Fox and Broom

A mom's adventures in keeping healthy, keeping her sanity, and making stuff.

Archive for the tag “food”

Cheesy Corn Muffins

I was looking for a yummy addition to our chili the other night and I came across this recipe from Vegetarian Cooking: A Common Sense GuideI’m not totally sure why this book claims to be the commonsense guide. The recipes are not at all common… It does have good recipes, just not ones we are used to seeing. I also took a few liberties with the recipe, which I will note in my directions.

CheesCornMuffin|Fox & Broom Blog

 

 

Cost: VERY inexpensive
Skill Level: Novice. This is a super easy recipe, with minimal clean-up.

 

Corn Muffins
Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 310 g (11 oz/2 1/2 cups) self-rising flour [I measured out 2 1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt into a cup, topped it off with all-purpose flour, measured out the rest of the flour – so total would be 2 1/2 cups, whisked it all together]
  • 75 g (2 1/2 oz/1/2 cup) fine polenta [I just used my regular corn meal]
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) milk [I had to add an extra tbsp of milk to my recipe]
  • 125 g (4 1/2 oz) butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 130 g (4 1/2 oz) tin corn kernels, drained [I used about 1/2 cup of frozen corn]
  • 2 spring onions (scallions) finely chopped
  • 60 g (2 1/4 oz/ 1/2 cup) grated cheddar cheese
  • cream cheese or butter to top

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 210º C (415º F/Gas 6 – 7). Grease two six-hole muffin tins.
  • Sift flour and polenta into a large bowl and make a well in the center.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and season with sea salt and pepper. Pour into the well in the flour mixture and gently fold using a metal spoon [I used a wooden spoon] until just combined. Do not over-mix – the batter should still be very lumpy.
  • Spoon the batter into the muffin holes and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and leave in the tins for 5 minutes before turning them out. Serve the muffin hot or at room temp, split in half and spread with cream cheese or butter.

You could easily add more things to these muffins (chives, dried tomatoes). They are NOT SWEET at all. Notice there is not sugar added. I really really liked them alot. My husband still put honey on them – he likes a little sweet with his chili – and said they were really yummy with the sweet added to them.

They also seem to last nicely. They are on day 4 and still quite tasty. They will probably be completely gone by the end of today.

I think I might play around with this recipe a bit and see if I can make a vegan version… If I am successful, I will post the recipe.

CheeseCornMuffin|Fox & Broom Blog

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Salads

So, I decided to start off my healthy eating series with a simple salad. What got me started on this was a meme I happened to see on Facebook. It actually pissed me off.

funny-burger-salad-price-obese

This was not the exact meme I saw. The one I saw said “Why are poor people fat?” So, I started thinking about this. There is so much wrong with this, yet it holds true at most fast food restaurants. So, I conducted a home experiment to find out how much a salad should cost.

I created the most basic of salads:

Ingredients:

Head of romaine lettuce ($1.49)
Cucumber ($0.50)
Radish bunch ($0.50)
Dressing (this was already in my fridge, so I will say about $3.00 just to be on the safe side. That is most likely over.)

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Now, this price will go up or down depending on what you put in. I like artichokes and feta in my salads, also, so this will go up due to that. Your choice of lettuce will also change the price. I could have gone with Iceberg for .99, but Romaine has a higher nutritional yield than most leafy greens (here is one chart and here is another). It’s worth the extra $0.50.

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So, I chopped up my lettuce. I used a knife in this instance. It will stay fresher for longer if you rip it up by hand or take off however many leaves you want. I wanted to get an accurate measurement so I could post an accurate price. I do have a trick to preserving my cut up lettuce. I rinse it in a bit of vinegar. It stays crisper and prettier for a few days longer.

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Once I chopped it up, rinsed it, and spun it in my salad spinner (I love this gadget), I measured it out. I came up with 5 1/2 cups of lettuce.

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I sliced up 1/4 of the cucumber and one radish (the bunch had 10 radishes).

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I put 2 cups of lettuce into a bowl (splurge! 1 cup = 1 serving), piled on the cucumber and radish slices, then poured on 2 tablespoons of dressing.

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So, to total up our cost on this salad:

2 Cups of Romaine: $.54
1/4 Cucumber: $0.13
1 Radish: $0.05
Dressing: $0.19

Grand Total: $0.91

Yes. Less than that burger in the meme. And because I used TWO CUPS of lettuce, this was actually two servings of salad.

Nutritional Value (approximation)

Calories: 44
Carb: 7
Fat: 1
Protein: 2
Sodium: 185
Sugar: 5

I would recommend adding in some sort of protein (cheese, chicken, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds) to get the full nutritional benefit from your salad.

Hi. My name is Libby and I am a

complete and total carb addict. There. I said it. It’s out in the open for all to read and know. I say this because I have been having a huge problem controlling my urges. If you follow me on MyFitnessPal… you will notice I haven’t posted anything in a few weeks. It’s embarrassing. And a little confusing for me. I have to wonder if this is maybe a small taste of what a drug addict or gambling addict feel. I get an urge for cookies, chocolate, ice cream, etc. and it will not go away. It is all I can think about  and obsess over. Until I stuff my face full of shame. Then, I feel terrible. I’ve tried drinking water instead. Having an orange or banana (yes, I know bananas are full of carbs, but they are better for me than ice cream) only helps a little. So, I need help. I am asking my local friends to slap that scone out of my hand and my online friends to keep reminding me to do well. If you like, you can follow me on MyFitnessPal (username ravyneclipse) or I will do better about connecting up with my Facebook Page. Heck. Go ahead and Tweet me @runningmom1024.

I had been doing an awesome job and lost a bit of weight in the span of about 2 weeks (6 lbs). I’m not sure what happened that caused me to just fall off the healthy wagon. Whatever the cause, I need to scramble back on. I felt sooo good during that time. Now I feel awful. So, back to the gym, back to C25K, back to MyFitnessPal, back to menus, and daily exercising.

On a somewhat related note, my body has rebelled against me. I firmly believe it is because I have not kept up with my exercise regimen. I hurt my shoulder over a week ago. I can hardly lean over the tub to wash my kids. It is slowly getting better, but dang it hurts. Even sitting here at the computer is a little bit of torture.

So yes, I desperately need to do the right and healthy thing for myself. And because I still want to look great for my Boston Trip in August. I’ve thought of this as Project Boston, but I don’t want to stop after my Boston trip. Maybe Project Libby would be better.

The Big Check-In

So, last Saturday I had my 6 week check-in for the Gold’s Gym 12 Week Challenge. Not great news, but not terrible, either. I lost a few pounds and a few inches. However, I also lost some muscle. Doh! Not at all what I was going for. However, I will go into more detail about how that came about later on. For now, I will post my stats:

Before:

Weight: 170.8 lbs
BFI: 30.1
Waist: 36
Hip: 42
Thigh: 20

Now:

Weight: 167.8
BFI: 29.5
Waist: 36
Hip: 41
Thigh: 20
Not a huge difference, but a little.

Now, the reason this bit of difference doesn’t bother me is because it would appear that I am pregnant. Yay! I found out a few days after my weigh-in. I have decided to stay in the Challenge, not for weight loss, but to remain on a healthy schedule. I want this pregnancy to be healthier than my last one. I am hoping to keep diabetes away with a healthy diet and exercise regime. I really want to have a home birth with this one. I have done the hospital birth with my other two. I want to experience it on a more personal level. The healthier I am, the fewer complications I should have during pregnancy. Now, I will need to cool it with some of the classes in the near future. For now, here is my current work-out plan:

Mon: 9:30 buoyancy Burn/9:30 BodyPump/swimming (Sammi usually has therapy at 11, so I will most likely be swimming laps)
Tues: Running
Wed: weights + cardio/11 am Yoga
Thurs: Running
Fri: 9:30 BodyFlow/weights + cardio/swimming
Sat: 9:30 BodyCombat/Running
Sun: Hike/Walk

I want it noted that I am not just starting up on this exercise routine! I have kept up with my exercises 3 – 5 times per week. A pregnant woman should NEVER just start-up a physically taxing schedule if she is not used to it. It is harmful to her and to her baby.

I also plan to keep up with MyFitnessPal. Also, as mentioned above, not to lose weight, but to keep myself on a healthy diet. I will be changing my settings so that I will be getting slightly more calories. I have NO intentions of starving or harming this little baby in way, shape, or form. MyFitnessPal is able to tell how much more I need of certain vitamins, proteins, etc., and it will at the same time let me know if I have had too much of something. Love that app/website.

I also have an idea that has been brewing in my mind. I am going to start a page listing healthy, inexpensive recipes. Preferably easy ones. I got the idea from One Hungry Student. This blog is a group of college students posting cheap-o eating ideas. I remember my ramen days. Too well. I really wish I had had the knowledge then that I have now regarding cooking. And nutrition. So, that will be a future project.

While I am checking in, I will also give an update on my boys:

Sol is really making me proud. He is doing AWESOME in school. He reads about a book a day. I am loving it. Right now, he is in a challenge to read 10 hours to win theme park tickets (to a theme park we are already going to this summer – woot!). He has already read over 8 hours and there are still 20 days left in the contest. He has really become a great big brother. His little brother looks up to him. They both have a lot of fun playing games.

Sam is making strides in his therapy. He was recently given new goals since he has way surpassed his old ones. He still has a little catching up to do, but he is working on it. He has finally broken out of the 2% range for weight. He is now in the 10% range. He still looks too chubby to me to be that low, but whatever. He is healthy and he is happy.

Crisp-Soft Noodles With A Broccoli, Mushroom, and Zucchini Topping

Crisp-Soft Noodles With A Broccoli, Mushroom, and Zucchini Topping
taken from Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

Cooked on: October 16, 2011

Servings: serves 4

Cost: Somewhat Inexpensive

Skill level: Intermediate. Be sure to follow instructions.

Notes: Time consuming. I had a lot of trouble finding the lo mein noodles. I had no luck AT ALL finding fresh, so decided to buy the dried noodles. I also did not find shaohsing wine, but the dry sherry worked very well.

Ingredients

1/2 lb fresh Chinese lo mein egg noodles
1 medium zucchini
1 tsp salt
About half a bunch of broccoli (about 2 cups, when cut)
8 medium-sized mushrooms
2 tsp cornstarch
3/4 cup “Delicious Stock” (I used store-bought vegetable stock)
2 tbsp bean sauce (I am totally in love with this stuff now)
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp sesame oil
7 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quarter-sized slice of fresh ginger, minced (I keep a root of ginger in my freezer and cut pieces off of it as I need it. Ginger is also good in a tea with honey.)
1 tbsp shaohsing wine or dry sherry

Procedure

Bring 13 cups of water to a rolling boil. Gently separate the noodle strands and drop them into the water. When the water comes to a second boil, pour in 1 cup of cold faucet water. When the water comes to a third boil, pour in another cup of cold water. When the water comes to a fourth boil, empty the contents of the pot into a colander set in the sink. Rinse the noodles under running water, washing off a lot of the starch. Leave to drain for at least half an hour.

Trim the zucchini ends and cut it in half, lengthwise. Cut the halves crosswise at 1/4 – inch intervals. Put the zucchini in a bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt over it and mix. Set aside for half an hour. Drain and pat dry.

Cut the broccoli into slim flowerets, not more than 2 inches long. You can use some of the stems, too. Just peel and cut them into 1/4 – inch thick strips. In all, you should have about 2 cups.

Wipe off the mushrooms and then cut them, stem and all, into 1/4 – inch thick slices.

Put the cornstarch in a small bowl. Slowly add the stock, mixing as you do so. Add the bean sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Mix well.

Heat 3 tbsp of the vegetable oil in a 7 to 8 inch non-stick skillet over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, put in the noodles, spreading them out evenly over the entire bottom of the skillet. Fry without stirring for about 4 minutes or until the bottom of the noodle patty is a reddish-golden color  and is crisp. Now slip one spatula under the noodles and hold the top of the patty with another spatula. Turn the patty over. Dribble another tablespoon of vegetable oil along the edges of the skillet, allowing it to slither downward. Cook the second side until it, too, has turned a reddish-golden color. Carefully lift up the patty and put it on a warm platter.

Heat 3 tbsp of vegetable oil in a wok or skillet over a medium flame. When hot, put in the garlic and ginger. Stir a couple of times. put in the mushrooms, broccoli, and 3/4 tsp salt. Stir and fry, turning the vegetables around briskly. Put in the zucchini. Stir and fry for another 30 seconds. Now add the wine, cover immediately and turn heat to low. Cook for 1 minute. Uncover, give the cornstarch mixture a quick stir and pour it over the vegetables. Turn heat up a bit and cook, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens. Spoon the vegetables and sauce over the noodles and serve immediately.

Final Notes

This was a very interesting recipe. Somehow, I only read it partway through before trying it out, so was not totally prepped for some of the steps. The turnout was very good and it turns out this is one of those recipes which age very well – leftovers were yummier than the fresh stuff. We also liked it with some teriyaki sauce over it. As mentioned above, I could not find fresh noodles, so I am sure that I wound up with waaaaay more noodles than are called for in the recipe. If you buy dry noodles, just be prepared to possibly use a bigger skillet for frying them.

Chickpea Soup

Chickpea Soup
taken from Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey 

Cooked on: November 22, 2011

Servings: serves 6

Cost: Inexpensive

Skill level: Novice. Be sure to follow instructions.

This is a time-consuming recipe!

Ingredients

2 cups dried chickpeas, picked over, washed, and drained (I used 2 cans of chickpeas)
2 medium-sized onions, peeled, and chopped
2 medium-sized boiling potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (I would use more potatoes the next time I make this)
1 tbsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice

Procedure

Soak the chickpeas in 8 cups of water for 12 hours. (I would soak mine in a mix of water and vegetable stock). Drain and rinse thoroughly. Put the chickpeas, onions, and 8 cups water (stock) into a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover partially, turn heat to low, and simmer gently for 1 hour. Add potatoes, salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and another 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on very low heat for another 1 1/2 hours. Stir a few times during this period. Check seasonings. Add the black pepper and lemon juice. Stir to mix.

My Notes

This was a HUGE hit with my husband. It does require a bit of planning, but the end result was pretty fantastic. We were able to dine on this soup for almost a full week and it only got tastier the longer it aged.

 

Capsicum, Spinach, and Chickpea Soup

I really need to catch up on some of my recipes. I am embarrassingly behind. I only now thought to make time to write this one up because @onestarrynight requested healthy recipes. Now, on to the recipe:

Capsicum, Spinach, and Chickpea Soup
from Vegetarian Cooking: A Common Sense Guide by  Bay Books

Cooked on: October 16, 2011

Servings: supposedly 4. I would say more than that.

Cost: Inexpensive

Skill level: Novice. Be sure to follow instructions.
Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
8 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
1 red capsicum (pepper), finely diced (I used a medium fish pepper)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
375 ml (13 fl oz/1 1/2 cups) tomato passata (pureed tomatoes)
750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) vegetable stock
300 g (10 1/2 oz) tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 – 2 tsp sugar
100 g 3 1/2 oz/2 1/4 cups baby English spinach leaves

Procedure

Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the spring onion, cover and cook over medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the capsicum, garlic, and cumin seeds, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the passata and stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas, vinegar, and sugar, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the baby spinach and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook just until the spinach begins to wilt, then serve.

My Notes

I added the spinach as I served it into each bowl. It doesn’t take long for the spinach to get wilty and my husband reacts badly to spinach, so I served him without any.

This is a really awesome dish. It is very easy to make and would be easy to make it the way you prefer it to be. I used a medium pepper left over from my venture to the farmer’s market. Mmmm. It added just the right spiciness.

Get Off Your Broom Week 7 Check-In and Week 8 Challenge

As I was pretty miserable last week, I didn’t do much on the blogging front. I also didn’t do much on the exercise front. I pretty much failed at the whole trying to be healthy thing. So. This week I will put forth more effort. I am feeling better and have no excuse to not exercise (at least some walking and light cardio).

Weight: 167.1

*bleh*

I have gained 1.6 lbs since last Sunday. I have been told that I am looking good… Of course they may have been just being polite lol. I’m not too terribly about 1.6 lbs. I will take that off this week along with any excess measurements I may have hoarded this past week.

I was just reminded that the Week 6 Challenge was to create a list of why I want to get healthy. So here it is:

1. I want to have 1 more kid. I need my body to be able to handle it.

2. I need to be able to keep up with my kids.

3. I want to avoid the Big D (Diabetes).

4. I want to feel sexy.

5. I want my husband to think I am sexy.

6. I want to feel proud to be naked.

7. I want my confidence back.

8. I want to be a good, healthy role model for my kids.

9. I want to wear that damned dress I can’t fit into.

10. I want my body to look like the temple I know it is.

 

There it is.

 

Week 8 Challenge

“How clean is your diet? Are you eating low-calorie, low-fat foods that are processed, filled with preservatives and ingredients that sound like the came out of a science lab instead of a kitchen? Is the meat you are eating full of growth hormones or doused with radiation? Are your fruits and veggies covered with pesticides? I want you to do some research and evaluate whether or not your diet that is low in calories, carbs, and fat is completely healthy.” From The Domestic Pagan

My food has been anything but healthy lately. This week, I am going to work on eating food that I know is not just healthy, but healthily created. I have created a menu, that I will post next, that is very healthy. My challenge for this week is to be careful around all the calories with Thanksgiving… I can do this, my body is a temple!

Get Off Your Broom Week 5 Check-In and Week 6 Challenges

Ugh. That is how I really felt this past week went. My will-power bottomed out and I pretty much gorged on candy. Or I feel like I did. Looking back, I seemed to have managed to keep it to about a 3 piece per day average. I didn’t do that today. I will get to that later.

My measurements:

Only doing weight this week: 165.6 (-6.4 lbs!!!!)

Week 5 Challenges:

1. Exercise 5 Days

  • Sunday: None
  • Monday: Walked a lot trick-or-treating. Our neighborhood is hilly and we were out for a long time.
  • Tuesday: Ran
  • Wednesday: Cardio and weight machines
  • Thursday: Ran
  • Friday: None (drove to Oregon)
  • Saturday: Walking
I did 5 days of exercise!
2. Eat more fruit and veggies. I didn’t do as well on this as I would have liked. I did make vegetarian stuffed squash on Thursday. It was delicious.
3. Drink more water. I definitely did better on this. I just need to remember to keep water near me and I will drink it.
Week 6 Mini-Challenge
“Health goes way beyond whether or not you are skinny and muscular. So my challenge to you this week is to research the added health benefits of exercise and eating right. If you are struggling like I am, learning these bonus benefits can be very motivating. Do you have diabetes or depression that needs controlled? Are you overwhelmed by stress? Do you just want to be happier or have more self confidence? Do you want to attract a hot guy? Do you want to look good for a special event? How will getting in shape affect your entire life? Make a list of all of these added benefits and POST THEM WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM EVERY DAY!”
I will do this and write about it later. This is giving me some fuel for thought…

Get Off Your Broom Week 3 Check-in & Week 4 Challenge

Week 3

I really struggled with Week 3. I had such intense sugar cravings that did not seem to want to go away. Even when I gave in to them. They just hung around. Funny that the Week 3 Challenge was to find out about what causes cravings… I’m going to go with my body starting to get ready to return to its cycles. At least for those cravings. I have no idea what else they could have been. My body has been threatening to restart its periods for a few weeks now. Up until this week, it has mostly been severe cramping. My son is almost 1, so it is getting close to time to restart.

For a really great blog on food cravings, I recommend checking out The Domestic Pagan’s post for this week’s check-in. She found some great info and articles. I feel so lazy now.

I actually did pretty good with exercise. I didn’t get as much weight-lifting in as I would like (as in none at all), but I got in a good bit of running and discovered that I am now averaging about 2 miles in the same time that I had been doing 1.7 miles. I also made sure to walk as much as I could.

Now for the measurement:

Weight: 168.0
-.4 this week
-4.0 total!

I will be doing my other measurements next week. I think they will be pretty good. I have noticed some things fitting differently and my belt is loose on me now… I might need to find a new one.

Week 4 Challenge

“There will be two parts to this week’s challenge.

Part 1: How balanced is your diet? Are you eating healthy, wholesome natural foods or are you simply eating less crap than before? If I’m honest with myself and you folks, I know my answer is that I am simply eating less crap.

A balanced diet, despite what the food pyramid tells you, won’t actually look the same for everyone. (I know, I’m no nutritionalist but the common food pyramid was created by the United States Department of Agriculture not the health department.) If you are diabetic or a vegan, a balanced diet is going to look a lot different for you than for someone who is eating a more traditionally balanced diet. I am striving for a mostly vegetarian diet so I look to the vegetarian food pyramid for guidance.

Part 2: In the previous post, I wrote about how I’ve been struggling to make this fitness challenge more “witchy.” If we do do things witchy all the time like Magaly says, then making a fitness challenge more witchy shouldn’t be hard, right? What can you do to combine your spirituality and practice with your diet and fitness regimen? Some suggestions include using the witches pyramid (to know, to will, to dare, to be silent), to use the elements to balance your diet and fitness routine, base your diet on the Wiccan Rede (to harm none), or to do ritual or magick to aid you. Can you tell I’ve put some thought into it already?”
From The Domestic Pagan

Part 1

I have to be honest. I’m with The Domestic Pagan. I’m eating less crap. I am working on eating more balanced. MyFitnessPal actually helps with that. During the day, I can actually see what nutrients I am lacking in my diet. I am also working on creating a weekly menu. I like to use the Alli website to help with this. I tried using Alli a couple of years ago and was actually pretty successful. I don’t care for the pill thingies so much, but I LOVE their recipes and how you can plan an entire week (or more) with their website. Most of the recipes create single servings and are easy to make. For dinner, I will double the recipe so my husband can enjoy it also. His favorites are the vegetarian stuffed squash and the vegetarian stuffed peppers. Anyway, this is a great challenge and I look forward to working with it.

Part 2

I once read (I am pretty sure it was in a Buckland book) that we need to consider our bodies as temples. They are a gift from the God and Goddess and we should take care of them in respect to that. We should be careful of what we put into our temple. This is a concept that I can easily combine with the Part 1 Challenge.
I can use my cooking time to put in loving and healthy thoughts into my food. I have a penchant for kitchen witchery, this would be a natural way for me to hone that skill and to add a bit of “witchyness” to every meal.
I may also do a bit of spellwork to help me with willpower…

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