Thursday, March 31, 2011

Taco Salad

     I found this recipe on the back of an Ortega Taco Shells box. It is delicious and I only changed a few things to make it more healthy and kid-friendly.


1 pound ground turkey 
1 bottle mild taco sauce 
1 packet taco seasoning 
3/4 cup water 
1 1/2 cups 2% cheddar cheese (or mexican blend) 
12 hard taco shells


1. Preheat oven to 375. 
2. Brown turkey and drain excess fat. 
3. Add taco sauce, taco seasoning and water to the turkey and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until thickened. 
4. Meanwhile, crunch up 6 taco shells and lay them in the bottom of a 9 by 13 pan. 
5. Pour half of meat mixture on top of shells.
6.  Sprinkle about 3/4 cup cheese on top of meat mixture and repeat steps 4-6 one more time. 
7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. 
8. While that's cooking, cut up lettuce, tomato, and avocado for toppings. 

*Serves 8, but I cut the dish into 10 pieces and it is still enough! Give yourself a hefty portion of the veggies on top!

Right out of the pan

With all the toppings!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

     Right before it got so hot, the weather was so cold and warm comfort food was needed! This recipe is a great meal that has an opportunity to hide vegetables inside, if your family is anything like my vegetable haters. This Shepherd's Pie recipe is originally a Weight Watchers recipe that I only changed a little. With a long list of ingredients, it looks a little intimidating, but it is actually pretty quick and easy to make. To make the vegetables disappear, put them in a food processor instead of dicing them. They will never know!


2 Russet Potatoes (peeled, cut and cubed) 
1/4 cup low-fat milk
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp olive oil 
2 medium diced carrots
2 medium diced celery stalks
1 pound ground turkey 
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp dried rosemary 
1 tsp dried thyme 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp pepper 
2 cups canned chicken broth (1 can is almost two cups and works fine!)  


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

2. Boil potato cubes in a pot of water, about 10 minutes. Drain and add milk and garlic powder. With an electric mixer, mix potatoes, milk and garlic until creamy. Set aside. 

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet. Add diced carrots and celery and cook for a few minutes until tender. Add turkey, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until turkey is brown. Add flour and stir to coat. Add broth and let simmer for about 3 minutes. 

4. Pour turkey mixture into a 13 by 9 inch pan. Spread mashed potatoes over the top. Bake for about 30 minutes (the potatoes should have golden brown tips).

5. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Omelets in a baggie

     My grandma and grandpa are big motor-home campers and they shared this really fun breakfast idea with me. It is a great thing to do while camping, being mess free, but it also can be done at home.

What you will need: 

Freezer quart size Ziploc bags (1 per person)
Non-stick cooking spray
Eggs (I used egg whites for mine)
Cheese (I used 2% sharp cheddar)
Any of the following: 
bacon/bacon bits 
bell pepper 

What you will do: 

1. Boil a large pot of water. 
2. Spray the inside of your Ziploc with non-stick cooking spray. 
3. Crack the eggs inside the bag and throw away shell. 
4. Add cheese and any of the fillings you choose. 

5. Zip the Ziploc closed, getting as much air out as possible.

6. Squish the ingredients in the baggie  all together. 

7. Place the Ziplocs in the boiling water for about 10-15 minutes (I recommend 15 for eggs that aren't runny!)

8. Pull out the Ziplocs, open them up,  and roll out your omelet! 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dessert Night #2: Thunder Cake

     I was going to make a healthy dessert this Friday but at the beginning of the week we actually had storms with thunder and lightening (which we NEVER have) so I knew we had to make Thunder Cake for out Friday Night Dessert Night. We had my sister and my niece come over to help!
    Thunder Cake is a recipe that can be found in the back of the book Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. She is an awesome children's author. I have been collecting her books long before I had the girls!
We read the story...

baked the cake...

made a huge mess...

decorated the cake...

then admired our work and ate it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Donut Mini Muffins

     I thought it was going to be a rainy morning so I planned on making a nice, warm breakfast. It is not raining, but how do you explain to a three year old (once you've already told her) that you aren't going to be baking today? So we went ahead and baked anyway.
     Donut Mini Muffins is a recipe I found here that is super easy to make. I don't necessarily think it is that healthy but I do think it is a healthier alternative to the donut shop! They are so delicious that you will not be able to only eat one so it's a good thing they are mini!

Abby baking away. 

Eggless batter!!! 

Rolling the donuts in sugar is every kids dream come true! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ribs and Mashed Potatoes

     The crock-pot is a life-saver for me. I found this Ribs in the Crock-pot recipe on a random search through the Campbell's Kitchen website. This is not the healthiest of the recipes I cook, but it is delicious. And every once in awhile a little red meat won't kill you!


6 serving-sized pieces beef short-ribs (this is about 3 lbs but I usually only buy 2) 
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 cloves minced garlic 
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/4 c. flour 
1 can Campbell's  French Onion Soup 
12 oz. beer or dark ale 


1. Place beef in the cooker and coat with sugar, garlic, thyme, and flour. 
2. Pour soup and beer over meat. 
3. Cook on low for 8-9 hours. 
4. Serve with Mashed Potatoes. 

     I made some homemade mashed potatoes to go along with the ribs and they were delicious and I think pretty healthy. I didn't use any butter and they were still yummy. 


2 Russet potatoes peeled and cubed 
garlic powder
low-fat milk 


1. Boil potatoes until soft (about 10 minutes) and drain. 
2. Add small amount of milk 
3. With an electric mixer, beat on medium speed until fluffy. Add more milk if necessary. 
4. Add garlic powder to taste. 

    I served the Ribs and Mashed Potatoes with a side of French-style green beans. Enjoy!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Teriyaki Honey Chicken

     Yesterday, before the weather went so terribly wrong, we decided to barbecue. I found this really great marinade recipe at Once a Month Mom. Check it out here. It was super easy to make. I already had all the ingredients on hand. I served it with a side of brown rice and steamed green beans and carrots. It was a huge hit for the whole family.

Next time I think I will serve it with some grilled pineapple too!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dessert Night #1: Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

     One of my students told me that they have Dessert Night at their house every Friday with their family. I loved this idea so we have decided that we are going to have Friday Night Dessert Night at our house too. We will only have dessert on Fridays in an effort to cut back on our regular sugar intake.
     Abby and I both love to bake so Fridays after school will be a great opportunity for us to bake together. Today we decided to make Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie. Abby and I made it this afternoon and baked it while we ate dinner. Our house still smells spectacular! The recipe can be found here.

Abby's cute little hands making the crust look "pretty."

I served the pie with a small scoop of ice cream! 

     It was such a huge hit that right before bed Abby said, "Can we have dessert night in the morning so I can have more pie?"

Thursday, March 17, 2011


     This recipe is a family favorite that came from my mom. It is really easy. I usually make it during naps and set it aside for dinner time.


About 8 oz. Whole Grain Pasta
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
 2 cups 2% mozzarella 
 1 pound ground turkey 


1. Boil pasta according to package directions. 
2. While that's boiling, cook turkey until brown. 
3. Combine pasta, turkey, about 1 cup cheese, and sauce. 
4. Pour into a 2 quart baking dish. 
5. Cover and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. 
6. Remove cover, add remaining cheese and bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


     I love bread. I am not one to pass up the sweet smelling bread basket as it goes by. I realize, however, that if I ever would like to fit back into my old jeans, passing the basket is probably going to be necessary. 
    Adding to my love for bread is a new found love for toast. To help me with this terrible new love, I have looked to Oroweat healthfull bread. It is tasty and only 80 calories a slice (which means I can eat two slices, right?).  Try it, you will like it! 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Homemade Pizza Bites

     Pizza Bites are another kid favorite that is usually really unhealthy. Abby and I tried to make our own healthier version. I found the original recipe here at Our Best Bites. Here are some of the changes that make it a little more healthy:

1. I made my own dough found here
using Whole Wheat flour from Trader Joe's. 

It only costs $2.99 at Trader Joe's versus the 
wheat flour at the grocery that costs $5.69!

2. I used 2% mozzarella as one of the fillers. 

3. I used Hormel Turkey Pepperoni as another filler. 

4. I made a pizza sauce (used for dipping) 
found here that is super cheap and easy to make!

5. I did not brush olive oil over the top, 
I only sprinkled the top with Garlic Bread Seasoning. 

I have made this a few times, only once with whole wheat flour. My husband and I both liked it better with the wheat flour. It seemed to add more flavor. However, using the whole wheat flour does take away some of the beauty. It didn't quite look as good when I used the wheat flour, but taste is what counts! Enjoy!

This post is linked to Sharing Sundays.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Snack Time

     Snacks could quite possibly be the most important part of my day! I am constantly hungry and looking for something to snack on. After awhile the carrots and dip, celery and peanut butter, fruit, and string cheese get a little boring. Though those are fabulous, healthy, and tasty, I get tired of them quickly.
     Soooo, lately these are some of choices that please both Abby and myself. 

Reduced Guilt Pita Chips and Humus from Trader Joe's

Low Fat Honey Wheat Pretzels and Chocolate Milk from Trader Joe's 

This Chocolate Milk is amazing by the way. If you are like me and have trouble getting your daily dose of dairy this is an amazing way to sneak it in. They are also an awesome thing to grab for the kids and go!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese

     What kid doesn't love macaroni and cheese?  At our house macaroni and cheese is definitely a crowd pleaser. I have made several different variations, some healthy and some definitely not!
     A new recipe that I just tried is originally a Weight Watcher recipe that I changed just a little bit to make it more kid friendly.


2 Tblp. Canola Oil 
1 Tblp. flour 
8 oz. Whole Grain Pasta 
2 cups 2% Sharp Cheddar 
2 cups fat-free milk
salt and pepper to taste 


1. Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside. 
2.  Heat oil in a saucepan. Add flour and whisk for about a minute. 
3. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly. 
4. Bring to a boil for about 2 minutes. 
5. Take away from heat and add cheese. 
6. Add pasta to cheese sauce and pour it all into a 2 qt. baking dish. 
7. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. 

     I forgot to take a picture but I am guessing you know what macaroni and cheese looks like. This recipe is delicious. It is great as a whole meal with a side salad or is a great side dish next to a piece of chicken. The next time I make this, I plan to put two cut up grilled chicken breasts in the macaroni before I bake it. We will see how that goes.  
     Though this recipe is an easy and quick one to make, I don't always have the time. So in times of an immediate need for macaroni, I simply rely on a good ol' box of Kraft. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

     Chicken Pot Pie is a great way to "trick" Abby and my husband, Colin into eating vegetables. I found a really great recipe here at Mine for the Making
     I adapted the recipe a little bit to make it a little more healthy! Here are some of the changes: 
                 1. Instead of regular crescent rolls, I used reduced fat. 
                 2. I used 98% fat-free Cream of Chicken.
                 3. I used fat-free milk. 
                 4. I eliminated the egg.

     From what I could tell, the Pie came out just as delicious. Abby ate it, along with all the veggies, and so did Colin. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Exercise While My Kids Are Awake?

     Yeah right! Exercising while the girls are awake is something that I have not quite mastered...until today! I am not sure if this will work everyday or even very often, but today it was a success! So here are two ways to get a light workout in and keep your kids happy at the same time:

1. Find an enclosed park that has a sidewalk around the whole thing. While the kids play, walk around the playground (I pushed Lucy in the stroller while Abby played on the swings!). I walked around the playground for about 30 minutes. 

2. Find an enclosed basketball court. Bring a soccer ball, basketball, or even a bike or scooter for the kids. While you walk around the court, the kids can play. I am going to try this tactic out this week too!

     So after I came up with these great ideas, I realized I am basically keeping my kids in a cage! Whatever, it works and everyone is happy! 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Starting the Week Off Right

     We started off our week going to our local Farmer's Market. It is always a fun place for Abby. She likes to pick out her own fruits and veggies. She gets a kick out of the carrots that actually have the leafy top. 

     At the market we got carrots, celery, fresh strawberries, and a big bag of salad. There is one vendor that sells salad by the pound. You can choose from a variety of pre-washed lettuces. My favorites are the sweet mix and baby spinach. I am not sure what kind of lettuce is in the sweet mix, but it is leafy and green and I know that is what is important! 
     Once home from the market, I got ready for my week of making sure I eat enough fruits and veggies (a nursing mom is supposed to have 8 servings a day!). I cleaned it all, cut it all, and put it in baggies. Now I am ready to grab a bag of veggies and go. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Plan

     I have decided I need to have some kind of plan to get back to a healthy pre-baby weight. After baby number two came along, a little over 8 weeks ago, I realized I not only need to be extremely healthy because of nursing, but also because I now have two small girls to raise that need an example of how to eat and live healthy. 
     Dieting is not going to be the answer to showing them how to eat properly. No diet plan that involves microwaveable foods or extremely excessive behavior is going to get either myself, or my kids, the nutrition we all need, especially now that I have a three year old! She wants to eat what I eat...exactly what I eat. 
     So, I need to cook healthy meals that are kid friendly. I need to exercise when I can. I need to be a good example! So here is how I am going to do it! Bear with me as I am the mother of two so writing and posting will not come easy!