Thursday, September 19, 2013

Crispy Kale Chips

I made these kale chips last year and loved them! I had bought a bunch of kale for my green smoothies and didn't really love how they made my smoothie taste a little too grassy. I did a google search and found this recipe from The Food Network. It looked simple enough and really turned out great!

First off, cut the ribs from each leaf of kale. I tore them into chip sized pieces and put them in my salad spinner.

After spinning them, put them on a cookie sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, then use your hands to toss them.

Bake at 275 degrees for about 20 minutes, turning them halfway through. I had a lot on my sheet so ended up baking for a few more minutes. The majority of them come out deliciously crispy. There were a few that were not completely crispy but that didn't bother me.

I don't know how well these keep because they are gone pretty quickly. Give them a try! They are a great snack and pretty nutritious too!

Have a happy Thursday!!!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Digi Day

Little Dreamer Designs has such a fun back to school kit for September. It's called Old School and was so fun to work with. I love when I can scrap a layout and really have fun doing it too.

Chalkboards are so in right now and that does not exclude the digital scrapbooking world. I love Michelle's chalkboard "paper" and her chalky stamps are sooo fun. I love the gold stars too. They just add the perfect detail. Of course my adorable Maggie makes this layout just perfect. :)
Pick up the kit at Little Dreamer Designs.
Happy Thursday!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Crock Pot Yogurt

I said I'd do it, and I did. I like when that happens. It was easy, I didn't die, and not only do I love the way it turned out, my kids do too! Score 1 for the mom. :)

My mom has made her own yogurt for years and I always looked at her bowl of rotten milk sitting on her counter with disgust. It seemed pretty hokie. I never actually tried it though (sorry mom). In my internet searching for whole foods recipes I came across this recipe and it intrigued me. I use a lot of yogurt at my house. Not only for eating plain but in smoothies and all sorts of other recipes. Yogurt is pricey, especially when you're purchasing the quality stuff. Well, to get away from the artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners I decided to give this a go.

I found this recipe at Bless This Mess. Her blog is a great resource in some whole foods recipes. :)

Crockpot Yogurt

1/2 gallon (8 cups) whole milk (I haven't tried a lower fat content yet, supposedly the yogurt is thinner.)
1/2 cup commercial plain yogurt that says “Live and Active Cultures” on the tub. I used Stoneyfield farms plain greek yogurt.
In a large crock pot pour in the milk.  Turn it on low for around 2 1/2 hours.  After that time has passed, unplug the crock pot and let it sit for 3 hours. After the 3 hours has passed stir in the 1/2 cup of  yogurt.  Replace the lid of the crock pot and cover with 2 big towels or a blanket. (I just used one big towel. My mom just uses a dish towel.) Let rest for 8 to 12 hours (Mine was longer, I wasn't getting up at 3 a.m. That's why I was worried I was going to get sick. It ended up being 17 hours).  In the morning you’ll have yogurt!  Put it in a quart sized mason jar and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Mine filled up two jars with a small bowl leftover. It will thicken up in the fridge. Don't forget to save 1/2 cup of your yogurt for your next batch.
At this point I was worried about my safety. ;) It was cool to see the transformation though.
I filled two of these quart sized jars. So I ended up with a half gallon of yogurt for approximately $1.25. Not bad!

You can also let the yogurt strain in cheese cloth, in the fridge for a few hours and you’ll get a thicker Greek yogurt!
Awesome. So glad it worked out. It feels great serving a wholesome product to the kiddos. I sliced a banana in it and drizzled honey. They loved it. Personally, I think it has a milder flavor than some of the plain yogurts I've purchased from the store.
Have a great Monday!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Tomatoes...Please Don't Go.

This year I've really enjoyed the garden tomato. I grew up loving them straight from the garden, freshly picked and warm from the sun. I couldn't wait for those plump green maters to turn juicy and red. Sometimes I would eat them in the garden straight from the vine. Especially, the cherry tomatoes. One for the bowl, two for me. Yum.

Unfortunately tomato season seems to take forever to get here and goes all too quick. My sisters-in-law bottle tomatoes and salsa. That's on my to do list for someday. For now, I just enjoy them while I can.

My friend Katie the Scrapbook Lady blogged in August about her favorite salad, the Caprese Salad. I had to try it immediately. I had some farmer's market tomatoes, basil, and I picked up some fresh mozz. How can three simple ingredients together be so unbelievably tasty? I drizzled mine with Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette. I've been in love ever since. So thank you Katie for introducing me to me new love. I'm just sad tomato season is just about over. *sniffles*

Better hurry and give this a try! Because you can't possibly make this with store bought tomatoes shipped from another country. It would never taste the same. :)
Happy Friday!
Love, Monica

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Whole Foods Cooking

Hey all! After an extremely busy Summer the kids started back to school today and I've started to get our life back in order. I have an empty fridge and a really messy house. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed but I know with time I'll have some order again.

Something that has been on my mind lately is how our family eats. I don't feel like we are extremely unhealthy but we definitely have room for improvement. Mainly, I'd like to do more whole foods cooking and try to cut out more processed foods. Jillian Michaels as loud as she is, is one of my favorite fitness gurus. I love her philosophy of calories in/calories out. Simple as that. She also teaches the 80/20 philosophy. Meaning, 80% of your time eating "clean" and 20% of your time, living life. I'm not the type to say sugar is evil, hello, cupcake fan here. But I do think an 80/20 way of life is doable.

I'd like to occasionally post any websites or recipes that we find are helping us on our journey. In my "research" I found a website that has kind of guided me on my start to more whole foods cooking.

Melissa over at Bless This Mess has put together a two week "clean" eating plan. She also follows the 80/20 philosophy. I love her idea of just doing the very best you can for your family. I have used her Spring/Summer menu as a guideline. Check out her website and pin for future reference. It's a great resource. I am also planning on using her whole wheat bread recipe, granola, and crock pot yogurt. I'll let you know how they turn out. :)

I hope everyone had a great Summer!! Here comes Fall! I love Fall. I hope it decides to hang around for a bit. :)

And because every post needs a pic. :)

First Day! 2013-2014
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