Real. Good. Fud.

and other joys in life


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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Any fellow elementary school Earth Club members out there?

Remember that phrase, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”?

Note the order of the ‘r’ words.  Perhaps they are in this order for a reason.

In our modern day, being “green” has become quite the fad.  It’s trendy, and lots of people are making lots of money from labeling things as ‘green’, ‘recycled’, ‘recyclable’, etc.  This is a great thing, as everything from compost bins, low and no-VOC ‘non-toxic’ paint, to organic foods is pretty easily attainable.  And I love that most public buildings have recycling bins!

However, sometimes we get so excited about our organic cotton sheets and bottle made from recycled plastic, that we forget the ‘reduce, reuse’ part of the popular saying.

Reduce.

This is first, and quite an important, step in being ‘green’.  If we reduce our consumption, there is no need to continue with the other steps.  Reducing consumption reduces production of new goods; therefore conserving resources as well as reducing the energy of production.  Reducing consumption also reduces waste.  Even the waste that is recyclable requires energy to process it.

So think about your consumption habits.  Do you really need to use paper towels very often?  I always have them on hand for really nasty business, like puppy poop and chicken blood J.  However perhaps reusing (I’m getting ahead of myself here) old rags could do just as good, if not a better job.  Or how about napkins; why not use fabric napkins?  Cloth diapers, buying in bulk to reduce packaging, bringing your own coffee mug to the coffee shop, the list goes on and on.

Reuse.

We obviously cannot reduce our consumption to nothing.  So, the next step is reusing.  Reuse old rags and even clothes to clean.  Shop at a thrift store.  Use old jars to store leftovers or food that you buy in bulk.  Wash that salsa jar and store some rice in it!

Recycle.

I don’t think this one needs explanation.  It’s really easy to do in today’s society; many communities even have curb-side now!

 

Keeping the three ‘r’s in mind are really pretty simple, and become habit with time.  However, these simple steps can have a huge impact on our environment!  So next time you plan to purchase some bottles of water, why not reduce your consumption and reuse a Polar Bottle or Nalgene instead?  Take a few days and note what things you really could do without, take a shorter shower, and make sure to use your recycling bin more than the trash can.  And don’t forget, the less you consume and more you reuse, the more money you’ll save!


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Tilapia with Roasted Garlic Potato Crust and Kale

Well, after a long sabbatical (I wish it were actually rest, but instead just rest from blogging!)… I’m back!

I will start off with my delicious meal from this evening… then will share my experience with homemade pasta and the most amazing lasagna ever created!

This dish is probably my favorite tilapia recipe yet.  After eating coastal seafood, what we get in the Midwest is tough to enjoy.  And tilapia, the budget fish, is the worst.  The strong, rich garlic; creamy potatoes; and fresh and crispy kale are the perfect match to bring out the good in this fish!

This recipe is for 1 serving.  Just multiply all ingredients by the number you plan to make!

Tilapia with Roasted Garlic Potato Crust and Kale

  • 1 tilapia fillet
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • EVOO
  • splash of milk
  • 1 russet potato
  • 1 kale leaf
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • tarragon
  • salt
  • pepper

 

  • Roast garlic, tossed in EVOO, in 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes; until slightly brown and soft.
  • Meanwhile, cook potatoes (steam or microwave).
  • Puree garlic with milk, add cooked potatoes. Stir in 1/2 of the chopped kale and tarragon.
  • Place tilapia in baking dish (preferably same as garlic dish), season with salt and pepper.
  • Top with mashed potato mixture, sprinkle with lemon juice.
  • Broil fish until cooked.
  • Serve with lemon wedge; top with fresh herbs.

Idea: Great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes!


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Salmon with Mango-Avocado Salsa

Are you a seafood eater?  I used to despise the stuff.  Now, I eat more fish than I do beef and poultry combined.  Unfortunately, the Midwest doesn’t exactly boast of its spectacular seafood.  Understandable.  However, that shouldn’t keep you from eating it.  As long as you prepare it right, with a little seasoning and love, it can be quite tasty.  Without further ado, here’s my new favorite preparation of my all-time favorite fish:

Baked Salmon with Mango-Avocado Salsa

salmon

2 salmon fillets

EVOO

salt

garlic pepper

tarragon

salsa

1/4 mango, peeled and cubed

1 avocado, cubed

orange zest

juice from 1/4 orange

green onions

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Coat salmon with oil and seasonings. Bake at 350 until cooked through.

2. Meanwhile, combine salsa ingredients.

3. Top cooked salmon with salsa and enjoy


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Delicious Juices

First things first; my cleanse is going quite well.  I finished week 1 in one piece; I’m feeling ‘clean’, have more energy, and haven’t felt bloated!  I’ve had a headache or two, but this is supposedly normal; and they’ve not been bad at all.  The only major negative I am experiencing is muscle soreness.  As mentioned earlier, I am continuing to exercise as normal.  Due to the minimal protein I am consuming, I guess my muscles are unable to recover as quickly as normal.  Therefore- I am looking forward to adding seafood, soy and beans/lentils into my diet today!

One of the best things so far has been trying out new recipes.  Here are a few of the items on my week 1 menu: butternut squash soup, tomato soup, various salads including slaws including avocado, bell pepper and arugula, roasted cauliflower and peppers, and sweet potato chips.

I’ll share more details on the best ones later.  In the meantime, I’d like to share some juicing recipes!

I got my juicer for my birthday in February, and have had fun experimenting ever since!  I started out with mostly fruits and a little veg.  Slowly, I’ve added more veggies and less fruit.  Typically, I just put whatever produce I have around and see what the outcome is.

The best results have come from some combination of carrots, apples, pineapple, grapes and oranges.  These all taste nice, and yield a relatively large amount of juice.  I was really excited about juicing greens- but they don’t yield as much juice.  Lettuce and kale seem to do alright; spinach and arugula not so much.  However, I do still use these in addition to other produce.

Okay, now for some recipes.  These are some I’ve tried and enjoyed.

Grapefruit-Carrot

2 grapefruits, peeled

5 carrots

1 inch of ginger

Green Machine

6 leaves romaine

4 leaves kale

½ pineapple

1 mango

Fresh parsley

Fresh ginger

Beet-Carrot-Apple

1 small beet

5 carrots

1 apple

¼ cup fresh mint

(Okay, this one wasn’t great, but I think I could modify it to taste better.)

My goal for this week is to listen to my body.  I plan to stop eating when my body tells me it’s satisfied, instead of stuffing it full.  Be watching for some great vegetarian recipes to come!


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Cleanse Update

Well,  I had to modify.  Here’s how the first day of my cleanse went:

I had some carrot-grapefruit juice for breakfast in place of my typical oatmeal and coffee.  I felt okay, had some blueberries and almonds for a snack.  The headache and fatigue started, which was expected.  Then I ate my lunch: arugula salad with various toppings and lemon juice/EVOO dressing.  During my afternoon class, I started to feel real bad, and it only got worse.  I felt like I had the flu.  Then, I got sick.  I went home and took a nap (which I haven’t done in years)… went to work and got sick again.  I came home… got sick again… and went to bed at 7pm.  My conclusion is that I ate something bad- because I cannot imagine that simply changing my breakfast would’ve had such a detrimental effect (since the rest of the day’s diet was consistent with my normal).

So, I decided that Friday I would start my day off with a small bowl of oatmeal (with only flax, wheat germ and cinnamon added), and a very small cup of coffee.  The oatmeal I’m okay with; I think my body needs a little something in the morning, since I am continuing my exercise (which includes lifting weights).  Plus, I lost the support of my husband once I started getting sick; he is afraid I’m going to lose weight on this cleanse.  The coffee probably would be better to skip, but here’s my reasoning: coffee has lots of benefits and I therefore had full intentions of adding it back in after the cleanse.  So, I determined that it wasn’t worth the excruciating headaches to cut it out for 3 weeks!  Please don’t judge me 🙂

With that being said, I am continuing everything else as originally planned for the remainder of each day.

Yesterday, I made vegetable broth for the first time!  Super-duper easy and I have enough for a few days’ worth of soup.

I used carrots, leeks, celery (mostly the leaves), garlic and onions.  Just chop them up in large chunks and place in a big pot.  Then, fill with water and let it simmer for about an hour.  When ready, just pour through a mesh strainer and there’s your broth!

I used the broth to make tomato soup last night (and aren’t I nice- I made my husband a grilled cheese sandwich).  Tonight or tomorrow, I plan to use it for butternut squash soup.

PS- I will blog with all the juice recipes and how they taste later!  (I’m drinking beet-carrot-apple-mint juice now).


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Cleanse

This is what it looks like the day before a cleanse. 

A what?  A cleanse, detox, a challenge, an adventure… call it what you want, I start one tomorrow.

The cleanse I am doing is from wholeliving.com.  I got the idea from Daphne Oz (Dr. Oz’s daughter, host of the Chew).  Here’s the plan in a nutshell.  Week 1 you eat only fruits, vegetables, and plant based fats- including nuts, seeds and oils.  Week 2 you add seafood, beans, lentils and soy.  Week 3 you add gluten free grains and eggs.  I chose this one because I don’t think my body would do well with only juice or raw fruits and vegetables.  I like that I can still get my good fats and protein. 

So, why?  There are lots of claimed benefits of a cleanse.  The main one being to rid the body of toxins.  The research isn’t there to prove whether this is actually beneficial (not because it’s been proven otherwise, but because there is little research done in the area).  However, it only makes sense, right?  Either way, I have many other reasons for doing this. 

  1. I like challenges.
  2. What a great way to practice self-discipline.
  3. I can discover lots of new vegetarian recipes!

Tomorrow is Day 1.  I will do my best to keep my blog updated with how it’s going, and especially to share any new recipes or ideas!

Have you ever done a cleanse?  Any advice?


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Sweet Potato Tuna Melt

Here’s one of my favorite, go-to quick dinners… Sweet Potato Tuna Melts.  No, I’m not crazy; these little guys are delicious!  My hubbie isn’t a huge fan of sweet potatoes, but even he adores these!  The idea came from The Chew.

Trim the edges off of your sweet potatoes and cut in half length-wise.  Cover and cook in the microwave for about 5 minutes, or until soft (not mushy).

Mix up the topping… you will want about 1 can of tuna per potato.  Here’s the amount for one potato; it should be simple math to multiply by however many you desire!  A spoonful of mayonnaise (I use the EVOO kind), 1 can of tuna; minced garlic (1/2-1 clove); onions (red, green, white, yellow); pepper; a squirt of lemon juice; seasonings (I use some combination of parsley, terragon, basil, and thyme).

Once the potatoes are cooked through, just place on a baking sheet and top with the topping.  Then, sprinkle with a bit of cheese and place under a broiler until lightly browned (no more than 5-7 minutes).

And there you have it.  An easy, healthy, hearty dinner.  The sweet potatoes give some nice texture, and of course sweetness.  The tuna gives some saltiness and meatiness.  The cheese and mayonnaise are creamy.  It doesn’t get much better than this if you ask me!

Do you have any favorite go-to dinners?  Anything ‘unusual’ or interesting?