Creamy Chicken Sandwich [Recipe]

I feel like I’ve been running out of food lately; when in fact I’m just running out of prepared things. I’m going through an ‘I hate cooking’ kick, which makes eating healthy a bit more diffcult.

I’m not sure today’s lunch qualifies as ‘healthy,’ but it was certainly delicious! It was worth the time to cook and clean up, in my opinion, so I’m going to make note of it here. Continue reading

Agua. Mizu. De l’eau. The Big H-Two-Oh.

It’s the middle of July, and despite the storms, heat, and humidity across the midwest, we’ve very likely not even hit the hottest part of the summer. August is yet to come, and as my home state, Michigan, is surounded by the largest freshwater sources in North America, I ought to make note of the importance of staying hydrated–no matter where you are.

WebMD has a good overview of what helps hydrate you. The notion that you must physically drink 8 ounces of water every hour (or every two hours; the reccommendations are inconsistent) is outdated. People neglect to remember that food contains water, just as our bodies contain water while seeming dry on the outside. The article mentions, oddly enough, watermelon as something that contains enough water to help you in your hydration quest. Other fruits and veggies, like peaches, tomatoes, and cucumbers, are also full of water.

While you cannot replace all of your water intake with hydrating food, it’s worth remembering that snacking on carrots, cucumbers, and ranch dressing or hummus, is also helpful.

Also remember that water does not have to be “ugh. water.” There are plenty of options for flavoring water. Iced tea, milk, and juices all count, too! Just remember to watch sugar intake for sweetened beverages. A question answered by a Mayo Clinic nutritionist supports the WebMD article’s claim that the dehydration effect of caffeinated beverages is negligible, so iced coffee and tea–even black–are okay once in a while.  If you’re exercising, something containing electrolytes that are lost through sweat isn’t a bad idea. Don’t go crazy with these, though, since sports drinks are meant as support for hard workouts, not everyday hydration.

Finally, I shall leave you all with my favorite recipe: Cucumber Lemon water. I drink a pitcher a day of this, when I make it. It’s super simple, and it makes ‘plain old water’ into something completely refreshing!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • Choose one: Fresh Mint Leaves (or) 1-inch section of fresh Ginger

Directions:

Wash the lemon thoroughly. Parts of the rind will be going into the pitcher! Slice the ends off of the lemon, then slice the lemon into circles. Throw them in the pitcher, but do not squeeze them.

Wash the cucumber and peel if desired. Slice half of the cucumber thinly (a mandolin slicer helps immensely) and put into the pitcher as well.

If you’ve chosen the mint leaves, wash them and put a few in the pitcher. If you’ve chosen the ginger, peel it and cut it into eighths or quarters, then put in the pitcher.

Add water and ice, and stir, but do not muddle. After a few hours, the water will be ready, but leaving it overnight is the best. Once you’ve finished drinking the first batch, you can add more water and muddle the ingredients this time to double their life! The second batch will be a little more lemony, because of how much more juice you get from muddling the lemon than the cucumbers, but it will be equally refreshing.

Enjoy!

(As a bonus, once they’ve lived their life in your water, you can flush the ingredients down the garbage disposal with hot water to make your kitchen smell nice. Otherwise, everything is compostable!)

Quick-And-Easy, Even If Not Truly Healthy

In my family, we have a traditional dinner, which is polish sausage, cottage cheese, sliced onions, and roasted/fried potatoes. I’m not sure we all agree on what it’s called, but despite the differences in nomenclature, we are all well aware of what it is and how to make it. Fortunately for me, it takes about ten minutes, and fills me up for the rest of the afternoon, while also filling the little hole in my heart that comes from being so far away from home all the time.

First, I split in half and, in a non-stick pan, heat up a two ounce portion of polish sausage (one serving–and much less that you’d eat of it around the table with everyone there!). Then, adding no more than a tablespoon of butter, I fry some diced potatoes (Sliced is traditional, but I’ve yet to successfully make sliced fried potatoes edible) in the grease that came off the sausage. While that’s going, I slice up half a small onion, drizzle with oil and vinegar, and pepper, and portion out a 1/2 c. serving of small-curd cottage cheese (No low-fat gunk for me, thanks. 4% milkfat minimum!).

Pile everything on the plate, and enjoy! (I’ll add a picture as soon as I have it again, which given how hungry this thought has made me, might be as soon as tonight!)

Quick, Short-Wait Refrigerator Pickles!

A few days ago, I posted about testing out a pickle recipe I found at Tasty-Yummies.com. I made the pickles three days ago now, and my roommate and I finally cracked open a jar and had at them.

First, let me say that I am thoroughly impressed with myself. Neither of us died of food poisoning, which is what I was afraid of. I’ve never made anything like that before, so I was quite pleased when they turned out perfectly flavorful and sour, with a nice crunch and everything!

My next step is to make a huge batch of pickles, in properly large mason jars, to give away as presents for the fall!

If you have ever wanted to make pickles, I highly recommend this recipe. It took me all of ten minutes to make the brine, and I took more time cutting the cucumbers than I took actually distributing the brine over the four jars I used. Beth over at Tasty-Yummies.com says that this brine goes well with lots of veggies, from carrots to cauliflower. I haven’t tried those yet, but that might have to be next!

Ramen Salad [Recipe]

Ever since I was a kid, my mom made this ramen salad for us all the time. Potlucks, family gatherings, picnics… Any excuse to make it, because it’s outrageously simple and surprisingly healthy. Olive oil is loaded with good fats, and the health benefits of vinegar have been explored time and again. Cabbage has been shown to have plenty of vitamins and minerals, and sunflower seeds, like olive oil, have a ton of beneficial Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats, among other nutrients.

Eaten in moderation as a side dish, this is probably my favorite healthy picnic food!

CynD Smith’s Ramen Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Head of Cabbage
  • 1 pkg. Oriental-flavored Ramen
  • 1 can Water Chestnuts
  • 1/2 c. Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 c. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (any vegetable oil will work in a pinch)
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar
  • Sunflower Seeds (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Thinly slice and chop cabbage
  2. Crush ramen in package, setting the seasoning packet aside. Throw the crushed dry noodles and drained water chestnuts with the cabbage in a large bowl and toss to mix evenly.
  3. In a cup, bowl, or salad dressing mixer, whisk together the vinegar, oil, the seasoning packet from the ramen, and sugar. Pour over the cabbage mixture, add sunflower seeds, and toss to coat, then serve.

This will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, although actually keeping people from finishing it for that long might be a challenge! This recipe is easily doubled for potlucks and picnics, or for families (My mom almost always made a double batch for my two brothers and I).