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What's for Dinner #378 - The Hot! Hot! Hot! Edition

Great bakery!

What's for Dinner #378 - The Hot! Hot! Hot! Edition

We are hosting a house concert tonight (Justin Jones supporting Sean Rowe, in case anyone's curious). That means time for dinner is limited. DH is taking off early to go set up chairs, etc., so he may try his hand at that aji gallina and sweet potato fries. Otherwise, I'm betting on Thai after the show.

What's for Dinner #378 - The Hot! Hot! Hot! Edition

I love those cukes.

What's for Dinner #378 - The Hot! Hot! Hot! Edition

We just ended up having leftover Italian bake and a cucumber-carrot salad in herb vinaigrette. Maybe more ambitious things later this week.

What's for Dinner #377- The End of July Cometh Edition! [through July 29, 2015]

Good way to squeeze in more protein!

Jul 29, 2015
ChristinaMason in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #377- The End of July Cometh Edition! [through July 29, 2015]

Last nght there was a torrential rainstorm as we exited the gym, so we opted to grab a quick bite at the Mexican joint next door, splitting a half sopa de pollo and fajitas de pollo with beans and rice (hey, we sent the tortilla chips back).

When we got home, I made a test batch of homemade Laura Bars. I combined pecan butter, dates, dried tart cherries, puffed millet, molasses, a splash of water, and TVP. I basically rengineered them to reduce the carbs and up the protein. They worked out really well, with three cubes equaling one Laura Bar, but with triple the protein and 2/3 the carbs.

For tonight, I am planning to try a lightened up aji gallina, which is basically poached shredded chicken in a spicy cheese and walnut sauce. Sides will probably be homemade sweet potato fries and cucumber salad or curtido.

What's for Dinner #377- The End of July Cometh Edition! [through July 29, 2015]

Tonight it's leftover Italian bake and cucumber vinaigrette.

What's for Dinner #377- The End of July Cometh Edition! [through July 29, 2015]

If you use them right (shake off excess and fry in at least 1/2 tsp. oil), they practically melt into the fish and provide just a slight crispy coating. I also like that they are gluten free, and prefer the flavor and texture to almond meal.

What's for Dinner #377- The End of July Cometh Edition! [through July 29, 2015]

It sort of depends on the flavors of the meal. For something with lemon or Italian/Med. flavors, I used either olive oil or butter. For everything else coconut oil or coconut oil spray. I was trying to control calories so it was just spray this time.

ETA: oops, just realized you were addressing cayjohan.

What's for Dinner #377- The End of July Cometh Edition! [through July 29, 2015]

Ah, good distinction I wasn't aware of. These were the flakes, not buds.

Thanks!

Jul 28, 2015
ChristinaMason in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #377- The End of July Cometh Edition! [through July 29, 2015]

Turned out OK, but the fish was a little salty, and I should have shaken off more potato buds as I used only the merest whiff of coconut oil spray to fry them, and the breading sorta steamed rather than crisped. The leftover slaw was delish and the soup was pretty good, but my appetite had calmed down after a small post-workout snack. I only finished half a cup.

Dinner was right about 315 calories, leaving me room for ice cream and hopefully another episode of the Wire later.

What's for Dinner #377- The End of July Cometh Edition! [through July 29, 2015]

That sounds delicious. Too bad about the neighbors :(

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Home Cooking

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

It's a sign of metabolic syndrome, which is kind of a big deal at any age if you want to continue having a decent quality of life.

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Special Diets

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

Just watch out for commercial PBs with sugar added.

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Special Diets

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

Just wanted to mention: before you shell out money for the meter and testing strips - your insurance company may cover these IF your doctor prescribes them. Especially since the strips are expensive, you might want to wait until after you see him, or buy just the cheapest available right now with the intent of replacing it.

And to keep this more on topic - here's a recent article from the NYT on calories and weight loss that might interest you. Nestle's book sounds very interesting - I'm gonna grab a copy from my library. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03...

This one is also worth a gander: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/31/ups...

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Special Diets

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

Yeah, I thought that seemed kind of high, too. Why tax the pancreas (and by extension, rest of your body) so?

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Special Diets

What's for Dinner #377- The End of July Cometh Edition! [through July 29, 2015]

We're doing cod again, because I say so!

This time it will be dusted in chili powder and achiote before being dredged in seasoned potato buds and fried in a little butter. I'm planning a simple black bean soup and salad greens (topped with the last of the mango-jicama-cuke slaw) as sides. Lime wedges and hot sauce for serving.

What's for Dinner #377- The End of July Cometh Edition! [through July 29, 2015]

Congrats on getting back on the horse, so to speak!

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

Oh, oops, I forgot to mention that we add some fat-free plain kefir or yogurt to the protein shakes along with the frozen fruit and protein powder.

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Special Diets

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

If you click on your screenname/username, the page that comes up will list discussions you've commented on. Then you can revisit the discussion by clicking on that thread.

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Special Diets

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

And even if not a statin, grapefruit juice is contraindicated for other meds as well. Generally speaking, you're a LOT better off eating a whole fruit versus its juice, because you're also getting fiber, and the fruit tends to be fresher than a juice that may have been squeezed and had who knows what else done to it...over a year ago! http://civileats.com/2009/05/06/fresh...

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Special Diets

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

Your best bet is to start reading labels for carbs and start tracking your portions/intake with something like MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople apps/websites. You will be surprised how *quickly* those carbs add up. Juices are killer, for sure, and they also show up in all kinds of surprising places and esp. in prepared/processed foods.

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Special Diets

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

LOL, just to be clear, the 3 oz. was just when we were really cutting calories to drop lbs. quickly. I haven't needed to be that crazy in what's more of a steady burn/maintenance mode. And, it's eaten with a ton of vegetables...which we all should be eating more of.

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Special Diets

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

My current staples at TJ's:

-Cruciferous Crunch - I like this steamed in the microwave with 1/2 tsp. butter, salt, and pepper and topped with a fried egg or with a can of light soup
-baby zucchini - great grilled or roasted
-bagged lemons/limes - cheap and a good way to add flavor without sodium/calories
-fennel - good roasted or shaved for slaw
-Persian cucumbers
-fresh haricots verts - salade Nicoise
-baby bok choy - good in stir fries with mushrooms
-organic strawberries - the ones here in DC have amazing flavor; much better than conventional
-frozen mahi mahi filets - good in fish tacos with ultra-thin Mission yellow corn tortillas, or try lettuce wraps
-canned skipjack tuna in water - broiled tuna patties, salade Nicoise (sub cubed rutabaga for potato), tuna salad with light mayo, mustard, and dill relish
-roasted red peppers - add flavor not fat
-brown mustard - comparable to Gulden's and great in dressings
-jarred pitted Kalamata olives - slice thinly and add to salads for a kick
-organic chicken broth - great low-calorie snack when you want something warm, salty, filling, and comforting
-miso ginger broth is decent for the same reason, but I prefer to make my own from Japanese paste
-frozen raspberries, peaches, mango chunks, wild organic blueberries (SO much more flavorful than conventional), figs, strawberries - these are all protein smoothie staples
-frozen French green beans - good roasted until very crispy with a little olive oil and seasoning - almost like French fries
-pecans, almonds, peanuts, walnuts - all are great for toasting and making homemade nut butters in the food processor; while sugar-free, they're also highly caloric, so restraint is required
-Egg whites/egg replacer - must be a popular item because it's usually sold out
-light mozzarella string cheese - really good - I think it's rebranded Poly-O); again, restraint required!
-light/reduced fat Brie, sliced swiss cheese, Mexican cheese blend, feta - OK if you're careful about portions
-bagged arugula, Champs Elysees salad mix, etc. - I tend to buy salad greens elsewhere, as the ones from my TJ's spoil quickly, but depending on where you are in the country, you might have better luck
-smoked farm-raised rainbow trout - a nice protein snack
-buffalo or beef jerky - a great low-carb option, and not too caloric
-94% lean ground beef - a pretty painless swap in many recipes; I mix with grated, salted, squeezed-dry zucchini to further lighten
-toasted sesame oil - stir-fries are your new best friend; check out "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge" for recipes or "Land of Plenty"
-coconut oil spray
-cut frozen spinach, frozen artichoke hearts - good in crustless quiche
-Gerolsteiner mineral water - when plain water is too boring
-pork tenderloin - a very lean cut and reasonably priced
-mahi mahi burgers - pretty light and really tasty
-grape tomatoes - hard to beat their price; you'll be learning to love salads!
-frozen wild scallops - the price is painful but they are pretty tasty and very low in calories
-smoked salmon - another good protein snack - try on cucumber rounds w/ light sour cream or cream cheese and dill
-chicken cilantro burgers - if you like a strong cilantro flavor

Staples from Safeway/Harris Teeter/conventional grocery store:

-FF Greek Yogurt - Open Nature or O Organics brands
-Helman's light mayo
-Cabot 50% reduced-fat cheddar cheese
-Kraft FF American Cheese singles - I know, I know, but sometimes...
-Claussen spicy pickle spears
-flavored seltzer - Ventnor black cherry, mandarin, and lemon-lime are my fave
-1% cottage cheese
-cabbage or cole slaw mix - eaten hot or cold
-frozen broccoli-cauliflower blend - steam and eat in place of rice under sauces, stir-fries, etc.
-Jello sugar-free dark chocolate pudding - watch carbs
-sugar-free gelatin - you can prepare with yogurt in place of some of the water for a dessert treat, or add diced fruit, etc. If you drastically reduce the water, you can make gummy treats
-Heinz low-sugar ketchup - or Harris Teeter carries a stevia-sweetened brand
-Marzetti's Simply Dressed light blue cheese - there is also ranch, haven't tried
-big boxes of arugula, spinach blends - we eat it if it's there
-cantaloupe, peaches, fresh fruit in season - watch carbs
-Premio chicken Italian sausages - spicy are good and they even have a sweet version with kale that are even fewer calories
-FF evaporated milk - for quiche
-fresh herbs, scallions - flavor!
-jicama - good cut into batons with light dip or chili powder and lime juice
-frozen shrimp - great in soup, stir-fry, sauteed, or steamed with Old Bay and doused with lemon - such a caloric bargain
-Lundberg sesame-tamari rice cakes - watch carbs
-Sharitaki/konjac noodles - these don't sub for noodles in all preparations, but they are good in cold Asian noodle salads w/ soy or sesame dressing, or heated up and tossed with a little soy sauce and butter
-chicken breast - grind your own in the food processor and make meatballs, burgers, kofte, etc. I like this so much better than the pre-ground turkey or chicken available.
-sprouted tofu - O Organics; TJ's also has one
-Bob Evans ready-cooked turkey sausage links - better than Johnsonville and good bang for the calorie buck
-Oscar Mayer Cutting Board sliced turkey deli meat - tasty if a bit salty and pricey
-Blue Diamond wasabi almonds - watch portions
-For when you desperately need a sweet fix: Lily's original stevia-sweetened dark chocolate, Werther's sugar-free caramels or coffee caramels

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Special Diets

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

LOL, oh dear, we have some work to do.

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Special Diets

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

Also - I highly recommend getting a food scale. A digital version with multiple unit options like this one, is good: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009...

And it's really helpful to have at least two sets of measuring spoons and some serving spoons where you know the volume they hold. I have one sort of like this, and it's so easy portioning meals knowing that the spoon holds 1/4 c. and the ladle holds 1/2 c.: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-CTG-0...

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Special Diets

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

dupe post

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Special Diets

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

Sure thing! My responses in-line below:

You used the protein powder to help jump start your diet but then phased it out? Or do you still use it?

>My husband is still trying to lose the last 10-15 lbs., so we are still including the shakes, mostly at breakfast, or to replace a meal(s) on a day when we've overdone it. The protein helps keep you full longer (and more blood-sugar stable, I'd guess) than some other breakfast options, plus they are easy for rushed mornings before work. We had been doing fruit (non protein powder) smoothies for breakfast before the diet, but were using full-fat milk/homemade kefir/full-fat yogurt. These stick with us a little longer. The protein powder doesn't taste amazing, but it works.

You mention egg beaters, is that simply a health choice or are the superior to regular eggs for this specific cause?

>I have no problem whatsoever with egg yolks, and don't think dietary cholesterol increases risk for heart disease. It's just a calorie thing -- you can eat twice as much Egg Beaters as whole eggs for the same amount of calories. We usually have 3/4 c. per person for 100 calories, which leaves some room for add-ins like cooked broccoli, spinach, cheese, etc. I still eat some whole eggs as well - but I use them differently (like a fried egg on top of steamed broccoli tossed with grated pecorino, salt, pepper, and a little olive oil, or poached in a bowl of miso soup)

You mentioned you cut out "most pasta"? Is there an acceptable pasta, or was this more or less a cheat type preference?

>Some diabetics eat Dreamfields pasta, which is made from a resistant starch that is considered "lower carb" because it cannot be completely processed/digested by your body when cooked fresh (not reheated). I try to limit gluten but will occasionally have small portions of pasta in a casserole or the like. This article "Why I think of Pasta like a Crouton" kind of sums up my approach: http://www.thekitchn.com/pasta-the-ne...

You could potentially incorporate whole-grain pasta into your diet, but only if you're sure you can really control portions and limit your carbs for the day/meal so you don't spike your blood sugar. Talk to your doctor about that one. (p.s. I am shocked how few doctors actually talk to their patients about dietary changes rather than just writing a prescription for Metformin. My mom is on it and got the impression from her doc she didn't even need to be testing blood sugar. She claims he never discussed the role that carbs play in spiking blood sugar).

I had no idea there were sugar free altoids!!! Thank you!! lol

>No problem! Remember, they are not calorie free. Also, if they contain sugar alcohols, they might cause stomach upset. Try to wean yourself down a bit. You could always carry a small bottle of Therabreath mouthwash with you (or keep it in your desk) if you feel self-conscious about your breath. https://jet.com/product/e346d1c708374...

Thanks again honestly I so appreciate it.

>Absolutely! Let me know if I can list some grocery store staples for you. I'm a big Chowhound and hate giving up good-tasting food in the name of diet. So I've tested some different products to find decent ones! Do you have a Trader Joe's or Aldi nearby? Or what stores are available to you?

Jul 27, 2015
ChristinaMason in Special Diets

Q. What do you get after 25 years of a glutinous diet and alcohol abuse?

Oh boy, many members of my family have been through a very similar wakeup call, so I can (to some extent) relate.

I echo the others in recommending you read up on low-carb diets as a way to manage blood sugar naturally. You may even be able to wean off your meds (under doctor's supervision) once you overhaul your diet and start testing consistently lower for blood glucose. Your weight will more than likely drop some as well once you start eating lower carb. My dad went low carb after a Type II diagnosis, dropped a bunch of weight (30 lbs. or so), and was eventually able to stop taking his diabetes meds. South Beach is another diet to take a look at - I think it has the emphasis on lower-fat, less calorie-dense foods right for weight loss, but it includes too many carbs in the form of whole grains and legumes. Those are VERY easy to overdo. For example, I weighed out a portion of 58g of penne for a casserole, 190 calories, and it was MINISCULE. Shockingly small.

Your mileage may vary, but my husband and I had trouble keeping healthy weights on a "lower carb" diet. I think unless you are really tracking your food and committed to keeping carbs under 60g or whatever the thresholds are per Atkins phase, it is very easy to put on weight eating large portions of fat (cheese, butter, red meats, poultry with skin, coconut milk, full fat dairy) and carbs here and there.

What has actually worked for us for losing weight: we did an initial period of about 2-3 weeks of substituting all-natural plant protein shakes for at least half of our meals. The "real" meals we did eat were heavy on vegetables and light on fat, with lean protein.

This is the protein powder we used, usually blending with some low-sugar frozen fruit like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and sometimes peaches, figs, pears, or mango for variety (the latter are higher in carbs, so be sure to account for that in your daily intake/portion size): http://www.amazon.com/PlantFusion-Pro...

Typical lunch would be something like 3-4 oz. cooked b/s chicken breast and some tomatoes and cucumbers mixed with 4 c. arugula tossed with 1/2 tsp. olive oil and juice of half a lemon, maybe some grainy mustard and/or anchovy paste. Explore commercial low-calorie salad dressings to see if there are any you can stand--there are a lot of terrible ones out there, but we actually enjoy the Marzetti Simply Dressed & Light blue cheese: http://www.simplydressed.com/light-dr...
I like that tossed with a bunch of cole slaw mix and chopped celery and topped with chicken breast tossed in Frank's Red Hot Wings Sauce: http://www.sauceacross.com/collection... Light canned soups are also helpful for an easy, light lunch -- but you really have to read labels to keep track of carbs (they hide in places you might not expect, like tomato soup). Attached is a pic of some soups that have worked for us (that jarred sauce sucks tho). Progresso French onion soup is another decent option - and a great base for a Salisbury steak sauce.

I know a lot of low-carbers poo poo calorie-counting, but we tried for a long time to lose/maintain healthy weights by just reducing starches (cutting out cereal, most pasta, rice, etc.) and we found our intake still exceeded out energy expended. I now use the app MyFitnessPal to track my daily calories and exercise. It's a great tool for keeping yourself accountable and learning what healthy portions should look like. Switching to low-fat/low-cal products is something I was always loathe to do, but it has helped a lot with weight loss. Egg Beaters, FF plain Greek yogurt, cooking spray, reduced-fat cheese, milk, and cottage cheese, and sugar-free products (Jello, soft drinks, cocktail mixers, even "Monkfruit in the Raw" in salad dressings and sauces) have all helped toward our goal.

There are a lot of competing diets out there, but having tried most of them, right now my stance is that a limited-calorie, plant-based diet with enough lean protein and low-fat dairy is best for us. Every time I've done a "low calorie" diet, it has been very low carb anyone, so sometimes I think the distinction is splitting hairs if you gravitate to more natural/"clean" foods anyway.

And don't discount the power of excercise. When I hit a weight-loss plateau, biking to and from work and hopping on the treadmill (45 min. at 14% incline, 3.7mph speed) really got things moving. Plus, once you get over the hump, you actually start to almost crave activity. They say it takes 28 days to create a habit, and I'm starting to see that bear out.

Drinking: those calories add up, and depending on what you drink, can involve lots of carbs. We went from having a drink or two most nights to rarely drinking at home and drinking a lot less when we go out. When we do drink, we typically have light beer (Miller Light or New Belgium's Skinny Dip) or liquor (bourbon, gin) straight or with club soda. The upside is our tolerance has gone down, so it takes less to enjoy a buzz, and drunken high-calorie snacking has gone down (or been at least substituted with things like Egg Beater and FF cheese omelets or spicy pickle spears, LOL).

Good luck and remember each time you eat is an opportunity to begin making better choices. I used to think the "day" was blown if I'd slipped, but that's just rationlizing indulgence. If you fall off your wagon, just take a running leap and jump right back on.

Also: you might want to check out Brian Wansink's books "Mindless Eating" and "Slim by Design" for some simple, pretty painless techniques for reducing your calorie intake or increasing your activity level. He's the behavioral scientist who pioneered some of the studies about how reducing plate size, portioning out servings, making simple substitutions can help people eat less without realizing it. http://www.amazon.com/Brian-Wansink/e...

p.s. If you would like a list of some decent low-cal/low-fat products, I'd be happy to type on up to help you make some better selections at the grocery store without too much trial and error. Let me know. And: Altoid's makes a sugar-free version http://www.amazon.com/Altoids-Smalls-...

p.p.s. Check out Rocco Dispirito's cook book, Now Eat This! for tons of great recipes that have been re-engineered to be healthier and still really tasty http://www.amazon.com/Now-Eat-This-Am...

What's for Dinner #377- The End of July Cometh Edition! [through July 29, 2015]

all. fabulous.

Jul 26, 2015
ChristinaMason in Home Cooking