Things I have learned in the past 3 months:
#1) I love bad for me foods. Love them. But when I eat them every day or have too much of them in general, I feel bad. Usually both physically and mentally.
#2) I love good for me foods. LOVE them! And you can never have too much of a good thing!
#3) Even though I think binges will make me happy, they never ever do. Not even while I’m on one. Not before, not during and definitely not after.
#4) My love of cooking, thankfully, goes beyond the “control” aspect I originally used it for. I was afraid if I stopped counting calories I would no longer enjoy cooking. I love it more now than when I was on a “diet”. I no longer use it as an excuse to alienate myself from people, and now I can even share it with my friends and family!
I will take these things and learn from them. Especially #3. That one has been a big stumbling block. I feel like it’s one of those “Fool me once…” sort of things….and at this point its WAY past “…shame on me.”
Eating healthy this past week has really taught me how much more awesome I feel about me when I treat my body with the respect it deserves. It is not a trash can. It’s OK to have homemade mac & cheese, but not paired with chocolate chip peanut butter muffins for breakfast and deep fried sausage meatballs with heavy cream sauce for dinner. I need to balance the good with the bad. Having at least 1 sensible meal a day (lunch always being either soup or a sandwich…a salad would be acceptable as well) has REALLY helped open my eyes to the fact that I ENJOY making healthy meals just as much, if not MORE, than making unhealthy ones.
I wake up in the morning and, instead of asking myself, “What do I want for breakfast?” I ask, “How can I feel good about myself today?” and come up with a game plan.
Banana Oatmeal Bread Mini Loaf
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 15 – 18 minutes
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (also added nutmeg, allspice, a tiny bit of ground clove and a little ginger)
1/2 banana, mashed
1 egg white
1 tablespoon pumpkin butter (optional) (I just used regular margarine and added pumpkin spices to the recipe)
Note: If the banana doesn’t add enough sweetness for you, adding two teaspoons of brown sugar may help! (I of COURSE added this, just the 2 t though, no more than that!)
1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2 Stir oats, baking soda and cinnamon together in a bowl
3 Add banana, egg white and pumpkin butter and mix with a mixer until everything is combined and no clumps of banana remain
4 Spray mini loaf pan with cooking spray and pour batter into pan
5 Bake 15- 18 minutes, until loaf is set and springs back when touched lightly on top
*This recipe suggests breaking up the loaf on top of some greek yogurt, so that’s what I did! I put an extra little dollop on top and to finish sliced the other half of the banana and threw it on! This was MAD yummy, and of course I felt great about myself after eating it!
My husband picked up a big pork loin that he cooked in a crock pot for about 8 hours or so. He told me I could use some if I wanted to, so of course there’s no way I’m passing up an opportunity for free food and fun experimentation!
Great Northern Bean and Lentil Stew with Ham
2 (14.5 oz.) cans cannellini beans, or 1 cup dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight and cooked (I only had canned Great Northern Beans, but at least they were a white bean!)
3/4 cup brown lentils
5 cups ham stock or chicken stock (I used the juices from the cooked pork left in the crock pot…DAAAAAAMN!)
ham rinds or ham flavor base to flavor the stew (Optional, but recommended. If you don’t have ham rinds, use Ham Flavor Base, made by Penzeys or Goya.) (Since I used the pork juices, I didn’t think this step necessary for me)
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery (I ACTUALLY WENT AND BOUGHT CELERY FOR THIS!!!)
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 cup diced ham (or more if not using ham rinds or ham flavor base) (Obviously I used the crock-pot pork)
1-2 T balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
If using dried beans, soak overnight in cold water, then drain, add fresh water, and cook over low heat until beans are softened but still have a slight bite to them. This will take 40 minutes to an hour, or possibly more, depending on how old the beans are. When beans are cooked but firm, they’re ready to be used in the recipe.
If using canned beans, drain into colander placed in the sink, then rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears. Let drain until needed for recipe.
Chop carrots, celery, and onions into fairly small pieces. Chop ham into slightly larger pieces, reserving ham rinds if there are any.
In medium sized soup pot, add lentils, ham or chicken stock, carrots, celery, onions, parsley, bay leaves, dried thyme, dried oregano, and ham rinds if you have any. (If I don’t have ham rinds I use a teaspoon or so of ham flavor base.) Let simmer at low heat about 30 minutes, until lentils and vegetables are starting to soften.
Remove bay leaves and ham rinds (if using.) Add cannellini beans, diced ham, and about 1 cup water (depending on how much liquid has cooked out.) Continue to simmer at low heat, 45 minutes or more, until most of lentils have at least partly broken apart and dissolved into the broth. Taste for seasoning and add more black pepper and salt if desired. Stir in balsamic vinegar, turn off heat and serve hot.
*This was one of the best soups I’ve ever made, I even allowed it to simmer for an hour, normally I have a hard time waiting that long! It came out perfect and WONDERFUL and I accidentally made too much. There’s an average heaping 1 cup serving sitting in the fridge now next to some leftover mac and cheese from when my cousin was over. Maybe lunch tomorrow? We’ll see!
Roasted Butternut Squash sauce with Penne
1 small butternut squash, about 2 pounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs sage leaves, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
3 sprigs thyme leaves, minced (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth or light vegetable broth
1-1/2 cups low-fat milk or soy milk
fresh ground black pepper
16 ounces penne pasta
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese or fresh breadcrumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. Stand the squash on the large end. Use a large knife or cleaver and cut in half from the stem to the bottom. If you have a rubber mallet, you can use it to tap the blunt side of the blade to help push the knife through the squash. Place the cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the skin can be easily pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and set aside until it is cool enough to handle. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and put it into a bowl. Mash the squash until it’s smooth.
4. In the 3-quart pot, heat the olive oil and saute the shallots and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, stirring, until they soften. Add the mashed squash, sage, stock, and milk. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm while cooking the pasta.
5. Reduce oven heat to 350° F.
6. In the 8-quart pot bring water to a boil. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente, not too soft. The pasta will absorb some of the liquid from the sauce in the oven, so don’t overcook it. Drain well and put back into the pot.
7. Pour the sauce over the pasta in the pot, stirring to mix well. Pour sauce and pasta into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 15 minutes, until the sauce is a little bubbly and the cheese is a light gold color. Serve hot.
*I did not bake mine as I didn’t feel like it and was too anxious to eat since it looked so good! I also added chopped pecans, a little chicken (which I cooked with the onions and garlic) and some chopped tomato on top. Delectable! The pecans added the perfect body and crunch! I kept thinking I should add some other veggie or something to it, but decided against that, and I’m glad I did. It was perfect the way it was! For dessert I normally have ice cream, but ran out. So instead I had the rest of those Airheads I had laying around. They’re only 60 cals each and I had 3 of them which about equals a small bowl of ice cream! I was happy!
My husband woke up earlier than expected today, so I couldn’t do my yoga. That always puts a little bump in how I feel about myself for the day. I also injured my ankle 2 days ago and its still pretty swollen, so I decided against the gym. Instead, I just did some nice low-impact stair stepping here at home. I hate not being able to go to the gym though. I feel like a sloth (which are adorable by the way…so I feel lazy, yet adorable) so I have to get up and do SOMETHING. I felt decently good about myself afterwards, here’s hoping my ankle feels better tomorrow!
Exercise: 1/2 hour on stair stepper