Thursday, April 28, 2022

7-day Menu Plan (all meals!)

Hello my friends! It's the second week of the school holidays and my family is smack-bang in the middle of a Covid infection. No one is eating very much as we've all been feverish and lethargic, but I'm guessing that next week we will be hunnngry. 

I came down with Covid first and am starting to recover, so I'm wanting to get myself organised for next week with a Trim Healthy Mama meal plan that will nourish our recuperating bodies and help me trim away some of my holiday weight gain. (Last week we went on a wonderful holiday up in Northland, paid for by Paul's work, so there were lots of yummy meals out. These were very tasty, but not so great for my waistline.) 

I'm trying to stick to a strict grocery budget as I've got lots of savings goals for this year. However, we do have a freezer full of beef thanks to my sister's farm, so I've got lots of meat to work with. Also, my chickens are laying a few eggs and I've got tomatoes, chillies, kale, NZ spinach, basil, mandarins and feijoas coming out of the garden. Our neighbours gave us a bag of gold kiwifruit and my cousin and aunt gave me several chokos from their gardens, so I will try to incorporate all of that food into our plan.

Another factor I need to throw into the menu-planning mix is that Miss S is now wheat-free. Her orthodontist pointed out to us that she had silent reflux, which was causing one of her tonsils to become infected. Miss S spent a month dairy-free and that didn't clear up the infection, so then she spent a month wheat-free, and that did. 

In summary, my menu plan will need to factor in our grocery budget, Miss S's wheat-free needs as well as my THM needs and our family's recovery-from-Covid needs. Phew! 

Here's what I've come up with for next week's menu plan:

Sunday

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs or scrambled egg whites with toast for the kids and fried tomatoes and choko strips for Emma.

Snacks: Trimtastic Mostess Cupcakes made with zucchini (Trim Healthy Table p. 395)

Lunch: Sandwiches

Dinner: Roast chicken, kumara, new potatoes, green beans and peas


Monday

Breakfast: Cookie Bowl Oatmeal (original Trim Healthy Mama book p. 232)

Snacks: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies (original Trim Healthy Mama book p. 387); fruit

Lunch: Rice paper wraps filled with grated cabbage, grated carrot, cucumber, coriander and leftover roast chicken

Dinner: Red pesto chicken risotto (cauliflower version for me) using leftover roast chicken

Tuesday

Breakfast: Chocolate chia seed pudding for Emma; Chocolate Friskee made with okra for kids (Trim Healthy Table p. 472)

Snacks: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies (original Trim Healthy Mama book p. 387); fruit

Lunch: Tuna & basil pesto cole slaw (S) for Emma; Pork dumplings for Miss L and Master J; Rice noodles for Miss S

Dinner: Beef nachos

Wednesday

Breakfast: Chocolate chia seed pudding (S) for Emma; Feijoa smoothies and cereal for kids

Snacks: Fruit

Lunch: Tuna & basil pesto cole slaw (S) for Emma; Oven fries, salami slices and vege platter for kids

Dinner: Beef stir-fry (on konjac or cauliflower rice for Emma)

Thursday

Breakfast: Chocolate chia seed pudding (S) for Emma; Egg-in-a-hole for kids

Snacks: Fruit

Lunch: Tuna & basil pesto cole slaw (S) for Emma; Popcorn, salami & vege platter for kids

Dinner: Leftovers

Friday


Breakfast: Overnight Cinnamon Oats (E) for everyone

Snacks: Fruit

Lunch: Bust-a-Myth Banana Cake (Trim Healthy Cookbook p. 298) topped with Nutty Chocolate Spread; Kale chips

Dinner: Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Saturday

Breakfast: Scottish Breakfast Pancakes - I'm going to try and make a wheat-free version for Miss S

Snacks: Bust-a-Myth Banana Cake (Trim Healthy Cookbook p. 298) topped with Nutty Chocolate Spread

Lunch: Salami and vege sandwiches

Dinner: Steak and Cheese Pie made with leftover beef stew (I've bought some gluten-free pastry for Miss S)

Friday, October 15, 2021

Permaculture inspiration videos

Lockdown is dragging on, but permaculture videos on YouTube are helping to keep me sane. They are inspiring me with all the amazing transformations that are possible when man works with nature, not against it. 

In case you also love seeing people transform barren land environments into abundant ones, I thought I'd share a few of the permaculture videos that I've watched lately and loved. 

Syntropic Food Forest - This video takes a look around a syntropic food forest in Northland New Zealand, and gave me a deeper way of thinking about growing food in layers and the importance of always protecting the soil. 

Rundown apartments reborn as food-forest coliving Agritopia - This video was so inspiring. It shows how a couple bought a rundown apartment block and tore out most of the parking lot to replace it with permaculture gardens for the tenants of the apartments to help care for and eat from. There is so much ingenuity shown on this one property. 

Dryland-harvesting home gathers sun, rain, food & more - Another inspiring video where someone has transformed a barren urban lot into an abundant paradise, with lots of ingenuity. 

Does no dig gardening work on hard ground? - This interested me because my soil is all clay underneath and holds onto water in winter, but gets dry and hard in summer. I've always wondered if my mulch layers were doing anything to repair the soil underneath, but this video makes me think they're probably not doing much down there, just creating rich top soil above. I also loved the way that kumara was grown in the walkways between gardens, and am wondering if I can do the same here. 

Recreating Terra Preta: Good soil for centuries - I was fascinated by this video because I had never heard of the Terra Preta areas in the Amazon forest, which are so much more fertile than the land around them thanks to amendments that past civilisations made to the land. In this video, David tries to recreate a Terra Preta garden system, guessing at how they were originally made.

Does my homemade Terra Preta work? This is David's follow-up Terra Preta video, which shows the Terra Preta garden David created and shows how well it is doing compared to the regular gardens around it. 

I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I did. If you've watched any great permaculture videos lately, please link them below. My sanity may depend on it (wink).

Friday, September 17, 2021

What I eat in a day to lose weight

It's been four months since I started eating the Trim Healthy Mama way full time. I haven't lost as much weight as I thought I would in that time - my weight loss seems to have plateaued lately - but I've definitely lost enough weight for it to be noticeable and for me to feel a lot better. 

Even though I'm not losing weight as fast as I would like, I'm still really enjoying eating this way. I genuinely look forward to all my meals and snacks, and it's delightful knowing that they are helping me not harming me. 

I tend to go through phases of eating one particularly thing quite a lot, before moving on to something else, so here's what I've been eating on Trim Healthy Mama lately.

Breakfast

Omelettes (THM S) 

Lots and lots of omelettes. Would you believe that I didn't know how to make omelettes before a few weeks ago? They were just not something I ever thought to make. I'm getting better though, because I've been making them so much and because Paul has given me a few pointers. I like adding sun dried tomatoes to my omelettes for a burst of flavour, but roast capsicum and spring onion are also nice.

Overnight oats (THM E)

I still make this Overnight Cinnamon Oats recipe reasonably often, as I can prepare it the night before and then cook it in the microwave in the morning for a quick and easy breakfast. This morning I threw a handful of frozen raspberries into the mixture after cooking, for some extra flavour and goodness. 

Feijoa smoothies (THM E)

I froze bags of feijoas back in April, because I had to cut the guava moth caterpillars out of them so they weren't great for eating fresh. I've been glad for all those bags of feijoas during lockdown, as they've given me a tasty and vitamin C rich smoothie base. I usually throw milk kefir, unsweetened almond milk, collagen, Truvia, a greens powder and baobab powder into my smoothie too. So good!

Lunch

Coleslaws (THM S)

Coleslaws are pretty much the only thing I eat for lunch at the moment as they're easy to make, tasty to eat and nourishing to my body. 

I cook up a roast chicken for dinner at the start of the week and then use the leftovers in my coleslaw over the next few days. To make the coleslaw I just hack off a little bit of a red cabbage each day and slice that up with some carrot, celery and any other veges I have on hand. I usually throw in a handful of pumpkin seeds and stir through some basil pesto or garlic aioli for flavour. Whenever I run out of chicken, I use a tin of tuna in spring water for protein instead. 

Dinner

Cauliflower Crust Pizza (THM S)

We've been doing pizza nights once a week at our house over lockdown, so I've been whipping up cauliflower crust pizzas to keep me on plan. I really like this recipe and, as you can see from the photo above, you really can hold the slice. 

Pizza toppings vary depending on what we have on hand. We were light on toppings in the photo above, so I just added pizza sauce, cheese and roast capsicum. Other times I've thrown on leftover roast chicken, or salami, or red onion. 

Lamb Salad (THM S)

My husband and I both adore this Crispy Lamb Salad recipe, so I've made it several times lately. It's perfection. I buy Silver Ferns lamb stir-fry to make the salad because it's delicious, affordable, and already prepared - with no extra fat or bones in the package. 

Chicken Fried Double Rice (THM E)

The whole family enjoyed this Trim Healthy Table fried rice recipe, which I made for the first time last week. It uses a combination of cauliflower rice and brown rice to keep the carbs at a gentle enough level to not cause blood sugar levels to surge. 

Snacks and Desserts

Chocolate Friskee (THM FP)

This is a fuel pull recipe from the Trim Healthy Table cookbook that my kids and I all love. I have to make a huge batch whenever I make it, because my kids all beg me for it.

Tummy Tucking Ice Cream (THM FP)

This is another recipe I have to make in large quantities, because my kids love it too. I usually use this Tummy Tucking Ice Cream recipe and double it. That makes enough for me and my three kids. We customise the flavour to mint by adding a splash of peppermint extract and a couple drops of green food colouring. 

Chickpea Banana Blondie (THM E)

I've got a whole lot of chickpeas in my freezer that I soaked and cooked, so lately I've been putting them to use with this Skinny Banana Chickpea Blondie recipe. I use Healtheries dark chocolate sugar free baking bits to keep it sugar free.  

So there you have it - a lovely selection of Trim Healthy Mama foods that I've been relishing over the past month. 

Do you think you'll try any of the recipes I've mentioned? 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Sugar-free Scorched Almonds Recipe (THM S)

It's a well-known fact in our family that scorched almonds are my favourite chocolate. They're just so smooth and chocolatey on the outside, but then have that deliciously crunchy almond centre. I love them!

However, since I can put on weight by just looking at scorched almonds, I decided to come up with a healthier alternative to enjoy. This sugar-free scorched almonds recipe is so simple (just two ingredients), that I almost hesitate to call it a recipe. But here you go anyway:

Sugar-free Scorched Almonds Recipe (THM S)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate chips (I use Healtheries Baking Bits)
  • 1/3 cup roasted almonds (approximately 50 almonds)

Method

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 
  2. Melt the chocolate chips either in a double boiler or in a Pyrex jug in the microwave. If using the microwave, melt the chocolate on high for 30 seconds, then give it a stir and put it back in the microwave for another 15 seconds. Stir some more until the chocolate gets nice and melty and smooth. 
  3. Throw the roasted almonds into the melted chocolate and stir to coat them. 
  4. Using a spoon, pull the coated almonds out one by one and drop them onto the baking paper-lined tray. 
  5. Once all of the almonds are spread out on the tray, place the tray in the fridge so the chocolate can set.
  6. Once the chocolate has set, remove the chocolate covered almonds to an airtight container. 
Serving size
Makes 50 scorched almonds.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Weight loss update

Photo taken on 26 July 2021.

Alright, so I had to track back through several months of photos on my phone to figure this out, but on 4 May this year (2021) I officially started eating the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) way again. My aim in doing so was to lose weight and get healthier, which I talked more about in this post

To really help me commit to the plan and to motivate me, I bought the Trim Healthy Mama Journey app on 10 May. It's been invaluable for keeping me accountable at each and every meal. I try to track all my meals, snacks and drinks in the app.  

I didn't have a scale when I first started THM, so I don't know exactly what I weighed at the time, but I have a rough idea. 

I did buy a scale after a couple of weeks, and in the three and a half months I've been doing Trim Healthy Mama, I've lost around 7.5 kilograms. 

I stalled in my weight-loss for a couple of weeks recently, and actually gained back a kilogram, even though I was trying to follow the plan as perfectly as possible. I think I had let slide a few too many white rice sushi lunches, which must spike my blood sugar too much.

In any case, I was happy to see the number on the scales drop again this week. I'm still a few kilograms away from my first goal, which is the weight I was before I had any kids. I was really hoping to reach that goal by my birthday next month, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. I'm not too worried though. I'm enjoying eating this way and the weight is slowly coming off, so I'm sure I'll reach my first goal at some point in the coming months. 

Here are some side by side comparison shots for you. The photo on the left was taken on May 27, while the photo on the right was taken on August 16. 


I feel like the weight loss is more noticeable in these next side-on comparison shots, especially around my butt.  

A couple of my non-scale victories are that I've lost 3 inches/7.62cm from around my waist, and I've lost 2 inches/5.08cm from around my hips. I've also gone down a dress size, although I haven't actually bought the smaller clothes yet so my jeans are getting pretty baggy on me.

So that's where I'm at on my journey. Hopefully by next year's birthday, I'll be looking very different. My goal is to get down to the size I was at uni by then. 

If you have any questions about THM, or what I've been doing to (slowly) lose this weight, feel free to ask. I'm happy to answer as best I can. And if you've got any THM tips for me, I'd love to hear them. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Thai Quinoa and Red Cabbage Salad Recipe (THM E)

I discovered Cookie and Kate's Crunchy Thai Peanut and Quinoa Salad recipe when I was doing an eat from the pantry challenge and wanted to use up the quinoa in my pantry as well as one of the purple cabbages from my garden. 

The salad was so good, I made it again and again. 

But then I committed to eating the Trim Healthy Mama way in order to lose weight and get healthy, and realised I would need to come up with a THM version of the salad I loved so much. By subbing a few simple ingredients, I succeeded in creating a version of the salad that has all the same great taste and mouth feel as the original, but which doesn't cross over too many fats and carbs in the same recipe.

Today I share my Thai Quinoa and Red Cabbage Salad Recipe with you. This is a THM E (energising) recipe, meaning it derives its energy from gentle carbs rather than from fat. 

Ingredients

For the salad

  • ¾ cup dried quinoa
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup thinly sliced snow peas, sugar snap peas or celery
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro (coriander leaves and stems)
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced spring onion
Peanut sauce
  • ¼ cup PB2 peanut flour
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 Tbsp sugar-free sweetener, eg. Truvia/Natvia/THM Gentle Sweet
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Juice of one lime

Method

1. Cook the quinoa
  • Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water to remove its bitter coating. 
  • In a medium-sized pot, combine the rinsed quinoa and 1½ cups water. 
  • Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer the quinoa until it has absorbed all of the water. 
  • Remove the quinoa from heat, cover the pot and let it rest for 5 minutes. 
  • Uncover the pot and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside to cool.

2. Make the peanut sauce

  • Mix together the peanut flour, soy sauce, sweetener, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and lime juice in a small pyrex jug. 

3. Assemble the salad

  • In a large serving bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, shredded cabbage, carrot, snow peas/celery, cilantro and spring onion. Toss to combine, then pour in the peanut sauce. Toss again until to coat everything in the sauce.
  • This is a good salad to bring to a shared dinner. Alternatively, I like to portion it out into two or three lidded Pyrex bowls so I can eat it myself over multiple days for hearty, filling lunches. 
  • This salad stores well in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Cooked Overnight Cinnamon Oats (THM E)

Lately this overnight cinnamon oat recipe has been my go-to breakfast because it's a healthy Trim Healthy Mama 'E' recipe that's so easy to make. 

All I do is mix up the ingredients in a Pyrex container (affiliate link) at night and let the mixture soak in the fridge till morning, which is when I microwave it for two minutes to have easy peasy cooked oats ready to eat.

This recipe is a single serve, but go ahead and mix up more batches like I did in the photo above if you have other family members who want to eat these overnight cinnamon oats too. (Actually the bottom two containers hold chocolate overnight oats, but I'll share the recipe for them another time.)

I add psyllium husk and ground flaxseed to the oats for extra nutrition and also for good gut health. 

Here's my recipe for Cooked Overnight Cinnamon Oats (THM E).

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1.5 tsp psyllium husk
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2-4 tsp Truvia/Natvia/THM Gentle Sweet or other sugar-free sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water or almond milk

Method

  1. The night before you want to eat your cooked oats, mix all the dry ingredients together and then stir through the water/almond milk.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. In the morning, uncover and microwave on high for two minutes.
  4. Stir and enjoy. 

Serves one.