May 23, 2012

Memorial Day Menu!

So yesterday I mentioned that we were shedding for the wedding. But now, Memorial Day weekend is only a few short work days away.... and cookouts are always a hard thing to navigate when watching what you are eating! I mean there is all the temptation, "sure I'll have another 350 calorie hot dog,they are so small!" or that pasta salad that is calling your name. This year I decided that to avoid this, I would make a healthy but tasty menu everyone can enjoy, (most recipes I find are on btw) Diet or no diet. Plus the boys can grill up some full fat patty's if they like. So here's what I'm planning:

Avocado and corn salsa
1 medium size Avocado
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I prefer plum tomatoes they hold up well)
1/4 cup (little less if you don't love onion) red onion
2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp cilantro- rough chopped.

This is easy to make, dice the tomatoes and avocado and onion (I use my tiny chop chop for the onion to make sure its small...I am not a good "dicer"), mix with corn, lime juice, salt and cilantro. Refrigerate at least 3 hrs prior to serving. Yum!

Caprese Skewers:
Totally easy, I get the tiny mozzarella balls
Skewer with grape tomatoes and slivers of basil
Drizzle with balsamic glaze (found in the salad dressing aisle)

Buffalo Chicken Dip
You can find this recipe searching on my blog. I mentioned back during Superbowl. It can be done hot or cold so we will do the cold version. Basically you take LF cream cheese mix it with pulled buffalo chicken yum yum, add some hot sauce and call it a day!

My fav part are the sides!!

Regular Tossed Garden Salad- with all the goodies!

Chick Pea and Cilantro Salad- I LOVE cilantro FYI
2 cans of garbanzo beans, drained and washed and dried
4 cups, loosely packed spinach
1 cup cilantro
1/2 small onion
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated on a micro plane
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 cup olive oil

Chop the spinach very finely. Add the chickpeas, onion, and spinach to a large bowl.  In a food processor or small chop chop :) add the lime juice, cilantro, sugar, mustard, garlic, chili powder, and olive oil. Process til it comes together into a dressing, about 30-45 seconds. Pour over the chickpea mixture and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for about 10 minutes on the counter or overnight in the fridge to let the flavors  become friends!

The Main Event

Shrimp Skewers
This recipe I got from my amazing friend Mox. We made them least year for Fiance's bday bash and they were soooo good! Juicy, tasty, and healthy! She also notes that the KEY to these are that they marinate overnight!

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tomato sauce * use a good marinara!
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh basil
1.2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp (The market near us has "recipe" shrimp so they are already peeled, deveined and all the gross stuff is done!)
Skewers (remember to soak these for 15 minutes before you thread the shrimp on so they don't burn on the grill!)

*I like to add a little  bit of red pepper flakes*

In a large bowl, stir together the garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce, and red wine vinegar. Season with basil, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add shrimp to the bowl, and stir until evenly coated. Cover, and refrigerate overnight (if you don't have time or forget to do that, its ok to marinate for 30 minutes to an hour stirring once)                
Before you grill: Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard marinade. Lightly spray grill with non-stick spray, or use a seafood cage to cook on grill.1-2 minutes each side. These are SO good!!

Other LF menu additions: Hebrew National low fat dogs, whole wheat buns and veggie patties.

Of course, the guys are still going to want the good stuff, so we have some burgers and dogs for them...but shhhhhh.... the cheese will be LF.

Have a Happy Holiday Weekend :)

May 22, 2012

Shedding for the Wedding

So your wedding is around the corner and you want to shed a few lbs? I did. I promised myself I would lose 40 lbs. before my wedding day two years ago. “Forty pounds no biggie, I have over 2 years to lose it! I could do two lbs. a month and be good!” Ya, somewhere between the cake tasting and the afternoons spent with the caterer, I realized that a year and a half had passed and I hadn’t moved a pound on the scale—in the right direction.

Losing weight is hard enough, add to the recipe (no pun intended) stress, lots of pressure, lots of celebratory drinks and cakes, a full time job of wedding planning on top of the day to day stuff- it can be difficult. If you are like me, add to it a thyroid problem and a hefty schedule of not-your-own wedding related events (other people’s showers etc) and a fiance that loves pizza and beer—it can be extremely difficult.

Months ago I decided to exercise more and start eating less . I felt better on the inside, I had more energy and felt like I should weigh 102 lbs…but when all was said and done I hadn’t lost a pound. When I hit my “100 days“ to my wedding mark, I decided to really kick it up a notch. I asked my fiancĂ© for his support and started on the 17 day diet. It hasn’t been easy, and I haven’t weighed myself to see what (if anything) I have lost. But my fiancĂ© has lost 6 lbs and we feel better. Not to mention, I feel like we could go back to our old “foods” and eat them in a more moderate way (side note: I’ve always eaten pretty healthy just TOO much).

Basically Dr. Mike’s 17 day diet is this: two servings of probiotic a day, lean meats, some fish, and lots and lots of veggies + fruit before 2 pm. It’s all about calorie cycling, so you change your caloric intake and foods every 17 days.

The first week we stuck to it pretty strictly. I will provide our week one menu below. Then we went ahead and had a “cheat” weekend (more on that later) and this week we are back to it, with some “moderations” (again more on that below).

Ok so here’s the deal—I downloaded the 17 day book, but I found most of my help on blogs regarding the diet. I don't really feel deprived and I'm not really craving carbs, I just want to be able to have more variety-- so we have cheated a bit adding avacado and having a bit of cous cous on Sunday night (rounding out a cheating weekend)...but I have made better choices: IE no bun on Saturday with my sandwich!

**Disclaimer: I do not recommend doing this diet without first checking with your Dr. and we HAVE moderated it a bit- so please if you are a 17 day dieter, don’t judge--by day 5 I needed a half a glass of red wine

Week 1 Menu:

So as I said, basically for week 1 you eat only veggies, protein, and two servings of probiotic. Since I basically eat the same thing all week, I did the first three days.

Day 1:

B-  ¼ cup Cottage Cheese, ½ granny smith apple
L- Super salad (they talk about this in the book, its basically loading a salad w veggies)- lettuce, green pepper, red pepper, LF cheese 2 tbsp, grilled chicken, hotties, tomatoes, onions, celery-etc
Snack- Orange (before 2 pm)
D- Grilled Chicken and Roasted Zucchini and mashed cauliflower (really easy to do! And once you are back “on” carbs you could easily add ONE baked potato and do the rest with cauli!)
Snack: Plain Greek yogurt, drizzle of honey

Day 2:

L- Chicken Vegetable soup- homemade. 1 box of low sodium Swanson broth, 2 cut up carrots, 2 cut up celery, ½ cup of chicken, as much onion cut up to taste, ¼ cup cut up mushrooms
D- “Taco” salad. Lettuce, tomatoes, chicken, lf sour cream, salsa. I also made a side of "slaw" basically coleslaw mix with some cilantro, and some olive oil for a dressing.

Day 3:
L- Super Salad again with homemade tomato soup (diet approved, so easy: take one can of diced tomatoes with basil and oregano- put it in a blender, and mix it with 2 tbsp of plain Greek yogurt!)
Snack- Cottage Cheese and Granny smith apple
D- “eggplant parm” (recipe to follow)
Snack- Cottage Cheese, plain with Pepper

By Day 4 we had to go out to eat, we had grilled buffalo chicken salads at our fav pizza and calzone place, Angelo’s. It was pretty delisc. I did stare down the kid with the penne pink vodka at the table next to me—but in reality, I wasn’t really craving a carb.

Eggplant parm on the 17 day diet is a sham. Ok, it is decent, but still. I read one blogger who said her husband from New Jersey said it was the best he had. I’m not sure where in New Jersey he is from but it must be a town in Kansas called New Jersey…because honestly, its filling and its edible and tastes goodish but it isn’t any eggplant parm form Luigi’s.

Here is the recipe:

¼ cup egg whites

¼ cup non-fat parm cheese (the only non-fat parm cheese I could find was the grated kind in the plastic can)

Cut the eggplant into ¼” rounds. You can’t get the excess water out with salt (sodium content) so try to leave them out with a plate on top to get it out.

Dip the rounds into egg white, then parm chese.

Bake for 25- 30  minutes. (I baked it on 375 and guessed). FLIP ONCE (really important I forgot to do this)
Top with LF marinara (I made my own, since most sites mention using low sugar, low fat marinara and obvi they don’t know this can be achieved through making your own very easily). and a Bit of LF cheese, and put back in the oven for 2-3 min. Serve with a side salad.

The other recipe I tried and failed at was a cauliflower pizza crust.. It came out eggy and weird… and thick and kind of mushy and gross. I feel that other people got it to come out crunchy.

I can’t figure it out…. If someone does, please let me know- I followed the recipe to a T

Our “cheat day” aka the downfall. Let’s just say we had a wedding so we called it our cheat day. Earlier in the day I heated up a Kayem Chicken Dog (ok on the diet…I think) and some roasted zucchini I had leftover. TJ wanted to really “do it up” on cheat day so he made a box of kraft mac n cheese. I reluctantly (OK... not so reluctantly) took a scoop full. It was the worst decision. I told my friend Mox about the scene at our house and she reminded me of the scene in Sex and the City when they both eat something bad and fight for the bathroom. It was THE WORST. We went sweaty and sick to our stomach to the wedding- where we didn’t cheat so bad, except with a trip to the dessert table and a bad case of drunk MnM eating.

So this week we are back on track.

Our dinners this week have been:
Taco Salad, with ground chicken with fajita spices, and tomatoes, LF sour cream and salsa
And Tuna wraps…

Lunches have been cottage cheese. I did cheat and have some avocado!! Avocado you are my weakness L

So far, I haven’t weighed in, but I do feel better. My skin looks healthier and my hair is looking better too….I won’t weigh in until after memorial day weekend…See my next post for healthy BBQ fare J