Two Easy, Hearty, and Healthy Meals

Yesterday was my Mom’s birthday!! What an amazing woman she is and she has definitely taught me how to thrive even when you think you are going under. I always remember bits of advice she has told me over the years, especially when it comes to motherhood and marriage. I’m sure those will come out on here as time passes, but if I sat here and wrote even just the most recent ones I would be writing for days. We talk at least once a day, usually a few times, and do FaceTime at least a few times a week with the kids. She’s my best friend for sure, and not only do I get the best friend aspect, but I get the advice and comfort of my Mom. I know how lucky I am to have this, not everyone has this kind of relationship with their mother. She is such a good Nana to all 6 of her grandkids, and Hadley asks to call her at least once a day. Can’t say enough about her! This is us at her Engagement Party 2 weeks ago.

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I took Hadley to school yesterday and ran a couple of errands, and ended up at the clinic I worked at, which is a usual occurrence. I get my fix of clients, patients, and medical drama. Plus I get to see my friends and get a little adult conversation. On a lucky day we grab lunch or order sushi, but there was too much going on for that today. Truett and I picked up Brent’s Christmas present, and came home to eat lunch.

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Do you like greens? I love greens. My family has made greens for Sunday dinner or any other excuse for as long as I can remember. Fresh are definitely better, but I found these once when the store was out of fresh greens. I always keep them in the cabinet now. They are delicious and so healthy. One serving is a half of a cup. It has 45 calories, 6 carbs, and 5 grams of fiber per serving. That means it has 1 net carb per serving, because you subtract the fiber from the total carbs. Basically I could eat an entire giant can and not feel bad about it at all. So I cut up a couple of venison ‘snack sticks’ (from the deer in our freezer), which are like mini summer sausages with big chunks of cheese and jalapeño in them, and put them on a cup of greens. Heated it up and oh man, it was goodness. Spicy and so yummy.

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I played with the dog for a while as Truett kicked a ball around the yard and climbed on little plastic chairs. He has really been into climbing lately, and today he stood up on one and let go, fell off ad landed face first in the grass. He was pretty mad, but just got a little scrape. Good thing we are going to see Santa on Saturday and it is next to his eye!

After we picked up Hadley we came home and played hard. I decided to get all the veggies cut up for dinner because I was making a spin off of a Pesto Pasta dish my Mom taught me. Normally, I use bowtie pasta, Italian sausage, and yummy veggies. Toss it all in pesto and serve it hot. It’s really good, but when I started trying to make all my meals lighter but just as delicious, I had to cut out a few ingredients. So I used Turkey Italian sausage, and just cut out the pasta. Instead of steaming the fresh veggies, I roasted them with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Cauliflower, tomatoes, zucchini, canned artichoke hearts and black olives were my choices for tonight. I put the olives on only for the last couple of minutes so they didn’t dry up.

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I roasted them at 400 until they were golden on top, like 20 minutes. I cooked the sausage in a pan, though it would have been great grilled too. Sliced it and put everything in a big bowl and then poured pesto on it and tossed it around. To be honest, this is also good with a marinara sauce, or anything really. I like the saltiness of the pesto. I was concerned about everyone else eating it, because Brent is a pasta lover, and Hadley is going through a phase about what she will and won’t eat. Doesn’t change what I cook, she can eat it or be hungry, so its a good thing she is a good eater. To my surprise, they all ate it up. Even Truett, who had two bowlfuls. Seconds for that kid will never surprise me. This was an easy, hearty meal that you can change to suit your taste. Use the vegetables your family will eat and a sauce they will eat. It is a great dinner for any time of the year, but I thought it was really nice for a cold winter night.

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And Brent really liked it. He has come a long way from when I met him about what he eats. I don’t take all the credit, I just think he has become more aware of how he feels when he eats certain things. When we are being good and eating right, we have more energy, are in better moods, and just all around feel good. When I eat something I shouldn’t, something heavy or greasy, I feel awful. Then I start to think about how I must have felt like that all the time before, and just that everyone else did too! Food has a huge impact on how we feel as well as feel about ourselves. The ingredients in the food make our bodies do certain things, like feel tired or more energized. Also the way they break down impacts us. Eating junk like fast food or lots of pasta and sugar makes your blood sugar spike and crash, making you have mood swings and bursts of energy. These can make you bloated so you don’t feel like you look your best, or make your skin oily soyou break out, which impacts your self esteem. Emotional eating is another vicious cycle, which is the category I fell into. Eating cleaner food, vegetables, meat, dairy, healthy carbs, whole grains, etc. can make you feel amazing. It cleans out your digestive system and your body uses almost every nutrient in these foods. You don’t need to eat fries or ice cream, but you want to. Try an alternative and see how you feel. I bet if you switched out one food you eat regularly for one healthier version, not only would it taste as good, you would feel better physically too. Like use vegetables instead of pasta, or try the cauliflower pizza crust. Or the low carb pancakes. Make zucchini chips instead of Potato chips. These are all so good! And if I have a pizza fanatic who will eat cauliflower pizza and hasn’t ordered from the place on the corner in months, then it must be good.

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