Healthy On-the-Go Snacks: Kid & Baby Mama Friendly

Snack foods can be a mama's life saver.

Either because that mama is 7 months pregnant and every 30 minutes it's like she hasn't eaten in 13 years...

OR because, that mama is out at the park, taking a jog, running errands, or driving to a farther destination with a hungry child.

Hungry child=No fun.

A lot of times mom's always ask me what healthy food items I pack in my diaper bag when I am out for a day on the go. It's easy to throw in a bag of chips, packaged granola bars, cheese crackers, or fruit rollups, but obviously those aren't always the best options.

A lot of times when it comes to making choices for eating and children, parents love options that are fast, quick, and easy, and a lot of times we forget about those snacks being healthy and nutritious.

And no...I'm not talking about cheez-its made with whole grain.

Sorry hubby, that's not considered a health food.

Luckily with a little (yes just a little) planning, you can have hearty, natural, and healthy snacks ready for on the go runs whenever you need them!

Let's begin shall we!

1. No Bake Cookie Balls

I love love love raw cookie balls, or protein balls. It's basically a blend of nuts/nut butters, dates, coconut, cocoa powder, seeds, sweetener, oats, etc. Basically the combinations are endless and I consider them to be almost like a dessert.

When I make them I usually grind most of the ingredients really fine, (like the nuts), so Baby Boo can enjoy them with her little baby teeth! It's a treat any child will love! Imagine...Here baby, have a chocolate cookie ball!

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Basic No Bake Cookie Balls

Ingredients:

1/2 c. cashews

1/2 c. walnuts

1/2 c. scant raw cocoa powder

1/2 c. almond butter

1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 c. oats

1/4 c. cocoa nibs

1/2 c. dried apricots (Organic)

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. honey (scant)

1/4 c. maple syrup (scant)

Directions:

1. Using a food processor, blend nuts until fine and crumbly. Add the rest of the ingredients until well combined and the mixture is fine and can be formed into balls. Roll into 1 inch balls and store in the fridge or freezer and grab one when hungry!

Other cookie ball recipes:

Fudge Balls

Peanut Butter Balls

Citrus Cookie Dough Balls (Optional on the citrus part)

S'mores Balls (Top recipe on the blog!)

Store Bough Options: Larabars

2. Mini Sandwiches

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If I have time in the morning I'll make a quick nut butter and jelly sandwich and cut it up for Boo to have as a snack later when we are out and about. Don't limit yourself to PB&J though, try hummus and cheese or hummus mixed with thinly cut veggies like cucumbers or tomatoes.

3. Raw Veggies

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Every mom in the world might be laughing at me right now thinking that a piece of broccoli would qualify as a 'snack' to their toddler.

I understand it's different, but start your kids young on loving raw veggies (with fun dips), and pretty soon they won't mind munching a carrot in the stroller. You can also try cucumber slices, baby tomatoes chopped, celery with nut butters and etc...If you are able to, you can also pack a side cup of dip like hummus!

4. Fruits

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When it comes to fruits the options are never ending.

Banana, apples, plums, pineapple, watermelon, berries, oranges, etc. Pack them pre-chopped, (and the skin off if necessary), in a to-go bag or container with an ice pack to keep them cool and refreshing!

5. Pre-made Baked Goods (Healthy/Natural/Homemade)

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Pictured above: Chocolate Protein Breakfast Cake Bars

Usually once a week I bake some sort of muffin/cookie/sweet bread etc. I usually put half in the freezer for a quick treat in the future, and save the rest for snack time and on-the-go. The baked goods I pack are usually whole grain and made with natural ingredients and sweeteners.

Other options for healthy on-the-go baked goods:

Date Muffins

Grain Free/Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (Single Serving)

Cranberry Orange Loaf

Sugar Free Whole Wheat Banana Spice Muffins

Chocolate Chip Bean Cookies

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6. Store Bought Items:

As much as I love food and treats made at home, I'm also a realist and I know that sometimes I'm not By Golly Miss Molly whose been baking away in my kitchen all week. After all, I've got story books to read, tea parties to have, and forts to build!

My advice for purchased goods is this: shop natural, whole, and sometimes organic when it comes to buying snacks. Make sure you can read  and understand the ingredients and know what each one is.

Remember, organic Oreos are still...Oreos. :)

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Pictured above: Peanut Butter Green Bars.

Despite that the picture above looks like marijuana granola bars, they are these insanely delicious PB bars that are sold at our local farmers market. (My husband even loves them!) Every time I go by I stock up and buy a bunch because they go fast! I show these because I think it's great to take advantage of local markets and companies that sell natural and whole foods/snacks. They come in handy for those days where you don't have time to cook/cut/and prepare, and you just want something ready to go.

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Another snack we love are these applesauce packets. Baby Boo LOOOVES them! Sometimes you can buy them with veggies in them too, which is great! These can be a little pricey, so if I buy them I usually get them at Costco. Despite the price, I always buy them because they are such a yummy quick snack grab!

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As for crackers and things, I aim for products that are whole wheat and minimally processed. Here are a few of our salty favorites:

Pretzels

Kale Chips

Popcorn

Pita Chips

Crackers (Simple ingredients)

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Dried fruits are another favorite in our household. The freeze dried ones have a crispy/crunchy taste, which some kids love!

Other options include, but aren't limited too:

Dates

Appricots

Raisins

Craisins

Banana chips (Roasted)

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Last but not least, drinks.

I usually always have a water bottle, but sometimes Baby Boo loves other options. Who am I kidding, if I pulled out a cup of chocolate milk she'd be in heaven!

Here are out favorite drink options:

Coconut Water

Flavored Coconut Water

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So remember, whether your headed to Target to spend $100 or a fun day at the beach, there are always healthy options to have ready and on-the-go when you need them.

And when in doubt, chocolate is ALWAYS an acceptable snack :)!

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Toddler Food and Picky Eaters

Whew!! This post has been a long time coming due to all the info I want to share! I was this close to posting this post as a Christmas special... :-)

I've been working hard these past few weeks documenting the things my daughter eats, tracker her eating habits, and really focusing on dealing with her picky-ness.

First things first...I am a new mama, and I'm pretty sure things will change with the next baby. Of coarse, I also believe some things will stay the same, but every child is different. So what works for one child, may not work for another. Also, the more kids you have, the less time available. Things will need to be quicker, faster, and easier than they are now...

I don't really know how that's going to happen, but let's pretend for a second I've got this all under control.

Ok, so if you have missed the previous entries of Kid's Food Week/Month/Decade then here are the posts so you can catch up:

Why and Where To Begin With Kids Eating Healthy

Stocking a Healthy Pantry for your Kids

Baby Food 101: 6-12 Months

And today we will be talking about Toddler Food and Picky Eaters! 

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So, I obviously can't discuss Every.Single.Type of food that your toddler/child can eat because there are truly so many options and creative ways. But I am excited to share with you a handful of recipes and tips that I have gathered over the past few weeks, along with the trial and errors of those foods!

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I'm not going to get into statistics because I'm not a doctor and I don't want to lead you astray, but I will touch base on a few things.

This is a crucial time in your child's life, in where they are needing the right components to grow strong and healthy bodies, and they are able and willing to learn and soak up healthy eating habits. If there is one thing that I have noticed, it's that my daughter notices and copies a lot of what I do. Now is the time to truly be an example and teach your children how to treat and respect their bodies, and help them love and understand healthy eating habits.

In general you want to make sure your kids are getting enough:

-Fruits and veggies

-Calcium

-Protein

-Healthy Fats

You want them to also eat a variety of foods so they can get a variety of nutrition from different sources.

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(Want to know what NOT to do....Keep reading).

 A few months back Baby Boo would barely eat anything...I'm talking maybe a handful of foods and that was it! I tried every type of food, dance, distraction, and creative measure I could to make food seem appealing to her...But no way, she just wasn't interested.

It wasn't till a visit with Baby Boo's NEW doctor that everything changed.

When Baby Boo went in for her 12 month checkup, her old doctor told me she needed to drink more sippy's (or bottles) of milk. He told me I needed to give her lots of glasses through out the day because she wasn't eating a lot. So I did just that, even though I wasn't sure. (If you read THIS post, I want you to know that by NOW I have learned to really listen to my motherly intuition...) But, being a new mom and trying to do what the doctor said, I started increasing her liquids. She drank soy milk, and sometimes whole milk. Pretty soon, if she didn't eat a big breakfast, I would give her a bottle with milk so she would have something in her stomach. Then following lunch and dinner, I would give her a bottle again...Mainly because I was worried she didn't have any thing in her stomach.

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At this point I was a wreck. Foods to Baby Boo were on the back burner, besides a few unhealthy snacks that outside family members had introduced to her, and she loved her Ba-Ba's...I knew I was doing things wrong, and I didn't know how to break the habit. I was supposed to be someone who enforced healthy eating, yet I resorting to giving Baby Boo the foods she would eat JUST so she would have food in her belly.

But I was soo soo wrong.

Finally after switching doctors, we went to Baby Boo's 18 month checkup. The doctor kindly shared with me a lot of information, and let me know that I am like a lot of mom's out there. That was really nice to hear, especially since I felt like the worst mom in the world.

First she told me to take away the bottles...So I did.

Then she told me to stop placing so many foods on Baby Boo's plate...So I stopped.

Next she told me to introduce foods slowly, and put 1-2 foods on her plate she likes, and one new food. If she doesn't touch the new food, keep introducing it often, and eventually she will try it...So we did just that.

What happened next?

Things changed dramatically.

Within days Baby Boo started eating all the food off her plate and asking for more.  And I felt a lot better that I wasn't pumping her stomach full of 'dairy' and that she was getting SO much more essential nutrients.

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-That being a first time mom isn't easy, but it's normal to make mistakes.

-I should always trust my motherly intuition.

- Not everybody is perfect, even for people who profess a healthy lifestyle..aka me! :-)

-Don't introduce unhealthy foods to your kids, because in the end, it's all they are going to want.

- Put your foot down when it comes to your children. I know how much grandparents love to spoil their grandchildren, and that's fine...But limit the spoilage. Make sure they get a variety of foods, not just the junky ones.

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First thing I did was make a list of all the foods Baby Boo liked to eat, and then incorporated those into her meals on a daily basis.

Here are the things Baby Boo didn't have a problem eating: (P.S. I am slightly embarrassed)

-Hummus

-Berries/fruit in general

-Yogurt

-Cheese

-Crackers

-Smoothies

-Avocado

-Rice

-Macaroni and Cheese

-Spaghetti

-Rice

-Pudding

-Muffins/Baked goods

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As you can see maybe a few items are healthy, and the rest are quick snack foods that she was introduced to and fell in love with. Next, I took the foods she loved, and incorporated them with new foods too. (I also said goodbye to those bad snacks, because to me there was no need for them.)

Baby Boo LOVES avocado! I truly believe that she fell in love because my husband and I eat avocados with practically every dinner during the week. She saw that we loved it, and wanted to try it too and fell in love!

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Veggie Guacamole

1-2 small avocado mashed with shredded cucumber, zucchini puree, or pea puree. Dash of cumin and tad or salt (optional).

I love mixing greens into her guacamole. Obviously I don't want to get in the habit of hiding everything, but adding veggies or other wholesome goodies to foods that children already love is a great way to give them extra nutrition that they need.

I paired this with barley (which is similar to rice, just a little fatter and chewier) that had cut of chickpeas mixed in.

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Veggie Avocado served with Barley mixed w/ Chickpeas

With this plate, I knew I had given her two options which she was familiar with and liked. Then I threw in some diced chickpeas just to get her familiar with them.

After I introduced chickpeas, I would roast them with a little seasoning and we would snack on them during the day and she loved this!

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As the weeks went on I started to slowly introduce more beans and legumes to Baby Boo.

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Her favorites so far are chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, and lentils.

Another favorite food of Baby Boo's was yogurt. Depending on what I had on hand, which was either an organic milk yogurt that was flavored or a non dairy soy yogurt, she wouldn't have a problem eating either. I decided that I wanted to stop buying the flavored yogurt because I knew it only came with extra additives and sugars, so I stuck with simple and plain, and our favorite happens to be greek yogurt.

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Yogurt Parfait

Bottom Layer: Plain greek yogurt, non dairy yogurt, or plain yogurt

Blueberry Fruit Sauce: 2 TB. blueberries pureed with 1 TB. Maple Syrup

Next top with banana chunks and chia seeds,wheat germ, or ground flax seeds

I quickly learned that Baby Boo loved cold and easy to eat foods on weeks when she was teething, because her mouth was in so much pain that it often took away her appetite. (We will talk more about this latter.)

Another thing I tried was incorporating flavors she loved into certain foods.

I knew she loved spaghetti and avocado, so I tried combining the two.

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Creamy Avocado Spaghetti Squash

For the sauce recipe, I used THIS amazing one from Ohsheglows and added 1/3 c. of Northern Beans to it and a little more olive oil. To bake the spaghetti squash, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wipe down outside of spaghetti squash and place the whole squash on a covered cookie sheet. Place in oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until outside of squash has browned and become soft and squishy. This is a great meal the WHOLE family can enjoy!

Obviously this was completely new to Baby Boo, so I was expecting a little bit of hesitation, but once she took her first bite she was sold.

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Whether she wanted to eat with her hands or a straw I didn't care...Just as long as she was happy and eating!

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A lot of times I became so frustrated that it would completely ruin my mood, and I know that Baby Boo could tell. Eating time had become a stressful event and a lot of times it turned Baby Boo off from eating to the point where she would cry the second I placed her in her high chair.

Since then I have learned to not worry, and that if Baby Boo doesn't eat something, then I should't freak out. Simply move on and try again the next time.

I've also really focused on talking with Baby Boo about the foods she eats on a regular basis, asking her questions about what eat one is and their color. Taking interest in the food has in turn made her interested in it as well.

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When I first introduced broccoli to Baby Boo, she was not interested in it at all. After a few minutes of talking about it 's name and color (all the while remaining happy), she tried it. After her first few bites I told her how happy I was, clapped with joy, and gave her a high five.

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This may sound ridiculous but...

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Eating that broccoli become a not so scary thing!

Here is another example:

Baby Boo likes chicken, and she is familiar with it enough that she isn't scared to try it. So during dinner one night I paired chicken with broccoli, which she was becoming comfortable with, and some seasoned and baked polenta cubes.

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I allowed her to eat at her own pace, checking to see if she would try the polenta. Then after a few minutes she picked a piece up and said, "what's this?"

:-)

So we named it, talked about the color, and told her it was made of corn and then she tried it. She only took a few bites, but it didn't bother me. Now she knew what it was, and each time I give her polenta, she will become more comfortable with it.

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A lot of things can put a damper on the child's appetite, and you have to take that into account on certain occasions. Here are just a few things that can change a child's eating habits:

-Teething

-Sickness

-Grumpy/Overtired

-Unknown? :-)

I threw the last one in there because sometimes for whatever reason your child may not want to eat a lot, or anything really. Unfortunately when they are so young they can't tell you what is wrong and what they want. Just do your best to help ease whatever the baby is going through.

When Baby Boo is teething she loves smoothies. They are cold and require no eating or using her gums. We don't have one smoothie that she drinks every time, we just kind of make it to include what I have on time. I always try to incorporate some sort of protein, grain, fruits, and veggies. Here is an example of a smoothie she loves:

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Toddler Breakfast Smoothie

I posted this recipe on my Facebook page. For the recipe click HERE. For other green drink ideas check out my recipe page HERE.

Another favorite for Boo is pudding. It's another sweet and cold food that easily requires no use of teeth or gums when she is in pain.

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Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Recipe HERE.

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Chocolate Tofu Pudding

Blend the following in a blender or food processor: 1 c. silken tofu, 1/3 c chopped banana(i used frozen), 4 tsp. cocoa powder, 2 TB. maple syrup, 2 tsp. coconut flour.

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One of the biggest things that has worked for me with Baby Boo is letting her cook with me.

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It's a great learning lesson for her because she sees me cutting, stiring, pouring, mixing, cooking, and baking. On top of that, we talk about each of the ingredients and a lot of times she will see me taste them, and in return she wants to try them.

I'm not sure if your child is a fan of PB/nut butter sand whiches, but Baby Boo wasn't. That was until one day we were making nut butter cookies and she wanted to try the peanut butter, so I let her.

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She made me repeatedly dip that little spatula into the jar asking for "more" each time. Now, if I tell her there is Peanut butter (or any other nut butter) in her sand which (her favorite is Almond/sunflower butter with bananas and chia seeds) she eats it right up, and sometimes licks the bread! Whatever works right?

:-)

Actually now she prefers pancakes topped with a nut butter rather than Maple Syrup!

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Chunky Monkey Pancakes

I usually always use pre-made pancake mixes because it's a lot easier and time saving. I always buy a 100% whole wheat, buckwheat, spelt or gluten free mix. Then, depending on the amount of servings you are making, add some non dairy milk, an egg (or chia/flax egg) a little bit of cinnamon and banana chunks. Cook on stove, then top with creamy nut butter and serve.

Another benefit to cooking with your children is that they are more likely to want to try the finished product since they helped bring it together. A favorite of Baby Boo's to make is muffins, which she is constantly cooking in her own mini kitchen.

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Chocolate Chip Blueberry Banana Muffins

I originally posted this recipe on my Facebook page. For the recipe, click HERE.

And lastly, don't be afraid to give them a bite of food that you make for yourself. A lot of times Baby Boo is so curious as to what the adults are eating and would rather try our food, which has resorted in her obsession with avocados and hummus.

Recently I let her try a cereal I was making for myself quite often, and now she is addicted just like her mama!

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Popped Amaranth Cereal

Sweetened with a drizzle of Maple Syrup and Fresh Blueberries

In a medium/high heated saucepan add 1-2 TB. amaranth. Put a lid on the pan and shake the pan around on top of the heat. Soon after, you will hear a popping noise like popcorn. After 15-30 seconds, the amaranth will have been all the way popped, it will look puffed and white, and then pour it into a bowl. Continue to pop more amaranth until you have reached the amount you wish. For better instructions on popped amaranth cereal check it out HERE from edible perspective!

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Everything on this page is nearly a suggestion, not something that works for every child. I've known mom's with kids who could place anything and everything in front of their children and they would have no problem eating it, and to those mom's I say, "You are so freakin' lucky!" :-)

Whether or not your child is a picky eater or not, the main thing I want you to take from this post are these few things:

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And more importantly....

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I hope this post what somewhat helpful to new mom's out there. I tried to touch base on lot's of information, but I couldn't hit everything. So these are the topics I feel have stood out the most to be and worked best for Baby Boo. Talk with your doctors first before anything, and take into account your own motherly instincts and your child's needs. You can't go wrong when your trying to do what is best for your child! :-)

Now..I'm semi glad this whole post is done because I am so ready to get back to regular posting and normal food....

:-)

Maple Sage Glazed Carrots with Maple Toasted Pistachios

We spent the majority of today in the kitchen.

While I poured, mixed, rolled, kneading, chopped, sauteed, and cleaned...

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Baby Boo was either attached to my hip or at my feet begging for a taste.

I LOVE that she enjoys being in the kitchen with me. She loves to throw things into the mixing bowl or blender, and loves to cook her own special meals.

I'm pretty sure her ideal meal would have chocolate, cottage cheese, berries, and avocados...

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Today was a special day because, not only are we getting ready for Thanksgiving, but I had the opportunity to work with an amazing company and their delicious food!

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Grimmway Farms sent me a coupon to receive a free bag of their ever so delicious carrots!

I.Love.These.Carrots!

Grimmway Farms is a family owned and operated business located in California. Their philosophy is:

Provide Good Value

Honest Pricing

Conduct Business with Integrity

AND, let's not forget they received the Chef's Best 2011 BEST Taste Award!

The first thing Baby Boo and I did was dig in! We love carrots at our house. They are the perfect little snack, perfect match for hummus, puree amazingly for baby food, and when they are cold they help our teething lil' chickpea.

Baby Boo was pretty excited. Perfect time to bust a move.

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I don't know what's sexier, the random drool stain down her shirt, or that fierce look in her eyes...

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I decided to make a side dish for Thanksgiving with the carrots, that way everybody could indulge on these delicious baby carrot bad boys...

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But I think I am going to have to double the recipe to feed everybody...( 4 carrots for me, one carrot for you...6 carrots for me, two carrots for you...)

Either way, my family is going to be grateful they invited me to dinner. :-)

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Maple Sage Glazed Carrots with Maple Toasted Pistachios

Ingredients:(for carrots)

1 16 os. bag Grimmway Farms Baby Carrots

2 TB. fresh chopped sage (divided into TB.)

1 medium shallot diced

4 cloves garlic diced

2 TB. 100% Pure Maple syrup

1 TB. olive oil

sprinkle of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients: (for pistachios)

1/4 c. chopped pistachios

1 tsp. maple syrup

Directions:

1. In a (high-medium) heated saucepan (that contains a lid), add your olive oil. Heat for a quick second then throw in your diced shallot and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, stirring every so often. You want the shallots and garlic to be caramelized and golden brown looking. (3-5 min.)

2. Next throw in your carrots, maple syrup, 1 TB.  sage, and spices. Stir until coated and turn down heat to med-low. Put lid on top of saucepan, and let carrots cook about 25-30 minutes or until soft. Toss and stir carrots every so often.

3. Now prepare your pistachios. In a separate heated sauce pan, spray with cooking spray and add pistachios. Toast pistachios on medium heat for about a minute, then add maple syrup. Continue to stir and coat pistachios, all the while keeping the maple syrup from burning. Cook for about 1-2 more minutes, or until the pistachios aren't 'wet' with syrup. Transfer nuts to a separate bowl and set aside.

4. Once carrots are done, put on serving platter and top with remaining 1 TB. sage and chopped pistachios. Serve warm.

*This recipe only makes 2 c. worth, so if your making this for a big crowd be sure and double/triple the recipe.*

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This just screams Thanksgiving dinner...and Sunday dinner...and Christmas..and Hanukkah...and Ground Hog Day!

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Or if your like me, I enjoy eating them on the couch, watching trashy reality TV, and listening to Baby Boo snore away for nap time.

Shhhh, don't worry. It will be our little secret. :-)

Thanks again Grimmway Farms for giving me the opportunity to try your amazing product!!

* I was not paid to write this post. To learn more about Grimmway Farms and their awesome company, check out their website at http://www.grimmway.com/.**

All about Green Drinks 101

**Update:  I have had a lot of questions regarding the type of blender I use to make green smoothies. I've always used a Vitamix. Click HERE to see the Vitamix. If that one is too pricey, I've also successfully used my Magic Bullet Blender for years, link HERE ."** (affiliate links)

_______________________________________________________________________

The thought of eating vegetables can be gag-worthy to some...

But the idea of DRINKING your vegetables can sound just down right repulsive.

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If you would have asked me 5 years ago to drink a green smoothie I would have laughed in your face than had nightmares for 6 months after that. They are down right scary.

Oddly enough, not only do I now eat my veggies, but I drink tons of them too. Trust me. I gots me lots a friends....(And good Engrish too...)

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And if somebody asked me what is ONE thing they could do differently to adapt a healthier eating lifestyle, I would beg them to drink a green smoothie everyday. It's the one thing that I believe can have a major impact on your diet and change the way you feel.

But what exactly are the benefits of drinking green?

Improved digestive system

Better energy

Opportunity to give your body nutrients it most likely wouldn't receive on a regular basis

Being able to eat raw veggies(w/o a cup of ranch dressing on the side.)

-Weight loss

-Fight off sickness

-Sleep improvement

-Rid your body of toxins

-Essential vitamins, nutrients, and minerals

-Helps your kids (and hubby's!) get their veggies

-Fast to make AND healthy!

The list goes on and on....

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But sometimes the benefits are not enough to convince somebody to drink green. Sure it's good for you, but is it really worth stomaching something that can taste so freak nastay?

That's where your wrong my friends...Because I am here to tell you I have never tried a green drink I didn't like.(And trust me...I've had my fair share of green drink varieties.) With the right ingredients, knowledge, and helpful perks, green drinks can taste more like a regular smoothie(even a dessert one) without even noticing the hint of any vegetables!

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First, let's start with the veggies:

Spinach is an obvious choice when it comes to drinking greens. It's a very mild tasting green, so a lot of people love to use it. On top of that, it's a familiar ingredient. People are scared of it, but not too scared since they know a little bit about it. I think spinach is a GREAT green to add in smoothies, but I think sometimes we get stuck in a rut of ONLY using spinach. There are SO many other veggies out there that have different types of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that our bodies need.

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Here are my favorite veggies to use as of right now:

Spinach

Kale (no stems, just leaves. Stems are stanky!)

Rainbow and Green Chard

Collard Greens

Dandelion Greens (Just a little, it can tend to me strong)

Mustard Greens (just a little, it kind of has a kick.)

Cucumbers

Carrots

Beets

Avocados

Pumpkin Puree

*Remember to wash your greens to get rid of dirt and yucky stuff! (Yes, I said yucky. So professional.)

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And to store greens properly, I just wash them, dry, and then put them in labeled zip lock bags with a paper towel.

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Perfect for portioning sizes for smoothies and what not!

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Next Step: Add your fruit!

Veggies aren't the only thing that you can add to your green drink. I especially love adding fruit!

Fruit is a great way to add a natural sweetness to your drink, giving it a 'smoothie' like taste, and hiding the taste of some of those veggies. Not too mention fruit is another great way to get in some extra goodness like antioxidants and fiber!

Here is some of my top fruits to add in smoothies. And fruit will do, it just depends on your liking. For more tropical flavors choose things like mangos, oranges, pineapples, etc...

Bananas (GREAT sweetener! Also does well hiding those veggies!)

Cherries

Strawberries

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Mangos

Pears

Pineapples

Peaches

Orange Juice (Fresh squeezed)

Pomegranates

Grapes

Apples

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Next, give that smoothie some VA VA- VOOM!

Here is where you can go above and beyond a strawberry banana smoothie, and move onto a sweet almond cherry coconut bliss smoothie. The world is your...green drink? That made no sense, but are you catching my drift? There are many little things we can add to our green drinks to give them that extra flair that will make them more desirable to drink. No one ever said no to a chocolate PB drink! And if they did, well then...I'm speechless. :-)

Here are some things to add to those green drinks to give them some extra OOMPH!

Nut Butters (Almond Butter, Peanut Butter, Walnut Butter, Sunflower Butter...etc. Great source of protein and healthy fats!)

Nuts (Don't have the butta', then just throw in a few nuts!)

Cocoa Powder (Chocolate...Heck yes!)

Carob Powder

Oatmeal (Bring on the hearty breakfast grains!)

Almond Extract

Vanilla Extract

Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)

Mint Leaves

Basil Leaves

Coconut Milk

Orange Juice (If you combine coconut milk and Oj, you get a creamsicle taste!)

Cocoa nibs

Dark chocolate chips

PB pong balls or Fudge Balls or S'more Balls

Apple Butter

Pumpkin Butter

Lemon, Lime

Ginger

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Don't forget those added bonus:

Every green drink needs those few added bonuses that will boost their nutrient value even more!

Here are my favorite little added bonuses:

Chia Seeds

Ground Flax seeds

Protein Powder (I love to use a plant based protein powder. My favorite brand is Sun Warrior!)

Choice of Liquid (whether it be non dairy milk, reg. milk, water, etc.)

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Lastly if needed, add a sweetener.

I've gotten to the point where I don't usually need a sweetener, especially if I have loaded it with fruit. But the more stronger tasting veggies like beets, I tend to add a little bit to sweeten the drink to my liking.

Here are my favorite go-to natural sweeteners:

100% Pure Maple Syrup

Agave Nectar

Raw Honey

Dates

Stevia

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So where to begin?

Start simple. Add ingredients you are familiar with, and slowly each time add in different things to get used to. You will adjust smoothies to your taste buds preferences, and in time find what is right for you!

Here are a few recipes to get you started!

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 Beginners Green Drink

1 C. non diary milk

2 C. spinach

1 frozen banana

1 TB. Chia Seeds

1 tsp. Sweetener of choice

1tsp. vanilla

Ice

Optional: Peanut Butter

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 Tropical Cream Green Drink

1/2 C. fresh OJ

1/2 C.-1 C. coconut milk

1 C. spinach

1 C. kale

1 frozen banana

1/2 c. frozen pineapple, mango, or peaches

1 tsp. vanilla

2 TB. coconut flakes

ice

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Red Velvet Smoothie

1 C. non dairy milk

1 medium beet peeled, steamed, and chopped

1/3 c. frozen raspberries, cherries, or strawberries

1 frozen banana

4 TB. cocoa powder

4 pitted dates

1 TB. chia seeds

2 tsp. sweetener of choice

1 tsp. vanilla

ice

PICTURE

Green Smoothies are great for breakfast! Baby Boo has one pretty much every morning, it's her favorite thing to have!

Here is a typical smoothie for Boo. It's loaded with healthy fats, protein, greens, and tons of vitamins and minerals!!

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Princess Bliss Avocado Green Smoothie

1 C. milk of choice (I used coconut-from a carton, not a can.)

1 frozen banana

1/2 frozen avocado

1/2 c. kale

1/4 c. oats

1/4 c. vanilla yogurt (soy or reg.)

1 TB. Chia seeds

1 TB. almond butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1 TB. maple syrup (Boo really doesn't need a sweetener because she can't tell the difference, but for older kids you could add a little more than 1 TB.)

ice

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Then this morning for breakfast the three of us split this smoothie:

My husband said it was the BEST smoothie he has ever had...And trust me, those words don't always come out of his mouth...

SHOCKER! :-)

Chocolatey Chocolate Green Smoothie

1 c. milk of choice

handful spinach

handful kale

handful chard

1/4 c. dandelion greens (just the leaves)

1 frozen banana

handful frozen cherries

4 spoonfuls cocoa powder

2 TB. almond butter

1 TB. chia seeds

2 TB. agave nectar

2 c. ice

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A lot of times I make more than enough smoothie, so I just freeze the extra in an ice cube tray and use them for another day! That way, when I am in a hurry I just throw some in a blender with some milk and voila!

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Whew! That was a LONG post! Don't be afraid to try a green drink! If anything, you won't regret the way it will make you feel on a regular basis. :-)

For additional recipes, just go to my recipes tab underneath the header and click on green drinks!

Have a great day!! :-)

Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad AND Everything Green Smoothie

**Editors Note: This post was written in 2011, and the recipes in this post are the most popular recipes on my website! I deleted a lot of the old text to update this page, but if you scroll down you will find the recipes!
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Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. dry quinoa

  • 1 1/2 c. vegetable broth

  • (OR 1 c. prepared/cooked quinoa)

  • 1 c. garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1/4 diced onions

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 avocados, diced

  • 1 bunch cilantro, bottom stems cut off

  • 2 c. spinach

  • (dressing)

  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard

  • zest of 1 lemon

  • Juice of 1 juicy lemon, or two not so juicy lemons :)

  • 2 tsp. olive oil

  • 1 tsp. honey

  • 1/2 tsp. cumin

  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. I like to use a rice cooker on the white rice setting to make it easy!

  2. Once the quinoa is cooked, set it aside to cool.

  3. In a food processor, add cilantro and spinach. Process the greens until the are chopped up finely.

  4. In a bowl, add the chickpeas, chopped greens, tomatoes, avocado, onion, and garlic.

  5. In a bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together. Pour over the salad.

  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  7. Let sit in the fridge until ready to eat! Enjoy!



Everything Green Smoothie

Serves:

2-3

*This smoothie makes quite a bit and could easily serve two adults. Unless your like me and can eat for two, then you could drink it all on it's own. It could also serve 2-3 kids, one mama and 2 children...etc.. :-)

Ingredients

  • 1 c. non dairy milk, more if needed for thinning out smoothie

  • handful of fresh spinach

  • handful of fresh kale, no stems

  • handful of swiss chard

  • 2 green apple, cold and cit into slices/core removed

  • 1/2 medium cold cucumber

  • 1 frozen banana, sliced

  • 1 TB. chia seeds

  • sweetener of choice, stevia is what I used/honey works well too (1-2 tsp.)

  • 1 1/2 c. ice

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy. Drink immediately. Enjoy!


 

Orange Glazed Chickpeas with Sesame Grilled Zucchini

Dinner time is pretty chaotic at our household.

I'm not going to doubt Baby Boo stands naked on our patio shouting the names of animals and animal noises, while I'm chopping veggies.

Nor am I gonna lie that I have to run to her screaming, "No Baby Boo, DO NOT pee on the patio!!, and casually smile at the neighbors acting like barking naked children outside is completely the norm.

And while I struggle to hose down my daughters marked territory and put a diaper on her before something really gross happens, I'm screaming at the hubby, " If you even think about going into the kitchen and eating a bowl of cereal before dinner...!"

And finally when I've managed to control some of the certain situations going on, I realize I have to wash dishes just so I can cook something.

UGHH!

Then, there is the constant battle of what to make.

Me: What do u want for dinner?

Hubs: Quesadilla

Me: How about pizza

Hubs: Taquitos

Me: No, what about a sand which

Hubs: Guacamole

Me: Just Guacamole?

Hubs: How about cereal?

Me: Go take your daughter for a walk

If I was crazy, I would be making three separate meals, since we all have pretty different preferences. That, or I could just open a tub of hummus and hand out spoons and everybody would be satisfied.

Temping...

Instead, I'll make ONE dinner...enjoyable for THREE different palates!

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Orange Glazed Chickpeas with Sesame Grilled Zucchini

Ingredients: Orange Glaze Sauce

1 can coconut milk

zest and juice of two oranges

1/4 C. lemon juice

1/3 C. rice vinegar

3 TB. agave

1 tsp. grated ginger

1 tsp. chopped garlic

2 TB. soy sauce

1/4 tsp. red pepper spice

1 tsp. Cumin

Dash of Paprika

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 tsp. corn starch dissolved in 2 tsp. cold water

*1 Can Chickpeas drained and rinsed(if not using chicken, use 2-3 cans)

*Optional: Chicken(2 breast)

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients (expect corn starch mixture and chickpeas) into a pot, and heat until it boils. Stir in corn starch mixture, and reduce head to med-low, and let mixture simmer for about 5-10 minutes.

2. Place your chickpeas in a bowl or bag and cover with about 3/4 C. of glaze sauce. Let chickpeas soak in sauce for as long as you want. I did about 30 minutes.

3. If your making chicken for someone else, use the rest of the glaze sauce and marinade the chicken.

4. After marinades have set, take two separate pans (if using chickpeas and chicken), and in one add chickpeas and sauce, and the other add chicken. Let chickpeas cook over stove for about 5 -10 minutes on med-low heat. Continue to stir. If using chicken, cook on med heat for about 5-10 minutes until chicken is done.

* You can either do both chickpeas and chicken, or one or the other.

Sesame Grilled Zucchini

Ingredients:

2-3 zucchini chopped

Olive Oil

Soy Sauce

Salt and Pepper

Sesame Seeds

Directions:

1. In a bowl, and zucchini and drizzle with a little olive oil(1-2 TB) and a drizzle of soy sauce(1-2 TB) Sprinkle with S&P and Sesame seeds. Using a grill pan, saute the zucchini about 5-7 minutes, or until tender, and golden.

Here is the whole cooking process going down. I've got two pans for chickpeas and chicken, and then a griddle going for the zucchini.

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Now, if you want to go the vegetarian route, then on your plate add some brown rice, zucchini and chickpeas!

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But, if your hubs wants his meat, then simply throw meat on top of his dish.

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'

(Yes, I even threw some chickpeas on there!)

And Baby Boo had a few bites of everything...suprisingly...

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You want to know what my favorite part of the whole dinner experience really is?

The End..

  This recipe is supposed to help those who want to eat a vegetarian meal, but don't want to go through the trouble of making two separate dinners for a meat lovers family. For more info on this, check out my new page I recently added yesterday all about The Way We Eat! :

Minty Kale Salad

Things are getting a little silly around here :)

You may notice things look a little different/a little off.

No need to worry, The Diva-Dish is getting a MUCH needed pampered makeover.

Within the next 24 hours, things are going to be looking a little classier...So please bare with the craziness, and the randomness :)

But I promise, you will love it!

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Way back when, salads were my go to kind of food.

I thought it was the 'healthiest' thing to order on the menu at restaurants, and would gladly down a cup of ranch dressing to go along side that.

Oh..

And if the restaurant had bread, you can guarantee that I dipped my bread into my gallon of ranch, all the while using that bread to lick my nutritious delicious salad plate clean.

Now hold on a second, because I'm not saying eating a salad with ranch and bread is sending you straight to the 'worlds unhealthiest eater' prison. If that's your favorite kind of salad, then by all means dip and lick away. Living every once in a while, and eating our favorite foods in moderation (deep rich chocolate cake anyone?) will keep us sane..trust me. You wouldn't want to know me if chocolate wasn't allowed in my life.

But I believe that there are 'better' ways to enjoy the foods we love.

We can up the nutrients, the fiber, the vitamins, the protein, and everything else if we play around with recipes to have them include beneficial ingredients that will help our bodies stay strong and healthy.

With that being said, let me introduce you to,

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Minty Kale Salad

*Kale Greens are a great alternative to regular lettuce and even Spinach. It has an amazing source of Fiber, Antioxidants, Vitamins K, A, and C, and aids in Digestion. For best taste results, remove stems from leaves, because the stems are the bitter part of the Kale Plant.*

Ingredients:

Creamy Mint Dressing: Recipe from OhSheGlows

1/4 C. Coconut Milk

1/2 C. Mint Leaves

1 TB. EVOO

3 TB. Lime Juice

2 Tsp. Agave Nectar

salt, pepper

1/2 tsp. Arrowroot powder for thickening (optional)

Ingredients for Salad:

1 Large Bunch of Kale (Read * above for health benefits)

Tomatoes (Great source of Lycopene, which aids in fighting cancer, and Vitamin C)

Avocados (Fight cancer, lower cholesterol, regulate blood pressure)

Garbanzo Beans (Great Sources of Vitamins, Minerals, Fiber, and Protein)

Peaches (Great source of Beta Carotene which helps with eye and heart health. High fiber and high potassium)

Pecans (Heart healthy, natural antioxidants, lower cholesterol, aids w/ weight control, nutrient dense)

Goat Cheese (Easier to digest than cows milk, metabolism boosting, high in protein and calcium, nutrient dense)

(Everything optional, so add what ever you like on salads. If you a non-vegetarian, feel free to add maybe a lemon chicken. If your a vegetarian stick with the garbanzo beans and pecans for the protein, and if your a vegan, opt out on the goat cheese)

Directions:

1. Make the salad dressing by blending all ingredients in a blender and set aside. Gather Kale bunch and pick off leaves, and discard the stems. Put the leaves in a bowl and drizzle with desired dressing. Massage dressing into Kale Salad until FULLY coated. Let sit while preparing additional ingredients.

2. Once ready, throw additional ingredients on top. Sprinkle with coconut if feeling spontaneous.

3. Dig in!

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I think I will be purchasing mint on a regular basis, because this was seriously the most refreshing salad I have ever had. It reminded me of summer!

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And I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my extra mint leaves when I woke up this morning..

That was until I found this:

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I don't even have a green thumb for pre-grown foods bought from the grocery store..

Just pitiful.

Oh well, it definitely didn't stop me from continuing on with what I had in mind :)

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Minty Green Drink

Ingredients:

1 Cup Coconut Milk

1/2 Cup Coconut Water

1 Heaping Cup Spinach

1 Heaping Cup Kale (no stems)

1/4 Cup Dead Mint Leaves

1/3 C. Frozen Cherries

1/3 C. Frozen Blueberries

1 small frozen banana

1 TB. Chia Seeds

1 TB. Walnuts

1 TB. Vanilla

Ice

Directions:

1. Blend till Creamy and Serve

Thanks again for your patience with the blog change.

I know that things can get a little silly and out of hand around here some times, but I appreciate those that visit often and continue to support this journey on living life the healthy way :)

Or maybe...You just keep coming back because you want to see more of this little Chickpea:

That's ok :)

It's completely healthy!

Butternut Squash Pizza Crust-Healthy AND Gluten Free! :)

Let's talk about Pizza.

I tried to make pizza one time when I was in middle school..

To this day my family hasn't let me down from the shame. Want a little cooking tip?

'When a recipe calls for a package of yeast, that means a little teeny tiny package...

NOT a costco size package.'

Ever since then, I just can't get pizza dough right. I let it rise, but it never does.

I use whole grain flour but it's too whole grainy.

And it's never flaky..it's more like a dense brick of carbs.

It really tickles me off, because I love pizza, but I most definitely don't want to resort to a $5-10 Hot N' Ready To Go To Your Thighs Pizza...

So what's a diva to do..(Diva/Drama Queen-Same Thing)

This question, along with my prayers, were answered when I was on Jess from Healthy Exposures blog (Beautiful Girl.Beautiful Pics.Yummy Food.Check her out!) She talked about this sweet potato pizza crust that she found on Rawxy (Foxy Raw to be exact! She is amazing! Delicious Recipes too! Check her out also!!)

I was in AWE...To say the least. I had to make it.

So I did! I didn't have sweet potato, but I had butternut squash, so I tweeked it just a tad...And You want to know the best parts!!

Completely Delicious!

SUPER easy!

Super Fast!

Delicious!!

Butternut Squash Pizza Crust with Veggie Toppings and Raw Parmesan Cheeze

Adapted from Rawxy

*Gluten Free, Vegan*

(For the crust:)

1 Cup Butternut Squash Puree

1/2 cup Coconut Flour (Can sub any other flour, but the amounts may be slightly different)

1 cup Brown Rice Flour

1 TB EVOO

1 TB Baking Powder

1 TB Dried Rosemary

Dash of salt

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients into food processor with dough blade. Combine until a dough ball forms. Roll out dough on prepared baking sheet or pizza stone. You can use all the dough, or wrap half  up and save it for later.

2. Then top with desired toppings. I started with a homemade cilantro avocado hummus.

Then an array of veggies, and of coarse olives. I also included shredded zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, and chickpeas.

Next, I added the most amazing and delicious Raw Parmesan Cheese, recipe also from the amazing Rawxy!

1/8 cup pumpkin seeds + 1/8 cup cashews + 1/4 cup nutritional yeast blended together into fine crumbs..A-maz-ing!

When ready, bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes, or until edges are brown/crispy.

Pretty much the only way I want to eat pizza from now on :)

Tonight was girls night since my Hubby is knee deep in studying, so I shared some with Baby Boo because the crust was perfect texture for her little gum-less mouth! She loved it!

Now we're off to do more girly things..

I don't care how little hair she has, I'm gonna find a way to curl it! :)

Phyllo Butternut Squash Pockets

I wouldn't necessarily say I am thrifty.

In fact, I am the complete opposite...Unless of coarse Hubby is asking me, then I am very frugal, and always shop in the bargain/clearance section.

Ya right.

I wish I could say I could walk into a thrift store and find something worth buying, but..

I.Just.Can't.

And Probably the most thrify-ish shopping you will find me doing is at Ross or Marshalls.

But since I have been married, and Hubby has been in grad school, you can only imaging we are far from high-rollers. And even though Hubby would bet his life savings that I have it in my mind we are Bazillionaires, I am learning, key word, that I need to be better at how I spend my money.

Especially on groceries. Let's just say, if one looked at my grocery bill, then you could assume I was feeding a family of 5. yikes. AND, one might also assume, since I am really only feeding a family of 2 1/2, that by the cost of my purchases, we must be hefty eaters.

Not true. Well, hefty eaters, I dunno, I really...really..like food.

So where did it all go wrong? For some time now, I have really focused on my spending, and why I would end up spending so much on groceries. I thought, maybe I should share some tips on what not to do when buying groceries, because like I said, I am still learning on what to do.

The DEFINITELY DO NOTS of Grocery Shopping

1. Don't buy EVERYTHING organic.-I assumed that because it was organic, it was better for you. And although this is definitely the case in some regards, it is not the case in others. Here is how it goes: When buying organic fruits and veggies, follow the rules of the Dirty Dozen. ONLY the items on the dirty dozen list is best to be purchased organic. Items like pineapples and avocados don't. And trust me, the price of an organic avocado to a non organic one is a great difference. I also always buy dairy and meat for my Hubby organic. No questions asked. That will not change.

2. Don't buy everything you see.-I am like this in the grocery store: "I'll take that, and that, and that, and that. Oh wait, how much is it? OK here is my leg and my arm to cover the bill.."

I have learned that going with a list is crucial. At the beginning of the week I have written everything down that I want to make and want to have in the house. That way I go with a plan, instead of using my head/stomach to decide for me.

3. Don't get sucked into labels. -I will buy something if it says "Buy me, I am Delicious!", but for others, things like low fat, no sugar, healthy, brand new, yadda yadda can grab your attention. Research products out before spending a hefty penny on something they say is worth it.

4. Don't Covet-Being a blogger, I read tons of other blogs and get SUCKED into wanting to make what they posted RIGHT.THAT.VERY.SECOND. Alot of ingredients are unheard of, have to be ordered on line, and are pretty darn expensive. RESEARCH! I am not even going to mention some of the ingredients I have in my household that I purchased that I have NO idea what to do with them. Research recipes, research what the ingredients are for and their benefits.

5. Don't always shop at natural food stores. -There is this certain store by where I live that I call hell. If I walk in there, I am gonna get hell for it when I get home :) kidding, but I really have a hard time not spending Baby Boo's college fund in there. Certain things I agree are necessary, but not everything. AND a lot of times, the natural food grocers jack up their prices JUST because they can. Rude I know. Smart, but rude.

I hope some of these tips help you like they have been helping me...and my wallet.

And my relationship :)

But buying cheap only does so much for the Hubby. It's the delicious dinners that really win him over..

What a sucker..

Squash Pockets

Ingredients:

(filling)

1/4 large onion diced

1 TB EVOO

2 TB chopped garlic

1 cup spinach

1/2 cup chopped artichoke

2 cups diced butternut squash( i used precooked frozen butternut squash)-

1/4 cup diced walnuts

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

salt and pepper

Thawed Phyllo dough

Directions:

1. In a heated pan, add EVOO, onion, and garlic and cook 4-5 minutes on med-low heat until they begin to caramelize. Stir Frequently. Then add spinach and stir every so often until spinach begins to wilt, about 3 minutes. Then add artichokes & squash and stir until combined. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let cook about 6-7 minutes med heat. Stir frequently. Then add in walnuts. Season with more S & P to taste.

2. Prepare phyllo dough according to packages. I cut mine in half.

3. Place a couple spoon fulls of filling at the top of one side of the phyllo dough and add a few crumbles of goat cheese.

4. Fold Phyllo dough all the way down. I folded mine like you were folding up a flag.

5. Repeat steps until all the filling is used. I stuffed my pockets pretty full, so I only got about 5 or 6 pockets, so it all depends on the size. You can fold your pockets any way your want. There isn't a right way. Maybe there is, I just don't know about it :)

6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until phyllo becomes golden brown.

I had never worked with phyllo dough until this. I have NO idea why I waited so long!?

Every crispy bite made me want to run out an buy more phyllo dough and make more!! hha

See what I mean. Impulse buyer anyone??

I hope Baby Boo doesn't turn out like me with the whole spending regards thing,

Because I don't know how many more arms and legs I can sell before I run out...

Grilled Lemony Dill Veggie Sandwhich

Dear Brain-

Where are you?

How come you always seem to disappear, especially when I need you the most?

How come you can't be there to remind me to turn off the hose on our sink...

Baby Boo's face is a perfect target..

Oh, and I'm really sick of the Wet T-Shirt games.

(You don't remind me about the hose, but you sure don't have a problem reminding me wet t-shirt contest are NOT for me)

Oh, and brain, while I have your attention, can you please remind me why I am so clumsy?

Because each time I spill formula, I am slowly saying goodbye to Baby Boo's college fund.

Bye Bye Harvard...

Hello Community College.

Oh, and one more question brain..

How come you never remind me to buy Dill?

Because Dill is delicious, and for some reason I always forget.

But not this time. I think I will clearly remember!

:)

Grilled Lemony Dill Veggie Sandwhich

Ingredients:

1 cup of assorted veggies in slices (I used eggplant, zucchini and tomato)

1 TB chopped fresh dill

zest of half a lemon

juice of half a lemon

1 TB Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Directions:

1. Gather sliced veggies and put them in a medium bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss until everything is coated. Let marinade for 10 minutes.

Then grill veggies, 3-5 minutes on both sides.

2. Prepare sand which.

Add some Hummus and Goat Cheese:

And then some avocado and spinach:

Then assemble your veggies.

Pile those babies high!

And then if you want, sprinkle with some parsley.

Then smoosh the sand which together, like they smoosh in Jersey Shore..

And.fall.in.love.

If you want a light and refreshing lunch that feels like summer..

Then grab your Lawn Chair, Pina Colada, and this Sammy...

OH Wait!

Hey Brain?

Can you remember to bring the sunscreen?

K thanks, your a doll!

Hearty Whole Grain Basil Bread

I have always had a slight obsession with bread.

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I think it stemmed from my early years...We would go to my grandmas and she would always have a fresh sour dough, or french loaf sitting on her counter.

It made me salivate every time I saw it.

And then I ate it. Alot of it.

I could pack a whole "loaf" or, shall we say yard stick, of that french bread sitting on the counter. Nothing could stop me.

You want to know what's gross?

I would dip my bread in whole milk. White bread dipped in whole milk.

Doesn't that make you hungry? No? Well then maybe this will..

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You see, for birthdays, we always got to go to our favorite restaurants. I, every year, chose olive garden, and you can bet it wasn't for the all you can eat salad..It was for the all you can eat breadsticks. And trust me, I ate all that I could eat.

Of coarse, NOW I have learned some self control, but I still drool when I walk past bakeries, and gaze at fresh baked breads through the window. Sure I could have a slice...But I want the whole loaf. Just me, my loaf, some Real Housewives of O.C., and a big glass of milk soy milk.

A girl can dream right.

But I can assure you that I definitely don't deprive. It may not be a loaf, but it isn't a slice fit for a Baby Boo either. And although sourdough bread will always have a special place in my heart, I have grown to love whole grains.

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It makes me happy to know that I can enjoy one of my favorite foods while still getting a lot of nutrients for my body. Nothing over processed and nothing bleached, it's just pure and natural grains.

And sure I can buy any kind of loaf like that at the grocery store, but there is something much tastier about fresh bread coming straight out of your oven. Your in control of what goes into it, including the bread and your body. Also not to mention, hot & steamy out of the oven...

Oh, sorry wrong picture,

Hot and steamy out of the oven...

So.Much.Better.

Heart Whole Grain Basil Bread

adapted from MarthaStewart

Two 1/4 ounce envelopes active dry yeast

2 1/4 cups warm water (110 deg)

2 tsp. honey

3 TB. 100% pure maple syrup

4 TB unsalted butter (melted)

3 cups whole wheat pastry four

1 cup whole grain all purpose baking flour (or could sub more whole wheat pastry flour)

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

4 tsp. coarse salt

1 cup fresh chopped basil (large chunks)

1/3 cup millit

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup flax seeds

1 TB chia seeds

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1 egg white

Directions:

1. Soak millet in 1/2 cup warm water for 20 minutes, set aside. In a separate bowl add 1/2 cup warm water and sprinkle yeast in. Add 2 tsp. of honey and whisk together until combined. Set aside for 10 minutes, or until foamy/frothy. Yeast should look like so:

2. In a separate bowl add flours and salt and whisk together. Once yeast is ready, pour yeast into a mixing bowl fitted with dough hook. Add melted butter, 1 1/2 cups warm water, and 3 TB maple syrup. Mix until combined. Then add 3 cups of flour mix. Mix on low speed until smooth. Then add in millet (plus water in bowl), and the rest of the seeds/oats, and basil.

Mix at low speed until combined. Then add remaining flour until dough is combined and somewhat smooth.

3. On a floured surface kneed dough for about 5 minutes until a smooth ball forms,like so:

Place dough in greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for an hour or so. (I did about 1 1/2 hours)

4. When dough has risen, punch it in the face,

Show it whose boss, and then divide dough into about 6 or 7 balls. Form balls and place on cookie sheet fitted with a cooking mat.

5. Take your egg white, and add a little water, and brush the tops of the dough balls. Then cover baking sheet with plastic and let dough sit for about another 1 1/2 hours.

Let those bad boys rise!

6. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees, and when the dough is ready, bake for about 22-25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.

7. Try not to pass out of excitement due to the most amazing smell that will fill your house!

Pull out of the oven...and smile!

(Don't forget to brush with more butter straight out of the oven :})

I always get so nervous when it comes to baking bread. My first fear is that it wont rise, and my second is that it will be too hard...

Well my friends, it was perfect.

The first thing I did was cut it open. I didn't even wait for it to cool, hence the third degree burns on my finger...and tongue.

But so worth it. I love the grains and seeds that I get in each bite, with a hint of sweet basil. It's a beautiful combination.

But.

It didn't stop.

I wanted more, but I couldn't just grab the loaf and eat away like it was an apple.

I mean I could have...But I'm raising a daughter..And I think she is too young to learn her MaMa is crazy.

So I just had to make a "meal" out of it.

Goat cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, and Bitchin' Sauce...

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Have you ever wanted to make out with your food?

Sweet Baby Bread Loaves!

Good thing I have learned some self control..

Because if not..

There was about to be an all you can eat bread loaves...

Pass the milk!