November 27, 2007 at 3:16 am | Posted in carrot puree, Family Meals, spinach puree | 2 Comments

Baby Spinach, so easy and so good for you! I’ve made these hamburgers a couple of times now and each time my kids raved and ate.

Hamburgers (with spinach and carrots)
1.25 lbs lean ground beef
1/2 cup baby spinach puree*
1/2 cup carrot puree
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Shape patties, some big for adults, some mini for the kids. On a non-stick pan sprayed with cooking spray, cook hamburgers 5-7 minutes per side, depending on how thick they are. Mom Tip: While the patties cook, have the kids cut out buns using wheat bread and cookie cutters. Tonight my kids used gingerbread, Christmas tree, and stocking shapes. My son refused to let me photo his tree shaped burger, but it was so cute!

*Baby spinach is super easy because there is no cooking necessary! Just grab a big handful of clean baby spinach and put it in the food processor.

solutions week 3

November 27, 2007 at 2:58 am | Posted in Diet and Exercise, solutions | 3 Comments

Saturday– I went to a baby shower brunch today. Skipped the sausages and scones. Enjoyed the eggs, fruit, and a muffin. It was a cheesecake “cake”, not really worth the calories, but how do you say, “no” at a shower? Dinner was finished by 6:15pm.

No gym or walk tonight. I’ve only been to the gym three times this past week. And it’s not really part of our weekend routine.

– No gym today, but I walked around the classroom for hour after hour. I figure I took a lot of steps today…perhaps I need a pedometer. DH went out to dinner, we finished by 7:15pm and then walked the mall for an hour.

– Gym day! I did 20 minutes on the StairMaster “StairMill”. You know the machine that is like walking up flights of stairs. I did 58 floors. Okay, I admit that I was going pretty slow and could have gone faster, but I wanted to get my bearings on the thing. After that I did 15 quick minutes on the elliptical and then went into the empty aerobic room and did some arms, abs and a bunch of lunges.

Tonight I’m hungry, and I want to eat something. But it’s almost 8pm. I didn’t have dinner, but that’s because I ate so much banana bread this afternoon, I wasn’t hungry for dinner, and then I had a haircut appointment at 6pm, so I missed my window.

-No gym this morning, but I did get the carpets clean. Such a feeling of accomplishment! This evening dinner was finished at 6:15pm and then I went for a 25 minute walk.

– Went to the gym this morning and got in 35 minutes on the elliptical. Then I did some ab work and squats on the ball. No walk this evening with dh in a meeting, but still got in 20 minutes of yoga.

Here’s a great tip, if you have On Demand, check out the exercise menu. There you can find lots of good workouts including the yoga and pilates I’ve been doing. It sure beats doing the same old exercise dvd’s I’ve had for years. Well, I made it through Thanksgiving weekend. Here’s a photo of my dear daughter and I on Thanksgiving. And I felt great!

It was so good to have my goals in mind. I kept to my challenge of not eating after 7pm and tried to walk when I could. The good news is that after sticking to my solutions for two weeks, I’ve lost 3/4 of an inch in my waist, so I’m down to 32 inches. And I can tell a difference in the way my clothes are fitting, yeah!

So, this week I am keeping to my goals of:

  • no eating after 7pm
  • walking after dinner when eating at home
  • go to the gym 4 days this week
  • no mindless eating while reading the newspaper

Today, Monday, I went to the gym. My “i-teach-p.e.-step-and-spinning” sister was in town and worked me in the weight room. I also did 35 minutes on the treadmill. This evening dinner was finished at 6:15pm and I went for a 25 minute walk afterwards.

sweet squash tapas

November 19, 2007 at 10:34 pm | Posted in butternut squash puree, Family Meals | 1 Comment

Okay, I really didn’t know what to call these little vegetable creations, but it didn’t matter, my kids ate them up! Filled with butternut squash and apples, these great little veggie pancakes were enjoyed with dinner the other night.1 c butternut squash puree
1 fuji apple, skinned and grated
1/2 t cinnamon
1 T brown sugar
4 T flour
1 egg

Mix the above ingredients together in a large bowl. On a non-stick pan or with evoo, drop the squash mixture by the tablespoon on the pan. Flip after 5 minutes or until brown. Cook on the other side for another 5 minutes. Put on a baking sheet and finish cooking in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

child’s play creme brulee

November 19, 2007 at 9:02 pm | Posted in Dessert | 1 Comment

My kids have been playing Remy in the backyard, mixing up weeds, dirt, and the fallen oranges from the tree. “This is how Remy cooks”, I overheard my son saying the other day. Trying to turn this play into something real and bring oranges into my son’s diet (white eater), I picked up a bag of tangerines today at the store. I wasn’t quite sure what we’d do with them, but I figured an idea would present itself…and it did.

As my son and daughter were breaking open the fallen oranges and squeezing out their juice, I got out my big bag of tangerines and asked if they wanted to make something. The tangerines were the perfect fruit. Because of their small size and thin skin, my kids were easily able to cut these in half with a butter knife. I handed my son a citrus juicer and had my kids alternate between cutting and juicing our tangerines.

After a quick search for orange creme brulee, I found a recipe that could be adapted to my ingredients at home. Here’s what I used:
Child’s Play Creme Brulee
5 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 t tangerine juice (freshly squeezed)
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t tangerine zest

Whisk ingredients in a bowl until they are all added. Pour creme mixture into a double boiler and whisk until slightly thickened. Pour creme into 6 individual ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking dish and pour water in the baking dish, until the water line comes up the outside of the ramekins, half way. Bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the custard is set. At this point, refrigerate until ready to serve. Place a light layer of sugar on top of the custard and caramelize with a torch or broiler. Serve immediately.I missed the heavy cream and egg yolk base I’m used to in this classic dessert. But my kids think it’s great. The tangerine taste definitely comes through, and my kids were able to do most of the mixing and measuring by themselves (with supervision). Plus, my I-only-eat-white son got to handle, cut, juice, taste and then enjoy tangerines. This is really something (he won’t even drink orange juice).Next day report…no sugar on top, just the custard, straight out of the fridge, So Good!

solutions week 2

November 18, 2007 at 3:57 am | Posted in Diet and Exercise, solutions | 1 Comment

Friday- No gym today, probably won’t make it back until Monday morning. Still, dinner was finished at 6pm and I went for a 30 minute walk after. And the good news is that my jeans are fitting better. When I put them on this morning, I definitely noticed a difference, yea!

Bonus 20 minutes yoga…

Thanksgiving Thursday-
I went for a 2.5 mile run this morning. Okay, it was more like a jog, but still. Today we are eating early, but still will be sticking to my, “no eating after 7pm” rule. It’s easy to keep snacking on days like today.

Gym day today! 35 minutes on the elliptical then triceps, abs, lunges and squats. Finished off with a nice stretch.

No eating while reading the newspaper, but was irritated all afternoon. I’ve got to find a new thing to do when I need a little down time. Tomorrow’s pumpkin pies are in the oven. Plan to walk and yoga this evening after the kids go down.

Okay, got in a 20 minute walk and 20 minutes of pilates this evening. Dinner was finished around 7pm. Not looking at the time and once again mindless of my eating, I had a piece of “tester” pumpkin pie in my hand and up to my mouth, when I quickly checked the time and dumped the fork-full of pumpkin pie goodness into the sink. “Is it worth it?” should be my mantra.

I’ve heard that if you fail to plan, plan to fail. And I feel as though I need a plan with my exercise tomorrow…I’ll get up at 7am, get the crumb cake into the oven at 7:15am, and while it bakes I’ll head out for a little turkey trot.

Went to the gym today. Did 30 minutes on the elliptical and then some arms and abs. Left the newspaper in the car yesterday and today.

Dinner was finished by 6 pm and then I went for a 30 minute walk. I was actually a little hungry when I went to bed, yeah!

On Sunday night dinner was finished by 6:30pm. Then I walked for 30 minutes.

I succeeded in not eating while reading the newspaper, but was back at the mall after a friend gave me the Gap 30% off coupon (Thanks Crystal). So, instead of eating I was shopping.

Tonight’s dinner (Saturday) was finished by 6:30pm and I went for a 30 minute walk afterwards. Didn’t make it to the gym today, but we walked the mall for a couple of hours and then walked around Los Gatos for another hour. While there, we did stop at my favorite bakery, Icing on the Cake. This place is dripping with pure bliss, and my Chocolate Cherry Chunk cookie was divine!

This past week, I’ve been working on reducing my waist size with these three solutions:

  • Get to the gym four times
  • No eating after 7pm
  • When eating dinner at home, go for a walk afterwards

I did get to the gym four times, stopped eating before 7pm, and I went for a walk after dinner every day but Friday.

But now what? I am keeping all three original goals for Thanksgiving week, but I really need to start addressing my eating. In Bob Greene’s Total Body Makeover, he has five rules for eating:
1. Have an eating cutoff time.
2. Eat a nourishing breakfast.
3. Drink a minimum of six 8-oz glasses of water a day.
4. Eliminate Alcohol.
5. Make eating a conscious act.

So, my fourth goal for the week will be: No eating while reading the Newspaper. Because, this is how I unwind. This is how I de-stress. And I know I’m not eating for hunger sake, I’m eating for emotional sake. And I should stop.

solutions 11.15.07

November 16, 2007 at 6:13 am | Posted in Diet and Exercise, solutions | Leave a comment

Day 4 of the gym this week, I met my goal! Did 35 hard minutes on the elliptical and then had a great set of abs.

Dinner (and dessert) were finished by 7pm and I went for a 15 minute walk afterwards. Not much, I know, but I’m tired and distracted…

…the Sur La Table catalogue came in the mail today! And I just couldn’t put it down. The Giant Cupcake Cake Pan. The Poinsettia Plates. The Holiday Pancake Pan. The Cranberry Margarita Mix. Love it. Love it. Love it.

Potato Leek Soup

November 16, 2007 at 12:09 am | Posted in Family Meals | Leave a comment

I admit that Remy didn’t sneak into my kitchen and make this soup, but a little Pixar magic never hurts! In Pixar’s latest film, Ratatouille, Remy (the rat) makes soup (Potato Leek), gets noticed by the hapless Linguine, and goes on to impress Paris’ toughest food critic.

This recipe is from Chef Robert Irvine when he visited Pixar and created dishes inspired by Finding Nemo, Cars, and Ratatouille. I followed the chef’s recipe but used just 4 leeks instead of 8 and opted for half-and-half rather that the heavy cream.

My kids reaction with their first taste, “yummm”. Serve with Mary’s Dinner Rolls.

Mary’s Dinner Rolls

November 15, 2007 at 11:49 pm | Posted in Family Meals | 1 Comment

As bride in the mid-1990’s, I was given the obligatory bread machine. Back then it seemed everyone was baking with these huge machines and I was no different. I would bake cinnamon bread and create dough for pastries, but that was about it. It didn’t take long for my bread machine to be relegated to the back of the closet. It has been, gosh, maybe 7 years since I’ve even used the machine…until today.

You see, my friend Mary brought these fantastic dinner rolls to our Girls Dinner Club in October. The dough was made in her I-was-a-90’s-bride bread maker. And these rolls are definitely worth the trouble of pulling that bread maker out, dusting it off, and turning it on. Yes, they are that good. And we are having them tonight with our Potato and Leek Soup. Yummm.Mary’s Dinner Rolls
1 cup water
2 T margarine or butter softened
1 egg
3 1/4 cup Gold Medal Better for Bread Flour
1/4 c sugar
1 t salt
3 t bread machine yeast or quick-acting active dry yeast

1. Place all dough ingredients in bread pan in the order listed.

For the yeast, dig a shallow hole in the dry ingredients and place the yeast in the hole so that there’s no contact between the liquids and the yeast.

2. Select Dough cycle on bread machine.

3. Grease cupcake pan (I used a mini). Place balls in each cup, brush with butter, cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled.

4. Heat oven to 375. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. (or 10-12 minutes if using a mini-cupcake pan.)

solutions 11.14.07

November 15, 2007 at 5:01 am | Posted in Diet and Exercise, solutions | 1 Comment

Day 3 at the gym for this week! Treadmill for 35 minutes, arms, one-legged squats and abs.

Dinner was finished at 6:10pm. Went for a 25 minute walk while dh did the dishes, thanks Jeff!

Strange thing happened while eating lunch today…I was full after eating most of my sandwich and didn’t finish it. I actually left some on the plate. This never happens.

I once heard that what we eat will either show-off or hide what we do at the gym. I know I’m making some healthy changes with my exercise, but my diet will be key to life-long well being.

Solutions 11.13.07

November 14, 2007 at 2:48 am | Posted in Diet and Exercise, solutions | Leave a comment

Back to the gym today. 40 minutes on the eliptical then a quick set of abs and biceps.

At home, I raked the leaves in our backyard for an hour. (dh was so happy)

Dinner was done by 6pm. No dessert. Then a 20 minute walk followed by 20 minutes of yoga.

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