Occasionally I suffer from migraines when I’m stressed or don’t get enough sleep; today has been one of those unfortunate days.  I am not one to immediately turn to pills to cure something that might have a more natural from.  I was searching the internet and found several people talking about how magnesium can help with migraines.  Although it is not a definite cure, I was up for it.

I read the many people who suffer from migraines have low levels of magnesium which is an essential nutrient for many of our body’s functions.  By no means am I a nutritionist or doctor, but I read with a specific ratio of magnesium and calcium there is a way to reduce the frequency of migraines.  Instead of trying to concoct a formula I turned to foods that are naturally high in magnesium like:  almonds, cashews, dates, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, dark chocolate…and the list goes on.


Although that list of foods high in magnesium sounds great, I thought I could one up just eating the nuts or seeds plain.  I modified one of my recipes to incorporate magnesium rich ingredients into yummy no-bake bites.  Here is what I came up with:


Ingredients-
1 cup of seeds, nuts, or bran…what have you prefer or have at home
¼ cup of dates
2 tbsp. tahini
2 tbsp. molasses
2 tbsp. cocoa powder

Instructions-
Put the 1 cup of preferred seed, nut and/or bran into a food processor and process until it is the texture of sand.  Put the processed mixture into a bowl and set aside.
Place the dates into the processor and pulse until chopped.  Add tahini, molasses, and seed or nut mixture and process until well mixed.  (It should have a consistency to make a ball out of the blend, if not add more molasses or tahini)
Make little bite sized balls with your hands and roll in cocoa powder.  Enjoy your magnesium packed power bite sized ball.

I think they actually taste really good and have migraine fighting foods that hopefully will help my migraines from coming again.

Do you have a natural remedy to fight migraines? I would love to find out!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Magnesium for Migraines?

by on 12/23/2016
Occasionally I suffer from migraines when I’m stressed or don’t get enough sleep; today has been one of those unfortunate days.  I am not ...
Yesterday I had the greatest birthday surprise from my husband and kids.  They have a tradition of bringing me breakfast in bed but today they went all out and we all ate breakfast together in our bed.  Following breakfast we had a day full of fun birthday activities.  As I get older it seem like the years keep passing faster and faster.  I am lucky to have such a wonderful husband and two beautiful children that keep me young.



After breakfast they told me they had a surprise for me outside.  They had bought me an apple tree for my birthday.  It almost brought me to tears, it was one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever gotten.  Planting an apple tree as a family was a tradition in my family when I was growing up.  Each year we planted one somewhere new, and would visit it throughout the year and water it and fertilize it.  My husband must have remembered me talking about it a while ago and it made the best birthday gift ever.

The kids were so excited to plant the tree.  It was already a small plant which made it easier to plant this time of year.  My husband had already thought of places to plant it and the kids help me make the executive decision to plant it in the corner of our backyard.  It took lots of “elbow grease” to dig the hole but once we got the plant in and took a step back to look at it, everything was worth it. 

After we planted the tree my husband and kids took me to the spa to get a pedicure and foot massage.  It was so wonderful.  When I got home after my little spa afternoon, I came home to find the kids and my husband making me dinner.  It is so funny watching them cook together without my help.  They like to take advantage of their dad and make a mess.  It was fun being a spectator and watching the dinner play out.  :)





They made eggplant lasagna and cheesy garlic bread sticks.  Even though it wasn’t the pretest looking lasagna I have ever seen, it sure tasted wonderful.  The kids were very chatty at the dinner table, I think it was because they were laughing all afternoon cooking.  The dinner was hilarious and so delicious.

It didn’t take more than two hours after dinner and the kids were ready for bed.  Such an exciting day for them really tired them out.  It was such a great birthday!  Each year my birthdays keep getting better and better.  I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful family that cares so much to make my day wonderful!

Happy birthday to me! <3
Julie
There are just so many things to be recognized in October, but one of my favorite is today, NATIONAL PASTA DAY! :D  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love pasta.  It is such a versatile food that can be made to be spicy, sweet, savory, rich…and the list goes on.


Happy National Pasta Day!
Did you know that pasta has been made and consumed as early at 3,000 B.C. by the Chinese?  It only was brought to America in 1789 by Thomas Jefferson after being in France.  I don’t know how people survived without it. 

Pasta has become a staple in much of American popular culinary works.  So why not find out a little bit more about our favorite pasta?  Here are some fun facts about pasta…I mean who doesn’t want to know more?


•    Italians consume more pasta than anyone else in the world.
•    Pasta comes in many different colors depending on the sauce it is made with.
•    The word pasta originated from the Italian word paste.
•    The average American eats 20 lbs. of pasta annually.
•    There are 310 specific forms of pasta that are known by over 1300 different names.

I remember years ago in college, pasta was the base for nearly every meal.  Pasta can be enjoyed on any budget and can be prepared to make the low cost noodles seem like a high end dish.  I still always keep pasta on hand at home.  It is great for those days when cooking an entire meal seems daunting but you want to eat something good.  It is easy to make a delicious meal in just a few minutes with pasta.

When you hear the statement, “Happy National Pasta Day” I hope you get as excited as I do and imagine yourself indulging in delicious pasta delights.  I am sure you have a favorite kind or shape of pasta, but today I say, try a new one.  With 310 different options, why not dapple in a new meal shape.  Get cooking and make sure you have your fair share of pasta. :)

What is your favorite pasta and pasta dish?

Go green and stay keen,

Julie
Where has time gone, I can’t believe it is October 4th already!  I feel like it was just spring and now we are nearly into fall.  October is always such a fantastic month for our family.  It is my daughter Hannah’s birthday, Vegetarian Awareness Month, and it is Halloween.


October 1st was World Vegetarian day and the kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month!   October is one of my favorite months where I make sure that everyone knows I am vegetarian and why they should try it too.  World Vegetarian Day and Vegetarian Awareness Month can be celebrated by everyone, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Plus, today is World Animals Day <3


My family is not vegetarian, but we do cook a lot of vegetarian meals.  During October we only eat vegetarian meals to celebrate this wonderful month.  It is always great to see my children and husband choosing vegetarian options over meat options.  During this month I really shine with my cooking, coming up with new recipes to surprise them that it is all vegetarian.

October is National Vegetarian Awareness Month

Fall offers the best selection, in my opinion, for fresh vegetables.  The squashes, zucchinis, pumpkins, and the delicious vegetable list goes on.  I believe that October brings the first feeling of the warm and coziness of fall and the future of winter.  There is just something about it that makes me such a happy person.

October is also Hannah’s birthday.  She always has something up her sleeve and hidden plans to organize everything for her party.  It is fun seeing her get so into the planning and set up for parties.  She is growing up so fast, I can’t wait to see what she has planned this year.

Over the winter and summer, I found some really great fall vegetarian recipes I can’t wait to try!  October brings so much joy and excitement in our house.  I am looking forward to having friends and family over for delicious vegetarian dinners this Vegetarian Awareness Month.

If you have any questions about becoming a vegetarian or some recipes that will trick your friends that there is not meat please feel free to ask and comment below!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie
You would have to be oblivious to the world if you weren’t aware that October is breast cancer awareness month.  Every year October brings societies focus to this disease that affects so many people. Although most people are aware about breast cancer, many bypass the steps to detect the disease and how to help prevent it.

Many people know someone or have in some way been effected by this cancer.  I wanted to share a couple statistics from breastcancer.org:

•    About 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
•    For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
•    The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).

Breast cancer is a scary disease but with knowledge and being proactive we can better understand it and do things to stop it in its tracks.  Here are some helpful ways to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer:

•    Eat healthy and exercise regularly
•    Avoid too much alcohol
•    Know your family history to better predict and manage
•    Get regular breast exams
•    Relax

Breast cancer and those who are forced to fight it have a special place in my heart, one of my best friends fought this terrible cancer 4 years ago.  Luckily, she caught it early and took the right steps until she finally beat it.  Watching the stages of cancer and treatment from a front row seat was so difficult and eye opening. 

Cancer is one of those things you never want to believe will affect you but chances are you know someone who has had it or is currently fighting it.  I believe with knowledge and strength in numbers we can come closer to a cure.  Every type of cancer is debilitating and we must take the time to donate and help find a cure.

This October please take the time to educate yourself on breast cancer or another cancer that has effect you.  Let’s become an informed society ready to knock cancer out!

Go green and stay keen,

Julie

We all know that there are certain foods that are better for parts of your body and your mental and emotional health.  I swear that a good breakfast can keep my kids going all morning and keep them attentive.  But there are some foods that are even better than others to keep your energy and brain power.  Have two growing children has made me very interested in these kinds of foods.

I always try keeping up to date on latest findings and research about what is best for my kids and my husband and I.  I found a few really interesting articles about foods that fuel brain power and memory.  These foods are good for our entire family and can keep us healthy.  I believe it is important to know what is good for you and take it into your own hands. 






Here are my findings and knowledge on “brain power food”:

•    Almond Butter can help find memory loss because of their high content of vitamin E, which has been found to help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment.  Almond butter has three times as much vitamin E than ordinary peanut butter.  Why not make an easy switch to a healthier and better for you nut spread.

•    Leafy Greens like spinach or broccoli packed with vitamin K can help improve verbal memory and the ability to understand and remember verbal instructions.  Vitamin K is good for both my husband, our children, and myself.  Leafy greens are also high in tandem that works with vitamin B12 that helps cognitive function in older adults. 

•    Blueberries are the ultimate power food.  The flavonoids in them are shown to help spatial memory and the antioxidants reduce inflammation that helps with long term memory and brain health.  There are so many powers that blueberries have it is hard to name them all.

•    Green Tea helps improve brain plasticity making it easier to learn and retain information. 

•    Tomatoes are packed with carotenoids that help improve cognition and memory over long periods of time.  Tomatoes also have lycopene found in the skin that helps protect against depression-causing inflammation.

I hope to continue eating these foods and incorporate them a little more in my life.  There are huge lists foods that help brain power and cognitive health but these were some of my favorite foods. 

What are your “go to” brain boosting foods?

Go Green and Go Keen,

Julie
I feel like everyone goes through phases with foods, whether it is loving it or hating it.  The good news is Liam has lost is sriracha obsession…thank goodness, but my husband and I have been in quick the granola kick.

There is nothing wrong with a little granola obsession for a while but making sure that it is in moderation.  My husband comes up with some great ideas when it comes to mixing up flavors in food.  He wanted us to make our own granola and he came up with little variations to avoid getting bored with the same kinds of granola.  He came up with some delicious concoctions I have to share these great granola ideas with.

With fall in sight Low Fat Apple Raisin Granola

Ingredients-
3 cups dehydrated buckwheat chunks
1 cup raisins
½ cup pumpkin seeds
2 tsps. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger powder
Pinch of salt
¾ cup agave
1 apple, chopped and diced
1 tbsp. almond butter

Instructions-
Preheat oven to 250 degree Fahrenheit
In a large bowl mix the buckwheat chunks, raisins, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, ginger powder, and salt.
In another bowl mix the agave, apple, and almond butter together.  I have used a blender to thoroughly mix together.  Pour over the dry mixture and toss to coat and combine.
Spread on a lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Cool and store in an air tight container.  This is my favorite granola we have made :)

Vanilla Almond Goji Berry Granola

Ingredients-
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup grape-seed oil
1/3 cup agave
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup goji berries

Instructions-
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
Mix the oats, almonds, coconut flakes, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl then pour on a lined baking sheet.
In a saucepan mix the grape-seed oil, agave, vanilla extract, and light brown sugar on low heat until a simmer then remove from the heat.  Pour over the oat mixture and toss to coat.
Bake for 20 minutes until it is golden brown, cool and break into chunks and mix with the goji berries.  Enjoy over yogurt, milk, or even ice cream if you are feeling ambitions.

When you don’t feel like a sweet granola, my husband loves his new creation: Salty Olive Granola-

Ingredients-
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 ½ cup pecan halves, pulverized
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
½ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cardamom
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins

Instructions-
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit
In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, pecans, coconut, and pumpkin seeds.  Add the maple syrup, sugar, olive oil, salt, cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon and mix until everything is coated.
Spread the mixture on a lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stir and bake for another 15 minutes.  Let cool and add the raisins and mix together.  Enjoy your salty granola with a twist.

If you have any unique and tasty granola recipes I am sure my husband would be excited to give them a try! :)

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie


This weekend we celebrated the 4th of July so much, I need a vacation from the weekend.  Not only were we invited to three Fourth of July parties, we also hosted a barbeque ourselves.

Hannah is my little party planner so I would expect nothing else than her wanted to host a BBQ.  I am glad we all have the day off today to relax and have a little rest from the weekend.

On Saturday afternoon we hosted a fantastic 4th of July BBQ.  It is always such a busy time of the year with all the holiday parties and the kid’s activities.  I don’t know why I let Hannah convince me to have a 4th of July barbeque, but it turned out great.  Surprisingly she is a very good party planner, to the extent of food, decorations, and inviting people…she isn’t that good on the cleanup part yet.  :)





Hannah wanted to be part of ALL the planning for our barbeque, even though she is pretty busy with soccer.  She wanted to plan it all herself and then have us make the final decision.  She actually came up with some really great ideas for decorations and food that were easy and cheap!

She also wanted to help create a red, white, and blue menu.  She officiated “Dad” to the grilling of the burgers, veggie burgers, and corn on the cob. (Her favorites on the grill)  She found quite a few food ideas of Pinterest and made them with a little help from me.  We made watermelon, blueberry and banana kabobs, “stuffed strawberries,” and patriotic Jell-O bites.
 
On top of Hannah’s special treats she found, I also made some easy snacks and sides.  One of my good friends who is an incredible baker offered to bring a cake…I have never said no to a cake. :)

Overall it was a successful 4th of July BBQ.  Today we are laying low and recuperating from all of our weekend festivities.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July! :)

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

4th of July BBQ

by on 7/04/2016
This weekend we celebrated the 4th of July so much, I need a vacation from the weekend.  Not only were we invited to three Fourth of Jul...
I love encountering individuals who are eager to learn about a vegetarian lifestyle and make a change.  Last night at the restaurant I had the opportunity to chat with a couple that has just decided to embark on their vegetarian lifestyle journey.  They asked me for some helpful hints to get through the difficult first couple months.  With spring quickly approaching and BBQ’s and soccer games around the corner they were concerned about vegetarian options.  Luckily for them I have quite a few helpful hints.


Deciding to become is a big diet and lifestyle change.  There are times when it will seem impossible, but once you find your strength and keep pushing forward there is not turning back.  Here are a few tips that helped me “keep on trucking” and create a healthy lifestyle for myself.

1.    Don’t expect everyone to embrace your new lifestyle change initially.  My parents thought I was crazy when I told them I was making the change, and now they eat a primarily plant-based diet.  During the first couple months my friends and family would taunt me with my past favorite meals with meat making it a game to see if I would crack.  I stayed strong and soon everyone came to realize this was something I was doing to better myself and I wasn’t going to back down.  Stay strong!

2.    There will be times when you crave a dish with meat in it, and when that happens just watch one of the wonderful documentaries out there about the factory meat industry.  I am sure that craving will pass.  Documentaries are a great way to find inspiration to make change and find your strength from within.  Educate yourself!

3.    Try new fruits and vegetables.  There are so many it shouldn’t be hard to try a new one every week incorporating it into a new recipe.  I can’t stress enough that even “ugly” fruits and veggies taste wonderful.  Don’t overlook certain types just because you have never tried it before or it looks ugly.  Dive in head first and see what you like.

4.    If you are not a chef, take a vegetarian cooking class.  I took a class in my first couple months of becoming a vegetarian and learned so much and met a great support system.  Working and having fun with likeminded people is a great way to discover some new recipes and new friends.

5.    Eat what is in season and go to the farmers markets.  Going to the farmers markets is not only a way to get your groceries, it is an experience in itself.  Become friends with the farmers and really find out where your food comes from.  I also suggest planting your own garden.  It is such a satisfying feeling cooking a meal with all your own fresh yields.



Making a lifestyle change doesn’t have to be that hard.  Find a good support system and make a promise to yourself, you’ll be half way there.  If you have any other questions about become a vegetarian, I would love to answer them for you! :)

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie
Last month at Liam’s birthday party one of his good friends mothers hung around for a little bit when she dropped her son off.  It had been a while since we chatted about something other than the boy’s school or crazy nonsense.  We were talking about gardening and growing different plants.  She had recently been adding turmeric to her foods because of all the wellness properties and encouraged me to as well.

I had heard of turmeric but never really gave it much thought.  I don’t think I have ever used it to cook or as a wellness supplement in recipes.  I am sure somewhere in the back of my spice rack I have a bottle of the dried stuff lurking.  After listening to my friend rant and rave about this plant, I had to do a little research for myself.

Turmeric contains anti-oxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, AND anti-inflammatory properties….man, there are a lot of good “anti’s” there.  Turmeric also contains curcumin, a power substance that has been linked to cancer prevention.


Curcumin has been shown to slow the growth of preexisting cancer tumors and destroy cancer cells.


On top of all the “anti’s” and cancer prevention, turmeric also can relive arthritis, slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, reduce the risk of heart disease, liver detoxification, reduce cholesterol, reduce weight gain, regulate insulin levels, reduce cramping, and strengthen the immune system…just in case you needed any more reasons to consume turmeric.

After my research it was clear that I needed to consciously start adding turmeric to my diet.  Instead of digging around in the back of my spice rack I decided to go out and buy some fresh roots, I found some at my local Whole Foods.

I had an idea how to prepare this root but wasn’t 100% sure so I jumped back onto the internet.  I found that peeling it and either slicing, chopping, mincing, or grating it works depending on the recipe.

I found countless recipes to add turmeric to like: smoothies, green juices, marinades, sauces, dressings, pots of rice, homemade veggie burgers, added to tofu scrambles, stir fries, in soups and stews, and so many more.  It is clear that turmeric can be added to just about anything.


I made my first turmeric added soup this afternoon and can’t wait to try it tonight.  I am surprised I haven’t experiment with this fabulous and healthy root before.  Do you use turmeric in your recipes, what are your favorites?

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Have you tried Turmeric?

by on 5/09/2016
Last month at Liam’s birthday party one of his good friends mothers hung around for a little bit when she dropped her son off.  It had been...

It is very important to eat a diet high in nutrients to make sure your body has the essential vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy.

Your plate should be a spectrum of bright colors.  We are naturally attracted to bright things, whether it be lush landscapes, clothing hues, bright flowers, or whatever it might be.  The foods you chose to eat shouldn’t be any different, the brighter in color the food is, the more likely it high is nutrients.

Foods that are bland colors often don’t provide as much nutrients as bright fruits and vegetables.  I taught my kids to fill their plate of color.

From when they were little, we always made sure we had at least three colors on our plate for every meal.

Liam and Hannah will even comment if our dinner or lunch is lacking in bright colors and find some fresh veggies to add to it.

Instilling good eating habits to our children is essential to their health.  Here is a list of five food color groups that are great for growing children.

Orange fruits and vegetables are often high in vitamin A, improve immune and reproductive health, and also have anti-cancer properties.  Sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash, carrots, and apricots are all good sources of your daily dose of orange.

Yellow fruits and veggies like squash, potatoes, bell peppers, and apples; promote skin and eye health.  They can also improve cognition.

My favorite color, green is great for lowering the risk of cancer, improved eye health, and stronger teeth and bones.  Some of my favorite green veggies are asparagus, kale, spinach, and broccoli.

Blue and Purple fruits and vegetables are my second favorite to eat.  Eggplant (my favorite), purple cabbage, prunes and raisins help to protect cells from being damaged and help lower the risks of heart disease, and cancer.  They also have anti-aging and brain boosting properties.

Red fruits and vegetables like cranberries, bell peppers, tomatoes, and pomegranates contain antioxidants that benefit heart health and can help prevent some cancers.

If you have young children there was a rainbow game we used to play that can be found here.  It is a great way to get them involved with the meal and healthy choices.

I challenge you to try having three different bright colors on your plate this week.  It is not as difficult as you might thing, but the rewards will be well worth it.

Eat the rainbow.


Go green and stay keen,

Julie

Green your Plate

by on 4/15/2016
It is very important to eat a diet high in nutrients to make sure your body has the essential vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy. ...
There is no doubt if you have a family, budgeting is extremely important during grocery shopping.  This morning while I was shopping I ran into one of my good friends and we were joking around that feeding a family needs its own full time job to pay for it…especially growing boys.  After thinking, I realized I do a lot to budget and save a little at the check outs.


I am sure, if you have kids, you already know how to save but why not share a few of my secrets in case you don’t already use them. :)

•    Buying in season and at the farmers market is a lifesaver for me.  It is a great way to get fresh fruits and produce and to save a few dollars.  Buying straight from the farmer or farm cuts down on the transportation costs and also minimizes the harmful emissions from big trucks.  Shopping at the farmers marketing is an experience in itself, full of vibrant foods, interesting people, and plenty of laughs.



•    Instead of getting fancy “super foods” find your own super foods and concoct a super food recipe.  Social media, the news, and word of mouth spreads food hype so quickly it is hard to know what is actually true and what is just made up to make a little extra money.  There are so many wonderful foods that are readily available for a low costs that are high in nutrients.  Skip the hype and go for something that has lasted the test of time.

•    I never skip the frozen section at the grocery store.  Fruits and vegetables that are in the frozen section are always in season.  Because most of these products are picked and frozen during their peat ripeness, they retain all their nutritional values.  They also go on sale more frequently than fresh products, so stock up.


•    Skip the name brand and chose the store brand.  I know there are those products and brands you can give up, but does it really matter what kind of pasta it is or what brand the olive oil is.  Save a few cents goes a long way when you’re shopping every week.  To make sure I am getting a good quality store brand I always make sure the check and compare the ingredients list.  Sometimes the store brand is even healthier!

•    Coupon!  I don’t mean like “Extreme Couponing” but going on the stores website or browsing a paper before heading to the store can help schedule meals during the week in accordance to what is on sale.  Many stores accept competitor’s coupons and online coupons presented on your smart phone to save on paper.

Saving a few extra bucks a week on groceries can go a long way when you are saving up for college tuition.  What are your grocery saving tricks?

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie



Happy Valentine’s Day cyber world!  Today is such a wonderful day, you can’t go anywhere without feeling the love in the air.  I love Valentine’s Day because it celebrates one of the greatest gifts of life, love.  I love my husband, but instead of sneaking off today and doing our own thing we decided to have a family Valentine’s Days.  Our kids have allowed us to grow and fall in love even more and I fall deeper in love with my husband and my children every day. 



This morning my husband and I woke up early and made heart shaped pancakes with pink and red M&M’s in them for Hannah and Liam.  We surprised them with their first breakfast in bed.  They thought it was so great they didn’t have to get dressed to have breakfast. :)  It was fun being sly with my husband to surprise the kids.  I don’t know why we didn’t think about doing stuff like this before.




After breakfast and the kiddo’s finally got out of bed and got dressed we went to the park to play a game of Frisbee and have a picnic lunch.  It was fun getting out and being active on such a beautiful day.  We may have ruined a few couples romantic park setting by running around and whipping the Frisbee around, but we sure had a fabulous time.

A few hours later and we were exhausted and ready for our picnic.  Liam and Hannah thought it was funny that we were one of the only families in the park and the rest were couples.  They picked out a spot in the middle of the big clearing where there weren’t that many couples.  We sat there for almost two hours laughing, making duck faces, and rolling down the hill.  I don’t know what got into the kids and my husband they were so silly. 

We made it back to the house late in the afternoon and the kids, including my husband, fell asleep on the couches watching a movie while I made dinner.  I made some spaghetti with garlic bread and a delicious Valentine’s Day cake for desert.  By the time I was done cooking all my children woke up, set the table, and we had a fabulous dinner.


We concluded our family Valentine’s Day with a competitive game of sorry and apples to apples.  Today has easily been one of the best Valentine’s Day I have ever had.  Spending time with my three loves was so special and it definitely was a laugh filled day.  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Cooking dinner in our house always seems to become a family event and I am not upset about it at all. :)  I believe that cooking is a great way to bond and have a little fun as a family.  Hannah loves helping and learning about recipes and cooking.  Not only is cooking a great skill for her to have but it is also really good practice for using fraction and math skills.

I usually set Hannah up to make the meals side dishes.  It allows her to prepare and execute the entire recipe… and eat her hard work.  I usually give her free range to what she thinks would work well with the dinner and give her a little guidance.  She is really becoming quite the chef.
Side dishes really can make a meal, here are a few really easy and healthy side dishes that anyone can make.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Ingredients-
•    1 ½ lbs. red potatoes, cubed in 1 inch pieces
•    1 tbsp. olive oil
•    1 tbsp. chopped rosemary…(from my herb garden :D)


Instructions-
•    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
•    In a bowl mix the potatoes, olive oil, and rosemary.  Toss until the potatoes are coated and spread on the baking sheet. 
•    Roast for about 40-45 minutes until the potatoes are browning and season to taste.  Enjoy!

Perfectly Sautéed Mushrooms

Ingredients-
•    3 tbsp. olive oil
•    3 tbsp. butter
•    1 lbs. button mushrooms, sliced
•    1 clove of garlic, minced
•    1 tbsp. red cooking wine
•    1 tbsp. teriyaki sauce
•    ¼ tsp. garlic salt
•    Pepper to taste

Instructions-
•    In a large saucepan on medium heat, heat the olive oil then stir in the mushrooms, garlic, cooking wine, teriyaki, garlic salt, pepper, and better.  Stir until the mushrooms are lightly browned, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5-8 minutes until the mushrooms are tender. Enjoy!

Spinach Soufflé
 
Ingredients-
•    1 egg
•    1/3 cup milk
•    1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
•    1 tsp. crushed garlic
•    2, 10 oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained.

Instructions-
•    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
•    Whisk together an egg, milk, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Fold in the spinach and pour into a small casserole dish.
•    Bake for 20 minutes and enjoy!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Need a Quick Side Dish?

by on 2/01/2016
Cooking dinner in our house always seems to become a family event and I am not upset about it at all. :)  I believe that cooking is a great...
With every New Year, it is important to grow and stay up to date and appealing to our customers.  At our monthly meeting this morning my good friend, the owner, announced we will be adding a few new main courses to the menu and will be introducing a new weekly special.  I am excited to see how our customers like the new changes and how can reach a larger audience.

Since I started managing the restaurant, we have continued to grow and become more and more popular; not only in the vegetarian community but also to non-vegetarians.

A few months ago we created a sampler plate special that allows customers to try a variety of dishes to see what they like and what they want a full portion size of.  Our wonderful chef came up with this idea, and it has been a hit amongst new customers.

The new weekly special is going to be a great way to showcase our main courses.  The special will allow the patron to get a glass of wine or drink, a side and the main course for one flat rate.  I think it is a great idea that will definitely be popular among our regular customers and hopefully bring in some new ones.


The owner of the restaurant is brilliant and has brought such a wonderful restaurant to our community.  We are constantly changing and modifying our menu to better fit our customers and the community.  I am so happy I am part of such a positive work environment and can’t wait to see how the new changes will benefit the restaurant. 

Go Green and Stay Keen,
Julie