Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Behold, my raw materials

This is what I'm working with this week, in terms of fruits and veggies. Of course I'm filling in the blanks with quality proteins and carbs where applicable.

If I write down what I have to work with, it helps me remember what's lying around and prevents me from finding limp brown celery at the bottom of the crisper in a month. So far, we've only completely crossed off "kale" because I made a batch of my one true love for lunches. The little guy and I made great progress on the green beans, onion, mushrooms, and cucumber tonight, but haven't completely wiped them out yet. Our oven stopped working--it doesn't come up to temperature and smells like gas when it's on--so I'm trying my best to work with stovetop, slow cooker, Foreman grill, and microwave (last resort_ as much as possible. Lucky for me, little man prefers his veggies raw.

Tomorrow I plan to use the celery, remaining bit of onion, carrot, brussels, and last few mushrooms to make chicken noodle soup with some leftover frozen rotisserie chicken. The forecast shows more rain and the potential for my least-favorite weather EVER (hint: it rhymes with NO!) for the next few days, so it'll be a nice addition to the menu.

Got any brilliant ideas for sweet potatoes? My preferred prep is thinly sliced and baked/broiled, but that's obviously out.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Clean Eating Wheat Bread

The past few weeks around our house have been all about getting creative with the meat in the freezer, using the all the veggies languishing in the crisper, and making do with what we have. I've gotten tired of shopping when the first layer--the "good stuff"--gets used up, leaving the same old rock-hard roasts and soggy celery dreaming of their chance in the spotlight.

OK, maybe I'm dramatizing the contents of my kitchen just a little. But for real, we did need to start using what we already had. Some unexpected expenses this fall have made me very aware of where our money is going. Bonus, I've always loved the nerdy satisfaction of using something up completely, whether it's toothpaste or a loaf of bread. Maybe it reassures me that I can provide for my family without going overboard or leaving them up a creek. In the name of provision, tonight I found myself making bread. Because a hunk of frozen lunchmeat just isn't very tasty by itself.

As I was making this, and a loaf of GF bread for The H, I wondered why I got away from homemade bread to begin with. The recipes are so simple! They come together remarkably quickly. And they saved me about $10 off the grocery budget this week.

I posted a link to this bread recipe years ago, but recently discovered it no longer works. Here is the recipe, from Clean Eating Magazine, with my minor tweaks at the end.

Whole Wheat Bread
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons yeast
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
Warm water

Mix 1 3/4 cups warm water with the flour and yeast. Let this mixture rise until doubled in size, approximately 30 minutes. Add salt, honey, and oil to the dough and stir in completely; dough will be sticky. Let rise another 30 minutes, then knead or stir and let rise for 30min once more. Bake at 350* for 40 minutes. Slice and serve.

Tweaks: I know, from making this in the past, this has the texture of primordial ooze and will not tolerate kneading. It works well to simply punch/stir instead of kneading. Also, I moved 3/4 of the dough to a greased loaf pan before the final rise and made a flat focaccia out of the leftover. Tonight I was out of olive oil, but substituted blood orange infused oil with amazing results. Place a baking sheet under the loaf pan just in case.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


After what feels like *AGES* of not being able to log in to this blog, my brilliant husband figured out how to get me up and running again. I'm so very relieved that I get to settle back in here and continue sharing the clean-eating love! There have been many times since my last log-in that I've wanted to jump on here and proclaim some awesome recipe/tip/workout to the blogosphere, but I couldn't. SO frustrating! But here I am again, still, and now I get to continue carrying on about delicious food, and running (marathon #4 is in the books), and the little guy--who, by the way, turned FIVE this summer and is in kindergarten! It's been a busy six months since I last posted, and I can't wait to start filling in the blanks.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Meal plan for two

Once again, The H is off exploring the wide wide world (Milwaukee is sooo exotic) so the little guy and I are enjoying some glutenriffic meals together. Here's what we have lined up this week:

Sunday - leftovers from a cookout with friends, including very early but very tasty sweet corn on the cob and strawberries

Monday - cheese tortellini or butternut ravioli with turkey meatballs, fresh green beans, mango

Tuesday - eggs and toast after running

Wednesday - I plan to go out with friends after yoga; little guy enjoys grandparent time

Thursday - lime quinoa or couscous, grilled salmon for me and chicken for the little guy, with a fresh veggie plate (carrots, bell pepper, green beans) and mango. The little guy prefers his veggies raw, which is a-ok with me.

Friday - pizza (pesto, goat cheese, fresh tomatoes, olives, local beef pepperoni)

My work lunches will be leftover kale-quinoa, yogurt, tomato-avocado salad, and hummus-on-whatever.

Digging out

A few months ago I posted a giant whinefest of self pity. Good news: this is not another one. Even better, I'll keep this short and sweet, giving you the bullet points of what I've been doing to dig out of that waist-expanding hole:

1. Ran a half marathon
2. Stopped eating multiple weekly cupcakes
3. Invested more time in meal planning
4. Registered for another marathon
5. Joined some new people for long runs
6. Cut back my drinks-with-dinner consumption
7. Eating more good fats to feel satisfied longer and not mindlessly munch

After all this I am happy to report that my jeans fit better, though the number on the scale hasn't moved much. As long as my clothes fit like they should, I'm trying not to think too much about the number. Now that the weather is truly warming up, I'm looking forward to taking the dog on longer walks (he's 10 next week; can't keep up on my runs anymore), playing at the park with the little guy, and of course, beginning a marathon training plan in the middle of May.

Happy spring!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Meal plan

This afternoon I spent a few hours making some lunch/dinner options for myself. The H has a short business trip this week, so I made this curried cauliflower soup (spicy!) and a double batch of my beloved kale-quinoa to get me through most of the week without having to think too much about food prep. We had "House Chipotle"** for dinner, one of the little guy's favorites, which means 2) HE ATE SOMETHING and 2) I now have four more 2-cup portions of black beans in my basement freezer.

The dinner parts of our week will look like this:

Sunday - House Chipotle (**seasoned black beans, cilantro-lime rice, and shredded cheese...with diced tomatoes, salsa verde, and soft corn shells for The H and me)

Monday - tortellini in red sauce for the little guy, one of my soup portions for me with a hunk of naan

Tuesday - eggs on toast, fresh fruit, decaf coffee (after running group)

Wednesday - split pea soup with diced lean ham in the slow cooker

Thursday - GF pancakes for my men, one of my kale-quinoa bowls and an ahi tuna steak for me after running and yoga

Friday - GF pizza (excellent pre-long-run fuel!)

I've been enjoying real oatmeal with nuts, a fruit, chia seeds, and pure maple syrup for breakfast, but also bought a bag of spinach and some bananas so I can make a green shake to mix things up once in awhile. Happy eating!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lesson learned

In my quest to use our freezer stash of beef, tonight's dinner was lasagna. The grocery store didn't have the gluten free DeBoles noodles I've had great luck with before, so I took a chance on another brand--and won't do that again.

Tinkyada brown rice pasta lasagna noodles came out of the box semi-broken, were pain to cook (DeBoles are no-boil), and then proceeded to further fall apart afterward. And I even undercooked them a bit to account for oven time! I had to piece them together like a puzzle in the pan, and ended up short on the top layer because some stuck together. It was not a great end to my annoying stressful day.

However, the little guy *loved* it, which is so rare these days (yes, even if you start your kids eating healthfully, they CAN and likely WILL become picky eaters at some point!), and The H and I enjoyed it as well. We have half the 13x9 left for lunch on Sunday, so overall I suppose it turned out ok. We served this with roasted broccoli, which is always a win in my book.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Not just a day

Remember last month when I was griping about having a "fat day"? Yeah... it's turned into a fat month. Fitting that I'm posting about this on Fat Tuesday, huh? My clothes have been giving me a few FYIs lately, but apparently I've chosen to ignore them...and the scale, whose face doesn't lie no matter how much I beg it to pleasepleaseplease show a smaller number. I've become WAY too lax about having a treat once in awhile. Weekly trips to the cupcake shop at the corner (ahem: locally sourced desserts are still desserts!), a glass of wine or two with dinner several times a week, Bailey's in my coffee after dinner here and there--all these factors ADD UP. And they're taking their toll on my waistline and energy level. Blergh.

At this point I'm only a handful of pounds away from my pre-little-guy weight, which for the record was NOT my healthy weight. In fact, it was about 20 pounds above my healthy, happy, feeling-strong weight.


My runs are slowing down (partly due to snow, but even on the treadmill) and I have no oomph to tackle any new challenges. We've been traveling lately, which means a lot of convenience food and someone else's cooking and, honestly, movie candy in the car. (I KNOW! My name is CLEANeatingmachine, not CRAPPYeatingmachine!)

I'm annoyed at myself for getting to this point and also for not feeling motivated enough to get away from this point...until this past weekend when my sweet little guy innocently and inadvertently stung me with every overweight woman's favorite line, "Do you have a baby in your belly?"  ::choke::

Time to dig out.

Monday, January 28, 2013

If we are what we eat...

then I'm a big bowl of kale-quinoa-chickpeas with steel-cut oats for legs. Seriously, can NOT get enough of those two things. Last night I mixed up a batch of kale-quinoa for lunches, using leftover quinoa, the last of my kale, and the last lemon in the house. I felt very resourceful. Then I thought, "Why not mix up some awesome breakfasts while I'm standing here at the stove?" So I did.

Fifteen minutes later, a quadruple batch of Trader Joe's quick-cooking steel-cut oats was ready to be portioned and refrigerated. To each bowl, I added chopped pecans, ground flax seed, chia seeds, a drizzle of real maple syrup, 12 chocolate chips, a few frozen wild blueberries, and a dollop of natural peanut butter. And then I almost couldn't resist eating a portion for dessert. LOVE that stuff! It's almost like a no-bake oatmeal cookie when it gets reheated, all gooey with peanut butter and a touch of chocolate (minus the guilt of nomming a pile of white sugar and butter).

My morning routine was delightfully streamlined having these two options in the fridge. After my run, I heated up some oatmeal while I packed my lunch, then it was off to shower and work. Great start to my Monday!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fat day

Today was a "fat day" for me. I know you know what I mean. The mirror and my clothes don't reflect it, but my mid-section felt a little soft and despite my (short, with the dog) run this morning, I felt like I needed to do something about it. So after work I stopped by our favorite local grocery store and loaded up: grapes, bananas, honeybell oranges, blueberries, strawberries, broccoli, baby carrots, peapods, black olives for the little guy's pizza, and some dark chocolate-covered peanuts. Then I came home and put on stretchy pants. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Meal plan

Friday - zucchini & Swiss quiche
Saturday - beef tacos
Sunday - chicken & chickpea tikka masala
Monday - GF pasta with meat sauce
Tuesday - eggs and toast post-running group
Wednesday - The H is traveling; I'll defer to the little guy for a change 
Thursday - pancake night!
Friday - probably leftovers (The H won't be home yet)

Super thrilling week, right? Blah. I need to browse some of my old posts to see what we were eating this time last year. What's on your menu this week? Where are you getting inspiration these days?  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy new year-and-a-week!

Let's not even pretend that I'm resolving to be one of those bloggers who delivers a post a day with thirty six photos and a printable recipe or three. Some days I think I'd like to be, or at least be able to promise a few posts on a regular basis, but realistically, it's not going to happen. My new job, while never demanding more than 10 on-site hours of my week, is more time consuming than it appeared at first, partly due to the fact that it's not very close to home. My meal planning has fallen severely behind, and while we haven't resorted to fast food every other night with takeout pizza in between, I know I can do better. Here's what's on our plates this week:

Saturday - beef with broccoli. We bought another half-of-a-half of cow this winter. Moo.
Sunday - homemade-ish GF pizza with olives, mushrooms, and local beef pepperoni
Monday - possibly dinner with my parents
Tuesday - quinoa-and-bean stuffed bell peppers
Wednesday -  chicken and artichoke pasta, I think...
Thursday - pancake night for The H and the little guy while I'm at running/yoga
Friday - TBD

This week, if I can find a store selling kale, I plan to buy a bunch or two and make some of my beloved kale-quinoa for my lunches. Leftovers have gone over surprisingly well lately, which leaves space in the fridge for marinating meat and a container of cooked grains (brown rice or quinoa, most likely) to help pull together a quick meal. In my spare time (can I get an LOL?) I intend to browse through old posts to see just what in the world we did with all this beef last time.

Happy new year! Thanks for reading.