September Challenge – day 28

Maybe I should have called this a green smoothie challenge instead of a get in shape challenge. I’m pretty good at having smoothies for breakfast, but exercising every day has been a bit more difficult. Maybe I should have had a different challenge each week. I’m better at focusing on one week at a time. Well, new idea for my October challenge. So, the green smoothie recipe for today is so yummy. It has one ingredient that you might not usually have in your kitchen: plantain. I started buying plantains a few month ago when I got my new endometriosis cookbook. I try to use them when they are green for savory dishes, but one will get overlooked on the counter and get really ripe. Then, just like bananas, it is time for a smoothie. I love using plantains in smoothies because they have a milder taste than bananas and they add great texture and creaminess.

Plantain Smoothie

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant based milk
  • 1 ripe plantain
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 dates
  • 1 scoop collagen (optional)
  • 2 cups spinach or other greens
  • 1/2 cup mango

Blend it all up and enjoy. Makes 2 servings.

I don’t know that I’ve made much progress this month, but I’m not giving up. This is a new day and a new week. I do not have to be unhealthy. I will choose to do something about my diet and movement.

September Challenge – Day 21

I’m starting to see results. I’m so glad I decided to give myself some grace and just keep going. Sometimes I get discouraged after two weeks and just quit. Even though I haven’t been working as hard I’m still trying. I know I will have some challenges this week. My daughter’s birthday is this week. She wants to go out for hamburgers and frozen yogurt. Plus I am making Princess Leia and Chewbacca cupcakes for her Star Wars party. I will really have to watch my sugar intake. Well, I know I can start every day on the right foot.

Mexi-Mocha Smoothie

  • 1 cup cold coffee
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop collagen powder
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup mango
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Blend it up and enjoy!

If MyFitnessPal is correct that whole smoothie is just under 300 calories. The whole thing! That is quite a lot of smoothie. I’m full.

Instant Pot Adventures

Is there such a thing as a “late adopter”? I don’t like trendy things. I wait until things have been tried and tested by other people. I hate getting a new phone. I love the car I have now. I don’t like fashion trends or the newest hair styles. I might actually wait for trends to come around again before I ever try them. Case in point; I got a “Dorothy Hamill” wedge hair cut in 1999. I wasn’t alive the first time that hair style was popular, but I liked it so I got it. I bought one cold shoulder shirt, didn’t like it. Usually, I don’t really know what is trending.

Anyway, I finally gave in and bought an Instant Pot. (My sister is still holding out.) I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’m jumping in with both feet. I bought a whole 4 pound chicken and I am making chicken noodle soup. Hopefully in three easy steps.

The plan is to cook the whole chicken, make bone broth and then put it all together to make chicken soup.

Step 1: Cooking whole chicken

  • wash chicken
  • place on trivet in Instant Pot
  • add 2 cups water
  • season chicken
    • salt
    • pepper
    • oregano
    • garlic powder
    • parsley
    • paprika
    • chicken broth powder
  • Cook on Poultry setting for 32 minutes
  • Let pressure release 15 minutes before pushing quick release button

Step 2: Make bone broth

  • Remove chicken from pot
  • remove most of the meat from the bones
  • Put bones back in pot
  • add veggies
    • 1 onion
    • 2 celery stalks
    • 2 carrots
  • Cover with water and 1 tablespoon ACV
  • season broth
    • 1 tsp salt
    • pepper
  • Use soup/ broth setting for 1 hr 45 min let pressure release naturally
  • Strain

Step 3: Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Saute 1/2 diced onion and one celery stalk in olive oil
  • add 2-3 carrots, sliced
  • Pour in 8 cups of broth
  • stir in 1/2 pound of egg noodles
  • stir in seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon parsley
  • secure lid and set timer for half of noodle cooking time
    • I set mine for 7 minutes for home-style noodles
  • let pressure release for 10 minutes before pushing QR button
  • stir in 2 cups of diced chicken
  • let set for 5 minutes until chicken heated through
  • taste and adjust seasoning
  • serve hot

That actually worked! I had to run some errands so I left the broth in the pot for 2 hours or something. Everything took longer than I was hoping, but I think that is just because I’m new at the Instant Pot thing. I wouldn’t usually make bone broth and soup the same day, but now I know I can. The broth gelled up nice so I know it’s good. Well, what should I try next?

September Challenge – Day 17

Hmmm…Day 17? Where is that wagon? I might have fallen off. I do not fit into my jeans and yet, I have dropped down to 20 minute workouts…every other day. And I haven’t done a workout today. I accidentally wrote workpout and that might be closer to the truth. I will not pout. I have no reason to complain. I will not get discouraged. It will take some time for me to change my lifestyle. I just can’t give myself too much grace, because that is how I got into this mess in the first place.

Today my baby girl is sick so, I will be making chicken noodle soup. And I don’t think I have my recipe written down. I mean, it’s soup, there isn’t much to write.

Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 2 lbs. cooked chicken, cubed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 6-8 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • pinch of cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb egg noodles

In a large soup pot, saute onion and celery in a little butter or olive oil, until translucent. Stir in carrots, chicken and broth. Add seasonings and bring boil. Lower heat to a simmer, simmer for 20 minutes or until carrots are tender. Adjust seasonings, if needed. Bring back up to a boil and add noodles, cooking according to package directions. Taste again, add more salt if needed. Serve nice and hot.

Zucchini Soup Topper

Not zucchini soup, but a zucchini topper to put on soup. That’s clear, right? There are so many recipes for taco soup. And yet every time I make it, I search for a new one. I always think there should be more ingredients. So I added my own little extra. I love zucchini. I do not love soggy, slimy zucchini. So, instead of adding it to the pot, I sauteed it and used it as a topping. I also do that for my minestrone. Here we go, trying to remember what I put in the soup.

Turkey Taco Soup

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chiles
  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn (or 15 oz can)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup salsa (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • oregano, cumin, chili powder

Cook turkey until no longer pink. Add taco seasoning and 1/4 water (if turkey is dry and sticking). Stir in all canned items, add broth and water. Bring to a boil, add corn (if using frozen). Bring back up to a boil, then turn down to simmer. Add salsa, if desired. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

In a small saute pan heat olive oil. Cook onion and pepper until onion is translucent. Add in zucchini and season to taste. Cook over medium heat until zucchini is lightly browned.

Serve soup over rice or tortilla chips. Top with zucchini, cheese, salsa, sour cream, green onion, avocado, whatever you like on tacos.

September Challenge – Day 8

Feeling stronger! I love when working out feels good! Like “I can do this” instead of “this hurts, I don’t like it”. I did the whole T-Tapp workout in one session. And now I’m having my mango green smoothie. I love this smoothie. It’s so easy and my daughter will drink it. Of course then I don’t have a smoothie for tomorrow, but mothers make sacrifices.

Coconut Mango Smoothie

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed*(optional)
  • 2 scoops collagen powder or protein powder, unflavored
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup mango
  • 1 banana

Makes 2 servings, unless you share.

*I’ll use different seeds if I’m seed cycling. Flax, sesame, pumpkin, or sunflower all work. 1 tablespoon for the little seeds and 2-3 for the larger seeds like the pumpkin.

I feel good! Please, let this last!

September Challenge – day 2

Oh, my. I am quite sore. Bending over requires grunting or at least a sigh. But I know that tomorrow will be better. I will start feeling stronger and will  be able to workout without wanting to cry. Having my meals planned out has really helped. Perhaps, I can plan out the rest of the week. I remember when I would plan out the whole month, well the dinners anyway. OK, breakfast tomorrow I want a berry smoothie with beets. Lunch will be leftover halibut fingers and for dinner I’ll make meatloaf muffins. I think I’ll share my Aunt Sandi’s Easy Halibut Finger “recipe”. It isn’t a recipe so much as directions.

Baked Halibut Fingers

  • Halibut, salmon, or any other fish fillet
  • olive oil
  • oregano, basil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika
  • bread crumbs, tortilla chips crumbs, or potato chip crumbs

Slice fish into 1 inch, finger length pieces.

Mix seasonings into crumbs and pour into a shallow dish or plate. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil into shallow dish or plate.

Dip each piece of fish in the oil and then into the crumbs.

Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet at 425 for 10-15 minutes.

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I know it’s not really a recipe, but hey this is the way I cook. I guess if anybody cares I could try and figure out how much of this stuff is needed, but I never have the exact amount of protein that is called for in a recipe. And what if you are cooking for 2, or for 10? Oops, rabbit trail. What was I doing? Meal planning. Right.

September Challenge – Day 1

Well, this might be harder than I thought. It took me two hours to do one hour of T-Tapp. My calves and hamstrings apparently haven’t been used for 3 months. I drank my green smoothie at 9 am and by 11:30 was starving. I had egg drop soup for lunch and am making Pioneer Woman’s Drip Beef (minus the butter) for dinner. My children will be having hoagie rolls while my husband and I have our meat with roasted vegetables. 

My main concern will be sugar. I have mentioned my sugar addiction before and I am still fighting it. So far I have had one Keebler grasshopper cookie. ONE cookie! And all I can think about is dessert. I’m trying to find “healthy” sweets on Pinterest. I have a better sweets board. I need a deep breath and an affirmation. “I am sweet enough” (breathe) “I am sweet enough”.  Ok, better. So, how about I figure out what kind of smoothie I want tomorrow.

Chocolate Covered Almond Smoothie

2 servings

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I like coconut almond)
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup whole raw almonds
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter (or 1/4 cup shredded coconut)
  • 2 scoops collagen powder (or protein powder)
  • 1/4 cup roasted cacao nibs*
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup mango, frozen
  • 1 banana, frozen

Blend ingredients through cacao nibs, add spinach and blend. Then add in frozen fruit, blend until smooth.

*Or use 4 tablespoons of cocoa or cacao powder. Or carob.

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Before adding the spinach

 

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Green Smoothie ready to enjoy

That sounds like an Almond Joy with spinach added. Perfect!

Smoothie for breakfast.  Leftover shredded meat and roasted veggies for lunch and…and um, dinner. I’m thinking baked halibut fingers. Plan for tomorrow: done! Just add in some T-Tapp and I’m set. I might still have to find a “better” sweet thing to make. 

September Challenge

I’m pretty sure my fall clothes will not fit. Like most of the country I ate my way through quarantine. By the time my clothes stopped fitting it was summer and I bought some loose flow-y dresses. But now my kids are going back to school (yea!) and I will have to start wearing real clothes.

It isn’t just my waistline that concerns me either. I need to get my health in check. I have inherited high cholesterol from my mother. She was never overweight, I’m not overweight (yet), but my doctor is concerned about my cholesterol and there is no way I’m going to start taking cholesterol medicine at the age of 40. I really never want to be at a point in my life where I take daily medication.

So, it is a new month, a new school year and a great time to get serious about my diet and exercise. I’m starting T-Tapp again. It has always worked for me, if I DO it. My plan is to do the 55 minute T-Tapp workout 5 days a week for 2 weeks. If I can fit into my jeans I will drop down to the 20 minute workout.

Also, back to Green Thickies every morning. And possibly for lunch as well. I love smoothies for breakfast, but having another one for lunch may be more than I can do. Hopefully it will be soup weather soon and I can fill up on veggies that way.

Good plan. Now to start it and stick to it! First up; green thickie recipe.

Mango Ginger Green Thickie –

2 servings

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 scoop collagen powder (Zint)
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 half cucumber, chopped
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup mango
  • 1 banana

Blend ingredients through the coconut until seeds and dates are blended. Add rest of ingredients and blend until smooth. 

 

Well, that should be a good starting recipe. Now I just have to add exercise and more healthy meals and I will be set!

Should I take a before photo? Maybe just for my personal file.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What We Miss When We Move

For four years I lived in Anchorage Alaska. Yes, I was a short timer. When I first moved there I thought I would live there forever! Then winter happened! In October! And I found that cold weather makes me angry. If it is below zero, I hate you. I’m sorry, I don’t know you, but I hate everything and everyone when I am cold. It was horrible. I don’t like being angry. I like to be a nice person. Then I met a gorgeous fighter pilot and I didn’t have to worry about moving again. The Air Force decided when and where I was going to move. Easy! No more decisions.

There were times when Alaska was magical. And maybe it’s just that I’m nice and warm in my house in Idaho, but sometimes I miss Alaska. I would like to go ice-fishing again, ice skating on a pond, see the Northern Lights, go to Charlie’s Bakery. Ah, Charlie’s Bakery. Crazy craziness, only in Alaska. They have the most beautiful cakes and pastries, French baguettes, opera bars – glorious, yummy sandwiches and the best dim sum in town. One side of the menu is soups and sandwiches and the other side is traditional Chinese food. Sometimes it was so hard to decide if I wanted a sandwich or dumplings. I’m getting so hungry! One thing I always had was a coconut bun. So good. Probably full of dairy. Now I’m sad. Even if I go back to Anchorage I won’t be able to have a bun.

Coconut buns are a traditional item found in Chinese bakeries and not so traditional Alaskan bakeries. They take some time to make, with all the kneading and rising. I think they are worth the trouble, at least every other year.

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Dairy-Free Coconut Buns

1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage (not canned)
1/4 cup dairy free margarine
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour, or more if needed

Filling:
1/4 cup dairy free margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup soy milk powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely grated coconut

Directions

  1. Place 1/3 cup sugar and milk in a small saucepan, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add 1/4 cup margarine, and gently warm the mixture until the margarine melts and the mixture is warm but not hot (no warmer than about 100 degrees F (40 degrees C). In a large bowl, stir together the yeast with 2 1/2 cups flour until well blended, and pour the milk mixture into the flour-yeast mixture. Stir in 1 beaten egg, and mix until the mixture forms a sticky, wet dough.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead for about 10 minutes, gradually kneading in 1 cup of additional flour or as needed to make a smooth, elastic dough. Form the dough into a round ball, place into an oiled bowl, and turn the dough around in the bowl a few times to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with a cloth, and allow dough to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. I turned my oven to warm, turned it off and put the dough in to rise.
  3. Cream 1/4 cup margarine with 1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy, and stir in dry milk powder, 1/2 cup flour, beaten egg and the coconut until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Set the filling aside.
  4. Working on a floured surface, punch down the dough, and cut into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece into 8 equal-sized pieces (16 pieces total). Form each piece into an oblong bun, and flatten the bun with a floured rolling-pin or your fingers. Scoop up about 1 tablespoon of filling with a spoon, and place in the center of a bun. Pull and pinch the edges of the dough together to enclose the filling in the bun*. Repeat with all dough pieces, and place the filled buns, seam sides down, onto the prepared baking sheets. Cover the buns with a cloth, and allow to rise in a warm place 1 hour.
  5. Pre-heat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the buns are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

*I flattened out the filling and then rolled the dough back over the filling so that there was coconut throughout the roll. (I should have taken a picture of that)

Also, the filling was sticky,really sticky.

The only thing I want to work on is the filling. I think the soy milk powder is too rich. I don’t care enough to make a yeast dough again right away though. And my kids weren’t impressed with these so I’ll be eating them all by myself. Maybe they freeze…who am I kidding? I’m sure I’ll eat them without much of a problem.