MacGyver of the Kitchen

My husband recently complemented my culinary abilities by dubbing me the “MacGyver of the Kitchen”.  That might be giving me too much credit, as I’ve never created a culinary masterpiece out of duct tape, but I was flattered nonetheless.  For those that don’t remember, MacGyver was the 80’s TV show with a guy that made all sorts of wacky gadgets out of everyday materials (usually involving duct tape) to get himself out of a dangerous situations.  

So for me, that means using all sorts of leftover ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry to come up with meals, which happens most every weekend as I clean out and make my next grocery list.  That was one of my biggest complaints about Cinch, or any structured meal plan for that matter – I always ended up with too much of certain items.  I tried eating the same meals for several days but that doesn’t always work since the ingredients come in various pack/sizes.  Case in point – I made the Edamame Ginger Stir Fry last week (2 portions), then made it again Monday (4 portions) and still have a 1/4 cabbage leftover!! 

So I have lots of random ingredients in my fridge right now that I’m trying to use up before starting over on Cinch detox.  Here are a meal ideas I’ve come up with:

  • Pasta bake with beef, spinach, tomatoes, and mozzarella
  • Crabacado (crab & avocado) tacos with red cabbage
  • Sweet & sour red cabbage with apples
  • Crab & asparagus casserole

I made the Beef & Spinach Pasta Bake last night and it was amazing!  It’s hard to believe it was so good given it was a bunch of random ingredients tossed together!  Here’s what I did:

  1. 3 cups of cooked whole wheat pasta
  2. 1/2 pound of lean ground beef, cooked & drained
  3. Several handfuls of spinach (it shrinks significantly), or any other leftover veggies that might go well with pasta, such as onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc)
  4. 1 can of natural tomato sauce  1 can of spicy garlic tomatoes
  5. 1/2 cup fat-free mozzarella + 1/2 cup low-fat cheddar
  6. Fresh or dried Italian herb blend (parsley, oregano, basil, etc)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Cook and drain the pasta, and do the same for the ground beef.  Mix all ingredients in a large saucepan, then pour into a 9×13 baking dish.  Top with 1/2 the cheese and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove and top with the rest of the cheese, then bake an additional 5 minutes.  Makes 8 small servings of approximately 300 calories each.

It’s Thursday now and I’ve been doing great this week – sticking to my diet and workouts and resisting some pretty strong temptations.  I’ve had a few mini-candy-hearts, but that’s it in terms of sugar.  I’ve been tempted to weigh-in, but I think I obsess over the scale sometimes, so I’m just going to stay on track and let my clothes do the talking.  Here’s my meal plan for the next couple of days:

  • 6am – 1/2 almond butter sandwich & strawberries
  • 10am – Grape nuts with skim milk, macadamia nuts, 1/2 apple
  • 2pm – Beef & spinach pasta bake with 1/2 apple
  • 6pm – Crab & avocado taco

Beyond the Kitchen

What to you get when you combine baking soda, brown sugar, dry oats, stawberries, yogurt, honey, and lemon juice? Sounds like something yummy right? How about face wash!

I’ve been trying to save money recently while also reducing our use of unnecessary chemicals. I’ve probably spent $1,000 since my teens on every different kind of face wash. Some worked better than others, but none of them delivered the miracles they promised. So after reading about some homemade face wash recipes, I decided to give them a try. So far I’m pleasantly surprised. Although it smells and feels kind of like rubbing strawberry oatmeal on my face, my face was so soft afterwards with no detectable residue. I guess it will be a few weeks before I see any real affect, but I’m hopeful that this will replace the vast array of expensive and chemical-laden “lotions and potions”.