Tag Archives: labels

No Labels Please.

22 Jun

Labels. I loathe and reject them! They are so limiting. The smart one. The athletic one. The workaholic. The baby of the family. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. That’s right. I hate labeling everything including meals. Boring! And limiting!

Breakfast does not have to be oatmeal. eggs, toast, bagel, or cold cereal. These foods can be eaten any time of the day. And if it’s last night’s leftovers for breakfast who cares? There is nothing wrong with chicken, rice, and broccoli for breakfast. If that is what sounds good, go for it.  Dinner has to be a big hunk of meat and a couple of side dishes?  Nope.  Not in my book.  Sometimes a bowl of cereal is perfect for dinner. Sometimes eggs and toast work. My youngest son’s favorite dinner is breakfast! For many years his special birthday dinner request was breakfast, or what some would label as breakfast food.

I am going to tell a story through pictures. It is the story of a meal. But I will not label it. And I will not reveal what time of day I enjoyed this meal (which, by the way, features several servings. I only had one!). I will toss a caveat in saying that it is not a story for the faint of heart. It is of adult nature….it features…dare I say it….bacon and bacon fat. Totally obscene! Outrageous! But it is moderation in the use of the fat that allows my conscience to let this dirty little secret out.

Fresh!  Beautiful!

Fresh! Beautiful!

Lucky for me I have friends who have what I lack…namely a green thumb. This bowl is full of fresh peppers and tomatoes. I was the lucky recipient of this lovely fresh bounty, and I let it inspire me. It took me to a very unexpected place.

Bacon.  Decadent!

Bacon. Decadent!

I began my homage to these fresh ingredients by frying up some bacon in my beloved old cast iron skillet. While the bacon was crisping, I started cutting up the peppers and tomatoes.  When it was done, I scooped out the bacon to drain on  paper towels and disposed of most of the bacon fat in the skillet.  I  left a bit of the grease in my skillet though. The aromas in my kitchen started deepening, layering. Man, was I hungry now!

Pepper mania!  yes!!

Pepper mania! yes!!

I tossed those fresh peppers and tomatoes into that bacon fat. Yes, that’s what I said. Right into the fat. Well here is where I kind of compounded the naughty factor. While the peppers were frying up I went to the fridge and hung on the door. Hunting. Digging. Then I popped to the pantry. Nope…nothing there…went back to the fridge. Here comes more of the naughty…I was seriously misbehaving with that bacon grease!

Peppers to the side...eggs in front!

Peppers to the side…eggs in front!

I pushed the veggies aside and tossed in eggs. Frying eggs in bacon fat. Yup…I warned you! Totally obscene! And completely delish! But my conscience would not allow this dish to be totally devoid of some sort of nutrition. So I made some whole grain toast. No butter.  Next I just  tossed eggs, peppers and tomatoes on the toast. The bacon was on the side.  Fabulous!

YUM!

YUM!

I will not label this meal, nor will I reveal the time of day that this meal was consumed. Let me just say that it was amazing! I cook with bacon grease maybe once or twice a year. I love great food cooked in different ways. And in moderation, I think that everything can be enjoyed. As I said, I only cook with bacon fat occasionally. This dish was certainly worth the wait..and totally label free.

 

Breakfast for dinner!

2 Oct

Why not have breakfast for dinner?  Every one that knows me knows that I despise labels.  They are limiting.  And to me life is limitless!  I apply this philosophy to life, as well as to food and meals.  This includes the traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Yes, cereal and eggs are for breakfast.  Sandwiches are for lunch.  Dinner is a big hunk of meat and a couple of side dishes.  Right?  I say forget that!

My youngest son loves breakfast for dinner. So much so that he has chosen breakfast for his birthday dinner more than once.  Leftover chicken and rice for breakfast?  Sure!  Why not!  A good diet is all about balance.  There is no specific order here…no labels.

Listen to your body, and give it what it asks for.  There is a reason you might crave a bowl of cereal for dinner or pasta for breakfast.  After all, isn’t pasta categorized as a grain just like breakfast cereal?  Yes, it sure is.  So dig in when your body asks you to!

A healthy diet is balanced with grains, dairy, protein, fruits and vegetables.  The order of intake really doesn’t matter for most of us.  The exception might include a professional athlete that needs to eat certain things at certain times to maximize training.  The rest of us can pretty much each our daily intake in any order we want.  I love the freedom of that.

As a nutrition professional, I am very aware of what I eat, and what my children eat.  I actually prefer to “front load” my meals.  In other words, I like to eat heavier earlier in the day.  I like to lighten up as the day goes on.  This works for me most days.  Find what works best for you!

For snacks, an easy way to think about them is for snacks to “fill in the blanks”.  By mid afternoon, if I haven’t had enough of my fruits and vegetables, I try to snack on, for example, fruit and yogurt.  It is a sweet afternoon “pick me up”.  If I feel the need to crunch, I have 1/4 cup of mixed nuts with perhaps some dried fruit.

So as I mentioned, I am not a person that likes labels.  Nor am I a morning person.  With that in mind, taking a few minutes in the evening to plan meals and snacks for the next day helps me balance my intake and keep it healthy.  I portion food on weekends or in the evening so that healthy food is a quick grab in the morning.  I get snacks ready and fill up plastic ware and sandwich bags with portable foods.  In the morning I can grab and go.

Take some time, leave the labels behind, and balance out your foods.  Don’t get all caught up in the order and start listening to your body.  And do a little planning ahead of time.  When you come home from the market, that can be a good time to get your food ready to grab out of the fridge.  Put your portable produce, your grapes, your berries, your celery sticks, into sandwich bags.  That makes it super easy to grab a bag in the morning, head out the door, and assure yourself that you have healthy food options for your day!