Wow, things have been feeling very crazy in my world lately! As I’ve mentioned, we were out of town and on vacation literally in and around the Gulf of Mexico for 10 days. We returned home to loads of laundry, house cleaning, lawn mowing (and watering), and an empty refrigerator. I had four days at home before I had to return to work today which seems like more than ample time to get everything done, but frankly, I am feeling like a hamster running and running his exercise wheel. Scurrying to get it all done and never quite getting there. We all returned home from our trip several pound heavier so we’ve all decided to “get serious” about eating better and exercising more. I am super motivated.
Just before I started this cooking and baking blog, I had lost a little over 20 pounds. Sure enough, I have gained nearly all that back. I am disappointed in myself, but truth be told… I’ve always struggled with my weight… forever… as long as I can remember. It’s a long story, but I’ll spare you the details.
Since our return from our trip, I am amazed by the drastic extent to which my entire family is willing to change up their eating habits. I caught my husband snacking on the carrot and celery sticks I chopped up on last Wednesday. The huge tub of salad I made last Wednesday was gone within a few day. We’ve eaten fish two times this week alone (we’ve probably eaten fish at home only one other time this year and it was breaded and fried). My son was finishing up tennis practice the other day and his coach offered him an ice cream treat from Dairy Queen, and my son said, “No, thanks!” The coach insisted and gave him two! A saboteur me thinks! My family enjoys the Ranch Burgers I make on our George Foreman Grill. I kid you not, we USED to polish off two pounds of grilled hamburgers in one meal (terrible)! This past week, we turned into two meals for the family (with fresh garden salads on the side). We’ve all been making a good effort to figure out the calorie count in some of the dishes we like. This past Sunday, I made “No Chop Chili” and we added up all the calories on all the can labels and I “Googled” the calories in a pound of ground beef. When the chili was done, I measured out how many cups the recipe made to figure out the calories per serving, and when my husband had a bowl for a snack, he measured his serving with a measuring cup. When my husband was making a sandwich, he asked me to help him figure out the serving size and I showed him the “tare” function on my digital kitchen scale. He plopped his slice of bread on the scale and added lite mayo until the scale read “15 grams”.
The other surprising change I’ve noticed in my family is that suddenly my husband and son are taking an interest planning meals and helping in the kitchen. In fact, don’t fall off of your chair, my 14 year old is taking the initiative to cook for himself. Yep, he now makes scrambled eggs for himself and is making baked potatoes in the microwave. He’s also making healthy sandwiches for himself. Now I should tell you, he is 14 years old and most kids that age probably are much more self-sufficient in the kitchen, but I’ve made a bad habit of doing far too much in the kitchen for my son. I blame it on the fact that he’s an only child after all… but I digress. Whatever the case may be, I am tickled pink that my son is FINALLY interested in cooking! Very cool, huh?! And one more thing… my son set the table for lunch the other day and I did not even ASK! I almost fell over.
For last night’s dinner, as I mentioned above, we had fish again. It’s the same Blacked Fish I mentioned HERE. This this time, we served it with Cilantro-Lime Basmati Rice and Salsa Fresca (pico de gallo or fresh salsa… whatever you want to call it, it was good!).
Again… bad blogger. No photo, dang it. And it was such a pretty dish. Like I said, my world has been crazy lately. I’ll work on the photo thing. Finally, here are some recipes:
Salsa Fresca (fresh salsa)
3 or 4 large Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
½ small yellow onion, finely diced (about ¼ cup)
½ to 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and membranes removed, finely diced (I used 1 entire pepper… hot!)
1 small clove of garlic, finely minced
Juice of 1 lime (if making the cilantro-lime lime rice, first remove the zest of the lime with a grater before cutting the lime in half for the juice)
About 2 tablespoons finely diced fresh cilantro, finely minced
Salt and black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cilantro-Lime Basmati Rice
1 cup basmati rice
1 ¾ cups water
Pinch of salt
1/3 to ½ of a bunch of fresh cilantro, finely minced
Zest of 1 lime
Bring water and salt to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add rice; stir. Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer on stovetop’s lowest setting, cover with a lid, and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff rice with a fork; add the lime zest and cilantro and stir to combine.
We served the Blacked Fish on a bed of Cilantro-Lime Basmati Rice and topped it all with the Salsa Fresca. Nice fresh flavors.
My husband asked me to make this meal again next week since he liked it so much!