Archive | August, 2011

An Oatmeal Kind of Day

23 Aug

Good Morning!  Well, at least it was after I sent Olivia back to bed for a few extra minutes to think about her poor attitude.  Once she realized I wasn’t kidding, she got up with a smile on her face and a tummy ready for some breakfast.  I made oatmeal for all three of us.  I’m also using oatmeal in two other recipes today, granola and granola bars.  Better get going while it’s still cool outside. 

Started with the finest ingredients.  Ok, well the pretty darn delicious ones.  Justin requested the addition of butter and like the good wife I am, I obliged.  Pecans were also involved.

 

“Mama, I’m hungry.”

I think she likes it…

Farmers Market Dinner

22 Aug

I really love to spend time in the kitchen, but if we’re friends on facebook, you know that the little fan I use to get ready in the morning is now making rounds about the house…it’s spending a lot of time in the kitchen, too.  Yeah, I’m tired of being hot, but we still gotta eat.  I think we’ve encountered several challenges within our 10-Day Real Food Challenge, and the blistering heat can honestly make the list.  On some days it could pretty much TOP the list. 

Anyway.

Things are actually getting easier, even though I’m having to use some good ol’ fashioned creativity and ummm…home economics to figure things out.  Because real food costs more than processed or boxed food (go figure…I still don’t understand this), I’m really working to stretch everything I purchase.  A pastured chicken from the Dallas farmers’ market gets morphed into several meals, for instance.  Last week it was roasted with red onions and potatoes for a main dish.  This weekend I completely stripped what meat was left, re-seasoned it with some Emeril’s Essence (the homemade version, of course), and put it into some yummy quesadillas with cheese, onions and pinto beans.  Finally, you guessed it…the bones are in the freezer waiting to be morphed into chicken stock for yet another meal (or to cook quinoa, pasta or whole wheat couscous).  Ground beef for taco salad?  Add kidney beans to make enough for friends and a hungry husband.  And leftovers…where would we be without them?  Justin nor I are huge fans of leftovers, but I think with better food comes better leftovers.  I had the pleasure of enjoying a night off from the blazes of hell hot kitchen while Justin made some whole wheat spaghetti with meat sauce.  He used some ground italian pork, also from JuHa Ranch, mixed with some grass-fed beef from our freezer.  It tasted great the night he made it, but I was sure glad we came home after church for leftovers instead of heading to Central Market like I wanted to do, because it was infinitely better this afternoon.  So good, in fact, that I passed out for a nap afterward, instead of cleaning the kitchen…or anything else productive, for that matter.

I pulled myself out of the chair just in time to get dinner started.  What a treat!  Tonight’s dinner was almost entirely locally produced, with the exception of the seasonings, garlic, olive oil and butter.  We had New York Roast Beef, a recipe from my Mama.  To that, I added some sautéed veggies, but I let them cook on the stove for quite a while.  Add in a cantaloupe and I call it dinner. 

Start with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in the pan.  Then the BUTTAH (I use Costco’s organic butter).  Something magical happens when olive oil and butter are used together.  Unexplainable.

   

Add in some garlic and then diced potatoes.  Sprinkle with a little sea salt or kosher salt and let the potatoes cook until almost done.

Add in yellow and zucchini squash along with yellow onions, add in just a little more salt and some pepper.

Let everything caramelize, stirring every once in a while.  I would normally add in some extra spices here, but this smelled so good with only salt and pepper that I just left it alone for a change.

That’s it.  Delicioso!  Here’s the other little beauty–she got a little more done than I wanted, but still quite tasty and plenty for leftovers.  Hurrah!

Snack Time

19 Aug

These are soooooo delicious, I wish I had ordered more from Azure!!

That is all.

Different Can Be Hard

19 Aug

Today has been much better, but yesterday…well, that’s a different story.  Anyone who has gone on a diet knows the first couple of days are rough.  Even though I’ve been eating whole foods for some time now, I still allow myself a few treats and this past weekend was no exception.  We had friends over on Sunday afternoon and of course a there was a ton of food!  Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t go crazy but I overindulged, even on the “good” stuff.  Then on Monday I had Justin bring home dinner…pizza (traditionally my favorite, but it wasn’t that great.  I really wanted it to be good).  Then there was just a little bit of ice cream left in the freezer, so we both had a some of that.  And then…I felt gross.  I hadn’t eaten like that in a LONG time and I was so sluggish, tired and just did not feel good at all.  What a good reminder of why I changed my eating habits in the first place!  But, even though it had only been a few days of going back to the way I used to eat, it’s still been tough to get back into the swing of things. 

Justin and I both had headaches yesterday, which I largely attribute to ridding our bodies of junk.  I really feel for Justin, since he’s making some pretty radical changes in a short amount of time.  I’ve gradually changed what I put into my body, but one thing I did cut off completely and cold turkey was any kind of soda.  It was so bad at one point that my brother told me that he didn’t know I actually drank water, only Diet Coke.  My usual at Sonic was “half and half Coke”, so I was still taking in a lot of sugar.  Since the beginning of May I haven’t had a single sip.  It’s still hard for me to avoid craving it, especially if I see one that’s nice and COLD, but honestly the best part about not drinking it anymore is not having that dependence.  You know…it’s 2 o’clock and all drinks are 1/2 price!  And it’s hot outside! It’s just a two-minute car ride and I don’t even need to wear my shoes!  And if I don’t have it, I’m just going to go NUTS!  Yeah.  It’s nice not being that person anymore

Knowing that my husband might abandon ship if I don’t get him something sweet and stat, tonight I made granola bars.  I even let him have some of the batter.  Ok, I had some, too.  I made this batch with walnuts and almond butter and I’m eager to see if I let them sit out overnight if they will stay together a little bit better.  It’s been a while since we’ve had them, but I had been waiting on an order from Azure Standard.  This time I ordered 25 lbs. of organic oatmeal.  Yep.  I know I sound like some crazy food storage nut job (Glenn Beck, anyone?), but I really think we will eat it all.  I’m eager to see how long it will last around here.

Curious what we’ve been eating?  Some really good stuff : sautéed gulf shrimp with whole wheat couscous, roasted chicken with red onions and potatoes, and tonight we had salmon, green beans from the farmer’s market (with BUTTER) and quinoa.  I’m also looking forward to tomorrow’s lunch with a friend or two; I’m making taco salad with grass-fed ground beef and a homemade cilantro-lime dressing.  YUM.

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Welcome!

18 Aug

So.  It’s been forever.  Practically an eternity.  I committed to blogging during Olivia’s first year, but sadly I found other things to do for the next two years.  And just what could that be, you ask?  Well, I’m not sure either…just living life, making a few changes, taking up a few new hobbies, playing with my sweet girl and hanging out with my amazing husband (hi, honey!).

Speaking of changes, one of the biggest differences in our home is the way we are eating these days.  It’s been a gradual change, but after Justin and I watched Food, Inc., there was almost no way we could go back to the same ol’, same ol’.  I’ve started buying more organic options (easy), attempting to eat more local foods (harder) and removing all processed foods from our home (hardest).  This has all required some sacrifice, patience (thanks for playing along, babe) and a lot of trial and error.  Homemade wheat tortillas, for example….yeah, I’ll just be buying those from now on.  But, homemade yogurt?  Yes, please!

I’ve been eating this way for several months now, but over the next 10 days our entire family (yep, even Olivia) is taking part in a 1o-day challenge to only eat real food.  I’m hoping it will be a good experience for all three of us and I know there’s even more steps that I personally can take to change my diet for the better.  I’ll be posting photos, links, challenges and feedback from the other two eaters in my house.

Pastured eggs...the best tasting eggs I've ever eaten.

Pastured eggs...the best tasting eggs I've ever eaten.

Today is day two, but yesterday got off to a pretty good start.  As many of you may know, getting up early isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I wanted Justin to leave for work with a full belly, so I got up to make breakfast for him.  The pancakes were just defrosted from the stash I made last week, but were still really yummy.  I poured on real maple syrup, one of the two sweeteners (honey is the other) allowed during our challenge.  I get up to make eggs for myself on a pretty regular basis, so that was pretty easy.  I’ve gotten used to how they taste when made with coconut oil and I’ve really grown to love it.  My palate has really changed over the past few months, but that’s another post for another day 🙂

Banana walnut pancakes with maple syrup, watermelon and scrambled eggs made with coconut oil.

Our lunch was just about as simple as it is on any other day.  Olivia had walnuts, cheese and carrots and I made myself a yogurt, blueberry and almond smoothie.  Justin sent me a few texts about what he could eat for lunch and he ended up having a really yummy salad at Central Market: romaine, chickpeas, eggs, red onions, kalamata olives and a greek dressing that is made at the store.  Since he could pronounce all the ingredients in the dressing, he thought it was a pretty safe bet.  He was right…and it’s a dressing I’m going to work on perfecting at home.  SOON.