Friday, January 9, 2009

simple pleasures

I am not on a diet.

I am eating healthy, varied foods that happen to be high in fiber and low in fat. More fruit, less cheese. More vegetables, less meat. I am exercising at least a bit every day.

I have given up Dr. Pepper.

Except for the Dr. Pepper, it happened almost entirely by accident.

It's funny how easily we can fall into patterns of behavior. Even though I stay at home, I spend many mornings running errands. After dropping the little guy at his school, I would drive to the 7-11 and buy a Dr. Pepper before commencing my shopping or what have you. On the way home, I would frequently get a snack or lunch at a drive through. I started to feel a bit run down and tired more often than normal. Then the holidays hit, which throws any routine I have into a tailspin.

Hubby had gained five pounds and asked me to cook healthy dinners and pack his lunch to help him take the weight off again. I pulled out the cookbooks and started planning dinners. I went grocery shopping and avoided the snack food aisle. The result in my own food intake is just a byproduct, but it's been stunning.

I had forgotten how much I love simple foods. Shirred eggs. Baked apples. Steel cut oats. Roasted butternut squash and asparagus. Whole wheat bagels smeared with a bit of peanut butter. Pasta with mushroom sauce. Yum.

Here are a couple of this week's favorite recipes:

Oeufs en Cocotte
(Shirred Eggs)

Grease a small ramekin with a bit of butter or olive oil. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Break one or two eggs into the ramekin, depending on desired serving size. Sprinkle with good salt and pepper, a little paprika; you can add some fresh herbs, milk or cream, ham and sauteed mushrooms, or just about anything you desire. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and serve. I like mine baked plain then dolloped with sour cream and a spoon of salsa.

Mushroom Sauce

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 minced shallot
I minced garlic clove
4 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons sherry
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup evaporated skimmed milk
2 tablespoons low-fat or non-fat sour cream

In a large skillet, heat oil. Saute the shallot until soft, about two minutes. Add the garlic; cook one minute longer. Stir in the mushrooms, sage, salt and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are tender, about six minutes.

Increase heat to high; cook until almost all liquid evaporates, about three minutes. Add the sherry; cook one minute. Stir in the flour; cook, stirring constantly, until smooth. Stir in the evaporated milk; reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about seven minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.

Serve over pasta, chicken, or turkey.
Serves four.


laurie said...

do you feel any different? or is it too soon to tell?

those eggs look very delicious.

i have chicken stew going in the crock pot right now--with new potatoes, baby carrots, garbanzo beans, and diced tomatoes. simmering in chicken broth and red wine. yum.

and dr. pepper? ick. just ick. good for you!!

Jennifer said...

Um hello, can you please come over here and cook for me? I don't have time to make shirred eggs and mushroom sauce so we had Zaxby's the other night. I'm thinking that's not going to help us lose five pounds or any other pounds!! But their Texas toast is to die for!!

Babaloo said...

Wow, those eggs look yummy! I plan to do exactly that, eat healthy, after we're back from Donegal. There's no point starting this now as one of my sisters-in-law likes baking, so we're sure to have cake this week.
But I'm kinda sick of all the super rich food, too. Good time to start eating healthy I think.

I kinda like Dr Pepper. But I'm not a cola person anyway, so I'd only have it occasionally. Like every couple of months or so.

Jen said...

I agree with laurie, those eggs look yummy, and I'm soooo using that mushroom sauce this weekend.

We recently started a "Biggest Loser" competition in our office, and I've decided to join in. We've gotten way too off base in our eating, too.

And I loved Dr. Pepper. I haven't had it in ages...

Katie said...

I'm with Laurie on the Dr Pepper.

I'm trying to eat healthier myself, since I gained an impressive five pounds during two weeks when I was back in New York. Too much pizza, bagels and Mexican food - it's so bad and yet so, so good.

-Ann said...

I'm a fiend for the Diet Dr. Pepper, but we can't get that over here.

The eggs look great but I'm terrified of mushrooms.

Elizabethd said...

Is Dr Pepper a drink? (English person speaking here!)
The eggs look so good, might try that tomorrow.

Pamela said...

I can't believe I've never had shirred eggs and that I had to google ramekin

willowtree said...

I'm eating pretty much the same things... through choice. And like you, the only think I had to unwillingly give up was soda (in my case coke). I've never liked Dr. Pepper.

Kim said...

I do feel a bit better, Laurie, but I'm not sure if it's a result of the new eating pattern, or just the fact that -- finally -- the holidays are over.

That chicken stew sounds divine.

And Dr. Pepper is a comfort thing for me, I think. I've loved it since 8th grade and my first kiss, but that's another story . . .

I'll be right over, Jennifer. Stock that pantry for me!

Those eggs are the best, Babaloo. It's wonderful to be able to eat something delicious and good for you at the same time.

Good luck, Jen. That mushroom sauce is a recipe I adapted from a Weight Watcher's cookbook, so it is reasonably good for you.

Katie, I wish I only had five pounds to lose. Sigh.

I love Diet Dr. Pepper, too, Ann. I remember that about you, I hope I didn't scare you too badly with my sauce recipe!

That made me chuckle, Pamela. Come see me and I'll make you some shirred eggs and take you shopping for ramekins!

Coke just isn't sweet enough for me, WT. I've gotta have the Dr. Pepper. Except in Europe, where it tastes wrong. I think over there it's still made with prune juice.

Career Guy said...

Yes, Ann is terrified of mushrooms and it's all my fault. I wanted to introduce her to the joys of ridiculously dubbed Japanese monster movies. The one I picked to watch had characters mysteriously turning into mushrooms people. Warped her forever.

Faye said...

Agree with Babaloo--by the time the holidays are over--finally--you're sick of that rich food and just want something simple and honest. I'll try your mushroom sauce, Kaycie. Always looking for something unusual to go over pasta. In the meantime,soup's on at my house. Vegetable beef this week, but the best was yellow split peas/pumpkin soup that I hadn't made for 20 years. Brought back a lot of good memories, like your Dr. Pepper. . .

the rotten correspondent said...

It's definitely that time of year,isn't it? I came out of the holidays with no weight gain, but am not sure how. Usually it's pretty dramatic.

Your eggs look great, and I'd eat a shoe if it had mushroom sauce on it.

We're having a black bean lasagna tomorrow night that looks good and is pretty healthy. I hope it tastes as good as it looks in the recipe.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I bet another side effect is you're not spending nearly as much on food. It's amazing how eating healthily benefits us in so many ways. Good for you. And happy birthday again.

laurie said...

the chicken stew was delicious.

might have been even better with mushroom sauce....

as of this morning, i was back to my pre-christmas weight. so i am eating a sugar cookie. it was just too easy.

ped crossing said...

Sounds like your year is off to a fresh start. Can't say either of those look good, but I am among the pickiest of eaters.

I did make a super yummy pork chop and apple recipe today in the crock pot. We are trying to eat out less and plan ahead more.

Brain Age for the DS is really fun as is Big Brain Academy for the Wii.

elizabethm said...

I do so agree about healthy food. The funny thing that when you eat well like this for a while the junk stuff is just not appealing at all.
hope this cheers you up too. It is really not so bad when the children leave you know, has its serious compensations!

The Green Stone Woman said...

For some reason I thought I couldn't get onto your blog anymore, but now I've discovered that it is just the Google reader that doesn't recognize your address. I can get here on my own just fine, so I have a bit of catching up to do. I'm glad to be here anyway and it's fun to read you again. Ciao...

aminah said...

sounds lovely...I am a true beliver in avoiding all e's and diet products...they are full of chemical and sugars our bodies don't know how to digest...go for lots of veg like you are doing, drink warm foods when it is cold out and enjoy whats on your slowly and enjoy...
we have to be kinder to our bodies and giving up Dr peppers is a definete bonus for your bod and brain! Good luck sweetie! xx

Cait O'Connor said...

Exquisite photos of your shirred eggs (new word for me - shirred). I am going to try these recipes.

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