Friday, April 21, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week 7 (day 7 menu)

Weirdly, this week there was no prep needed for any of our meals.

For breakfast, instead of an orange, oatmeal, and toast, I'm having some similar stuff I already had around in the cabinets at home - Cream of Wheat with butter, maple, and raisins. This is one serving of the one minute Cream of Wheat, with 1/2 tb butter, 1 tb maple syrup, and 1 oz of raisins.

Cream of wheat, toppings, coffee with sugar - 316 calories.

For lunch things are about to get a little weird. The menu called for a bologna and butter sandwich, but that sounds awful to me. When I was shopping around thinking about a bologna alternative I happened upon a rarity in the deli case - Taylor Ham. I've never seen this stuff outside of New Jersey, and as far as weird lunch meats are concerned the nostalgia factor is high with this one, so I bought it. It's the most indulgent junk-food lunch I've had in ages.

It comes wrapped in plastic, and inside the plastic is a canvas tube which you peel back and then slice off pieces as you go. It's firm and easy to slice evenly. The slices are quite small in diameter.

The slices need to be cut a little so that they don't bubble up while you  sear them in a pan. No extra oils or anything are needed, and the bit of oil left behind from frying the ham is plenty to cook the egg in.

I cracked an egg into the pan after removing the ham, broke the yolk so it'd cook along with the white, and then added a piece of american cheese after flipping the egg once. American cheese is kind of nasty, and doesn't really qualify as cheese, but I think this is as close as I'll ever get to bologna and butter sandwich. This meal is so indulgent, I'm skipping the cake and salad.

I present my "pork roll, egg, and cheese" sliders with dill pickle - 430 calories

For dinner the menu listed steak, mushrooms, tomato, spinach, half a head of lettuce with vinegar, a slice of bread, and a half cup of pineapple and apple. I've made a few changes here because we still had a lot of broccoli left over from last week, and I couldn't imagine either of us eating half a head of lettuce with vinegar along with our dinner. This is 3 oz of NY strip steak, half an oz of maitake mushrooms, 4 oz of cherry tomatoes, and 8 oz of broccoli. The mushrooms and tomatoes were sauteed in a small frying pan with a spritz of oil. The tomatoes do a great job of adding a bit of extra liquid to the pan to make the cooking of the mushrooms easier with almost no oil.

Steak, mushrooms, tomatoes, and broccoli - 158 calories.

For dessert we continued with the baked apples from last week, but on Thursday it was pineapple upside-down cake day, so we had pineapple right-side-up apples instead. This is before they went into the oven, and they're probably the cutest thing I've cooked in ages. The pineapple and cherries add 52 calories to the baked apple recipe from last week.

Pineapple right-side-up apples - 323 calories.

Daily total calories - 1227

I've made it half way through the book now! Next week is pretty tame, but should be fun anyway. Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week Six (day 6 menu)

If you were wondering on Sunday who was cutting onions, it was me. For prep this week I broke down three large red onions and five bell peppers, made pasta salad, trimmed a bunch of chicken livers, and cried a lot. Like, a lot a lot.

Seriously it was a lot of onions and peppers... this is only about half.

For breakfast I thought I'd shake things up a bit and stray from my well loved poached egg and toast, so this week I had cloud egg, on toast with butter. I decided to skip the orange juice and just have coffee with sugar.

To make a cloud egg, you whip your single egg white with a pinch of salt until it forms stiff peaks, then pile it on parchment paper or a silpat. Make sure to make a little dent in the middle where your egg yolk will sit, but don't put the yolk in yet. First, bake the white at about 350 F for 3-5 minutes, then carefully drop the yolk into the dent you made and bake for another 3-5 minutes, or until the yolk reaches your desired firmness and the white has started to brown a bit. For me I like the yolks a bit firmer here than I do with a poached egg.

This recipe is awesome if you gently fold in a bit of shredded cheese or some fresh herbs before baking the white, but I went with plain salt and pepper so that I could have the butter on my toast.

Cloud egg, toast with butter, coffee with sugar - 238 calories.

For lunch, the menu suggested turkey sandwich, but I think I'm developing a lettuce leaf habit so I decided instead I'd have some other stuff with my poultry. I had some more of that beautiful local pasta, so this time I put it together as a salad. This is fresh red wheat fusilli with baked herbed chicken, goat cheese, and red onion, served with a dill pickle sliced in quarters.

To make the salad I cooked the baked chicken breast just like in week 1, diced it up, added it to the pasta, cheese, and diced red onion, and seasoned with salt and pepper. It was pretty tasty but next time I'd use a bit less onion.

10 oz chicken, 14 oz pasta, 9 oz onion, and 5 oz cheese, the salad comes out to roughly 66 calories per oz. I'm having a 3.5 oz serving for lunch with my dill pickle.

Pasta salad and small dill pickle - 236 calories.

Dinner was supposed to be calf liver with onion, potato, broccoli, and bread, but I couldn't find calf liver anywhere so I went with chicken livers. I have always enjoyed chicken liver, even as a child, so this week was kind of a weird treat for me.

To prepare the liver, I dry it off with a paper towel before dry-frying it for 3-4 minutes per side over medium heat in a small skillet. Dry frying means there is no oil in the pan, not even spray, just pan and liver. I also let the liver rest for about 4 minutes after cooking.

The potato is one small russet potato, peeled, boiled, and then mashed with two tablespoons of milk and some salt and pepper. The broccoli is just steamed with some salt.

To make the "onions" I sauteed half a red onion and one whole red bell pepper in 1 tb of olive oil and 2 tsp sugar. When the onion and pepper slices are limp and translucent, add 2 tb of balsamic vinegar and cook until it starts to reduce and lose a bit of its sharpness, then add about 1 tb of chopped basil. Season with salt to taste, then serve. Makes 2-3 servings depending on the size of your veggies. In this case my recipe made 3 servings at 108 calories each. After I served the peppers and onions, I tossed my chicken livers in the sauce left in the pan before serving.

On this day I seasoned my oil a little by frying a couple garlic cloves in it before starting the onion mix, you can see one of the cloves at the top of my plate.

3 oz chicken liver, 1 cup steamed broccoli, potato, onions & peppers, garlic - 483 calories.

Now it's time for baked apple, and really I think it might always be time for baked apple. To make my baked apples I used honeycrisp apples. These were huge apples from Costco, the largest one weighed about 10 oz by itself. I tried to pick out some of the smaller ones but they were still 6-8 oz before coring.

When you core your apples for this, don't cut all the way through them. The idea is to trap the tasty stuff you're about to put in these apples so that it bakes into the flesh inside them, so you just want to scoop out the top and the part with the seeds, but leave the bottom of the apple intact. This would probably be easier with a melon baller, but I don't have one so I used a very sharp small knife (careful!) and a spoon to get the junk out.

After coring, stuff your apples with up to 1 tb sugar and then top with 1 tb butter. I cooked mine in a bread loaf pan, with about half a cup of water in the bottom.

Tent loosely with tin foil, so that it's not touching the tops of your apples, and bake at 375 F for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes.

This stuff is so delicious!
Once your apples are out of the oven, drain off the butter sludge into the pan liquid, and pour all of the liquid in the pan into a small saucepan with whatever spices you like on your apples. This is my favorite mix here, one cinnamon quill (this one is broken in half) and this mulling spice tea bag, but this would also be good using a chai tea or earl gray tea.

Simmer the spices and the apple liquid for a few minutes so that you infuse all that tasty flavor in there. For mine I let it simmer for about five minutes. Keep your apples covered while you do this so they cool a little but not too much.

After you've infused your liquid, remove the tea bag and spices, turn down the heat on the pan to low, and add 1 tb corn starch. Make a slurry with your corn starch and some water before you add it so that you don't get lumps, and make sure that your liquid isn't too hot while adding the slurry.

Stir until it thickens, usually just a minute or two, then remove from the heat and add some salt. Don't be afraid to be generous with the salt, it will help balance out all the sweetness. Think salted caramel, that's what we're going for.

Dump that stuff over your apples, and enjoy. Makes two servings.

Spiced salted caramel baked apple - 271 calories.

Total day's calories - 1228

Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week Five (day 5 menu)

This week was one I have been looking forward to more than most. For prep, I turned the rest of my grapefruits into juice, hard boiled some eggs, and prepped six trouts for baking.

Behold my terrifying and hilarious french cat apron. My boss brought this back from Paris for me as a gift a few years ago, it's the best apron ever.

I don't spend as much time prepping trout as some people do, because I bake it with the bones in and remove them as I'm serving it. I feel like you get more fish that way, losing less of it to the knife when you try to take the bones out while it's raw.

For this week, I placed my cleaned trouts on a bed of parsley and spinach, stuffed the body cavity with garlic and shallots, salted the inside and out thoroughly, and then made them into neat little trout envelopes, stored in a bag in the fridge. I moved them to the freezer on Wednesday, and took one out to thaw in time for dinner each day after that.

For breakfast, the book called for two strips of bacon, 1/2 cup grapefruit juice, and dry toast. Instead I'm having one strip of bacon, an egg over-easy with Tapatio hot sauce, toast, and grapefruit drink, which is three tablespoons of grapefruit juice in 8 oz of sparkling water.

Bacon, egg, toast, grapefruit drink, coffee with sugar - 273 calories.

For lunch, the menu lists bread, boiled egg, lettuce, and cherry pie. Don't tell Domino sugar, but I'm not having any lettuce leaves this week.

Using one hard boiled egg per day, I added my mayo mustard mix, salt, pepper, and paprika, and made egg salad sandwich. Served with half a tomato with salt, and my homemade lemon rose jello fluff.

When I was a kid my mom used to make a "jello pie" which was several layers of whipped and unwhipped jello, so I thought I'd take a shot at whipped jello this week.

The jello fluff was made with two packets of gelatin, 1 cup lemon juice, 2 tb sugar, 1/2 tsp rose water, and 1 c water. I put it in the fridge to chill for about half an hour, then as it was starting to set I whipped it until it was frothy and then put it back in the fridge. It ends up separating a bit as the bubbles all rise to the top, so you get a thin layer of regular jello at the bottom and this fluffy whip at the top.

Lemon rosewater is one of my favorite drinks during the summer when it gets too warm out, and the flavor is no less refreshing when it's chilled jello whip.

Egg salad sandwich and tomato - 210 calories

Whipped jello snack - 65 calories

For dinner I got super lucky at the Saturday farmer's market. There is a local pasta artist who makes a variety of awesome fresh pastas from locally grown grains, and this week he had squid ink pasta on the table. The flavor is very neutral, and similar enough to regular pasta that Randy said if I hadn't told him what it was, he wouldn't have known it wasn't just regular pasta with food coloring. I personally think it has a bit of a savory flavor that's different from regular pasta and goes well with seafood, so we're having squid ink pasta instead of boiled potato.

I baked the trout, steamed the green beans, and then used the garlic and shallots from inside the trout to make a brown butter & lemon sauce for the pasta and cook down the cherry tomatoes a little bit.

4 oz baked rainbow trout, green beans with salt, squid ink pasta with tomatoes and sauce - 429 calories.

For pie, I was set on making my own filling, and it's not cherry season right now. Randy suggested strawberry rhubarb pie after seeing some rhubarb on the shelf at the store, even though he's never had it before and I've never made it before. This was also my first time attempting a lattice top pie, so I probably could have done better getting a golden crust on top but I think it turned out pretty well anyway.

The filling was 12 oz each of strawberries and rhubarb, set in a bowl with 1 cup sugar, 4 tb corn starch, 1 tb water, 1 tsp lemon juice, 3/4 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp vanilla. I left the bowl in my fridge for a few hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until a good amount of liquid had come out of the fruits, then scooped the solids into the pie crust, and added just enough of the juice to fill the shell. Then I made a lattice over the top with a second pie crust, brushed with some egg white, and baked for about 40 minutes at 375 until the crust was golden.

The pie comes out to 170 calories per slice, probably a little less because I didn't end up using all of the top crust or the filling but I left them as part of the total anyway.

Total day's calories - 1147

Next week we have another liver dish on the menu... yummmm.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week Four (day 4 menu)

This week for prep I made a batch of little pretzels in place of dinner rolls.  I supremed some grapefruits, and I washed, weighed, and bagged some snack veggies.

Typically I make 8 large soft pretzels with this recipe, but I cut the dough further into 16 pieces to make little pretzel shaped rolls instead. Some came out a bit larger than others, but I have been eating the smaller ones with dinner to make sure that I'm at or under my calorie calculations if they had been perfect. I use Alton Brown's soft pretzel recipe and it turns out fabulous every time. Each roll comes in at roughly 150 calories according to the recipe, but I'm counting them as 200 to be safe.

For breakfast i'm skipping the liquid calories suggested by canned pineapple juice and I've moved the grapefruit from dinner to this meal.

Light rye toast with a poached egg, half a grapefruit with 1 tsp sugar, coffee with sugar (not shown) - 258 calories.

For lunch, it's liverwurst with grain mustard and lettuce on rye toast, and my veggie snack bag. The veggies I've been treating as my any-time snack, along with the "ice cream" you'll see later.

The liverwurst was really not very strong in flavor, I expected it to be more liver-y but it was kind of like mild soft balogna. It wasn't bad but I don't think I'll be having this specific brand again if I do try liverwurst lunch in the future.

The veggie bag takes the tomato from lunch and adds the radish and celery from dinner. It's 4 oz of "easter egg" radishes, 3 oz celery sticks, and 2 oz cherry tomatoes, coming in at about 56 calories.

Sandwich and veggies - 326 calories.

For dinner, we have roast turkey. I bought a single breast portion, coated it in seasonings and baked it. It was enough for the whole week for the two of us. The spinach salad is dressed with 1tb of a tomato vinaigrette I made, and 1/2 oz candied walnuts. I also had 1 tsp of grain mustard with my pretzel roll.

To make the dressing I put 2 tsp of olive oil in a small skillet, added some of my turmeric mix spices (turmeric, paprika, crushed red pepper, cinnamon, salt) until they started to sizzle and become fragrant, then I added 2 tb minced shallot and  2 tb balsamic vinegar. Let that reduce over a low heat for a few minutes, and then add the flesh of one medium tomato, about 4 oz.

The flesh is what's left of the tomato after peeling and seeding it. To peel the tomato run it under hot water for a minute or so, or drop it in boiling water for about the same amount of time, then wipe off the peel with a paper towel. Cut it in half and remove all the seeds, then mince what's left and add to the dressing. Give it a minute or two to break down and then you can serve the dressing warm over the spinach, it's pretty tasty. Makes roughly 13 tbsp, I dressed my salad with 1 tbsp at 13 calories.

Roast turkey, spinach salad, pretzel roll with mustard - 497 calories.

Peppermint icemilk - I'm calling it icemilk because I didn't use cream, I used whole milk. This is made in the blender with milk ice cubes. 8 oz whole milk (half frozen half liquid), 4 tsp sugar, and 3 starlight mints, blend until smooth. I let it set up in the freezer in a tray for about half an hour before stirring and serving.  One recipe makes two servings - 113 calories each.

Total day's calories - 1194

Next week is full of fun with pie, jello, and fish dinner. I'm really looking forward to it!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week Three (day 3 menu)

This week there was a bit more prep than last week, and I got to make up an interesting breakfast to compensate for the loss of eggy protein breakfast from the previous two weeks. My prep included portioning grapefruits, making jello, and portioning chicken thighs.

To portion the grapefruit, I decided to cut them into supremes and save the juice from the process for adding to my jello. If you aren't familiar with supremes, they are basically just the tasty part of a citrus fruit. The process is to cut off all of the rind carefully, then cut down into the fruit toward the center right next to a membrane and sort of flick your knife toward the other membrane to release the segment. There are probably a ton of good videos on YouTube that can teach the technique.

If I had ended up with enough juice I planned to make grapefruit jello from scratch, but I didn't so instead I went with strawberry-grapefruit jello.

You can see that after one grapefruit I had a pretty decent amount of juice. That's just shy of half a cup after squeezing the leftover bits that didn't make it into my cups.

Here's my drawer of meat... I portioned out the package of chicken thighs I bought into 5.5 oz portions. This meant cutting up some whole thighs and adding pieces to the bags to make the correct weight, but baked chicken thighs come out great if you do it right, even when adding extra bits.

My method is to take the whole thigh, and lay it out flat with what was the skin side down. Then you take the extra bits and lay them out the same way. Season the underside of all the pieces, then stack them so the smallest pieces are on top. Then take the whole thing and roll it so the seam is underneath, season the top, and bake until the internal temp hits 165. Using this method I can bake my chicken thigh right along with Randy's chicken breast and both are done at the same time because they're about the same thickness.

I really enjoyed this week because I used a different set of seasonings every day on my chicken, so it was like different dinners all week even though they were essentially the same.

For breakfast the book called for 1/2 grapefruit (with no sugar) toast with jam, and coffee with sugar. After the changes I made to the overall menu, I was way too low on calories (it came in under 1k) so I adjusted a bit. I've taken the tomato from dinner, added vegemite spread, a slice of swiss cheese, and milk for my coffee. You can see my little milk pitcher in the background, I measure my milk allowance for the day into that and keep it in the fridge, so that one portion of milk gets split between breakfast and lunch about equally.

I personally love vegemite, and one serving comes in at 5 calories but adds a ton of flavor and a little bit of protein. I weigh my toast before adding the spread and then again after, and it turns out I don't even end up using a full serving (5g) on one slice of bread.

In this picture I decided to have my jello with my grapefruit at breakfast instead of at lunch, but I only ended up doing that one time.

Vegemite, tomato, and swiss toasty, grapefruit, coffee with sugar & milk - 285 calories.

For lunch I'm having ham & swiss on rye with mustard/mayo mix, strawberry-grapefruit jello, iced coffee with milk & sugar (and coffee ice cube) and chicken broth - 447 calories.

Seriously if you like iced coffee make yourself some coffee ice cubes, no more watery coffee in exchange for cold coffee.

The jello was made with their new "simply good" strawberry flavor which has no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, and I subbed one cup of the water it called for with grapefruit juice. This brought the calories up a little but I think the flavor was much better so it was worth it. Next time jello is on the list I'll be more prepared and make it from scratch instead.

For dinner, the book called for 1/2 a broiled chicken or 8 oz coming in at 332 calories (seriously I'm not sure how that works, I've never seen a chicken that small at the store), so I subbed 5.5 oz of chicken thigh which comes in around 330 calories. It also called for 1/2 cup of carrots, bread and butter, and fresh pineapple. Instead of bread and butter I'm having 1/2 cup of peas with salt, and baked carrots. I like my carrots with a little char on them so I hit them with my culinary torch before serving. This eliminates the need to cook them in oil, saving some calories while adding roasty flavor.

Chicken, carrots, peas, and what I'm calling "cactus cooler sorbet" - 459 calories.

Let's talk about cactus cooler sorbet. I had oranges left over from last week, and some pineapple in the freezer from the week before, and when you add those two things to a blender with some ice it makes this little cup of sunshine for roughly 48 calories a serving.

One orange peeled and seeded, a bit of orange zest, about 3.5oz of frozen pineapple, and 8 oz of ice, blend until smooth, split between two cups, enjoy with a friend. This was by far my favorite part of this week's menu, but I enjoyed this week much more than the two before it.

Total day's calories - 1191.

Next week is liverwurst, prepare yourselves!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week Two (day 2 menu)

So this week our breakfast and lunch menu is nearly the same as last week. My prep was much less exciting. I finished baking a par-bake loaf of Sourdough and sliced it into 1oz portions, along with a loaf of angel food cake. My chicken was already made from last week so I just had to thaw that out in the fridge overnight, and everything else was made at mealtimes.

For breakfast I'm sticking with the poached egg on toast. I don't like tomato juice, so instead of that I'm having equal calories of button mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. I decided to use the butter allowance in spray oil to toast my bread in a small skillet and then fry up the mushrooms and tomatoes in what's left in the pan afterward. Poached egg, sourdough toast, mushrooms and tomatoes, butter, and coffee with sugar - 248 calories.

For lunch and afternoon snack, we have the same chicken sandwich from last week because I couldn't find a packaged roast beef I was happy with and I already had the chicken. Since the sourdough bread is much smaller than the bread I was using last week, and at 62 calories per 1oz slice, I'm having two pieces with lunch. I've also moved the bouillon from dinner to lunch, because at this point I'm addicted to soup and sandwich.

I end up snacking on the apples and angel food cake over the course of the afternoon while I'm working. It's way too much food for me to eat in one sitting. Sprinkled on the apples is a very light dusting of Spice Islands Pumpkin Pie spice mix, it's something like cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace, and it's pretty good for making your apple and cake more exciting without adding any extra calories.

Soup, sandwich, apple, and cake - 515 calories. It comes in at 438 calories if I skip the cake.

Dinner said we should have frankfurters, but I couldn't convince myself that was a good idea, so instead we're having bratwurst. One link is actually 10 calories less than the suggested two hoddogs, so dinner is one sausage, half a cup of sauerkraut, mashed potato with milk added, and half an orange.

To make the sauerkraut more palatable, I drained the pan I cooked the sausages in of any left over oil, then tossed in some caraway seeds along with the sauerkraut. Get all the brown bits out of the bottom of your pan, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

The potato is one boiled potato mashed with two tablespoons of milk and some salt.

Dinner total calories - 490.

Total day calories - 1253

Next week we're having roast chicken, and a grapefruit breakfast adventure!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week One (day 1 menu)

Domino Sugar Reducing Diet - Pamphlet from 1954
Someone shared this diet booklet to Reddit not too long ago. I personally thought it looked both reasonable and tasty, so I'm using it (modified a bit here and there) as a meal plan. I typically aim for 1200-1300 calories a day anyway. I'm 5'6" with a desk job so I don't need much more than that to sustain me on average. I'll be using one day for each week for the next 14 weeks. This is week one.

I like to prep on Sunday, so this week's prep included baking a pie, weighing out and shaping burger patties, making a carrot slaw salad, and roasting some chicken breasts. I made a second batch of the salad on Wednesday, and froze half of the pie and two chicken breasts for future weeks. Randy is eating this plan along with me, but he needs more calories than I do so his plates look a bit different.

First day - or week in my case. How neurotic does this lady at the bottom of the page look? She is way too wide-eyed.

Breakfast - OJ mixed with sparkling water (mostly sparkling water, I call it a virgin mimosa), poached egg with salt & pepper on toast, coffee with sugar and milk - 283 calories

I chose to have a whole piece of bread with breakfast, and skip one piece of bread from the lunch menu. Also I have opted for milk in my coffee instead of jam on my toast. I smush up the egg and spread it over the toast so no jam or butter is needed.

Lunch - Roast chicken sandwich with mustard/mayo mix, apple pie, and chicken broth - 513 calories

I didn't have time to make consomme and I'm not fond of the consomme concentrates from the store, so instead I'm having "better than bouillon - roast chicken" broth. I made the roast chicken and apple pie myself, so I could control what went into them.

The chicken is a whole boneless breast, butterflied and topped with minced garlic, fresh basil, and fresh thyme. Roasted in the oven for 35-45 minutes until internal temp hits 165 F.  One cooked breast was enough for five days of sandwiches. I'll be having this next week too instead of roast beef sandwiches.

The pie recipe is much longer, ask and I'll type it out if you want. It involves making a roux on the stove and par-cooking the apples before putting them in the pie crust in the oven. I was surprised when my calculations ended up making the ideal slice about the same size as the book called for to hit about the same calorie value.

Most days, I've been skipping pie. Lunch with kombucha, this time with toasted bread because that's better - 298 calories

Dinner - Lettuce wrapped hamburger with cheese, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and caramelized onion; green beans with salt; carrot pineapple slaw salad - 500 calories

I weighed out the hamburger meat before cooking, and the caramelized onion is just a minced onion cooked down with a spritz of oil, salt and water.

The carrot salad is mostly shaved carrot, but also has fresh pineapple, parsley, raisins, and a dressing made of equal parts lemon juice, olive oil, and maple syrup. I think it was 1tb of each for about 5 cups of carrot, 1/2 cup of pineapple, 2 oz of raisins, and about 2tb of minced parsley. I used rainbow carrots so some are yellow and purple in addition to the regular orange carrots.

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