Monday, January 30, 2012

Yummy For My Tummy Oatmeal

In continuing "Good Daniel Fast Recipes" from the January 21 blog entry:
Oatmeal is a great option if you are craving something sweet for breakfast. It also really fills you up. The instant flavored oatmeal is filled with sugar, so I bought the round container of plain Quaker Oats. They have a "quick 1 - minute microwave" option. Follow the directions on the container and add a few things to spice it up. Their suggested serving amount for one person was too much for me to eat, especially after adding fresh fruit to it, so I cut it in half and added what I wanted.
Here are a few options:
Add 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped into small pieces (I put the apple in my oatmeal before I heated it up in the microwave. After cooking, the texture softens. I personally enjoyed it more this way)
1/3 cup of raisins (Nature's Harvest has a gourmet raisin blend of crimson, dark, and golden raisins)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure almond extract
Fresh strawberries, chopped in small pieces
Cranberries (Nature's Harvest has a bag of cranberries mixed with pomegranate and infused with cherries and blueberries)
You can also add a little soy milk or drink it cold on the side.
I wouldn't do all of the options at the same time, but you can experiment and find what you like.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Crispy Quesadillas

In continuing "Good Daniel Fast Recipes" from the January 21 blog entry:
Crispy Quesadillas
Serves 4
4 medium whole wheat tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 small red onion, sliced
1 large poblano pepper, seeded, sliced into thin strips
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 tbsp olive oil
4 0z sliced mushrooms
4 oz chorizo, casing removed (soyrizo in the vegetarian section of the produce area)
Shredded chicken would be great instead of the chorizo as another option.
Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and chorizo; cook until browned, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat into smaller pieces. If using soyrizo, it never browns. You just have to keep stirring it around until you think it's cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain all but a thin film of the fat. Return to the heat and add the onion, mushrooms, and pepper; sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are brown - 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide the cheese between two tortillas and top each with half of the vegetable mixture. Top with the remaining tortillas.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray and cook each quesadilla individually, until the tortillas are brown and crispy and the cheese is fully melted. Cut into 4-6 wedges and serve with the guacamole.
For the Daniel Fast: As I said above, I found "soyrizo" in the vegetarian section of the produce area at Walmart. Cook all of the vegetables. Cut the tortillas in half to make them smaller and easier to flip since you won't have to cheese to hold it together. Heat the skillet with olive oil. Lay down half of a tortilla. Top it with the soyrizo and vegetable mixture. Put the other half of the tortilla on top. Let it sit for about one minute and carefully flip. Cook the other side for another minute and serve immediately. You can also put black beans and salsa from the "Huevos Ranchos" recipe (see the January 21 post) as a side or on top.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Good Daniel Fast Recipes

This month our church has been on a 21-day fast. Aaron and I have chosen to do the Daniel Fast (fruits and veggies only, no bread, no dairy, no sugar, no alcohol, no chemicals. Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, and soy products are allowed. Read the ingredients on everything).
Last year I found a cookbook which turned out to be not so great. I'm not sure you should "enjoy" your fast, but this time I have found much better recipes. Most of these recipes are from other sources and some were discovered. They can help you if you are fasting or if you just want to start your new year eating healthy.
Of course it has been a sacrifice, but we've enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share them with you. I am going to post the recipe as is and you can make the necessary changes if you are doing the Daniel Fast.
Huevos Rancheros
Serves 4
1 (16 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, with juice
1 (16 oz) can black beans
1/2 small red onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
8 eggs
1 tbsp chopped chipotle (you may not want to add this if you have little ones)
1 pinch ground cumin
8 whole wheat tortillas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1 clove garlic, chopped
Homemade Salsa:
Combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle, cilantro, and half of the lime juice in a food processor and pulse until well blended but still slightly chunky. Season with salt and pepper.
Black Beans:
Mix the black beans, cumin, and the rest of the lime juice in a bowl; season with salt and pepper. Mash the beans, adding a splash of warm water if too dry.
Coat a large nonstick skillet or saute pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Break the eggs into the skillet; cook until the whites have set but the yolks are still loose and runny.
On a separate burner, heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add the tortillas, 1 at a time; cook 1 minute on each side, until lightly toasted. I like to cut mine in half before I toast it, top it, and eat it like a pizza. It's easier for the kids to handle as well.
To assemble the dish, spread the tortillas with the beans (or guacamole if you are not a bean fan. I like the Wholly Guacamole brand. It comes in 100 calorie snack packs), top with the eggs, and then the salsa. Garnish with cilantro if you like and serve immediately.
For the fast, we topped the tortillas with the salsa and black beans. It is a great breakfast and very filling. You can also cut up some fresh fruit for a side.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Waffles and Spaghetti

I once heard a broadcast on Focus on the Family featuring authors Bill and Pam Ferrel. They wrote a book called Men Are Like Waffles-Women Are Like Spaghetti. Basically men are like waffles because they compartmentalize things in their brains. For a woman, everything touches and runs together like a plate of spaghetti. While hearing the difference between men and women is always entertaining, I usually find it hard to apply because Aaron and I aren't really extremes of either. About two weeks ago, however, I had a breakthrough! I've been struggling with understanding how to "do it all." I guess that's everyone's problem, really. I was feeling overwhelmed by the things that needed to get done around the house and feeling guilty that I wasn't spending enough time with the kids. It seemed I was always neglecting them or the housework.
So I asked Aaron, "What would your day look like if you were a mom?" He said he would bounce all day from chores to kids. Spend 10 minutes or so getting a chore started (make one bed, start one load of laundry, pick up one area) and then bounce over to playing with or taking care of the kids for about 20 minutes or so (feed them, play outside, read to them). Just then I realized that he used his "waffle brain" to come up with that solution. He was saying to bounce from box to box while I was looking at all the things I needed to get done like a huge plate of spaghetti thinking, "How in the world am I going to eat ALL of this spaghetti?" I have tried it his way and it has really worked! I get more done around the house than I have since Mazie was born and I feel great spending time throughout the day with the kids. I guess we really do think like waffles and spaghetti!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Our Big Park Outing

It is very common to hear "after three it's all the same (meaning kids)." But for me having four is definitely more than three! Some days I feel so overwhelmed by the laundry and things to do that I don't even feel like I can move. You know the feeling when you have to pack up your whole house and move it to another one? You don't even know where to start sometimes. There are some days, however, that I feel strong and bold enough to venture out. Here we are at the park. I think we were there for five hours! I usually don't stay that long, but the weather was beautiful and the kids were enjoying themselves.