Four New Things To Try Sometime Soon

February 9th, 2012 | Posted by Alison Spath in Lunch - (3 Comments)

It’s been a busy week playing catch up after being out of town for a few days, so I’m here today to share a couple of random things worth trying if you’re looking for something new to do with yourself, your mouth or even your hair.

First!

Try Brushing Your Teeth in the Dark.

Thanks to a couple of flashing firefly toothbrushes, one of our new favorite new activities is scrubbing the pearly whites with the lights off.

It’s a dance party in your bathroom! You’re totally invited to join us and pump up the volume while you pump out some toothpaste.

(Please still aim your spittle toward the sink.)

If you are susceptible to epileptic seizures, you should probably sit this one out. Those flashing toothbrushes are like mini strobe lights.

NUMERO DOS! PRUNES!

Better than raisins mostly because no one eats them but me, they’re ALL MINE MINE MINE. They’re GOOD! They’re full of fiber! They’re not just for grandma anymore!

(If you’re currently trying to lose weight, beware of prunes. It’s easy to devour your daily calorie allowance in dried fruit if you’re not paying attention.)

#3? Eat Candied Ginger Off a Plate

Fine, forget the plate. That was really just for photographic purposes.

BUT! I’m currently involved in a steamy love triangle with prunes and candied ginger.  Sweet, spicy and scrounged straight out of the bag most days of the week. I told you it’s getting hot in here.

Four? Philly Cheese Fakes.

Since taking on the role of Stay at Home Parent over 5 years ago, meal prep has largely been my responsibility. Fortunately though, the husband is no slouch in the kitchen and he whipped up this veggie burger/veggie concoction on short notice one night over the weekend.

A Morningstar black bean burger, a sliced onion and roasted red pepper, sauteed together in a little olive oil until the veggies are soft and the burger is cooked. Chop your veggie burger up and load it all into a warm tortilla. Top with a little BBQ sauce and some shredded cheese if you like.

Reminiscent of a Philly Cheese Steak with it’s sauteed peppers and onions and melted cheese, we coined this magnificent medley a “Philly Cheese Fake”. They are my current lunch time obsession.

Doesn’t it look like that Annie’s Chipotle BBQ sauce is what I’m drinking for lunch?

I didn’t, don’t worry. But now that you mention it…

And last but not least, Try Putting Your Flat Iron Away For a While

(you use one too, right?)

A special thanks go out to Mama Pea for the kick in the pants and the courage to try rocking out with my curly locks out.

And oh yeah, 21 weeks baby! That means 19 weeks until the first day of summer, people. I know you’re counting down the weeks too.

In other news, I’d like to report that my belly now is sticking out further than my boobs! This is no small feat, believe me. After all the growing The Girls up top did in the early stages of pregnancy, the fetus finally pulls ahead and takes the lead! Phew.

Now go eat a Philly Cheese Fake and have some candied ginger for dessert. Snack on a couple prunes and then meet me in the bathroom for a little old fashioned, club thumping, toothbrushing fun. And don’t trip over my flatiron in the dark.

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ginger, Kids, onions, pregnancy, red peppers, veggie burger

Birds of a Feather. In Iowa. Eating Black Bean Brownies.

February 4th, 2012 | Posted by Alison Spath in Short or Sweet - (11 Comments)

I have just returned from Iowa! Did ya miss me? Did ya happen to see a 5 month pregnant woman running through the Atlanta airport last night in an effort to catch her connecting flight back to New York on time?

If you did, let’s just pretend that wasn’t me.

No, instead let’s chat about Iowa! I was invited to speak at a conference called Women Blazing Trails for the non-profit group, Iowa Women in Natural Resources at the Springbrook Conservation Center in Guthrie Center, Iowa.

I was one of the presenters at their conference, but I also got to be a conference attendee. Over the course of the last two days I learned a lot about the women who work in natural resources and conservation, plus some cool outdoor survival skills (including how to start a fire with an aluminum can and a bar of chocolate! Really!)

I also thoroughly enjoyed the Bird Banding presentation.

Obviously.

(Be sure to notice the American Goldfinch in my hand, K?)

My presentation was on Healthy Living and I was pleased with how it went.  I must give a huge THANKS to all my fabulous new friends at IWINR and how incredibly warm and welcoming they were despite any stupid faces I surely made during our time together.

Among other things, my talk about living a healthier life included a few of our favorite things to eat around here.  Green smoothies, kale chips and banana whip – plus one recipe I realized I haven’t shared on the blog yet -

Black Bean Brownies!

Much like White Bean Blondies, black bean brownies are a treat with a sneaky helping of extra fiber, protein, B vitamins and iron to go along with a dose of chocolate and sugar.

(That is of course when you’re not using your chocolate to keep yourself warm out in the woods with a gang of American Goldfinches who laugh hysterically every time you bug your eyes out. Birds are real suckers for cheap jokes.)

To make Black Bean Brownies you’ll need:

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (or about 1 cup of prepared, dried black beans)
1/2 c of water
1 c flour
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 c canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c sugar (or sweetener of choice)
1/2 c chocolate chips or 1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)

If you puree those beans up nice and smooth in your blender or food processor,

I promise they’ll go completely unnoticed by your children, picky adults and any small birds you might be feeding.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Puree beans and water in food processor or blender until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Stir in bean puree with dry ingredients, eggs and wet ingredients and mix well. Once well combined, fold in chocolate chips or nuts if you’re including them.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes in a greased 8 x 8 pan. They’re done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out completely clean.

Now go make some brownies and if you ever find yourself in Iowa, look for a Goldfinch with the Band ID LK59001, say Hi! to all of the amazing women who make up Iowa Women in Natural Resources and try to avoid the Atlanta airport if you can.

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Beans, Chocolate, Dessert, IWINR, pregnancy, Snacks, travel

So What Are We Putting in the Blender Today?

January 31st, 2012 | Posted by Alison Spath in Breakfast - (7 Comments)

Avocado!

That’s right. We’re putting avocado in the blender this morning ’cause we’re making a chocolate avocado smoothie for breakfast.

Aren’t you excited?! I’m excited too.

See, I’ve never used avocado in a smoothie before because avocados usually don’t make it past salads, bean burritos or stay-at-home burrito bowls around here.

But today, half an avocado is going into the blender with one banana, a good pour of almond milk and a couple teaspoons of cocoa powder. Maybe some spinach too if you feel like it.

Once you puree up your banana, avocado and milk of choice, but before you add the cocoa powder, I highly suggest taking a sample of it at this stage so you can roll your eyes back into your head and moan over how creamy and rich and delicious this is already.

Things that taste this good are not supposed to be good for you.

But it is! It is good for you! Healthy fats, potassium, vitamin E, magnesium, folic acid. The list of nutrients is so long I’m starting to daydream and doodle (artichoke) hearts on my paper here.

In the case that you’re not satisfied with all the awesomeness that an avocado has to offer, throw a handful of spinach in too. Just because you can.

Sweet, rich chocolate avocado goodness for breakfast.

Aren’t you excited?! I’m excited too.

(I’m also hungry.)

Don’t concern yourself too much about the fat content of an avocado, fat can totally be your best friend if you let it be. Healthy fat is always looking for new friends.

Don’t be scared away by the calories either because this isn’t even that scary! Half an avocado only has about 150 calories in it. 150 plus about 100 calories from the banana, this ENTIRE smoothie clocks in at under 300 calories even with the almond milk, cocoa powder and spinach.

But if avocado, banana, chocolate and (optional) spinach aren’t your thing, it’s OK.

You and your pajama clad self can always put strawberries, banana and milk into your blender this morning instead. That works too.

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avocado, Bananas, green smoothie, Kids, smoothies

Carrot Cake Sorbanana

January 27th, 2012 | Posted by Alison Spath in Short or Sweet - (9 Comments)

This week, the girls and I found ourselves in front of a Vitamix blender demonstration at Wegmans.

As I slurped down the scary delicious “Carrot Cake Sorbet” sample that Vitamix Demo Man handed me, I immediately began wishing I had an extra $500 bucks laying around to buy this miracle machine that did something amazing with a couple of carrots and some ice.

(I’m still wishing for that $500, by the way. Just in case anyone out there is feeling generous.)

Before we walked away from the demonstration, I asked Vitamix Man what went into this fabulous carrot sorbet that he’d whipped up. He looked at me as if I’d just asked him for his ATM pin number, but then reluctantly gave up the goods and rattled off “carrots, ice, agave, almonds, cinnamon and vanilla”.

And this is when wheels in my head began turning. Suddenly, I had three questions that needed answering, pronto:

1. What would happen if I tried to make this miracle carrot concoction in my wimpy little blender at home?

2. Maybe the food processor would be better?

3. What might it take to get Vitamix Man to drive by my house and “accidentally” drop a Vitamix blender off the back of the Vitamix truck?

I immediately decided the answer to #1 was going to be “make a big, wet, chunky carrot mess, that’s what”.

And given that Vita-dude was so stingy with his pin number, I had a good feeling that #3 was not going to come easy.

This was when I decided to get down to business with #2.

(Question #2, that is.)

And now I’m here to tell you, I think I came up with something that in some way resembles the fabulous Vitamix Carrot Cake Sorbet I had on Tuesday, with no new Vitamix blender in my kitchen to speak of.

Except I made mine with frozen bananas instead of frozen water. And since on the main ingredients in “sorbet” is water, I don’t think we can call this sorbet.

Therefore, I think we should call it Sorbanana.

(that sort of sounds like a personal problem, buddy)

OK then, it’s decided. Carrot Cake Sorbanana. I like it.

So! Here we go. Start with some shredded carrot. I opted for my shredder attachment on the food processor.

It was my hope that shredding the carrot would give the carrots a head start at making a “carrot puree” happen sooner rather than later.

Next, lug out your bowl of frozen, sliced bananas a la banana whip.

Before I loaded in the frozen banana (probably the equivalent of 2 bananas), I replaced the shredder attachment with the blade and let it have a go at the shredded carrot to chop it up a bit more.

NOW the bananas can go in,

and let’er rip.

Once your bananas and carrots are looking smooth, throw in a handful of sliced almond, a dash of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla extract. You can skip the agave nectar or any sweeteners because the bananas are sweet enough.

Let your non-Vitamix machine whir and whir and whir for a while longer. Scrape down the sides as needed, and then whir some more.

Eventually, you will be presented with a fabulous orange-ish, banana-ish concoction that sort of resembles a cold carrot cake treat,

and most definitely resembles a super tasty, healthy snack.

Works for me! Take that stingy Vitamix Man! Who needs your pin number anyway. Hmph.

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almonds, banana whip, Bananas, carrot jokes, carrots, Snacks

When You’re Not Eating Bagels for Breakfast

January 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Alison Spath in Breakfast - (2 Comments)

It was another egg and everything bagel kind of weekend here.

(That means it was a good weekend.)

But now it’s Monday, and we’re moving on to better and bluer breakfasts.

These little wild blueberries from Woodstock Farms are my current favorite small blue thing.

I pop about a half cup of them into a dish and let them thaw in the fridge over night.

Or, if you forgot about them last night like I did, an hour on the counter at room temperature works too.

For some reason, I am really digging these mini bluebs way more than big ones right now. All I can tell you is that they are simply the perfect, perfect size for decorating a bowl of oats and chia seeds soaked overnight in a half cup vanilla yogurt and a half cup or so of almond milk.

Hey! Chia seeds are my favorite small black thing!

They are even better after an early morning date with my new friend Summer Sanders and her prenatal workout!

A note to my pregnant friends out there, (present and future!) I really like this DVD. For a workout in my basement when I not feeling like hauling myself to the gym or out in the cold? It’s a decent workout!

(The Prenatal Vinyasa Flow at yogadownload is my other favorite at home workout right now.)

But back to that blue breakfast. A breakfast for everyone, whether you’re gestating or not.

Oats topped with blueberries, half a banana and ground flax seeds with a small drizzle of almond butter and a half cup of coffee today.

Not a calorie light breakfast by any means for those with weight loss on the brain right now, but it’s a breakfast that will hold you over! And if super foods are what you want? Super foods are what we’ve got.

Bagels are super too of course. Just a different kind of super.

(And flax seeds are my favorite small brown thing. I’ll stop now.)

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at home workout, blueberries, chia seeds, flax seed, Oats for Breakfast, Yoga

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