Sunday, February 28, 2010

Award, new excitment and a budding chef

A big thank you to Kristina at Off the Couch for this Sunshine Award !

"the Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspires others in the blog world. I am truly honored! It should be passed on to 12 bloggers of your liking. "

Now that's where I run into problems - every single one of you inspires me ! Every single person who has made a decision to change their life, put it in application and keep going when the going gets rough and results don't come fast and easy inspires me. So if you are listen on my sidebar, consider yourself tagged !

Yesterday was our shopping day , and we found an amazing thing- Aldi's carries Steel Cut Oats !! To some of you this information will be meaningless because you have no idea what Aldis even is. Here in the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard I believe, it is a discount food chain that began in this country sometime in the 70's. At first they only sold canned goods, and some of the absolute worst quality food at that ! Sometime in the 80's or 90's they began to carry frozen foods, dairy and some fresh produce. They have greatly improved the quality of their products over the years and now you can find things like hummus, romaine, fresh berries and a whole lot more for a lot less than your average grocery store. They also offer some housewares, plants and occasional specials on electronics. If you are interested in finding a location close to you or just what they carry, you can click here for their webpage. We love them, and their inclusion of Steel Cut Oats to their products just seals the deal even more.

After a breakfast of oatmeal we headed out , happily shopping along, and at lunchtime hit the deli on our produce store for some lunch. Plan was originally to head to Sweet Tomatoes but we decided to save that and it's accompanying errand for today. I decided on a bowl ov Beef Barley Soup
I was feeling a bit oyster cracker-y so I topped my soup with them. After shopping it was home for veggie prep, veggy prep, veggy prep and more. We have been buying a lot of dried fruit and nuts in bulk of late and I am beginning to see that I will need a better storage system for these.Bob worked on our Income Taxes and we both learned that our son is no longer profitable :-) . He is 17 and you lose that child tax credit thing when this happens. I asked Bob if this means he wants to have another one so we can get that credit back, and he said "maybe". That began an afternoon of jokes about mommy and baby both needing a walker in a year or two and so forth. Another baby ???? I think it's a little out of the question, but you never know.

The unprofitable child decided he wanted to make dinner, and so he made Southwest Chicken ( mix salsa, frozen corn, black beans and fresh chopped cilantro) and pour over chicken ( thighs here as that is what we have) . On the side are homemade tortilla chips( got a little burnt) and a salad with romaine, watercress, sliced apple, pear, dried blueberries and a sprinkling of chopped walnuts. Nick really loves to cook and has decided lately to invent salads based on the flavor combination's and the way they look. I think it is a great thing to encourage ! At least with knowing how to cook he will never be held hostage to what manufactures determine to be food. Not only does he love to eat a variety of flavors , but he is really excited by the way food is presented. He loves to look at bento lunch box ideas, cute foods and different pastry chefs. He may go into the culinary arts for his livelihood. Then again he may just make some special woman happy with his love of cooking. You never know.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Satrurday at the scale

Another Saturday, another weigh in . Contestants, armed with hope , optimism and the belif that they did all they could this week , approach the scale

Me- 239.4 - DOWN 3.2 lbs ! ( total since beginning this plan is 10.4 lbs)
Bob- UP 1.2
Nick UP 0.4

Like it or not, men are biologically different than women ( and thank God they are), and they have different nutritional needs than women. So beginning today I am going to add a little more low fat protein to their intake. It should turn things around.

Yesterdays eats included oatmeal with fruit (not pictured)

Super Kale Energy Soup for lunch ( kale, potatoes, carrots, celery , chicken broth and spices)

Roast Vegetable Pizza on high fiber tortilla with a salad of romaine, tomatoes, mushrooms, golden raisins, figs and apricots for dinner.

Busy day ahead- will catch up later !

Friday, February 26, 2010

Beautiful Dreamer

One of the components that makes up the state of good health is proper rest. Sleep is one of the bodies best weapons against disease , for in the deep sleep state it heals and repairs damage. A solid sleep that includes times of REM state ( that is where you dream) , is also critical to our mental health. This being said, I believe the last few weeks have found me in a great state of health, as evidenced by my dreams last night. They included the following

* the invention of an Iphone app where , when hungry, you lick the screen and it analyzes exactly what nutrients your body needs and suggests a meal idea.
* a group of Buddhist Monks deciding to create small toys out of bamboo wood and placing them in boxes of cereal because of bamboos properties to remove environmental toxins. They decided to do this to adress childhood obesity and other concerns.
* conducting a study that shows that rabbits benefit from showering. A shower helps them to think better and avoid encounters with urban hazards.

Too funny !

The above dreams were brought to you by:

A breakfast of oats with apple, raisins, apricots, figs, blueberries and goji berries

A lunch of Minestrone soup with homemade tortilla chips and grapes. I had 2 high fiber wraps left that had been previously frozen and had to be used or pitched- it is really hard to portion some things exact with a family of 3 ! To make the chips I sprinkled them with garlic powder , cut in wedges and baked at 450 for 10 minutes.

Dinner was something I call bone soup. Take beef or pork neck bones, chicken stock and whatever veggies you have , and toss in a crock pot. This mix included half a butternut squash, onions, carrots, zucchini, kale and barley. I served it with Crazy about carrot salad ( shredded carrots, red raisins, cinnamon and orange juice) and a Thomases multi grain muffin.I had planned on making oat bran muffins , but I was really running out of steam ! With this new approach to eating I have not found my own streamline shortcuts of what and how to pre prep yet, and i spend an enormous amount of time in meal prep. It's a simple fact of reality- healthy eating requires a lot more preparation than less healthy ways. Vegetables are healthy, but some just do not fare well with advanced preparation. Most soups can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator, and many vegetable can be cut and stored for quick use. Normally I do just that- however when I am learning a new way of doing things iI tend to spend a week or two doing things "old school" to get a real feel for the approach and then I figure out my own short cuts.It will get better, but at the moment I am thrilled that there are a few healthy options available ready made on the store shelves !

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New cooking adventures

Julia Child would be so proud- I made a poached egg for the very first time yesterday at breakfast ! For some reason, in all of my 40 odd years of cooking ( I became the family cook as a teen) I have made many things but never a poached egg. Why ? the idea sounded too "french" to me- meaning too fiddly. However poaching is a definite healthy style of cooking and the recipe sounded very yummy, so I go brave. Poaching really is simple- take a pan with about 2 inches of water, add 2 tablespoons of vinegar or there abouts, bring to a rolling boil then reduce to a simmer. Slide your eggs in and if necessary spoon a small quantity of the liquid on top to make sure they are set. Cook for about 5 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon. Sort of a cross between a hard boiled egg and a dumpling ( less cooking time means a softer egg, so it's a texture preference thing.

Poached Eggs over Spinach & Mushrooms

* 4 large eggs
* 1 tsp light vinegar, (rice, white wine, or apple cider)
* 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth
* ½ medium onion, chopped
* 2 cups sliced mushrooms
* 1 medium tomato, seeds and excess pulp removed, chopped
* 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
* 3 handfuls baby spinach( or 10 oz frozen, thawed and squeezed dry)

1. Chop onions and garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to enhance their health-promoting properties.
2. Bring water to a high simmer in a 10-inch skillet with 1 tsp of vinegar.
3. In a separate skillet heat 1 TBS broth. Healthy Sauté onion and mushrooms in broth for 3 minutes
over medium heat stirring frequently.
4. Add tomato, garlic, spinach, salt and pepper and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
5. When water comes to a high simmer poach eggs for about 5 minutes, or until whites are firm.
Remove from water with a slotted spoon and place over spinach mixture. Serves 2

Lunch was a repeat of the other day, redone. We took the black bean salad, heated it with a tablespoon of salsa and rolled it up in a high fiber wrap ( hot just sounded better than cold). We had leftover Healthy Slaw on the side

After a productive day , dinner was something I was a little apprehensive about. It involved a combination of vegetables that I would NEVER had considered putting together, but I decided to operate on trust. I found it in Eat for Health, and so far all of the recipes in the book were delicious, so this should be the same. It indeed was !

Pasta with roast vegetables and a grilled Pork Chop. In hindsight , next time I will just make the pasta and vegetables alone, as it was definitely filling enough ! To make you cut yellow summer squash, eggplant, 2 red bell peppers and butternut squash into small cubes, toss with 1 T olive oil , spread on a cookie sheet and roast at 450 for 30 minutes. Meanwhile make a half a pound whole wheat pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Core, seed and dice 2 tomatoes and a 1/2 cup fresh basil if you have it ( or substitute 1 1/2 T dry). Toss the roast veggies, pasta, tomatoes, basil, 2 T balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves of garlic minced and 1 T olive oil and as much reserved cooking liquid as needed to moisten. Serves 6- I was planning on keeping half for lunches but we were all STARVING and it dissapeared. Some days are just hungry days ( my excuse is a metabolic one due to a monthly visitor)

We were looking for something different to watch last night, flipping through the On Demand offerings and I saw that they had episodes of Hoarders available- a show that my blog friend Mary has mentioned a couple of times. I had been a little hesitant to watch the show because it brings up a really sore subject from my past. Previous to this apartment we lived in the upper half of a Victorian Home , and the lower floor was inhabited by our landlord, who was a Hoarder. It was one of the contributing factors in our eventual reparture from the place. My mother in law also dealt with the disease for a long period of time, and this can have the same impact on an extended family as any other addiction. Because of this problem, family dynamics get very unnatural. One example is the simple act of giving a gift. Not only do you have to consider the person's likes, size, preference and so forth but in comes the worry that no matter what you give them it contributes to the problem. If you have children you cannot simply bring them over because of very real concerns about their health and safety. No matter how hard you try to help clean up the situation, until they face the compulsion that brings them to this behavior , it is useless. The episode was very realistic- no overnight fixes for these people and it showed just how emotional the process of change is. I think I will catch this one again.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

TV is making me think

Last night I got a chance to catch the latest episode of Ruby- On Demand is a wonderful way to catch up on what you miss when life happens ! For those who are unfamiliar with the show, it is a reality show about a 500+ pound woman on her journey to archive a healthy weight. It is on the Style network, and you can find viewing times in your area here. You have to love Ruby- she is so open an honest, and you just want her to win her battle !

In this episode it talked about emotional heating. Ruby has currently lost almost 200 lbs , and was now about to lose one of her dogs. Her dogs have become like her children, and the loss of one leaves a huge hole in your heart, mind and soul. Ruby's way of coping with such stress in the past was through food- a common coping mechanism with many overweight people. To help her avoid this behavior she spoke with a counselor who specialized in eating disorders. She went on to explain that eating disorders are no different than alcoholism, drug addiction or smoking, and suddenly light bulbs went off in my head.

Addictions are ALL biochemical based. A behavior starts the action because of a chemical condition in the body caused by an event. Did you know that all of our emotional states have a chemical basis ? Maybe I am saying this wrong- our emotional state causes a specific chemical state to happen in our bodies. Addictive behaviors happen when our bodies become dependent upon a chemical state created through certain actions( alcohol, rugs, eating specific foods, gambling, shopping, sex and so forth). What if , in the case of overweight people, the root cause of the behavior is poor nutrition ? What if the state of the average diet causes the body to become imbalanced enough that when an emotional blow happens ( and it can be something as simple sounding as dealing with commuter traffic, sleepless nights or unkind words sent your way) that our bodies start demanding certain chemical conditions in order to cope ? Perhaps large quantities of fats and unrefined carbs press the body into the increase production of dopamine or other chemicals and we are able to become numb to the stress ? It makes infinate sense to me. And it also adds to the argument that we MUST eat nutrient dense foods instead of simply focusing on calories. Our biochemical reactions do not run on numbers, but instead nutrients like vitamins, minerals and so on. Why focus on the former when you really need the latter ?

I think I did just that again yesterday. I will present the following- Breakfast !

Rolled oats cooked with apple, pear, raisins, blueberries, cinnamon and chopped walnuts. Cooking with dried fruit makes it just sweet tasting enough to avoid the sugar bowl in any form!

Lunch was home made minestrone surprise soup (with kale and baby portabello mushrooms) and grapes

Minestrone Surprise

5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 medium onion, chopped fine
6 medium sized cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced (to yield about 1/2 cup)
2 medium sized carrots, peeled and diced into ¼-inch pieces (to yield about 1 cup)
1-½ cups finely chopped kale
½ cup diced portabello mushrooms,
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 TBS dried Italian herbs
1 15 oz can navy beans, drained
salt and black pepper to taste

1. Prepare ingredients by chopping and measuring.
2. Heat 1 TBS broth in medium soup pot. Healthy Sauté onion in broth over medium heat for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add garlic and continue to sauté for another minute.
3. Add broth and rest of ingredients except beans and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil on high heat, reduce heat to low and continue cooking, uncovered for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
4. Add beans, cook for another couple minutes, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Dinner was half do ahead and half super simple- Turkey Burgers and Raisin Coleslaw

Turkey Burgers

1 lb ground beef
1 10 oz pak frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed till dry
2 T dried onion
1/4 c bread crumbs
1 T soy sauce

Form into patties , place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 40 minutes

Raisin Slaw

1/2 head cabbage, grated
1 apple, grated
2 carrots, grated
1 raw beet, grated

1/2 c raisins
1/2 c apple juice
1/2c baked potato, skin removed
1 t mustard
1 T lemon juice

Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and process on high till liquid and smooth . Toss over grated ingredients. Store covered in refrigerator a few hours before serving.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hey mom, what's for dinner again ?

Just finished creating the menu and shopping list for next week ( yay ! ) and thought I would share. Meal 1 is Bob, 2 is Nick and myself

Breakfast- Blueberry Nut oatmeal
Lunch - OUT ( most likely Sweet Tomatoes)
Dinner- Southwest chicken, brown rice, green salad

Breakfast - 7 Grain cereal with dried fruit and cinnamon'
Lunch - Sesame Peanut noodles, Spinach salad with orange and red onions
Dinner- Grilled chicken and roast vegetable salad

Breakfast 1Oatmeal, yogurt, fruit 2. Quinoa with fresh fruit
Lunch 1 Mussels, Whole wheat crackers, V8 2 .Greek Garbanzo Salad
Dinner Pasta with roast vegetables, pork chops, salad

Breakfast 1 Muffins, fruit , yogurt 2 Swiss Breakfast
Lunch Mediterranean pasta salad
Dinner- Chicken, Barley wih Mushrooms, Raisin Coleslaw

Breakfast Fruit and cinnamon oat meal
Lunch 1Mussels, V8, Crackers, Fruit 2 Garlic Linguini with kale
Dinner Roast Vegetable Pizza, salad

Breakfast 1 Muffins, yogurt ,fruit 2 Hot Polenta breakfast with dried fruit compote
Lunch 1 Peanut butter carrot apple raisin roll up, fruit 2 15 bean soup with sausage and kale
Dinner Pork chops, Golden Spinach sweet potato saute, brown rice and salad

Breakfast Blueberry nut oatmeal
Lunch 1 Mussels, whole wheat crackers, V8 2 15 bean soup with sausage and kale
Dinner Simple bean burgers on buns, Hawaiian Sweet potato Pudding, Raisin Cole Slaw

Slug day

Kind of a sluggish day for my son yesterday, so as a result I had to do a lot of waiting for him to catch up and finish with things so we could move on. Part of it was that he literally wore himself out playing hours of some kind of balloon tag with a room full of toddlers on top of singing for two services on Sunday. The other reason was eating the food at the Shower- including cake. I am noticing that eating with a focus on nutritionally dense foods makes your body preform better, and when you take it down a notch to eat "regular" foods, you feel it. Both guys were in a sluggish fog yesterday, and I sincerely think it was because of the food.It takes more work to digest lower quality food, plain and simple. Not that it will never happen again, but it is an observation. A day of dense eating will bring em around again .

Breakfast was Millet with dried fruit compote

Millet with Dried Fruit Compote

1 cup millet
dash of salt
2 cups water
1-½ cups dried apricots and prunes combined
1 cup chopped nuts and seeds such as walnuts, sunflower seeds, or cashews
2 cups orange juice, preferably fresh squeezed
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 TBS honey
optional vanilla yogurt

Cut dried fruit into quarters and simmer in small saucepan with orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, and honey for just about 5 minutes.
Remove fruit with a slotted spoon to a small bowl. Continue to cook sauce reducing it to about half in volume.
Return fruit to sauce. While sauce is simmering, bring water to a boil over high heat in medium sauce or soup pan. Add millet and bring back to a boil. Cover, and turn heat to low. Cook about 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the millet is tender.
Stir chopped nuts or seeds into the millet at end of cooking. Top with stewed fruit sauce and a little vanilla yogurt.

Serves 4

After exercising with the Wii Walk it out we moved into a very slow school day, and eventually took a break for lunch- a black bean salad with grapes

15-Minute Black Bean Salad

½ cup minced onion
2 medium cloves garlic, pressed
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered( I used 2 whole, chopped)
½ cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3 TBS fresh lemon juice
salt and black pepper to taste

1. Mince onions and press garlic and let sit for at least 5 minutes to bring out their
health-promoting benefits.
2. Mix all ingredients together and serve. This salad will keep for a couple of days and gets
more flavorful if you let it marinate in the refrigerator for awhile. Serves 4

The afternoon found me busy with my own work and eventually it was time for dinner. One of my favorite styles of cooking is oriental ( I love the way it looks ) and i was looking forward to making this one all day Chicken Bok Choy stir fry and a salad of Romaine, oranges and red onions

15-Minute Stir-Fried Chicken & Bok Choy

2 TBS low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup chopped onion
2 TBS fresh minced ginger
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1½ cups sliced fresh baby portabello mushrooms
4 cups chopped baby bok choy
2 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS rice vinegar
salt and white pepper to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes

1. Heat broth in a stainless steel wok or skillet.
2. When broth begins to steam, add scallions and Healthy Stir-Fry for 2 minutes.
3. Add ginger and continue to stir-fry for another minute.
4. Add chicken and continue to stir-fry.
5. After 2-3 minutes, add shiitake mushrooms and bok choy. Continue to stir-fry for another
3-4 minutes, and then add soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper. Serves 4

Monday, February 22, 2010

New exercise game and a victory

Yesterday was the stuff of which makes me proud ! I successfully talked myself out of an overwhelming temptation and I knew right away I was better for it.

Morning started out with another fun oats combination

Rolled oats with pumpkin, figs, raisins, goji berries and cinnamon. I am finding that sweetening oats by cooking with dried fruit instead of brown sugar just plain tastes better. The individual flavors stand out better. Rasins and dates seem to work the best for this.

The guys headed off for church services and I got to catch up with some studying and "play" with a new exercise game that my son found at the library for the Wii- Walk it Out. It combines the elements of Dance Dance revolution with an indoor walking routine and allows you and a friend to walk around a virtual island , using the remote and numchucks, balance board or the dance pad. The music is very contemporary dance kind of stuff and you can add elements to the island as you walk. It looked like fun, but I wanted to get the feel of it for myself without my son trying to do more of the game play aspects with this. It is a lot of fun and definitely long enough stretches of movement to get in a decent calorie burn. You can really get lost in playing this game and get in as much activity as you would going for a walk ( you can move around to any place while you play, as long as you stay in range of the remote). This one would be great for moms , as the music is good for a work out and stuff your kids will know and get them up off the couch and walking/dancing with you. I still think Wii Sports Resort canoeing or cycling might be a better calorie burn , but this comes in second for me so far. One day i might get one of those body bug tings and play both of these games just to find out for certain !

I forgot to take a picture of lunch, but it was broccoli cranberry cashew salad and a hummus pizza on a high fiber tortilla. Good, and very filling. Perhaps too much so, which brings me to my victory for the day. We went to the baby shower ( in our family showers are not ladies only, but a gathering of everybody so they are huge crowd affairs), and I got caught up chatting with my family and some old friends. There was food , and lots of it, but I really was not hungry at all. It was one of those situations where not eating can go totally unnoticed, so I didn't feel compelled to eat to be polite either. I was just having too much fun chatting and observing. I tried to take some pictures but my camera kept playing games, so the majority of shots I wanted to get , I didn't. The party was nice, some silly shower games were played, loads of neat baby stuff was gained by the couple, and suddenly the time had come to an end. We needed to stop at the store on the way home ( I forgot to buy mushrooms), and as soon as I was out in the car, I was HUNGRY ! The kind of hungry that makes you seriously wonder how bad it would be if you ate the upolstery in the car just to get your stomach to shut up. Every fast food chain we passed seemed like a temptress , calling me in with open arms and a friendly smile ( "Hello darling. I am Taco Bell, and you crave the crunchy spicy taste of me." " No sweetie- come to me ! I am MacDonalds and have I got a Quarter Pounder for you ! I will make everything right" That kind of talk). I decided to just shut up about the way I was feeling because if I hinted at it, we would have stopped and that would be so not good . The guys ate at the party because they were hungry- it was your standard "feed the masses" kind of food, so fast food on top of that would have gone from slip up to something of Three Mile Island type disaster. No, Diane. Be strong ! A healthy dinner awaits you at home ! So we got to the store and wound up parking at the entrance closest to the bakery- yeah. Now lets turn that temptation into Johnny Depp with a dozen roses and a smile just for you ! Focus ,Diane. You came for mushrooms.You need to se an example. Headed for the produce section, and it made me weak in the knees. THIS was food I could eat and not feel bad about, so I grabbed my mushrooms and a half a dozen pears, with the intention of eating one of these bad boys on the way home. Knowing that I could eat something as soon as I got in the car gave me the strength to head back to the bakery and make an intelligent decision on a loaf of healthy bread to go with the meal that was waiting at home in the crock pot. Johnny Depp somehow turned into Abe Vigodda in a thong, and I just was not tempted. I happily devoured my pear on the way home.

Dinner was Italian Sausage soup with Walnut Whole Wheat bread. To make the soup I sliced up 1 lb of italian sausage, 2 cloves of garlic and put them in the crock pot with 4 cups chicken stock, 1 can tomato paste and 2 t Italian seasoning. Let that cook on low 4-5 hours. When we got home I flipped the crocpot to high and added 1/2 cup whole wheat shells and 4 big fistfuls of baby spinach. I let that cook a half hour and served it.This one was a definite winner - or maybe I was so hungry I would have eaten just about anything. The guys really liked it as well, so I think it speaks for the soup.

I think this may go down as a winning strategy- if you get an attack of the hungrys, instead of hitting a drive through, hit the produce department of the nearest grocery store and grab the best looking fruit or veggie you can find.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What am I doing now

Can you believe I forgot to take pictures of any food yesterday ??? Somehow when things are more relaxed, I get less efficient. Something about pressure helps me to keep focus better I guess.

It was a good day with running errands at a very leisurely pace. We had oatmeal for breakfast, Sweet Tomatoes Salad Bar for lunch and marinara sauce with sausage, eggplant , zucchini and spinach over whole wheat pasta for dinner, and I had a bakery store brownie for my weekly treat.This place makes very chewy brownies, and it was delicious !

I was asked what exactly am I doing as far as diet now, and I think I figured out the best way to explain it. If something grows from the ground and looks like it would look good in a rainbow, eat as much of it as you want . ( Fruits, vegetables and beans either fresh, frozen or dehydrated) If it had a mother , eat sparingly or as a condiment ( dairy and all meat).Grains fit in here because they are not as nutritionally dense. If you can squeeze it to make oil or an oil itself, go even lighter( nuts, avocados, olives, olive oil and other oils). For sweetening when at all possible I use dried fruit( dates are incredibly sweet). I still drink coffee, tea, diet soda but limit it to 2 cans per day and I have a piece of 70 percent ( or better) dark chocolate every day. I drink about a gallon of water every day. No calories, no points, no minimum servings, no health goals - just working with the belief that food is fuel and I need to choose the highest grade for my engine. I do measure still but it is more to stretch the food dollar than anything. Example would be when I make pasta, I make half of a one pound bag for the three of us instead of weighing it in at 6 oz. When I make oatmeal it is a half cup dry per person, and rice is always 1 cup dry for the 3 of us. It's simple, and in it's simplicity it frees me up to do a LOT of experimenting with different combinations for our meals . It also encourages me to eat with the seasons- with different seasons different local produce comes into season and on the market shelves, and following these simple rules lets you choose from those new crops of squash, beets, apples, berries and so forth without having to wonder how to fit it in to the plan. It seems to be working.

I am going to a baby shower today for one of my nieces- her fiancee was the young man recently in the hospital and he is back home and doing well. It is so strange to remeber going to a baby shower when her mom was expecting her. Now "The Duck" is expecting her first hatchling, and the cycle seems complete. I made her a baby quilt and a few bibs- she knows she is having a boy and has chosen to do her nursery in greens and browns, so I played with the colors and created this
and I made a couple of "boy bibs" to tickle her fancy ( and serve a practical use)

I look forward to seeing everyone !

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Another weigh in, another show !

Weigh in this morning. Before stepping on , I remind myself of how I have been feeling since switching to this way of eating 2 weeks ago. My body feels energized- in the way that you feel after a long nap while on vacation. No cravings, more clear headed, more energy and overall a whole lot better.That in itself is reason to eat this way for the rest of my life. So I step onto the scale and see what the numbers say.

242.6 - DOWN another 2.2 !

Yay me !! The guys follow suit , and the results are in
Hubby ( still doing Weight Watchers but moving closer to this way) -0.4
Son- UP 2.6 , and I think it is from sodium ( we had Subway for dinner and he chose ham and cheese)

Yesterday started out as another whirlwind of rushing , and it was only going to get worse if we stuck to the plan of doing the mausoleum 1k ( It is insane how much we have to re-arange a whole week just to get a free day), so I asked the guys if we could just skip it and spend a normal Saturday . The last 2 Saturdays have gotten thrown off course because of Funerals and Saturday night masses ( leaves NO time to do any of the normal Saturday must do things) So they agreed- happily- and life got a little easier

Breakfast was oatmeal with apples, blueberries, figs and goji berries with cinnamon. The apple was a little on the large size and it made the bowl fuller than that of previous days. Really filling and it held us well into lunch.

Lunch was the rest of the Anticancer soup with a whole wheat pita stuffed with baby spinach and guacamole hummus ( avocado, garbanzo, lemon juice, sesame seeds, garlic and olive oil). I discovered 6 avocados in the bottom of my crisper drawer that needed to be used , so one went into lunch. I am thinking of using 2 others later today as a masque for my face and hair. Winter can be really harsh on these !

I also discovered 3 crowns of broccoli that I bought last week and forgot so I made some broccoli salad to go with the planned Subway run. I had a 12 inch veggie delight , son chose the ham and I think after using no salt for 2 weeks his system became very sodium sensitive and it showed up as a gain. No worry- it will come off and there are so many benefits to this way of eating we are not going to change.

Friday, February 19, 2010

At least all this lutien is good for my poor eyes !

Strange but productive day yesterday ! We got an early start, got in our 30 minutes of exercise right off the bat. It is official- I like Wii sports resort cycling and canoeing a lot better that The Biggest Loser Workout for Wii. With the cycling and canoeing game you are moving for longer periods of time with less interruption and you get your heart rate up faster and for a longer duration. Also, with the Sports Resort there is no "motivational chatter" which becomes kind of annoying after you have heard the same phrases for the last 20 minutes. With Sports Resort my son and I can talk while we work out. We did our 30 minutes and then broke for breakfast- a little variation from oatmeal

two hardboiled eggs and an apple. Some mornings we just feel more egg than oatmeal- not that we have anything against oatmeal !

The morning was busy with school and my own work. I encountered something rather important that required a fair amount of research, so I wound up bouncing between helping my son with things he had gotten stuck on, research and household matters. Between things I would check my email, and a friend of mine forwarded me a copy of a newsletter she received with some yummy recipes. Nick glanced over my shoulder while I was reading and BEGGED me to make one of these, and we added a little variation of our own

Kale with Garlic Angel Hair Pasta. Take a bunch of kale, remove the stems and chop into strips. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the kale. Cook for a minute and then add 6 oz pasta and cook till al dente ( keep the kale in the pot while cooking). While the pasta is cooking crush 2 cloves garlic and slice 1 medium onion into moons and saute these in 1 t olive oil ( add a little water ) till "wimpy". Chop 4 tomatoes into bite sized wedges. Drain the pasta and rimnse in cold water to stop the cooking. Toss with garlic mixture, tomatoes and 2 t dried basil. Place in bowls Top with 1 T parm cheese . Amazingly good - fresh flavors and really eye appealing !

My research continued through the afternoon ( found the answer I needed but my eyes were crossed by evening). Dinner was simple - at least simple for me. I ADORE any kind of meal that I can mix or cut up, toss in the oven and move about other matters. This was one of those kinds of meals. As the heat works it's chemical reaction magic, I am free to do other things. Like shower- something that I STILL struggle to get in some days because there just is not a good time ( most of you moms understand that one !)

Southwest chicken over brown rice with roast Italian vegetables and baby spinach with walnuts and sweet sour dressing. For the chicken take chicken breasts or thighs( I used these because they were on sale last week) , mix one cup black beans, one cup of corn and one cup salsa. Place your chicken in a baking pan, cover with the salsa mix and marinate for 1 hour. Bake 375 for 1 hour, uncovered. The veggies I used were zucchini cut in wedges, mushrooms cut in quarters, eggplant cut in thick slices and wedged, oinions wedged and red pepper chunks. Sprinkle with garlic and Italian seasoning- bake 375 for 1 hour. Turns out baked eggplant has a much stronger flavor this way nd neither son or I preferred it like this. Roast broccoli, brusselsprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, kale and many other veggies roast like this are wonderful. Eggplant I think really needs tomato as a partner !

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Menu for next week

I got inspired by Kristina , who posted hers for the coming week , so here is mine. It seems that there are a lot of people who get stuck with menu plans and reading others helps to inspire. All snacks for the week include fruit, non fat yogert, cherry tomatoes and plain air popped popcorn.

Breakfast- oatmeal of some variation
Lunch - out at Sweet Tomatoes
Dinner Mr9inara with Italian sausage, kale, eggplant and zuchini, green salad

Breakfast- Overnight steel cut oats
Lunch- roast veggie pizza
Dinner crocopot Italian Sausage soup ( have to attend a baby shower late in the afternoon)

Now here it gets complicated - Meal 1 is son and I, Meal 2 is Bob

Breakfast 1 Millet with dried fruit compot
2 Oat bran muffins, yogert, OJ
Lunch 1 15 minute Black Bean salad over greens
2 Peanut butter, shredded apple and raisins on Arnold s, V8 and fruit
Dinner Stir fried chicken with Bok Choy, brown rice

Breakfast oatmeal variation
Lunch 1 Minestrone surprize soup, veggies
2 high fiber wrap with hummus, avocado, peppers, lettuce, V8 and fruit
Dinner Turkey Spinach burgers on Arnolds, Raisin Coleslaw

Breakfast 1 Poached egg over spinach and mushrooms
2 Oat Bran Muffins, Yogert, Orange Juice
Lunch 1 15 minute Black Bean salad over greens
2 Peanut butter, shredded apple and raisins on Arnold s, V8 and fruit
Dinner Pork chops, pasta with roast veggies, salad

Breakfast oatmeal variation
Lunch 1 Minestrone surprise soup, veggies
2 high fiber wrap with hummus, avocado, peppers, lettuce, V8 and fruit
Dinner Neck bone barley veggie soup, Crazy about carrot salad, oat bran muffins

Breakfast 1 Oatmeal variation
2 Oat Bran muffins, yogert, orange juice
Lunch 1Super kale energy soup, hummus and veggies
2 Sardines, crackers, V8 fruit
Dinner Roast Vegetable pizza, salad

Lent and language funnies

Lent began yesterday with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. 40 days ( technically 46 if you count Sundays) to renew and prepare for the most important event in Christianity. From the perspective of a non Catholic/non Christian sharing a life with a Christan as well as mothering one, Lent is an interesting and even enjoyable season. There is more reflection, more conscious living , and a GREAT opportunity to expose my family to new vegetarian options ! We have come a long way. In the past I experimented with a vegan lifestyle but it failed us. In retrospect I see that the flaw was relying almost exclusively on grains, seeds, beans and nuts, and going way too light on the fruits and vegetables. Since then when I suggest vegetarian options, it is accepted, but much like paying a bill instead of being embraced. I am hoping to change that in this season.

A few weeks back I mentioned that I wanted to create some kind of table decoration to bring focus to the season, and after finding nothing to my liking in the stores I sat down to fashion a candle holder centerpeice out of Fimo dough. It is a crown of thorns over two crossed nails with spots to hold candles. Except the spots to hold candles cracked once I placed candles in them, so I was left to get creative. I asked myself what visual things mean lent, and created the following
I am jokingly calling it The Zen of Lent. The surviving sculpture , a table top Zen garden, a stone egg and 8 small Saint statues we have collected for various events. Seems fitting.

Somehow I totally forgot to take a picture of yesterday's breakfast , which was blueberry oatmeal, but I think you can get the idea.

Lunch was leftover Anti Cancer soup and Sunshine slaw to which I sprinkled on a few roast sunflower seeds.

Dinner was Sweet Potato stew and a salad of romaine, spinach, watercress, walnuts and crasins. About a week ago I made this stew for lunch with canned diced tomatoes and my son and I loved it. This time I made it with fresh tomatoes and stewed and it did not taste as good. The guys both decided they were full halfway through the meal and decided they had to leave right away for the services that evening, which tells me that this one was not a winner. So this one gets shelved from the rotation. There are so many options around that no one should be forced to eat something they dislike just because it is "healthy".

Bit of an amusing thing to share. Nick is beginning to really understand bigger concepts like Lent , and he was talking to me about the week ahead. He said "And on Ash Thursday we have choir rehearsal and on Ash Friday we will go shopping because we have the Transition on Saturday" ( we are calling Saturday a Retreat, but he still gets words mixed up in cute ways). I told him it is only Ash Wednesday because that is the day Lent begins and some Christians mark the beginning of the time by receiving ashes on their forehead to remind them that man was created from dust and ash- at least symbolically. The other days between now and Easter are not called Ash anything, but simply called Lent" He said "Ohhhhh......". And then Bob whispered to me that I may be dust and ash , but he likes the way that they are put together in me. He is such a sweetie !

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Comercials just aren't what they used to be

I think one of the high points of my day yesterday was watching Diane from Fit to Finish on the De Oz Show as one of his Oz 100 ! I have been following her blog for a while now and she is a beautiful person. Seeing her on the show simply confirmed those feelings- she is just as beautiful on the outside ! I admire her ! Not only for her weight loss , but for her ability to go to New York City and appear on a national TV show ! I get very "wiggy "in crowds and I would never be able to do either of those things ! I loved watching the show and seeing several faces that I have found in blogworld on National TV. What a great shot of inspiration !

Watching tv means watching a lot of commercials, and as I sat watching several for various food products, a thought kept passing through my head- WHERE is the food ??? Several chain resturaunts as well as modest sit down chains were advertising, and suddenly nothing in any of these resembled anything I have come to recognize as food. Instead it all kind of looked like a disgusting substance that would fill your stomach, but king of like a mix of mud and packing peanuts. It was very strange ! Have my tastes changes so radically in such a short time ??

Breakfast consisted of oatmeal with banana, apple, blueberries , flax and cinnamon. Oatmeal and fruit really satisfies !

Lunch was a DELICIOUS soup - a slight variation on Anti Cancer Soup ( recipe and directions can be found here ). The biggest difference between this recipe and mine is that I do not have a juicer and my pot is smaller, so I had to cut the veggies before cooking and then proceeded with the blender step. We had this with assorted veggies and homemade walnut hummus- yum !

It was Fat Tuesday, which meant CONTROVERSY !!! Fat Tuesday in northern states or areas with a lot of Polish Immigrants ( or others from that part of the world) means Paczki !

They are a traditional pre lenten food, made with a ton of eggs, sugar, flour and butter- all foods that in the old days needed to be used up before the Lenten Fast. Every bakery in this area offers them and starts advertising them about Groundhog Day. Bob has a supreme weakness for baked goods, and he starts drooling ! While eating a couple of these is NOT a good idea for anyone valuing their health, splitting one between the three of us is not such a bad thing. it gets it our of your system and you can move on. Here was my portion

Yes, it was good !

Dinner was another yummy . Something called Sunshine slaw , assorted roast vegetables( broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and asparagus) and grilled pork chops seasoned with a citrus grill seasoning.

Sunshine Slaw- serves 4

4 carrots, grated
1 1/2 apples, chopped
1/3 c raisins
1/3 c sliced almonds( I used slivered)
1/3 c mayonnaise
juice of 1 lemon

Mix and chill for a few hours

Lent begins today. May those of you who observe experience a rewarding season of renewal and purification !

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

That's the way the boy bounces !

Much better day yesterday . It seems one thing that helps Nick to avoid boredom is the same thing that helps to keep him on an "even keel" , but expanded. Lists, detailing all of the small events of the day seem to help him to understand that while he may have a free moment right now, something interesting is coming up in a short time and it makes it easier to just enjoy the freedom of the now.So we made a list and kept referencing to it during the day , and he was happy. One of the things we decided to do was to re- inflate the stability ball, and doing this with a manual pump qualifies as a perfect activity for a teen boy to work off some energy.
Once inflated, it seems said ball becomes not only an exercise tool but an amusement park all on it's own. You can roll on your back with it while playing Guitar Hero, singing emo songs and make mom laugh so much she has to constantly run to the bathroom. Then you can convert it into playing "Bowling for Mom " and mom gets to play "Bowling for Boy". You can lie on the floor and play pass the ball with your feet overhead to your mom and a million other antics. Combine this with the Biggest Loser workout for Wii, you get your exercise covered and a lot of very silly moments. I predict the hula hoop will somehow get involved today.

Breakfast was Banana Bread oats - 1/2 a banana, 1/2 c soy milk, 1 c water, 1/2 c oats, 1 T chopped walnuts, 1 t raisins and cinnamon and nutmeg.The raisins were obviously shy and sank to the bottom of the bowl !

Lunch felt like game time, so I used the couple of plates we had leftover from Superbowl Sunday (okay, I got tired of trying to find a home for them and they were taking up space on my microwave). We had scrambled egg with baby portabellos, onion and spinach with left over crossed and fruity salad from the day before( cabbage, broccoli, almonds, sunflower seeds, raisins, cranberries).
Dinner was Grilled Steak Salad with roast veggies- zucchini, fennel, red pepper, asparagus,mushrooms, onions seasoned with garlic and balsamic vinegar on a bed of romaine, spinach, watercress and assorted baby green mix. This picture is from last week because for some reason my camera malfunctioned and I got no shot of yesterday's dinner.

We decided on Saturday we are going to repeat the "Mausoleum 1 K". It's not a run , but rather a walk in the countries largest indoor mausoleum.It's a great place to walk indoors and not be tempted by window displays of stuff or food courts offering bad things. It is filled with amazing art, and free. Being that it will be the first Sunday in Lent it makes for a perfect place to do discursive meditation- moving while meditating. It also happens to be one of Nick's favorite places to go because of all the stained glass. Bob likes it because it makes for a good place to pray and center himself. For me it is like old home week as I have been going there since I was a little girl to visit my family who have passed on. It's a win win for all !

Monday, February 15, 2010

The St Valentines Day Massacre

Valentines Day was ROUGH !!!! Not because of candy or disappointments or unrequited love , but instead because I am a mom and while going on this journey for me, I am also having to mentor a young man who is differently abled , also on the journey. As we go along, there are great improvements in his different ability. Improvements, like honors, bring with them great responsibilities.

I have noticed over the last few days that Nick has been making HUGE strides in his academic work and in his cognitive senses. He is really clicking with some of his struggles with math, spelling, and is suddenly able to hold a conversation that is at least 15 sentences long. He has also , suddenly, been able to put his feelings into words- something that he has NEVER done due to his autism. ( Nutrient dense eating is working to address this issue as well). The past week has been a HUGE anticipation of Valentines Day on his part, and the day before he kept sneaking off to make me cards ( daddy does not get cards in his mind, just a lot of wrestling) a, sending me ecards and posting cute food pictures on his facebook page and saying they were for me. Then he kept playing Guitar Hero , dedicating every song to me - it was sweet and cute and funny. So I made him cards and for breakfast on Valentines Day I made Overnight Steel cut oats with molasses and blueberries, decorates with fat free whipped cream and a spoon of all fruit strawberry jelly.
He was thrilled, and then we announced we were going to go out to Lunch at Sweet Tomatoes- a place that is full of nothing but excellent choices for this way of eating. For some reason, he thinks eating out is the absolute last word in entertainment.

We went ( I forgot to take pictures) and all agreed that we would have a big salad and soup lunch there, and then just eat a light snack for dinner when we got hungry. I had two plates of salad, a cup of sweet potato corn ham chowder, a strip of potato foccaccia, a mini bran muffin, mini Strawberry fields muffin and 1 quarter cup Eddy's Dark Chocolate Frozen Yogert. I was stuffed, and the guys also had their fill. Nick had two big plates of salad, 3 bowls of soup ( about a cup serving per bowl) , amount 10 mini muffins and two small bowls of tat free vanilla yogurt. I had to caution him to go easy on the ice cream and muffins, but no big deal. We stopped off at Target on the way home for some necessary supplies and he had determined that we were going to stop for coffee . No idea where he got this idea ! We did this ONE week some time back , and he has it in his head that if you go to target, you stop for coffee. It was late in the day and I told him no, and he started looking and acting really disappointed ( with Nick it manifests as a really angry tone, absolute nonsense babbling and he becomes physically aggressive. You do NOT want to be battling a 350 lb toddler in a public place) My mind went into battle mode to figure our an alternative before the situation got out of hand, and I quickly calculated that one of these boxed Valentines day hearts would possibly be less calories, cheaper and satisfy his want of something "fancy" . Found one with Ghiardelli Chocolate that fit the bill, and he seemed happy with that.

So we come home and he is a little off in behavior- not in a bad mood but not in a good mood. He occupied himself with different activities till the clock said dinner time, and then he stopped and began to think outloud , reminding himself we were just eating light, and made a peanut butter sandwich. Then wanted cherry tomatoes. Then wanted fruit. Then wanted cherry tomatoes. Then a fruit snack . Then....

I asked him if he was really hungry and he turned into the verbal meltdown mode where he was babbling angrily about things that make no sense . Example - "Nick, we eat because we are hungry , not bored." Nick's response"You go do the laundry TOMORROW!!!! I don't know my head .The library IS THIS SATURDAY !!!!" When these thinga happen I have to reach out with my feelings to try to figure out what world he is lost in, help him calm down enough to find himself and THEN figure out how to correct the situation. Bob, who is not around as often to see these moments with him ( someone has to make money), does not understand and becomes very much like a normal parent, and starts verbally positioning his authority. Which only makes the situation worse. So , Nick is close to full meltdown mode, Bob is frustrated and I am trying to channel Dr Spock. Nick storms out of his room , with instructions to "apologize to your mother", and I get him to hug me and i start giving him reiki to calm him down. It's not the first time I have used reiki to help him get a grip. He softens and finds his center and we start to talk. I tell him is is okay to eat if he is really hungry but if he is eating because he is bored, he has to find other things. He starts to cry and tell me that he is incredibly bored ( cabin fever will definitely do that) and for the next two hours we talked about things he could do, make plans for the week ahead( beyond the existing plans on the calender ) , and he chose a book to read. Out loud. To Me. While I was trying to watch the season Premire of Ruby. A cookbook .

Yea it is food, BUT it is a great way to talk about words from different languages and more.Eventually he stopped reading and we switched to the Olympics and he was my shadow for the rest of the night, deciding on other "important " things we needed to discuss. He was calm, happy, centered and did not eat. About 8 I realized I was very hungry and I grabbed some carrots, celery and hummus. Earlier I had 3 peices of the chocolate from the heart, but it was milk chocolate and it instantly gave me horrible heartburn so I left it alone. The heart only contained 4 servings of chocolate, so it was not a bad hit for the guys. It broke our house rule of dark chocolate only, but it seemed better to break that rule than to have my son become verbally and physically aggressive in a store and perhaps have a security guard intervene. You have to pick your options.

So while emotional eating is not an issue I deal with, i have to think about strategies to deal with this and mentor my son on it. Eventually he will get it, but at the moment his brain is processing so many new things I cannot expect him to discern these behaviors on his own. It's another form of parenting.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bggest Loser game , veggie feeds and chocolate dip

I love our library ! Not only can you check out books ( like my current reads Eat to Live and Eat for Health by Joel Fuhrman MD), music and DVD's but games for the XBOX 360 and the Wii as well. Through them I got a chance to try out The Biggest Loser workout game for the Wii. I love being able to try games out before you buy hem because they can be a bad fit so to speak. I was very cautious about getting this one because we live on the 3rd floor and even jogging in place is a problem for the people downstairs. Anything involving jumping jacks, aerobic stomping or such is right out . From what I had seen from the commercials for the game I had little hope that this could be user friendly.

Good news- the game can be used with or without the balance board, with or without the Wii camera, can be used by two players at once and you can avoid all stomping kinds of movements through a feature that lets you customize your work out. Even with eliminating most of the classic lower body work, you can indeed work up a sweat with the workouts and it is a lot of fun. There is even an option to do different challenge competitions like the show features. It can make a nice way to break the routine, go for extra burn or just compete against a friend. I think this is one we will purchase in the future.

Another day of eating as a "nutriarian" ( a phrase coined by Dr Fuhrman for the practice of eating nutritionally dense foods), and I am really loving the way I feel ! It has not been a full week yet, but I have never felt so healthy, clear headed or energetic in a very long time. It is one thing to follow an eating plan that encourages eating fruits and vegetables, but something entirely different with one focusing on making those choices amongst the most nutritionally dense options available. With eating them raw, lightly cooked or partially broken down, the body assimilates the nutrients faster and more effectively. He is not the only advocate of this kind of eating- Gillian McKeith ( You are what you eat) is another. It's not about limiting calories, food groups or so forth that will get us healthy, but instead making each and every bite we take be a nutritional star !

Breakfast was Cinnamon fruit oats ( rolled oats, apple, blueberry, raisins, walnut and cinnamon).Love it ! Blueberries are a super fruit in the nutrition world, and are just as good frozen as fresh. We are buying them in large quantities at Aldis- gotta love things easy on the wallet !

Lunch was a fun creation of mine- grilled eggplant burgers with Asian Crossed and Wrinkled Slaw. To make the burgers, slice an eggplant into discs and brush with a mix of balsamic vinegar, garlic powder and sesame oil ( about 2 T for each liquid and 1 t for the powder) Let sit for 20 minutes and grill . Place on An Arnolds bun spread with hummus flavor of your choice and baby spinach leaves. To make the slaw, finely chop 2 c broccoli, 1 c green cabbage and toss with 2 T slivered almonds, 2 T sunflower seeds, 4 T rasins and 3 T dried cranberries. Then in a jar combine 1/4 c cider vinegar, 1/2 c olive oil and 2 T brown sugar, shake and toss the veggies with it. I made this about an hour before lunch and let it sit in the fridge to meld.

Dinner was Roast Vegetable Pizza with carrots and celery on the side- definate yum ! To make for 3 people toss 3 c broccoli florrets cut into slices, 1 red pepper cut into strips and 1 cup baby portabello mushroom slices with 1 T garlic powder, 1/2 t soy sauce or Braggs annimo acids and 1 T balsamic vinegar. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 30 min.Meanwhile , lightly steam( wilt) 2 cups baby spinach. Then top a high fiber tortilla with pizza sauce( tomato sauce, italian seasoning, parm cheese and garlic powder ), steamed spinach, veggies and 1/4 cup mozzarella. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. I accidentally set the timer for 20 minutes, and they go rather well crisped.

Saturday night is treat night in our house, and when I came across this recipe I was at first shocked , but thought this could be absolutely killer for a Valentines day kind of treat- strawberries in Chocolate Dip
Forgive the yucky looking bowl, but I had nothing neat to serve it in. The chocolate sauce comes out VERY THICK and I warn you , do not try this unless you have a heavy duty blender - I burned mine out making this. However, the taste is amazing ! Take 3/4 cup of soy milk ( or rice milk or skim milk) and 1 1/2 c raw cashews and blend. Then add 2 cups baby spinach, 2 cups frozen blueberries or sliced frozen strawberries, 2/3 c dates, 3 T cocoa powder, 2 T goji berries and 1 t vanilla and blend. I had to add about a cup of water to get the mix to blend together and it still came out very thick - like a pudding. You can add 1/2 of a fresh raw beet to make the color darker, but I did not think my blender would handle it. Definitely will make this again - with a stronger blender !

Happy Valentines Day to you all ! We are going to go out to lunch ( Sweet tomatoes) and celebrate. Have another reason to celebrate- Adam is improving and has been moved to a regular room. If he continues to make improvement at this rate he will come home on Tuesday. Thank you for the prayers, wishes, reiki, energy and good thoughts ! It always works in accordance with the highest will for the person.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

ooop...and WOO HOO !

I feel bad. Yesterday on Facebook I made a joke about the Olympics starting on Valentines Day weekend and therefor Luge events were probably not a good idea. Hours later I heard about the tragic fatal accident in the luge trial event , and I wanted to find a hole to crawl into. What a horrible thing to have happen ! I can't remember any other Olympic Athlete being killed in competition. I think it speaks volumes for the difficulty of the track they run on in BC.

On to other matters.Adam is holding his own at the moment, and I am awaiting an update on his condition. Meanwhile, it is weigh in day , so time to pay homage to the scale Gods. It seems they are kind

244.8- DOWN 5 lbs ! Yeah !!!!!

It seems there is indeed "something" to the concept of focusing on nutrient dense foods. Obesity is, after all, a symptom of malnutrition, and when proper nutrients are consumed, the body balances and heals itself. Did you know that drugs and herbs do not heal ? It is the body that does the job. All drugs and herbs do is chemically pull the body into a state where balance can be achieved. This is the reason why nutritional healing is a definite possibility. With the proper fuel, the body can preform miracles.

Yesterday for breakfast I made a variation on cinnamon fruit oatmeal- this time with 1/2 pear, 1/2 apple, 2 dates, 2 T raisins, 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk, 1/2 cup oats and 1 t cinnamon. Not sure how I like cooking oats with soy milk- I think it might be better using this with an overnight oats recipe
Lunch was the result of using leftovers in a combination I had never considered, and the results were pretty darned good ! It is a bit of a stretch for me to rethink combination's and there will certainly be disasters, but thankfully this was not one

I took a cooked sweet potato, an avocado and chopped them into cubes and tossed in 4 chopped figs and 2 T of walnuts that I chopped , 1/2 and onion which I marinated in hot water and cider vinegar for 10 minutes, and tossed this with a mix of 2 T balsamic vinegar, 2 T olive oil , 1 T honey and salt and pepper. Put baby spinach in a whole wheat pita, scoop in the avocado mix and eat.

Dinner , because we had to run shopping, was crockpot fare. I sliced up 2 zucchini, chopped a half bunch of kale, 1 onion and about a pound of Italian sausage, poured in a jar of marinara sauce and let it cook all afternoon. I served it on whole wheat pasta with a salad of romaine, baby greens, spinach and watercress with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.I have to say , I think I am in LOVE with the way kale and tomato sauce tastes together !

Looks like the guys had a good week as well- Nick ( following the same way of eating) lost 2.8. Bob ( following the weight watchers plan still) lost 0.2. Later, rinse , repeat

Friday, February 12, 2010

Life can get interesting, but the alternative is not so great

Just the food pictures today- having a bit of a family crisis. Yesterday I got an IM from my sister asking me to put her daughters fiancee in my reiki work. It seems that he and my niece ( who is 8 months pregnant) , came down with what they thought was food poisoning. She went into the hospital to double check on the health of the baby, but recovered. Her fiancee on the other hand became very sick and is in the ICU because of seizures, severe dehydration and an elevated heart rate. It sounds to me like it could be E Coli. He is still hospitalized, my niece is an absolute wreck as a result and one thing weighing on her mind is the fact that 6 years ago today my father died ( he was the father figure in her life, as my sister was divorced from the girls father when they were very young and they saw him only occasionally). So it has been a kind of "drop everything, play a lot of telephone tag, do a lot of reiki work" kind of day. For those of you so inclined, prayers, good thought, healing energies and so forth would be greatly appreciated. His name is Adam and here is a picture take of him this past Christmas - thank you !

Breakfast was overnight steel cut oats with blueberries, dates and almonds- good way to start the day !

Lunch was possibly the most amazing salad I have ever eaten. Take a box of tofu, place it on a plate with paper towels under and over, place another plate on top and something heavy to press out the liquid for 20 minutes. Then slice and place in a baking pan with soy sauce , ginger and sesame oil, and marinate for 30 minutes or more. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, then cut into slices. Meanwhile bake a sweet potato. Place a handful of baby spinach in a bowl, add tofu, cooked sweet potato, orange segments and top with a dressing made from 1/2 cup orange juice, 3 T rice wine vinegar, 2 T peanut butter, 1 t soy sauce and 1/4 t each ginger and garlic blended in a blender. Fiddly dish but Oh My Gosh delicious !

Dinner was mixed greens with the a fore mentioned dressing,homemade vegetable beef barley soup from the freezer and muffins made from oat meal, oat bran, whole wheat flour, apple sauce, golden raisins and dried cranberries. Filling, healthy and allowed me ample time to work

Boy, this sure has been a week ! A snowstorm, an earthquake and now sickness. I am EXTREMELY thankful that I am not an emotional eater, or this could have been a total week of chaos. I don't emotionally eat- I just turn into a reiki workaholic warrior who does not sleep when these thing happen. We will see if the scale is in agreement with this good week tomorrow.