Monday, March 31, 2014

The #1 Most Nutritious Foods

Wooo hooo!! It's the 31st day in our 31 Days of Feeding the Family Series! We challenged ourselves to do this series for a little revitalization for ourselves and this blog. Not knowing for sure if we had the stamina, we started... and wanted to cuss at ourselves a few times during the process. But, we did it! {It's a feat for us busy mommies :)}.

Now on to the last topic.... the BEST foods for our bodies.

I've been searching from Dr. Oz to Woman's Day what the very healthiest foods are...
I confess, there are MANY foods on this list that I can't remember the last time I ate it :).

As I've said before, I LOVE food. Yes, the indulgent kind! Life would not be complete without it!

Problem though: too much indulgence = not good results. Therefore, I believe in indulging a little, and trying to eat healthy a lot! Some things that may seem healthy or say "no calories" may not truly be the best thing for us. Also, when we're ravishing hungry we stuff our mouths with whatever is quickest at hand.... well, at least I do!!

 Eating more of this and a bit less of the indulgent = good results. I do know that we really can eat the foods we love and not gain weight, and this is part of the secret... mostly filling up on the most nutritious stuff.

Happy Eating!!

P.S. Find all of our posts in this 31 Days of Feeding the Family Series HERE 

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Navajo Tacos

We love Navajo Tacos!!! 
Here is a great and simple recipe we like for Indian Fry Bread from Food Network.

I love that everyone can create their own exactly the way they want. 
Some of our families favorite toppings are.....

Seasoned Meat
Sour Cream
Refried Beans
Green Onions
And of course you can spread one with Honey Butter for a perfect Dessert!
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1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 cups milk
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
Mix ingredients together.
Cooking Light Magazine has a great article about how to cook a crepe and cooking tips for crepes.  It can be kind of confusing and frustrating at first but reading their instructions helped me and practicing will help.  It's kind of like when you first learn to make pancakes and learning how to pour or flip.

Filling Ideas: Fruit and Cool whip, Butter and Cinnamon & Sugar, Eggs, Lemon juice and Powdered Sugar, Ice Cream and Syrups.
Happy Eating

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How to Eat Your Favorite Foods and Not Gain Weight

A few facts:

1. I l-o-v-e food!

2. Weight does NOT determine worth!

3. It feels good to be fit.

My husband took me on a picnic for our first date, and I ate every last bit of the food he packed for me... easily as much as he ate.

 Later he told me THAT was absolutely impressive to him- no other girl he'd ever dated ATE as much as I did. Perhaps eating everything on my plate scared the other guys I dated away?!?  I just LOVE and adore good food!!! I love those parties in my mouth when I've tasted something divine.

Since I enjoy good food so much, I have to keep a watch on letting my taste buds get out of control. This is not a declaration that I have the perfect figure or that I'm a master at not gaining weight. I'm no Jillian Michaels.

I just know that when I'm fit I feel good, and so I'm constantly working on a balance between eating and enjoying all the great foods that the world has to offer, and also feeling good about my body. Both are possible!

Society makes us women feel that are bodies are never good enough, or pretty enough. It's brutal. Obsessions, eating disorders, and self-hate sometimes become the result. Some of the most gorgeous, "perfectly fit" people I know are also the most miserable people I know, because they are so self-obsessed.  Extreme behavior at either side of the eating spectrum are obviously unhealthy and unhappy.

Here are a few things I've learned and am working on to maintain a healthy balance.

But first, just so you know, I don't care about "perfection" with my body. I have a bit of a "muffin top." I'm not ever planning on getting a tummy tuck or doing anything extreme to get rid of it.  I am ever so thankful that my body grew 4 beautiful children- the treasures of my life. I consider my stretch marks a badge of honor. So, if you're looking for perfection then this is not for you. If you want to feel good and secure about yourself and your body, then read on.

1. Eat lots and lot of VEGETABLES!
 After I had my twins, I lost the weight quick, but then gained it ALL back and then some. I couldn't seem to lose it after that. I felt crappy. Not just because I was carrying unnecessary weight, but I could tell that my body was sick in a way. I didn't have the energy to do all I needed to. A friend recommended the book Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman . I read it, and felt like I needed to adapt his diet for a while- but not to the exact "T".  The author is a doctor and gives this diet to his patients to reduce the effects of cancer, diabetes, and all kinds of diseases. He also recommends it to overweight people- and they lose weight FAST.

I wouldn't adapt this exact diet long term, it's too extreme for me. But, for a few months it changed my life (And very worth trying for a while if you need a jump start). I lost 15 pounds, and started feeling amazingly better. The most life changing part of his program for me is that he recommends eating 2 pounds of vegetables and at least 4 fruits every day.

Filling up on vegetables fills us up with very few calories, and a bunch of fiber. Eat the veggies first, and then when it's time to eat the favorite foods, you're not ravishing with hunger and indulgence.

I keep packs of frozen steamable veggies always on hand. For snacks, I just pop them in the microwave, add a teeny tiny bit of cheese, and let it melt. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt or other spices, and it is a satisfying and healthy snack.

One of the BEST ways to start the day is to get veggies down is in the delicious form of green smoothies!! I plan activities for the 14-15 year old girls in my church every week, and one day I taught them to make this green goodness. The girls gave me looks like they already knew what this stuff tastes like, and said: "my mom makes these every day."

Other girls gave the gagging sound, just like my kids. But, I had them make it, as I told them what to put in. And guess what?! They ALL LOVED it. They put the recipe in their phones, took some extra home for breakfast, told other people to try it. Yeah. Success.

Honestly, green smoothies are one of my best success tips for losing and maintaining weight, along with eating my veggies.

2. Keep yummy, healthy, foods on hand and available to eat.  Keep the bad stuff out-- or to a minimum.
One of the best things I've ever done is cut up a bunch of veggies and fruit at the beginning of the week, and then stick them in tupperware containers in the fridge.

This makes it so much easier to grab something healthy quick. So often, we don't eat the healthy stuff because it takes so stinkin' long to peel and chop.{Be watching for a post of the most healthy foods in the world!}

When the food is set out ready to go in containers, then it's so easy to create different salads and healthy sandwiches. I guess it's like making a smaller version of  Subway right there in your own fridge.

I'm NOT an advocate of NEVER having junk food or sweets. I've seen that create obsessions for people who deny themselves or their children. Have it sometimes, make it happy, good, fun, a treat! Balance is the key. A cookie or a few chocolate chips every day, and indulging in a decadent dessert once in a while never hurt anyone!!

3. Plan menus
I am such a believer in menus for so many reasons... money, time, sanity, and health! We don't have to plan ONLY healthy dinners. That would totally knock out a bunch of stuff that brings happiness. Just make sure to serve a salad AND vegetable along with all those delicious, fattening meals.

4. Savor and control portions
When I taste something I love, my first reaction is to snarf it down as fast as I can and then get some MORE!!
I've leaned that I have to slow down, and enjoy. Chew a little longer. Set the fork down and drink a sip of water in between bites. The satisfaction is actually greater this way... although I often revert to the first reaction.

Really, we all can eat whatever we want and not gain weight. It's true. Just small portions. I am such a believer that we don't need to cut any of out favorite foods out. The KEY is learning to stick to the right size of portion.

If I would have given away cookies and brownies rather than taken teensy bites every time I passed through the kitchen, I would be a few inches smaller... but, the cookies were too good to pass up.

Make yummy desserts, just keep a little and give a lot away!!

5. Strength Exercise

I know I might get some hate mail after this, but here I go... um...

Running alone doesn't usually make a whole lot of difference when it comes to body shape and losing weight.  There. I said it.

It takes a couple miles to burn off a small bag of chips. I promise that every time I've decided to run, thinking I can eat whatever I want, I don't lose weight.

I wish the saying was true, "I only exercise so I can eat."
Well, okay, I guess it's true- you can, but you probably won't lose weight. In fact, you may gain. If you spend time running your little fanny off every day, but are not seeing much difference, this is the secret: strength training.  Yep, weights, situps, pushups, lunges... and yes, some cardio (but not ONLY cardio). 

I am not qualified to give a whole lot of advice on this because I've always been a cardio girl. I like to run and hike. I don't like the strength training, but I'm learning because I see that it does make a huge difference.

Jillian Michaels Body Shred is a good place to start! Tough, but body changing.

6. Step on the scale- but only once per week

There is nothing worse that we can do for ourselves or those we love than become obsessive compulsive about our weight. It brings crankiness, annoyance, and bad relationships. Stepping on the scale multiple times a day IS obsessive. Stop, if you do that. There are many factors that go into weight changes in a day.

People who weight themselves once a week keep on top of their weight, but are not totally obsessed by it. Much better!

Ok, so that's what I know from personal experience. I know there are more and greater tips out there. I'd LOVE to know what has worked for you?


P.S. Read the other posts in our 31 Days of Feeding the Family Series HERE

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Friday, March 28, 2014

9 -9x13 Desserts

This Cinnamon Roll Cake recipe is from Crunchy Creamy Sweet
Their picture looks a lot better too but seriously it has become one of my favorite cakes to make. 

Frozen Banana Split

Photo Credit
 SO YUMMY!!! and EASY!!!!!
Taste of Home Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert

Enjoy these 9- 9x13 Desserts along with these 9- 9x13 Dinners!

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

5 Quickest, Easiest Dinners

Every mom has her "go to" dinners...The super quick, super easy meals. Meals the majority of the family claims at least one as a  favorite.

These are the most requested, most cooked, and most eaten meals at my house. Funny thing, when we have people over for dinner, my family still requests these dishes- I just "supe them up".

Presenting: The Boyer Family Top 5

5. Loaded Quesadillas 
Image Source

One of my favorite recipes is Cowboy Quesadillas by Our Best Bites. Love it! But, not everyone in family family does. So, I set out several yummy items to put in quesadillas, and then let each person choose what they want in theirs, and put it in a bowl. Then I mix it with cheese, and cook.
Ideas for filling: chopped tomatoes, rice, corn, green onions, black beans, bbq sauce, salsa, cilantro, chicken...

We LOVE dipping the quesadillas in ranch & bbq sauce (equal parts of each)-- if we've used bbq sauce in the filling.

4. Pasta Bar
I wish I had taken this picture! It's by Big Red Kitchen... check out that post HERE
Our family's pasta bars are not usually as beautiful and fancy as the picture above from the Big Red Kitchen, unless we have guests :)! We just love a few different kinds of noodles, toppings and sauce. It can be as simple or as fancy as the cook's energy permits!

3. Million Dollar Meatballs and Rice
I was going to make this a post of it's own, and I will one of these days. You may gag when you find out the ingredients, but EVERYONE wolfs these babies down.
Ingredients: Package of frozen meatballs, jar of grape jelly, jar of chili sauce
This is the best kind of chili sauce, but there are other good brands. Just make sure it's chili SAUCE - not Chili!

Directions: Mix it all in a saucepan and let heat for around 20 minutes. Check occasionally to see if they are done earlier.
Serve with rice and a veggie. Delish!

2. Potato Boats

Image: Taste of Home
My daughter could eat these every day and feel totally satisfied with life. It's basically a potato bar, but my kids like to eat these a very particular way which we must say "potato boats".

I bake potatoes. Let them cool for a few minutes. Cut in half and scrape out the insides. Then add filling of choice - my kids LOVE cottage cheese, ranch, salt and pepper.  Fill the potato skins. Eat.
(Kind of a twice baked potato without baking twice).

1. Crepes
Image source: Cooking Light
This is definitely and 100% the most requested food in my house for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We eat them when the cupboards are bare, or when we have guests. Every single person in my family loves them. Total winner. I'll be posting my recipe in the next little while.

My kids just like a little butter and brown sugar on their crepes.

When we have guests, I serve lots of toppings: strawberries, bananas, pineapple, mandarin oranges, berries, lemons to squeeze, nutella, biscoff, powdered sugar, chocolate, brown sugar, peanut butter, whipping cream.... anything else on hand.

What are your "go to" meals???

XO, Nancy Pin It

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bill Cosby Dessert

I remember my mom making this for me when growing up.  It is really simple and easy!! 
Perfect recipe for KIDS TO MAKE!

1 box of Graham Crackers
2 3oz box of vanilla pudding
3 cups of milk
8 oz cool whip thawed

Chocolate Glaze
3/4 cup margarine melted
2 1/4 T cocoa
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
3 tsp vanilla

Mix box of pudding with milk.  In a 9x13 pan make a layer of graham crackers, then a layer of pudding, then a layer of cool-whip, repeat.  Pour Chocolate Glaze over top.  Glaze will look runny but will harden when chilled. Chill for a couple of hours.

Jan Pin It

Kitchen Gadgets and Utensils

Some favorite Kitchen Gadget & Utensils

A good sharp knife is essential in cooking.  My sister-in-law loves her Rachel Ray knive set.

Photo Credit

These all purpose spreader from Pampered Chef is great for frosting cakes, sandwich spreads, or anything that needs spreading.
Photo Credit

I was newly married when I went to a Pampered Chef party.  I fell in love with these scrapers. 
They are so high quality and last a long time.
Photo Credit
My sister introduced me to these silicone basting brushes. 
They are so much better then the basting brush with natural bristles.

Photo Credit

I can not say enough good about our Food Processor.  It is a little pricy but so worth it.  I use it for so many things but to name a few: shredding cheese and potatoes, making guacamole, chopping peppers and onions for making salsa. LOVE!! LOVE!! LOVE!!
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Another gadget I love is my kitchen aid.  There are not many days that I don't use it for something.  It is so worth the investment in my opinion.  My sister also loves her Bosch so that's another idea for you.
Photo Credit

I was reading an article that listed 10 Essential Kitchen Tools according to Martha Stewart thought it had the basic of a good place to start for kitchen tools.....

1. Sharp high-quality knives

Every cooking expert will tell you that sharp high-quality knives top the list of kitchen essentials. The life stylist also suggests a sharp paring knife and serrated knife.

2. Hardwood cutting boards

Cutting boards are invaluable in the kitchen. They not only protect your counter, they help keep knives sharper and allow you to easily transport cut food from one place to another.

3. Mixing bowls

A durable (and even colorful) set of mixing bowls can make your meal prep time less messy and more efficient.

4. Measuring cups and spoons

One set of measuring cups and spoons is essential, but two or more sets will allow you to measure different ingredients in similar amounts without having to wash and rewash.

5. Grater

A grater is the perfect tool for shredding cheese, but this multi-purpose gadget is ideal for grating other flavorful ingredients.

6. Sieve or strainer

One of French's favorite kitchen tools, a sieve or strainer can be utilized for a wide range of kitchen needs.

7. Whisk

Whisks are another invaluable kitchen tool that can be used for both wet and dry ingredients.

8. Wooden spoons

Wooden spoons are ideal for stirring sauces and batters as well as serving food and tossing salads. Buy a variety of different types of wooden spoons and keep them within arm's reach while cooking.

10. Kitchen tongs

Another nifty kitchen tool, kitchen tongs can meet many kitchen needs. Tongs can be used to toss pasta, vegetables and salad before serving.


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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Celebration Dinners

There are so any serious, difficult, time-consuming, nerve racking things in life that we all need to make time to celebrate and enjoy life more often! Life provides so many reasons to celebrate, and celebrating adds some glam and sparkle to the mundane of every day life. I'm trying to incorporate these more into our family dinners.

Holidays and Birthdays are definitely reasons to celebrate. The challenge is to look for a few more reasons. Some ideas:
Important sports activity
Running a race
School elections
Meeting a goal
When someone needs a little extra TLC
A job well done in a music recital
Remembering an ancestor's birthday
The less known holidays, such as pie day; something on a stick day (March 28th)
    See the list for crazy, obscure holidays HERE

Make it Simple
With all the ideas of celebrating, who has the hours to plan a ton of celebrations. Maybe some people, but not me. I'm kinda lazy and boring when it comes to that stuff.
So, I'm getting together a...
 celebration kit
 It's not done yet, or I'd show you, however I'm going to put these kind of things in it:

 table cloths
special plates and cups
fun party items that I find at a killer price

Be watching in April for a

Bring those celebration kits out at every chance to celebrate!

What to do at an ordinary celebration dinner:
Play the celebration song by Kool and the Gang (there's not much more to bring on a celebration mood :)
...or other music
Eat fun and favorite food
Favorite drinks
Play games related to the reason you're celebrating
Truly relax- no reason to get stressed- it's your family

Not a necessity, but an idea to make life and meal time a bit more fun!

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