This weekend was pretty productive for me. I did a LOT of cooking Saturday and Sunday, trying out two new recipes and one new vegetable and generally bulk-cooking about five days’ worth of food. I had a sort of epiphany while watching Top Chef last week: Why the hell am I wasting my time watching OTHER people cook on TV when I could be making all kinds of mouth-watering food for myself in the same amount of time?
So I pulled out the Wei-Chuan Taiwanese cuisine cookbook I’ve owned for over three years (and from which I had yet to make a single entree), my Weight Watcher’s Take-Out Tonight, and a steamed bread recipe from the Internet and got to work using ingredients I had on hand from last week’s grocery run.
– Honey-glazed pork (first recipe tried from my Taiwanese cookbook)
– Chinese BBQ roast pork
– Stir-fried garlic turnip greens
– Stir-fried string beans and carrots
– Kashi 7-grain pilaf
– Red pepper and garlic roast chicken
– Chinese steamed buns filled with red bean paste and gemma protein (PWO-compliant recipe modification!)
The steamed buns were time-consuming, but OMG…they are so worth it. WAY better than a PWO shake or processed protein bar from the store. DH and two co-workers all loved them. I’ve wanted to try this since I received my TrueProtein.com gemma protein order a few months ago, and it is great to see that my initial reaction to the stuff (“Hmm…tastes like a sweetened Chinese bean paste dessert…”) was right.
Anyway, I am on a mission to try one new recipe each week for the rest of the year. I’ve gotten into a good groove with food prep now, brining, seasoning, and roasting one 4 lb chicken every weekend for easy protein (salads, quesadillas, basic protein portion, pita pizzas, etc.) and making two other protein entrees to round out the remaining 2-3 lbs of protein DH and I go through for lunches and dinners the rest of the week. Since whole chicken is still one of the cheapest meats available per pound, this gives us a good baseline for the week while providing the opportunity to spend just a little more on the other protein types besides chicken. (I still go for what’s on sale, though, and decide what to cook based on that.)
Our grocery bill has gone up noticeably over the past year from an average of $45 or so for two of us per week to $60-$65 now, and honestly, I buy almost exactly the stuff every week, very little of it processed or packaged – fresh produce, WW pita bread, around 5-7 lbs of lean meat, 36-54 large eggs, cheese, soy milk, 0.5 lb roast beef, 2 cans of cat food, 2 bottles of juice for DH, one box of cereal, raisins, oats, salsa, and condiments and cooking staples as they are used up.
Besides geeking out over food, I also got nerdy with some spreadsheets this weekend. I start NROLFW Stage 2 this week, and as I mentioned earlier, I went ahead and made an Excel spreadsheet with logs for all of the workouts for the entire book plus a new diet calculator based on the nutrition chapters. The blank workout log that you have to fill out by hand was just not working for me, and I also wanted to come up with an easier way to calculate caloric needs for maintenance and fat loss than slogging through the book’s tables and equations by hand.
I’m going to work on a version of the spreadsheet for the original NROL book this week for the 12-week workout-a-long at my office that I am trying to start up. The last challenge was fun (especially since my team won), but a lot of the other guys just gave up and fell off the wagon because they didn’t have a real plan to follow. This time around, it will be non-competitive, and everyone will be using either the free TT bodyweight program or NROL for 3 months.