Thursday, December 10, 2009
makes 4 dozen cookies
you can freeze the dough portion or the baked cookies (I love cookies I can mix the dough ahead and freeze)
2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 c oats (not instant)
1 c dried cranberries
6 ozs white chocolate, coarsely chopped (I've liked Ghiradelli)
Preheat oven to 350, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Stir flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl, set aside.
Cream butter, both sugars, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture, stir with a rubber scraper or wooden spoon until completely blended.
Fold the oats, cranberries and white chocolate into the dough until evenly distributed.
Drop dough in 3 tbsp mounds onto prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 in apart
Bake for 11-13 minutes or until golden but still a little moist. Let Cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack.
For a more decorative cookie, dip half of each cookie into melted white chocolate.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Chicken Corn Chowder
2 tbsp butter
1 med onion, chopped
2 celery, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp flour
1 c chicken or vegetable stock
3 c milk
2 cooked chicken breast halves, chopped
1 can cream style corn
2 red potatoes, diced
1 1/2 c frozen corn
1/4 tsp thyme (or 1 tsp fresh)
about 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
- Melt butter in a large Dutch Oven or stock pot over medium heat.
- Add onion, celery, and jalapeno and cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.
- Add flour, cooking 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add chicken stock to deglaze pan, stirring up any bits of flour stuck to the bottom.
- Stir in milk and remaining ingredients.
- Bring to a boil, cook until thick (about 5 minutes).
**the creamed corn isn't necessary. If I don't have it in the pantry, I just add a little more corn and maybe some cornstarch in the stock if I want it thicker. This chowder has a little bit of a bite from the jalapeno. If you don't have a fresh pepper, you can also used canned green chilies (I used these last night). This soup does require a good bit of salt to really taste fresh and "bright".
I've served this soup when I had friends over for lunch and topped it with a couple tortilla chips and a little sharp cheddar cheese. For a more decorative serving, I'd make multi-colored tortilla strips to garnish. This Chicken Corn Chowder is incredibly filling and satisfying for such a quick meal, taking me about 30 minutes from start to finish. Less if I use onion and celery that I've already chopped and thrown in the freezer.
1 lb lean ground beef (I prefer sirloin)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c fresh bread crumbs
2 cloves finely diced garlic
1/2 med onion, chopped
3-4 sundried tomatoes, very finely chopped
28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 c prepared tomato sauce/marinara
Salt and Pepper*
Garlic Olive Oil
* to taste
- Combine ground beef, beaten egg, bread crums, sun-dried tomatoes, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. I use my hands for this part. It takes less pounding to get everything combined, keeping the meat more tender.
- Form ground beef into large balls, I try for slightly larger than golf balls. The large size helps keep the meatballs from becoming dry.
- Brown meatballs in a hot pan.
- Once meatballs are mostly brown, add a tbsp or 2 of garlic olive oil, onion and garlic until onion is translucent.
- Place meatballs in slow cooker and add olive oil, onion and garlic.
- Cover meatballs with diced tomatoes and prepared marinara. Season as needed.
- Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
I served these over spaghetti, making for a quick dinner I could do in the brief moments little man would let me set him down.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Chicken breasts, naked
2 c Cheese (of choice)
1 c diced tomatoes, drained
1 box Pasta of choice
- chop and brown chicken breasts, lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and Sicilian Blend
- Prepare Pasta al dente
- In a greased casserole dish, combine cooked chicken, pasta, tomatoes, 1 tsp Sicilian Blend and cheese.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake at 375 for approx 20 minutes or until bubbling.
I modified this recipe to use up some leftovers and to use in the slow cooker. I substituted about 1 cup of left over queso for the cheese. I layered frozen chicken breasts, the tomatoes, and the queso dip in the slow cooker. This I seasoned with salt, pepper, and the Sicilian Blend. I set this on Low and let it cook for about four hours, stirring in cooked pasta at serving time.
***Combine equal parts garlic, onion powder, oregano and basil.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Yuuuummmmm....new favorite. I also stirred in some natural sliced almonds to add some protein.
Split Pea and Ham Soup
1 package (16 oz) dried split peas
2 c diced fully cooked ham
1 c diced carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
5 c boiling water
1 c hot milk
- In a 5 qt slow cooker, layer the first nine ingredients in order listed (without stirring).
- Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until vegetables are tender.
- Stir in milk.
- Discard bay leaves before serving.
How easy is that! Since I had the ham bone, I threw that in too :-)
Christmas is by far my favorite holiday. Going to a Catholic school as a kid, Advent and Christmas meant gorgeous decorations, my favorite church music and a ton of great food.
This week I made sure to change my table over to more season appropriate colors :)
Santa Mozart even got into the holiday action, although a bit reluctantly:
When I need a break from the holiday swirl, I'm working on planning our 2010 garden calendar. Our veggies were pretty successful in 09, despite the moving and a late start so I'm excited about this year's plan!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
To glaze today's ham I used honey, brown sugar and a packet of apple cider (the just add water type). We're having oven roasted potatoes and brussels sprouts with it. Super Yum.
Speaking of brussels sprouts. I have a new favorite product. Birds Eye Steamfresh Baby Brussels Sprouts. Single Serving packets. You can steam them in the microwave. Taste like fresh. Healthy eating just doesn't get any easier than that. LOVE THEM!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Popped into the bathroom to grab the cell phone I left in there. And realize that while I actually look put together like a normal person (as opposed to post-partum dishevled), there are three small stains on the front of shirt.
At least I had cute shoes.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
A Sample Pouch Preparation
4 chicken breast portions
2 small leeks
2 carrots, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
- Grease (I use Pam High Heat) 4 squares of parchment paper.
- Divide leeks equally among each piece.
- Place 1 chicken portion on each paper
- Combine carrots and garlic. Season with lightly with salt and pepper (or any other seasoning you like) and place on top of chicken portions.
- Carefully wrap up each pouch, making sure the paper folds are sealed.
- When cooking, bake pouches at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and serve hot.
- Pouches are easily frozen. I wrap each pouch in aluminum foil and place pouches in a Ziploc Freezer bag.
- You can use any combination of protein and vegetable. I frequently toss a diced red potato in as well for a complete meal.
- This is a great use for frozen chicken breasts and fish fillets.
- A little drizzle of olive oil, especially paired with a squeeze of fresh lemon, lime or orange, creates a light sauce.
- For quick meals, I sometimes will make several of these on the weekend and cook a big pot of brown rice that I store in single serving containers. Then, for lunch on the go, I can heat up the rice and eat with my pouch protein- healthy, filling and quick.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Pappa al Pomodoro (tomato and bread soup)
1/3 c EVOO
3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 28 oz can of plum tomatoes or 2 1/2 lbs very ripe fresh plum tomatoes
Pinch of crushed chili flakes (optional)
6 c broth (any kind)
1 lb stale whole wheat country bread, cut into 1" cubes
salt and pepper
6-8 large basil leaves, finely shredded
- Combine the oil and garlic in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Saute over low heat until the garlic is golden, 3-4 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and chili flakes and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
- Reserving a ladleful of the broth, add about 5 cups to the tomatoes. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, add the bread with just enough of the reserved broth to soften it. Mash the bread, using the bottom of a whisk. Add to the soup, stir well to combine and gently simmer for about 10 minutes. If the soup appears too thick, add a little broth or water. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- remove soup from heat, stir in basil and serve with a drizzle of olive oil
For those in the Ft Campbell area, Silke's has a wonderful country wheat bread that is perfect for using in this soup. (just make sure to keep a crusty end to dip)
Monday, November 16, 2009
Today is the first day of my new training cycle. I'll be posting the daily details of my workout on a blog I set up just for that: All My Progress. I'll be updating weekly, especially in relation to my cooking/nutrition plans on this blog. So there will be some overlap. :)
I'm using a plan based off Lou Schuler's The New Rules of Lifting for Women. It's a great back-to-basics book. I have tendency to jump in with both feet and overwork myself, so I wanted something that was structured and easy to come back to if I get off track during the very hectic next two months. Holidays, possible deployments, travel, trying to figure out this whole parenting thing.
My first 4 weeks of Strength Training:
The New Rules of Lifting for Women
Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Workout 1 2 15 60
Workout 2 2 15 60
Workout 3 2 12 60
Workout 4 2 12 60
B1. Push Up
Workout 1 2 15 60
Workout 2 2 15 60
Workout 3 2 12 60
Workout 4 2 12 60
B2. Seated Row
Workout 1 2 15 60
Workout 2 2 15 60
Workout 3 2 12 60
Workout 4 2 12 60
C1. Step Up
Workout 1 2 15 60
Workout 2 2 15 60
Workout 3 2 12 60
Workout 4 2 12 60
C2. Prone Jackknife
Workout 1 2 8 60
Workout 2 2 8 60
Workout 3 2 10 60
Workout 4 2 10 60
I eat the same breakfast every day for a week, then rotate. Just makes it easier for me. This week will be Nested Eggs.
lunch- Cranberry Chicken Salad
dinner- Creamy Chicken Chili
lunch- leftover chili
dinner- Couscous Stirfry
lunch-tilapia pouch with rice
dinner- egg fried rice
dinner- chicken and broccoli pasta
dinner- acorn squash with beans and rice
dinner- CrockPot Roast
Sunday, November 15, 2009
So, I baked a dish full of chicken tenderloins (I buy the large frozen bags of them and cook in large qualities to use as my "snack" protein) covered in the left over sauce. Took about 25 minutes cooked at 350 degrees.
I served the chicken with Near East's Wheat Couscous and green beans. Yuummmm. I sprinkled some Craisins in the Couscous for good measure.
**note- I don't put butter in my Couscous as the directions show, I just don't find it necessary.
Super quick dinner- took me less than thirty minutes and used up the sauce that I might have otherwise thrown away.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
We have had beautiful fall weather to herald the holiday season. We had a busy day of yard clean up and errands planned, so it was a good day for a Crock Pot comfort meal. This one fit the bill.
Cranberry Pork Roast
1 boneless rolled pork loin roast (2 1/2- 3 lbs)
1 16 oz can of jellied cranberry sauce
1/2 c sugar
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cold water
Salt to taste
Place pork roast in a 5 qt slow cooker.
In a small bowl, mash cranberry sauce; stir in sugar, juice, mustard, and cloves. Pour over roast.
Cover and Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.
Remove roast and keep warm.
Skim fat from juices.
Pour juices into a measuring cup. Add water if needed to make 2 cups of liquid.
Pour into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into pan with juices. Bring back to a boil.
Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Season with Salt.
Serve sliced pork with cranberry gravy.
I made a couple substitutions. I used sage instead of cloves because I love sage with pork. I also added water in place of the cranberry juice because the last time I made this I felt the cranberry was a little too intense and I didn't have any juice in the fridge :). I will serve this tonight with either sauteed or roast potatoes depending on how much time I have, but its excellent with creamy mashed potatoes as well.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Creamy White Chili
1 lb chicken breast, bite sized pieces
1 med chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp oil
2 can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
1-2 can (4 oz can) chopped green chiles ( Mom uses 1 can)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
Saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil in a large saucepan unitl chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chiles, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and whipping cream.
In the interest of losing baby weight and using what I had here in the house, I made a couple substitutions. I used two large breast halves (the ones with the ribs attached) to make my own broth since I find most of the prepared ones too salty. I used the meat from those breasts in the chili. I used fresh oregano from my hrb garden in place of dried. I also used Stonyfield Plain Low Fat yogurt in place of the sour cream, which is a usual sub for me. I decided to go ahead with 1/2 c of whipping cream because it's so little for the whole pot. Super yuuuuuummmmm.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
1/2 box lasagna noodles
16 ozs shredded mozzarella
2 lbs ricotta
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare noodles al dente.
Combine 2/3 of mozzarella, ricotta, eggs, and season with salt, pepper and basil. Mix well.
Spray/Grease a 9"x13" baking dish.
Layer noodles, sauce, and ricotta mix to the top of dish (I did 3 layers of each).
Top with remaining mozzarella.
Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until bubbling.
Remove foil and bake for additional 10 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and let sit for 10 minutes to set.
Serve and enjoy
**Note: I normally use homemade sauce that has more veggie fiber and less salt and sugar, but I'm using up some open sauce that I keep for those baby emergencies where I don't have time for anything except boiling water for spaghetti.
Chicken and Dumplings
Salt and Pepper
Put cleaned chicken into large stockpot and cover with water.
Slice carrots, celery and onion, adding to stockpot.
Bring to a boil and cook until chicken is done.
In a seperate bowl, put approximately 2 c flour (seasoned with salt and pepper). Add enough broth from stock pot to make a dough.
Roll out dough, with the thickness depending on preference.
Cut dough into strips, then diagonally.
Bring broth to a boil and drop in dumplings.
Debone cooled chicken, shred and add back to simmering broth.
Dissolve flour in cold water and add to broth until desired gravy consistency is found. (about three tbsp worked for me).
- For those not from the south (and not used to traditional chicken and dumplings) roll the dumpling dough thinner.
- 2-4 Chicken breasts works in place of a whole chicken with less cleaning. I like using the frozen chicken breasts with rib meat. You get all white meat, but still the benefit of bone for the broth.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I've decided to take advantage of the opportunity that MyCAA offers to add nutritional counseling and renew my personal training certification.
The more I learn, the more I find myself believing in a holistic approach to wellness. I know that my personal wellness has been greatly enhanced by changing the way I eat and the products I use in my home. I know that the more fit I am, the better I feel. (Although getting my thyroid functioning normally again will certainly help me in that regard!). I'm excited about this change.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Creamy Asparagus Soup
- 2 lbs asparagus
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 5 cups chicken broth
- Leaves of 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
1 Cut asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces.
2 Cook onion in butter in a 4 or 6-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add asparagus pieces and salt and pepper to taste, then cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add 5 cups broth, thyme, and simmer, covered, until asparagus is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
3 Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth. If you want a very creamy texture, you can put the purée through a food mill or press it through a sieve. Transfer to a bowl (use caution when blending hot liquids), and return to pan. Stir in cream. Stir in a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I have always loved Fall. As a kid, it meant going back to school, new clothes, great food, and that the holidays were coming.
As an adult, I still love the weather, warm soft clothes, great food.
But it means the holidays are coming.
It's very easy for me to get so wrapped up in planning for all the busyness of the upcoming holiday season (multiplied by impending deployment this year) that I completely forget to enjoy my favorite season. So, this morning, I took a moment to enjoy the sunshine after a week of gray and rain.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I'm a big fan of promoting local businesses. Even better when that business makes my new favorite wine!
With family visiting this past weekend, we stopped by Beachaven Winery on Sunday afternoon. They offer free tours and wine tasting (something we've paid up to $20/person for at other wineries). The winery is very pretty and the staff friendly. They kindly offered to hold my stroller behind their desk since the tour went up and down stairs.
As a bonus to a really pleasant afternoon, Beachaven offers a Chablis style wine that neatly stands in for one my personal favorites at a much lower price. Kevin and I were introduced to Joesph Drouhin Chablis by a server at the Melting Pot in Tacoma, WA on our 1st anniversary. Paired with tart green apples (and a sharp cheese fondue on that occaision), it is fabulous and one of my favorite treats. Beachaven offers a wine with similar notes but a significantly lower price tag in Melody.
Melody, along with a few others, will undoubtedly be taking up permenant residence in our wine fridge.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
3 C frozen primavera vegetables (I used green beans because that's what I had)
6 naked chicken breasts (I used 3)
Salt and Freshly ground Pepper
1 1/2 tsp italian seasoning (I make my own: parsley, oregano, basil, garlic powder)
1 14oz jar pasta sauce (I used one can of diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp crushed garlic (2 sm cloves or 1 large chopped very fine)
1 24oz tube pre-made polenta, sliced 1/2" thick
Combine frozen vegetable medley in the bottom of a 5 qt slow cooker. Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. Place chicken on top of vegetables.
In a large bowl, stir together pasta sauce/tomatoes, tomato paste, and garlic. Pour 2/3 over chicken and vegetables. Top chicken with polenta slices and cover with remaining sauce. Cover and cook on the LOW setting for 4-5 hours.
In the Oven:
Preheat over to 400 degrees.
In a 13"x9" greased pan, layer chicken, vegetables, and polenta. Stir together pasta sauce/tomatoes, tomato paste, and garlic and pour over chicken. Cover with aluminum foil, and cook for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
We really liked this recipe. It was easy to assemble. I cooked it in the oven because the little man didn't take a long enough nap until the afternoon. I put it together in minutes around 3 pm and put in the oven at six. I used frozen breasts and it worked perfectly. This was the first time Kevin had polenta and he really liked it. If you've never experienced polenta check here.
It's a great alternative starch that is made REALLY easy if you use the prepared tubes. A great, quick alternative if you really like risotto. It has a similar creamy texture.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Butternut Squash Risotto
2 c water
2 cans veggie broth (about 4 c)
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 c finely chopped onion
3 c cubed, butternut squash
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
grated Parm-Reggiano cheese
3 tbsp butter (i prefer unsalted)
fresh parsley, chopped
bring 1 1/2 c water and broth to a simmer in a saucepan (without boiling) and keep warm over low heat.
heat oil in a dutch oven (or stockpot) over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 8 minutes or until translucent, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 c water, squash, salt, and pepper. Cook 10 minutes or until squash is tender.
Add rice, and stir until mixture is combined. Stir in 1/2 c broth mixture and cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 c at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next. Stir in cheese, butter and chopped parsley.
I love Butternut Squash. It is easuly one of my favorite foods and really is the taste of fall for me. The leftovers of this recipe make a great lunch for the next day and I prefer my meals to do double duty ;)
Butternut Squash Penne
Med Butternut Squash, chopped into 1" pieces
4-6 shallots or 2 sweet onions, juilienned
Sage, 1 tsp
Olive Oil, 1 tbsp
Brown Sugar, 1 tbsp
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Combine Squash, shallots, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper in baking dish and mix well. Distribute evenly throughout the pan. Cook in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
Prepare Penne according to box directions. I prefer whole grain.
After squash is out of the oven, toss with sage and serve over pasta. I also sometimes add a sprinkling of shaved parmesan cheese.
If you have leftover squash and shallots, it can make a quick base for butternut squash soup tomorrow. Just mash in a stockpot, add some chicken broth (about a cup for 1 serving) and a couple tbsps of plain yogurt and PRESTO...yummy fall soup!
Sunday, September 6, 2009
It's also available in the commissary, but I use it quite a bit so I purchase in bulk from Bob's Red Mill. That website is very, very bad for my bank statement- but great for my pantry.
For tonight, I sauteed a julienned pepper and onion, string beans, diced cooked chicken breast (left over) and cooked quinoa. Seasoned with soy sauce, garlic powder, craked pepper and a little salt- the whole meal took less than ten minutes and is a popular alternative to carb heavy stirfry.
Friday, September 4, 2009
leftover half box of spaghetti, prepared according to box
3 c of basic tomato sauce
1 c cooked chicken breast, shredded
Combine shredded chicken and tomato sauce in sauce pot over medium heat. Serve over cooked spaghetti.
Not fancy, but it tasted good, was filling and offered something different than the usual spaghetti and sauce .
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I use dry beans so this morning when I made breakfast, I threw about 1/3 c each of red kidney beans and white northern beans into the crockpot along with 4 c of chicken broth, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Once the beans were mostly cooked, I added 1 c of salsa, 1 c of water, and chopped up the odds and ends from the fridge: yellow pepper, 1 1/2 cooked chicken breasts from last night's Picatta, celery, carrot and a couple potatoes.
I make my chili pretty chunky and thick because otherwise Kevin doesn't consider it a meal, silly man. I'll whip up some quick fresh guacamole when it's time to serve (just avacado, a little red onion and a squeeze of lime juice).
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
1/4 c whole wheat flour
sea salt and ground pepper
4 chicken breasts, pounded to flatten
3 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c chicken stock
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp olives, rinsed and chopped (these only go on my plate, Kevin doesn't like them)
**I add rosemary because I like it and it goes well with olives!**
- Reserve 1 tbsp of flour, mix remaining flour with salt and pepper. Coat chicken in flour mix completely and shake off excess.
- Heat 1 tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook 2-3 minutes per side or until light brown. Remove chicken to a plate.
- In the same pan, add remaining oil garlic, and reserved flour. Heat mix, stirring constantly to scrape up any brown bits from pan. Add stock and lemon juice (olives too if everyone wants them). Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until sauce thickens. Add chicken back to pan and continue to simmer for a couple minutes. Remove from heat, stir rosemary into sauce and season with salt and pepper.
I served this with sauteed potatoes and steamed green beans. :) A neat twist on a favorite dinner.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Macadmia Nut Crusted Porkchops
4 oz macademia nuts (I used 2 ozs and it was just fine for 1 lbs of chops)
1 egg, beaten
**I also tossed in a seasoning mix I like with chops
- preheat over to 400 degrees. Spray a baking rack with cooking spray, placing it over a cookie sheet.
- Combine Macadamia Nuts and seasoning on a large plate. Dip each chop in the egg, then coat with nut/seasoning mixture.
- Place Chops on baking rack and bake for 40 minutes (mine were quite thick) or until cooked through. Note- you might want to cover with foil for first 25-30 minutes so the coating doesn't start to burn.
Monday, August 31, 2009
And it turned to be a really good thing!
An eight am check up for the little guy turned into an all day affair when the dr suspected a heart murmur and sent us immeadiately down to Nashville to Vanderbuilt Children's Hospital Pediatric Cardiac clinic (by the way- those folks were wonderful, every single one of them). It was a rough, nerve wracking, emotional day. But it all ended up ok. The little guy is just fine. He has a very small hole in his heart that is common in little ones born early and develops when they hit a growth spurt. The Cardiologist expects to close by itself with zero longterm effects. *whew*
As to that growth spurt- he's now 8 lbs 10 ozs and 22.5" long.
Thanks to my prepping, we are enjoying some serious comfort food with minimal effort tonight.
Mom's Chicken Pot Pie- straight from the source
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I'm going to be working on reviewing the recipes that I used during the last week, but it will probably take me a few days :)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I decided on a honey mustard chicken. I recently reworked my receipe to make it even healthier- it's undergone several renovations over the last couple years as I adjusted my lifestyle to fit my goals. This is definitely the version I am happiest with.
Honey Mustard Chicken
Mustard (dijon, stone ground, etc)
Yogurt, Plain non or low fat
Wheat Germ (or Oatmeal, Crushed cereal flakes, anything crunchy in your pantry)
1 lb chicken breasts, sliced into tenders
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Combine 3 tbsp mustard, 3 tbsp yogurt, and 1 tbsp honey and mix well.
- Spray 13"x9" baking sheet or pan with non stick spray
- Dredge chicken in mustard mix and lay in single layer on baking sheet
- Sprinkle wheat germ (or crunch ingredient of choice) over top of chicken tenders
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes depending on thickness and your oven.
This is one of my go to quick recipes as I can make it one handed as long as I've already cut up the chicken- which I usually do that morning to make dinner quick. I really prefer a good stone ground mustard for this recipe as I don't think yellow mustard can match the flavor when baked- but it could definitely substitute in a pinch. I like Wheat Germ as the crunch factor for added nutritional value. I served this with quinoa seasoned with oregano, parsley and basil (all dried), and had a large mixed salad while dinner was cooking.
Monday, August 17, 2009
2 liter of Adirondack Ginger Ale
12 oz can Adirondack Cola
12 oz can Adirondack Ginger Ale
1 lb of Almonds
1 lb of Wasabi Peas
2 lbs organic sharp cheddar cheese
2 lbs organic mozzarella
1 lb wheat germ
5 lbs quinoa
1 lb organic sucanet
For less than $20.
I will definitely be going back! Regularly! The Amish ladies working in the back store room packing herbs were thrilled with GM, coming out to say how cute he was, and were very sweet in general. It was an altogether pleasant shopping experience, with addition of benefiting local farmers and companies and fitting in with my clean eating goals. Next time we'll also visit the bakery.
Slow Cooked Pork BBQ
1 boneless pork loin roast (3-4 lbs), cut in half
1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt (I used kosher salt and a 1/2 tsp of a "clean" seasoning mix)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup BBQ Sauce
1 cup cola
Sand which rolls
- Place roast in a 5 qt slow cooker.
- Sprinkle with seasoned salt and garlic powder.
- Cover and cook on low for four hours or until meat is tender
- Remove meat
- Skim fat from cooking juices
- Shred meat with a fork and return to the slow cooker.
- Combine BBQ sauce and cola; pour over meat.
- Cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours or until sauce is thickened. Serve on rolls.
This turned out really well. Both Kevin and I liked it, despite my not usually liking pulled pork or BBQ. I used a seasoning mix that I make from dried herbs that I know I like. The pork by itself, after step 4, was really good. So I pulled out 1/4 of the roast to use this week in my lunches. Because I'd pulled out some of the meat, I also cut down the BBQ sauce and cola to 3/4 cup each. I used a Jack Daniels BBQ sauce that I had in the fridge from some dish Kevin had made himself (I don't eat the stuff). It had some ingredients that I don't care for, so for next time, I will research making my own "clean" sauce. I was surprised at the large amount of pork this made. So, for next time, I will probably pull out half the roast after step four to use later in the week. It was a super convenient way to roast a pork loin! This is definitely one that I will repeat.
Breakfast- Grits and Scrambled Egg Whites
Lunch- baked chicken, salad
Dinner-Pulled Pork Sandwhiches ( slow cooker)
Breakfast- whole grain Cream of Wheat
Lunch- Pulled Pork left overs
Dinner- Baked Chicken, Quinoa, green beans
Breakfast- Grits and Scrambled Egg Whites
Lunch- Baked Chicken leftovers, salad
Dinner- Baked Ziti, mixed salad, green beans
Breakfast- Egg White Omelet
Lunch- Leftover Ziti
Dinner- Stirfry with brown rice
Breakfast- Whole Grain Cream of Wheat
Lunch- Chunk Tuna on salad
Dinner- tilapia & veggie packet
Breakfast- Grits and Scrambled Egg Whites
Lunch- Salad with hard-boiled egg whites
Dinner-chicken tenders with oatmeal crust, salad
Dinner- Macademia Nut Crusted Pork Chops with brown rice.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
* 1/2 tbsp course ground black pepper
* 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
* 1/2 tbsp Red Pepper flakes
* 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Preheat over to 425 degrees.
Combine the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic powder (seasoning mixture).
Place chicken presentation side down in a baking dish.
Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the chicken.
Sprinkle half of the seasoning mixture over the chicken.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the grated parmesan cheese over the chicken and bake for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, turn chicken over and repeat the earlier steps (oil, seasoning, cheese). Bake for 20 more minutes.
I served the chicken with spaghetti lightly tossed with marinara and a large mixed salad.
And I found out that I have already dropped a size! Whoohoo! Major affirmation for my efforts to eat well and get going on my workout plan.
Good thing too because I came home with a serious chocolate craving. My clean answer? Chocolate Mousse. :)
Mix 3 tbsp melted dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) with1 tsp of organic honey or agave necter (I used agave). Whisk into 1 cup of yogurt cheese. Blend well and refridgerate.
For those who haven't made it:
2 quarts low fat plain yogurt
- Place 4 layers of damp cheesecloth in a fine mesh sieve or colander. Place colander over a bowl.
- Add yogurt and let it drain overnight in the refrigerator.
- What's left in the cheesecloth is a soft, creamy cheese-like dairy.
Recipe from Clean Eating Cookbook
Saturday, August 15, 2009
It was healthy, satisfying, and used up leftovers! What more could I want in a meal?
But let's get real, shall we?
There is so much more to being healthy than weight loss alone. A healthy lifestyle is a multidimensional way of living: eating choices, activity level, sleep, self-awareness and more. Of course, that "way of living" requires that we actively consider the consequences of the decisions we make everyday, that we be deliberate in those decisions.
In this article, John Cloud wittily observes that exercise makes you hungrier!
Stop the presses. Really?!
Does the man realize that calories represent a measurement of energy? As in fuel? Or any of the other scientifically tested aspects of exercise, nutrition, weight loss, etc? Of course not! Because what would boost readership and coverage in other medias like telling people that they are overweight BECAUSE of exercise- that thing they hate but feel obligated to do, or at least say they do?
Cloud's casual dismissal of the complicated physiological processes involved in weight loss is unfortunate. On one hand, there is an excellent message buried in the refuse of this article. It is absolutely true that diet (as in what you ingest, not how a starlet starves herself) is an essential building for healthy living and weight loss. Imagine the possibilities for the health of America if everyone took an extra half hour a week to really plan their nutrition! But it is NOT the ONLY component of weight loss or healthy living.
I thought about posting links to a couple articles written about the benefits of strength training, fitness in general and other healthy living components. But there were so many valid, peer-reviewed, relevant studies and articles that I was really struggling with choosing which to link to! Instead, I'll offer this- if you are inclined to believe Cloud's take that exercise hinders weight loss, I challenge you to an experiment. For a month, give up exercise and focus only on your diet. Then, for a month, take a broader approach. A balanced diet, appropriate exercise, enough sleep, hydration. Just see what happens, how you feel.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Apricot Almond Chicken
2 1/4 cups chicken broth (I used homemade I had)
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 small onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 tsp salt, optional
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 lb)
4 tbsp apricot preserves
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
In a greased casserole dish (13"x 9"), combine broth, rice, onion, peppers, salt if desired, thyme and marjoram. Top with chicken.
Cover and bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until rice is tender. Uncover and stir rice. Place 1 tbsp of preserves on each chicken breast. Bake for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake for 5 minutes longer or until meat juices run clear. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
I used only red peppers, because that's what I had (Kevin doesn't care for the green ones so I don't buy them). I chose to omit the salt because I find that thyme usually adds a salty enough taste for me. I used simply fruit apricot preserves which I always have as its a personal favorite, one of the few really sweet things that I like. I also didn't toast my almonds before hand. Just tossed slivered almonds on top and put it back in the oven.
I found that 350 in my oven wasn't hot enough to cook the rice. I increased the heat to 400 and everything was ready in 20 minutes. Also, the preserves slid off in large part. For next time, I would combine the preserves and almonds and see if that creates more of a crust.
Taste was great, it was filling and Kevin liked it. I served the chicken and rice with a large green salad. My serving was approx 6 ozs of chicken, 1/2 c of rice, and 1 1/2 c of salad with 1 tbsp of Ceasar dressing.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Kevin very generously cooked dinner last night- a roast with mashed potatoes. While I generally prefer to limit my beef consumption (too much over the course of a week upsets my stomach), sticking with a smaller portion size and adding some veggie munchies afterward made for an excellent dinner.
Despite a fussy night last night, I pushed myself out of bed this morning and into real clothes (as in- not having elastic or previously belonging to my husband) to attend coffee with some friends. The little man cooperated by sleeping the entire time, which made me wish I'd brought a pillow. The energy boost from not-male, sympathetic conversation helped more than I expected- allowing me to actually get some things done around the house.
For dinner, I decided to try out a recipe in the sept/oct issue of Clean Eating, with a few modifications.
with chicken, black beans, and roasted potatoes
1 med onion
1 jalapeno (I didn't use)
15 oz can of black beans
3 med, diced russet or idaho potatoes
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 lb chicken breast
Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste
6 egg whites
4 whole wheat tortillas
- Combine 3 tbsp onion, 1 tbsp jalapeno, 1 tbsp cilantro, and 1 clove garlic and set aside.
- Preheat medium sauce pan over medium high heat for 2 minutes and mist with cooking spray. Add onion-jalapeno mix and saute for 2 minutes. Add beans plus 1 tbsp water and reduce heat to low. Cook for about ten minutes, stirring occaisionally.
- Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line a medium sized pan or baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- In a medium bowl, mix potatoes with 1 tbsp cilantro, 1 clove garlic, cumin, and oregano. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes so potatoes evenly brown. Remove potatoes and leave oven on at the same temp.
- Line another medium sized baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Add chicken and season both sides with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes at 350, turning occaisionally with tongs. Remove from over and let cook for 5 minutes. Chop.
- Heat a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Mist with cooking spray. Add remaining onion, jalapeno, and garlic- saute for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and saute for another minute. Add remaining cilantro and chopped chicken and saute for another minute. Add egg whites and saute, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until cooked.
- To assemble, place 1 tortilla on each plate. Divide beans among plate, top with egg-chicken-vegetable mixture. Serve potatoes aslongside and enjoy.
Calories- 480. Total Fat- 5 g. Carbs 74 g. Fiber 11g. Protein 36 g. Sodium 660 mg.
**Modifications- I made a few changes to this recipe mostly to use up leftovers. Instead of chicken, I subbed approximately 6 ozs of roast from last night. Instead of dried oregano and cilantro, I used fresh oregano, chives and basil from my garden. I also prepared three cups of dried black beans in my slow cooker instead of using canned as I use black bean quite a bit during the week for lunches and such. I didn't have any jalapeno or tortillas. And I served four eggs over easy in deference to Kevin's tastes. I also cooked everything on the stove top instead of in the oven. :) It turned out well although for next time I will do the scrambled egg whites as I think that would be better. This would be a great use for left over chicken although I don't think I would make it if I had to bake the chicken. Almost all of the main ingredients (black beans, eggs, chicken and potatoes) are items that I usually have in my kitchen and f=often have leftovers of. This is a great use-up-leftovers dinner.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
As I attempt to regain my fitness post-baby and make myself into the healthiest role model possible, I find myself again looking to nutrition. The eating style that I have found matches up most closely to my own ideas and opinions I found in a body building magazine. The concept of "eating clean" appealed to my sense of preferring food in its original form.
I am now embarking on a new adventure of combining eating clean with eating with attached infant. :) One of my projects for the next few months is adapting slow cooker recipes that I have liked to be healthier.
The basics of Clean Eating:
- Eat five to six times a day- three meals plus two to three snacks. Including lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a complex carb at each meal.
- Drink plenty of H2O- I aim for half my body weight in ozs
- Get label savy- Aiming for whole foods and avoiding chemicals and preservatives.
- Avoid processed and refined foods- white flour, sugar, bread and pasta, and most foods that come in a box
- Know your enemies- avoiving foods high in saturated and trans fat, fried foods, foods high in sugar
- Shop with a conscience-consume humanely raised and local meats and produce
- Consume healthy fats- a balanced diet is vital, and includes fat. EFAs are a basic building block
- Learn about portion sizes- and learn to recognize and respect them
- Reduce your carbon footprint- eat seasonal and local
- Moderation is key- limit alcohol to a treat
- Slow down and savor- food tastes best and is best absorbed when eaten slowly and enjoyed!
- Take it to go- pack a cooler for work or outings so healthy options are always available.
- Make it a family affair- food is social glue that should be shared. Improve the quality of your family's life (and set yourself up for success) by sharing the benefits of eating clean
**My first post-baby goal- to consistently fit in five to six balanced meal/snacks, with at least 64 ozs of water. **
Monday, August 10, 2009
Garrett Michael Smith made his entrance into the world almost four weeks early at 5:57 am on July 27, 2009. He was in a considerable hurry to join us, as I was in active labor for only about four hours. He made his entrance weighing in at 6 lbs 14 ozs and measuring 19 inches, with a head full of dark hair.
Aside from a brief elevation of his billirubin levels, requiring a hospital overnight under light therapy, he is a happy, healthy, easy going infant.
Today was Garrett's two week well baby checkup. He has exceeded the goal of regaining his birthweight and now weighs in at 7 lbs flat, as well as growing to 20.5 inches. It will be interesting to see where he's at by the time we reach his due date of August 23rd.
I was incredibly fortunate that my mom was able to come out and help me for the first two weeks of his life. It was amazing- and not just because she got up with him in the middle of the night so I could sleep a little more. Having her there to reassure me, to answer questions to recount memories of my childhood and hers- it made the experience of bringing my first child home so much more complete. It really makes me wonder how much we lose by being as spread out as our culture is now.
So, now to look forward. Enjoy this time with the little man, work on getting fit again, and making this new house really feel like home.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Thought for the Day:
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I have the same problem with journals and blogs. A tendency to start several different ones and lack consistency with any of them. Which is odd because I used to be a compulsive journalist.
So here I am. Consolidating.