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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Day 15 and Beyond -- Adventures in Spiralizing and Other Pinterest Ideas

During the challenge, I bought our home a spiralizer.  I've wanted one for a while (how else would I manage to make all those Pinterest Pins come alive?).  So, I am allowing myself a couple of things that would have been taboo over the last two weeks, but still trying to keep with the overall idea; after all, I have a lot more weight to shed....

Here's a little internet roundup of my finds so far.

First, I have missed bread, so I whipped this up:

Terry said this bread actually chewed back.  I didn't have any fresh out of the oven, but the next evening it made great toast. 
TWEAKS: I didn't have all the dried herbs it called for, but I did have a bit of pesto in my fridge, so I mixed that in for the olive oil crust treatment.

Then, I got to spiralizing!  I really enjoy making things with this.  The first item was my lunch, a lovely carrot and spinach salad in a jar.
TWEAKS: I didn't have cashews, so I tossed in shelled pistachios instead.  YUM.

Then I whipped up a soup with sweet potato "noodles":

TWEAKS: I didn't find the Japanese variety of yam, so I just used what they had.  It was more colorful than this soup, but I don't think it hurt it any.

This morning I whipped up a new smoothie:
TWEAKS: I couldn't find my molasses, so I tossed in maple syrup, plus I added some oatmeal to up the fiber count on this.  It was like a really nice cinnamon oatmeal that you can drink.

Tonight, the spiralizing maddness continued (sorta).  I tried to spiralize a slaw, but only some of the veggies cooperated.

Tweaks: I added pear.  Oh, and this did not need to be spiralized at all, I just thought I'd try.

That got served with meatballs.  Oh, how I missed beef over the past two weeks.  Our grass fed beef stash was calling to me, so I made meatballs based on this, with one surprise:
TWEAKS: I used oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs.  I also hid one baby mozzarella in each of these.  Divine.

My big cheat today were restaurant fish tacos (grilled), but I skipped the beans/rice.  Oh, and I did allow myself a beer today.  Just one.  It tasted really good.

Gonna try to keep up with the healthy eating with just a few treats for myself until the next two week clean eating challenge on Sunday.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Days 13 & 14 -- Finish Strong?

OK, well, my Saturday was challenging.  Mom called and cousins were here from out of town, so they came by for a meal.  One of them is elderly and lives in Costa Rica and this would most likely be the last visit he made to New Mexico.  Cheating ensues......

The good news is that I didn't allow this to throw me for more than one meal.  I got right back on that horse and rode it.  The result?  This morning I am 5 pounds down despite my foibles.

Day 13
Breakfast -- Scrambled Eggs w/Kale
**
Just OK.

Lunch -- Salmon Arugula Salad w/Mandarin
****
Again, this called for grapefruit and I subbed mandarin.  It was a nice salad!

Snack - Tomato/Garbanzo & Parsley Salad
****
Nice flavor/texture combo.  I had extra citrus dressing left from the salad, so I drizzled it on this in place of the lime.

Dinner -- Traditional New Mexican BBQ
*****
Beans, green chile (did you know that one of these has the vitamin C of 6 oranges?) couple strips of flank steak, calabacitas (sauteed squash), 2 mini-Mexican beers (and I felt like crap the next day) and a sliver of cheesecake w/fruit.

Snack -- Didn't need one after that meal!
*

Day 14
Breakfast -- Strawberry Kale Smoothie
**
This called for coconut water again, which I subbed for almond milk.  This was a bit of a strange smoothie.  Not inedible, but it took some time to get down.

Lunch -- "Fried" Quinoa w/Green Beans & Red Pepper
***
I really liked the effect of making the leftover quinoa this way.  Green beans and red pepper wouldn't be my first choice next time, but it was alright.

Snack - Skipped
*
Between shopping and prepping, this never got eaten.

Dinner -- Tuna Melt Stuffed Tomatoes
*
Disclaimer: I am not a big fan of anything made with canned tuna.  The exception this challenge has been the nicoise salad.  This was no different.  I found the roasted tomatoes to be almost tragic when fresh tomatoes are so beautiful this time of year and the tuna was quite salty with the cheese on it.  This won't go in my filodex of recipes for the future.

Snack -- Coconut Popsicle
***
Still OK. Still have a couple more in the freezer.

Observations and the plan for next week:

1. Despite a couple of times cheating, I dropped 5 pounds (and that was without exercise, imagine if I moved more!).  Definitely a win.
2. I did not generally feel hungry on this plan.
3. It does take time to do, but prepping on the weekend makes a big difference.  By the end of the week, I was mostly just throwing leftovers together for breakfast/lunch.

Next week I am "off".  I will incorporate red meat (I have an entire cow, grass fed and all natural in my freezer).  I will eat a bit more dairy (yogurt).  I may even have a piece of bread and a true "cheat" meal.  Then Saturday I'll shop for the 2014 version of the challenge!


Saturday, July 25, 2015

To the Dogs

I've tried to make sure and have good leftover usage during this challenge, really.  I've actually done pretty well, but between a slight overbuy and Terry not eating a couple of meals, I've got stuff left over.  One of those things was some roasted butternut squash.  What to do with leftover butternut squash?
Enter a pin I in Pinterest for homemade dog treats.....
The recipe called for pumpkin, but I figured butternut was enough like pumpkin to make it work.  So, I crushed up the leftover squash with peanut butter and eggs (I had enough for a double batch)....
Then I stuck it in the mixer with a dough hook. I didn't measure the whole wheat flour, I just mixed more in flour until a dough formed.
Then I rolled out the dough and cut out the treats (it isn't dog bone shaped as the blog had it).  See my fancy cookie cutter?  They are dogs. They have no idea I cheated them on the shape.
Baked them at 350 for about 20 minutes.
They liked them.  They really, really liked them! Plus, it feels nice knowing exactly what's in their treats.

And because I didn't want the cat feeling left out of this post.....

Day 12 -- Getting Sad for This to End

I'm actually having a bit of stress about eating next week.  I like the structure of this.  Will I eat well without it all mapped out for me?

Day 12
Breakfast -- 2 Egg Muffins w/Blueberries
****
Easy peasy and tasty.

Lunch -- Portabella Pork "Sandwich"
****
Nice combination of flavor.  Transported well to work.

Snack - Chocolate Pudding
***
Not exactly chocolate pudding, but close.

Dinner -- Poached Salmon w/Quinoa and Snow Peas
****
This I could eat regularly.

Snack -- Mango Sorbet w/Pistachios
****
Felt like eating dessert.  Thumbs up!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Days 10 & 11 -- Getting to the End

Life was a bit busy, but here's the last two days' meal reviews.

Day 10
Breakfast -- Strawberry Smoothie
****
This was great on the run.  I was at a radio interview by 7:15 this morning.

Lunch -- Cauliflower "Rice" Bowl w/Asparagus & Roasted Pork
****
This meal tasted even better than I thought it would.  Highly recommended.

Snack - 1/2 Avocado w/Lemon Juice
****
I used the infused lemon juice made earlier in the week.  Yum

Dinner -- Egg Bake w/Butternut Squash & Spinach
****
Also a really tasty choice.  I would make this again, although I am tiring of eggs.

Snack -- Figs w/Cheddar
****
A nice night time snack.

Day 11
Breakfast -- Chia Pudding w/Pineapple, Coconut & Pistachios
****
My favorite version of this is still the fig flavor, but this was pretty good.  Something like having a pina colada for breakfast.

Lunch -- Chicken, Avocado & Romaine Cups
*****
This was great!  The only problem was that I ran out of paper plates at work and had to eat off a paper towel.  Oh, well.  1st world problems, right?


Snack - Apple & Almonds
***
Same as always -- I just couldn't stomach another egg, especially when that is on the menu for breakfast tomorrow.  This diet is very egg heavy.

Dinner -- Roasted Portabellas w/Roasted Chickpeas, Kale and Parmesan
****
When reading this combo, I thought it just sounded strange.  When it all got put together, however, it was a really surprisingly good combination of flavors.


Snack -- Coconut Popsicle
***
Meh

I'm almost there!  14 days of clean eating!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Day 9 -- In which I have another "cheat" meal

Hey everyone!  Here's the run down on today's food.

Breakfast -- Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper & Egg Muffins
****
I liked these muffins.  This is more than the called for 4 strawberries, but this was the last of last week's batch and needed to be used.



Lunch -- Sashimi, Miso Soup & Cucumber Salad
*****
I went out with an old friend today.  As far as cheat meals, this ranks pretty low on the cheat scale.

Snack - Cucumbers w/Infused Lemon Juice & Hummus
****
The lemon juice was a nice touch here.

Dinner --Chicken Thighs w/Asparagus and Red Pepper
***
This was so-so.  Not something I would make every week, but it was alright.

Snack -- Rainier Cherries w/Almonds
*****
Why?  Because Rainier cherries only come once a year for a short time and they are almost gone.  Eat one of these and your life will change.  I promise.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day 8 -- A New Week

Not much prep going on today.  My chia pudding went in the fridge last night.  My lunch was leftover veg with the prepped chickpeas from last night.  Dinner was easy, too.  On to the reviews.

Breakfast -- Garlicky Collards & Sweet Potatoes w/Baked Eggs
****
This was really good!  Maybe I made it just a bit more garlicky than it should have been, but I'd definitely do this one again.

Lunch -- White Bean Salad w/Infused Lemon Dressing
****
The infused lemon dressing was a nice touch to this peasant-like salad.  A refreshing choice for lunch.

Snack - Ugh- I forgot my afternoon snack again!
*
I had work to do, then rushed to an evening meeting.  I think I am carrying around snacks for the heck of it at this point.

Dinner --Roasted Pork Loin w/Bunnernut Squash & Arugula Salad
*****
Excellent combo on this meal.  I gave up on grapefruit and just made the same dressing with mandarins instead.  It is a great time of year for all sorts of fruit, so why not make the most of it?

Snack -- Mango Sorbet
****
So, when you eat this again, pull it out to soften for quite a while.  Otherwise, it held up well in the freezer.

Today was another good day.  Did I tell you we only spent about $100 on groceries this week?  I think now that I have some of the ingredients, the food cost for this will be quite a bit less than advertised at buzzfeed.  Most of the high dollar items are going really far (using one fig at a time, for instance) and will last me for many months to come as I continue my clean eating.

I plan to take a break after this week, then try out the recipes on the 2014 plan at buzzfeed.  After that, I think I'll be ready to cook healthy on my own.  There are two weddings coming up in September, and I am determined to look good for them.  I can always come back and do the full two week plan if I am feeling like I am not in control of my eating in the future.