Long Time, No Chat!

Okay, so it really hasn’t been that long, but it feels like it!  Yesterday we got hit with a pretty fierce snow storm that left the ground definitely covered, but it was only a few inches of snow.  Wet, heavy snow.  Marcus went out a shoveled this morning.  I shoveled after the snow we had last time and tweaked my back a bit, and with the snow so wet, I definitely sat this one out.

I forgot to mention the other day that along with all the other goodies I made, I tried some granola bars from, you guessed it, http://mywholefoodlife.com/2012/11/14/peanut-butter-granola-bars/  (I forgot to take a picture.  I know!  How dare me!!).

I added more chocolate chips, because, come on, 2 tablespoons?  I put about 1/4-1/3 of a cup or so.  The bars are really tasty!  I think I should have cut them right out of the oven, though, because when I cut mine after they had cooled for a few minutes, some of mine fell apart a bit.  Also, in her picture, it looks like it made a 9×13 pan, but mine definitely didn’t fill that, so I made it slightly smaller on my parchment paper. Oh well, they are still quite tasty.  I’m having a LOT of fun cooking through some of her recipes.

Yesterday during the storm, I took my mother’s advice and used the time stuck inside to bake.  My mom loves to bake and is really good at it, too.  I’m not so much of a baker.  I hate when recipes say things like “bake 10-15 minutes or until done.”  Wow, until done?  I was just going to stop it about a minute or two after I put it in, because I don’t like my food cooked, just warmed a bit.  Thanks for the help.  And 10-15 minutes?  That can make the difference between raw and burnt!  Bah.  Anyways, I baked yesterday and had good luck. I made the following recipes: http://mywholefoodlife.com/2012/11/16/gingerbread-granola/ using banana instead of applesauce and http://mywholefoodlife.com/2013/01/22/peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-donuts/ using whole wheat flour instead of spelt and a mini muffin pan instead of a donut pan.  (I told you I was having fun with her recipes!)

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That’s a half of donut hole…I had to try one!  And there’s the granola toasting up in my oven.

The donut holes (that’s what they look like now) are kind of dense because of the flour, but tasty.  I didn’t realize that they don’t change shape at all when baked, but that’s okay.  I baked them for about 15 minutes rather than her suggested 10 because of the pan.  The gingerbread granola made me nervous at first.  It calls for an entire tablespoon of ginger!  Man, the “dressing,” if you will, for the oats smelled STRONG!  It stayed in my nose all afternoon.  I feel like I could have added a touch more oats, or almonds, or whatever kind of nuts to the recipe because I definitely had enough liquid ingredients.  The banana taste is non-existent, so it proved a good sub for applesauce since I was out after making the donut holes.  It is super crunchy and really good, but I’ll bake it for maybe 20-25 minutes rather than the almost 30 she suggests.  Once I make some more applesauce, I can’t wait to try more granola recipes!

Last night, I made a spinach salad and potato soup for dinner.  The spinach salad had an awesome lemon vinaigrette that I might have made a bit too lemony for some (aka Marcus), but it made us both not cringe at eating spinach, so it’s a win in my book!  Here’s the recipe:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I squeezed half a gigantic lemon, hence too much juice)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (which I absolutely love, by the way)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper (I add salt and pepper by taste rather than measuring)

Whisk up the dressing, then toss with about 2 cups baby spinach and throw in a handful or two of fresh blueberries and strawberries.  Yum!  It was nice and light, which was the perfect side to our thick and creamy potato soup.

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My table is a mess, I know.

The soup was a piece of cake, too.

Sauté two pieces of chopped up bacon till soft. Then add a diced onion and 1 clove of minced garlic.  Sauté for another 5 minutes or so. Add 2 cups chicken broth, 1/2 cup water, 3 peeled, diced potatoes, about 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Bring it to a boil and let simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Once that’s done, puree it up (I used my immersion blender), add 3 tablespoons heavy cream, mix, and enjoy!  We had ours with a sprinkling of cheddar on top.  Audrey, Marcus, and I all ate this right up, and Marcus and Audrey both had seconds!

I have to say, trying to “eat clean” or eat “whole foods” is work, but it is making a difference.  I am still slowly losing weight (my first goal is to be at pre-baby weight by Audrey’s birthday…so 2 more pounds by April 24!), and the best part is that I am not eating typical “diet” foods.  For instance, I had 2 waffles and 2 pieces of bacon for breakfast!  The thing is, they were the whole wheat pumpkin waffles I made this weekend that are pretty healthy, and the bacon is the nitrate free stuff.  I ate that around 6 or so this morning, and I didn’t even start to get hungry again until around 11:30!  Whole, good foods are just more filling and satisfying.  More and more research is coming out saying we’ve had it all wrong with these low fat, low cholesterol (etc, etc) diets.  Low sugar is what we need, and the rest in moderation.  Well, I am slowly becoming a believer.  My next personal goal is cutting out any sugar from my coffee.  I’m cutting my usual Coffee Mate Bliss with regular half and half.  Pretty soon it’ll just be that, and once Audrey is drinking whole milk, I’ll probably just use that instead.

If you have any questions about changing your diet around like we are trying to do, I suggest looking into http://www.100daysofrealfood.com and http://mywholefoodlife.com . Both are FANTASTIC resources of information and they have GREAT recipes!  I’ve tried a bunch on both!

Well, I’m off to finish up my notes for class this weekend.  Oh, Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, how I’ve missed you 😉

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