Simply beautiful...

Simply beautiful...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Recipe Rennovation - Blueberry Buckle

I enjoy sweets and breakfast... Is that a crime? Not if you live with the guideline of "everything is ok in moderation".

So, when my husband and I invited our friends over for brunch, I knew I definitely wanted to make a coffee cake to go along with our egg-white omelets. I landed on making "Blueberry Buckle", a recipe my mom made often when I was growing up. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to try to make the recipe a bit healthier for all involved in eating its deliciousness.
I doubled the recipe so we could have some left overs for a couple days. Here are a few of the additional changes I made:

1) The original recipe for blueberry buckle calls for shortening, which I cringe at using for its hydrogenated oils. I substituted it with non-dairy butter (so my daughter with lactose intolerance could eat with us).

2) Next, I substituted the whole eggs for egg-whites. I know it's not much, but I thought "why not decrease the cholesterol for today?". ***Note: 1 1/2 oz or 3Tbs egg whites = 1 whole egg.

3) In everything I cook, I almost always substitute whole-wheat flour for white flour. In this recipe I used whole-wheat pastry flour to try to keep the texture light and fluffy.

4) Throughout the recipe, I used 1/2 white sugar and 1/2 brown sugar to add richness and less refined sugar.

5) Lastly, I added an extra cup of organic frozen blueberries to boost the antioxidant and nutritional content.

To my satisfaction, the recipe turned out beautifully and was VERY forgiving! Next time I make this, I will do the same substitutions but want to try using applesauce instead of butter - just to see if it will work. For me, it is exciting to try and make recipes a little more healthy and still be able to enjoy the sweet things in life!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Helpful Resources for Buying Organic

As many of you know, I have been on the hunt for better ways to shop and cook more healthfully for my family. Part of this commitment has meant buying organic produce, dairy and meat as often as I can.

One of the questions I have been trying to find a solution to is "where can I shop for organic produce that is both economical and convenient?". I tried normal grocery stores, but felt disappointed time and time again in their prices and selection. I tried Specialty Produce (a wholesale distributing company who sells farmers' market bags weekly, which are full of local, organic and sustainable produce from over a dozen farmers), but found it to be more of a "once in a while" type of resource as it 1) seemed repetitive week after week until new produce came into season, and 2) was hard to meal plan for, as each week's bag was a surprise until the day before. I still love Trader Joe's for lots of items, but have never been satisfied with the amount of organic produce they carry. This all lead me to give the Ocean Beach People's Organic Food Market a try. It is a member-owned vegetarian consumer co-op here in our local neighborhood in San Diego. I paid $10 for an annual membership and can guarantee when I walk in that ALL the produce inside is organic, local and seasonal for reasonable prices. I have even begun to purchase all of my whole wheat flour and grains there in their bulk section. Shopping here does have what other's might consider drawbacks. I have had to adjust my shopping routine to go to two different stores, but for our family, it is worth peace of mind that we are putting better foods into our bodies. Also, the store is small, so quarters are tight. For us, this means having my husband come home 30minutes early one night a week so I can go without the company of our 18-month old daughter. I encourage you to look into local resources such as a co-op like this - you never know what might be around your corner...

Another resource I have found extremely helpful in my effort to purchase organic produce is to refer to the "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean 15" lists. I know for many, it is either not always economically feasible to buy ALL organic produce, or these organic produce items are not available where you shop. These lists give you the top 12 produce items with the highest amount of pesticide residues (those you would want to be certain to purchase organic) and the top 15 produce items with the lowest amount of pesticide residues (those you could skip buying organic if you have to). I found this neat, printable pocket guide to keep in my wallet as a quick reference on my shopping trips. I also found this more comprehensive list of 49 fruits and Vegetables and where they fall on the list of pesticide residue amounts.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Quick Update in Pictures

The countdown to our move to Oregon is definitely ON! Our calendar is quickly filling up in order to create some intentional "lasts", so I wanted to as least give a glimpse through pictures what we've been up to. Two weeks ago, my parents were able to bless us with a week long visit! Knowing it was a "last" to have them in our home in San Diego was rather emotional for me after the fact...
From the minute we picked them up from the airport, Mimi and Pappy were ready to shower Harper with love and attention all week!
Harper took all of about 5 seconds to get snuggled up to Pappy. Over the week, we noticed Harper's affinity for Pappy - I think it might have something to do with the fact that he's a "big kid" himself :)
Harper has always loved to stop and smell the roses... on this stop she smelled about 25 varieties.
We took Mimi and Pappy to the San Diego zoo. We can never tell who enjoys it more... Harper or Pappy?
Mimi and Pappy spoiled us by giving us the gift of attending our church marriage retreat in Palm Springs for the weekend. We were able to completely relax and enjoy each other, knowing Harper was in such good hands. Thank you Mimi and Pappy!
When we returned, we could see clearly that Harper has a special relationship and bond with her Mimi and Pappy. Jeremy and I look fondly at these pictures, knowing that our kids will be growing their grandparent relationships so much deeper once we move.
Over the weekend, Harper and Mimi found a NEW way to use her grocery cart...
I told Harper to get ready to go to the park... when I found her waiting by the door, I was laughing out loud. You see, Harper loves necklaces... but hasn't quite figured out that mommy's undies aren't exactly that... No - she did not go to the park like this!
The 4th of July was monumental for Harper! It marked the first day, as a toddler, that she allowed mommy to do her hair AT ALL... I managed to put in pigtails! I do admit... there were a few tears on her part as I tried to keep them in for the day.
Since Monday was a holiday... our dear friends, Adam and Rhiannon, invited us over for some pool time and a yummy dinner. Harper and Jeremy shared a few good laughs as we re-acclimated her to the water.
Daddy loves to throw her high into the air... Harps got a bit wet on this landing.
Our friend Adam and their son, Carter. Carter is one of Harper's best friends and... in the running for future husband someday!
Our picky little eater. Mommy is having to become A LOT more creative on certain days... here she's eating a breakfast panini.