Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chocolate shake, medium food in action

When I was pregnant with my second son last summer and working two jobs, my son, Gavin, was unfortunately introduced to the drive-thru and the chocolate shake. What was I thinking? Well, I was pregnant so I'll use that as my excuse and leave it at that.

My husband and I have always been great with how we feed Gav. Organic baby foods, whole grain breads, etc. But I broke our streak. And as I should have expected, Gavin took a liking to those junky shakes. I knew I had to find a replacement that Gav would accept ASAP.

Occasionally, we stop by Jamba Juice. Those smoothies can really get expensive so that's why I say, occasionally. I also understand the high amount of sugar some of them can pack, another good reason not to visit often. Anyhow, I remembered they have a chocolate smoothie. So the next time my son requested a chocolate shake, that's where we would go.

The request inevitably came and my plan was set into motion. As soon as he realized we weren't heading in the direction of the chocolate shake place, he protested. I confidently told him not to worry, we were indeed on our way to get him a chocolate shake. As we parked, he unhappily said "this is the smoothie place mommy, not where I get my chocolate shake!" Again, confidently and with excitement, I told him that the smoothie place makes chocolate shakes too! I must have been convincing because his concern subsided and after inside, he waited calmly for his "chocolate shake."

I was a bit nervous upon handing him the cup. He looked through the clear lid and after a second of concern on his face, his eyes lit up. The contents within looked like his familiar treat and then after the first sip, a big smile appeared. I smiled back at him and he said "mommy, it is my chocolate shake!" I said "see honey, mommy told you they made chocolate shakes here."

I got lucky. My son made the switch without an issue. Now, going to Jamba Juice is automatically what he expects when we go out for a shake. I'm proud of him and of me for nipping this potential taste for junky fast food in the bud.

And as an FYI, here's the nutritional info comparison:




Jamba Juice Chocolate Moo'd, 16 oz.43048627711
Fast Food Chocolate Shake, 16 oz.5801410218413

Monday, May 24, 2010

Refried beans (my way)

One of the easiest foods to make is refried beans. So why do I always buy a can of them? Good old convenience I suppose. Well in my ongoing efforts to eliminate as many cans and boxes, I discovered a great way to make my own. And unlike other scratch vs. prepared, this one is actually more cost-effective to make from scratch.

Homemade Refried Style Beans

3 cups dry pinto beans (I use organic)
1 medium onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons salt
9 cups water

Rinse beans. Put beans, onion, garlic, salt and water in crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours. Strain beans, reserving the liquid. Mash beans adding liquid as needed for desired consistency.

There are variations on this recipe that add black pepper, diced jalapeno and/or cumin. I've tried it with jalapeno but prefer it without mainly because it's too spicy for my son. I've also tried it with pepper and without, liked it better without. As you can see, there is a lot of room for variation and putting your own spin on this basic recipe. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Organic vs. Conventional

I mentioned in a previous post that we don't always buy organic. It comes down to budget. We can't buy everything organic and all the boutique type real foods out there, just don't have the cash flow. On that note, I thought I'd post the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 of produce from the Environmental Working Group's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides.

Dirty Dozen:
Bell Peppers
Grapes (Imported)

Clean 15:
Sweet Corn
Sweet Peas
Sweet Potato

This is important information to have. It's good for your health and your budget.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Good snack

I like to bake and enjoy finding and trying new recipes. Upon searching for a replacement for my husband's afternoon snack of packaged fig bars, I found the following recipe from a great blog called Enlightened Cooking.

This bread is fantastic! I changed one ingredient, link to the original recipe is at the end of this post.

Camilla’s Whole Grain Banana Bread with Flax

2 cups white whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds (flax meal)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 and 2/3 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x5-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl whisk the flour, flax, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.

In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer (I hand mixed it) set at medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the banana, yogurt, and vanilla until just blended. Stir in the flour mixture by hand until just blended. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake 55-60 minutes (mine is always done at 55 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Invert onto wire rack, turn upright, and cool completely. Makes 14 slices/servings. (I slice it into 12 pieces.)

Camilla’s Whole Grain Banana Bread with Flax is a must try recipe. Click here for the original post/recipe.