Secrets of Mom Search Results

Monday, October 12, 2009

Book Review: Deceptively Delicious

My husband is allergic to almost all raw vegetables and many cooked veggies too. My kids just generally won't eat them. This makes getting my family to eat well-balanced meals a challenge, too say the least. I thought Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfield, might be able to give me some pointers on getting my family to eat better, and it does. She has lots of great ideas. I haven't tried all of her recipes, but there are some good ones, as well as different tips on getting your family to eat better.
The recipe that I go back to the most is Macaroni and Cheese (with Cauliflower). My spin on it is below. The cauliflower isn't totally hidden, but I like the taste and my kids don't mind either. We have a winner! She suggests using pureed butternut squash as an alternative to cauliflower, but I don't know if I could pull that off. As it stands, this recipe is lowfat (as compared to regular mac & cheese), high in fiber, calcium and vitamin C and folic acid. It's pretty quick and easy to make (if you have the puree ready) and reheats well. I've made this for my brothers-in-law (who are very anti-vegetables and pretty picky eaters) and they eat it without complaint.

Macaroni and Cheese (with Cauliflower)
1 1/2 c macaroni
Nonstick cooking spray
1 T olive oil
2 T flour
3/4 c skim milk
3/4 c cauliflower puree (see below)
1 c shredded reduced fat Cheddar cheese
3/4 shredded reduced fat Mozarella cheese
4 oz Neufchatel
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t Tabasco sauce

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
2. While cooking pasta coat medium sized saucepan with cooking spray and heat on medium. Add oil, then flour and cook stirring constantly until mixture is a thick paste, but not browned.
3. Add milk and Neufchatel. Mix until smooth. Add remaining sauce ingredients and mix until melted and smooth. Add pasta.

Cauliflower Puree
This takes a little bit of time beforehand, but I think it is well worth it.
Cut out core of one head of cauliflower and discard. Cut head into quarters. Steam for 8-10 minutes. Blend one quarter at a time with a few tablespoons of water until you have a smooth texture. Freeze in small tupperware containers until ready to use.

Other favorite recipes from this book include: french toast, carrot cake muffins and burgers 1.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

10 Things That Make My Life Easier

1. Online Bill Pay-No postage required, no late fees and no stress. If you don't do it, you should.
2. My Shoe Rack- Granted, my almost two-year-old son feels like his purpose in life is to dump the shoes off the shoe rack and I have to put them back on several times each day, it still saves me time. By not wearing shoes in the house, the floor stays cleaner and I generally don't have to search for shoes. They're either right there by the door, or in a pile in front of it. :S (Someday he'll outgrow this, right?)
3. My double sit and stand stroller (as shown to the right)- I got it from Target for $100 shipped, it was totally worth every penny.
4. My washer and dryer- This is one that we may take for granted. The other day I was thinking about my great grandmother. She had thirteen children and an alcoholic husband during the Great Depression. My grandfather, being the oldest, dropped out of school in the fifth grade to help support his family. He eventually lied about his age to get into the navy and always sent money home. One year for Mother's Day he sent her a new washing machine. When she saw it she cried. No wonder, I think I would cry if I had to do laundry for fifteen people by hand, day in and day out. Instead one or twice a week I throw it in with detergent, press a button and have time to play with my kids. I am so grateful to have them. (The washer and dryer I meant, but I certainly am grateful for my kids too.)
5. The Sunday Paper- I love it so much I get two. It's coupon bliss, and the money I save more than covers the cost of the paper. (And I do enjoy reading it when I have the time.)
6. Shopping could hardly be easier. I love their gift organizer. I can link to things that people have on their wish lists or I can add things that I find for people and it saves it for me when I have gift-giving occasion for that person. And if I don't have any ideas for a person they usually can make some pretty descent suggestions. Plus their prices are generally cheaper than other places. (Although I usually price check at B&N for books) And most of their items qualify for free shipping when you spend $25 or more. Christmas shopping, check.
7. The Crock pot-There is so much that can be done with it. So many hours that I'm not standing over the stove and it's pretty energy efficient too. I use it at least once a week.
8. Silicone bake ware- I was kind of hesitant about these when they first came out, I mean can they really be that good? The answer is, yes they are. I got a set of three red pans at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $4 last fall, and I use them all the time. (They're not normally that cheap, I just got an awesome deal because one of the pans has a small crack on one of the edges. It works fine.) So easy to clean and spraying with Pam is totally optional. (Although I still recommend it for particularly moist muffins.)
9. Google- Is there anything it can't do? I mean, really. It can even do your kid's math homework, or calculate/define anything you type into that magic white box. Try it out.
10. My husband- A good husband is hard to find, and I'm so grateful for mine! I love you sweetheart!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Best Sugar Cookies Ever

Fall is in the air and I feel like cooking. Here's an awesome recipe that I got from my best friend. Honestly, best sugar cookies ever. Soft and chewy, like the pink cookies from the store/vending machine, but without the thick layer of pink frosting, and they taste even better.

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration (or 1/4 cup sprinkles)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, stir into the creamed mixture until dough comes together. Roll dough into walnut sized balls (or bigger if that's what you're going for) and roll the balls in sugar/sprinkles. Place them on an unprepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until bottom is light brown. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.