Welcome to Self Soul Space! This blog is designed to bring you healthy lifestyle tips. A true healthy lifestyle, embodies a healthy mind, body, spirit, and environment. Thanks for stopping by to check out my way of living.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Pork with Balsamic Mushrooms

It was 4pm one afternoon, and dinner time was fast approaching.  I hadn't thought about what to make.  Very unlike me, I prefer to plan out my family's meals at least a few days in advance.  I looked in the fridge/freezer and I found mushrooms, boneless pork chops, baby carrots (staple in the Thayer Fridge), and frozen broccoli. I always keep potatoes and onions in my pantry... So, I tapped into the small creative side of my brain and started experimenting, and came up with this recipe... Here's the bonus, the family loved it!!!  I hope you enjoy the Pork with Balsamic Mushrooms as much as we did.  If you don't eat pork, you could substitute chicken or steak.

Pork with Balsamic Mushrooms

Time: 40 minutes  Serves 4

4 boneless pork chops (or chicken)
2 c mushrooms, rough chopped
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
2 tbsp butter (or margarine)
1 c balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Season meat with salt & pepper.
Over med-high heat, heat oil in a large skillet, when it starts to smoke- add chops.
Sauté until nice and brown on each side, then remove from pan and set aside.
Immediately throw onions to pan, and cook until translucent.
Add mushrooms to onions, and cook until brown and soft to touch.
Add vinegar and butter, stirring constantly until butter is melted.
Simmer, and reduce down to a light syrup, add more S & P, if you wish.
Spoon mixture over chops & serve with brown rice or red potatoes and vegetables! I served it with roasted potatoes and carrots, and steamed broccoli.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

Happy Wednesday Friends!  How's everyone's week going so far?  Coming off of a holiday weekend, we attended quite a few BBQs and birthday parties.  We had a great weekend!!  One thing I noticed, was the amount of trash that accumulated at the parties due to paper/styrofoam plates & cups, and paper napkins being used.  
Today's Wellness Wednesday tip is swap out paper products when entertaining and in daily life for cloth napkins, reusable plates, cups, & silverware.  Wash and reuse!
 Help the wellness of the environment, by limiting waste to landfills, and give your neighborhood trash workers a break.  If washing dishes is not your friend, at least look for products made from recycled materials, and can be re-recycled or composted.  Create less waste and have a wonderful, well Wednesday!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!!

Happy Independence Day!  For the holiday and as a part of summer learning, the girls and I made a sweet treat to celebrate our country's independence.  A few months ago, I officially stop buying boxed cake mixes, and starting making all of my baked treats from scratch.  We turned my basic yellow cake recipe and turned it into Red-White-Blue cupcakes!!
Is this recipe healthy?  No, not really, but I've always encouraged treating yourself every once in a while, if you practice healthy living religiously.  Here's the recipe for my yellow cake (adapted from Better Homes & Garden Cook Book), and the directions to turn it from a drab yellow cake to a fab patriotic cupcake!

My Yellow Cake Recipe
Makes 24 cupcakes, 2 8" or 9" round cake layers, 1 13x9x2 sheet cake
Time: 20 min prep, 20 min bake, 60+ min cool

3/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
2 1/2 c all purpose flour (organic)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 c sugar (organic cane sugar)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c milk (organic skim)
Food coloring (red & blue)-optional

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Allow butter & eggs to come to room temperature (about 30 min).  If making a cake grease cake pans & lightly flour, or line muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder. Set aside. 
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for about 30sec. 
  4. Gradually, add in sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, and continue beating until all is well combined, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add 1 egg at a time, while continuing to beat.  Then beat in vanilla.
  6. Now beating on low, alternate adding flour mixture and milk, until all ingredients are mixed well.
  7. Separate batter into cake pans, or cupcake liners.
  8. Bake in oven: 20-25 min for 9" pans, 30-35 min 8" pans, 25-30 min for 13x9 pan, 20 min for cupcakes- half way through cupcake baking, I reduced temp to 350 for puffy cupcakes.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes in pans, then remove to wire racks and cool completely
  10. Frost with desired frosting. (We used cream cheese frosting, cream cheese, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar)
*if making red/white/blue, at step 7, separate batter equally into 2 additional bowls (leaving some in original  bowl for white) and add food coloring until desired color is reached.  Then layer batter red first, then white, then blue filling liners 3/4 full.  You could also do whatever color you desire, rainbow, pink & white, red & green for Xmas... Just spread batter among the same bowls as colors.


I hope you enjoy them as much as we did making them!!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

Happy (early) Independence Day!! This Wellness Wednesday and holiday weekend make a change for healthier BBQing.  
Choose BBQ meats without MSG and nitrates (nitrates are my migraine triggers, so I've found Oscar Mayer makes beef hotdogs and whole foods sells a few different brands without them).
Avoid prepackaged-processed burgers and make your own.  Pick whole wheat buns over white buns.  Grill veggies (like corn or squash) and choose salads made without mayonnaise, like spinach avocado salad or my black bean salad....

Opt for or add turkey/veggie burgers (try my black bean burgers), chicken sausage, and seafood to your menu.  Get creative, and make your own BBQ sauce from scratch to cut out the high fructose corn syrup... But keep it a secret, especially if it's a hit!!  My last tip, is always a staple, stay hydrated... Drink Water and don't overdo it on the BBQ cocktails.  Have a happy & safe 4th of July!!