Day 21!

August 12, 2012

We wrapped up the dog-sitting, but then Nikki’s family came into town from Maryland for a long weekend. It was fun to spend time with them! It also was a bit challenging at times because they would go out to eat or make food and we couldn’t have anything. It all worked out fine though. We planned ahead and made our own food so that we wouldn’t miss out on too much.

Tonight we made cheesy vegetable chowder. MmmMmm. It was so good! Nikki found the recipe on Pinterest, so we thought we’d give it a try. We love soups but it was a nice change from the vegetable soups we’ve been having lately. It’s not really a summery soup, but hey, we wanted to try it!

Only 4 days until we leave for Arizona! WooHoo! Lots to do

Here’s the recipe:

2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1 stalk celery, finely chopped (feel free to add more celery if you like celery; I don’t, so I don’t add much)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth (I usually use a mixture of low-sodium chicken broth and broth made with chicken soup base because it gives it such nice flavor)
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup milk
2 cups chopped broccoli
2 heaping cups shredded cheddar cheese
Melt the butter in a large soup pot.  Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute over medium heat until tender.  Add garlic and cook 1 or 2 additional minutes.  Add chicken broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, and cook until potatoes are tender.  Mix flour with water, add, and simmer until soup is slightly thickened.  Add milk and broccoli and cook until broccoli is just tender and soup is heated through.  Stir in cheese, allow to melt, and serve.
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Recipe from http://luluthebaker.blogspot.com
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Day 18! (What a week!)

August 9, 2012

As we said in our last post, we’ve been dog-sitting/ house sitting all week and it is really nice to have a kitchen all to ourselves. On Tuesday, we used the extra shrimp we had to make shrimp tacos. Delicious! I found this recipe for simple shrimp tacos online. We added cheese, guacamole, and salsa to our tacos, too. Ya know, just to fatten’ em up! 😉 These tacos were seriously good and seriously easy. They’re also a nice change from the usual black bean tacos we eat. 

Last night Chris and I went on a long overdue date night. We decided on a restaurant we’ve been wanting to try for a while now, Green Zebra. The restaurant’s focus is locally produced fruits and vegetables so you know what that means, no meat! It was wonderful to read through a menu and be able to chose from ANYTHING on it. Well, almost anything. We we’re staying non-processed after all.  The menu is made up of small plates, so you should order about 3 items per person (of course, Chris ordered four, plus dessert). One of our favorite items on the menu was a mushroom pate, served with spring onion marmalade and pickled cucumber. It was an earthy, complex dish that left us craving more. 

Unfortunately, the battery in our camera died. So, we won’t be able to take pictures until the weekend. 😦

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Also, just wanted to show off Chris’ french onion soup… the finished product!

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We’re making a broccoli chowder this weekend… stay tuned! 

Day 15! (Dog Sittin’)

August 6, 2012

Hola,

This week we’re cooking all of our meals from Nikki’s aunt and uncle’s house. We’re dog sitting! It’s been fun playing house. It’s nice to have the whole kitchen to ourselves to cook. We got some fresh seafood to play with this week, too.

Tonight we made coconut shrimp. It was delicious! We used a “skinny” recipe. It was the perfect combination of salty and sweat. We had some leftover coconut-planko mix, so we also made coconut carrots and a coconut banana pepper. We’re improvising! ha ha.

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Chris is also making some french onion soup! It is one of our favorites. We’re using Alton Brown’s recipe from the Food Network. We’re just swapping out the chicken and beef broth for vegetable broth, of course. The recipe takes about 2 hours to complete, but it is fairly simple and requires little work. 

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French onion soup! (in progress)

 

Day 12!

August 3, 2012

Right now Chris is in the kitchen making strawberry lemonade. I’m a bit excited because it has been a while since I’ve had juice. I bought a nice little water bottle and have pretty much just been drinking water all day… everyday. 

It has only been 12 days since we began our challenge of “100 Days of No Processed Food”, but I already can feel some difference. I feel less tired, less sluggish. Maybe it is in my head, but either way- I feel better! That was a big reason as to why I began this challenge. Chris and I both have been trying to eat healthy for years now, it is part of the reason we’re vegetarian. Then one day it just sort of hit me that although the food may seem healthy (mostly because it was labeled “healthy” or “low fat” or “natural” on the package) it just wasn’t. 

In addition to feeling  better, I’m also really having fun cooking and baking. I love finding new recipes and playing with different flavors or ingredients. I’ve been using some of my cookbooks from home, but I’ve also been using a lot of internet resources like Pinterest!

Plus, today I weighed myself and I’ve lost 3.5 lbs. since we started this challenge! Bonus!

Today I made a summer soup. It was super easy! And it tasted better than the ratatouille. Chris asked me to stop making vegetable soups though. ha ha So, we’ll be taking a break from soups for a while. I also made egg salad, which was a bit difficult since I couldn’t use mayonnaise or mustard. However, I used plain yogurt (a great substitute) and hot sauce just to change it up. 

Hope everyone has a good weekend! I’ll be spending most of mine at work. — Nikki

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Day 10…Happy August!

August 1, 2012

We’re joyfully writing this blog as we chow down on some homemade granola with yogurt. There is something so satisfying about making all of your own food (and having it turn out well, of course). Last night we cooked the ratatouille in the slow cooker and it was wonderful to have a nice dinner waiting for us when we got home from work today. 

After dinner we made some hard boiled eggs. We’re looking forward to trying a healthy egg salad recipe that Nikki found on Pinterest. We’ll use the leftover eggs for breakfast and a healthy snack. We also made the granola. We found a very simple recipe that makes about 2 weeks worth of granola. We’ll definitely have to try to make granola bars sometime, too. 

Tomorrow, Nikki will make a summer vegetable soup and we’ll make our meal plans for the next two weeks. We’re looking forward to trying even more recipes!

Star fruit, mango & cantaloupe 

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Granola

 

 

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Ratatouille 

 

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And, of course, a necessity for any good dinner…

 

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Day 8!

July 30, 2012

We spent the weekend camping with friends in Dodgeville, WI. We had a great time! It was nice to catch up with everyone. We also went on a 3 mile hike, swam in the lake, and sat around the camp fire. The veggie burgers worked out perfectly! We even shared a few with friends. The banana bread was a hit, too. We had just enough food to get us through the trip, which is just how we wanted it. 

Today, we cut up the veggies for the ratatouille we’re going to make in the slow cooker on Wednesday. That way, while we are at work the ratatouille can be cooking and it will be ready when we get home for dinner. We also made one of our favorite recipes for dinner tonight, veggie tacos. 

Ingredient list: black beans, blue corn tortillas, cheese, onions, green peppers, avocado, tomatoes, spinach and some leftover zucchini and squash. You can also use plain yogurt in place of sour cream. 

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Chris got a little crazy with the cheese…

 

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Yummm! 🙂

 

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Day 4!

July 26, 2012

The last 4 days have been great. We’ve been cooking more (well, Nikki has been cooking more, Chris has just been reaping the benefits) and trying out new recipes. The biggest challenge so far has been the temptation of other food. Today at work Chris’ company bought Giordano’s pizza…hard to pass up! Last night they also took Chris out to dinner (I know, whata lucky guy) so he had to be careful when ordering. He ordered tuna which seems like a safe, yet delicious, choice. 

This weekend we’re going camping. We’re super excited, but it presents an interesting challenge as well. We want to make sure we stick with our diet and have enough food to get us through the weekend. We decided to make our own veggie burgers (using this delicious recipe). It was so simple! We also made banana bread to use for breakfast or maybe to quench our sweet tooth as everyone else eats s’mores (simple recipe from 100 Days of Real Food). Some other things we’re bringing include eggs (both regular and hardboiled) veggies, hummus, and some left over vegetable gumbo which we made on Monday. We’re also bringing beer… lots and lots of beer. 🙂

We’ll be sure to report back after camping to let you all know how everything turned out!!

Veggie burgers (pre-baked)

 

 

 

 

 

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banana bread…

 

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Eggs & Veggies 

 

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Hope you all have a good weekend!!

Day One!

July 24, 2012

We made it past day one!  It felt good to be eating so healthy and it was nice to whip up some healthy recipes. We made a whole wheat pizza for dinner last night. It was fun just to relax in the kitchen, enjoy a glass of wine and make a wonderful dinner. Now, obviously every night can’t be like this. So, we also made a vegetable gumbo that we plan to eat tonight (Day 2) and we’ll use the leftovers throughout the week. 

It is important to mention that one of our biggest resources during this challenge will be the site http://www.100daysofrealfood.com. It is a great blog that offers tips for quitting processed foods, recipes, and even meal plans. Everyone should check it out!

Below is the recipe for the pizza (from 100 Days of Real Food) along with some pictures!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp yeast (active dry yeast)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur organic white whole-wheat flour)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Grated mozzarella cheese
  • Cooking oil spray

DIRECTIONS

  1. Drop the yeast into the 1-cup of warm water and let it go to work for a few minutes. It should foam up a little bit. Stir the salt and olive oil into the yeast mixture.
  2. Pour the flour and yeast mixture into a food processor with a dough blade or into a mixer with a dough hook and turn on the machine. (You can also mix up this dough by hand.)
  3. If the dough is too dry add warm water a teaspoon at a time and if it is too wet add flour 1 teaspoon at a time (ours was wayyy too dry, so we ended up adding a lot of water)
  4. Remove the ball from your food processor and knead into a smooth ball (if you are doing it by hand, like we did, kneading it will take some time). Put the dough into a large ziplock bag or bowl covered with plastic wrap (put a touch of olive oil in and coat the inside of the bag/bowl first) then leave it in fridge for as little as 1 hour or overnight depending on how much time you have. It will rise on it’s own in the fridge.
  5. When ready to make the pizza preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into the desired shape. Put the flat pizza dough on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking oil. Top the dough with homemade or organic tomato sauce, cheese and other toppings of your choice. Bake in a oven for about 10 min. or until crust and cheese are golden brown.

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Homemade whole wheat pizza dough and all the toppings!

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Rollin’ the dough.

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The finished product, yum!

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Enjoy! 🙂

We start tomorrow

July 22, 2012

Tomorrow is the official beginning of “100 Days of No Processed Food”. We’re looking forward to it!  We planned out our meals for the week and then yesterday we went to Whole Foods to pick up everything we needed. By planning out our meals it allows us to make some food ahead of time and it allows us to be sure that we will have all the ingredients we need (plus we don’t want to buy food and let it go to waste). Laying out our meals ahead of time also prepares us for any changes in our schedule (ie: Nikki works nights, Chris has school on Thursdays) so that we’ll still be able to stick with our plan.

Below is how we laid our our meals for this first week. We’ve already made the hard boiled eggs and our lunches for tomorrow. Tomorrow night we’ll make the whole wheat pizza (so excited!) and some of the other soups and salads for the week.

We’ll be sure to add some pictures later & let you know how our first day goes! 🙂

Week 1

 

Breakfast

Lunch

Snack

Dinner

Monday

Hard boiled eggs

 homemade “lunchables”

popcorn

Whole wheat Pizza

Tuesday (W)

Yogurt & fruit

Yellow & cherry tomato salad

Hard boiled eggs

Vegetable gumbo & grilled cheese

Wednesday (B)

eggs

Eat @ Work

Yellow & cherry tomato leftovers

Dinner Date? ❤

Thursday ©

Yogurt

Veggie, Hummus Wrap

Vegetable gumbo leftover

Homemade Veggie Burger (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/homemade-black-bean-veggie-burgers/)

Friday (W)

Hard boiled egg, fruit

PB & J

Hardboiled eggs

(*CH Camping)

Saturday

Camping*

 Eggs/ omelets

PB & J, Sandwich, Veggie Wrap

Popcorn, fruit, trail mix

Grilled cheese, veggie burger leftovers

Sunday

Camping*

eggs

“lunchables”, sandwhich

Popcorn, fruit, trail mix

Leftovers

Edit: Here are a couple of photos…

We’reeee Baccckkkkk!

July 20, 2012

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We’ve decided to reestablish the Lettuce Blog, with a slightly different purpose. Starting Monday, July 23, Chris and I will begin our “100 Days of No Processed Foods” challenge. We’re going to blog about how we cut out the processed  foods, our healthy recipes, and we may even throw in some restaurant reviews. The blog is a way to keep us honest and it allows us to share what learn along the way.