Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Privacy Please

Hello to all my friends and family. Just wanted to let you all know that I will be making my blog private as of Monday. If you want to continue to have access to my blog, please give me your email address so I can put you on the list of those who are allowed to view. It never really occurred to me that random people are looking at my personal photos and thoughts. I know some people are perfectly ok with this, but it kind of gives me the willies. I naively thought that you had to know my blog address to access it, and who would randomly type that in???? Jennifer showed me the "next blog" button and how it just automatically takes you to the next persons blog. I almost scrapped my blog completely until she encouraged me to look into how to make the blog private. I've got it all figured out, but I don't want to loose contact with some of you who I do not have your email. So, if you want to keep following, send me your email address.

Hope you are all doing great!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ok, so just so you guys know. My kids do eat junk food and sugar, as well as pizza and fettuccine alfredo with shrimp! On occasion, we even stop thru a fast food joint, but to get through it, I have to tell myself that I can't deprive my kids of childhood fun when we do.

It is because I LOVE to cook that it is so easy for me to spend time and energy doing it. There is something creative in it that gives me a thrill. Somehow cooking to me is not a chore. I even enjoy going to search out in season fruits and veggies at the farmers market that is held every Thursday literally within walking distance of the restaurant. I actually show up early to prep at the restaurant so that I have time to go over there and check things out.

I do use sugar, flour, pasta, and rice products. Most of the time they are whole wheat brands. I even make pancakes with whole wheat flour. The kids wolf them up like they are going out of style.

There are currently alot of "convenience foods" on the market that we use as well. My favorite distributor of these types of foods is Kashi. They have great cereal bars, instant oatmeal, frozen waffles, etc.

After reading my previous post, I thought you all might get the idea that I am a "drill Sargent" of food. So, I wanted to make sure you all know that I don't deprive the kids of sugar, it is just in moderation......and always the real thing. (:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Exploring Nutrition

I have really been looking forward to this blog. I am writing about one of my favorite things. Good food. Coming from a Southern family, baking has always been an important way of showing love and appreciation. I picked up my love of cooking "real food" from my exposure to Greeks and Italians. I have learned how food is woven into everyday life and traditions. Traveling abroad and living with people who cook totally different than I do, has had a huge effect on how I cook. Another way I have come to appreciate good food is through actually having a restaurant. Customers who love to cook, love to talk about it. Over the years, many have shared recipes and ideas with me, just because they know that we appreciate something yummy to eat. Also, eating and entertaining go hand in hand, and all who know me, know I LOVE a party. I will use any excuse to have people in my kitchen. Even if they are all 6 years old and under.

Speaking of that, I would say what had the most profound affect on how I cook was having children. While pregnant with Steven, I could not read enough about healthy eating and how food has a direct effect on our bodies (and our children's). You all know how every Mother has their "thing". It's the one thing that no matter what, she doesn't compromise. That for me is what goes into my children's mouths. For others, it may be making sure they have a helmet and knee pads on while ridding bikes. (my children have them, but seldom wear them) You all know what I mean. Everyone is different, and I do not judge other mom's for their choices of what to feed their kids. And, I would appreciate no judgement on the helmet thing. (: The only time I cringe is when I see my own child making poor choices on what to eat.....not others. However, if I could give some gentle advice, and you are willing to take it, read on.

In my cooking, I try my best to cook with fresh ingredients. This means cooking with no cans and no boxes. If you can't cook with organic ingredients, do your best to make sure they are fresh and without hormones. I once read that the best foods for you to chose in the supermarket are on the four walls of the place, not down the aisles. I encourage you all to give it a try. Next time you are at your grocery store, only shop the walls. Don't go down the aisles unless it is for cleaning products, etc. (Cleaning products are another blog) For me, vinegar and water are great.

You can also stop at your local fruit and vegetable stand. It is very likely that the food sold there is fresh and hasn't traveled far. Cook your veggies in a steamer pot. If you boil them, it zaps a lot of the nutrients right out. This is most every vegetable.

I have no problem with butter and spices, as long as it is the real thing. Ask yourself if it comes from the earth. "Did the Good Lord make this product I am about to put in my mouth?" He doesn't make fat free or substitute sweeteners, so splenda and anything containing aspartame are NOT ideal. (unless you have a specific dietary reason) Also, I encourage you all to give cooking with herbs a try. I have a small herb garden in pots on my lanai, that I use almost everyday in cooking. If a recipe calls for herbs, just use a little more fresh than you would dried, as the fresh herbs are less potent.

As a result of all this, my children have come to appreciate good food. They have such advanced palates, and eat some of the most non "kid friendly" food. They are willing to try most anything, and are very picky about what they eat, but in a good way. Imagine me taking them over to Greece for the summer, as we do. How in the world could I get them to eat over there, if they weren't used to eating real food? In Greece, they do not have processed foods. No boxed up or canned foods. I would have to pack a whole suitcase full of mac n cheese boxes. No Thanks! Put food that comes out of a can in front of Steven, and he'll look at you like your crazy. Ask my brother who once tried to feed him spaghetti o's. Steven said, "Umm, no thank you" then pushed the plate away. The child knows good food better than most adults. Also, Amanda Lily LOVES to help me cook. She loves watering the herbs, etc. Taking on good nutrition is a fun process. I know most people won't take it up like we do. It is just something I am passionate about.

Another thought is Teflon.....I do not cook with anything that is coated in the stuff. All stainless steel pots and pans in my kitchen. Think about it. When you heat up a pot or pan, then add your food, how much Teflon is leaching into your food????? Not to mention if your husband cooks and decides to use a metal spoon then scrapes little shavings of the stuff into your food. Also, do not heat plastic or melamine in the microwave, or you get the same cancer causing plastics leaching into your food. Only use glass when using your microwave, otherwise you might end up eating more than just your day old pizza, or even worse, serving it to your child.

Ok. So, I could go on and on and on(fast food and soda, etc) but I'll stop here. I hope you all have taken something from this post that you can use in your cooking experience.

Jeanne, this one was for you. (:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Natalie's Baby Shower

My sweet friend Natalie. Well, after many years of trying and lots of heartache and losses, she and her husband are being blessed with a little girl! She is super excited, as we all have been for her. I hosted one of her baby showers here at my home, and was so happy to do it!

I made a great cherry chicken salad for finger food, as well as chocolate strawberries, and a variety of other food. (those two foods seemed to be the popular ones) Natalie got lots of great gifts to start her off in Motherhood. We all can't wait to meet baby Coryn, and are praying for a quick, easy, delivery. And, a happy, healthy baby and mommy! I hope all you fellow high school cheerleaders enjoy the photos. I'm sure most of you haven't seen Natalie since Graduation......

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve was a blast for us. It was very low key. We had friends and family, and a bunch of kiddie's! I was very surprised at how well the children all stayed up without completely falling apart! Which, they were all vamped up on chocolate fondue and Uncle George's fireworks! Seriously people, I can't believe the fireworks that were in my backyard. Our neighbors must have LOVED us that night! (: George traveled over to Daytona to get them to the same spot he has been buying fireworks since we lived over there 9 years ago. They were beautiful. Not talkin Disney, but definitely better than Venetian Gardens on July 4th. We also had sparklers that were fun. I lost it laughing at Dan playing around with the sparklers. He and Jessica somehow became the designated sparkler lighters. The kids couldn't get to them fast enough. It was a great time. The fondue was soooooo fun. I really enjoyed making it up, and it was yummy. I am thinking of doing a Valentine's fondue party for the kids and a few friends. (That was supposed to happen last year, but my kids got seriously sick, and we cancelled) Anyhow, it is a great idea for those of you who have small kids. Little effort is involved, and what kid doesn't like fondue???? My prayer is that all who read this have a blessed 2009.

ps..I have a prayer request for my pregnant friends. Please pray for them. Their names are Hannah, Natalie, and Jennifer. All three have amazing pregnancy stories, and are needing prayer for strength.

Love to all.