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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Quinoa Fruit Salad

During the summer, nothing beats a nice cold fruit salad on a hot day!  The problem is that fruit isn’t exactly satisfying on its own. Kids, especially, will be yelling, “Mom, I’m hungry!” not long after eating.  So what if a fruit salad wasn’t just a fruit salad? What if you could add a superfood like Quinoa to it?

Whole grains like quinoa provide essential vitamins, minerals and fiber, which help to regulate the digestive system and to keep you fuller and more satisfied. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E and fiber. 

Choose the fruits that your children love best.  Experiment with the fruits your entire family likes the best.  A great idea is to use red raspberries as a garnish. Enjoy!

Quinoa Fruit Salad

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
¼ cup unsweetened, dried coconut flakes
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 tsp coconut oil
3 ripe kiwis, peeled, sliced and diced
1 cup diced strawberries
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup sweet grapes, halved
Avocado Dressing
½ cup fresh pineapple chunks (or 1/3 cup fresh pineapple juice)
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
½ avocado

  1. Add water and quinoa to a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 12.  Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes to complete cooking.  Then remove lid and allow to cool completely.  Once it is cool to the touch you can put in refrigerator to completely cool.
  2. In a sauté pan, heat coconut oil.  Add almonds and coconut flakes.  Stir frequently for 1-3 minutes or until coconut takes on a light brown color.  Remove from heat and put in separate bowl to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the quinoa, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple and grapes together.
  4. Blend ½ cup fresh pineapple (or juice), lime juice and avocado in a blender or food processor.
  5. Pour dressing over quinoa and fruit.  Stir to combine.  Set in the refrigerator until chilled.
  6. When serving: sprinkle each bowl with the coconut/almond topping right before serving.

Let us know what you think or what modifications you came up with! Thank you for sharing!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Quick and Easy Snacks for Kids!

Summer is approaching fast and soon our precious little angels will be home all day everyday and hungrier than ever!   We need to be prepared with quick and healthy snacks that will allow our kids to feel satified in the heat and make us moms happy!  Think homemade popsicles.  Note the ingredients in a typical popcicle that is purchased at the store… 

Orange Pop: water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, orange juice (from concentrate), contains 1 percent or less of each of the following: malic acid, citric acid, guar gum, natural flavor, locust bean gum, annatto (for color). 

Cherry Pop: water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, contains 1 percent or less of each of the following: cherry juice (from concentrate), malic acid, citric acid, guar gum, vegetable juice (for color), natural flavor, locust bean gum, red 40. 
Grape Pop: water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup,grape juice (from concentrate), sugar, contains 1 percent or less of each of the following: malic acid, citric acid, guar gum, locust bean gum, natural flavor. 

I know as a child I ate many popsicle and if my mom had only known how not nutritious they were I would not have been allowed to eat so many!  Lets face it all the kids want is something really cold and sweet to suck on because it is fun.  If you can make a variety of yogurt pops, chocolate pops and plain fruit pops at home you will be getting in the nutrients while making the kids happy.  The main ingreident in store bought popscicles is SUGAR in different forms.  Take a look at one of my many recipes.

Strawberry Dreamcicle
1 (healthy) vanilla yogurt (use So delicous coconut yogurt if dairy intolerant)
1 cup strawberries washed and tops trimmed
½ cup water
Directions: Blend all together and place in molds.  Put in freezer until frozen.
Trick: When getting out of molds run hot water on the bottom of the popscicle mold or place in a glass of hot water for a few seconds to easily get the popscicle out..  Takes a little practice using the molds but it is well worth it.

Bunch of Berries
2 cups of berries of choices: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries… combination of all
1 cup Vanilla Coconut Milk
Directions: Blend all together and place in molds.  Put in freezer until frozen.

****You may need to adjust amounts depending on the size of your popsicle molds.  I know how many cups my molds will hold and I add ingredients and then water to get it where I need to be.  It is hard to mess up a popscicle!  J  It is so easy to come up with some fun flavors by getting the kids involved.  Let them put together a bunch of ingredients and make popsicles!  Everything tastes great when it is frozen on a stick!  I add vegetables to mine as well…  the trick is to have a POWERFUL blender that can eliminate any chunks left from vegetables.  Have fun!

Friday, May 2, 2014

10 tips for Reading Food Labels

Ever go to the store and get confused by all the wording on packages?  It seems like everywhere you turn, food companies are using phrases such as “All Natural” and “Made with Whole Grains” to make us feel good about what we are feeding our families.  Here are a couple tips to remember on your next shopping trip!
"Real Fruit" can be used when the amount of fruit is minimal and can even come from fruit concentrate. So, your product can be all sugar, with a teeny bit of actual fruit or fruit juice and have "Real Fruit" advertised all over it! YIKES!

“All Natural” has no specific legal meaning beyond meat (in which case it means the meat doesn't contain chemicals or artificial coloring). The only way to ensure something is "all natural" is if it doesn't come in a box or bag! Don't be duped!

"Healthy" is a term you see all the time on processed food. Whose definition of healthy is this? If a product has 2 grams of fibers and 50 grams of sugar, it can be labeled as "healthy"!

"Free-Range" is a tricky and loose term used to mean that the animals have access to be outdoors. For how long or under what conditions, is not specified…SCARY!

"Made with Whole Grains" is misused horribly! A product with as little as 1% whole grains, is of course, "Made with Whole Grains".

 Added sugar and natural sugar are not separated on a food label. The total grams of sugar in a food includes the naturally occuring sugar (from fruit or dairy) and the added sugars.

When reading an ingredient list, the ingredients are list in order of amount by weight, from most to least. A food with enriched flour and sugar as the 1st or 2nd ingredient is an indication that it is mostly those two ingredients...may want to walk over to the produce department!

These are all "other" names for sugar to be aware of when reading food labels: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, and syrup. The Healthy Edge covers this and SO MUCH more in weeks 4 and 5 of their lifestyle program! http://www.getthehealthyedge.com.

 If you want to know how much sugar you are consuming and "grams" are not familiar to you. Divide the total grams of sugar by 4 and this will give you the amount in tsp. So, if a product has 20 grams of sugar, that is equivalent to 5 tsp of sugar! EYE OPENING!

Buy unsweetened yogurt (we like Greek Style Yogurt). Yogurts can have 25 or more grams of sugar (that's over 8 tsp of sugar per serving) compared to about 5-7 grams in plain yogurt! Add fruit and nuts to yogurt to add flavor and crunch!

The Healthy Edge 8 Week Lifestyle Program dedicates two weekly courses to reading food labels to help you better understand what you are really getting in your grocery store purchase.

 Hope you find these tips helpful!!
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