Week 1 of My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure

I’m super excited to have made it through the first week of my potato hack diet!  I’ve learned a few things along the way – about potatoes, and about myself!  Today I’m going to share my discoveries, my struggles, and a couple hints to help you if you’ve decided to follow along with me now, or in the future!

First of all…I did lose weight!!! I lost a total of 5.2 pounds.  I admit I’m a little disappointed in this number, as I expected to lose a little more. I was actually down 6.8 pounds at one point, so I have found the weight loss to be a little frustrating for me.  I really expected to see a gradual downward trend on the scale, but instead I saw a decrease in my weight on days 2, 3, 4, and 6, with slight upticks day 5 and 7.  Then again today I was surprised to see another increase.  What’s the cause? I’m not sure.  I’ve been 100% faithful to the plan…I have, however, had an issue with constipation (sorry if that’s TMI – just tying to keep it real).  I thoroughly expected the opposite problem to be honest, but I feel like this probably accounts for the fluctuating weight.  In the end, as far as weight loss goes, I’m still happy with a 5.2 lb. loss – I don’t believe I’ve ever had that kind of success with any other diet I’ve tried!

Oil Free Oven Fries | cookeatbehealthy

Oil Free Oven Fries ~ Place cut potatoes on parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and pepper, bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. 

The first 3 days on nothing but plain potatoes was pretty tough – not gonna lie!  The first day was a breeze, the second – not so bad, the third – ugh! On day 4 I was so excited for dinner because I was incorporating the veggies I’d planned to add in.  I made myself a sauce/gravy with tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and organic beef stock thickened with potato starch.  I gotta tell you – it was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten!  😉  I’ll share the recipe at the end of this post!

As for my hunger levels…let’s just say you’d have noticed a rumbly in my tumbly had you been near me!  But all in all, while I have been hungry, I haven’t been uncomfortably hungry very often!  I have slept pretty well, kept up walking on the treadmill or the elliptical 6 out of the first 7 days, and other than being very cranky on day 7, I think I’ve fared pretty well.  I feel like day 7 (yesterday) has been the worst so far!  I really felt the sugar withdrawal kick into high gear and most the day was spent with my teeth clenched trying to just survive the day by sheer willpower!  Thankfully today has been a better day! 😀  

Hopefully yesterday was the worst day as far as kicking the sugar addiction goes!  I have noticed I’m feeling better in general, and that I’m much less gassy (again – sorry if that’s TMI) and I attribute that to avoiding all dairy products.  Perhaps gluten plays a part in that as well, but typically I find that dairy tends to be pretty disagreeable for me- more so than gluten anyway.

Cold Boiled Potatoes | cookeatbehealthy.com

Cold Boiled Potatoes 

As for my meals themselves I’ve learned a few things.  My favorite potato is the Yukon Gold.  I find it less dry, creamier, and more flavorful than reds or russets.  I bought some blue or purple potatoes and I have mixed feelings about them.  The golds make good mashed, hash browns, and oven fries.  Cold boiled potatoes make a great snack or quick lunch.  In fact, cold is soooo much better than warmed in the microwave – that just dries them out waaaay too much!  My favorite breakfast is hash browns from raw grated Yukon Golds.  I dribble a teensy amount of EVOO in a nonstick pan, wipe it out with a paper towel so there’s barely a whisper of oil left in the pan, the cook the potatoes until crispy and brown, flip them and cook until brown and softened.  I find the whole process only takes 4-5 minutes.  Seasoned with a little sprinkle of salt, pepper, and rosemary…delish!

Pan frying with little to no oil is really difficult, so I recommend babysitting your potatoes while they’re cooking, and adding water or organic chicken stock if they stick to the pan too much.  I find this technique works well when cooking cubed boiled potatoes.  Today for lunch I cubed some blues that I boiled yesterday, pan fried them with a little chicken stock, seasoned them with chili powder, and finished the dish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice!  The stock combined with the starch of the potatoes and the seasoning almost made a sauce for the potatoes, and the lime juice gave the dish a fresh zing!  The point is – experiment and see what works for you and your palate!

On to Week 2…we’ll see what challenges this week brings, but hopefully it’ll come with more successes than failures!  Weather providing, we’re planning to be out of town Thursday, so I’ll just have to see how that goes.  I shouldn’t think I’ll have too much trouble finding a baked potato somewhere for my lunch…fingers crossed!

Mashed Potatoes with Vegetable Gravy | cookeatbehealthy.com

Mashed Potatoes with Vegetable Gravy

So here’s the deal…my recipe plug-in refuses to work today so here’s the recipe for the vegetable gravy:

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes 

2 bell peppers, sliced

1 onion, thinly sliced

8-10 baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced

4 cups organic beef stock, divided

4 tsp potato starch 

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine vegetables, seasonings, and 3 1/2 cups beef stock in a stock pot.

Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 50-60 minutes until vegetables are tender and liquid is reduced by about 25%.

Combine potato starch with reserved beef stock and mix well.

Bring vegetables to a rolling boil, and slowly add starch slurry, stirring the entire time.  Add more dissolved starch or more stock as needed to attain desired consistency.

Serve over mashed potatoes made with boiled Yukon Golds and reserved potato water or a little chicken stock.

Place a serving of potatoes in a bowl, ladle on gravy, and enjoy…you’ve earned it! 👍

 

My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure

My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure | cookeatbehealthy.com

In the interest of full transparency, I have a confession to make.  I’ve fallen off the wellness wagon!  Not only have I fallen off, but the horses spooked and ran away with the wagon trailing behind!  So, basically I’m saying I’ve lost control of my eating…again…😢  It’s so frustrating as this is a pattern that has repeated over and over again my entire life.  I have some success at diets with resulting weight loss, only to be distracted or derailed by my old eating habits.  I’ve spent countless hours thinking about what my root problem is, and why I have such an incredibly difficult time committing and following through with a healthy living lifestyle.  What I finally realized is that I’m a food and sugar addict!

Hello.  My name is Lisa, and I’m addicted to food.

23 years ago I quit smoking – cold turkey!  I was newly married and I knew we’d be wanting to have a baby so I had a pretty appealing carrot dangling in front of me!  And while quitting smoking was hard, and I felt horrible the first couple weeks, it was NOTHING compared to the struggles I have with my diet.  And you know why that is?!? It has only taken me 30 years to figure this out, but it’s because when I quit smoking I could resolve to never ever have another cigarette.  Recovering alcoholics and former drug addicts can resolve to never have another drink or take another drug.  I know that’s an over-simplification, because we all know there’s much more to ending addiction than just never smoking, drinking, or shooting up again!  However, with a food addiction that’s not even an option.  If I never eat again, I will die.  Pretty strong deterrent to that particular method of weight loss!

Flash back to last week after I made my astounding self-realization that I was a food addict…I stumbled upon something on the interwebz that caught my eye…a moment so serendipitous that I could not ignore it.  I read about a gentleman from Australia named Andrew Taylor, who ate nothing but potatoes for an entire year and not only lost 117 lbs., but also improved his health by lowering his cholesterol, his blood pressure, his triglycerides, and his blood sugar.  He also experienced a reduction of inflammation and pain in his joints.  As I was reading his story I was drawn to a line about how he realized he was a food addict, and that while he obviously couldn’t stop eating all together, he could certainly simplify his life by eating only ONE food – and that food was potatoes!  Brilliant, right?!? I was intrigued, so I bought his book, “The DIY Spud Fit Challenge”, and read it in about an hour.  

After reading Andrew’s book, and feeling so inspired and actually hopeful for the first time, I found another resource in a book called “The Potato Hack: Weight Loss Simplified”, by Tim Steele.  This book took me all afternoon to read, and it’s much more detailed as far as the scientific reasons why a potato diet can be an effective, and most importantly, healthy method of weight loss!  Suffice it to say, after reading both these books, and many anecdotal testimonies as to the diet’s effectiveness,  I’m ready to jump in with both feet and see if I can make this whole ‘potato hack’ thing work for me!

My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure | cookeatbehealthy.com

I think it’s amazing that Andrew ate nothing but potatoes for an entire year!  But realistically – I’m not even going to try that!  I know myself well enough to know that I’d probably never manage a year on strictly potaoes!  Tim’s book actually has several different hacks or ways to approach a potatoes only diet, but what they both have in common is this: a potatoes only diet means only eat potatoes!  No oils of any kind, no dairy – this means no cheese or sour cream on that baked potato, no meat, and actually no other vegetables or fruits.  Seasonings are limited to a tiny bit of salt and perhaps some dried herbs. I recommend that before you start any kind of a diet such as this that you read both the books I linked to above – and nope…not being compensated in any manner…just endorsing them for their knowledge and experience in regard to this particular diet hack.  Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say you should check with your doctor before beginning any diet of this kind – especially if you intend to maintain a potatoes only diet for an extended period of time!

After thinking long and hard about my lifestyle, my level of commitment, and my personal issues with food, I’ve come up with a plan for the next 4 weeks – a modified, personally suited ‘Potato Hack’ that I’m determined to follow through with.  I’m going to post weekly about what I’ve eaten, and how much weight I’m losing, as well as my mental and emotional health during this time!  I’ve set some goals for myself which include losing 10 pounds or more by the end of 4 weeks, reset my metabolism, and most importantly for me, to kick my sugar habit again!  I’m also hopeful that my overall health will improve, resulting in a significant reduction in inflammation!  That will enable me to amp up my exercise routine again to include a minimum of 30 minutes on the elliptical or a brisk 30 minute walk at least 5 days per week.

My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure | cookeatbehealthy.com

At this point, I know you’re probably thinking I’m totally nuts – and that’s ok with me!  And in case you’re wondering how a diet consisting solely of potatoes can be healthy, let me share some nutritional data with you before I outline my plan for the next 4 weeks.  The World Health Organization recommends that we get at least 5% of our calories from protein, and 6-8% of the calories in potatoes comes from protein. Potatoes are rich in iron, calcium, Vitamin C, and fiber.  Potatoes also contain a good balance of omega fats in healthy amounts, and they contain zero saturated fats which make them extremely heart healthy!

As for my modified Potato Hack Diet, I have it planned out as such:

Days 1-3 ~ Potatoes and potatoes, and then some more potatoes…but nothing else other than a teensy bit of salt and pepper.  Beverages to include unlimited water, black coffee, and unsweetened tea throughout the next 28 days.

Days 4-14 ~ Potatoes and only potatoes for breakfast and lunch.  For dinner I’m planning to dress my potatoes with onions, mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes in any combination that appeals to me.  At this point, I’ll be adding more dried herbs and seasonings, as well as vinegar and lemon juice to flavor my potatoes.  I will also be making a gravy with organic chicken, beef, or vegetable stock and potato starch.  I’ll pass along that recipe on social media and in my next post.

Days 15-28 ~ All meals to include potatoes with onions, mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes, and gravy made from stock and potato starch as desired.  I’m also going to add in Sweet Potatoes at this time.  I realize they are a completely different food, but in the interest of maintaining enough variety to make this Potato Hack doable, I feel like it’s a good compromise.  👍

After 28 days I’ll re-evaluate progress I’ve made and the struggles I’m sure to encounter to see what worked and what didn’t.  But I’m so confident and pumped up about this Spudtacular Adventure that I know it’s going to be a positive experience for me!  Hopefully after this 4 weeks I’ll be able to judge better how often to include a Potato Hack in my regular (healthy) diet!  At this point, I’m thinking at least one day per week of only potatoes, and perhaps one or two days of the Days 15-28 protocol!

Am I crazy?!? Oh for sure!!!  But for trying this Spudtacular Adventure for 28 days…not so much! 😉  If anyone has tried a Potato Hack, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!  If you’re interested in trying it with me – also please comment and send me an email or Facebook message so we can connect one to one…we can do this…but it never hurts to have a friend along for the adventure! 😀

My Four Week Spudtacular Adventure | cookeatbehealthy.com

Behind Closed Doors: A Well Stocked Pantry & Spice Cupboard

Thanks for checking out the third post in my series “CEBH…A Behind The Scenes Peek Inside My Kitchen”!   Today I’m sharing a list of all the highlights and must-haves that I keep stocked in my pantry and spice cupboard.  These are the items I try to have on hand pretty much all the time.  There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to make a recipe and finding you’re lacking one or more items to make said recipe!  So over my many years of cooking and baking I’ve whittled and honed and fine-tuned my list of what constitutes a well stocked pantry and spice cupboard down to the items I stock today.  And because I hope you can benefit from my years of whittling, honing, and fine-tuning, I’m really hoping these lists will be of value to you as well!  

A Well Stocked Pantry - Baking Essentials | cookeatbehealthy.com

I’m going to start with the ingredients I keep in my pantry for baking. I don’t do a lot of baking anymore, but there are certain items I never want to be without if my granddaughter wants to spend a day with me learning to bake, or if I’m feeling like my husband needs a little sweet treat from the kitchen! He’s super supportive and 100% on board with the whole healthy lifestyle thing…but he’s also skinny as a rail and I know he misses my baking. So, every once in a while I like to whip up a little surprise for him..he’s a good guy and deserves something made especially for him!

Baking Essentials: 

A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Sweet Things | cookeatbehealthy.com

These are next because they quite frequently are used in baking as well.  Though honey is one of those things that I keep on he counter because of how frequently I use it!  Dates and dark chocolate are also excellent for snacking when a sweet tooth needs to be satisfied!

Sweet Things:

  • Good Quality Dark Chocolate 
  • Organic Unsweetened Coconut 
  • Raw Honey – local if possible
  • Dates

A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Oils & Vinegars | cookeatbehealthy.com

Oils & Vinegars:

  • Organic Coconut Oil – both refined and unrefined.  I use the refined for cooking and when I don’t want a coconut flavor.  The unrefined is lovely in baked goods like muffins because it does impart a slight coconuty flavor.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar 
  • Balsamic Vinegar – For marinades, dressings, and sauces like the reduction for Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Balsamic Reduction.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil ~ Regular for cooking and extra light tasting for mayonnaise, dressings, marinades, and hummus.

A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Nuts & Grains | cookeatbehealthy.com

I love everything in this category and use items from it daily – sometimes many items and sometimes frequently throughout the day!

Nuts & Grains:

  • Lentils – so tasty and so versatile!  Try them in Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables!
  • Rice – I have a preference for Basmati, but use what you like best!
  • Pasta – always great to have on hand for a quick last minute dinner…and for daughters who are carbaholics! 😉
  • Wheat Berries – Just plain delicious and fun to eat – they add flavor, texture, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals!  Try them in this Apple Wheat Berry Salad!
  • Oats – both old fashioned and steel cut.
  • Quinoa – such a wonderful addition to a recipe as either a main ingredient or a co-star!  Try it in Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms & Asparagus!
  • Pecans
  • Almonds
  • Raw Cahsews – for Cashew Cream.
  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts and Peanut Butter

A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Cans, Boxes, & Jars | cookeatbehealthy.com

Here are some of the nitty-gritty heavy hitters in my kitchen – the ingredients that called on over and over again!

Cans, Boxes, & Jars:

  • Curry Paste – both green and red because yum – these are some of my favorite flavors!  Try it in Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables!
  • Organic Coconut Milk – perfect in savory dishes like the red curry lentils, but also so incredibly rich and creamy in dairy free desserts like Maple Walnut Ice Cream!
  • Chipotles in Adobo – perfect in so many dishes to add heat and smoky richness, like in this Butternut Soup recipe!
  • Garbanzo Beans – because homemade hummus rules!
  • Black Beans – such great flavor and added protein which is especially important when eating a diet that is light in animal protein!  Try them in Spicy Quinoa and Beans!
  • Canned Tomatoes- Diced, whole, paste, sauce, seasoned, puréed, juiced…you name it – I have it!  Tomatoes make everything better!
  • Organic Chicken and Beef Stock – one of my most essential essentials!  I use these in so many recipes, but I also use it cook rice and quinoa for a little added flavor!

A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Beverages | cookeatbehealthy.com

Not a morning goes by that I don’t drink at least one cup of coffee, and rarely does an afternoon or evening pass without a cup of tea!

Beverages:

  • K-cups ~ Because coffee is a necessity!  I really love this Verena Street brand because it’s roasted and packaged locally!  Try it in my Popsicle Affogato!
  • Green Tea – like a warm embrace…I love this in the evening when all my work is done and I’m relaxing with a cup of hot tea and Netflix!
  • Espresso – Some days I just need it…no excuses!
  • Whole Bean Coffee – This is a special treat!  I grind just what I’m going to use and brew it in a French Press – it tastes fabulous and I feel so continental when I drink it!
  • Mint Tea – Also to be enjoyed in the afternoon and evening, plus I find the mint soothes my stomach if it’s a little upset!

A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Spice Cupboard | cookeatbehealthy.com

These are the spices, dried herbs, and seasonings I turn to again and again to flavor and enhance my cooking and baking!

Spice Cupboard:

  • Curry Powder – use it to season this Grilled Sweet Potato Salad!
  • Rosemary – try it in this bread!
  • Oregano 
  • Thyme
  • Red Pepper Flake – Because if you know me, you know I like it hot! 😉 I use this in many of my main dish recipes as well as sprinkling it on pizza, pasta, and avocado toast!
  • Cayenne Pepper – See above! 😉
  • Ginger – I added it to my Roasted Beet Salad
  • Sage – One of the herbs in these Homemade Herbed Noodles!
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt – I keep many kinds…kosher, pink Himalayan, smoked, truffle – each has a special place in my heart!
  • Cumin – How do I love thee?  So much so that I’d be lost without it! I used it to season these sweet potato curls!
  • Basil 
  • Turmeric 
  • Poppy Seeds – Such a fun addition to baked goods and dressings like this raspberry vinaigrette!
  • Cinnamon
  • Fresh Nutmeg
  • Cloves

So there you have it…a long and if not exhaustive, then definitely exhausting list of what I keep stocked in my pantry and spice cupboard! Now you can say you really do know what goes on here behind closed doors ~ at least behind my pantry door!

And now it’s your turn – what do you keep in your pantry and spice cupboard? I’d really like to see what you keep that’s different from my list – or what I have included that you’d never dream of keeping!  GO!!!!

Let’s Get Fresh In The Kitchen

C’mon…get your minds outta the gutter! 😉  By fresh, I mean all those perishable items that need to be refrigerated, frozen, or stored in cool dry places!  Today I’m moving on to the second post in the series CEBH…A Behind The Scenes Peek Into My Kitchen!  Whether new to cooking, or a seasoned pro with many years of experience, every home cook has certain ingredients that they always like to keep on hand.  The following lists are what I like to keep stocked in my kitchen.  I’ve been cooking long enough to know that with a few basics always at the ready I’m guaranteed to be able to whip up a healthy and delicious meal whenever the mood strikes!  Are these lists all inclusive?  Heaven’s no!  But they’re a great foundation upon which many healthy and delicious meals are built!  In subsequent posts I’ll be talking about pantry staples and spices/herbs/seasonings, but today I’m going to focus on what I keep stocked in my fridge, freezer, and produce bin!

Refrigerator Basics | cookeatbehealthy.com

These are the things I keep stocked in my fridge at all times – the items that I consider basics that I automatically replace when I’m running low.  I like knowing that I can make a recipe which calls for any of these ingredients and be confident that I’ve always got them at the ready!

REFRIGERATOR BASICS:

  • Almond Milk ~ Used for Smoothies, and preparing Oatmeal, Soups, sauces, etc.
  • 1% Dairy Milk ~ I avoid most dairy, so this is for my family.
  • Parmesean Cheese ~ The one little dairy indulgence I allow myself.
  • Eggs ~ Excellent for a quick breakfast or lunch, and a great source of protein.  Plus I really love them!
  • Butter ~ Once again…mostly for my family.  I have a hard time eating just a little, so I try to not eat any!
  • Real Maple Syrup ~ A natural sweetener to use instead of sugar.
  • Mayonnaise ~ I like to keep Homemade Mayo on hand as a base for sauces, dips, and dressings.
  • Tahini ~ I’m addicted to homemade Hummus, so I always have tahini on hand to add to my hummus.
  • Worcestershire Sauce ~ I keep this to add extra flavor to sauces and beef or bison dishes.
  • Dijon Mustard ~ Because mustard is life!  And it’s also good on sandwiches, and in dressings and marinades.
  • Soy Sauce ~ A necessity for any Asian dish.
  • Chia & Hemp Seeds ~ A little extra boost of protein, omega acids, and all sorts of good things…plus I really like the way they taste when added to a smoothie or my oatmeal!   

Go-To Freezer Items | cookeatbehealthy.com

It’s confession time…I’m pretty sure there are things in the bottom of our chest freezer that haven’t seen the light of day in many years.  I love having the extra freezer storage space, especially around the holidays or when I binge shop for frozen vegetables and fruits at Sam’s Club.  But the real problem with a chest freezer is that items just continue to get buried deeper and deeper until I forget what I’ve got down there!  My freezer in the kitchen is much neater and the stock gets rotated much more frequently.  The list of what I consider my Go-To Freezer Items are always in my kitchen’s freezer…along with dishes of leftovers that are perfect for work day lunches, cold packs for injuries, and usually leftover bananas which I freeze for smoothies or baking.

Go-To Freezer Items:

  • Frozen Vegetables ~ Peas, Corn, and Broccoli…all perfect as a quick side dish or to add to recipes like Cashew Creamed Peas & Potatoes or Spicy Quinoa & Beans.
  • Fish Fillets ~ typically I like to keep a mild white fish for recipes like Grilled Fish Taco Lettuce Wraps or for a quick dinner of baked or grilled fish.
  • Chicken Breasts ~ My favorite meat, and the one I use most frequently in soups, casseroles, salads,  and when the weather is nice my favorite dinner is grilled chicken and fresh vegetables!
  • Fruit ~ I always keep sweet cherries, wild blueberries, and mixed berries in the freezer.  I add them to smoothies, to oatmeal, and to the occasional baked goods like muffins when I don’t have or can’t find quality fresh fruit. We live in Iowa and quality fresh fruit can be hard to come by certain times of the year, but frozen is always a great option because it’s picked at it’s peak of freshness and maintains its flavor and nutritional benefits despite being frozen.  Obviously the texture changes, but in things like oatmeal or baked goods I don’t find that to be an issue – at least not one that bothers me when the alternative means not having certain fruits available! 

 

Produce Bin Staples | cookeatbehealthy.com

The final list in today’s post includes the produce items that I always keep on hand in my kitchen.  As with the list of Refrigerator Basics and Go-To Freezer Must Haves, this list is far from all inclusive as I buy seasonal fruits and vegetables when available.  Thankfully I’m able to stock my kitchen with the following list of fresh produce all year round!  And for my style of cooking, as long as I’m stocked up on these few fresh produce items I consider myself well prepared!

Produce Bin Staples:

  • Onions & Garlic ~ There are very few dishes I make that don’t include one or both of these items.  In fact I love garlic so much that if a recipe calls for 2 cloves, you can bet I’ll use 4 – and probably even add one more for good luck! 😉
  • Jalapeños ~ I use these in soups, stir fries, casseroles, sliced in wraps, in hummus…I just love the perfect level of heat these little beauties impart to my recipes!
  • Bananas ~ Probably my favorite fruit, though I am very particular about the level of ripeness at which I’ll eat them.  Once they get too ripe for me I peel them, cut them into 4th’s and freeze them for smoothies or to use in baking.
  • Lemons & Limes ~ I use these daily for flavoring water and tea, and adding zip to marinades and dressings.  
  • Apples ~ Perfect for snacking, making applesauce, delicious salads…plus…an apple a day keeps the doctor away!
  • Potatoes ~ I would write a love song for potatoes if I were musically gifted!  This starchy little blob of deliciousness is so versatile, and only unhealthy if loaded with gobs of butter, sour cream, cheese, or gravy!  There are plenty of ways to prepare potatoes that won’t bust your healthy eating plan!
  • Sweet Potatoes ~ Packed with Vitamin C and fiber, these are so delicious and healthy that I have been known to make an entire meal out of just sweet potatoes!  Try them curled, roasted, in a salad, or any way you prefer…just make them a regular on your dinner table!
  • Celery, Carrots, & Bell Peppers ~ Much like onions and garlic these 3 veggies end up in most all my recipes!  Plus – they’re all delicious eaten raw as well!
  • Tomatoes ~ I always have cherry tomatoes on the counter.  They are perfect for snacking, yummy on sandwiches, and even in the dead of winter in Iowa we manage to get tasty cherry tomatoes.  Come farmers market season my preference switches to whatever variety is fresh.  Is there anything more delicious than a fresh tomato just picked from the garden?!?
  • Avocado ~ How do people (Mr. CEBH) not like avocado??? It’s creamy, buttery texture and delicious flavor makes me incredibly happy!  I love it on toast, spread on a sandwich, sliced in a salad, added as a topping to soups and casseroles, and of course…guacamole!  Yum!!!
  • Mushrooms ~ I buy huge containers of mushrooms at Sam’s Club and put them in so many recipes! I prefer baby bellas because the flavor is slightly more intense and they hold up well to cooking.  Earthy and delicious…mushrooms have a constant presence in my kitchen!

So there you have it…a fairly comprehensive list of fresh ingredients I like to keep stocked in my kitchen all year round!  With these items, plus additional seasonal selections,  I’m able to keep things “fresh” in the kitchen!  What are your favorite items that you keep in your fridge, freezer, and produce bin?!?