Thursday, February 27, 2014

It's National Chili Day - My Favorite Recipe

I have always loved chili, especially during the colder months. In honor of National Chili Day, here is my favorite recipe, developed over time with inspiration from my Pop, mama and husband (he introduced me to Rotel). I have been using venison steak only for the past few years, as I just think it makes it more rustic and more Kentucky!

Brown cubed venison or beef (venison will not need to be drained of fat)
Add a cup of chopped onion during browning
1 can of Rotel tomatoes with chiles (original)
1 15 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
1 regular can of tomato sauce (I fill can with water and add to chile - I like a thinner consistency)
2 can dark red kidney beans
Season with your favorite chili powder mix (I like McCormick's)
Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, then reduce to low for another 10.

My family insists on me adding spaghetti noodles. I will add about one serving size, al dente, just a few minutes before serving, sometimes. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. A dollop of sour cream if you wish.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Time for a Wake-up Call

Thank goodness for time to reflect. Last week I was feeling pretty lousy. Worthless, actually.

My daughter needed a few immunizations to be up to date with school. While at the doctor, they performed the various battery of tests for her 11-year checkup. I was thrilled that her weight was well within the “normal” range for her height, despite her genetic obstacles from both sides.

However, we were told she had glucose in her urine, which prompted a blood sugar test. It was higher than it should be. I was told that since this was not a fasting test, that we should not be too alarmed, but something to be careful about. A myriad of excuses went through my head: they fed her a bad lunch at school, she wasn't drinking enough water, and maybe she is just intolerant of refined carbs. Of course not one of these was based on any medical expertise, but I just could not muster that it was anything I had any control over.

The doctor then said that if any of the other tests were concerning, they would call and let us know.

I got a call the next day. Her cholesterol level was just a few points shy of being “high.”

My heart sank. I felt like a worthless parent. It had to be me. I got lax. I slowly started to let too much fast, fatty, highly-processed food back into our diet because we are just too busy. I wasn't encouraging play time and exercise as much as I should, because I was not making time for myself. I was doing exactly what I write about not doing. What a fraud I had become.

Now I guess anyone can see why this blog has taken a back seat for the last year. My heart just was not in it. I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching. And it shows. I worked very hard to lose 35 pounds by just eating better and exercising more over the course of 18 months. Fifteen of those pounds have crept back on the past 12 to 18 months. And I am weak. I could easily do 25 push-ups (real ones) and run three miles. I can no longer get through my favorite Jillian Michaels video taking periodic breaks. She would be screaming in my face.

But this is not about me. Who cares if there was no way in Hades I was going to take a bathing suit to my trip to South Africa earlier this year. This is about my children. They are so important to me. To feel I have contributed to their bad health make me feel as if I am the worst mother in the world.

While I really wanted to crawl in a hole, I have instead pulled on the muck boots to make a plan. Or, I guess, revisit the old plan (Reinventing Our Plate) . There was absolutely nothing wrong with what we were doing before. I just let too many other not-as-important things move their way to the top of the list.

So here’s to a rebirth and unfailing commitment. My daughter seems to be all for it. She’s not fighting the healthier dinners, and we have a plan for one cheat meal a week, as long as we keep portions under control. The little one is happy no matter what food I put in front of him.

Last night we had turkey burgers sans bun, baked sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli. I will need to be creative tonight, as we have Karate practice (something new for son, but daughter said she also enjoyed the trial class), a small window for dinner, followed by a 4-H meeting. But I’m up for the challenge, again. 
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