For me, one of the scariest things to experience in life is boredom. Ever since childhood, I have wanted the day to day goings on of my life to remain forever fascinating. I always have to be learning something new, seeing something I haven’t seen before, or doing something I’m not entirely comfortable with in order to truly be at peace.
Even though it isn’t always possible to make each and every day the funnest day ever, it is relatively easy to keep life fresh by choosing to expose yourself to new things on a regular basis. Just as in life, I sometimes grow tired of eating the same foods or doing the same workouts, so in order to make sure that I stay on track, it’s important that I switch things up as much as possible.
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with various things in the kitchen. After all, maintaining a well balanced, reasonable diet is a major factor in anyone’s weight loss journey. In an effort to discover new dishes to fall in love with, I spent last Sunday afternoon tackling something I had never prepared before: Asparagus.
After developing a random craving for asparagus, my original vision was to pair it with a portion of steak, a few other vegetables, and a salad. As you can see below, I managed to pull exactly that out of my hat. 🎩
Lemon Pepper Asparagus & Green Beans
When it comes to the asparagus, I honestly had no idea what I was doing. Although I watch cooking shows every once in awhile, I couldn’t remember how to cook asparagus, and it is by no means something that I’m familiar with. In fact, I think I’ve only had it two or three times in my entire life, so it was quite a strange craving to end up with in the first place.
Since there were some fresh green beans handy, I decided to just throw them into a skillet with the asparagus and hope for the best. My typical green bean recipe is really delicious, so I wondered if treating the asparagus in the same exact way might work out too. I mean, what was the worst that could happen? They were both long, green, and uncooked, so according to my (faulty) logic, if it looked alike, it could be cooked alike.
For the record, DO NOT follow this advice lol. Just because I got lucky this time, doesn’t mean that this theory will stand up the next time around. 😝
After adding a bit of butter and a gratuitous sprinkling of herbs, I sautéed the vegetables. Surprisingly, the asparagus and green beans reached the perfect degree of doneness right around the same time. This was something that I’d been worried about (No one wants undercooked asparagus spears!), so I am glad that they turned out well. Both vegetables were fork tender, but they retained that nice, fresh snap when you bit into them. I really liked it.
Steak (Montreal Seasoned)
Steak isn’t something that I eat all that often, so I’ve only prepared it at home a handful of times. However, when I do make it, I usually season it the same way every single time.
One of my favorite seasoning blends to use is McCormick’s Montreal steak seasoning. I’m not quite sure about everything that is in it, but it gives any cut of steak the most beautiful, peppery flavor; it’s awesome. If you’re into steak and you’ve never tried Montreal steak seasoning before, I highly recommend it. Of course, being the Spice Queen, I always add a few of my own herbs alongside it to kick it up a notch.
When it comes to cuts of steak, I try to gravitate towards something relatively lean that isn’t too tough or too tender. This time around, I used top round steak. The portion that I had was a good size to start with (it yielded three servings after cooking), so after putting it in the oven for 45-50 minutes at 400 degrees, the shrinkage wasn’t bad at all.
For an extra punch of flavor, I made my favorite steak topping of caramelized onions and gorgonzola cheese. Oh my gosh, you guys… it was soooo good. There’s just something about how the sweetness of the onions and the saltiness of the gorgonzola play off of the uber peppery steak. Perfection.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
At first, I thought mashed potatoes would be the perfect addition to this meal, but I forgot to add regular potatoes to the grocery list again! 😭 Since sweet potatoes were the closest thing available, I thought I’d try something new and prepare them exactly as I would a Yukon.
After cutting up one large sweet potato into smallish cubes, I boiled them until they were tender. Once they were finished cooking and they had been removed from the water, I mashed them up with teaspoon of butter, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and a splash of milk.
The end result was quite different than my usual mashed potatoes, but I quite liked them. Smooth and slightly sweet, the mashed sweet potatoes were extremely easy to make and delicious.
One large potato made so much; I was shocked. Needless to say, I’m really happy that I didn’t overestimate how much to make because I probably would have had mashed sweet potatoes coming out the wazoo for weeks! 😂 I did have quite a bit left after dinner, but it’s okay because sweet potatoes are a yummy nutrient-rich snack!
Cranberry & Gorgonzola Mixed Greens Salad w/ Citrus Herb Vinaigrette
In addition to my lovely main meal, I threw together a side salad because I was really hungry that day (lol). The salad itself wasn’t anything special since I had already spent a bunch of time in the kitchen already. I just took some fresh mixed greens and topped it with some lovely gorgonzola crumbles and dried cranberries.
For the dressing, I had to keep my apron on because I’ve been making all of my dressings from scratch recently. This time, I made a citrus herb and Romano cheese vinaigrette. I’d never made this particular dressing before, so I was just standing there grabbing things at random based on what I thought would complement the meal as a whole.
It was funny because I hadn’t meant to put the gorgonzola on the salad with Romano cheese being in the dressing as well. However, the dressing was made so far in advance that by the time I got around to actually putting the salad together, I’d forgotten all about the Romano.
Not to fear though, everything tasted so good! The dressing was a tad bit thinner than I had intended for it to be, so I’ve got to keep tweaking the recipe. However, when I finally work it out, you must try this salad. You will not be disappointed.
By the time I got everything plated and was able to finally sit down to enjoy it, I felt so fancy. Looking down at my plate, I felt as though I were dining at a restaurant! Everything looked beautiful, the aroma was seductive… it was such a delightful Sunday dinner.
If you guys have been wondering if I feel at all deprived on my diet so far, the answer would be no. There have been one or two things that I have wanted that aren’t technically allowed, but it’s not a full-fledged craving where I think I’m going to croak if I can’t have it.
Since changing my diet, I have invested a good amount of time into planning and executing my meals each day. It can be a bit time consuming to make meals like this everyday (unless you meal prep), so I don’t. I tend to have a quick salad or cut up a bunch of fruit more often than cooking these grand, one-off meals that are a bit more involved.
For anyone who is losing weight, I would highly recommend taking out the time cook your own meals as you go through that process. I know a lot of people like to rely on low calorie/low fat, pre-packaged foods to help them lose weight because it’s convenient and a little easier (maybe even cheaper). However, there’s something about preparing your own meals that is pricelessly satisfying.
When you cook for yourself, you are able to control the vast majority of what you consume and tailor it to your own dietary needs. For example, I really like being able to pronounce the things that are present in my food, so it worries me whenever I see ingredients that sound more like something you’d find in a laboratory test tube. 🧪👩🏽🔬 Unfortunately, many food manufacturers add a lot of ingredients that aren’t necessary (or even healthy). Cooking for yourself can help you to avoid that.
Another valuable benefit of cooking your own meals is education. Whether you’re an expert in the kitchen or you can barely boil water, practice makes perfect. I’m someone who definitely knows their way around a kitchen, but there are so many things for me to still learn. I mean, I’ve finally learned how to cook asparagus. What’s next? Eggplant? Rhubarb?
In addition to improving your cooking skills, preparing your own meals can inspire you to learn more about food from a nutritional perspective. Recently, I’ve been learning about the benefits of various foods, as well as researching what kinds of foods are known to help support and improve various health conditions. It can be really cool to prepare a meal and actually know how each ingredient will nourish your body.
Anyhow, that’s it for today! I hope you all are having a great start to the new week.
As far as future posts are concerned, I might not be able to post as often for a little bit. As much as I love sharing each step of my journey with you all, I have a lot of new things going on right now that desperately need my full attention. If I go missing for a few days or even a week at a time, please don’t think that I’ve fallen off the wagon lol. I’m still over here working hard at this everyday, but now that I’m off to a great start, it’s time to focus on some new frontiers.
I’m hoping to stop being lazy and start being more active on Instagram at some point, so if that ever occurs, I’ll probably post pretty food pictures or stuff related to health and wellness. If you’d like, feel free to follow me there to make sure that I don’t start posting snaps of ice cream sundaes and stuffed crust pizzas. It’d be fun to just connect with some of you guys too! And if you’re aware of any gorgeous vegan/plant-based/healthy IG accounts worth following, please let me know. 🙂
Last Workout: 1 hour, 15 mins. Dance cardio class. Body weight only–no equipment.
Today was Day 79.
🕊 “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu 🌸
Hey you, I have a personal blog too!
Want to start up a convo? Just comment below!
Be sure to keep up with future posts by following the blog
or by following me on Twitter.
And as always, sharing is caring.
Please feel free to give this post a ‘like’ or share the blog
with someone you think could benefit.
Featured Photo Credit: Foodie Factor/Pexels
All Gifs: GIPHY