Friday, October 28, 2011


I saw this on Pinterest and thought it was perfect to post on my blog. One thing I like to  do is to keep a folder on my computer of motivational songs, ideas, stories, quotes, or pictures that I can look at to keep me going. These motivational items are unique to me, but I think everyone should have a  motivational folder or notebook to back them up and keep them going.  You never know when you'll need a little UMPH!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Line Between Love and Hate

The saying goes that there is a thin line between love and hate. In regards to food, the line is getting thicker for me.

I started to eat differently than the SAD (Standard American Diet) this past February when my DH did so I could support him on his health quest. In turn, he supported me too. At first, I really liked the changes. Without all the processed crap and additives in my food, I could really taste food flavors, and I just felt better in general: fewer stomach upsets, less bloating, more energy, and a brighter outlook among other things. During the health process, I transitioned from nutritarianism to vegetarianism. I am not morally opposed to eating meat by any means, but I feel better not eating it. Things were new and interesting, and I tried lots of new recipes which was good. Some were keepers, some were not.

Over the past few months, I have used food mostly for what it was intended to be...fuel.  Food just has lost it's luster for me. It is becoming little more than a hassle, and the question what do I want to eat? is often followed by nothing sounds good. This has made the planning and shopping all kinds of difficult.  I am still eating because I have to, but oh, how I wish I could take a pill that just contains everything I need so I don't need to think about it at all. I have some more new recipes planned for this next week, but I have to say, none of it excites me...and maybe that's okay.

Maybe food simply needs to be fuel...but I must admit, it makes me kind of sad that I don't enjoy it as much as I used to. I honestly don't think it's what I'm eating, but the changes I've made that are the culprit.  In a world full of white flour and sugar, partially hydrogenated oils,high fructose corn syrup, dyes, and preservatives, where no one seems to eat like me, dinner parties and parties in general are not the same. The social aspect of food is what I am missing I guess. I mean how many people do you know who speak fondly about the great tofu meal their mom makes or her great veggie burgers? And as much as I like eating meat-free, and as many new recipes as I try, none hold a comforting place in my heart. Now, I know that I am probably better off, but it's still sometimes (and lately especially) hard to deal with.

I keep hoping that I'm just in a rut, that food will excite me once again, or at the very least sound good to me, but I don't know if it will. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Shannon's Great Homemade Grain-ola

Grain-ola, as I call it, is a staple in our house, and I've finally devised the perfect recipe for my family.  I like to make grain-ola at home because store bought granola is often expensive and way too sweet. My grain-ola is also not clumpy like some store bought granolas so it's easier to chew. Best of all, I love knowing that my homemade grain-ola is made without preservatives, colors, or additives...and I am in control of it all :)

Grain-ola is wonderful and a rare food that all my kids like. That in and of itself is quite a feat. We use it as a topping for parfaits, fruits and cereals, and by itself as a snack food. It is also a great foundation for trail mix, and I think it would elevate a simple food like chocolate covered banana pops to a whole new level. Just sprinkle the grain-ola on top of the melted chocolate before freezing... and oila! I'll have to try that soon because I think that would also be something my kids would love.  This week, I'll be making Mama Pea's Chewy Granola Bars and substituting some of my Grain-ola for extra added deliciousness in the place of some of the oatmeal. I think it will be yummy. The possibilities for using this grain-ola are endless... 

Shannon's Homemade Grain-ola

4 c rolled oats
1 c  half oat bran, half ground flax
1 c chopped walnuts, sliced almonds, and sunflower seeds mixed (I like to use pepitas too if I have them)
1/2 c sesame seeds
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1/3 c vegetable oil
 1/3 c honey
1/3 c water
1 tsp vanilla
 a good swirled on top squirt of agave (1/8 c maybe-i never measure it just swirl it on top of mixture like a spiral)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together (oats through salt, if using). Make a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients and add vegetable oil through vanilla. Stir well. Swirl a squirt of agave on the top of the mixture in a spiral shape, and then stir again. Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet and pour grain-ola mix onto it, spreading it out on your pan with a spoon. Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, maybe every 10 minutes or so, so it can brown evenly. Allow to cool on stove top before putting it in an airtight container for storage.

*My kids like my grain-ola plain, but occasionally, if I mix it with dried fruit, I like to use Trader Joe's Golden Berry Blend. It is inexpensive and delicious. It is also great for oatmeal and trail mix.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I have 2 new favorite things, and both came from Bed, Bath & Beyond. 

The first is this garbage can from simplehuman. 

Why do I love it?  We have a beagle who was constantly trying to get into the garbage can. When he did, he would drag trash out into the side yard after licking every last bit of food residue he could find. I didn't want him to get in the trash, and I didn't want him to get sick. This trash can has a simple lock that totally prevents our cute little buddy from getting into it. It is easy enough to lock and unlock that the children don't even have trouble with it. It also takes regular large kitchen garbage bags, so no need to buy specialty ones.

* * * * *

Item # 2 is Smells Begone Calming Rain Air Freshener. I was dubious because I haven't had any luck in the past with these type of solid deodorizers, but this one actually works.  Pet smells, boy helps it all. The fragrance is pleasant also and not at all overpowering.

I highly recommend both these items.