How Goes the Mediterranean Diet?

As far as my Mediterranean diet goes, I think I have been eating pretty healthy lately. I’ve been trying to only have red meat once every other week, and a piece of fish once a week. My weekly fish has been salmon for the past couple months, but I needed a change. Today, I went for haddock.

Image

I cooked the fish with some lemon juice, a little bit of basil, and a light dusting of bread crumbs. I was pretty hungry, so I made this a quick meal with frozen carrots and 90 second jasmine rice. As you can tell, I love my carrots. It might be because my husband doesn’t like orange vegetables, so when I do make carrots I have a lot of them. Combining this Mediterranean diet and preparing for pregnancy, I have been careful with what I eat. Some people say to avoid fish altogether when there is a chance of pregnancy, but my gynecologist said that fish that are low in mercury but high in omega-3 fatty acids are good for baby development. When choosing fish, here are two sources that I have found helpful:

http://fn.cfs.purdue.edu/fish4health/Walletcard/walletcard.html

Image

http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/walletcard.pdf

Image

For breakfast, I will usually have a whole grain English muffin with my cup of tea and some berries. I also usually have an apple or banana, either as a snack between meals, or with my lunch. When planning lunch, I make egg salad or chicken salad, although this week I’m going to try a mix of cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, carved turkey, hummus, whole grain bread, and my much loved dried cranberries along with anything else I happen to scrounge up. I also bought some Swiss cheese at the store. I cannot digest dairy usually, but I have found that ONE slice of Swiss cheese is fine, although not all brands. When planning dinners, I often use chicken or turkey. I replace ground beef with ground turkey. I also like chicken sausages. A great source of protein that I like is beans; chickpeas, pinto, or cannellini being my preferences. They are good mixed in pasta, soups, or on a wheat wrap with tomato and other vegetables. On the nights I go for the fish or beans, I am usually on my own though because my husband is not a fan. But those nights are also the ones when I can eat the vegetables and other things that I love that he does not care for, and he can do something that I won’t go for like mac and cheese or a bacon cheeseburger.

Overall, I think I am doing well with this diet. I just have to remind myself to take my vitamins and drink my soy milk for calcium. Once again, as in a previous post, I am not doing this to lose weight because I do not need to, which is why I am not that strict about desserts. I started it to see if it helps with my ET, but over time I have found that it also makes me feel really good. I don’t feel as sluggish after meals, I feel more energized, and I just feel better inside. There are many benefits to this diet. It’s just plain healthy.

Here are some others with good things to say about the Mediterranean diet:

What are the benefits of the Mediterranean diet? http://ellelloydmiller.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/what-are-the-benefits-of-the-mediterranean-diet/

Vegetables Against Particulate http://blogvivorganic.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/vegetables-against-particulate/

Medi…What? http://fortheloveofoliveoil.wordpress.com/2013/11/24/mediwhat/

The Mediterranean Lifestyle http://whatthedoost.com/2013/12/11/the-mediterranean-lifestyle/

Dusty’s Snow Day

We have a lot of snow already, and it is still coming down. I hope we don’t get too much more, because my husband and I are done shoveling for the day. Dusty loved the snow so much that he did not want to go back inside. When he started looking really cold we made him go inside even though he sat inside whining because he wants to go back out.

Image

He likes sticking his head in the snow.

Image

Image

Happy Shoveling!

Mediterranean Chicken and Orzo

Image

 

I tried a new recipe tonight for dinner. This Mediterranean Chicken and Orzo recipe is from my Betty Crocker cook book. My husband and I both had seconds. I did not have rosemary (I thought I did when I was at the store, but it turns out I actually have two thyme), so I used a little thyme instead.

1 lb chicken breast tenders (not breaded)

1 can (14 oz) chicken broth

1 1/3 cups uncooked orzo

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into fourths, then crosswise into slices

3 roma tomatoes, cut into fourths and sliced

1 medium bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Spray 10-inch skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in skillet about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown.

2. Stir in broth, pasta, and garlic. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 8 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

3. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered about 5 minutes, stirring once, until bell pepper is crisp-tender and pasta is tender.

My Morning Picnic

My Morning Picnic

One of my biggest obstacles lately, because of my essential tremors, is having my morning tea. Since stopping my medication, I have been having trouble just carrying a mug of tea across the room without spilling it. I have already spilled a cup of tea on our nice rug once. On the weekends, my husband will carry my mug from the kitchen counter to the coffee table in the living room for me. He does it without me asking. During the week, though, he is long gone to work by the time I get up for work. I used to just stand at the kitchen counter drinking my tea, but I’ve found another way that works much better. I bring my empty mug with the tea bag in it to the coffee table first. Then I heat up my kettle and bring the whole kettle to the coffee table and pour the water there. Now I don’t have to carry the full mug across the room and worry about spilling it. Also I can keep refilling my mug right there. It is like I am having my own picnic at the coffee table.
I am glad I have found a solution because carrying a mug with hot liquid across a room makes me nervous about spilling it. In turn, being nervous makes my tremors worse. I’m lucky to have such an understanding husband who tries to help me without me even having to ask. Besides carrying my drinks, sometimes he cuts my meat for me or helps me when I’m cooking and I need two hands to lift a pot up, but a third to scoop the contents out.
Recently, we went to Boston. When walking around Quincy Market, I needed two hands to hold my beverage leaving me with none to carry my food. My poor husband usually has to juggle two plates knowing I can only carry one thing at a time. Also, that apple pie I had posted almost didn’t happen. After peeling the apples, my hands were shakier than usual because of the strain on them, so I was having trouble cutting them. I dropped half an apple on the floor (my dog wouldn’t eat it), then I cut my finger. I was frustrated and almost gave up on the pie right then. My husband stepped in and helped cut the last few apples for me.
I know Thanksgiving was a while ago, but this year the thing I am most grateful for is having an understanding husband. He always tries to help me out when I’m having trouble doing something, and he tells me not to be ashamed to ask for help. Sometimes, I am stubborn though because just being able to carry a mug across a room is such a little thing most people take for granted, and I want to be able to do it on my own. For now, I will just have a picnic.

Loki’s Scary Night

Yesterday was a little scary. It was just past nine at night. I was on the couch knitting, and my husband was in bed. I heard a noise coming from one of the spare bedrooms. My first thought was that our more mischievous cat, Loki, was scratching furniture or one of the cardboard boxes that we have yet to unpack. I ran in there to see what he was up to, and I found him in a state. He was lying on his side, his mouth was foaming, and his legs were flailing. He looked really scared. I picked him up and ran to the bedroom to wake my husband. I didn’t know what to do. His legs had stopped moving, but he was still not reacting to me and drool was coming from his mouth. We laid him down on a blanket on the couch. He seemed really dazed and was having trouble focusing on us. We called the vet, and she agreed to meet us at the clinic. We found out that he had a seizure. He snapped out of his daze, but he still seemed scared and confused. The vet examined him and ran some blood work. From the blood work, she determined that the seizure was not caused by liver or kidney failure. She said that some Maine coon cat mixes get seizures for no known cause. There isn’t much to do about it right now except wait and see if he gets another one. If they become frequent, then there may be things we could do for him, but we have no way of knowing if he will even get another seizure.

While she was examining Loki, she also found that he has a heart murmur. She asked if he has a lack of energy. We had to laugh at that though because he runs around like a nut. He is only around four years old, so we just have to keep an eye on him and watch for any changes in his energy. We had asked if the seizures and the heart murmur are related, and she said no. Our poor cat.

Image

 

Loki is back to his normal self now, but it is hard when you see your furry friend hurting and there is nothing you can do except pet him and love him. It’s difficult seeing how scared and confused he is because he doesn’t know what is wrong with him or why he is doing that. All I can do is try to spend more time with him and all of our furry friends who are part of our family. Mommy and Daddy love you Loki, Ares and Dusty!

Starting December Off Right!

I woke up to a thin covering of snow, the perfect start to a festive December. My Christmas cactus also seems to be aware of the month, because I have my first bud. I can’t wait to see it when it opens.

Image

 

My mom gave it to me a month or two ago. Knowing nothing about cacti, I have been afraid of over or under watering it, but I must be doing something right seeing it has a single pink bud.

With Christmas coming, I have been craving cookies lately. I am currently making some Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip. Yum!

Image

I should probably stop eating batter and start making myself some real dinner now. Here is the recipe from Betty Crocker for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies where I added a cup of chocolate chips:

I made almost 4 dozen.

2/3 c sugar

2/3 c packed brown sugar

1/2 c margarine, softened

1/2 c shortening

1 t baking soda

1 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1 t vanilla

2 large eggs

1 c flour

1 c raisins

1 c chocolate chips

3 c oats

1. Heat oven to 375*F

2. In large bowl, beat all ingredients except flour, raisins, choc chips, and oats with mixer. Stir in flour, raisins, choc chips, and oats.

3. On ungreased sheet, drop dough by tablespoonfuls.

4. Bake 8 minutes or until light brown.