family · food · life

Is pasta a protein?

Mom, is my pasta protein? No, it’s a carb. But, I thought you said that gluten is the protein in wheat, so doesn’t that make pasta a protein. Ummm, Ummm, it’s carb that has some protein OK!?!

That was my conversation with Colby last night.

When I went back to work, one of the things that became the boys responsibility was making their own lunches. At the time, they had Sistema To Go Collection Lunch Cube Food Storage Container, 47.3 Ounce/ 5.9 Cup (2 Pack) Clear with Assorted Color Accents to pack their lunches. This is divided into three sections. They learned to pack a protein item into the large section, a fruit/veggie into one of the smaller and a junk into the third section. To this day, even though they don’t have these cubes anymore they still pack a protein (meal), fruit and junk in their lunch. So what constitutes a protein has often been and still continues a topic of conversation.

Over the years, the boys have taken to reading the labels of many food products. They look at the proteins, sugars and calories in the items they eat. They have learned that they need to increase their protein if they want to build muscle. They know that sugars tend to be empty calories.

While we don’t want them to feel they can’t have certain foods, we are trying to help them see how to pick certain foods in moderation. This doesn’t stop them from debating over whose food choices are better and typically who eats the better protein foods.

We still are working on what foods go into what food categories evidently, but hey at least they are thinking about food choices already, even if it is to challenge my responses.

**contains Amazon links, please read my disclosure statement**

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family · life · through my camera lens

Busy week and birds

This has been a strange week. Originally I had thought it was going to be a busy week. I took Monday and plowed through most of my house cleaning jobs. The boys has mountain bike class Monday night. It had rained before that and they came home a muddy mess, but they had fun. Richard got off work early and met up with me to walk. He decided to stop home and pick up Dixie too. I walked around 3.5 miles. Richard and Dixie walked about 2.5 miles.

Tuesday Colby was supposed to have his field day. I had volunteered to help out. I got an e-mail at 7am saying it was postponed until Friday. The weather was calling for storms, plus they said there were field issues, probably flooding.  I went to the grocery store, made another pasta salad and baked chocolate chip cookies (it was national chocolate chip cookie day).

Blake went on a field trip. Chatham University backs up to their school campus. They have been learning about streams, fish and other natural environments, so they went to Chatham to collect water samples. They also looked at the creatures who live in the stream. After that they went to the garden there and helped work in the garden. They at lunch in the University cafeteria as well. Blake said he had a great time and the campus was “really cool.”

Today is Blake’s field day. We were a bit shocked to not get an e-mail saying it too was cancelled. The rain is now forecast to start at 4 instead of noon like it was last night. So I will be heading over there around noon to help with his field day. Colby is going on a quick walking field trip today. His class is walking over to the lower elementary school across the street. They are going over to read poems to the first graders. He had to write a poem that he shared with his class yesterday and the first graders today.

Tomorrow we are back at mountain biking!

Busy is good.

On a calmer note, we have a new visitor to our bird feeder. Baltimore Orioles. We added an orange sliced in half, added the wilting grapes and are trying to convince the Orioles, and other birds to stay. All four of us enjoy watching the birds visit the feeder. It is so relaxing and such a great way to touch nature.

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family · food · life

Favorite Foods… family addition

Happy Saturday!

Over the last few weeks I’ve seen a few people posting about their favorite food items. I decided to take this and Lori-ize it. So you are going to get our family version of the top 5 food items.  Here we go:

Colby:

  1. Pasta- Colby would eat pasta all day every day if I allowed him to. I try to limit it to a few days a week. His favorite right now would be anything with Alfredo sauce
  2. Peanut Butter- He loves to eat this on a spoon, in a bowl or on a sandwich. He puts it with chocolate, honey or jelly.
  3. Steak- Colby has recently learned about the joys of filet minion. When we have gone on the Disney Cruises he eats steak almost every night for dinner.
  4. Stromboli- especially if Richard makes it at home
  5. Bacon, Bacon, Bacon- need I say more?

Blake:

  1. Pizza/ Stromboli- Blake LOVES pizza and tries to have it every week on the menu
  2. Cheese- Blake eats cheese 24/7, by the slice, shredded, in sandwiches or any other way he can have it
  3. Chocolate- anything sweet Blake eats has to be chocolate
  4. Quesadillas- This is something Blake makes almost every time we have fend for yourself (FFY)
  5. Chips- Blake eats at least one single size bag of chips every day.

Richard:

  1. Steak- Give Richard a rare to medium rare steak with the right seasoning and he is more than a happy camper
  2. Subs- This is reason we go to DiBella’s almost every weekend. He enjoys Italian, cheese steak and well… so many more
  3. Pizza- Richard not only loves to eat pizza, but he also loves to make his own pizza
  4. mint chocolate chip ice cream- This is his absolute favorite ice cream. He picks this as his flavor for sundaes, milkshakes and any other ice cream products
  5. fajitas- chicken or steak doesn’t matter… with or without onions and peppers… the drippier the better
  6. brownies- this is Richard’s go to desert

For me…

  1. Chocolate- do not give me the cheap stuff!  Ghirardelli, Lindt Truffles, Dove are my go to. Now don’t get me wrong give me a Snickers or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and I’m happy, but there is something about the quality chocolate you can’t beat.
  2. Hummus- that stuff is addicting! I love it on tortilla chips, on chicken, on pretzels, on carrots… hummus is good! I need to make some of my homemade hummus to share with you one of these days.
  3. Fruit- the fresher the better. I can’t wait for the berries to be ready to pick
  4. Anything we didn’t have yesterday— I enjoy leftovers, just not the next day. I hate having to eat the same kind of foods for multiple days in a row

UMMMMM…. UMMMMM I don’t know if I have a 5th thing. I’m not a person that has a ton of favorite items. I like a lot of different things but I’m not an OMG I have to eat this. I like to switch things up a lot as I easily get bored with foods.

Join the fun… what are your favorite foods?

 

 

 

food · reviews · through my camera lens

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars

Yesterday I never did get around to writing a blog post, I’m not sure why, but oh well such is life.

I saw the recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel bars and thought they looked rather yummy. Who does’t like chocolate, peanut butter and pretzels, oh wait I know a few people who don’t, but I like them and that’s what counts, a lot of people like them and that is what’s important.

I made them yesterday… well I made something similar anyway. I followed the recipe, but then “Lori-ized it”. And, as soon as I tried one I was already re-writing the recipe in my head.

This is what I did:

Ingredients
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (divided) Image may contain: dessert, food and outdoor
  • bag of mini pretzel twists
  • 4 oz. box Reese’s Pieces candy
Peanut Butter Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate layer:
  1. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a siltpad
  2. Melt 8 ounces of the chocolate chips gently in the microwave (on low heat, stirring every 15 seconds) until smooth. (my microwave has a melt chocolate setting so I used that, but this is the typical way to melt chocolate in a microwave without burning it)

For the peanut butter sauce:
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat add honey and sugar and stir well to combine.

  2. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 full minute, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until smooth.

  3. Stir in vanilla

     

Assembly:

  1. Spread the melted chocolate onto the baking sheet, don’t worry about neatness aim more for a similar thickness across the surface area used
  2. Top with pretzels and Reese’s Pieces. You can put them down at random, or be more like me and spend time making sure they are evenly spaced out (ok a bit OCD there, but hey what can I say?) Lightly press into chocolate
  3. Prep peanut butter layer. I had enough to spread it in an even layer over the whole bar
  4. Add an additional layer of the pretzels and press into peanut butter layer
  5. melt remaining 4 oz of chocolate and drizzle over the top of everything.
  6. Refrigerate until solid.
  7. Cut or break into pieces
  8. Enjoy!

OK… now here is how I’d change it next time!

First I felt this was very honey forward. I would either use 1/4 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of agave nectar or switch it all to agave nectar (I am not a huge honey fan even though both Richard and Colby love the stuff and eat it all the time).

Also, I would add salt to the peanut butter layer to bring out the peanut butter flavor more than just the sweet of the honey/sugar combination

I liked the double layer of pretzels (that I already changed from the original recipe), but felt the Reese’s pieces got lost. So you either need to double the amount you use or add peanut butter chips or even peanut M&M’s to up the peanut flavor.

Finally I would put more of the chocolate into the bottom layer maybe only reserve 2.5 oz for the top so it was a true drizzle and not a full layer of chocolate.

Colby tried these out as his after school snack. He loves peanut butter and chocolate together. He loves peanut butter and honey together. He always eats peanut butter and pretzels together. He LOVES  Reese’s Pieces. So this treat was right up his alley. Richard also enjoyed them when he came home from work. I guess I will be making these again, but next time I’ll “Lori-ize” them even more!

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family · food

Wheat Berries

It’s snowing again… what?? This weekend we were wearing shorts today I’m wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. It’s only 33F outside and won’t get much warmer. Tomorrow is forecast to be in the 50s and then there is snow in the forecast again for Thursday. What is wrong with this picture?

Yesterday we had FFY (fend for yourself) dinner. Richard had to work late at a planning meeting that ended in dinner out. So I used it as an opportunity to try a new grain. A few weeks ago, I purchased wheat berry. I decided to make this to have for dinner. I found the directions on Genius Kitchen, I bought the wheat berries from the bulk section so I didn’t have any kind of directions. It was pretty easy to make. You started by toasting the wheat berries in the pan which was neat since they pop and even started to smell almost popcorn like. Then you add 2c of water to the 1c wheat berries. It cooks for about 1hr. I did end up needing to add a bit more water, which the recipe said might happen.

I put the wheat berries into a bowl and topped it with steak, cheddar cheese, carrots and a bit of ceasar dressing. Both Colby and Blake tried the wheat berries too. Colby really liked then and considered having it for his dinner, but he already had started making pasta. He did try it topped with alfredo since he was making it for his pasta and said it was really good. Blake tried one bite and didn’t make a big deal over it and said he liked it better than quinoa.

I like finding new things to try especially healthier versions of things we like. Now, I would not call this a replacement for rice or pasta, but it was good. It will make a nice topper for salads or an addition to a pasta salad.

Have you tried wheat berries? Any recipes with wheat berries that I should try? What ancient grains have you tried and liked?

Hope the world is bright and sunny where you are… if so send some to me here in western PA… I’m over winter. Let’s finish loading spring!

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family · life · through my camera lens

Happy Easter Fools Day!

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The funny bunny arrived at our house. The boys found their first eggs on their chair at the kitchen table, and  the start of the hunt. Each egg sends them to the next location. On Colby’s third location he found his basket, normally this is the end of the hunt, but not this year. It was located in the pots and pans cabinet and there was a pot inside the basket with another egg. The bunny said “Happy Easter Fools Day, you aren’t done hunting yet.” This then sent him to his next location. Blake found a similar egg in his basket at his fourth location, which was in “the bathroom that isn’t”, we have the rough plumbing for a bathroom in our basement.

I guess that funny bunny decided that since Easter fell on April Fools day he needed to play a joke on the boys. They did finally find all their Easter goodies hidden (Colby’s with his Traxxas truck and Blake with his lunch box).

In their basket ummm pile they each got a book, a Raspberry Pi, Lego Dimensions extension packs, and a new card game. Colby also got a carrot filled with reese pieces and Blake got Dove chocolate bunny ears. We have already played both card games, they are a lot of fun and I’ll review them later this week. Blake already read the book from Colby’s basket and has almost finished the one from his basket as well.

After that was done, we had scramblers for brunch. I made pepper and onion scramblers with cheddar cheese. Richard made bacon to have with them. Richard and I decided to have breakfast sandwiches and put all that yummy goodness on a croissant. (sorry I didn’t take a picture before diving into it).

For “linner” we are having ham, Cheesy au Gratin Potatoes, salad and homemade rolls. I’m in the process of making this. I am trying another new roll recipe, but I think I messed it up this time. I don’t think the water I used was hot enough, which means it didn’t allow the yeast to bloom enough. They turned out ok, they aren’t as fluffy as I’d like, but they aren’t rock hard which is a good thing. So we will eat them, but next time I will certainly make sure I use hot water.

I hope the funny bunny was good to you and didn’t play too many April Fools day jokes.

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This post contains links to products that can be found on Amazon. If you wish, you can click on these links. I will get compensation for any purchases made through the links. I hope to be able to monetize my blog in order to pay for my blog fees for next year! Please read my disclosure statement.

life

Flashlight Egg Hunt: written by Blake

Many of you asked about the flashlight egg hunt. The activity was 2 hours and they let us just drop off the kids, so there are no pictures and I couldn’t write about it since I wasn’t there. So, I decided to ask Blake to write about it for you. Here is what he had to say…

Blake:

So, yesterday was Good Friday, right? I had a ‘Good Friday’… literally! First we went to Kelly O’s for breakfast (Mom might have done a review on it, I don’t know) we went to Toys R Us for the last time (they went out of business, that’s why), Colby and then I did a Madden tournament in the basement (we each won a game- Blake as the Patriots 3-0- Colby as the Broncos, and Blake, as the Falcons 13- 15 Colby, Seattle.). Then for dinner we had pizza, but we weren’t done. We went to the Pine Community Center for a Flashlight Egg Hunt, which is my main topic.

At 7:15-ish, we arrived at the Pine Community Center. We waited for about 10 minutes or so, and then we went inside to a room, where we talked for about 15 minutes or so. Then the people running the thing announced that the sun just set, and we would wait for about half an hour by playing some games in the gym. There were three games that were (obviously) Easter themed. My personal favorite was the last thing, which had nothing to do with Easter at all, it was knockout, like the basketball game. The rules were explained, and we began. In the end, we played three games, and I got 4th, 4th, and 3rd place. There was one bad thing I learned about later, which happened to Colby. We were split up into two groups, and we were on different sides. Colby got nearly hit in the eye, but under the eye. (Colby’s note: I’m fine now, I still had fun.) Then we came back, and we grabbed our baskets, and we went outside. The rules were explained, they counted down, and we began! There were a bunch of eggs laying right where the starting point was, and I grabbed a few of those. I then noticed that there were a few eggs laying on the windowsills, so I grabbed those before anybody else could find them. After that, I only found, what, a couple more? Colby noticed while I was doing that, that on the cones bordering the area, that there were eggs on those cones as well. (Colby’s note: Such a jackpot!) There was a limit to 30 eggs, and I collected 44 eggs. So, a friend and I tossed out the 14 eggs. He was on one side, I went to the other. To practically prove that I’m from the South, I yelled, “Hey! Hey! Ya’ll want some eggs?! Huh?! Ya’ll want some eggs?! COME GET THEM!!!” Then, I threw them on the pavement, and they all cracked open. Oops. We went inside, and we looked at what we got inside. Colby and I both got $5 off for Fun Fore All. I also got a free small milkshake from Chik-Fil-A, and Colby also got a Starbucks gift card. After giving away what I don’t eat for candy, I was left with 31 things of Dubble Bubble, two Hershey’s Kisses, and two Starburst.

So that’s what happened on the night of Good Friday, and you will see Colby tomorrow for the Easter one. Happy Easter, and see you soon!

 

 

family · life · through my camera lens

Saturday is for Family Fun

Yesterday found us with lots to do, but it didn’t feel super busy. We started the day by sleeping in, isn’t this the best part of the weekends? Then we headed off the gym. The boys are participating in a 6 week programs called Little Lifters. They are showing kids 8-13 safe ways to workout at their age. The first week they did body weight exercises (squats, burpees, jumping jacks, plank, push up, etc…). This week they used light dumbbells and did: curls, shoulder press, Russian twist, goblet squat, triceps extensions and row. The class last an hour and they do rotations of six stations while talking about form and safety.

Typically when the boys workout in this class Richard and I do too. Well we started out with our typical 5 min on the rowing machine and then moved on with out workout. Richard hasn’t felt good since he returned from his travel and no one likes to workout when you can’t breathe right soooo we switched things up a lot! We decided to walk the track for a while and then when we got tired of that we went and shot baskets on the basketball court. We learned that neither of us is good at basketball, but we actually had a lot of laughs and enjoyed just goofing around for a bit.

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When we were done we headed to Lowes and DiBella’s our typical Saturday jaunt. We actually had a reason to go to Lowes other than to torture the boys (they now hate going to Lowes unless we tell them a “good reason for it”). This now means that we have a good reason to go to Lowes… to annoy them! But this time we were going to get a grill. We sold our grill in Orlando and have yet to get a new one. This would be shocking to those who knew us in Florida because we grilled out ALL THE TIME. I would say that I grilled at least 4 out of 7 meals a week. I’m so ready for a steak or grilled pizza. Grilled chicken is so much better than baked. Yep, we are ready to have a grill again!

After working a bit in the yard to get the grill up and ready to go, the boys and Richard took their Traxxas trucks out in front. Richard has had a Traxxas truck for a few years now. The boys got theirs for Christmas. They love taking them out into the cul-de-sac and driving them around. Most of the snow has melted, but the corners of all the driveways still have piles that made great jumps. Colby took his over into the empty lot next door. (They are going to miss this when they build the house next door starting soon)

Richard has become the resident Traxxas mechanic. He has a lot of parts and pieces already, but you can get replacements at hobby shops and sometimes on Amazon. Blake has already had to learn that, as he broke a part on his truck already.

When we were done with that it was time for dinner. Colby had requested pancakes. I decided to try out a new recipe from a cookbook that I have. I have a recipe off pinterest that I typically use, but decided to try something new. These pancakes had less sugar, but more dairy(buttermilk, sour cream, and butter). For this recipe you had to separate the eggs and whip the whites (I handed this job over to Richard so I could finish the rest of the recipe).

The pancakes batter was a lot thicker than our other recipe. It created a more “cakey” pancake, but it had good flavor. I tried my first bite with just a bit of butter. When I was a kid I always ate my pancakes with just butter. I’m not sure when I started using maple syrup. My boys eat their pancakes with syrup and no butter. Richard eats his with both butter and syrup. I always find it interesting to see how differently people in one family can eat the same food items.

After dinner we decided to watch Ghostbusters. We have been slowly watching some great “classic” movies with the boys. We have watched Indiana Jones, Forest Gump, Star Wars, Back to the Future and many more movies that we enjoyed growing up and over the years before the boys were born. It is very funny to watch what was at the time considered impressive graphics and think wow this is really sad looking.

That was our Saturday. It was a busy, fun filled, family day. I love days like that when we can do a lot, but it doesn’t feel super busy because we are having fun together. I hope your Saturday was productive and your Sunday brings about smiles and sunshine!

 

family · life · through my camera lens

Snow Day Today

The forecast this week was for us to get a wintry mix yesterday and then they said 3-6″ of snow before 8pm last night. That my friends did not happen! We had a wintry mix on and off and did see some snow from time to time, but there was little to no snow when we went to bed last night. This morning we woke up to a white world.

At 5am we got the call saying there would be a 2 hour delay. Some how we actually missed this phone call and were up and moving with the thought we’d have to have Richard and the boys out the door before 7:20. Then I noticed the phone message saying it was a 2 hour delay. (I got my replacement phone yesterday so now I feel better again!). About an hour later we got the call saying that school is cancelled for the day.

Richard decided to stay home as well. He has been fighting a head cold for the last few days. There was already about 1.5″ of snow out there and it was snowing harder and harder as the hours past.

So we had a slow morning. Then Richard and I headed out to shovel. It wasn’t bad until the plow came along and plowed about a foot of snow onto the bottom of our driveway, oh and it also took out a huge swath of the grass off the edge of our property. (What do you call that strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street?? I have no idea what it’s called). After we got it shoveled, all 5 of us (4 humans and the dog) piled into the truck to go to the vet.

When we got home the boys headed outside to play in the snow. Me, I should go out and shovel again, but I’m not in the mood to do that just yet. I know it is a necessary evil of the season… oh wait it’s not winter anymore, but it is snowing. So instead I’m making dried strawberries and trying a new roll recipe to have with cheese steaks for dinner tonight.

Are you seeing spring in your area or are you seeing a winter wonderland like us?

 

family · food

Fruit plate

When my boys were little I realized quickly that neither of my boys were fruit or veggie eaters. Colby is better than Blake, but only eats raw veggies. I’m ok with this most veggies I prefer raw to cooked as well.

When they were little I always made sure to put some kind of fruit or vegetable on their plate for dinner. They were expected to eat at least one bite of everything on their plate. As they got older, I sort of got out of this habit. You get to a point where it just isn’t worth the fight.

They have to take a fruit with them every day to have with their lunch. For Blake, this means that every day he has 1/2 an apple. At this point that is the only fruit or vegetable he will willing eat. Colby likes apples, grapes,pears, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raisins, carrots, spinach, broccoli and peas.

Last night we were having sandwiches for dinner. Colby made peanut butter and honey. Blake had a grilled ham and cheese and I had grilled ham, turkey and cheese. (Richard had to work late) I decided we needed to have some fruits and veggies with our dinner. I’ve been trying to eat more fruits and veggies anyway.

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So, I cut up 2 carrots, a banana and a kiwi and added that to a platter with red grapes. I told them they had to eat at least two different things off the plate. I wasn’t concerned about Colby, but I was about Blake. I figured he’d try to take 2 items off the plate and say that was it.  But, he didn’t Blake had carrots, grapes and banana. He realized that he likes bananas again. I’m not sure he will choose to eat these without a bit of push, but I will certainly do this again and see if I can increase everyone’s consumption of fruits and veggies on a regular basis!

Tonight we are having pork chops, sweet potatoes and apple sauce. Wonder how much they will eat tonight?