Monday, September 15, 2014

Walt Disney and John Wayne Give Great Advice

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney

I remember when I needed to wear size 3XL scrubs. I was miserable, but I had given up. I assumed I was just destined to be fat. And it was embarrassing to work in an ER and be nearly 300 pounds. I wanted to weigh less, but I was afraid to try, because I was afraid to fail. Again. I dreamt of being “near normal”, of wearing clothes that did not come from a “Big and Tall” section of the store.

When I finally made the decision, my wife and I started a “diet”. We lost weight, for a while, and then we predictably put it back on. Finally, in May 2011, I decided that enough was enough and started using LoseIt and she started using Weight Watchers. We both realized that if we didn’t take action—now—things would only get worse, until very bad things began to happen.

We were both committed to our goal, and yet we were both scared. We were worried about what our friends and relatives would say, but the compliments and the sharp little attacks, such as, “Oh, so you’re trying to lose weight again, hm? What makes you think it will work this time?”

We were afraid of failing.

We didn’t stop. We lost weight. We donated clothes as soon as the no longer fit. We have supported our local Goodwills with all our donated clothes (and we shop there, too.) We got more active. I started walking and discovered that I enjoy it. I bought a Fitbit. My wife got active with DVD exercise routines and yoga.

And the losses continued. We continued to be afraid of failing, of reverting back to our old habits. We developed a habit of planning a week’s worth of meals, and buying only what we need for the meals. We got into the habit of walking our dog once or twice a day. We started parking as far from the entrance to stores as possible and getting extra walking. I stopped using elevators.

We continued have successes and we continued to be fearful of this being only temporary. We solidified our habits, sort of making them institutionalized. We developed a grocery shopping list that I have on my computer to make shopping more efficient. We have our weekend routine of hitting various thrift stores together. We eat meals together when my teaching/clinical schedule allows it, sitting at the dinner table, not in front of the TV. We get up early in the morning to walk and workout. We eat a hearty breakfast and I prepare every day. I pack our lunches and snacks for the day.

We stopped feeling “fear” about slipping back. We were too focused on our plan to have time to worry. We just kept on doing what was working. Life became routine. Weighing and measuring food was normal. The losses continued.

And then I hit my goal. To reinforce my commitment, I tattooed a phrase on my right wrist, forever reminding me to never quit. (An explanation of the phrase can be found in a blog post from January 19, 2012.)My wife continued to lose weight. Fear of failure subsided, but was replaced by eternal vigilance. And the fear of regaining. I continued to weigh/measure my food, and log everything. I still do, and plan to continue until the day arrives where I am unable to care for myself.

My wife’s losses have eclipsed my own. Her success has been remarkable and serves as my inspiration. She is my hero. My maintenance for 16+ months serves as her inspiration, as validation that successes can be realized. She calls me her hero.

We started this journey out of fear. We feared what could—no, what would—happen if we left our habits and practices continue unchecked. In the ER, I cared for people who had heart attacks and strokes. Diabetes and high blood pressure were common conditions. I was afraid of that. Moreover, I was afraid that when I had my heart attack—not if, but when—I would be that patient who required a “team boost” because I was too heavy for two people to move in the bed. I was ashamed of myself in advance.

Fear propelled us into action, and helped to keep us on track. Our fear of failure was great. It was not great enough to prevent us from quitting, but it was great enough to serve as a light whip at our backs.  We used it to motivate us, not to cripple our efforts.

Our dreams are coming true, because we were not too afraid to act. We had the courage to succeed. As David Joseph Schwartz said, “Do what you fear and fear disappears.”

John Wayne said it even better: “Courage is being scared to death...and saddling up anyway.”

Note: the links to LoseIt and Fitbit are my affiliate links. That means if you click on those and buy one (or both) I will receive a small commission. It does not change your cost at all, but it will help me continue to provide recipes and advice here and in my podcast Make Your Someday Today

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Beer Battered Tilapia, with White Tartar

This was one of my entries into the 2014 Mezzetta Make That Sandwich contest.

Beer Battered Tilapia, with White Tartar
Serves 4

4 Kaiser rolls (or other large roll)
Beer Batter (or any other fish batter, your preference)
Enough cooking oil to fill a pot to 3-4 inches
4 tilapia fillets, 3 ounces each (or any mild-flavored fish)

Beer Batter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten.
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cayenne powder

12-24 ounces of beer (Do not use a very hoppy beer, like an IPA. Use a British Mild, like Boddington.)
  1. Combined the first four ingredients.
  2. Mix in egg.
  3. Slowly add the beer while stirring to prevent lumps. This should be a thin batter. You may only need 12 ounce, but 16 is more likely. When you dip the fish into it, you should still be able to see the fish through the thin layer of batter. (If you have extra, drink it!)
  4. Heat oil to 375F (using a thermometer is recommended.
  5. Dry the fish fillets.
  6. Mix all ingredients for the red tartar while waiting for the oil to get to temperature. (The sauce can be made a day in advance for better flavor.)
  7. When the oil is hot, dip the fillets into the batter, and carefully lower into the oil. Depending on the size of your fryer, you may only be able to fry one fillet at a time.
  8. When the fish is beginning to brown, carefully turn it over.  Total cook time will be 6-10 minutes, depending on the temperature of the oil and fish.
  9. While the fish is frying, prepare the bun. Toast the cut surface.
  10. Lay lettuce on the bottom. When the fish is done, and drained, lay on the lettuce and top with 1 tablespoon red tartar.

When I make this, I use the remaining batter by dipping Mezzetta Roasted Red Bell Pepper and then frying them until golden brown.

I'm not giving nutritional data for the sandwich. It will change if you use a different fish, make your batter thin or thick, fry it darker, use a different roll....the variability will change everything. 

White Tartar
2 Tablespoon Miracle Whip salad dressing
1 tablespoon Mezzetta Capers
2 Mezzetta Sweet Banana Wax Peppers, sliced

½ ounce (4 pieces) Mezzetta Cocktail Onions, chopped
  1. Mix all ongredients together and chill. Making this a day in advance is recommended for best flavor.
Nutritional Data (per tablespoon)
Calories:         32
Fat:                2.4g
Sat fat:           0.1g
Chol:              0mg
Sodium:  388.8mg
Carbs:            2.2g
Fiber:             0.1g
Protein:          0.1g

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pulled Pork Chili

Pulled Pork Chili
Serves 10 (1 cup portions)

This morning I woke to 45F temperatures. To me, that means chili season. But some chili can be high fat, and some high sodium. This is neither, just high flavor. This is one of those little life hacks that I talk about on one my Make Your Someday Today Trevitorials. Make good food and eat it. When you make it yourself, you know what is in it!

In a large (3-4 quart kettle) add:
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
Add your preferred chili spices

Sautee that together until the onions begin to get translucent (5 minutes)
1 tablespoon tomato paste. Stir to mix together, then add:
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained, and low sodium if available
2 cans beans, drained and rinsed
1 pound pulled pork

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. After 30-40 minutes, taste and add more seasoning as needed. This is better if you can then chill it for a few hours or overnight.

So, why is the beer in the picture? I make my beans with a pressure cooker. I use 1 cup dried beans (here is a mix of white navy beans and black bean), one onion diced, 2-4 cloves garlic minced and 4 cups beer. This is one of my favorites, Green Bay's own Wisco Disco. Put the lid on, set to high pressure and leave them cook for 45 minutes. When it is time to add the beans to the tomatoes, I dump everything in, beans, beer, onion and garlic.

Nutritional data:
Calories:         210
Fat:                  5.4g
Sat fat:             1.7g
Chol:           38.5mg
Sodium:      32.7mg
Carbs:            18.2g
Fiber:               4.6g
Protein:            19g

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie
Serve 6 (8 ounces per portion)

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces cooked boneless/skinless chicken, diced
1 can (approximately 12 ounces) cream of chicken soup (you can also use cream of celery or mushroom)
1/2 cup wine (your choice, I used a sweet Marsala for this)
12 ounces frozen mixes vegetables, thawed
1 prepared pie cust (homemade or store bought)

Preheat oven to 400F.
Heat large non-stick skillet over med-high heat.
Add oil, onion and garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add diced chicken. Saute for another 2-3 minutes.
Add soup and wine. Mix together.
Add vegetable. Reduce heat and let it simmer. Everything should be hot when you out this in the oven.
Spray a 9" round baker (or 8X8 square) with cooking spray.
When the oven is ready, pour chicken/veggie mixture into dish.

Carefully lay pie crust over the top. Trim edges. Cut two slits into the crust, to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the crust browns.

Serve immediately, or the next day.

Nutritional data:
Calories:         305
Fat:                 11.1g
Sat fat:              3.1g
Chol:            62.6mg
Sodium:     269.1mg
Carbs:             13.3g
Fiber:                1.5g
Protein:           11.9g

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pulled Pork Meets South Florida

This was one of my entries into the 2014 Mezzetta Make That Sandwich contest.

Sandwiches are fun! A complete meal you eat while holding it. And mashing to regions into one sandwich is tasty. Pulled pork (which I first had while traveling through Tennessee, where my friend Chester lives and teaches) meets South Florida breads (where you can also find Leah and her digital magazine, Just Jew It) in this example.

Pulled Pork Meet South Florida
Serves 1

1 Miami onion roll (you can substitutes another roll if you want.)
4 ounces pulled pork (I used Curley’s Sauceless Pulled Pork for the contest.)
1 ounce Mezzetta’s Roasted Red Bell Peppers
1/8 cup (1/2 ounce) Mezzetta Deli-Sliced Mild Pepper Rings

1 tablespoon Mezzetta Olive Oil
  1. Slice roll. Toast if desired (I prefer my rolls toasted)
  2. Warm meat until hot (less than 1 minute in a microwave.)
  3. Place Roasted Red Bell Peppers on bottom half on roll.
  4. Top with meat.
  5. Top with Mild Pepper Rings.
  6. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
I'm not giving nutritional data for the sandwich. It will change if you use a different type of pulled pork, or use different roll....the variability will change everything.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Baked Eggs in Ham "Flowers"

Baked Egg in Ham "Flower"
Serves 1

1 ounce shaved ham (2-4 slices)
1 egg
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400F
Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
Line the tin with ham slices.

Carefully crack egg into the ham flower.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the egg is set. Remove before it is fully cooked, it will continue to cook for about 3 minutes after removing.

When done the yolk should be thick and hot, but still fluid.

I served it on a toasted whole grain English Muffin, topped with a slice of horseradish cheddar and a drizzle of coarse German mustard.


Nutritional data (as I served it):
Calories:       373
Fat:             20.5g
Sat fat:          9.8g
Chol:         416mg
Sodium:    855mg
Carbs:         14.3g
Fiber:               2g
Protein:       31.7g

Monday, September 8, 2014

Grown Up S'Mores

Grown Up S'Mores!

Cookies (your preferred variety) or Graham Crackers (more traditional)
Marshmallow Creme
Nocciolota Organic Hazelnut Spread

I made these using soft sugar cookies. They would be delicious on almost any kind of cookie.

I won't give nutritional data (for a couple reasons.) The number will widely vary based on the cookie or cracker you choose, and if you make them open face (like I did) or put a second cooking on top. The numbers will also vary based on how much marshmallow creme and Nocciolata you use. And lastly, sometimes, you just don't want to know the numbers.

This dessert was absolutely delicious. The Nocciolatta (a more refined version of Nutella) added a wonderful chocolate-hazelnut flavor. Nocciolata has a slightly stronger hazelnut presence, and is smoother, and slightly thinner than Nutella.

Thanks to Kara McKena for sending me this delicious food to sample!