Category Archives: Food

Food: Menu October 17 – 23, 2016

Menu: October 17 – October 23, 2016
  • (New recipe) Tangy Pulled Chicken
  • Roasted Onions: white, yellow, purple, cippoline (Italian) with red wine & white wine vinegars (no oil)
  • Roasted Cabbage: purple & green with red wine vinegar
  • (New recipe) Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • (New recipe) Roasted Garlicky Mushrooms
  • Fruit: mandarin oranges, Granny Smith apples
  • Veggies: cucumbers peeled and soaked in balsamic vinegar,
  • Pumpkin Energy Balls
  • 1/2 cup 2% lowfat cottage cheese

Menu Commentary
Tangy Pulled Chicken
I didn’t exactly botch this so much as put in a pan far too big.  This came out dry, and extra crispy on the bottom.  No harm done.  The solution is to make sure there’s a smaller pan clean and ready.  Worth trying again.  (Probably next week)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
I’m not keen on the honey/savory combination.  This recipe calls for 2T of honey, which overpowered the tangy bits of the sauce.  Next time, no honey.

Roasted Garlicky Mushrooms
This recipe was meant for putting whole mushrooms on kebabs and cooking them on the barbecue grill.  First thing to go, parsley.  1/2 cup of olive oil?  I don’t think so.  1T brushed on the top is enough.  2 garlic cloves became 10 roasted garlic cloves.  Not bad at all, could have used just a pinch of salt.

General menu commentary
I continue to enjoy the roasted onions and cabbage with vinegar.  There’s no added oil on the onions, and 1T brushed on each head of cabbage.  Add my favorite vinegar, happy mouth and tummy.

The biggest challenge I face is how to make sense of the nutrition information based on the ingredients for any given recipe.  The uncooked serving sizes don’t come close to the reality of cooked food.  I know I will never have these calculations down perfectly, but I’m still working on figuring out a more accurate solution.

New ingredients:
None

New Tools:
None

Resources:
Clean Food Crush – Chicken
Bon Appetit
Martha Stewart
Clean Food Crush – Pumpkin Energy Balls
One Green Planet
Penzeys
7 Stillwell Pinterest Food board

Menu: October 11 – October 16, 2016

Menu:  October 11 – October 16, 2016
  • (New recipe) Tandoori-Spiced Chicken (thighs)
  • Roasted Veggies: eggplant, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms
  • Roasted Onions:  white, yellow, purple, cippoline (Italian) with red wine & white wine vinegars (no oil)
  • Roasted Cabbage:  purple & green with red wine vinegar
  • Fruit:  mandarin oranges, Granny Smith apples
  • Veggies: cherry tomatoes, cucumbers peeled and soaked in basalmic vinegar,
  • Pumpkin Energy Balls

Menu Commentary
Tandoori-Spiced Chicken (thighs)
I really enjoy this recipe. So easy to make.  Chicken is moist and mild.  Delicious!

Roasted Cabbage:  purple & green with red wine vinegar
If it weren’t for that  pesky necessity known as protein, I’m sure I could just eat these and roasted onions with vinegar all week.   Both are easy to cook.

New ingredients:
None

New Tools:
None

Resources:
Cooking Light
Bon Appetit
Martha Stewart
Clean Food Crush
Penzeys
7 Stillwell Pinterest Food board

Personal Log: September 27 – October 8, 2016

Spiralizer

Six month stats:  50 pounds lost, down two sizes, blood pressure 132/75.

Absurdly baggy snuck up on me.  In July, when  a wardrobe upgrade came due, I hadn’t realized how big my old clothes were.  I joked the next wardrobe upgrade would have to wait until my clothes were absurdly baggy again.

In general, I wear my clothes until they fall to pieces.    Three months is the shortest time between wardrobe upgrades ever.  Yet, there I was, hitching up my jeans, and looking down in astonishment to see how baggy they were.  I won’t lie and say I don’t love the new edition of me.  In my mind, I still weigh 300 pounds, but in the real world where there are mirrors, I look fabulous!  And I’m so grateful to be able to do the work which got me here.

Truly, it’s about having a healthier body, really not about the weight,   But those two go hand in hand.  Losing weight has made my body healthier, and easier to maneuver.  I can walk longer distances with little to no pain, and I can do it without losing my breath.  Huge!

The past week or so has been filled with creative energy, I thought I was going to jump right out my skin.

San Jose Museum of Art Photography Workshop - October 2016
San Jose Museum of Art Photography Workshop October 2016

In no uncertain terms, the universe told me I needed to go to the San Jose Museum of Art for a photography workshop.  My introverted nature was shocked and appalled that I would be willing to give up three hours of perfectly good alone time on a Saturday afternoon to be in a room with 15 people I didn’t know.

San Jose Museum of Art Emilio Banuelos
San Jose Museum of Art Emilio Banuelos

 

 

The reason I was meant to be there was to meet street photographer/instructor Emilio Banuelos, who treated me as a peer.  It’s the first time I’ve ever felt like my work was taken seriously by someone in a position to offer guidance and encouragement.

Emilio was someone I could nerd out with about photography, and processes.  Specifically, my process.  He stayed after the workshop and offered insight when I explained the project I’m working on, and the purpose behind it.   “Nice,” doesn’t even begin to describe how it felt to be taken seriously.  My greater fortune was finding out that Emilio teaches privately, at a rate I can easily save up for.

Spiralized Apples
Spiralized Apples

Meanwhile, on the food front, I’m committed to prepping and eating seasonally fresh produce.  Which means learning how to change my fixed ideas about the weekly menu.

I am process oriented and making sudden changes drives me right ’round a very short bend.  I am learning to pay attention to the food available, and think about my menu before shopping.  It’s really easy to fall into a routine and stop paying attention.

I managed to botch the curried chicken.  Again.  The recipe gets set aside for a few weeks while I move on to something else.  In the past, I would have given up.  Being willing to simply set it aside and come back to it later is new behavior for me.

As my relationship with food changes, so too does my attitude towards life.  I find myself more willing to try new stuff and am able to accept, from the outset, that there may be disappointment ahead.

This new attitude really showed itself when my car broke down.  It happened as I was driving to meet a friend who, quite literally, rode to my rescue.  Having someone text those three words, “on my way,” was the most comforting thing I’ve ever experienced.  It gave me such a boost.  Which made it easier to spend most of Monday in an unfamiliar neighborhood and take care of myself.

The results of this change were evident when I was able to calmly walk short distances with almost no back pain.  Listen to me.  I walked.  I walked willingly.  And nothing dread happened.

Which brings me to this:  size 22 y’all.  The jeans I bought in July are now too baggy for me.  I don’t like when my pants are baggy anymore.  No really.  Me.  I love my jeans from Torrid, and I love the way they fit.  So I ordered two pair in the next size down.

Speaking of which, exercise.  Finally!  With my wonky knee, it’s been difficult to do any kind of exercise without stressing the knee and the leg.  The resistance bands have arrived!  Me. Actually wanting to exercise.

And all because I changed my relationship with food, and began eating healthier.  I wanted a stronger body, and it’s on the way.

I must remind myself, give myself permission, to be human and make mistakes.  Even though I’ve made the commitment to exercise with my resistance bands six days a week, I know there are going to be times when I just don’t.  This doesn’t make me a bad person, it just makes me a person who every once in a while just can’t with the exercising.  Time was, if I missed a day, I just gave up.  Now I know if I miss a day, I’ll be back.

This is how I reached six months of better eating.  A plan executed one day, one meal, at a time.  The burgers still call my name.  Chocolate wants to know when we’re getting back together.  Today I make the choice not to listen.  I make the choice to eat what’s healthy and waiting for me in my refrigerator.  I did this.  No one else did.  Me.  And I like the results.

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Menu: October 2 – October 8, 2016

All prepped and ready for the week
All prepped and ready for the week

Menu:  October 2 – October 8, 2016

  • (Newish recipe) Curried Chicken with Ginger and Yogurt
  • Roasted Veggies: eggplant, onions, Penzeys Garlic Shoots, mushrooms, orange bell pepper, asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli, spiralized zucchini
  • Fruit:  red and green grapes, mandarin oranges, Granny Smith apples
  • Veggies: cherry tomatoes, cucumbers peeled and soaked in balsamic vinegar,
  • (New recipe) Roasted Onions with Vinegar
  • (New recipe) Pumpkin Energy Balls

Menu Commentary
Curried Chicken with Ginger and Yogurt
I botched it again this week. The only thing I can think is that I prepped the sauce a few days ahead, and that did something to the balance of the ingredients. 2% Greek yogurt helped some. Burying it in veggies again. Time to set the recipe aside and came back to it in a few weeks.

Pumpkin Energy Balls
I did NOT botch this recipe.  It’s basically the peanut butter energy balls I’ve been making for six months now.  To meet my dietary requirements, I removed the chocolate chips and used coconut in place of the walnuts.  But dear Hera, this is a “want to put my face in the bowl” recipe.

New ingredients:
Red Grapes
Red Wine Vinegar
Mandarin Oranges
Pureed Pumpkin

New ingredient commentary:
Why has no one told me that pumpkin is so yummy outside of pies?

It’s so good without all the spices in it.  Wow.  Yup, gonna be cookin’ with this again.

New Tools:
Roasting pan

New tool commentary:
The roasting pan isn’t really a new tool, it’s just been packed away in a box for a while. It’s a deep and big enough to set a rack and a smallish turkey in.

Resources:
Real Simple
Bon Appetit
Clean Food Crush
Penzeys
7 Stillwell Pinterest Food board

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Food: September 25 – October 1, 2016

Menu:  September 25 – October 1, 2016

  • (New recipe) Curried Chicken with Ginger and Yogurt
  • Roasted Veggies: eggplant, onions, Penzeys Garlic Shoots, mushrooms, orange bell pepper, asparagus
  • Fruit: watermelon, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries
  • Veggies: cherry tomatoes, cucumbers peeled and soaked in balsamic vinegar, broccoli
  • (New recipe) Spiralized Cinnamon Apples

Menu Commentary
Curried Chicken with Ginger and Yogurt
The habit of removing all salt and fat from a recipe finally caught up with me. Without the salt, and at least a little bit of the fat in the yogurt, this was spicy, yet bland at the same time. A little reparative salt made it much better. The next batch I make will use at least 2% fat Greek yogurt.

Overall, this was not a bad first attempt. And it goes really well with the roasted veggies.

Spiralized Cinnamon Apples
There’s a recipe I’m going to try. It involves a skillet and heat, and other yummy things. But since I was running out of time, and because the weather was hot, I didn’t do the cooking part.

What I did instead was spiral cut the apples, sprinkle fresh lemon juice and cinnamon over them, and add a tablespoon of roasted walnut pieces. Microwave for 60 seconds, and yummy!

New ingredients:
Penzeys Now Curry
Fresh Ginger

New Tools:
Box Grater
Spiralizer attachment for stand mixer

New tool commentary:
The new attachment wasn’t a complete success. I couldn’t figure out how to attach the peeler blade. After a couple of YouTube videos and many tries, I threw my hands up. Spiralizer cutting blade not so great on cucumbers.

However, I did figure out how to spiral cut three pounds of Granny Smith apples. So much fun!

Notes on preparation:
Fresh ginger is a PITA to peel and shred. But it is worth the effort.

Resources:
Real Simple
Cooking Light
Penzeys
7 Stillwell Pinterest Food board