Tuesday, March 30, 2010


We'd been going for two weeks. We were going strong. As I mentioned before, our snacking habits had changed. Dessert was no longer present (scooping rock hard sorbet is more of a deterrent than one would expect). And I gotta admit, I was getting cocky. This whole cooking every day except for the one day we let ourselves eat out? Not so bad. Fruits as snacks? My mother may have had a point! But at the beginning of the third week, well...I'm ashamed to say it, but Matt and I, we failed.

I had already planned what we were going to eat. I had already bought everything we needed. But my schedule shifted a bit and I wasn't able to get started on dinner when I wanted. Instead, it was a glass of wine, and much, much later by the time I made it home and into the kitchen. And by then, well, I didn't want to cook. And Matt, buried as he is with law school, couldn't either. We had already used our "eat out once" option. What to do?

We broke. We ordered pizza. And you know what, it was delicious (and fast! and convenient! and easy!).

As much as I truly do believe that everyone should know how to cook (and actually do it), there are those nights when, for whatever reason, it is so much easier to pick up the phone, or click-click-click on the Internet and have something delivered (or swing by the grocery store and pick up something already made).

Though I have to admit, the pizza we ordered was nowhere near as delicious as the one we made a week ago (using The Pioneer Woman's recipe).

And for those of you wondering, we're not giving up. We've picked ourselves back up, planned out new menus, and we're planning to finish the month strong!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chocolate Sorbet

Before, when we were hungry in between meals, we'd grab a 100 calorie pack or some other snack that came already made from the store. However, with those options gone, we have now been munching on fruits, nuts or vegetables (my mother is thrilled).

At the end of the first week, I thought about the food that was in the kitchen, and what I had observed us eat. I noticed that our food intake has improved dramatically. I also noticed that we went through oranges like nobody's business. We were definitely being healthier.

But, Matt and I both have a sweet tooth. I won't deny it. Usually after dinner (or lunch, or in the afternoon), one of us would grab some ice cream. More often than not, it was either some low fat fudgcicle or a Weight Watchers 6 oz ice cream cup. Because, you know, we were "watching what we ate." After about a week with no ice cream, no chocolate, no type of sweets at all, I couldn't take it any longer. I had to have SOMETHING sweet in the house.

This chocolate sorbet is intense. No joke. You truly cannot eat more than a half cup serving whether you want to or not. By the time you get to the bottom of the bowl (and sometimes even before then), you feel like you've indulged to the point of gluttony. But that's the point of the good stuff, right? So intense, so good, all you really need is a small amount to feel satisfied. Oh, and the other upside to this sorbet? Since it's pretty much just a combination of chocolate, water and sugar (barely no fat at all to keep it soft), it freezes completely solid and you get a great arm workout trying to scoop it out of the container!

Chocolate Sorbet
Barely adapted from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop

2 1/4 cups water
200 g sugar
75 g unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, whisk together 1 1/2 cups water with the sugar, cocoa and salt. Bring it to a boil, whisking frequently, and keep it there for about 45 seconds (when he says a large saucepan, he's not kidding--this mixture starts to rise!).

Remove it from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it's melted, then the vanilla extract and the remaining 3/4 cup water. Transfer to a blender and blend for 15 seconds (and don't jump when the warm mixture hits the top and somehow sneaks out a bit to cover your hand--just lick it up and keep going). Chill the mixture thoroughly (I just went ahead and stuck the blender in the fridge), then run it through your ice cream machine.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Leggo that Eggo!!

We are halfway through the month of no-processed food. One area that has definitely been affected is breakfast. Usually Matt and I don't have a lot of time in the mornings. There's just enough to get the coffee pot going, pop a couple of bagels in the toaster oven, put on some cream cheese and get going. With those options gone, I've made muffins and we've been eating a lot of eggs. But this morning, I wanted something more.

Waffles have always majorly appealed to me. The ones in restaurants served during brunch are just so lovely: big, fluffy and golden brown, they are delicious. And the stuff that comes in the box that you pop in the toaster...well, it looks similar. Kinda. A more pale, smaller, not quite as crisp or fluffy version. Basically, a version that doesn't really satisfy, but when you really have a craving, you just eat it and convince yourself it's delicious. Well, no more!

I adapted this recipe from one found on smittenkitchen. I didn't have any buttermilk on hand, and, seeing as the weather has plummeted back down into the 30s, I wasn't about to send Matt to the store. However, I did have plain yogurt, which the recipe said I could use, provided I thin it out with some milk. I also halved the recipe since it was just the two of us this morning.

The resulting batter is very, very thick, almost like that of a muffin recipe, even after I folded in the whipped egg white. The resulting waffle was delicious, if a little bland. Also, because the batter was so thick, it turned out quite chewy. When I make this recipe again, I'll probably throw in a second egg white and see if that helps lighten the batter. I think it might also help to cook it on a lower setting a little bit longer. Another option would be to add more milk. As for the blandness, I think I might try Greek yogurt next time instead of plain. I wouldn't add more sugar as I particularly don't want my waffle to be super sweet. It would make maple syrup superfluous and that's just sad.

Yogurt Waffles
Adapted from smittenkitchen

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1/8 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 egg, separated
2 Tablespoons butter, melted & cooled
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all of the dry ingredients together.

Mix together the yogurt, milk and egg yolk. Stir in the yogurt & vanilla.

Beat the egg whites until you get soft peaks.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. Fold the egg whites into the batter.

Cook in a waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions (for mine, I'm supposed to use 1/3 cup batter; though you can see from the batter that to get a perfect circle I would have needed 1/3 cup batter and a little bit more).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup

One of my go-to lunches is soup. When I'm home by myself, I like to avoid a fuss, stick something on the stove, and five minutes later, presto! Food! Depending on the kind of soup, I pair it with some kind of bread (or cracker) and call it a day.

Though I wouldn't necessarily put canned soup into the same category as chips or cookies, it's hard to argue that it's not a pre-packaged food, especially when you get to the middle of the ingredients list and you no longer know what you're reading. So for the next month, my easy go-to lunch is gone. If I want soup now, I'm going to have to cook up big batches and store them in the fridge. Enter the homemade chicken noodle soup!

One of the things I like about chicken noodle soup is that, at its base, it's really quite easy. You basically throw everything into the pot, let it boil a bit and then it's good to go. If you wanted to, you could use store bought chicken broth/stock, buy a cooked chicken from the store and pull the meat off the bones, and chop up whatever veggies you want. Or, you can make it more "complicated": make your own stock, cook your own chicken, thicken it up with some flour, whatever.

As I already had stock made, I picked up a chicken breast with skin & bone from the store (since I can't stand the flavor of the rotisserie chickens available to me at my Whole Foods, just not my combination of herbs). I added the veggies I like (not a big fan of celery--especially since the organic ones seem to be so salty! Anyone else have this problem?), threw in my egg noodles and herbs and had soup.

I enjoyed a bowl...and then Matt got home...and ate all the rest (though not at one sitting!).

So since the weather is changing, and spring is on its way (yay!!), I encourage all of you to sneak in that one last bowl of soup before it gets too warm.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Matt just told me that he believes frappuccinos from Starbucks count as prepackaged food and I can't have them unless I want to use my once a week dining out for them. But, but, but...crap!!

I'm over this.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Wait! Does this mean I can't buy sushi from Whole Foods? Crap!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Dilemma we Immediately ran into

So we watched the show that inspired us on Friday. We decided to start our experiment on Monday (since we were going out of town this past weekend and would have little control over our food). It's Monday. According to our decision, we should eschew all packaged food from this moment forward. But...well...what about all the stuff we have?

Just now, my husband returned from the gym. Dinner will not be ready for another 45 minutes. He is hungry and wants something to tide him over. He grabbed one of the Weight Watchers ice cream cups we have in the freezer. I asked if he was allowed to eat that, pointing out it's a packaged food and in a previous conversation, we had decided that "ice cream" falls into the prepacked food category rather than the ingredient category (and so we could not eat ice cream unless we made it ourselves). Shouldn't he instead have an orange?

Last Friday we had declared that we'd just toss everything that does not fit into the ingredients category out. However, now that the moment has come, well, it just seems like a big waste of money. For example, are we really supposed to throw out perfectly good ice cream? Or whole wheat bread? We have a whole loaf. Not half. Not just the ends. The WHOLE thing. What a waste of money (& food)! My husband just said, "I thought we would finish what we have and then move from that point forward." I am undecided. His way is more practical. My idea that we would simply throw everything away would stick true to the experiment and bring home the pain/difficulty of living without some of these packaged products. But...but...and I keep coming back to this: WHAT A WASTE.

We've agreed to proceed slowly and cautiously. At the moment, we're not throwing anything away (except for this nasty jar of chili sauce that we're not even sure how it made it into the house and we've been looking for an excuse to chuck it), but we're not using any of the banished foods either.

I gotta say, though, having those ice creams there, and not being able to eat them...torture. Sheer torture.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Salp just pointed out that soda falls squarly on the packaged food list. This totally just got real. How do I live without Diet Coke?

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Crazy Idea/What this Blog is All About

The days when my husband and I are at home, we can usually be found on our couches, working on our laptops, with the tv on in the background. One particular rainy day, a show titled "Too Fat for 15" came on. Since we were both busy working, we didn't bother changing the channel, but let it play on. Soon, we became interested in the show. It was about a teenager from the UK who weighed over 400 pounds and her journey to lose the weight. During the show, she and one of the other girls made a comment that their overeating was similar to that of an addiction, and how hard it was to battle this particular demon since food was something humans needed to live, unlike alcohol or heroin. As my husband and I listened, I queried how difficult it would be to have such an addiction, or just to sustain a lifestyle where one overeats, if it was not for the plentitude of pre-made, ready-to-go snacks & meals that we have everywhere. Junk food is EVERYWHERE. If there weren't snacks or chips that we could just pick up and munch on, if we had to actually prepare every single meal, would we be so overweight? We agreed that it would probably be unlikely (if for no other reason than one does not want to be constantly cooking). Then, my husband looked at me, and said, "Why don't we try it? Just for a month?"

After some hesitation, I decided I was game. My husband also added, "we should blog about it." Well, why not? So, for a month, beginning on Monday, we will be eschewing prepackaged foods, and making every single meal (except for those times we dine out at restaurants--because social lives are good, too). As a couple who already cooks plenty, I hope that we can dominate this challenge we've set for ourselves. However, as I look around my kitchen, I'm surprised by all the prepackaged foods I find. This should be interesting.

The Rules:
1) Nothing prepackaged: a short but not exhaustive list includes: frozen pizza, frozen dinners, cereal, cookies aisle, patoato chips, canned foods, etc. The only things to be found in our kitchen will be "ingredients."
2) If it's available from the edge of the store, it has to be bought there. This includes cheese, meat, fish, and produce. (This rule mainly came about after our discussion of cheese)
3) Eating out, or ordering in, will be limited to once a week (otherwise, that's a convenient loophole to exploit--my husband & I are quite good at loopholes).
4) And, as it was a weight-loss program that inspired this whole idea, most, if not all, of our meals will be healthy ones. So, no fried chicken...or donuts...or ice cream...the blog will still be exciting, though, I promise!