Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back in the Saddle

I returned to my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday and was pleasantly surprised by my weigh in, just .2 lb. above my last weigh in weight. After a modest gain during pregnancy, I wasn't expecting to be so close to my starting weight so soon. Very encouraging, especially since I've not been as consistent on my plan the past few weeks. I'm hopeful that with a closer eye toward what I'm eating, I'll continue to lose.

Dinner tonight is a One Local Summer meal, with all ingredients grown locally. The beans, Dapple Gray, were grown at Phipps Country Store in Pescadero. Onion, shallot, garlic (lots of it!), and sweet peppers are from Full Belly Farm. Home grown herbs (oregano and thyme) round out the flavor - cumin, salt and pepper are the only non-local ingredients. It's in the crockpot for a very simple and healthy dinner. Corn on the cob is from Full Belly, and the green salad with cucumbers are from our garden as well. Olive oil and vinegar both are from Hare Hollow in Healdsburg, and Clover milk is from Sonoma/Mendocino.

2 c. milk
1 c. cherries

Salmon salad (2 Points for 2 t. mayo)
Tomato wedges, 1 t. olive oil

Bean soup
Corn on the cob
Green salad with cucumbers, 2 t. olive oil and vinegar
1 c. milk

WPA (Weekly Points Allowance) points used today: 2
WPA points available: 35
Activity points today: 2 (Walk Away the Pounds)
Activity points this week: 2

Daily 8 - the 8 Healthy Guidelines
1. Fruits and veggies (8) - 8
2. Whole grains - oatmeal, bulgur
3. Milk (3) - 3
4. Healthy oil (3) - 3
5. Protein - yes
6. Limit sugar and alcohol - yes
7. Water - 8+
8. Multivitamin - yes

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lucy has made her debut!

I'm thrilled to announce that our baby girl, Lucy, was born on Tuesday night after a very manageable labor and only five minutes of pushing! She's healthy and is fitting right into our family - loud voice, lots of snuggling, and a huge appetite. Big brother Jax keeps asking to hold and kiss her, and is trying to share all of his toys - I'm appreciating it while it lasts.

Thanks for the kind e-mails asking about us.

Monday, August 18, 2008

One Local Summer: Week 11, part 2 - Cherry Oats

I have whole oats in my pantry from the grain CSA and have not known quite what to do with them. Rolled oats are familiar; even steel cut oats have their found crockpot love from me. But the whole grain, well, I wasn't sure where to start. I found the liquid:grain ratio and cooking time on the pressure cooker and figured I'd make them like I would steel cut oats - milk, fruit, cinnamon, vanilla - and see how that works.

Well let me tell you, they smell fantastic and taste even better! With local oats, cherries, and milk, this is another local meal this week. This makes a HUGE batch - I wanted to have it available for quick breakfasts this week.

Whole Oats with Cherries

2 c. whole oats, rinsed and drained
6 c. water or milk, or a combination of the two
2 c. frozen cherries (ours were frozen earlier in the year from a local cherry orchard)
1 t. each cinnamon and ground ginger
1/2 t. nutmeg
2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. brown sugar (optional)

Pour all the ingredients into pressure cooker and stir to combine. Cook over high pressure for 18 minutes or until grains are tender and liquid absorbed.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The baby's still cooking and so am I - One Local Summer: Week 11

Despite a due date that has come and gone, and with every effort made on my part to bring this baby on, she has still not made her appearance into the world. I'm hopeful that it will happen in the next few days, since I'm so darned uncomfortable, but in the meantime I'm cooking away!

I've got a pot of soup on the stove that smells fantastic. Using tomatoes, corn, onions, garlic, and basil from my CSA box, zucchini from the front yard garden, barley from our grain CSA, and some of the meatballs that I froze from our Chileno Ranch beef, this is a very local soup.

Summer Vegetable and Barley Soup with meatballs

1 T olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 medium zucchinis, diced
5-6 LARGE tomatoes, diced, seeded and drained or 10-12 medium
2 c. fresh corn
2 quarts vegetable stock
1 t salt
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 c basil, bay leaf, and a sprig of thyme (I did this like a bouquet garni, tied up to be removed from the pot)
2 c. barley, soaked and drained
1 lb. cooked meatballs
Basil and parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of the finished soup

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add zucchini, tomatoes, salt, pepper, herbs, and barley. Bring to a boil and reduce heat; simmer for 1 hr. 15 minutes or until barley is tender. Add meatballs and simmer until they're just heated through. Remove bouquet garni and serve with basil and parmesan cheese on top.

Monday, August 11, 2008

One Local Summer: Week 10 - Steak, corn, and cucumbers

Tonight's dinner was very simple and very tasty! Grilled steaks from Chileno Valley Ranch, red corn on the cob from our veggie box, and cucumber slices out of our garden. I'd never had red corn before - it tasted just the same as white sweet corn, very nice on the grill.

I got huge heirloom tomatoes in this week's veggie box this week and I'm the only one in the house that likes them. The tomatoes have been lovely for raw salads the past few days, and I made a salmon salad with canned wild salmon to stuff in one of the huge beefsteak tomatoes for lunch today. It was another simple, delicious meal.

With the eggplants in this week's box, I'm making chickpeas with eggplant-tahini sauce in the pressure cooker. I have chickpeas from the grain CSA and the recipe, from a Lorna Sass cookbook, was a favorite last summer. Chickpeas are soaking now for dinner tomorrow night, another One Local Summer meal - unless I go into labor before then!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bring-on-the-baby foods

I made a menu full of foods that are supposed to bring on labor last night, but as you can see by the post right now, I am not yet in labor! Still, it was a very tasty day.

I made spicy eggplant and pork (local eggplant and pork) with udon noodles (not local), and a pineapple smoothie, washed down by liberal amounts of red raspberry leaf tea. Today I'll be having some Thai green papaya salad with more spicy eggplant. I don't know if it's helping, but it is quite tasty!

And this baby is bound to come out sooner or later, but sooner would make me a happy lady.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Meatballs by the dozens... and dozens... and dozens

In a stock-the-freezer fit, I've made meatball mix that stretched out to about 8 dozen meatballs, two meatloaves, and a big pot of Pumpkin chili, currently in the crockpot. The mix made really delicious, although not 100% Core, meatballs and we'll have them ready for easy meals throughout late summer and fall. The bread crumbs and cheese are not Core, but only add less than a point per serving.

Here's the recipe I used (and be warned, this is a LOT of meat - you'll need a REALLY big bowl. You can easily halve or quarter it for a more reasonable quantity!)

Millions of Meatballs
8 eggs, lightly beaten
3 c. fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese (I used Spring Hill's Old World Portuguese)
1/2 c. chopped parsley
15 oz. can tomato sauce
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t each dried basil, oregano, thyme, and marjoram
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
6 lb. ground lean beef
2 lb. ground lean pork

Mix together all the ingredients except for the meats and combine well. Gently combine with the meats, taking care not to over mix. Roll mixture into balls about
1" across (1 T mixture) and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

This mixture works well as meatloaf, too, but you'll need to bake it longer and you might want a sauce on the top. I added shredded zucchini to the mix for meatloaves.