Tag: health food

Box Month Continues: Goodies Co and Naturebox

Got two more boxes today for box month and they are both food boxes.  I think the last of my food boxes.  If you want to do a box month contact the different subscriptions, tell them about your blog and you may get lucky.  Its been really fun.

Goodies Co-

This is a great box for those that want to dabble in boxes but don’t want to invest much money . It is only $7 a month!  I spend that much on a cafe rio burrito!  They also have a points system where you can add reviews and get discounts, free shipping on products.   It is a smaller box and the value came to right about $7 so its not a huge value box but the cost is so low I think it has its appeal.

This is not specifically a healthy box; although all of the products appear to be all-natural and ingredient conscious.  Mostly its a snacking box. They have an adult box and one designed for kids.  I got the adult box to to try and enjoyed it.

goodies

Goodies
2.77 alo light exposed drink
0.31 tangy zangy
1.5 poplets sea salt and butter
0.4 sunflower seeds
1.1 veggie sticks
0.75 pronto
0.48 sales tax
7.31  total

Naturebox

I have already talked about this box on my blog because its one I have done for a couple of months.  I love it.  Its my favorite food box.  The great things about this box is you can pick what products you want, they are full size, all nutritionist recommended and yummy! This box is a great bargain too.  My box this month was valued at $27.11 and that is being conservative.  I think it would be great for an office breakroom.  You could get healthy snacks for your employees without having to go to the store or to Costco!

It is definitely the largest of all the food boxes I tried and still my favorite.  I highly recommend it.  They also have lots of gluten free and vegan options so you just pick what you like.   I can’t recommend it highly enough.

This month I tried a few new things like the guacamole bites and garlic pumpkin seeds and some of my favorites from past boxes like the cheddar pub pretzels (so good!).  You can also be suprised by snackbox if you prefer and you can add on to your box for a very reasonable fee.   Naturebox is not a sample box.  All of the products are made with the naturebox label which is part of the reason why you are given such generous amounts for the $19.95 cost.  I love it.  Give it a try!

naturebox

Naturebox
4 pumpkin seeds
3.34 cheddar pub pretzels
4 plantain chips
4 peanut butter nom noms
4 guacamole bites
6 veggie chips
25.34 subtotal
1.77 sales tax
27.11 total
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Twinkie Conundrum

So Hostess has closed.  We have all heard that.  Another American brand down the drain, no bailout for those 18k workers, no recourse for a union that flushed workers down the drain.

Here’s the funny thing since the news came out I have heard basically this same conversation from almost all of my friends/family (even my Dad!):

“I’m not going to miss all those unhealthy foods.”

or  “America is sure going to be healthier with out all the trans-fats clogging their arteries”

but then the statement is almost always followed by ‘I will miss those cupcakes though’, or ‘I wonder how much longer we can get a snowball?’ or ‘hard to imagine no more wonder bread or twinkies’.

What makes me laugh is that almost everyone I know plays the part of the healthy eater, glad Hostess is gone and ridding America from its guilt-ridden treats but secretly are lamenting the loss.  I guess it is the definition of a guilty pleasure!

I wonder if part of the remorse is like watching Saturday morning cartoons. They are syrupy and stupid but you kind of like them.  They remind you of being a kid again and for those of that had pleasant childhoods the remembrance is pleasant.  Perhaps we like such food because when we were a kid we didn’t have to worry so much about carbs, organic food, clean eating or any of that crap? We could just eat a twinkie if our Mom told us it was okay.

Perhaps we like things like hostess because we secretly LIKE THEM! In one Washington Post article about the mass selloff of twinkies on ebay a vendor described the situation well:

“If buyers do not bite, Mr. Edmonds is not sure what he will do with his supply. He does not even like Twinkies.

“I do like to have a Ding Dong every once in a while though,” he said.”

(I swear that same caveat is being said by nearly every American)

I remember when I saw Martha Stewart making her own peeps and I felt tired and a little disgusted.  What a waste of time when the original are delicious. I’m sure she would be insulted at the idea of store bought peeps but at Easter I wouldn’t want them any other mixed up, gussied way, just gooey, crispy peeps.  I like gourmet food but I also like familiar food where I know how it will taste and what it will be like.  I think that is the appeal of a lot of foods like Hostess. They are easy to eat, absorb and enjoy.

What foods do you like that you are slightly embarrassed to admit liking?  Come on, let it out.  I can think of some:

1- Chicken Nuggets- not fancy chicken strips (although those are good too).  I’m talking about crunchy little chicken pieces of manufactured yumminess and I get all the sauces I can muster.

2- pizza- This is really a guilty pleasure but I like all variations of pizza, not just the bubbly gourmet kind with fancy cheeses but the greasy pepperoni from Little Caesars (and I love Crazy bread!)

3- Movie popcorn- I love popcorn in general but I like the salty, yellow, intoxicating smelling popcorn at the movie theater.  I do! (With extra butter of course).

4- Sweet/Sour candies. When I went on my sugar fast the thing I craved the most was sour patch kids.  Strange but something about that lip puckering sweet and sour sounded so good.

5- Ice Cream- I’ve never met a flavor or brand of ice cream I don’t like.  I love the fancy gourmet kinds but also the big buckets of generic vanilla.
I also love ice cream novelties like drumsticks and fudgicals

6- Popsicles- I love those double popsicles in cherry, root beer, grape, banana, orange, etc.  You know the one’s?

7- Ramen noodles- I don’t like canned soup- ever, ever, ever!  I don’t eat it unless I’m forced and if I’m sick I’d much rather have ramen than canned soup.  I just don’t like the tecture of it.

8- Really hot fresh french fries.  They just aren’t the same baked.  Need the deep frier.  I love sauces.

9- Pillsbury- I think those crescents and biscuits are delicious.

10- Slurpees- Love all the favors, all the time.

11- Donuts- I love chocolate, maple donuts, simple glazed, powdered, whatever!  The smell makes me crazy.  Even those little powdered one’s make me happy.

12- Crackers- I love Chicken n’ biscuit, ritz, saltines, club crackers whatever.  YUM!

13- pudding snacks- not fancy kind.  Just standard pudding cups.

14- On same line lunchables.  Ah the decadence!

( I could keep going…)

What about you?  What do you have to talk yourself into getting a salad for?  What transfat nightmares do you linger over in the market and then head for the whole wheat section…

Be honest!  Who out there is secretly going to miss the twinkie?

Fruit Trays

So everyone knows I love entertaining and making food look beautiful.  The item I’ve probably had the most practice on over the years are fruit and vegetable trays.  I used to work for BYU catering where we made hundreds of fruit trays.  It was there I learned how to cut a pineapple and could get a pineapple cored and cut in about a minute.

Soon after college I got introduced to the Barefoot Contessa and her amazing fruit platters always filled me with glee.  They just looked so pretty :).  Granted she has food stylists and a bevy of helpers (not too mention quite the budget) but I think if you invited Ina Garten to a party she’d bring about as pretty a fruit tray as shown in the pictures.   Incidentally I wonder if Ina Garten’s friends are terrified to invite her over to eat.  How could you measure up?

Anyway, I started a diet on Monday and had to bring a treat to activity days for the young girls at church.  (Age 8-10).  I couldn’t think of anything that wouldn’t derail my diet and as I had been a slacker leader the last few months store bought seemed too lame.  So I decided to put together a fruit tray with my famous chocolate yogurt dip (so good!).

I must say I think it is my finest fruit tray creation yet:

Isn’t it pretty? White platters are easy to use for any occasion. The best entertaining tip my Mom gave me.

The fruit tray included strawberries, cherries, envy apples, banana and just for fun star fruit.  I had my chocolate dip (recipe below) and some store-bought caramel sauce (I’ve never quite mastered homemade caramel sauce).

I didn’t know if the girls would like the dark chocolate sauce but I think you can tell from this after shot that they liked it!

That’s what you call a plate licked clean!

Here are Ina Garten’s fruit tray tips:

“Once the base is set, you can add any kind of fruit that’s available.

I like to have one thing that is taller than the rest, such as a large bunch of grapes or a decoratively cut papaya, to give the platter height.

Then I add raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and fresh figs in casual but organized groups. The platter can look like a bowl of M&M’s if there are too many colors scattered with no order.

Visually, your eye needs to have a focal point and to be able to see each type of fruit.

After all the fruit is arranged, I add flat green leaves around the outside of the fruit, to set off the colors. Use lemon and galax leaves from your florist, or fig leaves and grape leaves  from your garden. Make sure they are pesticide-free and well washed.”

Some day I will be so on the ball I have lemon leaves on my trays but I’m proud of my attempt.  I think even kids respond better to something that is presented beautifully and it really doesn’t taken any more effort than throwing it on a plate.   Ok maybe a tiny bit more effort but hardly anything.

Here’s the recipe for the chocolate sauce.  Its super good.  This makes a lot of sauce.

Chocolate Yogurt Sauce

3 Lindt Dark Chocolate Bars- Lindt has tons of flavors including roasted almond, sea salt, chili, mint etc.  They are the best!

1/2 cup 2% greek yogurt

2-3 tbsp whole milk

heat chocolate over double boiler until melted.  Add milk, mix together over heat.   Will get a little thicker as it heats up.

Add yogurt once its cooled down.

Since I was making this for kids I added about a tsp of agave to make it a little sweeter.

You can add chopped nuts, toffee bits or whatever you like.  Can dip anything in it.  Shortbread is amazing!

ingredients for sauce

I made enough this time that I am setting little servings of it aside and freezing them for a quick treat.

single servings of sauce

As best as I can calculate on myfitnesspal.com these servings have 120 calories, 18 carbs, 8 grams fat, 6 grams protein, 11 grams sugar.

Enjoy!

I love sauces and dips. It makes me very happy

The Food Trifecta

So here’s the deal with food.  Over the years I’ve learned that all foods and recipes fall into three categories- it is either fast, cheap or healthy.  What I’ve found is you can usually get 2 out of 3 but the 3 out of 3 foods are very rare (egg dishes almost always fit all 3 but its still hard to find)

For instance, ramen noodles are fast and cheap but definitely not healthy.  A salad is usually fast (depending on chopping time) and healthy but isn’t cheap.  Homemade veggie burgers may be healthy and cheap but not fast.  Macaroni and cheese is fast and cheap but not healthy. Seafood like crab and mussels are healthy and fast but definitely not cheap. You get the idea.

In the end I think you have to pick which 2 areas you are going to focus on most.  If you have the budget than you can focus on fast and healthy.  If you don’t than focus on healthy and cheap.  If health isn’t as big a deal focus on fast and cheap.  Etc.

I just find this type of prioritizing to be helpful. You cannot focus on everything.  Perhaps with kids there is a fourth factor of ‘kid friendly’.  I’m not sure.

For me, I focus more on fast and healthy and less on cheap. Not that I’ll be buying caviar or lobster daily but its just where your focus is. To make things faster I may pay more to buy some salad bar items or prepared items from the deli.

I guess my trifecta doesn’t apply to deserts because let’s be honest 2 out of 3 would rarely apply.  I would just focus on taste for that category.

Taste is a given for anything I eat.  Above all it should be tasty! This is true except for protein drinks which I detest but drink anyway because they are good for me.  (And yes, I’ve tried ALL the brands…). Aside from protein drinks,  I prefer to not have an instant gag reflex when I swallow food. 🙂

What do you think of my trifecta?  Where do you fall on it?

Btw, I’m going on a diet tomorrow.  Not looking forward to it at all.  Please forgive me if I’m a bit grumpy.  Stupid diets…

Calmness

So this week has been tough.  Lots of drama from lots of sources including most prominently myself.  I think when it comes down to it seeing that 289 scared me.  It made me feel like 3 years of effort was all for not, and that’s a scary thought.  Everyone likes to think that their life has value and that they aren’t wasting time on a fool’s errand. For it to seemingly all go away was almost more than I could process.

It still scares me but I’ve made some progress-

Well, I went to my gym today.  Met with the dietician and it was actually pretty helpful.  We have some good plans that I’ve already implemented and we will see how it goes.  Then I met with my trainer who has stood by me for 2 years through it all.  I’m not going to lie there were tears and frustration and then smiles. The good news is I weighed using the fancy scale at the gym and it said 277.  Still a gain but only 4 lbs.  That I can live with without a panic attack!

Now I’m moving forward and going to do all I can to be successful.  If the meds make me gain despite all I can do than so be it.  My journey will still have meaning even if I get back to 313.  If that happens I can start again and keep trying.

Facing that fear of regression is actually a huge victory.  I’m sure anyone out there that has lost has had to face a similar fear.

Thanks in advance for all your support as I  get ready for this race and achieve greater health in my body.  I know it will be a rocky road ahead but I am determined to push forward, and try again.

I still wonder what it is that God is trying to teach me and why does this have to be so hard? I’m not ashamed to say I don’t know the answer but someday I will.  He knows and He is guiding me each day.

I thought of my favorite author today.  The book, aside from scripture, that I read when I feel sad or hopeless- A Gift from the Sea by Anne Marrow Lindbergh.  I just love it.

Here are some quotes from it that I love and felt strongly today.

Don’t wish me happiness – I don’t expect to be happy it’s gotten beyond that, somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor – I will need them all.

“I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.”

The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith.

For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.

I feel we are all islands – in a common sea.

Anyway, hope you all have a great Memorial Day.  Hugs from your smilingldsgirl.

Rachel’s Homemade Salsa

So I’ve become a fan of making my own sauces.  Since I can’t eat much processed food making my own sauces gives me the ability to customize the flavors that I like to my dietary needs.  So far I’ve tackled vanilla, barbeque sauce, marinara (didn’t turn out great so no post on that), and today SALSA!

Last week Kate and I got a mexican addition to our bountiful basket.  This included an array of peppers, tomatoes, cilantro and tomatillos.  With these ingredients I made 2 different kinds of salsa- traditional red and a pineapple salsa verde.  I’m super happy with the way they turned out.   I have put the salsa in jars and then my grandma is going to let me borrow her canning pot so I can seal them.  There will be salsa for months to come!

The finished collection of salsa!
pineapple salsa verde

pineapple salsa verde

3 peppers (I’m actually not sure what kind they were), seeds, stem removed (depending how hot you like)

12 tomatillos husks removed. (canned works too.  I doubled the batch with 3 cans of tomatillos and it tasted the same to me.)

lime juice

2 small onions

1 ripe pineapple diced

1 bunch cilantro

salt

put everything in food processor or blender and blend.   That’s it!

original salsa

Original salsa

6 cans S and W stewed tomatoes mexican style drained (this saves a ton of time)

2 small onions

2 poblano peppers stem removed but I left the seeds

lime juice

Put all in the food processor (in 2 rounds) and blend.

I was going to put diced tomatoes in but it really didn’t need it but if you like it more chunky go for it.

tomorrow I’m going to put cilantro diced and green onion so its fresh and not soggy.

It tastes really good and couldn’t be easier.  Tomorrow I’m having my grandma and family over for a Mother’s Day dinner and hopefully they like a Mexican fiesta! I’m doing crockpot chicken tacos with salsa, guac, toppings and it should be pretty delicious. Happy Mother’s Day friends and family, especially my own Mom.

Feliz Dia de las Madres!

 

 

Breakfast Burritos

Since I started my fitness quest one of my greatest food struggles has been eating a good breakfast.  I just have no appetite in the morning and what appetite I do have usually craves high carb items such as cereal or toast (and don’t get me started on french toast and cinnamon rolls!).  I like eggs well enough the rest of the day but in the morning cooking them and getting a pan all dirty seems like the biggest burden in the world!

With a few exceptions most of the ready made breakfast foods are terrible for you and very expensive (was just at store and package of VitaTops cost $5.39!).  This left me frustrated and most of the time hungry through lunch (and usually through my morning work out).

So, one of the reasons I wanted to get a new freezer was to be able to easily make green and otherwise healthy smoothies and freeze breakfast meals in advance.  This would allow me to have a healthy breakfast without dirtying pans each morning or coming up with something to make.  I had seen freezer breakfast burritos on pinterest and thought I should try my hand at making a healthy version. Today I was at Sunflower Organic Market and their frozen vegetables/fruit was 2 for $3, a great deal!

Without a real recipe I purchased what sounded good to me for my burritos, came home and set to work. You could of course use non-frozen vegetables.  It just saved me some chopping and prep time.

The finished product! Healthy Breakfast Burrito

(I’m going to try to do my recipe Pioneer Woman style because I just finished her book and read her new cookbook.)

Breakfast Burritos Healthy-style!

24 low carb multigrain tortillas (60 calories, 2 grams fat each.  If I do it again I’d try to find slightly bigger tortillas to have more room to fold)

2 lbs chicken sausage removed from casing (I used a green chile chicken sausage they sell at sunflower)

2 bell peppers color of your choice diced

1 large onion diced

1 bag flat leaf frozen spinach thawed and moisture squeezed out

2 10 oz bags frozen thawed sweet potatoes

1 tbsp olive oil

2 bags 10 oz frozen mixed mushrooms, moisture squeezed out and diced

Cook pepper and onion in olive oil until soft.  Add chicken sausage, mushrooms and spinach.  Once chicken is cooked add sweet potatoes.

In a separate bowl whisk:

2 dozen eggs

2 cups of milk

Grate 1 lb of pepper jack and sharp cheddar and add to your preference

(Next time I would add a healthy dose of hot sauce because I used almost 1/2 a bottle once it was cooked to give more flavor.  It sounds like a lot but when you see how much I made it really wasn’t overly spicy.  I thought the chili sausages would have more spice.  A spicy pepper or two wouldn’t be bad with the bells depending on your spice preference)

I then put half of my meat mixture in a mixing bowl and left the other half in my dutch oven (it was too much to cook together even with my large dutch oven).

I poured half of the egg mixture over each meat mixture.  The bowl I put in the microwave and stirred at 5 minute intervals and the dutch oven I cooked over the stove top.  They both turned out really good! Once cooked I put the mixture on cookie sheets (and added hot sauce for more flavor)

The stove-top version
the microwave version

Then I took a heaping 1/3 cup of filling on each tortilla, rolling it up and folding the ends in.

The assembly line!

I ended up with 2 dozen burritos and extra toppings which I food savered for later. I’m now doing a light freeze so they are easier to work with and then will wrap and food save some of them.  I should have a nice reservoir of breakfasts to enjoy for some time!

The finished product. Healthy breakfast burritos for many days to come!

I’m excited about this project and look forward to making many more variations.  It could be really good with tofu or steak.  Whatever you like.  Test it out and see what you come up with and put it in the comments section.  We all can work together to be healthier and still have tasty, affordable food.  🙂  Enjoy!