You Can’t Take Miami Out Of The Girl

When I was a little girl, I went on an RV trip with my parents to the western US. It remains one of the best memories I have, and so, not surprisingly, I told my husband years ago that someday I would love to travel with our children and see the country.

At the time, we were living in Israel and had no plans to return to the US, so I thought it was one of those things that just wouldn’t happen. Little did I know that we would not only come back to this country, but also begin a life of traveling and teaching, living “on the road”….well, let’s just say that our God is an awesome one, and that He does in fact give us the desires of our hearts!

We have been back in the Miami area for about 6 months now and are heading out very soon for our second ministry road trip. (You can watch a video about our first one here). I’m trying to soak up as much of that Miami flavor as I can during these last few weeks, including trips to the beach (did you know how refreshing and energizing it can be to go first thing in the morning?) and lots of Latin American and Cuban food. One new addition is Picadillo.

MYBigFatCubanFamily-ClassicCubanPicadilloRecipe-2

Here’s my version. Adapted from the one on My Big Fat Cuban Family

Papi’s Favorite Picadillo Recipe

  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil (for sautéing)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 4 Tbsp. olives, chopped. Original recipe called for green; I used Kalamata
  • 1 small box of dark raisins
  • ½ tsp. Cumin
  • ½ tsp. Oregano

1) Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion, green pepper and garlic until the onion is transluscent.

2) Add the ground beef and brown over medium heat.

3) Add the rest of the ingredients and continue cooking until meat is tender and completely cooked through. About 25 minutes.

4) Serve with rice. And tostones. Or maduros. Or a fried egg for breakfast. Good with anything.

5) Makes 6 servings.

 

How do 8 people live full time on the road? Well, you can be sure there will be more posts about that coming up. I’m really excited about our upcoming travel,  but for now, I’m content to enjoy my Miami.

 

Gluttony: The Morning After

It’s early in the morning on a day that I expect my children to sleep late. The house is quiet. I could be sleeping, but I’m not. And it’s not by choice.

Why, you may ask, am I squandering such a golden opportunity?

It’s because I have a tummy ache.

After weeks of eating a mostly raw, healthful diet with good food combining along with our detox, we were excited to have some of our old favorite not-so-good-for-us foods again. Not that we’d eat them all the time (we never did before, anyway), but I’m sure you understand.

So, last night we had a celebratory meal. I advertised on our Facebook page what we were having for dinner: a Thanksgiving style meal: turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potato, green beans, apricot/cranberry/pomegranate sauce, challah (freshly made with real flour), fresh grape juice. And apple crisp that we didn’t even eat since we were so full and it was too late.

It was really tasty. It was also a great example of gluttony, defined by Merriam-Webster as excess in eating and drinking; greedy or excessive indulgence.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all trying to tell you that you should never have such a celebratory meal. However, doing it frequently or finding a reason almost daily to have a “treat” is actually worse for you than having it once in a while. Your body can much more easily recover from a lot of bad stuff at once than a little each day. I discussed this in my post on Celebration Days vs. Regular Days.

Our dinner last night was not only made of completely cooked foods (with the exception of the grape juice, which was completely wasted nutritionally on top of all that other stuff in our stomachs), but it was combined poorly.  We had too much meat and bread and potato…a tiny bit of green beans. Not good. Putting those things in at the same time was just asking for trouble. (Wanna know why? Read The Combo Platter: Eating Harmoniously-Proper Food Combining)

And so while I’m a little frustrated that I lost some sleep this morning, I’m glad my body functions well enough to react in a way that reminds me that this should not be a way of life. Not my life, anyway.

Are you a meat and potatoes person? I used to be. You can change this habit, one meal at a time. Start with dinners; how ever many per week you eat meat, lessen it by one. And how ever many of those left include potato/pasta/rice/any carbohydrate, lessen it by one. Try the meat with only vegetables. And lessen the amount of meat, making it more like the side dish than the main dish.

I love to hear of your changes and struggles with meal planning and health….Let me know how it goes!

Detox Meal Plan: Week One

As you know, we’re planning to begin a 21 day detox program this Sunday, August 15. And here’s how you can join us.

I have gone back and forth between planning cooked dinners and sticking to raw.  I know that we will have more healing and repair take place in our bodies the less we tax it. There is a spectrum for how to eat and how it affects health (especially when healing). It goes as follows (best to worst)

  1. Fasting (with water, of course. And only for specified time.)
  2. Juicing
  3. Raw/live
  4. Mostly raw, some cooked, all whole (not processed), no animal products
  5. Mostly raw, some cooked, all whole, some (clean) animal products
  6. Mixed cooked & raw, mostly whole, some animal products.
  7. Mostly or all cooked, Processed (comes in a bag or box, with chemicals), lots of non organic meat & dairy.

I admit (sadly) that our family normally would fall under number 6. We almost always have (live) fruit & nut smoothies for breakfast, cooked dinners (usually whole & vegan, but not always), and lunches vary the most. That’s where we’ll make the biggest change during the 21 days: green juice, and other raw stuff.

As far as dinner, I made a meal plan for the week which includes live and cooked foods for dinner; anyone who is exhibiting symptoms will have more of or completely the live. And, for example, if I am serving soup and salad, it will be a BIG salad, and a cup of soup. Not the other way around.  I focused on good food combining for each meal.

Sunday: Salad and Middle Eastern Chickpea Soup (minus the parmesan cheese)

Monday: Salad and Fresh Bread (from freshly ground whole wheat flour) (here’s why fresh ground is impt.)

Tuesday: Salad and Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Wednesday: Quinoa Salad with Lime and Fresh Mint from GlutenFreeGoddess

Thursday: Leftovers? Don’t know. Maybe veggie sticks with raw nut butter.

Friday: Salad and fish, steamed veg, homemade Challah (fresh ground flour), and raw almond halvah balls.

Saturday: Raw Granola with Almond Milk. Dinner: see Thursday.

Sunday: Salad and Lentil and Potato Stew with Spiced Oil

So this is our tentative meal plan to go along with the detoxifying supplements that we will be taking. As I search for more raw things to make, I’ll add them in. I’m looking forward to using my dehydrator for making snacks, and I’ll post any new recipes I try. If you have any raw or good whole recipes to share, please do!

Quinoa: A True Superfood

Have you ever eaten quinoa? It’s a small grain-like food, similar in size to couscous or millet. I first tried it a few years ago and was intrigued. I found out how highly nutritious it is, but when I tried to make it at home, I just couldn’t get past the bitter/strong taste of it, so I gave up.

I’ve recently been interested in trying again. So I learned a little bit more about it, and now I’m determined. Here’s why.

Quinoa is not actually a grain (from the grass family), but a seed.  It contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein all on its own. (Unlike rice, for example, which must be combined with beans to make a complete protein). And, it’s gluten-free, which is helpful for those who have a gluten intolerance or for infants (above the age of one year) who are first being introduced to grains.

I’m all for nutrient-dense food. I’m learning that by serving such stuff, I can both save money (not wasting it on things that may fill the belly but not provide much nutrition), and increase health in my family.  So, I decided to give quinoa another try.

I found out that the bitterness I objected to was due to saponins, and that the way to get rid of it is to soak the quinoa first and then rinse it. I also used chicken broth instead of plain water for cooking it, and it was pretty good.

I made this recipe for Sweet Potato Quinoa the other day. It turned out ok; I didn’t add the cayenne pepper though.

I’ll be trying more recipes for this superfood in the weeks to come, and of course, I’ll post any recipes I really like. If you have any good quinoa recipes to share, let me know!

Menu Plan For The Rest Of JULY!

As I’ve mentioned, I struggle with menu planning. Even though I KNOW it works, it helps, it’s good to do, I just don’t like to do it, which is why it’s so helpful for me to post it because I know I’ll get it done then. As you may (or may not) have noticed, I haven’t been posting them the last few weeks. And, that means, I haven’t been making them. Which means, I sometimes have no idea what I’m going to make for dinner, even half an hour before said dinner -time. I have a goal of making menus one month at a time, and doing some amount of prepping ahead and freezing what I can. Right now, the most I’ve done is make a double batch of some things and freezing the extra, and making some mixes. These are helpful, but not what I have in mind for my freezer cooking goals. Today is Tuesday. I didn’t have my menu planned for the rest of the week yet yesterday (on Monday, my menu planning/posting day). But today I am going grocery shopping, so it had to be done. And then, I did the unthinkable…..I planned the menus for the rest of the month! Using this monthly menu planner from $5 dinners, I filled in the rest. I know it’s only 2 1/2 weeks, but for me it’s a lot. Unfortunately there’s not many things I can prep ahead, but I may be able to figure some out.

So, here’s what’s planned for the next 3 weeks:

M- Baked Potatoes, grilled onion&mushroom toppings, steamed green beans

T- Eggs & toast, OJ

W-Burgers (Father’s Day–we never had it)

Th- Rainbow Salad & (hopefully) Homemade Bread

F- Chicken Pot Pie, Broccoli, Challah, Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies&Almond Milk

S- Granola, Raw Granola, Almond Milk, Pasta Tuna Salad

S-Vegetable Stuffed Eggplant

M- Spinach & Chickpeas with pita

T- Homemade Pizza, Greek Salad

W- Pancake Supper

Th- Homemade Hummus, Couscous Tabouli, pita

F- Crock pot Sweet n Sour Cabbage&Beef soup

S- Couscous Salad

S- Taco Casserole

M- Eggs & Toast, OJ

T- L/O Cabbage Soup

W- Spaghetti, Salad

Th- Cabbage & Potatoes (pan fried)

F- Baked Fish, Macaroni & Cheese, Candied Carrots, Spinach

S-Leftovers????

What’s for Dinner? Day 27 of Babystep Challenge To A Peaceful Home

What’s For Dinner?

Do those words fill you with dread? What about when it’s 5 o’clock and you still have no idea what the answer is as you’re standing in front of the refrigerator just hoping something will assemble itself and jump out at you? Now do you feel stressed out?

At this point, many of us would feel tempted to pick up a phone and order in. Or tell the kids to hop in the car for a “treat”. These choices will cost LOTS more money and give you much less nutrition, and much more chemicals and fat. Which you know you don’t want to do.

3 Reasons to Make a Menu Plan

1. Save Your Brain

I don’t know about you, but my brain is……hibernating. It started with my first pregnancy. You know: Pregnancy Brain. And then it was New Mommy Brain. And then it was Living With Little Children Brain, then more Pregnancy Brain, and so on. So while I used to consider myself an intelligent, thinking person, that person has been sliiiiippppiiing away, and I want to conserve whatever intelligence I have left so that I might be able to write coherent blog posts. In other words, the fewer decisions I must make on a daily basis, the better! It’s much easier to decide in one sitting what we will be having for dinner each night than to have to do it every day. And in doing so, I can plan to actually have the ingredients when I go to make the meal. Who would’ve thunk it?

2. Save Your Money

    We’d all like to save money and use it for more important things. When you eat out, you spend MUCH more money than you do when you eat home. When you buy last minute items at the corner convenience store, you also spend much more money than you would for those same items at the supermarket, if you’d known you would want them. And when you buy random things at the grocery store, things spoil because you don’t have a plan to use them. What a waste!

    3. Eat More Healthfully

      When you make your own food at home, you are (hopefully) not going to fill it with MSG and other poisonous preservatives. You can be sure that convenience foods are toxic to your bodies, and with a little bit of planning, you can avoid these and know you are helping your family to be healthier. And it’s really easy!

      So Here’s What You Need To Do.

      1. Pick an amount of time you’d like to plan. I usually do 1 or 2 weeks at a time, but if you’re new to this and it seems too much, try 3 days.
      2. Write down a dinner meal for each of the days you are planning for. Dinner is the most important meal to plan, so focus on that meal first. Remember to include side dishes.
      3. On your shopping list, write down each of the ingredients you’ll need to make your meal. $5dinner.com has some nice printable planning sheets for menus and grocery lists.
      4. Go shopping and save money because you’re not buying things you don’t need or won’t use.

      It really is that simple.

      And if you really don’t want to do all of this, you can go to SavingDinner.com and buy their menus, complete with grocery lists. They’re very inexpensive and will still save you lots of time and money.

      What’s For Dinner is the theme of Day 27 of the Flylady’s babysteps. I’m so glad I’ve made this a habit because it’s really helped me. I even aspire to plan a whole month at a time and get into more freezer cooking….but I’m not there yet. One step at a time!

      I usually post my weekly menu on Mondays. Doing this has helped me be accountable for getting it done. I love linking up to others’ menus; if you post one, let me know!

      Do you menu plan? Why or why not? How long? I want to know what works for you.

      Menu Plan Monday-June 21


      Sunday-Eggplant Torte

      Monday- Creamy Celery Soup and Tomato Basil Salad with Goat Cheese

      Tuesday-Scrambled Eggs with Veggies and Hash Browned Potatoes

      Wednesday- Baked Potatoes with grilled Mushrooms and Onions, steamed vegetable.

      Thursday – Lentils of some kind

      Friday-Baked Chicken, Steamed Broccoli, Apple Sauce, Black Bean Brownies

      Saturday- Raw “Granola” with Almond Milk & fresh fruit, Leftover Celery Soup

      Sunday- Burgers. (We moved Father’s Day to this week.)

      Menu Plan Monday-June 13

      Last night we had a Mexican Taco Casserole, and while I was making it I made a second one to give to a friend who is expecting a baby shortly so that they could have some extra meals frozen to eat when they wanted. That’s one of those things I love about casseroles.
      And here’s our simple menu plan for the week.

      Monday- Pancake supper with fresh fruit. Make mixes.

      Tuesday-Cabbage & Potatoes

      Wednesday-Creamy Carrot Soup and Salad. Extra soup to freeze.

      Thursday- Cuban Black Beans and Rice. Salad.

      Friday- Don’t know yet.

      Saturday- Leftover Carrot Soup

      Sunday-Father’s Day. Black Bean or Regular Burgers.

      Menu Plan Monday-June 8

      Another Monday. With all that’s going on around here (potty training, new bikes, forest fires causing us to evacuate–you know, the normal stuff), I didn’ t even remember that it’s Monday, and Monday means “post your menu plan”. And all I can say is that I am SO glad that I actually already had it planned out. In fact, if I’d been more on top of things, I could’ve already had it scheduled to post. Maybe next time.

      Ha ha. I have to laugh. I just looked at my calendar and realized that I actually MISSED Monday, and today is Tuesday! Well, better late than never!

      So, on with it.

      Monday: Eggs scrambled with veggies. Toast.

      Tuesday: Chinese Fried Rice. Pictured above.

      Wednesday: Sweet n Sour Cabbage Soup. Dark rye bread.

      Thursday: Mediterranean White Beans and Rice

      Friday: Crockpot Sausage, Peppers, & Onions over pasta

      Saturday: Leftover Cabbage Soup

      Sunday: Mexican Taco Casserole

      Have you made your menu plan yet for this week? It’s already Tuesday. What are you waiting for!

      Menu Plan Monday-May 30

      Here’s what’s on our menu this week:

      Monday-Spaghetti w/ Simply Delicious Spaghetti Sauce, salad, garlic bread (I learned this great easy make-ahead garlic bread trick)

      Tuesday-Middle Eastern Rice and Lentils

      Wednesday- Potato Leek Soup and salad

      Thursday- Pita Pizzas, veggie sticks with guacamole for dipping

      Friday- broiled sole, steamed green beans, whole wheat couscous, Apple crisp

      Saturday- leftover Potato Leek soup

      Sunday- frozen pre-made veggie & tuna noodle casserole