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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Back to Basics

Yesterday on my Facebook page, the chat turned to smoothies.  To respond to a request, I returned to some of my original sources for recipes.  GreenSmoothieGirl.com and an e-book called Try-It Diet: Eating Clean: A Two-Week Healthy Eating Plan were two resources I used heavily early on, along with www.thegraciouspantry.com and www.thenakedkitchen.com.

Truth be told, the holidays have been a bit of a challenge, healthy food-wise.  I made some clean cookies and other treats but, as I often say, everything in moderation.  I don't think I was very moderate with my cookie intake.  And, oh, yes, I certainly did eat a small piece of shoo-fly pie (decidedly UNclean!) and a bit of Breyer's vanilla ice cream.  (Shoo-fly pie is best when warmed slightly and accompanied by ice cream, just so you know.)  So, long story short, it doesn't appear that I will be meeting my holiday goal, which was to not gain any weight from Thanksgiving to New Year's.  I wasn't expecting to lose, but I really wanted to stay stable.  Uh,yeah, no.  As of right now, I am up 2.6 pounds.  That does not make me happy, but I do have until the morning of Jan. 2 to lose it, so we'll see.

Anyway!  Returning to my original inspirational books and websites made me realize that I may have gotten a bit far afield on my lifestyle.  I needed to get back to the basics and quit trying something new all the time.  So as of yesterday (Dec. 29) I am back to green smoothies for breakfast.  This was always a great kick starter to my day.  Gave me tons of energy first thing in the morning.  And when you are out the door at 6 a.m., it's nice to have energy!  Lunch will be leftovers from a previous night's dinner, as usual.  And dinners needs to go back to the basics again too.  That means a serving of protein (grilled chicken or beef, most likely) and lots of steamed veg.

Eating clean doesn't have to be complicated, and I think I was complicating it a bit.  I can probably save some money, too, if I am not always trying new recipes!  Coconut flour and coconut crystals are expensive!!  Not to say I won't still be doing some baking and making the occasional treat, but I think I need to dial it back for 2013.  Simplify my life.  Simplify my lifestyle.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Cherry Crumble Pie




Topping:
1-1/3 cup whole oats - ground to flour in a food processor (about 1 cup oat flour)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup unsalted whole almonds, coarsely ground or chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Filling:
3/4 cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/4 pounds fresh sour cherries, pitted, or 2 cans (14-1/2 ounce) canned sour cherries  (make sure there is no sugar added)

Whole wheat pie crust 

Roll out pie crust and fit into 9" pie pan.  Cut and crimp edge as desires.

In a large bowl, mix cherries with coconut sugar, cornstarch and kosher salt.

Prepare topping by grinding oats to an oat flour in a food processor, add coconut sugar, cinnamon, salt and almonds. Grind together until the nuts are coarsely ground. Stir together with melted butter in a bowl.

Pour the cherries into your unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle the almond crumble topping over the cherries. Place the pie plate on a foil-lined cookie sheet (really important!  It can make a mess!). Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling and thick. Remove to a rack to cool to room temperature before serving.

Adapted from SmittenKitchen.com

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Always Have a Plan!

Just like the "A" Team, even Clean Eaters need a plan.  In order to not only eat well, but also to save money, it is very important to have a plan.  I always make a menu for the week before grocery shopping.  Today I just simply want to share with you what our dinner will look like this week.  If you are interested in any of the recipes, make a comment or send me a message on Facebook.  I have shared most of these before, and am happy to do so again!  I generally list only the entree unless there is a particular veg or side dish I want with it, so please do remember to eat your veggies!

SUNDAY - Rosemary pot roast
This has to be one of the easiest and most tasty dinners ever.  All you need is meat, coconut oil, worcestershire and rosemary (fresh or dried), and a crock pot.

MONDAY - Balsamic Mustard Chicken and baked acorn squash
I like recipes that I don't have to buy a lot of weird ingredients to make.  This is another one that is made with things I usually have stocked in the pantry.

TUESDAY - Falafel with whole wheat pita and tzatziki
This one takes a little more time but is so worth it when you taste those fresh whole wheat pitas.  A lot of falafel recipes call for tahini sauce, which you can easily substitute, but we just love tzatziki (cucumber-yogurt sauce)

WEDNESDAY - Black beans and rice
Another easy go to recipe!  The only reason this takes any time at all is because the rice takes 45 minutes to cook.  If you pre-make your rice on Sunday, then this one takes about 15 minutes!

THURSDAY - Tortilla soup
I add cooked chicken for a little extra protein, but can be made without it too!  (Use leftover chicken from Monday!)

FRIDAY - Barbecue sandwiches
Repurpose the meat from Sunday into fabulous barbecue beef sandwiches!

SATURDAY - Go out!
Our Saturday is typically filled with chores and errands, so after church in the evening we usually go grab a bite to eat at Panera.  While the salad dressings are not what I would call a first choice, the salads are made with fresh ingredients, so I am going with that!  As long as I have eaten totally clean all week, one serving of salad dressing isn't going to wreck that.  I love the chopped chicken cobb with avocado!!!

Once we have made the menu, we think about our snacks, breakfast and lunches, and any special cooking we need to do that week (a treat for co-workers, perhaps?!), and make our list.  A grocery run often includes Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Giant, (with a trip to the farmer's market when possible) but all of the above recipes can be made with ingredients purchased at any major grocery store chain.

So get busy!  Make your menu.  Make your list.  Go shopping!  As Hannibal would say, "I love it when a plan comes together."  ("A" Team reference for you young'uns!)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Baby Steps!

GMOs, organic, superfood, probiotic, all natural....  Can I just say that at this point in my life and in my lifestyle change, I just know I need to eat healthy?  For me, that means cooking most of my own food.  That means being intentional about what I put in my mouth.  It took me a long time to get to this point.    But I still am focused on doing this right... because I am never going back.  

So please excuse me if from time to time I post a recipe that does not include organic vegetables in the ingredients list, please excuse me if I am confused about what foods are genetically modified, which ones are probiotic, and which is the best superfood.

I think one of the reasons I failed at weight loss attempts before is because I tried to read all the articles.  One week I was told to eat more of one thing, the next to never eat something else, the next time I turned around a different food was something I should eat all the time.  I can't keep up, and I get confused and kind of freaked out, and then I give up.  I'm not giving up this time.  

It's baby steps.  I eat clean, every day.  I don't have cheat days (okay, hardly ever).  But I still have a lot to learn.  Right now I need to focus on finding new recipes my whole family will enjoy.  Maybe next year I can learn about all that other stuff.  Just not today.