Health, Health and fitness

Squash The Preservatives

I’ve been slacking again on my writing. I’ve been so busy catching up on house work, my husbands work, real work and making my blog work that I really haven’t had much time to jot everything down.

I’ve tried a few new recipes this week that turned out great. One was a carbonara made out of spaghetti squash and another was a butternut squash hash.

Kale was on special this week. 2 bunches for $3! I couldn’t pass that up even though I was swearing to swear off the kale. Luckily, I found this recipe for the hash which used up one of my bunches. The other bunch of kale remains in my fridge, begging for a brilliant idea to pop in my head. Or show up on my Pintrest feed.

I doubled the recipe but only cooked half and just stored all the cut up veggies in the fridge so I could enjoy this dish the next day. (Honestly, I made the other half for my husband but he didn’t get home early enough so it made a great lunch the next day.)

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Now my carbonara. I love this dish. It’s a little tricky getting your eggs to not scramble but it’s so creamy and the bacon adds so much flavor.

Now I can hear most of you saying “Bacon?! Bacon can’t be clean, can it?” Well I came close. I found this bacon with no sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, phosphates or MSG added. The only thing is, it doesn’t last as long as regular bacon.

But I think that’s a good thing. Anything that can last in your fridge for more than a week or on the shelf in the store for years has got to be riddled with nasty chemicals to make it do so. Buy fresh and buy often. That’s my goal for my clean eating challenge.

I also decided to try a stuffed eggplant. This recipe calls for you to cut out the pulp of the eggplant, sauté it up with the other veggies and bake it in the eggplant shells.

Well, the recipe doesn’t tell you HOW to get the pulp out. I scored the eggplant in cubes and ran a long filleting knife around the edge of the skin. Kind of like getting the avocado out of its skin, I used a spoon to pop out the cubed eggplant.

I ended up adding sliced mushrooms to the veggie mixture because I had a couple left. When I looked down in the pan I realized that there was A LOT of filling. I thought there was no way it could get into the shells.

I ended up throwing the shells in the garbage and just tossing the filling in a casserole dish, covered with cheese and baked for 15 minutes covered in foil. I removed he foil and cooked for 10 more minutes to brown the cheese (pepper jack, by the way).

Turns out, the filling would have fit in the eggplant and I would have gotten more eggplant out of the deal. It kind of shrunk in size and I only ended up with, what would have been, a side portion.

It was tasty though. The pepper jack cheese added a spicy element and the whole dish really came together. I highly recommend this vegetarian dish but don’t throw out the shells! It will fit.

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I know some of my followers are wondering what I am doing eating cheese, and honestly, I thought I was going to suffer, but it turned out ok! My stomach is apparently ok with just a little cheese, once in a while.

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Health, Health and fitness, Uncategorized

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Don’t let the name fool you these are very clean eating.

My maid of honor made these for me for my bridal shower over two years ago and, today, I stumbled upon the recipe she left for me. I twerked her recipe in order to qualify this one as clean. Hope you enjoy!

Clean Eating Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Melt 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips and 1/2 tbsp coconut oil in a double boiler. Don’t get fancy here, just boil an inch or two of water in a large sauce pan and put a stainless steel bowl on top. Dip large strawberries in the melted chocolate mixture and place on a wax paper lined plate or baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least an hour to set the chocolate. Makes about 10.

I had some chocolate left over so I threw in some blueberries, tossed to coat and put in the fridge along side the strawberries. I can’t wait to dive in.

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Confessions

I have a confession… I haven’t been so good lately with my clean eating.

There were temptations lurking all around my kitchen just begging to be consumed. And I really wanted a steak… or three.

Since starting my clean eating experiment I have cheated in the following ways:

  1. I had one ginger ale per week in weeks 2, 3 and 4. Sometimes I sneak a sip of my husband’s coke.
  2. I drink beer once in a while. Like, one after my son goes to bed and only two or three times a week. And its not some gluten free, craft beer either. It’s good ol’ fashioned Lucky Lager. (Hey, I am an islander.)
  3. I sometimes skip meals and my snacks have become non existent. This has only been happening for the last week or so.
  4. I bought some steaks two weeks ago and we BBQ’d a couple of them up. They were so good I had them again the following week. No the cow wasn’t grass fed. Actually, I don’t know what the cow was eating. Probably a shit ton of hormones and chemicals.
  5. Last night I had white bread…AND IT WAS DELICIOUS!
  6. Last night I also had enough meat to last for a whole week. There were prawn skewers and chicken covered in bruschetta and thick juicy steaks! In my defence, we were at someone else’s house and you can’t turn down what your host puts in front of you, it would be rude…There was also chocolate bunt cake.
  7. I had white pasta, but you already knew that if you have been keeping up with my blog. Go to the post about Day 30 to find out why I will keep white pasta in my pantry.
  8. I drink coffee. Once a day. I need that morning jolt! I finished the artificial coffee creamer I had left in my fridge and have vowed to never buy it again.

This last week has been the hardest trying to stick with a clean eating plan because we have had family in town visiting and there was a lot of eating outside of my kitchen and only so much I could control.

Also, I think my son is teething and he’s turned into a little psycho, making my nerves a little frayed and little to no time to do elaborate meal planning. I’m surprised (and quite proud) I haven’t hit up McDonald’s yet.

Even though I am down to 127.2 lbs (from 135.6 lbs), I have been feeling a little run down lately and that just goes to show you how much our diet affects our energy stores. I’ve realized that, if I am not careful with what I choose to ingest, it doesn’t just affect me, but my son as well.

I feel like it was easier when I had the meals already planned out for me and so now I am on the hunt for a new clean eating challenge. Perhaps, when you are perusing Pintrest, you could keep an eye out for me for a new one or, if you already have one leave me the link in the comments. Thanks for reading!

 

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Health, Health and fitness, Uncategorized

Chickpea Super Bowl

Sometimes I feel like I’m in the Chopped kitchen or on Master Chef when I’m going through my fridge and cupboards looking for something to make for dinner. If you’ve never seen the shows, contestants get these mystery baskets with five or so ingredients that you wouldn’t think go together and they have to come up with dishes for the judges.

Tonight was one of those nights. I had no meats thawed, hardly any produce and no clue as to what to make for dinner. I was on Instagram, scrolling through my home page, and I saw a recipe from @SkinnyKitchen that made me look twice: a chickpea avocado bowl.

I had all of the ingredients minus the nutritional yeast (apparently it acts like cheese for vegans), so I dove right in. As I was preparing the components to this masterpiece I realized that my avocado had passed into the inedible stage and so, I decided to take this dish in a different direction. Here’s my version:

Chickpea Super Bowl Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
1 tsp butter, grass fed or vegan is best
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 onion, diced
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tomato, diced
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 generous handfuls spinach
2 oz feta, crumbled
2 tbsp hummus (I used red pepper hummus but any flavor will do)
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon

In a medium sauce pan, combine brown rice, 1.5 cups of water, 1 tsp of butter and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to med-low and cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes until water is all absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, bring quinoa and 1.5 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer, uncovered, for 12 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork.

While the grains are cooking heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a skillet. Add diced onions and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add chickpeas and tomatoes and all of the seasonings. Sauté for about 5 minutes then add the spinach and feta. Continue to cook until spinach has wilted.

In each serving bowl, layer quinoa, brown rice then one tbsp of hummus. Top with the chickpea mixture, fresh parsley, and a squeeze of lemon.

That’s it that’s all! Hope you enjoy.

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Health, Health and fitness

Chicken, Spinach, Tomato and Feta Fettuccine

Recipe time!

I had some left over bbq chicken in my fridge, only one breast, and I was trying to figure out the best way to take that small amount of chicken and stretch it further to feed two people. I chose to make a pasta dish since the carbs would make us feel fuller.

You can use plain cooked chicken and any type of pasta you wish. I only had fettuccine (white flour) but in order to make this a little cleaner you could chose whole wheat pasta (if you like that sort of thing) or even make your own! UPDATE: I heard from a couple trusted friends that brown rice pasta is really good. I found some in the healthy section of the pasta isle in my regular grocery store.

The sauce will thicken if you let sit for longer but I was so hungry I just used a slotted spoon to dish up.

This recipe makes two healthy sized portions.

Chicken, Spinach, Tomato and Feta Fettuccine

2 servings of pasta, cooked al dente (any cut will do, I like longer cuts like spaghetti or linguini but only had fettuccine), reserve some of the pasta water for the sauce

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 generous handfuls spinach, about 2 cups packed
1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added
1 chicken breast, cooked
2 oz feta cheese (goat cheese would also work and make the sauce creamier)
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/8 tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente (chewy but firm)

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat olive oil and add garlic and onion. Sauté until soft and fragrant (about 3 minutes).

Add spinach and sauté until wilted (1 minute).

Add canned tomatoes and a 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. The starchy water will thicken your sauce. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 10 minutes until sauce thickens.

Add chicken, cooked pasta, feta and seasonings and toss until all incorporated and warmed through. Add fresh parsley at the end and toss.

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Snap Saves

We all know that sometimes eating clean can be expensive. I’ve scoured over pages and pages of flyers from different grocery stores looking for the best deals and I’ve searched endlessly for coupons on the internet.

But I’ve noticed a sad trend: there are rarely coupons for fresh produce and fresh, wholesome foods altogether. Sure there are plenty of coupons for prepackaged, crap filled, frozen section, but what about the grass fed, hormone free chickens and beef? Why should we have to pay more to be healthy? Last I checked all those hormones and steroids cost a lot more than grass that was already growing.

Well I found some help. This app called Snap Saves. You can use it for android or iPhone.

It’s so simple. Just take a picture of your receipt and chose the offers you qualified for. There’s always tons of savings for produce. Usually $0.25-$1 for fresh produce, up to $10 for some items libel vitamins. Once you get to $20 you can request a cheque! It might not be much but every penny counts! Plus they always have a chance to win $100 by uploading a $40 receipt. And it’s not just for food either: right now there is air fresheners, Aveeno products, Lysol cleaning products and even wine!

This also allows us to be “extreme couponers” in a way in Canada since you can get the deal in the store and then go home and get more money back from your purchases.

I’ve got $7.25 in my account but I buy a lot of my produce at farmer’s markets (no receipts) so it’s kind of low.

You can sign up for this app (which is free) by clicking here. I wouldn’t promote it if I didn’t use it and like it. I really do use it every time I shop at a brick and mortar. It doesn’t cost you anything, I promise, and I’ve seen people actually get checks! I can’t wait for my first one!

snap saves

Photo courtesy of http://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&docid=w2h5fl0Wf1CZUM&tbnid=d81jrOSxrSZc9M:&ved=0CAQQjB0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.canadianfreestuff.com%2Fsnap-saves-canada-offers%2F&ei=JPHLU-bvLMXwoASE-4GgCg&bvm=bv.71198958,d.cGU&psig=AFQjCNF7D8EEjCOwbskXoQpKMBNmpE-RdA&ust=1405960784598547

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Health, Health and fitness, Uncategorized

A Little Off Topic

I haven’t been around much these last couple days and for that, I apologize. I have been working hard to try and take this blog to the next level, to revamp it so as to make it more interesting to read. Then, I got so caught up in trying to make some extra cash out of the deal, I lost sight of why I actually do it in the first place: because I love it. I love just writing my thoughts and feelings down. I love sharing with all of you my day to day life and I love that you love reading about it.

Then one thing after another happened to us and it seemed like the universe was working against us. First, our dishwasher went on us, then my husband broke his cell phone, then the car was acting funny, then the truck died, the next day the car died, then a couple hours later my work laptop crashed.

It is taking every effort I’ve got to stay positive and look on the brighter side of things. It would be all too easy to bury my head in a large carton of double chocolate fudge ice cream, but I settled for a beer and a slice of lemon cake with raspberries. Only one slice.

It’s my cheat of the week.

Anyways, I promise to get back on track and keep on writing daily, or every other day maybe. I will continue my quest to rid my fridge and pantry of the processed and the refined, of the artificial and the chemical. I vow to continue to provide healthy alternatives to old habits and hopefully will pick up a good workout routine as well.

Thanks for reading folks.

P.S. If you have a special way you use to stay positive in troubled times let me know by leaving a comment.

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