Sunday, October 29, 2017

No-added-sugar Bread: BMI = 30.8

A few posts ago I said you can’t make bread without adding at least a little sugar. I was wrong. As it turns out, if you dissolve some of the flour in warm water, some of the released starches will break down into sugars: enough to nourish the yeast and make your bread rise. I learned this today when I picked up another great loaf of bread by Boulangerie Auger.

As usual, I took some time as soon as I got home to do a mis en place for my dinners this week. I marinated some cucumber and red onion in apple cider vinegar and sambal – adding a little Mrs. Dash for extra seasoning. I made a new batch of slaw, using just a little oil this time and letting the apple cider vinegar and salt draw more liquid and flavour from the shredded cabbage, carrot, red pepper, and red onion. I sliced some tomato, cucumber, red onion, and red pepper and stored all that together, so I could make a quick sandwich when I got home from work. Once again, I picked up some sliced roast beef rather than processed/transformed cold cuts.

I stacked up the sandwich toppings on a thick slice of that no-added-sugar bread, slathered with Dijon mustard, and my mouth was watering by the time I started plating yet another healthy dinner.

I used last week’s slaw and cucumbers because it takes about 3 days for the apple cider vinegar to soften them up and develop all the flavours. I added some sliced, half-salt pickles, and a little sour kraut that re-elevated the sodium on this plate. This is an entire no-added-sugar meal, with plenty of veggie and very little fat. The only weakness here is that the bread is not whole wheat – but who’s perfect?

My BMI is now 30.8 and I’m still moving. I’m sorry I can’t show you any photos from when my BMI was 43 but I avoided cameras like the plague back then. I began this journey by discovering I that my BMI was 43 (Obese Class III), reduced that by 12 and now I have less than 1 more point to go to once again be overweight, rather than obese. I’m doing this without starving. You can eat great meals like this as long as you follow the Canada Food Guide and don’t snack.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sugar-Free Tater Salad: BMI = 31.0

All the prepared potato salad I can find these days has a lot of added sugar. I can’t even find a commercial mayo that doesn’t have added sugar. I like commercial mayo from a food-safe standpoint but I can make my homemade mayo just as safe by leaving out the eggs.

So everything you need to make this great, sugar-free, food-safe potato salad is pictured above. Correction, I forgot to get the oil in the pic so you’ll need some safflower or sunflower seed oil.

Start by peeling a cubing about 1.5 kg of yellow potatoes. We’ll be stretching the sauce with some no-fat yoghurt, so if you want to stay totally vegan then just use 1 kg potatoes or you won’t have enough sauce.

I boil my potatoes in a pasta pot which makes it easy to drain them after cooking.

That way I can get them into a cold water bath asap to stop the cooking and get the temperature lowered quickly – an important step for food safety.

Next we’ll start making the sauce. We’ll take some liquid from the can of chick peas to act as an emulsifier (aquafaba).

So in a blender or blending cup we’ll use 50g of that aquafaba, juice of half a lemon, big tablespoon of Dijon, tablespoon of horseradish, and about 60 grams of diced olives.

I blended that with 291 grams of sunflower oil and got a really thick mayo. I checked the seasoning and found the olives gave me all the salt I wanted in the mayo so I just had to add a little pepper.

I minced up about half a kilo of other veggies. I think celery, carrot, and red onion are essential. This time I also added some red bell pepper but sometimes I add radish. I’m also going to drain the chick peas and add them because I happen to have an open can of chick peas on hand.

So mix about 200 grams of no-fat yoghurt into the mayo (or not if you want to keep this vegan) and then mash a big handful of the cubed/cooked potatoes into the sauce.

This step goes better in a food processor but I don’t have one. This sauce was too thick for my stick blender to further process so I just smashed the potatoes up as best as I could. This makes for a very thick, creamy potato salad dressing.

I added in the rest of the potato, then buried it in minced veggies and garbanzo beans to put the ‘salad’ back into my potato salad. Mix it all together well (photo not included because it looked horrible). If well refrigerated, this salad can be kept for the better part of a week.

To make it more photogenic, serve it on a bed of leaf lettuce and garnish with paprika to make a photo for your blog. You’re welcome.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Healthy Lunch: BMI = 31.0

Working in restaurants, I typically don’t pack a lunch. Today, however, I had to sit through a long conference and was told we would be held hostage until it was over – so bring a lunch, they said.

My first thought was, “Oh, this would be a good excuse to just pick up some prepared food that I can microwave.” I’ve been eating right for so long now that it wouldn’t hurt to take a day off. Then, at the grocery store, I spotted some bread with really good nutritional numbers.

I always pick up home-style roast beef at the grocery store so I thought I could just ask for 100 grams more to make sandwiches. If I made my own lunch, I could keep all the damp veggies away from my bread until it was time to eat.

Sadly, I don’t have any pics of the sandwiches I made. I already looked weird enough assembling my sandwich at the conference table and figured people would think I was off the deep end if I then started taking pics of it. Anyway, it was the healthy choice to make and it also provided me with a delicious, fresh lunch.

Oh, and yes, I’ve decided to add one decimal place to my BMI updates to let you better see my progress.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Egg-Free Garlic & Dill Mayo: BMI = 31

I can't find any sugar-free mayo at my grocery store! Fortunately I can make my own sugar-free mayo, without eggs so it will last a long time and with garlic & dill for great flavour. It’s a little healthier if you add some no-fat yogurt, but that is optional if you want to keep it totally vegan.

The secret ingredient is chick pea broth – just the liquid that is normally discarded from a can of chick peas. Any bean broth will do, though, and you can reserve some of the broth the next time you boil up some beans. If you want to sound like a real gastronaut, call the chick pea broth ‘aquafaba’.

So put 50 grams of aquafaba into a blender or blending cup with 25 grams of lemon juice and 25 grams of Dijon mustard. I’ve also added three crushed cloves of garlic.

I use a stick blender but you can do this in a regular blender or food processor. Just start blending and drizzle in 160 grams of vegetable oil. Try to use an oil that has a rather neutral flavour, this is not a good place to use extra-virgin olive oil. I use grape seed oil.

In just a few minutes you have a cup of really thick, garlic flavoured, vegan mayonnaise. It needs a little salt so just add some in, pinch by pinch, folding it in well with a spoon or spatula and checking the flavour as you go.

I like to add 100 grams of no-fat Greek yogurt to this mayo/dip. It’s not really vegan that way but I only make ‘vegan’ mayo because it lasts longer without the egg yolks in there. The no-fat yogurt actually lowers the caloric density of this mayonnaise and gives it a smoother texture.

Time to fold in the dill. I highly recommend using fresh but you could use dried dill if you like. It will take a day or so in the fridge for the flavour to really permeate but once it does this is a great garlic & dill dip for veggies or even calamari.

I decided to slice up some cucumber and red onion to marinate in this mayonnaise.

I’ll let that sit in the fridge overnight and it’ll be a great side dish for dinner this week.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Recipe – Cole Slaw: BMI = 31

Coleslaw is great any time of the year but you won’t likely find any sugar-free coleslaw at the market so you’ll have to make your own. Like most of my recipes, there isn’t much measuring to do. For the ‘cole’, I like red and green cabbage, carrots, red onion.

For the ‘slaw’, nothing beats a mandoline.

For the marinade, I use a neutral tasting oil and some apple cider vinegar in equal parts. Don’t drown the veggies in dressing, though, just stuff them in a jar and add equal parts oil and vinegar until half way up.

The veggies will give up a lot of liquid that will fill the remaining space in the jar in less than a day. For seasoning I try to be reserved on the salt, make up for it with Mrs. Dash, and toss in a healthy portion of sambal.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Recipe – Spicy Cucumbers: BMI = 31

Spicy marinated cucumbers make a great garnish for almost any meal and also make a great snack. I just picked up a cucumber and realized I had some red onion left over from last week.

So I ran them through my mandoline and voila!

I figured they would taste great with a little sambal, a lot of apple cider vinegar, and a few hours to let the flavours blend. I was right. One could also add a little Dijon mustard in place of the sambal, just make sure it is a no-sugar added mustard. Avoid adding too much salt when enjoying these spicy cucumbers.