miniscule amount of snow still managed to create icy patches here and there.  And, despite the blue sky and super bright sunshine- we drove into a whiteout for a few miles.  Only in the Land of Satan I tell you.

We made record time driving, but took a few longer stops than planned.  We had an impromptu run for some of the stir crazies, and the funniest thing ever, to me, free cookies at a rest stop/visitor's center, thanks to a nice older couple that apparently doesn't believe that Satan lives in Wyoming.

 Brynja and Braddock, neither of whom ran during our rest stop jog.  I think it was her ploy to get her hands on more cookies.

Kesia, trying to help Wyoming be more awesome.  I don't think they know that the Columbia ad girl offered her modeling services.  We should probably send that in.  But, that's like advertising for the devil...

And off we go!  Conveniently enough there happened to be a little nature trail at this rest stop, which was the last rest stop before you get into Nebraska.  Note to self, stop there next time, too.

A little climbing, and running (oh there was a playground, too!  Seriously, good rest stop.)

I think this may have been Nebraska on the way home, but either way, Nebraska.  Not the land of Satan, just the land of golden fields as far as you can see.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Clean Eating - Granola Recipe

Well, we are a few days in to the new diet plan.  So, I am going to update you on what we've been eating and share some recipes.  We've been eating really well, and to my hubby's surprise, the food has been super tasty and satisfying.  The kids are so-so.  Our oldest thinks she is in serious need of meat.  The youngest wants more normal food.  Ironically, they are both my girls.  My son, he's fine with whatever.  Kind of funny.

Here's our run down:

Day 1

Breakfast was from the Eat Clean Diet Cookbook 2- Orzo Frittata
I don't actually own a skillet that is oven proof, so I had to adapt the recipe a bit.  I cooked it on the stove with a lid.  But, if you do that don't stir the orzo in much.  If it gets on the bottom it gets crunchy. :)
The frittata has eggs (I used whole egg, but the recipe calls for mostly egg whites), sea salt, black pepper, olive oil, mushrooms, red pepper, summer squash, garlic, whole wheat orzo, and chives.  It was super yummy!

My kids are used to having snacks to grab, so I have to come up with some readily available goodies that are healthy.  My first batch was some granola.  This is based on another recipe from the ECDC-2.  I changed it up so I will share what I did!

(If you have nut allergies in the family try using  more oats, and fruit.  I have one suspected tree nut allergy child, so I am planning to adapt this for her.  I may use soaked groats in place of the nuts. Groats are oats before they get flattened into cute pancakes, they are the seed head.  So you can soak them overnight and make them more nutritious.  I love soaked groats, they are chewy and tasty!)
In a bowl combine:
1/4 C honey
1/4 C coconut oil (heat it so it is liquid)
1 tsp real vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
After that is all stirred together stir in:
about 3 C rolled oats (not quick oats)
1/4-1 C slivered or sliced almonds (depending on your tastes.  You could also up the nutrients by soaking whole almonds overnight then chopping them up and adding those)
1/4 C (depending on your preference you can add more or less) chopped cashews (You can also soak these like the almonds if you want more nutrients)
1/2 C (again, do it to your tastes) shelled pumpkin seeds
2 Tbs flax seeds
1/2 C coconut flakes
***1-2 Cups your favorite dried fruits (I used golden raisins, cranberries, bing cherries and currants)
***If you want crunchier granola add the fruit AFTER toasting the granola in the oven.
Heat oven to 250 degrees. Cover a large edged cookie sheet with foil and lightly spray with olive oil spray.  Spread the granola mixture on it evenly.  Bake for 30 minutes. This will give you a softer, chewy type granola.

If you like crunchier granola simply wait to add the fruit until after baking.  Bake granola mixture (no fruit) for about 75 minutes, stirring it at least once during baking.  Then add the fruit.

The granola and PBJ's ended up being lunch (we left to run some errands), and everyone liked the granola- it was gone by the end of the day.

Dinner was from two of the Eat Clean Books:

From ECDC 2: Creamy Artichoke Soup (Adults liked it, not the kids.  The girls didn't like the thick texture.)

And I paired that with a salad from Eat Clean Diet Recharged's Black Bean and Corn salad.  I loved the dressing this one had.  I thought it sounded bizarre, and possibly gross.  But so far, I've liked all of Tosca's recipes, so I went ahead with it.  It has apple butter, lemon juice, toasted sesame oil, tamari (a cleaner version of soy sauce) and a little sea salt.  It was an amazing flavor!  The salad is pretty simple- black beans and corn, peppers, tomatoes, green onion and cilantro.  There were no leftovers from the salad!

So, day one was a hit for the most part.  Joe survived a meatless day, possibly the first in his life.  He loved the flavors and variety of the food.  The kids liked most of the recipes, too!

If you want to clean up your diets and keep it totally do-able, I highly recommend any of Tosca Reno's Eat Clean books.  They also have a section that explains your food, the why's, the how's, the science and she makes it totally easy to read.  The recipes all have pictures, and they are so yummy.  I posted links to them from Amazon in my sidebar.  That's where I get them, and I just go with whatever is the cheapest in good to new condition.

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 Already?!

Well.... I didn't finish the subway art post.  But it didn't appear that it was noticed.  So.  Maybe later.

Alrighty, it 2012, and I have plans.  I can't promise they are big, but I at least have them.

First up- the new healthy eating plan. 

I have tried to implement this a few times over the past year.  I started last year when my daughter thought she had something wrong, and her symptoms pointed toward hypoglycemia.  After reading about it I freaked out.  But, after visiting a doctor felt better.  She wasn't remotely worried about that being the issue.  She said "she has the annoying problem of a really high metabolism.  She probably needs about 4-5000 calories per day."  Well, it must be nice to be my daughter is about all I can think.  But, after reading more and researching more about how to help my son with his asthma- without going in for prescriptions, which I believe are worse than band-aids usually, masking a problem or causing more and not actually solving the problem, I knew we needed to change our eating habits.

It is one of the hardest things I have ever tried to accomplish.  I make the meals, and i grocery shop.  But, my kids are old enough to go to the store behind us without me, and I have a very able hubby who "needs" his potato chips, ice cream, greasy hamburgers, etc.  I tried making two meals for each meal, but that ended really quickly.  And it is hard for an 11 year old to have the will power to resist the junk he is offered by his dad.  And school food is garbage but packing a lunch didn't work well, and then there are school parties and birthday parties and pretty much life in general.

Last year I managed to have my two home schooled kids and I eat clean for lunches and breakfast for a little over a month before I gave up.  In that time my son's asthma cleared up like never before.  He actually would ask to eat clean again when it would flare up in the coming months.  Telling, for an 11 year old boy.  I felt better, lost a little weight and had more energy.  But, I still gave up.

Something about January, that I don't understand, send my hubby to the documentaries on Netflix (our only TV).  Last week it started again, and he watched a show called "Forks Over Knives".  It wasn't a reality show about violence, it was about people who's lives had been changed dramatically by changing their eating habits.  My hubby got so excited, rehashed all of this information that I had already mention much of it to him last year when I wanted to clean up the diet, but it is so different coming from anyone else.  He pondered the show for a day and then announced he wanted to "try it".  I wasn't sure what "it" was.  In clarifying for me, "it" was to be vegetarian for a month.  Wow.  I think my jaw may have hit the counter I was leaning over.  Or I may have giggled uncontrollably inside.  But, regardless, I said "ok!".  And silently said "what the heck?!?!".  This man eats Carl's Jr. hamburgers as often as he can, making special side trips to locations that happen to be right by one of those fabulous heart disease on a plastic tray facilities.

I had to bargain, I wasn't going totally vegetarian.  I tried RAW last year, didn't love it.  Way too fussy and time consuming, and it didn't make me feel happy like I think food ought to.  And I realized my body needs different protein than I can get eating RAW.  I totally believe there are clean meats out there.  And I know that i feel good when I eat certain kinds.  Your body is amazingly adept at letting you know what it needs, but you have to learn to listen to it and to understand it.  Feeling good doesn't mean you eat a snickers and your brain applauds you.  It is more like you eat something and feel energized, focused, your mind is clear, and you are ready to tackle a project or something instead of ready to take a power nap.

So, long discussion made shorter, our end result is that we are going to eat a "Clean" diet, with very little animal protein, eggs are okay, and I am okay with minimal dairy (which is not every day, just very sparingly).  Hubby is going no dairy, but he has stomach issues which are the result of a prescription med he took years ago.  I think he will see the symptoms disappear if he cuts out the dairy.  So we'll see.

We both have family histories that are terrible.  My family lives forever (84-94ish)  with things like heart disease and diabetes. Hubby's family has cancer, strokes and they tend to die pretty young (in my opinion- like their 60's-70's)  I want to prevent anything we can, and most of these things can be treated or prevented simply by diet and exercise. 

I don't want to list our "ailments", but I am hoping to see changes in certain areas of our health.  I am most excited to see how my son's asthma does. 

I will try to blog the recipes, but I don't want to break copyright rules, so if they come from a book and I can't find the recipe online I will let you know what book and what the recipe is called.  If I remember to snap a pic of the food before we eat it I will.  And we'll see how this goes.  So, here's to our first goal of 2012!  May we live longer and prosper. hehehe