Monday, January 25, 2010

Heart & Waistline Healthy Eating - yum. "But it's green soup. Eeww - gross"

Mom's Green Soup, aka Broccoli Soup (this came from, I've modified slightly)

1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 stalk celery, finely chopped
**1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cubed
4 + C fresh broccoli, including stems, chopped ( I had about 5 cups)
2 C no-sodium, fat-free chicken or vegetable broth (Maggi brand makes a no sodium bullion)
1 1/2 c skim milk

** I didn't have any potatoes so I substituted instant mashed potatoes, stirring them in after I processed the cooked veggies.

Heat oil on medium heat in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Gently saute onion and celery for 3-4 minutes, until onion is softened. Add potato and chopped broccoli, followed by the broth and milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Allow soup to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender/food processor in 2-3 batches, and blend/process till smooth. Return soup to pot and heat gently until read y to serve. *** if using instant potatoes add them at this point.

No, the kids didn't try it. But I have to give them credit. They eat lots of healthy stuff : hummus, home made whole wheat bread, salads, just about any veggie raw, and cooked carrots (well Ellie likes french fries and catsup - other veggies she's taking under advisement right now), Weight Watchers Chicken Marsala (minus the mushrooms unless I sneak them in Ellie's rice somehow), Salmon, and just about any chicken really. They don't eat lots of junk food, and they avoid most fast food. Alex refuses to eat any fast food with two exceptions: non-chain pizzaria pizza, and hot dogs. Ellie will eat Chick-fil-a, and Alex can digest it, he chooses not to. Subway is a safe bet, we finally have one nearby but a sub just sounds, eh, not so interesting. I'm pretty lucky as a mom not to have to wage the fast food war with my kids.

That's why I didn't make them eat the green soup. "What is that mom?" Alex asked at the table. He likes raw broccoli. "Oh it's a really yummy brocolli soup. Do you want to try it?" I replied with the least amount of emotion possible. I figured a "beige" voice might encourage without any insistence. "NO. I mean no thanks." He quickly stuffed some toast in his mouth. Rats. Well, I tried. They had scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast for dinner. Our eggs are heart healthy - 1/2 eggs and 1/2 egg whites beaten and scrambled with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper at the table.

So what's the green soup like? Surprisingly good. My taste buds have adjusted to the low-fat low-salt flavor. This soup is very flavorful with that in mind. It would be wonderful in the summer, served chilled.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Resolving to eat healthier . . . So how'sthat going for you?

Ellie is a carbaholic. If she isn't asking for french fries or pop corn then she is looking for chips and crackers. As a person with DS she already has a tendency to be heavy, so I am trying to improve her diet. We, ok, I, didn't pay to much attention as she packed away a lot of goldfish and crackers and snacks in general last year. This year I have become the snack scrooge. For several months I got her eating bananas if she wanted a snack. Her second favorite food group is meat. I used to think she was a carnivore.

On top of her desires to carb-out I struggle to find low-salt, low-fat healthy alternatives for the rest of the family to avoid issues with heart disease that are genetic in nature. Such an easy thing to do with kids. Ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Oh, hold on and let me catch my breath there.

I've been lucky though. My oldest is an amazingly healthy eater. His favorite snack is organic granny smith apples. He shuns the food at the school for homemade sandwiches, and he absolutely REFUSES to eat fast food. This includes most, but not all, pizza places. If he totally refused pizza I would wonder if he's an alien. The mom & pop pizza shops are cool with him, and he loves calzones with lots of different meats in them, so he has to be human.

Unfortunately Ellie doesn't always follow her brother's example. Veggies are a word we "whisper" in our house. Hopefully she won't realize she's actually eaten any. It may turn her to stone. I'm not sure what she's got against them. She does occasionally lick a carrot or a tomato, then she realizes it's going to kill her and she dumps it like a hot potato. Now, that's a veggie she will eat, in french fry format. Assuming there's lots of ketchup. In fact the ketchup to french fry ratio has to be just. so.

Tonight was a good night though. I made a family favorite: sockeye salmon two ways. That's actually two different recipes. One is our original favorite. I modified a recipe I got from a store in Alaska. I call it Dianne's Hawaiian Sockeye - well, that is till I come up with a better name! The other one is a recipe I got from the American Heart Association (I think) for a very low sodium salmon dish. There's about 70 mg of sodium per serving! The kids don't care for that one as much, but they love my old salmon recipe. I serve it with fresh steamed white rice, a salad and a glass of milk. All the food groups are covered, lots of omega-3's, low fat, and for the grown-ups it's also very low-salt. After that we headed to the gym for swim team and a work out for me. Finally - we are getting on track for our resolutions. Ellie loved the salmon and the rice, the salad - not so much. We'll keep working on that, we've got 11 1/2 months!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year, take 2

Ok. so I haven't written in a while. Life's been crazy getting ready for the holidays on top of the normal crazy school and after school activities. I've been meaning to write. Really! I've had all these good intentions, you know. You can tell there's a New Year's Resolution coming up, can't you? Of course you can. (insert drum roll) It's Resolution time of year. (drummer sighs a heavy sigh) So?

Ok, so I wrote a bunch of resolutions. I really did intend to stick with them. Really! In fact a few of them I got a jump start on before New Year's. I cleaned out my coupon binder of all the expired coupons - turns out it was more than half of them. I typed my grocery list into the computer and sorted by department, in the order I usually go through the store. (part of my resolution to find more time in the day) This saves tons of time over the long haul as I can zip through the store even faster with my yellow highlighted list. My first grocery trip using my coupons and my list was faster and saved me $20 in coupons and bonus buys!

Another resolution I made was to get my address book into the computer. (part of my resolution to keep in touch with people better) This is partially completed. My address book was double its size with lots of napkins and scraps of paper with people's addresses and phone numbers and emails. I threw all those scraps away on my Christmas vacation - hooray! They are all in the computer as well as a few of the actual addresses found on the various *pages* of the address book.

In the midst of a crazy-healthcare-crisis-week (personal family healthcare crisis, not the national health care crisis on the headlines most days) I even stuck to yet another Resolution. Getting birthday cards out on time! My sister will be opening her hand made (rather manic looking given the insanity of the weekend) birthday card on The Day. This is a first in a llloooonnnggg time. I'm very proud of sticking to that resolution so far, and hope to really make that one stick like glue all year long. Hopefully the rest of the cards I make will look a little less manic. The card's reflection off my internal thoughts was a little creepy.

Also in the midst of the personal-family-crazy-healthcare-week I did manage to cook healthy home made meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Part of the eat healthy, move healthy, be healthy Resolution. Well, till today. This was the camel's back is breaking sort of day that makes you say, "Chinese Take Out and Chocolate Chip Cookies Please." On my way to pick my son up from school, before the tardy bell had even rung, I got a call that my grandmother who was the picture of health for 92 years old, had died after a fall yesterday. Pass the chocolate chip cookies please. The rest of that resolution will have to take 2 and wait till next week.