Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Weekend Randoms

 We have had some great little fall day trips this year that I have failed miserably to blog about. The first was heading out to Fahrmeier Farms to experience their pumpkin patch and get some cute fall pictures. Well that outing was cut pretty short due to the fact that it was COLD like arctic blast cold. But still a really fun place to visit one I would highly suggest you put on your pumpkin patch list for next year.

We also spent some time at a local orchard one sunny Sunday afternoon. Charlot love the bees, they had the queen painted with a green dot, and she had so much fun finding it. Plus this orchard sold honey ice cream so they stole her heart from the word go. 

 I couldn't resist sharing my fall decor this year I just love everything about it!
 This past weekend my parents were gracious enough to give us their tickets to the Mizzou Homecoming Football game. We had so much fun, enjoying the parade and tailgating with some friends we hadn’t seen in quite a while plus meeting some new friends. Charlot really did have fun at the game even though the last picture doesn’t indicate that, it was getting late nap time had long passed she just finally gave in.

If you and yours haven’t had the chance to get out and enjoy the glorious outdoors yet this fall do so quick! Happy Monday, tomorrow a recap of my dad-o’s birthday party! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

10 ideas for adding more veggies to your diet:

Last night I had the awesome privilege of speaking to and cooking for the biggest loser group that I am a part of. The idea for the evening came about when one of our members expressed her frustration about her dislike of fruits and vegetables she wanted a healthy food redo. I am so glad that she spoke up and the idea for the night was born. I have found that I love to give people (especially moms) tips and tricks to healthy up their diets. So here are my ten ideas plus the recipes for the things I made last night. My hope is that last night really helped that member and maybe gave a few more some ideas! I know it made her son happy because when he asked if he could take home a plate of the spaghetti squash and veggie pasta sauce!
10 ideas for adding more veggies to your diet:
1.  Have vegetables with every meal
Stir in some fresh tomatoes and mushrooms  to your scrambled eggs
Make egg muffins loaded with your choice of veggies:  
Spread Avocado onto toast
Breakfast burritos loaded with peppers, onions and mushrooms
Zucchini bread made with unsweeted apple sauce
Celery and Carrot Sticks with Peanut Butter (All Natural is best)
Sugar Snap Peas with Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip
Ham and Cheese roll up stuffed with Cucumber or radishes
Kale Chips 
Instead of using Iceberg lettuce in your salad or wrap start using other lettuces or even spinach. Others can include- Green leaf, Red Leaf, Romaine, Arugula, Butter Lettuce
Always have carrot and celery sticks available
When out opt for a side salad instead of fries (watch the dressing though)
Load sandwiches up with veggies, lettuce, and tomato are great , but try adding cucumber, carrot, and radish as well.
Shred zucchini into pasta sauces
Roast veggies and puree with broth and a splash of cream for a delicious soup.
Use grilled portabella mushrooms as a “bun” for a sandwich
When making mashed potatoes use half potatoes and half turnip or cauliflower
Shred carrot into meatloaf, meatballs or hamburger patties
Top pizzas with extra vegetables

2.  Drink your veggies
Smoothies are a great way to get vegetables as well as fruit into your diet. Mix any combination of fruit and spinach or kale in a blender with plain Greek yogurt and a splash of milk.

3.  Make a goal to try one new vegetable per month
Have you always wanted to give spaghetti squash a try or maybe Brussel sprouts? Just buy one and give it a chance. If it isn’t a hit that’s ok try something else next month. Mine for this month is bok choy!

4.  Keep vegetables front and center in your fridge
If the first thing you see when you open your fridge is healthier options you are more apt to use them.

5.  Double the amount of vegetables in recipes
A soup you are making calls for 1 cup of carrots double it. A casserole calls for 1 can of green beans try two. You see the trend…

6.  Try a meat-free night per week
A vegetable stir –fry or vegetable soup are great options. If your house is like mine and meat free doesn’t work. I do a  light meat night, using ½ the amount of meat in recipes replacing it with vegetables.

7.  If you don’t like the canned version of a vegetable try the fresh or frozen
I cannot stand canned asparagus, but will eat fresh by the pound. Broccoli is another that I prefer fresh to frozen.

8.  Try vegetables in a new way
Roast broccoli, try cauliflower in soup, grill mushrooms, stuff spinach inside chicken breasts, the possibilities are endless.

9.  Have a vegetable/food prep hour per week
Set aside 1 hour per week for prep. I usually do this on Sunday evenings. Cut up carrot and celery sticks, dice vegetables (peppers, zucchini, onions, mushrooms) roast on a sheet tray this can be a quick side for all week, wash lettuces and chop for quick salads, prepare your egg muffins. When doing these things make sure you are making enough for the entire week. It will set you out for a better week.
10.       Cut pasta amount in half and replace with vegetables cut into long strips
Zucchini, carrots, and yellow squash all can be cut into thin ribbons. You will still have the pasta but you will be consuming vegetables with each bite.

Here are some of the recipes I made for the group last night hope you will give them a try!

Spaghetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash
3 tbsp EVOO
1 clove garlic
Dash red pepper flakes
Salt and peper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 400. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scrape out all the seeds and center membrane. Drizzle with ½ tbsp EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Place each half cut side down on baking sheet and roast for 35-45 minutes. Allow squash to cool a bit, and scrape out the “noodles” into a bowl with a fork.  (This can be done during your weekly meal prep time)
In a large non-stick skillet heat 2 TBSP of EVOO add garlic and red pepper. Sauté squash for a few minutes to coat in the mixture.  Top with your favorite sauce.

Veggie packed marinara sauce
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 small zucchini shredded
1 carrot shredded
6-8 mushrooms shredded
3 cloves garlic
Dash red pepper flakes
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
 In a large pot heat oil pepper flakes and garlic over medium heat until garlic is browned. Remove garlic. Add remaining ingredients to the pot and all to simmer for 30 minutes. Season to your tastes and puree for a smooth texture.

Egg Muffins (12 muffins)
9 eggs
Splash of milk
Several dashes of tabasco
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetables of your choice
Cheese of your choice
Pre-heat oven to 350. Spray a muffin tin with Pam. In the bottom of the tin place vegetables of your choice. In a large bowl whip eggs together with milk, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Pour over vegetables; only fill tins between ½ and ¾ of the way top with cheese of choice. Bake for 40 minutes. I find it is easier to get these out of the pan if they cool completely first.

Carrot and Kale Chips
3 carrots
1 bunch of kale
Salt and Pepper
Heat oven to 400. Slice carrots thin, the thicker you slice the chewier the chips are. Tear kale in to small pieces. On a lined cookie sheet spread out the carrots and kale you may need more than one sheet. They need space to crisp up. Drizzle with EVOO and season. Bake for 10 minutes stir and return oven to crisp.

Green Smoothie
1 cup of Strawberries
1 cup of Blueberries
1 Handful Spinach
½ cup plain Greek Yogurt
Splash of milk

Add fruit and veggie in the blender with yogurt and milk. Fill the remainder of the blender with ice. Blitz until smooth. 

Potato Turnip Mash
1 Large Yukon gold potato peeled
1 large turnip peeled
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP Plain Greek Yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste
You can increase this recipe by adding more of each just remember a 1 to 1 ratio. Cut potato into larger chunks than the turnip into. Put your turnip and potato into a pot and cover with water. Boil until tender then drain. Add butter and yogurt. Season and mash. I use a hand mixer because I like a smoother consistency. If your mixture is too thick you can add more yogurt, if the mix gets too thin stick it in a hot oven for several minutes to draw out some of the moisture.  Serve warm

Ranch Veggie Dip
1 large container of Plain Lowfat Greek Yogurt
1 packet Ranch Dressing Mix
1 Packet Green Onion Ranch Dressing Mix
Mix all ingredients together and chill. Serve with veggies or thin with milk and use as a salad dressing.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Beautiful Wedding Recap...FINALLY

The pictures don't do this wedding any justice. It was absolutely perfect. I am still so honored and humbled that my dear friend chose me to stand be side her on her day. I am keeping this short just enjoy the beauty and love present in each of these pictures. Congratulations Matt and Tracy, and thank you for letting me be apart of your day!