Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Technicolor Tuesday - Water, Water, Everywhere

We went to the Aquarium this morning. Lovely. (And a strange mix of both calm and frenzy, thanks to the kiddos.)

Leafy Sea Dragons... Magical and not of this world.... Truly...


The top of the food chain come face to face with the other top of the food chain.

Jellies... Best to get there early when you have the entire place to yourself... This tank is an absolutely unreal shade of blue...

I 'spose you can never get TOO close...

It's fun to watch someone else do housework for a change. Funny: the diver was using a cloth baby diaper to wipe down the tank window. Every single mom made note of it. ("They truly are multi-purpose!")

The artsy shot of the day...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Whatcha' Cookin' Wednesday - "Mac n' Cheese"

It used to kill me everytime I made "instant" macaroni and cheese from a box. Sure, it was super-easy and fast but even though I made the organic kind it just didn't ring right with me.

About a year ago I started asking around for good mac n' cheese recipes at dinner parties and after potlucks but I had a really tough time creating a dish that tasted as good as the owner had made. I was stumped.

Then my friend and former colleague Lauren sent me her recipe. BINGO. Granted, hers is from Weight Watchers and is a MUCH lower fat version than the one listed here (I practically tripled the cheese) but the basics are still there and it 's super tasty. And easy. (Lauren suggests using Ronzoni pasta since it's higher in fiber.) Other pluses are that it reheats well and my kiddos LOVE it. And I feel good about serving it to them. I guess that makes it a win-win-win-win.

(PLEASE note that the pic above is a halved recipe. The recipe listed below calls for a 9 x 13 pan.)

8 oz. sour cream
12 oz evaporated milk (fat-free or 2%)
1 cup milk
18 oz cheese (we use the “three-cheese” organic mix from Kroger)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp table salt (or to taste - we omit the salt when we make it for the kids)
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp dried bread crumbs
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
12 oz. of macaroni or elbow noodles (We use Ronzoni Smart Taste or Trader Joe's Vegetable Raditore)

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and transfer to a large bowl.

While pasta is still hot, stir in sour cream; set aside.

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles appear just around the edges.

Reduce heat to low, slowly whisk in 2/3 of the cheese (12 oz.) and simmer until cheese melts, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in mustard, salt and pepper.

Add cheese mixture to pasta; stir in remaining 6 oz. of cheese. Mix well.

Transfer to lightly greased/sprayed 9x13 casserole dish.

Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese; sprinkle evenly over pasta.

Bake until top is golden, about 40-50 minutes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Outta the Mouths of Munchkins

Bunny: Mama, where are the "GO" signs?

Me: There aren't any, just "STOP" signs.

Bunny: Hmmm, well, there should be.

The BEST idea I've heard in a long time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Whatcha' Cookin' Wednesday - "Super Smoothie"

A long-time staple of our diet is not a food but a drink. A smoothie, to be exact.

Don't discount the smoothie. Seriously, it's a meal.

We started drinking smoothies ages ago but added (flax seed oil) and deleted (fruit juice) ingredients when the kiddos could enjoy them too.

Great for car rides and are very filling. Plus, it's chock-full of carbs, protein, good fats and well, the list of awesomeness is long.

Now, who doesn't have time for a nutrious meal on the go?



3-4 cups soy milk, whole milk or “Green Juice” (see below for Green Juice recipe)

1.5 - 2 cups of fruit (I usually use a handful of strawberries – fresh or frozen – and/or sometimes pop in some apple, mango, kiwi, peaches, bananas, etc. for a little variety... If you choose to use frozen fruit over fresh be sure to get whatever is in season…)

2 Tblsp. flax seed oil (Trader Joe’s sells a really good organic one)

1/8 – ¼ c. organic oats

2 Tblsp. toasted wheat germ (raw wheat germ is too bitter)

2 Tblsp. whole milk “cream on top” organic PLAIN yogurt

Blend on HIGH until smooth, about 2 minutes. Makes about 25 oz.



1 cup of cold water

2-3 apples (whole - seeds, core and all - just cut in quarters)

½ beet

½ bunch of kale.

Blend well in VitaMixer OR run veggies through juicer and add water.

Technicolor Tuesday - MONKEY Party

Even though their birthday was back on the 8th, somehow having a party made everything feel so much more official.

They are THREE.

And they did it Monkey-Style.

Monkey Cupcakes

Monkey Cups

Balloons might be better than the actual presents.

Seriously. They were a HUGE hit. (I'm very thankful for my husband's afterthought.)

A rare moment of calm while we wait for party guests.

And a much more often moment of craziness and fun.

Party hats. Not worn on the head but on the face. Nice.

He kept insisting he was a....

well, he kept telling us he was a ....

penguin? (Um, ok. It's his party.)

The Craft - Monkey Masks!

Lovely Quinlan.

I'll be sending this away to a shrink for analysis.

Neighbor Heather and Jackson

Party food = Monkey-roni and Cheese and Monkey (turkey) Dogs.

Bring on the cupcakes, let the singing commence...


"I BLEW IT OUT! "(By the way, we had not yet finished the song but who cares...)

A little help from a friend...

Harmonica Man warmed up the party crowd

Kristen and her lovely sprout, Margot

More Margot...

You can gift a kid with all the educational stuff on the planet but nothing compares to TRUCKS.


But books are pretty cool too.

Party pandemonium.

More organized chaos.

And everyone went home with one of these.

I'm still processing my feelings about the day and milestone... Maybe it's time for another baby monkey? Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Whatcha' Cookin' Wednesday - "Quinoa" (it's a 2-fer!)

I'm forever changed.

I finally discovered Quinoa.

I've often seen it in the store and wondered what the fuss was all about. I always thought it was pronounced "KIN-oh-ah." (Wrong. It's "KEEN-wah.") One of my fave people, who is also a vegetarian and food writer, has written about it and still I resisted. Not sure why.

So, the other day we were at Whole Foods getting oats out of the bulk bin and there was the Quinoa. I decided to buy a pound and give it a whirl.


Just like tofu, Quinoa takes on the flavor of whatever you add to it. It's a grain that you cook like rice. It's easy to cook, yummy and so GOOD for you.

Check it out:
Its protein content is very high (12%-18%), making it a healthful choice for vegetarians and vegans -and kids that won't eat meat. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low inlysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans,making it an unusually complete protein source. It is a good source ofdietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest.

You can make plain quinoa or add lots of yummy stuff - whatever is in your pantry. Endless combos... My twins scarf it up! It's great kid eats since you can add whatever food(s) that is striking their fancy this week. Add raisins! Or nuts! Cheese! Seriously, the possibilites are infinite.

Listed below is the basic recipe for cooking Quinoa and also one of our faves: Quinoa with sun-dried tomatoes, black beans, chicken and garlic.

Buy some. Today. And eat lots of it. Your body will thank you.

(Basic cooking instructions to yield approx. 3 cups of Quinoa)

1 ½ c. of Qunoa
2 c. water
Salt to taste

Rinse quinoa with cold water. Use a fine mesh filter/colander or coffee filter.
(Quinoa is coated with a natural substance called saponin that protects the grain by repelling insects and birds. Rinsing the quinoa is important to avoid a raw or bitter taste. You can tell if there is saponin by the production of a soapy looking "suds" when the seeds are swished in water. If you are using Ancient Harvest Quinoa you can skip this step. It's already rinsed!)

Add quinoa to water and bring to boil. (A fine, white spiral appears around the grain as it cooks.)

Reduce to simmer and cook until fluffy, about 15 minutes.


Quinoa with sun-dried tomatoes, black beans, chicken and garlic

1 c. of cooked Quinoa
1 Tblsp. olive oil
½ c. diced sun-dried tomatoes (use the kind that come packed in oil, NOT dried)
½- 1 c. diced chicken (optional)
1 c. of black beans
2-3 cloves of garlic (or more!)
½ t. cumin
Salt to taste

Sautee chicken and garlic in olive until cooked, about 5 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes and beans. Stir well. Add quinoa, cumin and salt. Stir until heated through.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Technicolor Tuesday - THREE

On Sunday the kiddos officially moved from Toddlerville to Kid Town.

This twin parent is still in a little bit of shock. Where did the time go?!

Since we were all felled with a nasty sinus infection we postponed our small "kid" party until next Sunday and had a lovely, low-key celebration at home:

A PINK present.. Kitchen supplies...

Food for the new kitchen...

The aforementioned kitchen... (He's using the new tools to fix the new kitchen...)

More gifts.. These were sent from Luxemburg by near friend Erin!


They were specific about what kind of cakes they wanted me to bake. Bunny wanted PINK...

Bam-Bam wanted blue... (As much as I try not to bend to gender specific stuff what am I to do?! They routinely ask for pink and blue!)

VERY excited that Scoop is featured on the cake...

Fire... Fun...

And more fire...

Bunny was a little embarassed when we sang Happy Birthday...

Bam-Bam loved it...

What could be better than a pink cake with your name on it?

A little help blowing out the candles....

O.K., LOTS of help...

Sam blew out the candles right away... No muss, no fuss...

Sugar High.. Here we come...
Let them eat CAKE!