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Habit #4 Prep ahead.

This habit helps with two challenges. This first being what to cook especially on nights when you are tired. The second is produce that can be pricey, dying in your refrigerator before you get a chance to eat it. The answer is planning your menus and prepping your food right after you bring it home.

When I had to feed four children on a budget I used to plan out my menu for about 2 weeks, shop for food every two weeks, buy in bulk as much as I could and then I would do a marathon cooking day, prepping the ingredients and freezing or storing them in the refrigerator. It was a grueling day but it saved me lots of time and money. Plus we ate healthier meals.

I took the same approach with my new healthier eating plan. I plan out two weeks worth of menus then make a list with the needed ingredients. I take my list to the grocery store every two weeks and yes stick to a budget. Then every other Saturday afternoon I spend about 2 hours prepping the fresh produce. One big help is dividing romaine lettuce into leaves, washing and drying them then placing them in a large baggie or container for salads. A second head of romaine is torn and washed and spun dry then put in a second container. I am more likely to make a salad if the greens are washed and ready.

I also travel to my favorite farmers market and pick up produce in season. Here are some ideas on how to prep and preserve it from spoiling. Corn can be shucked and placed in a large baggie. Do not wash it ahead of time. I chop the tops off of beets and cook them until they are fork tender then slice and store in the refrigerator for salads. Tomatoes should sit on a window sill until you are ready to use them. Cucumbers can be peeled, sliced and refrigerated. Carrots, celery, scallions, peppers and radishes are cleaned and cut into dipping sizes. I usually make some hummus and black bean dip to accompany them. Chopping and slicing red onions and garlic are really helpful for quick dinners when I’m tired. Lately I’ve been cutting up a small watermelon and refrigerating it. It makes a great dessert on hot nights.

Finally I make sure I have a healthy sweet snack available. Fresh blueberries and a cut up pineapple are satisfying. Also, I portion almonds and raisins, 1 ounce each combined in a baggie for snacks when I want something sweet. Remember a craving only lasts for about 15 minutes so if you have something healthy prepared you are less likely to run out for ice cream.

The time is well spent because when I need ingredients for a shake they are ready. When I’m craving something sweet I have cut up fruit or an almond raisin snack. Salads are easy. This prep has really helped with sticking to my eating plan.

Try it and share your recipes and prepping techniques. I would love to hear from you.


Pick Your Own Etiquette

This is fruit picking season in the Mid Atlantic states and there are many opportunities to harvest your own if you are willing to stand in the hot sun and pick it yourself.  The fruit is sun-ripened and the taste of it is incomparable to what is found in the store.  However, to make your fruit picking experience enjoyable for everyone concerned  there are a few rules of etiquette to follow out in the sun-baked fields.

First, listen to the owners directions. There is a pattern that they wish you to follow so that everyone has an equal opportunity to pick ripe delicious fruit.  Don’t go headlong willy-nilly through the bushes looking for the biggest fruit and refusing to pick all the ripe fruit on the plant, bush or tree.

Secondly, don’t bring small children who cannot follow directions.  They eat their weight in fruit                   and trample the plants, especially strawberries.

Thirdly, bring your own buckets with sturdy handles for picking and a large pan to receive the                      picked fruit from a full bucket.  Then you can go back to picking with an empty bucket.

  • And finally, Keep in mind the price of the fruit per pound and decide ahead of time how much you want to pick.  I’ve seen lots of people act like a kid in a candy store and pick way more fruit than they planned. Only to get to the checkout with not enough cash.  There are no credit card machines out in the fields.

Remember, you are a privileged guest on the owners land and this is how they make their living.   Observe proper etiquette treating the fruit orchards as if they were your own and the farmers will continue to invite all of us back to pick our own fruit next year.


90 Day Vegetarian Adventure – Day 90 Return to the Beginning

The last day of the adventure and I find myself returning to the Juice Reboot.  Halloween with its mini-candy bars just about did me in.  I am now craving sugar and chocolate again.  So, the remedy is to Reboot.  At the end of the 90 day adventure I’m dusting off the juicer and enjoying at least one day of fasting to break the addictions and get back on track to healthy eating.

Fall fruit and vegetables make delicious juices.  The fresh kale is still growing in the garden and apples are available from the orchard.  Plus carrots have been recently harvested.  The two recipes using these seasonal ingredients are as follows:

Breakfast:  1 stick celery, 1 organic carrot, 2 Golden Delicious apples.

Lunch:  1 stick celery, 1 organic carrot, 1 Golden Delicious apple, handful fresh kale.

Enjoy!  Send me some of your favorite juices.  I welcome your comments.

 


90 Day Vegetarian Adventure, Day 87 Carmen’s Shake

Here is a new recipe inspired by my granddaughter, Carmen.  She is just a year old and is being introduced slowly to adult foods.  Every morning Grandma makes a breakfast shake for me and she has to share it.   She is allergic to strawberries but bananas are safe so the following recipe is a shake that she loves and is good for her growing tummy.

Carmen’s Shake:    1 cup of soymilk, 1 banana, 1 scoop protein powder, a few drops of vanilla and a shake of cinnamon.  Place ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Share it with those you love.


New Recipe – Pear Nog

Breakfast this morning produced a new recipe – Pear Nog.  It is a breakfast shake that reminds me of Egg Nog without the eggs, milk and cream, nevermind adding the rum.  Pour one cup of plain soy milk into a blender along with 1 ripe pear, cored and peeled, a dash of nutmeg, 1/4 tsp of real vanilla, and a scoop of  Protein Powder.  Blend until smooth and share with your granddaughter


90 Day Vegetarian Adventure – Day 36 Help with the Reboot

For those of you who are rebooting your system with a juice fast.  Visit www.fatsickandnearlydead.com site for explicit instructions.  The 15 day fast is doable with a normal schedule, just remember that the first 2 days are uncomfortable.  If you feel really hungry and tired, eat raw or steamed vegetables.  Bake a potato, steam some kale, raw carrots, a fresh tomato, etc.  It helps if you can get your vegetables and fruit in season close to where they are grown.  A Farmer’s Market and local orchards are great sources.  Everything will taste better.  Also, if you want more juice recipes, just write a comment.  Send me a line, I’m listening.


August 7 Reboot Day 14 Almost Thru

Almost thru the juice, fruits and vegetables fast.  Today I broke the fast by eating something sugary, a dessert that I used to love.  Now it tastes way too sweet, so I didn’t enjoy it.  I also ate something I have craved for three days.  I’ve found that when a craving is that strong, I give in to it.  It was a bagel with an ounce of swiss cheese.  Tasted delicious and I was satisfied for the rest of the evening.

Tomorrow will be a day of juicing and fruits and vegetables again.  I’m realizing that my choices are what my body needs and I prefer fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and non-caffeinated teas.  So many foods don’t appeal to me anymore.  This is where I want to stay and I’m afraid that after tomorrow I will be lured back into my old ways of relating to food.  Never thought I would be able to stay the course for 15 days.  This has been an amazing journey and it’s just begun.