Moms Top 10

Monday, May 31, 2010

raw strawberry cheesecake

Spent some time with my family this weekend on Whidbey Island...what a beautiful place, even if it did rain most of the weekend. The Pacific Northwest has got to be one of the coolest most beautiful places on earth (you can tell I'm not bias or anything:)

I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try out a new raw dessert recipe and see their reactions. I made raw strawberry pie but we all agreed it seemed more like a cheesecake. It was super yummy! Everyone loved it, or at least they said they did and did not want to hurt my feelings:) I usually gauge the success of a recipe from the reaction of the two year old wanted, "...more, big piece. more, big piece..." So pretty much it was a hit.

I absolutely loved it and will make it again and again for sure. It may just become my go-to dessert recipe when entertaining guests.

I changed a few things from the original recipe on gone here is my adaptation of...

...raw strawberry cheesecake...


2 C almonds
1 T coconut oil
1/4 t vanilla
4-5 dates, pitted
1/2 t cinnamon (optional)
pinch of salt

Process nuts in food processor until very fine. Add coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and pulse to mix. Add dates in and process one at a time, until the the mixture holds together when pressed with fingers. I think I used about 6 dates. Press into a coconut oiled pie dish and freeze about 30 minutes before filling.

Cheesecake filling:

2 C cashews soaked 1-2 hours (I have read cashews aren't really considered raw but still works for me:)
1/4 C lemon juice
1/4 -1/2 honey or other sweetener
3/4 C fresh strawberries
3/4 C coconut oil, melted
1/4 C water
1 t vanilla
1/4 t salt

Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth. I have a regular blender and I blended everything for a good 2-3 minutes just to make sure the nuts were well mixed in...wouldn't want the texture to be gritty. Pour just a little filling on to frozen crust...just enough to cover the bottom. Add a layer of sliced strawberries on top of filling. Then add the rest of the filling on top of those strawberries.

Keep in freezer or refrigerator until ready to serve. Add sliced strawberries on top before serving. I also made chocolate mousse and added a dollop on top of each slice.

As my nutbar and I would say, "...uh huh, it's delicious...uh huh, it's nutritious..."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

the healthy eating pyramid

I just love this arrangement for the food guide pyramid or the Healthy Eating Pyramid as Harvard University has named it. This is almost exactly how my family and I live (or at least how we try to live:) Instead of having the carbs at the base of the pyramid, exercise is now included in the pyramid and as one of the most important items for a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight. I think people have always known that exercise is super important, but incorporating it into the pyramid hopefully will help people make the connection that being healthy isn't just
about eating the right foods but also includes adequate exercise. Proper diet and exercise are equally important for maintaining proper health and wellness.

Carbs are now just a smaller portion on the next level up and is stressed as eating whole grains. The refined grains are at the very top (where they should be! I probably would have just deleted them all together, but it is not always possible to eat whole grains)

I also love how it mentions to take a multi vitamin and vitamin D supplement. I really feel this is so important, especially for those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest:) I think it is safe to say that almost everyone (unless you live in a very sunny climate) is deficient in vitamin D. The FDA recommends 400 IU per day, but now doctors are recommending daily intake to be around 1000 IU or more. My kids and I have been taking it in the liquid form for several months now. It is hard to tell whether or not I see results, but I will say that although my kids have had the common cold (runny nose, cough) off and on this winter they did not get any of the flus that went around our area, church, gym, etc. On top of that, I did not catch their colds, which I always have in the past. So I am sold! I will continue to take it and give it to my nutbars.

Visit Harvard University's School of Public Health for five quick tips on following the Healthy Eating Pyramid.

Copyright © 2008. For more information about The Healthy Eating Pyramid, please see The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health,, and Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy, by Walter C. Willett, M.D. and Patrick J. Skerrett (2005), Free Press/Simon & Schuster Inc.

Monday, May 24, 2010

granola bars

Once again I can not remember where I found the original recipe for these granola bars but I feel like it has been tweaked enough to make it my own:) My hubby and nutbars love these. I used to make them every week up until the nutbars and I started eating more raw foods...but I still make them for the man of the house...gotta keep him happy!

1/4 C pure maple syrup
1/4 C honey
2 T almond butter
1 egg
1 T milk or milk substitute
1 t vanilla
1 C whole wheat flour or other flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t or more cinnamon
1/4 t allspice
2 C old fashioned oats
1/8-1/4 C flax seeds (optional)
1/3 C carob or chocolate chips
1/4 C chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 C raisins (optional)
1/2 C granola (the original recipe called for 1 1/2 C crisp rice cereal but I just throw in 1/2 - 1 C granola)

In large bowl or kitchen aid, combine first seven ingredients and mix well. Add in flour, baking soda, and spices...mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Press into a 9x13 baking dish coated with spray or coconut oil. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Score the surface with shallow cuts, making rectangular bars. Cool completely and cut along scored lines.

A great snack any time of day! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

easy guacamole

I can't remember where I originally found this recipe but it is super easy to make.

2 ripe avocados
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T or more salsa
1/2 t salt or to taste
1-2 T lemon juice ( this is really only needed if you think there might be any leftovers:)

Mash avocados with fork, mix in other ingredients. Chill for awhile in fridge and enjoy!

Could it get any easier?

freego...frolf...whatever it's called

Some people call it frolf, some call it freego...I just call it frisbee golf but whatever it's called, it sure is a great family activity full of exercise, fresh air, vitamin D, quality time together, and just a tad bit of frustration:)

My hubby was introduced to it awhile back and now he plays almost every Sunday wih some buddies. Sometimes the nutbars tag along and sometimes the wives tag along too. The game is just like golf, 9 or 18 holes, except you use special frisbees instead of golf clubs/golf balls. It is extremely frustrating just like the real golf game; and just like golf balls...frisbees get lost too:) The cost is really inexpensive. The frisbee courses are free (at the least the ones I have played on) So the only cost is that of the frisbees. We purchased ours used starting at $4.95. I've only played a few times so far and just like real golf, I am not good. That's why it is so frustrating!

It is fun though and I think the nutbars will like it even more when they are a bit older. For now my five year old will throw the frisbee a few times but finds more enjoyment out of picking all sorts of wild flowers and finding special treasures (rocks, pine cones, interesting leaves, etc) along the way. The 2 year old enjoys the fresh air, scenery, and most importantly being pushed in his jeep stroller while eating snacks along the way. He does get out occasionally to walk around, throwing a frisbee or two.

It is something the whole family can enjoy and what is greater then doing something outside that is good for you and includes everyone?

the family and raw chocolate berry pie

We've had some family in town (two adults, five nutbars to be exact:) staying with us for the past week or so and let me just say that I have a new found respect for those women who have 4, 5, 6, or more kids! It has been frazy (fun + crazy) around here! I think the dish washer and the washing machine have been running pretty much non-stop for a do you supermoms do it? Really! I want to know. I only have two nutbars and am already so mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the day, I can't even imagine adding more to the organized chaos.

Cooking has been the most challenging thing for me. I have no experience cooking for that many people so I have no idea if there will be leftovers or if some of the children will go to bed hungry. For instance last night, I made a huge pot of chicken noodle soup in one of those large dutch ovens (the largest pot I have) and as I got to about number 6 out of the 11 bowls of soup I was serving, I realized there may not be enough. Thankfully we also had salad and cornbread to help fill everyone up. I don't think anyone was still hungry that least I hope not. Going through a whole loaf of bread for one lunch also amazes me...the bread was there. on the counter. in the bag. and then about two minutes was just gone, completely gone!

I have been loving the new taste testers for some of my raw recipes. The five extra nutbars were not so much a fan of my griswold green monster, but they didn't have any trouble scarfing down raw chocolate berry pie:) I didn't even have time to take a photo.

I combined a few different recipes and through in a few things of my was totally an experiment but turned out pretty tasty:

raw chocolate berry pie:

I used the crust portion of this recipe from Gone Raw. It was super easy and tasted great. I love making raw crust for is so much easier then regular pie crust. Who wants to mess with cutting in the butter and rolling it out all sticky and everything. Not to mention the health benefits of using a raw crust. I guess I was just never any good at it so the raw way is wonderful for me.

chocolate berry filling
This part gets a little tricky because I did not use exact measurements on the parts that I made up, so just taste test it along the way and add in whatever you think it is lacking.

1 avocado
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup dates or other sweetener
1 vanilla bean or 1 t vanilla
1/4 t sea salt
about 1 cup fresh or frozen berries (I used a mixture of frozen berries)
1-2 ripe bananas

Mix ingredients in food processor until it is a mousse like consistency. Give it a taste and add more fruit/dates/sweetener if necessary. Pour into pie crust and freeze. Take out of freezer a few minutes before serving and garnish with sliced strawberries.

Seriously, the entire pie (minus one itty bitty slice, which I added to my shake the next morning:) was inhaled in about 3 minutes. Your nutbars will love it!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

homemade yogurt attempt

I have never made my own homemade yogurt, but now that I have a food dehydrator, I wanted to give it a try...well attempt #1 was not a huge success. I have read that it takes a few tries to get it maybe I will try again...maybe not:)

I used this tutorial, which I thought was great with photos and very clear instructions.

It turns out that I wasn't able to use my dehydrator to make the yogurt in because of the type and shape of dehydrator that I have. So my next option was to use a heating pad...the point is to keep the yogurt at 110 degrees for about 8 hours. So the day I was going to make it I went and bought a heating pad (the cheapest one they had) I thought ok perfect, I will make the yogurt before I go to bed and then eight hours later, the time I wake up anyway, I can just take it off the heat...not exactly. For some reason (more then likely a case of mommy brain) I wasn't thinking clearly and started making the yogurt about 7:30 hubby helped because it is quite a process and I didn't want to mess anything up. So about 8:30 we opened up the box for the heating pad only to realize I had bought one that has an automatic shut off after 1 hour! not good. Therefore we had to activate plan C; to leave our toaster oven on the "warm" setting for eight hours and leave the yogurt sitting on top of the toaster oven. It was a long shot, but worth a try. When that was all done, it suddenly dawned on me that 7 hours later would be around 4 a.m.! not nice!

So I set my timer for 4 a.m., got up turned the toaster oven off, stirred the yogurt, (which didn't seem very thick) put it in the fridge, and crawled back in bed. Later that day I went to check it out and it had not gotten any thicker:( It was pretty runny, but they say that is normal for homemade I gave some to my nutbar and he ate it, but it was like soup! It was so hard for him to eat it without spilling it everywhere, even more so then when he eats store bought yogurt:) I finally decided that it was pretty much only good for smoothies and went to the store to buy some real yogurt.

I am glad I tried it, but probably wont be trying it again anytime soon.

Monday, May 10, 2010

busy books

After becoming totally enthralled with homemade by jill, I was so inspired to make quiet books (or busy books, as we like to call them) for my nutbars. I thought it would be perfect for church or on long car rides when they have to sit still for multiple hours. So I dusted off my sewing machine (that hasn't been used in about 4 years) and tried to figure out how to use it all over again:) I am definitely a beginner sewer and have only really ever made pillows in the past...but I was up for the challenge. I figured the hot glue gun would work for anything I couldn't or just didn't want to sew:)

I had a few bumps along the way...the sewing machine and I got into a few one point both my husband and I were trying to figure out why the bobbin kept popping out of place every time I would start to sew(he is such a genius and figured it out)...but after two weeks of working on it, almost every night after the kids went to bed, I FINALLY finished them!

My daughter absolutely loves hers. I tried to make the pages with things appropriate for what she is into right learning how to braid, tie shoe laces, etc.

She was so excited to bring it to church that she didn't want to bring anything else to play with. I said, "Are you sure you won't need anything else for the whole two hours to play with?" she replied, "No mom, I've got my busy book." As it turned out, she did play with it for quite awhile, but ended up playing with her brother's toys too:)

She loves arts and crafts and when she saw felt for the first time...she was ecstatic! She is now using the scraps to create her own is very cute and neat to see her imagination going crazy! I think she will like sewing in a few years and I hope that I will learn more so I can actually teach her:)

My boy likes his too...but he's he plays with his a bit differently. After playing with it for about three minutes, he was on to something else. He is totally obsessed with cars/trucks right now, so I thought for sure he would love the car page. I guess he would much rather have the real deal and not just flat pieces of felt to play with:)

Since some pieces do come off, like the shapes, he assumed (and rightly so) that ALL the pieces would come off and spent most of the three minutes just trying to rip the felt apart.

I think he will like it better as he gets older...I think...I hope.

All in all, I am so glad I made them. It gave me some much needed sewing practice and inspired me to do more projects in the future (I will take a break for now though:)

It feels good (and I totally recommend it) to make something homemade...even if it looks completely homemade:)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

pancakes and porridge

This week I tried a few new raw recipes from two blogs I really like...cinnamon banana pancakes from Veganlicious and breakfast porridge from Raw on $10 a Day...both turned out pretty good.

cinnamon banana pancakes:

We ALWAYS have whole wheat pancakes every Saturday morning with homemade whipped is a tradition that my nutbars look forward to every I wanted to keep the tradition going but try something new...this recipe seemed perfect. It was a little more work then I had thought. I should have planned ahead better and done a few things ahead of time, like grind the flax seeds and make the date paste. It was super easy to make though once I had all the ingredients together...I just mixed it all up with the kitchen aid mixer. The neat thing about raw pancakes is once your batter is made, you are done and ready to eat! I also really liked that the nutbars and I could form them easily into fun shapes! We added carob chips for a smiley face:)

Instead of regular whipped cream we had raw almond cream, which tasted way better then I had thought. To top it all off we had mixed berries and homemade chocolate sauce, which is just cocoa powder, honey and coconut yummy!

Although they were good, they just weren't quite enough like regular pancakes to satisfy the hubby wasn't too impressed. It was just different because of the texture and consistency. I dehydrated the leftovers and they came out like soft little cookies, which I thought tasted better, so next time I might try dehydrating them first, add the yummy toppings... and then eat them as pancakes.

breakfast porridge:

This one was pretty easy to make too. I did not have buckwheat groats so I used oat groats instead. I let them soak in the fridge over night, so in the morning I just drained/rinsed them put them in the food processor with the other ingredients and blended till smooth. I used honey instead of agave. This is another one of those great recipes that allows you to add just about anything you think will taste I added banana and coconut. The nutbars loved it because it had raisins:) It is sort of like oatmeal with a little different texture... it sure is a filling breakfast ( I almost didn't even need my mid morning snack:)

If there is any leftover from breakfast just add it to your blueberry green monster shake or any other shake you have created...that could be a full meal by itself.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

the raw plan

Trying to eat more raw food is so overwhelming to me. I read so many blogs and I see so many different recipes I want to try...I could literally spend hours online reading and reading about raw food. But spending hours on the internet probably is not a good idea for me or my family:), so I came up with a plan. My new goal is to try out two new raw recipes a snack or treatie type and one side dish or entree. That way instead of feeling so overwhelmed I can just pick two at the start of the week and feel good about actually trying some new recipes.

So this week I decided to make a raw tomato sauce for spaghetti and meatballs. I am not quite ready to go completely raw for dinner and make zucchini noodles with nutballs...maybe next time. I also attempted...for the second make sweet potato chips.

Raw tomato sauce:

This actually turned out pretty tasty. I don't usually care for the taste of raw tomatoes, but mixed with the other ingredients it was good. My husband said it tasted like brushetta on noodles:) I found the recipe at I did not have fresh basil so just used a little dried basil...I can imagine it would be even better with the fresh. Before adding the tomato sauce, I also tossed the noodles very lightly with pesto sauce. All in all, we liked it...the nutbars did not complain at all:) I think I will continue to make this one whenever we have spaghetti.

Sweet potato chips:

I have tried this one in the past and did not have much seems as though I did not have any luck again. I think the main problem is I can't slice them paper thin. I tried slicing by hand the first time, but they turned out too thick. This time I used my food processor, but that still couldn't get them paper thin. They just turned out chewy instead of crispy and I dehydrated them practically all day. I was so bummed because I thought if I get this one would be a great snack choice for us and could possibly even replace regular tortilla chips. I followed the recipe on The Sunny Raw Kitchen blog but obviously mine do NOT look like hers (and I highly doubt they taste like hers either)...see for yourself...



which would you rather eat?

go bananas!

it's bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Just a little shopping secret, many of you probably know already. Find out if your grocery store offers discount bananas during the week. A lot of time they will offer the really ripe ones (which are not even that ripe most of the time) at a very low price. Fred Meyer offers their ripe bananas at 29 cents/lb, and they are most always organic *yay* They are usually located somewhere by the regular banana display. At Fred Meyer they are wrapped in red tape, so when you see them...stock up! I usually buy all that they have and freeze them. Just peel them, break them in half and freeze them in large ziplock bags or other container. Here is a short list of the ways we go bananas!

  • in smoothies (of course:)
  • banana bread/muffins
  • banana pancakes
  • just right out of the freezer like a popsicle
  • mash up a frozen one, add some honey, cinnamon, coconut, etc and you have instant healthy banana icecream
  • mash up a frozen one, let it thaw a bit and you have banana baby food
  • in many different raw dessert recipes
  • almond butter and banana sandwiches (with cinnamon sprinkled on top...delicious!)
  • dehydrated sliced bananas dipped in a honey glaze (haven't tried it yet, but sounds great)

...nothin' like a frozen banana to cool you off on a hot day...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

reduce reuse recycle

Reuse those glass jars

You already bought them...might as well use them:) Some of the glass jars that I reuse are; baby food jars, juice jars, and my husband's mocha drink jars (like Starbucks mochas you can buy at the store)

The baby food jars make excellent drinking cups for baby as he is transitioning from a bottle or sippy cup. They are the perfect size for little hands. They hold just enough liquid for him to get enough drink but it wont be too much of a mess if he spills. The jars are pretty durable and probably will not break, especially from his height:) Both of my nutbars use them on a daily basis. It is a great alternative to using plastic cups or sippy cups. I know they make them now BPA free, but I am still skeptical about using plastic for our food and drink products.
There are so many other things you can do with the jars. Save the lids and fill them with various odds and ends, like buttons, safety pins, or tacks. They are also great for holding spices. You could refill them with homemade baby food too.

You can use glass juice jars or the mocha jars to hold dried beans, lentils, rice, grains, spices, chocolate chips, nuts/seeds, coconut, honey and any other product you might purchase in the bulk section at the grocery store.

I have slowly been trying to get rid of all my plastics...plastic cups/sippy cups, plastic Tupperware, plastic baggies. So those glass jars are awesome! I also switched over from plastic Tupperware to glass Pyrex dishes, which come with plastic lids...however, the food is not touching the plastic (so that makes it ok, right?)

But don't just throw away your old plastics...put them with the outside toys and let the nutbars use them as their dishes for making mud pies or playing in the sandbox:)


I have tried a few times in the past to make granola in the oven and it has never turned out...the edges were always burned or over done and I just never found a recipe that I really liked. That is until I started looking at raw granola recipes. We invested in a food dehydrator and now I make gRAWnola just about every week (we go through it so fast) This recipe is not 100% raw, I guess rolled oats are steamed to a temperature above 110 degrees, but it is raw enough for me and it is so easy to just mix it up and leave it in the food dehydrator overnight. In the morning your house smells wonderful and you have delicious granola waiting for you to eat for breakfast. We also put it in our yogurt and just eat it plain right out of the jar.

Here is the fabulous recipe:

1/3 C honey
1/3 C coconut oil
1/2 T vanilla
1/2 t salt or less
1 T cinnamon or less (we love it, so always put a lot in everything)
1/2 -1 T carob powder (optional)
3 C old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 C seed mixture (I use flax and sunflower)
1 C chopped nut mixture (I just use almonds)

* Remember when making raw recipes to always use raw nuts and seeds...not roasted, toasted or salted. If you really want to get into it, you can soak your nuts/seeds before hand or even sprout your nuts for extra nutrition.

* You can pretty much add whatever you think will taste good. Other items might be unsweetened coconut, pumpkin seeds, pure maple syrup, raisins or other dried fruit.

Chop the nuts/seeds until desired size. I put mine in the food processor to grind them up pretty small in order for my little guy to chew up easily.

Add the nut/seeds to a large bowl or mixer and just thoroughly mix in all other ingredients. Spread onto food dehydrator trays, set the temperature at about 105-110. Let run for 8-10 hours depending on how crunchy you like your granola. I like mine a little chewy, so about 8-9 hours does the trick.

Store in an air tight container and it will probably last 3-5 days, depending on how many nutbars you have:) I now double the recipe so it will last a little longer.

You can also make this recipe in the oven, although I haven't tired that method in awhile. I would recommend baking in a large roasting pan or cookie sheet with lip at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, so everything is baked evenly. You can add raisins or other dried fruit at the end as well.