How is it almost May?

Dude.  Time totally got away from me (and the rest of the family) in April.  Hubs and I are fully vaccinated as of April 29 and he did not get sick.  I did.  And did I ever.  I did not have any breathing issues, but the fatigue hit me like a ton of bricks and I had massive brain fog. It’s been like a never-ending Fibro flare working overtime.  It’s not over, but I am getting back to me.

Well, getting back to me living at the 4-5 range instead of the 2-3 from February.  That pothole hit did a lot of damage. It knocked out our tire, my back, and my mojo. But that’s not what I want to dwell on.

Did you catch the Pink Moon (Supermoon) this past Monday?  We had to wait until after midnight to get a really good look, but it was worth it.  Sister Moon showed up and she was fierce! 

I have a few projects in the works, including our garden, finishing up the kitchen, and other painting projects.  What do these projects have to do with health?  They are labors of love and those make my heart smile.  Yes, they are work and take a little time almost every day, but they are worth it.  I’ll share here, Instagram, and YouTube  I’ve kept my promise to myself to post more often and I think you’ll like what I have to share.

Speaking of, is there anything that you would like to see?  Recipes?  Reviews?  Photos?  Workouts?  A little of everything is on the table. Why? Because there is always a little of everything on the table.

Congratulations to my cousin who is getting married this weekend.  I wish I could be there.

Is a wedding or gardening in your weekend plans?  Let me know what’s up because I’d love to hear it. No matter what your plans, please remember that you are loved. Have fun and take care until next time.

Peace.

Welcome to February!

How was your January? Mine was a continuation of 2020 in some ways, but I stayed on track. 

I’m 8 pounds lighter and 5 inches smaller than on January 1.  I am blown away!

I’m playing the long game, y’all. Eating better, moving a little more, and keeping my health in focus. This means not focusing on other’s progress and comparing mine to theirs My journey is not just about weight. It includes becoming more mobile and strengthening my back so my spine has more support. It includes finding the best ways of managing Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms. Most importantly, it involves taking care of my heart, mind, and body.

I learned a little while ago that I have to take care of myself if I wanted to be of help to anyone else.  Part of that included recognizing sharing the truth about what I could and couldn’t handle on some days. It was not as easy as it sounds and was vital.  Burnout led to increased pain and exhaustion along with lost productivity.  When I’d get to that point, I’d be no good to anyone, including myself.  Sleep was not restful and meds made me foggier than I could handle.  Errors at work were harder to catch and the idea of housework made life just too much.  All I could do was sleep and work.  I hated that and do not want to revisit that schedule or mindset again.

Don’t get me wrong – there are still foggy, painful days, but they don’t last more than a week at a time. I’m so thankful for that.

I am going to go on and on if I don’t move to another topic.

So, February.  What are your plans?  Any goals?  Mine include keeping on the cleaner meal plan with treats on occasion (The Ultimate Portion Fix is my jam) and moving more without pushing so hard that I lose progress.  Let me know what you’re up to.  I want to hear it!

Keto Honey? Yes!

I received a copy of Sm Kuma’s Keto Honey Alternative Recipes: World-Class Keto honey Alternative and Substitute Recipes to Sweeten Your Life in a Healthy Manner in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and occasionally those of my husband and kiddos.

I am trying to keep my overall sugar consumption down and know that the family is not interested in some of the alternatives I’ve used. I had the chance to review Sam Kima’s Keto Honey Alternative Recipes: World-Class Keto honey Alternative and Substitute Recipes to Sweeten Your Life in a Healthy Manner and am glad I did. Not only does he include different recipes for a Keto honey substitute, but he includes recipes for any meal or snack one could think of. I did not use many of the recipes but did make a few. I used the Keto honey Syrup #2 recipe for the Keto honey vinaigrette and Keto Honey Mustard. Both were yummy with an assortment of salad veggies and on a sandwich. I did not use a Keto mayo when called for and used dairy-free substitutes when dairy was called for. This did not change the flavor of but did change macros a bit. That did not bother me much because is anyone really watching macros to the t right now?

Not all of the recipes include Keto honey alternatives. Stevia, monkfruit, and Swerve were found in ingredient lists and so were the usual Keto substitutes for baking. This would not be a bad addition to your collection if you want to make your own sweet condiments like salad dressing and barbeque sauces. The candied nuts may make a nice gift for someone stuck at a desk most of the day (or anyone, really). If you’re not a meat-eater, following a Keto diet, you may wish to choose a different book. While you can replace the meal recipes with a meat substitute, you will alter the nutritional information and may not remain in ketosis.

The Keto Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal is on my radar just in case hubs wants to give it a try. It’s his favorite cereal of all time.

If you want to get your own copy Of Keto Honey Alternative Recipes, you can get it for #4.99 for the Kindle, $16.99 for a paperback, or $26.99 for a print-on-demand hardcover.  Let me know if you give it a try.

Are you following a Keto plan?  What’s your favorite sugar substitute?  I’ll share if you do.  Until next time, peace!

Weight loss update – so excited!

It’s a moderate pain day, so I may ramble a little.  If you’re not in a rambling read kind of mood, feel free to skip this one. 

Hey, y’all!  I told you I’d be back regularly, and here I am.  I want to share my progress since I haven’t really shared on that front lately.  I’ve been continuing physical therapy at home and focusing on getting healthier all around.   I recognize that weight can play a role in how I feel physically.   I’m not referring to anyone else but me in this post and hope that how I’m doing helps you.

I’m down 15.4 pounds since I buckled down on nutrition about 6 weeks ago.

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Stuffed peppers made with ground Impossible Burgers.  So good! 

My exercise has been daily pt (mostly stretching and ab work) and walking when I can get it in.  It’s nutrition for the most part.  I eat mostly whole foods but do make room for treats.  Produce is always first and protein is also a big part of my day.  I’m still all about the plants, even when Impossible or Beyond Burgers are on the plate.  On high pain days, take out or leftovers are the plan but I try to keep my macros/containers in mind.

Containers?  I’m back to following the Ultimate Portion Fix to help me keep on track and it’s been so much easier than I made it seem previously.  I think in rainbow when I’m at home or out, even when I don’t try to.

So, that’s the update on the weight loss front.  If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see more of what I’ve been cooking, eating, and reading.  If not, no worries.  More content will be shared here on a regular basis.  Thank you for reading.  I hope today (and the rest of 2020) is good for you.

Until next time, be well!

Quarantine food game freezer edition

So, how are things going for you?   COVID-19 cases are growing here in Charleston and I think (and hope) a stay at home order is coming.  We need to flatten the curve so we can save lives.

I know you’re not here for news, but for food help.  If you haven’t already seen the pantry and fridge posts, give them a peek. This one is all about what we keep in the freezer and how it helps us get through the busy days and when we just don’t feel like hitting the grocery store.  Believe me, those days were many when my back went wonky a few months back and walking was an ordeal.  Grabbing a bag of veggies and a veggie burger or sausage out of the freezer made meals so much easier.

What are our freezer staples?

  • Veggies – blends, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, greens, and okra
  • Beans – either cooked from dry and frozen in 2-cup increments or store-bought
  • Fruit – whatever happens to be on sale but usually berries, mango, and pineapple
  • Veggie meat – burgers and sausage
  • Vegan meals – occasionally homemade leftovers, skillet meals, and individual meals
  • Tofu – firm and extra-firm

It’s a short list, but these staples paired with pantry and fridge staples result in fantastic meals and snacks all day long.  Sometimes just the frozen options can make nice meals.  These are goodies I’ve made in the past, present, and future.

Smoothies with fruit and greens (or cauliflower rice) make a nice breakfast or snack.  I’ll add oats sometimes to make it a heartier drink or make a smoothie bowl topped with oats, nuts, and fresh or thawed frozen fruit.  Sometimes, I’ll blend tofu and berries to make a mousse as a snack or dessert.  Topping it like a smoothie bowl also makes a nice breakfast – one I ‘ve had a few days this week.  rsz_20200331_120333

A veggie burger with or without a bun served with fries and baked beans is a standard go-to when I’m not feeling creative.  When I am feeling more creative or feel like re-creating my old favorite tv dinners, I’ll turn the burger into Salisbury Steak with mashed potatoes, mixed veggies, and a fruit crisp or brownie for dessert.  I’ve also turned burgers into meatloaf when I want a lof but not lentil loaf.

Vegan sausage is perfect on a bun with sauteed peppers and onions, sliced up and mixed with beans (who didn’t like Beanie Weenies as a kid?), or sitting on the side of red beans and rice.  For a snack, a link with brown mustard and pickles is nice for a lower carb day.  Beyond Sausage and Lightlife’s new Sausage are in the freezer now.  I found them on sale a few months back and stocked up for a rainy day.

Sometimes all I want for dinner are beans, greens, and rice.  Throwing the rice in the InstantPot and thawing cooked beans and greens on the stovetop or microwave makes a healthy comfort food meal easy.   Hitting them with a little hot sauce or bbq sauce always does it for me. And if there’s time, some cornbread will seal the deal. There is no shame in using cornbread mix, y’all.

Frozen planned overs or leftovers help me get a homemade meal ready to go quickly.  Right now there is chili and a black beans and rice casserole waiting for their time to shine again.  When you freeze, make sure to put the name and date on the container. I’m not always up for “Vegan Surprize” after a long day.

Gardein Skillet Meals are a store-bought option that will work well if you’re in a hurry. Keep in mind that these will not feed more than two people.  Or one really hungry person.  I have Chik’n Florentino and Italian Style Rigatoni and Saus’age on hand and am looking at the Porkless Thai Curry as the next one to try.

Frozen veggies are perfect to round out a meal or as a meal in themselves.  I’ll serve cauliflower mashed, as wings (breaded or not), straight up with a sauce of some kind, as 20200308_214605a low carb potato substitute in home fries or salad.  Why? Why not.  Cauliflower rice is also a nice side option some days.  A stir-fry blend is nice for a quick curry or with teriyaki, hoisin, or orange sauce.  Classic mixed carrots, peas, and corn can be a nostalgic side or added to soup, a pot pie, or veggie fried rice.  See where I’m going here?  Ask me for more examples or my recipes and I’m happy to share.

I hope that these last few posts have given you idea for meals that won’t bore you while saving you from extra grocery stops.   Remember, there is no shame in convenience foods.  Do whatever you need to do to make healthy, filling meals that make you and yours happy.   Please be safe out there and wash your hands.

Take care.

 

 

 

 

The quarantine food game pantry edition

Howdy!  I hope that you’re settling into the new routine a little more and feeling less anxious about the state of the world.  I’m used to working from home but hubby (and I’m sure some of you) are not quite sold on working from home yet.  I hope at least that some of those meetings that could be emails are actually emails now.

Last time I posted about some of the staples in our refrigerator and how we turn them and some batch cooked rice, beans, and greens into various meals.  This post is all about the pantry.   A little bird told me that a specific list may be more helpful than paragraphs, so here goes.

  • Grains and pseudo-grains are a must – rice, oats, grits, dry cereal, and quinoa (when I’m in the mood)
  • Beans – dry and canned for quick meals.  I usually batch cook and freeze beans in 2-cup increments
  • Pasta – whole wheat, whole grain, or gluten-free, generally elbows, spirals, and spaghetti unless I’m in the mood for lasagna
  • Onions
  • Potatoes – sweet and red, Russet, or Yukon
  • Shelf-stable plant milk (when I remember to grab some)
  • Nuts and nut butter – usually cashews, walnuts, and a mix for snacking
  • Flour
  • Sugar and other sweeteners (stevia, dates, maple syrup, and Lakanto products)
  • Unopened condiments – barbeque sauce, mustard, salsa, salad dressings, and the like
  • Pickles – cucumbers, green beans, artichoke hearts – Yes, we treat pickles as staples.  Don’t you?
  • Tomatoes – diced and stewed
  • Pasta sauces – We tend to favor Classico
  • Bread and tortillas
  • Crackers (occasionally)
  • Spices and seasoning mixes
  • Vinegar – red, white, champagne, rice, and balsamic are here at the moment
  • Oil – Mostly for the family – olive, corn, and coconut

Our pantry staples don’t seem like much on their own, but pairing them to what we keep in the fridge and freezer (post coming soon) shows that the basics can go a long way.  These meals and sides are pantry- and fridge-based:

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  • Baked sweet potatoes topped with black beans and barbeque sauce served with a simple salad
  • Stuffed Russet potatoes
  • Pasta and potato salads as lunch or dinner sides
  • Pasta with beans or lentil sauces or tossed with made with whatever veggies are on hand
  • PBJ or nut butter with fruit and a veggie or fruit side
  • Beans on toast (noms and thanks to the Brits for this one)
  • Home fries with a side salad if they’re not full of veggies
  • Chickpea “tuna” salad with crackers, on bread, or on top of a simple salad
  • Mac and cheese with a potato and carrot-based cheese sauce
  • Oats or oatmeal muffins for breakfast
  • Bean or nut-based sausage
  • Lentil loaf with mashed potatoes and whatever green veggies are in the fridge

There you go – a nice selection of meals and snacks for any time of day.  It’s easy to mix and match to suit your taste and cravings.

So, do you prefer paragraphs or a list?  Let me know and I’ll make sure to follow the preferences of the majority.  Sometimes this blog is a dictatorship, but it’s usually a democracy.

See you next time when I talk about the freezer.  That glorious beast!

How’s your quarantine food game? Fridge edition

Is your pantry stocked? The freezer?  do you have staples on hand so you can cook and eat all the goodness you need? If not, this post is for you.  The post works for you if you have stocked up.  There’s something for all the veggies and vegans here.  I’ll share what we keep on hand in my house and how we make it work for us.  I’m the only veggie in the house, but I will not share what the omnis add to their meals here.  This one is for us.

When you have pantry and freezer staples on hand, you can mix and match to make

culi fried rice

delicious and healthy meals.  Not sure about that?  Check out Miyoko’s Creamery on Facebook for live cooking demos featuring pantry staples.  Why?  Because Miyoko is a joy to watch and her products are banging.  She published a book all about the vegan pantry a few years ago.  The Homemade Vegan Pantry is one of my favorites and comes in handy in times of crisis and storm season.  If you have a busy schedule and don’t always have time to cook or shop the way you’d like, you should check it out.

What do I keep in my fridge?  Plant milk, condiments, and produce always.  The produce we pick up depends on what’s on sale and what looks good at the moment. After batch cooking, you’ll find rice, beans, and greens.  Depending on the condiments and sides, I can make different meals out of those goodies.  Add salsa, shredded lettuce, olives, radishes, and tortillas for Tex Mex night.  Arrange beans and green over rice with a little hot sauce and a  biscuit or cornbread for a Southern meal.  Turn the beans and rice into burgers (or sausage) depending on seasonings used and throw it on a bun, bed of salad greens, or bowl of grits.  Make bean burgers and serve them over rice and topped with mushroom gravy for a vegan take on Loco Moco (the link goes to Guy Fieri’s version, so don’t click if you’re not okay with looking at meat or dairy).  And there’s always soup or stew – throw everything in a large pot with sauteed onions, garlic, and water to cook until all is heated through,  Season it to your taste and there’s lunch or dinner.  Don’t forget about throwing veggies on a sheet pan to serve with the bean burger.  Try cutting carrots or turnips into fries – yum!

food prep

Sheet pan dinner ftw – toss with a little oil, water, or broth season, and roast.  Easy cleanup, too!

I hope this gave you some ideas on what to pick for the fridge.  If you want or need a specific grocery list, just ask.  I am always happy to help others find their groove in the kitchen.

Next time, I’ll focus on the pantry.  See you then!