Tuesday, November 30, 2010

and the WINNER is...

Today is the day to find out who wins this cute reusable shopping bag.

The names went into a bowl.

Harley wanted to pick the winner.

But I already had told the kids that they could pick.

So Harley left.

And the kids picked.

 Caleb tried to read the name.

But when he remember he couldn't read, he showed it to me.

Congratulations, Danielle!
Danielle, just send me your address and I'll stick it in the mail.  :)

Thanks again to ALL of the blog followers, email subscribers, and people that have shared my blog. 
I have greatly appreciated your support while getting this adventure started.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Carrot Cake Holiday Spice Cookies

Last year, I was getting my hair cut and reading Natural Health Magazine.  I came across this cookie recipe that looked so good I asked my stylist to make a photocopy of the page for me.  I ran out, grabbed the ingredients, and was not disappointed.  They are fabulous.

I have a few tips that I have discovered while making these cookies that I would like to share.

1.  I have had better success with 325 degrees for 18 minutes.
2.  I throw the raisins and cranberries (and/or cherries) in the food processor.  That way the flavor is distributed throughout the cookie and the kids prefer smaller pieces.
3.  I also use the food processor for the carrots.  Makes it a breeze. 

Carrot Cake Holiday Spice Cookies by Cat Cora
from Natural Health Magazine Dec 2009/Jan 2010

makes about 70 cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup raw or date sugar
2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
1/4 cup chopped dates
1 cup raw carrots, grated
1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

1.  Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two cookie sheets with nonstick spray.

2.  In a medium mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar and the honey or agave nectar until smooth. Add in eggs one a time until well blended.

3.  In a separate bowl, mix together the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and rolled oats. In stages, mix flour into the butter mixture until both are well incorporated.

4.  Add in raisins, dried cranberries (or cherries) dates, carrots and walnuts and stir until all ingredients are well combined.

5.  Use a tablespoon to drop dough onto lightly greased cookie sheets and flatten slightly with the back of a spoon or fork.

6.  Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes.  * Keep an eye on them.  This is too many minutes in my experience.

7.  Let cool and store in airtight container so the cookies stay soft, not crisp.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

gaining independence in the kitchen

Breakfast by Noah

I love how competent, helpful, and skilled my two boys are becoming in the kitchen.
Caleb loves to be "Mommy's Kitchen Helper".  It's the term that he uses when helping cook.  Noah enjoys helping too, but sometimes he prefers to be the cook.

Even though I enjoy doing the majority of the cooking, it's great to see the kids gain independence in the kitchen.  

Today, Noah made himself breakfast.  All he needs is someone there to chat with and keep an eye on him while using the stove.

Today he made scrambled eggs with salsa and cheese, whole grain bread with peanut butter, and apple slices.

I think we're creating great husband material, if you ask me!  Just add a cup of coffee and it looks like a perfect breakfast in bed.

Stay Tuned: 
Tomorrow we will be sharing one of our favorite cookie recipes.
Tuesday we will announce the winner of the giveaway.  There is still time to win.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

a little gadget we like around here

There's nothing fancy about this.  You may even have one at home.  But I need to take just a moment to give a little shout out to my salad chopper.

Truth be told, I probably prefer non-chopped salads over chopped salads.  What I love about the salad chopper though is that it's really the only way that my children love salads.  They will have a little bit of a regular salad but if I make a chopped salad, they chow it down! 

Really, you can put just about anything in the salad that you would like.  Here, I have a combination of lettuce, peppers, carrots, spinach, green onions, and apples.

The secret is in the apples!  As long as I put one apple into the chopped salad, the kids will eat it and love it!  I've tried skipping the apple before.  It doesn't go over very well.

Every thing is put into the bowl (medium sized pieces to start) and then you chop away!  When getting started, I use an up and down motion.  Once the pieces are smaller, it's easy to roll the chopper.  

Halfway chopped

Another thing I like about the chopped salad is that it requires very little dressing.  Here we used just a tinch of good balsamic and extra virgin olive oil.

Voila!  The finished product.  The kids love pumpkin seeds and parmesan cheese on their salads.

Baard and I love a little parmesan cheese and avocado on ours. 

Don't forget!  There's a GIVEAWAY on a little spinach and on The Middlest Sister.
I've been busy keeping track of everyone that has spread the word about my new blog.  Thank you!  On Tuesday, November 30, everyone that is a follower or email subscriber will be added to that list for a chance to WIN.

Monday, November 22, 2010

G I V E A W A Y ! ! !

I love using my cute reusable bags.  My favorite bags come from Blue Q.  They are so darn cute that people are always raving about them at the checkout.

I purchased my first Blue Q bag from a cute little gift shop in Nisswa, MN when I was on a family vacation.  So when I use my bags, not only do I feel like I'm trying to be eco-friendly, but it brings back memories of shopping with my mom, playing outside with the kids, and eating the world's best pizza.

Now when I use my cute Blue Q bags, I will be thinking about YOU.  That is because you have a chance to win this adorable bag.  I love the produce design.  I can only imagine the good stuff that you'll be inspired to get when you're shopping with this bag!

This GIVEAWAY is my way of saying, Thank You for the support you've given me as I've kicked off this blog.

There are three ways to win.

1.  Be a follower of the blog.  At the top of my blog and also on the right-hand side, you will see where to click to follow a little spinach.  If you are a follower of the blog, I will enter your name to win.

2.  Be an email subscriber.  On the right-hand side of my blog, you will find the email subscription box.  Sign up to receive emails from a little spinach. If you are an email subscriber, I will enter your name to win.

3.  Spread the word.  This one is on scout's honor!  Let me know if you've shared this blog on facebook, your blog, sent an email to friends, etc.  Leave a comment telling me how you've spread the word about a little spinach.  If you've spread the word, I will enter your name to win.

Drawing will be done on Tuesday, November 30th.  The winner will be posted that day.

BUT WAIT!  There's more!  Is one giveaway not quite enough?  If your answer is "Yes", I have good news for you!  My sweet friend, Libbie, over at The Middlest Sister is also announcing her GIVEAWAY right now.  Run over there for another chance to win! 

Friday, November 19, 2010

We LOVE our spinach smoothies!

This is a spinach smoothie household.  We love them!  You may think it sounds gross but don't knock it until you've tried it.

Why do the kids like them?  The taste is amazing.  Actually, the spinach taste fades away and you really just taste the other ingredients.

Watch out!  Spinach smoothies are addictive.  In addition to the taste, it's a great way to load up on a nutrient-dense food first thing in the morning.

Will your family like the spinach smoothies too?  What I can tell you is that my friends that have tried the spinach smoothies have gotten hooked.  I've also made spinach smoothies for friends' kids and have gotten rave reviews from all of them.

As we've been playing with making spinach smoothies, we've all stumbled across our own favorite variations.  I will eventually share all of them with you, but here is Noah's spinach smoothie recipe.  This version is very kid-friendly!

Spinach Smoothie by Noah from A Little Spinach

1/2 cup of low fat vanilla yogurt *
1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 giant handful of spinach
3/4 of a frozen banana
1 tablespoon of peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
3 ice cubes

Blend all together.  This makes one large glassful.

*  Our tip for purchasing yogurt:  When looking for yogurt, make sure that you can read and understand all of the ingredients.  Many yogurts are filled with some pretty funky stuff.

Have you ever tried a spinach smoothie?  Have your kids?  Do you think you'll give it a shot?  We triple dog dare you! 

almond milk


adding the giant handful

grabbing bananas


peanut butter




Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mexican lettuce wraps - recipe not required

As you may have gathered, we really enjoy trying new recipes.  But in all honesty, I'm not always a recipe kind of girl.  I tend to be a bit of a throw-together chef.  I love putting different foods together and seeing what happens. 

Last night's dinner was one of those great throw-together meals.  This meal can be done with endless variations and takes practically no time at all.

Ingredients used in our wraps: 
black beans
tomatoes, clilantro, red pepper, lime juice
salsa & hot sauce
sour cream

the quick throw-together salsa

Noah is able to make his own wrap.

Caleb just needs someone to hold his plate.
the finished product

Reasons why I love this meal:
1.  The kids are able to "make" their own dinner.
2.  It's fast and easy.
3.  It's a great way to pack in a good variety of veggies!
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