Monday, February 28, 2011

Great Organic Deals at Publix through Wednesday

I've been shopping Publix's great Italian Days sale since we returned from vacation this week. Tonight, I had to run up for stamps and returned with another 40 cans of Muir Glen soup!

Two of my favorite coupons - available on the Italian Days flier both in stores and online - are for 1) $5 off any 20 General Mills products (Muir Glen is owned by General Mills) and 2) $1/2 Muir Glen soup, pasta sauce or tomatoes.

There's also a $1/2 peelie on many of the Muir Glen soups right now, and the soups are on sale 3 for $5.

Using all those coupons, you can buy 20 cans for $33.33 (regular price is around $43). Then, use the following coupons to get an additional $25 in savings:

- One $5/20 (Publix)
- Ten $1/2 (Publix)
- Ten $1/2 peelies (Manufacturer)

That's $43 worth of soup for a little over $8! Of course, the Muir Glen coupons could also be used on tomatoes or pasta sauce, too.

Another great organics deal is this week's Buy Theirs, Get Ours Free promotion. If you buy a can of Muir Glen tomatoes, Heinz organic ketchup or Newman's Own salsa or balsamic vinegar, you receive the equivalent Publix Greenwise product free. I've never seen this promotion with Greenwise products before, so I was excited to finally give it a try!

Any other great organic deals out right now? Share them here!

Meal Plan Monday - Week of February 28th

On our recent vacation, I read Crazy Sexy Diet from cover to cover - and loved it! Not only was it another nudge in the direction I needed (away from vegan junk food towards back towards a mostly whole-foods diet) but also a real eye opener in terms of self renewal.

As you may (or may not) know, I'm big on "me time" . . . but apparently, I've been going about it the wrong way. I've been choosing activities that - while they are all really fun - just place more events on my calendar rather than really giving me time to reconnect with myself. And as an introvert my nature, I'm starting to find that I really need that!

So, I'm excited to embark on the CSD three-week cleanse tomorrow - both to kick-start the return to a nutrient-dense diet and to (hopefully!) finally establish a daily, self-renewal routine that keeps me balanced. That said, my meal plan is a little in flux this week as I prepare for three weeks without sugar, gluten, caffeine and (of course) animal products and filled with (mostly) raw, alkalizing foods. Wish me luck!

Advance Preparation
Make veggie tray (Jim)
Make pecan butter
Make almond milk
Make kombucha

Breakfast: Green smoothie, whole wheat toast
Lunch: Out
Dinner: Mac & trees (recipe coming soon)

Breakfast: Fruit & oatmeal (kids); green juice & fruit (me)
Lunch: Everyday Chickpea-Quinoa Salad
Dinner: Creamy Zucchini Fettuccine

Breakfast: Green smoothie & fruit (kids); green juice & green smoothie (me)
Lunch: Tofu salad wraps & fruit (kids); tofu salad on green salad & fruit (me)
Dinner: Creamed corn, steamed broccoli & asparagus

Breakfast: Green smoothie & oatmeal (kids); green juice & fruit (me)
Lunch: Out
Dinner: Soft Broccoli Polenta; salad

Breakfast: Green smoothie & fruit (kids); green juice & fruit (me)
Lunch: Veggie pitas & fruit (kids); Everyday Chickpea-Quinoa Salad (me)
Dinner: Gravy bowl (brown rice, mustard greens, tofu, chickpea gravy)

Breakfast: Green smoothie & oatmeal (kids); green juice & green smoothie (me)
Lunch: PB&J on whole wheat; cut veggies
Dinner: Out

Breakfast: Pancakes (kids); green juice & fruit (me)
Lunch: Soup & salad
Dinner: Miso soup & veggie sushi

Last Day to Enter our February Giveaway!!!

Today is the last day to enter our February giveaway . . . how is it almost March already??? Somehow it is, which means tomorrow I'll be picking the winner of one of our five remaining books:

Thanks to all of you who have already entered by leaving comments and sharing the blog throughout the month. If you haven't entered yet (or want extra entries) here's how:

1. Sign up to follow Growing Healthy Sprouts . . . must be a blog follower to win.

2. Tell us what you think . . . earn one entry for every comment on the blog!

3. Tell a friend . . . every time a friend mentions your name in a comment, you both get an extra entry.

4. Like us on Facebook . . . we just like to feel the love.

And adding a new way to enter . . .

5. Share the news . . . earn additional entries by blogging about our giveaway or sharing it on Facebook (just send me a message to let me know you've done so).

Here are the books our January winner will choose from:

Disease-Proof Your Child

Eat to LiveEat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss

Vegan with a Vengeance

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Appetite for Reduction!!!

Which one will you win???

Kids in the Kitchen - Fruit Sandwich

This time, I made my own breakfast and it was a fruit sandwich. I did it without any instructions. You start with two slices of bread and then you put strawberries and cantaloupe on and then blueberries. You have to cut up all the fruit but not the blueberries. You put a jam on the other slice of bread (I used raspberry), and then you put the other piece of bread on top. I also put some cut up cantaloupe on the side.

Sprout Rating
Big Sprout - 5 sprouts

Note from Mama Sprout: I did have a teeny, tiny bit of input on this one - talking him out of adding his favorite sandwich element - a pickle - to this sandwich!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sweet on Sunday - New Gluten-Free Bakery in Winter Park

Jim has mentioned a few times that an acquaintance from his martial arts studio recently opened a gluten-free bakery in Winter Park, but it wasn't until recently that I learned they had added a few vegan items to their menu. So when I saw it the other day - practically attached to the store I'd stopped at for pet food -  I decided to treat the Sprouts to a cupcake at Natural Delights.

Once there, I was surprised to learn that not only were all their items gluten-free but sugar-free as well. Instead of refined sugar, all their goodies are sweetened with stevia, agave, dates or yacon syrup (a sweetener that was definitely new to me). In addition to the sweets, they also make smoothies and their Green Goddess (spinach, cucumber, green apple, green grapes & kiwi) is on my list to try on our next visit.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Stay Active Saturday - Organized Sports

For some reason, I've always shied away from organized sports for the kids - probably, because I never played team sports as a kid. Last year, Big Sprout wanted to play either baseball or hockey, but we missed the deadline for baseball registration, so off to the ice rink it was. He enjoyed it, but I could tell he didn't love it . . . so when I suggested he take a break, he was happy to do so. Little Sprout had just started martial arts, so he decided to do that with her for a while.

Lately, he's been asking about baseball again, so we decided to give it a try this year. Today was the opening ceremony, and I have to admit, it was pretty cool to see him run out on the field with his team. The only downer in the day was after the ceremony - after all the speeches about creating an environment to keep kids healthy "body, mind and soul" - they brought each team into the bleachers and gave all the kids (including the 3-year-old T-ball players) a hot dog and soda. Ugh! On the bright side, Noah wasn't the only one of his team who said "no thank you" and chose water instead.

Just as exciting, it was Little Sprout's first day of soccer practice. A few months ago, we were out kicking around the soccer ball and she declared "I'm pretty good at soccer. I think you should sign me up for a team." And so we did. She's been literally counting down the days until her first practice and was SO excited for Grandma to take her today. She came home telling me how much she loved it and that "her team won". Funny girl! I can't wait to go see her play next week.

So even though the lack of planning (I've come to call them "dis"organized sports) has been driving me nuts and it's more of a time commitment than I'd like, organized sports may be growing on me. After all . . . what could be better than watching the kids be outside, active and having fun???

Friday, February 25, 2011

Four Days Left to Enter our Book Giveaway!

Only four days left to enter our February giveaway . . . the winner will have their choice of the following five books: Vegan with a Vengeance, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Appetite for Reduction, Eat to Live and Disease Proof Your Child.

Our twist for February is double books . . . Growing Healthy Sprouts had 35 followers at the end of our first month. If we can double that to 70 by February 28th, I'll double the books in our giveaway (2 books means 2 winners!)

Here's how to enter:

1. Sign up to follow Growing Healthy Sprouts . . . must be a blog follower to win.

2. Tell us what you think . . . earn one entry for every comment on the blog!

3. Tell a friend . . . every time a friend mentions your name in a comment, you both get an extra entry.

4. Like us on Facebook . . . we just like to feel the love.

And adding a new way to enter . . .

5. Share the news . . . earn additional entries by blogging about our giveaway or sharing it on Facebook (just send me a message to let me know you've done so).

Fun Food Friday - Pancake Pizza

You should have seen the Sprouts' faces when they saw this combination of pancakes and pizza. I mean, really . . . what could be better???

I've had this idea kicking around for a while, but today was the day to give it a shot. Here's what I did:

Pancake Pizza

1 batch pancake batter (I used the Vegan with a Vengeance recipe using whole wheat flour)
2 cups strawberries, trimmed and chopped
4 dates
1/2 cup blueberries
1 banana, sliced
Optional: agave nectar, maple syrup, cinnamon, chopped walnuts or pecans

Prepare the pancake batter as directed by the recipe, and spray a large, non-stick pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan, cover and cook over medium-low heat until cooked mostly through. At that point, spray another large pan with cooking spray, then quickly flip the pancake into the second pan. Continue cooking over low heat until completely cooked.

Note: All my cookware is stainless steel, except for one non-stick pan I use only for pancakes. This large of a pancake is far from flippable, so I just cooked it slowly over really low heat. Covering seemed to speed up the process of cooking the top and middle. You may need to turn the heat down as you go, and you can use a spatula to gently scrape around the pan to prevent the edges from sticking. If you're really coordinated, you could probably flip it in the same pan, but if you're like me (prone to breaking things), flipping into a new pan is definitely easier. The whole process is definitely more of an art than a science, so just watch it carefully and you'll be able to tell when it's done.

While the pancake is cooking, prepare the strawberry puree by placing 1 cup of the chopped strawberries into a blender or food processor with the dates until well combined. If you prefer, you can skip this step and use strawberry preserves instead.

Flip the pancake on a large plate or pizza pan, then spread the strawberry puree on top. Top with the chopped fruit (let the kiddos to it - Little Sprout had a blast putting together ours). If desired, drizzle with agave nectar or maple syrup, sprinkle with cinnamon or top with chopped nuts.

Sprout Ratings:
Big Sprout - 5 sprouts
Little Sprout - 5 sprouts
Mama Sprout - 4.5 sprouts
Daddy Sprout - 4.5 sprouts

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Food for Thought Thursday - Reversing Disease with Diet

When I came across this article, entitled What Your Doctor Isn't Telling You Could Save Your Life, I just knew I had to share it. I read stories like this a few times a month, and they never fail to inspire and infuriate me at the same time.

It's wonderful to know that we have this much control over our health (and that of our children) through our dietary choices - but at the same time, it's outrageous that the medical community is (at least somewhat) aware of it but don't bother to offer it as a solution because they assume people will think eating well is "too much work". Ugh! I certainly hope the whole idea of personal accountability makes a comeback during my lifetime, but that's a rant much broader than this blog post . . .

At any rate, when we were beginning our own journey towards health, our pediatrician shared a piece of information that has stuck with me all these years. He told us that most doctors receive, at most, one course in nutrition throughout their entire medical school career. Simply put, unless they have a specific interest in the topic and have researched on their own, your doctor may not know any more than you do about how food can keep us healthy (and probably less if you're a researcher-type like I suspect you are).

Since most of our culture seems content to rely on pills and surgeries to fix the results of their disease-promoting diets, it's always inspiring to see people showing that many conditions that are widely accepted as "normal" in today's society can be prevented and actually reversed with a whole foods, plant-based diet.

In addition to this article, several documentaries have also been made on this topic. Click here to view the trailer for the film Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days.

Today's Mamapedia Deal - $10 for $20 of Grocery Bags from Blue Avocado

If you're looking to stock up on sturdy, reusable grocery bags or need a stylish, insulated bag for picnics and lunches on the go, check out the current deal at Mamapedia, which will get you $20 of Blue Avocado bags for only $10. I was lucky enough to win one of their Chil bags in a Mambo Sprouts giveaway last year, and we use it all the time for keeping our lunches cool while we're out and about.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Veggie Plate

This is one of our favorite meals, but somehow, it's also one that I usually forget to make. Generally, I get so caught up trying out recipes from new cookbooks or food blogs that I forget to keep it simple on occasion. But recently, both Jim and the Sprouts have been asking for a weekly veggie plate, so I'm putting it back into the rotation.

Tonight's veggie plate featured sweet potatoes, asparagus and a cucumber-tomato salad. I sliced the sweet potatoes, placed them on a baking sheet with the asparagus and sprinkled everything with a tiny bit of sea salt. The sweet potatoes also got dusted with cinnamon, and I ground some rosemary-garlic seasoning over the asparagus before roasting at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

While the veggies were in the oven, I chopped up one large cucumber and a big plum tomato and mixed up some Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing, tossing everything into a dish to chill in the fridge for a bit. When the oven timer went off, dinner was ready (and I even got most of this blog post written in the interim). How easy is that???

Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon brown mustard
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey

Whisk together with a fork!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Top Tip - Educate (Not Mandate)

Today's top tip comes from Big Sprout . . . when I asked him what he thought would most help kids chose healthy foods, he said it was teaching them how food affects their bodies - that whole, plant-based foods contain micronutrients the body needs to stay healthy while processed foods make our bodies work harder and affect our body both inside and out. Okay, so I added the "micronutrientss" part, but that was the gist of his idea.

It really made me happy to hear, because we've always tried to educate the kids on the reasons for our choices - on both why healthy foods are important and the specific reasons we avoid trans-fat, HFCS, animal foods and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. I know that I can only control their food choices for so long, so educating them about nutrition is my "insurance policy" for keeping them on the healthy path (hopefully!) once they're old enough to be the ones calling the shots at the grocery store and in the kitchen.

One of our favorite, at-home experiments is to demonstrate what happens when our arteries get clogged from eating too much high-fat, processed foods. Want to try it? Take two plastic straws, and stuff a bit of Play-doh into one of them (enough that you can still blow through it but it takes some effort to make the air flow through). Now take turns blowing through each of the straws.

With healthy diet and lifestyle choices, you can keep your arteries like the empty straw - the blood can flow through them as easily as you can blow through this straw. But poor choices (no matter how tasty!) can cause your arteries to become clogged over time, like the Play-doh straw. You have to work harder to blow air through it, just like your heart has to work harder to pump blood through clogged arteries.

Follow it up with some thought-provoking questions ("What do you think happens when your heart has to work harder and harder with no rest?", "What do you think would happen if we added more Play-doh to the straw every day?"), and you'll make a much stronger argument for munching on veggies than "because I said so" (although I've been known to use that on occasion, too!)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Meal Plan Monday - Week of February 21st

Today is our travel day home from vacation, and meal plans have been far from my mind. I fully intended to write a brief post stating that I had absolutely no plan for this week, but I ended up putting one together last night. My main goals are to 1) shop the Italian Days sale at Publix and 2) not have to do much in the kitchen this week.

So here's our super-simple meal plan for the week:

Advance Preparation
Make veggie tray (Jim)
Make maple pecan butter

Breakfast: Fruit & oatmeal
Lunch: ??? (traveling)
Dinner: ??? (traveling)

Breakfast: Fruit & oatmeal
Lunch: Out
Dinner: Veggie plate - asparagus, sweet potatoes & tomato-cucumber salad

Breakfast: Green smoothie; fruit
Lunch: Veggie pitas
Dinner: BBQ White Beans with Spinach

Breakfast: Green smoothie; oatmeal
Lunch: Everyday Chickpea-Quinoa Salad
Dinner: Pasta with broccoli, tomatoes & pine nuts

Breakfast: Green smoothie; fruit
Lunch: Extraordinary tofu salad wraps
Dinner: Leftovers

Breakfast: Green smoothie; oatmeal
Lunch: PB&J on whole wheat; cut veggies
Dinner: Out

Breakfast: Breakfast pizza
Lunch: Soup & salad
Dinner: Veggie BLT's

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sweet on Sunday - Iced Oatmeal Cookies

As far as vegan cooking goes, I've found baking to be by far the easiest - too easy, in fact. Don't get me wrong, it's all easy once to develop your repertoire of favorites, but the baking is, literally, a piece of cake. People are often astonished that it's possible to whip up moist, delicious baked goods without eggs or butter, but it's one area where I can guarantee you'll never feel like anything is missing.

That said, a vegan cookie is still a cookie . . . tasty and delicious, but something we try to save for special occasions. As hard as I may try, I will never figure out how to make one that's the nutritional equivalent of a salad . . . but these Iced Oatmeal Cookies from the February 2010 Vegetarian Times really are a step in the right direction.

Using oat flour and oats as the base, they contain no wheat flour and only 3/4 cup of sugar for the whole recipe. In addition, the applesauce reduces the fat, so the recipe only requires 2 tablespoons of vegan butter. The icing, of course, is another story . . . I just drizzle really lightly and try not to think about it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Stay Active Saturday - Kids Triathlons in Central Florida

To follow up on last week's post about kids multisport events, I'm putting together a list of upcoming kids triathlons in and around Central Florida.

Last year, the Sprouts also did triathlons at the DeLand YMCA (May), Winter Park YMCA (August) and Kids4Kids in Gainesville (September). I've contacted them all to see if they're doing events again this year and will provide updates as I hear back. In the meantime, here are the other events I've found . . .

Great Clermont Triathlon Kidz Triathlon
Clermont, FL 
Saturday, March 26th

Junior division (ages 6-10) - 100-yard swim, 2.5-mile bike, 1-mile run
Senior division (ages 11-14) - 200-yard swim, 5-mile bike, 2-mile run

Entry Fee:
$35 by March 30th ($40 until race day)

Star Kids Triathlon
Cocoa Beach, FL 
Sunday, April 10th

  • Betelgeuse (ages 6 & 7) – 50-yard swim, 3.7-mile bike, 1/2-mile run
  • Polaris (ages 8 & 9) – 100-yard swim, 3.7-mile bike, 1/2-mile run
  • Orion (ages 10-& 11) – 100-yard swim, 3.7-mile bike, 1-mile run
  • Regulus (ages 12 & 13) – 150-yard swim, 3.7 mile-bike, 1-mile run
  • Sirius (14-years-old) – 150-yard swim, 3.7-mile bike, 1-mile

Entry Fee:
$35 to February 10
$40 to March 10
$45 to April 8
$50.00 at packet pick-up

Tech shirts to all participants. Awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each age group.

Other Notes:
Pool swim!!!

2011 Kids Triathlon Series Presented by Tri Motion Sports
Clermont, FL

  • Race #1- April 23, 2011
  • Race #2- June 4, 2011
  • Race #3 - August 27, 2011
  • Race #4 - October 8, 2011

Ages 10 & under: Swim 100y, Ride 2.2m & Run .6m
Ages 11 & up: Swim 200y, Ride 4.4m & Run 1.2m

Entry Fee:
$30/race or $90 for the 4-race series 

Finishers medals to all participants
Trophies for Top 3 in overall categories

The First Coast Kids Triathlon
Jacksonville, FL
Sunday, May 1st with pre-race pep rally on Saturday, April 30th

Juniors ages 5-10:  Swim 100 meters, Bike 3 miles, Run 1/2 mile
Seniors ages 11-15: Swim 200 meters, Bike 6 miles, Run 1 mile 

Entry Fee:

Other Notes:
Pool swim!!!

Ironkids Orlando
Orlando, FL 
Saturday, May 14th

Junior (ages 6 to 8): 50-yard swim, 2-mile bike and 500-yard run
Intermediate (ages 9 to 11): 150-yard swim, 4-mile bike and 1-mile run
Senior (ages 12 to 15): 300-yard swim, 8-mile bike and 2-mile run

Entry Fee:
$50 ($35 for additional family members) 

T-shirts, goody bag and medal to all participants.

Kids BFAST Triathlon
Jacksonville Beach, FL
Sunday, May 22nd

Juniors (Age Group 6-9) - 50 Yard Swim, 2 Mile Bike, 1/2 Mile Run
Seniors (Age Group 10-13) - 100 Yard Swim, 4 Mile Bike, 1 Mile Run

Entry Fee:
$45 ($40 for USAT members)

T-shirts, goody bag and medal to all participants. Awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each age group.

Other Notes:
Pool swim!!!