Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Avocado Pudding

I LOVE avocados!! I love them in any form, unfortunately, my boys don't. The only way they like them is in guacamole. So I try to sneak then in whenever I can. One way to do that is by making a dessert out of them. Yes, you heard it right, a dessert! They are so creamy that when they are blended with the right ingredients, you hardly notice them!

This morning I served the boys yogurt with granola and frozen raspberries. Since I am not eating yogurt. (I actually don't like yogurt!), I made something called "Live Chocolate Mousse". A recipe that was featured in this months Vegetarian Times magazine. I topped it with walnuts, frozen raspberries, and granola. It was soooo good! Give it a try, you won't be dissappointed!

Live Chocolate Mousse
Vegetarian Times

3 avocados

1/4 c. plus 3 tbs. agave nectar

1/4 cup plus 2 tbs cocoa powder

3 tbs almond butter

1 tsp lemon juice

pinch of cinnamon

Puree all ingredients in food processor 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth and creamy, scraping down sides as necessary.

I have made other versions of this type of dessert, but I like this one best because it doesn't have any sugar.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tropical Fruit Salad

Produce this week was plentiful and we got lots of pineapple, kiwi, oranges, and mangoes. So I decided to make an old favorite, a favorite that brings me to summertime, a place I need to be right now. Tired of this crazy weather! You? If so, give this a try, it will lift your spirits and seriously boost your vitamin C!

Tropical Fruit Salad
adapted from Vegetarian Times

Mix together the following for the fruit salad:
  • 1 medium pineapple, cored and cubed
  • 2 medium mangoes, cubed
  • 2 oranges, segmented or sliced
  • 3 kiwi, sliced

Combine these indgredients for the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs orange juice
  • 2 tsp. lime zest (my boys don't care for it, so I leave it out)

Toss the salad with the dressing. Put it in the fridge for about 20 for the flavors to blend.



(My camera is getting fixed, so I apologize that I don't have a picture of the salad that I made.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Breakfast Ideas:

Lunch Ideas:

  • sandwiches - turkey, ham or roast beef (Thanks again, Aunt Peg!)

  • PB, banana, and honey sandwiches

  • bean and cheese burritos (homemade)

  • stromboli

  • ABC Veggie Soup

  • leftovers x2

We usually serve raw fruit and veggies with lunch.

Dinner Ideas:

We usually have fresh bread/rolls and salad with dinner.

Snack ideas:

  • tamari roasted chick peas

  • tropical fruit salad

  • jam print cookies (vegan)

  • veggies and dip

  • fresh fruit
  • frozen chocolate covered banana pops
  • chocolate mousse (w/avocados)

For more great menu ideas, check out

Have a blessed week!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (on Tuesday)!

Last week, I mentioned that I would be trying a few new recipes. There are two that are worth mentioning, because they were excellent. The first one is Roasted Tomato Soup . It is excellent. Very creamy and filling. Perfect for a cold night. The second one was Ginger Fried Rice. Be sure to check this out. I know it looks like an odd combination, the fried egg with the rice, and I wasn't sure that my boys would eat it. But everyone LOVED it! Especially my husband, he had at least two helpings.

I also mentioned last week that I was eating some cheese. After a week of eating cheese, I understand why I gave it up in the first place. I just felt YUCK! I was very tired and my stomach was upset. Incidentally, a close friend of my emailed and asked if I'd be interested in doing a raw food cleanse. She is doing it for 30-60 days. After my flop with the Eat to Live plan at the beginning of the year, I was skeptical. But because of my week of cheese eating, I decided to give it a shot. I added some additions, so it isn't 100% raw. I am allowing myself some decaf green tea and lentil soup and rice pasta once a week, otherwise everything else is raw. We'll see....

Therefore, this week will consist mostly of food that I have prepared on freezer days for the boys. Nothing too exciting this week.

Breakfast ideas:
1. cereal x2
2. Eggs and toast
3. waffles
4. creamy strawberry oatmeal
5. whole wheat pancakes
6. toast
Most days we'll have a green smoothie. If not, we'll serve the boys fruit.

Lunch ideas:
1. chick pea and pasta soup
2. leftovers
3. chicken and cheese quesadillas
4. PB & J sandwiches
5. Chili Chicken and Vegetable Soup
6. Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti & hot chocolate
We serve fruit and veggies with lunch each day. Choices for this week include: grapefruits, clementines, applesauce, carrots, corn, and salad.
Dinner ideas:
1. Ziti Casserole
2. Hamburgers, mashed potatoes, and peas
3. Enchilada Casserole, roasted cauliflower & 16 roasted cloves of garlic
4. Rice and Beans, with honey glazed carrots
5. chili w/cilantro rice
6. homemade pizza
We will be having salad and bread or rolls with most dinners.
Snack ideas:
-cheese and crackers
-veggies w/dip
-carrot cupcakes w/cream cheese frosting

Hope you have a great week.

For more menu ideas, check out

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Healthy Smoothie - Day 5

Sorry I missed yesterday! I had a lot to do with our homeschool coop's Valentine Party!

Here is a Valentine Smoothie for you!

1 1/2 100% cranberry juice
2 c. strawberries (fresh or frozen)
2 bananas (fresh or frozen)
1 c. ice

Blend until smooth. I would use at least one frozen fruit. If you are using two, omit ice. We added a head of Romaine to ours yesterday!

Enjoy and Happy Valentine's Day!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Healthy Smoothie - Day 4

No, my camera isn't fixed. My husband sent it in today. These pictures are from a couple of weeks back. I tried to make a veggie drink for my boys. I wish I could tell you it came out delicious. I had visions of it coming out just like V-8, which I love, but it didn't. It was actually pretty nasty...

It looks like it should be good, right?!

Why am I sharing it you ask? Because I am hoping it will prompt you to send me your ideas for veggie drinks that are delish!
Come on, send 'em! I will try all the ones you send. Help me on my quest for a veggie drink!
Thanks, J

Free Stuff I got this week!

The ladies over at Money Saving Mom and $30 Weekly Grocery Challenge do an excellent job of alerting their readers on ways to get freebies, in addition to printable coupons and coupon match ups. If left to my own devices I would find nothing. I just don't have the time to search. So I browse these blogs and am able to great great deals all the time. I highly recommend checking them out!

That being said, I have gotten some awesome stuff in the mail this week that I wanted to share with you.

The first thing I recieved was

As many of you know, my husband is a diabetic and so we are always in search of sweeteners for his coffee that are not artificial and are not sugar. Sweet Leaf recently sent me a FULL size box of sweetener in the mail! I think it was because I became a fan of them on Facebook, but I can't remember exactly. Either way, we are enjoying the sample and it came right as we were finishing up our last box of Truvia.

Then for becoming a fan on Facebook, I recieved a coupon for a free package of

Needless to say, when my boys saw these in the pantry they almost passed out. As I have mentioned before I don't normally buy cookies. I tend to make my own, as they are cheaper and healthier, but I am certainly not going to pass up something free. It will be wonderful to have these on hand if the boys have friends over after school.

Lastly, and most importantly, I received a box from Pssst...General Mills. I often forget the things I sign up for and so when this came I had no idea what was in it. Well the boys did a jig when I opened it.

They have noticed Chocolate Cheerios in the store and have been asking for them. This is not something I'd buy without a coupon and since I didn't have one, I said no. At Harris Teeter it is $3.99 a box. Besides, chocolate and cereal is not a combination I usually go for on a regular basis. So you can imagine the excitement! It is almost gone. I mixed it with regular Cheerios to try to bring down the sugar content a little.

I got this for signing up here. They will randomly send to free items to review. Check it out!

In addition to the free box of cereal, they sent me 10 coupons for $1.25 off one box of Chocolate Cheerios. I'd like to pass these along to you! If you are interested, please leave a comment with your email address and I'll be in touch. Or if you have my email, just email me directly.
These would be a wonderful coupon to have when Harris Teeter has another Super Doubles sale.
Be sure to check out Money Saving Mom and $30 Weekly Grocery Challenge in order to find deals like this for yourself!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Healthy Smoothie - Day 3

I love kale. It is inexpensive and sooo good for you. It is readily available locally grown. Here is a great recipe using kale.

2 oranges or 2 c. orange juice
1 1/2 c. apple juice
1 cup kale
2 bananas
1 cup ice

Blend for about 1 1/2 minutes until smoothie!



Our camera is still broken, so I'm sorry I don't have a picture!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lunch time... ABC Veggie Soup!

We love soup in our house. When my oldest boys were little I used to buy Campbell's soup for them for lunch. They would split a can. Those days are long over! I would need to buy a can for each of them now.

Clearly that is not economical. Additionally, as I began to pay closer attention to ingredients, I realized it wasn't the healthiest option for my boys.

I learned that I could make a much more economical and delicious vegetable soup very easily and so that has been a lunch option for our family for the past five years.

I usually have most of the items on hand. Broth and beans are always in the freezer. I just take them out the morning I plan on making it.

It takes me about 5 minutes to throw this soup together. Just a tiny bit longer than opening a can! I put it together while the boys are transitioning to another subject and let it cook while I am teaching.

ABC Vegetable Soup

2 c. vegetable or chicken broth 1 1/2 c. water
1 c. tomato sauce
1/2 c. ABC Pasta (or any small pasta)
1 1/2 c. frozen veggies
1 can or 1 1/2 chick peas
parm cheese

1.Combine broth, water, and sauce and bring to a boil.

2. Add pasta, veggies and chick peas.

3. Cook until pasta is tender.

4. Top with cheese and serve!

You can use any pasta, but my boys especially like the ABC pasta. You can find a large ABC pasta at Trader Joe's. The smaller one is harder to find. We like to play a game with it, taking turns naming things from different categories with a letter from our spoon. It is fun!


Healthy Smoothies - Day 2

This is almost my favorite smoothie that we do! Unfortunately, while making it I dropped the camera and seem to have broken it. Ugh...

Yield: 4 cups

1 cup green grapes
1 (130 g) orange, peeled
1/2 Bartlett pear
1 (120 g) banana, fresh or frozen
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup water
2 cups ice cubes

Directions Place all ingredients into container and secure the lid. Blend on HIGH for 1 ½ minutes.

I double this recipe!

Hope you like it!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Healthy Smoothies - Day 1

As I mentioned in my last post, I am going to be posting a different smoothie recipe each day. Normally I just throw in anything I have, but several people have asked for a recipe, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Here is what I came up with today:

-3 bananas
-1 mango
1 orange
1/2 of a zucchini
2 tbs flax seed
1 cup red grapes
1 cup water
2 cups ice

Blend it all up. I let it run for a solid minute.

This is how much it made. If your family is not as large as ours, you can adjust the recipe accordingly. Our family drank it all!
Hope you give it a try. You won't be able to taste the zucchini, I promise!
Blessings, Jen

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

We got a tremendous amount of produce this week. I am very excited to create some dinners loaded with veggies. I have a few new recipes that I am going to be trying!

Breakfast ideas:
1. Banana Berry Coconut Muffins
2. cereal
3. Zucchini Muffins
4. Eggs and bagels
5. French Toast Sticks
6. Banana Bundles

We also have a green smoothie every other day with our breakfast. On the days we don’t we serve the boys fruit.

Lunch ideas:
1. quesadillas
2. PB, banana, and honey sandwiches
3. fruit kabobs
4. Vegetable Soup
5. leftovers
6. chili topped baked potatoes

We try to serve veggies and fruit with each lunch. Choices with week include peppers, cucumbers, and carrots. I am going to try making Ranch dressing with this recipe. Fruit choices will be kiwi, banana, apples, pears, and oranges.

Dinner ideas:
1. Roasted Tomato Soup , roasted cauliflower w/garlic, garlic basil muffins
2. Garlicky Spaghetti with Beans and Greens
3. Mexican Chicken Lasagna, cilantro rice, zucchini w/garlic and oil
4. Gingered Fried Rice , roasted broccoli
5. Chunky Mushroom Ragu w/penne
6. Burgers, homemade fries
7. Garlic Soup

We will be having salad and bread or rolls with most dinners.

Snack ideas:
-cheese, pepperoni, and crackers
-granola bars
-pretzels w/mustard
-avocado chocolate pudding

This week, I am going to share a new smoothie recipe each day, so be sure to check back.
Check out more menu plans at
Blessings, Jennifer

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sauce, an all day affair!

Lots of people have asked me for a recipe for sauce. I don't really follow the same recipe everytime, so I was hoping that I might be able to share how I do it with pictures.

First, I coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and saute some onion. I also throw in some red pepper flakes. (Per can of crushed tomato, I tend to use one small onion and 4 garlic cloves.)

While that is softening, I chop up the garlic. I don't add the garlic until the onion is almost done to avoid burning it. So when it is almost done I throw the garlic in.

When the garlic has softened a bit, I add some red wine. I basically add enough to cover the onions and garlic. It doesn't have to be an expensive one. I like to use the Trader Joe's $2.99 bottle! I just would not use cooking wine, it has too much sugar in it.
I promise that your sauce will not taste like wine. If it did, my dear husband would not like it. He hates wine in his food. I just think it deepens the flavor of the sauce.
Once the wine is in, I turn the heat up, so the red wine can reduce.
(If you are making this in the crockpot, I would not add the wine, because it will not reduce and you will get a winey flavor, trust me, that has happened to me.On a side note, though I do a lot in the crockpot, I do not like to make sauce in it.)

When the red wine is almost gone I add the crushed tomatoes. My favorite crushed tomatoes to use are Tuttorosso. They don't sell them at all grocery stores down here. One place I can always find them is B.J.'s. They usually also have the best price.

Once the wine has reduced, I turn down the heat and begin adding the tomatoes. It will be pretty thick, so what I do is fill each can I use with some water and swish it around a little until I get most of the tomato cleaned off the inside of the can.
You could use broth here if you are not going to be cooking your sauce all day. It will make it more flavorful.
After all the tomatoes are in, I start added some dried spices, either an Italian Seasoning Blend or some basil and oregano. I do not measure these. I also add my salt and pepper here. My mom adds some sugar at this point. We don't, not sure why, just don't. It is supposed to make your sauce less acidic.
Mix everything together and let it heat through. While this is happening, start your meatballs.

While the sauce is beginning to heat through, I begin making my meatballs.

I really like to use Meatball Mix for the meatballs. That is what our family likes best. It is a combination of beef, pork and veal. B.J.'s sells it already mixed. If you don't care for the those meats, you can easily just use beef or turkey.

Per lb of meat, I add:
-one egg
-1 palmful parm cheese
-2 handfulls breadcrumbs
-a splash of worcheshire sauce
-1-2 garlic cloves minced
-salt and pepper

In the past I have tried adding milk, but we didn't seem to notice a difference in the meatballs, so I don't do it anymore. Here is what it looks like before I mix it.

Once I mix it, I use my middle cookie scoop (2 tbs.) to make uniform meatballs. I'll scoop them all on the board and them shape them after that.
Once they are all shaped, I put them in the sauce raw. Yes, raw! They will cook through in the sauce all day.
At this point you can also add any combination of meats. I have used sausage, pepperoni and pork. My boys tend to really enjoy it with just meatballs so that is how I do it most times. I will admit that when I was a meat eater, I LOVED pepperoni in it!!

Place them in gently and mix gently so they do not break.

After the meatballs are in, I just let the sauce simmer on low all day. I make sure that stir it every now and then. As the sauce cooks, it will thicken and get darker. I usually start mine in the morning and leave it on until dinner time. The longer, the better. The smell in the house is wonderful!

I wish I have more details for you. If you have questions, feel free to comment or email me!

Let me know if you try it!

Blessings, Jen