January – Week 4, phase 1

January – Week 4, phase 1

Here we go again, only one more week. A friend made an interesting comment about this diet. He said that even though it sounds complicated, it is actually easier. It’s easier because you don’t have to stick with any one way of eating for months on end. On this diet you have your high carbohydrate days (2 if them), you have your low carbohydrate days (2 of them), and then you have 3 days of, what I would call “intelligent eating”. What does that mean? Healthy fats and lots of vegetables, moderate meat and carbohydrates. I know it’s the way I should eat most of the time. Once the diet is over, I will add a little dairy (I miss cheese, especially goat) and a little wine (I miss that as well). But, the defining word is “little”. I have gone without them for over 3 weeks and lived! I don’t miss sugar (I know that makes some of you shake your heads) but that is probably the only one of the five items (caffeine, alcohol, wheat, dairy, sugar) that I will not add back into my diet except on a very rare occasion.

So what has today looked like?

Breakfast – sprouted wheat toast and raspberries

Snack – mixed fruit and herb tea (I met a friend at a cafe)

Lunch – sprouted wheat tortilla, toasted in a skillet with sliced chicken, tomatoes, onion, and arugula

Snack – tangerine

Dinner – Fast Metabolism Buddha Bowl – 1 cup brown rice, steamed Brussels sprouts, roast winter squash, steamed to reheat deli rotisserie chicken (take out). Yes, I do take out…deli chickens are a wonderful convenience especially if you know the chickens are organic and came from a good source.

These kind of bowls are very easy to put together for either phase 1 or phase 3. All you need is a grain of some sort (brown rice in these examples), something green (broccoli or Brussels sprouts in the pics), and something contrasting in color and texture like sweet potatoes or winter squash.

Steamed Brussels sprouts only take 4 – 5 minutes, the delicata squash was roasted with a spray of olive oil (sorry it was a minor cheat), deli chicken, brown rice…an entire dinner in a bowl. Tamari for flavor.

Here is a picture of the phase 3 bowl:

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Phase 3 dinner bowl

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Phase 1 dinner bowl with tamari

These are perfect dinners, easy if you have any extra steamed rice and veggies on hand. Remember that steamed rice freezes well and reheats in the microwave in glass containers or plastic bags. Why pay exorbitant prices for frozen brown rice at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods? Simply make more than you will need and freeze the rest in serving sizes that are appropriate for your family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This bowl was a phase 3 dinner, I used a spritz of olive oil when roasting the squash

 

January – Phase 3, Fast Metabolism

January – Phase 3, Fast Metabolism

This is the last day of week 3, only one more week to go. I missed posting about phase 2 this week. I find phase 2 the most challenging, and frankly boring. Eating just lean protein and greens is “ho hum”. Phase 3 food seems positively decadent after phase 2, allowing moderate amounts of  “healthy” fats such as avocado, nut butter, hummus,  and coconut milk.

In phase 2, I frankly don’t care much about food. I eat because I have to, not because I am interested in what is on my plate. In fact, one day last week I forgot to eat entirely. Not good actually according to the diet. But I was super busy and occupied, I forgot to take food with me, and eating never occurred to me. That is until it got to be dinner time and I was at a friend’s house. By then I was hungry, really hungry. I did ‘cheat’ and have some phase 3 salmon and raw almonds because that was what was there. Really, I had to eat something!

My new scale is supposed to arrive today. Because my old one was rusted and corroded, it was a victim of our downsizing. After my friend (who has lost over 9 pounds in three weeks and feels amazing) raved about her new digital scale, I broke down and ordered one from Amazon.

I am not going to be able to tell you how much weight I have lost because I didn’t weigh myself at the beginning. I will tell you that my clothes are loose and my stomach is flatter. For me the weight loss was secondary to the overall reset. It’s a reset of habits, of taste buds, and overall approach to food. After three weeks I can tell you that I consider that part of the diet a success, the next week will only cement it. My friends who joined me on this adventure say the same thing.

So, what does my last day in phase 3 for this week look like?

Breakfast – fresh raspberries, sprouted wheat toast with almond butter

Snack – raw almonds

Lunch – Buffalo Chicken Chowder from Dishing Up the Dirt, (modified by using coconut oil instead of ghee and a sweet potato instead of russet); with celery sticks on the side and a tangerine. You can follow the link to the recipe, I found it had good flavor but the sweet potato didn’t thicken the chowder the way a russet would have. IMG_7093

Much to my surprise, on doing some research on the wild wide web, I came across another recipe which is very close to how I modified it. They used rice flour to thicken it a little, a good idea. I may like this one better from the blog Easy and Delish, Buffalo Chicken Chowder. I will try it this week and let you know. Changing the chicken breast to thighs would add more flavor (unless cooked sous vide I find chicken breasts too dry). The Frank’s Hot Sauce in the Dishing Up the Dirt recipe was good, keep that if you like spicy things.

My husband wanted something a little more substantial and added a can of pinto beans and some baby spinach. That is also a good option but it is coming closer to something else (chili?) and further away from Buffalo Chicken. IMG_7095

Look for a post, later in the week. Sometime when I am closer to phase 3 again, I will combine the two into something I a bit more to my own taste.

Snack – raw walnuts

DinnerSpicy Lamb Soup-Stew with Garbanzos 

Follow the link if you would like the recipe.

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January – Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

January – Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

My family is very fond of what I call soup/stew. It’s not really a stew, more like a very substantial soup. it’s a soup that is a full meal, and it perfectly describes this Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash. You could serve it with a salad or throw in some baby spinach to wilt just before serving. Ta Da greens., nothing more needed.

This is a phase 3 dinner, 2 cups equal one serving.

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Lamb, Winter Squash and Chickpea Soup/Stew

Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

4 servings – 8 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin or cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamon, or cardamon seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander or coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper plus more to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more as needed for taste
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 teaspoons grape seed oil
  • 1 medium red onion, half diced and half sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large delicata squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 3/4 inch cubes; or other winter squash – about 4 cups
  • 1 can of garbanzo (chickpea) beans drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, low sodium
  • optional – handful of golden raisins or roughly chopped dried apricots
  • For garnish – chopped cilantro, flat leaf parsley, mint, or chives…or combination of all

Directions:

  1. Combine the cumin, cardamon and coriander in a small heavy skillet and toast until slightly brown. This will happen quickly if using ground spices. Watch carefully. If whole spices, cool and grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. IMG_7099
  2. Heat the grape seed oil in a large skillet or pot on medium heat, add the ground lamb and brown (drain if there is a lot of fat and return to the skillet or pot).
  3. Add the onion, garlic, and spices. Stir until blended and smelling aromatic, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the bell pepper, squash, garbanzo beans and stock.
  5. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and flavors blended. Add the optional dried fruit, taste for salt, and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
  6. If not on the Fast Metabolism Diet, I would recommend the optional dried fruit.

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    Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

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Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

This recipe is adapted and modified from one in the NY Times.

January – Turkey Chili

January – Turkey Chili

Okay, I know there are about a million recipes out there for chili. I have a whole Pinterest folder full of them. Why do you need one more? Well…what about easy, almost fat free, delicious, full of healthy vegetables, suitable for both phase 1 and phase 3 of the Fast Metabolism Diet, and lastly an insurance policy in the freezer. Chili is the answer for the question “what shall we have for dinner?” frequently posed at 6 pm when everyone is tired, hungry, and grumpy. That’s the kind of insurance I’m talking about. It’s good with rice, with cornbread, poured over a baked potato, garnished with cheese or avocado or chips or cilantro or chopped onion or sour cream, use it in a burrito bowl or rolled in a taco. Whew! And it is delicious just as is, perfect for lunch or dinner on a chilly day. You have lots of options.

This recipe makes a big batch, four quarts of chili. Enough for to put a quart or two in the freezer.

2 cups of chili are a phase 1 meal, garnish with half a sliced avocado for phase 3. Because of the large amounts of legumes, it counts as a starch as well as a protein.

Turkey Chili

4 quarts of Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili

Makes 4 quarts – 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (depending on how spicy you like your chili)
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained
  • 4 cups of chopped zucchini
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • 1 32 ounce can of chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste

Directions:

  1. Brown the turkey over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed pot, add a tablespoon or two of water if it sticks.
  2. Add the onion, herbs, chili powder, cumin, garlic and red chili flakes to the pot. Cook on until the onion softens, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the 2 cans of black beans with their liquid, the drained pinto beans, and the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat. Simmer 40 minutes.
  4. Add the zucchini, red pepper and salt, simmer for another 40 minutes to an hour.
  5. Taste for salt.
  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro, thinly sliced cabbage, avocado, sour cream, cheese, etc.

    Turkey Chili

    Turkey Chili

This recipe is adapted from one in the Fast Metabolism Diet.

 

January – 5 Hour Beef Stew

January – 5 Hour Beef Stew

This recipe was first posted in November 2013, but I think it is due for a re-write. As well I wanted to adapt it to the Fast Metabolism Diet, which was amazingly easy to do. You don’t need to be on the diet to appreciate this wonderful meal. It is so easy, you just mix everything together in a large bowl, pour it into a casserole dish, cover and leave in a low oven for 5 hours. Time to catch up on some of the Harry Potter movies that are playing in marathon session on TV this weekend. Your whole house will be filled with wonderful smells. This recipe is good enough to serve company. It is appropriate for phase 1 or 3.

The original idea came from a cookbook (mine now well-used, stained, and tattered) called Cold-Weather Cooking by Sarah Leah Chase. She was one of the co-authors of the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook. She lives in Nantucket and the recipe is perfect for stormy, cold evenings.

 Serve it with mashed potatoes, or pasta, or mashed fat-free cauliflower (recipe to follow).

Note: I would not transfer this recipe to a slow cooker, it will have far too much liquid. Slow cooker recipes need an entirely different formula for success. Also, please check your tapioca label if you need this recipe to be gluten-free, not all of them are. Minute Tapioca is gluten-free.

5 Hour Beef Stew

5 Hour Beef Stew

 

(6-8 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ lbs of lean beef stew meat, cut into 1 – 1 ½ inch cubes
  • 6-8 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks the size as the meat
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks the same size as the meat
  • 6-8 shallots, peeled and left whole
  • 4 cloves of garlic, 2 finely chopped and 2 peeled but left whole
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional if your family does not like spicy food)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ½ cups of sugar-free vegetable juice, tomato juice or a large can of tomatoes, puree in your blender with additional water to make 2 1/2 cups if necessary
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine, water or broth
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 3 ½ tablespoons of tapioca, I used Minute Tapioca
  • Chopped parsley for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the beef with all the vegetables. Season with the garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. No, you don’t need to pre-brown the meat! I know, I didn’t believe it either but I’ve made this many times and it works.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the tomato juice, wine or water or broth, mustard, and tapioca.
  4. Add this mixture to the meat and vegetables, stir to blend well.
  5. Transfer the stew to a large casserole or Dutch oven. Cover tightly and cook 5 hours without opening the lid or disturbing.
  6. Taste for salt, some tomato juices are very salty. Add more freshly ground pepper as desired.
  7. You can serve this directly or refrigerate overnight and reheat the next day.
  8. Garnish with chopped parsley

 

5 Hour Beef Stew

5 Hour Beef Stew

5 Hour Beef Stew

Use your imagination as far as vegetables. I used carrots, parsnips and shallots this time. In the past, I’ve added turnips, potatoes, boiling onions, kohibrabi, celery root and elephant garlic. Use this recipe as your canvas for what you find at the market or in your garden.

Serve with mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, pasta, or this amazing fat-free cauliflower mash. 1/8 (about 1 cup) of the recipe would be a phase 1 dinner with some brown rice or pasta. A sweet potato would also be nice with it.

If you have some, serve the pickled mustard seeds on the side. I did and it was a good counterpoint to the richness of the meat. Horseradish would also be good.

Add a salad freshly gathered from the garden, you have an easy weeknight dinner which feels much fancier than it is.

Fat-free Cauliflower Mash

Fat-free Cauliflower Mash with Beef Stew

2 – 3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of fresh cauliflower, washed and broken into florets. Woody stems peeled and chopped
  • 1 head of fresh garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1/2 bunch of green onions or scallions, roughly chopped, white and light green parts only
  • 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add the cauliflower, scallions and garlic to a large pot.
  2. Add the chicken or vegetable broth
  3. Bring all back to the boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes until everything is very tender
  4. Pour into a colander over a large bowl, saving the broth.
  5. When slightly cooler, puree in your blender or food processor, adding broth as needed until you have a smooth mash.
  6. Taste for salt and pepper.
  7. Save the cauliflower cooking water for soup.

This is creamy, and delicious. But…it is not rich mashed potatoes. You could add cream and butter but that would be defeating the purpose. If not restricting dairy, I might add some cottage cheese to the blender with the cauliflower. I think that would up the flavor profile a bit. Puree both until very smooth and creamy. Make sure you add enough salt, that is a key element.

 

 

 

January – Fast Metabolism – Phase 2 Day 2

January – Fast Metabolism – Phase 2 Day 2

Day 4 of the Fast Metabolism Diet. How are you feeling? I woke up this morning with more energy than usual and I don’t miss that morning dose of caffeine…progress. I am experimenting with herbal teas. Do you have a favorite for the morning? The Numi teas with turmeric have been my “go to’s” so far but I am looking forward to branching out.

As a reminder of today’s program:

Breakfast – Protein, veggie

Snack – Protein

Lunch – Protein, veggie

Snack – Protein

Dinner – Protein, veggie

My own menu looks like this for the day:

Breakfast – 2 slices of turkey bacon scrambled with 2 egg whites and a handful of baby spinach

Turkey Bacon with Egg Whites and Baby Spinach

Snack – 1/4 cup of mixed raw nuts

LunchTurkey breast with a salad of sliced cucumbers and red onions

Turkey Breast – Cooked Frozen and Sous Vide

 

Snack – 1/4 cup of mixed raw nuts

Dinner – 1 slice of turkey bacon sautéed with shrimp. Asparagus on the side.

 

Casey and Quinn get the benefit of those lovely yolks in their dinner tonight.

Egg yolks

Egg yolks? For us??? We are digesting breakfast and keeping you company while you write.

Don’t forget your water and phase 2 exercise includes some form of weight work. Take heart, phase 3 and avocado is on the horizon.

January – Sous Vide Frozen Turkey Breast

January – Sous Vide Frozen Turkey Breast

One of the wonderful things about sous vide is that you can cook your food while it is still frozen…yes, frozen solid. You only need to increase the cooking time by half. For example, if something takes 4 hours normally, cook it for 6 if frozen. Even better, the maximum timing is flexible. Need to be out of the house for 8 hours? No problem.

Cooking things frozen allows you to take advantage of periodic sales, like the one recently for post holiday season boneless turkey breasts. After all it would still take at least overnight to thaw in your fridge, no waiting for that thaw time. And it comes out as if it had been cooked fresh.

I purchased an organic boneless turkey breast just after New Year’s and popped it in my freezer. Before putting it in a bag for vacuum sealing (you can also use a heavy duty ziplock bag), I browned it…yes still frozen, and after browning rubbed it well with salt and herbs de Provence. Then I vacuum sealed it in the bag and placed it in my sous vide water bath which had been preheated to 134 degrees F. Normal cooking times for a turkey breast are 8 to 24 hours. The frozen breast will take longer of course. It could be done in 12 hours but can go much longer. It will become even more tender with longer cooking time, but don’t go overboard as it will turn to mush. I cooked mine for about 28 hours.

Browned Turkey Breast

Turkey Breast Vacuum Sealed and Ready to Cook

We Are Cooking

Be sure the water covers the top of your bag and cover your container with a lid or plastic wrap. 24 hours is a long time and the water will evaporate otherwise. You don’t want to have to get up in the middle of the night to check the water level.

It turned out tender and delicious. If you are serving it warm, I would brown it again. But because this was intended for sandwiches and cold meals I didn’t bother.

Overnight Sous Vide Turkey Breast

Sous Vide Turkey Breast – Fresh or Frozen

  1. Preheat the sous vide water bath to 134 degrees F
  2. Brown the fresh or frozen turkey breast in olive oil, concentrating on the skin side
  3. When cool, rub with salt and your herb of choice (I used herb de Provence)
  4. Seal in a vacuum bag or place in a heavy duty ziplock bag.
  5. Immerse in the water bath, using the water displacement method to force out any air in a ziplock bag. Make sure the turkey breast is covered by the water.
  6. Cover your water bath with plastic wrap or a lid.
  7. Cook for 8 to 24 hours if fresh, 12 to 30 if frozen.
  8. If serving warm you may want to brown it again.