Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Getting Creative in the Kitchen

One thing I've been thinking on lately while just weeks away from crossing into the threshold of my 3rd trimester of my first pregnancy... is FOOD.

I've always had food issues as far back as I can remember, at least back into middle school {yes I know most call it "junior high" but us rural country folk, we did not}. My brother and I would sometimes concoct weird food combinations when it was just the two of us and he was "watching" me while mom was still at work after we got home from school.

Granted his "watching" me also included occasionally tying a rope onto the bathroom door, around the corner to the family room door, and hearing me squeal as loudly as I could {i.e. "hissy fit"} when he would let me stay locked in there for a little bit. Ohhh sweet sibling rivalry. Can you believe I have every hope & prayer that I have a little girl after this one so that I have a boy and a girl, and that my girl would get the joys of an older brother just like I had?! Because who cares about getting locked into a bathroom when you're younger if when you're older you get the greatest big brother ever?!?!? Love and admire him more than words can say, and I pray that for my own children.

Wow, I got so off track.... Anyway, I had ketchup on my Oatmeal Creme Pies, melted butter onto my bread with some sugar in the microwave {we didn't have a toaster}, and so on. I remember raiding our kitchen cabinets for anything out of the ordinary. But only when mom wasn't there. I was a stinker. I remember starting to struggle with weight around that time, and starting to make bad health choices because I enjoyed those things more than I enjoyed what was given to me and told of me to eat.

My little rebellious heart started roaring its ugly head.

And my rebellion and struggle with food has lastest decades. I always feel really badly for my mom here, because quite frankly, she did everything right. Raised me properly to have healthy foods and to be active. My rebellious heart just couldn't handle the "no, don't eat that" and wanted to eat it anyway. Sounds a bit like Eve in the Garden of Eden, eh?!

So yeah, all of this is definitely not something I am proud of. It's my thing. I never struggled with alcohol, drugs, or smoking. Never wanted any of that, never touched any of that. My issue is food. Ohhhh how I love food.

As I look toward raising a son who makes good choices, hopefully better ones than I have, I struggle with what I feed myself right now. I've done the uber healthy choices and forced food down my throat despite wanting to gag {ugh vegetables... hello learning to hide them again to trick my brain!}. I've done the splurges of allowing milkshakes and junk all for the sake of just mindless eating because an apple was just "too hard" and pregnancy was "so tiring". I've done the in-between and the roller coasters, and I'm just so fed up with worrying about food!!!! Gah!

All that to say, I'm happy with the results of the past week {well, now two weeks ago, it was the Tuesday to Tuesday that ended last week... I'm a bit behind on publishing this post!} of getting more creative in my kitchen at home. Feeding us new recipes or experiments, and trying to change things up from being so boring and same-old things. We were eating out quite a bit, and I want to watch our spending {at least somewhat, cuz I have money-spending issues too...} as we draw ever closer to baby. Though, buying food at the grocery store isn't so cheap these days either!

So I diverted into Pinterest and found a couple of recipes to try, plus two experiments of my own that, for whatever reason, I just hadn't done at home yet.

Now just please pardon the iPhone pics....

Chicken Potpie Pasta:

Original recipe: Martha Stewart

I was surprised this took roughly an hour to prep and cook. Granted, when I don't know a recipe, I tend to go more slowly and take my time.

My biggest frustration with this was seeing "3/4 pound penne pasta" on my printed recipe sheet and having no clue how much that meant in box terms at the store {I bought 2 just in case}. I looked it up on Google after getting home so that I didn't screw up the recipe. 1 16 oz. box is exactly what you need, though I can't remember the yummy whole-wheat brand I chose. Same with the green beans, I used a 12 oz. fresh bag of Green Giant, pre-washed/pre-trimmed {though I cut them in half and washed them again} and it was perfect. For the chicken broth, I bought Swanson's Organic {low sodium} in a 32 oz. container and used about half.

It was delicious! The cinnamon rolls {Pillsbury - they slide right out of the tube quite nicely ;)} on the side were a special treat for preggo lady. :) I didn't say I did a terrific job with the healthy stuff... but I'm on my way. It was a craving. Don't judge me.

Steak Fajitas:

Of course I neglected to take a picture before we tore into them.

Being the busy lady that I am {40-50 work weeks plus 1.5 hours on the road every weekday}, I do shortcuts. I do the best I can to be healthier with preservatives and what not, but I don't cook from scratch all the time. If I even attempted that in my crazy, tiny, no counters kitchen I really might scratch my eyes out!!

So this was made with Tyson's Grilled & Ready Frozen Seasoned Steak Strips. They contain no preservatives and are easy to toss into a skillet. It's either short-cut like this or eat out. That's just how I roll. You will not see me spend time to grill a steak {or have Tim do it} to pop them into something like this. That would mean putting a potato and a veggie on the side and call it a day. Oy. Just not my thing. Anyway, I had also purchased pre-cut peppers from Target and I sliced up part of an onion {we don't go overboard on onion in our house, phew!}. Sauteed those with some Fajita seasoning and we were set to go!

I set out sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, mild salsa, and our own tortillas {I use low-carb, whole wheat, 6" Mission tortillas, and he uses the larger whole wheat tortillas--whatever we can find that is somewhat low-carb}. We built our own and we loved every bite!!

Ham, Potato, and Green Beans in the Crockpot: 

Original recipe: Food.com

I didn't love the way it looked at first in the crock pot, so I added about a cup more of ham. I didn't use enough broth or I should have stirred it better. The ham was sitting on top of everything else and ended up being pretty dry. I figured since it was smaller and would cook faster, the potatoes should be toward the bottom. My bad.

The recipe suggested serving it with fresh, sliced tomatoes, so I did. It also suggested serving it with cornbread, so I did! We were both absolutely going nuts over the amazing-ness of this cornbread. It was Krusteaz Natural Honey Cornbread, and it is mouth-wateringly perfect!!! I will not confess whether or not there was any leftover after the evening was over....

Give it a whirl, trust me, it's easy and SO delish!

"Sausage & Gravy Biscuit Casserole" / now "Sausage & Cream Cheese Crescent Casserole":

Updated on my can't-believe-how-many-hits-I've-had-via-Pinterest previous post here.

So glad I ventured out a bit and gave this all a try!!

Disclaimer: The products represented here are entirely my choice of what I wanted to buy. No advertising and no requests from these companies to promote them. The opinions here are fully my own.


Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

There isn't one thing here that I wouldn't thoroughly, thoroughly enjoy!

Rachel Jones said...

good work - they all look YUMMY!!!