Thursday, January 9, 2014

on dinner, new years resolutions and another try to make my kids like hummus :)

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to figure out some new recipes to feed my family.

Because lately I'm in a rut.  We have some good tried and true recipes that we all love (I've put a whole slew of them in this blog, click HERE to scroll through some of them that I remembered to label...), but it's time to branch out a little bit.

The goal is healthy eating.  We all need a swift kick into gear around here to detox from all the crazy holiday eating.

I'm going to challenge myself to get going on my green smoothies (lots of recipes back in this post comments back HERE), and to get to the farmer's market at least twice a month and get a whole bunch of veggies to try new things with.  

Please send ideas my way because I'm bound and determined to get my kids to crave the good stuff more.  (And me too.)

It helps push me to try new things to post them here so I'm going to try to be more regular about my Thursday recipes.

This first one isn't really a recipe though, just another ploy to get my family to like hummus more because I adore that stuff.  And apparently it's not too shabby for your health (see reasons here).  

We needed something quick in between Grace's cheerleading, Claire's gymnastics and the piano recital last night so I decided it would be a perfect night to put the hummus ingredients my sister-in-law left here to use and whip up my own recipe to go in mediterranean sandwiches.

The hummus recipe I tried was good but not my favorite so I'm not posting it here (I only put stuff our whole family devours on here).  But there are a ton of good looking recipes google (which I intend to try), and almost all of them need the exact ingredients.  

I had the girls go pick some lemons from our neighbors tree (love that) and got going.

I stuck a few frozen chicken tenderloins (from Costco) in a pan with a little water, onion, garlic, and Greek seasoning and let them cook with the lid on while I whipped up the hummus.

Note to self for next time:  as much as I adore our Vitamix, it doesn't do the trick very well as a food processor.  Some day maybe I'll get one of those, but for now this has to do the job.

By this time I had turned the chicken, seasoned a little more and it was so tender it came apart perfectly for our sandwiches.

So we loaded them up with this bread from Costco warmed in the oven:
...and slapped a little hummus and veggies on there and ate.

My kids are still not head-over-heels about hummus though, dang it!

They ate up their sandwiches, but were even more excited about putting cinnamon sugar on the remaining warm bread for dessert.

I guess better luck on the hummus love next time:)

In the meantime, if you have any great tried and true recipe ideas, send them on over!


  1. my health nut mother in law introduced us to squash spaghetti (you've probably already heard of this) but you take a squash, cut in half or fourths and pop it in the oven until it's soft, then you take a fork and scrape the squash out and it comes out like spaghetti!

  2. When we were kids my Mom used to make healthier mashed potatoes using parsnips and turnips. She would use 1-2 potatoes and then cut up parsnips and turnips for the rest. You cook them (peeled and chopped) and then just mash them. I actually prefer them to regular potatoes (and it got us eating some veggies we normally would never eat!)

  3. Ahh! I have tried to comment 5 times. Computers!!

    Pinterest for good recipes.

    culinaryadventruesinthekitchen (dot) com for tons of hummus recipes (like chocolate chip cookie dough -- but healthy cuz its hummus!)

    Search on Pinterest for Chicken Lime Tacos in the crock pot, it uses the juice of two limes, a bunch of cilantro, half cup water, (I used 2 green onion) and taco seasoning. It was divine and my family of 5 gobbled it with NO leftovers, which is insane for us!

  4. This hummus always gets raves:
    I don't add the hot sauce, and use a little less garlic.

  5. Not to steer you away from the homemade stuff, but have you tried some of the store bought varieties? There are some great ones out there and it would cut out variables such as "maybe this was just a bad batch." Since chickpeas and hummus are so bland I think its more about what is added to it. I would equate simple hummus to plain oatmeal, which few people enjoy. I think it is best with garlic or pepper and definitely olive oil added to the top. Good luck!

    1. Stacy, it's a shame you aren't in the UK. One of the supermarkets here, Waitrose, do a lovely hummus with caramelized onion. It's wonderful:). I never cook from scratch & buy ready-meals & this hummus from Waitrose is brill:).

      By the way, I never know how to pronounce hummmus properly:)

  6. Oops, by "pepper" I meant red or green bell pepper

  7. A couple of my favorite food blogs are iowagirleats and melskitchencafe.

  8. If you want your kids to make healthier choices, and crave healthy foods. Only offer that. It will be hard now since they are older and haven't been "trained" this way but it can still work. Pack healthy lunches, have fruits and veggies chopped and ready for a quick snack. Have junk food hidden and only use from time to time. If they don't like the healthy dinner, then they don't eat. Kids will eat if they are hungry. Its not a good feeling to be starved.

  9. Oh yes! Can't wait to read some of your recipes and suggestions from your readers. If you ever get a chance would love to hear how you handle dinner time/dinner prep/kids evening activities/homework/piano practice. 4:00-8:30 is so nice because the kids are home but so crazy!! We're in and out so much after school that it's hard to get a nutritious meal on the table! I am sure you would have some great suggestions!

  10. Oh and some good recipes! Stirfrys are awesome!!! You can add what ever veggies you want, chicken or shrimp, serve over some rice and let the kids choose their sauce. (soy sauce, hot sauce, teriakkyi, curry). Stuffed peppers are healthy, easy and fun.

  11. So, I live in Saudi Arabia. Yep, I do and love it! Saudis know how to do hummus. Deliciousness! If your children could just have one bite! Oh how their mouths would water and they would be begging you on their knees to please have more. I cannot replicate it, don't even try anymore. What am I saying? I bow to the masters and let the hummus Gods do their magic. I partake while I can and know that when our time here is done it will be but a fond memory.

  12. We make a yummy refried bean dip using half beans and half blended chick peas. Season with onion, garlic, chili powder, etc. Serve with chips, bagel chips or use as you would refried beans in tacos or whatever. YUM! Also, you can season and roast chickpeas. They're crunchy and good to grab as a quick snack in the car on the way. Look for recipes on Pinterest. Keep those good recipes coming!

  13. I just thought I would let you know that one of the ads on the side bar leads to an inappropriate "adult only" site. If you are interested in the specific ad, I took a screen shot of your blog and would be happy to email it to you.

  14. My kids LOVE my smoothie that I make every day for my own breakfast. I use a yogurt base though which adds sweetness. Typical day--ice, vanilla fat free yogurt, banana, about 5-6 strawberries, a kiwi, a sprinkle of flax and wheat germ and a big handful of kale. It really is delicious! My 3 and 1.5 year old eat it daily too. My 6 year old leaves a little to early before it is finished, but she loves when she gets it on weekends and vacations.
    On a side note, I would love to see a typical weeks schedule in your house. How you get everyone where they were going, who comes along, who stays home with little ones, and how you fit meals in with everyone going different ways. I have a young family of 3 girls and right now they only do gymnastics, on the same day and about the same time. I know this won't always be so easy to plan.

  15. We really love the hummus they sell at Costco (not the Sabra, the other one). I know it's healthier to make your own but my kids will go through a whole thing of that hummus is no time. And it's not a small package.

  16. My kids are moderately good eaters (to different degrees) so it is so surprising to me that ALL of their favorite dinner is these spinach, feta, turkey burgers

    I make them with a big Greek salad and some roasted potato wedges and everything gets scarfed up.

  17. I LOVE the hummus recipe that came in the Vitamix cookbook, although I add roasted red peppers to it. We always have homemade hummus in our fridge now! I don't know if your Vitamix came with the cookbook, but the recipe is on the website too:

    I add 1/4 cup roasted red pepper!

  18. This is our very favorite way to do chicken, and my kids love it too. Marinate it for a few hours then BBQ or George Forman it. We usually have it with a sweet potato and a salad, or you can use just add it to the top of a green salad. Delicious!

  19. We love Mexican food so one of the things I make a lot is chicken in crock pot with salsa and taco seasoning. When it is close to done you shred it and make tacos out of it.

    Another fave: Parm chicken but not the fried way (you would have to at least double this for your family)
    I do a can of tomato sauce
    some italian seasoning and minced garlic in a casserole type pan. Add boneless chicken breasts (spoon some of the sauce over top) Add some mozzerella and parm cheese over top. I cook on 350 for 25 minutes covered then take cover off and cook until done. Add a pasta or a veggie and some potatoes and whatever. It is delicious and easy.

    Looking forward to your recipes because I was just thinking yesterday that we were in a food rut!

  20. These burritos are really good and meatless, which is nice. They made their way into my "tried and true" recipe book.

  21. I've wanted to try to make my own hummus but I'm afraid it won't turn out as good as the store bought brand our family likes. It's by Sabra and it's the Roasted Garlic one.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Oven roasted vegetables are delicious! I have never been a big fan of vegetables, especially steamed veggies. However, a couple weeks ago I decided that it was high time for me to start trying new ways to prepare veggies in order to kick my postpartum weight loss into gear again. I never thought I would crave a vegetable, but roasted Brussels sprouts are now one of my favorite foods (and my veggie hating husband and mother-in-law love them too!).

    Here are my new favorite recipes:

    Adding lemon juice (I used bottled) is key for me.

  24. Taco salad:
    ground turkey or beef
    taco seasoning
    salad (we use a mixture of romaine and spinach)
    diced tomatoes
    diced onions (optional)
    chips (optional)
    Sour cream (optional)
    cheese (optional)

    Cook and season the ground meat, add on top of the other ingredients, enjoy. It is so tasty and easy to put together.

  25. I like my hummus thinner. More lemon juice and tahini

    sprinkle with smoked paprika it gives it a lift.

  26. Mels Kitchen Cafe is my favorite food site with lots of quick, healthy recipes. I think she also has 5 kids :)

  27. I second both the spaghetti squash and roasted veggies. Love both! The spaghetti squash is one of my kids favorites (they're 1, 4 and 6 and don't love veggies). I don't do it with regular marinara sauce, mostly because I prefer regular noodles with that. I usually do some sort of a butter garlic base and then add whatever I feel like. Tomato basil is a favorite.

    Sadly, my kids don't love the roasted vegetables like I do. I'm hoping that as they get older they'll learn to.

    I add hidden veggies to anything I can (spinach, carrots, onions, etc). Makes me feel a little better ;-)

  28. I'm a long time reader, but first time commenter :) Thank you so much for sharing your family, photos, and motherhood wisdom with us. Your blog is one of my absolute faves :)

    I tend to post a lot of recipes on my blog, and many of them are healthy so I thought you might want to check it out:

  29. Why must they like hummus? It is a spread or a condiment. Why not the dry chicken on pita bread with the lettuce? There is protein in the chicken. You must be going crazy trying to find things 7 people of various ages like to eat. I think you are an awesome mom you got them to try it a number of times so they can really say whether they like it or not after a fair chance.

  30. Another easy option: throw some chicken breasts or tenderloins in a 9X13. Pour a little melted butter on top and add whatever chopped veggies you have on hand (broccoli, snap peas, and red potatoes are our favorite). Sprinkle the whole thing with a package of the dry italian dressing seasoning. Cover with foil and bake on 350 for about an hour. Super flavorful and everyone at my house loves it!

  31. My favorite cooking blogs:

    Pioneer Woman
    Unconventional Kitchen
    Our Best Bites
    Six Sisters Stuff
    Two Peas and their Pod
    Real Mom Kitchen

    I'm also a sucker for all the cookbooks at Costco!

  32. My go-to smoothie recipe every morning is half an avocado, a few handfuls of baby spinach, frozen strawberries, a splash of cranberry juice, and a few spoonfuls of whatever flavour of greek yogurt I have in the fridge. Let it blend in the Vitamix until smooth and it fills me up until lunchtime! I never pay attention to how much I'm using of each ingredient but it seems to turn out deliciously every time! Plus, it comes out green without tasting like you're eating the same food that a rabbit eats :)

  33. Shawni, Thanks for all the yummy recipes you've posted. We've tried many of them and your Honey Lime Enchiladas are requested weekly at our house! A friend introduced this Island Pork Tenderloin Salad to us and it's been a huge hit with everyone in our family (although most of the time we just make the pork and serve it with veggies and mashed potatoes...and it's super fast and easy!):

  34. Try to find a Wildtree Rep in your town. I am FAN of the products. My rep has me do a freezer meal workshop where I get together with friends and make 10 meals in bags ready for the freezer. Then I do not have to think about what is for dinner for at least 10 or more meals because we have left overs. There are TONS of different meal plans from kidtastic, to paleo friendly, to crockpot, to comfort foods. All the products are organic, gmo free :) Seriously it has changed my meal time. My picky eaters and husband get something new and I get out of our rut of the same meals over and over.

  35. Love hummus. Actually more stunned that you can buy onion pre- chopped!

  36. Pita jungle carries my most favorite hummus ever. A healthy recipe I just tried today was for pancakes: in your blender combine; 1c oats, 8 egg whites, 1c cottage cheese and a little vanilla or almond extract. Blend together and cook like a pancake! I was very excited to feed these sneaky things to my girls this morning :)

  37. Hi Here's a few that hopefully your crew will like

    Firstly for your own hummus .... this one has you cook the chickpeas ... it does make a difference if you have the time

  38. Hummus is all about the flavor. Add salt, pepper, garlic and oil and whatever you like. As for getting kids to eat more vegetables, I like this plan of a Mormon mother of six:

    Good luck!

  39. I love me some hummus! I love international food and I've been trying to incorporate some exotic recipes into our everydalife. for example, tonight in the weekly food planning (which I just started this very week, hehe) we have an African recipe with fish and coconut milk! :)

  40. Shawni, my english is not good enough, so i hope you can understand.
    Eat healthier is the best new years resolution. We are vegan family and we don't eat processed food. All our food is made in home.
    I recommend you replace white flour, white sugar and white rice for whole grains and seeds. It easy to do and make a huge difference in the diary diet.

  41. My kids don't love hummus, but if I cook chickpeas on the stove in a bit of olive oil, salt, and onion powder, they gobble them up by the handful!

  42. Hey Shawni!

    Check this out. I just read this this morning. Some VERY interesting notes about homemade Hummus. I thought of you and your kids when I read it. There definitely is a difference in taste for several different reasons. Anyway...thought this might interest you as much as it did me. Keep trying with the hummus with the kids. It definitely is SO healthy and good for you. ; )

  43. Your pita sandwiches look delicious! We too are working on healthy eating. Today I posted a very tasty green smoothie:

    Good luck!

  44. I went to the Jerusalem Center, so I too have been trying to get my family to love hummus!

    My favorite homemade one is here:
    Although I don't use quite so much lemon.

    Store bought my favorite is the one from Costco. Not sabra, but the other brand. Sometimes it has pine nuts and sometimes there's a red pepper one without pine nuts. It's a big round container.

    Also, we like cucumber/tomato sandwiches with hummus in pita bread.

  45. I love a slice of french bread with a thin layer of veggie flavored cream cheese topped with slices of English cucumber - amazingly yummy. It makes a great lunch or afternoon snack. This one isn't creative but I also adore celery with peanut butter...but it has to be celery hearts rather than just the regular stuff. They're way more tender and less bitter than the regular stuff. Then I haven't tried this yet but dying to:

  46. If you're really looking for a healthier diet, the research (and LDS scriptures) are pretty clear: less meat and dairy and MUCH more vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.

    The good news is that your palette will change over time. The longer you stick with it and cut out processed food, the better the "good stuff" will taste to you. Start with breakfast and go for rolled or steel cut oats (with dried fruit and nuts), a fruit/veggie smoothie and whole grain toast w/PB, or homemade muesli.

    Then just work on gradually shifting in more healthy recipes and fewer unhealthy ones.

    Also, hunger is the best sauce so if you can keep your kids from munching between meals, you're much more likely to get enthusiasm for whatever you serve up. Good luck!

    Our three favorite super-fast recipes:

    Black Bean Soup in a blender:
    - 2 15 oz cans of black beans
    - 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
    - 1 tsp cumin
    - 1 cup of salsa

    Blend up, heat and eat!

    Speedy White Bean Soup:
    - 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
    - 1 TBS olive oil
    - 1 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
    - 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
    8 cups white beans, rinsed and drained (~4-5 cans)
    - 1/2 tsp black pepper
    - 1 10 oz bag spinach or equivalent chopped kale

    Cook garlic in oil for a minute or two. Coarsely cut up tomatoes in can with kitchen shears and add with their juice to oil. Add everything else and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in greens and cook until wilted.

    Almond, Grape, and Apple Salad
    For vinaigrette:
    - 2 tsp dijon mustard
    - 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
    - 1-2 TBS olive oil
    - 1/4 tsp dried tarragon, crumbled (or 1tsp fresh, finely chopped)

    For salad:
    - 1/4 c. raw almonds, toasted
    - 20 black or red seedless grapes, halved
    - 1 crisp apple, chopped
    - 8 oz mesclun or torn red or green leaf lettuce

    Serve buffet style: grab a big pile of greens, sprinkle generously with toppings and drizzle with vinaigrette.

    One more that is easy because you set your electric rice cooker and pressure cooker to do much of the work:
    Cilantro-lime rice:

    and cuban black beans:

    Serve on storebought or homemade whole wheat tortillas. ( <-- my blog)

    Healthy habits and a taste for good-for-you food are gifts that you can give children which last a lifetime. The change takes effort because it's definitely not the norm, but it's worth it!

  47. I read this post earlier today and then came across this and thought I would pass it along! Maybe you will find one of these hummus variations that your kids will like! :)

  48. This is one of our family's tried and true recipes:

  49. This is a new family favorite of ours.

  50. The answer to your hummus problem is white bean hummus or edamame hummus. I am not a huge regular hummus fan, and I LOVE these versions. So I get lots of varieties of hummus now, and everyone will devour it as an after school snack. I find them in my grocery store in the healthy/organic sections, but I am sure you could find a recipe to make your own. Thinking about it makes me want to eat some as a snack right now!

  51. A recipe I love with hummus is where you roast broccoli and then toss it with hummus (I prefer roasted garlic hummus) then top with a bit of Lemmon juice and S&P to taste! Soo yummy good luck

  52. Here is a fantastic, yummy way I use up all the veggies at the bottom of the drawer before I restock.

    I've made it three times and all three tims it was a bit different--my favourite was with butternut squash, sweet potato, regular potato, red pepper, onion, carrot, celery, zucchini and regular potatoes. I used olive oil, rosemary, thyme and a bit of garlic. My husband, who hates most orange veggies, loved them slow roasted like this. Read the entire recipe--I learned a lot.

    The Best Roasted Vegetables Ever:

  53. An awesome cookbook is called "the Family Flavor". The recipes are healthy (or can be adapted a little, i do canned milk instead of heavy cream) and relatively easy. The last few months I have loved trying new recipes. It is for sell on Amazon and worth every penny. Delish!

  54. I think it was already mentioned, but is by far my favorite. The majority of our weeknight meal recipes come from her site. She did a post about encouraging adventurous eaters here:
    Your kids are much older but the tips are still good ones for anyone interested in healthy eating.

  55. It sounds like you are leaning towards homemade hummus, but I have to tell you that Fresh & Easy's hummus is divine! My two favorite flavors are pesto and roasted red pepper. Maybe you could try getting your kids hooked on that & then try the homemade stuff again later on? Just a thought. :)

  56. We just made these hummus recipes this week. I've decided I really don't care for the plain variety but I cannot get enough of the other two! :)


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