Editor's note: Shannon is using The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight to teach herself to cook. She is blogging about her progress.
I’d love to be able to say that I made as many recipes as last time, but life got busy again. Work and a major research paper for school took up a lot of my time. I did however cook seven recipes and am proud to say we didn’t eat one boxed meal this time around. There are still a few in the cupboard so I know that I will eventually use them but I am trying to outlast my husband. I am hoping that he breaks down and makes one before I do. For today’s blog I made Nutty Fruity Granola, Egg-White Omelets with Spinach and Mushrooms, Spinach Salad with Cherries and Pomegranate Vinaigrette, Lemon Chicken with Spinach Pasta, Roasted Root Vegetables, Herbed Mushrooms with Bacon, and Sweet and Spicy Pecans. I noticed that I had a spinach theme going on, but that’s OK. I’m getting to that tipping point where I am learning to love and even crave veggies and spinach is one of my favorites. Raw, cooked, it doesn’t matter!
I love spinach and it is working. I am happy to say that since the new year I have broken through that plateau of 200. I have lost 3 more pounds for a running total of 73 pounds. Only 17 more pounds to go until I am at my goal! I am excited and oddly nervous about reaching my goal but am confident that day will come.
Well, back to cooking...
I’ll start off with the Nutty Fruity Granola (page 87). It was a very easy recipe to make. As I spread it out on the cookie sheet I was afraid that it would all stick together and come out as one solid brick because of the honey. But when I stirred it halfway through I was pleasantly surprised. It was so nice and easy to stir around. By the time it was done the house was filled with a nice nutty aroma. I have been using this as a topping for yogurt, fruit or in some cases yogurt and fruit. I will definitely make this recipe again.
The first thing I have to say about the Egg-White Omelet with Spinach and Mushrooms (page 89) is to trust Meg. My husband was with me when I was making these and we really were not sure when the egg whites were cooked. The recipe said they were cooked when "set." We didn’t know what that meant, so my husband suggested flipping it over to make sure that side was cooked. Don’t do this! The egg whites will stick. Since it was his idea, my husband ate that one. On the second attempt I paid special attention to the egg whites. As the recipe states. add your veggies once the omelet is "partially set," this is when you touch the top side of the omelet in the pan and just a little bit of white is left behind on your finger. It is completely set when it doesn’t leave any white on your finger. It only takes a couple of minutes between the two. I hope my test is accurate because it turned out great and all in one piece. It was fluffy, moist and tasty. I really liked this omelet. I was afraid it was going to be plain but adding the parmesan to the egg whites added a nice, subtle flavor.
The only thing that I would do next time is add some red pepper, onions or maybe some garlic, just some extra veggies because as I said I am learning to love them.
The Spinach Salad with Cherries and Pomegranate Vinaigrette (page 113) was another salad making me long for the warmth of the summer sun. This salad was very easy to make and my husband absolutely loved it. It has sweet but sour tastes that go really well together and wake up your taste buds. When making the vinaigrette, I’ll be honest: I had no idea what emulsify meant so I had to look it up. A brief definition is: to combine two liquids which normally don't mix easily, such as oil and water. I did this successfully with the blender.
If you are looking for a filling meal, try the Lemon Chicken with Spinach Pasta (page 263). This is another meal that makes you feel like you are dining out. Restaurant taste, but you know all the ingredients. The lemon flavoring is understated but nice. I have had so many "lemon" flavors that taste fake, like the artificial taste of a cough drop. This was not like that at all. One helping is all I needed to feel full with this recipe for only 354 calories.
I’ve heard so many good things about the Roasted Root Vegetables (page 315) that I had to try making them. This was the only recipe that I made this week that I was a little disappointed in. I would like some more spices or seasoning in this. I am just not sure what else to add, maybe something with just a hint of spice, cayenne? If I make this again I may try some experimentation.
My absolute favorite recipe this time was the Herbed Mushrooms with Bacon (page 321). There were so many flavours that blended so well together. I don’t even think that it took me the 1/2 hour it states to cook this one. I used portobello, white, oyster and cremini mushrooms but I think it would suit any mushroom as a mix or even individually. I can see these as a side dish, an appetizer or if I knew more about cooking I think that they would go well with some kind of light cream sauce over pasta as a main dish. If you like mushrooms, I highly recommend this recipe. My husband loved it and didn’t even complain that it was turkey bacon.
On to my husband’s favorite of the week: Sweet and Spicy Pecans (page 335). I found these quite delicious as well. What could be easier? Toss some pecans a few spices and some egg white into a bowl, on to a pan and into the oven. They are wonderful still warm out of the oven or cooled. I didn’t try it but could imagine them warm over a single scoop of premium vanilla ice cream as a treat, yummy.
I am not sure what recipes I will make for next time. I like not being committed to anything in particular because my moods for food can change quite quickly. I am thinking of trying to sneak one fish recipe in and hopefully not get too many complaints from husband.
Which fish recipe from 'The SparkPeople Cookbook' do you think is best for a non-fish eater?
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