CARTHAGE, Mo. —
The time to make resolutions has rolled around again. Set yourself and your family up for success by making realistic goals.
Resolutions centered on eating and exercise seem to be on everyone's annual list. This clearly means that we are not winning the resolution game. As much as I want you to reach for the stars, I'd rather you succeed with attainable goals. Start small, then build on your success. Don't fret. I have some solid ideas for you to try.
Vow to eat clean. If you're new to eating real food, then start with the basics. Switch to whole grains, eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day and cut down on your meat and dairy intake.
Remember that eating whole foods makes the most sense. When you splurge, that's all it was. You are not ruined. Now keep on with your clean eating lifestyle. This is also a great time to work on your positive attitude.
When your cravings have stabilized, stretch your goals a little further. Drink only water, tea and coffee. Wean yourself off of sugar and sweeteners. Make rules for yourself regarding treats. For example, yummy snacks are OK sometimes as long as you make them yourself, from scratch. Go ahead and eat white bread and brownies, but you have to bake them yourself, no mixes allowed. Make yourself work for it.
Drink more water. A gallon per day is a fine goal. Although you're not sweating profusely this time of year, you still need plenty of water. Water helps combat the drying effects of winter, it keeps you feeling full and helps battle winter comfort food bingeing. Herbal tea counts, so use the weather as an excuse to get into tea.
Maybe you've got clean eating in the bag. If so, focus your energy on doing it locally. It's better for everyone involved. Grow some of your own food. There are no excuses; anyone can grow veggies and herbs in pots. Strive to eat meals at home, but if you must eat out, do so locally. My current favorites are The Bruncheonette, Flavors International Cuisine and Mohaska Farmhouse.
At the very least, try three new recipes per month. They won't all be winners, but horizons will be broadened. Try these sure-fire, clean-eating recipes this month to get your goals going.
Chicken with peanut sauce and sweet potatoes
1/4 cup unsalted natural creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup light coconut milk
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus additional for garnish
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
Olive oil cooking spray
12 oz. green beans, trimmed
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch chunks
1 red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
Preheat grill to medium-high or preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter, milk, vinegar, 2 tablespoons cilantro, honey, lime juice, ginger, soy sauce, pepper flakes and garlic. Set aside. Cut 4 12-by 16-inch pieces of foil and mist with cooking spray. Divide green beans, potatoes and onion evenly into the center of each piece of foil. Divide chicken and peanut butter mixture between foil pieces, over top vegetables. Bring the short edges of the foil together, then fold inward a few times along each long edge to seal. Place foil packets directly on the grill or on a large, rimmed baking sheet in the oven. Grill or bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender. (Carefully open a single packet to check, then reseal if needed.) Transfer contents of packets to serving bowls and garnish with additional cilantro.
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
11/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon (pinch) nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon (pinch) black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
Boil chicken broth. Add chopped cauliflower and spices. Cook 20 minutes until cauliflower is soft. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool approximately 5 minutes. Carefully blend mixture in blender. Add cottage cheese, water and olive oil and blend again. Return to pot to simmer on low for approximately 5 minutes. Top your favorite brown rice or whole grain pasta. Add seafood or chicken, or simply use as a dipping sauce.
Adapted from heandsheeatclean.com
Cookie dough bites
1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter or almond butter Ñ room temperature
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt if your peanut butter doesn't have salt in it
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they're combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. With wet hands, form into 11/2-inch balls. Place onto a silicone baking mat or a piece of parchment paper. Bake for about 10 minutes. The dough balls will still be very soft when you take them out of the oven. Store in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the fridge) for up to one week.
Adapted from texanerin.com
Have questions? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail her c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.