Category Archives: Recipe

Chicken Cacciatore

One of the things I’ve been very consistent with is pre-prepping my food after I kill it and bring it home ūüėČ ¬†This is something I tried to do when I was attempting to lose with Weight Watchers, but it never became a habit. ¬†Now, my refrigerator constantly looks like it’s full of leftovers because I slice, dice, and chop before I put something up. ¬†At first I was worried about “what if I need this carrot for a recipe?” then realized – with very few exceptions – it really doesn’t matter how it’s cut up, as long as it’s in there. There is always bowls of carrots, peppers, and broccoli, and usually mushrooms (but I forgot to grab them this week, which makes me sad). I do the same thing with melons.

Another thing I’ve learned is that organic grown tastes better. ¬†I used to shy away from raw carrots because I couldn’t stand the dry taste of the “baby” carrots, or how wet they’d get in the package after opened. ¬†I’ve learned why they’re like that, but that’s a post for another day.

Organic carrots are sweeter. ¬†Like kale, I now throw carrots in just about everything I cook these days. ¬†I buy 2 pounds, and immediately cut half of them into coins and toss them in a bowl when I get home. ¬†I grab a handful for lunch, or toss them in our salads. ¬†I also eat almost a whole one while I’m cutting them up. ¬†I don’t cut them all up since I keep some back for roasting, but I usually have to slice some more to refill our bowl.

The great thing about this is the ease to grab a handful and chow down. We eat a lot of non-lettuce salads around here now.

My mom used to make Chicken Cacciatore when I was growing up. (Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. ) ¬†This reminds me of her recipe, but it’s not the same. ¬†It has a super quick prep time, since my veggies are already prepped, but it is something that you need to plan as it takes about an hour to simmer. ¬†It’s made with my favorite jarred sauce:

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Chicken Cacciatore

4 chicken thighs (skin on)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 jar tomato/basil pasta sauce
1/2 bag broccoli slaw
1/2 C rough cut mushrooms
1 C rough cut carrots
1 C rough cut peppers (red, yellow, orange)
1 C rough cut kale (or spinach)

Pour olive oil in a non-stick pan. Heat on medium high and fry thighs until brown on each side. Use a large enough pan that the thighs do not touch. Pour a thin layer of sauce into a pan and place thighs skin side down on top. In a bowl, mix remainder of sauce and all the veggies, and pour on top of chicken. Cover, and cook on medium to a boil, then low for 30 minutes. Turn chicken over, cover back with sauce, and cook an additional 30 minutes.

It will be thick at first, but will thin out during cooking. The veggies never get mushy during cooking. ¬†And I’m pretty much guestimating the amount of veggies since I just grab a handful and toss them in.

Serves 4.

Stuffed Peppers

The unhappiness that the Rainbow Hash recipe¬†brought has stayed on my mind and last night I couldn’t take it anymore so I changed it up and fell in love with it.

Stuffed Peppers

1 lb chicken breakfast sausage
1/4 head red cabbage
4 carrots
1/2 head cauliflower
1 cup chopped kale
2 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 T tomato paste
1/2 C water
4 yellow “bell” peppers (red, orange, or green will work. See NOTE)
1 T coconut oil
sea salt & black pepper

Set oven for 350¬į. Grab a bowl large enough to hold all of your chopped veggies. Get your food processor out. Pre-chop the cauliflower florets, toss them in, and process the heck out of them until it looks like rice. Pour it into the bowl, then get to chopping your carrots and cabbage, separately, and pour them in your bowl. Add coconut oil to pan, heat it up, and cook your sausage. Add salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Once meat is cooked add in your chopped veggies, stir it up good, cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium low, stirring twice during cooking time.

Slice your green onions, and chop your kale, and set aside. Cut a circle around the top of the stem of your peppers, and pull the core out. Use a spoon to scrape the veins down as thin as you can without breaking through the peppers.

At the end of the 10 minutes, stir in the green onion and kale and taste to see if you need more salt.  Add in the tomato paste and water, stir, and simmer for 5 minutes..   Stuff your peppers as full as you can.  Place them in a casserole and cover.  Bake 25-30 minutes.

NOTE: If you’re using green bell peppers, or you like your peppers soft, you may want to boil them about 5 minutes, once they’re cleaned out. Do this at the beginning and turn them over to drain while prepping the rest of the ingredients. Also, on the red pepper, we like spicy so you may want to start with 1/4 tsp and taste. You can always add more right before you stuff your peppers. ¬†Our spicy was just enough to make you think “man that’s real spicy and I need some more.” ¬†Or, just barely make your nose run ūüėČ

I served them with roasted green beans, and could only eat half of my pepper.

2014-08-18 18.03.212014-08-18 18.04.42Mister calls these Rainbow Bright Peppers because of how bright all the veggies are.

 

Recipes

Back on August 3rd I shared this tease photo on FB for a new recipe. ¬†I can’t say that this recipe was a full success, though, but I’m going to share it anyway.

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This was a free recipe from Nov 12 / The Performance Menu

Rainbow Hash

1 1/2 lb turkey sage sausage (I used pork)
1/3 head red cabbage
3 lg carrots
kale
coconut oil
sea salt & pepper

Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet and cook sausage.

Chop veggies separately in food processor. Add to skillet with salt and pepper (can add other seasonings).

Cover and cook 10-12 minutes. Stir often.

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I couldn’t find turkey sausage at the time, but have a source now. ¬†I cut the kale with a knife instead of using the processor and kept it out until the last 2 minutes. ¬†This was super easy and fast. ¬†The problem I had with it – too sweet between the sage and the carrots. ¬†This is what it looked like cooked, and one of the ways I served it.

2014-08-03 18.09.28 2014-08-03 18.09.50

I am going to change it up and serve it a different way in a few days and will share that, too.

I used the left over cabbage and made a quick slaw to go with the pulled pork I made earlier this week:

Red Cabbage Slaw

1/2 head red cabbage
1/4 inch slice of red onion
2 T olive oil
2 T rice vinegar
sea salt & pepper

Slice the cabbage, or dice it, however you prefer your slaw cut. Dice onion. In a separate bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour it over slaw, toss it, and immediately serve. Easy peasy ūüėÄ

Ginger Beef Stew

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This is one of those recipes that I’ll be tweaking the next time I made it, but man oh man, did I love it. ¬†I wanted to eat the leftovers for breakfast the next morning but made myself wait for lunch, and then there was plenty for Mister and I to have for dinner, too!

Ginger Beef Stew

2# stew meat
2 lg yams (Not sweet potatoes.  You want the yellow ones.) Cut into bite size pieces
4 lg carrots, thinly sliced
3 stalks celery chopped
1-2 T fresh minced ginger
1 can coconut milk (whole fat, and shake it before you open it)
1 T coconut oil divided

Cut up your veggies, and mince your ginger before starting. ¬†Pour the milk into a dutch oven, stir in the ginger, dump in the veggies, and set your heat to medium low. ¬†Divide your oil into a separate pan, and brown half the meat. ¬†Dump the whole thing into your dutch oven; add the remaining oil and meat to your pan, and brown it up. ¬†Dump it in. ¬†By this time you should have a good simmer going on your dutch oven. ¬†Stir everything up the best you can. ¬†It’s going to look like you don’t have enough liquid, but it’s going to cook down, and thicken up.

Cover and cook for about 25 minutes.  Stir a few time and check the tenderness of the meat and potatoes.

NOTE: ¬†Next time I make this I’m going to cook it for 20 minutes, then add in my potatoes and cook for 15 (or until they’re tender). ¬†My potatoes were too soft for me. ¬†I will share those results.

As shared in my previous post I’ve had a good weekend. ¬†Another trip we made was into Scottsdale to visit the Williams-Sonoma store. ¬†I received a birthday gift card 3 years ago (I know, bad, bad Terri) and finally spent it on this month’s new kitchen tool(s). ¬†I love them. ¬†If you bigify the picture you can see on the bottom the different grinds you can get. ¬†The pepper grinds down to super, super fine (6 different grinds altogether), and the salt had 3 different grinds.

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It’s been a lazy day for me. After staying out so late last night, I got out of bed really late and watched NASCAR, baseball, and now NFL’s on.

Recipe correction

I realized tonight, while whipping up some Refrigerator Oatmeal, that I incorrectly stated 6 tablespoons of agave/honey. ¬†That should have read 6 teaspoons (I have a 2 teaspoons, spoon). ¬†I’ve corrected the recipe to read 2 tablespoons.

I hope I’m not too late.

Honey Roasted Carrots

I’ve been working real hard on menu planning. ¬†I have 2 pantries. ¬†One by the kitchen I keep things that we use a lot, and snacks. ¬†The snack part of the pantry is looking rather bare ūüėÄ ¬†I think the only thing in that part is my 2 lonely packages of cashews and almonds.

The other pantry is where I store our extras and paper goods and it’s still full. ¬†Since I’m slowly transitioning, I’ve decided to pull one meal a week from there until it’s all gone.

I don’t know that it’ll ever be perfect, but I think doing this is another thing that’s keeping me on task, and I don’t feel like I’m wasting money by throwing things away. ¬†I do know there are some things in there that I need to donate.

Only once this past week did I ever feel hungry, and it was because I didn’t plan properly for that day. ¬†We had a lot of outside things going on, and I ended up hitting the drive-thru at Sonic. ¬†In the past I would have gone xlarge, but I ordered medium, felt guilty about it, but shoved those tots down my pie hole anyway. I’ll be honest and say I really, really enjoyed them.

The other meal I had out this week was planned, and I didn’t enjoy it. ¬†Our Taco Bell supports the DBacks and every time they score 6 runs TB offers 3 free tacos with the purchase of a large drink. ¬†We used to take advantage of it every single time, but, in addition to the DBacks having a rough season and not scoring 6 that often, the few times they have we have had other plans. ¬†This past week we did the deal, adding a quesadilla to the order. ¬†I ended up eating only 2 of my tacos and only 2 small pieces of the quesa.

So, all that blather leads to this. ¬†I try to only buy what I know we’ll use up between store visits. ¬†I’m determined not to toss anything because, let’s face it, organic is expensive!

I had some carrots that I bought for another recipe that didn’t happen because I forgot to buy one of the ingredients. ¬†Instead of taking the chance of them not going bad I roasted them, and served them will grilled steaks and a salad.

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Honey Roasted Carrots

Set oven to 400¬į and line a baking sheet with foil, dull side up.

1 lb carrots. Cut into uniform pieces.
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp local raw honey
1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp cracked pepper

Toss it all in a bowl until carrots are covered.
Spread them all out in your pan being sure none are stacked on top of the other.
Bake 30 minutes, turning pan after 15 minutes.
Let cool a few minutes then serve.

Refrigerator oatmeal

Since I was asked in a comment what refrigerator oatmeal was, I decided to share my recipe.

You can enter “refrigerator oatmeal” into Google, Pinterest, etc., and find a ton of pictures, and recipes, but this is the one that I use since I played with it many times to get it the way Mister and I like it.

I will say that steel-cut oats and chia seeds are not cheap. ¬†I think I paid $6 for my little bag of seeds but I’ve made this I can’t remember how many times and my bag is still over 1/2 full. ¬†They go a very long way.

This is not Paleo since it contains grain.

This makes 4 servings

Refrigerator Oatmeal

Into each container dump:

1/4  cup uncooked steel-cut oats
1 1/2 tsp chia seeds

Into a large mixing container (I use a measuring pitcher to make it easier to pour)

2 individual serving containers of 0% fat plain Chobani Greek yogurt
1 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

Wisk then add:

1 1/2 tsp real vanilla
2 tbsp agave or honey

Wisk, but don’t go crazy or it’ll get frothy. Pour 3/4 cup into ONE oats/chia mixture and immediately stir (it will start sticking if you pour it into all 4 bowls and then go back to stir). You can add some fruit to it at this point, but I don’t. ¬†Put a lid on it, stick it in the refrigerator and wait until the morning.

In the morning, give it a stir and add whatever fruit you want and enjoy. Yep, you eat it cold. I know someone who nukes it a teeny bit, but I’ve never tried it that way. ¬†I’ve had it with fresh bananas, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, and mango. ¬†They’ve all been yummy!

Mister wants to eat it everyday. I don’t because of the grain issue (remember, no bread for me), so we eat it 2 days in a row, then have a couple of days of something else, then this again.

Cha, cha, cha, changes!

or, Change No. 1

First, there was me, and since there’s so much of me, this is going to be a huge post. ¬†No pictures, tho.

Four months ago at my semi-annual checkup I had a discussion with my doctor about how my blood sugar levels were continually creeping higher and higher by tiny, tiny increments. ¬†I told her that I didn’t want them to get to the point where I was desperate, but looking back today, I think I was already there.

(Let me take¬†a minute and say that I have really liked my doctor because she never rushes me out, always takes care of something that’s come up between the time I’ve scheduled my appointment, and my actual appointment, and she always thoroughly discusses the many options she gives me to take care of whatever reason I’m there. ¬†I just found out yesterday that she’s leaving and I’m crushed.)

So one of the things we discussed was my taking, for 3 months, 1 daily dose of the¬†oral anti-diabetic drug Metformin. ¬†I. HATED. IT. ¬†It really threw my body for a loop. ¬†I had super low-blood sugar days where I constantly felt like my head was a balloon. ¬†I had a few days where I almost fell over in a faint. ¬†I had days where I had no energy no matter what I did. ¬†I had nose-bleeds that scared Mister. ¬†I hated that I was taking a pill. ¬†I stopped taking it a month ago and I cannot believe the difference in how I feel now that I’m not taking it anymore.

Also during that time I read and read and read and read books about diabetes. ¬†I spent so much time online researching tons of things (many so conflicting!), that I didn’t feel like being on the computer to do anything else – which is another reason my blog has suffered.

It was depressing! ¬†I wasn’t stitching, I wasn’t quilting, and I wasn’t reading – except about diabetes.

Then something happened. ¬†Someone I know mentioned doing Whole30. ¬†Since I’d never heard of it before, and as I’m prone to do, I switched my reading to that. ¬†I read a new word, but it got filed away in my head. After reading all about it, I decided it wasn’t for me because I wouldn’t be “allowed” to eat so many things that I felt were good for me.

Then something else happened. ¬†Someone else I know has a mother, who was close to my age, change her lifestyle and she went Paleo. ¬†There was that word! ¬†So I jumped online and started reading some more, and I bought a book that explained why eating Paleo is good for you, instead of just being told to do it and look good in a bathing suit (which, at my age, I don’t care about anymore).

Here’s how I basically define Paleo =¬†grain-free, dairy-free, legume-free, modern vegetable oil-free, refined sugar-free, and processed food-free.

Now, before anyone rolls their eyes, and leaves, let me say my blog is not turning into one of those paleo-fanatic, don’t talk about anything else, blogs. ¬†I just need somewhere to write down how this is working for me. ¬†Would it be great to get some support, sure, but that’s not why I’m sharing this.

Ok, now for the last thing that happened that pushed me over the edge to just go for it.  MISTER IS TRAINING FOR TRIATHLONS AGAIN.

Yep. ¬†I’m back to cooking for an athlete again. ¬†I know I should have started this for me, but if his training is the nudge I needed to do this, then I’ll take it.

I read about so many ways to get started. ¬†From throw everything in your pantry away and go cold turkey to slowly transition into it. ¬†I didn’t want to overwhelm me or my pocketbook so I decided to ease into it.

About 3 weeks ago I had some oral surgery. Since I knew 1/4 of my mouth would be full of stitches I decided that day was the day to start. ¬†Nope, it wasn’t the 1st day of the month, and it wasn’t on a Monday. ¬†Isn’t that always when we begin these things? ¬†Since I had decided to do this one step at a time, I made the decision to cut out bread from my diet.

The first week, instead of eating bread 2x a day almost every day, I had bread once.  I also had some saltines at the beginning of the week because the pain meds I was taking from my surgery made me nauseous and that helped.

Does this mean I’ll never eat bread again? ¬†Nope. ¬†I love me a Diamondbacks Hot Dog. ¬†I love a good hamburger out with friends. ¬†Pasta. Enchiladas. I love “bread.” What this means is that I am going to do my utmost to not eat bread except for special occasions. ¬†We grilled burgers the other night and I made mine the exact same way I always have, except I ate it with a fork and knife because it wasn’t between two halves of a bun. ¬†I now buy bread that I don’t care for, but Mister likes, and I keep things like burger buns in the freezer and thaw 1 or 2 out for Mister. We had dinner out with friends a few days ago and they served biscuits. I had half of one. It wasn’t good enough for me to finish the other half.

Bread is not the only change I’ve made. ¬†As things run out I have either stopped buying them completely, or I’ve changed over to a “whole food” or “organic” variety. ¬†I just now realized I haven’t had a potato chip in all this time, and I love potato chips. ¬†I know there are some in the cabinet (lunch size bags), but I have no craving for them. ¬†I’ve switched from half-and-half in my coffee to unsweetened almond milk. ¬†I honestly cannot taste the difference. ¬†Which brings me to my next thought.

I try to never say “never.” ¬†LOL ¬†I’m not going to say I’ll never give up dairy. ¬†I love milk, and cheese, but I have eaten less of it over the past couple of weeks, without trying. ¬†I’m not going to say I’ll never give up grains. ¬†Right now I’m making refrigerator oatmeal a couple of times a week. ¬†I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’m not going to be anal about it. I’m just going to go with this and see where it takes me. ¬†I will say there are some things in my pantry that have never been there before (ghee, coconut oil, chia seeds) and I’m eating things like spinach and kale for breakfast. ¬†The only hard part so far is not being lazy with the cooking because we’re in the 115 degree days here in Arizona, but I’m trying to make things that will last 3 meals or so, like Crock Pot Pulled Pork.

Even as things slowly change I know there are certain things I need to seriously consider giving up. ¬†Right now I’m contemplating artificial sweetener. ¬† This one will seriously impact my life. ¬†I love Starbucks’ Skinny Vanilla Lattes. ¬†Starbucks does not serve almond milk (and I’ve tried soy with a yuck outcome) and their skinny sweeteners are made with artificial sweetener. ¬†So for now when I get a Starbucks it’s just their shaken black tea, no classic ūüėČ ¬†I do have some of the Torani Sugar-Free French Vanilla that I use at home. ¬†I used to be a 3-pump girl, now I’m a 2-pump girl. ¬†I have one more bottle in my pantry, and I’ll switch to 1-pump when I open that one, and then none. ¬†That seems so impossible to me now.

Next will come the physical part. ¬†Stitching, quilting, reading, they’re all so sedentary and I have no intention of giving up any of them. ¬†I have a membership at our local YMCA and next Tuesday after I have my follow-up dental appointment – and hopefully all the stitches are removed – I’m headed over there to talk to a personal trainer.

So how is all of this going to impact my blog. ¬†I’ll be posting numbers and recipes, and the occasional photo. ¬†Sort of like this ūüėÄ

Crock Pot Pulled Pork

3-4 lb pork shoulder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea or kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper – freshly cracked pepper has the most flavor
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp honey or agave
1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Massage the salt into both sides of the roast. Mix the other spices together and rub into both sides of your roast. Place in the slowcooker. Mix your liquid smoke, agave/honey and water together and pour over the roast. Cover. Set the cooker to low, and allow to cook 8-10 hours.

NOTE: If you’re using smoked salt you may not need the liquid smoke. ¬†This is a repeat recipe for me and I use the leftovers to make several other meals like tacos, and asian lettuce wraps ūüėÄ

7/8/14 0/0
7/15/14 -4/-4
7/22/14 -2.6/-6.6

If anyone asks me a question, I’ll gladly answer it, but you aren’t going to find a ton of “this is what I ate today” posts here, or tons of “food” photos. Who wants to see a bunch of photos of sliced organic tomatoes, steamed veggies, salad, meat, day in and day out. Unless it’s a recipe, you won’t be hearing about what I’m eating, except when I maybe share something I’m changing or giving up.

I promise my next post will be more “fun.” I’ve updated my quilt page at the top, and written down all of my WIPs. I’ll be talking about a few of them.

Weigh In and a Recipe

Thank you all for your support over my last couple of posts.  As expected I did have a gain today.  I was up .2 #s!

Work was chaotic today and I ended up leaving an hour early.¬† I came home and made some comfort food for supper.¬† It’s super easy and even has the HarleyQuinn seal of approval.

Vegetable Beef Soup

1/2 pound extra lean ground beef
11 oz can of whole kernel corn
14 oz can of cut green beans
14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1/8 cup of Emeril’s Essence or creole seasoning

Cook the meat and seasoning together. Pour in the veggies, juice and all. Bring to a simmer for 30 minutes and enjoy!

This makes 6 1-cup servings at 3 PP each. Double up and it’s still only 6 PPs!

I normally double the recipe and use 1 or 2 pounds of beef depending on what’s in the freezer. The only ingredient that is NOT a power food is the seasoning!

HarleyQuinn almost loses her little mind when you open a can of green beans so we fondly call this ‘green bean soup’ ūüôā M will pull out a couple of green beans to cool off for her (and Jasper) to eat at the end of our meal.

Oh the joys of a busy life

I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since I last blogged.¬† There has been so much going on since my last post.¬†

Work has been crazy CRAZY!¬† We’ve had a case fall apart on us, one settle, and there have been so many little post-its on my desk that I had to stop what I was doing and just get them done.¬† I hate when that happens.

Last Saturday was my monthly stitching day.¬† Thank goodness, because that’s the only time I’ve made for myself to stitch lately!

I stayed the night with Melissa and the two of us were joined by Darla that night at Downtown Disney‘s Rainforest Cafe to celebrate Melissa’s upcoming birthday.¬† The next morning Melissa and I¬†headed back¬†to Downtown Disney and had chicory¬†and beignets at the¬†Jazz Kitchen.¬† Oh calories, how I love you!¬† Especially donut-y¬†calories!¬† I actually have chicory coffee at my house and drink it all the time.¬† It’s been a very long time since I made beingets though.

Then of course, Monday was Valentine’s Day.¬† Much to my surprise, especially since he never said a word beforehand, M called me at 4:30 asking me if we were going out to dinner that night to celebrate.¬† I left it totally up to¬† him where we were going and since we couldn’t get early enough reservations at his first choice we went to El Torito’s and split a carne asada platter.¬† It was the perfect amount of goodiness for my Mexican food craving self (I swear I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner — in the same day!).¬† My gallant knight also came sweeping in with a dozen long-stem red roses, purchased from my favorite little mom and pop corner flower stand.

This morning’s weigh in at home for the Power of One challenge at Sisterhood shows me up some more, but you know…I don’t care!¬†Ok, I care, but I’m living with it.¬† ¬†After last week’s near meltdown over being up one pound I had a long think with myself — and a good talking to from M.¬† This is lifetime.¬† There are going to be times when the scale is going to go up, I just have to not let it defeat me, and get right back into the swing of things immediately.¬†

Tuesday I packed a very healthy and filling lunch. 

Last night I made up a quickie broccoli and beef stir-fry.¬† I winged it with some pre-cut sirloin for fajitas that I tossed in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, added in some¬†garlic powder, garlic pepper powder, kosher salt, ground ginger and “fried” it in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, I then poured in 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and while that was bubbling up I steamed up some broccoli, then tossed that in.¬† It made 3 large servings.¬†¬† Well, it should have been 4 but M ate 3/4 of it!

Today, I packed the same healthy and filling lunch as yesterday and added in a banana and blueberries.¬† Tonight it’s BFD (which we do a couple of times a week).

Is my official weigh in tomorrow at Weight Watchers going to show that scale going up?¬† Probably.¬† Am I going to freak out about it like I did last week?¬† No.¬† Am I going to be disappointed in myself.¬† I’m going to try hard to not be, but I’m only human.

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