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Chia Seed Ice-Cream (Sugar Free and Vegan)

My favorite commercial right now is the Geico one where ex-NFL player Ickey Woods is waiting in line to buy cold cuts, and gets ridiculou...

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Best Ever Cauliflower Crust Pizza!





I love pizza.  The end.  Ok, there's more.  I could eat pizza every single day and not get tired of it.  Really!  (I tried it once in my twenties).  I also love cute clothes, which is why I don't eat pizza every day.  Boo.  Then cauliflower pizza crust entered my life, and all is well again, because you actually could eat it every day.  Here comes the confession.  It will never be exactly like the pizza you're used to, be it NYC's thin crust or Chicago's deep dish style.  Until now.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Peaches 'N Greens (Green Smoothie)



I was excited to see fresh peaches back at the grocery store the other day.  It's a little early in the season for them, but they went in my cart anyway.  After tasting this smoothie, I'm glad.  This is another fantastic beginner recipe, or one that's perfect for the kids.  I don't usually add yogurt to my smoothies, I like to fill them with as much produce and keep it as pure as possible, but I couldn't get peaches 'n cream out of my head.  The result was a creamy, sweet treat, full of hidden greens! 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Grapefruit, Mango, and Coconut Green Smoothie (with Collard Greens & Bok Choy)


Here is another grapefruit smoothie, but this one I've sweetened up.  Last week's Teeny Bikini Green Smoothie contained grapefruit for it's appetite curbing and fat-burning properties.  However since I wanted a weight loss smoothie, I used very little fruit to keep the sugar low, just some grapefruit and lemon.  If you're new to juicing and blending it may not have been sweet enough, so this one is another option.  Grapefruit's effect on insulin and fat metabolism is why it is beneficial for losing weight.  Combined with the powerful greens, this smoothie is nutritional bang for your buck.  But it's so refreshingly sweet and delicious, it tastes almost like a tropical shake.  Coconut water is ultra hydrating and is a great addition the this smoothie. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Coconut & Lime Chicken Soup



This has been my favorite light dish for the spring and summer for years.  It's creamy and refreshing at the same time, the perfect blend of coconut milk and tangy limes.  This recipe is a variation on a few different Thai soups, but mostly from this recipe: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/chicken/coconut-lime-chicken-soup/
After you de-bone the rotisserie chicken, this comes together in minutes.  I love it with or without the quinoa added.  If we're just having the soup for dinner, I'll add the quinoa to make it more substantial, (mostly for my husband who can't understand how anyone could possibly just eat soup for dinner!)  So for this reason, that's why I like to serve it alongside my caramelized onion, spinach, and feta quesadillas (recipe coming soon!), and in that case I leave the quinoa out.   


INGREDIENTS~
1 14.5 oz. can unsweetened Lite coconut milk
1 can chicken broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup shredded carrots
juice from 3-5 limes (depending on how tangy you like it)
1 1/2 Tbsp tamari (or low sodium soy sauce)
1/2 tsp salt
cilantro
limes for garnish

Optional:
1 Tbsp bottled Pad Thai sauce

*To make vegan, omit the chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.  Increase the quinoa to 2 cups, or use brown rice noodles (cooked separately and added at the end)  OR add white northern beans, also delicious!

1.  Take the 1 1/2 cups of chicken off the bones and shred.  Set aside.
2.  In a large stockpot, bring the broth, coconut milk, and water to a boil.  Rinse the quinoa ( if using) and add to the broth, along with the carrots.   Boil gently for 10-15 minutes, until carrots and quinoa are cooked.  Stir in the tamari (or soy sauce), and pad thai sauce, if using. 
3.  Add the chicken and lime juice, simmer for 5 more minutes.  Season with the salt, and pepper if desired. 
4.  Serve in bowls and top with cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice. 



Sunday, April 6, 2014

Easter Bunny "Green" Smoothie for Kids


Spring is here!  Easter is right around the corner, so as I was decorating my house with eggs and bunnies today, I was inspired to make a carrot-orange "green" smoothie for the kids.  I truly believe you have to make being healthy fun for children.  They respond so much better to that than the endless barking of "eat your vegetables!"  What a fun way to surprise them on the week of Easter with a themed smoothie....peep garnish optional. 


Ingredients~

1/2 orange (peeled)
1 banana
1/2 golden beet (scrubbed and peeled)
1 beet leaf
1 red leaf lettuce leaf
1 cup frozen peaches
1/2 cup baby carrots
1 cup water
orange food coloring (optional)

Place the orange, banana, and carrots in the high speed blender first, then the remaining ingredients. 

* If using a juicer, leave the orange peel on, and use fresh peaches.  Double the amount of each ingredient.   Omit the water, banana, and food coloring.

** If you're children are new to green smoothies, it may be helpful to add a small container of vanilla flavored yogurt.  Add more water as necessary. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

DIY Closet Monster Hamper for Kids!



My kids are a little too young for chores.  However, I'm trying to teach them to be responsible for their own things and to start helping out around the house.  No matter how hard I try to keep up, I can never stay ahead of the laundry.  What really gets me is at the end of the day, while tucking my kids into bed, I trip over piles of their dirty clothes.  I've asked them time and time again to put their clothes in the laundry room at night, but it just never happened.  One rainy day we were doing art projects in the basement, and I spotted a Pampers box.  I decided to try a new angle.  We cut out pieces of construction paper and taped them all over the box, and cut out eyes and arms.  After it was put together, I took clear packaging tape and taped over the entire thing so it wouldn't rip.  This is the result - a silly (not scary!) closet monster hamper that needed to be fed every night with dirty laundry.  I warned the boys that if they didn't put their clothes in, he would tickle them in the middle of the night!  Well, it worked, this quick and simple project has led to a much tidier room.  By turning my nagging into a fun bedtime routine, they are now excited to run and feed their monster before getting their pajamas on every night. 

Supplies~
1 large cardboard box
different colors of construction paper
makers
scotch tape
clear packaging tape

Cut the construction paper to fit the box, and tape to the sides, top, bottom, and inside.  Cut out arms and eyes, decorate with markers, and attach with tape.  Go over the entire monster with the clear packaging tape to seal.  Done!



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring Fling! (Favorite Looks for Spring)

It's a little strange that as I'm typing this, we're getting 4-6 inches of snow.  But it is April, so after today, this should be it!  As much as I love snow, today I'm unpacking all of the spring and summer clothes, along with the Easter decorations.  It's a welcome sight to see all of the fresh, pretty colors after months of darker colors. 

Fall fashion will always be my favorite, something about boots, cozy sweaters, and fall runway looks just excite me.  But it is nice to be able to wear lighter layers and actual clothes, before the heat of the summer sentences us to bikinis, tank tops, and shorts.  I put together some of my favorite looks on Polyvore for Spring 2014:

1.  Pop of Neon - I am still loving the neon trend leftover from last year.  It's the perfect way to transition winter tees into spring.  Of course there has to be a tiny bit of sparkle, too.  And yes, I wear white pants before Memorial Day!

2.  Lavender & Red - This look can be a little hard to pull off, but if you find the right pieces, I think it's stunning.  Be sure to tone it down with khaki, in this case the khaki leather toughens it up, too.  Although I wouldn't wear this all at once, it's nice to get ideas.  And don't you just love the ipad case?!

3.  It's a little ridiculous how excited I was when I learned that Pantone's color of 2014 was Radiant Orchid.  For years I've been trying to find this perfect shade of purple while clothes shopping, and "electric lavender" wasn't turning up any searches on Google.  This year, thanks to Pantone, there is an abundance of pretty purple blouses to choose from (along with everything else).  And I couldn't be happier. 

4.  Pale Blue, White, and Light Gold - I love this crisp color combo, it is so fresh looking to me.  The blue and the white are almost monochromatic, so the pop of elegant gold really brings the whole look together.  Bronzed legs are a requirement!

5.  Black & Petal Pink - Perfect for those still cool days, this looks works because of the crisp tailoring.  Cropped skinnies look great with pointed flats, and feel oh so ladylike after a winter of boots.  Pearls are the perfect accessory.  

6.  Last year's chevron craze has carried over into geometric prints of all kinds, and I'm looking for any patterned blouse like these that I can get my hands on. They look chic while still being fun, and bonus points for mixing different colors! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

5 Tips For Getting Kids To Drink Green Smoothies + Beginner Recipe!

 
We all know how hard it is to get kids (and some adults!) to eat their vegetables.  Let's face it, a bowl of broccoli is never going to be appealing as a chocolate chip cookie.  When my first son was a baby, I spent a lot of time preparing purees from steamed veggies, that I would separate into 1/2 cup portions, and freeze in baggies.  Then I would sneak them into any meals I was making.  It worked like a charm, but with each additional child it just became too time consuming.  And there were too many days where the macaroni and cheese was done but I had forgotten to defrost the cauliflower puree to sneak in. 
 
When we purchased our Vitamix, we all became healthier.  Now my husband and I just make a little extra "juice" in the morning, and give each boy their daily dose of veggies.  We are done stressing about them eating their vegetables the rest of the day, although they both have a few favorites that they love to eat.  Not only is this juice so much healthier than the sugar packed, heat treated juice on the store (heat kills the enzymes in fruits and veggies), but we are able to hide things in there that you could never find in your regular bottle of apple juice.  Brussel sprouts, anyone?  After years of bribing our kids to drink these green smoothies, we have come up with a few tips and tricks.