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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Make Your Own : Roasted Almonds

On my recent trip to Texas, I asked my step-mom if my dad would eat almonds. I had a container of raw almonds in my hand when I asked her. She said, "Oh, he loves, them, but he won't eat them raw."
So I threw them in the cart and said, "Great, we'll just roast them"!

She looked at me like I had a few heads but agreed. When we got home, I showed her how easy it was and she and my dad were hooked. They loved how awesome the house smelled, and how delicious the almonds tasted!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Make Your Own: Artichokes


My awesome friend Tish taught me how to make artichokes recently and I really liked them!!!

2 artichokes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a red onion, diced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (cold-pressed, organic)
Freshly cracked pepper, salt (optional)

  1.  Snip sharp points off artichoke leaves
  2. Drizzle Olive Oil over artichokes
  3.  Stuff inside of leaves with onions and garlic, top with pepper and salt
  4. Add 1/2 cup of water in a deep pot and bring it to a boil
  5. Place the artichokes in (directly in the water or on a steamer) and reduce heat to low simmer and put lid on. 
  6. Let steam for about 35 minutes...then take remove out and spread open leaves.
Thank you, Tish!!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Standard Process Day 15

Another good day on the cleanse. I don't want to say it's become easy, but really it kind of has! I really enjoy this way of eating and love how I feel on it.

Today I had one cup of 1/2 caff coffee with soymilk (my bliss).  Then I had a strawberry-spinach smoothie with powder in it...
As a late morning breakfast/early lunch, I had a salad:
fresh local lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, 1 avocado, turkey from Bolton's Farm, and onions. Since I used avocado, I did not need any dressing. I was VERY satisfied after this salad. It was delicious!
I took my lunchtime supplements an hour or two later, but did not make a shake. I was still stuffed from my salad.

As dinner/class approached, I still wasn't hungry, so I just whipped up some juice instead. Even that was pushing it, but I felt okay, just full.
I juiced some celery, cucumbers, carrots, 1 apple, 1 lemon, a little onion, and I think that's it. It was pretty good and I added some ice to chill it.

After class, I was HUNGRY! I came home and even though it was way passed 7pm, I ate turkey salad that I had made for my family for dinner, and some edamame.
The picture of the turkey salad looks a little funky, but it was amazing. I baked 2 turkey breasts (local turkey from Bolton's), chopped onions, fresh local basil, and garlic, and then mixed it all together with white bean hummus. Simple yet fabulous. JP and Ava enjoyed it on an Ezekiel wrap with local organic lettuce, and I ate mine in a bowl, plain.
Oh yeah, I weigh 131 today, making it a 10lb loss on the cleanse to date:)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Go Read: Dinosaur Train Books!

Abers and I recently had the opportunity to check out some brand-new Dinosaur Train books, in honor of Get Caught Reading Month.

Get Caught Reading Month is organized annually by the Association of American Publishers to stimulate a love of reading in people of all ages.  Sid the Science Kid and Buddy from Dinosaur Train are teaming up and are participating in a free poster campaign (flat shipping applies) that supports Get Caught Reading Month. These are great for teachers or parents, check them out here! 

 We got to review three Dinosaur Train books, all of which are aged 3-5. There is:

Buddy and Friends 
This colorful board book follows Buddy as he meets many of his friends from the TV show.  This is a fun introduction to the various species included on Dinosaur Train. We still LOVE board books around here. I like that Abes can sit in her special chair and read and read and read, and I do not have to worry about her tearing any pages- this is wonderful during laundry time!!!

 Next, we got to check out A Surprise for Mom! 
This book details a sweet adventure that Buddy takes as he searches for the perfect gift for his mommy, ya gotta love that.

Lastly, we read Tiny Learns to Fish Mr. Pteranodon takes the kids to the pond to learn to fish, but they encounter some difficulties when they get there. In the end, team work makes it happen!

 As a teacher and as a mom, I love these books because they're colorful and teach important life skills in a fun and exciting manner.  Since I am a teacher, I tend to support these stories with questions like, "What do you think this book is about?" 
"What do you think will happen next?"
"Where did Buddy go with his friends?"

Following up with questions like this is so important and truly does help children retain what they just learned!

If you want to purchase these books for your little reader, check them out here:

Want more information on Sid the Science Kid or Dinosaur Train? Check out these great websites:
Dinosaur Train on PBS:

SID THE SCIENCE KID and DINOSAUR TRAIN air on PBS KIDS (check local listings for details).

We were provided with samples of these books to help facilitate this review. All opinions are our own.

Make Your Own: Kid-Friendly Salsa

I recently hosted a party for a bunch of my relatives on my husband's side, and though we were ordering pizza and sandwiches out, I wanted to make the sides. I made white bean hummus, fruit salad, and salsa.  We have a LOT of kids in the family, as well as some adults who do not like spicy food, so I wanted to make sure everybody could enjoy it.  I found this Kiddie Salsa recipe on weelicious and it was a hit! Everybody asked for the recipe afterwards!
Kiddie Salsa (Serves 4)
2 Cups Tomatoes, chopped (about 4 tomatoes)
1 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp Red Onion, chopped
2 Tsp Lime Juice
Salt to taste

1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and puree.*
2. Serve with tortilla chips.
* If you prefer your salsa a bit chunkier, simply put all of the ingredients in a bowl and then stir to combine.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Standard Process Day 14

Today I woke up to this:

Sweet succulent 132. Just 7 little pounds stand between me and my ultimate goal weight. Last year I weighed 152, that was not very cool (before anybody leaves a comment yelling at me, please know I am a whopping 5'2)!

I had some coffee with soymilk to celebrate, even though I had to sit in front of the fan to enjoy it!

Today I was hot. Like hello-it's-90+-degrees-again-for-the-fifth-day-in-a-row-and-your-dumb-central-air-is-still-dead- hot! I decided to have a shake for breakfast and that held me over until lunchtime. I took my supplements then enjoyed a leftover kabob from bbq #3 yesterday. Turkey, peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Mmmm. Don't forget a little EVOO, a little sea salt, and a LITTLE chipolte pepper. Where has chipolte pepper been my whole life, by the way? I got it for a recipe I wanted to try on the cleanse and have used it almost every day since!

For dinner, I took my supplements of course, and then whipped up some gazpacho. I used 4 tomatoes, 1/2 a small onion, 1 yellow squash (is that weird?), 1 cucumber (half in the puree, half diced), 1 red pepper (half in the purree, half diced). Puree all the above with 2 tsp EVOO, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper!  Puree in food processor and serve chilled. I chilled our bowls and did stick the puree in the fridge for 20 minutes. Amazingly refreshing.

For dessert, as a treat, I cut up 2 fresh peaches, threw in some fresh spinach, ice, water, and frozen whole strawberries and we all had a smoothie. Mmm also way refreshing! I stopped sweating for a minute or two while enjoying dinner/dessert tonight!  The picture looks really tomato-y but I swear there were none in there.

After dinner I really wanted to find some central air and snuggle up in it, but instead I went for a 2.5 mile run. Eep! It's hot out there! haha! I survived though and feel glad that I did.

LESS than a week left!

I'm kind of sad.

I am weird, I know.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Standard Process Day 13

Any day that starts with weight loss is a good day. I got on the scale and was down another pound, making that 8 total on the cleanse!

I went light on food today since yesterday I felt so icky.  I had a shake in the AM and one at lunch along with supplements. I included fresh local strawberries and spinach in my shakes. Mmm.

I went dress shopping in the morning for a friend's November wedding. It was pretty exciting to be at Alfred Angelo and fit comfortably in an 8 (usually you have to get a size or two up from yours), but I also tried on a few 6's that looked pretty okay, too! YAY!

I drove home from Cherry Hill and arrived home at 2, which is what time bbq#3 of the weekend started. I chopped up a green pepper, a red pepper, a small onion and de-stemmed some mushrooms. Then I cut turkey cutlets from Bolton's and fashioned a few kabobs for myself. I pulled the second jar of bean dip out of the fridge and prepared some asparagus from our CSA. I put them in a ziplock (bpa-free) with some EVOO, pepper, salt, and ground up some fresh garlic (ground?). I shook the bag around then threw that in the cooler, too.

At the party I had some veggies and white bean hummus, and 2 kabobs. They were insanely good, even though the mac 'n cheese, baked beans and taco dip were beckoning me. Dessert for everybody (except me) included ice cream and fresh whipped cream. I wasn't hungry in the least, but in days past would have definitely had some anyway.  Physically, I feel much better today. Not bloated and in pain. I have never ever attended 3 bbq's in a row and come out on the other side not feeling like total crap. I am so proud of myself and really excited for future events. I am so motivated by this cleanse! I love living my life my way and making smart choices that make me feel good!

I hope you had a good weekend!

CSA Week 1!

Woo hoo! Yesterday was our first CSA pick up at Palovchak's Produce in Doylestown. It was great to see John and Yvonne, as we haven't seen them since our last pick up in the fall!
They were braving the heat and ready to go with all kinds of goodies for us!

We also had our first monthly chicken pick up from Ledamete Grass Farm (Let 'Em Eat Grass)!

We got:
a peony
lemon basil
whole wheat flour
and our two chickens!
Not bad for so early in the season!!!!!

Standard Process Days 11 and 12!

Eep, I'm behind. I have not hardly been home at all these past few days, running from photo sessions to bbqs and today it's running from bridesmaid dress shopping in NJ to another bbq. I'm going to be quick and a little more brief.

Since I was running all over town, it was hard to get in all my shakes. I even missed supplements last night.  I added protein back in which was very exciting, so Saturday, it was mahi mahi, yesterday, a little sushi at lunch, white bean hummus and salmon with dinner. Guess what though? I got a huge stomach ache after the sushi that lasted into the middle of the night last night. Bummer.

I also added coffee back in. YUM. I love my coffee and for now am adding plain soymilk, though I honestly don't love soymilk. Normally I use a little milk and honey. It's kind of been too hot for coffee, so I take it in the car on the way to my session and enjoy it with the ac blasting on me!

Let's see, what did I eat? Random stuff, and been loving juicing still!

I take all that, throw it in the juicer, and get this!
Here's Abes and I enjoying bbq #1 of 3 this weekend!
I made avocado dip for Saturday's party, and white bean hummus for Sunday and Monday's parties.
I drank lots of shakes of course, and ate lots of veggies!

Make Your Own: No Sugar Added Jam

I found this super-easy jam recipe while browsing Super Healthy Kids. You don't add any sugar, and the process is really simple and fast. Check it out!

No-Sugar Homemade Berry Jam Recipe

  • 5 cups berries (I used frozen strawberries and blueberries)
  • 1 package “No Sugar Needed” Fruit Pectin (I bought Ball All Natural 1.75 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup water
Place frozen berries in a pot and begin to simmer.  Once berries begin to break down and defrost, pour berries into a blender and pulse until desired consistency.  Return berries to pot, add water and pectin and bring to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute.  Skim foam off the top.  Pour into prepared jars.
This jam set up super quickly.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Standard Process: Day 10

Today was great. For the first time in ten days, I did intense yoga. You're supposed to work out when you can on the cleanse, but in the begining I did NOT feel like it. Then I had some energy but literally every day I'm running from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. The yoga felt good and really had me sweating. It's a 50 minute one on On Demand (Comcast), called Yoga Works Slim. I actually was able to hold the one-armed plank for as long as they tell you to, which is a first for me! YAY!

I woke up and drank a smoothie and was THISCLOSE to drinking some coffee. I made it for my husband and put a little extra in (I even mixed the caffeinated and decaf).  He poured his into his huge Lifefactory Bottle, and then proceeded to pour his milk in, while noticing a nasty stench. Yup, the milk went, so down the drain went all the coffee and oddly enough there was JUST enough for him to fill up another bottle, so I took it as a sign, to just wait until tomorrow:)

Ava and I busted out the juicer and made some juice with tomatoes, carrots, an apple, juice from one lemon, and 4 celery stalks. AMAZING! We put two straws in and drank away. We kissed at the end (since it was so romanic hehe) and then she demanded, "MORE!" Of course, I didn't have any, but I did have the warm fuzzy feeling in my heart, knowing my two year old just drank tomato-carrot-lemon-apple-celery juice!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lunch was a smoothie, my supplements of course, they are always taken 3x per day, and some stir-fry with 1/2 cup brown rice.  Stir fry veggies are NOT my favorite. I used a mix of fresh and frozen and just kind of got it down.  The rice was delightful.
As a snack, I roasted some Brussels Sprouts. Delish.
I got word today that TOMORROW (day 11) I can include nuts and beans in my diet as I add in lean protein! This is a major score, as I am getting a little bored, I want some hummus (made with white beans), and I have two parties this weekend. I'll take hummus one day, avocado dip another, so I have more choices to eat.

Around 5pm, I took my supplements and drank my shake. We went to my in-laws for a bit so when I came home I wanted to try juicing again because nothing looked good in the fridge (except cheese, turkey, fish, etc).
I juiced 1 beet, several baby carrots, many stalks of celery, 1 lemon, 1 orange. It wasn't delicious, but it was oddly good, but was definitely ruled by the beet. Ava and I put two straws in again and shared the juice. I thought to myself, "she is never going to drink this" but guess what? Again she asked for more. If you plan to juice with a child, check out this site for daily intake recommendations for kids! I love this juicing thing and am going to spend some time looking for blogs on it--if you have any please leave them in the comments!!

Last but not least today, I finished up with a little serving of sweet potato chips!

Standard Process: Water

Just wanted to mention---I drink tons of water in general. While on the cleanse I am also drinking tons of water. It's very important to get enough on the cleanse to help flush out toxins!

Drink up!

Oh Snap! There's an App for That!

Price: Free
Why it's Awesome: Learn all about genetically modified food, secret ickiness lurking in your food, and the good stuff in there, too!

Go See: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was worth the wait. Of course, with Johnny Depp's return as the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow, we knew there would be laughs, deceit, and of course, mutiny.

The movie starts with Gibbs being tried as "Jack Sparrow." Captain Jack comes to his rescue, where Gibbs informs him there is an imposter "Jack Sparrow" who is getting a crew together.  Captain Jack finds the imposter and immediately knows who it is: Angelica. Jack finds himself on a ship with Angelica, sailing to the Fountain of Youth. But whose ship is it? None other than Blackbeard's, of course! And without Jack's help, they won't make it to the Fountain of Youth in time. So with twists and turns when you least expect, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is bound to leave you wanting more.

Thank you to Dianna, our contributor, for checking out the movie and for writing up this post.

Dianna was provided with two complimentary passes to attend an advanced screening to help facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% her own.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Standard Process: Day 9

Day 9 was good, on the go as always! I had a photoshoot in the morning (Ava came with), then we went to Bolton's Turkey Farm to pick up turkey lunch meat , turkey cutlets and some local peanut butter (none of which I can eat)! Next, we headed to Care 'N Share in Souderton because my cousin tipped me off that they had a juicer!

I got this for $60, regularly $90!

I also picked this up for $15:
This was really exciting for me because my blender had a plastic pitcher. I have been wanting glass for awhile now but couldn't justify the cost since mine still worked. A few weeks ago, I set the top of the pitcher down on the hot stove and completely melted so I have to put a bowl on top of mine! Enough of that!

The juicer was particularly exciting for me because my girlfriend generously gave me a juicer she found in her basement---this little guy:
Well. I scrubbed all his parts, prepared my fruits and veggies, and fired him up. I got halfway through and he stopped working. Then, he started smoking and a brown fluid started dripping out of the back! Crap!

Today I had two smoothies with strawberries and spinach. I made beet chips from 1 beet and sweet potato chips from 1/2 a potato. I ate 1/2 for breakfast and half with lunch.  With the go ahead from my nutritionist, I ate some edamame as well.

After my thrift store scores, Abes and I headed to my cousin's house to learn how to make pickles, and to learn how to can by using a 10-minute hot water bath.

Don't they look amazing?!

Ava and I ate some fruit while we got ready for dinner today, fresh local strawberries and very non-local pineapple.

Dinner for me was an artichoke and a portobello mushroom, yummy!

I lost another pound, bringing my total to 7 on the cleanse, 10 since starting my class. Woohoo!

Day 8: Standard Process Cleanse

I told you I am missing coffee, a ton. I reached out to my nutritionist today to see her thoughts. She said I can add some in, but to wait until Day 11 to let the Green Food supplements get into my system (I just started taking them today). I am SOOOOO super excited! She also told me I can add turkey as well as chicken this coming weekend. I'm thrilled and already bought some fish to consume Saturday. I might even have it for breakfast, no promises (I LOVE SEAFOOD)!
Crystal also let me know that I can have green tea on the clease! Eep! I didn't know!
So I drove over to Starbucks after seeing my students and pulled up to the window:

Me-"Hello! I have a weird question for you."
Barista- "Sure, go ahead!"
Me-"Do you have plain green tea?"
Barista- "Of course we do! Why is that weird?"
Me- "Oh, I don't know, I don't you only had fun drinks! That's what I normally get anyway, haha!"
Barista- I hear laughing over the intercom. :)

So today I  got two shakes in. I used kale in one, spinach in the other.* I also added some carrots in. They were starting to turn and I didn't want them to go to waste. I used some frozen berries as well.
 You know I had some sweet potato chips! They are so addicting. I roast them in the morning then put them in a reusable lunch bag and take them in my purse. They do not stay as crisp because I don't have time to let them cool all the way, but they're still damn good!

For lunch, I took my supplements and had the rest of my tomato soup from last night. The tomato soup is just AWESOME! It's soooooooo good! I just love it! The work room at my office was psychotically hot (like always), so I actually ate it chilled and it was just as good- and really refreshing!!!
I forgot to take a picture of my tall tazo green tea. Mmmm.
I got home from work, and basically had to get ready for class, so I took my supplements, made my smoothie and jumped in the car!

*Whenever my fresh spinach or kale is starting to turn, I throw it in a bpa-free freezer-safe ziplock and throw it in my freezer. It's perfect for smoothies!