Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lemon Basil Chicken

I was craving Basil Bacon Chicken tonight, but am daring and doing and didn't dare cheat on a non cheat day.  I brainstormed and came up with this healthier alternative. I have to be honest I didn't miss the bacon. I'm writing those words:  I did NOT MISS BACON!!  Both tangy and fragrant, I promise you this won't feel like a "healthier alternative." 

  • 2 large skinless boneless chicken breast cut into 1" thick medallions
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 pinch red pepper flake
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 10-12 basil leaves, torn

  1. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, brown the whole garlic cloves in the olive oil.
  2. When golden brown, remove garlic cloves and add pepper flakes.
  3. Liberally salt and pepper the chicken medallions and sauté until brown (about four minutes each side).
  4. Add lemon juice and basil.
  5. Cover and reduce heat to low.
  6. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Serve over yolkless egg noodles or a whole grain pasta and a vegetable medley of your choice.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Asian Style Turkey Burger Atop Guiltless Sesame Slaw

In honor of Dare and Do, I promised the folks in Sarcasmom's 30 day challenge group that I would provide some healthy recipes.  I had this for dinner last night, and I have to tell you it was so filling and satisfying even I could not believe it was a turkey burger.  I came up with the slaw on the fly, dreading the thought a mayo-less recipe.  I will never use mayo again for coleslaw.  Enjoy!

Turkey Burger:

  • 1 lb lean turkey meat
  • 1 T Sesame Seeds
  • 1 T Brown Sugar
  • 1 T Lite Soy sauce
  • 1/2 t sesame oil
  • 1 pinch of dried ginger
  • black pepper (I omit salt on this because of the soy sauce)

  1. Combine ingredients in a medium mixing bowl being careful not to overwork.
  2. Cook on a low flame grill, and flip when the burger looks almost done (do not squeeze out juice with spatula).
  3. Temperature should be 160 degrees.
Guiltless Sesame Slaw
  • 2 C cole slaw mix (found in the produce section of your supermarket)
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2T Sesame seeds (chia seeds can be substituted, though cut it down to 1 T, to help assist with appetite suppression)
  • 1 t Sesame oil
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t red wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch of dried ginger
  1. Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl and combine well.
  2. Let stand for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Tastes even better the next day!

Friday, June 21, 2013

DARE AND DO June 21, 2013

Dare and Do...not "Dare and Do and procrastinate about blogging about it!"  I am so sorry I haven't updated, and have been daring and doing.  I have good news, and I have bad news.  I will start with the bad news:  we've been swamped.  In the past ten days, my daughter turned 9, we had a funeral to go to, my twins turned five, father's day, I turned 39, four parties, and a vacation that got turned into a not vacation, then extended by a stomach flu.  Actually, that could make a good title for Hugh Grant's next movie.  I have taken to swimming during this chaotic time, and let go of lifting weights and stomach crunches/push ups.  I see the difference, and will be returning to what I've been doing.

What have I been doing in the almost three weeks since I updated?  The good news: I realized that just like when you have to "man up" in life...there are times you need to stop being a pigheaded man.  I can't possibly keep up with a daily blog, be connected to three facebook pages, be writing a book, and first and foremost, properly parent/homeschool my girls and run this household.  I had to let that slide.  That being said, I promise to update more frequently, I've just been busy. 
I also stopped trying to lift a stupid amount of weight, and am concentrating on proper technique and toning.  It turns out...I have traps!  I was drying off when I got out of the pool and happened by a mirror.  Woo hoo!  I currently weigh in at 178, but know now that the best thing ANYONE can do is throw out the damn scale.  When we went to the funeral, I had to wear the suit I wore to my wedding 10 years ago (I'm not a suit guy).  I weighed 165 and considered myself to be in the "best shape of my life."  I am proud to say that the waist was incredibly loose and the chest was incredibly tight.  I'm doing something right!! 

Sarcastic Nanny advised me that her dare and do has led to her getting PUBLISHED!!   Cj's Culinary Journey advised me he is still soda free even on cheat days!  My wife has lost 10 pounds, and I have to get a running number going, but we are way over 50 lbs lost with those contacting me via email.  CONGRATULATIONS!!!

I wish everyone who is daring and doing well on their journey, and please send me updates!!  I promise I haven't dropped the ball, it was just an incredibly full June. 

DARE AND DO!!!  Set a goal, dare yourself, and then do it!  (And report back to me).  --Brian

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Grilled B.L.T. Salad

There are only two words to describe this grilled salad/meal:  surprisingly perfect!  The caramelizing of the lettuce and balsamic vinegar lend to a deep, rich, sweet/savory, and full bodied flavor.  I was literally floored when I took my first bite.  There is something about the way that "grilled" flavor permeates the flesh of the Romaine and elevates it to the level of art!  I served this as our main course, and it kept everyone satisfied (yet wanting more of this deliciousness) throughout the rest of the evening. Thanks to my friend CJ over at CJ'sCulinaryJourney/LifeJustShowUp for the amazing technique and inspiration behind this new go-to salad/meal idea! Enjoy!!
  • 2 Hearts of Romaine
  • 8 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled (For a healthier version, use turkey bacon)
  • 1 package of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (not pictured)
  • 1/4 C reduced fat bleu cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 C chopped walnuts
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper

  1. Fill a clean kitchen sink 3/4 full with cold water and 1 T vinegar.
  2. Place Romaine hearts in sink for at least 15 minutes (this will remove any debris).
  3. Rinse the Romaine well and dry thoroughly.
  4. Carefully slice the Romaine hearts in halve lengthwise and discard any leaves that get disconnected (keep the bottom on).
  5. Drizzle each Romaine half with 1/2 T olive oil and 1/2 T balsamic vinegar (front and back).
  6. Sprinkle garlic powder and liberally salt and pepper the Romaine halves.
  7. Place on a medium low grill (about 300 degrees) cut side down.
  8. Grill for 3-4 minutes being sure to check frequently to ensure they do not char.
  9. Flip and cook an additional 3-4 minutes.
  10. Cut the bottom core off each Romaine heart.
  11. Top with bacon, tomatoes, walnuts and bleu cheese.
Goes perfect with a Pouilly-Fouisse by Jardot. Can be served warm or cold.  ENJOY!

Monday, June 3, 2013

DARE AND DO June 3, 2013

"UGH!  I've been killing myself for two weeks, and I GAINED a pound!" exclaimed Romy.
"Did you deduct sixteen pounds for your shoes?" asked Michele.
--Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, companion movie to Dumb and Dumber...two films that were robbed of best picture nods. 

Yep, I gained a pound.  I feel fantastic, my clothes fit better, but that darn scale says 181.5.  Beer and I are good buddies, so I would hate to think that played any role in it.  So, for this week, I am going with the prospect that it could just be muscle gained from all the push ups and crunches I've been doing.  We shall see next week if me and my cerveza mas fina must part ways for a bit. ;)

I was feeling a little sluggish and down today.  My oldest daughter is having a problem at school and I spent the majority of my morning staying on top of the situation.  I am not sure if my lack of work out yesterday was the cause, or if the third grade drama was the root of the overall case of the Monday's I was experiencing.

I decided to abandon the "eat anything I want the size of my fist" at dinner tonight.  I fed the girls chicken nuggets, fries, and corn.  I had one of my old time diet go-to dishes:  tuna with lemon juice, black pepper and capers, and sliced fresh veggies.  I then did 4 miles on the bike, 200 crunches, and 25 push ups. 

If I were feeling more confident about how I look, I would have posted a vlog of what came next:  weight lifting.  I have been storing my barbells under my sink in my kitchen, and it took me twenty minutes to retrieve them.  Then, I couldn't figure out how to tighten them or how much weight to put on them.  I'm thinking it has been a while since I used them (the dust was outrageous).

I did a weight routine for my biceps, triceps, chest and shoulders.  It was like rice krispies up in my house when I was working on my triceps:  snap! crackle! pop!.  HA!  I'm going to do some research of something less strenuous for my apparently aging joints.

The feeling I had when I finished:  priceless.  I admit I was flexing in the mirror (think chicken arm McScrawny chest), and got busted by my wife, who just laughed and told me she loved me.  I am going to make weight training a more integral part of this Dare and Do.  You know, until I wake up tomorrow and really feel the effects of what I did tonight.  :)  --Brian

Sunday, June 2, 2013

DARE AND DO June 2, 2013

The warm, dry New England weather demanded ice cold beer and a shot of non productivity today.  Who am I to argue with mother nature?

We took the girls to my mom's tonight for dinner and some quality 'nana' time.  She surprised us with take out!!  She ordered a cheese pizza and grilled chicken salad with Romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, onions, peppers, bacon, egg, and feta cheese. 

I used my will power (there's a big W on my chest at this point after abstaining from BACON), and ate responsibly.  I lightly dressed the salad (with vinaigrette), and only had a little bit of the cheese and no bacon or egg.  Why would you put an egg, cooked improperly at that, in such an amazing salad?  I like green yolks in anything Dr. Seuss, but in a salad from a restaurant, really? I would ordinarily eat about 6-8 slices of pizza (it is cut in 4x3 squares), but only had one decent size piece. 

I gave in to mother nature's demands and had four beers throughout the course of the afternoon/evening.  I feel sluggish, though not hungover as I never had a buzz. Ultimately, I decided today will be one of my two "days off" this week, and chose to not work out. I have goals, but also appreciate living in the moment and smelling the roses when deemed necessary.

I weigh in tomorrow and worry this will effect the dreaded number on the scale.  I was feeling tighter and fitter.  I think the key word is 'was,' as since I had the beers I'm feeling a little bloated.  Blasted mother nature and your beer demanding weather!

My mother's neighbor is in his fifties, weighs 300 pounds, and is not a hair above 5'5".  He is a biker dude and is tattooed, bald, and has the most scraggily gray beard that I swear goes to his belly button.  I was outside with the kids on their scooters and watched this man run to the end of the sidewalk.  He ran with such intent I worried something was wrong.  He then ran to the other side of the sidewalk.  I wondered if he was looking for something.  About five minutes later, I looked back over and saw that he was still running back and forth, and I realized:  he's daring and doing!!  It made me smile as I realized we are all unique and different, but we all have goals, hopes and dreams.  I'm rooting for him.  DARE AND DO BIKER DUDE!  Now I hope I'm as smiley when I weigh in tomorrow morning.  --Brian

Saturday, June 1, 2013

DARE AND DO June 1, 2013

Accountability.  I never knew the power it could have over my lazy, undisciplined ways. 

We had company from out of state here for dinner today.  Our friend, Nancy, is also an aspiring cook book author (and an AMAZING home cook).  Eating and talking about food is kind of our thing.  She has been my wife's best friend since they were kids, but when we get together I tend to hog the "conversation space" with my kindred fellow foodie.

Imagine my surprise, this first day of self reporting here, when she showed up with a tomato bacon pie!!!  If it weren't for having to come on here and report my progress, half that pie would have been in my stomach and I'd be lazing on the couch right now, shaking my head and thinking "DOH!" 

I followed my rule of "the size of a fist" portion, and kept all "non healthy foods" to that limit.  The pie was outrageous, and I don't have words to describe how difficult it was to not eat the girls' leftover portions. 

I kept dinner light and had grilled skinless boneless chicken breast (it was brined, but I didn't put salt on anything else).  I had cauliflower casserole (portion size in concert with the tomato bacon pie was my "regular eating"), and a romaine salad with walnuts, reduced fat bleu cheese crumbles and my lemon basil garlic dressing (recipe can be found under the salad tab:  The best chopped salad in the history of ever). 

The most difficult part of my day was when they left.  We had been outside in the sun all day, chasing after five rambunctious children.  I felt I had my cardio workout (always my excuse to not exercise), and was completely beat.  I walked past the exercise bike, stationed in the corner near our entertainment center, and had a sense of dread.  I pictured writing here: "and I did not workout tonight," and that was all the motivation I needed.  I excused myself from our "nigh-night" routine, kissed my girls goodnight,  and hopped on the bike. 

I did 4.5 miles on 50% resistance.  I found my thighs were really burning in the last two weeks.  It has lessened with each work out.  This was the first work out where that was not a problem (I did not once have to push my knees down with my hands, :P ).  I immediately went into stretches, touched on some yoga (up dog and down dog count, right?), and then did 250 crunches and 40 push ups. 

The level of energy and overall wellness I feel is off the chart.  I weigh in on Monday and look forward to learning my current weight.  My bathing suit is starting to fit again, which is fantastic because our community pool opens up next week and I live right across the street!  I integrate weights on Monday and move forward.  Onward and upward!  I hope everyone is doing well on their dare and do, or is thinking about what they want to do for their dare and do!!  :)  Brian