He Asked for Samosas

We love Samosas.  However, they are deep fried.  That doesn't work so well with eating nutritarian.

We had some friends from Ty's work over, it was my first time meeting them.  I wanted to make something good and have plenty of whole food things to make, but Ty really really wanted samosas.  So that's what was on the menu.  I also made Red Lentil Curry and heated up some naan from New Seasons that was probably the best store-bought naan I've ever had!

The samosas were good, although after not eating oil with our diet change, they were definitely a little heavy.  But as usual, the tamarind dipping sauce that I make for them is really the reason you eat the fried part.  Go HERE to see both recipes.  I need to use the sauce with other dishes just so I have an excuse to make it!

If you've never tried making samosas, I do think they are a lot of fun to make and serve.

In all, the night was a lot of fun.  I'm excited about our new friends!  Thanks to grad school for another connection to cool people.  I'm looking forward to our next dinner adventure together.
**I did try baking some of these the next day and they turned out awful!  I used egg roll wrappers, but a homemade pie dough or puff pastry might work better...if anyone has healthy versions of either of those, send them my way!

We Buy Our Kids' Halloween Candy

The build up to Halloween, the costumes, decorations, and anticipation by little kids, is half the fun of the holiday.  However, Halloween trick-or-treating is the real activity that peaks the celebration.  Looking at all our kids' candy, we cringe at all our efforts to be healthy being tossed away in a single neighborhood sweep.  

That being said, we also give out candy, it's what you do.  Sure I could hand out bouncy balls or boxes of raisins, but that would cost so much more money that I'd rather spend on my own family.  

So we compromise. 

We left the bowl of candy on our doorstep and went together for family trick-or-treating.  The kids had a blast (thank you to those neighbors who decorated the outside of their houses!).  As we are trick-or-treating, the kids might eat one or two pieces of candy.

When we get home, they already know the drill.  

Pick any 5 pieces of candy, whatever size you want, and the rest we buy from you.  

Last year we gave a price per piece of candy.  To make it even, and to cut out the work for us (but would work really well once the kids are a little older), we gave an overhead price for the lot.  We told the kids we could go pick out a toy, book, or craft that they wanted at the store for $10-15.  

Maybe this is trading one problem for another, but I still like it.  The kids do have candy and really enjoy it.  They totally feel like they are a part of the holiday and don't feel like they are getting ripped off by us buying their candy.  But then they aren't begging for candy, there's no tummy aches, and there's a bonus of some entertainment with something new to do or play with.  Then we can move back into the routine of apples and peanut butter for a snack, rather than sweet tarts.

I've heard of someone doing a point system for candy as well, with different prizes worth different point amounts.  Sounds like a great idea.

Does anyone else do something creative with curbing the candy?  (Hiding the chocolate in your own stash is not the correct answer.)  :)

Fresh Banana Muffins

This is exactly why these muffins disappear quickly at our house.  One-year-olds are very fast!

I don't know about you, but I have notes jotted down for about three different banana breads.  I've finally made this one so many times that I have an exact ingredient list that is amazing!  Sure, they have sugar in them.  You can play with a natural sugar like honey or syrup.  Next time I make them I'm going to try totally sugarless with added craisins.  The recipe as is tastes really good with 1/4 cup golden raisins in it as well.
Fresh Banana Muffins
Makes 24 muffins

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup almond meal
2 cups oatmeal
2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
2 flax eggs (if you are wondering what these are, go to this Huffington Post article)
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 - 1 cup applesauce (add 3/4 and see if the batter needs more liquid before adding the other 1/4)
6 bananas

Preheat oven to 350.  I mix this in my kitchen aid mixer with my cookie beater attachment, but sometimes I use my hand beaters.  Add all ingredients in the bowl, mix until well combined, fill lightly oiled or lined muffin tins.  Cook 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean or with dry crumbs.

*This is also good with 1/2 cup golden raisins.
**If you don't have almond meal, then add another 1 cup of whole wheat flour.

Falling into Reading

"Falling" into reading, you know...since it's fall...  Okay.  I'm painfully punny.  I live with a man that is always so quick-witted and I'm so not.  Most jokes that I try are just awkward or lame.  But because of that, I guess they are funny in their own way.  Maybe??

Okay, moving on.  I have been on such a reading kick recently!  Anyone else?  This is the stack on my desk right now.  

This pile is missing 2 books that I already read this past month, "Once a Witch" by Carolyn MacCullough and "These is my Words" by Nancy Turner.  "Once a Witch" is a quick young adult read that I thought would be appropriate for October.  I enjoyed it's plot, love interest, and magic.  The witch characters each have a different power (think the show Heros).  I want to read the sequel "Always a Witch" as well.  The other book by Nancy Turner was so good!  I think it will be one of my all-time favorites.  It's set in 1881 in the Arizona Territory, told journal style from the narrator's point of view.  It portrays the roughness of the west, yet the love story is so beautiful.  

From this pile I've read "Hiding in the Spotlight" by Greg Dawson.  His mother was a Jewish Ukrainian survivor of the Holocaust.  He didn't find out until later in life and then wrote this story of his mother and aunt's life as they "hid" among the Nazis as pianists.  It was moving and inspiring.  

It seems like this pile is growing taller rather than shorter right now, but I've got to keep reading to beat the library due dates!  I'm in the beginning of "Good bones. Great pieces." and I'm excited to keep reading.  

I'm also reading "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin and thoroughly enjoying myself.  After looking up on her site, I'm really interested in doing a Happiness Project with a group!  There are templates to print out and instructions for groups on happiness-project.com.  The author realized that she didn't feel as happy as she could and divided a year into different focus months, with corresponding goals for each month's theme.  I'm in chapter 5 right now and already feel like a better person for reading the book...and I already want to re-read it!  Anyone else want to join a happiness project?  Anyone else read the book?

And at the bottom of the stack is "Mother Teresa: The Life and Works of a Modern Saint."  I put it down several times in the Target isle, but then couldn't resist a 3rd time.  She's too inspiring to stand by.  As I'm reading through this, I already see ways I can simplify and love more.  She was amazing.  This will be one thing that always remains on our book shelves.  

What's in your pile?
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