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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Something new!

So I hit a roadblock on my cooking... It's too hot to use the oven every day. I am eating clean and learning new recipes that aren't boring to me was not working. I was BORED with cooking and food in general and that is when I lose my way and fall right back into my bad habits.
    PP(Papa Perz) heard about something on the radio (he listens to it A LOT) and wanted me to check out I looked and filed it away as another thing that I wasn't really interested in. This was months ago. Recently I remembered that the site offered a Clean eating and Clean eating crock pot plan! I had to try it so I went in search of reviews but all I could find were ones that emeals had sent out for reviews... That to me is not a true review. So I sent a call out on social media and a friend who is a mom of a little one around LT's age uses it. I got her honest opinion and a referral from her and picked up a 3 month subscription. I am not willing to commit more time to it until I have tried out just the 3 months. I picked up the breakfasts and suppers because those are my main roadblocks. They send out 7 suppers with recipe and a grocery list all written out for you. The breakfast plan is 5 breakfasts. I got the plan for 1-2 servings since it's just myself and the boys. PP isn't home most nights. Next I got the app for my phone. I chose 5 suppers that I wanted to try (leaving 2 nights for family meals with PP) With the phone app I skipped the meals I didn't want and it generated the list without those recipes.
   Off to my farmer's market to start shopping! I was so happy to find that I am able to pull up the shopping list up on my phone without using data.
Dropped everything off and we headed to the store to purchase everything else on the list. I was able to manually enter household and baby items as well to the list so no more paper lists (that I always forget)!!!

On to what we ate our first week:

  Day One:  Crock Pot
     BBQ Beef Roast
     Grilled Corn with Lime butter ( I don't grill so I just boiled my corn)
     Salad- Cucumber, Red onion, tomato, shredded carrots

     Verdict- The salad was my own concoction and I loved it since it was all my favorite things in the fridge. The corn with the lime butter was interesting and I really liked the combination. I never would have thought to make such a combination so I am pleased. The BBQ beef, that was good! I loved the homemade BBQ that was made when I cooked the beef. I have to admit I was worried about a good BBQ sauce since going clean meant not buying the stuff at the store. - I really liked how easy it was to prep in the morning and loved that this recipe had me put aside some of the beef for the next night's supper!

  Day Two:
          Spinach and Parmesan Potatoes with BBQ Beef
          Tangy Mirliton Carrot Slaw

       Verdict:  So the slaw was immediately scrapped. I can't gag down squash and wasn't even going to try. For the rest. It called for making baked potatoes and while I would love to say I did, I won't lie. It's too hot to use my oven!!!! So I boiled some red potatoes and cut them like I would a baked potato. I wanted something with a little more UMPH so I made creamed spinach instead of just putting plain spinach on top of the potatoes. The BBQ beef was supposed to just be reheated and put on top of the potato and spinach. I mixed them to try it but honestly was just too many different flavors going on at one time. Glad I decided to just keep them separate. Loved that this meal took me less than 20 minutes to prep and cook.

  Day Three:  Slow Cooker
   Chicken Alfredo Over Bowtie Pasta
  Plum Salad with Red Onion and Mint


          Verdict: I loved this! I loved that I could have an Alfredo dish without having to stir and stir for days to get it right. So I didn't use bowties, I had whole wheat rotini and didn't see the point of buying other pastas when I had this on hand. I added peas in the last half and hour because I love peas in my Alfredo. Then garnished with some leftover bacon from that morning and some parsley. That whole pretty food thing...
  The salad didn't happen. There weren't any real good plums at my store and I wasn't sad over not trying it. It sounded just a little weird to me.
               Recipe: It's been asked for a few times so I'll share this one.
For two people
1/2 cup Parmesan- shredded (get the good stuff NOT the Kraft)
3 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves of garlic minced
salt and pepper 1/4 tsp each
1/8 tsp white pepper (no I didn't use this... I wasn't buying another pepper that would go bad in my cabinet)
1/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 lb chicken breast, boneless skinless, cut into bite sized pieces
8oz pasta

           Combine parm, cream cheese, milk, butter, garlic, salt and pepper in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until cheeses melt and mixture is smooth, stirring frequently with a whisk. Stir in broth. Arrange chicken in a slow cooker and top with cheese mixture. Cover and cook on low 5 hours. Cook pasta according to package directions. Top pasta with chicken mixture. * I added frozen peas the last half an hour.

  Day Four: Slow Cooker
   Texas Caviar Salad
   Grilled Apple Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs

    Verdict: So the Chicken first, I don't like dark meat, I was already buying chicken breast, and I still don't grill. So I pulled a chicken breast and since I had a pan of hot bacon fat, salad called for one piece of bacon, I just pan cooked it right in there instead of cleaning it out and putting oil in the pan. Yes people SO SO not healthy but it sounded so good, and tasted wonderful!
       The salad. This one takes a little prep the night before but it's soo  soo worth it! Yes again there was a little adaption because I know what I do and don't like.  I loved this salad so much! I plan on making it again sometime in the future.
         Bonus add on: The salad called for me to reserve a cup of the bean mixture for another night, since I had no intentions of doing that nights meal I didn't look at the recipe. I adapted and made the boys some Black-Eyed Pea Cakes.
  Verdict: I tasted it and maybe with all the spices and added things the recipe called for it would be something I would like. But the real test was the boys. QC has hit a time where he isn't eating well so LT gave the verdict. My 7 month old ate half of one of these bad boys and I saved the rest for him to munch on for lunch the next day!

  Day 5: Slow Cooker
  Shrimp Piccata
  Cucumber, Onion, and Avocado Salad
 Verdict: I want to say that I loved this. The honest truth is I wasn't enthused. I think its more my preference that my shrimp not be overly sauced. This one would get 3 stars if I were to rate it. The salad. Well I took the general idea of the salad and built on it. I added peas and carrots and made the dressing with the leftover lemon juice rather than vinegar.
     LT was in love with the avocado and even fed it to his hair. Was fun watching him enjoy the meal.

      Remember I said I ordered the breakfast menu too. I decided to forgo this weeks menu since there really wasn't but one thing I was willing to try on the first week. Next week I am making all of the breakfasts and my 5 chosen suppers.  All in all week one was a slam dunk!

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