MJR Update 01.13.17: Food!

What do you think of when you think of the word food? What phrase do you think of? I almost always think of the song and sing, Food, Glorious Food… I just can’t help it and it makes me smile!

While I gave up sugar for MJR, I find great joy in sharing it with others. My girl and her bestie enjoyed my mother-in-law’s famous cut-out cookies with a cup of delectable hot chocolate; I got to smell, not taste.

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A few days into the sugar-free adventure, I did not find great joy. While karate-chopping the burnt edges off my food in anger, I figured the episode was induced by sugar withdrawal. My poor husband stood there, quietly watching me from a distance. I suspect he contemplated making a run for it, but it was only a pizza cutter: the risk was minimal. Not pretty. Not pretty at all. I’m better now, thanks for asking!

With all the drama and trauma of the last few months, I neglected to cook the spaghetti squash I got last fall from our neighbor’s garden. There it sat, lonely on the shelf, above our stove. I wasn’t sure it was still good. It required my hubby’s assistance to cut it open. Once it was open, I drizzled it with olive oil, added sea salt and pepper and roasted it. After it came out of the oven, I prepared it and added some fresh asiago cheese. Yum!

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Spaghetti Squash

I’m the only one eating the spaghetti squash, and I am surprised how much “spaghetti” is in one little squash. This single item has slowed down my MJR Hit List substantially. I’m grateful it tastes good and it is good for you with some surprising healthy bonuses.

Spaghetti squash: a fascinating veggie

For Christmas, I received an electric pressure cooker. Now I have more to learn and yet another way to play with food. The second meal I cooked in it was a cauliflower, broccoli, and carrot soup with turkey kielbasa. The cauliflower and broccoli were inherited from Christmas. We don’t know whose they were, but my mother-in-law had no use for them.

Into the pressure cooker.

After 8 minutes, it’s done!

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Cooked. Not yet pureed.

I took out the meat, pureed the soup, then sliced the kielbasa and put it back in. We ladled it up and topped it with asiago cheese, of course! Are you catching the fact that I have a stockpile of asiago cheese? That is one item I don’t mind having too much of!

We have a bounty of after-Christmas treats and my dear mother-in-law has gotten the knack for making some of her special treats gluten-free. Seriously, the popcorn balls are awesome!

Delicious gluten-free popcorn ball

What was I thinking: I come home with goodies, and then promptly give up sugar, for a month! Of the three popcorn balls, one was eaten New Year’s Eve, one was given to a GF friend, and the other waits patiently for February’s arrival. It has to be the popcorn ball waiting patiently, because it isn’t me!

Honestly, it has been going well with eating sugar-free, except for my one temper-tantrum. I’ve had some dried fruit once—the same dried fruit that I wouldn’t touch all of December. Now, it tastes like candy. After having a small amount, I decided to work on eating up the not-so-fresh fruit instead. By the way, if you ever think of trying apple slices with hummus, don’t! Seriously, don’t do it. Blah!

I had a little honey a couple of times, but again, I am trying to avoid replacing one sweet with another. My decision to give up sugar this month, was about giving up my preference. Seriously, why would I eat a perfectly good, yet slightly shriveled apple or orange, or a severely shriveled grapefruit, if given the option to eat cookies and popcorn balls!? I know me: I wouldn’t.

The apples are almost gone and I have one sorry grapefruit left. Going, going, gone soon, I hope.

Last confession for the sugar-free portion of my post, I intensely wanted, to try to make steel cut oats in my new pressure cooker. I could use up my aging apples, I reasoned. But, I needed coconut milk, and my conscience wouldn’t allow that purchase. That’s one more thing to look forward to in February. Once I can shop, I’ll locate GF steel cut oats, buy some coconut milk, fresh apples, and play with my pressure cooker. It says it will cook them in three minutes! Three! They usually take 45. For now, I’ll stick to eggs or nuts for breakfast.

I am in love with my gorgeous organic eggs. But, after they are gone, I will eat the two dozen store-bought ones that have been sitting in the fridge for a bit. I use the cheap ones for baking or hard-boiled.

Pretty to look at, better to eat!

I used some fresh Wisconsin cheese curds and some leftover yellow bell pepper for this meal. Looking back, I should have saved the peppers for the hummus.

One wonderful way of using up veggies, meat, and cheese, and pickles is to make chop salads. I made two; one for my girl and one for me.

Start with fresh mixed greens and red onion. Buying fresh is acceptable for MJR as long as I have used up what I already have and don’t have a reasonable substitution.

I chopped dill pickles, pickled peppers, pickled jalapeno peppers (yes, we have a lot of pickled stuff stashed in the fridge), and black olives. I chopped and used the leftover summer sausage and cheese slices that had been cut up for New Year’s day.

For the girl, salami, shredded cheddar, dried cranberries, and croutons. Chopping the salads allows you to get many flavors in one bite. We are a fan and it is a good way to use up extras.

Do you have any New Year traditions? Are you resting from something this January? I wish you well and hope you find ways to have fun with your food and use up what you have while you are doing it.

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Angel I’m hanging on in there with trying to rest in bed a little longer: made it until 6.30 am today. Must get some breakfast now after seeing all that lovely food! Back soon with more news of the changes (rests) I’m trying to make in my life. Sincere thanks for your motivational posts.

  2. I’m right there with you. Doing a 21-day sugar detox. I did one before Thanksgiving too. I love my salads and ran out of all the spaghetti squash that my cousin gifted me from his garden. (I should have picked more!) And yes! Nourishing soup in the InstantPot! I have lots of yummy results from it.

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