Sunday, April 28, 2013

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

One of my kids is a fairly picky eater.  He likes very few foods.  But luckily the foods he likes are healthy.  We just made an awesome smoothie together.
We just threw in the vitamix
chia seeds
an orange (peeled of course)
a banana
about 1/4 cup hemp seeds
Blend it all up and enjoy a cup of healthy deliciousness!

But my picky eater never knows what he wants for breakfast.  So on the weekend we try to create some healthy muffins to eat throughout the week.  Here are the muffins we just made, hot out of the toaster oven.
Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Can be made non-vegan as well.  Those substitutions are in parentheses.
1/3 cup white flour
1 cup sprouted grain whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup pure can sugar
1 flax or chia egg (2 egg whites are a good sub)
1 tsp vanilla
1 banana mashed
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350.
In a bowl combine flours, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl mix together applesauce and sugar.  Stir in the flax or chia egg or egg substitute and vanilla. Mix well.  Slowly pour in flour mixture and the mashed banana.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Do not overmix.  Pour batter into muffin papers or disposable muffin tins.  Our batter made 10 muffins.  Bake 16-20 minutes.  Cool and enjoy.
Add some protein to these by spreading on some peanut butter.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Real Parents Review: Oblivion

My husband and 14 year old son attended a sneak preview last week of Oblivion, a new Sci fi movie starring Tom Cruise.  Cruise's character (Jack - Tech 49) is a part of a two person crew assigned to a post-apocalyptic Earth where the Moon has been destroyed by an alien invasion and much of the planet is destroyed.  While the invasion was halted, the planet became mostly uninhabitable and Earth's residents are all moving to Titan, a moon of Saturn.  Jack and his partner, Victoria, are staying on Earth to fix the drones that protect the machines that are collecting all of Earth's sea water to create energy.   There are aliens remaining on Earth who are still roaming the planet's surface and attempting to sabotage these plans.  Jack and Victoria's minds have been erased so that they have no memories of the atrocities that happened, but Jack has some repressed memories of Earth from before the invasion, that continue to bubble to the surface.  This leads Jack to be curious about the world he now inhabits and he uses his mission time to explore the areas of the planet that are not affected by radiation. While on one of these missions he stumbles on to something he did not expect to see.

Based on the trailers we had seen, we were very much looking forward to seeing this movie. We both were pleasantly surprised at how much we really enjoyed it.  We have read some other reviews which commented on the lack of exploration of feelings between the main characters, but as you get into the larger plot you understand why these criticisms are not really valid.  Oblivion is not a chick flick where we want to see Jack be conflicted by his feelings for two different women.  Its a Sci-fi thriller which is exploring an apocalyptic event and how people can survive.  There are a couple of great twists in the plot which we will not reveal here (and we would recommend not seeking them out, as knowing them will really spoil the movie for you), These twists are on the scale of Sixth Sense type of surprises.  We were able to see the screening for this movie in IMAX, and visually, the movie is amazing on the big screen with the enhanced audio.  The movie itself has many elements of other sci-fi/apocalypse movies such as Planet of the Apes, Matrix, Wall-E, and others and at times appears to pay homage to them in a variety of ways.  Keep an eye out for the Statue of Liberty which shows up in all of these types of movies, but has only a brief cameo here.

The movie is rated PG-13, but we didn't find anything too objectionable for children 10 and up.   There is one scene where the main female lead goes for a swim, but there is no nudity (except for a brief view of her backside which is all dark and in shadow).  The violence is minimal except for a scene at the end where there is plenty of shooting by drones at people (although we don't recall seeing anyone hit by the drones).  All in all its a fun movie with some good plot twists to keep you in the story and it is all done in stunning visuals.  We recommend this for anyone over 10 who likes exciting action packed movies.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ridemakerz #xtremecustomzparty recap

Yesterday we were lucky enough to host a MommyParty sponsored by Ridemakerz.  The Ridemakerz line is aimed at boys 5-7 years old.  I can tell you after a few guests called in sick, our girl party attendees stepped up and LOVED the Ridemakerz cars, just as much, or more than the boys did!
So our party was a total success and the Ridemakerz cars were easy to put together.  The kids basically did all the car building themselves.  Very little help was requested.  The cars were really cool.  Each set of wheels, the front and the back, could pop up or down (adjustable suspension we learned), depending on what kind of car racing you wanted to do.  A simple push of the red button helped you raise or lower the front or back wheels.

Choosing which car they wanted to build went smoothly.  The Ridemakerz come in so many options, superheros, police cars, corvetter, mustangs, and camaros. Something for everyone!
We built cars in less than 5 minutes, then we raced them and raced them some more.
We ate some popsicles and donut holes and raced our cars some more.
Thank you MommyParties for sponsoring this awesome party.
If you have a child age 5-7 a Ridemakerz Xtremecustomz car would make a great gift!  The one car that won almost every race was the Commander, third from the left, in the photo below.

Disclosure: I was sent a package of cars by MommyParties and some literature and suggestions in order to host my party.  All thoughts and ideas are my own.  The kids had an amazing time and are still talking about their cars today.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Vegan Muffins with Jelly

Happy last day of spring break everyone!  This spring break really sucked.  Most of the family was sick throughout the vacation.  I held on and somehow did not get sick until 2 days ago.  The fever, the coughing, and the headaches were quite annoying.  Everyone is on the mend now, so that is good.
My big kids go back to school tomorrow, Passover ended last night, and the little baking assistant(Diane) is at school.  Jake decided it was the perfect day to make some muffins.
Jake loves to cook. It inspires him to eat more.  So today we quickly whipped up some delicious and healthy vegan jelly muffins.

Vegan Jelly Muffins
1 cup milk (we used almond, you can use soy or coconut too)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 T cornstarch
1 and 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup jam (we used strawberry)
2 T powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.  We love the silicone muffin holders, so that we do not have to throw away the papers, or lose some of the muffin inside the paper :)
In a measuring cup mix together your milk, vinegar and cornstarch.  Mix well and get out any lumps.
In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Make a well in the center.  Pour in the milk mixture slowly. Add in the sugar, applesauce and vanilla.  Stir well.  Put your batter into each muffin liner and then plop some jelly on top.  The jelly plopping is a great job for kids!  Do not overfill your muffins.  The jam sinks to the bottom while baking.  Bake for 21-24 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack and then set uncovered overnight in a cool dry place.  This will make the tops slightly crispy, like a donut crust.  Using a sifter, sprinkle the tops with powdered sugar and serve with a nice cup of tea.  Or, eat the muffin right out of the oven and burn the roof of your mouth like Jake just did.