Makin’ Bacon!

Bacon in a Big Pot

This is silly but it might be my best cooking discovery during lockdown. I just found a new way to cook bacon. A way that is so good, so controlled. And there is absolutely no mess afterwards! No kidding. This is so simple I can’t believe it took me this long to figure it out. And if you already knew, don’t go sending me a message to make me feel any more stupid than I already do!

The secret? Use a big pot!

Offhand, I can’t think what the name of this type of pot is? Is it a stockpot? Anyway it’s the bloody big one that you’d pull out to cook a massive chili when you’ve got the whole family coming over.

Don’t get the bacon that is layered so the pack is flat. Get the big one, with thick-sliced bacon, not splayed out, so that it’s like a brick of meat in the vacuum pack. Heat up the pot up to a medium heat & toss the brick in, fat side down. You’ll want to give a little crispness to the outer edge of fat on each slice. Don’t overdo it or you’ll make the pot bottom sticky. After that, there will already be some rendered fat coating the bottom of the pot. Turn down the heat. Now you can start peeling off the slices & distributing them around the bottom of the pot. You don’t have to be careful here, any old way will do, doesn’t matter that they’re on top of each other. Come back periodically & give the whole mess a little stir to swap out the slices on the bottom. The slower pace of cooking will allow the fat to render clean & you’ll wind up almost deep frying the bacon at slow speed. Only one or two bits tried to stick to the pot & a quick scrape of the spatula took care of it. Remove the bacon slices when they get to where you like them. I prefer bacon a little rubbery myself, but many prefer it crispy. Your choice.

The lower temperature required for the slower pace of cooking gives you a lot of nice clear fat. Drain this off into a glass container & stick it in the fridge. That’s for cooking home fried potatoes later! Okay get the pasture raised bacon if you want to be really healthy.

This last step is really important to ensure the easiest, non-drain-clogging clean-up. Sautée some onion & garlic in the residual fat at the bottom of the pot. Then deglase with a little stock. From here you can make whatever you like (I made a potato bacon curry, with cilantro for a green vegetable! 😜) but now, all the fat is gone somewhere useful, & the pot is far, far easier to clean.

The big kicker is this … no fat splatter on the stove top & backsplash! None, not one spot. Thanks to the high sides on that big pot.

You’re welcome! 😜😁

Results … Month #17

Results Month #17

Down 4.2 lbs for November! Woohoo!

Now this isn’t so much the result of me dedicating myself to a highly focused dietary plan, it just kinda, sorta, maybe happened because I occasionally paid attention to what was passing my lips! I still ate cookies, cakes & candy during the past month, just not with the same degree of carelessness that I had been doing. Believe me, this past month was a big improvement on the three months prior!

What happened this past month is that I started trying to figure things out, again. How did I abandon something that was working reasonably well, while allowing me to eat really well at the same time? I’ve come up with a couple of suspects that might be contributing to the derailment. One is the lack of a gallbladder. I seem to be avoiding the fatty cuts of meat that were once a staple of my weigh loss efforts. I’m just not as in love with bacon & pork belly as I once was. I even trimmed the band of fat from a rib steak one night … what is wrong with me!?! Funny enough, while I’m avoiding all the fatty meat, the lack of a gallbladder is not stopping me heaping heavy cream over some decadent brownie dessert!

OMG … Am I turning vegetarian or something!?!

The other suspect is my routine, or rather the lack of one. I am a creature of habit & I like a good solid routine to help me get things done. I’ve made a few changes to what was a well-developed routine & I’ve had some other changes imposed on my schedule. I haven’t quite adapted to the new arrangement yet & I need to take a look at how to get that new routine bedded in properly. On top of that, I quit smoking about three or four dozen times over recent months. I’m not kidding, I’d quit for a day or two here & there, and then go back to smoking again. Another major routine disruptor. It’s important to disrupt bad patterns in order to lose weight, but I need to replace them with good, repetitive, habituated patterns to make the alternatives stick. Despite how I like to think of myself as this free-spirited & adventurous being, I still need to get stuff done, and routine, habits, & consistency are important for getting things done. Including weight loss!

I’m sorry, I went on a bit there. But that’s all really more a pep talk for myself, as I head into December … drooling about Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, that turkey & ham dinner, bubble & squeak afterwards, turkey sandwiches, chocolates, whipped cream with an infusion of Irish cream liqueur, & on it goes!

I know the January 1st weigh-in is going to be fun! Wish me luck!

And just in case my new routine doesn’t embrace another post between now & January, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, may whatever light that lights your way, shine more brightly for you as we close out the old year & look forward to a new one. Peace, love, happiness & all that nice mushy stuff to you & all those you hold dear!

Fat & Broken .. but Functional?

Beer or Wine? Mmmm!?!

There has been a big movement decrying fat shaming in recent years and that’s a good thing. It’s sadly typical of the screwed-up society we live in, that men are more “tolerated” for being fat than women. That doesn’t mean we don’t feel the pain sometimes too.

And I do.

These days, we are encouraged to accept ourselves for who we, and as we are. That too is a good thing.

But what if I can’t?

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of my reflection in a store window. Or maybe it’s a pic (Please, God, don’t let them post that online!) on a friend’s phone. And I’m shocked. For the most part I don’t actively notice such things. I carry on with my life, making my best effort to not think about my condition. But, every now and then, I see myself with horrifying clarity. And I am just that … horrified. For some short period of time, I am devastated. Is that really me? How could I have let this happen?

I grew up in a time and place where the definition of good parenting was a little different than it is today. Negative comparisons with our peers was often considered a good motivational strategy. And indeed, for some, it was. Regardless of its impact on my emotional development, I was sometimes motivated to change. Even today, I “happily” berate myself, in the hope of triggering some action.

And … sometimes … it works.

I guess I’m broken. Aren’t we all! Should I go and get it fixed? I don’t think so, it’s not serious enough for that.
Unless it’s the cause of me being fat in the first place!?!
No, that would be a nice excuse but I know that’s not it. Or at least it’s not all of the problem.
But is it okay to use this childhood affliction to motivate adult weight loss?

Occasionally,so long as it’s not bringing me down, I think it is. And, every now & again, I will use a good self-berating session to challenge myself to get back on track.

Such a pity it doesn’t work all the time.

Sometimes, I’ll instead just challenge myself to deciding between whether I’ll have a pint or a glass of wine!!! 🙂

5 Ways to Prevent Weight Rebound

5 Ways to Prevent Weight Rebound

Vanilla Cinnamon Pancake made with eggs & cream cheese!

If you just can’t take another day of dieting, try these 5 things see if they help avoid a rebound. And that horrible feeling that comes when we step on that lying, cheating scale the morning after falling off the wagon!

I’ve been struggling the past couple of months & these little tricks have helped keep me treading water. I hope they continue to work ’til spring finally decides to arrive.

  1. Eat more fat. I tend to choose fattier cuts of meat & add more pan-fried foods to my diet. Topping my greens with butter helps too. Keto & low-carb adherents will know the value of a fat bomb. Little treats that we can stuff into our faces without fear of disrupting that venerable state of ketosis. Who cares if fat has the most calories. If it stops us going through another self-destruct phase, it’s worth it. And we just might be lucky enough to carry on losing a little while we seek comfort in eating more fat. If that doesn’t work, and …
  2. When I feel like I just can’t carry on … then I don’t! Whatever diet I’m on, I try doing the opposite. On a low-carb diet? Go all carbs for a day. Or three. Sounds like heresy but it can work. If I feel guilty about it, I can make healthy choices, like broccoli, sprouts, or cabbage. Flavorful additions like garlic & onion don’t even count, right! I stir-fry these in my favorite fat. And eat ’til I’m ready to burst. This is my “Vaguely Vegetarian” routine. I try not to eat a slab of meat on such days. Maybe a tiny few bacon bits. Just for the flavor! Sometimes, I go all starch with my choices, like home-fried potatoes. A day or two eating nothing but fried potatoes or fried rice (but, sadly, not bread for me) can soothe the soul. Yes, I may see a blip on the scale next morning but likely not on subsequent mornings. Once the liver & muscle tissue is loaded with the stored form of glucose, & the necessary water that accompanies that, it’s difficult to add much more. And it usually flies off again, once I go back to low-carb. If the first two suggestions are scary, why not …
  3. Go with the creep. But cautiously. Dessert can often be a lure for those of us on a low-carb or keto regimen. And those fat bombs don’t always work for us. In fact, they’re sickening sometimes. But adding some berries doesn’t add a huge amount to the glycemic load. So I make my own ice cream! I add heavy whipping cream to a cup of frozen berries & blend. I mostly add some dark chocolate (70% is about as dark as I can tolerate & still enjoy) for chocolate chip ice cream. Very delicious & quite addictive but it can keep me going during difficult times.
  4. Pattern disruption can help too. My problem time is in the evening. On the couch. Can you relate? Skinny people tell me to just get off the couch but this is not always easy to do. Sometimes, I need help from the nuttier parts of my mind. Early in the day, when I’m most motivated & strong, I’ll place something on the couch. Maybe a suitcase, to remind me of an upcoming trip that I want to look good for. Or simply to take up all the room on the seat so I can’t sit! When it gets near my crash & relax time, that suitcase reminds me of how enthusiastic I felt that morning. And it helps me focus on finding something else to do. Somewhere else to be. Leaving a suitcase on my couch isn’t a long-term solution, but it can help me do some different things. And pattern disruption, even when not directly related to food, can often help develop some new, sometimes more positive, patterns. A new pattern might include …
  5. Going for therapy! While it may well help, I’m not suggesting that we all go book an appointment with our favorite therapist. Instead, I try shinrin-yoku! This is “forest bathing”, Japanese style. It sounds like a mystical thing but it was only studied & given this name in the 80s. It is a practice of communing with nature, gently ambling through the forest. Regardless of diet & weight loss challenges, it proved to be of great benefit for our general health & well-being. I like water therapy too. I like to spend a little time by the ocean, a lake, or a stream. Though at this time of year, in my neck of the woods, the blackflies & noseeums do their best to suggest I go elsewhere! And that’s okay too. Because I might visit my favorite coffee shop (for coffee only!), the local library, or take a walk in the mall. I may even just sit on the porch & say hello to the neighbors. And their dogs. I just added riding a loop of the local transit system to my list. It doesn’t matter what we do, just getting up & going out is the thing. Interacting with nature & humanity, even just a little, can do wonders for the soul. And we can but hope that the body comes along for the ride!

If you have any suggestions on strategies that have worked for you, & that might help keep me on the straight & narrow … please pass them along in the comments section. The comments link is just under the post title.

Get Fat Like the Cat!

Get Fat Like the Cat!The Fat Cat

At the weekend, our pet store was sold out of the grain-free cat food so we picked up a small bag of the regular stuff, to tide us over. That word “regular” is potentially one of the most dangerous words in the modern North American vernacular. We talk about regular sugar, for example, as opposed to sweeteners. It lends an air of acceptability and normality to things that might not necessarily be acceptable, nor normal, given our genetic inheritance.

As kids growing up in the countryside, our pets were free to move between the house and the great outdoors. We fed them table scraps and all sorts of foods that might be frowned upon by pet lovers today. Indeed, our parents weren’t impressed with our food disposal techniques back then either! However, given freedom of choice, animals are a little smarter than humans. It wasn’t unusual to find dead birds, rabbits and mice at our back door. These pets still knew how to eat a more natural diet, and they went hunting when they’d had enough of human junk food.

Now, as city dwellers, we feed our house-confined pets from bags of processed food bits. Yes, they have pretty pictures of salmon fillets and prime cuts of chicken on the bag, but some pet foods are heavily biased towards grain. Eating such foods, our cat got fat. No, our little kitten was obese! So we switched to the grain-free foods and … wonder of wonders … out kitty slimmed down a bit. She is still overweight. But I think it’s fair to say that she’s no longer at the kitty BMI level of obese.

We typically feed our kitty twice a day, morning and evening. Like all hungry pets, she nibbles enthusiastically when her bowl is first filled. But then she saunters off to lazily perform her morning ablutions. She’ll wander back and forth to the bowl for an occasional nibble so that her morning bowl probably survives ’til about lunch time. Her evening bowl usually has some few leftover pieces that will survive ’til the following morning.

I noticed that her morning bowl of this new bag of grain-based food was gone within the first hour!

Is it possible that cats can’t have just one cookie either!?!

And isn’t it funny how we like to feed our pets a healthier diet than we sometimes feed ourselves! 🙂