Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WIAW & Sweet Potato Burritos Recipe

Happy Wednesday everyone! It's that time of the week again to see what I'm eating, which workout I did today, and of course, what Avery is up to.  Today I've got a bonus treat for you as I'm going to be sharing one of our favorite meals: "Sweet Potato Burritos". I know that probably sounds like an odd combination, sweet potatoes and burritos, but trust me...it's delicious!

Sweet Potato Burritos with Smooth & Creamy Guacamole

Let's get right into the "What I Ate Wednesday" fun, as linked up to Peas & Crayons. Here's my gluten-free, vegan food for the day...


5:00 AM Just woke up:
Warm water with the juice from half a lemon, here's why.


5:20 AM Pre-workout snack: Sausage McMuffin
(aka Food for Life Gluten-Free English Muffin, 
with a Sol Veggie Breakfast Patty and some maple agave nectar.)

Workout: 30 minutes of yoga with 10 Minute Solutions Yoga. Now I'm pretty OCD about getting in my full hour-long workout for the day, so even though I was running a little late this morning and wasn't able to squeeze in the full hour, I made sure to finish it when I got home from work. Granted working out after teaching all day isn't exactly my favorite activity to do, but the yoga and stretching actually felt pretty good.




7:30 AM Breakfast: Chocolate Ice Cream Smoothie 
Chia seeds, hemp seeds, raw cacao powder, rice milk, 
2 frozen bananas, 5 frozen strawberries

9:15 AM 1st Morning Snack: 1 Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar
12:00 PM Lunch: "Sweet Potato Burritos" see recipe below,
with "Smooth & Creamy Guacamole" on corn tortilla
shells with corn chips.
1:45 PM 1st Afternoon Snack: 1 organic Gala apple
3:00 PM 2nd Afternoon Snack
Almond Dream Strawberry Yogurt
3:30 PM 3rd Afternoon Snack: Bowl of "Simply Sprouted
Way Better SnacksSimply So Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips"

4:30 AM: "Green Juice" (apple juice + green powder)

Then I got home to see this little girl who was in a "swing daze"...

"La la la la...whoa this swing is relaxing!"

It didn't take her long before she was laughing and giggling as we touched the leaves in the trees.



5:15 PM Afternoon Snack #5 Million...
"Green Watermelon Smoothie" and Brandon made a pink
one for himself. Have you tried these yet? Which is
your favorite?


*This is when I finished the yoga workout I started 12 hours earlier...better late than never right?  ( :

7:00 PM Dinner: SoLVeggie Burger with my Vegan BBQ Baked Beans 
and Alexia Waffle Cut Sweet Potato Fries 


Veggie burger and fries time!

Her new favorite expression: "Hand-over-the-mouth-excited!"
Usually accompanied by a gasp of excitement. He he!

Looking like a big girl!


Quite a change from our first day of summer vacation back in May, just three short months ago...




Do babies grow up fast or what?!

Dessert:  "Crazy Ingredient Chocolate Cake" (it's cauliflower!)
from Chocolate-Covered Katie. Yum yum yum!

Now that you've read about my food for the day, let's talk about these Sweet Potato Burritos. As I said above, you wouldn't necessarily throw sweet potatoes into the running when trying to come up with burrito fillings, but when I saw the idea in a recipe book a few years back I figured, "Why not?" So I gave it a try and loved it. I was amazed how well the sweetness of the sweet potato paired so nicely with the spicy flavor of the peppers, spices, and salsa. Over the years, I tweaked the recipe a little here and a little there and now it's ready to share with you!

One great thing about these burritos is that you don't need any fancy, "health food store ingredients".You can get all the ingredients you need at most regular grocery stores, thus making it an inexpensive meal. On top of that it's quick and easy to prepare, so it's great for those busy weeknight meals. 


Sweet Potato Burritos

Inspired by: "JJ's Favorite Yam and Black Bean Burritos" from the book The Gluten-Free Vegan by Susan O'Brien

Ingredients:
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled 
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 red pepper (I didn't have a fresh one at the time, so I used an organic one from a jar)
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • 1 Tbs. chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbs. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

 Steps:


1. Chop the ingredients into 3 bowls: 1.) sweet potatoes,
2.) tomato and red pepper, 3.) onions and garlic.
2. Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil and add the chopped
sweet potatoes. Cook until soft, around 10 minutes or more.
3. Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic for 3-4 minutes.
Then add the tomato and pepper and continue sauteing for
2-3 more minutes
4. Now add 1 cup of salsa, and the spices.
5. When the sweet potatoes are done cooking, strain them
and add them to the skillet and heat through.  Now stir in
the cilantro and lime juice.

The sweet potato filling is now ready to be served up into
the burrito shells of your liking. Heck, you could have it with
tacos, or you could just dip chips in it!

My favorite thing to pair with this sweet potato burrito filling is a good ol' batch of guacamole. While on a recent trip to Colorado, I saw my cousin's husband make some guacamole in a food processor...something I had never tried before. I always thought you were supposed to mash and stir it with a fork, but boy was I missing out! The end result was so creamy, I had to keep checking to make sure there wasn't sour cream in it! As you can imagine the next time I made guacamole, I broke out the food processor and whipped up some of what I now call: "Smooth & Creamy Guacamole" and it's been our go-to recipe ever since. Hope you like it!

Smooth & Creamy Guacamole

Ingredients:
  • 4 avocados
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp. lime juice

Steps:


1. Place all the ingredients into the food processor.


2. Now process until smooth, being sure to scrape down the
sides if needed.
Be sure to "taste test" the guacamole to see if it needs any
tweaking (more onions, more cilantro, etc.). Just try not
to eat the whole batch while you're at it!

Now it's time to combine the Sweet Potato Burrito filling with the guacamole and serve it on a burrito shell. I use corn tortilla shells, since I'm gluten-free, but you could use any tortilla shell, or taco shell you want!


Enjoy the spicy sweetness!
  



See you all next week!

This post was recently linked up to "Healthy Vegan Fridays" which you can find on any of these three blogs: Everyday Vegan GirlVeggie Nook, and Carrie On Vegan. So get your "vegan on" and check out some of these great recipes!



Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pink or Green Watermelon Smoothie

Aside from incorporating lemonade into my smoothies during the summertime, another one of my favorites is watermelon. Nothing says summer like watermelon, right? Well, have you ever froze watermelon before? It probably sounds crazy, but the result (when blended with some milk to make a smoothie) is very delicious. Not to mention, hydrating and cooling. What more could you ask for from a summer smoothie?!



Unfortunately in our house there is a war brewing between two types of watermelon smoothies. There's "Team Green," my team, that adds spinach to the mix, and then there's the "Team Pink," my husband, Brandon's team, that stays true to the watermelon's original color and just combines it with some milk. 


Here's the pro's and con's of each as debated by my husband and I:

Pink Watermelon Smoothie:
  • Pro: pretty pink color
  • Con: not as much nutritional punch without the spinach
Green Watermelon Smoothie:
  • Pro: more nutritional punch with the added spinach
  • Con: not a pretty pink color at all
We'll let you decide which one you like better! Here's how to make them, as well as a "taste test" by Avery to see if she can help break the tie!  Oh and she performs some of her favorite songs as well...( :




Now before you go deciding which smoothie you want to make, here's how to freeze the watermelon.

Step 1: Once you get a watermelon, chop as much as you would
like into large, bite-size chunks.  I usually freeze half of
my watermelon like this and save the other half for eating
as a snack (not frozen).
Step 2: Place in a large glass casserole dish...the bigger the better
to hold all the frozen watermelon. As long as you don't go
putting the frozen casserole dish into the oven, I've never
had any trouble with the glass breaking. Also, it's okay
if the watermelon chunks overlap a bit.
Step 3: Freeze for at least a few hours until hard. You may notice
these white little "hairy" looking things...don't be alarmed,
it's normal.

Now let's make some smoothies with all that yummy frozen watermelon!  The question is...which one will you make?????
PINK or GREEN?

Green Watermelon Smoothie

Ingredients:

Steps:
  1. Blend together the spinach and coconut milk until no spinach leaves are visible
  2. Add the frozen watermelon and blend until combined.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Pink Watermelon Smoothie

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup rice milk or other plain milk....you could also just use 3/4 cup of a vanilla milk like I use in the green smoothie recipe, just omit the vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen watermelon chunks

Steps:
  1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth
  2. Serve and enjoy!

So there you have it, one smoothie...two different ways. So which team will you be on? Team pink or Team Green? Post your vote below and we'll see which one is the true "fan favorite".


Recently this post was linked up to Frugally Sustainable as part of the "Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Blog Hop." So check it out and find more ways you can go green!



This post was also linked up to "Healthy Vegan Fridays" which you can find any of these three blogs: Everyday Vegan GirlVeggie Nook, and Carrie On Vegan. So get your "vegan on" and check out some of these great recipes!
                                     


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sneaky Spaghetti

As you can imagine in our "green," vegan house there aren't too many meals that go by without a "sneaky" ingredient being included (remember my "Sneaky Spinach Pancakes"?) or me trying to put a healthy spin on a traditional dish. Spaghetti is no different.



Awhile back I saw an idea online where you could blend some lentils in with a jar of spaghetti sauce and I thought it was brilliant. I love lentils and all, but I'd much rather have them smooth and blended with my spaghetti sauce, than eat them right along with the noodles in full form. 

I then was inspired by my green smoothies and decided to add some spinach to the blending fun...for good measure you know.  And to top it all off, I threw in some peas. Why not? The end result, while not the most pleasant looking, was delicious and full of nutrition. 

Here are the green lentils that make this sauce so sneaky!

Here's the simple, easy recipe that can be used with any type of sauce and any type of noodles:

Sneaky Spaghetti
  • 1 cup green lentils (cooked...you could also use red or brown lentils if you wanted)
  • 2 cups spinach (more or less depending upon how green you want to go)
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I like any kind of Marinara with this recipe)
  • 1 cup of peas (optional)
  • 3/4 pkg. of spaghetti noodles (any kind, or any shape for that matter)



Directions:
  1. Blend lentils, spinach, and spaghetti sauce in a blender until smooth
  2. Combine with cooked noodles and top with peas if you would like.
  3. Serve and enjoy the yummy, sneaky noodles!




So there you have it...sneaky spaghetti!




Have you ever added lentils to a traditional dish? Share below! And let's all make some more "sneaky dishes"!
It's sneaky time!

Recently this post was linked up to Frugally Sustainable as part of the "Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Blog Hop." So check it out and find more ways you can go green!


This post was also linked up to "Your Green Resource" where a variety of bloggers get together and share their green ideas, solutions and resources. You can check out the link up party on any one of their four hosting sites: Andrea at The Greenbacks Gal, Stacy at A Delightful Home, Emily at Live Renewed, or Megan at Sorta Crunchy. There's a plethora of amazing green ideas and tips on these blogs and links so go check it out!



And last, but not least, this post was also linked up to "Healthy Vegan Fridays" which you can find any of these three blogs: Everyday Vegan Girl, Veggie Nook, and Carrie On Vegan. So get your "vegan on" and check out some of these great recipes!



Friday, August 10, 2012

My "Green" Medicine Cabinet: Baby Gas

As I've shared before, I love finding green swaps for traditional medications, such as for treating pink eye, diaper rash, seasonal allergies, and baby teething (all of which you can find in the tab up top called, "Green Medicine"). But today I'm talking about gas...baby gas that is. Nothing is more frustrating as a parent than knowing your child is hurting or fussy because of gas, but yet there's nothing you can do about it. I'm lucky that Avery's a little older now and I can usually tell by her talking to me what the problem is. But back when she was younger it was difficult, as she would be crying and even though I could hear the little gas bubbles in her tummy, I didn't know how to get them out.

Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water...a green
alternative for treating baby gas.

Sometimes baby massage, like I shared in this post, helped relieve the gas, but not all the time. That's when I started looking for some type of medicine or supplement that I could give Avery to help ease her discomfort.

Below is a picture of Avery one day after a nap when she woke up with some gas.  As I was nursing her, she would "toot" and look down at herself like, "What the heck was that?" I would say, "It was a toot....just some gas." As if she understood what I meant, but still, I thought it would at least help to give it a name.  Then every time it happened there after, she would stare down, clueless, as to what was going on in her little tummy. That's when I knew it was time to break out some medicine to help, but which kind? More on that in a second.
"What was that sound guys?"

Symptoms experienced with this ailment:
  • burping
  • flatulence
  • fussiness
  • bloating
  • cramps
  • crying
  • sometimes babies will lay down and pull at their feet and legs, almost as if trying to help the gas release

Traditional medicine: 
I think the one brand synonymous with treating baby gas is Mylicon. One of their top selling products is Mylicon Infant Gas Drops.  The drops, as stated on their website:"...are the #1 pediatrician-recommended anti-gas medicine, and relieves the discomfort of infant gas frequently caused by air swallowing or by certain formulas or foods.  MYLICON® drops are safe enough for even the newest of newborns. They're safe enough to give with every feeding."

Let's see how the Mylicon drops rank in "greenness"... by reading the ingredient list (which I found here).  
Ingredients:
Active: Simethicone 20 mg: Antigas
Inactive: anhydrous citric acid, benzoic acid, D&C Red #22, D&C Red #28, flavors, glycerides (C14-18, mono- and di-), maltitol, methylcellulose, microcrystalline cellulose and carboxymethylcellulose sodium, polyoxyl 40 stearate, polysorbate 65, purified water, silica gel, sodium benzoate, sodium citrate, xanthan gum

Eww, eww, eww! Are you kidding me? Look at all those artificial colors, preservatives, and additives. How could that be safe to give "even the newest of newborns" after every feeding? 

Now Mylicon tries to sugar coat it, saying: "Mylicon is safe because the drops are not absorbed into your baby's system." But even though I'm not a scientist, or a doctor, I don't understand how this could be true? So they "eat" the drops, which break up the tiny gas bubbles in their tummy, but yet the medication isn't absorbed through their body? Can somebody explain this to me? Oh forget it! I'm moving on to a green alternative...

"Green Medicine Cabinet" alternative:  Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water




According to their website:
"Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water is a safe and effective all natural herbal supplement used to ease gas and stomach discomfort often associated with colic, hiccups and teething.  Our gentle and effective liquid formula is Pediatrician Recommended and is the #1 selling natural remedy for colic and gas.
  • safe, natural & effective
  • made with organic ginger & fennel
  • liquid formula is fast acting
  • needs no refrigeration after opening
  • EZY Dose Dropper included in every box!"



How I used it:
 As I said above, I use the gripe water anytime I can hear gas in Avery's tummy, or hear it being released (eww...like how I'm avoiding the word "farting"? I think I'll stick with "releasing,"  it sounds so much nicer!).  I don't have to give her the gripe water very often, maybe once every two weeks or so.

Here's the dosing information directly from the bottle:
  • Babies 2 weeks to 1 month of age 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) 
  • Infants 1 to 6 months of age 1 tsp. (5 ml) 
  • Children 6 months and older 2 tsp. (10 ml) 
  • Adults 2 tbsp. (30 ml)

Take as needed, up to 6 times in a 24 hour period.

By the way, I love the "EZY Dose dropper" that comes with the bottle.  It is the best way I've found to give Avery liquid medication!  I've even saved a few of the droppers from the past, washed them out, and kept them on hand in case I need to give Avery any type of liquid medicine. 
Getting her dose of gripe water to help
with the gas.  She's going to love me
for this post when she's older-he he!

But I do use the gripe water for other occasions, even if she doesn't have gas, like if she just seems extra fussy and "gripey".  Usually I'll try some teething tablets, like I shared in this post, and if she's still fussy (despite being fed and changed), I'll then give her a dropper or two of the gripe water. After a few hours, I'll see how she's doing and possibly follow up with another dropper full just to make sure she's feeling better.

How it's greener:
Remember that nasty ingredient list from above with all those preservatives and artificial colors, well let's see how Mommy's Bliss compares...

Ingredients:
Deionized Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Fructose, Sodium Bicarbonate, Citrus Bioflavonoid Extract, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Organic Zingiber officinale (Ginger Root) Extract, Organic Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel Seed) Extract, Natural Fennel Flavor.

I don't know about you, but I love to see actual ingredients I recognize like ginger root, fennel seed, sodium bicaronate (baking soda) and water.  Yeah, you passed the green test!  Granted, some people may think the baking soda ingredient is debatable, so if you're on the fence, here's baking soda-free gripe water called, "Colic Calm."  For us, the Mommy's Bliss works great.

Another way it's greener is that Mylicon uses a single active ingredient to fight the gas, while Mommy's Bliss gripe water uses a combination of herbs and other natural ingredients to soothe gas pains and stomach discomfort. 


Even better, Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water does not contain any of the following: gluten, starch, dairy products, wheat, yeast, dill, chamomile, alcohol, parabens, artificial colors, artificial flavors, binders, sucrose (table sugar), fillers or petroleum-based by-products, and it is 100% vegetarian & vegan. 

Here's a short little video I found on YouTube that explains Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water and how to administer it:





Just a head's up: Gripe water is not limited just to babies. I read online that it can help adults too, so one time when I  had a bloated stomach and need I say...some "releasing" I took about 2 Tbs. of the Gripe Water. The result...it really did help make me feel better, just as it does with Avery. Gotta love sharing green and natural meds with my baby!

All smiles now that the gas is gone.

Where to find it:
I get mine from Wal-Mart where it only costs $7-8. You can also find it online at Amazon.com. The bottle linked to Amazon costs about $9, but they also have a 2 pack that only costs $15, which you can find here.

Also, in my research for "green remedies for baby gas" I discovered some other interesting tips and products, such as:
  • making sure to give babies lots of opportunities for tummy time to help release the gas bubbles if present
  • bicycle their legs
  • Now although most "experts" point the finger of baby gas issues at the mom and something she has ate, here's an interesting article at KellyMom.com that offers other ideas and solutions
  • Products:  
    • The Windi ($15): a soft tube that you insert, you know where, and help the baby release their gas without any drugs or medication.
    source
source

So that's how we've gone green with our baby gas medicine. Have you ever tried using a "gripe water" for digestive discomfort for your baby or even yourself? Or do you have any other tricks or tips that you've found helpful for relieving baby gas? Share below.

Now if if the Gripe Water could just do something for this wicked case of "bed head," we'd be good! ( :
Whoa baby...crazy hair!

See you next time for another peek inside my "green" medicine cabinet.

My disclaimer- I am not a medical doctor or a pharmacist. So while I can share what has worked with me, it may not work for you. I would say to talk with your "health care provider" but they will probably just tell you to take the traditional over-the-counter or prescription medication. Instead you could do your own research or talk with someone at a natural health food store.

This post was also linked up to "Your Green Resource" where a variety of bloggers get together and share their green ideas, solutions and resources. You can check out the link up party on any one of their four hosting sites: Andrea at The Greenbacks Gal, Stacy at A Delightful Home, Emily at Live Renewed, or Megan at Sorta Crunchy. There's a plethora of amazing green ideas and tips on these blogs and links so go check it out!


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