15 Weeks. 15 Pounds. I Did It My Way.

diet, new years resolutions, recipe

Fruits, a lot of Chicken Breast, a lot of Avocado, tons of grilled veggies, a frittata here and there, a veggie burger or several

Happy New Year!

Since you asked…maybe you didn’t…maybe you wanted to…maybe only one of you asked…anyway, this is how I lost 15 pounds in the last 15 weeks of 2016.

Note: I’m not a medical professional. AND, this is just what worked for me. You gotta do you.

Note: It wasn’t a pound a week. It was more like…a 1/2 pound the first week, then 1 pound a week for the next six weeks and then 1.5lbs / week…then just 1/2lb / week.

Note: Some weeks it was zero pounds. That’s OK.

Note: I didn’t exercise. I mean, more than normal. I always get in 10k steps per day and do some treadmilling. But besides that – really nothing.

OK, enough of that. Here we go.

Wait. Last warning. It’s really boring. This was the most boring food regimen in the world. I was bored. People I know are bored of it. You’ll be bored.

Breakfast.

img_8814

FRUIT. Usually just Fruit. Strawberries or Mangos or A Banana or 1/2 a Grapefruit.

fruit. diet. strawberries.

Maybe 6 strawberries. Yes, just 6. No scientific reason to the 6 – it’s just that I don’t love strawberries and 6 was all I could take

or

Oatmeal – 1/4 cup dry, microwaved with 1/2 cup of water and a pinch of salt then drizzled with honey – no photo needed. I don’t love oatmeal – but it fills you up and the quick oats are a 2 minute deal in the microwave.

or

Scrambled Eggs

  • Two eggs scrambled with 1 tbsp of butter.
  • No milk
  • Shredded sharp cheddar

scrambled eggs, perfect scrambled eggs

Or – Liquids. just Liquids.

Pricey Green Juice or a Vega One Protein Shake

Vega One. diet. weight loss. lose 15 pounds

The Green Juice is a product of the juice bar at Equinox – spinach, kale, green apples, green grapes, ginger, fennel, cucumber, celery.

To the French Vanilla Vega One shake I added  (surprise!) 6 small frozen strawberries – you can get bags of them pretty cheap at Whole Foods – the 365 brand – water and a splash of almond milk, if I had some on hand.

Lunch. Every Day. Every damn day.

salad. lunch, weight loss, lose 15lbs, diet

  • Arugula – a healthy handful – I don’t love greens, but I do like Arugula – it’s an angry, bitter green
  • Diced chicken breast – about 1/2- 1/3 of a breast
  • Diced Cucumber – about 2 inches – I like the English/seedless cucumbers for I am lazy
  • Diced Yellow or Orange Pepper – about 1/4 of a pepper – any color would do
  • Diced Cheddar Cheese – about 1/3 inch of a 2inch x 2 inch brick – I get the organic Whole Foods cheddar because it’s pretty affordable and has a good shelf life
  • 1 TBSP Sunflower Seeds – sometimes raw, unsalted, sometimes roasted, unsalted
  • 1 TBSP Slivered Almonds – Whole Foods 365 brand
  • 1 TBSP Dried Cranberries minced – for sweetness – these are big in the fall and have a 12 month shelf life – so I bought in bulk at Gourmet Garage
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Newman’s Own Lite Italian Dressing

OR

tuna fish, tuna salad, weight loss, diet

1/2 can of White Meat Tuna in Water with stuff – sometimes Arugula, sliced cherry tomatoes, 1/2 a hard boiled egg, diced cheese, diced cucumber.

Sometimes with 1/2 an Avocado, 1 whole hard boiled egg.

Drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette – again – my go to here is the Whole Foods lite balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Dinner

Protein Plus Vegetables

Swordfish and Something – Avocado or Edamame or Baked Sweet Potato Fries

swordfish. diet. lose 15 pounds

Or, Chicken and something

chicken, zucchini, diet, lose 15 pounds

Or an Amy’s California Veggie Burger topped with cheese and a side of baked Japanese purple potato fries  – they’re just purple on the outside. But super sweet. Try ’em.

Amy's veggie burgers, diet, lose weight fast

Did I ever go out to eat? You’re wondering. Well, yes I did. I just ordered smarter and ‘on the side’ became my catch phrase. Like these grilled Baja Fish Tacos from Rosa Mexicano – I just had all the sauce on the side and mostly just ate the fish and slaw. Delish.

pescatarian. Rosa Mexicano, fish tacos

Did I ever cheat? Well, hells yes – that was the key to my success. Cheat meals. No, I didn’t schedule them – they just happened. Like this – the secret Carbonara Pizza at Nicoletta downtown.

Nicoletta, ny pizza, diet

Or these late night Potato Skins at a dive I’d rather not mention – relax, I shared them🙂

potato skins, diet, cheating

Did I ever order in? Yes I did. I just stopped lazy ordering – read – no more eggplant parmesan (OK, maybe I ordered that once) and no more Cheeseburgers..except a few. Mostly, if I ordered in it was sushi…Including Tempura – a little tempura never hurt anyone..

sushi, diet, vegetarian,

But, for the most part – my meals looked like these:

diet, new years resolutions, recipe

In no way am I saying that I lost the weight the right way. I just did what worked for me. So Happy 2017. And, remember to always do you.

Tick Tock Chop Chop: No Lettuce Salad

chop salad, no lettuce

Deliciously clean and refreshing while filling and low-cal

Let’s be honest – loose fitting sweaters, balloon tops and baggy pants are great to hide the winter weight. But, no one looks super sassy sporting these looks on a warm spring day, much less in a muumuu at the beach. Tick tock, people – It’s already April. It’ll be bikini weather before you know it!

So with summer and thus, swimsuit season, looming – it’s time to shed the January jowl, February fat and even the March mushiness.

Today I sought to create the perfectly filling chop chop salad – no lettuce included. I don’t love the lettuce.

Chop Chop! No Lettuce Salad (serves 4 as a side or 2+ as a meal)

Ingredients:

  • 1 english cucumber
  • 1 orange bell pepper -or yellow, or if you had to, red
  • 1/2 cup of shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced gruyere cheese
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds – no salt
  • 1 piece prosciutto
  • Ray’s Low-Fat Italian salad dressing
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Peel about half of the cucumber – the skin of an english cucumber or hothouse cucumber is AOK to eat – but take a bit off anyway like this
low-fat salad, no lettuce salad

Just a simple peel

2. Dice the cucumber into small squares. i made 1/4 inch rounds and then cut 4 x 4 or 4×3 depending upon the slice size. Throw them in a bowl

cucumber salad

Cut rounds first. Then cut the rounds into 12-16 pieces each

cucumber dices, salad, no lettuce

Just a small simple dice

3. Do the same thing – core and dice a whole pepper. I bought two – but one was just fine. Throw the dices in the bowl with the cucumber

peppers, vegetarian salad, chopped salad

I just used the orange one…

4. Throw the shredded carrots in! I bought them already shredded since price-wise it was the same and saved me the work!

chopped salad, recipe, carrots

Carrot shreds – also filling

5. Dice up the Gruyere cheese and yes, then throw it in the bowl

gruyere cheese, chopped salad

You can save the rinds for stock – but I didn’t

chopped salad recipe, gruyere cheese

Cheese is protein – and filling

6. Mix it all up.

7. Option – take one slice of prosciutto and place it between two pieces of paper towel and microwave it on high for 1 minute

prosciutto, crispy, salad

BEFORE – The prosciutto adds salt and crunch and yum

prosciutto, crisped salad topper

AFTER: Crispy goodness

8. Portion out one serving into a bowl and top with 1 tsp of sunflower seeds and some of the crispy prosciutto

9. Top with 1 tbsp of Ken’s Steakhouse Italian dressing. Stir and enjoy

dressing, no lettuce salad

I like me some Ken’s

Chopped salad recipe

Chop Chop Salad in no time at all!

 

 

Listen, people – the clock is running. You can’t stop summer from coming and it’s time to get prepared. So Chop to it!

Chicken Breasts Too Big? Perfect Chicken Possibilities.

I do a lot of yoga…sometimes right smack in the middle of the day. Why not? It’s good to get your zen on whenever you have 75 minutes to do so.

OK - it's called a Locust

OK – it’s called a Locust

Still…I’m never going to be that perfect poser…because, anatomically, some poses just aren’t meant for those with bigger breasts. I don’t know the names…but, there’s one pose that just doesn’t look right when I do it. Laying on your stomach you lift your arms, chest and legs off of the mat. It might be called a downward chimichanga – but I’m not sure.

Anyway, I’ve noticed that those in the class with regular sized chests (C-cup or larger) don’t get as much loft…while we are lifting our chests and our backs are bowed in equal proportion to the smaller gals, our breasts may still be touching the mat. Doesn’t seem fair – we are actually working harder (think of the weight alone) and getting less satisfactory results.

So, I’m working on a Yoga for Bigger Boobies Book – stay tuned.

In the mean time, and speaking of breasts – here’s a great way to make perfect chicken breasts every time.

Tiny apartment tips:

  1. You can buy a family pack of breasts (as long as they are from a good quality brand) and individually (wrap tightly in Saran wrap and then place in ZipLoc baggie) freeze what you don’t need. I like the Fairway ones and they’re usually priced well.

    Family pack!

    Family pack!

  2. You can freeze herbs like Thyme and Rosemary for a super long time and don’t need to defrost them to use. As long as they’re still fragrant, they’re OK to use.
  3. If your (chicken) breasts are too big…you can butterfly them or even slice them into three equal cutlets

Perfectly Easy Chicken Breast (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large chicken breast – do you need to buy organic? No, no you do not. but go ahead if that’s your thing
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil – I’ve taken to buying the giant bottles at Fairway – not super space effective, but I transfer to my Sur La Table drizzler and keep the giant Fairway bottle out of sight
  • Photo Apr 09, 7 03 50 PMJane’s Krazy Mixed up Lemon Pepper – the flavored Jane’s are not as easy to find in NYC…I import it from Florida and have a dealer down there
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 bay leaf OR 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 TBSP Flour (optional – but, I like it)
  • 1 little, innocent pat of butter (also optional)

1. In a large soup or stock pot (any pot with a lid and a base area large enough for the chicken to lie flat) heat the olive oil and the little pat of butter over med/high heat

perfect chicken

Yes, you can leave the butter out – but it helps the chicken brown and adds flavor

2. Place the large breast on a cutting board covered with Saran Wrap

3. Butterfly the breast – here’s a GoodHousekeeping article on how to do that – I can’t figure out how to take pix while I am butterflying and pounding chicken…but, here’s a before, during and after:

Lay breast on cutting board covered in plastic wrap

Lay breast on cutting board covered in plastic wrap

Slowly start to run knife down the side of the breast and pull back as you do

Slowly start to run knife down the side of the breast and pull back as you do

Don't cut through. This is what it will look like when you're done

Don’t cut through. This is what it will look like when you’re done

4. Place the butterflied breast between two pieces of Saran Wrap and pound it – gentle now – to about 1/2 inch thick. Don’t beat the poor thing

Just enough to make the width of the chicken uniform

Just enough to make the width of the chicken uniform

5. Generously salt and Jane’s Lemon Pepper both sides and add about 1/2 tsp of thyme leaves

Salt, Jane's Lemon Pepper and Thyme Leaves

Salt, Jane’s Lemon Pepper and Thyme Leaves

6. Dredge the breast in flour

Just a gentle dusting of flour - optional, but I like it

Just a gentle dusting of flour – optional, but I like it – and most is going to shake off

7. Place the chicken in the pot and sear on one side for about 1-2 minutes – the edges of the chicken will turn slightly white and the cooking side will brown

Sizzling….just browning - not really frying

Sizzling….just browning – not really frying

8. Flip the chicken – IF, you prefer the flavor of bay leaf over the thyme, this is where you throw in your bay

Just a little brownness…for flavor and seals in moisture

Just a little brownness…for flavor and seals in moisture

9. Reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Allow to cook undisturbed for 10 minutes

This is a terrible picture of my copper core cookware from All Clad at exactly 7:07pm

This is a terrible picture of my copper core cookware from All Clad at exactly 7:07pm

10. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat or remove completely from the heat source and leave with lid on undisturbed for another 10 minutes

11. Remove from pot, slice and serve – maybe with some chick pea and black bean salad

Perfect chicken with bean salad

Perfect chicken with bean salad

Not all breasts are created equal. I’ve accepted that my downward chimichanga (AKA Locust pose) isn’t going to look perfect and that my lift will be less than some.

Fortunately, when it comes to chicken, if your breasts are too big, you can just butterfly and pound them out. Perfect chicken breasts are always possible.

Don’t Deflate – Inflate the Taste – Spinach-Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breast

Perfectly stuffed and inflated chicken breast

Perfectly stuffed and inflated chicken breast

People have been talking a lot about deflated things lately. The deflated Patriots balls proved for some good fodder on Twitter with #TomBradyHasSaggyBalls and #DeflateGate ruling online.

And things have been inflated too. This past week’s ‘epic’ ‘historic’  ‘monster’ snow storm is a great example of an inflated forecast – for NYC anyway.

But my most amazing recent encounter with inflation came from ConEd. Today I received my e-bill from the Electric Company – not the ’70’s singing kind. Now, I do look at these emails, but what happened today made me think of all the people who never do. See, today’s invoice was for $288.56 for electric charges since December 22 and not 12/22/12, 12/22/14. To put this in perspective, last month’s bill was $58.27 AND I’ve been away much of this billing period. I called – pressed a lot of buttons – and finally got an agent – Tony. Tony explained that because of the ‘storm’ the meters weren’t read and ConEd just estimates the wattage used….uhmmmm, based on what? Me running a neon sign company out of my apartment? After I went and read my own meter (now I know where that is) – the massive inflation error was corrected and my bill deflated down to $52.21.

Lesson here? Sometimes things are erroneously deflated and sometimes things are erroneously inflated.

One thing that you should not deflate but should inflate the taste of is chicken breast. Just pump it up with Ricotta Cheese and Spinach.

Ricotta-Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts (serves 2 – more if your breasts are inflated….)

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. You’re going to dirty a bowl, a plate, a fry pan and a baking dish – so clean as you go
  2. Don’t get over zealous with the flour – you just need enough to lightly coat the breasts – any more and flour will end up all over your counter(s) and floor
  3. Chicken goes on sale – but, please, I beg you, do not buy a store brand unless that store is Fairway, Trader Joe’s or WholeFoods. I recently had an unfortunate bad chicken incident when I stopped and shopped somewhere I won’t name.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Medium Sized Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

    On Sale!

    On Sale! – But a good brand, so AOK

  • 1 10oz Package of Chopped Frozen Spinach
  • 1/2 Cup of Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese – I like the Polly-O brand
  • 2 Slices of Prosciutto – thinly sliced – don’t go crazy, just buy the Boars Head
  • Flour
  • Olive Oil – you know the drill, really good extra virgin olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salt / Pepper – or Dad Salt – message me for where to find it

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

1. Defrost the spinach – just take it from the package, put it in a microwave safe dish/bowl and zap it for 6-7 minutes

spinach, chopped, frozen, chicken, dinner

BirdsEye spinach – always a good deal

2. Drain the spinach – I wrap it in a clean kitchen towel and wring it out. Just be careful as the spinach is hot (duh) and will burn your hands

3. Once the spinach is wholly cooled – take about 1/2 of it and mix it with the 1/2 cup of Ricotta Cheese – set aside. You can use all the spinach with more ricotta (like I did) and then save the rest of the mixture for a great Spinach Maria side.

spinach, ricotta, stuffed chicken recipe

I made all the spinach and more ricotta –   enough stuffing for 6 breasts Or to make a spinach maria side

4. Butterfly the chicken breasts – this is a little tricky if you’ve never done it. Best advice is to place one hand on top of the breast, slice slowly into the flesh and continue to move your knife down the center and open the breast until it’s a perfect butterfly shape

Put one hand on top of the chicken to hold it steady while slicing

Put one hand on top of the chicken to hold it steady while slicing – and cut that fat off the end

5. Place the breasts one at a time on a large piece of plastic wrap on top of a cutting board

butterfly chicken breast

Perfectly butterflied breast – needs pounding!

6. Place a second piece of plastic wrap on top of the butterflied breast

7. Pound the chicken breast to about 1/4 inch thick – You’re not trying to kill the chicken, it’s already dead – Best method is to come down on the chicken with your mallet and then move the mallet to the outside of the breast. Be careful not to rip the breast open – though really no worries if this happens

8. Salt and Pepper or DadSalt the inside of the pounded breasts

DadSalt is a mix of flavinators and testifiers - a venture to raise funds for EBResearch.org. Contact me for details.

DadSalt is a mix of flavinators and testifiers – a venture to raise funds for EBResearch.org. Contact me for details.

9. On one side of the butterflied and pounded breast, place a heaping tablespoon plus a little more of the ricotta-spinach mixture and use your fingers to press it into an even layer. Leave a little space on the edges – don’t overstuff.

stuffed chicken, spinach ricotta dinner

That’s about the right amount of stuffing – maybe a little too much…

10. Fold the un-spinach/ricotta half of the breast over the spinach-ricotta half and gently press the edges together

stuffed chicken breast, dinner

See, there’s a hole in mine – not to worry. It’ll be hidden by the prosciutto

11. Dredge the stuffed, sealed breasts in flour just to coat

12. Take one slice of the prosciutto and lay it on top of the dredged, stuffed chicken breast

stuffed chicken breast recipe

Dredged and covered – note the hole is now just our secret

13. Heat about 2 TBSP of Olive Oil and 1 TSP of butter in a large pan over medium/high heat

14. Prepare a 9×9 or 8×8 or whatever sized baking dish will fit the breasts with cooking spray – set aside

15. Once the oil, butter is melted and sizzling hot, place the chicken breasts prosciutto side down on the hot pan

stuffed chicken breast dinner

Yes, the prosciutto will adhere all on its own to the chicken. Trust me.

16. Brown the chicken until the prosciutto is browned and crisped and adhered to the chicken – about 4 minutes

17. Flip the chicken and brown the alternate side – about another 4 minutes

stuffed chicken breast, prosciutto, dinner

This is what the prosciutto should look like – perfectly browned and adhered to the chicken.

18. Remove the breasts from the pan and place in the prepared baking dish.

19. Place the baking dish into the oven for :20 minutes – until cooked through and chicken meat is completely white

20. Remove and serve

stuffed chicken breast recipe

Perfect. Just Perfect.

Chicken breast stuffed with spinach

And the surprise inside!

Some things are meant to be deflated – huge egos, beach balls at the end of the day, giant Santas after christmas is over. And, some are meant to be inflated – not my ConEd bill, mind you – but rather a chicken dinner sumptuously inflated with spinach and ricotta cheese.

Making X: Don’t ASAP Your Scrambled Eggs

scrambled eggs gordon ramsay CDB William Steig

Perfectly Scrambled – Not abbreviated

We were all abbreviating things long before we starting LOL-ing or telling each other that we’d BRB.

Please, verbal and written abbreviations go back to Before Christ – BC to be exact. I mean you don’t think Julius Ceasar was all ‘hey Mark A, wanna head down to the 4-M? Heard Lady C will be there?’

In the AD years – FYI – we started using abbreviations like ASAP, PDQ and tons more well before anyone had a cell phone.

CDB book kids William Steig

Best Book Ever

Growing up, my professor brother (please address him as Doctor James, but don’t ask him to write a prescription) found, loved and shared a book by William Steig called C D B!…as in See The Bee.

The book is written in phonetically fabulous single letters or 2-letter combinations. Each letter or short letter combo becomes a word when read correctly – kids, this is like when you write ‘Gr8’ instead of ‘Great’. Get it?

This approach is way toats more difficult than just using the first letter of a word to signify that word. Steig’s approach requires the reader to use sounds and maybe even the ol’ noggin to determine what the writer is saying.

William Steig C D B scrambled eggs

This Hen Has 5 Eggs

Because of our family obsession with C D B, we often spoke Steig shorthand at home. Like if we wanted eggs for breakfast, we might ask our mother ‘F U N-E X?’ to which she might reply (if we were lucky) ‘S, V F X’.

I’ve been making myself scrambled eggs for years. I have a method. I have a taste and consistency that I love and a cheese that I had determined to be the ideal cheese for scrambled eggs…I could scramble those puppies up in no time flat.

Some egg-making – though – just shouldn’t be abbreviated. And, if you ask Gordon Ramsay, there’s really only one RIGHT way to make perfect Scrambled Eggs. And, it takes a little extra time.

Perfect Scrambled Eggs (not X) (serves 1 – test kitchen just me today)

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. Don’t worry about the fact that you only have a 1.5q sauce pot – it’s the perfect thing for perfect scrambled eggs
  2. Let the pot cool before soaking it to clean – soaking a hot pot is bad. Just is.
  3. Add whatever testifiers and flavinators you want – but don’t stir anything in – not even salt, pepper etc until the eggs are almost completely done

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Eggs – you can buy organic if you must, but you know that cost like 2X non-organic ones
  • 1 Pat of Butter – just like a TBSP
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese (I used to use Port Salut….but, for these eggs, a harder, sharper cheese is really better)

Directions:

1. In a small sauce pan on the stove, crack the two eggs and throw in the butter

perfect scrambled eggs gordon ramsay

Do Not Scramble B4 Putting In To Pot

2. Turn burner heat up to Medium and begin stirring the eggs and butter in small stirring circles (if you have a Power Burner…Med/Low is A OK)

scrambled eggs Gordon Ramsay perfect

G Ramsay Describes Technique as similar to making Risotto

3. The butter will melt and the eggs will come together as you continue to stir

scrambled eggs breakfast vegetarian

C, it’s working….

4. Once the eggs begin to scramble – I O W begin to form eggy scrambly pieces – remove the pot from the heat…but keep stirring

perfect scramble eggs vegetarian breakfast

D trick is the stirring – Scrambling Away – Gently – Remove from Heat

5. As the pot loses heat, return it to the burner, still at about medium and continue to stir

6. Keep on active burner just long enough to reheat the pot…then remove it ASAP! Keep Stirring

scramble breakfast all -clad pot

B patient – Scrambling Away! Sorta Shocking How Well This Works

7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until the eggs reach the desired consistency. Normally, I prefer a drier scrambled egg…but with this technique, a more creamy, grits-like consistency works better

NOTE: Gordon Ramsay stirs in some creme fraiche and some chives…but you really don’t need the creme fraiche and chives just make it a very expensive scrambled egg dish – unless you have some on hand.

8. Serve topped with some lovely grated sharp cheddar cheese

perfect eggs

Just perfect

There are great occasions for abbreviations. Like texting your BFF.  There’s also the times you just need to speak in code – my roommate from college, PKO used abbreviated, acronym-speak well before the first text was sent. Never did figure out what she was saying…

But, BTW, when you want the perfect scrambled eggs. you need to take your time and not try to make them ASAP.