Choices

It is such a gross day here is “sunny” Florida.  It is humid, completely overcast and dark, and rainy.  A perfect stay-in-your-pajamas-and-sip-coffee-all-day, day.  But instead, I’m taking a quick break between grocery shopping and the gym to snack on a bowl of watermelon and write about how the past few days have been.

Rob was very specific with what he wanted to eat for breakfast (our first real meal) on Saturday morning.  We were looking at Angela Liddon’s blog, Oh She Glows, and fell in love with her Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal recipe. Check it out here:  http://ohsheglows.com/2014/03/19/heavenly-carrot-cake-baked-oatmeal/

Oh man, we were only on day 14 of our juice fast when we first saw this breakfast, and we spent the next 16 days drooling over the pictures she used on her blog.  I LOVED baked oatmeal, first trying it  in Pennsylvania.  But unlike traditional recipes which call for a ton of sugar and butter, this recipe was fortified with shredded carrots, raisins and walnuts, seasoned with freshly grated ginger and only 1/3 cup of maple syrup for the whole recipe!

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I assembled the oatmeal the night before, so that way we could just pop it into the oven on Saturday morning and have a hot breakfast with little fuss.  After 35 minutes in the oven, it was ready!

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And no, that is not Cool Whip or anything containing dairy on top.  But that is the most delicious concoction I’ve tasted…coconut whipped cream.  Place a can of coconut milk (must be full fat) in the fridge overnight.  When ready to make, turn it over and open the can upside down.  Pour off the coconut liquid, and what remains at the bottom is thick coconut cream.  Place in a bowl and whip with some vanilla extract and sweetener of choice (I used a little stevia) and now you have completely dairy free whipped cream that taste better than anything you could ever get out of a can.  Where has this been all my life?

So, breakfast was a huge success.  Rob and I took our time savoring every little bite, scraping out every bit from our bowls.  Our portions were pretty small, only about 2/3 cup, but it filled our stomachs and gave us good, solid energy for the rest of the morning.

Lunch was a bit of a splurge, another food item I had been dreaming about during the fast.  Vegetable summer rolls!

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We went to our favorite Thai/Vietnamese restaurant and split an order of summer rolls (which Logan ate like they were going out of style) as well as a small lunch portion of tofu pad thai.  Compared to the portion sizes we used to eat, it was tiny, but now it was perfect, and SO yummy!

A big thing I am learning after the fast is that there are SO many choices everyday concerning food.  Not only what to eat, but when to eat it and how much.  We went to a potluck picnic on Sunday afternoon which was filled with food that I normally would have been SO excited to eat.  Whole sheet cakes, deviled eggs, fried chicken, cookies, baked macaroni and cheese, etc.  I knew it would be a temptation for us, so I brought a big veggie tray with some homemade hummus, knowing that that might be the only thing Rob and I would be able to eat.  Surprisingly, there was a beautiful quinoa salad and some other healthy options for us, but the crazies wanted to eat some of the other food, so it definitely was a temptation, but we succeeded!  First major test passed!

We are working through ways to make our choices easier, especially at home, by doing a lot of cooking and prepping of some healthy staples to keep on hand:

Tri-colored quinoa
Tri-colored quinoa
Black beans
Black beans

We also keep chickpeas and brown rice cooked in the fridge, as well as washed and cut lettuces for salad.  All these things make it easier to grab something tasty and healthy in a hurry, or make for great sides for the crazies to eat.

One last thing we are keeping stocked up in the fridge is a big pot of a soup of the week.  Our first batch is another recipe from the “Oh She Glows” cookbook,

African Peanut Stew (6 servings)

1 medium onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalepeno, seeded and minced

1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 in pieces

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatos, and juice

salt and pepper

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

4 cups vegetable broth

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

1 1/2 cups (15 oz can) chickpeas

2 handfuls baby spinach

Heat some oil in large saucepan, add onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes

Add bell pepper, sweet potato, jalepeno and tomatoes with their juices.  Raise heat to medium-high and simmer for 5 more minutes.  Season veggies with salt and pepper.

In medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter and 1 cup of broth until no clumps remail.  Stir the mixture into the vegetables, as well as the remaining 3 cups of broth and chili powder.

Cover the pan with a lid and reduce heat to simmer for 10-20 minutes, until the sweet potato is fork tender.

Stir in chickpeas and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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This is such a great soup, full of great flavor combinations like sweet potato and peanut butter.  Even the boys liked this soup, drinking the creamy broth like it was juice!  🙂

Seriously, do yourself a favor and pick up a can of coconut milk next time you are at the grocery store, so at least you can try the whipped cream!  Till next time…

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