I FINALLY found a Peanut Butter I Love!

I’ll keep this short and sweet.   I LOVE peanut butter.   Always have.   Eat it by the spoonful out of the jar kind of love.   Since I’ve switched to all natural peanut butter, my love has waned a bit.    Let’s face it, when you have to pry it out of the jar and it breaks your bread in pieces there is some love loss.   I know you’ve been there.   And don’t get me started about stirring a fresh jar – oh the mess!

Well, all of the mixed emotions are now gone.   I went into Trader Joe’s for Easter Candy earlier in the week (which by the way no Chocolate bunnies this year.  What?)  and picked up this jar to make the copy cat Reese’s Eggs I posted earlier this week.

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I’m in LOVE!   There was little to no oil separation on the  top to stir in.   The consistency was wonderful – not at all grainy or clumpy.   And best of all?   I stayed that way once refrigerated.    I took this picture after it had been in the fridge a couple of days.

WP_000713Dare I say it actually reminds me of good old Jif or Skippy?   Which made me check the label again.

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And it’s all good.  For those of you who prefer chunky or unsalted, Trader Joe’s has those too.

Happy Friday!   I’m off to have a PB&J!

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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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.

Eating More Scary Veggies – Romanesco

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At first glance you might think  this was some type of odd undersea creature.   Maybe some type of sedum (succulent garden plant)?   My hubby even said it looked mathematical.   Grant’s take?  Alien ear wax.  Hey, what can I say, he’s a 6 year old boy!  Although I do have to say the vibrant green color does lend to alien thoughts.

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Is it starting to look any more familiar?     What if you took those gorgeous conical spirals and and made them look more like mini trees?   Any ideas yet?

Yep, Romanesco is actually a heirloom variety of one of my favorite veggies – broccoli.  It’s a beauty to look at and one to taste as well.

I really should have taken pictures the day it came in my farm box.   It looked so much prettier.  But I didn’t.   So you get pictures with bumps and bruises after sitting in my veggie drawer for a few days.   It still looks awesomely cool if you ask me!

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Taste wise, I find Romanesco to be a mix between broccoli and cauliflower.    It’s very mild, and the color stays when you cook it.   Sometimes, especially when roasted, it can take on a slightly nutty flavor.

Where do you find such a thing?
I was lucky enough to get mine in my Box of Good  from Klesick’s last week.   Because it is an heirloom vegetable, it’s most likely to be found in the organic produce section.   I’ve seen it in several of the better grocery stores in my area and it’s becoming wildly popular at farmers markets as well.     Look for it at farmers markets when other broccoli hits the stands.    What you find in stores now (and what I had) is coming from California.

How to pick one?
Look for bright vibrant color and lack of blemishes.   If the leaves are still present you want to make sure they are still crisp and not wilted.

How to cook it?
I simply steamed it this time.  You could add it raw to jazz up your crudité platter.   It also works well substituted it in my Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Recipe.     Here are a couple recipes that are on my list to try:

Smoky Romanesco Cauliflower, Celery Root and Broccoli Soup
Pasta e Broccoli

So what do you think?   Will you give it a try?

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.

Let’s Veg Out on Thanksgiving

Oh, if only I wasn’t talking about food…  but alas, I am.

Earlier this week I talked about changing up your Thanksgiving menu.  Here are some of the yummy things I’ve been testing for my contribution of side dishes.

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This is the Wild Rice, Fruit & Pecan Stuffing that I had mentioned.   It’s not my recipe – I stumbled across it and OMG and I glad I did!   This stuff is WONDERFUL!    Crunchy, sweet,  nutty…. it’s a downright party in your mouth.    It’s SO good no one will even care that it’s healthy!

A couple of notes:
1.   This has the recipe wonderful benefit of never having to see the oven and can be partially prepped the day before.

2.   Wild Rice takes a long time to cook and different brands cook differently.    Make it ahead (it reheats great) and plan to babysit it a bit unless you already know how the brand you are using will cook.

3.   You may want to make a double batch(or second if you don’t have a big enough pan to double).   This stuff will go really fast.  And if not, aren’t leftovers the best part of thanksgiving?

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This is my yummy Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower.   Simple and easily multipliable.   It doesn’t look like much, I should have put it in a pretty bowl, but trust me it’s great.   Glenn would never eat cauliflower before and now even asks for seconds!

I’ll leave you with a few more delicious things that have hit my inbox this week.    Watch this weekend for Cranberry recipes yet to come.

Here are some other great recipes to try…

Vegetarian Thanksgiving  – Take Part

Brussels Sprout Salad with Red Onion and Pecorino  – Not With Out Salt
(Brussels Sprouts are still on my “Scary” list and this still looks good!   I’ll have to try it after we get back from Thanksgiving!

Sweet Potato Casserole (Grain Free / Paleo) –  Deliciously Organic

A Grain Free Thanksgiving – Against all Grain
I really want to go to her house for Thanksgiving!  Great recipes for every course!

Holiday Recipe Guide – Klesick’s Family Farm

And some resources:

EWG’s Healthy Thanksgiving Guide

10 Ways to Healthify  Your Thanksgiving, Stay Sane and Eat Like Royalty  – Fooducate

© 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.

Challenge #2 – Pour One Out Today

Put down the soda, juice, sports drink or even the (gasp) mocha .    We are consuming way to many liquid calories as a nation.

I gave up soda over 3 years ago and don’t miss it now.   But it did take time.   Today, see if you can go without any type of sweetened beverage.    I don’t care what it’s sweetened with (I’ll rant on artificial sweeteners another day).   For today, watch this video and then pour one out.

And think about if you could keep the challenge again tomorrow.

Visit The Real Bears 

Blueberry Bliss French Toast

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Doesn’t this sound fancy?  Well, it couldn’t be more simple.

Simple is what I needed yesterday morning.     I had gone to bed early  (ok, fell asleep on the couch) and was the first one up.    Reveling in the glory of a quiet house, I snuck downstairs,  fixed a pot of coffee and fed the dog (there’s no peace until you do).

Before the coffee was done brewing my sleepy eye 5-year old, Grant, rambled into the kitchen and proclaimed he wanted cartoons.    With a deep sigh, I sent him back upstairs to find his Dad.   Oh how I had longed for a quiet morning to sit and read in the seldom seen Pacific Northwest sun.

Well, I got it.   Grant went back upstairs, crawled into bed with his dad and they both slept for 2 more hours.  BLISS!

I sat in the sun, sipped my coffee, crunched on a crisp apple and finished reading a novel.     The end of a book always brings a great sense of satisfaction for me.   I love when I have a few minutes to sit and contemplate.

This morning though, I wasn’t thinking about the book.    I was thinking about how good it felt to have 2 hours of interrupted time to myself and ALLOWING myself to do what I wanted to do.    It’s all too often that I let my to-do list dictate what I do with my  kid-free time.    Sound familiar?

I told you I’d give you a challenge each week.   Here’s the first one:

CHALLENGE 1:   Take an hour this week to do whatever it is that brings you bliss.   (or get REALLY crazy and take an hour a day)

It’s guaranteed  to make you smile.  Smiles = healthy!

And in honor of this, Grant got one of his favorite Sunday breakfasts.   French Toast.

Blueberry Bliss French Toast

It’s easiest to start the syrup first and let it cook down while you make your French Toast

for the French Toast
6 pieces 100% whole grain bread (gluten free works too!)
4 eggs (preferably organic, free range)
1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
Butter for pan

In a low, flat dish (like a small glass casserole) crack your eggs, whisk them up, then wisk in the cinnamon.  DSC_4164 Soak your bread in the egg mix until it soaks up the egg mixture, flip and duplicate for other side of bread.  You want your bread soaked through, but not soggy.   (How long this takes depends on the variety and freshness of the bread.)   Preheat your griddle.  Once hot, give it a quick once over with a stick of butter.    Cook each piece of toast 1-2 minutes a side until nicely browned.  Top with Blueberry sauce.

for Blueberry Syrup (start before French toast)
2 cups frozen blueberries (preferably organic)
2 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup (preferably organic, should read 100% Pure on the label)

Place frozen blueberries and maple syrup in a small sauce pan over medium heat.    Bring to a boil.

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Reduce heat and simmer until French Toast is done. Spoon over French Toast and ENJOY!DSC_4183

© 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.