Organized Mom on March 25th, 2010

About this time last week, I was sitting in my friend Theresa’s kitchen, drinking wine, talking, laughing, eating and learning. Wait, what? Yes, learning. And I liked it. Before you ask yourself what kind of freak I am, wait a minute. I’ll explain.

prawns quinoa and moreI love food. Always have. But as an adult, I really learned how to mix flavors and play with recipes to get what I want out of them. I love that. Sometimes, though, even when we’re comfortable with preparing food and managing our kitchens, we need help. Or inspiration. Have you ever gotten stuck in a rut? I have. It’s so easy to do. And last week I got a kick in the pants — something I desperately needed.

It’s easy to be lazy. Rely on processed, packaged foods. Buy what’s cheap. Convenient. After a long day of work & kid wrangling, I don’t feel like cooking. And don’t forget the cleanup afterwards. Ugh. I don’t have the energy. And that’s part of the problem. What I’ve been eating makes things worse. Low energy, lethargy. Weight gain. Oh, and don’t forget increased risk of diabetes! FUN! (Yeah, not really.)

curried lentil stewWhat’s a girl to do? Lots of things, according to Chef Julie Frans of Dining Details here in San Diego. The biggest thing, which we all know we should do, but don’t, is watch what we eat. Use fresh ingredients. Avoid processed foods. Cut back on your sugar and caffeine (and stay away from those sugar substitutes). Use organic food when you can, especially when it’s food that is easily contaminated (“dirty dozen“).*

Julie cooked several dishes for us, including quinoa, millet, and lentils. As she cooked, she explained the ingredients and how they are good for us. Not only that, but watching the food you eat can naturally balance your body’s pH. And that can help you maintain better health, proper wait, and help strengthen your immune system. Did you know that? I did not. See why I said I liked what I learned?

It was just the kick in the pants I needed. No, really. Later, on Twitter, she asked if any of us drink Coffeemate. Oh, so guilty over here. I buy the 1/2 gallon at Costco. Hanging my head in shame. BUT, Julie gave an alternative. Try half & half, organic brown sugar, and a dash of real vanilla extract. So tonight I bought some half & half, mixed it with some brown sugar and vanilla in a jar. That will sit in my fridge and go in my coffee in the morning. You know what? I tried a little bit of it and it tasted just like vanilla ice cream (well, okay, melted ice cream. but still…). And I can’t wait to try it in my coffee in the morning. Not only that, I know it’s much healthier for me. Yes, even with the real fat and sugar. I may need to adjust the proportions (I did more than just a dash of vanilla), but that’s easily done.

See? Already trying to make healthier choices! I have a lot more to tell you, like a little more detail about the dishes she fixed, the awesome vinaigrette she made, and what else Dining Details does, like healthy, quality school meals for kids through their other company, Chickpeas. And personal chef services. Catering. Iron Chef-like competitions — how cool is that? Much more to come, but it’s getting late and I don’t want to make this too long. Stay tuned for more info!

*Julie includes meat & poultry, soy products, peanuts, eggs, dairy, and corn in her list, as they can contain hormones or be genetically modified (especially corn).

Disclosure: The cooking demo was provided at no cost to the attendees (that I am aware of). And while Julie asked us to kindly post about our experiences, she in no way indicated that the reviews need to be positive. I am not compensated for any posts about this event.

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3 Responses to “Learning to eat healthier – without sacrificing taste (pt 1)”

  1. Thank you for posting this! The real coffeemate alternative caught my eye — I’m guilty as charged for loving that stuff more than I should. I will try the half and half alternative next time I go to the store! I have been feeling guilty about drinking the HFCS Coffeemate!

  2. Oh, me, too Michelle. That’s exactly why I’m giving this a try. It’s really good. You’ll have to play with the proportions to get it right for your tastes & coffee. I keep the mixed creamer in a jar in my fridge — it’s working great so far! Thanks for stopping by.

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