I’ve Moved!

Hey friends!  I have been working on my blog behind the scenes and there will be a few changes coming up.  The biggest, and the best, is that it will now be ad free!  Woo Hoo!!  There’s one thing though, you will need to re-follow at http://hdasher.com/.  I hope you will!  All of my old posts will be there along with the recipe for what I had for lunch today.  You won’t want to miss it.  I hope to see you there!

Sarah

Stovetop Enchiladas

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Sometimes you just need a quick meal and this one is fast and healthy.  I usually have these few items on hand and have made Stovetop Enchiladas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

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Yep, that’s all you need!  You can add lettuce and tomato, leave out the cheese or avocado, switch the sauce to green.  See how easy?

Here’s what you do.

Set a saucepan that is roughly the size of your corn tortilla over med/low heat on the stove.  Pour enough sauce over the bottom to cover, top with a corn tortilla, then an egg, then more sauce.

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Cover and let it simmer for about 3 minutes then check your yolk.  I like mine runny so 3 or so minutes is perfect.

Remove from the pan, top with cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, green onion, sriracha… whatever floats your yolk.  😉

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You will want a big spoon to scoop up all the sauce, egg yolk, and melty cheese and the tortilla will be very tender from cooking in the sauce.  Oh bliss.

BTW, if you’re gluten free be sure to check the label of your enchilada sauce, most include gluten. Soon I’ll share my recipe so you can make your own!

Eat What Makes YOU Feel Good

If you spend any time at all on social media I’m sure you have seen how caught up we all are in diets.  Whether we are restricting calories, carbs, grains, dairy, all animal products, sugar… you name it, there is someone who wouldn’t touch it with a 9 ft. long fork.  Paying attention to what you eat, or don’t eat, is a good thing until you start to focus on the restrictions and not what you are actually consuming.  Yes, french fries are vegan, grain, and sugar free but are they good for you?  How about all the “diet” and “fat free” foods you can find on the shelves of just about any grocery store you come across?  Butter has absolutely no business being fat free, neither does cream cheese.  Or how about the vegetarian meat products.  Have you ever read the labels?  When my family became vegetarian we relied heavily on those Frankenfoods and felt good about it just because no animals were harmed in the making of our chickain’t patties.

Boogers are 100% natural and don't cost a dime!  But we can do better than that, I think.

Boogers are 100% natural and don’t cost a dime! But we can do better than that, I think.

In my quest to heal my hypothyroidism naturally I have done a ton of reading about diet and how much food really does affect our health.  You are, literally, what you eat.  A friend recently encouraged me to start keeping a food journal and it has been invaluable in figuring what is and is not working out for me food-wise.  It does take a bit of discipline but paying attention to what your body is telling you is so worth it. Try it for a week or so, you might be surprised by how much your body will tell you if you pay attention.  Some people are just fine eating dairy in moderation, others can’t tolerate it.  Same goes for grains, caffeine, and nuts and seeds.  You may not be full on intolerant or allergic, but most everyone has some type of sensitivity to something thanks to GMO’s and the toxins we absorb daily.  Whatever you eat, make sure it’s real food and not a bunch of chemicals shaped, dyed, and scented to look like food.

Bison Stuffed Bell Peppers.  Recipe coming soon.

Bison Stuffed Bell Peppers. Recipe coming soon.

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently cut gluten from my diet.  I have an autoimmune disease and gluten was feeding the problem.  I have been making a very careful effort to focus on what I can eat rather than trying to desperately fill the bread void.  Not that I haven’t baked some yummy gluten free breads and scones but I’m focusing on filling the gluten gap with vegetables, ancient grains, and grass fed, hormone free meats (in moderation).  I have almost eliminated packaged foods from my diet and I am feeling pretty great, even with my hypothyroid.  I haven’t spent any more time cooking than normal and our grocery bill has actually gone down a bit since we quit buying packaged items and bread.

Dirty dishes are still the bane of my existence.  I'm pretty sure this stack is going to collapse tonight at 3 a.m.

Dirty dishes are still the bane of my existence. I’m pretty sure this stack is going to collapse tonight at 3 a.m.

Life. And living life. It gets real, ya’ll.

Choose joy

Hey friends!  Can I still call you that after so long away?  I hope so.  I have been beating myself up for being such a terribly irresponsible blogger and have been finding it hard to post my first second first post.  Does that make sense?  I have let life take the best of me for the past few (several) months and I have been working on changing that mindset lately.

Let me start by saying that I hope this post inspires and encourages you to move past whatever is holding you back.  Monkeys will throw poo at the ceiling fan, it’s inevitable.  The only thing you can control is how you react.  Life is life, good or bad, and it should never be intimidating.  Life is a gift and it should never be underestimated or underappreciated.  You will find some pretty funny descriptions of things you might find in a gift box on SNL, or you might find a hand knitted sweater from Granny Fanny under the tree, or Aunt Matilda’s “prized” fruitcake, or plane tickets to Bermuda.  My point is, there are happy, content people all over the world and I believe it is by choice rather than circumstance.

Don’t get me wrong.  I live in a nice, safe condo with clean wood floors, running water and electricity.  There is even a pool out back.  Yes, I have had a few setbacks (changes) these past few months that I allowed to get the best of me.  Moving back to the city of Los Angeles was rough.  I’m not a big city girl.  I dislike crowds and name dropping, more perfecter always people.  Then I caught a chronic cold which turned into pneumonia, along with a temperature of over 106 degrees.  If you have never had pneumonia, do your best to stay that way.  It takes a long time to get over, even with a very healthy diet.  Then came another big move in the works, a good move actually, but still a big change.  We are headed to Bend, OR.  There are seasons there, people actually go out without makeup and their ponytails are probably not teased into a bouffant.  Hiking is way more accepted than “dieting”.  People have dogs who aren’t groomed and the women drink beer.  Sign me up… sort of.  Read on.

One last huge change that gets its own paragraph because I will probably be mentioning it in the future, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.  In the last few months I gained 20 pounds even with a very healthy diet and exercise, my hair thinned, I got more cranky than the average bear, my brain got foggy, and just waking up exhausted me.  I am choosing to heal my thyroid with my diet rather than to start taking hormones or drugs which is not a prescribed or popular decision.  This will not become a “thyroid” blog but I do hope to offer useful information to those who are suffering from thyroid conditions or any auto immune disorder.

I know you will still find value here.  I’ll continue to post healthy recipes though they will mostly be gluten free and I’ll post my WHY soon, any wisdom I gain or humor I have to share will be found here, and if I happen to find an all natural mascara I love, you will be the first to know.  I won’t post every 3rd day or whatever.  I’ll post when I have something of value, or if I think it has value, or if I have a single malt scotch or two (it truly IS gluten free!!  Yay!).

Thanks for sticking around.  The future is bright.  🙂

 

Making nut or seed butter at home and How to Get Your Kids to Eat Anything, part 2.

My last post was all about how to make lunch fun and why any busy parent would bother. Here, you can find some of my favorite tools for creating fun and interesting lunches, plus our favorite lunchbox.

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Today, I’m sharing a few more ideas for healthy, well rounded lunches or snacks. My kid won’t touch a sliced plum but if I cube it and skewer it, he loves it. Go figure. More proof that when it comes to kids, visual appeal is everything.

I found some of our favorite skewers at Ross for around $3. For one stop shopping for everything bento, check out Bento USA. They carry picks, sticks, and the cute flexible bowls you see above. The sticks and skewers are sharp but I send them with my 4 yr old and haven’t had a problem after explaining that he wouldn’t be able to take them again if he misused them. If you or your school are not comfortable with sticks, try raw spaghetti noodles, a skinny handle of a spoon, or pretzels!

Here are just a few ideas for sticks and picks.

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Around here, we call these Sweet Potato Pops and it’s how I got the guy to eat them at all. They couldn’t be easier to make. Rinse and cut a sweet potato into 1″ chunks, toss with a bit of melted coconut oil, place in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet, and roast at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or so. When they are soft, remove from the oven and add pretzel sticks!

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For pasta sticks, you could use tortellini, rolled lasagna noodles, gnocchi, ravioli, etc… Serve with sausage or meatballs, cheese chunks, or cubed tomatoes. Add a small container of dipping sauce or coat with your favorite red sauce.

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Raw veggies and fruit are so much fun if they are cut into cute shapes. Again, serve with dipping sauce (dip dip, as my son calls it). The tiny sauce container that came with our Laptop Lunchbox is just right.

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Fruit sticks and rolled sandwiches are so easy and the options are endless. Melons, grapes, berries, apples (soak them in apple juice or lemon water to keep them from browning), or cubed oranges. For sandwich rolls try cream cheese with deli slices, hummus and matchstick veggies, peanut butter and jelly, or pizza rolls with cheese and olives with marinara dipping sauce. You can use tortillas, pitas, or sandwich bread to hold it all together.

I thought I would include instructions for making homemade peanut butter. It’s delicious and ridiculously easy, not to mention lacking in several nasty ingredients that are often included in store bought. This also works for sunflower seeds, if your kid or school is nut free. Just add a teaspoon or so of olive oil to the seeds to make them easier to blend.

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That’s it. Really! Raw or roasted, salted or not. Throw them in the food processor and let it go for around 3 minutes. It’s the freshest tasting peanut butter you will ever eat and you can add cinnamon, honey, or smoked paprika if desired. Store in a mason jar in the fridge for up to a month for the best flavor, though ours never lasts that long.

Are you feeling inspired to make some Fun Food? I hope so! I would love to see or hear about your creations!

How To Get Your Kids To Eat Anything

Do your kids lunches sometimes come home only half eaten? Do you wonder how much of their own lunch they ate, how much they traded, and how much ended up in the trash? If you have been anywhere near Pinterest or a recent parenting magazine, you have probably noticed the bento craze sweeping the nation. Bento boxes usually have several small boxes that fit snugly in a larger box that holds it all together. It makes it easy to pack smaller portions of a variety of things, for a more well rounded meal. Because the bento pieces fit together so well, it’s easy to create “art” with the food and know it will still look that way when your kid opens it at lunchtime. We bought ours from laptoplunches.com. Yes, it cost a little more than some lunchboxes but it came with a recipe booklet, silverware, and an insulated carrier. Plus, it’s BPA, lead, phthalate, and PVC free. After a few months of not buying plastic baggies, it ends up being cheaper than a plain lunchbox or paper bags.

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Why would anyone go to so much trouble? Well, because I guarantee that your kids will be willing to try more foods if they look cute. Does yours take one look at something they have never tried and say “I don’t like that”? Mine too. Visual appeal is huge.

This?

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Or THIS!!?

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Start to finish, this took around 10 minutes active time since the starfish crackers were premade and frozen.

This weekend I’ll share some of the tools I use and tricks I have picked up for making a visually appealing, healthy lunch. I’ll also share some easy recipes that are a huge hit in our home. Since I started making “fun food”, my 4 yr. old has starting eating salad, olives, hard boiled eggs, sweet potatoes, raw carrots and cucumbers, and many other things he would not have touched before.

The first tools I want to share are cutters. Cookie cutters aren’t just for cookies anymore! I had several in my kitchen already and have added to my collection over the last few months. Every time I go to a discount store like Ross or Marshalls, craft stores, or even Target and the grocery store, I keep my eyes open for cute cutters. They are usually around $2 – $5 so picking up one or two is not a big deal. If you’re an online shopper, you will find any cutter you could imagine at Cookie Cutter Company for very reasonable prices.

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They’re not just for sandwiches! Use cutters for tortillas, potatoes, homemade crackers, omelets, cheese slices, veggies and fruit, tofu, lunch meat, etc… They make anything fun!

School last week was all about letters and learning to spell and write names so I made baked tofu nuggets that spelled out his name. I packed it with alphabet pasta to continue the “theme”.

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Fun, yes? And so easy. I made the nuggets the day before and served the extras for dinner, packing the letters of his name in the container so it would be ready in the morning. The pasta was also leftover from a snack. The rest of the meal took around 5 minutes the morning of. How easy is that? Who wouldn’t love to open the lunchbox and see something like this? Serving someone fun food is like a hug. It takes a little extra time but is always worth it, in my opinion.

Not long ago, I read that the vegetable toddlers consume the most of is french fries. That is so sad and completely avoidable. Join the fun lunch revolution! Let’s raise some healthy eaters who try new things!