September Challenge – Review

Of course this month didn’t go exactly as I hoped. I mean, ideally I would be a vegan marathon runner by now, if everything had gone perfectly. But it could have been worse. I haven’t gained weight, I haven’t survived on fast food or alcohol. I did have fast food and alcohol, but that wasn’t all I consumed. I had a variety of green smoothies and have exercised more days than I haven’t. Also, I’m learning to brew kombucha and use an Instant Pot. All growth is not physical. Plus, that leaves me with plenty to work on for my October challenge! I don’t think I’m doing an October challenge.

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 10

Today is a better day. A new day without any diet mistakes in it…yet. Yesterday was not good. I only did a 20 minute workout. I had a bagel and cream cheese for lunch and I had a cocktail in the evening. NOT GOOD. Well, my home town is on fire and I’m a little worried for my friends and family. Apparently, I do eat my feelings. I must stop looking at Facebook. My life is not found in the media. Yesterday I made the Loch Ness smoothie from Green Thickies. When I looked at the recipe I have on my site I realized that I don’t make my smoothie like that anymore. So, do I update that one or make a new one or just have the link to Green Thickies? Yeah, I’m gonna update the recipe so I have it. I really love this smoothie. I want smoothies that taste good AND healthy. I have found I don’t like smoothies from shops. They are too sweet and they just don’t have enough real food in them for me. I make my own that way I like and stop complaining. Here is the recipe.

Why did I take this picture and then not a picture of the completed smoothie? I don’t know, but I drank the smoothie so no picture. Maybe next time.

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 4

It’s Friday! I am so unmotivated! So far I have done the 20 minute T-Tapp workout. I just made my smoothie and it’s already 9:30am. Not a great start since I wake up at 6:20.

This beet smoothie is so pretty!

But it tastes like beets. And it made so much! I like beets, especially with honey mustard, but drinking beets isn’t so enjoyable. And the more stuff I add the bigger the smoothie will grow. Big breath. Not freaking out over a smoothie. Will the world end if I throw out the rest of this smoothie? Will my mother come back from the grave and make me finish it? Well, she might, she hated to waste food. That sounds macabre, but it made me laugh. Mama would tell me that I am a grown woman and if I don’t want to drink the smoothie then don’t drink the smoothie. I will drink this one glass and then try something else. I really think that chocolate is the only flavor strong enough to redeem this smoothie. Goodbye beautiful pink smoothie. Now it tastes of chocolate covered beets. Yup, I’m done!

If you don’t mind the taste of beets just search Pinterest for beet smoothies, there are a ton; way more than there should be.

I have to go brush my tongue.

And continue my T-Tapp.

September Challenge – Day 3

Really? Is it only the 3rd? One week at a time, one day at a time, one meal at a time. Yesterday didn’t go very well. I didn’t want to make fish for dinner so I used the excuse that it wasn’t thawed out enough. I made my kids frozen pizza. I ate leftovers. Not bad, I mean I had elk, beets and spinach. I wanted a piece of pizza so bad, but I didn’t have any. Before I get too full of myself I have to confess that I broke. I ate ice cream. Not a dainty, diet scoop, but two big scoops. And I think it is giving me a headache. Maybe migraines will help me give up sugar. So, today I’m drinking the other half of my chocolate covered almond smoothie (so delicious!), lunch will be, hey why not use the fish? Well, it was in the fridge overnight so it is thawed out now. Then I’ll make spaghetti for dinner. Noodles for the kids and roasted veggies for me. Have you tried meat sauce or marinara over roasted veggies? It is pretty good. Food set. Now for exercise.

I haven’t finished my T-Tapp today. I’m 3/4 of the way through the 55 minute workout. I got hungry. I don’t think there is anything wrong with breaking up my workout into 15-20 minutes chunks. I have no science to back that up, but I’m going with it.

I better plan for tomorrow. You never know I might even follow through. Friday will be my first weigh in. I don’t think there will be much change, I mean it hasn’t even been a week. I’m not too concerned with the scale though, I’m more interested in not having to buy bigger clothes.

Today:

  • Chocolate covered almond smoothie
  • Halibut fingers
  • spaghetti

Friday:

  • berry beet smoothie
  • Leftovers
  • Meatloaf muffins

Saturday:

  • Spaghetti squash “oatmeal”
  • shakshuka with plantains
  • Grilled chicken legs

Sunday:

  • leftover shakshuka
  • hamburgers
  • chicken salad

I have a plan. I have a food plan. Now to add exercise. I can do this!

UPDATE: I have no idea how many fish fingers I thought I would eat for lunch, but I ate 3 1/2.

It was super yummy and I have tons of leftovers. Sorry kids, no spaghetti tonight. We are having fish tacos or fish sammies or plain ol’ fish fingers.

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.

wp-1599157775686.jpg

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.

wp-1599059286916.jpg

Before adding the spinach

 

wp-1599059316740.jpg

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.