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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.


Are you stuck on the same breakfast?

I don’t know about you but I tend to get in a rut in the morning with the same breakfast everyday. I usually have a protein smoothie before going out to exercise. When the same ingredients are on hand I grab what is easy and make the same boring smoothie. However in order to stay on a healthy eating regimen I need variety.

Summer is a great time to shake up my dull tastebuds by adding fresh, local produce into my morning routine. So today I invited some friends and family to come try some new smoothie recipes. They were pleasantly surprised by the variety of ingredients and flavors. The smoothie bar was a success and I’m sharing our favorites with you. Buy local as much as possible and make some new healthy, delicious breakfast shakes. Now you have no excuse.

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

1 cup Lactose Free Milk

1 Frozen banana

1Tblsp pure peanut butter

1 scoop Chocolate Protien Powder, or Nutrilite Organics Plant Protein Powder Chocolate flavor

1 tsp cocoa powder

1/2 cup ice.

Blend on high until smooth.

Raspberry Beet Protein Smoothie

1 baby beet, steamed and skinned.

1/2 cup Coconut Milk Yogurt

1/2 cup fresh red raspberries

1/2 cup Coconut Water

1/2 cup ice cubes

Splash of real Vanilla

1 scoop Protein Powder or Nutrilite Organics Plant Protein Powder, Vanilla

Blend all ingredients in blender on high until smooth.

Green Superfood Smoothie

1 frozen banana

1 cup Soy or Coconut Milk

1/2 cup green seedless grapes

1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks

1 scoop powdered greens or Nutrilite Organics Green Superfood

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth.

Pear Raspberry Collagen Smoothie

1/2 large Anjou Pear cored.

1/2 cup red raspberries

1/4 cup ice cubes

1/2 cup cold water

2 tsp honey

1 envelope Collagen Peptides or N by Nutrilite #nofilter Collagen Peptides

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth.

Then here are two recipes for coolers which are thirst quenching on hot afternoons.

Jasmine Green Tea w Mint

Cover 12 stems of fresh mint with 48 ounces of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes. Remove stems and stir in 1/3 cup of sugar.

Steep 1 Jasmine Green Tea bag in 12 ounces of boiling water for 5 minutes. Add to mint tea and adjust for sweetness. Pour over ice and enjoy!

Watermelon Immunity Cooler

1 cup watermelon

1 cup Black Cherry Juice, no sugar added

1 cup ice

1 scoop of Immunity powder, or Nutrilite Organics Immunity Superfood

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth. Pour into glass, sit on porch and enjoy!


Cannellini Bean Dip

For all of my gluten-free readers here is a dip made with canned Cannelloni beans that is simple and delicious.  Eat it with corn chips or rice crackers or even better fresh veggie sticks like celery, carrots and cucumbers.

Cannelloni Bean Dip

1 15 oz can of Cannelloni Beans, drained

1 cup of cottage cheese

1 handful of fresh basil, we used Tai Basil

Juice from one lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Makes about 2 cups


I’m Back!

After a brief hiatus from blogging, I’m back. I’ve been testing recipes for my vegan, gluten-free friends and I’ve found some good ones. Some of these recipes have been in my cut-outs from magazines box for 20-plus years. I’ve based my recipe on the original with modifications. So, I will give you the source for each. Enjoy!


Immunity Boost For Rebooters and Toddlers

Carmen, my granddaughter, and I came up with a new juice recipe this morning.  She is a toddler and cannot crunch up raw vegetables and fruit, however, with a juicer she can still consume all the nutrients.   This time of year we all need a boost for our immune system, so whether you have todds at home or not, here is a great recipe for a winter reboot.

Winter Booster

3 Valencia Oranges, direct from Florida if you can get them

2 Gala Apples

2 Large Raw Carrots washed well, not peeled

2 fresh Lime Wedges, peeled

2 to 3 fresh Basil Leaves, found in grocery if you don’t live in southern climes.

Peel and segment the oranges, wash and segment the apples, wash the carrots well but do not peel, cut the limes remove the peel from the segments and thoroughly wash the basil leaves.  Then juice, stir and drink.  Don’t store because the water-soluble vitamins break down over time.


The 90 Day Vegetarian Adventure Comes to a Close.

It was an adventure and an educational journey that revealed much about myself and how I relate to food.  The most surprising revelation is that I am not a true Vegan.  Rather, I’m a vegetarian who limits fat to 10 gms per day and I eat nonfat dairy products which eliminates eggs.  Adding dairy takes me out of the strict Vegan diet.

There are two main reasons why I don’t eat meat.   I truly dislike the way animals are raised and slaughtered by the large producers and after eating nothing but vegetables, grains and fruit, even the smell of meat bothers me.  I’ve never noticed before that each animal tastes like it smells.  Beef has a bloody, manure taste, chicken tastes like the henhouse and goat, well I’ve not had goat meat, but I can’t get some of the cheese past my nose nor the milk.

The physical results of the Vegetarian adventure have been encouraging.  I’ve lost 15 pounds and one dress size; my total cholesterol is lower ( I’m also taking a statin) and I have more energy.  My knee pain is gone but I have to credit that to a Kenalog shot and also I know exactly what foods cause me to develop a migraine.  When I began the adventure I didn’t have a clue as to what triggered the headaches.

So the adventure was well worth the time and effort.  I will continue with the low-fat vegetarian diet.  Low fat because genetic testing recommended it and it works for me.  I’ve also learned not to worry about what other people think or say.  My family is accepting and they are enjoying the new recipes, one of which will end this article.  The excitement of doing something new is over but I have confidence that this is a diet that I will be able to maintain over the rest of my life.  To all of you who have followed my blog you have my heart-felt thanks.  Reader response made a huge difference for me.  I will close this chapter with a new recipe, and keep checking the blog, I’m on to bigger and better things!

Stir Fried Green Beans

Five handfuls of whole Green Beans, frozen are fine

1 tblsp of Olive Oil

1 tblsp of Tamari 

1/2 tsp of Garlic powder

Wok for frying

Heat the Wok and add the oil.  When the oil is fragrant but not smoking add the green beans and sprinkle the garlic powder over them.  Stir fry the beans for 5 to 7 minutes then add the Tamari  and continue to stir until the liquid is absorbed.  Serve immediately, beans should be slightly crunchy.  Serves 4


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.


90 Day Vegetarian Adventure Day 33 – How To Stay On the Eating Well Wagon

Let’s face it, this Vegetarian Adventure is not easy.  Living in the US means there are lots of quick, unhealthy choices everywhere you go, even in your own freezer.  So how do you stay on the Eating Well  Wagon? . . . Great cookbooks, planning meals, shopping for fresh ingredients, and COOKING.

Case in point, last night my husband was out-of-town,  the rest of the family was tired from a busy week.  I had planned to fix veggie fajitas and realized too late that the last shopping trip was disorganized and did not include pinto beans.  So, it’s pouring rain and my 9-month granddaughter is sleeping.  It’s not a good time to run to the store for just one item.  I made a healthy green salad, however, threw chicken nuggets into the oven, thinking that I wouldn’t eat them.  Just for the rest of the family, right?  Wrong, when I am tired and hungry, I’m weak.  I actually ate chicken nuggets, blech, I don’t even like them and they are definitely not part of the Adventure.

Staying on the wagon begins with great cookbooks.  See the book recommendations here.  Dr. Dean Ornish is one of my favorite authors along with Laurel’s Kitchen.  A great way to try out a cook book before you buy it is to check it out of the library.  You have three weeks to try the recipes.

Planning meals and shopping your plan not only keeps you eating healthy but also saves gas, time and money.  Keep healthy choices on hand and have a list available for whenever you run out of something.  Buying food for a family means stocking choices that aren’t necessarily part of your own eating plan, hence the chicken nuggets. However, if you make sure your own choices are in the freezer it’s easier to make food for everyone.

Then, cook your plan.  Prepare what you can in the morning, for example, put the beans on to cook, or place ingredients in a slow cooker.  Or you can prepare some of the ingredients the night before and refrigerate them.  It’s so helpful to have dinner partially ready in the evening when you are tired.  Following these guidelines helps me to continue to eat in a healthy way, staying on the Eating Well Wagon.

Do you have tips for staying on the Wagon?  Please leave your comments!