Boy, this is hard to keep up with. Between commuting, work, school, continuing ed classes (Hebrew), Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, trying to read up on the 5th Earl of Salisbury (and now Lord Burghley) and medical appointments and the requisite snark from now two doctors, dieticians and physical therapists… and migraines …. is it any wonder I have little time or enthusiasm to be a good girl and pay attention to what I am eating or how much?
As someone who more and more reluctantly starts her day at 4:30 AM and who is also begrudgingly trying to eat less, but more often, I usually need to eat about this time of day: part end-of-the-workday stress and the simple fact that I’ve most likely had lunch at 11 AM, so I’m hungry. And then there’s the fact that now two nutritionists / dieticians have told me to come up with a small snack to have between leaving the office and dinner time so I don’t fall prey to the local fast food establishments.
I love the whole idea of the classical English “Tea.” What could be better than a snack around 3-4pm that is filled with tasty sweet and/or savory carbs and a caffeinated beverage?
The traditional menu is usually finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, tarts, cakes and of course, hot tea. I am totally down with all of these items, but a great many of the classical ingredients are now problematic because of food allergies.
So now I’m putting it out there …I need help thinking of creative ideas for tea items that will fit within the confines of a Yumbox, but there’s a catch, the aforementioned food allergies.
If you game, here are the conditions:
- Each Tea-licious entry should include something sweet, something savory and something veg. It all must easily fit into a Yumbox and assume that it’s going to be eaten with fingers in a car, possibly while driving.
- Recipes must not have: Mint (of any kind), fish, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, tomatoes, carrots, oranges, quinoa, amaranth, rye, eggs as stand alone items (but in cakes or muffins is okay).
- Gluten free is preferred because of cross-reactive grass related allergies and gluten sensitivities, but small amounts of wheat are acceptable. My GF bread of choice is Udi’s Gluten Free and always have a loaf of sandwich white, cinnamon raisin and package of tortillas on hand.
- Protein options for your savory item: Chicken, turkey, beef, ham, shrimp and diary based items such as cheeses, cream cheese.
- Ingredients should be universally available.
Post your entries in the comments section and be sure to include an email so I know how to reach if you win. Please include your twitter if you have one. Comments will be screened for content.
My “contest” runs from Sunday June 1, 2014 to July, 31, 2014 and I will announce a winner on August 14, 2014. There could be a shiny new Yumbox in it for you.
Additional rules and regulations to be posted as necessary. This contest is mine and mine alone and is not associated with the folks at Yumbox or any of their associates, affiliates or retailers …unless they approach me.
Here are some of thepast week’s highlights: Tasty Noms and Epic Fails.
Taco Turkey Loaf — YUM-O!
I came across a recipe for a “taco meat loaf” in a magazine called “What to eat when you’re Diabetic.” It’s basically a series of plates with different ideas of what to eat and still keeping a ratio of 50% veggies, 25% starches and 25% proteins. What turned me on about this recipe is that it’s gluten-free. Instead of the traditional wheat based bread crumbs as the binder, it uses corn meal. I confess to tweaking the recipe and adding diced red and yellow bell peppers and use the milder (canned) Anaheim chiles instead of the fresh jalapeno. What I like about it is that it reminds me of tamales and I LOVE TAMALES. This is also a husband approved recipe because it gets its gentle kick from the taco seasoning mix …or if you’re like me, homemade Emeril Lagasse’s Southwest Seasoning blend. I like it because it has a more well-rounded flavor as opposed to some prepared mixes which tend to be a bit sharp as well as very salty.
As you may have noticed, the turkey loaf is in two spots. My logic is that because my starch was built into my taco turkey loaf, I really didn’t need another one, so I pro-rated my combination food accordingly then added a serving of fruit (red grapes) and two portions of veggies (radishes and broccoli) to round out the meal.
Grilled Chicken and Pasta:
This was a very satisfying box. I grilled my chicken on my GF Grill and cut it into finger-food sized pieces — so it would fit into the “protein” compartment. Kitchen shears make for quick work for cutting cold chicken into pieces. By the way, I’ve weighed the chicken pieces and can confirm that the 1/2 cup compartment does hold approximately 2 ounces of chicken. (Oddly enough, it holds 3 ounce of grill sirloin, but that’s another meal.)
I rounded out the meal with Brown Cow cream-top vanilla yogurt, blueberries, broccoli and Kraft’s new Garlic and Herb Mac & cheese. Yes, it’s not gluten-free, but for me it’s a choice because of allergies and the dreaded cross-reactive opportunities for muster clucks and wheat is on the list of things that are recommended to avoid as much as possible with those with Fibromyalgia.
Gluten-Free “Lightly Breaded Shrimps and Lentil-Rice Medley: Not quite a ‘Fail’
I found some gluten-free frozen shrimp at our local market. I read the ingredients and determined that they weren’t completely evil and decided to give them ago. If nothing else the Husband could finish them off, which he did. I will say this, I liked they better cold than hot as they tasted less “fishy,” but I think I’d rather spend the time peeling and deveining and boiling or grilling my own shrimps — especially for the price. Lazy girls are also smart girls when it comes to spending money on food. I will only overpay to sustain my coffee habit and other indulgences from the shrine of St. Arbucks.
The lentil-rice medley is that ugly brown square that’s right below the shrimps. Good in theory, awful in execution. It was a very pretty, colorful blend of different colored lentils and and wild and regular rices. I used my rice cooker to prepare it — bad choice as it boiled everything into an indistinct mass of brown mush. I’m going to give it another chance and slow simmer it in sauce pan. It fails again, it’s getting kicked to the curb.
To round out the meal, more of the aforementioned yogurt and blueberries (which were devoured before I took this photo) broccoli and the reddish sauce in the center circle is Sriracha sauce, which got mixed with some of the yogurt …that’s the tomato soup colored gloop in the lower right corner. Who knew that hot garlic-chili sauce would go so very well with vanilla yogurt and shrimp? This is why this meal was not an epic fail, just deparately in need of fine tuning.
I am a very lazy girl who has manged to get herself very addicted to convenience foods. It’s not that I don’t like cooking, I detest doing the dishes and frankly, usually only have time to do one or the other: cook or clean except for Saturdays. However, I am also a card-carrying member of the mythical “my life is not that simple” club. As a result, I have acquired food allergies (both actual and ones that fall under the oral allergy syndrome category), become morbidly obese and type 2 Diabetes on Insulin become I’ve developed allergies to the traditional meds used with type 2 diabetics.
I very recently had a follow-up with the endocrinologist and well, she got a bit snarky with me. I think I actually respect her more now because of it and almost forgive the fact that my appointment was and hour and half later than scheduled. “YOU MUST LOSE WEIGHT,” she said adamantly, and then snarked about my perceived inability to check my blood sugars four times a day, remember to actually take my insulin, or find time to exercise, blah, blah.
The net result was I needed a plan. I had a follow-up appointment with the dietician in like under three weeks and I hadn’t even kept a log of on one week’s worth of food — like I promised — but I had given that kiefer and protein breakfast meal idea a try and determined that it would work …even though I was starving by 8 am, of course, I am eating breakfast at 5:30 am.
So here’s my plan: I bought myself two Yumboxes. I stumbled across these little cuties on Amazon.com when I was looking into something called “precise portions” around Christmas time. Granted, they are geared for the ages 3 to 10 years old, but I saw the possibilities. Five small compartments, each holding exactly 1/2 cup and to make things even simpler, they have cute little pictures to remind me “duh, I forgot my fruit.” It’s all about portion control and this is a no-brainer, very low tech way to go for this lazy girl. Just prep my proteins, carbs and veggies into sizes that will fit one of the five compartments and filler-up and go.
So according to their website, YumboxLunch.com, they are a “Leakproof Bento-style, Kid-Friendly Lunch Box Container.” They are also very adult friendly, too. And YES, they are leak-proof — so much so that I have discovered the hard way about the amazing vacuum seal the silicone that lines the top of the box adheres to the tray inside … it’s called letting your Yumbox sit out for about ten minutes so it can warm up a bit or your tray will stay stuck to the lid.
So today, I had my monthly check-in with the dietician and she’s thinks it a fabu idea and has “signed off” on them and expressed the desire to get one to show her other patients and maybe one for herself and her little one. And I’m using my Spark People app on my phone to keep track of the calories and exchanges so she can tweak my carbs to protein to fat ratios and a new app called Glucose Buddy to track everything else. Low tech meets high tech for a hopefully tasty end result.
Next stop: buying and consuming as much certified, non-GMO, organic proteins, fruits and veggies. There is also the excitement of finding gluten free starches that I can find palatable that aren’t filled with soy based products, annatto, fruits and other things I’ve developed hyper-sensitivities to. 😛