A Trip to South Beach?

Sadly, we aren’t travelling south.  We are “doing” the South Beach Diet regimen.  As of today we are beginning the second week of the South Beach Diet Phase One.  To those of you not familiar with The SBD Phase One it is worse than Basic Training, Speaking in front of 1000 grumbly people, and having a tooth pulled without Novocain!  It’s truly a detox of bad carbs and ALL forms of sugar!  It doesn’t sound terrible until you read the no-no list.  Some may approach this phase thinking oh not bad, no cakes and cookies!!!!

Let’s just think about breakfast, our routine breakfasts are cereal with fruit or fruit and yogurt smoothies, and a form of toast–bagels, muffins, scones, biscuits are not uncommon vehicles for butter and jam and the coveted Nutella!  The only thing allowed in that list is plain lowfat yogurt (a relatively small amount)!  Yes, the healthy approach to adding fresh, tasty, fruit to our morning routine may be just adding “sugar” to our total nutrition counts.

Did I mention the lack of alcohol!  No wine to ease the pain of dieting!!  Plenty of Whine opportunities, however!  The point of Phase One is to rid your diet of the effects of sugar on your body.  Literally, it cuts down on your cravings for either sugar, soda, desserts, etc.  You really start to realize you can be full and satisfied after dinner without potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.  We also noticed the lack of a sweet craving after doing the dishes that typically is satisfied with a dessert or a few cookies and occasionally ice cream , while relaxing (as in couch-potatoing) in front of the TV!  Reread that ICE CREAM, GELATO, SORBETTO, these are sold in my favorite aisle of the grocery store, following the Nutella aisle and may the fresh baked bread section!

I will say that as much as I’m whining I do believe this diet works for us.  This is our second time going on it.  We did well the first time and then we gradually added the missing goodies back in until suddenly we forgot we were dieting.  Suddenly, we strayed and regained most of our initial lost weight.  We are dedicated to maintaining the Phase 3 maintenance stage once we get there.

Warning: During phase one you will experience a lack of energy because you have gone cold-turkey on the sudden bursts of energy you get from sugary snacks and drinks!  Also consider not spending the entire day 3 and 4 with your dieting partner–grumpiness has reached it’s peak on these days—go ahead ask me how I know!!!

As I alluded to above, breakfast is our biggest challenge.  Eggs are the answer replacing sugary breakfast food with protein. We don’t dislike eggs, but we prefer them on lazy Sunday mornings when we can spend time dressing them up in omelets and frittatas. Make-ahead egg muffins make it simple with a brief microwave zap and breakfast is served.  The ingredients are easy to switch up to create variety.  This week’s included prosciutto, peppers, onions, parsley and low fat shredded Mexican cheese blend.  Next week’s will be broccoli and cheese.  Also an egg casserole with Canadian Bacon, Artichoke Hearts, Goat Cheese and low fat Mozzarella was a big hit.

This morning I made a frittata with ham, red peppers, cilantro, the low fat Mexican cheese blend.  Served with homemade black bean salsa and a dollop of Guacamole.

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Last night’s dinner was a bit over the top and delicious.  Sous Vide Filet Mignon over Broccoli Puree with Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms and sliced Mini late summer Heirloom Tomatoes with a drizzle of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar and Coarse Sea Salt.

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Six more days until we can loosen the restrictions for Phase 2, the no-no list is much shorter and a glass of wine is allowed with dinner–never before or after!  And some fruit is allowed, oh yeah! Phase 2 is designed to put back some carbs and balance your blood sugar to a natural level.  You stay on Phase 2 until you reach your goal weight.  This can be several weeks or longer as needed.  Then you can move to Phase 3 which is maintenance mode.

Here’s how I came to the South Beach Diet: years ago during its initial popularity  a client requested I cook the diet for them.  It was during a time when I had a full schedule of clients and I vaguely remember the dishes I cooked for them.  Last year a new client said his doctor suggested he try it.  So, I dug out the book and ended up ordering two more from Amazon—got them used for a song and postage!  I created the menus and started cooking.  At the end of the first cookdate I was amazed at how tasty the food was and the variety of ingredients I used.  At that point I thought we could eat this way.  After the client completed Phase 1 he had lost 12 pounds and continued to lose on Phase 2.  He was ecstatic about the weight loss and happy with the food.  So we delved into it for ourselves, since our Doctor was strongly suggesting some moderate weight loss.  And we plan to really get the maintenance part down pat!

Happy Dieting!

Eat Well…Be Well!

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Early Harvest Dinner for 12

Of course while planning the menu for this dinner party, the client was more interested in “Fall-like” food so I presented my fall menus for her perusal, the temps were making us all feel like Fall was upon us.  We worked on several ideas and ended up with a very rich and comforting menu.  As I mentioned this planning took place while our unseasonable weather was pleasantly cool and created the cravings for “Fall Food!”

Then today, Saturday September 16th happened.  As we were loading the car it was 82 with 90% humidity, cloudy yet the bright sunrays were piercing through the gray and black clouds, with a promise of rain showers somewhere in our near future.

Next the highways to Long Island were jammed, where’s everyone going @3 p.m.? Too late for the beach, really!  False alarm just slowness as people never prepare for the narrowing and forced merge from 5 lanes to 3!

Meanwhile on the drive we’re seeing real rain clouds and raindrops on the windshield. We planned a stop @Whole Foods for the last minute ingredients like salad greens and ice cream.  As we pulled off the highway and headed to the Whole Foods parking lot the blackest cloud opened up and let the downpour loose! It took 10 minutes to drop my Sous Chef at the door and meander around the parking lot looking for an available space.  Used an umbrella to enter the store and spent some time shopping and perusing as we were early and 8 minutes away from our destination.  Also, hoping the deluge would pass and we could resume our trip without pouring rain!  Unloading our kit/equipment/groceries and flowers for the hostess in pouring rain is never a desirable experience.

When we arrived at our client’s home it was bone dry like it hadn’t even sprinkled there!

Here’s a shout out to acknowledge my greatest asset as a Personal Chef:  My Sous Chef Wife, Kathy O’Connor Huff, who continues to make me look good at these and other events.  I pride myself in believing that clients genuinely like me, but they are truly smitten with Nana.  She can schmooze Hosts & Hostesses into losing their nervous anticipation and enjoying being a guest at their own events!  All the while being prep cook, bottle washer, server, all the while nagging me to stay focused and anticipating my next move!

Without further adieu here’s the menu and pics:

Amuse Bouche:  Smokey Roasted Garlic Shrimp with Guacamole on tasting spoon!

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Appetizer:  Endive Petals with Garlic & Herbed Cheese, Marinated Multicolored Little Tomatoes and Bacon

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Salad:  Mesclun w/Dried Cranberries & Toasted Walnuts with Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Entree:  Red Wine Braised Boneless Short Ribs with a very rich reduced and thickened gravy, over Cauliflower & Leek Puree (thank you fellow Chef extraordinaire Carol Borchardt of From A Chef’s Kitchen) with a side of Lemony Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Shallots.  Carol’s recipe for the shortribs looks amazing as does the puree.  I resorted to my own recipe for Red Wine Braised Boneless Short Ribs that I make in the pressure cooker to expedite the cooking, then created an awesome gravy by  de-fatting, reducing and thickening before pureeing the the aromatic vegetables!

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Dessert:  Our Signature JKM Frozen Brownie Bites with Raspberry Coulis and Vanilla Gelato.

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I have to honestly say that I have never experienced such clean plates! I think that despite the “heat wave” a great time was had by all!

Happy Clients=Happy Chefs!

Eat Well….Be Well!!

 

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Brunch for watching Irma’s progress!

While our thoughts and prayers are with family and friends who are in the path of Irma, we are thankful that we never experienced the devastation predicted when we lived in Florida. 

So far, reports from those we know that stayed, all are safe and hunkered down for the duration. Fingers and toes crossed that they remain safe.

We slept in a bit this morning and have been glued to the TV coverage of the storm since we got up. 

By request I prepared French Toast from some Egg Challah Rolls. The toast was topped with Vanilla Sugar Caramelized Fresh Figs and Maple Syrup. Sides were scrambled remaining egg “dip”, bacon, orange wedges and sliced kiwi.


Tasty comfort food was perfect for feeding our empathy for the newspeople reporting out in the elements! Always feel it’s a poor dichotomy of: Do as I say, Not as I do!!

To all affected: stay smart and be safe!

Eat well….Be Well!

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