I have made these about a dozen times and they are always a hit. When I showed the plate pictured above to Middle E he said, “I want that for breakfast!” They use whole wheat flour, so if you’re ready to give this whole grain a try, now is the time to do it! The color will be dark brown from the cocoa powder no matter what flour you use. Continue reading
My hunky husband bought me some inexpensive heart-shaped cookie cutters. We haven’t used them to shape any cookies yet. But we have made oodles of fun heart-shaped foods that feature fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Don’t panic about making Valentine’s Day complicated. Just pick Continue reading
I arrived late at playgroup and placed my beautiful whole grain muffins along side some other not-so-whole-grain muffins. Mine had almonds and blueberries to entice. The other muffins had sugary streusel topping to entice. In these moments I feel like there’s a little competition going on. It’s a test of my ability to market healthy foods. I’ve got to sell health like it’s attractive, cool, approachable, and well… totally amazing. My motive? I just really like people. I like people so much that I want them to enjoy a life free of preventable chronic disease.
Unfortunately, I left playgroup with a bowl still mostly full of muffins.
So, next time I’ll just have to bring a sign that says something like this:
This gentle reminder might help next time I bring whole grain muffins to a social function. Later in the day a friend dropped by and tried a muffin on her way way out the door. She said she preferred it to a cinnamon roll. And really, who wouldn’t with the flavors of vanilla, molasses, cinnamon, and the light crunch of sliced almonds? Ha! Take that, store-bought refined grains!
This series will end next week with FearLESS Friday #25. I hope it’s helped you make a few courageous decisions to improve your health.
Want to read a great article about cupcakes? In most cases they are a calorically better option than the monster-sized muffins you buy from a grocery store. Check out Consider the Cupcake: A Barometer of American Taste by Tamara Duker Freuman over at US News Health.
I can still remember the joy I felt as a kid when my mom would put hot dogs into our boxed mac & cheese. That was fancy. The Blue Box was a big part of my diet as a kid. And why not? My mom says it was a cool new product for her generation of parents. It was cheap. It was easy. We all loved it.
So what’s the problem? There are too many mystery-science ingredients in that box. Tasty sounding items like sodium tripolyphosphate and sodium phosphate are there to help “retain the cheese’s melting properties.” Simply put, scientists are working too hard.
Why not simplify and do what Don’t Panic Mom, Chelsea Ellingson did: Ditch the box.
Our guest Chelsea Ellingson describes herself as, “a regular old Mom doing regular old things to keep my family healthy and happy.” She has three kids ages almost 6, 4, and 2. After teaching music part time for three years, she is now a happy stay at home mommy and a part time photographer. Check out her photography at Chelsea’s Attic.
Over the last year or so our family has made about a million and one small changes to our daily lifestyle to make better choices about the food we consume. Any change like this comes with its challenges, not because it is hard, but simply because it is a change, and change usually just takes some adjusting until it becomes routine, just like before. We chose to make some changes, and after some weight loss from the parents and lot of explaining about bodies and energy and food to the kids, we are all routined and happy again, until we get to a million and two.
So with that in mind, I have a recipe here that is both healthy and convenient (WHEW!). My kids had a real live love affair with boxed macaroni and cheese. It was their absolute favorite food. After looking at the ingredients on the box about every time I made it, I finally said to myself, “I know this stuff is almost completely fake, why am I feeding it to my children?” And with that I threw out the rest. But throwing it out of my children’s hearts would be another matter. So I started making it from scratch and found that it does not take a minute longer to make it with real ingredients than it does with fake ones. Wow! That was an easy switch in my mind, and the boxed stuff officially left our pantries for good. The best part is that my kids actually prefer this kind over the boxed kind. And frankly so do I. This is a kids meal I actually enjoy eating.
Drum roll, please.
Scared to ditch your kid's favorite boxed mac & cheese? Try this simply delicious recipe from Chelsea Ellingson that was approved by her formerly-box-loving children.
- 1/2 box whole wheat elbow macaroni
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 heaping tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 C milk
- 3/4 C shredded cheddar cheese (or cheese of choice)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the elbow macaroni as directed on the box. While the water is boiling, heat a sauce pan on medium heat and melt butter in the pan. When the butter is just melted, mix in the flour until you have a thick, bubbly paste. Immediately pour in about half a cup of milk. Stir until thickened, then continue to add in the milk half a cup at a time, waiting to thicken each time, or until the sauce is at a desired consistency (your basic rue sauce). Add salt and pepper as needed. Dump in the shredded cheese and melt into the sauce. By now your macaroni should be done, drain the macaroni and place back in the pan. Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and mix well. Serve into bowls and add more shredded cheese on top as desired.
My kids also enjoy this mixed with peas or white or black beans (or both) mixed in to add a little more protein and fiber.
Want to investigate the blue box a little more? I tried to find the ingredients on Kraft.com, but the ingredients list was a little elusive. If you want to read a bit about the ingredients head over to this review at Livestrong.com.
Are you ready to ditch the box? Or have you already? Let us know in a comment below or on the Don’t Panic Mom Facebook Page.
I am just like everyone else. I. love. cookies.
Autumn always brings with it oodles of pumpkin recipes. So naturally I needed to bake some delicious pumpkin cookies. The only problem was that most of them include some kind of spice cake mix. After investigating the ingredients in a Betty Crocker Spice Cake Mix, I learned that I was better off making it from scratch. Thank you October Unprocessed for giving me a nice dose of common sense and real food literacy. I can still remember the first cake I made without a box. I seriously thought I was performing a feat of wonder.
I used a recipe from the Clean Eating Diet blog as a place to start. Here’s the recipe I used to make something special for the Playgroup this week:
These autumn cookies are moist and completely addicting. A great way to introduce whole grains to your kiddos or neighbors.
- 4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups honey, brown sugar, or agave
- 2 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In your favorite mixing bowl beat wet ingredients and spices together. Fold in flour and baking soda. Mix until all ingredients are moist. If the batter seems dry, add a few tablespoons of milk. Finally, fold in chocolate chips.
- Drop by the tablespoon onto a cookie sheet. You should be able to easily fit 12 cookies on each sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack and serve with a smile - you are using whole grains!
It is always a bit nerve-wracking to serve an experimental recipe to a giant group of kids. For the playgroup this week I brought these cookies and sliced apples, red bell peppers, and grapes. I was so happy that all of the fruit and veggies were gone! However, three cookies remained which I quickly distributed to other moms for taste approval. I made sure they all knew they were whole grains.
Have you ever altered a recipe to make it healthier and tastier? Let us know about it in a comment below or on the Don’t Panic Mom Facebook Page.
I am secretly glad when the first frost arrives. I am free to neglect my garden until spring. This week I was particularly grumbly about keeping my plants alive. With the first frost still weeks away, I continue to weed, battle aphids, and harvest.
One morning, while picking red tomatoes, I realized that my attitude was less than grateful. I was surrounded by fresh, ripe tomatoes and I was grumbly. I decided to stop being a grouch and actually enjoy the harvest.
A recipe calling for ripe cherry tomatoes from Giada De Laurentiis came to mind.
Enjoy this fabulous dish that reinforces why seasonal produce is king. This sauce requires no cooking and goes best on long pasta shapes like spaghetti or angel hair. Based on the recipe by Giada de Laurentiis.
- 2 cups fresh cherry tomatoes
- 1 ounce Parmesan, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cloves fresh garlic
- 10 leaves fresh basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until the tomatoes are in small chunks, but not pureed.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve over your favorite long-shaped pasta like spaghetti or angel hair.
Feel free to add more fresh-grated Parmesan cheese on top. Giada recommends small chunks of fresh mozzarella.
I tossed it with some whole grain spaghetti and dove in with a fork. It turned out beautifully and gave me a bit of umph to finish the season with more gratitude and less complaining.
How do you enjoy your garden harvest? If you don’t have a garden, what is your favorite summer dish? Share on the Don’t Panic Mom Facebook Page or in a comment below.
My problem this morning was simple: I wanted to make 100% whole wheat pancakes. But I was nervous. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone at the breakfast table with flat frisbees. What if there was a revolt?
I think all of us have felt a little like that when we face a battle when swapping for more nutritious ingredients. There is a first for everything and no one tells us how to handle the transition. Here is my advice:
I decided to give it a shot and await for feedback from my main man and the kiddos. I have been successful in using two different pancake recipes. It feel SO good to be out of the crap trap with pancakes. Phew.
Here are a few pancake recipes that include 100% whole wheat. I was wonderfully happy with their texture and fluff factor. Goodbye Bisquick. I never really liked you anyway.