Sunday, April 22, 2012

Red Bean Burgers

This recipe was once again a combo of several I have seen around the internet.  I rarely have all the ingredients for one full recipe, or I see something in another recipe that looks good so I tend to patchwork recipes together.  This one was a HIT with the kids.  We all liked it a bunch!

1 can red beans mashed in food processor
1/2 c of minced onions
1/4 c of sunflower seeds buzzed in the food processor
2 T of ketchup
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp  pepper
1 tsp garlic pepper
1 cup oats buzzed in the food processor

Make 6 patties (adding oats if needed for consistency) and place on a cooking stone.  Bake in oven heated to 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Flip burgers over with a spatula and bake for another 10 minutes.

We served them on whole grain bread with all the toppings: onions, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard, mayo and lettuce.  It would also be good with a bit spicier base, perhaps adding jalapenos and then adding guacamole on top!

Hummus Stuffed Mushrooms

Baby Bella mushrooms
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 c hummus
3-4 sun dried tomatoes

Remove the stems of the mushrooms, saving half.  Add diced mushrooms stems to hummus and the rest of the ingredients.  Spoon mixture into mushroom caps and place in oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Oh so good! 

I peeled and chopped sweet potatoes into cubes.  I tossed them in a bowl with paprika, pepper and a tiny bit of olive oil.  I then spread them onto my Pampered Chef stone cookie sheet and baked them at 400 degrees for 30 minutes stirring half way through. 

They were a big hit!  Such a hit that we are having them for lunch again today.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vegetable Soup with white beans

This soup is based almost completely on Fat Free Vegan's Garden Vegetable and Bean Soup. The changes I made are reflected below.

4 cans Vegetable broth
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cabbage, chopped
1 large can green beans drained and rinsed
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 large zucchini, diced
1 can great northern beans

Sauté the carrots, onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil for about 5 minutes in a soup pot. Add all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the zucchini and beans and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the zucchini and beans and cook until the zucchini are tender.

This was the first soup that the kids asked for seconds! It will definitely be a staple in our house. Next time I believe I will add barley. It made plenty of soup for all five of us and about 4 portions of left overs. Enjoy!

Cajun Shrimp Salad

Tonight I made an amazing shrimp salad. It was yummy and everyone devoured it. Because I am gracious, I will share the recipe with you *wink*.

The salad :

Romaine lettuce
Corn (I used frozen, I'd bet roasted corn on the cob would be FAB)
Roma tomatoes - chopped
Cucumber - chopped

Topped with Cajun shrimp :

I simply used frozen shrimp that I rinsed and thawed. I removed the tails and tossed in the tiniest bit of olive oil and some cajun seasoning. I then heated them in a skillet until they were warn and a bit browned.

The dressing:

The dressing was the star here. I simply followed the directions from a post I read on Dr. Ben Kim's website. It is 1/3 olive oil (1/3 the amount of dressing you would like to make), 1/4 fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1/4 honey, 2 T dijon mustard, pinch of sea salt and some minced garlic. I mixed mine in a wide mouth mason jar and shook it like crazy. It was amazing!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ch Ch Ch Chia

I have been using chia seeds off and on for a couple years. Chia seeds are tiny little seeds that are BIG powerhouses. Chia is said to help in weight loss because they reduce food cravings and block some absorption. They hold tons of water so they can help in hydration. Chia has more Omega-s fatty acids than Salmon and is easier to digest than flax seeds. We order ours from
  • 2x the amount of protein of any grains
  • 3x the amount of antioxidants of blueberries
  • 5x more calcium than milk
  • 2x the amount of potassium in a banana
  • 3x the iron of spinach

We love them at our house. I soak them and use them in everything. To soak chia, put 2/3 cup of chia in 4 cups water. I drop them in the water and shake them once or twice for the first couple hours after I make them. I use a canning jar so that I can shake them easily. The seeds will swell up and make a gel. You can store them in the refrigerator and they will keep for 2 weeks. We put a spoonful in oatmeal, on salads, smoothies and even in soups and sauces. I like them in juices and water as well.


I LOVE smoothies. I think it is the easiest way to get the kids to eat what I want them to eat. It helps them get their greens in without tasting greens. My daughter, McCartney, hates mushrooms and I even toss a mushroom into every smoothie I make for her!

As far as the blender goes, I have not purchased the Vitamix. I may in the future, but I am having a hard time choking down the $500 price tag. I am sure I will sometime, but for now I am using a Cuisanart blender I got at Kohls for right around a hundred dollars. I originally purchased a Ninja. It did not blend everything smooth enough for our tastes. Things were still a bit crunchy and leafy. It also did not pull items from the top of the container so it didn't really give a good consistent blend. I returned it after a few weeks of fighting with it.

Smoothies could not be easier to make!

I start out with a bit of soy milk or almond milk and a handful or two of spinach. (If you don't want to use either milk, you could just use water. ) I have also added a couple leaves of kale and I always throw in 1 or 2 mushrooms (which you cannot taste). I will also add an avacado half in our smoothies too, especially when I know they are going to go bad and I don't want to waste them.

I then add whatever frozen fruit I have on hand. We buy a strawberry, peach, pineapple blend. I toss in whatever fresh fruits I have as well. Sometimes I add a banana, sometimes cantaloupe, sometimes kiwi. I have added canned fruit before as well. I just drained and rinsed it. I have not had luck adding citrus fruits to my smoothies so we don't add those.

At this time your smoothy will be a lush green color. If you need to disguise this of the kiddos, make sure add some frozen blueberries or pomegranate juice.

I add chia to our smoothies. It is easier to disguise chia if it is soaked prior to use because it blends easier. Chia gives you tons of energy and lots of Omega 3s. I plan to talk about Chia Seeds later today.

Sometimes I find that it is way too thick and I just add some water to thin it down.

There ya go. I have no set recipe for our smoothies since I just chuck in whatever is near by. You will find out what you prefer and what you don't. For instance, I hate bananas in my smoothies, but my kids have a fit if they are not in there. Play around, you really can't go wrong.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The kids

Dustin is 17. Dustin has a moderately mentally handicapped status. He was adopted from foster care and has been with us 11 years this June. He has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and has some other severe issues. He struggles with bowel obstructions and I hope this diet will help eliminate those stomach issues. Some families have had success in curbing some impulse behaviors with limiting gluten and dairy for kids with Fetal Alcohol as well. It will be interesting to see what this diet does for him.

Harrison is 9 and is in 4th grade. He was our first bio child. He is currently on medication for ADHD. We hope that we can eliminate that with this diet in the future. We shall see. He also struggles some bowel issues as well as asthma. He has always loved vegetables and fruit and has never really cared for meat. He has been the easiest to transition to the diet. He is quite bright and understands the importance of being healthy and making this change. Harrison has gained weight on this diet which is amazing for him!

McCartney is 8 and is our only girl and last bio child. She has her own issues that we hope can be lessened with this new way of eating. The pediatrician was concerned about her chronic bowel condition enough to suggest we eliminate all dairy and sent us on this journey. She complains for stomach aches almost daily. That is beginning to decrease a bit. She has been our most resistant to the changes, but she is really coming around! I believe it is possible that she may have issues with gluten as well. McCartney has lost approximately 6 pounds on this diet. She gained 30 pounds after starting a new medication last year and has struggled to get it off even after stopping the med. She is thrilled that her clothes fit better!

(names are actual)

Banana Breakfast

We adapted this from Dr. Fuhrman's recipe. Harrison makes this nearly every day for breakfast.

We start with a whole banana sliced in the bottom of a bowl. Add a half cup of rolled oats (dry/uncooked), sunflower seeds, 10-12 frozen blueberries, about a half cup of pomegranate/blueberry juice. McCartney prefers to add walnuts also, but Harrison doesn't like them. Microwave for 2 minutes.

The bananas get all smushy and the blueberries get warm. It is yummy. We then mix it around, add sliced fresh strawberries and sometimes a splash of soy milk. No need to add extra sugar, it is sweet and delicious.

Lunch - Avacado Corn Black Bean Salad

Today for lunch I made the avocado black bean salad I posted here.

I made one update. I added a splash of olive oil and a splash of vinegar and we ate it in Romaine lettuce leaves like a taco. It was amazing.

Here is the updated recipe:
2 ears of corn - boil then cut off corn
1 half a spanish onion diced
4-5 roma tomatoes (or their equivalent - we used giant beefsteak tomatoes in Florida)
1 Avacado cubed
2 cans of black beans rinsed
chopped cilantro to your liking
juice of one whole lime
splash of olive oil
splash of vinegar
black pepper

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mushroom and Onion Soup

Came home today and could not decide what to have for lunch. I pulled out my recipe binder and decided I needed some soup on this chilly, drizzly day.

I found the original recipe at FoodWorkEtc. I made a few changes. Below is how I made this yummy soup.

3 cups of thinly sliced Baby bella mushrooms
1 large yellow onion
2 cans of vegetable broth
2 T cornstarch
olive oil
sea salt and pepper
I cut the onion into slices and then quartered them. Placed them in a large pot with just a bit of olive oil. I sauteed them until they where caramelized. Once the onions were brown, transparent and yummy, I added the mushrooms and a half a can of vegetable broth to give the mushrooms a change to reduce a bit.

In a small skillet, I heated a cup of vegetable broth and added 2 T cornstarch. I stirred until it thickened to make a roux.

I added the roux to the pot and the remaining vegetable broth. Sea salt and pepper to taste. I simmered for about 15-20 minutes.

It was DELISH! It is definitely a keeper!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Banana Applesauce Breakfast Cookies

I had a friend ask me on Facebook just what exactly do we do for breakfast. I have to admit, I am the world's worst getter-upper in the morning. So, I try to do easy peasy! Here is one option:

My mother introuced us to these breakfast cookies. They were on pinterest, but they did not trace back to a blog entry or webpage so I have no idea who to give credit to. If someone knows, please let me know and I will add the credit.

This is the best and most awesome breakfast cookie ever! And the best part, no flour, no sugar, and no dairy added!

1.5 cups of oats
2-3 super rippened bananas (mashed)
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
handful of dried cranberries to taste (we have also done raisins)
handful of walnuts

Pretty much just throw everything together, mix it up pretty well, throw it on a baking sheet at 350 for about 35 minutes.

They are great warm and right out of the oven. As they sit they do get a bit sponge-y, but I like them that way and so do my kids.

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Dinner tonight was a large salad that was made with Romaine lettuce. It included cabbage (gotta include those cruciferous vegetables!), carrots, baby bella mushrooms, yellow pepper, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. Harrison detests salad. We have compromised and he gets a dish of fresh cut vegetables. I simply make sure he gets plenty of greens in his smoothies. Tonight he got cucmbers, cherry tomatoes and yellow peppers. The child could eat his weight in peppers, he loves them so!

I also made the famous (at least in my world!) caramelized brussel sprouts from Flower Patch Farm Girl. The littles (Harrison and McCartney) do NOT like them. I am trying to "train" their taste buds. I know that their tastes will change the longer we do this plan so I am trying to expose them. I have been giving them one half and requiring them to eat it. I announced tonight that next time we have them they will eat 2 halves. This goes against most of what I believe about eating. I do not like to force my kids to eat. But I look at this more like giving their bodies the opportunity to try things they are unaccustomed to and allowing for a chance for their taste buds to adapt. If they continue to not like it after a time, I will not force it. And just so you know, I HATE peppers. I am doing the same thing myself and forcing my body to acclimate.

You will also notice a bit of celery stalks on the table as well. Once again, the two boys (Harrison and Dustin) do not care for celery. I offer them a small amount of natural peanut butter with the celery and we will slowly phase that out after a time.

The remainder of our dinner was over roasted asparagus. I wrapped a pound of asparagus in foil, drizzled it with a tiny bit of olive oil and fresh cracker pepper. I simply put it on a baking pan and put it in the oven until it was tender (about 30 minutes or so) while I prepped everything else.

Finally, we had a freshly sliced cantaloupe for our fruit.

(I apologize for the poor quality photos, my camera is at work for a project and I wanted to document dinner for you!)

Gaining weight

I took my son to the pediatrician this morning for his monthly med check. He has always been super skinny. We have a hard time getting him to eat and keeping weight on him. Today, he had actually gained a pound! This peds office was instrumental in getting us thinking about changing our eating habits and was thrilled when they found out we were doing Dr. Fuhrman's program.

The Nurse Practitioner was thrilled! I said, "That funny because the rest of us have lost weight."

She said, "That's the best thing about this plan. Those who need to lose weight, lose. Those who need to gain weight, gain. Your body knows what it needs and utilizes your food accordingly."

Amazing! It amazes me that our bodies work the way they do when we give them the right fuel. Thinking of food as fuel is a new concept for me.

My only regret is that I wish I had done this many years ago.

Avacado Black Bean Salad

This recipe was born of a couple different ones I have seen around. It was born out of necessity when I visited Florida with my mom last month and we had some ingredients and not others for the recipes. I made it for lunch again today. It is a keeper. So fresh, so satisfying and so, so good.

2 ears of corn - boil then cut off corn
1 half a spanish onion diced
4-5 roma tomatoes (or their equivalent - we used giant beefsteak tomatoes in Florida)
1 Avacado cubed
2 cans of black beans rinsed
chopped cilantro to your liking
juice of one whole lime
splash of vinegar
splash of olive oil
black pepper

Mix together and enjoy!

I was so excited to eat lunch, I forgot to take a picture. I promise one next time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Here we are

Robert beginning weight 265 Currently 239
Sheri beginning weight 282 Currently 267

New me

We have been following our new way of eating for over a month now. It is amazing to me the changes I have seen in such a short time.

In the past month, we have eliminated all dairy products, all red meat, chicken and pork, white flour products, all soda and most salt. Our goal is to go 100% non-processed foods. It is a lofty goal, but one that is definitely attainable.

Not only do I feel better mentally, I feel better physically. The foot/ankle I injured in July was really not doing well just a month ago. It is now healing quite well and I have started physical therapy. I thought tendon repair surgery was in my future with a long recovery and it remarkably started doing better 2 weeks after I started this way of eating. I am far less grouchy and less irritable. I have LOADS of energy. My headaches have lessened to only 2 in the last month. I typically have 5 a week on average with a migraine at least once monthly of which I have had none so far. I am sleeping better. It is pretty astounding.

My daughter, McCartney, has lost 6 pounds and is looking good. Her digestive system is definitely clearing out which was the main impetus for giving up dairy. She is struggling with our food choices and I think her OCD plays a big part in that. We are working hard at changing her perceptions. It is getting easier. My youngest son, Harrison, has transitioned to the way of eating miraculously well, although he never really cared for meat. He LOVES fruit, vegetables and beans so this has been pretty easy. The oldest with FAS, Dustin, loves any food so his transition was easy. My husband is really doing great and has taken this on with a fervor. He is excited to be healthier and live longer. His goal is to get off all his diabetic meds. He is currently on half the dosage he was taking and his sugar levels are maintaining perfectly. His disposition has changed and I chalk that up to him sleeping better, feeling better and having a wife who is more pleasant.

All in all, it was a positive change. I hope that the benefits continue to roll in and we see many more changes in our future.

Monday, April 9, 2012


I have just started to juice. I originally got the juicer because I wanted to make fresh juice for the soup I am making. Many recipes call for fresh carrot juice, I figured in the long run I would enjoy having a juicer. I do!

The first juice I made was from the Five Frozen Chamorros blog. Her Red Rooster was amazing! The hubs thought it tasted a bit like the front lawn, but he drank it. Her recipe is as follows:

The Red Rooster

4 - 6 oranges/grapefruit combo (whatever you like, or what's in the fridge), peeled
4 - 6 carrots, greens removed (never juice carrot greens!)
2 beets, with greens (always juice the greens of beets)
1 lime, peeled
Strawberries, handful
Kale (1/2 bunch) and/or
Chard (1/2 bunch) and/or
Spinach, 2 - 3 handfuls
1 - 2 cups cold water to run through machine to get all juice out (savor EVERY drop)

A few comments. If you read her blog (which you should as it is great!) you will see that she talks about how much beets stain. She called them "nature's permanent marker" and boy howdy is she right! Three words: ruby red poop.

So tonight, I decided to make The Red Rooster again. I also made a carrot orange juice. Yummo!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Carmelized Brussel Sprouts

I am absolutely obsessed with brussel sprouts right now. I read a post over at Flower Patch Farm Girl a while back and pinned it on my Pinterest board. They are A. Maz. Ing.

They are super easy. I followed her directions and they turned out great. First, you steam them. I do this by placing the sprouts in a bowl and rinsing them and pouring off the water. I cover with plastic wrap and cook them in the microwave for 3 minutes. I let them cool a bit and cut them in half and lay them cut side down in some olive oil. You simply leave them on medium until they caramelize. When they are done, you squirt them with some lemon juice and sea salt.

The Hill Shade Love Salad

The Hill Shade Love Salad

4 cups cooked rice (we love brown rice or jasmine)
2-3 cans garbanzo beans, drained
2 cups raw kale, chopped up into bite-sized pieces
1/2 bag baby carrots diced up
basil leaves, chopped up (or dry basil in a pinch)
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
lime juice squirted all over it, to taste (once you go lime in this recipe, you'll never go back to lemon)

Mix it all together in a giant bowl.

Courtesy of Christine Moers over at Welcome to My Brain

Black Bean Quinoa Salad

1 cup of quinoa (boil 2 cups water and cook 1 c quinoa for 12 minutes. Let sit 15 minutes)
1 can of black beans (rinsed)
grape tomatoes halved
chopped carrots, green peppers and onions
chopped cilantro
juice of one lime
pepper and Mrs. Dash

Potatoes and Capers

I found this recipe over at The Cooking Canuck. Since I rarely measure anything, I decided to just wing it and whip some together. It is terribly good!!

I took fingerling potatoes, but you could easily use red potatoes too. I simply sliced them into small cubes and boiled them for a few minutes until they were tender but not falling apart.

I drained them and put them in a bowl. Then I drizzled them with olive oil, generous amounts of fresh cracked pepper, rosemary and garlic seasoning (my favorite from TONE) and fresh lemon juice. I then tossed them with capers.

I like them hot or cold. Yummy!

Summer Salad Recipe

One of my kids is struggling with eating salads. He is not found of greens, and it is pretty vital to the way we are eating to have a salad almost daily. We are working on it and I am trying to find ways that I can help him enjoy the salad. Tonight I tried a sweet, summer salad and it was wonderful. He gagged, but he ate it without much fighting.

Field Greens
Sliced strawberries
Apple cubes
Cucumber chunks
Dried cranberries
Sunflower seed
Chick peas

Tossed with Raspberry vinaigrette.

Eat to Live

Last month, I attended a conference with the amazing Dr. Joel Fuhrman. It was held at the church where I work and I had been contemplating going for some time. I was blessed to get to attend at the last minute and I am so grateful I did!

A few weeks ago, we decided at the prompting of my kid's doctor to go milk free. Since that time I have started reading about the milk industry and it scares the living daylights out of me! The stuff we put in our bodies is disgusting. We started eliminating fast food about 4 months ago. It was difficult but oh so worth it! The junk that they do to the "food" there is mind-blowing! I don't need my food injected with sugar and salt to make me crave more. I don't need pesticides and antibiotics! I want food, real food that makes my body work!

Our diet will be 90% plant based. We will eat unlimited amounts of vegetables and fruits. We will add nuts and seeds as well as a bit of grains and a minute amount of animal products. We will become NUTRITARIANS. Our bodies will learn to function as they were intended. Our bodies will learn to heal and we will enjoy life.

As we make this journey, I will likely report here how it is going. I don't think it will be easy, but I think it will be worth it! So many people have given me support and offered ideas that they employ. The small changes we have already made are making a difference! My kids adapted well to the no-dairy portion. They went from hating water to embracing it! Their digestive systems are working better. Harrison CHOSE bell peppers for a snack the other day! CHOSE it! McCartney on the other hand HATES this. While she was laying on the floor of Sam's Club the other day whining about not getting cereal, Harrison asked her if she wanted to die earlier eating JUNK. She said, "Yes, I would rather die than eat this way!" Haha! She will adjust . . . sooner or later she will get hungry and it will become easier. She is all for the green smoothies, so I just keep adding things in there that I know she needs whether it be mushrooms, nuts or seeds.

I am already noticing that I am no longer craving sugar and salt. I can only hope that we continue with this and our bodies begin to function the way God intended. Sitting listening to Dr. Fuhrman, I realized how very much we rely on medication. One of his analogies was that medication was like a mechanic who cuts the wire to the check oil light in a car instead of actually changing the oil! I hope we can eliminate costly and dangerous medication in the lives of both of us as well as the children. I am heading into the journey with my mom and stepdad too so we can lean on one another. It will be hard, but we will do it.

So here is GOOD-BYE to 282 pounds! While I am not doing this expressly for weight loss, it will be a nice product. I would love to lose 100 pounds in the next year. Most people doing this nutritarian diet lose 75-100 pounds in the first 12 months so we shall see! Benefits include lowered cholesterol, lowered blood pressure, blood sugar regulating, etc. I am looking forward to being healthy for the first time ever!

I am hanging onto the promise that "Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels!"