What I Ate This Week: Apparently I’m Having Some Kind of Weird Seafood Craving

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Stuffed Cabbage, Mashed Potatoes (the kind that come frozen in a bag from Trader Joe’s), and salad.

So every once in awhile I get the weirdest craving for a food that I would never normally eat. Does that happen to you? Anyway, once every three years, I HAVE to eat stuffed cabbage. It’s very odd, but I just go with it.

(I used tomato sauce instead of tomato soup in this recipe because I’m not a fan of cooking with canned soup. I know it makes no sense to use mashed potatoes from a bag and turn up my nose at canned soup, but a woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets, ok? Just go with it.)

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Steak, Spinach Salad with Maple Vinaigrette, and Sourdough

I didn’t really like this steak. It was the first time that Costco steak has let me down.  The good news is that the salad was the straight up bomb and I didn’t even need to eat the steak. Erik’s dressing was the business.

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Steak (a good one this time), Twice Baked Potatoes, Salad.

I have been making twice baked potatoes for years and I have never found a recipe I LOVED until this one. These are the fatteningest, but damn are they good.

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Strawberry season! And Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Swirl bread and eggs.

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Sesame Tuna Salad. I liked the salad but I found the tuna grisly. It was sort of icky, honestly, so I might have to stick with Costco tuna.

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Fettucine with Clam Sauce.  This is such an easy dinner when you don’t really know what to make –  I try to always have clams on hand because you can always make this or Clam Chowder pretty much with stuff you usually have lying around the house, although no one loves this dinner as much as I do, I just don’t think you can really go wrong with butter+garlic+clams+lemon. YUM.

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Shrimp Caesar Salad.  This is so easy. Just chop up some lettuce, thaw some precooked shrimp, throw on some croutons (I like the Trader Joe’s ones), toss with some caesar dressing, and throw some grated parm on top.  This also makes an excellent fancy lunch for company, I have found.  Plus I grew this lettuce myself, which means my Smug Points are extra high for this dinner.

We also had these Salad Tacos, from the Pioneer Woman, and they were SO FRICKING GOOD. Seriously, I am never going back to ordinary tacos. Thumbs up from everyone, including Eli who told me how much he loved them, and Erik, who could not stop eating them. Seriously, I want to eat them again RIGHT NOW.

 

 

Kids And Food

After I started posting pictures of what I’ve been eating, I had a lot of requests to write about whether or not my kids eat the same things I do and how I have time to cook meals and how it all works, so here is my sure to be long winded explanation of that.

First let me walk you through the day.

Erik wakes up at about the time the kids wake up (6:25 ish) and he gives them breakfast.  This is usually oatmeal or yogurt or toaster waffles or fruit.  Eli used to eat all kinds of weird stuff for breakfast (frozen hot dogs) but now it’s pretty much this. Neither one of them eats a great breakfast and I throw out a lot of half empty yogurt containers, but what can you do.

Eli takes a packed lunch to school because he refuses to eat the hot lunch.  Usually I pack him half a sandwich, a fruit of some kind, some cookies, maybe some craisins or some olives, maybe a vegetable. He sometimes eat a lot of lunch, sometimes barely anything, but he does seem to like the sandwiches. (They can’t take anything with peanut butter in it to school.)

I come home from dropping Eli off at school at about 9. If I’m starving sometimes I’ll eat breakfast right away, but generally I do not care to eat anything until I have been awake for a few hours, so usually I don’t cook myself breakfast until around 11 AM.  Usually I’ll make three eggs and Katie will eat most of one.

After I get Eli at 1, we come home and I try to get Katie to eat something else, and I ask Eli if he wants anything else to eat, sometimes he eats, sometimes he doesn’t. He almost always asks for food sometime before dinner though, and both my kids seem to get hungry at about 4, so they usually end up eating a pre dinner around then.

I try to start dinner before Erik gets home (and try to have an idea of what I’m making in the morning so I can defrost things) but sometimes I don’t get around to it before he gets home.  Usually I’m in the middle of cooking when he walks in the door.

We all eat all together every night at the dining room table.  If it’s something I KNOW they won’t eat any part of, I will try to get something else ready, but usually I just alter it slightly and put it on their plate.  For example if we’re having steak salad, I’ll just save out the steak and cut it up for them.  Eli is also unusual in that he’ll eat only vegetables or fruit if given the choice, so usually I will give him the protein first and tell him he can’t have lettuce/peppers/mango until he eats the protein.

Usually if I feel like he ate a terrible dinner I’ll try to get him to eat an ice cream bar for dessert because I will do whatever to takes to get calories into the child, and he is fairly amenable to ice cream bars.

In general, though, here’s some of my food/eating philosophies:

1. Milk is for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Both my kids would do nothing but drink milk all day, given the choice.  Eli can’t have milk except at meals or that’s all he’d drink. If he wants a drink and it’s not meal time, he gets himself water.

2. I essentially let them eat whatever they want whenever they want to eat it.  I make some exceptions because I think sugar plus Eli is a really horrible combination, but when he asks for food, he gets it. I don’t make more than three suggestions of things he’d like to eat though, after that it’s his job to come up with something he wants to eat.  And I am not an all day long short order cook, if you ask for food and it’s not a time when I am in food fetching mode, then you can get it yourself. We have a step stool in our kitchen and a snack basket and lots of things that are readily available.

I really feel strongly about this “whatever” approach to food.  When I was growing up, we ate at McDonald’s twice. Yep, twice in my entire childhood. We never had treats or junk food or sugar and this approach backfired wildly as soon as I could control what I ate.  I never learned how to be normal around junk food.  Erik grew up in a house where no one really gave a shit what you ate or when you ate it, and he has the most normal and non screwed up attitude towards food of anyone I’ve known, so we veer hard toward the “chill out” philosophy of food around here.  We always have fruit and vegetables and healthy stuff around, but we go to McDonald’s.  If you want some chocolate chips I will give them to you.  And most importantly, in our house, food is morally neutral.  You may gain or lose weight because of something you eat, it might make you thirsty or it might make you feel gross or feel great, but what you eat does not make you a good or bad person.

3. One person cooks dinner, the other person does the dishes. And there’s give and take in this, but in no universe am I going to cook and clean up from an entire home cooked dinner that I cooked every night.

4. You’re not allowed to say that you don’t like something that I cooked. You don’t have to eat it, but I don’t want to hear your opinion about it unless they are positive.

5. We food bribe ALL THE TIME.  All the books tell you not to do this, but the reality is that Eli can’t tell when he’s hungry, he doesn’t ask for food when he should, and when he gets too hungry, all  hopes of getting him to eat are lost.  So at dinner he can’t leave the table until he eats a certain amount of protein, and if he starts to get hangry, we make him a plate of food, shut him in his room, and tell him he can’t come out until it’s eaten.  I have this same problem and hopefully he figures out “If I’m crabby I need to eat” shortly before his 36th birthday, but for now, this is what we have to do sometimes.

6. Speaking of books, the books have never helped us.  I checked out ALL the books on how to get kids to eat and they just don’t apply to my kids.  I always hear “no child has ever starved with access to food” and first of all, I really really hate statements that start with “no child has ever…” because really? In a world of BILLIONS OF CHILDREN you’re willing to say NO CHILD EVER? I just don’t believe that. Secondly, I think Eli really would starve to death while he sobbed in the corner next to a pizza, so…I don’t worry too much about what the books say.

7. You’re expected to ask to leave the table by saying “May I be excused” and to clear your own place once you are excused, and then if your parents are still eating, you may not lurk around the dining room. We all eat dinner together every night but it has been an exercise in patience for the past five years, so sometimes we do let them leave the dining table early because we just can’t take it anymore.

8. I have a lot of things that can be really quickly made for a kid (although Eli won’t eat most of them because of course not) like chicken nuggets, etc, but I never worry about whether or not my kids will eat a dinner.  I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate picky eaters and I refuse to raise them. And again, they don’t have to eat it, but I cook what I want to eat, and everyone else can fall in line or eat a bean burrito.

Let me know if you have questions.  I will try to note what my kids ate below what we had for dinner if I can remember.

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Braised Chicken and Vegetables in Peanut Sauce

One of my go to all time favorite recipes. Everyone loves this. I usually just use regular chicken breast and serve it over this brown rice/quinoa mixture you can buy frozen at Costco because I hate cooking rice.  Kids at the chicken and the rice.

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Thai Beef Salad Wraps. No recipe because in my opinion it was similar but not as good to that regular old Thai Beef Salad with mint. Kids ate the steak sans sauce, and lettuce.

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This was breakfast one morning – TJ’s frozen green beans, sauteed with garlic, and then some random mushroom from the Farmer’s Market sauteed till crispy and two fried eggs. YUM.

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I have renewed my love for roasted broccoli.  This breakfast was broccoli, eggs, and smoked salmon.

What I Ate This Week

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were chicken tostadas without the tostada. AMAZING. I marinated some chicken breasts in olive oil, red pepper, and lime juice, and then pan fried them and cut them up. We ate them with mangos, guac, tomatoes, yellow peppers, salsa, and lettuce, I think.

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The next morning I took the left over mango/tomato chicken mixture, dumped it over some spinach, threw an egg on the top, and added some guac. It was the bomb. Recommend.

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I had the WORST craving for pineapple ham pizza, so this was how I got that flavor anyway.  These are bison burgers, topped with bacon, pineapple, red onion, and then eaten in lettuce instead of a bun. I also added ketchup, and no one died, believe it or not.  Oh, there’s golden beet salad there on the side, but it was just sort of meh for me, so I wouldn’t recommend that.

 

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This is spinach, the leftover beet salad, an egg, and some smoked salmon. (Breakfast)

 

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I needed to use up some sprouts, so I made this carroty/sunflower salad, but I just ended up picking out all the apples and the chicken so I probably should have just eaten some slices of chicken and an apple.

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I know it’s not for everyone, but I LOVE spaghetti squash, especially with meatballs.  I made these with ground up cashews instead of bread crumbs, and with ground turkey. I threw ALL the spices in there and they were still bland, I think next time I’d add even more garlic and maybe some mustard.

I bought these artichokes at the farmer’s market and they were delicious.  I always cook my artichokes this way, btw.  Trim the bottoms, trim the tops, cut in half, steam in the microwave in a covered bowl with some water in it for 10 minutes. Remove from the bowl, drizzle with olive oil and some kind of herb mixture (you can use Mrs. Dash or Trader Joes sells a good generic herb mix), salt and pepper, and grill until you get a nice golden brown crust on them.  They are SO GOOD cold, too, I always make a lot and save them.

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What I Ate This Week: More Whole 30

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I think this was lunch. A hard boiled egg, blackberries, a kiwi, and some sliced chicken breast. I don’t normally love kiwi fruit, but the ones at the Farmer’s Market right now are insane.

 

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I can’t lie, this was my least favorite dinner this week. I just don’t know that I’m a pork chop gal. And normally I love Brussels sprouts, but these were just greasy and burnt tasting.  And the squash was just chunky and gloppy and I don’t know.  This was the dinner that made me sad.

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This was good, but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. I think I missed my Hellman’s for the first time.  This was chicken salad, so: chopped up chicken (from the chicken I roasted), cucumbers, grapes, cashews, and apples, with homemade mayo and curry powder, over spinach.

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This (Beef and Bok Choy Hot Pot) was my favorite dinner this week. And everyone loved it. I left out the sugar and in the recipe, but I did put in a 1/4 cup of soy sauce. I’m just…not afraid of soy sauce. And I don’t want to buy coconut aminos, and I am never going to cook with them once Whole 30 is over, and I think it’s more useful for me to have recipes I would actually make in my future cooking repertoire, rather than recipes with weird ingredients in them I’d never cook with.  Hey, I’m just proud of myself for using up my boy choy before it went bad. I also made a separate batch of noodles and everyone else had theirs over the noodles.

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This Shrimp Diablo was also delicious. I left out the chili sauce because mine had sugar in it, though. I put this over summer squash that I sliced up into “noodles” because my spaghetti squash was rotten when I went to use it. So annoying. And yet I triumphed! Gold star, me.

Last night I had a Trader Joe’s turkey burger with avocado, tomato, and home made mayo, wrapped in a lettuce leaf, and I forgot to take a picture. Here, here’s a picture for you:

turkey

 

 

What I Ate This Week: Whole 30 Week One

I have a lot of opinions about Whole 30, but I am trying to save them until the end, because I think right now is a complaining time for me and I am hoping that eventually I will get to an awesome time and I want to give a well rounded picture of my experience.

However, I am very happy that I made it back to to Farmer’s Market this morning.

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Golden beets! Most exciting thing that’s happened to me in months. (I live a wild, wild life.)

So hopefully next week you’ll get to see all the deliciousness that I turn this into, but here’s what I ate last week:

Taco Salad. This was black olives, tomatoes, ground beef, jicama, pineapple, avocado, lettuce, jalapenos, and salsa. I ate mine on a sweet potato, and Erik had his on chips. I actually liked this better than when I normally have it with cheese and sour cream, if you can believe that. It was amazing.

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Then I had the leftovers just over lettuce as a salad, with salsa for dressing.

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This is basically what I’ve been having for breakfast, although I try to do berries or fruit sometimes instead of smoked salmon. I am cool with this breakfast unless I don’t feel great, in which case I feel really annoyed that I can’t have toast or oatmeal. I’m not a great morning person and my stomach is often dicey for the first two hours of the day, so you know, I can do the eggs but some days I am not happy about it.

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This is a typical lunch. I don’t know if you can tell but these are supposed to be wraps on lettuce leaves, you can sort of roll the wrap up sideways but it does get pretty messy there at the end. This is Trader Joe’s roast beef on lettuce leaves with roasted red peppers, home made mayo, spicy carrot slaw, olives and radishes. Oh my god, it’s so good. It’s really really good.

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I liked this dinner, but full disclosure, I was hungry afterwards.  This is steak, grapefruit and avocado salad (cup up both, combine, add some salt) and asparagus and carrot slaw. (I added the sunflower seeds.) The asparagus and carrot slaw was FANTASTIC. It tasted like springtime. I’d made it again during non Whole 30 in a heartbeat.

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This was not my finest moment, but Erik was out with friends and I had to feed both kids and I just didn’t have it in me to do the whole shebang. This is the one kind of Trader Joe’s chicken sausage that is compliant sliced up over zucchini noodles with the one kind of compliant Trader Joe’s spaghetti sauce over it. Oh, and roasted red peppers.

I’m not gonna lie, I really missed my sprinkle of green can cheese.

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I roasted a chicken! It went well.  For the record, I have roasted many a chicken, but they always sort of give me the icks, so I thought about what kind of chicken I like (rotisserie chicken, the chickens my mom makes) and the kind I don’t like (the ones I roast) and I pondered the difference, and I decided that I would do is that I would cook the shit out of the chicken.  And so I cooked this one for four hours at 350, and when I took it out it was basically falling apart, and I loved it. It did not give me the icks.  And now I have ready protein for days.  This meal was because my husband gave me some nasty virus OR Whole 30 hates me, but regardless, I’d been having, um, some poopage issues for quite some time and I just didn’t have it in me to eat anymore broccoli, so I went with bland and comforting.  And it was DELICIOUS. I do love a good frozen cut green bean.

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I Told You I Really Liked Vegetables

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From Left to Right:

Mixed Salad, Washed and Dried Lettuce Leaves, Carrot Dressing, Grapes, Radishes,

Stack from the top down: Homemade mayo, squash shreds which I will pretend are cheese, Grilled zucchini, pepper strips, kabocha squash, Cauliflower for fake rice,

Stack Two from the top down: Roasted Red Peppers, Hard Boiled Eggs, Spicy Carrot Salad, Spicy Brocolli Salad, Zucchini “noodles”, jicama, butternut squash chunks, butternut squash slices.

 

Meal Plans for the Week

You might not know this but it turns out that wishing you were dead while withdrawing from Paxil isn’t really conducive to cooking dinner.  Lucky for me my MIL came to town during the height of Vomit-A-Poolaza 2012 and she cooked every night (and lo it was glorious) and sometimes I would wander into the kitchen and eat a bite of something, but mostly I ate no dinner at all for about three weeks. (I lost 26 pounds. At one point I didn’t eat for over 48 hours. Have I mentioned how much this experience sucked?)

Anyway, no one here starved, but I think it’s safe to say that we didn’t climb any heights of culinary excellence since mostly we defrosted Costco chicken meatballs.  I finally decided after another meal of hamburgers, grapes, and mini bags of potato chips that I should probably start meal planning again.  I feel like this must be a good sign. When I feel like cooking it means I feel like myself again.

So this is what we’re eating this week:

Asian Slaw with Chicken Satay

Source: frecklesinapril.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

CIder Pork Roast with Apple Thyme Gravy and Mashed Potatoes

Source: myrecipes.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

Super Spinach Salad

Source: shutterbean.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

Balsamic Pasta with Two Cheeses (so good!)

 Grilled Steak Gyros
Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Source: cuckooking.blogspot.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

Chicken Tacos With Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Source: realsimple.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest