Blinders Off

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thMy whole life I have been skinny.  Too skinny if we are being truthful.  I was called chicken legs, bird legs, people asked me if I ever ate and if I did where did it go?  Where did it go?  Really?  I was completely aware that I was small, but to be reminded of it constantly sucked.  I don’t think people realize that its pretty hurtful to be told you look sickly or you need to eat a burger, ect.   This type of behavior is just about as insulting as it is to  a person who is overweight but they are told they need to eat less.  For me, gaining weight just wasn’t an option.  Even after children and hitting thirty, the scale didn’t move much.

Fast forward a few years and add being a full-time student to the list of a million other things I did and exercise became a fleeing thought.  I spend most of my days in a car commuting or being a student and a mom.  After a year, things got real and I gained weight.  Now that I don’t work out, I realize that eating what ever I want is not an option.  While I hated being too skinny, I never could relate to those trying to lose weight and the struggle that came with it.   I have found myself on the other side of the coin and the blinders have come off.  I no longer fit in my jeans, my shirts are too small, I don’t recognize the person in the mirror and I am miserable.  It’s a mental struggle knowing how you “once looked.”

To some, I am still small, but all the ladies know that you can look one way in a set a clothes and completely different in front of the mirror.  I now understand how hard it is to give up a food you love or to not have the desire to work out.  Shoot, I use to run half marathons and hoped to run the Boston one day and now, I joke about working out being over rated.  I want people to know that the struggle is real and it isn’t just them.  As a nutrition major and studying dietetics, I have learned a lot.  The blinders are off and I having the experience of both sides, has been a blessing.

Let me share with you something I have learned about myself, I do not like the word DIET.  Society is obsessed with the hundreds of different diet fads that are available and not one person explains what these diets are really doing to the individual using them.  Changing the way you eat is not supposed to be a miserable experience.  People aren’t suppose to starve and they aren’t suppose to be stripped away from everything they have enjoyed eating.  This my friends = failure.  As with anything else we do in life, you take baby steps.  You give up a little at a time and when you do, those cravings don’t control you, the constant feeling of hunger is not there and best of all, the pounds stay off.  I can’t wait to start helping people feel better physically and emotionally about themselves.

It is important to remember that we were all created in the image of God and that my friend makes you perfect.  We need to treat our bodies like a temple and simply strive to be healthy.  I truly hope my education and my own experiences can help others have the confidence to realize that living healthier doesn’t= DIET.  The blinders are off and you are beautiful.  I am your biggest fan!

Cilantro Lime Tofu Tostados

Ok, so I just finished another semester towards my nutrition degree and man am I thankful.  The creativity juices are flowing again for new foods.  :0)  I have been speaking with a dear friend about tofu and I had the urge to find a new recipe and boy did I!!  These tostados were a hit with the family tonight and felt the need to share the recipe.  (Thanks Chrissy for reminding me to blog it.  :0)  )

For the Tofu:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium red bell pepper diced with no seeds
12 ounce firm tofu, drained, pat dry and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 lime

Topping:
Grape tomatoes cut.  (I sliced them about 4 times)
Avocado diced

Hand-full of fresh cilantro, chopped
Lime juice

**  We served black beans on the side.  Yummy!!**

You can make your tostada: ( I bought the already made ones in the store for starters)

1. To make the baked tostada shells, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray each side of the corn tortillas with cooking spray. Season with salt. Place tortillas on a large baking sheet and bake until tostadas are lightly browned and crisp on one side, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven and flip the tortillas. Place back in the oven and cook until lightly browned and crisp on the other side, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

2. Pour olive oil into a large heavy bottom skillet and place over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in the red pepper and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes.

3. Add tofu and season with chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper, to taste. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the tofu and cook until tofu is brown on each side, about 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh cilantro.

4.  Cut up avocado, tomato’s, cilantro and mix in a bowl.  Squeeze fresh lime juice and mix.

5. Place tofu mixture on top of a crisp tostada shell. Garnish with avocado mixture.Image

Homemade Plum Preserves

Sorry I am so late posting this.  I started at the end of June and am just now getting done.  :o)

I finally made it to Missouri.  After a long 12 hour drive with my husband, three kids and the dog, we finally made it.  I will have to say that this year I ran across a special treat.  My mother-in-law has a plum tree that is producing plums like crazy.  I hate to say this, but I didn’t even know she had a plum tree. LOL.

I was amazed at all the plums that were just hanging from the tree.  It looked just like a bunch of grapes, but only much bigger.  They were everywhere!!  After seeing how much fruit was available, I immediately started researching on how to make plum preserves and that is just what I made.

I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed being able to step out side in my flip-flops and pick plums with my kids.  My youngest enjoys it the most.  There is just something about finding a ripe plum, wiping it off on your shirt and digging in, it is just heavenly.

Well I wanted to share my adventure with you and I will admit I had no idea what I was doing, but it was a lot of fun!!   My oldest son loved being my assistant and I think we finished by midnight.  I have written out the recipe so I hope you enjoy.

PLUM PRESERVES:  You need about 5 cups of diced plums.  Each plum needs to be seeded, but you can keep the skin on.

 

 

 

Once you collect enough plums, remove the seed and dice. 

 

 

 

 

 

Add plums and 5 cups of sugar to a large sauce pan and stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved.   Once sugar is melted, bring to a rapid boil.

 

 

 

 

As soon as your mixture begins to boil, continue to stir to avoid burning the bottom of your pan.   Continue to stir until mixture thickens.   (this part can take a while)

 

 

 

 

Once your sauce thickens, carefully funnel it into your jars.   Please make sure you use sterile ones to prevent bacteria.  Once your jars are filled, place in boiling water for about 20 minutes.

 

 

 

When you are done boiling your jars, carefully remove them and allow them to cool.  This is when you should hear your lids pop and seal!! 

I have figs!!!

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I am so excited to announce I finally have figs.  We have had a fig tree for 8 + years now and have yet to eat a fig.  We often wondered what they were suppose to look like and when they were ready to eat.  When curiosity struck, they were gone due to the squirrels.  Uggg.  So I am proud to say that yesterday I found something that  looked edible.  I had the pleasure of splitting a fig with my kids and it went over well.

Now that I know what I am looking for, I am dying to make homemade fig bars.  I just need to keep the squirrel from getting to them first.  LOL    I was actually able to collect a few today.

For those of you who have a fig tree or wonder how to pick them here is how.   There are various types and colors of figs.  The easiest way to determine if the fig is ready is the placement of the fig.  Figs tend to grow upward.  As they mature they start to grow horizontal.  When the fig has been overcome by gravity and is hanging downward, it is ready for picking.   YUMMY!!!