Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chugging Along

Hey ya'll... sorry for the absence again...I've been busy! But busy cooking and busy losing weight!

I decided to begin weighing myself only one day a week (Fridays) because I was getting obsessive about stepping on the scale and I fully know that isn't good or accurate at all. I've been around the dieting block one too many time to think that's a good idea. Still, when you feel your clothes getting looser, you get too excited.

Like this morning. It's Thursday and I know I should wait until tomorrow morning, but I couldn't help it. My pjs felt so big so I hopped on.

Down 1.5 lbs since last Friday. :) I am so happy the weight is finally moving again and I'm not playing with the same 3-4 lbs I have been for the past 2 months it seems.

So I am officially down 16.5 lbs since starting in mid September with 25.5 to go. 115 lbs is my goal, but to be honest, I will be thrilled when I hit 125 and 120. I'm hoping by being really strict and not cheating with things like Qdoba (white "food" and lots of oil I am sure) it will really push my weight loss again.

I've made a few more recipes from Appetite for Reduction, but was too lazy to take photos so I will just review those later, maybe during nap time this afternoon assuming my 17 month old (btw, how the eff did THAT happen!?) sleeps well. I also went to the first official meeting at Whole Foods for their Engine 2 28 day challenge. So far it seems quite similar to McDougall so I am following along with them to keep me motivated. I think of it like a McDougall meeting a la Weight Watchers style. ;) It's every Tuesday, for the next 4 weeks, for about an hour at Whole Foods here. They give you tips and such and cook so we even got McDougall legal snacks. Do you know how long it's been since I've had someone else cook for me where I was sure it was 100% legal for me to it? It felt nice!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach

I can't really post the whole recipe here, but I will tell you about it and give you some mouthwatering pictures. Then you can go grab the book, Appetite for Reduction, and make it!

Anyway, as you know, I got this cookbook last week and it took me forever to decide what to make first. Honestly, I'd flip through and get a little overwhelmed b/c on every page there was something that I "had to make". Can't really complain about that, though!

So I decided to make this last night since it was the weekend and I had a little more time to deal with something new like this. But it honestly wasn't tough at all.

It sounded soooo good even though I am not the biggest fan of tofu or cauliflower. I try not to eat a ton of soy products, but will allow myself the occasional tofu or soy milk treat, if it's organic. I just don't tend to cook with tofu a lot for that reason, plus the fact that it never tastes good when I make it. Let's face it...tofu is good fried/coated in oil in things like Pad Thai.

Anyway, first thing I learned? I LOVE roasted cauliflower. Seriously, the first thing you do is roast some cauliflower (I just baked cut up cauliflower at 400 degrees for about 15 min. on each "side". I did use a spray of PAM and some salt....) and let me tell you..I could have eaten the entire tray before I added to the tofu ricotta mixture. It was so good! So that's my new snack!

This recipe uses fresh spinach leaves, which I prefer to the other spinach lasagnas I've made b/c I hate dealing with frozen (soggy!) spinach. I forgot to chop the leaves first, like instructed, and just dumped them on. It still worked and took out a step. Score!

I think I was a little short on cauliflower this time so next time I will be sure to use a bit more, but otherwise this was pure perfection. Oh, I also used brown rice lasagna noodles instead of whole what or white. I'm a huge brown rice pasta fan. Tastes more like white, while still being healthier to eat. I don't normally eat spinach or cauliflower on a daily, or even weekly, basis so this was a good change in terms of veggies!

*The recipe does call for olives on top, which when following the max weight loss plan for Dr. McDougall should be avoided, but it was 1/4 cup over the entire recipe. I decided to splurge on a few grams of fat in a whole form like olives. I did leave out oil, except for a spray or two for roasting.*

roasted cauli lasagna

Recipe: Peanut Butter & Banana Pancakes

Since I am trying to stick mostly do Dr. McDougall's Maximum Weight Loss Program I avoid nuts/seeds/avocado, etc. to stay very low fat, but my toddler could use those things so I will post recipes that are, technically McDougall legal (though I do use vegan/soy free "butter" for him which is NOT McDougall legal on ANY of his programs), but I may not eat. But this was a hit with the picky toddler of this house!

I made up a batch and froze them in packages of 3 for quick and easy breakfasts and snacks.

Peanut Butter & Banana Pancakes

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 small, ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 TB smooth peanut butter (be sure to get the kind without trans fat, etc.)
1 cup fortified vanilla non dairy milk (I used original almond milk and added about 1/4-1/2tsp vanilla)

In a medium bowl combine flour and baking powder.
In a separate bowl cream together banana and peanut butter; stir in milk.
Pour banana mixture into flour and stir until well combined.

Use non stick spray (NOT McDougall) or veg butter (NOT McDougall) in a pan and drop spoonfuls into pan, cooking on both sides until cooked through.

From "Raising Vegetarian Children"

*I decided to take photos for things after I had packed up most of them, so this is just what is left of the baby's picking...not super pretty. ha*

pb banana pcakes

Recipe: Mushroom Barley Soup

I love mushrooms. Love them. Mushrooms + Soup? Heaven!

I've made this recipe a few times over the last couple weeks and my, very meat eater friendly, husband asked for more the first time and then about a week later asked for me to make it again. Even the picky toddler likes this.

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. ground mustard powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained (or 1-16 oz. can drained and rinsed)
2 pinches ground cumin
2 pinches paprika
2 pinches dried thyme
1 pinch dried rosemary
1 pinch dried oregano
1 pinch ground coriander
8 cups water
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh is best!)
2 veggie bullion cubes
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 cup pearled barley
2 packages mushrooms (I use one regular and one baby portobello), diced

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and mustard seeds, sauté until nicely browned, using a little water or veggie broth to keep from burning.

Add the garlic and stir until fragrant (about 1 minute).

Add in the chickpeas, spices and 2 cups of water and de-glaze the bottom of the pan.

With a potato masher or immersion blender, puree until it is mostly smooth (some whole beans and pieces of onion are fine).

Add the remaining 6 cups of water, and all other ingredients, and bring to a simmer for 30-40 minutes until the barley is cooked.

***On a personal note, as a professional photographer, I think a blog without pictures is just not I am making it a goal to photograph the recipes I make from now on. Hold me to it! ***

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Staying Strong

Why is it so easy to cave? It's like I am another person in that moment and I think, "It's fine, this one meal isn't going to make or break my success with weight loss...". But it IS. Because it's a downward spiral. And while I might be able to have some goodies in the future and then go right back to eating healthy, it's not something I can handle right now.

Last night I got a text from my husband on his way home from work. I missed his first call and his text said something like "if you want sushi answer your phone". I immediately assumed he was stopping at Miyako, our favorite place and where we can easily drop $75, and panicked.

I wanted their sushi. It's like crack. Who could say no to that???

I called him right away preparing to throw it all out the window. I've been working so hard this week. I made all the recipes I planned to, got a new cookbook (more about that later), and was dedicating myself to this journey. Was I ready to throw that out the window for one meal? Unfortunately, yes.

Until I talked to him and realized he was not at Miyako, but WHOLE FOODS! For a moment I was actually really disappointed, but then thankful. He was buying me brown rice, veggie sushi. I can totally eat that and not feel guilty!


But I learned something. I cannot be tempted right now. Because I will cave. And I need to stay strong.

Okay, back to that cookbook I mentioned above. I am a new fan of Isa Chandra Moskowitz. She's all sorts of awesome! You can check out her website/blog here at Post Punk Kitchen. She follows a vegan diet and everything she cooks is vegan, but she does tend to use a lot of added oil which is not healthy. Vegan junk food is still junk food, remember!

But...her newest cookbook, Appetite for Reduction, is chock full of amazingly yummy looking vegan recipes that are lower in fat. Still a bit high for McDougall, but you can easily make them McDougall legal by simply omitting the teaspoon of oil she directs you to saute in or things like that. No big deal at all. The recipes look outstanding. I've picked out a few to make after we go shopping tonight and I will report back. Anyway, then I learned that her diagnosis of PCOS spurred her to write a lower fat cookbook. Since I also have PCOS it's so nice to get away from the typical (and less than stellar) recommendation to avoid all carbs, eat tons of protein, etc. Coincidence that the only way I've been able to ovulate on my own, and almost to the month no less, in practically my entire life is since I started a low fat, plant (starch) based diet? I think not!

I also just got the book Raising Vegetarian Children. The author uses the term vegetarian = vegan, so it's a great resource for us and our toddler!

I've been really bad about stepping on the scale almost every day, which, as a serial dieter my entire life I have been told over and over again is bad and I know it, so I'm going to pick one day a week to weigh in and stick to it. However, even with my recent up and down week after week of the same few lbs I have gone from 157-158 over the summer to currently sitting at 143. My "big goal" that I think I'm going to feel comfortable with is 115, but right now my goals are to hit 130 and then 120.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

McDougall-y Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie

1st Layer

  • 1medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 rinsed and drained chick peas
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup

2nd Layer

  • 1 package frozen veggie mix (carrot, pea, green bean, corn, lima bean..)
  • 1 package frozen, cut okra (you can use whatever mixture of veggies you like really)

3rd Layer

  • 3-4 cups mashed potatoes (prepared with rice milk and or veggie broth, etc.)

In a large skillet, over medium heat, saute onions and garlic in water or veg broth for 5 min. Add chick peas,salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, and ketchup. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare mashed potatoes while sauce simmers.

Layer a casserole dish with sauce on bottom, frozen veggies in the middle, and potatoes on top. (You want to cover all the veggies with the potatoes and really pack them in so they can steam) Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Could I be any more sporadic with this freakin' thing? Um, no. But that's one of my resolutions I just decided. (yup, just now).

See, the thing is I have been "McDougalling", as I like to call it, since I got home from our New Orleans trip September 11, 2010. I've lost about 12 lbs since then and by most "safe" standards of weight loss this is still good. Especially when you don't have a ton to lose (I'd like to lose about 25 more) and have PCOS which "they say" makes weight loss super hard. (Not sure whether I truly believe that or not, but it seems to be consistent finding among PCOSers). Anyway, 12 lbs in 3 1/2 months isn't bad, but I know it could be better. Why?

Because, I will be honest, I cheat. I sabatoge myself and I don't know why, but I do. My only non vegan cheat is sushi from our favorite place (probably 5-7 times since Sept.) but I do a lot of vegan compliance yet McDougall cheating in terms of Qdoba veggie burritos, pizza without cheese, etc. It's really not cool. And I am done with it.

When I cheat, I always go back to some hard core McDougalling and lbs FALL off. Imagine what would happen if I was consistent and stayed there?! I probably would have double the weight loss right now.

But I won't dwell on the past. It is what it is. I freaking love this way of eating. I don't cheat because I feel restricted. I was cheating because I was being lazy. Too lazy to make something healthy that I loved, too lazy to say no to my favorite things, just lazy. It's really funny that the things I miss the least are meat and dairy. That is so easy to do without. It's the added fat and the refined carbs in things like Qdoba burritos. And it's sheer laziness because I know I can make the exact same thing at home over some brown rice - it just takes some planning. And when my husband calls, passing Qdoba, on his way home from work and I am tired from entertaining a 16 month old all day, it's EASY to say, "please get me a veggie burrito". And he's so nice in that he does anything I ask for, that he does. And if I tell him to say "no" to me, let's be honest, that doesn't put a guy in a good spot. And it's not his job to make sure I stick to a healthy eating plan. It's mine.

Recently a fire of sorts (ironically enough, not really anything to do with the new year, my feeling is if you are going to change, why wait til Jan 1???? It's just a date) has been lit under my ass. I want to show the world how easy and simple this is. Because it truly is.

Oh, another thing that has kicked my ass into gear is my Whole Foods. They started an Engine 2 (similar diet plan to McDougall) challenge for the employees and customers who want to participate. Every Tuesday evening they are holding cooking/info classes based on the E2 diet. I hadn't planned on signing up since I already McDougall (and driving 20 min. each way to be somewhere from 6:30-8 at night is less than appealing), but while shopping this week one of my fav. employees there was wearing the button about it and so we began talking about. She got me (and my mom, though she's already cheating! ha) to sign up, so I'm excited for that little extra (and free!) oomph!

I've been trying to plan my recipes a lot more and having been doing a lot more cooking. Right now gumbo (recipe is posted on her) is simmering on my stove for dinner. :) I just ordered this cookbook which comes with rave reviews from various sources, so I will be sure to post about that as well.