Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! Not Just For Terra Cotta Farm Animals Anymore

I’m not really sure what the proper etiquette is when you have taken a long hiatus from blogging and then one day you decide to come back to it. Do you offer an explanation? An apology (to the 40 people out there that read this..”thanks!” and “sorry!”) or do you just hop back on, pretending like nothing happened?

Just so you know, in case anyone out there is concerned. Nothing happened, life just kind of got in the way….and I think also, writers block. The only time I can ever remember having writers block was in school. Basically whenever I had to write a paper.

Some of you may already know this about me, but when I find a new product that I like, I kind of get a little obsessed about it (hello, Camelbak water bottles.)

Enter, my newest obsession:

Image

Not the actual “pet”. Chia seeds have been gaining popularity over the past year. I see all over my Facebook New Feed about my “friends” eating them or some page I am a fan of offering up some chia seed recipe and I finally snapped to the trend and bought some. Mostly because there was a 4 lb. bag of organic chia seeds being sold at my Costco and let’s be honest, I just couldn’t resist anymore.

Costco-holic

I love Costco

So what does one do with 4 lbs of chia seeds? Well, first I started researching why I should eat them. 1) They are good for your body. Like, REALLY, SUPER good for you! Like better-than-superfood, good for you.

 health benefits of chia seedsPlus much more!

And here is why, this little seed, the one that you used to make into a gel and slather all over your terra cotta sheep, can do all of the amazing things above….because it is LOADED with all kinds of nutrients and trace minerals and trumps so many of your typical superfoods with health benefits.

chia seed comparisonand also know to the Aztec Indians as “running food”…and is infiltrating Wall Street; as a nose candy replacement, opting for a chia-enduced energy boost instead

So, good things in that little seed, I’ll eat it. Are there any possible side effects?  A few but nothing I am too concerned about (but those with high blood pressure should talk to their dr. first before diving into the wonderful world of chia.)

A few other side effects:

  • Possible excessive flatulence from an increased fiber boost (hmmmmmmm)
  • If you have reaction to mustard seed you also may want to be a bit hesitant to try chia seeds as some people have been known to have a reaction (I’m assuming similar proteins are found in both.)

Now, how do I use it?

Well, you can use it as a replacement for egg or flax in a recipe.

  • Replace 1 egg with 3 TBL water+ 1 TBL chia seeds (let sit for 5+ minutes to form a gel. Make sure ALL seeds are soaked)

Or you can toss it into smoothies, yogurt, muffins, pancakes…which, I have done all of and have served all of to both boys who DEVOURED everything they went into. They take on the taste of anything they are in so they don’t screw with the taste of what you are eating. They turn in to this weird gel-like, soft seed when moist and you can’t really tell you are eating them. Keyword here is moist (my husband hates that word). I noticed that everything I baked didn’t get all crumbly the next day. It was almost like a regular gluten-laden recipe.

Also, chia seeds make everything polka-dotty and that is fun.

The first chia recipe I made was this chia blueberry muffin recipe. It called for Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix, I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free all purpose flour. Only because they carry it at my Costco. Costco makes life so much easier, doesn’t it?

chia blueberry muffins

Outcome: I was surprised how good  these muffins were. Possibly a little too sweet with 1/2 of sugar and a 1/2 cup of applesauce, but the little guys didn’t mind. They scarfed them!

Next, I got really ballsey and decided to adapt my pancake recipe so it could get a little energy boots. I was surprised how easy it was to adapt and I learned that cooking with chia seeds was not that hard at all.

and so I will share my recipe with you that I created for some Energy Boosted pancakes

Gluten-Free Chia & Blueberry Pancakes

1 1/2 cups Gluten Free baking mix (we used Bob’s Red Mill)

2 1/2 TBL sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp cinnamon (optional, but Matt thinks the cinnamon makes them tastes like donuts!)

1 egg

1 TBL applesauce (I used this to cut down on the butter)

2 TBL melted butter (or coconut oil*)

3 TBL water

1 TBL chia seeds

1 1/2 cup milk (we use rice, but have also used coconut and almond with great results)

1/3 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh, either work well)

DIRECTIONS:

1) Mix chia seeds and water, let sit for at least 5 minutes stirring maybe once to submerge all of the chia seeds. You want it to form a gel-like substance.

2) While the chia seeds are soaking, preheat griddle to about 300 degrees and

3) Mix flour mix, sugar, baking powder, salt xanthan gum (and cinnamon) in one bowl

4) In a separate mixing bowl, combine the milk, egg, butter, applesauce and chia seed gel (if it is not a gel, wait it out a few more minutes…and gosh you are a fast measurer!) Mix 3-4 minutes.

5) Add dry to wet and mix until combined.

6) fold in blueberries and cook on griddle (or pan, we used a pan for 5 years until my BFF got me a griddle for my past birthday. Isn’t it great that BFF’s know just what you need and want.)

011Polka dot pancakes! (Click to enlarge, you’ll really see the polka dots!)

This recipe makes approximately 18 pancakes…give or take a few (poured from a 1/4 measuring cup)

Now, here is my caveat…I live at approximately 5,400 ft. in the atmosphere and this factor severely effects any sort of baking I do. Mostly, it makes me a shitty baker. So, here at 5,400 ft. I found that this recipe works well for me, if you try it at any other altitude, let me know how it works out for you.

Outcome: I now know this recipe by heart because a certain almost 4 year old requests them for breakfast (and sometimes lunch and dinner…and often as a snack) on a daily basis. Daily. I do not make them on a daily basis, but we are probably on a 4x a week schedule. Apparently, they are that good.

Here are a few other ways I have used chia seeds in the past few weeks:

  • I toss them into plain Greek yogurt, mix with organic fruit spread and a bit of honey (I have a bit of a sweet tooth). If you eat it right away they add a little, tiny crunch. If you let it sit, they swell up and just feels like you’re eating a soft raspberry seed or something like that.]
  • Grant and I make smoothies often. We don’t measure anything, just scooping and dumping ingredients as we see fit. Our newest favorite contains the following: Greek Yogurt, 1 banana, cup or so of organic frozen peaches, 2 cups or so of organic frozen cherries, 1 avocado, 1 TBL chocolate whey protein powder, 1 TBL chia seeds, 1 tsp of some green, powder, mineral/vitamin supplement stuff, non-dairy milk. Blend this on high until smooth (hence, smoothie). You could probably skip the green, powder, mineral/vitamin supplement stuff (since I I am very specific on what that is) or replace it with your own powder vitamin supplement stuff.
  • You can also make Chia pudding, chia drinks (Chia Fresca is a famous Mexican energy drink), pizza crust, add it to eggs or bread, jam, or even brownies (man, you can put everything in brownies.) Search “Chia recipes” on Pinterest and just see what comes up. Just make sure you do it with an open mind, the some of the concoctions look interesting.

In summary, chia is good for you and you should eat it. Ch, Ch, Ch Chia!

Join the Club! 1 in 3 Of You Are A Part Of It And You Don’t Even Know It

Today was a TOTAL eye opener. I went to a doctor specializing in functional medicine, meaning, he specializes in finding the root of the problem and fixing it; rather than throwing drugs at some symptoms and dealing with the side effects. I never knew this practice existed but then again, this is Boulder so it really should come as no surprise.

I went there for my “stomach issues.” My “loyal” readers (all 6 of you, shout out!) know that my “stomach issues” have plagued me for my entire life, but have picked up in ferocity in the past 11 years. I have had the gamut of tests run with tubes put in places they just DO NOT belong, scopes, and blood tests. At 27 I was put on medicine typically administered to geriatric patients (but they soon after pulled it off the market because it caused heart attacks, or strokes…or something, but it wasn’t good and so no more drugs. I didn’t like being on them in the first place.) I have been tested for Celiac (negative) and allergies (oh so positive) and have years of internet research and books* and felt that I had a good handle on my “stomach issues”. Which was “diagnosed” as IBS which is really just some bullshit label they give you so can kind of have some piece of mind because they can’t figure out what the huck the problem is.

That is until today. Today, after approximately 3 and a half minutes of talking with this brilliant, genius of a doctor and telling him my issues, he laid it out on the table. He said those two words that I have been dreading to hear all these years, with every bite of toast I take. “Gluten-Free”.

I started crying. (I am particularly weepy lately due to sleep deprivation.)

Whatever you do, PLEASE DO NOT TAKE MY CARBS FROM ME! I will beat you with that loaf of french bread.

“It is the best decision you will ever make.” the doctor said and went on to tell me that about a year ago, he himself thought he was pre-Alzheimers, about to sell his practice, couldn’t remember ANYTHING, had to take his wife along with him to remember what he went out for, etc. His wife went gluten-free due to her fibromylagia and he joined her. Within two weeks his brain function was back and his chronic back pain (of 35 years) was gone.

Ok, that’s great for you guys…but seriously, this is not it.

“You had the stomach flu in your household how many times in a 6 month time span?” he asks. 15

Most likely because myself and the boys are probably gluten-intolerant which  is weakening our immune systems and hence….puke. (an aside, I am currently recovering from a bout of stomach flu from last week.)

“People with gluten sensitivity often are run down.” brilliant, genius doctor says. And I just thought it was kids.

“A lot of gluten sensitive folk also have dairy sensitivity or allergy” brilliant, genius doctor says. My eyes welled up more, I grabbed another tissue as the realization s l o w l y started to seep into my thick skull.

Back in 2006 when I overhauled my diet to to the fine, restricted list it stands at today, I noticed that artificial sweetners and high fructose corn syrup were total gut bombs for me. And let me clarify “gut bomb”, we are talking fetal position, rocking on the floor type pain. The lovely chemical cocktails of processed “food” interestingly enough, are know to cause digestive issues in gluten sensitive folk….hmmmm. ( I learned this from a fantastic article from the Gluten Free Goddess, How To Go Gluten Free.)

Coffee and Black tea are gastric irritants particularly for gluten sensitive and “IBS” folk. I always said caffeine was never a good choice for me (those who know me know why!) so it’s a good thing coffee and tea crush my stomach.

COFFEE

and beer. OOOOOOOOH beer, how I love thee. Not always, but a stint as a server and bartender at a brewery back in the day gave me a great appreciation for it. But I have also had a love/hate relationship with it.  I never know if it’s going to love me or hate me (my belly that is.) I blamed it on hops and draft lines because sometimes my stomach can handle beer no problem, most times I can’t.  But never once did it cross my mind that it would be the wheat. I was already tested for Celiac, I had never heard of gluten sensitivity.

I was in total denial and up until I started writing this post, I still wasn’t convinced that this is the culprit of all of the above. But I know it is, I can no longer deny that I have to further restrict to include another food that is prevalent in almost every.damn.product known on earth. And one of which I CRAVE and enjoy at almost every.single.damn.meal. Wheat, we are officially broken up. I’m pissed at you and your wheat relatives and damn hybridization that hybridized so much over that past 50 years that you made your fool damn self toxic to most humans. (Source)

and while we’re at it, Monsanto can still suck it. They don’t really have anything to do with this, really, directly, this time…but they still are evil.

F Monsanto

*THE book that changed my life: The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien. It is an EYE OPENING book about our food industry, Monsanto, our corrupt FDA and how all of it can be tied into allergies, asthma, ADD, ADHD, and autism. Also, artificial food coloring will promptly be removed from your children’s diet after reading this book….and it will make a WORLD of difference.

Thai Cilantro Chicken – OMY (Oh My YUM!)

I love Thai food. I love cilantro. And I eat chicken. And so naturally, I love this recipe for Thai Cilantro Chicken! LOVE! Because there are two things that make me love a recipe and that is taste and ease. This has both and will totally make it again and add it to my arsenal of quick recipes.

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce or 1 tablespoon of GF soy sauce (I used Soy Sauce)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

4 chicken breasts

The recipe calls for to marinade for 15 minutes, but I prepped mine in the afternoon (during naptime) and let it sit for a few hours…and it was amazing!

Want a trick on cooking the PERFECT chicken breast each time? Oven: 350 degrees, 15 minutes on one side, flip – 10 minutes on the other. Let sit for a few minutes and I guarantee it will turn out juicy and delicious. (credit needs to go to my friend Gretchen for this one.)

Make this tonight! Or, this week if you need to go grocery shopping! But do it, because it is good!

Homemade Organic Chicken Nuggets – For Half the Price!

If there is ONE food item that I absolutely INSIST on buying organic (or at least no antibiotics, steroids, artificial colors or flavorings etc.) it is chicken (watch Food Inc. you’ll understand.) ESPECIALLY when it comes to chicken nuggets.

Mechanically Separated Chicken, anyone? (This is what “they” make regular chicken nuggets out of, here is some info on Snopes about it.

With a three year old in the house, I am tired of draining my wallet on organic chicken nuggets. Because, $8.99 for 10 nuggets is atrocious!

You should be ashamed of yourself…I know you’re not

I then switched to Applegate Farms, all natural (non chemical) chicken nuggets for a much better price of $5.99 for 18 nuggets (8 oz.), but I knew I could do better.  The control freak in me screamed “I will not be held back by the lack of inexpensive, healthy CHICKEN NUGGETS in the organic food market!” and so Pinterest to my rescue, once again. This is the easy recipe for homemade, baked chicken nuggets that I used.

Here’s how the match breaks down:

1 chicken breast = approximately 8 oz

Sadly, these chickens have bigger breasts than I do

1, 8oz.  organic chicken breast = $3.00 ($5.99/lb at Costco)

Breadcrumbs, seasoning and oil = est. $.25 (if that!)

approximate # of nuggets from 8 oz. = 18, huh, go figure (see above)

Total Cost for 18 homemade, delicious, healthy, non processed, organic chicken nuggets (I should be in marketing ;) ) = approx. $3.50

Total Cost for 18 minimally, but still processed, non-organic, but non chemically-enhanced, “natural” chicken nuggets = $5.99

Cost Savings = 41%!

Math is so not my forte, someone check on that calculation for me…but I’m pretty sure that is correct. 41% savings to make it yourself and you can control all of the good, healthy ingredients you toss in there!

Here’s are some  tips:

  • Breadcrumbs….they don’t have to be actual “breadcrumbs” and if you don’t have any, not to fret, you can make your own out of crackers or bread or whatever you have on hand. Just toss a bunch in a ziploc bag and smack the heck out of them with a rolling pin. I let Grant do it, he thought it was a hoot! I ended up using some roasted garlic bread sticks that I had. The roasted garlic added a nice flavor that the kids did not seem to mind at all.
  • Use panko as the recipe recommends as it adds a nice crispy, crunch to it (along with the spritzing of the olive oil or whatever you spray on top.)
  • Cutting your chicken when it is partially frozen makes it easier to cut and will give you more uniform pieces…better for even cooking.
  • If you are making a big batch, don’t cook the chicken fully, cook it 3/4 of the way and then freeze them. This will help prevent them from drying out when you reheat them.
  • Reheat them in the oven or a convection over to be sure they don’t dry out as well.

I took a half hour and made 4 batches, froze them all and now I am set for the week!

just kidding…maybe the next two weeks.

Redemption is Mine! (and Some Other Things)

Oh hey, hi there. I’m back from my hiatus. I didn’t know that a side effect to a nasty head cold was writers block. Apparently it is. I bet you missed my humor. Not to worry, I think I can bring it today. The past few weeks, no. Today, we will see. It seems as if the sun is finally shining down on me right now and I feel, kind of ok and my nose is working and my head is a little less foggy so let’s take a looksey at what we have been doing here in Schogerland.

Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Covered Bananas (REDEMPTION!): Actually, redemption has been mine for more than a month now, but I have been too busy fending off nasty, preschool germs to actually get around to writing something about it. I love dark chocolate and I love fruit and any chance to combine the two, I will. So, when I miserably failed at this the first time, I would not let it deter me from trying again. Because CHOCOLATE. COVERED. BANANAS! Well, let me tell you, I kicked this ones ASS the next time I tried it.

Monkey Pops!now referred to in our household as “Monkey Pops”

Here’s my take: I used organic semi-sweet chocolate and melted a few dollops of peanut butter (I also tried almond butter, and YUM too!) over a make-shift double boiler. Trick here is to do this slowly and once it starts melting, stir, stir, stir!  And then turn down the heat and continue to stir because chocolate is temperamental and you want it smooth and creamy, not gritty and crunchy-ish (which will happen if you get it too hot and do not stir.) One interesting tid bit I discovered, the almond butter had a lot of natural oils in it, which really helped make the chocolate a bit more pliable. If you were not to use some kind of nut butter because of allergies or what not, I would recommend adding a bit of oil (I usually use safflower oil because it is tasteless and light and does not contain soy.) Also, a side note about canola oil; 80% of canola oil is from GMO rapeseed crop. You can find organic canola oil, but here is an interesting link about the rapeseed and I will let you decide for yourself about your future canola oil use. And last, before I get off of my GMO and soybean soapbox (am I getting annoying on this topic yet?) Did you know that most, if not all* vegetable oils contain soybean oil? And if you are really interested in finding organic vegetable oil, I challenge you on that one and let me know if you are successful. Because I have yet to be. SOY! I angrily shake my fist at you!

Whoa, ok, Monkey pops – I bought these little craft sticks at Michaels, great for little hands to grab and give the banana an easy for dunking in chocolate. Also, regarding “dunking” in chocolate, it is more like a “spooning.” Spoon the chocolate all over the bananas and then tap the stick lightly on the side of the bowl to ensure full coverage and get any excess chocolate off. I lined them up on a waxed paper (organic!) on a cookie tray and froze them for about an hour.

The only downside to these is that we have a French door freezer, with handle at three year old level. When we bought the fridge we specifically asked the sales associate if he thought a toddler could open it and he told us, “absolutely not.” Turns out he LIED TO US! Can you believe it? An appliance salesman LIED to us to make a sale?! Seriously. Anyhow, it is NOT toddler-proof and often time I find Grant with a chocolate-lined mouth whenever these are in the house. But really, who can blame him?

Cd Tea Light Holders: Seriously, I am the last person that would display tea lights, just not my thing, not my decor style. Plus, my house is still lacking surface area to put said tea light on**…. BUT, I thought this would be quick and fun and I just happened to have about 37 blank discs scattered around my office…three year old “lily pads.” What I didn’t know was HOW satisfying it would be to watch my P90X Shoulders and Back disc***, melt into a nice, shiny bowl (it was burned from a friend, so no money wasted.)

 “Take in the fact that you just did that.” – Tony Horton

It was really neat to see how different cd’s turned different colors. P90X, those are the pink ones. Ironically, the “toddler lily pads” were the green ones. This was fun to do with Grant, I had him stack the cd’s on a glass and we put them in the convection over to watch them melt. It took no time at all!

Here’s a tip: Do not let them fully cool before you pull off whatever glass you are using as it’s mold, but also, you will not be able to pull them off immediately when they come out of the over because of the little plastic center piece. That will stick to the glass when it is hot. So it needs to be warm-ish when you pull it off.

Flower Pot Hand Project: I have to admit, I probably would not have done this project if I didn’t have a Cricut. Ahhhh, my Cricut. The most amazing product to come into my craft arsenal. ever. I also happened to have the “Walk in my Garden” software so this project was cake! It just took about 10 minutes of prep on my part and after I demonstrated to Grant how the pieces went together, he pretty much did everything else by himself (minus cutting out his hand/flower stem.)

We had to make multiple hand flower pots for BOTH of his gardening grandmas

This one is for Grammy!

Pantry Organization: This pin is fantastic. I already have my pantry’s organized in categories, so I wanted to pin this one in particular since it’s uber-organizey.

My neighbor recently saw our pantry and described it as a mini-grocery store. And the more I look at it (because I often just go into my pantry to look at it’s beautiful organization, serious.) the more I am concerned that this is the one thing you will judge me on……

No. I am not OCD

I have been wanting to buy baskets for our pantry for a long time now, but those suckers can really add up! And my mom did a good job of teaching me how to be frugal so I held out for an entire YEAR until I found something inexpensive and not tacky or cheap (Happy one-year-living-in-my-house anniversary to me last week, btw!) I found the blue and green metal mesh containers in the dollar section at Target (for $2.50, oh the irony). Now everything is now nicely categorized into their own little basket: Cereal, kids snacks, pasta, straws, potatoes (in that cute little metal circle bin at the bottom). The other side has bins for baking stuff, crackers, and pretzels etc. Plus, it is amazing how much you want to keep your organized pantry, organized, once it is clean. I am happy to report that our pantry still remains this clean and organized, despite the fact that not much in our house ever stays that way (see: three year old and 10 month old).

Kid Plate Organization: Another 3am pin that I didn’t pin and now can’t find. This is why. It was simply a diy project to make file folder holders out of cereal boxes. Cover with nice scrapbooking paper, and use in a cabinet to organize your kid plates. Because any parent knows, kids plates to not organize neatly. This pin was just about the easiest one I had done. ONLY because I did not make this out of a cereal box, I used a file folder holder thing that I bought at IKEA that did not fit it’s intended purpose and has been shoved in my desk for the past 8 months. I have been looking for someplace to use them and NOW I FOUND THE PERFECT SPOT!  In our “Kid Cabinet.” Grant (and soon, Brody’s) cabinet of self-sufficiency!

That cute bucket for the cups, Target dollar section as well. And only $1!

Organic Post Update: I TOTALLY meant to include this on my Organic’s post. But there is a quick way to determine if the produce you are buying is organic, conventional, and most importantly GENETICALLY MODIFIED! Here’s the pin if you would like to read more, but in a nutshell: Conventional produce gets a four-digit number. Organic produce gets a five-digit number that starts with 9. Genetically modified items also get a five-digit code, but that code starts with 8.

Examples 4139: Conventional Granny Smith apple

94139: Organic Granny Smith

84139: Genetically Modified Granny Smith

Ok, that’s about it for today, nap time is coming to an end and it is 80 degrees outside. But before that, I just couldn’t leave you without one last illness update. I know most, if not all of the folks who read this blog are also my friends on Facebook.  And I am sure you have seen a few updates since, oh, Labor Day about our wonderful concoction of household ailments…but I am not sure you are quite aware how awful this “introduction to pre school” has been to our household. Ready for this:

Stomach Flu:

Grant – 7 (yes, 7!  The first time it lasted on and off for 6 weeks, now you know why I am a puke-cleaner extraordinaire)

Brody, Me, Matt – 2, Brody decided he also wanted to join in the big kid fun on our very tropical, Christmas vacation. That was awesome.

Have you ever had to take care of your children while you are suffering from the stomach flu? This is what hell is like.

Common Cold (of head, chest and sinus variety): This is just about ongoing these days. I got home from my 1/2 marathon on a Monday (1.16.12 to be exact) and on Tuesday, 1.17.2012, I got the most raging cold I have had in a while. Today is April 22…I still have it. Matt, Grant and Brody all have snots and chapped noses as well. Nothing more pathetic than a sick baby, I say.

Ear Infection: Wouldn’t be cold season without a few of these lovelies! Grant has had about 4, Brody 1, Matt 1. Me, no thanks! I’m not an ear infection person, I stick with my whacked out stomach issues thank you very much. (and from the time I started this post last week, until now, you can add THREE MORE EAR INFECTIONS TO THAT LIST! Brody, 1 more  and Matt, 2, omg.)

Whacked out Stomach Issues: I can typically regulate this with my diet, but for some reason, they have been creeping up on me from no where. They suck. I’ll leave it at that.

Conjunctivitis: (Or, as better put by my BF Kelly “Who touched the poo?”) Yeah, GROSS! That shizz is nasty, contagious, and hard to get rid of! Both kids had it one an off for about a month. Grant, maybe 4 times, sometimes we would double up and go for both eyes with this one! He was also lovely enough to share with his brother.

And last but not least, a lovely case of Impetigo, from the pre schooler, who else? (Or as better put by my BFF Kelly, “I had to google what Impetigo was, and I am really sorry I did.”) Thankfully, that lasted a few days after treatment, but the after effects are SUPER dried and cracked skin at the sides of his mouth that he keeps licking, and picking, and it keeps bleeding and we are now on week 6 of the whole “Impetigo and after effects” journey.

Thank GOODNESS for spring and the outdoors! I’m headed out there right now.

*Unscientific data, based on my own personal research

**The tea lights now live in my bathroom, on my tub. The one that I fell in love with when we bought the house, but have only used twice…..

***Day 1 of P90X was Shoulder and Back for Matt and I. I was unable to lift a cup to my lips for the next week, and so started my hate/hate relationship with Tony Horton.

Sunday Strawberry Tricks & Organic Stuff

I eat a very healthy diet. Almost everything I make, including my spice mixes, I make myself so I know what ingredients I am eating. I eat organic whenever possible, including my condiments, baking goods, and spices. Often times my obsession with needing to know the ingredients of whatever I am eating is annoying to others, I’m sure. But this isn’t because I am some hippie, granola-lovin’, (ex) Boulderite. I need to know what I am eating because if I don’t, it could kill me. I have allergies and food sensitivities to some of the most common ingredients found in most packaged goods. Soy, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, food dyes, 80% of all dairy products…and my beverage limitations: no wheat or hoppy beers, no red or white wine other than sweet Riesling, no coffee, no hot black tea, no soda.

Basically I can drink water

and MARGARITAS! (but none of that mix crap, must be homemade)

In a nutshell, my diet it pretty pure, but only because it has to be. I have a HUGE sweet tooth and I would down an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s, often, if I could, but the repercussions from that would take days to recover from. And so, over the past 6 years I have learned what food my body thrives on and what food my body would prefer NEVER TO HAVE IT IN AGAIN AND IF YOU PUT ANY OF THAT CRAP IN ME I WILL LET YOU KNOW HOW COMPLETELY PISSED I AM FOR DAAAAAAYS AT A TIME! – says my body….if I eat something I shouldn’t. It’s kind of limited, but a very healthy diet. When I cook, at least I know what I am eating and as much as possible it is organic, (because, again, don’t let me get started on the whole GMO issue and MONSANTO..because that damn company and their damn seeds have almost killed me 4 times now.) BUT buying all organic does get expensive and sometimes you have to make a choice. Which is why I love this chart of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 from my Organic Board.

So strawberries are one of my favorite fruits ever. I remember requesting fruit tarts for my birthdays when I was in middle school, instead of cake. I am weird.

So, organic strawberries it is. They are #3 on the Dirty Dozen list and we eat them every day practically. And so imagine my delight when I stumbled upon the Hull a Strawberry with a Straw pin. Because let’s face it, hulling strawberries kind of sucks. I got out of my seat, grabbed a big, fat straw (we do have multiple sizes, shapes and flexibilities in this house) and hulled an entire pint of strawberries in about half the time.

Hipstamatic, making pictures of strawberries look cool since 2010

Here’s the thing though, the strawberries need to be fresh. If you use ones that in in “smoothie shape” (just a day past their prime), it might be a bit difficult.  The fruit has to be firm to shove the straw all up in there.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go test out the Vomit Carpet Cleaner. Every Mother Needs This, pin. It’s been that kind of weekend.

I Should Have Thought of That

Oh wait, I already did.  You see, when I was making the Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Dippers I mixed in some Organic Strawberry Fruit Spread in with it. While I was scooping out blueberries from the yogurt big blobs of yogurt would fall on the tray with a splat, I thought to myself, “That will freeze in a little drop, I could just put this yogurt mixture into a ziploc or pastry bag and make little Frozen Yogurt Nibs. And then I will make a pin about it! And then I will blog about it!” Turns out, someone already had my brilliant idea, probably inspired by the same pin I was inspired by. And guess what? I didn’t pin it. Seems a common theme here. I need to stop doing that. Unfortunately for the original pinner, they haven’t labeled it well and can’t find it so I had to make my own for the sake of keeping this “Pinterest” related and not just “hey, this is something I made.” (SORRY DENA, TOTALLY not recreating a pin to claim it as my own, but I have searched for the past 10 minutes! I know it’s a pet peeve of yours ;) )

I digress…I made them and THIS ONE IS A WIN! QUICK! EASY! YUMMY! We are typically not dessert people, but these are great little treat after dinner or as a snack. And would probably be a great snack for someone watching their diet, these are not just for the kid crowd, folks!

Yum!I’ll admit it, I got a little fancy and used a piping bag and a fancy tip. ONLY BECAUSE I JUST BOUGHT THEM, Not at all because they look nicer for pictures