Our blog has moved!

Sid Sisters has moved to Blogger and gotten a make-over! Come check out our lovely new home! 

sidsisters.blogspot.com 

We will leave this site up for anyone who has pinned from here, but all of our WordPress posts are copied to the new blog and all new posts will be avaiable at Blogger instead. We hope to see you there! 

Best Wishes, 

The Sid Sisters

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Eating Healthy While On the Go

A friend of mine told me how she felt there are not enough ideas on eating healthy with a busy schedule or on the go. I thought I would share a few of the things we do around here to make sure we have something to grab when we are out the door. One thing I always try to keep around the house is trail mix. I love trail mix because you can add whatever suits you. For instance, I am not fond of peanuts, but almost all of the pre-made, store-bought trail mix uses peanuts as its primary filler. I have been making trail mix for years. It is great to keep around, easy to bag to throw in a purse or lunch bag, and is pretty filling. I’ll share what I put in mine, but remember that it is so easy to customize to your own taste. Eleni’s Favorite Trail Mix IMG_20131011_204256

  • 1 bag of whole, salted almonds
  • 1 bag or canister of salted cashews
  • 1 bag of dried mixed berries
  • 1/2 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Large container with lid
  1. Starting with almonds, add a layer to cover the bottom of the container.
  2. Add a layer of each ingredient:cashews, berries, chocolate chips, almonds, cashews, berries, chocolate chips, almonds, and so on and so forth. IMG_20131011_204311
  3. Continue this pattern of layers until you have used all ingredients. Cap the container and shake well to mix.
  4. Cap your container to store and enjoy your mix. IMG_20131011_204530

Another thing I like to keep stocked is a little “snack basket” in the fridge. I’ll list what I keep in this, then give needed guides further down the page. IMG_20131016_212924IMG_20131016_212939 At the beginning of the week, I slice up a block of each Colby Jack, Mild Cheddar, and Mozzarella cheese. I add about 3 slices of each cheese to sandwich bags. I toss these into the basket for a quick, easy, healthy, keto-friendly snack. I also keep a bag of pepperoni in the basket. It is easy to throw a handful of these into a cheese bag to take with. I also like to keep hard-boiled eggs in the snack basket. I always manage to mess up the boiling, so instead I bake my eggs. It makes for fool-proof, easy-to-peel eggs! I also like to keep easy to grab, ready-washed fruit. I normally add pears or apples, since they need no container. T-Rex also loves apples and pears! You can add any fruit, or snack, for that matter, that you like. The last handy snack I keep around is a large container of celery and carrot sticks. Throw some in a baggie, grab a little container of your favorite dip, and you are good to go! IMG_20131016_212901 Baked “Hard-Boiled” Eggs I found the guide/idea for this on Pinterest. Here is the original blog post for this: http://www.theburlapbag.com/2012/03/make-hard-boiled-eggs-in-the-oven/

  • One dozen eggs (or how ever many you would like to make)
  • Mini muffin pan
  • Large bowl
  • Cold water and ice
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Load your eggs into the mini muffins tins.
  3. Bake eggs for 30-35 minutes. Speckling on the egg shell is normal.
  4. Fill the large bowl with cold water and ice.
  5. Remove eggs from oven. Let cool for a few minutes. Carefully submerge eggs in the cold water.
  6. Let eggs soak for 10 minutes. Remove from bowl and dry shell.

I know this is a long post, but I have one more thing to share with you! Since quick, easy, healthy recipes are something I think everyone can benefit from, I will try to post a “Hump Day” recipe every Wednesday to help you get through the rest of your week. This week I will post a quick and yummy recipe for chicken tacos in your slow cooker! Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos 

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • Half jar of your favorite salsa
  • The following seasonings to taste: cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper
  • Your favorite taco holder, be it a flour or corn tortilla or taco shells
  • Your choice of toppings. We use shredded Colby Jack, shredded lettuce, sour cream, and sometimes sliced or chopped black olives
  • Slow cooker
  1. Add chicken breasts to the slow cooker. I have actually managed this recipe with frozen or thawed chicken. Don’t judge! We all have our busy or forgetful days!
  2. Thoroughly cover chicken with seasonings.
  3. Add half of jar of salsa to slow cooker, coating the tops of the chicken.
  4. Add lid to slow cooker and let this magical device do its thang! Cook thawed chicken on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours. Using frozen chicken, cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 8-9 hours. You will know the chicken is done when you can easily pull it apart with two forks. Thoroughly shred the chicken.
  5. Add chicken to your choice taco holder. Add toppings and stuff your hungry face!

For you low-carbers out there, we have found a yummy solution to your tortilla problem. Hubster discovered La Tortilla Factory high fiber tortillas. They taste just like the whole wheat tortillas we enjoyed before Hubster went Keto. They have 10 grams of carbohydrates per tortilla, but 7 grams of fiber, so it evens out to a net total of 3 carbs. Not too shabby when you need an authentic taco fix! They are tricky to find, though, which is why I am linking to Amazon. Walmart does not carry them, but I have managed to find them at Pricechopper and the health food section at Hy-Vee.

Again, I know this post has been long, but I hope you find it helpful. Let me know what you think of the chicken tacos. We love them around here! Until next time. -Eleni

Keto-Friendly/Low-Carb Pumpkin Muffins

I know Alex hasn’t gotten a chance to post in a bit. She has some awesome guides to share but has had technical difficulties getting them up. Hopefully they will be up soon!

In the meantime, I couldn’t wait any longer to share this new muffin recipe. The weather has been getting cooler here in the middle of the country and that means it is pumpkin season! These pumpkin muffins are moist, spiced, pumpkiny, and the perfect snack for fall. The base for these muffins is almond flour. The closest store that sells almond flour isn’t all that close, unfortunately. Instead, I make my own almond flours straight from, you guessed it, almonds! Here is my guide to making almond flour:

You will need:

  • 12 oz. bag of whole, raw, unsalted almonds
  • a blender or food processor
  • a medium bowl
  •  a mesh strainer   IMG_20130927_115451
  1. Add about 1/4 of your almonds to your blender/processor. I used my Magic Bullet, so I will now refer to the blender/processor as “the bullet”
  2. Blend almond until powdery. Once you reach this point, stop immediately. If you process the almonds much longer, they will warm and begin to release their natural oils and you will have the beginning stages of almond butter!
  3. Put your strainer into the medium bowl. Dump the almond flour into the strainer and gently shake the strainer to pull out the flour and leave the larger pieces in the strainer. IMG_20130927_115528
  4. Put larger pieces back into bullet and reprocess.IMG_20130927_115556
  5. Strain again. Now add another 1/4 of almonds to the bullet.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 until you have used up all the almonds. I had a few pieces left (pictured), but when attempting to process them, they just bounced around the bullet. I just threw those out. You could also eat them. Yum!       IMG_20130927_115703
  7. Store in your choice of container.                                     IMG_20130927_115818

Now that you have a stash of almond flour, let’s get on to these yummy muffins!

Keto Pumpkin Muffins:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (this was just laziness on my part.  You could do 1/2 t. cinnamon and 1/4 t. each of ginger, nutmeg, and allspice).
  • 2/3 cup Splenda brown sugar
  • 1 can pumpkin  (NOT pumpkin pie filling)                          IMG_20130927_122446
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease well or line a muffin pan.
  2.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. T-Rex loves to help with this part! IMG_20130927_120955IMG_20130927_121014
  3. Fill muffin tins to desired height. These muffins don’t rise much, so the point at which you fill the tin will be the height of the muffin. IMG_20130927_124550
  4. Bake muffins 20-25 minutes. They should be well browned on the tops.
  5. Allow muffins to cool, then use a fork around the edge of the tin to remove the muffins.
  6. Enjoy before they are gone!  I intended to take some pretty pictures of the finished product, but they were pretty much gone right out of the oven.  Hubster and T-Rex love these things!  I have to admit that they are awesome.

Tomorrow I plan on trying out a pumpkin cream cheese frosting to put on another batch of muffins. If it turns out, I will edit this to share.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Until next time.

-Eleni

Personal Care with Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar

Somehow, in the millions of genetic combinations possible, even with the wonderful dominance of Greekness, my beautiful mother blessed me with her side’s sensitive…everything. I have psoriasis, a yearly bout of eczema-like rash on my hands in the winter, and extremely dry, yet sensitive skin all around. At the same time, I try to be very conscious about the ingredients in the products I use.

Have any of you ever looked at the prices of the more natural or organic products out there? Burt’s Bees, I have found, is one of the most affordable ones, but even their products are much pricier than what you can find easily at most stores. So in my pursuit of natural care products, I have been experimenting with using baking soda and apple cider vinegar. I want to share what I have been using, because I have had some awesome results.

First, let’s start with the face. I can’t find a single face wash that does not completely dry out my T-zone (the t-shaped area of the face across the forehead and down the nose and chin). I have started using just baking soda and water as a sort of face scrub. All my spots have cleared up and I have no dryness in the T-zone! Sweet success!!

Baking Soda Face Scrub:                                                                                                About 1 T. Baking Soda                                                                                                Enough water to make a paste.

Scrub all over your face. Rinse. Try not to get in or on your lips/mouth. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, after all, and is salty and yucky-tasting!

I follow up this scrub with a homemade Apple Cider Vinegar toner. I have stored this in a little labeled squeeze bottle. Honestly, it is the heaven-sent squeeze bottle they give you in the hospital after you have a baby. I promise that it is well washed!

Apple Cider Vinegar Toner:                                                                                                     1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts water                                                               Squeeze bottle or similar container for storage

Use an 1/8 c. measuring cup to alternate 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water into your container until you container is full.

After using your baking soda scrub, dab some toner onto a cotton ball or pad and apply a layer onto your face.

Seriously, my skin is loving this! I wish I would have tried this much sooner. I could have saved myself a lot of time, money, and zits.

I want to share the new regiment I have been using on my hair, but I have a T-Rex tugging on me and biting my typing hands. I suppose it will have to wait for another post.

-Eleni

Spaghetti Squash with Stuffed Meatballs

I have been dying to try spaghetti squash as a pasta replacement since Hubster started the keto diet back in May. The only problem was that I could not find any! I had no idea what this particular squash looked liked, and, at the time, our local grocery store had labels for butternut squash and “assorted squash.” Really?! Assorted squash….because that is helpful. Not! Well, as I was skimming the produce section last Sunday I finally found spaghetti squash.

I am going to guide you through cooking and stripping the squash, and a very yummy recipe for beef and spinach stuffed meatballs.

Let’s start with the squash:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prep a 9×13 pan by adding about 2 cups of water.

2. Slice the squash lengthwise. I found it was easier to do this after slicing the tops (with the stem) off. Use a spoon to scoop out all of the seeds. Place the squash cut-side down into the pan. Bake for 45 minutes.

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3. Use tongs to remove the squash out of the pan. I kept an oven mitt on my left hand and used my right to get the “spaghetti” out. Use a fork and strip the “spaghetti” out by starting at the top of the squash and dragging downwards. It will come out very easily.

IMG_20130915_165012 IMG_20130915_164955

4. Strain the “spaghetti” well (I didn’t do this step, but wish I had. When I added sauce, the sauce got fairly watered down). Place strained squash into a bowl and season well with salt and pepper.

Now onto the meatballs. You will need:

1 pound of ground beef (but you could really use a pound of any ground meat)

1/2 pound frozen chopped spinach, cooked

1 egg

Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

1 block mozzarella cheese, cubed (you can vary the cheese to your own taste. I plan on trying a variation of this with chicken and feta)

1. Keep the oven heated at 375 (from cooking your spaghetti squash). Line a cookie sheet in foil.

2. In a large bowl, mix the beef, egg, spinach, and spices.

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3. Scoop out a kitchen spoonful of the meat mixture and flatten slightly in your hand.

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4. Add a cheese cube to the center of the flattened meat.

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5. Form a ball around the cheese cube.

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6. Add the stuffed meatballs to the lined pan. Bake for 25 minutes. I found it very helpful to keep our meat thermometer handy for this, just in case. This would be crucial if you were using meats other than beef, since the cook time might differ. Ground beef or pork should be cooked to 160 degrees. Ground chicken or turkey should be cooked to 165 degrees.

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Once your squash and meatballs finish cooking, you can combine them with your favorite pasta sauce and your delicious dinner is ready! I used a basic tomato sauce, but next time I think we will try Alfredo.

IMG_20130915_165955 IMG_20130915_170248

This was an awesome dinner that I am sure we will be repeating as often as I can find spaghetti squash. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Happy eating!

-Eleni

Keto “I Need to Go Grocery Shopping” Bacon Broccoli Soup

I’m a pretty lazy person but I’m tired of being pudgy, so I’m doing the keto diet and trying to eat healthy.  The other night Bear and I were feeling peckish, lazy, and cheap.  Take-out was out of the question, but so was leaving the apartment to go to the grocery store.  So I rummaged through our sparsely stocked refrigerator and came up with this fast and easy recipe!

Ingredients

All ingredients, as per usual, were eye-balled and tweaked to me and Bear’s taste.

  • 4 strips bacon
  • some end pieces of gourmet cheese (I forget what kind…Bear would kill me…) from Murray’s Cheese Shop
  • beef stock
  • 1 container frozen chopped broccoli
  • Kerrygold unsalted butter
  • tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • garlic pieces
  • salt, cayenne pepper, onion powder to taste

BACONNN

First I fried up my bacon to a medium crispy state…do NOT get this too crispy unless you like having to chew creamy soup!

image_2

Then, in my awesome Ninja blender, I put about 2 cups of beef broth, cheese, the broccoli, butter (about 3 tablespoons worth), mayo, garlic pieces, and the cooked bacon WITH the bacon grease.  You gotta get that good fat on keto!

image_3Ninja the hell out of the whole thing!

image_4The result will be kind of clumpy, but that’s okay because you are going to let it cook for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat.  The cheese and butter will fully melt, and everything will get nice and mixed.

image_5

After 10-15 minutes, your soup should be nice and frothy.  Put the heat down to low, and stir for a couple of minutes.  This will ensure that the butter, cheese, and bacon grease doesn’t separate from the broccoli puree and broth.

image_6Take that frothy, fatty goodness and put it right back into your Ninja for a good, thorough blending.

image_7Told you I was lazy!  I try to use the least amount of dishes I possibly can.  In this case, all I used was a saucepan and the Ninja.  I just poured the soup directly from the Ninja into the bowls…soon after, right into my face.

image_8Because I like to spice things up, I added a little bit of cayenne pepper on top.  Voila!  A delicious snack/meal — snack if you eat just one bowl, meal if you eat a couple (guess what me and Bear did?).

Laziness yields success sometimes!

-Alex

Homemade Baby Carrier Wrap (and how to tie it)

I have been baby-wearing sweet T-Rex since she was a few weeks old. We were gifted a Snugli carrier, which I used for months, but it KILLED my lower back within minutes. As I started researching other carriers, I came across the Moby and Boba wraps. They get awesome reviews and other mothers (and fathers) swear by them. They looked so comfy and you are able to hold your baby so close, but the prices were holding me back. They are upwards of $40! For a long strip of fabric. My solution: make one myself. 

Here is what you will need: 

5-6 yards of stretch fabric (I intended to buy jersey cotton, but ended up with a strip of polyester instead. It still works perfectly, but doesn’t breathe as much as jersey would) 

A pair of scissors 

 

1. Lay your fabric flat along the floor. Try to smooth it out into one long strip. IMG_20130912_210303

 

2. Fold your fabric in half along the length of the fabric (or as we early childhood educators might say, hot dog style!)

IMG_20130912_210353 (1)

 

3. Cut along the fold. You will end up with two strips. That’s right! You just made two wraps, one for Mom, the other for Dad, Grandma’s house, or another momma! I gifted my other one to a pregnant friend. 

 

Now how to wrap that darn strip? Here a some videos! I hope they help. Please excuse the angry T-Rex noises in the background. Hubster took a few takes but T-Rex was greatly protesting me not holding her. Also, if these are too fast or confusing, YouTube “how to tie Moby wrap.” There are some great videos out there. It looks confusing, but practice it a few times and it will seem second nature (or at least it does for me now).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3DvmED2aVw&feature=youtube_gdata_player
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ1wjWxDkaY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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Clearly, we LOVE our baby wrap! I seriously use this thing daily. We can’t even make it through an entire grocery trip without it. Hopefully your wrap will be as helpful for you!

-Eleni