Monday, July 23, 2012

Menu Week 5

Oh, it feels so good to be back in the menu-making circuit. When our food isn’t planned out, the weeks are unhealthy and chaotic… not good for the littles or me! Now that we’re not on vacation and eating like gluttonous beasts, it’s nice to settle back into predictable, delicious food. The kids are happier and I don’t feel like I have a tar baby sitting in my stomach. (That’s my Uncle Remus reference... thank you, southern up-bringing!) Anyway, I'm happy to be back!  I will be posting the rest of my original recipes later today or tomorrow. J

Breakfast: Oats w/ cinnamon, honey and blueberries
Lunch: Quinoa salad with tomatoes, avocados, lemon juice, black beans, green bell pepper and olive oil
Dinner: Asian Eggplant w/ broccoli and fried rice

Breakfast: Blueberry, banana, spinach smoothie
Lunch: Veggie rolls with rice paper
Dinner: Black Bean Burgers with grilled zucchini  

Breakfast: blue berry muffins
Dinner: Red curry with eggplant and brown basmati rice

Breakfast: quinoa with cinnamon, honey, blueberries and almonds
Lunch: black beans veggie wrap
Dinner: Garlic Basil Marinara over Spaghetti squash

Breakfast: Larabars
Lunch: Avocado, tomato pasta
Dinner: Masar Dal Pulao w/ naan  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Greek Pasta Salad

I love pasta salads in the summer. It’s too hot to do much, other than sit by the pool with a margarita. So when lunch or dinner rolls around sometimes its nice to have a cool, light option. This pasta salad is it. And it is SO FREAKING EASY!!! It includes a recipe-ish for dressing, but feel free to put on what ever your fav dressing is. Sometimes simplicity is all that matters!

16oz of pasta… cook’s choice! Prepare to package directions. I find a little al dente is nice J
½ green bell pepper, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ red onion, diced
½ cucumber, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 small package of feta cheese, if you must J

Here’s the hard part:
Dump it all in a bowl and stir. Boom. Dinner or lunch is served. Now I realize that some of you olive lovers out there are thinking, “what the heck? (or hell, depending on your verbiage preferences) This salad TOTALLY needs olives.” To you I say, “Olive away!” If I thought olives were remotely tasty I would be loading them up in this bad boy. Sadly, olives have the ability to make my stomach turn at the mere mention of their consumption, so I will stop there. I don’t know why, I’ll blame it on an unknown childhood experience. 
If you're game for a lovely Greek dressing, here you go… its also super difficult (sarcasm).

½ c. olive oil
½ c. apple cider vinegar
tsp oregano
tsp basil
tsp dried mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Dump it all in a glass jar and shake it like you mean it. Boom. Boom.

The boy told me he wanted to eat this salad forever and the Man ate 2 huge servings followed by a text complementing the meal. When the men folk happily eat salads it is immediate meal success.
Happy Summer Salading!

Vacation... a health nightmare!

I haven’t posted in like 2 weeks… I’ve been on vacation. Well, one might call it a vacation; it was 8 days at my sister-in-law’s house in FL with my husband’s family. Wine and margaritas got me through, it got us all through. I will say nothing more J

Pic from 'the dock of the bay' by Aunt Janna.
Being that the clean eating (and in our case, plant based clean eating) is a journey for us, I thought this was a part of the journey that was very eye opening. One think I realized through all of this though is that my home is definitely my “safe place” with food. What ever is let in will be the dominantly consumed foods. If its snacks, I will eat snacks. If it is sweets, I will eat sweets. I actually posted not too long ago something about not being someone who eats a ton of sweets or not being someone who will polish of a bag of potato chips in one sitting, well, I should have kept my filthy mouth shut because this past week I DEVOURED some potato chips like some kind of weird potato addict. I ate sweets (note the margarita reference above) like they were going out of style and although the meals I ate were relatively healthy, there were a large number of seafood dishes consumed and what was inhaled during snack times and the evening doesn’t need mentioning. It was bad. Real bad.

My little man was AWESOME
with a fishin' pole.
I came home feeling bloated (yeah, you all wanted to know that, I’m sure), tired and completely addicted to food. You know that feeling when you’re not REALLY hungry but you just kind of want to eat? Well, that is a food addiction popping up to say hello and reminding you that you are not in charge quite as much as you would like to be. My addiction is usually kept at bay by planning meals, having a number of healthy snack options available and also by doing recipe and food research. When I am filling my body with essential nutrients and not wasting space in my stomach and cells with crap, then I find that my cravings subside and I don’t have the nagging desire to ‘munch’ all day long. I’m scared of the self-discipline that will be required to re-boot my toxic body but ever fiber of my being is screaming for good, solid nutrients.

At this point I wish I could have been the amazing person who could “Just Say No” (remember that fancy drug slogan?) every time a bowl of chips were left on the counter or when a bag of starbursts were found lying around after the 382nd ‘treat’ was given to the children. Some of you might say, “Um, it’s a vacation, you’re supposed to eat bad and have a good time”, and I would not be sure that I agree. (Seriously, I’m not SURE yet, I’m working this all out in my head.) I don’t like the shock and fatigue I feel when I chuck this way of eating to the wind. I mean, I adopted this life-style because I felt like it was the right thing to do, not just for my family’s health but also, for environmental sustainability. I don’t want to ‘take a vacation’ from health, I don’t want to feel like the way we eat is so hard so that I need a break from it a few times a year. I want to love our life, just as it is today, will all the benefits it offers. Now, if I can enjoy this life, health and all but just transplant it to the beach a few times a year, then I’m golden!
Until next time!!!!!

This trip was good for me. I realized how weak I am. I was humbled. I pray that in the next venture to the mental land of ‘vacationing’ that I will hang in there and be true to who I am and not go running the opposite direction. We’re all a work in progress and I’m thankful that there is grace for me J

Saturday, July 7, 2012

So what IS Tuesday Night Dinner? Well, let me tell you.

So Tuesday night dinner is a little something that started when I was in college. A pastor from our church and his wife used to invite a bunch of us college students over for dinner so that at least once a week we could have a good home-cooked meal. It gave me a little bit of community where I needed it most. Well, here I am, a wife and mother of three little people who sees a need here in my town for community so the Man and I decided that once a month we would invite couples in our church over for dinner who just needed a night to connect. We invited people that we knew were in the same place in life as we are (i.e., young children, busy schedules) but we left the invitation open to each of these people to invite others who may need to connect. And so Tuesday night dinners began. (They used to be on Monday, so if I ever type Monday Night Dinner, that’s why!) Now once a month (every week would take a miracle) we fill our house with 25+ adults and an even larger number of children and we provide a “main course” and most people bring a side, drinks or a dessert. It is so much fun and we all just talk, let our kids play and do life together. It is wild… wildly refreshing. We all need community, we need people around us to see our good and our bad and then just be okay with it. God created us for fellowship and I am so glad He did. I get to hang out with some of the most amazing people I know because of it!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Blueberry Muffins

Its not only okra season but we have officially hit blueberry season too! I took the littles out blueberry picking in 103 degree weather and we had a blast! They ran around and picked a berry here and there and I relaxed and just picked. I thought of little. I just picked. Here is a vegan and sugar-free blueberry muffin recipe

2 cups flour blend (I used buckwheat, whole wheat and coconut flours)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
½ c agave
1 cup Milk, any (I used almond)
1/3 cup Coconut Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 and 1/2 cups Fresh OR Frozen Blueberries

First Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then combine the agave, milk, oil, vanilla and vinegar in a different bowl. Once well mixed add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix well. Fold in the blueberries and your just about set. The batter will appear more like cookie dough than cake batter but, hey, it works J
Spoon the batter in to lightly greased muffin tins, filling about ¾ full. Pop them into a pre-heated oven at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Because it is made with agave instead of sugar it will brown quickly but no need to cover it, they’re still super soft.

Okay, its mid-night… I’m going to bed J

Mushroom Okra Curry

Its okra season and I plan to take full advantage of it!

4 chopped garlic cloves
1 inch fresh ginger, grated (if you keep it in the freezer, it grates nicely)
1-2 fresh chilies seeded and chopped
¾ c cold water
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp coriander seed
1 cumin seed
1 tsp ground cumin
2 green cardamom pods (seeds removed and ground)
Pinch turmeric
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 lb mushrooms, quartered if large
8 oz okra, cut into ½ inch slices
2 tbsp cilantro

This pic is kind of sad. Once my pics are off the camera I don't do much more editing.
No biggie. I used some home-made paneer cheese a friend made.
Amazing dish!!
Place garlic, ginger, chilies and 3 tbsp of water in your food processor, process away. Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan. Add coriander and cumin seeds and let them sizzle in the pan a few seconds. Add ground cumin, cardamom and turmeric and cook for a bout a minute. Add the garlic paste from the processor, the tomatoes and the remaining water to the saucepan. Mix it up really good then add the mushrooms and okra. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove cover, turn up the heat a bit and cook 5-10 minutes more or until okra is soft. Stir in the chopped cilantro and you’re done! Around here we serve it over brown basmati rice… delish! Enjoy this summer, okra treat!

Week 4

Happy Independence Day!! I love the 4th; it is a huge event around the Nysewander household. This year the Man and I are running the Peachtree Road Race… the biggest 10k in the country, I believe. That evening we will be out on the town sporting our hard earned t-shirts while attending a cook out and a kick-ass fireworks display, at which, my children will be wearing Santa earmuffs.  We live in the greatest town ever, seriously, you should be jealous.
Well, here’s another round of tasty food for you!!

Breakfast: GrapeNuts with peaches
Dinner: Out with friends and kids!!!

Breakfast: Peach, pineapple and coconut smoothie
Lunch: Peanutbutter and banana with cucumber and tomato salad

Wednesday: Happy Birthday America!!!!!
Dinner: Family/Friend cook out… I’m bring Cole Slaw

Breakfast: blueberry muffins (no egg!)
Lunch: hummus with veggies
Dinner: Broccoli, Millet Croquettes w/ mashed cauliflower and salad

Breakfast: Banana Waffles
Lunch: fruit salad and blueberry muffins
Dinner: Veggie Laksa