Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gluten/Dairy Free banana hemp bread

A couple of trips ago to Costco I bought some raw shelled hemp seeds. I was almost out of the hemp protein powder that I normally use in my smoothies and thought I'd try the hemp seed instead. The following morning I made a smoothy and while the seeds mixed really well and had a wonderful consistency, I wasn't to fond of the flavor. It wasn't bad but it really drowned out the flavor of the cup of berry mix I love to taste. So here I am with a big bag of hemp seeds and not sure what to do with them. 

Fast forward a few weeks. I'm in the kitchen and really have a hankering, yes I said hankering, for something bread like.  My husband, and I have been trying to watch our carbs. He is out of town on business for the day and not here to keep me on track by the way. I'm on day three of no honey in my tea, no gluten free cinnamon toast with my eggs, and no bananas in my smoothy. Speaking of bananas, I look over at the bananas hanging on the banana basket, so ripe the tops are about to break from the weight of them when it hits me, I'm gonna make the kids some banana bread.  Grabbing my phone, I pull up a standard banana bread recipe online and do some major tweaking to make it gluten free and dairy free and with as little amount of carbs as possible with the ingredients I have on hand. The original recipe called for a cup of sugar and I figured if I was substituting a cup of dry ingredients with a tiny teaspoon of liquid stevia I would need something dry to balance it out. This is where the hemp seeds come in. Finally I found another use for them!

 I tested the finished product out on my kids because as many of you know, kids are natural born food critics. They raved and forced me to try a slice...or two:) Sorry husband! So here is my creation. Feel free to comment if you get a chance to make them, I would love the feedback. 

2 cups gluten free flour mix (I use namaste foods perfect flour blend)
1/4 cup raw shelled hemp seeds
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut oil 
1/2 tsp gluten free vanilla xtract 
3 eggs or equivalent substitute
1 tsp alcohol free liquid stevia ( or 1 cup sugar if you prefer)
3-4 medium overripe bananas smooshed or 1 1/3 cup.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease baking dish
Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl
Mix all wet ingredients in small bowl
Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix. 

Form loaf in baking dish ( I used a 8x 6 x 2 glass Pyrex dish) It helps to put cooking oil on your hands.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

Note: If using another dish to bake like a loaf pan or muffin tin you may need to adjust cooking time. 

Also a handful of chopped walnuts would be tasty to throw in If you have some on hand.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New begginings & Sweet Potato Tacos

I know I keep making promises that I will be blogging and sharing recipes more often, and have not.  I apologize for not keeping those promises. Life has thrown our family several curveballs the last 8 months all of which we have managed to successfully swing our way through. My husband got a promotion which we needed to relocate for. We spent a couple of months and lots of elbow grease getting our house ready to sell. Unfortunately we bought our house right before the big bubble pop of 2008 and were unable to sell, forcing us to find renters and Stat! Five days after posting an add on craigslist we found awesome, creditworthy, dependable renters. Phew... We also had to say goodbye to our family Dog of 14 Years, lost a dear childhood friend and my husbands grandfather all within the same week. So that's were I've been.

We moved from a fairly small town to the city or Redmond, Washington. I've got to say despite moving from a 1250sq ft three bedroom house on a quarter of an acre, to a 904 square foot apartment I don't miss the space. There is so much for the kids and I to do here within minutes of our front door. Now instead of spending my spare time mowing the lawn and tending to the house needs, we explore. Also, moving into a smaller space that doesn't have a 2 car garage/storage unit has forced us to get rid of about half of our stuff, which feels great. Less stuff=Less to clean up=more time to spend with the family and my interests. We also have an awesome gym that we don't have to pay a monthly membership for and a pool we can use anytime we want. Oh and did I mention that I don't have to mow the lawn:) That's right someone mows it for us weekly and we get to play on it. It really works for our family.

I have lots of posts planned so stayed tuned, but today I wanted to share a link to one of my favorite blogs called Two Blue Lemons. She has many awesome recipes but my favorite one is a sweet potato taco recipe which I always get special requests for, except from my husband that is, and only because there was a time when I made it sometimes twice a week and suffice to say he got tired of them. I could still eat it twice a week or more though if it were only up to me:) I like to use feta cheese instead and sometimes add tomatoes. Also if you are in a pinch and don't want to make the refried beans yourself, I have found Amy's Organic refried black beans to be comparable in flavor to the homemade version. Not as good, but my kids couldn't tell the difference. Be sure to click on the link above if you want to try these tasty tacos.

So enjoy & here is to new beginnings!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chloe turns 7...Lalaloopsy style

Were shall I begin....let me just say this; my little girl is growing up. I feel like she was just a couple of years old and then I blinked. Then I opened my eyes she is 7. I am in awe of the person she is becoming. Sweet, thoughtful, generous (unless it comes to her brother of course) and obsessed with Michael Jackson lately.....hmmm, not sure where that one came from. Anyhow, the birthday party was a success. All the hours spent gluing buttons and cutting out paper dolls was well worth it. Most of the girls that were invited showed up. There were lots of giggles and smiles, and thanks to my husbands ninja like time keeping skills we were able to keep to our party timeline.

Thanks to Pintrest, there was no shortage of ideas to get my creative juices flowing. In fact I had a hard time narrowing down the things I was going to do. Not wanting to spend a fortune on party stuff, I thought I would start in the thrift stores. A couple weeks before the party while her brother was at preschool I would go to all of the local stores and just browse until something caught my eye. Some days were not successful, others I scored.

I got the idea for these little mouses here on Pintrest. If you are not familiar with Lalaloopsy's, each one comes with a pet and the mouse is one of them. I was able to get everything but the felt at goodwill. The stuffing was bran new, the yarn used, and the buttons cost next to nothing since I just happen to be browsing on half off linens day. I spent a little over 10$ for everything to put this craft together. You can get the pattern and instructions here for $5 or you can do what I did and just make a pattern yourself.

I sewed on the eyes, stitched the noses and whiskers and hole punched with a mini puncher around the edges to help guide the girls where to sew. The needles I got at our local craft store, they are upholstery needles and are pretty blunt at the ends preventing any poked fingers. I made the first stitch for them and placed everything in a Ziploc bag with printed instructions attached to the bag. This was one of there goodies to take home.

Another Pintrest idea was a pin the hat on peanut game. I drew peanut on purple card stock, drew the details, and made the little hats out different colors of card stock. I was pretty happy with the finished product beings that I am not the best at drawing and the girls loved it.

The back drop I made by taking a piece of white fabric that cost me $1 at goodwill and covered a painting on canvas by tacking the fabric to the back. Then I went to town decorating it. Here is the finished product. Well part of it anyway.

I made the cupcake toppers by printing out these images on card stock and cut them out and attached to a toothpick with a tiny piece of tape.

The cake topper was a Lalaloopsy Ferris wheel toy that I found at goodwill for....wait for it......$1.29. After thoroughly washing and sanitizing it, it fit perfect on top of her two tier cake I made with Bobs Red Mill gluten free white cake cake mix, which by the way was delicious! A little heavier than regular cake still very tasty.

For the party crafts, I printed out these plain lalaloopsy dolls on card stock, cut them out and had the girls glue them onto some goody bags. Then they got to decorate them, with yarn, little pieces of fabric that I cut out in the shape of shirts, skirts, pants and dresses, markers, and buttons. Later they used the bags to collect the candy from the pinata and to bring their party favors home in.

The second craft were little button barrettes. Chloe's friend is wearing hers in the picture to the right. I found the barrettes at the craft store and had the girls glue buttons onto them using glue dots. My inspiration came from these rings made with buttons. I couldn't find the rings at the craft store, so I opted for barrettes instead.

Now onto the food. There were several things I aspired to do like these adorable button cookies and these colorful popcorn balls on sticks, but even with my amazing mother and father in law who volunteered to take the kids two weekends in a row so that I would have plenty of time to get it all done without going a little nutty, I wasn't able to bring all my ideas to fruition. (Thank you!Thank you! Thank you!) I did however, manage to get to the rainbow fruit kabobs and the milk bottle cups with licorice straws. Using glue dots, I glued some ribbon onto the bottles and placed a button in the middle. The straws were inspired by a memory from when I was a little girl. It was a special treat to drink cold milk with a red licorice straw. After I was done with the milk, I would eat the licorice which was all cold and chewy. Yum. Just snip off the ends of the licorice and you have yourself an edible straw. The girls were very happy about the licorice straws that accompanied their fresh strawberry lemonade. Sorry I didn't get any pictures of these bottles. With all the excitement there were several things I didn't manage to take pictures of. I hope the descriptions give you a good enough idea on the things I missed.

After cake and ice cream, we all went outside to take a whack at the pinata. To transform it into a Lalaloopsy pinata I bought a flower pinata and added some circles to the middle to make it look like a giant button. However in the picture I managed to get the side without the circles. (Note to self...photograph everything before the party starts) Only two whacks in and one of Chloe's besties, probably the smallest of the bunch, broke it open on her third hit. What an arm! I love the craziness of the kids scrambling to get as much candy as possible in there bags before everyone else scoops it up. Good times.

I sent each girl home with a Lalaloopsy coloring book which I found at the dollar store, some crayons, which I added a Lalaloopsy sticker to, a sucker and their little mouse sewing crafts all wrapped up with the yarn and torn fabric strips in a nice bow.

When I asked Chloe what her favorite part of her birthday party was, I was kind of expecting her to say something about a toy, or the pinata, but her response was "having my friends together with me at my house and in my room".

Mission accomplished:)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Egg breakfast muffins on the go

I know, It's been some time since I've written. What can I say, with school out and the kids home all day over the summer, I've been distracted. Now that school is back in service and I once again have some "me" time, I can tell you that you will be seeing more posts. In fact, I have several things I have been meaning to share, so stay tuned. 

Today, a friend asked me for an egg muffin recipe that I make my husband for his on the go breakfasts. It will keep hunger at bay and give you a good kick start in the morning. It's really easy to make a big batch of them and then freeze until ready to eat. It is also a great way to avoid that ever so tempting sugary laden muffin at your favorite drive through espresso stand. It can be tweaked very easily depending on your likes and dislikes. This is the way my husband likes them.

12 eggs
6 chicken or turkey breakfast sausages cooked and chopped
Small bell pepper chopped small
Feta cheese
Cumin 1 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste

Spray 12 cup Silicone muffin pan with oil
Beat eggs with salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes. Set aside
Layer muffins accordingly; sausage, bell pepper, egg mixture and top with feta cheese.
Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until eggs are set

Optional additions:
Cilantro (my favorite)
Green onion
Shredded carrots
Cheese of your choice
Veggies or spices of your choosing.
Omit the sausage and replace with cooked bacon or go meatless if you like.
These can be easily made with egg substitute instead, just make sure you use the equivalent of 12 eggs.

These freeze great. I individually wrap each on in saran wrap and then put them in a plastic freezer Ziploc bag. Take how ever many you need out the night before or thaw in microwave. Don't forget to remove the plastic wrap if thawing in the microwave. Spicy foods are great for speeding up metabolism so for some added benefits we sprinkle on some franks red hot, Tabasco or salsa. You don't need anything extra though, they are delicious on there own.

I hope you all had a wonderful summer. It went by too fast as it always does and though I will miss the sunshine I am looking forward to the crisp fall air and all the pretty colors that the trees bestow us with. Oh and most importantly all the recipes I will be trying beings that the weather will force me indoors much more. Until next time:)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chocolate hemp protein shake...Kid approved!

My new favorite food product is Hemp protein powder. I love making smoothies and experimenting to find new combinations that are not only tasty but good for you as well. In the past I have used soy protein powders, which taste better to me than whey but cannot use anymore because soy interferes with healthy thyroid function and I have a hypothyroid problem. So I switched to whey, which is hard to find without any soy in it, and the couple brands I have found, have a particular taste that I just don't like and is really hard to mask. Not to mention the long list of additives it contains. 

This lead me to try Hemp protein powder.  I must say, I LOVE it! It contains 14 grams of fiber per serving, 18 amino acids, a perfect ratio of omega 3 to omega 6, and is a complete protein, unlike whey and soy. It is also much easier to digest because it is a plant based protein. So those with dairy allergy's, soy allergy's etc.. will have no problems with it. It doesn't have any aftertaste and also is very planet friendly. The only thing that some people may not like it that is has a slight gritty texture, which doesn't bother me one bit. Plus it only has one ingredient; ground hemp.  I could go on and on about why I love it but I'll stop here and let you do your own research if you want to learn more.

After a few smoothies and taste tests from the husband and kiddos I have come up with a really yummy recipe. The kids like it cause it tastes like chocolate. I feel good cause I know they are getting a lot of good nutrition. You can't taste the greens even a little bit. I will have this for my breakfast and sometimes for lunch too. It really is filling and the protein keeps you from getting hungry till lunch time. Did I mention how quick and easy it is too? 
What you will need for 1 smoothy:

1 Banana
1 big handful of spinach or mixed green
1 Tbsp unsweetened Cocoa powder
2 Tbsp Hemp Protein powder
2 Tbsp Almond Butter
1 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed (Optional)
6 drops liquid stevia (I use alcohol free) Or 1 tbsp honey
6 ice cubes or more depending on how thick you want it.
1 cup unsweetened plain Almond Milk (or milk or milk substitute of your choice)


Combine everything in blender in order listed above and blend until smooth.

If you don't want to use almond butter Just replace it with two additional tablespoons of hemp powder for a total of 4 tbsp hemp powder. That will ensure you get enough protein to keep you satiated until your next meal. If your diet doesn't contain much fiber on a regular basis though, you may want to start with just the 2 Tbsp of hemp powder and work your way up to the 4. The reason being is that one serving, which is 4 Tbsp, contains 14 grams of fiber, and if you are not use to much fiber, you may experience some stomach bloating. 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Green Kid Crafts Review & Givaway...Tell your friends!

When I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing an earth friendly, kid friendly, craft kit by Green Kid Crafts, I jumped on it. Any opportunity that combines a green approach to creativity, learning and fun for my children is always welcome.

Founded in 2010, Green Kid Crafts is the original craft subscription company. With Green Kid Crafts, parents and kids can enjoy planet-friendly, monthly projects that spark creativity and cultivate respect and love for the environment. Suitable for ages 3-8, three of their craft projects are delivered to kids every month for a cost of $19.95 per month. All materials are included in the package making it one stop shopping for child engagement.

My first impression of Green Kid Crafts was a good one. The box it ships in is also the box the crafts come in. I liked that there was no extra box that I would have to break down and put into recycle. Everything was nicely wrapped in some lime green tissue paper. The inner top of the box came with a picture of each craft that was inside. Included in the box were three crafts; a wind chime, pirate loot, and scrapbook. Each craft contains everything you need except for some essential things like glue, markers, scissors, tape, and paint, which most of us have laying around the house someplace. Each craft comes in a sealed clear bag with materials and step by step instructions inside. My kids loved taking everything out and divvying it up amongst themselves. Each craft is fairly simple yet involved enough to keep them interested. Each one took us anywhere from 20-45 minutes to put together from start to finish.

The first craft we did was the wind chime. Since there was one wind chime and two kids, my 6 year old took the liberty of drawing a line halfway down the middle of the wood so that she and her brother each had their own side. This is very important when sharing your craft space with a 3 year old apparently :) We chose to use paints to color the wood. I learned that my daughter is a realist and my son is more of an abstract artist. Once the paint dried, they glued on all of the cute little decorations it came with and our first work of art was complete.

The next craft we did was the pirate loot. It came with everything to make a paper pirate hat, an eye patch and even some silver treasure coins. My son is still learning how to use scissors so my daughter did all of the cutting and he did a lot of the decorating. He did get to cut some scrap paper I gave him, so he felt like a big boy. This was one of my favorite crafts because not only do they get to be creative, but afterwards they took turns wearing the eye patch and hat and played pirates. It's the craft that keeps on giving.
We saved the scrapbook for last. Fathers day is coming up and we wanted to make it for daddy. I love the scrapbook it came with. It is a fold out cardboard like paper accordion style scrap book that ties. Each side has 4 pages. We had a lot of fun going through our pictures and picking out which pictures we thought daddy would like best. It came with some decorative paper, scraps of fabric, stickers and embellishments to liven up the pages. Plus we added some things of our own to personalize it even more.

All in all, I think Green Kid Crafts is a wonderful service. Normally when we do crafts, it’s usually the same kind of things; painting, coloring, making cards and books. With the monthly subscription you get three different creative crafts to spice things up that really are more involved than what we normally do and of great quality. They are crafts that you can keep and play with that won’t find their way into the garbage. Another bonus is it is a wonderful way to connect with your child and keep craft time interesting. I find the cost to be very reasonable. By the time you were to go out and buy all the little embellishment, decorative paper, stickers, and all the other things that you get with these kits you would end up spending much more than $19.95. Not to mention, trying to figure out what to do with the leftover materials, the gas money spent, and impulse buys you are sure to pick up as well, or is that just me? If you want to find out more for yourself, go check out Green Kid Crafts!

I would like to say thank you to my sister in law, Melissa, of who asked me if I would be interested in reviewing Green Kid Crafts. We had so much fun with it. I would also like thank Penny at Green Kid Crafts for the opportunity to share your wonderful crafts with my children, and give others the opportunity to check out Green Kid Crafts through this giveaway.

If you would like to win a Craft Box of your very own, just follow the entry instruction below. Remember when you are done putting in all of your entries to come back to my Blog and leave a comment letting me know what you did.

Mandatory entry:

1. Go check out Green Kid Crafts, then come back and leave a comment about what craft you would like to see in a future box.

For extra entries:
1. Like Green Kid Crafts on Facebook.
2. Like on Facebook.
3 Like Happy.Healthy.Simply on Facebook
4. Sign up for the Green Kid Crafts newsletter.

The giveaway will close next Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 10am PST.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A little bit about me:)

Hello:) I am a 32 year old mother, wife and a semi recent health nut. I have always been interested in health and food but I never really thought to much about what I was eating until I started having some health issues a couple of years back. Although it wasn’t the most fun of times, I am thankful in that it made me take a hard look at the foods I was feeding myself and my family. It made me understand how the food choices I made effected my physical health, mental health and overall well being.

In the past my husband and I have tried many different diets. The Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, Zone Diet, Low glycemic index diet, Dr OZ. diet, Dr Gundries Diet evolution, and have finally settled on more of a plant based diet, with the exception of occasional seafood, lean meat and cheese. Although we lost weight on all of these diets, and felt better, they were always hard to stick with long term. Through each diet though I found a healthy, simple, balanced way to eat that not only tastes wonderful but makes us feel wonderful as well. The number one most important thing I have learned is NO PROCESSED FOODS! If there is more than 5 ingredients on a label, especially if you can't pronounce them or know what they are, put in down. If the words, enriched, partially hydrogenated, sugar, high fructose corn syrup are one of those 5 ingredients, put it down. I believe that a large portion of the illnesses we suffer from can be tied to our diet. I believe it all starts with what we are putting into our bodies and that we can reverse or at least greatly improve the things that may ail us.

Besides my love of food and health, I also am a mother of two beautiful children, six and three. They teach me something new every day and motivate me to continue making health one of my number one priorities. I am blessed to have my family, health, and a husband who inspires many of my culinary adventures. I wanted to start this blog to share with others some of the things that have made my life easier and healthier as a person, a mother and homemaker. I also hope to learn a few things from you along the way too. Welcome to my Blog!