Friday, February 25, 2011

Love for Chocolate and Firemen

This morning, I used oatmeal as a peanut butter and chocolate delivery system for the kids. Whatever I have to do to make my kids eat something new and "healthy" (the oatmeal, not the chocolate and PB). I know it doesn't exactly sound healthy, but it was better for us than it sounds. I apologize for the lack of a photo. My camera was upstairs, and I really didn't want the girls to know I was experimenting for the purpose of putting it on my blog. They have caught on to me and know that when I am taking a picture of food, it may be a new recipe, and they proceed with caution. Clever little devils!

I have always loved oatmeal, and find it incredibly filling. It's the perfect comfort food, especially when you doctor it up with a little soy milk and blackstrap molasses (Go easy on this though. It is high in calcium, but also can leave your food tasting of cough syrup if you use too much, so experiment with your tastes). I have to admit too that I often add a bit of brown sugar as well. Brown sugar was made for oatmeal. The two should book a weddingmoon to Jamaica or go before the JP and make it official in my expert opinion!
Anywhoo, I was thinking of making peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, and thought that I may try adding both of those yummy ingredients to my morning oatmeal and seeing if the girls would like it. They have never taken to oatmeal because they find it "mushy and squishy", but I thought these additions might change the popular opinion. A spoonful of peanut butter adds a bit of healthy fat and protein, and a few semi-sweet chocolate chips aren't too bad either. So, I went for it.

Since my last "luring" went so well, I decided to try this approach again. So, I mixed it all up, gave it a taste and said, "whoa, I think I made that waaaay too sugary and chocolatey. That tastes like a dessert, so you probably don't need to eat dessert for breakfast!". Then....wait for it...wait for it...Score! They immediately picked up their spoons. Wacky said, "Yummy! This is good, mom!" That was totally expected. We all know that K-Picky is the household food critic. So, I waited for her response. She picked out a chocolate chip with an oat or two on her spoon, and said, "well, I like the chocolate part." So I told her that if she really wanted the chocolate part, she would have to take a whole spoonful, since much of the chocolate had already melted in. She did take a few more spoonfuls and said, "I think you need to fix this for breakfast tomorrow too." Man, I'm good!

So, with our full tummies, we ventured on to our Mommy group field trip to our local fire station, which I knew Addie would really dig. A few months ago, we saw the typical fire safety presentation at the library and on the way home, Addie commented, "Mommy, I LIKE big strong firemen, with their big suits and cool gear." Um, be honest, ladies. Is there a girl on the planet who doesn't? (I DO love you, honey. It doesn't take a big strong fire fighter to make me happy.) But, apparantly Firemen are the bombdiggity to my little blonde haired preschooler. And today just sealed that deal, since we were there when they received an actual call, which meant that she got to see them climb into the truck in a hurry and ride off, lights and sirens and all. Ok, I was secretly a little impressed too...ahem, with the lights and sirens, I mean.

Letting the girls climb on their monstrously powerful trucks helped too.

If there are any 3 to 5 year old aspiring firemen out there who know how to make chocolate peanut butter oatmeal, Addie is accepting applications for the position of "Future Husband".

If only this fire cadet were 18 years younger...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Greenalicious juice

My kids are more likely to try something new if it has a super cool name. Hence, the need to name our juice and smoothies. In an effort to get more fruit and veggies into our diets, I often serve these fruity puppies or fresh squeezed juice concoctions with our breakfast or lunch. It all began with strawberry smoothies (frozen strawberries, soy milk, and a banana, blended well), because (hello!) what kid doesn't like strawberries? Though K-picky isn't fond of bananas, I added one in the blender when she wasn't looking, to sweeten it without adding sugar. Due to it's pink color, that smoothie earned the name Pinkalicious, after K's favorite book series.

A few days later, I tried my hand at a Purplicious one, using the same ingredients, but substituting the frozen strawberries for frozen mixed berries. When I saw the dark color, I realized that this was a great opportunity for some of my kitchen trickery, and added a hand full of fresh spinach. Because the berries and banana were so sweet, the kids had no idea I blended those beautiful green vitamin packed leaves into their smoothies. Mission Accomplished. Team Kids:0, Team Mom:1.

So, with that newfound boldness, a few days later, I took out the juicer and juiced a few oranges, a few apples, and a heaping handful of kale. This dark green leafy veggie is even more packed with vitamins and nutrients than it's cousin, Mr. Spinach. It contains calcium, Iron, and Vitamins A, C, and B.

As soon as the dark green juice poured into the pitcher, I knew I was really taking a chance here. There was no getting around it- this juice would definitely be green. So, after a quick stir, I gave it a taste. The girls looked on, horrified that I was drinking the dark green concoction. But, it actually tasted great, so I said, "Wow, that is amazing, but I don't think you two can try it. There's no way I am letting you have any. I am gonna want to drink it all!" Wondering if I had them hook, line, and sinker, I poured the drink into my glass, and then I heard it...."wait, I want to try!" Ha! Team Kids: 0, Team Mom: 2!
Wacky was brave enough to step up to the plate first, but big sister couldn't be put to shame, so K decided she would try some too. K-picky was completely turned off by the color and took a few drinks, commenting, "it really doesn't taste green, but it sure looks really green.". Wacky loved it and drank it all. I asked what we should name this new recipe, and got the expected response, "greenalicious". I've since added kale or spinach to almost every smoothie I can sneak it into.

K asks, "mom, do you think this juice will make my hair grow long like Rapunzel's?", to which I reply something like, "Oh yes, absolutely". More trickery...Don't judge, though. A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sweet AND healthy? Say what?

I have a confession. Veggie Mama has a bit of a sweet tooth. There, it's out, and I feel better for admitting it. So, I have been on a mission to find some vegetarian (preferaby vegan- using no animal products) desserts, that actually don't taste like plain tofu. And, here it is- my new favorite healthy dessert! It's completely fat free, has no added sugar (unless you decide to add it), and tastes, looks, and feels like real ice cream! I have recently discovered the website (from which the above pic was borrowed), which told me to freeze a banana, and process it in my food processor for a few minutes to make this banana soft serve. Now, I have, in the past, been a bit disappointed in vegan recipes, so I was skeptical. So, yesterday, I gave it a try. I was shocked and awed that mine turned out exactly like this! It was sweet and creamy, just like ice cream! There are several variations on this recipe as well. Some people add nutmeg and cinnamon and it tastes like egg nog. Others add a drizzle of dark chocolate syrup. I tried adding cocoa powder and it did give it a chocolately flavor. You MUST try this if you are looking for a healthy alternative to ice cream.

These are my my family's absolute favorite vegan recipe of all time. They are peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough balls, and I am warning you that you will probably forever crave them after your first decadent bite. You can find the recipe on, under the tab "Recipeas". These, unlike the above treat, are not fat free or sugar free, but they are TO DIE FOR.
Happy eating!