Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Only Thing to Fear

"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself" - Franklin D. Roosevelt

It's not that I don't understand the quote, of course it is the fear of (fill in the blank) that is the problem and not the actual thing we are fearing. Perhaps this is true but even if fear is the only thing we HAVE to fear, it most certainly isn't the only thing we DO fear. There are a lot of things that we fear and everyone has their own private fears. When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, the fear of change plays a big part.

Change scares a lot of people, probably because "the unknown" scares a lot of people and that is essentially what change is. You are doing something new, something you don't have experience with and that can be scary. It is much easier to go on living life the way you always have than to potentially experience discomfort by changing your ways.

The reason I bring this up is because I think this fear is what has prevented me from making the changes to my lifestyle that I know I need to. Well that and my lack of willpower/possibly addiction to unhealthy foods. If I make the decision to eat healthy, I'm afraid I'll miss eating all of the crap I shouldn't be eating anyway. If I stop watching TV (as much) , I'm afraid I'll miss something exciting and interesting. But you know what? I'm pretty sure that in the long run I'll be much happier if I am healthier and have the potential to live a better and longer life.

If I focus on the things that will truly make me happy then I'll be able to overcome the fear of change because I know the change is for the better.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Mini Meatloaf aka Meal for My Future Kids

When I think about the future and the potential of kids I often wonder how our dinners will be. Will we all sit at the table and talk about our day or will we eat on our table trays while being distracted by the TV. We always had at least one meal a week at the table with no TV when I was growing up. I think that it is important, it is a time to catch-up and check in on each other.

I don't really remember that many meals from my childhood, which is surprising because it wasn't THAT long ago. I do remember the few times my mom made meatloaf and I remember that I hated it. Who wants to eat a hunk of meat that looked dry and had some red sauce on top? Not me that's for sure. The funny thing is, my mom is a great cook so her meatloaf was probably good, I just didn't like the idea. Because of this I have never attempted to make meat loaf (until now). I found an extremely easy recipe and decided to just go for it.

It was a hit! My husband loved it and he told me he despised meatloaf (yeah, I made it anyway). Now I have the perfect meal to force my future kids to eat. I can't wait to say the famous line "you can eat this or you can go to bed hungry" LOL. I'm joking....maybe....

Mini Meat Loaves
*Adapted from the Feb 2009 issue of Better Homes and Gardens

1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup purchased pasta sauce (I used tomato sauce and added some Italian seasoning to it)
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 lb lean ground beef (I'm sure you could use turkey if you prefer)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
Italian seasoning or any other seasoning you like

1. Preheat oven to 450F. In large bowl combine egg, 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce, bread crumbs and seasonings (I don't know how much seasoning, just sprinkle some in).

2. Add beef and 1/2 cup of cheese; mix well. Divide beef mixture in four equal portions. Shape each portion in a 5 1/2 x 2-inch oval. Place on a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. (The pan I used was slightly smaller 13x9 and it worked just fine)

3. Spoon on remaining pasta sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes or until internal temperature registers 160F (I used my handy oven probe and it took 20 minutes for it to each 160)

4. Serve with green beans or whatever you favorite veggie is.

5. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Giving Up Jarred Pasta Sauce

This all began the other night when I was making dinner. I didn't really have a specific meal in mind and since I hadn't gone grocery shopping I was going to have to make due with what was already in my pantry/freezer. I had some shrimp and some pasta so I thought, all I need is some spaghetti sauce and I can make shrimp spaghetti. Sadly, I didn't have any of my usual Chunky Ragu sauce in the pantry. What I did have however was the perfect ingredients to make my own spaghetti sauce. I whipped my "homemade" sauce up in no time and after the first spoonful I decided that I was officially giving up store bought spaghetti sauce.

Tonight I made my own sauce again, this time using lean ground beef instead of shrimp and once again it was delicious! It was sooo easy, I really don't know why I wasn't doing this before. I know you are all extremely interested in knowing my recipe, so I will try to appease you. If you know me, you know I'm not the best at explaining how I make something unless I'm following an exact recipe.

Warning: this is not exact but just a rough guide to go by.

Large Can of Hunt's Diced Tomatoes (I like the ones already seasoned with garlic, oregano, and basil)
~4 oz Tomato Paste
Italian Seasoning
Crushed Red Pepper

1. Mix the diced tomatoes with the tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste until it dissolves into the juice from the diced tomatoes. *I'd suggest that you add the tomato paste in slowly, you may need more or less.

2. Add seasoning to taste. I never measure my seasoning so I wouldn't even know where to begin as far as amounts are concerned.

3. Enjoy! Yep, it's that simple.

-If you like your sauce more "juicy" then you may want to consider adding a little bit of tomato juice or using some crushed tomatoes.
-I'm thinking of trying out adding additional vegetables to the sauce. Maybe one of those bags of italian vegetables.

On another GoWear Fit came today (yeah I bought it) so be on the lookout for a post about that really soon.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Espresso-Rubbed Steak with Green Chile Pesto

I've made this recipe twice, once with the pesto and once without. I liked it more with the pesto which is actually very easy to make. I was a little intimidated by the thought of making pesto sauce but as long as you have a food processor you won't have any problems.

Ingredients (Steak)
1 1/2 beef flank steak
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt or salt
1 tsp instant espresso coffee powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Ingredients (Pesto Sauce)
2 medium fresh Anaheim or Poblano chile peppers (I used 1 of each)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (cilantro tastes like soap to me so I used fresh basil)
1/4 crumbled Cotija cheese (I couldn't find this cheese ANYWHERE so I used Parmesan)
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions (Steak)
1. Score both sides of steak by making diagonal cuts in a diamond pattern. In small bowl, combine chili powder, salt, espresso powder, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper. Sprinkle over steak; rub in,.
2. Coat a 12-inch nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat until very hot; add steak. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 12 to 14 minutes for medium rare or 14 to 16 for medium, turning once halfway through. Transfer to cutting board. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm while preparing pesto sauce.
3. To serve, thinly slice steak against grain.
Makes 8 servings

Instructions (Pesto)
1. Halve peppers lengthwise; remove stems, seeds and veins. Coarsely chop peppers. In food processor combing peppers, cilantro (or basil), cheese, pine nuts, garlic, red pepper, salt/pepper to taste.
2. Process to finely chop mixture. With processor running, add 1/2 cup olive oil in steady stream through feed tube to combine into a coarse paste.
Makes about 1 1/2 cup pesto.

This is a delicious steak and sauce. I will definitely add this to my recipe box (okay I don't really have a recipe box but if I did I'd add this to it).

For all of my non-meat-eating friends, the pesto would also taste good over some pasta or maybe you could pour it over tofu?


Friday, October 9, 2009

Planning Makes Perfect

I'm the planner queen. I make life plans, meal plans, exercise plans, shopping plans, all types of plans. I have calendars, electronic planners, notebook planners, hand-held planners. I make to-do lists, to-go lists, to-buy lists, to-see lists. I set time limits, price limits, all types of limits.

Where does that get me? Sometimes it gets me far and I follow my plan and achieve my goal. More often it just leaves me with a well-written PLAN. Excessive planning makes you a perfect planner but it doesn't make you a perfect executor. A great plan is just a nice set of words if you don't actually put that plan into action. The action portion is where I sometimes get hung up. I have some excellent plans in my folder of plans that I've never actually started. I haven't figured out what makes me see certain plans through while others stay trapped on a sheet of paper.

I saw this funny episode on South Park where they were making fun of how girls are always making lists. I found this hilarious because I've always made lists, I probably make at least one list a day. I never thought of list-making as being a female thing but maybe it is.

My point is this, I will never stop creating my "perfect" plans but I am going to spend more time implementing the plans I've created. Hmm...perhaps I should go create a plan on how I'm going to implement my plans....LOL, just kidding!