Sugar Back on my Back and the easiest ‘Sweet’ Treat Ever!

It does seem to happen every year.  After the holiday season the bar has been reset and my sugar problem has started creeping back in on me.  It never gets back to the days of eating multiple fireballs each day and spending my entire allowance on candy, but it is a slippery slope my friends and I am thinking that like the Grinch, my little dog Maxx needs to grab the back of my shirt and pull hard.

Little Sis and I did a whole series called Sugar Busting chronicling and encouraging our journey (and perhaps yours) to reduce sugar, but it appears to be a life long battle with hills and valleys / highs and lows / fruit and pixie stix…. Gag, but I did love pixie stix back in the day.

I may be beyond the temptation of Pixie Stix but the amount of dark chocolate I eat has been creeping up, along with a penchant for bottled sweet salad dressing and the ‘need’ for something a little sweet after meals.  And it’s not just weight and cavities that are cause for concern.  A link has been found between sugar consumption and heart disease regardless of the quality of the rest of a person’s diet. And there are other health issues with

As we preach in Baby Steps to Better Health: A Guided Journey to Healthier Eating, I am trying to cut back and replace that chocolate (and okay some baked goods as well!!) with something healthier that fits the bill.  If I totally deny that sweet craving I’m likely to go back to the chocolate with a vengeance!

Enter my 15 year old son who although he is becoming a bit more rebellious lately where Mom’s food offerings are concerned, he is helping me out!  As part of our rule that one must have a piece of produce prior to eating a less healthy snack (P.E.P. – pre-emptive produce – also in the book), he often chops an apple, sprinkles on a bit of cinnamon, pops it in the microwave for a few minutes and presto – pie filling type dessert that is warm and wonderful and has no added sugar.  I added a few broken up walnuts so the snack would fill me up longer.  Fabulous.  I ate it.  I felt satisfied and able to pass up the chocolate…

As for cutting back, I have stopped taking dark chocolate in my lunch bag….. too easy to eat too much of it.  And who says I need a piece of chocolate to get through the afternoon, anyway?  I don’t.  After all, the best reward and motivator is to treat my body with respect and reward myself with health.  A little bit doesn’t hurt, but I know when I am slipping down the slope.  And when I notice or have trouble remembering the real rewards, I go back to sugar busting and baby stepping.  Eventually I am back on track.

Here’s a photo of the apple…. good luck to you if you have a sugar monkey on your back.  It is possible to let the monkey get back to the trees, so hang in there.

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Teriyaki Roasted Broccoli

The search continues for broccoli that both My Boy (er… young man…. almost 15!) and I both like.  Mr. Bigg Sis is not at all picky, (one of his many fine qualities), but ever since I was pregnant with My Young Man broccoli has fallen to the bottom of my vegetable list.  But it is SO very good for you that I simply can’t forget about it.  I have roasted broccoli before to good effect, but My Young Man was not sold on plain roasted broccoli.  He does love Asian flavors however and perhaps the combo of flavor and roasting would please us both!

I decided to try a teriyaki sauce and a google of said delicacy led me quickly to an easy version from allrecipes.com:

2/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cooking sherry
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced

I cut the sugar in half and used vermouth instead of sherry because I recently substituted vermouth for madeira and figured that would work here as well.  I also used granulated garlic because I was out of fresh, but normally would definitely opt for fresh whenever possible.

To make teriyaki broccoli, preheat oven to 400.  Cut broccoli in bite sized chunks.  Mix teriyaki sauce and toss  with broccoli.  don’t over do the amount of sauce.  It should be a light coating on the broccoli.  Pour onto a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes – checking at 10 minutes for your preferred level of done-ness / tenderness.

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The brown you see on the broccoli is teriyaki sauce sunk in – not burning.

And if you are chopping and roasting, might as well throw in a pan of red potatoes cut in fry-like shapes, and roasted with oil, salt and pepper.  For me, I then know that My Young Man will enjoy something on the plate!

I also had some chicken and doused that with teriyaki and baked at 400 for about 15 minutes.  One oven, 3 dishes, reduced stank, happy eaters.  My Young Man says this is the best way he has ever eaten broccoli (although he still wouldn’t choose it over potatoes).  Any positive comment about broccoli is a very welcome thing and noted as a success!

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Other broccoli dishes?

Broccoli Meatballs
Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup
Broccoli Burgers
Bok choy & Ginger & Broccoli

And just in case you are new to our blog…. We can help you meet your goals to eat healthier and feel better.   Follow our gentle, sensible “Baby Steps to Better health: A Guided Journey in Healthier Eating”  Great for you or someone you love 🙂

 

 

Weekly Meal Plan 1/17-1/23

I know, I know. I missed a week. All this talk about how you keeping me accountable is such a lifesaver just didn’t cut it last week. Mr. Little Sis was gone for the week and all of my various activities (work, school, music practice and performance) seem to be ramping up at the exact same moment (how does that always happen that way). I just let it go. I let the meal plan go. Mostly because when I got to Sunday night, when I should really start writing the post and working on the plan, I just couldn’t bear to have another required item. So I let it go. I’m hoping our significant archive of meal plans (click on weekly meal plans in the sidebar) meant nobody was left in the lurch. While not having that plan did require a little more fancy footwork than usual in the kitchen, I really just needed to take one thing off the list. Now, I’ve got to add that thing back to the list so as to avoid continuance of said fancy footwork. Ain’t nobody got time to be that fancy two weeks in a row.

Don’t know how it is where you are, but it’s brutally cold here, so I’m all over the comfort food this week, particularly as we get toward the end of the week when they’re saying it might snow, just a little (like for two days). Warm and comforting coming up.

Monday:  30 Minute Bean and Bulgur Chili, cornbread, green salad

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Vegetable, Bean and Barley Soup, whole wheat bread, green salad

Wednesday: Broccoli Mushroom Patties, Oven Fries, Sautéed green beans

Thursday: Shweet Potato Stew, whole wheat bread, green salad

Friday: Homemade pizza, cut veggies

Saturday:  Slow Cooker Herbed Beans and Barley, steamed broccoli, pickles 

Sunday: Homemade pasta (assuming Mr. Little Sis can get back from Chicago in spite of the weather), green salad

Lunchbox Treats: Believe it or not we are still working through some slightly stale cookies from the holidays over here.

Adult Lunches: Since it’s just me this week, I’ll be humming it up with a lot of hummus and salads.

  

So that ought to get us all ready for whatever this storm is going to turn out to be. A few inches, a couple of feet. That’s the range we’re looking at. Hope you get whatever precipitation you’re looking for and that while the winds may blow, your foundation will ne’er be shaken. Eat well, be well friends.

Flop to Fantastic in 1 Broccoli-Laden Burger Bite

We Sis Sisters can’t seem to leave well enough alone.  Little Sis is an inveterate messer-arounder of recipes and I frequently stray from the written path myself.  But I recently had a hankering for a straight from the recipe veggie burger and I couldn’t decide between Little Sis’ incredible Nutshroom Burgers and the Broccoli Meatballs that made the year end list…. which I have never tried.  Shame on me for never trying Broccoli Meatballs.  I thought I could burgify those balls, which hardly counts as recipe tampering, but couldn’t get the nutshroom burger taste out of my mind.  AND I had 2 heads of broccoli because Mr. Bigg Sis and I both acquired broccoli a day apart without revealing the haul…. (poor communication plagues modern hunter gatherers it would seem).

So of course you see where this is heading…. Recipe meddling and a ‘Get your chocolate out of my peanut butter’ moment had arrived…. The result I was hoping would be a new combination even be better than the originals.

Well at first I thought, no – what a flop!  Literally.  These burgers are too wet.  I couldn’t flip or flop them tidily after baking for 30 minutes.  But having poured some expensive ingredients and invested in actually eating dinner that night I decided patience was in order.  So I reached way down deep to find the little tiny pieces of patience that exist somewhere in the rather un-necessary organs like my appendix or gall bladder and managed to let these babies cook another 20 minutes or so.  The result?  A tougher outside that allowed for flipping (and another 10 minutes of baking) and a tender inside that remained tender for the leftover burger taken to work 2 days later on a whole grain bun.  Wow these things rock and pack a powerhouse of nutrition.  Truly tasty and packed with broccoli.  Nothing wrong with that.

One could probably speed up the cooking by adding some oats or something, but I don’t think I will mess with this concoction.  I will just make them on a weekend when there is lots of time for them to sit in the oven….. and eat them all week!

A name for this glorious combination?  Nutshroom Broccoli Bombs?  Brocshroom Burgers.  Beats me.  I just call them ‘Broccoli Mushroom Patties THAT ROCK’

1 cup chopped onion (I used sweet onion)
1 large clove garlic
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
salt to taste
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
2 Tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos (or soy sauce)4 cup broccoli cut into chunks and steamed or nuked still soft but not mushy (if you use bits of stem, cook that longer)
1/2 cup almond butter

Pre-heat oven to 350
Saute onions and garlic in a little oil until translucent.  Add mushrooms and any broccoli stem you might be using.
Cook until mushrooms are shriveling and even a little browned if you can be that patient
Add salt, rosemary and liquid aminos
Stir and saute another 5 minutes or so.
Pulse the cooked broccoli in a food processor to make small but not mush
Remove and place in mixing bowl with flaxseed and almond butter
Pulse the onion mixture in the food processor.  This should be pretty mushy.  Make sure you get all the scrapings from the pan.
Add to the mixing bowl and mix together
I used a big flat wooden spoon to shplunk patty type dollops on parchment paper on a baking sheet
Bake for 30 minutes or until firm enough to flip

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Bake until firm on both sides but still soft in the middle.
Have people try it without telling them what it’s made of.  Or take the Calvin approach (from Calvin & Hobbes) and tell your children it is monkey brains.  Mine would be more interested in that than anything that contains broccoli.

I don’t really care what these contain….. okay that’s not true.  I’m thrilled they are full of wholesome ingredients because I will be eating a lot of them!  Have you eaten your broccoli today?  😉

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Weekly Meal Plan 1/4-1/10

Happy New Year Friends! I hope you all had the chance to ring the new year in however you most wanted to. We honored a multi-year tradition with some of our very oldest (and by that I mean long time and absolutely youthful and fabulous) friends. 6 adults. 6 kids. One big ball dropping from the sky. It was a lovely break from the rest of everything.

It would seem that while we were on that break, however, winter decided to finally arrive.  The wind is howling and it is chilly. So as we readjust to life in the “real world” (meaning homework and other things we’d rather not do mixed in with all the rest), we’ll be digging into some warm bites this chilly week.

Monday: Rockin’ Gluten Free Falafel – gonna try to bake it this time, sautéed green beans, salad

Tuesday: Lentil Casserole (preparing Miss Picky Pants for chili), carrot fries, cut veggies

Wednesday: Roasted Veggie Chili, quinoa, raw cut veggies for garnish or for making a chili salad

Thursday: Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup, whole wheat bread, green salad

Friday: Date Night (it’s so wonderful when all of the children get invited somewhere)

Saturday: Homemade Pizza, cut veggies

Sunday: Homemade Pasta, mushroom sauce, green salad

  

Here’s to finding pleasure in routine and remembering the simple joys of every day living. Eat well, be well friends.