Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Grasshopper Pie x 2

Summer – it just screams pie, right? The call is too loud to disregard, clean eating efforts be damned. My excuse is, when I make a pie and take it somewhere, at least it won’t be in the house so that I am tempted to eat the whole thing. Plus, the purchasing of bizarre, mystery liqueurs to make a dessert is half the fun! Take it to a party and make other people eat it! Yeah, that’s the ticket…

There are many versions of Grasshopper Pie (including one made with ice cream which I did not try), but I naturally gravitated first to one made with Jell-O, my eternal love – that most versatile of sugary powders. I will share it with you, but I warn you – it’s not the best. It is entirely too sweet, and It has to be mixed with Cool Whip, for heaven’s sake. Yuck! Why did I think *that* would taste good? Cool Whip – something I had only heard about until I began recreating vintage recipes for this blog, something I didn’t even know where to find in the grocery store. (Tip: you find it in the freezer section. And it’s strangely weightless. And tastes of chemicals.) Still, this is the first version of the pie that I made, so here is the recipe, from 1988’s “Jell-O: Fun and Fabulous Recipes”. Yeah, some are more fabulous than others…

Looked great, but too sweet. Plus, shame on me for not making my own pie crust!

Next, I turned to a more trustworthy source, my Betty Crocker Cookbook from 1969. Thank you Betty for relying on the old stand-by, melted marshmallows, to create the filling in the pie! And remarkably, other than the marshmallows, Oreos and food coloring, this version of grasshopper pie is made with actual real ingredients – things I know! That are not highly processed! I had a good feeling about this.

First: the crushing of the Oreo cookies to make the crust. Yes, you could use chocolate wafers but I was making this pie for a party at my Dad’s, and the local store didn’t have the right kind. So, crush up Oreos (Fun! Place them in a plastic bag and go to town with a meat tenderizer! BANG!), then mix with ¼ cup melted butter, form in the pie dish and bake for 20 min, then chill.

The only thing tricky about this pie is that there are several steps and each one requires
chilling before and/or after. It doesn’t take long to put together, but the overall time will be a few hours  because of chill time. So plan to, you know, chill, between steps.

I succumbed to lure of green food coloring, essentially because it is an amusing novelty to prepare food that is green, but honestly you don’t need it – the crème de menthe provides a green tint. And speaking of food that is green, after these two pies, my next experiment was with another green pie, featuring a secret ingredient that provided the color and consistency: avocado! However, that is a story for another time. Spoiler: it is NOT something I will be making again. I’m kind of thinking of going back to fruit pies…

"The Best"? DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE. This is a lie. Sorry...

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Real Mod Cleanse aka 3 Day Refresh

I have had trouble with portion control for a long time, and also had been traveling and eating all the wrong things over the 4th of July holiday, so I decided to do the 3 Day Refresh from the makers of Shakeology.

3 Day Refresh Kit

Here is the kit with my shaker bottle. If you don't already use Shakeology, you can get a Complete Kit that also has a 3 day supply of your breakfast shake.

 Day 1 I was sad to have my Shakeology with water, because I normally blend it with fruit and coconut water or almond milk, but I did put ½ a banana with the Greenberry flavor and it was fine. When I got to work I had green tea which was, well, hot. I don’t love green tea (Ice cream? Yes) but I am used to drinking tea in the morning, so this was similar at least, and gave me something to do. It was a bummer that of all days THIS was the day I had to review catering menus for an upcoming event, but it was a good test of my willpower. (USUALLY I have very little willpower when it comes to food, hence the cleanse!) Anyhow, before I knew it, it was time for Fiber Sweep which *HOLY MOLY* tasted to me like a Botan Rice Candy! It was very thick but not bad, in a vaguely sweet and citrus-y way. Fiber? I’d rather not over think it. Downed it and moved on.

3 Day Lunch

Here is the lunch I packed for Day 1
For lunch, I had carrots and 2 Tbsp hummus (NEVER have I been so thrilled to eat humus!) and some grapes and the first Vanilla Fresh shake. The grapes tasted so very sweet and I loved them – good thing, because though the shake was not BAD, I didn’t love it. Again, I just downed it and felt full, which was the idea. My co-workers were having tacos (cruel) but I managed not to even eat one chip! The rest of the day, I watched the clock to make sure I was having my next tea and snack (cherry tomatoes) each hour – if I went much longer than that, I felt cranky. I nearly caved in the afternoon when I always drink coffee, especially since someone had just made a pot, but I stayed strong and was proud and surprised! On the drive home I was feeling really hungry and thought about the Cliff bar that was in my gym bag, but remarkably, I didn’t eat it, though as I prepared the salad for my dinner which was meant to be topped with sunflower seeds, I have to admit I just ate them right away because I had gone too long between meals and was feeling shaky. Then I had another Vanilla Fresh (downed it in 3 seconds flat) and the Spinach Salad recipe and veggie broth and I felt really full and happy but also very tired. Full disclosure: I was also gassy, which horrifies me and made me glad I live alone! I went to bed at 9pm on Day 1, after looking at cheese in the fridge and wanting it but deciding to dream of it instead of eating it.

3 Day Breakfast

 Here is a typical breakfast: water / shakeology / green tea

Day 2 I woke up at 5:30 and I felt great! I made sure to drink lots of water and then I did a PiYo (Pilates / Yoga) 30 min workout which I had no problem with – you can totally still exercise while on the 3 Day, just keep it mild. For breakfast I had chocolate Shakeology blended with pineapple (yum!) and water (booo) and to be honest I can’t say if it is the cleanse or the workout, but I got in the shower feeling 10 years younger! At work I was again very careful to space out each drink, shake or snack so that I was having something each hour. I had a meeting in the afternoon that went 2 hours, and towards the end I felt a big slump and wanted to sleep. As soon as I got out of the meeting, I had my snack of mushrooms, and that made me perk right up again. Somehow also the foods I picked today didn’t give me any gas, thank heavens! I made a point of going home on time so that I could have my 3rd shake of the day at 6pm and after, I felt good enough to go for a quick jog! Then at 7pm I had dinner (green beans) and broth. Went to bed at 10 feeling full and happy.

 3 Day Dinner

Here is dinner with the Lemony Green Beans, which I would totally make again!

3 Day Green Beans Recipe

Day 3 I felt hungry when I woke up but drank lots of water and then did my workout and felt great, plus I was happy to have my Greenberry Shakeology with pineapple this time. AND I’m not gonna lie, I also snuck in 1/3 cucumber in the blender, and it tasted SO much better. Did I just blow it entirely? I don’t think so. Again during the day I very carefully ate one item each hour, even splitting up the things I had for lunch over 3 hours just to avoid any spikes or slumps. Being busy at work helped keep me from thinking about food, but I also found I wasn’t all that into obsessing over it today. The REAL test came when, at 5pm, I met friends in a BAR! And (drumroll please…) I had a Calistoga with lemon!!! And I didn’t die! I didn’t cave, even walking to my car, through San Francisco’s North Beach which is full of amazing restaurants with delightful smells. The fact that I had made it that far made me keep on walking. Pride is a strong emotion, and it gave me willpower that day! Also, I was truly not starving. Though by now I was sick of the Vanilla Fresh shakes, I was glad to have one more that was ready in seconds when I got home. I downed that as I made the roasted asparagus dish for dinner, which was STUNNINGLY good and something I will totally make again as a side dish. I was full and very mellow, which is a strange state for me; usually I am 100% ON or 100% OFF, as in hyper or asleep. At the end of day 3 I felt relaxed and tired but not exhausted.

Day 3 Dinner Recipe: 

3 Day Asparagus Recipe

3 Day Empty Box
All done!


The morning after the 3 Day Refresh I had lost 2.5 pounds and felt calm and in good spirits. What surprised me was that I didn’t run right out and get tacos! I was actually mindful of what I put into my lunch for the day, and had a small dinner. I did go back to drinking tea, but that is more of a habit. I had no coffee and didn’t really miss it. A lovely benefit was that I was able to put on a ring that hadn’t fit me in the last few years! What I learned was the importance of spacing out food to avoid spikes, and to be mindful of portion sizes.

ONE WEEK LATER - I still feel good and have been eating smaller portions and not had as many cravings! The 3 Day Refresh really was an easy way to "re-set" my eating habits and also helped me to get back to being mindful of what I put into my body.