Category Archives: Food

Salmon with Mango-Avocado Salsa – Anti Inflammatory (Allergen Free)

This Anti-Inflammatory Diet I’ve been on (as part of a treatment plan my doctor put together for me) has forced me to think outside the box when it comes to meals….which, if I’m honest, is probably a good thing!

What is the anti-inflammatory diet?  It’s basically a diet designed to cut any foods that are known to cause inflammation out.  My diet has been personalized based on my test results and right now I am NOT allowed to eat any of the following foods, or any foods with these ingredients in them:

  • Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, margarine, shortening)

  • Eggs

  • Gluten (wheat, oats, rye, barley)

  • Tomatoes

  • Dehydrated Fruit

  • Rice, corn, potatoes (white, red, yellow) – this is to help me with my blood sugar level, as I was found to have pre-diabetes.

  • alcohol

  • Coffee, black tea, and soda

  • Fruit juices

  • Iodized (table) salt

  • Sugar and natural and artificial sweeteners – no sweeteners of ANY kind are allowed

  • Soy products

  • Peanuts

  • Beef, pork, shellfish, cold cuts, bacon, hot dogs, canned meat, sausage

So…today I ate a saSalmon and Salad with Mango-Avocado "Salsa" - AIPlad (like every other day, ha ha), but decided I wanted to try something new with the salmon.

 

 

SO very easy, fast, and I loved it!  Gluten, dairy, soy, peanut, egg, sugar free!

Salmon with Mango-Avocado Salsa

 4-oz salmon fillet, de-boned
1 tsp coconut oil
pinch of oregano
1/4 avocado
1/4 mango
pinch of sea salt

In a skillet over medium heat, heat up the coconut oil and add the salmon.  Sprinkle with the oregano, and cover with a tight-fitting lid.  Cook until flaky, about 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, dice up the avocado and mango.  Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.  Plate the salmon and put the mango-avocado “salsa” over the top.  Serve with a salad on the side.

IMG_20140728_135345

 

Menu? Monday and Weekly Goals

Folks, I have a confession.

I didn’t follow the meal plan last week.  At all.  The kids either weren’t in the mood for the food I had planned or I didn’t feel up to making it, and so the whole thing flew out the window.

We did NOT go out to eat instead, so I’m grateful for that.  We just ate what was easy and available, making choices at the last minute.  We also had a lot of fun doing back to school shopping – who needs food when you can shop?! ;)

PicMonkey CollageThis week will probably be much the same.  I’m having a hard enough time coming up with meal ideas for myself, following an anti-inflammatory diet, and to come up with more meals on top of that is something I admit I’m struggling with.

Ah, well.  We all have those weeks, right?  (that’s what I’m telling myself to avoid too much guilt. :) )Here’s a very loose meal plan for the week (for the kids) anyway. My personal meal plan will look different:

Breakfasts:

Toast
Scrambled Eggs
Fresh Fruit (all we’ve got right now are apples and one mango, so we’ll need to shop soon)Waffles (made from our freezer session)

Lunches:

Leftover crockpot chicken
Fresh and canned fruit
Fresh veggies (we have carrots, lettuce, avocado and cucumbers on hand)
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Cheese quesadillas

Dinners (to be served with fresh fruit and veggies on the side):

Breakfast for dinner
Leftovers
Crockpot baked potatoes
Homemade Pizza
Mac and Cheese

As for me, I will be adding in a few new foods this week.  I’m so excited, and so scared!  The foods I get to add back in are brown rice, eggs, and lean beef.  I will introduce one at a time for two days, and if all goes well I’ll add another.  If it doesn’t go well, I’ll cut back down to the original diet until I reach my baseline and try a different food again.  These foods I’ll be eating for breakfast only, so my lunches and dinners will still mostly be salads and beans/chicken.

I did accomplish my two goals for last week, so I did get SOMETHING done.  This week I’m hoping to be more productive:

weeklygoals

  • Repaint trim on the front of the house

  • Calk the baseboards in the bathroom to finally have the job complete!

  • Finish up budget plan for August

  • Reorganize bathroom drawers

 

*Hope you all have a great week!

 

 

3 Superfoods (They are Seeds!)

Searching for some healthy ways to get better nutrition into your diet?  Try some of these super seeds.  They can be easily integrated into your eating plans or diet with out too much fuss.  I’m sure EVERYONE can use an additional nutritional boost! 

Organic White Chia Seeds

Organic White Chia Seeds

Called a superfood by some, Chia seeds contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids as well as high levels of fiber and minerals such iron, calcium, magnesium etc.

Enjoy them on your oatmeal or cereal, stir it into your veggie shakes or add to yogurt for a nutritious boost.  You can also try adding to baking goods (like in this delicious looking gluten-free Quinoa Chia Bread)

 

Organic White Chia Seeds — 12 oz – $9.33 (55% off), Free shipping – Available at PureFormulas

(8 reviews)


Eden Foods Dry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Eden Foods Dry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Popular and known as Pepita in Mexico, they are rich in protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium and some fatty acids.  They also contain L-tryptophan can also help with anxiety attacks, depression and mood disorders.  Amazing, right?

Enjoy them toasted by the handful or add them to your salads for a tasty crunch (crunch, after all, makes every salad better)!

 

Eden Foods Dry Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Original, 4 oz – $3.25, See Site shipping – Available at Tropical Traditions


Organic Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seed

Organic Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seed

This is a product that I’m new to.  A truly versatile plant, Hemp is used in a variety of products, from clothing to food.  It contains a high percentage of edible oils and fatty acids.

Enjoy them raw, ground in a powder, sprinkle into your favorite cereal or shake or use in baking.

Have you tried hemp?  What are your thoughts?

 

Organic Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seed (12 oz) by Manitoba Harvest – $15.89, 5.59 shipping – Available at Amazon.com

(1 reviews)


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links provided by Postpresso.


Menu Monday and Weekly Goals

Howdy, howdy!  Happy Monday, friends.

I am beginning week 3 of my anti-inflammatory diet.  I can feel improvements, and I’m so grateful.  I actually was feeling good enough to attempt exercise today, but I didn’t last long.  After telling my doctor about it, I received a gentle scolding and was told that my adrenal glands are not recovered enough yet, and that in 3-4 weeks we’ll start talking exercise.  So…I guess that means I’m on mandatory “relaxation”!  :D

The meal plan I’m sharing today is what I’m feeding my family, not myself, since I’m basically eating salads with chicken for nearly every meal, and some sort of fresh fruit for all snacks.

Breakfasts:

  • fresh raspberries (from the garden)

  • toast

  • Greek yogurt

  • other fresh fruit (we currently have oranges, apples, bananas, kiwi, and mango to choose from)

Lunch:

  • fresh fruit (see above)

  • chicken and cheese quesadillas

  • leftovers

  • veggies of choice (on hand we have corn, peas, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, squash, and zucchini)

100_1633-1024x568Dinner:

Monday – Taco night
TuesdayChicken and Rice SoupWednesday - Breakfast for Dinner (waffles, homemade hash browns, fruit salad)
Thursday – Leftover night
Friday – Dinner at Grandma’s
Saturday – Dad’s in charge
Sunday – Dinner at Grandma’s

 

As for my goals last week, here’s how I did:

  • 1 hour freezer cooking session – YEP!
  • Start exercising again.  – YES, but got busted for it. :)
  • Finish up my two giveaways – YES
  • Post at least 2 new recipes on the blog. – oops, NO

The plan for this week:

  • Do some yard sale back to school shopping.
  • Declutter and organize the bookshelf area of my bedroom.

Have a great week!

 

Special Diets on a Budget

As you have probably noticed, I am eating a “special” diet right now.  And by special, I mean that I’m NOT eating any of the following foods:

  • Dairy (including butter, cheese, yogurt, shortening, etc)
  • Eggs
  • Gluten (including wheat, oats, rye and barley)
  • Tomatoes (tomato sauces or anything else containing tomatoes)
  • Dehydrated Fruit
  • Rice, corn, potatoes
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee, black tea, and soda
  • Fruit juices
  • Iodized salt
  • Sugar and natural & artificial sweeteners (including honey, agave, coconut sugar, stevia)
  • Soy or any products containing soy
  • Peanuts
  • Beef, pork, shellfish, cold cuts, bacon, hot dogs, canned meat, sausage

ai_dietWhy?  I’m following an Anti-Inflammatory diet given to me by my holistic care doctor.  I’m currently on day 7 of this new diet, and I’ve found already that I’m not having to take my daily nap every day anymore.  I had 2 good days during this first week, and that’s more than I’d had in the previous month!  What a blessing.

It is, however, more expensive to eat this way….at least for me.  No matter how you look at it, sweet potatoes generally cost more than white potatoes.  Quinoa is WAY more expensive than rice.  It’s just how it is.

So, how do you eat a special diet on a budget?  Well, it’s something that I’m slowly figuring out, and I wanted to share what I’ve found so far with you:

 

 

  1. Shop the Sales (?)

This can be very hard when you are so limited in what you can eat.  For example, if you are allowed fresh veggies, but the veggies you are able to eat aren’t in season, well then what’s a girl to do?  Just this last week I went to pick up some bell peppers and the cheapest I could find them was $1.29 PER PEPPER.  Ridiculous!  So, I went without.  Instead, I ate other veggies that frankly, I’m not as fond of.  If you’re on a tight budget though, you’ll just have to learn to be less choosy (a lesson I’m currently learning).  Shop the sales.  It’s critical.

2.  Buy in bulk

indexBy “bulk”, I do not necessarily mean “buy a ton”.  Sure, Costco and other warehouse locations offer some great deals.  I’ve been very impressed with Costco’s selection of healthy foods.  The quinoa there is a great deal.  However, in addition to that type of shopping, try to shop the bulk sections at other stores – you know, when you bag your own stuff, tie it up and weigh it.  Winco is my favorite place to do that.  There are bulk bins at most health food stores as well, like Whole Foods and Sprouts.  That way, you’re not paying for the packaging.

3. Keep a price list

Oh my gosh, keep a price list.  If you find yourself trying new foods you’re not used to, I’m betting you’re not familiar with the average price for that food.  You’ll have NO idea if you’re getting a decent deal or not!  Ask friends and family what they pay, and when you make a purchase, write down the cost-per-ounce or pound and take that book with you when shopping future sales.  Know what a good deal looks like.

4.  Stick to the basics

I know.  It’s hard.  You want to try a new recipe because you are SO SICK of eating carrot sticks and baked chicken.  I feel you.  (really, I do.)  If your budget allows, try some new food ideas, but don’t plan a huge shopping spree to buy all new stuff.  What if you don’t like half of it?  It’ll go to waste, and you’ve lost that money.  Try a few new things at a time, and stick with the basic meals you already know for now.  As you slowly build up new recipes and items that you like, your menu will expand, but only do it as you can afford to.

5.  Give yourself an occasional break

Don’t expect that you’ll be perfect all the time.  When I first went gluten free, I refused to buy $5 frozen gf pizzas, because it would cost more money than making my own.  Then I would get a hankering for pizza and not have anything on hand, so I’d go out and spend $12 to get a freshly cooked one from a gf friendly restaurant.  If you have a weak spot and you know you’ll eventually cave, don’t be afraid to spend a little money buying some of those items pre-made and frozen.  If you truly have the time, then save even more $$ by pre-cooking and freezing some of your favorites.  Speaking of which…

6. PREPARE

I know life is busy, and not everyone will be able to do this.  If you have the time/energy, I’d highly suggest doing a freezer cooking session.  Make a double or triple batch of gluten free cookie dough, or of dairy free rolls, and freeze them.  Mix up a huge batch of turkey burgers, shape and freeze them.  This makes buying in bulk during the sales easier, and it makes your life a whole lot easier when you don’t feel you have time to make an involved meal.  If you don’t have an entire day to devote, you can do a mini 1-hour freezer cooking batch, like I do.

7. Stick with natural foods

10487226_10152495996751815_3535428456217654932_nAs much as possible, try to stick with foods that are naturally dairy free, or peanut free, or whatever your need may be.  Fresh fruits/veggies and unprocessed meats are generally allergen-safe (depending, of course, on the allergen you are avoiding).  Buying the gluten-free version of something generally is going to cost at least TWICE the money than it’s wheat-filled counterpart.  If you stick with the naturally safe foods, you’ll save.

I realize that not all of these tips will work for everyone.  Do what you can with what you can.  I’m sure there are a lot of other fantastic ideas.  Like I said, I’m new to this, and am still figuring things out.  I’ll happily share any other tips that I find as I go!  And hey, if you’ve got a great idea to save money on these types of meals, you’d better tell me! :)  Now let’s go save some moolah.

*Linked up at Thrifty Thursday!

Meal Plan (gluten, dairy, corn, soy, sugar free) 07/14

Happy Monday!  It’s a new week.  How was yours?

I’m happy to report that I survived, and even did fairly well this last week.  Eating free of corn, soy, dairy, gluten, sweeteners, potatoes, rice, egg, peanuts, shellfish and more was not as difficult as I’d assumed.  I was fairly prepared physically with a lot of new recipes to try, and mentally, as I’ve been gluten free for 3 years now.  It definitely helped that I found a few good recipes that I’ll definitely be making again!

With things going well, I’m thinking I’m going to keep the menu plan this week fairly similar to last week’s:

 

dced50765706737020bc85720010214bBreakfasts:

kids – toast, fresh garden raspberries
kids – homemade waffles, fresh fruit
kids – yogurt
me – Apple Pie Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
me – quinoa breakfast salad

Lunches:

kids – fresh and canned fruit (peaches, mandarin oranges, apples, grapes)
kids and me – fresh vegetables (carrots, broccoli, jicama)
kids – quesadillas
kids and me – baked salmon with fresh lime juice and sea salt
kids and me – Apple Almond Butter Sandwiches

 

 

6ca27e5c474b36597283e6947b304bdcDinners:

Monday – “Taco” salad (made with lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, and ground turkey)
TuesdayPlantain Tortillas with salmon and avocado sauce
WednesdayAlmond Chicken, sauteed zucchini and squash
ThursdayCoconut Chicken, salad
Friday – sauteed zucchini, squash, and sweet potato with uncured, nitrate-free turkey bacon
Saturday – grilled veggies, leftover turkey burgers
Sunday – quinoa salad, baked tilapia

 

I happily met each of my goals last week.  That may be because I kept them pretty easy. :)  Goals for this week:

  • 1 hour freezer cooking sessionbook-1072e3fbc4efc1558c4c3e0867600b5f
  • Start exercising again.  I’m really hoping that I’ll start feeling good enough to take a walk or something again….it’ll be awesome!
  • Finish up my two giveaways (HERE and HERE)
  • Post at least 2 new recipes on the blog.

I hope you all have a great week!  For more recipes and meal plans, head on over to OrgJunkie, where we’re linked up!

Easiest Way to Shred Chicken Ever!

Have you heard of this ridiculously simple trick for shredding chicken quickly?  It especially comes in handy when making big batches for freezer cooking or for a crowd.  If not, I gotta share.  The easiest, quickest way I’ve found to shred my cooked chicken is with this:

Shred chicken quickly and easily!

Better on a Budget

Yep, a kitchen mixer!  So quick, SO easy.  Try it out!  This is definitely a better way to shred chicken, and it doesn’t cost a thing, so it passes my “Better on a Budget” test. :)

Gluten Free Brazilian Cheese Rolls

Oh my gosh.  Yes, it’s true.  GLUTEN FREE BRAZILIAN CHEESE ROLLS.

Gluten Free Brazilian Cheese Rolls - Better on a Budget

I LOVE these things, and holy cow, I’m glad I discovered them.  I actually had never had one BEFORE going gluten free, so I couldn’t tell you exactly how they compare, but I can tell you that compared to the store bought gf cheese rolls, they are wonderful.  And they don’t cost $10 for a dozen.  Score! :D

I wish I was exaggerating when I say that I ate an entire batch in 2 days, I really do.  But alas, it’s the truth.  I don’t make these often simply for the fact that I cannot stop eating them.

Get the recipe HERE at Gluten Free Yummy!

Gluten Free Brazilian Cheese Rolls - So Good!!  Better on a Budget

Menu Monday and Weekly Goals

Oh me, oh my.

I didn’t post a weekly plan, goals or menu-wise last week.  Everything just got crazy and what can I say?  I slacked off.

I finally had my follow up doctor appointment to get the results of the blood tests.  And it wasn’t pretty.

  • Severe anemia pattern, so low that unless we get it up quickly I’ll need IV therapy.
  • Possible Hyperparathyroidism (not the same as thyroid issues), will need surgery…one more blood test was done on Thursday to confirm.
  • Not enough oxygen in the blood cells.
  • Red blood cells not regenerating fast enough, causing inflammation and blocking my body’s ability to absorb the nutrients I need (like iron).
  • Multiple food intolerances.
  • Pre-diabetes
  • And more

Luckily, the doctor I’m working with is an endocrine specialist, and he feels confident that I can get on a treatment plan and improve.  We are looking at 6 months of treatment, and an out-of-pocket cost of more than $5,000, and the goal is simply for me to have more good days than bad….but you know what, I’ll take it.

Part of the treatment plan is nutritional.  I’ve been given a very specific meal plan in which I cannot eat gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar of any kind, potatoes, rice, beef, pork, peanuts, eggs, tomatoes, and more.  This week’s menu plan will reflect that, along with foods for the kids.  It’s gonna be an interesting few months – wish me luck!

Breakfasts:

kids – toast, fresh garden raspberries
kids – yogurt
me – creamy buckwheat
me – quinoa breakfast salad

Lunches:

kids – fresh and canned fruit (peaches, mandarin oranges, apples, grapes)
kids and me – fresh vegetables (carrots, broccoli, jicama)
kids – quesadillas
me – banana milk

Dinners:

153382-425x325-chicken-tendersMonday – almost pasta salad (made with quinoa)
Tuesday – baked chicken with Flax Tortillas
WednesdaySalmon and Avocado Salad
ThursdayCoconut Chicken, salad
Friday – turkey burgers, sweet potato chips
Saturday – grilled veggies, leftover turkey burgers
Sunday – quinoa salad, baked tilapia

 

Goals for the week are simple, simple.  I just want to survive!

  • Doctor appointment to get more blood test results.
  • Grocery shop and get all needed ingredients for new menu plan.
  • Take car load of stuff to the local thrift store.

Have a great week!  We are linked up at OrgJunkie.

 

 

Pan-Roasted Sunflower Seeds (shell free)

I’ve been eating a lot of nuts and seeds lately, and to keep it more healthy, I’ve been buying them raw.  I love a good raw almond in a salad, although I’m not yet in love with them by themselves.  Same goes for sunflower seeds.  The other day, I decided I wanted some roasted seeds, but of course, I didn’t want to buy any and get all that sodium and who knows what kind of preservatives in my body – so I roasted some of my own raw seeds!

Pan Roasted Sunflower Seeds

Sorry for the fuzziness – cell phone pic! #firstworldproblems

I buy these raw seeds already shelled from the bulk section at Winco.  I’m sure most health food stores will have them.

Totally easy to do.  I simply turned on my stove to medium heat, put about a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet, heat that over the stove and added some sunflower seeds (about a cup).  I heated them through, stirring often, until they started to brown up a bit.  So good!

I seasoned these ones with a homemade garlic salt and pepper mix.  Next time I may try it with a cinnamon-sugar mix, or perhaps I’ll use some of my homemade creole seasoning!  Easy, right?  And so, so good.  I want to play around with other seasonings as well…any ideas? :)

Pan-Roasted Sunflower Seeds - Better on a Budget

Pan-Roasted Sunflower Seeds

1 tsp olive oil
1 cup shelled raw sunflower seeds
Seasonings of choice (garlic salt, cinnamon-sugar, creole, ranch, etc) to taste

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add the sunflower seeds; stir to coat.  Add desired seasonings.  Stir often to keep seeds from burning.  Heat through until some of the seeds begin to darken in color, about 3-5 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy!