Braised Cauliflower

I love my vegetables and could never have imagined preparing cauliflower so easily and then also getting my husband to eat it with me. This in itself is a small miracle which makes this recipe a winner. So I thought I would share it with all of you.

Ingredients Needed

1 head of cauliflower

1 pint of tomatoes….grape, cheery, heirloom, whatever you prefer or is available

1 tsp of salt

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2  large sweet onion, chunked

dash red pepper flakes

1/4 cup water

pint of fresh sliced mushrooms

4 whole, peeled garlic cloves

Directions:

Wash and peel the leaves from the bottom of the cauliflower head leaving the core in tact but trimmed close to the head itself. Set aside.

Chunk up your onion and slice your mushrooms if they are whole.

Peel your garlic cloves.

Wash and slice your tomatoes in half or if they are large chunk them into large pieces.

Heat your dutch oven and pour in the olive oil. Place your cauliflower head into the pot and spread the onions, tomatoes, garlic cloves and mushrooms around the sides. Pour in the water, and add the red pepper flakes and salt.

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Cover and let this cook on low/medium for 15 minutes. Return and give it a quick stir and baste the cauliflower head with some of the juices you will now find in the bottom of the pot.

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Recover and cook for another 15 minutes or until a butter knife can be easily inserted into the middle of the cauliflower head.

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When its tender, use a spoon to break apart the head and serve over rice, pasta, soba noddles or just as a side dish. We had ours over soba noodles topped with a little shredded parmesan cheese and crushed croutons and it was fabulous.

Enjoy!!!!

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Homemade Fajita Seasoning

I am a southwest food fanatic. I could eat tacos, fajitas, and salsa every day. Lately, I have been working on coming up with my own fajita and taco seasoning mixes since store bought mix packets seem like such a waste of money.

Well, I think I have the mixture for fajitas that I like. After much trial and error this is what it ended up being. Give it a try if you enjoy fajitas as much as I do.

Fajita Seasoning

4 tsp chili powder

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp salt

1 tsp. onion powder

2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp cayenne powder

1 tsp garlic powder

Mix this all together in a glass jar with a tight fitting cover. Use the desired amount of mix you prefer for chicken, pork, beef, bean or sausage filling.

I recently prepared mine with cut up chicken sausages with sliced onions and peppers. It was fabulous.

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Monthly Health Challenge- August 2015

It’s that time again….another new month is upon us which means it’s time for another monthly challenge. How many of you struggled with last month? Was cutting back or giving up soda difficult, rewarding or both? Well, no worries, this months challenge should be a little easier for everyone.

The challenge for August is : Have a salad for 1 meal a day.

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This should take very little effort to achieve. Farmer’s markets are bursting with wonderful, fresh veggies. There are road side stands selling veggies everywhere and if need be, your local grocery store has veggies year round. If you spend a little time preparing, chopping, washing, and cooking one day a week, throwing together a salad for a meal should only take you minutes.

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If you have more time and are creative you could even try making your own dressings to top your salads. And please, if you do this don’t be afraid to share your recipes with the rest of us:)

 

Good Luck!

Working Out Is Cheaper Than Therapy

Oh, this is such a true statement for me. Lately, this is all that keeps me sane. I can have the worse day ever but if I can find it in me to drag myself downstairs or to the gym I know I will feel better after I achieve a good workout.

What makes me even more happy is that my family and friends are well aware of my love of exercise. Recently, a friend of mine stopped over for a visit and brought along a flyer from the city I live in with a new program they are trying. I have lived in Wisconsin my entire life and honestly the last 10 years or so, I have dreamed of moving somewhere much more active. You can only imagine my excitement when I saw that the city is hosting FREE classes at area parks for residents to participate in for a few weeks or to try once and never return.

This all got me to thinking, why are we the way we are….

Have you wanted to become active but can’t afford a gym membership, a class fee, or maybe the gear to try a new sport/activity?

Would you participate in a program like this if your hometown offered a free trial session of a new activity?

Would you rather try something alone or would you never go alone?

Is there a reason you want to become more active but just won’t take that first step?

What would motivate you to take that leap of faith and try something new and active?

I can assure you everyone has had or still has these same questions and thoughts going through their head when they are considering trying something new. However, those that do step out of their comfort zone typically never regret it. Whether they succeed or fail at whatever it is that they try, they have accomplished getting past the fear of “what if” and can say, they tried it!

Working out for me is truly my therapy of choice. It makes me happy, keeps me healthy, makes me feel good, and gives me the energy to make it through some hard days. That is not to say that I don’t struggle to get in a workout everyday. Some days it is a chore, sometimes even a hassle but I NEVER REGRET IT!!!!!

I want to encourage you all to get up and stop dreaming about becoming healthier. Make this dream a reality. Whether you are big or small, young or old, you will never accomplish happiness unless you get up and take that first step. Don’t worry about what other people around you are doing or saying. No one really cares what you look like or how well you are doing something. It’s the fact that you are out there doing it and trying your best at it.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Goals and The May Health Challenge

The weekend is here and I am EXCITED! I visited the doctor yesterday and didn’t exactly get the news I was hoping for but I still got good news.

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I will still be in the boot another two weeks. However, two hours during my work day and from the time I am done working until bedtime I can take it off. However, if we do any form of activity besides normal walking around the house, then it has to go back on. I did get the ok to do anything I wish with the boot on…hello trail here I come. Which means I made some weekend goals and hope to accomplish most of them. Take a look:

#1 To not over do activity with that ankle. I need to strengthen it back up. As much as I would love to hike 10 miles, that is not likely going to happen. I do plan to hike a little this weekend since our plans have been on the calendar for quite some time now, but all in good reason.

#2 I really need to even out my tan. One leg is white and the other is not. Since I can have the boot off for a while each day, this will be my time to marinate in the sunshine.

#3 Try out my new insoles when I have the boot off. I’ve been told this could be painful, but I am not too worried. I have been in pain for months, how much worse could it be?

#4 Enjoy my first campfire meal of the season. (Fire danger here is very high, this one is iffy)

#5 Spend some family time together. My son was offered a job last week which has him working in his field of photography almost every single weekend photographing weddings. This could be one of our last weekends together as a family doing what we love so I need to savor every second.

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#6 Last but not least, work on losing the three pounds I have gained from sitting around unable to exercise for the last month. The night I came home from my appointment we actually took our first walk in a month.(with the boot still on) It was great!

I’ll let you all know next week how many of these goals I actually accomplish.

Now, onto May’s Health Challenge. I don’t know where last month went but it’s gone and that means we are ready for a new monthly health challenge.

May’s Health Challenge Is: Meatless Monday’s

That’s right, no meat on Monday’s! You can easily replace your protein with another form of food one day per week without a whole lot of effort. Here are some options to choose from:

beans and lentils

cottage cheese

eggs

tofu/tempeh

greek yogurt

avocados

peanut butter

quinoa

nuts and seeds

I am sure there are many, many more out there besides just these.  If you don’t think you can survive an entire day without meat just start out with dinner on Monday’s. Work your way up to an entire day by the end of the month. You can set your own goals and achieve them.

These challenges are meant to be fun and rewarding to us all when we work to achieve something we normally would not do on our own. I don’t want these to turn into something that we all dread and find impossible.

Let me know of any good ideas or recipes you come up with that are meatless. I would be happy to give them a try here with my family as well.

Good Luck!

 

 

This Weeks Dinner Plans

Here is what our meal plans look like this week. I hope I can inspire you all to prepare and enjoy a nice meal at home with your family. Plus, show you that with just a little planning, dinner is possible with a crazy lifestyle.

Sunday: Organic ground beef sliders, roasted brussel sprouts and perogies

Monday: Spaghetti and veggie marinara sauce with garlic bread

Tuesday: Salmon patties over couscous with roasted broccoli

Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie

Thursday: Tacos

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: make it yourself or starve:)

As always, if you see something that sounds good and you would like the recipe, comment or email me at rednatural1973@gmail.com and I will be happy to share it with you.

Keeping Healthy During The Holidays

Keeping healthy during the holidays is really not as hard as you may think. It is far from impossible.

Do you know the average weight gain is 5lbs. from Thanksgiving to New Year’s? That just blows my mind. Yes, we all have parties to attend, stress, work, family issues, and so on to worry about during this time. However, none of these things should effect how you gain or loose weight during the holidays. Or at least not anymore than any other day of the year. I have heard many people say that the holidays is a time to cheat and enjoy themselves. I will agree with “enjoy” not “cheat”. Please enjoy this time of year but why cheat and end up not enjoying the outcome later on.

Whether you are the host, hostess, or the guest at someone’s home here are a few pointers that I think you may find helpful.

  • Show support to family and friends. If you know your family member or friend is watching what they eat please don’t say something like,”Oh just this once won’t hurt, try it.” They are well aware what they want to eat/drink to maintain any success they may have already experienced in their healthy journey. Do not sabotage this by telling them it’s ok. Let them make that decision for themself.
  • Start a new tradition. For instance, after Christmas dinner and before opening gifts go for a family walk in the neighborhood and enjoy the light displays. Or have everyone with kids in the family bring sleds and go sledding, or make snowmen in the yard. Plan an active activity to do as a family. Our family went snowshoeing Christmas Day last year and had the best time.
  • Keep alcoholic beverages to a minimum. The holidays should not be about whom can drink the most to be the merriest.
  • Assign a dish to bring. When someone asks if they can bring a dish to pass, speak up. By having a mental or written list of healthier dishes, you can easily pick one off the list and give them what they asked for. If you leave it up to them, their healthy and your healthy can be completely different.
  • Always bring a dish. This is the only way you can be guaranteed there will be something you can eat that will fit into your healthier eating plan.
  • Substitute healthier alternatives in recipes. Most people will never know that you used low fat cream cheese (among many other things) if you don’t tell them.
  • Exercise throughout the holidays. Don’t laugh….you can find the time. I have already researched the holiday hours of our gym and have a plan. You can too!

These are just a few suggestions. I am not saying have no fun, don’t drink, and stop eating. I am just saying that keeping healthy during the holidays is completely possible if you want it to be.

Do you have any to add to my list? I would love to hear your suggestions.