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Vegetables! Vegetables Vegetables!

There’s no way around the abundance of vegetarian dishes that will be cooked in our house. First, we took this vegetarian challenge on as a family a few years ago….Didn’t last long for  Rj. What do you expect though, he’s a man….gotta have his steak and potatoes right? Actually, it didn’t last long for most of us, except Keja. She’s never returned to eating meat. I spent a long time making her vegetarian alternatives to the food we ate (omitting chicken, substituting with tofu etc.). Yeah, that was very VERY time consuming. Over time we have just started eating less meat. There are weeks we don’t have it at all, but then there are other times I just start craving hot wings and meatballs. Since this change we have dramatically increased our intake of cheese, yogurt, beans, nuts and seeds, ya know, foods that are high in proteins. My daughter always has KIND brand protein bars stocked up in the cabinet and we eat tons of protein fortified foods. So, the protein isn’t really an issue. It’s just that we really prefer not to eat meat. If you know me, you know that I LOVE to cook but I don’t like ordinary meals. I like to try different things and switch it up often. So, I’m really going to try to update often with the recipes we like the most, one of our favorite being Veggie Spaghetti. It is so quick and easy to make and taste omg good. I don’t even miss the beef in this one….not at all.

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VEGGIE SPAGHETTI

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 green peppers chopped
  • 2 large carrots chopped
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 2 qt. canned tomatoes
  • 2 zucchini chopped
  • 3 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti Noodles
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oregano

DIRECTIONS

This is another super easy recipe. Saute the peppers, carrots, onions and garlic in about 1/3 cup of WATER, not oil, until tender. I mean, I guess you you could use oil but I feel like it’s unnecessary so I use water. Once tender add the tomato paste, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms and kale. Mix together and add salt, pepper and oregano to taste. Put a lid on your pot, turn on low heat and cook for about 15 minutes. Serve over spaghetti noodles.

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Overnight Oats

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If you are anything like me you will take advantage of any way you can to make mealtimes easier. Especially with such a big family, it’s always chaos. ESPECIALLY  when in the middle of cooking somebody decides to tell me they need help with homework that they said they finished last night or the baby wants me to literally watch her while she gets her “poopies” out. Oh and did I mention that I turn into a short order cook on omelette day……no cheese, only cheese, with more veggies, hold the sausage, bacon on the side…..and I’m not even getting paid for this, unless you count the hugs and kisses I get that leave peanut butter on my cheek and jelly stains on the back of my shirt. So, when I find a recipe that allows me to prepare the night before I’m all over it. It is so much easier to fix breakfast while the kids are sleep….or pretending to be sleep.

Since we’ve been really big on healthy eating I thought this recipe was perfect and it allowed room for variation so my picky kids would be happy! Everybody in the house LOVES oatmeal so I knew this would be a winner. I made two different flavors (blueberry banana and apple cinnamon) but I’m anxious to try more. I’m sure my kids will get a kick out of helping me come up with flavor combinations…..as long as they don’t include ketchup…..which is currently banned from this household…..long story!!

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BLUEBERRY BANANA OVERNIGHT OATS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (do NOT use instant or quick cooking)
  • 1 cup greek yogurt (plain)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3-4 tsp honey
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1/2 a banana sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

DIRECTIONS

Okay, this is where it gets super technical and requires a great amount of skill (sarcasm)

Mix all ingredients together in a mason jar. I used a larger jar for the amount that I made….enough to feed three  kids, but if you want to reduce the service size you can use a regular size jar. Cover and refrigerate overnight

In the morning add some fresh banana slices and blueberries. I also like adding a little granola!!


APPLE CINNAMON OVERNIGHT OATS

So you basically follow the same recipe as above except for a few slight changes. Instead of honey you will use 3-4 tsp brown sugar and your fruit will be diced apples, about a 1/2 cup. Also you will add 4 tsp of cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight

In the morning add some fresh apple slices and a couple dashes of cinnamon!!

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DIY Toothpaste With Coconut Oil

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Okay so besides the fact that I’m completely obsessed with coconut oil (I use it in my hair, on my skin, for cooking….) I am in LOVE with this homemade toothpaste. I can’t lie though, I was scared to try it. I knew that I wanted to eliminate fluoride first of all. fluoride is HIGHLY toxic. Did you know that it was used as a rat poison and an insecticide….Ewwww. No thanks. Doesn’t sound like something I should be putting in my mouth. Maybe that’s why they make such a big deal out of swallowing it. Hmmmm……Also according to the largest study conducted on fluoridation and oral health there is no evidence that fluoride actually prevents tooth decay. Okay soooooo….why are we even…..just, okay. Or how about the fact that TOO much fluoride can lead to your teeth becoming discolored and crumbling.Ironic, huh?  Excuse me but I’ll pass. So yeah, I could go on and on with all the negative effects of fluoride on your body and mind but i think you guys get the point.

So why not just buy a fluoride free toothpaste you ask? (I can hear you….all of you) Well first because there are several other harmful ingredients in toothpaste (glycerin, triclosan, etc.) and secondly I would like to have as much control as possible over the ingredients I use. There you have it, my personal reason for wanting to switch to all natural DIY. You only need three ingredients and it’s quick and easy to make.

AND…….drum roll please……the kids love it!!!!!! Go Mommy…..Go Mommy!! Winning!!  I mean after having to explain to my two year old a few months ago why she couldn’t brush her teeth with ketchup this was an easy one. This recipe can be adjusted to fit your individual taste…..more or less essential oil, or even a different flavor, like orange or eucalyptus!! If you need a sweetener you can add a tsp or so of a sweetener like stevia or xylitol but I left it out!


THE RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • About 40 drops of peppermint essential oil

Mix together in a bowl and store in an airtight jar! Keep out of reach of small children that for some unknown reason feel the need to brush their Barbie dolls hair with the toothpaste!!

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