Sunday, July 22, 2012

Meal Planning 7.23

This week's menu:

For Dinner This Week
Monday: Homemade Tacos with homemade seasoning. And just for me - lettuce wraps and avocado with tomato.

Tuesday: Hamburgers and homemade seasoning. Lettuce wraps and agave ketchup for me!

: Honey Lime Chicken Skewers.

Thursday: Cupcake Pizzas with a GF pizza dough recipe  and a GF flour mix.

Friday: Sticky 5 Spice Chicken.

Saturday: Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken with brown rice (for me) and Jasmine rice (for him).

Sunday: Bacon wrapped chicken with salad and sliced avocado.
UPDATE: We made this on Wednesday. I wrapped the chicken pieces in bacon, drizzled agave syrup over them and sprinkled them with cinnamon. In the oven at 375 until done. 

For Lunch This Week
Layered enchilada chicken with homemade enchilada sauce. Prepared black beans, cooked chicken, cilantro, enchilada sauce, Brown Rice Tortilla, repeat. Bake 375 for 30-40 minutes. Dish into small mason jars and stick in the fridge. 

Layered Enchilada Casserole

BLT chicken salad. A really nice change from the hot lunches I've been eating lately. No worchestershire sauce for me, but delicious without it. Combined this with a little fresh lettuce and lunch was so, so good.

For Breakfast This Week
On the weekend: Scrambled eggs in my Magic Bullet!

During the week: Breakfast cookies I.

Breakfast Cookies

Snacks This Week
Hardboiled eggs (in the oven!)

Smoothies with rice protein powder.

Apples with homemade peanut butter.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Meal Planning 7.16

Saturday grocery shopping is a special kind of wonderful. It means I have time for a hair appointment and baking today!

On the menu for this week...

For Dinner This Week
Monday: Honey Roasted Chicken. Special request from my hubby! We'll be using a whole cut up chicken for this one. With sweet potatoes fries and a side salad for me.
UPDATE: This was delicious! Though I have to say I was partial to the sweet potato fries and dip which were s-o amazing.

Honey Roasted Chicken

Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Dip

Tuesday: Hamburgers and homemade seasoning. Lettuce wraps and agave ketchup for me!

Wednesday: Cilantro Thai Chicken with a salad for me.

Thursday: Spicy Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles.

Friday: Homemade Tacos (taco salad for me) with homemade seasoning.

Saturday: Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken with brown rice (for me) and Jasmine rice (for him).

Sunday: Pulled Pork! With a twist this time. Making it in the crockpot and preparing my  homemade fake barbecue sauce to go with it. Plus a side salad.

For Lunch This Week
Zucchini Lasagna for lunch!
UPDATE: This is good. My favorite lunch is going to be the spaghetti squash this week. This recipe took over an hour to prep and then extra baking time. Plus I didn't end up having as much sauce as I wanted so I'll double that next time. It calls for a 9x12 pan, but I think you could do this in a pan that's half the size and have a deeper lasagna dish which is what I had pictured before making it. It tastes really good though and will be great for lunch. In the future, I'll buy a bunch of zucchini, cut them into strips, salt them, broil them, and then freeze them so that pulling this together for a weekly lunch is much quicker!

Zucchini Lasagna

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin! Who needs potatoes??
UPDATE: I had to try this for lunch after I made it today (Sunday). It is so good! It's a little different than I had envisioned since I was remembering Au Gratin potatoes from a box mix (which I realize isn't real Au Gratin potatoes), but this recipe is so much better. Creamy and tender and all veggie!

For Breakfast This Week
On the weekend: Scrambled eggs in my Magic Bullet!

During the week: Breakfast cookies I.

During the week: Breakfast cookies II. With homemade peanut butter!

Snacks This Week
Sweet potato chips.

Hardboiled eggs (in the oven!)
UPDATE: Once I got the shells off the eggs I could see that they ended up with little circle burn marks on them, but they didn't taste burnt at all. They are super creamy and really good! Next time I'll cut 5 minutes off my cooking time.


Fresh berries.

Smoothies with rice protein powder.

Apples with homemade peanut butter.
UPDATE: It was fun to make my own peanut butter! It turned out to be really creamy. The taste of it didn't have the depth I was looking for so in the future I'll be looking for a different roast. I bought regular roasted, salted peanuts this time to see how they turned out. One bag gave me enough peanut butter to refill a normal peanut butter jar. It is great with apples and a lot easier to spread.

Homemade Peanut Butter

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lessons Learned

I can't eat bananas. Though they're a staple ingredient in many GF breakfast cookies and smoothies, bananas are no longer on my good food list.

I started having new symptoms and decided to try eliminating foods I had recently started eating more often... at the top of that list was bananas and next was oats. (I haven't tried eating oats again but I'm hoping they're still on the good food list.)

One day without bananas and my symptoms improved 50%. Three days without bananas and I'm doing 90% better. I was reading online last night and came across this article which explains that the amylose in the bananas was probably causing my symptoms.

I'm learning how to read my body better this week. I am starting to be able to tell if I haven't had enough water to drink because I'll get a headache if I'm dehydrated. I'll wake up in the morning and feel hung over or bloated and realize it's because of something I ate (like tortilla chips or bananas). I notice how much more energy I have and how much less stressed I feel when I eat snacks throughout the day instead of skipping them. All of these things add up to me feeling better each day. And that's a gift I'm happy to be receiving.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Meal Planning 7.9

We are ahead of the game this week! Grocery shopping and meal planning done! Here's our lineup:

For Dinner This Week
Monday: Homemade Tacos with homemade seasoning. And just for me - lettuce wraps and avocado with tomato.
UPDATE: Despite the tortilla chip hangover I experienced last week, I really couldn't resist adding them to my taco salad. In moderation I'm doing okay with them this week. And it was also worth it.

Tuesday: Cilantro Thai Chicken
UPDATE: We haven't made this yet but not because there's a problem with the recipe. There's a problem with the cooking and cleanup and a lack of desire to do these things. We need some more freezer food!

Wednesday: Cupcake Pizzas with a GF pizza dough recipe  and a GF flour mix.
UPDATE: We didn't make cupcake pizzas but we did make regular pizza over the weekend with a homemade GF flour mix. For some reason I thought it'd be a great idea to put almond flour in the mix. It wasn't. We also didn't have pizza sauce so I made a homemade version. I'm not sold on it. I also didn't like the mozzarella that I had picked up for the pizza. We'll try again with a different flour mix, store-bought pizza sauce and better cheese.

Thursday: Spicy Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles.
UPDATE: I LOVE it!!!! The shrimp could have been a little spicier and if I could figure out how to make the sauce more like a glaze I'd be happier with them. But they were good, don't get me wrong. Love the zucchini noodles! Also found more recipes to use zucchini in place of noodles in dishes like lasagna. Definitely going into my recipe stash.

Friday: Steak with homemade spice rub. And just for me - cauliflower mashed potatoes and a tomato/avocado/onion salad.

Saturday: Bacon wrapped chicken with salad and sliced avocado.
UPDATE: We made this on Wednesday. I wrapped the chicken pieces in bacon, drizzled agave syrup over them and sprinkled them with cinnamon. In the oven at 375 until done. 

Sunday: Sesame Turkey with brown rice and salad with avocado.
UPDATE: Decent but not my favorite. My hubby liked this one so we may make it again. If we do, I'll try the sauce that went with this recipe.

For Lunch This Week
Spaghetti with spaghetti squash noodles.
UPDATE: Great! I'm going to try baking the squash in the oven next time. I made the squash in the microwave and even after reheating, it was crunchier than I wanted. If the oven doesn't seal the deal, I'll try microwaving and then blanching for 2 minutes in boiling water.

Spaghetti Squash Noodles!

Chicken Salad with tomatoes and black beans.
UPDATE: I had the best of intentions here, but this is something I never got around to making. Adding it to the list for next week! I made a meatless enchilada casserole with homemade enchilada sauce, brown rice tortillas, onions, spices and black beans that has been my go-to lunch this week.

For Breakfast This Week
On the weekend: Silver dollar pancakes.
UPDATE: These were good, but I had to add a bunch of water to the recipe...mine was too thick. I'll try this again with a few tweaks. I buttered them up and ate them with a smattering of thawed blueberries. They were really sweet and didn't need maple syrup at all!

On the weekend: Homemade granola.
UPDATE: I didn't make this. But I will!

During the week: Anytime cookies.
UPDATE: I didn't make these either.

During the week: Breakfast cookies.
UPDATE:  I pulled these out of my freezer and at them all by Thursday. One of my favorites right now.

Snacks This Week
Sweet potato chips.
UPDATE: These are SO good! I burned the first batch, so be really vigilant at the oven. My second batch could handle 6 minutes on each side but some chips weren't as crisp as I wanted. I will be putting them in the oven on low temp to dry out a little more.

Apple with peanut butter.
UPDATE: I'm out of apples (on Thursday), but saw this tutorial on how to make your own peanut butter. Can't wait to try.


Fresh berries.

Dried strawberries.
UPDATE: I don't know why you're supposed to salt and pepper these. They were okay on their own, but in anything like yogurt or oatmeal it wasn't quite right. I saw another recipe for making your own fruit roll ups and they only added cinnamon. Which is definitely worth a try.

Dried Strawberries

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Stress Management

We all have to deal with stress every day. But when you're living with PCOS this can exacerbate your symptoms and make your life much more challenging. (read the PCOS Diva's take on stress here and here)

So how do you deal with this? How many of us can quit our stressful jobs right now for a less stressful one? How many of us can walk away from a stressful moment and not continue thinking about it? If you can, that is wonderful and I commend you!

I daydream of how much more I would enjoy every day if I didn't spend 8+ hours running from one urgent situation to another trying to find a resolution that will please everyone.

I actually dream of work-related problems or chasing after unknown objects or running away from things in my dreamworld. I wake up some mornings from these dreams and roll out of bed knowing that I need to keep working on dealing with the many ways that my life is full of stress.

Here's what's working for me now:

Work Stays At Work. By the time I get out of the car when I get home, any venting or complaining or thinking about work has to stop. I'll call someone and debrief on my way home. I'll talk things through to myself (yes I'm one of those people that loves bluetooth because now you can't figure out if I'm talking to myself alone in the car or talking to someone!) or spend time just reflecting on a situation. But that's where it ends.

Eat! I have demanding work days and in the past I would skip all meals because I didn't have time to stop for a regular lunch. Which was horrible for my body and my mind. I keep my lunch bag on my desk and pack snacks I can eat in 1-2 minutes throughout the day and a lunch meal that I can easily heat up and walk with or that doesn't need to be heated at all. Yes, I am the one walking down the street eating out of a mason jar because that's the time I have for lunch. But it's working and I'm eating and feeling so much better.

Regroup. I can't do everything and respond to every situation at the drop of a hat. Now when I need to clear my mind I'll take the long way to the copier or I'll exit the building at one door, walk around the building and enter through another door instead of walking down the hallway. When it's really bad and something's happened where I'm about to lose my cool, I'll take a brief break from work and go for a short walk. Lean on my husband to listen to me vent, take a deep breath and regroup. Regrouping, or re-examining a situation and starting to formulate a plan that will lead to a resolution is an empowering practice.

Acceptance. I cannot do everything. I can only do what I can do. I can only work my hardest to be sure what I do is my very best. I won't always make the right decision or have the perfect day. But I'll be doing my best and learning from the things that don't go right. I'll regroup and move on. This is especially helpful when I'm at home and catch myself thinking about work. In these moments I think to myself "yes, that's an important issue. I'm at home now so I'll put it to the side until I'm at work again." It's important not to beat yourself up when faced with a mistake or a slip-up. They happen. Regroup and move on being empowered in the knowledge that you can handle it and you will handle it one step at a time.

Find Support. Turn to your coworkers for help when you need it on the job. Communicate with your supervisor. Reach out to your friends and your family when you need to bend an ear. Be there for them in return. Reach out to your family and friends when you don't need an ear... your relationship will grow stronger. Look for others dealing with a similar problem. Find them online or in person and connect.

Take Care Of Yourself. This is the biggest lesson. It's not just about eating the right food, educating yourself on your diagnosis, making lifestyle changes. Taking care of yourself means doing something you love every day. Something that's just for you. It's loving yourself without needing validation or love from others. It's being your own biggest supporter. You are important and perfect and magnanimously wonderful. Own it!

How do you manage your stress?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Meal Planning 7.1

I'm a little late with this for the week. After last week's highly unsuccessful cooking and baking (read about my kitchen mishaps in the updates and feel triumphant in your own cooking prowess because your baking last week was probably better than mine! ha!) I made an executive decision. We will add one new recipe each week and only one. Which means only one possibly sucky meal each week instead of 3 or 5 or 7. Which has been a comforting thing so far because now that we know we like these recipes, we can make more than we'll eat and freeze the rest for later (though we had a short power outage this weekend and the idea of losing all my newly-empowering freezer food was a thought I had to quickly dismiss. We're living in the moment people!)

This week's line up...

For Dinner This Week
Monday: Spaghetti. Very simple tonight so I can't mess it up! Browned ground beef. Added to pre-made spaghetti sauce with no preservatives or sugar (Meijer "Naturals" is good for this and one of Kroger's "PS" brands is too). Over a bed of Tinkyada Rice Noodles which I had to buy at Whole Foods.
UPDATE: Everything was edible!! So happy!

TuesdayHoney Lime Chicken Skewers. This is a repeat from 6.18 meal planning. We loved it and are ready to make it again.
UPDATE: After a super trying day at work I realized on my drive home that a) we didn't defrost the chicken, b) we both left work late and weren't going to have time to cook AND go to the fireworks and c) it was pouring with flash flood warnings so we probably weren't going to the fire works. We decided to do a quick switch to Taco night since you can brown frozen ground beef faster than you can marinade frozen chicken. But we're all out of Chili Powder and my homemade spice mix didn't smell right without it. SO I went for spaghetti (yeah, yeah I know, but it was a comfort food tonight with leftovers to freeze) and he went for reheated homemade pizza since I finally did make it! Skewers are rescheduled for Thursday.

Wednesday: Pulled Pork leftovers with homemade fake barbecue sauce. I'm already hungry!

Thursday: Homemade Tacos with homemade seasoning. And just for me - lettuce wraps and avocado with tomato. No chips this time! (sad face)

Friday: New Recipe!!! Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken with brown rice (for me) and Jasmine rice (for him). Will I finally conquer the crockpot??

SaturdayGluten Free Pizza. We finally made this last Sunday but here's the kicker. Yes, I found the millet and arrowroot for substitutes, but did I find millet flour? No. No, I used whole millet which wasn't disgusting but it was crunchy. I found this website which I'm holding on to because it gives suggestions on how to make your own GF flour mixes. I'm also going to do a hybrid of the Gluten Free Pizza Recipe with our old favorite recipe. Topped with organic mozzarella and basil for me, organic cheese and regular pepperoni for him. Now I just need to find pepperoni without preservatives and I'll be super happy!

Sunday: Hamburgers and homemade seasoning. Lettuce wraps and agave ketchup for me!

For Lunch This Week
Modified Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup. I made something in the crockpot and it doesn't taste horrible! Woo! I modified the recipe by adding a diced whole pepper, omitting the corn, using frozen shredded chicken from tacos the other week and adding a serving of brown rice to make it heartier.
UPDATE: This turned out really well and has been a good lunch. Easy to heat up in my mason jars and eat at my desk, walking to my car (I'm a road warrior at work sometimes) or wherever I am. 

Snacks This Week
Granny Smith Apple with (safe) peanut butter.



Water flavored with frozen fruits (raspberry is my favorite).

Coconut Bliss
UPDATE: I now have eaten all three pints I wrote about purchasing on my last grocery trip. I think I need to buy one at a time because my self control here isn't so ... controlling. But it was soo good even if I did feel it a bit the next day.

Breakfast This Week
Banana Oatmeal Muffins. I made muffins and I can eat them! But now I ate them all and I still need breakfast for the next three days. I'll make these again but add nuts and possibly raisins.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Homemade Fake Barbecue Sauce

I was rather happy with this creation. We made pulled pork this weekend which turned out great thanks to an awesome recipe! (see this post for the link with recipe)  The first night I was just relieved that one of the recipes finally turned out. I ate it with agave ketchup and hot sauce and was just so damn happy that I didn't have another bunch of perfectly inedible food. It was not a good week for cooking as the updates (see this sad meal planning post) explain.


The second night of our pulled pork I was feeling adventurous. I thought of my friend, Cari, who is wonderful and has a lot of food allergies. I turned to her for support after my diagnosis (she totally understood why I never wanted to go back to Whole Foods after my first real shopping trip there. who else knows what I'm talking about here?). And to paraphrase her wise words, "you just have to experiment." I watch her cook and see her throw things together that turn out delicious and then I eat them with envy (okay maybe not envy, I'm a little dramatic tonight). Tonight I took a page out of her book!

My Homemade Fake Barbecue Sauce Experiment
1 part hot sauce
3 parts agave ketchup
1 part dijon mustard (check your bottle! Meijer's organic dijon has no sugar)
medium sprinkle of onion powder
medium sprinkle of garlic powder
Pour over your pulled pork, close your eyes and have a food orgy in your mouth because this sure tastes like real barbecue sauce and you never realized how much you love barbecue sauce until this moment. 

Truthfully, I don't really love barbecue sauce this much, but I did in this moment because it tasted like "normal" food. And I loved that after 3 failed recipes in 5 days I whipped up something that made our pork super delicious and made me feel super fabulous for having done it.

It's the little things, you know?

Happy BBQ season!!