Friday, January 28, 2011

Migrations & Pizza Night

(Pizza info at the bottom, if you want to skip ahead) :)

Just wanted to highlight a number of recent migrations as they include a few favorites of mine. Say "goodbye" to my little friends! (And "hello" to more on my website in about two weeks.)

Custom 2-Birds for Newman, CA
Michigan Custom Quintuplets
Purple Pazzazz Trio to Ontario, Canada
The second, "Quintuplet" mobile was very fun to make as the mom has a little girl coming and has chosen two very different bedding choices to rotate in and out of the room. The beautiful bedding was made by ButtercupForrest:
The mom preferred bold colors and a strong manzanita branch, and wanted a little of both bedding fabrics incorporated into the birds. Thus, we came up with this sweet medley of bright and playful birds for her mobile.

Onto some other yummies I so enjoy... Pizza!

Every week my husband and I make pizza. (Actually, it's my husband who makes it as I put the kids down. Those are his hands, not mine in the pics!) We've really come to enjoy pizza as an incredibly tasty way to load up on veggies - Who'd a thought?! So, here's how are pizzas go...

1. Preheat oven and pizza stone for 30+ minutes at 400F.
2. While preheating, slice medium eggplant into 1/4"-1/2" slices. Spray with olive oil and lightly salt. Bake for 8-12 min, until beginning  to brown.
3. Also while preheating, snap off the rough ends of a handful of asparagus stalks, toss with a little olive oil and bake for 8-12 min, until soft. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
4. Season skinless chicken breasts with Italian seasoning, saute for 2-3 min per side, then bake for 8 min. It will be slightly underdone.
5. Roll out Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza crust and bake on pizza stone for 2 min, poking bubbles as needed. (We pre-cook the crust a bit as it's easier to slide the pizza with all its topping into the oven without losing everything on top!)
6. Place crust on pizza paddle and top with low-sodium marinara sauce. We use Vons "O" label.
7. Pile on the spinach! Then smash it down.

7. Start loading it on! A little shredded cheese... Eggplant... Sliced chicken...
 Sliced tomatoes... Sliced bell pepper...
And top off with a little more cheese. Tip: "finely shredded" cheese goes a lot further than regular, grated cheese. Saves calories. And, we use part-skim mozzarella to skip a few more calories.

8. Bake for 15-18min, depending on how much you pre-baked your crust and how hot your oven runs. Allow to cool for 5 min, then cut...
9. And enjoy!

Kids love to eat this pizza, but often we don't have our act together to do all of this before the kids dinnertime (5:30/6pm). So, they get leftovers for lunch the next day, and we use some of the veggies we baked for the pizza and incorporate them into dinner for them. 

On this night, I chopped up some eggplant and scrambled it into eggs. Topped it with some cheese and served it with that yummy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce from Dave's Gourmet that I mentioned earlier. Viol-la!

I feel like I just bombarded you with a lot of info. Sorry. I'm heading to a women's retreat this weekend with Grace Church though so I won't be posting for the next few days.

Have a scrumptious weekend! And remember, Valentine's day is coming up soon. Do you have a gift? If not, check out the new {yeah!} necklaces at Cookie+Curly.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Introducing the "NSNC". Plus, Help Needed.

So, what's the "NSNC"? 

A few of you requested that each week I suggest a "totally doable" nutrition "challenge" for people to do each week. Something that's beyond "eat more veggies" - A specific thing one can be challenged to accomplish that week that wouldn't be overwhelming but would possibly be something new and would definitely up the anty on one's nutrition.

I thus began the "Not So Nutty Challenge" (NSNC). 

This week, crush your phobia of what you've assumed to be dry, chalky, and tasteless. Flax. You can read more about all the great benefits of it here, but I'm here to offer you a few ways you truly can enjoy this fantastically, nutritious but for many, taste-challenging wonder.

- Sprinkle into yogurt or cottage cheese
- Bake into baked goods (muffins, breads, etc.)
- Mix into your hot cereal
- Sprinkle on salad
- Stir into your nut butters
- Add to your waffles or pancakes
- Add to a shake (Are you listening, Jamba?!)
- Add into ground meats (meatballs, spaghetti sauce, 
- Add into your homemade pizza crust (More on pizza later)

Very important: Whole flax seeds just pass through your body so make sure you are using ground flax/flax meal/milled flax (all the same thing). Start slowly as it's very fibrous. Keep it in the freezer once open. Just email me for specific recipes, or Google away!

Let me know what you think! And, leave comments on any other ways you enjoy flax.

Okay, on to the feedback that I need. I'm making some new jewelry and would love your opinion on which earring style looks better:
Aquamarine Faceted Crystal
I have these in a ridiculously gorgeous gold/silver/translucent color too that is versatile and so pretty - I can't wait to get it out to you.

Also, do you like the handmade, wire-wrapped rings or the heartier adjustable rings better?
Handmade, Antique Ivory Floral Wire Ring
Handmade, Wire-Wrapped Nest Ring
Pink Metal Enamel Adjustable Ring
Lavender Carnation Adjustable Ring
White Carnation Adjustable Ring
The wire rings are definitely delicate, special-occasion rings, whereas the adjustable rings can withstand anything you throw at them, yet still throwing back a feminine bling like no other.

Your feedback is really appreciated as these products are all for you and people like you!

Thank you for your help, and please let me know how the NSNC goes for you.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wowzers... Really? Yes, Kale.

So, wow. I didn't realize I would get such great feedback about adding nutrition comments to Cookie+Curly's blog - Great! Sounds like many of you either are in a rut, eating the same thing all the time, or you are wondering how to improve your and/or your kids' eating habits. Let's do it!

Today's tidbit is on Kale, since so many of you got it touch with me freaking out that I would suggest KALE as a tasty "chip". Well, did you try it?! You'll know what I'm talking about when you do. 
Here, we made them last night (and we'll make them again tonight) and this is the simple process:
1) Preheat your oven to 400F.
2) Wash and pat dry your kale stalks.
3) Trim the greens off the stalk and cut into bite-sized pieces, all about the same size.
4) Toss with olive oil, salt, and some garlic (fresh or powder) if you'd like.
5) Place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

6) Bake for 5-8 minutes. Tip: Check early - They burn easily.
7) Eat up!
Scrumptious "Kale Chips"
As for Cookie+Curly, we are helping Lauren celebrate the life of her little son who will be born in March with a package of fun! A mobile, a blankie, matching, handmade card, and a fun, pink ring for Lauren (because Mama's need love too!).

Congratulations, Lauren & Patrick. I am certain he will be a beautiful boy, full of laughter.

All, remember to tell me how the Kale Chips turned out!

Have a great weekend,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Make Friends with Your Veggies

I love all things Cookie+Curly, but my heart is in food. Many of you have asked food questions or advice since I became a Registered Dietitian (RD), years ago, so I thought I'd take an occasional break from inundating you with C+C stuff, to share my world of nutrition with you.

Many people think RDs eat right all the time. Well, they don't. Pre-husband and kids, I was content on PB&H or cereal for dinner. It takes effort to make a nutritious and tasty meal for just one person!

My husband enjoys cooking and always (ALWAYS) eats a protein, a veggie and a starch for dinner. When we got married, I, too, took on this healthy habit. Once I got pregnant, nutrition really sunk home as another being was completely reliant on me for everything essential for healthy growth and development.

Now that I have kids, the mom and the RD in me kicks in and I try very hard to reach nutritious goals every day - for myself, as an example, and the kids.

Vegetables - Who doesn't struggle with getting those in?! Yes, there are a few of you that just LOVE having salad and veggie sticks throughout every day. Good for you. I'm not you. I can get veggies in at dinner without a problem, but throughout the day it's a bit more of a challenge. 

Go-to solutions we've discovered:
- Sauteed veggies in egg whites
- Roasted veggies smeared on toast, topped with cottage cheese, sliced turkey, etc.
- Vegetarian pizza (homemade)
- Sweet, fresh cherry/grape tomatoes - nothing beats fresh-off-the-vine!
- Sauteed spinach or collard/mustard greens - spread on any sandwich/burger/quesadilla/wrap. You can get way more in when you saute it!
- Steamed broccoli dipped in marinara sauce and grated parmesan
- Trusty carrots/zucchini & hummus
- Salads with citrus-based, olive oil/balsamic vinegar, or low-fat dressing
- "Kale Chips" - yes, don't freak out thinking this is gross. It's quite good! And kids LOVE it!
- Kale-Apple Smoothie - I haven't tried this yet but the fact that my kids like the Kale Chips makes me want to try this.
- Seasonal vegetables: We don't make it to Farmer's Market nearly enough, but when we do, I can definitely taste the difference between store-bought and fresh-from-the-farm veggies. Yum!
- Roasted vegetables: chop up basically any veggie; toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic or shallots; roast 25-45 minutes at 375-400F just until turning brown at the edges. Makes any veggie taste good! Leftovers make great additions to any meal/snack the next day.

Tonight we had whole wheat pasta, lean ground turkey, tossed with a new discovery: "Dave's Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce". Purchased at VONS, this puppy wasn't cheap ($8/bottle) but it is relatively low in sodium (358mg per 1/2 cup) and provides 58% of the recommended Vitamin A and 24% the recommended Vitamin C for a 2,000 calorie diet. Read: a great source of high-quality vitamins, especially for kiddos! (I'm thinking I could make something like this myself - Stay tuned.)

On the side we had "Sweet P. Fries": Slice sweet potatoes into "fries", toss with olive oil/salt/pepper/garlic, bake 400F, turn as needed. Sweet potatoes are considered "low calorie" (not terribly "calorie dense"), high in fiber, rich in vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, iron, potassium, and one yam ("orange-fleshed sweet potato") provides over 100% of the daily requirement for beta carotene. Don't forget to eat the skin!

It was a very ORANGE dinner, but man did it taste good. It made my Feel-Good Meter run high too, knowing that my kids had taken in some great nutrition today.

Back to birds. I have three custom orders going right now that are all so colorful and fun! The sewing machine awaits!

g'night: m

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pretty in Pink, and... Peanut Butter?!

Pink. Birds. Two loves of little girls. Now, a soon-to-be-born little sweet-pea girl is going to have her own "Pretty in Pink" Cookie+Curly mobile hanging in her room. 

"Pretty in Pink" 4-Bird Mobile (Custom)
I fell in love with this fabric when I first saw it and I'm so happy it fit someone's desires for their custom birds. In fact, I'm making another order right now with the same fabric. Anyone else? :)

That brings up a good point - If you have gone through the mobile pictures on Cookie+Curly's Facebook page and you like the birds but you're not perfectly in love with any one fabric choice, email me and let's get a custom order going for you. It's just $5 more to get the exact mobile you want.

So, completely changing modes... Peanut Butter. The one thing I absolutely have to eat every day or else I just feel like I'm missing something. I definitely prefer the "natural" peanut butter with only peanuts and salt (yes, I haven't been able to go "no salt" with peanut butter). And, crunchy. You?

As a Registered Dietitian, I often have clients tell me they avoid peanut butter because it was "fatty". I then explain that the fat found in peanut butter is "good fat", but that the high caloric-density of peanut butter does make the quantity enjoyed important to keep in check.

So, how do we enjoy peanut butter in our house...

- "Daddy Toast": toast topped with peanut butter, cottage cheese and no-added-sugar jam
- Classic PB&J's or PB&H's.
- Souped-Up French Toast: peanut butter and bananas between two slices of whole grain bread, dipped in egg whites and sauted until golden.
- "Ants on a Log": peanut butter spread on celery, dotted with "ants" (Craisins, raisins, or other chopped, dried fruit)
- "Banana Boats": banana sliced down the middle, peanut butter, light sprinkle of granola
- Peanut Butter and Avocado Sandwiches
- Smoothies: peanut butter, non-fat Greek yogurt, banana, ground flaxseed
- Ginger-Peanut Chicken-Salad Wraps using whole wheat tortillas
- Grilled Lemon Chicken with Satay Dip (Barefoot Contessa)
- Thai Beef Salad with Peanut-Ginger Dressing
- Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Chewies: haven't tried these yet but can you imagine?!
- Perfected S'mores: peanut butter on graham crackers, slightly roasted marshmallows, Hershey's dark chocolate
- Peanut Energy Bars: for those long hikes or all-day outdoor adventures (Super high in potassium - a great counter to sodium!)
- My best friend and I used to have peanut butter and honey in a bowl as an afternoon snack after school... I'm getting HUNGRY!

Ah, the list goes on and on.

P.S. A young girl from church, Sophie, is a finalist in Jif's "Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich" Contest. Hers is the "Golden Peanut Yum Yum Roll" - Feel free to vote for it!

Okay, I'm off to fix a little snack.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Keeping Up with the Blogging

This blogging thing is tough to keep up! Many orders have gone out and I just haven't had the time to update the blog with all the details. Be sure to check out Cookie+Curly's Facebook page to see pictures of all the latest birds. (And remember to "Like" us!)

A fun mobile that just went on it's way to Los Angeles features three birds from Patricia Bravo's Modern Affair collection. In my haste to finish the birds and get them out to the customer the next morning, I was only able to take pictures at night though so these don't do the birds any justice. You can get the feel though. The customer said she'd forward me some pictures once it's up too so stay tuned for that.

A new 3-bird mobile up on Cookie+Curly's site is called Purple Pizzazz featuring some rich, new fabric I got at The Cotton Ball in Morro Bay. (I love that place!) I am so excited about this fabric - It translates beautifully onto birds and butterflies. (The butterflies will be posted in another day or two.)

Purple Pazzazz 3-Bird Mobile (One-of-a-Kind)
Lastly, and most importantly... Welcome, welcome, welcome to Baby Magnolia Jayne. We are sooooo glad you finally joined our world, especially after keeping us waiting 8 days after your due date. You are beautiful, and your mommy, daddy, and big bro are extremely excited to have you in the family. We are all very eager to get to know you!

Have a wonderful day.