Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Let's talk about the Future

Today I am going to deviate from my normal recipe and food reviews to talk about something outside of my kitchen that I feel passionate about; encouraging young woman to become strong and powerful leaders. Today the Girl Scouts of the USA launched To Get Her There- the biggest cause dedicated to girls leadership in history that encourages girls to grow and succeed to become leaders of the future. Girl Scouts of the USA has a lot of experience in encouraging girls and is the perfect organization to head this worthy cause.

At any given point in time, approximately 10 percent of girls are Girl Scouts, and
• 80 percent of women business owners were Girl Scouts.
• 69 percent of female U.S Senators were Girl Scouts.
• 67 percent of female members of the House of Representatives were Girl Scouts.
• Virtually every female astronaut who has flown in space was a Girl Scout.
                                         From  http://www.gscnc.org/files/pdf/pubs/volunteeressentials.pdf

I have always felt very strongly about encouraging my girls and letting them know that there is nothing that they can't do. But, as my oldest has gotten further into school I am learning that ME telling her that is not enough. It is a help, but it isn't enough. They need to see strong women and know that they aren't alone. This quote from the To Get Her There website really hit home for me.

         "Studies also reveal that girls idealize leadership qualities and skills, like being talented, caring,  honest, hard-working, confident, good listeners, and team players. But only 21% of girls believe they have the qualities required to be a good leader. In other words, she knows what it takes to lead, but doesn't have the confidence to do so."

This statement breaks my heart. NO girl should feel that she isn't good enough. NO girl should feel like she can't achieve whatever she puts her mind to. The facts that are presented on the To Get Her There website were shocking and disturbing to me. Just a few of these include:

                  Only 1 in 5 girls believe that she has what it takes to lead - Yet corporations whose boards are at least 1/4 women outperform those with the smallest female board participation.

              Nearly 40% of girls report that they have been put down by peers when they try to lead, yet girls fear being laughed at, making people mad at them, coming across as bossy when trying to lead.

            Women account for less than 20% of the bachelors degrees in engineering, computer science and physics,  yet when today's girls graduate from college, the U.S. will need three million more scientists and engineers.

These facts were staggering and extremely upsetting to read. HOW CAN WE CHANGE THIS??? 
Moms- be a role model for your daughters. Encourage them to follow their interests and not let others sway them. Show them ANYONE male or female that has been successful in that field and help them learn ways to overcome the obstacles to get what they want.

Dads- encourage your girls and show them that you feel that they can do anything they set their minds too. They need to know that you believe in them.

Give them chances to succeed- encourage them to join sports teams, take classes related to their interests or even just help to complete tasks at home. Having my children do even small tasks, like cook dinner has helped them to learn skills and feel proud of themselves.

Even if you don't have children VOLUNTEER your time. Schools are always looking for presenters to come in an speak about their careers and interests.

Show your support of young women by taking the To Get Her There pledge  and speaking up about these issues.

And lastly, if you have a little girl get her involved in a group like Girl Scouts or another group that encourages and supports leadership skills in young women. There is no reason that our girls should feel like they are anything less than the amazing and wonderful people that they are.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Trials and Misfires

I have a confession. It's a secret that I have kept hidden for as long as I can, but I can't hide it anymore. So here it goes...... I am not perfect. 

If you know me you are laughing your head off right about now because you know how totally true this is. My house is a mess, I rarely take care of my appearance, I occasionally swear in front of my children and have been known to yell. These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my list of flaws and I am ok with it. Yes I can be judgemental, but if you say you're not then you are lying. I screw up sometimes and burn an entire cookie sheet full of roasted chickpeas or forget what you told me five minutes ago, but I can deal with that.

The one place however that I should NOT be screwing up on is what to feed my kids to keep them from getting sick. The last few weeks have been a horrible mix of  birthday parties and bad decisions on my part. I had been doing pretty well on keeping an eye on Ashley's carbs and sugars and while her blood sugar was still slightly elevated in the mornings it wasn't something to panic about yet. Her morning fasting levels were maintaining in the 110-115 range and she was feeling pretty good.

And then, it was my husbands birthday. The day before his birthday and the official celebration with his family we decided to go run some errands and get ready for the celebration. While we were out we had planned to go to Chick Fil A for lunch, but when we got there the parking lot was packed and we couldn't even get into the area to see how busy it was. So, on the spur of the moment we decided to go to our favorite sushi place instead. Sushi= yummy and healthy right? I mean, it's fish. Fish is good right? Well, yes fish is good, but the mountain of white rice it is served on is not such a great thing for Ashley. 

We left the restaurant and ran errands for another couple hours. Ashley was starting to act weird and hyper. This is really not that unusual for her because she is 11 and 11 year-olds tend to be weird and hyper anyway, but this was different. I told her to go running with the dog as soon as we got home because this normally helps her calm down and burn off excess energy from being in the car and running errands. We had a Girl Scout lock-in that night and I knew she was excited, so I though that was part of the problem too.  When she got back from running she was pale and sweaty, but hey running with an 80 pound lab will do that to you. An hour later though she was still pale and sweaty so I decided to test her blood sugar. It had been 4 hours after eating lunch and she was at 160. I can't even imagine what her 2 hour numbers were like. The rest of the day was a mixture of trying to give her protein so she wouldn't crash and spike all evening. The lock-in was fun, but she obviously wasn't feeling herself and was much more emotional than she is normally. Lesson learned- white rice=BAD bad bad.

Since then Ashley has had a couple similar incidents with a Sprite and a cupcake, but at least I can now look at her and tell that things aren't right. She gets pale,slightly green and sweaty.  Honestly, I am at a loss on what to do for her. Her fasting blood sugar is elevated, but not enough to qualify as full blown diabetes. Her post-prandial numbers are high, but not high enough to fall into the diabetic range. She runs almost everyday and if she doesn't run it is because she has been walking the streets for hours trying to sell Girl Scout cookies (of which she has only had one this year). Some days I think she is ok so I let her eat a cupcake at a birthday party and she gets sick and feels miserable. Other days she is fine.

I know that we will have many days of trials and misfires until we figure out what foods make her sick. There are going to be mistakes and constant worry. Is this "just" prediabetes in an active, thin child or is this the beginning of Type 1? Either way it is scary and uncertain. This is the area where I really need to stop screwing up because I can't keep watching my big girl get sick.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lemonade Pistachio Seafood Tartlet Delight

1 box Lemonades
2 tsps Unsalted Butter
Pinch Salt
1 Egg, Slightly Beaten
1/2 cup All Purpose flour
1 4 oz can, Shrimp
1 6 oz can, Crab
1/4 cup celery
1/4 cup Sweet Onion
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Ground Pistachio Nuts
Ground Lemonades

Cookies in a food processor to fine crumbs. Add flour, soft butter, salt, and one egg to the food processor to combine together. Press one-inch balls into tartlet pan and bake at 275 F degrees for 10 minutes.

Place all ingredients together and set aside.
Place filling into crusts. Crumble pistachio nuts and
Lemonades Cookies together in a small bowl and sprinkle on top of filled crusts.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2 more days! Thin Mint Brownies

I have to admit that I love Thins mints. Usually, I will eat a tube of them right out of a box that I have stashed in the freezer. Frozen Thin Mints are a great treat to have in the unreasonable heat of Texas summers. Right now those days seem a long way off so a nice pan of warm Thin Mint Brownies will definitely hit the spot!


Thin Mint Brownies

Ingredients (yields 6 servings):
• 1/2 box of crushed Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies
• 1 box of brownie mix
• 2 eggs (3 eggs for cake-like brownies)
• 1/4 cup of water
• 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
Crush Thin Mints into medium size chunks. Mix all
ingredients into mixing bowl. Do not use electric mixer — batter will be stiff. Spread batter evenly in greased baking pan (13 × 9 × 2 inch). Bake in center of oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting. Serve with mint-flavored tea.
Recipe courtesy of GSCCC.org.

Read more: http://www.momlogic.com/2010/03/girl_scout_cookies_go_gourmet.php#thin_mint_brownies#ixzz1jYUddWmk

Sunday, January 15, 2012

3 More days until Cookie Time!!!

This yummy recipes uses the best selling of the Girls Scout cookies. Sounds Yummy!!

Chocolate-Coconut Brownies

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 chocolate 2-layer cake mix
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1-1/4 cups caramel sauce
  • One 7-ounce box Samoas® - Caramel deLites™ Girl Scout Cookies, crushed, divided


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 9 x 13 pan. Completely combine cake mix, butter and evaporated milk. Pour half of the mixture in the pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Sprinkle milk chocolate chips over warm cake. Drizzle 3/4 cup caramel over chips. Next add 1/2 cookie crumbs. Top with the rest of the cake batter. Bake for 10 more minutes. Drizzle cake with 1/2 cup caramel sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the cookie crumbs on top.*Samoas® - Caramel deLites™ Girl Scout Cookies are vanilla cookies covered with caramel on top and bottom then rolled in coconut and striped with chocolate.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Red Headed Children

Ok this post isn't so much about MY red headed children as it is about Shout Outs! the red headed stepchildren on the Girls Scout cookie world. These are a fairly new cookie in our region and definitely the least popular. The Belgian syle carmelized cookie has a slightly spicy taste that makes it a change from the super sweet and chocolately flavors of the more popular cookies.  One good thing about them - they are one of the least calorie filled cookies that the Girl Scouts are selling this year. 4 cookies are only 130 calories, so you can enjoy a few without too much guilt or waistband squeezing.


This recipe from ABC Bakers sounds really interesting and may be one we try out with sugar free ice cream. I am betting we can keep it within carb limits for the day!


8 Shout Outs! Girl Scout Cookies
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 ripe, but slightly firm pears, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Vanilla ice cream
Garnish: 4 Shout Outs! Girl Scout Cookies
Place 8 Shout Outs! cookies in a large self-sealing plastic bag and close. Place bag on cutting board and use rolling pin to crush cookies into coarse crumbs. In a small bowl combine cookie crumbs with pecans; set aside. To make caramelized pears, melt butter in a medium frying pan over medium to medium-low heat. When butter foams, sprinkle the brown sugar over top. Cook until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add pear pieces and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook approximately 4 to 5 minutes or until the sauce is caramelized and the pears start to break down. To make sundaes place half of nutty-cookie crunch in bottom of each serving dish. Scoop ice cream over the nutty-cookie crunch. Top with warm pear sauce and sprinkle with remaining nutty-cookie crunch. To serve, place one Shout Out! on top of each sundae.
Makes:4 servings
Submitted By: ABC Bakers

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Look out- here they come

Just when you thought it was safe to make that New Year's Resolution to lose weight  - IT's GIRL SCOUT COOKIE TIME!!!!

Ok actually it hasn't started yet. There is another week and a half before the Girl Scout army is out in droves, knocking on doors and tempting you with Thin Mints and sweet faces. I am not actually sure how we are going to handle it this year with the blood sugar troubles in our house. Maybe I will come out of February without my seasonal 5 pounds of cookie weight? You never know.

In preparation I will feature a cookie recipe every day or so, just to get you warmed up and ready to say "yes" to that happy face when it comes knocking. Enjoy!



Chocolate Thin Mint Pizza Supreme

1 pkg. (18 oz.) refrigerated chocolate chunk cookie dough
1/2 pkg. (19 cookies) Girl Scout Thin Mints
1/2 cup white chocolate morsels
Vanilla ice cream, optional
Press cookie dough evenly in the bottom of an ungreased 12-inch pizza pan or a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. (Dough will barely cover the pan.) Break Thin Mints into halves or thirds; press cookie pieces into dough, covering evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Place white chocolate morsels into a small self-closing bag. Microwave the bag of morsels on MEDIUM HIGH (70% power) for 40 to 50 seconds or until melted. Snip one corner (about 1/8 inch) off the bottom of the bag. Hold bag tightly at top and drizzle white chocolate stripes over top of pizza. When cool, cut pizza into 8 or 10 wedges. If desired, top each serving with a scoop of ice cream.
Makes:8 to 10 servings
Submitted By: ABC Bakers

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Delicious Chocolatey Treat

While I am still researching cocoa butter and  ways to make it taste less like bug spray in peanut butter cups, I decided to make what is quickly becoming a favorite snack around here - The Raw Chocolate Milkshake Miracle . There have been several variations and honestly, since we aren't too picky about the raw or vegan things it has really opened the possibilities. I am going to go ahead and feature my daughter's favorite. It is becoming so popular that even her brother and sister and somewhat finicky grandmother have grown to like this "milkshake"

The original recipe:
Raw Chocolate Milkshake Miracle
• ¼ cup hemp seeds (or use soaked almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds etc.)
• 2 heaping Tbsp. raw cacao powder
• 1 Avocado
• 1 very large frozen banana (or 2 small)
• 2 Tbsp. raw honey, agave, or maple syrup
• dash sea salt
• ¾ - 1 cup water
• 4 ice cubes

1. Blend all the ingredients together; add water to thin if desired.

Ashley's Favorite Version -  with PB2
2 tbsp chocolate PB2
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 avocado
1 large frozen banana
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup dark chocolate covered cacoa nibs

1. Blend all the ingredients together; add milk if desired.

We have varied this up with frozen strawberries and blueberries added in. Honestly, possibilites are plentiful and the taste is delicious. Hopefully she won't get bored of this one soon!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Meal Plans for the New Year

Well, it is time to start the year off right. Last year I managed to keep the meal plans up until August. Here is hoping that I can keep it going for the entire year this time!

Many people I know have a hard time making meals plans and fall into a rut with just recycling the same weekly menu over and over again. One way I have found to combat this is to make a monthly plan. That may seem like a daunting task, but really it is very easy. Assign each weekday a protein or theme and then just come up with 4 recipes of that type. For my family we do the following pattern:

Monday - Chicken
Tuesday - Pork
Wednesday- Beef
Thursday - Seafood/ vegetarian or another light meat
Friday - Soup
Saturday - Kid fun and friendly
Sunday - Pizza or other fun meal

So this is my plan for the month. Many are recipes from other blogs that  have found from pinterest. I will link to the recipes when I can. Honestly, I am super excited to try out a lot of new healthy meals and hopefully they will help keep all the blood sugar problems under control. I will keep you posted. ;P

1 Sunday
black eye peas, bacon sprouts, noodles and ham
2 Monday
3 Tuesday
4 Wednesday
Beef and Pineapple kabobs over couscous
5 Thursday
6 Friday
7 Saturday
Turkish meatballs with Cucumber Salad and Flatbreads
8 Sunday
9 Monday
10 Tuesday
11 Wednesday
12 Thursday
13 Friday
escarole and rice soup
14 Saturday
15 Sunday
16 Monday
17 Tuesday
garlic lime pork chops
18 Wednesday
19 Thursday
Raspberry chipotle glazed tilapia
20 Friday
21 Saturday
Grilled balsamic and garlic flank steak with gorgonzola mushrooms and polenta
22 Sunday
23 Monday
General Tsaos with brown rice and green beans
24 Tuesday
25 Wednesday
beef fajitas
26 Thursday
27 Friday
French onion soup
28 Saturday
Sauteed chicken with celery root puree and chestnuts
29 Sunday
Shrimp and grits
30 Monday
Healthy chicken taquitos
31 Tuesday