It’s All About the Food: Healthful Eating.

For whatever reason, people tend to think that making healthful choices is always easy for me, but it’s not. I love chocolate, fat, salt, and good cocktails, beer, and wine.  I do get cravings, I do want the bad-for-me pizza, cheddar popcorn, and pork belly mac-and-cheese. But, the reality is I also know I feel much better in pretty much every way when I keep these things to a minimum.  For me, a big part of this is keeping the stuff I know isn’t great for me out of the house. Another big part is keeping healthier options really accessible. And, of course, probably the thing I go to the most is planning (which helps me with the previous two things). I process the fruit and veggies because I know if they’re ready to eat, I’m much more likely to grab them as the healthy choice instead of chips. Dinners get planned and cooked because not only is eating out expensive, the calorie counts in most out-of-the-house dinners are outrageous (even the same dishes cooked at home come in at far fewer calories).

So, today is going to be all about the food, which is really nothing new for me, I suppose. I’ll be roasting chili-lime almonds, processing fruit and veggies for quick grab-and-go snacks, and roasting a chicken which will be served with roasted Brussel sprouts and curried quinoa before being turned into (if I do say so myself) delicious chicken noodle soup. I’ll be doing it while drinking a glass of wine, of course, because food should be fun (and making good decisions 80-90% of the time means I can indulge rampantly sometimes, too)!

On the Menu

DINNERS

Saturday: Roasted chicken and Brussel sprouts with curried quinoa. The quinoa will have roasted red peppers and golden raisins, as well. The chicken will have most of the meat removed for sandwiches and leftover lunches, and the carcass will be turned into…

Sunday: Chicken Noodle Soup. I’ll be using the poultry stock I made over the holidays from the Turducken, along with stock made from Saturday’s roast chicken, as the base. It’s cold outside, and this soup is deliciously warming and hearty.

Monday: Leftovers. Time to clean out the refrigerator.

Tuesday: Parmesan Crusted swai with avocado and a vegetable. I’m not making a lot of food that creates leftovers because we’ve got some frozen lunches/dinners we need to use up out of the freezer.

Wednesday: Smokey shrimp over cheesy grits. This is one of those indulgence meals, because there’s not a whole lot that is healthy about the grits; but, man it’s good!

Thursday: Joe’s Mom’s Lasagna, with salad and crusty garlic bread. Okay, two indulgent meals in one week, I know. But, we need some space in the freezer, and this lasagna is fantastic. It’s not Joe’s mom’s recipe (well, it’s that, too), it’s a full lasagna she made for us over the holidays. This means extra workouts for me, and small portions, but it’s totally worth it. And, I’ll eat a green, leafy salad before tucking into the lasagna to help me not over-indulge in one sitting. Also, my calories will be fairly low on the other days of the week, and my body does really well with more of an intermittent feast-or-famine kind of thing (actually, science is showing most people do well with that type of diet, rather than the exact same calories each day). So, I am not going to sweat it too much.

What’s for dinner at your place?


And on it goes…The Menu for this week, 1/8/2015

It is cold. Seriously, seriously cold. Cold enough that there’s no hiking or anything “outdoors” happening at all, so my current physical activity is limited to the gym. It does give me time to relax and enjoy cooking, though.

DINNERS

Tonight: Anda Masala. This is leftover from last night. It’s good reheated, but this is a dish that is just superb fresh. Farm fresh eggs and freshly-toasted spices give it a rich, creamy, deep flavor. Garnished with cilantro, it’s on of our favorite dishes.

Friday: Miso chicken, with quinoa and bok choy. Comfort food from start to finish. It’s like chicken soup meats miso soup meets braised chicken.

Saturday: East Indian Chickpea Stew. Yes, another Indian dish. Vegetarian. Everyone else will get it over rice, I’ll be eating it without. Garnished with Greek yogurt and cilantro.

Sunday-Monday: Leftovers.

Tuesday: Chili. Because it’s cold.

Weds: Parmesan crusted swai with zucchini New’dles (ribbons of veggies instead of pasta) and avocado-tomato-raisin quinoa. I am ordering kamut to take the place of the quinoa in our diet, as I have issues with the politics and economics surrounding quinoa.

SNACKS AND LUNCHES (other than leftovers): roasted almonds, avocado, fruit, almond butter, raw veggies, hummus, eggs, kale chips (yep, got those made the other day).

But wait, you say…where are the breakfast dishes? Well, despite the conventional wisdom that everyone should eat breakfast, I’ve discovered over the last several years I actually do better without it, instead eating between 12-1, and then having some snacks and a late-ish lunch/dinner. I have more energy, better clarity, make better eating decisions, etc. Yes, I’ve tried various forms of breakfast (high protein, low protein, high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat, etc., etc.). And, I love breakfast. But, my body seems to do better overall without it, so I’ve started only eating the rare breakfast on a special occasion or lazy morning.

Nutrition isn’t an exact science, and everyone’s body and needs are different. I don’t recommend the general public going breakfast-free, but, once someone is on a good lifestyle path, some experimentation with eating schedule and style can really help tweak things.


On The Menu for the New Year! Jan 2nd

Happy New Year! Anyone who’s been reading me for the last few years (and really, it continues to astonish me how many of you have hung in there through my total silence the last year or so…thank you) knows that January 2nd is the time for me to do the annual “sugar fast,” to break the crazy sugar addiction I acquire through the holidays.

I realized years ago that it was futile for me to keep off sweets for the holiday season. That’s not to say I go crazy–I keep portions reasonable;  but, my body gets addicted to sugar fairly fast, and my metabolism just can’t handle processing what it could when I was, say, 25. So, I eat the sweets in reasonable amounts, with a plan to stop eating them altogether again on Jan. 2nd. It works well for me. I cut out all processed sugars (yes, I still eat fruit, though I keep it to lower-sugar, higher-fiber fruits like blueberries and apples, rather than bananas), processed starches like pasta, exchange “white” starches like white rice for brown rice or high-protein grains like kamut and spelt and white potatoes for sweet (and keep even those things in very limited quantities), and drink no alcohol. Since I generally eat lots of vegetables and healthy fats anyway, that’s not a problem. I do have to concentrate on lean proteins, since I will  tend to binge on veggies and forget the proteins (yes, I know some veggies have proteins, as do beans, but I work out enough I need a good bit of protein and I tend to try to cut down on the beans since they’re so starchy). So, lots of snacks like boiled eggs and tuna with avocado.

This isn’t a New Year’s Resolution for me. It’s mostly just a return to pre-holiday lifestyle with a bit more discipline than I exercise the rest of the year (hey, I like wine, what can I say?). This year has, seemingly, been particularly heavy on the sweets, and I’ve found myself really looking forward to the next couple of weeks without them.

On the Menu:

DINNERS

Friday: Chickpea and chorizo soup. No noodles here. Lots of veggies, along with chickpeas and some spicy chorizo for flavor.

Saturday: Chicken Parmesan meatloaf with roasted broccoli and cauliflower puree. A great, lean meatloaf that includes carrots and zucchini, paired with veggies. The cauliflower puree is a really great substitute for mashed potatoes, and gives that warm, comfort food feeling.

Sunday & Monday: Leftovers. the point of making larger meals like those above is so I don’t have to cook every day. I’m busy, but want to eat healthfully, and leftovers are a great answer to that!

Tuesday: Anda Masala over whole grain. Eggs are a great source of protein, and this spicy dish is a favorite, It’s generally served over rice but I’ll be doing it over a grain (what grain is TBD based on what the grocery store is carrying this week–it seems to change regularly).

Wednesday: Salmon with steamed broccoli and whole grain pilaf. Salmon is one of my favorite foods, but it generally re-heats terribly; so, we only eat it on nights when we don’t need the leftovers.

Thursday: Eggplant Rotolo and side salad. This is a delicious, pasta-free variant on lasagna roll-ups. I have a few secrets to keeping it a great whole-food without using much in the way of ricotta, so it’s also not a gut-bomb of fat.

SNACKS AND LUNCHES

Baked egg in avocado half, almonds, raw veggies and hummus, hard boiled (farm fresh) eggs, homemade kale chips, fruit, almond butter, edamame.

Are you doing anything this month to return to (or start) healthy eating?


On the Menu, Sept. 24th Edition. Now with Hiking!

I’m back to hiking after something of a hiatus due to medical leave. No, it’s got nothing to do with food, but it’s such a part of my life I just had to say it.

I’m pretty excited about this week’s menu, really. Lots of fun food that I really enjoy cooking. And, with fall officially here, I’m bringing out one of my cold weather favorites.

Weds: Sesame soy salmon, with veggies. This is simple and quick, because we’re going to be tired by the time we get home.

Thurs: Portuguese Fish Stew. One of my all time favorite soups, and I definitely suggest you make it (recipe here). I’m adding shrimp, because we got a bunch on sale and it’s delicious. This reheats beautifully without a fishy smell, so it makes great leftovers.

Friday: Anda Masala. Indian food is a staple in my diet, and egg masala is probably my favorite right next to the East Indian chickpea recipe I have. Both play in pretty heavy rotation, as you may have noticed. They’re healthy, easy, and have rich, deep flavors.

Saturday: leftovers. It’s a long day for me.

Sunday: Cannellini au gratin, served with balsamic and rosemary roasted olives and grapes.This is comfort food for me. It’s hearty, warm, and has a lot of great flavors (fennel, carrots, rosemary, butternut squash, Parmesan cheese) that all come together with the creaminess of the cannellinis to form a really rich dish. Yet it manages to be healthy. It’s best served, I think, with the roasted grapes and olives. The flavors together are so complimentary–the sweetness and acid from the roasted grape and olive dish cuts the richness of the bean dish. A pairing made in heaven (that I’ll be putting with some Roussane wine).

Monday: Leftovers. Because this week, there’s going to be a huge pile of them!

Now I’ve made myself hungry.


On the Menu…9/16/14 edition

Really, I am making an effort. Life, as life will, keeps throwing curve balls at my efforts to return to blogging. Some, like my amazing trip with the BFF last week, are totally welcome pitches. Others, like a nasty health thingy, less so. Either way, I’m back. At least for this week. So, what’s on?

Dinners:

Tuesday: Chicken tacos with roasted squash. Simple dinner for a busy day. We took a long walk, we cleaned the house, we did the laundry, I swapped out my summer clothes for fall ones (it’s gloriously fall-like here, and the nights are chilly, it was time), and just hung out together. We don’t get to do that enough, so we wanted to keep it easy for tonight.

Wednesday: Swai al forno, with olive oil and garlic roasted Brussel sprouts, and a Mediterranean ravioli. I love swai. It’s affordable, it’s sustainable, and it’s delicious. Heartier and more flavorful than tilapia, less aggressive than your average catfish. Since I got a 2 lb bag at Aldi for $8, it’s also a great way to include fish in the diet without cleaning out the bank account. I’m doing it with a fresh heirloom tomato and panko topping. The Brussel sprouts, one of my favorite veggies, are a great side to this. The pasta is actually a dish for later in the week’s lunches, but we’ll have a bit to fill out this meal. It’s cheese ravioli with diced avocado, tomato, and sausage tossed in a light lemon and white wine sauce.

Thursday: Chicken tikka masala. Yes, I do Indian food a lot. It’s delicious. It’s also frugal and makes incredible leftovers. And, in this case, it’s also incredibly easy. Slowcooker Indian Chicken, and the rice cooker for basamati. Noms.

Friday. The Mediterranean pasta above. 

Saturday: Spicy Thai coconut curry soup. I love Thai soups. This one has a seafood and red curry base, with mushrooms, greens, red bell pepper, rice noodles, and fish.

Sunday & Monday: cleaning out the leftovers!

What are you eating this week?


On the Menu–June 17th to 24th

I am considering trying for an obstacle race again this summer, I am just trying to find a weekend I think I could fit one in! In the meantime, I need to get back to training. It’s gone by the wayside these past few weeks with the crazy amount of work, and the unexpected family stuff.

On the Menu

Tuesday: Herb and garlic salmon with steamed broccoli and miso couscous.

Weds: Bunless burgers with avacocado, served with whipped red potatoes and roasted Brussel sprouts

Thurs: Smoky pulled BBQ pork sandwhiches, with watermelon, feta, and mint salad.

Friday: Chana masala with spinach.

Saturday: Black bean tamale pie.

Sunday: Clean out the refrigerator! Leftovers night.

Next week (grocery shopping is happening on Tuesdays right now)

Monday: Cajun jambalaya.

Tuesday: Vegetarian moussaka.

 


We’ll See How “Back” I Am..

It’s too long to go into. I’m busy (as are we all, I know), and my job isn’t this anymore, so it’s kind of gone by the wayside. But, I miss the crap out of blogging, and I do better with food when it’s recorded somewhere. So, I’m going to give at least On the Menu a try and see if I can keep up with it. We’ll go from there!

ON THE MENU

Dinners

Tonight: Wild caught salmon and farm-fresh duck egg over polenta, with raw veggies.

Thursday: Grilled Mojo pork loin with grilled corn and caprese salad.

Friday: Indian Chickpea stew, with yogurt and cilantro.

Saturday: leftovers

Sunday: BBQ grilled chicken, with mint, red onion, and watermelon salad.

Lunches will be spinach salads, fruit, cheese, and leftovers.

Breakfasts are overnight oatmeal in a variety of flavors, fruit, and homemade breakfast sandwiches.

What are you eating?


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