Category Archives: Food

Farmer’s Market & Stone Arch Bridge

We really like going to the Farmer’s Market. We have gone to all sorts of them around town. I really like the St. Paul Farmer’s Market because there’s a stand that sells this yummy Black Bean and Chipotle Hummus. I love it!

A favorite thing to do at any of the Farmer’s Markets is to get Maddie to point out fruits and veggies. I keep hoping she will be adventurous and try some new foods, but that will come eventually. Smile

Another small Farmer’s Market we have gone to a couple times is the Mill City Farmer’s Market. It’s not very big, but we like to take a walk over to the Stone Arch Bridge. We look at the waterfall and let Maddie meander and look at stuff. It’s a fun morning activity.

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We invited Chuck’s sister, Paige, her husband, Brian, and their daughter, Amira, to come with us one day. We got some really cute pictures of the girls.

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Chuck took one of our all time favorite pictures of Maddie this day.

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Rocket Pops & Huckables

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I came across this recipe in an email and thought I would give it a try for the 4th of July. They were very easy and really yummy! I think I am going to make more of these in different colors/flavors for other events. Here’s a picture of mine, still in the small cup I froze them in.

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They pop right out of the cup when you warm them with your hand. Maddie loved them!

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And Maddie calls popsicles the cutest thing….”huckables.” Here’s a video.

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Taste of Love Bakery

The other day, Maddie, Dannie and I took a little trip to a new bakery called Taste of Love. I heard that they had a play area for kids and their pictures of food from their Facebook Page looked so delicious.

The bakery was very cute and the staff was very nice. Maddie picked out a cake pop and they gave her a bag all to herself. She thought that was pretty great! There are a few tables to sit at in the main room. If you go down the hall, You can see them baking all their goodies and just past that is the play area for kids.

What a brilliant idea. It makes it low stress to bring them with you and you know that they don’t mind your kids being there when they give them a place to play!

They have all kinds of goodies….muffins, cake pops, cupcakes, slices of cake, doughnuts, coffee, a few sandwiches and more.

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This was a Raspberry Lemonade Cupcake…lemon or vanilla cake, filled with raspberries, lemonade frosting, drizzled with raspberry and topped with a raspberry. I am drooling just remembering how yummy it was!

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It was a fun new place for us to try and I definitely recommend checking it out!

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Tea

I’ve been really into tea lately. I get herbal and rooibos tea because they don’t have caffeine in them. I add some rock sugar and a little honey to my tea. Mostly, I love having a hot drink that isn’t filled with tons of calories and junk like hot chocolate. Don’t get me wrong….I do still love hot chocolate, I just drink it very infrequently.

When I first started to buy tea, I could never make it taste good enough for me to enjoy drinking it. But I was eating a lot of sugar and soda at the time. Now that my tastes have changed, I have really started to LOVE my tea! I just got a tea kettle because I thought it would be easier for heating up water when I want more than one cup at a time.

If anyone else likes fruity tea, I tried some new ones from Teavana that are delicious!

I also still like the ones I started with. I have a mix of Blueberry/Strawberry and Strawberry/Orange. Both are fabulous!

Have you found any teas lately that you really like? Do you like sweeter, fruity teas like me? Do you like your tea hot or cold? Will you drink any kind of tea? Or do you dislike tea all together? I know it was a learning curve for me to find what I liked best and make it just the way I liked it.

Now I’m off to make some for myself. All this talk about tea made me thirsty!

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A Speaker & An Update On Our Eating

Today at my MOMS Club meeting, we had a speaker come to talk to us about nutrition and snacks for kids. A couple months ago, all of this would have been new information to me. But after a couple months of eating well, I was proud and happy that I knew a lot of the information he provided. Nonetheless, he gave us some great ideas for snacks for kids (or adults), making healthier choices and some substitutions you can use in your cooking.

Here is a list of some healthy snacks we were given for you and your kiddos.

  • Yogurt (but check the ingredient list…some are better options than others)
  • Carrots and celery
  • No sugar added peanut butter and whole grain crackers
  • Milk and fruit
  • Cheese
  • Hummus with veggies or whole grain crackers/pita
  • All natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • Turkey bacon with no nitrites
  • Homemade sweet potato fries
  • Veggies and dip (Vegannaise makes a great base for dips)
  • Homemade mini pizza with cheese or veggie toppings
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Homemade smoothie
  • Homemade trail mix
  • Hard boiled egg or egg salad
  • Tortilla (all natural or whole grain) with cheese and salsa on top
  • Homemade ice cream (with all natural ingredients…you know what goes into it)
  • Fruit or veggie kabobs

My favorite snacks right now are Triscuits (only 3 ingredients) with hummus, Pretzel Crisps (4 ingredients) with hummus and Jack’s Special Salsa (I like the medium). I love using this salsa on tacos, quesadillas and on homemade pizza! My favorite hummus right now is Sabra and I like the “Supremely Spicy” or “Roasted Red Pepper.”

His wife writes a blog and documents meals she makes. I scrolled through and found so many that I wanted to try. The website is called Premier Life Eating. Not all of her posts have pictures, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to try them! I just like pictures so I know if I am doing it right or mine turns out correctly. Smile

As far as an update for how we are doing with our new lifestyle…we are doing great! We are finding more new foods to try, both at home and when we eat out. I have become way more adventurous and I look forward to my flavor-filled meals! I have gotten Maddie to try more foods. Many days she still wants noodles or chicken nuggets, but she is given whole grain, organic or healthier options of these things. I have also tried to get her better snack options for when we are out. And she is two, so yes, she still has days where she will eat cookies or chips for a meal. Pick your battles! Smile

The other night, I made spaghetti with whole wheat noodles, Veggie Prego (has more veggies in it) then I added ground turkey meatballs and two cups of extra veggies into the sauce (onions, peppers, carrots, zucchini) and it was DELICIOUS! We had enough for two meals and I loved it just as much the second time and cleaned my plate. Two months ago, there was NO WAY I would have eaten all the vegetables in that dish.

I am very proud of how far I have come in such a short time. I even ordered a salad for my lunch today and LOVED it! Who am I? Smile I was skeptical of this change, but I am so glad that we did it. And I thank my dear husband for giving us the push we needed to make it happen!

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Real Food

Almost two months ago, Chuck and I had a discussion about the food we eat. After a long talk, (and some persuading on his part) we have done an overhaul of the food we eat.

We knew this wouldn’t happen overnight, but we knew we could make some immediate changes. First, I watched Food, Inc. (you can find the video online, Netflix and some other video sites) as well as some other related shows. I also started reading the website 100 Days Of Real Food. I just wanted to learn. Turns out, I was interested, intrigued, a bit disgusted by what we normally eat and very ready to give it a try.

What we decided to do was eat A LOT more fruits and veggies, less meat and minimal processed food. So many meals were heavy on the carbs or came from a box. It’s so easy to just make some Hamburger Helper and hardly realize we ate almost all of it.

We started making meals with lots of veggies and minimal, if any, meats. We eat salmon maybe twice a week now…which is a big feat for me since 8 weeks ago I would barely eat fish at all! I make smoothies with many dinners which are filled with fruit and spinach, and willingly eat veggies with lunch. I am realizing it isn’t that hard to make better choices when I go out to eat.

We have made lots of new meals lately. Just the other day, Chuck said “what would you have said if I put this meal in front of you 7 weeks ago?” I told him I would have laughed at him and asked where my pasta was! And it’s true! I will be posting some of the meals and new foods we have been eating in the coming weeks.

I am one of those people that really needs something to motivate me. Yes, eating better, healthier and teaching better habits to my kids should be enough…but well, I’m weak. So if we completely fall off the wagon with this and go back to eating the way we were, we lose our smart phones. We get flip phones or the cheapest thing possible that just does phone calls. That might not seem like much, but I am addicted to my phone and this would be devastating! So, it seems like a great penalty!

Eating this way is a huge adjustment. There’s a lot more food prep that needs to be done (chopping lots of vegetables, longer cooking time…) and more frequent trips to the grocery store since we are buying mostly perishable foods. But my wonderful husband has taken on this task. Since I am still nursing Dannie and tending to her every need and keeping Maddie occupied, he does the shopping AND food prep AND cooking AND cleaning! He is amazing. I am looking forward to being able to help with this more, but I need the girls to not need me quite as much at dinner time. Which will happen before too long. So I am very thankful that Chuck has been able to do this.

And honestly, I think it is a great thing that he has been able to do that because he is mush more adventurous when it comes to trying new foods, so he has had us try a lot of things that I am not sure I would have tried if I were the one in charge of the meals.

We have both lost a lot of weight just by eating better and not snacking. We aren’t drinking soda anymore and drink a lot of water. Granted the soda we drank was usually diet, we have cut out a bunch of calories by making better food choices.

No, we aren’t perfect. And yes, we still have a toddler at home that eats goldfish crackers, chicken nuggets (I’m going to start making my own) and macaroni and cheese. But I give her the healthiest options of those that I can (whole grains, wheat, organic…). And I just provide her with healthier options. She may still choose to eat the most unhealthy thing on the plate, though and that is ok. And seeing us eat what we have given her is a huge deal for her. So many times I would give her vegetables and never eat any myself. Now this isn’t the case and it has made a difference.

Getting Maddie involved in helping with meals or smoothies has made her try new things. She loves to help or watch us cook. And for a kid that wouldn’t touch any vegetables and now asks for carrots at a meal, or who wouldn’t try anything new….to me, that means this is successful and we are doing something right.

Now I am sure you are thinking that this won’t last. Doing such a huge overhaul and not splurging now and again….well, we do splurge. And I have a LONG list of things I want to eat when I hit my goal weight. But honestly, I don’t have the desire to eat those foods like I did before. I struggle to find something I want to eat at McDonald’s. If I am going to eat something, I want it to be worth while. And most of the bad foods just don’t appeal to me like they used to. I would rather eat a huge amount of something good for me than a tiny bite of something horrible for me. Another thing that has helped me is to not order soda with a meal. Or leave out the fries. These are small things that make a big difference when eating out.

This is still a learning process. Some people may not agree with what we are doing and that is fine. I am still getting used to the concept. But for us, it was the right thing to do. And we are happier and healthier for making this change.

There will be more coming on this topic since we are just at the beginning of this journey. But to look back at how much we have changed in a short time is amazing to me. I am so thankful that we did this. And I am really proud, too.

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Pretzels

I love pretzels. The saltier the better! While I was gone last night, my wonderful hubby made some amazing pretzels for me! (He is the best, by the way!)

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They were so good! He had some coming right out of the oven when I was walking in the door! He also made some cheese sauce to dip them in. I was in heaven!

If you would like to make some for yourself, here is the recipe he used. I think I am going to make some of these for a playdate I am hosting next week! MMMMM!

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State Fair

I look forward to the end of August because it means the State Fair is here! I really only go for the food. We went last year, but Maddie didn’t really get a whole lot out of it. This year was totally different. Aside from getting some new teeth and being a crabby wabby, she seemed to have fun! And she seemed to enjoy the food as much as we do!

I have not been able to get Maddie to eat corn. She picks it out of things. But apparently I have been doing it wrong. I needed to slather it in butter and salt and that’s apparently all it takes for her to want to dive right in!

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She wrinkled up her face every time she took a bite. Then asked for more. it cracked us up! And I have noticed her pretending to eat her plastic toy corn. But she still has yet to eat corn off her plate at a meal. Smile 

Then we had some fries! Maddie loves fries and ketchup, so we knew this would be a hit with her. She sat so nicely in a shady spot we found and had a grand old time with her fries and ketchup (or “da do” as she likes to call ketchup).

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I decided to try a pretzel this year with a coupon someone gave me. Maddie was skeptical at first, but then decided she liked licking the salt off the pretzel. Thankfully she wasn’t interested in my cup of cheese that went with it….more for me!

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Before we left, we made sure to get some cookies! Maddie, of course, loved them! We did find that she took a couple bites, then decided that she just wanted the chocolate chips, so she started sticking her fingers in the chocolate….and then got it all over herself. Smile 

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And no, it doesn’t look like she’s a huge mess, but for her, this is messy! She also had it all over her leg and up her thigh from wiping it on her leg. Smile 

The only food we got that she didn’t want to try was a pronto pup. Again, more for me! But I am sure next year, she’s going to want her very own!

We took her a kid area that we found. She could color and put stickers on a fan. She refused to color, but she loved the stickers!

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Here’s one I thought was cute of Maddie and me.

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Then, I tried to get a cute picture of Chuck and Maddie. Maddie was not cooperating. She’s adorable, but man, she cannot just look at the camera! Smile 

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Nice, Maddie. We’re going to have to have a talk with her when she is older about that crazy tongue of hers! One thing I love about these pictures, though is how blue Chuck and Maddie’s eyes are! Wow! I just love them both!

Overall, we had a great time! Oh, and yes, we did take Maddie to see some animals and she made noises at them. Smile And she loved the DNR building. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t pet all the stuffed animals. Silly girl. Smile

HERE are all the pictures we took this year at the fair in case you are interested.

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Teavana

A friend of mine has raved about Teavana, so the other day I was in the store getting a gift for someone and I thought I would try out some things. I’ve never found a tea I like, but I would like to like it. I tasted a sweet tea they had as a sample and I was sold!

So I went home and made a cup. It was awful! There’s no getting around that. So I started asking my tea drinking friends what I did wrong. First guess was my water was too hot. So I made another glass with slightly cooler water. It was better. Still bland, though. A couple days later, I tried some more with a friend. I steeped it longer and used more tea. Success!

So now that I have found a way I actually like drinking it, I am so excited about it! So here is what I got.

I got a mixture of Strawberry Lemonade Herbal Tea and Blueberry Bliss Rooibos Tea.

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Then I also got Strawberry Lemonade mixed with Wild Orange Blossom Herbal Tea after talking to Morgan (a sales associate at Teavana) who likes the sweet tea just like I do!

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I need to tell you how yummy these smell. I want to eat them right out of the jar. That would be weird, I know, but I want to. Smile 

I also got Perfect Tea Maker. Wow. This thing is cool!

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You put your tea inside and pour water over it. I also got some rock sugar to sweeten the tea and I add that in to the tea maker with the tea. Then you let it steep. When you are ready, you put it over any cup/mug and it has a quick release on the bottom so the tea comes out the bottom without any leaves or anything in your glass. SO cool!

Here are some pictures of my tea I took yesterday with my phone. It looks like a ton of tea in there but it was only a couple scoops. The tea rehydrates and get huge in the water.

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And here is when I am putting it in the cup.

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And look at the pretty color!

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Ok…this picture wasn’t very pretty. But it was a really deep pink in person. Smile 

So there you have it. My failed, then successful attempts at tea. Do you like tea? What are your favorites? Do you like it sweetened or any way you can get it?

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Fun With Noodles

During lunch yesterday, Maddie was having some of my rigatoni noodles. I would cut them into smaller rings for her to eat and she kept putting them on her finger to eat. It was really cute.

Maddie also learned her own version of signing “more” yesterday, too. So she would finish the noodles then “more, more more.” It was really cute! Maybe I can get her to learn some more signs. She does “all done” and “more” now. Smile

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