Changing the Game

I’ve been working out like CRAZY!!!!!  I’m on fitocracy and this month a group I am in with only a few members has decided to have a free-for-all challenge.  Basically, it is a race to see who gets the most points by the end of the month.  I’ve been digging deep and working out as often as I can squeeze it in and magically I have pushed to number one!!  Though, I am pretty sure it is only because a runner has been sick twice this month, I’m still pretty proud.

One thing I have grown very annoyed with is the lack of movement on the scale.  Angry.  Agitated.  Possessed by hate demons.  The list goes on…  I have been losing inches which is great and moving in the right direction, just the pounds are not moving.

This month while working out, I’ve started watching a lot of documentaries and it’s become very clear that I am just not eating healthy enough. Not enough veggies and not enough fruit.  I feel like I am been concentrating on the main course, meat 99.9% of the time and vegetables are just steamed and tossed on the plate because ‘I’m s’posed to’.  These documentaries were all pointing at the same thing, veggies are way more important than the meat portion of my meal, which should be decreased.  Half of my plate should be veggies, at least.

I’ve decided to make a few changes to help accommodate this.  First being that I’ve starting juicing for breakfast.  As much as I’d love to go on a juicing fast it is not an option because I still nurse my youngest and I don’t want him to be effected by possible toxins which may arise.  I figure if I do my breakfast in juice form, I’m getting a jump start on my day and every vegetable and fruit counts, right?  Also, I haven’t had poultry or red meat in 5 days, opting for seafood, occasionally.

Guess who has already lost almost 5 pounds!!  A huge thing since I am pretty close to my pre-pregnancy weight of 135lbs and I only have 8lbs left to go!! (Although, I am pretty sure I am pretty close to my pre-pregnancy size inch-wise already, just I have a lot more muscle than I did 3 years ago)

Anyone out there have any juicing recipes that they love?

I’d love to hear from any and everyone!!

Baked Apple Pie Egg Rolls

During my week of Pinterest recipes, I had chosen a dessert to make.  Sadly, I had bought the egg roll wrappers without checking the date on them and I was unable to make them since I don’t like taking that chance while feeding young kids.

ANYWAYS, the baked apple pie eggrolls were a SMASH!  I thought they were very simple to make, the hardest part being wrapping them in the egg roll wrappers. I took step by step photos to share for people who need help.

DSC_0004start by laying your egg roll out in a diamond shape, place the filling inside and then brush the edges with egg washDSC_0005

roll the bottom edge up, give it a squeeze and make sure it’s firmDSC_0006

bring your left side in and make sure it seals, repeat with the right side–you can change it up, it doesn’t matter which side happens first…just make sure your edges have a seal, adding extra egg wash if you feel more comfortableDSC_0007

roll your yumminess up towards the top point and then flip it so you can see the edges–seal with egg wash and then place on the baking sheet, seal side downDSC_0008 DSC_0018

I am not sure why but it seems as if my blog wants to make my words into links REALLY badly.  I guess it gives it some color.

12/14/12

My heart goes out to the families and friends of all of the students and teachers involved in the shooting today.  My heart also goes out to the shooter’s surviving family.

It, naturally, is all mind boggling and it breaks my heart that this young man didn’t have the mental help that he needed.  I don’t understand how taking whatever it was that triggered this out on a class full of 5 year olds, even if your target is at the head of this class could make sense, but this obviously does not make sense.

I moved from Danbury, CT just a year and a half ago so this does hit me close to home. My father-in-law is healing from a heart surgery performed yesterday and is in the i.c.u. of Danbury Hospital, where shot children were brought to fight for their lives and sadly didn’t survive.   A hospital that is less than 5 minutes of a car ride from where I used to live and where I gave birth to my youngest son.

My husband was texting friends and family who have children in the school, reading updates on facebook where friends from all around were not allowed to get their children out of school because they were still uncertain if the shooter acted alone.  We even were given the update that they were looking for a van filled with guys dressed as nuns who were armed and dangerous.  It was calamity and sitting and watching and waiting was unbelievably stressful.  Luckily no one we know was directly effected, no children we know were lost.  Sadly, this is not the case for too many people today.

I’ve been to Newtown, CT, having breakfast with friends and laughing. The car ride… my eyes were full of beautiful and charismatic houses.  A beautiful town filled with mom and pop shops was the setting of this tragedy.  A town that had only 1 violent event reported in all of 2010.  Not quite the sort of town were you would imagine such a tragedy to unfold.

This will be a very sad holiday season.  I can only offer condolences from here and hope.

Another day, another Pinterest recipe…or 3.

Now that Christmas is creeping near, I like to act like it’s cold outside(even though it’s been about 80 here every day) and make yummy cozy warm food–and there seriously is nothing better than a beef stew.

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 I don’t know what I read or when I read it, but I was hellbent on having my stew over top of mashed potatoes so it was important for me to find a recipe that didn’t have potatoes in the stew itself and I was SO happy when I found a recipe for Irish Beef Stew over mashed potatoes.  It was perfect, since I didn’t have any celery and I didn’t have any wine(the bottle I had was pretty old and opened a couple of months ago and I think I was just using it for decoration at this point(giving my kitchen a little class).
I stuck pretty tightly to the recipe, since I’m always nervous about starting something new to me, since I’ve always used those packets from the grocery store where the spices are all mixed in and ready to go.  The only big difference is that I made the recipe in my crock pot, adding ingredients as I prepped them.
First, I browned my meat and got my (low sodium) beef broth ready, since it was bouillon.  I pretty much burnt my meat, because for some reason it just tastes better when it’s seared to hell.  Right before I took the meat off of the heat, I tossed in the diced garlic to release a little flavor, and then I tossed it all in the crock pot and poured the broth on top.  I cleaned out my cast iron pan, since the fond of the meat wasn’t really flavorful so much as burned to the bottom, toss in a little more oil and browned my onions while chopping up my carrots.  I tossed those in, threw in herbs, and then added two additional ice cubes of my own homemade chicken broth(it was from a perpetual broth that I cooked down and then froze) for a little extra flavor.  Lidded it and set it on low and let it cook all day.
Within an hour I was salivating and I kept lurking over the crock pot because I have no self control.  I was very proud of myself because I did hold out!!  I did, later on, add another cube of my broth with about a cup of water because I love the gravy and I wanted to make sure I had a ton for my taters.
My potatoes were also an awesome Pinterest find, branching out from the fact that I had a container of ricotta cheese that was still half full after my eggplant involtini and honestly, I don’t cook with ricotta often so I wanted to make sure I didn’t waste it.  The ricotta mashed potatoes were seriously easily to make and seriously delicious.  It was creamy and flavorful and absolutely great with the beef stew.  I didn’t make a single change to the recipe and I was pretty happy with my decision.
Let’s just say, the mister and I both had seconds and I totally had beef stew for breakfast the next day.  It was AMAZING.  I totally recommend these two recipes, together or apart, especially since you can easily adjust them to a particular low sodium diet that we work with here.  The beef broth is the only real sodium factor in the stew and you can find a low sodium broth at the store just as easily as a regular sodium one. If you make your own broth, you’re a cooking jedi and you already know that you can cut the salt way out and skip right to the flavor and make this recipe with almost no salt at all(and with a crock pot and a few bones and left over veggies pieces and some herbs you can make the best broth in your town with ease). The mashed taters, I only added a little sprinkle of salt on top for a little flavor and I used unsalted butter.
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BONUS ROUND!!!!!

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I’ve been discussing sprouting beans in a little facebook group I am in. Someone wanted to know some information, etc, so I decided to go ahead and start a Sprouting board on my pinterest. There are mostly links to how-to guides and nutritional facts.  Sadly I couldn’t find the one link I was looking for, where it broke down the nutritional increases day by day.
I did decide to go ahead and sprout some garbanzo beans I’ve had for a little while and make sprouted hummus.  From initial soaking to sprouting, my beans were in their jars for about 4 days.  I tried a different approach since I didn’t have cheese cloth on hand and I used coffee filters to top the jars.  They worked very well and maybe one day I will dish out the cash for the awesome lids that have screens in them but for now I can DIY it.
I did cook my beans for about 15-20 minutes before I made the recipe, you can try raw if you’d prefer, but I figured I’d try it this way and build up to raw.
The flavor was immense. It had a sweetness to it that I adored and I was eating it by the spoonful.  I think a big factor in your hummus is using an olive oil you enjoy.

Two Dinners, One Post

DSC_0501I picked just a few lemons and grapefruits off of the trees behind my house and my neighbor’s as you can see here.  Since I had so many lemons I figured I’d choose my next Pinterest dish, Pan Roasted Chicken and Lemon Garlic Green Beans.  I pretty much followed it line for line, including using the cast iron pan, against what I thought was proper(I’ve read that acidic foods should be left out of cast iron pans).  It was pretty easy to get into the pan and I popped it in the oven(with a aluminum tent since my thighs were skinless and I didn’t want them to be completely dried out).

Honestly, it wasn’t a popular dish.  My hubs said it was lemony but it didn’t get me set for the pucker factor that came with my first bite of the beans.  It was overwhelming and I had that really pretty face where you squeeze your eyes really tight and your lips are peeled back.  The chicken tasted great and the potatoes were in between.  Also, we were left with a terrible taste in our mouths all night afterwards because the cast iron pan left a nice metallic aftertaste that was pretty nasty.

I would say, I would try this again, but instead of the cast iron pan, I’d probably just throw it in a glass pan and maybe just throw some butter on the bottom rather than the left over juice and olive oil.  I think the beans cooking in the left over juices just made it way too intense.DSC_0505

Tonight, I dug around for that pretty little eggplant I picked up at the store and started on a more labor intensive dish–the hubs got off of work at noon so I had the time.

Eggplant Involtini

I followed this recipe pretty much spot on, except I used dried thyme.  I used a whole very small lemon and sadly I don’t have a mandoline, so it was a lot harder to get the eggplant sliced evenly.  I thought it was a little much to fry the eggplant in the oil, it gave it a nice taste but I think next time I try this, I may try the recommendation to bake the sliced eggplant, 5 minutes each side, lightly oiled.  Of course, after the dinner of lemon-y delight, all Mr McDorkins could taste was the bit of lemon juice in the ricotta filling.  I enjoyed it, the texture sort of reminded me of ravioli.DSC_0508 DSC_0509eggplant involtini with shaved parmesan cheese over whole wheat spaghetti

Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken

My week of meal planning via Pinterest has commenced!  I went with Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken, from BudgetBytes.  I’m definitely going to check out more of the tantalizing recipes there, especially since they break down the cost of your meal and there are some great pointers for saving money.

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The changes I made were very mild, just sprinkling garlic powder on the chicken with the salt and pepper and adding a splash of heavy cream to the egg mix you use before you dip it in your bread crumbs(I used panko since it’s lower sodium).  It was actually very easy to make, the hardest part would be cutting the chicken and trying not to look like you were mid-slice during an earthquake.

I did make brown rice pasta to serve it over top of and used crushed tomatoes with basil and then sprinkled shaved parmesan cheese on top. It was AMAZING! I’m totally a fan for browning my breaded chickens in my cast iron pan and then baking.  The crunch is fantastic and gives the dish a greater depth, especially since I have this love of crunch and I feel like if my meal lacks it, I still have the urge to chew well after I am stuffed.

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I would definitely recommend this dish. Eleventy-million-trillion percent!

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ALSO, earlier today, I made my first go at Homemade Healthy Fruit Snacks from thankyourbody.com.  When I was at the store, I got blueberries, strawberries and raspberries because I wanted to give them all a go.  I think that making these fruit snacks can be a bit price-y since the ingredients can be costly depending on the time of year.  Lucky for me, I have two lemon trees in my backyard so there goes a huge cost, since lemons are WAY overpriced.

I tried one batch today with the raspberries, which are our least favorite berry of the bunch.  I only had knox brand gelatin since that was all that was available at the store and I wasn’t sure how much was actually in each packet, I use one box each, which contained 4 packets(which after I measured, they were a little shy of a tbsp each) so I did use less gelatin than what they recommended but it came out perfectly fine.

The things I noticed were pretty few, they were a little sour but I like that and the seeds were way too much.  Next time I make this, I am going to push it through a sieve to get as many seeds, etc out that I can.  Also, I had an odd time getting the snacks out of my container.  I used a thin metal spatula and I was able to dig it out.

I do want to add that in this recipe, she says to put it in a blender, while it is still hot.  I don’t recommend that, though, since putting hot liquids in a blender, covered, can become a safety hazard and I’m not a fan of boo-boos.  I did just use a hand mixer and it came out perfectly fine.

ALSO, a big thank you to my in-laws for my new toaster oven today!! It’s so sexy. Here it is, right after I put it on the messy counter, next to it’s new friends.  I don’t know if I will get rid of my regular toaster, though, since it’s the bomb diggity, especially since I freeze a lot of bread and it’s great for thawing and toasting it all to perfection.

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