December 30, 2013

Post-Holiday Repair

Holiday eating.  
Even staying 'technically' on plan meant loads of heavy S foods for me.  They were rich and satisfying, almost too rich and satisfying, and then there was that whole over-eating thing that  happened.  All in all, not a bad experience, but I still feel the need to detoxify and lighten up.

I've been having E meals the last few days, but you know I'm always up for a smoothie.
My kids call this the Toxic Smoothie, but I prefer to think of it as a De-Toxifying Smoothie.  You see, the fruits, herbs (and yes, they are herbs), and apple cider vinegar can help balance, rebuild and restore your body.
I could say a bit on each, but someone else has probably done that already and probably has done a much better job than I would anyhow, so I challenge you to research what each does and make choices based on this info.  Take note of how things work for you personally.  We are not all the same and what is good for me might not be the best choice for you.  This one works for me and I love the taste.
I will add that everyone in my house over the age of 2 thinks it is bitter and not quite right, but the fact that the baby will drink it makes me think that they are just slightly wimpy.

I have been enjoying this as a post-workout fuel and as an afternoon snack.  So often I personally find that if I overeat, I want to skip meals.  This totally throws off my metabolism and I need to make sure I'm getting all my meals and snacks.
It's simple in its ingredients, provides tons of vitamins and enzymes, and feels like a healthy winter-time drink to help ward off all the crud that can surface this time of year.

De-Toxifying Smoothie-FP

1 lemon, quartered (yes, that is peel, seeds, pith and all!)
3-5 strawberries (I use frozen)
1/4 cup frozen or fresh cranberries
2 cups water
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
dash or 2 of sea salt
stevia to taste
1/2-1 scoop protein powder

Add everything except the protein powder to a blender (I use a Blendtec, whole juice setting) and blend till liquified.  Add protein powder and pulse a few times to froth.

This post is shared for Trim Healthy Tuesday at Gwen's Nest.

December 16, 2013

Beans.... Sprouting and Canning

I like beans for many reasons, but mainly because they are cheap, filling and healthy no matter how you choose to eat.
Buying beans in a can takes away from the value that dried beans give you, as in they are not cheap, and you risk all the additives and sodium as well.
It is so easy to prepare dried beans.  I'll repeat that for you.  IT IS EASY.  You can do it.
The thing is, there are many options in making beans.  You can use a quick method or spend days soaking and then sprouting them.  I prefer to soak and sprout, but since it is time intensive, when I make up a batch I make a bunch and can them.

So why would you want to consider sprouting beans before using them?
Sprouting increases enzymes and activates the vitamins and minerals within the bean, seed, or grain.  Both protein and fiber increase in quality and quantity.

Like most things in life, my issue with dried beans is that I usually forget I need them until I start cooking the meal.  You can always do a quick cook, but it's nice to just be able to open a jar that I canned myself, and have them quickly ready to go.

If you homeschool, then chances are you have done the experiment where you take a bean and give it a few days under a couple of different conditions to sprout.  The one kept moist and in the dark did the best, most likely.
That's kind of where I'm going today.
When you sprout a seed or a bean, you are releasing enzymes and unlocking nutrition.  It also helps digestion as well.

If you have ever made sprouts of any kind, the technique is the same..... soak, drain, rinse.

Soak your beans or seeds in fresh, cool water overnight or for 6-8 hours.  The beans will swell and almost double in volume so make sure the bowl you use is large enough to hold the increased amount.  You might also need to add more soaking water if it all soaks into the beans.

Black beans soaking
Seeds being soaked

Black beans draining in a strainer over a bowl
Drain and rinse the bean, grain or seed.  You will want to keep them moist, but not damp.  If you work with a smaller quantity until you get the concept down and feel comfortable, it will be easier.  For small seeds it is often easier to use a quart mason jar, for a quart or two of beans you can use a colander.  For larger amounts, like a couple of gallons, I just use a large bowl. 

Rinse the sprouts-to-be every few hours, about every 3-5 hours, with clean water.
The idea is that you want them to remain moist, but not wet.  If I have a big batch in a bowl I will rinse them more frequently so that they get moved around and are not sitting in water.
Mold is the enemy here and you don't want it to start growing.  Regular rinsing helps prohibit this.
I also usually cover with a cloth or lid so that they won't dry out.
The end point is the emergence of a root or sprout, the choice is really yours. For beans, I like to start the cooking process right when the sprout shows in most of the beans.  When they start to get long roots you will see more the hulls of the beans coming off and I just find that I prefer that product over a long sprout.

Mixture of seeds and mung beans in
glass jar with strainer screen

After you have sprouted, you can use or cook as needed.  Grains for baking bread will need to be ground before use.  If you want a flour, you will need dry them using the oven at a low temperature or a dehydrator.

I use the Ball Blue Book's (it's an affiliate link, but it is cheaper at walmart during canning season so buy it there instead) recipe for canning beans at this point by putting the beans in a large pot covered with water and then cooking them for 30 minutes.  This cooks them only partially and the pressure canning for 90 minutes processes them to where they are perfect every time.
If you are just wanting a batch of beans, then cook in water for about an hour or until tender.  Add salt and seasonings and then cook for another 30-60 minutes or so.
This post is shared with Gwen's Nest for Trim, Healthy Tuesday.

November 24, 2013

Date and Nut Snack Bars

I love THM, but life isn't always about weight loss.  My kids didn't need to lose, and I was able to use THM principles to help them to actually put on a few pounds.
The thing is, even if you have someone who needs to gain, you don't want to just throw sugar or empty carbs at them.  You want to fill those little tummies with nutritious and wholesome foods that they think are tasty.

Baby Chase has gotten to the picky toddler stage, but there are some things that he will always eat.
 I learned about these bars and got my initial recipe from my friend Abbi many years ago.  She developed them because she liked other bars you could get in stores, but didn't want to pay the high prices. These bars are a favorite for my entire family.  They are quick and easy to make and you can customize them to fit your likes and pantry stock.

Like a casserole has a 'formula', these bars also do as well.

  • The base is pitted dates.  I usually buy a 10-12oz bag of dried, pitted dates and use the whole bag.
  • Then you think of nuts, about 1 cup total.  I generally do almonds, either raw, presoaked, or roasted, along with some walnuts, peanuts or pecans.  Any combination works, but I like to use almonds primarily.  
  • Then consider what other dried fruits you have on hand. (about 1 cup worth) The key is to find ones with no sugar, you won't need the sugar.  These can usually be found at natural food stores.  I like using dried, shredded coconut in most all of mine.  Dried cherries, mangos, raisins, papaya, apples.... anything will work. 
  • Then you add any spices or flavors.  Cocoa powder (1/4cup) is always a hit here, but cinnamon, ginger or flavored extract can give you a tasty bar.  You can also add some coconut oil, but I find that it really isn't necessary.

You can use a food processor or high-powered blender for this.  After using the Blendtec a few times, I realized how painfully slow the food processor is, but I think I like the end product of the food processor better?  You are almost shooting for a thick peanut or almond butter consistency.
And while I started with the Twister jar, I ended up moving to the large jar with this batch as it wasn't large enough.
It will take a few minutes for you to get a fully integrated 'dough'.
After blending, I put it in a 9x9 pan and cool it in the fridge for an hour or 2.
After cooling, remove from the pan and cut into squares.
My kids love these for an afternoon snack or sweet bite after a meal.
Me, I don't eat them as they have too much natural sugar and carbs along with fat.  Granted they are all healthy carbs and fat, but I save them for treats for the kids as a healthy, nutritious that helps them get in daily fruits and good fats.

November 16, 2013

What a DIfference a Year Can Make, Part 2

I gave a history of where I have been in the past and where I am now in my last post.   I know some people like to know more specifically how things were done.
I don't necessarily have the menus I followed when I started THM, but I actually kept a diary of my weight each day and what type of meals I used.  I will also add that the whole plan was a process.  I am looking more at where I have ended up and what I have learned along the way, not just where I was at each step.
I am currently at my goal weight with over 40 pounds gone for good.  My body fat percentage started at 35% and is now 25% and I've lost inches all over.

I also am speaking in THM jargon here.  Please go to the Facebook group or to Gwen's Nest for more specifics on the plan.  I really am wanting to focus on what worked for me.

How did I make THM work for me? 
Initially I stuck to a weekly plan of  3 S days, 2 E days, 1 S and 1 E  the first few weeks till I knew I had them down and that they were second-nature almost.  .
I enjoyed S meals more, and found that after a while, everyday was turning into an S day, or one high in fat and lower carb.  I had to remember to make the conscious choice to have either whole E days, or learn to change my day around to where I was 'freestyling' as the authors put it.  I also learned that S-helpers were sometimes a part of normal life and that my metabolism was loving getting the extra carbs.
I continued with 1-2 pounds a week in weight loss for about 3 months when I had lost about 25 pounds and started to plateau.
When I plateaued, I was exercising, but I was doing my own thing in a very random way.  If I had the time or felt like it, I'd exercise.  I used the Bob Harper Inside Out dvd's with a short and long workout.  I always did the shorter one or I'd run-walk a few miles.  I am not the kind of person who likes a lot of structure and schedule to my day.  
It was then the I realized I might need to think about things differently.  I realized that I was slacking off on keeping my meals on plan or I'd wait too long to eat.  I was skipping meals and just bouncing through the day with no real purpose.
I consciously added more E meals in.  I added a FP meal in here and there as well.  I made sure I had a snack everyday.  The S meals I adored, well I still enjoyed them, but maybe I cut back just a bit on the amount of fat to lighten it up.
The next 5 pounds were soooo slow, and I thought if I could get them off, then I might just be done despite not reaching my goal.  I figured maybe my body just needed to be around 30% body fat and that I was destined to carry a bit more pudge?  Or maybe it was because I was still nursing my baby..  (That whole mindset of not being able to get to my ideal bodyfat was something I had stuck in my mind, and I felt that age was going to work against me.)
But then I discovered a new exercise program.  I had a baby with some sleep issues so I'd be up very early in the day and turn on the morning news.  One day my tv was on an infomercial for HipHopAbs.  Only $20 wasn't bad, and it looked fun and like something different (you know I ordered it).  Then I saw FocusT25 was coming out from the same people.  It fit the THM perspective perfectly as it is short and intense.  Each workout is only 25 minutes.  You are at a sprint for the entire time and my body loved it.  Between exercise and staying on plan I was able to finally shed those last pounds.
T25 is not a beginner workout, and was a good challenge for me.  I've tried most every workout there is, and I know that my body needs a certain level of movement and sweat to get my heart pumping.  We are all different and it is a workout that has thrilled me.

I do NOT believe that you have to exercise for THM to be successful.  I know my body and that it helps me do the things I want to do in life and cuts down on my stress, but I believe that you have to find the right fit for you.  What you eat is so much more important than just adding in exercise though.
What I think the exercise plan did for me was to help me with my focus and in being more deliberate in my schedule and what I ate.  If I am pushing my body, I know that I need to make sure I'm feeding it regularly and the right thing, if that makes sense?  I hate schedules, but needed a firm plan with regular meals and I will admit that I was dropping lunch here and there many days.  Or I'd go 5 or 6 hours between meals instead of 3-5 hours.
With a set schedule, I was eating when I needed and wasn't binging from hunger.  I was taking an intentional look and making sure I ate a good meal, usually S, a 2 hours before exercise and after would have plenty of water and a FP snack or meal.

I will also add that I have never done a fuel cycle.  I almost did at one time with my plateau, but  I was concerned that it would put me back in an unhealthy mindset.  It represented deprivation to me, and I just felt that would be the last resort.  Happily I didn't have to go there.

So... what do I actually eat?
The key is to think about what you like, things you already eat.  Don't  plan out the first few days and have a bunch of new things you've never tried before planned for every meal.  Chances are it will be too much change too soon and you'll get frustrated.

I am not naturally drawn to vegetables.  Really. For that reason I have to really push to make them a priority and have them at every meal if possible.  I'm about efficiency and green smoothies are a great way to get a lot at one time.
I also focus on water.  Your body needs a certain amount to keep things moving and hydrated.  You really can't lose weight without it.  I like the 1/2 oz for every pound you actually weigh rule and add more to balance out sweat.

Many of the newer meals I've eaten  I have posted on my blog.  I tend to eat mostly simple, traditional American/Southern meals, lots of comfort food.
When I plan meals, first I think about what meat/protein I'll be having and go from there.  Lean meat like turkey or chicken could go with any meal, but if I wanted an E meal then I'd add some rice and make a stir fry or a Mexican style meal based on how we feel that day.  I used to live on beans and rice and on THM I limit carbs so I don't have them together.  I will say that every now and then I miss a pot of them, but it isn't often.
If I have red meat to cook, then it goes with S.  That means I need to find some veggies and saute them or put some cheese on them and call it a meal.
I eat salads daily.  Either have them with a meal as a side or as the main dish.  They will fill you up and are relatively light and healthy.  They don't have to be fancy, but just things you like to eat.

I also like fish, and could eat fish 3 times a day everyday (actually, those who know me realize that is quite true).  But fish is pricey so I usually stick to canned salmon which is so not the same, but is good (my Alaskan husband thinks it is dog food, but he still likes it) for salmon patties.
I eat salmon patties with cauliflower mash and green peas.  I then hide the patty leftovers to eat after a workout the next morning cold.
I will also admit that it took a few weeks before I tried the cauliflower mash and would have a few spoonfuls of mashed potatoes instead.  I discovered that the mash is tasty, and I don't miss potatoes like I thought I would.
Burgers without the bun and a side of cabbage are tasty and filling.   Add some roasted potatoes for your kids if you won't be too tempted (but I won't tell if you eat a bite or two).
I get whole chickens on clearance and roast them.  Again, cauliflower mash or a broccoli salad and a salad are sides because i'm having dark meat.
Pizza is always good, use one of the alternative crusts in the book.  I like the Fooled Ya' version.
Often our menu is dictated by what is on sale or mark-down at the grocery.  I have a list of quick, go-to meals for things I can pull quickly out of the freezer and combine with things, like beans I've sprouted and canned, from my pantry.  Things like my Lighter Side Chili-E or Chicken Alfredo with Veggies-S are staples.
If I'm feeling like bread, I'll probably whip up a quick flax bread in a mug to hit that craving.  I also keep some of the Joseph's pita's in the fridge and will briefly warm them and have a pat of butter if I am really wanting bread.
I will also add that I am not a dessert person.  I do enjoy an evening snack at times, and will pick some of the puddings, cheesecake berry crunch or the ice cream, but overall, I don't make dessert and it isn't something that my family has or expects with a meal.

I don't count calories or grams....
I use the food lists from the book, that are also graciously provided in the THM group on Facebook in the files.
The main place you need to watch is with E meals.  There is a ceiling on what is within parameters.  How I take care of this is knowing, or looking up, amounts if I want to combine higher carb foods on the lists in the book.  I know I can have oatmeal and I can have apple for an E meal, but if I want both I need to know the amounts, and then just cut each in half.  Or if I want a sweet potato with my meal with beans and acorn squash (not really, but it's an example) I'd have 1/3 of the amounts mentioned on the lists.
I don't worry about the natural fat in foods if it is on the list for an E meal.  Many foods will have small amounts of fat and the authors know that and I know it too.  When you start counting and wanting to make a tally of each gram it can start to turn into a full-time job.  I just want to eat and enjoy it.
I also don't worry about the protein amount so much either.  I lived on a specific, self-prescribed protein amount for years.  I have learned that there is protein in many foods and my body does quite well with the natural protein in oatmeal without adding protein powder.  I don't shoot for a certain amount with each meal, but look at the overall menu for the day to make sure it is balanced.  I am not concerned if I get 10 grams of protein with one meal and 25 or more with the next.  I exercise hard and my body will let me know quickly if I'm not getting enough.  I would encourage you to educate yourself on what the different grams of protein look like in the foods you eat.  Make a daily menu and make sure there is some at every meal and that your daily amount is what is right for you, your size and your activity.

I have found snacks to be a necessity despite the fact that I really dislike having to have them. I avoided them for quite a while, but found that they do help with weight loss.
 I do usually space my meals out, but with exercise and nursing a baby, if I am really hungry, I'll grab a quick bite.
I eat breakfast around 8, lunch at 12, snack at 3pm and dinner at 6pm.  I like to have a night time snack around 8 or 9 too.
And just writing all that sounds like so much food!
I will say that I do like to start the day with heavier meals.  We have our main meal for lunch as my husband works 2nd shift and dinner is generally lighter for just me and the kids.
I found that adding in a snack of some sort at 3pm was key for me in losing. I hate to have a schedule, but I was starting to skip meals and go longer in between and found I started to gain.

What about the weird foods?
I didn't start eating anything really different?  I use the Dreamfields pasta once a week.  I weigh out how much one serving is and have that, but my family still gets traditional pasta.  I guess I didn't consider this to be too strange and it feels decadent to know I can eat pasta and lose weight.  No, I didn't grind the semolina and crack the egg from a chicken I know to make it, but it tastes just like the Barilla I've used for years (and I wasn't making my own pasta to begin with.).

I actually still have the initial jar of Glucomannan that I bought last December, and it has quite a bit in it.  I just don't use it?  I've found that my sweet tooth is gone, and I appreciate a different type of flavor now so puddings and tummy-tucking ice cream aren't something that I often use.
I get most current use from the Glucomannan with making gravy.  

Stevia.  I use it in coffee and muffins.  A small amount daily of the NuNaturals has been a good choice for me. 

I already used low-carb tortillas and am thankful that they exist as they take me to a happy place.

I have never considered protein powder an odd thing as I've used it when vegan.  I am more careful about the brand I use currently and find the THM recommendations to be good ones.

How did I handle the holidays?
I like dip.  I made crackers from the book and then looked through Paula Deen recipes on the Food Network site.  She has a lovely Three Cheese Hot Artichoke dip and I also made my standby of spinach dip from the Knorr box.
I focused on meats.  I enjoyed the Savory Protein muffins (like a meat quiche?) from the book and even made some skinny chocolate in christmas molds.
Spiced nuts are always tasty too.  Then there are cheeses to try.  And a glass of wine too if you like.
The key is to find what you like and go with it.  I'm just the kind of girl that if you give me a good cracker with some toppings then I don't need the sweets.

I think much of the issues lie with sugar addictions.  Once you get it out of your system you can see where your tastes really lead?
I will also add that instead of baking and focusing on sweets, I decided to learn new skills in savory cooking, like brining my first turkey.

Do I cheat?
Generally?  No.  I'm not one to cheat myself, and I don't feel like I'm on a diet that would require cheating.  I feel like I now know a way to get my metabolism going and one bite of a banana or wheat bread or potato won't set me back  I don't consider them cheats?.  But often one bite will lead to another and then another and that is the part you have to watch.
I've made it through the holidays of last year and birthdays for all of us in my house.  I didn't make a cake with stevia, though I have heard they are wonderful.
I just don't feel that goes with the spirit of what THM is for me?  I had a traditional birthday cake for my kids with sugar.  I didn't eat much at all, bites only.
My philosophy has always been that any food is really allowed on THM, it's just that some won't help you lose or maintain weight loss.  I still feel that way pretty much?  For me it is about being able to eat anything I want in life, but knowing that there are consequences.
(I might irritate some with this but) THM is a life plan and into each life a little sugar or non-soured wheat or potatoes might fall.  I can also say that until I got close to my goal (the last 10 pounds) I didn't really eat off plan at all.
I also enjoy coffee in the morning.  I like half and half, but almond milk in coffee is not so good to me.  After week one and giving it a try for E days, I decided that I would always drink half and half and not almond milk, no matter what with coffee.   For me, this was something that I wasn't going to move past.  It was one small thing and it might be the thing that brings one person down, but it has helped to keep me in a happy place.

So, what did I forget?  Feel free to leave me a comment if you have questions.  If I get any, then I'll do a 3rd post with my answers.  I also don't post any comments that I don't first approve so if you want, mention it is private and I won't post it, but I will still see it.  If you have a question, give me a way to contact you  either here or thru facebook and I'll do the best I can to answer it or find someone else who knows.

This post is shared at Trim, Healthy Tuesday at Gwen's Nest.

November 15, 2013

What a Difference a Year Can Make, Part 1

I'm really about thinking forward and what is next, and I don't always find it convenient to spend time looking back.
But I'm coming up on my one year start on Trim, Healthy Mama.  I've done an evaluation already, mainly because the whole weight loss thing to me is so much more mental than physical, and I was honestly having a hard time wrapping my head around it and seeing any change.
No, I don't have a history of eating disorders.  I have never been anything more than just overweight, but when you live most of your life in that place with your body, it's hard to check your head out of it sometimes.

I started THM last November.  I am not tiny or small framed and when I was a teen I always felt so much bigger and heavier than everyone else.  I also had horrible eating habits and lived on mostly junk food that I ate in excess.  I thought I was too big or clumsy to exercise and never wanted to think of sweating.
In my 20s I discovered a more natural style of living that led to a transition to vegetarianism and veganism, but one that included lots of snack foods and sweets.  I was an overweight vegan actually.
Then at 29 I had my first child..  I was working in a high-stress, fast-paced job about 50 hours a week while pregnant and lived on simple carbs and junk food.
After the baby was born and I spent more time at home, I needed a physical outlet so I joined a gym.  I was working out 2 hrs a day 5 days a week and I loved it.  I also started counting every morsel of food that I ate.  I knew the fat, fiber, carbs.... everything.  I kept a food diary with me at all times and if I didn't have the information memorized or a label to copy, I'd look it up to keep on file.
For the first time in my life I was at a healthy weight, but was constantly looking to tweak my food to lean my body down further.  I was enslaved to counting every calorie going in and afraid to not exercise.

Flash forward a few years and I had another baby, moved, started back to work full-time to support our family on the night shift while homeschooling my kids during the day.
I was determined that whole foods were the way to go and no longer counted every bite.  I thought I could eat all the raw milk, bread from grain that I ground and raw honey, but then the pounds started creeping on.  The stress was causing hormonal issues, and I was falling apart.

I think I figured this was just what happens when you hit middle age.  I was in my late 30s and it was just the way it was going to be.
I'd fight and starve to lose 1-2 pounds, and the old things that always had worked in the past for me didn't help at all.  I was still exercising, but with the extra weight it was difficult.

It took me about 5 years off of nights to truly heal my adrenal system.  I felt that I was peri-menopausal as I was still having some issues, I wasn't ovulating, and at this point in my early 40s, I decided on a return to a low-fat, vegan diet, this time without the junk food.  I focused on vegetables and fresh, raw foods.
Fall 2012
After a few weeks I was feeling great and realized that I must be in menopause early.  Turns out my hormones got the resetting that they needed as I was pregnant, not menopausal.  I delivered a healthy baby boy at 43 and felt great.  I had exercised and run through most of the pregnancy and even though I was heavy was in great shape except for my weight.  

And I was putting more and more weight on each week.  I wasn't eating any more.  Again, I figured I was middle-aged and it was just something to deal with and accept.
I didn't feel that I could cut back or return to vegetarianism and keep a milk supply that wasn't great to begin with, and I was just so hungry all the time.

Then I heard about THM.  It was food combining, and I was dubious.  $35 was a lot to spend on a book.  Any book.  And what if, like everything else, it didn't work?  It just seemed to be a gimmick to me.

But I bought the book,and it was delivered the day before Thanksgiving.  I read the book the next day, and started the day after that on Friday.  
I was amazed after a 6.5 pound loss the first week.  And my milk supply was up.  And I wasn't hungry or going without.
Yes, I have a history of counting foods and a nutrition background so I knew what carbs and glycemic index were, but I will add it was still a daunting plan to start.  I took it one day at a time.  I planned out meals the day in advance and initially would have either all S or all E days so that if I got hungry I could eat when I pleased.
I also still enjoy coffee each morning with a muffin, and often in the evenings have a glass of merlot with laughing cow wedge and wasa cracker.  The fact that I could enjoy what felt like splurges and still lose weight was amazing to me.  No other diet plan said to enjoy coffee or wine.

I don't have to be a slave to food or exercise.  I can enjoy them both for the tools that they are, but they don't rule my life.

It's now been one year and I've been successful at maintaining a 40 pound loss for a few months now.
The first 25 pounds came off in just over 3 months and then things slowed at bit.  It took about 10 months to get to my goal and where I am right now.

There's been a lot of buzz in the blog world lately about THM, but my metabolism hasn't suffered at all.  I have not had any hairloss or skin changes that were negative.  I actually have thicker hair and better skin now than I've seen in many years.  I am still nursing the toddler as well.  I have energy and strength.  When I was sick with mastitis my body was in such a good spot that it didn't linger or get really bad like when I had it with my other babies.
I'm exercising at a higher intensity (using Focus T25) than I've been able to do in a long time.
And I am almost able to wrap my head around the fact that I'm not overweight or dowdy or fat.
I got over it, and need to see myself as a vital and capable person.

I think my next step is not to worry about how to maintain.  It's actually not been difficult so far.  Sometimes fear is what is holding us back and I can't live in fear that I'm going to get heavy again.
The next step is to take the new-found body and energy I have been given and discover what my purpose holds in the coming years.  For so long it's been just about getting through or just keeping my head above the surface, but I feel potential and life that I haven't felt for many years.

I am not someone who likes putting themself out there.  Yeah, I have a little blog that gives me something to do and a place where I know I'll be able to find recipes or herbal info that I want to remember (I'll forget where I put it otherwise).  But there seem to be so many people who have given up or who are still searching.
I want people to not give up, but to have hope.  I want to see healing and people recapturing their lives.
Not all things will work for all people, and not every plan is  a good fit for all people.  I don't have any health issues and have pretty good genes overall.  But this plan has worked so well for me and given me my life back.  I was at a point to where I thought I had to accept things as they were and as a  part of growing older, but that's a lie.  It is possible.
November 2012 and 2013

And I hate things that are 2 parts personally, but this is already too long already.  Part 2 is going to be more about how I integrated THM more specifically.  Find Part 2 HERE.

This post is shared for Trim, Healthy Tuesday at Gwen's Nest.

November 12, 2013

Fall Flavors Muffin-S

I'm kind of over the pumpkin-hype.  I believe it has kind of run it's course, thankfully, like most things do, but it is still fall and I want to enjoy the flavors of fall right now.

This is yet another variation of a muffin in a mug, but it is a tasty variation that I will admit is my new favorite.
A while back I splurged and got some different flavoring extracts from amazon, and I have been experimenting with them in different meals.
Since starting Trim, Healthy Mama (THM) last November, the muffin in a mug has become a staple for breakfast.  It is quick, healthy and customizable.  Plus my kids enjoy it as well so I can quickly prepare them and know we are getting a healthy meal that feels decadent.  I round out the kids' with some full fat cottage cheese or fruit.  I just have coffee with mine.
The key with this version is that there are some powerful flavors here.  I don't want to be overwhelmed by just one so caution with adding the extracts is advised.

Fall Flavors Muffin-S

1 beaten egg
4 Tbsp freshly ground flax
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp of truvia-type sweetener, or equivalent
1/8 tsp maple syrup extract
1/4 tsp orange extract
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 cup (2 Tbsp) fresh cranberries

Mix everything together well in a mug and microwave for 1 minute.
I've not baked in an oven, but I have heard 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Top with some low-fat cream cheese whipped with stevia and maybe a little chocolate drizzle for the perfect bite of fall!

November 11, 2013

Turkey Confetti Quinoa- E

I've been looking back through some of my recipes here and I realize that most fall into the quick and easy category.  This seems odd to me as it feels like I spend a decent portion of my day making meals.
I do not consider myself a purist when it comes to food, but I do usually cook meals and don't take shortcuts on a daily basis.
This recipe takes a bit more preparation, and the actual recipe is pretty short and to the point.  Yes, there are ways to make it quicker and all that, but I figured instead of giving the convenience way, I'd show the homecook way.

This recipe is a version of a quinoa dish I used to make when I was a vegetarian.  Confetti Quinoa was featured in The New Laurel's Kitchen.  It's a great book if you just want to learn about cooking whole foods or bread, but this recipe needed a little something else to make it special and more of a meal.
I also realize that turkey leftovers will soon be here, and I thought, what better than to turkey-fy this vegan version?
I  found a couple of naturally lean turkey breasts on clearance at my store, and cooked them with a bit of water in the slow-cooker.  This was good not just for the meat which was pulled from the bone and cut  into small pieces, but it also gave me stock to use as well.
After the turkey cooked for a few hours till done, I strained the leftover liquid to use as turkey stock.  I just put it in the fridge for a bit so that any fat can be removed.  Now it can go in a variety of recipes (and if your stock congeals like gelatin when cold, then congratulations!  This just means that it contains collagen and is even more nutritious than you thought).  Homemade stock doesn't have to be hard or contain a bunch of ingredients.  It can be simple, but is still healthy and nutritious.

The first step involves cooking the quinoa.  It can be bitter so you want to make sure you rinse it well before cooking.  About 1 cup uncooked will yield 3 cups cooked.  You may use just water to cook the quinoa, but the turkey stock will add a better flavor (and more nutrition) to the final dish.

Turkey Confetti Quinoa-E

Makes 4 very generous servings with each having: Cal 276, carbs 41 grams, fat 7 grams, protein 15 grams.  6 servings and a side salad would also be a good E choice with a low-fat dressing. 

1 cup quinoa
3 cups turkey stock or water (or a combination of both)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup water chestnuts (one small can), diced
12 oz cooked turkey, diced

  • Bring stock/water to a boil and add rinsed quinoa and salt.
  • Turn to a simmer and allow to cook over med-low heat  for about 15-20 minutes.  Stir and check as needed so that it doesn't cook dry (like you would with rice).  
  • In a large skillet, heat oil over med-high heat and saute onions, red and green bell peppers, and garlic until softened (but not mushy) for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the cooked quinoa, cooked turkey, and water chestnuts and stir over low heat until warmed through.  
  • Taste to check seasoning and add more salt if needed.

This post is shared with Gwen's Nest for Trim, Healthy Tuesday  and Stacy Makes Cents for Centsibly Sugar and Grain Free

November 10, 2013

A Festive, Yet Healthy, Pink Smoothie!- FP

First let me say that my tastes do run towards tart and sour and my kids are constantly on me for this.  They want sweet smoothies, not something that will make them pucker.
And I do try, but do not often succeed.  I think that since starting THM I've realized that I don't care for sweet as much as I thought.  That there are so many other tastes and flavors that are interesting.
But this is my attempt to make things a bit sweeter.  It is simple and could be altered to make it more festive either through the use of topping it off with sparkling water or a shot of alcohol, or really maxed out on smoothie potential with more veggies or fruits.  Just be aware that this one (with 11 net carbs) is right on the FP boundary for E in the THM world so if you add fruits you are probably in E territory.

I think I was just looking for a nice afternoon drink that was healthy and full of vitamins and anti-oxidants for this time of year.  My kids still aren't crazy about it, but that just means there is more for me.
And as I'm feeling more generous lately, I even looked up the nutritional info on this one.  I was shooting for FP so I don't feel guilt for sipping it all afternoon, and it looks like I stayed pretty well within those boundaries.

Festive Pink Smoothie-FP

Makes 1 serving: 60 cal, 15 carbs (4 fiber), 0 protein, 0 fat

2 cups water
1 Tbsp rosehips, dried
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 of a whole, fresh lemon, seeds and peel included
1/8 tsp orange extract or a few drops of orange essential oil (food grade)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 dashes of NuNaturals stevia (or to taste)
pinch of Redmond RealSalt (sea salt)

Blend to smoothie perfection in your blender.  Make sure that the lemon seeds are thoroughly processed.  Add ice if not frozen enough for your tastes.

This post is shared at Stacy Makes Cents for Centsibly Sugar and Grain-Free and at Gwen's Nest for Trim, Healthy Tuesday.

November 1, 2013

Quick and Easy-Pepperoni Spaghetti Squash

Now that everyone is an expert at cooking squash in a pressure cooker (yeah, right) you need to do something with it.
This has become one of my family's most favorite dishes lately.  Even the 11 yr old boy who hates spaghetti squash went back for seconds and the baby will eat it too.  It's not often I find something that is actually loved by everyone here and not just tolerated.
I think it is the whole pizza flavor deal going on that does it.  We all love pizza here and if you took all the yummy stuff on a pizza and then slid it onto some spaghetti squash you'd get this dish.

First you need to cook your spaghetti squash.  I like to cook mine quickly in the pressure cooker, but feel free to bake if that is the way you choose to go.

After cooking your spaghetti squash, turn it into spaghetti.  This means to take a large spoon and remove the squash flesh from the rind.  It will look like stringy noodles.  Be aware that other squash do not do this so don't substitute another variety over spaghetti squash.
 After placing the noodles in a casserole dish, season with salt and pepper, and add some canned or homemade red sauce (spaghetti sauce). I used about half of a jar of sauce for a 2 pound spaghetti squash (before cooking).  Then take some pepperoni and chop it coarsely.  Add that to the dish and mix to integrate the sauce and meats.  You could also add other pizza toppings, but I am wanting to keep this simple and cheap, plus your 'noodles' are veggies so you don't have to try and sneak more in to bump up nutrition!
Top with some mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 for about 20 minute, just till the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Serve with a lovely side salad, if you wish, and add some fresh parmesan cheese as well if you like.

October 31, 2013

No Fear Here, Pressure Cooking Isn't Scary!

Pressure cooking.
It's one of those polarizing issues in the culinary world that I live in.  Some people hate it and think that it does a disservice to food, others are just plain scared of doing it.
To me, pressure cooking is the ultimate in convenience food.  It is quick, relatively easy and gives you a pretty healthy end product as well.
I used to mainly use pressure  for canning things like beans and broths, but after a few classes at Bread Beckers, I was sold on how quick and easy pressure cooking can be.
I also don't know that I buy the whole "danger" that food is cooked too quickly and isn't natural as traditional people used low heat and slow methods as some whole food proponents discuss.
When I look at the science behind pressure cookers I'm not appalled or disturbed.  It's heat and pressure, and not as much as one would even think.   You can check out this link for the details, and it is a pro-pressure site so be aware that as in most things in life, there is a bias.

Most cookers today are pretty fool proof and have built in safety mechanisms.  I started cooking with the one my grandmother received as a wedding gift in the 1940s.  I figured if I could work past  my fear (and it was an old, scary one) I'd invest in a new one.  My husband grew up in Alaska and he knew how to pressure cook and can from an early age.  He walked me thru pressure canning the first few times, and I wasn't quite so daunted by pressure cooking.  I linked to Bread Beckers and they have many of their cooking classes posted online with pdf files for each class's recipes.  These files are a great source of info.  You can see a full class demo on how to use a pressure cooker.
The main thing is to read the manual specific to yours.  Most cookers will not have anything to regulate.  There is nothing to adjust other than to turn down your heat once you achieve pressure.  The method to pressure CAN an item is different than what is used for just cooking.  Just be aware and educate yourself accordingly.

The cooker I use is a stainless Presto one.   I also have a pressure canner as well by Presto.  Amazon has good prices, but you can also get them on clearance at Walmart this time of year.
I want a cooker that is about 6 quarts and a sauce pan design so that I can put a whole chicken or somewhat larger items in, but it still be manageable for smaller items.  I also use the canner to cook really large items like pumpkin as well.

One of my most favorite items to cook in a pressure cooker is squash.  Not the summer ones, but hard winter squash.  I usually forget that I need them and then don't have time to preheat the oven and cook them for 30 minutes.  There are a ton of online resources for pressure cooker recipes so search and see what you can find (sorry to not be any help).

Squash split, seeded and put in the cooker!

I split squash in half, and remove the seeds Don't worry about removing the rind.  The flesh will fall right out once cooked.
Cooked squash.
Place your pieces  in the cooker with the specified amount of water (I usually go for about an inch) and I am using a trivet inside mine as well.  Bring to pressure at an appropriately high heat with the weight in place.  Once your cooker achieves pressure (you'll know based on your manual or when the valves shut), lower the heat to low-medium, and process about 3-5 minutes.   I use the longer time for larger squash like butternut, spaghetti squash, or pumpkin, and the shorter 3 minutes for smaller ones like Delicata. And yes, you can cook a whole pumpkin in 5 minutes.  I use my pressure canner as it is larger and cut the pumpkin into pieces, rind on, that will fit inside.
Quick-release with running water, remove the weight (ALWAYS remove your weight before opening your cooker!!!) and open your pressure cooker carefully.  The contents are hot!

I usually let things sit for a bit to cool, but if you can't wait, carefully remove or pour the items into a colander to drain.  You will  have perfect squash every time.

This post is shared with Gwen's Nest for Trim, Healthy Tuesday and Stacy Makes Cents for Centsibly Sugar-Free.

Additional pressure cooking resources and recipes that I have found helpful are Miss Vickie's site,  Alton Brown's Good Eats show his recipes on Food Network, and even revamped Julia Child recipes.
I have personally learned a lot from the Bread Beckers in Woodstock, Ga.  They graciously post their classes for free online and also provide the pdf at the top of the page with all of the class recipes.  This is one of the many pressure cooking classes they teach, and I do not get paid for saying so and I am not an affiliate, but their prices are also very good as well for the products they sell.
I would also encourage you to read vintage cookbooks that you might have stored as many from the 1950s and that era have pretty substantial chapters on the subject.

October 14, 2013

Under Construction

I've not had time for posting much lately but I don't want to slack off too much.
The truth is, I've really been focusing on family and life.  Homeschool takes up time and I need to be hands on with my toddler, not online.
And then we have decided to renovate the kitchen.  This would be a total re-do.  I ripped the tile off the backsplash on Saturday, and we spent yesterday repairing the mess of drywall.
I'll probably post all the gory details at some point and the process I went about and planning.
Honestly, it stinks not having a working kitchen, but the whole deal hasn't been too bad 4 days in?

And I look at the before photos and wonder now if it was worth all the work?  
 But then I look closely at the doors that are falling apart.  You just can't see that from a distance.
Or at how the corners aren't accessible so we had to add an island for storage and counterspace.  But that cut down on having more than one person in the kitchen at a time.  The baby could block entry it was such a tight entrance.

September 29, 2013

Where There Is Mastitis, There Is Usually a Diaper

Mastitis.  It's never a good thing.
Unfortunately I had it sneak up on me recently with no physical warning that I can see.  I say physical because I did have a mental meltdown and was glad to find out that there was a reason for it as my norm is fairly stable.
So while in the midst of a mental haze a friend of mine helped walk me thru treatment of mastitis.  Jessica, at Simply Healthy Home,  is my pregnancy and baby question go-to person as she loves babies and all the drama that goes with them.   She is well-studied while being kind and caring.
You see, I don't get sick often, or have issues like this, and when I do, I tend to mentally shut down.  I just want to curl into a fetal position and wish for death.  It's been 15 years since I have had to personally deal with mastitis, and the last time I gave in to a round of antibiotics.
In the midst of fever, chills, and a slightly altered mental status this time, I  reached for herbal tinctures.
Tincturing is one of my favorite herbal preparations as alcohol helps to activate many herbal properties and it is also a great way of preserving your herbs for years.   I've studied them enough to know what I need and what is best for me so.  Know what you are using and why.

But then you have the issues of the localized pain and inflammation.
Mastitis hurts.  It is not a happy place.
So for localized pain and swelling Jessica recommended a poultice of lobelia and mullein.
The basics of a poultice are pretty simple and straight-forward.
Herbs come into direct contact with the affected area.
My herbs are dried and need to be activated.  Then you have the whole issue of wet herbs on the skin.
I've seen, and probably recommended, using a cloth to hold the herbs, and then covering the area with a piece of plastic wrap or bag to contain the mess.
Ha!  You are still going to end up soaked.
So in my fevered haze, I happened to walk past a stack of diapers that I had been planning on dropping off at the church nursery.  They were size 1 and size 2.  Way too small for my 30 pound toddler.
And yes, I did use primarily cloth diapers, but it is handy to have a few disposables for going out and around.

And then I had a thought.  Diapers are meant to contain wet, and are about the size I need.... hmmmm.

So I hydrated my herbs.  To do this I added the dry herbs to a bowl, and heated water in my kettle.  I poured some over the herbs.  Not a bunch, because I don't want a tea (it's the same premise) but I want soggy herbs.

I let them sit for about 5-10 minutes to hydrate and cool a bit (I also don't want to put boiling hot water on my skin).
Then I filled the diaper channel, checked the temperature to make sure it was appropriate, and placed it over the affected area using a nursing bra contain and make application easier.
I let it stay in place for at least 30 minutes or until it starts getting on my nerves, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter.
When you are ready, remove the diaper and rinse/wash any herbs from the area.
I wasn't soaked and the pain and redness were eased (sorry, no photos of this).

You can also use a diaper for poultices for other things as well, but I don't know that it would go over so well with my other kids or husband.  If you have a stash of them around it is a handy mode of transport, but I don't know that I'd buy them just for that purpose?
So I hope you never need to treat mastitis but if you ever do consider herbs in a diaper...  after all, it's better than what is normally there.

September 23, 2013

Feels Like Summer Smoothie-FP

Fall is in the air here, and I have felt somewhat overwhelmed by the onslaught of pumpkin drinks and dishes in the last few weeks.
So while there is still a little green left on the trees, I'm going to pretend it is still summer and enjoy the tastes that come along with it. 
I initially saw this recipe done as a frozen bar-like treat, but I like smoothies and personally don't care to bite into something cold and frozen (that's just one of my own, many personal issues).
It is also a Fuel Pull/FP on the Trim, Healthy Mama plan and I like to use it as a mid-day snack.  The yogurt adds some protein and you can get some veggies, fruits and more vitamins and minerals than you can probably think of with this.
I also use my Blendtec but most blenders should be able to handle this one pretty well.

Feels Like Summer Smoothie-FP

  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 2 limes, quartered (peel, pith, seeds and all)
  • 1 cup of fat-free plain yogurt or greek yogurt
  • 2-3 cups of water and ice
  • handful of lemon-basil leaves (this was what was handy for me to pick, but fresh mint leaves are also a great choice)
  • generous pinch of Redmond RealSalt
  • Stevia to taste
Process on the 'whole juice' setting of the Blendtec or for a few minutes until smooth in your blender.

September 14, 2013

Almond Milk.... It's Really That Simple?

Back in the day, before I knew better, I made soy milk from soy beans for my first child.  I figured it had to be healthier since it was homemade and I would soak, cook, and strain it regularly in a process that took hours.
This kind of soured me (milk humor) on making any milks, but when I got my Blendtec it came with a recipe book that made a healthy almond milk sound all too easy.
I even asked a friend about it (her blog is great, check it out!) to see if it was really that simple or if I was being deceived.
It turns out, making your own almond milk is incredibly easy.  I do use a Blendtec, but I imagine any blender would do a pretty good job.

I start with raw almonds.  You could use organic as that would be the best option, but go with the best that you can afford.
For non-organic, the price per quart is about $0.56.  Or $1.12 for 2 quarts, the size you'd buy at most stores.  This is much cheaper than what you would pay in the store for the same product and without all the fillers and funky ingredients.
Organic would be about twice that price, based upon your local almond prices.

I use 1/2 cup of nuts to make 2 quarts of almond milk.  This is actually more thinned out than my recipe calls for but is more Trim, Healthy Mama approved (or Fuel Pull).  If I am making almond milk for the kids, I will use 1/2-1 cup of almonds to make 1 quart of almond milk.  They get more fat that way, but I don't miss or need it.

To start,  you need to soak the almonds a few hours, or overnight.  I usually forget at night and will start them in the morning so that I can make the almond milk in the evening.
Just use some filtered/drinking water to completely cover the nuts.
I use a quart-sized glass jar, but any is fine.

After a few hours, strain the nuts and pour out that water.

Now add fresh, filtered water to the blender.   My Blendtec holds 96oz, but I usually just fill it with a quart/32 oz of filtered water then add my nuts.  (I add an extra quart later on, you'll see!)

Process the nuts on the Whole Juice setting, or for a few minutes on high with a traditional blender.

When you are done, strain the milk.  I use a coffee filter, but you can use cheesecloth or a tea towel.  I realize that a white coffee filter is not ideal, but you use what you have sometimes.
Now add a touch of stevia or vanilla, if you like.  I don't as I prefer extracts to be cooked and find that the flavor is fine without the stevia, but you might feel differently.  I also dilute at this time to the consistency I want.  Again, for my kids, I don't generally dilute, but for me, I'm shooting for 1/4 cup almonds to 1 quart of water.
I prefer to store it in a sealed 2 quart glass jar.
The milk should be stored in the refrigerator and used in the next 3-5 days.

Now here's the cool part.  You can use all the left over almonds residue as almond meal (flour).
I just dry it in the oven and it works well.  I heat the oven to 200 degrees and spread the wet and mush almond goo out on parchment paper (I'm out right now and used aluminum foil).  I'm finding it takes about 2-3 hours depending on the quantity.  It is done when it is dried all the way thru.  You might have a substance like bricks, but I just crumble it up and make sure that it is all dry.
You can put this into your Twister jar of the Blendtec, a food processor, or even your coffee mill (not used for coffee, but for grains/herbs) to make it a fine meal.
Store it in an airtight jar or ziplock bag in the fridge and use for your Muffin in a mug recipes with some flax.

This post is shared at Stacy Makes Cents and Gwens Nest as  part of Trim, Healthy Tuesday.

September 7, 2013

First-First Aid

For those of you who might not know me in real life, I have spent the last 25 years of my life as a nurse with the last 22 as an RN (before retiring with this baby) in ICU.
I am not a first responder and am thankful for those people who have been called in that way.
I will say that being a nurse skews how you see injury.  Yeah, you might look up when the baby falls for the first time and it makes a 'thump', but after quickly assessing that there is no spurting blood or brain material to note of, and that he quickly calms down and is happy, you move on.
In fact by the time my older kids were 4, they knew my spurting blood and bits of brain were necessary for my involvement and they just got over a lot of those scrapes and falls on their own.
They also knew that they had immediate access to BooBoo Salve and that it was what I'd probably smear on them anyhow (if they were lucky.  Worse complaints might get you a tincture or even Plague  Formula).

I will say that after years and years, I still use BooBoo salve more than anything for most things..... bruises, scratches, cuts, insect bites and mild burns.  It is my main go-to for pretty much everything and it is incredibly effective.  It is one of the most effective healers I've ever seen.

But.  The other day I was cooking, salmon patties actually, and didn't use my great, seasoned cast iron skillet like always, but had a pan I'd just washed sitting out.  Now those of you who know about hot oil and a just washed, still kind of wet pan, just skip to the next paragraph as you can see what is coming.  The water in the pan kept popping and exploding and I kept getting hit by hot cooking oil.  I can deal with some, but then there was a huge splash of oil right to my neck.  I'm usually pretty stoic, but this made me scream.

My daughter came running and the first thing she grabbed wasn't the BooBoo Salve (I think she was grossed out that I had been using the jar closest to us on the dog) and she grabbed the Redmond FirstAid Clay.
I was thinking this is so not going to do anything that the salve wouldn't do better.  The salve doesn't have much of a pain reliever, but it will cool because it is an oil and heal, but the moment I smeared some on I had instant relief.  This clay took away the pain right away.

You see, this is a ready to use hydrated clay in a tube.
I let the clay dry on my neck as this was a superficial burn, no matter how badly it hurt.  A deeper or larger burn would require covering and keeping it moist for best results.
But when dried and washed away a bit later, my neck was clear and had no evidence of a burn.

I will say that what impressed me the most was that the pain and sting from the burn was gone the instant the clay was applied.  Now even BooBoo salve doesn't do that.  And if nothing else, I appreciate something that will take away the pain so I can get on with life.

And then there are the mosquitoes.  This year has been so wet and I have an allergy to the bites and swell up badly and they stay swollen for days.
Today I attempted to go outside and was swarmed.  I looked down to see 7 or 8 actively biting me so went inside.  I smeared on the BooBoo Salve and they still itched.  So I figured I'd give the Redmond FirstAid Clay a try.  Again, I wasn't expecting much, but clay is a drawing material so in theory, I figured it should?
Initially I tried a thin layer but it didn't do anything, but after smearing on a thick layer of the paste, the sting of the bites was gone.  I left it on until it dried, and then some.  I haven't actually needed to repeat and the initial swelling that lasts for days isn't there anymore it would seem.  I also put some on baby Chase and he had the same results as well.

Clay, like in the Redmond Bath Salts+, is a historically known healer with many therapeutic values.
This handy tube is going in my purse (and I'm not big on carrying a whole lot with me in my bag) as this is my new go-to for first aid.
The tube says it is good for burns, cuts, abrasions, bites, bruises, rashes, blisters and more.
The key is to apply a generously thick layer and cover with cheese cloth or plastic wrap to keep it from drying out if desired.

This tube has just moved its way up to the top of the pack for my main First Aid choices.

I have been asked about just using Bentonite Clay in place of this product as it is less expensive.
Those of you who know me, realize that I am pretty frugal, and while I do keep bentonite clay in the house, I believe that the minerals specific to the Redmond Clay give it an edge over a generic product.  Think of the mineral and mud baths or hot springs around the world  specific to different areas.  They all offer their own unique, God-given assortment of minerals and health benefits derived from each specifically as well.

Redmond has some info on their website to answer questions about the mineral content here.
That is just my opinion though and you are free to do your own comparisons. 

I will also add that Redmond did supply with with my first tube of this product but the opinion is my own and I've not been paid to say any of this.  I just like to tell people when I find a good thing. ~kimi

September 5, 2013

Morning Sunshine!-FP

You know I love smoothies, both green and pink, but some times I'll admit that I have a hard time making myself just have one.
You see, I'm not a natural veggie or fruit eater.
Many people know me as the person who is always on them about getting in those vegetables, but in truth, it is mainly because I know I need to hear those words myself.  It's easy to focus so much on protein and grains and treats, but vegetables really should be the core to most eating plans in my opinion.  They are what make you feel full and have so much nutrition.
But making sure I get them daily is many times a struggle.

So I'll admit that I've been in a veggie funk lately.  Nothing seems good, everything tastes the same or I've eaten it a million times.
Smoothies even seem kind of old and tired.

And then I saw a new Trim, Healthy Mama drink on the facebook page.  I started to read the directions and they were soooo long and seemed to have so many steps......
Sorry, but this just isn't my style.
I need quick and to the point.

But the drink did inspire me.
Why not take a drink idea and make a smoothie?
Lemons?  No need to peel and cut and slice.  Cut it in half and throw it in is how it do it.  The seeds and peel and pith all have their value and that's part of why I have a Blendtec.
I will add that my Ninja handled whole citrus quite well too.

I also opened up my copy of the Green Smoothie Girl's book with a bunch of recipes and inspiration.
Inspiration is always a good thing, but I really just wanted simple with a little sour and a little bitter and a touch of sweet to take the edge off.

So often smoothie means greens or berries to people, but this one is a lovely, zingy gold.  Like a cup of sunshine.
I kept it Fuel Pull-FP but it might hint at Energizing-E due to the grapefruit, but 1/2 of a grapefruit makes an S-helper so I translate 1/4 as within parameters.  I also left out any protein as I wanted to make a large container to sip on for several hours and to have pre- and post- workout for electrolyte and mineral replacement.  Feel free to use it with or as a meal with the added protein.
I've also been craving bitter and sour lately, and my husband who loves smoothies, thought this was a little too sour for his tastes.  Adjust the seasonings for yours.

Morning Sunshine-FP

1/2 lemon, cut in half
1/4 grapefruit, cut in a few pieces (I do NOT peel my citrus or remove seeds before using as there is a lot of nutrition present, but feel free to do so if you like!)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
generous dash of Redmond RealSalt
1/2-1 tsp coconut oil
Dash of NuNaturals Pure, or a comparable stevia
1 quart filtered water
1 cup ice

Combine all in your Blendtec, or other high powered blender, and mix on Whole Juice setting or until liquified.

This smoothie is the perfect base for customizing.  Add in berries or other fruits and veggies as you have them around.
My favorite is to add in a handful of blueberries, but while you'd think yellow+blue = green, this makes a nice rosy-pink drink.

This post is shared at Stacy Makes Cents and Gwen's Nest for Trim, Healthy Tuesday.  Check her out for more great THM links!

September 3, 2013

Swedish-ish Meatballs-S

Sometimes I do stupid things and it works out.  Other times it doesn't.  And then there are those times where you aren't really sure if it is good or bad and you have to repeat to see what the verdict actually is.

Last week I made meatballs.  I say Swedish-ish as I am not Swedish, and outside of ikea and H&M, know little to nothing about the actual place.  These aren't authentic in any way.  In fact, they are more of a translation of a Paula Deen meatloaf recipe.  
And may I add that I am glad that despite sanitizing their programing of Paula Deen, the Food Network has kept her recipes handy on their website.  My opinion is that very little in life is really done for moral reasons on the level that Paula was attacked, and usually has to do with money more often than not.  But that isn't the point so let's get back to meatballs.

I've been using oats as a binder in meatloaf for years, thanks to Paula, and now that I'm a Trim, Healthy Mama I've been incorporating it as a binder in many items.  They work very well and fit the plan.  These are ground first as you want the uniformity and more of a flour consistency.  For meatloaf, I don't bother and leave them whole.  I do use an organic, old-fashioned version and they do quite nicely.

These meatballs are pretty much a base of ground meat, eggs, ground oats and minced onion.  I customize them depending on what I want to pair them with.  For Swedish meatballs I also add some Worcestershire Sauce and some freshly grated nutmeg.
I add in any spices and seasonings with the oats.

I have these in my Blendtec Wildside jar.  It perfectly grinds the oats with a few pulses.
I add the chopped onion and then the eggs and meat (don't worry, the full recipe with dirctions is below).

This is the oddity here in how I mixed them.  Normally you put it all in a bowl and mush it with your hands.  But I decided that I would try using the Blendtec.
Actually, I was lazy and didn't feel like having to get raw meat on my hands if Ididn't have to.

I'm not sure it turned out so well?  The meat closer to the blade kind of turned into mush and the rest didn't really move down and integrate.  I had the feeling that if I had continued pulsing, I might have ended up with meat soup.  It was actually kind of gross and I kept hearing the phrase 'pink slime' in my head.
But I perservered and dumped it all into a bowl and continued mixing it by hand.  Then I put it in the fridge to chill and make it easier to shape.
The thing is that when I went to shape it, the consistency was really nice.  It wasn't just ground meat, but it wasn't puree of meat either.  It was nicely uniform and molded well.
I did use wet hands and formed the balls about 1 inch in diameter.  You can make them bigger, but I like to feel like I can eat a lot, so I make them smaller and eat more.

Swedish Meatballs-S

2 pounds of ground meat, beef, pork, or whatever you have on hand
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
2 eggs
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Add dry oats, salt, pepper and nutmeg to Blendtec and pulse 1-2 times.
Add onion, eggs, Worcestershire sauce and meat.  Pulse quickly to incorporate meat, but don't overblend.
When about half of the mixture appears like a thick puree', place it all into a bowl and mix by hand.
Let chill for a bit, if desired and then form into 1 inch diameter meatballs.  This makes about 60.

I like to make them small so I can eat more.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes and serve right away with a rich version of cauliflower mash and Good Gravy, or put them in a labelled freezer bag for up to 6 months in the deep freeze.

This recipes is shared with Trim, Healthy Tuesday link up sponsored by Stacy Makes Cents.