Archive | August, 2012

Where has this been all of my life?

26 Aug

When I was little, I would come home from school and pop a bag of microwave popcorn.  A few of you can attest to that.  I’d pour iced tea, make popcorn, and play cards while watching silly after school shows like Saved By The Bell.  So simple.

I have pretty much avoided the stuff since then because, well, I am allergic to corn.  For the kids, however,  I haven’t allowed it because of all of those chemicals on the ingredients list.  That is, until I discovered organic microwave popcorn.  It isn’t genetically modified (if it is organic, you can rely on it not being GMO) and I recognized the ingredients.  I never actually felt GOOD about them eating it, but didn’t feel like I was allowing them to have a bunch of processed junk.

Until….PINTEREST!  The place went nuts with brown bagged microwave popcorn.  What?  You mean, you don’t need some specially sealed bag and some special kernels?  I had to try it.

Take popcorn kernels (organic if you don’t want genetically modified), a brown bag, and whatever seasonings you want.  We think that 1/2 cup of corn pops the exact right amount for the bag.  Plop in a tsp or 2 of Earth Balance or butter or olive oil.  Sprinkle in some salt.  Fold the bag down 2 or 3 times.  Microwave for 2 minutes (of COURSE your microwave will vary, but this is what works for us) and stand by for happiness in a bag!

I have read people doing cinnamon and sugar, Parmesan and olive oil, chili powder and lime…the possibilities are limitless.  Of course the kids (well, one of them) would love lots and lots of Earth Balance and salt, but we limit it to just a few tsps and a dash of salt.

Look!!!  It is microwave popcorn!  And we didn’t need a chemically laden bag!

And have I mentioned the cost difference?  One box of organic microwave popcorn would cost around $2.50 for 3 bags.  At HEB, the organic bag of popcorn we buy is $2.79.  And it contains enough kernels to pop over 12 bags of popcorn!

Pop away, friends!  Enjoy some for me.  The kids literally pop this every afternoon.  It makes the house smell so yummy!


Mini juice fast and a meal plan.

26 Aug

This week, I have dipped back into a flare.  Fevers are back and higher than normal.  Lots of abnormal fatigue that has caused me to stay in bed more than what I had been doing. And other symptoms.  Y’all don’t want or need to know the specifics…just documenting that I am in a flare.

Today, I am starting a juice fast.  Probably just today because tomorrow is Monday and I teach twice.  Can’t really juice fast during boot camp and Body Pump.  Nowadays, a lot of people are calling smoothie fasts juice fasts.  I am not doing smoothies today.  I am JUST juicing.  If you don’t know the difference, smoothies take the entire fruit/veg and blend it up.  You get all of that good fiber and everything.  With juice, you send it through a juicer and ONLY the liquid comes out.  I am doing this to give my digestive system a whole day off.  I will get all of those super fresh nutrients going straight into my blood stream.  Tomorrow, my plan is to juice/smoothie fast until dinner, giving me a full 48 hours of not eating real food.

I wish I had a few more days to do this.  I have toyed with the idea of juice fasting for a day or two on a regularly scheduled interval.  But life happens and it hasn’t really worked out.  If you want to join me, let me know!

Now, on to the meal plan for the week!

  • Monday: Making Aarti Sequeira’s (Don’t you just LOVE her?  I want to be her friend!!) Chana Masala or Chickpea Curry.  Both names work, according to her. I am serving it with brown basmati rice and a green salad.  Cooking for us and Hokensons.  I love this dish and have made it before.  It required me going to an Indian market and stocking up on all of the correct spices.  But once I did that initially, now I can make this quickly and easily.
  • Tuesday: Mashed new potatoes with roasted carrots and cauliflower.
  • Wednesday: My dad’s 60th birthday!!!!!!  We will eat together as a family.
  • Thursday: Vegan quesadillas.  Cheese on the kid’s and Luck’s.
  • Friday: What else? Homemade pizza night.

What is on your menu for the week?  Share links and ideas so we can all be inspired!  Here’s to a healthy week!



Just a meal plan.

18 Aug

This will be quick since I just blogged the back to school ideas!

Here is our meal plan for the week:

Monday: Gretchen is making Baked Spinach Falafel with vegan tzaziki.  We know the tzaziki is good because she made it a few weeks ago.  I am obsessed with falafel and Greek food in general.  Hopefully this will be a keeper recipe!

Tuesday: Vegan broccoli rice casserole from my NEW COOKBOOK!!!  Forks Over Knives book/Documentary has been around for a while, but the cookbook is new. You know I will post good recipes, right?

Wednesday: Taco salad with cilantro lime dressing.  Yum?  I hope!  Again, from my new cookbook!

Thursday: Baked potatoes with no cheese sauce.  Sorry, again.  BUT!  At least you will know how good the cookbook is, right?  I will also serve with whatever veggie is still in my fridge needing to be cooked and served.

Friday: Can you believe we STILL haven’t been to Little Aussie Bakery for their Friday night pizza night?  Hopefully THIS will be the week!

Okay, now it is your turn! What are you making this week?  I love it that people have been posting their menus!  It helps all of us to get ideas!  Have a great week!

Back to school food prep!

18 Aug

How do you get ready for back to school?  Here are a few things I do:

  • I buy several loaves of bread and lots of pb &j.  I make as many sandwiches as I can handle and put them in a gallon freezer bags.  This makes making lunches a lot faster!  Now if you eat gluten free, you KNOW that the bread just isn’t that great.  We have found that thawing sandwiches in the lunchbox keeps them as fresh as you are going to get.  And Little Aussie Bakery bread (sorry, if you don’t live in SA) is the best gf vegan bread around.  My HEB sells it!  WOOOHOOO!  Otherwise, make a trip and stock up your freezer. (And let’s all pause for a moment of REJOICING that our school is no longer peanut free!  Almond butter just isn’t the same!)

  • I am going to make a big batch of these gluten free, vegan  chocolate chip flax muffins and store them in the freezer for quick breakfasts.

  • I am also making some of these energy bites for the kids for after school snacks before ballet/karate.  They are not health food, but they are filling and super yummy.  We use the flaxseeds.  And the chocolate chips are NOT optional around these parts (as in, a revolt would take place if they were not in there!).  🙂

  • I made black bean burgers this week.  I made a gigantic batch.  We ate a third of that batch and froze 2 full meals worth of more, uncooked patties. All I will have to do when we need a quick meal is thaw these and bake for 30 minutes.  Nice!

  • I also stock up on snacks for the kids’ lunches/snacks at school.  Usually in their snack bag, the kids get a mix of shelled pistachios and dried fruit or just plain pistachios.  Sometimes they will get gf pretzels, but those really have no nutritional value to me.  Honestly, they don’t love snacking on nuts.  But at school, they are hungry enough and don’t have me to complain to!  So they end up eating them.  I think it is just hard to find something that isn’t too low in calories (fruit/carrots) and won’t fill them up, or junk in nature (store bought granola bars).  So this is where we tend to go.  They do get special treats every once in a while and their favorite granola bars from the store DO make it in my cart (I have some in the pantry right now!  They may be organic,but they are still junk!).  They have requested sweetened pecans, so I am going to try to find a good recipe that will make both mom and kids happy.

  • We also load up on Larabars.  I am convinced this should be a staple for all gluten free and/or vegan households.  When you don’t have time or aren’t in the mood to make a sandwich, this is just a great go-t0!  It also stands in as the main “dish” in the lunchbox if they are needing a break from pb&j’s.  It is a super filling breakfast, as well.  And the Daddy of the house loves these.  Our household favorites are chocolate chip cookie dough, cashew cookie, peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter cookie, and more.  If you have never had them, they are primarily dates and nuts.  No added sugars, no flours, just fruits and nuts (and chocolate chips, if that is a flavor you like).  I honestly don’t eat them very often.  But Luck and Dani are big fans.

So what are YOUR tips for getting ready for packing lunches/getting in the swing of school?  I know we only go 2 days a week, but it still takes prep time and planning ahead.    I would LOVE your ideas!

Refreshment! (and a meal plan)

12 Aug

Have you discovered sparkling water?  Not the sweet stuff or the artificially sweet stuff.  Just straight up, naturally flavored, unsweetened and not mucked up by colors, fizzy goodness.  I love it!  I hadn’t had a bubbly drink in so long!  I bid my diet drinks goodbye 2 years ago (well, 5 years ago, but honestly the fatigue of undiagnosed Lupus caused me to live on an IV of caffeine and so I gave back in for a few years) for good.  I miss bubbly, fizzy, happy drinks.  Then a few months ago, my friend Kimberly and my friend Jennifer both separately told me about how much they love sparkling water.  And both of them are super healthy.  So I tried it!  I tried plain, I tried orange, I tried lemon, lime, berry, and every other one I could get my hands on. I love them all!!  It makes me so happy when I am running out the door and want a fun drink instead of plain old water.  (does this sound weird that a drink is fun?  because it IS!  try one and tell me if your mouth doesn’t do a little dance!)

So on to meal planning….

Monday:Vegan Lasagna with a green salad. I am going to modify it and I will blog it, if it is a keeper.  This one if for us and the Hokensons.  I am praying our kids eat it.   This is a busy and stressful week, so I actually made them today and will bake them off tomorrow.

Tuesday: Red beans and (brown) rice with watermelon.

Wednesday: Bean Burgers on gf buns with lettuce, tomato, and cheese for the kids and Luck.  I love these because I can prep them and put them on a cookie sheet in the oven.  If I am teaching, the kids just have to turn the oven on when Luck is on his way home. Then when he gets home, dinner is hot and ready to go for them!

Thursday: Leftovers!

Friday: Luck had to leave last week and was gone all weekend for work.  Because of that, we didn’t get our pizza night out at Little Aussie Bakery.  SO looking forward to this!

Saturday:  End of summer block party and we are bringing this black eyed pea salad, only reducing the oil/dressing by a lot and serving as a side dish/salad and not a salsa.   My sweet friend, Kate, made this a few weeks ago and I can’t stop thinking about it!!!!

Have a happy last week of summer vacation!  We have tons of training this week and meet the teacher type stuff going on.  The kids’ new lunch boxes are on their way (thanks, Ines).  Our homeschool room is ready (thanks, Michelle).  I have bought all of the school supplies.  And this all leaves my mind unable to stop thinking about school lunches/breakfasts!  I will blog later this week on back to school ideas!  Be thinking because I’d love to hear YOUR ideas on making back to school more smooth!

But for now….what are YOU planning to eat this week?  Share!

Perspective and a meal plan.

6 Aug

Meal plan for the week:

Monday: My black bean and quinoa tacos, made by the lovely Gretchen, with all of the fixins and watermelon.  Mine on brown rice tortilla.

Tuesday: Roasted Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and zucchini over brown rice with vegan rose sauce.  I know those veggies don’t go well together, but I want the kids to eat them and they are all ones I haven’t served in a while.

Wednesday: Leftover tacos (Woohoo!)

Thursday: Homemade marinara over spaghetti squash and served with roasted broccoli.

Friday: Going out for gf pizza!  I have a Groupon I am excited to use.  🙂  Everything at Little Aussie Bakery is gluten free and their bread/crust is vegan, as well.

Yesterday, we had the honor of serving at Church Under the Bridge.  I had no idea of what to expect.  And I don’t even have words for it. Except that I want to go back.  I think the kids learned more last night than we could teach them in a lifetime of talking about the homeless.  What struck us more than anything was that these were people just like us.  Moms, dads, kids, brothers, and sisters.  They were grateful and sweet and happy. Their lives are harder than I could ever imagine.  And yet they sat in the service singing with all of their might to God Almighty, thanking Him for what they HAVE! It was so moving.  The whole time I thought of  Same Kind of Different as Me.  If you haven’t read that book, DO!!!!!  It is one of the best books I have ever read.    Anyway, I realize this isn’t about Lupus or being gluten free.  But though we were all hungry, there wasn’t a moment any of us wanted to even think about that fact or being tired or anything.  We were smelling and handling hot pizza that 3 of us knew we could never eat…but it didn’t tempt us because there were so many truly hungry people. We were humbled, HUMBLED that we could hand out food and drinks to those that need it most.  We didn’t pay for the food, we didn’t provide the kitchen, we didn’t do anything except show up and get blessed.

I almost didn’t share this because I have zero desire to give us props.  I wanted to keep it a secret.  But sometimes it just takes hearing of people doing these things with their families that can spur them on to do it, as well.  There are so many people with real problems that just need a helping hand or hug or dollar or WHATEVER!  I spend my LIFE in my bubble.  Thinking of my burdens and my problems and me, me, me!!!!  I hate that. I want out, Luck wants out, and we want the kids out. We want them serving the homeless and seeing how freaking BLESSED we are and how we have a responsibility to do something with those blessings.