I am so happy that you have landed in my little corner of cyberspace. If you join me here, you will, hopefully, get to know a little about me. You will read my thoughts, my hopes and dreams, and see some of my favorite things. I hope you will visit often. I will try to update it regularly and hopefully you will see an improvement in the blog along the way. Thank you for stopping in to see me as I travel on this journey called "life"!













Friday, January 28, 2011

PROJECT 2011-Week 4 & I'M HOPPING AROUND

First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you for your encouragement.  I was feeling a little blue last week as I wanted to have accomplished so much more by the time I posted the update.  Your encouraging comments were just what I needed to get back focused on the small victories.  So...thank you!  It has been a good week. 

I've shared with you the Green Monster, the Italian Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup and Jammin Jerk Chicken.  You haven't seen the huge pot of black beans that I made overnight Saturday night...


And how I packaged them up into individual packages for dinners this week....


 and stored them in our "sub-zero" freezer....



Where in a matter of hours, they were frozen solid and looked like this.....


I haven't shown you the Pumpkin Black Bean Enchiladas that I made with some of them....


or the Black Bean Burgers that we had tonight.... 


Both of them were new to us recipes and both of them were absolutely wonderful!  Those are two virtually meatless meals this week for us.  I say "virtually" because in that huge pot of beans, I did saute a little bacon and add it to the pot.  That's 1/4 of a cup to a pound and half of dried beans....not a lot!


I haven't showed you the salads that I've made for lunch...



 or the Purple Monsters that I've had for breakfast...


Those are some of the good choices that I've been making.  Along with those yummy meals, I made some amazing banana muffins that Mary at Life in a Small Town gave me the recipe for. 

While they were full of sugar and carbs, they were made from scratch and not a mix so I count that as a small victory as well.  I, also, didn't eat but one of them.   David came home just as the muffins were coming out of the oven.  This photo was taken about fifteen minutes later.... (I checked the clock!)


And right after I took the above photo, I snapped another....


Yes, they were that good.  I really should share that recipe with you.  Thanks, Mary!  That's twice you have hooked me up recently with wonderful recipes.

 
Since we have moved, there has been a whole different feeling with how we are living and shopping and eating.  For many years, I've passionately read about nutrition and food and tried my best to make good choices regarding the food that I put on the table.  We haven't always made good choices and have had times of backsliding like crazy; but for the most part, I've tried to do the right thing.  Even with making good choices to eat lean meat, low fat dairy, whole grains and vegetables, there has been some serious room for improvement.  I've had to ask myself some serious questions lately such as:

"Where does the meat that I buy come from?" 
"Were the animals raised humanely?" 
"Were they allowed to roam free?" 
"What kind of diet were they fed?" 
"Were they given antibiotics and growth hormones?"

Since I've been in New England, I've been thinking about these things as I've purchased the meat for my family.  I've found that there is a better selection of meat that comes from animals that were allowed to roam free....animals that were vegetarian fed....animals weren't given antibiotics or growth hormones....and I've been trying to purchase meats that fit that criteria.  Those particular meats are more expensive than the other meats sold in the market.  Consequently, we are eating less meat these days as evidenced by some of the meals that I've shown you above.  I know that even with taking all of that into consideration that there is still room for a lot of improvement.  I don't know under what circumstances these animals were butchered and processed.  Even if they are raised humanely and under the healthiest of conditions, there still could be serious issues with the way they are butchered and processed.  I could find sources locally and investigate the processing a little deeper and I hope to do that in the coming year.   These are all small changes that we've been making in our lives and it feels good.

I've been buying more fresh vegetables since I've been up here.  The selection is so much better than it is in Louisiana and  I've been able to find some really good deals lately in the mark down bins.  I've grabbed the deals where I have seen them  and taken some steps to put them away for future use....



I peeled and cut up two bunches of these bananas for future Green and Purple Monsters.  I'm seriously loving those for breakfast these days.

I found two packages of these beauties at the market the other day and I knew they were mine.  I wish they had been Romas but I'm going to make them work...



I cut them up and roasted them in my little convection toaster oven with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground sea salt...



I put these away in the "sub-zero" to be used in future pasta dishes or chili.....that is if I can keep my hands off of them.   I literally could eat every one of them by themselves.   We use a lot of canned tomatoes around our house; but I've become increasingly concerned with BPA in cans.  Prevention Magazine said in this report that canned tomatoes are the worst offenders.  I'm going to try to only use fresh from now on unless I can find tomatoes in jars.  As of right now, I have not been able to find those in the supermarkets where I shop.


So even though I've been making good choices and I'm very pleased with the direction we are going, there is room for improvement!   More of the fruits and vegetables that I purchase needs to be organic; but it gets really expensive really fast to do that.  I ran across a link to the Environmental Working Group's Shopper's Guide to Produce while visiting Sarah over at Semi-Sweet and it lists the "Dirty Dozen" to watch out for along with the "Clean 15" so that you can make better decisions on the produce that you buy.  You can find that guide here.

As the weather warms up and the growing season begins up here, I will have access to more local, organic food that should be less expensive than that offered in the supermarket.  My mother-in-law has a garden every year and I hope to be able to grow a few things in containers myself.  I look forward to having fresh herbs again.   We have discussed potentially having a community garden and I really hope that works out.  The growing season is shorter up here but it will be a lot more pleasant to garden in this climate than it is to garden in Louisiana.

Another way that we have changed our lives is through recycling.  I've used cloth shopping bags for awhile now....when I remember to bring them with me, that is.  Recycling has been something that I have been wanting to do for some time now; however, the recycling centers were very limited where I lived in Louisiana.  I could recycle newspapers and soda cans and there was a place to bring plastics such as water bottles and we did that; but, there were so many other ways that we could have recycled if there had been facilities available to accept them.  Since we have moved, our landlord takes care of the trash removal here but he requires us to recycle.  No problem!  We recycled some of our moving boxes and used them to set up an area to hold our recycling.  We not only recycle newspapers, soda cans and plastics....but we recycle glass bottles and cardboard and other heavier plastics, as well.  It feels really good!  Now if I could remember to bring the cloth bags with me to the market every time that I go, we wouldn't have to bring the plastic shoppings bags to the recycling bins at the market! 

When I look back at how things have changed since we moved up here the week of Thanksgiving, I am amazed that it's only been two months.  The last quarter of 2010 was a whirlwind and our lives were completely turned upside down.  With all the changes in our lives, we have made a conscious decision to simplify our lives and live in the present.  Life is meant to be lived...not endured!  And we are celebrating all of these small changes...one decision at a time.

Thanks so much for sticking with me through this very long post.  I have found it difficult to keep up with blogging about all of this since I've been so busy lately.  I hope this post catches you up.

Have a great weekend, friends!



This post is linked up to:  Project 2011, Fresh Clean and Pure Friday, Follow Friday- 40 and Over and Boost My Blog Friday.

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30 comments:

  1. Good stuff for sure. I hate the whole canned tomatoes issue, and can't wait for that to be over.

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  2. I love this post! I certainly think that making food from scratch is much healthier than processed foods. Keep up the good work! You're an inspiration! :D

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  3. The food looks great! and I've tried some of your recipes. Perfect! And hey, we have a freezer that looks just like yours. :-)

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  4. Hi, I am so glad you stopped by my blog. I've read that you recently relocated to New Hampshire. I took my MBA in Manchester, NH and I have so many beautiful memories from the place. I know it is a big change from you since you are coming from Luisiana but from what I remember people are very friendly up there and although is freaking cold (at least to me who come from Greece a fairly warm place) their hearts are quite warm. Changes indeed test our patience and nerves but I am sure eventually you will make it. I will be following!

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  5. Hello Candace, Thank you for your lovely comment you left on my blog. Now that Ispy those black beans, I'm off to make a big pot of soup.

    Lisa @ Lesapea xx

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  6. Holy cow, Candace! You have made so many changes! You go girl!! Your meals look soooo delicious!

    We changed our way of eating several years ago. I learned A LOT from westonaprice.org and the book Nourishing Traditions. To find more sustainable meat near you, check out eatwild.com where you can search for farms near you who raise their animals well.

    EWG is great for tracking what foods you can buy non-organic. Check it every year as the list can change as the world changes. Farmers markets are great, but don't limit yourself to organic there. Often times farms will be "no spray", but not organic because the certification is too expensive. I always ask the farmers what their farming practices are.

    I also encourage you to do your research on dairy. There are a lot of studies showing that low fat is more fattening than whole dairy. Weston A Price site has information. I am my own proof. I have been eating full fat dairy (raw too!) for years and have lost weight.

    Finally, my little tip for when you forget the bags in the car. I just put the groceries right back in the cart and load the bags once I get back to the car. I hate using supermarket bags!

    HTH!! And thanks for stopping by my blog! =) Shady Lady

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  7. Mmmmm, okay, now I'm seriously hungry. All that food looks so awesome! Congrats!

    And thanks for the comment on my post!

    Cheers.

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  8. Candace, you're amazng and I loved this post. I hope more people become aware. Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters
    P.S. Great looking tomatoes by the way!

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  9. Thanks for stopping by my blog - love yours! Those pumpkin black bean enchiladas sound wonderful! Following you now!

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  10. Your food looks yummy! And you reminded me that I need to throw some tomatoes in the oven to roast for our pizza tonight. Aren't oven roasted tomatoes the best?

    I agree with pretty much everything you said in this post. Especially the part about knowing how your meat is produced. Have you ever seen the documentary Food Inc? It is very enlightening and I highly recommend it. We buy a lot less meat than we did a few years ago, but what I do buy is quality from a farmer that pastures his animals. Same for eggs. The yolks aren't supposed to be pale. If you get them from chickens that are allowed to graze, they are dark orange. I better hit submit. I could talk all day about the problems with the American food supply! LOL

    Thanks for the follow. I am now following you back.

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  11. Candace, you have been very busy. You are really putting your freezer to good use. I like those muffins and have bookmarked them for my own use. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

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  12. You amaze me with all your talent...cooking...photos...writing...
    and the list goes on....♥U..Aunt Mary

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  13. You have definitely been one busy woman!!!

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  14. Congratulations Candace! I am honored to pass along The Stylish Blog Award to you. You have a great blog. You can pick up your award on my blog.
    Best Wishes,
    Miz Helen

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  15. Candace, thank you for stopping by Killing Time. These pics of food are making me hungry! The Pumpkin black bean enchiladas sound delicious!

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  16. I'm so glad you're finding some of what you've been longing for with this move! And, kudos to you for getting healthier! I was a vegetarian for 8 years after Taylor was born, and I've never felt better in my life than I did those 8 years. Of course, I was also exercising about 4 hours a day, and didn't have the work stress I have now. I'm really enjoying all your recipes and food photos - I hope to try some of them myself. I've got a couple great cookbooks you might like. I'd be happy to loan them to you.

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  17. Stopping by from Miz Helen's Country Cottage, congratulations!

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  18. Great post. I can't believe all the cooking you have been up to. I totally agree with more home cooking and knowing where your food comes from. I think this year as I will have more time we are going to put out a garden again.
    I love what you said about living life not enduring. Wonderful words!
    Have a great weekend!

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  19. All your food looks fabulous! You're so resourceful with using up any good bargains and saving food for future use. I'm amazed!

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  20. I had been thinking in making those black beans hamburgers too.

    We add fresh spinach to our morning blueberry smoothie.

    Good choices, all.

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  21. Girlfriend, you have been busy! So many good things too.

    Hugs,
    Kat

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  22. Those enchiladas and burgers look delicious! I love white bean and kale soup, but ours is more often vegetarian since you can't get Italian sausage here for love or money.

    -----------------------------------
    My photography is available for purchase - visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

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  23. You got some smokin' deals on bananas and tomatoes! This was a great post with so many things in it!

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  24. I think that you are doing fantastically well!! And it is impressive, all of those changes you are making and taking the time to prepare and save when you can. Love that! :)

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