Friday, January 29, 2010

Recipe Friday - Pesto

If I could know just one of my Mother's recipe's, THIS would be it. It's a favorite in my house growing up, and everyone I've ever made it for asks me how to make it. My brother was a really picky eater growing up... I mean REALLY picky, like gag and nearly throwing up at the sight of a carrot, but his absolute favorite meal was this...


2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup of freshly grated romano cheese. It MUST be freshly grated or else it won't turn out
1 bunch of fresh basil. I buy the pack from President's choice

In a blender combine, cheese, olive oil, canola oil, basil leaves (not stems), and garlic. Puree until smooth, adding extra oil if it seems too thick. About 2 minutes

Serve over whole wheat pasta.


Me Ka Aloha!

- Elisabeth

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ikea isn't just a place to get cheap furniture

I am one of those lucky people to be within minutes of an Ikea store. Actually, my in-laws are even luckier, they live within walking distance. Did you know that Ikea has a restaurant and a grocery section? They do and they are totally awesome! In the restaurant you can get a plate of organic vegetarian pasta for $1.99! They also serve great kids meals for $1.99. Rosie likes to get macaroni and cheese and juice. I should also mention that with every adult meal, you can get a jar of baby food for free! The four of us can eat a great and healthy meal for less than $10. It probably goes without saying that we visit Ikea on a regular basis.

In the grocery section I like to buy Anna's ginger cookies, which are usually 3 packs for $3. The thing I love about these cookies is the ingredient list. They use only natural ingredients. There's nothing on the list that I haven't heard of before, no artificial colors or preservatives. They are also low in calories. Six cookies amount to only 140 calories which is WAY less than other store bought cookies. As a bonus, the ginger in the cookies helps with nausea (morning sickness - trust me), digestive problems, circulation problems, and a great anti-inflammatory.

Have I made you hungry yet? Pop by Ikea for a healthy meal, and grab some cookies for the ride home ;)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Recipe Friday Ukrainian Chervony Borscht

If you know my husband, you know that he lived in Ukraine for two years. He was there serving a mission for our church. While there he learned how to speak Russian and Ukrainian, strong work ethic, teaching skills, how to quickly adapt to changes in location and roommates, and a host of other things. Among those things he also learned how to make one of the most delicious soup I have ever tasted. I was hesitant at first when I saw the list of ingredients, but one taste and I was addicted. Today, my husband is happy to share this recipe with you. He says it's a combination of all the BEST borscht recipes made into one delicious pot of goodness.

A word of caution, this soup is a lot of work so you might want to recruit a helper or two, but it's so worth all the hard work.


2.5 litres of water

2 large beets (or 3 smaller ones)

2 cups of shredded cabbage

6-8 potatoes

2 large carrots

2 onions

6 diced cloves of garlic

3 Tbsp. tomato paste or sauce

2 heaping Tbsp. of chicken stock OR 2 chicken bouillon cubes

Parsley and/or dill to taste


  1. Peel the beets and grate them into frying pan. Cook them over low to medium heat in butter and oil, add a little water, cover and let simmer for approx. 10 minutes. Careful not to let beets burn – stir them up a bit if necessary.
  2. Peel and grate carrots and add to beets. Cook both together for another 10 minutes.
  3. As beets and carrots are cooking, peel and dice potatoes and add to a large pot of 2.5 L boiling water. Boil for 5-10 minutes. Once the carrot-beet mixture is finished, add them to the potatoes and the 2.5 L of boiling water.
  4. Add tomato sauce/paste and chicken stock.
  5. Dice onion, fry until soft and add to mixture in pot.
  6. Add two cups of shredded cabbage to mixture. Let all vegetables cook until tender.
  7. As mixture cooks, add parsley and/or dill and garlic. If the mixture is too thick add appropriate amount of water.
  8. Serve with smetana (sour cream) and rye bread and enjoy!

Your browser may not support display of this image. Note, usually borscht tastes better once it has sat for a few hours. I don’t know why. It just does!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Recipe Friday Cauliflower Casserole

The first time I had a cauliflower casserole was when my sister-in-law made it for a Mother's Day dinner. It was really, really good so I asked for the recipe. When I saw the list of ingredients I was shocked! Can it really be full of all that FAT? Suddenly I was determined to make my own version -something with all the flavor, but half the fat. Here it is.

Cauliflower Casserole

1 head of cauliflower, washed and cut into bite size pieces
1 can of Campbells Healthy Request Cream of Broccoli Soup
1 tablespoon of melted butter
1/3 cup light cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fat-free miracle whip
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place cauliflower in steamer over boiling water; cover and steam for 5 minutes only.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium sized casserole dish mix butter, cheese, can of soup, miracle whip, mustard powder, curry powder, salt and pepper.
4. Add the cauliflower to the sauce mixture and toss until the cauliflower is well coated.
5. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is golden and tender.
6. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

The 30 Day Shred

I'm a stay at home Mom with a two-year-old and a seven-month-old, so you can understand how finding the time to work out is a challenge. On top of that, I have double the baby weight to lose :( A friend of mine told me about Jillian Micheal's new DVD, "The 30 Day Shred". Basically you follow her 20 minute workout for 30 days and eat sensibly. The workout is a serious "butt kick" and it works! I did this when Joseph was 2 months old and lost 15 pounds!! So why did I stop? Well, life got in the way! My husband went on a business trip for a week, the kids got sick, Christmas festivities, and a host of other things happened. Now that things seem to be normal again, I am determine to lose the last 10 pounds and build some muscles. I don't just want to be thin, I want to look totally buff (in a feminine kind of way). Tomorrow, I'm waking up at the crack of dawn to workout and shower before the kids get up. Wish me luck!

Me Ka Aloha (With Love)
- Elisabeth

P.S. What are you doing to lose weight? I'd love to hear about your success stories.
To get a copy of The 30 Day Shred DVD, go to

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Recipe Friday - Breakfast Cookies

Welcome to "Recipe Friday"! Every Friday, I'll be posting a great, nutritious recipe that kids AND husband approve of. So let's not waste anymore time. Here's the very first recipe...

Breakfast Cookies
Here's one with fiber, protein, vitamins, and some hidden veggies! I guess you could say they are pretty healthy (but they’re still cookies – who are we kidding? )

1 cup butter flavored crisco shortening
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
1/2 cup all natural almond butter
1/4 cup Splenda
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 brown sugar
2 eggs (I use omega-3 eggs)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cups quick oats, uncooked (I use President's Choice organic)
1 1/4 cups raisins
1 medium granny smith apple finely grated including juice
1/3 cup finely grated carrot

preheat oven to 350 F

Combine 1 cup shortening, peanut butter, almond butter, Splenda, white, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer. Beat in eggs.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add gradually to shortening mixture. Beat until blended. Stir in oats, raisins, apple, and carrot. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until just browned around the edges. Cool and ENJOY!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

"I make milk. What's your super power?" Why I decided to breastfeed.

I am a mother of two beautiful children, Rosie, and Joseph. When Rosie was born, two years ago, I made the decision to breastfeed. It was a very difficult and painful thing for both myself and baby to learn, but we persevered, and I'm so glad we did. Of course when Joseph came along 18 months later, breastfeeding was the obvious choice. There is just something so precious about holding a tiny baby in your arms , knowing you are providing him or her with the best nutrition possible. Here are just some of the benefits to breastfeeding for baby AND mommy. (There's a lot more benefits, I just can't remember all of them).

- Breastfeeding is the healthiest, most natural way to feed your baby. Each mother's breast milk is uniquely formulated for her own baby
- Creates a wonderful opportunity for mommy and baby to bond
Contains all the right minerals and the right balance of nutrients
- Mommy's milk is easiest to digest.
- Mommy's milk contains the fatty acids essential to the development of the baby’s nervous system and vision. This may be one of the reasons why breastfed babies’ IQ are 8 to 10 points higher than that of formula-fed babies
- Breastfed babies cry less and have less digestive troubles
- Breast milk contains anti-bodies necessary to fight infections and illness such as ear infections
- Breastfeeding releases endorphins, which creates a feeling of relaxation and well being in mother and baby, and is even an ideal pain reliever for the baby
- Protection against SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Protection from allergies such as eczema
- Improved mouth and jaw development

Helps stimulate hormones that shrink your uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size
- Lowered risk for ovarian cancer and osteoporosis
- Less likely to get pre-menopausal breast cancer
Breastfeeding helps you lose weight after pregnancy. It can burn up to 500 calories a day (How awesome is that!?)
- Breastfeeding is free. Formula feeding can cost around $200 a month.
- Breastfeeding is easy. You can feed anytime and anyplace. No bottles to sterilize, prepare, warm-up, and clean.
- Less postpartum depression

As I was writing this blog post, my husband brought my baby in to feed. He looked up at me with his adorable chubby cheeks and gave me the cutest smile! What a wonderful bonding experience!

What do you love about breastfeeding? Tell me about it.

Me Ka Aloha (With Love)
- Elisabeth

For more information about breastfeeding visit


Hello and welcome to Healthy Families! I decided to start this blog because, like many mothers, I live with the constant struggle of getting every member of the family to eat nutritious foods, live an active lifestyle, and tune into their spirituality. I've always been interested in nutrition, working out, and I have a strong belief in God. My goal as a mother is to raise healthy and happy children, who will some day grow to be happy and healthy parents themselves. Follow me as I offer tips, advice, and personal stories about this subject. I hope we will all find joy in this journey.

Me Ka Aloha (With Love)
- Elisabeth
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