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My fruit salad is bringing sexy back.

Talk about busy…

The hubs and I have been hit with a lot of overtime at work lately. We’re officially in overtime regarding our new house, too. We were supposed to close almost 2 weeks ago, at the latest, and we’re still waiting. So things are packed up, and we’re trying to keep our current house in “showable” condition, which means not much cooking, not much grocery shopping, and not much sanity left for either of us. We’re in major “keep your eye on the prize” mode, just hoping to get through this without falling apart.

Needless to say, there’s not much going on in our house lately that qualifies as “sexy.” :|

Unless, of course, you count my fruit salad.

I mean, when you think about it, what could be sexier than an overflowing bowl of the summer’s finest fruits, fresh from the heart of Central PA’s farmer’s markets?

Juicy, sweet canary melons…

along with Crenshaw melon, ripe peaches, tangy pineapple…and some berries from our friends’ yard for color…

Taking an hour on a Sunday afternoon to cut up fruit – letting the juices drip down to my elbows and popping far too many pieces into my mouth – does wonders for my mental state. That time is like therapy for me, refocusing my mind on what’s really important on my priority list (it’s so easy to forget, sometimes.)

It makes me feel like a good mom knowing I’m not resorting to the temptation of convenience foods during this superbusy time in our lives (and I’m ensuring good, healthy milk for my son, too!) Plus, when I’m done, I have a fridge full of healthy, ready-to-go food for snacks, lunches and side dishes for the whole family, which saves me tons of time during the week.

…time I can devote to a little QT with my husband.

And if that ain’t sexy, I don’t know what is. ;)

 

 

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Filed under Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Rainy Day Squash Boats

I’m all for rain, but what’s with the threatening skies every time I have a day off!? Not being able to hang laundry outside really throws a wrench into the rest of my week. 

Rrrrr…. :x

Oh well. It’s good for the garden, right? Besides, a rainy day is the perfect time to take care of some things on the To-Do list and spend some playtime in the kitchen!

To-Do for Today? Baby food!

Back when I was prego, I got a lot of cr*p from people when I said I wanted to make my own baby food (among other things…) I never said I wanted to make every single bite of it, but I did want my baby to eat homemade food whenever possible. You should have heard all the comments I got…“You just wait…you won’t have time”…”Must be nice to have that much free time on your hands”…”Ha ha…I said that, too, and then I woke up to reality.” I heard ‘em all. Some people just laughed at me and rolled their eyes.

For those people, this is for you.

I timed it, and it took me all of 20 minutes during my son’s midday nap to turn one organic mango and 3 organic peaches into 7 servings of fresh, healthy, beautiful baby food. I mean, come on…it’s not rocket science.

Only the nice fleshy parts are included.

One for the next day at Grammie’s house, and the rest for the freezer. He’s not eating a whole lot at once right now, so I’m still making small batches. Once we graduate up to big batches, it will be even more efficient. 

I paid a total of $5 for the lot, and I don’t have to worry about all these scary recalls. Priceless, in my opinion.

It’s that easy, and believe me, I don’t have ANY spare time on my hands these days.

Note to self: People will always tell you YOU CAN’T. Always know that YOU CAN. (especially when little eyes are watching your example and taking notes…)

Once that was done, the sun came out so grilling came to mind. I have vowed not to shop for a few days because I want to use up some of the masses of random groceries taking over my kitchen, so I started rummaging…

Hmmm….a few yellow summer squash from the garden. Those are fresh and perishable, so they definitely need to be involved here…

Quinoa needs to be used up….have a can of black beans….some tomato sauce…garlic, sea salt….hmmm….

Squash boats! Sort of. They were too small to dig out the middles and stuff, but they were happy to be topped with a yummy quinoa something-or-other.

Olive oil, salt and pepper.

Oh, too dark. Nope! Turns out they were just right.

Pot full o’stuff. More than enough for 2 dinners and 2 lunches!

I feel like this was missing something green, but my kale was buggy. Eek! A good dousing of hot sauce kicked it up a little.

In the end, I feel like I accomplished a few things: I spent very little, I used up some neglected pantry items, and I fed my family the way I want to without much time in the kitchen. 

Feeling like a pretty good mommy today… :D

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A lot of people say that they can’t eat a healthy made-from-scratch diet because they don’t have time. What’s your response to that excuse?

The zucchini/squash onslaught has begun! What’s your best recipe?

Reminder: don’t forget to enter to win free products from Turtle Mountain! I’ll be picking a 2 winners on Saturday, 6.26…

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Burger and Fries!

I have some catching up to do!

What gets my vote for best 3pm snack this week? 

These guys, who made a surprise appearance at my desk during the afternoon slump! They arrived courtesy of my friend who happens to be a registered dietitian, so I ate one happily, no questions asked, and packed up the other for the Hus.

CHOMP!

Did you ever just get bored with your ol’ standby breakfast, only to eat it and realize why it became your breakfast of choice in the first place?

Yesterday, my cup runneth over with So Delicious coconut milk (beverage) and Granbiotics granola, topped with cranberries and one date, for good measure…

…along with more Mother’s Milk tea. I think this stuff is really working! I thought all that galactagogue talk might be a bunch of hooey, but my supply is increasing nicely. I still don’t like the anise flavor, but it’s not bothering me that much anymore. Besides, I never really liked handling poop or having bags under my eyes from sleep deprivation before either, but I deal. It’s all part of parenting, right?

Breakfast was fun. Little F is getting so curious about Mommy’s food, and he intently watches as I raise and lower my spoon for each bite, not aware that he’s imitating my motions with his mouth. It’s super cute, and I love that he’s watching me eat something healthy (most of the time… ;)

I just love being a mommy. Especially his mommy.

Daddy wanted burgers and fries, so I decided to oblige him, ABCGP-style!

I had a bunch of beautiful parsnips, courtesy of my favorite grocery store Produce Man (my Dad!) so I cut them up and made some parsnip fries! A drizzle of olive oil on one side, macadamia nut oil on the other, salt and pepper.

I also sprinkled a few with some chipotle powder a friend made for us out of our garden jalapenos…

400º for about 25 minutes…

A few were a little thin, but the core was really fat and I didn’t have much choice. Maybe smaller parsnips are better?

His burger: moo-cow. Mine: Sunshine!

Fresh salsa, crumbled feta, and basil from the garden, with a swipe of avo-hummus underneath.

Bruschetta Sunshine Burger, maybe? Either way, deeee-lish.

It was time to thin out the beet patch, so I found myself with these beautiful babies…

Not sure what I’ll do with them yet, but this new addition to the family sure is giving me some ideas…

I can’t think of a better present right now! Many thanks to Grammie Garden Pea!

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Do you eat the same thing for breakfast every day? Do you get bored? (I find that limiting my options makes it easier for me to make sure that A. I actually eat breakfast , and B. I make a healthy choice at 5am. Do you agree?)

What’s your favorite way to eat beets?

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Tangy Corn and Black Bean Salad

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! The weather here was stellar, and you just can’t beat a sunny 3-day weekend.

In our circle of friends, Memorial Day is not only a day to remember and honor our fallen soldiers, but it’s also the beginning of the summer cookout season! Without fail, we will be invited to an outdoor party every single weekend from now until Labor Day, and possibly beyond. 

I love hanging out with friends, lounging in a lawn chair, and drinking a cold beer as much as the next guy, but those kinds of days do not do good things for the “Summer To-Do List” of house projects.

All this BBQin’ poses another problem, and I’ll bet it’s one to which all of you fine folks out in blogland can relate. 

What do you EAT at these things?

Burgers? Occasionally. Most mayonnaisey salads? Nope. Chips? Nope. Soda? Nope. Hot dogs? ACK! Deviled eggs? Double ACK!

I could go on for pages, but you get the idea.

Now, I’m not vegan, and I’m not even vegetarian, but I eat little meat and I strive to eat whole, organic foods whenever possible. How do you explain that? I was asked just today if I was vegan and I didn’t know how to respond. “Um, no, but I really like the way I feel when I eat vegan food, but I eat meat once in a while, and fish, and I don’t believe that dairy products are healthy for us, but I can’t seem to get the ice cream monkey off my back…”

It’s a complicated answer, especially when I’m explaining it to people who don’t know me. I end up looking like little more than a really picky eater, or I just look rude. Really, the answer is:

I just don’t eat like you eat.

I told my husband I might just adopt the vegan label and become a closet-burger eater on the rare occasion when I happen to find some grass-fed beef and I’m in the mood. It would simplify things, I think. Sure, I could just not explain it, but it always comes up. Always. It’s probably because I have horrible food anxiety when I’m around groups of people, and I often sit there with an empty plate while everyone else eats, but I think that is a subject for another day…

And then there’s the question of what to bring. My go-to item for a BYODish cookout is a simple watermelon. Kids and adults love it, it’s quick and easy, and I know I will have something to eat. 

But that’s boring, and there is that little part of me that holds on to that tiny glimmer of hope that if I bring something non-traditional, something that I like, it just might go over BIG!

It never happens (but then I have lots of leftovers for myself :D )

Today’s cookout was at my husband’s brother’s house. I really wasn’t feeling the watermelon, so I decided on another on my go-to list: a tangy corn and black bean salad. This one usually wins a few fans, and it’s fantastic served alone, on a burger, or (my personal favorite) on a piece of fish.

I adapted this recipe by combining the best parts of several I’ve tried. It’s got a nice vinegar-y bite, which I totally dig.

Tangy Corn and Black Bean Salad

Cook 2 ears of fresh corn, cut corn from cobs. 

In a large bowl, combine: 

corn

 1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp white sugar

1/2 tsp chili pepper

1/2 tsp cumin

6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil

freshly chopped cilantro, to taste (3–4 Tbsp)

Spritz of fresh lime

Mix and refrigerate 1–2 hours so flavors can mingle.

Enjoy!

I didn’t see any on the kids’ plates, but I didn’t have any leftovers either!

Score one for the veg!

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What do you call your “eating style”? Do you subscribe to any one label, or are you a hybrid mix like me? Do you find it hard to explain?

What’s your favorite dish to bring to a cookout? 

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I Heart Tomatoes

What do you do when there is a luncheon at work, and nobody wants the leftover salsa? Why, you take it, of course. And then you EAT IT!

But when you have no chips, you’ve gotta get crafty….

I’m really digging this Food for Life bread. It has sprouted grains, you know.

Oh yeah, I have some of that Yucatan Avo-hummus in the fridge… Who knew I’d find so many ways to use that stuff? It’s so huggable!

This was such a good snack that I had 2 and it turned into lunch!

Later, I was feeling a bit poached-salmony, and I thought that would be good topped with fresh salsa. Turns out I was right. As usual, I had lots of garden spinach to use up, along with more local strawberries. I threw them together with an orange (see my first attempt at orange supremes below), a little feta, some walnuts and my fork! I was very smiley while eating this… :D

I hope Finn is smiley, too. They say the flavors of your food influence the flavor of your breastmilk, and that a varied diet can influence your child’s palate throughout life. Neat, eh?

Oh, and a little sidenote: Why haven’t I been making my own salad dressing? Duh. This one was lemon olive oil, rice wine vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard and oregano. A few good whisks, and it was better than any store-bought bottle. Hello!?

What’s the use of talking about food if you’re not going to mention the best beverage on the planet

I mean that. Best. Drink. Ever. Period.

I want to work for Sweet Leaf. I wonder if they have a position, like, say…Tea Drinker?

Granny wisdom for today?

Yeah, I don’t know about that. I love shoes and expensive ingredients, and money sure can buy those!

My favorite Sweet Leaf Grannyism to date? Life is a Garden. Dig it.

Wait…where do you think you’re going? My salsa might be gone, but my tomato bender isn’t over quite yet. 

If I could actually be a tomato, this is the one I’d be. Isn’t it pretty? Forget the flowers…I want a bouquet of these!

Today we’re heading out to the annual Blues Fest at the Spyglass Ridge Winery!  This is one event that we really look forward to every year, I just hope it doesn’t rain too much. No wine for mama this time, but I’ll have a blast anyway, because this is the first year that WE are THREE!

Ta ta for now!

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I also like to stuff a baked potato with salsa. What do you do with salsa when you find yourself chip-less?

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