Cream of Broccoli - The Good For You Edition

Monday, January 30, 2012

I love cream of .....anything.... soup!  Especially cream of broccoli.  Probably because it makes me feel like its really good for me since it has the word broccoli in it.  You know?  I was browsing  through recipes in the book The Everything Anti Inflammation Diet and found an actually good for you version of the soup.  They took out the cream and substituted with Silken Tofu.   I'm NOT a lover of tofu but thought I'd try it anyways since its blended up into the soup and I can pretty much pretend its not there.  

Silken (soft) Tofu looks like this in case you've never heard of it (I hadn't) and you can find it at a natural foods type of grocery store.  I found it in the beans/specialty foods isle, not in the refrigerated section like I thought. talk yourself into giving tofu a try you should know that tofu is really good for you.  It has iron and copper which will help with energy, calcium which of course will keep your bones strong, omega 3 fatty acids which is good for your heart and preventing clots and clogged arteries, selenium which helps regulate your thyroid and is cancer-fighting, and it can help with menopause if youre into that kinda thing currently.  Pretty good stuff to add to your diet every once in awhile! 

Cream of Broccoli

2 heads of broccoli, cut off the stem and chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
6 cups low sodium vegetable stock
3 Tbs white or yellow miso (also found in health food stores)
12 oz package Silken Tofu
salt and pepper to taste
toasted pine nuts to top it off

1. In a large saucepan, saute onions and garlic in oil til tender. 
2. Add parsley (save a little for garnish).  Add stock and broccoli. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until broccoli is tender, about 15 mins.
3. Remove small amount of broth and dissolve miso into it. Stir back into pot. 
4. Crumble tofu into broth, use hand mixer to puree until smooth (or add mix to a blender).
5. Add salt!  It needed it :)

112 calories/serves 8

Its all mental

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I'm cozy in bed trying to think up good reasons to not do my work out today....and I was feeling pretty good about skipping out until I saw a photo that I have on my wall for motivation.  A photo of a very chizzled lookin chica.  So that got the guilt going but I still needed more motivation. 

I joined the masses with the addiction to Pinterest but today it wasn't such a time waster.  After a few minutes of scrolling through the endless motivating pictures I was set to go.  Work out done today. Check.  Feeling better. Check.  All those photos I have pinned on my Motivation Board.  My best trick for getting my butt going lately is jumping on Pinterest and scrolling through the Fitness Category.  Something about seeing all the strong women makes me feel a bit stronger too. All in my head? Yeah but that's the point.  

Slow Cooker Homemade Chili

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I've been on the lookout for new healthy recipes (actually coming through on one of my new years resolutions woo!) and I came across this one that sounded super yummy.  I can't remember where I saw it so I recreated it as best as I could remember and depending on what I had in my kitchen.  It came out as yummy as I hoped and I counted 160 calories per 1 cup servings.  And its slow cooker so its cooking all day and ready when you come home.  None of the attempting to make a healthy meal after work while I fill up on chips and salsa because my starving stomach just can't possibly wait any longer.

3 frozen chicken breasts
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can black beans (no salt added)
1 can kidney beans (no salt added)
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can corn
1 small can green chilies
1 cup mango salsa
chopped onions
chopped red bell pepper
1 cup water

In that order, add all ingredients into a crock pot.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Mix and shred the chicken before serving.  Mmm mmmm.

Canvas Art DIY

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I made these fun pieces of art by transferring photographs of both of my grandmothers (aren't they beauties?) onto canvas and gave them as Christmas presents this year.  So easy to do and inexpensive and totally unique.  Sounds like a perfect do-it-yourself to me.  I've seen it before but Elsie from A Beautiful Mess gave a great tutorial that got me started.

You need:
--canvas board (like the kind that you'd image an artist painting on) - purchase at any craft store.  Tip: they range from cheap to spendy and for this project you can get cheap ones. They go on sale all the time.  I got these two 8X10 boards for $4 at Hobby Lobby.
--gel medium - also purchase at craft stores like Michaels or Amazon.
--paint brush
--photo copy of your image in the same size as your canvas (it will reverse during transfer so if you pick an image with writing you'll want to get a reversed image when you copy it).  I chose old family photographs and its such a beautiful way to display those.  Old photos are almost ALWAYS gorgeous.  Also it won't work if you just try to print it at your home printer. Just get your butt over to Kinkos okay?

1. Paint the gel medium over your canvas.  This is what does the transferring so make sure its thick and covering the entire board.  It'll clog your sink a little as well so its best to wash it off as much as possible elsewhere or let water run for awhile when you clean your brush. 

2. Place your image face down onto the canvas and just push down with your fingertips all over.  You gotta let it dry over night (or at least a few hours).  I know that sucks when you're excited to see it but......wait til its DRY.

3.  Once its DRY....wet the paper with your paint brush.  You might want to start in one area to get the feel of how wet it needs to be.  Not soaked, but enough that the paper begins to peel as you rub it. 

4. With your fingertip gently start rubbing the paper and it will start to come off.  Be careful so that you don't rub too far that the image comes off as well.  It gives it a cool look though to have some places come up.  Just work with it.  Each piece is different and love whatever you get.  I purposely scrubbed a little harder along the edges and corners for that uneven look.

Keep at it.  The rubbing off process takes time and you don't want to rush it.  Get off as much as you think is right. Let it dry.  If it looks grayish still and you're not getting black blacks - then there's still paper on there. Get it wet and rub it off again until you get what you want.  

5. Once it is done and ready, cover with one more coat of gel medium to protect the image from peeling more. 

I love how they turn out!  Such a fun alternative to simply framing and hanging.   

Juice Fast Day 3

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 3 and I was feeling MUCH better than day 2. Yay!  Even though it'd only been a couple days I couldn't fight the urge to just check the scale.....2 lbs lost.  Maybe its water weight as they say or what not but thats okay - long as the numbers on the scale are going down I'm not gonna question it.  The real success was when I tried on a pair of jeans that were too tight to wear last week.  If you think I wore them  comfortably today then you would be correct.  

9:30 AM - fruit smoothie

11:30 AM - apple

1 PM - vegetable smoothie

Midday I still had a headache and tummy ache like yesterday, but overall I was feeling better.

3 PM - sauteed vegetables again

6 PM - fruit smoothie

I'm cutting my fruit/veggie fast a day early because life happens and I'm going out to lunch with friends tomorrow. But I'm feeling pretty successful about 3 days so its a wonderful thing.  I'm planning on doing 1 or 2 of my meals only fruits and veggies for awhile til I drop a few more lbs.  At least dinner is fine being 90% veggies.  Easier said than done I'm sure...wish me luck!

Since I'm a healthy smoothie pro now I added some of the drinks below for ya.  You can make endless types of smoothies depending on what you like.  Its way fun to put like colored foods together to make a really pretty drink.  If you're gonna put say blueberries and kale and strawberries together you might get something a lil brown/poopy/greenish.   Still healthy - just doesn't make you feel as gorgeous as a bright red smoothie might ya know? 

Smoothies a la Jen

1.  Banana, kale, apple, 1/4 cup non fat milk, water

2. Banana, strawberries, cutie orange, water and 1/4 cup non fat milk

3. Kale, spinach, broccoli, celery, water (this is as disgusting as it sounds...drink it fast ladies!)

4. Banana, orange, 1/2 apple, carrot, 1/4 cup non fat milk, water, flax seed

5. Blueberries, strawberries, red bell pepper, kale, water

6. Spinach, celery, banana, kale, water

Juice Fast Day 2

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day 2.....that means I made it through day 1.  Awesome.  Only the not awesome thing is that I woke up with a headache, I'm feeling really blahh, tummy aching and I'm super hungry.  

10 AM - Banana, strawberries, blueberries, cutie orange, 1/4 cup non fat milk and water smoothie

Tip >>  bananas make smoothies soooo creamy and thick, especially when they're not frozen, which leaves me feeling fuller.  I like that. 

12:30 PM - 1/2 banana, spinach, red bell pepper, 1/4 cup non fat milk and water smoothie. 
By lunch time I'm wanting some real food. Real food. Not blended up antioxidant goodness. I want a cheeseburger pronto people! (However.....I did notice that I haven't been craving any sweets at all, even though I come from a long line of chocolate - a - it seems that eating lots of fruits helps out with those sugar cravings.  Interesting.) 

Maybe this is TMI - but I figure you're reading cause you're interested in this process.  I've got the runs - not fun....and this endless headache is still hanging out.  I considered hiding out in bed all day (which is making me really happy that I tried this out over the weekend) but I feel like I gotta get out of the house and relax my mind.  So this is what I did....

Lucky for me it was the most beautiful, perfect weather outside even though its January in Utah.  I picked a new hiking spot and went exploring.  I did an hour up and an hour down and I noticed my lack of food intake immediately.  About 1 minute into the incline I was breathing heavy and sweating and so exhausted.  I passed by a family and tried to awkwardly hide my glistening face and say "hi (breath) yeah (breath) its beautiful (breath breath)." But I wasn't about to quit, just take more breaks.  I had a pocket full of almonds and cranberries and went for it.  The push to the top was totally worth it.  Good choice.

4:30 PM  - 1/2 banana, blueberries, cara cara orange, water smoothie

I'm still craving some "real" food tonight. Something warm.  Cheeseburger.!  I decided to cook up some vegetables rather than eating them raw and blended.  So my juice fast has turned into a fruits and vegetables and almonds and a little milk fast.  And I feel just fine about that.  

7 PM - sauteed in olive oil yellow squash, onions, zucchini, butternut squash, green beans, red bell pepper, carrot

I added lots of butternut squash because I love love love it and I need some food love in my life right now.   I'm going to bed with a headache still and feeling sick, tired, and a tummy ache.  Same as when I woke up this morning.  

But I'm still alive.

Juice Fast Day 1

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I started a 4 day vegetable and juice fast.  Yep I did!  I haven't ever wanted to do anything like this before in my life but maybe I jumped on the crazy train and I'm ready to ride.  Yeah I just realized that was super cheesy to say but give me a break....I've been eating vegetables and fruit for 24 hrs.  I'm a little loopy currently.  

I don't think that I'd recommend this to just anyone.  It just kinda fell into place for me.  By some miracle I've been able to change my orignal thoughts from "I'll start dieting tomorrow, having this one fast food meal won't make that much of a difference, I'll feel better if I can just eat a cheeseburger, I'll just run those calories off, I have to lose weight so that I'll look good, so that I'll be more attractive to guys I want, so that people will think I'm doing good, so that I don't feel guilty every time I put something less than healthy into my body" and started thinking "every choice I make affects how I think about myself, controlling my eating habits leads to strength, confidence, clarity, peace of mind".   For me, when I remembered that I am strong and I want to prove that to myself, rather than thinking about the extra pounds that I need to get rid of asap, I've been able to change a couple bad habits without so much will power.  

So before I planned on doing this 4 day craze - I've already been prepping.  I've been watching what I eat the past couple weeks and making choices to eat as healthy as possible with only a few slipups when I wanted to.  I've been making sure my calories are 1200-1400 per day.  Doing that, I've been feeling the pains of an empty stomach trying to adjust to that and I've become comfortable with that feeling knowing that it won't be forever and knowing that I'm strong enough to get through the cravings.   I read somewhere that someone said if you want to maintain weight you need to make good choices most of the time and if you want to lose weight good choices all of the time. That's been going through my mind.

source: here

Motivation came from watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead which is about 2 men who did 60 day juice fasts and changed their lives.  60 days! Seriously.  So my 4 days seems pretty wimpy but I feel good about it today.  (You can also watch it for free on Netflix and Hulu.)  I don't have a juicer so I've just been blending into smoothies instead.  Juicing would be better but I'm not gonna let that be an excuse to not do it. 

A look at my day of smoothie drinks:

9 AM - kale, 1/2 of a banana, orange, 1/4 cup non fat milk and water       <-------so yummy!

12 PM - carrot, tomato, 1/2 banana, 1/4 cup non fat milk and water

2:30 PM - Cuties for a snack

4 PM - apple, cara cara orange, strawberries, ground flax seed, 
            1/2 cup non fat milk and water  [so tart with a kick if you like that kinda thing!]

6:30 PM - broccoli, kale, celery, blueberries, 1/4 cup non fat milk and water   [ewww,        drink this fast!]

7:30 PM - handful of almonds and a cutie orange + daily vitamins

So I'm not a nutritionist and so I'm not gonna claim this is the meal plan for everyone, but it was just for me to try and see how I feel and aim to as many fruits and veggies as I could load in.  I figure that if I'm low on certain nutrients, I have enough extra pounds on my body to survive these 4 days.  

Initially in the day I was feeling great and proud of myself and then by about dinner time I was feeling hungry and starting to question.  I had a time where I thought I could just end this with one day and that's still awesome of me to do one day.  But back to changing my thoughts, I caught myself and realized that this isn't about what I'm eating, but proving to myself that I'm strong and can do things that I set out to do.  Gotta keep my promise of 4 days.  

Tips that helped me if you're thinking about jumping on the crazy train too:

1. Like i mentioned before I've been prepping for this already.   It may be hard to go cold turkey on this sort of thing if you're not used to it.  Try juicing for one meal a day for a week or whatever works for you.  Listen to your heart......that one song just popped into my head.  But anyways...moving on.  

2. Every time I felt hungry, I made a smoothie or a snack, whichever sounded better. I didn't set out with certain times of the day to eat or anything like that. I just tried to stay ahead of the hunger because I knew if I let myself get hungry enough I'd be sitting at the Chick Fil-A drive thru asking for an extra order of fries.  Mmm fries...

3. I had a 3 day weekend and wanted to do this at home.  I felt like I could control this better if I was focused on myself and not stressing about the work day and watching other people eat food.

4. Staying calm.  Again if I got hungry or freaked out I knew I'd be crashing so.  Towards the end of the day when doubt set in, I took a bath - read a good book - made a smoothie that I knew would be yummy.  Lots of power came in my resolve to be strong and overcoming a caving to cravings. 1 done. Did it.  I had a headache by the evening and started feeling dizzy.  I knew I might feel a little off since I've heard about others feeling sick as their body is detoxing so I kind of expected it.  But I realized I wasn't drinking as much water as I normally do since i was drinking my food.  Goal for tomorrow is definitely to up the water intake. And also to survive the day.   

Oh January

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Its that time of year, resolution time.  Have you made yours?  This is the month where the gym is crowded to the max, but just this month. Because next month most of the resolutions start to fizzle away.  In past years I've been a New Years grinch thinking that I would be better off to not set myself up for failure knowing that my goals would be given up by February.....or if I'm really enthusiastic about it until March.  Sad huh? Dumb huh? Yeah it is.  

So before I even think about my hopes for the year I'm gonna do a little 2011 celebration.  I was did some pretty awesome things.  Since last December I acquired this little thing known as a Bachelor's degree, visited a couple new countries, walked on the Great Wall of China, climbed the same steps as the monks to the top of the highest mountain I've ever dreamed to be on, improved the sales in my Etsy shop, ran 5 miles in an hour (that's FAST for me people), tried ice skating and didn't fall once (and loved it...who knew I love ice skating?), and I'm 20 lbs less than I was a year ago.  Success. Atta girl. 

So to sum up, I've kicked out the negative goal thoughts and moved on to better, more inspiring things. Even if a goal only lasts a month, I'll still be a step closer to where I wanna be.  Hopefully next time I wanna rekindle that goal I'll make it 2 months. Then 3.  Gotta keep trucking if you wanna be awesome and do awesome things.  

P.S.....I hate to say it, but I found that quote pictured above on Pinterest - I think - but I just don't remember where so I can't give credit where credit is due. If you know where it's from lemme know asap! 

SOUTH JENNI. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.