Meal Planning

Are you a planner or a go with the flow kind of person.  I am more of a go with the flow type of person except when it comes to cooking.  We try to plan out our meals each week so that we can keep our food budget low.  We don’t eat many if at all any processed foods so it takes time to plan everything out so that I am not in the kitchen all day.  M wouldn’t let me be in the kitchen anyways.  We have tried a few ways of planning but a great one I found to get started is called the No Plan Menu Plan.  It is pretty healthy, set up easily to follow, and includes over 20 weeks of meals.  They are bit too animal protein and dairy based for me but you can very easily make some changes to the recipes to make them work for you and your family.

The

This week I tried my own hand at planning in this same style and so far we are 2 for 2 in delicious meals.  Saturday we had crunchy orange cauliflower over rice and today we had red beans and rice.  Both were vegan and delicious and what I needed.  Last week I said I had to get back on the plan that is best for me and look at that one step in the right direction.  High five me!!!

Now this week it’s all about getting back into the work out phase.  I am not sure what program to go with right now.  I have so many that I love.  I could do Piyo again, 21 Day Fix, T25, Les Mills Combat… really the list goes on and on.  Maybe I should just go with the flow and go with what makes sense that day.  I dunno.  My intuition is saying Piyo and I have yet to finish that program from start to finish so maybe I should start that one over.  Hmmm, thoughts anyone?  Well here’s to staying on the path of being the best, healthiest me I can be!

Polenta

So polenta is a staple that I like to have on hand because it’s hardy, you can do a lot to it, and the cornmeal is very cheap to buy.  Last night I wanted to make something easy and hardy as it is only in the 20’s and snowy here in Minnesota.  I decided on polenta topped with jarred spaghetti sauce and sauteed veggies (we had mushrooms, onion, red pepper, garlic, zucchini, and edamame) and for the hubby chicken sausage.  I got the whole meal together in probably 15-20 min and everyone including my 9 mo old liked it.

Here’s a trick I found online (no I can’t take credit for this one, darnit!) to make polenta SUPER easy (even though it’s pretty easy no matter what).  It uses your rice cooker!  <– this is becoming the best appliance EVER.  Put 1 cup of your cornmeal in your rice cooker with 3 cups water or broth and turn on.  Once it turns to warm let it sit for another 5 min to help absorb any extra water.  This makes the fluffiest polenta I have ever had.  I am never making it on the stove again!

I love meals that are quick, use ingredients you have on hand, are inexpensive, and most importantly healthy!  I am on a mission to prove that healthy does not mean expensive or take a long time to do.  Here’s the proof of one meal that met all the criteria!  So, do you like polenta or grits?  Do you use your rice cooker for anything not that’s not rice?

New Territory

Well I am on a new journey in my healthy path.  I have decided along with my sister to try the Low FODmap diet.  I personally hate the word diet and let’s think for eating plan.  You might be asking yourself what in the heck is a FODmap.  Well let me explain:

The Low FODMAP Diet
(FODMAP=Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols)
FODMAPs are carbohydrates (sugars) that are found in foods. Not all carbohydrates are considered FODMAPs.
The FODMAPs in the diet are:
Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), etc)
Lactose (dairy)
Fructans (wheat, garlic, onion, inulin etc)
Galactans (legumes such as beans, lentils, soybeans, etc)
Polyols (sweeteners containing isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, etc)

FODMAPs are osmotic (means they pull water into the intestinal tract), may not be digested or absorbed well and could be fermented upon by bacteria in the intestinal
tract when eaten in excess symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and/or cramping may occur in those who could be sensitive to the effects of FODMAPs. A low FODMAP diet may help reduce symptoms, which will limit foods high in fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans and polyols.  The low FODMAP diet is often used in those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The diet could be possibly used in those with similar symptoms arising from other digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.

http://stanfordhealthcare.org/content/dam/SHC/for-patients-component/programs-services/clinical-nutrition-services/docs/pdf-lowfodmapdiet.pdf

I have always had a hard time digesting what I eat and I am no stranger to the delights of the bathroom (roll eyes).  I have had diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, really you name it I have experienced it at some point in my life.  This diet is meant to be done for about 8 weeks strictly.  This eliminates all high FODmap’s from the diet and allowing the gut to heal.  Then very slowly you start adding the higher FODmap’s in and see what really triggers symptoms and what doesn’t.  There was an article awhile back that said there was no such thing as gluten intollerance but that it was these FODmap’s that are causing the problem.  So we are going to see.  I am going to give it 8 weeks and we’ll see what I can really eat and what I can’t.

Today is day 1 and really it’s not too bad.  There are a lot of items on the list you can’t eat but the list that you can eat is long too.  It just takes some adjustment.  I mean come on look at this deliciousness I got to consume today!

Low FODmapWk1 Day 1Breakfast consisted of yummy vegan overnight oats topped with raw pepitas, strawberries, almond butter, and maple syrup.  Snacks were juicy clementines… so yummy!  Lunch was good ole Vegan Shakeology and dinner was chicken and veggie quinoa bowl.  Oh and let’s not forget dessert!  Vegan, gluten free, burnt sugar ice “cream” oh my was it wonderful!

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

If you have been reading this blog or know me at all you know I eat mostly vegan.  I would say about 90% of the time I am a plant-based eater.  My husband on the other hand is not.  I often make him meat-based dinners.  I came up with this one last night and even had some.  I have to say it was pretty darn delicious and easy to make too.  These would be great for potlucks or to toss in the freezer and heat up when needed.  Here’s what you will need:

BUFFALO TURKEY MEATBALLS
Makes approx 24 meatballs

1 lbs Ground Turkey
1/2 cup Flax Meal
1/3 cup Hot Sauce of your choice
1/4 chopped white onion
1/8 cup crumbled Blue Cheese (optional)
1 T garlic granuals
Pinch salt
1 t cracked pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place everything in a bowl and gently mix to combine.
I used a cookie scoop here but you could just use a spoon and roll in your hands and place on a greased shallow pan.  (I used unbleached parchment instead)
Bake for 20-25 min or until done

Enjoy!