Week 28: Mamas on a Mission

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-9-28-40-pmBoth science and common sense tell us that diets don’t work. Not for the long term at least. But what has been show to work in many instances are socially supported efforts between friends or communities. Eating Well (magazine) has featured healthy weight loss and exercise challenges between friends as well as those across entire communities that have been hugely successful due to the community of support among participants. Nichelle, a mom I was lucky enough to meet through a local mom’s group, is a chiropractor, teaches a new moms’ fitness class, and just started her own business focusing on Womens’ health (Gaia Health). She also created Mamas on a Mission, a health and fitness challenge for moms. It is NOT a diet. It supports good healthy eating habits and encourages physical activity through a daily point system. I’ve been so excited to challenge myself to come up with new, healthy, well-rounded meals to add to the challenge and hopefully inspire some of the moms to try new dishes and maybe even some new foods. So starting tomorrow 24 mamas will be setting goals, taking pictures, cleaning out their pantries, meal planning and kicking butt. My most recent Eating Well (magazine) mentions new research supporting before and after pictures helping people stick to their goals, so think of that when you take your picture tomorrow and good luck!! Meal Plan & Grocery List

Monday: Beef & Black Bean Nachos with Green Salad

  • In step 2 if you are anti-food processor for small tasks like this or don’t have a mini one, you can use a fork or potato masher with a little water and add more as you are mash the beans. Too much water at the beginning will just be a mess.
  • Watch the tortilla chips closely while they are broiling so they don’t burn!
  • I like the idea of their cheese sauce but think it is a bit too healthy. I would use a low or full fat evaporated milk and a full fat cheese. I like the concept of making a healthier queso but taking all the fat out will taste like you took all the fat out. Not very good.
  • I would also add avocado as another healthy topping.
  • I made this into a taco salad-esque meal by serving it on/with a bed of lightly dressed greens. Romaine is a typical choice but I prefer red leaf lettuce and think it works just fine too.

Tuesday: Butternut Cauliflower Coconut Curry with Cilantro-Chile Whole Wheat Couscous

  • We still have half a giant cauliflower head to use up in addition to a new one we got this week so I think you will see it again on next week’s menu.
  • I borrowed from this recipe and spiced my chickpeas before roasting them to add a little more flavor. I used 1 ½ tsp each of paprika and cumin, 1 tsp garlic powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. I also added more peas (around 1 cup).
  • I used a ton more cauliflower than the recipe called for and more squash too so I left out the potatoes. Because there was so much volume in the pot I covered it and let it steam for 15-20 minutes rather than cooking it uncovered as the recipe says.
  • I added another cup of frozen peas to the dish towards the end for more color as well as extra curry powder for flavor.
  • With the quantity of veggies I should have added a second can of garbanzo beans to even out the veggie ratio. Next time!
  • Whenever a dish calls for flour as a thickener, it is always possible to substitute white whole wheat flour instead. You won’t notice the difference.
  • I can’t say I would know what a Fresno chile looks like and since it is probably too hot for me anyway I used a jalapeno instead.

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken & Kale Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

  • An alternative to grilled kale would be to chop it up, dress it and “massage” it. It should shrink down and become more tender similar to cooking it.
  • If you don’t have tahini you can use any other nut butter for the dressing it will just taste different.

Thursday: Indonesian Pilaf with Greens

  • This was a kitchen sink recipe for me. I used farro instead of the pilaf they suggest but any whole grain would due.
  • I added a can of great northern beans, beets, and substituted sunflower seeds for the peanuts.
  • For some reason a meal like this feels more complete being served with or on a bed of greens or salad. But maybe it’s just me.

Friday: Sautéed Salmon with Citrus Salsa and Cilantro Quinoa with Nuts

  • If you don’t like cooking fish indoors because of the smell, grilling works just fine too.
  • Any herb and nut combo would work in the quinoa.

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