Monday, June 28, 2010

Growing into it

We've all stored clothes that are too big for our kids for them to grown into. And at sometime in our lives, we've probably all seen some well-meaning elder lady "comforting" a new mom, telling her her kid would grow into their head/nose/ears/ whatever they percieve to be "too big". But did you ever think about growing into motherhood?

Sure, some girls were born to be moms. They slip into motherhood like Cinderella into her glass slipper. And you might think I'm one of those moms. But I assure you, I am not. No, I used to be that mom who would take her kid (this was back when I had just 1) to McD's for dinner to keep her happy and make life easier on me without a thought as to the nutritional value of that kind of dinner.

I didn't want to be a mom when I grew up. I didn't think about what I'd do if my kids did this or what I'd say if they did that. I "wasn't going to have kids."

Well, I did have kids and I'm happy I did. I can't imagine my life without them. But I am NOT an expert. I am NOT a pro. I'm learning more every day and one day I hope to be an expert or a pro or even a supermom. But for now, I'm dealing with the same growing pains that most moms deal with. Life becoming less about self and more about the kids. Figuring out how best to handle different kids in different situations. How to get the best out of said children. How to inspire them. How to inspire myself. How to maintain your sanity regardless of circumstances. I'm getting closer every day. I can feel it. But I still wake up some mornings to blisters where its not quite fitting.

So if anyone else is in the same boat I'm in, keep on walking. The shoe might not fit yet, but if you keep going, it will mold to you and you to it and that is worth all the growing pains and blisters along the way.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Venison Version: Venison Chili

3 cups dried pinto beans
apple cider vinegar (I like bragg's organic because it has "the mother" and anything involving "the mother" is always better in my book ;))
2 or 3 15 ounce cans of tomatoes
1 large onion
1 bundle celery
fresh peppers (bell for mild, banana or chili or other peppers for hotter chili)
1 lb venison
2 or 3 pkgs chili seasoning (I use mild since I have small children who don't like it spicy and I add tobasco sauce to the finished chili to give mine some kick)

1. Sort beans and put in large bowl with 12 cups water and 6 tbsp apple cider vinegar and soak overnight.
2. Rinse beans and place in crock pot. Fill with fresh water up to 2" from the top of the crock pot (I think I'm using a 5 quart), add salt and chopped onion, cook on high for an hour then cook on low for 3-5 hours more, testing beans periodically for doneness.

** At this point, its usually dinner time, so we eat bean burritos for dinner this night and then make chili the next night, but you could go ahead and make chili now if you want. . . **

3. Brown venison, sometimes I brown it with a package of chili seasoning. Sometimes I don't. Dip some of the bean juice out of the crock pot and pour browned venison into crock pot.
4. (optional) put chopped celery, more chopped onion and chopped peppers into skillet used to brown venison and grill for a couple minutes. I usually only do this if I cooked the venison with the spices so that the veggies can soak up some of the spices as well. If you don't want to grill your veggies first, then just dump them into the crock pot. Dump tomatoes (including tomato juice) in as well.
5. Cook on high for 1 hour then switch to low and cook another couple of hours, testing veggies periodically to see if they are done enough for you (some people like their veggies slightly crunchy, but we like ours soft).
6. Enjoy in a bowl. Enjoy on a baked potato. Enjoy on crackers. However you eat it, enjoy it.

We sometimes also add frozen organic corn and sliced black olives to chili, just to give it more color and sometimes I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned. It just depends on what I have on hand.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Working Smarter

As a P.S. to my last post, I'd like to add that the easiest way to work smarter, not harder is to encourage your kids to help. My kids hate to clean, but they love to help. So if I make it more about helping me than about cleaning up, they are more willing and (dare I say it) happy to help clean. And its much easier on me, with my bulging 21 week pregnant gut to ask one of my beautiful, helpful daughters to pick something up off the floor for me than to bend down and pick it up myself. And its better for them, too. Its teaching them that they are a important member of the family and they can contribute to our family, too.

They don't always want to help. Sometimes they are hungry or tired or sad or angry and then I don't push them to help anyways, I give them a little space and ask them to help again later. Fortunately, I have 2 who are old enough to help (almost 3 and almost 6 years old) so usually at least one of them is ready and willing. And when one helps, the other usually wants to whether they are feeling particularly helpful or happy or not. Because they don't want to feel left out.

Also, there are some things that need to be done immediately and some things that can wait. If you concentrate on the stuff that needs to be done immediately and put off the things that can wait until the kiddos are asleep or otherwise occupied, that makes life easier, too. Things that need to be done immediately might be things that the kids can help with, safety issues (spilled water, toys where people will step on them and get hurt, small toys that need to be picked up so the baby doesn't put them in her mouth, etc), and things that it will benefit you to do now as opposed to later. Like wiping off the baby's high chair tray when she's done eating instead of leaving it until she's hungry again and whatever she's spilled has had time to sit and dry. Or rinsing off dishes when you're done eating so that when you have the time to put them in the dishwasher, they won't have gunk dried on that will muck up the workings of the dishwasher or require you to scrub them before sticking them in the dishwasher.

I'm not saying "don't put off until tomorrow what you could get done today" isn't still good advice, but think about what you're doing. Think about what you're prioritizing. Sure, you could sweep your floor 5 times a day (once after each meal and snack) OR you could spend time with your kiddos during the day, clean up anything bigger than crumbs by hand (or get your kids to help) and sweep at naptime, once the kiddos are in bed for the night or first thing in the morning. Think about your schedule.

I'm sure there is a time when the children are sleeping or otherwise occupied when you would be able to get some stuff done. Its not always easy to find that time. And sometimes that means putting off doing your own thing or having your own downtime. But for me, having a peaceful day with my children is like a whole day of downtime and its worth a whole lot more than a whole day of downtime. When it comes down to it, I would much rather spend the day with my kids than at a spa wondering what they are doing. . .

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Well, I'm not sure where this concept originated from or what it originally referred to, but its a great concept and one that I intend to apply it to the insurmountable job of cleaning my house.

To me, working smarter not harder means not fighting your environment. You can spend all day sweeping your floor over and over while your 1 year old throws food on it over and over or you can pick up the large pieces of food that she is in danger of putting in her mouth from the floor and save the crumb clean up until the end of the night when your children are sleeping. You can fight with your children all day long and eventually get them to pick up their toys so that they don't have to hear you say it one more time or you can periodically ask them to pick up their toys while you prepare meals and snacks for them and if they don't do it, you can do it later. You can clean your kitchen in the morning, when your kids are clammoring for their breakfast or you can clean the kitchen at night and have it ready to make breakfast first thing in the morning.

Yes, I want to instill responsibility in my children and I would like to teach them to clean up after themselves, but at the same time I have to remember that they are children, we all have bad days and it is more important to me to create a peaceful environment for us all than to fight with and nag my children until they grudgingly do what I ask them to.

If you came to my house tomorrow morning, you might ask me how I get my house so clean with 3 kids running around and I would say "I don't." You would look around you and say, "but its clean" and I would say "yes, but I did not do it with my kids running around. I did it when they were snuggled up, all warm in their beds, fast asleep and I plan on doing the same thing every night."

This might not be the best way for everyone to work smarter, not harder, but I think it will work for me. After all, I am naturally nocturnal, which is only made worse by pregnancy insomnia, and I want a clean house, but not at the expense of my sanity. So by cleaning at night, I am not missing out on sleep because I wouldn't be asleep at this time anyways, I am providing a clean environment for my kids and I am also maintaining a pleasant, calm mood in my household.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another reason why Ghirardelli is better than Nestle

Although personal taste differs, if you're looking for white chocolate chips that are healthier for you, Ghirardelli beats Nestle hands down because of 1 of Nestle's ingredients "artificial flavors". What is that? A liscence to just dump random artificial flavorings in at whim? I have no idea, but vague ingredients do not appeal to me, especially if those ingredients include the word "artificial" in it. Its just weird to me that they would be up front that there are artificial flavorings in their product, but not about what those artificial flavorings are. Are there so many that it would take too much space to list them all? Or is there just one that they are really ashamed of using? Its just weird to me.

That having been said, I know I'm a health nut and I *know* chocolate isn't healthy, but we all have our vices and our cravings and when you crave pancakes every morning, its nice to have a couple different options to spice them up with. Yes, I know dark chocolate is more beneficial to your health and yes I know cacao is even better for you than dark chocolate, but I'm not a fan of the dark chocolate taste. It is one of our options (cacao), but we don't use it that often because my girls don't really like the taste either and I really don't see the point in making something that none of us want to eat.

And just in case you're wondering what our favorite options for pancakes are. . . We like blueberry pancakes (made with fresh blueberries), white chocolate chip pancakes, banana pancakes, and regular pancakes with sliced strawberries and blueberries on top. Every once in a while, we'll even have regular pancakes with agave nectar or syrup on them. I also like chopped walnuts in pancakes, but the girls don't so we don't have those very often.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

All Natural Refridgerated Bread

I had a reality check a week and a half ago when I realised that the popcicles I was feeding my kids had red 40 in it and that reality check was this: I am too complacent. See, I bought these popcicles because they are the ones my sister feeds her kids, so of course they are what I want to feed my kids, right? Well, almost. But not quite.

So when I went to the grocery store yesterday, I made it a point to look at every label. It made shopping take a bit longer, but I think the time I invest in making sure my kids get the most nutritional foods avaialble is worth it.

I was making meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans and croissants for dinner that night. Everything I needed had good ingredients in it. Everything, that is, except the croissants. I don't remember all the things that bothered me on the ingredients list, but the "artificial color" sandwitched between yellow 5 and yellow 6 really pushed me over the edge. I mean, yellow 5 and yellow 6 are artificial colors, so what does the "artificial color" ingredient consist of? I have no idea, but I didn't want to put yellow 5 and yellow 6 in my kids much less the vague "artificial color".

So I looked at the other refridgerated breads and imagine my surprise to find that pilsbury has a Simply Bread line. There was only one product from this line that was at the Kroger I was shopping at and it was french bread, not croissants, but I decided to try it anyways. It was great. I ended up burning the bottom a bit and it was still great. We had some with dinner last night, some with dinner tonight (leftovers from last night) and tomorrow night, we will finish it up by making garlic bread to go with either chicken ziti or spaghetti with meatballs, whichever I end up making. I'm really glad I bought 2 of the breads instead of just 1. . .

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thriftiness, Efficiency, and the United States Postal Service

Thriftiness according to the USPS is all about packaging. We've all seen the commercials about flat rate boxes -- "as long as you can fit it in and its less than 70 lbs, it ships all over the US for a low flat rate". But did you know that the same efficiency in shoving as much stuff as you can while remaining under the weight limit does NOT also apply to letters?

When mailing letters, folding efficiency translates to thriftiness and the reason for this is simple. When you mail a letter, it must not only be under the weight limit, but it must also fit through a specifically sized slot to be able to be mailed using just a postage stamp. So you must efficiently fold it so that it is as flat as possible to be able to mail a letter that is under the 1 ounce weight limit for 1 postage stamp.

Otherwise, your letter will be returned to you and you will have to bundle your kids into the car, trek to the post office, spending time and using gas, to pay a 20 cent surcharge so that a person will be kind enough to stick your letter in the appropriate place. Who knew people are so inefficient when compared to machines to warrant a 20 cent surcharge for a person to do the same thing a machine does? Go figure. Good luck and happy mailing to you until we meet again ;).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Avoiding Chemical Exposure

So far, I have been concentrating on what goes into my children's bodies - making sure everything that goes into their bodies is healthy, tasty, and HFCS, GMO, artificial sugar, artificial color, artificial flavors and preservative free - and I have not completely mastered that. The other day, I looked at the 2 kinds of popsicles in our freezer and 1 kind has Red 40 in it and the other has HFCS in it (*sadly shakes head*). So I fully intend to master this before I concentrate on any other huge hurdles.

Right now, most of the stuff we buy on a regular basis are foods as I am trying not to buy anything we don't need immediately to limit the amount of stuff we will have to move in September. So it makes more sense to me to concentrate on food items at this point.

We also have a lot of stuff stockpiled as far as personal care items. That having been said, I am always looking for more information to keep my family as healthy as possible. And today, in my newsletter from Franklin Goose, there was a blurb regarding chemicals in cosmetics and personal care items including a printable pocket guide that the Cosmetic Database compiled regarding what chemicals to avoid, etc. I have never seen anything like this before and honestly had not even considered the possible effects of the chemicals in our soaps, shampoos and body washes before. I plan on using this information in all my future shopping and also plan to use it to stock my new home with the healthiest possible personal care and cosmetic items. Its easy to forget that the chemicals that go on our bodies can affect our health just as profoundly as the chemicals that go into our bodies, but I am going to do my best not to overlook this in the future. And I hope this link can help you guys as well.

Monday, June 14, 2010

HFCS free chocolate Syrup recipe

Homemade Hershey's Chocolate Syrup
1/2 cup Hershey's baking cocoa
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Dash of salt (not too much!)
Combine the cocoa, sugar, salt and water in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil and stir constantly. Let it boil for 1 minute and then remove from heat. Let it cool a little and then add the vanilla. Store in an old squeezy bottle or a jar in the fridge. You could probably even replace the vanilla with some peppermint oil and make this mint-chocolate syrup! This is great for making chocolate milk or for on ice cream!

If only Hersheys made baking strawberry powder LOL. I always gravitated toward the strawberry syrup and strawberry milk as opposed to chocolate, but I am a big fan of anything HFCS free and thought you guys might like this recipe and I'm sure my hubby will like this when he gets back from training and of course my kiddos will like it.

This is not my recipe. I borrowed it from a post by Amanda on Diaper Swappers. Amanda has a blog called The Screaming Penny. This recipe is posted with her permission and I highly recommend visiting her blog. It has a lot of heads ups for great deals and also has some recipes on it. So go check it out :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Ideal Pantry Contents

Since I'm anticipating moving in September and am due November 6th, I imagine I won't be able to do much, if any, of the moving myself. Having never moved with the Army before, I don't know what to expect, but they are supposed to pack all of our stuff for us (bringing their own boxes and tape)and unpack for us and my only "job" will be to catalog what is in which box and make sure nothing gets damaged or lost en route. Despite the fact that I will be leaving all I'm familiar with behind and will probably want to be surrounded by my stuff to comfort me, I am getting excited about minimizing our stuff -- reducing what we have to maintain and clean around and thereby making our lifes easier. I am also getting quite excited about being able to start all over with a new pantry. I have a neighbor up the street who runs a day care that I plan to give our surplus stuff that I don't want to move with us to. Once we are settled, I plan to look at this as an opportunity to start over. No more HFCS, artificial colors, artificial flavors or GM ingredients in our house to tempt us. I know that this means I will be cooking more stuff myself and am taking the opportunity now to learn as much as I can about cooking food that my kids and I will enjoy and that's good for us. Its easier said than done, but all in all its been fun so far, so why not keep it up?

My ideal pantry (as I see it in my head now) would consist of dried beans (pinto, black and 15 bean mix for now, but I may keep other beans on hand if I learn how to cook them by then), onions, potatoes, 100% cane sugar, King Arthur flour, baking powder, baking soda, Aunt Jemima pancake mix (the kind you add milk, egg and oil to), sunflower oil, olive oil pan spray, spices, Ragu and Prego spaghetti sauces, dates, crackers, rice, agave nectar, honey produced near where we are moving to (helps with regional allergies), salt without iodine, canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, mustard, mayo, apple cider vinegar, tobasco sauce, salsa, all natural peanut butter, cashews or mixed nuts, black olives, apple and grape jelly, chicken broth, and noodles (ziti, tortellini, spaghetti, lasagna, and fettuccini to start with). I'm sure I'll think of more as I continue to plan this out, but that's what I have so far. While not all of these products will be organic, they will be GMO, artificial sweetener, artificial flavor, artificial color, and HFCS free.

In my fridge will be eggs, milk, spinnach, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, sour cream, yogurt, avacados, whatever fruits are in season, garlic, Simply Orange's orange pineapple juice, Kefir, organic chocolate soy milk, flaxseed meal, butter, mayo, mustard, ketchup, salsa, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, broccoli, pepperoni, bacon, sausage, ground venison, chicken, sliced american cheese, shredded cheese, and port wine cheese among other things. As with the pantry items, not all these products will be organic, but they will be GMO, artificial sweetener, artificial flavor, artificial color, hormone and HFCS free.

In my freezer will be fries, fish, chicken, venison, frozen fruits for smoothies, frozen veggies that can be steamed in the package they come in, popsicles (if I can find any without hfcs or artificial colors as almost all the popsicles I see have one or both) or popsicle molds with green smoothies as the "juice", Amy's frozen garden lasagna, and butter.

It sounds like a lot of food, but considering that I plan on cooking 95% of what we eat, I feel its important to keep healthy ingredients on hand for any genre of food we might want at any given time. . . It sounds more daunting than it is or at least that's what I am hoping.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The truth about high fructose corn syrup (and why we should avoid it)

There are 3 ads that are on TV regarding HFCS and why its "not so bad" its "made from corn", "doesn't have artificial ingredients", "has the same calories as sugar" and "is good in moderation". ( Ad 1, 2, and 3). Of course, this is the same concept as the tobacco industry stating that nicotine isn't addictive and captain morgan encouraging you to drink "but only in moderation". . . Some things, like alcohol and HFCS and smoking are just plain hard to do in moderation. They are addictive and they are bad for you. Sure, you might not feel the negative impact of consuming these products IF you only use them in moderation, but they all lead to slippery slopes that its hard to stop sliding down once you've started your journey.

So what's so bad about HFCS? Well, if I was in that commercial, you would have heard me say that its made from corn. Yes, I realise that that's one of their "good" things about it. But its made from genetically modified corn, which research has shown can cause organ failure. Logically, if something can cause organ failure and you process it, it can still cause organ failure. My second reason that its bad is that studies have shown that almost half of tested samples of commercial HFCS contain mercury, which is toxic in all forms according to an article in the Washington Post. It does go on to say that mercury free HFCS ingredients do exist, but there is no way to tell when looking at the label if the HFCS in the product you are considering buying contains mercury or not. Too bad I wasn't in the commercial, huh? Course, then the Corn Refiner's Association, probably wouldn't want to put it on TV. . . But if there's any association out there against the consumption of mercury, I would be happy to be in your commercial. . .

Friday, June 11, 2010

Venison Muffintin Meatloaves

Ingredients: 2-3 lbs venison ground, thawed
1/2 cup ketchup (I'm guessing here as I used 4 squirts for 1-1.5 lbs venison)
1/4 cup mustard (also a rough estimate)
3-4 tbsp finely chopped onion
8-10 dashes worstershire sauce

(1) Preheat oven to 350 F.
(2) Combine all ingredients and mix until just mixed. Do not overmix or flatten.
(3) Spray muffin pan.
(4) Press lightly into muffin pan.
(5) Bake for 30-40 minutes or until meatloafs have internal temp of at least 160 farenheit and begin pulling away from the sides.
(6) Put ketchup on top.
(7) Bake for 10 minutes.

We serve ours with mashed potatoes, steamed carrots and croissants. I make the mashed potatoes and steamed carrots while the meatloaves do the initial 40 minute bake then change the oven temp to 375 and bake the croissants for 11 minutes while the meatloaves cook with ketchup on them. It is delicious.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Venison Version Project: Meatloaf take 1

I've been doing a lot more cooking lately than I used to when Joey was here, but most of my cooking has been with chicken and fish as that is what I have the most experience cooking with. I was never much a fan of beef and don't even buy it these days. Our only red meat consumption is venison. Joey's father likes to hunt and they never eats as much as he kills, so they give us some of their extra venison. But I'm a chicken. I'm so afraid of trying recipes with the venison and epically failing and wasting the venison that I tend not to try. The only things I've cooked with venison so far have been burgers and hamburger helper and taco meat.

Well, no one ever learned anything from chickening out and I've really been craving meatloaf, so first up on the venison version project is meatloaf. I've actually been craving meatloaf since before Joey left for basic, so for almost 5 weeks now. And I found this really neat meatloaf idea -- to make it in a muffin pan, thereby reducing the amount of time it takes to cook the meatloaf and producing single serving portions of meatloaf that can be easily frozen and reheated. My mom has never used breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs in her meatloaf, so after fruitlessly searching for a meatloaf recipe that does not call for either, I finally called her and got her recipe. Its not very technical.

1 to 1.5 lbs beef (I'm using venison)
ketchup (enough -- I used about 4 squirts)
mustard (1/2 of enough -- I used about 2 squirts)
chopped onion (3-4 slices chopped finely)
worstershire sauce (4-5 shakes)

(1) Preheat oven to 350 F.
(2) Mix all ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix.
(3) Spray muffin pan.
(4) Press lightly into muffin tins.
(5) Bake for 40 minutes or until meatloafs have internal temp of at least 160 farenheit and begin pulling away from the sides.
(6) Ketchup on top.
(7) Bake for 10 minutes.

While its baking for the initial 40 minutes, that gives you plenty of time to make mashed potatoes (I make mine with milk, butter and sour cream), steam some carrots and if you want to make croissants with your meal, when you pull the meatloaves out to put ketchup on top, change oven temp to 375 degrees farenheit and when its preheated (it doesn't take long to preheat 25 degrees -- by the time you roll the croissants and put ketchup on the meatloaves, it should be ready), you put the croissants and meatloaves in the oven for 11 minutes then they are both done at the same time.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

New Scientific Studies Found That GM Corn Can Cause ORGAN FAILURE

I just read an article about GM Corn. It seems to be from a Canadian perspective (refers to Canadian GM food laws, etc), but the science behind it surely applies to all of us. At least, all of us that have organs. . . Of course, the experiments were done on rats, not humans. The only experiments being done on humans are those we allow to be done on us when we -- knowingly or unknowingly -- choose to purchase GM foods.

I will be the first to admit that I've been getting lazy lately. I've been much more focused on making sure the foods I buy are preservative free and don't have any artificial colors or flavors or HFCS in them than I have been on making sure they don't have any of the GM ingredients in them, but this article is really making me rethink that.

Is it easy to buy all GM free foods? NO. Is it quick and painless? NO. But its probably easier and quicker and more painless than having your liver fail.

It boggles my mind that I live in a country that requires companies to label whether a food is made in a factory that also produces peanuts or wheat or egg products (I'm assuming to decrease the chances of people having allergic reactions and suing said companies), but does not require companies to label whether or not their ingredients are GM. What will it take for the FDA to realise that we have a right to know how the ingredients that go into our food were produced? I sincerely hope that GM foods are safe since I know I've been unknowingly eating them for years, but I think we have a right to make informed decisions and its just frustrating to me that our government doesn't seem to agree with me on this matter. I just wish I had the time, energy and ability to do something about it.

I talked to my dad about GMFs and GMOs on the way back from VA when I went to my sister's graduation. It was very late at night and a very interesting conversation. One of those where both people are tired and trying to argue to stay awake LOL. He tried to convince me that it was OK to eat GMOs and GMFs. After all, if I had cancer, wouldn't I get chemo? Well, first of all, I would have to weigh my chances of beating the cancer w/o chemo vs. the chances of me surviving the chemo. And second of all, the chemo would be a toxin thats intended to save your life and is only introduced into the body of very ill people who might otherwise die and have little or no alternative options whereas BT toxins and the pesticides used on GMFs and GMOs are not intended to save lives only to make the foods easier to grow and there are alternative (organic) options that might be more expensive, but are probably not as expensive as dealing with GMO and GMF organ failure complications. Not that I'm saying GMFs and GMOs will 100% for sure cause organ failure. Just that I don't want to be part of the general public that is involved --knowingly or unknowingly-- in the massive human testing experiment to determine what GMOs and GMFs will do to your body.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Green Smoothie Tutorial

I have done several posts regarding green smoothies and thought I would consolidate all the important tips into one post. Remember, though, these are my tips regarding making tasty and healthy green smoothies that you and your kids will enjoy. However, my taste buds and yours may not agree on what is "tasty", so feel free to experiment if my recipes/tips don't work for your taste buds.

A simple, basic recipe for making green smoothies requires your choice of greens, a liquid, frozen or fresh fruits, and a sweetener (optional). Any greens will work. For liquids, water or juice are recommended, but some people do use milk, soy milk and coconut milk, etc. I just don't prefer the taste of milks in my green smoothies so I use water or juice, generally juice as I don't have to use a sweetener when I use juice. I prefer juices that are not from concentrate, like orange-pineapple juice from Simply Orange or acai juice by Bom Dia. For fruits, I prefer frozen fruits or a combination of fresh and frozen fruits as the frozen fruits give the smoothie a thicker more smoothie-esque quality, like the smoothies I used to make from yogurt, milk, and fruit. I have made smoothies with strawberries, mangos, bananas, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, and pineapple all with great success. When I use a sweetener, I prefer agave nectar or honey. I also add flaxseed meal to my smoothies.

To make your smoothies, place greens and liquid in your blender and blend until smooth. Add fruit and any other ingredients you choose such as flaxseed meal or sweeteners and blend until smooth again. You may have to add extra juice to allow the frozen fruits to blend completely.

My best tip for green smoothies is just try it. I know it sounds weird, but its a great way to get the benefits of consuming greens without having to deal with the greens taste.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Journey to supermomdom derailed by detour to army life

I know my blogging lately has been mostly focused on our family's transition to being without my husband as he goes through basic training and perhaps my journey to supermomdom has in some ways been derailed by an unexpected detour into Army life. But in the process, I have gotten into a routine of cleaning more often, started spending more time with my kids, and began cooking more often and more healthily for my kiddos, all of which were goals in my journey to supermomdom. I will try to blog more frequently about more topics than simply updates on our transition to Army life, but its important to keep in mind that we don't always know how our lives will change or where our lives will go from one day to the next and it is important to strive for supermomdom no matter what direction our lives take. Life is often about change and adapting to changes and striving for supermomdom no matter how our lives change is essential because if we can strive to be better moms no matter how life changes, that is so much better than letting our lives and progress be derailed by changes. Anyways, thanks for bearing with me and please know that being thrifty and more efficient and learning new recipes to keep my family healthy are still goals of mine even if I am not blogging about them as much as I once did and I will try to do better and post blogs that are more helpful than my updates may be.