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!

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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.

Palate Cleansers

This weekend I was at a Las Vegas wedding and I experienced a palate cleanser course for the first time.  The meal started with a plate of small appetizers with pretty strong flavors–onions, parmesan cheese, olives–followed by the salad course.  They served a tomato, red lettuce, candied pecan salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing along with a pear pastry on the side, the salad was followed with a delicious french onion soup.  After the strong flavors of these first few dishes we were served a palate cleanser.  Virtually all of the guests were confused by the course, a low buzz of whispers swept through the place–what is that?

A palate cleanser is usually a small amount of a light sorbet.  The idea is to remove the flavors from the previous courses from the mouth so that the next course may be enjoyed with a fresh palate. The french also call a palate cleanser an “amuse” –related to “amuse-bouche” literally meaning “mouth amuser.”  But the amuse-bouche is usually served early in the meal–usually an hors d’œuvre to excite the palate, rather than to cleanse the palate.

On this occasion, at Andre’s at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas we were served a cucumber flavored sorbet in a small glass about the size of a shot glass with a small spoon.  We were probably served a total of 2 teaspoons of the sorbet.  It was lovely.