Not like I will be submitting my weight each week, I just started the original posting with that title and I am going to stick with it.
Today’s weight – 253.8
I feel really good about the progress I have made. Even more so because it has altered the way I look at food and what makes up the food we eat every day of our lives.
It is simply amazing what goes into things we take for granted, like lunch meet. You think there is obviously going to be your favorite bird, swine or cow neatly sliced and placed into a convenient package. Maybe a few things to keep it fresh so that if you don’t feel like eating sandwiches everyday for lunch, I certainly don’t, you can come back to it in a couple of days and still expect a delicious slice of your favorite meat.
It is true that they do add stuff to keep your tasty treats fresh, but they also add other things. Sadly sugar has made its way into much of we eat on a daily basis. And for the preservatives they use, lactic acid among other things. Lactic acid is dairy and because I am steering clear of dairy I now have to read the package of every item I buy so I am not getting dairy or sugar. Fortunately my wife is much better at reading the fine print than I am.
This is not a kvetch-fest. On the contrary, it is meant to celebrate all the good food I am eating and feel good about knowing what I am eating. It is also empowering me to cook more at home. It often works out that I get home before my wife and depending on our busy schedules we may not be sharing dinner together. But it also means I have an opportunity to make dinner for my wife who is working 10+ hours a day and is happy to find dinner made when she gets home.
Over the weekend we figured out our schedules and when we would be home together for meals and when we wouldn’t and what we would make and how many days of left-overs (think-aheads as one of my former colleagues used to say) we would have.
This is our schedule:
- Monday – I get home early and made home-made soup (actually all I did was add things to a pot at the proper interval at the proper temperature), my wife did all the chopping of vegetables the night before. This was a combined effort. It was/is delicious and will be a think-ahead for several days. Recipe to follow.
- Tuesday – I once again was home early and set to work on the roasting of a free-range organic chicken (whatever that means). I initially thought it was a 2-3 lbs. bird and was planning the time to cook for that weight for a 6:30pm eat time. Turns out the bird was 5+ lbs. and I had to get things moving sooner than expected. Chicken is pretty easy. While I was bowling Monday night my wife made a herb-butter (earth balance and herbs from the garden) spread we used to add flavor to the chicken. Recipe/direction to follow.
- Wednesday – I will be gaming (chilli is on the menu) and Jess will have either soup or chicken.
- Thursday – Jess will be at band practice and I will either have my usual fair – grilled steak – or soup.
- Friday I will be playing cards. Not sure what I will be eating and Jess will be eating out with people from her office.
Last night will be the only night this week I have a chance to eat with my wife. I am sure this is not altogether uncommon for couples where both work. Different schedules mean different routines is all. Now on to the recipes.
Vegetable & Pasta Soup
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 lbs. sausage
- 1 lg. yellow onion – chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup carrots – chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 cup celery – chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3-5 cloves garlic – chopped pretty small
- 1 22 oz. can of tomatoes/diced
- 1 16 oz. garbanzo beans – drained and rinsed
- 1 quart beef broth (no cane sugar or derivatives added)
- 1 cup pasta (we used fusilli-the spiral one about 2 inches long)
- various herbs and spices, salt n’ pepper to taste
- Place oil in stew pot and heat to medium temp. Brown and break up the sausage into small pieces. (about 10 minutes)
- Add vegetables and cook on medium high heat until onion get translucent (about 10 minutes)
- Add tomatoes, broth and season to taste – bring to boil and turn down heat to simmer (about 10-15 minutes)
- Add garbanzo beans and pasta (about 10 minutes)
- Eat delicious hearty soup!
With prep time for cutting vegetables this should be done in less than an hour.
Roasted/Baked whole 5 lbs. Chicken
- 1 5 lbs. chicken
- 2 lemons
- 1 stick Earth Balance butter
- Salt (we use Kosher)
Directions – Prep and cook time is about 2 Hours 15 minutes
- Turn oven on to 375 degrees if convection or 400 if not.
- Remove covering of chicken – remove giblets, rinse thoroughly, dry inside and out of bird
- Salt the cavity of the bird – you can also sprinkle some on the outside of the bird but I did not
- Cut lemons into 1/4’s and place into cavity of bird
- I placed liberal amounts of butter in between the outer skin and the thin membrane next to the skin – once separated it is easy to place a tbsp of butter into either side above the breast. I also placed butter at the cavity opening beneath the legs and rubbed it all over the outside of the skin. The rest I placed in the bottom of the pan to melt for basting with.
- Truss the legs of the bird across one-another in front of cavity to keep lemons in place inside the bird and to help keep the moisture of the bird inside it. (I also trussed the bird all the way around it and kept the wings pined against the body so I could lift the bird into and out of the dutch oven for ease since I didn’t have a wire rack to place it on)
- Place bird in dutch oven and place into center rack in center of oven.
- Baste every 20 minutes or so.
- The temperature of the chicken measured in the thickest part, the breast, should be 165 or better. The juices should flow clear once it has reached this temperature.
- After about an hour and a half I checked the temp and found it was around 160 degrees so I removed the lid to the dutch-oven to let the bird brown on top for the last 30 minutes. I could have done this for 45 minutes and it would have been more brown and crispy on the outside but it was perfectly done all the same.
- Remove from dutch-oven and let set for about 10 minutes before carving and eating.
For sides we had green salad with spinach, red bell pepper and cucumber. Additionally we had roasted Brussels sprouts. I had a beer and my wife had white wine.
I denuded the carcass of meat and saved it and all the other bones to make broth from. The leftover meat aside from the other breast we didn’t eat last night will be used for chicken and dumplings James style.
More to come…