What We’ve Been Eating

I’ve had very little time to do any writing. Summer is insanely busy for us and this year has proven that the trend is very much still intact. We’ve had some fun travel, first over Memorial Day weekend we went to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware with a group of friends. There were 8 of us and we had such a great time! Then mid-June we traveled to MI for my god-daughter’s high school graduation (and a dr visit for me… more on that later), then we spent 6 days in norther Michigan at the Boyne Mountain Resort. That trip was pure bliss! We had amazing family time and played golf almost every day! It was wonderfully relaxing! If you follow my instastories, you saw the pics and how wonderful both trips were.

As July rolled in, we had our annual July 4th party where 79 attended and had a fantastic and safe time! We are so blessed. The same day as the party, we also had our first house guests of the season arrive. When all is said and done, we will have guests with us for 7 weeks straight (not all the same ones!) Needless to say, it doesn’t leave much time for blogging, but I have been taking photos of what I’ve been making and will share them with you here!

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I love this recipe.. it’s the Chickpea “Tuna” Salad from Inspiralized & Beyond. SO. AMAZING. You cannot tell it’s not tuna! I’ve blogged about this before and I will continue to make this one because it never disappoints. I also use Maille Old Style Whole Grain Dijon Mustard in this recipe and it contributes to the texture.

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This recipe was Grilled Salmon with Artichoke Tapenade, Lemon Grilled Zucchini from Against All Grain and Roasted Corn with Chimichurri Butter that we made from The Fresh20.

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This was Bruschetta & Zucchini Linguine with Grilled Chicken. I did this for a demo for a Pampered Chef virtual party that I did. This is another great recipe for sumer. If your garden is overrun with basil, zucchini and tomatoes, this will become a go-to. Pair it with grilled chicken with the Sweet Basil Rub.

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This is another recipe I’ve made more than once. I have a habit of not repeated recipes as there are so many I want to try! This is the Sesame Orange Slow Cooker Chicken from Against All Grain with Cauliflower Rice. The kitchen smells amazing as this cooks and it just melts in your mouth. It’s also quick and easy!

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This lovely dinner came from The Fresh 20… Teriyaki Salmon with Broccoli Rice. It was so pretty and perfect for a warm summer evening.

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The weekend after July 4th, our neighbors invited us over for a party. A friend of mine on Facebook made this version of a Pineapple Upside Down Cake and when I saw it, I jut HAD to duplicate it! I ended up making it twice that weekend for two different events! Isn’t it pretty?

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We had some of Bill’s extended family over for swimming and a cookout so I made this one from Celebrations! It’s on the Father’s Day menu… Grilled Tri-Tip and Veggies. This platter was licked clean!

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After my most recent doctor visit, I am focusing more and more on what I put into my body. It’s so hard. I sit and eat salad while I watch others eating cheesy lasagna (that I made!) But I know it’s better for me to eat what I’m eating and possibly I can venture back into the cheesy wheat-filled world again at some point.

The recipe above is Coconut Green Curry from Inspiralized.com. The word that comes to mind for me on this dish is *lovely*. It’s delicate and flavorful and comes together incredibly fast. If you’re a coconut curry fan, be sure to put this into your rotation.

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The next day I repurposed it for lunch adding some grill chicken tenderloins. I had them in my refrigerator and needed to use them up. I couldn’t get enough of this recipe!

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Last night I made Thai Quinoa and Zucchini Noodle Salad from Inspiralized.com. Another perfect recipe! It has a mild kick from the Sriracha and the peanut sauce has just the right consistency.

For a few years I’ve been wanting to Cook A Book. Now, as some of you know, I work at a financial planning firm in addition to my Pampered Chef business and writing this blog. Now worries, I am not doing anything illegal! I will be cooking my way through a cookbook in the Julie & Julia way. I am not going to put a time limit on the completion… I’m just going to do it as I go. At the moment, I working through the Inspiralized Vegan Meal Plan. When I finish it, I will move on to cooking through Inspiralized & Beyond!

As a result of my most recent dr visit, a thyroidectomy is in my near future. A gluten-free and dairy-free diet is essential until I have the surgery and depending the results, I may or may not venture back into eating gluten and dairy in very limited ways. I had been hesitant to commit to cooking a book because there are so many recipes that I can’t have. So my plan is to start with the ones I can make without any modifications and go from there.

So for the time being, I’m putting writing my own recipes on hold because I just don’t have the time it deserves to do so. I’m disappointed but thinking of fitting that in was stressing me out and that’s definitely not something I can afford to do. Of course, I will be blogging about what I’m making and sharing pictures. Be sure to follow me on Instagram as I will be posting the pics there as I make them and blogging here a recap each week.

Thanks for reading and following my blog! Can’t wait to share my new journey with you too!

SHOP MY KITCHEN!


Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. Colleen Finley is an independent advanced director for Pampered Chef. She earns a commission by linking to products she uses and trusts. If you purchase a product through her website link, your cost will be the same, and Colleen will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us enrich lives, one meal and one memory at a time!

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Lemon Pepper Chicken & Lentil Salad

There is a great little bakery across the street from my office. I was in a pinch for lunch one day so I popped over to see what they had and was so happy to see a few vegan options and a GF breakfast bar. One item they had was a lentil salad and I think I’ve only had them once or twice before. Of course I fell in love with them!

IMG_2659Recently I signed up for a 3 month subscription to EMeals vegan menu for 2. I want to try to incorporate as many vegan meals as I can into my diet to keep my PHI levels from increasing. I adapted this recipe from one of the menus. I had some chicken I had to use so now of course it’s not vegan but is helping me head in the right direction!

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 6.59.52 PMLemon Pepper Chicken & Lentil Salad
Serves 4

4 ounces chicken breast tenderloins
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning (I used this one)
1 cup green lentils
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup white onion, finely diced
1/2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

  1. Place 1 tablespoon olive oil and the lemon pepper seasoning in the bottom of a bowl. Add the chicken tenderloins and toss to coat. Set aside.
  2. Pour the lentils into a saucepan and fill with water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 15 minutes. Drain and rinse.
  3. Meanwhile, chop the bell pepper and dice the onion. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, basil, lemon zest, lemon juice and mustard.
  5. Heat a grill pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add the chicken and place a press on top. Grill 4 minutes, turn and grill 4 additional minutes. Remove from the pan and let rest. Then dice.
  6. In a serving bowl, mix the lentils, bell pepper, onion and dressing, tossing to combine.
  7. Portion into serving dishes and top with the diced chicken and additional basil if desired.

Enjoy!

SHOP MY KITCHEN!

 

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Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. Colleen Finley is an independent advanced director for Pampered Chef. She earns a commission by linking to products she uses and trusts. If you purchase a product through her website link, your cost will be the same, and Colleen will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us enrich lives, one meal and one memory at a time!

 

Sweet Potato Egg in a Nest

We’ve always heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? When I was young, my mother always made us an Egg in a Nest. It was a staple in our home. When I was older, I’d make it for myself as comfort food and always when I was feeling lonely or homesick.

IMG_2405The Egg in a Nest is known by several other names: bullseye eggs, eggs in a frame, egg in a hole, gashouse eggs, gasthaus eggs, hole in one, one-eyed Jack, one-eyed Pete, pirate’s eye, popeye, and spit in the ocean. I had no idea there were so many names!

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Sweet Potato Egg in a Nest
Serves 2

1 cup sweet potato, spiralized
1/2 cup zucchini, spiralized
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
freshly milled pepper

  1. Spiralize the sweet potato and zucchini.
  2. In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the sweet potato noodles and sauté just until they start to brown, about 4 minutes.  Add the zucchini, tossing with the sweet potatoes and sauté 1-2 minutes longer or until the zucchini is soft.
  3. With a scraper, arrange the veggie noodles into two nests with a well in the middle. Crack one egg into each well. Pour the water into the pan and immediately cover with a lid or foil to cook the eggs to the desired consistency.
  4. Remove the nests to serving plates and finish with freshly milled pepper.

Enjoy!

SHOP MY KITCHEN!

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Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. Colleen Finley is an independent advanced director for Pampered Chef. She earns a commission by linking to products she uses and trusts. If you purchase a product through her website link, your cost will be the same, and Colleen will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us enrich lives, one meal and one memory at a time!

Hypercalcemia

bone healthHyper-what?  Exactly.  Back in October when I was Rxed with PHPT, it also came out that is has caused me to have Hypercalcemia.

Hypercalecemia is a condition in which the calcium levels in my blood are above normal.  Too much calcium can weaken bones, cause kidney stones and interfere with how my heart and brain work.

The most common causes are an overactive thyroid (me having PHPT) with a small, noncancerous tumor on one of my four parathyroid glands.  When I was tested, they discovered mine is .25″ or about the size of a small pea.

Normally there isn’t enough calcium in my blood, so my parathyroid gland secretes a hormone that triggers my bones to leach calcium into my bloodstream, my digestive track to absorb more calcium than normal and my kidneys to excrete less calcium and activate more Vitamin D.

If my bones continue to leach the calcium, I can develop osteoporosis, develop bone fractures more easily, devlope spinal column curvature and, wait for it… loss of height.

Hypercalcemia also effects the electrical impulses that regulate my heartbeat, causing it to beat irregularly.  Other fun effects are tingling in fingertips, toes and lips, muscle cramps, muscle spasms, fatigue, brittle nails and depression and anxiety.

All fun, right?  Well this is where things are interesting for me… about 8 years ago, my irregular heartbeat was becoming more and more frequent so I ended up being tested at the Beaumont Women’s Heart Center.  If anyone is near there, I highly recommend the comprehensive test they do.  I think every woman in her 40s should have it done.  If you’re not local, find a women’s heart center and get tested.  And be sure it’s a WOMENS heart center, not mens.  They two operate VERY differently.

The result of the testing found two things… first, when my blood work came back, I had zero Vitamin D in my system.  Not only was it flagged as low, they could not detect ANY.  Second, they diagnosed me with PVC… Premature Ventricular Contraction.

They put me on heavy Vitamin D and Calcium regiment , above and beyond what I should have normally and suggested more milk in my diet.  At the time I was drinking Whole Milk.  Whenever I would have an episode where my heart was acting up, I’d pop additional Vitamin D and Calcium and wash them down with the milk.  I was drinking about 3 gallons of milk each week.

Last fall, I decided to have a physical after my sister went and was diagnosed with Celiac Disease (the fourth in my family to be diagnosed… now I have 3 sisters and a niece with it).  During the exam, the wonderful and knowledgable PA took ahold of my hand and asked, “Have your nails always been brittle?” to which I responded, “Yes.”  They have as long as I can remember.

Then she asked, “Has anyone ever tested your thyroid?” No.  Never.

Fast forward to the blood tests, radioactive imaging, and bone density scans.  The call came in with the PHPT diagnosis along with a cease and desist of all calcium and any supplements (not even a daily multivitamin) that have calcium in them.  That’s when my research began and I found the best diet for me is paleo while avoiding soy and corn as much as possible too.

So that is how we are eating now and will be a focus of what I will be writing about!  On that note, I am finally done with Job #2! I now work Job #3 4 days each week with Wednesday’s off (woot!) and will be blogging then.  I’ll be working Job #1, well the office-part anyway, on Wednesday’s as well.

As I write this, I can’t help but think back to moments when my heart would act up and I would chug the milk and take the supplements… was I poisoning myself when I did that?  I don’t linger on that, but at times I am curious.  But then I smile and think about how grateful I am that I have a proper diagnosis!

A coworker asked me one day, when she examined my quinoa salad that I was having for lunch, if I had noticed any changes with my new way of eating.  I paused and realized that since I’ve been eating paleo, I haven’t had any irregular heartbeats.  When I do lose willpower and have wheat and dairy, within hours it’s back beating irregularly.  Thankfully now I know it will pass and it’s a strong reminder of how important it is for me to stick to my diet not matter what.

It’s funny in that for the first time in I don’t know how long, I am beginning to feel balance.  Let’s hope it stays that way!

Tonight I have a Pampered Chef Party!  We are making this recipe and I’m so excited to share this new MultiPot with the guests!

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