Monday, November 26, 2012

Cold Weather: Healthy Comfort Foods

Well, it finally happened.  The cold weather is here.

Growing up in Iowa, I remember playing in huge snow banks, building forts out of snow, climbing ice covered trees in the winter and thinking that snow and cold were awesome.

After moving to Oklahoma 12 years ago, we quickly became acclimated to the mild winters.  Then even mild winters started to seem too cold.  Both Patrick and I are looking forward to the day when we can move somewhere even warmer!

For now we have to deal with our favorite warm comfort foods.  Right now I'm eating a nice hot bowl of Quinoa & Steel Cut Oats.  I LOVE this combination and its great fuel for your workout (so yeah, now that I said that, I'll have to actually hit the gym after this!:)  I also like adding Chocolate & Walnuts and Cranberry Almond is probably my favorite version ever.

Here are some of our other cold weather favorites:

The Classic Spicy Chili & Whole Wheat Bread
Super Easy Garlic Pasta (I swear we eat so much garlic, we never get sick!:)
Beef Stroganoff

And one of the kids' favorites Apple Cinnamon Protein Pancakes!

What are your favorite cold weather recipes?

Tonight I'm making something with salmon... if I can find an interesting new recipe.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Raspberry Loose Leaf Tea: No Calorie Drink for your Clean Eating or Slow Carb Diet

Raspberry Leaf Tea

I don't know about you, but I get tired of drinking plain water.  I like adding different, natural things to flavor my water, but sometimes I really want something besides water.  Raspberry leaf tea is one of my favorite teas.  It doesn't taste at ALL like raspberry, its just the leaf, which I appreciate since I hate fruity teas.

I started drinking Raspberry Leaf tea with my 4th pregnancy.  I fell in love with this tea like you wouldn't believe.  I would make gallons and gallons of it and my family loved it, too.  Its supposed to help with female issues, period issues, pms, etc.  You have to be careful with it in early pregnancy (if I recall... its been 12 years, please check with your doctor/midwife before drinking it), but in later stages, its supposed to help make labor more efficient.

Anyway, I just bought a bunch from an online friend who just never got around to using it, and we're enjoying it again!

You'll Need:
Cheese Cloth or a Legit Tea Strainer.
Boiling Water
Loose Leaf Tea
Pot/Jar with a lid

Our Raspberry Leaf Tea

Directions:

First I add two scoops of tea to about a gallon and a half jug.*  (you'll need to find your own proportions, but I would suggest making it strong and adding ice/water to dilute it once you decide you like it... that just means you have to make it less often!)
Then I pour hot/boiling water over the leaves and put a lid on it for 3-5 minutes (Some people say you should never pour boiling water on your leaves, I'm too scattered to catch the water before it is boiling.  I'm lucky to catch the tea pot before its boiled dry, because the spout thingy is broken and it no longer screeches at me like a monkey caught in a trap, so we'll just go with what I actually do... feel free to create your own routine, dependent on your own OCD or ADD needs)

Then, unravel about 2-3 layers of cheese cloth and tie them down to a container (preferably glass, but sometimes, you just use what you have available).  Oh, and be sure to use an official tea straining rubber band for affixing your cheesecloth aka a head band from your daughter's room that she's never bothered to use, even though you bought them at her request.

Pour the tea through the cheesecloth, capturing what looks like a baby's dirty diaper in the cheese cloth.  Squeeze out the excess tea if you can get past the looks of this, and either toss out the whole tea 'diaper' or toss the tea and rinse the cheesecloth.

Fill a glass or pitcher with ice and pour the sweetened (Stevia or Xylitol are my choice) or unsweetened tea over it for a nice change of pace and a healthy drink!

What is your favorite no calorie drink?