Rib Rub Spices


Recycled glass container stores delicious rub

One of my good friends shared a country-style pork rib recipe a couple of years ago. The meat ends up really tender and delicious, mostly because you cook it so long, but also because you put a rub on it at the beginning. The ribs are so good, you will want to slap your mama! (I don’t know where that phrase comes from but it always makes me laugh.)

I use this rub on every single bit of pork that makes its way through my kitchen. We had a cookout recently and my husband used all of the rub on a couple of Boston Butts that he grilled for hours. The meat was ridiculously good, and my rub was all gone. So I had to make some more today, and realized you guys might be interested in having this on hand.  In the picture to the right I halved the recipe and used a recycled jelly jar to store the rub. I love how the mixture layered in the jar, and its so easy to shake out this way, just like the fancy spice bottles! I’m a nerd, I know.

4 tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tbsp cayenne
2 1/2 tbsp black pepper
3 tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tbsp onion powder
3 tbsp salt
1 1/4 tbsp oregano
1 1/4 tbsp thyme

Enjoy! Oh, and if you have kids, you might want to reduce the cayenne, it is quite spicy.



duped berries

Duped by strawberries

Dangit! I found these frozen strawberries at the local grocery store and was excited. For some reason washing berries and chopping them up feels like a lot of work. I know, it really takes less than a minute. But you can just scoop these out and serve in oatmeal, yogurt, or on their own. We decided that afternoon snack today was going to be strawberries with greek yogurt and then added some honey on top. Boy were the kids and I happy campers! It tasted like eating ice cream, and it was healthy, or so I thought. Turns out these strawberries have 35 g of sugar per serving. 35 grams! The American Heart Association recommends, “Children ages 4-8 with a daily caloric intake of 1,600 calories should consume no more than 130 calories, or about 3 teaspoons a day. (In order to accommodate all the nutritional requirements for this age group, there are fewer calories available for discretionary allowances like sugar.)” 3 teaspoons comes out to about 15 grams of sugar. So my oldest was having more than double her daily recommended intake of sugar at snack today. I’m so ashamed. I was duped, because I didn’t read the label. Rookie mistake.

Here is the part where I give a bunch of excuses: See, I went shopping with both kids, and the littlest is completely hit or miss on shopping trips. Sometimes she loses it and I have to manage pushing a cart, and carrying a 20 pounder. The day I shopped for these berries was one of those days. Lots of screaming, and the berry purchase was at the end of the trip when I was just thankful to have almost made it out alive. Anyway, lesson learned, READ LABELS!!!

Side note: The organic greek yogurt is divine though, as is the local-ish honey. Just have to wash and chop my own berries next time, or buy the frozen ones without sugar.

Composting – back at it

I recently started composting again. I think it had been at least a year and a half since I last composted. I’ve been meaning to get back into it, feeling guilty about my laziness, and finally bit the bullet last week. You see, I had a baby a little over  a year ago, and no matter what you think you know about kids, and raising kids, and making time, nothing prepares you for how busy you are when you have multiple children. It is like the work triples overnight. So, I decided to feed and bathe my kids, and hug them instead of composting.

It really doesn’t take that long to manage composting, you will need to devote time to where the compost will be dumped, but managing it doesn’t take long at all. Here is a link to the Composting 101 website I found that helped me set up our composting system. My version of composting is keeping the scraps from cutting up fruit and vegetables, as well as egg shells, coffee grounds, banana peels and apple cores, and putting them in a container under the sink. When the container fills up, I take the container to a spot in our backyard that we sectioned off using chicken wire, and dump the scraps out. I take some organic materials from our yard, mostly leaves that are decomposing, and put those on top of the rotting food, mix it up a bit, and I’m making compost! It really is pretty cool for several reasons:

  1. You aren’t filling up the local landfill with your food scraps. A lot of stuff, even food, won’t disintegrate in landfills because the trash and dirt are packed so tightly that air can’t get in to help things break down. 
  2. You aren’t filling up your trash can with food, so you are saving money by using less trash bags.
  3. You don’t have to buy gardening soil, you can make your own super organic brand and save more money.
  4. You can teach your kids about conservation and help them think about the consequences of their actions.

I was intimidated, but have been really pleased with how simple composting is. I haven’t taken the next step to use the organic soil in a garden, but I’m not a gardener, at least not yet.

Easy Red Lentil Dhal recipe

I made this recipe tonight, from Pinch of Yum’s website, and it was awesome. This is one of the coolest blogs I’ve seen, they have fantastic photos, and a cool section called “Making Money from a Food Blog” that walks you through the steps of monetizing your blog, as well as offering great insider information. If you are looking for whole food recipes, or potentially starting your own blog, check them out.

I love learning new recipes, but Indian always surprises me at how simple it is. Okay, honestly I’ve made Indian food like three times, and I always choose recipes with a short ingredient list, so maybe I’m judging this food without really knowing. But anyway, the husband and I loved the Dhal recipe. The kids are going to have to have it about 9 more times before they fully adopt it. There is this saying about kids having to try things 10 times before they like it, and I’m a full believer in that theory, at least with my youngest. I’ve had to offer food to her over and over, and it seems like she has to learn the flavor and texture before she will accept the food. She even spit out the icing on her cake. She quickly picked up more and tried again, never looking back, but at first she was uninterested.

Anyway, if you like Indian food, have some time this weekend, and can find red lentils at the store, try this recipe. Happy Friday ya’ll!

Stinkin Kids’ Menu

I’m stepping up to my soap box, so everyone back up, I’m going to get preachy here. Every time we go out to eat with the kids, I have to share my food with my them. There are many reasons I do this:

  1. I don’t want any child to eat the crap they sell on the kids’ menu. Hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, pasta with butter are not food options at my house, at least not without some vegetables or fruit to go with it. My suggestion to restaurant owners, sell smaller portions of adult meals to make up the kids’ menu. Why restaurants don’t already do this is beyond me.
  2. Going out to eat for my family is a special occasion. It is expensive and the food is usually swimming in butter so we don’t do it that often. When we do decide to go out, I want my kids to try the food we love, like sushi, italian, and indian, and all the other different food that my husband and I think is so delicious. They aren’t always going to like it the first time, or the third time, but I want them to try it.
  3. I want my own plate of food. Yes, most of the time I try to cut the meal in half and bring some home for tomorrow, but still! Kids should have the option to get a smaller version of my meal, and not pay adult prices, because I guarantee they cannot eat that much – yet.

How else are our kids going to learn to love the things we love if they only eat ‘kid approved’ items. And who decided to let kids decide. Kids would only eat white bread, pasta and hot dogs if it were up to them. It is our job to broaden their palette. Okay, that is enough grandstanding for today, I’ll save the ‘kid approved’ food rant for another day.

Happy day, ya’ll!

Nutrition 101

healthy walking

Get outside for a healthier you.

I have so many questions about food, and most of the time I like to go out and research and find the answer myself, but sometimes it is nice to talk to an expert to clear up some things. I had the great pleasure of interviewing Betsy Templeton, a Health and Nutrition Coach in Carrboro, NC. I threw some random questions at her and she did a bang up job of following my train of thought. Be sure to check out her diet/exercise tips below for busy moms and dads.  Here is our interview:

Question: It completely overwhelms me to think about whether or not we are getting all the vitamins and minerals we need in our diet. Is there some simple chart, or system that you use to advise your clients? We take vitamins to supplement what we don’t get from food, but still, I’m uncertain.

Answer: Whether to supplement or not is a controversial issue indeed. I believe that a good diet is the best path to optimum health. There are no simple charts or calculations to determine the need for vitamins and supplements. But there are factors other than one’s diet to look at when considering the use of supplements. Some of these factors are: age, medical history, family history, alcohol consumption, exposure to chemicals and toxins, stress level, and if the individual is or was a smoker. There are some specific groups of people who can benefit from vitamins such as women of child-bearing age, people over 50, people on a vegan diet, and folks recovering from an illness or operation.  I strongly believe that most healthy adults can satisfy their vitamin and mineral needs by eating well and I mean really well every day! When I am working with a client, I look at the whole picture and also have them consult with their doctor. Another key point is the quality of the vitamins and supplements. There are so many of these products on the market with varying degrees of credibility. I am very discerning as to which brands I use myself and recommend to my clients.

happy family

Betsy and her family

Question: I personally feel like whole foods are the only thing we can trust when it comes to food, is that too simple? I know there a ton of diet plans out there, but I feel like I’ve been able to maintain my ideal weight (after having two kids) by just eating healthy foods and exercising.

Answer: I think you have the right approach. Diets don’t do anything but sell diet books! Eating whole foods and exercising on a daily basis is the key. Of course we all need a splurge on occasion but it is the solid day-to-day habit of eating consciously that is the path to a healthy life.  In addition to whole foods there are other facets of our lives that play an important role in being truly nourished. These aspects are healthy relationships, our work, physical activity and spirituality. In my experience when we work to achieve balance in these areas of our lives we feel more satisfied and are less likely to fill the voids with unhealthy foods.

yoga teach

Find balance in your life.

Question: My dad had open heart surgery and heart disease runs rampant on that side of the family. My question is, do genetics really matter that much when it comes to things like heart disease, and other medical conditions? I would like to believe I can control my future with diet and exercise, but do we have any control?

Answer: Great question. Let me speak from experience. My father had vascular disease, very high cholesterol, and a massive stroke at 54. Through extensive rehabilitation and a super healthy diet he lived to be 85. I am the youngest of his 3 daughters. My sisters both have high cholesterol and take medication for it. I have been eating mostly a plant-based diet and a gluten-free diet for many years. I have been practicing yoga almost daily for 15 years. I am 55 and my doctor proclaims that I have the best cholesterol panel he has ever seen. Not trying to brag here, I am just saying that I do think it is possible to decrease your chance of some genetically disposed diseases. Again, diet, exercise, and stress management must be a part of one’s lifestyle for this to be possible. That being said, you can not escape genetics.

Question: On a lighter note, any diet/exercise advice for busy moms and dads?

Answer: I think you have a great way to exercise by including your kids. Why not make exercise fun for the whole family? There are many ways to fit exercise into a busy schedule.

  • First, turn off the TV and see how much more time you have!
  • Cordless jump ropes are cool and handy for the busy traveler.
  • There are many great yoga and Pilates DVDs for home use.
  • Using a pedometer to count your steps is fun; set a daily goal for a certain amount of steps and find a way to meet it!
  • Having a dog is also a great way to stay in shape and wonderful for families.
  • Taking the steps versus elevators is productive as is parking on the far side of the parking lot.

I know that cooking for busy families can be a struggle. Finding a good resource for quick, healthy recipes is important. Also using slow cookers can be useful. I like to teach my clients how to cook once and end up with 2 or 3 meals. Meal prep and planning is vital. I recommend getting the whole family involved in the meal planning, shopping, cooking, and cleaning! I strongly encourage families to eat together at the table as often as possible and avoid eating in the car!

Question: What do you personally do to stay healthy?

Answer: I have a dedicated yoga practice and teach two classes a week. I also take a Pilates class and have a weight routine that I do at home. I walk my dog daily and my husband and I hike with him on the weekends. I am lucky because I adore cooking! Cooking and eating healthy food brings me joy as does sharing my passion with others. We have a nice vegetable garden at home which provides me with lots of amazing ingredients and inspiration! I also meditate to keep my stress level down. It took me a while to discover this, but yes it works.


Glasshalfull in Carrboro

Betsy also owns a small business in Carrboro, Glasshalfull. It is an awesome little restaurant, wine bar and wine shop. I’ve heard wonderful things about the place and asked Betsy to tell me a little more about it. “Since I spend most of my time as a Health and Nutrition Coach, I am only at the restaurant on the weekends. When I am there it brings me much pleasure to see people having fun, relaxing and sharing great wine and delicious food at Glasshalfull.   It is a lovely spot for a fun date or a perfect place for groups to gather. We are fortunate to be a few blocks from the Carrboro Farmer’s Market where we try to support the local farmers and bring the best products available to the table. There is something for everyone and all are welcome!” Check out her restaurant if you live in Carrboro or are planning to visit the area soon.

Here is Betsy Templeton’s contact information:

Certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach
Member of the American Association of Drugless Practicioners
Certified YA YogaWorks Instructor

And cheers to healthy living!

Sleep, beautiful sleep

If it were up to me, I would run everyday. I take that back, it is completely up to me, and I don’t run every day, but I wish I did. I wish I woke up with the sun and went running every morning before the chaos started. I always love running first thing, and having that feeling of accomplishment all day. No matter what happens, no matter what breaks down or blows up, at least I accomplished one thing I set out to do. Maybe I’ll actually do it when in a couple of years, when my kids are older. For now, I cherish my sleep too much. I feel like I’m constantly saving up on sleep in case someone gets sick. I know you can’t actually save it, but I feel like while the kids are little I need to take advantage of those nights (and early mornings) when I can sleep, because you can bet your little tushie, they will be sick again in no time, and then no one will be sleeping.

I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping through the night, and was never sure what the problem was; stress, hormones, etc. I tried several different sleep aids, like Tylenol PM, and Ambien. I think the side effects of those are almost worse than being awake in the middle of the night. Ambien gave me panic attacks, literally. And Tylenol PM was my go to for a while, but it really made me feel like I had a hangover the next day if I didn’t get at least 10 hours of sleep, seriously. A couple of years ago, while I was pregnant, I read this sleep book by Deepak Chopra, called Restful Sleep: The Complete Mind/Body Program. It pretty much cured me of sleep problems. It has all this crazy stuff in the beginning, that makes you think about existential scariness. The first chapter is titled Sleep and the Quantum Mechanical Body, enough said. But, if you can get through that part, it has all this awesome information about how your body works, and how it is tied to the sun and moon and energy. I loved the book, and sleep like a baby now. Check it out if you are having sleep problems and don’t want to take drugs.

Getting good sleep is part of living healthy. It is something you have to work on if you want to be good at it.