Monday, April 19, 2010

30 before 30: #5: No sugar/no carbs for 30 days

I've decided to commit to no sugar, no carbs for thirty days, starting today.  Obviously, I can't exclude every sugar and every carb, but I will not eat any unnatural sugar or simple carbs.  Soooo, all whole grains and fruits for 30 days.  

I decided 30 days would be my goal for a couple of reasons.  First, it takes about that long to form a new habit.  And, most importantly, I usually lose interest in these types of things after 2 weeks.  I will make it 30 days this time, I will.  I'm almost 30 years old for crying out loud!  I can do it!!  

Planning and preparation are key to making this work.  So, I made a meal plan for this week:
Monday:    Shake, Mushroom casserole, Artichoke Dip and cucumbers and strawberries/whip cream

Tuesday:    Whole grain bread and PB, Mushroom casserole, Stuffed mexican pie, turkey/swiss roll up w/ bell pepper mix and sugar-free pudding

Wednesday: Shake, Stuffed mexican pie, Greek Chicken and greek salad, Artichoke Dip and cucumbers and strawberries/whip cream

Thursday:    Whole grain bread and egg, Greek Chicken and greek salad, Stir fry, turkey/swiss roll up w/ bell pepper mix and sugar-free pudding

Friday:    Shake, Shrimp and avocado salad, Turkey Meatloaf and sweet potato, String cheese 

Saturday:    Whole grain bread and PB, Tuna salad on cucumbers, taco salad, String cheese 

Sunday:    Whole grain bread and egg, Turkey Meatloaf, Chicken pot pie, String cheese 

The chances of me sticking to it are slim to none, but at least I have options.  This morning's breakfast included scrambled eggs with a bell pepper sauce, turkey kielbasa, and strawberries.  Delicious, but already a departure for the menu.   Good news: No sugar, No carbs!  Score one for me!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekend Round-Up!

So, this weekend was a whole lot of fun.  I was a little worried after a Thursday night awkward discussion with someone new in my life.   Sometimes I forget that even if someone asks your opinion, they may not be ready for it.  But, despite that, I had a wonderful time and started to make advancements on my 30 under 30 list!

First, I had two friends over for dinner on Friday.  It went swimmingly.  This wasn't my fancy dinner party with the pretty invitations and the gourmet food, it was more like decent food, decent drinks, and great company.  

We had frogmore stew, which is a low country boil from North Carolina.  

  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning per gallon water (or more to taste)
  • several lemons, halved (optional)
  • redskin potatoes (depending on size, 3 or more per person)
  • turkey sausage, cut into 1-inch slices (¼ pound per person)
  • fresh corn, broken into halves or thirds (1 ½ ears per person)
  • shrimp (½ pound per person)
  • butter, melted
Fill a large steamer pot halfway with water. Add crab-boil seasoning (or more to taste). Several halved lemons may be added as well.
When the seasoned water comes to a boil, add redskin potatoes and boil for 20 minutes; then add one-inch slices of spicy smoked sausage and boil for 5-10 minutes. Add the corn) and boil another 5 minutes. (Begin timing immediately. Do not wait for it to boil again). Then add the shrimp. Cook for 3 minutes, drain, and pile on a table.
Serve with lots of paper towels

I also served cucumber salad, which is sliced cucumbers, onions, salt, sugar, vinegar, water, and dill.  There aren't any exact measurements, other than just a splash of vinegar, I just generally throw all the ingredients in a bowl, put it in the fridge for an hour and then taste.  Adjust as needed.

We had bread and oil dipping sauces, as well.  So good!! We ate 1 baguette and 1/2 a loaf that night.  Yummy!!  

For dessert, I had a basic apple crumble.  

Crumble Topping:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Apple Mixture (serves 3):
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup Equal Spoonful
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups peeled, cored, sliced Granny Smith or other baking apples (about 3 medium) 

Combine cornstarch, Equal, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Sprinkle over apples in large bowl and toss to coat. Arrange apples in baking dish.  Combine topping ingredients until crumbly; sprinkle over top of pie. Bake at 400° for 45 to 50 minutes, until apples are tender and topping is browned.

Saturday was a great night for food, as well!  It started with Salade de Chèvre Chaud avec sa Vinaigrette, which is basically a salad with a homemade vinaigrette, crouton, and melted goat cheese.  It's as good as it sounds.  Better even. 

For the main course, we had ratatouille, Ritz style, and filet mignon with a drizzle sauce.  I can't describe to you in words how wonderful this dish was.  Here's a pic:

It's 10 times better than my iPhone picture.  I'll get to posting the recipe, and maybe even a little video of how-to at some point.  It isn't my recipe, but it will be.  :-)

Sunday, my friends and I went to Allgood Cafe for brunch.  I can wholeheartedly recommend their breakfast tacos and chicken-fried steak.  I try chicken-fried steak a lot, and this, so far, is the best in Dallas.  I'll admit, I haven't tried it on every menu, but I've had it enough times to know when I taste good chicken-fried steak.  And this, my friends, is good chicken-fried steak.  So, if you are ever in the mood for brunch, check it out.  Oh, and they have interesting waitstaff and great decor.  See photo below:

After eating a robust meal, we walked to the local farmers market to explore what the farmers had to offer.  I purchased a yellow bell pepper plant and a cilantro plant for my little indoor garden.  Now I only need to find a lemon tree, and, well...attempt them alive.  It will be the first thing I can officially cross off of my list.  I'm excited!! 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm Back!!!

Hello dear readers...if there are any of you left.  :-)

I'm finally back and ready to get blogging again.  Things are really well.  And to kick of my return, I have a list.  Well, a partial list.  It's my 30 things to do before I reach 30 list.  I am nearing the dreaded 3-0.  18 months to be exact.  Whew!  My life has been really full so far.  I've experienced so many different wonderful (and some very not-so-wonderful) things.  As I approach 30, I want to push myself to do better, to be better, and to experience life a little more.  As a semi type A personality, I feel like a list is the best way to make it happen.

Without further adieu, here is my partial list:

1. Build a great piece of furniture, from scratch (Knock Off Wood will help)
2. Throw a gourmet dinner party, with paper invitations and actual courses.  My goal: 5 courses. 
3. (edited for privacy purposes)
4. Two more stamps on my passport.  I hope Greece is one of them.  The other stamp can be a surprise.
5. No sugar/no carbs for 30 days. 30 long days. But it's more like a cleanse and test of determination. 
6. Write a cookbook, to include a vegan section.  I think it's a wonderful idea to collect recipes that are perfected staples for the household. They're easily accessible and make great gifts when they're in a cookbook.
7. Pick an athletic hobby and do it on a regular basis.  Past hobbies include: martial arts, softball, aerobic classes, and spelunking.  I'm experimenting with golf at the moment, so we'll see how it goes. 
8. Write another story I’m proud of and submit it for publication.  My last publications were years ago.  I'll post them on here at some point.
9. Volunteer for a worthy cause.  I'm looking into volunteering with Alzheimer's patients.  I may add a few others. 
10. Go to a palm reader, or a psychic, or a tarot card reader.  I've always imagined it would be interesting to see what their "predictions" will be.
11. Lose 20 pounds. For real. (i.e. stop eating only brown foods and incorporate more fresh products a la Jamie Oliver)
12. Go to some sort of “pick-your-own” farm
13. Organize my life. Like a real adult.  Organize all my bills, stationary, kitchen, etc.
14. Purchase or acquire items necessary for a good working kitchen--pots, pans, mixer, dinnerware, etc.
15. Go on an actual road trip to an awesome destination. Different routes each way.
16. Buy a house
17. Have better posture
18. Have a wardrobe only with pieces I love--let go of the things I just keep around
19. Set up an online vintage shop--we’re talking low budget, only filled with a couple of things that I would want in my house if they don’t sell (basically, and excuse to go to flea markets more often)
20.  Help a complete stranger
21. Read all of Jane Austen’s books.  I need to start on this one ASAP!
22. Grow and eat my own vegetable, fruit, and herb.  At least one of each.  Which is only difficult because I live in a tee-tiny apartment.  I'm thinking a lemon tree, cilantro, and maybe red peppers??
23. Develop a respectable craft and gifting center in my home, complete with pre-prepared hostess gifts and accidentally forgotten birthday gifts
24-30 TBD

I have a few more spots for some creative ideas and some things I want to do but don't want to jinx by publishing them to the entire world. A copy of my list will be on the sidebar.  Just to keep me on my toes. 

And for just for fun, see pic below: