Monday, February 20, 2012

A weekend's worth of snack food!

The response from my last post has been overwhelming.  I am finding myself having the same conversation over and over again through text, email, and face-to-face.  The gist of the conversation is this, if you are tired of waking up every morning on a diet and going to bed every night having failed your diet, then dieting isn't working for you.  And your weight issues probably aren't about food, right?  Be real and figure out what it is that is driving you to overeat.  Is it stress, boredom, exhaustion, loneliness, feeling on edge?  Pay attention to that moment in your day when you go from "I am dieting and eating healthy today" to "screw it, I'll start tomorrow."  Acknowledge what you are really feeling and try to figure out why your head things that eating is the solution to fixing that emotion. 

I had a reader write me saying, "Heids, thank you so much for making me realize that who I am is not what I look like.  Who I am is who I am.  And, I realized, I really like myself a lot, but what I don't like is the way my body looks.  So, as a favor to myself, this person I really like, I am going to work hard to make my body look and feel great.  From now on, eating healthy and exercising is a treat I am doing for someone I love.  Myself."

Someone got that message from me?  Well, hot damn!  Let's keep this conversation going, so keep emailing me! 

One thing that helps me to eat healthy is to only keep healthy foods in the house.  Giving up all processed foods is a solution to my "reaching for junk food at 3:00" habit.  Try it for a week, I promise it is easier than you think!  I have a recipe to share that I got from a friend of mine, Mr. Handsome Physical Trainer (Mr. HPT, for short).  For years, Mr. HPT has spent his day working with clients, both through exercise and nutritional counseling, so when Mr. HPT tells me to do something......I listen!  And, lucky for all of you, he's agreed to be a guest blogger for me.  He's got recipes and workouts that he is giving me to share with you, score!  The key to these recipes and exercises though is....we have to actually do them, right?  I am trying this smoothie tomorrow for breakfast.

Mr. HPT priceless smoothie

1/4 c choc. Almond milk
2 glugs of kefir
4 dashes of cinnamon
1/4 c kale, blackberries (6)
(8) blueberries
3tbsp. Protein powder
1/3 banana
2tbsp avocado
4 tbsp Greek yogurt
1/4 c raw oatMeal
3 or 4 ice cubes

1.  Blend until smooth.

I don't know about you, but I feel like a better woman just having read that recipe!

I've got a few recipes I wanted to share with you.  If some of you remember, we had company this weekend.  I was really excited about the chai tea latte I had made for my bestie.  I am happy to say it was a huge hit, she loved it.  And, she is a total chai tea latte expert, so I am confident in saying that recipe is a keeper!

On Saturday, our company was running a little late.  And, by a little late I mean I was expecting them for breakfast but they weren't going to make it until after lunch.  Now, this isn't a surprise because my bestie was traveling with her five four children, of which her oldest is 31 6.  So, the fact that she even braves a 7 hour drive with all those traveling companions is impressive.  However, I now found myself with about 5 spare hours on my hand.  And I realized quickly my options were to either join Mr. McGhee in cleaning the house, or keep myself busy in order to avoid having to help Mr. McGhee.  I went for option #2.  I realized with 7 minis in the house we were going to need some serious snack food.  I whipped up a batch of homemade graham crackers, homemade cheez-itz, banana muffins, and homemade granola bars. 

Homemade Granola bars (recipe from marathonmom)
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup local honey
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1.5-2 cup oats (not quick oats)
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ (I used ground flax seed)
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (Mini work best, but it doesn’t really matter.)
    What to do:
    1. Melt the butter, peanut butter and honey in a pot over medium to low heat, stirring constantly. Turn off the burner when melted.
    2. Pour in the cup of oats and the wheat germ. Stir til combined.
    3. Wait til it cools and stir in the coconut and chocolate chips. Or, if you’re impatient with things like this, like I am, go ahead and dump it all right in. The result will be a more uniform chocolate taste.
    4. Pour into foil-lined 8 X 8 pan and stick in the fridge.
    5. Once cooled, flip out onto cutting board and cut to the size you like.

  • Homemade Graham Crackers (recipe from
    • 1/2 cup white flour
    • 2 cups cup graham flour
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1 tablespoon molasses
    • 1/4 cup water
    • cinnamon/sugar mixture
    1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the texture is dry and crumbly. (Also, you can do this in a food processor; just blend the butter in short bursts.)
    2. In a small bowl, mix the honey, molasses, and water. Toss this with the dry ingredients until well blended. Scrape the sides of the bowl with your fingers and form the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
    3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll the dough out on a counter or on wax paper, sprinkled with whole wheat flour. Use a pastry scraper or an index card as a guide to cut the dough into small rectangles.
    4.  Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture and gently roll rolling pin over to press cinnamon/sugar into the crackers. 
    5.  Poke each cracker with a fork, then place them on an ungreased baking sheet.
    6.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. If stored in an airtight container these will keep for a couple weeks.

    **sidenote** My dough was really crumbly so I drizzled a couple more tablespoons of water in it. And my pastry scraper was a pizza cutter, worked perfectly.

    Homemade Cheez-itz (from New Nostalgia) 
    • 1 cup flour
    • 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small squares
    • 1 (8-ounce) bag grated extra-sharp 2% Cheddar cheese (preferably orange)
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2.  Combine all ingredients in food processor, and pulse until crumbly. (I do not have a food processor, I combined with my hands.  Messy, but works!)
    3.  Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together. Form into ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
    4.  Place dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper, and roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet, and, using pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut into 1 inch squares. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
    5.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven when crisp and just starting to brown. Let cool and serve.
    You can see here that I rolled my dough to different heights to experiment.  I think we liked both the puffy and the flat crackers. 
    This is how I store my crackers, although they usually don't last more than a day.
    • 2 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1-1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 4 eggs
    • 5-6 bananas, mashed (use old, brown bananas)
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/3 cup applesauce
    • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted slightly)
    • 1 cup honey
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. In a bowl mix flours, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
    3. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, bananas, oil, applesauce, coconut oil, and honey.
    4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients into well. Mix just until the dry ingredients are absorbed. DO NOT OVERMIX.
    5. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
    The granola bars, crackers, and muffins along with fresh fruit, hardboiled eggs, and string cheese was snacktime for the kids all weekend long.  I am SO proud to say we ate every meal at home with our company.  The only time we cheated was a trip for ice cream after we took the minis swimming.  We had steak/chicken with spinach and strawberry salad for dinner one night and burgers on homemade hamburger buns another night.  Mr. McGhee ordered some grass-fed beef a few weeks ago, and I know we won't ever eat non-grass-fed again.  Here's the recipe for the hamburger buns, which were so easy and really delish.....not one complaint from any of the minis!
    Hamburger buns
    • 1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
    • 1/2 cup (4 oz) warm water
    • 1/2 cup (4 oz) milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    1.  In the bowl of a standing mixer (or a large bowl, if mixing by hand), stir the yeast into the warm water and let it sit until dissolved.
    2.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt. Add this to the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Add all the flour and stir until it forms a shaggy dough. Knead at low speed, or by hand on the counter, for 10 minutes. The finished dough should be smooth, feel slightly tacky, and spring back when poked.
    3.  Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about an hour.
    4.  Dust your work surface with a little flour and turn out the risen dough on top. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape each into a tight ball. Transfer the balls to a baking sheet and let rise until they look puffy and hamburger-sized, roughly 30-40 minutes.
    5.  Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
    6.  Melt the butter and brush it over the risen hamburger buns. This helps the tops to brown and keeps the crust soft. Bake the buns until golden, 15-18 minutes.
    7.  Let the buns cool to room temperature before slicing and using. They are best if eaten within the next day or two, but will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week.

    Breakfast each day was pancakes, eggs, grass-fed sausage, and honey wheat toast.  Delish. 

    I am hoping this post doesn't overwhelm you.  Each of these recipes is very simple to do, with a short prep time.  Give them a shot, I promise you will never buy cheez-itz again!