Sunday, November 22, 2009

Spiral Ham for Sunday Dinner

Yummm....maybe it's my Southern roots, but you just can't beat a big Sunday dinner. We'll be traveling this week for the holiday so I took advantage of the commissary's sale on spiral ham (.90/lbs) and picked up an 8.5 lbs bone in Spiral cut ham. This will give me the basics for our meals until we leave and I'll have a little bit to freeze for the day we get home.

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

Mommy's Lunch Out

So, I had plans for lunch out today. Since it was a pretty day out, I thought I'd pull out some of my cute clothes (at least, the few that fit at three months post-baby). Baby cooperated by falling asleep about an hour before I was planning to leave. It's been a couple days since I washed my hair, but at least it was brushed. Make up went on without a hitch. Nice jewel tone fitted tshirt. Pulled out the super cute new fall boots. Got baby dressed, diaper bag ready, and we're headed out the door.


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.

Oh well.

At least I had cute shoes.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pouches...homemade frozen meals

Pouches are my favorite convenience food. I find that most frozen meals leave a lot to be desired both in terms of taste and nutrition. This is a way that I can make sure I always have a tasty, good-for-you meal ready when life gets busy. They are also perfect for those times when I'm the only one eating and I don't feel like preparing a "full" meal.

A Sample Pouch Preparation

4 chicken breast portions
2 small leeks
2 carrots, grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Grease (I use Pam High Heat) 4 squares of parchment paper.
  2. Divide leeks equally among each piece.
  3. Place 1 chicken portion on each paper
  4. Combine carrots and garlic. Season with lightly with salt and pepper (or any other seasoning you like) and place on top of chicken portions.
  5. Carefully wrap up each pouch, making sure the paper folds are sealed.
  6. 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.
Any suggestions for new pouches? Seasonings? Veggies?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One of my favorite soups- Pappa al Pomodoro

Soup is one of my absolute favorite things. Especially, traditional Italian soups. I didn't realize how much I liked these soups until I received a fabulous cookbook as a gift a few years ago. Soups of Italy is beautiful, informative and easy to follow. I'm slowly making my way through the recipes. One thing I've noticed is that while many of these recipes are higher in calories than many of my favorite meals, they are SO filling that I eat less at one sitting. Especially for chilly fall and winter weather, these substantial soups just hit the spot.

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


  1. 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.
  2. Reserving a ladleful of the broth, add about 5 cups to the tomatoes. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. remove soup from heat, stir in basil and serve with a drizzle of olive oil
**soup is commonly served with a few tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese stirred in

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

Light Ahead

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
Stage: 1
Workout: A
Exercise Sets Reps Rest

A. Squat
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

Weekly Menu

I find meal planning one of the single most effective ways of making my life easier. I spend less on groceries, eat healthier, stress less in the afternoons when the baby won't sleep and feel more organized. That last one might be the most important.

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

lunch-tilapia pouch
dinner- chicken and broccoli pasta

lunch-tilapia pouch
dinner- acorn squash with beans and rice

lunch- leftovers
dinner- CrockPot Roast

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Leftover Sauce?

I've been in a cranberry mood lately. Maybe it's the season- who knows? But since I had quite a bit of left over Cranberry gravy from last night's Cranberry Pork Roast, I figured I'd put it to good use.

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

A little holiday warmup

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

Mama's Creamy Chicken Chili

Mama and I are big fans of chili, especially chicken chili. So when she told me she had a great new recipe, I had to try it out.

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


Kevin had today off work for Veteran's Day, so I pulled out my lasagna ingredients. I've been meaning to make lasagna for a while but the little man hasn't really given me the time.

1/2 box lasagna noodles
Jarred Sauce
16 ozs shredded mozzarella
2 lbs ricotta
2 eggs

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.

Mama's Chicken and Dumplings

I love my mom's chicken and dumplings. It's just one of those comfort foods that tastes especially yummy in the fall as the weather gets cold. The first time I tried to make it on my own, we ended up with chicken and "dumpling", a sort of casserole instead of the thick-almost-soup that my mom makes. So during a recent trip home, I asked her to make it while I wrote down the steps.

Chicken and Dumplings


Whole chicken
Poultry Seasoning
Salt and Pepper
Garlic Powder


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.

Remove chicken.

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).

**Mama's Suggestions:
  1. For those not from the south (and not used to traditional chicken and dumplings) roll the dumpling dough thinner.
  2. 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

More Progress

Yet another step.

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

Asaparagus Soup and Homemade pizza

Not the most likely pairing, but I'm trying to use the leftovers in my fridge and pantry. The soup turned out especially well. I halved my soup recipe because I was using leftovers. The pizza was prepared whole wheat pizza crust, 1/2 c or so of tomato sauce, grated fresh mozzarella and a sprinkling of chopped fresh oregano and basil from my window garden.

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.

asparagus-soup-2.jpg asparagus-soup-3.jpg

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.