What Will Your Bunny Bring?

eggs2Can you believe that this weekend is Easter?   It’s seeming a bit unreal to me.

Easter is one of the holidays that I loved as a kid.   The candy was good – you know I’m not one to pass up chocolate –  but what I loved most was hunting  Easter Eggs.    I would do it for weeks before and after with plastic eggs.    I would hide them for anyone that I could get to search for them.   OK, so  I’ve still got a thing for it.   Grant and I have already been doing it.

On my list of fun for this week are coloring eggs and finalizing Grant’s basket.    I really wanted to create my own food based dyes this year.   But it’s just not going to happen.  Luckily that was just for fun anyways as no one in our house (besides the dog) will actually eat a hard boiled egg.   If you plan to eat them, please consider buying a kit without artificial colors or make your own dyes.

Now, onto the basket.    Please don’t just fill it with candy.    Your kids may love you for it, but do you really want to deal with the sugar crash a few hours later?  I could go on about all the JUNK that’s in mass produced candy, but this is a holiday post and I’ll keep it happy.   Please just DON’T go there!!   (ok, here’s a link to tell you why)

In my mind balance is key.    There needs to be chocolate, bright colors, fun.   Ideally something for outside, something to read, something to create and of course something to eat.

Some of my favorite basket goodies include:

For Outside
Kites
Sidewalk Chalk
Bubbles
Jump Rope
Jacks
Tops
Bouncy Balls
Bug Nets
Garden Tools / Seeds

To Read
Books
Magazines
Comics

To Create
Water Color Set
Sketch or Coloring Book
Journal
Crayons, Markers or Colored Pencils
Legos

To Eat
A reasonably sized chocolate bunny (Gluten-Free, Organic, Fair Trade )
Trader Joe’s Organic Lollipops
Trader Joe’s or other Natural Jelly Beans
UNREAL Chocolate Pieces (like M&M’s but NO Corn Syrup, Trans Fats, Artificial Coloring or GMOs) – these are Grant’s favorites.
Annie’s Bunnies – take your pick of variety
Homemade Treats– Peanut Butter EggsPeeps (with all natural food coloring)  I hope to try both of these yet this week!
And maybe a bunch of fresh carrots with the greens still on???

To Hide in Eggs
Pennies (or larger coins if you feel generous)
1 gold dollar
Trader Joe’s or other Natural Jelly Beans
and don’t feel like every egg has to have “something in it”

I just had an awesome brainstorm.   I’m going to take the small Lego set I bought and break it up into some of the eggs.   Instructions in one, pieces in the rest.   Find all the eggs to get all the pieces – FUN!

100 Days of Real Food also has a great list of candy alternatives.

So have fun with your Easter baskets.   I’ll post pictures of Grant’s next week.  HUGS!  (just feel like you needed one today!)

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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A Sunday Surprise

I was thrilled to wake up and see the sun this morning.    The pacific northwest has only been home for a little over a year.      Even though Minnesota was COLD, we saw the sun in the winter.    Let’s just say it’s been an adjustment.

I got up early to sit  in the sun and finish a book that’s it’s taken me forever to get through.   The sun felt so good it was motivating.    It felt like a garden day.

One of the things I’m still dumbstruck by is how different the growing season is here.   I did go from zone 3 to zone 8 (those are garden zones), so it shouldn’t shock me.   But it still does.    It feels weird to see patio pots with flowers (yes, real ones) year round.    It’s even more strange to me that not only are my daffodils up (not a chance in MN) but will probably blossom by the end of the week.  My hubby even had to mow the lawn last weekend.   No kidding!

So I worked in the sun, in my garden, in a state of awe.    Because it was the first weekend in March.   Because my berry bushes had buds.    Because some of my perennials never went dormant.   Most most of all when I pushed aside a pile of leaves and saw orange!   My carrots that didn’t do much of anything over the summer had FINALLY grown!

I proceeded like a kid on an Easter egg hunt, giggling with every carrot I found.   By the time I dug them all, I probably had 4 pounds.

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They are not  pretty store bought carrots.   They have personality.    They taste bright, sweet and positively yummy.

© foodisajourney.com

I doubt they’ll last the day.

Happy Sunday!

Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

On the Quest for a Better Girl Scout Cookie

It’s that time of year again.    Everywhere you turn there is someone offering you a Thin Mint.

I fondly remember the days when I sold Girl Scout cookies.  Going door to door asking people I’d never met to buy cookies.  My Mum stood at the end of the sidewalk,  smiling and supporting.   I was the always the leading cookie seller in our troop, and I was REALLY, REALLY  proud of that fact.

Times have changed.  A LOT.   I can’t imagine sending Grant, who’s now 6,  door to door to sell anything.   What they ask our kids to sell, at least food wise, isn’t anything I would ever even consider buying at the store myself.   So do I need to buy it to support my kid?   I don’t think so.  Will I still support my kid, or the Girl Scouts?   You bet!

I have no problem just writing a check, or handing the girls selling cookies a $5 bill.    But it does tend to take people by surprise!  I think our PTA president was shocked when I emailed her to ask her how much they would make if Grant had sold 50 tubs of cookie dough (which turned out to be shocking low)  so I could write a check instead.    She gladly let me know AND she got more money out of the deal.

So are you wondering why I won’t even consider eating a Girl Scout cookie these days (aside from the gluten)?  Check out Fooducate’s reviews of what is actually in Girl Scout cookies.    No thank you to hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and potentially GMO ingredients.  I’m sure that they were just as bad back when I sold them.      The difference is, I know better than to eat this stuff now.

That being said, I still want a taste of that nostalgia.  Selling all those cookies also meant I ate A LOT of them.   Thin Mints and Carmel deLights  in particular.     Did anyone else ever eat an entire row of Thin Mints in one sitting or was it just me?

I’ve noticed a slew of recipes popping up by great bloggers I love.   I thought it was time to put them all in one place and start testing them out.

Here are a few I’ve found so far…

GF = Gluten Free , SF = Refined Sugar Free, DF = Dairy Free

Thin MintsGF – from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

Thin MintsGF / DF – Silvana’s Kitchen

Thin Mints GF/SF, Paleo – from Elana’s Pantry (added 2/25/13)

Samoas (Carmel deLights) = GF/SF, Paleo – from Elana’s Pantry

Tagalongs (Peanut Butter Patties)GFfrom Gluten Free on a Shoestring

Do-si-dos (Peanut Butter Sandwiches) – GF – from Easy Eats (subscription required to view)

Lemonades – GF – from Gluten Free on a Shoestring  (added 2/25/13)

and because it just looks SOOO good….

Girl Scout Cookie Lara Bars – GFfrom Chocolate Covered Katie

For those of you that are not GF and want a cookie that contains wheat, do a Pinterest search and there are tons of homemade recipe options for you to try!

And remember…
Cookies are still cookies!  These recipes are real food, NOT health food.   Please eat in moderation! (yes, this as much to myself as it is to you !)

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Getting Back on Track… and Cookie Dough Balls

It’s been a while, hasn’t it.   Sorry about that.    WP_000032

The last two months have been filled with craziness, sickness and tears.  I lost my Grandpa just after Christmas.   I haven’t felt like doing much of anything.   I’m off track in so many ways right now.    But, I’m not going to beat myself up over it  (ok I will, but I’m trying really hard not to).   I’ve decided that I’m going to declare February 1st as the start of my New Year!

With my “New Year”  some exciting things happening……

I’m FINALLY going to try Plan to Eat (a meal planning service) and will keep you posted on my thoughts.

I’m taking two FREE classes through Coursera:  An Introduction to US Food System (via John Hopkins) and Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (via UCSF).  I’m sure I’ll have lots of wonderful things to share from both classes.  If you are interested, you can still join either class.

And just because I wasn’t feeling good, doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about great things to write for you.   Coming your way soon….

    • A better way to fight the Crud
    • Beating Motion Sickness
    • Better Pain Management Options
    • How we went Gluten Free
    • Updated resources & a reading list.

Sorry, I’m rambling.    I do that.    I can hear you, you’re saying just give me that recipe already!  Right??  Well, here you go.

Cookie Dough Balls from Chocolate Covered Katie.   She actually calls them Cookie Pops which is a cute idea too.   I call them Cookie Dough Balls because that’s EXACTLY what they taste like.   Nothing’s better that raw chocolate chip cookie dough – except these, because they have no eggs and are safe to eat!    I made them with them with GF oat flour (which you can make by grinding oatmeal in your food processor – just measure after grinding).    They are highly addictive and a HUGE hit in my house!  Enjoy!

I’ll talk to you soon 🙂

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Holiday Overwhelm

After having a sick kid for the better part of the last 2 weeks (and who’s still really needy), I’m slowly attempting to get caught up on everything since Thanksgiving.DSC_4440

I feel like pulling my hair out or sitting down and crying (depending on the moment).  My house feels like it’s exploded.    It’s a hysterical mix of nothing getting done because of a sick kid and Christmas decorating in progress.    As I sit in my office typing the only visible space on my desk is what’s required for the mouse.    Time for a deep breath.    (Insert audible inhale and exhale here.)

Am I the only one?   Doubtful.    I think we all need to take a deep breath and look at what we are doing for the holidays and what REALLY needs to be done.

I was reminded today Colbie Caillat’s song “Happy Christmas” what the holiday season is really supposed to be all about.    Giving, Caring, Sharing, Being Selfless, Friends and Family.     ( A huge shout out to the hubby who hooked me up with slew of Christmas music!)

I’m taking a minute to make a pledge.

I will not try to remake all of my cookies recipes Gluten Free this year.   I will pick one favorite and try a couple new  (and already tested) from other bloggers I love.

I will sit in front of the fire and read Christmas books daily with Grant.

I will search for a volunteer opportunity that we can do as a family.   It’s time for Grant to learn not everyone is as lucky as him.

I will make sure to take my Vitamin D every day to ward of the grumpiness from the grey.

I will slow down enough to enjoy the magic of the holidays through the eyes of my son.

I could go on and on.    But putting it out there for the world sort of helps hold you accountable.   If you don’t hear from me quite as often this month, you’ll know why .

My Challenge for you this week is a simple one.   Slow down and ENJOY the holiday season this week (and beyond!)   A family snuggle in front of the tree with egg nog anyone?

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.