Monthly Archives: November 2013

Baked Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats

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Having breakfast already prepared when I wake up is so helpful. Even though I am a stay at home mom and we arent usually rushing out the door early in the morning, it still just helps my morning go so much smoother if breakfast is decided and ready. Its especially important on days we have church early or we have somewhere else to be. I’d say 5 days out of 7 our breakfast is made and waiting in the refrigerator to be heated back up.

We have all really grown to prefer steel cut oats over rolled. They are much heartier and have a different texture. They are also less processed and seem to fill us up hold us over really well. I also soak all of our grains for added nutrition benefits but I assume that step can be skipped. Also, if you are accustomed to sweetened oatmeal, add a couple Tbs of maple syrup or honey to the mix. We eat it as the recipe states, relying on the cinnamon and pumpkin for a little sweetness. Its amazing how your taste buds adapt. If I tried to eat plain oatmeal without sugar 10 years ago it would have tasted so bland. Now the sugar laden stuff takes fake and disgusting and would give me a stomach ache. Its funny people think those packets of oatmeal are healthy. Might as well eat a piece of cake for breakfast, and it would taste much better too.

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This is not handheld like a granola bar but not soupy like oatmeal. Letting it sit overnight in the refrigerator and cutting it the next morning really helps it keep its shape. You can top it with some nut butter, coconut, or a drizzle of maple syrup if desired. And my favorite part is that this gives all 4 of us a healthy breakfast for 2 days that the kids are excited to eat in the mornings.

Baked Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats

serves 8

2 cups steel cut oats (soaked for 24 hours in warm water and 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar, then drained)

2 cups water

1 cup milk

1 cup pumpkin

3 eggs

2 Tbs ground flax or chia seeds

1 Tbs coconut oil

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

3/4 cup almonds or other nut, chopped or 1/3 cup seed of choice

1/3 cup raisins or juice sweetened dried cranberries (not sugar laden craisins)

Soak oats and nuts/seeds for 24 hours. Drain. Place in a 9X13 pan with 2 cups water and cook at 350F until most of the water is absorbed, roughly 20 minutes, stirring once part way through.

Mix together remaining ingredients (besides coconut oil) in separate bowl.

Take oats out of oven. Stir in coconut oil on hot oats so it melts easily. Stir in rest of ingredients. Place back in oven for another 45 minutes, until there is a golden crust on top.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 279

Fat: 15 g

Sodium: 114 mg (5%)

Carbohydrates: 28 g

Dietary Fiber: 7 g

Sugars: 5.6 g

Protein: 11.4 g

Thanksgiving Stuffing

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Stuffing is my favorite food on Thanksgiving. But I am pretty picky about it. I love it with breakfast sausage for a little salty, cranberries for a little tart, apples for a little sweet. I do not like it when there are chunks of onions or its just plain without multiple add ins. Although if you do like onions, you could always add 1/2 a  chopped onion in with the celery instead of the onion powder. This is my go to recipe for Thanksgiving and Christmas or just whenever Alyssa requests it. She is completely with me and this is her favorite. She is super disappointed when we eat with someone else and the stuffing is missing the sausage or cranberries.

If you use sprouted grain bread, juice sweetened cranberries, and pasture raised nitrate free sausage, it can be a nice healthy addition to your Thanksgiving spread. There’s no need to eat horrible processed foods when the healthy ones taste just as good, if not better! And it will help prevent that huge food coma to not be so loaded down with butter, preservatives, and salt.

Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe

1 lb breakfast sausage

2 apples, diced

1 cup chopped celery

1 Tbs poultry seasoning

2 tsp dried sage

1 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 cup dried cranberries

6 cups cubed bread of choice (sprouted, whole wheat, potato, baguette, etc depending on health and taste preference)

2-3 cups chicken broth

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Cook breakfast sausage well. Drain grease but do not wipe out the pan. To the greased pan add celery and apples and cook until both are soft, about 5-10 minutes. Turn off heat. Add to large mixing bowl. Add cranberries and bread.

Mix together all seasonings. Sprinkle on top of bread mixture then add 2 cups of chicken broth, stirring well so bread is evenly coated.

Cook at 350F for 30 minutes until bread is no longer soggy and everything is heated through. if it gets too dry add some or all of the remaining chicken broth, plus even more depending on how dry or mushy you like stuffing.

Cookie Dough Bites

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My blood sugar gets all crazy when I am pregnant. With my second child, I had bull blown gestational diabetes. I am going this morning to get tested for this pregnancy. My chances aren’t great with a 2/3 chance of having it since I had it last time.  I intermittently test my levels though already, so I have an idea of my levels, and I am expecting to fail the test and have gestational diabetes again. I controlled it with diet alone my last pregnancy, no insulin needed, and I plan to do the same this time. That means I can not go long without eating. I have to eat 3 balanced meals and then 3 snacks as well. If I skip my snacks, my blood sugars are more likely to spike after my next meal.

I like to rely on things that are easy to carry with me, and it must have a balance of small amount of carbs and a good amount of healthy fats and carbs. Its all about balancing macronutrients. These cookie dough bites have a great balance of macronutrients, all whole foods, and only 1 tablespoon of sweetener in the entire batch, and its just local honey. The batch made 15 and I assumed that would be my afternoon snack for a few days. Until Dave got home from work and saw them and said Oh yay! So then the kids knew something good was in the refrigerator and there went my snacks.

Cookie Dough Bites

3/4 cup almonds

3/4 cup oats

1/2 cup applesauce

1/4 cup coconut

2 Tbs chia seeds

2 Tbs ground flax seeds

1 Tbs honey

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp cinnamon, optional

pinch salt (if almonds are unsalted)

Place almonds and oats in food processor and process until a flour is made (not almond butter). Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until combined. Roll into 1.5 inch balls with slightly wet hands so the dough doesn’t stick to you.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 72

Fat: 4.3 g

Sodium: 7 mg (0%)

Carbohydrates: 5.7 g

Dietary Fiber: 2.6 g

Sugars: 1.5 g

Protein: 2.5 g

Green Bean Casserole with Fresh Cream of Mushroom and Homemade Baked Fried Onions

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Green Bean Casserole is one of my favorite dishes at Thanksgiving, that and the stuffing. However, I do not like it when it is overly soupy, especially when that soup comes straight out of a can and has a million unhealthy  ingredients, additive, and preservatives I can’t pronounce. It is so easy to make a quick, healthy cream of mushroom soup with fresh mushrooms and whole milk, theres really no reason not to. And the fried onions, depending on brand, actually have a few simple ingredients (onions, flour, milk, oil) in them. Who says comfort food has to be bad for you? Making your own is actually really simple too if you’re feeling up to it.

Green Bean Casserole

            makes 8 smallish thanksgiving sized portions

1 lb green beans

8 oz mushrooms

1 Tbs butter

2 tsp minced garlic

1 1/2 Tbs flour

3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth

3/4 cup whole milk

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

Fried onions, optional (recipe to follow)

Cut off ends of green beans and chop into bite sized pieces. Boil or steam until desired level of tenderness, roughly 5-10 minutes. Take out of water when done.

Wash and chop the mushrooms into small pieces. Melt butter in skillet. Add mushroom pieces, salt, pepper, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes until mushrooms are soft. Add flour and stir well. Add chicken broth a little at a time until combined. Add milk.  Simmer for 15 minutes until sauce is thickened.

Stir green bean pieces in sauce. Top with fried onions if using that are slightly crumbled. Cook for 20 minutes at 350F. Make sure onions don’t burn.

To make own baked fried onions:

1/2 sweet onion. sliced very thin

1/4 cup milk

3 Tbs flour of choice (whole wheat, all purpose, oat, gluten free)

salt, pepper, garlic powder

1 Tbs oil

Place sliced onion in milk and let soak in the refrigerator. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder into flour. Heat oil in skillet as hot as you can without it spitting everywhere (medium-medium/hot)

Dredge onions in flour mixture then into hot oil. Flip after 1-2 minutes. Cook until golden brown or oil is all absorbed. Transfer to baking sheet and cook at 350 F until onions are as tender as you desire.  You could also add more oil and fry until tender but that would obviously result in a completely fried onion.

 

Nutritional Information (including onions)

Calories: 92         60 without onions

Fat: 4.4 g              2.5 g without onions

Sodium: 247 mg (10%)

Carbohydrates: 10 g         7.5 g without onions

Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g

Sugar: 3 g

Protein: 4 g

Chocolate Ricotta Mousse

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Now that I am feeling a little better, my nightly dessert is back. But as always, I like to make it count as a healthy snack as well, especially being pregnant. I get tested for gestational diabetes in a couple weeks (which I have a 2/3 chance of failing since I had it with Cassidy) so I definitely don’t need to be eating white flour and sugar that would spike my blood sugar (not that we use those things normally anyway). I need something that has a balance of some carbohydrates, protein, and fat all from whole foods. So pretty much what every meal and snack should be anyway.

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This chocolate mousse is about as simple as it gets. Its perfect for me right now too since I am trying to get more calcium in for growing baby #3 and most dairy is less than appealing to me right now. But this, however, is very appealing! It is sweetened with only a small amount of honey and uses dark chocolate cocoa. 4 ingredients and about 2 minutes and dessert is served.

Chocolate Ricotta Mousse

serves 4

1 15 oz container part skim ricotta

1/4 cup honey

3 Tbs dark chocolate cocoa

1/4 tsp vanilla

Place it all in a food processor and whip until smooth. I have found certain brands of ricotta to be less “grainy” than others so those are better for a smoother mousse.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 216

Fat: 8.7 g

Sodium: 130 mg (5%)

Carbohydrates: 25 g

Dietary Fiber: 1.2 g

Sugars: 17.8 g

Protein: 13 g

and 30% Daily Value of Calcium, score!

24 Weeks Pregnant

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I am now arguably 6 months pregnant. That’s assuming there are only 4 weeks in 1 month when there are really more like 4.3 weeks in a month. Pregnancy actually lasts 9 months and 1 week if you count it out, not 10 like many claim. Its 10 lunar months but that would make 14 months lunar months in a year if you count it that way and no one says there’s 14 months in a year. And if you want to get really technical, its actually 1 week short of 9 months because you don’t even conceive until you are 2 weeks pregnant. So yea, I go by weeks so its less confusing!

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I took this pregnancy survey offline…

How far along are you? 24 weeks 4 days

How big is Baby? 1 1/3 lbs and 12 inches according to my weekly email

Weight Gain? around 11

Gender? Girl #3!

Maternity Clothes? some. I can still wear normal shirts and regular leggings but jeans are maternity and I have a few shirts I wear as well.

Stretch Marks? Not yet. I didn’t get any with my first 2 pregnancies so I’m hoping that holds up for round 3

Sleep? not great. I get up like 5 times a night to go to the bathroom and I just have trouble sleeping in general. More insomnia related, not because I am uncomfortable…yet!.

Symptoms? Still nauseas pretty often but no longer throwing up, migraines, etc 24/7 so I’ll take it!

Movement? All the time. I started feeling her around 14 weeks and you can easily see her make my belly do the wave. She is getting up into my ribs now too. All 3 kids would get their feet up under my right rib, never my left though. Weird.

Food Cravings? not really. But I am able to eat sweets again without getting sick. Bad timing with Halloween last week! I have a lot of aversions though like fried or greasy foods, red meat, most dairy, nuts sometimes, and anything ethnic at all. Mexican, indian, thai, chinese, and japenese are all of the question. Anything acidic is off the table too.

Labor Signs? Lots of braxton hicks. More on days I take a walk or lift. I need to be careful because I get the 5 in an hour (when you are supposed to go to labor and delivery) quite often. But I know what causes them and how to make them stop so I just keep them under control and have yet to have to go to the hospital for them.

Belly Button in or out? still in but getting more shallow. It got flat with my other 2 but never popped out.

What I miss? Sleeping on my stomach. Also the feeling of not being nauseas but I’m not sure I even remember what that feels like anymore. I also miss my normal energy.

What I am looking forward to? my doctors appointment this week. I am switching doctors to a family friend so I have quite a few questions I need to ask and get situated.

Best moment of the week? Halloween with my babies. I had a Doc McStuffins and a Chef I got to trick or treat with. And a special shirt for baby girl #3 too.

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Meal Plan 11/3

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I am not feeling so well nausea wise this weekend so I know if I don’t meal plan today I will just end up torturing myself every afternoon when I have to think of something to make. (All recipes used are on my recipe tab)

Dinners:

Lentil and quinoa stir fry

Lemon herb roasted chicken pieces, baked sweet potatoes, roasted broccoli

Beef, bean, and cabbage soup (I’ll make up a recipe as I go)

Sprouted grain coated chicken fingers, roasted green beans, baked potato fries

Homemade butternut squash gnocchi with chicken sausage and collard greens (same recipe as sweet potato gnocchi)

We have the Marine Corps Birthday Ball one night, so Dave and I will eat out (I ordered Salmon, wild rice, and mixed vegetables and Dave got the Filet). I will feed the kids leftovers and spinach kefir smoothies before we go so they aren’t eating the dominos pizza and juice/soda they are serving the kids at the provided child care.

Breakfasts will include:

Soaked steel cut oat baked pumpkin oatmeal x 2

Eggs and smoothies

soaked banana, almond, chia seed oats x 2

Soaked protein pumpkin pancakes

Lunches will be leftovers, salads, smoothies, homemade pumpkin soup, plain yogurt with mashed banana for sweetness and topped with seeds/nuts.

And since my sweet tooth is back and I am needing an evening snack to make sure I gain enough weight despite the nausea I will be making desserts/evening snacks of pumpkin brownies, chocolate ricotta mousse, chocolate date ice cream (sugar free), and probably some random oat, banana, flax, raisin cookie creations.