Monday, January 28, 2013

10 Pounds in 8 Weeks or Subtract 35,000 Calories: Week #2

One dinner from last week.  I love one-pan meals.  I'll blog this on dinner place.

I have my black coffee in front of me.
I just ate my egg white-veggie omelet with salsa. YES!
The only change from a "regular" morning is no cream in my coffee.  Pretty painless, huh?

I did stay on the program ..  with a couple of deviations:

Friday, January 25, 2013

38 Power Foods, Week 28 -- Almonds -- Pear-Almond Crostata

I had parents who were full of quirky sayings.  My dad, being from the south, often said, "If I could only eat one food on earth, I would choose peanuts."  (If he'd been from Minnesota, he would have needed to say walnuts.) Another day he'd put milk in that exalted position, but it was always one or the other.  In other words, if you had to go on a long hike or be out on the lake fishing for a long time, bring nuts.  You'd be happy-crunchy and, while he never mentioned it, you'd be full from the fiber and not be hungry for a long time given the protein and fat content of nuts.

My kids once had a doctor who, beside being a wonderful human being and just as good of a doctor, invited us in to his office each visit.  He'd turn around and sit and chat a minute or two before getting down to business.  Once in a while, he'd say, "I haven't had lunch yet; let me get something to eat while we visit."  Out of his drawer would come a big bag of plain almonds.  He'd pour a handful or two out for himself and offer the bag to us.  "Best lunch available in a drawer," was his line.  He'd chomp several before saying, "All right, I'm ok now; I was starved."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

30-Minute Vegetable Soup a la Provence (Vegan and Gluten-Free) or What I'm Eating for Lunch

If you've been reading along on the blog, you'll know I've made a commitment to lose 10 pounds by Saint Patrick's Day when I always make a vat of potato soup and  loaves of Irish soda bread:

I've got a routine of exercise and cutting back on food so that I subtract 35,000 calories in 8 weeks.  (For instance, no meat 2 nights a week.)  No fancy-schmancy (as Sandy would say) diet; no gimmicks; no cash or meetings.  Just me.  My bean-counter head and my family room and the city of Saint Paul as gym. 

One of the things I've changed is that I can  have only fruit or vegetables 4 lunches per week.  No meat, no bread, no rice, etc.  I am fine with a piece of fruit each day so far and if I'm starving, I cheat a bit to add some Greek yogurt and a little of my homemade, low-fat granola. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Streamlined Beef Burgundy with Vegetables

In St. Paul, there's a high below 1 degree Fahrenheit today.  It was -14 degrees when I got up and pressed the button for coffee this morning.  I stayed home, cried throughout the inauguration, and did what any self-respecting, frozen food blogger would do.  I made beef burgundy...or boeuf bourguignon...  If you can spell it, you can make it.   

The inauguration poet, Richard Blanco's poem, "One Today" was one of the highlights for me.  The other was James Taylor singing "America the Beautiful," of course.  The speech was so, so fine.    

ANYWAY....After all the stir! about Julie and Julia for all that time....and all the hype about boeuf bourguignon, I think we may have come down to earth.  I no longer hear neighbors rolling the name of the dish around their hungry tongues and the Meryl Streep or Amy Adams talk is long past the appetizing roles of Julia and Julie.  For the record, I'd love a whole movie about Julia starring Meryl Streep. Sadly director Nora Ephron last year crossed the river and is now surely writing all kinds of wonderful things God doesn't require her to any longer sell.

Monday, January 21, 2013

10 Pounds in 8 Weeks or Subtract 35,000 Calories

I had a little too much Christmas.  Hm.
I am going out on limb here.  I'm putting my behind (insert your favorite epithet here) on the line as well as in gear.  My current fitness goals include these objectives:

  •  lose ten pounds in eight weeks by changing/cutting back on my food intake and to....
  •  put in 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 4 days a week (outdoors when possible)
  •  do a stretch routine daily
  •  weight train 3 times a week
  • blog my progress weekly

If you do the math, we're talking about (how do I get) 10 pounds off by Saint Patrick's Day (Sunday, March 17), which, if you're a long-time reader, you know is when I have a houseful of potato soup and soda bread:

And it is NOT that potato soup and Irish soda bread are particularly highly caloric (they're not), it's just my date.  The one I chose because it's eight weeks away.

I thought if I blogged my process, I'd be a little more accountable.  The choir will be asking me on Wednesday nights, "How's that ten pounds going?"

Here we are at our Christmas party.

My fellow Friday bloggers (many of whom are very healthful indeed) will probably post comments about my ingredients or dance routines.   

My sisters will email, "Well?"

My friends will be looking at me every week. 

My couch potato dogs will be after me to take them on more walks and play ball more often.  (It's -14 F this morning; we're staying home, guys.  We do play ball down the stairs on really cold days.  Your mother wouldn't be pleased.)

Why not  a regular diet program?

I cannot seem to stick out a "regular" diet program any more or, if I do, it's not successful.  I stayed on South Beach for months.  I think I lost five pounds, which I promptly gained as soon as I added bread back into my diet.  Dave lost nearly twenty in around 10 weeks.  I'm not saying it's me and I'm not saying it's the diet, but I'm JUST SAYIN' I can't get any of it to work.  I am a life-long Weight Watcher.  I've gotten to goal more than once and then fell off the wagon.  Sad.

After thinking about it for quite a while and talking to a number of friends who had worked out their own systems (one was: no snacks and cut back on serving size at dinner for a year for a total weight loss of 22 pounds), I came up with mine just because I'd like to be able to move more easily and quickly and have my clothes fit better.  If it works, I may try it for another eight weeks sooner or later.  Another ten wouldn't hurt.

What I usually eat:  One of the things I wanted to do was to keep a portion of my meals just like they always are.  My typical day begins with a veggie/egg white omelet or Greek yogurt, fruit, with 2 T homemade, lowfat granola.  I drink coffee with milk or cream--probably 3 cups a day.  Lunch is leftovers, homemade soup, or if I'm out--soup, salad or veggie burger.  Dinner you know--it's often on here.  I often drink wine with dinner.  I'm not a dessert person, though I like to make them. (A pie or cake could sit here and mold before I'd eat it.)   I 'm a chocolate addict and so rarely keep chocolate in the house.  I'm not a snacker and evenings are not a problem for me.  I don't eat much bread.

FYI:  I have no health problems and all my "numbers," according to my recent physical reports are "optimal."  The only number I need to change is that of my weight.

Here's what I'm trying:

I have a total of 35,000 calories to get rid of by any means that works.  I can do the math.  I know what foods have what calories (I'm a food blogger and have cooked all my life!) and I know what calories are burned by my typical exercise routines.  If I wanted to buy a beautiful $35,000 car for cash, I'd have to bank the money monthly--right--until I had enough to walk in to the dealer and lay down my check. (I'm doing that actually--for a trip, not for a car.)  To lose weight, I use the same concept, but in reverse.  I START OUT WITH the 35,000 in my "bank" and I take some out each week until there's nothing left.  If God is good (and I know that's the case), I'll have lost 10 pounds.
My way.  Still eating things I like within reason.  To make things rounded off and easy, I plan to take away, subtract, lose (whatever) 4,000 calories per week for a total of 32,000 calories.  The other 3,000 or 377  per week (53 per day) will come from less fat and dairy in my regular daily diet.

The weekly goal is to take away 4,000 calories per week for a total of 32,000 calories like this:

  1. 30 minutes of low aerobic exercise (walk/light dance w/ 2 min run) a day 4 days a week (400 cal.)
  2. No cream in my coffee 6x a week (Even God rested on Sunday.) (600 cal.)
  3. No meat -2 nights a week/Cut back a bit other nights (1,000 calories)
  4. Vegetables or fruit ONLY 4 lunches per week--the lion's share (2,000 cal.)*

*Raw  salad, cooked vegetables, fruit salad, an apple with a little yogurt, etc.)


I'll let you know how it's going! I have no idea if this will work, but I'm giving it a go.  I trust my own intellect and instincts.

I'll track my intake, exercise, and weight loss on my fitness pal--a fine, free tool you might like to explore.

I'm singing a new song and would really appreciate your support,

Friday, January 18, 2013

38 Power Foods, Week 27--Soy Beans-- Three Bean Chicken Chili (With Edamame)

In the winter,  I make a big pot of chili just about every month. (If you follow my blog or are a regular reader - THANK YOU!!!! -  you know this.)  Leftovers fill the freezer for lunches or suppers before choir on Wednesday nights.  I'm happy to make chili  for supper for friends with no apologies. I make vegetarian chili, turkey-lentil chili, Texas chili (no beans), Silver Palate chili, and Ina Garten chili.  Last year I once or twice made Tuxedo Chili, a Food52 winner--simple, healthful, and quick (ground chicken/two colors of canned beans), but filling and yummy.  Mostly it's just Alyce chili--a bit or a lot different each time.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls (Old-Fashioned) and Egg-Cheese-Sausage Casserole for Brunch

My children (and the rest of my family) know that if they come for Christmas, and only at Christmas, they'll get old-fashioned cinnamon rolls baked fresh for Christmas breakfast.  Not the big sprawling gooey caramel-laden gobsters they sell at the mall; my rolls are white, light, and purely cinnamon in flavor.  A tiny drizzle of  light,  powdered sugar-milk glaze is all the topping they need.  My family also gets the standard egg-cheese-sausage casserole or strata--the same recipe my mother-in-law made (and still makes) for years.  I sometimes dream up a small variation (peppers or mushrooms on top) and one wild and wooly Christmas I made a different egg casserole all together.  Wow.  Outside the box for sure.  But what are holidays for if not for some sort of tradition (whatever kind) that seems to wear well from year to year?

Friday, January 11, 2013

38 Power Foods, Week 26 -- Green Peas -- Pea Clam Chowder

(A Repeat Post from June, 2011)

 I love oyster crackers.  Maybe it's the salt?  The crunch?  The ridges?  The memories?

Despite days of unpacking (still) and rearranging (forever) and gardening, we've still had a few cool evenings and one such night last week, I made, for the first time, one of Dave's favorite soups.  Now we've been married thirty-seven years and why I haven't made this soup before, I don't know.  If you're from the midwest, fish or seafood soups weren't terribly much part of the cooking pattern when I grew up.  Fish?  Yes.  Fresh out of the thousands of lakes and in the summer. (Though my parents froze quite a bit for great winter fish fries.)  But not fish soup.  Seafood?  A rarity.  You ate it when you went south.  Or east.  Or west.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Minnesotastrone-Big Pot Full (Minestrone Made in Minnesota)

I do love soup.  Ask anyone who knows me.  I'm never happier than when a big cauldron is bubbling away merrily on a front (or back) burner.  I like fast or slow soups.  Vegan, vegetarian, or meaty stews.  From scratch, on purpose, or fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants clean out the frig pots.

I love soup for Dave and me, for dinners with friends, or for parties.  Last week, my friend Sue was coming for supper on Friday night.  I didn't want a complicated (IS THIS or this DONE YET?) meal.  Soup was perfect; I'd have the entire evening to spend with her and Dave.  I knew I had some ham from Grandma and Grandpa, as well as two huge chicken breasts leftover from a casserole I'd made Wednesday.  At the store, a couple of beef shank bone slices with quite of bit of meat on them sealed the deal.  I'd  make minestrone.  While there's really no need to use three different kinds of meat/poultry, I did it because I had it on hand; I bought the beef to make the stock.  If you, for instance, have some pork roast or Italian sausage leftover, cut it up and throw it in.  If you only have a ham hock, forge ahead--using the hock where  I've used the beef shank slices. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chicken and Carrot Stew

Happy New Year!

While I seldom blog recipes from other places, this easy chicken stew from Bon Appétit is luscious and makes a quick change from my typical  winter beef or lamb stews.  I've made it a time or two for friends, fixing it mostly beforehand, adding the cream right before serving.  A scoop of rice and some fresh, sauteéd spinach make for a healthier and well-rounded meal and even lowers the price per serving.  However, not to fear:  this recipe uses inexpensive chicken thighs to start with.

 My kitchen is still a Christmas kitchen--tins full of cookies, crocks full of nuts.  Leftovers in the frig. Christmas dishes in the cupboard.  On and on.  I'm really still in holiday mode and am not back to a regular routine of grocery shopping, cooking, writing, blogging, choir rehearsals, etc.  It is only the tenth day of Christmas (10 Lords-a-leaping!) and I celebrate all twelve days of Christmas plus Epiphany.   Come Sunday night (January 6--Epiphany), you'll find a table full of people at my house, still decorated, come to have one last, light Christmas romp complete with games.