Saturday, January 30, 2016

Real Food on a budget

My goal is to feed my kids real food on a budget, this is not always an easy task!

I made a trip to Aldi yesterday and filled the back of my van up with (mostly) whole foods for under $130! Today, I made a yummy fruit salad and portioned it out so they have healthful snacks for the week!

I cut up 14 kiwi, 3lb of tangelos, 3 lbs of apples, and one pineapple. I sprinkled the fruit with chia seeds and hemp too! My kids have easy to grab fruit cups now and it is something I can feel great about!


I am also having the kids keep track of what they are eating as a "school" project so we can make sure they are getting a great balance of healthy and yummy food!


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I didn't do the best job of keeping track of what I wanted for this posting, so I am going to post some yummy meals we enjoyed :)

I used frozen bananas to make an "ice cream" or nice cream

 Frozen bananas
 Chocolate chips with a little coconut oil-melt them 


 Frozen bananas blended with a little bit of plant based milk


 Top "banana nice cream" with hemp hearts, and chocolate chips


 Blend some frozen banana with frozen strawberries and some plant based milk, layer over other stuff


 Pour melted chocolate on top and put in freezer for 10 mins to harder


 
 ENJOY!!


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We also enjoyed the best Vegan/ GF pizza we have had in quite some time! I used this recipe from One Green Planet.

I do not take credit for this recipe*

"Cheese"
  • 1/4 C. raw cashews (soaked in water for several hours and then drained IF you don’t have a high powered blender)
  • 1 C. hot water
  • 2  T. + 1 t. tapioca starch
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4  t. sea salt
  • 1 t. fresh lemon juice
Blend it all and then cook it while stirring until it looks like cheese.


I used the recipe on that page, sort of...I used my flour blend so it was as follows

  • 3 cups GF flour blend
  • 2 1/4 t. active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 t. sea salt
  • 1 t. agave
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil (optional)
This was by far the best pizza we have had! The crust was perfect too!

Hop on over to that blog if you want the details, but it is pretty easy if you have ever cooked before.

Our pizza had all sorts of awesomeness on it!

  • Orange Bell Peppers
  • onion
  • black olives
  • "cheese"
  • spinach
  • mushrooms
  • Sauce (I cheated and used jar pasta sauce)



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Simplifying food

This morning, for breakfast we had pudding.

Yup-pudding.

I do not feel badly about feeding my little vegans pudding because it was Avocado pudding!

Normally, my avocado pudding is avocado, maple syrup, and cacao powder.

This morning, I didn't want to use up all of my maple syrup, so I did an avocado/date pudding.
I soaked some pitted dates in hot water until they were soft. Added the dates, a little soy milk, avocados, and cacao powder to the food processor and blended away. The kids were happy and they got some awesome healthy fats!!


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Last night, we had homemade mac-n-cheeze (not my BEST recipe, but still good) and bbq cauliflower.

The mac-n-cheeze was sweet potato, carrot, onion, and nooch based. (spices and stuff added too)

The Cauliflower was a HUGE hit! I winged the recipe because I KNEW all of the ones I found would be way too darn spicy for us.

Needed:
 Cauliflower, flour of choice ( I used gf blend and corn flour), garlic salt, dried onion, hot sauce, water, BBQ sauce

1-Wash cauliflower

2-Cut into bite sized pieces
3-Make batter for cauliflower

For my cauliflower batter, I used 1/2 Cup of maize corn flour, and 1/2 cup of namaste perfect flour blend. 
I used one cup of water and a little bit of wing sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt and 1/2 teaspoon of dried onion.

I made a huge mess trying to get the batter even and I swear I was running out at the end. I did the best I could and then I put it on a lined baking sheet. The lined baking sheet was not the best idea. I used parchment paper but for some reason it still tried to catch on fire. That's my luck.




4- Bake 15 minutes - 450 degrees then take them out and let them cool off so you could handle them

5-Make BBQ mixture using 1/2 cup BBQ sauce and 2 TBSP hot sauce

Bake for another 10 minutes or so and ENJOY!! (With homemade sour cream)


Sour Cream-
1 cup soaked (4+ hours) cashews
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
dash of salt

Rinse cashews with clean water, add everything to high powered blender
Blend and scrape down as needed-takes less than a minute in Vitamix

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

excited for this to come

I am pretty excited about this item coming later in the week!


I am a big fan of body scrubs and love trying out new ones! I will let you know if it is worth it or not after I am able to try it out!!

Last night, I was able to try out my bath bombs-and they are a MUST. I love them!! The only thing I didn't like was that they have colors in them, I would have preferred no colorings.
 

I am sharing because I like it, if you click on the above link to the bath bombs, it doesn't hurt or help me at all. They smelled amazing, the box was beautiful and I would LOVE to get these as a gift in the future! Anyone you gift these to will enjoy, they are truly wonderful!!


Not a very creative few days...but there was PIE

Just a few of our gluten free and vegan meals to share

The husband was gone, and I am not proud of how easy it is to grab a bag of pasta! Luckily, our local Aldi carries gluten free/organic pasta every now and then, so I stock up when they have it!

 1/21/2016
 Dinner Thursday night was a pasta salad. Not pictured above is the hemp seeds I added.

It is always a favorite, and often I add new stuff or leave something out.

I had seriously planned all of my meals for this week, but fell up short. We had planned: nuggets with mac, black bean potato nachos, pot pies, mushroom stroganoff on potatoes, Mexican rice casserole and veggie burgers with fries.

Sadly, this posting looks naked without all of the pretty meals I had planned. I will try harder next week!

We did end up having french fries with vegan cheese sauce and chili beans (sort of like a chili cheese fries?) and they were amazing!

My husband turned 31 on Sunday. We enjoyed a noodle salad (looked very much like the one above...don't judge!) with some Dr. Praeger's Kale and Quinoa burgers on some awesome vegan gf bread, with some french fries too. My baby brother was visiting and ate some of our vegan meal too, and he didn't die!!


Kale, cooked quinoa (quinoa, water), cooked brown rice (brown rice, water), expeller pressed canola oil, cooked millet (millet, water), onions, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, potato flakes, roasted corn, red peppers, water chestnuts, roasted zucchini, broccoli, rice starch, roasted garlic, parsley, salt, black pepper.

Made in a facility that uses, wheat, soy, milk, eggs, fish.

YES, we ate fries twice that week (more if you count leftovers) and YES we ate noodle salad twice also (more with leftovers). I cannot imagine while I am so damn sluggish this week now!

Instead of CAKE-the hubs asked for pie and they turned out great!

Pumpkin Pie and Cherry Pie
                            

I still need to work on my crusts as they were a bit hard, but the pies were super yummy!! The pumpkin pie was from the recipe over at Minimalist baker. 
The cherry pie, I just googled an easy recipe. It was sugar, cherries and corn starch for the filling.
 

If you want a cheese sauce (like what I mentioned above)  try this one out-it is our favorite. We use it for nachos and potato nachos every single week!

2 cup diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
(cook that)

in high powered blender add
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup nutirtional yeast
1/4 tsp onion powder AND garlic powder
some cayenne
--cooked/drained carrots and potatoes

I also sometimes add in some red pepper flakes, or some canned green chilis
This is NOT my recipe, I found it online and feel badly I cannot give credit to where I found it.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Yummy lunch- Chick-n Salad Sandwhiches!

Today was supposed to be a heat wave here in Wisconsin ( I am joking). To be fair, it is well above 0 finally! Once I got out onto the road, I wanted to turn right back around. I am usually really bad about getting out of the house before noon, but for some reason today, I was out the door by 10 a.m.! It started snowing, the roads near my house were not salted, so they were slick. I was super upset once we got on the road. I thought it would be a miserable trip, but I am very happy I didn't go back home; because I found some great vegan finds today!!!

I made a quick stop to our local food co-op, and I really need to get back there sometime (alone...without kids) because they have really grown their Vegan Section. They now carry Just Mayo! I was so excited to find this in a store. We do not eat stuff that requires "Mayo" often, but it is nice to have it once in awhile!

Check out the difference in Just Mayo and a big brand named Mayonnaise below.

 This is what normal Mayonnaise has in it...
(this is not my picture, I take no credit for it, I found it online)

Below is a picture of Just Mayo 

(this is not my picture, I take no credit for it, I found it online)


Check out the picture below for more information on Just Mayo. It is not PERFECT by any means, but seriously, I can eat some mayo once in awhile and not feel too darn bad about it. 

(this is not my picture, I take no credit for it, I found it online)

After getting what I needed at the Co-Op we went to the dreaded Wal-Mart. Now, I hate shopping and supporting Wal-Mart, I really truly do. The ONLY reason we end up in this damn store is because it is SO hard to go grocery shopping with four kids, all alone. I would have had to stop at 3+ stores to get what I needed today, and that is just 1 or 2 too many right now. Our Wal-Mart is really stepping up their game! They had Silk brand yogurt my kids were eyeing up, but at $1.30 each, I really cannot swing it unless it is a "special" day. We skipped the yogurt today and headed for the gluten free section. They had a bread we have never tried before. 

This bread is gluten free, egg free, dairy free....IT IS GLUTEN FREE AND VEGAN!! I have looked and looked for a vegan gluten free bread with NO LUCK. How did I not know about this stuff? It is expensive. It runs at almost $1/serving, but as a once in awhile thing, I am very happy with it! The taste was yummy and everyone was so happy to have a sandwhich again!

Our local Wal-Mart also had smart dogs and other awesome vegan/gluten free goodies, but we did not buy those today. We had to make sure to buy some yummy produce.

We got home and made sandwhiches!! They were very good and we will be making them again some time. 

Garbanzo beans/Chickpeas as your "meat" 

 My sandwhiches included the following:

  • Dijon mustard
  • just mayo
  • green onions
  • pepper
  • garlic salt
  • hemp seeds 
  • garbanzo beans
Pulse the (rinsed in hot water) garbanzo beans in the food processor, or mash with fork.
Add your "mayo".
Add spices you want, I used garlic salt, and black pepper.
I added in some Dijon Mustard, cut green onions, and hulled hemp seeds too.

This was such a yummy lunch! The kids enjoyed it along with some kiwi fruit!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Easy goulash dinner

When my husband works late, or I know he will not be home that night, it is so hard to stick to the meal plan! Normally, my kids will request smoothies, popcorn, or something equally easy. Tonight, we did not have what we needed for smoothies or pudding, so I opted for an old easy, comfort meal. We had everything in the house, and I knew they would enjoy it!

It may not be the MOST nutritious meal they have ever had, but the three year old ate his beans! This kid always picks beans out of his meals and I watched him shovel them in faster than ever! Everyone had seconds! The tot even had thirds!

My kids have full bellies.
Nobody was mad.
Everyone enjoyed what was in front of them.
It was simple and easy to fix and clean up.
It is also pretty inexpensive to fix.

If I had been planning ahead or feeling more ambitious, I would have tossed in some diced carrots. I normally add frozen corn, but I am out.

Stuck with the basics and it was yummy.


I also added some garlic. It is a pretty forgiving meal, add what you want! All of the above items can be picked up at Aldi too (my tomatoes are from Costco, and my onion is Amazon, but they have organic tomatoes at Aldi, and they carry a lot of herbs/spices and such.)

Poor cows

Cow milk is for the baby cow 
Click above to watch a video that will probably make you cry. If you are a parent, you know you only want to keep your baby safe. This mama cow only wants her baby too. Babies belong with their mama. End of Story.

Excited to get and review!!

I am excited to get this nursing beads necklace. I am often given the opportunity to try out an item for free or at a steep discount in exchange for me saying what I do or do not like about a product. I always tell the truth, and my reviews are unbiased. I am so excited to try out this new necklace!

Talon (now almost 7 months) is very big on pulling on my amber necklace that I wear all of the time. I had a silicone necklace that just wasn't "me" after I tried it out for a bit. This one is more my taste I think! I am anxious to get it and see what I think of it and how much the baby boy loves it too!

This is a stock photo from Amazon, it is not my picture of the item and I hold no claim to it. Feel free to click to follow to Amazon page.

 
**I review these items for free/cheap but I do not get paid for sharing them with you. Feel free to click on the link and check it out, it does not help or hurt me if you do.

Vegan, Gluten free waffles

I am actually super worried about sharing the fact that my kids are eating a Vegan Gluten Free diet right now. I have heard a lot of horror stories about people getting in trouble for feeding their children a well balanced, cruelty free diet. It seems insanely absurd to me that someone would think my kids were missing out on vital nutrients when I make most of their meals from scratch, and I read EVERY label...but a parent who goes through a drive through gets a gold star??!!  There is something wrong with this world (lots..there is a lot wrong, but let us remain positive!)

(this images are not my property, I found them on the internet and do not take credit for it)

Now, I am not a professional food blogger. I am not a professional anything for that matter. If you found yourself here, be kind and go with the flow, or simply leave please. I am not up for debating any of my food, parenting, or lifestyle choices on my blog page. I will not have professional looking photos, and there will probably be some steps I miss. I am sorry!! I am a mama with four crazy kiddos, one of which is sitting in my lap, trying to suck his thump and nurse at the same time while I type. 

Here.Goes.

Today, the oldest spawn requested that I make waffles! I didn't want to use my (overpriced) Namaste flour blend, so I whipped up something myself. Living so far away (an hour+) from Costco makes buying the gluten free necessities a bit of a challenge. Locally, the flour we buy is over $4/lb and I just cannot swing that! Like every good (or decent in my case) mama, I hopped on my Pinterest App looking for a waffle recipe that I could make with things I had in the house. I clearly typed in VEGAN rice flour waffles. I gave up after several clicks led me to recipes that INCLUDED EGGS. 
(this images are not my property, I found them on the internet and do not take credit for it)

I decided to look at the recipes, exit the tabs, and experiment.  I am happy to say-they tasted good!! (Go me!) I think they had almost like a wheat bread taste, but not? I suck at describing flavors, I just know when it is good and when it gets pitched into the trash can.


I have a Vitamix with the dry container, so grinding up brown rice and chia wasn't too much work, be safe if you don't have one!
 
my totally unprofessional picture of my waffles, had to show what 3/4 cup of batter equals

My recipe made about 5 waffles in THIS waffle iron.  I love this waffle iron, I wish I could get it in a double maker. It was a great price, and it is the ceramic coated versus the nasty teflon. Go ahead, click on the link, I don't get anything from them if you do. I am only linking you to it because I truly like it. I will ALWAYS tell you if it is an affiliate link. 

Vegan, Gluten Free Waffles
Makes: 5 waffles

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups ground brown rice flour (measure after you grind it)
  • ~about~ 1/3 cup of chia seeds- (grind after measuring)
  • 2 tbsp sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
  • 4 tsp baking powder (I make my own using this recipe)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax, 6 tbsp water-mix and set in fridge while preparing the rest)
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 2 cup non-dairy milk (I used organic soy) 
  • mix ins if you choose*

  1. Start by mixing up your flax egg and putting it in the fridge to set up while you work.
  2. Grind your brown rice into flour, measure it after it is ground up (be safe, I used the dry container of my Vitamix) Place in a mixing bowl.
  3. Measure 1/3 cup chia seeds and then grind. 
  4. Whisk together, rice flour, ground chia, sugar, baking powder, salt,  and cinnamon.
  5. Add oil, flax egg, and milk of choice and then mix together.
  6. Plug in waffle iron and let it warm up, letting your batter set for about 5 minutes (or more)
  7. Using a measuring cup, place about 3/4 cup batter in waffle iron each time. Careful not to overfill
  8. Enjoy with your favorite toppings. I used Vegan butter and real maple syrup
 
Yes, that is way too much vegan butter... No, I do not care

I feel the need to RE-introduce myself.

A lot has changed since I posted last. I am not even sure what my last post was about!

I am going to do a re-do on my intro and give an update on what you can expect here on A Crazier Simple Life.

I had planned on logging in this morning, deleting my "blog" and starting over, but then I realized how quickly all of my memories would just be...GONE. That made me sad. My old posts are not a reflection of who I am now, but they helped get me to where I stand today. I will open up a bit more each time I post, probably over share a bit (as expected) and show you glimpses into the life we live now. We no longer have the farm life. I am no longer pregnant. We have had to give up a lot in the organic shopping (damn bank account doesn't understand  my idea of healthy). We are still trying to find our footing. I am discovering who I am as an adult, and my kids are growing up way too quickly. I also am suffering with depression and will probably share a bit on that as well. 

We have lived in our new home for a little over a year now. My husband took a new job about 3-4 hours from our old place , we had no choice but to move. 2015 was the worst year of my life. I will not go into detail on why it was so bad...but it was, it really really was. We love our "home" (that we rent...that we pay way too much to live in and not own) but I am not happy here. I do not see myself growing old here, but I am trying to make the most of it. The one bright thing in 2015 was the birth of our 4th child. IT'S A BOY!! He was a home birth, surprise breech! I rocked the birth in only 2 hours from water breaking! I am quite proud of myself and my body. Zariah has a parakeet, Skittles died... We kept Cash (dog) when we moved but had to give up everyone else. I have a discus fish tank, haven't had the best luck keeping them alive for various reasons, usually involving water exchanges (stuck to hose-oops). We have 3 geckos, they are named Tiny, Dixie, and Lizzie.  I started reviewing items on Amazon.com and I am starting to get some fun things to review. I plan to share my reviews of my favorite items with you, so you can decide if they would make your life more fun.
 

(this images are not my property, I found them on the internet and do not take credit for it)

I have been baking gluten free for some time now, but this summer our family decided we needed to finally take the plunge and go vegan. We have had a few slip ups along the way, especially around the holiday time. I am on my way to discovering alternatives that we enjoy eating that are both gluten free and vegan. This means I am cooking and baking without eggs milk and any kind of animal product as well as without gluten. 

 
(this images are not my property, I found them on the internet and do not take credit for it)

My biggest hangup in my adventure is the fact that we live about an hour away from a Costco. I now have four children, I don't know about you, but grocery shopping with 4 children is a lot of work. Who wants to get five or six people ready to go grocery shopping in the middle of winter in Wisconsin? I know I sure don't. Not to mention, the van is full of people, where do I put the damn food?

I would love to take things a step further and make things extra healthy. My goal is to help in making my family happy and be as healthy as I can along the way. We like treats, we are not ready to give up our sugar and chocolate chips, but this is so much better than how we were eating 5 years ago.

We went vegan because of health issues. We ALL react to dairy and eggs! Some of my family members react to most meats too! We tried all if the gut healing protocols with no luck. We finally gave in because we were sick of wanting food we couldn't have!


 (this images are not my property, I found them on the internet and do not take credit for it)



With switching to vegan, we quickly saw why many go vegan. I swore I'd never be "that vegan" who was open about disgust for meat, animal products and more... but it is slowly happening. I am disgusted by the dairy and meat industry, and I hope more people's eyes are opened to our impact on the planet and these souls we harm daily .

(this images are not my property, I found them on the internet and do not take credit for it)
According to the veteran vegans, my family is "plant based" because we have a fish tank, and have not cut out all animal activity. I really don't care about labels, I am Tamika...mother of 4...doing the best I can to feed my family without breaking the bank. I go back and forth between "crunchy" and "conventional". I am probably in the middle of that spectrum (but again LABELS-TO hell with them!!) 

 
 (this images are not my property, I found them on the internet and do not take credit for it)
I am a co-sleeping* mama who would LOVE for her 3 yr old to stay out of the bed, but would never turn him away. 

I am the baby wearing mama who wishes her 4th born (who is about 7months) would just be content on the floor because her back hurts. 

I am the homeschooling mama who wishes her 8 and 9 yr old cared about more than Minecraft. 

 
(this images are not my property, I found them on the internet and do not take credit for it)

There is so much more to ME and my family that I am sure I will share along the way. Something I want to work on is how random my posts will be. To be honest, I am a random thoughts person. I am ALL over the place in conversation. I quickly become bored and move on, or my head is just so darn full of stuff I have to get it out before I forget.

I hope you enjoy your time here.

Please do not ask for nutritional information on recipes I share, I don't have it..I won't find it. Just enjoy your food!