We switched to “Real Food”

I have struggled with my weight for many many years! I have written blogs about it, complained about it, and had finally given in and decided to accept it when something amazing happened to me.

A couple of years ago, Karol and I went to see Jillian Michaels.  Going was kind of a fluke.  We love Jillian Michaels, and to be honest I had no idea she was doing a speaking tour.  I happened to stumble upon the information on Facebook, and checked out the price of tickets.

The night came and we went to see the amazing Jillian Michaels.  The first hour she talked about food and the second hour she talked about living a full life without “shoulds” and guilt, etc.  I have spent years in therapy, that stuff I knew. But the food stuff that I should have known, had eluded me somehow. That night we chose to make some changes to the foods we were purchasing and consuming.  We switched to “Real Food”.

I was a bit worried about switching to organic because of the price of organic food.  Which is really stupid, by the way.  Why is it that food which requires less chemicals, less spraying, less feed, etc be more expensive??  It should actually be cheaper because the crops require “less” care essentially. I have written about my huge grocery bills. Switching to an organic diet was daunting to say the least.  I was worried about the cost, and how I was going to afford to feed my family of 5 and not break the bank.  But Karol and I were committed to eating better.  No more pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and other nastiness in our food. However, the cost of switching really concerned me.

So we entered the Real Food genre slowly.  Just purchasing the food we were making for ourselves.  The interesting thing was the first week we purchased all organic for ourselves we reduced our grocery bill by almost $100.00!!!

Photo courtesy of Blue Planet Green living

Photo courtesy of Blue Planet Green Living

So we ventured out farther into the organic realm and purchased organic meats and dairy.  I have to say that the milk was the hardest for me.  Spending $6.00 a gallon almost gave me a heart attack, but I figured it was the right thing for my family, so I just took a deep breath and put it in the cart.  Two of them…..  The most interesting thing is, my boys like the organic foods.  They say they taste better!!!

We bought organic peanut butter, organic crackers, cereal, creamer, etc.  It has been an interesting transition.  The second week we bought organics, the grocery bill was a bit higher than the first week, but we had cat litter, cat food, and some cleaning supplies, so it was not all food.  Actually we put the animals on organic food as well.  The cats eat an organic cat food, and the dog gets organic grain free food.  He no longer has an itchy skin problem!

I am excited to keep going and see how healthy we can get!! No more chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics for my family!!

 

Meanest Mom Ever!

Some women say they are mean moms if they haven’t baked cookies for their kids, or didn’t fold their clothes.  I know some moms who make their kids’ sandwiches and then cut off the crusts, and THEN use heart shaped cookie cutouts….really??????

Some moms bake for their kids….some moms put little love notes in their kids lunches that THE MOMS pack.  Some moms wake their kids up with hugs and kisses, and cuddles.

I am NOT one of those moms.

I am the mom who sleeps in after the kids are already up. (They get up at 7:00 and leave at 7:45.)  I get up at 7:30, so I do get up before they leave for school. That way I can give them a hug and tell them to have a great day.  But if they oversleep I throw open their doors, and say, “I am NOT driving you to school….get your butt out of bed and get ready”    However, I am not a complete ogre.  If  they are really running late, I will help them out by packing their lunch…..minus the love notes and WITH the crust on the bread…….

My point is, I am a mean mom.

I spanked my kids when they were little.  Although I have to admit spankings never worked with The Genius.  He would just look at me after a spanking with a “Is that all you got?” look.  For him it was time outs and taking away toys.,  That was much more effective for him.

I made them eat vegetables.  I would say to them, “Eat your green beans, or you will go to bed.”  And then I would put them to bed if they didn’t eat the green beans.

Both the boys (18 and 16) have cell phones, however, they pay their own bills every month.  If they cannot pay their bills, I get their phone.  It comes to me.  In my house if you can’t pay for your cell phone bill yourself, you don’t get a cell phone.

My kids don’t have tvs in their rooms.  They share a computer that is in the family room.  I block access to certain websites, and I monitor what they do on the computer.  I also read their texts and I know their Facebook passwords and check their messages.  Basically my kids have limited privacy.

The oldest one has a job and when he got his job I stopped paying him allowance. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to do chores. He still has to do chores around the house.  He is part of this family and therefore helps create the mess and so therefore he gets to help clean it up. Sans cash.   I figure if he eats my groceries, uses my electricity and hot water, he can empty the dishwasher and take out the trash……The 16 year old doesn’t have a job…….yet. So he gets paid his  “age” each week for completed chores.  So since he is 16 he makes $16.00. If he does not complete his chores for the day I do not pay him for that day.

I believe in tough love. I believe it is my job to turn these young, beautiful creatures who lack much in skills, common sense and responsibility into mature, respectful, responsible, capable human beings before I turn them loose on the world.  And I take my job very seriously.

In short, I am a meanie. So if you are a mean (which really means a caring, tough loving, turning them into responsible adults) parent, then unite with me!!!  We shall be honest about who we are and stand up for what we believe in!!!!!!  “Mean” is good!!

BEST EVER fudgy brownies

In the past I have posted some healthy recipes, and some not so healthy recipes.  This one is a not so healthy one.  Though I did use white whole wheat flour which redeems these brownies just a tiny bit.  But all of the rich chocolate and sugar and butter removes any redemption the white whole wheat flour gave them.  Meh, life is about the good for you and the not so good for you!  These brownies aren’t meant to be good for you.  Life is about balance.  Balance means eery now and then you just have to eat something that feeds the soul as well as the body! For me that is a rich, fudgy, chocolatey brownie!! And today is that day!!

I have baked LOTS of brownies over the years.  But this has become my “go to” brownie recipe.  If you love a deeper richer chocolate taste, use dark chocolate cocoa, otherwise, regular cocoa will still make these super fudgy out of the world  hide-from-your-kids-so-you-don’t-have-to-share kind of brownies.

ENJOY!!!

KING ARTHUR FLOUR FUDGE BROWNIES
•    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
•    2 cups light brown sugar
•    3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    1 teaspoon baking powder
•    1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional but recommended
•    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
•    4 large eggs
•    1 1/2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
•    2 cups (or 12 oz) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan
2) In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat briefly, just until it’s hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.
3) While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.
4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.
5) Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.
6) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan.
7) Bake the brownies for about 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.  ( I will reduce time to 25 minutes the next time I make these)

Amazing!!

Amazing!!

Melt butter in double boiler (or microwave and mix with brown sugar:

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Keep stirring until butter and sugar are well mixed together:

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Stir in cocoa:

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Eggs:

DSCF0519

Baking powder, vanilla and espresso powder:

can be used instead of espresso powder

can be used instead of espresso powder

I used vanilla paste instead of liquid.  Flavor is a bit mire rich with paste (and I had just run our of liquid and had this in my cupboard)

I used vanilla paste instead of liquid. Flavor is a bit more rich with paste (and I had just run our of liquid and had this in my cupboard)

 

brownie6baking power, coffee, and vanilla paste on top of batter.

Mix in flour:

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Stir until mixed well:

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add 2 cups or 2 oz of chocolate chips. I use a mixture of semisweet and dark chocolate:

brownie10

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Bake in a glass pan at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until tester comes out of center clean;

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When cool cut and enjoy:

Sinfully delicious!!

Sinfully delicious!!