Diet cabbage soup

To get the diet ball rolling I usually start with a few days of the Miracle Diet Cabbage Soup. A recipe from 40 years ago. You make a huge vat of this stuff and eat it whenever. This time I decided to be fancy about it. The recipe itself just tells you to throw all this stuff in a pot and boil it up. I thoroughly browned each stage, the chicken, the mushrooms, leeks and onions, and the cabbage. Each one sautéed individually like I do when I make ratatouille, adding layers of flavor.

Except that it really didn’t. And the cabbage, uh, fried cabbage does not smell good and the taste overwhelms the soup altogether. It’s fine and I’ll eat it but I’ll never go to that extreme again to make this soup. It’s fine to just plop all the stuff in the pot. Ooh, maybe I could make it in my Instapot.

Carbless dinner party

Entertaining can be a problem when you aren’t eating carbohydrates. For the record this is the South Beach/Atkins diet sorta. No carbs. But recently, in my month of pain, I managed to get a decent enough menu put together so I could entertain without shame. There was no bread, no potato, no rice, no starch of any sort : (


One trick for a successful diet dinner party is to make the menu weird/elegant or otherwise out of the ordinary. I found this recipe in Food and Wine (I have limited success with their recipes) and it looked interesting and totally weird enough that no one would think much about bread. They’d be too busy wondering “what the?” Chicken thighs with charred lemon salsa verde. 

The process was a revelation and I’ve used it since for turkey thighs. Sauté the thighs skin side down and finish skin side up in the oven. In this case there were sage leaves, garlic slices and a pat of butter under the skin. (Butter is technically verboten this month too but I figured that most of it would render off and indeed the thighs were swimming in grease when they were done in the oven.

They were delicious. The salsa with charred lemon slices, mint and oregano was, meh, but it sounds good when you’re serving it at a dinner party and was at least interesting if not rockin’ delicious. My sides were Brussels sprouts and salad.

If anyone missed bread or potatoes they didn’t say. But Kate is a polite guest so she wouldn’t have said word one, and Loralyn, well, she had her eyes on the dessert plate throughout the entire meal. French sugar cookies and chocolates. I didn’t have any. It’s my month of pain.

Time to pay the piper

Too much cheese and bread in France means diet time in the US. Someone in my office did a three-day “fruit smoothie” diet. He raved about it and even brought one for me to try and it was (relatively) delicious. So I decided I’d try it. But clearly he did not make these himself. His soon-to-be-wife must have because this was a FREAKING procedure and it is one I know Javier would never have the patience to attempt.

I have a juicer and a blender which were required to make this stuff. In the recipes I read it always said to drink immediately. There is a reason for that which I will get to.

So I juiced some grapefruit, orange, apple, strawberry and blueberries. What a mess. Jesus. And at one point I forgot to put the juice-catching cup in place and and that not only compounded the mess, I lost a good quarter cup of juice.

Once I had enough juice, I blended mango, banana, more strawberries, blueberries, apple. Plus a whole container of kale, the miracle green leafy vegetable I do not like to eat.

I ended up with a sinkful of fruit detritus (I have a commercial garbage disposal) and 2 quarts of liquid. Purple-gray disgusting liquid. It didn’t taste all that bad but it was not something you’d serve to guests. At least not if you expected them to ever come back.

I should have drunk the crap immediately because after about 3 hours in the refrigerator it solidified into something not un-liver like in its appearance. I had to eat it rather than drink it. The best I could say is that it was not unpleasant. While I’m hoping I lose weight quickly (because I’m gonna lose patience with this routine in a hurry) I don’t expect there’s even a remote possibility that I’ll drop 10 pounds in 2 days.

January, the month of pain

I don’t drink in the month of January. After the binge eating and drinking of the holiday season I need to give it a rest. I had plans every single night but one over the Christmas/New Years holiday (and that night I ordered pizza) and the plans always included massive quantities of food and wine. I also tend to eat the kinds of cookies and desserts that normally I’d pass up. I don’t know what comes over me. I can’t help it.

So now the month begins. No wine. I’d say I was going to diet, and I am, but there is no formal diet I’m following. I found this guide in Bon Appetit. It works for me. I suppose cheese is not a healthy fat.

On another note, I was horrified this morning to discover that the scale at the Y is broken. I need to know my starting weight.

Garlic scapes

I see these mentioned occasionally and think they look interesting. I’m not the biggest fan of garlic, though I do like it. These are supposed to be a mild version of garlic but there aren’t a lot of recipes for them on the internet. Today I picked up the first load of food from my CSA. It was mostly onions and garlic related things.

I like the idea of the CSA but really, how much garlic and onions can you eat at one time while the food is still fresh (and not offend all your neighbors)?

What I saw of scape recipes was pretty dull. But there was one that suggested grilling them. I can do that. I threw in some peppers and onions. And grilled a chicken breast (I am on a diet after all). It was pretty good. I completely burned one scape. It tasted oddly like marshmallow. The others didn’t really have much in the way of taste. I was worried they’d be woody. But they weren’t, they were very tender. But green beans have more flavor. The chicken breast was perfectly grilled.

Diet time

Diet challenge in the office. I have to lose 8 pounds in month or pay $50. I’m not sure I can lose 8 pounds. Though I have it to lose, I’m not sure I have the stuff. I have had success over the years with some one of those fad diets that came around. I don’t recall the whole thing but it involved a lot of chicken (cabbage mostly) soup. You make a vat of it and then you can eat all you want anytime you want it. This might seem tedious but when you’re driven, well it works. You can eat things high in protein, but not fat. Fresh vegetable or fruits. I think you can’t have bananas or pineapple but I ignore that. You can’t have alcohol of course. Totally ignore that.

I made my vat of chicken soup. I like mushrooms but not in this particular soup for some reason, so I cooked extra ones. You can have all the damn mushrooms you can eat of course. I also like the soup with soy sauce. So sometimes I add that. In this case I added it to the mushrooms and ate that on the side.

As of today, one week, I’d lost .4 pounds. I’m plateauing.