Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Happy snow day!!

Well I had planned on going to Costco today to do all my pre-Christmas shopping.  The things you can buy now, and put either in the freezer or set aside until you need them.  Around here it is so busy in the stores the week before Christmas, I'd prefer to not have to fight my way to the butcher section.

Mother Nature had other plans for me.

So here we are, stuck home for a snow day.  My 14 year old son & I decided to have some bonding time by searching for cookie recipes on Pinterest.  If you have not joined yet, what are you waiting for?? Be forewarned, it is addicting.

We had an enjoyable time picking out new cookie recipes and decided which old recipes to skip this year.  We only have a gathering of 10 people, so I don't need a LOT of desserts.  I decided this year to do a small cookie assortment, skip the heavy pies or cakes, this way we could pick as the evening goes on,  We're making a mulled wine to serve after lunch, to smell up the house nice and festive.

If you want to follow me on Pinterest, I am KathIsMath - click on my name to find my page.  Some of my recipes are under Christmas 2013; others are in my cookbook and not online.

If you are interested in my Christmas fun last year, search back by clicking the labels below the post; I had a lot of fun celebrating "The Twelves Treats of Christmas."  I'm off to re-write my shopping list with the new ingredients I need.

Happy Eating!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Post Thanksgiving Yumminess

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Thanksgivukkah, or how ever you spent the day.  Our meal was delicious, and very filling.

We spent the day at my sister-in-law's house.  Alas, as hard as I tried I could not get good photos of most of our meal.  Hard when it's not your place.  I wanted a pic of my herb infused olive oil & artisan bread from my bread maker, but it was not displayed in a form pleasing to the camera.  Again, hard when it's not your house.  I should have done it at home before I left.

But I can share some of my desserts; again, not nicely displayed but in their travelling containers.

 Pecan pie rugelah 

Sugar cookies in seasonal shapes.  Only veggie based colors used. 

Apple pie!! 

My hubby made this yummy veggie turkey for an appetizer!

Now...time to plan Christmas!

Happy Eating!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Clean Thanksgiving Meal

So what's on your table this year?

I am going to my lovely sister in law's house, so most of my meal will be out of my control.  How to handle that? Luckily my clean eating is not a secret to them, and in the recent past my sister in law has started cleaning up what and how they eat.  But they still have a long way to go...and...she works full-time.  So what will that mean for me? A yummy meal with family.  And a no thank you to most of the leftovers.

My contribution to the feast are the appetizers and the desserts.  Nice healthy, clean appetizers and desserts.

Did I mention that my sister in law's husband is Jewish?  In case you haven't heard, the first night of Hanukkah is also Thanksgiving.  So we are blending the two traditions for a unique meal this year.

Being raised Christian, I don't know too much about Hanukkah traditions, so I hit the internet to see what traditional foods are served for the holiday, so I could plan something fun.  I found out it's all about oil and cheese.  Deep fried foods, especially.  Well...my gallbladder does not agree with fried foods in general. Soooooooo...a challenge was to be had here!!

I've got some ideas, working on ways to clean them up.  Come back tomorrow to see what I came up with!!

Happy Eating,

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Avoiding Toxic Chemicals in your Thanksgiving Feast

This was shared with me today; am curious about what they say about rice.  I use organic brown rice on a regular basis...must research this more!!


Happy Eating!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Non-GMO Thanksgiving

Okay, so it's been a bit longer than I had planned, but I've been really busy.  Doing great keeping with my increased clean eating, but I do admit I indulge a bit every now and then. Very little now, so much  more so then. :)

This came across my Facebook page today, and I had to run and share it.


I can't figure out how to post the picture here; but it's a guide to help you when planning your Thanksgiving meal.  Tells you which foods are safe, and which ones to be cautious of.  Now, keep in mind, this is for GMOs only; does not take into account pesticides or anything else used by farmers.  It is not an organic list.  Just to help you figure out which foods would contain GMOs and which ones do not.

Happy Eating!

Friday, November 1, 2013

October 31

Last diary day!!!  Looking back over the last month, I have learned quite a few new things.  Although we have been eating as clean as we could the past couple of years, I see lots of room for improvement.  I will definitely take what I have learned this month and move forward with the process of removing all the bad stuff from our diets.  I hope the Facebook group continues going, the people are so nice & have been very helpful!!!!

Breakfast: steel cut oats with raisins & cinnamon

Morning Snack: nothing

Lunch: the rest of the leftover pasta that no one else wants

Afternoon Snack: pumpkin donut - my boss knows I love all things pumpkin and brought it for me - she had one too, so we had to eat it together

Dinner: grilled cheese sandwiches & string beans in between answering the door!

Evening Snack: 5 snack size Twix. :(

Taking a quick break from blogging for a few days; my goal is to post 3ish times a week from now on.  Daily posts and work and holidays just don't mix.  Last year I had a lot of fun posting my 12 Treats of Christmas; most not very clean - lot don't pass the kitchen test, but it sure was fun.  My goal THIS year is to see if I can make 12 Kitchen Test Clean treats!!  Come back in December to see how I do. :)

Happy Eating!!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

October 30

I am looking forward to not doing this diary anymore, I'll be honest.  It is so hard to do this every day!! But only one more after this!!! I m working more hours now that I was when I first started the challenge...so my new challenge is to try to make sure I do not break down and do more processed foods cause I don't have the time.  I am going to MAKE the time!!! Yes I am!

Breakfast: steel cut oats with fresh strawberries & cinnamon

Morning Snack: strawberry Chobani

Lunch: leftover pasta from last night, apple

Afternoon Snack: nothing...at work

Dinner: Hebrew National Hotdog with cheddar cheese leftover home made chili I had in the freezer...on a store bought bun (but it had no high fructose corn syrup in it...better, right??); organic white corn

Evening Snack: nothing - went to bed early

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 29

I was having some MAJOR caramel cravings yesterday. MAJOR.  I had to run to the grocery to pick up some food for my son's lunch, and right next to the dairy case was a big rack of "marked down" items.  In that rack was an entire box of Milky Way Simply Caramel bars...I was weak and I bought one.  I thought if I ate it in the car on the way home no one would know.  When I put the bags in the car, without thinking, I put them in the back of my SUV and started driving home.  When I realized I did that, I was almost home and so alas I could not eat my candy bar.  I came in, my kids took the bags to put away.  I grabbed the Milky Way before they saw it; stuck it in the cabinet.  I'd sneak it later once they were not around.  Well, it's now the next day and I am not craving it anymore.  I even took it out of the cabinet to make sure I had the name right.  No temptation at all.  My brain wanted to cheat so bad...but my subconscious took care of me yesterday by constantly putting it out of my reach.  In 2 days, that candy bar will be in my Halloween candy pot and one "lucky" kid will get a full-sized bar for a treat.

Breakfast: store-made bagel with butter, coffee with half n half

Morning Snack: lemon Chobani

Lunch: peanut butter & jelly sandwich

Afternoon Snack: nothing

Dinner: whole wheat pasta with home made alfredo sauce, salad with white basalmic vinegar & olive oil

Evening Snack: Angie's Kettle Corn & 2 glasses of wine. I needed it!

Happy Eating!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 28

I've narrowed down my breadmaker to two choices.  I don't know which one to choose!!! Sigh

Here is choice one by Panasonic: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00005QFL0/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Here is choice two by Cuisinart: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009VELTQ/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Which one do I get?? I don't know!! Sigh.  I really want/need to make a decision ASAP.

Breakfast: steel cut oats with cinnamon

Morning Snack: strawberry Chobani

Lunch: grilled chicken breast with brown rice & snow peas

Afternoon Snack: Angie's Kettle Corn

Dinner: (not clean) sausage link with grilled asparagus & smashed potatoes

Evening Snack: Turkey Hill All Natural Salted Caramel ice cream. I am pretty sure this passes the kitchen test...well, almost. :)

Happy Eating!

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 27

Almost there!!!  I hope to order my breadmaker within the next couple days.  I think I finally have enough saved up to pay tax & shipping, LOL.  Next comes the pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid!!

Breakfast: Vermont english muffin with peanut butter on one side, butter & jam on the other.

Morning Snack: blueberry Chobani

Lunch: nothing...was working

Afternoon Snack: Unreal Loaded One at work

Dinner:  hubby grilled organic chicken wings, mine without any BBQ sauce.  I wasn't home to make a clean sauce, so hubby put buffalo style tobasco sauce on his and my oldest son's.  Me and the younger one ate them plain.  And a yummy salad, complete with organic croutons I found at Costco.

Evening Snack: handful or three or five Unreal Nutty Ones

Happy Eating!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 26

Football game today!! GO RU!!  Football food can be a tough challenge when trying to stay unprocessed.  We tailgate before every home game, and are limited to foods we can cook in a grass lot.  It's different than camping, in a way, as we are limited to the small grill and what you can cook on it.  This is the only home game during October, so I guess I got off kind of easy. :)  The game was at noon, which also presented a challenge.  We leave the house at 9:30am; so do you cook breakfast or lunch foods?  We usually do breakfast for a noon game.  Lunch if it is later.

So we went with egg sandwiches for the tailgate.  I bought store-made hard rolls; our grocery, while they do not claim to use whole wheat/non-GMO, do claim that their breads are made with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.  They "claim" they follow the same homemade recipe we do.  Since football was a deliberate exception, I gave in and we used the hard rolls.  Still working on my breadmaker.  On those rolls, we used cage-free local eggs, fried in organic olive oil, with organic ketchup and sliced cheddar cheese.  My husband and boys added a slice of pork roll - Taylor Ham for those of you not from NJ.  I tried to hold true and didn't eat it.  So I did good, not great. Beverage was a mojito; tradition that can now be broken, since we lost the game.  Getting too cold for them anyway, :)

During the game, I ate and drank nothing.

After the game, for dinner we indulged in cleaning out all the leftovers from the fridge.

Evening snack: vanilla Chobani

Happy Eating!!

October 25

Okay...I CAN do this!!  We are almost at the end of the challenge and almost at the end of my food diary.  My life suddenly got crazy this week; went from having a part-time weekend job to having 2 part-time weekday jobs!! And I still have some hours I will be putting in on the weekends.  I am going to try really hard to make it to October 31st with my diary,

Breakfast: Vermont english muffin, jelly, peanut butter; coffee, half n half

Morning Snack: blood orange Chobani

Lunch: hubby's leftover Chinese food :(

Afternoon Snack: nothing

Dinner: pancakes & bacon

* all food items are organic, as all-natural as possible or made with non-GMOs unless otherwise noted.

We're going on a walking ghost tour tonite that includes snacks & cider.  Bringing an apple just in case...

Happy Eating!

Friday, October 25, 2013

October 24

Only one more week of my food diary!  I gotta admit this was harder to do than I thought it was going to be.  Crazy day today - out almost the whole day.  I packed a bag with lots of healthy snacks to get me through it!!

Breakfast:  steel cut oats with cinnamon & pure maple syrup.  Not in a fruit mood.

Morning Snack: nothing - at interview for a second part-time job.

Lunch: peach Chobani

Afternoon Snack: nothing - at training meeting for first part-time job

Dinner: salad with organic caesar dressing - yes, from a bottle. But had to be done; working.  Apple

Evening Snack: wine.  12 hour day between the 2 jobs!!!

Happy Eating!

October 23

The next couple of days are going to be a bit busy...Thursday crazy busy. Yikes.

Breakfast:  steel cut oats, cinnamon, blueberries & skim milk; coffee with half and half.

Morning Snack: nothing, had to work

Lunch: Applegate uncured black forest ham, cheddar cheese, lettuce & organic mayo on Organic whole wheat wrap. Lemon Chobani. Half of an organic cucumber.

Afternoon Snack: nothing, still at work

Dinner: pasta with hubby's home made pesto sauce

Evening Snack: wine & Unreal Nutty Ones

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 22

Have I mentioned I have terrible acid reflux? Combine that with GERD & a hiatal hernia and I have tons of tummy troubles.  So once a year I need to go in for an upper endoscopy.  And today was the day.

Breakfast: nothing

Morning Snack: nothing

Lunch: Lorna Doone cookies at the hospital with water. Don't even get me started on what my options were.

Afternoon Snack: home made chicken soup

Dinner: plain (blech) grilled chicken breast & organic peas

Evening Snack: nothing.

Tomorrow I will be able to eat normally again.  :) 

Happy Eating!

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21

I can't believe we're down to the last 10 days of the challenge!  One third left to go.  Since we have been eating pretty clean for two years now, but as we all know there is always room for improvement.  The wonderful Facebook community that we have has taught me so much in the last 20 days that would have taken me a very long time to research myself online.  While I am not at the point that I am ready to start making my own cheese, I am saving up for a breadmaker and the pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer.

Breakfast: steel cut oats with blueberries, cinnamon, skim milk

Morning Snack: nothing

Lunch: leftover corned beef, potatoes & carrots (since I didn't eat it yesterday)

Afternoon Snack: banana

Dinner: beef stir fry with brown rice, red peppers, onions & green chilies.  Sauce was mixture of sesame oil, soy sauce & fresh grated ginger)

Evening Snack: Unreal Nutty ones & glass of wine

Happy Eating!

October 20

Another busy day at work...got to serve at a "chef event" today.  What that means is, we have a chef come and cook a 4 course meal & the winery pairs wines to go along with it.  For a nice fee, you get a great meal and a few glasses of wine.  Benefit to working this event? I get to eat too. :) My deliberate exception for the challenge was anything work-related...haha.

Breakfast: steel cut oats with cherries & cinnamon, thinned with organic skim milk

Morning snack: peach Chobani

Lunch:  all courses are handmade; that being said, I do not think it was organic or non-gmo.
          pumpkin tortellini & ravioli                   baby greens salad with chopped mangos/avocodos
          braised short ribs with gnocci              pumpkin cheese cake
There were sauces and other stuff in the courses but I don't have all the details at home.

Dinner: still full.

Evening snack: roasted potatoes & carrots; still full!

Happy Eating!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

October 19

Well...today I worked an 11 hour shift. Needless to say, it's tough on the tummy.  And the feet!

Breakfast: steel cut oats with cinnamon, skim milk & cherries

Food eaten throughout the day - basically I had a snack when I could get the time for it:
   peach Chobani
   sandwich - Vermont wheat bread, organic peanut butter & natural jelly
   Cascadian Farms organic granola bar http://www.cascadianfarm.com/products/granola-bars/chewy-granola-bars/sweet-salty-peanut-pretzel
    banana & apple

Happy Eating!

October 18

Today I went to visit my "local" university's Friday Farmer's Market.  My state university has a big agricultural program, and as part of it the sell the meat from the animals that the students raise.  This seasonal market is open through the end of November, but by mid-October the vendors start dropping out as their products are dwindling.  We have some great fall crops here in New Jersey, but one can only use so much kale.  My goal today was to stock up on some meats for winter.  Their prices are really great, and the money goes back to the university.

Breakfast: whole wheat bagel (that my son didn't want yesterday) with organic peanut butter & jelly

Morning Snack: blueberry Chobani

Lunch:  homemade chicken soup with veggies

Afternoon Snack: none

Dinner: cheese burger (grass fed beef) with cheddar on Vermont sandwich roll with organic corn on the cob from the farmers market!

Evening Snack: Angie's kettle corn!

Happy Eating!

Friday, October 18, 2013

October 17

So yesterday I questioned the FRUCTAN in the breakfast cereal.  Spent some time reading all sorts of articles, blogs, with both pros and cons.  One, http://fructosefriendlyfoodie.com/food-guides/fructan-content, even goes as far of listing different fruits & veggies I should avoid because of them.  Apparently, a fructan is a naturally occurring part of our food, that our intestines can't digest.  Big cause of stomach & intestinal problems for sensitive people. Not sure how to kitchen test this ingredient, since the ingredients specifically name a brand & that is sold in vitamin form. http://www.swansonvitamins.com/swanson-probiotics-nutraflora-prebiotic-enhancing-formula-750-mg-60-veg-caps  May take this query to the Facebook group and see what wisdom they can offer.

Breakfast: made the steel cut oats I was craving...the cereal can wait. :) added a bit of organic skim milk to thin, cinnamon & blueberries. Yum!!

Morning Snack: strawberry Chobani

Lunch: toasted whole wheat bagel with melted cheddar cheese and Applegate uncured ham.

Afternoon Snack: nothing...not hungry!

Dinner: roasted pork tenderloin, steamed broccoli, brown rice

Evening Snack: wine. :)

Happy Eating!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

October 16

Spent some time today wandering through my local Weis store.  I have started to make lists of which stores carry what products I want to buy, because of course none of the three in town carries everything I want.  Next week I am trekking out to the Wegeman's - I know they carry a lot more good choices, but the driving time is not usually worth the effort.

Breakfast:  I really wanted oatmeal this morning, but decided I should finish more of the cereal my kids didn't like.  Healthy-er cereals tend to be a bit more expensive than the yucky ones, and wasting money is not on my agenda.  Good thing I made an exception when this process started for using up what I had in the house.  Haha.  So today I ate some of the Snackimals Cinnamon Crunch by http://barbaras.com/  Here is a direct link to the cereal: http://barbaras.com/products/snackimals-cereal/snackimals-cinnamon-crunch-cereal/  It ALMOST passes the kitchen test.  Natural flavor, of course, is a fail but I need to research one of the other ingredients...FRUCTAN (NutraFlora, Natural Dietary Fiber.) Will report back on this when I can.

Morning Snack:  peach Chobani

Lunch: finished up yesterday's soup

Afternoon Snack: I baked sugar cookies so I admit I nibbled on the dough.  But these pass the kitchen test when I sub in white whole wheat flour and use organic sugar.

Dinner: Chicken enchiladas - we loved them, the kids not so much. I have a lot of leftover sauce so I want to find something creative to use it for.

Evening Snack: wine Wednesday & a handful or three or five of Unreal Nutty Ones.

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 15

Half way through the challenge!!  How is everyone doing?  I'd love to hear from some of you.  Now that we made it half way, it's all downhill to the end and we can do this!!  My blog counts have been going up and up since the challenge started, so thanks for stopping by everyone!!!

I'm curious as to how much of this challenge will stick when the month is over.  I read a lot of posts in the Facebook group from people who are overwhelming themselves with making everything from scratch - many all in one day.  They are making bread, and cheese, and butter...the whole kitchen going at once.  I hope they don't get discouraged at the end saying it was too much work.  I envy those who make the attempt at cheese - looks like fun!!  While I do have the time, I do not have the drive.  Not yet, anyway.  I am in awe of those who are putting forth all the effort.

I am really close to buying a breadmaker. More on that in future posts.

Breakfast:  Finished up the Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch that my kids didn't like, with organic skim milk, coffee & half and half

Morning Snack: banana Chobani

Lunch: ~hangs head~ french fries at Costco. I was really hungry & was getting lightheaded. :( But I did avoid every single sample lady!! I thought I'd make it home to eat but then in line I started feeling weird...and of course nothing in my cart was something I could pick on.  So...~hangs head~

Afternoon Snack: none

Dinner: chicken soup with broth made from last night's chicken, with barley, organic mixed veggies & leftover chicken; Kirkland Lake Country cheese, Fiorucci All Natural Uncured hard salami & fresh crusty bread.  

Evening Snack: handful or three or five of Angie's Kettle Corn

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 14

Today I listened to the October Unprocessed Q&A conversation and the guest today, Yoni Freedhoff from weightymatters.ca and he made some really good points about this whole process.  Striving for perfection, for that A+, while it is a great goal, actually achieving a good solid B is just as great.  We should not be ashamed for the B.  It's our job to do our best, and our best changes day by day.  I am really going to keep this in mind as I continue on with this journey.  If you did not get a change to participate live, go back and listen to it when you get a chance.

Today's food diary:

Breakfast: whole wheat bagel (from bagel shop) with that All Natural jelly I'm trying to use up.  Still looking for a better choice.

Morning Snack: banana Chobani

Lunch: leftover ham & peas from yesterday's dinner

Afternoon Snack: cinnamon muffin - made by me!!

Dinner:  my favorite roasted chicken http://nutritionfor.us/2011/08/esbs-lemon-rosemary-roasted-chicken/
with a big yummy salad and Annie's Macaroni & Cheese on the side.

Evening Snack: nothing!! I was so full from dinner I wasn't hungry.  Plus, I had stock going on the stove from the chicken so I was busy tending that, and enjoying Monday night tv. :)

Happy Eating!

Monday, October 14, 2013

October 13

Yesterday my hubby & I went to the farm that I visited last week.  He was curious about what meats they offered.  That, and he loved the kale chips I made so much he wanted me to get more kale to make them again today!!  In addition to the curly kale you find at the grocery, this farm grows two other kinds of kale; they recommended using TUSCANO kale to make kale chips.  OMG it was so good!! You didn't have to deal with the curly edges not crisping and was much easier to clean & dry.

So while we were at the farm, we picked up breakfast for today...last night's dinner...in addition to the kale. :) I need to learn to bring my camera places with me, so I can take pictures to post.

Breakfast: fresh from the farm eggs & bacon.  The bacon is made from pastured pork, is all natural with no nitrates or preservatives or any of that other yucky stuff we are avoiding.  It was so good I can't even tell you.  Even though it was really expensive, $10 a pound, it was worth it.  We don't have bacon all that much anyway, so I can work this into my food budget.  It's amazing how much money you save when you are not buying bags of potato chips and other junk.  We also had a loaf of ciabatta bread I had in the freezer.  I defrosted it last night then popped it in the oven this morning; the package claims "All Natural" but we know that means nothing.  It says on the package if you don't use that day you are to freeze it.  But I am saving for a breadmaker, I should have it by Thanksgiving the latest!!

Morning Snack: lemon Chobani

Lunch: 2 apple cider donuts from a farm stand we drove buy.  All I can say was if I can help it, I am never buying a farm stand donut again!!! The ingredients list was just as bad as the donuts from the orchard near me!! This time of year, the donuts were the only thing available we could eat at that moment.  They had a few lettuces but we had no where to wash it, and everything else needed prep.  We were not in an area with any places to stop & eat, plus we were running short on time.  They did sell pies too, but without forks, not a option.

Afternoon Snack: pretzels at a winery

Dinner: The last two ham steaks we had in the freezer and organic peas.  Not in the mood to cook!

Evening Snack: Unreal Nutty Ones.  This is becoming a habit, I think. :)

Didn't get to the kale chips, so making them tomorrow.

Happy Eating!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 12

One of my biggest challenges since switching to a cleaner lifestyle is breakfast for my kids.  My boys are teenagers now, 14 & 16, both in high school.  Around here, that means school bus pick ups before 7am.  It's really had to get up early enough to cook breakfast for them every day.  By Friday I am exhausted!!  For them to have breakfast on the table by 6:30, I am up between 6 & 6:15 to cook it.  The later time is heating pre-made (by me, of course) pancakes or toasting a bagel (not made by me, I am SO bad with breads) and the earlier time is cooking eggs and such.  A couple days a week I really need them to have a bowl of cereal.  They are being really stubborn with what cereals they like!!!  They have not had a bowl of anything by Kelloggs in almost two years, yet they still complain about how what I give them tastes.  The only one they will eat happily is made by Mom's Best Cereals http://momsbestcereals.com/ called Crispy Cocoa Rice.  They do not pass the kitchen test, but they are better than the Cocoa Krispies made by Kelloggs.  I find that I am eating the rest of the box every time they turn up their noses.  To me, they taste fine, LOL.  I don't intend on giving in, but the battle is definitely wearing me down.

Anyone out there deal with this successfully at home?

Breakfast today: http://www.cascadianfarm.com/ Cinnamon Crunch cereal that the kids didn't like, with organic skim milk.  Coffee with half and half.

Morning snack: lemon Chobani

Lunch: football time today, Go Big Red!!!  leftover taco meat with mango peach salsa & organic tortilla chips; fresh baked kale chips from local organic farm; Unreal Nutty Ones

Dinner: country style ribs smoked on the grill. ribs come from a local grass-fed farm with organic mixed veggies on the side.

Evening Snack: wine (yeah I like wine but we went to see a band play at a winery) and Unreal Nutty Ones.

Happy Eating!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October 11

Last busy day - work, appointments, but challenge still going strong.  I am learning so much from the Facebook group!  What a wonderful group of people.

Breakfast: steel cut oats with cinnamon, thinned a bit with skim milk.

Morning snack: blood orange Chobani right before my flu shot.  Have you got yours yet?  Not sure how it fits into the challenge, haha!!

Lunch: Boars Head ham & cheddar on the last of the Nature's Own bread with lettuce & organic mayo.

Afternoon snack: working, so no snack.

Dinner:  was supposed to work tonite, so I had nothing planned.  My family was going to order pizza in my absence and I was going to eat the above sandwich for dinner, but my hours got shifted so had to last minute plan.  Last minute plan was stopping for pizza & calzones. :(  But one of my exceptions was eating out once a week.  At least it's not frozen pizza, right?????

Happy Eating!

Friday, October 11, 2013

October 10

Boy did this day go by fast!!! Worked all day, so not much food stuff to report in.

Breakfast: leftover potatoes (wish I had made even MORE extra, cause they were good!) with eggs, coffee with half and half

Lunch: apple cinnamon Chobani, leftover applesauce, 4 pieces of Vermont cinnamon raisin bread. Yeah, that was lunch.  I totally forgot as I was running around trying to get there on time (and run the couple errands I needed to run before hand) that I didn't make lunch.  There is no were close to go to eat, not that I am eating out much right now anyway, so I threw in what I could.

Afternoon snack: As I'm sure you figured out, I was starving by the time I was almost ready to leave.  I found a Hershey's with Almonds at work, leftover from a private party the weekend before, so I ate it. Blech...so does not taste good anymore.  I would have totally skipped it but my stomach was growling loud enough for my co-workers to hear and I still had to go pick up my son from an after-school club!! So I ate it. :(

Dinnner: tacos made with taco seasoning from Weis.  I had purchased their taco shells before, only three ingredients, so thought I'd give their packaged seasoning a try.  It was a little bland for our taste.  We have been trying very hard to eliminate the packaged seasonings, but we've never liked any of the recipes I've tried!  I've made so many different ones, as we have tacos at least once, if not twice, a month.  Oh well...we'll keep trying!!

The shells.

Evening snack: mojito for the football game & some Angie's Kettle Corn.

Happy Eating!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October 9

Hand's feeling a bit better today, happily!! But still taking it easy with typing.

Breakfast: steel cut oats with milk, cinnamon & blueberries

Morning Snack: banana Chobani

Lunch: Scrambled cage-free egg whites with leftover potatoes

Afternoon snack: none - had to work

Dinner: Cavatelli & Broccoli.  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cavatelli-and-broccoli/

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

October 8

Today started out as a quiet day; taking some much needed "me" time to read, watch a movie (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) then I went to the library.  Quick stop at the farmers market to pick up a couple of potatoes and some broccoli & cavatelli for tomorrow's dinner and I was in for the day.  I even started prepping dinner early; getting some of the chopping and such done so I wouldn't have a mountain of dishes at the end of the night.  Good thing I did, since while I was doing the last of the breading of the chicken cutlets I reached for my glass of water, and in my haste I dropped it and it broke.  And cut my hand.  In a few places.  Sigh,  Happily my 16 yo was able to finish the egg dip & breading of the cutlets while I tended to my wounds & cleaning of the glass.  One cut may need stitches, but going to see how it looks tomorrow.  Got the bleeding stopped & covered it with a liquid bandage. Hard to type so going to be quick with this post.

Breakfast: steel cut oats, thinned with a bit of organic skim milk; cinnamon & some of yesterday's applesauce mixed in

Morning Snack: strawberry Chobani

Lunch: grilled ham& cheese on http://www.naturesownbread.com/ dipped in organic ketchup.

Afternoon snack: applesauce

Dinner: breaded chicken cutlets (bread crumb comes from bakery) I add seasonings; roasted potatoes with onion & rosemary, string beans.

Evening Snack: glass of wine, Unreal Gimme Ones candies

Happy Eating!

October 7

Week one if the challenge is done!!  I found out about the challenge only a few days before it started; so I didn't have a lot of time to prepare or plan what my goals were going to be.  We have been eating as clean as we could as a family for a long time now - and as the week has gone by I have thought about it and came to the following conclusions:

1 - I want to be more aware of the little ingredients that are in my food I had been over looking and find out more information about them
2 - I want to build a larger network of clean eaters for support
3 - I want to see what areas we have been lacking in, with choosing our foods
4 - I want to find new products and brands that my family will enjoy

How's that...to start!

Breakfast:  3 slices Vermont cinnamon raisin bread spread with local honey, coffee with half n half

Morning snack: banana Chobani

Lunch: salad with organic Caesar salad dressing, leftover grilled pizza from last night

Afternoon snack: a few handfuls of Angie's Kettle Corn

Dinner: Barilla White Fiber thin spaghetti (ingredients: SEMOLINA, DURHAM WHEAT FLOUR, WHOLE DURHAM WHEAT FLOUR, CORN STARCH, NIACIN, IRON, THIAMINE, MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID) - does not pass kitchen test - with home made pesto sauce.  The pesto was made with organic basil and organic olive oil.  The pine nuts and garlic are not organic. Romano cheese is also in the pesto.  Garlic bread made with butter and fresh ground garlic on the side.

Dessert: home made applesauce!! Grabbed a bunch of apples at the farmers market today, threw in a couple pears that were over ripe, and a couple cinnamon sticks.  Tada!! Fresh applesauce. NO ADDED SUGAR!

Evening snack:  glass of wine

Happy Eating!

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 6

I work at a winery - very cool job.  It's only part-time, but it's fun (most of the time.)

Fall arrived in between my last day and today: I love this time of year!

So days I work it's hard to eat, so here is how I tried to meet the challenge today:

Breakfast: Vermont english muffin with cage-free egg & organic ketchup for breakfast

Lunch: blood orange Chobani, small salad with organic caesar dressing, plum

Dinner: grilled pizza with whole wheat crust, organic olive oil, organic ground garlic, mozzarella cheese

Evening snack: glass of wine

No time for snacks on work days!

Happy eating,

October 5

Big football day here today!  Both my teams play, at the same time of course.  Can't expect anything else, right? Sigh.  Go RU! Go Huskers!!

Okay, now that is out of the way, no time for much else today except for a quick review in the Facebook group of cornstarch vs arrowroot.


Arrowroot passes the kitchen test, cornstarch does not.

Breakfast:  Vermont english muffin with butter and jam.  Coffee with half n half

Morning snack: mojito as the games are starting

Football food:
mozzarella sticks - brought by friends for the game - was polite and only had 2
peach mango salsa by Sabra on Kirkland organic tortilla chips
Hebrew National hotdogs http://www.hebrewnational.com/products/hot-dog-beef-franks.jsp
Vermont hot dog buns with Wegemans organic ketchup

Dinner: a glass of wine; so full from eating during game!

Happy eating!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

October 4

Hello everyone!!

Got an interesting lesson in tonic water tonite.  I had no idea it was a "drink" as opposed to water.  I was very surprised to find this out!  I've always thought of tonic water as a drink mixer.  That's it.  Fizzy water.  I had no clue it would contain high fructose corn syrup...or something called quinine.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonic_water  This challenge is really opening my eyes!!

Breakfast: french toast made with http://www.vermontbread.com/ Cinnamon Raisin bread.  I picked this up at the grocery yesterday and thought I'd give it a try.  It's in the organics section.  No high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients or preservatives.   Batter made with organic skim milk, local free range eggs, all natural vanilla and Saigon cinnamon.  My kids thought the whole wheat flavor was too strong, even with the coating.

Ingredients in bread (from company website:) INGREDIENTS: Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Raisins, Vital Wheat Gluten, Honey, Barley Malt, Yeast, Salt, Cultured Wheat Starch, Cinnamon, Soy Flour 

Morning snack: blood orange Chobani

Lunch:  grilled cheese sandwiches made with Boars Head white american and http://www.naturesownbread.com/ Honey Wheat bread.  Lightly buttered.  The bread is not the best choice, but has no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors or high fructose corn syrup.  But I sent my husband out for bread, and once again he thought he did good. :) I can say he didn't bring home Wonder bread...haha. (Yes, I know it's not made anymore. But you know what I mean.)

Afternoon snack: couple bowls (small) of Angie's Kettle Corn http://angiespopcorn.com/

Dinner: fried chicken (made by me) and a salad

Evening snack: glass of wine...and more popcorn. :)

Happy Eating!

Friday, October 4, 2013

October 3

So today I went to visit one of my local grocery stores and spent a lot of time looking up and down the organic/natural refrigerated sections.  One of the things I don't have any interest in making myself are things like sausage, pepperoni, salami...that kind of thing.  I spent a lot of time reading packages, taking pictures, and looking at websites when I got home.  Some brands do a great job explaining their products online, like http://www.applegate.com/ and others not so much, like http://www.fioruccifoods.com/. I found another brand of sausage that looks good http://www.bilinski.com/ in addition to learning more about the sausage I have been buying from Costco for a couple years http://www.aidells.com/.  Overall, a great trip!! Next week I am going to hit up another store and see what I can find there.

Meals for today:

Breakfast: the Mallow Oats are finally gone - last bowl consumed this morning, with local organic milk.  Coffee with half n half.

Morning Snack: strawberry Chobani

Lunch: Boars Head roast beef & provolone on whole wheat bread with a bit of organic mayo & lettuce

Afternoon Snack: Starbucks pumpkin spice latter (I know, I know; I was weak)

Dinner: grilled steak seasoned lightly with fresh ground pepper & Himalayan sea salt, organic peas

Evening Snack: a handful or three or five of Unreal Nutty Ones

Happy Eating!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October 2

Breakfast: Honeydew from my local farmers market, followed at bit later with a cup of coffee with half n half, and a whole wheat bagel.  The bagel has organic peanut butter on one half, and butter & "all natural" jelly on the other.  My husband came home with this jelly one day, thinking he did a good thing.  It's made by Welch's...here is the link: http://www.welchs.com/products/jams-jellies-and-spreads/natural/natural-concord-grape-spread jury is still out, but I guess it's better than anything else I've tried.  I've had a difficult time finding a jam-type product I like.   I've tried a few different organic types, but no luck.  May try making my own one day!!  As for the butter, I use: Land O Lakes Butter with Olive Oil.  http://www.landolakes.com/Products/Custom/15179.aspx  Opinions?

Morning Snack: blueberry Chobani

Lunch: Boars Head roast beef with provolone on whole wheat roll from farmers market.

Afternoon snack: Unreal candy - a handful or three or five - The Gimmie Ones. :)

Dinner:  last minute company for dinner tonite!  I had a roasted turkey breast in the freezer I quickly defrosted, since I did not have enough to feed my guests with what I had originally planned to make. The turkey breast is from Kirkland, no preservatives, chemicals or fillers. Mashed potatoes and organic white corn on the side.

Evening snack: more wine...

Happy eating!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October 1

Here we go...day 1.

For breakfast today I already failed. Haha!  I have been searching for alternative breakfast cereals my teen boys will actually eat, so a couple weeks ago I found an alternative to Lucky Charms made my Mom's Best Cereals.  They make "Mallow Oats" - aka Lucky Charms - with natural colors.  My kids like their marshmallows, but not the oats part.  So they left the box to me to eat.  Since I am not throwing my money away, I will finish them for my own breakfast today & tomorrow.  Why do they not pass the kitchen test?  They contain corn syrup.   Hard to have a decent marshmallow without it.  But I did see a recipe that makes them with agave I may try when the challenge is over.  I use organic cows milk in my cereal bowl - it's local and of good quality.  Cup of Starbucks coffee with a bit of half n half - just a bit.

Here is where you can find this brand of cereal: http://momsbestcereals.com/

Morning snack: Peach Chobani.  Does it pass the kitchen test? Ehhhhh...probably not.  But not negotiable in my eating plan.  I need the dairy mid-morning due to my acid reflux problems...otherwise I can't have that one cup of coffee I so desperately need each day.  I get really grumpy without it!!  I can make my own yogurt if I try...but one of my concessions is the Chobani.

Lunch: leftover organic chicken sausage from the previous day's dinner.  I don't have the package to read the ingredients, but since it's organic I'm going to pretend it's okay. :) And a salad with a bit of white balsamic vinegar and grapeseed oil.   There are sulfites in my vinegar. :(

Afternoon snack: the end of a container of Turkey Hill All Natural Salted Caramel Ice Cream.  I had a small portion left and now it's gone.  While it is the better of the choices on the market, it does contain sugar which does not pass the kitchen test.

Dinner: cheeseburger with Boar's Head sliced cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, no bun.  Problem with this meal - the PICKLES!!! Did not notice before that there are artificial food colors in pickles. Ugh.  So now I am on the search for pickles made more cleanly.  Never thought I'd have to read that label before.  So I have learned something!!!

Evening snack: glass of cab sav from the winery I work at.

Overall, not a great first day but tomorrow will be better!!!

Happy eating,

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October Unprocessed Challenge

I have decided to participate in the Unprocessed Challenge hosted by Eating Rules.

The challenge is for the month of October; starts today!!  I think it's going to be tough on Halloween, when I have leftover candy from my own door, as well as whatever my kids bring home.  Last year our Halloween was spoiled by Hurricane Sandy; in NJ we didn't trick or treat until well into November.  Neither of my teen boys had any interest in the festivities by then, so they did not trick or treat.  Maybe they will not want to go again this year?? Otherwise, I will have to wait until the morning of November 1 to eat what they don't like.  We eat so clean everyday, that this once a year treat is not going to hurt us.  I'll talk about what I am giving out at my door when we get a bit closer to the holiday.

My plan is to document my journey through the month; since we eat clean normally, it should not be too difficult, but this challenge encourages a but stronger adherence to the clean eating rules than I may normally follow.

So if you are interested in participating too, here is the link to the challenge:


The challenge is sponsored by Bob's Red Mill, one of my favorite manufacturers of whole grain products.  If you sign up, they will send you some coupons to help stock your pantry.

October Unprocessed 2013

Here is where you can find the official guide to the challenge: http://www.eatingrules.com/2013/09/official-guide-to-october-unprocessed/

One thing the challenge encourages you to do is set your own rules and limits as to what you can really hope to achieve.  They encourage you to do as much as you reasonably can within your own family guidelines.

My exceptions to the challenge: (I'm going to try my best to stick with these and only these - but as the month goes on I may have to edit as situations arise)

Chobani - I need it every day to help manage my acid reflux
Wine - I work at a winery and have to be able to taste our wines & we have a glass each night with dinner
Bread - I don't have a breadmaker YET so I have to reply on store bought breads
Unreal Candy - cause I am being realistic; can't give it up

Good luck everyone, and happy eating!!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Been gone awhile...

Sorry I've been gone awhile!

My son's laptop died, so for a couple weeks we were sharing mine.  Of course, it was a busy time of year at school so he needed it more than me.  Then my laptop died about two weeks later.  Along with the death of my laptop,  went my list of blogs I read, bookmarked recipe sites, and every document I had. Sigh.  I am not one of those people who write down passwords, so all my saved passwords were gone too!!

After my laptop died, my son & I had to share a really old one that has horrible speed and memory.  Every time I try to load anything the computer immediately drags.  Needless to say, this is not conducive to blogging, so I figured the fates were telling me it was time to take a break.  I found a part-time job, school let out, and well, life got busy.

I still am very much into clean eating.  I read labels even more closely than I have before, and am very proud of myself when I put a product back on the shelf because I don't recognize an ingredient on the label.

I am going to try to put myself back into blogging and sharing my clean eating journey.  I have found a few products over the last few months that are really wonderful that I can't wait to share with you!!

Happy eating,

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Book Review - Recipes I Can't Make

Okay, I have spent a lot of time in the last few days reading thru the "mix" portion of the book:  Make-A-Mix.   (If you click on "book review" on the right, you'll see related posts.)

Here is the list of the recipes that have an ingredient that is "un-clean" - if I search the grocery I may be able to find an acceptable option, but at this point I am going to focus on the ones I don't need to hunt for a new ingredient for.  So here are the ones I will be skipping for now and why:

Breadmaker Mix - uses non fat dry milk
Cornbread Mix - uses milk or buttermilk powder
Graham Cracker Crust Mix - uses box graham crackers
Hot Roll Mix - uses non fat dry milk
Whole Wheat Hot Roll Mix - uses non fat dry milk
Quick Mix - uses non fat dry milk
Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix - uses dry buttermilk
Lemon Pudding Mix - uses powdered lemonade mix
Beef Gravy Mix - uses non fat dry milk
Chicken Gravy Mix - uses non fat dry milk
White Sauce Mix -  uses non fat dry milk
Home-Style Dressing Mix - uses MSG "if desired" (can you even buy this??)
Hot Chocolate Mix - uses non-dairy creamer
Russian Refresher Mix - uses powdered lemonade mix (popular drink at one time??)

This leaves me with a whole lot to try!  I am hoping no one puts a hold on the book before I can finish getting through it. :)

As I mentioned earlier, there is a "mix" section and a "recipe section" (made from the mixes.)  Nice concept.

Before I can try the one I really want to try, the brownie mix...I gotta go buy more cocoa powder.  These sure use a lot!! But I guess if you are making a "mix" you want extras to have on hand, right?  The chocolate pudding mix is almost gone. And that makes 6 batches. So much for losing weight. :)

Happy eating, Kathy

Friday, February 1, 2013

Final Product Review - Clean Candy #5

Here we are...the last of the 5 candy bars Unreal 5.

Product info can be found here:  Unreal 5 which can be compared to a Milky Way.

Open it up, take a nice sniff...so far so good!  Looks very similar.  I am not a Milky Way fan, so let's start with that.  Totally a Snickers girl, love me some peanuts.  So this taste test will be a little unfair since I don't usually eat this type of candy.

First bite...good, not great.  Again, I am predisposed to not like this type of candy bar, but am trying to look past that.  Not sure if it's the relation of nougat to caramel, but there is too much nougat for me.  It almost tastes like a vitamin company candy bar I used to eat when I was younger.  A family friend sold the vitamin products so my mom would buy them for me.  Can't for the life of me remember the name of the company, but getting that familiar taste in my mouth.  I wonder if those were first beginnings of cleaner candy?

So anyway, would I eat it again? Yes. Would I chose it if there was another choice? No.

Here is my final ranking of Unreal candy choices:

5...Unreal 5 (this one)
4...Unreal 41 (plain m&ms) - cause of the aftertaste
3...Unreal 77 (peanut butter cups) - cause there needs to be a little bit more peanut butter inside
2...Unreal 54 (peanut m&ms) - only 2nd cause there needs to be more in the bag
1........Unreal 8 (snickers) cause I am a Snickers girl!!

I would not hesitate to buy any of them again!  The thought of being able to eat candy without all the yucky stuff inside makes me so happy.  Going to head over to CVS this weekend and buy 1 more of each for my kids to taste test...and see what THEY think!  They will jump for joy when they find out they can have candy again :)

Happy snacking!  Kathy

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Product Review - Clean Candy #4

My boys & I took advantage of a beautiful day and went for a walk to our nearby CVS. Guess what they had...Unreal candy!!! So excited because now I can taste the other two that Staples did not carry.

First of all, CVS was more expensive.  Staples charges $.90 per candy bar, and CVs charges $1.19.  They were on sale 2 for $2.00, so that made the choice to buy the two types I had not tried yet all the easier.  But at $1 each they are still a bit more expensive.  On the positive side, I probably spent the difference in gas. So I can reason it out that I can pay a bit more when taking a walk.

So which one to try today...

we're going with Unreal 54.  Product information here: Unreal 54 aka peanut M&Ms.

If you remember, I liked the plain M&Ms but the coatings kindof left an aftertaste.  Let's see how these do!

Colors are the same as the Unreal 41.

These are tasty, nice ratio of peanut to chocolate, coating has a crunch to it.  I still get a bit of the natural flavoring aftertaste but no where near as strong, the taste of the peanut offsets it nicely.

Only problem...there needs to be more in the package.  Cause I want more!  Will definitely be buying these again. :)

Happy snacking!  Kathy

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review

After making my chocolate pudding, well really while EATING my chocolate pudding, I decided since I had the window open from Amazon still open I'd read the reviews that were posted.  138 from a book first published in the late 1970s!  121 5 star, 11 4 star, 3 3 star, 1 2 star, and 2 1 star.

It's interesting to read what people said about the book.  Some commented on "how could they only use white products (flour, sugar)" and others were all over how great it is. It's funny; cause when you think about how different we (some of us at least) eat now versus then.  I was born in the 1960s, so I grew up in the age of prepared foods - the easier the better, right?  Sigh.

I am curious to try some of the recipes commented on, like the hot chocolate mix, chocolate syrup mix, brownie mix and muffin mix.  The snack cake mixes seem to be a hit too.  I am half way through the 121 5 star reviews...LOL

Oh, the lemon pudding mix uses powdered lemonade mix, so won't be trying that one.  I have made a lemon meringue pie from scratch a couple years back...lots of work but it tasted fabulous.

According to some of the 5 star reviews, the original 1978 edition has been updated to remove a lot of the shortening and replaced it with melted butter...mine is from 2006 so I must have the updated version.

Do you think anyone will notice if they don't get a pudding for dessert tonite? Two servings are not enough right now...Kathy

Book Review - Chocolate Pudding Mix

Checked this book out of the library this week: Make-A-Mix by Karine Eliason & Nevada Haward & Madeline Westover.

It is partially "mix" recipes and partially recipes to make with your mixes.  Since I am still looking for acceptable replacements for some of my family's favorite foods, like tacos and pudding, this book seemed to give me some choices worth trying.

Over the next few weeks I am going to try to make some of the "mixes" and see what happens!

Since I am still missing desserts, I decided to start with their chocolate pudding "mix."  The copyright notice in the front of the book say I am allowed to post their recipe; even though I am linking back to their book & I got it for free from the library, I will just post my opinions.  Don't want to do anything I am not supposed to!!

So I measured out the dry ingredients of my cleanest unsweetened cocoa powder, granulated sugar, cornstarch and salt and mixed it all up:

And then proceeded to actually make the chocolate pudding.  You add milk to a cup of the mix & cook in a pot, stirring just like you would a package mix.  You are supposed to stir in butter & vanilla at the end; since I need to eat low fat, and I couldn't see why I would need butter anyway, I left it out.  I let it sit on the stove while I took pictures, and that film that I love formed on top, just like the box mix.  Take a look:

It's cooling as I type...but sure smells like chocolate pudding.  One thing I can say is that it makes more than the 6 cups of mix. I have a 6c storage bowl that it would not fit in.   But once I used 1c of the mix, it fits nicely.  If you do the math on the dry ingredients, it's a bit over 6 cups.  But once you whisk them together and add in the extra air, it will not fit.  Go for a bigger bowl if not using any right away.

So extra mix is stored, the family's portions in bowls, covered & put in fridge for dessert tonite...and mine is just about cool enough to try. :)

Here goes: it's good!! The taste is slightly different...maybe not as sweet?  Would the butter have made a difference? Hmmmmm...I use fat free dairy milk but it is still thick, creamy...it's good. Will definitely make again AND will be looking through the book to see what other pudding recipes these ladies have included.

Yummy!! Happy eating! Kathy

Monday, January 28, 2013

Product Review - Clean Candy #3

Here we go...I have been waiting all weekend for this!!

Unreal 8. Product info: Unreal 8 Comparable to a Snickers bar.

Here we go...opening the wrapper....smells chocolatey...almost like a Snickers.

First bite...BETTER than a Snickers. More peanuty...the proportion of peanuts to chocolate to nougat...I like this better.  AND it's filling enough that I am not craving another when I am done, like I was with the peanut butter cups.  Well, maybe the peanut butter cups were just that good...doesn't matter. :)

My next mission...to find the other ones my Staples did not carry.

The website says I can find them at Staples, CVS, Target & BJs...in  my area.

If you go to the Unreal website, and click on "GET UNREAL" you can put in your zip code and find the closest stores to you.  GET UNREAL

Happy snacking!!  Kathy

Friday, January 25, 2013

Product Review - Clean Candy #2

Ready for the second test? I am!!

Today I am trying the Unreal41...similar to an M&M.

Product info here:  Unreal41

When I open the package, I can't help but feel the excitement of M&Ms...the colors are not as bright, but that's okay, cause they are made with natural colors, not artificial.  The ingredients say they are colored with: beetroot juice, turmeric root extract, purple cabbage juice.  There are 6 different colors in the bag.  The yellow and the orange are light enough colors that I can see the chocolate through them.

My first bite, it tastes like something I have had before, but I can't tell you what it is.  Reminds me of an Easter candy from long ago...but not sure which one.  Going to bug me until I figure it out!!

Slight after taste to these...whether I mix the colors or not, but it is more pronounced when I mix the colors.

They are yummy, and I wouldn't say no if offered them.  I do want to try the peanut version of them though.

Off to enjoy the rest...and one more to try tomorrow!!! I may have to wait until Monday, though.  My kids will be around and want me to share. :)

Happy snacking!!! Kathy

Breakfast in a mug today

This is going to be a two post day, I think.  Want to get both this yummy breakfast and my product review in.

So this morning I opened the fridge and took out my steel cut oats that were waiting for me.  I make 4 servings at once, then when it's gone, make more.  I took one look at it, covered it back up and put it away. Not in the mood.  Three hours later all I had eaten was my coffee (ha) so I figured since it was now snack time I better get some food in me.  Plus, my acid reflux does not like it when I have coffee on an empty stomach, so I will be paying for this decision soon!!

Having a muffin craving after seeing a donut commercial on tv is not a good thing normally.  But it IS a good thing when you follow someone like Nana Clare, cause she has come up with some of the most yummy alternatives.  So off to her site I went, and am now enjoying a super yummy cinnamon muffin.

Her recipe is here: Cinnamon Muffin in a Mug

I had to make a few adjustments, cause well ya know, it's Friday and there is not much left in the house.

In place of the walnuts (which I shouldn't eat anyway cause of the fat) I used 1T coconut (yes, fat) & 1T craisins. Cause I LOVE cinnamon & craisins together.

In place of the flax, I used a T of white whole wheat flour.

I don't use quick oats but keep old-fashioned on hand for cookies, so used that.

And 2 egg whites (plus a TINY bit of yolk to help blend) instead of the whole egg.


One of the things I like about these mug muffins (or muggins as Nana Clare calls them) is that I can pre-mix the dry ingredients, put them in a small container.  I can pre-mix the liquid ingredients, and put them in a small container.  Then I can throw them in my lunch box for a healthy, freshly basked afternoon snack at work. !!!!!

Enjoy...I would have taken a picture but it's gone already.  Kathy

And go check out the chocolate cake in a mug I made the other day...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Product Review - Clean Candy #1

Yeah, I know, CLEAN candy?

I recently read in a magazine about a new line of candy called "Unreal."  Since it is flu season I am not spending much time out and about; but while in Staples yesterday (buying black printer ink so my son could finish printing out his homework,) I noticed that they had a display with three different Unreal products.  I was in a snacking mood, so said why not? And bought one of each. At $.90 each, I thought that was pretty fair, based on the candy bar prices at the local pharmacy.

I am a big fan of chocolate, candy, &...well sweets in general.  While I enjoy the occasional peanut butter cup I prefer NOT to make my own.  Dipping a bar of dark chocolate in my organic natural peanut butter sometimes does the trick, but when I am sitting in the movie theater, smelling the popcorn, listening to the crunch around me, yes I do want something.  I am conditioned, I know that. But I also want something.  These products may be the answer!

First, a little background on Unreal.


According to their website, the idea came from a 13 yr old and his dad and an argument over Halloween candy.  Unreal products contain no:
  * artificials
  * hydrogenaters
  * corn syrups
  * preservatives
  * GMOs

They are by no means a health food, but if you need that peanut butter cup fix, which would you choose?  The ones with or without the above?  I can't wait to see how each one tastes.  The cashier at Staples gave me her opinion.  I can't wait to formulate my own.

The website lists five different products, but my Staples only had three in their display, so we are going to start there.  Over the next three days (I'd love to eat them all at once but I am trying to be good) I will review what I think of these "clean" candy bars.

Today, we start with:  

Unreal77 - Peanut Butter Cups Unjunked

Here is the product information:  Peanut Butter Cups

There are 2 cups in the package, and they do not have a paper wrapper like the popular brand does.  The first thing I notice is that they are thinner than the "other kind."  So, not as much peanut butter filling.  The ratio of peanut butter to chocolate is important, so let's see.

The chocolate is firm, the top of the peanut butter cup does not push in when you touch it without some force.  More than necessary for the other kind. First bite is tasty, and quickly the first cup is gone.  No funny after taste or anything.  I like the consistency of the peanut butter filling better than the other brand, and can say I like it over all.  I do wish there was a third one in the pack. The serving size is smaller than the other brand, so maybe that is why I am left wanting for more.  Or maybe I just like them that much. :)

I rate this "unjunked" candy very much.  As a once in awhile treat - I will MOST CERTAINLY buy this one again.  Will it be a daily treat? Alas, no, my gallbladder would not appreciate the fat. But I will be buying this again as a cleaner alternative to those luscious peanut buttery treats!

I can't wait for tomorrow to try the next one!  Happy snacking, Kathy

P.S. The cashier at Staples liked them too. She thought they tasted better than the other brand.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I am craving something chocolate today. Like need it bad.  But I don't want a lot, just enough to settle the craving without over indulging.

I remembered seeing some pins for "cake in a cup" - single serve cake portions, made in a coffee mug in the microwave.

So off to search Pinterest I go!

Well...I found this yummy place called "Nana Clare's Kitchen."  How can you not stop at a site with "Nana" in the name.  It's got to be good, right???  Nana Clare has a series of posts about single servings.  And this masterpiece is one of them.

Chocolate Cake in a Cup. OMG. Sooo good!!! Made with your own choice of clean ingredients, I substituted 2 egg whites for the whole egg, as egg yolk is really bothering my gallbladder right now, but otherwise made as directed.

So good!! Nana Clare's Chocolate Cake

Thank you Nana Clare, and I can't wait to try the next one.  Kathy

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Disappointments stink, don't they? Especially when you THINK you are doing the right thing.

We have an apple orchard not too far from us. They have lots of seasonal fruits & vegetables they grow on their farm, and each year they are offering more and more organic produce.  Their prices are reasonable.  Last year they opened a winery made from a lot of their fruits.  They offer various raw honeys, home made apple cider, pies, and assorted baked goods. 

Like apple cider donuts.  When you walk up to the store barn, the smell from the bakery barn is incredible.  You can see the steam rising from the bags when they walk out with a tray-full on a cool Fall day.  When you bite into a freshly baked donut, you feel like you are in heaven.  You know they are making them on site, throughout the day, and they are all gone by closing.  Guaranteed.  So you kind of expect a certain level of "cleanness" in the donut, right?  If there is someone in the bakery barn mixing and baking, most likely they are not adding spoonfuls of preservatives, chemicals, etc.  That's what the big bakeries do. 

On my way home yesterday, I looked at the bag the donuts came in.  Honestly, they don't usually make it the full car ride home.  They are lined up in small quantities at the registers, so it's the last thing you grab when you go to pay. So we get to the car, all grab a donut and start eating.  Then a second gets consumed on the ride home, with the bag going in the garbage can before even getting into the house.  This time I decided to read the bag. 

BIG MISTAKE.  I will not be eating these donuts anymore. Here are the ingredients:

Enriched, malted wheat flour (malted with malt barley; flour enriched with niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid,) apple cider, sugar, soybean oil, soy flour, non-fat milk, gelatinized wheat starch, sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, dried egg yolks, salt, dried sweet dairy whey, lecithin, dextrose, vegetable emulsifiers (mono & diglycerides with BHT and citric acid to protect flavor,) toasted ground wheat, natural and artificial flavor, xanthan gum.  Cooked in: partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (soybean, cottonseed,) TBHQ and citric acid added to protect flavor, di-methyl polysiloxone.

What the heck?  What happened to flour, eggs, baking soda and apple cider??  

So disappointed.  Kathy

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Recipe Search

As I plan forward the "veggie" portion of my meals, I find myself to be very uninspired.  I am tired of eating the same old steamed veggies over and over.  Since I cannot eat high fat foods, adding butter or nuts to my portion is taboo.  My kids love garlicky butter on their veggies, especially on broccoli, but I usually end up pulling out a portion for me first, then if I want more I am out of luck. 

So yesterday I went to the library to look through some cooking magazines.  I am very excited, I brought home 11 different issues.  Three of them are vegetarian, and the other eight are from "natural" magazines, so I am hoping to find some inspiration.  So today, while the hubby is glued to the NFL playoff games, I will be reading. Can't wait!!

Happy searching, Kathy

Friday, January 4, 2013

Meals Week of December 30th

Dinners for the week:

(before you judge, this was the week when I created our new advance planning "plan" plus we were coming down from the holiday high and massive leftovers. I did not go near a store.)

Sunday: grilled ham steak with side of brown rice

Monday: breaded chicken cutlets with canned corn & canned string beans
          (I use bread crumbs from my local bakery)

Tuesday: corned beef (made in crock pot, OMG the best way) with potatoes & carrots

Wednesday: pasta alfredo (clean recipe here: Elise's alfredo sauce) and salad

Thursday: empty the fridge & freezer soup
         (home made chicken broth, ground turkey, spinach, pasta, string beans)

Friday: pizza (my kids are going thru withdrawals)

Saturday: shredded honey chicken sandwiches with lettuce & tomato (recipe: Slow Cooker Shredded Honey Chicken) 1st time trying this recipe, will let you know how it came out

Happy eating!! Kathy

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Planning meals in advance

How many people out there actually plan their meals in advance?  I find that it is so much easier to eat healthy when my meals are planned ahead of time, instead of throwing things together at the last minute.  Notice I said healthy, not clean.  Since I don't keep any prepared foods in the house (with my few exceptions, of course) I can't make a box of Stove Top Stuffing if it's not there. But I do find myself offering up veggie-free meals more often that I would like, since I never got to the farmers market.  I shamefully admit to serving protein only plates every now and then.

I got to thinking about how I could do better, and was reminded of when I first went back to work full-time.  My kids were young, they were in before and after school care, and my hubby was working far away. By the time we got home, I cooked, we dealt with any home work not done, we were all exhausted.  I ended up home sick a couple days and got this wonderful idea to plan out my meals a month ahead of time.  I printed out a free calendar I found online, inventoried my pantry & freezer, chose the sides that went with each meat, and even stuck little round stickers on each item as it got chosen for a meal with the date on it!  Yeah, I went a bit overboard but it guaranteed that something I was planning on using did not get used by the hubby for a snack or something. 

I listed out our favorite meals, scoured my cookbooks for others, and ended up with 30 days of pre-planned meals that I repeated every month.  Some favorites were served twice in a month, but otherwise there were no complaints of eating the same thing again, as there was a month between servings.  I was able to put together a shopping list for each week of the month, which made my life so easy!! It sounds like a LOT of work, and yes it was, but I had an entire day to myself and once I put my mind to it, it was worth all the trouble setting it up.

The biggest plus to this: I hung the meal calendar on the wall in the kitchen and never had to answer the "what's for dinner?" question!!!  I was able to keep this up for a whole year, then my hours changed, I stopped bringing as much work home with me, and I had more time to plan on the weekends as my son stopped playing football, so I stopped planning that far and just took it one week at a time.  We also found that with my extra income we were going out a bit more...maybe the fact my kids were older and better behaved in restaurants a factor too.

So now I need to use that concept and translate it into our current lifestyle.  I found a set of the calendars and could not believe how much processed stuff was on them, YUCK!!  We also have our new set of health issues to deal with too.  This is what I came up with:

5 week rotation (will skip week 5 if not needed but necessary for January)
each meal contains a protein, carb & veggie

Sun: pasta meal with salad & either meatballs or sausage for the pre-diabetic hubby
Mon: poultry meal with side of carb & veggie
Tues: beef meal with side of carb & veggie
Wed: pork meal with side of carb & veggie
Thurs: combo meal (ex: soups, stews, casseroles, ravioli, tacos - meals that put all 3 groups together)
Fri: pizza (had to give into the kids plus I need a day off)
Sat: protein repeat with side of carb & veggie (repeat pattern: chicken, beef, pork, chicken, beef)
   or leftover night. 

I am planning out my meals mid-way thru the week before.  I buy a lot of my meats from Costco, so I will take my calendar with me when I make my monthly trip there as well.  I find that if I just buy meats, then deal with what to do with them later, I am uninspired later on.  Soooooo...if this works out as planned, I can plan at least the protein portion of the month very easily!!!

To start myself out, I am using up what is in the freezer.  I made an inventory, and plotted in what I have.  Which was not a lot, just enough for another 9 meals, so next week I will head to Costco, take my time & my lists, and be creative!  I am reading about more and more "clean" products being found in their aisles.  I am hoping to offer as much variety as I can with what I do with each protein.  I am using chicken the most, since it is lowest in fat, easiest to buy natural, pretty decently priced, AND is the most versatile!!  I'll keep you updated as we go along.

I am guessing, my family will not even notice every Monday they are having chicken. :)

Happy planning!! Kathy

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Potato Chips

I love making my own potato chips. I love that I can choose the best potato (we've grown some in our yard too) and I can choose the oil I feel the most comfortable using.  I even control the salt.  But what I don't love is the smell in my house afterwards.

I use a REALLY old deep fryer.  REALLY old.  Like older than me.  When my mom passed 13 years ago, I kept the stuff I didn't already have one of, like a deep fryer and a stand mixer.  As they break, I buy a new one.  The deep fryer is going strong, many many years later. 

Not sure if it is my deep fryer or all of them, since I have never had a new one, but when I use it my whole house smells like oil.  It hangs around for a day or so too.  I usually close all the doors so the smell stays confined to my lower level of the house (sigh) but some how I still manage to get the smell every where.

When I can company coming, that is the last thing I want my house to smell like.  Oil. So when entertaining for the college football bowls, you gotta have potato chips.  I did not want my house to smell before my guests arrived, so I went in search of the cleanest potato chips I could find.  What do you think??

Not bad in a pinch, when you need to serve a lot of people?? I'd love to hear if anyone has found other choices.

Happy snacking!! Kathy