Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wellness Wednesday #1

Hello everyone. First of all, thank you to everyone who has commented, written and called with encouragement regarding my posts on health and "taking off the mask". I feel very loved and thankful to the Lord for my Internet friends and "family"! I'm sorry that I have not been very good at answering comments. That's all because of my overall sensation of being overwhelmed, not because I don't care. I'm trying to get better.

In my efforts to become healthier, I think it will help me if I have some type of accountability factor. So I am going to create Wellness Wednesday on my blog. On that day I am going to check in with my weight (big taking off of the mask! LOL) and maybe talk about or share something I am learning in the process. It's not that I think that I know so much but that I think it helps us all to share. I will appreciate any of your helpful feedback as well.

As far as going wheat/gluten free, I have not started yet, but I am researching and have been on a couple shopping expeditions for supplies. Today, I confess I ate a Bismarck donut...creamy center and maple frosting. I just wanted one last one. Not that I have them often, but you know, that idea that you may not ever have one again... LOL Yeah, silly I know. We are also having lasagna and french bread tonight for dinner! :o)

That being said, I will share my weight. It's scary to do that here but I realize that it would not be that difficult to guess when you look at me. I have actually lost 5# over the last couple weeks and it really doesn't show, but I am beginning to feel it just a smidge in my clothes. Currently I weight 325#. Crawling back under my rock again! :o(

Today I want to share a tutorial for making taco filling without using chemicals. I am not the greatest cook but I am learning how to do things healthier and wanted to show how easy it can be to cook healthy. I summarized the "recipe" at the bottom.

The first step for me is the fresh/frozen ingredients. Standing long periods in the kitchen is a factor for me. I also have a life interrupted with migraines where I cannot spend hours cooking. So, I make hay when the sun shines! I bought this inexpensive Cuisinart brand chopper. When I get groceries, I get a lot of green onions, celery, carrots, peppers and so on at once. I chop them up with the Cuisinart chopper and I put them in ziploc bags, flat and thin in the freezer. The key is to make them flat, about 1/3" thick or less, so that you don't have to thaw to use them. I am looking for an alternative to this because I have been reading a lot of concerning information on plastic and freezing. Anyway, I have a rubbermaid container in the freezer that I put all these bags in and when I'm cooking, I pull out what I need, break it off and it thaws quickly in the pan. It tastes fresh in the food. I may spend an hour or two once every 4-6 weeks, but this saves me time when I am ready to cook. It also keeps me from thinking, "I don't feel like getting all that stuff ready, I'll just do something else."

Sorry that was long. For the taco meat I use peppers (I use only yellow, orange and red...much, much easier to digest than green), green onions, celery and occasionally if I have some pico de gallo left over from a trip to our local favorite authentic taqueria, I will put that in. Other options could be chopped green chillies, jalapenos, olives and mushrooms. It depends on your tastes.
For 1-1 1/2# hamburger meat (I also cook this ahead of time and freeze it in ziplocs), I use 1/2 of a can (abt 14 oz) of petite diced tomatoes (if you can't find petite, I would cut up the tomatoes with kitchen scissors just so you don't get huge chunks), 1 small can (abt 7 oz) tomato sauce and about 1/4 of a can of El Pato Salsa de Chile Fresca. If you cannot find this in the Mexican food section of your grocery store, try Walmart. It has a duck on one side of the can and the above chiles on the other. This can be hot, so use to your taste. An alternative which I may try, is red chile powder and red chili flakes. I think this would also require more sauce/liquid of some type. We LOVE garlic and use a lot (maybe some of you noticed! LOL).
I pour some olive oil in the bottom of my stainless steel pan and you can see the added frozen ingredients. This is a good way to sneak in veggies for your kids...thus the celery and I think I am going to try carrots next time.
I have started using organic spices. They cost a little more butI have noticed a difference in taste and freshness compared to some regular brands. I use Cumin, to taste. We love Cumin so probably use more than average. Start with 1/2 t and work up from there. I don't measure, but probably use 3x that amount. Then I sprinkle in some Oregano. Recently I was able to find some organic Cilantro, also from Simply Organic, and I will try that next.
What it looks like so that you can see how much Oregano got sprinkled in and how it starts out. I start out with a higher temperature and then reduce it so that it simmers, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate.
This is what it looks like when done. It takes about 15 minutes. It tastes better than the packet filled with MSG and other chemicals and it doesn't take any longer the day you make it. Use this in tortillas or corn taco shells or ? We also use this with ground chicken for nachos. It is less heavy that way and the chicken lends itself well to Mexican seasonings.
1-1/2# organic/hormone free hamburger, browned
Chopped Celery
Chopped Green Onions
Chopped Red/Orange/Yellow Pepper
(amount depends on taste)
1/2 of a 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 7oz can tomato sauce
Mexican hot sauce or chili powder to taste
1/2 t (or more to taste) Cumin
1 t Oregano
Garlic Cloves, freshly minced (amount to taste)
Green Chillies
Other peppers
grated carrot
Saute onions, garlic, peppers, celery and any other fresh veggies. Add sauces and browned meat. Then add seasonings and stir all together. When it gets hot, turn it down to a simmer and let it cook without a lid. When the liquid has reduced and the flavors blended together, serve.

If you made it this far, thanks! This is my first time, so if I do it again, I'll try to make it less confusing.


Holly said...

Great tutorial, Theresa! Now I want some Mexican food tonight! I know we have some pintos in the pantry... I didn't know that about green bells-I just picked four big ones out of the garden and chopped one at lunch for homemade pizza. I got one purple one, too-I'm really thrilled-I've never had success with bell peppers before this year.

Lynette said...

Will be looking forward to each Wednesday Wellness Tips. Hubby was told by doctor today his weight does not much his height. He was told a few other things to now that he has hit that magic number 51. He called to say he felt ambushed by Kasier lol.

sherriknits said...

What a huge step you are taking and I know God will bless it. I think He loves when we take off our masks! Thanks for taking all the time to post the tips!

Melissa said...

I think one thing you (and I) have trouble with is eating as a link to special memories. Like fried dough and the beach, or donuts on Sundays, etc. That's so hard to get over. I like to eat healthy and do most of the time, but I still have those issues with food memories. So I'll take off the mask with you... 200#

Donna B said...

We did have mexican after I read your blog post yesterday! hee hee. Praying for you, that the steps you take now will give you many more years of serving your Creator!

(Also, you have a Rock to hide behind, and also a handy rock at the headline of your blog too!)

I am 194.5 right now and I'll check back with you next week! Thanks for doing this Theresa!

Deborah said...

Theresa, you are one of the most incredible people I have ever "met". I am always so inspired by you.

I've had to give up different kinds of foods myself for various reasons and I have learned *never* to decide to give up something forever or I will start eating that food "one last time" until I'm a wreck. Now I decide to do it "for now". Right now I am cutting out my orange juice at breakfast (a life long addiction), and most breads and simple carbs. Oh and most fruit. I feel better, but I would be completely overwhelmed to think I had to do this forever. But I can do it today. And I can keep making the choice to do it today as new todays come along.

Anyway, I hope my experience may be of use to you. I've learned a lot of these things the hard way over the years, lol.