So after just three practices, Amanda signed up for a skiing jumping competition this weekend. She went to practice yesterday with my mom and brother and they decided she was jumping really well and should enter the competition. She jumped 4.5 M off the 10 M jump. The longest jump off the 10 M was 8 M. This just makes me smile! She's so adventurous! I volunteered to be a line marker which made it a little tricky to photograph and help her. She did just fine though.
While we were getting ready for Julia's birthday, Tali was going on and on about for her birthday she wanted frosting and sprinkles just like the cake she had helped my mom make for Tony's birthday. I briefly pondered just letting my mom handle the cake but since Sundays are so busy with church, skiing and skating, I had to come up with something myself.
We had heart shaped sugar cookies. (Ground oats, coconut, and turbinado sugar mixed with coconut oil and vanilla coconut milk.) The frosting was honey and coconut oil. Topped with blueberry halves and sprinkled with more turbinado sugar. And more blueberries on the side and middle. The candle is stuck into one blueberry at the bottom.
Tali was very happy with the frosting. :) That seemed to be the most important part of her birthday celebration. She's pretty excited to finally be three.
Dress-up and a new floor. We ripped out the white carpet in the dining room and replaced it with this laminate flooring. The girls helped with the demolition and tried to stay out of the way for the installation. It was -20 so we couldn't even go outside to get out of the way. We are planning to do the living room too but we're going to wait until the weather's a little warmer.
Getting ready to make rainbow kabobs for Mike's mom's birthday.
Showing off their tall tower.
Trying to keep Julia from knocking it over.
Amanda knocked it over instead.
More rainbow kabobs with more veggies. Half sticks are better.
Kale and collards ready to be put in smoothies or made into chips. If you've ever made kale chips, you'll love collard chips. We tear them into chip-size pieces, lightly coat them with coconut oil, spread them in a thin layer on a stone bar pan, sprinkle with salt and bake for twelve minutes. They get crispy even without the oil so I'm make them oil-free for Mike. They can be baked on parchment paper on a regular cookie sheet.
I'm still make smoothies every day. Some days I can skip if I make a really big batch the day before. The green ones have the kale, cilantro, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, orange and grapes. The pink ones have frozen tropical fruit mix, apples, oranges, little bit of sweet potato and a little bit of beets. I'm not a fan of the root veggies in the smoothies. I don't like the texture. I'd rather eat the carrots and sweet potatoes raw in sticks anyways.
I've been experimenting a lot. Which would explain why I haven't lost any weight. ;) Here's some oat crackers. I'm going to try soaking the oat flour in a little bit of vinegar and water to soften up the texture. Just oats, water, and salt baked at 350 for 10 minutes or so.
" Mom can you take a picture?"
And Julia wearing something other than p.j.'s. Everybody wants to hold her. She doesn't really want to be held most of the time.
She's got seven teeth. She's still just army crawling most of the time. She quit saying the words she was saying: mama, dada, sister. Now she just laughs at us when we try to get her to say something. I think she did say, "All done" at the table the other day. Which is significantly better than yelling at me and throwing her cup.
She has recently decided that only mom with do. Which is unfortunate because I have decided that I'm really enjoying skiing and keep trying to figure out how to get away so I can. Usually it means Mike listens to Julia gripe the whole time I'm gone.
Amanda's first time down the 5M ski jump with Grandma helping. My mom said that she finally yelled, "Let me GO!" Ha ha!
And a few times with me sending her down. She was so excited to jump. She didn't want to wait for any instructions.
Finally after some good coaching from her uncle and the ski coach, this was Amanda's final jump of the night off the 10M jump. She probably jumped about 10 times total. She fell the first three or four times, but the ski coach told her to look at the light on the lift shack instead of at her feet. After that she didn't fall again. She loved it!
Next question: "How do you do shopping trips so often and with so many littles!?" I never take my kids shopping. Mike has been doing the grocery shopping after he helps me get the kids to bed and I'm laying down with them. I've made two trips since this project began. Once in the evening after dinner and before bed time. Once on a Saturday. It had been over a month since I had set foot in any store. I can go for months at a time without going to the store.
More questions: "Do you always use organic?" No, in fact this week was the first time we bought any organic. There's not a great selection and the prices are pretty high. I can't wait for the farmer's market and our garden to get going. None of this eating information is really new to me but it makes such a huge difference knowing that Mike is on board and driving this ship. There's a lot of garden stuff that I just can't do without his help and now he's really looking forward to doing it too.
"How do you know what adequate chewing is or isn't?" I don't know but I know I can't break the food down as well as my blender. Since having dental work done a month ago, my teeth have been really sensitive so I have been avoiding many raw foods. Plus it is so time consuming. There is always some one who needs a question answered, be directed some where or told to do or stop doing something. I was constantly gulping things down so my mouth was clear to talk.
"Are all the veggies raw? How do you add hard veggies and blend raw? Cut up? Shredded?" All the veggies are raw. I've know for some time the importance and value of raw food. "You are a living being you need living foods." But some veggies I just don't like raw including spinach and kale. I still don't like broccoli raw. I'm so happy because I know I'm getting all these veggies raw now. I do chop up the hard veggies and fruits because I don't want to burn out my blender and it prevents them from getting stuck above the blades. I cut some for the smoothies and save some in the fridge for the girls or to steam for Julia. It really never feels like more work because once everything is all set up for cutting veggies, I can prepare all the ones I need. This has led to more raw veggies in the fridge to pack for the girls snacks on the go too. I had gotten really lax and would just grab crackers.
"Do you ever use white potatoes? Are Katie fries a thing of the past?" We still do oven fries but the are usually sweet potatoes these days. I also use the Yukon gold potatoes. The girls don't really like potatoes so they are a treat for Mike and me which is why I buy the Yukons over russets. Although Mike just watched another documentary about the Engine2 diet which decries the value of oils. Sorry, Honey, this is where I get off the train. Loooove my EVOO and coconut oil. ;) Maybe he just means cutting back on oil if you're trying to lose weight. So the girls and I can still indulge. I usually prepare the meats at a separate time than the smoothies so I don't have to work about contaminating the raw foods. I still cook rice, wild and brown, and noodles for the girls. I will also occasionally cook frozen veggies like peas and beans. But I'd rather have a smoothie.
Elisa had some questions after the last post about our smoothie-making so I'm going to answer them here. "What's a frappacino jar?"
Frappacino is a blended coffee drink that Mike was buying. He saved the jars and started mixing his own coffee at home. Pint canning jars would work too. A smaller container that seals tightly so you can shake before drinking is what you need. "Does juicing/making smoothies add anything besides aids in digestion? Most all those foods we eat as foods, so I don't need an extra step (and more dishes) unless there is a big reason why." Aiding in the digestion is the point. Why eat all the fruit and veggies if I can't or my kids can't chew them well enough to process the nutrition? The other factor is adding to the quantity and variety of the veggies and fruit we are consuming in a day. I used to eat most of the veggies listed but the ones I was missing are the most important. Primarily getting more raw, leafy greens like kale, spinach, collards, etc., has been the goal. Beets and sweet potatoes have great nutritional value but I rarely eat those raw. Also, getting those bitter herbs that stimulate cleansing like cilantro and parsley. It actually has meant significantly less work for me. Once a day, I make up the smoothies. Then I have a fresh, raw drink to consume while I'm preparing things for the girls. It's very filling and satisfying. I also have something easy to take on the go. I also wonder how these would go down for some one with morning sickness. I don't recommend them as a midnight snack though. They seem to lead to laying in bed coming up with all kinds of new recipes and lifestyle changes. ;) Vacuum sealing washed and prepared greens in mason jars, having a veggie prep day, bringing plastic tubs to the grocery store so I don't have to use all the individual plastic bags, figuring out how to make microwave popcorn for Mike...those are a few of the midnight inspired ideas. "Why did you lose your taste for canned things? Because this new way of eating or was it long ago?" It was because of the new way of eating. After having a few smoothies, that's all I wanted. After having fresh raw veggies anything cooked tasted heavy and sticky. I wanted fresh salsa on my chicken, not the bland canned stuff we had. It was the same way with spaghetti sauce. I usually put canned spaghetti sauce on my meat and beans if I don't do taco seasoning with salsa. I wanted fresh tomatoes and basil to put on instead and could hardly wait to get back to the store to find some. Mike watched another show called "Forks over Knives" and told me about how much sicker people are with the amount of animal products we eat. As we were having this conversation, I sent my cousin, this message, "Oh dear...I think we're going vegan.." After more discussion, we are just going to cut back on the amount of meat we consume. A few more smoothie tidbits: I'm going do green smoothies separate from red smoothies. I mixed sweet potatoes and a little bit of beets into the regular smoothie. The color was quite unappealing. Although the girls said that it looked like chocolate. Ha ha! So same basic fruit bases: apples, oranges, grapes. Then greens in one batch and beets and sweet potatoes and carrots in another batch. I've begun pouring half into a pitcher and adding more. I can make more smoothies and it makes it easier to pour into the jars. Finally, it's important to balance the iron-rich greens with Vitamin C-rich foods or juices. Constipation is the side effect of not enough Vitamin C with all these greens. Either in supplements or more citrus juice or fruit. Kiwis are good and you can cut the kiwi in half and then spoon out the inside. Super easy! Here's a recipe somebody posted on Facebook. I would start with smaller quantities of the "hard stuff" like the cilantro, parsley and cayenne. I prefer my cayenne and avocado in my salsa but I can easy consume all these foods in a day.
Finally, Amanda learned how to peel a sweet potato. The other girls were napping so she wanted to be doing what I was doing. The next night, she peeled two sweet potatoes and ask for something else to peel. Which lead to the other girls hollering, "I want something to peel too!" Amanda peeled five or six more carrots. I helped Ana peel some carrots and cucumber. I helped Tali cut a pepper and she took all the seeds out. One by one. :)
1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1-2 tablespoons melted butter
Pour kernels into a plain brown paper bag. Crimp/fold the top of the bag over itself and place on its side in the microwave. Cook on high for 2 minutes or until the popping slows to 5-7 second intervals. Remove from microwave and toss with butter and salt.
Two weeks ago, Mike decided that he wasn't getting enough nutrition as part of his diet and wanted to start juicing. In our case, this really means making smoothies because we don't have a juicer. He had watched the food documentary "Hungry for Change" and bought the ingredients they recommended for cleansing.
For the first smoothie, I put about a 1/2 cup of V8 juice in the bottom of the blender then added cucumber, celery, orange bell pepper, cilantro, and kale. I only added small amount of the leafy greens. That one tasted okay. We considered it a victory to choke that first one down. :)
The next day, I used grapes and fruit juice as the base and mixed it with the other vegetables. This smoothie was much better. Ever since then I've made a batch of smoothies every day and stored them in frappaccino jars in the fridge.
Here's what I've learned.
You need something very watery to get the blender going so I put the grapes in first with about a cup of water. I like grapes, pears, oranges, apples as the base for the vegetables.
I like cilantro, celery, cucumber, sweet bell peppers, spinach, kale, and parsley for the vegetables. All of them or some of them depending on what I have. It really doesn't matter because the point is to get more veggies.
I recently shredded up some ginger and mixed it with the juice of one lemon and keep it in the fridge. A spoonful or two of that mixture in a smoothie is yummy too.
I make fruit and berry smoothies separate for when Mike just wants something sweet. I used a frozen tropical fruit mix after it had thawed to make the girls a pink smoothie. Ana and Tali like most of the smoothies. Amanda doesn't like the texture but will eat all the veggies while I'm preparing the smoothies. Pineapple is strong and heavy textured. I think I'd like it in smaller amounts. I haven't used many bananas because I'm afraid they will turn the smoothie brown in the fridge.
I quickly lost a taste for all canned foods: salsa, canned spaghetti sauce, canned juice etc. So I made fresh salsa with cilantro, green onions, garlic, bell pepper, lime juice and tomatoes in the food processor attachment. I like it mixed with avocados and on taco meat. When I get some fresh basil I'm going to try a tomato, basil, garlic, olive oil topping for meat and beans to replace spaghetti sauce.
I don't like broccoli as a smoothie veggie. Peppers don't agree with Mike. If the kale or spinach flavor is too strong, adding a couple oranges, lime or lemon juice balances out the flavor. Vitamin C foods also help the body assimilate the iron from the green veggies.
I don't care for the texture of root veggies in the smoothies but may try to add them in smaller amounts. Carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes are next on the list to try.
I need to drink lots of water with these smoothies or dilute them. It was a lot of fiber to suddenly add to my diet.
Mike also started eating clean. He cut out processed grains, added sugars, high fructose corn syrup, foods containing MSG and it's derivatives. That one is a bit tricky because of the hidden names of MSG but he's cut out or is slowly using up the obvious sources. Almost anything processed has the ingredient "natural flavoring" which could be an MSG-like substance.
Mike lost 10 lbs in two weeks. He said he's always tried to just exercise away the extra weight but this time he's going to try diet too. Although, it's not just a diet but a life style change. I'm so proud of him and love making up the smoothies. I love preparing clean, fresh foods for my family but haven't been really motivated to do it because it seemed to go unappreciated. Granted life has gotten very busy but I had resorted to handing the girls quick snacks like crackers and such because they were in the cupboard and easy to hand off to whining kids. Now smoothies are our fast foods. Julia has even sampled a few and it might be the ticket to get her a greater variety of foods since she won't let me spoon feed her. I add more water to hers.
I really enjoy knowing I'm getting more nutrition too. I eat a lot of fruit and veggies but I know I don't take the time to chew my food well. I'm happy to be getting all those leafy greens that I know I'm supposed to have too. It's so great to just grab and bottle out of the fridge and have a quick pick me. A much better choice than chocolate. ;)
Do you have any smoothies experience or suggestions for ingredients?
We are a Christian couple joyfully answering God's call on our life to welcome children into our home. We have two boys, Tyler and Tony, and adopted our first daughter, Amanda, in August of 2007 and a second daughter, Christiana, in July of 2009. Talitha joined our family in February 2010 after a surprise pregnancy. Julia was an even bigger surprise in January 2012.