New Year Eating Challenge — Day 2

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Day 2, or (as someone posted on Facebook today): the Monday-iest Monday that ever Monday-ed. Back to work for me after the holiday was hard. Love my job, but getting back into the rhythm after the holiday always kind of sucks.

At least I got to wake up to a yummy breakfast: Carrot Cake Oatmeal.

(By the way, we were either too hungry or distracted to take pictures of any of the main food for today. Please visit the source material for some glamour shots of the food and detailed instructions, found here .) The instructions for the challenge instructed me to prep the oatmeal the night before and let it chill out in the fridge overnight. This morning I took my bowl of oatmeal out (made accidently with cow milk instead of almond milk because apparently I can’t read), mixed in cinnamon, raisins, vanilla, almonds, honey and some plain greek yogurt on top. I have a little cold that is affecting my taste a bit, so the strong cinnamon taste, along with the warmth of the oats, the creaminess of the yogurt, and the texture of the almonds and the raisins was so nice this morning. I loved it so much. I did add a single packet of stevia just to amp up the sweetness, but this may not have been as necessary when I can taste to my full ability. Later in the morning, I called Chubby Hubby to ask something else, but asked how he liked the oatmeal: he said it was terrible.

Me: Really? You didn’t like it?
CH: No, it was so bland! You liked it?
Me: It was bland? Did you not add the other stuff in?
CH: What other stuff?
Me: The cinnamon, honey, vanilla… (etc.)
CH: (pause) No, I didn’t.  (Another pause) That probably would have helped a lot.

Bless him.

Lunch for him was leftover Frittata from yesterday, but he did report it held up well and was still good when warmed.

I worked late so dinner was made by the beloved, yay! Roasted chicken breast, barley, and leftover Brussel sprouts. We did buy the wrong chicken, it was supposed to a bone-in, skin-on breast and we bought boneless and skinless. Oops. Chubby Hubby said that there was nothing to cooking it. “Put the barley on to boil with chicken broth, chicken in the oven with the sprouts, and came in the living room and watched Jeopardy while it cooked.” Bonus: It was really good as well as easy. The barley had a little more bite than rice or cous cous (more like quinoa, kind of chewy), and it was nice and starchy compared with the bitterness of the sprouts. This one is a keeper.

Snacks today were “Fancy Ants on a Log” during the day and Pumpkin, Pistachio, and Pomegranate Yogurt Bark at night. The ants on a log were fancy because it was almond butter instead of peanut butter, and dried cherries instead of raisins. Hubby gave it two thumbs up, “I like all the ingredients, what’s not to like about it?” When asked if he felt fancy eating it, he replied that he did indeed feel as though he were at Downton Abbey being served from a silver tray. I think he’s mocking me.

I knew I would like the bark when I was making it last night. I love pumpkin anything, and have recently discovered the yumminess of pomegranate seeds so I was very excited….but I was a little disappointed. The bark was frozen very hard, had little ice crystals on top, and was not as sweet as I’d hoped. I do think that part of the problem was I had it spread too think to actually be bark, so it was more chunky than anything. I also think I’d have liked it prepared as more of a soft frozen yogurt with the nuts mixed in. I’ll keep tweaking this one, it has lots of promise. Hubby also reported it was “kind of bland.” Gotta love the protein in a dessert though.

So, overall rating of day 2, scale of 1-5.
Now, again, I’m only rating breakfast and dinner since lunch was leftovers.
Me: 4
Chubby Hubby: 4

On to day 3! Very excited!

7 Day New Year Eating Challenge — Day 1

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Happy New Year everyone!! I hope 2016 brings you blessings.

A little bit of background to these posts…

Several months ago, Chubby Hubby ordered the DDP yoga program. He has struggled with sciatica for years and when he saw Arthur’s video (found here) he immediately told me he wanted to order the program. **Side note, watch this when you can, its incredibly inspirational! ** I was skeptical, because we all have those DVD’s we order “to get healthy” that gather dust shortly after arriving. He pushed, I gave in, and he began doing them religiously and lost about 45 pounds. I was so super proud of him for a) proving me wrong (really, I was!); b) sticking to it; and c) his success and how good he felt.

…Then the holidays came…we all know the story. A little here, a little there, and we end up hating ourselves between Christmas and New Years. So, Chubby Hubby sent me a link to this Buzzfeed 7 “clean” eating challenge. We both were talking a lot about how badly we’d been eating and how much we needed to get back on the horse. As he said, “there’s nothing on here I wouldn’t eat”, so I set to the grocery store to purchase items for said diet challenge.

Here is the link for the plan. The site is great that it has a shopping list, nutrition facts, and tips to save money. Also, if needed, prep help videos. Check it out and follow along!

Things I learned from this shopping trip: First, apparently Chubby Hubby had simply made a suggestion with this plan–I thought he was really urging us to do it, but apparently he was introducing it for consideration…oops. I called him and told him to meet me at the grocery store to buy for the plan. He seemed surprised, but game. Secondly, and very importantly: This plan ain’t cheap. The plan mentions that the specifications/amounts are for 1 person and differ slightly according to gender. I pushed my l’il buggy to the produce section fully intending to buy double the list to feed us both. Around the pomegranates and acorn squash(es) I vetoed this part of the plan. I figured that since I’m a bariatric post-op patient (story for another day), surely we can share and just supplement any necessary foods. Of course, not everything on the list was at one store, so I finished up the list this afternoon.

Chubby Hubby went to bed last night, since he has to work, and asked if we were starting the plan on Sunday. I said yes, excitedly, and told him I would prep his breakfast, lunch, and snack and come to bed soon after…

…that took about 4 hours. Now, to be fair, there were a couple of things that delayed the process.
1) Cleaning the kitchen — call it my inner chef desperate to have my “Mise en place” in order, but I had to clean the kitchen before I started. This took time since pots had to be washed by hand and counters had to be cleared and cleaned.
2) Making one item at a time. Once all was said and done, I realized it would have been faster to prep several of the dishes concurrently, such as seeding the pomegranate while the egg whites were whipping (which took a lot longer than I thought it would by the way). The actual preparation of the food was really not that hard, I was just slow and careful throughout but that definitely slowed the process.  Oh well, live and learn.

Now, here is the link for day one of the plan, and the verdict on the actual food:

Frittata — I’m not big on sweet potatoes or onions, so I passed on this one. Chubby Hubby really enjoyed it though, he said he’d like to have it again at some point (which is good, since the plan instructs him to eat the leftovers for lunch at some point).

Spinach salad with tofu — Full disclosure, I had never had tofu before. I was very pleasantly surprised, and Chubby Hubby walked in the door from work and said “that salad you made me — was EXCELLENT.” I told him I was glad, I had been worried he would be starving and he said “surprisingly, no, I’m good.” The orange vinegarette dressing had a nice pop. I just wish the chickpeas were crunchy, like, at all. I followed the instructions on roasting them, maybe next time I’ll just buy the ones that are already roasted.

Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash and Brussel Sprouts — “This is great, you should make this every night!” Chubby Hubby gave this one a big thumbs-up seal of approval. I liked it, I’m not a huge fan of squashes in general, but I liked the one dish prep, the Brussel sprouts, and the flavors of the turkey. Maybe next time a bit fewer onions and chop the kale a little finer for me. Chubby Hubby says I’m crazy (which he does a lot anyway) and that its perfect the way it is.

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Snacks for Day 1 are pomegranate seeds and raw almonds during the day, and dark chocolate at night. We cheated with the almonds as I had roasted ones on hand, so I used those. Pomegranate seeds though, who knew?! Those suckers are delicious.

Overall rating of food for day 1, scale of 1 to 5 (5 being highest because…well, it’s bigger…):
Chubby Wife: Eh, 3.75.
Chubby Hubby: “5! Ok, maybe 4.5.”

Next up, day 2!

Yummy Broccoli…No, Really!!

I don’t like vegetables. There, I said it. Yes, I’m an (almost) 31-year-old woman. I pay taxes, I do my own laundry; I’ve unclogged a drain, fixed a flat tire, and dealt with things where my first impulse was to find the nearest adult. I still just don’t like vegetables.

I decided a few years ago that eating vegetables was just going to be a necessary evil. I Googled (as we all do so frequently now when we want to know things in the immediate moment that we wonder them) what the most overall nutritious vegetables were and decided to learn to eat them, not like them, but eat them. If I had to force myself to consume something, I may as well go for broke, right?

The list included spinach, romaine lettuce, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, and many other foods of the green persuasion (if you’re actually curious of the most nutritious foods, a list can be found here). Some, like kale, I’ve still not developed a taste for; but most can actually be quite yummy if you know how to make them. Like the star of today’s show: Broccoli…or, as I used to refer to it: evil little trees.

Oven Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan

  1. Start with dry, fresh broccoli (frozen won’t work, as it just won’t crisp up right), as much as you desire to make. I will say, it roasts more evenly if it’s chopped up small and uniformly.
  2. Grab a bowl, and toss it in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (to taste).
  3. Lay it out on a foil-lined sheet pan, arrange it in a single layer, and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 20 mins.
  4. Remove from oven and squeeze the juice of a lemon over it (ranging from 1/2-1 whole, depending on the amount of broccoli and how much you love lemon juice). Return to oven for another 5 minutes. (At this stage, the broccoli will be dark green, and maybe beginning to brown a bit)
  5. Remove from oven, sprinkle with parmesan cheese (shredded works best, but grated will work fine) to taste. Return once more to oven and roast another 5-7 minutes, to allow the parmesan to brown and crisp.
Browned Broccoli Goodness

Browned Broccoli Goodness

When finished, the broccoli is crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, slightly bitter with the saltiness of the Parmesan and the brightness of the lemon juice.

It.Is.DELICIOUS.

I can literally eat an entire batch by myself, me, the girl who doesn’t like veggies.

Give it a try, I know you’ll like it as much as I do. Enjoy!