Who are you calling short?

It’s a strange and wonderful thing when your children no longer just out-number you, but now we’re beginning to be out-grown!  Over this past year, J has grown at least 4 inches.  Passing me in height, which is not a particularly difficult thing to do, but he is quickly closing in on DaddyScott too.  Looking UP to my child is a very strange feeling indeed 🙂 I wonder if eventually I will be the midget in the house??  At least I will always have L, who has always been my short girl and doesn’t seem to be breaking that trend any time soon.  This is just such a good visual reminder for me… that my children will grow up.  There is no stopping it or slowing it down so we might as well enjoy it.  Love you J 🙂  Maybe you’ll be as tall as your G-pa Scott!

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The Vinegar Simmer & Recipe

My new favorite way to cook vegetables to get lots of flavor into them (and reduce overall oil consumption) is what I’ve dubbed the “Vinegar Simmer”.  Frequently I will start sautéing my veggies in a bit of coconut oil, but as the oil begins to evaporate or whatever it does exactly that makes me need more, instead of adding more oil I will add several dashes of vinegar to the pan instead of adding more oil.  Alternately, you can totally skip the oil part and fill the very bottom of your pan with some vinegar (about 1/4 inch or less), add your veggies, then top off with some water so that the vegetables are not quite covered, and bring to a gentle simmer.  Here is a recipe that lends itself very well to this cooking method!

Green Bean Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 lbs of potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2-3 medium onions
  • 1 lb of fresh green beans (frozen would work too), chopped into bite sized pieces
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Seasonings: salt, garlic powder, onion powder

Boil your potatoes until *almost* cooked.  You don’t want them so cooked that they fall apart, you will want them to be able to hold their shape when mixed with other ingredients.  Start warming a frying pan on low to medium-low heat and add your vinegar.  While warming, chop your onions and add green beans and onion to your pan.  Add enough water to *almost* cover and season liberally with salt, garlic powder, & onion powder.  Simmer until veggies are tender.  It is ok if the liquid level goes down some, but add additional water as necessary to keep the veggies half submerged (and for this recipe you will want that liquid to help marinate your potatoes.  Once your veggies are done, pour this whole vegetable vinegar mixture on your potatoes & add additional salt, garlic, or onion as necessary.  You can serve immediate *or* put it in the fridge to marinate, stirring just before serving.

I’m simmering some onions below :).  You don’t need much liquid most of the time unless you want to make it into a sauce.
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The ScottFam Take on Potato Casserole

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I posted this as my dinner the other day on Instagram (I’d love for you to come follow, but it’s nothing exciting… mostly food 😛 ), someone asked for the recipe.  I figured I might as well type it up to share with you if I’m going to take the time to type it up at all!  So here ya go, we call this “Potato Casserole”.  *remember, portion sizes are to feed a family of 10 people of varying sizes*

  • 5 lbs of potatoes
  • 1 lb of ground meat
  • 2 lbs of frozen peas and carrots
  • 4 medium onions
  • approximately 2 cups of chicken broth (or yogurt, or milk, or whatever you prefer)
  • Seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and sage

Wash, chop, and cook your ‘taters.  Mash them with 1tbsp each of salt, garlic powder, & onion powder, as well as your chicken broth.  While those wonderful potatoes are cooking, chop and sauté your onions & meat together in your choice of oil (we use coconut oil for cooking most of the time) and season liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sage & chili powder (don’t worry about using too much necessarily because you’ll be adding in your frozen veggies in a moment).  Once your meat is cooked through and your onions nice and soft, stir in your frozen veggies to this same pan and warm until heated through.  Lastly, mix it with your potatoes and you’re done. 🙂

SERVING SUGGESTION:

I really like to add greens into our diet wherever I can – and this meal is no exception.  I will often add a big handful of baby spinach, spring mix, or romaine lettuce to a bowl and chop it with a fork and knife before serving the above potato casserole on top.  If you mix it up well, it’s really not like eating salad at all, I promise! 😉

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Hey Look! A real bowl this time 😉

 

Breakfast Fruit Bowls – breaking away from “the box”

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Box cereal that is 🙂

We started doing this recipe last year when I was in the deep dark throws of the worst of my eczema and need to drastically modify my diet (and the family’s to make it work).  We needed a grain free breakfast that didn’t cost a fortune, was healthy, and was easy enough for even the children to prepare by themselves.  The “Breakfast Fruit Bowl” was born.  So what’s in it?

BANANAS – lots of them!  They’re inexpensive and healthy.  YES, healthy 🙂 People frequently vilify this fruit in particular because it contains the dreaded “sugar” or “carbs”, but if God said he made all the vegetation on the third day and said it was GOOD (Genesis 1), we shouldn’t knock bananas for simply being “so full of carbs”.  Yes, we live in a fallen world, so nothing will work for everyone, but I regained my health in large part to these awesome yellow fruits, so give them a chance.  I promise to write an ode to bananas, but I’ll save that for another post entirely 🙂 because bananas deserve it!

APPLES – another fairly inexpensive fruit, that adds a nice crunch and touch of sweetness.  Apples are actually good for your liver (which is an extremely important, often neglected organ).  The more tart the apple, the better it is for your liver.

CHIA SEEDS – this is another food that deserves it’s own post!  They are a bit on the expensive side, but for this recipe you just sprinkle some on top 🙂 a little goes a long way.  There have been a lot of good posts on this wonderful food, so I’ll leave you to those for more information (See: Uses for chia seeds, Mountain Rose Herbs profile on Chia Seeds, and Mark’s Daily Apple’s take on Chia seeds).

NUT BUTTER – peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, etc – any will work 🙂

CINNAMON – Cinnamon is cinnamon, right?  Well, that actually depends.  Remember just a little bit further up I mentioned how the liver is an extremely important organ?  Cassia cinnamon (what is normally sold in stores) is bad for your liver when consumed on a regular (re: daily or almost daily) basis due to it’s large coumarin content.  Sweet cinnamon (also called ceylon cinnamon, sweet cinnamon, or true cinnamon) on the other hand has very low amounts of coumarin, making it safe for every day use.  As you can see, consuming either cinnamon is “good” for you, as long as you follow that simple guideline.  Cassia = for occasional use (and good for simmering on the stove top to make your house smell divine) – Ceylon = every day.  There is a handy little chart located HERE when comparing some of the primary differences between the two spices, but I can’t vouch for anything else contained on that site.  For the record: I use both kinds 😉

To feed a Scott sized family, here’s the recipe you’ll follow:

  • 10-12 bananas with freckles (aka ripe), chopped
  • 6 apples, washed and chopped
  • enough chia seeds to sprinkle on top
  • cinnamon to taste (feel free to leave this out if you’d like)
  • about 1 cup of nut butter (the amount varies, I don’t really measure it)

Chop and mix your fruit.  Sprinkle chia seeds & cinnamon on top.  Add your nut butter and stir.  The stirring process will mush the bananas slightly so you will get a lovely creamy “sauce” going on.  And that’s it. 🙂  Additions I’ve often felt that would be fun to make it a bit of a treat by bits of granola and dark chocolate chips, but I’ve never gotten that far :P.

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Yep, I’m eating out of a paper bowl, with a plastic fork 😛 gotta keep up with the dishes somehow!

“Whose cup is that anyway?!?”

I’d love to say we have some sort of wonderful organizing tip on this one, but we don’t.  I’m constantly amazed at people who can keep up with “drink bands” and the like, but my poor limited brain power just can’t make it that far :P.  So here is what we do, are you ready for it????

We have a bunch of different kinds of cups and the ones that are the same come in various colors, and none of them are the same.  Everyone gets their own kind of cup, problem solved!  Seriously. 😀 Before we had this particular problem though, we would use masking tape or just write directly on the cup with a sharpie because the sharpie always washes off anyway.  When using a sharpie, we would draw a picture (like a flower or smiley face) instead of a name, just in case the marker didn’t wash off in the dishwasher.

This is our counter yesterday – no editing, no rearranging… we ALWAYS have more cups than people.  I’m really not sure how this happens 😛

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Christina’s Bullet Point List of Why You Should Eat Chocolate

Dark_Chocolate
*picture credit: chocolate.wikia.com

When *I* say “Dark Chocolate” I mean 80% cacao and does NOT contain milk or non-organic soy lecithin 😉

  • lowers LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
  • raises HDL (“good” cholesterol)
  • lowers blood pressure
  • low glycemic index (23)
  • improves blood flow (including blood flow to the brain)
  • improves insulin sensitivity (this is a good thing, especially if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic)
  • increases serotonin levels (the feel good hormone)
  • contains very little polyunsaturated fats
  • contains oleic acid (like olive oil)

Like all things, exercise moderation, but now you may enjoy your dark chocolate without any guilt!  Please do take note that dark chocolate contains stimulating substances (not just caffeine), so exercise caution with the amount you eat before bed ;-).

For a more extensive post on the benefits of dark chocolate – this is a good place to start.

Hummus, YUMMMMM

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I started making hummus because, well, it’s amazing 🙂 and buying the quantity of hummus we wanted to eat made buying it impractical.  Enter homemade hummus!  I also wanted to be able to use less oil as well because most store purchased hummus contains a large amount of olive oil which my researched has shown me, typically we don’t need that as much oil and fat in our diets as we think we do and it’s better to get it from whole food (think eating an olive instead of eating just the oil).  There are of course exceptions to this, so if you need more fat in your life, sub oil for the water.  This will also result in a creamier hummus.

8 cups cooked chickpeas (the equivalent to 4 large cans if you buy canned)
Juice from 4 large lemons (approximately 1 cup juice)
1 cup vinegar (rice vinegar is good)
8 cloves of garlic (I have subbed garlic powder in a pinch – 1.5 Tbsp)
1.5 tbsp cumin
1.5 tbsp salt
1 cup sesame seeds (or 1/2 cup tahini, OR sun butter, OR sunflower seeds)
1 cup water (more if needed, when blending)

I usually put the seasonings, garlic, water, vinegar, and sesame seeds in the vitamix and blend for about 45 seconds. Then I mix that with the chickpeas, and scoop that mixture into my food processor in batches and process until it’s as smooth as I like – that is also when I add a smidge of water if I want it a little smoother.  That’s it!