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Tag Archives: healthy eating

Crackslaw

26 Jan

Yes you read that right, Crackslaw, that is the name of a recipe I tried out. It is so named because it is supposed to be freakishly delish and addictive.

It is super tasty, and I guess I could see how it could become a frequently cooked dish, especially if you are someone cooking for a family and you have to find something that will at least partially please more than just yourself while not going crazy over your food budget.

It is a definite keeper. πŸ™‚

The original recipe can be found here…

http://www.food.com/recipe/crack-slaw-low-carb-434863

I of course made variations because heaven forbid I make it exactly like the recipe said to! Mostly the changes were because I wasn’t buying new ingredients for a recipe I might never make again when I had slightly different versions that I figured would work just as well. Also, I have it on good authority it is a good dish for customizing, you can tweak it to your preferences and my preference was to not have to buy any more ingredients than absolutely necessary lol

The ingredients for my version are as follows…

1 package of Coleslaw mix (14oz bag)

2 gloves garlic, minced (I have the kind in a jar)

chopped white onion, I didn’t measure how much, just diced till I had a bunch, maybe 1/3 of an onion?

1/2 tsp tabasco sauce

shake of jalapeno flakes

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp white vinegar

2 Tbls soy sauce

2 Tbls extra virgin olive oil

1 pound extra lean ground chicken

So my changes were:

(1) it is supposed to be sriracha sauce, I didn’t have any, so I used tabasco

(2) it is supposed to be toasted sesame oil, same as above, I didn’t have any, so I used evoo because I had that already

(3) it is supposed to be 3 green onions chopped, I already had white onion on hand so I chose to use that

(4) it is supposed to be beef, I was going to get lean ground turkey but the lean ground chicken was the cheapest of all the meats so chicken it is!

(5) it is supposed to be Splenda but I refuse to use things like Splenda or Truvia so I opted for real sugar

(6) there is supposed to be ginger paste in there but I am not a huge fan of ginger so I left it out

(7) the jalapeno flakes aren’t in the original recipe, shrug, I wanted it a bit spicier than what I thought the tabasco sauce would get me and I had jalapeno flakes on hand so I shook some in

So ya know, some minor changes…but nothing I feel ruins the overall structure of the dish.

To make Crackslaw you…

(1) brown your ground meat, season with salt and pepper to taste (if you so desire…I don’t use salt when cooking and I forgot to use the pepper so I added that later)

(2) remove browned meat from the pan and set aside

(3) put oil in pan, sautee garlic, onions, and coleslaw until the coleslaw is at your desired tenderness…remember it will wilt down so you don’t need as huge of a pan as you may be imagining…having said that I almost overflowed mine so use a decently large one…

(4) mix the tabasco sauce, sugar, white vinegar and soy sauce together, pour in to pan, mix (this is where I added the pepper)

(5) add back in the meat, mix well, keep in pan until meat has come back up to serving temperature

If you want you can garnish it with more chopped green onion (uncooked of course), and more hot sauce, for those who like things spicier.

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A bonus to using a bag of coleslaw rather than shredding your own cabbage is it comes with other veggies mixed in already but if you are really anti carrot you could always just shred a cabbage…ya weirdo πŸ˜‰

It is dead easy to make, and because it is so flexible with what you put in it you can make it as tasty or as bland as you like. I ate a serving of it the day I made it then portioned out the rest for two more servings. I could probably have divided it up to 4 equal portions but the day I made it I was super hungry and took a bit more so I opted for 3 equal portions so I could calculate the Weight Watchers points easier. Cuz hey, this is all about me, right? πŸ˜‰ Just like with pasta the flavours got stronger as it sat so when I heated up the leftovers it was noticeably spicier than my first meal. Β Thank you jalapeno flakes! πŸ˜€

So yeah, I’d say it is a good dish to make. The ingredients aren’t too expensive to procure, the meat cost me $7 and the ready made coleslaw cost $1.47. I was lucky that I already had the other ingredients, or at least things that could stand in for the other ingredients, so minimal shopping had to be done. Bonus is most of the ingredients are things you’d have on hand anyways, like the garlic, oil, hot sauce, jalapeno flakes, soy sauce, etc, so you’d probably only really need buy the meat and coleslaw and maybe one other ingredient depending on how low you are running on other items…I’ll have to buy the garlic next time since this used up almost all I had left. But you get my drift right? Easy to make. Fairly cheap to make. Makes a large portion so if you are feeding a family it is definitely a cost effective dish to make, and if you’re feeding yourself you’ve just food prepped for 3 to 4 meals, depending how you divide it up. Go you go!

Oh, and if you are on Weight Watchers, my version, divided in to 3 portions comes out to 8 Smart Points a serving.

 

 

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Progresso Soup

19 Oct

I was in the states today for like, a minute, well ok, about 20 minutes, and while there I bought some soup and some yoghurt – both specific types I can’t get here, in the land of maple leafs and hockey.

I’ve written about the yoghurts before, I buy them it seems almost every time I go to the states but today I bought a new soup. Theoretically you can’t go wrong with soup but alas, today proved that line of thinking wrong.

I bought one of the Progresso Light soups, specifically the Beef Pot Roast flavour. If you follow Weight Watchers one serving is 2 SP and the can holds two servings. I ate the entire can for dinner, hey! don’t judge, that’s mean! πŸ˜› Β If you are not on Weight Watchers well, the nutritional info is below, take from it what you like…

I had high hopes for this soup, you’d think I’d learn to stop doing that! *rolls eyes*

The broth was good but weak, it is hard to describe, think of hot chocolate that isn’t quite chocolately enough, it has potential to be good and you can get hints of a good flavour when you taste it but it isn’t quite there yet, it needs to be stronger. The broth is like that, decent but weak, needs to be stronger.

The meat, oh geez, the meat is where this soup fails, and truthfully, where Progresso soups always seem to fail. The beef cubes were dry, and chewy, and had no flavour, and I wouldn’t feed them to a dog let alone another human being. I, however, obviously have lower standards for myself, or I was too lazy to scoop the beef chunks out of my bowl, so I ended up eating them. πŸ˜›

The veggies though were good, actual chunks of vegetables, good texture, good taste. In all the Progresso soups I have had the vegetables are always good. The meat is always terrible. Which is why I tend to lean towards buying only their vegetarian soups but today I thought I’d give them another chance.

Lesson learned. Don’t give Progresso another chance lol Buy what they are good at, their vegetable soups, avoid the meat, it is always dry and chewy and just not worth it.

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Bubble bubble toil and trouble…

The broth has a nice colour, and look at those vegetables! Mmm veggies! πŸ™‚

Overall I wouldn’t rate this soup high, and wouldn’t buy it again, the veggies don’t make it worth eating the beef and the lightly flavoured broth. The extremely low amount of WW points makes eating those beef cubes worth it though, especially since my meeting is tomorrow. πŸ˜‰

Try It Tuesday: Butternut Squash & Quinoa Pilaf

23 Aug

Oh Jamie Oliver, Β how you tempt me!

It seems every time I go grocery shopping and am in the frozen aisle I see a Jamie Oliver product I want to try, dangerous not only to my eating plan but also to my budget lol Lucky for me I seem to spot his items when they are on sale, or maybe they are always on sale…nah, that can’t be it!

Once again I bought the item thinking it was a meal on its own and it turned out it is actually meant to be a side dish. I figured I’d try eating is as such which meant I had to cook an entire meal -the horrors!

Here is what I started with…

Sorry it isn’t in focus, I would have sworn it was when I took the picture and the box is in the recycling now so too late to try again, oops.

Like the box says, this is a butternut squash & quinoa pilaf with mixed rice, pumpkin seeds and cranberries. The box makes a point of saying how it is made with whole grains and contains no preservatives or artificial flavours, so ya know, if that matters to you, there ya go. πŸ˜‰

When frozen it looks like this…

2016-08-17 20.17.42

Pretty decent huh? I chose to microwave it because (1) the box says I can do that and it’ll be fine and (2) my oven was busy cooking other things and coordinating multiple food items in the oven is not a strong skill of mine…something always ends up either burned or not fully cooked, ugh.

So yeah, this sucker got microwaved and turned out great! I paired it with some chicken from M&M Meat Shops and McCain’s Super Fries. Random? Yes. Tasty? Also yes. πŸ™‚

2016-08-17 20.20.15

A portion is 1/3 of the package, or 125 grams. I weighed my portion out then portioned out the remainder of the package so it would be ready for when I wanted the leftovers and there is actually more in the package than three full servings. Not a big deal, just a large spoonful over but if you are really strict about portions you’ll end up having a bit left over. I may have eaten the random spoonful and pretended it didn’t count but ya know, that is me, you do you! If you follow Weight Watchers the Smart Points are 6 per serving.

It isn’t some flavour packed dish, not that I was expecting that, I mean c’mon, it is butternut squash, quinoa and rice…none of those are particularly flavourful items. Having said that, it tasted good. It isn’t covered in some sauce or trying to pretend it is anything other than what it is, which is a nice change for packaged, microwavable food lol. I did put a spoonful of salsa on the left over serving I had the next day at lunch and it took it from good to yum, but you have to keep in mind I love salsa so I’m biased. πŸ˜›

I’d put this on my buy again list, as long as it is on sale! πŸ˜‰

 

Chia Seeds

3 Jun

I’ve been wanting to make those overnight oatmeal recipes in a jar for ages now but all the recipes for them seem to contain Chia Seeds and I (1) had no idea what that was, (2) figured they were ridiculously priced as all weird fad foods seem to be and (3) wasn’t willing to shell out a lot of money for something that I might hate…I learned that lesson the hard way with Flax Seed, ugh.

But then I came across this…

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Yoghurt mixed with oats and chia seeds, oh and raspberry, can’t go wrong with raspberry! πŸ™‚ It is over priced considering the size, almost $4 for that little thing, but I thought it was a safer way to try chia seeds than buying an entire bag and being stuck with them if I hated them. Turns out this little yoghurt thing is freakin delicious! It has yoghurt but isn’t the texture of yoghurt due to the chia seeds and oats, it is thicker, and while you don’t need to chew the oats or chia seeds you still feel like you actually ate something substantial vs slurped down some simple yoghurt. But still, too much money for me to want to buy them all the time, shrug.

Which of course means I am trying to make my own…and so far have failed miserably lol I can’t get quite the same consistency in mine but that isn’t to say my concoction is bad.

In the evening I combine:

  • 1/3 Cup almond milk
  • 1/4 Cup Greek Yoghurt
  • 1/4 Cup oats
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp honey
  • dash of cinnamon
  • fresh or frozen fruit

All but the fruit gets put in to a jam jar or tupperware or whatever you have, mix it all up, then throw the fruit in. I toss in some frozen fruit because well, that is what I buy, lol, but you can use fresh also. Put the lid on and toss it in the fridge. By morning the chia seeds and oats are soft, it has thickened up a bit and magically turned in to something tasty that looks like this…

Granted, not the prettiest colour but whatever, get over it, it tastes good and is decently healthy lol πŸ˜›

When I started researching chia seeds the very first article I clicked on started out with blasting in large font about how chia seeds are a super food whiiiich instantly turned me off. Any food that gets paraded out as a “super food” and the next “it” thing to be eaten I automatically want nothing to do with. What can I say, I am a bit odd like that, but despite that annoying article I persevered and found some good reasons to try the little guys out.

(1) Β A 1 ounce (28 grams or 2 tablespoons) serving of chia seeds contains

  • 11 grams of Fiber
  • 4 grams of Protein
  • 9 grams of FatΒ (5 of which are Omega 3’s)
  • 137 calories
  • there is also a decent percentage of your daily Calcium, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Vitamin B3, Potassium, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B2

(2) Chia seeds are high in antioxidants

(3) Almost all the carbs in Chia seeds are from fibre making Chia seeds a low carb friend

(4) Chia seeds are high in quality protein

(5) Chia seeds are high in many nutrients that are important for bone health

(6) This is something I can’t find scientific research for but many sites claim Chia seeds will aid in weight loss because they expand when exposed to liquid so they help keep you fuller longer thereby decreasing your desire to snack or have your next meal early. I have noticed when I have my little concoction for brekkie at work I’m usually good until lunch time and skipping that mid morning snack comes in handy during a busy day at work. Weight loss though, I can’t say that has happened since I added them to my meal plan, shrug.

Because I liked the little yoghurt cup thing I bought a bag of Chia Seeds from Superstore, all the options they had are organic, which is annoying as I try to avoid foods labelled organic but oh well. One bag cost me $7 which was less than what I was expecting and I am eating them often enough I don’t feel the bag was a wasted food investment. I am considering upping the amount of chia seeds in my yoghurt concoction to get more of the health benefits since I currently only put in 2 teaspoons and 2 tablespoons seems to be the standard daily portion. I think that will mean upping the other ingredients so as to not have it be too thick, not sure though, so I’ll do some experimenting with that and see what happens.

If you are thinking of trying chia seeds, well, ultimately the decision is up to you but I’d say go for it, it can’t do any harm and just might do you some good. Just don’t be like the idiot who swallowed a spoonful of them then drank some water and ended up choking because the seeds expanded so quickly they blocked his esophagus. Seriously, what is with some people? *rolls eyes* And before you freak out about me being soooo callous, the guy is fine, docs saved him.

 

 

One of the sites I got my nutritional information about the Chia Seeds from:

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/

Another New Plan

9 May

I feel like I am always coming up with new plans that never work out. New plans to eat healthier, work out more, lose weight, get stronger, blah blah blah.

I know I am not alone with this, this random stage where ideas are hatched, plans are formed and possibly even followed through for a while but then discarded for all sorts of “reasons” only to leave room for regret because follow through was once again not your thing. I read other peoples’ blogs, I’ve read this story many times over. And each time I feel for that person, because it is a sucky stage. Every time I start the cycle over again, and then fail, I get more demoralized and convinced I will never lose this weight…I’m pretty sure others feel the same.

Plus, it must be super boring to come here to see what I wrote about only to read about yet another Great Plan but a couple weeks later realize I haven’t commented on my new Great Plan in a while.

I firmly believe to be successful at any weight loss plan you have to hit your breaking point, or as a friend calls it, have your “a-ha!” moment. I had that back when I initially lost all my weight but this time around, with all these different plans, and ideas, and attempts I hadn’t had it. I don’t know why I hadn’t had it, it’s not like I didn’t want to succeed, shrug, but for whatever reason it just hadn’t happened.

Yesterday though, it happened.

Gotta say, it was pretty awesome. πŸ™‚

I’d been toying with actually signing up for Weight Watchers, starting next month, cause I can’t afford it this month, if only to get me started. But for some reason that idea wasn’t inspiring me.

I toyed with trying to find the money to get a personal trainer for however many sessions to get me in to a routine and force me to be less lazy. But the cost of a trainer didn’t appeal to me and again, something about it didn’t feel right.

Then out of nowhere I thought about the old meal plan I used to follow, the high protein, high healthy fat, low carb meal plan combined with daily exercise. It was hard core, hard to maintain even when I was super dedicated, and kind of miserable at times because I was eating almost the exact same thing every day. Plus, the plan has you tracking your micro-nutrients and the amount of carbs I was allowed was soooooo low and I love carbs soooooo much, it was kinda sucky at times lol.

But…it worked!

When I started that plan I had already lost over 30 pounds, I was trying to get that last 5-10 pounds and tighten up. This means I was already in the mind set of watching what I ate, and working out often, and was used to following a healthy life routine. Plus, I was starting all that exercise when I was in better shape than I am now so while it was a challenge it was do-able.

This time I am starting farther away from my goal and I am trying to be realistic about what I can handle so I don’t end up quitting.

I don’t want to eat the exact same foods, in the same order, 7 days a week. I don’t want to never splurge. I don’t want to order salad with no dressing topped with a grilled chicken breast every single time I eat out because that is the only “safe” meal I can find on a menu.

I know to hit my goal I will need to make sacrifices and I am ok with that. I won’t get where I want to be without stopping habits I have formed and routinely doing things I haven’t been doing.

But I can’t just half-ass this. I need a plan, a detailed, written out plan that I can refer back to when my brain blanks on day 2 and I can’t remember what the hell I am supposed to be doing for breakfast lol

So I wrote down all the foods I ate on that plan, then I tweaked a bit. Instead of only eating chicken and tuna for my protein I added lean beef burger patties, fish steaks, hard boiled eggs, maybe quinoa (I’m currently researching to decide if the protein I’ll get from quinoa is worth the carbs).

I decided that I’d be allowed 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of dressing on my salads. I might even let myself have cheese every now and then…crazy huh? πŸ˜‰

Then, after thinking of little tweaks I wrote down what I will eat and where (at work or at home) on the different days of the week. This might seem strange but I did it because three days of the week I have no structure decided by work. Two days of the week I work 3p-9p and 2 days of the week I work 7a-3p. When I started this job the transition to my odd work schedule threw me off, because this meal plan was not only food specific but very structured for how far apart the different meals were eaten and where in the day you exercised in relation to your meals. I couldn’t make every day the same anymore and I quickly spiraled in to not following a plan because I couldn’t follow my plan perfectly.

I’m hoping by being a bit more relaxed with the timing, and being willing to switch things up a bit, I can make it work.

For instance, I am supposed to start my day with 1/2 an apple and a simple protein shake. Then a half hour to 45 minutes later have one egg, 2 slices of turkey bacon and the other half of the apple. Well sure, that is fine on my days off and my days where I start work at 3pm but the days I work at 7am? Uh yeah, not gonna happen. So, the days I start at 7am I will have 1/2 cup of oatmeal for breakfast when I am at work.

Does it follow the rules of the plan exactly? No. Is it something I can actually do, that is relatively healthy, and maintainable? Yup.

I have to be ok with these little changes. And sure, maybe I’ll get more hard core as I really get in to things and revert back to how it was last time I followed this plan but I have to ease in to that level of dedication, re-drink the kool-aid so to speak lol

keep-calm-and-drink-the-kool-aid-8

I am so psyched to start this new plan but I won’t be following it properly until Saturday because I have to wait for Friday to be able to buy groceries so until then I will make do with what foods I already have. I can increase my protein since I already have protein rich foods. I can work on the timing of my meals, so I get used to that structure again. I can start to cut out unnecessary carbs (sadness 😦 ) and I’ve already got my grocery list written and ready to be filled.

Maybe this lull before I can start this plan full time is a good thing, it will allow me to prep and plan and psych myself up even more. πŸ™‚

meal plan

This is an example of my meal plans for the different types of days I have. It isn’t exact or set in stone. The proteins can be swapped out and moved from one day to the next. For ease of making the document I put in mostly chicken but I have another page written up with other meal ideas that are high protein, low carb, high healthy fat. Plus, I’ll have to work on the timing, figure out where my exercise fits in to each day and maneuver some meals around that – my large protein shake for instance will best benefit me if I have it after I exercise. So I will probably end up moving that to when I am home after my 3p-9p shift because I tend to work out after that shift rather than prior. But it is a framework for me to move within, which is what I know I need to succeed.

So ok, sorry to bore you with the food portion of my “Great Plan”. But writing this and putting it out in to the world helps me, it helps me stay committed to the plan (theoretically) and helps me believe I can make it work.

I feel I should warn you my next post will probably be about the exercising portion of my new plan, especially since I’ve already started the workouts lol

Cooking With A Chef

6 Feb

On Wednesday a friend of mine and I got together for lunch. She did me an awesome favour a couple weeks ago and I wanted to treat her for lunch as a thank you. She suggested we get together and cook something instead and since it was her thank you I said yup.

We went back and forth for a while on what to make and eventually settled on my brother’s Black Bean Stew recipe which omg, amazing! My brother cooks as a hobby but he puts a lot of time and attention in to it, and it helps he is brilliant at everything he attempts, so when he comes up with something it is always good. πŸ™‚

Christmas of 2007 he brought over a pot of this black bean stew for Christmas Eve dinner and I loved it so much he gave me the recipe. Well ok, I badgered him for it, but let’s not get all picky about things k?

I’ve made it a couple times and it always turns out great.

I bought enough ingredients to double the recipe so we’d each have some for lunch and then left overs for freezing…or in her case left overs to feed her family.

She is a Chef, and an awesome one at that, so while I wasn’t nervous about cooking with her, I was certain she’d be amused and or irritated with how I am in a kitchen. She is one of those amazingly efficient human beings that always make me look like a clumsy incompetent person but oh well, shrug. She actually took over the chopping of the onions because (1) I am a slow chopper and (2) they were making my eyes water so much I couldn’t see through the tears lol

We followed the recipe to the letter but then added some additional seasoning at the end because it was a bit bland, I think I didn’t put in enough tobasco sauce…maybe? I dunno. It is the first time it has come out bland but her additional seasonings made it all better. She gave me some random cooking tips while we went along but for the most part let me run the show. We worked well as a team. πŸ™‚

While we were cooking she said nobody every cooks for her or really invites her over for a meal because she is a Chef and people get intimidated by that. I find that sad. Food is such an integral part of society and social gatherings and nobody ever invites her over for a home cooked meal or brings her something home made to eat? What’s wrong with people!

Having said that, I’ve never brought her anything home made either. Partly because I don’t really cook and also because I figure anything I can make she can make so much better why insult her palate with my paltry offerings?

I’m gonna change that right now!

We had so much fun cooking and hanging out, more fun than I think we would have had if we went out. And she doesn’t care that I’m not a professional cook, she was legit grateful for someone else working in the kitchen…even if she did have to take over the chopping of the onions lol

Next time we are going to make lasagna! Mmm!

The above shows the black bean stew before I covered it with toppings, and then my bowl with all the toppings. As you can see I like sour cream and cheese and avocado lol Usually I eat this with sour cream and maybe the cheese, depending what I have. She happened to have avocado as well and as it was near death we decided to each take half so as not to waste it. Cause a wasted avocado is a sad sad thing.

 

Snack ‘n Go

30 Jan

I discovered in Safeway the other week these great little hummus snacks. Well, they are great if you like hummus…and crackers…and snacks…

Who doesn’t like snacks?!

There are two flavours, original and roasted garlic. I bought both and love both equally. I enjoy hummus, not as much as some people, but it is a yummy food choice that I have pretty much no guilt about so yay for that! Normally I buy a larger container of hummus and some carrots and go that boring old route but I seem to never finish the hummus, or the carrots, and it is such a waste. But these! These are perfect for me! I love things that are portioned out already, they make it so much easier for lazy people like me to pick the healthy option vs grabbing some cookies or just not eating lol

The crackers are crazy delish. To the point I purposefully finish the hummus quickly so I can eat one or two of the crackers by themselves. Yeah…I’m that person *rolls eyes* What can I say, carbs make life worth living. πŸ˜‰

Sadly, as with any small convenient food option, they aren’t cheap. I only bought them because they were on sale for um, two for $4 or $5 I think it was…which doesn’t sound like a lot initially but when you realize they are only small snack items and regularly they are three something each well, is it really worth it? I dunno…You’d get more snack time out of the bag of carrots and larger container of hummus but these I did not waste, ate every bite of the 6 I ended up buying before the sale was over. So maybe, when you look at it like that, they are worth the money? I’ll leave that decision up to you and your wallet, but if your taste buds get to weigh in on the decision to buy them be prepared for the taste buds to say “yes! buy! buy! buy!” cause seriously, so tasty! πŸ™‚

 

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