Where’d that wagon go?

January 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm (Family, Food) ()

I’ll admit it. We’ve fallen off the healthy eating wagon. I guess the road got a little bumpy between Junior’s birthday, the holidays, and wanting comfort food in this cold weather. I started out clinging to the wagon, but eventually, let go. It’s time to climb back on the wagon, but that means I have to find it first. Which way do I go?

I’ve decided that one thing for me is convenience. I don’t mean packed, boxed, crap food. I just don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen every day. I want to use my time more wisely. If I’m making marinara sauce, I’m going to make a bigger batch so I can freeze a couple more dinners worth. One way to make this easier, is meal planning a month at a time. If I plan ahead, I should be able to use my efforts more wisely. I’m also going to use index cards to write down our favorite meals and their ingredients. When I menu plan, I’ll have a quick easy reference to everyone’s favorites.

Wish me luck!


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Lentil shepherd’s pie

November 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm (Food) (, , , )

This week, I was trying to think of some healthy twists on some classic comfort foods. I started with Shepherd’s Pie.

1 cup dry lentils, rinsed and sorted
4-5 medium golden potatoes
1/2 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp oil
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups stock (we’re not vegetarian, so I used beef. Veggie stock would be fine)
1/2 cup TVP (I threw it in because I had it, totally ok to skip)
1 cup frozen peas

In a small pot, simmer lentils in water until softened (about 30 minutes). Meanwhile, boil your potatoes and make mashed potatoes in your favorite fashion. I used sour cream, garlic and margarine in mine.

In a large sauté pan, combine onion, carrot, celery, garlic and oil. Add any dry herbs you like now. Thyme would be great, but I skipped it because Hubs doesn’t like it. Stir until veggies soften. Add flour to make a roux. Add stock 1/2 cup at a time until you’ve got a gravy with your veggies. Stir in your cooked lentils, TVP and peas. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour the lentil mixture into a large casserole dish. Dollop mashed potatoes over the top. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes just to heat everything through and crisp the top of the potatoes. Enjoy!


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Broccoli Quinoa pilaf

October 29, 2012 at 6:56 pm (Food) (, , , )

This stuff makes a wonderful, healthy, protein packed side dish, or a super filling vegan entree. Dig in and enjoy. Oh, and extra points, its way easy to make!

2 tbsp oil or margarine (or butter if you’re not going for vegan)
1/2 onion
3 carrots
1 large broccoli crown
1 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock or broth
And some of your favorite herbs and spices

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Chop up your veggies. I chose to use the food processor, because I was feeling lazy and wanted everything chopped tiny. Do whatever works for you.

3. Sauté veggies and herbs/spices in oil over medium high heat until veggies are mostly cooked.

4. Add quinoa to the pan and sauté another minute or two. Add the stock and bring to a boil.

5. If your sauté pan is big enough and oven safe, cover it and pop it in the oven. Otherwise, pour everything into a casserole dish (my 9×9 was fine), cover and bake. It will take 25-30 minutes to bake. If you’re not vegan, you could remove the cover at the end and top it with some cheese. Toss it back in the oven for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese.


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Woot woot!

September 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm (Food) (, )

Just a quick post today as my to-do list is screaming my name. But I just have to brag a moment. I went in a notch on my belt this morning! I might have done a little happy dance. Maybe. I’ve been wearing the same belt for a few years and gradually been going out a notch here and there. Today, I went in. As in smaller. Comfortably. Maybe this healthy eating stuff is paying off.

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Almond protein bars

September 19, 2012 at 4:03 am (Food) (, )

I needed to find Hubs a good protein snack to take to work. He’s never been super impressed the with packaged bars, and I have never been thrilled with the prices. Not to mention all the sugar in them. I read through a few recipes and created my own recipe. It’s fabulous.

Almond Protein Bars
1 cup real almond butter (just plain old ground almonds, you can do this yourself with a food processor if you can’t get it in a store near you)
2 Tbsp agave
1.5 cups vanilla whey protein powder (same kind used for protein drinks)
.5 cup oat bran
.5 cup wheat bran
.25 cup flax seed meal
.25-.33 cup water (start with less, you can always add more)

Just mix it all up. It’s going to take some muscle. Press it into a pan of your choosing; it really doesn’t matter the size. I used a 9×9. Pop it in the fridge at least an hour to set. Cut into bars. I made 12 as I want them to be snack size. If you’re looking for something more filling, you may want less pieces. It’s totally up to you. Wrap them in wax paper or plastic wrap as they will be a little sticky. Enjoy!

I read several other recipes online that suggest freezing the bars if you’re not going to eat them within a few days. I decided to freeze mine. Since hubs will be taking them to work, they’ll have plenty of time to thaw before he eats them.


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Day 6 – Chili

September 17, 2012 at 8:47 pm (Food) (, )

It’s a work night for me, so Hubs and the spawn will be having some veggie soup for dinner. Nothing exciting and no recipe for that one, but I was in the mood for something heartier for lunch and came up with a new chili recipe.

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1/2 onion, finely diced
6 oz Boca meatless crumbles
1tsp cumin
1tsp chili powder
2 tsp minced garlic
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup black beans (either canned and rinsed, or dry beans simmered until soft)
6 oz can of tomato sauce

In one pot, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes until water is absorbed.
While quinoa is cooking, sauté onion, Boca, garlic, cumin and chili powder in just a hint of oil. When onions begin to soften, add tomatoes, corn, beans, quinoa and tomato sauce. Simmer 15 minutes and enjoy!


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Days 4 and 5

September 17, 2012 at 4:34 am (Food) ()

I’m not counting Friday as one of our diet days. It didn’t count. Not even a little bit. I took the boys to the fair with a friend. We had a blast and ate a bunch of really horrendous food. And it was so good. Forgive me diet gods.

We’ll call Saturday day 4. It was one of those crazy days that would have been so much easier to order take out. I didn’t. Although it was rather tempting. I didn’t get home from work until 4:30 and needed to leave at 6:30 for a bachelorette dinner party. In two hours, I needed to cook dinner for Hubs and the kiddos, make a dish to bring to dinner with friends, shower and leave the house looking somewhat put together. Take out was really sounding good, but I didn’t cave. I made Hubs and the boys grilled salmon, brown rice and salad. I brought an awesome salmon and quinoa salad for the dinner party. People asked for the recipe. Win.

Tonight, we had a family dinner at my brother’s house. We decided to have barbecue pizzas for dinner. I made whole wheat dough, and topped it with ground tomatoes, Boca meatless crumbles, and about half the cheese I normally would have used. It was pretty yummy, but didn’t beat out the quinoa salad.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe for Salmon Quinoa Salad.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
4oz salmon, cooked, cooled and flaked
1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely diced celery
2Tbsp olive oil
2Tbsp red wine vinegar
1tsp thyme
Dash of salt and pepper

1. Combine quinoa and stock in a small pot, bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until all stock is absorbed. Put it in the fridge to cool.
2. Lightly sauté leeks in a tiny bit of oil. Combine the cooked leeks with the cooked quinoa.
3. Mix in the celery and bell pepper with quinoa.
4. To make dressing, whisk together oil, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. When quinoa is cool, toss dressing with salad.


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