Saturday, June 25, 2011

It's a Sunshine Day . . .

I have a new favorite market: the SunFlower Farmer's Market. It is a great place.You can check out the store I go to here.  It is a great place to get  fresh, all natural meats, whole grain breads made by a local bakery, and a bevy of different and sometimes exotic fruits and vegetables. The produce section alone is worth a trip.  It is like a hybrid between Trader Joe's (love it...) and Whole Foods (hate to pay for it...).  It is larger than a TJ's and smaller and less pretentious than Whole Paycheck.  What has impressed us the most is the fresh produce. It is amazing!  So if you have one near you, check it out. Even though it's not a recipe, it get 5 spoons from me.  And I have to say, that every time I walk in there, I hear the Brady Bunch singing in my head.  "It's a Sunshine Day...,"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Favorite Taco Salad

I get so tired of just the same old salads: lettuces and veggies with beans or egg for protein.  The only variation is usually what dressing to use. Blah, blah, blah...It's no wonder salads aren't thought of as exciting or sexy foods. This week, I decided to make a taco salad (the vegetarian way) while my kiddos had tacos. I had it two times this week, and I must say that while the grilled corn is a really tasty treat in this concoction, Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn would also work well. It is filling and I don't feel deprived of that Mexican/taco flavor one bit. Best of all, it's quick, easy, and pretty healthy.

Favorite Taco Salad

mixed greens, chopped ( I used romaine, spinach, and iceberg because I'm a sucker for the crunch!)
a little diced red onion
1 chopped roma tomato
some chopped, fresh cilantro (mom, you can leave this out :)
Mix all this together in a single serving salad bowl. I use a shallow pasta bowl

1/3-1/2 c roasted corn ( I used leftovers from the weekend's grill night. Yummy!  Never underestimate the power of good grilled corn) The corn can be added warm or cold.

Sprinkle with 1-2 Tbsp. of low fat cheddar cheese if you choose (I did this the first time I made it, but not the second time. It was good either way. If I could eat nutritional yeast, I would have added a little of that)

1/2 c warmed vegetarian chili -Pour this over the top.

Break up a  few tortilla chips of your choice (baked, homemade, Tostitos, etc.) and sprinkle them on top. Sometimes halfway through eating it, I add a few more. I like the crunchiness.

Top with 1 Tbsp. lite sour cream.

Soooooo good! 4 spoons for this one.  I am also compiling a list of other salads to try.

 What's your favorite salad?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Picky Eater's 20-Minute Black Bean Soup

One of my favorite blogger, The Picky Eater, had this on her website last week.  I made it last night and it was yummy. Definitely a great soup for a quick meal. I am sorry for those of you who do not have a Trader Joes's, but maybe you could find a good substitute for the TJ's soup.  I did not use the peppers in this soup because I am allergic, and I added more cumin and and some Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning too. As Picky Eater says, the seasonings make this soup and you can use whatever seasonings that taste good to you.  I also blended half of the corn and black beans in a blender with some soup "broth" and then dumped it back in the post to get the consistency I like. Play with this basic recipe to adjust it to your tastes . However, as written, it's great!  Just click the link below for the recipe and check out the rest of her site. There's some interesting stuff there.

Addendum:  DH had leftovers today and said that it was even better after sitting overnight because the flavors have melded. We also decided that for us, an extra can of black beans would be good puree'd to add thickness and consitency since we like thicker, less liquidy soups.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Michelle Obama's New USDA Food Plate

I love Michelle Obama. I will say that up front. And I think her dedication to her Let's Move campaign to combat childhood obesity is amazing and admirable.  Recently, Mrs. Obama and the USDA teamed up to present,  My Plate , the newest healthy eating visual that replaces the old food pyramid.
 It definitely, in my opinion, is a better visual than the food pyramid, and more readily understandable for young children, in particular. I think it is a good visual to make kids think more about the balance of their meals and portion control. My only criticism is that I would not have separated fruits and veggies. I would have made that whole side one color and label it fruits and veggies. Still, it is a great visual to try to get people and kids in particular to eat better.  As with any new change, there is alot of controversy surrounding the plate , namely by vegans, vegetarians (I am currently one), and others who eat  a plant strong diet. From what I have read they are upset that the protein section seems to still imply meat, a very contentious item in it's own right, while beans and legumes seem to have been left out altogether.Also contentious is that dairy still has a place in the visual.   Below are two links to read that discuss the new My Plate in case you're interested in learning more. Both links have some good information and interesting criticisms.
Disease Proof By Dr. Joel Fuhrman
My Plate: Peas and Thank You

Personally, I think that anything you can do to try to create a healthier America is okay by me.  Not everyone is at the same place in their healthy life journey and that's okay. What's important is taking steps to make your life better and healthier. My Plate may not be a perfect plate, but in my opinion, it is a big improvement over the old food pyramid visual.

What are your thoughts on My Plate?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Living the Healthy Life: Patience, Kindness, & Acceptance

It is important to remember, as you embark on any lifestyle change, that change does not happen over night. It sucks, but it is the truth. It takes patience and plenty of hard work. We must not only accept this reality, but we also need to be kind to ourselves in the process. This is especially important for us women since we are deluged on a regular basis with pictures of ultra thin perfect female bodies. Everywhere we look, we see these images in movies, clothing ads, magazines, and on TV.  It's enough to make any even average size woman cringe. As women, we tend to be very critical of our appearance because society tells us we are most certainly measured to some degree by how we look. It is something I hate, but it is also something we need to be aware of. Women need to give ourselves a break.  We need to realize that we are beautiful just the way we are. We need to realize that while Angelina Jolie and Cindy Crawford have beautiful bodies, we will never look like them because we are not them. And that's okay.

My fellow females, you are 'You-nique."  Enjoy it! Embrace it! Celebrate it! Life is too short to be a carbon copy of someone else, so why try?  So realize that while all we see around us in the media is super skinny bodies, realize that those women are not the norm. I never want to be a stick woman because women are meant to have curves. It's part of what makes us so special. So accept your mole on your nose, your midriff roll, your kinky, curly hair, and your big feet.  I'm not saying not to try to better yourself. I'm just saying don't hate yourself because you don't look the way you want to. Be kind to yourself, and do things that help to boost your confidence. Some things you can do are

~Tell yourself everyday how awesome you are.
~ If meditation is your thing, meditate on all of your good qualities and how great you are.
~Write post it notes for yourself. Fill them with positive self talk or inspiring quotes and put them on your mirror or on your calendar...anywhere where you will see them and can read them everyday.
~Spread the word!  We women need to stick together and as a community, boost each other up more often rather than tearing each other down. Read about Operation Beautiful. Caitlin has developed it as a way of "transforming the way you see yourself one post-it note at a time." It's a truly great movement. The book is available at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon. Check it out.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Living the Healthy Life: Bits and Pieces

~ ~ ~I have decided, in my seemingly elusive quest for the number on the scale to change, that I must change some things up. I am exercising more (yay me!) and while I feel like I'm losing (or maybe it's just redistributing itself), something has to give. So, one thing I'm doing is going back to my personal meal planning sheet that I used some years ago when I did the South Beach Diet.  You can find it here.  Just click on "7-Day Menu Planner" and it will come up for you to print. Thanks to MizFrog's Pad for this handy tool.  I want to go back to this because I realise that not planning lunches is causing me issues.  I plan all my other meals, so lunch shouldn't be any different. Besides, by planning lunches as well as my other meals, I can get a better picture of my daily nutritional layout to make sure I'm getting enough veggies (I think I need more) and to keep me more nutritionally well balanced. I also am cutting down on cheese. I am still eating it, just less of it.  Hopefully, these steps will help me get closer to my goal.

~ ~ ~I think that Lara bars suck. I skipped lunch(accidentally) today, so while at Trader Joe's, I picked up a cashew cookie Lara bar.  My sister swears it is her favorite one, and since it is one flavor I hadn't tried yet, I decided to give it a whirl. It didn't taste bad, it just didn't taste like much of anything.  I haven't liked any of the flavors I have tried.

~ ~ ~  Light bulb:  I went shopping this weekend and was slapped in the face with the realization that no adult woman should be a size 0. NO ONE. Nothing pisses me off more than to see a size 0 printed on a clothing tag.  Just my personal opinion.

~ ~ ~ I am anxiously awaiting Mama Pea's Cookbook.  It comes out in July...very excited!
Check out Mama Pea's website here.  She is funny and has great stories and recipes to share.

~ ~ ~ I think that large, metropolitan areas like Phoenix should have more than 1 theater that shows Forks Over Knives.  I really want to see it.