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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Soups on!

(wrote this on January 21st)

In the Colwill house, January should be official soup month. After all the fancy dinners, and food over the holidays, and with how easy it is to throw a pot of soup, salad, and some bread on the table on a chilly evening.......well, I've gone a bit overboard. Let's just say it's Wednesday, and we've had soup three evenings this week! I might have to tuck the other ones I'm dying to try away for a few days and give the family a break. :) Recipes will be below.

So I'm am doing a sympathy diet with someone, 14 days long of Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. I actually don't have many issues with the South Beach Diet, besides it being impossible to stay away from meat, dairy, and fake sugars these first few days. The diet itself in a nutsell has you stay away from refined sugars, and white starches. I think by now, we all know there is nothing wrong with that. What makes it a "diet" is that you go through 3 phases.

On Phase 1, which lasts 12-14 days depending on who you talk to, you cut out ALL sugars and starches, so that you can break your addiction to them. I've had to say goodbye to even some of my beloved healthy sugars such as FRUIT, and raw honey. *sniff*sniff*. The starches thing hasn't been that bad actually. I'm on day 4 now, and honestly don't miss them. However I was usually only eating a starch at dinner before, as I was trying to eat raw until dinner, so I have an advantage there.

I did not realize really, that though I eat a lot of healthy sugars, how many sugars I do eat. Lara Bars? can't have them, they have dates. Raweos? Can't have them, they have Raw Honey. I can't have my Green Lemonade, Raw Smoothies, or my Kombucha Tea!!! It's really a big switch for me in some ways, but very informational. Even though I've successfully cut out almost all refined sugars, am I still riding a sugar rollar coaster on the natural sugars? I'm starting to think maybe yes, a little bit.

The first day or two I had moments where I felt, well, manic. Really it was brief, but in those manic moments I wanted something sweet so badly, I thought I would tear my hair out. It doesn't help that I'm a stay at home mom, and I prepare food for the kids, and that fruit for me is probably what cake is to other people. It makes me go weak in the knees, I love fruit so much. So I obviously have to keep giving the kids fruit, and healthy whole grains, and that has been hard.

However, day 3 and 4 were easier. I haven't looked at the Dark Chocolate today with squinty eyes, even once. I realized I wasn't suppose to have corn either, which I didn't know before, so that's one more thing to cut out. I've been eating WAY more protein then I normally do, like probably 3x. In fact, I always drink my breakfast, so it has been a huge change for me to have eggs and veggies instead. The deal I made with this person was simply this: if I gain weight, I'm out.

However, I'm 4 days into it, and have lost 3 pounds. weird. so I'm going with it. I'm happy with my weight, so it's a bonus to me, and I'll keep going with the experiment. I'll write more about the other Phases when I get to them.

On to the soup recipes! I made the first one before starting Phase 1, just as a side note (there is corn, BBQ sauce which has sugar, and white flour in it, which are all no-nos) They all turned out really yummy, with the asparagus one being the biggest surprise. I didn't know what to expect with such a short ingredient list, and it was fabulous. Easy, quick, and yet interesting and yummy. That will go into my recipe file for sure. (The one in my brain, I'm not that organized)

The corn chowder I wrote about last time turned out surprisingly well. I bought 1 pound of crab meat to substitute the 2 pounds of chicken, and it was definitely a good call not to get more than that. In fact you would probably want less than that, maybe 1/2-3/4 pound depending on how much of a crab fan you are. I say that because it felt very indulgent, as it was overflowing with crab. You could eat this chowder how I made it with a fork people. yum!

It mocks the taste and texture of real chowder, which uses obsence amounts of half anf half, which a mix of creamed corn, and evaporated milk. Smart! This is not my typical recipe, but we liked it. It was something different for us.

Smoky Roasted Chicken and Corn Chowder

from Healthy Cooking magazine, featuring the recipe from "Eat, Shrink & Be Merry" by Janet and Greta Podleski
PREP/TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes

YIELD: 6 servings

4 slices bacon, chopped

1 cup diced onions

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 1/2 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried

2 Tbsp all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used veggie)

1 can (12 ounces) 2 % evaporated milk

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, well drained (push juice into a sieve as I did, and it tastes much better)

1 can (14.75 ounces) cream style corn

2 cups chopped roasted chicken breast (authors tip: buy a rotisserie chicken, and use shredded breast meat from it) (I used 1 pound crab meat)

1 Tbsp. hickory-flavored barbecue sauce

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)

1. Cook chopped bacon in a large, non-stick soup pot over medium-high heat until lightly browned but not crisp. Stir in onions, celery, red pepper and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

2. Add Thyme and flour. Mix well. Stir in broth and evaporated milk. Bring mixture to a gentle boil and stir continously until soup thickens slightly.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occaisionally. Serve hot.

Per serving (using chicken): 270 calories, 7.1 total fat (2.6 sat.) 24 g protein, 30g carbs, 3g fiber, 53 mg cholesterol, 619 mg sodium

Asparagus Soup with Parmesan Sprinkle
(from South Beach Diet Quick and Easy cookbook, by Arthur Agatston, MD)
Again, surprisingly easy, and shockingly satisfying for not being a cream soup. The kids ate a ramekin of the soup, and gave it a so-so rating. :)
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 20 minutes
"Just a few simple ingredients create this rich and flavorful springtime soup. You can thin it with a little water if you prefer a thinner soup, and use black pepper if you don't have white."

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
4 cups lower sodium chicken broth (can use veggie, will taste a bit different)
4 teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground white pepper

Heat oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add onion, garlic, and asparagus, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not brown.

Add broth, bring to a simmer, and cook until asparagus is just tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and carefully puree with a blender (BE CAREFUL, it's hot! I had to hold the top down on my blender.) or hand blender. Return to the pan, gently reheat, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve each serving with a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Makes 4 (1 1/4 cup servings)
per serving: 90 calories, 2 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 9 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 170mg sodium

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sausage and Rice Stew

My Auntie Linda got me a subscription to one of her favorite magazines "Healthy Cooking" which is put out by Taste of Home. I realized the other day I've never put any recipes on here from there, but I do make some out of there sometimes. One of my favorites has been a Brown Buttered Roasted Brussel Sprouts. (yum!) Last night and tonight we are having two recipes out of the most recent Feb/March 2009 issue.

Last night I went out for dinner with my dear friend Christine, and had such a great time. We went to our favorite Thai place. I was telling her that I made a dish with meat in it for the family since I would be out. That made her laugh, and she was saying I could call those nights

"Mom-less Meat nights" instead of the more typical "Mom's Meatless nights" this makes me giggle every time I think of it today. :)

So last night the family ate Sausage and Rice Stew. I changed this a bit because I wanted to use Brown rice in the recipe. I made the brown rice seperately in the rice cooker, and just stirred it in at the end. This worked well, as I think if you just tried to add brown rice where it says to add white, you'd have to change the liquid and the cooking time. I just didn't even have time that day to try to figure that out, but it worked great this way. I did sample some of the leftovers, and I really like it with the brown rice. It's a really hearty, satisfying, winter stew, without all the fat and calories. I do not think you should leave the sausage out, though I rarely say that. This needs it for the flavor.

Tonight after Elijahs birthday party we are having a Chowder out of the magazine. I am not a fan of chicken, and remembered that Elijah used to love Corn and Crab Chowder when we lived in CA. So I changed this recipe by substituting 1 pound of crab meat in for the 2 lbs of chicken. I'll let you know if that seemed like too much or too little crab. I just wanted to try to keep the cost also around the same, so that's why I got less. I'll post the recipe and the results hopefully tomorrow.

Credit goes to Taste of Home for the picture. I really think you could make this on a week night for those of you working out of the home. The prep time is minimal. Enjoy! yum!!

Sausage and Rice Stew

submitted by Kelly Young, Cocoa

PREP: 20 minutes

COOK: 30 minutes

YIELD: 6 servings

Catagory: Lower Fat
1 package (16 ounces) smoked turkey kielbasa, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeno slices
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cups water
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cans (15 ounces each) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup uncooked long grain rice (or cook seperately brown rice, as I did)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups fresh baby spinach
Directions: In a Dutch oven, saute the kielbasa, onion, shallots, jalapeno and garlic in oil until onion is tender. Add the water, broth, beans, rice and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender. (or stir in brown rice, and simmer until flavors have melded together) Stir in spinach. Cook 5 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Birthday Cake #2 and other randomness

The last couple of weeks have been a blur! We have our last Birthday party for my oldest son on Saturday, and I have GOT to get the frosting made tomorrow. It's going to be a Batman cake, blue and black (and have you all dyed frosting black? takes forever......)

Yesterday we got out of our Highlands Ranch rut, and explored the Denver Art Museum. Yes, that's right I brought a 3 year old, and 5 year old to an Art Museum. umhmm......and it was fun! really! The Denver Art Museum is the most kid-friendly art museum I have ever been to. I got tickets on Mile High Mamas for their first "Create Playdate" that they are doing the second Wednesday of every month the next 3 months, and it was really fun. I really felt like we got out of the house and did something different, and I wasn't beat-my-head-against-the-wall bored like I have been lately at parks and children's museums. (It must just be because I've been at this for 7 years now, I have had to get creative lately) I got to actually talk to other mamas, the kids got exposed to real art, and made was great. They have backpacks kids can check out with different themes, and they open different parts of the backpacks in different places in the museum. They had places for kids to blow off steam, or make their own art, in almost every area of the museum. Also the Denver Art Museum has this totally healthy place to eat right outside the front door called Mad Greens. If you haven't been there, you should try it. Even the kids meals are healthy. They get to pick three toppings for a salad, and have Pita on the side. yum!

Also I wanted to share with you, I came across this hilarious website called Cake Wrecks. It's
professional cakes that have gone really, really wrong. It has made me laugh SO hard. If you ever have 5 minutes, sit and scroll through on the right-hand side where it says "Fan Favorites".....SO funny. My favorite is not just the sexual harrassment cake, but her hilarious write up about it made me laugh until my sides hurt. whew!

Last weekend I made a Speed Racer cake for Isaac's birthday. Feeling overconfident (for no reason, as this one had no recipe or instructions, and I was just trying to remember a picture we SAW of a cake!) I made it THAT afternoon of the party, barely getting it done, forgetting to cut the cake flat, running out of blue frosting, and then having a HECK of a time getting the new blue frosting to dye the same color, as the clock is ticking. At the last minute, remembering Isaac ooo'd and aahh'd over Analise's 3 pink towers on the top of her cake, I made Isaac three blue towers on the top of his cake. Only to remember after I washed everything and put it away, THAT my son is turning 5. Yes. SO then I had to just stick two more candles in the cake, and the number "5" candle that he wanted. ei yi yi. Good thing Isaac is so gracious. I was disappointed, but also had a good laugh. Not Cake Wreck worthy, but something to remember!

And yes, he wanted those golden dragees on the yellow balls of the cake. And come on, don't insinuate they look like THAT. sheesh, he's 5 people!

I had to include this picture.....blowing out his candles? or just amazed at how the cake turned out? ;)

umhmmm....don't say it, the yellow things do not look like breasts. pleeeaassee.

after seeing how the others turned out, I did not put them on the bottom. This below by the way, is the ONLY picture of this cake I'm not embarrassed of. I could have just posted this pic! But I want you to know that I have disasters too!

How I just should have left the cake, but didn't. (Also, it's actually hard to make the top a different color than the sides! Who knew?)

and finally, proof that it at least tasted good. :) I love you Isaac! Happy Birthday!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The round of birthday cakes...Part 1

The kids want seperate birthday parties this year. Which might not sound like a big deal, BUT when all three kids have birthdays within a three week period, and that three week period is right after Christmas....ugh! It's hard to muster up the energy for more partying, but here we are. And making their cakes is something I love to do, and they LOVE to have me do, so it's a fun thing to throw myself into. Analise had to pick something from the "Expert" section of a book at the library, but I just went for it. Two-tiered you say? sugar hearts? towers on the top?
Let's go for it..... (first two pics taken by kiddos)

The Holidays

The holidays were a happy blur of parties, days lounging in PJ's, friends, food, and new adventures...... Here are some food related pics to share. First we had to have the Goat Cheese and Asparagus Crostada again. Then it's our tradition of Apple Pannekooken on Christmas morning (it's a German thing:), then I made a variation of Bread Pudding called Poor Man's Trifle, and topped it with Vanilla Bean ice cream, and the AWESOMEST Spiced Rum Sauce that we ate on everything for days afterward. Lastly, we have Fettucini with Vegetables, Vodka Marinara and Vegan Meatballs, and a pic of me at the Microsoft Christmas party dessert table!

One of my goals this year is to eat even healthier than I did in 2008. More raw foods, pursueing more local and vegan foods. Talking to the kids more about where our food is coming from, and why we make the choices we do. Over the last few months we've gotten really involved with the food ministry at our church and that has been just awesome for our family. That in itself has opened the door to many lovely conversations with the kids about all these things, and about why we help them, what the bible says, and what we feel like God calls us to do. As a food lover, the food ministry is something that comes so easily to me. I get excited to do it, and it feels good to have found the part of the church where my puzzle piece fits into so perfectly.

My husband found this cool "Cook for a Cause" at Generous Servings in Denver coming up this month. He encouraged me to sign up for it, and I did. I signed up for a two hour slot , so I'll be cooking for The Carpenter's Cupboard in Wheat Ridge on a Sunday this month. I'm really looking forward to it.
I'll be posting some more recipes soon. I made two yummy raw salads yesterday and today, and spent hours today on Analise's birthday cake. I can't wait to show it to her in the AM. More pics and posting to come soon. I hope you all have a happy and healthy 2009!