Pasta Journey

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It’s always a journey.  I feel like I’m always learning more and growing.  You don’t know what you don’t know so stay open-minded.  Here’s a quick summary of our journey through the phases of becoming healthier w/pasta.

 

15 years ago we were eating white pasta and we’d even have garlic bread w/our spaghetti

10 years ago we switched to whole grain and dropped the garlic bread

2 years ago I learned more what ‘enriched’ meant and paid closer attention to the ingredients-even researched what gluten was and how it was affecting us.

A year ago we started experimenting w/spaghetti squash.  It hasn’t replaced our pasta but we now enjoy other meals with it.

Currently I have purchased my first spiralizer and I’m excited with what all we will create.

 

We have slowly made more and more improvements to the food that we eat.  Spaghetti used to be a weekly meal (with garlic bread).  Now the kids eat edamame beans w/their spaghetti and it might be an every 3 week meal.

 

Skyline is a local favorite in our city.  It is a meat based chili over pasta covered in cheddar cheese.  The kids love it.  However, we rarely (Maybe 1x a year) eat it at the restaurant but instead make it at home w/our own ingredients.  We know the meat that is in it.  We shred our own cheese and cook multi-grain pasta.  We can’t be perfect.  We can only do our best.

 

Our future hopefully will involve growing our own garden and making our own sauce.  In the meantime…we do our best.

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Shredded Cheese-It’s Not All Created Equal

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A couple years ago I was at a local swimming pool talking to my kiddos swim lessons instructor about health and wellness.  We had a lot of common ground and 1/2 way into the conversation she said, ‘I’m sure you don’t buy bagged cheese…’  I laughed, not entirely knowing what she was talking about, in the meantime I’m thinking, ‘DANG!  What’s wrong with bagged cheese?!’  It was just something I had never given much thought to.  Well, I couldn’t wait to get home and start researching.

Have you ever wondered why your packaged cheese seemed to be covered in a fine layer of dust?  Hmmmm…

3 Reasons to shred your own cheese:

  1. It’s cheaper!
  2. You can avoid consuming unnecessary additives!
  3. It tastes better!!!
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Breakfast

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My favorite meal of the day!!!!!  I seriously LOVE breakfast.  It helps that I have a little one still that loves sweet potatoes (and specifically asks for them every morning) so we are having to prepare sweet potatoes weekly.  If you have never had sweet potatoes for breakfast, you should try them!  They are delicious with eggs and sausage.  Even some restaurants will sub out your regular potatoes for sweet potatoes as a side or as part of a hash.  So yummy.  If I don’t have this as the first meal of the day, you can guarantee I will have it at some point in the day.  I actually get excited when I realize I haven’t had it yet, bc it is a quick and easy meal that keeps you full for hours!

 

The days that I don’t have eggs, sweet potato, and turkey sausage, I am having steel cut oats.  I go to the gym 5 days a week (give or take) and if I know we are having a heavy lifting day, I will ensure to have more carbs (energy).  I choose steel cut over old-fashioned oats bc they take longer for your body to break down, therefore more calories burned and you are held over longer due to the speed in which your body breaks it down.  For added protein, I cook my oats w/bone broth.  When it is done cooking, I will add in chia seeds, dried coconut, apple/blueberries/strawberries (whichever I have on hand-cooking the apple with the sausage adds an unbelievable sweetness) and for added protein, I have a side of chicken or turkey sausage.  Actually I add it into the oatmeal and it makes a goetta-like breakfast.  Seriously, to die for!

 

I stopped buying cereal a year or so ago.  Actually, I had stopped buying cow’s milk a year or so prior to that and realized that the only reason I was buying milk was to drink w/oreos (don’t get me started) or cereal.  The kids just weren’t eating it much then and I finally realized they can’t eat what I don’t buy anyway…so they’re go to breakfasts are:

-eggs

-oatmeal

-yogurt

-toast

I’ve got one that won’t eat eggs.  We continue to make him try them bc I know eventually he will like them.  I cook the kid’s oatmeal just like I cook my own but without the bone broth bc they don’t like that flavor.  We only buy Greek Yogurt.  All other yogurts in my opinion are basically a dessert w/the amount of sugar contained in them.  Finally, toast-one of their favorites.  We buy gluten-free bread bc it is the only bread that you can fully pronounce and recognize the ingredients and slather it with coconut oil, peanut butter and apples or bananas.

 

So many of these meals I have mentioned are absolutely interchangeable throughout our days.  So when the kids ask for one of these at dinner time and I’m not necessarily prepared, I 100% give in bc I guarantee that it is better for them than the alternative.

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Dinners

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Dinner used to be my hardest meal of the day.  I’m just not a fan of big meals.  I’m not a fan of ‘dinner food’.  Why can’t we just have breakfast or lunch food for dinner?  Or better yet, can’t we just have another snack?  (I’m a HUGE believer in snacks-but that’s another blog post.)  This was obviously a personal problem for me that I had to overcome in a couple different ways.  #1, YES-Let’s have eggs for dinner!  Oh, you just want cottage cheese and pineapple for dinner?  OKAY-Let’s do it!  I found that I was stressing for no reason.  I realized this when my husband would go out of town.  Dinner would be so easy.  I couldn’t put my finger on why.  He’s the most laid back guy ever.  He has never been the type to expect dinner on the table when he got home from work.  I realized though, that I put that pressure on myself.  So weird.  Why after 13+ years of marriage did I feel I still had to impress him in that way?  Silly!

 

The other factor I finally realized I had to fix was just being prepared.  It’s not that I minded cooking really, but I surely didn’t want to have to THINK.  Come 5pm, I’m tapped out.  My husband is seriously the best and helped me come up with a solution.  Together with the kids, we came up w/20 or so meals that the majority like (you can never please everybody).  We got index cards and each index card had a dinner listed w/all the ingredients needed to make the dinner.  I then gave the kids crayons and markers and had them draw the dinner since I knew not everyone would be able to read the index card.  Side note-many dinners are still not recognizable by the drawing.  Ha!  The kids still had fun.  So now, every week (if we are good and organized, this happens on Sunday) we do a ‘Pick a card…any card!!!’ game.  Each kid gets an index card and we post it on our ‘Dinners’ Board for the week.  This way, the kids still feel involved even though I’m not giving them the ability to pick pizza or chicken nuggets every week.  But mainly, this method is for my sanity.  I just don’t want to think.  I just don’t want to decide.  It doesn’t matter if I’m not in the mood for fajitas bc its on the list and I have to make them.  And I’m always cool with it when I’m eating bc it always tastes great!

 

I’ve just made myself very hungry so enough for now!  Happy dinner preparedness!

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