Friday, October 30, 2009

Fitness Plan Friday: October 30th

This is now the second week of Fitness Plan Friday here at Mom Living Healthy.  Did my plan and posts about fitness get you thinking?  Maybe you were thinking that my workouts sound too easy?!  Or if you don't have a fitness plan in place, maybe you started contemplating one.  If so, I challenge you to actually take 5 minutes and make out a plan!  Making an active lifestyle a part of your life doesn't have to be hard.  If you have a plan in place for your workouts and active family time, you are more likely to actually be a healthy and fit family! 

If you missed them, check out my introduction to Fitness Plan Friday and my Workout Wednesday: No Gym, No Problem posts. 

If you are like me and want to create an active family lifestyle, go ahead, plan your workouts this week.  If you post this on your blog, feel free to leave me a comment with the link and use my Fitness Plan Friday picture.  Or, if you prefer, write your seven day plan starting with Saturday in the comments section. 

Week in Review:
Last week went well for me and I really appreciate having this plan because it holds me accountable for my workouts and for our active time as a family.  We could have easily skipped our walk on Sunday, but I knew it was part of the plan.  As always, life does happen, so even the best plan may not always work out.  The woman who watches my son when I work was sick today, so I wasn't able to sneak in my Pilates.  Oh well, that's what next week's for, right?!

This week's plan:
Saturday: Halloween!  Rest Day
Sunday: Family Walk, 30 minutes
Monday: Family Trip to Dog Park, 1 hour of walking
Tuesday: Kari Anderson's Go Step: Step Workout for Beginners (review to follow)
Wednesday: Pilates for Beginners DVD with Kristin McGee (review to follow)
Thursday: walk/run outside with son, 30 minutes (if it's rainy, then Jillian Michaels DVD)
Friday: Rest

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Healthy Fat Recipe: Fresh Herb Spaetzle

For the last month, our family has been drinking nothing but whole milk.  If you think that's crazy, check out what the folks at Experience Life magazine are saying about it.  Anyway, as part of a challenge put on by Kitchen Stewardship, I've been looking for a recipe that includes full fat dairy and other healthy fats.  Nothing was really standing out to me, until I saw this recipe for Fresh Herb Spaetzle which I found through the Revolution Health website.  I have loved spaetzle since I was about five years old, when I lived in southern Germany.  Spaetzle with cheese is like the German version of macaroni and cheese, and it is SO tasty!  This is what I ate in restaurants when we would eat out EVERY CHANCE I GOT.  In fact, every time we go to a German restaurant these days, and I see spaetzle on the menu, I definitely order it. 

I have been wanting to make spaetzle for the longest time, and now that I have the chance, I won't let this opportunity pass me by.  If you haven't tried it, I do recommend it with cheese and onions.  There are many variations, but that is my definite favorite. 

I have not made this recipe yet, but plan on incorporating it into our menu next week.  Look for my review then :)


2 1/4 cups, Flour
2 tablespoons, Olive oil
3 counts, Eggs
4 tablespoons, Butter
1/8 teaspoons, Nutmeg
3/4 cups, Whole milk
8 fluid ounces, Mushrooms
8 teaspoons, Assorted herbs
1/4 teaspoons, White pepper
3/4 cups, Broth

1.Blend flour, pepper, salt and nutmeg in large bowl. Whisk in milk and eggs, forming soft batter. Mix in half of herbs.

2.Bring large pot of slightly salted water to boil. Butter large bowl. Working with 1/3 cup batter at a time and using a rubber spatula, press batter directly into boiling water through 1/4-inch holes of a strainer, coarse grater, or wide ladle. Stir spaetzle to separate and boil for 2 minutes. Using fine sieve, scoop spaetzle from pot, drain well, and transfer to buttered bowl. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

3.Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms; saut until they begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add onion; saut until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon oil, and spaetzle. Saut until spaetzle begins to brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of broth. Simmer until broth is absorbed, adding more broth if dry. Mix in remaining herbs; season with salt and pepper.

Have you made or eaten spaetzle before?  What did you think of it?

This is where I found this yummy looking recipe.  Visit Kitchen Stewardship for more Healthy Fat Recipes as part of the October Fest Carnival of Super Foods.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Workout Wednesday: No Gym, No Problem!

Once upon a time I used to rely heavily on a gym membership for my workouts.  I would use the treadmills, ellipticals, weights and participate in the group fitness classes.  While these workout options were great, the cost of having a gym membership were not so great.  My husband and I decided to cancel our gym membership before our son was born.  While I miss it at times, we are finding ways to fit fitness into our lives outside of the gym. 

I do have friends who go to the gym regularly, and this does work for many people.  For us though, finding ways to be active together as a family is critical.  I want my son to see his mom and dad being active.  When I was younger, one of my favorite memories of living with my dad was that we would have family dance nights.  We'd put Bon Jovi or the Go Gos on the record player and dance around our living room.  It was a blast!

Today, we are trying to create the same active lifestyle in our family.  For example, tonight we took a walk with our son and dog to a nearby park.  We stopped for a few minutes to push our son on the swing, and then we headed to an open field to let our dog run.  To make it fun and to push our dog to really run fast, my husband and I would take turns sprinting around the field, having our dog chase us.  My husband held our son who giggled like crazy to be bouncing around with his dad!  We had an amazing time and got a pretty good workout in the meantime. 

For me, the biggest obstacle I have to being fit is TIME.  Working out takes time and going to the gym takes time.  I don't want to waste precious time that my husband and I could be spending together with our child, just to make the trip to the gym.  What I realize is that by finding things to do together that are also active, I can have the best of both worlds.  I can stay in shape AND I can enjoy my family. 

Stay tuned for more Workout Wednesday posts.  I will talk about some of the other ways that my family and I stay healthy.  If you missed them, check out my posts on Fitness Plan Friday and on being a Fit Family

Your turn!  What does your family do to stay fit?  Is it a focus in your life?  Is this an area that gets neglected?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to Make Your Own Taco Seasoning Mix

I've always used the packets of seasoning for taco night until I looked on the labels and didn't like what I saw.  So, this week when my husband requested tacos for dinner, I decided to make our own seasoning mix.  Little did I know that it would be so easy!  My husband thought the mix tasted very similar to the store version, without the unhealthy additives.

This mix is so easy to put together, I don't think I'll ever buy the packets again!  Just put the ingredients into a small container, mix them up and they are ready.  I found this recipe at and just love it!  Here's what I put it:

1 T chili powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. each ground cumin, garlic powder, paprika, powdered oregano and sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

That's it!  This makes 3 tablespoons, which is the equivalent of the store packets.  I used this for one pound of beef.  Enjoy!

Do you make your own taco seasoning?  Do you have any other spices you add to your taco that I didn't list?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: October 26th

Last week's menu was great and I'm LOVING menu planning!  We have super leftovers, which deter us from wanting to eat out, and I know exactly what to buy at the supermarket.  This week we going out to dinner with friends on Wednesday, so I won't be cooking that night.  We're also going to my in-laws' house to stay this weekend, so things are a little more up in the air because of that. 

If you missed them, here are the recipes for the chili and cornbread that we ate last week.  Yum!

Our menu plan for this week is:
Monday: Pirate Food (modified from a recipe my grandma makes, details to follow!)
Tuesday: Yoyo, (You're On Your Own, or leftovers) due to water aerobics class
Wednesday: dinner with friends
Thursday: Minnesota Heartland Eleven Bean soup from Frontier Soups.  We got this from our local apple orchard last year and loved it, so I thought I'd make it again this year. 
Friday: Yoyo- We have a lot of leftovers from last week!!
Saturday: Halloween Party at the in-laws.  I will be making chili again.  The party is outside and a warm bowl of chili will be so tasty!
Sunday: Tuna Melts
Snack: homemade graham crackers

As always, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for her Menu Plan Monday and lots of other recipes! 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe

We loved this cornbread recipe!!  It was moist and so delicious with butter and honey.  Previously I have been using a mix that I bought at the store.  I wanted to make something from scratch though and found this recipe here.  I think this was just as easy to make as the packaged version.  Basically, just stir the ingredients together, pour them in the pan and bake!  Next time I will try some healthy upgrades by decreasing the sugar and by replacing the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.  We ate these with this most delicious chili.  They both make for excellent leftovers too.  Enjoy!

Grandma's Buttermilk Cornbread

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease an 8 inch square pan.
2. Melt butter in large skillet.  Remove from heat and stir sugar.  Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended.  Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan.  Stir in cornmeal, flour and salt until well blended and few lumps remain.  Pour batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Delicious Chili Recipe

This chili recipe was part of my menu plan last week and we all enjoyed it so much.  We finished off the leftovers today for lunch and it was still tasty!  I did alter the recipe slightly, which I will indicate in green.

Wazzu Tailgate Chili

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped, divided
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 habanero pepper, seeded and minced (I actually forgot to pick this time!)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped green onion (didn't add this)
3 (15 ounce) cans chili beans (I did one can chili beans, one can black beans and one can navy beans)
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 ounce) bottle lager-style beer
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 cup water
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Cook ground beef and pork in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the meat is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink.  Drain and discard any excess grease.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Stir in the onion and green pepper, habanero pepper, jalapeno pepper and garlic.  Cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir the drained meat into the onion mixture along with the green onion, chili beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, beer and water.  Sprinkle with the cornmeal, then season with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. 
3. Bring to simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Refrigerate overnight.
4. Reheat the chili over medium heath until it begins to simmer again.  Top individual servings of chili with cheese (and sour cream, like I did!)

What variations do you add to your chili?  I'm always looking to improve on my chili recipe.  This one was a keeper though :)

I found this chili recipe at 

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fitness Plan Friday: An Introduction

As part of my Fit Family theme here at Mom Living Healthy, I'm introducing a fitness plan to correspond with my meal plans.  You may ask, why is a fitness plan necessary?  Well, being that I was in the Army for 8 years, I did learn at least one slogan in addition to "Be all that you can be."  That is:

A Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail

While I do feel that planning for good nutrition is crucial for nurturing a healthy family, I think that a family's fitness often gets neglected.  Now, if you have an 11 month old son who is constantly on the move, you can rest assured that your child is fit.  However, what about you and your spouse?  What do you do to stay active and keep your body in healthy shape?  What about your older children?  It would be nice to think that just because children are young that they are also on the move, but childhood obesity in America is a serious problem. 

Don't worry, I'm not asking you to sign up for a marathon in three weeks!  I'm simply asking that you give some thought to at least a few times each week during which you and/or your family will participate in physical activity of some sort.

By no means is my family perfect right now.  We do make it to one walk per week together and I have been working out 2-3 times on my own.  As you can see, we have room for improvement as well. 

This is where Fitness Plan Friday comes in!  I encourage you to add a comment with your fitness plan for the week and I will do so too. 

Here are some guidelines:

1. Walking counts (as long as it is at a moderate pace or faster for you runners)
2. Shoot for 30 minutes of continuous activity per session
3. Plan for rest days as well!
4. Have fun- mix up your workouts and try something new! 

Since Mom Living Healthy is such a new blog, I will not be doing a Mr. Linky for this event yet.  Instead, just post your 7 day fitness plan in a comment.  If you do a post about Fitness Plan Friday on your blog, feel free to include a link in your comment and link back to Mom Living Healthy.  In future posts, I will discuss different workouts that I find to be quick and inexpensive. 

Without further ado, here is my plan for this week:

Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Family Trip to the Dog Park, 1 hour of walking
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Water Aerobics class, 50 minutes (class description to follow)
Wednesday: Jillian Michaels Banish Fat Boost Metabolism DVD (review to follow)
Thursday: Pilates for Beginners DVD with Kristin McGee (review to follow)
Friday: Rest

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Healthy Snacking Links

Now that my son is eating finger foods, I'm even more aware of what we as a family eat.  Currently he LOVES Nilla Wafers and graham crackers.  I know, they are packaged and processed and not great for him!  So, I've been on the lookout this week for snack recipes that I can use to replace our current snacks for healthier versions. 

Here's what I found:
Whew, these recipes should make for amazing snacks!  I can't wait to try them. 

Do you have any other cracker/ snack recipes to share? 

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

I am submitting this recipe as a part of Kitchen Stewardship's October Fest Carnival of Super Foods for her Un-processed Foods Edition.  Check it out for lots of tasty recipes! 

If you're new to Mom Living Healthy, you can find out more about me here and here

Previously, I have always just made mac and cheese from the box.  Lately, I've been tempted to try my hand at a homemade version, partly as an effort to cut out processed foods and partly because my sister in law raves about how delicious the homemade version is!  I made this for the guys last night and we all loved it!  You should have seen my son gobbling it up.  Of course, he does gobble up just about anything, but he really did seem to like it.  I felt good that this was a homemade dish and that I knew exactly what went into it. 

Macaroni and Cheese V

3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
8 ounces macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, minced
1 tablespoon flour
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Now, I did use whole grain bread crumbs, and I had inteded to use whole grain flour and macaroni, but my son was fussy in the grocery store, so I got a little flustered while shopping and didn't remember to grab the whole grain version!  I did use whole milk though (for more info on full fat dairy, check out this article). 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 2 quart casserole dish.  Place the bread crumbs into a small bowl and mix well with the melted butter; set aside. 

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add macaroni and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain, then place into prepared casserole dish.

3. While the pasta is cooking, melt 2 tablspoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the minced onion and cook until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 5 minutes.

4. Stir in the flour, pepper, salt and dry mustard until incorporated, then pour in the milk and bring to a simmer.  Simmer, stirring constantly until the milk has thickened, about 10 minutes.  Take the milk off the heat and stir in the Cheddar cheese until melted.  Pour cheese sauce over the macaroni, then sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs.

5. Bake until the top is golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes. 

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes

What do you put in your homemade macaroni and cheese?  Do you have any variations?  What do you do to make this dish healthier? 

I found this recipe here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

From Runner Girl to Fit Family

My, how things change!  It is hard for me to believe that two years ago I was on an Army base in Iraq, running 20 miles at a time and working out almost every day.  Back then I attended toning classes, lifted weights and even taught some toning classes (and did I mention I ran?).  If you would have asked me then what I'd be doing for physical activity in 2009, I would have most certainly told you running.  To top it off, I probably would have told you that I'd be running marathons or even those crazy 100 mile runs (if you haven't heard about ultramarathons, yes, people do run 100 miles all at once).

Looking tired, frazzled and happy after a 20 mile run

Flash forward to 2009....
These days I am lucky if I get three workouts in a week, and that qualifies as a really good week.  I haven't run for months and I count walking the dog as a workout!  My old runner girl self would be embarrassed and would definitely NOT write about such a pathetic situation in a blog.  However, what I've realized lately is that the disappearance of runner girl has opened the door to a new opportunity. 

From Runner Girl to Fit Family
Now I am able to focus my attention on fitness in two new ways.  First, it is a way for our family to share fun and active experiences.  I read so often that Americans are sedentary and glued to the television.  Being a fit family to me doesn't mean that we are in the gym seven days a week.  It means that we go for walks together, dance together and choose other activities that keep us moving and healthy!  Second, fitness is an even more important stress reliever than it was to me back in my Army days.  Yes, life in the military on a deployment is tough, but I will tell you first hand that being a mother is even more challenging!  This parenting gig is difficult.  Without workouts and fitness, my energy begins to wane, I get moodier and I don't handle stress as well. 

I believe that being healthy includes regular physical activity, but that being fit should not be expensive or incredibly time-consuming.  In upcoming posts, I will share with you what I do to keep fit and to keep my family (dog included) fit.

If you haven't done so yet, you can find out more about me and Mom Living Healthy here.  If you're interested in reading upcoming posts about fitness, be sure to subscribe either in a reader or by email. 

Still fit, but in a new way

What about you? 
Is your family a Fit Family?  What kinds of physical activities do you enjoy?  I'd love to hear from you!

This post part of Steady Mom's 30-Minute Blog Challenge

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: October 18th

While I did Menu Plan Monday last week on my other blog, this will be the first time participating at Mom Living Healthy. Last week MPM went really well! We ate two new recipes and enjoyed both of them. I will be reposting them on Mom Living Healthy as a reference shortly. This week we're also adding two new recipes in addition to a recipe for homemade taco seasoning.
Here's the plan for this week:
Tuesday: YoYo (You're on your own, or leftovers). I have water aerobics this night, so it will be a great chance for us to clean out those leftovers!
Wednesday: Homemade Macaroni and Cheese, Green Beans
Thursday: Tuna Sandwiches- my husband has a work event that night so I plan on keeping it simple with a sandwich
Friday: Family Pizza Night
Saturday: We are attending a potluck with my Army friends' and spouses. I will be bringing a brocolli salad.
Sunday: Tacos with Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
If you're interested in learning more about menu planning, check out all the information that Laura from I'm an Organizing Junkie offers and all the other recipes that her subscribers post. I am particularly fond of her Menu Planner Template that helps to organize your menu for the week and all the groceries you will need to buy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Cloth Diaper Baby

Here are a couple of pictures of Nolan in his cloth diapers. We use them almost exclusively when he is not at day care. If you missed it here is a previous post in which I discussed cloth diapering. So far we are 10 months into using cloth diapers and are still going strong! I'm showcasing my two favorite brands of cloth diapers. The first, a One Size Pocket Diaper, is from my friend Deb, who makes adorable cloth diapers at her site Made By Mama. The second is the Bum Genius 3.0 One Size Pocket Diaper which I bought at the Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Care store.

Diapers By Deb

Diapers By Deb

Diapers By Deb

Bum Genius

Chicken with Gingered Brown Rice

I made this chicken with gingered brown rice for dinner last night. While my husband didn't like it as much as the tomato soup from Monday, he thought it was pretty good. I REALLY enjoyed the rice. It was my first time using crystallized ginger and I thought it added a nice flavor. Be aware that this is a sweeter meal due to the orange marmalade and ginger. I got this recipe from the Betty Crocker Whole Grains cookbook. I would make it again, but perhaps just cut the chicken into smaller pieces.


1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice
2 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons orange juice (I used a little more than that)
1 small onion, finely choppen (1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons orange marmalade (use a low-sugar version)
1 tablespoon canola oil (I used olive oil)

1. Cook brown rice in water as directed on package

2. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8-inch square (2 quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 2-quart saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon orange juice to boiling over medium heat. Cook onion in orange juice 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender. Stil in cooked rice, ginger, parsley, thyme and remaining 1 tablespoon orange juice.

3. Spoon rice mixture into baking dish. Place chicken breasts on rice mixture. In small bowl, mix marmalade and oil; brush over chicken.

4. Cover baking dish with foil; bake 25 minutes. Remove cover; bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170 degrees).

Question: In which recipes do you use ginger? I have some left over now and don't want to waste it if possible. Leave a comment if you have any ideas!

PS- I'm posting this recipe on the Kitchen Stewardship blog as a part of her October Fest Carnival of Super Foods. Check it out!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fresh Tomato Soup

Last night when I asked Ryan if he had any requests for dinner this week, he said he wanted grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Normally, we use Campbell's tomato soup made with milk instead of water. I admit, I do really like that version of the soup. However, I wanted to try making a tomato soup on my own. I found this recipe for Fresh Tomato Soup in the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book.

Ryan rated this soup at a 7-8 out of 10...his only complaint was that it wasn't exactly like the Campbell's. I LOVED it! I'd definitely make this again. I did alter the recipe a bit, which I will indicate in red.

Fresh Tomato Soup

3 medium tomatoes, peeled and quartered (I used 5 tomatoes)
1 1/2 cups water (I used Swanson low-sodium organic chicken broth)
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1/2 cup chopped celery (1 stalk)
1/2 of a 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons instant chicken bouillon granules (Swanson broth)
1 teaspoon sugar
few dashes bottled hot pepper sauce

1. In a large saucepan combine tomato, broth, onion, celery, tomato paste, cilantro, sugar and hot pepper sauce. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes or until celery and onion are tender. Remove from heat; cool for 10 minutes.

2. Place half of tomato mixture in a blender or food processor (I used the Magic Bullet). Cover and blend or process until smooth. Repeat wiht the remaining mixture. Return all to the saucepan; heat through. If desired, garnish with additional cilantro.
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