September 14, 2014

Satisfying Salmon Supper-S

I have to admit that I have some weird habits.  If I am making a short trip to the grocery store I'll try to figure out a way to make all the items I need start with the same letter so that I don't have to write a list, but can just remember the number of things I needed to get.
Like the letter C.
That would be Cabbage, ice Cream (for the kids), Cheddar, and a Can of tuna.  Stuff like that.
My kids think it is just another layer to my oddness, but it works for me, and that is really all that matters.
My fondness for alliteration is what leads me here.  Satisfying Sockeye Salmon Supper.

Recently I found some great, local deals on fish.  Now I am the kind of person who could eat fish 3 times a day, every day.  Since my husband grew up in Alaska and did actually have fish more than he cares to remember as a kid, I reign myself in a bit as he gets tired of it.
That just means that I make fish often for our evening meal when it is just me and the kids (Mr B works 2nd shift so he isn't home).

In the South, this we call this meal supper.

Sockeye salmon is also known as red salmon.  It has a red flesh that is unique in salmon due to its diet and happens to be my favorite salmon.  When buying your fish, make sure your salmon is always wild caught (should be on the package) as farmed salmon loses out on health benefits, and also make sure that the fish wasn't treated with chemicals.  "Fish" should be the only ingredient.

Poaching is one of my new favorite ways to have salmon.  It wasn't something I had often done with fish, but had with chicken.  The THM book mentions poaching in several recipes and will also walk you thru it step by step.
I am poaching in a shallow pan, and will add that I did stay closer by to spoon the cooking liquid over the pieces that weren't fully submerged.  I think watching Food Network lately has made me more secure in my cooking(?) but the real thing is that it is just food.  As long as the fish isn't raw, and it won't be, it is all good.
The seasonings here sound more spicy than they really are.  They are not overwhelming or strong so feel free to add more if you like a bit of a kick.  I would call this flavorful, but not 'hot'.   My kids enjoyed this as well as I did.
And the left-overs warmed up quite well the next day for Mr B at work, and he enjoyed this meal.

Satifying Sockeye Salmon Supper-S

(serves about 4)

1-1/4 # wild-caught salmon, I used sockeye/red
1 can lowfat coconut milk (the kind in a can from the Asian food aisle of the grocery store)
1 tbsp red curry paste
2 cups water
1 bag mixed, frozen vegetables (mine was broccoli, cauliflower and some carrots.  I didn't put any carrots in my serving, but the kids ate them).
Dreamfield's angelhair pasta (traditional pasta for the kids)

Cook the pasta according to directions on box.  Make sure you only give yourself the specified serving.

Cook the frozen veggies according to the directions on the bag for stovetop, but sub coconut milk in place of water. Be careful not to overcook as they can get mushy.

In a large skillet that is also deep, combine the remainder of the coconut milk, the red curry paste and some water (about 1 cup, more if needed ) to cover/poach the fish.

Bring this liquid to a simmer and put your salmon, thawed, into the liquid.  Cover and keep it at a simmer to allow fish to poach for about 6 minutes.  Turn the fish over if it isn't completely covered and allow to further simmer for another 6 minutes.   If your fish is submerged then just let it go for about 12-15 minutes.

Serve fish with pasta and veggies with sauce from fish spooned over top.  Salt and pepper to taste.

September 9, 2014

What's For Dinner? (or lunch or breakfast even)

I like to help people.  This is probably why I became a nurse, but it is a part of who I am.
I post things that I've found useful and might help others, but realize that everyone is different and what has worked for me might not be what is best for others.
I don't know that I necessarily wanted to be a blog that is mainly about Trim, Healthy Mama, but then I think about all the people, not just mama's, who are out there changing their lives and health.  I just love that years are being added to lives and quality of those years is improving all due to the choices that are made each day, and it just makes me so very happy.

I always get a real perspective on life when I go to work.  The patients and their families have taught me that you have to keep going on even when life is chronically hard.  I also find that the other staff give me real insight as to what really challenging schedules and sacrifice can look like when it comes to life.
I'm constantly reminded that things can most definitely always be worse, or more challenging, or even just busier.

So going back to work more hours was not an excuse in any way to not stay on THM.  It really goes to having a plan for me, and to me that means having a couple of items for leftovers in the fridge at any given time for Mr B to pack for work, and a definite schedule of meals for me that are on plan.

I'm at goal (ok... reality is that I've put on 3-4 pounds over the last 6 months.  I had been having a few cheats here and there and along with crossovers, stress, and decreased exercise it is just slower going.  The key for me is that I am looking at what my body physically needs now with what our lives currently look like.  I also don't ever care to be on a "diet" ever again and have never resorted to a fuel cycle or deprivation of any kind since going on THM.  The weight is slowing moving away and I am still trim and healthy, just not quite as trim, at this point.  I just see this as a life plan, not a plan for just right now. It isn't about slamming off the pounds, but creating a life of health and good habits.)

There are lots of crossovers and S-helpers in my life currently, but as in the past, I am adding more E meals as I do find more success in the scale area with them.
I also recently re-read several chapters of the book recently including the recipes, and was surprised at how many of them I had not actually ever tried.
I'm not giving a specific menu but thinking more of how I think about meals overall.
I will also add that some products that I use for convenience are not on plan.  They might not work for you, but they do seem to work with my metabolism and I'm having no issues with their use.  You have to make the choice that is right for you and will be best for you.

One of the things I've found helpful is to keep breakfast simple.
At our house, on days I work, I like to have a sandwich on an E bread (I actually use a double fiber wheat bread and stay within the limits of the E guidelines.  This isn't strictly on plan, but it works for me) with lean cold cuts and low-fat cheese.  I also have coffee with half and half so technically this is a Crossover, but for a long, busy morning at work, I need something I can eat easily in the car that will hold me over for a full 5 hours.
When I'm at home, I reign it in a bit and have my S muffin in a mug.  I just never get tired of the all flax version and rotate flavors to fit my mood and season.

Lunches are what I find to be the most tricky.  You see, my husband is on 2nd shift and is home for lunch.  We both run or exercise in some way most mornings, I have school with the big kids and it is just a busy time.  Getting time for just all that and a shower is a struggle.  Add in prep and cooking time, and I'm pretty much done.  Many people have the option for crockpot meals, but I can't put something on (not that my mind would even process that at 9am) and have it ready by 12.

Lunch is where I made the decision to cut back a bit.  I realized that I really can't do it all and I didn't need to keep pushing and trying to force it.  I needed lunch to be easier.  Yes, I could have my kids helping out, but I also need them to stay on task and focus on school in the mornings.  It is just how our lives look.

But that doesn't mean just having burritos or sandwiches every day.

I do like to make sure we have rice, beans or quinoa in the fridge ready to go for E meals.  I keep a stash of lettuce at all times as well so salads are always an option.
There is Dreamfields as well and I can make a quick meal with that as well.  My husband and kids get traditional pasta and making 2 batches isn't much of an issue when everything else is the same for the meal.

Boiled eggs are also another thing that I find handy to keep around.
With all of these things at hand, I can quickly poach some salmon and use it to top some rice and have a  big E salad.  Or shred some lean turkey and mix it with some veggies and the quinoa.  Or use the beans and make a quick E chili.
An S egg salad or chicken salad on a joseph's pita with a side salad or veggies is also a filling lunch, or just a big S, hearty salad.
Add some broccoli salad and it is a perfect meal.

My little guy isn't quite ready for salads as a meal, but the rest of us love them and can make a meal of them.  I round out the kids' meals with more rice or bread with butter or peanut butter.
Nacho meat is also handy and not always for burritos.  I love a scoop on salads and will crumble 1 or 2 thin nacho chips over the top to add flavor and crunch, but minimal carbs.

Keeping staples like rice, quinoa, lean chicken or turkey, and seasoned meats in the fridge ready to go make lunch quick and easy.  I've also stocked up on frozen salmon and grass-fed meat that can be quickly integrated with a little more prep time into a meal.

I also find that our meals are very seasonal.  In a few more weeks, I'll probably be having more soups, and I will admit to going through a curry phase a while back as well.

We don't eat out often, but will splurge every now and then.  This is usually a big salad for me.  Most fast food places (we usually go to Chickfila) have salads and low-fat dressing options.  I usually like to keep salads an S meal, but their E market salad has fruits and grilled chicken and is perfect with a low fat (watch the carbs) dressing.
Other places will offer delicious cobb salad variations with bacon and avocado.  This is also another favorite of mine in an S setting.
The main issue that I've found with eating out is the hidden sodium that leads to bloat and a bump up in the scale the following day.  It is usually transient, but good know about.

Dinner at our house is a bit more filling, but still simple.  Since it is usually just me and the kids we stick to comfortable standbys like burgers and cabbage (S), salmon patties and roasted sweet potatoes (crossover), even meatballs and cauliflower mash (S).  These can be cooked in larger quantities and then we have leftovers that may be used for work meals the next day.
If the kids are having pizza, I'll make a THM version with half a lavash or even just a big, luscious salad as an alternative.
I would like to say that I make all my own salad dressings, but I don't.  Homemade versions are healthy and quick and tasty, but I need quicker and convenient right now.

I've found snacks to be important as well and when at work always take an E protein bar that I can enjoy with a cup of coffee (black and often decaf) or some fat free greek yogurt.  I will admit that I often will have a yogurt with a 'flavor' and possibly artificially sweetened which is technically not on plan and not at all healthy for you, but cheap, easy, affordable and what works for me.
I also enjoy a Chai tea chiller at times or a cup of fresh herb tea from the garden.
I've also not given the brand of protein bar I like as it is most likely not on plan per the rules, but then neither are pork or shellfish, and I have them quite often as well.  I make sure to check the fiber, carbs, ingredients and fats and make sure that they are within limits and then see how my body reacts.  Luckily, I do pretty well with some fruit/date-based bars that are real food as long as they are balanced with protein and low in fat.

I also still enjoy puddings and smoothies for snacks.  I still struggle, as always, with getting in all the fruits and veggies (non-starchy ones) that my body craves.

Half and apple with some peanut butter, or even a big spoon of peanut butter alone might be a snack on the run, but I try to keep a bar with me.

My goal is to get at least one, if not more, serving of vegetables or fruit with every meal in some way.  If I miss some at breakfast, I try to sneak in some extra at lunch.

So I'm still living THM, but after almost 2 years of being on plan, it has become a part of my life, and not a novelty or struggle.  What looks right for my family and life might not be right for you, but I'm still feeling great and have energy.  I'm not taking any expensive supplements to boost my energy, and my history of adrenal issues has been kept at bay with nutrition and exercise.
THM is a flexible life plan.  You customize it to work for you.  You must pay attention to and learn how your body reacts to foods and meals to see what is best for you if you are wanting to lose weight or heal.
Good luck!

September 8, 2014

Even When You Don't Want To....

“Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.” George Carlin

I have to admit that I tend towards cynicism.  And complaining.  And seeing the problems.

It is easy to dwell in the negative in today's world.  It is easy to trash others, complain about technology and just whine about things in general.
It is almost like it is expected and encouraged.  

Cynicism is acceptable.  We know that things in some magical way "could" be wonderful, but in actuality are not.  We are supposed to say what is on our hearts and minds, right?  What we think and feel is important, you know?  It's healthy to not bottle up our frustrations?

This is where I feel that I live.  I am negative.  I dwell there.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

I've started back working more hours.  I still homeschool my 2 older kids (11th and 7th grades) while taking care of a toddler and my husband (irony is that he ended up grouped with the toddler?).  I still cook most of our meals and clean the house and do all the other stuff that I was too busy for.
And the strange thing is.... there is always time.  Or to put it into perspective, there is always time for what is important.

This means that I have to have priorities and think about the possibilities and not let myself go to the mindset that I'm already defeated and need to settle for second best.
It is also about perspective and understanding that I might have to change how I do things.  It is about delegating things and not being such a control freak.

What if we have a plan?  What if we refused to stay in the cycle of negativity?

What if we refused to be disappointed by circumstances (because isn't that what life really is?)

This morning I was tired. 
I can dwell on all the things that led to this point as negatives and use them as excuses for bad behavior, or I can choose to see the positives.

I think my point is supposed to be that life is just life.  Our reactions make us who we are.
There is so much sadness and evil around, but I'm not going to let that ruin who I really am or who I might potentially be.

This started off being a post about running or adding exercise to your day so I'm not sure where my head went or how George Carlin came into play.

I just think that it is easy for me to let my attitude get the best of me.  It is easy to become a circumstancial grump.

Right now I'm working on making life smooth with a family, a job, homeschool and all that we do.
Some days are more challenging than others.  You see, it is life.  I don't think life is really hard unless you make it that way.  

It really is all about attitude and perception.  It is about setting limits and knowing what my priorities are in advance.
It is about not settling for seconds, but realizing that I need to make wise choices and understand that perfection doesn't really exist anyhow?