Thursday, March 31, 2011

I am happy to report that I have a new cereal to add to my morning choices. I try really hard to eat less pre-packaged foods, but this cereal is good, so I have to make an exception. DH heard about it from the Eat This, Not That Guy, I think.  I don't care where he heard about it, I'm just glad he did. Referred to affectionately as 'colon blow" (it really gets things moving) by my husband, it has become a staple at our house.  I love that it's healthy, and I especially love that it's made in the USA. I have only seen this cereal at Whole Paycheck, so I pick some up whenever I'm there. 

I also am now using Chia seeds and LOVING them!  I have had them sprinkled on oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, and salad. The great thing is that they are super healthy for you.  I've only had one concern in eating them, but I have been checking each morning to make sure I don't start sporting the "chia fro."  So far, so good!

The Flirty Apron

One of my very most favorite things is the Flirty Apron.  I received one for Christmas, and I love it. I have to admit that I have always loved aprons. It's partly, I guess, because I love to cook, and partly because, as the mother of three growing boys, I find myself always in the kitchen.  The Flirty Apron is great because it will fit most body types and comes in a variety of designs.  I love how they fit and how stylish I feel when wearing one. They are simply flirty and fun...and while they are functional (they cover you up and have big pockets), they are by no means the old fashioned apron your Grandma used to wear. Check out me in all my Flirty Apron glory, and don't be jealous of my Christmas socks either!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sumo Tangerines

DH and I recently discovered a new fruit to add to our food repertoire: the sumo tangerine. We have only seen them at Whole Paycheck, I mean Whole Foods.  We have been purchasing them for the past 2 weeks and they are yummy. Big, juicy, and delicious....So today, I went back to get some more and was met with the horrible news that their season is over. The young man advised me that their season only lasts about a month. Bummer. I will be on the lookout for them now that I know they exist. If you ever get the chance to try one, do it. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Roasted Corn Salad

My sister was visiting us this weekend and asked me to please give her the cowboy salsa recipe we made the last summer when she visited. I am posting it because it is so good, and with summer right around the corner, it's the perfect recipe to share. I got this recipe  years ago from a friend who got the recipe from our local Trader Joe's.  It is made using one of my favorite Trader Joe's products, roasted corn. It can be made with frozen or canned corn as well. Either way, it's just good eats. Enjoy!

Roasted Corn Salad

1 bag Trader Joe's roasted corn, thawed or 3 cans of corn, drained
2 cans black beans, drained
1/4-1/2 c balsalmic vinegrette
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 can tomatoes with green chlies, drained
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1 clove minced garlic
2 avocados, diced (add this last so they don't get too mushy from stirring)

Mix all ingredients together and chill. Serve with your favorite homemade or store bought tortilla chips.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Great Northern Bean Soup

Tomorrow, we are having Great Northern Bean Soup for dinner. I have said before that being a southern girl I am used to things being cooked with bacon or ham hocks for flavor. My mom's bean soup has a delicious flavor due to the all day simmering and the ham, but this one is much healthier, I'm sure, and it's definitely a lot quicker I think it was originally a Cooking Light recipe. I simply copied it from someone else's recipe collection. It is both delicious and hearty. DH loves it.

Bean Soup

Cooking spray
1 cup baby carrots, sliced and diced
1 cup chopped  sweet onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 ounces turkey kielbasa, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used Jennie-o 99% fat free turkey kielbasa when I use it. I have made it without the kielbasa and it is still good, but the kielbasa pushes it over the edge)

4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth (I love Pacific free range organic low sodium> It only has 70 mg sodium per serving)

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 (15.8-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed (low sodium beans preferred)
1 (6-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach leaves

Heat a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onion, garlic, and kielbasa; saute 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes. Add the broth, Italian seasoning, pepper, and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
Place 2 cups of the soup in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Return the pureed mixture to pan. Simmer an additional 5 minutes. Remove soup from heat. Add the spinach, stirring until spinach wilts.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Cross Kale off the 30 Healthiest Food Challenge . I made it tonight as a side dish with our turkey breast (which btw tasted sooo good). All I did was cut up the  curly leafed kale making sure not to keep the heavy vein.  I tore it into pieces and threw it in a saute pan that had about a Tbsp of olive oil in it. I tossed it for a minute or two till it was bright green. Then I added 1/2 c water and some minced garlic (about 2 cloves) and cooked it on low-med heat for about 15 minutes till tender. Before serving, I sprinkled it with Mrs. Dash salt free seasoning. DH  really liked it. I had never had it by itself before, but it wasn't half bad.

Speaking of Kale,  I love this Tshirt I saw on Dr. Fuhrman's website

Menu March 21st- 27th

Plant seeds of expectation in your mind; cultivate thoughts that anticipate achievement. Believe in yourself as being capable of overcoming all obstacles and weaknesses.

- Norman Vincent Peale

Monday- turkey breast, roasted veggies, kale, fruit
Tuesday- LO lasagna (kids), LO turkey and veggies (us)
Wednesday- bean soup/tomato soup and grilled cheese
Thursday- Picante chicken with brown rice, broccoli, fruit
Friday- Pizza Friday (kids), LO chicken and brown rice, tortillas, carrots, fruit
Saturday- cookout: HB, chicken breasts,tots & fries ,vegetarian baked beans, aspergrass, fresh fruit
Sunday- LO from Saturday

This menu is a part of Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie .  Check out Laura's cool site for organizational tips and even more menu ideas.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Just Checking In

My progress on the 30 Healthiest Food Challenge is going well.  I can cross the following foods off the list:  walnuts (in oatmeal), almonds (snack), chicken breasts (main dish rotisserie chicken), blueberries (In fruit salad and smoothie),broccoli, black beans (chili), and kidney beans (chili).  This week I plan to cross mushrooms off too. I love them and came across a really interesting recipe for portabella stuffed mushroom pizza from Angela Liddon at Oh How She Glows . It sounds really yummy, so watch for a review in the coming weeks.

I am not totally vegetarian right now, but am considering going back to it again. Meat only adds variety for me, but I don't really miss it. I have been reading and learning a lot more about vegetarian and vegan cooking. Some things I've been reading and learning about are nutritional yeast, tofu, chia seeds, and seitan.  The first three I intend to incorporate into my meal plan over the next several weeks. I'll let you know how it turns out.  I'm down 15 pounds so far and have gone back to my peertrainer group for journaling purposes to keep me honest.

I had a sumo tangerine today. Its bumpy and misshapen and tastes like a big cutie orange. It was pretty good. At least I tried something new.

Vegetarian Chili

This is based on my mom's meat chili that she made us growing up. I make a few changes to make it healthier and vegetarian.  DH loves this!

Vegetarian Chili

1 pkg Morning Star Farms soy crumbles
garlic powder
chili powder
1 large can tomato puree (29 oz)
1 can organic hot chili beans and juice
1 can organic tricolor beans, drained
1 can organic kidney beans,drained
2 pkgs. low sodium chili seasoning mix or homemade chili mix
hot sauce to taste (optional)
chopped onions (optional)

In a soup pot, heat frozen soy crumbles with some water over md-md/high. sprinkle with garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder. When  heated through (about 5 minutes) add tomato puree, beans, and chili seasoning mix. Put 1/2- 3/4 c water in the empty can of chili beans and scrape the sides to get any leftover beans and the flavors. Add to the chili in the pot and mix well.  Heat over md till starts to simmer. Then turn down and let flavors meld for a bit. Re taste before serving to re spice if needed.  Serve with hot sauce for those who want more heat and top with chopped onions and any other chili toppings of your choice.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Black Bean and Brown Rice Chili

Another winning recipe from my sister (Thank you, Tricia!)
I get to cross black beans off my 30 Healthiest Food Challenge today. Yesterday I made black bean and brown rice chili. Yummy!  We ate it last night for dinner and had leftovers tonight as well. Last night, I ate mine in a burrito, and DH had his in a bowl. It works well as a burrito filling because it was extremely thick. Tonight, we both ate it in a burrito. I must say that sitting overnight in the fridge made it hotter (spicier) than it was last night. I'm glad I went easy on the chili peppers.  this meal gets an A+ for flavor and ease. You throw it all in a slow cooker, so how could it get easier than that. Tricia thinks it came from a crock pot cookbook she once got out of the library. I urge you to try it. You won't be disappointed.

Black Bean and Brown Rice Chili

2 cans black beans
1 can (14 oz) crushed or petite diced tomatoes
1/2 c brown rice
1 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
 ( I added extra seasonings to taste, including some Cajun seasoning.)
1/2-1 whole can chipoltle chilies, cut into small pieces (I used 3 because i have never used them before and was kind of scared of them to be honest with you. They were like hot pepper in BBQ sauce...very interesting)
Best when served with warm tortillas and sour cream.
Pour beans, tomatoes, and liquid into crock pot. Add brown rice, seasonings, and chilies. Stir to combine. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Stir a couple of times during cooking and add water as needed. If you're going to be gone, I would suggest adding water with all other ingredients so it doesn't get too dry and burn.

Kale Soup

I can mark kale off my 30 Healthiest Foods Challenge.  I got this recipe from my sister when I went home last month, and I tried it this week. It was a hit with DH and I. It was the closest thing I've had to  my beef vegetable soup recipe, minus the beef, or course. It's one of those recipes that you can make your own based on whatever spices and veggies you choose to use. 

Kale Soup

1 head kale (leaves torn and soaked, no stems)
1 lg onion, chopped
1-2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 quart veggie broth
1 c chopped carrots (I used @ 1 1/2 c + 1 stalk celery, chopped)
1/2 sm bag frozen green beans
1/2 small bag frozen baby limas or 1 can white beans (I used baby limas.)
1/2 c frozen corn
1 can crushed or petite diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp oil black pepper
Mrs. Dash extra spicy (I did not use this. I used veggie soup seasonings: thyme, sage, bay leaves, oregano...this is where you can make it your own)
2-3 c. water

Saute onion, garlic, carrots, celery and spices in oil till onion is translucent and veggies soften a bit. I skipped the oil and did this in a little water, stirring frequently and adding water as needed. Then add tomatoes with juice and 1 c of water. Stir well and cover the pot. Cook on high 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
While veggies are cooking, tear up kale and soak it it water. Change the water and drain 3-4 times. Then microwave kale with a tsp of water for  7 minutes. Add it to your soup pot along with the vegetable broth and frozen veggies. Add enough water to submerge the veggies. Cook on md. heat for 1 hour, then on low for 1-2 additional hours. Stir occasionally and re season during cooking.  I cooked mine a good 4 hours and it was delish!

Losing Weight

Just ranting:  

For women, losing weight really sucks. It's such a slow process, especially if you do it healthily. Men tend to lose faster. Not fair. I should be able to say to my body, "Let go of the weight already!  I'm not having any more babies! You don't have to hang onto so much!" Yet we must endure. And so I will. I have lost 12 pounds in 2 months. Good, but not good enough for me. I am hoping that once I am able to exercise that weight will fall away more easily. Who knows....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

30 Healthiest Foods Challenge

So I was hoping to start this challenge on March 1st, but we have been sooooo sick at our house that the delay could not be helped. I am still coughing, but determined to get back into some routine of normal eating. Below is the list of foods reprinted from Carrots 'N' Cake's website. She's got an interesting site, so you should check her out.

Super Foods:



■Whole-Grain Pasta (I had this yesterday...ww spaghetti noodles and sauce)

■Peanut and Nut Butters (This is a must have at my house. When I'm eating vegetarian meals, which is often, it's a good way for me to get in some much needed protein.)

■Oatmeal (I have this ALLthe it!)






■Eggs (These are a staple for me as well.)

■Nonfat Greek Yogurt

■Chicken Breasts

■Wild Salmon


■Kale  (I had this tonight...yummy!)





■Black Beans

■Sweet Potatoes

■Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (I use this often.)



■Kidney Beans

■Oranges (I had a Cara Cara orange today with my lunch...scrumptulescent!)

Spinach (I had this last night in my salad, and it's a main ingredient now in every smoothie I make.)


■Skim Milk  ( I love skim milk and drink it with dinner often.)
I have had other foods on the list as well, but I'm going to be trying some new versions of them.  For example, I would love to try sunflower seed butter. Also, while I love broccoli in anything, I will be trying out a new broccoli soup recipe that my sister swears by.  I will  also be updating my progress on this challenge all throughout this month...and possibly into next month as well.  These challenges are fun for me and it really stretches my food repertoire. Wish me luck!