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.