Friday, January 6, 2017

So I tried out the new Green Giant Riced Veggies...

When I saw the commercial for this product, I just want you to know I was really excited.  I've been wanting to try riced cauliflower for some time but I didn't want to go through the headache of doing it myself.  Too much work and not enough time.  This product is part of a new line of Green Giant veggie options found in the freezer section.

I like the fact it was in a microwave steamable bag.  If you wanted to prep the whole bag to use a part of a dish, it's an easy addition to a meal.  I decided to try it with my stirfry I previously made and had stored in the freezer.  The stirfry was chicken, mushroom, and broccoli.

I took a portion of the cauliflower out and steamed in a separate steamer bag. Before steaming, I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sesame oil.  I microwaved it for a minute and a half.  I didn't want to overcook it because I was adding it to a hot dish that would be reheated on my lunch break.

My verdict - this was really great!  The cauliflower had a nice texture of rice with this dish.  Because the cauliflower didn't have much of its own flavor, it absorbed the flavor of this dish nicely.  I felt like I was eating rice with this dish.  This product will remain in my freezer.  The next trial will be with red beans.

*Green Giant did not provide me with this product nor did they purchase it. They also did not provide any product for this review.  I saw the commercial and wanted to try it for myself.  So I did! 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Plans for the New Year and The 21 Day Challenge

In an effort to get myself and this blog back on track, I decided to consider what my plans for the new year will be.  I know this is the time of year for the "New Year, New Me" type of goals but to be honest, 2016 was pretty spectacular for me.  I finally finished my degree and I'm officially Dr. Johnson and so far, I've enjoyed the majority of this year.  True, there were some rough spots but no more than most times.

My biggest issue is getting back on track.  I have maintained my weight loss so far but I still have 100 pounds that I need to lose.  I have totally fallen off the wagon and a lot of bad habits have been creeping back.  I was always told that the surgery was a tool but it still requires work from you.  All the quick fixes don't matter if you can't sustain it.  Then, the most awesome thing landed in my email last night.

Sponsored by Black Women Losing Weight, this challenge encourages you to ask yourself deep questions beyond just food and exercise.  It encourages you to focus on the motivations behind why you eat and becoming aware of what triggers you and how you can make the lifelong changes necessary.  It's not a quick fix or a fad diet.  

I know I have a lot of bad habits and science has shown that it takes 21 days for a new activity to become a habit.  If you are interested, check out the challenge and while it's sponsored by a black women's group, it's open to all.  If you're interested in support, I have a facebook group up.  It's private and right now has women who are doing the same thing, supporting each other without judgment.  Just hit me up and let me know.  The challenge starts on January 7th.  I'll be posting here with the different activities
and sharing my thoughts.  I really hope you'll join me!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hello Fresh review! @hellofreshus

Hi there! I know it has been a ridiculously long time but I'm back!!  Life has a way of sweeping the rug from under you but I'm back with a more level head and interesting outlook.  Am I still on my weight loss journey?  Yes.  I've maintained the 200 pounds I've lost but I still need to lose another hundred.  It's been rough going but I can do it!

My friend sent me a coupon to try three "Hello Fresh" Meals for free.  I had been looking into the meal delivery services because I hate going to the store but I need to cook more at home to control what I'm eating. Before I start, let me make a few disclaimers:

  • The meals I tried were given to me but not by the "Hello Fresh" company.  A friend of mine had tried them out and she was given a code that she shared with me. 
  • All the meal kits I ordered were for two people.  There are family sized meals but I didn't need that size. 
  • I did not add any personal seasonings other than salt and pepper that was directed by the recipe.
With that being said, let's get started.  The ordering was easy.  You can choose no seafood or vegetarian as an option. They also allow you to swap out a recipe from the options offered for the week.  I hate that there weren't any low carb options but that was a personal issue with me. 

Meal One
This was the Smoky Beef and Poblano Chili.  This kit contained:

  • Scallions
  • Poblano pepper
  • Kidney beans
  • Ground beef
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic 
  • Beef stock concentrate
  • Cheddar cheese 
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Cumin
  • Sour Cream
What I did like about it.  The beef was all natural and nonGMO and the beans and tomatoes were also organic/Non-GMO. The only veggie prep was cutting up the pepper and scallions.  This one only took about 15 minutes to put together.  I browned the ground beef while chopping the veggies and everything (except the cheese and sour cream) then just went into one pot and simmered.  The finished product was really good.  It was a hardy chili and a filling meal.  It would be great on a cold day. Even though this was for two, this easily could have fed four very well.  The only thing I would add would be a little spice, maybe some cayenne or red pepper flake for a little bite. 

Meal Two

This was Jamie's Chicken Skewers with Bulgur Wheat Salad and Lemony Yogurt.  This kit contained:

  • Green beans
  • Bulgur wheat 
  • Parsley
  • Chicken breast
  • Raw cashews
  • Lemons
  • Tomatoes
  • Red onion
  • Oregano
  • Yogurt
This recipe was more out of my comfort zone.  This was the featured "Chef Inspired" meal by Jamie Oliver.  Out of the three, this was my least favorite.  One reason was the expectation that you would own certain tools like a zest grater.  I don't cook, why would I own a grater?  The prep was longer because I was trying to make peel as small as possible.  Another reason was the uselessness of the cashews.  Other than toasting them, they were just to go on the side with the yogurt.  

The bulgur wheat salad was interesting and I liked it more than I thought but without adding your own spices, I felt that it needed something else.  The yogurt was just lemon juice and yogurt.  Nothing really inspiring about that.  The chicken was probably the saving grace.  It was really good I enjoyed it on the skewers.  With the yogurt, with was okay but with a more flavorful dipping sauce, it would probably be better. Overall, the "Chef Inspired" was the least inspiring. 

Meal Three 
This was Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Potato Cauliflower Mash and Carmelized Pan Sauce.  This kit contained:

  • Yukon Potatoes
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Granny smith apple
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Thyme
  • Chicken stock concentrate
This recipe was really easy to put together.  The Yukon potatoes are so thin-skinned that they didn't need peeling so they were tossed in a pot with salted water and cauliflower.  The pork tenderloin was seasoned with the thyme, salt, and pepper, seared and placed in the oven with the snap peas that had been tossed in oil, salt, and pepper. I only need a fork to mash the potatoes and cauliflower with a little butter, salt, and pepper.  The sliced apple cooked in the same pan I used to brown the pork in with butter, water, and chicken stock concentrate.  Everything was done pretty much the same time.  This was a really good meal. 

Final Thoughts.

Overall, this was a good experience. Even though the meals were for two, there was enough food to feel satisfied and not like you had to struggle to share a meal.  I wish there was more meal choice but you have to choose from the meals for that week.  You can decide how often you want deliveries so if you don't cook all the time, you can skip a week or two or just arrange your delivery schedule to suit your needs.  More low carb options would be a plus. What I did like as well was the fact they give you recipe cards so you can recreate your favorite recipes at your leisure. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Garden Bounty - Pickled Cucumbers and Onions.

So I've been growing my own veggies and my cucumbers have just popped out.  While I was trying to figure out what to do with them, I remembered a treat that my grandmother used to make for us.  Most people call them refrigerator pickles but we always called them pickled cucumbers.  She would keep them in a bowl in the fridge and we could eat them up after school.  I didn't get a chance to get her recipe but I think I came up with a pretty good version.
4 Cucumbers
2 Small White Onions (you can use sweet onions or red onions, if you'd like)

2 Teaspoons Salt

Two Cups Vinegar (I used 1 cup white vinegar and 1 cup UNSEASONED natural rice vinegar.  You can mix it up or use one type only.  Apple cider vinegar can also be used and it makes a sweeter pickle.)

2 Tablespoons No Salt Seasoning.  (The kind I use contains pepper, spices, orange peel)
1/3 Cup sugar (If you like sweeter, add more sugar)


Slice the cucumbers and the onions thinly.  If you have a mandolin, use it but if not, just use a knife. Sprinkle with the salt and toss lightly.  

In a pot, combine the vinegar, sugar and seasoning and bring to a boil.  Remove from the fire and add 4 cups of ice and stir until the ice is melted. 
Pack the cucumbers and onions in jars.  I layered them and packed the jars tightly.  If you don't have jars, don't sweat it, I've also used plastic storage bowls with tight fitting lids.
Pour the cooled vinegar mix over the veggies.  Let it sit for a minute and using a spoon or a skewer, push down on the veggies to push out any air bubbles.  Top with a little more of the liquid to fill in the air spaces.  Cap it and store it in the fridge. Wait a few hours before you give them a try.  It can last up to two months stored in the fridge, if they survive the hungry hordes that long! :)

These can be eaten as is or added to salads or whatever you want.  My mom add the onions to her fresh cooked collard greens.  I've eaten them with fish.  It's a versatile dish.  Try it out and let me know what you think!


Monday, July 8, 2013

Good things.

This is my inspiration for today.  I can't wait to make a pitcher of iced tea with this! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Product Shout Out - Wellesse Premium Liquid Vitamins

My sample pack came with Iron, Calcium w/ Vitamin D, Multivitamin and Vitamin B12 Sublingual.  All taste really great! 

Imagine my pleased surprise at opening my mailbox and discovering, amongst the bills, not one but TWO samples of Wellesse Premium Liquid Vitamins!  I was so glad to see them, and I know it was nothing more than a blessing.  Funds are tight, and my vitamins have been on life support.  These samples will help me get over the hump, and I am so appreciative to the company!

Wellesse is a great support of the Bariatric community, and with us having issue with absorption, it is vitally important to get our vitamins in daily.  Wellesse products taste great, and I'll recommend them to anyone!  Click the link above to visit them and you can let them know I sent you!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Breaking Bonds With Past Food Relationships

The inspiration for this post came from watching a program about childhood obesity on television.  Several of the children they showed came from homes with obese parents.  It’s easy to see how  the kids were so overweight.  One mother sold soul food plates out of her home.  It was the same food she fed her family.  At one time, big meals of fried chicken, dressing, greens, mac and cheese and sweet potatoes were reserved for special holidays or at least only on Sundays.   Some people eat like this every day now.  Along with the soul food, our communities now have the whammy of fast food.  So many children grow up now wanting fast food, as their main meals and I believe those meals contributes to the increase in childhood obesity as well.  Want proof?  Just read the following articles:

Fast food linked to childhood obesity:

The relationship between obesity and the prevalence of fast food restaurants: state-level analysis.

The main core of the issue comes from family ties and traditions.  The families were cooking foods that had been cooked for them.  They shared the recipes that had been learned from mothers and grandmothers.  As a Southern woman, I totally understand this.  Comfort food is the food that you know.  It’s the food that we grew up eating and today it reminds of home, family dinners or other special occasions.   It’s the food that reminds us were are loved, cared for and cherished

Breaking the bonds of our past food relationships is hard.   Once you finally decide to make lifestyle changes, you then have to deal with friends and family who are resistant to your changes.  Some might feel like you are rejecting them and their values.  Some don’t know how to show love accept with food and when you turn down food, in theory, you are also rejecting their love.  

Breaking the bonds without destroying your relationships is important.  This is where communication comes in.  I’ve learned that taking the time to actually talk to your loved ones goes a long way to making them understand what is really going on with you and your new life.  Denying food is not a rejecting of their love.  Instead, it’s developing a love of yourself and your health.  Those who truly love you understand.  It’s not easy for them to change their own habits but we have to realized we are only responsible for ourselves and our actions.  We can’t’ control anyone else’s.