Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Easy Extra Veggies!

We hate to waste food, especially in the dark winter when it can seem like gorgeous vibrant vegetables are previous jewels.  We are also always on the lookout for ways to sneak a few extra veggies into our meals – both kids and adult alike! Often, lunchtime veggies get lost in the sandwich shuffle, and at home our kids are always leaving veggies on their plate or the family just doesn’t quite finish all the peas. Our perfect solution simply folds the two together!

By taking the extra veggies at the end of dinner and tossing them into our sandwiches for the next day’s lunch, we’ve added veggies and reduced waste in one delicious step! Here’s what we did.

Tuna with Peas

Simply mix leftover peas (chopped up green beans or edamame would work too) into your tuna salad (great source of omega-3’s and protein and low in fat and calories!)

Chicken Salad with Avocado

To cut down on the mayo in your chicken salad sandwich, mash in a leftover quarter of an avocado. This is a great way to use up an avocado that might not be quite so green anymore while adding more potassium than bananas!

Egg Salad with Broccoli

Use up the stalks of broccoli by cutting off the rough, fibrous exterior on all sides until you’re left with just the tender interior. Dice it or grate it, raw or cooked, to add crunch and vitamins to a delicious egg salad sandwich. Broccoli stems actually have the same nutrition as their darker green tops, so don’t throw them away. Alternatively, just toss in some chopped leftover broccoli florets – even the ones from Chinese takeout work by adding a hint of sesame or teriyaki flavor to your sandwich!

Curry Chickpea Salad with Carrots

Chickpea salad for vegetarians is a great sandwich filling and packed with kid-friendly nutrition! Curry powder and raisins make it feel exotic but approachable. We love boosting the beta-carotene and vitamin A with some steamed carrots the kids didn’t finish at dinner or some grated raw carrots (baby carrots work for this!) for a crisp bite!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Winter Day Play

Here in California, we’re really hoping for a wet and rainy winter. After last year’s severe drought, many of us have been doing rain dances in hopes of major downpours. As much as a wet winter is needed, this definitely puts a damper on playtime, recess and winter fun, and many of you have the added challenge of SNOW! 

Wet, Wet, Wet! 
For this week’s Peas Perspective we decided to come up with kid friendly activities to do during this cold and grey indoor season.  We all know that reading, craft making and baking can be a fantastic way to pass the time indoors. But some days your kids need activities that involve exercise -physical time that exhausts your little ones and allows you to have a cozy rainy night that ends with sleepy kids and an hour of Netflix. 

Here’s a list of indoor day musts that will burn calories, engage imaginations, and make for an exciting day of fun.

DANCE PARTY: clear some space, turn down the lights, and teach them some of your favorite moves. Then just DANCE!  Make them question if they can they do the Sid shuffle?!

BUILD A FORT: Watch your child’s creativity run amok as you give them sheets, blankets, and decorations and encourage them to make the fort of their dreams. Just make sure to remove any breakables or sharp objects.

INDOOR OBSTACLE COURSE: Similar to the fort, clear some space, provide them with cardboard, crafts, pillows, and blankets, and construct an obstacle course that will leave your little ones feeling like they just climbed the Aggro-Crag.

BRAVE THE RAIN or SNOW: A walk in the rain or snow can be dirty, muddy and cold but SO much fun.  If you have the appropriate clothing, gear up, get some fresh air and encourage puddle jumping and snow angels. We assure you that it will be an afternoon to remember! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Year, New Us!

Last week we checked in with ourselves to see how well we had accomplished our New Years resolutions. And overall we did a great job! This week we are sharing some of our goals for 2015; small resolutions just to remind us to keep up the good work!

Be more energy efficient at home, and learn more about how to conserve energy around the house.  (stay tuned for our upcoming blog post on our energy tips and tricks!)

Give experiential gifts for birthdays and holidays instead of “stuff.”

Implement a daily 10minute meditation practice, even if it has to be under my desk at work.

Thanks to Serial, I want to explore more podcasts for my daily commute. Hearing creative people do whatever they do best is and invigorating way to start the day!

Stand up straighter and improve my posture every day.

Quit my multi-vitamin and make sure I get all my vitamins and minerals from real fruits and vegetables.

Spend an hour each week being more introspective and taking the time to check in with myself.

Tackle 3 big recipes I’ve bookmarked that have been intimidating me for ages. (Another stay tuned! Accountability, woo!)

Finish 5 books this year, including The Power Broker by Robert Caro, which I’ve been “in the middle of” for all of 2014!

There, we’ve put that out into the universe, said it aloud, and now it’s up to us to make these easy small changes every day. We are wishing ourselves luck, and we’d love to hear what your “Keep up the Good Work” resolutions are!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Checking Up on our Resolutions!

We are saying goodbye to 2014, so it’s a perfect time to check in on our “Keep up the Good Work” resolutions from 12 months ago. (Where did the year go?!) We made these resolutions as a way to set some goals without putting so much pressure on ourselves that we feel like we’ve failed. Instead, these were small changes we were already trying to implement in our lives and we were simply aiming to continue these improvements.

As we said last year, this is the perfect way to start out the New Year with a pat on the back!

So…how did we do? Well, we certainly did better than our normal resolutions, and we still have plenty to work on in the coming year. Hey, no one is perfect! Our only goal is “Better than last year.”

Cut my caffeine intake in half by brewing 1/2 regular and 1/2 decaf in one pot.
95%! This was easier than expected (after the initial caffeine withdrawal) and felt so good on the body!

Always choose stairs over elevators and escalators.
98%! Another success, this simple daily choice quickly turned into a healthy habit!

Drink two big camelbak's of water per day.
75%! Keeping that waterbottle handy led to a huge improvement from last year and helped kick that 3pm slump.

Listen to NPR on my commute. Stay informed and enjoy the great stories.
60% There’s always more to be done, but  we’re counting this as a success because of all the interesting driveway moments we had and we’ve even updated this one for the coming year!

Cut out technology an hour before bed (that means no Office reruns while I drift off to sleep).
0% With a new baby, this one got neglected and turned out to be harder than we thought but we have a whole new year ahead of us to keep trying

Take one day per month to focus on myself. Have a ME party a la the muppets movie!
0% Maybe we need to adjust the loftiness of this goal and try for a Treat Yo Self day once a year!

Bring a healthy lunch to work at least 3 days per week.
100% This was one goal we met and exceeded and we are so proud to have accomplished!!

Keep monthly and weekly to do lists on my phone so that I can stay on top of my housework, dinners and errands.
90% This one took some simple technology fiddling to sync everything up but it has made a big difference in my mental focus. 

Take 10 minutes every night before bed to tidy up (instead of leaving 5 days of minor mess for the weekend).
75% Sunday cleanups have streamlined when we have been disciplined all week! But we are aiming to get this up to 100% this year!

Overall we are proud of ourselves for setting attainable, realistic goals for ourselves this year and mostly achieving them too! So how did you all do in 2014?

Stay tuned for next week where we’ll reveal our 2015 “Keep up the Good Work” resolutions!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December Reci-Pea: Peppermint Mug Brownie!


The holidays are here, the days are dark and temperatures have dropped. Some nights, we all need a little bite of something special without a big mess or a lot of work. That’s where our mug brownie comes in - its hot and fudgy with just the right festive peppermint flavor! Best of all, you already have all of the ingredients in your kitchen and since everything gets mixed in one mug, the cleanup is quicker than the New Years ball drop!

This recipe is gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, and low-fat, with an option to make it vegan and dairy-free as well. What more could you ask for! You can certainly substitute different sweeteners, and yogurt and applesauce work equally well, though we like the little protein kick of the Greek yogurt. The texture is dense and chocolaty in the center with a firmer cake-like exterior – best of both brownie worlds! So treat yourself – without the guilt!

2 tbsp crushed peppermint candy or candy canes
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp peppermint extract
1 pinch of salt
1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey or agave nectar)
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (we love Guittard)
¼ cup fat-free Greek yogurt or applesauce

  1. Mix 1 tbsp of crushed peppermint and all other ingredients in a mug and blend with a spoon until uniform. Mixture will be quite thick.
  2. Microwave on power level 8 for 1minute and 20 seconds.
  3. Peek inside – depending on your microwave and desired “doneness” (we love the fudgy and almost mousse-like texture of 1 minute and 40 seconds) and continue to microwave in 20 second bursts until you’ve reach that level.
  4. Brownie will be very hot, so let it sit for a moment while you sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp of crushed peppermint candy on top.
  5. Indulge!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Growing Pains

This week we’re talking about growing pains (no, not the early 90s sitcom that launched Leonardo Dicaprio’s career) but the pains and aches that your little ones getting during those miraculous growth spurts.

Growing pains plague most children between the ages of two and twelve with a peak in three to five year olds and eight to twelve year olds.  These pains are possibly attributed to rapid bone growth and tend to creep up on kids in the evening and at night after a long and active day of running, jumping and playing. It’s important to note that growing pains usually do not cause swelling, rashes, limping or fatigue; if your child is experiencing any of the above, contact your doctor.

No parent wants to stand by and shrug when there kids are in pain so we’re here to answer the question: What can be done about growing pains?

Although they’re a part of life, there are many things that you can do to alleviate some of the pain.

Rub-a-dub-dub! After a long day of play, get your kids into the bath.  A nice Epsom salt bath can help with pains before they even starts. 

Let the sunshine in! Studies have shown that there is a link between children with low levels of vitamin D and those who experience growing pains. The thought behind this is that not enough vitamin D can lead to low bone density.  So encourage your little ones to go outside and play with their legs and arms exposed which can be difficult this time of year so seize the day when the sun is out and encourage an hour of sunscreen-less pay.

Spa day! A simple massage followed by heating pads and stretching can help sooth your child once the growing pains have set in.

The next time your child complains about aches and pains, sing them the Growing Pains theme song, draw the bath and let them know that this is a sign that they’re just growing big and strong.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Food of the Month - Leeks

Holiday season has officially begun. Thanksgiving is over, we’re all still feeling full, a little tired but of course, ready for more. More cheer, more merry, more carols and most importantly more food. This month we decided to celebrate a winter vegetable that may go unnoticed in many dishes and perhaps, you’ve never even heard of it, but this veggie can be your secret weapon when it comes to turning any dish into a savory, warming and healthy holiday meal.

This December we’re chatting it up about the green, long and ridiculously delicious LEEK! A leek looks a lot like a giant green onion, in fact it’s in the onion and garlic family. Unlike it’s potent cousins, the leek has a more mild flavor and when cooked until tender, leeks can add a savory, sweet flavor that’s unlike any other.

Why eat a leek?
Studies show that leeks are anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. They also contain a large amount of allicin. When digested allicin, produces sulfenic acid which helps your body neutralize free radicals.  In layman’s terms: leeks can help your body fight off viruses, disease and even the common cold.

How to eat a leek?
Leeks are easy to prepare BUT it’s very important that you thoroughly clean a leek as they tend to have hidden dirt inside the edible part.  To clean and prep simply cut off green tops of leeks and remove outer tough leaves (these outer leaves are a bit woodier then the white parts of the leek but they make an exceptional vegetable broth. Either make your broth with the meal your preparing or put the leek tops in a ziplock bag and freeze for later use).  Cut the white/light green part of the leek into thin rounds, fill a bowl with water and add leek rounds to the water. Use your hands to clean out any dirt hiding inside the leek.  Strain leeks and use as you would onions and garlic. 

When should you eat a leek?
Like we mentioned, leeks are a wonderful replacement for any recipe that calls for a sautéed onion.  Trust us, the minute the aroma of the leeks cooking in olive oil hits the air, everyone in your family will wonder "what's for dinner?"
Here are a few simple ways to incorporate leeks into your diet:
Leek and potato soup
Fried leeks (instead of fried onions)
Caramelized leeks
Quiche with leeks
Creamy leek and mushroom pasta sauce