Saturday, December 31, 2011 The End of 2011

With all the Hanukkah posts on Facebook last week I had to make me some deep fried latkes. Twice. And as DDelicious as they were, it's time for me to put away the deep fryer and focus on finding my waist line.

You've heard this before. Last year. And I wrote an article for this month's Alternative Control on the issue. I'm fat, that's my issue.

But, I am determined to lose some weight and get back into some of my old clothes. How will I do this? Eat better, move more. That's it.

Over the last few days I've begun the process. GoLean high fiber cereal has 18 grams of fiber in a serving. Fiber is key, and back in my skinny days high fiber cereal was the cornerstone of my diet. I could eat anything I wanted, as long as I ended the day with a big bowl of high fiber everything would come out okay, if you catch my drift. But, these days that trick no longer works. I'm assuming my digestive tract is too old to perform the way it used to. And, in my defence, I move way less now than I used to. I used to have to learn choreography and execute it, now my musical theatre days are over and I spend all that time sitting on the couch instead of moving to the music.

I've been making soup for lunch with my homemade stock. Add a little high fiber pasta (Smart Taste in the purple box) a little broccoli, maybe some beets or purple cabbage. It's filling, low fat (if there's any fat at all, the veggie stock I make is fat-free) and packed with the veggies and fiber my body needs.

I played around with a stuffed manicotti recipe a few times in the past couple weeks. I had a ton of ricotta cheese that I needed to use before it went to waste. Since there's obviously fat in the cheese, I wanted to try to leave it out of the rest of the prep. The pasta was cooked for about 7 minutes in boiling water. I mixed about 1 1/2 cups of the cheese with one egg and one thawed cube of basil. The basil was actually pureed with olive oil and frozen in an ice cube tray, so there is some additional fat in the recipe, but it's a good fat.

While the pasta cooked I sauteed another cube of basil (more olive oil) with some broccoli, carrots, onion, garlic and stock cubes. This time it was ham stock, but you can use veggie stock. I let it cook for a while to let the carrots get soft. Then I thickened the whole pan with a little cornstarch in water.

I assembled the whole thing in a casserole dish. One layer of raw baby spinach on the bottom of the dish, then pipe the cheese mixture into the manicotti (you can use a cake decorating bag or a ziplock) and arrange them on top of the spinach. Top with more baby spinach and then pour the sauced veggies on top of it all. Put the lid on and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

It was really fantastic. Almost like pesto and primavera had a baby. A great way to get some veggies in me without the usual fat from sauteing. I'll continue to perfect the recipe and experiment with lots of different veggies and fillings. Someone suggested cottage cheese instead of ricotta, and I'd like to try using a vegan egg (1 tablespoon milled flax seed with 3 tablespoons water) to add more fiber to the recipe. We'll see what happens.

I've cut the extra calories from some of my favorite side veggies as well. I usually saute my purple cabbage in butter before I braise it in red wine vinegar and water until tender. I left the butter out the other night with no discernible difference. And my mashed sweet potatoes were just scrumptious, even without the added milk and butter. I used the cooking liquid instead to get them to the right consistency. Just as tasty. I'll save a lot of calories if I prep all my food this way. Plus, the leftovers will end up in the next days soup. More veggies in my tummy and less in the trash. Good all around.

As I head into the new year I'll be writing down everything I eat. The last two days I didn't do too badly. A soft boiled egg on plain toast is just about 150 calories and it fills you up. All I have to do is get my neighbor to stop bringing me candy and it should all work out.

By keeping track I hope to get back on track. I'll be a hot Headbanging Hostess by Spring! Boo yeah!

Have a wonderful New Year, everyone! Be safe! Rock on!


PS - My Headbanging empire is ever expanding (like my ass). Check out The Mercurial! You'll love it! \m/


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