So last week I made an attempt to go one week without processed foods.
I wasn’t as successful as I hoped I would be in all honesty, but I do think I did a LOT better than I would have on a normal week.
On the weekdays, I was a home-cookin’ dinner star – take a look at this menu:
- Monday: 9 Bean Fennel Soup
- Tuesday: Salmon baked on a bed of fennel leaves with baked sweet potatoes on the side
- Wednesday: Spinach Quiche
- Thursday: French Onion Soup
- Friday: We went to a BBQ at the in-laws, but I brought the leftover soup (it made a lot! )
But oh…the weekend. Weekends always seem to derail my good intentions – I have such an ingrained idea of it being ‘reward time’, and unfortunately I still seem to enjoy rewarding myself with junk food!
The main fail was Saturday night – we got invited out to eat at a tasty (but extremely unhealthy) Chinese food place. I could have said no…but I didn’t (I mean, free dinner!) Then hubby put the cherry on top by going out and buying ice cream…sigh.
A few more cheats – I bought the pie crust I used for the quiche, and I had 2 diet cokes.
Otherwise though, it was a pretty good food week. I ate a lot more fruit than usual, had lots of veggies at lunches and dinners, and even remembered not to eat white rice at my in-laws’ (I had already scooped some on my plate when I remembered and tossed it back in the pot )
It is hard to eliminate processed foods!
I am proud to say I didn’t even think about buying a bag of chips, picking up fast food or scarfing any of the abundant junk food you can find around my in-laws’ house (they are grandparents who love to spoil their grandchildren with goodies!).
After my attempt I don’t think I’m quite ready to give up all processed foods – particularly certain sauces and spices, and pre-made pastry (it’s not like I make pies or quiche all that often…I just really hate making pastry!).
But I am making a commitment to stay away from fast food for good from now on, and I’ll be saying no to chips and other salty snack foods, as well as highly processed convenience meals…it’s just not worth my money or my health! I also wouldn’t be sad if the Bean never walked into a McD’s (or any fast food place) and I sure can’t tell her not to go in there if I’m still heading through those doors myself.
I do still need to work on that diet coke habit though! I’ve been slowly whittling it down…
Tonight we got back on track with homemade nachos and green rice. In the past it would have been a can of Texas style beans mixed with ground beef and a ton of cheese thrown on top of some Tostitos scoops, and the green rice would have been made with white rice.
I’ve altered the recipe a bit since then, and it’s a pretty easy pick-up meal that can be made as follows:
- Organic blue corn tortilla chips
- 1 can Eden Organic Black Beans
- 2 T chili powder
- 3-4 cloves chopped garlic
- 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 ripe avocado, cut up
- Salsa to taste
- Sour Cream to taste
Mix the beans, chili powder and garlic in a pan – cook till hot.
Throw it all on top of a plate (put the tortilla chips on the bottom )
Feel free to add whatever other toppings sound good to you, too – this just happened to be what we had around the house.
Green Rice…made with Brown Rice:
I learned this recipe in Mexico and it’s always been a hit – this is the first time I’ve made it with brown rice, and it turned out pretty darn good!
- 1 C brown rice
- 2 T olive oil
- 4-5 stalks celery, cut into 3 inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- Small handful fresh parsley
- 1 organic vegetable bouillon cube (or a homemade veggie stock cube if you have one in the freezer)
- large pinch of cumin-seed
Put the oil in the bottom of a large frying pan (one that has a good, tight lid). Pour the rice over it and toast for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
In the meantime, put everything else in the blender with enough water to help it mix, and liquefy.
If your blender has cups measured on the side, add enough water to bring it up to 4 cups (if it doesn’t, just measure out the green liquid and add enough to bring it up to 4).
After the rice has toasted 10 minutes or so, pour the liquid over it and stir it all together.
Cover and bring to a boil.
As soon as it begins boiling, turn heat down to low and let simmer for 45 minutes – do NOT take off the lid!
When the time is up, check to see that all the liquid has been absorbed; if it still seems watery, cover and cook again for another 15-20 minutes (brown rice can be tricky depending on what kind of heat your stove gives!).
And that’s it!
It kind of sounds like a lot, but it’s actually super easy to do – just remember to start the rice about an hour before you want everything else to be done (the beans only take about 10 minutes to warm up).
If you do want to try it with white rice, just know you’ll only need 3 cups of liquid rather than 4, and about 15-20 minutes less on the time.
In the tradition of continuing to try to make and consume as much healthy, whole food as possible (rather than the processed junk), next week’s dinner menu looks like this:
- Monday: Nori Wrapped Salmon with quinoa
- Tuesday: Aloo Gobi
- Wednesday: Swiss Chard Gratin & roasted acorn squash with homemade whole wheat bread
- Thursday: Dinner at the in-laws
- Friday: Tilapia & broccoli
- Saturday: Turkey kielbasa, brown rice & artichoke
- Sunday: Not sure yet???
Do you like to plan your meals for the week ahead of time? What’s your favorite quick, healthy dinner?