Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Corn Chowder

This is a hearty soup that takes advantage of fresh summer corn. It's also great in the winter - you just have to substitute frozen corn for the fresh.

Ingredients:

12 ears fresh sweet yellow corn, husked and silks removed and kernels cut from cob (you can also substitute frozen corn, or use a mix of both)
1 Tbsp butter
7 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock
6 cups water
32 oz. package of frozen hash browns (the kind that are cubed potatoes with nothing in them but potatoes - you could also use about 2 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups half and half
2 - 3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
Shredded cheddar cheese, for serving (optional)

Directions:

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened and just starting to brown around edges, about 8 - 10 minutes. Add in the flour and garlic and cook 1 1/2 minutes. While whisking, slowly pour in the chicken stock and water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, then stir in corn kernels and potatoes. Add in thyme and bay leaves and season with pepper to taste. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir in half and half. Sprinkle each serving with chives and optional cheddar.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy

Monday, June 22, 2015

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

My sister-in-law brought these to a family dinner, and they were simply wonderful.

Ingredients
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all­-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened (1½ sticks)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup white chocolate chips
¾ cup chopped macadamia nuts

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

2. Cream the butter and sugars together with a mixer (stand or hand­held). Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well until just combined.

3. Add the flour mixture in batches, mixing to combine in between each batch, until all the flour is incorporated.

4. Stir in the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.

5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough for about an hour.

6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

7. Bake for 8­-10 minutes or until edges just ever so slightly browned. The centers of the cookies will look very soft and a little puffy. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few seconds, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Notes
** dough should be kept cold between batches
** dough can be chilled for up to 5 days

Recipe source -  The Chunky Chef

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Meal Plan for Week 1, Day 3 - Phase 2

Phase 2 is going to be a tough one for me. You only get to eat lean meats and vegetables.

Here is my meal plan for Wednesday, May 13. This is a Phase 2 day.

Breakfast - P2 protein, P2 veggie:
Egg white, mushroom, and aspargus omelet (not really an omelet - more like scrambled eggs - it does stick to the pan since you can't use any oil or butter, but it tastes better than it looks)

Morning Snack - P2 protein:
nitrate free turkey jerky (this was really expensive, so I probably won't buy it again)

Lunch - P2 protein, P2 veggie:
Hearty Chicken Vegetable Soup (will post recipe later); broccoli

Afternoon Snack - P2 protein:
Beef and Spinach Meatballs (will post recipe later)

Dinner - P2 protein, P2 veggie:
Leftover Pork Tenderloin, Oven-roasted Asparagus, Steamed Cabbage (just used a little vegetable broth, salt and pepper)


Meal Plan for Week 1, Day 2 - Phase 1

Here is my meal plan for Tuesday, May 12. This is a Phase 1 day.

Breakfast - P1 grain, P1 fruit: 
Eric - oatmeal with strawberries
Cindy - quinoa with strawberries

Morning Snack - P1 fruit:
orange

Lunch - P1 grain, P1 protein, P1 fruit, P1 veggie:
Grilled Pollock (seasoned with sea salt, pepper and tamari), Brown Rice, Green Beans, Strawberries

Afternoon Snack - P1 fruit:
apple

Dinner - P1 grain, P1 protein, P1 veggie:
Hearty Beef, Tomato and Mushroom Sauce on Brown Rice Pasta, Broccoli


Meal Plan for Week 1, Day 1 - Phase 1

Here is my meal plan for Monday, May 11. This is a Phase 1 day.

Breakfast - P1 grain, P1 fruit: 
Eric - oatmeal with strawberries
Cindy - quinoa with strawberries

Morning Snack - P1 fruit:
1/2 grapefruit

Lunch - P1 grain, P1 protein, P1 fruit, P1 veggie:
Grilled Pollock (seasoned with sea salt, pepper and tamari), Brown Rice, Green Beans, Strawberries

Afternoon Snack - P1 fruit:
orange

Dinner - P1 grain, P1 protein, P1 veggie:
Grilled Pork Tenderloin (seasoned with pepper, garlic, and tamari), Zucchini, Quinoa


Some useful tools for the Fast Metabolism Diet

One of the things I use daily when I'm planning for the Fast Metabolism Diet are these Phase-specific master food lists. I printed them out and keep them on the kitchen counter for quick reference, and take them with me when I go grocery shopping.

My husband created a great meal map plan in Google Sheets that we use to plan our meals and snacks, record our exercise and weight, etc.

I hope others find these tools useful as well. :)

Something a little different...

My blog posts are going to take a little different turn for a while. Let me give you the scoop. I am 45 years old, and I am struggling a little with weight gain. I've always been a pretty small person and haven't had to worry much what I ate. I'm also a pretty healthy eater overall, and I have exercised to try to keep the weight gain away. But, to no avail. For those of you who know me personally or who have read my blog for a while, you know that when I turned 40, I began running, and even ran a half-marathon. The sad thing was that during my whole running phase, I continued to gain weight even though I did not change eating habits. It got to be depressing. I've been stuck at 145 pounds (I'm 5'2") for a few months now, and can't get the weight to budge. I weigh more now than I did when I was pregnant with my son. I know that for some people, they look at me and think my weight is fine, but we all have different bodies, and mine is not where I would like it to be. I don't share these numbers with you to be judged. I'm simply documenting my journey and sharing in case it helps someone else.

My friend Paula that I teach with mentioned that she was having the same issue, and she even went to her doctor about it. Her doctor suggested that she try the Fast Metabolism Diet (a book by Haylie Pomroy). Here is a quick video overview. Take it for what it is.



Paula and her husband decided to do it together, and they have had some success. I'm not a big "diet" person, though I have done Weight Watchers twice in my life (but the weight didn't stay off, and I was always hungry and obsessed with counting calories). But, I'm desperate at this point. I don't need to lose tons of weight, but I need to shed some to feel good for myself. So, I mentioned it to Eric, my husband, and he was on board. He has actually gained 10 pounds in the last year and would like to take off a little weight. Again, for anyone who knows Eric, most think he is a beanpole, but he knows what is best for him, and at our age, neither of us want to put on unneeded extra pounds. We just want to be healthy and feel good about ourselves. So, we decided we would give Fast Metabolism a try together.

I have a couple of friends and my mom who are wanting try along with us, so I decided to share our journey on the blog. So, you will see my meal plans for the diet and I will try to share any recipes I use to make it a little easier for others who are planning. The planning and preparation of meals is the most time consuming part of this diet. You get to eat a lot of good food, but because you can only have certain foods on certain days, you really have to plan ahead. If you decide to try this "diet", be ready to give up wheat, corn, dairy, sugar and caffeine. The dairy and sugar parts are going to be the hardest for me.

Well, that's the start of my story. We'll see how it goes. It's at least worth a try for a few weeks. :)

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