Archives for category: Food

Hello!  Happy Valentines Day!

This morning I started my day with some cardio.  Today is my cardio day and I chose to do the elliptical machine (my Valentines day present from my husband!).  I have not used one in years.  My body knew it too!  I think I am a fairly fit individual but after a 30 minute training program I was dripping in sweat!  I am not used to this type of workout.  It was great and my knee felt wonderful afterward!

I read that this is a good sub for running.  With IT band problems like I have, sometimes biking can irritate it.  I am so happy the elliptical worked.  I felt great this morning.  After the workout I had a great green drink!

I was inspired by a Costco blender demo.  I did not end up with the blender (one day I would love a vitamix! Not on display at Costco, I just want one. :)) but I walked away with a great drink combo idea.  It was not a combo I would have come up with but I am glad I discovered it!

Into my 10-year-old blender (she gives it her blending best)  went the following:

  • Two giant handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/2 a large apple
  • 1/2 an orange
  • 1 TBS of chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup of filtered water (or more as needed)

Whirl it up and you have a great drink. It’s really fresh and has such a beautiful color!  With the seeds in it reminded me of a kiwi.

I paired it with some of my multi-grain bread and crunchy peanut butter topped with golden flax seeds!

Here are some of my other eats so far this week:

You gotta love a good old PB&J sometimes!

Chicken quasadilla!

Last night I was craving a simple meal and this fit the bill!

I was also going through my pictures last night (trying to empty my SD card) and I came across these pictures I don’t think I got a chance to show you.  If I did sorry for the repeat, I just love seeing the thyme go from being in the snow to in my dish, and did not want to delete them before sharing.

My thyme peaking out of the snow.

It still looks great when picked!

Don’t you love the color of the thyme on the pizza sauce I made? The purple and green of the thyme are so pretty!

The sun was shining yesterday morning (a rare sight in Michigan) and was illuminating some ice cycles that I tthought looked beautiful!

Well I hope you all had a great Valentines Day.

Talk to you soon!

One morning my husband and I made scrambled eggs.  It was more like I was cooking them after he scrambled them.  He is an excellent scrambler.  When he is finished scrambling the eggs they always look almost artificial to me.  They are shockingly uniform in color.  Whenever I scramble them there are usually bits of white here and there which does not bother me much.

After I cooked them and plated them we noticed that there were small black bits in the eggs.  Neither one of us had put pepper in the eggs.  It made me go back to the pan that we used.  Sure enough, the Teflon (Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)) coating on the pan was beginning to come off and went into our eggs!  I know that the coating is supposed to be non-toxic (unless you are Avian!).  I am not a bird, but even so I decided to go back to my cast iron pans.

My mom gave me all of her cast iron pans probably 10 years ago.  She has arthritis pretty bad and they can be heavy especially armed with food.  I used my cast iron pans quite a bit, but I still would use my Teflon coated ones the majority of the time.

They come in all shapes and sizes! Here is a sampling of the pans I have.

My favorite one is this little guy.

My mom would always make my breakfast in it before I went to school, whether it was eggs, little pancakes, or French toast!

Some of the pans I have were even used by my grandma!  She made my mother food in them!  I hope they last long enough for my daughter to cook for her family in them.  I find them easy to use and care for.  If you can get your hands on some of your relatives pans, I highly reccomend that you do! Here is what works for me:

If they are brand new you will need to season them.  This may sound complicated but basically you are just going to bake the pan in the oven with a coating of some type of oil on it.  I like vegetable shortening the best (I tried olive oil with bad results.  I’ll have to try it again because I like the idea of it better.)

Once seasoned I maintain it by doing the following:

  • Avoid using soap-clean with water only when possible.  Sometimes kosher salt on a damp cloth is enough.
  • Clean the pan immediately after cooking.  Remove the food and wash the pan!  It makes cleaning easier.
  • When clean, I like to heat it up on the stove top and wipe it out with shortening.  Once it all melts on the pan you can shut off the heat and wipe out the excess.

That’s pretty much it!  One bonus to the pans is that they can add small amounts of iron to your food.  Many people could benefit from that.  I’ll take a bit of that instead of Teflon any day!

In the background of the small cast iron pan you could see my cupboards.  We have been in our house for 12 years (in August) and things now need to be updated and replaced.  The cupboards are oak and they look(ed) a bit worn.  Not warped or anything, it’s just the finish that has worn off.  Another thing that bothered me was that they were trimmed with fake wood.  My husband was willing to purchase new ones, but I just felt bad for the oak.  It bothered me when I thought of ripping them out and just throwing them away.  So, I decided to tackle re-finishing them.

I have been working on it for about a month here and there.  I choose one area, remove the doors and hardware, and begin the task of stripping the old varnish off, sanding, and painting on new polyurethane.

Here is what they look like with the old finish (like the gold hinges with bronze knobs!  I tried painting the knobs a few years ago and it did not work out too great.  They peeled and I never got around to the hinges. :))

This is what they look like post stripping:

I complete one area and then move on to the next.  This is nice because my kitchen does not feel completely torn apart, and I get to see the effort that I am putting in is worth it.

Here is the finished product!

I have found new oak veneer that I can trim them out with, which gives me the solid oak look I always wanted and now I am getting the new finish I needed!

You can see the sides of the cabinets are in fake wood which is what I did not like.

I did buy new hardware which is slightly annoying because the new hinges look identical to the old (but are stainless steel not shiny gold of the old ones) but are just a bit off so that I need to fill the old holes with glue and toothpicks and drill new ones!

It’s a process but it is going good!  I am about ¾ of the way finished.  Next up will be new counter tops, hood fan, a sink, and painting too!  We replaced our refrigerator with a new stainless steel one (the old one was on it last legs and we wanted to replace it on our time not when it decided to die!) and now the white stove and dishwasher are staring at me.  In time they will get replaced too.  🙂

Here are some cookies my daughter and I made (decorations don’t stick too well to chocolate chip cookies.  :)).

We made them with dark chocolate chips.  I wanted to make cookies or a cake or something for Valentines Day, and thought I should wait to make them but the chocolate chips kept calling to me so I gave in.  It was a super cold and snowy day today so baking was almost a requirement anyway!   We will just have to make something else for Valentines Day too!  We used the good old Toll House recipe (shh don’t tell, we used Ghirardelli chips!).  I was inspired to make the cookies by a blogger named Alexandra.

She made them using the new Toll House dark chocolate recipe which I checked out and it’s the same as the old original one, it just uses ¼ cup less chocolate chips!  Go figure!  So I did leave out the extra ¼ cup.  My husband did not care for the dark chocolate in them, but he is not exactly a dark chocolate fan.  My daughter thought they were fantastic!  She is a dark chocolate lover like me.

This was sort of a test of my intuitive eating skills.  I said it was a good day for baking, and it was, but I also wanted to put my newly found skills to work.  Normally when making cookies, I would eat half the dough, eat 5 cookies after they came out, say what the heck and move on to ice cream!  The act of baking always felt like a trigger to me.  Today I made them after I had dinner and was full.    So, I knew I was not vulnerable (ravenous) and did not think it would set me off.  I still have not had any cookies or dough yet.  I am just not feeling like it.  I am still full from dinner and it’s not appealing.  I know they will be there when I want them and they will be great!  I think most of my binge eating problem was never having enough good food in me to feel satisfied, and then I would taste something like cookie dough and my body would make up for it.  I really feel like I am on a roll with intuitive eating!

That’s enough of my intuitive eating talk for a while.  It may get old to you but it’s pretty amazing to me that it is working!

Have a great night!  I will talk to you soon!

I love granola!  I love it with milk, on yogurt, straight out of the container, you get it.  I especially love granola that is crunchy with big clusters in it.

I have been on a hunt for a clumpy, crunchy granola recipe for quite some time.  Usually I get some recipes that do not clump at all, don’t have much flavor, or seem too oily.  I also like making my food when I can.  Especially stuff that normally comes in packages.  If I can replicate it, I am happy.

I have been working with one recipe for a long time that I felt had potential.  I tweaked it some more this last time I made it with some great results.

Look!  I made clumps!

They are fairly decent in size!

The trick to the clumps, I found in applesauce!

Here is what I did:

  • 4 C rolled oats
  • 1 C almonds smashed
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 C natural applesauce
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 3/4 C brown sugar

Have a toddler mix all the ingredients in a very large bowl.   Dump it all out on a baking sheet and throw it in a 250 degree oven and stir it every 15 minutes.  It took me about 1 hour and 45 minutes.  It’s trial and error.  I stopped about 15 minutes early to let it cool (put it on two to three sheets to cool it) and it was not as crunchy as I like, so back in the oven it went!  I was a bit heavy-handed with the apple sauce so that would make a difference too.

Now I have some for the pantry!

I have been loving to eat it out of a bowl with dried tart cherries!  I recently read that tart cherries are good for reducing inflammation.  I enjoy eating them so if they help with my knee then even better!  (I am ignoring the fact that they have sugar in them which I do know increases inflammation.  :))

My knee is still not feeling great.  It’s not as bad as it was just after I tried my marathon schedule for a few weeks.  I have been doing my Gabby Reece Tabata workouts three days a week and on the other three days I have normally been running.  Last week I did not even attempt to run on my scheduled days.  I just did stretching, icing, yoga etc.  I did run a bit this week and so far it went ok.  I could not go very far and I did more of a walk run.  One minute of walking to one minute of running for about 25 minutes or so.  I read that doing it that was is a good way to get back into it.  I have never tried it before so why not give it a go!

If you have ever had IT band issues and have had success with anything whether it’s stretches, exercises, supplements, or anything else you think helped (other than not running :)) I would love to know.

I think I may have found something that will help me.  I was doing hip drop exercises and my left hip (the bad one) was incredibly tight when doing this.  I never thought I had an issue with flexibility. In fact, one doctor told me I had great flexibility in my hips.  I guess I do for most exercises, but when I tried this one it was not easy to do.  This gives me hope.  If I work on this area in addition to the other stuff I am trying, it just might work!

That’s enough rambling for the night.  Let me know if you try making the granola and how it worked for you.  I am so proud of this batch!

Have a great night everyone!  I’ll talk to you soon.  🙂

Hello,

It’s been a while since I have written.  As you know I have been working on intuitive eating.  I read a book about it back in July of 2011 and it spoke to me.  I have been working on it ever since.

I had many times since reading it where I felt out of control and thought it was not working.  I had to go back and re-read the book (which I checked out from my local library) and it helped.  Before reading this book, I always thought there was something wrong with me.  I could not understand why I ate the way I did.  It was all or nothing with me.  My husband did not think I had anything wrong with me.  He said I have been like that ever since he has known me.  He always thought that since I maintained a healthy weight I was ok.  For someone who has never gone through it, it’s hard to understand.

Each time I had a binge episode it was due to being restrictive in some way:  Keeping my calories to a certain number, eliminating food groups/types (gluten, sugar, etc), signing up for food/health challenges.  Sometimes I would have a trigger and just not care.  I would give in knowing exactly what I was getting into and doing.  I have totally given in to the intuitive eating idea.  I can see how it takes time.  Little by little I have allowed myself to.

First I dropped my food checklists, I stopped measuring food so much, and I have stopped weighing myself often (several times a day).  I have been weighing myself about 2 times a month.  This has been the biggest thing for me.  I did not think I would be able to give up this one.  My weight has pretty much held steady for about 6 months (I fluctuated a bit with the holidays and my thyroid dropping, but have come back to normal with normal eating not restricting).   It’s nice not seeing the fluctuations from day to day when you don’t  weigh yourself often and wondering what is causing it (even though I know it is normal to fluctuate due to water retention, glycogen stores etc.)  I don’t use the numbers on the scale to celebrate a weight loss or send me into a calorie restricting mode from a higher number.  I am able to listen to my body and give it what it wants.

Some days I eat no meat, some days I do.  Some days I fill up on veggies and fruits and other days I need my bread/carb fix.  Some days I need candy or sweets, other times I don’t!  Some times it’s a bit of everything.  It’s so interesting.  I am eating like my 3 year old.  I am sure I have a ways to go.  Ideally I have always liked my weight at about 5-10lbs lighter.  I am curious to see if eating this way for a year or so will get me there.  Like I said I have had some bumps along the way so without the bumps I wonder what will come.  It’s possible that I am exactly where I need to be, a healthy weight for me

I am feeling balanced with my food.  Now exercise.  I have had problems in the past with my IT band causing pain in my knee.  As a result, my running was put on hold.  It allowed me to try other activities and forms of exercise.  As my knee got better I started to run more often (three days a week) and doing Tabata/circuit (three days a week) workouts.  I was doing what exercises I liked the best.  I even took it a step further and recently tried training for a marathon.  Not the best idea for me, but I was so excited about it.  I got through two weeks and my knee is now mad at me once more.  During those two weeks I felt mentally awesome, but I should have been listening to my physical body.  So with food I think I have found balance (In the past even claiming that has sent me on a binge, but it feels different now, I’ll be ok. J) but now I need to get it with my exercise.  I am taking it easy this week.  Lot’s of stretching, icing, ibuprofen, and some strength training.  No running for now, maybe next week.  This recent strain on my knee opened me up to listening to my body in other ways.  Over the past few days, I have left my exercise feeling better than when I started (my IT band was very tight when I started the workout and loose after), not overly exerted and having an extra sore knee which sometimes I am guilty of.  Just because I am not working out as vigorously this week does not mean I will gain weight.  It just means I will eat less.  I am learning that the body is brilliant and you can trust it.

I also have been feeling very angry about commercialism.  Someone always wants to sell you something.  Everywhere I go!  I can’t even pump gas anymore without a TV on the pump telling me I need to buy something!  I paid cash for something at a store and had to answer several questions on the debit/credit keypad related to my shopping experience and my potential to refer someone to the store!  It’s too much!  There were times recently when I felt like I could really use the advice of a professional in the area of intuitive eating.  I looked into various areas of it and decided I did not have an extra $200.00 for a 45 minute session or money to spend on the other options.  If you have some great information, and you know how to help someone, should it cost that much?  I am not judging, it just left me feeling very disappointed that I could get help if I spent a bunch of money and realized that I was the one that could help myself with advice from the book which I checked out for free and read.

So I am sharing my story in hopes that it helps someone else.  I found out about intuitive eating on another persons blog and it has helped me tremendously.  I am not a doctor, a dietitian, or a psychologist/therapist, but this is what has worked for me.  If you need to seek the help of a professional, please do.  For me it was more of making my self do the work suggested in the book little by little.   It’s been a long road for me and I feel so much better and I know I will continue to.

Editors Note:  I wrote this last week.  I did make it through the Super Bowl and ate normally.  I also got a phone call this morning from my endocrinologist saying that my thyroid is still too low.  They increased the dose of my medication.  This is good because I have been feeling lazy and cold again.  Now I know there is a reason for it!  J  I also have recovered from my marathon attempt.  My knee IT band is tight again but not with the pain that I had last week.

Here are some of the dishes/items I have been eating lately.  You can see a wide range of foods from meatless meals to meaty hamburgers.  The important thing for me is to eat when I am truly hungry and to stop when I am full.  It sounds very simple for some, but for others it’s a bit more complicated.

Chicken Stir-Fry!

Sometimes you just need a burger!

A salad with spinach, berries, feta, and balsalmic vinagrette.

Multi-grain bread stuffed with Gouda cheese.  A new obsession of mine!

Hearty beef and barley soup.

Veggie and berry platter.  So good and colorful!

Chicken curry on white rice.  What a nice change up for me!

That’s all for now.  Have a great night and I will talk to you soon!

Hello!

How are you?  Good I hope.  I have been feeling good these days.  I thought I would share some of my eats from the week with you.

For breakfast, I have been a little tired of oatmeal.  I have been using polenta made as a breakfast cereal (no parmesan etc.) and topping it with maple syrup (the real kind) and berries.  It’s a nice change up.  I love the yellow color against the pretty blue of the berries.  It’s also the University of Michigan’s colors which are a bonus (Yay!  We won the Sugar Bowl!).

I even made some banana bread which I have enjoyed for breakfast.  My husband loves this recipe.  It is domed high, and has a nut-crumb topping!  He thinks its suburb!  I like that it uses up four large bananas.  I had a ton to use up!

For lunches sometimes a blue cheese and walnut salad has been on my menu.  It’s so good!  You can never go wrong with that.

For dinner last night, I made eggplant cutlets (with a nut topping)…

 and a “Mac and Cheese” that uses cauliflower instead of noodles.  It also has nutritional yeast in it which I was afraid of since I have never used it before, but in this dish it works! 

They were both incredible!  I got the recipes out of some Vegetarian Times Magazines.    

That’s some of my eats for this week.  I am enjoying our weather here.  It’s January and we had a 50 degree day in Michigan yesterday.  My daughter and I took full advantage of it.  Biking, walking dogs, and playing in the back yard.  I wish it were 50 all winter. 🙂

Talk to you later!

Hello there!

In keeping up with my trying to go meatless more often and still make my carnivore husband happy, I made a Cuban Bean and Rice dish.

Here it is simmering!

Simmering some more…

It took about 15-20 minutes to simmer.  I was hungry, but it was worth it!  I really enjoyed this dish!  I ate it with some green beans to make an extra “beany” meal and get some green in.

My husband even enjoyed it and would eat it again! Yay!  One dish to add to the list.  🙂

For dessert, (by my daughters request) we made some cornbread.  She is the “dumper” and the mixer.  It was the best one we have made yet!

Earlier in the day I had my avocado egg mixture on top of some lettuce and tomatoes.  It was great as a salad dressing!  I got the idea to top a salad from themindoffreya.  She used my recipe to top a caesar salad.

That’s all for tonight.  I hope you all had a great day.  🙂

Talk to you later!

Hello everyone! I don’t know if you are still with me. It’s been a while since my last post. I have many reasons for it. The biggest one being energy. If you remember I had been feeling very weak. Well, it turns out my thyroid dropped drastically from July to November. I have a new dose of thyroid medication and am feeling like blogging again. My thyroid has not been that low in 10 years and that was when I was first diagnosed!

I am still working on intuitive eating. “It’s a process, not a perfect.” as someone reminded me. I also went through a phase where I just did not want to blog about food, or read blogs about food. It seemed to influence what I ate, how I ate, or thought I should eat. This brings me to my third reason for not food blogging in a while.

I started to feel bad about posting so-called “healthy” dishes. What exactly is healthy? It varies from person to person.  It depends on their economic status, heritage/culture, dietary restrictions and probably other situations/issues I am not thinking of. Who am I to say “eat brown rice” (not that I ever did, our would it just might be implied when it shows up on my plate in a blog.)when someone might have grown up with white rice and its part of their family something they enjoy and have eaten moderately. I know I was probably over thinking things and this might not be the greatest example (and I know I don’t have that much clout :)), but that is part of why I stopped blogging. Another part is a three-year-old that never naps. 🙂

I have kept up my running/fitness regimen and am happy to say my mileage has gone up once again! I am also enjoying Tabata training. This I have learned from Gabby Reece’s website. I still love following her workouts. This type of training switches up the normal circuit. I love the change!

So I do have one thing to share that I have been enjoying for lunch these days.  I love avocado and I am the only one that will eat it in my family.  I decided to use it for lunch since everyone eats what they want separate from everyone else anyway.  It’s very simple, cheap, meatless, and I cringe here when I say “healthy”.  It is to me anyway.  🙂

  • ¼ of an avocado mashed
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Diced red onion (I like a ton)
  • Boiled egg diced

Fold it all together and scoop and eat it with a mini wheat bagel (or whatever you like)!  It gives me a chance to eat avocado without grossing my whole family out by adding it to a family meal, except for maybe when they see it.  🙂

Any goals for the new year?

Today I ran 4 miles and got cleaned up to go to a park.  We went to an environmental discovery center.  They have an under water dome inside a pond!  You can observe pond life with a “fish’s eye view”!

You walk down a hallway that opens up into a large dome.

Here I am in the dome.  You can see some fish behind me.

Here is the view from the dome back out to the entrance.

It’s really cool, and my daughter loves it there!  Once in a while people clean the outside of the tank.  We saw more fish today than ever before!  It was a good day to go, they had decent visibility.

I went to library for some food inspiration and found Mark Bittmans new book.  I love the looks and ideas of his books.  Sometimes I think the recipes are just so so but it gives you a good starting point.  I like to make recipes as they are and then tweak it the next time.

I like his ideas on eating.  He has a good idea on what he calls sane eating.  It basically comes down to this:

  1. Eat fewer animal products than average.
  2. Eat all the plants you can manage.
  3. Make legumes and whole grains part of your life.
  4. Avoid processed foods.
  5. Everything else is a treat-and you can have treats daily.

Sane eating to him is about moderation, not deprivation.  You know that I am working on intuitive eating and this fits right in.

You may have noticed I have not been posting my eats for the entire day.  I am sorry if this is something you enjoyed about my blog.  When I post that way it makes my day feel like it revolves around food and food is the center of everything.  I am still eating healthy and good food is important, but I want to focus on other things in my life and have food just be food and not the focus, if all that makes sense.  I still want to share some dishes I have tried, snacks that may be new, or places I have gone.  I hope you stick with me.  It’s just what I need to do right now.  With that being said on to some new Bittman recipes!

Dinner was a whole wheat pasta with spinach, tossed with butter, oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese!  I loved this dish!  I will make this again!  No disappointment and no tweaking either!  Simple and delicious!

There goes the last of my “Managers Special” spinach.  I am sorry to see it go!

I had a bunch of bananas to use up to and I made another Bittman dessert called:  Tropical Oatstacks.

The description is a cookie that falls between banana bread and macaroons.  I would say that is spot on.  There is no added sugar only:  butter, three mashed bananas, vanilla extract, oats, cashews, unsweetened coconut, baking powder, and salt! I loved the idea of that!  They are pretty good but are not very sweet wich has its place too.  They came out better than I expected.  It’s a fun healthy treat.

That’s it for the night.

Have a good one!

Dinner tonight was interesting.  I have a giant “Managers Special” container of baby spinach to use up.  I was eating peanuts, trying to figure out what I wanted for dinner and I decided I would try to combine the two.

I searched the internet and tried the first recipe I found for peanut dressing.  It is from Cooking Light Magazine and it goes like this:

Cooking Light Magazine, May 2009

Dressing:

3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
1 tablespoon reduced-fat peanut butter
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons dry roasted peanuts

It was better than I expected.  I loved the mix of veggies I used:

  • spinach
  • romaine
  • carrots
  • edamame
  • broccoli

I liked the dressing but I was disappointed that it was from Cooking Light Magazine.  I have never had the full fat version (or any version for that matter) of this type of dressing, and would have liked to try it, before a lighter one.  It was good, and a new combo of flavors to me.  I will make it again!

I hope you have a good night!

Have you ever had a peanut dressing?  Do you have a good recipe for one?  Please share.  🙂

The first meal my husband ever made for me was a cheese ball salad.  We had just met in college, and were hanging out quite a bit.  When I saw him prepare it, I was pretty sure it was going to be awful.  Green olives and cheese balls?  I could not believe that all together the salad worked!

It’s something we enjoy from time to time. It’s mostly healthy. If you are looking for a salad treat, it sure is fun and tasty too.  I like the nostalgia of it as well!

Layered on is:

  • Leafy greens
  • deli ham thinly sliced into strips
  • diced tomato
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • cheese balls
  • pimento stuffed green olives (a must!)

It is all drizzled in Catalina dressing.  Out of the bottle is ok, but here is my favorite recipe for it:

  • 1 c ketchup
  • 3/4 c white vinegar
  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

The recipe makes a ton, you may want to cut it in half!

Enjoy!