Seasonal Foods

Monday, July 15, 2013

24 years...2 Dozen...

2 dozen eggs in a carton, 24 hours in a day. I am celebrating the number 24 today! 24 years of marriage to my dear Shane. 24 years of walking in faith together, even when we weren't sure what that looked lik. 24 years of loving each other through thick and thin. (poundage and life!) 24 years of romantic juxtaposed with mundane... 24 years of getting to know each others' families. 24 years of dreaming about our own little family that will, quite possibly never happen...24 years of deaths, weddings, and births for people we dearly love...24 years of cooking together, sleeping together, working together, praying together...as I have watched so many marriages fall apart, it makes me value even more the blessings we have and the life we have created together...yes, there have been truly rough spots...places where I didn't know if this marriage would survive. We don't often use the D word, but it has crossed my mind on more than one occasion. You don't go through this crazy life together without there being some very real, very serious issues. But we have stood by each other even when one or the other of us was being incredibly selfish, even when we lost our temper, even when one of us hurt the other one so badly there are no words. We have loved each other through 3 miscarriages, remodeling an old house, a bi-polar bio dad, money struggles, 2 masters' programs, 2national board certifications, working together, living apart, moving over and over and over. We have struggled...more than some couples, less than others...the fact is...our love is as strong as we choose to make it! And we choose to make ours strong. It's not an exciting anniversary. We are hanging out at home. I'm writing songs and blogs, and Shane is writing for his doctoral program. We have our regular workouts scheduled for later, but we are together...today, and every day in this life we live. Today I celebrate 24 with two dozen eggs-cell lent reasons I love him and a gift of 24 hours...curious? I'll tell you more tomorrow...don't want to ruin the surprise! We are getting ready to eat crock pot lasagna I made earlier in the week, so I thought I'd share the recipe today. Crock Pot Lasagna I made sauce from scratch, but you can use your favorite jar. Sauce About 10 large tomatoes 2good handfuls of fresh basil 2-3 garlic cloves, pressed A palmful of dried oregano, rubbed 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary 1 onion, chopped 1lb ground beef, browned Sauté garlic and onion. Add tomatoes and cook down to a sauce. Add herbs, salt and pepper. Add ground beef Cheese mixture 1pkg Italian shredded cheese 1small container ricotta cheese Mix together In crock pot, layer sauce first, Then lasagna noodles, broken to fit crock pot(ready bake) Then, layer some of the cheese mixture. Repeat until you are out of room. Cook on low 4 hours. (I used gluten free noodles. If you use traditional, it might take a bit longer. Make sure your sauce is juicy, as much of the liquid will be absorbed by the noodles!) Happy eating, and happy anniversary to my hubby!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

One Down

Ok, so today, finally down one lb...I surely am hoping I can keep it off. I think every time you gain it back, it sticks harder...the message in that is...don't gain it back! Hopefully I'll take that advice if I can get rid of it this time. Zumba workout tomorrow at Barefoot Church. I had a couple of new ladies join me last Thursday! It is so much more encouraging when you can hang with a group! We laugh...at each other sometimes, but usually with each other... Sometimes at ourselves! Gangs can be a bad thing, but they can be a good thing to, when we motivate each other for good! I am ready for some Faith and Fitness at Five! I need to find some fun physical activities for the other days now. How about you? How are you doing with your fitness goals? I'm on my way...slow and steady wins the race! Today, I'll share a new recipe my husband and I created together. My idea, but he actually put it together, and it was quite delicious... Breakfast stuffed Poblanos 2 poblano peppers, halved and seeded 1 lb. of your favorite loose sausage 1/2 onion, chopped 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped 4 eggs 1cup (or more if you prefer it really cheesy) shredded cheese (we used Mexican blend, but you can sub your face) Sauté sausage. Drain and set aside. In sausage pan, sauté onion and garlic. Add eggs. Cook until almost set. Add sausage back to pan. Add cheese. Spoon mixture into each half of a poblano pepper. Sprinkle with additional cheese, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until desired level of doneness. We served ours with buttery grits, but you can serve them alone if you are watching carbs. Or have some yogurt and fruit parfait on the side. Some watermelon chunks are a nice balance to the heat point as well. I hope you enjoy them. We sure did!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Habits

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." -Jim Rohn This is such a true quote! For over two years, my eating habits were in a good place, but as soon as I let them get out of control and give up the habits, all the good, hard work I had done was gone. And can I just tell you that getting those habits back are certainly not easy? For two years, and a bit more, I ate almost exclusively gluten-free and refined-sugar-free. I didn't eat at staff parties unless there was something that fit the bill. I only ate at restaurants that had foods that worked within my plan. I was on a roll, and it got less and less hard and more and more normal. I've always been an emotional eater, so when I had the first miscarriage and D&E, I had a pretty major pity party, and before I could finish with one pity party, I found myself in the midst of another. I gave myself permission to eat off my plan "just until I feel better.". But then I didn't feel better. The first miscarriage was in late August. The second came in February (between Valentines Day and my 45th birthday...):-( The third came in September of last year, so I left many of my good habits behind. As a consequence, I have gained back 40 lbs of the 62 I had lost. It makes me angry with myself, and sad, and frustrated, but it was my choice. I gave into my sadness, and now, I am reaping sad consequences. Now I find myself back at a starting over point...creating new habits. Not an easy task, but the good news is...I know I can, because I did. I came further last time than I need to this time. Last time I came from drinking lots of soda, and eating fast food regularly and eating lots of sweets. While my habits are not quite what they were, I haven't totally reverted back, so in theory, it shouldn't be as hard. Already I have re-established my habit of exercise three times a week, and because of that, I'm drinking more water. Also, since I'm working out, I'm more aware of what I put into my body. So the chain reaction, while a lot slower than I'd like, has begun. I am thankful, humbled, and excited! I hope soon I will begin to see progress on the scales, in my clothes, and in my body. However long it takes, it feels really good to be moving forward again. If you find yourself on one of those backward spirals, just put on the brakes, and start over. It's not easy, but it beats the alternative! For today's recipe, I want to share with you a beautiful, healthy salad I made when a friend shared some peaches with me. Peach and Blackberry Salad One peach, sliced A handful of blackberries 1/4 - 1/2 cup plain yogurt Generous drizzle of honey Small handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped Slice peach and arrange on a small plate. Sprinkle blackberries among peach slices. Drizzle yogurt over fruit. Drizzle honey over all. Sprinkle mint over salad and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Long Journey...A Long Time

I am so humbled, and not a little depressed after going back and reading all my posts. It has been a long journey, and a long time since I've posted. I'm still on the journey, but it has suffered some major setbacks along the way! Over the last two years since I posted, the good news is that this eating plan worked beautifully for my infertility, resulting in three pregnancies in that amount of time! The bad news is, that because of my age, all three pregnancies ended in a miscarriage at 8 1/2 - 9 weeks. I'd love to tell you that I stood firm through it all and continued progressing and persevered. . . . but that would be a lie. It has been a hellacious two years, full of ups and downs and depression...and lots of other life-stuff -- roller coasters. . . .Consequently, I have regained so much of what was lost -- and not in a good way! I picked up those 4 ten-lb bags of potatoes again, and am facing all the consequences of that. It's harder to move, joints and muscles aren't working nearly as well. At 46 now, I realize that the chances of a full-term pregnancy lessen each day and probably will not happen. I also know how much better I feel when I'm eating gluten-free and exercising regularly and weighing less. So I am really trying to pull myself up by my bootstraps and start all over. It's not easy. I've let so many of my healthy habits go...but I am working out again regularly -- doing at least 45 minutes of zumba three times a week. I need to get more active daily, need to drink more water, need to cut back portion sizes, need to get rid of some very tempting foods that I've let creep back into my life. It is depressing to think that I'm only 25ish lbs shy of where I started this journey, but at least I am not back at square 1. I am still on the journey. I know it works. I just have to move forward. I've been going backward for far too long. As was my tradition, I'll share with you a fun, healthy meal I'm currently enjoying. Shepherd's Pie was for dinner last night, and lunch today. It's a lovely Irish dish -- comforting and delicious, and full of yummy veggies! Shepherd's Pie 1 - 2 lbs of fresh ground beef 1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables 1 onion, chopped 1/2 package of fresh mushrooms, chopped 4 large potatoes Shredded cheese 1 -2 cloves of garlic Brown ground beef in a skillet, and drain. Add in chopped onions, garlic, and mushrooms Saute until mushrooms are soft and browned Add in mixed vegetables and desired spices Meantime, Boil potatoes in water When fork tender, mash with a little butter and milk. Add in shredded cheese. Top beef/veggie mixture with mashed potatoes mixture and bake for 30 mins or so at 350 degrees. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Joys of Mid-Summer

This time of year, I just love my job :~). Since my husband and I both teach, we get several weeks off in the summer. It is so awesome to have some kick-back time. We try to make good use of our time, but it's nice to just be more relaxed! Our young friend, Andrew spent the night last night, so we stayed up late watching "Kindergarten Cop". It was great, and I hadn't seen it in a while. Unfortunately, it did make me realize how quickly our time back at work is coming. . . .so I really want to enjoy the rest of my time off.

It's mid-summer, so it is wickedly hot here in southeastern NC! We slept in a bit this morning, had awesome TexMex omelettes, then we went outside for a while. I picked peas from the garden while the guys vacuumed the pool. The we swam and exercised for a while. The guys left, and I spent another 30 minutes or so scrubbing and treating the pool. Then I grabbed a Jude Deveraux book and actually started reading!!!!! Right out in the sun by the pool. My mother-in-law does this often, and I understand why! After a while, though (about 30 pages later), it got pretty hot out, so I came in and showered. By then, it was getting close to lunch-time, so I jumped on my bike, rode about 1/4 mile up to the mini-orchard and picked some pears and a few figs. I had in mind to do roasted pears and figs with goat cheese.

I decided to do it in the form of a salad, and it was SOOOOO good -- absolutely beautiful! One of the days when I realized maybe I really should photograph my food -- at least sometimes. It was gorgeous! So today, I'm sharing that recipe with you. I hope you make it and I hope it's a s beautiful as mine, and that you enjoy yours as much as I enjoyed mine. Here's to mid-summer and days off!

A Mid-Summer Pear-Fig Salad (for 1)


2 cups lettuce (I used an organic mix of spinach and arugula)
1 pear
3-4 small figs
olive oil
balsamic vinegar (mine was fig-orange infused)
goat cheese
honey
thyme
salt
pepper
walnuts

Line your plate with a couple of cups of lettuce. In the meantime, slice your pear into 8 slices and cut figs in half. Drizzle with olive oil. Put pears on a pan and roast off at 350 degrees. About halfway through cooking, turn pears over, and add figs to the pan. Roast for another 10 minutes or so. When the fruit is browned slightly, arrange it beautifully on the bed of lettuce. Drizzle any leftover oil from pan onto salad. Cut about 3 nice slices of goat cheese and arrange on the salad. Drizzle olive oil over the salad. Then give the salad a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Drizzle a little bit of honey over the top. Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper. Give a little sprinkle of thyme. Tope it off with some chopped walnuts. AMAZING!!!!!! Wonderful blend of crunchy and soft, earthy and flavorful, savory and sweet.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Old videos and popcorn

We're here in Durham with my sister and her family. We watched the babies so they could have a date night. When they came home and got the babies to bed, they surprised us with our wedding video moved to digital format. We had not watched it in years, and it was fun -- not necessarily listening to the really crazy Southern accent I had 22 years ago, nor the dramatic tendencies that made my wedding vows sound like Dorothy's monologue from the Wizard of Oz . . . but fun. Sad, in places, too, to see people alive, talking and moving that are no longer with us, and people who have been through very difficult changes over the last 22 years. Sad, to see people we've lost touch with . . .but overall a really pleasant, fun experience. (It really helps to be able to laugh at yourself! :~)

After the video debut, we enjoyed some air popped popcorn. I've lately been making a spice mix that I really enjoy. I spritz my air-popped popcorn with my own olive oil spritzer (available at Pampered Chef or other kitchen specialty shops). Then I mix cayenne pepper (just a little), cinnamon (a good amount), coarse ground black pepper (or finely ground if you prefer), and salt to taste (or leave out). Spritz a little, sprinkle a little, turn with your hands, and then repeat until popcorn is coated with spice mixture to your taste. I find it very yummy and flavorful without adding tons of fat and salt. You could certainly try other combos as well. I can't wait to try some others. I'm envisioning cocoa powder in my next concoction :~) Popcorn is not a bad snack done this way! So indulge and enjoy!

22 Years and Counting. . .

This weekend, Shane I celebrated 22 years with a lovely grill-out and canoe ride on the Lumber River. The weather was gorgeous for mid-summer, and it was a lovely way to spend our anniversary. . . .22 years of changes. This healthy living change has been one of the best we've made -- and one we've made together!

Right now, I'm fluctuating between 174 and 177 -- 59 - 62 lbs total lost. I had hoped to see more movement this summer, but am finding it hard to fit in actual workouts. I am much more physically active -- bicycling, walking, canoeing, etc., but aside from my Tuesday night workout with the girls, not really fitting in the actual intentive, intensive workouts that I need to be doing. . . .I still have too far to go to stop now, and my team is counting on me at Bod4God, too! I have got to get myself together!

We have been eating very well, though, most days -- grilled out 2 meals this weekend, which is always fun -- and fresh! I also made a roasted veggie salad for lunch one day that was really delightful! I had some cabbage in the fridge, some noodle beans I needed to use, a relatively large zucchini, and some fresh new potatoes. I roasted each veggie on its own pan (although you could probably do it all on one if you wanted. . .) I just drizzled each with EVOO and salt and pepper. When they were well-roasted and tender, I combined all the veggies in a large bowl, with another good drizzle of EVOO and a few dashes of balsamic vinegar. I added a fresh bell pepper and jalapeno, chopped. It was really awesome -- a great meatless lunch. You could leave out or switch out veggies and it would be equally marvelous -- try it! You might just like it! Enjoy!