Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summertime and Super Easy Enchiladas

Summer has finally arrived here in the Spokane/North Idaho area.  That makes this girl very happy. In fact, yesterday we reached a comfortable 92 degrees.  I am being just a bit sarcastic when I say "comfortable" because, for someone who so badly wanted summer, I seriously wimped out with the temperature.

Since I wanted to be in the air conditioned house late afternoon, I decided to make a pan of these super Easy Enchiladas.  It is entirely possible to combine simple with healthy anti-inflammatory eating.  I will show you how.  The recipe follows at the end of this post.

Layer each tortilla with re-fried beans, sour cream, cooked ground beef, and olives.  I use whole grain tortillas for myself to decrease my intake of inflammatory foods. Also, the spices that are in the hamburger all calm inflammation.

If you do more than one at a time the work will be faster :) 

Roll up the filled tortillas and place in a 9X13 baking dish.

Pour enchilada sauce over all of the filled tortillas.  As you can see we like a lot of sauce.  Use less if you prefer. 

Sprinkle shredded Mexican Style Cheese over the sauce.

Place your olives on top (Olives are a great source of Omega 3 fats).

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and ta da!!  Easy Enchiladas :) 

Easy Enchiladas

1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2-2  10 ounce cans of mild enchilada sauce
6  ounce can of large pitted olives, sliced
9  7-inch tortillas 
Non-fat sour cream
Re-fried beans

Place ground beef in a frying pan and brown. When done, add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and salt with about 1/4 cup of hot water.  Stir and let simmer for a few minutes until the water evaporates.  Add about half of the olives to the ground beef mixture.

Layer each tortilla with a large spoonful of beans, sour cream, and ground beef.  

Roll up each filled tortilla and place in a 9X13 baking dish. 

Pour enchilada sauce over the enchiladas.  

Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the sauce.

Sprinkle the remaining olives on top of the cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until done.  

Enjoy :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Time of Self-Reflection

It has been a while since I have written a post.  In fact, I have had so much going on within my body and mind that I just don't know where or how to begin.  So, I guess I will start from the top!

I had a flare.  I was miserable and in quite a bit of pain for a couple of weeks.  While in my flare, I engaged in self-reflection. This is what I learned:

I get hurt easily and working out with others at a gym is not an option for me.  I try to keep up with the pace of those in the class and I always, always, always end up in physical therapy and stop exercising. Because of my disease it takes me a very long time to heal.

Yoga works for me.  I have given myself permission to slow down and care for my body gently.  6 days ago I began doing a 30 minute yoga video every single morning.  It's hard.  There is nothing easy about it, but, it gently stretches and strengthens my body.  I already feel a positive difference in this short amount of time.

Weights aren't so bad.  I am also using free weights to work on my biceps, triceps, chest and back.

Crunches, well I still don't like those, but I am doing them every morning.

Cycling is the aerobic exercise for me.  It's fun, gentle, and social.

Walking is also gentle.  Having a small dog who enjoys going for walks keeps me inspired.

From time to time, especially when my joints are visibly swollen and I'm hurting, fatigued and feel sick all over, I question my decisions.  It is in those painful times that my disease becomes very real to me.  I question my choice to trust nutrition rather than pharmaceuticals.  In this recent time of reflection I have realized that for now I am doing the right thing and will trust my decision to heal my body with nutrition. Flares happen even when taking meds, so I won't base my decision on my recent flare.  If there ever comes a time when nutrition alone doesn't help me, I will definitely add a medication to prevent the crippling effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis.  But, for now I'm at peace with where I am on my journey.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Eating to calm inflammation is easy and delicious!

Last week when North Idaho was blessed with a beautiful taste of sunshine, my husband and I headed out to work in the yard.  Working in our yard really isn't work at all to us because we LOVE being outside making our space beautiful.  Since we were busy in the yard all day I wasn't about to go into the kitchen and cook. Instead, I got creative with my produce and grill.

First I sliced up a fresh pineapple......

Seeing how beautiful and delicious that looked, added sliced mango, sweet peppers, and onion.....

Then, I grilled the fruit and veggies until there were grill marks on each side....

Cut up the grilled goodies along with some rotisserie chicken and placed them on a bed of lettuce and spinach.....

Top this with Honey Lime Dressing and it is perfection!  Eating to calm inflammation doesn't need to be intimidating or complicated.  This meal is a great example of that.  So, dig in and enjoy :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Happy Hour at home with Parmesan Chicken Bites

I enjoy dining out.  In fact, it is one of my all time favorite things to do.  The problem is that I'm not always good about my food choices at restaurants.  Quite often, the next day my joints are swollen and I am miserable.  Now, I cannot see myself ever giving up my love of restaurants, but I also enjoy cooking and have gotten to the point where I really appreciate a good meal at home in a comfy pair of yoga pants, with no regrets of making bad food choices.

Here is a confession.....we love happy hour!  There is a relaxed atmosphere generally and we also enjoy the reduced food prices on the menu. Let's be honest, the choices are usually not great for fighting inflammation and in fact, typically cause inflammation. So....we have mostly given up on happy hour.  I say 'mostly' because we have a favorite place that actually offers healthy choices, such as a hummus platter and satay's.

Even though we do not go out much for happy hour anymore, I love this great recipe that makes happy hour at home (once again in yoga pants) a fun relaxing time to unwind and visit with my husband.  Parmesan Chicken Bites are made out of real chicken breast meat and I choose to use the whole wheat bread crumbs instead of white.  They are baked in the oven to eliminate the deep fried greasy finish.  You can also make it a meal by putting them over pasta and topping with the marinara sauce, with a Caesar Salad on the side.  Give them a try and let me know what you think :)

Parmesan Chicken Bites

2 chicken breasts (cut into bite-sized pieces)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of  Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium bowl whisk together the egg and mustard.  Add the chicken pieces.  Stir to coat thoroughly and then place the chicken on a rack to drain.

In a large zip-lock bag, add the remaining dry ingredients.  Seal the bag and shake to mix.  Then open the bag and add the chicken pieces.  Seal the bag again and shake until chicken pieces are coated.

Place coated chicken pieces on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Delicious and Healthy Snacking with Hummus!

Don't you just love to snack?  I know we sure do.  Thankfully my husband is on board with healthy anti-inflammatory eating (well....most of the time).  After church today he was ready to turn on some football and start snacking.  I looked around for something quick, delicious and easy to whip up.

If you are like me and want to be careful with the food you eat, then this is a great idea for you.  Hummus! Yep....I said hummus.  It's not the old school plain hummus that I am talking about, it is sun dried tomato super flavorful hummus.  I'm  not into blah and boring eating.  It has got to be awesome!

Mild mini peppers are wonderful dipped into hummus. Since I wash and cut up my fresh veggies each week after grocery shopping, they were already prepared and waiting in the fridge.  My husband also likes to use multi-grain tortilla chips for dipping.  I have posted this recipe before, but, made with yogurt instead of Tahini Paste.  Both are quite tasty. Enjoy :)

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus with Tahini

1 15.5 oz can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
6 tablespoons lemon juice 
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, diced
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Tahini Paste
Salt/pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  If it seems too thick add more olive oil a teaspoon at a time.