Thanksgiving 2011

I am so late posting these that I seriously thought about posting them next year.  Instead I decided to post the pictures now and wait until next year to post a full menu with recipes for each dish.  These turned out wonderfully, so much so that my mother-in-law said that this was her best Thanksgiving EVER!  (Also, for those of you who were wondering after this week I have officially gained back all of the weight from the 6 weeks @ 1200 cals experiment–it only took me 5 weeks!)

First the table and appetizers:

 

The Bird.

Picking fresh rosemary

The pumpkin pie. Made from scratch, from a real pumpkin.

 

Let’s Make a Date Muffins

I decided to whip up some of these Let’s Make a Date Muffins for pre-Thanksgiving breakfast and snacking. I decided not the follow the Epicurious recipe by omitting the streusel top because I wanted to make them a bit lighter given the amount of food we have planned for later in the day. They turned out great! Here’s some pics of the process:

these are the ingredients needed
pitted dates soaking in boiling water

6 weeks @ 1200 cals

Week 4, Day 6/Day 27

AM–made coffee but wasnt quite hungry yet.

around 11am I had a cup of Trader Joe’s Os and some milk for 180 cals

Lunch happened around 3pm, my partner made me this heat and serve Tandoori style chicken dish from Trader Joe’s–it has a bit of rice and spinach in it, and its super good–it only has about 360 cals in it.

In the afternoon we decided to go for a 3.5 mile run through the neighborhood before treating ourselves to a few hours at the SPA! The Spa was wonderful.  Afterwards we met up with a friend that lives in K-town for Korean BBQ, which I am going to estimate to be 500 calories, but they were very nutrient rich calories!

On the way home we got a message from a neighborhood friend who wanted to go for kosher fro-yo, so we joined them at our local Toppings froyo place.  I think I had about a half cup of the Taro flavor, so good, plus some toppings, so I am going to estimate 100 cals for the yogurt.  Today’s total: 1140 cals!

Basic French Lentils

A few weeks ago I made an odd impulse purchase–French lentils from the bulk section at the Santa Monica Coop–sometimes I get a bit overzealous in the bulk section so I had these around for a few weeks and didnt know what to do with them.  Since I am looking for more nutrient dense foods to eat while on this 1200 calorie diet I thought I would whip this into something that tastes good but doesnt have too many calories.

Ingredients:

1 cup french lentils

1 small onion

Handful of baby carrots, slivered

4 cloves garlic

2 tbsp Olive oil

Salt

Rosemary

Dill

Oregano

Heat oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven.  I used my Le Creuset dutch oven for this. Chop up the onion, sliver the carrots, and mince the garlic add to the hot oil.  Add a pinch of salt, pinch of rosemary, dill and oregano.  Let this sauté for about 10 minutes uncovered.

Add the rinsed off lentils and saute for another minute.  Then add either 2 3/4 cups of water and a cup of chicken stock or if you’re going veggie use veggie stock or just add 3 and 3/4 cups water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat.  I had to leave it simmering for about an hour before the lentils were the right consistency for me, soft but still keeping their form.  

This recipe makes about four cups when cooked.  A one cup serving should have about 147 calories and its packed with protein.  This is great as a side dish, a main feature or as part of a salad.  Serve warm or cold. It’s also good with a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of soft cheese on top.

6 weeks @ 1200 calories

Week 1, Day 3

Breakfast

9AM–coffee with a splash of milk 10 cals–thats a pic of my fav coffee mug on the right–>

Erin, Me, and Martina circa 2006

I did that thing again where I forget to eat breakfast. . .I was updating the blog and working on one of my side gigs for $$ and the next thing I knew it was 11:55AM so I just had a morning snack.

SNACK: Banana 105 Cals

Lunch

1:30PM –bowl of Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato Bisque soup –1 Serving–130 cals

1 Trader Joe’s Chicken and Cheese Tamale–120 cals

Snack: Apple 80 cals

5:30PM My stomach is growling, and its very loud. . .but I have to hold out because we are going to free cocktails and h’ orderves at the Beverly Hilton tonight and I cant possibly not take advantage of that. . .I guess I will drink more water.

Dinner?

Do cocktails and h’ orderves count as dinner?  I would normally eat before such an occasion, something light but I would still eat.  What does everyone else do when they know they are going to face two hours of cocktails and h’ orderves from 7-9pm?  To eat dinner or not to eat dinner?

Here’s what I consumed:  I’m calling this 500 calories, I really have no idea how many calories it would be, but 500 seems fair. Plus I had a glass of wine about 150 cals worth. So the grand TOTAL is. . .1095 and I dont feel like I’m going to die. Amazing!

For the future of this six weeks I need to incorporate foods that have more nutrient density in them or else my hair is going to start to fall out!  Here’s some stuff that I checked out while I was writing this post. . .Finding the best diet for you. I also accidentally stumbled upon all of these “pro-ana” thats pro-anorexia websites which I refuse to repost here and am freaked out by the fact that my internet searches are turning up such things!

Lemon and Artichoke Chicken

My partner is always on a 1200 calorie diet, and she gets frustrated with me when I am always whipping up all kinds of meals and desserts and making her try them.  So tonight I made her a great Low-Cal, High Protein Dinner which is actually only about 200 calories if you eat it alone, or you could add 200 cals worth of veggies and carbs.

You will need:

Olive oil

1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

3/4 cup chicken stock

2 lemons–the juice of one lemon, and the other thinly sliced

2 tablespoons capers

1 jar/can of marinated artichoke hearts

salt and pepper to taste

First heat a layer of olive oil in a skillet, once its hot add the pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Cook about 5 minutes on med/high heat, on each side or until golden brown, add lemon juice and scrape any of the browned bits that have stuck to the pan.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, turn down to med and add the lemon slices–try to place some above and some below the chicken. Add the capers, cover and simmer for about 10 mins.

Add the artichokes, cover and cook for another five minutes.

Remove the chicken and lemon slices from the sauce, sprinkle in about 1 tablespoon of flour to help the sauce thicken.  Cook uncovered for another five minutes or until you have the desired thickness.

If you just eat the chicken with the sauce its about 185 calories per serving! and its super yummy too.

How to Caramelize Sugar on the Stovetop

I’ve noticed lately that in a lot of cookbooks the recipes that require caramelized sugar often just say “add 2 cups caramelized sugar” but they don’t tell you how to actually make the caramelized sugar yourself.  It seems like a simple process, but actually it’s really easy to mess up and its really really easy to burn yourself making caramelized sugar.

I believe that you really do need a candy thermometer to do this right, because it may look like it’s a caramel brown but still be in the soft crack stage when you really want it in hard crack stage, so its best to know for sure what the temp is before you pour it out.

You will need:

A med saucepan

A candy thermometer

A wooden spoon

Sugar

Water

Lemon Juice

A cooking brush (or a small paintbrush)

Patience
First, for every Cup of sugar that you are making add 1 tablespoon of water and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.  I find these proportions to work best, the lemon juice helps to stop it from crystallizing.  Place in saucepan on high heat. Stir often but not continuously.

While its first heating up get your brush wet with warm/hot water–you might just want to keep a bowl of water on the stove to dip it in.  As you stir your sugar mixture some will cling to the sides and start to crystallize, you want to just take the wet brush and brush that back into the mix as it happens.

Once the mixture is liquid and starts to bubble check the temperature.  Around 250 degrees it should be a squishy ball when it dries.  Be VERY CAREFUL the liquid is really not now, so don’t touch it or do something silly like lick the spoon –I almost always end up doing this and it really hurts!

So once the mixture has boiled for about 10 mins it should shrink down and start to turn a golden brownish color.  It looks like this from about 275-350, so you need to check your temp before you stop cooking.  Also be sure to keep brushing the edges down throughout the whole process.  You need to get it to 302 degrees and then you can turn off the heat and pour it into your pan, or do whatever you’re going to do with it.