Wednesday, February 27, 2013

BBQ Chicken Panini

 Remember the flatbread I made the other night? Well I have a whole bunch in my freezer so I took one out tonight and defrosted it to have for dinner. I actually made paninis last night too but it was so good I had to make another! My husband was working so it was great to make one again. Ohh man talk about delicious. 

I am a big fan of onion.....anyone who knows me knows that. I just love it and could it eat it practically every meal. 

I've also become a fan of fresh tomato. 

 But I also really like barbeque sauce. I have to have it on my burgers and I like it on chicken a lot. 

This is just a winner. 

BBQ Chicken Panini

1 chicken breast seasoned with salt and pepper
1-2 full rings of onion
bbq sauce
1 roma tomato
mozzarella cheese
cheddar cheese
2 flatbreads
olive oil
(serves 2 people)


1. Prepare Flatbread (RECIPE) or take out of freezer if you already made a batch like I did.
2. Heat a skillet with about 1/2 - 1 tbsp olive oil and chop onion. Throw onion in pan and stir frequently. 3. Cook till translucent and turn off heat.
4. Grill chicken on George Foreman or outside grill.
5. Cut into strips and toss in bbq sauce.
6. Take your panini bread and cut in half.
7. Put on pan or panini press and put mozzarella cheese on (1/2 ounce).
8. Put onions on top, tomato next, half of the bbq chicken, cheddar cheese (1/2 ounce) and lastly the other flatbread half.
9. Layering the cheese on top and bottom helps the flatbread stick to everything and not fall apart when you flip and eat it.
10. Turn pan on medium and allow cheese to melt on the bottom without the flatbread burning.
11. Flip when ready and slightly browned. Cook on the other side till cheese is melted and bread slightly browned as well.
12. I ate fresh strawberries and had roasted vegetables which was a perfect pairing (RECIPE for roasted vegetables).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dealing with Picky Eaters


    Eating healthy is a great concept, right? Well, it may not be for some kids. As a parent, what do you do when feeding fruits and vegetables doesn’t cut it for your child? What do you feed them instead? How do you change them? This is a tough challenge to face as a parent. Hopefully we can give some tips to keep your kiddos healthy!

    Every child is different so take what you can from these suggestions and leave what won’t work. First, I suggest repetition. If you introduce a food 6 times you’ll start to tolerate or like it. So don’t just stop giving your child healthy foods. Fruits and vegetables are the most important thing to continue putting on your child’s plate. Eventually, they’ll tolerate some. Obviously if the child cannot stand certain fruits and vegetables but eats most others then don’t force. But if your child will not ANY then continue trying. Put what you made on their plate and as they continue growing and get old enough to understand, tell them to eat one bite each time. One bite will not kill them and they can get used to the taste. Think about people who try cigarettes or alcohol the first time. Do most people actually like the taste of either? Usually not. Once they continue trying, they not only tolerate but grow to like either one. So try this with your child except get them to like healthy things for their body. 

    Secondly, keep junk out of the house. This is huge for your children. If it’s not in the house, they can’t get it out and ask for it. Also, you won’t be tempted to give in or go to the “easy” route when they get hungry. This is mainly referring to processed food. Things such as packaged muffins, pop tarts, pre-made dinners/lunchables, cookies, chips, etc. All these things are high refined carbs, high fat, sodium, and loaded with added sugar. All of these things spike insulin and have little to no nutritional value. Instead, turn to fresh fruits, greek yogurt (or lower sugar regular without HFCS), raisins, homemade muffins, nuts, cottage cheese, etc. The more fresh foods your kids eat, the more they will ENJOY eating them. 

    Does this mean your children cannot ever eat a sweet treat? Of course not. Let’s just change the quality of the “sweet”. Should we ever give our children processed, fatty, high sugar sweets? No, never. What is the solution? Homemade sweets. Want a chocolate chip cookie? Make it together instead of buying it in a box or package. Is it still going to have sugar and fat? Yes. Will it have chemicals, trans fat, and high fructose corn syrup? NOPE. You are sparing your children the things that literally cause a majority of our health problems and that's the point. Their bodies will be able to metabolize the food because it’s not processed and has real ingredients. Making it together will also give them the opportunity to learn new skills of helping you bake. Measuring, stirring, pouring all help children with fine motor skills and education. Plus they have fun. You can’t replace a tradition of baking cookies together, they will always remember it. 

    If you child still doesn’t like eating vegetables, even with all your efforts, when all else fails, hide them. But hide them in their food! If you make spaghetti or lasagna, add minced vegetables such as onion, mushrooms, green pepper, fresh tomatoes, etc. If you make pancakes (homemade of course) then add minced apple and cinnamon. Your child will love the taste and not know there is “icky” fruit inside. Make your own blueberry muffins and put healthy fats such as flaxseed, coconut oil, almond oil, or plain/greek yogurt in it instead of vegetable oils. The little changes make a difference. 

    Give your child a multi-vitamin. You can purchase chewable and tasty vitamins for children so they get their much needed nutrients. They probably won’t know the difference if you don’t tell them. If they refuse then get a liquid vitamin and put it in their drink. You can purchase liquid ones that have barely any taste. 

    Lastly, make healthy food fun. As your children get older, they learn from our habits and take on our attitude toward most things. If you don’t make healthy food fun, how will they enjoy eating it and making it a habit as they age? They won’t. Just as if your mom didn’t like cooking and barely made meals; do you enjoy cooking? Did your parents exercise as a routine while you grew up? Do you exercise as a habit now? Most of the time we take on our parents habits. Let’s pass on good ones! How do we make healthy food fun? Take your child to the grocery store and have them pick out foods that look fun. Find recipes that are healthy and “cute” and have your child help you make them. There are so many ideas you can come up with. Choose a color each week or day to make with food (green, peas, green beans, green eggs and ham). Make homemade pancakes into fun shapes and use fruit for eyes, smiley faces, etc. These are just a few ideas. 

    Parents, don’t give up on feeding your kids healthy food. Their health future depends on you continually trying to give them the right foods. Watch your attitude and habits with food as well. Practice what you preach. The better example you are as a parent, the easier it will be for them to follow and have the future you want for them. We hope these suggestions help you get motivated to fill your cupboards will good choices and continue trying to get healthy food in your kids. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Flatbread Sandwiches and Crispy Fries

I feel like I brought Panera home. Flatbread or panini sandwiches with an apple....mmm. Except without the price tag. In fact to make an entire batch of flatbread only costs about $1.20 which makes 14 sandwiches. That makes one one sandwich (only flatbread) $.08. Yes, 8 cents. I used to buy flatbread at the store and you buy 2 flatbreads for about $2.50-$3.00. What a scam! NEVER AGAIN. Just like tortillas and hamburger buns....never again will I buy them because of how good they taste from scratch, how much better they are for you, and how much money you SAVE.

Want to cut down your grocery bill? Make those 3 things from scratch and you'll save a lot in a few months or years time. Plus, these things don't take that long to make. Oh yeah, the recipe.

It's really not hard. It's similar to the TORTILLAS I make. 

The texture is slightly different and you don't have to roll it as thin. 

 I put over half the flatbreads in the freezer so I can continue using whenever I want. 14 in a batch. 14 people! That's a lot because Each one makes a large sandwich when cut in half, or roll it if you want. 

I used chicken in these but you could make it veggie or a deli meat. 

Grill if you prefer or don't grill. I grilled I said, bringing Panera home. 

4 Cups Flour
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic salt
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups milk warmed 
1 tbsp honey

1. Warm milk in microwave or stove. I did 2 minutes in the microwave. Add honey and lemon juice and stir.
2. In a bowl, mix dry ingredients and add milk mixture.
3. Knead 5 minutes.
4. divide into 14-16 balls and let rest 5 minutes. 
5. Using flour to dust, roll out each ball into a flatbread shape (I like mine rectangular)
6. Cook on hot skillet 30-60 seconds and flip.
7. Remove from heat and let cool on a plate. 
8. I made sandwiches and cut the flatbread in half.
9. I marinated chicken and grilled it. Then cut into pieces along with tomato and onion. I placed each on a flatbread half and topped with colbyjack cheese.
10. I grilled on a panini pan and served with homemade fries and apple slices. Soup or salad would be fantastic also.

Now those fries.....

The trick to crispy fries? 2 things. #1 is to soak them in hot water. Sometimes I soak for 10 minutes or over one hour (depends on time you have). It really does make a difference. Tonight I soaked them a little longer than one hour and they turned out very very nice. 

Seasoning. It makes all the difference with food.

They aren't hard. I really prefer fries at home than out at restaurants. Healthy oil and fresh potatoes equal delightful tastes that don't make you feel like crap. Plus it doesn't add lots of fat to that stomach (which is a very high percentage for women who eat processed fries). Also, eating fries made from fresh potatoes is lots cheaper than eating out or buying a bag frozen. You're talking cents on the dollar to make these. A 10 pound bag of potatoes at Aldi is usually $2.49 and you may use 1/2 to 1 pound in a meal (depending on # of people).....see what I'm saying? 

#2 to make crispy fries? Foil over top of the pan for the first 5 minutes. Helps cook through the fries first and makes them nice and soft on the inside. Then remove it the rest of cooking time and you get a nice crispy fry with soft middle. 

Rave reviews. YUM

Crispy Fries
1-2 Large baking potatoes (or however many you desire
Olive Oil
Seasoning Salt if preferred instead of regular salt

1. Peel potatoes, slice into fry pieces.
2. Place in a bowl with hot water.
3. Let sit at least 10 minutes. I like mine to set for over an hour. 
4. Preheat oven to 425.
4. Drain water and leave potatoes in bowl.
5. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper.
6. Take a pan with ridges, drizzle more olive oil, salt, pepper on pan. 
7. Spread fries out across pan so it's one layer.
8. Cook for 8 minutes covered with tin foil.
9. Remove foil and cook till desired crunchiness. Turn fries over after 15 minutes-ish. 
10. Cook for about 30-45 minutes total depending on how many fries on the pan and your desired crispness. 
11. Remove and place on plate with paper towel on the bottom to soak any extra oil. 
12. Sprinkle more seasoning if preferred and serve. 
13. Be blown away with amazingness. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Johnson Family and 4 Months

My Hannah is 4 months old! I love my girls so much. She is the other joy of my life. I cannot imagine life without this Hannah Banana. I hope my girls are best of friends forever :)

Hannah is rolling and loves snuggling still. She is doing well with being on her belly.

She has been "talking" a lot and giggles all day (unless she is hungry). 

Her sister loves putting dolls near her and taking care of them while I take care of Hannah.

I couldn't resist comparing Hannah and Abby at the same age. Look at that!

We had a Valentine's party with the Harris girls and her little friend Anela was by her side while Abby played with Ky and Lani.

She still sleeps great through the night since...well let's be honest....since birth. I am a blessed mom! This is my day in a nutshell...

Abby and Hannah's Daddy is having a birthday on the 28th...he will be 26! Also, their Uncle Derek had a birthday on the 16th...he is now 29. Boy he married a young one since his wife is only 25 ;)

I think the family resolution is taking more pictures during birthday parties (we have enough of them). So I think we caught some good moments.

I made the cake....the men like guns...

Here is Marie with her fake "boo boo" on her forehead. She is a riot!

I like this picture a lot. The soon-to-be parents...AGAIN! Due in August. Hopefully Erik will get his wish of a niece/nephew on his birthday. We will see how many other ladies get pregnant this year in the family (don't look at me).

Will-man is growing up! 

My and my first born princess! I love her. 

Boston seems to like his cousin Abby. He gave her a stuffed cow. And that was Abby's first sucker I believe. She ate it the whole night...and didn't leave anything left!

Like the candle? That was Paw Paw's doing. Ha! It was funny.

Birthday men! I am a little fond of the one on the right :) 

Grandparents with all their current grandkids! They keep them on their toes! Beloved Maw Maw and Paw Paw...I think every kid thinks they're specially just for them with how crazy those grandparents are about their babies!

I think we got some decent pics! 

This is life with the Johnson Family! Growing, fun, crazy, but close-knit family and I wouldn't have it any other way!