Whole Foods Holiday: Food for Thought {and Chocolate Cookies}

Hi e’dybody (as the Bear would say), my friend Eve is sharing a wonderful Whole Foods Holiday guest post today! She is super. I’ve made you wait long enough for this edition of the Whole Foods Holiday posts…so without further ado…

Born Up a Tree!


Food for Thought

When I was pregnant the first time, I have to admit that I didn’t eat very well. Maybe I should say that I ate really well, but I just didn’t make good choices about what I ate. I gained 50 pounds and had a 6 pound 13 ounce baby. I nursed my bundle of joy and when it came time to feed him solid food, a light came on for me. Would I feed him the same things I had been eating? Um, NO.

I tediously made all of his baby food- it was easy by the way. Recipes are easy to find and as long as you have a food processor and a freezer, you are good to go. Since I am a full time mom and have a full time job, it took a lot of planning and a lot of cooking on the weekends. Out of desperation one evening because of a busy weekend, I stopped at the store and picked up some baby food in jars. All I had to do was open them, take a whiff, and I knew that I was not feeding that to my child.

As my son grew, I realized he was an extremely picky eater. I am blessed that my son is not allergic to any foods, and we do not have any behavioral or developmental issues that require special diets. I know lots of people who have to put lots of love and care into meals because of special dietary needs- and I admire you. But he is still a picky eater, which also requires love, care, and patience with every meal.

Since I do have to balance my workload with my mother load, my son goes to a great Christian pre-school/day care that I dearly love. They feed him, but it is certainly not what I would feed him at home. At home we eat as many whole foods as possible- potatoes (usually sweet), rice, whole grains, whole fresh or frozen veggies, whole fruit, and whole meats.

And when I say whole, I simply mean not processed and with no added ingredients. If I buy something that has a label, I make sure that there is nothing on there that I can not pronounce or anything artificial. I firmly believe that this whole food is what my Creator created me to eat. I can’t afford to purchase all organic foods. So I do the best I can with what is available in my rural community. Fortunately, there are lots of natural and non-processed options to choose from.

It takes some creativity to not eat the same thing every day. Especially with a picky four year old. We have some favorites that we rotate through that my child loves to eat and I feel good about feeding him.

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One favorite is something we call Chocolate Cookies, for lack of a better term. The ingredients are simple- and you can use organic or conventional products.

Recipe for Chocolate Cookies

2 ½ cups rolled oats (old fashioned Quaker Oats work fine)

½ cup cocoa (dark cocoa is a bit healthier)

½ cup milled flax seed (in the baking aisle near the flour)

½ cup wheat germ (near the cereal)

½ cup honey

½ cup peanut butter

about 1 cup HOT water (hot as you can get it from the tap)

Optional: for a little extra protein boost, add 1 tsp Spirulina Powder, available at health food stores)

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Mix all the ingredients except the honey, peanut butter, and water until well blended.

Add the honey, peanut butter, and water (a little at the time), and stir until the “batter” is the consistency of mashed potatoes, with everything mixed well.

On wax paper, pat the cookies out by hand into patties about the size of a small hamburger.

Using wax paper between the cookies, store in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 6 hours before you eat them- they will firm up.

This recipe makes about 8 cookies and will keep for a week or more in the fridge, but at my house I have to make them twice a week.

Don’t be fooled by the appearance- they do NOT taste like the no-bake-oatmeal-peanut butter-sugar-cookies that you may remember from your childhood. The texture and flavor is very earthy, due to the flax seed and wheat germ. My son has eaten these since he was old enough to hold them in his hand. You can tell by the pictures that he enjoys eating them, but they are a little messy. He loves them for breakfast, and sometimes for a quick snack.


If you would like some more ideas on how to add more whole foods to your families meals, I will be happy to share. Send me an email at ehhoneyc@gmail.com.


Thanks so much for sharing with us, Eve! That was definitely some good food for thought for me — and I’m hoping to make “Chocolate Cookies” with the Bear soon!

We might have one or two more Whole Foods Holiday posts on the way, but in the meantime, do you have something to share? Just add a link to the link below if you have a Whole Foods Post or Recipe somewhere else on the net that you’d like to share!


Ten Healthy Tips for a Whole Foods Holiday

Hi gang! If you’re just joining us, we’re doing a little series ’round these parts that I like to call Have a Whole Foods Holiday. I think it’s catchy. Even if it’s not, someone pointed out to me the obvious truth I hadn’t thought of (I’m tired and in the middle of a move, ya know) that this is the time of year when we consume the greatest quantities of sugary, processed, unhealthy stuff we’ll pass through our lips all year.

{Here’s the link to part one in case you missed it.}

I’m not declaring an all-out war on all things processed, mind you — and pass the sweet potato fluff — but I am aiming to take one step at a time, to implement gradual changes that will result in more whole, healthy stuff arriving at the Collie Clan’s dinner table.


{Christmas 2010’s Health Food: Two Months Prior to Baby Bro’s Arrival!}

Today my friend Laura Anne (who you may have met round these parts before) is sharing some simple tips that will help you steer your food wagon in the direction of healthier choices.

Born up a tree!


So, I was so pleased when Caroline wrote this post. One of the things that shocked both my Mum and I is a recipe book a lovely person gave to her when she was visiting her best friend who currently lives in the USA. Every single recipe involved concentrated tinned (canned) soup. I won’t lie to you – I was horrified.

While at university, I studied Health Promotion. My eating and cooking habits changed dramatically while studying Health Sciences. So did my peers’. It did make my food bill a little bit more expensive, but I think it was worth it. It was also amusing to watch as the snickers bars and packets of crisps (potato chips) we brought as a snack at the beginning of year slowly disappeared, and bags of nuts, dried fruit, bananas, satsumas and apples replaced them. It was almost a silent competition to see who could bring in the healthiest snacks and lunches!

Here are my top tips for making your diet more healthy. These are (hopefully) simple things you can do to help you make meals a little healthier, but still enjoyable!”

  1. Steam rather than boil. Not only does it give you a little more space on the hob, [US translation: stove] again, steam keeps more the taste and nutrients in your veggies! If you don’t have a steamer, you can do this pretty easily by rinsing your veg, putting the teeniest bit of water in the bottom of a bowl, covering it up and popping it in the microwave for a few minutes. The more veggies you have, the longer it takes to steam. 🙂
  2. Grill rather than fry. Much less fat involved! Oh, and try to use poultry over your red meat too. Turkey mince is a great alternative to beef mince (ground meat).
  3. You do actually need fat in your diet, but some fats are much better for you than others. Monounsaturated fats are the ones you want to pick over the saturated and polyunsaturated. If you can’t be bothered checking labels – olive or rapeseed oil based products are a good way to go. Unless you are allergic or something! Avoid hydrogenated fats like the plague.
  4. Sometimes you need to use those woks and frying pans. Invest in an oil sprayer. No. I do not mean the ‘5 cal olive oil spray’ you see in the supermarket. That stuff is full of other rubbish that will mess with your digestive system. Buy an oil sprayer you can fill yourself with olive oil, and use it to spray your frying pan/wok to say goodbye to ‘whoops more came out than I planned’ moments that led to oily greasy dinners.
  5. Water down your fruit juice. Fresh fruit juice is the best, but is full of sugars. Watering it down means you drink the same amount of fluid but it’s a bit better for your teeth, and it means the juice will last longer. You’ll soon find that drinking juice ‘straight’ will seem really strong to you!
  6. Ask yourself this question: do I really need to add salt to this? The current RDA (recommended daily amount) of salt is 3-6 g for an adult, 2-5g salt for a child, 1g for a baby under 1 year old. Do you know that your average can of soup probably has 1-2g of salt in it? Start looking at labels for the sodium content, and I promise you’ll be shocked as you begin to realise how much salt you can consume in a day without even adding it to your crock pot. Buy reduced sodium salt, and try to avoid cooking with it – use herbs and spices to flavour instead when you can.
  7. Avoid the ‘diet’ drinks and food. Sweeteners and the stuff they put into ‘diet’ products really screw up your digestive system. If you really want that can of coca cola, go for the ‘full fat’ version rather than the diet one. Why? See here for just one article on why diet soda is so badly named. I can testify to this one, because my appetite went NUTS last summer when I was taking lucozade sport when I was cycling.
  8. Sugars. A similar thing to salt, you’d be shocked how much sugar is already in what you eat. I’m a sugar addict. I love fruit, I love chocolate, I love baking cake and eating it. For this one, let me refer you over to Bethany Hamilton. I now try to bake using honey rather than refined sugar, or using unrefined sugar.
  9. You still need carbohydrates. Your kids especially need those carbs. But again, for us adults, moderation is key. Also, you’ll find eating complex carbohydrates (e.g. wholegrain bread over white bread) is much better and can actually help combat sugar cravings.
  10. I love cheese. I use it a lot while cooking these days, since I can’t eat red meat anymore, and have become an almost vegetarian. However, it is pretty fattening. So, if you can use more mature cheddar or other hard mature cheeses you can use less cheese in your cooking for the simple fact a mature cheese has a much stronger flavour. As for milk, semi-skimmed has same calcium content as the full-fat stuff. So use a more skimmed milk for less fat in your meals! (Kids under 2 need the full-fat for growing though!)
  11. And an extra bonus tip: Eat seasonally. It’s amazing how much cheaper you’ll find it if you do. Have you seen the difference in the price of a punnet of cherries in July compared to in November? 🙂


Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us, Laura Anne! You just answered a couple of food question marks for me!

Hope you all enjoyed it! Have an extra tip to add to the list? Please leave it in the comments!


Have a Whole Foods Holiday: Roast Tomato Sauce

Hi guys and gals! I’m kicking off a Whole Foods Holiday series today {pause for a round of applause} with a wonderful step-by-step from the awesome magician/Mom behind a site I’ve shared with you before, Se7en. {Here’s the Travelling Tuesday where I showed you around her place!} Mrs. Se7en and her Se7en + 1 kididdles do some amazing things in the kitchen. Often involving food. But also arts and crafts. And homeschool. Today she’s introducing a simple way to make your own Tomato Sauce in Se7en easy steps!

Born up a tree!


Many folks think that cooking from scratch is quite unachievable, and it is easier to just buy instant meals, instant sauces and well instant everything!!! What we have discovered as a family is that we eat more and more food, cooking from scratch. It all began with having an allergic child and I started reading food labels.

While I was looking for allergens, I discovered just what we were eating and I didn’t want to feed it to our children. The trouble with pre-prepared food is that it is packed with heaps of sugar, and filled with unnecessary additives and colorants. We made a decision to start cooking from scratch. It is not only healthier but it is a whole lot cheaper. Remember the more an item of food has been processed or packaged and the further it has traveled the more expensive it is going to be. Often it is just so much easier to buy bulk and save and make a batch of something.

It wasn’t really an overnight switch, just a consistent and conscious effort to change and eagerness to try new recipes with our kids.

Now don’t for a moment think that cooking from scratch means that we spend hours bent over a sweltering stove and neither do we have fields of vegetables growing in our backyard. Okay, I confess we do keep our salad planted in the garden!!! It just turns out that not only is it a lot cheaper to cook from scratch, but it is a lot of fun. And I want food with my kids to be fun, I want them to enjoy the process of food preparation and I want them to feel a sense of pride in a meal well-prepared.

We started by baking our own bread and then we moved onto pasta and before we knew it we were cooking all our meals from scratch. My older kids have become adept at them and I tell you, you will never want to eat shop bought pasta again — you just won’t!!! The first few attempts were a grand mess, and nothing like the smooth ease that you see when watching the “Food Channel,” but practice really does breed success.

Today I am going to show a really easy way to make sauce and a standard recipe in our house: Fresh Roast Tomato Sauce From Scratch in Se7en Steps:

Let’s Meet The Players:

  • A Batch of tomatoes.
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Crushed garlic, you can use whole garlic cloves as well.


Let’s Play The Game:

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    1. Begin by roughly chopping your tomatoes – I usually cut them into eight… quick and easy, no time for perfection!!!

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    2. Pop your chopped tomatoes into a roasting pan.

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    3. Lavish salt and freshly ground pepper onto your tomatoes And pop your crushed garlic into the mix as well. If you only have cloves of garlic – all the better. Drop the whole cloves into the tomato mix

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    4. Sprinkle some olive oil over your tomatoes and then pop the tray of tomatoes into a hot oven and leave them there to roast.

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    5. When your tomatoes start to brown then you take them from the oven and leave them to cool.

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    6. Once they have cooled you can put your roast tomatoes through the blender.

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    7. Blend away and keep it in the largest jar you can find on the shelf in the refrigerator.

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    And the Se7en + 1th Step:
  9. 8. Now when we make the sauce we keep it really simple, and then add whatever we want to it later when we use it for our meals. You can use your sauce in so many ways:
    • Plain with a few crushed basil leaves on fresh pasta, top it with a pile of parmesan.
    • As the topping for a pizza, We use it for lunch a lot. Roll out your batch of pizza dough, top with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese and it is almost instant pizza.
    • Brown an onion or two and add the sauce and you have a fabulous sauce for Spaghetti and Meatballs.
    • Brown some onions and mince and then add your tomato sauce and you have almost instant bolognaise sauce.


Really a jar of tomato sauce is indispensable, so quick to make and then so useful in any number of dishes. If you would like to try more recipes like these then feel free to follow the link:


Thank you so much for sharing with us, Se7en! So glad you were willing to share some well-tested (and good-tasting) wisdom with us today!
Note to the readers:

After reading the recipe, I asked Se7en if you needed to peel the tomatoes because I wondered if you’d notice the peels in the sauce. She replied:

I am the laziest cook in the world and when a recipe asks for peeled tomatoes I often skip it and then I always regret it. However, with this recipe the skins are so soft after the roasting, and then once you have blended them you don’t notice them at all… really – and I have a few fussy folk who would mention it!!!

Thought you’d like to know! More Whole Foods Holiday is coming your way soon!


P.S. It’s not too late to join the Whole Foods Holidays party. Get in touch if you have something you want to share! Or, if you already have something on your blog that you’d like to link to, let me know — I might just host a little link-up for this occasion. 🙂