A day for cooking

Good evening!  I had a busy day today.  I spent a lot of time in the kitchen and then learned a new trick I will share with you at the end of this post.  After making lunch the mood to keep cooking struck and I jumped right on it spending the next three hours making cheese crackers, a double batch of whole wheat waffles for the freezer, rice and chicken, 2 pans of stacked enchiladas and bread crumbs.  It was a fairly successful afternoon.  The crackers were a disappointment.  They were very easy to make, but no one was really thrilled by the taste and texture of them.  This was the first flop that we have had from 100daysofrealfood.

The breadcrumbs were easy.  You just lay out bread for a few hours overnight and then  bake at 200 degrees for 1-2 hours until the bread is hard.  Then you place it in your food processor and process it until fine.  Store in the freezer until ready to use.

The enchiladas were fairly easy, good and the best part: a second pan to freeze for later.  The only note I have on these would be on bake time.  I prepped this ahead of time and stuck it in the refrigerator so the middle wasn’t warm after 5 minutes.  If you were broiling it while making it then your ingredients may already be warm and it would be done in time.  I will play with the cooking time when I make the frozen one later.  Here is the recipe: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/04/14/recipe-chicken-enchiladas/.  The boys didn’t really eat this, but they haven’t eaten any mexican food or anything remotely spicy yet.  I am hoping this will change as they get older.

In all of my time cooking today I made an error.  I placed a towel on my kitchen table and then put the waffles on it to cool.  I do this often, but it is normally on my stove top or counter top.  Later I noticed white heat stains on the table where the waffles had once been.  I tried scrubbing it clean to no avail.  After becoming very frustrated I decided to actual do something with that frustration and googled it.  I came across a tip to use an iron to remove the stains.  This didn’t make much sense to me and I was afraid to try it, but really wanted the stains gone.  Guess what?  It worked!  What you need to do is turn the iron up as high as it goes and use steam.  I placed a white dish towel on the table and then ironed the towel, spraying steam as I went.  Before long my table was back to normal.  On the website that I got this tip it said that some people were complaining that this trick made their table worse, so I would try a small spot at first to see if it works for you.  I guess the saying is true, “You learn something new everyday.”.

In other health news, I tried Zumba for the first time last night.  It was a lot of fun.  Did I feel goofy? Yes.  Did I look ridiculous?  Most likely.  Was it fun? Yes!  There was a lot of laughter erupting in the room of women that I took this class with as many of us tried this class for the first time.  I worked up more of a sweat than I expected and am looking forward to next week.  This morning I ran 2 miles and did Level 1 of the 30 day shred this evening.  I have learned that I need to work up my endurance and leg strength in order to be able to run more than 3 miles.  I tried to run 4 miles on Saturday and shortly after 3 my legs burned so badly that I couldn’t go.  I decided to do the 30 day shred some again in order to help me with these things.  Hopefully I will be able to get in better shape in the next few weeks and fulfill my goal.

What is something new you learned today (this week)?

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The results are in…

The results are in from the first batch of homemade chicken nuggets and french fries.  Here are the stats:

I liked them and splurged a bit with organic ketchup to dip.

My husband:He said they were good and asked for seconds.

My 5 year-old: Ate them up like he would normally eat chicken and french fries.  The french fries first, but then cleaned his plate.

My picky 3 year-old: Spit out his first bite of both items, but then managed to eat about 2 chicken nuggets worth after telling him he couldn’t have popcorn during family movie night if he didn’t eat some chicken.

At first I was kind of disappointed in my 3 year-olds response, but then the more I thought about it I shouldn’t have been surprised.  He doesn’t like potatoes in any form other than fast food french fries and the only meat he will willingly eat is fast food chicken nuggets.  So since these were real food items he was bound to not like them as much.  He had leftover nuggets for lunch today and although he first told me he didn’t like this chicken he ate them more willingly this time.  I know that it is going to take a little while for everyone’s tastes to adjust to new foods.  So, I will keep on trying. 🙂

I have a couple of recipes to share with you today as well as this weeks meal plan.

I will first link you to the chicken nuggets recipe.

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/10/14/recipe-homemade-chicken-nuggets/

I didn’t use the cheese as my 5 year-old doesn’t like cheese, but I am sure it would be delicious with it.

The second recipe I will link you to is a banana pancake recipe off of the same site.  We had these for breakfast this morning and both boys ate them well.  They are not big fruit eaters, so anyway I can get it in them I try.  These were really good, I enjoyed them as well.

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/04/21/recipe-whole-wheat-banana-pancakes-freeze-the-leftovers/

It made quite a few, so I did put the rest in the freezer for quick breakfasts.

 

The next recipe is one that I made up for lunch today.  It turned out to be really good!

Grilled Cheese with Veggies and Avocado

What you need

Two pieces of Whole Grain Whole Wheat Bread (I used My Daily Bread Golden Ground Bread from the Health food section at Hy-Vee)

Two Kale Leaves, Stem removed, torn or cut up into small pieces

One carrot, grated

One baby Portobello mushroom, diced

Enough sharp cheddar cheese to cover a slice of bread, or two if some of these veggies are new to you. (I used grass-fed sharp cheddar cheese from Trader Joes)

1/4 of an avocado

Butter, for the bread

What I did

1. Pre-heat skillet over medium heat while chopping the veggies.

2. Spray the skillet with cooking spray and then cook all of the veggies until soft, about 5 minutes.

3. While the veggies are cooking, butter your bread and smash the avocado on the unbuttered side of the bread, covering the piece of bread.

4. When the veggies are done cooking place them on top of the avocado and then place the cheese on top of the veggies.  Then place the second slice of bread, buttered side up on top of the cheese.

5.  Carefully flip the sandwich over placing the cheese side down first.  This will help everything stick together.  Cook a couple of minutes until golden brown.  Flip over and do the same on the other side.

Enjoy!

Feel free to use any veggies you like, but this combination worked really well together.  I found with the sharp cheddar cheese you didn’t need as much and the avocado gives you some of that creamy texture on the other side of the sandwich.  If you are just starting out with some of these vegetables you may want to replace the avocado with more cheese or add it on top of the second layer of cheese.

This weeks Meal Plan:

Breakfasts:Steel Cut Oatmeal, Banana Pancakes, Whole Wheat Waffles, Eggs, Yogurt, Fruit

Lunches: Leftovers, PBJ Sandwiches, Frozen Chicken Nuggets, Grilled Cheese, Vegetables

Dinners:

Monday 9th– Chicken, leftover macaroni for the boys, brown rice for my husband and I after I get back from Zumba  ( I am starting this for a month at my church at 6pm)

Tuesday 10th-Enchiladas

Wednesday 11th-spaghetti and meat balls/meat sauce, haven’t decided which to try yet

Thursday 12th-Waffles, scrambled eggs and fruit

Friday 13th-Daddy is cooking for the Boys, while Mommy goes on girls night with her Sunday School class

Saturday 14th-Date night(either at home or take-out) leftovers for the boys

Sunday 15th-WW Noodles with prosciutto, vegetables

A couple of things got carried over from last week as we didn’t do them.  I may adjust as we go.

What healthy things are you eating this week?

Have a great day!

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“This is better than a restaurant”

Well, hello there!  I hope that you are having a fabulous weekend!  We ended up going on a short trip for a little family time.  We ate out, swam, shopped at Trader Joe’s and wore ourselves out.  We had fun and only a melt-down or two (by each member of our family ;)) occurred.  This was my first time eating out since my transition to eating whole foods and I will have to say that I am happy to be home :).  It was hard finding things to eat and I started to crave the things I had been eating at home.  I did manage to have grilled Salmon with fresh vegetables for dinner last night at Cheesecake Factory.  This was part of their new Skinnylicious menu, a separate menu where each menu item is 590 calories or less.  It was good.  I did allow myself one piece of bread, but decided after one bite that I didn’t really want it.  I did splurge after doing well at dinner and let myself have a piece of cheesecake as my one splurge for the week.  It tasted pretty good, but not as good as I remembered.  I didn’t finish it and had a sickly sweet taste in my mouth afterwards.  For breakfast this morning we went to Cracker Barrel where I found oatmeal with bananas, pecans and some 100% maple syrup to be my best option.  We allowed the boys to eat pancakes for breakfast and they had noodles and bread last night, though one of my sons didn’t eat any noodles or bread after a bite of each and ended up eating broccoli and green beans for dinner.  I did bring our own snacks, so they had good choices for those.  I am definitely starting to see food and the way I eat in a completely different way.  Will this be a life-long change?  Only time will tell.

For dinner tonight we decided to feed the kids early and have dinner after they went to bed for an at-home date night.  I got a 3.5 mile run in before dinner and then proceeded to eat back all the calories (and then some) with this meal.  One of the things I have been trying to change in my thinking is that fat is bad for you.  It is not a bad thing to eat some healthy fats.  Fat is not the problem, it’s processed foods, sugar, white flour, etc.  Anyways, on to the recipe.  I made the super easy alfredo sauce off of my current favorite site.http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/07/10/recipe-super-easy-alfredo-sauce/

When I made the pasta I added in some Kale to cook at the same time as the pasta.  You don’t even taste the kale in this dish and kale adds some amazing health benefits as a dark leafy green.  I then pan-fried some prosciutto and added it when I added the noodles to the sauce.  The last thing I did for me, as my husband doesn’t eat mushrooms, was to saute some baby bella mushrooms to add on top.  It was very good and as my husband was eating it he told me, “This is very good, as good as a restaurant or even better.”  While I might not make this meal every day, it is definitely date night worthy.  Try it this week, you won’t regret it!

Tomorrow night comes the real test, homemade chicken nuggets.  I am really hoping my kids like them as I am having somewhat of a hard time finding things to feed them that they actually like right now.  Wish me luck!

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Day 3 of my journey: A surprise

Here I am, day three of this new journey and I have to admit I am surprised by it all.  I thought that I would be hungry all of the time and craving all sorts of junk food, but surprisingly that is not true at all.  I do eat around 5 times a day, which most likely accounts for not being as starving as I thought that I would be.  I get that.  The thing that really surprises me is how my body craves more and more of this healthy, real food.  My energy level has been amazing and I feel less cloudy headed than I used to.  Instead of wanting the junk food that I used to crave my body is craving more fruits and vegetables and healthy grains.  I thought about getting Starbucks today while at the store, but then I thought, “I don’t really want it”.  If I were looking at myself I would have done a double take.  This thought was coming from the girl who used to have Starbucks at least once or twice a week or sometimes more.  Instead I opted to make a cappuccino just using organic 2% milk and espresso.  Part of this decision was listening to my body and its desire for more whole/ real foods and the other part was after feeling so good I was afraid of how I would feel afterwards.  Now don’t get me wrong, I know that espresso still isn’t the best thing for me, but not having it filled with sugar was a step in the right direction.  This is also not to say I will never have Starbucks again, but for now it is telling me to keep doing what I am doing and listen to my body.

The other surprising thing has been my boys response to this as well.  Their bodies also seem to be doing well with it and they want more.  The first thing my son asked me for at lunch today was vegetables.  They both ate every bite of them too.  While not that unusual for my oldest was rather unusual for my younger son.  They also both loved this banana bread recipe that I tried yesterday afternoon.  I made them into muffins.

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/05/02/recipe-whole-wheat-banana-bread/

A note on these, they are not very sweet.  So, if you are looking for a sweeter bread you may want to up the honey that is called for or wait until your bananas are REALLY ripe.  Mine were starting to get some brown spots, but not fully brown.

Both boys kept saying yum while eating them and I enjoyed them as well.  I also tried making my own bread crumbs this afternoon which appeared to be a success.  Tonight for dinner I am going to try potato skins off of her site alongside big salads. (I know this varies from my menu plan, but I forgot to get the chicken out of the freezer in time-oops!)  This has been a lot of linking from the 100 days of real food site, but I am hoping as I get further along in this journey I will start making up some of my own recipes as well as using some from others.  It sure has been a good place to start.  I have the book In Defense of Food on reserve at the library and am hoping that will help me as well.

Are there any things that have surprised you lately?

Oh, I also fixed the link on my last post.  Thanks!

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Day 1-New way of eating

Well I am over half way through with my first day of this new way of eating.  I feel great!  I ran around 3 miles this morning and that was the longest I have ran in a while.

For breakfast I tried a new whole wheat waffle recipe.  You can find the recipe here: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/07/23/recipe-whole-wheat-waffles/.  I made it the same way that she did, using coconut oil and raw honey.  I learned that coconut oil is solid, so I just melted it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.  Both of my boys gobbled them up.  They each had two, which is rare for my 3 year-old.  I really don’t have much else to say, I could tell you everything else that we ate, but that would probably get boring.  I won’t do that unless someone requests it.  I just wanted to share this great waffle recipe.  I know next time to double the recipe as we only had three left over.  Have a wonderful week!

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My first whole foods meal plan

Happy New Year!

I am so excited to transition to this new eating lifestyle.  I am not sure my family is totally on board, but I am hoping that we will love the way we feel eating this way and will never want to go back.  I have found great help on the website http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/.  Most of the recipes I will be using I have found on there.   If you are interested in eating more whole/ real foods I suggest you check it out.  The guidelines I am following in my cooking/ eating are: no sugar (the only sweeteners I will be using are raw honey and pure maple syrup and they will be used sparingly), the only oils I will be using to cook/bake with are unsalted butter, coconut oil and olive oil, no white flours and no highly processed foods.  I am using processed foods, but the guidelines I am following are nothing store bought with more than 5 ingredients and all ingredients listed have to be natural and fit my previous mentioned guidelines.  For example, I will be eating wheat pasta, but in all that I bought whole wheat flour was the only ingredient listed.  I am also going to try to eat local food as much as possible.  I am buying local free- range chicken and grass-fed beef and trying to go all organic if possible.  I know that this may sound crazy and you may be thinking, her food bill is going to be through the roof!  For me, it is worth the tradeoffs to try it out.  I am going to try it out and see how it goes.  I have found already in not buying processed, packaged foods I am saving money.  This money then goes to allow me to buy higher priced meats and vegetables.  We are also going to reduce our eating out to rare occasions, so we can transfer some eating out money to grocery money.  I plan to try this out for a couple of months and then make changes if needed.  So, without me rambling on any further, here is this weeks meal plan.

Sunday night 1st: Homemade pizza with fresh mozzarella and whole wheat pizza crust.

Monday 2nd: Breakfast- Homemade wheat waffles, fruit

Lunch-Leftover pizza

Dinner-Whole wheat pasta with olive oil/ butter, prosciutto vegetables and

cheese, salad

Tuesday 3rd-Breakfast- Banana Pancakes

Lunch- Peanut Butter and whole fruit jelly sandwiches, broccoli, apple/applesauce

Dinner-Bacon, eggs, potato pancakes, pears

Wednesday 4th– Breakfast- Leftover pancakes or waffles from freezer, greek yogurt

Lunch- Either PBJ sandwiches or homemade macaroni with vegetable and fruit

Dinner-Whole Chicken in Crockpot, mashed potatoes, green beans

Thursday 5th– Breakfast-Steel Cut oats with peanut butter, Fruit

Lunch-Leftovers, vegetable

Dinner-Chicken noodle soup, fruit, whole wheat biscuits

Friday 6th– Breakfast- Eggs, leftover pancakes/waffles, fruit

Lunch- Leftovers or sandwiches

Dinner-spaghetti and meat balls/meat sauce (haven’t decided yet), salad

Saturday 7th-Breakfast-more of the same

Lunch- Leftovers

Dinner-Homemade whole wheat Chicken Nuggets, Baked French fries, other veggie

I have a bunch of frozen vegetables, so when it says veggie I will just use what I feel like.  Lunches kind of just vary on the day or I may try something new.  This is just a rough outline- the dinners are the more set part of the menu.  I will most likely post links or recipes as I make them up as the days go by, but this is just a look at what is to come on the week ahead.

Snacks will be air-popped popcorn (using our new air-popper), raw almond, raw sunflower seeds, applesauce, greek yogurt, fruit and carrot or other veggie sticks with hummus.

I am allowing myself one square of dark chocolate a day and plan to get starbucks once a week as I got a bunch of gift cards for Christmas.  My goal for now is to eat 80-90% whole food and then go from there.  I want to be healthy, but don’t want to deprive myself completely or I know I will fail.  I hope that you are all having a great start to your new year!

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Goals to kick off a new year

As a new year approaches it is the time of year to start to think ahead and plan what we want to do in the new year.  I know lots of people have new year’s resolutions that they promptly break after a day or two.  So, I am not going to think of them as resolutions, but goals or things I want to try in January.

Goal 1. Eat Clean

I am already inclined to eat whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables, but recently the idea of eating clean has intrigued me.  I have been doing some reading on eating clean, but still need to do some research on what it all entails.  Today I put some books on hold at the library to get a better grasp on what to eat and recipes to try.  The basic things I am going to start with is using only whole grains, and no overly processed foods, including white flour and sugar.  Another part of this diet is eating 5-6 meals a day.  As I start out in January I will be posting all that I learn as well as the recipes that I try and like.  I am going to allow myself one non-clean meal and one non-clean dessert once a week as well as 1 piece of organic 70% dark chocolate a day.

Goal 2. Work-out at least 5 days a week

My husband and I did a 5k together last September and would like to do a 10k this spring or summer.  I would also like to up my toning and strengthening.  In January, our church is offering a free 4-week Zumba class.  I have signed up and am looking forward to trying that out as well.

Goal 3. Reduce Spending

I want to try doing some no spending months.  In these months I will spend money on gas, groceries and normal bills, but will try not to spend money on other things.  Any eating out will be done using gift cards and will be limited due to Goal #1.  Any emergencies that arise would of course be exceptions to this.  I plan on January being my first no spending month.

Goal 4. Reduce Clutter and Waste

In the past I have been somewhat of a pack rat.  So far this year I have saved every paper my son has brought home from preschool.  As I was looking for a white elephant gift for a Christmas party I attended I discovered a couple of boxes that had been untouched from our move 3 years ago.  In a few of these boxes were things like half used candles and other “junk” that I have saved for who know why.  I started today by throwing things away as well as starting some boxes for goodwill.  I also went through the toys and donated/saved for future/ and threw out things there as well.  I hope to do more sorting over the coming week and really limit the things we keep/ bring into the house in the future.

 

I am hoping that I can stick to these goals and really get this new year off to a great start!

What goals do you hope to set/achieve in the new year?

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