Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Strawberry Lemonade

Do different seasons stir up memories from your childhood? For me that is definitely the case. I remember when I was a kid my mom would make Kool-Aid every once in a while during the
summer. I always thought her Kool-Aid was way better than any other moms because she always put a can of lemonade concentrate in her version. Now that I am a mom I would love my daughter to have memories like that. I don't have Kool-Aid in the house, and I never will, but I wanted to find a drink that Ashlyn could love just as much, but the ingredients could not be mystery powder in a packet and the cup of refined sugar that you add to it. So, this is my version made with plant based ingredients and the taste will definitely remind you of summer.

Now, last year was my first attempt at making homemade lemonade and it was a sticky sugary mess! The lemonade tasted good, but it was a lot of work, a lot of lemons, and a lot of sticky clean up for a little bit of juice. I told myself that I had to find a better way or we would just not have lemonade in our house. So, thinking back to my mom's Kool-Aid I decided to make a flavored lemonade that should give me better results and boy did it ever! Now, this is a little more work than opening up a can of frozen concentrate, but I am happy to do this work to get the results. There are two steps to the process, making the simple syrup and then making the strawberry lemonade. Once you make the simple syrup it does make enough for 2 batches of lemonade.

Simple Syrup

Makes 1 1/2 cups of simple syrup

-1/2 c Sucanat *this is unrefined sugar that I find at Whole Foods, so if you can't find it you can use white sugar or just increase the amount of honey
-1/2 c honey
-1 c water

1. Put all of the ingredients into a sauce pan and simmer on medium for 10-15 minutes making sure to stir often. After about 15 minutes you should end up with about 1 1/2 cups of dark simple syrup. Sorry forgot to take pictures of this.
2. Cool before using.

Strawberry Lemonade


-25 Strawberries
-zest of one lemon
-3/4 c water
-1 1/4 c fresh lemon juice (strained) about 6 lemons
-3/4 c simple syrup
-4 c cold water


1. Put the strawberries, zest, and 3/4 cup of water into a saucepan and simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes until the strawberries break down. About 10 minutes into the process take a potato masher and mash the strawberries in the pan while continuing to cook. Once you get a strawberry "sauce" remove from the heat and cool.
2. Put the lemon juice and simple syrup into a pitcher and stir.
3. Strain the cooled strawberry "sauce" into the pitcher pressing down on the strained goop (yes, that is a technical term) to get as much juice out of the strawberries as possible.
4. Add 4 cups of cold water to your pitcher and mix.
5. You will end up with some pulp at the bottom of the pitcher if it stands for too long, but a good stir will solve that problem.
6. Chill to your desired temperature and enjoy!

Monday, June 10, 2013

"Meat" Balls

Oh the joys of toddlers and meal time. OK maybe I shouldn't be so general and assuming and instead say oh the joys of Ashlyn and meal time. We have our off days and our on days, but when it comes to how much food will be consumed we never know. There are days where she will out eat me, literally she can eat 4 slices of pizza in one sitting, no problem. Then there are the days where I can't figure out how she can function off of a handful of raisins and half of a peanut butter sandwich. One day she likes mushrooms the next she hates them. It is day by day with her eating habits, but there are a few tried and true dinner items that I know she will always eat.

One of those is meatballs, so when we quit eating meat in our house I had to come up with an acceptable alternative. I tried lots of "meat" ball recipes and non of them really satisfied all of us, especially a 2 1/2 year old that loves meat. I finally came up with my own recipe that the whole family will eat. Now, if you are looking for the texture of a meatball these will not do the trick, but if you are looking for a healthy alternative to the traditional meatball I would call this one a winner.


-1 onion
-3 cloves of garlic minced
-2/3 c rolled oats
-1/3 c walnuts
-1 c dried red lentils
-3 c water
-4 cremini mushrooms
-1/2 small zucchini
-1 carrot
-6 oz tomato paste
-1 Tbs dried basil
-2 tsp dried oregano
-1 tsp dried thyme
-1/3 c breadcrumbs
-1 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-olive oil spray *I use an oil mister which is perfect for this*

1. Put your lentils and water in a sauce pan and simmer on medium heat for 20-30 minutes. You want them to be a very mushy consistency. Let the lentils cool. Once cooled add 1 cup of the cooked lentils to a large bowl. You can freeze the leftovers for future use.

2. Saute the onion at medium heat until it turns translucent. Once translucent add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add to the bowl with the lentils.
3. Put the rolled oats and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until you get a fine consistency. Transfer to the lentil bowl.

4. Add the mushrooms to the food processor (no need to clean it out) and pulse until finely chopped. Add the mushrooms to the bowl. Repeat separately with the zucchini and carrot.

5. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix with your hands until everything is fully mixed (you cannot over mix so no worries).
6. Spray a sheet tray with olive oil (or I am sure you could use parchment paper as well)
7. Form your balls *giggle* and place on the sheet tray. I used a 1 Tbsp cookie scoop to get even mini meatballs. I like mini meatballs because they are great finger food for a toddler. *If you do make them larger the cooking time may vary.

8. Spray the "meat" balls with your olive oil spray.
9. Cook for 20 min @ 400 degrees flipping halfway through. Be careful when flipping because they are delicate.

10. Serve with your favorite sauce.

Mark and I enjoyed these as sandwiches and Ashlyn dipped hers. You could definitely serve these with pasta though.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! It is late and I am going to bed, so I hope you have a great day tomorrow!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Blueberry Vinaigrette

So, I don't know about you, but when blueberry season arrives Ashlyn and I do a little dance in our living room and yes Mark just sits back and rolls his eyes with a little grin on his face. I can't help it because to me blueberry season should be celebrated! I am obsessed and I am sure I am taking my daughter with me. Ashlyn can't get enough of these little treasures although she prefers the raw approach of just grabbing handfuls out of the fridge. The funny thing about her and blueberries is that she can tell just by tasting them that blueberry season is over. Last year around her 2nd birthday I bought some blueberries at the end of the season, OK probably way after the season ended, and she refused to eat them after tasting one. But, this year when the season started again she has been seen with a little ring of purple around her mouth.

Especially this year once I saw the blueberries pop up in stores and started to go on sale all of these ideas swirl in my head of blueberry syrup on pancakes, blueberry muffins, and blueberry cheezecake. Today, since it is my first recipe and I wanted to keep it simple I settled on a blueberry vinaigrette and I am so glad I did. I have to give credit to all those food bloggers out there because I did not realize how long the whole process takes until I did it myself.

Now when I settled on this recipe I did remember that in my first post I made a comment about not being a rabbit. All of a sudden the song "Isn't it Ironic" popped into my head. Of course it is ironic that I make a comment about salads and then my first recipe is a salad. So since I haven't heard that song since probably early high school I had to hum it to myself while preparing this recipe. Anyway enough with my ramblings and on to the show!

Blueberry Vinaigrette on a Mixed Greens Salad

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

1 cup blueberries
4 Tbs red wine vinegar
3 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs honey
1/4 tsp thyme *yes this is missing from the pic
salt and pepper to taste (I used 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper)


Put all ingredients in the blender and turn on high. Now if you have a high powered blender like a Vita mix you probably won't have to blend as long. It will start off looking like a hot mess.

But, I promise it does get better just keep blending.

I think I blended anywhere from 3-5 minutes and then I got a dressing that I had to control myself not to drink. YUMMY!

Chill before serving in an air tight container. The longer it sits in the fridge the more the flavors will develop. If it sits for awhile it may separate, so give it a shake and it will come together.

Salad Ingredients:

Combination of lettuce and spinach or any mixed greens will do
1/2 of a Red Pepper
Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 of an Avocado
Handful of Radishes
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

*Feel free to use whatever salad ingredients you have on hand, this is just what I had in my fridge. If I had them on hand I probably would have added a handful of strawberries and a 1/4 cup of sliced almonds as well.

Add the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to a dry saute pan and turn the heat to medium low. You are going to toast the seeds. Keep a very close eye on these as they do burn easily. Saute giving them a toss every minute or so. Your nose will know when they are done (or burnt believe me I have been there). When they are done they will have turned golden in color. I didn't cook these long enough to develop a super golden color (sorry I was starving), but there are a few golden ones in there.

Mix all of your salad ingredients together pour on your delicious dressing and commence to stuff your face. I hope you enjoy this recipe and I promise there are a lot more to come. Have an amazing day!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Little Blast from the Past

Hello! My name is Angie Fuhlrodt and I have started this blog as a way to share how I am finally finding who I am after becoming a mom. To give you a little recent background I have been happily married to my husband Mark for 5 years now and we have a beautiful 2 1/2 year old daughter Ashlyn. I currently work 40 hours a week, but am lucky enough to only have to do it in an office setting 3 days a week. After getting married I had, what I consider now, a lot of time on my hands since Mark was busy going to college. At that time in my life I had things that I enjoyed doing, but I never would have considered them hobbies let alone passions.

We then got pregnant and Mark finished college. During my pregnancy I was all about making everything perfect for the new baby. Everything had to match, the oodles of baby "necessities" had to be put together/organized and the nursery had to be spotless. I can't help but look back on that now and giggle to myself because once Ashlyn joined our lives I would say the proverbial sh*t hit the fan.
After she was born our lives were forever changed. From day one Ashlyn has been a high needs child with a few minor medical issues thrown in just for fun, but more about this in another post. She was eventually diagnosed with Milk Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI). Since I was breastfeeding I had to change my diet to eliminate anything that contained milk or soy and because I was the cook in the family Mark had to go along for the ride. Little did I know that this change in our lives would start my journey of finding a food passion that I didn't see coming.

I had to read labels on everything at the grocery store to find out if it had milk or soy in it. This is not as easy as it sounds considering they have all sorts of different names for milk and soy ingredients. Once I found brands and products that I could use I was able to stop reading the labels on the majority of what I bought and it did get easier. When Ashlyn turned 6 months old I was done with the diet and made the decision to stop breastfeeding (I was starting to lose my supply and we were supplementing anyway). I could now enjoy the cheese and Chinese food that I so desperately missed, but I had learned something with all of that forced label reading. I learned that if you don't read labels you really have no idea what you are putting into your body. That is why when Ashlyn started eating solid foods I vowed to make all of her baby food myself.

Mark and I went back to eating whatever we wanted, but I made sure that I knew what was in everything that Ashlyn was putting into her mouth. By the time Ashlyn was 1 we had reintroduced soy and milk back into her diet and she did great. She had grown out of her intolerance! At that point we let her eat whatever we were eating along with snacks of goldfish and animal crackers (those were about the extent of the "junk" food in our house). This went on for about a year until Mark and I decided enough was enough. Over the last year we had all experienced digestive issues, fatigue, and just feeling crummy. So, when we had time we did research on how our food could be effecting our health and well being. What we found was pointing in the direction that if we made a drastic change to our diet then it might help the health of our family.

So, at the end of January 2013 we decided that for 30 days we would do a strict whole foods plant based diet. What that means is that we would not consume meat of any kind, eggs, or dairy. We would read the ingredient labels on everything we ate and if it had ingredients we could not pronounce we would not eat it. We would no longer eat white flour, white rice, or white sugar. Instead we would use whole wheat flour, brown rice, and natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, etc. In the beginning I was at a loss. We are from the Midwest where it's a meat and potatoes kind of place. I also knew that we could not eat salads for every meal, I mean we didn't just turn into rabbits. So, I read vegan cookbooks and search vegan recipes and blogs (actually the first time reading blogs) until something finally clicked! After about two weeks I finally got it and I loved it! I had found a passion of making good food for my family and doing it in a way that I could get my chicken, sausage, and goldfish loving 2 year old to actually eat it!

This is where I am today. I have finally found something that I enjoy so much that I can call it a passion. I love trying new recipes and creating my own, but sticking mostly to the whole foods plant based diet. Now, as far as the title of my blog I had to use mostly because there are times where we just want a steak or a pizza with real cheese and we will indulge (I don't call it cheating). This is a good balance for us because we don't do this because of an allergy and we are not vegans for ethical reasons. We do this because this is what works for our family to keep us feeling healthy and happy.
Through the course of this blog I hope to share recipes which will be mostly whole foods plant based, updates on raising a toddler, and other passions that develop over time.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you enjoy everything that is to come.