Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Healthy Halloween

I am soooo sick of Halloween candy and my son has not even gone trick-or-treating yet. I know, I know, all things in moderation. But, seriously some of this stuff is just nasty. I'm all for GOOD candy. Alas, he loves it ALL.

I wanted to post this healthy cookie recipe that was tasty and easy to spruce up for the festivities of a preschool Halloween party. It is from the new Sneaky Chef cookbook that is due out in December. The recipe is for Smores cookies and calls for regular marshmallows on top, but I replaced those with pumpkin marshmallows to suit the occasion. In all honesty, they would be much better with just plain marshmallows, maybe you could find colored marshmallows for the occasion.

Here is the link for the cookie recipe and here is the link to the Sneaky Chef website with some ideas for making your Halloween more active.

Also, here is another link to a blog that I follow on my sidebar that has some other healthy, but yummy treat options for Halloween.
Happy and safe trick-or-treating.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Great Idea?

I love it when a plan comes together. You know what I mean. You think that you have a great idea, whatever it may be, and it actually turns out to be a great idea. As opposed to the times that you think that you have a great idea and it turns out to be a disaster. I know that the suspense is killing you and that you must know my great idea. Well, here you go. . .

I used the oatmeal pancake mix that I told you about in this post. I am sure that you have tried it by now and that it is a staple in your household. If not, we will talk later. I combined this recipe with orange puree and a little cinnamon for a yummy twist on traditional pancakes. This was super easy because I already had my pancake mix pre-made and then just added 1/2 cup of orange puree and 1/4 t. of cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice) to the original pancake mix recipe.

In the recipes section of my blog, I will call these "orange pancakes."

Next time, I think that I will try it with a little pumpkin puree. I hope that turns out to be another great idea. We'll see.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cheesy Animal Crackers

Here is another second chance recipe. I tried this recipe over a year ago and was not thrilled with my original results, but recently tried again with a few modifications.

This homemade cheese cracker recipe starts with pureed chickpeas, a little olive oil and lots of whole grains rather than a stick of butter and loads of cheese or the unpronouncable ingredients found in store bought crackers.

I did modify the original recipe by using sharp cheddar cheese instead of low-fat cheddar cheese. I just don't like what they do to the cheese to make it low fat, so instead, choose to use the real stuff in moderation. I chose sharp cheddar because I thought the crackers could use a bolder cheese flavor.

When you roll out the dough, I recommend that you do it in small batches so that you can get the dough thin enough to make crackers.

When you bake the crackers, I recommend baking them for 10-12 minutes and then turning your oven up to broil for a minute or so to make the crackers more crispy.

These are fun because you can choose whatever shape you want. I made these out of small Noah's Ark cookie cutters because the lesson in Sunday school today was about Noah's Ark. We also made some out of Halloween cookie cutters.
One can of chickpeas makes a quadruple batch of crackers. So, for sake of ease, just puree chickpeas in food processor and throw in enough ingredients to quadruple the recipe. These crackers store for weeks or freeze for months so it is worth the time to go ahead and use all of the puree while you have it in the food processor. Also, I mix all of the ingredients together in the food processor so that the cheese is completely combined. When I mixed it in the mixer the cheese remained kind of stringy and it looked like some of my crackers had hair (that's never good).
Lastly, these crackers have been taste-tested and approved by my fellow Mommy & Me ladies, their kiddos, my husband (but, please don't tell him they have chickpeas or cheese in them) and the Sunday school class at church.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I know that this blog is supposed to be about sneaky food and cooking, but I am just so PROUD that I am about to pop! So, I had to share. . .because being a healthy mom is not just about eating healthy but being active and setting a good example for physical health.

About five months ago, my friend Christa over at Motivating Mommies, decided that she was going to run a half-marathon and challenged several of us to do the same. I am not sure why, but I thought this would be a good idea. Let me preface this by saying that I have never been a runner! I was the person saying, "Why would anyone want to run that far?" or "only if I'm being chased." But, something inside me said that I could do this. I just had to get my husband on board, because even if he didn't want to do it with me, I would need his help to accomplish the training. He said YES! So, we embarked on this crazy adventure together. He found this program online for a "couch to 5K" training. We started running 60 seconds at a time and this past weekend we actually RAN 13.1 miles. We were certainly not the fastest people on the road, but weren't the slowest either.

The best part for me was running the entire time with my husband by my side. You see, about a year and a half ago he broke his back. He suffered a T12 burst fracture in his spine in a freak accident while attending a toddler gymnastics class with our son. Our life was turned upside down, especially when we did not know what the long-term prognosis would be. This man that I married, who could have wallowed in self-pity and despair, chose to count his blessings. He only missed six weeks of work despite being in a hard shell brace for over three months and set an amazing example of how to handle adversity for our young son. So, when he said yes to this challenge we weren't sure how his back would tolerate so much running. I am so PROUD of him and of us. I am PROUD of the man that he is and has grown to be. I loved running beside him and hugging him as we crossed the finish line. I loved that we challenged each other when the other was not motivated and accomplished this goal together.

I am just so PROUD that I could pop. So, if we can do it, then so can you. Set a goal and as my friend Christa says, "Get up and move it!"


Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Sneaky Ingredient

We are on a journey to improve what we are eating in our home. I say journey, because it is a constant, ongoing process/adventure to become healthier. It is a journey that we have taken in baby steps. I have become a label reader, a blog reader, a book/magazine reader to try to make better choices about the food that we consume. The more I read the more frustrated I become with the products I find in our local stores. I thought I was buying the best bread as the first ingredient was "whole wheat," but not too far down was "high-fructose corn syrup." Really, in bread?

Soooo, as I was reading and reading and reading some more, I came across recipes for whole wheat bread, pitas and english muffins. These are not difficult to make, but do require some time at home as they need time to rise. They do not require any special equipment, but do call for some different ingredients if you plan on making these whole wheat.

Whole Wheat Bread

First, this recipe for whole wheat bread can be made with either part white and part wheat flour or entirely with whole wheat flour. Please note that if you plan on making this bread entirely with whole wheat flour then you will need to follow instruction further down the page. This bread was delicious!!! Light and a little sweet. We used it for sandwiches, dinner bread and toast. If you decide to make it entirely with whole wheat flour then you will need to purchase some ingredients to use as dough conditioners to help make the bread lighter.

The vital wheat gluten can be found in the health food or whole wheat section of the store. The granulated lecithin is a supplement that I found at a health foods store, but could also be found at a supplement store such as GNC. You use very little of this in the recipe so if you are in the Evansville area and want to make bread just let me know and I would be happy to share. I just realized that I did not include a picture of the citric acid, but it can be found with canning supplies.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Next, homemade whole wheat pita bread. I tried pita bread from the store because it was supposed to be healthier, but it was tough and frankly I did not enjoy eating it. Then, I found this recipe and I cannot tell you how much better homemade pitas are than store bought. Again, they are not difficult, but just take some time to allow the dough to raise. Plus, it is so much fun to watch them raise in the oven. Again this recipe was taste tested and approved by my boys and is in demand from my husband as we speak. Please make sure that your yeast is fresh as the first time I tried this mine was old and the pitas did not raise. Very disappointing, but yummy flat bread.

I didn't know you could make your own English muffins. But, you can and they are YUMMY! Again, not hard, just need time to raise. And, you pan fry them in a skillet on the stove top and do not bake them. I chose to make mine completely with whole wheat pastry flour and they turned out very well.

So, my new sneaky ingredient is LOVE. Something that cannot be found on the labels of the store bought version.
Moral to the story - even though there is nothing "sneaky" in these recipes you can easily identify every ingredient that is in them and feel confident when you family is enjoying them.
Sorry, for the delay in posting new recipes. I have been working on this post for about three days now and just could not find the words.
Happy Baking!