Sunday, December 30, 2012

Food: Roasted Broccoli ... and chicken.

Tonight I had big plans for dinner, oh yes oh my.  I was planning to roast a chicken to golden-brown perfection and roast some nice veggies with it (broccoli!) and have salad as another vegetable.  A nice, healthful meal and we would have a nice chicken carcass with which we'd make stock.  Off I hied to ye olde Wegman's to purchase said chicken and broccoli and salad greens (as our salad greens from before our Christmas jaunt up North had expired disgustingly in our refrigerator)... and other healthful options for us to nosh on this week.

Would you believe, that of ALL grocery stores in all of the world, WEGMANS would not have any plain whole chickens?!  I just about died!  Granted, I was at one of their smaller stores, not the usual flagship store in DeWitt that I normally patronize.  But still!  No whole chickens!

Upon further inspection I did see a little chicken "kit" that contained a whole chicken, seasoned with lemons and herbs, all tied up in an oven bag and in its own foil pan.  For an extra $3, of course.  Well, since there were no plain whole chickens and I wanted to roast this bad boy myself (not get one of those oh-so-tasty rotisserie chickens they sell pre-cooked), I bit the bullet and bought the chicken kit.

I am not a fan of oven bags.  It left the skin slimy, and it stuck to the skin on top so that I didn't even get my nice piece of seasoned chicken skin to go with my breast meat.  Not to mention it must have been a puny chicken, because once hubby took his (sizable) portion, there was only enough meat left on the bones for carcass-boiling.  Needless to say, I'm miffed and plan to go only to the DeWitt store from now on so I can always get my whole, big chickens that will render more than a carcass boil out of them.

I like saying "carcass."

On to the broccoli bit.

I wanted to make something a little more exciting than steamed broccoli to go with dinner, because I know that if I eat steamed broccoli, I will slather it in butter to make it palatable.  Not good for a FussyFoodie who wants to lose 50 pounds in the next year.  I asked a friend of extremely Italian heritage what she does to make her broccoli so delicious (she always has tasty broccoli) and she said "salt, pepper, and a bit of cheese."  Well, I had these ingredients.  I also had the idea to go a little hog wild and really make special broccoli.

So I took the frozen broccoli cuts and threw them in an 8x8 pan and drizzled them with about a tablespoon of olive oil.

Salt and pepper = seasoned salt and freshly ground pepper.  I did that.  I'd guess about a teaspoon of seasoned salt and an equal amount of pepper.

Parmesan cheese.  I sprinkled enough of this stuff (from the green can - I know, I'm a Philistine) on top of the broccoli to make it appear to have a meager crumb coating.  A mere dusting.  You could see that it was broccoli, but it was white-colored broccoli.


Then I added about a tablespoon of chicken stock to lubricate things better.  It helped disperse the spices and cheese evenly.

Into the oven it went for just over 25 minutes.  Maybe 27.  I put it in at about 6:35 and took it out about 7ish, but I know it was a couple minutes after.

It was still crisp.  It was flavorful.  It wasn't sulfurous at all.  I told FussyHubby that even *he* would like this broccoli.  He still staunchly refused, but he did admit that he would consume zucchini with a similar treatment.

I'm not going to Wegman's tomorrow though.  Not even for zucchini.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Food: Losing Weight the Tasty Way

So around Thanksgiving, the dear FussyFoodie Husband and I looked down at our stomachs in abject horror.  The problem: we both have a gut.  Hubby has only a tiny little paunch, being the exerciser that he is, but I look downright almost-pregnant.  My size 16 jeans are no longer my "fat" jeans.  Yeah, I'm admitting this because I have hope that there might be a single reader out there that is NOT a family member or friend of mine who knows who I am.  And family and friends who read this?  Yeah, you read right.  I am a whopping size 16, up from my size 00 days of high school.  I'm not humiliated to admit this, merely ready to get rid of it and get down to a healthy weight, say a size 8 or so.  00 was way too underweight, and I know this.  But 16 is too overweight.  8 was about right for my 5'8" frame, and it is my goal.

The official goal?  Lose a pound a week until next Christmas.  I have lost 7 pounds so far, but I virtually guarantee that I have a net loss of about 4 pounds now that the holidays have hit en masse in terms of food.  Yes, I have been careful, but it's hard not to have the occasional cookie or dessert.  Or prime rib (Boxing Day dinner!).  Or filet mignon (Christmas dinner!).  I did guard my portion sizes, and I can honestly say I have only had 6 Christmas cookies this year.  And I enjoyed every single one.

The secret to my willpower came from something the great and venerable Jim Parsons said on a late-night talk show appearance (the show eludes me right now) about how he quit smoking.  His doctor basically told him that he could still smoke, but to make sure to really enjoy every cigarette.  And he found that he was smoking less and less because he was taking time to be mindful of his smoking and his enjoyment.  Soon a pack a day became a cigarette a day.  And then the cigarette a day became a cigarette a week.  And then he forgot to smoke.  I am trying to do the same approach with food: every bite I put into my mouth I have to feel good about.  That doesn't necessarily mean skipping dessert, but it does mean REALLY ENJOYING every bite of dessert that I eat, and if I find I'm no longer really enjoying it, I stop eating.  Want to know the crazy thing?  It's working.  I'm eating less and less, and feeling good about myself.  Yes, I am eating more this set of holiday eating with larger portions than I normally have, but you know what?  If I gain a few pounds during the holidays, I know it isn't the end of the world.  I can always lose them again through maintaining smaller portions and urge-surfing after the holidays are over.

There is an interesting book out on this philosophy now called Eating Mindfully that goes into this philosophy more.  No, I haven't read the whole thing, but reading the synopsis of it on has made me aware that this is exactly what I've been trying to do.  I don't want to give up carbs forever.  I love carbs, especially pasta and sourdough bread and rice, oh my!  But I do want to be proud of my food choices and, as a FussyFoodie, live up to my name by enjoying food more.  I mean, have you ever REALLY concentrated when you ate a piece of excellent chocolate?  The experience is delicious.

And that, other than the 4 miles a day dog walk plus treadmill plus pilates, is how I plan to lose weight in the coming year.  I plan to continue posting in here with healthy recipes that taste delicious, restaurant reviews, etc.  And I probably will post as often as I have time.  In other news, now that my psychiatrist has found the right medication cocktail, I have this sudden urge to live life to the fullest again, and a lot of that means I'm not sitting at home surfing the computer as much, though my facebook friends might argue to the contrary.  (I'm still on there, just for smaller durations of time!)

May you all have a wonderful rest of Christmas and a Happy New Year.