Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Week 14: Barriers have been broken!

Well I did it America! I broke the 250' barrier. With a loss if 1.2 pounds this week, I am down below 260
for the first time in a very long while. I went from 260 flat to 258.8 pounds, and from a 45.8" navel measurement to 45.25"! I'm very excited.

This week is also a very boring week for me as I had to put my head down and focus up for the last 3 weeks of my 16 week journey. I got in my gym visits, but had long hours at work as well. So there was very little fun in between, but honestly, losing weight and achieving my goals is fun, so I guess I'm alright.

This week for my diet I was able to make a pie that really exceeded my expectations. I finally made my Chicken Broccoli Alfredo pie. Grilled up some chicken breast, shredded it, then tossed the chicken and some broccoli in a little Alfredo sauce. I used a light amount of Alfredo as the base since I already coated the chicken and broccoli, Then added a light layer of mozzarella to hold it down. I then added a little bacon and tomatoes on top. Very little. Topped it with a mozzarella cheddar blend and some diced garlic and a little sea salt. To repeat myself from an earlier blog..."It was gooo-oood!". I also Made just a plain cheese to balance out the lunches and dinners. I assume I don't need to give you that recipe.

Now a question I get asked almost everyday is, "Don't you ever get tired of pizza?". And while my answer face to face is always a resounding "no", can you keep a secret America?

Yes, at times I tire of pizza. I am a man that loves food, all kinds of food. And while pizza offers you the diversity in flavors to make whatever you crave, at the end of the day, it's still pizza. And sometimes you don't have dough ready and available, or are just too plain tired or in a hurry to wait for a whole pizza. But I found ways to stick to the diet while branching out into non pizza items. All these options used pizza ingredients, just transformed to different dishes. I should really try out for Chopped! I'd just like to run down the list of a few pizza-esque options I threw in.

1. Pretzels - This is the simplest of the recipes. I just  take an 8oz. dough ball, cut it into about 4 strips then roll them into 12"-14" breadsticks. I use a food grade lye solution made of 16 oz. of warm water and .63 oz. of lye. Use gloves as it can burn if left unattended on the skin, dip the sticks in the solution, then place on a tray with parchment paper. Form them into any shape you wish really. Then add some pretzel salt over the top. You can get both pretzel salt and the lye online. I like to dip in a cheese or red sauce.

2. Spinach Artichoke Bites - This one takes a little more work, but is bite sized and tasty. Find your favorite spinach artichoke dip recipe and whip it up.Then you use some Filo dough, or thinly sheeted pizza dough. Place the dough in a small cup cake or biscuit tray. fill the cups with the dip and bake. They come out nicely browned and melty. You can make them any size, depending on your tray.

3. Mozzerella Sammich - Just toast some bread on a skillet with some olive oil (or in a toaster without the oil of course). I used a nice ciabatta bread bun. Add a layer of mozz while still in the skillet, cover for 30 seconds to start the melt. Remove after the 30 seconds, add a dab or two of red sauce and basil, if you so choose. I almost always do. Top the sandwich. You can also sprinkle some fresh grated Parmesan on top as well for an extra little kick.

4. Pizza Burger - I love my burgers! So I decided to try out a way to have one with my diet. My first attempt used a flatbread cut in half (this one used a regular bun), spread with a thin layer of ricotta, garlic, parsley mix on both halves. I made the burger stuffed with mozzarella cheese, placed a slice of provolone on top. Topped with green peppers, black olives, red onions, and crisped pepperoni. Dabs of red sauce on top then put the bun on. Brushed with a little garlic butter, sprinkle with Parmesan and basil. Delicious! Now it is a hefty burger, I ate mine in several stages, but I'm also developing this recipe for something I'm doing online.

5. Pizza Cone - A friend of ours at PCI Frozen Foods sent PMQ some pizza cones to try out in the test kitchen. While still technically pizza, it was transformed enough to feel new and different. We tried several options of toppings including black olives and green pepper, Margherita and a prosciutto. Not to mention your standards of a pepperoni and a cheese.  You can find videos online of how to make you own pizza cones at home.

Well I have two weeks left to go on my diet. I'm making great strides and I am very excited. My goal is to be 30 pounds lighter by the time I'm done. I was originally shooting for 40 pounds, but I can live with 30...for now. We are in the homestretch now America. I really appreciate you guys joining me on this journey. Stay tuned for the finale. Only two more episodes left!