21 Day Sugar Detox - Days 2-5

Monday, July 29, 2013

First of all, I am so proud of myself! This is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Self-control isn't something I have an abundance of. 

Day 2, I woke up with a headache. But my great friend Raeia suggested I double brew my green tea for more caffeine and I've been doing it ever since. It's still not yummy without sweetener, but I'm drinking it. The herbal tea too. Anyhow - after my headache subsided, it was a great day! I met my in-laws at Olive Garden for lunch so they could take my daughter for the weekend. I wasn't sure I'd be able to eat anything! But I was able to order grilled chicken, asparagus, and broccoli. All safe! 

Day 3 - We were in a flood! Seriously, it was a stressful morning. Our creek was up, but my Grandfather's farm was mostly under water. What a way to start the morning! My husband decided to be awesome and stop at Starbucks while we were traveling to Concord to see his family. I'm not sure if he always ate and drank as loudly as he does now when he's enjoying things I can't have, but I never noticed before. Maybe I'm a little more sensitive to it.

Day 4 - I was very tired, probably because I only slept 4 hours the night before. I discovered my cravings are much more intense when I'm tired. While my husband and daughter were munching grapes, I thought I was going to lose my mind! So I picked a recipe off Pinterest to try...it was awful! I can still taste it. Nasty. 

Day 5 - I cooked the most amazing dinner! I had beef strips for fajitas and I wanted to turn them into something Mexican. So I put equal parts butter and coconut oil in my skillet and started chopping! Onion, pepper, garlic, mushrooms, cabbage...anything I could get my hands on. Then I added the beef. I seasoned it with paprika, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. I ate mine with a little cream cheese mixed in with avocado and a baby kale salad. It was so awesome I ate two plates! 

I'm tougher than I realized, and I'm already seeing changes in my body. 

I still want a cookie.

What I'm eating:
Breakfast Scrambles: eggs, sausage, coconut oil, kale, onion, pepper, mushrooms, cauliflower, etc 
Steak and mushrooms 
Fajita style filling (my family put theirs in tortillas)
Grilled Chicken
Cucumbers with salt as a snack
Lots of green tea and herbal tea
Coconut Butter 
Baby Kale salads with cabbage and protein
Eggs! Scrambled and hard boiled

How I'm feeling:
Overall, I feel pretty good. Tired. And sometimes I just start sweating! It's the weirdest thing. I'm thirsty almost all the time. And I feel a little nauseous if I let my stomach get empty. 

Day 1 of 21 Day Sugar Detox

Friday, July 26, 2013

I thought I was going to die. No kidding. By 6 pm, I hadn't cheated and my body hated me. Nausea, headache, slightly blurred vision...I wanted to sit in the kitchen and eat a whole watermelon followed by chocolate cake and a Coke. 


Breakfast was an omelet with Kale and 1/2 an avocado.

Lunch was a kale salad, cucumber, pecans, and 1/2 of an avocado.

Snack was grilled chicken (that was supposed to be dinner but I was starving!)

I didn't have dinner, I was too nauseous. 

I drank lots of water, herbal and green tea. 

Here's to Day 2! 

Pasta with Mozzarella Cream Sauce

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Oh my goodness!! Dinner last night was amazing!!! My apologies, there isn't a photo, and there aren't many exact measurements either. Go ahead and start water boiling for your favorite pasta before you begin. You can cook it according to the box.

You'll want to melt equal parts butter and coconut oil in a skillet. How much you use will depend on how much you're wanting to make. I did a tbsp of each. I then added a container of Baby Bella mushrooms, a couple cloves of garlic, a small pepper , and 1/4 of an onion, all diced small. I let all that cook 3-5 minutes, then added three large handfuls of spinach leaves. While that continues to cook, melt 4 tbsp of butter and 4 tbsp coconut oil in a separate skillet, add 2 tbsp flour and cook for a minute or two. Slowly add 1 1/3 cups whole milk. (You could use half and half or cream for a more decadent sauce.) Bring to a simmer and add salt and pepper to taste. Then add 1 cup mozzarella cheese and stir. Then combine your pasta, veggies and sauce. Easy as that!! You can add any additional seasonings you like, fresh basil would really kick this up.

*I also added diced smoked pork chops I had in my freezer since my hubby likes a little meat. You could easily add chicken to this too.

This was so good. Seriously, and simple.
You can add whatever veggies you like! This made enough for my husband to have three bowls, me and Carly to eat, and have lunch today too. And I only cooked 1/2 pound of pasta.


Recipe inspired by this post: http://thoughtfulvegetarian.blogspot.com/2008/06/pasta-and-broccoli-in-creamy-mozzarella.html?m=1

Monthly Menu Planning and Grocery Shopping Part 2

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

     First of all, let me say that the best thing that's come out of my monthly menu planning and shopping experiment is that there isn't any stress over dinner. Granted, I focused so much on dinner that I kind of forgot our lunches here at the house. Oops. However, next month, I'll know better. 
     I have a lot of things that will carry over to next month, partially because we traveled a bit to visit family, and partially because we eat a lot of breakfast around here. :) We have some meat in the freezer, and still two gallons of Organic Milk we haven't touched! I'm pretty excited. 
     We have a lot of new menus in our collection now too.  All the recipes I planned for this month were new. I had never made them before. And now I am going to share more of our favorites with you! 

Chicken Fried Steak with Creamed Gravy
4 Large, thin ribeyes cut in half
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs
1 tsp ground pepper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
Oil for frying

Combine Panko, flour, baking powder, salt, and black pepper in a shallow dish. In a second dish, whisk milk and eggs. Dredge chicken in dry mixture, dip in milk mixture, and dredge in dry mixture again. Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a skillet. Heat oil and fry steaks in bathces, about 10 minutes, adding oil as needed. Turn, fry a couple more minutes until golden brown.  Remove to a wire rack on top of a pan.  You can place the pan in the oven to keep the steaks warm. 

Creamed Gravy:
1/3 cup flour
2-3 tbsp pan drippings
3 cups of milk
salt and pepper to taste

Carefully drain all but 2-3 tbsp of the pan drippings from the skillet. Add flour adn cook over medium high heat. Whisk the flour until it becomes brown and forms a paste. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly until combined. Let the gravy come to a boil adn then reduce heat and simmer until the gravy thickens. Salt and Pepper and serve over Steak and Mashed Potatoes. 

**This recipe can be repeated with thinly cut chicken too. This is the best "chicken fried" recipe I have tried! 

Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
10 (20 oz) Chicken Thighs
20 Medium Asparagus, ends trimmed, cut in half
3 Bell Peppers, any color
1 cup carrots
2 Red Onions
10 oz Sliced Mushrooms
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup EVOO
1 tsp Sugar
2 cloves of Garlic

Preheat oven to 425. Wash and dry the chicken well. Combine all the ingredients together using your hands and arrange in a very large roasting pan.  The vegetables should not touch chicken, and all should end up in a singer layer. Use two baking dishes if necessary. Bake 35-40 minutes. Enjoy! 

This post also appears on our family blog: toddandmandywatson.blogspot.com

Monthly Menu Planning and Grocery Shopping

Thursday, September 6, 2012

     This month, I decided I was going to plan our menus and shop for the whole month! I did a lot of research online and read other bloggers experiences with shopping for the whole month. It was my hope to come in under $400 which is technically our food budget but I know good and well we spend more than that  by eating out when I just don't feel like cooking. I worked for two weeks researching and printing recipes. I picked recipes we'd never had before, and even printed recipes to make our own ketchup and mustard, some muffins and cookies.
     On Friday, I went out with my grocery list. I used a printable I found online to help me stay organized. I hit Aldi first and bought everything on my list they had available. I spent $117 roughly. I filled up my cooler in the back of my car and headed to Walmart. At Walmart, I spent about $240 on food. I bought all my meat here.  I didn't shy away from the items that I love and are staples in my kitchen: Good quality meats, King Arthur Flour, Ghiradelli chocolate chips, and Organic milk. Even though I was shopping for a whole month and  was concerned about the bottom line, I am more concerned about what my family is eating on a regular basis. This whole experiment is pointless if my family isn't staying with our healthy eating and minimal processed foods. I came in at about $50 under my goal of $400. I was really proud of myself!! $50 may not seem like a huge deal but over the course of the year is $600 we can save. That sounds pretty good to me!
    I froze three gallons of milk. I also cut the peppers and onions I purchased and put them in freezer bags in the freezer. I froze Asparagus and the other veggies I purchased. I also processed my avocados for future recipes and froze it in freezer containers.

     So far, I have made three new recipes of things I printed and I wanted to share them with you because they are SO yummy!!

Crockpot Santa Fe Chicken
   Adapted from skinnytaste.com
   Yield: 4-6 Servings
2 Chicken Breasts
1 14.4 oz can Rotel
1 15 oz can Black Beans
1 can Shoepeg Corn
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 Onion, chopped
1 Pepper, Chopped (Any color will do, I used Orange)
1 tsp each: Garlic powder, Cumin, Cayenne Pepper
Salt to taste

Combine Chicken broth, beans, corn, Rotel, onion, pepper, and seasonings in the crock pot. Season the chicken breast with salt and lay on top. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours. Half and hour before serving, remove the chicken and shred, return to the slow cooker and stir in. Serve over rice, tortillas, or chips for nachos.

Creamy Chicken Marsala
Yield 4-5 servings
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 package Baby Bella mushrooms, cut up
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup Marsala cooking Wine
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Half & Half or Heavy Cream
1 Pound dry pasta
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
5 tablespoons of butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tbsp in a large skillet. Cook chicken until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate. Boil water, and cook pasta according to the directions on the box.

Melt additional tbsp of butter in the skillet, add garlic, mushrooms and onion and cook for 6 minutes. Add cooked chicken back into the skillet. Add the Marsala, chicken broth adn cream and bring to a boil. Simmer until sauce is slightly thickened.

Drain Pasta and reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Add the Pasta to the skillet along with 3 tbsp butter and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Cook until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce, add the reserved pasta water as needed.

Season with Salt and pepper and serve with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

"Instant" Pancake Mix
     Adapted from Alton Brown, foodnetwork.com
6 cups All-purpose flour (I used 1/2 King Arthur White Whole Wheat and 1/2 King Arthur All Purpose)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a lidded container, Shake to mix.  Use the mix within 3 months.

"Instant" Pancakes
2 eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk (I used Almond Milk and it was so yummy)
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups "Instant" Pancake mix
Heat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350.

Whisk together the egg whites and buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together, don't try to work all the lumps out.

CHeck to see that the griddle is hot by places a few drops of water onto the griddle.  It's ready if the water dances across the surface.

Lightly butter the griddle, wipe off thoroughly with a paper towel.

Gently ladle the batter onto the griddle. At this point you can sprinkle chocolate chips or fruit into the pancake if you'd like. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake, it's ready to flip. Gently flip the pancake and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.

Serve with yummy maple syrup! :)

Yield: 12 pancakes

***This post also appears on our family blog: toddandmandywatson.blogspot.com

Adventures in Cloth Diapering...

Monday, June 4, 2012

     When we discovered we were expecting Ella Rose, I started researching LOTS of different things.  With Carly Beth, I trusted the masses and did what they told me. I didn't question anything. From vaccines, to formula and diapers. I just did it. I'm trying really hard to get over it now that I've educated myself on so many different things, but that's another story for another day. 
     I am cloth diapering with Ella Rose. I started just this weekend doing it 95% of the time. I'm a huge fan. Granted, I'm changing her diaper more often than with disposables, but I love them! I chose a brand called AppleCheeks and I order my diapers from ModernClothdiapers.com.  These things are so easy to use!! You just add an insert and go! You can make them good for one use or three. Oh, man, these things rock!

     The only problem I'm having is training my husband to use them...

Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Monday, April 23, 2012

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup raw honey
2 free range organic eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat, you can use white but unbleached like King Arthur.)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups Organic oats (organic makes a huge difference)
1 cup dried blueberries or cranberries
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F .
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth.
3. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.
4. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended.
5. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips.
6. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
7. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven.
8. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

***The better the ingredients, the better the cookies. Research your ingredient list :)

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