Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Almond Flour Banana Nut Bread

Like the background?
I would like to give a big THANK YOU to Trena Henderson for this recipe. 
Once I saw it I knew I had to make it...even though it was 9:00 at night.  So, instead of 'good sleep' I stayed up a little late and baked but these turned out so good and the next morning my family was hovering and doing the 'please please' dance when they saw these.

Almond flour is fine for Stage 1 as well.

Almond Flour Banana Nut Bread
3 cups almond flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 eggs
2-3 very ripe medium bananas, mashed
1/2 cup agave
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 T. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease either a 12-cup muffin tin or a loaf pan with butter.
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl; mix wet ingredients in a medium bowl (in the order listed). Add wet mixture to dry mixture; stir in nuts. Transfer to prepared pan.
Bake muffins for about 20-25 minutes or bake the loaf for about 35-40 minutes. Let cool in pan for about 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

So what do you think? 
I'd say 1/2 serving of fruit and 1 serving of fat. 
But I'm totally guessing here.

Print this recipe:  Almond Flour Banana Nut Bread

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Unstuffed Cabbage

I was surprised that I liked this dish as much as I did; and the family liked it too.  So if you look at this recipe and go ‘eeeuuw’ at least give it a try.  You get all the great taste and texture of stuffed cabbage without all the hassle; it was cheap and it took about 15 minutes to make with only one pan to wash.  I served it with a side of whole grain garlic bread.

Unstuffed Cabbage
Makes 5 servings
1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 head of cabbage, roughly chopped

8 oz. can of tomato sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Start the meat cooking in a large nonstick skillet over high heat.  While it is browning, chop the onion and crush the garlic, stir them into the turkey.  Cover the pan and let it continue cooking.
Meanwhile, chop the cabbage coarsely.  Stir the cabbage into the turkey mixture a bit at a time – making sure to keep turning and stirring to keep it cooking evenly.  Re-cover the pan.

Continue to stir the turkey mixture to keep it cooking evenly, covering in between stirrings.  When the cabbage is starting to wilt (about 10 minutes), stir in the tomato sauce, lemon juice, and seasonings.  Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes, then serve.

I’d say that one serving is about 2-3 veggie servings and 1/2 a protein serving.

Print this recipe:  Unstuffed Cabbage

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bronzed Sea Bass with Lemon Shallot Butter

I originally found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  This recipe is from Ree’s friend Pastor Ryan and I want to make sure I give props for that because I would not want to step on this lovely woman’s or her friend’s toes.  This recipe was a great choice for a P10 dinner and we really enjoyed it.  I have altered it slightly for P10 use.

Pastor Ryan says that the coolest thing about this recipe is that it’s not really a recipe at all. It’s a method. It would work equally well with a hunk of halibut or a nice piece of salmon, or any other thick fish.  Great results every time.

Pastor Ryan’s Bronzed Sea Bass with Lemon Shallot Butter
Prep Time 20 Minutes       Cook Time 10 Minutes      

This recipe is meant for one person, but this would count as 2 protein servings and would be great for Stages 1, 2 or 3.

6 ounces, weight (to 7 ounces) piece of sea bass, with or without the skin on
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil along with 1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons butter
1 whole medium-sized shallot, minced
  (you could sub a small onion, but shallot is better)
1 whole lemon, zested and juiced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. MAKE SURE the pan you will use is okay to transfer to the oven.
Season both sides of the fish generously with salt and pepper.
Heat olive oil and pat of butter in a medium-sized oven-safe pan over high heat for a few minutes to let the oil get nice and hot. 

Once the oil has heated up for a couple of minutes, drop the fish into place and let it sit there untouched for two minutes. (Don’t overcrowd the pan, as this will kill the ability to create a tasty crust on the fish.) Sear over high heat for 2 minutes, then transfer the pan into the 375-degree oven WITHOUT FLIPPING THE FISH OVER. Set the timer to 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, begin making the lemon shallot butter sauce. Melt the 3 tablespoons butter over a medium-high heat. Add in the minced shallot and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes.

When the shallots have become a little softer, squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon. Whisk together and reduce the heat to medium until you’ve got an incredible-smelling sauce. (Skipping the shallots in this process will make a super-simple lemon butter sauce.)
NOTE:  please make sure this a nice gentle heat or the sauce will break-don’t ask me how I know this-jh
Once the fish has been in the oven for 8 minutes, remove it and let it rest for a moment before serving. Take this time to check for an remove the pin bones if your butcher didn’t do it for you.

As you can see, there’s now a beautiful crust on one side of the fish that creates an awesome texture and flavor.  You could serve a piece of fish like this along with a nice bed of brown rice or quinoa (Stage 2/3 only) and a variety of veggies.  Put on top of a salad and you’ve got something pretty special sitting in front of you.
Photo provided by Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Creamy Sesame Greens

This was an interesting dish.  Tahini is a strong flavor so I think if you like the taste of hummus you would like this dish.  I got this from the Whole Foods website and I altered the recipe a bit once I read the comments below it.

Someone suggested that if you add a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) to this recipe it would taste like deconstructed hummus.  Another suggestion was to serve it over quinoa.  I'm going to try both suggestions next time I make it.

I got the tahini sauce at Trader Joe's.  I looked all over the place and that's the only store that had it.  And of course, as soon as I found it, it showed up in all the other stores I went into...sigh.  But Trader Joe's also had a bag of chopped kale ready to go so that was nice.

Creamy Sesame Greens
Serves 2

4 tablespoons water, divided

6 cups chopped kale, Swiss chard or collard greens, tough stems removed

2 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped

Heat 2 tablespoons water in a large skillet over medium heat. Add greens and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Drain well.

In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, remaining 2 tablespoons water and garlic.

Put hot greens in a large bowl and drizzle some of the sauce, toss to combine and TASTE.  If you're good with the flavor, stop.  If you want more, drizzle, toss and taste again.  Serve immediately.

1/2 cup serving = 1 veggie serving

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Handle with Care

The other day I bought a lovely expensive silk dress to celebrate my weight loss.   I didn’t have time to take it to the dry cleaners so I just threw it in the washer/dryer along with my whites and towels.  Afterwards, I didn’t have time to hang it up so I just crammed it into my sock drawer until I could get around to taking care of it.
I was also in a great mood because after saving for such a long time, we could finally afford the lovely deep shag white carpeting in the living room – it was so pretty!  To celebrate, I had a party for all the mommies and toddlers in our playgroup and we christened the new carpet with brownies and grape juice. 
By now you are saying, “Surely you must be joking!”   Well, yes I am joking (but please don’t call me Shirley).  The point I am making shows that you would not go to all the trouble and expense to acquire something so wonderful and then not take care of it!  You need to HANDLE WITH CARE.
So now what?  We are eating and following the Perfect 10 Diet Plan by Dr. Michael Aziz A lot of our time is spent in worrying about “What do we eat? What can I eat?  Can I eat this?  I miss eating that!”  We lose sight of the OTHER items on the plan that need to be addressed.
A lot of times I see the question – “Why am I not losing weight?”  Remember, P10 is not just all about eating right, it’s also about taking care of yourself.  In addition to changing our eating habits, the book also reminds us to:
Drink Water – Drink it. Drink a lot of it.  Drink it a lot.  Ice water burns more calories.  Put some lemon in it.  Use a straw.  Get yourself a crystal goblet and toast to your health if you have to.
SleepIf you don’t get enough sleep, you will not lose the weight.  The production of the growth hormones and the hunger reducing hormones happens while you’re asleep.  Good sleep.  Deep sleep.  More than just a few hours sleep.  Make it happen.  Darken the room, put on soothing music or white noise, get comfy.  If you stay  up late a lot, try to go to bed a little earlier each night until you are going to bed at a better time.
Exercise – kick up your metabolism and unleash the hormonal power of exercise.  Exercise decreases insulin (fat storing) and increases glucagon (fat burning) and increases human growth hormone (HGH).  The book says that you have to go to ‘pain level’ to get HGH going in your bloodstream – meaning you will need to break a sweat and feel the burn.   You must also have a regular exercise routine to reap the benefits.  (Try not to exercise before bed or you won’t be able to sleep).
Stress – you won’t be able to let go of the weight unless you unclench your gut and relax.  Learn to breathe deep in through your nose, expanding your stomach to take in a lot of air and then exhale.  At work, take your break where no one can find you.  On the way home, drive to another neighborhood or parking lot, park the car, turn off your cell phone and sit there for 10 minutes.  Don’t talk, read or listen to music, just decompress.  When I'm stressed I like listening to the Ambient/New Age music that doesn’t have lyrics, it’s very soothing.  Take a warm bath, even if only for 15 minutes (before bed, so you can sleep). Get into a regular habit of prayer or meditation.  Go to counseling.
Have sex regularly – it increases sex hormones and improves immunity and increases lifespan.  And that’s about all I have to say about that.
Alcohol and Nicotine – go for it!  Sorry, just wanted to see if you were still reading.  Stop, just stop.  I know it’s not that easy but why go to all the trouble to eat right and then tear it all down with bad habits?
So remember, as long as you’re taking the time to eat right and get healthy, don’t neglect the other things that need to happen to make you feel like a Perfect 10. 
If you’re reading this at night, turn off your computer and go to bed.  NOW.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

This soup was so delicious that the three of us ended up eating it all in one sitting.

I have labeled this as 'easy' but the peeling and cutting up of the butternut squash was a pain.  If you are in a hurry you might want to buy it frozen, (as long as it doesn't have preservatives and stuff added to it) or find it already cut up in the produce section.
Next time I make it I might experiment with roasting it or putting it in the crockpot to soften it up.  Has anyone else tried that?

This soup would be great on all Stages of P10.

Simple Butternut Squash Soup
serves 4-6

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and diced

3 cups vegetable or chicken stock or broth

salt and freshly ground pepper

parsley for garnishing

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan and gently saute the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes.

Add the squash and stock and stir well, bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the squash is soft.

Blend the soup with an immersion blender or carefully transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.   If soup is too thick, thin with more broth or add a splash of cream or milk.

Season to taste and serve hot.

We enjoyed this garnished with Parmesan cheese and toasted hulled sunflower seeds.

1/2 cup of soup = 1 veggie serving

Print this recipe:  Butternut Squash Soup

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Whey Protein Semi-Fast

Note - I am not an expert and do not have a medical background.  This is all information I found online and put together to use for myself.  (I did show this info to the P10 advisors and they said it was fine.)  I have tried this protein semi-fast and don't worry, you know I will chime in with my two cents (as per usual).

You will have to find a whey powder that works for you and one that you can afford and find easily.  I like to use Bob's Red Mill Whey Protein ConcentrateIt tastes fine, mixes well and isn't chalky.  You just have to do your best - whey protein with no added chemicals can be hard to find.  The P10 Facebook page recommends that you should ask at your local GNC and also look into Orgain and Nutiva products.

If your weight is stuck in a certain place, this will certainly kick start your weight loss again.  I personally feel that you should wait until Stage 2 to do this fast, only because (I think) we need to get used to that Stage 1 eating experience first.  But the advisors on the P10 Facebook page say it's fine for Stage 1 so have at it!

Here are some ideas that make the shakes taste a whole lot mindful of what you're adding or you may just be spinning your wheels with regard to taking the weight off:  small amounts (1-2 tsp) of truvia, stevia or agave, 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder, fiber powder, and mixing in some almond milk or coconut water with (or instead of) the regular water.  And yes, I added coffee to my morning shake - don't judge.

As for the greens, breakfast was weird, lunch was a salad/veggies with lemon and olive oil and dinner was usually a roasted green vegetable like asparagus, broccoli or Brussels sprouts.  I really didn't want greens for breakfast so usually the shake was enough.  I did the semi-fast for three days and then I was ready to be done.  But I would definitely do it again.

I wasn't very hungry at all and didn't get light-headed or feel weak, and I did have enough energy to exercise lightly each day as well.

Almost forgot - I lost about one pound a day while doing this fast.

Whey Protein Semi-Fast

Fasting has long been recognized as a way for the body to cleanse itself of toxins in the body as well as clear the intestines of built up waste.  You'll use a high-quality protein source coupled with a non-starchy vegetable for extra nutrients.

Things You'll Need
High quality whey protein powder
Supply of frozen or fresh green leafy vegetables

Determine the length of your fast. Some people fast only a day at a time, but generally a fast should be prolonged for three days or more if possible. If you know that you will be eating out or going to any social gatherings, you may want to plan your fast around that event so that you do not set yourself up for failure. Once you have determined the length of your fast and when you will start it, stick with it until you have finished completely.

Ingest one whey protein shake three times a day. The shake should consist of one to three scoops of whey protein mixed with filtered water.  It appears that the ratio is 6 oz. water to 1 scoop powder (the amount of the ‘scoop’ depends on what 1 serving of your protein powder is) 

Along with the protein shake you should be consuming one serving, which is 1 cup, of a green leafy vegetable, such as broccoli. This will help the body to feel full longer and provide it with necessary fiber to help cleanse the intestinal tract.

Be prepared for hunger pangs. Take additional supplements to assist with any shortcomings from your current consumptions. A good multi-vitamin, vitamin B, C, E, and fish oil capsules should be adequate.

Limit exercise during your fasting phase. You energy stores will be low because your diet will be limited to a protein source and vegetables which are low in calories. You should experience a significant amount of weight loss during this period without vigorous exercise. Make your activity level equal to light walking for about 30 minutes per day. Light stretching may also be necessary to keep the body in a heightened state of fitness when cutting out exercise.  You’ll likely feel healthier than you have in your entire life, but you may not feel your strongest.

End the fast gradually. Do not gorge yourself with large amounts of food once the fast is over. Your stomach will shrink during this absence of food.  You will be hungry when the fast is over. The lack of carbohydrates and fats in your diet increase your urge to eat. When you end the fast, start by having a moderate sized meal consisting of more whey protein, leafy green vegetables, and another food source such as a small piece of meat or a carbohydrate source.

Transition back to a more normal diet during the same amount of time it took to do the fast itself. If you fast for three days, then take another three days to gradually add regular foods back in. Also, be sure not to fast too often. You can allow time for intermittent fasting on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on how long you intend to fast.

You do not lose muscle mass during a two day fast. You do lose water. When you go to the gym your muscles pump up - A few hours later or a day later the muscles reduce in mass. They are just as strong but they have less fluid. Fat has 3600 calories per pound that is easy to break down and is designed as a energy storage so why would your body use valuable muscle tissue that only has 1817 calories per pound and is hard to break down. Your body also has reduced salt levels and that reduces cellular water retention.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Creamed Mushrooms

I made these for dinner the other night and I was surprised at how good they were.  My husband doesn't even like mushrooms and he ate them too.  I served these with some small cuts of organic grass fed beef steak and roasted green beans.  They were a nice change from the usual sauteed mushrooms I always make with steak.

This recipe would be appropriate for Stages 1, 2 and 3.

Creamed Mushrooms
serves 2

1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice

8 oz container of small button mushrooms

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 a small onion or 1 shallot, finely chopped

1/4 cup whipping or heavy cream

1/2 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley or a big pinch of dried parsley

salt and pepper

Put mushrooms in a bowl and sprinkle about 1/2 a tablespoon of the lemon juice over them.

Heat the butter and oil in a skillet, add the onion and cook for about a minute.  Add the mushrooms and toss them into the onions and butter.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the cream and the rest of the lemon juice.

Heat until hot but don't boil.  Serve immediately.

1/2 cup = 1 veggie serving and 1/2 fat/dairy serving

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sweet Potato Soup and Sweet Potato Fries

In The Perfect 10 Diet Book by Dr. Michael Aziz, we learn that regular potatoes have a lot of sugar and starch and should be avoided.  Sweet potatoes, however, are an acceptable substitution IF you have them infrequently – they are on the ‘limited’ list.  According to the book, although sweet potatoes are high in fiber and good for your immune system, they can be starchy and raise your insulin levels.

The numbers for the nutritional sweet potato speak for themselves: almost twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 42 percent of the recommendation for vitamin C, four times the RDA for beta carotene, and, when eaten with the skin, sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal. All these benefits with only about 130 to 160 calories!

Simple Sweet Potato Soup

makes 4 servings
2 large orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
  (about 2 lbs)
1 onion, medium sized
1 tablespoon butter
4-6 cups broth  (chicken or veggie)
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into pieces (the smaller the pieces the faster it will cook).  Chop the onion. 

In a large pot, melt the butter on medium heat and sauté the onion until tender but not too browned.  Add the sweet potato and just enough broth to cover.  Bring to a boil and cover, reducing heat to a simmer.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft. 

Using a hand blender directly in the pot, or a regular blender, puree the onion and sweet potatoes into a silky pulp.  (If using a regular blender, be very careful, close the lid tightly and do it in small batches, not all at once.)

If soup is too thick, add broth 1/4 cup at a time until you reach your desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper to taste or try something new!

Seasoning – experiment with curry powder, cumin, Old Bay seasoning, paprika, or substitute some apple juice in place of the broth.   If you’d like it creamy, use some cream or milk to thin out the soup.

1/2 cup of soup = 1 veggie serving

Sweet Potato Fries (oven baked)
1 really large potato feeds about 3 adults

2 orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, washed
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
(coarse salt is better)
seasonings – optional, curry powder, cumin, Old Bay seasoning, paprika, garlic

Preheat oven to 450.  Place the baking sheet in the oven.

You do not have to peel the potatoes unless you prefer. 
Slice the sweet potatoes into wedges or fries:
Wedges – slice potatoes in half lengthwise, slice each half into 6 wedges
Fries – slice potatoes lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slices, then cut each slice into sticks about 1/4 inch wide and 3 inches long

Place the potatoes in a large bowl with the oil, salt and pepper and seasonings and toss to coat.

Remove the heated baking sheet from the oven and spread the fries evenly on the hot sheet (oohh listen to them sizzle), bake for 10 minutes.  Turn the fries over and bake for another 10 minutes until brown and crispy – wedges might take a bit longer to cook.   Serve hot.

Parmesan-Garlic Fries: in a separate bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, 1 clove garlic, minced and 2 teaspoons of parsley.  Sprinkle over the cooked fries while still warm and mix gently to coat, then serve.

1/2 cup of fries = 1 veggie serving

Monday, February 20, 2012

Gobble gobble!

Yes, a corny title for this particular recipe but goodness gracious these were off the charts delicious and easy to make.  Even better, they make a great ‘sausage’ with breakfast the next day – and I have missed sausage with my runny eggs!  My family did not even realize these were ground turkey until I told them (I should stop telling them stuff like that, huh?)

I made them into little slider sized patties and served theirs on small rolls with lettuce and tomato and I put mine on salad greens with tomato and grated parmesan.  I made baked sweet potato fries on the side but I won’t show you that picture because they got a little burnt.  Accidentally, that is.  Really.

I would say you could enjoy these burgers on Stages 1, 2 and 3, even though they do contain some bread crumbs – but I don’t think it’s enough to freak out about.

Turkey Burgers
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground turkey, I used Jennie-O
2 slices of whole grain wheat bread, spelt or Ezekiel, the healthy stuff
2 eggs, beaten
Handful of fresh parsley or about 1 tablespoon of dried parsley
Pinch of salt
Extra-virgin olive oil for frying

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the onion and sauté until soft and golden.   Meanwhile, toast the bread until it’s good and crispy-crumbly.  (You don’t have to toast it but I found that made a difference in the taste.)
Meanwhile, put the turkey in a large bowl and crumble the toasted bread over it.  Add the cooled onions, two beaten eggs, parsley and salt.  Use your hands to mix the ingredients gently and completely – do not condense the mixture – use a very light touch.  When ingredients are well mixed, shape them into 5 or 6 regular sized patties and cook in olive oil over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes.  Turn the burgers and cover the pan, reduce the heat just a notch and continue to cook another 5 minutes.   This will steam them and keep them moist until the juices run clear.

To cook 10-12 slider sized patties, put about half of them in the pan and cook them in the same way but only about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Depending on the size of the patties, count these as 1-2 servings of protein and ½ serving of fat. 

Print this recipe: Turkey Burgers

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mozzarella Gnocchi

This dish is yummy and satisfying – like a pasta free mac & cheese.
It’s also very versatile.  When I made this, I didn’t have any mozzarella cheese, so I used Havarti and it was still very good.
P10 says to go easy on the potatoes, but when I found the gnocchi in the pantry, it started begging me (in Italian, no less) to be my dinner – how could I resist?
This recipe would be good for Stages 2 or 3.

NEW NOTE - I didn't think at the time I originally posted this that gnocchi is made with potatoes and flour (duh).  So you might want to carefully check the ingredients in the gnocchi you buy or make your own.  My apologies!
Mozzarella Gnocchi
Serves 2-4            
Butter for greasing the pan
1 lb package of potato gnocchi
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
8 oz firm mozzarella cheese, grated or chopped
salt and pepper - garlic salt is good in this dish

Preheat the broiler and butter a large shallow baking dish (like a 9x13 pan)
Bring a pot of boiling salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi for about 3 minutes, or until they start to float.
Drain the gnocchi and put into the baking dish.
Season the cream with salt and pepper and drizzle over the gnocchi.  Evenly spread the cheese on top and cook under the broiler for a few minutes until the top is browned and bubbling.
This is lovely served nice and hot but I noticed that if you let it cool, it will firm up a bit.

So what do you think?  About 1 serving vegetable and 1 serving fat and dairy per 1/2 cup?