Tuesday, September 18, 2012

WELLNESS: ADVENTURES IN COOKING HEALTHY

It's no secret that I'm not much of a cook. I'll be completely transparent with you right now and tell you that this year was the first time I cooked chicken. My friend Kate witnessed it, so you can confirm that with her. ;) Growing up, "Memaw" lived with us. She is a true southern, senior citizen and the kitchen was her territory. I didn't get much experience cooking...although I would make the occasional batch of cookies here and there. In college, I had a college diet. Quick and horrible...mac n' cheese was acceptable everyday of the week. Matter of fact, macaroni was the extent of my cooking in college. So cheesy...so healthy... ;)

When Jon and I got married, I waded into the waters of cooking. I tried my hand at homemade soups and fish...but quickly our 40+ hour weekly schedules gave way to the quick and easy route of cooking. So dip, pizza, and pasta it was!! We weren't into meal planning, so by the time we got home from work the only thing on our mind was...FOOD. NOW. Going out to eat, ordering in, or whipping up something "instant" was always under 30 minutes and sounded appetizing. Did I mention our soda intake was outrageous?! That too. 

SO. This brings us to April 2012. April is the month I had an eye opening realization about my health and wellness. Jonathon and I, off the bat, started greatly improving our diets. I almost completely cut sodas out of my diet, with an except here and there and Jonathon limited his soda intake to the weekends. We began incorporating more spinach into our meals and tried to find healthier alternatives to the things we liked to eat. Oh and that "dip" I mentioned above (cream cheese, chili, and cheddar with chips)? That weekly staple had to go! 

We started feeling better. We started feeling more energized. And while we still allow ourselves treats and indulgent meals here and there, we are moving towards such a healthier lifestyle. 

One of my goals this year was to start a meal plan and start preparing//planning meals for us each week. We've been doing a lot of reading, talking, and research on health and where we feel like we should go ultimately with our diets and lifestyle. I'll share at this point we are leaning towards going dairy-free and focusing our meals around way more veggies. My numero uno priority is to create a diet for us that gives us all the goodness our bodies need to be healthy and the best version of us. While working to incorporate these ideas I've been collecting recipes and things to try. 

On Friday, I spent most of the day trying to develop a meal plan. It was mostly filled with things to try and experiments so we could figure out what would work best for our family. That evening, Jon and I hit Whole Foods and bought tons of new things to try. AND I've been cooking!! I made healthy muffins, chili, pita sandwiches, and chia seed pudding.  I'm not going to lie though...things are coming out so-so. Some things are a hit and others...eh. I am for sure learning a lot and I'm excited to be thought of as a good cook...one day. ;)

Here is a collection of some of the recipes I've tried and want to try:

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8

If you have any fabulously healthy and awesome recipes to share, I would LOVE to know what's cookin'! Cookbooks, websites, your grandma's recipes...I'm all ears! :) Oh! And we love soups! 

17 comments:

  1. Check out Whole family Fare (blogspot) and ALL cookbooks by Alice Waters - The art of simple food is a staple in my kitchen. Also, Shutterbean.com and Joythebaker.com are great, oh! and Smitten Kitchen :) cooking/baking is one of my favorite things to do, I'm glad you are enjoying your FOOD journey! All the best,
    Sara
    Justmadforasentence.tumblr.com

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    1. Ooo!! Such great resources! Thanks so much!

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  2. this is really inspiring, i've been wanting to plan healthier meals for my hubs and i. i need to get out of the healthier is more complicated/more expensive mentality! i will def be following along with your meal planning/cooking! :)

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  3. A menu plan makes all the diffence! I try to do a "loose" plan each week and it really helps fend off the "omg nothing to eat let's order pizza" issues..lol!

    Thanks for the recipe link ups..I am always looking for fresh and tasty.
    This weekend I made roasted red pepper soup and summer squash soup..so good!

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  4. Yay for going dairy-free!

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  5. I love everything about this post! I am so happy to be following your health and wellness journey! So inspiring.
    My husband and I, well more like myself ;) plan our meals in advance. I try to do it toward the end of the week so that on the weekend I have a solid plan of what i need to pick up at the store. We also have dry erase board, make that 2 dry erase boards to help us keep track of the grocery list, the expected meal for the day, and even an inventory of what we have on hand and in the freezer...Over board, I think not! :)
    I also love soups and have tons of personal recipes I would love to share with you....However, I will send via e-mail!
    Good luck! <3 <3 <#

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    1. Such good tips!! And definitely NOT overboard. ;) I'd love some recipes! My gmail is: maiedae@gmail.com :D

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  6. I enjoy following your health posts! Since getting married in December I have gained some serious weight and its also been difficult coming up with healthy meal plans so it is encouraging to see how other couples are working on similar things as well! My husband and I are making the effort to exercise more and cook at home more rather than eat out! One blog I love to go to for recipes is iowagirleats.com.

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  7. I started my blog this year and just posted my very first recipe. It's for cookies and definitely not healthy, but I'll be sharing more this fall...since I only really enjoy cooking when it's chilly. I make a badass vegetable soup.;)
    www.atomicpurple.blogspot.com

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  8. keep at it! with cooking, it's an art rather than a science, it'll never be perfect but the more you practice, the better you get at it!

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  9. Some of these look absolutely beautiful! I'm going to have to explore all these links (and the ones left by other people too!) I think I could fill a recipe book just from this one blog post =)

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  10. i need to get better at planning meals, but find hard when my husband and i both work long days. thanks for tips!!

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  11. Sounds very similar to what I'm going through with Cameron right now. Both of us can cook ok, but nothing too spectacular. Cam is much better in the kitchen than I am... We used to eat all crappy foods that were quick and to the point, or I would just eat at work (I worked in film, so free junk food was everywhere). We recently started the book Practical Paleo and are trying to stick to a paleo diet as much as possible (no grains or dairy). It's a big change, but the energy and way we feel is worth it!! We still have cheese and chocolate milk here and there though :)

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  12. I completely relate to this, before I had my daughter my diet was terrible, so was my partners. When she came along I knew that I had to improve my diet, to give her the best start. Now that she's old enough to eat anything (and she will!) I want to show her that a healthy lifestyle and diet is important. And of course the odd treat is too!

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  13. Congratulations on your food overhaul :) My boyfriend and I are big cookers, and planning meals has saved us a lot of money at the grocery store. Our big thing is pizza -- you can find tons of whole wheat dough recipes online or just buy premade dough (Trader Joe's has great doughs for a buck!) and top it with a bunch of veggies. We usually have a salad on the side, too. Zucchini noodle lasagna is one I want to try (you use zucchini slices instead of noodles!). And with the weather change, I love a simple tomato soup (I found a similar recipe to my own here: http://capenercaboodle.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-best-tomato-soup-around.html).

    I've been interested in trying chia seed pudding. What did you think??

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  14. Oh gosh, I read so many food sites, but here's a few. We eat mostly vegan food so it's already healthier because it's all plants. I love cooking.

    http://www.eatingwell.com/
    http://happyherbivore.com/blog/
    http://www.101cookbooks.com/
    http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com

    I have a lot of healthy recipes on my pinterest food board, but it's mixed with not so healthy recipes :) http://pinterest.com/bambooblossom/food/

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  15. If you get the opportunity to take a cooking class with Christina Perello, DO IT!

    For soup, this is the BEST
    http://www.joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/2011/02/african-curried-coconut-soup-with.html

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