Lemon pepper shrimp zoodles

Monday Meals: Too Much Take Out

We had a lot of takeout this week and it was a little disappointing.  Both the food and the fact that we ordered out so much.  By Sunday I told Scott that I was done with eating out unless it’s really special and we make it count.

Meaning it’s got to be a restaurant that we know serves quality food and it’s worth the effort and the money to eat there.

Why spend money on crappy food?  This is what I was asking myself by the end of the week.

Most of us probably need to ask ourselves that more often.  Crappy food does nothing for us.  It doesn’t nourish us, it causes havoc on our digestion, and we pay money for that.

That’s just silliness.

This past week also made me realize that my body is over crap food.  When I eat it, my body reacts right away, like, “Ugh why are you doing this to me? We were eating so well and it was soooo good!  This is horrible.”

I usually end up eating an apple or something to try and make my body feel better.

This week the goal is to only eat out once or twice.  Most likely that will be on Sunday because we are traveling down to Boulder for the day. Boulder has more variety of options for food and I’m excited to see what all is available to us!

On to eats!

BREAKFAST:

Sauteed fresh corn and cabbage

Veggie bowl!  I cut the corn kernels off of the cob and sauteed that in ghee with some chopped purple cabbage, shredded carrot, and some chopped onion.  Seasoned with salt, pepper, and chili powder.  Very yummy and colorful breakfast!

Sweet potato and chicken sausage

I prepped some sweet potatoes for the week.  I peeled and chopped two very large sweet potatoes, tossed them in a little olive oil and roasted them at 400 until they were just shy from being tender.  Then I used them for breakfasts for the rest of the week.

This sweet potato bowl has roasted red pepper chicken sausage.  Everything was heated up in a skillet in a little lard and seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Having the pre-roasted sweet potatoes on hand makes things so much faster and easier to create breakfast during the week.

Scrambled eggs, sweet potato, bacon

Lots of scrambled eggs, more sweet potatoes, and a few slices of bacon.  Easy and filling!

Fried chicken and nectarine slices

Probably the saddest breakfast!  A large piece of fried chicken and some nectarine slices.  I had some leftover fried chicken in the freezer that needed used up.  I didn’t eat the coating, it’s tasty but a little too heavy.   This was the end of the week and I was running out of foods!

Plantain griddle cakes

I had some plantains that needed used up as they were getting a little too ripe.  I tried my hand at making some pancakes with them.  I’m on the right track with the batter, I just need to tweak it a little bit more.

Having these for breakfast, while delicious, my body needs a little bit more in the mornings.  Protein and fiber from veggies or fruit.  This didn’t fill me up for long and by noon I wanted to gnaw my arm off.

grain free ham and cheese handpie

Ham and swiss hand pies with grain free crust.  I need to work on this a bit more to get the crust right so that it isn’t quite so dense and can be rolled out.

There is a French bakery here that makes the most amazing ham and cheese croissants.  I tried to make clean eats version but it still needs a lot of work!  Also, I’m not at all saying that this compares to French pastries in anyway because it doesn’t.  I wanted to experiment and see if I could make a hand pie turnover thing.  Close but not quite there!

DINNER:

Takeout Pho

Last week I mentioned that we were going to have pho for dinner and we did.  It was so yummy!  I get the chicken pho with chicken broth.  The chicken is a little on the sketchy side so I try to avoid it and load up with onions and bean sprouts instead.  It was delicous!

I had the leftovers for breakfast the next morning and that wasn’t so delicious. It turned sweet and a little strange. I’m going to stick with a smaller portion next time we order out.

takeout fried rice

I also got some fried rice which was actually amazing.  It was full of flavor and not in the slightest way greasy. Now I know they used a less desirable oil to cook this in but for a treat I was pleased with it.

grain free pizza

 

This was my big kitchen fail of the week. I attempted to make a quick grain-free pizza.  I’m not sure what happened but the crust turned out awful.  It smelled and tasted like cooked shrimp.  EW  I added baking soda and vinegar to this dough hoping to get a little more rise but I think that might have been the issue.  Those two things didn’t react well with the other ingredients and so we had a very horrible tasting pizza.  Ugh.

takeout pizza

We tried to remedy that with takeout pizza which also wasn’t the best.  We tried a new pizza joint in town that was rumored to have great gluten-free crusts.  After researching, I learned that it’s a pre-made crust (from a company in Loveland but still, not house made) and is frozen.  It’s smaller in size and costs $3 more.

For my money I would be getting a frozen pizza crust that isn’t even the same size as a regular pizza AND it costs more than the regular pizza.

Sorry but I’m not that dedicated to the cause.

Gluten doesn’t give me digestion distress, it only causes me to be a little bloaty and feel sluggish.  These are things I actually can live with if the pizza is worth it.

This pizza is not worth it.  We got the regular crust and just were not impressed with the pizza overall.

Chicken and mashed potatoes

Roast chicken (sort of) and mashed potatoes and turnips.  I learned a lot from this meal.

1. You can cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker and it won’t take nearly as long as you think.  This chicken was ready in about 5 hours.  Sure the skin won’t be crispy but the chicken is tender and has a more intense chicken flavor to it.

2. My body hates turnips.  As soon as I ate them my stomach bloated up like an inflated balloon, and I was gassy the rest of the night.  TMI? You’ll live.

I haven’t had a reaction like that to a vegetable before so that was definitely an interesting experience!  But no more turnips, ugh.

Lemon pepper shrimp zoodles

Ham and cheese hand pies were not enough so I made us something else for lunch. I had a craving for seafood so I busted out the shrimp.

Spiralized three yellow squash.  Roasted some chopped tomatoes at 400 degrees.  Coated some shrimp with olive oil and lemon pepper seasoning and roasted those at 400 until done.  About 10 minutes.  Caramelized some onions in some ghee, added the squash noodles, more ghee and lemon pepper seasoning.  At the end I added the tomatoes and topped everything with the roasted shrimp.

Delicious and totally what my body needed!

Chicken soup

I used the leftover chicken and broth from the earlier in the week to make soup.  Broth chicken, shredded carrots, chopped onions, celery, and potatoes all went into the slow cooker and cooked all day long.

It was comforting and tasty way to end the week!

 

Despite all the take out, this was a great week!  I experimented in the kitchen, sure there was a huge fail, but shit happens.  I learned that I can cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker which is perfect for when I don’t want to heat up the whole kitchen.  I discovered that turnips hate me and not to ever make shrimp pizza again.

This week I’m busting out the meal plan and making sure everything is ready to go!

 

 

Fitness Friday: Up and At ‘Em

Scott and Andrea running I am choosing to focus on the positive of this past week. I only ran twice but I did get up three times at 6am to start my day.

This is HUGE.  I’ve been struggling with getting back into an early morning routine.  Even though I love early mornings and morning workouts, it’s been a challenge to get back into the habit.  Of course I blame poor eating for that.  The more crappy I eat, the more I just want to stay in bed in the mornings.

Duh.

I worked hard this week to make sure that I got to bed early and was able to get up early.  Adopting that habit again isn’t easy but the more I do it, the easier it becomes.  In order for a new behavior to become habit, it has to be done consistently for 14 days.  I’m working on making morning routines the new habit.

This past week, I made sure I got to bed early with plenty of time to read and relax.  Most nights it was lights out by 9:30.  I felt amazing when I did that and I’m looking forward to more of those evenings.

Scott said that he wanted to start running again.  We seem to go through this cycle of him running for a bit and then phasing out.  This time I hope he sticks with it!  He’s been getting up in the mornings with me and we have been running first thing.  Even though I have always viewed morning runs as “me time”, it’s nice to have company.  It motivates me a little more to get up and get moving.

And yes we are still at a mile.  But with sleeping habits changing and eating habits changing, I see us being able to up the mileage very soon.

Did you get a chance to move this week?

Cilantro, lime, green onions

On Clean Eating and Accepting Change

collardsWhen I started this blog 6 years ago, my idea of clean eats did not mean eating animal protein at every meal every day. Clean eats certainly didn’t mean eating collards for breakfast.

Veggies for breakfast? Unless it’s part of an omelet, then veggies were not an appropriate breakfast food.  Home fries and hash browns don’t count as veggies.  And you can only have omelets on the weekends because they are a treat.  You shouldn’t eat eggs more than once a week, twice at most, right?

I had a lot of restrictions and misconceptions about food and I didn’t even know it.  Not until I did a clean eats challenge did it even occur to me that my thinking about food and eating were skewed.

Earlier this year I did a clean eats challenge for 30 days.  I made up my own guidelines, a little from Whole 30 and a little from Unprocessed Month.  The results were interesting.

Basically I went Paleo-ish for 30 days.  I hate putting a label on diets and ways of eating but our society does that.  So if I have to label it, then it was Paleo with an ish attached to it.  I fully admit that I was curious about the lifestyle and how I would feel with that style of eating.

When I first stumbled across the Paleo lifestyle and Paleo blogs, I had some conflicting views.  The foundation was sound but I was seeing things like pancakes made with 10 eggs and 3 tablespoons of coconut flour.

That made no sense to me.  That’s basically just some eggs, so why not eat the eggs and skip the “pancake” part.  This is what threw me off and made me scoff at the whole concept.

But I came back to the Paleo blogs as a reference for starting my recent clean eats challenge, because what those bloggers were eating fit my fundamental beliefs:  Eat real food.

That makes it super simplistic but at the core that is what the diet comes down to.

Going Paleo-ish for a while made me realize how much distress my body was in and how much it was craving whole nutrient foods. Suddenly I was eating eggs like it was my job and having soup for breakfast.

 

Potato, sausage, and kale soup.

Finally my body felt at peace and nourished.  I was feeling way more satisfied than I had ever felt before.  More deeply satisfied than when I was “healthy” and eating bowls of oatmeal everyday for breakfast.

As soon as the challenge stopped, I slipped back to old habits and I immediately felt like crap.

I could tell my body was craving more nourishment and was not pleased when that nourishment went away.

If you would have told me 4 years ago that I would be adopting a Paleo-like lifestyle (besides lifting heavy things, I’d rather run or punch something), I would have laughed at you and walked away thinking you were full of the crazy.

The thing is our bodies are constantly changing as we mature and with those changes our  bodies’ needs also change.  We have to be aware of what our bodies want so that we can provide it those things. Sometimes those needs conflict with our philosophies about food and food sources.  Sometimes those needs conflict with everything we’ve been told by “health professionals”.

We have to come to terms with that in some way because denying our body what it needs can lead to problems down the road. My definition of clean eats has certainly changed over the years and is vastly different from when I started this blog.

My idea of what meals should consist of is the polar opposite of how I used to think.

It wasn’t until I did that challenge that I realized how crappy I  was treating myself.   How much my body was lacking proper nourishment.

Now I’m on the path to recovery and healing my body and it feels good.  I’m back in the kitchen and making awesome meals.  I’m inspired again to create, nourish, and nurture.  That’s what started this blog and I’m so happy to be back in that space again.

I wouldn’t be on this road to healing if I wasn’t willing to accept change and toss aside old beliefs and habits.

I’ll be sharing a lot more about this change and thoughts and reflections on it.  Perhaps you’re starting a new chapter in your life as well.  If so, feel free to share!  I’m all about support and we can do this together.

Monday Meals: Anniversary Week

How did everyone do with eats last week?  Surprisingly our eats weren’t too bad!  It was our anniversary week so we did indulge a bit but nothing crazy.  This week though I’m ready to get back on track and eat well throughout the week.

We are having pho tonight for dinner and I couldn’t be more excited! It was supposed to be our last celebratory meal for the weekend, grabbing some takeout on Sunday while we snugged on the couch and watched Pacific Rim (Save yourself, don’t watch that movie. Really bad and cheesy.).  Then we learned that they were closed on Sunday.

GASP!

Pho Blocked.

So we are having it this evening.  And while it probably doesn’t fall into the clean eats category, I have to say it isn’t a horrible choice.  It’s better than pizza for sure!

Speaking of pizza, there’s a new place here that is doing wood fired gluten free pizza and very curious to try their pizza.  Not grain-free dough but eh, sometimes we have to live a little.

I’ve done some prep work already for this week.  Still trying to work out what day would best fit my schedule for a prep day.  Sundays and Mondays are super busy.  I’m kind of stuck on what day.  Maybe Friday? I can do big grocery shopping that day and then prep the rest of the day for the following week.

Let’s look at some eats!

BREAKFAST:

Sausage, chard, scramble

Sauteed chard with sausage bites and scrambled eggs.  Whenever I make sausage, I make a whole package at the same time.  We eat a portion of it that morning and the rest goes in the freezer for later.  Then it’s ready to go when I need it.  I do the same with bacon, I cook up 2 pounds of it at a time.

Not much a fan of this breakfast, the chard ended up being really slimy and just gross so I stuck with the eggs and sausage.

Sweet potato cakes, fried egg, tomato slices

Shredded sweet potato cakes!  1 large sweet potato, shredded and mixed with two eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder.  I cooked them up in some ghee in a skillet.  With a fried egg and two big slices of tomato on the side.  Delicious!  The sweet potato cakes were a big it, both Scott and I loved them.

Brat and collards

I prepped a huge batch of collards for the week by cooking them in the crock pot with a ham hock.  I heated up some leftover brats and paired that with the collards.  One of the best breakfasts! So filling and satisfying.

Collard soup

The next day was the rest of the collards and shredded ham hock soup!  Just added stock and some extra seasonings.  Mmmm even in summer, soup is still one of my favorite breakfasts.

Grain free chocolate donuts

Tried my hand at making some grain free chocolate donuts and they turned out really well!  I still want to play around with the recipe a bit and as soon as it’s ready I will share.  They were fluffy and full of chocolatey goodness!

Sausage, eggs, roasted potatoes

Pretty standard weekend breakfast, fried eggs, pork sausage, and some roasted potatoes.  YUM!

Fried eggs and side salad

This breakfast/brunch I loved!  Fried eggs with a side salad topped with avocado and tomato salsa.  That was easy to put together:

  • Two medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 3TBSP Chopped Red Onion
  • 1 Large Avocado, chopped
  • Leftover corn on the cob, removed from the cob
  • 3TBSP Chopped Cilantro
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder

Combine in a glass bowl and stir.  Let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.  This was used as the salad topping and it was so fresh tasting.  Definitely a nice squeaky clean breakfast.

 

DINNER:

Steaks, mashed potatoes, side salad

Steak house dinner!  Some grass-fed NY strips with horseradish mash potatoes and a side salad.  Also some horseradish cream sauce to dip the steaks in.  I didn’t think I would eat the whole steak but I totally did, it was so good!

The mash potatoes had sour cream, butter, whole grain mustard, and horseradish in them.  This gave the dish some nice tang and spicy bite.

grilled sausages, potato salad

Our first cookout of the season!  Grilled brats and kielbasa with grilled peppers and onions and a side of potato salad.  I used homemade mayo for the potato salad.  This tasted so so good!  We definitely need to make time to grill out more often.

Ribs and slaw

Pork ribs and homemade cole slaw.  The ribs were cooked in the oven and I used a homemade bbq sauce on top.  The sauce was made for a recipe development gig so I can’t share that with you.  I can say that it incorporated beer though!

Ribs, corn, slaw

Leftovers! With some corn on the cob and some meatballs (from the same gig).  Corn is one of those grains that I’m not sure I want to give up just yet.  Rice and corn are two that I still love and they don’t seem to mess my system up too much.

Crab salad, mixed greens

Scott and I had gone out to dinner during the week to a local fish place.  I had the lobster roll sandwich (ate the insides and left the roll) and it was very fresh tasting and not heavy at all.  I decided to recreate a version of it using some leftover snow crab that I had in the freezer.  I mixed the crab with some mayo, red onion, celery, lemon juice, and old bay seasoning.  That was placed on a bed of fresh romaine with some avocado, bacon, and tomatoes added on top.

So freaking good.  I’m going to try this with smoked salmon! I think the salmon and avocado will work well together.

snack plate

Since we didn’t get pho on Sunday, we had a snack plate instead.

  • Carrots
  • Grapes
  • Salami
  • Prosciutto
  • Rice crackers
  • Cheeses

It was tasty and fun to eat but it didn’t really fill the hole left by no pho.

Your turn, how was your holiday week?

Happy 4th

Penny and AveryHappy 4th of July!  Not only is it a holiday weekend but it’s also our anniversary this weekend.  Whooo!

I have a few things to wrap up for client work today and then the rest of the weekend is free!

I was hoping to be grilling some lovely ribs and corn on the cob today but the weather may have other plans as it looks like it’s about to storm.

Our holiday meal is going to look like this:

Braised ribs with some homemade BBQ sauce.  I had to make some sauce for a client so we’ll be using that (and why I can’t share the recipe.).   But I have shared my Bourbon BBQ Sauce and Hatch Green Chili Sauce, so check those out and impress folks with homemade BBQ sauce.  Perfect for chicken too!

Coleslaw with homemade mayo

Buttery salty corn on the cob.  Not nearly as good as Ohio sweet corn but it will have to do.

For dessert, I made some clean eats friendly chocolate pudding. I will be sharing that recipe soon!  And we have some non-clean eats friendly local ice cream in the freezer.  I’m leaning more towards chocolate though!

And we’ll be pulling out some special beers from the beer cellar to celebrate!

Have a great holiday weekend!