Feelin' Chalky

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Getting Stronger

I learned something about myself this week...I am strong even under pressure...and boy has life been weighing down on me lately!  I am not trying to give you a sob story.  I am merely hoping to ignite YOUR inner strong-man.

These past few weeks have beat me up pretty good.  We have been from Dr. to Dr., to ear tubes and adenoid removal, to RSV, to hospital stay, to no sleep, disturbed sleep, coughing, puking, breathing treatments, whining...SIGH...you name it...we've had it.  I am truly exhausted mentally and physically.  I think a year ago my comfort would have been found in food.  I would have tried to eat myself happy!  But at the present, I have to say I am pretty proud.

I have done a whole lot of praying and crying.  I have leaned heavily on the shoulders of friends and family.  I have facebooked myself 'til I was blue in the face. I have talked to my mom A LOT on the phone.  I have thanked God for my amazing husband.  But not once have I thrown my hands in the air and said, "Forget it!  Bring on the chocolate cake!"

I have to say that this is a big step in my journey.  This "test" shows me where my heart truly lies.  This time of assault on my sanity separates "going through the motions" from true lifestyle change.  Even though there have been many days lately where I have felt like my head was barely above water, I still took a stand and went out of my way to take care of ME (nutritionally speaking).

I have relied a lot on soups and big honkin' salads, but there hasn't been one run to a fast-food drive-thru...and not one late-night dessert run to Marsh.  That's big news for me.

Last week I stayed the same - no gain or loss - just maintained.  This week I lost 1.6 pounds AND I worked out with Jillian Michaels on the dusty treadmill!  Hooray!  That brings my total loss to 94.8 pounds - only 5.2 to 100!

I promised to include some fun and delicious snack-attack foods this week.  I have been experimenting with healthy alternatives to some favorite snack foods:

1. The elusive Cheeseball
2. Rice Crispy Treats

First and foremost - the cheeseball.  So what is wrong with a good cheeseball?  Well, it's just pretty much a big ball of cream cheese with some green onions and some weird stuff they call "chipped beef" (at least that's the kind my momma used to make) rolled around in pecans.  Not a whole lot of nutrition - but I have to admit...everyone likes a good ball o' cheese - even me!  So what is a dairy-free girl to do?

Well, first of all, you need some good friends who are in-the-know.  My friend, Morgan, from the Little House of Veggies site sure knows her stuff.  When I saw this recipe last week I knew I had to try it out.  Guaranteed to please any cheeseball lover (and don't you dare say, "ew!" until you try it!)...

Herbed Cashew Cheese

3 cups raw, unsalted cashews
1 3/4 cups water
6 capsules of probiotic power (you can use acidophilus or all-flora capsules)

Soak the cashews for at least 2 hours, and then rinse well (just put enough water over them to cover).  Place cashews in a blender with the 1 3/4 c. of water and probiotic powder.  Blend until VERY smooth.  Place the "cheese" into cheesecloth and set into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl.  Cover the top of the cheese with the cheesecloth too.  Place a weighted plate on top of the cheese and let sit overnight to drain excess water and also allow the cheese to ferment.  In the morning scoop the cheese into a bowl and add:

juice of 1 lemon
1 green onion, white and green parts, chopped
large handful parsley, chopped (I used freeze-dried b/c that is all I had)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T nutritional yeast flakes (Sunspot or Whole Foods in the bulk bins)
1/2 tsp sea salt
cracked black pepper

Mix everything together and place into refrigerator until ready.  I let mine sit for several hours so that the flavors could really meld.

Here is her original recipe - Herbed Cashew Cheese and some yummy ideas on how to use it!  I just spread it on some whole wheat crackers and had my moment of cheesy euphoria!

On to snack-tastic food #2.  Ahhh...the rice crispy treat...so good and yet so bad.  But I can fix that!!  Healthy crispy treats to the rescue!!!  This recipe is from one of my favorite books, "The Kind Diet," by Alicia Silverstone.

Crispy Peanut Butter Treats with Chocolate Chips

1 box Brown Rice Cereal (try Barbara's Organic Brown Rice Crisps)
1 3/4 cups Brown Rice Syrup (pretty much a whole jar - I use Lundberg)
3/4 cup peanut butter (natural w/ no added crud - the label should say: peanuts - I like Smuckers Natural)
1/2 cup non-dairy, grain-sweetened choc. chips (try Sunspire of Ghiradelli)

Pour brown rice cereal into a large bowl. Heat brown rice syrup on low heat until it liquifies and then stir in peanut butter. Continue to heat over low heat until well combined. Add to cereal and stir to coat. After cooled to room temperature add the choc chips. Place in an 8X8 pan and let cool completely before cutting into squares. :-) Enjoy!!

WARNING!!!  Both of these recipes are highly addictive and even though they are healthy...you still have to portion them out! I figured up the P+ on the PB treats and they are 8P+ for 1/12 of the recipe - which gives you a good slab (they are really thick pieces).

I had planned on sharing a great trail mix recipe, but like a space cadet I returned the cookbook to the library.  I will have to post that one next time!  Have a great and STRONG week!  You can do it!!

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