Sunday, May 8, 2016

Adventures in Lazy Cooking

Here's a post that may feel relevant to many of you: an experimental foray into cooking, inspired by laziness!

So last Sunday, I was feeling particularly not lazy, and cooked up a pot of dried black beans in the slow cooker. My recipe for that is a botched version of this refried beans recipe, from one of my new favorite blogs! It is worth a read if you're looking for inspiration to start cutting out processed food from your diet.

All week long, I ate and ate and ate some more, and even after an infinite amount of black bean tacos, I still had what felt like a full pot left over to deal with!

Flash-forward to today, when I decide I want to make some slow-cooked pork with a real large but questionable discount pork loin purchase I made.  Seriously, I got like 6 of them for only $2.50!



Me on the morning commute tomorrow, probably.


So I'm at the point where I can no longer justify being lazy and avoid transferring the black beans to smaller containers (because yes, I put the whole slow cooker pot in the fridge, don't judge).  What ever is a lazy person to do?

Finally the lightbulb goes off, and I decide, "Hey!  Why don't I just pile the porkies on top of the black beans and make a nice stew!  And that is what I did, and it is awesome.  I added a few extra spices and cooked on high for 6 hours (to cook out the discount parasites, of course).

Here is the finished product:


Not too shabby!


Lazy Chef's Pork & Black Bean Stew:

1-2 pounds of boneless pork loin or chops
2 cans or 1 cup of cooked black beans
1 jalapeno
2 T. minced onion OR 1 chopped onion
2 bay leaves
2 cups of broth (I used 1 tsp. of Better Than Bouillon Chicken & 2 cups water)
A bunch of garlic powder, salt, & pepper
A smattering of rosemary & thyme

Cook on high for six hours!

I decided to get fancy, and garnished with plain yogurt, avocado, & chili powder.



My attempt at presentation.


It is definitely tasty!  Hopefully I can get through this pot within the next week, otherwise we might be seeing a whole new Adventure in Lazy Cooking!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Day 3: End of the Road!

Check out Day Zero of the Juice Cleanse here!

It is the last day!!!

I'm not going to lie to you, dear readers..... I totally cheated.  As soon as I hit "Publish" on the last entry, I brewed a pot of coffee and drank it all.

Here's my logic:  I'm doing this for myself, and if I'm not going to advocate for myself (and the poor folks around me), and listen to my drug-dependent body, then who is?  I have decided I can survive on any crazy diet, as long as my good pal coffee is beside me.

For the rest of the day, I stuck to the cleanse and felt fabulous!  I even was able to hold off on dinner until a little later, so I wasn't freaking out at the end of the day.  I even managed to be proactive and craft today's juice last night so I could just put it in my work bag today.  Caffeine: it works, people.  Actually, it probably has worked even better on this cleanse, because it hasn't had to fight with the other carbs and calories for my attention!

So let's end this with a bang:  Day 3 - Liver & Kidney Flush!!!


My Ingredients:
6 apples
1 beet + roots
1 bunch celery
1 handful of failure spinach
1 cucumber
1 lemon
2 tomatoes
15 carrots



My finished product!  It looks exactly the same as yesterdays, except not as pretty.  Sorry, folks.


So, I did that all day, and came home and had my chicken + broccoli + spinach dinner.  Again.  Tomorrow, I don't have to do anything, but I'm PLANNING for this to roll into some more responsible eating at home and at work.  I've got a lot of leftover veggies and fruits for one thing.  I also have some lunches at the ready.

Here are my takeaways:

1.  Using a juicer is pretty fun, and even though the prep and clean-up can take some time, if you've got a system down (and employ some life hacks), it can be a fun and exciting experience for the food nerd!

2.  I definitely felt like I was wasting a lot of food.  If you think about the fact that I've taken all these beautiful ingredient pictures and reduced them to about 40 ounces of juice, I start to feel like a wasteful monster.

3.  The juices were delicious, and definitely tasted fresher and healthier than any commercial juice!  I usually don't drink store-bought juice because they are always too sweet and jam-packed with added sugar.  I may be a freak though, because I still diluted these juices for being too sweet, even though they were just the naked ingredients.

4.  Although juicing itself is cool, and I will employ the machine in the future, I don't think I could do any type of juice cleanse or fast again.  I need to chew food!  I need to eat!  Liquids aren't food.

5.  This actually wasn't as expensive as I expected, especially considering all I have left over.  I spent about $38 through Peapod to get the fruits and veggies (and chamomile tea!) for this.  It may seem like a lot, but when you consider the fact that I still have two crisper drawers and then some full of extra produce which I can use for other purposes, and weigh that against what you might pay for food (and the extra!) on an average 3-day weekend, it isn't insane.  Again though, I felt like I wasted a lot, but there are many things I could have done with the pulp and chose not to!


Final Thoughts:  Do I feel cleansed and flushed from yesterday's Colon Cleanse and today's Liver & Kidney Flush?  I'd say this video accurately describes how today has gone:

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Day 2: Juice Cleanse

Check out Day Zero of the Juice Cleanse here!

Wellllllllllllllllll, this is going to be short and sweet.

Yesterday I felt pretty good, even though I took a two-hour nap in the middle of the day and was starving for most of it.  I'm never doing this again - any diet where you can't eat real food until 5PM or later is just insane.  My friend and I went to the nail salon and got mani-pedis, so that was a nice distraction!

Today, however, I'm well into withdrawal misery.  I have a severe headache and I am even more forgetful than usual.  I also slept until 11AM, and already want to go back to sleep at 1PM.

DAY TWO:  COLON CLEANSE



My Ingredients:
I was supposed to use 1.5 of these beets but I totally used both, so 2 beets
1 bunch of celery
1 handful of cilantro
1 cucumber
1 "teaspoon" of ginger root
2 lemons
10 romaine lettuce leaves
1 handful of spinach (which I forgot, so I guess 0 handfuls of spinach)
15 carrots, and my carrots were all pretty tiny so I used more




I felt like including a better picture of the juicer.



This is the finished product.  It tastes and looks beety!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Juice is Loose - Day 1: Green Juice

I'm starting the blogging process right away, because who knows what will happen from here.

I have survived making my first juice!

Today was Day 1:  Green Juice, and the kick-off to this 3-day event.

So, the first step was to gather all my supplies:


              

My awesome cavelike work station.



My Ingredients:
4 apples
3 cucumbers
1 bunch of celery
2 handfuls of spinach
1 handful of parsley
4 stalks of kale
1 lemon
1 teaspoon of ginger root



And of course, my kitchen helper, Snowball.


This was definitely a learning experience for me!  Also, it was a little slow going, since this is my first time using a juicer, even though I've owned one since at least 2013.  Sorry, Mom.

Not only did I have to divvy up my ingredients and wash everything, but I also needed to consult The Juicing Bible for how to treat each and every fruit and vegetable.  Do I peel this?  Core this?  Include the stalks? Turn head?  Cough?

Once I got everything situated and ready to go into the juicer, it was pretty quick!  Almost too quick, as my juicer jumped and knocked my juice-catching pitcher away from the spout a few times.  I would say overall it was successful, although I think I messed up with the greens.  I think I fed them too fast since they barely yielded anything.  Not that I know what a normal yield is either.  Also, I had to use frozen spinach instead of fresh.  Please help.

I also wonder if I did this right because the whole recipe didn't yield 64 OZ like the infographic said; it yielded maybe 40 OZ.  At any rate, it did come out delicious and green!  Check out my first cup!



Also pictured:  the first of many glasses of water I will be drinking over the course of the next few days.



She looks how I feel right now.


Actually, I feel fine!  It is only noon on Saturday of course, and I've already started shotgunning ibuprofen to get ahead of this inevitable caffeine withdrawal.  I was also proactive and put my dinner for the next three nights in the slow cooker.  I will post that tomorrow if it turns out well.

Catch ya on the flip side!

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Juice Cleanse - Day Zero

So it's come to this:  A Juice Cleanse.

I mean, yay a Juice Cleanse....

I mean, yeah, that's right, I'm doing a juice cleanse, and I don't have to defend myself to you!

It occurred to me that my biggest expenditure (other than my rent of course) is food.  It has also occurred to me that I have been spending a lot of money on dining out.  It has also occurred to me that I am not very healthy, or at least not as healthy as I would like to be.  Is anyone ever as healthy as they would like to be?

I don't eat the greatest because, quite frankly, I live alone and am a little too lazy and unmotivated.  I just want someone to tell me exactly how and what to eat every day, like a meal plan, or I'm completely lost.  I don't have the patience, knowledge, or wherewithal to do this myself, and many meal plans you find in books or on the internet end up costing quite the pretty penny, even when the information itself is free.

Two logical roads diverged in my grey matter, and I -- I chose to make them converge again, and that has made all the difference.  It occurred to me that, for all the money I spend on garbage food, I could probably spend the same or less on all these fancy fad diet meal plan things, and at least come out with a surplus in physical health!  Or at the very least, blog about it and have a fun story!

My friend Sam sent me the 72-Hour Juice Cleanse, and she completed it and didn't die, so here we go:


This really isn't bad considering you get to eat dinner.  Most of time time I don't even eat until 2 or 3PM on the weekends anyways.

Paging Meredith's broken metabolism...

I'm planning to check in daily with what will presumably be monstrous thoughts and feelings.  No coffee!  No soda! Whatever will I do?  I'm starting this on a Saturday, so if I'm a complete demon in caffeine and sugar withdrawal, I'll be in the comfort of my own home, and therefore only torturing myself and poor little Snowball.

Now, let's turn on the juice and see what shakes loose!!!!!!!!!!!