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Sunday, January 30, 2011

That Food You're Eating, Is It Real?

The above question has plagued me for a few years now...what is "real" food and what is processed? Generally, if it came from the Earth, it's real. If it didn't, you might need to take a closer look.

I stumbled across this visual made by Summer Tomato and couldn't help but giggle and share it with you!

What do you think?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Make Your Own: Eggs in a Muffin Tin

This recipe is so awesome and SO easy! All you need is an egg, an oven, and a muffin tin, basically.
  • however many eggs you would like
  • muffin tin
  • cooking spray
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
  3. Crack eggs into pan, 1 per muffin cup.  Try not to break the yolk.
  4. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on each one.
  5. Let bake for 15 minutes.

You can scramble the eggs beforehand and add veggies or breakfast meat pieces. You could also use different spices. I like to serve with a sliced tomato and whole wheat bread, but the options are really endless with this one!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My First 5k!!!

On Saturday, one of my oldest best friends and I ran in 14-degree-weather, on complete snow and ice~ 3.1 miles, my first 5k Race! The run was called Rachel's Run for William's Syndrome and was held in Audubon, PA. I wanted to do this run as my first for a good reason: my husband's little cousin has William's Syndrome! You can check out this link for lots of info about WS.

Anyway, Rachel's Run for William's Syndrome was held by The McEvoy's in honor of their daughter Rachel who has WS.  As you can see, it was COLD! It was 14 degrees when we began, and 18 when we got in the car to drive home. CRAZY!  The cold did not deter me at all though, I am used to running outside in the wintery cold!


I was, however, nervous in general. I was talking a mile-per-minute. My stomach was going crazy. I felt totally out of sorts, yet excited. We lined up at the starting line. I looked around as I got my ipod ready. What was I doing?!!


I had two goals for this race:
  1. Try not to walk.
  2. Don't be the last one to cross the finish line!
I will have you know I met one of my goals, but I am totally fine with that. We never ever expected that the course would be snow-covered!!! With ice!! So, we did walk twice, after two major hills between miles 2 and 3. Oh well!

We were certainly well within my second goal. We held hands across the finish line and finished #79 and #80 out of about 146 people!!!! YAYYYY!

It was definitely one of the hardest physical things I have ever done in my life, probably second to labor only. Crazy, right?


We finished in 39 minutes, when I was expecting to finish in about 30 or so. During the run, I was not pleased with how much I was struggling, and even told Janelle that maybe we should not count this as my first 5k, but after we finished and started to process the run, I feel really awesome about it! Proud!

I am excited to do my next one, this time with my hubby, in March!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pay it Forward

 I am not sure what the weather is like near you but here in the Philadelphia region it's snowing. Again.

I have been feeling really bad because I completely forgot to leave our mailman a little treat around the holidays, so this morning, I thought, maybe I'll leave him some money to get some hot chocolate!  As the morning continued, I wondered if it was a really stupid idea, or if maybe people would catch on.

So....I created an event on facebook encouraging everybody to participate and spread the word.  We already have 26 people participating!!! WOW!!!! I love it!

Consider joining us and tell your friends, too!  Make sure you RSVP to the invite so we can see just how many people got treated!   This event is for today and tomorrow since the snow is supposed to continue until sometime early tomorrow morning.

Wordless Wednesday * Dress Up

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Freebies from Organic Valley

Look what Organic Valley sent to me!  Root Stock Magazine, coupons, and a coloring/activity book for Ava!  A few months ago, my sister alerted me to a special Organic Valley was running- sign up for their newsletter, and receive a free welcome kit. My kit was different from hers, but still awesome nonetheless!  It looks like they are not currently offering a welcome kit, but maybe they will again in the future!

Ten on Tuesday

Mama's Girl!
  1. We are SMACK-dab in the middle of winter here in Philly. We have been getting snow and/or ice each and every week since Christmas! Pretty crazy.  I do not really mind it but I do mind how miserable people act because of it. I know you want to be warm, we all do, but let's not talk about it over-and-over-and-over again!!! :)
  2. My sister rocks and often sends me groupons and other goodies since it is literally her job to scout out deals. This week's deal is a home-delivery of organic produce. I am so excited! Thank you, Devon!
  3. What are your favorite hummus recipes? I want to make some but never have (gasp!).
  4. We are having friends over Saturday night and I am thinking I will actually make food instead of copping out and ordering pizza or something. I get performance anxiety!!!!
  5. I survived my first 5k on Saturday! A post will be coming soon!
  6. What is your favorite local (serving locally grown food) restaurant? I am trying to decided where to go for my birthday dinner which is coming fast!!!!
  7. Did I tell you I am now writing more regularly for Eat Local Philly?  Make sure you add it to your google reader, it's an amazing resource!
  8. Have you read this article about Taco Bell?  I hope to god it's not true, but have always kind of felt this way in my heart-----a pending lawsuit is claiming that the ground beef is only 35% beef, the rest are fillers and other junk. Puke fest.
  9. I woke up at 3am because my cat recently has decided he wants to be a maniac in the middle of the night. I laid in bed until 4am, then got up.  It felt like a good idea at the time but now I am getting sleepy and it's only 5:46am!
  10. Does anybody want to buy our house? We will be listing it in the next six months, so feel free to take it off our hands!:):):)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Grazing Goodness

If you have a toddler then you know how they can be....HUNGRY. All.the.time.  It doesn't matter what I give her, she will still be hungry in an hour or so!  I have started combining her snacks to give her some variety and spice it up a bit, pulling out those sweet little bento boxes that have been so neglected (I do still love them, but I often send "wet" items in Ava's lunch and the bento isn't equipped to contain that!).

This contains cheerios, blueberries and apples.  Other good snacky items include; diced fruit, cooked veggies (they're softer for her to chew), yogurt, pretzels, goldfish, and cereal.

What snacks does your toddler enjoy?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Get Organized: Cait's Green Book

As you may remember, last fall I did some cooking lessons with Kate of Kate's Green Book! She gave me my very own "Green Book" and I just love it!!!

 I have it categorized by Breakfast, Snacks/Sides, Soups, and Dinners.

I also keep helpful articles in there for easy reference.

I tuck my Bucks County Farm guide in there, too:)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Seriously, Is This Normal Behavior?

My daughter LOVES dipping! She dips pancakes in yogurt, veggies in spinach dip, and apparently, bananas in beef vegetable soup!

Ten on Tuesday

  1. Still reading Real Food: What to Eat and Why.  I love it. It's information is in-depth, yet easy to comprehend, and the bottom line is always this: eat real food. Enjoy real food. Get away from "industrialized foods" and you will be healthy.
  2. Speaking of real food, I am still trying to figure out cheese. What is real cheese and what is processed cheese??? I do read the ingredients and buy brands like cabot or imported cheeses with fun flavors (we recently had a cheese that had cranberries in it).
  3. Along the same lines, a friend recently asked me about fish. Do I buy it? Do I know any markets that sell it?  I do, but I'll admit, I buy it from Costco. It's on my list to research though...what about you? Do you buy it? Where?
  4. My first 5k is on Saturday and I'm getting more and more nervous! I woke up in a cold sweat after having a nightmare that a) my legs were so stiff that I couldn't run and b) I just kept getting lost. Oy.
  5. I am still running but totally believe I have shin splints, especially in the left left. OW! It has been hurting for about two weeks so I finally started doing some googling over the weekend. After emailing with a friend who is a skilled runner, I am pretty convinced.
  6. My CSA is now accepting applications for the 2011 harvest, let me know if you want their email!
  7.  Last weekend, I wrote up 101 goals to be accomplished in 1001 days. I LOVE the list and have already started crossing some things off. It feels good I tell ya!!!
  8. I was asked to be a bridesmaid in my best friend's wedding this weekend! I will be in two weddings this year, standing up by two of my bestest friends ever! I couldn't be more thrilled:)  In one of the weddings, JP and Ava are also in it!!!!!!
  9. We are in the midst of a PA-winter here which means snow and ice!!! I had a snow day last week and a two-hour delay today. I love delays but at the same time, they make me very nervous to leave the house. I definitely inherited my mom's fear of snow/ice driving!
  10. I picked up a new gig~ freelancing for Eat Local Philly. It will be relatively regular, so make sure you check them out! Join their facebook page, here. I LOVE this website and am so excited to become a bigger part of it!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How Facebook has Helped me Lose Weight

Call me crazy but I love Facebook. I love it for it's endless distractions, and for it's wealth of information.  I truly believe FB has helped me lose weight, too.

  1. Recipe Sharing- If I post "How in the world do I cook Kohlrabi?", I am guaranteed to have at least one friend (often 5-10) respond with links and recipes!  I also love reading what my friends are cooking and requesting recipes from them!
  2. Inspiration- I am not going to lie. I am motivated by seeing pictures of my friends that have either lost weight, or kicked their baby weight.
  3. New Ideas- Whether it's Zumba, P90x, Couch to 5k Program, or Yoga, I love learning about new trends in fitness. I am not saying I partake in all trends, but I like learning about new ones so I can take what is doable for me in my life!
  4. Support- Have a question about a local farm? Post about it, someone's been there. Need to hear opinions on organic vs. non-organic milk? Post about it, someone will have an opinion.  
  5. Morale- I LOVE posting about my runs. I have my own little group of cheerleaders that leave me sweet comments encouraging me to keep up the good work! 

Are you on Facebook? If so, "Like Us"!  What has Facebook helped you do? Leave a comment!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Make Your Own: Grilled Brie and Apple Sandwiches

I got this recipe from Chef Mom and both J and I LOVED it (Ava was napping so she missed out)! We used Ezekiel bread and Jonagold Apples.

  • Prep:
  • Cook Time: 2 min
  • Total: 2 min
  • Serving: 2-4 People
Try this delicious recipe for grilled brie and apple sandwiches.


  • Brie
  • Thinly sliced tart, crisp apple
  • Thinly sliced raisin bread (or raisin pecan sourdough bread)
  • Thinly sliced butter


  1. Heat a griddle over medium low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, butter the outsides of two pieces of bread. Layer brie and apple on the inside.
  3. Place on the griddle and cook until the brie has begun to melt and the outer sides of the bread are crisp and lightly browned.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Food Journey...Where We Are Now.

Ever since Ava started eating solid foods, I have gotten a lot more educated about food. My food journey has taught me a lot and has gotten me very interested in getting physically fit and also into supporting my local farm community.  It's overwhelming at times, but I find it I make little changes, we adapt much easier.  Thankfully Ava eats anything and JP is very supportive and also eats anything I present. :)

I am still running! In fact, I ran 4.1 miles the other day, my farthest run! Here I am just after that run, haha!
 I went through our fridge and got rid of any food that has either high fructose corn syrup in it, or tons of icky fake ingredients. Be gone!

Since our CSA ended, I have found myself missing the weekly produce, hating deciding where to buy produce, hating spending $$$$ on produce, and I certainly do not love having to come up with meals on my own. With the CSA, I never knew what I was going to receive, so I had to be flexible and just "go" with it each week. I bought Brussels Sprouts at Genuardi's this week, and the checkers thought I was nuts. They told me how gross they are and how they cannot believe I eat them. Oy. :)

JP now loves Brussels Sprouts and Ava just likes to lick them and suck on them but does not actually check them up yet.  I also bought Kale and made Kale chips, but JP missed out on those because Ava and I ate them!
 I recently went to The Old Dutch Cupboard in Franconia on a milk hunt (more on that in a minute), but I found myself stocking up on more, like the coffee we drink at our farmers market--One Village. It's roasted right in Souderton and is dedicated to helping the communities that grow the beans around the world. Apparently the people at One Village are familiar faces in the farm communities, which is pretty neat. They are dedicated to keeping a low carbon-footprint, so they are only available locally.

 As you saw, I threw out our old syrups, which honestly I have not used in a very long time, but I know JP has pulled them out when we don't have maple syrup, so I knew they had to go!  We switched to pure local maple syrup in which there is only one ingredient: maple syrup. No artificial this, no synthetic that. No high fructose corn syrup, dyes, etc.

The real purpose of my mission was to buy milk that is:
  1. local
  2. organic
  3. grass-fed
  4. pasteurized (not ultra pasteurized)
Guess what? Thanks to some friends from high school and elementary school (via facebook)- I found it! Alderfer's Farm is right in Telford and it's milk is all of the above. It's also homogenized which means the cream is up on top so you have to shake it. 

I got most of my information from a book called Real Food: What to Eat and Why, and by reading blogs and talking with friends who are interested in milk and farms. 

Click here for some easy-to-understand information about Pasteurization from a local blogger, Jo-Lynne, at Musings of a Housewife.

Click here for some information about non-homogenized milk.

Here is some info on grass-fed milk, too.

Guess what? They also have organic, free-range eggs! YUM!   This means the chickens are free to roam the farm, instead of being caged, diseased and filled with nasty steroids like factory farm chickens.

What is the downside to all of this goodness? Price.

I wish I got a discount for buying local, but unfortunately, it's less convenient and more expensive.  After doing much research, I have decided it is an important decision to make, and if we have to cut back on other things to have better quality food, then that will have to be the case.

The dairy has the same glass bottles as Pennview Farm, which is cool because not only are you recycling each week, but you are not getting the lovely toxins and chemicals that supposedly leak out of the plastic and wax milk containers!

Well, this is turning into quite the novel, but I still have a bit more news! In a week and a half, I will be running in my first 5k!!!!

Lastly, the Phillies have decided to host their own 5k to raise money for the charities they support so JP and I have decided to run it together! We actually got some new running shoes and man am I glad I did, apparently my sneaks had 100% NO support! My new shoes are nice and shiny and feel way different. I can't wait to break them in!

If you are still reading, I love you:)  Tell me if you did get through this and let me know your thoughts on milk, farms, 5ks, whatever!!!

Wordless Wednesday * Girlfriends

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Totally missed last week so let's try again!

  1. It's snowing! I love snow. Not just because I am a teacher. I have always loved snow. But I haaaaaate driving in it. I hate shoveling it, and quite honestly, I do not love playing in it. I feel like if we lived somewhere else I would like it, but for now, we don't have our own yard, nor do we have a mudroom or anything like that for all the wet clothes!
  2. I raided Produce Junction today and for $20 got: tons of bananas (2.5 bunches!), 2 packs of blueberries, 3 bags of carrots, 2 bunches of romaine lettuce, 3 onions, a bag of brussels sprouts, a bag of tomatoes-on-the-vine, and 2 bunches of celery!
  3. We came right home and made beef veggie soup in the crock pot. Mmmm.
  4. Before I picked up the babe at babysitting, I ran 2.5mi at the park right up the road from the sitter. It was a really hard run for me. I have decided that I HATE running on a track. All I can do is think when-am-I-done over and over again. Oy.
  5. My first 5k is in 1.5 weeks AHHHH.
  6. I also signed up for a 5k in March, WITH the hubby!
  7. After months of debating, I finally went to the local running store and got fitted for sneakers. It turns out, the ones I was using had virtually no support, so thank goodness I went.  
  8. Organic vs. Greek contest. I have purchased organic from time to time (always plain), and it's always so runny! Greek has always been deliciously creamy---Fage is my favorite. Thankfully, Ava eats all of them. She impressed J's aunt Friday night with her yogurt love. We were waiting for his uncle to return with some sandwiches and pizza, and Ava decided she didn't want pizza, rather she wanted YOGURT. And NOW. :)
  9. I know I said I love snow, but I secretly am pining for the warmth of spring. 
  10. I have a new farm that I am totally in love with (don't worry, totally separate from our CSA!)....I need to write a post about it!

Friday, January 7, 2011

How Can We Avoid Sweetened Drinks?

We all know we shouldn't be drinking sugar-filled beverages, but it can be tough to kick the habit when we're so used to imbibing at will!

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Track how much each family member is drinking. Set goals- make sure they are achievable and reasonable.
  2. Get the family involved in friendly-competition.
  3. Record progress each week.
  4. Add healthy drinks to the grocery list- have family members contribute.
  5. Keep a jug of cold water in the fridge.
  6. Add slices of lemon, lime, cucumber or watermelon.
  7. Carry a water bottle and refill it throughout the day.
  8. Reward your family for a job well-done!

Ingredients to avoid in a beverage:
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • fructose
  • fruit juice concentrate
  • honey
  • corn syrup
  • sucrose 
  • dextrose
  • sugar

Thanks, Empower Me!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Milk. You're Killing Me.

Eep. So awhile ago, I posted about Organic Milk and how cool it was and how healthy it was and all that stuff. Shortly after, my friend Jo-Lynne emailed me with some information which basically told me I was on the right track but wasn't quite there yet. Read on.

As Jo-Lynne reminded me, we have to get "Back to basics.  That's key.  As simple, natural, and unprocessed as possible."

I can handle that.

She sent me two links:

Healthy Milk- Kelly the Kitchen Kop breaks down the facts about buying healthy milk for your family.  According to her, the fact that some organic milk is so stinkin' pasteurized means that it is dead and barely resembles milk. Forget nutrients, the ones in there are synthetic. Lovely.
She also discusses low-fat vs. whole milk and brings up some points that I have never-ever considered and frankly I am not sure how I feel about it!

Organic Milk Score Card- developed and published a scoring system that rated organic milk companies based on several factors, including the way they treat their animals.

After discussing milk further with Jo-Lynne, she sent me articles from her personal blog, Musings of a Housewife.

You can check them out below~

The Raw Milk Question

Pasteurized vs. Ultra Pasteurized Milk

Which Milk is Best, and Why

Whole Milk- Does it Make You Fat? (NO!)

Thank you so much, Jo-Lynne for all of your insight and research. I figured (by your posts) you are at least a year ahead of me in your journey, so I appreciate the links and info!!!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stock Up : Pancakes

Once a month or so, I make a huge batch of pancakes and freeze most of them. I use wheat pancake mix, add in berries, bananas, cinnamon, pumpkin, whatever I have laying around (not all at once!), and voila- easy and cheap breakfast option! Our daughter loves pancakes (or "deek-deeks" as she calls them).

I serve them with fresh fruit, plain greek yogurt, or occasionally, pure maple syrup. Mmmm.