Thursday, June 16, 2011
Do you hear the "Rocky" theme song?
WHEW....I made it! I was sweatin' it, and didn't eat breakfast other than coffee and water, and when I weighed in today, I lost EXACTLY enough to reach the 75 lb. mark - couldn't believe it! Boy that felt good...and it gave me motivation to be good even tho I was pretty hungry by then. After a moderate lunch I felt even better, then proceeded to annoy the crap out of my co-workers by sticking my magnet in their faces. But they are troupers, and were all so happy for me....another reason why I love my job. It also helps to know that there are people everywhere watching me as I nonchalantly wander the building, stopping by the desks I know have a candy dish, jar or drawer that I can rifle through at will, or cruising the lunchroom to inspect meeting leftovers or any unattended nugget-du-jour that someone with more willpower than I left in there as a me-trap. That's what I get for attending an at-work meeting - thank you, you're more helpful than you know!
I know that we're supposed to break the habit of celebrating with food - years of "Yay, no bills in the mail!" and "Yippee, no one put a red sock in the load of whites!" soirees filled with melted butter with a few popcorn kernels sprinkled in and chocolate chip cookies bigger than a 59 Cadillac hubcap got me where I am today. Beg pardon...where I was in October. But it's a deeply ingrained ritual that's nearly impossible to eliminate altogether, so I'm trying to make it a more healthy par-tay....one where pants stay buttoned and you don't need an entire bottle of Shout to pretreat your shirt when you're done.
I decided on the fly this day deserved a top notch end and stopped at Fred's for a few things - I always crave red meat, and rarely eat it anymore (HA...I said rarely), so I went high end and small - a couple filet's, and balanced it out with seafood, some lovely asparagus and a killer loaf of roasted garlic french bread. I know, bread is a killer, but once in a while you gotta break out and experience life - just not the whole thing and not slathered in butter.
I got home, used my ninja skills to whip the kitchen/dining room in shape, turned on the oven and prepped the asparagus for roasting. I washed a half dozen baby red potatoes, poked em with a knife and threw em in the microwave to cook about the same time I put the olive oil/kosher salt sprinkled asparagus in the oven at 350. Opened the cocktail shrimp and artfully arranged over the rim of glasses I got when I bought a bottle of cheap imitation Baileys (hey, they both get you buzzed), then because I didn't want to take them off, put cocktail sauce in a Ziploc, cut the corner off and squirted it in between the shrimps into the bottom of the glass. Out came salad plates, baby spinach portioned out, sprinkled with a bit of Gorgonzola, a T. of sunflower seeds, some pickled beet butterflies and then drizzled both with some delightful balsamic vinaigrette I invented. In the fridge with those and the shrimp, then into the oven with the bread after pulling the just done asparagus out.
Next the steak. Filets are wonderful, and unless you overcook them, you really can't screw em up. Kosher salt and pepper on both sides, then into a very hot skillet with a little olive oil and sear on each side for 2-3 minutes. I like to turn them on the sides for a few secs if they're very thick...not everyone can stomach seeing it raw on the outside. Then I took them out and put them on the cookie sheet I just removed the asparagus from, and put it in the oven on the rack UNDER the bread. I tossed the potatoes in the skillet, sprinkled them with kosher salt and pepper, and rolled them around a bit until they were a little browned on the flatter sides...yes, skin on - it's where all the nutrients are! I then opened the oven, threw them on the sheet with the steak, and took the bread out - almost there.
I uncorked the bottle of Menage a Tois that is by the way delicious and found at Costco AND Fred Meyer, put two pretty dishes on the table with a dipping dish that I splashed a skosh of olive oil and balsamic in, then set the table for two, including a cute floating flower candle in a pretty dish of water and rocks, and the flowers I picked outside the other day. I took the steak/spuds out of the oven and put them on a plate - they went in the microwave with the asparagus for the second course. Cut up part of the bread and put in a basket with a napkin, and Handsome Stranger arrived home right on time....he also weighs in on Thursday when he gets home, and HE reached 50 the same night - we couldn't NOT celebrate!
I did all this in under an hour, and he loved everything, but especially me...heehee. We toasted to each other, and enjoyed the HELL out of everything, just not until our eyes were bulging and our chairs started creaking...we're learning. But we still ate too much bread. It helps to eat salad first, before anything else is on your plate....it's nice and bulky, low in fat and high in fiber, and will slow you down when you get to the hard stuff. I hatehatehate low calorie dressings, and he hates vinaigrettes, so after having one I LOVED at a restaurant, I messed around and came up with my own creation which we both love, and that I have gotten very good feedback on from others. One of my bosses told me how happy she was that I was eating better because she likes me and wants me to be around a long time...that really made me feel good. So I told her I would give her this recipe because she said how much she liked it after telling me she ate her salads with no dressing...must be good, huh? Oh, and because I like her....I love my job!
I buy Balsamic from Costco - I've had cheaper ones from Trader Joes and others, but this seems to be thicker and more mellow....I've heard that the more you spend, and the older it is, the better, so go with what you can afford. Just don't pour half a bottle in a pan and put it on high and leave the kitchen until it boils away into a black, crispy mess. Your son-in-law will question your sanity even more than he already did. But if you watch it, it makes an unbelievable syrup you can pour over steaks, or whatever...yum.
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
1/4 C. olive oil (extra virgin or light)
2 T. canola oil
2 T. honey
2 T. honey mustard (I like Beaver Mustard, but it's an Oregon product)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until it emulsifies and makes a thick, silky and beautiful dressing. It will not separate - the mustard suspends the oil or some such malarkey, and it will remain a thing of beauty until you try to lick the remains out of the container you put it in and sprain your tongue. I like to put it in a squirt bottle like you get ketchup in in some restaurants...then you can squirt it over your salad in pretty patterns, which everyone knows makes it taste better. This is NOT a diet dressing tho - a Tablespoon will set you back 2 points plus. But a little goes a LONG way....it packs a punch so you don't want to overdo. And you can use other mustards - I tend to use honey and Dijon mostly when making dressings, but you could use grainy ones too - they just have little bits of seeds.
So remember, eat to live, don't live to go to Claim Jumper and order the chicken pot pie because it's like 48 points and the fruit that comes with it is just a trick to make you think it's healthy but it's not and will DEFINITELY make your butt look fat in those jeans. But if you do, get DIET coke with it...that always works (rolls eyes).