Barn Studio of Dance

Friday, June 29, 2012

Visiting the Farm

A couple of weeks ago, we were looking for something to do with Grace.  Something quick, cheap or FREE.  It was a hectic weekend with errands and Joe working most of the weekend, so we really couldn't do much.  We just needed something to get us out of the house for an hour or so.

We're lucky to have 2 dairy farms in our vicinity that offer little "zoo" areas.  They both also have little markets so you can enjoy an ice cream cone after visiting the animals or even purchase some fresh produce or a gallon of milk to take home.

I love that we can compare her growth at each visit!


Merrymead Farm is the farm I'm talking about today.  It's not too far from our home, so it's no problem to just hop in the truck and take a ride over there after dinner.  Grace doesn't eat ice cream, so we only occasionally go into the market.  A lot of times we just walk around and visit the animals (they just got the cutest little pigs...3 of them!) for a little while, then go home.

There's no charge to walk around and enjoy the farm, unless you want to put a coin or two into the feed dispenser to feed the goats.  We did this the last time we were there and Grace thought it was great!

Goats looking for pellets.

She runs from one pen to the next telling us the sounds each animal makes.  The funniest thing is that she calls the beautiful peacock a turkey!

Smiling with a mouth full of popcorn!  


Merrymead also offers tours of the facility and also host different seasonal events.  We took Grace last year for one of their fall festival weekends which is a lot of fun!  She was still young enough then, that we didn't have to spend a lot of money on the attractions there.  She was content with a bag of popcorn and the few pumpkins we purchased for our front porch.



Grace just discovered that she will look like a flower if she puts her face in the hole of the billboard.  I've tried to show her each time we visit, but she wouldn't pay any attention to me.  The last time we were there, she saw a couple of kids and immediately ran behind and peeked out for her photo op!


We always have a fun time when we visit the farm.  It's always one of our favorite and most successful outings.  Most of the time we spend little or no money.  That may be why I appreciate it so much.  Next time we go, we'll be sure to pick up a gallon of milk or even an ice cream cone or three, since I know it's our purchases that allow them to provide this for the community.




This post has been linked to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:



Thursday, June 28, 2012

Weight Loss Tip ~ Water Tips

It's Monday evening (as I write this) and the house is quiet.  It's been a long day and not much has gone right about today.  Joe and I planned a nice day for the three of us, but instead, most of the day was spent dealing with an uncooperative toddler with plans of her own.  I won't bore you all with the details, but let's just say that thoughts of dieting went out the window for several hours.

Now that everyone is asleep (even the dog is snoring beside me on the sofa), I'm taking a moment to focus on MYSELF and my journey to find a healthier me.

Just a short moment because, you know, I'm a mom and stuff like loading the dishwasher and folding the laundry still needs to get done before I get to go to sleep.

Speaking of sleep, I really need to do more of that.  But that's not what I want to talk about today.  Today I want to talk about WATER.

You'd think that would be the easiest thing about the switching to a healthier lifestyle, right?!  Well, for me, it's not.  You've all heard me whine about how much I hate water, how I'm addicted to Diet Pepsi and how I'd rather not drink at all rather than drink water.

I've read about how other people drink a full glass of water (sometimes two) before meals, that it helps them to feel fuller.  Or how some people feel like they are hungry, when they are actually just thirsty.  Let me just say, I'm not either one of those people.

Water doesn't make me feel fuller.  It makes me feel sick.

When I'm hungry, I know it.  In fact, when I'm hungry, pretty much everyone around me knows it too!  Seriously.

When I started this journey and joined in with other bloggers for the Summer Sizzle Slimdown Challenge just over 3 weeks ago, I was determined to drink more water.  That first week, I did great!  While I only reached my goal of 8 glasses of water per day a couple of times, I was doing so great in cutting back on Diet Pepsi.

Thinking about all of the different ways I've been trying to get myself to drink more water, I am seeing what worked and what didn't.  I thought I would share my thoughts with you in this post.  After the past couple of weeks I've had, I feel funny calling these "tips" since I don't feel qualified to offer "tips" at the moment, but if anything, the information will be here for me to look back on if and when I might need the reminder.



What works:  

  • Each night before I go to bed, I go to the garage and get 4 bottles of water for the following day.  Each bottle is 16 oz and equal to two glasses of water.  I put the bottles on the counter and with a Sharpie Marker, I number the bottles: 1, 2, 3, 4 (on the caps).  This makes it easier for me to keep track of how many glasses of water I am drinking.    It also helps me feel like I am accomplishing something, like checking a task off of a to-do list.  

What doesn't work:  
  • After seeing my water bottles from that first week in the recycling bin, I figured I would reduce waste (and cost) by switching to gallon jugs of water instead.  Nope, didn't work.  I didn't have the visual needed (the numbered caps) to keep me motivated.  I did see on Pinterest that someone made notations on the gallon, to help them keep track of their water, but I haven't tried that yet.  

What works:  
  • Drinking from a favorite glass or cup.  This is something I did back on my Weight Watchers days.  Mainly, because I was at work and needed a glass for the water cooler.  I'm a sucker for those cute seasonal cups with the dishes to match and would often purchase a cup with a plate to match and keep them in my desk drawer to use at lunch time instead of using disposable cups and plates.  These days, I love using the plastic travel cups with a lid and reusable straw.  Each day, I refill the cup from my numbered bottles.  It helps if the cup holds 16 oz. which is the equivalent of one bottle of water or two 8 oz. glasses.  Also, if using more than one cup throughout the challenge, take notice to changes in drinking patterns.  (I'll explain further down.) 

What doesn't work: 
  • Drinking from the bottle.  Drinking from a glass or cup allows me to drink more water, more quickly.  I can't drink from a water bottle quickly, I only sip.  So, I find myself drinking the same bottle of water for hours, or until I put it down somewhere and forget about it.  

What works:  
  • Drinking from a straw.  A straw also helps me to drink more.  Just a few sips from the straw and I'm halfway finished the cup of water!  
What doesn't work:  
  • I switched cups during week two.  The cup held less water.  At first, I thought that was the reason I was drinking less.  Then I realized that the insulated travel cup was taller and thinner and required a longer straw.  The taller straw made it take longer for me to drink the same amount as the shorter straw I was using during the first week.  It seems crazy, I know.  But it does make a difference.  At least to me!  


What works:  
  • Enhancing the flavor.  For the first couple of weeks, I was flavoring my water with strawberries.  Each morning, I would get my cup out of the freezer, drop in a couple slices of frozen strawberries (about half of a strawberry) and pour water into the cup.  No need to change the strawberries with each refill, just keep using the same berries.  Note that the flavor is stronger the longer it sits between refills.  Alternately, add a fresh pineapple slice to your glass, cup or bottle of water.  In the photo above, I added the chopped core along with a few scraps of fresh pineapple to a pitcher of water.  Looks pretty and refreshing!  
What works: 
  • Find the right temperature.  In most cases, I prefer my beverages with ice.  The colder the better.  But, I prefer my water to be room temperature.  I guess because I'm not looking to sip it leisurely, I'm looking to meet my goal at the end of the day.  Sipping isn't going to get me to 8 glasses by the end of the day! 

Keep in mind, this is what I've noticed works for me.  I am by no means an expert in this department (or any other for that matter).  Results may vary from person to person.  

Do you have any tips for drinking more water?  Please share how you manage to reach your water goal each day!  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Gardening Journal ~ Recycled Pallets for Garden Beds

After taking a year off, we are trying our hand at gardening again this summer.  Vegetables, to be exact.  Our first garden from 2 years ago worked well, but I knew I wanted something a bit larger this time around.

I also knew I wanted to use recycled pallets again this year, to keep the cost of building supplies down. Pinterest is a great source of ideas for pallet gardens, but my husband had some ideas of his own.

Last month, while Grace was enjoying her first day in her little pool, Joe got to work building 2 garden beds.


He used 3 pallets for each bed.  He trimmed a small amount off of one side of each pallet, so they would fit together without having to use additional lumber to attach them.


Joe has a shed full of tools, yet the chainsaw seems to be his favorite!  When trying to think of a title for this post, I considered calling it:  How To Build a Vegetable Garden with a Chainsaw.




He also cut the pallets in half.

Each pallet was eight slats high, we could have gotten more beds out of our stack of pallets, if we cut into each pallet into 4 pieces each two slats high.  Since we have a yard full of bunnies, we opted to keep the sides higher to avoid having to buy garden fencing to keep the cute critters out of the vegetables.  So far the higher sides are working for us.  We'll see what happens as the plants get bigger.


  So far the higher sides are working for us.  We'll see what happens as the plants get bigger.  




I want to share more photos of our recycled pallet garden beds in action, but this post is already picture heavy!  Check back next week to see how they look now!


Note:  When using pallets for edible gardens, you want to be sure they aren't chemically treated.  Check out this article to find out how to find out if your pallets are safe for edible gardens.  You also want to be sure that they are free of any spilled chemicals/oils.  The darker spots on our pallets is from sitting in a muddy spot of our yard.


I've linked this post to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Oven Roasted Vegetables

Last week I planned to make Grilled Potatoes, but unexpectedly we had them the night before when another family member made them for dinner.  See what happens when you try to make a family favorite?!

I had a huge bag of potatoes and needed something easy to make with them.  While I love mashed potatoes, I was looking for something else.  Something that went better with a roast beef sandwich.  I would have loved to make twice baked potatoes, but I didn't want to send Joe to the store for the rest of the ingredients.  I needed to find a recipe that only called for ingredients from our pantry.

A quick search online, left me without a plan.  While I found many great recipes, I was missing too many ingredients.  Next place I checked was my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and I found a great recipe for Oven Roasted Vegetables.  I had most of the ingredients on hand and just enough time to get them prepared before the rest of the meal was ready.

This recipe was a hit!  I need to remember to check that book more often.




Oven Roasted Vegetables 
     *Adapted from my trusty Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
       page 503

Ingredients: 
  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 16 oz bag baby carrots
  • 1 onion, chunked
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning 
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. sea salt 
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • butter
Directions: 
  • Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. 
  • Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking dish with butter. 
  • In a large bowl, combine vegetables.  
  • In a measuring cup, mix together the oil, Italian Seasoning, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, then pour over vegetables. Stir to coat.  
  • Pour vegetables into the greased baking dish, spreading out evenly.  
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender. 
  • Remove foil, stir and allow to cook for 10-15 more minutes or until golden.  
Notes:  
  • I didn't figure the calories or measure the portion sizes for this recipe.  As soon as it was out of the oven, we loaded it into the car to take to friends' house for dinner.  We served 6 adults and still had some leftover. 
  • We loved the flavors of this delicious side dish.  We'll be making this again! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 2012 ~ Week of June 25th


How's the weather in your neck of the woods?  Here, in Pennsylvania it is H-O-T hot!  I know some of you southerners would laugh at what we consider hot, but we're just not used to temperatures in the high 90s.

I never handled the heat well.  Even as a kid, I always felt uncomfortable and sick in very high temps.  So, when Grace wants to play outside, I try to stay in the shade and keep from exerting myself too much.  I save my energy for when I have to run after her when she decides to wander into the neighbors' yards or wants to see her orange flowers at the front of the house.  (A fence would be ideal for situations like this, but we can't fit the expense into our budget right now.)


Not a whole lot of cookin' happened last week due to the heat.  Last weekend, I prepared Cabbage Patch Stew in the crock pot.  I cooked it early but didn't plan on serving it until Monday.  I was relieved to have a meal already prepared.  All I had to do was reheat it.

We kept it pretty simple the rest of the week.  Sandwiches, hot dogs and burgers.  Summer food at it's best!

 

I also made a pot of Simply Tomato Sauce and served it over spaghetti.  I also made some bread sticks by toasting some leftover hot dog buns in the oven!  (Thanks for the great idea, Pocket Change Gourmet!)

This week, I'm hoping to do a bit more cooking.  Not only am I getting bored with hot dogs and burgers, the calories are just too high for me to budget them into my calorie count.  I don't mind higher calorie meals once in a while, but 2 or more times a week is just too often.

Since that's not a very exciting recap of the previous week, let me just fill you in on what I'm planning for this week (still coming from the June Summer Menu):

  • Lima Beans and Ham over rice.  I am really wanting to try this, but I keep forgetting to soak my beans.  I'll be soaking them tonight and preparing this in the crock pot for Tuesday night's dinner.  
  • "Skinny" Arroz con Pollo.  I can't believe we went a week without eating chicken.  Joe picked up 2 packs of chicken breast when they were on sale last week.  You know times are tough when two of the times Joe went to the store, the sale chicken bin was empty! Third time's a charm!  Good thing Joe passes the store on his way home from work.  It totally wouldn't be worth it if he had to make a special trip.  

  • Leslie's Chicken, Grilled Potatoes (oven method), steamed vegetables.  I think Joe will really enjoy this chicken dish. What's not to love when the chicken is wrapped in bacon?  Mmmm! 
  • Pesto Orzo.  I planned on making this for dinner for us one day this month, but instead I'll be making a double batch and taking it to my niece's graduation party.  It's easy and makes a ton!  Perfect!  Since it's one of our favorite meals, I'll probably set a bit aside for Joe and I before I pack it up to take to the party.  
  • The rest of the week will be leftover buffet.  I'm sure each of these meals will provide enough leftovers for us to enjoy for an additional night or two.  Plus, I have an assortment of leftovers in the freezer that would work in a pinch!  

Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week!  Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.


You can also find this week's menu plan linked to On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weight Loss Challenge ~ Weigh-In ~ Week 4 Begins



Saturday, June 23rd (day before weigh-in)

I wish I could say I have good things to report this week, but sadly I don't.  It's Saturday and as I begin to work on this post, I have not yet weighed-in. I dread getting on the scale tomorrow morning.

After 2 good weeks, it seems like whatever switched on to make me want to do this, has suddenly switched off.  I barely tracked my food this week, only measured or weighed my food maybe 3/4 of the time, I didn't drink my water (well, not enough of it) and I didn't exercise.  We've had some extra hot weather here this past week, and honestly, I didn't care about much more than trying to keep cool.


Feelings of depression and anxiety made me want to do some emotional eating and I will admit that I gave in and did some extra snacking this week.  


Looking back and remembering my meals and my snacks, I know I could have done so much worse.  For instance, the sandwiches we had for dinner and a few lunches were made with Boar's Head Buffalo Chicken Breast deli meat instead of the higher in calorie bologna and cheese sandwiches that I really wanted. Also, I still kept away from second helpings.

While eating more than I should this past week, it in no way compares to the meals I ate in the days, weeks, months (years?) leading up to the challenge.



I'm not going to beat myself up over it.  I'm just going to start fresh this week.  I'm making myself a shopping list of all the good/healthy things I plan to eat this week.  Fresh fruit to pair with my yogurt and vegetables for salads and snacks.

I had a difficult time with water again this week and began drinking my calories just for something different.  I'm going to pick up some diet juices when we grocery shop this weekend.  I avoided diet pepsi for most of the week.  I gave in and had some on Friday and Saturday.  Still, 5 diet sodas in 4 weeks is not bad for this diet Pepsi addict.

Again, I'm not going to beat myself up over it.  Don't get me wrong, if I step on the scale tomorrow and see a gain, I'm going to be disappointed.  But I know that I cannot change the past, but I can move on and make better choices for the present and that's what I plan to do.

My goals for the week will pretty much be the same as the goals from last week:

  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. 
  • Find the right balance of calories for each meal. 
  • Snack less/choose healthier options for snacks. 
  • Exercise. 
  • Limit diet soda. 
  • Add more fruits & vegetables to meals.  


I also want to add a couple new goals:  
  • Practice better sleep habits. 
  • Increase dairy servings. 
  • Get back to tracking food/calories. 

I had too many late nights last week.  I go crazy watching TV or working on the blog at night after Grace goes to bed.  I need to get to bed much earlier since I notice myself being more hungry when I am extra tired.  

I never consume enough dairy.  I'm not one to drink a glass of milk.  At least not very often.  Aside from the mornings that I have a bowl of cereal for breakfast, my carton of skim milk usually is forgotten in the back of the fridge.  

I had a lot of success when I had a yogurt for breakfast almost every morning the first week of the challenge.  I need to start doing that again.

Tracking calories didn't happen every day last week.  While I know that I need to track and journal everything, I got lazy and just didn't care.  I know that in order for me to stay on track I need to track everything before I eat it.  It's too easy to go over my calories for the day if forget that I ate 2 rice cakes or a mini cupcake or a bowl of cereal earlier in the day.  Write it before I bite it!  That's going to be the biggest rule for me for week 4.  

Well, it's time for me to start thinking about getting dinner ready...see you after I weigh-in tomorrow morning.



Sunday, June 24th (morning of weigh-in)

So it seems I haven't done as badly as I thought I did.  I just got in from watering the gardens, then I hopped on the scale for the moment of truth.  I was expecting a gain, maintaining last week's weight at best.  Instead, I was surprised to see a 0.4 loss.  Bringing my total loss to 5.6 lbs.

The weight loss ticker in my weight loss page (tab under the header at the top of the page) rounds the loss up to 6 lbs.

It's not much of a loss, but much better than my expectations!  I'll take it!  I have a lot of work to do this week to continue to break those old bad habits.  Last week was proof that I still lack self control, although I can see that I was making slightly better choices while giving in to bad habits and temptations.

I'm looking forward to this new week and I'm starting off on a good foot with a smoothie for breakfast.  I'm also going to eat salad everyday this week.  Maybe even twice a week.  And of course, WATER, WATER, WATER!

This is going to be a great week, I just know it!

How did you do this week?




I try post daily updates on my facebook page.  Just quick little blurbs here and there about how my day is going...usually diet related!  So, check it out if you'd like to follow along each day!

Also, if you are also using My Fitness Pal, my profile name there is fitmomma613.  Add me as your friend!

Okay, that's about it for me this morning.  I've got to feed the kiddo her breakfast, make myself a smoothie and then get in the shower.  We've got a very busy day ahead of us!  I'd better get my butt moving!





Friday, June 22, 2012

Grilled Potatoes

Long before the Pinterest Hasselback Potatoes craze, my family has been making thinly sliced potatoes on the grill.  It's a favorite for summer cookouts and camping trips.  Almost everyone we've served these to have gone on to make them for their own summer gatherings.

It all started when I was a kid.  My family was camping with friends (who just happen to be a part of Joe's extended family) and they made these wonderful potatoes one night for dinner.  We enjoyed them so much, we continued to make them for years after.  Later, after I grew up, I just happened to marry into that family and with both sides of the family making these potatoes, we get to enjoy them very often!


You start by scrubbing a pile of potatoes.  We usually make one potato per person then add a couple of extras.  If the potatoes are really big (like the ones from Costco) we make a few less figuring that the kids can share.


Once the potatoes are scrubbed clean, thinly slice the potatoes all the way through.


Place on foil and press down lightly to fan out the potato just a bit.


Add a couple pats of butter or margarine.


Sprinkle with diced onion, salt and pepper.


Wrap in foil, by folding it in half lengthwise and folding the edges over.  Then roll the sides up to keep the butter in once it melts.  Be sure not to roll the potato up too tight.

Place on grill and cook until potatoes are tender.  This can be anywhere from 30-50 minutes depending on how hot you get your grill.


When we lived in our apartment, we didn't have a grill.  I was really in the mood for these potatoes, so I made them in the oven.  Instead of wrapping them in foil, I placed them in a lidded casserole dish and baked them for about 40-50 minutes at 350 degrees.


After checking to make sure they are tender, pop back in the oven for a few more minutes with the lid off to crisp up the edges a bit!



I have to admit, even now with a big back yard and a grill, I tend to make them more often in the oven than on the grill.  I don't grill.  Joe does the grilling.  But he isn't always home in time to help out with dinner.  So, I'm glad to have another method for preparing this family favorite.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wine with Dinner

When Joe and I were dating, we started getting bored with hitting the same few chain restaurants for dinner on the weekends.  So, we decided to change up our weekend date nights by cooking dinner together on Sundays.  We would watch Food Network at his house in the morning, then decide on what we'd make for dinner.  We'd head to the mall first and buy some sort of new cookware or kitchen gadget.  After that, we'd stop at the whole foods store and pick up any ingredients we needed for dinner.  Then, back to his place to prepare our feast!  It was an all day event, but my favorite part of the day was when we were in the kitchen together.  

While I'm not much of a drinker, I do enjoy a nice glass of wine with a meal or when mingling with friends at a party, a wedding, or business event.  I started with blush wines, then moved on to white wines, then finally reds.  My current favorite is Lambrusco.

I'm not very picky about my wines either.  I usually just settle for the less expensive screw cap bottles as opposed to the more expensive brands, though I've been saving a really lovely bottle of Lambrusco-that my mom gave me-for just the right moment.

Cheap or expensive, my only MUST with wine is that it MUST MUST MUST be cold!  It drives Joe nuts when we're in public and I ask for a glass of ice so I can add a few cubes to my glass of wine!

Hey, I like what I like!




Did you know that wineries are going green?  I'm very new to the whole GREEN concept but found this to be very interesting.


what are green wines infographic wine.com
Presented By Wine.com, Purveyors of fine green Wine

Weight Loss Tip ~ have a weight loss buddy

When dieting in the past, I've always felt alone.  My husband already watches what he eats and it doesn't seem to bother him one bit, but then again, he's not dieting and doesn't really need to.  He definitely has much more discipline and will-power than I do when it comes to portion size and snacking.  And with friends that don't need to watch their weight, it was frustrating to have to make the "better" choices and stick to my diet when everyone else around me could eat whatever they wanted.

It didn't take long for feelings of resentment to set in and soon after that, I'd quit and gain back all of the weight I lost and more.
  
The biggest thing that I've found to be helpful in this challenge so far, is the fact that I have an amazingly supportive weight loss buddy!

I first found out about the Summer Sizzle Slimdown Challenge from my blogging buddy Nicole (from Colie's Kitchen).  She told me she was joining and invited me to jump in and sign up, too.  I was really reluctant to join, since all of my past efforts to join weight loss challenges have ended badly.  I didn't want to publicly announce my plans to lose weight considering all other attempts didn't last very long at all.  Each time I fell off the wagon and never fully got back on.

Since the start of the challenge, Nicole and I have been checking in with each other via email at least once a day (usually more).  We offer each other support when we feel discouraged and cheer each other on when we reach goals or achieve non-scale victories!  (She had a few amazing Non-Scale Victories last week!  I'll let her tell you about it...but let me just say, I was super-impressed!)

Last week, I was having a particularly bad moment (not entirely weight loss related, but it was making me want to quit anyway) and Nicole gave me a fabulous pep talk and made me feel much better!

The most amazing thing about this is that I've never met Nicole in person.  We became friends online while reading each others' blogs.  Her friendship means a lot to me, even more-so now as we work together to reach our goals to be fit and healthy!

Thank you Nicole,  for being a fabulous friend and weight loss buddy!  If you are dieting "alone", I definitely recommend that you get yourself a weight loss buddy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Soap Box Derby

A few weeks ago, our town hosted a soap box derby.  We first heard about it when it was held last year, but didn't get the chance to see it then since Joe was working.  We were pleased when we learned that the derby was being held on Joe's weekend off this year.

We were up and out early that morning, so I grabbed a banana on my way out the door, figuring Grace would want breakfast while we were out.


For the entire day, "main street" in our town was closed for the annual event.  Finding parking was a challenge and we had to park a few blocks away.  Good thing we had Grace's stroller in the truck.




We were in a hurry to get out of the house that morning and I forgot to check to see if my camera was in my bag.  Luckily, I was able to snap a few pictures with my phone.

Grace enjoyed watching the little cars ride past and was cheering them all on!  Go!  Go!  Go!  She also enjoyed seeing the people sitting along the sidewalk as we strolled up the street to show her where the starting line was.

We didn't stay for the entire derby since it's an all-day event including an awards ceremony, but it was enough to get Grace out of the house for a bit without spending any money!


This post has been linked to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cabbage Patch Stew

You may have noticed that I've been cooking with cabbage a lot lately.  It's a phase I go through when I'm dieting.  Usually starting when I make a big pot of Crock Pot Low Calorie Vegetable Soup.  Then after the soup is made, I end up needing other alternatives for the rest of the head of cabbage.

This time around, I haven't gotten around to making the pot of soup since I've been trying all sorts of new recipes featuring cabbage.

I saw Debbi's recipe for Cabbage Patch Kidney Bean Stew and it reminded me a little of a one-pot meal I used to make years ago.  I've lost the recipe for that dish, so I'll have to try to recreate it one of these days.  Since I had most of the ingredients for Debbi's recipe, I figured it was the perfect time to throw it all in the slow cooker for an easy dinner!

I only had my cell phone handy, so I apologize for the not so great photo!



Cabbage Patch Stew 
*Adapted from Debbi Does Dinner...Healthy and Low Calorie

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 lb. pre-cooked ground beef, frozen (I used 80% lean)
  • 1/2 head cabbage, chopped 
  • 2 Tbs. dried minced onions 
  • 28 oz. can Italian-style diced tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup ketchup 
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) kidney beans, drained/rinsed 
  • 2 Tsp. Italian Seasoning 
  • 2 Tsp. Chili Powder 
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions:  
  • Place frozen (cooked) ground beef in bottom of slow cooker.  
  • Top with remaining ingredients.  Stir as best as you can. 
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until cabbage is tender.  
  • After about an hour or so, stir the ingredients again to combine with the now-thawed meat.  

Notes:  
  • Debbi's recipe cooks on low for 4-6 hours, but I threw this in the crock pot before I went to bed and let it cook through the night while I slept.  It cooked for 8 hours and turned out fine.  I also started with frozen meat.  I probably would use the shorter cooking time if starting with pre-cooked meat not from the freezer.  
  • This meal is perfect on it's own but also tasty served over rice or ditalini pasta.  

Total calories:  2260*
6 servings @ 380* calories 

*Calories are approximate and may not always be accurate.


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