Monday, November 18, 2013


Once in a while I just have to share a great find. We've been looking and looking and looking for a "best" option for water bottles.  Not only do the kids use them daily but Mike and I try to carry water with us all the time as well.  I have always had an acute (understatement) sense of smell and taste when it comes to water so I'm usually put off by most options. At home I actually drink from a pitcher of water with lemon all the the time - the lemon at least masks the taste of anything that might be in there.
We have selected BPA free options for the kids, and yet when I have had to drink from their bottles it tastes so much like plastic I have to spit it out. Don't tell me nothing weird is getting into the water if it tastes that bad.  And the aluminum options just don't keep the water cool for long enough.
Enter the solution:

So I went to one of our funky earth friendly stores in town and found the answer. LifeFactory glass bottles.  I was excited but skeptical. I like glass (even used glass baby bottles) but of course it is heavy and scary to have the kids take it to school.  So I bought ONE and had Kaelyn try it (went with the 16 oz with the straw).

She LOVES it.

She has always been a great water drinker but she has at least doubled her intake.  It is definitely heavy. And she knows it. But I ask if she's okay carrying it around and she proudly says yes.  She loves it.

So we bought a smaller one for Andrew (12 oz with straw).  And he loves it equally well.

They actually don't drop them much (although I'll admit my kids aren't very clutsy so this may be a factor)...but the occasional drop has ended well - no breakage at all.

Of course, they are pricey -but we have limited our bottle collection to 1 per person. So not only do our cabinets have more space (actually, they're always in use so really, they are never even in the cabinet) but the price evens out - not to mention I imagine we won't have to replace them as often as you do with the plastic and even the aluminum).

No- I'm not getting paid for this advertisement. Just looking to make life a little easier for you, if you happen to be in the market for the "best water bottle option"....this one gets my vote...and Kaelyn, and Andrew, and Mike's!

Keeping it real! Kathy

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pancakes with a twist

I am really having a hard time getting food into Andrew lately - especially protein.  His favorite food, that he would eat every day all day, is pancakes.  In my opinion, one of the less nutrient dense options.  So I'm playing with getting more of the good stuff inside and thought I'd share today's winner...

Can you guess what is inside?  Kinda purple....kinda green??
Here is the recipe for a double batch of my
Blueberry Spinach Pancakes

3 cups organic whole wheat flour
7 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder (this is what makes them fluffy)
1 teaspoon kelp (yep - you read that right - I sub kelp for salt if I can hide it! It is a great source of Iodine)
1 banana
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup milk (I use coconut milk)
2 pastured eggs (please find and use pastured eggs - you get natural omegas from these good guys)
6 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

In a blender, mix banana, milk, spinach, blueberries, and eggs till liquidy.
In a bowl mix flour, baking powder, and kelp.  Then quickly and gently mix in the blended ingredients.  The baking soda really gets going and it thickens and expands quickly.  Before it's all mixed together mix in the coconut oil. The only reason I add this last is b/c coconut oil can harden when it gets warm and you want it to stay melted.  Then if the batter is too thick, I add more milk to get it to a wetter consistency that will spoon out well onto my griddle.

Then scoop the batter and place onto griddle, cooking each side for about 2 minutes. I find these are so fluffy I have to smash them down a little to keep them flatter and cooking quicker/all the way through.

Add your choice of toppings - we use real maple syrup and a little bit of pastured butter.

Andrew also loves making the batter - here he is excited to mix in the blended wet ingredients which promised to make a fun purple pancake!

Obviously if your kids wanted a pink or red pancake you could use strawberries or raspberries.  Just know that green items (aka spinach) turn it brown.

Keeping it real! Kathy

Monday, September 30, 2013

Favorite "Squash Bread" recipes

I have a couple of go-to recipes for fun breads that I thought I'd share. The first is super simple and always delish.
It is designed to be a Pumpkin Bar/Muffin.

Pumpkin Muffins 
1 c pumpkin puree

1 c almond butter (I use raw creamy from Trader Joes)
1/2 c raw honey
2 eggs
1 1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1 t vanilla extract

1 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

1/4 t cloves

Simply mix it all together and stick it in the oven.  350 degrees - 15 mins for cupcakes or 30 for bars/bread.  They are super moist.  The only negative is that it doesn't make that many!  I have substituted butternut squash and they are equally yum.  You probably could do banana, but cut the honey or they'd be too sweet.  I will admit, I added 2 leaves of Kale to this batch. Can you see the flecks?  Can't taste it.  (I blended it in my vitamix first).

And here is a basic recipe that I tweak. I just try to keep the wet ingredients in the same quantity range.  When I'm swimming in meyer lemons I add one (zest and juice) and it does just fine. Today I added butternut squash.  Yum.

Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Bread
Adapted from: Marcus Samuelsson
Yields: 1 Loaf | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time:  55 minutes
2 eggs

1/2 cup honey

1 cup mashed banana

1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 medium zucchini, grated

1 cup chocolate chips, raisins, dried fruit, nuts, or a mixture of any of these
Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a standard-sized loaf pan.
Beat together the eggs, honey, banana, brown sugar, and vanilla until well-combined.
In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Mix into the egg/banana mixture just until combined.
Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips, just until combined.
Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let rest for 20 minutes before removing from the loaf pan.  Cool completely on a wire rack.
For best results, store loosely draped with a kitchen towel. Wrapping your bread in plastic or foil will result in gummy texture.

I found this on this website:

Keeping it real! Kathy

Friday, September 27, 2013

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Improved!

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal was one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast growing up. Last year I posted a homemade version here.

Since then I became a Dr. Sears LEAN Coach - which I'll tell you more about in a future post..but for now, I wanted to share what I did to improve the oatmeal now that I know so much more about what kids need to eat in order to fuel their growth.

The omega fats are a huge factor for healthy brains, and we already know how important protein is for energy and general growth.  Here is my oatmeal recipe to give the kids a great start to their day. Feel free to substitute with any fruit.  I use frozen blueberries when fresh fruit isn't a great option.  Always organic - everything (except I can't afford organic almond butter!).

1 cup oats
2 cups milk (I use rice or coconut milk but any milk will work)
1 T coconut oil
1 t cinnamon
2 peaches - peeled and diced

I put it all in at once and bring to a boil, then let it simmer till it's almost the right consistency (stirring occasionally).  Making it all at once makes it much creamier than when you bring the water to a boil first.  Then I add 1 T of almond butter.  If it makes it too gooey you can add a little milk to make it the consistency you love.

I top it with 1 T maple syrup (the real stuff).

The whole family loves this.  And it's super quick to make for those rushed mornings.  I make extra and serve it leftover the next morning sometimes.

Keeping it real! Kathy

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When life gives you lemons...

Okay I know it's hokey but it's kinda our reality right now. I don't even want to talk about the "lemons" in our life right now but we are definitely trying our best to make lemonade!

We are working diligently to carve out our future life for ourselves.  I can tell you this much - it is going to include lemons. Lots of them.

Here are Kaelyn, Andrew and I getting started.... planting the seeds....

Keeping it real! Kathy

Tinker things

We celebrated Kaelyn's birthday month (a while ago) with lots of Tinkerbell things. She got the movie so I finally learned that Tinkerbell's magic is "tinkering" - aka fixing things or making things!

I caught this photo of Mike and Andrew "tinkering" with the new Jeep.  I had to share.  It is quite cute.  The kids are super excited to put this new Jeep to use.  They want to ride in it all the time!

Mike and I booked a trip to Moab, Utah in May.  Sans kiddos.  We can't wait.

Adventure is on the horizon!

Keeping it real! Kathy

Restaurant Review: The Linkery $$

One of our favorites (sinful, but still) is The Linkery.  This place is all about sausage, which really I don't generally go for. But in the interest of supporting local restaurants who value local whole/real food, we wanted to check it out.  You won't be disappointed.  I can't rave about the health benefits of their food - but the sausage is home made and their offerings differ daily.  Their sauerkraut is delicious and definitely a healthy option! It's a unique (and very urban) environment with upbeat staff and a fun crowd.

Keeping it real! Kathy

Restaurant Review: Urban Plates $

We also got to sneak off to a date night at Urban Plates located in Del Mar. This is a really cool place (similar to Tender Greens).   Their slogan is "Farm to Plate and Won't Break the Bank."  So true.  It's amazing what they can do for some pretty standard (California) prices.   First of all, it's a very urban environment -think long wood table where several different eating pairs can pull up and form a little community.  Rustic but not too rustic.   It is set up cafeteria style so you order from the person who makes your food - there is a salad section, a meat section, soup, etc.  It doesn't sound great but it is.  The food is local and organic and very tasty. They even make their own soda.

Keeping it real! Kathy

Restaurant Review: Prep Kitchen $$

I was lucky enough to discover the Prep Kitchen in Little Italy at a business lunch (not appropriate to take photos so none for you, sorry). Then I took Mike to the one in La Jolla on our date (too dark for photos - sorry once again).  The restaurant ambiance is night and day difference between the two.  I strongly prefer the Little Italy location.  The food was excellent and somewhat unique.  Also a focus on locally sourced food.  I have to say that I absolutely LOVE when you know what farm the food comes from. As farmer's market shoppers it's even more fun when we know the farmer and can make that connection.

The Prep Kitchen is worth a visit for lunch or for dinner. The Kale salad with pumpkin is yummy.  Even the standard spinach salad with apples, bacon and blue cheese was out of this world.  We shared the Porter Braised Short Ribs which were just melt in your mouth.  Even though that is not something normally on our food list, when we get to know the farm where meat comes from we make allowances :-)  What a difference too.   

Definitely visit the Prep Kitchen - it's in the same restaurant group as Whiskandladle...

Keeping it real! Kathy

Restaurant Review: Starlite $$

We've had a hard time getting out to visit different restaurants since we keep changing nanny's.   It is funny, we are never able to plan our dates in advance.  Even if we have it on the calendar for a while, it always seems when we are rushing out the door we have no idea what we will be doing!  So for the last few dates I pick up my trusty restaurant guide - Edible San Diego.  Each major city has one specific to the city. We grab them at our farmer's market each week but you can also subscribe (and support the wonderful publication). We find our selves going through the list of restaurants, looking up their menus on the ipad and then giving them a try!  So far, it's been a giant success.  These restaurant's aren't necessarily going for "healthy" or "vegetarian" but they are definitely all going for locally sourced and REAL food.  Homemade, all natural, mainly organic, and VERY gourmet.  They even have a Sunday brunch that would be fun.

We visited the Starlite recently.  Starlight is a 21 and over establishment which we found kinda fun.  They have a mixologist (or two), a super cool and large bar in the middle of the restaurant, and some wonderfully fun drinks.  I tried two of them.  Mike stuck with beer (snore).  The food was delicious.  I had a cauliflower with a special sauce that was really good.  Mike had a burger and really raved about it. Even the bun was specially sourced.

I highly recommend this restaurant. It's not much to pull up to but inside is special - and a modern throwback to the 60s/70s.  Fun fun!

Sorry I don't have a photo - I gotta get better at taking them!

Keeping it real! Kathy

Thanksgiving Fare

I wanted to post some of our Thanksgiving goodies.  This year I straddled the line.  I made food that everyone would eat, but I made sure many of the items had only ingredients that are on our list of "okay" foods.  I think it went well but I will say that I did learn that butter does always make it better.  Next year I'm going to brine my turkey so we don't need butter.  I must get away from butter ;-)

I like to make my own cranberry sauce and good ole Trader Joe is kind enough to carry organic cranberries!  I put them in a pot of water and simmer them with cinnamon and cloves until they look like this. Then I add honey to taste.  They were quite tart this year so I put in a whole cup of honey and they were still tart.  I've put orange juice in them before which helps a lot but I was short the oranges this year.  Still - Kaelyn loved dipping her turkey in it!

My favorite part was my stuffing. I'll admit - I've always been a boxed stuffing girl and yes, it's my favorite part of the meal.  So I wanted to make my own this year and didn't even use a recipe.  I purchased the Health Starts Here Whole Grain Bread from Whole foods (a friend of mine just informed me they actually cell the bread crumbs if you prefer a crumby stuffing - I like mine chunky!).  I cut off the hardest part of the crust and then cut the bread in to 1/2 inch pieces.  I sauteed 4 celery stalks and a whole onion in butter (1/4 cup).  I then added 2 cups of vegetable stock, 1/2 teaspoon each of sage, fresh thyme, rosemary and poultry seasoning, and 2 cups of baby kale/chard/spinach (also sold at Trader Joe's).  Then I tossed it all together and baked it for 1/2 hour.  I think it was delish.  Next year I will try to make it without the butter.  I didn't want to take too many chances the first time around!

Persimmon pie. This is one of my favorites. And when I've served it in the past it's been a favorite. I'll admit our families did not choose this - they opted for the regular apple or pumpkin cheesecake (not on our approved ingredient lists!) but my family is not the most open to our type of food.  That said, this pie was really good.

Above is the "before baking" shot and below you can se it amidst the other pies (which I'll pride myself on switching my sister to butter and 1/2 whole wheat flour rather than the usual shortening and white flour).  It is the top left pie.  I make it without a crust (I am not fond of crust anyway) and put a yummy topping on it.

Persimmon Pie Recipe

Slice 8-10 fuyu persimmons (thin)
1/4 cup maple syrup (the real raw stuff...not Log Cabin!)
1 T corn starch
(Let this sit while you prepare the cobbler, or even longer. If any juices collect, drain them out.)
1 C oats (best to go with non quick cooking oats b/c you want the texture to remain in tact as much as possible)
1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 C honey
1 t cinnamon
1/3 C butter (softenend, not melted) or melted coconut oil
1/3 C greek yogurt 
Prepare oven at 400 degrees
Stir topping together and spread it over the peaches to create a top-layer crust.
Bake for 20-25 minutes
Let cool for 20-30 mins and eat!

By the way - this pie is equally good with apples or peaches.  I haven't tried it with berries yet but I'm sure that would be good too!

Keeping it real! Kathy

GOMBO - Souper Immunity Soup

I'm back in action. I've been set back with more than a few nanny transitions in the past few months, plus a really bad cold...but we're on the up and up and I'm more committed to ever to bring this blog back to life!

I'm going to start with a very exciting winter soup.  I'm so proud of this soup. I was out shopping at the Farmer's Market on Sunday and had no list (gasp).  So I thought to myself, hey - what sounds good? What could I make?  Well, the mushrooms looked good. The asparagus were fresh.  Hmmm...white beans...can't go wrong with Kale.  I think I'll make a soup!  By the time I got the soup together and was talking to my friend Karen who was also down with the flu, I realized this soup had all of the components of the GOMBS Diet (Dr. Furman's anti-cancer diet) she had told me about the week before.  It stands for Greens, Onions, Mushrooms, Beans/Berries, and Seeds.  Okay - so it's missing the seeds.  If you feel inclined, add them to the top of your soup!.  This soup was delicious. I will be making it again.  We cleverly named it Gombo as a take on "gumbo." Of course on a quick internet search I found that gombo actually is okra.  But I'm sticking to it anyway...


1 medium brown/yellow onion chopped finely
2 cups crimini mushrooms cleaned and sliced
1 small head cabbage shredded
1 bunch of asparagus chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 bunch Kale chopped into small pieces
2 cans great northern beans (or 3 cups soaked over night and cooked a few hours)
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 t cumin
4 cups veggie broth

Dry saute the onion (using a few T of veggie broth) until translucent and slightly browned. Add garlic and mushrooms and saute with more veggie broth as needed for about 5 minutes (until mushrooms are softened slightly).  Add the broth, beans, asparagus, kale, and cabbage and bring to a boil.  Add the cumin and reduce to a rapid simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add sea salt to taste.

Did you know mushrooms are SUPER full of benefits and the longer you cook them the more you get out of them?  Love it!

Eat up!  Stay Healthy!

Keeping it real! Kathy