Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Twist On Easter

So, this is mostly a re-post of last year's post but it's good to get up before Easter if any of y'all are looking for any ideas. If you recall, last year the Easter Bunny did not pay us a visit. Preston's old nuance of rummaging through the whole house in search of treats had re-surfaced not to mention that I was just plain tired of every holiday revolving around food - especially candy. Just walk the holiday aisle at your grocery store and there is candy made special for that event. Then I started to wonder where in the world the candy tradition for Easter came from anyway - the Easter Bunny and the resurrection of Christ don't seem to have a common thread. So I did a little research and it wasn't super insightful.

There really isn't a connection that I could find. I found that the origins of Easter MAY have started in 16th century Germany when the Oster Haws (hare) would bring colored eggs to the well-behaved children. I'm guessing this was the Christmas version of Christ's death and resurrection as Santa had a naughty and nice list for those kids during the season of Christ's birth. The eggs bit came from the symbolism of eggs for fertility and spring. So, I started searching online for Easter traditions that I could use to replace the candy garbage and focus more on Christ. Three traditions that I found and will be adding to my repertoire are as follows:

1) Placing a scrap of paper in an empty plastic Easter egg and each day reading a scripture pertaining to the death and resurrection of Christ. The twelfth egg will be empty signifying the empty tomb.
2) Easter egg hunt that consists of decorated eggs, plastic eggs with a five or ten dollar bill inside, a fluffy chick (fake of course), a packet of gummy bunnies, a game or small gift and an assortment of cookies, browines and homemade truffles. I figure they can take one of these treats to school in their lunch and it won't last the week.
3) Resurrection rolls. I found the recipe for these on pintrest and they were fun, easy and quite tasty. You start with a marshmallow that represents Christ. You dip the marshmallow first in butter and then in a cinnamon sugar mixture (3 T sugar, 2 T cinnamon) and this represents preparing Christ's body for burial as they used oil and spices. The marshmallow is then wrapped in a crescent roll triangle (pinching all the sides to make sure it is sealed) which represents the linens/shroud. Then into the oven (or tomb) and closing the entrance to the tomb (oven door) and waiting three days (or 12-14 minutes in this case) before opening the tomb. When you cut into the roll, the marshmallow is gone - He has risen! It was fun and kept all my kids engaged. We enjoyed the rolls with my delicious scrambled eggs and some bacon and Barnyard Cocktail (see recipes page).
4) And of course - the viewing of The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston - that's pretty much a must.

With moderation as my mantra, I felt like those were pretty decent substitutions without driving my kids into a either a sugar-induced coma or frothing-at-the-mouth-hyperactive-frenzy. Not to mention, a good focus on what Easter is really all about. Do you have any neat traditions that diverge from the norm?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Nachos - MODified For Good

I love nachos. Super nachos are even better - piled high with all sorts of decliciousness. However, unfortunately I don't usually indulge in said deliciousness because they have such a bad reputation - I would guess mostly due to the inordinate amounts of cheese. So, I decided to change things around a bit so I can have my nachos and eat them too. And so can you.

First, the nacho - You have more options than you think you do here. I've used the multi grain Chips from Costco that are made with flax and some good ingredients too. The Terra Chips that are made from beet root veggies are a brilliant option as well (although some of those chips are particularly crisp - like hard crisp). This round I felt even more brilliant just using Simple Truth Organic Sweet Potato Chips (and you could even make your own). Regardless, these chips are good way to go and I usually go by the serving size as far as amount goes which in this case was 17 chips.

Second, the salsa. Sometimes I like to put my salsa on the chip prior to broiling so it gets a little warmed-up. This time, I only broiled the chips and the organic cheese and added all other toppings after. The right kind of salsa is fabulous way to get some veggie on - tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapenos and cilantro are all great for you. You can also make your own. I happened to recently stumble upon an organic, raw pineapple mango salsa sold at one of my locally-owned health shops. And WOW - it is super amazing chalk-full of amazing stuff.

Additional toppings can include grilled chicken, guacamole, straight avocado, or plain greek yogurt to sub for the sour cream. I honestly can't tell the difference in taste between the two and I'm getting some good probiotics on top of some protein. I've been scaling back just a bit in the meats department so I've been passing on the chicken at the moment. I still get good and satisfied without it.

As for a little note on cheese - cheese is good in my book. Yes it is dairy and yes it has fat and extra calories. I've got to tell you though - I LOVE CHEESE. If there was one thing that would keep me from going vegan - it would be my love affair with cheese. This is simply one area where I get to exercise moderation. On the other hand it does have protein and it makes me happy. When buying cheese, organic is better and always watch out for cheeses that have Nytacin in them; it is a mold inhibitor but is an antibiotic derivative which will still kill off good bacteria in your body. We don't need more reason to make our bodies immune to antibiotics for when we really need them as well.

So, all in all, put your chips on a cookie sheet and top with some cheese and broil to the cheese is bubbly. I quickly remove and top with salsa, Fage yogurt, ready to go single serving guac (the fat in guac and avocado also helps counterbalance some of the carbs in your chips. Fat helps slow the absorption of sugars in the body which in turn helps our body to not have to store the sugars as fat). And finally, a go-around with freshly ground pepper and you have healthy, happy nachos without the guilt. Indulging without indulging. And they are amazingly filling. Employ and enjoy.