Donkey on the edge

I can't believe I'm actually considering this...

After whining profusely about by weight and swearing up and down (well, OK, here) that I was not going to do any more diet gimmicks, I am, uh, considering a diet gimmick.

Why? One word: Desperation.

Since I wrote that post almost five months ago, I'm even heavier. I've had to buy larger pants, the first time I've ever worn this size. I'm afraid to look through my journals to verify it, but I think I'm at the weight I was when I walked into the hospital to deliver my daughter almost 27 years ago. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I am.

So what happened? As far as I can figure, the mostly-meatless diet worked fine when I was eating lots of veggies, but since I got burned on Big-Ass Salads, my food selections have morphed into the mostly-carb diet. Mainly good carbs, but still too many carbs. And have I mentioned I have a problem with carbs? I teeter on the edge of insulin resistance and somewhere along the way I kinda forgot about that part. Oopsie! My bad.

Something has to change, and I can't get a grip on it without sticking my pole in the sand and declaring This Is It.

I will probably start back on Weight Watchers since I'm a Lifetime Member from 20 years (and 40 pounds) ago. It seems like the least radical choice. But in the short term I have this very strong urge to do something drastic, to jump start the process. Mentally more than physically, really.

So... (gulp!) I'm actually considering doing the Shakeology thing; in particular, the three-day 'cleanse' I learned about from a former co-worker. I know, I know... it's drastic and extreme (and expensive!!) but I can't find any bad press about it on the interwebs and it seems like the safest drastic thing I can find.

Please note I'm not a believer in the whole 'cleanse' thing and the flushing of all these imaginary (and somehow unquantifiable) 'toxins', but the idea of drawing a line in the sand, drinking what seem to be fairly well-balanced shakes (blended with fruits and almond or soy milk) three times a day -- with salads + lean protein for dinner -- for three days, and maybe seeing the number on the scale go down for a change? It's pretty damned appealing.

And yes, I am that desperate.

I have two sample servings of the Shakeology shakes in hand, and if they are the least bit palatable, I may pay the big bucks and try it. Then I'll go back to Weight Watchers, I promise.

So here we are, two years after I started this blog to chronicle my last major weight loss initiative. I enjoyed a short run of success, a long slide into denial, and now I'm admitting defeat. The roller coaster has indeed gone all the way back around. Hate to say it, but I can't stay here, so it looks like I'm taking 'er around one more time.

Buckle up your seat belts, folks! Hey, it'll be fun. Besides, it will give me something to write about.



Killer 'quiles

I often go on these random blogwalks that land me in the most unexpected places. A most recent one landed me on this recipe for Chilaquiles, which I learned is a Mexican comfort food, a way to use up stale tortillas, and often eaten for breakfast. Kind of like French toast (aka pain perdu) without the syrup.

I am always looking for an excuse to eat corn tortillas so I had to give it a try. I knew frying the tortilla chunks and making homemade salsa would not be Project Weeknight-friendly, so I opted for a bag of tortilla chips and a jar of a nice-looking salsa verde (green salsa).

Assembly was ridiculously simple. I dumped the salsa (16 oz jar) into a skillet and heated it to simmering, then added chips until it seemed like it wouldn't take any more, about probably five ounces by weight. I started to worry it would be too dry so I added about a 1/3 cup or so of chicken stock. I turned the chips over to be sure they were coated, then let them soak and heat through for a few minutes.

I had sold it to my son as a way to eat nachos for dinner, so I carefully moved the mass into a small casserole dish, added a layer of dry chips, and grated a half cup or so of Monterey jack cheese on top. I slid that into the toaster oven until the cheese melted. I served it with our favorite black bean and corn dish, avocado, and chopped tomato.

I'm sure it was not the most health-conscious dinner I've served (carb, much??) but it was pretty darned good. I could probably bake some plain tortillas next time, but the lure of opening a bag of tortilla chips and a jar of salsa and calling it dinner is pretty irresistible.

Hey, I haven't posted our now-standard black bean and corn concoction. I'm sure I learned it as a component of other recipes (like maybe this or this?) but it has kind of morphed into its own thing. We now serve it any time we make Mexican food. It pretty much takes the place of ground beef for us.
Black Beans and Corn
1 cup frozen corn
1 Tablespoon oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 bell pepper (red, yellow, orange), chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

Heat a skillet really hot, then add the frozen corn and bell pepper and toast until, uh, it starts getting brown and toasty. Set aside.

Heat the oil in the skillet. Saute the onion and garlic, add the corn and bell pepper, then add the spices and cook until fragrant. Add the beans and heat through.

Anyway, Husband and son both loved the chilaquiles. I thought my son might balk at the green salsa but he didn't even seem to notice. I may try my trusty Pace Picante next time.

Next time you're tempted to toss a bag of chips and a jar of salsa on the table for dinner, try chilaquiles instead. It's much more civilized.


What's old is new again

Our holiday-ish dinner worked out pretty well, really. The iceberg wedge was an excellent Thousand Island delivery mechanism, the ham was good even though there wasn't much of it, and artichokes are always fun. The pan-fried sweet potatoes were a bit of a hassle, and were indistinguishable from oven-fried, which would have been a lot less hassle. Oh well.

This weekend, however, is my most favoritest faux-holiday of all time and the premier dinner event of the season: The Ides of Meatloaf! I've written about it in excruciating detail on my other blog and don't want to cross-post, so click on the link to read all about it.

It's pot luck so the complete menu will be a surprise, but the iceberg wedge w/Thousand Islands will make another appearance, along with the now-traditional Meatcake and -- if I can find it -- possibly even Spamburger appetizers, an heirloom recipe from my Midwestern MIL, may she rest.

Can't you taste it now? Be sure to check back for the results. It'll be a real hoot.


Kind of a menu

I was reading back over my posts from last April, particularly the Hot Cross Buns and the holiday dinner we made for friends, and I was shocked at how motivated I was. This year it looks like I got nothin'. I ordered Hot Cross Buns from a small local bakery (they were great!), I didn't color eggs, and we just now decided what we're cooking for Easter dinner tonight. I'm not sure I can even call it Easter dinner since we don't celebrate Easter, but old habits die hard.

Yesterday we took a drive down to a local butcher shop to see if by some fluke they had any hams left. They smoke their own and from what I remember they are fabulous. Unfortunately they only had HUGE hams that would feed the three of us for about a year so we just picked up a ham steak and called it good. We'll probably just broil it plain.

What about sides?

We have a couple of sweet potatoes laying around, and the Hubby suggested we try simply pan-frying slices. He'd had them that way once and gave it many thumbs up. That'll work.

I have recently become enamored with roasted cauliflower. I'd recently seen a recipe for a whole cooked (steamed, really) cauliflower, and it took just one quick search of the interwebs to find the method to roast a whole head on Epicurious. We'll skip the dressing, though, and just use the homemade mayo we'll already have on the table.

Ummm... homemade mayo? It's for the artichokes I'm hoping to find, mayo being the traditional accompaniment for artichokes in Hubby's native (northeastern California) cuisine. We haven't had artichokes in awhile, and this seems like a good excuse. BTW, artichokes are an excellent mayo delivery device, if you're too embarrassed to eat it off a spoon.

We needed one more side. Hubby suggested a salad, but I am embarrassed to admit I am still pretty burned from the Year of Salad. We finally decided on a simple iceberg wedge with homemade Thousand Island dressing, just because it's fun and includes more homemade mayo. And sometimes you just need a huge hunk of iceberg, you know? Or is that just me?

I'd like to say I'm making/baking a delicious dessert, but we're going to have to settle for a buffet of the three pints of Ben & Jerry's in the freezer. Don't judge, they were on sale. :)

It's pretty low-key, but I'm excited to try the roasted head of cauliflower. I'll let you know how that works out, 'k?