Grocery Shopping

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One of the most important aspects to clean eating is grocery shopping (duh, no brainer, you say). As this new take on eating is very new to me, I am still slowly getting accustomed. Freshness is a word almost synonymous with clean eating, as you should keep in mind to only eat things that have the ability to spoil quickly. I formerly would grocery shop weekly, however I have found that it is much easier to split my grocery shopping in half to ensure that I have the freshest of foods and that they will be consumed rather than sit and rot before I get to eat it!

In short, when you go grocery shopping, make sure you’re only purchasing foods that have a “BEST BUY: insert date” stamp on it. Any food with a shelf life, you do not want. This does not include frozen fruits and veggies and some whole grain products, of course!

I have a few big things I want to try this week:
(1) Incorporating pre-packaged frozen fruits into my clean eating regimen (I swear by frozen veggies, and often times I put my fresh fruit in the freezer to make it more of an enticing snack!)
(2) Create a super awesome July 4th dinner that the fiance will enjoy (could be a difficult task.. but I am doing my research and through the Eat-Clean Diet cookbook, as well as other recipes from eating-clean websites, I have found some keepers to try)… TO BE CONTINUED….

Agave Nectar

Agave_sp

<---- Agave Plant!

Agave nectar is a Godsend for an individual who is following a ‘clean eating’ regimen. It works as a perfect sugar substitute in just about everything- coffee, grapefruit, etc… It can be found, usually, in the same aisle as honey. It has the same consistency as honey. It isn’t as sweet as other sugar substitutes such as Splenda, but it is all-natural. It is not expensive and is yummy (case in point- I’m eating some grapefruit with a bit of Agave Nectar)!

So go ahead! Go out and pick some up! I promise you won’t regret it!

Pulled Chicken Sandwich… Yum.

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Okay, so this sandwich I was a little nervous about making because I was making my own barbecue sauce. Also, my fiance would be coming down for dinner, and this would be his first experience of my clean-cooking! I was more than pleasantly surprised with the results of this sandwich.. I must warn, make the barbecue sauce ahead of time, as it does take 2 hours for it to complete! Just serve this sandwich up with some steamed veggies!!! This meal is delicious and filling without giving you the feeling that it’s weighing you down. Enjoy!

BARBECUE SAUCE– Clean style!

(as from the Clean Eating Club)

2 TBS canola oil
1 small white onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can (6oz) tomato paste (go for organic)
2 tsp ground mustard
1 can (28oz) tomato sauce (again organic)
1/4 cup dark agave nectar (the recipe calls for unsulfured molasses, but allows this as a substitute)
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
3 TBS white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp ground pepper

In a large saucepan, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cover partially. Stirring occasionally, simmer for 2 hours. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can thin it out with vinegar. Let cool before serving.

A great benefit to this is that, now, you have a good amount of barbecue sauce to last you a while…. and it’s clean!

PULLED CHICKEN SANDWICH
(adapted from Clean Eating Club)

1 TBS olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1/2 cup chopped green or red sweet pepper
3/4 cup barbecue sauce (the recipe calls for this, but add as much, or as little, as you’d like… my fiance was down for dinner, which mean about 1 1/2 cups!)
1 package of chicken tenders (I recommend purchasing grass-fed chicken)
6 whole grain buns

Fill a skillet with water and bring it to a boil, then put the chicken tenders in to poach. Poach for about 5 minutes and remove the chicken from the water. Then with a fork, ‘pull’ the chicken apart…. the chicken may be 66% finished, that is okay, it’s going to be going back on the skillet (the original recipe calls for rotisserie chicken, but this is what I had so I improvised!)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and peppers and cook until soft (5 minutes). Add chicken and barbecue sauce and gently mix together. Simmer until heated through. Spoon mixture onto buns and serve! Delicious!!

A Clean Breakfast!

breakfast

Clean Eating Magazine has become my little go-to place for ideas on meals. One breakfast, in particular, that I was eager to try was their spinach, tomato, and egg whites, paired with a slice of dry whole-grain toast. In excitement, I ran to my fridge, prepped a skillet for the cooking and shortly thereafter realized I had no tomatoes (whomp, whomp). Oh well! I thought… I’ll just make the meal sans tomatoes. And it was delish! As you can see below, I had my breakfast with one cup black coffee and two cups of water!

Egg Whites with Spinach

(as taken from Clean Eating Magazine)

4-6 Egg whites
1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
(Tomatoes!)
Pinch of salt

Combine the ingredients in a skillet over medium-high heat until egg is firm. Voila!

Dry Toast

(as suggested to be paired with the spinach eggs by Clean Eating Mag)

I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you how to make toast, but for the sake of eating clean, I thought I’d just mention what I had eaten. Once plain slice of Ezekial whole grain bread toasted lightly. Very bland, but the bread itself is very good. For the sake of time, as I was running late today, I just threw the egg mixture on top of the dry toast and ran!

Salmon, Quinoa and Steamed Veggies!

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I must admit, it can be awfully difficult to find the motivation to cook for one. It’s easy for me to write it off and think, what’s the point in going to all the trouble for just me?? Practice and good health have become my two answers in this inner-monologue! This dish was ridiculously delicious, I was extremely pleased with it’s turn out. And, what’s even more exciting, is that I have leftovers for dinner tonight!

Many people are not familiar with Quinoa, a very healthy grain. I was talking to my roommate about it last night and and her try some, we came to the conclusion that it can be difficult to distinguish from couscous. So, try it! I promise you won’t be disappointed. It’s a heart-healthy meal that is very pleasing to the palate.

Xo.

Serves 4!

Salmon

(adaptation of Martha Stewart’s Poached Salmon Recipe)

8 oz. Wild Smoked Salmon
3/4 cup water
1 TBS fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
Pinch of salt

Combine all of the ingredients (except for the Salmon) into a saute pan… bring to a boil. Once it boils lower the heat to a ‘simmer’ and simmer the mixture for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, slice your salmon into 1 inch slices. Once 8 minutes has passed, place the sliced salmon into the saute pan… simmer on low for 5 minutes (until opaque). Lift out gently and serve! Yum.
Quinoa (keen-wah)

(as taken from the wonderful Trader Joe’s box)

1 cup dried quinoa
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
Combine the quinoa and the chicken stock in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed (10-15 minutes). When it’s finished, the grain will appear to be soft and translucent, and the germ ring will be visible along the outside edge of the grain.

Steamed Broccoli
This easy way of steaming broccoli got me through college! so easy.
1 broccoli floret chopped (or if you’re me 2 cups frozen broccoli… it’s easier on the wallet, people!)
Enough water to cover the broccoli
For those who do not have a steamer, like myself:
In a saute pan (with a lid!) bring water to a boil. After it boils, add your broccoli and cover the pot. Allow it to steam for about 5 or so minutes.

My Inspiration

1950s-kitchen

“My Grandma makes the best…”…..
“This is good, but not as good as how Grandma makes it….”

Phrases such as these are a dime a dozen. I never gave much thought as to why it is so common among so many people and why, in particular, that no food is as good as how your grandmother makes it (my grandmother’s mashed potatoes: ridiculously amazing, it should be in it’s own food group).

And then it hit me! It’s because Grandma not only made that great meatloaf with love, but also from scratch. Nothing artificial… no chemicals that you cannot pronounce. In those times of Post-War America, everything was homemade! Granted, life does not always permit taking time to make sure everything is made from scratch and nothing is processed. But organizational skills come in handy and planning meals a week ahead makes this kind of preparation much easier!

It’s amazing that America is not only more consumed with this “dieting mentality”, that “weight-loss breakthrough”, but America is more overweight than ever! Our culture has become all about instant gratification and ‘I want it done now’ and ‘I don’t want to have to work for it.’ Or, I like using sweetening substitutes because there are no calories… You better believe I used to be queen of that mentality! This snack has 100 calories in it vs. a handfull of almonds which has, what seems, a million more calories- to me it was a no brainer. Sacrifice the health benefit of food so that I can eat what has less calories to slim down! WRONG. Why is it now that all of these newfound diseases and health problems are arising? Just at the time when America has totally changed its way of eating?

We are at a fork in the road here, people!!!! Let’s change the way America eats! Many people call this style of eating “Clean Eating.” It is a term coined correctly; you are in fact eating clean food sans chemicals and fortified vitamins. This new posh and fashionable take on eating is no different than the way people used to eat. Regardless of what one may call this style of eating, it is easy to agree that perhaps now, more than ever, becoming healthy is important. Clean eating isn’t a diet in the sense that we may perceive the word ‘diet’ today. It is a lifestyle change- giving up all of the processed foods for healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats (oh and drinking lots of water is a must!).

Let’s get back to basics, eat in a cleanly fashion, and make those delicious foods just like Grandma made them, but with a modern flare!