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Making do and Making things better

I have been seeing so many posts about folks not being able to get their staple foods. I understand it is frustrating. For me though, it gives me a challenge to branch out and try new foods. We tend to get stuck rotating the same meals and food items, day after day. Some families don’t have the experience or even the urge to try new foods. If a person tries a new food and doesn’t like it, keep trying it out in different ways. As a child, I couldn’t stand mushrooms or tomatoes. Now I now love them! I just made myself keep trying them in different ways. What got me with tomatoes were some fresh from a farm. Those were like candy in my mouth! I couldn’t believe I was thinking this about a “disgusting” tomato. This summer, go to your local Farmer’s Market and get yourself a farm-grown tomato!

For now though, if your grocery store doesn’t have eggs, try out flax eggs in baked goods. Grocery stores definitely have ground flax seeds or order them from an online source. Flax seeds are high in omegas, protein and other nutrient-rich sources. It’s very simple to make a “flax egg.” Mix one tablespoon ground flax seed with three tablespoons water and let sit for a few minutes. Use in place of an egg in pancakes, waffles, muffins, etc.

Try a dairy-free milk. There’s so many to choose from now. Find one you like. My fav is almond coconut blend. Macadamia nut milk is so rich and creamy. Oat milk is light and would work well as a dairy milk replacement in baked goods.

Switch out butter for shelf-stable ghee. Ghee is an old Indian staple. I’ve seen it at major market stores. It is just butter that has been boiled down and clarified. Use it like you would regular butter, but it works best in high-temperature foods(frying or baked goods).

Incorporate more legumes into your weekly menu. There are so many different type of beans available. If cooking beans from scratch intimidates you, go for canned. Chickpeas are extremely versatile. Roast them with some seasoning for snacking. Mash them with some avocado or mayonnaise. Lentils are so quick to cook up and mild tasting. I even blend some into smoothies for a protein punch. Try just replacing part of the meat in chili, spaghetti or tacos with cooked lentils.

Try eating non-breakfast foods for breakfast. Who said one has to eat cereal or oatmeal for breakfast!? This is rather a new thing. Not too long ago, the late 1800’s, most people ate leftover bread, popcorn soaked in milk or a meat in the United States. In other countries, rice, soup, or a type of bread from that culture. I eat a lot of leftovers for breakfast, it’s easy and filling. Or try making your own muffins, bagels, bread if that’s your thing. It might take a bit more effort, but will be so much healthier and cost-effective.

Instead of pasta, how about polenta? It’s great with lots of different, yummy sauces, not just marinara. Get some polenta or yellow grits( not quick-cooking), boil the up. Spread it into a baking dish and let firm up. Cut the polenta up of use cookie cutters. Fry the pieces crisp or eat straight from the pan. You say you can’t find prepared marinara sauce? It’s fairly simple to make it from scratch. Use fresh tomatoes, preferably Roma or use some canned tomatoes. I plop the Roma’s into a large saucepan without peeling them. First though, chop some onion, carrots and garlic up and sauté them. Then add those Roma’s. Cook until the tomatoes are falling apart, you may need to cover it with a lid while simmering and add water as needed. Then use an immersion blender or carefully blend in small batches in a blender. Add in seasonings(basil, rosemary, oregano) and salt and pepper to taste. Add a pinch of sugar, if needed to cut down on the acidity or bite. If using canned tomatoes, do the same, but you might not need to cook as long.

Another option is making gnocchi. Gnocchi is a potato noodle. The texture is so wonderful. They could even be made with instant potatoes, if needed. Growing up, I loved eating these with just some butter melted over them. Now as an adult, I make a grownup version with browned butter and sage.

You may find you and your family enjoys these new found culinary items. It might help make things better by changing it up or creating a memory of a failed new recipe or a funny story to tell later on in life.

Don’t gripe about what one cannot have. Make do, get creative, have some fun.

Let me know if you try one of these out or if you’ve already had eaten one in the past. Do you have something I didn’t mention for a good substitute on “regular” foods?

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Why you need a food journal(free pdf!)

food journal diet weightloss

Have you ever wondered if a food journal might help you with your health and wellness journey? Do you have unexplained symptoms such as headaches, bloating, fatigue, or nausea? Do you feel like you have been dieting and watching what you eat, but still are not losing the weight? If any of these apply to you, a food journal will most definitely help you! By writing down what you eat and drink everyday for a couple weeks, along with how you feel after eating, you will many times, pinpoint where you are struggling diet-wise or find foods that cause those unexplained symptoms. When I was practicing midwifery, I would always give my clients a handout to chart their food and water intake for the first month and bring it back to me at their next prenatal visit. Many times, the women would be amazed at what they ate, what their diet was lacking, or even discover they were not eating enough. It is also a great way to make sure you are drinking enough water. Many of us go about each day dehydrated. It’s amazing how much better our bodies work when hydrated properly.

I have a free printable Food Journal page for you to give it a try. This is just one easy method. If you like this printable, you may print multiples and hole punch them to put in a 3 ring binder to keep it all together so as to see your progress. Or, you could get a notepad, small notebook, jot it into the notes section on your device as well, whatever is easiest for you!

I will write more in another blog post about using your food journal to help you reach or maintain your health and wellness goals. Happy food journal-ling!

 

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RV’ing and a failed meal plan

49352847 - class a motorhome
49352847 – class a motorhome

I typically go to the grocery store on Tuesday’s as the toddler story time at the library is near the grocery. So, on Monday’s I try to make a meal plan, but I don’t usually do a very good job with it. When I get to the grocery store, I will see some organic meat on sale or an interesting vegetable will catch my eye and my meal plan will go out the door, as well as food accumulating in my freezers. It’s amazing to me to see how much I am able to fit in my freezers!

Today I looked through my pantry, my two freezers(yes, two) and tried to plan out meals with just what was in those. I will need to get a few items to make some meals from what I have on hand, but I am going to try my hardest to go through with this.

We are planning on traveling about in an RV very soon. I need to use up almost all of my frozen items. Which I have been trying to, but again, in my first paragraph, you see what happens. Also, the RV will have no second freezer and it might even be a tiny freezer if we don’t get an RV with a residential refrigerator. I am hoping to enjoy using mainly fresh produce weekly and stick to a meal plan while traveling. I do use a lot of fresh produce, but I do tend to freeze a lot for later(or I could just be honest and say that I bought too much or I was too lazy to make it all).

Tonight we had leftover meatballs with red sauce and quinoa pasta. I had broccoli sprouts with my meal. I made an interesting smoothie this morning with random frozen fruit and had a soup from my freezer for lunch. I made a cantaloupe bread from cantaloupe I had frozen from this summer. That will be breakfast for my girls for the next few days.

I took a small lamb roast out of the freezer to thaw and just put a bottled marinade I found on it to marinate overnight and I’ll pop in the slow cooker in the morning to have for dinner tomorrow. I’ll make potatoes and carrots on the side. I pulled another jar of soup out of the freeezer for my lunch tomorrow.

Wednesday will be leftover quinoa pasta with shrimp that is in the freezer. I’ll make a garlic butter sauce for it all and have peas on the side. I have corn tortillas and several frozen Cajun chickens. On Thursday it’ll be Cajun chicken enchiladas. Hopefully, they’ll turn out well as I’ve not made this before! Friday will be white bean chicken chili(using frozen shredded chicken), dry white beans from my pantry and I have a box of cornbread mix I need to use. Saturday will be jambalaya made with another frozen Cajun chicken and frozen andouille sausage. Sunday will be pizza since that’s what we typically have!

I hope since I’ve written this all out on the blog, that I will be held accountable to not stray from my meal plan this week!