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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some DAM Ideas

The morning after a migraine is difficult. The pain is dramatically less, but still present. The confusion and body aches are at a peak. Why am I trying to write anything after my migraine last night? Well, I want to have a resource, a protocol, or at least some ideas for coping the “day after migraine”.

1. Make a pot of herbal tea. Something that sounds good like vanilla rooibos, African Nectar or peppermint.

2. Have something to eat. Low or no sugar is best and have protein. Poached eggs and toast. Scrambled egg breakfast sandwich. Mama always wanted dairy, like cottage cheese. 

3. Don’t strain your eyes. Don’t write a blog post. Refrain from social media, reading, knitting. Aunt Sandi recommends laundry, gardening (with a hat and sunglasses), dusting, baking/cooking something you don’t need a recipe for. If you don’t want to move get an audio book. Take breaks!

4. Don’t sabotage yourself. Yes, things need to be done, but stressing out over it will just lead to another migraine. Accept help. Ask for help. Prioritize!

 

That Was Unexpected

I have had a dairy allergy 3/4 of my life. Between the ages of 10 and 20 the allergy seemed to disappear. In college my symptoms reappeared. It can make life a bit challenging and travel can be less than enjoyable.

So, this summer I am going to take a little East Coast tour with my oldest daughter. I know we will have a wonderful time, but I was bummed about not being able to eat pizza in New York or a cheesesteak in Philadelphia. Did I have any options?

I visited my local allergist to see if there was any hope. (Don’t read on if you have an allergy and are still searching for help.) The first thing they did was test me for a dairy allergy. And…it came back negative. It has been close to 15 years since my last allergy test and four years since I had a major reaction. So, sometime in the last four years my allergy disappeared?

The first thing my husband said was “Don’t overdo it.” I may have mentioned the gallons of ice cream, cheesecakes and pizzas I consumed between the ages of 10 and 20. And while I do feel a sense of freedom, I don’t want to gain 20 pounds in the next few months. Also, I trust my body more than a test. Doctors say there is not correlation between dairy and congestion, but singers and actors will disagree. Directors will ask their performers to refrain from dairy before shows. If it affects people with no history of allergies, shouldn’t I be a little more cautious?

So, here is my plan: I’m not really going to change my diet. Now, to be honest I have already tried butter and ice cream and I bought a carton of eggnog and found I no longer like it. Dairy tastes salty to me, which reminds me that it is a bodily fluid from a cow and that removes some of it appeal. Mostly I’m glad to be able to go into a restaurant and order any meal that I would like. I hate to be a hassle and I love the fact that I no longer have to have a private conversation with the server before I order. AND oh, I just thought about Disneyland! I can get all those treats at Disneyland! I can have a meal at any restaurant I choose. I can go on a cruise! Oh dear, it is going to be harder than I thought to keep myself under control.

Just because I can eat these foods does not mean that I should. “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable…”( NASB 1 Corinthians 6:12)

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.

My Favorite Granola

I started with the Almond Joy Granola from Minimalist Baker, but I rarely follow recipes. I keep going to the Minimalist Baker recipe and then I try to remember the changes I have made. It can be a bit confusing and not terribly efficient. So, I will try to write my recipe here in the hopes that next time I make granola I will be able to find the recipe I actually use.


My Favorite Granola

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup 9 grain flakes (Azure Standard)
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup coconut chips (large flakes, Azure Standard)
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 340°.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together in large bowl.
  3. Heat coconut oil, peanut butter and honey in microwave safe bowl (1 min high) or heat on stove, until melted. Stir to combine. Caution! the honey will be HOT! Once the honey is melted it will be hot enough to melt the other ingredients.
  4. Pour melted mixture over dry oat mixture and stir until all dry ingredients are moistened.
  5. Spread on cookie sheet in thin layer.
  6. Bake for 11 minutes. Stir and bake for another 11 minutes (20-25 minutes in total)
  7. When the granola is browned remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet.
  8. Once cooled, break apart large pieces and use parchment like a funnel to pour granola into airtight container.20190109_082836.jpg

I usually top each bowl with a small handful of chocolate chips. I don’t add them to the container because 1. they all fall to the bottom 2. I don’t want my kids asking for granola so they can pick out all the chocolate chips 3. this way I can use the granola in a fruit parfait and not pick out chocolate chips 4. more chocolate when you want it and none when you don’t. (I think AA Milne would be proud of that sentence.)

*Note to self: Make when Josh is out of town or he may eat all of it straight from the container.

Are We Done Here?

Does anyone even read blogs anymore? I haven’t followed anyone for years. This blog is rather like my MySpace account. Does MySpace even exist anymore? I tried to stop using FB because it’s for old people, but I really didn’t get into twitter or instagram. I’m pretty sure I’m old. Anyway I read a fluffy little novel about a girl fighting for an IT job with a blog: whoever had the most followers won the job. Crazy how fast our world changes. Eh, well, now my blog can be my personal diary. Not that I ever had over 30 followers anyway.

I have been having a bit of a hard time remembering where I have certain recipes. It seems like I get into ruts in my cooking. I’ll cook one recipe several times in a matter of months and then I never make it again. Or I want to make it again the next year and have no idea where the recipe can be found. How do I tackle this problem? My mother had a recipe card with a list of where to find her favorite recipes. I started this blog so I could gather all my recipes in one place. I’ve gotten a bit lost and the last few years have barely written anything. Back to it then!

Easy Cream Cheese Danish 

2 cans refrigerated crescent dough sheets
1 (8oz) tub of Tofutti cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Tofutti sour cream

1 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon almond milk
1 tablespoon dairy free butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 9×13 pan with parchment paper.
  2. Roll out  one dough sheet and lightly press into pan.
  3. Mix together cream cheese, lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, and sour cream. Spread filling evenly over dough.
  4. Roll out second dough sheet and lay on top of filling.
  5. Bake for 22-27 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Stir milk into powdered sugar and margarine to make a glaze. Drizzle over slightly cooled pastry.

*optional: top with strawberry jam

 

Did you know that Pillsbury Crescent Rolls are dairy free? Chock-full of chemicals I can’t even pronounce, but dairy free! YES!

 

 

Easy Ramen Broth

This post is for my kids. They love ramen noodles. They also love having me make it for them. Well, no more. They are old enough to boil water, they are old enough to make their own ramen. But “I don’t like the seasoning packet” whines one child. “Can’t you make the broth for me?” whines the second child. I will write down the “recipe” and they can look it up next time they want ramen. I love them so much! I want them to have some life skills.

 

EASY Ramen Broth

2 Cups water
1 tsp chicken flavored broth (powder, Azure Standard)
1 tablespoon shoyu (Kikkoman soy sauce)
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ginger

Bring to a boil and add noodles.

I love you, my darlings!