McCormick Spices Up Breakfast

I’m so happy to see this!  I don’t deviate a whole ton in my nutrition – I can’t say I get bored, thankfully, but having a variety of spices really helps me avoid that trap to begin with.  I typically use whatever savory seasoning I feel like in the morning, and generally prefer that to sweet.  That said, it is always nice to have more…and new…options!

Enter McCormick’s “Good Morning” breakfast enhancers! These newbies focus specifically on breakfast and are designed to add a flavor boost to your yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, slow-cooker breakfasts…or whatever else you might desire.  

I personally LOVE spice blends and dry seasonings because they tend to be a lot less caloric, giving me the opportunity to eat more of the protein, for example, instead of bulking up on empty condiment calories and less food.

Even more exciting…there are purportedly 18 items in the lineup, scheduled to hit stores later this year.  BOOM!

 

 

 

Nutrition – The Easy Way To Add Volume

I definitely need to eat “volume” – a small snack will never cut it for me, despite that I am constantly snagging something to munch on.  I need to feel satisfied not only because I don’t want to feel hungry, but because my body doesn’t react well without the appropriate, and fine-tuned, amount of fuel.

The easiest way to add volume – the most obvious, also, but for some reason not as often as looked to as you might expect – is to load up on veggies.  A few sites are good about recommending this simple, incredibly effective “trick” but I feel like people still neglect to use it.  

One of my favorite recipes is an enormous sauté of vegetables and ground chicken – I use my Curtis Stone pans, with which I don’t need to use a stitch of oil.  (Yes, oil IS good for you, so a dash of olive isn’t the end of the world, but I try to be mindful, and not use it all the time if I don’t need to.)

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I sauté diced onions for a few minutes so they brown, then I add in fresh mushrooms (and, often, peppers too – red, yellow, and orange preferably, since they are the sweetest!) I later add diced tomatoes to it to make kind of a “sauce” – one, mind you, that is more vegetables than sauce! In a separate pan, I sauté the chicken, with nothing more than himalayan pink salt and spices.

Separately, I steam – in a BPA free microwaveable container, of course! – diced (or pre-riced!) cauliflower.  If I don’t have pre-diced (sometimes it is hard to find), I steam cauliflower florets – when they are done, and nice and soft, I use a potato masher to make little “diced” or “riced” type pieces.  You can use a food processor to do the same thing – this just takes less time and clean up to use a masher. 🙂 

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I have everything going at the same time, and will reduce the “sauce” to a simmer if necessary.  Once the cauliflower is ready, I mix it – and the “sauce” – into the pan with the chicken. And that’s it!

It makes a HUGE amount a food, and because of the volume of vegetables, each serving is less calories than it would be with just chicken…not to mention, it lasts longer, so you get more meals out of it. 🙂  

Costco Shenanigans

A lot of my buddies are weight lifters, figure competitors, and all around athletes – they need healthy food, and in serious quantity!  While I can’t say a restaurant-sized mayo is on my list (nor can I quite figure out who – OTHER than a restaurant could use it), there are so many great options at stores of the Costco ilk.  

For families who need to feed a lot of mouths, you can count on these kinds of stores to carry gargantuan spices too – things you will need on a daily basis, such as salt, pepper, and seasonings (giant plus – and kudos – for having the mineral-rich Himalayan pink salt also!  They were ahead of the curve on this one, and I’m psyched they still carry it!

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It definitely can save you a penny – or several – over time, so any of the more basic items are worth snagging there if you can.  They had a ton of organic fruit, and the fish, poultry, and meat sections are ENORMOUS (you can always freeze what you won’t consume right away!)

Of course there is a plethora of other stuff as well – frozen veggies, frozen chicken, salmon burgers, shrimp, cartoned egg whites and organic eggs – it’s score city if you have a solid appetite OR just need more than what the regular supermarket has on hand.  They even have salsa, hummus, turkey slices which, generally, aren’t the unhealthier ones – nice!

You can also find large-scale holiday paraphernalia while you’re out stocking up on food – always a blast.  I’m not necessarily coming home with these private skeletons but…way to go, Costco, busting out the Halloween so early!  YAAAHhHHHssSS! (Happy little (protein-eating) goth girl!)

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For more food-related deliciousness

Surf And Turf

Last night my hunnie made a veggie Surf & Turf stew – SO GOOD!  

The dish was made with the following:

  • Rao’s tomato sauce (one that has a lot less sugar and added “junk” than many others)
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 box of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 bag of sweet mini peppers
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 3 bags of broccoli (which is probably 3 large heads, chopped)
  • 1 lb or so of Argentine shrimp
  • 1 lb + of chicken tenderloins
  • Salt and spices

He’s quite the chef, and I am always impressed with how much he keeps track of at once!  The chicken was broiled separately, and the shrimp done towards the end – both came out perfectly. ❤ 

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It’s such a healthy meal and honestly, it was so good I couldn’t stop eating it – I had it for breakfast and lunch! 😀 It’s filling, and good for you – lean protein and veggies?  It doesn’t get much better!

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I’m not a big “sauce” person because I don’t like to add calories to my meals that aren’t particularly necessary.  But this wasn’t the kind of thing that will break your bank, so to speak, unless you are using way too much, and / or having it all the time!  We usually have grilled or broiled chicken, shrimp or fish and keep condiments to a minimum.  With the right spices, you don’t even need sauce!  I never understood the whole “smother” phenomenon…  

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If you love the idea but DON’T want sauce, use a little bit and cut up whole and cherry tomatoes to lighten up the nutritional stats. 

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The only fat in the meal (or in the sauce) was derived from olive oil, and that’s always a good thing!  I don’t have a ton of fat in my nutritional scheme (not on purpose at all!  I eat salmon, almonds, pistachios etc to add it in, as it is vital to proper function of the body!) so I like to have “good” oils here and there.  Also keep in mind, that’s where some of the calories are coming from – it wasn’t a sugar-laden dish at all!

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Something fun, especially as the colder winter moths are coming. I’m so thankful and appreciative of his cooking, and it’s fair to say, so is my tummy!!

 

The Seefood Diet

I remember when I was younger seeing a Garfield Cartoon about a “seafood diet.”  I’m sure you know the one… “When I see food, I eat it?”  

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At the time it resonated because I was, fair to say, a complete pigface.  I’m not sure if I’m the only person using that word, but there it is...pigface.  

Yes…I would effectively inhale anything within a several foot radius, particularly if it was chocolate!  I was also, in my defense, a growing girl and a full-time athlete outside of school…so I needed the sustenance.  (I’m not sure my macros and micros were stellar, but…“we know better now.” 😉 )

For some years now I have been on a seAfood diet…although I’d like to remove the “D word.”  I don’t actually use the “D word” when speaking about my nutritional habits because I think it’s more negative than not – a word that has been watered down to mean “a-non-sustainable-appraoch-to-food-under-the-guise-of-a-magic-bullet.”  I eat a ton of protein, but for good fat in particular, seafood is my go to.

No, Sir...there ARE NONE.  No magic bullets.  Eating clean and healthy is work, it requires dedication, but it IS absolutely achievable, and incredibly delicious!

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I’m incredibly thankful for my man because he is a wonderful cook – sad to say, I contribute about next to nil in that department!  He always makes something I love.  Roasted veggies are a “must have” (and can be devoured in one sitting if I don’t pace myself!)…and the evening about was seared scallops.  Scallops are what I call “sea candies” – Sweet and succulent!

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I’m a huge salmon fan, as my many former posts can attest!  Grilled, baked or broiled is how I ask for it…minus oil or butter (which it definitely doesn’t need!)  Perfection!

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And then there is the shellfish!  Shrimp is a wonderful meal or snack – high in protein, low in calories, and absolutely delicious.  They can have a lot of sodium (so keep that in mind if you have to watch your intake), but they are an excellent choice to change things up.  If you aren’t into them plain, cocktail sauce low in sugar is a great option, or even a tomato-based dip.  We prefer them with salt, pepper and a little bit of old bay…but everyone is different! 

Healthy nutrition isn’t as painful as some make it sound…and you CAN eat a lot.  These foods fill you up and provide necessary macronutrients for your body to function optimally – it really IS a win-win!

 

Eating At Home

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again…I’m very blessed.  My hunnie is amazing in so many ways.  One of those, while seemingly minor to him, is a big deal to me – he doesn’t make me feel badly that I don’t “cook.”  I’ve sadly met a good number of people who DO see that as a huge problem, and I’m vastly more thankful for his “what’s the big deal if you don’t?” than he may imagine.  

I’m not a terribly “domesticated” type with hundreds of recipes up my sleeve.  In a way, I have felt badly about it…but only in so far as other people are concerned.  I pretty much subsist on easy-to-make foods (or I’ll just wing it.  Winging it, however, only applies to me – messing up my food isn’t a big deal, but I’d never want to mess up someone else’s food.)

He’s also incredibly supportive of my clean and (relatively) healthy nutritional habits – he actually cares that I am comfortable, happy…and FULL!   If you are in the fitness industry, or follow this lifestyle, you may know how UNsupportive people can be about our personal choices.  (You did read that “personal” part, right?  😉 ) 

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He has a long and exhausting day…and he will still make dinner.  And dinner is always perfect.  It’s most perfect because he is with me, but whatever he does make is always delicious…and right up my alley.  He thinks I’m biased about it, or just being polite but…I’m not.  When you are as particular about food as I am…and I say “I love it”…I LOVE it. ❤

I’m so grateful I probably get annoying saying “thank you!” all the time…but it is something I appreciate enormously. We have a snazzy Breville Smart Oven Pro that we call the “Magic Machine.”  It’s amazingly efficient and has a ton of functions!

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I never really eat a meal withOUT my veggies…so he will often roast some in the oven, while preparing chicken or something else in…the “Magic Machine.”  It could be shrimp or scallops, broiled salmon…or wok-tossed asparagus…  It’s all wonderful, and has NOTHING on it but some salt, pepper and spices.   

That’s the thing…you don’t need much!  You can always add a touch of salsa or something more if you need it.  But it doesn’t need to be doused in oil or butter to taste good or stay moist.  A spray of olive oil is enough…. REALLY.

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It’s also often more cost-effective to eat IN.  I don’t really eat a ton when I’m out, and I would be fine with something simple.  But the point is, it doesn’t HAVE to be.  AND…if you have someone in your Life who prepares the meals…don’t forget to say THANK YOU.  It really is a treat, and a blessing…and something I am thankful for EACH TIME he does it.

“Clean” is NOT Boring!

I am definitely used to comments regarding my nutrition…but I can’t say that I’m not bothered every so often.  So many people seem to think clean eating is boring.  It isn’t!  I’m not a “foodie” but I love the foods I eat – delicious enough to look forward to so SOMEthing must be right!

I’ve been through a lot where healthy eating is concerned – an athlete my whole Life, a bout with PTSD and two resultant eating disorders (as I’ve mentioned before, anorexia and exercise bulimia) which effectively changed not only my view of food, but my body’s needs.  So at the end of the day, I’m not only really proud of myself for choosing healthy options…but I feel blessed that I enjoy them, and thankful I have come full circle in the wellness category.  

“Clean” doesn’t always abide by precisely the same definition between individuals, schools of thought, workout methodologies etc… But it does follow the general concept that the foods are:

  • Real, whole, nutrient-dense foods
  • Less / non-processed foods or additives
  • Less added sugars and “bad” fats
  • Void of heavy, calorically dense “stuff” (think toppers, such as creamy sauces, layers of cheese, fried coatings…)
  • And so on…

Having LOTS of fresh water is also part of staying clean, by way of flushing and hydrating.

I think for me, since I can’t do stevia, and don’t want sugar, sucralose is my offender.  Not happy about that, but I know that’s likely the absolute worst offender for me.  So, I am far from perfect as well – I do, however, strive to stick to the healthy options overall.

What (WHO) I am especially thankful for is my other halfhe is ever thinking about the options at a restaurant, and whether I can find clean, unencumbered options.  I appreciate that so much more than I can express – No comments, no jabs, no “why aren’t you eating real food.”  He accepts, and that makes my Life worlds easier.  

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He is also awesome with a grill, a skill I sadly do not have…nor, admittedly, have ever endeavored to learn.  We will generally get something red for him, poultry or fish for me (protein!)…and he will always make sure I have some vegetables (truly, my FAVORITE food group.)  He grilled asparagus and zucchini this weekend and it’s fair to say I devoured most of it in one sitting.

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All we needed was salt, pepper, the food itself, and a dash of oil spray (olive is a healthy one!) to pull out the natural flavors, and make everything just perfect – nothing boring about it!  I could actually taste THE FOOD, not whatever goop is was drowning in – in my own mind, that’s food at it’s finest, as nothing is “hiding” or “masking” the taste.

IF someone is positively desperate for some additional flavors, a fresh salsa is always a nice way to go – you can make your own with diced tomatoes, veggies and spices (the tomatoes’ juice is liquid enough), or you can buy a fresh one (often) in a produce aisle.  Condiments can amount to a lot of added junk – calories, sodium, fillers – that you wouldn’t want if going “clean,” so spices and vegetable-based, fresh toppers are safer options.

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Whatever is left (we buy several portions at once) will assuredly be eaten later that day, or the following…so making a little extra is always nice – meal prep by default! 🙂

If the next day feels boring, chop everything up and toss it into a salad with a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or a tiny bit of oil, basil and spices…  Tiny, healthful tweaks can add just enough punch if you need something more…it isn’t boring, and it never HAS to be!