Tag: food

This week in food and fitness

I’ve cooked too much food over the course of the last two or three months. I blame my Instant Pot. Yes, it’s as wonderful as everyone says it is, but all of the recipes I tried were designed to feed the family. I am but one woman with a husband who refuses to eat the healthy meals I cook because he doesn’t want to take it away from me. My life is weird.

What went wrong

Cooking ahead and freezing seemed like a great idea, but it restricted me to eating the same things over and over. Plus, frozen food looses its appeal after a week or two.

The lentil soup I made was tasty, but it started to look like an unappetizing brown mush. I also discovered that I don’t like whole wheat pasta. It just didn’t work in the Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe I tried. My Instant Pot tortellini dish was good the first night, but it didn’t hold up well after being frozen. I’m ashamed to admit that I threw some food away.

A new approach

This week I’ll try cooking something every couple of evenings. My goal is to have food to take to work, and an option for dinner. I’ll aim to eat the recommended 5 servings of vegetables a day. Adding a serving to breakfast should help with that.

Check out the Nutrition Diva’s tips for getting more veggies in your diet.

Illustration of eggplant with human characteristics.
I’m good for you!

150 minutes a week

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. I’m aiming for at least 30 minutes each day. Strength training for all the major muscle groups is also a must. The government says to do it twice a week. Exercise is not a problem for me if MS fatigue doesn’t get in the way. If I happen to catch a cold, or the flu, exercise becomes difficult. Gentle stretching and some yoga poses are an option for me then.

I have chiropractor appointments three times a week for the next two weeks. I’ll try and make it to Planet Fitness on the evenings I’m not being adjusted. I’ve been having a lot of fun with Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, and Wii Fit. I want to get back to a more regular yoga practice. And there’s that Tai Chi app I downloaded.

Should I make a workout schedule? Maybe. I could be making better use of that Happy Planner of mine.

Figure exercising on mat.

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Supermarket Meal Kit #2

I tried the Stouffer’s Roasted Tuscan Style Chicken meal kit a few weeks ago. I was pleased with its easy preparation and good taste. This week I tried another one from Stouffer’s — Braised Pork.

Front and back of meal kit box
Front and back meal kit box

The meal’s four components (pork, potatoes, broccoli, and sauce) came frozen and packed in plastic.

Frozen pork and sauce in bags
Frozen broccoli and potatoes in plastic

Step 1:

Thaw sauce in its bag in boiled water.

Saucepan and frozen sauce in bag

Step 2:

Heat some oil in a skillet and cook the potatoes.

Potatoes cooking in skillet

Step 3:

Heat more oil and cook the pork.

Pork cooking in skillet

Step 2.5:

Microwave the brocolli in the plastic while the other stuff is cooking.

Illustration of microwave and photo of broccoli in bag

The whole thing takes about 25 minutes (like it says on the box). The instructions say bto mix the pork with the sauce and serve the potatoes and broccoli on the side. I mixed it all together. There was enough sauce for everything.

Completed meal. in skillet
The finished meal!

The pork tasted great! The veggies weren’t spectacular, but still good. I liked this meal better than the Tuscan Chicken.

One of these days I’ll talk myself into trying one of the meal kit services like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. I’ll keep your informed.

Instant Comfort

I tried another Instant Pot recipe, Healthy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese from The Girl on the Bloor.

The ”healthy” component of the dish is broccoli. You could add other greens to up your veggie game. The recipe called for regular pasta. I wanted to use whole wheat, but I found none at Walmart. I used the Colby/Monterey Jack cheese I already had in the fridge instead of the white cheddar on the ingredient list.

Overall, the cooking was quick and easy, and I got a little more comfortable with my Instant Pot.

The flavor wasn’t spectacular, but it tasted good and did feel like comfort food. Switching to a tastier cheese might improve the flavor.

I’m liking the Instant Pot more and more. It’s helping me to make healthier food choices for myself. For me, better eating means less trouble with those everyday MS symptoms like fatigue and the dreaded ”brain fog.”

What tricks do you use to make healthy eating happen?

Supermarket Meal Kit

I’ve been intrigued by the meal kit services that cropped up a few years ago. I want to try them, but I’m a little scared for some reason. Also, they’re not cheap.

When I saw this Stouffer’s family meal kit in Kroger’s frozen food section, I decided it would be worth a try.

The box contains packaged chicken pieces, broccoli, a rice and quinoa mixture, and some sauce. You start by boiling water in a pan. You’ll use the hot water to melt the frozen sauce.

Illustration of saucepan

While the water is boiling you heat some oil in a skillet to cook the chicken.

Illustration of skillet

You’ll heat the quinoa mix and broccoli on a plate in the microwave while the other stuff is cooking.

Illustration of microwave oven

Put the chicken, the sauce, and the broccoli together and serve the quinoa on the side.

Plated meal

Conclusions

  • Easy to prepare
  • Not too pricey
  • Tasty
  • Healthy
  • Would be good to cook for a small dinner party

I’m glad I tried this meal kit and I will definitely buy it again. I imagine the offerings from Blue Apron and the like are more flavorful since they included herbs, spices, and other fancy food elements. But if you don’t want to spend the extra money, and do a little more work, this kit might be the next best thing.

Nutrition information
Find nutrition info here

Finding a way

Taking time for fitness

For me, exercising as soon as I get home from work is the way to go. I can do something at home or go use the eqiupment at Planet Fitness. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I schedule the workout before my Copaxone injection. It’s a system that works. Even if I’m feeling a little fatigued or under-the-weather, I can at least get on the floor and do some stretching. I need to lose about 35 pounds and I plan to lose it the way I gained it, slowly. My eating habits are pretty good, but I’m not as active as I need to be. If I don’t make progress in the next couple of months, I’ll have the doctor check my thyroid function. I’m pretty sure it’s a lifestyle problem and not hormones.

In other food news

I got an Instant Pot for Christmas. Now I have to learn how to use it and find recipes that don’t call for 15 ingredients.

Art for sanity

I want to revisit art journaling this year. The book I’m altering is turning into an art journal. I had a thought that I could turn books into journals and sell them on Etsy.

I don’t like how messy the art journal process is. Things would be so much easier if I could quit my job and do art and jewelry full-time. That is something to put on the vision board. That’s another to-do!

I could focus more on digital art, but I like working with real objects. I want to add digital scrapbook paper and embellishments to my Etsy inventory. More to-dos!

Paint on a book page

Veggies!

I’ve got vegetables lined up for this week.

I roasted frozen broccoli and a medley of broccoli, green beans, carrots, yellow peppers, wax beans & red peppers (frozen) from Sam’s Club.

I used my FoodSaver FreshSaver handheld vacuum sealer to package them for the freezer.

FoodSaver vacuum sealerFoodSaver bags

Here they are:

Vacuum sealed vegetables

For the moment, I’m very pleased with myself.

Bacon, vision, and being mindful

Bacon in frying pan

Several years ago, I noticed that there was a lot of talk on the internet about bacon. I don’t know if it was something that the bacon cartel engineered, or if all the talk about the breakfast staple came about organically. It feels like a ”bro” culture type of thing.

I like bacon. I eat it sparingly, usually when I have breakfast at a sit-down restaurant. I had some at Bob Evans yesterday evening with my goat cheese veggie omelet, hash browns, and toast. Real butter on toast can be such a delight!

I!d like to do some real cooking. I’d like to have a new kitchen, and an art studio, and a dance studio. I should make a vision board to manifest the things I want.

Illustration: pig and woman in lotus position

I discovered a part paranormal, part true-crime podcast called And That’s Why We Drink. The hosts, Christine and Em have spoken about using vision boards. It seems to work for them, so I may as well give one a try.

I recommend you give the show a listen.

Circling back to bacon. We can speak about the cured meat cavalierly, but we don’t think about the pig who lost its life. I’m no vegetarian, but I probably should be. Who am I to snatch away the life of a living creature? Maybe if you eat meat, think about what you’re eating.

Maybe give some thought to all that you do. Mindfulness, grasshopper.

Casserole Experiment

We bought a 6-pack of Amy’s canned soups at Sam’s Club a while back because I was going to start eating more soup. It seems that on the days I remembered we had the soup, I wasn’t in the mood for it.

Yesterday I had the thought that I could use one of the soups to make some sort of casserole.

I tried it today

Can of Amy's lentil vegetable soup
Canned soup

I mixed the soup with three eggs and little plain soy milk. I added some shredded parmesan and cheddar, and a little frozen chopped kale.

I sprayed an 8 inch round baking pan with cooking spray, poured in the mixture, and baked it at 425 for 25 minutes.

Casserole in round baking pan
It looks edible.

The Verdict

Casserole serving on plate
It didn’t slice nicely.

This casserole is not great.not It tastes a lot like the lentil soup it’s made with. Apparently, the reason I haven’t been eating this soup is that I don’t like it.

I’m calling this one a failure.

Fail

Weighty Issue

I made a list of topics I wanted to cover in the blog. Weight loss was one of those topics. It seemed like a good idea to combine a daily prompt word, with the weight loss topic. The word guilty was an obvious choice, so I’m going with it.

My Weight

I weigh too much. I’m not sure if I’ve ever tipped the scales at this particular weight before. Perhaps I did in junior high. I feel so bad about it that I’m not willing to type the number in this post. I might still be in denial.

For me, I think it’s more about food than exercise. I used to have the idea that it was okay for me to eat something sweet every day. If it was in the past, it’s not anymore. I’m getting to the age when fat on a woman wants to migrate to the belly. I don’t like that one bit.

I know that visiting my father every evening at his assisted living facility had something to do with my weight gain. My eating habits were about the same, but I didn’t have time to exercise as much as my body needed me to. Also, I was probably still carrying some of the weight I gained from being on steroids during my MS flare-up.

My Plan and My Fear

So now I have cut out sweets and junk food except for my Saturday ice cream fix. I don’t crave sweets anymore, but I worry that being this restrictive will lead me to revolt. I’ve lost a few pounds, and my pants are fitting better, so I know this plan is working. I’m scared that a more moderate approach to sweets will send me in the wrong direction. What I have now is a problem with food. That’s not healthy.

Calories Out

“Just exercise more,” you say. I would love to be able to work out really hard most days of the week, but with MS comes fatigue. The workouts I used to do are not possible for me anymore. I have to break exercise into smaller chunks. Fitness is still possible for me, but I can’t stay in the high-intensity fat-burning zone for very long.  That feels like an excuse.

Time and Priorities

It all comes down to time management and planning. I took the time to write this post, so I probably have to choose between hula hooping and making art this evening. I also need time to fix something healthy for lunch tomorrow.

My advice to me is, “Be kind to yourself.”

chocolate cupcake with white and red toppings
Photo by Jess Watters on Pexels.com