Look, I know all the reasons why I should eat less meat, but it’s a hard transition to make. This past month, as part of my work wellness program, I was challenged to go meat free for an entire day each week. I didn’t think that’d be too much trouble, but boy, was I wrong. I don’t eat a whole lot of meat, but I do eat a little here and a little there. Pasta with chicken, soup with sausage, nachos with a little shredded beef, and bacon with Sunday breakfast.
I think the challenge would have been a little easier if I’d planned better. As it was, I was continually thrown off track by desires for certain dishes and the need to feed my family at the end of the day. I need to branch out and learn a few good meatless dinners that my family will enjoy and start making them a couple times a week. It’s a good thing to do for so many reasons and good August aspiration.
Today is the final day of my wellness challenge. I’ve tried to go meat-free several times this week and failed. But today is my last chance and I’m determined to make it work. Which means no bacon. Cantaloupe is not the best bacon substitute, but it’ll have to do for today. I made it through breakfast–I’ll make it the whole day.
I’m not fond of eating salads that are great piles of leaves, especially not kale. But when leafy greens are cut into a chiffonade (thin ribbons) and mixed with rice or reduced to a chopped salad I’m more than happy to consume them. Never fails. Why don’t I prep them this way more often?
This dish is one I made a little differently and posted here several years ago. That version of it was great too- there’s a lot of wiggle room with this recipe. You can use less rice, or use barley, or add chunks of peppers and cucumbers… Maybe zucchini too, although you won’t see me doing that to a perfectly good salad. (Zucchini is probably my least favorite food, except when it’s prepared a few, select ways.)
Kale and Brown Rice Greek Salad
3 cups kale (about) stems removed and cut into a chiffonade
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (Mine were yellow!)
Juice of one lemon
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 Tbs. Dried oregano
2 tsp. dried mint
Mix it all together and let it sit and marinate a bit. I dumped my rice hot from the pan onto my kale, which might have softened my kale up a bit and the olive brine and lemon juice might help too. I always find kale a bit overwhelming, but not when it’s cut super-thin.
I’ve always eaten this cold, but I bet it would be great warm too. Like I said, there’s a lot of wiggle room. Let me know if you wiggle this idea a bit!
The university has a wellness program for its employees and as part of that there are monthly challenges. One of the challenges is food/nutrition-based while the other focuses on physical activity. This month the food/nutrition challenge is to drink 48 ounces of water a day.
Now, I’ve long had a soda drinking problem. I think it began with the soda machine in the hallway of my high school and continued with free fountain drinks at the gas station and at the hotel I worked at in my late teens and early 20s. I rarely drank coffee–I grabbed a soda instead. A terrible, terrible habit, I know.
I’ve tried to quit or cut back several times over the years and it’s always been difficult. I crave the fizz. I think I need the caffeine. I just like it and want it.
But this month has been different. I’ve had very little soda and I haven’t craved it at all. This month drinking water is a fun challenge instead of a chore. Instead of trying to restrict a bad habit, I’ve added a good habit that leaves little room for the bad habit. I drink my coffee in the morning and then I start drinking my water. By the time I’m finished with my 48 ounces, I either want more water or I’m not thirsty. This is a pretty big deal for someone who just a few weeks ago drank at least a can of soda every single day.
So, here’s to adding habits rather than breaking habits. The method seems effective. Cheers!
I haven’t used this blog for quite some time, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. Specifically, I’ve been thinking of this blog as a way of holding myself more accountable for making creative, consistent, and mindful choices when it comes to what I put in my and my family’s mouths. Sharing my thoughts about food in a blog post means I have to look at what I’m consuming objectively. In a way, it forces a different perspective on me and makes me think more deeply about food.
I don’t want to write about, for instance, an entire bag of chips I ate while studying, or even think about it. And that’s part of the problem right there: I’ve been making food choices that I don’t even like without even thinking about how I don’t like them. That’s got to stop.
So, I’ve joined a CSA and I’ve resurrected my quiet food blog in an effort to more thoughtfully and carefully consume. I’ll have to do some work if I’m going to be posting here regularly (That’s the plan!) and not posting about the takeout pizza we had for dinner.
Although, Cosmic Pizza is really, really good… I think I actually would like to write about that!
I’ve resurrected an old resolution that I really enjoyed once upon a time. I’m going to make a new recipe from a magazine or cookbook each month. We can so easily fall into the habit of cooking the same things over and over–especially when there are picky kids involved. I enjoy a little minor culinary adventure and this is a way to ensure that I push my boundaries just a little bit. Plus, it’s a way to ensure that my kids try new things too!
Another mini-resolution (unofficial) that I’ve made this year is to drink more. Yes, you read that right–I want to consume more alcohol this year. I know this kind of flies in the face of most people’s New Year’s resolutions, but I only imbibe once every four to six months. It’s pretty safe to say that I could up that to at least monthly and still be totally fine. I honestly think that it’ll make me a better and more relaxed person. Plus, I keep reading articles about how beer can help your creativity and that people who drink a little actually live longer than those who don’t. So, there you go–I’m going to try to regularly knock back a few. Well, at least one anyway.
My children go through phases with food. Sometimes they just die for string cheese and earlier this summer they were both crazy about frozen grapes. Right now, however, the last of the string cheese is untouched, in the back of the fridge, and all my offers to dig it out are rebuffed.
The frozen grapes are still loved by the older son, but the younger one would rather have pretzels. Children are fickle beasts.
Bananas, as a general rule, are hard to keep around this house and banana peels that are not where they are supposed to be–IN THE GARBAGE, BOYS, IN THE GARBAGE–are an all to frequent find. But it seems we’ve had a lull in banana consumption and we have several that are getting more and more brown. The kids won’t eat them when they’re brown, of course.
I’d bake banana bread, but we’ve been having beastly hot days lately. Instead, I’m going to freeze them and the first good and cool day we have, I’m going to avoid lighting the pilot on the heater by baking some banana bread. With chocolate chips.
Looks a little gruesome, huh? These are fresh beets from grandma’s garden. She brought them up last week with a wonderful selection of other garden veggies and our new kitchen equipment.
Peel them, chop them, toss them with a little olive oil and salt. Roast until tender.
Couldn’t be easier. Mmmm…