Category Archives: recipes

Organic Whole Grain Bagel’s

Posted a fun new recipe over on She {hearts} It yesterday. Be sure to check it out.

Its for Organic Whole Grain Bagels!

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Greek Orzo Pasta

This is such an easy recipe and great for parties. My friend Lindsey gave me this recipe last year and I still love it lots. Especially for spring/summer.

IMG_0956Ingredients:

1/4-1/2 cup Trader Joes Greek Style Feta Dressing
(It is this one, but at the store it only cost $1.99 – don’t order on amazon, to expensive!)
Feta Cheese (or Mozzarella) – Cut up/shredded
2-3 SMALL Diced Cucumber
2 Diced Tomatoes (I used Grape Tomatoes, so about 15 of them)
1/4-1/2 Diced Red Onion (leave out if kids don’t like spicy things)
1-3 *small* Diced Sweet Peppers (I used mostly orange)
1 Stalk Diced Celery (optional)
1 – 1/2 Cup Orzo Pasta (I used Trader Joes Brand)

Directions:

You cook up the Orzo Pasta. I think I cooked up about a cup 1/2 worth? it makes a lot.

Once cooked you mix in all your veggies into your Pasta (once drained). Then pour in as much dressing as you like. It honestly is up to how strong a flavor you want. So start with maybe 1/4 a cup and work your way up to more if you want more.

The Feta Cheese you’d just dice up or shred and once Pasta is cooled add that in. I btw hate Feta, but like it in this recipe. If I dont have it handy though I use mozzarella instead.

Serve it chilled. I have noticed after a day in the fridge the orzo soaks up the dressing a lot. So sometimes if served as a left over, you may want to freshen it up with some extra dressing the day served.

Enjoy! Its so good! Even my husband eats this and he isn’t into so many veggies ;-)

Hershey

The other day I got away from the house (oh peaceful moments of quiet) and found myself in Target. I find it funny how so many of us ladies find ourselves just randomly looking around Target. It isn’t my favorite store but it sure does have some cute things to look at. Budget’s keep me in line. While at Target though I realized while browsing the dollar section, that Easter was coming soon! How terrible is it that I don’t keep up with things these days. I think our current situation has me stressed to the max, which has resulted in myself missing major holidays. Seriously, its bad. I however, love Easter! For obvious reasons… Celebrating the death, burial and Resurrection of Christ… but also because it is just such a sweet time to spend with your kids. We don’t do Santa in our home… the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny… but despite not doing the traditional American “things” with our kids, they do still have fun and participate in some typical traditions when it comes to Easter.

We do egg hunts in our family. As silly as it seems, it has always been something so innocent and fun. Our kids know the Easter Bunny is pretend and despite knowing this, their imagination goes wild and they really do have such fun hunting for eggs. My oldest Caleb will be 10 this year, so I have a feeling our egg hunting days with him are ending soon… but none the less, it is a moment of pure childhood that comes out and I love it.

Another fun thing to do on Easter for your kid’s is to bake something fun and incorperate some easter fav’s. One of my favorite Easter Candy’s are WHOPPERS Robin Eggs. Yall, I love them. Im not much for candy and I am big on all things natural… but those cute little eggs win me over every time. So I thought it be fun to use them with cupcakes!

I baked up our traditional whole grain chocolate cake recipe… and on top of the cupcakes I placed a single robin egg. So cute! I did have trouble with my cupcakes sticking to my pan :-( – so next time I bake this up I plan to use liners. The mini cup cakes came out perfectly though… however it did make the egg look kind of big on top. So next time, liners and normal sized cup cakes would be preferred. :)

Below is the recipe for the Cake, icing and images to go along with it.

100% Freshly Milled Whole Grain MOIST Chocolate Cupcakes
(They are so incredibly moist!!)

ED9A0604Ingredients:

2 cups freshly ground hard white wheat
2/3 cups Hershey’s Cocoa
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 2/3 cups Sucanat
4 Eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup. mayonnaise
(real mayo btw, no miracle whip)
1 1/3 cups water

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Mix Flour, Cocoa, Baking Soda & Powder together in bowl.


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In an additional large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat sugar, eggs & vanilla for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

At low speed, beat in mayonnaise. (Can I mention I HATE MAYO, the smell makes me gag. You wont taste it tho, trust me!)

Add flour mixture into mixing bowl (with the egg mixture) – slowly… a 1/2 cup at at time or so…. alternating with water, until both water and flour are gone.

Once mixed (it will be very watery) – spray your cupcake liners or pan… pour into them 3/4 full.

Bake @ 350 F for 10-15 minutes (varies on muffin size), or until cake toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes….

Now for the icing….

Ingredients:

5 Tablespoons White Hard Wheat Flour (you could use all-purpose)
1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Unsalted Butter
1 cup Sugar in the Raw (You could use regular white sugar, but not powdered!)

Directions:

In a small sauce pan whisk flour into milk and medium heat. Stir it until it thickens. It will thicken as it heats and eventually turn into a brownie thick mixture.

Once thickened, remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. If you tend to be impatient like me, you can stick the pan in the fridge to speed up the cooling process.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter (I melted mine slightly for 45 seconds in the microwave) and mix in sugar until light and fluffy. The sugar/butter mixture should not look very grainy when you finish mixing it :).

Then add the cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the heck out of it. I set mine on speed 10 in my kitchen aid mixture for about 5 minutes? Or until it looked fluffy and thick.

and, thats it! You can place icing into an icing type dispenser or zip lock with a cut hole in it, to apply to cupcakes.

Top the icing with a single WHOPPERS Robin Egg and you are done. Add a few sprinkles too to dress it up even more.

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Now to spread the love a bit. How about a fun giveaway. A randomly drawn winner will win a huge goodie box full of major Hershey’s Candy!


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To enter fill out the RaffleCopter Below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

& Join the #BunnyTail over at Celebrate With Hershey. Share your favorite Easter Traditions and recipes! Thanks yall! When you comment just say “I did my Hershey Post!” and maybe link me to your blog or wherever it is you posted it. Winner will be chosen in an week. (I will update this post at the top with the winners name).

Water Kefir 101

I have been trying to write this post for two days now. The last two days however have brought a few unexpected things… which have put this on hold. If you don’t keep up with the news… you probably didn’t hear about this… but if you do, I am sure you did hear about the crisis going on in Atlanta, GA. Atlanta was basically shut down. The entire city. It was insane and there are images online of the city that make it look like a scene from the walking dead. My friend Lindsey and I were on our way back from Trader Joes that AM… started to snow and within an hour or so, the roads began to get very slow.. we made it back to my house by 1pm… just in time for my husband to leave for his shift at work. Lindsey left my house and made her way to her house – 15 minutes across town (on a normal day). Hour 1/2 later she wasn’t even 2 miles from my home! She ended up having to turn around and park on the road side, leaving her van and walk over a mile to get to my house! The roads were completely stopped and people abandoned there car. My husband had to work from 1:30pm (drove til almost 5pm to get to work, what normally takes him 20 minutes took him many hours)… he did not get back home until 8pm tonight (over 24 hours later)… getting only 2 hours of sleep in that time frame.. which was not restful at all, seeing as he had to sleep on the floor using a paper towel as his pillow. The chaos out in Atlanta is almost unbelievable. Do pray for those stranded… and affected by this snow… so incredibly sad to hear stories of pregnant woman going 16 hours without water or food… and moms with newborns who ran out of formula and could not nurse. In fact one baby was born on the road side!

So yes, in short, I had delay’s to this post… which is ok… and tonight I am feeling a bit tense and tired… so this may not be the most “informative” post about Water Kefir… but hopefully it makes some sense hah… The photo’s in this post btw I took while my mom was in town. She had her own kefir with her, so that is why there are so many glass bottles out in the photos ;-) – we were doing double batches this particular day.

ED9A9391First off, I am no expect… and am rather new to the world of water kefir… but so far I have had great success with it. I got my grains from a friend who grew her own water kefir grains… they grow rather quickly… so she shares them often :) – from there began the experimenting.

So to start, what exactly is Water Kefir?

We are all familiar (or should be) with the word Probiotic. Water Kefir is exactly that. An amazing source of probiotics that will kick any store packaged probiotic supplement, bottle, yogurt in the tail :) – it is basically good healthy gut bacteria, mmmm yummy :)

There is also something called MILK Kefir or Kombucha. Both similar to Water Kefir… just different in ways. If you are really interested in learning more about those google is your best friend, have fun! haha…. For me MILK kefir did not work because I am not a fan of milk and its thick texture. I also hate yogurt. I love bubbly drinks, so this to me made more sense. Water Kefir is like a tangy, alcoholic soda. HAHA Although the alcohol content is almost always under 1% at its more fermented form… which takes a while. So no worries “non alcohol” drink peeps… this isn’t a wine and you could not get hammered off it.

Water Kefir bacteria helps us to digest our food… prevents allergies, it will boost your immune system and is just great for our bodies overall.

When you boost your immunity btw it helps prevent sickness. I honestly cannot remember the last time I was sick. Like for real, fever sick. :)

Best of all – Water Kefir is so easy and cheap to make. You can make it to fit your “taste preference” too… and is fun to play with.

This btw is what “the grains look like” for those curious ;-) – weird lil boogers.

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So to move on… here is….

My basic recipe is below:

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4 Tablespoons of Grains (You btw can buy grains online or find locally. A great source to find them is ETSY!)
4 Tablespoons of Sugar in the RAW or any form of organic unrefined sugar. You can use white sugar if you want. Do not use honey though.
4 Cups of Filtered Water (I use my Berkey water filter for all my water)
1/8 tsp. baking soda (optional)
1/8 tsp. unsulphered molasses (optional)
1 lemon wedge (without skin) (optional)
5-8 organic raisins (optional)
Half an egg shell (optional)

Alright lots of optionals in here. This is because you DO NOT have to have those other items I listed unless you want to. What I have found though is that with those things added the grains thrive so much better than just with plain sugar. My grains are growing like crazy since adding in these things, especially the organic raisins. THEY LOVE THEM.

The optional’s btw are for added nutrients as well.
Mollasses has iron.
Egg Shell has Calcium.
The Baking soda has other minerals and nutrients.
Your grains absorb it all :)
The healthier the grain, the healthier your kefir.

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A lot of people think that water kefir is crazy sugar water… that is super sweet. What is so cool though is that the grains FEED on the sugar and so the kefir you are left with is mild in its taste and not super sugary or sweet. In fact if you were to eat one of the raisins after the Kefir sits and ferments – the raisins actually loose their sweet taste. Crazy huh? And no I didnt eat one of the fermented raisins, GAG, I couldn’t HAHAHA, my mom however is the super unaffected by weird foods woman and ate them without blinking (she’s amazing).

So if you want to leave those things out, you can… but if your grains seem weak and not growing, try adding those few things in.

Directions for mixing this all together.

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1. Always use plastic and glass. NO METAL.
2. I first put in my raw sugar into my glass jar.
3. Put in the grains on top of sugar.
4. Fill up the jar with the filtered water.
5. Add in all the rest of the stuff.
6. Stir with a plastic spoon and then shut the jar with lid (yes a lid, no coffee filters or gauze, this stuff grows great covered)

You place this in a dark area, some say place it near some heat… so maybe under the microwave light… I just keep mine on my shelf in the kitchen and it does fine… but my mom does keep hers under the microwave light and hers are growing faster. SO I guess for quicker growth warm spots and covering the jar with a towel so its dark for the grains does help.

Let the grains sit with all that stuff listed above for at least 24-48 hours.

If you see bubbles and stuff rising in the water, your grains are alive and well :)

After the 24 hours you strain off your grains and kefir (be sure to use a plastic strainer! no metal). The liquid you strain off is what you will keep for the next ferment process. The grains you would place into a new jar and repeat all the above, to start a new 1st ferment process. I hope that makes sense :) SO your grains will continue to make kefir… and grow, etc..etc… They will live as long as you care for them well.

The liquid you strained off you will then add juice or fresh organic fruit too. You can flavor your kefir however you want! This is a great blog on flavoring ideas.

My go to flavoring is:

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Grape Juice (you can totally use welches!) – For 4 cups of Kefir I add in about a half cup of grape juice to sweetened the drink. I store them in fun glass bottles that seal tight… (this helps to keep the drink carbonated.)

Another option I love it to put in organic raspberries (use the frozen ones if you want, just make sure they are organic)… and juice from a half a lime… as well as a few tablespoons of grape juices. This makes for a yummy tangy version… my husband and children however prefers the classic grape version better.

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Once you add in your flavor (juice), you then let the bottle of water kefir/juice sit out for another 24 hours (tightly sealed). After those 24 hours your kefir is ready to drink. You can then refrigerate it. The longer your kefir sits the stronger it gets btw ;-) – I do not like it super strong, so we try to consume it within a few days.

Also BE SURE TO BURP your kefir. If you don’t open that bottle up every 12 hours or so, you will be faced with an explosion of water kefir :) – it erupts like a volcano!! insane the amount of bubbles it builds.

I serve mine over a glass of ice.

Right now I drink at least 1 cup a day. My mom though drink a cup in the AM and a cup in the PM. :) My kids drink about a cup a day too.

Hopefully this makes some sense… I am now off to bed. I am not going to proof this post either, so forever any typos or errors…

LONG DAY, im tired :) off to bed. haha. Enjoy!! if you have any questions feel free to comment.

High Protein Organic Quinoa Vegetable Soup

I haven’t yet blogged about my new fitness journey… its kicked off into high gear this week but weeks leading up to it I was preparing myself mentally and physically. With this new routine I am going to do some heavy lifting in hopes to tone up some. I don’t really have much “weight” to loose, but I feel weak and inactive… a bit bluesy and I know fitness will help with that in many ways.

With the lifting I am realizing my need for higher protein meals… I am cutting calories in order to loose a few stubborn baby pounds as well though, so I can’t just eat anything I want either. So its been a trial and error journey with recipes trying to get my protein in.

I am funny about textures. I hate most typical high protein snacks and foods… including peanut butter, red meat, shakes, that sorta stuff… so I am being forced to get creative.

Today I made up a Quinoa Vegetable Soup! I saw the recipe on Pinterest and knew I wanted to try it. While making it up though I did make some changes to it in order to get even more protein into the meal… I also found the original recipe was a bit “thin” and not “thick enough” in soupy-texture… so I thickened it up some too. Any who, below is the recipe! My entire family ate it. In fact my husband as he ate it said “this is a keeper!” he had it for lunch and packed up another bowl to eat at dinner tonight at work. So for him to do that, is evidence of its yummy taste and fill, because he hates soup normally :)

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Here goes…

Ingredients:

- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 3 plum sized tomatoes, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup organic quinoa cooked
- a cup or so of corn (I just used half a can of organic corn I had in the fridge from an earlier meal)
- 8 ounces of pre-cooked turkey breast, chopped (shredded)
- 4 cups beef broth *or vegetable broth*
- 1/2 teaspoon real salt
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (it was like a half a small can)
- 1 tablespoon parsley (or you can do 2 tbs fresh parsley – I had none on hand so spices worked for me)

Directions:

In a large sauce pot, heat oil over medium heat until it is hot. Add in your onion and garlic, cooking it until golden brown (roughly 5 minutes or so). Stir in tomatoes, bell pepper, quinoa, corn, pre-cooked turkey breast, tomato paste, broth, 1 cup of water, salt and parsley.

Reduce the heat to medium/low, cover it for about 20 minutes (you can let it cook longer as long as it covered), and enjoy!

(For the Turkey I added in btw… I picked up some thinly sliced turkey breast fillets. You could use chicken or any meat of choice honestly. I seasoned them with pepper, salt and garlic powder… fried them with a little oil on an iron skillet and that was it. We ate these for lunch the day prior… I had just at 8 ounces leftover today, so I just got some kitchen sheers and shredded the already cooked fillets. You could easily substitute this with ground turkey or beef as well. I prefer the texture of a shredded type meat over ground meat any day though…)

Nutritional Info (this isn’t exact but I believe it is pretty close):

The Original recipe said 1 cup was 110 calories. I added in twice as much quinoa though and 8 ounces of Turkey. The Turkey was around 120 calories every 4 ounces of meat… I divided it all with the amount of servings the recipe made (which was around 8 servings)… and we calculated that the calories was around 150 calories a bowl (cup)… fat was around 4G, sodium 250mg, protein was around 12-15g per serving.

So all in all a very nutritional meal with lost of good protein in it!

All 3 of my older kids ate this. Reed did not eat it but mainly because I didnt feel like cleaning up the mess he’d leave behind, after spending so long in the kitchen this morning. We also enjoyed crunchy up some saltine crackers in it (just a couple), making the entire meal under 200 calories and very satisfying and filling.

Hope you all enjoy!! the original recipe can be viewed here btw.