The Diagnosis

Flowers from Mom_2

On Monday, July 3rd, the day before my 8th wedding anniversary, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The devastating blow left me speechless. I didn’t have my husband beside me, nor did I ask friends or family to join me at the doctor’s office on this fateful day. Although my gut feeling was right, I didn’t think I needed anyone by my side until minutes later when the flood gates opened. I cried walking out of the hospital doors, I cried sitting in the car calling my mother, husband and friends. I cried the entire car ride home. And finally, I cried as I fell into my husband’s arms when I arrived at home.

There’s nothing that can prepare a person for the start of this journey. But the love and support I have seen over the last several weeks has been astounding. It’s truly amazing to see and feel how many people love you and want to help you.

Advertisements

Terrific Turkey Chili

I finished week two of the Whole Life Challenge. It hasn’t been very easy. I took a few hits on my nutritition score at the end of week one because I caught a cold, and two I was so hungry. It’s difficult to remember when you eat really clean, your body needs more calories. All those healthy salads I was eating didn’t provide enough carbs.

I started baking muffins using oat flour to replace wheat or white flour to give my body some carbohydrates. However, I am unable to use honey, maple syrup, agave or any other natural sweetner (stevia is allowed). That’s where I took a hit. I deduct one point for using honey when I bake. It was worth it. I’ll share my muffin recipe in another blog post.

Last night for dinner I made turkey chili, one of my favorites. I added a twist to the chili, and for those who know me, adding a twist is unusual because I am not the best chef, but I love healthy food so I gave it shot. I added roasted eggplant to my chili.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 ½ lbs ground turkey
  • 1 t coriander
  • 1 t oregano
  • 2 small cans of tomato paste (organic)
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can crushed tomatoes (organic)
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can kidney beans
  • 1 fresh jalapeno
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 purple onion, finely chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, (finely chopped)
  • ½ c fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium eggplant

Heat one tablespoon of oil in large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble ground turkey into pot while adding coriander, oregano and tomato paste. Mix until thoroughly blended and turkey is browned.

Pour in broth and simmer to reduce liquid slightly, about 5 minutes. Add jalapeno, kidney beans and tomatoes and continue cooking at a moderate simmer for ten minutes.

While chili is cooking, preheat broiler on the lowest setting, then heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic and orange bell pepper, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent and bell pepper is lightly browned. Add onion, garlic and bell pepper to the chili and continue cooking at a very low simmer.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining oil and cook mushrooms. While mushrooms are cooking, peel (optional) eggplant and slice into 1/4 in. slices. Lay slices of eggplant on a cookie sheet, brush on olive oil and salt and pepper. Put pan under the broiler for 10 minutes on each side. Each side should be slightly browned.

Eggplant for chili

Sometimes the peel is too tough so I cut off small sections all the way around, that way I am still getting the nutrients of the skin, but I don’t have to eat all of it.

Add the mushrooms to the chili and cook another five minutes. I put three to four slices of eggplant in the bottom of my bowl. Add turkey chili on top and one more slice of eggplant on top of the chili. If you aren’t doing the Whole Life Challenge, you may want to garnish with cheese or sour cream.

I enjoyed my chili with a glass of lemonade. I squeezed one lemon in a glass, then filled it with water. I added 1 teaspoon of stevia to sweeten it. It makes a great replacement for water, which I drink a lot of every day.

Turkey Chili with homemade lemonade

If you have a picky stomach, leave out the jalapeno and kidney beans.

Today’s Haiku:

turkey chili
simmering over a hot stove
grumbling stomach

For more recipes, visit my Just Eat It page! Have a great weekend!

~Nicole

 

 

 

 

Breakfast Delight!

Hello Friends!

I survived day one of the Whole Life Challenge, and day two is shaping up nicely as well. Yesterday, I completed a workout, stretching session, stayed hydrated, wrote in my journal and managed to eat very well.

Day One Whole Life Challenge

Here is my before picture. In two months, we will see what changes occur both outside and inside.

For those interested in a tasty, but healthy breakfast, I have a recipe for you. I made Yellow Squash pancakes courtesty of the blog, Baker by Nature. Before you turn up your nose, I am here to say they turned out quite well. I too was skeptical as I mixed all the ingredients together. I had to substitute a few things because of all my restrictions, you’ll find those in italics.

Healthy Greek Yogurt Zucchini Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (Oat Flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt (unsweetened plain)
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (Stevia-here’s the conversion chart)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional, but if you don’t add it sub in an extra tablespoon of brown sugar) (I had to omit honey, so I added a bit more stevia)
  • 1 cup coarsely shredded zucchini (yellow squash because I had it on hand)
  • Butter, for the pan (I typically use 2-3 tablespoons for one batch of pancakes)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolks, Greek yogurt, vanilla, brown sugar, and honey.
  3. Add flour mixture to the wet mixture, and stir just to combined; do not over mix! The batter will be thick, so don’t worry if there are a lot of clumps left.
  4. Add egg whites to a large bowl or the body of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks begin to form.
  5. With a rubber spatula fold egg whites into flour/yogurt mixture, stirring until fully incorporated. Stir in zucchini, mix until just incorporated. Always be sure to watch your mixing, as over-mixed batter = rubbery, tough results.
  6. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  7. Ladle 1/3 cup scoops of the batter into the skillet, only cooking a few at a time so they don’t blend together.
  8. Cook pancakes until the edges begin to brown and the top of the batter bubbles, then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Repeat for all pancake batter.
  9. Top pancakes with honey, syrup, berries, or anything else your little heart desires! Serve at once.

 

Squash pancakes

Yellow squash pancake with a drizzle of butter and a few blackberries on top. Yummy!

 

 Today’s Haiku:

a breakfast delight
moist squash pancakes and berries
to please my palate

Whole Life Challenge

Hello Friends!

January 16th marks the first day of the Whole Life Challenge. It’s eight weeks of nutrition, exercise, mobility, sleep, hydration, lifestyle practices and reflection. I’ll be joining several other people from Studio 223 in this lifestyle overhaul. I have been teaching fitness classes at Studio 223 for the last nine months, and I enjoy the energetic like-minded people that surround me.

I’ll be doing my best to eat only whole foods on my approved eating list, exercising and stretching for at least 10 minutes each day, drinking one gallon of water per day and cheering on my fellow fitness friends. Here’s the compliant food list.

Healthy Smoothie

 Today’s Haiku:

delicious berries
blended with watermelon
fresh start to the day

Wish me luck and feel free to ask questions as I complete this journey!

~Nicole