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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Reflections #3: Snow days and food battles

 Last week was cut short for me due to another snow storm. Alhamduleelah, I was born and raised in New England so I enjoy the snow so you will not find me bemoaning the white fluffy accumulation.  Plus, snow days mean that I get to stay home with my babies and hang out.

I'm not sure about your families, but in my family on snow days we like to cook big meals! Now normally I love to get in the kitchen with the kids and have fun preparing our family meals. Some of our favorites are macaroni and cheese, collard greens, barbecue chicken, bean pies, cookies, and cakes. Here's one of our family meals (yummo!):

Now, I love soul food, but I had to break it to my kids and my husband that we can't eat it every weekend. Or every snow day, especially at the rate that we have been getting snowed in.  I want to eat better, enshallah and I want to be able to model healthy eating habits for my family. And it's not just that I am a smidget over 30 now, it's about valuing the body and health Allah gave to us. One hadeeth that I memorized early on in my youth, never seemed more relevant now that I have a family of my own:

Ibn Abbas reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There are two blessings which many people waste: health and free time.
Source: Sahih Bukhari 6049 

Health and free time! Where do they run off to? Well, usually they don't run off. We waste them away as the nabi (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) has forewarned us. So for the last month or so, I have been battling our lazy snow days and comfort food tradition. I always tell my students that knowledge is power and it is so true! As soon as I found some healthy and yummy replacement foods that would get the kids and I back into the kitchen together cooking, they forgot all about the our old, not so healthy favorites.

So for this week I am going to share a couple of my favorite replacement snow day comfort meals, a recipe and I hope that enshallah, some of you will join in and support my family as we try to appreciate our health and make better eating choices. Drum roll, please......dum, dum, doooom

#1 Spinach, Feta, Chicken Lasagna 
#2 Chickpea & Spinach Taco Salad
#3 Black beans , Chickpea, and Chicken Wraps with Tortilla Chips and mashed chickpea and chicken salsa
#4 No Yeast Pizza Dough topped with Barbecue chicken, spinach, and onions.

Sides I didn't get to snap before plates were made but they were either roasted Brussels sprouts or salads.  I am really loving brussels right now, so I will enshallah, try to snap some pictures this week of some various recipes since I am Winter Vacay!

The barbecue chicken pizza was the kids' favorite, but they ate they other meals just as well, even the Brussels. Alhamduleelah, I am excited that we are starting together and that I didn't have to sacrifice our big meal making just because we weren't accustomed to different meals. 

Some of my favorite sites for finding replacement comfort meals are:

2. Cooks

Here's the recipe for the No Yeast Pizza dough (I doubled it to make my BBQ Chicken Pizza):

2 1/2 c. of flour
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder (if using baking soda, use half and omit salt)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil 
3/4 - 1 c. water

Mix dry ingredients first. Add water and oil. Stir it until it starts to form a ball. If dough is stiff, add more water. The dough will be soft, not too sticky. Knead it on a floured surface for about five minutes.  Bake at 400 degree F for 15-25 minutes. 

Ingredients for BBQ Chicken

1/2 pound of thinly sliced chicken breast, sliced into strips
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
Non Stick Olive oil spray
Crush red pepper flakes
Black pepper
Onion powder
Garlic powder

Home made BBQ sauce or Kraft Light Original 
In a medium sized skillet, spray pan with olive oil and put heat on medium. Sauteed veggies until they brown and add your chicken. Cook chicken and veggies until meat is no longer pink. Add seasonings, stir meat and veggies and lower heat. Add home made BBQ sauce or your favorite low calorie sauce. Cover and let simmer for five minutes. 

Do you have any healthy comfort foods? Are you on Pinterest? If so, please share in the comments section, sisters! 

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