Tuesday, June 26

Summer Lunches

Summer vacation is here and the flow and energy about the house is so lively.  Kid's in and out of the house every so often, although it seems like the door is opening every 5 minutes.  I don't know about the rest of you, but when I was my children's ages my mother never saw me and my friends.  You know (or maybe you don't) but back in the day when neighborhoods were safe and "strangers" were friendly, you could disappear for hours and play so long and hard that you would come home dirty and yet still happy and excited for summer.  Home just long enough to get fed and go back out. 

Not today, today the kids are "hungry" every half hour, or so it seems.  Are they bored? Are the attention spans not the same as the "older days" because society has our kids wanting everything "right now", "quick", "fast".  Are they really hungry or just bored?  This comes to the questions that has been asked to me many times by loyal fans of fitnessmomwinecountry.  "What do you feed your kids"?  "How can I feed my kids healthy food and keep it exciting"?  Well I am no different than the rest of you "mommies" out there.  I often ask myself the exact same questions as I stand in the middle of my kitchen just staring at the fridge and cupboards thinking what, what can I make them today.  Of course as both my children have now rushed into the house pretty much grumpy and aruging because they are "hungry" or just in need of a nap.  That rush of panic hits me, but I have learned that if I am shopping properly I can produce a healthy lunch/snack and whip it up in a matter of minutes and look like I am the Super Mom of the neighborhood.

First tip to successful and healthy kids meals, shopping. Hit the market and stay smart, stay focussed.  Don't get pulled into the frozen food aisles, you know the one's with the bagel bites, or taquitos, or whatever quick micro meals kids can heat and eat.  I am not saying don't pick up the box of popsicles or icecream for the cones.  The kids have to be kids and it is summer for crying out loud, but you know what I mean.

We can't let society feed our children, we need to feed our children.  We are in control, we are the adults here and we are teaching the kids. I remember growing up and eating bologna sandwiches on white sliced sourdough bread with mayo and lettuce.  I can still taste them and go right back to the sandy beach of Lake Tahoe where I grew up like it was yesterday, boy those were the best and even better with the crunch of the sand granuals.  I don't feed the kids bologna, nor do they even like it. However, I do go with the good old standby Peanut Butter and Jelly, that is always a winner.   Lean turkey, albacore tuna, even salami every once in a while.  I have even gone ahead and whipped up lunch burritos of beans of whatever I have in the pantry, let's say pinto, white and kidney.  Wash and rinse well, heat them up grate some cheddar cheese into them to make a glue like formation and wrap with whole wheat wraps.  If I am really ready I will even have leftover brown rice (although the kids like white) and add that to the beans.  Great healthy lunch that holds them over for sometime and gives them the protein they need. 

We have a child who is hypoglycemic so getting the right foods into him is really important to help the blood sugar and yes a meal/snack every 1 1/2 hour is a must.  Anything after that becomes dangerous to his health as we have found out after watching him black out and hit the floor.  You become aware of the signs after a while, and thank goodness he has learned to read his body.  So eating healthy and wholesome meals is a must.  Not the processed and pre-packaged with all the crap and additives.

 Making lunches at home can become easy, but what about packing up and leaving for a day trip?  Well that should not be any more difficult. Packing up and heading to the beach or off for a family hike or picnic can be just as healthy and easy as staying home.  This will again take smart shopping and planning.  You don't want to get caught up in running to the snack shack and buying the corn dog or greasy burger.  Although we all know they can be tasty.  Think fruit, veggies sure you have the chips and the treat but overall keep with the healthy.  Make it fun, cut the sandwiches into shapes or use cookie cutters.  Pack individual lunch bags for each family member and don't tell them what is in them.  This makes it a fun surprise and they have no choice but to eat what you packed because well you are away from home and they need to eat.

Go with leftovers.  That grilled or baked chicken you cooked the night before, what a great next day sandwich.  Even the leftover grilled veggies can be turned into a wrap of some sort.  It is just about being creative and having fun.  Don't get into the trap of thinking of buying the box of Lunchables, ewww really? No, never.  Make your own.  Buy the deli meat, get your own crackers and cheese and create a fun lunchable that you make from home.

So whether you are staying home, heading out on a picnic, family hike or a day at the beach, basically, summer lunches and snacks can be successful and amazing if you put forth the effort.  You are teaching your kids at a young age about good food.  You are  really giving them a great foundation to look back on and you can be the "Cool Mom" that makes fun lunches.

Sunday, June 17

Happy Fathers Day...Husband

It's Father's day 2012 and well as a daughter it is emotional.  I am a child of divorce growing up with both my father and mother having some marriages under their belts.  I of course wanted nothing more growing up than to have "mommy and daddy" living together in the home happy and together as one family. Maybe as a little girl you have visions in your head of dinners together at the table, dad coming in the door from work and still playing with you no matter how tired he may be.  I don't know if the television shows back in the 70's had anything to do with that.  But I know that it was my dream. 

I did get my dad on "his days" along with the step mother and the step siblings.  Don't get me wrong, they were amazing, in fact that actually seemed closer to the stable family life that I had been able to have.  But things don't last forever and well, some "daddies" don't stay around.  Still being young, I had to understand and come to terms that my dad was moving, hmmm okay, moving far.  While we were living in California, he was going to be living in Hawaii. Yep, Maui of all places.  Great, awesome perfect place to visit and vacation.  Yet, not even the same.  Daddy was gone and we were here with mom and the stepfathers.  That is where and when my visions and illusions of "daddies" disappeared.

Growing up as a pre-teen and teenager is a task and challenge in itself, not just for me but the "replacement" fathers along the way.  Although hate is a strong word, you find yourself using it often.  The resentment, the lashing out, the anger and the sadness.  So many emotions for any young girl.  No one could replace daddy, no one!  The relationship with mom turns sour and it just can't seem to rebuild itself.  Years, go by and lots of therapy, sure why not, doesn't everyone?  Time to graduate high school and move on and "grow up", daddy is back.  A day late and a dollar short? So it seems.
Adulthood is here and you find yourself struggling along the way because of the "daddy issues" you have developed.  Great more years of figuring it out and holding on to hurt, anger and blame, only you are not just blaming daddy, you blame mom too.  Finally, that day comes and it has happened, there he is without even looking for him, in fact the last person you would think.  The complete opposite of you, I mean not even your type.   But you just never know, when you least expect it, there it is.  From that point you build on it and after much time goes by you find yourself starting a life with this person.  Building the family, and creating the one you had always dreamed about. 

I am so lucky and so blessed to have my soul mate, my complete opposite, my best friend, my partner who drives me nuts, yet loves me with ALL of my quirks and faults.  The one who is the easy-going, the one who thinks things out, the peace maker.  The one who became my husband (only husband) and the father of our children.  Yes, those dreams and visions I so wanted for myself as a little girl are reality now and with our family.  Our little girl is living the dream I wanted, along with her brothers.  Yes we have the dinners at the table at night, yes "daddy" walks through that door every night after work and after taking but only a few minutes to himself, is ready to listen to the chattering of the kids and myself.  He re-groups enough to gather that energy to play catch outside, or draw chalk on the sidewalk, or help with the math homework that I don't know how to do. He watches Sponge Bob when needs to, plays board games when summoned.  He is Daddy and he is amazing. 

A letter from Faith....

Dear Dad, wow there's alot about you that makes me love you, but let's start simple.  I love you when you come home from work on Red Grape night and bring me my fav soup and bread and that you always remember.  I love you when you go to the store really early in the morning (even before work) to pick up fresh bagels and doughnuts.  I love when we all sit and watch Whale Wars because it is Noah's fav show (although I don't really like it) and one more thing about you is that you are my only dad and I love you! Peace

A letter from Noah....

I like playing football with you and I love you.  I like it when we watch ESPN together and every story about Tim Tebow.  I like that you watch Whale Wars with me and Animal Planet.  I like that you go and buy fresh bagels in the morning.  You are more than just a good dad, you are a GREAT dad. 

Saturday, June 16

Stress Busters ...Right From the Kitchen

Okay so we all get a tad stressed from time to time. Some more than others, and it can be anything. Time of the month, the weather, money, food, body issues, kids, spouse...well you get it, if I kept going I would never finish this blog.  Instead of going to that "comfort" food, or that fattening beer, or too many drinks or worse.  Just look right in your home for some pretty natural and healthy "stress busters".

I assume that most everyone knows about lavender.  Well I hate to assume so maybe I shouldn't, I  guess it is because I live in the Wine Country and it is everywhere.  Back to why I mentioned the lavender.  You can diffuse lavender oil with a ceramic candle warmer and let sit in a room.  This is suppose to lower anxiety levels.

The coconut, let's talk about that.  I know I love coconut oil on my skin after a hot shower or warm bath.  I love to use it for shaving my legs, because I don't get that irritating razor burn.  But did you know that the scent of coconut may actually slow down the heart rate when in a really stressed mood?  It has been studied that people who breathed in coconut fragrance "actually saw their blood pressure recover more quickly after a challenging task.  It seems that inhaling a pleasant scent can enhance alertness while soothing our responses to stress.  I know I love the smell of coconut and normally I am taken away in my mind to some exotic beach location, works for me.

What about those green apples?  What is the saying? "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"?  But did you know that embracing the aroma of a green apple can help to alleviate headaches?  Good for our bodies and our heads.

Tea, love drinking tea.  I recall just posting something on black tea just last week.  Apparently drinking caffeinated black, green or oolong tea can elicit a "more alert state of mind".  An amino acid which is present in these teas seem to work synergistically with the caffeine to improve our attention and focus.  Don't drink sodas or coffee, go with the tea.  Well you should not be drinking soda at all! That is an entire different post.

What about carbs? Well we know that unless we are training our butts off and burning a ton of calories, then normally carbs are something we don't really want alot of .  However, eating carbs can stimulate the release of serotonin, you know, the "feel-good" brain chemical.  Opt for the whole grains like quinoa and oatmeal, these will have more fiber and nutrients than refined.

Oh the dark chocolate....where do I start and how can we go wrong? This beautiful food can help reduce the levels of cortisol and catecholamines (the hormones associated with stress) and this is even more so for those with high anxiety. You don't need to tell me twice. Of course the darker the chocolate, the healthier.  However, though stress relieving, it can also put on the weight if we take advantage of it.  So go easy but keep it in the fridge.

Of course there are many stress relievers that are good for us, exercise, working out , sex, laughter,crying.  But I thought I would share these tips from Eating Well. 

Wednesday, June 13

Simple Fontina Spinach-Stuffed Chicken

It's pretty much Summer and time for really light meals. We don't have the new grill up yet, however we can still get creative in a warm weather way with cooking indoors.  I want to devote more time to this blog, but with days busy with other activities, well it seems to be difficult.  I tend to feel guilty being on a computer during the nice days instead of playing with the kids, even though they are not lacking in the attention area from us.
I really love when my hubby is home from work and we can plan out a "date" dinner.  Those are my most fav meals.  This Fontina Chicken is one we had last night.

Serve for 4 Peeps

Chicken Breast, boned and skinless 4
Fontina Cheese
Granulated Garlic
Fresh Spinach Leaves (if you are not able to get good fresh produce) go with the frozen spinach but defrost first
Green Scallions
Rice (white or brown)
Low Sodium Veggie Broth

Pound the chicken out, place in between Saran wrap to keep mess minimal
Sprinkle sea salt and ground pepper and add two slices of Fontina cheese and about 8 spinach leaves *NOTE* this is for each breast
Roll the breast and turn left side, then right side and place fold down on foil in baking dish, drizzle EVOO over the top and sprinkle with fav seasonings.

Bake for about 20 mins at 350 degrees OR until the center of the breast is 165 degrees. Serve with rice.

Cook rice in low sodium veggie broth OR chicken broth and add sliced green scallions after cooked for color and flavor. Add some sauteed or steamed veggies for a side or not, this was just filling enough without feeling super full.