Food and weight-maintenence blog for the POST diet girl

Archive for the ‘Spinach’ Category

What day is it?

The days are just flying by. I want nothing more than more time right now. I just need some time. I wish I was 10 different people so I could get things done faster. I’m going to be spending the day today getting more stock into my online store. I wish I didn’t take on projects that I know are going to be more difficult and yet charge the same price for them. I shouldn’t only make $36 for an entire day’s work. And even then, I don’t make that. I have to buy supplies. I feel a little stuck right now. It will be ok. I will get this project into my store and sell it relatively quickly. I always do. I tend to sell what I make within 1-3 days.

And the cat keeps using me for a springboard. Glad to know I’m useful.

Breakfast:

Peach Bread Pudding with a Strawberry Compote

Adapted from: http://fishfoodblog.com/2009/06/bread-pudding/#comments

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound of challah or french bread
1 cup of buttermilk
1 cup of half and half
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of cloves (if using ground cloves, use half the amount)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 29oz can of peach halves, chopped

Strawberry compote:

4 pints of fresh strawberries
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of lime juice

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Spray each ramekin with cooking spray, set aside.
3. Cut the bread into 1/2 inch cubes
4. Mix together eggs, milk, half and half, sugars, spices, and vanilla.
5. Add the bread to the egg mixture and combine until the bread is
soaked thoroughly.
6. Add the chopped peaches, and stir until combined.
7. Fill each ramekin with the bread and peaches until it reaches the top.
8. Set all the ramekins in a roasting pot, and fill with water so it
reaches half way up each ramekin.
9. Bake for 30 – 40 min, or until top is golden brown.

For the Strawberry compote:
1. Combine strawberries, lime juice, and sugar in a blender. Blend
until smooth and serve over top the bread pudding.

*The original called for a raspberry compote, I only had strawberries so that’s what I used. Worked just as well! I used up a lot of stray ingredients in my fridge with this. It was wonderful, although I insist on eating things when they are far too hot. I would have enjoyed this a lot more had I waited an appropriate time for it to cool. Otherwise it was top notch! LOVED the strawberry compote (although its not a real compote, we won’t judge the author too harshly ^_^) and did in fact eat all of it. I used a bit less bread than I should have, so I didn’t feel too bad about eating it all.

Lunch:

Tomato, Almond and Tarragon Soup with Corn and Celery

Once again, a lot of the amounts I put into this elude me, I cannot remember. But I can try!

1.5 cups canned crushed Tomatoes
1/3 cup Coconut Milk
1/2 T Honey
1/4 cup sliced Almonds
1 Roma Tomato, chopped
1/3 cup Corn
1 stalk Celery, sliced
Fresh chopped Tarragon
1 T Tomato Paste
1 t ground Ginger
Crushed Red Pepper to taste
S&P to taste
Uhh…probably other things I am forgetting…

I simmered the crushed tomato, chopped tomato, tomato paste, corn, celery and seasonings for about 15-20 minutes. I blended the coconut milk, almonds and honey with a little olive oil in a food processor until the almonds were well chopped. I added that mixture into the soup and allowed it to warm up and cook through another 5 minutes or so. This was really good! I’m sometimes impressed at what my head can come up with given what I have left in the fridge. I have to get used to using up everything and allowing nothing to go to waste since I will soon be living on my own and probably somewhat poor.

Dinner:

Pistachio Asparagus Pesto Pasta

Taken from: http://www.closetcooking.com/2009/07/pistachio-asparagus-pesto-on-penne.html

(makes 4 servings) Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound pasta
1 cup pistachio asparagus pesto (see below)
parmigiano reggiano to taste (grated, optional garnish)
asparagus tips (optional garnish)
pistachios (chopped, optional garnish)
Added:
1/2 Zucchini, sliced
1 cup Mushrooms, sliced in half

 

Directions:
1. Cook the pasta in well salted water as directed on the package.
2. When the pasta is cooked to al dente drain the pasta water reserving some of it.
3. Pour the pasta back into the still hot pan, add the pesto and enough of the pasta water to make a smooth sauce that coats the pasta.
4. Serve garnished with parmigiano reggiano, the asparagus tips and some chopped pistachios.

Pistachio Asparagus Pesto

(makes 1 cup pesto)

Ingredients:
1 cup asparagus (cleaned, trimmed, blanched and chopped)
1/4 cup spinach (optional, helps keep the pesto nice and green)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons pistachios (toasted)
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (grated)
3 tablespoons olive oil
lemon juice to taste (optional)
salt to taste

Directions:
1. Place everything into a food processor and blend.

*I put this all on whole wheat penne. I tossed all of the veggies with some olive oil, lemon juice and salt and roasted them in the oven for around 20 minutes at 400…a bit long…15 minutes would have sufficed. I made the pesto exactly as directed (perfect way to use up just the little bit of spinach I had left!) and topped it all with a little extra grated cheese. HOLY SHIT! Yup, this was one of those REALLY impressive recipes! Incredibly fresh and tasty! I finally re-stocked my fridge if you couldn’t tell. I don’t know how, but I managed to eat all of this! It was a TON of food, but it was SO good!

For some reason, my husband bought me chocolate. So I had  a few pieces of that for dessert in lieu of my usual small bowl of ice cream. I don’t ask questions when given free chocolate.

Tomorrow is yet another day of working my butt off…another day where it’s gorgeous outside and I don’t get to go on a walk because I have so much work to do. Another day where I don’t get much farther in the money department…sorry. I don’t mean to be so down. I just want to get out of here so badly and its such a slow process. Maybe I can get some pics taken of my Harley today so I can get it up on Craigslist and whatnot.

P.S. I had a HUGE bag of that chocolate too and didn’t binge on it. I will take my small victories where I can get them!

Exercise: 1/2 hour of yoga, 1 hour at the gym (running went really well today!!)

When does hard work pay off?

I feel I’ve been doing nothing but working my ass off. My bills are due tomorrow and I’ve nothing to show for it. I went through and raised my prices a little on a couple of time-consuming pieces. (Basically, I’m not even making minimum wage on some of the pieces I make because they take up so much time.) I’m hoping this will help, but I feel as though I’m swimming in place. Moving, working hard, staying afloat, but going nowhere.

I need to sell my bike.

Breakfast:

Breakfast Apple Granola Crisp

Taken from: http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/10/breakfast-apple-granola-crisp/

3 pounds* of whatever apples, or mix of apples, you like to bake with, peeled, cored and cut into medium chunks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup flour
2 cups oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, as you wish; I used unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix apple chunks with lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and pinch of salt in a 9×13-inch baking dish until apples are evenly coated. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the honey. Stir in the flour, oats, almonds, coconut and another pinch of salt until clumps form. Sprinkle evenly over the apple mixture and bake in the oven for about 45 to 55 minutes, or until the apples are softened and bubbly. Should the granola brown before you wish it to, cover the baking dish carefully with foil for all but the last few minutes of baking time, when removing the foil will help the granola recrisp. Cool to room temperature and then stash in the fridge to eat with your morning yogurt.

*400° was ridiculously too hot for this. I had to take mine out after 25 minutes because I could smell it burning. I picked out the burned pieces and did try to cover it and let it bake a little longer, but this didn’t really help much. 350° for 40 minutes would probably be perfect. Granted, I used only one little tiny apple that I had gotten from Panera on my lunch with Nicole and Gwendylon and it wasn’t nearly enough fruit, so I added raisins and dried cranberries. But I still feel the granola crumble does not need to be baked that hot. The apples will still bake just fine at a lower temperature for the same amount of time. While it tasted ok, this ended up being sub-par due to the burning (even though I picked out most of the burned parts) and I think I could do a lot better next time.

Lunch:

African Quinoa Peanut Soup

Adapted from: http://forkfingerschopsticks.com/quinoa-african-peanut-quinoa-soup/

Serves 6

3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped small

1 red bell pepper, diced small

2 celery stalks, diced small

2 medium sweet potatoes, diced 1 inch pieces (about 3 cups) (I used just regular russet potatoes)

1 large jalapeno, deseeded and deveined, diced small (Didn’t have any, so I left this out)

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 small zucchini, diced 1 ½ inches

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

8 cups water

1 cup chunky peanut butter (fresh ground or jarred – natural without sweeteners/oil)

2 cups frozen or fresh okra, optional* (I actually added chickpeas instead)

Method

In a small bowl, rinse quinoa until water runs clear. Do not skip this step. Prepare and measure out all remaining ingredients in advance.
Heat a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high heat, add oil and onion, red bell pepper, celery, sweet potatoes, jalapeno and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are slightly soft. Next add zucchini, minced garlic, cumin, oregano, pepper and salt; sauté 2 to 3 minutes, careful not to burn garlic. Add 8 cups water, deglaze pot with a wooden spoon. Add quinoa (rinsed and drained). Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat, simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa is cooked.
Remove about 1 1/2 cups of hot liquid from the soup, pour into a small bowl. Add peanut butter to small bowl, use a wooden spoon or a whisk to blend and make a thin paste. (This step prevents clumping.) Pour peanut paste into the soup, and mix well. Simmer 5 – 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot, topped with a few rough chopped peanuts.

Note: If using okra, add at the end of cooking and cook until it is just heated throughout – otherwise, if overcooked, it could get slimy. Frozen okra works best and do not thaw before cooking.

*This was good! VERY different and interesting! I do wish I had jalapenos because they would have gone really well with the peanut flavour. I pureed half of this because once again, I like thick soups. You don’t have to do that of course. ^_^ I also smashed most of the potato inside the soup. Really good, really unique!

Dinner:

I winged a lot of this. I did use a crust recipe (which of course I altered with whole wheat)

Quick and Easy Pizza Crust

Adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Quick-and-Easy-Pizza-Crust/Detail.aspx?prop31=2

Ingredients

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour (I used half bread flour half whole wheat)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or baker’s peel dusted with cornmeal. Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

I made an alfredo pesto sauce out of milk, cream cheese, fresh grated Parmesan, garlic, fresh basil, olive oil and S&P. Just whatever amounts looked good and taasted good, I couldn’t tell you what quantities I used of each, I’ve no idea. I also topped this pizza with crumbled goat’s cheese, sliced mushrooms, diced tomato, baby spinach, vadallia onion, grated mozzarella and pine nuts. What an AMAZING Meatless Monday treat!!! Just INCREDIBLY fresh-tasting an delicious!

ALSO: I didn’t eat the entire pizza. I still have 3 pieces in the fridge. I’m feeling great!

Tomorrow is another “work my ass off” day. I’d love to actually go to the gym, maybe do some treadmill running, that would make me incredibly happy. I’d like to leave the house for a while and not be running errands/spending money I don’t have. I’m out of fruits and veggies though for the most part. I really have no veggies. I may HAVE to stop at the fresh market for some. Luckily, I can get out of there for less than $10 most of the time. This will have to be one of those times.

Exercise: 4 mile walk

Decor

One of the things I’m most looking forward to with my new place is decorating.

I didn’t get much of a say in any of the decor in this house. Not that I really cared that much, I like how it’s decorated.

But there is a severe lack of unicorns…

Oh do I EVER have my eye on this puppy…the level of want I have for this, well, we’ll just say it’s turned up to 11. ROCK!!!

Now I only need $100 burning in my pocket.

Breakfast:

Parmesan Spinach Cakes

Taken from: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/parmesan_spinach_cakes.html

4 servings, 2 spinach cakes each

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes
Nutrition Profile

Diabetes appropriate | Low calorie | Low carbohydrate | High calcium | High potassium | Gluten free |
View Our Nutrition Guidelines »
Ingredients

12 ounces fresh spinach, (see Note)
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, or low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
2 large eggs, beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Added:
1 T Pine Nuts

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Pulse spinach in three batches in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add ricotta (or cottage cheese), Parmesan, eggs, garlic, salt and pepper; stir to combine.
Coat 8 cups of the muffin pan with cooking spray. Divide the spinach mixture among the 8 cups (they will be very full).
Bake the spinach cakes until set, about 20 minutes. Let stand in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and turn out onto a clean cutting board or large plate. Serve warm, sprinkled with more Parmesan, if desired.

*I missed the part in this recipe where it said it only made 8 cakes, so I accidentally only made 2 meaning to make 3 or 4.  It’s okay as in the end after eating them, they were SO delicious I was completely satisfied and didn’t need any more. The pine nuts are simply a MUST to add! They bring a certain something  in taste and texture and go incredibly well with the spinach. These are super healthy, gluten-free and don’t take long to make!

Lunch:

Spinach Salad with Chickpeas, Raisins and Carrots

Quick quick quick!! I needed to get a project finished, walked to the post office, and then walk to my brother’s! He and my sister-in-law were taking me to Sonic for dinner (yup…we wanted to try the new sweet potato tots!) so I just needed something REALLY fast, but high in nutrients, to get me through the afternoon! I also threw some walnuts and a little low-fat sesame ginger dressing on top of this. YUM!!!

After working my ass off and finishing my project, I begin my trek to the post office. I had precious little time to get there as I left SLIGHTLY late and needed to make it before they closed!

So I ran.

Then it began to rain. Soft. Hard. Then VERY hard.

I ran nearly the entire 2 miles there in the rain. With a backpack on.

I dramatically open the door SOAKING wet and out of breath. They were JUST about to close. I loudly inquire, “DID I MAKE IT??” to which all the ladies laughed at the pathetic state I was in. They of course allowed me in to drop off my package and dry off a little.

THAT was fun.

If I didn’t make it, it would not have been fun. But I DID. So it was a fucking blast.

I can RUN now!!!!!

Dinner:

Oh you fuckin’ better BELIEVE I treated myself to these bitches after that ordeal! I also had:

Their Chicago-style Hot Dog! It’s very much not bad at all! AND not bad for you! I also had a diet cherry lime-aid per recommendation of my sister-in-law. What a great day!!!

My only disappointment was that I saw no rainbow. Don’t fret! There will be plenty more next-times for running through the rain!

Exercise: 1/2 hour of yoga, 3 miles running/walking

Difficult times and eating disorders

I feel extremely lucky.

When I had an eating disorder, my brain wasn’t getting the right nutrients it needed to function properly. In retaliation, my brain inflicted on me a terrible depression among many other issues. I’ve always been an incredibly happy, optimistic, “never-let-anything-get-me-down” type of person. If I wasn’t smiling when I walked into my retail job, people (my co-workers, even regular customers) would immediately ask me if everything was alright. So when I became depressed and shut myself off from the world for a year, it was very apparent that something was wrong. This wasn’t me. Who was this? Who’s mind was living in the same body? Wait…was it even my BODY anymore? I wanted control…but this wasn’t even ME controlling myself now…so what’s the point? How did I let it get so bad that I once again gave up control?

Then 3 months ago I woke up and realized this was no way to live. I started eating real, nutritious foods again. I stopped worrying about calories and started focusing on good fats, protein, potassium, whole grains, vitamins and all those good things I’d been missing. I was so fucking focused on just one number and then wondered why things didn’t add up.

Now I feel absolutely AMAZING. My mind is back to my old self. I’m no longer somebody else. I am happy ALL the time, confident as hell, independent, no one but ME controls me. My body feels great. Looks great. I can take whatever life throws at me and shove it right back into its face.

List of shit I would be going through right now if I still had an eating disorder:

– Crippling depression. I would probably not be leaving the house.

– Severe self-hatred. No one could possibly hate me more than I hated me.

– Severe malnutrition.  I would have probably stopped eating entirely by now. What I would eat would probably be crap on late-night binges.

– Lack of any form of confidence. “My husband doesn’t want me. No one will ever want me. I’m ugly. I’m fat. I’m a mess. I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life.”

– Self-blame. Even though I’d been nothing but an unconditionally loving wife who stood by him through thick and thin, I would have found some way to make this affair my fault. And I would have punished myself mentally and physically for it.

This is not the person you’ve been seeing this past week.

This was the disordered me.

I’m so glad she’s gone. This ordeal would be impossible to manage if she were still here.

I am lucky I woke up when I did.

Breakfast:

Strawberry Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Walnut Syrup

Taken from:

Ingredients

    • 4 large eggs, separated
    • 2 cups ricotta cheese
    • 2/3 cup sour cream
    • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour( I used whole wheat)
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 1/2 cups whole milk (I used 2%)
  • Melted butter

Preparation

Whisk yolks, ricotta and sour cream in large bowl to blend. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in another large bowl to blend. Add flour mixture to yolk mixture and stir until combined. Stir in milk. Using electric mixer, beat whites in another large bowl on medium speed until soft peaks form. Fold beaten whites into batter. Heat griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Brush with butter. Working in batches, spoon 2 tablespoons batter onto griddle for each pancake. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with maple syrup.

-I also chopped up some strawberries and threw them in. Then I added a little vanilla extract, honey and cinnamon.

Lemon Walnut Syrup

1/3 cup Water
1.5 T Sugar
1 T Lemon Pudding/Pie Filling mix
1/2 T Lemon Juice
More water or juice as needed

Boil water. Dissolve sugar in water. Add lemon pudding mix and lemon juice and cook until thickened. Add more water to thin it out to desired consistency. Serve on top of pancakes with chopped walnuts.

*Yup. Holy crap. I didn’t get to whip the egg whites, but they still came out beautiful! They were delicious and not terrible for me! The whole wheat was a great idea, it was perfect with the lemon and strawberry! I would love to try and whip the egg whites next time, but honestly I didn’t need to. ^_^

Lunch:

Veggie Mix “Salad”

I needed something quick before going for a walk, so I microwaved some frozen peas and corn with some sliced carrots and baby spinach for about 4 minutes in a bit of water. After they were done, I drained them, added some chopped onion, Feta cheese, a little apple cider vinegar, about 1 t margarine, 1/4 t Chinese 5-spice, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  It was wonderful! Nice and light for an afternoon walk! Yum yum!

Dinner:

Apple Cheddar Meatballs with Red Wine BBQ Apple sauce

Apple Cheddar Meatballs

Adapted from: http://sweetluvininthekitchen.blogspot.com/2011/06/apple-cheddar-meatalls.html

Ingredients
1 pound ground turkey or pork (I used lean beef)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used quick-cook oats)
1 small, tart apple, such as granny smith, peeled and grated
1/2 small onion, grated
1/2 cup chopped parsley (Instead I used mint and tarragon)
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
I also added cinnamon and a pinch of ground clove

Mix all ingredients together with your hands. Mold into small balls and place on an oiled baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes, turning the meatballs halfway through.

While these were baking, I made some vegetable linguini. I was going to make couscous (next time I probably will) but I wanted the good vitamins and nutrients out of the vegetable linguini.

Red Wine BBQ Apple Sauce:

Ingredients
1/4 cup Red Wine
1/8 cup BBQ Sauce (I used a Michigan Cherry one for more fruit flavour)
1.5 T Teriyaki Sauce
A splash of Brandy
1 T Applesauce (or in my case I actually processed some extra apple chunks into mine)
1/2 small Apple, sliced
1/2 T chopped Tarragon
Pinch of Cardamom
1.5 T Brown Sugar
S&P to taste

I blended all the sauce ingredients in a processor except for the sliced apples. I poured the sauce into a pan, added the apples,  and allowed it to reduce a bit until it was the thickness I wanted. I added some baby spinach and allowed that to wilt. I took it off of the heat and poured it on top of the meatballs and vegetable linguini.

*I always enjoy my apple and meat combinations. I miss my Captain Morgan’s Tattoo rum (my husband doesn’t even like it, but drank it all one night when he was desperate), it goes SO well in apple sauces. I always try to compensate with other alcohols and it never matches the awesome spices in that particular dark rum. Otherwise, if you had nothing to compare this to, it would be really amazing hehe!

I finally called my dad today. I had to break it to him that I was getting a divorce for the same reason my mother divorced him. It was really hard for him to take. He wants to see me for dinner sometime this week. We will talk over possible money/finance issues during that time. He knows I’ll pay him back, but I doubt he’ll take my money. He doesn’t need it. He can afford to give me $400 for a deposit. And even then, he’ll get it back when I eventually move out of my apartment.

I hope to get an apartment that faces East so I can watch the sunrise. This is the only luxury I am asking for. A window to the East. I hope it isn’t too much to ask…

Bunnies, cats and death on Meatless Monday

This is my first post inspired by another’s blog.

A beautifully written account of death and how one can react to it was published here by rabbitheartedjo. It was about a decomposing rabbit that she offhandedly saw in the road. It really opened my eyes to how different people with different minds, thoughts, even disorders…think so much differently than I do in incredibly similar situations. Do we choose how we react? Do our brains all intrinsically work the same but we program ourselves to react positively/negatively/indifferent to certain things? I do know for certain that I programmed my own disorder and I can program myself out, but what about others? Is it deeper? Harder? More complicated than that? How do our minds work?

I once was going on a walk, as I very very often do during the summer. I hear a terrible thud in front of me and watch as a beautiful black cat (much like the one I have now) is thrown from under the tire of a car in the middle of the road. Another passerby, who’d also witnessed the entire ordeal, asks me if there’s anything we should do. We walk out into the road, damn any car who wants to get by…they can go around us. We lean down over the cat. He’s gurgling, barely breathing. I think he can see me, but I’m not sure. It seems almost as if he’s looking through me. I ask the other passerby if we ought to move him. I touch the cat’s head, letting him know someone was there. His eyes glaze over in a way I’ve never seen before…the light literally fading out of them. His stomach goes flat. His last breath. His head hits the pavement, slowly, sadly. He dies under my gentle touch. We don’t know what we should do. He’s gone. So we just leave him. He was hit far enough to the side that people will probably just avoid his body.

It was by far the saddest thing I ever witnessed in my life.  I was happy though. Happy to know that in those last seconds, if he couldn’t see me, maybe he could feel me. He could feel that someone was there. That someone gave a shit that he was dying. Someone cared. The person who hit him didn’t bother stopping.

In the weeks to come, I would go walking. I walk to the post office pretty much every day, it’s a great way to get exercise. I would pass by the cat every day. Nobody bothered to move him . City workers never came to remove his body from the road. I watched him decompose. Deteriorate. Little by little, day by day. I wished I had brought a camera. I wanted to take a picture of him every day to remind myself how the cycle of life works. Dust to dust. Eventually, he was nothing but a small smear on the pavement. He was gone. Again.

It was the first time I’d ever witnessed real death. Yes, I’ve been to funerals. I’ve seen dead people. Dead things. Dead animals in the road. I’ve seen animals get hit and die. But having something basically die in your arms is so much different. Watching their eyes go from alive to dead. It was heart-wrenching.

And it was a most poignant and beautiful reminder that I was alive.

This experience was one of the first indicators that I had a problem I needed to fix.

Life is so wonderful. I adore being alive. I fear death. It’s pretty much the only thing I fear at all. I cannot let that affect how I live though. I live life every single day to its fullest. It’s incredibly difficult for me to sit and do nothing. I have to squeeze everything I can out of every minute of every day. I have to be HAPPY, there’s no time to waste one more damned second being depressed. Because you never know.

You never know when you’ll get hit by a car.

Breakfast:

Apple & Cinnamon Whole Grain Breakfast Strata
serves 6 to 8Taken from: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-apple-cinnamon-whole-gr-137484

8 eggs
2 cups 1% milk
1/3 cup organic cane sugar OR dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 pounds whole-grain loaf, sliced 1/4″ thick crosswise
3 medium firm apples (about 1 1/4 pound), cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick

For the glaze
3 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons agave syrup
2 tablespoons 1% milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Lightly butter or oil a 9×13-inch casserole dish. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. Whisk in the milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg until thoroughly combined.

Cut the crusts off the bread slices, cutting each slice into a rectangular shape. Layer half of the bread slices in the bottom of the baking pan. Layer all of the apple slices on top of the bread. Top apple layer with the other half of the bread slices.

Pour the egg mixture over the layered bread and apples. Cover refrigerate overnight. (Note: The casserole can be baked immediately, but expect it not to be quite as dense and uniform in texture.)

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350°F. Cover the strata with aluminum foil. Bake for 35 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 15 minutes. (Note: If your strata is coming straight out of the fridge, still cold, add an additional 10 minutes to the covered baking time.)

For the glaze, warm all of the ingredients together in the microwave or on the stovetop until quite soft. (I microwaved mine for 45 seconds.) Whisk thoroughly in a fork, then drizzle over the warm strata. Dust lightly with cinnamon.

Let the strata stand for 10 minutes to firm up, then serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit.

*I’m not certain why this was only mediocre. It had everything in it that I wanted, I don’t think I let it bake long enough, the eggs weren’t completely set. I would suggest that if you make this you let it bake a bit longer than instructed. Otherwise, it wasn’t terrible. Just not what I’d hoped for.

Lunch:

“Matar Paneer” inspired Soup with Peas, Goat’s Cheese and Chickpeas

2 cups home-canned crushed Tomatoes
2/3 cup Chickpeas
1/2 cup Peas
1/4 small Onion, diced
Fresh grated Ginger
1 oz Goat’s Cheese
1/2 t Coriander
1/2 t Paprika
1/3 t Cumin
1/4 t White Pepper
Fresh chopped Parsley
Salt to taste
Pine Nuts
1 T Olive Oil

Bring the crushed tomatoes to a simmer and let the chickpeas cook and soften in that for about 10 minutes. Add the corriander, cumin, paprika and white pepper. A bit of salt. Blend all that in a blender. Add the puree back to the pot and keep warm. While that is cooking, sautee the sweet onion, peas and fresh grated ginger in the olive oil. Add all that to the puree and let that get warm together for about another 5 mins. Melt in about an oz of goats cheese. Served with pine nuts on top and another little drizzle of olive oil for taste.

*This was incredibly delicious!!!  I actually feel incredibly smart for coming up with this. A friend and I were having a discussion about a certain Indian restaurant that I just love. The Matar Paneer is my favorite dish there (there’s lots I haven’t tried, but the last time I went, this was my favorite hehe.)  So I came up with this to sort of match those tastes. Just….wow. I was blown away with how perfect this came out. Very much made up for my disappointing breakfast! And PACKED with protein and good things for my body!

Dinner:

Black Bean and Spinach Tomato Sauce on Whole Wheat Linguini

Ohhh heck if I remember how I made this. Crushed tomatoes, 1.5 diced Romas, 1/3 can of drained black beans, handful of spinach, sliced mushrooms, garlic and onion (caramelized first in some olive oil and butter) and 1/4 cup parmesan melted in. Fresh chopped parsley, basil, some crushed red pepper, lime juice, a little sherry vinegar, S&P…put that on some whole wheat linguini. VERY good, very good for you and VERY filling! I didn’t finish this entire bowl. I just tossed the rest when I was full.

I’m learning now that I go to the grocery store and don’t even look at the candy. I feel for a split second before I walk in that I might want something sweet, and that its ok if I do. But then my mind wanders, I go into “I’m out of this” and “Do I need that?” and “How much is this compared to the other place?” mode and it completely slips my mind that I wanted candy in the first place. That never used to happen. I used to have to actively avoid walking by candy so it wouldn’t torture me. Now I think about it so little that I don’t even realize I’m standing right by it. I walk out and get in my car. Halfway home I remember “Oh yeah, I wanted to get something sweet…oh well, I forgot I guess.” My mind and thought processes are changing.

And it’s wonderful.

Exercise: 1 hour at the gym (husband woke up early and was here all night, so no yoga)

Another date night! (I hope its a good one)

I had to pick my husband up last night from a friend’s house after working out. It was nice as I had most of the day to myself. I know I’ve mentioned that my husband got a DUI back in September (I REALLY hope he’s learned his lesson because I am NOT dragging him around anymore after this) but I think I’ve failed to mention that he’s also been unemployed for 9 months now. So he’s home ALL the time. ALL THE TIME. I can’t STAND being around someone else 24/7. I know, I know…you’re asking yourself “If she hates living with someone, why did she get married?” Well, because I DO love my husband THAT MUCH. But even then, I was under the impression that you know, he’d have a JOB and would be out on a relatively regular basis for work and friends and such. And back when he DID have a job and COULD drive, this was not a problem. But having him around 24/7 is starting to drive me just slightly more insane every day.

So after having a portion of the day to myself and being in a good mood after working out looking forward to going home and making myself some dinner, I go to pick up my husband only to have him ask me “Hey is it OK if [his friend] comes back with us and stays the night? My mom is picking me up tomorrow at 1 and she can take him home.” *siiiiiiiiiiiiigh* “Uh, yeah, that’s fine I guess.”

What this means is this:

A) They’ll be drinking all night and will be all around annoying as fuck.

B) I’ll have to give up my morning routine since I don’t like doing my yoga in front of other people. (There’s nowhere else for his friend to sleep except the living room.)

C) I’ll have to be extra quiet all morning so as to not be rude.

Things I will not compromise:

A) Waking up at 7 AM. Just because they were up till 5 drinking all night doesn’t mean I’m sleeping in too. I really don’t care that there’s someone trying to sleep on the couch, not my problem if he’s only been sleeping for 2 hours. I won’t be outright rude and make a ton of noise or be an asshole about it, but I will be up at 7 AM and will be on the computer and generally in the living room all morning.This is supposed to be my “alone time” and I will be using it to the best of my ability. It really really sucks not being completely alone though. I hate this.

B) I will be making myself something for breakfast. I will be slightly noisy. This is non-negotiable.

At least I know they will be leaving at 1.

Then I can get my yoga in (though I was still really tempted to do it this morning regardless because I prefer doing my “morning yoga” in the MORNING, I decided to just wait) and go work out for a while at the gym before 6 when my husband comes home and takes me out to dinner (with me driving of course…) I AM happy about this, but at the same time will feel like my day is being rushed and I highly dislike that feeling. I’m going to try and get some work in before all of this so I don’t feel my entire day is completely wasted.

Breakfast:

Apple-Spice Muffins

Ingredients
Topping
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
Muffins
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 cups flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 apples, cored, peeled, and shredded*
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1 cup raisins
* Use pippins or Granny Smith apples for best results.

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°

Fill 20 standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Topping

1. Mix the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a spacious bowl.

2. Add the melted butter and use your fingers to toss and pinch the ingredients together, forming a coarse, crumbly mixture. Set aside.

Muffins

1. Place both sugars in a spacious mixing bowl.

2. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Whisk to combine.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and melted butter.

4. Stir the egg mixture in to the dry ingredients and mix until combined but still lumpy—do not beat smooth.

5. Add the shredded apples, chopped nuts, and raisins to the batter and mix lightly.

6. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. The cups will be quite full.

7. Sprinkle the muffins with crumb topping.

8. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.

*So I somehow managed to add too much butter to the crumb topping and it ended up being more like a pasty ALMOST crumbly frosting. Hmmm…well fuck it, I’ll just scoop that shit on top anyway! The result was this AMAZING crispy sugar coating on top that was just WONDERFUL! While I once again accidentally overcooked these a little (I had no idea 25 mins went by so fast!) they were so yummy that it totally didn’t matter one bit. Hell it probably gave time for the sugar coating on top to crisp up even more, making it just melt-in-your-mouth amazing. I also had a bunch of topping left over which I promptly ate with a spoon. Mmmmmmm!!! Sugary, buttery amazingness! Everything about these screamed awesome! I made a 1/4 recipe which resulted in 4 HUGE muffins (could have made 6 smaller ones instead, but prefer nice, big muffins!) which I ate 3 of. I’m currently waiting for one of the boys to wake up so as to offer the last one to him.

NOTE: His friend ate the muffin and really liked it. I was very happy!

Lunch:

Creamy Spinach or Cauliflower Kugel

Taken from: http://www.gourmetkoshercooking.com/2010/05/creamy-spinach-or-cauliflower-kugel/

2 cups cubed French bread
2 cups grated pizza cheese
6 eggs
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained or frozen cauliflower, thawed and drained
1 cup whole milk
½ cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cubed bread along bottom of 9 x 13-inch pan or 2-1/2 quart casserole. Sprinkle cheese over bread. Beat eggs. Add spinach (or cauliflower), milk, sour cream and salt and pepper. Pour over cheese and bread. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove covering and bake an additional 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

*Clearly I used BOTH cauliflower and spinach in this, and the results were delicious! It looks more like a breakfast than a lunch, but I had to use up the rest of my bread before it went completely bad. I wasn’t willing to wait the full hour that this wanted me to, I was of course already behind in time and feeling rushed. So I baked this covered at 400 for 25 mins and then uncovered for 15. I also sprinkled a little more cheese on top. It was exactly what I wanted!

Dinner:

For our date night my husband took me out to a local BBQ place that he got a Groupon for. It was quite good! I’m a big fan of pulled pork, so that’s what I ended up getting (with a side of potato salad). My husband has a thing for sampler platters. Luckily, they had a “personal” sized sampler, which in my opinion was still a MASSIVE amount of food. He didn’t end up finishing it all. I liked this place, but there’s another local BBQ joint in the area that I still believe I like better.

 

We wanted to go to the art museum tonight since they do Friday evening programing and are open later and such, but it was snowing rather hard and I didn’t want to drive through it any more than I absolutely had to. So we ended up doing a little shopping and then going straight home. It would have been a perfectly fine evening ending on a perfectly fine note if my husband didn’t just HAVE to be an asshole on the way home. (He loves to control everything in the car, including whether or not my windshield wipers are on or off and I called him out on this as he was reaching over to turn my wiper blades off. He insinuated that I was apparently too stupid to drive and do these little tasks at the same time so he had to do them for me. I told him I didn’t WANT them off. He said “Well then you’re paying to replace them when they get all fucked up because you’re running them on a dry windshield.” I didn’t talk to him the rest of the drive home.)

I don’t understand why he has to do that. Why he has to ruin everything all the time just to be “right” about something. It wasn’t a matter of him being right or wrong, it was a matter of him being an asshole about it. THAT’S what pissed me off.

I wonder why I can’t stand being around him all the time…

Exercise: 1/2 hour of yoga, 1.5 hours at the gym

I love learning!

I’ve been learning so many new things about food lately! I adore the science behind cooking and baking (hence my adoration for Alton Brown) and its also really neat to learn that things you though were bad for you are actually not so awful if made properly. The problem comes when you don’t understand the science.

For instance. Deep frying. This is something I of course completely shyed away from for years because everything I’ve ever seen deep-fried was always greasy and disgusting-looking. It turns out when done PROPERLY, it actually absorbs LESS oil than traditional frying and if the food comes out oily at all its because the oil was not hot enough and therefore was not fried correctly.

Taken from about.com:

” Because most foods have some moisture in them, and because oil and water don’t mix, the food’s natural moisture creates a barrier against the oil surrounding it.

That means that while the heat from the oil cooks the food, the oil itself doesn’t permeate the food at all — unless the oil isn’t hot enough.

Remember the violent reaction of hot oil to a drop of water? The hotter the oil, the more violently it repels water and other moisture. Only at temperatures below 325°F will the oil start to seep into the food and make it greasy.”

INTERESTING!!! I will DEFINITELY be trying my hand at some real deep frying! I have a thermometer, and will be certain to keep my oil at the proper temperature and do it right! I can’t wait to get back to y’all about it!

Breakfast:

Sausage Egg and Cheese Scramble

I just threw together some spicy sausage, onions, a little orange pepper and some garlic powder and scrambled it with egg and cheese. I threw some more cheese on top afterwards. I just wanted something easy that I could throw together quick and use up some extra ingredients. I have a lot of work to do so this got lots of protein into me to get me going! You can never go wrong with this combo! Next time I might use 2 different types of cheese, otherwise that’s the only change I’d make.

Lunch:

Spinach and chickpea gratin with creme fraiche topped with crispy Parmesan breadcrumbs
 
You’ll need:
 
3 medium onions roughly chopped
Olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic roughly chopped
1/2 red chilli (with some or all of the seeds removed  depending on how hot you like things) finely chopped
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 generous teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper
200gr spinach
1 tin chickpeas
3 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
2 1/2  tablespoons breadcrumbs
2/3 tub Creme Fraiche

Start by making the tomato sauce. Cook the onions in a generous glug of olive oil over a lowish heat until soft and beginning to change colour. While this is going on you can also put on your brown rice as it takes between 30 – 40 minutes although soaking it first will bring this down to about 20 minutes and makes it easier to digest.  When the onions are ready add the garlic and chilli and keep cooking until everything is nice and soft (another 5-10 minutes) then add the tomatoes and sugar. Give things a good stir then season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until everything has reduced by at least half and is a gorgeous rich, dark red. While the tomato is cooking get on with the other ingredients…

Prepare your spinach by removing any thick stalks and washing it well. Wilt it in a pot or pan. There’s no need to add any water for this as there’s enough with what is left clinging to the leaves after you wash it. When it has wilted (this will take no longer than 1-2 minutes) put it in a colander so as much water as possible can drain off. Drain the chickpeas and rinse in plenty of cold water.

To put the dish together, add the chickpeas to the  tomato sauce then pour all this into a medium sized ovenproof dish.  Squeeze any excess water from the spinach and arrange on the tomato stew in clumps the size of small dumplings.  Dot with Crème Fraiche  then top the lot with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan.

Bake in a hottish oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown.

*Pretty sure I baked this at 350 for 30 mins, which was perfect. I also used goat’s cheese instead of creme fraiche, which I do not have. It was SOOOO good!!!! I was shocked actually at how good this was. I decided to eat it as was instead of putting it on rice (as it suggested). It was *perfect* that way!

Dinner:

Cottage Pie

I totally made this one up and it was off the wall crazy good, so I will try my best to remember how I made it!

1/4 lb Ground Beef
1/3 cup frozen Corn
1/3 cup frozen Peas
1/4 small Onion, chopped
1 Carrot, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup Beef Broth
1/3 cup Red Wine
1 T (or so) Worcestershire Sauce
Paprika
Crushed Red Pepper
Cinnamon
S&P (all spices to taste)
2 t Corn Starch
1 large Potato, peeled and cubed
Sour Cream
Milk
Butter
1 clove Garlic, minced

Cook beef in saucepan. Empty onto a paper towel to soak fat/oil and set aside. Wipe out saucepan. Spray with a little oil. Saute onions. Add corn, peas, and carrots. Cook for a little while until peas and corn are thawed. Add beef broth, wine and worcestershire sauce. Add spices to taste. Allow to reduce for a little while on medium head. Add corn starch. Add more broth or wine as desired to thin or thicken the sauce. Cook until gravy is of desired thickness. Add beef. Cook to heat through. Meanwhile, boil cubed potato for 8 minutes or until soft. Mash. Add butter, sour cream, milk and garlic to taste. Pour beef and veggie mixture into an oven safe pan. Scoop mashed potatoes on top of beef. Bake uncovered at 350 about 40 minutes or until potatoes are browned on top. Enjoy!

*This was DELICIOUS! Totally the best cottage pie I’ve ever made!!!! It’s nice to know I can trust my taste in spices/ingredients. LOVED it!

HEY I got a major project done today! YAY!!! Life is awesome! I was gonna have some dessert, but I’m kinda tired as I had dinner at like 11:30 PM. Thats ok! I plan on having some form of apple spice something crazy in the morning with lots of sugar and stuff. Hehe.

Exercise: 1/2 hour of yoga, 1.5 hours at the gym

Yes! We have no cupcakes…we have no cupcakes today

Well I wanted to pick up a dozen cupcakes today (regardless of whether we have a party or not) and it didn’t occur to me that I cannot just walk into a specialty store and demand a dozen cupcakes 2 days before Christmas thinking I can just GET them. I should have placed an order a week ago. Silly me…ah well! No big deal! I’ll probably just make some myself today anyway! I need to do a fair bit of experimenting being that I’ve never actually MADE cupcakes before and plan on making them for my family as Christmas presents. I figure…I dunno, how hard can they be? Right? Right? If I experiment, my husband had better reap some form of benefit out of it because I’d rather not eat them all myself!

Breakfast:

Pumpkin Sweet Potato Tamale Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2 chipotle chiles, minced
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce from chipotle can
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce (your favourite kind, I used plain)
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn

For cornbread topping:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp molasses

Directions:

Brown beef in a large pan with onion, garlic, peppers, sweet potato, and spices. Add in sauce, beans, and corn, and let simmer for 30 mins.

While beef mixture is simmering, mix together the cornbread ingredients. You can separate the dry and wet, but I’m not picky. The pumpkin and juices from the filling usually keeps it from getting too dry from over-mixing anyways.

When the beef is done simmering, pour it into a 9×13 casserole dish and pour cornbread batter overtop. Bake in a 400F oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the cornbread clean.

*I didn’t use any sweet potato, just pumpkin chunks and pumpkin puree (fresh). There was a very similar recipe that also used cream cheese in the filling so I added about an ounce or so of that as well. This was super good, I tried desperately to get my husband to try it as well and of course A) He  insisted he didn’t want any and B) Later he complained while we were out running errands about how fucking hungry he was and that he was going to pass out unless he had something to eat. I had to stop at Wendy’s for him. He got one of those chicken wrap things. So that inspired me to make…

Lunch:

Grilled Panko Chicken Ceasar Wrap

1 Flatout Whole Wheat Sundried Tomato wrap
About 4 oz Chicken, cut into 4 strips
1/4 onion, sliced
1/3 cup (or so) of Panko breadcrumbs
About 1 T Italian Seasoning
1 t salt (I use Kosher)
1/2 Egg, beaten
Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
Newman’s Own Creamy Cesar Dressing
Reduced Fat Feta cheese
Classico Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
Fresh Spinach
1 T + 1 t Olive Oil

Mix together the Panko, Italian seasoning and salt onto a plate. Dredge chicken strips through egg and then through breadcrumb mixture. Heat olive oil in a pan until glistening. Add chicken and cook till golden brown on both sides. Remove from pan and wipe out any extra oil. Add a little extra oil (about 1 t) to pan and cook onion until translucent. Get your wrap ready! Spread on the tomato pesto (or the spread of your choice!) and add the cooked chicken. Top with the cooked onions. Drizzle on some Cesar dressing, then top with cheeses. Add some fresh spinach on top of that. Fold up, spray with a little oil and throw onto a foreman grill for about 3.5 minutes. Deliciousness will surely ensue!!!

Dinner:

Ingredients

1 10 oz package whole grain penne pasta (I didn’t have whole grain… :<)

3 Tablespoons Flour

2 Cups Fat Free Milk

14.5 ounces reduced sodium chicken broth

4 cloves garlic

1 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 Cup freshly grated Parmesan

1/2 Cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1.5 tsp minced fresh sage

dash of nutmeg

Chopped walnuts

Directions

Cook Penne Pasta

While pasta is cooking stir flour, milk and chicken broth together, set aside.

Saute garlic in olive oil.

Slowly stir in milk mixture, parmesan, canned pumpkin, parsley, sage, and nutmeg.

Cook until thickened, stirring occasionally.  Add Penne Pasta and stir.  Top with 1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts.

*Perfect ending to a perfect day! Creamy, delicious, REALLY simple, and I still get my protein in there with the walnuts!

I know you’re all worried but DON’T WORRY! I DID in fact make a tester batch of cupcakes! They were out of this world delish! They need just a LITTLE bit of tweaking, but otherwise they were seriously yummy and addicting. I ate like 4 of them. Granted, I made some in this batch a little different, left things out in this one, added stuff in that one, etc…so I could compare and make an informed decision as to how I want to prepare them for my family and friends. BUT…I still ate 4 cupcakes hehe. SO EXCITED to try again!!!

Exercise: I did not work or exercise today…I ran around running errands and then baking like a crazy person, so I had very little rest if thats any consolation to you! ^_^

I need a coffee grinder like woah.

I wanna start grinding my own coffee, for sure, but I also need something to grind up these seeds and spices! I made my own makeshift version of Chinese 5-Spice today (which I’m sure tasted NOTHING like real Chinese 5-Spice, hehe, but I did my very best!) and had to grind my fennel and peppercorn seeds with a little marble totem pole guy that I had sitting on my mantle! While it worked, I can think of so many uses for a coffee grinder (those seeds in that dressing I made yesterday, grinding actual coffee beans, making flours out of nuts and grains, etc…) so I think that’s going straight onto my Christmas list! Too bad my family doens’t read this blog, hehe. Anyway, for either lunch or dinner (or maybe both!) I’m going to specifically look for recipes to use the rest of my fake Chinese 5-Spice in!

Breakfast:

Pineapple Rice with Fried Egg

Serves 4

Ingredients:

– 1 cup brown basmati rice

– 1 tablespoon butter

– 2 cups water

– 2 teaspoons olive oil

– ½ diced red onion

– ½ teaspoon grated ginger

– ½ teaspoon Chinese five -spice

– 1 cup diced pineapple

– 3 tablespoons peanut butter

– ¼ cup soy sauce

– 1 cup spinach (I only had kale, so this is what I used)

– ¼ cup chopped almonds (I used chunky peanut butter, so didn’t bother adding more nuts)

– 4 eggs

Instructions:

Combine rice, butter and water in a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce to a simmer over low heat, cover and cook for 50 minutes.

Coat a wok with the oil and heat over high heat.  Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Stir in the ginger and the Chinese five-spice and fry for 2 more minutes.  Mix in the cooked rice, pineapple, peanut butter and soy sauce.  Stir until the peanut butter is completely melted.  Continue to sauté for 10 minutes.  Fold in the spinach and chopped almonds.  Remove the wok from the heat. 

Heat a small buttered sauté pan over medium heat.  Fry the eggs to your liking.  Plate one egg atop a few large spoonfuls of the rice per person and serve.

*So this was a recipe I found online last night while looking for a breakfast recipe using pineapple. I for some reason never thought to combine peanut butter and pineapple! Great combo! My makeshift 5-Spice was pretty good, though I will be purchasing a real mix of it soon just to taste the difference. I also wish I would have had spinach as I feel it had enough of a peppery flavour already with the 5-Spice and didn’t really need the extra pepper taste of the kale. Otherwise the rice was nice and gooey with the peanut butter and added egg on top and all in all I was not disapointed. Going to go looking right now for another 5-Spice recipe for lunch!

Lunch:

Chinese 5-Star Comfort Food

4 oz Chicken (ps, I always weigh my food PRE-cooked/raw)
1/3 cup Peas
1 medium Carrot
1 small Peach
1/4 small yellow Onion, sliced
1 medium Red Potato
1/2 T freshly “made” Chinese 5-spice (probably a bit less if you’re using the real stuff)

For the sauce:
Freshly grated Ginger
1/4 cup Apple Cider
1 T Soy Sauce
1/2 t Plum Sauce
1 t Rice Vinegar
1 t Cornstarch

Cube and boil a red potato for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, allow chicken and onion to cook in a sprayed saucepan until the onions are translucent and chicken is mostly cooked. Toss in peas, carrots and spices. Cook until chicken is done and carrots soften. Stir up all sauce ingredients in a seperate bowl. Add sauce mixture and peaches to saucepan and cook until sauce is of desired consistency. Mash the potatoes with a little milk and butter. Serve over the mashed potatoes.

I really needed like, a chicken pot pie today but didn’t really have the time or energy to actually make one. I also wanted to use up that Chinese 5-Spice I made and a pot pie just seemed a little odd to put it into. This was a nice compromise, I still got the “comfort food” effect from it and was able to use up my spices. It was quite yummy and something I would almost definitely make again, next time with real 5-Spice just to try it. ^_^

Dinner:

Tofu, Anise, Broccoli and Mushroom stir fry

I had just come home from the store and wanted to try this anise I’d bought really badly, but didn’t really have the time to look up a real recipe. I treated it sort of like I would onion and it seemed to work really super good!

1/3 block Light Tofu
1 cup Baby Bela Mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped Anise
1 clove Garlic
Whatever was left of that buttercup Squash that I had, cubed
1 cup Broccoli
A few Blackberries, halved
Spinach (since I knew I wasn’t using rice, I wanted something to bulk it up a little more)
1/4 cup Light Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Almond Milk
Splash of Rice Vinegar
Splash of Chicken Stock (or Veggie Stock of course! ~_^)
1 T Brown Sugar
A few Sage leaves, chopped
Fresh chopped Rosemary
1/4 t ground Ginger
S&P to taste

Normally I would press tofu for at least half an hour before cooking it, but I didn’t have the time tonight. I cut it into thin triangles and pressed them by hand inbetween a towel for about 30 seconds lol. So it didn’t turn out as crispy on the outside as it would have had I done it properly but its ok. It tasted great! So press your tofu for at least half an hour if you can. Spray a saucepan generously with oil and fry the tofu until both sides are golden brown, spraying a bit more oil as needed. Add anise and garlic and fry until fragrant (smells WONDERFUL!). Add broccoli, squash, mushrooms and spices. Fry until broccoli starts to soften. Add milks, vinegar, brown sugar, blackberries and chicken stock. Add a little cornstarch if needed to thicken (although I have to say, I didn’t need any in mine). Turn the heat way down and throw a couple roughly hand-torn handfuls of spinach on top. Cover and let spinach wilt for a couple minutes. Stir it in and serve!

I was CERTAIN to write this one down because I really really enjoyed it a lot. My biggest problem was that my coconut milk had gone a bit sour and I didn’t realize this untl it was already in the pan. It wasn’t BAD persay, but it was definitely not fresh. I added the brown sugar to counterbalance the slightly sour coconut milk, so if you use good milk, you can probably skip the sugar. The anise was an INCREDIBLE touch to this. I needed something to go with wine since my hubby and I were spending the evening together drinking Merlot, watching Sideways and eating some cheeses.

You guys…I’m really excited about tomorrow. Like REALLY really excited. I will let you know all about it first thing in the morning. You’re going to shit yourselves, yes, its THAT exciting!

Morning weigh-in: 125 lbs (finally back down to my target weight!)
Exercise: None today, instead had a really long talk with my husband about some things. Almost as exhausting, just as productive.

Feeling a million times better

I don’t understand why I feel the need to go crazy and eat everything in sight sometimes. It only makes me feel like shit. Physically mostly, emotionally too, but I mean its physically painful. It makes me sick. My stomach hurts for days afterwards. My problem is that I’ve told myself “no” so many times in the past couple years that I don’t know how to properly say “yes” anymore. “Yes” doesn’t translate to “eat until you’re sick”, yet I’ve done it over and over again even though I hate the effects. Why? I’m coming up with a game plan for Thanksgiving so hold tight kids, I’ll let you know at the end of this post!

Breakfast:

Baked Egg with Mushrooms, Spinach and Bacon

2 Eggs
3 large handfulls of Spinach
4 Button Mushrooms
1/4 small Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic
1 slice Turkey Bacon
About 1/2 T fresh chopped Mint
1 t fresh chopped Marjoram
2 T shredded Mozzarella cheese
S&P to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a saucepan with oil and cook bacon as directed. Remove when done and place on a paper towel off to the side. Wipe pan and respray with oil. Cook chopped onions until translucent. Add garlic and mushrooms. Cook about 1 minute and add spinach. Cook until wilted. Put spinach mixture into a strainer and lightly squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Throw back into the pan and add spices mint and marjoram. Cook for just another minute or until spices are fragrant. Crumble bacon and add to spinach. Turn off the heat and put mixture into a ramekin (or small loaf pan as I did). Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese over spinach. Crack 2 eggs on top (one of my yolks broke, I was sad) and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until eggs are cooked to your liking. (I like mine somewhere between sunny-side up and over-easy). Cool and serve!

I was proud that I tried some different spices in here. It would have been a no-brainer to just use Italian seasoning, but I went with a couple of unconventional flavors in this and it was definitely worth the risk. If you try this you will not be disappointed.

Lunch:

Creamy Pumpkin Penne

1/4 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
about 1 t chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese (1% milk fat)
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Corn
1/2 Parsnip, cut into matchsticks
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of Brown Sugar
Half a handful Arugula

Spray a saucepan with oil and add parsnips. Cook until starting to soften, about 4 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant and onions are translucent. Add corn and sage. Puree cottage cheese, pumpkin and milk in a food processor. Add pumpkin mixture to veggies. Add nutmeg, arugula, brown sugar and salt/pepper to taste. Cook until arugula is wilted. Serve on top of penne pasta.

I love anything in the world with pumpkin in it. This dish was supposed to have spinach in it, but I ran out after breakfast, hehe. So I used a few sprigs of Arugula instead which I thought went really well with the spiciness of the parsnips. I almost wish I would have thrown in some raisins for sweetness/texture, it probably would have made the dish excellent instead of just good. Next time!

Dinner:

Another work soup, Timberline Chili with Beans. I only ended up having 1 cup because chili is so filling I didn’t think I would need more and I was right. I was actually shocked at how full I felt after eating, mainly because it seems that I don’t know anymore where the limit of what can fit into my stomach is. It seems like I can pack away a lot of food, but I don’t NEED to to feel satisfied and full. I’m starting to learn how to listen to my body again. I’ve forgotten how.

IMPORTANT: So here’s my Thanksgiving plan. I do plan on going to IHop for breakfast. It’s technically the day of my birthday (I realize I’ve already celebrated, but the 24th is actually my birthday DAY) and I have a coupon for a free breakfast. They’re open. It’s free. I’m using it. RULES: Absolutely NO “all-you-can-eat” pancakes or some crap like that. I do not need to be overeating again and thats just too much of a risk. DO pick from the “Simple & Fit” portions of the menu. I will most likely be getting the whole wheat pancakes with sugar-free syrup and will feel a lot better about myself if I keep my eating as healthy as possible in the morning knowing that I’m going to my brothers later that day for Thanksgiving dinner. I’m not 100% positive when that will be, so if I need to make myself lunch, I’m going to keep it really simple, most likely vegetarian, and try to save room for dinner. I cannot get into that mindset where I’m already “blowing my diet for the day” and so I should just overeat all day. I will end up having plenty of food and cake (because it IS my birthday, so I’m sure my brother will be making me a cake) later in the day and simply do not need to be bingeing the entire day. At dinner, I will eat until I am satisfied. Then have some cake on top of that. ^_^ So I’ll be nice and full, but I won’t be sick. After I eat dessert, I will stop. Nothing more for the rest of the night. If we have more of a lunchtime Thanksgiving, I will have a small, light dinner later. Something like a salad. I WILL make myself proud this Thursday. I will make you proud too.

Morning weigh-in: 130 lbs (already lost 4 lbs of that water-weight)
Exercise: 7 hours at retail job