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Archive for the ‘feelgoodfoodie’ Category

Now that cooler temperatures have begun to set in, it’s time to bust out my mini crockpot and serve up heaping bowls of oatmeal each morning. Oatmeal is such a great food to eat in the morning because it fills you up AND keeps you full. Now, I’ll admit it, I used to be an instant oatmeal kind of girl (mmm maple brown sugary goodness). It’s so easy to just throw a packet in the microwave and BOOM…oatmeal; but trust me, it ain’t got nothin’ on these oats. Besides, 1 packet of instant oatmeal never kept me full! I had to eat 3 packets; otherwise I’d be starving around 10am. Not cool.

This recipe yields 4 HEFTY servings (at around 250 calories…depending on your “add-ins). Trust me, you won’t be hungry in 2 hours after eating this hot cereal!

I love to utilize the slow cooker method for oatmeal because it makes breakfast a breeze. I throw everything into the 3 1/2 quart crockpot, give it a stir, set the temperature to low snd say “nighty night.” When we wake up, we have a wholesome, no brainer, breakfast; piping hot and ready to eat! It’s pretty much the greatest thing ever! Not to mention, any leftovers become lunch for JBird (since she can’t seem to scarf down enough of it!).

Here’s what I use when making my super awesome oatmeal:

-1C Scottish Oatmeal (aka porridge) **I use Bob’s Red Mill brand because it’s the absolute best (taste wise and nutritionally). You could also use Steel Cut Oats, but steer clear of quick oats. You’ll end up with a gummy mess (and no breakfast…wah wah)**

-3C water

-1C unsweetened vanilla almond milk

-1/2 tsp salt

-a few dashes of cinnamon

-a few dashes of nutmeg

-2 tbs ground flax

-some “spray oil” (like Pam) to coat the inside of the crock to prevent sticking.

Set on low for 8-10 hours (however long you sleep for)

wake up and enjoy!

I add 2 tsp of pure maple syrup and a sliced up banana to mine after it’s done cooking. It’s totally boss.

Things to add while it’s cooking:

-raisins

-dried cherries

-chopped apples (yumm! I bet this would taste like apple crisp!)

-pears

-figs

-dates

-dried blueberries

-shredded zucchini (it would totally taste like zucchini bread batter! Oh Em Gee!)

Optional Post-Cooking Toppings:

-fresh blueberries

-honey (but don’t feed this to your babies! thanks.)

-pure maple syrup (none of that maple flavored junk that comes in fun shaped bottles)

-walnuts, pecans, almonds…whatever you like, go nuts! (haha!)

-banana!

The possibilities are endless!

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A few weeks back, I was contacted by a member of Joy Bauer’s team (and yes, that’s *the* Joy Bauer as seen on the Today Show AND the nutritional consultant for Jessica Seinfeld’s book Deceptively Delicious). They wanted me  to write a review for the updated edition of her book, Food Cures. At first, I was completely shocked that anyone (other than my family and close friends) was even aware that this blog existed. Of course, once the shock wore off, I excitedly agreed to jump on the Food Cures bandwagon. I cannot tell you how many times, during the course of reading this book, I thought to myself “Oh My Gosh! I love this woman!” Seriously, Love. Her. Everything she talks about makes sense.

Since Joy Bauer is a nutritionist, her advice is based on sound scientific research and studies; not just the  “I’m skinny because I do *this*….so you should do it too. The end” trend that you tend to see from celebrities who don’t have the nutriton “street cred” to back up anything they say. Joy Bauer does not use jargon. Everything is simple and to the point. Basically, “watch what you eat, eat good wholesome food, see results.” Boom.

Want beautiful skin? There’s a chapter on that. Want to help control your migraines? There’s a chapter on that too! In fact, She talks about everything from arthritis to cancer prevention! Food Cures is an extremely useful resource that, in my opinion, would fit perfectly on anyone’s health and wellness bookshelf.

The chapter that really grabbed my attention was on weight loss. Mr. FeelGoodFoodie and I both have some baby weight to lose still and I’ve been looking for a *push* to reign in my eating again. Using Food Cures, we first re-assessed our weight and BMI’s and each set a goal for ourselves (To weigh “X” amount by a certain date). Next, we caluclated how many calories we needed to consume in order to lose X amount of weight (Yes! You need to eat in order to lose weight!! Bauer empahsizes this point as well). Finally, we mapped out meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) so we’d know exactly how many calories we’d be eating during the day.

**we’ll also be recording what we eat every day in order to stay on track…which , in my opinion, is the absolute key to successful weight loss**

For the frist week, Bauer recommends cutting all starches out of dinners (including starchy vegetables like potatoes, squash and corn). This proved to be the most challenging for me; mainly because we’re getting into squash season and I really want to eat my weight in butternut squash. However, it’s just one week. No biggie. By cutting out starches at dinner time, you’re giving your body an extra weight loss boost (plus, we all tend to eat too many starchy carbs at dinner and not enough veggies).

Aside from BMI 101 and great meal planning ideas, the weight loss chapter is also filled  with lots of great tips to help you be successful on your weight loss journey. One of my favorite tips (that I think we all tend to forget about) is: only eat one serving of fat per meal. Whether it’s in the form of oil, butter, salad dressing, cheese, etc. She also points out that many “zero calorie” sprays (you know the ones) aren’t actually 0 calories! A bottle of “butter substitute” spray could have as much as 900 calories per bottle! Besides, it’s best for your body to NOT eat artificial anything. You’re better off just portioning out some real butter or olive oil. Moderation is key!

Speaking of moderation, she also encourages you to save room (calorie wise) for various low-calorie fun foods! This includes 150 calories worth of dark chocolate..a day! What?! You had me at chocolate, Ms. Bauer. Now, if only I could find a way to perfect a (delicious) 150 calorie Nutella cheesecake. I think I’d be up for a Nobel Peace Prize for that feat!

The really great thing  about Food Cures is that every chapter is connected with one main theme: eat honest to goodness good food and it WILL make you feel better. That’s what food is supposed to do! If the food you eat makes you feel sick, slow, fatigued, and overall icky…then you shouldn’t be eating *that* food. It’s amazing how healing food is, by nature.

Aside from being chock full of great information and advice, Food Cures also has a bunch of really great recipes. Each recipe is specially designed for the specific chapter it corresponds with (ie: IBS, Memory, Diabetes, etc); which means you don’t have to go searching for recipes to fit your (new) dietary needs! She does all the work for you (including a specially tailored grocery list)! Love it!

If your body is weighed down by “junk”, whether it be chemicals, sugar, environmental toxins or what have you, then it will not  perform to it’s full potential….you will inevitably get sick (either from respiratory illnesses, obesity, high cholesterol or even the big C; cancer). You deserve to feel great, and look great, from the inside out. If you’re looking to change how you feel, by changing what you eat, then I highly recommend checking out Food Cures; chances are you won’t regret it.

**This is not a paid endorsement for Joy Bauer’s Food Cures. Aside from receiving this book in the mail, I was not paid to review it. That being said, It really is a great book and valuable resource…I feel like I’m starting to sound like a Reading Rainbow Kid…but don’t take my word for it**

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I have an embarrassing confession: I spent an outrageous amount of money on groceries this summer. At the time, I *thought* I was being budget-conscious but looking back at the pile of grocery receipts…I was totally wrong. Oops.

Now that summer is over, I have devised a new plan of attack for saving money on a weekly basis.  I’ve decided to challenge myself to use 1 whole chicken to feed our family for a whole work week (5 days). This is also one of the many steps I am taking to *start* wasting less food.

First, I bought an organic, free range, pre-packaged bird from our local co-op. It was about 4 pounds; or $18 worth of tasty chicken-y goodness. I’m sure some of you are astonished by that number, but remember: we’re getting 5 meals for a little less than $4 a meal (to feed 2.5 people). Not too shabby.

I try to only buy organic meat because I want to make sure my family isn’t consuming unsafe chemicals, antibiotics or even potential diseases. Typically, free range chickens are healthier birds too (and the thought of eating a sick chicken is just gross). So yes, I pay more but I get more too. This is also why I like to get the most out of my chicken! (That’s just a weird sentence to say out loud).

I *highly* recommend checking out this YouTube video. I found it extremely helpful.


I am pretty new to the world of “dissecting” a chicken but it’s surprisingly easy (and dare I say fun?); especially after watching a “How-To” video first. When you cut up a whole chicken yourself, you really feel like you’re an active participant in the field-to-table process. Maybe that’s just me though.

I like to package my pieces by meal. That way, I don’t have to think about it later. 

When it comes to chicken breasts, I cut them in half before freezing. We started only eating half a breast each a few months back to cut down on our meat consumption (and to save money). Plus, we end up consuming more veggies this way. Double Bonus!

Here is a list of how I distributed the chicken:

-1 breast: White Chicken Chili (one meal, plus leftovers)

-thighs and “tenders”: chicken and rice in the slow cooker (one meal)

-legs and wings: Arroz Con Pollo (one meal)

-1 breast: Coconut Curry Chicken Soup (2 meals)

-carcass: 4 quarts of Chicken stock

This photo reminds me of Dexter. Is that weird?

You could potentially make 1 chicken last 2 weeks if you substituted meatless dishes every other day. That’s my next “self-challenge”.

 

**Make sure your workspace is clean before starting. Also, use a plastic or glass cutting board when working with raw chicken; NOT wood. Clean it thoroughly with hot, soapy water when you’re done. I like to wash mine, then put it in the dishwasher for additional sanitizing. What can I say, I’m weird. Remember: Nobody likes salmonella. **

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The Bird

It’s Friday night. I’m exhausted. I’m having a total writers block when it comes to food. Mind you, I’ve cooked all week; even some new stuff. However, I really don’t want to write about it. Yet, I still want to squeeze in a post before the weekend. Instead of posting about food I am going to post some ADORABLE pictures of “The Bird” aka JBird.

I took them today in preparation for her one-year photo shoot next weekend. Starting tomorrow, I have to gather all the necessary supplies for said photo shoot. I’m going to bake and decorate a “smash cake”, make an autumnal tutu, make a “birthday” shirt, AND take all the pictures myself! EEK!

Now, prepare to be annihilated from cuteness:

 

I cannot believe she’s going to be 1 year old in less than 2 weeks. This is going way too fast.

Seriously, how cute is this baby? I mean, C’Mon, I don’t think it’s possible to get any more adorable. The cheeks, they slay me. I want to kiss them off her face.

 

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Hello Everyone!

Sometimes, a person has a skill, knack, craft, etc that is just SO GOOD that they simply must share it with the rest of the world.

My amazing, applause worthy skills are: my meal planning skills and my list making skills. When the two are combined….watch out…it’s mind blowing.

Now, I’m sure most of you make some sort of grocery list with things you NEED to buy…and then just kind of “wing-it” from there. I used to use this approach, but found I was spending WAY more then I wanted to on food (most of whichI would  just throw out in a month). No good.

When we moved to WI, I completely revamped my take on grocery shopping. The key is simple: Plan your work, and work your plan.

We do grocery shopping on Saturdays, so on Thursday or Friday nights I sit down with a notepad and plan out a weeks worth of meals; including all the ingredients I’d need to buy for those meals and  the weekly “staples” (milk, toilet paper, sweet tea vodka…you know, the essentials).

I don’t plan meals for Saturdays since I like to have at least one day off a week from cooking…it’s usually a cheese and crackers kind of night.

I then brainstorm 6 different dinner ideas based on what sounds tasty (and based on what I already have in my pantry or freezer). I have an incredibly hard time making the same thing 2 weeks in a row, so my list of meals varies every week.

When I go grocery shopping I like to be in and out of the store in 15 minutes (or less). I’ve found that any more time than that and I wind up with way too many “non-essential” impulse items in my cart; resulting in a SUPER high total at the register. Get in and get out!

Ok, here is a step by step look at how I go about planning our meals and making my shopping list:

I start with a blank “note” on my phone titled “Weekly Meals”. I then write out the days of the week (abbreviated) so I can visualize everything better. Next, I add my “shopping list” underneath the week’s meals, so everything is all in one place. **Please note the date of this screen shot is from July 25th. Yes, I’ve had this post in the back of my mind since July…It’s now mid-September! Wow! **

Next, I brainstorm ideas as to what I’d like to cook/eat during the week. I usually change my mind about 5 times before finally deciding on 6 meals. I should also mention that I almost always plan to serve leftovers on the nights when I have plans (like book club, Mom’s night out, etc). I’m pretty sure I had a Holistic Mom’s meeting that Thursday night. When this happens, I make sure that one meal will guarantee leftovers for another night.

Now comes the really fun part, making a list of all the ingredients I’ll need to buy on Saturday. I write down ingredients meal by meal, then I consolidate. For example, I needed peppers for both the Chicken Tortilla Soup and Arroz con Pollo. So I added a generic “Bell Pepper”; then clarified how many I’d need  in parentheses. I also try to keep food “categories” together (ie: list all the produce together, meat together, canned good together, etc). That way I’m less likely to forget an item and I won’t have to walk all the way back to the opposite side of the grocery store to get said item. **Obviously I did not do this in the above list. I’m pretty sure I made this list AS we were in the car headed to the store…and I probably forgot at least 2 things. Learn from my mistakes.**
Now that you are more knowledgeable in the art of meal planning: go make that list, shop til you drop, save some money AND buy yourself something pretty while you’re at it. Maybe some new shoes…or a pie…or both! You deserve it!

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I like to call this dish: “Free Ta-Ta”. Mainly, I just like an excuse to say “Ta-Ta (s)”.

However, I think this is more of a combination of a frittata and a quiche. A “Fruiche” or maybe a “Quittata”…we’ll just stick with “Free Ta-Ta”

This recipe is great for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch or Dinner! Seriously, it’s THAT versatile!

It’s incredibly savory and mouth watering…I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Plus, the leftovers (heated up in the oven) are crazy good.

This recipe is adapted from a Williams Sonoma Recipe

What You’ll Need:

-1 tbs olive oil

-1 bag of frozen organic spinach (I always try to buy organic spinach; fresh or frozen)

-1 medium bell pepper; chopped

-1 package of sausage (I used a local all-pork breakfast sausage)

-2 eggs and 1 egg white

-3/4 cup of milk (check and make sure your milk is RBGH-free! If not, switch to organic)

-3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (unbleached all purpose would work just fine too)

-1 tbs dry mustard (or 1 tbs grain mustard)

-1/2 cup of shredded cheese (I like to use provolone or monterey jack)

-1 tsp garlic powder

-1 tsp onion powder

-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

-salt and pepper 

Combine eggs, milk, flour and mustard in a small bowl. I find that it’s best to use a bowl that has a fitted lid (ie: Pyrex). Whisk until the eggs are fully beaten and there are no lumps. Refrigerate for at least one hour before you start cooking.

Preheat the oven to 425°.

In a cast iron skillet (an absolutely essential tool in any kitchen), heat the oil until hot. Add the sausage. Cook until just browned (it doesn’t have to be 100% cooked because it’ll finish in the oven). Remove sausage from the skillet and set aside in a small bowl. Add the chopped pepper to the remaining hot oil and tasty brown bits; cook until tender. Add the bag of frozen spinach; along with the spices. Cook the pepper and spinach together until the spinach is no longer frozen. Turn your burner off but don’t remove the skillet from the stovetop.

Remove your egg mixture from the fridge and stir in the shredded cheese. Add the mixture and the sausage (including any juices from the bowl) to the skillet of veggies. Using a wooden spoon, stir to combine everything, smoothing the surface as you go. Before you put the frittata in the oven, you want to make sure the surface is nice and even.

*If you feel so inclined: sprinkle the top with freshly grated parmesan to give it a little kick*

Place you skillet directly into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes (or until the top begins to brown).

Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve it up with a fresh salad of mixed greens and a light balsamic dressing. De-lish!

Makes 4-6 (big) servings

Optional Substituions:

-ham

-bacon

-meatless sausage

-asparagus

-mushrooms

-sweet onion

-swiss or cheddar cheese

Make it your own!



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Camp Cooking

Wow! It has been WEEKS since I last posted anything! I apologize for dropping the ball. Luckily, summer is almost over which means our lives will be slowing down a bit (Actually, that’s a total lie. I’m pretty sure things will never slow down. Life in the fast lane baby!)

We will be leaving EARLY Thursday morning to make a 10 hour journey to Delaware, Ohio. We will be meeting friends from NY at a state park and spending labor day weekend (through Tuesday) together…because we all know that no one should be alone on labor day (Haha, I hope Kim is laughing right now).

To prepare for this 5 day long rustic retreat I decided to assemble and freeze our camp meals before leaving, then I will cook them in our awesome new Lodge dutch oven. This way we won’t have to buy a bunch of food once we get there and we won’t have to lug a bunch of food with us in our already overpacked car.

I was totally inspired to make and freeze our meals after reading an absolutely GENIUS blog post about make-ahead slow cooker meals. You can read it for yourself here:

Freezer Cooking With Slow Cooker Recipes (it seriously blew my mind…this woman should win an award…seriously)

So, I put together 3 meals: plus, I’m marinading a pound of chicken spiedies that I will freeze tomorrow. We will be consuming: Turkey Chili, Vegetarian Southwest Stew, and Tacos (the theme of these meals: cumin…and lots of it).

Here are the (incredibly simple) recipes for these homemade frozen meals:

Turkey Chili: (makes 4-6 servings)

-1/2 a pound of lean turkey meat

-1 green bell pepper: chopped

-1/2 of a large yellow onion: finely chopped

-3 cloves of garlic: minced

-1 15oz can of kidney beans: rinsed and drained

-1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes

-1 packet of chili seasoning OR 1tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp cumin and 1 tbs chili powder

big bag full of uncooked chili. how exotic.


Chili Bag!

Add ingredients to a gallon-sized zip top freezer bag. Freeze. When you’re ready to cook it, empty frozen contents into a slow cooker or dutch oven and add about a cup of water (I’ll be using a cast iron dutch oven over a bed of coals). In the slow cooker: cook for 4 hours on high OR 8 hours on low. In a dutch oven: cook for an hour, give everything a stir, then cook for an additional hour if needed. I like my chili to simmer for several hours so I’m going to do my best to keep my coals at an even, low temperature (and plan on cooking my chili for about 3 hours).

Southwest Stew: (makes 4-6 servings)

-1 cup of frozen (or fresh) corn kernels

-1 jar of salsa

-1/2 of a yellow onion: finely chopped

-1 large sweet potato: peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks

-1 15oz can of chickpeas: rinsed and drained

-1 tbs of cumin (I LOVE cumin…so I add a lot…but if you have a more reserved palate try adding only 1 tsp of cumin at first. You can always add more later if you’d like)

mmm...bag o' stew

by laying the bags flat in the freezer they won't take up as much room

Add your ingredients to a gallon-sized zip top bag. Freeze. Once you’re ready to cook, add the frozen contents to you slow cooker/dutch oven. Add 1 cup of water and 1 tbs of olive oil. If using a slow cooker: cook on low for 8 hours, of high for 4 hours (until the sweet potatoes are tender). If you’re using a dutch oven: cook over medium-high heat for an hour (or until sweet potatoes are tender). Serve with fresh corn bread muffins! Yum!

Tacos: (makes 4 servings)

-1/2 a pound of lean turkey meat

-1 15oz can of black beans: rinsed and drained

-1 packet of taco seasoning OR a combination of garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper (because I totally forgot to buy taco seasoning).

Toss ingredients together in a half-gallon sized freezer bag. Freeze. When you’re ready to cook, add frozen contents to a skillet/slow cooker/dutch oven, add about 2 tbs of water and cook (covered) until the meat is done. Serve with warmed tortillas and all your favorite fixins’.

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