Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's For Dinner: Jan 28-Feb 3

Years ago when I started my first food blog, I posted my menu every week.  This is also how I met my best friend Jessica!  Yesterday, I was thinking about doing it again.  Imagine my surprise when I went to Jessica's blog and saw that she had the same idea!  We are so in sync it's scary!

Friday night we have tickets to Phineas and Ferb LIVE and the kids have NO IDEA!  I'm ordering pizza and just acting like normal and then BAM, we're going to leave for the show!

I'm still trying to figure out what we're going to make for the Superbowl.    I'm leaning towards sandwiches, dip and chips or Chili.

Monday:  Baked Chicken Breasts with Feta and Tomatoes, Leftover Fried Rice and Cucumbers.
Tuesday: Spicy Cabbage Slaw with Chicken and Cilantro
Wednesday: Cube Steak Tacos with Mango Salsa
Thursday:  Black bean salad with Lime Vinaigrette
Friday: Pizza Night
Saturday: Teriyaki Chicken Thighs with Broccoli
Sunday: TBA (Super Bowl Snacks)

Linking up with Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday

 photo greenmpm.jpg

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Protein Snack Balls

I've been working with my health coach for a little over a month now and I'm happy to say that I'm on track with my goals.  I've also lost a few pounds, which to me is a bonus because my goal is to be healthy.

In addition to making changes for myself, I'm making changes for my family.  I've cut out the juice boxes and the sugar cereal.  I'm looking forward to baking my own bread and I'm experimenting with some spiced nut recipes for my husband.

What I'd really like to replace are the granola bars.  They are such a handy snack but some all of them have  excessive amounts of sugar and things that I can't pronounce.  I'd love to make a protein filled snack for my kids that don't load them with up with processed sugar!

Here are a couple snack ball recipes that I've made this week.  Unfortunately, neither of them can be sent to school because they contain peanut butter and/or nuts but they are a wonderful after school snack!

Almond Date Balls
adapted from midliferoadtrip.tv

8 oz package pitted, unsweetened dates
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 tsp chai seeds
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tsp salt

Chop the dates into smaller pieces so you don't break your food processor.

Blend together all of the ingredients in the food processor.  If you have a small processor, you may need to do this in batches.

Roll mixture into about 25 balls. 

Serving size: 3 balls
Carbs: 30 g
Fat: 5 g
Protein: 2 g
Fiber: 3 g

Peanut Butter Balls
adapted from gimmesonoven.com

1 1/4 cup dry old fashioned oatmeal
2/3 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 cup ground flax seed 
2 tsp chia seeds
1/3 cup honey

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until completely mixed together. 

Let sit in the fridge for a half an hour or so so that the mixture can chill.  

Roll into balls.  Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.  Makes 25 balls.

Serving Size: 2 balls
Calories: 159
Carbs: 18 g
Fat: 9 g
Protein: 4 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sugar 11 g

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Taste

I'm excited to watch the new food show called The Taste starting tomorrow night.

There are four judges, Nigella Lawson, Brian Malarkey, Ludo Lefebvre and my new boyfriend....Anthony Bourdain.  They will coach the competing pro and amateur cooks and then taste test ONE bite. 

I can really relate to how difficult this is going to be for them.  When I judged the cake competition over the Christmas holiday, we based our thoughts off from ONE bite and it was tough! I will admit to tasting more of my favorite cake but it was after I'd already made up my mind.

I can't wait to see the challenge and themes on the show.  And....to try some of the recipes.

Will you be watching? 

Follow @TheTasteABC on twitter

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Whole Foods Cooking Class

I'm on a mission people!  This healthy living business is opening my eyes to so many wonderful foods that I didn't know I was going to love.  I've been trying for a while to introduce a meatless meal once a week and I've met resistance.  My husband and I both grew up with meat and potatoes and very limited vegetables.  I do remember my parents being on a health kick once and I still make one of the pasta salad recipes that they made way back then.

Keith's family had a foster home when he was growing up and they had 20 or more mouths to feed each day so they had lots of tomato based pasta recipes.  I think this is why he's so picky with his food choices now.

Can I just tell you how excited I am about Quinoa? It's pronounced KEEN-wah and it's amazing. Protein, fiber and it's so filling!

My friend Heather and I went to Whole Foods yesterday to a free cooking class.  Did you know that they do these?  It was so much fun and very informative.  Both dishes had zero meat in them and were made without oil.  I can't wait to try this technique at home.  Lisa, Whole Foods Healthy Eating Specialist, was a great teacher!  She answered our questions and explained things really well.  Lisa also gave us an onion cutting lesson!  I've been doing it wrong my entire life.

Many of the ingredients used in these recipes came from the frozen food department of Whole Foods.  Did you know you can buy cooked quinoa and rice frozen?  You just dump it in your pan.  So quick and easy for those of you that say you have no time to cook.  Another awesome thing we discovered.  Kale in the freezer section.  Ready to throw into your pan and it won't go bad.

Curried Cauliflower with Kale, Cashews, Raisins and Quinoa
 from Lisa at Whole Foods Belmar

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, grated or minced
1 cup vegetable broth, divided into two 1/2 cup portions
2 tsp curry powder 
1 large head cauliflower, cored and cut into florets
1 bunch green kale, washed, ribs removed and thinly sliced
1 cup raw whole cashews
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced

Heat a large saute pan over high heat until very hot and water dances when you throw it in the pan. Add onions and saute for a few minutes until they start to caramelize a bit.

Add ginger and garlic and saute for a minute to prevent them from burning. Whisk 1/2 cup of broth with curry and pour into the pan.

Add cauliflower, kale and quinoa to the pan.  Stir well to combine.  Add the second amount of broth and let cook until the kale is wilted and the cauliflower is soft but not mushy.  Add a little water to the pan if you are running low of liquid.

Salt to taste and serve with a garnish of sliced green onions.

It's confession time.  I'm afraid of WHOLE PINEAPPLES.  I've never bought a fresh pineapple because I honestly don't know how to get all of that prickly stuff off.  Lisa showed us a super easy way to cut and core the pineapple and I'm excited to buy one and make this next dish for my family.

A tip from Lisa:  Rinse your beans very well to remove the enzymes that make you gassy.   Also, if you regularly eat beans...your body will adapt and the music will stop.  I think I'm going to start rinsing my Fiber One bars.

Ginger-Pineapple Rice with Aduki Beans and Avocado
 from Lisa at Whole Foods Belmar

1/2 red onion, diced
2 tsp ginger, minced or grated
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup vegetable stock, plus 1/2 cup set aside
lemon grass
2 cups brown rice, cooked
1 can Aduki Beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
2 tsp fresh mint, minced
2 tsp fresh basil, minced
1 hot chili (such as a serano), minced
1 Avocado, diced
2 tbsp lime juice and the zest if you'd like
2 tbsp white miso
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Heat a large saute pan over very high heat until water dances when you throw it in the pan. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes, add ginger and garlic.  Saute for another minute to prevent it from burning.

Add 1/4 cup of broth to the pan, stir.

Add brown rice, aduki beans and pineapple to the pan and stir.  Whisk together the miso, cayenne and 1/2 cup of broth.  Pour into the pan and stir.  Add herbs.

Scoop avocado out of the shell and toss in a bowl with lime juice to prevent browning.

Season with salt to taste and serve garnished with avocado on top of a leafy green salad or along a piece of chicken or fish.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Denver Restaurant Week 2013

The menus for Denver Restaurant Week have been released and I'm so excited about it.  Every year, I say I'm going to participate and each year it passes me by.   This is a great way to try a restaurant that has been on your list  for $52.80 for 2 people.  One of my Foodie Resolutions is go to at least one participating restaurant.   Here are my favorites!

Trattoria Stella
Red Square Euro Bistro
Euclid Hall Bar and Kitchen
ChoLon Bistro
Osteria Marco
Big Easy Creole Kitchen Reservation made!
Lola  I have a reservation here!
The Bistro in Evergreen

This year Denver Restaurant Week is from February 23rd-March 4th.  Don't delay! Make your reservations today.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Going Green

I went to the grocery store this morning and was sick over how many little plastic bags I used for my produce.  More than half of my cart was filled with fruit and veggies since I've put my family on The Obama Plan*.

I had to run to Whole Foods because the kale at my local grocery store was just so sad.  Limp and light green, it had seen better days.  I decided to get the good stuff even if it was going to cost me more.  Nothing is too good for my family!

I picked up this cute little re-useable bag for produce.  It wasn't cheap....$2.99 but I figure I'll get one every time I got to Whole foods and in a year I'll have enough for all of my produce.  Unless I find some cute ones online.  I'll keep you posted.

Look at me, I'm going green!
No wasteful plastic bags for me. 
Won't ruin the planet, on me you can't tread.
I can't, I'm Sandra Dee!

*The Obama Plan -> Our healthy eating and exercise plan so that we don't have to use  ObamaCare.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dawa Bar in Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is one my families favorite parks at Disney.  I think it's because it's so authentic.  I really truly feel like I'm in Africa when I'm there. 

This park is special to me and Keith because we spent a day here on our honeymoon in 2004.  At that time it was a little smaller because they were in the process of building Expedition Everest (my kids call it Mt. Never Rest) and we couldn't wait to come back someday and see it.

I ended up chickening out.  I was worn out from our whirlwind Florida vacation and I didn't think the ride would agree with me.  I'm also a little bit afraid of heights.

What I did enjoy was visiting the Dawa Bar in Africa.  I had read up ahead of time about all of the places to get a cocktail in Disney World and this place stood out to me.

It looks like a real bar on a street in Africa, open air....patio type place.  They also serve African wine, beer and specialty cocktails.

I'm a sucker for a specialty cocktail!

African Margarita with Sauza Gold Tequila, Van der Hum Tangerine Liqueur from South Africa, Sweet-and-Sour, and Lime Juice   $8.75

Sugar Cane Mojito  with Starr African Rum and Sugar Cane Syrup mixed with Fresh Mint, Lime, and a splash of Soda   $9.75 

Both of these cocktails were delicious and refreshing!    I would have had more....but they were also strong and I was afraid I'd get Lost in Africa!

Linking up with Becca at R We There Yet Mom for Friday Daydreamin'. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Good Times Breakfast Burritos

Have you heard that Good Times Burgers and Frozen Custard is selling breakfast burritos?

I'd seen something on their sign about it but didn't think too much about it because I usually go to Good Times for chicken.  You thought I was going to say burgers didn't you?  Well...I like those too, but I love their chicken strips with the mustard dipping sauce.

I'm getting ready to start a journey of clean living and fitness so all of a sudden the green chili burritos were calling my name.  And then I got some coupons in the mail.

It was like I was supposed to try these lovely eggy beauties before they were banned from my life forever!

I decided to try the Egg and Cheese, Sausage and Chorizo burritos.   I skipped the bacon because I love bacon and I thought it was probably be great no matter what.

One out of my two children loved the egg and cheese and it was my husbands least favorite.   Keith and I both agreed that the sausage burrito was our favorite and had the perfect amount of spice and green chili.

These burritos are big and for $2 they are a bargain!  They are wet and full of cheese and egg.  I'd almost be tempted to say they are the perfect hand held burrito and I can't stop thinking about them.

Thank goodness they have a drive thru.....so that I can get one on the run.  And then secretly eat it in my car.

 Please don't tell my health coach.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I don't really like Champagne.

Last night, my husband insisted that we had to have some to ring in the new year.  So...off he went to the neighborhood libation store and came home with two bottles.

He's ambitious that one.

As we like to do, we decided to do a bit of a taste test.

Like always....we didn't like the same one.  I liked the less expensive Cooks and he liked the more expensive but still super affordable Korbel.

This could turn me into one of those highfalutin ladies that drinks Champs all the time....like on The Real Housewives of Somewhere Expensive.  Something tells me they aren't drinking either one of these.

That's okay....more for me!