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.

IMG_7105

 

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.

    IMG_7108

    Lamb Soup/Stew with Garbanzos and Winter Squash

IMG_7104

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 – Turkey, White Bean and Kale Soup

January – Turkey, White Bean and Kale Soup

It’s soup weather here in the Northern Hemisphere. This warming, healthy, low fat and very filling recipe fits the bill. It is wonderful with a slice of toasted sourdough bread on the side and a substantial meal on it’s own.

The only fat in this recipe is from the turkey, a meat which tends to be low in fat to start.

Turkey, Kale and White Bean Soup

Turkey, white bean and kale soup

4 servings of about 2 cups each (2 1/2 quarts)

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 cup of chopped celery including some of the tops
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots, not too small
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups of vegetable, turkey or chicken stock
  • 3 cups of chunked winter squash (butternut, kaboucha, or delicata), peeled if necessary (you can often find chunked butternut squash already prepared at the grocery store).
  • 3 cups of chopped kale (I used baby kale and added it whole just before serving, it was only slightly wilted)
  • 2 cans of white beans or cannellini beans or 1 of each, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. In a large soup pot, saute the turkey, onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in 1 tablespoon of water with a teaspoon of salt until beginning to soften. Add an additional tablespoon of water if things seem to be sticking.
  2. Mix in the thyme, rosemary, cumin, bay leaf, and chili powder. Let simmer for a minute or two with the turkey and vegetables.
  3. Add the broth, squash, kale (if using regular sized kale), and beans. Bring to a boil.
  4. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. If using baby kale, add it to the soup just before serving so it is only slightly wilted.
  6. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

For a vegetarian version, add another can of beans (maybe black bean or adzuki).

2 cups of this soup would be a phase 1 lunch or dinner. If you are not avoiding dairy, a spoonful of freshly grated parmesan sprinkled on top would be delicious.

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

Celery, Onion and Carrots

Large soup pot, this was my mother’s

Saute the turkey, onions, carrots, celery and garlic with a little salt

Delicata Squash, you don’t need to peel it

Turkey, White Bean and Kale (not yet) Soup

 

Turkey, White Bean and Kale Soup

Turkey, Kale and White Bean Soup

 

November – Instant Vegetable Stock

November – Instant Vegetable Stock

Ok, this isn’t exactly instant. It is, however, pretty darn close. And, it is a heck of a lot better tasting than those commercial canned or boxed vegetable stocks. It doesn’t require hours of simmering on the stove, it doesn’t take up half your freezer, and you don’t have to defrost frozen blocks of stock. You will have quarts of stock available in the time it takes water to boil. Is it sounding more instant by the minute? I find that canned or boxed stock are completely bland and out of balance, they can ruin a good soup or stew recipe. If you have the time, by all means make magic mineral broth, it is amazing. But if you don’t, keep a jar of this “instant vegetable stock” in your fridge and a few extra jars in the freezer.

Take a look at all these good things in this stock…

Instant Vegetable Stock

Instant Vegetable Stock

What do you think?

So, here is the trick. In careful proportions you process the above ingredients to a fine granular paste, add sea salt as a preservative, and portion into small jars. To make stock, add a rounded teaspoon (or more for a stronger stock) into a cup of very hot water and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Dada! Instant vegetable stock.

This is the time of year you need to have stock on hand for soups, stews, and gravy. Make a batch, it comes together quickly.

Instant Vegetable Stock Base

Instant Vegetable Stock Base

This makes about 4 8-oz jars. It halves well if you want to make less.

Ingredients, all measured after washing, trimming and/or peeling:

  • 9 oz leeks
  • 7 oz fennel
  • 7 oz carrots
  • 9 oz celery root
  • 2 oz sun-dried tomatoes (not the ones in oil)
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 1/2 oz Italian parsley
  • 3 1/2 oz cilantro
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fine sea salt

Method:

  1. A food processor is essential to this recipe. Simply put the ingredients into the processor and blend together until you have a fine, moist, granular paste.  My processor is not huge, so I made the stock base in batches, dumped each batch into a large bowl, and mixed it all together with the salt at the end.
  2. Spoon into clean jars with tight-fitting lids.
  3. Keep one jar in the fridge and put the others in the freezer. Use within 6 months.
  4. To use, stir about 1 teaspoon into a cup of very hot water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. If you need a clear broth, strain it after it sits.
    Vegetable Stock

    Vegetable Stock

    Instant Vegetable Stock Base

    Instant Vegetable Stock Base

    Note: This stock base is salty, you may not need to add any additional salt when using it. Consider using a teaspoon instead of salt in some recipes, it will enhance the over-all flavor of the dish.

I got this idea from the wonderful folks at Food52.

May – Spring Carrot Soup

May – Spring Carrot Soup

This soup came about because of my book club. It was my turn to host, we had decided on a salad pot luck. Because spring weather can be unpredictable here, I thought something warming would go well with all those wonderful cold salads. And I have to say that this soup was a big success. It is, by far, the best carrot soup I have ever tasted, without exception. This soup is not too sweet, not too strong, has amazing color, and the carrot flavor doesn’t hit you over the head. It is just right! It’s rich and thick without any butter or cream. In fact, this soup is both vegetarian and vegan. Plus, it has turmeric which is good for your immune system. You could call it a spring tonic is a bowl.

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Many recipes for carrot soup use vegetable or chicken stock, or even carrot juice as a base. I find those liquids completely overwhelm the flavors of the carrots. It’s better to use water, especially if the only choice is a packaged stock from the store. For this soup I used coconut water. It gave a subtle coconut flavor that married well with the ginger, turmeric and curry but let the carrots shine through. This recipe doesn’t use any cream (coconut or other) but you wouldn’t guess it. It’s thick and rich without all that fat. Serve it hot or chilled on a a warm day.

I did add a swirl of coconut cream and a sprinkle of carrot chips to each bowl just before serving.

This recipe will serve 8-10. Any extra soup will freeze well.

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. of carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 large leeks, well washed and trimmed – use only the white and light green parts
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and coarsly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground curry powder
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 7-8 cups of coconut water, a bit more if you find it is too thick
  • Optional: coconut cream and a few carrot chips to finish

Method

  1. Place a large pot over medium heat, add the coconut oil and allow it to melt. Add the leeks, shallot, onion and garlic to the oil. Cook for 10 minutes until softened but not brown.
  2. Add the carrots, turmeric, curry powder, ginger, and lemon zest to the pot. Cook until the carrots begin to soften and all starts to have the most amazing aroma. This will take 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the coconut water, bring to a boil and cover loosely. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes until the carrots are completely soft and the stock looks murky.
    Carrot Soup

    Carrot Soup

    Carrot Soup - ready for blending

    Carrot Soup – ready for blending

  4. Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool before blending in batches to a smooth consistency. I don’t recommend blending soup while it is hot, you may end up burning yourself and having most of the soup on the ceiling. For extra protection cover the blender with a tea towel.

    Cover your blender with a tea towel

    Cover your blender with a tea towel

  5. Pour the soup back into a pot and heat before serving (or serve chilled).
Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup

This soup is so wonderful that I think I will take it to the Fiesta Friday party at Angie’s blog. Come by the site by clicking here to see the wonderful food delicious treats other bloggers have brought to Fiesta Friday #121.

I am wishing all my readers a Memorial Day weekend filled with family, friends, BBQ, fun and gratitude. Gratitude to all those who have died defending our freedom while serving in the U.S. military. We grieve for them and their loved ones.

January – Roasted Cauliflower Soup

January – Roasted Cauliflower Soup

One of the amazing things about cauliflower is that it behaves a little like a starch. What do I mean? You can use it as a replacement for rice, wheat flour, and potatoes. I’m sure there are even more interesting recipes using cauliflower in surprising ways on the internet as well. Of course they don’t taste quite the same as rice or potatoes or bread. But, being a huge fan of cauliflower, that is ok with me. I have found cauliflower does a lovely job of creating a thick soup that resembles potato (but is even better for you).

This is a “non” recipe in that I don’t have exact measurements. You could use this same recipe to make a simple warming vegetable soup out of any leftover vegetables.

Back in the 60’s my mother used to add leftover salad to a can of ‘cream-of-something’ soup; she then pureed everything together in the blender with some milk or stock. Heated gently it was lunch. I’m not a big fan of commercial soups as most are full of sugar and salt and other unpronounceable ingredients. This soup is rich and creamy with less than 5 ingredients…roasted cauliflower, milk or half and half or stock, olive oil, and salt.

You could use leftover whole roasted cauliflower or leftover roasted cauliflower with urfu biber (would be slightly spicy). For that matter this basic technique would also work with broccoli or carrots or a green such as cooked chard.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients

  • roasted cauliflower, about 2 cups, roasted with olive oil and salt
  • stock (chicken or vegetable) or half and half or milk
  • salt as needed and pepper
  1. Add the cooked vegetable to your blender with enough liquid to puree it to a soup-like texture. You could use an immersion blender as well, it wouldn’t be quite as smooth but would have an interesting texture.
  2. Pour into a saucepan and heat to a simmer.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I find roasting adds a flavor profile which doesn’t need much embellishment.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

You can garnish this soup with sour cream or plain yogurt, scallions, cilantro, or a sprinkling of chili powder.