Friday, April 26, 2013

Recipe: Chicken and Spring Veggie Farro Salad

  • 6-8 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup dry farro
  • 2 cups trimmed green beans, wax beans, and snow peas
  • 1 ear corn on the cob
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp country dijon mustard
  • salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper

Trim chicken of all visible fat - poach in simmering water for 10-12 minutes until cooked through. Drain and let cool, then dice into small bite size pieces.

Steam beans and peas for approximately 2 minutes until color brightens. Plung in ice bath to stop cooking, drain and pat dry. Cut into bite size pieces.

Cook farro according to package directions, drain and cool.

Grill corn or cut kernels from cob and saute briefly with minced shallot in butter in a small saute pan. Set aside to cool.

Combine farro, chicken, and vegetables in large bowl.

In small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, and approximately 1/4 tsp salt.

Mix dressing into salad, add 5-6 grinds of fresh black pepper, stir to combine.

I enjoy this salad best at slightly warm room temperature but it may also be served cold.

Makes 4 servings. 

Nutritional information: 191 calories, 6g fat, 18.6g carbohydrates, 4.3g dietary fiber, 1g sugars, 16.7g protein

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What's For Dinner? Honey Lemon Chicken

It's been such an odd day. It seemed that it finally had decided it was spring around here, and the weather had started to settle on upper 70s/low 80s for high temps, then suddenly it was back to low 40s this morning barely topping out at 60 but with a very chilly wind. Between that and a strong rain storm yesterday afternoon and evening, finishing the tilling of the garden was out - too mucky.

I woke up with a pain in my neck in the middle of the night, stretched a bit, and went back to sleep, and wasn't really going to think much more of it, except when I woke up for good this morning and rolled over, I felt like somehow I'd managed to break the middle finger of my right hand in my sleep. Moving my hand hurt, bending my finger was out of the question - what on Earth had happened?

I got up, moved my arms around a bit, stretched my shoulders and neck a bit more (got a half decent pop in the neck), but the pain in the hand was still shockingly strong. I noticed that while it was centered on the joint where your finger meets your hand, that movement did "tug" on things through my palm and give shocks up my forearm. A paramedic friend asked if I slept funny (at which point I remembered waking up in the middle of the night with the neck pain) - and we've fairly well decided I pinched a nerve some how, but I haven't managed to massage it away, and vicodin while taking the edge of the pain a bit hasn't relaxed anything enough to provide serious relief. I may end up at my chiropractor on Monday if I can't get any relief. Ugh.

I was looking for something fresh and "spring" like to make for dinner, and created a quick little recipe for Honey Lemon Chicken. It's super quick, very low calorie, and despite having honey it, less than 5g of sugars in a serving.

I served it tonight with some steamed broccoli spears and a third of a cup of Trader Joe's Rice Medley - a great combo of brown rice, red rice, and black barley - it's in the freezer section, so the rice is already cooked. It comes in steamer bags, 3 minutes in the microwave and it's whole grain goodness!

In non-food related news - I finally got my new assignment at work. My former group was brought back out of the global application development pool and into a different technology group - led by a woman I've known for most of my career at the bank. She's pretty awesome, and I think it's a great move. I'll be working on application governance for our group and the rest of her boss' organization - making sure we're adhering to enterprise policy on a number of issues: technology choices, data management, etc. Much more exciting for me than coding has ever been, so I'm very much looking forward to getting started on all that.

Finally, our egg donor has her major evaluation at the clinic on Monday and barring any surprises that throw a wrench into things, starting the meds which would put us on course for retrieval in about 4 weeks, with transfer to me about 4 days later. So quick, but so slow at the same time! Ugh!

Hoping tomorrow that my finger won't be messed up and that it's a bit warmer, really wanting to take Mabel the bike out for a ride. So how's your weekend going?

Recipe: Honey Lemon Chicken

Some post-ops have trouble with chicken, in part because it can be dry, even when cooked carefully. To that end, though I rate this recipe as 3+ months post-op, you should be mindful of your own personal tolerances to chicken and as always, chew chew chew.

  • 12 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • zest and juice from one lemon
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. Trim any remaining fat from the chicken breast(s), season with salt and pepper, and place in a baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. In a small bowl whisk together honey, oil, and juice. Pour half of honey combination over the chicken, turn over, then pour on remaining mixture. Turn or use a pastry brush as necessary to coat chicken completely.

Bake in oven for approximately 40 minutes - turning half way through and basting as necessary to keep moist.

Makes 4 3-oz servings.

Rated: 3+ months post-op

Nutritional Information: 124 calories, 4.5g fat, 5.7g carbohydrates, 4.7g sugars, 17.3g protein

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Recipe: Veal with Shallot Wine Sauce

  • 6 oz veal scallop, cut into 2 portions (often sold pre-packaged - ask at the butcher counter)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped shallot (one medium)
  • 2 tsp country dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp half and half
  • salt and pepper to taste
Add 1 tsp butter to skillet over medium high heat.  Saute veal 1 minute each side, remove to a plate. Reduce heat to medium low and add shallots and remaining butter, cook until softened and just beginning to brown. Add wine, mustard, and sage, bring heat back to medium high and reduce by about half. Add half and half, then return veal to the pan along with any juices from the plate and warm through - only about another minute. Serve with sauce over the top of each veal scallop.

Rating: 9+ months post-op (for alcohol content)

Nutritional information: 1/2 recipe. 304 calories, 15.9g fat, 2.8g carbohydrates, no sugars, 26.5g protein

Friday, April 12, 2013

Recipe: Sauteed Lemon-Chive Cauliflower

  • 1/2 head cauliflower - cut into small florets
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese - grated
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Warm olive oil and salt in large skillet over medium heat. Add cauliflower and saute without stirring for 3-4 minutes until beginning to brown on the bottom side. Toss and continue to cook until most pieces are caramelized. Add  garlic during last 30 seconds of cooking. Remove from heat, toss in in lemon zest and chives. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese when serving.

Serves 4 (bariatric), or 2-3 traditional servings.

Rated: 6+ months post-op

Nutritional information (1/4 recipe): 54 calories, 4.2g fat, 3g carbohydrates, 1.2g sugars, 2g protein

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Milestone: Down Below Half

When I began this blog and chose the name "Leaving Half of Me Behind" it was a cute hook more than a real goal - I knew that losing that much weight was a possibility, but I wasn't anywhere near certain that it was something I could do.

With my surgical recoveries and a few other things going on including what probably has been a bit of a real plateau, I've been bouncing around the same 1-2 pounds for the last couple months.

But, as of this morning, we've broken through that - and officially, finally, have left MORE than half of me behind:

My starting weight was 338, so half was 169 - I've finally gone under that mark. Yay! Officially I've now lost 74% of my excess weight.

That's a number that really kind of bugs me - the ideal weight calculations used for women are 100 pounds, plus (or minus if necessary) 5 pounds per inch of height above/below 5 feet. So at 5' 1.5", that makes my "ideal" weight 107.5. Sorry kids, I'd look like a skeleton at that weight. I have a picture of me as a high school freshman where I weighed 117 and thought I had a bit of a belly pooch, but really it was how my trousers fit. But I was FOURTEEN years old. My junior prom photo is when I weighed 139 pounds. I felt at the time I could lose 15-20 pounds, but again, I was 17 years old.

Using commonly available BMI calculators online, I'd need to get down to 163 to not be considered "obese" any longer, and just be labelled as overweight. To get into a normal weight range (for 5-2) would require getting down to 136. That's a maybe, but I'm not sure where I'm going to get 32 pounds off of me - realistically, plastics may take off up to 10, but do I really have 22 more pounds to lose? I'm not sure.

Though it's a silly self-portrait in a corporate headquarters ladies room, but really - I'm not sure. The belly puff is some serious skin droopage, and the boobs are empty tube socks held up in a fairly solid structurally supportive bra. Get rid of the underarms, but that's maybe a pound or two each really.

We'll have to see what happens. Plastics may be later this summer, or in another year to year and a half, depending on another little project we're doing.

We're giving having a family one last "Hail Mary" pass - I'm undergoing IVF with donor eggs (due to my geriatric age when it comes to motherhood). Just getting the cycle started, the donor has been located (through an agency, it's not someone we know), and getting ready for her to get on the meds cycle, and so a transfer will probably be another month away.

So lots to be celebrating, but that number up at the top really made my day today!