Ugh, This Just Happened

I have a slew of excuses as to why this just happened… you know, our built in alarm clock aka sunrise special Lana, slept in, so my husband leaped from the bed in superhuman fashion, yelling out “WE ARE LATE!!!”  Traffic was a b*tch because of being 45 minutes behind schedule.  The breakfast I made last night didn’t sound appealing.  One of the guys on my team messaged me “want a bagel?” in the midst of all of this.  So yeah, this happened… 8 grams of added sugar.. bleh.  That’s not counting whatever is in the cream cheese they gave me, but I think it was full fat, so hopefully it’s not that bad.  Oh, and in full transparency, I used french vanilla creamer this morning instead of unsweetened almond milk.  Ugh, what happened… bagel 2014-09-25 08.41.47

Time for Lunch

Ten days, I have kept our family from eating “no added sugar” breakfasts. Granted, I have no say so over ladybug’s breakfast at my aunt’s house but I ensured the man and I ate within the challenge thus far, every single day. Don’t get me wrong, there have been a couple of days where I almost grabbed instant oatmeal packs that are still in our cupboard (organic ones still have added sugar!!). At least on one occasion I wanted to make the frozen, again organic and chocked full of added sugar, blueberry waffles in the freezer, but alas, I did not and made breakfast that stuck to the challenge.

This week I might branch out and try to make a steel cut oats recipe like I used to but try to figure out some alternatives to keep from dousing it in agave or honey. Which I now know, your body processes exactly the same as high fructose corn syrup. Read this Article that covers sugar as a topic.

So this morning, i recalled an old recipe I had learned about in college when the South Beach diet was all the rage amongst my roommates. It creates a “crepe” using one egg and a tablespoon of cottage cheese. You blend the two and then lightly oil the pan, pour and cover. Wait for the top to bubble like a pancake then (this takes practice!), flip. Cook just long enough to lightly brown the other side. Fill with whatever you want. I used the Niman ham steak (thinly sliced) and cheddar. As our sides we had sliced mango and grapes.

I have managed to mostly stick to coffee only unsweetened almond milk but and this really is a big but, I’ve had to use Splenda a couple of times on the work coffee. It’s like drinking dirt! I’ll keep trying to cut the Splenda back until I don’t need it anymore.

So… Now we tackle lunch.

Pigs in A Blanket, No Sugar Added Breakfast Style

I never said I wanted to give up grains, I just want to give up the added sugars.  Unfortunately, nearly every processed grain product out there has added sugar of some sort.  I had been scouring all over the interwebs looking for a recipe that was inspiring for breakfast this week.  There was a paleo-ish recipe for wannabe pigs in a blanket, but they required effort I didn’t have time to exert.  Then, I found Martha Stewart’s kind of pigs in a blanket breakfast dish that used puff pastry.  I googled and it seemed like puff pastry potentially could be no sugar added.  I decided to go this route in my intentions as we hit the market on Sunday.

Well, that puff pastry inadvertently ended up being organic phyllo dough!  I should have googled the difference at the store, haha, but it all turned out great in the end, so no regrets here.  No added sugar in the ingredients, so I scooped it up.  I bought organic chicken & apple breakfast sausage links that had no added sugar.

When I got home, I used a combination of recipes to come up with this:

(these aren’t low calorie so to speak, but they were filling and had no added sugar)

This will make 2 servings of 2 piggies each

Preheat the oven to 375

  1. 1 Large Egg
  2. 4 defrosted Phyllo dough sheets
  3. 4 small sausage links
  4. 4 small, thinly sliced cheddar cheese pieces (I broke them in half to make 2 per piggy)
  5. raw spinach – optional
  6. 2 tablespoons of butter, or a butter substitute that has no added sugar

You will need to melt the butter by your preferred method and then combine it with the egg in a bowl.  Whisk together.

With all 4 Phyllo sheets layered together, section off 4 rectangles that will allow enough space to cover the sausage and insides, as well as allowing for you to roll it into a little “blanket” around the insides once complete.  I ended up with 4 rectangles and two extra half sized chunks at the top.  I threw out the extra, but you could make another 2 mini piggies.

Put foil on your baking sheet and very lightly oil/spray oil onto it to ensure there is no sticking.

(I did this all on the baking sheet to ensure no massive breaking accidents)  For your first piggy, take one rectangle of a phyllo sheet and glaze it with the butter and egg mix.  Keep in mind you have to do this 16 times, so it doesn’t take much per sheet.  Lay the next phyllo sheet of that rectangle atop the sheet you just glazed, repeat the glaze process.  Do this for all four sheets in your rectangle.

If you are using spinach, put the spinach into a small line toward the left most side of your rectangle, layer the cheese atop the spinach, then place a sausage link on the cheese.  Now, gently roll the piggy into a blanket (I really don’t know how else to explain this, but if you have made pigs in a blanket or google a video on it, I am sure someone else can explain it much better than I am!).

Repeat for the remaining piggies.

I had enough of the egg/butter mix to apply a little on the top of my piggies.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until Phyllo dough turns a little golden brown on top.  This is a personal preference, but they came out perfectly and held their form for our breakfast the next day!

I reheated in a toaster oven at work instead of a microwave to keep the piggies from becoming too soggy.

 

Mall Entertainment

I suppose I always knew there was “Mall Entertainment.”  Somehow though, it never pertained to me, even though I vividly recall the Mallrats scene, involving a mall and a TV show.  Chocolate pretzels have never been the same for me, but I digress.  Facebook as an app seems to be smarter than I am these days and shows me content that I actually would click on, in direct contrast of how I used to actively avoid clicking on any suggested ad or post.  The other day, Ella The Elephant’s Live Show at a local mall was suggested as an event I attend.  Okay, I will bite, click.

Sure enough, Ella is coming to one of our local malls today, but of course, it is during the hours I need to be at work.  I can’t really justify having Ella-phantitis to take today off, cough cough, so I asked my aunt if she would take Lana to see one of the show times.  She obliged and hopefully will send me a picture or two as I daydream about missing this moment with my daughter while I frenetically attempt to meet deadline after deadline.  I suppose having a kids’ Live Show on the weekend might draw Easter Bunny or Santa Clause level crowds, but I can’t possibly be the only working parent who would enjoy taking my kid to something like this?  If we want to be stereotypical for discussion purposes, so all of the SAHM (stay-at-home-moms) get to take their littles, but no daddy wants to see their little mesmerized by a dancing Ella? (I am being provocative, so SAHD readers please don’t bite my metaphorical head off ;P).

So, if you are a caretaker during the week of little ones, check out these free events that travel throughout the malls of our country, providing entertainment to our little ones!  Often, they have crafts, photograph opportunities and various activities.  I never had considered the mall for entertainment until Facebook suggested I do so. Clever, clever Facebook.  Knowing what I want before I even know I want it!

For the Socal readers:

Ella the Elephant is at the Westfield Culver City this Thursday – September 18th

Curious George StoryTime at the Palm Desert Westfield’s Barnes & Noble – Saturday, September 20th

Elf on The Shelf StoryTime at the Palm Desert Westfield’s Barnes & Noble – Saturday, September 27th

Peppa the Pig is at the Westfield Culver City on Friday, October 3rd

Playdate with Anna from Frozen at the Westfield Century City on Thursday, October 9th

Brobee of Yo Gabba Gabba is coming on October 16th to the MainPlace Mall

 

For all other areas and if you want to find non-kid events like say, the local Williams & Sonoma hosting a knife skills class (it’s a thing at the Fashion Square Westfield Mall!):  then go to the main Westfield page and scroll to the bottom to “change Westfield” to find your local Westfield Events.  There are lots of Happy Hour events for mamas needing some adult time!

I searched Simon Malls but their website didn’t have a lot of events at our local malls.  I did find this:

Kidgits – “themed crafts& activities, giveaways and much more”

Saturday, September 20th at the Brea Mall – this mall also boasts a new Kidgits play area – Located on the Lower Level Near Macy’s Women

Saturday, November 8th at the Westminster Mall in the Target Court

 

 

 

Breakfast Sugar Fest

Since I’m working all week long, Sundays are our market day for groceries for the week. Since this “no added sugar” challenge started midweek, I wasn’t prepared for weekend breakfasts. I used the last of the eggs and whatnot yesterday, so this morning I scrounged around in our freezer and fridge.

Improvisation was the name of the game for breakfast today! I found three frozen organic burritos that were already very low to no in added sugar, but after heating them for 20 seconds, I peeled off the tortillas and used the innards in a pan. Then, I had found organic sweet potatoes in our fridge, so I thinly sliced it (after a major failed attempt to use a spice grater to shred sweet potatoes, why don’t I have a shredder?!?) and pan fried them in avocado oil. As a side, I sliced up organic, ripe pears.

All in all, this is going well and forcing me to pay attention to what we eat as a family. If this next week is successful for breakfast with no sugar added, then I will tackle the lunch plan the following week. Now, to come up with 6-7 no sugar added, work week friendly breakfast meal ideas!? Suggestions?

Added Sugar

I’ve seen it in various documentaries and studies in recent years, but I didn’t feel inspired until recently to attempt to reduce added sugar from our lives. Before getting pregnant with Lana, I was able to lose weight fairly easily with cutting back and moving a bit more.

After having Lana, I initially dropped the ubiquitous 20 pounds that most women do, but then I stalled while breast feeding and found myself gaining weight back! I was losing motivation as I was yo-yoing in the same ten pounds. Then something came across an article and inspired me to challenge myself and ask my husband to try it too. Cut back added sugar from our lifestyle and see what impact it has on our health.

Instead of going berserk and trying to tackle our entire daily intake, I’m going meal by meal. Giving us ample time to change a meal and be solid with the routine before moving onto the next step. Breakfast is on the chopping block right now. Today is day two of paying attention, but is the first weekend day. So far, it’s been eye opening to say the least. Even our organic, uncured bacon has added sugar!?!

I’m trying to gulp down my coffee with unsweetened almond milk and no sweetener ( which my husband says is like adding ketchup to a steak, but whatever). We are mostly getting sugars from our whole fruits, but wow this is crazy that there are 57 aliases for sugar, including the ones in organic foods. Which, I’ve since learned your body processes agave and organic raw cane sugar exactly the same as the “evil” high fructose corn syrup. Maybe I’m the naive one, but I seriously didn’t realize that whatsoever! It all goes directly to the liver to process.

So, today in attempting to find a no sugar pancake recipe, I found this Almond meal flour one (for some reason I have a bag of that in my cupboard?! Super random!). So far, it’s a disaster but they are in the pan and I had to add a little butter to keep them from looking like banana scrambled eggs. The first batch is a messy puke (autocorrect typo but it stays) in the sink. Here’s hoping this second batch turns out alright!

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Today’s Episode of “Why is my kid crying?”

I know, I know, there is an entire blog dedicated to this topic, but today was one of those mind-boggling episodes in my life.  Where I seriously had no rational concept of WHAT IN THE ACTUAL &#!@ Lana was crying for… but let me add that don’t be surprised if she starts wearing something like this while in the car:

Sun Block VisorBecause we are commuting facing the east in the morning and west in the evening, this time of the year always puts the sun right in my face.  It wasn’t an issue this time last year because Lana was rear facing, and yes, I know she should STILL be rear facing, but we recently flipped her around to be front facing because my aunt had to have her front facing due to an older car.  It’s silly really, that we couldn’t keep her rear facing, but I digress.  My tactic usually is to use my arm to block the sun from beaming into her eyes.  This morning, that was completely unacceptable apparently.  She became incredulous that my arm was up and the second I took it down to appease her, more tears and crying.  WHAT THE $&@#????  It was a game of cat and mouse for the entire 10 minutes we were stuck with the sun in our faces.  Eventually, as I got off the freeway, the sun was to our right and all was well again.  Sigh, will this be a rinse and repeat type of moment tonight for our commute home?!?!?