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Sunday, February 23, 2014

An Overnighter in Lehi

A few weekends ago, my mom and my girls and I ventured out to Lehi to watch Joe and Missy's kids for the night while they went on an anniversary getaway. 

We had a lot of fun watching the kids. We also got together for a dinner at Micah's house and got to see more family and play. Steve's parents even came by and joined us so that we could visit for a time with them since this trip would be such a short one . We only got to stay one night, but we made a lot of great memories. I sure love all my nieces and nephews and all my siblings and their spouses and all my family! 

Here are some photos from all the fun times we had.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Amara's Poetry Recitation

Amara has been memorizing poems every few weeks. Today she did a recitation reviewing all she's learned. I'm happy that she has been retaining the poems and I love seeing her little actions she does to animate them.

Click here to watch a video of her.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Teach Your Kids Poetry!

I would encourage all parents out there to teach their little ones some poetry.  Then record them reciting it.  You will not regret it.  When they grow up, then you will look back and find the recording, and watch it over and over.  Your eyes will twinkle with joy and amazement.  All the problems in the world will be solved!  

The video below is of Amara at age 3 reciting a poem she learned from her daddy called, A Peanut Sat On A Railroad Track.  So. Dang. Cute!

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Presidents Day With Dad

Steve had President's Day off from work, so we played!  First we went to the park at Kings Peak Elementary School, and then we went out to eat at Pelican Cafe, Steve's favorite.  They give HUGE portions and have the best and biggest cinnamon roll you've ever seen!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fancy Faces

Have you ever heard of watercolor pencils?  Tonight Steve and I had fun with some and painted the girls faces.

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Steve painted Amara's is face. I painted Lily's face. We had so much fun and the girls couldn't wait to see their faces in the mirror.

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At first it was complete shock! Then it was rolling laughter for us all!

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I even got in on the fun and let Amara paint my face. Want to see the cute unicorn and butterfly?

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The butterfly on my forehead has rubbed off a little so you can't see it very well but you can see the Unicorn. She used my beauty mark as an eye for the Unicorn! How creative! I knew there was a reason God blessed me with all those moles on my face.

Try A Lemon Devon!

Last time April came for a visit with Devon (months ago), we went out to eat at Canton City Chinese Buffet.  I found this video of Devon trying a lemon and I just love his reaction!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

No Fat Options For Salad Dressing Lovers

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Notice that creamy dressing on my salad yesterday?  I made that!  And it's healthy at 0 fat grams per serving and the best part is it's not gross!  So many no fat creamy dressings are loaded with chemicals and additives you and I can't pronounce and they usually taste awful. That's why I don't buy them.
That said, I am a salad dressing diva. Salads are mere vehicles for the tasty dressing in my mind, but dressings are often high in fat... shed a tear for me. Okay, enough crying. I'm not giving up dressing and I'm not going to have oil and vinegar every night either because that gets boring.  So, necessity is the mother of invention, and it is what drove me to create... Drumroll please...
Creamy Maple Mustard Dressing

  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp organic real maple syrup
  • 1 tsp nonfat Greek yogurt
  • Pinch of salt and grind of pepper
  • Tiny pinch of chili powder

Whisk it up and you have a single serving of creamy, flavorful, nonfat salad dressing. My daughter liked it so much she used it to dip her roasted potato wedges in, so apparently it's a good substitute for fry sauce too.
(Disclaimer: measurements are a close-ish guesstimation since I just whipped it up)

Speaking of salad dressings, we had a delicious dinner salad last night inspired by this one-

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Here's a link to that mouthwatering recipe

I made my own yummy dressing to drench this beauty in. It's also a low fat wonder, actually it's a no fat mind- blower!  I'm on a roll!  Try this simple dressing on your next Thai-inspired salad and see what I mean. Here is the method: pour some Thai sweet chili sauce in a bowl. Thin it out with equal parts rice wine vinegar and water until you can pour it like a salad dressing. That's it!

In case you're not familiar with the chili sauce, it looks like this-

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Or dinner was yummy!

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My sister even got on the Thai noodle salad bandwagon and sent me this picture of her dinner last night that she whipped up with what she had on hand. Looks yummy sis!

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One more no fat salad dressing for you- equal parts of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar with a grind of pepper. It's the best on thinly sliced cucumbers!

Okay I'm done.

Monday, February 10, 2014

3 Flavor Tips For Low-Fat Eating

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"Remember, fat is an essential nutrient for your body, so be sure to include it in your daily diet choices."
  -my nutritionist from my diabetes days

Including fat in my diet has never been my problem. I love fat. And when you pair it with sugar you have found taste bud heaven.  However while your taste buds are basking in their heaven, your health suffers in hellish ways. This is a fact I have chosen to ignore long enough that my body isn't handling it too well. My latest blood screen I had them check my cholesterol and it proved to be high. The doctor advised me to eat oatmeal for breakfast and eat low fat. In 3 months we'll evaluate my cholesterol again. Well, if I can avoid medication and poor health by eating better, I'm going to give it a go!

For the past 2 years I've had to say goodbye to desserts and other highly sweetened foods whether they be sweetened naturally or artificially, as per my cardiologist's orders (darn that POTS and ventricular tachycardia!).  My past pregnancies I had gestational diabetes and I had to count my carbs and proteins and fats, keep a food diary and prick my fingers before and after meals.  I'm no newbie when it comes to dieting for my health.  The good news is I know how to do a low fat diet. It's all about sticking to a realistic fat budget each day. The bad news is I hate oatmeal (unless it's in a cookie).

So, we all know fat is flavor, whether it be butter, extra virgin olive oil, mayonnaise, salad dressing, chips, deep fried foods, cheese, avocados or olives (just to name some of my favorites). When you have to limit the fat, you risk losing flavor.  And a flavorless meal is a sad meal. Makes you wanna cry doesn't it?  So, I've learned some tricks to lower fat, yet retain flavor. Here's a few tips I used for dinner last night that you must try sometime...

  •  When making mashed potatoes, replace the butter and milk with chicken or beef broth to smooth out the potatoes, then SEASON, SEASON, SEASON! I used a good portion of McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning in my potatoes last night and they were divine. If you're watching your salt, use a lot of herbs or a salt free seasoning blend.  
  • For roasted chicken, use chicken thighs instead of breasts. I know you're skeptical about this one, but hear me out. Chicken breasts are huge these days and actually pack more calories because of their size than do their brothers, the thighs. Chicken breasts also tend to dry out when cooking, thus making you want some sort of gravy or fatty sauce to plunge them into. Thighs are actually the perfect portion for meat and they retain their moisture when cooked.
  • Another tip for roasted chicken, remove the skin but keep the bones in. Bones equal flavor! Also don't forget to season your meat.
  • P.S. I have started a low-fat blog to document my efforts at eatlowfatfood.blogspot.com

Friday, February 7, 2014

New Years Chopped Competition

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On new years day my dad hosted a chopped competition. For those who don't know what that is, the concept comes from a popular food network show called Chopped, where individuals compete to cook the best dish using the same secret ingredients in a limited amount of time. 

For our competition we had 3 teams and a box of 4 ingredients that we had to incorporate into one main dish- Acorn squash, oranges, breakfast sausage links, and a hunk of dad's fruitcake. We were also welcome to use any of the ingredients in dad's house.  Everyone had 45 minutes and the judges were everyone at dad's house that wanted to eat some.

April and I were on a team. Micah and Debby were a team and the last team was dad and his foreign exchange students hok and yuta.

April and I used a spice blend Spencer had made to season everything we made. We roasted the acorn squash in slices, we made our own stuffing with leftover bread and the breakfast sausage.  We also made an orange sauce thickened with a paste made from the fruitcake that we pulverized in the food processor. Our dish barely finished in time and it wasn't much to look at, but it tasted like thanksgiving for breakfast, so that's what we called it. And we won Best taste award.

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Micah's team made a fruitcake French toast stuffed with a cream cheese and sausage mixture and orange syrup drizzled over the top with a side of acorn squash hash. It was tasty and definitely a treat. However I didn't like it when I'd bite into one of those weird glowing jelly fruit things that you find in fruitcake.
The whipped cream and berries were a nice touch.

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Dad's team made a "Jimbalaya." I'm not sure how he made it but it was good and quite pretty. It tasted similar to my dish except his had added heat, which I thought made it better tasting than mine; however sometimes I got a hunk of that nasty jellied fruit stuff from the fruit cake and it wasn't so good then.

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All in all it was a successful competition and everything tasted good and everyone was satisfied. I think Micah took the overall win, I can't remember right, but I know it wasn't me :). What a way to start 2014!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Knock-Your-Teeth-Out Sledding

This past December, Lily and Amara hit the sledding hill almost everyday after lunch. They had a great time. But one day...
Lily fell on Amara at the bottom of the hill and it bumped her loose tooth pretty hard.  Amara had recently lost one of her front teeth a couple weeks earlier.  She came running in a little frightened because she knew her tooth was barely hanging on and it would need to come out. 
She was a good sport though and smiled for the camera...
Poor thing!  But you know what that meant?  Two front teeth gone for Christmas!  She could sing the song and really mean it!

She bravely pulled out her own tooth for the first time and she was left with this gorgeous smile!