Friday, December 30, 2011

Crockpot (Healthy)Refried Beans & Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas


Quick, easy, healthy and so delicious!  Nothing like the canned stuff.  You will never go back Winking smile 

Okay, I must be honest…the beans are quick and the tortillas take a little work but are well worth it, and for us make extras for breakfast burritos in the morning and quesadillas for lunch.  You can even freeze them.


Easy Crockpot Refried Beans

(It’s no secret I love Lisa @ 100 Days of Real Food…thanks for more great recipes!)


  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • ½ fresh jalapeno or other hot pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • One big pinch of cumin
  • 6 cups water


  1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 8 hours or overnight while you are sleeping.
  3. Remove the bigger onion chunks and drain the excess liquid. If desired, save excess liquid until the final product is desired consistency.
  4. Mash remaining beans with a potato masher and voila! You have homemade refried beans.


Whole Wheat Tortillas


  • 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (I used King Arthur’s white whole-wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water (heat in the microwave for 1 min)


  1. Looking for an easy way out? Throw all ingredients at once into your bread machine to kneed (like I do) or in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer set with a dough hook, pour in the flour, oil and salt. Beat with the paddle until crumbly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the sides as needed. If your hand-held mixer comes with dough hooks those can be used as well.
  2. (Skip this step if you used your bread machine) With the mixer running, gradually add the warm water and continue mixing until the dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Take out the dough and divide it into 12 equal sized pieces. I do this by rolling out a log shape that is about 8 – 10 inches long. Then I cut it in the middle. Then I cut each of those pieces in the middle and so on until you have 12 pieces.
  4. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it out on a baking tray or board. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes or up to one hour.
  5. Heat a cast iron skillet, griddle or 12-inch skillet over med-high heat. The pan should be fairly hot before you begin cooking the tortillas.
  6. On a lightly floured board or countertop, roll each ball into a 8 to 10 inch circle. Be careful not to use more than a teaspoon or two of flour when rolling out each ball of dough because too much excess flour will burn in the pan.
  7. Place one tortilla at a time in the pan and cook until puffy and slightly brown, do not overcook or they will be crunchy! Eat within an hour, refrigerate or freeze.


I separate mine with wax paper after I roll them out.


Quesadilla for lunch!



Breakfast burrito with eggs, cheese and green chile sauce!



Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our favorite Green Smoothie Recipes


For those of you that don’t know, Mike and I completed a 3 day Green Smoothie Cleanse a few weeks ago with a group of people from the Vegalicious Blog.  Elena @ Vegalicious has a great testimony, a wonderful wealth of information on nutrition and is gifted with her coaching ability in this area.  I am very thankful for her as I see wonderful things happening to my body and mind.  My prayer is that I can soon be off my thyroid medicine once and for all!!

The immediate results of the cleanse were a 3 lb. weight loss for both of us … other words getting the toxins out of our bodies =), energy and a clear mind for me.  Clear mind? Sounds strange I know, but that is the only way I can describe it.  I have never felt better in my everyday tasks…..homeschooling, housework, training and just being a Mom and wife.

Long term…..Well, I had made a promise to Elena that we would still drink 1 to 2 green smoothies a day and we have!  We always have one in the morning and one again before dinner.  The kiddos too! What I love the most is that it has really helped continue to change our diet.  Many of you know that we started off with the 10 Days of Real Food Pledge which helped drastically change our pantry.  You can read more about it here 10 Days of Real Food...Come & Join Us! 

So thank you Elena for helping us continue to learn about how to fuel our bodies!!


Here are 2 of our favorite smoothies!

(Measurements below are all approximate as I tend to just throw things in the blender Smile.)

Strawberry Blueberry Blend

  • Chard (filled 3/4 of blender)
  • Banana (for sweetness)
  • Strawberries (6 to 8)
  • Blueberries (1/2 c.)
  • Flax or Chia Seeds (2 tbls)
  • Water (to desired consistency)

Berries & Greens

  • Spinach (fill 3/4 of blender)
  • Banana (for sweetness)
  • Mixed berry blend (blueberries, blackberries & Marion berries)
  • Flax or Chia Seeds (2 tbls.)
  • Water (to desired consistency)

I will post on some other ingredients I add such as aloe very juice, Maca Root powder, Dulce, etc. another day.


I just had to throw in this picture above with our sassy new (environmentally friendly) straws Winking smile  Love our glass straws!

I generally just have a large mason jar of smoothie and my coffee (Yes, haven’t broken the habit.) for breakfast.  Below is a typical breakfast for the kiddos.  Small mason jar of smoothie with a bowl of oats, nuts, dried cranberries or some other toppings they love.


Elena is starting another 3 Day Cleanse New Years Day.  What is your New Years Resolution?  Hint, hint!! 

Not ready for a 3 day cleanse?  How about trying 1 green smoothie a day for starters?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

How we spend our Winter days!

Ice Skating… fun!  One of our favorite things to do is to go ice skating at one of the many outdoor rinks here in the Denver area.  Here is a link with different rinks, hours, prices etc. Denver Area Outdoor Ice Skating or Downtown Denver Ice Skating





Crew & Goose were so excited to have Big Sis visit!

After ice skating, we were headed to eat at one of the many downtown restaurants in Denver.  That is until Crew spotted a piano.  He had to stop and play some of the Christmas songs he has been learning.


Well, as he continued to play people walking down the street began to gather to stop and hear him play.  It was so cool.  What a talented 6 year old!  Yes, a proud Mom moment Winking smile


Santa!  We did go and visit Santa.  I don’t have a pic to post because the new photography company would not allow personal cameras.


Sledding!  The most recent storm dumped about 16” of snow.  So, our days were filled with shoveling and sledding. 



Snowshoeing?! Snowshoes for Christmas!  So, after opening presents and breakfast (Which was a new recipe that was a hit.  I will post the recipe soon!) We headed out to try our new snowshoes.


Seriously a beautiful place to live!  This trailhead was approx. 5 miles from our house.






Taking a break to have a Lara Bar



Crew was nicknamed “Survivor Boy” today. He really enjoyed walking alone and exploring.


The kiddos snowshoed 3 miles today and we are so VERY proud.  When we headed out we weren’t sure what to expect since they had never snowshoed before and the snow was deep in some places.  They were amazing!  I hope that we have started a Christmas day tradition.  We had a wonderful time together as a family enjoying God’s creation!  Merry Christmas!

So….ice skating, sledding, and snowshoeing, what are your favorite winter activities?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Soft, Yummy Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies


I found a whole wheat sugar cookie recipe we all loved….thanks Katie!

Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies

  • 3/4 cup ww pastry flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 
  • 1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup Evaporated Cane Juice (Sucanat) or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil

Combine dry ingredients and mix very, very well. In a separate bowl, melt butter, then stir in vanilla and milk. Pour dry into wet and mix again. Form balls or roll out (not too thin), then use a cookie cutter to make shapes.

Katie says…..If you want soft cookies, you’ll need to get the dough very cold. (So roll the balls first, then fridge until cold.)  We couldn’t wait!

Cook in a 325F preheated oven for 5 minutes. They will look very underdone when you take them out, but that’s ok. Let cool…..enjoy!

Makes about 1 dozen cookies depending on size.

Yes, I brought sugar back into our home!  So if I am going to use sugar, what kind should I use?  Well, we used Organic Evaporated Cane Juice.  Yes, it comes from the sugar cane just like your regular sugar.  However, it is NOT heavily processed and does still contain some amounts of vitamins and minerals.  Calories?  Yes, the same but that is not what I am concerned with.  We do now own one small bag of the Organic Evaporated Cane Juice. Winking smile  You can read more about Organic Evaporated Cane Juice and other sugars here…. Wikipedia - Evaporated Cane Juice.

They really were delish!  Do you have a (somewhat) healthy cookie recipe to share?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Green Smoothies & Snowshoe Training!

Mike and I are on Day 2 of our “Green Smoothie Cleanse”.  Why?  Well, we are continuing to strive for healthy changes in our lives and diets……so, out with the toxins!! 

A blogger (with a pretty cool story) I follow was calling all to join together in a 3 day cleanse.  She provided an e-book with recipes and information on how, when, why etc.  Thanks Elena!  Call to Arms 3 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse

We are basically spending 3 days blending greens and fruits to detox.  In with the good and out with the bad!  Now I am not a diet, cleanse, fasting kind of person.  I am an eater!!  You know, my blood sugar drops, I get irritable, etc., etc.  I can say that I am feeling pretty good on Day 2.  So if I can do it, so can you Winking smile  I will report full results after tomorrow. 

Today’s favorite recipe to satisfy your sweet tooth…

Blueberries, banana, chard, spinach, water, organic aloe Vera juice, and flax

Training???  It’s off season for triathlons isn’t it?  Well, as most of you know I wasn’t able to race this past season due to a mountain biking accident resulting in a separated shoulder and knee surgery so I need to get back into shape!  So, why not take up a new sport for the winter….snowshoeing.  Apparently there are a bunch of crazies out there who enjoy running/racing in snowshoes.  Yes, running!  The first time I tried to run in snowshoes I needed oxygen after the first 100 yards.  So naturally, I want to race.  A new trend with me….if it is hard or pushes me to my limits, I want to try it.  It's kind of fun. You know, makes life interesting.  My birthday present has arrived……

Red Feather Vapor Cross Country Snowshoes

My first race will be January 8th. Goal: to finish while enjoying the outdoors!   Now, many of you might be thinking that we don’t have enough snow down here to train.  Well, you are partially right.  After much research, I have learned that many snowshoe racers that don’t live up in the mountains simply follow a running training plan and strap on their snowshoes whenever a storm comes through.  So that is exactly what I am doing.  Sound interesting?  Here are a few links with racing calendars and info…. Snowshoe Magazine Calendar, US Snowshoe Racing Association, CO Racing Underground Snowshoe Calendar.

Try something new!  Don’t you love that feeling after you have accomplished something new or pushed your limits?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jesse Tree….A History of the Season!


I learned about the Jesse Tree last year and we loved the tradition.  Very Catholic (at least all the websites with info are anyway)….who knew.  I grew up going to Catholic school.  The Jesse Tree is very similar to perhaps an Advent calendar/wreath but focuses more on the history behind this time of year. So we have both an Advent Calendar and a Jesse Tree!  The kids love it =)

Our Jesse Tree looks a bit different this year…..yes sticks Winking smile!  We have been doing so much hiking that I thought we would make our tree of sticks in one of the many mason jars we have at home.  I did paint a few of the sticks white because they are recycled from our Thanksgiving centerpiece.  (The bird hanging is not a part of the Jesse Tree tradition but represents a friend going through a rough pregnancy.  Just a daily reminder for us to pray for her, baby and their family.)


Yes, and once again I opted out of the sewing of ornaments and went the easy route.  The kiddos are coloring the ornaments each day as we go along.  They actually love that part.


December 1st….our first ornament and devotion.  We are using the same book we used last year The Advent Jesse Tree by Dean Lambert Smith. I found many fantastic blogs & sites with ideas and free stuff.  Here is the one we used to print the ornaments to color Jesse Tree Printable Ornaments.


Hope you too are starting or continuing wonderful holiday traditions.  And of course please do share!  After all, where do you think I get all my ideas from Winking smile

So Yummy!! Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars


This is one of our favorite snack recipes!  (Thanks Kath! original recipe here Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars ) They are a great nutritious bar that we use for snacks at home and on the go.  You can add so many different ingredients to your liking.  So have fun!
Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars


  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts [or any nuts you like]
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (any you like – raisins, cranberries, dates, figs)
  • 1/4 cup seeds (any you like – sunflower, pumpkin, flax, sesame)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups skim milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of raw unfiltered honey (local if possible)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Mix dry ingredients.
  3. Mix wet ingredients.
  4. Pour wet into dry. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour into a 9×9 baking dish either coated in cooking spray or lined with parchment.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  7. Cut into squares.

The variations are endless: cranberries, coconut, all kinds of dried fruit, nuts, etc.

After we indulge on them out of the oven and they cool, I wrap them up to go.



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Green Tree!


Green….fresh, environmentally friendly!  The National Forest Service here in CO sells tree cutting permits every year to help thin out the forest for healthy forest growth and regrowth.  Here are some links if you are here in CO to obtain a permit  Pikes Peak National Forest - Woodland Park Area Permit Info or Front Range.  If you are out of state, check with your local Nation Forest!

Each year, we head up to the mountains to cut down our fresh Christmas tree.  This has been a family tradition since the 1st year we moved to CO.  It is a day we cherish!  We always stop by to take a pic with Smokey as we enter into the National Forest cutting area.  And then off we go……




Until we find the perfect one



Time to work! Sawing…





We did it!


Back to the car


Now that the serious work is complete…..


Always have to go bouldering





Precious memories!



We hope to share this tradition with others! 

Merry Christmas!