Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Meatless Options

If you are going to embrace a healthier diet you will most likely need to eliminate some of the meat from your diet. Red Lentil and Potato Soup is a fabulous meat-free option. The soup is full of flavor, it's thick and delicious! I made it with spinach instead of kale (after previously having promised my husband that I would never put kale in a soup again) and I omitted the file powder and cilantro for a lack of having them. I also used a tablespoon of olive oil instead of the suggested 2 tablespoons of butter. This has a little bit of bite but it's very good and I will definitely make it again!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just Words

I am really happy with the success of this challenge. I've been thinking about what is different. During a Kid's Cook lesson we were tasting tomatoes. Before I took a bite I asked the class if they thought I eat tomatoes. They were right when they said yes. Then the Kid's Cook educator asked what I don't eat. The class was quick to tell her that I don't eat cupcakes, cookies, brownies, hot dogs....... I've been thinking about that. The words are just slightly different but they make a world of difference.
" I don't eat that." vs. "I can't have that." Interesting that one little difference means so much.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eight Weeks of Challenge

Tuesday marked 8 weeks since Amber and I started this challenge. What a difference it has made! I am down one whole size and 16 pounds lighter. I know that the challenge is about eating delicious food and that's what makes it so sweet. I AM HEALTHIER but have not suffered or feel cheated out of something. I eat delicious food. I think one big difference is that I have not and will not say that I am on a diet. I just eat differently and I plan on doing that forever. Cooking is fun but sometimes even Betty Crocker needs a night off.
Tonight I stopped to pick up dinner. Two months ago a stop at Rudy's would have been brisket, ribs, creamed corn, potatoes and probably peach cobbler. Tonight it was pulled pork for Paul, smoked turkey breast and corn on the cob after the guy promised me it had not been dunked in butter.( He told the truth as my taste bud are a witness.) I've found another place, Jason's Deli, that boasts of organic foods on their menu. Ok then, you've got me as a customer. So on nights when I need to stay in town or I'm just really tired I've got options. NICE! Let's see what wonders the next 8 weeks brings.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Ok, so school has started and my schedule has been crazy. In other words, normal for this time of year. My well laid plans for great cooking were developed and shopped for last Saturday. Saturday night and Sunday both went well with good food and then came Monday. The details of why the great cooking for the week didn't happen are not what this blog is about so lets get to the food part.
1. The emergency stash of vegetable curry came in handy. It was a great lunch one day.
2. Ryan left me a nice bag of grilled chicken with brown rice with a hint of sauce he made. He's catching on.
3. You CAN order a salad on the side of Mexican food and keep it in the healthy range. You have to ask but they'll do it.
4. Even when you're just making food for dinner (aka - throwing something together) you can use the ingredients that you know are better such as whole wheat pasta.
5. The smell of freshly made cupcakes can be resisted, really.

I will admit that if I wasn't 5 weeks into the challenge I might have caved a little (or a lot) but I'm just not willing to put junk into my mouth very often any more. I sure do hope that this challenge mentality lasts a lifetime because I know the lifetime will be more enjoyable.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just One Day

We went out of town this last weekend. We had a great time but healthy food was not on option. I know..... it should always be an option but not this time. Sometimes love of family is more important. But I learned something. Gosh, it seems like I've been saying that a lot lately. Anyway, I realized that one day of "bad" food does not mean you fall off the wagon of healthy, tasty food anymore that eating a healthy meal one time makes you a healthy eater.
When we got home I went shopping for my organic veggies, grains and natural meats. I planned for a week of healthy choices and cooked some yummy vegetables and lean meat. It felt great. Tabbouleh for lunch today and salmon for dinner. Divine.

Carb Fix

I've recently picked up a copy of the magazine "Eating Well" which is full of healthy recipes that are (hopefully) tasty. I was really happy to find some ingredients that don't necessarily make me think healthy, like grits. I love grits, cheese grits at that, which I normally whip up with butter and velveeta. Of course that doesn't really fit into the healthy food challenge so when I came across a recipe entitled "Goat Cheese Grits with Fresh Corn" I was both excited and skeptical. The recipe is really simple; grits cooked with fresh corn kernels, crumbled goat cheese and fresh chives. It was great! I finally got that creamy, carby side dish that normally doesn't happen in a health concious diet, but it is only 156 calories per serving. The magazine's website is www.eatingwell.com check it out : )

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dinner Out

Going out to dinner is part of our lives and shouldn't be a sentence for bad fish. I've known for several days that we would be going out to dinner for a friend's birthday. Knowing that we would be going out on Saturday, I keep the calories on the low side Thursday and Friday. I didn't go hungry or suffer but I ate those things that I know are on the low side. When we arrived at a wonderful restaurant, one I love, I had banked 800 calories. I was prepared to order the salmon but I didn't. This is one foodie who knows how to cook and my salmon is good. So I ordered the lamb, my favorite at this restaurant. But I didn't order with reckless abandon. When the waiter asked, "Mashed potatoes or rice?" I said neither. I got extra veggies. Again he asked, "What dressing on your salad?" My reply was, "None." He made a remark about me being really good. He's right but not in the way he meant. It is good eating. About this time the other woman in the group asked me if I was on a diet. I just said no with no explanation. The truth is that I'm not on a diet. I'm just learning to eat well. It was a birthday so a decadent dessert was ordered for all to share. I participated. I had one bite. That's right just one.
What have I learned? Going out to dinner is fun, even when you want to eat healthy. If you know ahead of time, save some calories. Order what you like but be smart about it. Realize that you will probably go over your goal for the day. I'm not on a diet, I want to eat like this forever. Food can still be enjoyed. That's what this challenge is all about.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Organic or Not

Education about food has becoming part of the challenge. I've read a report about organic vs. non-organic. Here's what I found out.

These are the dirty dozen and should only be eaten organic:
bell peppers
kale/collard greens

These foods don't need to be organic:
frozen corn
frozen peas
sweet potatoes

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Two Weeks

This is the half way point of the original challenge. We have learned a lot about the food we eat. Organic and natural are a regular part of our conversations now. Our shopping habits are changing. Eating buffalo is not thought to be unusual. Two weeks ago I accepted a challenge that has the possibility of lasting a life time. I'm now talking about raising natural beef for our families and to sell some to those who might be informed of its importance.
On the foodie part I just ate the best pork noodle soup I have ever eaten. Whole wheat noodles, bok choy, natural pork and a tiny bit of sesame oil are the differences I tried. Paul and I both thought it was great. He doesn't know he just ate a healthy meal, he just knows it was good. Of course he did eat two bowls followed by an ice cream bar that has 22 grams of fat. He's not exactly a convert.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Good Food so far

I was thinking about making a list of the foods we've cooked that we like and will try again. I decided this was a good place to keep track. I don't want to do a new post every time we find a winner but then I remembered that these post can be edited. I'm not listing the things that are already part of our standard fare. So this is what I've found so far that I like and think is worth trying again:
1. Lemon chicken with green beans
2. Vegetable curry
3. Tabbouleh with carrots and tomatoes
4. Pork Noodle Soup with bok choy
5. Oriental Chicken Salad
6. Pear and Brown Rice Salad
7. Orange Salsa on white fish
8. Garlic Shrimp with Orzo
9. Pasta Primavera
10. Pork Marsala
11. Barley Hoppin' John
12. Rich Chicken Stew
More will be added as time goes by and I find more things that fit into this challenge.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Healthy Alternatives

So while I was at Whole Foods doing my veggie shopping this week I picked up some buffalo stew meat that was on sale. (It's actually in the crock pot as I sit here writing this.) I'd heard that buffalo was healthier and yada yada yada, I never really given it much thought so I decided to look it up online. A simple google search has me STUNNED! A comparison of buffalo to other meats not only shows that it is drastically lower in calories and fat than beef but it's also lower in calories and fat that chicken WITH THE SKIN OFF!! What! That can't be right, so I checked again. I looked at different web sites. I scratched my head and doubted everything that I know to be true in this world. Then I thought I would share because if that is true, and it seems to be, there is an option for a steak type food in my low calorie TASTY diet, YAY!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Harder than I thought

I can't remember if I've ever noticed how incredible difficult it is to make healthy choices about food when you are away from home. While at the family reunion our meals included: family dinner catered at the hotel, restaurants, and a family member's home. At the catered dinner the healthy choices were the usual veggie and fruit trays and dry chicken. That's what I ate but I can't say I enjoyed the food. It served the purpose. Let it be said that other members of the family ate BBQ beef, ribs, potato salad and apple pie as well.
We ate a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner in restaurants. It was more than a little challenging to find something healthy to eat. Whole wheat toast came buttered, and baked potato came loaded with butter and sour cream without being asked. It was assumed that we would want it that way. Fish is the healthy offering but it too came with breading and butter.
OK so what's my point. Obesity in our country is the norm, not the exception. Being overweight is not unusual, its to be expected. Our restaurants are giving people what they want.......fat.
Making a decision to eat healthy is more of a challenge that I realized. When you can't run home for something you cook yourself you are left to the mercy of our society's norms about food. Even healthy eating shows on Food Network don't last very long.
This is going to be much more of a challenge that I had really expected.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Reading that a bad breakfast is better than no breakfast has made me rethink my usual breakfast of two cups of coffee with creamer. I read that a cinnamon roll is better than nothing. REALLY??? Not only do I have to eat breakfast but I have to eat it within an hour of waking up is shaking my world. YIKES!! I am committed to the challenge so its non-negotiable.
Today as I made my coffee I measure out the water for oatmeal, put it in the pan and set it on the stove. I put the oatmeal out with the 1/2 cup measuring cup. That's it before I have coffee. After one cup I just turned on the water to boil, measured the oatmeal......... Two minutes later the oatmeal is sitting in the pan with the lid. I can have another cup of coffee and then breakfast is ready. Now I'm awake and the oatmeal is ready. I add blueberries and my 200 calorie breakfast is ready.
I like oatmeal that is made on the stove. I can't do oatmeal in the microwave. Remember this is the FOODIE challenge so bad food is not an option. I think that oatmeal is like a canvas that can have anything added. I intend to explore all kinds of oatmeal additions over the next few weeks. Today was blueberries with cinnamon and vanilla with a hint of honey. I will be trying dried fruit, nuts, seeds, berries...... Breakfast in the first hour of being awake here I come.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


After last night's dinner I knew I wanted to have food that was more that edible. I wanted it to be good. I would say I was quite successful. Ratatouille and grilled chicken was good.

Thyme, garlic and a pinch of red pepper flake gave the ratatouille good flavor.

I found a trick with the grilled chicken. I split the breast horizontally and grilled (grill pan) them exactly 3 minutes per side. They were moist and delicious. By splitting them horizontally it gave the impression of being a whole chicken breast.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


As husbands go I've got one that I want to keep. However the man knows very little about good food. Knowing that I need to make a meal that was better on the waistline, I made chicken sausages, boiled cabbage, roasted beets, and watermelon. OK. It was a low calorie meal that left me going why didn't I do SOMETHING to boast the flavor. This was not a culinary/challenge hit but it did get me off to a low calorie day. The funny part is that Paul told me twice how good dinner was tonight. If I have to think about why he liked it I would say he likes plain food. See what I'm up against?

This has got to stop!

So after a sinfully decadent month we've decided to take a step back and actually consider the food we are putting into our mouths. We've pigged out on pasta, cream, butter, juicy delicious everything we could get our grubby little hands on, and it has to come to an end. The only problem with this is that we are both Foodies! Meaning how the heck are we going to do this, we LOVE food. Well that's what makes this a challenge. We want to cut calories, cut excess fats, cut excess everything, all while keeping the flavor and the joy of eating that we love so much. Join us on our journey to find what works and what doesn't work, what's yummy and what's just low calorie.