Changing my diet

I think when a lot of people use or hear the word “diet,” they think of a short-term calorie or food restriction plan to lose weight. In this case I’m talking about changing my diet -permanently- for health reasons. I’ve mentioned before that my parents were health “nuts,” before it was trendy. I grew up without sugar or salt in the household. If I remember right, I was 9 years old when I had my first chocolate bar (soooo rich that I had a stomach ache!). When I grew up and moved out of the house, I still had the knowledge that my parents had given me on how to cook and eat healthy, but because of a busy work schedule and the single life, I started to eat poorly.

When I got married and had my son, my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home. So for 2 years I spent a considerable amount of time in the kitchen, cooking healthy meals from scratch for my family. Then I went back to work, and the processed foods entered our lives again. It’s been a struggle the last few months. For the most part, we have still eaten healthy meals, but we’re not doing as well as I’d like. I’d say we’re eating about 60% healthy meals and 40% not (that would be processed foods, fast foods, etc.). Well, maybe it’s better than that…but I want it to be 80% healthy (at least) and 20% not, and I know we’re not at that point.

On top of that, my best friend was diagnosed with lupus and started an autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet, which is similar to Paleo, and that got me thinking. I don’t have an autoimmune illness, but I am genetically predisposed towards them. Environmental factors (like diet) along with genetic predisposition can trigger an autoimmune condition. Talking to my friend and reading articles online (albeit, many of them are anecdotal…so there’s that to consider), I’ve decided to avoid certain foods, specifically, refined sugar, corn, soy, and wheat. Instead, we will eat a mostly plant-based diet with lean meats. If I actually had an autoimmune condition, I would avoid legumes and nightshade plants, but since I don’t…I’m just starting with the foods I listed above. I’m also continuing to eat dairy products and eggs.

Healthy, healthy, healthy

One challenge I face is cooking vegetables in a way that both Hubby and Little J will actually want to eat! Below is a photo of curly kale boiled in half water/half chicken stock, chopped onions, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. I thought it was tasty, but they were not impressed. 🙁 Well, one day at a time.

And now I’m off to work on my shopping list!

Do you have any dietary restrictions, because of choice or necessity? What are your go-to healthy food choices? Or maybe some foods you try to avoid?

Note: The opinions reflected above are mine and may differ from yours. Before making dietary changes, please always consult your physician first!

 

Continue Reading

Review: New menu at Bonefish Grill #HelloNewMenu

I was sent a free gift card to eat at Bonefish Grill with Hubby and Little J this past Saturday. You may remember my previous review of Bonefish Grill at their Virginia Beach location. While living in Florida, I ate at Bonefish Grill a few times a year, and always enjoyed the food and my experience. That VA Beach location didn’t live up to my expectations, so I wasn’t sure what to expect this time around.

Today is our first day in our new home (woohoo!) in Maryland, but prior to that we were staying with friends a couple towns away. The Bonefish Grill location we reviewed is in the Waugh Chapel Towne Centre in Gambrills, MD.

Review of the new menu at Bonefish Grill- My Life: A Work in Progress

I’m just going to apologize right now for the photos. Part of the ambience at Bonefish Grill is dim lighting, which isn’t conducive to great photography…especially with my iPhone.

The new menu includes a Rib-Eye Steak, Bang Bang Shrimp Flatbread, Cold Snap Fresh Ceviche, Watermelon Salad, and more.

Review of the new menu at Bonefish Grill- My Life: A Work in Progress
Your meal always comes with fresh bread and pesto for dipping.

I always order the regular Bang Bang Shrimp as an appetizer and did so before I realized there’s now flatbread version! Oh well…next time.

 Review of the new menu at Bonefish Grill- My Life: A Work in Progress
Not one of the new menu items, but the Bang Bang Shrimp is a classic favorite!

Hubby was really considering the new Shrimp Pad Thai Bowl, but ended up ordering the new Ahi Tuna Steak instead. The steak was a wood-grilled yellowfin tuna. It included little bowls of all their signature sauce choices: the new Lime Tomato Garlic, Warm Mango Salsa, Herb Pesto, Pan Asian, and Lemon Butter. He chose the new Herbed Couscous as his side.

Review of the new menu at Bonefish Grill- My Life: A Work in Progress
Ahi tuna steak with herbed couscous and veggies on the side. The two sauces shown here are Lime Tomato Garlic and Lemon Butter.
Review of the new menu at Bonefish Grill- My Life: A Work in Progress
More sauces for the tuna steak- warm mango salsa, herb pesto, and Pan-Asian

I almost went with the new Lobster Grilled Cheese (how amazing does that sound?!), but instead ordered the Spicy Tuna Bowl. I’m a sucker for sushi. My bowl included sushi-grade, sesame-seared rare tuna; avocado; sweet chile sauce; jasmine rice; and passion fruit salsa.

Review of the new menu at Bonefish Grill- My Life: A Work in Progress
Spicy tuna bowl

For Little J, we ordered his fail-safe restaurant dish: chicken tenders and french fries. Bonefish has a great multi-page menu with coloring pages for kids to draw on, as well as crayons to do so. Also, the table cloth is made of paper, so Little J loves to go to town drawing all over it.

When we eat out, we usually skip dessert, but this time we couldn’t resist the new S’mores Flatbread- creamy chocolate, toasted marshmallows, with sliced almonds, and sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs. Looks delish, doesn’t it?

Review of the new menu at Bonefish Grill- My Life: A Work in Progress
S’mores flatbread

Thoughts on the new menu:

I was much more impressed this time around. I really enjoyed my Spicy Tuna Bowl. Between the sweet chili sauce and passion fruit salsa, it had a lot of flavor. Hubby loved his Ahi Tuna Steak, and so did I (obviously, I had to test his out too, right?). The tuna steak is worth going back for, in my opinion! Hubby liked his tuna steak dipped in the Pan Asian sauce, but I preferred the Herb Pesto. I’ve already mentioned the other new menu items that we were considering, and I would definitely like to try those down the road (date night, maybe). The S’mores Flatbread was delicious and a big enough serving to share. All in all…my faith in Bonefish Grill has been restored.

To see the full new Bonefish Grill menu, as well as locations visit their website at www.bonefishgrill.com. And don’t worry; if you’re not a seafood fan, there are beef, chicken, and all-veggie options.

Have you eaten at Bonefish Grill? What dish would you like to try off the new menu?

Note: I received a free gift card to visit Bonefish Grill and try out their new menu. I was not otherwise compensated for this post.

Opinions Expressed Pink Button

Continue Reading

Real cooking with Nicole Elizabeth at The Fresh Kitchen

I know I’ve talked about The Fresh Kitchen before, but I wanted to share again. My friend Nicole has really helped me grow as a home cook. I strongly believe in not only her cooking talents but her ability to help others, specifically moms like me. She really has taken the intimidation out of cooking for me. At one point in my life, I would never have cooked dishes that sound scary to me, like ratatouille or polenta. Turns out, a lot of things are easier to cook than I thought. And if they aren’t, Nicole talks me through them. If you have a cooking question, you can always ask on The Fresh Kitchen Facebook page!

Recently Nicole asked me and some other friends to come over for a dinner she’d prepared. I thought I’d share with you some photos of what she made. Some of the recipes are hers; others are inspired by Chef Yotam Ottolenghi, and Nicole has added her own take on the dish. If you’d like to know more about Nicole as well as view some of her recipes, check out her website www.thefreshkitchen.com.

Homemade pita and hummus
Salad made with baby spinach, pickled red onions, pickled medjool dates, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and toasted pita croutons made with butter, olive oil, sumac, Aleppo chile flakes, and kosher salt
Israeli couscous cooked in some of the chicken/apricot/tamarind braising liquid
Chicken thighs braised in apricots and tamarind
Roasted peaches over lemon pound cake with ginger ice cream and browned butter shortbread crumbs
What do you think? Which dish would you like to try?

Compensated Pink Opinions Expressed Pink Button

Continue Reading