Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Inside Out Peanut Butter Cups

I know that is a super long title for what you will find is a super easy recipe.

At my house "treats" are welcome everyday all day.  For my daughter she would love it if I would allow her to have a treat first thing in the morning before she has had a decent breakfast.

To be fair the term treat has a very broad definition at my house.  It could range from granola to Larabar to the cookies and cake.  In this case the treat that I made was Inside Out Peanut Butter Cups in ball form.


1/2-3/4 C peanut butter
2/3 C powdered sugar
6 Tbsp Enjoy Life Mega Chunks

I started out with 1/2 of peanut butter (I prefer smooth but I am sure chunky would just add more texture to the ball) and added my powdered sugar.  As I started to mix the two I found that more peanut butter was needed and added an additional 2 Tbsp.  It was just enough to make the mixutre moist, but not sticky.

Next I poured in my Enjoy Life Mega Chunks. 

Ok I need a quick sidebar here.  For those of you who haven't seen these or haven't sampled these OMG they are delicious.

They look a little different in color then a traditional chocolate chip, but the flavor is immense and the size, well lets just say in this case that size does matter.

Once rolled up I got 12 out of this mixture (I am sure if you like small balls you could make more, but again size matters and I like them big).

I put these to my official taste tester panel

A thumbs up from both boys.  Unfortunately these didn't last long, but that's ok they are so easy to whip up that I can easily make more.

The flavor honestly is just like a certain name branded peanut butter least so says my husband the Reese's cup connoisseur.

“Mmmm, you’ll find tasty recipes like these in the Backpacker Recipe Guide.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Isn't it Ironic...don't you think

It's like rain on your wedding day.  It's a free line when you've already paid. 

No I'll stop as I am not going to recite Alanic Morissette's "Ironic" for you instead I would like to relay a message of irony.

This past Sunday on the way to church my husband and I had a conversation about food.

We often talk about food, we love it and enjoy just about all aspects of it.

Since watching films such as:  Food, Inc., Fast Food Nation, and The Real Dirt on Farmer John we are quite a bit wiser about food.  We have made a point to learn where our food comes from and how it is treated.

I've become vegetarian since gaining my knowledge and my husband and three children now only consume organic meats and grass fed beef (that is when they eat those items). 

This past Sunday though my husband and I were lamenting that the knowledge we have gained is almost like a burden.  In the past we would have thought nothing about going through a drive through and picking up a biscuit for breakfast. 

Now we can't think about eating fast food, or conventional food for that matter, without feeling ill and guilty.  Having to take time and effort to research restaurants, if we want to go out to eat, or checking all of the ingredients on packages to make sure the dreaded high fructose corn syrup isn't present really takes an effort.

Now please don't stop reading at this point and think I am whining about having to spend extra time to eat healthy.  I gladly spend the time because I care about the food that we eat and I want to ensure, more then anything, that my children aren't filled with chemicals and that they know what various fruits and vegetables actually look like in their natural state (not in French fry form or strawberry milkshake).

Back to my story :)  My husband and I just lamented that ignorance seemed simpler.  On the flipside however we have felt that burning need to share our knowledge of food to educate others...we just haven't really figured out how (other then my blog). 

Now we agree that there is NO WAY we could revert back to the old ways.  Lucky for us a reinforcement, that eating the way we do is the right path, was waiting for us at church.  Steve Tate from Goat Lady Dairy came to speak to the adults of the church during the Sunday school hour. 

Goat Lady Dairy is a local organic farm that produces goat cheese (yeah obvious I know from the name) but they also have a thriving CSA that has 150 participants.  Goat Lady hosts dinners and weddings and at every available opportunity they share the passion for locally grown organic food saying "when you change a person's relationship with their food, you change them, and the world, forever."

Steve is an ordained minister who aptly connects the ideas of caring for the land and animals to leading a Christian life.  His point is why wouldn't you want to let animals express their chickeness (scratching the ground searching for worms) and cowness (eating grass and clover) when we are given the opportunity to express our humaness every day.  Why would you want to eat chicken that has been kept inside, in the dark, for its entire short life and fed a cocktail of drugs to keep it from getting too sick?  The better, more healthy and humane, approach would be to allow the chicken to run free (without stress of being cooped up) and enjoy life until the end has come.  In the end that produces a healthier meat that will more adequately nourish your body.

Steve left us with some pretty heavy information (pun fully intended) that a recent study stated 50% of the adult population of the U.S. would be obese by 2030.  Holy Cow!  That signals to me that we need to do something about our food and our habits.  When you hear a staggering figure like that you should feel compelled to make a lifestyle change.

My husband and I left realizing this was exactly what we needed to hear.  Irony or not we were affirmed in our dedication to eating from farm to fork.

So without sounding too preachy, and I am pretty sure it is too late for that, I leave you with this.  Take an interest in your food.  Find out where you food comes from and respect your body enough to care for it.  Nurture and nourish it as it is truly a gift given to us by a God (or whatever higher power you put your faith in).

Monday, August 29, 2011

G-O G-O GoMacro Go!

I feel a bit like a cheerleader this morning and just wanted to cheer the yumminess of GoMacro macrobars (sorry that you can't see me jumping up and flailing my arms around).

I received a pack of 3 bars to review from GoMacro.

I received Cashew Butter, Granola w/ Coconut, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

Now I just knew peanut butter chocolate chip was going to be my favorite, so I saved it and the first bar I sampled was granola with coconut.

Man oh Man!  The bar was chewy and flavorful. 

I was concerned that the taste would be similar to cardboard, as some "healthy" bars lack flavor and consistently even though they contain all of the right nutrients.  Not these bars they were similar to something you would make fresh from your own kitchen.

I actually lost the bar half way through to my daughter who decided it was her "treat" and she would finish it up.  No worries though I was glad to share the goodness.

I have sampled the Cashew Butter, and the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.  Both are very mild in flavor and not overwhelming.  You get the chewy, almost like fresh baked, goodness in each bite. 

All in all the granola was my favorite although I can't wait to get to the store and pick up a few other flavors and see how they fair (I have my eye on Cherries N' Berries).

They are very filling and it made a great breakfast for me before heading to church this past Sunday. 

For those of you who haven't heard about GoMacro let me tell you just a little bit about this eco-conscience big picture company. 

The companies co-founders (Amelia Kirchoff and Jolanta Sonkin) are a mother-daughter team who built their business from Jolanta's new macrobiotic diet (she used it to help heal from cancer...see here). 

Their bars are
  • gluten free
  • USDA organic
  • Vegan
  • Macrobiotic
What is macrobiotics?  Well it is based on the following principle:
  1. Foods are the foundation of health and happiness.
  2. All foods are composed of antagonistic and complementary elements which determine their yin and yang qualities.
  3. Foods should be unrefined, whole and natural. 
  4. As much as possible, foods should be grown locally and eaten in season.
  5. Grains are the staple food of mankind 
GoMacro food supports the 5 principles and a desire to help the planet.  They purchase their supplies from small growers and farms that care for their workers and the environment (their growers are listed here).  On their site they state that if "nature didn't make it we do not use it." 

The desire to help the planet also comes in the form of packaging (not just the organic pesticide free food).  The wrappers for the bars are made from a film that is biodegradable and compostable.  The boxes that the bars come in is made from 100% post consumer corrugated waste.  Which means you can take the boxes and recycle them OR you can plant them directly in the ground as seed starters.

These macrotreats are really all around a wonderful product and is something you can feel good about eating and sharing with others.  Give them a try and let the wonderful women, Amelia and Jolanta know how much you appreciate their dedication to helping us have a healthier lifestyle.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fire Safety

This past weekend my parents and I took the kids for a community fair at a local church in Reidsville.

It is said you should not judge a book by its cover and this completely applied to the fair.

We arrived at 10 am and thought that we might only be there about 10 minutes.  There were two bounce houses, a fire truck, a trailer, and some food carts.

We started out at the bounce houses, which scare the nonsense out of me (I always think someone is going to fall and break an arm or an ankle...however we were lucky and there were no injuries).

Owen and Andrew have been in these before and had a blast

However Caroline never got much further then the flap entrance...oh well she was a little intimidated by the bouncing.

There was also a slide which the boys thought was great fun.  They get such joy from the rush you feel coming down the slide...thank goodness they are big enough that the didn't need me to go with them (although that would have been a fantastic work out).

While the boys were bouncing Caroline found the popcorn with the help of my parents...and she wasn't sharing.

The coolest thing there, and the most educational, was a trailer in which they were teaching fire safety (brought to us by the Reidsville Fire Department).

The fire department had this camping trailer and in small batches they would take kids inside and give them a hands on lesson as what to do if there is a fire in your house.  They use fake smoke to imitate the situation and show you how to test the door to see if it is hot and how to crawl out so that the smoke is above you.

Owen had a good time and refreshed his fire safety skills.  Andrew came crawling out and was a little teary and scared, but the fantastic firefighters took good care of him and gave him a cool "fire chief" hat as well as one for Caroline.

There were games to be played, a fishing game in which you "fished" a pack of candy

We consumed some some snow cones, cotton candy, and popcorn.  All bad things and things I don't exactly feel proud about feeding the kids...however they have never had snow cones or cotton candy before so I didn't think a small, one time, introduction would be horrible.

We enjoyed a quick stop on the fire truck and bid adieu to the wonderful people of the church.  Their hospitality and welcome attitude made our time spent at the fair a fun one...and we ended up staying an hour laughing and having fun.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An Amazing Community for Jennie

As a member of the blogging community (even though I feel like I am on the front porch looking in...a great Rascal Flatts song) I want to say the amount of support and love is just abundant from perfect strangers.  My faith in humanity and knowing that good still exists is renewed on a daily basis.

I love spending time reading various blogs and seeing what my favorite people (whom I've never met) are up to, maybe one day we will be real friends.

I am constantly amazed and filled with hope for humanity when I see out pourings of love.

The latest is one a lot of us have heard about, and that is Jennie Perillo.

Her husband Mikey passed away earlier this month quite unexpectedly.  I have been reading her posts since his passing and it is heart wrenching.  Her writing truly conveys the heartbreak and void that now exists in her life (check out her posts here, here, here, and here).

You just want to hug people who in this situation, however Jennie lives very far from me and probably would look at me a little funny if I tried to hug her.  So instead I have made a donation to her family through Bloggers without Borders

There is a lot she and her two daughters need and I thought what better way to show my love and appreciation for this person then by giving some of what I have and sharing...isn't that what we try to teach our children.

Sharing and taking care of others that is what God wants and that is what I am asking you all to do today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday--just some good stuff

Let's start off by saying "Happy Wednesday"

As well as a Thank You to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting another edition of What I Ate Wednesday.

This week I had a little trouble thinking of what I would share with you.  Then I thought why not just show the good things that I have eaten and didn't have to prepare (I mean every cook needs a day or two off).

I will start out with one of my favorite easy breakfasts, an Everything bagel from The Green Bean (a local coffee shop in downtown Greensboro). 

Now you can get bagels a lot of places, but these are made fresh daily.  They are chewy and FULL of flavor (yummy garlic and onion..I am sure I smell atrocious), but better then the chewiness is that they offer vegan cream cheese on the side YEAH!

For a non cooked lunch I very enjoy heading to Bear Rock Cafe and getting their vegetable pizzetta

For dinner a veggie quesadilla. 

Now this one required a little bit of time in the kitchen, but only enough for me to put the veggies (leftover from here, my delicious zucchini grinders).

These are some yummy and delicious things to eat...although I don't eat them everyday or I would be as big as a house.

I did want to share that my love of the kitchen is emulated in my 2 year old daughter

Watching her play in the kitchen is so much fun for me because she repeats everything and just behaves like a very small adult.

These pictures are monumental because this is the first time she kept in a boney tail (that's how she pronounces pony tail).  She is just not one for fixing her hair.

I hope you all have a great remainder of the week and be sure to check back with me as I am starting a new giveaway on Friday!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What in the World?

Do you ever look around and see things that make you say "What in the world?"

I've been looking around this past week and have seen some strange things, for example:

Apparently you can make jelly/jam out of just about anything.

Around my house there have been some things to give me pause

That is a large Tonka truck tied to a kids car you push with your feet.  I can only imagine with the kids were doing when they rigged this up, although I am quite certain I would have been nervous to see it.

Around the house there are oddities like this little fella hanging out in my plants

The one item that was not odd, but absolutely fantastic was our sample of Let's Get Pickled (who are absolutely the nicest people and their customer service is incredibly prompt) marinated garlic. 

What was it marinated in?  18 year old white balsamic vinegar...WOOO!

I opened the jar and thought "MAN is the family going to enjoy this." 

I wish there was smellavision because the garlic was so fragrant and large.

From their site:

Our super jumbo garlic is locally grown in Gilroy, California.

We use the freshest vinegar and garlic that are known to provide excellent health benefits.

Many studies show that fresh garlic has positive impacts on a wide range of health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, colorectal and gastric cancer, prostate cancer, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. Garlic's proven antioxidant, antibiotic and antibacterial properties deliver a powerful preventative boost as well.

Marinated garlic with skin on, can age for up to 30 years and it only gets better with time. Just keep it in a cool, dark place. You can eat this by itself or as a side dish with your favorite food, or add it to your salad. Vinegar can be used for cooking or as a salad dressing too.

Now I don't eat meat, but everyone else in my family does.  So it was with pleasure (but much guilt) that I prepared this steak for my family.  Now to be fair the meat was organic and fed a grass fed diet (which is what cows were meant to eat).

For starters I roasted the garlic in the toaster oven for about 20 minutes to bring out its flavor

I removed the skins and put it in my magic bullet along with a splash of olive oil to help make the mixture smooth.

Salt and pepper your steak

Then smear with the garlic mixture...use it all as the more garlic the better.

(sorry the photo is so dark my husband, who is helping here was blocking out all of the light)

Saute in a pan.  You'll want to make sure you only turn the steak once.  I cooked the steak about 7 minutes per side.

And your final result is this:

The kids and husband scarfed this up and admitted it had the best flavor yet.  I have to give all the credit to my garlic...thanks so much Let's Get Pickled.

I cannot wait to try more recipes with the garlic and share them with you...I am sure there will be some garlic and potatoes this week (my favorite combination).

I will make this one obvious plug give Let's Get Pickled a try I promise you will not be sorry and you will be amazed at the flavors and speedy service (seriously I don't know how my shipment reached me so fast).

I will be curious to see if eating it makes you do this:

"What in the world?"