Stress + Menu

At our school, we have weekly plays. Each teacher gets to present a play for the entire school. Memorizing lines, decorating the stage, dance moves, school appropriate yet decent songs, coordinating with parents, and a party to celebrate all the hard work. It is a big deal. The kids are anxious, the teacher is anxious. Lots of stressing happens to get it ready in less than a week and still teach.

STRESSED to the max.

Throw in a 4-year-old birthday party and oh-yeah the contractor can now come and rip up that rotten spot in your breakfast room hardwood floors. You know, the spot where you put the table for the party and have the main backdrop? Yeah, that one. I am really praying that spot is at least fully patched so I can put the table there. Having the party completely outside would be miserable for everyone in this 100-degree “fall” weather we are having.

My Whoop let me know that I set a record for the highest strain day since I have had the band. I could tell too. My recovery was low, my temper was short, my body was shot, and my calories burned were some of the highest yet. My desire for something to just stop me in my tracks and make me take a break was very high.

Stress can lead to several different things; overeating, hair loss, breakouts, anxiety, loss of appetite, etc. Often times we want to blame someone or something for our extra stress, rather than taking control of the situation and dealing with it. We look for an escape instead of making a plan. We want to know why all of this extra stress has to happen to us and no one else, rather than accepting it.

I can see why people become emotional eaters/drinkers. After a long busy day, you just want a break. You want to relax and enjoy something. Mentally take a break. Instead of meditating, because who has time for that (sarcasm)…you reach for something that forces you to stop, sit down, and enjoy yourself if only for a moment. If you are sitting eating or drinking, you can’t be busy running around stressing about things you didn’t sign-up for. If you are having a drink or eating your 7th piece of chocolate, chances are you aren’t busy working on that last minute project that has you so stressed out. There is so much good in having something that forces you to stop and mentally take a break, but you are giving that “thing” power over your ability to cope with stressful situations.

I read a few quotes from Eckhart Tolle recently that stated, you should treat every situation as if you chose it.

“Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences.”

“Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”

What power that is! Imagine if you pretended that you actually chose those stressful situations rather than have a pity party and crying in the bathroom with or without the chocolate. Instead of blaming something/someone for the situation you are in or the unfair treatment you are receiving, embrace it and change it. No one can change your circumstances so blaming someone else or waiting for someone to change things for you is utterly pointless.

Taking the “bull by the horns” is better than sulking and creating a negative relationship with food and drinks. You aren’t really fully enjoying that drink or food. You are searching for an escape instead of searching for a solution. Avoiding the problem does not make the problem go away. You might temporarily find relief in taking five minutes out of your day to eat or drink something, but you are prolonging the inevitable or possibly making things worse. It is much better to have a celebratory drink or treat than a pity treat.

New Food Review:

Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw was super simple and easy. It was not overpowering or spicy. If you like simple and fresh I would recommend this slaw and the sauce. I did not use the shrimp and seasonings recommended. Instead, I made a pork taco and it was super low calorie. The macros were 26 calories, 3.4 grams of protein and 3.7 grams of carbohydrates for one serving of the slaw and sauce. Add in the low carb wrap and 0.35 pounds of pulled pork and the total is 286.2 calories, 37.2 grams of protein, 19.7 grams of carbohydrates, and 10.6 grams of fat. Not too bad!


Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Pilaf

BLT Chopped Salad + Corn, Avocado, Feta


Grilled Salmon + Greek Orzo Stuffed Red Peppers

Farfalle Mushroom Pasta

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Pilaf

This is a great easy recipe. I love anything I can throw into the crockpot and just let it cook on its own. When I cook this I don’t shred the chicken into the dish after it has cooked. I take the chicken out and keep it separate from the rest of the dish. This makes it much easier to count my macros. I weigh out the rest of the food from the crockpot and divide it into 4 containers equally. A lot of crockpot meals I encounter with carrots end up being sweet, but this one is not.

Without the chicken accounted for, the macros for 4 servings the last time I cooked it was 174 calories, 5.8 grams of protein, 31.7 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.5 grams of fat.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 1/2 cups wild rice
*1 cup
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 carrot, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup wild mushrooms, torn
2 pounds bone-in chicken breast and or thighs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* Omit
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
kosher salt and pepper
4 shallots, halved
1 sprig fresh rosemary 

BLT Chopped Salad + Corn, Avocado, Feta

I debated making this two weeks in a row but decided against it. I made this into a BLT bowl and added in chicken for extra protein. I planned poorly and ended up using leftover shrimp and steak the next day for lunch and that was the best choice I ever made! This BLT bowl WILL be made again and with shrimp. I was very unsure of how this would taste with a little seasoning and chicken. Honestly, it was so good, I was pretty surprised.

I was unable to use the avocado I bought last time because the outside was soft but the inside was super hard, but I am sure it would have been great. I can’t wait to make this one again and hopefully will be able to add in the avocado.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

2 cups butter lettuce, chopped
*lettuce or rice for a bowl option
2 cups fresh arugula, chopped
*1/2 cup cooked rice per bowl 
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
*10 tomatoes per salad
4 slices thick-cut bacon, fried and crumbled
*0.5 - 0.8 ounces cooked bacon per salad 
1 cup sweet corn
*pan seared sweet corn 60 grams per salad  
1 avocado, chopped
*0.7 ounces per salad 
4 ounces feta, crumbled
*non-fat feta 
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
*omit oil 
1 lime, juiced
1/4 tablespoons salt
1/4 tablespoons pepper 
*cooked chicken breast


The spaghetti sauce I use is adapted from a bolognese lasagna sauce. It is a thicker sauce, with lots of meat and vegetables. I love it. I just made a lasagna for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law to celebrate the birth of their little girl Rose. Nothing is better than having someone bring you a home-cooked meal when you are in such a precious stage of life. It is just one less thing to worry about so you can focus on the baby. Since I didn’t make an extra lasagna for us, I am going to make spaghetti this week instead. Same sauce, just in a healthier form.

To make the sauce, dice the onion and bell pepper, and saute’ with the minced garlic until soft. Add the mushrooms to the pan (mushrooms are not in the lasagna). Once the mushrooms have cooked down, drain any excess water. Add the vegetables to a large pot, along with the canned tomatoes. Once the meat has cooked thoroughly, drain and add to the tomatoes and vegetables.

Stir in the milk and wine, if you are going to put those in. Let the spaghetti simmer on low. Add the tomato paste to thicken the sauce if needed. The amount of tomato paste you add depends on how thick you want your sauce to be. I use to add the whole milk and wine but have recently opted out of putting it in. It is delicious with or without the wine and milk.

I like to add dried oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, parsley, and any other Italian herbs I have on hand. I don’t use noodles anymore with my spaghetti. If you still want noodles, Carba-nada is a great low-carbohydrate noodle option!

Once I tried spaghetti squash I never went back. It really is not that difficult to make. I cut my squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, spray with olive oil and bake in the oven on 425 degrees until I can stick a skewer all the way through the squash to the outside (not through the outside). I allow the squash to cool and then use a fork to scrape noddle-like strands out of the squash. 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash is 42 calories, 10 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.5 grams of fat.

4 cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes 
1 can Tomato Paste (about 1 cup)
3 cloves Garlic
1 Yellow Bell Pepper (diced)
1 Onion (diced)
8 ounces Mushrooms (diced) 
2-4 pounds 80/20 cooked and drained (depending on amount of people serving, I use 3.5 pounds typically and always have leftovers for the kids)
8 ounces Whole Milk (optional)
4 ounces Red Wine (optional)
Italian Herbs 

3-4 spaghetti squash or noodles of your choice  

Grilled Salmon +  Greek Orzo Stuffed Red Peppers

I don’t think I could ever get tired of this dish. I loved this dish so much it is delicious and beautiful. I have never eaten the stuffed peppers as aside. Normally, I am adding in chicken and making it one great meal.

This is one of those meals that you tuck away in the back of your mind for the next time you have company and want to impress them without having to try too hard. I simply loved it and the macros weren’t that bad either. You could definitely cut back on the amount of orzo used and bring down the carbohydrates. I used 1 cup, but I might even do 3/4 of a cup this time so I don’t feel as strapped on my carbohydrates next time, but the orzo is so good. I am going to make the kids their own pasta, because last time Scarlett ate most of mine.

Tracking the macros on the peppers was not super difficult. I made sure each pepper had the same amount of pasta, chicken, and toppings so that no matter which pepper was picked, they were the same.

We wrap our salmon in tin foil and put it on the grill. It is pretty simple and hands-off once you get it on the grill. Just don’t let the fish overcook.

Salmon (skin on) 
1 lemon (zest & slices)
Tony Chacheries
garlic powder

Stuffed Peppers:  
3 red bell peppers, halved 
*4 peppers 
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
*spray olive oil  
3 sprigs fresh oregano 
kosher salt and pepper 
1 cup dry orzo or quinoa 
*285 grams or less orzo
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives 
*76 grams  
2 pepperoncini, chopped 
*66 grams 
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, chopped 
*Omit nuts 
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 
*non fat feta  
Lemony Basil Tomatoes: 
1 cup fresh basil, chopped 
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
*lemon juice  
crushed red pepper flakes 
zest from 1 lemon kosher salt   

Farfalle Mushroom Pasta

Josh loves pasta and loves mushroom, so this dish is just for him. As for me, not so much, but in this dish they are great. It is just a texture thing for me. They don’t really have a taste on their own, but with the right seasonings and in just the right dish, I can scarf them down.

Usually, this dish kills my carbohydrates. The macros, per serving, were 349 calories, 11.6 grams of protein, 39.2 grams of carbohydrates, and 5.1 grams of fat. The last time I made this, it was 10 servings. You can make your servings larger or smaller depending on your macro needs. THIS time I am going to use Carba-nada so I don’t feel so bad about eating the pasta or feel like I can’t have so many carbs throughout the day. The macros listed above is without the meat figured in. I add that in separately to my app. I always cook 3 chicken breasts in the oven to add-in to make it a full meal.

*Changes I make to meet my macros.

16 ounces uncooked whole wheat farfalle pasta
2 tablespoons butter
*1 tablespoon 
2 tablespoons oil
24 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini and shiitake)
*680 grams 
1/4 cup minced garlic or shallots, or a combination of both
a splash of white wine (about 1/3 cup)
*2 ounces
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
*1/2 cup whole milk 
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth (as needed)
*2 cups Vegetable broth
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
*low fat Parmesan 
2 cups spinach, chopped
6 ounces goat cheese
*4 ounces
*cooked chicken breast

E N J O Y !

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