Have you ever heard of Spatchcock chicken? I didn’t think so. It’s an easy way to prepare a whole roasting chicken so that it will cook quickly and evenly. This makes it an ideal meal for busy working moms and dads. You can prepare it and then let it marinate in your sauce of choice, overnight, for added flavor. Check out the full directions for more information.
This week on Follow Me Friday, I’m sharing some of my favorite Pinterest Waffle Recipes and ideas. As a busy working mom, smoothies are typically my go-to for a quick, healthy breakfast I can grab on my way out the door. However, some mornings I want something more substantial – something I can smother in maple syrup or homemade jam. Waffles and pancakes are typically reserved for the weekend, but when I am feeling ambitious in the kitchen, I will mix up an extra large batch of batter and make plenty to spare.
I’m currently in LOVE with the waffle maker my kids got me for Christmas. I’ve made regular Belgian Waffles, Sweet Potato Waffles, Mashed Potato Waffles, Pumpkin Waffles, Coconut Flour Waffles…and the list goes on.
You can see all my favorite Waffle Recipes on my Wafflespiration board (yes, I need to think of a catchier name) on Pinterest. The best part of waffles (or pancakes, if that’s more your thing) is that you can make up a bunch and throw the extras into the fridge for the week or into the freezer, to keep for a couple of months. No more lego-my-eggo boxed waffles. These are tasty, healthy, and budget friendly and fall into my definition of clean eating.
Have you ever heard of the term ‘clean eating’? What does that mean? Is it a diet? Is it like being a vegetarian or a vegan? Google the term “what is clean eating” and there are a variety of articles and sources that offer their own definition of the phrase. Is it hard? Is it expensive? Does it take forever in the kitchen? This week I am demystifying the idea of clean eating and offering tips for helping you clean up your diet.
What is Clean Eating?
What is Clean Eating?Eating Well says cleaning eating is “about eating more of the best and healthiest options in each of the food groups—and eating less of the not-so-healthy ones. That means embracing foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains, plus healthy proteins and fats.”
Most articles I read agree that clean eating is about eating the least processed foods available – this cuts out lots of junk food like chips, sweets, soda pop, etc…However, applesauce is processed – does that mean it’s bad for you? What about cooked carrots? After all, cooking them is a form of processing, no? Is this just another way of saying clean eating is a raw diet? [insert horrified face here]
Processing is important because it can kill bacteria and make food safer to eat – like chicken or pork. And processing doesn’t always remove vitamins and nutrients. Lycopene, found in tomatoes, actually increases with cooking. So when you think processed, think Doritos or Oreos or even the ‘whole wheat’ bread in the grocery store that has a good 20 ingredients. That’s the kind of processed stuff you want to stay away from.
Is Clean Eating Just Another Diet?
There is no official government, USDA sanctioned definition of clean eating (at least not one that I could find). Unlike the food pyramid or the DASH diet, which are backed by big agencies – clean eating is a movement, like farm-to-table, buying local, and slow food. While fad diets like Atkins or Beachbody focus on eliminating certain food groups or restricting calorie consumption – clean eating encourages eating whole foods in as close to their natural state as possible. Some clean eating rules of thumb I’ve heard about include the 80/20 rule – 80% whole foods and 20% processed and the five ingredient rule – any processed or prepared food should have less than five ingredients on the nutrition label.
Is Clean Eating Hard?
Sometimes. It does require foresight and prep and there is a fair amount of cooking involved. Most recipes I make take about 20 – 30 minutes to cook from scratch. For some people this is nothing, for others, this is more time than they spend in their kitchen all week. It’s really a personal preference. The biggest obstacle between me and a truly virtuous clean diet 100% of the time is lack of prep and planning. I am getting better at it, but often (like this morning) I had nothing on hand to make a healthy lunch for work. No dinner leftovers, no salad stuff, not even a mystery dinner in the freezer to be had. So naturally, I grabbed some knock-off General Tso’s chicken at Hannaford. #cleaneatingfail
Is Clean Eating Expensive
No. I make healthy food a priority on my grocery list and that leaves little room for any impulse buys. After the initial shock of little to no snack foods lying around the house, the kids got used to it. I also try to practice portion control (gah, I know, I know) and you’d be surprised at how far food goes when you eat the recommended serving amount, versus piling food on your plate haphazardly. The amount of food I used to eat in one sitting is enough to now make two or three different meals.
Clean Eating is really just about getting back to the basics – like what people ate before the 1980’s, when we were introduced to chemically processed quasi-foods like like Sunny D, Tato Skins and Fruit Roll-ups. You can find a lot of good, affordable clean eating recipes at The Gracious Pantry and on my Clean Eating Boards on Pinterest.
Did I miss anything? If you have more questions about clean eating or how I do it at my house, let me know!
41 days ago I started on a quest to cultivate a new habit: to eat a healthy diet that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Is that even possible, I wondered? I didn’t want to go on a ‘diet’ and count calories– it is so cliché to be an almost 40-mom trying to get in shape. But I was tired of my thick midsection, tired of my frumpy clothes, tired of feeling tired. More than anything I was tired of thinking about food. I was tired of thinking about my relationship with it. I was tired of thinking about being “bad’ with some Chinese food or being ‘good’ with some carrot sticks. I was tired of trying to fit myself into a Paleo box, or a cleaning eating box, or no-carb box. When did eating become so judgy? I am good at overthinking things that bother me; food is no exception.
This time however, it was more than a diet. It was more than just losing weight. It was more than just exercising regularly. But I knew that if I threw the term ‘lifestyle change’ out there one more time, I was going to start losing some Facebook friends. So in the rare spirit of not over-sharing, I’ve kept more or less mum on my diet/lifestyle change/ new habit. Now that I’ve reached 41 out of 66 days, I do want to do a check in.
Why 66 days? Science tells us that it takes 66 days to establish a new habit. This seems about right, since most my attempts at diets/lifestyle changes/exercise regimes/ writing schedules/you-name-it fizzle after about three weeks (the much touted 21 day mark). Committing to something for three months though – that kinda scared me – in a good way. I knew from past experience exactly what I was up against. I knew my initial enthusiasm would wane and old cravings would come back. I knew that I could exercise hard and feel great three days in a row, only to want to lie dormant on the couch (with a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos) on Day 4. My inner-self has no rhyme or reason when it comes to eating and exercising. I just had to accept it and figure out how to deal with it.
Enter Jack Canfield (who is not, sadly, paying me to endorse him) and his Successful Principles. I love a good a self-help book and JC is great. Being too cheap to buy the book, I listened to the Success Principles on YouTubeand signed up for JC’s 10 Day Transformation course.
The best take away from the course was an exercise called Transform Your Excuses into Action. You list the changes you want to make (Lose weight) with the excuses that have been holding you back: I have no self control/ I don’t have time to cook healthy meals that taste really good.
Next you have to assess the role that you have played in causing the undesirable situation: I don’t take the time to prep healthy meals, and I don’t budget enough money for healthy groceries each week, and I don’t try to learn many new healthy recipes, I get bored doing the same exercise over and over.
Finally you write out what you are going to do to change the situation: Increase my vegetable consumption to ½ too ¾ of each meal, add weight training for variety, make healthy foods a priority on the grocery list, try out at least four new recipes a month.
Taking ownership of why I wasn’t able to get the results I wanted was so incredibly liberating. It is much easier to wallow in self-pity, or even self-loathing, than to stand up and do something about it.
More than half way to my goal of 66 days, I feel like I am right where I should be. There have been some setbacks and some “bad” days (more on those in another post), but right now I am happy with my progress. I eat better than I ever have, I’ve lost some weight, my relationship with food is better, I am better at being mindful when I do eat. There are still 25 days to go and I am excited to see where I am at on April 23. More importantly I am excited to see where I will be, long after my 66 days are up.
I’m not going to lie – this is not a quick recipe. But it is tasty and so much better for you than those frozen, pre-made swedish meatballs. Bonus, it’s a great way to use up excess garden zucchini.
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork or pork sausage
2 cups grated zucchini (or you can use carrots, celery or a mix of all three)
1 grated onion
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tbsp oregano
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
Throw everything into a large mixing bowl and get busy. I tried a potato masher for mixing, but it is just easier to use your hands. I use a melon baller to portion the meatballs – it makes the perfect bite-sized meatball after it puffs up during cooking. If you prefer a larger meatball simply roll the meat mixture into the size of golf-balls. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven or cook directly in your favorite red sauce, like dumplings, letting them simmer for 45 minutes to an hour or more. I like the dumpling method, personally – the meatballs come out fluffy and moist and the flavor from the red sauce seeps in.
Over the weekend I made this beautiful Quinoa Salad – it’s essentially an Asian-style coleslaw with quinoa mixed in. The sauce is an ginger-peanut dressing that I want to throw on everything. Bonus, I love the colors. Double Bonus, it’s cheap and easy to make, as well as good for you. I found the original recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.
Tip About Cooking Quinoa:
I have a hard time finding quinoa in bulk, so I usually end up buying 12 oz. boxes from Reny’s. This recipe calls for a cup (8 oz.) of cooked quinoa, which equates to half a cup dried. I find it annoying to cook little amounts of anything, so I just cook up the whole box and serve the plain quinoa with dinner over the next day or two or take it to work for lunch. It reheats well and is a good replacement for rice. I also like to cook quinoa with a little chicken stock for some extra flavor.