What's it all about?

It's a little about me and my five sugar cubes.
Never a dull moment.
Sit down, buckle up and enjoy the ride....

Friday, April 30, 2010

A little of this with a sprinkle of that...

Apparently it's been one week since my last "confession"...thank you bff, for that friendly reminder...

So I mentioned before that I'm not a fan of Rachael Ray. It seems though I would like her- she's okay, very down to earth, a little goofy, a good cook, seemingly real (from what I can tell from the four times I've seen her on TV). Still, she rubs me the wrong way. I don't know if it's the whole "EVOO" thing, or the fact that she's constantly making up words and phrases- I do that too. I'm not sure what it is. Dr Phil says the things you don't like about someone else are usually the things you don't like about yourself. Maybe I should examine that further. I have been known to say things like "easy squeezy", "tootie fruity" and "bees knees" and maybe to some, I'm as annoying as RR. (Puhlease.. I'm so NOT annoying- mwahahahahaha. I laugh in spite of myself). Maybe I'm jealous. I don't feeeeeeeel jealous of her. I just feel she's like nails on my chalk board. Oh well... there. I confessed- I don't like Rachael Ray. I feel so much better getting that of my chest. What's my pennance for being annoyed by a talk show host?

Sherri from PA was wondering how I plan, buy and prepare healthy meals for a family of 7. Well, I'm a list maker, a frugalista, and a label reader. I try to buy foods that we will eat, and use what we have here. Someone said to me once that my pantry wasn't that "full". I was thinking "how much food do we need?" I like to eat what we have and then buy more. I guess I'm not a food hoarder. And most of the food we eat comes from the fridge anyway- not so much the pantry. We do have canned tomatoes, beans, some soups, and always tons of cereal in there- along with baking supplies and pasta, rice, etc... Our snack shelf consists of the occasional (*gasp*) goldfish, pretzels, saltines, granola bars- sometimes whole wheat Ritz, and now there are some soy flaxseed tortilla chips. We aren't big on junk food. Here's what our pantry usually looks like...

I also joined a produce coop that is, imho, just awesome. I get a big basket of fruit and veggies for $15. You will have to check locally if there is something available to you. I know there is a coop near you Sherri- just ask our "mutual" friend about it.

I also meal plan before I shop. I buy things that go together- for example: salmon, quinoa, asparagus- veggie burgers, fixings, buns, fries- quiche, salad, bread. If I have items at home, I will shop around those.. like taco shells, I'll make sure I have the ingredients to have a taco night. This helps keep our food budget on track because I know the food we buy is the food we will eat.

So there's my secret. Hopefully you got something out of it... and if all else fails, tune in to Rachael, I'm sure she's got all my angles covered....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Food for thought.. and your belly too...

Being a vegetarian, we get the same questions asked ALLLLLLL the time.. "What do you eat?".. "Where do you get your protein from".."What do your kids eat?"
And when people think "vegetarian", most think we are "pasta-tarians". That's not always a bad thing, and there are times when my kids would love for that to be the case..... however, we do live on more than just pasta.
We are lacto-ovo vegetarians. That means we eat dairy (we just don't THINK about where it comes from, because we could easily get grossed out) and we eat fish. I like to tell people that we don't eat anything that has a mom. And by "mom", I mean "birthed". Yes, I know fish have moms (duh, just watch Nemo once and you know that he had a mom, even if she only had a cameo in the movie...RIP Coral). But fish come from eggs.. Wait, does that mean I should eat chicken? I guess not if the chicken comes first. Oh whatever. Chicken is meat to us- we don't eat it.
This one time (no, not at band camp) my bff Stacy and I were flying out here from NY and we flew first class. The meal came and it was chicken with caviar.. and when it came she said to me "What do you think came first? The chicken? Or these eggs?" We laughed so hard at that...I'm laughing now just thinking about how funny it was. And if you're not laughing, I am truly sorry- most people find our sense of humor to be less than hilarious. We find it to be MORE than hilarious. Oh well.. Moving right along...
Amy from AZ and Liz from FL both were looking for some kiddo friendly veggie meal ideas. Here are some of my kids favs:
(For the sake of time and space, I'll list a bunch, include recipes for some, and if you see something that you would like the recipe for, I'll post it- k? k.)
Chloe LOVES Gnocchi's.. and recently we made homemade ones.. so yummy- WAY better than store bought and relatively easy..

Potato Gnocchi
2 lbs whole baking potatoes
2 beaten egg yolks (I actually used the whites from one, b/c I found the dough to be a little dry)
1 1/2 c flour
pinch of salt

Preheat to 350. Spear the potatoes with a fork- bake about an hour or until the skins are tender. Let them cool and then scoop the potato from the skins.
Pass the potatoes through a ricer (I used my food mill with the ricer blade) or you can mash them with a fork. Make sure you work the potatoes while they are still warm (it makes this easier)
Make a pile of potatoes (like a mountain) and then make a well in the center. Add the flour, egg and sald. Mix by hand until you have a pliable ball of dough- don't overmix.
Dust a work area with flour. Take a piece of dough and roll it gently until it's about 3/4" in diameter. keep a light touch. Cut the tubes into 1" pieces and then use a fork or your finger to make an indentation.
Boil them right away, or freese them on a parchment or wax lined tray first, and then store in a freezer bag for later.
To cook, drop them in salted boiling water until they float and then remove with a slotted spoon.
Serve with sauce or butter. These are so light and fluffy..... way yum.

Tex Mex Pumpkin Patties..
So good, just ask Liz from Florida. She will agree. I have the recipe listed on my FB page....

Broccoli Cheese Pie
this is a good one for those who like quiche, but don't want to deal with crust...
1 c milk
2/3 c nonfat dry milk
5 eggs
2 T chopped green onion
ground mustard
worcestershire sauce
cheese (you can use Swiss, cheddar, jack.. whatever you have)
(about a cup of cheese..) OH! By the way, I'm TERRIBLE at giving recipes.. mainly because I'm a "chemist" in the kitchen. I add, subtract, delete, switch things up, substitute.. and usually I don't have measurements, so you all might get a little frustrated with me at times.. but remember.. YOU asked for this...
cooked broccoli (I've tried it w/ spinach too, and it's good as long as you really get ALL the liquid out of the spinach after cooking)
whole wheat tortillas
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350
Whisk together the milk and dry milk. Mix in everything else except the cheese, broccoli and tortillas. Spray 9 1/2" pan with Pam. Place one whole tortilla on the bottom of the pie plate. Cut the other tortillas in half and arrange around the sides of the pan so they overlap (it kind of looks like a flower). Spread broccoli (or spinach) on top of the tortilla, sprinkle with cheese. Pour in egg mixture. Bake 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

Serve with Salad
Fresh Greens, craisins, nuts and the worlds best homemade onion dressing:
I make mine in a Magic Bullet, but you can make it in the blender, I suppose:
1 onion (yellow works best)
2/3 c sugar
a big squirt of mustard (maybe a couple teaspoons)
1/3 c oil
1/2 c vinegar
whiz until smooth..
I haven't tried to make it with agave nectar in place of the sugar, but that's my next "experiment". I'll be sure to let you all know.

Veggie Meatloaf-
made with tofu, (not crumbles) and with rolled oats and bread crumbs or crushed cornflakes..
I serve this with fresh green beans and scalloped potatoes and carrots.

Clam Sauce- my kids LOVE LOVE LOVE this and it's super duper easy squeezy. (And I'm asking myself "Self? Why don't you like Rachel Ray? You really have a lot in common" She drives me crazy.. another time, another post)
2 T butter
2 T minced garlic
2 T flour
2 cans V-8 juice (5.5 oz)
2 cans chopped clams (6.5 oz)
1 t chopped basil
3 T chopped cilantro

Saute garlic in butter and stir in the flour
slowly add V-8 and juice from the clams- simmer about 10 minutes
add clams and herbs and heat through... YUM!
This recipe is from Sam the Cooking Guy who I LOVE LOVE LOVE..
Again, with a salad, and some very good bread. Perfect.

One thing we eat a lot of is salmon. And I've perfected the "quick cook" for it- from frozen (we buy a massive fresh plank from Costco, cut it into individual servings and freeze). From frozen to table in 20 minutes- no lie and it's so good.
preheat oven to 450. melt 2T butter. mix with soy sauce (about 2T) and lemon pepper. Pour over salmon- cook for 15 minutes at 450- broil for 3-5 minutes. Voila. It will taste like you spent a lot longer than 20 minutes on it.
Yummy with asparagus (grilled) and brown rice or Israeli couscous (another favorite of my kids)

Kids like to have a say in what they eat- so we try to incorporate "Kids Choice" nights. Sometimes they will choose breakfast for supper (my personal fave), sometimes it's "string noodles" (I don't even want to admit that I serve my kids Top Ramen- but it gets rounded out with a veggie and always milk to drink), and another one of the kids choice meals are these
pigs in a blanket.
Veggie dogs, cut in half
biscuits (I like to make them from scratch, but you can buy the premade ones)

Wrap each half of a dog in a biscuit circle- fold the ends up and overlap. Bake according to the biscuit time. Sometimes we mix it up, get crazy and put cheese inside or on top.. The kids dig it. They always get a veggie- they don't have a choice, and we all eat the same things. This is yummy with homemade mac and cheese.
Another FUN one for kids is Octo-dogs
Cut hot dogs in 1" pieces and spear uncooked spaghetti through each piece. Boil according to the noodle directions. Not only are these fun to look at, they are fun to eat. (I apologize for the name of the link.. don't open in front of kids that can read..)

Well, I think that's all this Pento-mom can handle for tonight. Hopefully you got some good ideas. Let me know!

Friday, April 16, 2010

the one every guy will want to read... the BOOB blog

Okay, so now that I have your attention...let's talk about relationships.. JUST KIDDING!! This is really about boobs! Seriously let's just talk about these things for a minute...

I was not one of those "early bloomers" who needed a bra by the age of 10. Looking back, that makes me glad (that comes with a whole range of other issues) HOWEVER, I was not a "late bloomer" either. I was the girl who didn't need a bra when she was 20, or 25.. Even when I got pregnant, I thought (*keyword*) that I was va-va-voluptous, and a friend said "Look at how cute you are! And you don't even have any BOOBS!". I was like "yes I do".. Humph. Whatever.

Well, fast forward to NURSING!! The angels sing and big bras come out.. And for one split second (or 12, 14, 16 months- however long you choose to nurse) you are Pamela Anderson. Of course you have a little belly fat as a side dish to the double D's, but do ya really mind? Yeah, me neither.
I was thinking today, it's not at all fair to experience a large "rack" when you weren't really born with it, and it has to go back after you're done nursing. I've contemplated keeping up milk production, but that's way too hard. It would mean burning the motor out on my pump. I am all about nursing for the first year, but I really do NOT want to nurse my kids into puberty. Know what I'm saying? It's so not fair that in a few short months I have to give these back. It's like borrowing a Cadillac for a year knowing that you have to give it back and drive your Smartcar. Sure, the smartcar is cute and all, but it's no Cadillac. Oh, and I forgot to mention that your smartcar is inflatable.. And it's lost some air over the past year. So it needs help to get it "inflated". Thank goodness for whoever invented add-a-size bras. At least you can look good in a t-shirt (yeah YOU, I'm talking to YOU.. I'm not the one with the problem here...)

I guess I can't complain. I follow a blog about a girl who has breast cancer and had a mastectomy.. and what she's going through??? It's awful. I have healthy mammary glands and should just shut up about them..

But seriously... it's not fair about the whole size thing.. *foot stomp, arm cross*

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

or so I thought...

I thought I would write more than I have been, but, as I've found, sometimes life tends to get in the way of itself. Forgive me friends for I've been neglectful, it's been two weeks since my last post.
I am a realist for the most part, but once in a while I will go to a place in my mind where everything goes according to "plan" and things get done when and how I would like, birds sing, rivers part, my house is spotless (with no effort on my part), all lights are green, and I write in my blog every night about my perfect life. Ahahahaha. Now THAT's funny. In reality, I can barely keep my eyes open past 10 pm. So I put the blog on hold. Good thing I don't work in a call center- "on hold" is indefinite with me- or two weeks anyway. Oh well.
So now that I'm sitting here and ready to write, I'm having bloggers block. What's up with that? Seldom am I short on words. Weird. I'm thinking of responding to questions that I get asked and make that the topic of my blog. Totally not my idea- I stole it. So ask away- on here, on Facebook, via email. Ask and ye shall receive an answer from me..eventually.