Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Comfort Food and Snow Days

The Washington, DC area is in the grip of a huge snowstorm...or at least huge for us. Our town got about 3 feet over two days. This area is not used to getting large amounts of snow, especially in just one snow event, so things are pretty much shut down. Even the snow plows gave up at one point. Some of the private contractors, who plow many of the neighborhoods' private streets, reportedly ran out of gas and gas stations were either not open or out of gas. Things have come to a standstill.

So here we are, stuck inside (not really, since we've gone out to shovel and we have lots of neighbors to visit if we wanted), but during really cold weather, people turn to comfort food.  This time, I kind of made up my own thing with grits, cheese, eggs and bacon. It might be a thing somewhere, but I haven't heard of it, so I'm going with it.  :-) The boys were outside playing, and I wanted to give them something that would warm their insides physically and emotionally.

It was super simple to make. I baked the bacon, cooked instant grits (I'm sure Southerners are rolling their eyes, but I'm not a Southerner so I have no real reference for grits, so these are fine with me), stirred some cheese into them, topped with a fried egg and put a little hot sauce on for good measure. Easy, peasy!  We all liked it, and we don't have to worry so much about the calories, since we have a boatload of snow to move. :-)

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Cheesy Grits with Eggs

4 slices of bacon
1 cup instant grits
approximately 3/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
4 eggs
salt and pepper (to taste)
hot sauce (optional)

Fry up the bacon (I baked mine: 375 degree oven, put bacon on parchment-lined pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until cooked). Make grits according to package directions. After the grits have cooked, stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese and stir until melted. Set aside.

Heat non-stick frying pan and add a little oil or butter. Crack 4 eggs into pan and fry, keeping the yolk soft, but the white cooked through and opaque. Crack some pepper and sprinkle salt over them if you like.

To serve: spoon grits into 4 shallow bowls. Sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese on top of the grits, then add one egg to each serving bowl. Top with crumbled bacon and hot sauce, if desired. We didn't have any (our fresh veggies are starting to dwindle), but a handful of baby spinach or kale would be good on top of the grits as well.

Serves 4

Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Year, New Resolutions

Every year, I make resolutions, and pretty much every year I stop following through after a month or two. And, of course, I resolve the next year to be better at the follow through. Yup. I am pretty much delusional, but I keep doing it, because I am always the optimist.

This year, my resolution, at least food-wise, is to cut down on my sugar intake. I have a horrible sweet tooth, and if there is candy in the house, I will almost always eat it, especially if it's chocolate. This year, though, I have a strategy, and hopefully posting it up on my blog will help me be accountable to you all! That's not to say I won't make some yummy sweets and post them, but the day-to-day sugar consumption is going to go down.

Here is my plan to keep on track this year:

1) Drink more water  - I figure if I'm swallowing water, I can't be swallowing sugar. To help me do this, I bought some shrubs from Spiker's ( Even though it has a little sugar, it helps when water is just too blah (although I like drinking water, every once in a while you want a little flavor). I add a little bit to my water, and it gives it a little zing. Plus, apparently the cider vinegar acts as a sort of "detoxifier" if you ascribe to that sort of thing. Also, there's Sassy Water, which I have posted about before.


2) Have other, healthier snacks available -- That means slicing up some red pepper, cucumbers, etc and having them in the fridge. The easier it is to have those snacks, the less I'll grab the sweet stuff.

3) Put away the sweets -- I have boys who are very active, and while they generally eat well and make healthy choices, I also don't want to be that house that doesn't have tasty treats available. I grew up in a house that didn't have a lot of sugary stuff, so I craved it when it was offered to me somewhere else. I want the kids to have the option now and again, because, sweets are not evil. Moderation is key. Besides, what kids are going to want to come to the house that has kale chips to munch on? Although, Elliot actually really likes kale chips, so maybe that's not the greatest example, but you know what I'm getting at. However, often, "out of sight, out of mind" works for me. So, if I put away the sweets, I won't think about it. We have a "snack box" in the pantry so the kids can easily grab a snack from there (it usually has granola bars and such), but I will also put baked goods in the freezer. The more effort it takes to get to the treats, the less likely I am to eat them, plus I don't have to worry about them going stale after a couple of days on the counter.

4) Eat more veggies. They fill you up, and the fiber means it takes your body longer to process it, which means you'll feel full longer and not feel the need to snack as much over all. One of the recipes I'm eager to try out it this one: Sheet Pan Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca.

Sheet-Pan Spaghetti Squash Putanesca / Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Ali Nardi

 5) Stop buying myself treats. I know this seems like a "duh" thing to add to the list, but I need to be firm on this and not even have it as an option anymore. I am the worst if there's a candy bar on sale (especially the really good ones with interesting flavors), and I'll justify buying it, telling myself that I'll share it with my husband or the kids (I rarely do). So I need to be firm with myself and just draw that line in the sand that I will not cross.

So, there's my plan. I'm off to a good start already, I think. Well, sort of. I made cupcakes for our New Year's celebration, and we have a few left. Even though I've given some away, they are too good to just toss, so they are still around. BUT, I am also focusing on the water thing, which means I need to sign off and re-fill my glass! Do you have any food resolutions for the new year? Tell me about it!