Tag Archives: healthy

“BUY LOCAL” CHALLENGE

3 Sep

My family did a “buy local” challenge where the goal was to spend money only on local items for a day.

We bought several items made or grown in Malibu and Los Angeles and the balance came from Northern California.

For breakfast we had organic strawberries from the Thorne Family Farm in Malibu and organic blueberries, blackberries and raspberries from Driscoll’s in Watsonville. Yogurt from Brown Cow Farm in Antioch, bread from La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles and butter from Sierra Nevada Cheese Company in Willows.

So far so good!

Except mid-day, I realized there is no local coffee!  Hot water with honey was not quite an adequate substitute for caffeine!

Dinner was the highlight of the day.  Organic, sustainably farmed chicken from Petaluma Poultry and vegetables from One Gun Ranch in Malibu — cooked with Malibu olive oil.  And to drink — a delicious Semler cabernet sauvignon.

A great end to “local day” was sleeping outside on the deck under the stars with the fresh air on our faces.

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Healthy Thin Mints

23 Apr

My daughter asked for thin mints the other day so we decided to make a healthier version of them than the ones you can buy in a box.

Here is our recipe, adapted from Handle the Heat:

Makes about 24 cookies

4 ounces (or 1 stick) of unsalted butter (we used organic)

1/2 cup honey

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsweetened organic cocoa

1/4 tsp (plus a bit more) sea salt

3/4 cups whole wheat pastry

Chocolate Peppermint Coating:

1/2 pound good quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (we used Scharffen berger)

peppermint extract to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Make the dough:

In a mixer, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add the honey and continue to cream.  Add in vanilla, salt and cocoa. Mix until creamy like frosting.  Add flour and mix until batter no longer dusty.  Don’t overmix.

Knead the dough, using flour on your surface, and place in plastic bag.  Flatten to 3/4″ pancake and put in freezer for 20 minutes.  Using a lot of flour, roll out dough to 1/8″ thick and use 1-1/2″ to 2″ cookie cutters (round or heart-shaped or whatever shape you like).  Place them on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Let cool completely on wire rack.  In the meantime, melt the chocolate and add the peppermint one drop at a time to taste.  Don’t overdo it on the peppermint.

Drop the cookies into the melted chocolate for a thin coating.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet and place in freezer or refrigerator until set.

The original recipe called for powdered sugar instead of honey.  Our dough was a bit sticky so next time I may try to use an organic powdered sugar instead.  Another thing to try might be putting the peppermint in the dough instead of the coating.

Enjoy!

Healthy Desserts

1 Apr

The word healthy and desserts don’t always go together but here are 2 recipes that taste good and are healthy too!

One is from The Family Dinner website and one from the Progressive Pioneer blog — both of these sites are great resources for healthy food.  And these 2 recipes are easy enough for your kids to help make them too.

In the recipe from The Family Dinner website, I used almonds instead of cashews because I love almonds in dessert.  I did add a little honey when I made it.  And next time, I would try adding dates.  I think that would be a good addition.  I used it on top of a mixture of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.  And added a few pomegranate seeds on top for some extra color!

http://thefamilydinnerbook.com/in-the-kitchen/2012/03/29/whipped-cashew-cream/

From Progressive Pioneer, I made these lemon bars on Valentine’s Day for a brunch and they are excellent.  Not too sweet and delicious. One of my favorite desserts ever.

http://www.plantoeat.com/blog/2012/02/healthy-lemon-bars/

 

My next challenge is to find a healthy chocolate dessert!  Will report back soon with a couple great recipes.

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The Dinner Hour

21 Mar

The dreaded thought arrives each day at 4 pm: what’s for dinner??

Recently, I was given a copy of Laurie David’s The Family Dinner cookbook.  And now that dreaded thought of “what’s for dinner?” is something to look forward to each day!

The cookbook has easy recipes but more important, it is full of games, stories and ideas for helping bring your family together during dinnertime.

Tonight I bought chicken meatloaf, my daughter, Charlotte, and I put together a “make your own” salad bar and she also made fruit and yogurt parfaits for dessert. And while Charlotte set the table, my husband played Adele on the piano as entertainment. All of this made dinner fun and no longer a chore!

Based on suggestions from the cookbook, one night we listened to classical music.  Another night I bought little presents for everyone.  Some nights we simply lit candles. Tonight we each read a favorite poem and talked about their meanings and why we liked them. My husband chose Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, my daughter read Le Loup et L’Agneau, a french fable, and I read a poem by Rimbaud.  Which all led into a pretty serious discussion about what things make us happy in life.

So while every family dinner is not perfect, we have a better appreciation of how important it is to each of us to reconnect after our busy days. Thank you to The Family Dinner!

Charlotte preparing the salad bar!

Charlotte setting the table!