Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The First 6 Months Recipes

As you know, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to change not only my eating habits, but my family's as well. Habit will have a huge impact on their health choices as adults. So I have felt the pressure to get away from the temptation of pre-packaged meals. These are the yummy ones that have stuck and have replaced others of my go-to meal choices!

Smashed Sweet Potatoes With Coconut Milk
courtesy jillianmichaels.com
1 1/2 pounds potato(es), sweet, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/2 cup(s) coconut milk, light
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch nutmeg, ground
Place the sweet potatoes in a glass microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high until very tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the hot, cooked potatoes to a mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk, salt, and nutmeg. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes and combine with the other ingredients. Serve.

Shrimpo de Gallo
by The Pioneer Woman
1 pound Cooked Shrimp (tails Removed), Chopped
½ whole Red Onion, Diced Finely
½ cups Green Or Black Olives, Chopped
2 whole Tomatoes, Diced
2 whole Fresh Jalapeno Peppers, Minced
2 whole Avocados, Chopped
2 whole Limes, Juiced
Kosher Salt To Taste
2 cups Cilantro, Chopped
*(I like to add a healthy glug of white vinegar for a little bite!)

Preparation Instructions:
Combine shrimp, red onion, olives, tomatoes, and jalapenos in a large bowl. Add lime juice to taste, then a dash of kosher salt. Add cilantro. Stir gently with a spoon, then taste on a tortilla chip so you’ll have an accurate gauge of the salt content. Add more salt and/or lemon juice if needed.
Chill until serving. Note that the avocado will brown if too much time passes, so if you want to make this ahead of time, leave out the avocado until just before serving.
Serve with tortilla chips!

Rice Bowl
Insanity Nutrition Guide
(single serving recipe, multiply accordingly)
1 cup cooked Brown Rice
2oz Chicken breast cooked (or you can scramble an egg and substitute it in)
1/3cup yellow frozen corn
1/3 cup frozen peas

Mix. Serve. You can serve it with soy sauce, but it is great all by itself!! My kids beg for this. Even the ones that won't eat the veggies on their own!!

Quinoa Bowl
(variation on a theme from the rice bowl)
(again, single serving recipe, multiply accordingly)
1 cup cooked quinoa (red or white)
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
2 oz chicken
1 Tbsp Thai peanut satay sauce

Mix. Serve.

Turkey and Avocado Rolls
Slice an avocado longwise, salting it just a tiny bit, and wrap it in some turkey sandwich meat...Mmmm! So good!!

Sandwich Tweaking
Laughing Cow spreads have the same number of calories in it as mayonaise, but it is nutritionally better. AND if I use it on my sandwich instead, I can leave off the cheese without feeling ill used. If I put cheese on with it, it is LUXURIOUS!!

Oatmeal-Flax Pancakes

courtesy of Livestrong
1 1/2 cups Quick Oats
1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (or whatever whole wheat or all purpose flour you've got)
2 tbsp Sugars, Brown
1 1/2 cups Skim Milk
2 egg
2 tbsp Butter
1/4 cup Flax, Ground
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt

Mix and cook in a pan or griddle...Serve with syrup or apple butter or fruit spread...Enjoy!!! (These are SO much more filling and nutritionally wise than Eggos or similar items!!)

Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats
(Seriously the best change I've made!! And these are the best of the best!!)

Cook according to directions. Add honey, cinnamon, and bananas. Or brown sugar and cinnamon. Or honey and raisins. Or...the list is endless and it ALL good!!!

Dijon Oven-Fried Chicken

(This is a hodge-podge from several different recipes that I merged off of the cornocopia of Google)

Take chicken breast, roll in Dijon mustard, roll in seasoned bread crumbs, lay in an olive oiled glass cookware. Cook at 350-400 depending on your time available.

Apricot Scallops
Pan sear scallops with a tiny bit of olive oil sprayed on pan so it doesn't stick. Serve with apricot fruit spread. Yummm!! A little of cinnamon is fantastic on it, too. This was my quickie invention based off a delicious appetizer at a Moroccan restaurant Ethan and I went to a few years ago.

Squash and Zucchini Bake
Slice a couple of squash and zucchini
spray with olive oil (THIS is a GREAT purchase!!)
roll in bread crumbs
bake at about 350 degrees (Almost as good as fried!!)

Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Thanks to a BBQ restaurant we went to this last week, generously dice cucumbers and tomatoes, mix with a light Balsamic Vinegarette dressing, and chill. Delicious!!

Red Beans and Rice
I would be lying if I said that I have quit all pre-packaged meals. But I haven't bought a single Hamburger Helper or lasagne since I committed to our health. I have found my kids ALL love scratch corn bread and Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice. So, we keep it on hand for rough nights. It is still a MUCH better option than most pre-packaged meals. Frozen or boxed!!

My very favorite corn bread recipe is Quaker's. It used to be on the box, but now it's hit-or-miss. It can be used with ANY cornmeal, but NOT a cornmeal mix, however, as I learned!!)

Here is the cornbread recipe:

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Quaker (or whatever you have) enriched corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 egg whites or 1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400 F. Grease 8 or 9 inch pan. Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Serve warm.
(Fast and one of my all time favorites!!)

Salad Substitutes? Always use a sweet and light dressing on a fruit and spinach salad. For a little protein or to make into a salad meal, you can add cheese, chicken or ham, and nuts. I am currently in love with Rasberry Vinegarettes and Bolthouse Mango Vinegarette. Seriously wonderful!! Unlimited combinations!!

I also tweaked a Potato Soup tonight that turned out great, but I still have to figure out it's nutritional properties...so while scrumptious, I will wait on the recipe...maybe next week.

And finally, my Less Evil Macaroni. Make up a box (1 Large [Barilla] or 2 Small [Kraft type]) of elbow macaroni, your choice, but I would encourage whole wheat pasta. Add 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/4 of parmesan cheese. Add frozen peas. My kids are all fans. And it isn't quite as processed as the actual box's "cheese" powder, but just as fast and, I think, yummier.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day 2011

I posted for Father's Day for my Daddy last year. I don't think that I can top it, frankly. That pretty much sums it all up.

But I wanted to put together a collage this year of the things I remember specifically, as a child with my Daddy.

I remember the Giant Fake Book and the Omnichord!! I remember singing at the top of our lungs all the songs we loved! I remember cranking the music and singing in the car while snarfing down stale (the best kind!)

Daddy, "And if you fix your bathing suit...and if you do it right, you'll be the hero woavenite..." *snort*

I can hear you yelling at me to look out the windows instead of reading as we drove to North Dakota.

I can smell the crayons as I contemplated the idea of a pastel suit in Noel Paul Stookey's album, before I knew what "pastel" meant. (I concluded, wrongly, that is was along the neon lines of Crayola.)

I can smell the hot vinyl of the car seats and feel the hot metal in the truck bed as we chased down the ice cream man...our very first time...

I remember you reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Farmer Boy" to me.

I remember learning that exercise was fun on the Paracourse.

I remember Par 95's at the Frisbee Golf Course. :)

I remember being important and feeling confident in being loved. I adored spending time with you, and I remember you genuninely enjoying spending time with us.

I remember your eyes squinched up in laughter lines when you explained why "Johnny Sands" was funny.

I remember sitting at the bathroom mirror, trying to squinch my eyes up like you...and terribly disappointed that they wouldn't...because I thought your smile lines were SO COOL!!

I remember you running and biking to Alan Parsons, because you liked how you felt when you were working out...while I sat reading (as usual) and enjoying your rockin' music...

Thank you for Big Band and "Dizzy" and Ella Fitzgerald.

Thank you for happy memories and for fun music...and running through life with passion and joy!!!

I love you, Daddy!! Happy Father's Day!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rat 6-7-11

I am here checking in, as I promised. I am not, however, where I wanted to be. I think I am in a good place, maybe even a better one, but not where I expected to be.

I am on temporary hold in the the Insanity program. I got through the first month, swimmingly. I did as I was supposed to, wrote down every single calorie, exercised every day according to the program plan. I did the 5th week, that was actually supposed to be a semi-rest week. Then, I did Day 1 of Month 2. And the infuriating happened.

About 3/4 of the way through the work out, a mind-blowing electrical charge shot up my arm to my armpit while doing planks and push-ups...it about dropped me. But when I looked down, I couldn't see any damage...and finished my workout in some slight pain and continuous little shocks...about 20 minutes the inside of my wrist was green, a perfectly square bruise, with a bullseye light spot in the center. And it scared the pants off me.

I stuck it out through the day, as it got worse and looked worse. I would forget about it, and bump it, and it would hurt so badly! I finally sucked it up and took myself to the urgent care for some x-rays. The doctor there had never seen anything like it...after the x-rays, it was concluded that I had dislocated a carpal bone in my wrist... They made me an appointment 2 days later, with a hand specialist. At that visit, I discovered that I had not dislocated anything...my bones were in the right places for them, but they were not quite where "everyone else's were". Great, now I am a freak straight to my bones.

Officially, I have damaged my ulnar nerve. It may fix itself, or it may not. The hope that it would resolve itself in a week, is gone, as it is now 2 weeks later. I find myself thinking that if I could have just disocated my bone, they could have popped it right back, and I could have gone about my business...

I am unable to do all the plank and push-ups required for the Insanity program. So it is on hold. I am now running, skating, biking, and doing a few of the P90X and Jillian workouts on rotation. I wish I could tell you that I am 2 weeks from finishing the Insanity program. I am pleased to say, however, that having completed the first month of Insanity was enough to jump-start a lot of life changes. I am still planning on doing the in-line marathon in October and am planning to make good on my 15 year old self's desire to do a triathlon. I am planning to get my body in shape running enough to complete a sprint distance marathon within the year...I have bike and swim under my belt...I only need to be able to run about 3 miles...

Officially, at this point I have lost 8.5 lbs. I feel so much better. It's funny, I lost weight before on Weight Watchers...and it worked....but I never felt so GOOD as I have while working out. I feel like old me...when I worked out for the fun of it. I am only 2 lbs from my Goal #1) Get my weight down to "healthy". Then I can more on to the more fun goal of Goal #2) Lookin' Good! :)

SO. There you have it...still holding strong!!

Finally, here is this rat's recipe:
Oatmeal-Flax Pancakes

(The link contains the nutritional content.)

1 1/2 cups Quick Oats
1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (or whatever whole wheat or all purpose flour you've got)
2 tbsp Sugars, Brown
1 1/2 cups Skim Milk
2 egg
2 tbsp Butter
1/4 cup Flax, Ground
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt

Mix and cook in a pan or griddle...Serve with syrup or apple butter or fruit spread...Enjoy!!!