Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Trader Joe's Breaded Cod - Easy Dinner

When I want something quick, easy and healthy for dinner I will often go to my freezer and get out some Trader Joe's frozen breaded cod fillets, which I always have in my freezer.  They only take 20 minutes to bake in the oven and while they are baking I make a quick homemade (no mayo) tarter sauce and some sautéed spinach and tomato. It's so easy and super delicious!

This meal is jam packed with protein and vitamins - I love it and I always feel great after eating it.

Home made tarter sauce:
- 2 heaping tablespoons of sour cream
- 1 teaspoon of capers
- 1 teaspoon Siracha sauce
- chopped chives
- a squeeze of lemon
- 1 teaspoon horseradish 

Just mix it all together - add a little salt and some garlic powder - yummy!

Then after I make the sauce I just heat a sauté pan with some olive oil, add some largely chopped tomato and let cool for  3 or 4 minutes.  Then I add some fresh spinach leaves, add a dash of salt and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes.  

Next I plate the spinach and tomatoes.  Then I take the cod out of the oven and onto my plate, spoon some tarter sauce over the top, and Voila, a delicious and healthy dinner or lunch.

This is my go to meal when I want some serious vitamin power!

Quick and Easy Shepherds Pie

Occasionally at our house we eat a big lamb steak with mashed potatoes and baby broccoli for dinner. It's one of my favorites - but lamb can be really expensive so we don't have it that often.

Here is the left over lamb steak from the night before...

Usually we end up with a lot of left overs and instead of eating the exact same thing the next night, I like to mix it up and make a super quick and easy shepherds pie using the left over lamb and potatoes.

It's so delicious - it could almost be better than having the lamb steaks.  

- half a pound of left over cooked lamb steak - chopped into small chunks 
- 1.5 cups of left over mashed potatoes
- 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese
- half an onion diced
- 1 celery stalk diced
- 1/4 cup of chopped carrot
- 1/4 cup of fresh or frozen peas
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 2 small tomatoes finely chopped (or can of diced tomatoes)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- water or stock
- salt, pepper, dried oregano and some chili flakes
- olive oil and a little butter

First I assemble all the ingredients starting with chopping the veggies. I put all the onion, celery and carrots together since they take the longest to cook. 
Then once they are all chopped, I put them in a sauté pan on medium heat with a little olive oil and a teaspoon of butter.

While that is cooking I prep all the other ingredients.

Next, after the veggies have cooked for about 5 minutes or so the tomato paste will go in.

Meanwhile I am still prepping...

Then I stir around the tomato paste until it is well combined. About this time I preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Then I add some seasoning, the salt and pepper, chili flakes, oregano and sometimes I add some garlic powder.
I will then add some water or stock and let it cook down until the carrots are soft for about 15 minutes. Just keep adding water if the veggies start to stick or get to dry. 

Next I add in the meat and frozen peas. I usually will add a bit more butter and let that sauté for another 10 minutes until it is all nicely combined and the veggies are well cooked.

Then I assemble all the ingredients into a lightly greased oven dish. Starting with the veggie/ lamb mixture on the bottom, and then adding the potatoes and grated cheese on top.

This is what it looks like all assembled:

Then I pop it in the oven for 20 minutes and voila! An easy, delicious shepherds pie! 

You could use this same recipe with any leftover protein you have, ground beef, ground turkey, left over chicken or even just as a veggie dish it would be delicious.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Morning Skinny Drink

Currently I have two children under the age of three and have discovered how difficult it can be to find time to take care of yourself.  I am so busy taking care of other people (miniature crazy people) that I end up neglecting myself, and am often so exhausted that I look and feel tired most of the time.

Before I had children, somewhere in my late twenties, I weighed on average about 123 pounds (I'm about 5'5" tall) which was pretty lean, not really skinny but not overweight either - I was usually a size 4. After having my first child I gained quite a bit of weight. When I was pregnant is when I started the weight gain and then never really was able to lose it, and I weighed an average of about 140 pounds, which put me at about 20 pounds overweight.  It was not a huge amount to overcome, but challenging non the less.  I finally made a commitment to get back to my pre-kids weight after the birth of my second child.

To make a long story short, after my second child was about 4 months old, I lost the weight doing a diet for nursing moms.  I lost all the extra weight, and then some.  I am now the size I was when I was like 19 years old (pretty skinny) at about 115 pounds and I have more energy than ever even though I still don't get much sleep (baby sleep training is still my everyday experience).  I won't go into all the details of how I did it since I really want to focus on "maintenance" for this post.  I'll save the weight loss journey for another post.

I've made a conscious effort, as much as possible, to really think about my food choices before I eat, while I'm eating, and be as thoughtful as possible about what I put in my mouth - even being as busy as I am with the kids.  Before I lost the weight I wasn't really thinking about what I was eating - I was just eating - now my mind is working differently and I am always thinking about what the food is, how much I'm consuming and if what I am eating is making me feel physically good.  I think of food in terms of energy, healing and joy.  I know that seems vague but, I will go into more detail about that in a later post.

The "thinking" is the first part.  The second part is what I like to call my "skinny medicine foods".  These are foods that I have done research about (and by that I mean searched Pinterest boards) and consider to be food choices that I can make on a regular basis that not only help me maintain my weight but also aid in losing weight and flushing out my system. 

There are about twenty or so such foods that I keep on my list, but the main one and the one I swear by is what I call my "Morning Skinny Drink".

It's pretty simple and I drink it religiously every morning, and if I ever miss a few days I still drink it at least 4 days a week on average.  

What is the magic drink? It's basically just lemon and water.  I know it sounds too simple to really work - but believe me - IT WORKS!!  

Now, the trick is to drink it when you first wake up about 15 minutes before you eat or drink anything else.  I won't get into a long explanation of how it works, but essentially it helps flush your intestines, it gets rid of harmful bacteria, it helps boost your metabolism, it balances the PH levels in your body which helps your body manage sugar (don't have tell you how important that one is), and also gives you a little energy boost.  It does a bunch of other stuff too but I will leave it to you to do your homework about it.  Suffice as to say it's a magical, magical, wonderful thing and super easy to do on a regular basis.  

Like I said, water with lemon, every morning, first thing.  Pretty easy!

Now, If you REALLY want to give your body a good clean and want to go to that extra effort to look good and feel good then you've gotta try my "Super Skinny Drink"

This is it:
- Tall glass of ice water
- Juice of one whole lemon
- Unsweetened Cranberry juice
- 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
- 4 whole mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon of honey

Mix all together and drink it down first thing in the morning then follow up with one glass of regular water.  


Here's a before and after photo so you can see the difference this has made in my life...

Here's me a few months after second baby - at 140 ish pounds...

Here's me last weekend at 115 pounds and looking a lot healthier and happier!  It's not a ton of weight difference (only about 25 pounds) but the difference is HUGE! You can really see the difference in my face (already have a round face to begin with) but the change is dramatic.  And my waistline really tells the story too - from wearing large baggy t-shirts to small tops and size 2 dresses!  I look better, feel better and can wear my old skinny jeans! Yay!