Comfort Food

Comfort Food

Snow Window Open

Note to self … Close car window during winter!

Who doesn’t love comfort food?

We need it even more when winter drags on & on. I was looking at green grass for most of winter but now, suddenly, I’ve got snow mountains on the sidewalk. And we have a polar vortex that’s chillin’ things down for a day or two. What on earth is a polar vortex!?! Never mind, I don’t really want to know. Just bring on spring. Please!

I’ve segued from one cold or flu to another for the past month or six weeks. Now I have a sore throat that just won’t go away. Combine all that with some winter blues & I’m pretty close to forgetting all about diets & weight loss. Almost!

I don’t think I’ve ever been sick enough to not want to eat. I’m not sure if there’s any truth to the old saw about feeding a cold & starving a fever, but I was never motivated to starve myself in either circumstance. Quite the opposite.

Feeling as I do, it would have been easy to give up on the diet. I didn’t (well, not completely anyway), but I still needed comfort. Lots of comfort. Instead, I made a huge pot of silly-hot beef curry, adding all those ingredients that I thought might carry some natural curative properties. Chilli powder, turmeric-laden curry powder, tons of hot peppers, garlic, onion, cilantro. And, towards the end of cooking, three big thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger. Adding a topping of melting Jarlsberg cheese to my big bowl of “medicine” gave great texture, along with a Vitamin K2 boost.

Cure a fever!?! This stuff is hot enough to give you a fever! Wonder if my strep throat bugs are the curry-resistant variety!!!

I also went into free-fall on fresh & frozen fruit, bananas, raspberries & blueberries. All accompanied by chocolate & cream. Sadly, it wasn’t always the dark chocolate.

Has it cured me? … Not at all.

Do I feel better? … You bet! Especially while I’m stuffing my face!

I’ll worry about what the scale feels next week! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Keeping Busy When Fasting?

Keeping Busy When Fasting?

One Pot Cooking - Beef Roast

One Pot Cooking – Forgot to take a pic of the ham, oops! This is a beef roast that received similar treatment. Clean-up is a breeze! The fat is in there because of the Omega 3 content in grass-fed beef. And it’s so tasty!

I thought I’d try a fast day at the weekend. My fast days are typically shortened when I give in to temptation and eat dinner in the evening. That’s not all bad but, every now and again, I would like to do a full wake cycle fast. Aside from weight loss, there are supposed to be all sorts of health benefits associated with fasting and I wanted some of that. I started out the day committed, very committed. But then don’t I always! ๐Ÿ™‚

I knew I needed to keep busy and watching soccer on TV is not keeping busy. Knowing you can’t eat is exactly what triggers thinking about food. Almost non-stop. It’s the old story about what happens when someone tells you to not think about the elephant! I wondered if I could turn that around and use it to get a positive result.

And so, I decided to spend my free time cooking!

I had a nice ham in the fridge. Pasture raised pork, what could be better? I’m not a fan of clean up so most of my cooking happens in a single pot or pan. One Pot Cooking has been a thing for me since my school years. I browned a chopped onion and half a dozen cloves of garlic in olive oil first. Tossed in the ham and covered it with two liters of organic chicken broth (what can I say, again it was all I had to hand, that’s bulk buying for you), a little rosemary, salt and pepper. Now I had some food to focus on!

This thing bubbled along its merry way for about 4 hours before I lifted it out and put it on a plate to settle. It was falling off the bone tender and it smelled so delicious. While everyone else enjoyed their meal, I was eyeing up the pot of liquid. A few more chopped onions, three diced potatoes, and a bag of frozen peas later, the pot was bubbling again. A tablespoon of curry powder and another of coriander, along with a couple of habanero peppers from the garden, and my nose told me I was done. When it had done its thing, a few minutes bouncing the hand blender off the bottom of the pot gave me this luxuriously thick, heavy soup. I added back some of the shredded ham to finish it off.

What do you think I did next?

I apportioned the whole pot to a set of containers and stuck ’em all in the freezer. Along with the rest of the ham.

But I made it through one complete fast day without anything other than coffee and water. The answer to the opening question is that to avoid eating on a fast day … I cook!

Attaboy Paul!!!

 

Dieting on the Road

Dieting on the Road

Tandoori Platter

It’s not as challenging to eat “well” on the road as we dieters like to imagine. I’m not talking about going the chicken salad route (hold the chicken skin, the croutons, the dressing and the dried fruit & nut pieces) … you can do that if you want but that’s not how I diet!

Yes, you have to have some dialogue with the server. And yes, they’ll probably think you’re a bit of a pain. But better that than blow the diet. Again!

On the road last week, I was led towards an Indian restaurant this particular evening. And that was just fine by me. I pretty much love all food but if you forced me to pick just one national cuisine, I might have to go with Indian. As it happened, I was on a low-carb regimen that particular day. Oh boy!

I love rice, naan, samosa & pakora but those were not going to be allowed today. Yes, there were salad options. And yes, there were vegetarian dishes aplenty. But I was drawn to the Tandoori Platter. Right away, the word platter promises a gut-busting feast of goodies. And it was. Beef, chicken, lamb, shrimp and who knows what else. There were some token veggies in there too, just to assuage any little fear I might entertain of it being an unhealthy choice. One of the key reasons for this choice was that it didn’t come with a sauce, Tandoori dishes are dry spiced. And I refused to ask about their spice recipe … just in case there were any bad ingredients in there that would have forced me to order that chicken salad! I do love those sauces, by the way, but there’s always some bad stuff hiding in them. And today was to be as sugar & starch-free as any reasonable road warrior could make it.

The bottom line was that it was delicious. I was stuffed. And I was sufficiently fortified to resisted all the starchy temptations offered by my dining companions!

But did it work?

I don’t know!

I’ll have to wait for the official end-of-month weigh-in on October 1st to see how it all plays out. Though I might have been grateful that I didn’t have my scale with me during my travels!

 

Bit in a Bucket!

Bit in a Bucket!Beef & Cabbage Chilurri

Whenever anyone asked my mother if her child would eat such & such a food for dinner, my mother’s standard response was …

“Just give him a bit in a bucket & he’ll eat it.”

Dismissive though it sounds, it was pretty accurate. I would eat anything. Indeed, I would probably prefer to have my meal served in a bucket because it held so much more than a plate or a bowl could. That proved all too prophetic as the years went by. Today, & I can’t believe I’m admitting this out loud, but when no one’s around, my preferred serving dish is a large, round, plastic storage container! Not only can this baby hold an amazing amount of food, but as you get towards the end, you can tilt it on its side to get every last morsel into the bottom “corner” to scoop it out. To make matters worse, it’s the best way to eat in front of the TV!

I try to justify this as being a hangover from my student days. It was really just a time saving techniques, wasn’t it? I only prepared meals in one pot, or on one pan, in order to reduce clean-up time. Dumping everything into a large bowl did the same. I would stir my tea with a dessert spoon & then use that to eat my dinner from the large bowl. Besides, forks might leave a morsel in the bottom! Efficiency was everything. Back then, there were too many pubs to visit. And life was too short to waste any of it washing dishes. And as children, we were encouraged to clean our plates so I was really just adhering to my childhood training.

Much though I hate skinny people telling me that “it’s all about portion control”, I know I’m a little beyond the pale with this particular one-bowl strategy. That said, it is what it is, & I do really enjoy my alone-time occasionally. With my favourite bowl.

When I’m paying more attention though, I do try to fill my big bowl with better choices. It’s an unbelievable way to eat massive amounts of poutine, for example. And if you don’t know what that is, you just have to pause & look it up. Okay so that’s NOT one of the better choices for weight loss! ๐Ÿ™‚

Last night, as I’m trying to change things, I chose a “normal” bowl. And I filled it with a one-pot grass-fed beef roast & cabbage chilurry. Chilurry is my own special blend of chili & curry. I sometimes can’t make up my mind what I want so I combine the flavours. And grass-fed beef chilurri sounds so much more sophisticated than boiled beef & cabbage, doesn’t it!

How does it rate as a good dietary choice though? The essential fats balance of the grass-fed beef choice is probably understandable. Cabbage is a fantastic no-penalty volume veggie so it’s a no-brainer ingredient. Garlic & onions are essential, they’ve got miraculous super-food powers & stuff, & they taste so good. Add 2 litres of organic bone broth, thickened only by three (okay, it was five) potatoes, & it’s a dish fit for a king. Or for a fat guy trying to get thin!

Full disclosure … I had three of those piddly little bowls before I was happy. And the 2nd & 3rd weren’t like the one in the pic, they were filled to overflowing! ๐Ÿ™‚

It does look nice though, doesn’t it!