Friday, June 23, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet Recap

 Now that my adventure with the Domino Sugar Reducing Diet Menus pamphlet has come to an end, I wanted to try to share some of the things I learned along the way. I've made some comments in the menu lists below as well.

And now on to the menus:

Week 1

  • Poached egg on buttermilk toast, OJ, coffee with milk & sugar
  • Roast chicken breast sandwich, chicken broth
  • Hamburger with lettuce bun, carrot & pineapple slaw, green beans
  • Apple pie

Week 2

  • Poached egg on sourdough toast, tomatoes & mushrooms, coffee & sugar
  • Roast chicken sandwich, chicken broth
  • Angel food cake & apple with pie spices
  • Bratwurst, sauerkraut, mashed potato, orange slices

This dinner was received much better than I expected, and we're actually having it again this week. It was something totally new to our table, but we both really enjoyed it, and I think it'll be making regular appearances from now on.

Week 3

  • Vegemite toasty (tomato & swiss on dark rye), grapefruit, coffee & sugar
  • Ham & Swiss on dark rye, chicken broth, iced coffee, jello
  • Roast chicken thighs, carrots & peas
  • "Cactus Cooler" sorbet

I think this type of dessert is the only daily dessert we'll be having going forward. It was tasty, low cal, and low effort, and with the insane heat we've been having already this summer I think freezy treats will be a nice way to end some of our hot days in the next few months.

Week 4

  • Poached egg on light rye, grapefruit & sugar, coffee & sugar
  • Liverwurst sandwich, radish, celery & tomato veggie snack bag
  • Roast turkey, spinach salad & tomato vinaigrette, soft pretzel roll
  • Peppermint icemilk

Week 5

  • Fried egg & hot sauce on light rye, bacon, sparkling grapefruit drink, coffee & sugar
  • Egg salad sandwich, tomato slices, lemon rosewater whipped jello
  • Baked trout, squid ink pasta with tomato & garlic, green beans
  • Strawberry rhubarb pie

This was the week when I realized that having dessert every day gives me dessert burn-out. I didn't think it was possible, but I truly can have too much of a good thing. Having pie every day is awesome, but after a couple days I start to feel like the calories could be better spent on a larger volume of food. Over the course of this project I tried a few weeks where I got to have an indulgent dessert every day, and a few where there was no dessert because I budgeted those calories into a bigger meal instead.

I think both of those approaches are wrong for me, and going forward I intend to aim to fit dessert into my weekly menu by budgeting a weekly dessert amount of calories instead of daily. My plan is to have desserts 2-3 days a week, so that my total weekly calorie budget still works out to 1200/day even if my daily calories aren't exactly that every single day. I feel like I'm finally armed with the ability to evaluate my meal choices on the fly and make edits to a few days each week to fit the dessert in as a regular, but not daily, treat. I think taking the time to make a few desserts, and get a handle on exactly how many calories are in a serving, and what a reasonable serving looks like, was a very important part of developing that ability.

Week 6

  • Cloud egg, buttermilk toast & butter, coffee & sugar
  • Chicken, goat cheese & pasta salad, dill pickle
  • Chicken liver, mashed potato, broccoli, onions & red peppers
  • Baked cider-spiced apple

These apples were a huge hit, and the flavor is really easy to customize. We tried them with chai tea instead of mulling spices one night and they were just as good (if not better.) I also intend to make some with earl grey tea, and I've been trying to work out a recipe on paper to make them with maple syrup and bacon because I think that'd be amazing too.

Week 7

  • Cream of wheat & butter-maple-raisin topping, coffee & sugar
  • Pork roll, egg & cheese sliders, dill pickle
  • Steak & mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli
  • Baked pineapple-right-side-up apple

This was the week I truly felt like I could eat like a king on 1200 calories a day.

Week 8

  • Pork roll, mushroom & goat cheese omelette, coffee & sugar
  • Pear, pineapple, pecan & gorgonzola salad
  • Chicken & carrot "Thai" pumpkin curry & rice

Week 9

  • Rice Chex & milk, coffee & sugar
  • Olive, salami, gorgonzola & apple topped crackers
  • Casera chuck roast, carrots & green beans with butter

It was this menu that made me realize that as much as I love breakfast cereals, I don't think they're a good breakfast meal for me. Instead, I've decided to have the ones I enjoy most as an occasional snack, because one 100 calorie portion of Rice Chex is just as good as a serving of potato chips, and really hits the spot when I want something crunchy. I imagine that won't work as well with other cereals, but I think there are quite a few I wouldn't mind just snacking on without milk.

Week 10

  • Poached egg on Russian rye toast, grapefruit & sugar, coffee with sugar & milk
  • Swiss cheese toasty, salad with tomato & gorgonzola, dill pickle, beef broth
  • Macarons & dirty chai
  • Spicy baked mahi-mahi, celeriac mash, peas

Week 11

  • Buttermilk toast with butter & strawberry jam, coffee & sugar
  • Ham & swiss sandwich, cherries, dill pickle
  • Spaghetti & beef meatballs

This week I made a lot of sacrifices to fit the spaghetti and meatball dinner into the menu. I made the meatballs with beef because that's what we had in the freezer, and I don't think I'll do that again. They were super delicious but it's just too many calories compared to the same recipe made with ground turkey. This was the week that I woke up starving just about every day, and it was difficult to convince myself to only eat a slice of toast with butter and jam for breakfast. Once I had eaten breakfast I was fine, but psychologically it was a week full of difficult mornings for me.

Week 12

  • Poached egg on Dark Sweet toast, tangerine, coffee with sugar & milk
  • Chicken & swiss sandwich, BBQ potato chips
  • Garlic pork chop, caesar salad, green beans

Week 13

  • Scrambled egg & hot sauce on Dark Sweet toast, tangerine, coffee with sugar & milk
  • Ham & swiss sandwich, greek yogurt
  • Turmeric mix pork chop, carrots, baked potato with butter & scallion

Week 14

  • French toast, coffee & sugar
  • Beef heart sandwich, strawberries
  • Pasta & sausage, green beans

My relationship with food has changed in exactly the way I was hoping it would. I understand now that the routine of having meals at different points in my day helps keep me on track. So does eating the food I like at the right portion for my height, and while I love veggies, "food I like" also includes carbs and treats.

I found that my major issue with trying to eat similarly to a lot of folks on weight loss/meal prep/dieting subs was that many of the "meals" seem like a compilation of snacks instead of a meal. Not that I think there's anything wrong with eating that way, or that some of my meals over the course of this project weren't like that, it's just not something that works well for me as a long-term habit. I understand the ease of calorie counting with that approach, but it always leaves me feeling like I forgot to eat a meal when my meal eats like a lot of disconnected little snacks together. My meals need a star and some backup dancers, and they need to work together.

Now that I've had weeks of experience making a set meal plan, my favorite part is that gone is any hesitation about what to eat. When I'm hungry for breakfast, I know exactly what I should have. When lunch rolls around, I don't spend half my lunch hour trying to decide what to prepare. I'm ready to cook dinner without having a conversation with my fiance first about what we should eat. I don't feel like I'm missing out on quality food, but I have more free time, because no time is wasted trying to figure out what to eat. We have that conversation once a week instead of every single night.

Please feel free to ask any questions. It was always my intention to try to be an open book through this process and if I can help even one person on their path to health and happiness I'd be more than glad to do so.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week 14 (day 14 menu)


This week the only prep I did was to portion the protein for my special lunch, we'll get to that later though because I want to start with something tasty before something weird.

For breakfast, I couldn't find an oatmeal I liked so I figured I'd to try to come up with a new way to have an egg and toast... so I made french toast!

In a small bowl, I beat one egg with two tb of half & half, and a pinch of salt, then soaked a piece of bread in the mixture. I cooked it in a non-stick skillet (no extra oil) until one side was brown and then flipped it and cooked until the other side was done. It's served with half a tb of butter and one tb real maple syrup.

French toast, coffee & sugar - 340 calories.

For lunch, I was supposed to have delicious tongue sandwiches, but I couldn't find tongue, so instead this is beef heart.

These are strips of beef heart seasoned with salt and pepper. Seared quickly in a non-stick skillet (about 2 minutes per side) and then sliced, it has a flavor somewhere between steak and liver, and a texture somewhere between steak and chicken gizzard. Closer to steak than to chicken gizzard, but that's the only thing I can think of that is similar.

On a sandwich, it's wonderful. It's not chewy so as long as you slice across the grain it's easy to bite through the strips of beef heart, and it's very lean, high in protein, and fewer calories per serving than most of the store-bought lunch meats I've had over this whole project. One oz of beef heart is about 32 calories. My sandwiches use just under 2 oz each.

Beef heart sandwich & berries - 271 calories.

For dinner I really wanted to do lamb chops, since it's something we both enjoy eating, but I couldn't find enough rib racks of lamb at the store to make them all week. Instead, we had sausage pasta with green beans.

Turkey sausage pasta & green beans - 581 calories.

Total day's calories - 1192

Well, that's it for the Domino menus. It's been so much fun sharing this project with you all! Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week 13 (day 13 menu)


I can't tell if this bicycle babe is having fun or freaking out with her lamb-puppy. 

This week was pretty simple with no extra prep needed because we continued pork chop dinners, so the chops were already portioned in baggies in the freezer from the loin I butchered last week.

For breakfast the book suggested that I have three drinks with my egg and toast, but we don't really have enough cups to support that kind of drink habit, so instead I put the milk in my coffee, and had a tangerine instead of orange juice. I decided to switch things up and have scrambled eggs and Tapatio on my toast instead of poached egg this week. The egg is just scrambled in a hot pan, nothing added while cooking except salt, then finished on the toast with black pepper and the hot sauce.

Scramble & toast, tangerine, coffee with milk & sugar - 300 calories.

For lunch I'm having almost the same sandwich as last week except it's on dark bread and with baby spinach instead of arugula. 

I typically considered the yogurt a snack I could have any time. This one had the most calories out of the ones I picked for this week, at 140 calories.

Sandwich & Yogurt - 390 calories.

To make the potatoes, I scrubbed them under cold water, then rolled them in kosher salt and baked them on the top rack of the oven above the pork chops. On the potato is half a tb of butter and half of a chopped scallion.

The potatoes need to bake for an hour at 350 F, so I put them in the oven first, with the sheet pan I use for the pork on a lower rack to catch any drips. After 20 minutes I put the pork chops on a piece of foil onto the hot sheet pan. 

The pan being hot from the oven helps the pork chops caramelize naturally without adding any oil. Flip the chops after 20 minutes, then remove them from the oven after 40 minutes, or when the internal temp hits at least 145 F. (I cook ours to 155 F.) Let them rest at least 5 minutes under a loose foil tent before serving. The carrots are simply steamed with salt.

Pork chop, baked potato, carrots - 495 calories.

Total day's calories - 1185.

Next week is my last week of the Domino menus. I couldn't find tongue for my lunch sandwiches, but I think I found something equally weird to share with you. Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week 12 (day 12 menu)


This week there wasn't much to do for prep. I bought a whole pork loin and cut it into chops, and that was it. Suddenly it's been super hot here instead of being cold and rainy, so this week it was nice to keep the cooking to a minimum, and have some easy stuff that didn't require a lot of attention, so I could be lazy in the heat.

For breakfast instead of having toast and jam, an egg, half an orange, milk, and coffee with sugar, I decided to put the milk in the coffee, skip the jam, and have my egg on toast with half a tangerine. Most days I ended up eating the whole tangerine, it only added about 25 calories to my day.

Poached egg, toast, half tangerine, coffee with sugar & milk - 275 calories (300 with the whole tangerine)

For lunch, instead of ice cream I decided I'd treat myself to potato chips. These are BBQ Kettle Chips, and one serving is 1 oz. My sandwich is chicken, swiss, and arugula with mayo & mustard mix.

Sandwich & Chips - 400 calories

For dinner I really wanted to figure out a way to get the diced beets onto the plate, but I don't cook beets often, and I still haven't found a way that we like them without adding a ton of oil or cheese, so we went with green beans.

For the salad I figured I'd just go ahead and make a caesar using the suggested bread in crouton form, and adding dressing and cheese instead of grapefruit. The dressing is bottled, it's Brianna's brand asiago caesar dressing. To make the salad, I combined 1 oz baby romaine leaves, 4 oz grape tomatoes, 30 g croutons, 1 tb dressing, and 1/2 oz grated parmesan.

The pork chop is 4.5 oz, cooked in a cast iron pan with no added oil. I coated it with salt & pepper, cooked it for 4 minutes on each side (including rendering the fatty edge) and then topped it with a tablespoon of minced garlic cooked in a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. The green beans are steamed and topped with salt.

Pork chop, salad, and green beans, with kombucha - 503 calories.

Total day's calories - 1178 (or 1203 with that whole tangerine for breakfast)

Only two more weeks to go! Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week 11 (day 11 menu)


This week I decided to make my own jam, and I made a bunch of beef meatballs for dinner. Cooking the meatballs in advance was a nice change from making them every day because it helped me get dinner ready much faster after they were all cooked.

Here's my strawberry jam bubbling away on the stove. It's 1 lb strawberries that I hulled, quartered, and froze back in April. I let them thaw and then cooked them down with 1/2 c sugar and 2 tb lemon juice. After the juices started to get really thick I pureed the mixture with a stick blender. It made 8 oz of jam.

Mmmmm tasty jam. Pureeing it after cooking makes for a thinner set. If you'd like thicker jam, puree the berries before cooking. This recipe comes out at 34 calories per tablespoon.

For breakfast, I couldn't convince myself to drink tomato juice. I always think it tastes like watery pasta sauce and it grosses me out a bit. Instead I've added butter to my toast and jam to make breakfast a bit more hearty. This looks and feels like an extremely tiny breakfast, but it was necessary to fit in my calorie dense dinner.

Toast with 1/2 tb butter and 1 tb strawberry jam, coffee & sugar - 197 calories.

Here's lunch. I don't think I've ever had a veal and butter sandwich, so instead I decided to go with ham and use up the rest of the swiss cheese from last week. I tucked some baby arugula in there instead of plain small lettuce leaves. Served with a pickle and some fresh cherries because they looked delicious at the market so I got them.

Sandwich, pickle, and 5 oz cherries - 390 calories

For dinner the menu suggested hamburgers, but I had a request to make meatballs. Home made meatballs are one of my favorite things to make, so I obliged. Unfortunately they don't photograph all that well, but I promise you there are meatballs in that sauce.

To make the meatballs, I mixed 3 lbs of ground beef with 1 cup panko bread crumbs, 1 tb worcestershire sauce, 2 eggs, and a few tb of a spice blend I made. The spice blend is equal parts cayenne, paprika, oregano, thyme, caraway seed, garlic powder, and onion powder, mixed with two parts red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Total it made 64 meatballs, and I have 5 with my meal. Each meatball is about 60 calories.

I baked them at 350 F for about 15 minutes, bagged up individual portions, and then boiled what I needed each night in the pasta sauce, in a very small pot with a lid, before serving.

The pasta is a Barilla spaghetti, the sauce is Classico Four Cheese, and the cheese on top is Tilamook's Farmstyle Italian blend. I went ahead and had a whole serving of pasta most nights (2 oz) but to make this lower calorie I think next time I'd have less pasta, fewer meatballs (or turkey instead of beef because that's what I usually make), and a veggie side dish like the menu suggested.

Pasta with sauce, meatballs, & cheese - 640 calories.

Total day's calories - 1227.

Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week Ten (day 10 menu)


This week there wasn't much to prep, and most of dinner was frozen so my fridge looked pretty barren all week. I portioned some grapefruits, and ended up waiting until Monday night to cook the celeriac

For breakfast I was glad to return to my well-loved poached egg and toast. Served with half a grapefruit and coffee with milk and sugar. I ended up adding sugar to my grapefruit because these were particularly tart and I could afford the calories.

Egg & toast, grapefruit & sugar, coffee with sugar & milk - 300 calories.

This week is the first time I've noticed a difference between the PDF version of this booklet and the paper one I have. The PDF suggested a sandwich with two slices of cheese, but the paper booklet I have says sandwich with one slice of cheese and some soup. I've been missing my soup and sandwich lunch, so I went with what my book said, and added a nice little side salad so the lettuce leaves weren't left out.

The sandwich is one slice of bread, one slice of swiss cheese, and half a tablespoon of butter. The salad is the same balsamic vinaigrette dressing I've been making for previous weeks, with half an oz of gorgonzola, 1 oz of baby arugula, and 4 oz of cherry tomatoes.

Grilled cheese, salad, pickle, and beef broth - 353 calories.

In the afternoon I decided to try these little frozen macarons they have at our local grocer, with my home made take on a dirty chai. Each macaron is 50 calories, and these are lavender, chocolate, matcha, and lemon flavored. To make the drink I steeped a chai tea bag in about half a cup of water a couple minutes longer than the bag suggested, then added coffee, 2 tb half & half, and 1 tsp sugar.

Macarons and dirty chai - 270 calories.

For dinner, instead of haddock with peas and celery, we're having mahi-mahi with peas and mashed cleriac root. I wish I had taken a picture of the cleriac root, as it's kind of a crazy looking knobbly root, and the one I picked out for this week was almost as big as my head.

To prepare it, I peeled it with a vegetable peeler, cut it into chunks, boiled them until they pierced easily with a fork, drained the water, and mashed them. To serve, I separated our portion for the evening (just under 2 cups), added 1 tb butter and 4 tb half & half, then split between our two bowls. It is mildly sweet with a subtle fresh celery flavor and I really enjoyed it with the peas and spicy fish.

The mahi-mahi fillets were individually quick frozen in 4 oz portions, so to prepare them I thawed two each day, placed them on a foil lined pan, coated them with cayenne, paprika, and salt, and then baked at 350 F until they reach an internal temp of at least 135 F.

Fish, cleriac, and peas - 322 calories.

Total day's calories 1245.

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week Nine (day 9 menu)


This week I didn't prep anything in advance, because the only thing that would have been prepared early was the roast for dinner and I wanted to serve that freshly roasted Monday night.

Cold cereal for breakfast was definitely a shake up to my normal egg breakfast routine. I didn't have toast with breakfast because I would not have finished a whole loaf of bread before it went bad if I was only eating it with breakfast, and I didn't really want my lunch "salad" as a sandwich this week. It made this breakfast really boring even though I love rice chex, and I think were I to do a cold cereal breakfast again I'd make sure to add some dried fruit or nuts to make it a little more hearty.

Not shown here is the kombucha and OJ drink I had for a snack between breakfast and lunch this week. I somehow never got a picture of it.

1 c Rice Chex Cereal, 1/2 c whole milk, coffee with sugar - 193 calories

7 oz kombucha and 4 oz OJ - 90 calories

For lunch I wanted to try to use up the cheese I had left over from last week's salad, so I picked out a couple of things in the deli that I thought would complement it well. These are super thin plain crisps topped with sliced honeycrisp apple, gorgonzola cheese, "Toscano" fennel pollen salami, and chopped provencale olives.

9 crisps, 4 oz apple, 1 oz gorgonzola, 10 olives, 1.5 oz salami - 414 calories

For dinner instead of veal I made a chuck roast in the oven. It's sitting on a bed of chopped onion and seasoned with salt, black pepper, red chili flakes, oregano, and caraway seeds. After roasting it I removed the meat and shredded it with a can of casera salsa. We had a little with our veggies every night and it reheated really well on the stove in a sauce pan.

Dinner - 3 oz casera roast, 3.5 oz carrots, 4 oz green beans, 1 tb butter, lots of black pepper - 480 calories

Total day's calories - 1177

I'm really looking forward to next week's lunch even though it's well in the territory of something I would have considered boring before starting this diet plan. Thanks for reading and see you then!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Domino Sugar Diet - Week Eight (day 8 menu)

 I'm going to try to start listing my ingredients and quantities. I weigh almost everything, and I've been keeping extensive notes over the course of this series, so feel free to ask if you'd like quantities or ingredients for anything I've posted in the past too.

This week I had an interesting task for prep, I made a huge vat of "Thai" pumpkin curry sauce for our dinner. This is a different recipe than I've used before, but we wanted to try something new, and it didn't disappoint. I say "Thai" in quotes because I cook a lot of Thai food, and this recipe does not really work up the same way I'm used to when making Thai style curry. Plus I'm pretty sure normally Thai food doesn't have bitters in it.

I regularly make my own broths out of leftover bones or veggies, and freeze them in 1 oz cubes. When I make broth, I do so without adding any salt or oil. This way when I add the broth to other recipes later, I have the option of adding salt or something flavorful and salty without having to worry about how much salt is already in my broth. If you are using a store-bought broth that contains salt or sodium, you will need to adjust the recipe.

Check out these broth ice cubes tho...

1 tb olive oil
1 large shallot (about 5 oz)
2 serrano chilies
1 tb minced garlic
1 tb minced ginger
1 tb minced basil
1 can pumpkin puree
1 can coconut milk (I like Chaokoh brand)
2 cups vegetable broth
3 tb fish sauce
2 tb brown sugar
1 tb Angostura bitters

Chop and sautee your shallot in the olive oil, stirring occasionally, until it's starting to caramelize and get translucent. Add your chopped serranos, ginger, and garlic, and sautee until fragrant. Then dump in the whole can of pumpkin, the whole can of coconut milk, the basil, and your broth. 

Once everything is incorporated, I like to blitz it a little with an immersion blender, but you could also transfer it to a regular blender. If you're going to use a regular blender don't put hot liquid in there, put your cans of liquid and your broth in, and then add the other ingredients from the pan.

After you've done your blending, season to taste with the remaining ingredients.

My recipe yielded 6 cups of sauce, at 1396 calories total, making each cup about 233 calories. These kind of sauces typically also freeze well, so you could make this ahead, freeze it in portions, and then thaw it to use as needed.

For breakfast I made a 1.5 egg omelet with what was left of my pork roll, some scallop mushrooms, and a bit of goat cheese.

Every other day, I cracked three eggs into a container, beat them a bit, and then used half to make that day's omelette and saved the rest in a sealed container in the fridge for the following day.

1.5 eggs
1.5 oz mushrooms
1 oz diced pork roll
.5 oz goat cheese
salt & pepper to taste

All the tasty stuff is hiding inside.

Omelette, coffee with sugar - 278 calories

For lunch, I decided to use some of the leftover pineapple rings from last week in place of the pineapple juice suggested with breakfast, and make a pear and pineapple salad. I figure if I'm going to eat a pear and some lettuce with cheese I might as well make it the most fabulous salad I can come up with.

1 oz spring mix lettuce
1 pineapple ring, chopped
1 oz pear, diced
1 oz gorgonzola cheese
1 oz pecans
1-2 tb dressing

3 tb olive oil
4 tb balsamic vinegar
4 tb maple syrup
1 tb yellow mustard
1 tb minced garlic
salt & pepper to taste

Dressing yields about 13 tb, each tb is about 48 calories

I ended up with about a tablespoon of dressing left in my bowl every day, so even though I'm counting two tb worth of calories it may actually be a bit less.

Salad & kombucha - 443 calories

For dinner we had chicken and carrots in pumpkin curry sauce with rice. 

To cook the chicken, put 1 cup of the sauce into a small sauce pan on low heat. Thinly slice the raw chicken breast and add it to the warm sauce, stirring until it's completely covered. Add a little water if needed to cover the chicken. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low heat until the chicken is done, about 10 minutes. Serve over rice and steamed carrots, garnish with minced basil.

This picture is from the same day that I made the sauce, so I also garnished our plates with a few drips of the coconut milk that was left in the can after making the whole batch of sauce.

3-5 oz chicken breast
1/2 c curry sauce
1 medium carrot
1/2 c rice
1 tsp minced basil

Chicken curry with rice - 511 calories -- this is with up to 5 oz chicken, it's much less if you use less chicken.

Total day's calories - 1232

Next week is another weird fruit salad lunch... should be fun! Thanks for reading and see you next week!

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!

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