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!

Taco Salad with a Twist

This recipe was inspired by my best friend. She made something similar for me on my birthday and in trying to recreate it, I have come up with something close in flavor but with my own twist. Thank you Carrie:)  It has become a family favorite and has made its way into the frequent dinners club at our house. Of course my kids don't like anything with the word salad in it, unless of course the word "fruit" is in front of it. To remedy this, I give them a deconstructed taco salad. They eat a lot of their dinners this way since we eat a lot of salads. They love it and usually clean their plate.

This recipe is gluten Free, and can easily be made dairy free by omitting the cheese, vegetarian by omitting the ground turkey and vegan by omitting the meat and cheese. It is refreshing and delicious which ever way you choose. I prefer to use organic vegetables because they taste so much better, contain more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals and I don't need to worry about GMO or pesticides. Of course you don't have to use organic, it is merely my personal preference.

What you will need:
2 Romaine hearts, thinly sliced
2 big tomatoes, chopped small
2 handfuls of cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, chopped small
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1/3 cup feta cheese
1 lb lean ground turkey (season with chili powder, cumin, garlic salt and pepper to taste, or you can use a taco seasoning)
3 or 4 big handfuls of corn chips ( I use the red organic corn chips made by Que Pasa. They use beet juice to give them their color. It also gives them just a hint of sweetness)

For the dressing:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp lime juice or juice from one fresh lime
A few shakes of  red Tabasco (or more depending on how spicy you like it)
pinch of salt

* Over medium heat cook turkey, stirring occasionally. Drain any fat off if there is any once it's done cooking.
* Meanwhile, Mix all dressing ingredients in bowl, set aside.
* Rinse, dry and chop veggies and add to big bowl as you go.
* Combine remaining ingredients into bowl.
* Toss with dressing and serve
* For added spice, throw on top a shake or two of Tabasco.

Note: If you are making this a bit ahead of time, sprinkle some lime juice on top of avocado to keep from going brown or just wait to cut the avocado till your ready to serve. Also wait to put the chips in till ready to serve to keep them from getting stale. Serve immediately once dressing's applied.

This salad can be easily changed and still taste great. I think the cilantro and dressing are key though. I have used a baby greens mix instead of romaine, aged cheddar instead of feta, and have made it with onions as well. So go on, what are you favorite veggies? Throw them in and give it your own twist.