Clean Eating Challenge, Days 16 & 17

I’ve hit a wall. I’m frustrated with this challenge. I expected better results than what I’m seeing and I’m not sure if the few days that I haven’t stuck to it hard-core has made the difference or if I’m doing something wrong. The only other thing I could think of is that I’m not bringing in ENOUGH calories. Like that’s ever been an issue before! I’ve added in boxing classes with my running workouts – which now consist of training for a 5K. It’s hard to get excited about something at the moment though, because I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time, energy and money, and I’m not seeing the results I want or expect.

chicken-riceDinner last night was a mix of leftover “tropical chicken” (aka chicken, salsa and pineapple in the crockpot) with onions, rice and zucchini. It was kind of a twist on fried rice? I used rice wine, and rice vinegar, a splash of balsamic vinegar, grapeseed oil, and garlic powder for the seasoning. It was hard not using teriyaki or soy sauce, and I was trying to emulate the flavors I would have gotten from those by also adding sesame oil and salt. It turned out pretty tasty, and I added some sunflower seeds on top for crunch. I think it would have been better if I had used pecans or walnuts, though – I just didn’t have any.

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Clean Eating Challenge, Days 12-15

Sorry to all my readers for my lack of posting. Let’s just say, I fell off the clean eating bandwagon face first and am now scrambling to get back on. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were long days of working and foodie temptation.

Let me just start the remainder of this post off by saying, I am going to be confessing to you all, to get rid of my guilty conscience.

Friday, I had alfredo sauce at Olive Garden. Saturday was processed maple syrup on waffles, Sunday was a turkey, bacon, guacamole sandwich and fries, and yesterday was a taco bowl from Qdoba. Now, all of these were screw ups at one meal in the day…so some people would say don’t sweat it. But I don’t agree. This “clean eating thing” I’m doing is supposed to be a lifestyle adjustment, not a fad diet. So while after the 28 days I may indulge in something that’s not clean, during this initial detox period, I need to be less lenient. I wish there was a clean eating friendly restaurant.

stuffed-bell-pepperThat being said, dinner last night was stuffed bell peppers with ground turkey and dairy-free cheese. They weren’t bad! I take my accomplishment from the fact that my hubby said they looked and smelled good. Reminder – stuffed bell pepper is meat stuffed in a vegetable and not the other way around. If you knew him, you’d understand the accomplishment. I didn’t use rice in my peppers, just the meat and veggies (zucchini, tomatoes and spices), and it was really tasty.

Now let’s focus on some good habits moving forward.

1) This morning, I tried a trick I learned from my Arbonne consultant and added some organic peppermint extract to my banana chocolate shake. Add a straw and it tastes like a milkshake! Hello pick-me-up!

2) Oh, and I’m excited because Cooking Light put out a gluten free cookbook!

3) I’m now actively involved in training for a 5K after the first of the year with one of my coworkers, and going to be trying out a Tuesday night boxing class to get moving more often and be held accountable for what I’m doing.

New adventure, here we come.

Pizza, Pizza!

Well, today is my five-year anniversary with this blog! Go figure, that’s kind of awesome. So much can happen in five years. We’re making sushi for dinner tonight, so we can call that an anniversary dinner. 🙂

A couple nights ago, we made home made pizza, and since Miss Kelly is going gluten free, we actually made three pizzas! We had one gluten free crust, one regular crust, and one zucchini crust. That last one was another Pinterest find, something I had been wanting to try. It wasn’t terrible, but it’s a little tricky. It doesn’t hold the same amount of weight as a regular pizza crust – you’d have to get it really, really dry before it’s baked. I still don’t know that it’s got enough holding it together. It was good though! The gluten free crust was really good too – I almost liked it more than the regular crust. It had a completely different texture and flavor. Our veggie crust and gluten free crust were both veggie pizzas, while the regular crust was pepperoni for my hunny. I also added some olives and some italian seasoning, and needless to say, there were very few leftovers.

Not so much to tell – but pretty pictures – can you tell which crust is which?

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Farmer’s Market Finds

DSC_0353This weekend we went to the Clarksville Downtown Market, and got to experience a completely different type of farmer’s market than what we had experienced before. This one was smaller, calmer and much more friendly. There were fewer merchants, but they were all different, rather than a monopoly on veggies like we tend to see in Nashville. There were also a lot more artisans of handcrafted goods, which was very cool.

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We got a huge bushel of apples that I turned into apple butter and apple pie apple sauce. We also got some heirloom carrots and tomatoes, beautiful, fat zucchini, a huge basket of green beans and a wonderfully colored acorn squash.

DSC_0363I used some of the veggies in a stir fry as a complement to some frozen veggies and leftover rotisserie chicken. I then created a cheesy pasta primavera with whole wheat pasta. There were 8 different types of vegetables that were lightly steamed and delicious and a lighter mozzarella sauce that blended everything together. Recipe below!

By the way, I’m in love with my new camera, and it has a “food” setting on it that helps to bring out some of the beautiful colors. Hence the silly amount of pictures today!

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Pasta Primavera with Market Veggies

Market fresh vegetables, cleaned and chopped to approximately the same size. I used: 1 large zucchini, 1 eggplant, 4 heirloom carrots, a handful of cherry tomatoes, 3 sweet peppers, a head of broccoli, a handful of green beans

3 cloves of garlic, diced

olive oil

2 tbsp white wine of your choice

whole wheat linguine, about a quarter to half of a box

Fresh basil, 1 large bunch, julienned

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp flour

Approx 1/4 cup fresh parmesan or three cheese blend

1/4 – 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

approx 1/2 cup milk (you can substitute soy or almond milk – I did!)

Approx 2 tbsp each: ground sage, ground thyme, dried dill, black pepper

Approx 1 tbsp each: paprika, ground oregano

Approx 1/2 tbsp dried cardamom

Salt to taste

  • Prepare all the veggies, cleaning and chopping. Put all but the garlic in a large bowl. Warm a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil – once around the pan. Then add in the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  • While the pan is warming and the garlic cooking, prepare your pasta pot with water and set to boil. Once  boiling, add in a handful of sea salt and olive oil to add additional flavor to the pasta itself. Then add in the pasta and cook until al dente.
  • Once the garlic is fragrant, dump the bowl of veggies into the pan and toss well. Add another round of olive oil and continue to toss to coat. Top with sage, thyme, dill, and oregano, as well as 1 tbsp black pepper and a pinch of salt. Toss well to coat and cover pan, cooking on medium for 2-3 minutes. After this time, add in the wine, and stir. Then re-cover, and let cook on medium low heat while pasta cooks, stirring occasionally.
  • To make the sauce, first melt the butter in a pot. Once melted, add in the flour, stirring vigorously. Once that creates a paste, add in about 1/2 the milk, continuing to stir. Add in the parmesan and the mozzarella, continuing to stir. Add the rest of the milk, the paprika, 1 tbsp of black pepper and the cardamom. The sauce should be creamy as it melts, and if needed, add a little more milk to increase the creaminess. Continue to stir to evenly incorporate the heat and melt the cheese, as well as preventing burnt cheese on the bottom.
  • At this point, the pasta should be done. Taste test for texture. Drain, and return to the pot. Add 3/4 of the basil to the veggies and stir, cooking just long enough to wilt. Once wilted, add to the pasta, top with the cheese sauce and toss well to coat. Serve with fresh basil on top.