“You need to start posting ingredients and recipes along with your pics.  I gotta start eating healthy.”

Yesterday I posted a picture on my Facebook page of my lunch and it prompted the above comment.

salad

I cannot take credit for making this salad; however, there is a story behind the salad.

Long story short– Thursday of last week, hubby and I took B’Dazzle (our 13-year-old son) to College Station, Texas to see a big football game Auburn VS Texas A & M.  The spirit of Aggieland is unimaginably amazing.  We had a blast!

We arrived home late Sunday; hence, no time for food prep and Monday I returned to work.

So, since I eat healthy and I eat clean, what’s the plan?

Develop a plan!  Hahahah!

In my neighborhood, I have a go to for healthy food on the go.  Nearly two years ago, my friend, who helps me meet my fitness goals, hipped me to Frankie’s Famous Pizzeria and their grilled chicken fajita salad; I’ve been hooked ever since.

Sunday night, I was tired from the flight.  It was late but I knew that I needed lunch for Monday. Since I did not have any leftover cooked food, on Sunday, I ordered the salad (with extra chicken) and kept in the fridge overnight.  Monday morning, I packed my other foods: oatmeal, eggs, apple, shake, avocado half, and grabbed my salad.  All done.

Okay so what’s for dinner?  I had a plan Plan B… Always have a Plan B. 🙂

On Wednesday, I knew that once we returned from Texas, I would need food for the week.  I scoped out the frozen and pre-cooked seafood at Sam’s Club and BJ’s.  Please know, I am not a fan of pre-cooked and frozen foods. However, with a little patience, if you read the labels carefully, you can find some decent options.

bourbon salmon box

After reading the label, I could not resist the anticipated flavor of Bourbon Salmon and it’s Wild caught, so that is an added bonus.

salmon box label

Okay so while the salmon is boxed, the sodium isn’t too bad. Most frozen meals are nearly 1000 mg of sodium, so 173 is doable.  Total fats are hidden, but saturated and trans fats are low.  The 24g of protein makes this a winner for me.  I was very surprised by the 0g of sugar!  I’m jumping in the air!!!  Whoooooop!! 🙂

pre-cooked salmonThe salmon is individually wrapped so you can cook only what you need.

The instructions are quick and easy.  Remove plastic, place frozen fillet on a greased baking dish skin side down, and place on the center rack of oven.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Other cooking instructions are on the box to grill (cool), pan sauté (cool) or microwave (Eeew).

I baked mine; it came out really pretty.  Hehe!

Cooked salmon

The next question is, What goes with the salmon?

Well, as I said before, have a plan.  I keep fresh organic baby spinach in the fridge.

boxed spinach

Of course, nothing beats freshly picked out-of-the garden spinach, but the reality is, my life is busy and I don’t have time for that.  My solution is to keep this spinach in the fridge.  I buy it from BJ’s and Sam’s.

You can use the spinach in a salad or quickly steam it down via stove top or microwave for no more than a minute and 30 seconds.

The label and nutritional value of spinach is why I eat it regularly.

spinach label

plate of spinach

Uncooked spinach

I grabbed two big handfuls of spinach (approximately two cups) and tossed them onto the prettiest plates I could find.

Steamed spinach in a microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Steamed spinach in a microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Then I added the baked salmon…

finished plate

…finished product..  a healthy, colorful, quick, and nutritious meal.  Anyone and I mean anyone can do this.  I cooked enough salmon for lunch for tomorrow.  It’s all packed up.

Finger lickin good lunch!

Finger lickin good and nutritious lunch!

Although I did not add carbs, you could add spaghetti squash (minimal calories), a baked sweet potato, yams, brown rice, black rice, or quinoa.   All of the carbs are healthy carbohydrate options.

Now, tell me that you can’t this!  I betcha you can… As a matter of fact, I know that you can!  Give it a try and tell me how you like it!

Bona-petite! 🙂

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Y’all Don’t See This!

I share pictures and recipes of healthy meals here, on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and a few other sites.

What y’all don’t see is the daily mental tug-of-war and the inner turmoil that I grapple with. Ugh!  Oh Lord, the guilt of feeding my family unhealthy and processed foods. I hate it!

The other day I brought a package of Jennie-O Hardwood Smoked Turkey Kielbasa.  My family likes them and I was struggling with what to cook for dinner, without repeating the same ole same meals.

I feel like I’m chickening them to death!  I also needed to cook something that would last for a couple of days… Umm.. leftovers!  I don’t have time to cook everyday nor do I want to.

I usually prepare the Kielbasa with garlic, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce served over some sort of whole wheat pasta… just the way they like it.  😦

While hubby zoned out on the laptop at the kitchen counter, I read aloud the ingredients. He was not moved, surprised or even batted an eye.  I don’t think– no, I know he was not listening, so I read the ingredients again, but this time a little louder…  Lol!!

“Turkey, manufactured, turkey, water…

Me:        “Hon!!  Did you hear that?”

Him:       “Huh?”  “What?” (looking and sounding a little annoyed)

Me:        “I just read the disgusting ingredients in this turkey I’m cooking for you guys!”

Him:       “Well what else are we supposed to eat?!?”

Me:        (Thinking) “Is he freakin serious?!?!?”

Me:        “Well we could eat more vegan based meals.”

Him:       (seemingly more annoyed) “What’s that?”

Me:        “Ugh!  Really?  Plant based meals.”

OMG!! The look on his face. Like I just called him a pervert or something. LMAO!!

Welcome to my world!

The process entails pureeing or grinding the carcass left after the manual removal of meat from the bones and then forcing the slurry through a sieve under pressure. This puree includes bone, bone marrow, skin, nerves, blood vessels in addition to the scraps of meat remaining on the bones. The resulting product is a blend of muscle (meat) and other tissues not generally considered meat.

HOLD UP!

That’s foul! I’m not buying them anymore.

Manufactured turkey is pretty much the same as “mechanically separated meat.”

Barfing yet?

I just can’t!!

If you care about your health, you should read labels on everything you eat. While I continue to educate myself, I try to share my knowledge with my family. Actually, I will share with anyone, who expresses the slightest of interest.  🙂

Some days my family are not interested in my chatter, but I refuse to stop because I care.  Caring is the frustrating part. As I continue to educate myself about food and nutrition, the need to share is only natural for me. I share with my family, my friends, my followers, and anyone else who cares to listen.  Other than my household, I try not to give unsolicited info, but I have been busted for making faces.  I’m working on this!  Lol!

I don’t want to be the pain in the ass wife and mom; however, I do my best to paint the ugliest, nastiest, and graphic images (in their minds and mine) to drive the message home.  Hahaha!!

Anything that’s good is not going to be easy and will demand more time and diligence from us.

Grocery shopping takes longer.  Why?  Because I am:

  • Scrutinizing food labels
  • Looking for healthier food options
  • Checking prices
  • Buying for two, sometimes three different meal plans
  • Buying from several different stores

I cook two sets of meals, so cooking takes longer, but I’m cool with that.

The troublesome  part for me is, even though I am pretty creative at introducing new food, subbing and swapping out bad ingredients for healthier options, my peeps still want processed foods like those nasty smoked turkey kielbasas.  What am I supposed to do?

For now, I will continue to plug away at it and incorporating healthier meals for them. I do realize I am still helping them, but I just feel like it’s not enough.  This past Sunday, I made baked ziti. I used whole wheat pasta, added zucchini and mushrooms but it still had three cheeses!  They loved it!

 I sucked on one noddle and was perfectly fine with that. 🙂

I’m dead serious.

Anyways, I would have never thought that  in 2015,  hubby would be eating avocados, flax seeds, chia seeds, and zucchini spaghetti, so I guess I am making a little progress. Hallelujah!!

Whatever you do, do not give up on your goals of living a healthier lifestyle; the benefits are endless and worthwhile.

Thanks for stopping by… and please… keep it movin!  🙂

 

 

 


A Fast Eat Clean Dish!

So it’s Friday late afternoon, early evening. In an hour I am meeting friends to paint and sip wine. Sounds like fun right? I can’t wait!

I’m due for meal number 5 of the day and don’t have much in the fridge because I haven’t done my shopping yet. I bought a pack of chicken breast tenderloin and used the rest of the veggies in the fridge.

Because I will have a sip or two of wine this evening and… because I’m trying to grow my guns for March’s competition, I wanted to make sure NOT to skip a meal.

Here’s an example of a quick dish that requires little prep and cook time.

Chicken Breast Tenderloin

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Sweet Onions & Red Peppers

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Baby Carrots

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And you get a nice healthy stir fry. Oh yeah, I added broccoli!

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Mmm…. a quick healthy protein filled dish. I’m tossing it over a bed of leftover brown rice. This is solid proof that you can cook and eat clean quickly and without sacrificing nutrition.

Happy Friday! :0)


Thanksgiving Food Prep

Three days from now and around this time (8:27 p.m.), most people will be rubbing their bellies trying to digest dinner. Maybe even contemplating second or third helpings, or another trip to the desert table.

I was not feelin the kitchen after work this evening, but I’ve been on a roll cooking my share of Thanksgiving dinner, so just like I push myself to go to the gym some days, I pushed myself to cook another dish.

This year’s Thanksgiving eve, I just want to chill and don’t want to be slaving in the kitchen. Everything, except the salmon will be cooked in advance.

Here is six pounds of a blend of collard greens and kale. I wanted to cook the greens vegan style, but my peeps wouldn’t have that. But I think for Christmas dinner, I am just going to cook them without the smoked meat.  That stuff is bad for you! :0(

greens

I cooked them using smoked turkey legs. However, I just couldn’t contribute too much to the clogged arteries, high blood pressure, and added fat. I’m serious! I parboiled the four (4) smoked turkey legs in a handful of fresh garlic cloves and crushed red pepper.

The legs boiled until the skin begin to fall off. I then remove them from the pot and take off the skin, fat, and bones. It’s still unhealthy, but slightly better than with the excess fat.

I layered the greens in the pot with a little of the broth from turkey legs, sweet onions, and this seasoning.

seasoning

The outcome is amazing! I compromise this way because I understand that 20+ folks coming for dinner have not interested in eating clean. A small section of the kitchen counter will be dedicated to clean eating.

I am just about done my cooking.

freezer

The garage freezer!

On Saturday, I cooked six pounds of mac and cheese and  B’Dazzle helped me with 15 pounds of yams by peeling them for me. I’m so lucky! He’s an awesome kid and did a super-duper job. :0)

tailor peeling

On my way home today, I was deeply saddened when I saw a long line at the local food bank. The parking lot was full, an attendant directed traffic, and a long line of cars sat along side a busy roadway waiting for their turn to pick up donated food. I haven’t seen it like this before. A recent and sudden surge of casino closings in Atlantic City has many families struggling… struggling to find work… struggling to provide food for the family… struggling to pay rent/mortgage… heat… electricity… etc…

Regardless of where you live, if you are blessed to enjoy the festivities of a holiday dinner or a daily meal, heat, or a warm and safe place to sleep, I urge you to help someone in need. Invite them to dinner or give food, clothing, or whatever it is you can offer. Every bit of help can make a difference to someone in need.

Don’t judge, be kind, and be generous.

giving

Sweet dreams!


There Is Something Good In Every Day

happy

Image courtesy of One Perfect Day Blog via Pinterest

If you follow my blog, you have probably noticed fewer posts in the past month. It happens every year this time.  Everyone in the house is back to the daily grind.  Work, school, football practice, homework, gym, game day… repeat….

Six games into football season, B’Dazzle’s JV team is kicking butt.  With a record of 5 wins and 1 loss, the team is undoubtedly headed to the playoffs.

What that really means is that in November, when evening/night temps in South Jersey drops below 40, momma dukes will be sporting a ski bib, boots, a wool hat, fluffy scarf, and wrapped (me and my chair)  in my big, ragged, but  warm pink blanket.   I get funny looks, but I would rather get the funny looks than be cold.

Yeah I know.  I can sit in the warm car, but for me, it’s not the same.  Roughing it out on the field with him is my way of showing my support.

This week we celebrated B’Dazzle’s 12th Birthday.

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Breakfast with dad, surprise birthday cake, fun at Dave & Buster’s, and cupcakes on the football field, makes for a week of happy days.  #100HappyDaysChallenge #100HappyDaysChallenge4Lexa #Day42

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What’s brewing?

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Remember… I LOVE chocolate…   Lol!!  🙂

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While at The Vitamin Store replenishing my protein powder, I took a quick detour down the loose leaf tea aisle.  Why do I prefer loose leaf tea? Read this and this. Looking to try a new flavor, I read each box on each shelf.  “Chocolate Chai!”  There was no way I was going to walk out the store without this box in hand.

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 Here is the back of the box. As I write this, I am sipping the tea and trying to find the words to describe the flavor.  Umm… let’s see… it’s spicy, bold..   Now I’m sloshing it around in my mouth like I’m wine tasting!  In the center of my tongue I feel like I’m teased with a subtle hint of cocoa… just enough to suggest chocolate. After swallowing the tea, my pallet is saturated with a spicy flavor.  It’s delicious.  I like it!  I’m happy I tried it. The tea is a perfect end to a long day. Boy have I come a long ways from drinking a nightly glass of Cabernet before bed.  Lol!!

Anyways, tea will keep me in my happy mode over the anticipated brutally cold winter. #100HappyDaysChallenge #Day43

IMG_3242.JPGI have wanted shrimp for a week or so now. Late afternoon rain caused football to be cancelled.  No complaints here!  Although a crock pot full of homemade black beans was in the fridge, I took a few minutes to cook this spicy dish.  Shrimp, arugula, and baby spinach over brown rice.  It had kick and I enjoyed every bite!
#100HappyDaysChallenge #Day44

I could be cranky now because I have not worked out in 22 days and it’s driving me nuts. Although I feel physically ready to start again, I have to wait for clearance from my doctor. Meanwhile, I continue to eat clean and drink plenty of water. When I step back into the gym, the beast is coming out!  Watch out, I have my eyes set on another figure competition in 2015!

Thanks for stopping by and sweet dreams! 🙂

 


Few Words

Got out of bed at 4:15 a.m.

Went to work.

Drove to the gym.

Worked legs.

Did some gluts.

Raced home.

Showered.

Fixed a dinner plate to-go.

Sat on the sidelines at football practice.

Ate dinner.

Got cold.

Got even colder.

Raced home.

Packaged tomorrow’s lunch.

Arrived at my final destination….

Bed!

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Very happy that I am in bed before nine. #100HappyDaysChallenge #100HappyDays4Lexa #Day27

I hope you had a fabulous day.  I did and am very grateful for my blessings.

Until next time.  Chow!  🙂