Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Healthy Week in the Kitchen

Nibbling on all of those wonderful Christmas treats was fun while it lasted.
Clearly it was time to reign in the sugar consumption and get back on track with healthy eating habits.
So, I recently gathered all of the magazines that had been piling up around here and pulled out the ones focusing on healthy eating.  My personal favorite being Cooking Light.
I selected a collection of recipes that appealed to me and then spent the past week trying them out.
Something to satisfy my sweet tooth in a healthier way seemed a good place to start.
A "dessert with benefits" sounded like just the thing.

I've been seeing recipes similar to this for awhile and been curious to see if they really could satisfy my chocolate cravings.
They went together quickly.  Apparently hazelnuts are hard to come by in my area so I skipped them altogether and, instead, rolled them in chopped toasted pecans.  Pecans are everywhere here and I do love them.

I've got them stored in the refrigerator and pop one out when those chocolate cravings hit, often around 3:00 in the afternoon.

This whole grain quick bread caught my eye.
Could it really be possible to have a slice of bread like the one in the photo without any yeast or rising times involved?
My mouth was watering for toast in the morning, so I got busy on this one.

It also went together quickly.
Before going into the oven it was looking good all covered in pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds.  A little flaxseed too.

Nicely risen after baking.
We've been enjoying it all week for our morning toast and to accompany soups and salads for lunch and dinner.
Will definitely be making this one again.

In case you are interested, here's the recipe.

A lightened up version of the classic meatloaf dinner.
Comfort food in a healthier package.
The magazine recipe was for a whole grain meat loaf, but I used my long standing favorite turkey loaf recipe.  I did, however, make the Quick Creamy Potatoes and Roasted Brussel Sprouts to go with it.  Yum, Yum and Yum!!!
This meal was delicious.  Those potatoes with the cauliflower and garlic were so creamy and smooth.  In the past I have tried the "faux tatoes" made with just cauliflower mashed up to imitate mashed potatoes.  The texture just wasn't right and they tasted to me like what they were (mashed up cauliflower).  This recipe was that wonderful mashed potato consistency and that subtle hint of garlic made them so flavorful.
Brussel sprouts are something I've never really made much.
Growing up I remember them being boiled and mushy.  Yuck!
Roasting them with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper is like eating an entirely different vegetable and one that I will gladly eat over and over again.

For me the new year is like a clean slate.
A good time to re-up the efforts on the things that are important in one's life. 
So far I'm focusing on:
healthy eating
mindful exercise
more reading time
learning new things
trying more of the recipes I think someday I'll try.

Off to a good start so far.

How is your new year progressing?
Have you tried any new recipes or read any good books?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Snow, Snow...where did you go?

Saturday was definitely not a day for picnics.
Unless, perhaps, you were a snowman.

Today (Thursday) a picnic would be entirely possible.

When the snowstorm was predicted I brought a few of my potted plants into the garage. 
This one was too heavy so I kept my fingers crossed that it wouldn't be done in by the cold and snowy conditions.
I'm pleased to report that it is looking just as nice now as it did last week.
Hooray for snowstorms that know how to come and go and not wear out their welcome.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Savoring This Snowy Day

Just before bedtime last night the snowflakes began falling.
The morning brought with it a sense of excitement as to exactly how much accumulation those snowflakes would amount to.
A quick peek out the window and it was clear that the landscape had been transformed to a true "winter wonderland."

A warm breakfast of steel cut oats topped with blueberries , walnuts and chia seeds.  Doing my best to get back on track with healthy eating in the new year.  Outside the birds were thankful for a healthy supply of their favorite seed.

After breakfast it was time to head upstairs to work on another goal for the new year.  Up there it was a snowy scene to the lake across the street.  Brrr!

Caught up on last night's episode of 20/20 while putting in time on the treadmill.

My favorite part of the exercise routine...
logging my achievement onto Susan Branch's adorable calendar.
I fell off the exercise wagon to some extent in the latter part of last year.  With the new year I am determined to get back to it.

Coming back downstairs after my exercise session, I was pleased to see the sun putting in an appearance.  The winter wonderland was now sparkling like glitter.

Today was the day my Christmas ham bone was transformed into a delicious pot of white bean soup.  While working on that and starting a loaf of crusty bread, it was necessary to drop everything and chase this beautiful cardinal with my camera.  This seems to be a game I play every time we have a snowfall.  Red cardinals in the snow are a lovely sight to behold.

With the soup bubbling and the bread baking it was time to write my thank you notes.  That job seemed like it would go smoother with a mug of hot cocoa.  A snow day called for a snowman mug so I fetched one that I had just put away with the Christmas d├ęcor.
He looks happy to be out of the cupboard.

Soon the timer will ring calling me to take the bread from the oven.
The sun is beginning to set and soon the darkness will descend upon my beautiful winter wonderland.

A good time to light the candles and then the fireplace.
Perhaps also a good night for soup in front of the fire.
Sounds like a nice way to stay warm on this wintery evening.

Happy New Year!