Thursday, April 7, 2011

Turkey Spinach Burgers

I cannot take credit for coming up with this recipe.  It belongs to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and I got it from his Eat for Health books.  I do take credit, however, for making them and feeding them to my family!

When changing your own eating habits from unhealthy to healthy, it's fine if you want to do a 180 overnight.  You can go from pizza & wings to broccoli & quinoa without batting an eye.  And sometimes, it's even advisable to make such a sudden drastic change because it launches you headlong into a new lifestyle.  If nothing else, it's a great jumpstart.

But when trying to give your entire family's eating habits a healthy makeover, it's best to make small incremental changes.

I am super-blessed and lucky to have a husband who supports the healthy food choices I try to make for the family.  If left to his own devices, he would probably subsist on pizza and wings - - and ribs, and fried food, and cheese, and reese's peanutbutter cups, and beer...!  But he loves me and supports me and knows (or "knows") he should be eating healthier, so he's on board whenever I want to try something new.  But if I take away all his favorites all at once, he might just end up feeling deprived and resentful.  And who wants that??

The kids are surprisingly open-minded when it comes to trying new, healthy foods.   The older three are definitely more adventurous than the younger ones, but even they have the lingo down.  "This will make us healthy and strong, right Mom??"  Some dishes go over well - some ridiculously well - and some, not so much.  But the fact that they do not thwart me at every turn is very encouraging.  But if I’m constantly throwing new food at them, they might get burnt out on the novelty (which is sometimes my biggest helper in getting them to try something in the first place) and just revolt.  Again, who wants that??

But the biggest reason to take things slowly and to make small changes is for your own darn sanity!  It is hard work!  It is mentally challenging to throw out the old meal ideas and come up with new ones.  Who am I kidding?  It's hard enough to come up with the same OLD dinner ideas!  "What?! It's 5:00?  You people want to eat today, too??  I better come up with something fast!!"  Give yourself a chance to learn a little at a time.  Try something new, tweak it, incorporate it, make it your own.

My plan was to eventually come up with an entire arsenal of new healthy meal ideas.  And honestly, I admit that I will never completely throw out the old meal ideas.  We will incorporate and adopt the new healthier meals, but still allow and toss in the older, less-than-optimal meals on occasion.  Sometimes, we might even have a full week of old meals.  And we will go on living, and the world will keep turning.

Turkey Spinach Burgers are one of the first meals I tried from Dr. Fuhrman.  As I was making them, and smelling them cooking, I declared out loud to my family, "You will never want regular burgers again!"  They smelled soooo good!  And, not surprisingly, they tasted amazingly delicious!

Here's the recipe, as I make them (slightly altered from the original).

2 packages of "93/7" ground turkey (1.3 lbs each)
1 10 oz. pkg. of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. dried minced onions
1/4 cup dried chopped parsley
3 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. hot sauce (generic is best!)

Mix ingredients all together and form into patties. (This recipe makes 12-14 patties.  Approx. 135 calories per patty.)  Grill, broil, or pan-fry them.  I usually eat mine on a whole wheat bun, with romaine lettuce, sautéed baby bella mushrooms, and brown mustard.  Other condiments used by family members include ranch dressing, hot sauce (yes, more!), barbecue sauce, and good ol' fashioned ketchup & mustard.  I suppose cheese would taste good on them, too, but we haven’t eaten them that way.

I'm sorry I don't have a picture of these to woo you if you're sitting on the fence about trying them.  I'm making them for dinner tonight, though, and if I think of it, I'll take a picture!  They really are delicious and the whole family loves them!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail

I don't know who originally said it, but it sure does seem to be true in my life. Eating, exercising, praying, chores - - whatever! If I don't at least make a mental note, a virtual to-do list, things don't get done.  Yes, sometimes I have to wing it, but it's rarely the best way to go.

Monday, I flew by the seat of my pants. I'm currently in Week 3 of the Couch-to-5K program, so I knew I'd be running that day, but that's as far as my planning went. And guess what? That's pretty much all I got done that day.

Monday night, before I went to bed, I decided... "Tomorrow: I will pray first thing in the morning (one decade of the rosary, starting small); I will fold & put away all the laundry (4 loads); I will vacuum the whole downstairs (including the entryway, a veritable sandbox)." And guess what?? I did it! All of it! I accomplished everything I set out to do, and then some! I cleaned the downstairs bathroom, scrubbed one of the upstairs showers, and changed the sheets on my bed! Amazing!

What was NOT amazing was that I didn't exercise (other than the marathon of chores, of course) and I snacked on anything and everything ALL DAY LONG! Those were two areas I hadn't formulated a plan for, and well... that's what happens when I wing it.

So, here we are today. Wednesday. Wed. Nes. Day. (Can anyone spell it without pronouncing the parts separately?) What have I planned for today?
  • Dinner - Jambalaya. (From a package of frozen components. I really should just make it myself. Next time.)
  • Exercise - c25k week 3, day 2. Just do it.
  • Chores - fold and put away another load of laundry (the sheets from my bed and whatever misc. clothes were still dirty after all yesterday's laundry was done), empty & reload dishwasher.
  • Bills - need to enter my receipts into my check register and pay whatever bills are due.
  • Food - don't eat between meals, except maybe one snack. Drink more water!!
There are probably 500 other things I could add to that list, but this is certainly sufficient - especially if I stick to it! And, um, please don't notice that it's almost noon and the only thing I've accomplished is something that was NOT on my list for today: begin a new blog.