Friday, August 17, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party and Giveaway

Welcome to another wonderful Friday Party!!  We had a great turn out last week and I am so excited to see what you bring today!  First, lets go through the winners from the last party.

#1 is the Molasses Cookies Spatulas on Parade

#2, #3 AND #4 Spots go to Cooking from a Stay at Home Mom with Cheddar Bacon Fries, Salted Caramel Cake, and Corn Dogs. WOW!

But because that leaves just 2 winners, we will give the 3rd e-book to our #5 recipe this week:
Amees Savory Dish with Gluten Free Spice Cake

Great job everyone!  

My host favorite goes to The Garden Grazer and her Chickpea Noodle Soup!  How amazing does it look with all those beautiful veggies!  I am so excited to make this!


This week we have another fantastic prize for the top 3 winners!  Farm Girls Glitz and Glam will be awarding their Lavender Scented Body Scrub to the recipes with the most votes!  How awesome is that!  So choose your best recipes and get linked up!


Link-up on any one of these websites and you will be on ALL of them!

Tracy at Busy Vegetarian Mom
Angie at A lil Country Sugar  
Sarah at Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Marlys at This and That
Lois at  Walking on Sunshine
Lindsey at Family Food Finds
Cindy at Cindys Recipes and Writings
R Dawn at Spatulas on Parade
Ericka at Chef Picky Kid

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Huevos Rancheros

If you can believe it, I had my very first huevos rancheros meal less than 2 years ago.  I can't believe what I was missing out on!  As soon as I tried it, I knew I had to make it at home.  While it might not be a "health food" because of the crispy tortillas, I do love the sheer volume of veggies you can pack on top! An added bonus of making it yourself is you can cook the black beans at home minimizing the added salt you might find elsewhere.  This dish is great for breakfast or dinner.  Best of all, you can customize it to your family's tastes with your favorite veggies!

Ingredients (makes 3 servings)
1 C dried black beans, cooked and drained (or 1 can, drained)
1/4 C olive oil, plus 1 Tbsp
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion, chopped
8 oz cheddar cheese, finely grated
6 oz sliced olives
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 avocado, diced
4 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
6 eggs, over easy (2 per plate)
Restaurant Style Salsa
sour cream
6 flour tortillas (2 per plate)


  1. Heat about 1/4 C olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Place one tortilla at a time and cook until the underside is crispy and golden.  Flip and repeat on other side.  Place on a paper towel to drain excess oil.  Repeat for all the tortillas you plan on using.  Set aside. 
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions, beans, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.  Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Cook eggs over easy while you assemble the rest of the dish.  Place 1 tortilla on a large plate.  Top with about 1/4 C of the black beans.  Top with the other tortilla.  Ad more black beans, then cheese, then the rest of the veggies.  Top with the cooked egg.  Add salsa and sour cream to taste and garnish with cilantro.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Helping My Daughter Face the SAD (Standard American Diet)

My three year-old will be embarking on pre-school in just a few weeks.  This will be the beginning of a new chapter in her (and my) life.  There will be a side to her that I will not be a part of.  She will make new friends and build new relationships.  This will inevitably mean hanging out with these friends at their houses.  Aside from the usual nervousness every parent feels when their first born starts to ease her way out of the comfort and safety of the nest, I struggle with how to handle the food situation.

I am constantly amazed at the types of food that parents serve their children and friends who are over to play.  When I think back to my own childhood, it was the same way - sweets, goldfish crackers, popsicles, candy, juice boxes, cookies, etc.  But now that I have educated myself on the true impact of what we eat, those items are RARELY found in my house.  Juice is a treat.  Fruit or veggies are snacks.  Is it hot outside?  Cool off with some frozen grapes or cherries - not a fudgsicle!

Not to mention the overwhelming presence of fast food given to young children.  I see the same parents with their drive-thru snacks/lunches for their kids at the park every week!  People meet up for a playdate and bring fast food chicken nuggets to hand out to the kids.  YUCK!  I hate for my daughter to eat these processed (I hesitate to even call them "food") foods, but I don't want her to be an outcast.  Also, I don't want to shelter her to the point of an all out junk-food binge once she is more independent. 

She actually had her first fast-food item just last week because I felt guilty.  A friend came to our house with her daughter to play.  She had brought Chick-fil-a nuggets with her for everyone to eat.  I, being a vegetarian, (unbeknownst to her) had to refuse.  But what about my daughter who does occasionally eat meat?  Wouldn't it be rude for me to have both of us politely refuse the snack an invited guest brought to my house?  Because of that sense of polite obligation, I allowed my daughter to eat it.  I hated every second of it.  I pride myself on the fact that we had not succumbed to feeding her from a drive-thru for her entire 3 1/2 year life.  Did I make the wrong call?  Was I terrible for going against my values for the sake of cordiality?

I struggle enough with telling my new friends that I am a vegetarian.  I don't want hosts to go out of their way for my own choice.  I certainly don't want them to think I look down on them for eating meat.  My husband and entire extended family are omnivores!  How do I handle it when it isn't even my friend?  It is the parent of my daughter's friend.  "Hi!  Nice to meet you!  Please don't feed my daughter junk food."  People are free to make their own choices.  I know there are choices I make regarding the upbringing of my children that other parents would disagree with - and I'm OK with that.  I am doing the best I can.

I almost feel like it's ingrained in people's heads that having kids and their friends over means having the typical, unhealthy snack foods at the ready.  I'll admit, even I began to feel pressure to get some since so many of my daughter's peers had those processed snack foods at their houses.  I almost felt unprepared for having kids over!  I started questioning myself and thinking we had to get "kid-friendly" foods like juice boxes, ice pops, fruit snacks, crackers, and frozen pizza rolls.  I don't want my daughter's friends to not want to come over because we don't have these snacks in our house.  

So how do I let other parents know about the dietary expectations I have for my family?  Should I just let it go and let her eat whatever other parents provide?  I know she will always get healthy food at home.  Is that all I can hope for?  How much exposure to junk food is needed to avoid all-out binging in the future?  I don't have the answers to these questions yet.  What are your thoughts?  What other dilemmas have you faced raising children or making healthy choices for yourself?

Image Credits {1, 2, 3}

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Quinoa Tabbouleh

We have been suffering through a very uncomfortable heat wave here in southern California.  There is nothing worse than turning on your stove or oven in 90+ degree weather!  During the summer, I love finding recipes that use fresh veggies and ZERO cooking!  This is one of my go-to recipes.  It is full of fresh summer vegetables and hearty quinoa.  This is a wonderful side to any meal, and leftovers make a healthy lunch!

2 C water
1 C uncooked quinoa
1/4 C olive oil
1/4-1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C lemon juice
4 tomatoes, diced
1 large cucumber, diced
3 green onions, diced
3 carrots, finely grated
1 C fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Combine the water and quinoa in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients.  Stir in cooled quinoa.  Best if given at least 30 minutes to chill before serving.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Weekly Menu

We had a lovely (albeit hot!) trip to the farm this week.  Summer is really warming up here in Southern California!  It's funny because it doesn't usually get hot until August, but it will stay really hot sometimes through November!  Apparently our summer weather is a little late.  :)  Nevertheless, we brought home a beautiful summer bounty from the farm this week.  We chose basil, sweet Maui onions, saticoy melons, cilantro, Anaheim chile, a ton of tomatoes, carrots, and avocados.  We are also still experiencing a cucumber BOOM in our backyard.  Here is what we will be making this week:
  • Greek Spinach Burger with Quinoa Tabbouleh
    • using the sweet Maui onion, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, and parsley left over from last week's farm run

  • Huevos Rancheros with Restaurant Style Salsa
    • using the tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, Anaheim chile, and sweet Maui onion

  • Fettuccine Alfredo with Caprese Salad
    • using the basil and tomatoes

  • We will also be making a batch of my Homemade Marinara to freeze and save for later!

  • We will be enjoying the saticoy melons for dessert.