Monday, November 30, 2009

Weighing In On My Morning

Exhausting!   That is what it was!

First, after doing the camping/tenting/canoeing thing Sat and Sun, we got home last night shortly after 9 p.m. and FabPreteen still had work to do on a project, due, of course, today

So I took the opportunity to blog about my trip some (still more to come there) while she worked on the project.  We didn’t go to bed until  2:30 a.m.

Bright and early the alarm went off at 6:05 a.m.  If I thought getting up Saturday was bad, today was worse!  I was am tired.  And I have a jam-packed day too!

Speaking of which, it started out, well, very frustrating.   First…FabStepson was dawdling today and we missed the bus.  Only we didn’t know we missed the bus because she usually comes between 6:35 and 7:45 a.m.  I finally called her at 7:50 and she said she had been there at 6:30 and thought we might be on vacay today!  BIG SIGH!  FabStepson is the only kid at this bus stop so I always call her if we will not be there so she doesn’t have to make the stop.  And his school is not close.  And FabPreteen was still finishing up that project this morning!  I was frustrated that she didn’t call me!  We must have missed the bus by less than 30 seconds because we were there by 6:31.

While waiting for the bus that never came, FabTeen kept calling, looking for my Costco card to get gas.  But my wallet was nowhere to be found.  So he left without it and I came home to look for it.  Nope!  I had put my stuff in big ziplocks for canoeing and it wasn’t in my big ziplock.  And it wasn’t in the car.  And that was frustration #2!  BIG SIGH!

So now we pile into the car and are on our way…to FPT’ school first, then FSS next…without my wallet so I have my fingers crossed I don’t cross paths with any police types this a.m.   And then I realize…I don’t have my phone either!  By now the kids are in peals of laughter making fun of my day!  BIG SIGH!

As we pull up to FPT’s  school, the convenient little  side gate is still open…we are actually early for her and the side gate usually stays open for another 10 minutes.  And, luckily enough, there is a nice little parking spot for me right in front of that convenient side gate.  So I pull and park and the kids are talking about that good thing that happened…when the side gate is closed from inside just as we are getting out of the car!   Helloooo! What is going on here????  This is getting ridiculous!  BIG SIGH!

The kids on the other hand are loving this!  We make our way to the front of the school to find a space there instead.   Thankfully there is one open, waiting for me!

I am not really frustrated, more in shock.  And hoping the rest of the day goes better.  I have a produce delivery to sort and a ton of transcription to do…plus kids to pick up later and we need to get our Christmas tree tonight!  I like us to all do it together and FPT is with her dad this weekend so we have a small window of opportunity this week.

None of that can go wrong, especially the work things.

On the bright side however, traveling across town, traffic was more go than stop, so FSS was just a little late to school, and after digging out all of my camping gear, I found my wallet,  FabHubs had tossed it into another giant ziplock while cleaning out the car last night.  My phone was waiting for me on the kitchen counter…with no missed calls even.

AND (drumroll)….Weighing on the scale this morning for my official Monday Morning Weight Watchers weigh-in, after Thanksgiving, extra family dinners, and weekend  travel eating I stayed the same as last week.  Progress in my book!  (Okay..I cheat weighed last night, at night, after dinner, and in jeans and was in a panic at the 4-pound gain the scale showed…so when I weighed this morning and was back down to what I was last Monday, staying the same was a huge relief!).

Scrambling for groceries for my breakfast this morning (the cupboard is bare!) I found a little yogurt to which I added half of a really really really ripe banana, 1/2 TBS of almond butter, and 1/2 ounce of granola.  

Fage with bananas and almond butter

Now I am craving an Amazing Grass but we have no almond milk

I am off to start work…have a FabDay!

Back To Nature Florida Style, Part III

The alarm went off bright and early at 5 a.m.   I was FREEZING and worried about sleeping on the river tonight.  FabHubs bounded out of bed…he is a morning person.  I UGHed a while longer before prying myself out from between the sheets.  I am NOT a morning person!

So being the NOT morning person that I am, and being in the rush that we were…no pictures were taken until we actually got onto the river!

After loading the coolers and the car and hustling kids, one of whom came down crying because it was so cold (more second guessing myself here!) I was ready to make breakfast.  Now, remember how we don’t have A/C?  Well we don’t have heat either!  and it was in the low 40s here.   We were chilly!  I made kids some hot chocolate, espresso for FabHubs and me, and then omelets, with real eggs and cheese for me too!

I sneakily skipped the meat for everybody, but to bulk up mine I added a generous helping of those decadent balsamic mushrooms I had made a few hours the night before.  Nobody else wanted them!  Their loss….

I had only fruit for snacks and lunch was going to be light, so I made sure they had a breakfast that would last a while. 

Finally, after some nervous moments about whether we would make the 9:30 a.m. bus loading, we got there about 5 or so minutes late.   The equipment was loaded while I took kids to the bathroom…and then we were hustled to the bus.  We had to divide our stuff into what was going to be going in the canoes with us and on the bus…and what would be delivered to the site.  It was pretty cool…they provided us with our very own trailer to put all the stuff to be delivered…the trailer would just  be waiting for us at our site when we got there, and remain there until we left the next day.  We just needed to load it up and call when we were leaving, and they would pick it up from our site and deliver it back to our car!  We are usually DIY people so this was a fun convenience for us.

The bus ride to the drop off point was about 25 or so minutes away through cattle and orange country.   After unloading everything, FabTeen and FabHubs loaded up the canoes…and finally we were off!

Peace River CampingPeace River camping Peace River Camping

Peace River Camping

We finally made it in the water just before 11 a.m.  The weather was perfect.  Cool and clear.  There were a few clouds but no rain in site.  I did keep my jacket and a light sweater on and I wasn’t too hot. 

We paddled until about 1 p.m. before pulling over onto a nice clearing to make lunch.   We had a cooler in the canoe with our food, and a small Dutch Oven so I could cook the veggie burgers.  Our utensils had gone on with the trailer so there were a few things I had to makeshift or do without. 

Hubby set up the cooking stuff…he is the fire guy!  That little metal thingie is a windscreen so the flame on the little one-burner propane stove won’t go out.

Peace River Lunch Lunch on the Peace River

Lunch on the Peace River

Our wraps consisted of these Asian veggie burgers:

veggie burger wraps

The salad:

veggie burger wraps

Caesar for FabHubs….my newfound fave dressing for everybody else.  This Thai Peanut dressing rocks!  I am scared to see how many points it is…there no NI on the label.

veggie burger wrap condiments

Flour tortillas…not my favorite (which would be the Ezekiel live sprouted grain wraps) but what we had in the freezer.  

veggie burger wraps

These veggie burgers have to be cooked!  I was surprised but did it.  I think it is because they have eggs in them. 

cooking veggie burgers outdoors

cooking veggie burgers camping

FabTeen tended the burgers while I set up the wraps, using foil for plates and the cooler as a table.  The small Dutch Oven would only fit two at a time.  We only made four altogether as FabPreteen (Ms. Fussy Eater) would not eat these and had a PB&J instead!  I knew this in advance…and made the sammy for her before we left though.  While everything was cooking and being assembled, everybody devoured the pack of grapes I had brought….we were hungry!

veggie burger wraps camping veggie burger wraps camping Hard to see, but this is the makeshift “knife” I used to make FabPreteen a second PB&J sammy.  A stick covered in foil…clumsy but it worked.

peanut butter and jelly campingThen we plowed through the pack of apples I had brought.  FabHubs made us some espresso after lunch, but we also drank water with our lunch. 

We were still a little hungry and I felt bad for FabHubs and the kids… but that was going to have to be it until dinnertime….we had not brought enough snacks.

After packing up, loading up, and cleaning the site (Leave No Trace!) we got in the canoes and moved on…..about 2-3 more hours of canoeing until we reach our site for the night.

peace river camping peace river canoeing trip peace river canoeing camping

Next installment…we arrive at our campsite, set up, and make dinner…

Back To Nature Florida Style, Part II

Food-wise I had a goal to eat healthy (of course!), eat comfortably, and use what I had already in the fridge…I didn’t want my veggies to go bad AND we didn’t have time to go shopping for food!  So like a madwoman I threw stuff together and made it happen!

After getting home from mom’s house Friday night around 11 p.m.  I  started cooking and preparing.  First, I had a ton of lettuce left over from last week’s produce box, so I made a salad to take with the lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes, all organic and from the produce box.  This salad would also be used for veggies on the veggie wraps we would be having for lunch on the river.  

salad to go

Next,  I had a ton of mushrooms left from the box last Monday.  I just needed to cook these before they went bad…this dish was not coming on the river with us.  So I sautéed in olive oil with some diced shallots (also from the produce box..I have never bought these before), some S&P, a TBS of sugar, and at the very end, a generous splash of balsamic vinegar which I let caramelize all over the mushrooms.  The result was absolute YUM!  I am learning balsamic makes all veggies taste fantastic!

balsamic mushrooms and shallotsAnd finally, we needed bread in a hurry…so FabHubs threw a loaf into the breadmaker.  He has this down to a science…and 10 minutes, so that is his job.  This was the result:

breadmaker bread 

And by midnight, maybe 12:30, we finally crawled in bed…after setting the alarm for 5 a.m.  YUCK!  I know I seem like I get up early a lot (I do) but I really hate getting up early!

We needed to be on the road by 6 a.m., and I still had to load coolers in the morning and make kids breakfast, and shower!  But with some prep work done and my list made I was off to a good start. 

Part Three Still To Come……

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Back To Nature Florida Style

While most people probably picture Florida as all beaches and Disney World, our back country is beautiful as well, and the best time to enjoy it is between November and April, when the weather has turned cooler (finally!) and the rain is rare.  Most days during this time the sky is brilliant blue and cloudless…and lucky for us, this was the case this weekend.

Yes, we canoed the Peace River in the beginning of November with our Boy Scout troop…but FabPreteen is not allowed on these trips anymore and she has been fussing about taking her on one of these overnighters. 

Traditionally we go family camping every year Thanksgiving weekend…so we decided this year to make it a family canoe trip.

Starting off, you know how I have been complaining about the record high temps this fall?  Well early in the week was no exception….80s!  Yes..80s here!  The early part of the week was pretty brutal as far as heat was concerned….BUT…

Of course, as soon as we are going to be unprotected, outside, and vulnerable to the elements, guess what!  We had a big ole’ cold front come through…with great comfy temps in the daytime (low 70s or so….HEY…stop laughing at me all you northerners!!) but in the mid- to low 40s at night, chilly at night in a tent.  I was very worried about the kids…especially FabPreteen who wanted to sleep alone in a tent (another thing I am not crazy about!)

We own two canoes…but one is only for one person, so we decided to rent another canoe for the kids.   After digging around at the outfitter’s website, we discovered a 12 mile route (compared to the 20-miler we did a few weeks ago) and opted for this route instead.   Also…I saw that the outfitter owned a piece of property along the river and instead of just pulling over alongside a nice portion of riverbank to camp (which is what we usually do) we could stay at their site for the night, at no extra charge.   Still completely primitive…no running water…no electricity…no showers…but it did have Port-A-Potties, which I thought might be a little easier with the FabPreteen along. 

Only catch for staying here…we could not use our own canoe!  But while going back and forth on this with FabHubs, I saw that for $30 they would deliver all our gear to our site as well, which would make it so much easier on us with the three kids, two canoes, and space at a premium.  We may be tent campers but we are not  minimalists and between wanting to eat well and staying warm we had a lot of equipment to bring, more than would fit in a canoe comfortably.

So after going back and forth a while on this, FabHubs and I decided we would just rent both canoes, let them bus us to the drop off point instead of having to deal with getting our own canoe there, and have our equipment delivered.   Downright spoiled and luxurious as far as camping is concerned, don’t you think???  HeeHee!

Friday morning was spent in a frenzy of packing and getting ready….my brother and fam were still in town and we wanted to visit with them before we left as well.   (Yes..I try to cram it all in!)  By 5 p.m. we were finally ready, with the exception of getting the food into coolers, but I had a list of what I needed to grab in the wee hours of the morning so I wouldn’t forget anything in my bleary-eyed state.  We then went to my mom’s for dinner and had dinner with family (brother, wife, 5 girls, sister, her two kids, my aunt, mom’s SO, and even my dad dropped in for a visit).  We stayed until about 10ish…with a 40-minute drive home. 

The plan was to pack on Friday, get up really early Saturday to be at the outfitter by 10 am (a 3-1/2 hour trip) and be in the river by 11.   And so we did!

Stay tuned for more to come…….

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How Did You Fare This Thanksgiving?

As usual, this week has been a hectic one!

I started off with a 1-pound weight loss…not too shabby considering  my TOM started on Wednesday!

Next week’s BL weigh-in will show a weight loss, although it won’t be stellar, especially coming right on the heels of Thanksgiving, other family gatherings, and a campout this weekend.  (One would think camping would lend itself to weight loss…but  somehow  I manage to pack and plan my meals a little too well!)

The day quickly kicked into chaos with a call from a client needing a stat dictation (not planned);  a planned produce delivery (but breaking down the boxes did not go anywhere near as well as it should have); and  serving at a middle school Thanksgiving luncheon (planned…but due to the previous activities not going as planned I was VERY late). 

Thanksgiving went okay…the family gathering part was great!  My brother was visiting from North Carolina with his wife and my five beautiful nieces…and announced that #6 is on its way (still trying for that elusive boy I guess…LOL!!!)

The eating part was not bad…but I wish I would have done better.

For both Thanksgiving and Christmas everyone in my family has their specific dishes.   We don’t even say who is bringing what anymore…it is just known that I will make my homemade cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes, that we will fry a turkey (while my sis will roast one) and my FabHub will bake a few loaves of bread.  There are more family members and more side dishes…this is just our arena)

And so we did!

At mealtime (after stuffing myself on appetizers of too much brie, crackers, guac, and FabHubs homemade bread) I first piled salad on my plate. I made sure at least 50% of the plate was covered in salad (I was very excited to find a beautiful salad made by me stepmom there!).   My basic rule of thumb now is to make sure I cover half my plate in veggies. 

On the rest of the plate I had one small slice of turkey (yes, the fried one FabHubs made…and he did a FabJob)…a small slice of ham made by my stepdad (I couldn’t resist), some of my cranberry sauce, a large bunch of asparagus, and a small helping of mashed potatoes. 

I was disappointed in myself because I succumbed to the meat when I was going to try and go meatless and stick with veggies only…but proud of myself that I really piled on the veggies and kept the meat to a minimum.

I also had one  of FabTeen’s  delicious homemade Parker House rolls, his first time making these….and then came dessert.  We won’t talk about dessert!!

In the overall  scheme of things I ate well enough to sample most things, stay high on the veggie side, and I was not uncomfortably stuffed.  I  don’t think I will be down for my “official” weigh-ins next week (Monday for WW and Tuesday for BL) but I don’t expect to be up either…and that is a great feeling.

After visiting with family again today before they leave…we are now packing for another Peace River overnight canoe trip…this time immediate family (Me, FabHubs, FabTeen, FabPreteen, and FabStepson) only. We have never done this with family only….only in a large scouting group.

Again, I am packing healthy.  The menu:

Lunch:  Veggie Burger wraps and salad

Snacks:  Apples, grapes, Naners

Dinner:  Homemade pizza (veggie for me!); Grilled naners with minimarshmallows and choco chips (okay, an indulgence there)

Breakfast:  Coffee (Oh Yeah!); Rocky Mountain Eggs (scrambled eggs and cheese with sauteed taters, red and green peppers, and onion, all made in the Dutch Oven.

FabHubs really really really wanted bacon or sausage in his eggs.  Honestly I know I love them myself…but I am trying to not eat meat so I persuaded him to not have them.  Besides…I know on his pizza he will have pepperoni (turkey pepperoni because that is what I bought them last..heeheehee).

It is now midnight here and I have to get up at 4:30 or so in the morning so I am headed to bed.   We have to load up the food (everything else is packed and in the car) and leave here no later than 6 a.m.  We have a 3-1/2 hour drive to the canoe outpost…and then four hours of canoeing before we hit camp.

Hope you all had a Thanksgiving filled with wonderful blessings…and enjoy your weekend as well!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Power Breakfast and Lunch For My Boys

Today my two sons, 18 yo Fabteen and 12 yo FabStepson, (along with a few hundred other Boy Scouts) walked 13 miles, from downtown to the southern portion of our county.

Getting off this morning was chaotic…we were given tickets last night to the NASCAR championship races at the Homestead Speedway and got in rather late…..then the boys had to leave the house by 6 a.m.

I got up at 5:45 (YUCK) and in 15 minutes worked like a maniac to make them a satisfying breakfast that would support walking, and get them a filling and healthy lunch.

I was pleased that I was able to draw on a lot of the good nutrition practices I have learned over the past few months to to help fuel them.

First came breakfast (no time for pictures this morning!).   Breakfast was 1/3 cup of oatmeal cooked with 1/3 cup almond milk and 1/3 cup water.  I also sliced up a banana, splitting it between the two bowls.  I micro’d the oatmeal (they loved the bananas cooked…I do too!) and put it in a to-go cup for each one of them.  I knew between the time they left the house and the time they started walking, they would have time to digest the oatmeal so it wouldn’t be sitting like a lump in their tummies….but at the same time it should stave off the hungries for a while.

To supplement the oatmeal, I also made them each an Amazing Grass Amazing Meal shake.  I have had two huge unopened tubs of the Amazing Meal, which has more protein than the Superfoods, which is what I normally use…but today I broke out the big guns and opened the tub thinking that the extra protein would help fuel their muscles. 

I made them each an Amazing Meal shake with one scoop Amazing Meal, one cup almond milk, half a banana, and a few huge handfuls of spinach.  The spinach also adds a lot of staying power to the shake….I know it keeps me full for a while!

They had to drink these on the go too!

Lunch and snacks were PB&J on Arnold Sandwich Thins (one for FabStepson, two for FabTeen).   Two little crimson apples for FabStepson and two large organic Honeycrisps apples for FabTeeen.   One of Oh She Glows Glo Bar for each as a healthy energizing snack.  And of course plenty of water.  Our troop had a water truck that met them at certain points along the way for refills.  I was so glad I packed them lunches…those that didn’t got the opportunity to buy hot dogs, hamburgers, and sodas. 

Both of them said the food carried them through the day very well and they were very happy with their lunches….I think the junk sold didn’t appeal to them at all. 

Both of them completed the whole walk and I am very proud of them.

Next year I want to do the hike with them!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trying To Coming Back

First I would like to thank you for your warmth  and sentiments last week.   It is still hard to believe….I thought she would easily pass 100!

We spent most of the week at my mom’s house.  Through Saturday night anyway.  I brought my computer with me all week, to the hospital and then to my mom’s house but I was struggling to keep up with work (the paying kind, not my fun blogging kind) in short snatches of time that I could grab here and there.   Unfortunately when you are self-employed and dependent on that income it is difficult to take time off so I plugged away.

Sunday we decided we needed to come back home and start taking care of the kids and house and work again.   I had a mountain of work to catch up on and all of my free time (then and up until now) has been spent chipping away at that mountain so I can be all caught up for a change!

In addition, that wonderful produce box that I go pick up every other or every week….well the owner has been trying to get a delivery going in my neighborhood and guess who is the coordinator for that delivery?  YEP!  ME!  I know…I needed something else to do didn’t I! 

And so we spent Sunday decluttering, sweeping, mopping, and scrubbing in preparation for the delivery on Monday.  AND I had no food.  I mean NO FOOD!  We hadn’t had time to go to the store all week and for the most part there were tons of platters at my mom’s (although I think my family will groan at the thought of eating another bagel in the next six months) so we ate there…but on Sunday at home I was grasping at freezer, pantry, and whatever I could to make a meal happen.  We did have produce we hadn’t been home to eat from last week’s delivery…but that was pretty much it!

So  that is where I have been hiding all week.  Behind the computer with no time to blog.  I have been keeping up the healthy habits and taking pictures, I just haven’t had time to post them all. 

I have lots to share too!  I want to share how well I did all week at my mom’s….and how  great the Peace River was, both in beauty, fun, and how well I did with my food!  I also want to share all the healthy Yums that were jam packed into the box I got from Oh She Glows Angela!

FabTeen went to the opera tonight (HUH????)  and kidnapped my camera so pix are definitely not coming tonight…hopefully soon though.

My weight isn’t down as much as I would like…but it isn’t up either.  I think I have been glued to the computer way too much and am not getting any activity.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Sad Night For My Family

I haven't been on this week to post my update and pix about Peace River or anything else because while I was gone my Grandma went into renal failure and had to be hospitalized. Since I have been back I have been at the hospital every day with my mom and grandma.

She passed away tonight. She was 98....and 1/2!

I hope all my healthy habits will lead me to as long a life as she had....and my family will take care of me too.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Eating Healthy In A Junk Food World…Odd Woman Out

First, look what I made this morning! 

straining pomegranates

We have had these pomegranates and nobody wants to deal with them.  FabPreteen and I ate some of them….but I hate swallowing the seeds and hate spitting them out, although I love those beautiful ruby gems….they look so pretty and taste so good.

At any rate, I couldn’t let them go to waste, so I cut and peeled and seeded and blended and strained, and after about half an hour of work I ended up with this!

pomegranate juiceTastes great….but lots of work.   When I get more pomegranates in my produce box I will juice them….but I won’t go out of my way to buy them to make juice!  Good thing I work at home.

The Healthy Eating Part

Tomorrow at this time I will be leisurely cruising down the Peace River in a canoe.  (FabHubs does most of the paddling…it sure is leisurely for me!)

We will be sleeping pulling over and setting up camp tomorrow night somewhere along the river, and then  putting in again the next morning.  

This is one of my favorite trips, an annual trip our Boy Scout troop makes.   Only thing is, this is my first major campout since I have been transitioning our eating habits and it really opens my eyes to just how cocooned my food world has become.

I surround myself with organic produce boxes, healthy eating blogs and lifestyles, nutritional books to read, and the organic section of the grocery store.  And that has become my world!  And when I step out of the cocoon reality sure hits hard!

What do you mean the rest of the world still eats junk food and artificially processed crap!  Don’t They Know????? (Gee…I sound like a reformed smoker, don’t I?!?!)

So this weekend the “troop cook” will be bringing along muffins and cereal with milk for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch, and spaghetti with meat sauce (jarred!) for dinner.  Kool-aid type stuff for drinks (I have never been a drinker of that stuff….I do have some healthy roots!) 

I asked for some veggies and fruits…and he said maybe, he would try.  (He proudly proclaims that he doesn’t eat anything green!  Never has, never will!)

And when I asked about healthier, meatless options for lunch and dinner, he said he would bring some lettuce for me.  Or that I was on my own.

So, while FabHubs and FabSS will be happy to eat the hot dogs and jarred spaghetti sauce…..FabTeen and I will be paying $18 a piece for food (everybody pays that) but still packing our own.  Sigh…..

This morning I am off to Whole Foods to get some fruits, veggies, garden burger type things, packets of almond butter, and other yummy snacky and meal things for us.  The bottles of water are already in the freezer so I am prepared there.

I will be getting some individual packs of almond or rice milk and packing along some Amazing Grass to make some shakes.  No blender, so no Green Monsters…but all will still be good.

I guess I have to take that Boy Scout motto to heart….I will Be Prepared!

But seriously, whether camping, or going out to dinner, or to a party, or on a school field trip, I have found that in order to have delicious satisfying meals out in the real world, I have to do a lot of planning, preparing, and packing. 

Eating consciously sure is a lot of work….and as I peeled and seeded and blended and strained my pomegranates this morning, all for a little shot of juice, I can see how easy it is for someone who is not committed to this lifestyle to succumb to the speed and ease of processed packaged foods.  

I am glad I have the mindset, and the time, to be committed!

If I don’t get back on today, have a great weekend everybody and I will back with some beautiful river and camping pictures!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

We Survived the Quinoa!

Breakfast was a choice…Fage (Yum) or oatmeal (Yum)!  Oh I was tortured.  Finally the thought of Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams all chocolately and peanuty and melty and swirled in oatmeal with sliced bananas won out. 

banana oatmeal This held me off until about 1 p.m., when all of a sudden I was ravenous!  I was working and had waited too long to eat and now I needed to eat…quickly!

I looked in the fridge and it was pretty bare….I hadn’t been to the store this week and I hadn’t picked up a produce box on Monday we were hurting!  But I knew I did want to clean out the fridge of what was left so I dragged out all the veggies I could find and made……….

Last Legs Salad!

That’s right…I pulled out all of the veggies on their last legs and put it into a salad which surprisingly enough ended up being absolutely awesome!

I had romaine (not my favorite but what I had), some red pepper, some daikon, julienned beets, and half a carrot.  I found a sweet potato that was seriously on its way out so I cut off the skin (bad spots!), chunked it up, and micro’d for a few minutes until tender (and perfect).  I also added 1 tsp sliced almonds, 1 TBS goat cheese, and 2 tsp raisins.

last legs salad (2)This ended up being absolutely incredible!  The sweet potatoes, raisins, and goat cheese turned the last legs veggies into perfection in a bowl.

I added on the side two lavosh crackers with 1/2 TBS of yummy homemade hummus spread on each.   And all of this filling, yummy, and healthiness for a mere 4.5 points! 

hummus and salad It is TOM and I was craving chocolate….so I had a couple of pieces  of this:

organic chocolateorganic  chocolate pieces

Now for the quinoa survival.   I found a yummy-looking recipe on one of my favorite websites, Oh She Glows, but I didn’t have have the ingredients…and had a whole bunch of other ingredients that needed to be used up…so usinng it as a base, I modified to my hearts (and fridge’s) content!

First, the quinoa……in a fit of complete paranoia, I rinsed this stuff to within in inch of its life!

First in the strainer, under running water, f or a good 5 full minutes:

rinsing quinoa

Then, after all of that rinsing, I was still nervous so I dumped it into a bowl, filled the bowl with water, and stirred like crazy to make sure I got rid of all of those evil saponins.  Yes….I was am paranoid.  I dumped it back into the strainer to drain and then into the pot.  I wasn’t satisfied until we had made it through the night…with no events!

Along with the scary quinoa I made a curry sauce.  I didn’t have mixed veggies to add…but I diced up the rest of the sweet potato that had bad spots (I viciously cut out the bad spots…I am paranoid about potatoes too!) and added frozen sweet peas to the curry sauce. 

I also chopped up onion, garlic, mushrooms, and broccoli which I figured would either go in the curry or on the side.

chopped veggies

I think most of the rest of the recipe was true….although I wouldn’t bet my life on it!  I added the onions, the chopped garlic, and extra cumin and turmeric.  I also had veggie broth and lite coconut milk.  This came out fantastic and was the perfect topping for the very very very well-rinsed quinoa!

curry sauce The broccoli and organic mushrooms that really needed to be used up, I decided to stir-fry them with some  garlic and a little canola oil…

broccoli and mushroomsI mixed it right into my curry while the rest of the family ate it as a side.

DSCF5862  The final results, above, was really good and filling.   The rest of the family complained it was missing some chicken.  But I think they are getting used to this!  Haha!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Scary Quinoa

A couple of weeks ago I bought a pack of Quinoa.   Another nutritional powerhouse, I have been wanting to try it for a while and when I saw a bag at Publix I decided to throw it in the cart and give it a try.


When I got home I saw a blurb on the bag about rinsing well because of saponins, which are a naturally-occurring, soap-like substance that occurs on the outside of the quinoa, thought to be a deterrent to birds and insects.

So I pulled out my trusty old keyboard and started researching a little about quinoa recipes, and then saponins and quinoa…and then I found a whole bunch of posts all over the place from people who have gotten very ill…severe GI symptoms, from eating quinoa.  Cramps, vomiting, flu-like symptoms that last for as long as 12-24 hours.

And now I am terrified of this tiny little seed!

And so it has sat on the shelf for weeks now.  I want to make it…but I am scared to serve it to my husband and kids!!!

Does anybody know if just rinsing is enough?   Is it the saponins that make people sick from it?   Have any of you ever had a problem with it?

Today I Am Glowing!

I just can’t believe it!  I am sooo excited!  When I logged into my email this morning I received this comment on my blog:

Oh She Glows has left a new comment on your post "English Muffin Recipe":
Check out my blog tonight...have a surprise for you!

First I felt surprised and honored that Angela was writing on my little blog!  And then I wondered what she was going to write about English Muffins…after all, this was on my English Muffin page.

So I clicked on through and read today’s post and was astounded to find out that I won all this!

Among all of the fantastic, organic new treats our tastebuds are in for over here…I am really excited that she is putting some of her own Glo Bars in there!  I have wanted so much to try those for a while now.  YAY!

I can’t believe it!!! I know…I said that before…but I have never won a blog giveaway before…and my comment was waaaaaayyyyy down the list too!

Now if you have never read Beautiful Angela’s blog, Oh She Glows  before, it is so worth taking some time to go through it and make sure you read her story.   I only found her a couple of months ago…but since then it is one of the three or four blogs I check religiously, daily…sometimes several times a day!

She has been a great motivator for me to transition myself and my family to this healthy lifestyle and I have learned a lot from her.  Her writing is very real and down to earth, and even though I am a 45-year-old mom with three kids, not a 20-something, she is one of the few younger healthy living bloggers I feel I can relate to.   She has taken healthy living to a different level, an overall balanced level, and includes a lot of inspiration not just for taking care of yourself physically, but mentally as well.  She shares from the heart and shows she is human…and how hard work and passion can lead to great success.

And…for all of you who always comment how awful my yummy Amazing Grass drinks look…they come from Angela!  Yep…the inspiration for adding spinach came from her Green Monster website.

Thanks Angela!  You made my day!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

English Muffin Recipe

For those of you who asked about it, the English Muffin recipe has been posted to my camping website.

I just sort of threw it up there tonight as we wanted to quickly get it posted for a leaders meeting tonight…FabHubs will be making them there, right on site!

But over the next few days I plan on adding all the step by step pictures to the instructions and cleaning it up a little, AND adding the basic recipe in a downloadable PDF file to make it easy to copy.  So if you want to print out and try the recipe, it will be easier for you to check back in a couple of days and print it out then.

For now, I am off to a Girl Scout meeting and hope to post today’s eats later!

OH!  And for those who care….each muffin is 4 WW points!

Happy Healthy Eating To You!

A Healthy Cooking Frenzy Part Two

I knew I wanted dinner to be meatless.   LOL…when I was serving it, FabHubs kept asking where the rest of dinner was.  He ate it but didn’t go back for seconds.  When we have meat dishes he will usually finish up ALL of the meat….seconds and thirds…whatever it takes!  Remember…he is gifted  with one of those metabolisms…he could eat a whole cake and it wouldn’t show!

We had gotten a lot of interesting veggies in our last two produce boxes and I had a lot I needed to use up.  So I decided to make a giant balsamic veggie roast and throw in whatever I had, or could fit!

I put in:

Sliced mushrooms, some halved cherry tomatoes, chunked up carrots, chunked up onion, a whole bunch of garlic cloves (Oh Yeah!), half of my little sugar pumpkin, two absolutely GORG purple potatoes, broccoli, and  I think that was it!

Look at this potato!purple potato

purple potato outside And remember this pumpkin I meant to use up last week but didn’t?

Organic pumpkinWell FabTeen chunked it all up and it looked like this!

balsamic veggies with purple potato  Aren’t those colors just GORGEOUS!

And then we decided to dress it with balsamic and olive oil.  I put about 1/8 cup of balsamic, and then topped it off with 1/8 cup of olive oil.

balsamic and EVOO

We tossed all the veggies into a huge bowl and then dumped the dressing onto it so it wouldn’t all pool in the bottom of the pan.  We stirred  and stirred until the veggies were well-coated (this was some of my directing part!  Remember, I wasn’t cooking tonight!)

balsamic dressed veggies And into the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes.  This was the result:

balsamic cooked veggiesBoy…look how much color gets cooked out of them! 

Then the Indian spice rice….Oooohhhh this was fantastic!  Normally I find recipes I like and then adapt to whatever I have, but for a rare change I actually followed this one!  It came from Enlightened Cook and I know I will be back to her site!  We did use Basmati rice instead of brown…although I do love brown rice.  I know I will buying brown Basmati when I run out of what we have on hand now.

FabTeen did this one all by himself…I only found and printed the recipe, he did the work! 

Indian rice pilaf

This has all sorts of very healthy spices in it, including SuperFoods  cinnamon and turmeric, as well as raisins.   It also  has caramelized onions and raw cashews.  I probably could have eaten the whole bowl!  Guess what I am having for dinner tonight!

My dinner plate:

healthy veggie dinner Finally, to finish off the little sugar pumpkin, we decided to roast it.  I wanted to make savory, but we found this recipe for sweet and I was outvoted!

For us it didn’t come out great…it needs some tweaking.  Next time I would lower the temp from 400 to 350, especially since we had thin  wedges.  The sugar sauce was overdone, and the pumpkin was a little underdone…but we ate it nonetheless.  More superfoods in the pumpkin and all of the spices.  I did do a little squirt of canned whipped cream I have had in the fridge for a while, since before embarking on my whole food path but after Weight Watchers.  It really made a difference in the palatability of the pumpkin  wedges.

Our version:

Mixing  the spices  and melted butter:

pumpkin spices Adding it to the pumpkin wedges (sorry, a little blurry):

roasted pumpkin wedges

Our roasted pumpkin wedges:

DSCF5799My dessert plate: 

roasted caramelized pumpkin wedges

I can’t believe I have gotten so excited about veggies!  What is this world coming to!!!

A Healthy Cooking Frenzy

Sunday lots of cooking went on in my house….and luckily for a change I didn’t do any of it!

FabHubs traditionally has cooked weekend breakfasts and for those he goes all out!  Bacon, sausage, waffles, eggs, grits, pancakes, english muffins, omelets, homemade biscuits and sausage gravy…you name it, he would make it.  Is it any wonder I had weight issues????

To his credit, he is at least open to trying a healthier way of eating…and this morning asked if he could make me us whole wheat pancakes.  And I said YES (even though I am not a huge fan of pancakes) and I asked him to add bananas and superfood walnuts to them.

And so that is what he did and what we had!  With no smoked meat in sight either!  I had one and a half pancakes, and a cup of my yummy daily espresso.  I also had a small sugar seckel pear while I  waited for my brekkie….I hadn’t eaten much protein the night before and I was starving!

A little while after that, I made everyone a Green Monster!  So far everybody is a fan around here except the FabPreteen…who was at her dad’s this weekend..and who is the president of the “Judge A Food By Its Cover” club.  Yes…she completely judges everything’s taste by how it looks and is the most difficult eater I have in my house….in a sea of difficult eaters (with FabStepSon and FabHubs being next, in that order). 

Now…no pictures of breakfast….but I was good about the pictures the rest of the day and boy do I have some gorgeous meals to show you!

After working  for a while, (yes…catching up with work  on a Sunday…one of the other sides of self-employment) I realized I still hadn’t had enough food at breakfast and I was hungry

I  made myself a snack of tomatoes, carrots, and tzatziki I had made for dinner the other night.  It was good, but didn’t hold me over.

carrot snack

So I pulled out the juicer and made everybody and myself a glass of my usual healthy yumminess….carrot/apple/beet/ginger.  Again…everybody loves it except for the FabPreteen, although FabHubs complains that it is not cold enough for him and I won’t let him stick it in the fridge to chill down (you have to drink it right away or it loses a lot of its vitamins and health benefits!).


Yummy juice

After juicing, the real cooking began! 

FabHubs decided to re-create the English Muffin recipe for my camping website, in pictures.  I will be loading that up today and will come back here and make the link live for the recipe as many of you asked me for it.

FabTeen decided he was going to make some healthy cookies!  AND….he told me this weekend that he would start doing more of the cooking for dinner.  Since we have switched our way of eating our cook (FabHubs) has gone on cooking strike!  He will eat it but he won’t cook all those funny things I bring home now! 

So, all I had to do was pretty play director last night and the food appeared!

Starting with the cookies.  These are a recipe from my kids’ dad’s side of the family called “Special Cookies.”  They are a really rich and yummy chocolate chip cookie.   What?  What do you mean there is one missing???

Flax meal cookies

FabTeen decided to doctor up the cookies and make them healthy by substituting ground flax meal for the egg and for the 1/3 cup of shortening.  shortening.   By far, he is the one who has taken the most to this healthy way of life! There was still 1/3 cup of butter left in the recipe and we decided that next time we sub flax meal for that too and see how it turns out.  We also used semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies and I would like to check out a healthier alternative for those as well, or at least organic.

flax cookie doughcookie dough

The recipe ended up making 33 cookies at 2 Weight Watchers points each and lots of added health benefit from the flax meal.  Flax seed, should be ground to get the most benefit from it.  I remember my ex-MIL making us Red River cereal and adding extra flax seeds…which would come out looking the same as how they went in!  Now I have been researching and I see why!  Our bodies do not break down the husk, so you need to grind it before using…and you need to store it in the fridge so the nutrients and oils do not break down.

Flax is very high in dietary fiber, which helps to relieve constipation (but make sure you drink your water with it!), high in vitamins E and B, and is the richest source of Omega-3 fatty acid, you know, the one they tell you to eat salmon and other fish to get in order to help prevent heart disease.  Flax meal is also high in lignans, which are antioxidants, and can help reduce your cholesterol.   This little seed sure is a power house!  I put a tablespoon in our daily Green Monsters to make sure we get some…but this sure is another painless way!

If you want to read more on the mighty flax seed,  this dietary fiber site has some great information.

Boy these were GOOD!

Yummy flax cookie Now on to dinner…yes!  We made the cookies before we did the dinner!  And sampled too :)

I will put dinner in a Part 2 as this is getting long!