Soup Saturday

After teaching spin this morning and training a few clients, I decided to turn this dreary rainy weather into food prep day so we’d have delicious meals ready to roll through the week. There is nothing quite like a road trip to remind us why home cooked food is awesome!

Yesterday I made this yumminess:

IMG_1319.JPG

I’m more of a “throw it in the pan and see what happens” sort of cook. It’s the way my mom cooked growing up and more often than not, it turns out great.

Roughly, this is what I did:
2-3 tablespoons sesame oil, 2-3 tablespoons coconut aminos, 1 clove garlic minced, 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced, 1 package of lean sirloin strips.

Brown the meat and ginger and garlic in aminos and oil. Remove meat from pan and set aside in foil covered bowl. I then added a couple dashes more of the oil and aminos and then threw in the veggies; water chestnuts, carrots, celery, broccoli and cabbage. Stir fry until fork tender, then add steak back in. Top with a few more dashes of aminos and diced green onion. Sprinkle sesame seeds and serve! Also Whole30 compliant!

Speaking of Whole30, remember that? I followed it about 85-90% for 4 weeks, then we went on vacation. (I did not want to be the lunatic packing food for a cross-country drive.) Here are my takeaways from my Whole30ish:

  1. I’m not good with eliminating food I love. Yes, it’s only 30 days. No, it isn’t a huge deal, but often it sets us up to fixate on the food we aren’t “allowed” or that isn’t “compliant”.
  2. Not a huge fan of the Facebook groups associated with Whole30. I’m sure not all of them are like this, but the one I was in for “first timers” had a LOT of disordered eating patterns. Lots of legalism and “keeping with the rules”. Yes, I know that’s the point, but again – long term goals in mind – this sets people up for “failure” when they don’t “comply”. I really hate the language, too. So legalistic. Barf.
  3. I do love that it encourages a whole lot of veggies and fruits. Whole30 definitely makes you a label reader and there isn’t anything wrong with that! There is so much sugar in many things that really don’t even need it. The premise of eating only whole, real foods is definitely a good thing.
  4. Pickles. Yum. Found some with no sugar added: Bubbies! Cloudy and weird, but so tasty!prod_pure_kosher_dills_lg
  5. It got me back in my kitchen playing with my culinary skills. LOVE that. I love cooking and enjoyed planning, chopping, and prepping.
  6. I liked that there wasn’t snacking. There wasn’t 6-8 meals a day. Even though I enjoy food prep, I also would like to not live my entire life in the kitchen. There are 3 components to meals: proteins, veggies/fruit, and a healthy fat.  I was full in between, due to healthy fats like olives and avocados. Hmmm, avocados…..Yum!
  7. I learned that I actually can drink coffee black. I even liked it!** That’s one thing I will be taking away from Whole30 is that I will continue drinking it black. I noticed when I did put cream in, I didn’t care for it as much. Who knew?!  (**Liking black coffee – but still a coffee snob. My favorite is french press from freshly ground beans.)
  8. I noticed a big reduction in bloating. Because I didn’t do a “proper reintroduction” I don’t have the specifics on what causes bloating for me. Legumes or dairy. Those are main culprits for bloating for most people.
  9. Finally, overall I think if people give it a try and feel better – great. It’s a reset for your digestive system. I don’t care for the crazed adherence to legalism that many Whole30 participants exhibit, and many over a long period of time. I don’t think it’s wise to eliminate entire food groups without checking with a registered dietician or your health care provider.

So there are my thoughts on Whole30.

For today’s food adventure, I started with chicken soup. Daughter is sick with a cold and looks like Hubby is headed in the same direction. Nothing like chicken goodness to cure what ails you!

Starting with a mirepoix, the french word for raw, roasted or sautéed vegetables – usually carrots, celery and onions – with butter or olive oil, is the flavor base for a wide variety of dishes. (Ooh look – I’m fancy using french!)

Ahem. Anyhoo. Starting with the veggie base, I added a precooked chicken and some fresh herbs. Basil, thyme, and rosemary are herbs that pair well with chicken (in my not so humble opinion) and nothing punches up flavor like fresh rather than dried herbs.

I then added chicken stock and a bit of milk to give it that creamy feeling, without the heaviness of a true cream soup with flour or cornstarch. Hubby loved it and daughter scarfed it up!

Next up I made some spicy pantry chili.

Crockpot chili is a great way to use up whatever you have on hand. Onions, jalepeno, and fresh garlic sautéed with fresh ground beef (or bison or turkey) bring out scrumptious flavors. Add cumin, chili powder, onion and garlic powder, then all desired canned beans and 1-2 cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes to the crockpot. After the meat is browned thoroughly, add it to the crockpot to join the beans and tomatoes. This is where I doctor the spices. Adding more cumin or chili powder for that taco-y taste, (yes, that’s a word!) or red pepper flake for more of a kick. Adding a second jalepeno adds a nice level of heat, too.

Now it’s evening and it’s still raining. I have a full tummy, a full fridge and now I think it’s time for a nice glass of red vino and a snuggle with my dogs!

Happy Soup Saturday!

Advertisements

Good Fences?

IMG_4948
Yummy Chicken Tortilla Soup

We’ve been blessed by having really great neighbors most of my life. Growing up we lived next door to childhood friends. We had campouts in the backyard and our families regularly had dinner together.

After getting married, we’ve been fortunate to live next to some really awesome people, many of which have become long term friends. Part of it has to do with our experiences living in military towns, but even outside of that, we’ve definitely had some good ones which made this daily post challenge a no brainer! The daily challenge was to discuss neighbors, and the people who live next door.

Randomly when we decided to move to base housing last year, we were put in a house right next door to a co-worker of mine from a previous job! And as luck would have it, she started running about the same time I did, and we shared successes through the wonder of Facebook. And now we are neighbors.

Another neighbor saw us working out, later divulging that she would take her daughter for a stroll hoping for an invite to our sweat sessions. I had no idea. (Had I known this, the invitation would have been extended FAR sooner than when she finally got up the nerve to ask about our workouts!) Over the course of the following months, we’ve all gotten to know each other, sharing recipes, child woes, as well as fitness fun – all through the common experience of military life, parenting, and deployments.

Since Christmas, 1 of the 4 of us in our family has been sick. I’m currently typing this with tissue up my nose (gross, I know) and mouth breathing. I have no taste, and for a foodie – that stinks! What I love about my neighbors is their thoughtfulness. I’ve been sick not once, but now round 2 has reared its ugly head. We have been grateful for well wishes and soup. Neighbors have brought me soup, on more than one occasion! Of course my hubs has taken good care of us, but it’s comforting to know that people care, and take the time to show it.

Until we can shake this nasty bug, it’s nice to know we’ve got friends who’ve got our back, ladle in hand, and ready to share!