Food and weight-maintenence blog for the POST diet girl

Archive for the ‘Beef’ Category

Slightly famous

I had a date tonight to go to the art museum and see a photo of yours truly up on the wall. It was a project that started right when I moved into my new place. I’m certain I mentioned it. They posted times when a photographer would be shooting pictures of anyone who wanted to be a part of the exhibit. You just showed up, got your photo taken, and left. It’s a project to convey the diversity of people who visit our art museum (which is, quite frankly, world-renowned). I loved this idea as I love getting my photo taken. So I gussied myself up, went, and had a blast. The man had to of taken 50 shots of me. I made all sorts of faces and made certain to give him a lot of variety to choose from.

Tonight I got to see the result. My picture is perfect. It is unique (I am winking in it and it seems none of the other 700 patrons did that). It is so very me. I was flattered as the shot he picked was the very first shot he took. That is generally the sign of a good model.

While we were standing in the room, other people put 2 and 2 together, look at the photo, looked at me, pointed at the photo, pointed at me…and eventually would inquire as to whether or not I am the girl in on the wall. One group even took a picture with me, of course getting the photo of me on the wall into the shot as well. I got the phrase “You’re famous!” said to me a large handful of times. It was fun.

My man and I also wandered around some of the other rooms in the museum, making up lavish stories about the characters in the paintings. The stories were so long and detailed, we didn’t get through many of them before being informed that the museum was closing. What fun! We will absolutely be back very, very soon!

Breakfast:

Long days call for boring cereal!

Lunch:

My apple here was somewhat disappointing, actually. It is VERY tart and no good for eating plain. It is a baking apple. I did not know this because I just grabbed a $1 clearance grab bag at the market and had no idea what sorts of apples were contained in it. I only ate about half of my apple.

Dinner:

I made dinner for the both of us. This was his serving.

Irish Stew with Veal, Carrots, Potato and Rutabaga

Adapted from: http://matzoandrice.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/532/

  • 1/2 pound thickly sliced bacon, diced
  • 1.5 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped, divided
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 1 large onions, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 1 cup Guinness Stout

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.
  2. Put lamb, salt, pepper, and flour in large mixing bowl. Toss to coat meat evenly. Brown meat in frying pan with bacon fat.
  3. Place meat into stock pot (leave 1/4  of fat in frying pan). Add the garlic and 1/2 yellow onion and saute till onion begins to become golden. Deglaze frying pan with 1/2 cup water and add the garlic-onion mixture to the stock pot with bacon pieces, beef stock, and sugar. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Add carrots, onions, potatoes, thyme, bay leaves,  onion, and beer to pot. Reduce heat, and simmer covered for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

*I wanted to use my crock pot, which was the whole point of making a stew. So I had to adapt this a little to use it. All I really did differently was cooked my bacon, crumbled it into the bottom of my crock pot, quickly seared the meat (not to cook it, just to brown it) and threw it into the pot along with all of the other ingredients. I added rutabaga. I also realized too late that the meat I bought was not lamb, as I wanted and as the recipe called for, but veal. They were in the same spot on the rack at the market and I didn’t read the label closely enough. Dammit. Veal did not have nearly the amount of flavour I was hoping for. So while I was good, MORE than edible, next time I would really like to use lamb.

Exercise: 7 mile walk (it was a loooooong day)

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One more chance…

PFH#1 has one more chance to win me over. I’m thinking his chances are not very good right now next to how amazing PFH#3 is.

He claimed he wanted to see me today and that he would make time for me. He ended up working all day. “Couldn’t” make time.

How is it that a man who lives 45 minutes away has more time for me than one who lives 10 minutes away?

I’m feeling far more appreciated by #3 right now. And I need to feel appreciated.

I have a date that was planned literally a month in advance with #1 this Saturday. If this falls through on his end for ANY REASON, I will be focusing all of my attention on #3.

Nicole, I know, will be happy to hear this. She has been routing for #3 since day one.

Breakfast:

Parsnip Banana Muffins Pt. 2

AB’s recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/parsnip-muffins-recipe/index.html

Ingredients

  • 1-ounce sliced almonds
  • Nonstick spray
  • 8 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt (I used 1 mashed banana instead)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces sugar
  • 10 ounces grated parsnips

Directions

Place the almonds in a single layer in a pie pan and place in oven. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the nuts until lightly toasted, approximately 20 minutes while the oven heats. Meanwhile, spray a standard 12-cup muffin tin with the nonstick spray and set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and process for 5 seconds.

Whisk the eggs, yogurt, vegetable oil, and sugar in a large mixing bowl until combined. Add the flour mixture and parsnips, and fold with a spatula until all of the flour is moistened, there will be some lumps. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups using a level 2 1/2-ounce disher or 1/3 cup measure. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with the toasted almonds. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins reach an internal temperature of 210 degrees F and are golden brown, rotating halfway through baking. If needed, use a small knife or offset spatula to loosen the muffins and immediately remove them from the tin to a cooling rack, and cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm. Store completely cooled muffins in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

*I did this all AS DIRECTED BY WEIGHT kids and I’ll tell you the fuck what, it was SO MUCH BETTER. I will be using weight from now on with my baking. I can’t even describe how much better these were than the last time I did them simply by WEIGHING the ingredients! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lunch:

I did not have lunch. Instead I went on a massive 7 mile walk around and bought some supplies. I was bored waiting for something, ANYTHING to happen today. So I went out and made my own adventure.

Dinner:

Beef Fried Rice

I made this marinade and let my “mystery meat” sit in it for 2 hours:

Taken from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/meat-marinade/

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • 1 dash onion powder

Directions

  1. Use a flat container large enough to hold meat in a single layer. Combine oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and lemon juice. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Place meat in the marinade and turn to coat both sides.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, shaking or turning meat occasionally.

I used this marinade as a sauce by adding a little cornstarch to the bag and mixing it up. I cut all of the meat into strips and threw it into a stir fry along with carrots, peas, corn and onion. Then I added some cooked brown rice and the marinade and let that heat through. The meat was SO tender!!! YES!!!! It was awesome! I’m learning a lot about meats!

 

It’s going to be a long week until Wednesday when I get to work with G again. I hope I don’t get depressed. I’m trying so hard. I will offer that he stay after he takes me home. I already know neither of us works the next day. He will refuse, but he will know the offer is there. Always. Someday he will take me up on it. I am not bluffing. I never do. If he DOES take me up on it, I may have an interesting story to tell all of you on Thursday.

Exercise: 7 mile walk

Oh how quickly things change

Just knowing that G tried to send me a message last night made me happy this morning.

Though my chances of eating a breakfast were decent, I still wasn’t feeling up to making anything. Instead, I started on a project for the day. Just something to keep me busy and keep my mind off of stupid shit for a while.

Then my day got a whole lot better really fucking fast.

First off, I sent that picture of the “Mystery Meat” to Alton Brown through Twitter with inquiries as to what cut it was and how best to cook it. I did this at about 8 AM sort of forgetting that he’s in California right now shooting stuff and to him it’s 5AM. D’oh. The chances of him seeing my message are not good. Oh well.

The friend who helped me move the couches offered to buy me lunch in an attempt to get me to eat something. I tried to turn him down knowing that he is also poor and his bank account shouldn’t suffer due to my self-negligence.  He insists. IF he’s going to insist, then I would like to try a Thai restaurant just up the street within walking distance. He says he has never tried Thai food, but is willing. (God it always BLOWS MY MIND when people tell me they’ve NEVER tried a whole GENRE of food. To someone like me, that’s like saying you’ve never tried bread.) I am very much looking forward to going.

At about 12:30, Alton answers me.

I’m sure anything labeled a “mystery” piques his interest as he is also a very curious creature. He gives me an idea to what he thinks it is and denounces the crappy labeling. I mention back to him that it was the only poorly labeled item out there and that, combined with the low price, riled up my curiosity so that I just had to purchase it.  He answers me AGAIN instructing me to braise it and get back to him about it.

So not only an instruction, but also a request to answer back to him yet again.

God. Damn.

This has quickly turned into the best day of my life.

I chat a bunch with PFH#1, who will be on his way home from NYC tonight. He sends me funny videos and we have a good time in between me working on my project and finding braising recipes. (I’ve actually never braised anything before, so I’m freaking out slightly.)

4:00 rolls around and my friend comes over. We wander over to the Thai hole-in-the-wall. I order something with tofu and, being that I know how Thai food works, order it “Thai hot, not American hot, I know what I’m doing here…I know what I’m getting myself into, and I would like it THAI HOT”. The owner is impressed that I know my food. My friend also orders his dish “Thai hot”…I realize he is trying to impress me with his adventurous spice level choice, but he does not understand how hot it is going to be. He keeps claiming that he “likes” hot food. Ok…you’re own grave buddy.

I eat mine without so much as a sniffle. It’s nice and spicy, probably could even be a little hotter. I look up at my friend and he is just POURING with sweat. I mean, I’ve never seen a man sweat so much while eating. He has to use our entire pile of napkins to wipe down his face. I can’t help but laugh loudly at his predicament. The owner comes over and looks at me and says “Well you look like you’re doing just fine! You on the other hand, sir, would you like some more water?” Holy crap I just busted out laughing. He enjoyed it, he ate every last bite. I ate a bit more than half of mine. I gave him the leftovers since he paid for it anyway, he should have them.

The entertainment was priceless.

He hangs out here for about an hour talking about geek stuff with me, then leaves so I can start making dinner. It’s going to take at least 2 hours to braise this “meat” so I have to start it soon.

Dinner:

Braised Mystery Meat (courtesy of PERSONAL AB instruction)

Braising instructions taken from: http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/braising_meats.htm

Ingredients:

4 veal shanks (Obviously I used “mystery meat”)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 and a half cups parsnips, roughly chopped
1 and a half cups turnips, roughly chopped (Used carrots and sweet potato instead)
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine 1 cup beef or veal stock
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped

Preparation:

1) Season the shanks with salt and pepper and brown them in a large skillet with the olive oil, for about 5 minutes on each side.

2) Place the shanks in a large ovenproof casserole dish with a tight fitting lid.

3) In the same skillet you browned the shanks, sauté the vegetables for about 3-4 minutes adding more olive oil if necessary. Add the garlic and tomato paste and sauté for a few minutes more, being careful not to burn the paste or the garlic.

4) Add the stock, wine, and herbs and bring to a boil.

5) Pour everything over the shanks and place the casserole dish in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes. 6) Add salt and pepper to taste at the end.

*HOLY SHIT! This was by far the best “meat’ I’ve ever made. I mean. Goddamn. It just fell apart, it looked gorgeous, it tasted fantastic, I couldn’t have been happier. I hope that my pictures are pretty enough for AB as I will be Tweeting them back to him. I want to make him proud SO badly. Food and cooking mean absolutely EVERYTHING to me. I’m hoping I’ve got his attention enough now that he will answer my questions more often seeing that I am a good cook (or I’m at least passionate and try REALLY hard) and worthy of his instruction.

Alton is probably the only person other than PFH#3 who can get me to eat.

His timing couldn’t have been more impeccable.

 

Oh, the best day ever does not end, my friends.

I get a message from, whom I affectionately call, “my girlfriend” (the girl at work that I have a crush on) late last night asking me if I can take a shift for her Friday. I am somewhat confused as I’m fairly certain I already work on Friday, but I go to check anyway. I do. BUT. It is an opening shift, she wants me to work her closing shift.

If I close, I get to work with G all night.

I tell her that I already work, but that if she needed just the EVENING off, I could TRADE shifts with her being that I’d rather work the later shift anyway. This answer pleases her. We have traded shifts for Friday. I get to work with PFH#3 and will get a ride home from him later that night where we will surely laugh loudly together and chat a while before I go inside. I am incredibly happy.

I have a good connection at my apartment now due to my brother being amazing. I can now stream episodes of Food Network Star. I stay up watching one of them.

I am INCREDIBLY happy.

I will surely eat breakfast in the morning.

 

 

I may have sold my Harley!!!

My cousin, who is one of the most amazing, strongest kids I know, has been trying to help me out for the past week without my knowledge. She’s found 2 people who are interesting in purchasing my motorcycle…including her father!! That’s right, my uncle wants to buy it! I mean, how cool is that?? I could keep it in my family! And he has NO idea how much it would help me…or maybe he does. ~_^ Which is why he wants to buy it. I adore my family!!! Also, in case he can’t afford it or whatnot, she has another friend lined up who is also very interested! My cousin, her and I are gonna be besties, I can tell.

Breakfast:

Turkey Sausage, Yellow Pepper and Mushroom Omelet with Pepperjack Cheese

This thing was MASSIVE. I did eat it all, just because I couldn’t stand the thought of wasting anything. I figured if I was really full, I could always just have a light lunch later. And that’s exactly what I did.

I spent the next few hours tearing my hair out over a project that I couldn’t get to do what I wanted. This thing was a structural nightmare. I spent 3 extra hours I would not have had to spend otherwise had everything worked out on the first try. Alas, I’m hardly ever that lucky. I feel like I wasted a LOT of time today. *sigh* It’s no wonder I’ve been freaking out over lack of time.

Lunch:

Fruit Bowl

This was just an orange, half of a huge pear and half of an equally huge apple cubed up and thrown in a bowl with a dollop of yogurt (left over from last night’s dinner) and a few dried cranberries. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve had just a fruit bowl for lunch, I’d forgotten how yummy and filling they are! It was nice and light after that HUGE breakfast, so I was quite happy!

Dinner:

Beef, Yam, Peas and Avocado on Whole Wheat Penne with Yam Sauce

Just trying to keep things simple as I’ve had a considerable lack of time today. I made a sauce out of pureed yam, milk, brown sugar, sherry, sage and nutmeg.  I sauteed beef, onion, garlic, peas, cinnamon and a little cumin, then added the sauce along with a couple extra chunks of cooked yam and avocado and let that heat through. I mixed it all together and served it with a few more cubes of avocado on top. SCORE! This was delicious! I knew I’d love it and it was nice and easy!

 

Once again I do apologize for the recent lack of real recipes to type out for you. A lot of this has really been worth sharing too, absolutely delicious, so I feel kinda bad. But really a lot of it just has to do with throwing in what YOU love together and making something amazing out of it!

I’m feeling really great about today! I’m freaking out slightly less about money due to the possibility of selling my bike. I talked to my brother best friend about me taking over his lease and having him move in here as my husband has told me that he was interested in doing this and wanted to move. I should have known better. That it was another fabrication. He has no interest in moving out at all. Of course not. So now I have to look closer at all my other options. But if I sell my bike, I’m going to be ok because I can show I have money in the bank. YES!

Exercise: 4 mile walk (I haven’t been able to do my yoga because my husband keeps waking up early…its starting to make me angry…)

Difficult times and eating disorders

I feel extremely lucky.

When I had an eating disorder, my brain wasn’t getting the right nutrients it needed to function properly. In retaliation, my brain inflicted on me a terrible depression among many other issues. I’ve always been an incredibly happy, optimistic, “never-let-anything-get-me-down” type of person. If I wasn’t smiling when I walked into my retail job, people (my co-workers, even regular customers) would immediately ask me if everything was alright. So when I became depressed and shut myself off from the world for a year, it was very apparent that something was wrong. This wasn’t me. Who was this? Who’s mind was living in the same body? Wait…was it even my BODY anymore? I wanted control…but this wasn’t even ME controlling myself now…so what’s the point? How did I let it get so bad that I once again gave up control?

Then 3 months ago I woke up and realized this was no way to live. I started eating real, nutritious foods again. I stopped worrying about calories and started focusing on good fats, protein, potassium, whole grains, vitamins and all those good things I’d been missing. I was so fucking focused on just one number and then wondered why things didn’t add up.

Now I feel absolutely AMAZING. My mind is back to my old self. I’m no longer somebody else. I am happy ALL the time, confident as hell, independent, no one but ME controls me. My body feels great. Looks great. I can take whatever life throws at me and shove it right back into its face.

List of shit I would be going through right now if I still had an eating disorder:

– Crippling depression. I would probably not be leaving the house.

– Severe self-hatred. No one could possibly hate me more than I hated me.

– Severe malnutrition.  I would have probably stopped eating entirely by now. What I would eat would probably be crap on late-night binges.

– Lack of any form of confidence. “My husband doesn’t want me. No one will ever want me. I’m ugly. I’m fat. I’m a mess. I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life.”

– Self-blame. Even though I’d been nothing but an unconditionally loving wife who stood by him through thick and thin, I would have found some way to make this affair my fault. And I would have punished myself mentally and physically for it.

This is not the person you’ve been seeing this past week.

This was the disordered me.

I’m so glad she’s gone. This ordeal would be impossible to manage if she were still here.

I am lucky I woke up when I did.

Breakfast:

Strawberry Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Walnut Syrup

Taken from:

Ingredients

    • 4 large eggs, separated
    • 2 cups ricotta cheese
    • 2/3 cup sour cream
    • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour( I used whole wheat)
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 1/2 cups whole milk (I used 2%)
  • Melted butter

Preparation

Whisk yolks, ricotta and sour cream in large bowl to blend. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in another large bowl to blend. Add flour mixture to yolk mixture and stir until combined. Stir in milk. Using electric mixer, beat whites in another large bowl on medium speed until soft peaks form. Fold beaten whites into batter. Heat griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Brush with butter. Working in batches, spoon 2 tablespoons batter onto griddle for each pancake. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with maple syrup.

-I also chopped up some strawberries and threw them in. Then I added a little vanilla extract, honey and cinnamon.

Lemon Walnut Syrup

1/3 cup Water
1.5 T Sugar
1 T Lemon Pudding/Pie Filling mix
1/2 T Lemon Juice
More water or juice as needed

Boil water. Dissolve sugar in water. Add lemon pudding mix and lemon juice and cook until thickened. Add more water to thin it out to desired consistency. Serve on top of pancakes with chopped walnuts.

*Yup. Holy crap. I didn’t get to whip the egg whites, but they still came out beautiful! They were delicious and not terrible for me! The whole wheat was a great idea, it was perfect with the lemon and strawberry! I would love to try and whip the egg whites next time, but honestly I didn’t need to. ^_^

Lunch:

Veggie Mix “Salad”

I needed something quick before going for a walk, so I microwaved some frozen peas and corn with some sliced carrots and baby spinach for about 4 minutes in a bit of water. After they were done, I drained them, added some chopped onion, Feta cheese, a little apple cider vinegar, about 1 t margarine, 1/4 t Chinese 5-spice, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  It was wonderful! Nice and light for an afternoon walk! Yum yum!

Dinner:

Apple Cheddar Meatballs with Red Wine BBQ Apple sauce

Apple Cheddar Meatballs

Adapted from: http://sweetluvininthekitchen.blogspot.com/2011/06/apple-cheddar-meatalls.html

Ingredients
1 pound ground turkey or pork (I used lean beef)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used quick-cook oats)
1 small, tart apple, such as granny smith, peeled and grated
1/2 small onion, grated
1/2 cup chopped parsley (Instead I used mint and tarragon)
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
I also added cinnamon and a pinch of ground clove

Mix all ingredients together with your hands. Mold into small balls and place on an oiled baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes, turning the meatballs halfway through.

While these were baking, I made some vegetable linguini. I was going to make couscous (next time I probably will) but I wanted the good vitamins and nutrients out of the vegetable linguini.

Red Wine BBQ Apple Sauce:

Ingredients
1/4 cup Red Wine
1/8 cup BBQ Sauce (I used a Michigan Cherry one for more fruit flavour)
1.5 T Teriyaki Sauce
A splash of Brandy
1 T Applesauce (or in my case I actually processed some extra apple chunks into mine)
1/2 small Apple, sliced
1/2 T chopped Tarragon
Pinch of Cardamom
1.5 T Brown Sugar
S&P to taste

I blended all the sauce ingredients in a processor except for the sliced apples. I poured the sauce into a pan, added the apples,  and allowed it to reduce a bit until it was the thickness I wanted. I added some baby spinach and allowed that to wilt. I took it off of the heat and poured it on top of the meatballs and vegetable linguini.

*I always enjoy my apple and meat combinations. I miss my Captain Morgan’s Tattoo rum (my husband doesn’t even like it, but drank it all one night when he was desperate), it goes SO well in apple sauces. I always try to compensate with other alcohols and it never matches the awesome spices in that particular dark rum. Otherwise, if you had nothing to compare this to, it would be really amazing hehe!

I finally called my dad today. I had to break it to him that I was getting a divorce for the same reason my mother divorced him. It was really hard for him to take. He wants to see me for dinner sometime this week. We will talk over possible money/finance issues during that time. He knows I’ll pay him back, but I doubt he’ll take my money. He doesn’t need it. He can afford to give me $400 for a deposit. And even then, he’ll get it back when I eventually move out of my apartment.

I hope to get an apartment that faces East so I can watch the sunrise. This is the only luxury I am asking for. A window to the East. I hope it isn’t too much to ask…

I like snow again

I remember being a kid and, on snow days off from school, would just play outside in the snow for hours and hours and hours. Granted, we were pretty bundled up in out little snowsuits and had somewhat of a limited mobility in them, but forts had to be dug! Snowmen had to be built! And snowballs must be thrown! I didn’t mind the cold, I hardly felt it.

When I lost too much weight last year I also lost my ability to appreciate cold weather. Ultimately, I found snow in particular to be absolutely horrid. I couldn’t see it as beautiful because I knew it would just make it wet and cold and miserable outside. I would just hole myself up in my workroom (the warmest room of the house) and let everyone else go have fun outdoors without me.

I couldn’t stand being cold. I was so tired of being cold. So very tired. I would do ANYTHING to just NOT be cold.

I didn’t think I could do it, but it turns out that my desire to be warm eventually trumped my desire to stay overly thin. That’s HOW MUCH I abhorred the cold.

I enjoy being outside in the cold again! I see the snow as beautiful again and enjoy watching it fall! How I’ve missed genuinely loving the differences in the seasons! I feel so good today!

Breakfast:

Couscous and Banana Hot Cereal

Taken from: http://pedalpressure.blogspot.com/

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cup whole milk (I like MOO milk especially but Organic Valley is also a great choice)
1 cup whole wheat couscous (buy in bulk if possible, but packaged should work ok)
~8 cardamon pods (break open and grind the seeds, use 1-3 more if pods are older, dried can work too)
2 pinches of cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt (use coarse crystals and grind with cardamon for best result)
1/2 cup brown sugar (use less if you do not have a strong sweet tooth, white sugar will work too, just use less)
2 ripe bananas, sliced
Orange rind (scrape as much or little as you like but not more than 2 teaspoons)
Optional:
1tsp vanilla/banana extract
Fresh fruit for topping
Ground chocolate for topping (Taza Chocolate works great if you can get it)

Preperation:
Combine milk and sugar and heat on medium-high in a wide saucepan, stirring frequently until just boiling. Turn down heat, adding salt, spices, orange rind, and couscous stir and simmer for 30 seconds or so. Remove from heat and let sit until thick. Add extra milk as needed and fluff with sliced bananas. Add fruit or chocolate and serve hot or chilled.

*CHANGES: I used 1 T of honey instead of sugar and only had regular couscous instead of whole wheat. I did use the vanilla and did not have any orange zest unfortunately. I also added a couple dollops of greek yogurt and mixed them in. I added a small handful of chopped walnuts and drizzled just a little more honey on top.

I really really wanted quinoa this morning, but didn’t have any. I decided couscous would be an ok substitute for now and found this super healthy recipe! I was incredibly happy with it, because I wanted to use some fruit, but once again didn’t want anything packed with sugar (for some weird reason). The sun is out and I feel good! I’m glad my stomach at least seems to want SOMETHING today.

Lunch:

Chicken and White Bean Soup

1.5 cups Chicken Stock
1 T Olive Oil
4 oz Chicken, cut into cubes
1/4 small Onion, chopped
1 Carrot, shredded
1 clove Garlic, minced or grated
1/4 cup Celery, cut into small pieces
1/4 small Tomato, chopped
3/4 cup White Beans, divided
Fresh chopped Parsley
Fresh chopped Rosemary

Add 1/2 T or so to a saucepan. Throw in the chicken, but don’t stir it. Allow it to brown for a minute and get nice and crusty at the bottom of the pan. Flip the pieces of chicken over and throw in a bit more oil. Add the chopped onion. Go ahead and start stirring everything together and allow onions to cook and the chicken to cook the rest of the way. Add the garlic and allow to cook for about 30 more seconds. Add the chicken stock. Be sure to stir up all the nice browned pieces at the bottom of the pan. Add shredded carrot, celery and tomato. Allow to cook on medium heat for another 5 minutes or so. Puree about 1/2 cup of the cooked or canned white beans (I used canned) and add it to the pot along with the parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper. Allow it to cook for another 5 minutes. Add the last 1/4 cup of beans and heat through. Serve immediately!

*I’ve not done much cooking with meat that has actual fat in it. I bought boneless skinless chicken thighs on a sale and though I do cut off most of the fat, there’s some I just can’t get to. I was AMAZED at how it sticks and caramelizes at the bottom with a bit of oil! It was SO GOOD! I was worried for a minute that it might burn, but adding a little extra while cooking the onions helped with that! It made for such a beautiful color and caramel flavour! I mean, REALLY impressive! You’ll love this!

Dinner:

Beef Stroganoff and Steamed Broccoli

Taken from: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/hamburger_stroganoff/

You can substitute the sour cream and lemon juice for a cup of full-fat plain yogurt (room temperature). Do not allow to boil. (I took this suggestion since I was out of sour cream, I still used the lemon juice.)

Ingredients

  • Butter
  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms (can substitute button mushrooms), sliced
  • 1/3 cup of dry sherry, dry white wine, or water
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley, loosely packed
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika or more to taste
  • 8 ounces egg noodles

Method

1 Put a large pot of salted water (1 teaspoon salt for every quart of water) on to heat, for the pasta.

 

2 Heat a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in the pan and swirl it around. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan generously with salt. Working in batches as not to crowd the meat (crowding it will make it hard to brown), break up the ground beef and add it to the pan. Sprinkle the meat with salt. Do not stir the meat, as stirring will prevent browning. Once the meat is well browned on one side (a couple minutes, depending on how hot the pan), use tongs or a fork or a metal spatula to flip to the other side. Once that side is browned as well, use a slotted spoon to remove from the pan and set aside. Continue to brown the meat in batches, adding a teaspoon of butter to the pan with each batch if needed, and salting the pan and the meat, until it is all browned. Remove meat from pan. Drain excess fat from pan.

3 Lower the heat to medium. Add the onions to the pan. If you are working with very lean meat, you may not have any residual fat in the pan. If this is the case, you’ll want to add in a tablespoon of olive oil or butter to the pan. Cook the onions, scraping up the meat drippings, until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove onions from the pan (add to the meat).

4 Depending on the cooking times of your particular brand of pasta, this is likely a good time to add the pasta to the (should be now) boiling, salted water.

 

5 While the pasta is cooking, add a tablespoon of butter to the pan, increase the heat to medium high. Add the sliced mushrooms. Sauté until nicely browned (about 4 minutes). Add the sherry (or dry white wine or water) to the pan to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Let the sherry reduce by at least a half, then lower the heat to low.

 

6 Remove the pan from the heat. Mix in the sour cream and paprika until smooth. Return the pan to very low heat, and not let the sour cream boil (or it may curdle). You may add a few tablespoons of water to the mixture to thin it out a bit at any time. Stir in the lemon juice, and about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of salt (taste). Stir in the meat and onions. Stir in the chopped parsley. Add more salt, pepper, and/or paprika to taste.

7 Keep the stroganoff on warm heat until the noodles are done cooking. When the noodles are ready (al dente) drain.

Serve the stroganoff on top of egg noodles. Serves 4.

*WONDERFUL! The sherry in this gave it a kickass sweetness! REALLY good! I felt the need to kind of treat myself tonight, so this was beautiful, creamy and amazing!

 

I’ve not had a very good day. My husband has been going out every night and though I normally wouldn’t mind as I love to have the house to myself, it was starting to be an indication that something was wrong. So I asked him if everything was ok. Apparently not. But it’s also apparently not my fault. You know, an “It’s not you, it’s me” bullshit explanation. I don’t want to get too far into it, but everything is going to be fine. He obviously has not thought this through whatsoever and will soon discover that he is being a complete and utter idiot. He always does.

I am sad though.

But you know what I DIDN’T do?

I didn’t eat my problems away. I didn’t go on a binge.

I talked myself out of that as soon as he left for the afternoon. I KNOW that it won’t make me happy. I used to THINK that it would. And it won’t. It won’t solve anything and it won’t cure my problems. It will make me sick. I will then feel as physically bad as I will mentally. So instead, I went for a healthy dinner with super lean beef, used greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and a side of steamed broccoli. SO good and good for me!

So instead of feeling even more like shit about myself, I feel great. I’m high in spirits. I know I’m amazing. I’m an amazing person, an amazing wife and an amazing friend. I’m beautiful, smart, talented and fun to be around. And if someone else doesn’t acknowledge that, they’re wrong. They don’t deserve me.

I’m so very proud of myself.

Things are going to be ok.

Exercise: 1/2 hour of yoga (with new ankle-strengthening poses!), 1.5 hours at the gym (I can’t go back tomorrow, my ankle hurts too much)

RED DAY!!!

I got my period today!!!!

FINALLY!!!

In celebration of my womanly parts all functioning properly again after a birth control pill mishap 2 months ago, as promised, I will eat RED food all day!!!

ALSO: I weighed myself.

143 lbs.

EXACTLY in the middle of what I thought it would be. (140-145lbs).

It’s going to be a really great day!

Breakfast:


Red Velvet Waffles

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Cake Flour (I used half cake flour half AP because I ran out of cake flour)
1/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Tablespoon Sugar (I used the recipe equivalent of 1 1/4 cups sugar)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Tablespoon Red Food Coloring
1 Teaspoon Cider or White Balsamic Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
6 Tablespoons Melted Butter (I used oil)
1 1/2 Cups Milk
3 Eggs, Separated
preparation
Sift together the dry ingredients into a large bowl, In another bowl whisk together the Egg Yolks, Food Coloring, Vanilla, Milk, Melted Butter and Vinegar. With a few brisk strokes mix the Egg mixture to the dry ingredients (the mixture should have small lumps and pebbles) Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry and with a spatula incorporate them into the batter without losing their loft. Cook according to the manufacturers instructions in a waffle iron. Serve with warm Maple Syrup.

*LOVED these!!! I did not use quite enough red food coloring, I don’t know how I screwed that up…you can tell that they are red, but BARELY. Ah well, they tasted great!!!! It’s my first chocolate breakfast! It was a celebration day, so I didn’t mind sort of upping the sugar a bit (as some other recipes suggested). I used a Smucker’s Strawberry syrup to sort of save time, I was hungry! It’s ok, it tastes sort of like jam though without the chunks of strawberry. I like my homemade syrup better. Otherwise these were totally worth me breaking my week-long healthy eating streak! ^_^ CELEBRATIONS ALL AROUND!

Lunch:

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

Taken from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-tomato-basil-soup-recipe/index.html

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 quart chicken stock or water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

*I roasted my tomato (1 small one that I just cut in half) directly on the open flame of my stovetop. Heck of a lot quicker! Got a nice char on the outside of them then chopped them up and threw them into the pot (that I had already sauteed my onion and garlic in) with 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes and about 1 cup water, some salt and pepper, and I threw in a dried red chili pepper for a bit of extra heat. I let it simmer for about half an hour or so, I honestly didn’t pay super close attention. Then I threw in the rest of the spices and tossed it all into the blender. I didn’t puree it too smoothy, I like chunky soups sometimes. Roasting the tomatoes was a GREAT idea!!! I never knew the difference a nice char can make in flavour! YAY!

Dinner:

Red Wine Steak with Garlic Potatoes

For the marinade: http://providentpotato.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/shoulder-cuts-and-the-art-of-tenderizing-with-marinades/

Taken from:

3/4 cup reasonably fresh red wine (if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t marinate with it.)

2 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP Worcestershire (or 1 teaspoon of brown sugar or honey)

4 cloves of garlic, minced

Approximately 1 TBSP fresh thyme, minced (1 teaspoon dried)\

Approximately 2 TBSP fresh oregano, minced (1 TBSP dried)

7 good cranks of freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon table salt

Wisk the ingredients together, then add jaccarded meat to the mix.  Let the steak marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours, but no more than 24.

Garlic Potatoes

Taken from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/creamy-garlic-mashed-potatoes-recipe/index.html

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 16 fluid ounces (2 cups) half-and-half
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 ounces grated Parmesan

Directions

Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan, add the salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.

Heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture and Parmesan; stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.

*Good old fashioned meat and potatoes! My southern grandparents would be proud! I cooked my steak as directed out on the grill after it marinaded for about 4 hours. The steak itself wasn’t of the best or freshest quality (as I had frozen it a long time ago), but grilling it was a good option to force some extra flavour in there. ^_^ I made the potatoes as directed but added a bit of margarine as well. I sauteed a little onion and some sliced mushrooms and then added the marinade to the pan along with a pinch of allspice. I allowed that to cook together for a little while and added just a little cornstarch to thicken it up to more of a gravy consistency. Then put most of this on top of my potatoes and a little of the gravy on the steak. This was fantastic! If the steak were a better cut, I would have thought I was eating in a restaurant!

 

This concludes my red food celebration day! Don’t be shy, let me know what your favorite red food is and how you like it prepared!

OH also I was invited to a party in the later hours of the night and had a nice glass of wine there as well, RED wine of course!!! ^_^ I also had 2 Airheads for a mid-day snack (left over from the treacherous car ride 1 week ago), but all in all still did really well with my food today I think!

Exercise: 1/2 hour of yoga, 1.5 hours at the gym (a difficult one though, I don’t think I had any protein packed food for either breakfast or lunch so it was hard to keep my heart rate up)