Want s’more granola?

February 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I’m very sorry to rub it in yet again, especially to my Okie friend Retta, but Florida in January is so outstanding. Mid-70’s and sunny today 🙂 It’s so hard to fathom that Chicago is supposed to get two feet of snow today. Really, it’s easy to just forget that it’s winter in most of the country altogether. I walked the kids to school this morning in short sleeves and no jacket! Definitely wearing shorts this afternoon.

After getting home and a quick breakfast I hit the gym for elliptical and Bodyflow. I think I have strained something on the front, upper part of my leg…right where my thigh meets my hip. It’s not my quad, but like just above my quad. When I raise my knee, like in a marching motion, it really hurts. Walking, running and elliptical don’t really bother it. I thought Bodyflow would help, but maybe that’s where I strained it in the first place. It would hurt when I was transitioning from full cobra to down dog (like lifting my leg to turn my toes over) and when doing pilates lower-ab moves (lowering legs in front to hover just above the floor while laying on back). It’s not debilitating, just annoying. Anyways.

As I mentioned yesterday, I have sort of become obsessed with cooking again. For two years I mostly ate nothing but Nutrisystem, so I rarely cooked anything except for extremely simple things for the boys. Then, transitioning off of Nutrisystem for a year or so I still stuck to very simple things for them and for myself. But lately, I just want to experiment and make fun, healthy food. I think it’s a combination of the CSA and reading lots of food blogs. One of the main reasons I wanted to join the CSA in the first place was to have new and exciting vegetables to play with. And boy, have I.

Although this is not the fantasticalness that I mentioned yesterday (look for a post about that on Thursday), I made something pretty yummy on Sunday while the boys were having their playdates hanging out with their friends. I made homemade s’mores granola bars! One of the many food blogs I read is Peas and Thank You. The writer, Mama Pea, is a (former lawyer) stay at home mom who blogs about motherhood and her vegan healthy lifestyle. When I saw her recipe for no-bake s’mores bars, I wanted to try them. So I did.

Here are the ingredients (in the bowl is puffed brown rice cereal, oats, mini-marshmallows and mini-chocolate chips):

Oops, forgot the graham crackers.

Although Mama Pea suggests using vegan chocolate chips and marshmallows, I just used regular ones since I already had them on hand. And I’m not vegan. Otherwise, I used exactly what her recipe called for except that I did not “grease the pan”. Instead, I used my favorite kitchen staple…non-stick aluminum foil!

This stuff is so amazing. I use it everytime I bake now.

Mama Pea says if you want a crisper, drier bar, rather than one that is more of a rice-krispie treat consistency,  you can bake them a bit. So I opted to bake my no-bake bars. In fact, when I took them out of the oven they were pretty sticky on the bottom and I had a hard time un-sticking them from my non-stick aluminum foil. So I turned the whole shebang over and stuck it back in the oven for a few minutes. So my no-bake bars were actually twice-baked. But in the end, they turned out really good.

Chad, the boys and I were all fans of the finished product. I have to say that when you bake them the marshmallows just melt, so I guess it’s more of a toasted s’mores bar at that point. But still yummy. I individually wrapped the bars and put them into an air-tight container so they wouldn’t stick together and also would be easy to transport and eat in the car (where it seems we are usually eating granola bars).

I don’t know why exactly, but having this container full of home-made healthy snacks really makes me happy. Time consuming, probably just as expensive as a box of granola bars, and I’m sure I could buy the healthy equivalent at Rollin’ Oats. But still. Happy.

So this afternoon we are off to karate, where I will be enjoying their wi-fi and working on my fantasticalness blog post for Thursday. Right now I need to watch the end of Top Chef on Tivo before I have to go get carpool…oh, and multi-task by folding laundry while I do so 🙂

Mundane Monday, with Lasagna

January 24, 2011 at 6:13 pm

This morning I walked the boys to school even though it was a bit chilly. It was around 50°, and I totally bundled up with many layers…scarf, hat, gloves, the works. The boys, on the other hand, had to be forced to wear their “puffy” coats, and then less than half way to school begged to take them off. Mack, who was wearing his coat unzipped, said, “Mom, my arms are burning up!” So I let them take them off and they rode scooters the rest of the way to school with no coats. If you saw my kids walking in to school this morning with no coats on, please know that it was not because their mom is neglectful! Florida kids hate coats.

After I got home I had a quick breakfast then went to the grocery store. Correction…I went to THREE grocery stores. First, Rollin’ Oats (health food store), then Fresh Market (gourmet grocery store), then Publix. And I still didn’t find everything I was looking for. Guess I’ll be ordering peanut flour online.

I did however, see Banana Bitch’s male counterpart, who I guess can only be called Banana Bastard. This guy was sitting in the driver’s seat of his car with the car door open eating a banana. He wasn’t parked out in the boondocks, but kind of right in the middle of the main area of parking at Publix. As I walked by he finished his banana and just dropped the peel to the ground right next to his car. Like, right where you might open your car door and step right on it if you didn’t know it was there. In his defense, however, I’m pretty sure he lived in that car, so it could have been considered housekeeping. And it wasn’t a cadillac this time, but rather some late model beater. So Banana Bitch, at least you are in good company.

After grocery shopping, I had a really good run this morning…still on plan. Then it was laundry, lunch, kitchen cleaning, TV, carpool. In other words, the usual. But I got ingredients at the store to make a super easy, healthy, yummy dinner. It was a recipe I adapted from one of the “Take Five” recipes in Rachel Ray Magazine. When we went to visit my in-laws in Kentucky after Christmas my mother-in-law had a big stack of food magazines she had saved for me to look through. (Thanks Karen!)  So I spent all week flipping through them and ripping things out with abandon. I love ripping things out of magazines. I ripped out almost any recipe that involved leafy greens, as we have so many of those in our CSA share. However, for this one, I actually bought MORE leafy greens at Publix! We have already gone through almost all of our share (new one this Saturday).

So, dinner tonight is Ravioli and Escarole Lasagna. Here’s the ingredients:

I had the chicken sausage in the freezer from when they were BOGO a couple weeks ago. I was psyched to find whole wheat fresh ravioli at Publix! And I still can’t believe I bought a head of escarole. Seriously, the amount of leafy greens we get in our share is ridiculous, but I guess we’ve gotten really good at using it up. We do still have some kale left (actually that’s all we have left), but I have other plans for that. Anyway, the first thing you do is crumble up and brown the sausage.

Then you set the browned sausage aside and put the entire head of escarole into the same pan. I rough chopped it a bit first. Salt and pepper a bit and saute until it begins to wilt. At first, it will seem like a TON.

But it cooks down considerably. Stop sauteeing before it disappears to nothing.

Then just layer everything, starting with the tomato sauce.

I went: sauce, ravioli, sausage, escarole, cheese, repeat…then the last of the sauce and a tiny bit more cheese on top.

Then pop it in a 350° oven for 45 minutes, and voila!

The boys are yumming all over it right now. And since you can hardly even tell that there is an ENTIRE HEAD of escarole in the lasagna, I went ahead and made a side of broccoli…double veggies! They both totally cleaned their plates and are psyched for leftovers for dinner tomorrow. Yippee Skippee!