Three years ago I could barely boil water. Determined to be a kick ass wife who not only watched football, but who could make a mean meal anytime, I taught myself how to cook. Now I write recipes, sample local eats & blog about it all!

Welcome to my world!

Follow The Food
Search for Recipes & More!

Subscribe via Email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

my foodgawker gallery

The Pantry
Follow the Food

Search for Recipes & More!

 

Subscribe to TAA by Email!

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

Friday
May232014

It's Friiiiiday! And Some Dukan Questions Answered

Happy Friday! Woo to the hoo, we made it to the holiday weekend. What are your plans for the upcoming three days? We have some gatherings with friends and family and I'm excited to simply relax a little. That's something we typically never do on the weekend and I swear I'm going to make it happen this time. This is a random post, but those are usually my favorite so I hope you enjoy and share some randomness with me in the comments!

 

Today is red white and blue day at Penelope's daycare/school. I shuffled her out onto the terrace this morning for a little photo shoot. This kid kills me.


 

I finally got a long-awaited mani/pedi last week.

I'm definitely slipping in my old age as I can't remember the name of the color. It's Essie with gold glitter polish on top. Neon mustache scarf from a beach shop last year, scored for $5.

In TV news, we are on the hunt for some new shows. We still have a season of Justified and Downton Abbey, but always looking for new suggestions if you're willing to pass them my way! We watched the season finale of Modern Family last night and I loved it! That show has its ups and downs for me, but that ep made me laugh and cry and that's just good TV in my book. We also finished the Jeopardy Tournament of the Decades...we oddly enjoyed that a little too much I think ;)




It's day #5 on Dukan and I'm feeling pretty good. I made the above cauliflower crusted pizza last night with plain (read: no sugar) tomato sauce (seasoned with oregano and basil), fat free mozzarella and turkey pepperoni. It was pretty awesome, actually!

Today is an all-protein day which is something that I do not relish but it is what it is. I plan to hit the grocery store early this afternoon and stock up on approved goodies for the weekend ahead. I've received a bunch of questions about logistics and how it's going so far and so I thought it would be a good time to address them in case any of you are thinking of starting it next week.

How do you feel?
Days 1-3 were the worst. Shaun was, what I can only describe as, hangry. I think that actually made me feel a bit more positive about it since I was trying to stay optimistic for both of us. It wasn't easy, but by day 4, it was as though a light switch went on and I felt so much less hungry overall. I'm just taking it day by day.

Did you sign up for the online coaching?
No. I don't see a need for it at this time, but I would consider it if I needed it down the road. I used the website to calculate my true weight and goal timelines only. I did get the book though, which I recommend. My mom also graciously ordered me the cookbook which I can't wait to get my hands on. Hopefully that will arrive today or tomorrow!

Did you buy any of the Dukan supplements or branded foods?
No. I started pretty ad hoc on this and don't see the need for them at this time.

Where can I buy oat bran?
I found it in the cereal aisle in the grocery store near the oatmeal. I did not buy the Dukan-branded oat bran, though I'm sure it's great too.

What about snacks?

I've learned to love cottage cheese with a little vanilla, cinnamon and sweetener. This has really gotten me through. I just can't get down with the plain Greek yogurt with sweetener, though I know my sister Kimberly has found that to be really helpful. This weekend, I plan to brainstorm and get a little creative and make a cinnamon tart from the Dukan cookbook for my father-in-law's birthday on Sunday...I'll keep you posted on that one!

Do you bring your food to work?

Yes. This is nothing new for me though. I'm used to packing my lunch and I come armed with more food than I could possibly eat. I now bring so many containers and use a shiny new lunch bag which I'll spotlight soon. I do look like a bag lady on the Path though...

How much weight have you lost?

I'm down 3 pounds and Shaun is down about 7. I know it's extreme, but my hope is that we can lose weight quickly and then work to keep it off in a healthy way!

 

I'll keep you posted next week on how we fair over the weekend...I'm a little nervous with some barbecues and parties in the mix! I hope you have an awesome weekend!!

 

What are your plans for the long weekend?

What randomness can you share with me today?!

Wednesday
May212014

Dukan Do It

As I mentioned in Monday's post, this week I started the Dukan diet.

Have you heard of it?



My friend and co-worker started a Dukan craze in our office after she lost some significant weight on the diet over the last few months. She looks and feels incredible! After a lot of coaxing and overall misery with my weight, I finally decided to give it a try. It also helps that my parents and sisters are doing it too, and I even convinced Shaun to give it a go with me.

I want to note that I do not believe that I'm grossly overweight. I've never been a 'skinny' person and always carried an extra 10-15 pounds around but I do not think I have a warped body image and think that I am noticeably enormous or anything like that. But, I do think I could weight less in a healthy way.

My starting weight at the beginning of this diet was actually to the exact pound of what I weighed when I got pregnant with Penelope. And while I'm thrilled to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight (and have been for quite some time now), I wasn't really happy with my weight at that time...nor am I happy with it now.



So as summer approaches, I felt the need to do something a little more drastic than Weight Watchers, which I inevitably cheat on every weekend. I need something with real guidelines to jump start my weight loss and hopefully then I'll be able to transition into a more WW-friendly lifestyle.

To read more about the Dukan diet (I hate that word too), I suggest combing through their website and reading the book. My copy is arriving today so I started semi-ad-hoc, but I didn't want to wait anymore to begin in fear that I'd change my mind and also I was so ready to start my journey to a happier weight.

To give you the cliff notes version, Dukan has 4 phases. After calculating your true weight on their website, it will tell you for how long to do each phase. Based on my goal weight and starting weight, I should reach my goal by June 30. We shall see!

The Attack Phase is three days for me. In this phase, you are to follow high protein with minimal fat and fat free dairy.

I'm not going to lie...it has not been easy.

I've never eaten so much meat in my life. Starting tomorrow, I can incorporate vegetables which I know will be a total game changer. Let me interject by saying that I don't really condone a diet or lifestyle that doesn't allow vegetables. It seems weird and wrong to me, like dogs in strollers or people who don't own TVs.
But since it's just three days, I'm willing to go with it. And as today is day 3, and I've lost 2 pounds so far, I found the motivation to push through one more day and I know that tomorrow will be a total game changer. I already have so many meal and snack ideas! 

To give you an idea of what I've been eating, I put together the below sample day's menu:

Breakfast: Dukan 'pancake' with sugar-free syrup*; coffee

Snack: 0% plain Greek yogurt w/cocoa powder & sweetener; English breakfast tea

Lunch: Turkey burger w/reduced sugar ketchup; turkey pepperoni & string cheese

Snack: hard-boiled egg, fat free cottage cheese w/cinnamon, vanilla extract & sweetener

Dinner: scrambled eggs w/fat free cheddar cheese; 2 grilled chicken sausages

Snack: sugar-free/fat-free Jell-O

 I'm not really thrilled with the amount of eggs I've been consuming or the amount of sweetener. I hope to even all of this out once the Attack phase is done! 

Overall, I've felt pretty good. A little hungry. Yesterday I was in client meetings all day and someone brought in Levain chocolate chip cookies. That was really really hard to resist, but I did it. And felt great about it afterward! I plan to keep you posted with meal and snack ideas as I'm excited to get creative in the kitchen...a feeling I haven't had in a long time.

All of this being said, please note that I'm not an expert and so please don't take any of this as canon. I haven't even read the book yet. So if you are interested in starting this lifestyle change, then I suggest going through the proper motions, like reading about it first. Do as I say and not as I do and all that.

I hope you are having a great Wednesday!

What have you been eating lately?

Are you into 'diets' or 'lifestyle changes'?

What healthy foods have you been eating lately?

 

Monday
May192014

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

How was your weekend?

Shaun and I took off of work on Friday and went to Atlantic City for 2 nights for a belated birthday celebration for him. We really love AC and relish going every spring. Being away for the weekend {and eating terribly, yet deliciously} got me so ready to start the Dukan diet today. I really, really want to lose some weight before bathing suit season and well, Weight Watchers or just 'eating healthy' simply isn't working for me. I really need something a bit more strict...and restrictive...to jumpstart my weight loss. I can talk more about that in another post, but the reason I brought it up is because of these brownies!

 

I knew that I was going to start this diet and so when it came time for Secret Recipe Club, I knew that I wanted to make something decadent to enjoy prior to starting my diet. Chelsy's blog, Mangia, has so many amazing recipes and her photos are so beautiful. When I came across her recipe for peanut butter swirl brownies, I knew they were perfect...especially since they required a handful of ingredients and just one bowl to put it together. For this busy working mama, what could be better? 

I did have one issue with these brownies and that is that I overcooked them :\ I often have oven temperature issues and my gut told me to take them out, but I let it ride through the whole suggested cooking time. Since there's no raw eggs in this, I actually could have easily taken it out sooner and probably should have. Not sure if my oven temp was up too high or what, but next time I would begin checking the brownies about half way through to see how they are looking. I was so bummed too because they looked and smelled A-mazing! And even overcooked they still tasted really good. Note to self: get oven checked and fixed.


Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

*Adapted from Mangia

1 C smooth peanut butter, divided

1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 2 Tbsp water; mix & let sit for 5 minutes)

2/3 C maple syrup

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 C cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8" pan.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together 1/2 C peanut butter, flax egg, syrup, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder. Spread into bottom of pan. Melt the remaining peanut butter in a bowl in the microwave (about 15 seconds), drizzle over the brownie batter and swirl with a knife. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean*. Let cool, cut and serve!

*Note: due to my overcooking issues, I would recommend checking the brownies around the 15-20 minute mark.

I am definitely going to try these brownies again sometime post-Dukan and cook them just right. Thanks Chelsy for this great recipe! I never thought to make brownies without flour but this recipe shows that it can be done deliciously!

Have a great week, everyone!