At least I won’t attract any vampires!

I’m in the midst of the 28-day Perricone Prescription meal plan and was getting bored with my meals, so last night, I roasted some onions and tomatoes and garlic to jazz up my salads. Note: Roasted garlic is delicious. It’s also pungent. I have garlic oozing out of my pores. At least I’m not single and hoping to attract eligible men. OH WAIT, I AM. Good work, self.

Anyway. That’s about as exciting as my foodie adventures have been lately. I’ll be starting my first Whole30 stint in two weeks, and I’m pretty excited about it. I just ordered Well Fed (the cookbook that sort of accompanies it) and a slow cooker, so I’m ready. I mean. I’ll be ready in two weeks.

Perricone’s meal plan is working, though, as usual. I’m currently comfortably wearing a pair of jeans I haven’t been able to wear since February, so I’ll call that progress. I’d be satisfied with just sticking to this way of eating, but I really just want to experience this Whole30 thing for myself – I want to know if it benefits me to cut out grains and legumes and dairy, and if I have any food intolerances. The only thing I’m not looking forward to is not having stevia in my coffee in the morning, but I think I’ll live. If I continue with paleo/primal, that will be added back in. This I already know.

Meanwhile, the full-time job I’ve been working at since mid-May is transitioning back to part-time, so it should be interesting to see how good I am about staying active while I’m not working. I’d be excited about it, except for the whole smaller paycheck thing. One month and I’m back to school!

Okay, so that failed.

One day.

That’s how long I lasted before I caved to the junk food goodness.

I was doing great on Friday, I really was. I had an omelet for breakfast and then I had a salad for lunch. But then… I went to meet my friend Lillian at her co-working office and I somehow convinced her that we needed to devour massive amounts of chips. I don’t know why. That’s when I feel off the food wagon.

Yesterday was even worse. I met a new friend and some of her friends for brunch, which was fine (another salad), but then we went to the Russian Festival. A true Russian, I cannot resist doughy, bready, delicious Russian food. So I ate… and kept eating. And OMG it was delicious. I started to believe I should move to Siberia so this extra layer of fat would have some usefulness and context.

So tomorrow, my blog friends, I start my month-long Perricone feast. Yep, one month. I will chronicle it on this blog, every day, complete with what workout(s) I completed and photos of the meals that I consumed. I’ve done this before, but it was only two weeks. This time I’m serious. I turn 28 in 32 days and I will fit back into my jeans by then, dammit.

Scallops with fresh tomatoes, herbs and white wine.

I had a friend over for dinner last weekend in an effort to be social without eating junk food or drinking alcohol (believe me, this is a challenge in my world). Lucky her, it was scallops night – lucky me, I have access to this fabulous cookbook.

In my cooking adventures, I’ve discovered that it’s difficult – if not impossible – to mess up scallops. You can saute them in olive oil and garlic, you can dress them up with fancy sauces, whatever – they’re low-maintenance molluscs. I’ve used recipes from my favorite Asian stir-fry cookbook, Fine Cooking, and the bag of scallops from Trader Joe’s, and I have never had bad scallops. In fact, they’ve always been fantastic. So I figured last Saturday was a good opportunity to make a delicious dinner for someone other than myself.

The only scallop recipe in my Cuisine of California cookbook is Scallops with Fresh Tomatoes, Herbs, and White Wine. Perfect. That’s what I ended up serving, along with steamed green beans.

(Serves 2 as a main course – recipe halved from original)

Ingredients:

1 lb. sea scallops
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of finely ground pepper
1/2 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)

Directions:

1. Remove small white muscle at the side of each sea scallop. Cut sea scallops in half horizontally.

2. Heat 1 of the tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and saute for 3 minutes, or until soft. Add tomatoes, wine, herbs and garlic. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Add salt and pepper and taste for seasoning.

3. Pat scallops dry. Sprinkle with flour; shake off excess.

4. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet. Place scallops in the skillet and saute over medium-high heat, turning frequently, about 2 minutes per side, or until lightly browned and tender.

5. Spoon scallops onto serving plates and pour sauce over each serving. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Creative solutions for chocolate cravings.

I’m doing so well on this round of Perricone meal plans. I’m realizing belatedly that this isn’t supposed to be a temporary fix for the effects of over-eating (as I will admit I was doing), but it’s a lifestyle. I’ve even gotten back into my exercise routine. Yay me.

Despite all my progress, I still can’t seem to get away from my love of sweets. Thankfully, I’ve finally made the switch over to stevia, so at least I’m not potentially poisoning myself with Splenda. But lately I’ve been thinking about chocolate bars. Dr. Perricone says that dark chocolate is okay, even recommended – the darker the better. And unsweetened cocoa powder is great. I keep unsweetened cocoa powder around the house. How convenient! Now, how does one make a chocolate bar? This looks promising…

But, butter? I don’t even keep butter in my apartment. And vegetable oil is a questionable choice. So… wait. I know! Olive oil! And it would be so healthy! I could put some stevia in there for sweetener, too. And vanilla extract, and orange extract… oh boy. I decided to try it.

After several hours in the refrigerator, I consider it a success. So much so that I decided to share it. I think Dr. Perricone would be proud.

The challenge will be not eating it all in one sitting.

Healthy Dark Chocolate Bar

Ingredients:

6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (12 packets) stevia
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp orange extract (optional)

Directions:

1. Mix the cocoa powder, stevia, and olive oil in a small bowl. Once the mixture is the consistency of melted chocolate, mix in the extracts.

2. Spread mixture into pre-formed container lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate or freeze for a few hours, until the bar is solid.

3. Wrap in parchment paper and aluminum foil to store.

Back to the drawing board.

I’m so good when it comes to meals. I know what healthy is supposed to look like, thanks in large part to my mother, not to mention Dr. Perricone. I know what I’m supposed to eat and I eat it. But then… I get rebellious. I think, “I was so good today, I’m going to reward myself with a piece of cake. But I don’t have cake. So I’m going to bake one.” What? That’s stupid, Self. I don’t know why I have this compulsion, but I have it with everything – eating, shopping, reading, everything I enjoy has to be presented to me in bulk. I don’t do “less is more.” I’m sure that’s not entirely normal.

I’ve decided that I have to stage an intervention for myself. I’m going to do a combination of Perriconian food principles and calorie counting/food journaling. I must keep myself honest, and it doesn’t seem like there’s any way to do that other than the food journal. Otherwise I get sneaky.

Today is Day 1. I didn’t take a picture of this breakfast, but I had a two-egg omelet with 2 ounces smoked salmon, cherry tomatoes, and dill, along with 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt with Splenda, vanilla extract and blueberries. I also need to get away from the Splenda. All in good time.

And for funsies, here’s a picture of last night’s wholesome dinner, before I baked the cake:

I so love that Mediterranean chopped salad – it’s from the first Perricone book.

Bad foodie, very bad.

Or maybe I’ve been a good foodie and a bad healthy foodie. Hmm. Either way, I’ve been really enthusiastic about all food-related pursuits lately… a little too enthusiastic, if you catch my drift. I’ve been back on Perricone for the past week, and while I’ve been (mostly) obedient, I went a little overboard once or twice, and worst of all, I haven’t been working out. So, naturally, I was beginning to get pretty frustrated when I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted to see.

No, these pelmeni were not gluten free. And yes, they were delicious.

So, for my August resolution, I will 1) stick to Perricone for as long as I can stand, and 2) work out every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. I got this app called MapMyWalk and walked a total of 5.87 miles today. I’m going to get back into this walking thing. I feel so much better about life when I’m exercising.

And, because this is a foodie blog, I feel I must share a photo of tonight’s scrumptious and healthy dinner:

4 oz. coconut breaded chicken fingers (from Whole Foods); pesto dipping sauce; grilled vegetable kabob (from Trader Joe’s); romaine salad with roma tomato, red onion, fresh basil and parmesan cheese, dressed with olive oil-balsamic vinaigrette.

As you probably figured out, I used my new grill for the veggies. It was only the second time I’ve used it, but I’m getting markedly less nervous about the smoke. I really enjoy cooking on this grill. It cooks things fast and it smells like summer.

I’m going to be better about posting, I swear. I feel like it’s the only thing that keeps me honest about what I’m eating, aside from logging everything (and that takes a lot more time).