Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I'm stuffed!

I went to the nutritionist yesterday. This is part of an overall effort not only to slim down, but also to understand more about the fuel my body consumes in and burns.

Based on the results of my RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) tests, I should be taking in 1950 calories. Or rather, the balance at the end of the day should be 1950 calories. So that means that if I burn, say, 450 calories doing yard work, then I'm supposed to be taking in 2400 calories. HOW ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH IS A HUMAN SUPPOSED TO TAKE IN THAT MANY CALORIES??

Now, of course, this doesn't mean 2400 calories of crap (sadly, no cheese enchiladas with cheese sauce), but rather increased fiber, fewer simple carbohydrates, and so on. I would have never thought it was so hard to add calories!! One interesting (and now that I know it, seemingly obvious tip) was that my snacks shouldn't be just almonds, or just fruit, but a little of both. Apparently it's the combination of protein and carbs that makes the snacks more effective.

The online tracking service I use ( sets guidelines for how many grams of fat, protein, carbs, and fiber one should take in based on your calorie target. I have yet to figure out how someone is supposed to get up to that kind of a calorie count without going over at least one of those targets. Plus, get this. I played squash Thursday after work and, according to my heart rate monitor, I burned 1170 calories. So how am I supposed to end up with a balance of 1950 net calories after that? I'm supposed to magically eat 3120 calories without going over those fat, carb, protein, and fiber guidelines??

I'm definitely looking forward to my next appointment with the nutritionist next week where she'll actually give me a meal plan and hopefully explain some of these guidelines and rules that are seemingly conflicting notions.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The great muffin quest - episode one

I'm trying to figure out some "grab-and-go" breakfast that won't bore me to tears and won't fill me full of trans fats. Thus was born the great muffin quest of 2008 as I feel blueberry muffins might just be the answer to my prayers.

Based on the rave reviews their pancake mix got over Thanksgiving, I turned to Hodgson Mill for my two base mixes. The first option was the Whole Wheat Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix. It has a delightful little blueberry-colored banner on the front of the box boasting, "Made with 100% Whole Grain Flour & Milled Flax Seed!" and another little seal saying, "450mg Omega-3 Oils per serving."

I mixed the box according to the instructions (yield listed as 7-8 muffins). I added an extra half cup of blueberries (dusted with flour to keep them suspended in the batter) for a little extra burst of flavor. But boy let me tell you, this batter was thick. In my little silicone muffin "tins" I put about a 1/2 cup of batter into 9 holes. The rose a little...just enough to have that little top, but thankfully didn't spill over. (I checked in on them periodically throughout the 16 minutes the box said just to make sure.) I put a toothpick in the center of two of them at the 16 minute mark, and they needed a couple more minutes. After 2 more minutes in the oven and 10 minutes of cooling, I popped them out of the silicone and put them on another rack (truth be told, the "cooling rack" I used at this point was an overturned flat bottomed basket in which you would cook smaller veggies on a grill).

They're deceptively moist, so that's good. They're also very that's also good. But I really thought they were greatly improved with one spritz per bite of I Can't Believe it's Not Butter.

When these are gone, I'll move on to the next mix and let you know how it goes.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Mission Grillpossible!

I've done it!

I just thought I'd let all of you know that I have finally managed to cook a steak to medium rare on my grill pan! Hazah!

Type of steak: bone-in rib eye
Thickness: about an inch thick, maybe a little thinner
Size: large enough to make two portions...both for me - one of the times living alone is a great thing!
Seasoning: just salt and pepper...nothing fancy
Heat: just slightly under my #5 setting on my gas range (6 being the highest)
Cooking Time: 4 minutes on the first side (turning 90 degrees 2 minutes in to get those great grill marks) and 2.5 minutes on the second side (I did attempt to get the grill marks on the other side, but was not successful.
Resting Time: 6 minutes

It was juicy, flavorful, and full-on perfectly medium rare. The crust on the outside due to the high heat was the perfect complement to the tender pink silky center. I tried to mix a little balsamic vinegar and some margarine with the juices left in the grill pan to make a sauce, but something about the olive oil based margarine I have in my house just didn't taste right (not to mention it's not like there was fond, I mean, it's a non-stick surface, but there were just juices, so it was a valiant attempt).

All in all, I really want to eat both servings. Thankfully, I had the foresight to cut it in half and put the other half in a ziploc and in the fridge for a future meal.

Tonight, I will make my basil and goat cheese turkey roulade, and tomorrow I'll be baking blueberry bran muffins. The former I've made before, the later...never. Wish me luck.