During December 2011, I experienced 3 gallbladder attacks within a week and a half. Although I don't think my diet was THAT bad before this happened, I decided after the third one to drastically alter my eating habits. So, for at least the next couple of months (until my baby comes), my goal is to seek out and share low-fat, high fiber, and low-sugar recipes. I figured as long as I was figuring things out for myself and my family, I may as well share what's working!

March 7, 2012

Healthy Taco Stacks

So, I've obviously not been good at my efforts of posting here.  But, I HAVE been good at finding, fixing, and eating healthy foods during the past couple of months.  I'm happy to report that I haven't had any further gallbladder attacks and managed to keep my itching at bay for quite a while.  Now, here I am, about 2 weeks (or less) from the end of my pregnancy, and as a result of how I've been eating, I've only gained 10 lbs. I'm actually quite happy about that, as my pre-pregnancy weight was well over what it should have been in the first place.

I will not discuss how easy it has been--because, in all honesty, it hasn't been easy. I'm one who loves to cook and bake new things. Let me clarify: new DELICIOUS things. Not all of what I've made has been great and I have "cheated" a few times--eating some sugar or homemade mac & cheese. But, there has been one staple during these past few months that has consistently been what my body wanted AND tastes good, too!  Healthy Taco Stacks.  In the interest of full-disclosure, there have been a few days that my tastebuds rebelled against eating yet another taco stack. But, for the most part, this has been a favorite of mine.  And it's REALLY easy!

Healthy Taco Stacks
Yield: 1 serving

Brown rice
Quick and Easy Black Beans from Our Best Bites -or- fat-free refried beans
Baby spinach
Chopped tomatoes
1/4-1/2 avocado, diced
Salt, to taste

Layer ingredients on a plate in order listed. Be generous with spinach and tomatoes. Eat up!

NOTES: If I don't feel like making the Quick and Easy Black Beans, I will often use dehydrated refried beans which I prepare with a little extra water. I find if they're not very saucy, the whole stack is dry and doesn't taste as good. If you're using canned refried beans, add a little water or chicken stock to thin them out a bit.  Also, you can add other veggies to the mix or squeeze a bit of lime juice over the top. And, if you have cilantro--give it a chop and toss it on. Just gives another layer of flavor!

January 10, 2012

Amanda's Amazing Enchiladas

Forgive me for posting something so non-healthy so soon after I said I was only posting healthy foods!  The back story is that I made these in December, before my body freaked out on me.  They were so incredibly good that I took pics the day AFTER I made them.  (I may or may not have eaten them for both lunch and dinner that day...)

While we were visiting my family for Christmas, my mom had some leftover rotisserie chicken...so I made a double batch of these enchiladas.  And, since it was after the body-freak-out, I didn't have any then.  Let me tell you, that was quite the sacrifice!  But everyone else loved them--and I'm glad that they did.  I find great satisfaction in making food that people enjoy eating!

And, you'll have to forgive the unattractiveness of my photo...it was technically leftovers at this point.  But, hey, I actually took a pic this time!

Amanda's Amazing Enchiladas
Adapted from "Angela's Awesome Enchiladas" at allrecipes.com
Yield: 1 9x13 pan

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat, cooked, shredded
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbls. butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 (1.25 ounce) package mild taco seasoning mix
1 bunch green onions, chopped, divided
1 cup water
1 tsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 (12 inch) uncooked flour tortillas
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 (10 ounce) can green enchilada sauce

Combine cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and chili powder in a saucepan. Bring to simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally; turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.

Heat butter in skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion; cook and stir until onion has softened and turned translucent. Add shredded chicken, green chiles, taco seasoning, half of chopped green onion, and water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice, onion powder, and garlic powder; simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

While chicken simmers, cook tortillas according to package directions. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.  Stir 1 cup of soup mixture into skillet with chicken mixture. Spread remaining soup mixture on bottom of baking dish.
Fill each tortilla with chicken mixture. Sprinkle about 2-3 Tbls. cheese over chicken filling before rolling the tortillas, reserving half of shredded cheese for topping enchiladas. Roll tortillas over filling and place seam-side down in prepared pan.

Pour enchilada sauce evenly over enchiladas. Cover with remaining 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Sprinkle reserved chopped green onions over cheese. Bake in preheated oven until filling is heated through and cheese is melted and bubbling, about 30 minutes.
NOTES: I always sub light sour cream in my recipes.  It lowers the fat a bit and still tastes great!  Also, you can use low-fat or "Healthy Request" cream of chicken soup.  (Which I also did when I made them.)  Let me know if you can't get enough of them either!

January 8, 2012

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

My kids LOVE pancakes.  And by LOVE, I mean that for our family of 5, (which includes 3 kids, ages 2-6), I have to triple my usual recipe because my kids will fill their hollow legs with pancakes.  I've tried "healthifying" my favorite recipe in the past--and while it's fine, I wanted to try something even healthier this time around.  I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and took a few liberties in the name of experimentation.  I have to say, we were all quite pleased with how they turned out!  The kids kept asking for more, I was satisfied, and my husband even appreciated both the healthiness and deliciousness of these pancakes.  I will definitely be making these again! 

(Again--no pic.  Apparently, I need to store my camera in the kitchen!)

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
Adapted from "Wheat Germ Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes" at allrecipes.com
Yield: 12 servings

1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbls. agave nectar
2 cups low-fat buttermilk

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into large mixing bowl.  Stir in wheat germ.  Set aside.

In medium mixing bowl, beat eggs, then add applesauce.  Add vanilla and agave nectar; mix well.  Add buttermilk and stir until well combined.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Stir only until dry ingredients are moistened.  Let batter sit while pan/griddle pre-heats to 325 degrees. Spray cooking surface with non-stick spray.  Using 1/4 or 1/3 cup measure, pour onto hot griddle.  Flip when edges appear a bit dry and bubbles in pancake no longer fill in.

Serve with real maple syrup. 

(Our favorite way to eat them is with natural peanut butter and real maple syrup, but I'm not doing peanut butter right now.  And, the maple syrup was quite good by itself!)

NOTES: You don't HAVE to use pastry flour in this recipe, BUT--it's more finely ground than regular whole wheat flour, so the pancakes turn out fluffier. 

If you don't have agave nectar, you could use honey or even sugar.  Also, I didn't really measure the agave...I just eyeballed it.  But be warned, because of the differences in sweetening ability, you will need to use about 1 1/2 Tbls. of honey and 2 Tbls. of sugar to replace the agave.  Or, if you want, you could leave the sweetner out altogether.