How Do You Find the Time?

"How do you find the time?"

I get asked that question a lot and I really don't know the answer. I know that I just do the thing that I get enjoyment from and the things that need to be done.

A single parent, a working professional, someone who loves to read, knit, craft and create, someone who is working really hard to create a good life for herself and her kids. I know I'm not the only one out there, and I enjoy reading the blogs of others, so I thought, "well, why not?" So here we go!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Another Great Recipe, Stats and This Week's Menu

I don't think I posted my plan for last week, but I have it for this week, along with a successful recipe and some great stats!

First off, lets start with the really really good news.    I was at the doctor at the beginning of the week and the results of my bloodwork were amazing!  In October, my total cholesterol number was 148, but my HDL was only 20 and my LDL was 128.    Last week, my total cholesterol number was 145, but my HDL was 46 and my LDL was 99!!!!  The doctor was amazed and said that he's never seen such a change so quickly.   He took me off of one of my medications and looked up information on chromium supplements for me.   I'm now taking 200 mcg of chromium picolonate daily - half in the morning and half in the evening. 

Also, I'm down 21 pounds from January!   Yay me!   The scale had not moved in a while, but this week really started moving.   I'm feeling stronger physically and able to do more, but still not those darn burpees.   I shall conquer burpees soon!    Today we were jumping rope and there was a significant difference in what I was able to do as compared to the last time we jumped rope.    I've also started lifting weights and doing zone cardio workouts.    I am really pumped and excited about the progress I'm making and how I am feeling!

So as I'm planning meals, I'm finding that I'm gravitating to easy but nutritious meals.    I tried this salad last night and it was great. 

Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad from here.

This is a great summer salad - very fresh and light, but has good protein in it.

Yield: 1-2 servings.
  • One 15-oz can chickpeas (2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped finely
  • Juice from 1.5 limes
  • 3/4 cup fresh Cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt + ground pepper

1. In a food processor, add the spinach and pulse a few times until chopped very small. Add the processed spinach, drained chickpeas, and chopped onion into a large bowl.
2. In the food processor (no need to rinse the bowl!), add the lime juice, cilantro, mustard, sugar, garlic, cumin, and oil. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
3. Pour the dressing on top of the spinach chickpea mixture and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for about 10 minutes to let the flavors develop. Serve over a bed of grains, like brown rice. Serves 1-2.

I made this pretty much as is - didn't add or subtract any ingredients.   I used the juice of one lime and used straight yellow mustard as I didn't have any dijon and didn't want to run to the store!  My food processor is also broken so I used a little manual chopper thing that I have and it seemed to work fine.    We really enjoyed it!

I want to try it again with basil.   I think that would be really good too, and I know that there are some people who don't really like cilantro.

And finally, here's the menu plan for the week, including last night:

Panini Sandwiches – turkey breast, provolone and avocado
Cilantro lime chickpea salad
Grilled Chicken
Fumi Salad

Monday - Healthy Chicken Gyros from here.

Tuesday – district Choir concert - Leftovers

Wednesday – kickboxing – Panini sandwiches

Thursday – Workout at gym - Grilled Sausages – Chicken Basil sausage with pesto sauce on whole wheat noodles

Friday – leftovers – workout with personal trainer

Saturday – Mediterranean Chopped salad from here. Note that it's not the first salad listed, but the one at the bottom of the list. 

Here a great week!

Friday, April 6, 2012

It's a Winner!

Sometimes I find a recipe that is a real hit and will be repeated.     Today I found one of those very successes!    In my meal planning, I found this recipe.    It looked good, but I knew that with my kids I would have to add some sort of meat to it.    I have a bunch of chicken sausage in the freezer and knew it would go well in this recipe.

Now, here's the issue - one of my kids DOES NOT like zucchini.   Before eating, he asked me if he had to eat all of his squash.   I told him that I would like it if he did.  He ate it all up and said it was "really good."  

So, here's the recipe and here's what I did differently

Stuffed Zucchini
1 tbsp sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/2 tomato
1 tsp thyme
2 zucchinis
1 onion

*I did not use curry powder or thyme - instead I used fresh basil and oregano.   You could put whatever spices you want in it.   I used about 1 pound of chicken Italian Sausage
Preheat your oven to 400 (200C).
Give the zucchini a good scrub.
Slice them in half length-ways. You can trim the ends if you like.
Spoon out the guts (leave about 1/2 an inch in) until you end up with boat like shells.
Now give the zucchini pulp a good chop, also chop a small onion and 1/2 a tomato while you’re at it.

Take the sausage out of the casings and brown it in a frying pan.   When cooked all the way through, add the tomatoes, onion and chopped up zucchini guts.    Cook until all ingredients are cooked down a bit.    Add oregano, freshly chopped basil and sour cream (I used Greek yogurt.)

Put hollowed out squash in a casserole dish sprayed with non-stick spray.   Fill the zucchini boats with the meat and veggie filling and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.   Cook for 20 - 30 minutes until cooked through and browned on top.      Call the children and eat. (I apologize for the quality of the photo, but it's all I have as the food is all gone!)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Break

Ahhh - Spring break was last week.    Usually in Colorado, spring break means snow and cold weather.   This year however, it was a different story.    Monday was a terrible windy dusty and awful day - warm, but too nasty to be outside.   The rest of the week however, was heavenly.     We've been running around in summer clothes, I got a pedicure and was sporting my new Sketcher's sandals.   

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and so goes spring break and so goes this weather.    We are going from 75 degree weather today to snow tomorrow!   Yikes!    I'm not looking forward to that but we really do need the moisture.

I didn't do too much meal planning last week.    My parents were here for the kids play, "Our Town" which ran March 22, 23 and 24.    It was a great show and it was really fun to see both of my kids on stage!   

One thing I learned from not meal planning during the break is that I do need to plan meals when I'm not working.    It wasn't a difficult week, but I went to the store more often and spent more money than I have been spending on food.    So, once school is over, I'll still be focusing on planning meals.  

Tonight I tried a new recipe.    It sounded wonderful, smelled good, and looked delicious, but it definitely needed some work.    The recipe is called "No Butter Chicken"    It called for Garam Masala, which I couldn't find in the store, so I made some.   I think that perhaps it was stronger than it would have been if I had purchased it and that I used too much spice.     I doctored it up with some coconut milk, and we are having it for dinner tomorrow.    Problem solved!   I did take some great pictures though, and the chicken was quite good, the sauce was just too spicy. 

 Onions, ginger, garam masala, tumeric
 Added chicken breast
Greek Yogurt
 No Butter Chicken - cooking down
 Homemade Garam Masala

Here is the plan for the rest of the week:

Sunday: No  Butter Chicken from here
Monday:    Salvaged No Butter Chicken, Rice, Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower
Tuesday:  Crock Pot Chiptole Burritos from here.
Make Stuffed Zucchini and use leftover Rice – 6 p.m. swim class
Wednesday:    Leftovers   (kickboxing class)  6:30 p.m.
Thursday:  Stuffed Zucchini and peppers from here.(add Italian Sausage)   Boxing class 6:30pm
Friday: Leftovers

Have a great week!