Tag Archives: healthy

Buttercup Squash Soup

Hey guys,

So I’ve not posted here in a while but I have been busy. I was, sadly, laid off from my job a month ago, but have been using my time wisely. I’ve been heading to the gym a few days every week, working out at home, making lots of healthier meals, and possibly getting a contract that may allow me to start my own business.

I’ve done enough work with the gym and such that I’ve been able to lose 1 inch off my waist and 3/4 of an inch off my bust… it’s not much but it’s a step in the right direction.

I’ve been watching The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp episodes too for inspiration and exercize ideas. This show is super inspirational to me and I really get the urge to exercize after watching it.

Today I was in the grocery store and I was trying to think of something to make for quick grab lunches, since I’m usually cleaning the house or gardening around lunchtime and don’t really want to stop and make anything big. I’m also very picky, I don’t really like sandwiches, and I need to be in the right mood for a salad.

Then I saw the Buttercup squash. I’ve had Butternut squash before, but not Buttercup, so I figured I’d pick it up and make a soup out of it. I found a simple recipe online and went from there. I added in some extra spices, and some red lentils, and goodness this is SO good!

It’s not vegan because of the cream cheese, but all things considered, I don’t think you’d necessarily need it. Next time I may just leave it out. I don’t have a picture yet, but I’ll add one tomorrow when I have my lunch.

Buttercup Squash Soup

-6 T onions chopped
-2 cloves garlic diced
-2 T olive oil
-6 Cups Buttercup Squash peeled and chopped
-1 1/2 Cups red lentils rinsed and sorted
-4 Cups vegetable broth
-1 tsp marjoram
-1/4 tsp seasoning salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 T curry powder
-4 oz cream cheese

Saute onions and garlic with oil until softened. Add squash, lentils, broth and spices. Bring to boil and continue to cook 25 minutes, or until squash has softened, stirring occasionally. Place in blender, in batches, and puree with cream cheese until smooth. Place back in pot and heat through, do NOT boil.

Serves 10

I was able to figure out the nutritional info:

I need to figure out how to properly peel and cut up a squash because it took me about an hour just to do that… which could also be because I have pretty bad knives. The next time I make this I’ll probably leave out the cream cheese as stated before, and also use only 2 cups of broth and 2 cups of water to cut down on the sodium.

I ate a serving of this with a Tablespoon of sunflower seeds mixed in and it was heavenly.

I may have a new vice…

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Living with Allergies

“Oh it can’t be that bad.”

“It’s all in your head.”

“You won’t even notice it’s there.”

“You just don’t like it.”

All things that have been said to me by family, friends, and even restaurants when I’ve expressed that I have an allergy to Pork and Grapes.

I have very odd allergies, and to make matters worse, my husband is allergic to Mustard, and my roomie is allergic to Shellfish. This makes not only eating out difficult, but grocery shopping a chore.

We constantly have to check ingredients. We used to use Miracle Whip because it was the only Mayo we could get that was safe, with no mustard, but they recently changed their recipe, so now all we can get is Helmans, which we don’t like as much in some of our recipes.

While the Shellfish and Mustard allergies are pretty bad, they are pretty easily avoidable (as much as I love shrimp, I’m perfectly fine keeping it out of my house to ensure that Roomie lives to the next day). The big issue is my Grape allergy. Grapes are hidden in all sorts of foods, even in things you wouldn’t think Grapes would be.

Like Country Harvest Omega 3 bread. I love Country Harvest, it’s the kind my Grandma always got and it’s the kind I always ate, but now I have to check the ingredients on EVERY package because some of them use Raisin paste as a sweetener.

It’s amazing how many things have Grape in it or are made from Grapes. Here’s a small list:

Balsamic Vinagrette
Raspberry Vinagrette
A1 Sauce
Pretty much any juice blend
Raisins
Country harvest bread
Cream sauces for pasta
Wine/Champagne
Grapeseed Oil
Razors/lotions that use Grapeseed Oil

Yes, I even have to look at the ingredients on my RAZORS! I grabbed one package of high end razors a number of years ago (I actually can’t remember the brand) and used them once… I had a rash that looked like I was getting Measles due to the fact that their moisturizing strip used Grapeseed Oil.

When my allergy started when I was a child, it was minor. I ate a pack of raisins, or grapes and I would cry that they were hot or spicy in my mouth. Then I started getting hives from them. Then two weeks ago, I was at an Aloette party, and I tried a bit of lotion on my arm. Within 5 seconds of putting it on, my arm was red, swollen, and itchy. I washed it off immediately, but it was too late. about 5-10 minutes later, my chest and throat were getting tight. I took a Benadryl and rushed to the hospital. Luckily the Benadryl worked, but it was still very scary.

I rate restaurants on how well their service is in regards to my allergies. There have been a couple where they’ve shrugged off the issue, and I’ve noticed Pork in my dinner, or could smell the Wine in the sauce. Then there have been restaurants that were so wonderful that the waitstaff alerted the manager to my questions, he came out and went over the entire menu with me, then personally supervised my meal being made to ensure that I could enjoy it without fear.

There was a time in highschool that I thought people’s reactions to peanut butter was being taken too seriously (I mean, not being able to eat peanut butter for 3 days before a child goes to preschool seemed a little over the top), but as someone who has very severe reactions to foods, I can understand a little bit more now.

These allergies have necessitated me making my own food at home a lot, just to ensure that everyone in the house can eat safely. We don’t buy premade frozen Shepherd’s Pie or Lasagna, because there’s too much chance that Mustard could be used to spice something. We are very careful to check all ingredients now, even if it means our grocery shopping trips take twice as long, and this helps a bit with eating healthier, and meal planning.

When you take an hour and a half shopping just to make sure your food is safe to eat, you tend to plan meals so that you don’t go shopping as often.

Unfortunately for us, there isn’t much that can be done to “cure” allergies, it’s something we just have to live with. At least in this day and age it’s more acknowledged, and restaurants are more able to accomodate these requests.

I just ask, as a person who has lived with allergies for the bulk of her life, please, don’t ever try to tell a person that they just don’t like a food or it’s all in their head, and please, for the love of EVERYTHING, don’t hide what they’re allergic to in whatever you’re cooking for them, just to prove the allergy isn’t there. That’s a perfect way to having your friend/relative in the hospital, and VERY upset at you.

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More Pressure Needed

This weekend was my first anniversary. It got me thinking a lot. Last year at this time I was sitting in Hawaii, relieved because I didn’t need to worry about my weight any more. My dress fit (mostly) and I could stop restricting my diet in hopes of dropping those last few pounds.

To put it bluntly, I was an unhealthy dieter, as so many women are.

I decided that my best way to lose weight was to just eat subway subs, following the subway diet, I mean, it worked wonders for others, it would work for me. I watched Biggest Loser, I read diet books… but I didn’t use my head.

All things considered, I am not fat, I’m 160 lbs and 5’6″, I’m bigger than what “beautiful” is right now, but I’m comfortable in my skin, I’m proud of who I am, and I’m sick of feeling like I need to adhere to society’s ideal. Every woman is different and I’m trying to keep that in mind as I go through my day.

That being said, I have some issues that need to be dealt with.

My husband and I went away for the weekend. We pointed our car North and kept driving until we got to where we thought was good (it eneded up being 10 hours of driving each way). I have to say, the side view mirrors in cars are VERY unflattering. In any other mirror I don’t mind my face, but in those mirrors I have the double chin to end all double chins!

I took some stock of my life, where I am now compared to where I was a year ago. I haven’t gone up in weight, however I still have way too high of a body fat percentage.

I’m supposed to be at 20%, I’m sitting at around 35%, which is down from the 37.5% that I was at in November, which means I’m making some good steps forward, but I have to keep going.

Taking stock of my life I realize that I eat WAY too much fried foods, rich foods, snacky foods. I need to make better choices, and in order to do that I need to educate myself. I need to learn about good foods that I can snack on that don’t involve gallons of vegetable oil and pounds of salt.

I need to add more green, and maybe some orange and yellow to my diet. I was doing good at this last summer, but over the winter it dropped off. Now that the nice weather is back, I can start walking down to the grocery store and stocking my desk up with fruits and healthy snacks.

I’m also trying to work on my exercize. I used to think that in order to make my body look more the way I want to I needed to strength train. I’ve been educating myself here too, and I’ve realized that for the most part I’m pretty strong already (need to work on my upper body but it’ll come). What I really need to do is cardio, I need to work off this layer of fat that I’ve got and help it slim up.

I don’t want to become skinny though, I’m happy with the shape of my body, however I’m concerned with my health. My family history has a frighteningly long list of health issues, and a lot of them stem from weight. The majority of my family, including both parents, have weight issues, and I’m trying to break the mold with this.

I’m trying to go jogging, or for walks at least, on my lunch. I’m making a point of heading to the gym on Saturday mornings at least, with the reward of going knitting afterwards. I figure I’ll work on my cardio as I have time throughout the week, and I’ll work on my strength training, with some cardio, on Saturdays.

I’ve also started up my SparkPeople account again. I’m tracking my food and I’m going to be reading a bunch of the articles on there to learn about healthier options for foods. I know about dried fruits and things like that, but I want to delve deeper and start making a good life change.

For starters, I need to eat more than just Cheerios and Milk for breakfast, add some cheese… a banana and apple, it might be a good breakfast… I just need to balance out my meals.

Oh… and I definitely need to skip the snack machine.

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Status Update

Went to the gym last night, and I’m working on making healthier meals at home which include more beans and legumes and rice.

Last night we had chicken with seasoning salt, oregano and lemon juice squeezed over top, then roasted in the oven till just done. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to make the rice, so I made instant mashed potatoes (not that healthy, but better than just chicken and peas….) Tonight I’m making a hamburger meal with salsa, carrots, onions and navy beans mixed together, served over rice.

Trying very hard to not snack… snacking is my bane!!! I love chips and chocolate and the snack machines at work are $0.50 for ANYTHING!!! So I’ve stopped having change on me and started bringing berries with me to work to snack on.

The good thing is that I’m not putting on any weight, the bad thing is, I’m not losing any weight. I’m hoping to go to the gym later this week to do some cardio on the treadmill (and get my weekly tv watching in… I love TV but we don’t have cable at home, so I go to the gym to watch it… especially the food network… mmmmmm).

Probably my biggest issue with food though is my LOVE of processed foods… I was raised on Mac & Cheese, Hotdogs, frozen dinners and such, or the cheapest real food my mom could buy (a normal dinner would be dry hamburger, peas and instant rice… not the healthiest or yummiest meals out there). I have been hankering for Kraft Dinner SO MUCH lately, especially the white cheddar kind… ugh. It’s so hard…

Maybe I’ll try and make a healthier version.. I found a recipe for home made vegan mac and cheese that uses nutritional yeast and butternut squash in the sauce…

To top it all off, I’m trying to cut back my gluten intake, not cut it out entirely (not sure I could do that) but at least not eat white pasta, white bread, things like that. I’ll have pitas, or eat things with wheat sometimes, but I’m trying to really cut back on all the breads I’ve been eating. Working on filling that part of my diet with healthier grains like quinoa, red rice, and spelt. We’ll see how well I do.

I feel pretty much fine with my body all things considered, but I’ve had my fat % checked at the gym and I’m sitting at around 37 % which is almost double where I’m supposed to be, so that’s what I’m working on now more than losing weight.

So I need to hit the gym more, do some more cardio, work off these fat stores that I’ve built up and just keep on keeping on.

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A Dilemma

Yes I’m still here, and yes I’m still working on my health and I am still following Shay and trying to remember “Time and Pressure”. I have been writing stuff out but it’s on a personal blog that I keep all posts private on. It’s a place where I write things to me, for me and I don’t worry about putting myself down or saying things that may be taken wrong because no one else can see what I write.

I was going through some of my old posts, as I am wont to do so that I can see how I’ve changed, and I noticed this little list that I made up back in September. I figured I would do an update on that list to see how I’ve been at keeping up with it.

– go to bed at 10 pm

I’ve been…. so-so at keeping up with going to bed at 10… I get to bed somewhere between 10 and 11, and for the most part, it’s closer to the 10 mark. This has helped me be able to get up in the morning better, though I still feel like I need more sleep, I’m not missing the alarm as often as I used to.

– eat breakfast at home

This one is a complete success. I have been eating breakfast at home for about 95% of all mornings. Weekends are a little touch and go as to WHEN I eat my breakfast, but I have greatly decreased my “grab on the run” breakfasts, or worse, “forget to eat at all” breakfasts.

– make special lunces on the weekend

I will admit, I have not done this. This is something I hope to get into the habit of doing more often. Having something that’s in the fridge or freezer that I can just put into a bag and head off to work with is something that I really need to have. I usually eat leftovers for lunch, and my hubby is very good at making enough food for me to have at least one meal, however, there are days when we don’t have leftovers. On those days, I’m left scrambling and I usually take either an unhealthy lunch, or no lunch at all requiring me to run across to the gas station to grab something quick, cheap, and even more unhealthy.

– increase her fruit/veggie intake

This is touch and go too. I’ll do REALLY good for a month, then… it… falls off. Right now I’m doing good, I’ve been trying to eat a salad a day (whether big or small, lots of ingredients or just spinach and blackberries with sesame dressing… just something), and we have fruits and veggies in the house. This has also bumped up Hubby’s veggie intake which is always a good thing.

– do 50 crunches when she gets home from work

*Falls on the floor laughing* Did I really list that I would do this… whoops… well I think maybe that went well for 1 day, though I have been hitting the gym/wii fit more than I used to, so there is some bit that’s better there. I completely failed on the crunches part though.

– make real food snacks for everyone

Still working on this one. Basically, this is saying “I need to bake good munchies that aren’t so processed/filled with crud/at least a little healthy” because I live in a house with 2 boys who ALWAYS have the munchies, they’re growing boys, what can I say. Hubby and Roommate go through a box of cookies in 1/2 a day on the weekends if I don’t watch them and comment on it… I’ve been good at keeping fruit, yogurt, veggies, and granola in the house, but I still have to fight the cookie/chip monsters, and will continue to do so.

– harrass Hubby the night before for what tomorrow’s meal will be

Hmm not too successful on this either, but we’ve been trying to make a meal plan and stick with it. Partly because our budget can’t tolerate us eating out all the time, and partly because that way grocery shopping is much simpler. However me not reminding hubby about food for the next day has resulted in us not having meat ready and having to deviate from our plan, but we’re working on it.

– clean the kitchen right after dinner

Hmm not so successful on this one either… I’ve been trying to keep the kitchen clean more, and hubby has been very helpful with running the dishwasher, but I have been falling behind. I’m hoping to get a good amount of the dishes done tonight, and I’m pretty good at catching up mostly on the weekends. The problem is, if hubby has no room to cook, hubby doesn’t really cook… so that’s why having the kitchen clean is so very important.

Looking over that list, I think I’ve done pretty good on it all things considered… It’s been about 6 months since I wrote it and I have made some improvements in my life, even just by writing it down and working on it.

Now I have the Dilemma mentioned in my post title, and it’s this. I could never, ever be Vegan, I’m sorry, I just can’t. I love meat, cheese, yogurt and such way too much, however I do not ever claim that the obvious health benefits aren’t there.

I would love to cut down on my animal product eating, if not cut it out entirely, however the problem is the two wonderful men who live with me, one being Hubby, the other Roommate. Both of these guys do not worry about their weight (for the most part…) Hubby is a bit watchful of his, but last summer he had health issues that dropped him WAY too low in weight and is now working on getting back up to a healthy level. Roommate just doesn’t really care. This means that when one member of the household is trying to eat healthily, it is very difficult. Especially when that one person is not the main cook in the house as she is the last person to get home after work.

Now I am not belittling, or speaking against Hubby making dinner. I am HUGELY greatful that he’s willing to have dinner ready, or at least in the process of being made by the time I get home at 6:30 pm. The alternative would be to eat at 7:30-8 pm and go to bed around 10… so this way we are eating at 7 and have a bit more time after dinner. However, this does also mean that I am at the whim of the cook. I try to make meals healthier, this last Monday we had Spaghetti, and I was able to add onions and red peppers to the sauce. I also made  a salad. However, there are other meals that aren’t so healthy, that I can’t really change (Breakfast for dinner being one, eggs, steak, hashbrowns… I try to add fruit, but if I don’t have any in the house I’m kind of stuck).

Now there’s another issue as well, price. I know that right now, it’s not financially feasible for me to go Vegan. At least not while keeping a fully balanced diet. You have to admit that a lot of the alternative stuff out there (almond/soy milk, earth balance butter substitute, wheat grass) is all pretty expensive. So I know that if I was willing to give up meat, milk, eggs and such entirely, I would either go further into debt, or be missing a lot as far as getting all my nutrients and vitamins.

That being said, I have been massively drooling over the recipe posts that Ange over at Oh She Glows has been putting up. I think I’m going to need to make sure that my kitchen is clean so that I can go through those recipes and get my freezer stocked.

At the top of my list is:

Super Veggie Lentil Taco Meat by Ordinary Vegetarian (I’m a huge fan of Taco Salads)
Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes by Eating Bird Food (Travel Sized!!)
Baked Sweet Potato Falafel by Bran Appetit (Falafel Pita’s are my favourite!!)
Quinoa Pizza Balls by Newlywed, Newly Veg (SERIOUSLY must make these!!!)

I’m going to add one thing to my list that I did in September, and maybe in 6 months or so I’ll come back and see how I’m doing again.

I’m going to try and make at least half of my lunches every week Vegetarian/Vegan, this may not seem like a big deal, but for me it is. I eat a lot of very processed foods, though I am better than I used to be, and I need to work on cutting that out.

I know there’s probably no one who reads this, but if you have any favourite Vegetarian/Vegan recipes that freeze well, please let me know in the comments, and until next time, I’m going to be stalking Oh She Glows for more delicious recipes!

Oh, and another thing that makes things difficult for me to change my diet… I’m a very picky eater. I’m finally getting to the point where I’ll eat black olives, but it’s taken a while… maybe I can eventually get myself to like avocados in something more than guacamole….

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