choco maca smoothie

17 Apr

Chocolate maca smoothie

Remember how how I was telling you all about the benefits of maca powder?  And how by adding a tablespoon to my morning routine (in addition to reducing carbs and taking Pilates a few times a week) I’ve been able to shed a few pounds of winter weight that had settled on my middle?

I told you about the maca chai latte (a great warm way to start the day). But we’ve been visiting my mom’s in the SoCal desert these past few days and it’s honestly too warm to even think about a chai latte (sorry Montana friends. I heard about the six inches of snow!!)

Since a hot latte’s not in my life right now I wanted to find a cool tasty alternative. I also wanted something satisfying that would keep me “full” until lunch.

Did I mention my parents live in date central? Seriously, most of the dates available in the US come from the Coachella Valley. There are at least three date farms within a mile of my parents’ place.

Which is a long-winded intro to my new favorite breakfast smoothie:

Chocolate Maca Breakfast Smoothie

1 banana
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3-4 chopped pitted dates
1 TBL raw maca powder
1 tsp raw cacao powder
1/2 cup filtered water

Combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender and purée until smooth.


Xo, Jeanne

$500 CASH GIVEAWAY – winner announced!

6 Apr

Abby here.

I could tell you about the tomato starts I planted in the greenhouse this weekend that will most likely freeze to death.

I could tell you how my trusty garlic oil knocked out my son’s ear infection in 20 minutes flat yesterday.

I could tell about how I lost 2 pounds in one week simply by cutting out late night snacking.

Or I could tell you how excited my family is to trade snow boots for flip flops next week when we head to Texas…

But we all know this is way more interesting:

$500 Cash Spring Giveaway Graphic

It’s true!  Someone is winning $500 cash!  It’s easy to enter.  Just use the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of the post, and check back here in one week to see if you won!

Sponsor Graphic The major sponsors for this great giveaway are the following blogs:
Domestic SuperheroJust Us FourSwish PrintablesCondo BluesOur Southern HomePersia LouDial M for MomsDIY Candy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

maca powder – I’m on the new (ancient) superfood bandwagon

4 Apr

maca powder chai latte

Have you been inundated with all the “new” news about the ancient Peruvian superfood maca powder? I have to admit, I added it to my diet a few weeks ago because I’ve had these lingering extra stress pounds and I had read that it helps stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce cortisol production and boost fatigued adrenals.

And after just 10 days, the number on our scale finally started moving in the right direction. Three pounds in 10 days … not too shabby.

But I noticed other benefits, too.

Like, my mood got a little lighter. Things that have been stressing me out seem a little less intense … like the fact that every time our 2 year old is without diapers for more than 5 minutes he pees or poops on something other than the toilet. Two weeks ago that was a big deal. Now, while I’m not psyched about it, it seems to roll more quickly off my back.

Sure, it might just be that Spring is here. (At least I think it’s Spring. Isn’t that what evening snow and sunny daytime temps in the 40s is all about?) 

But it might also be that the rumors about maca powder are true. Just in case, I’m keeping it in my morning routine.


Maca powder is derived from a root that grows at high elevations in Peru and was for centuries a staple in the diet of Peruvians and Incans. It looks surprisingly like a turnip and is in the brassica family (like broccoli, cauliflower, mustard, etc).

It has the consistency of coconut flour and a subtle nutty flavor that is delicious with all things chocolate.

Because it’s one of the few crops that grows successfully above 7,000 feet above sea level, it’s not surprising that it made it into the diet of high elevation civilizations. But it’s also been celebrated through the ages as a miracle food. Medicinally, it’s been used to boost sex drive in men, alleviate hormonal issues in menopausal women, control weight, and boost mood and energy. Some say a tablespoon of maca is better than a strong cup of coffee for a morning energy boost).

maca chai latte recipe 2


  • Maca powder contains 55 phyto-chemicals, including vitamins B1, B2, B12, and Vitamin C, Zinc
  • It has amino acids, calcium and phosphorus
  • It is a natural immune booster with 22 fatty acids that may act as a fungicide and antiseptic
  • Maca powder can reduce production of cortisol and relieve stress on over-worked adrenal glands.


Add it to your morning smoothie … it’s especially tasty in smoothies made with raw cacao and dates, but I add it to fruit smoothies, green smoothies and everything in between.

Include it in baked goods … I’ve added it to sourdough pancakes with great success (just a quarter cup of maca in this recipe). And I’ve considered adding it to the paleo yam brownies that my kids like so much. But I haven’t done it yet.

Add it to your morning coffee … Just a teaspoon. Any more and I find that it sort of overwhelms the coffee.

Or, my favorite treat these past few weeks …



  • 1/4 tsp Cardamom (seeds from 4-5 pods)
  • 1/4 tsp whole Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1 inch fresh Ginger (chopped)
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Darjeeling tea bag
  • 1 tsp Maca Powder
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • Coconut milk


To make the Chai Tea, boil 2 cups of water with cardamom, cloves, pepper, ginger and cinnamon added. Reduce to simmer and add the Darjeeling tea bag, let it steep for 5-10 minutes. Add maca powder, honey and coconut milk and enjoy!

Short cut: Steep a Tazo organic chai tea bag for 5-10 minutes. Add maca powder, honey and coconut milk. Enjoy!

Maca Maca Maca …

I don’t usually weigh in on celebrity gossip

30 Mar

But this Gwyneth Paltrow thing is really getting under my skin.

Like Gwyneth Paltrow, I worked in the movie business. And while I wasn’t a “star” getting called to Wisconsin on a moment’s notice, I had my fair share of work trips to New York and London and Atlanta and West Virginia. And before I retired from the business I was working on a film that was getting ready to shoot in Mexico, which would have sent me (and maybe my family) out of the country for about 6 months. (I can look back now and be thankful that project fell apart so I was given the opportunity to take stock and rethink my life.)

Also like Gwyneth, I am a real foodie (although I’m not friends with Mario Vitali). I am a recipe developer (many of my successes appear on this blog, and we’re working on our first cookbook). And I’m passionate about creating a “conscious,” natural and sustainable life for my homeschooled kiddos.

So I’ve had the good and lucky fortune to be a working mom and a stay at home/work at home mom. I feel uniquely qualified to have an opinion on her awfulness.

And part of me wants to sympathize and feel sorry for her out-of-touchedness. Because it really is so sad that she is so out of touch.

But I can’t.

Because it’s pathetic.

And disheartening.

Who on earth does she think she is to comment on the “ease” of living life of woman with a “regular” job? No doubt her nanny takes care of feeding and bathing her children, getting them to school, bandaging their hurts. Her assistant takes care of scheduling her calendar (making time for pilates and yoga and whatever other meditation time she needs). I have little doubt her housekeeper does the laundry. Her gardener takes care of the lawn. She doesn’t do her own grocery shopping. She probably doesn’t make her bed or clean her own toilet.

And she certainly doesn’t do those things when she’s working on a movie set for 14 hour days … for about 3 months of the year … a movie set where her children are welcome (unlike the kids of almost every other person on set).

Let’s consider what a day is like for a movie star on a film set. I’ll give you this: they often have to arrive early (pre-dawn) for make-up, hair and wardrobe. Sometimes they are showered. But since they’re about to have their hair and make-up done by someone else, it’s not as though they have much to do before leaving their homes except wash their bodies and don clothing. And a reminder: they’re not the first ones on set … there’s a whole team of people (Hair Stylists, Make-up Artists and Costume Designers/Dressers) who have to be ready to greet the star. And then what about the team who have to be ready to make the first scene ready to shoot when the sun comes up?

Her “consciousness” is clearly limited to her “uncoupling.”

And we are left to listen to her erudite pomposity… to get Paltrow-fied descriptions our our relationships via (I’m apparently “magnanimously bound” to the love of my life) … to read and re-read her declaration that moms who work 9-5 jobs have it so much easier. (By the way, do you know anyone who actually has a 9-5 job? Everyone I know who works outside the home works 10-14 hour days. And most SAHMs work just as much.)

And her ability to see outside herself and her pristine elitist world … ugh … I struggle to find words for how much I dislike her.


Thanks for letting me rant.


Now back to our regularly scheduled food blog!


cherry vanilla chia pod (vegan, gf, refined sugar free)

26 Mar

cherry vanilla chia pod recipe

Last summer we started making homemade chia pod treats.

And as time has gone on we’ve made them again and again. They are totally portable. Absolutely delicious. And completely healthy. (Have you read our post about why you want to add chia seeds to your diet?)

But we don’t limit ourselves to peach pods (because that would be boring, and peaches are not all that available here in Montana). We love chocolate pods. Vanilla pods. Coconut pods. Strawberry pods. Blueberry pods.

But our favorite of all favorites …

Cherry Vanilla …

(which might be because even in the midst of a spring snow storm we are anticipating cherries from our tree)


Cherry Vanilla Chia Pod Recipe


  • 2 cups of pitted Cherries (if you use frozen cherries, thaw them first)
  • 2 cups full fat unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 2/3 cup Chia Seeds (black or white)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbls Raw Honey (replace with grade B maple syrup for a vegan version)


Puree all the ingredients in a VitaMix or high speed blender until well blended.

Divide into individual portions (we use small mason or jelly jars) and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to “set.”

Makes 8 servings.

Enjoy as a healthy snack, as a tasty dessert, a lunch-time treat, an on-the-go-breakfast or anytime (like maybe in the middle of the night after the kids are asleep and you don’t feel like sharing … which is not something I ever do … I swear!



Would you like to see your homemade chia pod creation make it into the O’Mamas kitchen?

Submit your recipe here before April 15th, 2014.  (Email us with your name, your recipe, at least one or two photos of your favorite version, and a way to contact you. Use “POD RECIPE” in your subject heading please!).

We’ll post our favorite FIVE recipes and you can decide what pod you like best!

Shared on Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday

Things I’m loving.

21 Mar


-The fact that I put away the majority of my children’s toys.  The train set has been packed up for months now, and bringing it out make it feel brand new.  We’ve clocked at least 10 hours building and re-building this week.


-Spring.  It’s taken four years of living in Montana to accept that this season isn’t for swimsuits and outdoor cookouts.  We still have a good snow every once and a while, but there’s something sweet about a promise of warm weather on the horizon.  This is also the time of year the kitchen gets bombarded with a big metal shelf to start our plants.

-The gym.  You guys.  I have never, ever enjoyed going to the gym.  Some friends persuaded me, and I tried it out to make sure my kids liked the childcare.  Turns out they love it, and it has been a wonderful one-hour break for mama almost every day.  They get a playdate, and I get to break a sweat.. it’s a win/win.  The only  thing is is that this is the first time in years I’ve exercised regularly and pushed myself.  I’ve been reminded that I’m not 18 anymore and I’m definitely feeling more aches and pains than I use to would have.

-Speaking of aches and pains, I finally got around to ordering PanAway essential oil blend from YoungLiving.  To me, it smells and acts like IcyHot just without all the added chemicals.  It’s expensive, but a little goes a long way! (Public speaking has never, ever been my gift, so I’ve opted out of hosting YL “parties” and created an online store HERE instead… saves us all a little trouble)


-This blog.  I must say, I don’t agree with some stuff she writes, but she’s good guys.  It’s a guilty pleasure to check what she posts everyday.

-Getting back into the kitchen.  Although I consider myself a true-blue foodie, I go through phases of being in and out of the kitchen.  Sure, dinner gets cooked at home most every night, but it’s the fun kitchen stuff that comes and goes… fermenting, kombucha brewing, yogurt making, sprouting, etc.

-Zulily.  I cannot be trusted with online shopping. Why do they make it so easy?  You just press a few buttons and BAM…. you have a fun box waiting to be opened on your front porch. Zulily is somewhat new to me, and we’re anxiously awaiting my first purchase of some learning to read DVDs.

What are you into these days?


Irish Soda Bread – just in time for St. Patrick’s Day

15 Mar

I’m Irish on my mom’s side. (Shout out to the Donnelly and Murray clans!)

But my mom doesn’t make Irish Soda Bread because one of her best friends Ann (who is Irish), makes great Irish soda bread and for years shared it with our family on St. Patrick’s Day. And if you have a best friend who makes great Irish soda bread, you don’t have to. (Not that my mom needs an excuse not to bake Irish soda bread because not everyone loves to be in the kitchen, right Ma?)

I don’t have Ann’s recipe.

But my friend April also makes amazing Irish Soda Bread.

Like I said, YAY for friends!

But April doesn’t live in Montana. So she shared her recipe with me nearly two years ago and all my Irish soda bread cravings were abated. This is easy and delicious and I bet you will love it as much as we do.

Also … yes, there’s white flour and brown sugar in this recipe. We make sourdough or long-rise bread for daily consumption, but this is a “memory” food for me, and I don’t want to mess with the recipe since it’s something we enjoy only a few times a year.

irish soda bread


  • 8 oz white flour/bread flour*
  • 6 oz whole wheat flour
  • 1 oz rolled oats (whiz them up if they are big)
  • 1 oz wheat germ (I used 1 oz ground flax seed because I didn’t have wheat germ)
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • a little less than ½ TBLS cream of tartar
  • 1 TBLS baking soda
  • ¼ Cup brown sugar (preferably dark brown)
  • 22 oz plain unsweetened kefir (I used 2 1/4 cups of plain whole milk yogurt)
  • for the BOTTOM of the pan – 1 small handful of rolled oats
  • for the TOP – 3 TBLS of seeds of your choice (1 TBLS of each: pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, flax seeds, etc.)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  While preheating, put in a cast iron dutch oven that’s been rubbed with Olive Oil. (Or, if you’re like me and don’t generally cook with Olive Oil, try Avocado Oil.) The dutch oven (with the top on) should be in while preheating the entire time.

Mix everything in order with a wooden spoon, except the kefir (yogurt).  Once the dry ingredients are mixed, add the kefir (yogurt).  Stir until combined.  The dough will be sticky.  Don’t over mix.

Take out the preheated skillet.  Sprinkle more rolled oats on the bottom of the pan.  You don’t need to cover the bottom, just sprinkle a small handful.  Pour the dough into the pan, and you should hear a sizzle.  Make sure the dough is touching all sides of the pan.  Top with combination of three or four of the following (I used pumpkin, chia, sesame and a few more rolled oats): pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, flax seeds, etc. Cover.


Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to bake for another 20 minutes**.  The crust should be browned and solid.  Take the bread out of the pan to cool.

Makes ONE loaf.

irish soda bread 2

Everyone together now: “THANK YOU, APRIL!”

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!



* at our high altitude in Bozeman, I add an extra quarter cup of bread flour
** also at our altitude, I bake for 35 minutes, but am leaving April’s recipe the way she makes it because so many of our readers don’t live at this altitude!

what I learned about simplicity in an apartment with one spatula

10 Mar

Jeanne here.

We spent most of February in a small furnished apartment in Vancouver, Canada, visiting our dear Cowboy while he works on a movie for Paramount Pictures.

And what became more evident than ever during our time there is: we have too much stuff.

Not in Vancouver. But at home.

We spent three weeks and each little had one small box of toys (both boxes fit between their carseats for the road trip and they packed the boxes themselves), five books, a shopping bag of craft supplies (markers, paper, scissors, tape, paper bags), one notebook each with a special pen included, and enough clothes to last 5 days. And while they missed a few of their favorite toys (like the dollhouse and barn), neither ever asked for more or whined about not having enough. There were very few fights. We stayed busy and entertained, and the only TV they watched was the local PBS station while I made dinner.

It was awesome.

So of course I came home and removed SEVEN FULL BOXES OF TOYS from their school/play room.

simple toys

(I haven’t yet brought the boxes to our local Good Will, but if we can make it a month without them asking for these toys, they’ll make their way to a new home.)

But the lesson goes beyond reducing the clutter for the kids.

Because I made breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner nearly every day we were there … in a small kitchen equipped with one spatula, a whisk, one frying pan, a sauce pan, a medium sized pot, one baking dish, a set of three nesting mixing bowls, one really good knife (which the Cowboy brought with him) and a Vitamix.

Baked chicken. Meatballs. Soups. Salads. Smoothies. Pasta. Poached eggs. Pancakes. Bacon. Fried eggs. Burgers. Soaked oatmeal. Steak. Sautéed veggies. Rice.

The meals were simple (we had a very limited supply of spices and herbs to choose from), but there wasn’t one that didn’t satisfy. And I did it all with one spatula!


Not only was cooking everything that we needed possible, but clean-up was a BREEZE. I cleaned while I cooked. I used fewer prep dishes. Fewer prep dishes means fewer dishes to wash. Fewer dishes to clean means a happier mama as doing dishes is one of my LEAST favorite chores. And fewer dishes also translated into cleaner kitchen.

Lesson learned.

My first step was to realize that we don’t need FIVE whisks. Seriously. That’s how many whisks we’ve got in our utensil canister. And FOUR spatulas. And too many wooden spoons to count. See?

not simple utensils

So I’ve removed more than half of the utensils. And two thirds of our pots and pans.

simple utensils

Like the toys, I put them in boxes and set them aside. They are there if I need ‘em.

But if I make it a few months without reaching for the boxes, we might be having a garage sale. Anyone want some wooden kitchen toys?


super veggie-packed oven baked meatballs

27 Feb


Dinnertime view from our Vancouver rental on the 33rd floor. A new perspective for the littles and a new appreciation for me for families raising kiddos in a super-city environment.

Sometimes the kiddos will ask for veggie stir fry for dinner.

Sometimes our little girl will beg for a red pepper for a snack.

Sometimes the little guy will demand a salad.


But they are kids.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that sometimes getting them to eat veggies is a challenge. Or at least it was a challenge. Until I figured out that they will eat almost any vegetable if it’s inside a meatball.

Broccoli. Carrots. Peppers. Cilantro. Parsley. Kale. Spinach. Bok choy.

If it’s in there, they will eat it.

So when we’ve had “one of those days,” I take whatever veggies I have on hand, chop them fine (use a food processor if you want it super tiny) and toss them in a big glass mixing bowl with a pound of beef, an egg, some bread crumbs (or cooked quinoa), onion and garlic and we’re good to go. Actually, it’s enough meatballs to feed us for two or three meals. So after dinner I freeze the leftovers for crockpot usage at a later date.


See the strange “orange” tint to this photo? It’s not a filter. No. It’s the light in our rental kitchen. SEVENTEEN pictures of one plate later (kids were done eating by the time I took this one), I thought there might be a revolt.


  • 1 pound of ground beef (preferably grassfed organic)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs (a paleo option is 1/2 cup cooked quinoa or 1/4 cup of almond flour)
  • 3/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese (could substitute with Parmesan)
  • 1/2 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup broccoli* (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro* (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt & pepper

*Broccoli and Cilantro can be replaced with carrots, bok choy, red or green peppers, spinach, kale, parsley, green beans, asparagus, mushrooms, etc. Whatever veggies you have handy.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With about a teaspoon of sesame oil (or your favorite cooking oil), lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine egg and bread crumbs. Add the meat, cheese, onion, garlic, veggies, salt & pepper. With clean hands, mix it all together until it’s evenly blended. Form into 2-inch meatballs. Twelve meatballs fit in the pan, so I bake them in two batches. I usually salt the meatballs with a pinch more after they are in the pan.

Bake for 20 minutes. (If you make smaller meatballs, they won’t need 20 minutes.)

Makes 24 2-inch meatballs.

Serve with pasta or over quinoa or on their own. Slather them in sauce or gravy or leave ‘em plain. And feel happy that the fam is eating their leafy greens!

with love from Vancouver,

For my fellow Cool Ranch lovers…

25 Feb

Growing up, I’d choose savory over sweet any day of the week.  My treat of choice:


Unfortunately, the first ingredients are genetically-modified corn and canola oil (along with a bunch of other crap), so they are on my no-no list.

I’ll cut to the chase, because it’s late and I’m in the middle of a marathon on Netflix.  Anyone else avoid all responsibilities for a few days weeks to watch all 26 episodes of House of Cards?  No?  Then me neither.

But this is perfect timing, because who doesn’t want a late night snack when watching your favorite show? Here’s the best Cool Ranch replacement I’ve found:


I’ve seen them at all our local grocery stores, so I think you’ll be able to find them easily!

You can thank me later.  -Abby


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