Category: eats

healthy eating and our garden

over the weekend I watched “Forks over Knives“, then “Food Inc.” and then “Hungry for Change” (which by the way is available for free online for 3 more days!). And wow, were my eyes opened! I consider us to be a pretty healthy eating family. I’ve always only given our kids organic milk and butter and I try to balance our diet as much as possible. But there was so much information in these documentaries that I knew, kind of…but I didn’t realize the impact that it was having on our bodies! One of the favorite facts that I learned was that when the manufacturers are making all these popular “fat free” food items, they just replace the fat with sugar. Sugar is technically fat free, but as soon as it goes into your body it immediately converts into fat! Watch your sugar intake people!

Forks over Knives promotes a “whole food – plant based diet” which isn’t necessarily the route I feel like we will take, completely. But I am concerned with the quality of meat that I am buying. I have always had the mindset though that a meal isn’t a ‘meal’ unless there is some kind of meat – which I’ve learned is wrong thinking. So I’ve decided for now to incorporate 2 meals a week that are plant-based, which will allow me to spend the money I usually would on meat every night of the week to buy higher quality meat. I’m looking into local farmers that I can purchase grass fed meat from, and I’m eagerly anticipating the opening of our local farmers market!

englexas lifestyle blog food and gardening
I posted about my Herb Garden last fall and I guess I was just getting my green thumb started because with all of this healthy eating we are wanting to do (and the possibility of juicing in our future!) it just makes sense for us to grow some vegetables and fruits too. My only problem is that I have never gardened before, so I had no idea where to start! Then I found this website on Pinterest the other night and I think it might have solved all my problems! It’s a website that plans your garden for you. You input where you live, the size of your garden/flower pots and it tells you what to plant and when, designs your garden for you, gives you daily reminders of what to do and you can even buy organic seeds through them!

I’ve also been talking to a lot of people about chickens! I never thought I’d be the kind of person to own chickens…my mum grew up on a farm in Ireland, but I’ve never been exposed to ‘farm life’ and hadn’t ever considered that I was the type. But with cage-free eggs running $4 a dozen, and my family eating at least 18 eggs a week (my son is obsessed with eggs!) it just doesn’t seem feasible for me to buy the kind of eggs that I want us to be eating! I’ve heard so many great things about having chickens, not only the adorable chick stage (which my kids are gonna LOVE!) or the delicious eggs but I’ve also heard that the upkeep is not too terribly difficult.

I would love any feedback from those more experienced than myself in any of these areas. Any resources, websites or even words of warning would be awesome – feel free to post in the comments :)

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molten lava chocolate cake and awesome mother-in-laws

I called my mother in law last week because she had told me all about this wonderful microwave molten chocolate lava cake and Gabriel was out of town and I needed something to cheer me up (chocolate always does that for me!)

All you need to make it is Chocolate cake mix (and the ingredients to mix it up – in my case it was 3 eggs, quarter cup oil and water, but I don’t know if other box cake mixes will be different) and a can of chocolate icing.

That’s all. My only problem was, I had no icing :( then my lovely mother in law sweeps in to save the day (again!) to tell me that icing is super easy to make, all you need is cocoa powder, butter, powdered sugar and milk…how did I not know this?! It’s probably best because by now I would’ve calculated how to make icing by the cup and be eating it from a spoon daily! My chocolate addiction is no joke people!

When I got the Hershey’s Cocoa Powder box out I discovered they had an icing recipe on the back, so I decided to just follow Hershey’s direction. This icing is no joke people – literally the best icing I think I’ve ever had – waaaaaay better than the canned stuff!

Icing Ingredients
• 1 stick butter
• 2/3 cup cocoa powder
• 3 cups powdered sugar
• 1/3 cup milk
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
(Yields 2 cups frosting)

1. Melt butter.
2. Stir in cocoa.
3. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount of additional milk, if needed.
4. Stir in vanilla.

englexas eats blog - molten chocolate lava cake

Once you’ve made the cake batter to the directions, and have (or made) your icing put the cake batter into a large microwaveable bowl (I used a 2qt Pyrex bowl) and then dump the icing into the middle of the cake batter. Put it in the microwave for 8 mins and then let it sit for 4 mins. Then flip over onto a plate.
This part was a little tricky, you might need four arms to accomplish it, but since I was without hubby I stuck with it and eventually got it to come out onto the plate without any serious injury to myself!

It may not be super pretty but is it super yummy!!! The thing about this cake is, it’s not a ‘make ahead’ cake, it is best eaten when it’s still warm and gooey, and even with a scoop of ice cream if your feeling totally indulgent! (mouth watering anyone?!) I would suggest it as a last minute dessert or something you make while your cleaning up from dinner.

Leftovers, let’s talk leftovers. Since I was by myself when I made this cake I ended up with a huge cake sitting on my counter. Now, I am a major chocolate lover but eating just a slice of regular ole room temperature chocolate cake just isn’t my thing, especially when I already know how good this cake is when served hot. My first attempt to reheat it didn’t fare so well, yeah the icing was pretty melty and gooey, but the cake got dried out. It was then that I remembered another little tip that my mother in law gave me (seriously, did I get lucky or what?! she’s at dessert-God status for me right now!!*).

So here is my newest Quick Tip (brought to you by the best bomb-diggity mother in law ever)

When you are reheating anything (or above yummy gooey chocolate deliciousness cake) in the microwave take a coffee filter (!!) and run it under cold water, squeeze it out a little and then place it over the dish you are microwaving, then microwave as you normally would. It’s as easy as that! And guess what? It totally worked! The cake was still soft and the icing melted perfectly – just as good as the first time I made it.
I’ve tried this microwaving method with lasagna (a dish that tends to really dry out in the microwave) and it worked great also.

And now I’m going to go eat another slice of cake!

*this is also the wonderful mother in law that drove in from Tulsa this past weekend so me and my hubby can go away for the weekend! Someone give this woman a raise?! And while you at it please move her here!

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