Menu Plan Monday: when things don’t go as planned!

I started doing Menu Plan Monday (MPM) again last week in an effort to get myself cooking regularly again. I ended up making a few new dishes (Vietnamese Shrimp Salad, Summer Rolls).

I realized though that I can’t decide on Sunday what I’m going to eat on Wednesday or Thursday or even the very next day (Monday). I usually don’t know what I want until 10 seconds before it’s time to eat… Unless I plan a salad, because I’m always in the mood for a salad.

Last week I made 2 noodle dishes that were really yummy (will post soon). I brought them for lunch, but I don’t like having noodles for lunch. I like having a salad from downstairs, or oatmeal, or some other weird Maggie food that probably smells funny.

Anyhow, I did find a new breakfast favorite. I have been eating eggs cooked in butter again after listening to these podcasts (Dishing Up Nutrition). Along with my eggs I have veggies – cabbage sauteed in some butter is simple and delicious. I tried a few other veggies but none were as good as the cabbage and butter.

Source.

I told my dad he should try eggs with butter for breakfast and he looked at me like I was nuts. But I really do believe that healthy fats are so important and my skin is agreeing with me. So are my energy levels and my mood.

I won’t be doing an MPM this week, but I will be eating my usuals – lots of eggs and veggies for breakfast; salads, sushis, oatmeals , and whatever else I want for lunch; and probably salads and veggieful meals like these ones for dinner. I also plan on lots of Whole Foods hot/cold bars for lunches and dinners (which happened a lot this past week).

I had a really great weekend in New Jersey (we got back last night) and I do have a few pictures and adventures to share, but I want to go enjoy the last moments of the weekend so I’m going to save that for later. I have also been walking with my new iPod (built in pedometer) while listening to those podcasts I mentioned earlier, and I still love the step count way more than measuring my walks in miles. I like walking and steps are a great way to measure my walks.

One more thing I want to mention is yoga – I haven’t talked about yoga recently because I haven’t really been doing it, but I have snuck in a few 20-minute yogadownload sessions and they have been great. I want to start doing these a few times a week. Just have to get in the habit of doing them after work or after dinner.

What are your favorite standard eats?

Acupuncture Treatment: Stress and Hormones

This is an overview of the treatment for hormonal imbalance and treatment for stress. Acupuncture treatment can be very helpful for both. It’s an effective natural treatment for stress.

I’ve had a few people emailing me asking for recommendations that my acupuncturist told me. So I will just put them out here for you all to see. A lot of the mindfulness exercises can be good for anyone.

Acupuncture is great for: stress, digestion, hormonal problems, and more. I mainly went because of my digestion and a hormone thing!

Eating recommendations:

07-veggie-coconut-oil-lamb 08-eggs-and-bacon1 feb152010006_thumb feb152010007_thumb

  • Eat: lamb and bison, lightly spiced. (Cinnamon and chili are good.) (This is for the hormone thing.) (I made lamb here and here. Used spices here.)
  • Eat: Eggs and bacon. Alternate between turkey and regular bacon so I don’t get bored. (Reasoning: animal fats are good for hormone regulation as long as they are from free-range/organic animals.) (Also for hormones.) (I made bacon here. Eggs and bacon breakfast here.)
  • Eat: black beans with some coconut oil. (For hormones.) (Ate them here.) (Coconut oil here.)
  • Eat: lemon rind/zest in cooking; oranges. Something about the rid of these citrus fruits is good for digestion.
  • Eat: ginger and garlic. Good for digestion. Also very warming.
  • Snack idea: rice cakes with coconut oil.

It is good to keep a balance – meat and carbs are acidic in nature, so to balance them out, we need alkaline green leafy veggies. Lots of them!

Other recommendations:

  • Soak feet in hot water with lavender and epsom salts. Don’t let the water get cold! Do this for 20-30 minutes.
  • Take a hot bath after dinner with lavender and epsom salts.

Meditations to try:

  • Lie on your back (savasana). Breath in and out with your chest. Imagine your heart is expanding and making your chest rise. Keep focusing on the strength and power of your heart. (5-15 minutes.)
  • Sitting or savasana. Focus on an area of your body that may feel neglected or needing love. Imagine a tiny light the size of a dime radiating from the center of that place. Now imagine it growing and radiating out from that body part until it is big enough to envelop your whole body. Now take all that energy and begin to compress it back into a smaller and smaller light. Eventually the light goes back to the size of a dime (still in the same location). Repeat if necessary. (5-10 minutes.) I got this one from an intenSati class with Lindsay.

Books:

  • Feeling Good by David D. Burns. Cognitive therapy isn’t just for depression!

Have you tried acupuncture? What about other Traditional Chinese Medicine? (Coco has a good series on this stuff too.)

Bring It ON! (Fat, that is!)

Look what I had for breakfast yesterday:

This was:

  • 2 pieces of organic, free-range (pork) bacon (from Whole Paycheck)
  • 2 organic, cage-free eggs (also from Whole Paycheck) cooked in bacon fat

This meal was inspired by both Heather’s manly breakfast and my acupuncturist. It seems that my new motto is “eat more animal fat“, and it is working for me. Some people seem to do fine without – my sister is a vegetarian/vegan and my brother is vegetarian and experimenting with adding in more raw foods. My mom was a vegetarian for most of her 20’s (including when she was pregnant with me!) and my dad follows the accidental vegetarian diet because he lives with so many vegetarians.

My dad actually ends up eating more meat than the rest of them (in the form of lunch-meat on sandwiches, the occasional meat chili, and sometimes some bacon on the weekends), and… well – I take after my dad. We look alike, we talk alike, we think alike, and when we hang out together we usually end up working on some project (reorganizing something, or nitpicking about the way something has been put together, or making a mess unintentionally as we try to fix something) and not talking that much – but that’s how we like it.

Anyway, this is not about what we do, but rather how our food needs might be similar as well. That side of my family has digestion troubles (to put it mildly!) and I seem to have inherited them. They flare up when I am not eating meat. (Last time my stomach felt good was when I was driving across the country – and eating meat at almost every meal.)

Anyway, onto another meal (dinner).

This was…

  • organic ground lamb from Whole Foods (you actually can’t see it much, but I probably had 4-5 ounces)
  • garlic + frozen veggies (broccoli and an Asian stir fry mix) cooked in coconut oil
  • topped with cream cheese (this is full fat by the way)
  • spices: pepper, ginger powder, cinnamon

This is an acupuncture-inspired meal. He said to try eating lamb, lightly spiced. Also garlic (good for digestion), ginger (warming and good for digestion), and cinnamon (just good – I don’t remember why). He also recommended coconut oil, so I threw that in there as well.

I made this beauty for lunch yesterday:

It was…

  • veggies cooked in remaining bacon fat and coconut oil (frozen broccoli, fresh okra, green peas)
  • cream cheese topping

Coconut oil is a great source of saturated fat (NOT always bad for you), great for the skin, doesn’t create harmful byproducts when heated, reduces stress, and aids in weight loss (these are just google results).

Speaking of weight loss… Did I mention I lost 2-3 of those pesky intenSati pounds? This happened in one week, and I didn’t eat fewer calories (if anything I ate more). What I did was eat more fat (and meat) and fewer carbs (but not no carbs! I still had lots of oatmeal and rice, and of course many many veggie carbs). Fat can be really good for you.

I am actually off to a blogger brunch that has been postponed for far too long… So I’ll update on that later.

What are you plans for Valentine’s day? We actually don’t know yet!!

I can’t go back!

Yoga

I just did a brief yoga session this morning – 20 minutes of Power Vinyasa Flow #4 from yogadownload.com.  They should pay me for promoting them so much! (I finally got an affiliate link.)

Lunch Idea

  • Tuna salad with whole wheat bread
  • Sliced green apple

Simple tuna salad recipe (makes 2 servings):

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1/2 carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 small bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup full fat Greek yogurt
  • lemon juice
  • mustard
  • salt & pepper

It was really good.  You can mix up the measurements to make it how you like it.  I like mine with lots of veggies.  Celery would have been perfect but I didn’t have any!

Snack Idea

  • “Lentil Pea Chips” (link has nutritional info) that we got at 99 Ranch (Chinese grocery store).  Bobby picked them up on our last trip and they ended up being a good find!  The brand is called “Dandy’s Brand” if you’re interested. The whole bag has just 2.75 servings total – it’s a huge bag but the chips are very light.

Dinner Idea

  • Egg white stirfry with organic ketchup: broccoli, okra, egg whites (1 cup), cabbage, salsa, onion, and a cucumber (random).  I used a bit of sesame oil too.

Dessert Idea

  • Full-fat TJ’s Greek yogurt (a little less than a cup)
  • Raisins (almost 1/2 cup?)

Scrambled Eggs Recipe | Gnocchi Recipe | Travel Food on a Budget | Fruit Yogurt Breakfast

Today’s post is dedicated to eating affordably while on vacation. My main suggestion: make your own food as often as possible. For breakfast I had fruit and yogurt; I also made eggs, some type of sausage, and bread for Bobby. So here is my scrambled eggs recipe, my Italian gnocchi recipe, a fruit and yogurt breakfast, and tips for travel food on a budget.

Quick and Easy Scrambled Eggs Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • chopped onions
  • a dash of olive oil

Directions

  1. Saute onions in olive oil for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Beat eggs in a bowl; add to sauteed onions.
  3. Use a spatula to mix the eggs slowly until finished.

Fruit salad with yogurt

Ingredients

  • Chopped apple
  • Chopped banana
  • Chopped orange
  • Flavored yogurt

Travel Food on  Budget – Dinner Ideas

For dinner we ate in again and I cooked pasta – gnocchi, to be exact. They came out a little bit mushy, but I think I can fix that by cooking for a bit less. We also had the same salad that we had last night (with grated Parmesan) and my Brussels sprouts, apples, and onions recipe.

How to Make Gnocchi

Ingredients

  • Gnocchi pasta
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Olive oil

Directions

  1. Heat the spaghetti sauce in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Stir until warmed through.
  2. Boil water and add gnocchi. As soon as they float, remove them from the water. Don’t wait for all of them to float; remove the floating ones as soon as possible.
  3. Mix sauce and pasta together.

There were also fresh rolls from the supermercato. And for dessert: more fresh fruit.

Tomorrow we’re off to Venezia, where we will most likely have to spend exorbitant amounts of Euros for food. But I’m excited to visit some churches, maybe museums, markets, and shop.