As a SAHM, one of my most important jobs is preparing delicious, healthy, home cooked meals for my family on shoestring budget. As a girl who stess-eats and loves carbs, I also know that if you look hard enough, you can find a diet that justifies almost any food. Well, I have found THE exception.
On Saturday, we ate lunch out at a fast food place (Gasp!). This is a rare treat for us for lots of reasons. First, all three of us usually do not agree on where to go. Strangely enough, Alex loves McDonald's. It seems like kids are innately born with few instincts, but one of them seems to be a love of Happy Meals. Ironically, I just noticed a few weeks ago that McDonald's is a proud sponsor of Sesame Street. You bet they are.
Second, we try to avoid artificial preservatives, flavors and food colors in Alex's diet. I have also declared war on high fructose corn syrup. Yes, I know it is all natural, and I do live in the heartland of corn production. At the risk of offending corn farmers, many of whom are our good friends, I hate corn syrup. Our bodies are not made to metabolize it, and I blame corn syrup for my extra pounds around my waistline, the decline in our economy and poor test scores among elementary students in Sheboygan. OK, I actually only blame corn syrup for my five extra pounds.
Third, my husband is at high risk for cancer, and I have a 75% of dying of a heart attack, so I try to fix meals that are low in fat and high in fruits and vegetables. I have recently declared war on white flour too, so I am paying an arm and a leg for whole grain wheat bread with no added high fructose corn syrup or artificial anythings. The extra money I spend could be used to send a ton of white flour to hungry children in another country. Although I really like eating like this, my husband has come to accept it as his lot in life. He loves cheeseburgers and french fries, buffalo chicken wings and egg rolls. If it is fried, it is his favorite.
So on Saturday, we all agreed to eat at a Long John Silver's/A&W combo restaurant. Long John Silvers is one of my guilty pleasures, and Charlie loves his cheeseburgers. Alex was super happy to see a statue in the checkout line, so we had a winner! I tried to fight the temptation as I ordered, but I was weak. I asked for a side order of crispies. I sat down at the table and looked at my small order of crispies staring back at me, and I smiled in delight. I wondered how many calories could be in that small cardboard square. I thought about although they were fried, which is OK for Atkins, they were essentially fried flour, probably my nemesis - white flour! I have to say they were delicious, and I am really proud of myself for not eating the whole serving! I actually threw away almost a whole teaspoonful.
Today, I am back on the wagon again - taking my vitamins, drinking 64 ounces of water, and eating my 5-11 servings of fruits and vegetables. We have been trying to add some fall favorites to our menus this season, and here is a great soup recipe you might like too. It calls for cubed, peeled pie pumpkin, so the canned pumpkin will not due. I don't know if it is jut my knives, but I have the worst time cutting up pumpkin, so I usually take the top off, scoop out the seeds and then bake it in the oven at 350 for 30-40 minutes. This will let you cut, chop or puree it with ease. I found this recipe at a Kathy's Pumpkin Patch in eastern Iowa, and it is really good.
4 bacon strips, diced
1/4 c cup chopped onion
2 cups cubed peeled pie pumpkin
2 cups chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon curry powder
3/4 cup cubed cooked chicken
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/3 cup cooked small pasta shells
In a large saucepan, cook the bacon and onion over medium heat until the bacon is crisp; drain. Add the pumpkin, broth, tomatoes, and curry; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender (if using raw pumpkin). Stir in the chicken, corn, and pasta; heat through.