December 2011 Archives

What I ate: December 31, 2011

Breakfast: Waffles and bacon. And a mimosa.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts. Later, 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot garlic and herb cheddar. And a glass of cava.

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Dinner: Tingua poblano - Mexican stew of pork, potatoes and tomatoes.

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And 2 glasses of Josh cabernet sauvignon

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And New Year's Eve celebration: a split of delicious Veuve Clicquot champagne!

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And 2 bowls of evil popcorn.


Weight at beginning of the day: 114.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.8 lbs. 

What I ate: December 30, 2011


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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix.



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Snack: 0.5 oz. pretzels and 9 oz. of Sierra Nevada pale ale. I did some painting today, and beer and pretzels seemed good. The rest of the beer is for tonight's beer batter for the fish.

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Dinner: Fish and chips. And 1 glass of Sebastiani chardonnay.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 114.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.2 lbs. 

What I ate: December 29, 2011


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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix. And a Spicy V-8.



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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts.


Dinner: Roasted pork, rice and sautéed cabbage. And 2 glasses of Aguaribay malbec.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 115.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day:114.8 lbs. 

What I ate: December 28, 2011


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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix.



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This is my 11 year-old nephew's special spicy bread. He didn't say exactly what was in it, though there is definitely rosemary, cayenne pepper and I think oregano. He did warn me that it was spicy because of the cayenne, and it didn't seem so spicy at first, though my lips were still tingling 10 minutes after eating it.

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I made a batch of clams casino. They're for tomorrow, because I got a bag of 2 dozen mahogany clams today and there were too many just for dinner tonight but I still needed to cook them off today.

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And my snack today, instead of the usual cheese and crackers, was four raw clams with sriracha horseradish sauce. And a glass of Prosecco.

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Dinner: Fried clams, coconut fried shrimp and French fries. And 9 oz. of Saranac Adirondack lager.

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Dessert: 2 glasses of Aguaribay malbec.



Weight at beginning of the day: 116.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 115.4 lbs. 

Fried clams and coconut fried shrimp

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This isn't the healthiest meal, and it's actually an awful lot of work, but it's quite tasty.


Homemade tartar sauce

minced shallot (can substitute onion)
1 tbsp. pickle relish
2-3 tbsp. mayonnaise 
salt
pepper

It should probably have a little lemon juice in it, but I hate to juice a lemon for 1 tsp. of lemon juice, and I find that it makes it kind of watery. So I usually just leave it out.


Beer batter

Prepare a batch of beer batter. Beat one egg in a bowl. Then discard half of the egg. This is kind of weird, but you really only need half an egg. Add 3 oz. of beer and beat lightly to combine. Then beat in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour. That's it!


Coconut shrimp

Peel and devein 8 large shrimp. 

Season with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, then beer batter, then shredded coconut. 

I used sweetened shredded coconut because that's what I had, but I'm not sure if unsweetened would have been better. It was quite good the way I made it.

Deep fry for 2 minutes at 360°F.

I used to make this with a spicy orange dipping sauce... I'll have to dig up the recipe, as it was pre-food blog.


Fried clams

Shuck 10 clams. This is a ridiculous amount of work for the amount of meat you get.

Season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Dredge in flour, then beer batter.

Deep fry for 1:30 at 360°F.

I had never made fried clams from scratch. They were pretty good in the sense that you could tell they were clams, but I'm not sure the beer batter was right. I'm thinking something with cornmeal might be better.


French fries

These are 3.6 oz. of Cascadian organic shoestring French fries. Deep fry for 2 minutes at 360°F. Drain, then season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper.

What I ate: December 27, 2011

Breakfast: Eggs, toast, bacon. And a glass of orange juice.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix. And a Spicy V-8.



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I cooked a batch of buttermilk biscuits that I'll use for sausage, egg and cheese biscuit at some point in the future. I freeze them.

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A batch of jalapeño skillet cornbread. I happened to be almost out of both, and both require buttermilk, so that worked out surprisingly well. This gets cut into 8 pieces and frozen.

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And finally a new batch of Sriracha Chex Mix. I had an unknown about while making it, as well.

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Dinner: Chicken paprika, rice and broccoli. And 2 glasses of malbec.

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Dessert: 3 strips of Dagoba xocolatl dark chocolate bar.


Weight at beginning of the day: 114.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 116.2 lbs. 

What I ate: December 26, 2011

Breakfast: Pancakes, maple breakfast link sausage and real maple syrup. Pancakes and sausage were previously frozen.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix. And a Spicy V-8.


I grilled a package of hot dogs. I don't eat them very often, but occasionally I get a craving and it's nice to a grilled Hebrew National hot dog pre-grilled, vacuum sealed and ready to go at any time. It's a little weird grilling at 9:00 AM when it's 30°F outside, but, oddly enough, fairly typical here. 

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All individually vacuum sealed for easy reheating boil-in-bag or in the sous vide machine.

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Lunch: Well I was going to have zucchini and bacon stir-fry but the hot dogs smelled so good I decided to have one of those instead. Reheated for 30 minutes at 150°F in the sous vide, since it wasn't frozen yet. Normally it would be 45 minutes from frozen.

With 3.0 oz. Cascadian organic frozen shoestring French fries, cooked 2 minutes at 160°F in the deep fryer. And a glass of Saranac Adirondack lager.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts. And later, 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot habanero cheddar and a half glass of Sebastiani chardonnay.


Dinner: Roast beef, rice, gravy, broccoli. And 2 glasses of Ruta 22 Malbec.

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Dessert: 2 strips of Green & Black's ginger dark chocolate bar.


Weight at beginning of the day: 116.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.0 lbs. 

What I ate: December 25, 2011


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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts.

Dinner: Iron Chef Chinese buffet with Mom and Dad.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 117.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 116.6 lbs. 

What I ate: December 24, 2011

Breakfast: Chorizo breakfast burrito. And a mimosa.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix. And a Spicy V-8.


A short walk on the treadmill: 28 minutes at 3.3 MPH = 1.5 miles while using the treadmill laptop desk.



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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts. And 1 bowl of evil popcorn. And a glass of Saranac pale ale.

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And 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot habanero cheddar cheese. And less than a half glass of Sebastiani chardonnay.


Dinner: Sushi regular at Tokyo Tavern in Oneonta, New York, with Mom and Dad. I should have gotten the California roll instead of the spicy crunchy tuna roll. 

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Dessert: Homemade eggnog.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 114.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 117.6 lbs. 

What I ate: December 23, 2011

Breakfast: A waffle and bacon, both previously frozen. And a glass of orange juice.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix.

I made a batch of beef gravy for tomorrow's dinner (roast beef).

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts. Later, 3 Late July organic crackers with Cabot extra sharp cheddar cheese. And two glasses of cava.

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And a glass of Sebastiani chardonnay.

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And 3 bowls of evil popcorn.


Weight at beginning of the day: 113.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.6 lbs. 

What I ate: December 22, 2011


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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix. And a Spicy V-8.


Lunch: Roast beef sandwich. With home-cooked eye round roast beef, mayonaise and horseradish on one slice of Barowski's wheat bread, cut in half. And Kettle Chips barbecue potato chips.

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Walked a little over a mile to the post office. It's not a long walk, but there's over 200 feet of elevation difference.


Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts. And later 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot habanero cheddar. And a splash of Redcliffe sauvignon blanc. That was the end of the bottle.

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Dinner: Grilled salmon, spicy green beans and rice. That's wild coho salmon that I previously grilled, vacuum sealed and froze. I reheated it in the sous vide for 40 minutes at 138°F from frozen and it was perfect.

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And 2 glasses of Parker Station pinot noir.



Weight at beginning of the day: 115.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.6  lbs. 

What I ate: December 21, 2011

Breakfast: Eggs, toast, bacon.

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A Spicy V-8.

Lunch: Jalapeño poppers, tortilla chips and homemade guacamole. This was not my planned lunch, but I had a sudden abundance of jalapeños and leftover guacamole, so this was my solution.

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I took a short walk on the treadmill, 28 minutes at 3.3 MPH, 1.5 miles total. I used my treadmill laptop desk so I could continue to "work." Actually, check Facebook and DamnYouAutocorrect.

Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts. Later, 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot habanero cheddar cheese. And a half glass of Redcliffe sauvignon blanc.

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Dinner: Crumb pork chop, rice, cabbage. The pork chop is one of those crazy 1970s comfort food things and includes both mayonnaise and crushed Ritz crackers.

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And 2 glasses of Parker Station pinot noir.

Dessert: 2 strips of Green & Black's ginger dark chocolate.


Weight at beginning of the day: 115.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 115.2 lbs. 

Jalapeño poppers, tortilla chips and homemade guacamole

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This was an unplanned lunch - the grocery store was out of loose jalapeños so I had to buy a whole bag of them, which then got me wondering what to do with all of the extra jalapeños.

The obvious answer was a jalapeño poppers! I made a fresh batch of my homemade poppers, stuffed with shallot, garlic, jalapeño and cream cheese.

I had leftover homemade guacamole from a few days ago. It was still good because I had vacuum sealed it, but it was getting to the point where I'd either have to eat it or throw it away.

The rest was just 1.0 oz. corn tortilla chips. 

And a little raspberry chipotle sauce for dipping the poppers.

Delicious!



What I ate: December 20, 2011


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And I cooked and froze 2 pounds of bacon.

Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix and a Spicy V-8.


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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts. And, later, 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot hot habanero cheddar and a half glass of Redcliffe sauvignon blanc.

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And 2 glasses of Septima malbec.

Dessert: 3 strips of Dagoba xocolatl dark chocolate.


Weight at beginning of the day: 116.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 115.6 lbs. 

What I ate: December 18, 2011

Breakfast: Blueberry muffin and bacon. And a glass of orange juice.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix and a Spicy V-8.


Lunch: Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich and Kettle Chips barbecue potato chips.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts. And later, 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot garlic and herb cheddar cheese. And a half glass of Redcliffe sauvignon blanc.

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Dinner: Mom's fried rice.

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And 2 glasses of Septima malbec.

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I fully intended to not eat any of the evil popcorn, but I failed, because, well, it's evil. 3 bowls.


Weight at beginning of the day: 116.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 116.6 lbs. 

What I ate: December 18, 2011


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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix.



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Dinner: Iron Chef Chinese buffet with Mom and Dad.

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Snack: Evil popcorn. Every year Mom and Dad send a tub of Popcorn Factory popcorn (plain, cheese and caramel). And two more bowls like this. As I said, it's evil.

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And 2 glasses of Zynthesis zinfandel.


Weight at beginning of the day: 115.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 116.4 lbs. 


What I ate: December 17, 2011


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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix. And a Spicy V-8.



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Snack: 1.0 oz. peanuts.



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And 2 glasses of Zynthesis zinfandel, Lodi, California, 2009. This was very tasty. The first sip was very jammy and after that it was just plain delicious.

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Dessert: One homemade chocolate chip and walnut cookie (previously frozen) and Patron XO café tequia.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 114.2 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 115.4 lbs. 

What I ate: December 16, 2011

Breakfast: Pancakes and bacon. A new batch of pancakes today.

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Lunch: Lunch was supposed to be pork with broccoli and scallions but after spending the morning runner errands and shopping, including going to one of my least favorite places, Wal-Mart, I felt the sudden craving for McDonalds. Quarter pounder with cheese, medium fries.

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Then I came home and made a beautiful grilled wild coho salmon. That's vacuum sealed and frozen for a future meal, however.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix.


Dinner: Tuna sushi plate. Spicy tuna and cucumber nori roll and tuna, cucumber, avocado and carrot nori roll. And some tuna sashimi.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 114.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.2 lbs. 

What I ate: December 15, 2011


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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix. And a Spicy V-8.



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Snack: 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot garlic and herb cheddar cheese. And a little Redcliffe sauvignon blanc.

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Dinner: Rigatoni, broccoli, prosciutto and tomato in spicy vodka cream sauce. With one slice of wheat Italian bread and 2 glasses of Mark West pinot noir.

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Dessert: 2 strips of Green & Black's ginger dark chocolate.



Weight at beginning of the day: 114.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.4 lbs. 

What I ate: December 14, 2011

Breakfast: Breakfast burrito with spicy chorizo, green pepper, onion, jalapeño and egg. The is the leftover filling from Monday, reheated and put into a freshly warmed tortilla. Delicious!

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix. And a Spicy V-8.


Lunch: Marinated tempeh fried wontons with a side of plain fried wonton strips.

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Snack: 0.5 oz. peanuts. And later 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot habanero cheddar and a little Anni Riesling.

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Dinner: Roasted chicken, broccoli, gravy and rice. And 2 glasses of Mark West pinot noir.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 114.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.0 lbs. 

What I ate: December 13, 2011

Breakfast: Waffles and bacon. Today was a fresh batch of waffles as I had finished off all of my previous made and frozen waffles.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix and a Spicy V-8.


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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix. Later, 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot habanero cheddar cheese. And a little Riesling.

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Dinner: Fried chicken sandwich with wasabi mayonnaise on a wheat roll with lettuce, a few chicken tenders on the side and French fries.

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And 2 glasses of Yauquen malbec.

Dessert: 1 homemade chocolate chip cookie (previously frozen).


Weight at beginning of the day: 114.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.6 lbs. 

Fried chicken sandwich

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I was originally going to make my fried chicken fingers, boneless 'wings' and French fries for dinner, but for some reason I had a sudden craving for a fried chicken sandwich. No problem!

Fried chicken sandwich with wasabi mayonnaise on a wheat roll with lettuce, a few chicken tenders on the side and French fries.

I started with a 6.0 oz. package of "natural" chicken breast tenderloins. An actual breast would have been easier since it could be butterflied and then cooked as one big piece. But, making do with what I had worked fine. I just made each of the tenderloins individually, though I cut them a little shorter so they wouldn't be that much longer than the bun.

Season the chicken with salt, freshly ground black pepper, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper.

Prepare a breading station with a plate of flour, a bowl of one egg, beaten and a plate of seasoned breadcrumbs.

Dredge the chicken pieces in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.

Deep fry for 2 - 3 minutes at 360°F, depending on how thick the chicken is, until it's browned at 160°F in the center.


After taking the chicken out, deep fry frozen French fries for 2 minutes. In this case, it's 3.5 oz.  of Cascadian organic shoestring French fries. Remove from the oil, then immediately salt and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper.


Spread the wasabi mayonnaise (below) on the bun, in this case it's a Barowski's wheat hamburger bun. Add the chicken and lettuce. You could put a tomato on there, but I find it makes it too slippery and hard to eat.

This was easy and really good. No reason to go to Chick-Fil-A and definitely no reason to ever get a McChicken.

Update 4/16/2012

The chicken can be frozen. It works best to defrost it for 0:25 in the microwave at high power, then deep fry for 1 minute at 360°F to crisp it again. With frying again you might not even know it's been frozen, and, well, you want to heat up the fryer to make French fries anyway.

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Wasabi Mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. dry wasabi powder (could use more)
water to make a paste
1/2 tbsp. mayonnaise

This is enough mayo for 1 sandwich; you'd probably want to scale this up if making more, or if you really like mayo.

What I ate: December 12, 2011

Breakfast: Breakfast burrito with spicy chorizo, green pepper, onion, jalapeño and egg. So good, though my mouth is on fire! With a glass of orange juice.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix. Then, later, 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot hot habanero cheddar cheese. And a little Anni Riesling.

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Dinner: Beef stroganoff. I haven't had it for years but it seemed like a good cold weather comfort food and it was delicious!

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With 2 glasses of Yauquen malbec.

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Dessert: 2 strips (6 squares) of Green & Black's ginger dark chocolate.


Weight at beginning of the day: 114.4 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.4 lbs. 

Beef Stroganoff

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I haven't made this dish in years, but it seems like a good cold weather dish. This makes one serving with no leftovers. And it's delicious!

1.5 oz. egg noodles (dry weight)
3.0 to 6.0 oz. sliced beef
4 oz. white mushrooms (4 kind of large ones)
2.0 oz. water
1 tsp. More than Gourmet demi glace
1/8 cup sour cream

When I made this originally I used 6.0 oz. of sliced sirloin steak (pictured above). Now, I usually make it with 3.0 to 3.2 oz. of eye of round steak or a couple slices off a roast.


Heat a pot of salted water and prepare a 1.5 oz. serving of egg noodles.

Thinly slice the mushrooms (about 1/8" thick slices).

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Trim the fat and thinly slice the steak. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Heat a sauté pan and add clarified butter or oil. Cook the beef until just barely done, about a minute per side, then remove from the pan and set aside.

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Add a little butter if the pan looks dry. Add the mushrooms to the sauté pan and cook for 2 minutes. Then remove the mushrooms and add to the beef that you set aside.

Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine. Add 2 oz. water and 1 tsp. More than Gourmet demi glace concentrate. Dissolve the concentrate in the water and wine. 

You could add 4 oz. of beef stock and reduce it, but the More than Gourmet concentrated stock gel is so much more convenient because it keeps basically forever in the refrigerator and contains no fillers, salt, etc.. Bring to a boil and reduce a bit.

Lower the heat and add 1/8 cup of sour cream.

Drain the pasta, then add the pasta, reserved beef and mushrooms to the pan. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Toss to combine then plate.

This recipe is roughly based on the recipe in The Professional Chef, the cookbook from The Culinary Institute of America. Their recipe serves 10, however. 

It's also similar to my ancient copy of The Joy of Cooking, though that omits the stock (More than Gourmet demi glace + water). And it seems the meat seems would be way overcooked in their recipe.

Update 9/19/2012:
I reduced the amount of pasta from 2.0 oz. to 1.5 oz. and it was still enough. I also added the salt and pepper on the raw beef before cooking.

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Updated 10/8/2014: Here is is with 3.1 oz. eye of round roast beef (weight before cooking), sliced and cooked as above.

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What I ate: December 11, 2011

Breakfast: Homemade bagel, lox, cream cheese, tomato and red onion. And a mimosa.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix and a Spicy V-8.



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Snack: 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot habanero cheddar. And a little Riesling.

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Dinner: Iron Chef Chinese buffet with Mom and Dad.

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And 2 glasses of Sangre de Viña malbec.

Weight at beginning of the day: 113.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.4 lbs. 

A whole lot of recipes!

If you're reading this from the front page or the December 2011 archives, you're probably wondering why there are a ton of new recipe postings.

I went back through every one of the "What I ate" postings, about 14 months worth of daily postings, and made sure there was a separate recipe page for everything that I've made. I also added comments, tags, categories and some links between some of the older recipe postings.

Some of the recipes are kind of silly, I mean who needs a recipe for a ham and cheese sandwich? But I wanted all of the separate postings so I can eventually make sort of a menu browser that would make it easier for me to find meals to make when I plan my weekly menus.

Here are links to a few of the posts right before the pile of recipes:


Chicken Parmesan

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Most of the time I have my pasta with Italian sausage or meatballs. But once in a while I'll make Chicken Parmesan.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta and prepare according to package directions. For the 2.0 oz. of Barilla spaghetti here, 9 minutes.

Start with 5.0 to 6.0 oz. of chicken breast or chicken breast tenders. If the breast is thick I find it works best to slice it into two thin slices to make it easier to cook.

Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and granulated garlic.

Set up a breading station with a plate of all-purpose flour, a bowl with an egg, beaten, and finally seasoned breadcrumbs with freshly grated Parmesan cheese in it.

Dredge the chicken in flour, then egg, then the bread crumb and cheese mixture.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add olive oil and cook the chicken until browned and cooked through (160°F in the center), 5 to 10 minutes. Update 3/12/2012: See note below for alternate cooking method.

Since I don't use enough tomato sauce to consume an entire 26 oz. jar of sauce before it goes bad, I vacuum seal and freeze 5 oz. packages of my homemade sauce, or sometimes sauce from a jar.

I defrost the sauce ahead of time - the vacuum sealed bags can go into a bowl of cold water for 1 to 2 hours, about the amount of time a slice of frozen bread, wrapped in plastic wrap, will defrost at room temperature.

Pour the sauce into a bowl, add some seasonings (I like red pepper flakes and oregano), cover, and microwave for 1:20.

Plate the chicken, the pasta, and add sauce. Serve!

The chicken can be frozen, but like many breaded foods, it really is best fresh.

Update 3/27/2012:

Instead of cooking in a sauté pan, it really is much easier to deep fry it. 3 minutes at 360°F for boneless chicken breast tenders works great. The chicken is perfectly browned, moist and juicy, and you don't have to worry about the cheese and breading sticking to the pan!

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Sautéed spinach, sardines and rice

ate.2011.01.27.l.jpgThis is one of those lunches that I ate so often I kind of got sick of it and stopped making it. But it's quick, easy and healthy.

If the rice is refrigerated, plate one serving, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 0:40. Top with furikake (seaweed, sesame seeds, etc.).

Serve either a half tin or a full tin of sardines with a little soy sauce. These are Wild Planet sustainably caught California coast wild sardines packed in water. 

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add a little oil, 2 cups of spinach, and wilt the spinach. Add freshly ground black pepper, hana katso (Japanese dried bonito fish flakes) and soy sauce.

That's it!

I've also made this dish with kale instead of spinach.


Pasta with meat sauce and zucchini

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This is my take on goulash, with a little added vegetable to make it a bit healthier.

One of the problems of cooking for one is that tomato sauce with meat is hard to scale, and I refuse to buy a jar of sauce with unknown meat already in it. Fortunately, it freezes really well, so I cook ground beef (preferably ground at home from chuck steak), then scale out about 3 oz. of ground beef and 5 oz. of tomato sauce (possibly homemade), vacuum seal and freeze. Then it's ready whenever I want meat sauce.

Prepare 2.0 oz. of pasta, such as elbows or the Barilla cellentani pasta, below.

Finely dice a small zucchini or half of a larger one.

In a sauté pan, add a little olive oil and sauté the zucchini until softened. Add the tomato and meat sauce.

When the pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce and zucchini.

Serve with bread with a little olive oil, salt and pepper dipping sauce.

Obviously you could make this with plain tomato sauce instead of meat sauce, and it would be vegetarian.

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I've also made it with zucchini and Italian sausage instead of ground beef meat sauce.

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Here it is with 1.6 oz. whole wheat penne, finely diced zucchini, 6.0 oz. homemade tomato sauce and 3.0 oz. homemade ground beef.

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And with 1/3 of a medium zucchini, 1.8 oz. whole wheat penne, 1.8 oz. beef with onions and garlic, and 5.0 oz. marinara.

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I've since reduced the sauce to 4.2 oz.; this seems like a good amount with 1/3 of a zucchini, 1.8 oz. whole wheat penne pasta and 1.8 oz. beef with onions and garlic.

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Chana Masala and Vegetable Pakora

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The Chana Masala (chickpeas) can be made ahead and frozen.

The vegetable pakora can be made ahead as well, though it is best freshly deep fried. If frozen, it works best to defrost it, then cook it in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes or so.

The dipping sauce is a green chutney.

Spinach salad

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This delicious salad is something I crave in the spring time.

When I'm in the spinach salad mood I often take a package of baby spinach, wash it, and divide it into pint-sized wide-mouth canning jars and vacuum seal. This works out to a perfect serving size of spinach and it keeps quite well in the vacuum sealed jar.

This salad has a homemade sherry vinaigrette, though I also make it with balsamic or raspberry vinegar. I use a tiny Pyrex bowl with a rubber lid. Add a few splashes of vinegar, olive oil, a dash of Dijon mustard, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put the lid on and shake it vigorously. That's it! I usually make dressing for exactly one salad at a time.

There's 1.0 oz. of goat cheese on top. I buy the little 4.0 oz. log of Vermont Butter and Cheese goat cheese then score it in quarters. I use one quarter for each salad. Vacuum sealed, it lasts for a long time in the refrigerator.

And 0.5 oz. of homemade candied walnuts. They can be made ahead and keep for weeks in the refrigerator.

Finally, on the side a homemade whole wheat and oat roll, toasted, with butter.

Roasted pork, rice, gravy and broccoli

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I often cook a boneless center-cut pork roast in the sous video to make pork stir-fry meat. But sometimes I cook it in the oven without any special equipment at all!

The advantage of this is that I can also get 5.0 oz. servings of thinly sliced roasted pork with gravy. 

The pork can be frozen, but I usually eat this one fresh because the gravy is better fresh.

For the broccoli, cut into small pieces. Add to a bowl, rinse, drain, add a little water back in, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 1:20.

For Japanese white sushi rice, stored in the refrigerator, plate one serving, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 0:40.

I also have a bone-in roasted pork recipe, which doesn't have gravy.


What I ate: December 10, 2011

Breakfast: Eggs, toast and corned beef hash. And a mimosa.

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Lunch: Tuna salad sandwich with Kettle Chips barbecue potato chips.

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Snack: 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot herb and garlic cheddar cheese. And a half glass of Rabbit Ridge chardonnay.

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Dinner: Tonkatsu and rice with furikake. There probably should have been a vegetable here. And 2 glasses of Sange de Viña malbec.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 113.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.8 lbs.

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I have a non-traditional formula for pizza: A thin crust with all manners of stuff piled on top. This pizza probably has 1/4" of crust and nearly 2" of toppings.

It starts with a batch of homemade pizza dough, which can be made ahead and frozen.

Because of the ridiculously large number of toppings you pretty much have to par-bake the crust otherwise you'll end up with raw dough in the center, and that's bad. 5 minutes at 500°F will solve that problem.


Then add the toppings. In this case:

green pepper
onion
Italian sausage
grilled chicken

Okay, including chicken and sausage is probably a little unnecessary, but it's quite tasty. I pre-cook Italian sausage for spaghetti with Italian sausage and grilled chicken for grilled chicken Caesar salad, so I always have both pre-cooked and frozen.

Top with mozzarella cheese (and maybe some freshly grated Parmesan) and bake for 10 minutes at 500°F.



Grilled chicken Caesar salad with roll

ate.2011.07.16.l.jpgI seem to crave this dish in the summer more than the winter, as with salad in general.

The chicken I grill ahead of time. Season chicken breast with salt, freshly ground pepper and granulated garlic. Vacuum seal and cook in the sous vide for 1 hour at 160°F. Remove from the sous vide, drain, the grill for 1:30 on each side on a very hot grill. I use an infrared propane grill but charcoal would be even better. Let cool, then slice, divide into 3.2 oz. servings, vacuum seal and freeze.

For the salad I use Romaine lettuce. When I'm eating this frequently I pre-cut and wash multiple salads' worth of lettuce and vacuum seal them in quart-sized wide-mouth canning jars. Then I can just grab one salad's worth of lettuce, pop the top and dump it onto the plate - ready for serving.

Add Caesar dressing and toss. Add the defrosted grilled chicken, freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper. Optionally add anchovies.

Excellent with a homemade whole wheat and oat roll, split and lightly toasted, with real butter.

Spicy green bean lunch

ate.2011.07.23.l.jpgNormally I made spicy green beans as a side dish, perhaps with salmon. But especially during green bean season, I sometimes make an extra large serving as a healthy and tasty lunch.


Tofu, broccoli and scallion stir-fry

ate.2011.07.24.l.jpgThis dish is delicious, but I inexplicably go between bouts of having it a couple times a week, and then not having it for months at a time. Go figure.

I usually make this with half a cake of extra-firm tofu in the 14 oz. plastic tray with the plastic film lid. Of course this leaves half a package of tofu. It will keep for a week or two in a container if you change the water every few days. It can also be made from the tofu in the aseptic package, and then you can use the whole package.

Update 9/14/2012: I've switched to using 1/3 of a 14 oz. package of tofu because it seemed like a little too much to use half.

This dish works best in a non-stick sauté pan, or a very well seasoned pan, because the tofu is much better when it gets browned, but it also really will want to stick to your pan. Beware.

Cut 3-4 scallions into 1" pieces, keeping the white and green parts separate.

Cut a handful of broccoli into small bite-sized pieces.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat and add oil, such as canola or olive oil. Add the white part of the scallion and cook for a few minutes.

Add the tofu and cook until browned on one side, periodically moving the pieces so they don't stick to the pan. (See note below for my new preferred cooking method.)

Season with granulated garlic and freshly ground black pepper, then flip over each piece of tofu. Add the broccoli to the pan. Add more oil if necessary.

After several minutes, add the green parts of the scallions to the pan.

Season the second side of the tofu with granulated garlic and pepper.

When done, turn off the heat and add stir-fry sauce. I like Lee Kum Kee vegetarian stir-fry sauce, which I curiously use mostly on beef and pork dishes, but in this case, it's all vegetarian. It has a mushroom flavor. Also add a little soy sauce.

Serve with rice. I keep Japanese white sushi rice in my refrigerator. Plate one serving, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 0:40. 

Add the stir-fry and serve.

Here's what it looks like with 1/3 cake of tofu:

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Updated May 5, 2015: I've decided that it makes sense to use two pans for this dish. One regular pan for the stir-fry and one non-stick pan for the tofu. There are two problems with making it in one pan. It takes quite a while to cook the tofu, and it's hard to time it just right so the tofu and vegetables are done at the same time. With two pans, you can just turn off the heat on the tofu pan and let the vegetables catch up. Also, a dedicated non-stick tofu pan is much less likely to have the tofu stick to the pan. When the vegetables are done, just add the tofu to the vegetable pan and add the sauce.

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Roasted pork soft taco with salsa fresca

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There are a bunch of variations of this dish, like with citrus marinated bass or shrimp, but it's always easy for me to make this version because I always have pre-cooked roasted pork in my freezer. It's actually my "stir-fry pork" that I used for things like pork, broccoli and scallions.

The rest of it is just a batch of salsa fresca, some shredded lettuce (or Napa or savoy cabbage),  1.0 oz. tortilla chips and some more salsa fresca for dipping.

The taco pictured is in a multi-grain tortilla, but it also works well with a steamed flour tortilla or a corn tortilla.

Also I now make two smaller tacos as a serving, since one is a physically large and a bit of a small serving. It works better as two tacos.

It also works well with roast beef. I use my eye of round roast beef that I'd normally use as stir-fry beef.

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Ham and Swiss cheese sandwich

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For years, ham and cheese was my go-to sandwich. But, really, compared to my other sandwiches, it's kind of lacking in anything green. And in volume, if you compare it to my turkey club.

Like all of my sandwiches, it's actually a half sandwich. With one slice of Barowski's wheat bread, cut in half. With Dijon mustard.

There's 3.0 oz. of deli ham in this sandwich. Since I use deli ham so infrequently I vacuum seal and freeze it in 3.0 oz portions.

The trickier part is the Swiss cheese. Like most hard cheeses it can be frozen. It does, however, become extremely brittle when defrosted. So pretty much don't expect to separate any slices of bend it after it's defrosted!

My bread is usually frozen so I wrap one slice in plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours. The ham and Swiss cheese are vacuum sealed so they get defrosted in cold water for a few hours.

Bagel combo breakfast

ate.2011.09.12.b.jpgUsually when I have a bagel I have bagel, lox and cream cheese

But once in a while, usually after making a batch of fresh homemade whole wheat bagels, I toast one up. I usually can't decide between butter and cream cheese, so I make one of each. Despite my toasted bread usually having Earth Balance spread, the bagel must be served with real butter. I don't know why.

And 3 slices of frozen, pre-cooked bacon, reheated in a sauté pan on the stove for a few minutes.





Tuna sushi plate #3



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Delicious homemade sushi plate!

Hosomaki: tuna, shredded carrot, cucumber, and rice surrounded by nori
Tuna sashimi
Avocado roll, with cucumber, shredded carrot and rice, surrounded by nori
Spicy tuna roll, with tuna, cucumber and sriracha hot sauce

The key to making nice looking rolls if you're not a professional sushi chef, as I am clearly not, is to take your hot sushi rice, add the sushi vinegar, then flatten it out on a sheet pan to cool. You can then pick up pre-flattened rice with a big spatula and drop it right on the nori to make a pretty reasonable looking roll. This amount of rice makes three small rolls.

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And practice makes perfect. Looking at the rolls I made one year earlier, yes, I've gotten better!

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Turkey and cabbage stir-fry

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This is a tasty lunch stir-fry. 

Since I make 3.2 oz. packages of pre-cooked, cut, and frozen turkey this is quick and easy. It works equally well with roasted chicken, as well.

Defrost a 3.2 oz. package of frozen turkey or chicken in the microwave for 0:40 on high.

Slice green, savoy or Napa cabbage into very thin strips. Discard any tough ribs.

Mince a clove of fresh garlic. You could substitute granulated garlic.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add oil of your choice (canola, olive, whatever).

Cook the cabbage for a few minutes, longer for green cabbage and less for savoy or Napa.

Add the garlic and cook for a minute.

Add the turkey (or chicken) and cook for a few minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

If the rice is refrigerated, plate one serving of Japanese white sushi rice. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 0:40.

I add soy sauce when I eat it, but not when I cook it, because it will discolor the cabbage.


Bacon cheeseburger

ate.2011.10.21.d.jpgDue to the size of this meal I usually end up having it for dinner instead of lunch. It's very, very good. So good I can't really have a burger out anymore.

I prepare the burgers ahead of time. I start with a 1.5 lbs. chuck steak and run it through the meat grinder with the fine plate. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Scale out ideally to 5 to 6 oz. depending on how much you ground, then flatted into burger shape in a 3 1/2" ring cutter.

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I like the larger burgers because I can grill them for 2 minutes per side on my high temperature infrared propane grill. With smaller 4.0 oz burgers I have to limit the grilling to about 1:30 per side and sometimes they're not sufficiently grilled to release from the grill and not break.

Let the burgers cool, vacuum seal and freeze.

When I want a burger I take a Barowski's wheat hamburger roll from the freezer, wrap in plastic wrap, and let sit on the counter for a few hours to defrost.

Meanwhile, I heat the sous vide to 132°F. When to temperature, add the hamburger patty and cook for 45 minutes.

When about 12 minutes from done heat the deep fryer to 160°F.

Meanwhile, break two slices of frozen pre-cooked bacon each into thirds and cook in a sauté pan over medium heat until done.

Also plate a serving of sweet bread and butter pickles in a small bowl.

And slice two pieces of Cabot extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Plate the bottom bun, the burger and the cheese. Melt the cheese with a propane torch. Add the bacon, ketchup, lettuce and the top bun.

Cook frozen French fries for 2 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove from the oil, salt and season with freshly ground black pepper, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper. Serve immediately with the burger.

This is also great with the world's best potato salad but I don't make it very often because it can't be frozen and is hard to scale to really small quantities. It is very good, however.

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Update 4/9/2012: After removing the burger from the sous vide where it was defrosted and cooked for 45 minutes at 132°F, I found that the burger is made even more excellent by deep frying for 30 seconds at 360°F. This lightly browns the burger all over making it look and taste even better.

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Beef (or pork) with bean sprouts and scallion stir-fry

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This is a quick and tasty lunch. The only problem is that I don't usually keep mung bean sprouts on hand because they spoil so quickly. I usually plan my weekly menu with this dish and pad Thai to use up a most if not all of a package within a few days.

Cut up 2 - 3 scallions in 1" pieces, keeping the white and green parts separate.

Cook a 3.2 oz. package of pre-cooked, frozen package of stir-fry beef in the microwave for 0:40. I make packages of stir-fry beef whenever I make and eye of round roast beef, so it's nice and lean and tender.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add oil. I usually use canola, but olive oil, peanut, whatever are fine.

Add the white parts of the scallion and cook for a few minutes.

This dish is also good with added broccoli, you could toss that in now if desired.

Add the beef, bean sprouts and the green parts of the scallions and cook for a few minutes.

Season with freshly ground pepper, granulated garlic and soy sauce.

If the rice is refrigerated, take one serving of Japanese white sushi rice from the refrigerator and plate it. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 0:40.

Add the stir-fry and serve.

This dish is also good with pork, prepared exactly the same way.

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Update December 1, 2015: It's also good with a little broccoli.

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Turkey, rice, gravy and broccoli

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What can I say, I like roasted meat, gravy and rice.

I can't really consume an ordinary turkey by myself, but a turkey breast or split turkey breast is a great size. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, granulated garlic and sage. Roast for about 60 minutes at 375°F until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

I then divide the meat into 5.0 oz. packages for turkey and gravy, 3.0 for turkey sandwich (or turkey club sandwich) and 3.2 oz. for stir-fry. The packages are vacuums sealed and frozen for future meals.

For this meal, sometimes I have pan gravy from roasting the turkey. Sometimes I have frozen gravy, but that requires some care to reheat. It must be defrosted then cooked on the stove until smooth, and even then it's not perfect.

Or, often, I cheat and make a quick chicken gravy. No one will ever notice the difference.

Heat 8 oz. of water in a sauté pan on the stove.

Add 0.4 oz. More than Gourmet chicken stock concentrate. This real reduced chicken stock with no fillers or salt - completely the opposite of bullion cubes! It's a refrigerated gel that keeps forever, unlike packaged stock, which only lasts a week after you open the package. Bring to a boil and completely dissolve.

In a container add 8 oz. of cold water. I like to use a 16 oz. Pyrex measuring cup. Add 1/4 cup of flour and thoroughly mix so there are no lumps.

Add the flour and water slurry to the stock and bring to just under a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for at least 5 minutes. 

Add salt, freshly ground black pepper and soy sauce.


For the broccoli, cut into small pieces. Add to a bowl, rinse, drain, add a little water back in, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 1:20.


For Japanese white sushi rice, stored in the refrigerator, plate one serving, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 0:40.


Related meals:

Zucchini and bacon stir-fry

ate.2011.11.04.l.jpgThis is a very simple but tasty-stir-fry!

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.

Cut a small to medium zucchini into rounds, about 1/4" thick. If the zucchini is large, it may be easier to cut it in half lengthwise, then cut into half-rounds.

Add oil to the pan (canola, olive, peanut, whatever). Add the zucchini in one layer and cook until lightly browned on one side. Season with granulated garlic and freshly ground pepper then turn each round over to cook the other side.

Cut two slices of frozen pre-cooked bacon into 1/4" wide strips. Add to the pan.

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Season the second side the pepper and granulated garlic.

When done, turn off the heat, season with soy sauce.

I almost always have cooked Japanese white sushi rice in my refrigerator. Plate one serving, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 0:40. Add the stir-fry and serve.

A healthier version can be made using hana katsuo, Japanese dried bonito fish flakes, instead of bacon. But you can't beat the bacon.

Beef with snow peas stir-fry

ate.2011.11.13.l.jpgThis is a tasty and healthy quick lunch stir-fry. This is the simplest of the variations - there's also spicy sesame beef with snow peas and chicken with snow peas and garlic sauce, but both are a little more work.

Snap the ends of the snow peas as string, if necessary.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add oil (canola, olive, peanut, whatever). 

Add the snow peas.

Take a 3.2 oz. of pre-cooked frozen beef from the freezer and microwave for 0:40 in the vacuum sealed bag. Stir-fry beef is one of the things that results when I make a roast beef.

Add the beef to the snow peas and cook for a minute.

Season with freshly ground black pepper and granulated garlic. Add a little stir-fry sauce - I like Lee Kum Kee vegetarian stir-fry sauce, which is mushroom flavored. Add a little soy sauce.

Serve with rice. I almost always have cooked Japanese white sushi rice in my refrigerator. Plate one serving, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 0:40.

I've also made this same dish with pre-cooked roasted chicken:

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Fried chicken fingers, boneless 'wings' and French fries

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This is not the healthiest dish, but, surprisingly I don't ever gain weight from eating this dish, thanks to careful portion control. And it's surprisingly quick and easy.

Start with 6.0 oz. chicken breast or breast tenders. Cut a half dozen or so larger chicken fingers, and cut the remainder into small pieces for the boneless wings.

Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper and granulated garlic.

Prepare a breading station with one plate of flour, a bowl of beaten egg and a plate of seasoned breadcrumbs.

For the wing bits, only dredge in flour.

For the fingers, dredge in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.

Deep fry the larger chicken fingers for 30 seconds, then add the smaller wing pieces and deep fry for 2 more minutes (2:30 total for the fingers).

Meanwhile, cut up a stalk of celery.

Make "Buffalo wing" sauce. Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a large ramekin, covered, in the microwave, for 0:35 to 0:40. Add 0.8 oz. Frank's hot sauce. Stir. Heat a little more if necessary.

Remove the chicken from the fryer. Add the boneless wing bits to the sauce.

Deep fry 3.0 oz. frozen French fries for 2 minutes. Remove from the oil, salt and season with freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper and granulated garlic.

Add two more condiment cups with ketchup and bleu cheese dressing.

Serve!

Sausage and green pepper stir-fry

ate.2011.11.15.l.jpgThis is a quick and tasty stir-fry, great for lunch. There is also a vegetarian version of this recipe, veggie sausage and green pepper stir-fry, that's really good.

Take one green pepper and cut it into strips.

Usually I use two of my homemade spicy breakfast sausage patties but most other kinds of sausage would work. I used to use 3 normal (not maple!) breakfast sausage links. Pre-cooked sausage saves much time an effort, either home-cooked pre-cooked sausage, as in the dish above, or those pre-cooked individually quick frozen sausage links you can get in the supermarket, which also work well. If frozen, cook for about 0:45 in the microwave, covered. Dice into bite-sized pieces.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add oil (canola, olive, whatever) and the green peppers. Cook until softened. Add the pre-cooked sausage. Cook for a few minutes.

Season with freshly ground pepper, granulated garlic and soy sauce. If using a mild sausage I like to add some cayenne pepper.

Serve with rice. I usually have pre-cooked Japanese white sushi rice in the refrigerator. Plate one serving, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 0:40.

You can also make a really tasty vegetarian version of this dish by using vegetarian sausage substitute, like Gimme Lean.

Roasted pork (bone-in)

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I really like a bone-in roasted pork. It's not always easy to find in the supermarket. But the biggest problem is the you usually need to do some serious hacking away at it before it's good for cooking.

In this roast, there was a big layer of fat, with a cap of meat over it. This layer of fat is not good eating, and must be removed!

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It's also possible that you'll just have a layer of fat, with no extra meat. It's still a good idea to remove it, because there will be a layer of really stringy tissue between the fat and meat!

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Season the roast and the secondary piece of pork with salt, freshly ground black pepper and granulated garlic. Add to a roasting pan. 

Also, if you have any particularly meaty bits from the fatty layer, cut into thin strips and throw them in the pan, too. They make an excellent crispy pork snack to munch on while your roast is roasting. Just add a little soy sauce.

Roast for 15 minutes at 375°F. Drizze a little soy sauce over the roast. 

Roast for another 15 minutes or until the small piece of meat is done, then remove the small piece. Drizzle soy sauce over the roast again. Add a cup of water to the pan.

Roast until the internal temperature of the roast reaches 155°F, another 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the roast rest for at least 20 minutes.

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This is a roast that is best sliced in the kitchen because if your roast looks like this there is a problematic bone that runs along the bottom and some effort will be required to get nice looking pork chops cut from it.

Add soy sauce and freshly ground pepper to the pan juices to make a jus. This can be frozen without difficulty, unlike flour-based gravy. There will likely be a lot of fat in the juice; the easiest way to get rid of it is to strain it into a Pyrex measuring cup and chill it in the refrigerator. Once it's solid, just skim it off with a spoon.

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Here are the individual pork chops, with bone, vacuum sealed and ready for freezing. Reheat in the sous vide, 45 minutes from frozen at 155°F.

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Serve with rice and sautéed cabbage.

For the cabbage, thinly slice green, savoy or Napa cabbage. Remove any tough ribs. Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add oil (I usually use canola, but olive oil is good too) and the cabbage and cook for a few minutes. Add one clove of minced garlic. Add salt and pepper. Cook until soft.

For the rice I usually have cooked Japanese white sushi rice in the refrigerator. Plate one serving, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 0:40 to reheat.


Roasted chicken, broccoli, gravy and rice

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Roasted chicken is something I usually make in the oven, as opposed to my faux roast beef, made in the sous vide. And I usually start very early, around lunch time, because after roasting the chicken my last step is to make chicken stock, and it's just way too late when I'm done with everything.

I cut up the breast meat for the roasted chicken into 5.0 oz. servings for chicken and gravy. I usually cut up the remainder in to 3.2 oz. servings for chicken stir-fry (such as chicken with snow peas), and sometimes 3.0 oz. servings for chicken salad, prepared like tuna salad.

The chicken reheats from frozen very well in the sous vide: 45 minutes at 160°F.

Sometimes I'll have the original gravy vacuum sealed in the refrigerator. Sometimes it's vacuum sealed and frozen, though frozen gravy is tricky. You have to defrost it, 1 to 2 hours in cold water, then cook it on the stove for several minutes until it's no longer lumpy, but even then it's not perfect. 

Another alternative is my quick pan gravy:

Heat 8 oz. of water in a sauté pan on the stove.

Add 0.4 oz. More than Gourmet chicken stock concentrate. This real reduced chicken stock with no fillers or salt - completely the opposite of bullion cubes! It's a refrigerated gel that keeps forever, unlike packaged stock, which only lasts a week after you open the package. Bring to a boil and completely dissolve.

In a container add 8 oz. of cold water. I like to use a 16 oz. Pyrex measuring cup. Add 1/4 cup of flour and thoroughly mix so there are no lumps.

Add the flour and water slurry to the stock and bring to just under a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for at least 5 minutes. 

Add salt, freshly ground black pepper and soy sauce.


For the broccoli, cut into small pieces. Add to a bowl, rinse, drain, add a little water back in, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 1:20.


For Japanese white sushi rice, stored in the refrigerator, plate one serving, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 0:40.



Tuna salad sandwich

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This is my tuna salad sandwich. Or, more appropriately, half a sandwich.

There's also a version that I now prefer that has pickled jalapeño, pickled banana peppers and sriracha: spicy tuna salad.

It's one slice of Barowski's wheat bread, cut in half. My bread is almost always frozen, so I wrap it in plastic and defrost it at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.

And it's a half can of tuna. Specifically, Wild Planet albacore tuna in water. It's sustainably caught, low in mercury, packed in BPA-free tins, and very delicious. I take the other half of the can, vacuum seal and freeze it. I defrost the vacuum sealed tuna in cold water for 1 to 2 hours.

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My tuna salad, starts out fairly normally with tuna, celery and mayonnaise. And I add salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne pepper. And, the secret ingredient from Mom's tuna salad, Kraft Catalina salad dressing. It's a little weird, and it makes the tuna salad pink, but it really is quite tasty. 




Spicy vegetarian chili with jalapeño cornbread


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This tasty and healthy lunch is quick and easy because everything is made ahead and frozen.

I prepare a large batch of spicy vegetarian chili, divide it into 12 oz. servings, vacuum seal and freeze it.

To reheat, bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove. Add the frozen bag of chili, bring back to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 22 minutes.

I make and freeze the jalapeño skillet cornbread. That I just defrost in plastic wrap at room temperature for a few hours.

Grilled salmon, spicy green beans and rice

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This meal is surprisingly quick and easy, mainly because I grill and freeze the salmon ahead of time.

This is a piece of wild coho salmon which was very good. Farm raised salmon has some issues, but if you get farm raised, try to get it farmed in the United States, where there are generally better protections against pollution, disease and escape, which endangers native salmon populations.

Cut the fish into servings, season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and granulated garlic. Coat with olive oil.

Grill for 1:30 on each side on a very hot grill. I use an infrared propane grill because it's fast to heat and very convenient, but charcoal is even better. 

Let the fish cool, vacuum seal and freeze. 

When it's time to make dinner, take the frozen package of dish and cook in the sous vide for 45 minutes at 138°F.


Ideally when I bring green beans home from the store, I immediately clean and blanch them in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, depending on how large they are. I then vacuum seal and refrigerate them.

To make the spicy green beans heat a high temperature oil (like peanut or sesame) over medium-high heat. Add a little toasted sesame oil and the blanched green beans. This will probably make a big mess on the stove, with oil flying everywhere. It's pretty much unavoidable.

When almost done, lower the heat. Add hot pepper sesame oil, hot red chili sauce (or chili garlic sauce), freshly ground black pepper and a little soy sauce.


I usually have Japanese white sushi rice in my refrigerator. I plate one serving, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 0:40.


The dipping sauce in the picture is just soy sauce. You'll notice that this preparation is curiously almost the same as steak.

This dish is also good when made with arctic char, and sautéed cabbage.

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Or with sautéed spinach instead of green beans.

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Steak, baked potato and broccoli

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I love this meal! 

Preheat the oven to 375°F. The baked potato is just so much better if you actually bake it. In the summer time sometimes I take a shortcut and use the microwave, but every fall I come to the realization that it's just so much better made in the oven.

The baked potato is a salt and olive oil rubbed Yukon Gold potato. Take the potato, remove any eyes or damaged parts, rub with olive oil then sprinkle with kosher salt. Place on a wire rack on a sheet pan.

Bake for one hour.

If you do use the microwave, make sure you poke some holes in the potato - I use a meat fork - so it doesn't explode.

Another good alternative is steak frites - French fries. Sometimes just frozen fries cooked for 2 minutes at 360°F in the deep fryer and sometimes the more involved homemade steak fries.


The steak is a filet mignon steak. 

Season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and a dash of cayenne pepper (optional). Coat lightly in olive oil.

I sear my steak on my portable infrared propane grill for 1:30 per side. While charcoal is great, infrared propane is the next best thing, and my grill only takes 3 minutes to heat to full temperature, and another 3 minutes to bake off anything on the burner when done, so the whole grilling process is done in less than 10 minutes!

I grill a number of steaks at once, then cool, vacuum seal and freeze them.

When I'm in the mood for steak, I grab a frozen package of pre-grilled steak and cook it, from frozen, in the sous vide machine for 45 minutes at 132°F, and it comes out perfectly rare to medium-rare every time.

Also note that this finishes the cooking, as 3 minutes on the grill probably won't fully cook through to the center.


The broccoli I cut into small pieces, put in a bowl, rinse, drain, and add a little water back into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 1:20. 


The rest are just condiment cups of sour cream (for the potato) and soy sauce (for the steak). 

I've done some alternate sauces for the steak, including a horseradish sour cream and a demi glace made from More than Gourmet demi glace concentrate, but usually it's just soy sauce, but that's probably a personal preference because that's how we ate steak growing up.

This is also really good with asparagus instead of broccoli. Just boil the asparagus in salted water for 3 minutes for thin baby asparagus, longer if it's bigger.

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Or a side salad.

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Roast beef, rice and gravy

ate.2011.12.03.d.jpgOne of Mom's famous meals is roast beef and gravy. This is a very close approximation made with an entirely different method of preparation.

The process starts with an eye of round roast beef. Remove all of the fat and any silverskin. Season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.

Vacuum seal and cook in the sous vide for 2 hours at 132°F. Okay, my roast beef isn't actually roasted at all. I have tried various combinations of browning the outside before or after the sous vide, and, as it turns out, it's not necessary at all. It's so thinly sliced you can't even tell it was never browned.

Cool the beef, still in its vacuum bag, in cold water or ice water for 30 minutes.

Remove from the bag, and thinly slice. I make 5.0 oz. servings for roast beef and gravy, 3.0 oz. servings for roast beef sandwiches, and 3.2 oz. packages of large strips for stir-fry. The stir-fry beef is also a good solution for what to do with the end piece because it's very difficult to thinly slice the whole thing. Once divided, the packages are individually vacuum sealed and frozen for future meals.

One problem with not actually roasting is the inability to make gravy. I solve this with a bit of cheating, but the end result is delicious.

Heat 8 oz. of water in a sauté pan until boiling. Add 0.4 oz. (a couple tablespoons) of More than Gourmet demi glace concentrate and dissolve. This is concentrated stock made from real bones and such with no fillers. And unlike packaged broth, it keeps basically forever in the refrigerator. I highly recommend it.

Take 8 oz. of cold water and add 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour, stirring throughly so there are no lumps. Add the flour and water slurry to the stock base. Bring to just under boiling, lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes.

Add salt, pepper and soy sauce to the gravy. There should be enough gravy for 2 - 3 servings. I vacuum seal the leftovers and refrigerate. It is possible to freeze gravy. It must always be reheated on the stove - never in the microwave - but it's never as good as non-frozen gravy.

I use the same process to make chicken gravy for roasted chicken. And also for roasted turkey - even though the gravy is made from chicken no one will ever notice the difference.

Serve with rice. I usually have cooked Japanese sushi rice in my refrigerator. Plate one serving, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 0:40 on high.

Broccoli is a good side vegetable. Cut into small pieces, put in a bowl, wash, drain, then add a little water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 1:20.

It's good with peas. This is a 6.0 oz. serving of roast beef. That's 2.5 oz. of frozen peas, about 2/3 cup. Add the peas, 4 oz. of water and salt to the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Drain. This is handy because I always have frozen peas in the freezer. I've never had much luck microwaving frozen peas.

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Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich (BLT)

ate.2011.12.03.l.jpgI love a good BLT! Also, its relative, the Turkey Club. But here's my BLT.

The key to a quick and easy BLT is frozen, pre-cooked bacon. I just take 3 slices, break them in half, and heat them in a sauté pan for a couple minutes. Since the bacon is pre-cooked it's fast and not nearly as messy as the bacon grease has already been rendered out when it was first cooked.

You could also reheat the bacon in the microwave, but that's not as good. Or you could even just defrost it - my Mom makes BLT sandwiches with cold bacon, which I think it just sort of weird, but it tastes fine. But I like hot bacon better.

The bread in my sandwich is one slice of Barowski's wheat bread, cut in half. I don't consume enough sandwiches and toast to use a whole loaf of bread, so I freeze it. To defrost, I take the slice, wrap in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for a couple hours.

Then I cut the bread in half, add a little mayo to both sides, then layer the bacon, tomato, lettuce and top bread.

For the half-sandwiches I've found that plum tomatoes work really well. Two slices fit well. Big tomatoes, like a beefsteak, are far too large for a half sandwich.

I also occasionally make this sandwich as a BLTA, BLT with avocado. It's delicious, but the avocado is so slippery that it makes the sandwich difficult to eat, especially as a half sandwich. I usually make it when I have a half avocado left over after making sushi or guacamole.

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Hot dog

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I really don't get a craving for a hot dog very often, but when I do I always have one at the ready:

Since I can't possibly consume an entire package of hot dogs, I grill the whole package, then individually vacuum seal and freeze them. I can then just grab one from the freezer.

They reheat really well in the vacuum bag at 140°F for 35 minutes (from frozen) but they can also be reheated boil-in-bag (10 minutes from frozen).

I didn't use to like to use the microwave, but sealed inside the vacuum bag, from frozen, 25 seconds, flipping once half way through, actually works pretty well. Keep and eye on it; when the bag inflates, it's done.

I also freeze my Barowski's wheat hot dog buns. They defrost best wrapped in plastic wrap and left out at room temperature for a couple hours. Or, in a pinch, defrosted for 20 seconds in the microwave.

Incidentally, Barowski's wheat hot dog bugs are apparently "hot dog length" so I should have gotten the normal length Hebrew National all-beef hot dogs, not the "bun length" ones, because the hot dog was longer than the bun!

Mine is topped with Dijon mustard and sweet pickle relish. And some Kettle Chips barbecue potato chips.

Turkey club sandwich

ate.2011.12.05.l.jpgThis sandwich is quick and easy thanks to a large supply of pre-cooked meat in my house.

I fairly frequently prepare a "roasted" turkey breast, often in the sous vide machine but sometimes in the oven. This gets divided into 5.0 oz. packages for turkey and gravy, 3.0 oz. for sandwich and 3.2 oz. for stir-fry of turkey and cabbage. 

Each of these packages in individually vacuum sealed so it's easy to grab a 3.0 oz. package for a sandwich and defrost it for 1 to 2 hours in a bowl of cold water. While defrosting, I wrap my slice of frozen Barowski's wheat bread in plastic wrap and let that defrost at room temperature.


My turkey club has sliced turkey, bacon, tomato and lettuce. Sometimes it doesn't have the tomato if by chance I don't have tomatoes, and it's still delicious. 

I pre-cook and freeze my bacon, so it only takes a couple minutes to reheat in a sauté pan on the stove. I break each piece in half first so they're sandwich-sized. A BLT gets three slices, but I put two slices on the turkey club.

I use a single slice of bread, cut in half, for my sandwiches. The bread gets a little mayo on both sides, then layer on the turkey, salt, pepper, bacon, tomato, lettuce and the bread for the top. 

For the half-sandwiches I've found that plum tomatoes work really well. Two slices fit well. Big tomatoes, like a beefsteak, are far too large for a half sandwich. 

And I realize that club sandwiches are usually cut diagonally, but it's hard to fit the toppings on a triangular sandwich, as opposed to a full sandwich, cut in half after making it.

Delicious!

Update 11/8/2013: I'm not really sure why I didn't toast the bread when I wrote this up originally. It's better on toast!

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Once in a while I make it without the bacon - a regular turkey sandwich - but really, what's the point.

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Update August 10, 2015: It's also good with a side salad with lettuce mix, cucumber, tomato and Annie's cowgirl ranch dressing. With 3 1/2 slices of thin-sliced Black Forest deli turkey and 2 slices of bacon.

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Roast beef sandwich

ate.2011.12.07.l.jpgI always make my roast beef from scratch because I like a thinly sliced medium-rare roast beef, and you just can't get that at the supermarket deli counter.

I make an eye round roast, with any outer layer of fat removed. I tried a number of techniques for browning the roast beef before or after sous vide and discovered: it's not necessary! With a the beef so thinly sliced you don't need it browned at all.

Season the roast with salt, freshly ground pepper and granulated garlic. Vacuum seal and cook at 132°F in the sous vide for 2 hours.

Remove from the sous vide and cool in a bowl of cold water, or even better, ice water.

Thinly slice and divide. I make 5.0 oz. portions for roast beef and gravy dinners, 3.0 oz. portions for sandwich and 3.2 oz portions of larger pieces for stir-fry. All are vacuum sealed and frozen.


When I'm ready to make my sandwich I take my frozen slice of Barowski's wheat bread, cover in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature.

The vacuum sealed bag of roast beef goes into a bowl of cold water for 1 to 2 hours to defrost.

I make what is essentially a half sandwich because my bread comes in large slices. I just cut the one slice of bread in half.

One side gets mayo, the other side gets horseradish. Then the roast beef, salt and pepper and lettuce. 

And a small side of potato chips. Delicious!


Update December 1, 2016: It's also good with some hot pickled banana peppers!

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Spaghetti and meatballs or Italian sausage

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I make a large batch of homemade pasta sauce, then divide it into 6 oz. servings, vacuum seal and freeze them. I usually defrost the sauce and the meat in their vacuum sealed bags, in cold water, for an hour or two until defrosted.

At the same time I usually grab a slice of frozen wheat Italian bread, wrap it and plastic wrap, and let it defrost at room temperature.

I pre-cook homemade meatballs freeze them 2 or 3 to a package, then vacuum seal them. Vacuum sealed meatballs can go directly into the 140°F sous vide frozen for 45 minutes, or defrosted for less, probably about 30 minutes. 

I also pre-cook a whole package (sometimes two) of spicy Italian sausage and individually vacuum seal and freeze them. A defrosted Italian sausage can be reheated in the microwave in 30 seconds.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt. Measure 2.0 oz. dry pasta and cook according to package directions. For my Barilla spaghetti, that's 9 minutes.

I transfer the defrosted sauce to a bowl, add some seasoning, usually some dried oregano and red pepper flakes, cover, and microwave for 1:20.

If making sausage, microwave that for 0:30.

Drain the pasta then plate it. Add the meat. Add the sauce over everything. Serve.

I don't make any extras or leftovers, since pasta doesn't reheat well. And, if you haven't noticed, I basically don't ever eat leftovers and I cook everything as exactly one serving. No second helpings!

While I do really like garlic bread, I usually just serve the bread with a little condiment bowl of olive oil with salt and pepper.

Here it is with Italian sausage:

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Update January 9, 2013: I've determined that it works much better to reheat defrosted pasta sauce in a pan on the stove instead of the microwave. The sauce gets a little liquid-y after defrosting, and the stove works better at evaporating the excess water. It takes less than 5 minutes. Here's my sauce cooking on the induction burner.

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When ready, plate the sausage and spoon a little sauce over it.

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Then mix the drained pasta into the sauce in the pan to coat the pasta completely.

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This works much better than just pouring the sauce of the pasta!

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Update December 29, 2014: I don't know why it never occurred to me to thinly slice the cooked Italian sausage and reheat it in the sauce. I like this way better.

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Fish and chips #2

ate.2011.12.09.d.jpgI've finally perfected the art of making a really small quantity of fish and chips for a pretty quick meal. One of the problems is that it's really hard to reheat batter dipped fish successfully, so it's one of those meals that I make exactly one serving of, with no leftovers.

I usually make my fish and chips from haddock, though most white fish works. Traditionally it's made from cod. I usually get frozen haddock which conveniently comes in a bag with two separate vacuum sealed packages, and one package is exactly one serving. I defrost the fish, still sealed in its vacuum bag, in cold water, for an hour or two.

When it's time to cook the first step is to make a batch of fresh homemade tartar sauce. It's easier than it sounds:

minced shallot (can substitute onion)
1 tbsp. pickle relish
2-3 tbsp. mayonnaise 
salt
pepper

It should probably have a little lemon juice in it, but I hate to juice a lemon for 1 tsp. of lemon juice, and I find that it makes it kind of watery. So I usually just leave it out.


Heat up your oil to 360°F. I use non-specific "vegetable oil." I have a serious deep fryer, but lately I've just been using 1 quart of oil in a pot on my induction hot plate. It works perfectly every time, and cleanup is much easier.


You can just take the fish as-is for regular fish and chips. If it's particularly large, cutting it in half is probably not a bad idea. But lately I've been cutting them into finger/fish stick form. They're easier to eat, cook and dip in the tartar sauce that way. And you get a more batter per serving. Season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and a cayenne pepper.


Prepare a batch of beer batter. Beat one egg in a bowl. Then discard half of the egg. This is kind of weird, but you really only need half an egg. Add 3 oz. of beer and beat lightly to combine. Then beat in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour. That's it!

Dredge the fish in flour, then dip in the beer batter, and deep fry for 3 minutes. The stick format cooks a little faster. If you're using a thick, full-sized piece of cod it could take 4 minutes or more.

Remove the fish from the oil and salt.


Lately I've been lazy and using frozen French fries instead of making my homemade steak fries. Aside from the general pain of cutting fries and par-cooking them at 270°F first, it's just so convenient to take 3.5 to 4.0 oz. of frozen French fries and just toss them into the fryer for 2 minutes for perfect French fries.

Remove the fries from the oil, salt, and season with fresh-ground black pepper, cayenne pepper and granulated garlic.


This is what it looks like as regular fish and chips instead of fish sticks and chips:

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Twice-cooked pork (or beef) with scallion and broccoli stir-fry

ate.2011.12.09.l.jpgThis delicious and healthy stir-fry is one of my lunch staples. The key to making it quick and easy is pre-cooking and freezing the meat.

I cook a boneless center-cut pork roast in the sous vide, but it works equally well in the oven. Then I cut it into bite-sized pieces, scale out 3.2 oz. and individually vacuum seal and freeze the packages. Stir-fry beef is usually left over from making an eye of round roast beef.

When it's time to make lunch:

Microwave a frozen package of pork or beef for 40 seconds on high.

Cut 3-5 scallions into 1" long pieces, separating the white and green parts.

Cut a handful of broccoli into bite-sized pieces.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add some oil. I usually use canola, but olive oil, peanut oil, or just about any oil is fine.

Add the white parts of the scallion and cook for a few minutes.

Add the broccoli and cook for a few minutes.

Add the pre-cooked meat and the green parts of the scallion and cook for a minute.

Turn off the heat on the stove.

Season with granulated garlic and fresh ground black pepper. 

Add a little stir-fry sauce, about a tablespoon. I like Lee Kum Kee vegetarian stir-fry sauce, which is mushroom flavored. Also add a little soy sauce.

Serve with rice. I always have white sushi rice prepared and usually refrigerated, though it does keep for a few days at room temperature. Put a serving of refrigerated rice on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 40 seconds.

The same dish with beef:

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Also the same dish with tofu:

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French toast and bacon

ate.2011.10.21.b.jpgOne of the tricks to making this meal quick and easy is using frozen, pre-cooked bacon.

Heat a 10" sauté pan on the stove and add 3 slices of bacon.

This is really good with a slice of homemade anadama bread but of course almost any bread would work. Almost all of my bread is frozen, and while I make toast directly from frozen bread I've found that defrosting the bread for French toast in the microwave for 20 seconds is helpful.

Beat an egg, dip the bread in the egg. Move the bacon to the side of the pan, add a little Earth Balance spread and then add the egg-covered bread. Only one pan to clean up!

Serve with real maple syrup. You can greatly reduce the amount of syrup you use by putting 0.5 oz. to 0.7 oz. in a ramekin and dipping instead of pouring on top.

Update 11/22/2013: It's also good with wheat French bread. And this version freezes well, too.

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Corned beef hash, egg and toast

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As you've probably figured out, I cook almost everything from scratch. I mean I make my own breakfast sausage. The one odd exception is corned beef hash. I really like canned corn beef hash. Go figure.

One of the shocking things you find out by reading the label, besides the really high amounts of salt, one of the reasons I think I find it delicious, is that a 15 oz. can is three servings! What I do is cook the whole can, divide it in thirds and vacuum seal and freeze the leftovers.

The process is almost the same bacon, eggs and toast.


The toast is a slice of Barowski's wheat bread, cut in half. That's a handy calorie-saving tip if your bread comes in large slices. Since I don't consume enough bread to eat a whole loaf before it goes back I keep it in the freezer and put the frozen slices directly into the toaster. 

While the toast is toasting I put a 10" sauté pan on the stove, lightly oil it and begin heating it up.

Defrost a package of frozen cooked hash in the microwave for 25 seconds on high. Add the hash to one side of the sauté pan.

While the hash is cooking I beat one organic egg with a little salt and freshly ground white pepper.

Move the hash to the side if necessary, add a little Earth Balance spread, tilt the pan to the side, and scramble the egg. Only one pan to clean up!

And by then the toast is done, so I can add a little more Earth Balance to that, plate everything and serve.



Eggs, toast and bacon

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I make this simple breakfast at least once a week.

The toast is a slice of Barowski's wheat bread, cut in half. That's a handy calorie-saving tip if your bread comes in large slices. Since I don't consume enough bread to eat a whole loaf before it goes back I keep it in the freezer and put the frozen slices directly into the toaster. 

While the toast is toasting I heat a 10" sauté pan on the stove and add three slices of frozen, pre-cooked bacon.

While the bacon is cooking I beat one organic egg with a little salt and freshly ground white pepper.

Since the bacon is pre-cooked it doesn't release much grease so all I have to do is slide the bacon to the side of the pan, add a little Earth Balance spread, tilt the pan to the side, and scramble the egg. Only one pan to clean up!

And by then the toast is done, so I can add a little more Earth Balance to that, plate everything and serve.

Related meals:



Bagel, lox and cream cheese

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I love this breakfast! I have it every Sunday morning, along with the New York Times.

I start with a homemade whole wheat bagel. I make them ahead and freeze them. Ideally, I remember to take one out the night before, wrap it in plastic wrap and leave it out on the counter. If I forget, 20 seconds in the microwave on high works.

Next is 1.0 oz. of cream cheese, with half going on each half, making two open-faced sandwiches. I used to make them as a closed sandwich, but they're kind of thick and unwieldy that way. The tomatoes and salmon are really slippery and it just makes a big mess.

Then some very thinly sliced red onion and tomato.

I vacuum seal the red onion as well, because I use such a small amount in each sandwich.

And, finally, 2.0 oz. of smoked salmon (lox). My supermarket sells in in 4 oz. packages, so that's a half package for one serving, so it's a little expensive but very delicious! 

Usually I divide the package and vacuum seal it and it will keep until the following Sunday. It can also be frozen.
And I like salty food, so I usually sprinkle a little kosher salt on top. Delicious!

Pictured with a mimosa (sparkling wine and orange juice). If you don't want to consume a whole 750 ml bottle of champagne with breakfast, these little tiny 200 ml bottles of Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) are great. They sell them in 3-packs at my liquor store.

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And I do realize I made it upside down from the "normal" way. I found that putting the onion and tomato under the salmon minimizes their sliding off when eating it. Below is the traditional way, but I think it works a little better as above.

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Blueberry muffin and bacon

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This is quick breakfast because I almost always have homemade blueberry muffins in the freezer. 30 seconds in the microwave on high and that's it!

And I pre-cook and freeze the bacon, so that just takes a few minutes in a sauté pan. It also can be cooked in the microwave, but it's better cooked in a pan.



Sausage, egg and cheese biscuit

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Once in a while I like my breakfast sandwich on a homemade buttermilk biscuit instead of on an English muffin.

Fortunately, I make the biscuits ahead of time and freeze them, so it only takes 15-20 seconds to defrost one in the microwave.

I also make my own homemade spicy breakfast sausage patties, cook, then freeze them so it only takes about 40 seconds in the microwave to reheat from frozen. And the same for turkey sausage patties.

The rest is just an organic egg, cooked in a 6" round pan, folded into quarters, and squared off. And 2 small slices of Cabot extra sharp cheddar cheese. I melt it with a propane torch, the same one I use to make crème brûlée.



Bacon, egg and cheese English muffin

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This, along with it's close relative made with sausage, and cousin made on a buttermilk biscuit, is one of my favorites.

I pre-cook and freeze my bacon so all I have to do is grab 3 slices, break them into thirds and briefly heat them in a sauté pan. You can also reheat them in the microwave, but the stove works better.

The rest is just an organic egg, cooked in a 6" round pan, folded into quarters, and squared off. And 2 small slices of Cabot extra sharp cheddar cheese. I melt it with a propane torch, the same one I use to make crème brûlée.

I serve it on a toasted Barowski's wheat English muffin, because while my homemade English muffins are very good, they're just too much work to make!

Sausage, egg and cheese English muffin

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This, along with it's close relative made with bacon, and cousin made on a buttermilk biscuit, is one of my favorites.

I make my own homemade spicy breakfast sausage patties, cook, then freeze them so it only takes about 40 seconds in the microwave to reheat from frozen.

I also make a homemade turkey sausage patty that is a little healthier.

The rest is just an organic egg, cooked in a 6" round pan, folded into quarters, and squared off. And 2 small slices of Cabot extra sharp cheddar cheese. I melt it with a propane torch, the same one I use to make crème brûlée.

I serve it on a toasted Barowski's wheat English muffin, because while my homemade English muffins are very good, they're just too much work to make!



What I ate: December 9, 2011

Breakfast: Sausage, egg and cheese English muffin. With homemade sausage, an organic egg, Cabot cheddar cheese on a Barowski's wheat English muffin. And a mimosa.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix. And a Spicy V-8.


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Snack: 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot hot habanero cheddar. And a little Anni Risesling.

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Dinner: Fish and chips. I've been cutting the haddock into "fish stick" form because it's a lot easier to dip in the homemade tartar sauce. And the potatoes are seasoned Cascadian organic French fries. With a Saranac lager, or at least the 9 oz. that wasn't part of the beer batter.

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And 2 glasses of Chianti.



Weight at beginning of the day: 114.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.8 lbs.

What I ate: December 8, 2011

Breakfast: Pancakes and sausage.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix


Lunch: Shrimp and onion stir-fry with spinach.

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Snack: Another 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix. And 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot habanero cheddar cheese. And a half glass of Rabbit Ridge chardonnay.


Dinner: Spaghetti and meatballs. With 2.0 oz. Barilla spaghetti, homemade pasta sauce and homemade meatballs. With wheat Italian bread and olive oil.

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And 2 glasses of Chianti.

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Dessert: 2 strips of Dagoba xocolatl spicy dark chocolate.


Weight at beginning of the day: 114.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.8 lbs.

What I ate: December 7, 2011

Breakfast: Blueberry muffin and bacon. And a glass of orange juice.

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Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix and a Spicy V-8.

Lunch: Roast beef sandwich. With 3.0 oz. homemade eye round roast beef on one slice of Barowski's wheat bread, cut in half. With lettuce and mayo. And Kettle Chips barbecue potato chips.

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Snack: Another 1.0 oz. Sriracha chex mix. And 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot habanero cheddar cheese. And a half glass of Rabbit Ridge chardonnay.

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I previously made it like Mom does, but according to the box of S&B curry sauce mix, celery and green bell pepper are good additions as well, so I added those. The result was really tasty!

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And 2 glasses of Anni Riesling.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 114.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.0 lbs.

What I ate: December 6, 2011

Breakfast: Eggs, toast and bacon. I forgot to take a picture of it, but it looked pretty much like this:

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Snack: 0.8 oz. peanuts and a Spicy V-8.


Lunch: Stir-fry of turkey and cabbage, rice.

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And I made a batch of delicious Sriracha Chex Mix.

Snack: 1.0 oz. Sriracha Chex Mix and a Saranac Adirondack lager. And another 1.0 oz. bowl. The stuff is evil.

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Dinner: Pork spare ribs and tater tots. I previously cooked, smoked, vacuum sealed and froze the ribs; to reheat I put the vacuum sealed back in the sous vide for 45 minutes at 155°F. And 3.8 oz. Cascadian organic spud puppies, deep fried for 2 minutes. And 2 glasses of Parker Station pinor noir.

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Dessert: 2 strips of Green & Black's cherry dark chocolate bar.


Weight at beginning of the day: 114.6 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.0 lbs.

What I ate: December 5, 2011

Breakfast: Chorizo breakfast burrito. And a glass of orange juice.

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Snack: 0.8 oz. peanuts and a Spicy V-8.


Lunch: Turkey club sandwich. With homemade roasted turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo on one slice of Barowski's wheat bread, cut in half. With Kettle Chips barbecue potato chips.

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Snack: 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot garlic and herb cheese. And a half glass of Rabbit Ridge chardonnay.

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Dinner: Chicken paprika with rice, broccoli and sour cream sauce. And 2 glasses of Parker Station pinor noir.

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Dessert: Homemade chocolate chip cookie.


Weight at beginning of the day: 115.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 114.6 lbs.

What I ate: December 4, 2011

Breakfast: Homemade whole wheat bagel with 2.0 oz. lox, cream cheese, tomato and red onion. And a mimosa.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts.


Lunch: Hot dog and potato chips. I plan my menu a week in advance but sometimes I'm not in the mood for what's on the menu. And then I run down a list of (literally) a couple dozen things that I have the ingredients for until I find what I'm looking for. Today, it was a grilled Hebrew National beef hot dog on a Barowski's wheat hot dog roll with Kettle Chips barbecue potato chips.

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An Ommegang Abbey Ale, a Belgian-style Dubbel, brewed in Cooperstown, New York.

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Dinner: Iron Chef Chinese buffet with Mom and Dad.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 113.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 115.0 lbs.

What I ate: December 3, 2011

Breakfast: Chorizo breakfast burrito. And a mimosa.

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A big morning of cooking!

Two pounds of bacon, cooked on sheet pans in the oven then frozen.

A batch of homemade tomato sauce, cooked, divided, vacuum sealed and frozen in 8 individual 6.0 oz. servings. I made this on the induction hot plate which worked great! My stove is incapable of delivering low enough heat to simmer sauce.

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A batch of spicy vegetarian chili, cooked, divided, vacuum sealed and frozen in individual servings. 

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Lunch: Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. On one slice of Barowski's wheat bread, cut in half. With mayo. And Kettle Chips barbecue potato chips.

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Snack: 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot garlic and herb cheese. And a half glass of Rabbit Ridge chardonnay.

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Dinner: Roast beef, rice, broccoli and gravy. With 5.0 oz. homemade eye round roast beef. And 2 glasses of Cannonball cabernet sauvignon.

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Dessert: 2 strips of Green & Black's cherry dark chocolate bar.

And, due to a number of Facebook friends posting about cookies, I had a craving for chocolate chip cookies. And a white Russian. And another cookie.

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Weight at beginning of the day: 113.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.0 lbs.

What I ate: December 2, 2011

Breakfast: Pancakes and bacon. And a glass of orange juice.

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Snack: 0.7 oz. peanuts and a Spicy V-8.


Lunch: Stir-fry of twice-cooked pork, broccoli and scallions. And rice.

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Snack: 3 Kashi roasted garlic crackers with Cabot garlic and herb cheese. And a half glass of Rabbit Ridge chardonnay.

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Dinner: Filet mignon steak, salt and olive oil rubbed baked potato and broccoli. And 2 glasses of Cannonball cabernet sauvignon.

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Dessert: 2 strips of Green & Black's cherry dark chocolate bar.


Weight at beginning of the day: 113.0 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.8 lbs.

What I ate: December 1, 2011

Breakfast: Egg, toast and bacon. With 1 organic egg, scrambled, one half slice of Barowski's wheat bread with Earth Balance spread.

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Snack: 0.8 oz. peanuts and a Spicy V-8.


Lunch: I used to only eat fast food when driving the 5 to 6 hour drive to Mom and Dad's, but seeing as I only live 5 minutes away now, that's kind of silly. But while running errands today I decided to stop by McDonalds for my quarter pounder with cheese and medium French fries for lunch. It really is not as good as my homemade burger made with home ground chuck steak, which has no fillers or additives. You'd think I would remember that. Need tums.


Dinner: Grilled salmon, rice and spicy green beans. And 2 glasses of Chateau La Goutère Bordeaux.

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Dessert: 2 strips of Green & Black's cherry dark chocolate bar.


Weight at beginning of the day: 112.8 lbs.
Weight at the beginning of the next day: 113.0 lbs.

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