Thursday, February 27, 2014

It's National Chili Day - My Favorite Recipe

I have always loved chili, especially during the colder months. In honor of National Chili Day, here is my favorite recipe, developed over time with inspiration from my Pop, mama and husband (he introduced me to Rotel). I have been using venison steak only for the past few years, as I just think it makes it more rustic and more Kentucky!

Brown cubed venison or beef (venison will not need to be drained of fat)
Add a cup of chopped onion during browning
1 can of Rotel tomatoes with chiles (original)
1 15 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
1 regular can of tomato sauce (I fill can with water and add to chile - I like a thinner consistency)
2 can dark red kidney beans
Season with your favorite chili powder mix (I like McCormick's)
Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, then reduce to low for another 10.

My family insists on me adding spaghetti noodles. I will add about one serving size, al dente, just a few minutes before serving, sometimes. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. A dollop of sour cream if you wish.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Time for a Wake-up Call

Thank goodness for time to reflect. Last week I was feeling pretty lousy. Worthless, actually.

My daughter needed a few immunizations to be up to date with school. While at the doctor, they performed the various battery of tests for her 11-year checkup. I was thrilled that her weight was well within the “normal” range for her height, despite her genetic obstacles from both sides.

However, we were told she had glucose in her urine, which prompted a blood sugar test. It was higher than it should be. I was told that since this was not a fasting test, that we should not be too alarmed, but something to be careful about. A myriad of excuses went through my head: they fed her a bad lunch at school, she wasn't drinking enough water, and maybe she is just intolerant of refined carbs. Of course not one of these was based on any medical expertise, but I just could not muster that it was anything I had any control over.

The doctor then said that if any of the other tests were concerning, they would call and let us know.

I got a call the next day. Her cholesterol level was just a few points shy of being “high.”

My heart sank. I felt like a worthless parent. It had to be me. I got lax. I slowly started to let too much fast, fatty, highly-processed food back into our diet because we are just too busy. I wasn't encouraging play time and exercise as much as I should, because I was not making time for myself. I was doing exactly what I write about not doing. What a fraud I had become.

Now I guess anyone can see why this blog has taken a back seat for the last year. My heart just was not in it. I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching. And it shows. I worked very hard to lose 35 pounds by just eating better and exercising more over the course of 18 months. Fifteen of those pounds have crept back on the past 12 to 18 months. And I am weak. I could easily do 25 push-ups (real ones) and run three miles. I can no longer get through my favorite Jillian Michaels video taking periodic breaks. She would be screaming in my face.

But this is not about me. Who cares if there was no way in Hades I was going to take a bathing suit to my trip to South Africa earlier this year. This is about my children. They are so important to me. To feel I have contributed to their bad health make me feel as if I am the worst mother in the world.

While I really wanted to crawl in a hole, I have instead pulled on the muck boots to make a plan. Or, I guess, revisit the old plan (Reinventing Our Plate) . There was absolutely nothing wrong with what we were doing before. I just let too many other not-as-important things move their way to the top of the list.

So here’s to a rebirth and unfailing commitment. My daughter seems to be all for it. She’s not fighting the healthier dinners, and we have a plan for one cheat meal a week, as long as we keep portions under control. The little one is happy no matter what food I put in front of him.

Last night we had turkey burgers sans bun, baked sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli. I will need to be creative tonight, as we have Karate practice (something new for son, but daughter said she also enjoyed the trial class), a small window for dinner, followed by a 4-H meeting. But I’m up for the challenge, again. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

This Mom is Thankful for Frankenfood

Yes, I work for farmers who choose to grow genetically modified corn and soybeans. I am able to read research defending the benefits of modified crops to farmers, the environment, and ultimately the growing human population. I also have friends who work for Monsanto, as well as other seed companies, who sell and market genetically modified hybrids. I smiled when I saw that environmental activist Mark Lynas changed his position from condemning genetically modified foods to celebrating them. But in the end, I am NOT defending GMOs or “Frankenfoods” for these reasons. I have a better one.

I have witnessed a huge shift for the better in our food system in the past few years. I see more people interested in food and wanting to know how it is produced. I see more people wanting to purchase food from small, local or organic farmers, and this shift is providing a wonderful opportunity for those willing to provide these foods.  Others want to produce their own food, which is also a step in the right direction to foster future food security.

Having options is good for both the consumer and the producers. Competition is good for business and the economy. I don’t necessarily like that it takes people screaming with fear to have this change happen, but nonetheless, we are moving in a great direction for agriculture. I will continue to share as much information that I can to help others make informed decisions.

And I am sure there are many out there who do not or will not share my glorified opinion of GMOs, and I am fine with that. If someone is looking for non GMO, I will gladly point them in the direction of an organic farmer. I want to see them prosper as well.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My 3-Year-Old Son Used the “F” Word

The word is probably not what you are thinking, but nonetheless, it appalled me. Where did he learn to use the word “fat?”

I was watching a Discovery Health show about a 600-pound mom while my son was playing in the floor. He looked up at the television and said, “Wow. She’s really big. She’s fat.” Aack. My first reaction was to tell him, “Yes, she is big, but it’s not nice to say that someone is ‘fat’. It can hurt their feelings.”

I had been so very careful when raising my older daughter to never use that word when referring to anyone, and I scolded family members who did use the word in front of her. I never wanted her to judge anyone by their appearance or worry that someone may use that word to describe her appearance. People rarely use that word to describe someone they like, so it is not a word in our vocabulary.

So have I become more lax? Do I need to reinforce my expectations with caregivers and family who are with my kids? I was not ready to have this conversation with my son, but I guess it could have been worse.

My inquisitive boy began to ask more questions. “How did she get like that?”

“She ate too much food, and food that was not healthy for her,” I replied.

Then I was able to turn it into a conversation about what is healthy food.

“What types of food are good for you?” He said he thought Craisins, milk and nuts were good for him.

“What are types of bad food?” He said pizza and candy. Then he sat there a minute and asked, “Then why do you let me eat pizza?” Great, he turned it around on me.

“Well, I don’t let you eat pizza all the time, and I don’t let you eat a lot of it.” Thank goodness that was the end of the talk, but I know it will come up again. In fact, this morning he informed me that his current cereal of choice was not healthy. I have decided not to share it because I don’t know if I want anyone to know that I purchased it.

In the end, I am still sad that he learned what the word means and felt the need to use it. The good news, however, is that this was one more opportunity for us to talk about healthy eating, and I’m proud that my preschooler is thinking about it. I praise God every day that I was blessed with good eaters and we have no food allergies in my house. I also praise God that I am able to set good examples for them and provide the food they need.

But my mission is now to find the culprit who taught him that awful 3-letter word and give them a lecture about loving others and themselves.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Reducing Your Environmental Footprint and Waistline: STOP USING THE DRIVE-THRU

I do not abhor the fast food industry. In fact, I use it way more than I should because of the convenience. However, the more I sit in drive-thru lines the more I start to realize how awful this “convenience” is for our environment and our health.

How much pollution is poured into the atmosphere during idle time? How much energy are we wasting by going absolutely nowhere? How easy is it for us to mindlessly eat when all we have to do is stick our arm out of the car window and demand food? I don’t know the real answers to these questions, but I am sure it is unbelievable.

Therefore, I am making a pledge to stop using the drive-thru. If I need to use a restaurant, I will make myself park and walk in. I also pledge to not eat in the car (something I was never allowed to do in my grandparent’s car as a kid). It will make me think more about what I and my family are eating as well as improve safety conditions. How often do we choose food that is “easy to consume while driving” instead of opting for a more healthy choice? I also admit that it will keep me honest; I can’t tell you how many times I have gone through the drive-thru needing an emotional pick-me-up and have then hidden it from the husband and kids. BAD, BAD, BAD!

I also want to take this time to scold all the husbands out there who sleep out in the grocery store parking lots in idling cars. GO SHOPPING WITH YOUR WIFE! It will save you gas money, improve the air, and allow you to spend quality time with the Mrs!

So, drive-thru days for me are over. What about you?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Don't Count Me Out

It has been a while since I've posted. I regularly see bloggers apologizing for having long periods of absence, but I don't want to do that. What I needed to do was regroup and figure out what my real goals were and how to best achieve them.

Therefore I have been devoting my time to a new project which feels more professional and less personal; this is really what my slightly unsocial personality needed. You can see what I've been up to at While I am not a die-hard locavore, I do enjoy promoting agriculture within my state. I LOVE KENTUCKY!

The better news, however, is that my nine-year-old daughter Eden wants to start writing for "Food, Mommy!". In all honestly this makes perfect sense. She and her brother are the one's demanding food from me and I'm sure she can offer an interesting perspective. While she would really love to have cookies and cake at every meal, she really knows that is not what is best for her. This also let's me encourage her writing skills... she is pretty darn good at it. She'll be posting very soon, and already has a schedule for drafts, revisions and publishing dates. She must get that from her engineer father.

I will still post, when something moves me. You can also find me on Pinterest now (darn that site). Follow me at Twitter: @foodmommy Facebook:

And, let us know if there is something you want us to write about. We will be glad to take requests.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oops, I Did It Again!

Teaching Your Kids to Have Life-long Healthy Habits

It's amazing what my kid will eat. This is a
raw "Sunny Delight" squash from our garden.
This entire summer, I have made less than 10 attempts to exercise. I quit working on my push-ups and can now only do 10. I gave in to my 9-year-old daughter's constant objections to our daily exercise routine of jumping jacks and sit-ups. We planned to walk the 3 mile loop in the neighborhood nearly every evening, but several 100+ degree days put a stop to that as well. I also quit getting on the scale so I would not remind myself that I once again fell off the "work out" wagon. And I may preach a big "eat healthy most of the time" game, but I have found myself running through the drive through way too many times the last few months.

Why is it so hard for me to stick with what I know is good for me and my family? Quick answer: These are not habits I have followed my entire life.

My point here is not to blame the habits I created in childhood on my parents or grandparents, or school lunches or fast food--it may quite possibly have as much to do with how my brain is programmed--but what I do know is that I need to start creating healthy habits in my children TODAY and EVERY DAY. The more important part of this challenge for me will be sticking with it. I don't want my children thinking it's okay to "give up" on something because it is not easy.

So with renewed conviction, my kids and I will map out a plan this evening that works for our family that includes daily exercise, less convenience food and NO EXCUSES!

I would love to hear how you are working to create life-long healthy habits for your kids.  Comment here or visit me at

Tools and Resources:

Nourish Interactive - Healthy Habit Goal Tracking Sheets

American Heart Association - Help Children Develop Healthy Habits

Sesame Street - Healthy Habits for Life

Super Healthy Kids -
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