Tag Archives: healthy eating

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?

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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?


On the Menu, Feb 10-13

An abbreviated menu plan this week, due to some Life Stuff that means we won’t be cooking at home.

Sunday: Tortilla soup with heirloom corn meal muffins. We made a roasted chicken on Friday, and the carcass has been in the slow cooker overnight for stock to use in making the soup (we’ll also use the remaining meat from the bird). It’s a great way to stretch the meat budget. I picked up some local, non-GMO, heirloom corn meal the other day, and will be using it to make honey cornbread! I’ll be using this recipe, with some modifications: raw milk instead of soy milk, sucanat instead of sugar, and no dried coconut.

Monday: Venison Mushroom Stroganoff over spaghetti squash. My nephew brought us a bunch of venison from his successful hunting this year, and I have local, dried shitake mushrooms from earlier in the year, too. I’ll combine these with a few meaty portobello caps, for a really hearty dish. Instead of noodles, I serve it over spaghetti squash. Not only is it tasty, but it’s far healthier than pasta.

Tuesday: Japanese Vegetarian Curry. This is a new recipe, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday: Salmon patties with sauteed zucchini & squash, with roasted Brussel Sprouts and salad. We love salmon patties, and I wanted to try out this new recipe (sans the cilantro, since Thadd has a sensitivity to it). I always try recipes on us before adding them to my database for clients.  Salmon patties are a great way to include wild-caught salmon, which has he right balance of great Omega Fatty Acids, into a diet on a budget. It’s also loaded with calcium, as most salmon is canned with the bones, which I leave in when making patties (no, you won’t notice the bones, because they break down in cooking).

What are you eating this week?


Recipe Index, Sugar Addiction, and “On the Menu”

I’ve had a lot of requests for something I should have been doing all along: an easy-to-access index of the recipes I post here You can find the permanent link at the top of the blog, labeled “Recipes.” Doing it as I went would have been much, much easier than what I ended up doing, which was searching my blog for all the recipes I’ve ever posted. I think I got most of them, but there are probably a few strays that I missed. Hopefully, I’ll find them and get them on there, too.

This week, I am testing out some new client-friendly recipes and I’m still on the “no sugar” thing. It’s much easier this week than it was last, and I can definitely feel a difference in my energy. Also, I’ve lost almost all  the weight that the crazy holiday sweets put on! One of my friends, who’s doing the fast with me, said she lost 8 lbs last week, which has been a great motivator for me to continue on faithfully (and not cover my croissant with Nutella yesterday morning!).

For those of you reading this thinking “What “no-sugar thing?” or “But, I thought you ate so healthy all the time,” let me explain. I don’t tend to eat a lot of sugar (a very occasional cookie or something, usually for a special event of some sort), for many reasons. One of those reasons is I get horribly addicted to it very, very quickly and another is there’s a rich history of diabetes (especially late adult-onset diabetes) in my family that has nothing to do with weight. During the holidays,  though, this is incredibly difficult to maintain because 1) I have friends who are amazing bakers, 2) when I get invited to parties by people who know I am a chef, they completely freak out that their food isn’t good if I don’t eat at least some of pretty much everything, and 3) Thadd bakes all kinds of lovely stuff and a girl only has so much willpower.

So, a few years ago, I quite deluding myself that I wasn’t going to eat the sweets over the holidays. I don’t gorge on sweets, but I do eat them. They put weight on my middle pretty much immediately (by-by hip flexors!), which is a great motivator to help me keep it relatively in-check; but, by the New Year, I am addicted to sugar. Knowing this is going to happen, I just prepare for it, and go into a 2-week phase where I work my tail off at the gym (even more so than usual) to help me curve cravings, and I don’t eat any processed sugars at all.

The first few days are awful, but it works. I am not craving sweets anymore, but I’ll be very careful for at least another week that no processed sugar sneaks into the diet via pasta sauce, etc. We generally make most of our food from scratch, but even canned goods, like beans, can have added sugar, so vigilance it is!

And, that brings us to our weekly menu:

ON THE MENU

Monday: Eggplant Rotel. Cottage & ricotta cheese, with spinach, mushroom, and herbs, wrapped in broiled eggplant slices (grilling the slices is even better, but it’s cold, and I don’t have time to start the grill), topped with homemade marinara.

Tuesday: Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf, with Brussel Sprouts. It’s Thadd’s night to cook, and he wanted to try making a recipe he’d never done before. Lean ground chicken with lots of spices, farm fresh eggs, and fresh bread crumbs, topped with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. I have no idea how he’s going to cook the sprouts, but I’d guess roasted.

Wednesday:  Turkey White Bean Chili. I have a go-to version of this that I use for clients, but I want to test out a new version that includes seared chilis and crispy brown onions.

Thursday: Barbacoa Pulled Beef over Spicy Baked Sweet Potatoes, with veggie. This slow-cooked beef has a bit of a kick, and I’ll serve it over sweet potatoes that have been baked once, split open and sliced (on the skin) into wedges, topped with my own seasoning mix, and broiled to make crunchy. The vegetable will be decided later in the week.

Friday: Leftovers, as always.

Saturday& Sunday: Unusually, we’re deciding on these later in the week because he has travel plans for his Vet school stuff.


Sugar Free New Year On the Menu

garden harvest in January!

To start the New Year off right, fresh-dug sunchokes and leeks from our garden!

Those of you who’ve followed me for the past few years know that I always do a sugar-breaking fast to ring in the New Year. This isn’t a resolution of any kind, it’s me breaking the inevitable sugar addiction that happens to me over the holidays.  Secondarily, I always lose any weight I gained and get an energy boost, so it’s a win all around.

So, what does the “fast” consist of? No processed sugar, which includes sugar in things like bread, spaghetti sauce, etc.  No more than 1 tsp of honey a  day (I take this for allergies). No artificial sweeteners (which I don’t eat anyway).  That’s it, the whole of the rules of the addiction-breaking fast. I can eat all the fruit I want with the exception of bananas, which I limit to 1 a day all the time because they’re so high in starches and sugars. Pretty simple, eh? The first three days are hard, but after that, things get easier.

ON THE MENU

Dinners

Monday: Burritos. We’re making a whole pile of these because we have to travel tomorrow, and want something we can take with us so we don’t have to eat out. We use homemade seasoning, which is even more relevant this week because most store-bought mixes contain sugar.

Tuesday: Mediterranean Chicken. This is a slow cooker dish that will be perfect for eating over a quick batch of quinoa when we return from a long day on the road.

Wednesday: Chicken Cabbage Enchiladas. I’m making extra portions of the slow cooker chicken to be used in these. The cabbage is used instead of tortillas, which saves a ton of calories and carbs, if you’re working to lose weight this New Year.

Thursday: Anda Masala. I’ve been “aging” the eggs for those North Indian curry dish for about a week, so by the time I boil them off on Thursday, they should be reasonable to peel.

Friday: Leftovers. Cleaning out the refrigerator!

Saturday: Three Bean Venison Chili. There’s little I love more in the winter than venison chili.

Other Meals

Breakfasts: eggs, vegetables, steel cut oats, yogurt.

Lunches: Leftovers, as always. Tuna salad. Green salad. Various soups (homemade).

Snacks: Boiled eggs, cheese, fruit, nuts, homemade crackers.


On the Menu: August 26-Sept 1

This is the vegetarian/piscean two weeks again, meaning no meat other than fish, and no dairy. This is also the week that Thadd went back to school, and I started some certification training on top of my other stuff; so, we knew we needed meals that would be reasonably quick, too.

In addition to all that, Thadd’s been having problems maintaining his weight with the two weeks of vegetarian foods (especially since we eat little in the way of simple carbs), and is pretty continually hungry.  The reality has been similar for me, and I’m not looking to lose weight. We don’t eat processed foods, we have to be careful on the soy because it interferes with my adrenal medications, and it kills me to not eat cheese. On the other hand, my abs look awesome; but, I have to be very careful to not to lose much weight (about 3% of my body weight) or it messes with my medication dosages.

I’ll be honest, this new diet two weeks a month is difficult, especially on limited time. We’re not sure how it’s going to go,  but, this is our stab at it for the first week of back-to-school and new work stuff. Wish us luck!

DINNERS: 

Sunday: Potato & Cauliflower Burritos, with sausage for Thadd. These have more carbs than I usually like, but it’s what we have time for tonight. And, they’re really yummy.

Monday: Slow cooker Thai Tempeh Coconut Curry.  Tempeh needs wet cooking, in my opinion, to be good. Dry tempeh is…well, dry. I have to be really, really careful about soy; but, I can treat myself once in a great while, and this is that treat.

Tuesday: Ban Mi Sandwiches.  Another tofu dish, but this one is okay. Non-GMO tofu locally processed at low temps by hand, which helps limit some of the things that interfere with the absorption of my medications.  This is a vegetarian take on a Vietnamese street food that I’ve been wanting to try forever.

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Lentil & Kale Stew, with Bratwurst for Thadd. This is a Cook’s Illustrated recipe, which bodes well. Again, a new one for us. While we eat a lot of meatless meals, we don’t tend to do a lot of meat-and-dairy-free meals, so I’ve been digging through recipes for the last few months.

Thursday: Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry. Indian is always one the top of my list of vegetarian foods to love!

Friday: Leftovers.

Saturday: Lentil Sloppy Joes with Slow Cooked Baked Beans and Veggies. A vegan (yes, vegan) take on sloppy joes.  I’ll see what I get for fresh veggies from the market, and I’ll make my own bakes beans in the slow cooker.

 Shawn

LUNCHES:  leftovers. Vegetarian salads with chickpeas for protein.  Tuna and egg salad.

BREAKFASTS:  eggs, egg and veggie breakfast burritos, steel cut oats, fruit.

SNACKS: hardboiled eggs, roasted chickpeas, nuts, raw vegetables, fruit, olives, almond butter.

Thadd

LUNCHES:  Leftovers. Meat, tuna, and egg salad wraps.  Frozen meals (we freeze lunch portions of leftovers, so we have some already in the freezer).

BREAKFAST:  Breakfast casserole, sausage breakfast burritos, steel cut oats, yogurt, fruit.

SNACKS: Smoothies, nuts, milk, yogurt, fruit, olives, peanut butter, cheese.


On the Menu: June 4th-10th

Monday: Salisbury steak with garlic-flower whipped potatoes and buttered peas.  Garlic flowers are a culinary win any way you look at it.

Tuesday: Grilled Mojo pork loin, with fennel & snap pea salad and charred sweet potatoes. We’ve got lots of snap peas (Seed Savers was not kidding when they said “prolific producers” on the English peas description), and I love fennel. Hopefully, I’ll get pictures of this. We’re using the grill tonight, and we always stack on stuff for later in the week to make the most of the charcoal.

Wednesday: Catfish with seasoned brown rice and steamed butternut squash. This is the perfect way to use the leftover squash from the Moroccan stew I made. Squash keeps great in the refrigerator produce drawer.

Thursday: Fajitas. These will be made with the grilled steak, peppers, and onions from Tuesday’s grilling marathon.

Friday: Leftovers. Cleaning out the refrigerator.

Saturday: Thai salmon patties with beluga lentils. I’ve been dying to use these lentils, which I’ll be braising in coconut milk and spices.

Sunday: Sauerkraut and sausage. One of Thadd’s favorite go-to meals.