Are You Trying to Eat Clean this Year?

Are you trying to eat clean?

Are you trying to eat clean this year? Finding recipes should be easy, there is Pintrest and Facebook, but sometimes it can be challenging. I have also been looking at anti-inflammatory recipes along with Mediterranean recipes. You have heard me say a million times how much I love Mediterranean food and their spices.

Anti-inflammatory recipes. . .

I like the anti-inflammatory recipes for two reasons; I am prone to inflammatory response and I love the flavors and options. Eating for an anti-inflammatory diet is really easy. Cut out processed food, meat, and eat more veggies. That is a plan I can get behind for sure. I read a lot about different eating plans and I have found several books that I love discussing the anti-inflammatory way of eating. I hate using the word “diet,” I prefer to use “eating plan.”

My plan: Clean, Mediterranean, Real, and Anti-Inflammatory. . .

My goal this year for my eating plan is to eat real food and not processed food. I will be using my “100 Days of Real Food” book and my “The Complete Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners” book. Sweet Potato Frittata was on the table tonight, this is a yummy recipe with sweet potatoes, onion, eggs, and some of my fresh herbs. We have some sweet potatoes left over from the hubbs harvest last year and they are so good. I have also been making sweet potato fries in the air fryer, these are a wonderful healthy snack.

Sweet Potato Frittata

Sweet potato frittata. . .

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 8 eggs beaten
  • herbs of your choice: thyme, sage, rosemary, chives. . .
  • 2 T olive oil

pre heat oven 375, place sweet potatoes, onion, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste toss and sprinkle your herbs over potatoes and onion. Place in skillet or stone in the oven for about 30 mins till potatoes are fork tender. Times will vary. After fork tender pour beaten eggs over potatoes and onion and return to the oven for 15 more minutes. This will keep in the fridge for a week.

Conclusion. . .

Stay tuned for more Clean recipes and fun alternatives for you meal plans. The hubbs is cleaning out the garden and plotting his design and yummy veggies he will be planting this season. Already on the window seal: spinach, broccoli, and pepper plants. Plans for carrots, beets, and lettuce of all varieties.

What are Your no Brainer Meals. . .

What are your go to meals. . .

What are your go to meals, those meals that you do not have to think about to fix? You may have several that you could make in your sleep and you always have those ingredients on hand. These are your quick, easy and maybe even a favorite recipe.

My favorites to fix. . .

One of my favorites to fix in a pinch is homemade alfredo sauce with angel hair protein pasta. This is a favorite for my family and I have to say it is really good. Eggs are also a go to for me in a bind, I can throw together an egg scramble with my eyes closed. We always have eggs in the fridge and with the Instant Pot you can fix boiled eggs in 7 minutes. Tuna is also a go to option for me, a little tuna and some crackers or celery is always a good option.

Alfredo. . .

  • 4 T butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 3 cloves garlic pressed
  • splash of white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups parmesan cheese
  • 1 box angel hair pasta cooked to package directions

Melt butter over med low heat, add pressed garlic and saute till it smells yummy. Add flour and whisk to get rid of the lumps. Add your splash of white wine. Whisk and add your heavy cream. Slowly add your parmesan cheese and whisk to combine. Continue stirring, this will bubble up and become thick and delicious. I do not mix my pasta and sauce all together, I like to serve it kinda like spaghetti, this way your pasta will not get mushy.

My Infamous Tuna. . .

There are several ways to fix tuna; there is traditional with mayo as a salad but I found that sauteing with BBQ sauce is good too. My kids do not know this but when they were little I used to fix the BBQ tuna and tell them it was BBQ. I know, bad mommy for telling fibs. When the boys were little we really did not eat out that much and it was real work fixing things they would eat. My goal as a mother was to make sure my kids ate healthy and did not fall into the trap of quick and easy fast food garbage.

Tuna salad. . .

  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 large spoonful mayo
  • 2 T mustard
  • splash vinegar or pickle juice (your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Drain your tuna and flake it with a fork and add the above and refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve with crackers, cheese, celery or on toast.

What are Your Most Valuable Kitchen Gadgets?

What are your most valuable kitchen gadgets. . .

What are your most valuable kitchen gadgets? There are many kitchen gadgets that I love and could not do without but, my most valuable are:

  • Instant Pot
  • Opal counter top pellet Ice maker (makes the “good” ice)
  • French Press
  • Air Fryer
  • Good knives/cutting boards

The Instant Pot. . .

The Instant pot is a wonderful time saver and was recommended to me by my manager. She told me about this great little gadget that can make perfect potato salad in seven minutes, eggs and all. I make soups, stews, potatoes, eggs, and beans in my Instant pot. My husband says it is worth it’s weight in gold just because of the way it cooks eggs. Beautiful boiled eggs that peel like a breeze in just seven minutes.

Opal counter top ice maker. . .

The Opal counter top ice maker makes the wonderful soft pellet ice that you can find in some restaurants. I use this ice for my coffee smoothies and my water just tastes better poured over it. This little gem was a life saver during the Pandemic, we were not going anywhere so I could not get my “good” ice for my water or smoothies for work.

The Air Fryer. . .

Sprat turned us on to the Air Fryer, he loves it because he can do tater tots and chicken nuggets in no time. The hubs fell in love with it because it makes the best roasted broccoli and cabbage. I use it to make: sweet potato fries, grilled cheese sandwiches, and it fries bacon like a dream. Imagine making bacon without getting grease all over your kitchen. This is a much healthier alternative to traditional oil frying.

Instant Pot Recipe. . .

This is a recipe I made last week and it was really good. The hubbs and I like pintos but I wanted something a little different and without the fatback.

  • 1lb-1/2 lbs of pintos soaked for about 3 hours
  • 1 can coconut milk unsweetened
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp regular chili powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic mashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups water

Drain you pintos and combine all ingredients and seal your pot. Set to manual and cook on high for 25 minutes and allow natural release. This is a combination of two other recipes I found on the internet.

Stay tuned for more kitchen fun and recipes for good food and good health.

You are What You Eat?

You are what you eat. . .

You are what you eat, so what are you eating? I have heard that statement on more than one occasion relating to what I have been eating. Trying to think more about what I eat these days and keeping this statement in the forefront of my mind. There are folks that are vegan, vegetarian, and Keto each of these restrict the diet in some form or fashion. I do not want to restrict my diet.

Are you taking vitamins?

Are you taking vitamins, my mom and dad have always taken vitamins and supplements and they are 91 and 90 respectively. I am a firm believer in taking vitamins just based on my parents, they have slowed down in the last 10 years but are still pretty healthy. They do not require medication for blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes. Growing up mom always had a garden and some years we had three gardens that she tended. We ate what she grew and we rarely ate out, if we did eat out it was a special occasion and a treat.

Goals this year. . .

One of my goals this year is to eat healthy and to eat real food. Not going on a restrictive diet but I will choose real/ good food. Never really cared for meat much, though I did eat more meat when the boys were at home. I think I may steer myself away from meat and focus on the veggies, I like them best anyway. My focus is going to be; eat food that is good for me and adds value to my body. The other goal I have for myself is to stay away from medications, I hope that eating well will keep me away from the pharmacy. Hippocrates considered nutrition one of the main tools a doctor could use. “Let food by thy medicine. . . ” (author unk, thought to be Hippocrates).

Conclusion. . .

Check out some good reading: 100 Days of Real Food on a Budget by Lisa Leake

What are Your Favorites for Thanksgiving?

Memories of Thanksgiving. . .

Thanksgiving brings all sorts of memories for everyone. I remember going to my Grandmother’s and all of the most wonderful food. When I was younger I did not eat everything like I do now, I was a little picky. Eating mostly vegetables and sweets, I was thankful for a family full of wonderful cooks. There was always a large table full of the most delicious cakes, pies and cookies.

Some of my favorites. . .

Aunt Mildred made the best coconut cake followed by: banana pudding, chocolate chip cookies, and my moms pecan pie/tassies. I always loved the veggie tray with dip and my grandmothers’ dressing. We did not do stuffing this was dressing in little squares like cornbread. Mom still makes it just like grandmother did, stale bread, cornbread,Pepridge Farm seasoning, onion, chicken stock, celery, and all kinds of spices.

A little out of sorts this Thanksgiving. . .

I am a little out of sorts this Thanksgiving, my boys will not be able to come home this year. Sprat is completing his student teaching and it is just not feasible for them to drive two days to spend one with us and drive back. We are very sad they will not be here but it is completely understandable and unavoidable.

I am Thankful this Thanksgiving. . .

I am thankful for a very kind family who is taking both boys in for the holiday. Sprats’ friend text me to ask for recipes for the foods that the boys had suggested??? I have to laugh about my kids they are so funny and have the best friends. I sent an email with recipes of their favorite foods that I make. We are blessed beyond measure by those that surround us.

A few little tidbits. . .

Fresh garlic butter: I use Brumel and Brown butter and press 3-4 cloves of garlic and cream together.

Homemade Mac & Cheese

1 box whole wheat elbow pasta cooked to package directions. 5 Tbsp butter melted with 2-3 Tbsp flour whisked to avoid lumps, pour 2 cups whole milk or heavy cream and whisk to avoid lumps. After mixture is blended add cheese aprox 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar add a handful at a time and whisk till smooth. Once all cheese is added, drain pasta and put in large casserole dish and pour cheese mixture over pasta and serve. You can top with some extra cheese if you like.

Horsey Deviled eggs

1 dozen boiled eggs, I like to use the instapot, peeled and separated. Mix 1/2 cup mayo, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 tsp creamy horseradish, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tsp dill and cream together with your yolks. Stuff your whites and sprinkle with some paprika and serve chilled.

Conclusion. . .

There are a few more recipes I sent but I will not tell you everything at once, so stay tuned.

Do You Work a Shift other than Traditional 8-5?

Do you work a non-traditional shift?

Do you work a shift other than a traditional 8-5 day shift? I do, I work nights 2000 to 0800. My first job out of college was midnight to 0800 five nights a week in a lab. Not only did I work nights but I also was a hostess during the lunch rush at a local Mexican restaurant. In my twenties that was not a bad job to have, I had endless energy and I slept by the pool. I could eat whatever I wanted and never gained weight. Today I could walk past a plate of potato chips and gain ten pounds just like that.

When I was part- time at my job I have now I was able to manage a workout schedule and lost 20 lbs. I was so excited and so happy and felt pretty good too. My diet was much better and I ate on a schedule, it was not sporadic like it is now. When I went full-time everything went to pot, I did not feel like I had enough time to workout and do food prep.

Making a concerted effort to do better for myself. . .

Earlier this month I decided to make a concerted effort to do better for myself with regard to my diet and my workouts. I love Mediterranean spices and food and I have followed a Mediterranean diet very liberally for several years. My husband is very quick to respond with regard to the Mediterranean diet about how the Mediterranean people travel either by foot or bicycle. In other words, he is saying that it is not the food they eat that keeps them healthy it is all their daily exercise. I am trying to eat better/healthier and also exercise daily in some form or fashion.

You are what you eat. . .

You are what you eat, how many times have you heard this one? It is true though, you eat nothing but junk and you are going to feel like junk. I am not an extremist and do not endorse any extreme measures to lose weight. Realist, I am a realist. Smoothies are my addiction, I love my fruit smoothie I fix in the mornings for breakfast. Number one smoothie: pineapple, cherry, spinach, beet, ginger, coconut water and some protein powder and blend. This one is designed for reducing inflammation, increasing circulation, and it is very yummy. This one gets me my fruits and some of my vegetables for the day.

The hubbs and I joke all the time that we could live out of our garden except for the occasional animal protein. We both love veggies the hubbs likes his animal protein more than I. A typical dinner for us looks like this: avocado sliced with fresh lime juice sprinkled, a couple boiled eggs sliced, peppers and onions sauted with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I love asparagus and my dear hubby planted some for me, below is the first harvest with some sauted spinach.

When my schedule gets hectic, that is when my eating goes awry. I will be planning more for my meals on days I know I am going to be working. Planning my exercise may pose a more interesting problem. I prefer to walk in the mornings but my regular place to walk is doing some construction so my “flow” is messed up. Have been riding my exercise bike and lifting weights but it does not give me the same satisfaction as my walks. My walks are not only for my physical health but for my mental health too.

Conclusion. . .

This is an on going journey to a better me. Stay tuned for recipes, tips, tricks and updates on results. I would love to hear from my readers, any recipes or personal stories.

Updates and New Recipes. . .

Updates on the Boys. . .

The boys are back in Massachusetts in school. Sprat starts his student teaching this semester so look out Yanks you are about to get educated in History with a Southern accent. I hope his teachers and students will not be too hard on him about his Southern drawl. Big T has changed his major and seems to be enjoying his classes so far.

Sprat was going to have his birthday after we took them to school so we decided to celebrate before they went back. We had a nice dinner and we went to a baseball game.

Big T hates having his picture taken by me so he intentionally frowns and makes ugly faces. His Daddy used to do that too when he was younger and still does sometimes. Sprat of course was thrilled to be out having a nice steak.
Uncle C was nice enough to take us out to the ballgame and some hotdogs and hamburgers.

Updates on the Home Front. . .

We had a bumper crop of Figs this year and I could not eat them fast enough. Decided to try my hand and caning, it was not too daunting, and they turned out fabulous. Canned them in three different batches and I did small batches only three pint jars at a time but it worked out great. I used equal part figs and sugar and added one lemon sliced and cooked for two hours before putting them in jars. This recipe did not call for any pectin and I liked that. We also had a great crop of cantaloupe and they were delish.

These are my figs cooking for my preserves

Stay Tuned, Work is a Little Crazy. . ..

Stay tuned, I know it has been awhile since I last posted but work is a little crazy and sleep is about all I do. Trying to get back on track with my eating plan and my exercise plan. I am trying some new recipes that I will be sharing and some new exercises too. Funny thing happens when all you do is eat, sleep, and work; you gain weight. Yuck! Not only do you gain weight but you feel bad too.

If you have these problems stay tuned I am going to try and get a handle on it, maybe you would like to share your story.

I Have Learned so Much from My Kids. . .

My Children teach me something new daily.

My children taught me so much when they were little, they taught me: I could do great things with only two hours of sleep, I did not need a bath every day, and I could make a bed while they were in it and not wake them up. I also never knew I could love someone so much even before I knew who they were.

I went into pre term labor with Big T at 24 weeks and I was so scared. I had no idea what was going on. I never had true labor pains with Sprat. They induced me with him and had tremendous back labor but no true abdominal contractions. Big T was determined he was ready before we were, and he wanted OUT! Sprat had welded himself in and law, I would probably still be pregnant if they had not done the C section. They both showed me I was much stronger than I gave my self credit.

the hubbs, Sprat, and Frito reading a story before bed
Sprat and mommy at the Zoo, we made our picture at this same spot every time we went to the
zoo.


Big T celebrating a B day at pre school. Love those cheeks!
Big T feeding the baby calf
So we were supposed to be scared in this one but Sprat is obviously to cool for that.
Big T and I trying to stay warm at an early season Baseball game for Sprat
The boys reminded the Hubbs and I how to be kids again too. Big T Halloween Clown

As teenagers they taught me patience

Both boys tried my patience as teens, neither of them wanted to drive and I could not understand that. When I was learning to drive I looked for every opportunity to drive; going to the store for mom, and I even took up playing tennis just to be able to drive to the park. Prayer was my comfort during these years and I learned that they would drive when they were ready and that I should not push them. They were both about seventeen before they got their driver’s license.

Big T even got to get behind the wheel of my T Bird recently

Approaching their twenties and late teens. . .

Approaching their twenties and late teens I have enjoyed talking with the boys over different subjects. It seems life’s cruel joke is just when your kids get interesting and fun to hang out with and talk to they find their own lives and do not want to hang out with you. We try to stay connected to the boys as best we can, they are off doing their own thing and we are very proud of them.

Sprat did teach us some new stuff in the kitchen since he has been home from college. He had raved about the air fryer and the hubbs had points built up through his work and he got an air fryer. I was very apprehensive about it at first but I have to tell you it is very cool. Sprat is teaching us how to use it and new recipes to use in the air fryer. We have made: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, tater tots, chicken nuggets (homemade), falafel, and I made homemade mozzarella sticks. The mozzy sticks were the bomb! I love using the air fryer and things that would have really heated up my kitchen I can do in the air fryer really quickly and no over heating me.

Battered and headed to the freezer for an hour Mozzy sticks
Out of the air fryer and ready to eat Mozzy sticks

Stay tuned for more air fryer fun and recipes from King Arthur baking. . .

How Does Our Garden Grow?

The hubby is getting our garden ready. . .

The hubbs has already started our garden and we have spinach and asparagus galore. I am loving the asparagus, he is of course being a little stingy with it so I do not cut it all. My favorite way to fix asparagus is to sautéed it in olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar with fresh garlic and onion.

This was my first offering of asparagus and I sautéed some spinach with it.
This is our spinach bed
Our sprigs of asparagus, this is our second year for them.

Spinach is very versatile. . .

Spinach is very versatile, I use it in salads, sautéed as a side, and I even add it to my smoothies in the morning. Yes, I add fresh and even some spinach that I froze to my smoothies in the morning. Spinach freezes beautifully and it is easy to add to smoothies this way. To freeze your fresh spinach; wash and spin it dry and then put it in a freezer safe baggie and pop in your freezer. My favorite spinach smoothie is: frozen or fresh pineapple, cherries, coconut water, fresh ginger, spinach, coconut flakes (unsweet), and protein powder. Blend well and enjoy.

Hubby Likes to Cook. . .

My hubby likes to cook as well as garden. Usually he sticks to the grill but sometimes he likes to get out the crockpot. He made an amazing roast the other day with dry ranch seasoning and dill pickles. I love pickles so this sounded great to me. We added some pickled jalapenos too for a little more zing. This cooked for about 6 hours on low and was delish. This roast is so tender it just falls off the fork.

Roast after we threw everything in the pot

Have You Ever Wanted to Make Your Own Meatballs?

Homemade Meatballs. .

Homemade meatballs, I am not talking about those tiny little ping pong balls you get in the freezer section of your grocery store. I am talking about lacrosse ball size meatballs. Homemade sauce with these great big beauties that I mix and roll by hand. To make your sandwich you have to cut these gorgeous things in half to put them on the bread.

How about some sauce for those meatballs. .

Only homemade tomato sauce will do for these beautiful gems. I love when our garden over produces tomatoes, because I can make sauce and freeze it for later. This past season we had an abundance of tomatoes and peppers and the hubbs decided to roast them and blend them for sauce. Great idea and very tasty. Saute some fresh garlic, very important to use fresh garlic, it has much more flavor than the powdered stuff. The essential oils are very beneficial too. I saute in olive oil and a little white wine, once your garlic is smelling your house up add your sauce. If you do not have homemade sauce add a couple cans of your favorite brand of sauce, it does not hurt to add some tomato paste too.

I like to season my sauce with: cumin, thyme, oregano, cilantro, onion powder, dry mustard, and a little rosemary. If you need a little liquid you can add: water, vegetable broth or beef broth. I used vegetable broth for my most recent batch and they were wonderful. Let this simmer for a bit while you mix up your seasoning for the meatballs.

The Balls. . .

I used 2 lbs ground beef, I like to use a more lean beef. 1 cup breadcrumbs, 1 egg beaten, splash of milk, 2 tbs parsley, 2 tsp garlic powder (yes I use powder in the meat), 2 tsp onion powder and mix well by hand. Form into Lacrosse/ tennis ball size meatballs.

The cook. . . Slowly on the Traegar. . .

Heat your Traegar up to 150 degrees once heated place your pan ( I use an aluminum foil pan) on your grill uncovered for an hour. I do baste a little bit of sauce so the balls do not dry out. By leaving them uncovered you allow the smoke flavor to really permeate the meat. After the initial hour of cooking I pour my sauce over the meat balls and cover my pan with foil. Turn up your heat on the grill to 225 and cook for 6-8 hours.

These beauties getting ready to go on the grill for six hours or so

How Do you Serve your Meatballs?

I like to serve my meatballs on french bread toasted. I put my oven on broil and toast my bread for a bit to dry it out. Once the bread is starting to get some color I pull it out of the oven and rub the bread with a piece of peeled garlic. This is better than garlic butter. Place a piece of your favorite cheese on your bread. The hubbs likes swiss and I like fresh mozzarella. Cut your meatball in half and place them on top of your cheese then pop your sandwich open faced back in the oven on broil for a bit longer. This last bit in the oven is to finish the browning of your bread and to melt your cheese.

This is an old picture but is what my meatball subs look like.