Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thai Pork Satay with Peanut Sauce

I love to try new food. I truly believe that you can learn a lot about a culture by eating their traditional foods. That and it's just yummy.

I'm usually not into Thai food because I don't do spicy food, although Vince loves it. I usually stick with Pad Thai when we do go out.

As a part of our diet and living healthier, I have started making more food from scratch. I've also started making some new dishes, because well...the dinner rotation gets boring sometimes. Lucky for me, Vince will eat just about anything I make so he's good with me experimenting.

Usually I will look for a recipe for a particular dish that I loved in a restaurant, like the Thai Pineapple Rice that I'll be trying out next week. I will make the recipe as written once, then I will begin changing it to make it the way I and Vince like it and to make it healthier. This pork satay recipe however, will need very few changes. The only change I will make in the future will be to the peanut sauce, I like it to be a little thicker than what it came out as.

Ahhhh, the peanut sauce. It is a little sweet, peanuty, and creamy. You will want to pour it on everything. You will want to find new things to eat just so you can pour this peanut sauce on it. It is that good. I made a double batch of it so that I can keep a container in the fridge as a "dipping" sauce for celery. Mmmmm...I want some now. Then there is the marinade for the pork. A beautiful yellow color, very fragrant, and oh so yummy. I could eat the pork by itself without the sauce but, well...I love the sauce. If you've ever had Afghan kabobs you will know just how awesome this marinade is.

Ok, now that I've got my mouth watering and hopefully yours too, here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Pork Satay



Pork

Ingredients

1/2 Medium Yellow Onion, diced
2 Teaspoons Minced Garlic
1 Tablespoon Ground Ginger
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce (or the substitute that I posted about)
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (or peanut oil)
1 Pound Pork (loin or shoulder)
Skewers

Directions

If you are using bamboo skewers, make sure you soak them in water for at least 20 minutes prior to using. Trust me on this, I learned the hard way.
  1. Place all ingredients, except for the pork, into a blender and blend until you get a thick paste.
  2. Remove the fat from the pork and cut into strips about 1 inch wide.
  3. Place the pork and the marinade into a large zip top bag. Squish it around (yes, that's a technical term) to make sure all of the meat is thoroughly coated.
  4. Make sure the top is sealed tight and place into the fridge for about 4 hours.
  5. Take the meat out of the fridge and slide each strip onto a skewer. Discard the rest of the marinade when all of the meat is skewered.
  6. Fire up the grill! Grill or broil the skewered meat for about 10 minutes. You want it cooked through and to have a seared appearance to it.
While the meat is cooking, you can make the peanut sauce. This sauce can also be made ahead of time and just reheated.

Peanut Sauce

Ingredients

3/4 Cup Coconut Milk
4 Tablespoons Peanut Butter (I use natural)
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce (or substitute)
1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
Optional: 1 or 2 dried chilis, diced

Directions
  1. Place all ingredients into a small saucepan and heat.
  2. Stir continuously until all of the peanut butter is completely melted.
Yields: 5 servings

I served the pork on top of a bed of brown rice and broccoli. I topped the whole thing with peanut sauce. Yummy and very filling.

1 serving was 3 oz of pork, 2/3 cup steamed brown rice, 1/3 cup steamed broccoli, and 2-3 tablespoons of peanut sauce.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chicken Fried Rice

Oh, how I love fried rice. The saltiness, the greasiness, the carb overload. Ah, fried rice, you are terribly bad for me and incredibly expensive for something seemingly so simple.

Since starting to really watch my weight and sodium intake, I have had to give up my beloved fried rice. Not to mention that my favorite place charges $8 for an 8 oz container. That's right. They charge $1 an ounce for fried rice. That's just wrong.

One day, to my delight while perusing the Body for Life recipe website, I came across a recipe for fried rice. My dreams have come true! Well, not exactly. The recipe called for a TON of soy sauce, which in turn means a TON of sodium. That's not good. It also called for all sorts of exotic vegetables with weird cooking instructions. Not gonna happen. It called for white rice, but I much prefer brown. So I decided to experiment and come up with a quick, easy recipe that is fairly low calorie and lower in fat and sodium. I think I came up with something pretty good. It definitely satisfies my Chinese food cravings.


Chicken Fried Rice
Adapted from Body for Life


Ingredients

1 Pound of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast (or other lean meat)
2 Cups Minute Brown Rice
2 Cups Water
1 12oz Bag Steamfresh Frozen Mixed Vegetables
2 Large Egg Whites, beaten
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon McCormack Original Chicken Seasoning
3 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce (or a soy sauce substitute)

Directions
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, place the rice and water.
  2. Heat on high in the microwave for 9 minutes.
  3. Let stand for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
  4. Place the bag of vegetables in the microwave and heat on high for 5 minutes.
  5. Cube the chicken.
  6. In a large skillet or wok, heat the olive oil.
  7. Season the chicken and cook in the oil.
  8. Once cooked, scoot the chicken to one side of the pan and cook the egg whites on the other side. They should come out fluffy and scrambled.
  9. Mix the chicken and egg whites together.
  10. Add the rice and vegetables to the skillet.
  11. Add the soy sauce and mix thoroughly.
  12. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. You want the rice to actually fry in the pan and become a little crispy.
Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Letterboxing

I have been excited about Geocaching for quite some time. Geocaching, in short is a treasure hunt. People will hides "caches" in various places throughout the world. You simply go onto any of the Geocaching websites out there and look up the area you plan to go to. You get the GPS coordinates of the cache(s) you want to find, put the coordinates into your GPS and off you go. Most caches are simple waterproof boxes hidden in tree trunks or under rocks. The caches are typically filled with a variety of items from the person who started it and subsequent people who have found it. The rule is that you take and item and you leave an item. Usually you leave something that signifies "you", like a special sticker or button. Some are much simpler and just have a log book of sorts where you can sign in that you found it.

I love Geocaching. I love the treasure hunt feel of it. I love that it makes long and sometimes difficult hikes much more enjoyable. I do not love using a GPS. I'm really not a technological kinda gal. To make it even worse, I have a horrible sense of direction. I can get lost in a paper bag. Seriously, just ask any of the multiple people who have gotten a hysterical crying phone call from me at all times of day or night because I can't figure out how I ended up in Maryland, or DC, or Cabrini Green...yes that actually happened. Not only can I not figure out how I got there but I have no clue how to get myself out. I digress.

Geocaching has not really helped my sense of direction. Vince is convinced that it is because I rely on the technology to tell me where to go instead of trying to figure it out for myself with a map and a compass. I kind of agree. Enter Letterboxing.

Over the weekend a friend of mine (hello Kim!) told me about Letterboxing. It is the non-technical version of Geocaching. The major differences are that with Letterboxing, you do not get coordinates. You get clues and sometimes riddles to solve. By solving the clues/riddles you will find the box. The second major difference is that you don't take or leave anything per se. The boxes will contain a log book, a rubber stamp, and an ink pad. You will have brought the same items plus a pen/pencil with you. You will stamp the box log book with YOUR stamp and sign your name/team name and date. You will then use the BOX stamp to stamp your own log book with the date that you found it. Some people get really elaborate and create scrapbook pages for each location.

I have to say I am loving the whole idea of this. I love solving the clues to figure out where the boxes are (I've already done several for our favorite park to hike in). I LOVE the stamp book idea. I'm a list maker and collector by nature. I've kept every passport I've ever had, just because I wanted to keep the stamps I've collected. I have an "autograph" book from Disney World. So, yeah...I like the idea of a stamp book. Vince loves that we will still get all of the benefits of Geocaching (the hiking and fun of finding boxes) and I will hopefully learn some better navigational skills. We'll see if that last one works or not.

We have decided to become Team Hoagie (pronounced Hog-y as a tribute to Aubria). I have been looking for a rubber stamp of a sub sandwich to use. If anyone knows where to get one, please let me know! I also went looking through our stacks of books and journals for a book I could use as a log book. In all of my digging, I found my green velvety journal from our trip to Ireland. I'm not much of a journaler so I had only used a few pages of it. As I flipped through the book, trying to decide if I should fill it with all of those glorious Letterboxing stamps...I found these pressed between the pages.




These are five 4-leaf clovers that Vince picked in Ireland. There were five of us on that trip so it was pretty cool that he found five clovers. I'm taking this as a sign of good things to come.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Starting over

Tomorrow I will begin posting my food log and weigh-ins once more. I will not be following the Body for Life challenge but will be following a modified version of it. I plan to keep my calories between 1400 and 1500 a day. I will still eat lean proteins, whole grain carbs, and lots of fruits and veggies. I will continue to monitor my caffeine and sugar intake, especially since those two things have really bad side-effects with the Metformin that I take. I also plan to up my cardio and lessen my strength training. I will try to do an hour of cardio 3-4 days a week. Now that the weather is getting nicer, I'll be able to start doing more outside.

I had the HSG done a week ago. It was incredibly painful but everything looked good. No blockages and no abnormalities. I'm in the 2 week wait right now and I'm taking Prometrium. I hate the side-effects but it is a necessary evil. I hope we're successful this month, I'm getting tired of all the medications and being poked and prodded all of the time. Although that probably won't change much once I'm pregnant so I guess I should just get used to it.

My starting weigh-in will be tomorrow morning. I'll also start my progress pictures again. I'm trying to stay positive through this whole process but it is starting to wear on me.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hello there.

So it looks like I haven't posted in over 3 weeks. I got burnt out. What else can I say. I'm frustrated with my lack of weight loss. I'm frustrated with busting my ass working out 6 days a week and having almost zero results. I'm frustrated with restricting calories and types of food I consume and not seeing any results. I fell off the wagon. I could give you a whole bunch of excuses but I won't. I just didn't feel like putting in all of the effort for no benefit. I know that sounds horrible. I know that I was seeing some results, albeit very small. I know a little bit is better than nothing, but really? I watch my brother lose 5 pounds a week without even working out and here I am struggling to lose half a pound while I kill myself at the gym. I just got fed up.

Unfortunately, Vince falls off the wagon when I do. He does not stick to a diet/exercise program unless I force him to. Even then, he cheats and thinks I don't know about it. I don't like being a nag or acting like his mom. If he wants to lose weight, he needs to man-up and do it for himself and not because I nag him to.

I need to get back on track. I was seeing some results. I was feeling better. I need to get back there. So here's the new plan. I'm going back to reduced calories, around 1500 a day. I will be going back to healthy, low-carb, low fat meals. I will be working out again but on a much more manageable schedule. I will not be at the gym 6 days a week. I will do cardio 3-4 days a week and try to get in an upper body and lower body workout. I may sign up for some classes at the gym as well, just to mix things up. I've been thinking about trying a spin class...we'll see if I can work up the nerve to do it. I know I'll be going it alone since Vince "doesn't do" classes. Oh well, I need to do what will work for me and if I don't try it, I won't know if it will work.

I'm having an HSG done tomorrow. This is basically an x-ray to check my uterus and tubes for any blockages or abnormalities. This will determine if I am a good candidate for medicated fertility cycles. If everything looks good I'll be moving on to my first medicated month. Once the stress of that is over, I'll do a weigh-in and start posting my food diary again. I might even start doing my progress pictures again.

So keep checking. I promise things will get interesting again soon.