Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sticky Drumsticks

Well, I made it about 3.5 days in my experiment to remove all processed food from my diet for a week. After feeling awful for a few days, I decided to stop and just limit the amount of foods I eat that have ingredients that I cannot pronounce or I don't know what they are. I think that I felt sick because I wasn't getting enough calories and was avoiding a lot of carbs, even though my intent wasn't to skip carbs.

Next time I will cut out certain things as opposed to an entire item, like processed foods. I don't like failing at my goals, but I refuse to feel sick for several days if I don't have to feel that way!

Last week during my failed experiment, I tried several new recipes and I'm very proud of myself for that. I love to cook and over the past couple of years, I didn't cook as much because I was so busy with work. Now that I work from home, it is easier to start dinner or throw something in the crock pot on my lunch break. One VERY tasty recipe that I discovered is very easy and only takes about 10 minutes to prepare before you put everything in the crock pot. (Lorrie B. - even you can do this!)

I found this Sticky Drumsticks recipe on another blog called Farm Girl Gourmet (which she found on another blog). These drumsticks are so good that this recipe could end up on every blog that exists. I also recommend spending some time on the Farm Girl Gourmet blog - just fantastic! I am so envious of the Farm Girl Gourmet Blog; I need to take more photos of the food that I make, especially if I am going to write about it. I know that photos will improve my blog and even if no one reads this, I will have it for my future as I go back and search recipes. A new goal - take more photos!!

Sticky Drumsticks (I cut this recipe in half, so this is my variation)
Adapted from The Comfort Of Cooking., originally from Group Recipes

- One package of chicken legs (5-6 per package)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/6 cup (I just did 1/2 of the 1/3 cup) balsamic vinegar
- 1/6 cup soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 TBS fresh grated ginger
- Dash of black pepper

Remove the skin from the chicken. Put in the bottom of a crock pot or slow cooker.

In a small saucepan, add honey, brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the brown sugar. Simmer 5 minutes.

Add sauce to chicken in crock pot, coat chicken in sauce, and cook on high for 4 hours.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pete's First Olympic Distance Triathlon

Pete did an incredible job in his first Olympic Distance Triathlon. The race was in Elkhart Lake, WI, which is about an hour south of Green Bay. This area is best known for Road America, where there are many motorcycle and car races on the weekends in the summer. We brought the girls to the race and they were pretty good, considering that they never went back to sleep after being put in the car at 4:15 a.m. I, on the other hand, was really struggling after a bad night of sleep.

Pete finished third in his age group. While he wanted to do better, I think he is too rough on himself. HE ROCKED IT!

A very tired Pete after the race.

Getting ready to bike.

Going out for the 6.2 mile run.

Pete after the swim.

Yeah for a race really figuring it out and offering fun for kids! The girls had so much fun in two different bounce houses.
His next race will be a Half Ironman in Door County on July 21st. The Half Ironman is double the distance of the Olympic Distance Triathlon. CRAZY!

Day Three of No Processed Foods

I am not going to lie, I am not feeling great. I don’t know if not having any processed foods are really impacting my body or if it is just psychosomatic. Having said that, I think that no carbs in three days is a making me feel a bit weaker than normal. I am not sure that I’m getting the daily caloric intake that I need since I really don’t feel great until after I eat dinner. Since I’m not doing a ‘no carb’ experiment, I had rice last night with a steak and mixed veggies. It was tasty! I did cheat and I had a small cup of frozen yogurt last night (I blame this on Pete as he wanted the frozen yogurt)! I was very good when he decided to have a Corona last night. I fought the urge to enjoy a tasty beer on a beautiful summer evening outside, but I did not have any beer; I just drank my water. Will power!

More than anything, I want a damn Diet Coke! I want a Diet Coke so bad that I can taste it. This surprises me because there are times that I go a couple of days without soda, so I am not sure why it is bugging me now!

For lunches, I made a roasted carrot soup, a roasted tomato soup and salads. I am (surprisingly) really enjoying almonds and sunflower seeds instead of crackers, but part of me still misses my crunchy Wheat Thins.

For dinner on Monday night, I made a very quick dinner before going to get my hair done. Dinner was a pork and ginger stir fry, which was like an inside out pot sticker. I left out the wontons and the spicy pepper since I am not a fan of spicy food. This recipe for Pork and Ginger Wonton Stir Fry comes from The Washington PostClick this link to see the original recipe, but here is my version.

Pork and Ginger Wonton Stir-Fry
- Salt
- One-inch piece ginger root
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 scallions (will do more next time because I like cooked scallions)
- 2 TBS Olive Oil
- 1 pound lean ground pork
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 TBS unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch

Peel and mince the ginger and garlic, which can be chopped together. Cut the white and green parts of the scallions crosswise into thin slices. 

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the ginger and garlic; stir-fry for about 1 minute, then add the ground pork, using a spatula to break it up. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat loses its raw look.

Meanwhile, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and cornstarch in a liquid measuring cup until well blended. Stir the sauce into the skillet and cook for 1 minute; add the scallions. Reduce the heat to medium-low. The sauce will thicken slightly.

I enjoyed this topped with shredded carrots and an avocado. Next time I think I will cook the carrots in with the mixture. I had intentions of putting this on top of rice or bean noodles to get that carb feeling and taste without having it, but I ran out of time.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Healthy Eating Challenge for a Week

Yes, you read my headline correctly. It may seem weird to only do a healthy eating challenge for one week, but I know myself. For some goals, I know that I need to start small and work my way up. I'd like to start by saying that I don't think I eat all that unhealthy at this point in my life. I rarely eat fast food, except for the occasional sub from Subway, Jimmy John's or Erbert and Gerbert. I do splurge every now and then and enjoy a Chipotle Steak Bowl or sandwich and soup combo at Panera, but overall, I am fairly healthy.

I am not sure what sparked this, but part of it was while I was watching the Food Network this morning. Paula Deen was cooking with a guy who rarely eats anything that is processed. I thought, "Wow! That must be hard." The more I thought about it, laying in bed and eating my processed granola bar, I decided that it can't be that hard. And just like that, I decided that this coming week (Monday through Sunday), I will eat no processed foods. And, I think I've roped my roomie, Sara, into this venture with me!

I have done things like this in the past. Several years ago, I decided to stop drinking anything with caffeine for one week. That one week turned into one month and then a year and before I knew it, I hadn't had a caffeinated beverage in several years. Since then I have started drinking caffeinated beverages again, but I know I don't need them and can go forever without drinking caffeine if I choose to do so. I don't drink a lot of caffeine as it is; everything in moderation. 

Now, there are several definitions of processed food. This is my as much on the outside of the grocery store and as little down the aisles as possible. For one week, I am cutting out crackers, granola bars, chips, cereal and cookies (which I rarely eat), breads, possibly pasta, lunchmeat, soda, any beverages with alcohol, and anything that has an ingredient in it that I cannot pronounce. I will NOT be cutting out meats - chicken, pork nor steak. 

I enjoyed about 45 minutes in the grocery store this morning and I stuck to the areas with fruits, veggies, meat, eggs, and only ventured down two aisles. Note the photo of groceries for the first half of this week.

My hardest challenge this week will be crackers, granola bars and bread for sandwiches. I generally eat a granola bar every morning around 9:00 a.m., crackers for a mid-morning or afternoon snack and if you know me, you know I love my subs! But, you can do anything for a week! This week, in place of a granola bar will be hard boiled eggs and fruit salad. In place of crackers will be almonds and sunflower seeds.

Soda may also be difficult for me as I like to have one Diet Coke at lunch each day. This is (for the most part) the only soda that I drink in a day. In the past, I have given up soda, so I know I can live without it once again. I hate coffee, so that isn't an issue, but I do drink tea. Luckily, I know what's in my tea and it is good for you!

I am a soup lover so I am making a roasted carrot and basil soup, as well as roasted tomato soup. You see the two boxes of yellow Chicken Stock? There are no unknown ingredients in the box and it is made with vegetables and herbs. Yes, more expensive than Swanson's, but I know what is in this box. The couscous ingredients are ... couscous. That's it. I bought my favorite veggies for salads. I love just a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil on my salads, so I will not miss store bought dressings. 

For dinners, I plan to make a pork and ginger stir fry, grill chicken and maybe some veggies, and I will enjoy chicken legs another night with couscous and a stir fry of mushrooms.

I am excited to make the dishes this week. This afternoon in just a couple of hours, I have made a fruit salad, hard boiled eggs and two soups. I know that doing this work today will help me with my goal throughout the entire week. But today, before I start my challenge tomorrow, I am eating some things that I enjoy, such as the granola bar, Subway sandwich, Doritos, and a fountain soda. And I will enjoy an adult beverage at dinner tonight! Wish me luck! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

May 2013 - A Fabulous Month in the Life of Lindsay

Oh my! So much has happened in my life since my last post on April 18th. That seems so long ago. Life is good. No, life is great!

Work Life: I am so fortunate to be working (what I consider to be) my dream job. I am working for a previous employer in Washington, DC called the National Agricultural Aviation Association...and I am able out of my home in Green Bay. NAAA is a national trade association representing the aerial application (crop dusting) industry. I am their new Manager of Meetings, Marketing & Special Projects. I am doing the meeting planning for two board meetings and one large convention each year, as well as various marketing responsibilities and projects. I loved working for the organization when I was there from 2004-2008 and I'm so happy that they kept me in mind for when the time was right! The time was right and I was ready for the new challenge! 

Engaged: Pete and I got engaged on May 1, which was his 40th birthday. We went to a wonderful dinner at a nice restaurant in downtown Green Bay called Hinterland. After dinner, we went to a coffee house named Kavarna for a cup of tea. We had our first date on March 2, 2011 at this coffee house and Pete proposed in the same spot where we sat the first time we met in person. It was such a great proposal and meant so much to me. The photo below was immediately after Pete proposed. 

I am so excited to marry Pete and have this fabulous partner for life. I am so overjoyed that I also get to be a bonus mom to Sam and Maggie (will be five and three in August, respectively). They are such great kids and I can't wait to be more involved in their lives. I feel so blessed and overjoyed with all the excitement in my life.

I can't wait to marry my best friend on May 31, 2014 in Green Bay at La Grange Ledgestone Barn.