Tag Archives: healthy

First Meals of 2014

Well, here we are in 2014 and we have no super futuristic meal replacement pills or Jetson like setups. Hrmpf. We do have Roombas which are  basically efficient cleaning robots, so that’s a start. I guess.

I’ve been eating like crap since I started working the late shift. I just don’t feel like cooking at 9pm. I realize many of you probably work longer hours and later shifts, but this is all new to me and I just haven’t gotten into the groove yet.  So. I vowed to myself that after the holidays, I’d buckle down and meal plan. I’d plan snacks and portable foods for me to take to work.  I’d plan some simple meals that can be whipped together in no time.  I’d plan meals that were healthy and would work with my fitness goals for the year. Less sugar. Less fat. More veg.

Well, today I did just that. I stayed in bed with a hot cup of coffee, several cookbooks and an iPad and went to town.

I’m pretty excited, I won’t lie.  I planned about ten meals to last over the next two weeks, (I leave a couple days for take out or alternate plans) and with what I had in the pantry and what my Dad gave me from his garden stash – I only spent about $130.  Maybe you’re a better budgeter, but for me, this is stellar!

Without further ado, here are a few of the recipes!

Rustic Tomato Rice & Kale Stew Healthy. Happy. Life.  I just made this one tonight and honestly, it’s one of the best soups I’ve ever made. Hearty. Rich. Flavorful.  EASY. You should add this to  your menu plan for next week.

Potato Leek Soup (Vegan)Fettle Vegan.  I’m excited about this one too. My Dad gave me a whole bunch of leeks and potatoes from his harvest this year that need to get eaten up. What better way to showcase them, than a 5 ingredient soup?

BBQ Cauliflower Salad Fork & Beans.  I’m hoping this will be hearty enough for a dinner salad since it has avocado and beans in it.  Maybe a hunk of crusty bread on the side?

Kung Pao TofuFettle Vegan.  I’ve tried a few kung pao recipes before, I’m hoping this one is a winner. I think I’ll add some toasted nuts to it for crunch and serve some broccoli on the side. Yum.

Chinese Tempeh SaladFork & Beans.  I’m SUPER stoked about this. I love tempeh and I love the asian style salads with crunchy chow mein noodles. I’ll probably bake my tortilla strips instead of frying them, but I will give the tempeh a toss in my cast iron for some texture.

Smokin’ Hoppin’ John Serious Eats. I was supposed to make this for New Year’s Day but…fail whale. I was lazy, didn’t feel well and ordered New Year’s Day Pizza instead. It was yummy and I’m sure this recipe will be as well. I might toss in a little kale since I have MASSIVE bags from Whole Foods that I’ll need to use up.

The other meals I’m planning on don’t really have recipes, but just in case you find some inspiration in them I’ve included them.

-Veggie dogs, baked beans and toast
-Sundried tomato basil white bean burgers & salad
-Black bean quinoa bowls with homemade salsa and avocado
-Tempeh reubens & salad
-Chili stuffed baked sweet/regular potatoes & salad

What are you making this month? Are you changing your diet at all this year? 

Happy New Year, friends!

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Words to Live By

Today marks the beginning of my Dad’s third round of chemotherapy. (In case you missed it, he was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma which is a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.)  I texted him this morning and wished him luck and cheerfully reminded him that after tomorrow, he is half way through his treatments. Three down, three to go.

Guys, I honestly cannot convey how proud of him I am. I didn’t know what to expect at the beginning of this journey with him and very clearly, he didn’t either. Through the process so far, I have reconnected with my long, lost half sister to keep her updated, worked on getting them to talk again and have been in touch near daily with my Dad. My Dad, that I went 2.5 years without speaking to once. Not on purpose mind you, we just…didn’t talk.  I honestly cannot fathom that the way things stand right now.

I text him and email him regularly. I call him every couple weeks to check in and man, is he just kicking ass and taking names. Considering that he is getting some pretty strong shit and has no insurance so sees the numbers quickly adding up, I can’t believe how strong he is.When I talk to him, other than a few days post white-cell-boosting-shot where he feels like he has an AWFUL flu, he is just…tired. That’s it. He’s not ill. He’s not bemoaning how he is. He is outside ‘trying to be productive’. He is shopping with his girlfriend. He is watching his friends all chip in to help him with firewood and cooking. Dad said yesterday that he almost forgot he was sick during the last couple days, he felt so good, until he saw or felt the massive port on his chest. I mean REALLY NOW!? He has cancer cells in his bone marrow for crying out loud and he’s just all “oh yeah, I felt so good I almost forgot I had cancer.” He has such an amazing attitude about it all. Stellar I tell you. I just cannot explain my pride to you.  I have that DNA in me. How can I ever think of quitting when I have THAT in me?

Just as an aside, cancer ain’t cheap folks. If you have insurance, or live in a country with a single payer system, please thank your lucky stars that you don’t have to heal and recover with hundreds of thousands of medical bills piled on top of you. It is a travesty, this system of ours, where one shot can cost $14,000 in one town, $7,000 in another and yet $4,500 in the same town but a hospital over. Or a whole $2,500 in Canada. I know, I digress but…ugh. My Dad. I worry.

I know I’ve written about Dad before on the blog.  Some of you might have even seen this piece that I am incredibly proud of. It’s just that our relationship continues to grow and morph into something I never could have possibly expected. A loving relationship with zero expectations.  Dad doesn’t expect me to call every 5 days or text daily. He doesn’t expect emails from me five times a week and doesn’t get bent out of shape if I don’t respond. I don’t expect any of those things from him either. We text, call or email when we are thinking of one another and it feels special that way. Nothing is ever a duty or a chore. It’s never something I have to do and because of that, it’s a joy. It’s a joy to text him or call because I know there are just no strings and no expectations attached.

That sort of relationship seems so rare. Even when you think something has no strings, there is guilt if you don’t keep the contact, or hurt when they don’t keep up with  you. It happens. I’ve had so much of that in my life. I treasure the friends that I don’t keep up with but when I call, they love me just the same and are happy to hear from me. This is what it’s like with my Dad.  He checks in before each chemo treatment to see how I’m doing so he has ‘good thoughts’ before he goes in. I am hoping I can help heal his relationship with my sister too, since the silence is purely due to issues with anxiety over expectations. When I spoke with her on the phone for the first time in over 20 years, she seemed shocked that I didn’t care about the 20 years. The truth was, I didn’t. What does it matter? I was just happy to talk to her and share our Dad’s struggles with her. Dad wasn’t expectant either that she rekindle her relationship with him. He was just happy WE were talking.  I spend a lot of time lately thinking about this relationship and how I can create or cultivate that freedom and that love in other relationships.

Just today, Dad and I checked in. He’s tired after the six hour treatment today. Naturally. He asked how I was and I was honest – I am anxious, tired and stressed. His response was so sweet guys, I have to share it with you. His words, knowing how soft he is, how loving and sensitive he is – actually brought tears to my eyes.

“Hang in there. Everything will work out with a little patience and understanding. It is all new. I love you. You will find your way.”

Thanks, Dad. I just love you a lot.

Okay Fine, it’s FALL.

I haven’t really wanted to believe it, but I suppose that September 22nd is as good a day as any to admit that okay, fine, it’s fall.

Part of my reluctance to make the switch is that all of my warmer, fall clothing is still in space bags, stacked in my bedroom due to lack of a dresser. Part is the fact I’m still running my air conditioner every day and yet another part is due to the fact I am still sweating my face off when I go outside.

Regardless, Summer is over (womp, womp) and it’s time to change gears. I even went to a farm last week and picked apples and some other veggies. If reaping the harvest isn’t a sign of the changing seasons I don’t know what is.

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With the onset of this lovely season, my friend Miriel asked for some good soup recipes which got me thinking about my old go-tos.  I shared them with a couple people but considering all the meal planning that’s going on I thought I’d share with everyone. I wish I could take credit for these delicious creations. I can’t, but I hope they make it into your regular rotation!

1. Broccoli, Cannelini Bean & Cheddar Soup – Eating Well

Source – Eating Well

This soup is so delicious and pretty simple. It’s a good way to get veggies and some plant-based protein into your family as well. I think I saute up some onions and a little garlic to add to this one as well. Things are rarely complete without onions and garlic in this house.

2. Butternut Squash Bisque – Oprah’s O Magazine

Source: Maria Robledo, Oprah.com

Okay, I know there are a billion squash soup recipes out there and that everyone swears by one or another, but this one is the purest, simplest and most true flavor I’ve ever made. I do NOT add garlic to this one because it’s just too beautiful without it! Shocking I know. Honestly I just love the clarity of this soup and think it showcases the squash so beautifully. Don’t mess with it, but give it a shot with some grilled cheese. It stores incredibly well too. Oh! I don’t add dairy to it either.

I mean it. Don’t mess with this perfection.

3. Creamy Roasted Tomato, Garlic & Onion Coconut Soup – Oh She Glows

Source: Oh She Glows (Angela Liddon)

Now before you say you don’t like coconut, just give it a shot. It’s spicy, rich and amazingly deep in flavor. Plenty of ‘hands off’ time as well so you can get some other things done while it’s roasting away. It’s my favorite tomato soup to make in the fall and winter.

Thanks for the memory jolt, maybe now I’ll toss these back into the rotation.

Soon.

 

What are you cooking with the weather changes? Soups? Stews? Any good recipes I should hear about?