Saturday, February 24, 2007

oh la la, a contest

ETA: I guess the main purpose for this is because I'm lazy and wanted help coming up with some new and exciting meal plans for next month. I don't really know what will be the prize... just something, that's sure to have my "stamp" on it :) whether or not it's really worth anything is up for debate!

Check it out, I'm running a contest ! I thought it might be fun to have everyone, who is interested, submit meal plans for next month. So here's how it works: an entry counts as one planned week and you can enter up to 4.5 weeks (a month's worth) of meal plans. You can submit your plans here or there, either as a comment or an email (found in my profile). At the beginning of March I will have a drawing and the winner will receive a little prize or a gift of sorts, Beth style.

Now don't fret my dears, this isn't supposed to be stressful to anyone. So if your week's meal plan happens to contain three off days (whether it's take out, restaurant, frozen dinner, etc.), that's ok because it's your plan! And you don't have to use any of my recipes or any of my tastes (aka. healthy meals :) This is just for your family, however and whatever you want to cook. Savvy?

I'm also thinking of expanding my Mess to include more meals outside of my style of cooking. So you are more than welcome to email me one of your favorite recipes (even if it calls for a cup of mayonnaise) if you'd like it to be added to the site, just for fun. I'll also be adding another label to the site named "just plain tasty" for recipes that aren't necessarily concerned with calories and taste dang good! Basically, I want people out there to feel like they have a variety of recipes and meal plans (not just mine) to choose from and to have the courage (because it does take time, initially) to plan their meals. I guess I decided this because there are so many cute girls out there posting their digi-recipes for truly tasty, albeit sinful, dishes and treats... and what do I post? Protein Bars! Hahaha! I've accepted the fact that I'm a food nerd, particularly a health nut nerd. But not everyone is and that is just fine with me :)

So happy planning! You have the next few days to plan away, so get busy! And have fun, I don't want this to be a chore or a bore!

credits: Shabby Princess & Misprinted Type.

A Holistic Hopeful

This is my application essay for my Masters program in Holistic Nutrition. Just thought I'd share it, with those who are interested... and it kinda explains why I cook the way I do, in relation to some aspects of this site a wee bit :)

I have suffered and lived with headaches all my life, or for as long as I can remember. And then came the summer of my sophomore year in college. The headaches had become less than tolerable, to the point that I was nearly passing out with each occurrence. It was then that I decided I had to do something; that this problem had to be fixed. I went on a nutrition overhaul and cut out everything sugar-related in my diet, whether it was ketchup, bread or fruit. Sure, many of my friends and roommates teased me with such sayings as, “Life’s too short to not enjoy sweets!” to which I would reply, “Yes, but it’s too long to suffer with blackouts!” My headaches were just the beginning.

That same summer I had the opportunity to work on a research paper about diet intervention for the autistic. Through my personal experiences with food and pain, through my studies of others’ relationship with nutrition and illnesses, and through my education as a health science student, I cultivated my passion for nutrition. I thirsted for a better understanding and turned to books outside of my required texts. Paul Pitchford’s Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition became a favorite amongst my ever increasing library. I would pore over its pages, finding answers to many of my questions, as well as discovering questions I needed to ask for myself: What did I want to do with my knowledge - of biology and of how the body works, of the effects of nutrition and exercise on the body? And the main question: How can I learn more?

When I refer to my knowledge, I am not professing to be anything but a student who has learned from her teachers and texts and has retained them and applied them to her life. In addition, my life’s mission and goal is to be a student, always. I love learning. When I first went to college I thought I wanted to be a doctor, to go off to medical school. Then my interest morphed into nursing, which quickly transformed into Health Science with an emphasis in Health Promotion & Lifetime Wellness, which finally developed into my underlying love for nutrition. I know that our connection with food, whether it is a good or bad relationship, affects our physical health, our mental health, and even our spiritual health. To be truly healthy, everything must be equally balanced and unfortunately, nutrition is most often at the forefront of a downward spiral.

I must admit that I thought of becoming a dietitian. However, I do not necessarily agree with how they approach the food and wellness relationship. Nutrition goes beyond calories and food groups. Our bodies have the ability to heal themselves and our food can facilitate that power. No, what I wanted to pursue was something offering a more holistic approach. 

I look forward to not only refreshing my basic comprehension of human anatomy and physiology as I studied in college, but also toward the expanding of my simple understanding in holistic human development. There is so much to be learned! What’s more, I feel like I have finally found the answers to my questions. I can expand and apply my knowledge of biology, how the body works, the effects of nutrition and exercise. As for my headaches, they never vanished completely but they are more manageable. A dear, understanding friend once commented that to be cursed with such pain only blesses me with the desire to search for more answers. Ergo, this program will provide me with the tools to learn how to use a holistic approach in helping myself and others.

Protein Bars

I've made these a few times now, and I rather like them. I eat one of these bad boys every morning for breakfast, with a protein shake. However, if you're expecting these to taste like brownies, you will sadly be mistaken! They taste like healthy food, which I happen to like (you know me...). And there are some really "good" protein bars out there that taste like candy! But I HATE, read it, HATE, sugar substitutes and their aftertaste. Also, I happen to have these ingredients on hand. So, I guess what I'm getting at is don't try these unless you really think you'll like them, because you'll end up spending a lot of money (if you don't already have said stuff) just to throw them away. The original recipe can be found here (love Alton Brown).

a click on image = a readable recipe

Nutrition Information
(per 2 inch squares):
159.04 Calories; 22.4 g. carbohydrates; 8.45 g. protein;
4.79 g. fat; 2.31 g. fiber; 91.96 mg sodium; 17.78 mg. cholesterol

Credits: Shabby Princess, Misprinted Type, and Margarete Antonio.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

indulging in laziness

Hey dolls! I know it's been a while since I've been on here and updated some recipes due for this month... but you know, things never do work out as expected. I've shuffled around a few days, here and there, but I don't think I'm going to bother applying that to the month's plan. Just wanted to let you know that this site is on my mind, if not on my to do list! Is that terrible?! I guess I feel that there are enough recipes on here for now for you guys to come up with your own plans if you want, and if there is something I've listed but not linked, you're all resourceful enough to find a recipe elsewhere, rather than wait on me... right?

Anyway, I just need to remind myself that I started this site for my own reasons, being that I would have an online source of tried and true recipes for my family so that I won't have to be a slave to cookbooks if we happen to visit or move somewhere shortly. Just let me know if you do indeed want me to write some stuff up, otherwise just enjoy the site as it is (because I have an index! Yippee!)! Happy cooking y'all!

Love, B

Friday, February 02, 2007

words from the author

I'm such a goober!

Anyway, just a little note: although it won't appear that any new posts have been made very often, there will be! Let me explain... the top post, next to this one, will most likely be the meal plan for the month, and the recipes that correspond to the plan can be found in "previous" posts (back-dated). So the monthly plan will be updated with the necessary links each time I enter in a new recipe.

PS- I now have an in-depth index! Woot woot! Hopefully that will help and make things a little easier to navigate...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Meals for the Month (February)

So far, here it is (and as you can see, most meals have already made their debut here on the Mess). I think I am going to go ahead and try to post meals after I've made them. So for example, I will make the Simple Chicken this Friday and I will post it this Saturday, which will allow you to fix it either that night or the next. Sound good? And I think that I will just keep this very post - Meals for the Month (February) - as the top post, with all of the meals that correspond beneath or as "previous" posts... Savvy?

Thursday-1: Dinner w/ the Folks
Friday-2: Simple Chicken w/ Quick & Fancy Broccoli
Saturday-3: Beef Stroganoff
Sunday-4: Chicken Enchiladas

Monday-5: Chicken Cacciatore
Tuesday-6: Ginger Soy Chic Lettuce Wraps
Wednesday-7: Chicken Crock Pie (version: cobbler/biscuit topping)
Thursday-8: Veggie & Chicken Stir-fry w/ Yogurt Peanut Sauce
Friday-9: Steak Fajitas
Saturday-10: Leftovers/Scrounge Night
Sunday -11: Quick Cassoulet Stuffed Bread Melts

Monday-12: Mango Salsa Chicken
Tuesday-13: Chicken Marsala
Wednesday-14: Salmon & Lemon-Watercress Sauce w/ Fancy Schmancy Rice and Quick & Fancy Broccoli
Thursday-15: Thai Beef Salad
Friday-16: J. Reuben Clark Law Society Conference Dinner
Saturday-17: Leftovers/Scrounge Night
Sunday -18: Southwestern Chicken (slow cooker)

Monday-19: Steak w/ Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms
Tuesday-20: Curried Salad
Wednesday-21: Tortilla Soup
Thursday-22: Herb Grilled Salmon Fillets w/ Green Beans
Friday-23: Bucca di Beppo (belated sweetheart dinner)
Saturday-24: Leftovers/Scrounge Night
Sunday -25: Chicken Fingers w/ Stuffed Potatoes

Monday-26: Spicy Beef Stir-Fry w/ Peanuts
Tuesday-27: Dill-Lemon Chicken w/ Roasted Broccoli
Wednesday-28: Veggie Lasagna

Diet Tweaking

The diet needs a little bit of fixing... We've had to change it and lower the calorie level we were following and it has yet to be reflected on here. I'll eventually get to it though. I guess that's just a little FYI for now for those of you who are interested... Thanks!

Shopping List, Part I (February)

Make your personal changes; adding and subtracting to this list as needed. And don't forget to check up on what you already have, etc. (shopping tips). If I forgot anything, I'll just make a note in the comments section, m'k? Oh, and just a head's up: this is your more expensive grocery trip, where the bulk of the stuff you'll need comes from. The second trip will only be 30 dollars, give or take... Happy shopping!

  • frozen veggies (C)
  • frozen fruit-2 (C)*
  • lettuce (C)
  • bananas (C)*
  • broccoli
  • bell peppers-3
  • zucchini
  • squash
  • onions (C)
  • tomatoes
  • celery*
  • garlic, if needed
  • Froze. Chicken (C)
  • Froze. Salmon (C)
  • sliced turkey (C)*
  • sliced ham (C)*
  • turkey bacon*
  • tofu-2 (C)*
  • peanut butter (C)*
  • Cheese (C)
  • Egg whites (C)*
  • yogurt (TJ)*
  • cottage cheese*
Grains- whole wheat*:
  • English Muffins*
  • Bagels (C)*
  • pasta (TJ)
  • flour*
  • canned mushrooms (C)
  • can green chilies
  • rice milk (TJ) - or substitute milk, both of which can be bought at a reasonable price at (C)
  • dried fruit & nut medley (C)*
  • broth/bouillon (chicken and beef, if you don't have it on hand)
  • can black beans
  • mustard
  • honey
  • protein powder (C/TJ)*
  • apple sauce*
  • raw almonds (C)*
  • large can of diced tomatoes-2
  • olive oil, if needed (C)
  • Italian dressing/recipe mix
  • canned tuna (C)*
  • canned chicken (C)*
  • canned pineapple*

C = Costco or some other warehouse
TJ = Trader Joe's; great prices for health-nut food!
*NOTE*: if you plan on following the diet or making the protein shakes and/or protein bars, etc. (all of which we follow every day).

Chicken Cacciatore

A basic Italian dish with the main flavor derived from the bell peppers. Serve with lots of Parmesan and shredded Mozzarella, and some nice yummy, crusty bread... mmmmm. Risotto would also go well with this, in place of the bread (if you're watching your carbs per meal).

  • 2-4 chicken breasts
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • Italian Seasoning, to taste
  • 1/3 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tomato, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 can mushrooms
  • zucchini & squash, chopped, to taste (opt.)
  • 7 oz. tomato sauce/ pureed tomato
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • olive oil - no more than 2 T.
1. Heat oil in pan and brown chicken on both sides.
2. Add veggies, except tomato; cover and cook for five minutes, toss if needed.
3. Add seasoning and tomato, stir.
4. Add tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to bubble and cook till chicken is done.

Beef Stroganoff (slow cooker)

Sorry I didn't get this out sooner... it is pretty basic though. So I'm just going to write this as we made it and feel free to make your own substitutions (for the mushrooms, dairy and noodles).

  • 1.5 lb lean beef stewing meat, trimmed of fat and sliced
  • 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cans of mushrooms (or 1 lb fresh)
  • 1 can cream of 'shroom soup
  • 1/2 c. beef broth (this is because our meat was frozen and the liquid that was bound to melt was enough for the dish... the original recipe called for 1 cup)
  • 1 c. plain yogurt (or fat-free/fat-full sour cream)
1. Combine everything but the dairy in slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours (frozen or unfrozen alike).
3. Stir in dairy and serve warm.
4. Serve with cooked whole wheat pasta or brown rice (or no-yolk noodles).

Simple Chicken (slow cooker)

A while ago I bought this little magazine-booklet that was all about slow cooker recipes. It's wonderful! And here's one of them. This is planned for Friday, 2 February (or a day later, as mentioned in the planner). Dang ginas, there's only three recipes and four steps!

  • 4 frozen chicken breasts
  • 1 package dry Italian dressing mix
  • 1 c. warm water OR chicken broth
1. Place chicken in cooker.
2. Sprinkle dressing mix on top.
3. Pour water/broth over chicken; cover.
4. Cook on low 8-10 hours.

*Serve with Quick & Fancy Broccoli and some rice if you'd like.

Basic Stir Fry

Do I really need to describe how to make stir-fry???

Your choice of veggies (although frozen mixes are the easiest) with/without your choice of meat and then your choice of seasonings...

Cook at relatively high heat with oil/water/broth, depending on your desired fat content.

There, it is said and done. Let it suffice.