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Health Foodie Fast Food: Mexican Chicken Bake

chili lot
Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

It’s about as Mexican as in you’re driving down the road hungry craving “Mexican” and you stop at some taco place. As much as I love cooking, there are times when I want something quick that stops just short of drive through. This is less sketchy and healthier- A “not a drive through- that satisfies my need for spiciness plus throw it in a pan” creation.

 

What you need

Pre cooked chicken diced

* cook it your self (1 lbs)  or buy rotisserie, packaged. No judgement zone

Brown Rice 1 dry cup cooked

* get the “it takes 5 minutes kind”

Diced Tomatoes   1 14.5 oz can

* no salt added, machinery may be involved

Corn 1 14.5 oz can, no salt added

Onions  1/2 cup diced

Cilantro 1 Tbsp

Garlic  2 Tbsp or 2 cloves diced

Cumin 2 Tbsp

Cayenne 2  Tbsp

Shredded Cheddar Cheese 4 oz, reduced fat

* separate into half – 2 oz and 2 oz

Reduced Fat Cream Cheese 8 oz

Turn oven on to 350 to preheat

Making it

Step one- get it prepped and together.  If your chicken isn’t cooked, cook it.  If your chicken needs to come off the bone, do it.  Cook your rice. Open your cans. Open your packages. Measure your stuff.

Step two- dump it all but 2 oz of cheese.  Then stir it together.

Step three- Sprinkle the remaining 2 oz of cheese on top

Step four- shove the dish in the preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 30 mins.

This can be vegetarian converted- replace chicken with two 14.5 oz cans of kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, or a combo.

Namaste your hunger quickly

No Salt Added- Spice Up Your Food Life

No Salt Added- Spice Up Your Food Life

Healthy food and meals can loose their excitement.  Especially when you take away the fats, sugar, and salt.  Wait, I am to entice you to eat healthy. Hang with me.  Decades ago salt was left by the way side as a  primary means to flavor food for me.   We are in deep with spices and herbs.  By this I mean I get way too excited when they go on sale and enjoy picking them out.  I am in deep.  I love the choices, options, and various ways to can make different flavor profiles.  I love that my food doesn’t taste bland and doesn’t cause me to bloat (salt does! bastard).  Even better, this is a friends with benefits relationship.  Most spices reduce inflammation which benefits your digestive system, joints, muscles, heart, and brain.  Brain and body love.  Certain herbs aid in memory and concentration, are rich in vitamins (some even have iron!), boost immune systems, and fight free radicals with antioxidants.  If you are not familiar with free radicals, those are the bullies who pick on your healthy cells which may lead to cancer.   You are constantly surrounded by free radicals. Herbs are a great free radical bully buster.  Food love with benefits.

There are some things you need to know.  Some spices and herbs may not be safe if you have diabetes or high blood pressure.  Most help with that but a few may need to be run by your doctor.  This is noted with that particular spice and herb below.  Please practice spice safety.  Herbs come in two forms: still looks like the plant (fresh) or confetti (dried).  Dried herbs store for longer periods of time and organic in a glass container is recommended.  Dried herbs are in the spice aisle and fresh herbs are in the produce section (in a bunch you bag or in a plastic container).  Spices can be whole or ground.  I haven’t picked a side and don’t see a reason too.  I am passionate about trying to stick with glass and organic when possible.  Dried spices and herbs are more at home in a dry, cool place.  They don’t do well in direct sunlight.  Let them live their vampire existence in a dry cabinet away from heat.

Now the good stuff. I kept this list basic with it’s benefits, draw backs, flavor profiles, and what I use them in.  Have at it.

Spices

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herbs

That’s the short list.  These are common in many recipes which gives you a great base for cooking.  As you expand you will find there is so much more love out there.

Namaste and rekindle the food love

Aside

Laundry Detergent Made Me Itch: Foodie with Allergies

As a foodie with food allergies I feel that any packaged product is potential death waiting to happen.  That might be a bit dramatic.  Seriously, my step son with bakers dozen food allergies and I of a few call certain products boxes of death.  Largely, because it is. Shockingly it gets worse, food allergies are NOT just in the food aisle. They lurk every where.   As a matter of frightening fact, companies can pretty much put any claim or statement on their product with little to no accountability.  There is one major Federal law to “protect” us foodies with food allergies.  Thank you foodallergy.org for informing us that only eight allergies have warning labels on a certain number of food products.  If you clean with it,  take a prescription, take an OTC, put it on your skin, has a kosher label, or smoke it (ew) then a company is not obligated to tell you when an allergen may be in their product.

Lesson one is read labels on household products but they are not required to have a warning label.  We learned this the hard way with lotion containing almonds and hand wash with casein (milk protein).  It was right on the ingredient label and we just didn’t think. Have you read their labels? I decided not to become a chemist for a reason.  Read labels and learn the chemical names.  Especially when it comes to cosmetics.  Speaking of,  lip balm and lip glosses may contain fish oils.  Watch for that.

It isn’t always on a label either.  After taking on the GF life, I was still reacting as though I was still eating gluten.  As wise sage informed me that it may be my laundry detergent.  She was right.  Water and flour are suspected added as fillers.  We switched to a concentrated, natural product and the reactions stopped.  Along with the laundry switch and a reading/investigation about peanut oils in products, cleaning products were changed too.  I like my house clean but don’t want to put my sons life at risk.  Lesson two here is: if you have an allergy and have removed it from your diet, chances are its in a household or self care product.  “Get rid of it” instructions below.

Other scary food allergy things

– Play dough contains wheat

– Marzipan is made from almond paste

– Worcestershire sauce contains fish

– Soy sauce is blatantly out there with having soy

– Read supplements and vitamin labels.  Example, many joint supplements contain shellfish

– Ask before you vaccinate- some contain eggs

 You have the PSA.  Food allergies are everywhere.  Practice food allergy safety- know chemical names, read labels, and listen to your body.  If you are reacting as though you have a food allergy and you haven’t eaten it, it may be skin deep. Or more.  Take away whatever you suspect for two weeks (takes that long to get out of your system) then keep it away if you get better or you can “challenge” by adding it back to see if the reaction happens again. If the reaction is severe or life threatening, don’t play chicken and stay out of challenges.  If you aren’t sure if you are reacting or why or the reactions are severe, see an allergist.

Namaste and Share for the Good of other Allergy Foodies

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Health Foodie Loving More Veggies… Because Bacon

This would not be categorized as a vegetarian dish because of our bacon entanglement.  Also, I am literally eating my words on this whole “I won’t eat brussel sprout thing.” This collaboration of previous brussel sprout consumption dare and my ghost child’s new professed love of goat cheese with bacon enhancement.  All culminating in a simple and quick delicious recipe.  Anyone has the time and skill for this.

 

Ingredients and Prep

Brussel sprouts (steamed, cut in half)

Bacon (cooked, diced)

Goat cheese crumbles (package opened)

Olive oil- one tablespoon

Steps to brussel sprouts in bacon, cheese glory

1.  Preheat oven to 425 F

2. Lightly drizzle olive oil on a sheet pan

2. Steam brussel sprouts and cut in half then spread out on pan

3. Cook bacon but barely (light brown and soft) or cheat like me and buy the pre cooked.  D

4. Dice barely cooked bacon and sprinkle over brussel sprouts.

5. Place pan in the oven for ten minutes.

6. After the bacon brussel sprouts cool for five to ten minutes, sprinkle goat cheese over.

Done- Bacon fulfillment with sneaky nutrition

Namaste 💓🥓🥗

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Health Foodie: Using Nature and Nutrition to Subdue the Head Monkeys

 

 

Here me now- I am not claiming total head monkey control.  However, there are ways to quite them and get them mananged.  This has been HUGE for my daughter and I.  We have monkey riots in our heads often and they just needed to settle the hell down.

When the head monkeys are out of control they need to be fed.

First in a head monkey’s diet is sleep.  Lack of sleep makes them louder or controlling them harder. I am not sure which. Either sucks.  Set a iron clad routine.  For adults, around 10 P.M. and up around 6 P.M. following the rhythm of nature. If that time frame not possible, seven to eight hours where you are able.  Uninterrupted.  My kids and I are still in negotiations on that part.  Settle into a non engaging activity thirty minutes before bed time.  I absolutely CANNOT read  before bed.  Book are engaging and insomnia inducing for me. My daughter it’s the opposite effect. As a  matter of fact it can put her to sleep in the middle of the day, so she claims.  Find a relaxing activity you can walk way from.   Listen to your body. I have been sleeping in an extra when possible due to my iron deficiency and children.  I need the extra sleep.  I am not against sleep aids and if you need them use them with care.

Head monkeys love food.  What you feed them either fuels crazy or appeases them.  Avoid high fats, sugar, dyes, chemical/processed foods.  It reeks havoc on your nervous system and incites head monkey riots.    Caffeine needs to be on a short lease.  There are some studies showing restrained amounts of coffee in the A.M. help rev those brain engines, possibly- POSSIBLY- helping those with ADHD.  It’s not conclusive.   However, in small amounts I find it helps.  The best thing you can feed yourself is water. HYDRATE. Don’t give them a fighting chance.  Head Monkey grub should rely on protein and not just meat protein.  Even  good-for-you lean meat protein in high amounts taxes your kidneys.  Nuts, beans, lentils should be mingling with your chicken, turkey, and lean beef. Frequently. YOU NEED CARBS. Actually, the head monkeys do.  But carb responsibly.  Whole grains like wheat, oats, amaranth, brown rice, quinoa, barley are the bread/pasta ingredients to look for.  Avoid processed, refine, and white flour.  Especially bleached. Saying “bleached flour” out loud just literally tasted nasty.  Bleached?! Whole fruits and veggies are smart carbs. Eat them. In abundance. Then watch those head monkeys quiet down.

What you eat is as important as how and when.  Breakfast needs to be a protein punch and the afternoon follows suit.  Afternoon is when you start to drop in your energy rhythm and wish for those kindergarten naps.  Eat a light protein snack.  Small meals space about two to three hours apart regulate your blood sugar, showing those head monkeys who’s boss.  Drink water all in between.

You may want to consider supplements depending on your head monkey issues. LISTEN CAREFULLY KIDS AND HEAD MONKEYS.  Supplements are not for all ages and can negatively interact with other medications.  Check and double check, professionally consult.  Vitamin Bs (“S”-plural) in a multivitamin for kids, multi or just B complex form for adults is great. The Bs work the nerve system with magnesium, its a head monkey massage.  Iron in a multi supplement form (unless prescribed different by doctor) is another way to aid your nervous system and brain.  Iron can be a poison in high doses.  Thus, unless a higher dose like moi is prescribed and monitored by a professional, stick with a multivitamin with iron. Omegas are for all ages, stages, and reasons.  We are plant based omega takers but cold fish omegas are VERY helpful in head noise reduction.  If you deal with anxiety, depression, focus issues, etc safely used and effective supplement can help your extra head monkeys. Even if you take medication.

Now that the head monkeys are rested and fed.  Give them a run.  You need to get active- daily and through out the day. Simple stretches, standing up and down a few times when you have desk duty makes a difference. Commit to getting that heart pumping.  It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do. Then get hands on.  Head monkeys like creativity.  Everyone is creative and not everyone is a Picasso.  Coloring books are just as effective as a Pollock inspired endeavor.  Cooking is creative. Yay food! Working on cars. LEGOS! Just be open and get something in your hands.  If the monkeys are especially loud then meditate while hands on- shameless previous post plug on meditation . It’s all about being intentional to help you focus on what you are creating for animal head control.

As of now my head monkeys are on a leash.  While I embrace their quirks and noise at times, the clock is ticking so I am going to go cook something.

My head monkeys namaste your head monkeys.  Find mental peace friends.

Thriving on Nutrition and a Budget

Thriving on Nutrition and a Budget

With my littlest red in tow we set out for our biweekly marathon of food gathering in the urban jungle yesterday. For a family of six plus my niece at times,  it’s all the marathon I ever care to participate in. It’s not the worst chore I have to complete as my laundry piles on my dryer.  However, we do love to eat with the goal of our health. There is strategy involved to keep our wellness goal and less my pain in the after math.

Before the marathon

1. List. List. List.

I am a list freak.  Largely to help me regulate my thoughts and ADHD. But I do love them and labels.  I like being able to find things too. But that’s beside the point. It does mean meal planning and less reliance on emotional eating when you use a list.  That’s a good thing.  Pad in your health favs and a few not so healthy favs for those cheat days.

2. Develop a love affair with the stores in or near your neighborhood.  The close you are the less gas which saves and the more you shop there the more you can recognize sale patterns which leads into three….

3.  Shop sales and in season. Healthy food on sale. Not junk food on sale.  Companies are starting to recognize the demand and putting natural/organic/healthy items or produce on sale more often.  This past month at one of our local stores, between sales, in season produce, and digital coupons, I cut my bill in half.  We saved almost $150.

4.  Use loyalty programs and digital saving programs.  If I receive a paper coupon in store or the mail I will use most of the time. Otherwise all my coupons are on a loyalty card.  Saves paper and money.  The more I use the loyalty program at one of our stores the more I am rewarded. There are grocery apps that do the reward the same way just for uploading a receipt.  Use them.

5.  When you have some extra budget room and sales are really good take advantage of the abundance.  If you have the room, squirrel it away.  My kids have organic crackers for months thanks to the sales last month.

6. Take advantage of shopping clubs, online services, and pick ups.  If you benefit from buying in bulk then a shopping club like Cosco or Sams may be worth it for you.  Our shopping club is online and delivers right to our door- my make up, laundry, toothpaste, etc. Which is my absolute fav- safe products and value that I didn’t have to fight the urban jungle to get.  During this summer we used store pick ups alot and delivering to your door is becoming an option.  For us it was necessity as I was recovering from a foot injury.  Now its just nice when time is tight. Pick ups prevents impulse shopping if that is a struggle of yours.

7. Meatless Mondays, Tuesday, Wednesdays….

Meat can be expensive, especially lean meat.   Lately, I am finding one of our stores putting meat substitutes crazy cheap.  We are riding that gravy train for as long as it last. We also like using cauliflower and cauliflower in every form is suddenly every where. Cauliflower is cheaper than most meats.  Cauliflower is a great substitute because of it’s nutritional value and protein content. Another plus.  Too much meat protein can be hard on some of your organs, especially kidneys.  Just a thought to keep in mind on how many meatless days you want to try.

We survived our day and meal prepping began today (future blog?).  If you have a small family, family of two, or just you then a meal delivery service may be a better option for meals.  Our family is just too big and I find I can keep the cost lower in shopping myself.  Blessings in your endeavors to eat well and thrive.

Namaste.

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