Thursday, September 29, 2011

Three Bean Chili and the BEST Cornbread Muffins

I love the crock pot! I really need to use it more but crock pot and healthy haven't really been married to each other, you know? I am working on this however! Crock pot and fatty meat have had a love affair for quite some time as have crock pot and anything beginning with cream of.... It is time for some change don't you think?

I didn't want to make a run to the store because that defeats the purpose of a crock pot meal in my opinion. So I decided to start this healthy makeover with what was going to be a vegetarian chili because I thought I would have all the ingredients on hand and for the most part it was. I thought I had vegetable stock in the cupboard but I didn't. So I had to improvise but sometimes that works in my favor.

Mmmmmm....thank you crock pot for hooking up with something healthy tonight!

I usually am against any "pre-cooking" when it come to the crock pot because the beauty of these kinds of meals is throwing everything in the pot, but today I did saute some garlic and onions first with a little chili powder and cumin. I lost the picture of the spices cooked with the onions. Sorry.

I didn't have a can of tomatoes either so I chopped up some fresh ones. For those of you who need more accurate measurements I think this was 4 Roma tomatoes and a little bit of leftover heirlooms that probably equaled half of a tomato. I tossed all that into the pot. Then I also tossed in about 1/2 cup of lentils and 1/2 cup of pearl barley just because.

Then I dumped in these ingredients.........

One large can of tomato sauce and one can each of black beans, chick peas, and Great Northerns that had been drained and rinsed.

Then a little more of these spices...............
Goya Adobo is an all purpose seasoning that contains salt, granulated garlic, black pepper, and turmeric. Go easy on this seasoning because of the salt.

Then I made my vegetarian chili not vegetarian any more and added this secret ingredient...................
This is called chicken base and it is definitely better than bouillon. I use this almost every time I make soup which is a lot! It adds a lot of flavor. I added a couple heaping tablespoons this time. You can find this in the soup aisle at the store.

I also added a little more cumin and chili powder and gave it all a stir before putting the lid on and walking away in bliss that my dinner was done! I wish that I had also added a little more tomato sauce or water at the end just to cut down on the saltiness but everyone loved it! I thought is very flavorful!

Topped it off with a little mozzarella and served it with........

Something green and the best little corn bread muffins!

But before I give you that recipe I have to tell you why you should include beans and legumes in your diet of course. First of all they are the healthy kind of fat that your body needs and in addition to being high in protein, they are also high in fiber and full of complex carbs which provide energy to muscles and your brain. They also have a low glycemic index and because of all that fiber keep you full for longer periods of time and help you have a healthy digestive tract. They have also been said to reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer! Whew!

Now on to the recipe for the corn bread muffins! Cornbread goes very well with chili and I knew I would need to clean up the recipe a bit but I found one that was great online and see how yummy they look!

I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved these little muffins! Of course everything tastes better mini like I said before, but these had a little bit of a crunch on the outside and were soft and warm on the inside making for a perfect muffin. I mixed in a little agave with some buttery spread and oh my was it good. I don't even know how many I ate and if I did I wouldn't tell you. I would be embarrassed!

So here are the directions: I made only 2 changes. Miles couldn't fine whole grain corn meal so I used regular. I will be on the hunt for that. I also used whole wheat pastry flour instead of the whole wheat flour. I think this was an important change! If you use just whole wheat flour I think they will be too dense. The pastry flour works better for these kinds of things.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In one bowl combine the dry ingredients:
1 cup whole grain yellow corn meal
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons Stevia
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup flaxseed meal
½  teaspoon salt (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients:
½  cup egg substitutes (egg white)
1 cup milk
½  teaspoon liquid butter flavor extract (optional)
Prepare a non-stick mini muffin tin by spraying with cooking spray.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened (about 30 strokes with a spatula). Divide evenly among muffin tin. Bake for 15 minutes if doing mini muffins. Adjust time for larger muffins.
Yield: 33 mini muffins                      
Go ahead and try making these large muffins if you like. I think you will get about a dozen and it might take 20-25 minutes to bake them. But just remember everything does taste better when it is mini!

I might go back now and have a couple more for dessert with a cup of tea. I've waited long enough for it to be considered dessert haven't I?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chicken Fajitas

I needed a quick dinner tonight. I have been painting all day, then picked up the kids, took them to LuLu Beans for a smoothie, and then to the park since the weather was spectacular! Faith had to go to the bathroom so we left the park very quickly and I promised she could ride her bike since we didn't get much time at the park. Needless to say by the time we came in the house dinner needed to be served very quickly! I love when I can throw everything in one pan and call it dinner!

Fajitas are something I think of as good yummy food. By that I mean the food I have basically given up like deep fried foods and burgers. Fajitas make me feel like I am eating something naughty that I shouldn't be. Maybe that is because you can order them at a restaurant and they come so piping hot and taking up the entire table that no one else has room to eat.

So tonight I cut up some chicken quickly and cooked it in olive oil with some cumin and garlic. I have a thing for spices. See.......

I reluctantly post this picture because I feel like I am revealing a secret little addiction. Obviously there are worse things in life to hoard but still. Now you know I can't pass up a spice! It has gotten worse since we began eating healthy. I have really learned to use spices to flavor foods instead of all kinds of sauces with fat and cream in them. I much prefer the spices now!

After the chicken was cooked I added the bag of cut up peppers I purchased at Trader Joe's and a sliced up red onion to the pan and this special little secret ingredient.....

This comes in several other flavors too that I haven't accumulated yet!

I also added a little more cumin and some garlic salt and pepper. It was delicious and not too spicy. Everyone ate this up and Evan said he really enjoyed it. I thought there would be leftovers but when Miles was doing the dishes, yes you read that correctly, I realized he had finished off the pan! (By the way he does the dishes almost every night!)

I served this one pan meal with a little dollop of light sour cream and some guacamole. I usually make that from scratch but sometimes I buy these....

These are great 100 calorie packs. I like the Wal-Mart brand because you get 6 in a package verses 3 of the name brand and I want to say it is even cheaper than the name brand. I split one pack between Miles and me tonight so it was only 50 calories!

To complete our meal tonight I chopped up some fresh pineapple and strawberries. Since I didn't feel like I was serving enough vegetables at dinner and since I really didn't have many at lunch either I drank this with my dinner tonight.
I love V8. I wish my kids did. I loved it as a kid but they won't drink it. Maybe one day I will have warped their little minds enough and fixed all of their taste buds.

You might be wondering where the tortillas are for my fajitas. I didn't use any tonight. In the beginning when I was first making changes and trying to detox they were kind of off limits. I really learned to enjoy my food without it being sandwiched between two pieces of bread or all wrapped up in some bread or with some bread on the side! You get the picture. I can actually taste my food when there is no bread masking the flavors and I truly prefer it that way! Sometimes I do still warm up the whole wheat tortillas, and there is nothing wrong with that, but since I went to LuLu Beans today, I skipped the extra calories tonight!

So that was my quick dinner tonight! I hope you will try the secret ingredient. You will love it! If you know of some spice I will love please share! I can make room despite what it looks like in that cupboard. I have organizing skills!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cabbage Slaw with Fennel Seed Dressing

If you read yesterdays post then you heard how much I love Sunday night small group and the feasting that happens there! It is generally my one night of the week to indulge in whatever my little heart desires but I usually bring something healthy also just to balance us all out. However, my friend Sarah has been my little protege recently and she brought an amazing salad last night that I was requested to share with you all by a couple people. So way to go Sarah! On losing weight and bringing the favorite healthy dish last night! I too needed to use up some cabagge I had in the fridge so this worked out perfectly tonight.
It is such a pretty salad especially in my new white bowl!

Sarah found the recipe here on Kalyn's Kitchen which is one of my favorite websites. Kalyn eats a South Beach diet and has been doing so for several years now. I love the website so much because she has so many recipes and she has them broken down into categories so it is easy to search for what you need.

But here is a simple version of what to do if you want to make this salad. Start with one small head of cabbage and chop it up to whatever size you prefer. I used half of a red and half of a green cabbage. Kalyn's recipe calls for Napa cabbage.

I like color in my food so that is why I opted for both kinds of cabbage. Plus they were both in my fridge waiting to be used up.

Then I grated two carrots on the large side of my grater and added that to this mix. I washed them but didn't peel them because you leave some of the nutrients that way and because they were organic it didn't really matter. It also saves time and doesn't dirty up your peeler.

Looking even prettier now!

Sarah added sliced almonds and celery to her salad last night and I thought those were two great additions. I didn't have any celery but did add the almonds. Next time I am also going to add some of my favorite raisins from Whole Foods. Kalyn's recipe also called for green onion which would have been great in there as well.

I served this delicious coleslaw with pork tenderloin topped with a tomato marmalade, roasted vegetables, and sliced apples and oranges.

Here is the recipe for the dressing:

1 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed in mortar and pestle or with a heavy rolling pin
1/2 cup mayo or light mayo (I used half Greek yogurt and half mayo)
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T sugar, Splenda, or agave nectar ( I used Stevia)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. Vege-Sal (vegetable seasoned salt) or salt
1 tsp. celery seed (optional)
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Crush fennel seeds in mortar and pestle or with rolling pin. Combine crushed fennel, mayo, vinegar, sweetener of your choice, Dijon mustard, Vege-sal, and celery seed if using. Whisk together and let dressing sit while you chop veggies.

One child gobbled dinner and ate pretty much everything on the plate, one husband gave me a kiss and said, "Very good job, hun!" One other child sat at the table for a long time and will not be getting anything else the rest of the night. This child does this just about every time I serve meat however so I didn't take it too personally. Too bad for this child that there are leftover apple turnovers from last night. More for me I guess!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Feeling Fallish

Fall........How I love you! Your crisp air, the beautiful colors on the trees, no more paying for air conditioning, and of course the smell of apples, cinnamon, pumpkin, and nutmeg might have something to do with it as well! Fall really is my favorite time of the year. One other thing I love is that in the fall our small group starts back up on Sunday nights. These are dear friends of ours that I have truly grown to cherish and love. I look forward to getting together with them for Bible study and fellowship for sure but if I am being honest it might have something to do with the food we eat on Sunday nights! We FEAST! We have incredible cooks in our group and it is so fun! So for tonight I made a Greek quinoa salad because you all know how much I love Greek food and quinoa and I made some apple phyllo turnovers!

I am hoping we don't eat it all tonight because I want the leftovers for my lunch! I love this new bowl I got this week when I went shopping with girlfriends in the Cities. It is the perfect size for salads.

Now onto what you really care about, the apple turnovers, right? I did make them a bit healthier than the average bear would but they taste every bit as wonderful! I mean what I say this time! You would never be able to tell that this is missing anything. I will report back after my small group gives me the final verdict!
(So since I didn't get this posted before small group the verdict is in and they all loved them!)

So start by peeling 4 or 5 apples and coring them. I used my apple slicer to make quicker work of this. It doesn't really matter what kind of apple you use. I think I used a mix of Gala and Zestari. Then dice them up fairly small.

Tip: Put them in a pot of water with a couple lemon halves while you dice so they don't discolor and wilt. I pulled that lemon right out of there when I was done and saved it so I wasn't being wasteful and so I could use it this week some time!

Then you need to drain the water and put the apples back into the pot. Now you need to add some flavor to the pot! This time I used about 1/2 cup Sucanat instead of sugar.

Sucanat stands for sugar cane natural and is dehydrated cane juice. It is made by crushing freshly cut sugar cane,extracting the juice, and heating it in a large vat. It is then hand paddled to cool and dry the syrup. Nothing is added and nothing is taken out! Basically it is a much less refined sugar with a great rich molasses flavor. So it is a little better for you. Add a couple teaspoons of cinnamon, a teaspoon of nutmeg, about 1/4 cup water, and if it isn't sweet enough for you a little Stevia. Cook and stir the apples for about 10-15 minutes until they are soft and a simple syrup has formed with them.

Here is what they should look like.

I wanted to have a thicker syrup to drizzle over the finished turnovers so I actually added a little cornstarch to thicken this up a bit. Then I put the apples in the fridge last night so I could make the turnovers today a little more quickly.

Now you might need a little phyllo dough lesson! Phyllo is a paper thin kind of dough that is quite flaky, layered, and crispy when cooked. It is also spelled several different ways.

This is the one I buy and the great thing about it is that it is made with wheat flour!

Take it out of the freezer and let it thaw out and then unroll it carefully. It tears quite easily but is also very forgiving since you want flaky layers anyway. I cut the sheets of phyllo in half and cover up the ones I am not working with because they will dry out. You need to spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and then you need to get a brush and some olive oil ready and begin the folding process.

Fold the top third down and brush the whole thing with olive oil.

Add a dollop of the filling on the left corner leaving a bit of space on the left side.

Fold the bottom third up over the filling and brush with olive oil again.

Begin the triangle fold by pulling the top left corner down.

Then fold the tip up so it looks like this and continue folding the triangle down and up until you get to the end. You might need to tuck the filling in a little bit with your fingers on the first couple folds if it is coming out. By the last fold though it is all secured nicely.

Don't worry if it tears a little. Do you see the little flakes on the cutting board I have? All those tears get hidden between the layers.

Sometimes I get a perfect little triangle and sometimes I have a little edge left that I tuck inside or under or just leave it out if you don't want to fuss with it.

Place the finished triangles on the cookie sheet. When you have used up all your apples then brush the outside of the triangles one more time with a little olive oil for a nice golden crust or butter if you desire.
Bake them at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. My oven always takes longer but start checking at 20 minutes. You are really just looking for them to start turning golden and they will be done and oh so delicious!

I actually got about 35 of these out of my batch of apples. I topped some with the leftover syrup from cooking the apples and some with a little cinnamon sugar.

That is a delicious little portion of goodness for sure! Thank you fall for arriving to share your wonderful treats but could you please stay longer than expected this time?

P.S. There are lots of other things I like to put inside a phyllo triangle like veggies, spinach, meat, etc. Just about anything will taste great! So if you don't want something sweet because you are crazy try something savory.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Garden Goodness

I am very fortunate to be able to have a girls day today in the cities to do a little shopping and go to the Parade of Homes! So I thought I would just do a quick post this morning since I didn't have a chance to yesterday. I am very aware that time for all these wonderful fresh veggies from the garden is running out! My neighbors' tomatoes will soon be done and no one will bring over a bundle of cucumbers to me anymore like this........

I will miss these kinds of unexpected deliveries!

So in case you have some extra cucumbers on your hands or you just love them and want to try this here is what you can do with them. Make what is called refrigerator pickles! Just peel them and slice them along with one onion sliced into nice rings.

No perfection necessary. It's really just the flavor you are looking for and the fact that these stay good in the fridge for a long time!

I know I have a hard time with exact measurements because honestly I don't measure a lot so keep in mind that I am guessing here. In your bowl add about 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 cups water, and 1/3 cup Stevia, and some celery seed. Stir that all around and give it a taste. Add more vinegar or water according to your taste or even more Stevia. Miles and I love vinegar so I add probably a whole cup of it, but for reasons I cannot divulge here my children do not care for vinegar so I don't make them eat these!

Give them a good stir to mix all the celery seed around and then let them sit in the fridge for a few hours to absorb all the flavor. They are very delicious! But hurry before all the garden goodness is finished for the season!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Crockpot Oatmeal

It was so wonderful to wake up on this crisp September morning and know that my healthy breakfast was waiting for me warm in the crock pot! I grabbed a bowl and my cup of coffee and sat down to scroll through facebook before the children were up and the day became chaotic! As promised I wanted to share with you another one of my favorite breakfasts today, steel cut oats in the crock pot. You cannot use regular oats for this recipe because they just don't hold up in the crock pot overnight. You must use what is called steel cut oats or Irish oatmeal.

The ones I used last night came in this can but I just bought more in the bulk section for only $2.49 a pound at the store today. I have tried several brands and it hasn't really made any difference so buy what is cheapest or on sale.

Regular oatmeal has been steamed, rolled, re-steamed, and then toasted. When this much processing is involved you lose nutrition. Steel cut oats are whole grain groats which is the inner portion of the oat kernel. They cut it up into small pieces and it looks like this.

This is so easy to do and you will thank yourself in the morning for taking the 3 minutes you need to prepare your breakfast at night. So get out your crock pot!

This is my smaller 3qt. crock pot that I use for this. It just does better in a smaller one but I have used my big one too. You can also just soak steel cut oats in water over night and then cook them on the stove for 5 minutes in the morning if you don't have a crock pot.

You will first want to spray the crock pot with cooking spray. You will still get some oatmeal stuck to the sides but trust me it will be way better than if you skipped this step. Then measure out 1 cup oatmeal and 4 cups water and dump it in the crock pot. If you are only fixing this for one person I would cut that in half for sure. Also if you like your oatmeal really thick I might cut the water down a little.

Then I love to add a couple teaspoons of cinnamon, give it a stir and put the lid on. This is totally optional of course but I am thinking I will now add cinnamon and nutmeg and top it with a little pumpkin next time I make it. Yummy!

I turn the crock pot on low and happily go to bed knowing my breakfast will be waiting for me in the morning. I usually turn my crock pot on around 8:30 at night but if you go to bed later then us early birds around here that would actually be better! I always think  if I started it a little later then not as much would stick to the sides.

Here is what it looks like in the morning. Don't be alarmed when you come to stir it in the morning if it looks all stuck to the sides. Just give it a good stir. I also added some of those yummy raisins I got at Whole Foods.

Scoop yourself out a bowl full and stir in a little Stevia, Agave or honey, add some craisins or raisins, any kind of nut, blueberries, bananas, a scoop of natural peanut or almond butter, or whatever else you like to put in your oatmeal!

Of course for me it was the old stand byes of sliced almonds and agave nectar. Mmmmm....good!

Let me know if you try out this fantastic way to eat oatmeal!

Monday, September 19, 2011


At 4:30 today I had no idea what I was going to fix for dinner. This is a good and bad thing. I have never been much of a meal planner. I know it saves time and money for sure but the thing that always happens to me is that I am not hungry for whatever I have planned for that evening or a spontaneous invite from friends to go out or come over happens or I just want Papa Murphy's Mediterranean Delite pizza for goodness sakes! So when 4:30 rolls around and I still have no idea what's for dinner it can be a little stressful. However, I usually perform well under pressure and it causes me to get creative. I have no time to run to the store or catch Miles before he leaves the office to grab something for me so I use what is in the house. Sometimes I invent great things in these moments and sometimes not so much but somehow no one goes hungry around here. Here is what we ended up eating tonight.

We ate kale and heirloom tomato salad, leftover fresh fruits all mixed together and ????? The trouble with these inventions is that I never have a name for them.

It was a chicken and brown rice dish with a Mexican flare. First I sauteed the sliced up chicken breast in olive oil with some sea salt and pepper. Then I added half a cut up red pepper, 4 diced green onions, and 1 very large clove of finely grated garlic.

Saute until chicken is cooked through and then add the zest of one small lime and the 1-2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice. I juiced the whole lime because we really like that flavor!

Here is the secret ingredient that made this dish one I will make again. Organic mild mango peach salsa. I added about 3/4 of the jar and let it all simmer on low while I finished everything else up.

I really debated about whether or not I wanted to serve this over quinoa or brown rice. You all know I have a love affair with quinoa but brown rice won tonight because I thought I should make something different for a change. So I cooked 1 cup brown rice for those of you who need accurate measurements! I opted to mix the rice all in the pan though instead of serving it over the top. Good decision!

Aren't these pretty? Heirloom tomatoes, I heart you! I am thinking the leftover might go on some kind of sandwich tomorrow.

I decided to serve these tomatoes just like this instead of cutting them up for my kale salad. They were just so pretty. So kale is something new for us. I have really been wanting to add it to our diet. I like to try new things like this. I really want to try making some kale chips I have seen recipes for sometime too. So let me know if you have any secrets to making that work well.

Tonight I went simple with the kale, mainly because I had the tomatoes to go with it, but also because simple usually is better. I washed it up, chopped it up, and sauteed it up with some olive oil, garlic, and a little lemon juice. You only saute it for just a couple minutes. It turns a beautiful green color!

It was delicious and Miles liked it too. I sneaked in onto the kids' plate mixed in with spinach and other greens and they never noticed. It is known to be a little bitter so make sure you cut off the stems before you use it.

See isn't that just a wonderful shade of green? We followed the rules and had something green on our plate tonight! I am looking forward to experimenting more with kale especially since I have some red kale in my downstairs fridge. If you have a great recipe please email it to me and I would so appreciate it.

On another note several of you have had trouble with posting a comment on the blog. I know. I wish blogger would just simplify it because I have trouble posting on other people's blogs as well. But you can always choose to comment as anonymous and then just type your name at the end of your comment
 so I know who you are.

Now I must go get my oatmeal in the crock pot for my breakfast tomorrow morning. I will post about this other breakfast favorite of mine tomorrow.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's Sunday Night and I'm Not Cooking.

Well here it is Sunday evening already and like the title says, I am not cooking! I am sure I am the only one on the planet that is thinking that way. It doesn't help that it has been a rainy, dreary day and my allergies are pretty terrible. So do you wonder what I am eating if I am not cooking? Lots of times when I am having one of these moments we have what I call, "Fun Dinner." That means I get out small cups and muffin tins or plastic containers and fill them with lots of little things I might have laying around. Like cut up carrots and cucumbers, raisins, almonds, cut up cheese sticks, crackers, dipping sauces or peanut butter, fruit, etc. But tonight I am even lazier than that. So this is what I am eating....

Yep! Cereal! Fiber One specifically because it is really the only cereal I eat and that is because it has ZERO grams of sugar. I dare you to find another one like it! Okay I am sure they exist but it is a rarity for sure. I believe Uncle Sams might be another one with no sugar. I actually really love this cereal too, especially with a sliced up banana in it. The milk gives it plenty of sweetness so there is no need to add anything to it though. I probably only eat cereal once or twice a week if that but there is just something so wonderful about being able to just pour a bowl when you don't have the energy or desire to do anything else. Quick satisfaction! So grab a box next time and give it a try.

So since I am pretty boring with my dinner tonight I thought I would share some photos of some of the delicious things we picked up at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's yesterday. We were in the Cities for the Twins game and then planned to make a couple stops so we could stock up on some things. I have to say baseball.......pretty boring. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's ........Hallelujah! It is like Mecca for me. There is this sense of trust I have when I am in there and EVERYTHING is SOOOO beautiful!

Especially all the produce. I mean look at this portion of goodness we got. Two kinds of Kale and some watercress which you can not get in Willmar and organic yellow grape tomatoes.

A bag of organic carrots for only $1.99 and beautiful organic heirloom tomatoes. Also some of the best apples I have ever tried and you all know I am from Washington State so that is a big claim. This variety is called Zestari and they were also sampling my favorite Honey Crisp yesterday.

The kids love to go to these two stores too because they always get to pick out some snacks and things they want too. They go to town looking and asking of course. They try to get me by saying, "But Mom, it's healthy!" They know just about everything in the store is fairly healthy and they use it against me. So this is some of what they picked out yesterday. We did pick sweet treats from the bakery at Whole Foods also but you didn't expect a picture of that did you, because we ate it all way to fast for pictures. Something went down Miles' throat in one bite I believe!

Faith also got these darling little letter and number cookies. They do have sugar in them but they are made with whole wheat flour, have no preservatives, and no artificial colors. They taste great and I thought they would be fun for my little kindergartner to practice spelling a few things.

I am super excited about these black and red lentils! I have tried to make a couple veggie burger recipes before that have just turned out okay so I wanted these to do a little more experimenting this week with  colorful lentils plus they were very reasonable at $2.69 a bag.

I actually now wish I had purchased 4 jars instead of just 2 jars of these olives. They are only $2.99 a jar and the cheapest ones in town are $4.00 a jar and believe it or not that is at Wal-Mart. I guess I will have to ration them out. I will be the olive Nazi.

If you are ever going to Whole Foods please oh please pick me up some more of these raisins! They have no added sugar and oh my gosh they are awesome. We also grabbed some more chia seeds. I am sure I will have to post all about chia one day. Miles makes a drink from chia seeds and he basically lives on it!

Earth Balance was on sale hooray because it can be quite pricey! We also grabbed these Chile Lime Chicken burgers, a new hummus to try, sun-dried tomatoes and these Colby jack cheese sticks that Faith picked for her school lunches. I can't wait to try the chicken burgers.

Handmade Whole Wheat flour tortillas and Indian Naan bread. Naan bread is hard to find made with whole wheat flour around here. It is delicious! You can do lots of different things with it and it is great grilled. We ate some with our salad at lunch and dipped it in a butternut squash dip I made this morning.

So if I am being completely honest the real reason for these stops was that bag of sesame honey almonds from Trader Joe's. I also love these sweet potato chips because they have those awesome ridges in them and they taste so great! But those almonds..........oh my goodness! I couldn't buy just one bag of them. When we bought them for the first time Miles and I ate half the bag in about 5 minutes time. Then my sister got in the car with us and the 3 of us finished off the bag in about another 5 minutes. I have tried to replicate them at home and they just end up too sticky so more experimenting is necessary. I might share one with you but only one because half of the first bag may or may not be gone already.

So now I feel I must apologize to you. You are probably mad at me that I showed you all these wonderful products that you can't get in town here or wherever you live so you are wondering why did I bother or you are mad that you now have to make a two hour trip to the Cities because you HAVE to see these two awesome stores and have one of these products for sure! Fortunatly for you my Spokane friends Trader Joe's is coming to the South Hill this month!

Maybe I am not really sorry though because maybe you will take me with you on your trip so I can help you find these places!

P.S. Whole Foods has a great website and they share lots of great recipes on it. You can get to it by clicking here Then just click on recipes and enjoy!