Meatless Monday-Overnight Oatmeal

000oatsI love oatmeal!  I’ll eat it almost any way you fix it. I especially love it baked, as a breakfast cereal. Sadly, I don’t always have time to bake my oatmeal, and there are days when it isn’t prudent to warm the house with a hot oven. What then should I do? Make overnight oats.

Below, I have copied a recipe for overnight oats I found on the ISHA website.  I’ve seen similar recipes all over the web, but this is the one that hit my fancy today, so I wanted to share it as my Meatless Monday post. Enjoy!

Mixed Berry Overnight Oats Vegan Breakfast Recipe

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup almond milk (you can also use milk, yogurt, or non-dairy milk/yogurt of your choice)

2 tsp maple syrup or honey

Pinch of cinnamon

Few drops vanilla

Fresh berries

1 TBS chia seeds, optional

Directions:

In the evening, in a small bowl or jar, stir together oats, almond milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and chia seeds. Much of the liquid will be absorbed overnight, but if you desire a thinner or thicker consistency, you can add more or less almond milk. Cover the container and leave it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, top with fresh berries and enjoy.

If you’d like to vary your oats to enjoy them a different way each day, try topping with raw nuts like walnuts or pecans, pomegranate seeds, sliced banana or apple, raisins, or whatever you like!

Advertisements

Meatless Monday–NOT

My recipe for today isn’t really an officially formatted recipe, and it’s not meatless, though it could be. Its a throw together meal that I would be willing to make and eat a million times over, shared here in a very informal manner.  000chick pea soupChick Pea Soup

Here’s how I do it…I put together in a pot:

1 can of Swanson Chicken stock

1 can of stewed tomatoes, pureed in the blender

1 sweet potato, cubed into small pieces, already cooked

1 cans of Chick Peas, drained

2-3 sausage links, cooked and coined

Salt, pepper, oregano, basil to taste.

2 cups fresh spinach, added a few minutes before serving.

I put the broth and tomatoes in the pot first, then add the spices.  I let that simmer for a little bit, enough to bring the flavors together.  I cook the sweet potato separately, ahead of time, because I want to eliminate some of the starch in the recipe.  You could do the same, or if you want the soup to be thicker, add the potato in the stock you’ve made and simmer until done–about 15 minutes.  Next I add the sausage coins and the chick peas.  The spinach is the last item I add to the pot.  I bet you could use kale too, but I haven’t–yet!

If you like onions, you can dice one and add at the beginning, letting them cook while the broth melds with the spices.

While this soup is cooking on the range top, I throw some corn bread in the oven. My favorite go-to recipe is found in the Happy Everyday Herbivore cookbook that you can check out here.  It’s made of white flour and whole wheat flour and it’s really dense and moist (probably because of the pumpkin–I sometimes use creamed corn in a pinch).  The cornbread only takes 25 minutes to bake, and the soup is done about that same time.

This recipe is quick, easy, and so, so, sooo delicious and filling.  It has tons of vitamins and nutrients in it, and the corn bread and chick peas provide a lot of fiber and texture.  Its simple to make and I usually have all the ingredients on hand–the win/win I’m looking for on those nights when I have meetings after work.

Try this soup and let me know what you think. I love it!

What is your favorite soup?  Do you have a tried and true recipe for those hectic nights? 

 

 

 

Black Bean Fail

000blk beans

Sooo, last night I made homemade chicken soup and thought I would add some extra fiber with black beans.  I love soup on a cold night, and lately we have had our share of cold nights.  Chicken soup is comfort food, for sure, but with black beans added…

Big mistake!

The broth on the soup looked like sewer slop.

It tasted okay (a lil more beanie than I would have liked), but it look horrible.

Note to self: Do not use black beans in a clear broth scenario in the future.

Last night’s supper: Big FAIL

I hate that, because chicken soup from scratch is a time-consuming dish.

Now, what do I do with the leftovers????

Ummm, Good!!!

One of my favorite comfort foods is homemade soup.

000hamburg soup

Last night we had a hot bowl of hamburger soup made with my brother’s grass-fed beef. It was delicious and so easy to make. Here’s how I did it:

Brown ground beef with garlic in a pan. Clove garlic or powder will work, but I like to keep it real, so I use a clove of garlic, whole.  Drain grease, which brings me to comment on the greasy nature of this beef.  When liquids were added, a lot of fat came to the top. Much more than store-bought beef. Why?  I wondered about that, but I digress…

Drain the grease from meat, then add 1 large container of beef broth. I use the low sodium Swanson brand.  Then I take one 12 oz or so can of stewed tomatoes and put them in the blender.  Some of the men in my fam don’t like tomato chunks in their soup, so I do this to please them, but you can leave them chunky.  I use stewed tomatoes because they already have the peppers and onions and other spices in them. Easy. Add them in.

Next, I add 2 raw potatoes and 2 carrots that have been sliced into coins, and let it go to work for about 10 minutes.  Next, I add salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and celery seed, to taste.  Then I add frozen mixed veggies (10-12 oz bag), and half a cabbage, shredded.  I put the pot on and let it do its thing while I make a whole wheat anise and pumpkin cornbread I found in the Everyday Happy Herbivore cookbook, one of my favorites.

000everyday-happy-herbivore-by-lindsay-s-nixon-01714a906c8b05c8

The whole process takes only 30 minutes, and we sit down to a homemade and nutritious meal that we all enjoy.  Yum, Yummmmm.  Last night, I got hubs to start the meat while I commuted from my day job, which made prep that much easier.

I love easy!

For you guys out there, this is a really easy recipe.  My guy made the cornbread last night, himself, and it was soo good. The anise makes it taste like candy and the pumpkin ensures it is never dry.  For an even shorter short cut, all the liquid stuff could be done in the blender, including the addition of spices, and then poured int a bowl, covered and left in the frig overnight.  It really is a great dish for a cold night.  Enjoy!

The Experiment–7 Days Done

For the last week I have been conducting an experiment, The Experiment.  During The Experiment, I’ve been avoiding comfort foods, in an attempt to give myself a clearer understanding of how much I use food to sooth myself and what I would do if I had all those foods I consider comfort foods removed from my diet.  I know that my comfort foods are not the same as those others might identify, but I thought for the purpose of this post it would be good for me to list the kinds of foods I decided to avoid this week.

Defining The Experiment

During The Experiment I avoided the following comfort foods, and monitored my reaction to not having them as a part of my diet:

Coffee

Dairy Creamer, usually half and half

Chewing gum

Dark Chocolate, I don’t eat milk chocolate

Popcorn after dinner

Fast foods, including, but not limited to salads

You might look at this list and say, “Well, there you go, that’s her problem,” and it might be you’re right.  If there wasn’t anything that needed changing in my food plan, I probably wouldn’t have embarked upon The Experiment in the first place.  I assure you, though, that I do not eat fast food on a regular basis.  I eat almost no fast food, but included this category because I do eat out, probably more than I should, and some of the choices I make in restaurants could be classified as fast food, ie: grilled chicken salads at Wendy’s.

But I digress.

About The Experiment:

I had an epiphany when I was driving alone last week.  It had to do with my eating. It also had to do with my choice of foods. It had to do with how much I rely on food to sooth my ruffled feathers.  Yes, ladies and gents, it had to do with emotional eating.  It had to do with why I’m at a plateau with my weight AGAIN, and what I might do to figure out a different way to get to my goal weight.  My thought during this epiphany was that I use food in the wrong ways and to the wrong effect many times. I’ve known this piece of the puzzle was true of me for a while, but it became more apparent during my time in the car.  If I could just identify why I crave certain foods at certain times, I conjectured, I could make a plan and change a habit, and finally get the weight moving down again.

I also wanted to quit bowing down to my appetite.

As of today I have been doing this conscious comfort food monitoring for one week–seven days–and I have discovered a few things about myself in the process.

What I’ve discovered

1.  Foods that sooth remain a powerful presence in my life.

2.  I want to get to my goal weight and quit relying on foods to sooth me, but not enough to eliminate them from my diet completely.

3.  I cannot find a gentler, easier way to let go of foods that sooth other than the hard disciplines of self-sacrifice.

4.  I can quit eating foods that sooth for a time, but it takes real determination and focus to do it.

5.  My greatest struggle in resisting foods that sooth happens between the hours of 5:00 and 7:00pm, while I’m fixing dinner.

How it all shook out

I was able to abstain from coffee, half and half, artificial sugars, and chewing gum for 7 days.   That’s huge for me.

I ate noticably less foods that sooth, even when I did not completely abstain from eating them.

I was not able to abstain from eating dark chocolate, popcorn, or fast food salads during this time.  I ate grilled chicken salads at Wendy’s several times this week.

What I’ve discovered

Monitoring the foods in my diet that have a soothing affect on me has been profitable.  Just identifying them was a real lesson in self-awareness.  When I craved something, I would ask myself why, then make note of the answer.  I slept better the first few days I was off the coffee, but after that no discernible difference was observed in my sleep patterns.  I had one day when I didn’t ache as much, but I’m not sure if that was due to the food change, or to temperature and bariatric pressure changes in NEPA.  I ate less chocolate (dark chocolate is my go-to snack in the late afternoon, and holds me over until supper; one square does the trick), mostly because I was being mindful of cravings and noting them when they occurred.

I asked myself this question a number of times during the week:  Why do I feel I need to have that right now?  

I only had popcorn after dinner once.

All in all, I think The Experiment was a success.  I ate less, was more conscious of the things I did eat and why I ate them, and made it through a week I knew would be challenging before I began.  I feel stronger for having done that, and when tempted to chew a piece of gum yesterday (I’m a big gum chewer and definitely use it to sooth my appetite during the day), I passed on the offer.

I did not lose weight during The Experiment.

I think that if I were to employ The Experiment several times each month, I might, just through habit, begin to feel like I could exclude some of the foods in my life that sooth on a more permanent basis, and that would be a good, good thing.  For now, I’m happy to have experimented with food and cravings for one week, and I would be willing to do it again in the future.  I have journaled about it during the week, and feel that recording my thoughts here will help me, and might help someone else to give their own experiment a try.  That is my hope, anyway.

Have you ever experimented with removing certain foods from your diet for a period of time?  What was your reaction to not eating those foods?  Did you go back to them, or did you leave them out of your diet forever?

My Kryptonite

kryptonite

It’s hard to believe, but I think a sausage biscuit sandwich may be my Kryptonite.

Ugh.

Gotta work on getting something else to eat on those mornings when its grey, dark, wet and pouring rain.

Coffee. Check.

Acceptable.

Sausage on a white flour biscuit. NOT!

Desirous of a cleaner, healthier, more integrity-driven eating plan, I’m confessing this morning.

Do you sometimes slip into bad food neighborhoods when the weather turns nasty?

I’m for sure not Superman today, but I will work on having a healthier lunch.