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Clean Eating Thoughts

13 Jul
During the month of June, Jay and I, as well as my sister, Carrie, and brother-in-law, Ryan, committed to eating clean. 

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At first, it seemed like a definite challenge.  The first few days were pretty tough and it felt hard to know what we could and couldn’t have.  While the “rules” were easy, it was an adjustment compared to everything we normally eat.  Our goal was to eat as natural as possible, and if you did not know what the ingredients were, you did not eat it.

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In theory, only eating foods you know should be easy.  That does limit your choices though.  Eating on the outside of the grocery store makes it very easy to follow this guideline.  While some may be able to eat just veggies and meat, we found ourselves getting creative and making different recipes, such as homemade potato chips, cheez-its, tortillas, and croutons.  Of course these foods are not healthy or necessary, but they are things that we eat on a normal basis, so making homemade versions of them showed us that we can eat foods that we enjoy without eating preservatives.
020 I will say that one of the foods I avoided most was bread.  Believe it or not, there are a lot of chemicals in bread.  Even the bread that is sold in grocery store “bakeries” is not all that fresh.  

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After we got the hang of things, we realized that with some adjustments and careful consideration, eating clean is possible.  Sure, you go through a LOT more dishes, and eating at restaurants may be the biggest challenge of all,  but it definitely is doable. 
My favorite part about eating clean was that it brought awareness to not only what I was eating, but also those around me.  Not eating certain things definitely started conversations about my eating choices, and in turn, others would discuss how they might be able to change their eating habits as well.
So will I continue to eat clean?  Yes!  I think we all agreed that we could continue to eat mostly real food.  Sure, there will be situations where we decide to eat something that may be unhealthy, but during our regular routines, we will continue to eat clean.
It would be great if we could think that companies wouldn’t use products that could harm us or cause us problems down the road.  But the truth is that you simply need to know what is in your food, and that starts by reading labels and deciding if you are willing to put something into your body, not knowing how it will help or harm you.  And while this may be a scary thought, we are lucky enough to have this knowledge.  In a world where there are so many choices and not all of them are good, it is so important to simply be aware.
If you want to check out my other posts related to clean eating, you can read them here:

Cherry Hill Mall Restaurant Week

30 Jun
Have you ever experienced Restaurant Week?  Whether it has been in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, South Jersey, or your local hometown, you know that it is that magical week where you can dine at restaurants for a set price and really experience all they have to offer! 
208 This year from July 14-20th, you can enjoy restaurant week at the Cherry Hill Mall!  Participating restaurants include:
The Capital Grille
Seasons 52
California Pizza Kitchen
Maggiano’s Little Italy
Grand Lux Cafe
Bahama Breeze
Bobby’s Burger Palace
Nordstrom Marketplace Cafe
Bistro at Cherry Hill
During this time you will be able to try special menus and are encouraged to make a reservation!
Last week, Jay and I were lucky enough to sample some of the items that will be featured at the Capital Grille during Restaurant Week.
To start, we got to sample a fresh salad: Field Greens, Tomatoes, Fresh Herbs and Clam Chowder.
While there are many other choices on the Restaurant Week Menu, we tasted some delicious entrees that you will be able to chose from!
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Seared Sea Scallops with Sweet and Sour Tomatoes
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Kona Crusted Dry Aged Sirloin with Shallot Butter
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Lobster Roll with Parmesan Truffle Fries

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Aside from tasting all of these delicious dishes, we also got to watch Executive Chef Kevin Kramer prepare both the scallops and the dry aged sirloin.
As if our taste buds weren’t already on flavor overload, we were treated to a decadent dessert!

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Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake and The Capital Grille Handcrafted Ice Cream
I hope that you’ll be able to experience Cherry Hill Mall’s first Restaurant Week and have a top notch experience!  If you do, please share where you decide to dine and how your meal was!

Clean Eating: My Sister Guest Blogs!

27 Jun
As I mentioned previously, my sister Carrie has been eating clean and I wanted to share her experience as well. She was kind enough to write about a fun time they had and how they were still able to eat clean!
I’m pretty excited to be able to guest blog.
When Allie asked me and my husband, Ryan, to try eating clean for a month with her, we had no hesitations to try. We eat healthy and there is always room for improvement. It has not been too difficult. There are a few foods that we have really missed. One is pizza and the other is a good hoagie.
We were invited to a Phillies game the other night and usually we would have gone to our favorite deli, Lenny’s, to get a chicken culet sandwich or a Cajun turkey. Since that was out, I decided to make my own. I used grilled thin sliced chicken, sautéed broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers, and sharp provolone. All of these items were on a whole wheat roll and it was perfectly delicious!

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We didn’t even miss the chicken not being fried. I’d say it was a homerun! We had an awesome time at the Phillies game and they won.

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Thanks again for taking the time to guest post… and more importantly, join us on this journey!

Clean Eating Challenge: Days 17-25

24 Jun
It is hard to believe that almost a week has passed since I’ve written about our clean eating challenge!  While we are still doing well, it has been a lot of work keeping up with photographing everything I eat.  Jay suggested I do some highlights and I thought that was a great idea!
 
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After all, how many bowls of the same cereal can you stand looking at?
So come on, let’s take a look at the “best of” clean eating.
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Corn tortillas with cheddar cheese, an egg, bacon, peppers and onions, topped with cilantro.
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Grilled chicken over cous cous fried rice.  I sautéed some onions, carrots, garlic and ginger, then added it to the cous cous and served it over spinach.
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A sweet potato.  Simple but tasty.
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Corn tortillas with cheddar cheese, grilled chicken, and tomatoes.
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Quinoa, grilled chicken, mushrooms, scallions and goat cheese.
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Pineapple & mango smoothie.
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Carrot, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger juice.
I am also going to be putting up a post from my sister, so be on the lookout for that.  Only one more week of our challenge!

Clean Eating: Day 13, 14, 15, 16

18 Jun

Day 13:

On Friday I started off with a big bowl of oatmeal!  It has been quite some time since I have had oatmeal and I definitely missed it.
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The oats I bought are organic quick oats so all you have to do is add hot water.  It reminded me of oatmeal I used to eat when I was little.  Minus all of the extra ingredients.  I did add a banana, a splash of milk, brown sugar, and some flax seeds.
Because I was off I decided to do a little cooking.  Not only did I make some grilled artichokes, but also homemade hummus!
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I do intend to write about both of these recipes so stay posted!
For lunch I snacked on some of the artichokes as well as the hummus with some pretzel crisps that I found at Trader Joe’s.
Later I headed to my Carrie and Ryan’s for dinner.
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I brought the artichokes with some fresh veggies, the hummus and some pistachios to snack on before dinner.
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We enjoyed homemade pizza and a delicious salad.
And for dessert we had a red white and blue dessert!

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Funny that it was flag day!

Day 14:

On Saturday morning Carrie and I headed out for a run called Run or Dye.
But before I started off with some cereal and coffee.

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We did a little shopping the night before so I bought some fancy drinking containers.  A new coffee mug and water cup!

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The top photo is from last years Color Run and the bottom is from Run or Dye.
When I got back from the run I was pretty hungry so I made a quick snack.
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Some hummus, goat cheese, and pretzel crisps.
For lunch I made a big smoothie!

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First, I juiced 2 apples, celery, carrots, and half a lemon.  Then I added frozen pineapple and mango, spinach and ginger.
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An epic (and not very photogenic) smoothie was born!
I was really in the mood for something Asian inspired so I looked up a few stir fry recipes and came up with this tasty creation.

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I sautéed peppers, a mixed veggie bag that had broccoli, carrots and cabbage, green onions, and garlic.  I found a marinade recipe online that I soaked sliced beef in.  In the meantime, I cooked some buckwheat noodles.  Once all the veggies were cooked, I added the beef until cooked, topped the stir fry mix on the noodles and added some fresh cilantro.  Yum!  It was really good and hit the spot.

Day 15:

Happy Father’s Day to my Dad and all Dads!  We went to my parents house to celebrate.  I slept in and did not have breakfast prior to heading over.  I know, not a good thing to do, but I promise it is not a habit.
At my parents we snacked on cheese and crackers, asiago artichoke dip, homemade bruschetta, and chips and dip.

 

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My Mom then brought out lobster and steak!  I had some lobster and it was delicious.  Because I had to leave for work, I didn’t get to enjoy the entire feast but what I did have was quite tasty!

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Day 16:

Today I took the time to make another epic smoothie for breakfast.  I included all of the same ingredients and added a banana.

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For work I packed some blackberries, mangos, and pistachio nuts to snack on.

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I also packed some of the stir fry, though the photo is not as pretty as the first one.

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It is hard to believe that we are already half way through our clean eating challenge!  Thank you for reading and I hope I have been able to give you some ideas of how you can make better choices!
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