what i ate wednesday
What I ate today – my simple, healthy gluten free foods. I do not profess to be a gourmet chef, but rather one who loves natural, whole foods – the variety, colors, flavors, and capacity of food to heal. I also love creating delicious tastes from simple foods – it’s like a challenge to me, a creative outlet. A good day to me involves experimenting in my kitchen. I am inspired by food and what it can do for me – how it has the power to completely change how I am feeling – my strength, focus, sleep, mood. And, I love hearing other people’s food stories as well, so please share with me how food has impacted your life! I live for that kind of stuff.
To start my day, I pour myself a cup of coffee or green tea. Coffee is my favorite, and I first heat a cup of almond milk, add stevia, and then top it off with about ¼ cup of actual coffee. I buy organic fair trade coffee, as coffee is one of the most chemically treated foods. Fair trade ensures the workers are paid and treated fairly. After getting the kids off to school, I typically punch out my most productive writing and working hours with my morning cup of coffee to keep me company.
For breakfast, I had my usual smoothie. Like I said last week, I am striving to add more protein to my diet, as my activity level has kicked up lately. I’m not a huge advocate of protein powders, as I believe in eating real foods, and to isolate the proteins, some level of processing must take place. But, in moderation, I add them to smoothies to give them a protein boost and make them a well-balanced meal.
I choose protein powders with the least ingredients – only things I recognize and sweetened with stevia. Today, I added egg white protein by J. Robb. I also like a vegan protein powder by Sunwarrior made with cranberry, pea, and hemp protein. Both are sweetened with stevia, and I find I digest these powders easier than others. I avoid whey and soy – whey because it is a dairy protein and I do not digest it well, and soy because I do not believe in supplementing with a lot of unfermented soy products, as it is not a health food (but that is a whole other blog post!). I combined 1 scoop vanilla egg white protein powder, ½ avocado, 1 cup water, 1 cup spinach, ½ cup berries, ½ apple, a little cacao powder, and ground flax – 325 calories.
Confession – I am not a clothes shopper. I do not enjoy it; I just want to get what I came for and get out. This results in me making a lot of mistakes and leaving the store not even seeing all of the options. I have a dear friend who is also my stylist. She has completely changed my look and in turn boosted my confidence in the process. When I met her almost 10 years ago, our kids were babes and I had hair up to my ears in a not very attractive layered bob like style (if you could call it that). I wore mostly turtlenecks, which is now a joke between us, as when we first shopped together I continued to gravitate to and pick out these matronly tops. Now, I still love for her to shop with me because she stretches me to try new things (we all need friends like that!), is honest with me with me before I purchase anything, and basically helps me stay current with trends and put a style all together. Did I mention I am not a shopper and don’t enjoy it at all?? But when I go shopping with her, it becomes a fun and almost relaxing day. Today is one of those days. We shopped, lunched, and I enjoyed it (and got a couple of cute things too!). We ate at Seasons 52 where every dish is under 500 calories. We shared the shrimp and scallops ceviche with pineapple, lime, coconut, and jalapeno, and I ate the ahi tuna salad. YUM!
Dinner is turkey burger stacks – chopped lettuce, turkey burger patty seasoned with lemon pepper, onion, tomato, avocado, and Dijon mustard. The kids opted to reduce the veggies and add a bun, and of course they smothered theirs with mustard, ketchup, and pickles. We had some left over mashed rutabagas as a side. Doesn’t get more basic than a burger, but everyone was satisfied and happy.
Do you struggle with keeping healthy choices on hand for your hungry teen? Does anyone else have a teen that opens the fridge and just stares blankly inside for something to eat, only shutting the door and rummaging through the pantry for some chips or something that comes in a package for a quick hunger fix?
Teenagers have a whole lot going on inside their sprouting bodies. They are not only physically active and mentally challenged daily, but they are also growing and changing by leaps and bounds. Keeping up with all of this activity requires a LOT of fuel. Three well-balanced meals per day are not enough to meet their caloric and nutritional needs – healthy snacks between meals are necessary to refill their tanks.
Feeding your teenagers healthy food in our current food culture is nothing short of a stiff challenge. All of those sweet, flavor enhanced, nutrient-lacking, addictive processed and packaged foods are marketed to them multiple times per day. But we moms are up for the challenge! You can do your part to raise smart eaters by having good, nutritious food on hand for your hungry teens and by teaching them how to prepare and feed themselves. Below are 20 ideas for you to stock in your fridge, but first, here’s a few suggestions to help you get started:
- First, teach them to eat well-balanced meals and snacks regularly to supply their bodies with what they need for physical and mental success and for growing into strong, healthy adults. Teach them the acronym CFPP – carbs, protein, fiber, and fat – the first one is easy to eat, the other three require more deliberation when preparing a meal or snack.
- Have a white board or other list posted in your kitchen or pantry with the healthy options that you have currently stocked in your kitchen. Update your board regularly.
- Teach them to make their own food – this is a life skill. Have on hand simple foods they can learn to prepare for themselves.
- Store all (or most) of the ingredients to make a particular snack or meal in the same general area, so they do not have to go searching for all they need. Then teach them where you will be keeping those ingredients.
- Make double and triple batches of your teen’s favorite foods whenever you cook, so you can store individual portions in your freezer and fridge for easy reheating. Teach your teen where the leftovers are stored, and write on your board what is available.
- Prepare your stocked fridge ahead. Block a couple of hours one morning a week to go to the grocery store to buy fresh food, and then chop, prepare, cook, and store food where your hungry teen can spot it. Show them where you store the prepared food, and list these items on your board.
- Accumulate LOTS of condiments. Choose the healthiest options available of your family’s favorites, so your teens can personalize their own foods. Don’t cringe if they smother their meal in BBQ, and just remember it is most important that they get the healthy food in their bodies.
- Utilize shortcuts. Most grocery stores have pre-chopped fruits and veggies, premade dips, and other premade healthy foods. Canned and frozen fruits and veggies are also an option. Even though I’m always on my soap box saying fresh is best (and that is true!), what is even better is that your teens get the nutritious food into their bodies. So, if prepared foods are what fits in with your lifestyle, choose the healthiest stores and options available and stock your fridge that way.
Keeping in mind these suggestions for success, below are 20 ideas for a well-stocked teenage fridge. Obviously, only supermom can have all 20 of these ideas on hand at all times. And since we’re going for a simple, healthy life, we’re not trying to be supermom. So, choose a few of these options that are your family’s favorites to have on hand all the time, and then choose one or two more to try each week. Always have your whiteboard updated with what you have stocked, so your teen can find the healthy options.
20 Ideas to Stock your Teenage Fridge –
Fruit with nut butters – Fruit is sweet, comes in nature’s packaging, and is filled with carbohydrates, micronutrients, and fiber. Have on hand nut butters for dipping and spreading to add a little protein and fat, making it a well-balanced snack.
Raw and baked veggies – Vegetables are crunchy, colorful, and can be eaten raw or easily baked into chips. They are fibrous micronutrient superfoods, and creating tasty chips out of them is no more difficult than chopping, tossing in a healthy oil and seasonings, and then baking until they reach your desired crunchiness. Serve with dips for added protein and fat.
Nachos – make your own potato or veggie chips, or try a healthy packaged version of chips by looking for gluten free, whole grain varieties with very few ingredients. Try lentil or bean chips, and those made with quinoa, flax, corn, rice, etc. Have a variety of shredded cheeses on hand for making nachos, so you can turn a carb heavy snack into a well-balanced snack with protein and fat.
Greek yogurt with trail mix – Store a container of trail mix (have them choose their combo or make different varieties every week) by the Greek yogurt in your fridge. Drizzle a little honey and add chopped fresh fruit on top if desired.
Meatballs – Prepare ahead different varieties of meatballs by mashing ground turkey, egg, seasonings, and diced fruit and veggies together, form balls, and then pan fry them in a little coconut oil. Our favorite is a turkey – apple – celery – sage combo. Have several condiments on hand for dipping.
Protein salads – Prepare ahead simple chicken, salmon, tuna, egg, or bean salads. Make with Greek yogurt instead of mayo for a creamy probiotic boost, and add chopped veggies and fruits as well as seasonings. Enjoy a scoop by itself, wrapped in a gluten free tortilla, or between two pieces of Canyon Bakehouse gluten free bread.
Pizza – Make doubles batches of a nutritious gluten free pizza crust topped with cheese, meats, and veggies. Freeze or refrigerate individual slices.
Baked sweet and white potatoes – Bake potatoes ahead of time, and store them in your fridge near all the fixings like Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, bacon bits, chopped onions and veggies, etc.
Sandwich/panini drawer – Create a drawer or basket on a shelf in your fridge for sandwich making. Include Canyon Bakehouse bread, sliced veggies, nitrate free sliced deli meat and cheese, and your teen’s favorite condiments. Mix it up by turning an ordinary sandwich into a Panini with the Breville Panini maker.
Trail mix shelf in your pantry – Make a space for containers of all types of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, gluten free pretzels, popcorn, dark chocolate, and shredded coconut. Include scoops and cups or bags, so your hungry teen can personalize his or her own well-balanced snack.
Smoothies – Teach your teen how to make a killer smoothie with healthy, strengthening ingredients: almond or coconut milk, frozen berries and fruit, spinach (if you can work it in), nut butters, and a protein powder like whey, egg, or vegan option like Sunwarrior protein. Avoid soy. Add cacao powder and gentle sweeteners if desired. Invest in a Magic Bullet or Nutri Bullet for easy transportable smoothie making.
Hearty cookies and bars – Use nut flours or nut butters and gentle sweeteners to make batches of cookies and bars that have necessary protein and fat but healthier sweeteners. Peanut butter and jelly bars, chocolate peanut butter bars, chocolate chip cookies, gutty putty, and raw almond cookies are a few options.
Hardboiled eggs – Hard boil a dozen eggs and create delicious snacks with seasonings and condiments. Teach your teen to make a mean deviled egg. Or serve cut up on a piece of gluten free bread. Omelet muffins are another easy make ahead egg snack.
Quesadilla drawer – Fill a drawer or basket on a shelf of your fridge with corn or gluten free tortillas, grated cheese, seasonings, diced chicken, mushrooms, green chiles, and veggies – all the ingredients to make this TexMex favorite.
Muesli – Make a big batch of muesli for breakfasts or snacks by covering gluten free rolled oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut, and a gentle sweetener or stevia with almond or coconut milk, and let it soak overnight. Bake or dehydrate left overs to make granola.
Pigs in a blanket – Pancakes aren’t just for breakfast. Make an extra batch of pancakes, and warm up an Applegate Farms sausage link to roll in a pancake.
Bell and Evans gluten free chicken nuggets with dipping sauces – We love these gluten free chicken nuggets and tenders. Serve the nuggets with favorite condiments like BBQ or mustard, or roll up a tender in a gluten free wrap and include a variety of veggies like romaine lettuce, avocado, onion, tomato, and bell pepper. Or, cube a rotisserie chicken or any left over chicken or meat to be dipped and eaten as a finger food.Read More
Remember the vegetable game? The one where you sit in a circle and everyone picks out a vegetable and you go around saying each other’s vegetable names with one catch – you can’t show your teeth, giggle, smile, or laugh. When it comes time to choose your vegetable name, it’s no wonder someone always chooses rutabaga. Try it now – try to say rutabaga with your lips covering your teeth the whole time. Still makes me laugh.
Up until last weekend, I don’t think I’d ever eaten a rutabaga. If I’m being honest, I’ve seen them sitting there in the basket at Whole Foods with the other root veggies like beets and turnips, but I’ve been happy to pass them by. But last weekend, my family went to a hunting and fishing lodge nearby, and mashed rutabaga with Brussels sprouts was served with fish. I just had to try, as I’m always up for a food adventure…well, a vegetable adventure. Rob started laughing immediately because he knew we would be having mashed rutabaga at our table some time during the week.
Well, he’s right. On Monday, I picked up my first rutabagas. Ugly little guys, but the purple tinge at the top is kinda pretty. So I steamed them and “mashed” them in my Vitamix with a little coconut oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, as that was the spice I detected in my Rough Creek Lodge meal. And…ew!!! They were SOOOOO bitter. Everyone in my family tried them, and we agreed – we did not like my mashed rutabaga. But, I’m not one to give up. I researched a little and turns out you are supposed to peel them before steaming them, and choose smaller ones to avoid bitterness. So back to Whole Foods I go to pick up more rutabagas.
Second batch: roasted em with no skin to allow em to caramelize, bought small rutabagas. Hmmmmm…much much better. I added vanilla extract, but I’m still not satisfied. So back to Whole Foods I go to pick up some more rutabagas.
Third batch: roasted em with no skin, bought cute little small ones, added vanilla extract, and ½ of a roasted butternut squash. And…fantastic!!
So if you are like me and have never been introduced to the rutabaga other than during a round of the vegetable game, give them a try! They’re rather healthy too, of course! Rutabagas contain more than half the daily recommended amount of vitamin C – a good thing this time of year. Plus, they’re super high in fiber, so they promote gut and heart health as well as a full tummy and weight loss. Rutabagas provide a few trace minerals too – calcium, quite a bit of potassium, magnesium, and a little manganese. They are a member of the cruciferous family, so they contain compounds that are good for detoxing and cancer protection. Quite nutritious and delicious!
- 3 small rutabagas, peeled
- ½ butternut squash, seeds removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup unrefined coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Brush a little olive oil on them, and then roast the rutabagas and butternut squash for 1 hour.
- Scoop out the squash from the peel and put in a Vitamix or food processor.
- Add the rutabagas, coconut oil, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and vanilla.
- Blend or process until pureed.
Anyone else pick up a big ole bag of local Texas grapefruits recently? I love this time of year when those ruby reds are in season. Grapefruit is Ben’s favorite dessert or snack – he can eat several broiled grapefruits in one sitting! I figure he’s powering up his immune system with vitamin C to fight off all of those circulating viruses. Each grapefruit contains 150% of the recommended vitamin C.
And I love these grapefruits because they’re grown locally in Texas. Eating fruits and vegetables that are in season where you live is not only the least expensive way to buy your produce but is also the freshest and therefore healthiest produce. Given the choice, I always choose local fruits and vegetables even if they aren’t organic. For example, I’d rather buy a huge bag of local grapefruits than organic kiwis flown in from New Zealand because the fresher the fruit or vegetable is, the more nutritious it is. Nutrients are extremely sensitive to time. When picking my produce, local and organic is obviously cream of the crop, but a close second is local and my third pick is organic. When buying local produce that isn’t organic, I take extra care to wash any possible chemicals from my fruits and vegetables with a quick homemade solution made with a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar and purified water. I either fill my spray bottle with the solution, spray it on my produce, rub, and rinse, or I soak my produce briefly in the solution and thoroughly rinse.
This recipe is similar to an old favorite – the lemon bar. You know the one with the powdered sugar topping? Except I made these bars with one of my Texas grapefruits, so they are not as tart and definitely sweeter. If you prefer a more tart bar, use 1/8 cup grapefruit juice and 1/8 cup lemon juice instead of 1/4 cup grapefruit juice to accomplish a sour taste.
For this recipe, I used a coconut flour crust. I find coconut flour difficult to work with. Often it takes several experiments before I can get my recipe to turn out right. A couple of tips I’ve learned about using coconut flour:
- It is very absorbant, so I substitute about 1/4 cup coconut flour for 1 cup flour.
- After mixing it together to bake a crust, cake, cookie, muffin or whatever, I let it stand for a bit to absorb the liquid in the recipe and become more like a batter or dough.
- Sometimes, I have to add additional eggs when using coconut flour to get the fluffy texture I’m desiring.
- Coconut flour is dry and clumpy, so I take extra care to thoroughly beat it together with the other ingredients.
I used my Hurom Slow Juicer to extract the juice from my grapefruit. I love this juicer. It is so easy to use, easy to assemble, easy to clean, and so very quiet. And, I love the color of this grapefruit juice! Isn’t it so pretty?
When using coconut flour, one last tip I’ve learned is to whisk or beat the egg and flour mixture until nice and fluffy for the best results.
- ½ cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ cup coconut flour
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup honey
- ¼ cup grapefruit juice (about the juice of one ruby red)
- zest of a grapefruit
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ tablespoon coconut flour
- optional: grated coconut for a garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, beat together coconut oil, eggs, honey, and salt.
- Add coconut flour and beat until a dough forms. You may need to let it sit for 30 seconds until it thickens enough to form a dough.
- Spread the dough into a greased 8 inch square baking pan.
- Bake for 13 - 15 minutes or until brown on the edges and baked in the middle. Make sure the crust is baked through the middle.
- Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- While the crust is baking, juice the grapefruit using a juicer or by squeezing.
- In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, honey, grapefruit juice, grapefruit zest, baking powder, and coconut flour.
- Pour the grapefruit mixture over the warm crust, and return to the oven for 25 -27 minutes or until it has set.
- Optional: Garnish with grated coconut.
Thank you to everyone for the positive comments on Rob’s guest blog of “what he ate Wednesday” last week! Hopefully I can get him to contribute a little more around here – he has a wealth of knowledge to share when it comes to training and nutrition.
This week marks a new beginning in my world – the first week of 2013 TCD starts tomorrow. TCD is a rather competitive (as far as middle aged women goes) tennis league here in Dallas. So my tennis hiatus is over, and it’s time to get back down to business, which will most likely be a rude awakening for me tomorrow. In the off-season, I only play maybe once a week, and I won’t admit how much I play during the on-season. So, it’s time to get back into court-scrappin’, net-rushin’, ball-crushin’ shape.
For me, that means I need to boost my protein for strength and stamina, as I am not a naturally strong kind of person. For breakfast today, I warmed up some left over roasted vegetables. One of my favorite go-to sides for our dinners is a medley of roasted vegetables. I will start pulling out all kinds of veggies from my fridge, chop them, toss them in a healthy oil, season them up, and roast them until they are cooked through. I always make a huge batch, so I can munch on them for additional meals. This week I combined Brussels sprouts, all colors of sweet peppers, and cloves of garlic, and I tossed them in olive oil, a little salt and pepper, and dried rosemary.
For a little protein to top my veggies, I fried a couple of eggs in raw coconut oil (the most delicious way to fry eggs!), and served them over my warmed veggies. Lots of fiber, protein, and fat to keep me full until lunch.
A little side note – I’m enjoying the first week of using my new Le Creuset pan (so fun using something shiny and new! my second Le Creuset item) that Rob got me for Valentine’s Day.
Lunch was a treat. I met one of my good friends for sushi. My favorite at this restaurant is a riceless roll called the Spring Roll that has avocado, crab, mango, and radish – YUMMY and light but filling enough to get me through the afternoon. We also snacked on some edamame. And, of course I forgot to take a picture, so close your eyes and imagine my colorful roll.
I’ve been away from home most of the day, so easy goes it for dinner tonight: cauliflower soup with a simple salad. I’ll warm up a chicken breast I have on hand to make it a complete meal for the family. I have an easy formula I use for my salads, and somehow if I include one of each of these categories of ingredients, my combos turn out pretty tasty:
- Leafy green like spinach, romaine, or other lettuce (I used a Super Greens mix)
- Crunchy green like celery, asparagus, green pepper, cucumber, broccoli, etc. (I used celery)
- Colorful crunchy food like beet, radish, apple, pear, etc. (I used an apple)
- An allium like purple onion, shallots, chives, garlic, etc. (I used purple onion)
- Fresh or dried fruit for sweetness like berries, peach, apricot, etc. (I used dried cranberries)
- Creamy like feta, goat, or parmesan cheese, avocado, squash, sweet potato, etc. (I used avocado of course!)
- Nuts like chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, cashews, etc.
- Optional: serve with a piece of chicken or fish
- Couple tablespoons water
- Couple tablespoons oil like olive, walnut, avocado, hazelnut, sesame, etc.
- Couple tablespoons of something tangy like balsamic vinegar, infused balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, etc.
- Sprinkle of spices like salt and pepper, Bragg Organic Sprinkle, or any spice combinations you like
- Optional: something creamy like a couple tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, couple tablespoons of soaked nuts, ¼ avocado, etc.