Monday, February 28, 2011

30 Healthiest Foods Challenge

One of my favorite bloggers, Carrots n' Cake, brought my attention to an eye opening article by Real Simple Magazine about "The 30 Healthiest Foods." Tina at Carrots n' Cake decided to take on the challenge of eating all of these foods in 30 days, so I though it would be fun to do the same this month. For many of the foods I will incorporate recipes, but others I may just eat (such as greek yogurt for breakfast one day). My goal is to not only finish these foods in a month, but incorporate them more into my everyday diet as the article suggests for all of us! Here are the 30 healthiest foods according to Real Simple Magazine:
  • Mushrooms

  • Walnuts

  • Whole-Grain Pasta

  • Peanut and Nut Butters

  • Oatmeal

  • Barley

  • Quinoa

  • Lentils

  • Bulgar

  • Almonds

  • Eggs

  • Nonfat Greek Yogurt

  • Chicken Breasts

  • Wild Salmon

  • Sardines

  • Kale

  • Kiwi

  • Blueberries

  • Broccoli

  • Avacados

  • Black Beans

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

  • Edamame

  • Chard

  • Kidney Beans

  • Oranges

  • Spinach

  • Pumpkin

  • Skim Milk

So, where does one start? With a nut butter of course! If you have been reading past posts then you already know I have a small (ahem...large) addiction to peanut butter. I have done much better these days with not eating huge spoonfuls at a time, so figured I would try and make my own nut butter as a treat-except with almonds instead of peanuts! With the help of Angela from Oh She Glows and Ashley from The Edible Perspective, I came up with this recipe for

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter:

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
First, pour the two cups of almonds into the food processor and process for about 12-15 minutes. Trust me, I understand this process is annoying (because I just did it) but it is worth it! Be sure to scrape the sides of the processor bowl every minute or two.

Next, melt your 1/2 cup of dark chocolate on the stove top. This only takes a few seconds, be careful not to burn it. The chocolate doesn't need to be all the way melted, just softened (the processor will take care of the rest). After about 10 minutes of processing the almonds, add the melted chocolate, vanilla, maple syrup and canola oil and continue processing for another 5 minutes. Once the almond butter is the consistency you like, let cool and enjoy!

After just 1 minute of processing...

After 5 minutes of processing...

After about 7 minutes of processing (I was impatient and added the chocolate a bit early, however I like my almond butter thick so it worked out).

This recipe makes enough to fill a mason jar. Store in the refrigerator, but remember that the fridge can cause it to harden a bit so soften it up at room temperature or in the microwave before using.

Do you eat any of these "healthiest foods" on a daily basis? I probably incorporate oatmeal, peanut butter, almonds, olive oil and sweet potatoes the most. Can't wait to try some of these foods this month!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Our Sunday.

The weather was beautiful yesterday! We knew it was the perfect day to take Ollie to the park for the first time. Before the park though, he met his first baby friend-our niece Sienna. They are now best friends, as you can see...

Because of Ollie, we can officially cross off "Meet 3 new people in a day" from our Bucket List. His cuteness pretty much attracted everyone at the park today! We met so many new people, especially other dog owners! Ollie also met his first goose.

I already love this little man so much. I can only imagine how much more I will love him years down the road...

For today, I thought it would be fun to participate in a blog trend going on. A survey! I haven't done one of these since Myspace days, so it was pretty entertaining. Hope you learn some new things about me:

A. Age: 22

B. Bed size: Full-crazy I know! But our bedroom is incredibly small. I can't wait until we have a normal sized house so we can have normal sized everything else.

C. Chore you dislike: Dishes. Thankfully my husband thinks doing dishes is therapeutic.

D. Dogs: Ollie (short for Oliver). He is a 9 week old Westie.

E. Essential start to your day: A hug from my husband.

F. Favorite color: Green and yellow. Our entire apartment is green and yellow!

G. Gold or silver: Silver rings and necklaces but I will wear gold earrings.

H. Height: 5 whole feet!

I. Instruments you play(ed): It started with the recorder in 4th grade. I then tried piano lessons but quit after 2 lessons. I finally decided on the flute and played throughout middle school.

J. Job title: Nanny.

K. Kids: No kids yet, but hopefully some day. Jeff and I hope to have 3 children.

L. Live: Port Jefferson, Long Island NY. However after Jeff finishes PT school next June we will move to Pennsylvania (where my family is from).

M. Mom’s name: Cynthia Denise Kruse. Want to read her blog? It's awesome because she is awesome. Go HERE to check it out!

N. Nicknames: My full name is Caitlin, so Cait is a nickname I guess. In high school I was often called "Kruser" since Kruse is my maiden name. My family sometimes calls me "Caity" or "Miss Cait." My sister and I call each other "Willis." Always have, always will :)

O. Overnight hospital stays: Nope! Never been to the hospital except for x-rays recently.

P. Pet peeves: CHEWING. I absolutely hate chewing. It doesn't matter if it is loud or quiet-if I can hear it, I hate it. I have had this pet peeve since I was little so my family used to have a "dinner CD" that we would play during meals so I wouldn't focus on the food rolling around in everyone's mouths.

Q. Quote from a movie: I'm not sure if this is considered a quote, but it is one of my favorite clips from The Proposal: HERE to see it!

R. Righty or lefty: Righty.

S. Siblings: A sister named Lauren. She is 4 years older than me. My birthday is May 2 and hers is May 3. I carry her heart in mine...

T. Time you wake up: Now that we have Ollie...who knows! This week it will be 6:00 am in order to feed Ollie and be ready for work in time.

U. Underwear: I wear them, yes.

V. Vegetables you don't like: Mushrooms or beets.

W. What makes you run late: I'm never late. I always have to be on time. I even drive to work early and wait in a nearby parking lot until my clock in the car turns 7:48 since I have to be at work at 7:50. I am anal.

X. X-rays you’ve had: Toes because I have freaking raynaud's syndrome.

Y. Yummy food you make: Check out my recipe page!

Z. Zoo animal favorites: I hate the zoo. One time I ruined our family vacation because my sister wanted to go to the zoo and I refused. It is still a sore subject among my family members.

It's back to reality today. I had off of work for a week last week! And although it wasn't exactly relaxing considering we had to watch Ollie every second, it was great to be home. At least my job isn't stressful and I get to see my favorite 2 year old again...back tomorrow with more recipes!

Oatmeal Pancakes

Hi everyone, it's Cait again! Did you enjoy Jeff's post last night? And he thought he had writing skills of an 8th grader? I don't think so. His post was great-and so was that caramel frappe that he made! I told him not to make me once since it wasn't the healthiest recipe out there, but I actually ended up just drinking half of his. I felt less guilty about it that way though ;) After waking up this morning, Jeff was craving pancakes (a normal occurrence) and I was craving oatmeal (also a normal craving). So, why not combine them and make healthy oatmeal pancakes? I adapted a recipe from the cookbook Good to the Grain.

  • 3/4 cup oat flour (I'll explain how to easily make this)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cooked oats/oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 tablespoon molasses
First, make your oat flour. Simply pour 1 cup of rolled oats into a food processor and grind until they become a flour like substance.

Next, combine the dry ingredients (oat flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) in a large bowl. In a medium sized bowl, mix the wet ingredients (butter, milk, eggs, cooked oatmeal and molasses). Finally, fold the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well.

***To cook the oatmeal, mix 1 cup of rolled oats with 2 cups of water and simmer on the stove for about 5-7minutes.***

Now all you have to do is cook the pancakes! Heat a pan over medium heat with a little butter to keep the batter from sticking. Pour the batter onto the pan. This recipe will make about 15 small pancakes or 6-8 large ones. Of course we made large :)

To keep it healthy, I topped mine with crunchy peanut butter and some coconut.

Hoping this breakfast holds us over for a while (it should with all of the oatmeal in it) since we have a long day head! We're off to go on a little hike/walk with Ollie then I'm grocery shopping and Target shopping (my two favorite activities) with my friend Lauren!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Caramel Frappe

Cait didn't really feel like blogging today, so I (Jeff) offered to take over for the day and write my very first blog post! Writing was never really my strong point in school and considering I have the writing skills of an 8th grader you will just have to bare with me. I chose to make a caramel frappe, something that I mastered making this past summer. It is usually only a summer drink for me, but I only know how to make about 4 things that is blog material and this one was the best! I was inspired to make this drink after the $3 caramel frappe at McDonland's became too pricey and I realized that making it myself was both cheaper and more convenient (especially after acquiring our new magic bullet)! Here is the finished product:

  • 1/2 cup coffee (chilled)
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of caramel syrup
The instructions are pretty simple, which is how I like it. Add all of the ingredients into a blender and hit start. Out comes a caramel frappe! The whipped cream and caramel on top is optional, but makes it much better.

I bought the muffins in the background at the store. I clearly don't have the baking skills to make chocolate chip muffins of that quality! Sorry I did not take pictures of the step by step process, I just figured it was unnecessary. However, after making the frappe, Cait insisted that I needed more pictures so she made me put on this ridiculous apron and pose for one last picture. As you can see, I would do almost anything for this woman.

I was forced to wear the apron, but the gloves are standard when I do the dishes. That's about it for my first post, maybe I will be back again when Cait needs another break!

Friday, February 25, 2011

And the WINNER is...

After using to generate a random number to pick the lucky winner of our giveaway, I can happily announce that reader Jennifer won the scone mix and mug/platter! Congrats.

"I would love to sit down and have scones and tea with my husband.
Our works schedules don't permit a lot of free time for just the two
of us and it would be such a nice way to spend a few quiet
minutes together on a Saturday morning!"

*Jennifer, I hope you and your husband will enjoy these scones! Please e-mail me your mailing address at and I will get these goodies in the mail as soon as possible.Thank you to ALL of you who took the time to comment-I have loved reading who you all would enjoy spending time drinking tea with. My plan is to host a giveaway every month, so check back for more details!

I was planning on making something today (not exactly sure what) but after a very rainy trip to the vet, Jeff and I have decided to watch movies all day and comfort our little pup who had a stressful first doctor's visit. For now I'll leave you with an update from Ollie and his friends...

And a nice long stretch after a long and stressful day...

I'll be back tomorrow with an update on our weekend adventures :)
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mini Blueberry Spelt Muffins

I've had the entire week off of work and feel like today is the first day I have actually been able to relax! Relaxing in my standards is baking, cleaning and going to the gym :) All 3 things make my day so much more enjoyable. So, after waking up at 5:45 am with Ollie and having a nice big bowl of oatmeal to hold over my hunger for a while, I hit the kitchen! I had some spelt flour left over from the scones I tried to make last week and wanted to give this flour another try. I headed over to Whole Foods Recipes, one of my favorite places to find good and healthy recipes, and found one for mini blueberry spelt muffins! Blueberries are finally going down in price (at least at Trader Joe's this week) and since I had two cartons in my fridge I decided to put them to use as well.

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated grapefruit zest (I didn't have an orange so improvised)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries

Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Butter or grease your muffin pan so it will be ready to fill. In a large bowl, combine the oil and sugar. Then stir in the applesauce, eggs, orange juice and vanilla extract.

In a second large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, zest and salt. Stir flour mixture into oil-egg mixture until just combined. Gently stir in blueberries.

Fill your muffin pan (either mini or large) with the batter. This recipe will make either 12 large muffins (which you would bake for about 30 minutes) or 24 small muffins which I baked for about 12 minutes.

Why bake with spelt flour? Spelt flour has so many nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin B2, a very good source of manganse, and a good source of niacin, thiamin, and copper. What the heck does all that mean? IT'S GOOD FOR YOU! Much better than all-purpose white flour and has more/different nutrients than whole wheat flour. Spelt flour contains 15-21% of protein (which is more than wheat).

**Spelt flour is not gluten-free. It is closely related to the common form of wheat and is not suitable for those with celiac disease or a gluten allergy or intolerance.**

I think they turned out great! I added a lot of blueberries so there was a "burst" in your mouth each time you bit into one of these mini-muffins.

Don't forget to enter into our first GIVEAWAY! Today is the last day to enter and winners will be announced tomorrow afternoon. I have absolutely loved reading all of your comments about who you would enjoy tea and scones with and can't wait to hear from more of you!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Bicycle Built for Two's First GIVEAWAY!

So, can we talk about what happened when I tried to make scones last week?

These were supposed to be spelt flour berry scones. Key words: supposed to be. A combination of a poor recipe, poor oven and poor baker caused them to look this way! I was in Marshall's Home Goods today and picked up some scone mix so I wouldn't ever have to make them from scratch again (ok, maybe I'll give them another try one day but not for a long time). After picking up a box for myself a great idea popped into my head-to buy a box for one of you! I also picked up a few more adorable items that reminded me of the approaching spring and will hopefully brighten your days:

Lemon Poppyseed scones and an adorable platter to place them on. Of course, a cute mug to enjoy some tea with as well :) Need a better look?

This is simply a thank you to all of you for taking time to read my thoughts each and everyday. If you want to be entered into the giveaway simply leave a comment under the post answering the following question:

If you could make these scones and enjoy them and a cup of tea with anyone (even someone throughout history), who would it be and why?

We will pick a random winner Friday afternoon and announce it shorty after! I'll then mail these goodies to the lucky winner. Can't wait to hear back from you all :) In the meantime I'll be doing this...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Garden Scramble

Good afternoon! I must say though, it feels like morning to us since we really haven't left the house or gotten dressed yet. This whole puppy business is quite the job. Jeff and I slept in the living room next to Ollie last night, each taking turns taking him outside to "go potty" (as we call it). I know soon enough he will learn that the floor is not his toilet...but until then, I think we will have many sleepless nights! Since we were tired, I made Jeff and I a breakfast that would "pick us up" for the rest of the day.

Ingredients (for two people):
  • 5 eggs, scrambled
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 chopped spinach
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • salt, pepper and parmesan cheese to taste

First, saute the mushrooms and onion in a pan. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil and heat in a sauce pan for about 5 minutes until they are browned. If you learned anything from Julia Child...I hope it was to "not crowd the mushrooms!" They will steam instead of brown if you place too many in the pan together.

Once these are sauteed (or during if you don't mind doing more dishes), cook the scrambled eggs on the stove top. Once the eggs are almost fully cooked, throw the sundried tomatoes on with them in order to heat them up (they will be only room temperature if you simply take them right out of the package).

Finally, cook the spinach. I used frozen spinach so simply heated it up in the microwave for 45 seconds. Mix everything together in a large bowl or plate and enjoy!

I topped mine with some parmesan cheese.

Blog Design by Edub Graphic Art and Design