Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tagalongs, Chicken Skin and Muffins

Talk about torture: we picked up Mabel's Girl Scout cookies last night. We spent a good bit of time sorting out all the orders, then delivered a few orders before the weather got too nasty. Mabel insisted we open the box of the sugar free brownies, their newest cookie, and I tried them and they weren't bad at all. I stuck with the suggested portion size and it's enough to satisfy your chocolate needs. And I never opened my box of Tagalongs.

Honestly, I wasn't as tortured as I thought I'd be with all those cookies in the house. I guess knowing that Monday-Friday overeating is verboten and knowing I can have them this weekend is enough to keep the urges at bay.

So maybe the weekend eating, at least for now, serves its purpose. It at least gives me five days of healthy eating a week, which was something I couldn't do... I was going to say for the past two winters. But let's face it, it's more like the majority of my life. But I do agree with Lori and would like to eventually reduce that to one day a week. I think that's a good long-term goal to shoot for.

I did not feel well at all yesterday afternoon and evening. I had all kind of plans for the afternoon and wound up napping that away. I perked up some for the evening, but I still felt ill, and at one point a little lightheaded. I'm pretty sure I've just been pushing myself too hard -- I'm only about halfway through my antibiotics and getting over a serious infection. So I got a good night's sleep and trying to slow down my hectic pace a little.

I think not feeling well yesterday also made me a little sloppy with supper last night. The vegetables were pretty safe -- how bad can you be with plain steamed carrots, broccoli and cauliflower? But Hubby baked some little chicken thighs -- I'm talking teeny, like pygmy chickens, maybe 1.5 ounces of meat each -- but the majority had the skin left on. The first thigh I took was the only one without skin. The second had skin but I gave it to my daughter, who loves it and can easily burn it off with her constant fidgeting and cartwheels. Then I took a third one, Mabel was full, so I went ahead and ate it with the skin.

Then something weird happened. Hubby started laughing. At me. For eating chicken with the skin on it.

I did not handle this well. I got defensive and told him I didn't appreciate him using his "mocking" laugh (believe me, he's got different laughs -- the laugh out loud guffaw at a funny joke, his naughty laugh when he's feeling frisky, and then there's the mocking one when he's finding amusement in someone else's mistake or flaw. Early on in the family relationship Mabel picked up on this habit of his and would proclaim in her dramatic way, "You enjoy the misery of others!" Just last weekend he unleashed it on his own mother when she said "prostrate cancer" instead of "prostate.").

He made some comment like "I enjoy watching you eat," which I translated as "I enjoy watching you fattening yourself up," and I was even more irritated. I felt like he was basking in the victory of sabotaging me with chicken skin and it made me angry. But I got over it -- after calling him on it (gone are the days of holding it in) -- and went on with my evening.

I'm not sure if I was reading into the whole event and made it much more than it was (which is probably what he would have told me if I pushed the issue). But thinking about it now, I wonder if it made him feel better to see me eating chicken skin since his "diet" has really crumbled in the last couple weeks. It's easier to be "bad" when someone's being "bad" with you. He ate eight thighs, by the way, and ate the skin on all of them.

And I don't think he's out on some deliberate mission to derail me. He's the one who made the steamed veggies, and let's not forget those tasty muffins on Sunday. By the way, I did some calculating today and figured out that the batch we made averaged out to 150-170 calories a muffin, because we substituted some items and he made smaller muffins (20 instead of the suggested 15). The actual recipe is more like 220-230 calories per muffin. But the things are packed with healthy stuff, and one muffin, even a small one, is quite filling and makes a great breakfast.

The recipe came from the back of the Flaxseed Meal bag (thanks to Bob's Red Mill, by the way!), and I'm going to include the changes we made in parentheses:

Bob's Red Mill Bran Flax Muffins
1 1/2 c. unbleached white flour
3/4 c. flaxseed meal
3/4 c. oat bran
1 c. brown sugar [this adds a lot of calories and I'm going to ask Hubby how we can alter this recipe to reduce that]
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 carrots, shredded
2 apples, peeled and shredded
1/2 c. raisins (optional -- we used dried blueberries-- this added a good bit of calories too)
1 c. nuts, chopped (he used pecans -- also adds a lot of calories -- I think if we make these again I'll reduce this amount to 1/2 c.)
3/4 c. milk (he used fat-free)
2 eggs, beaten (Hubby ran out of eggs so he used 1 "real," 1 egg substitute -- next time I'll do egg sub. for both)
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix together flour, Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in carrots, apples, raisins (if desired) and nuts. Combine milk, beaten eggs and vanilla. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes. Yields 15 medium muffins.

If any of you healthy cooks out there have some other ideas for me to reduce the calories (especially the sugar), let me know. I know there's a brown sugar/sugar substitute blend for baking, but I wonder if it really cuts a lot of calories. And I don't know if replacing it entirely with a sugar substitute would work. Any ideas would be appreciated.


Lori said...

I went up to my cupboard and found my unopened bag of brown sugar splenda. The recipe on the back was for chocolate chip cookies so it can be used in baking.

The recipe looks delicious. Good job on not eating the Tagalongs and just sticking to the portion size of the sugar free brownies.

As for your husband, I don't know what to say. We all have our weak moments of schadenfreude. A friend of mine is dumping her idiot man and yes, I'm happy about it (for a lot of reasons, good and bad). I'm sure if you queried your husband (and I don't recommend this, really) he might say you had some expressions or comments when he was dieting that annoyed him. Not that you shouldn't call him on his behavior when it annoys you or you want clarification.

PS Don't push yourself so hard.

Vickie said...

applesauce and bananas - can be substituted for somethings(it might be oil) - I hunted and hunted for a list I used to have with dozens of these type of substitutions and even called a couple friends from when our oldests were toddlers - but no one can remember WHAT it was in - cookbook?

Helen said...

I use applesauce to substitute for oil in baking...it works GREAT. I think I learned about this in one of the Moosewood cookbooks -- if you don't have it, Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites is the MOST awesome recipe book in the universe. It gives nutrition information for all recipes, plus suggested pairings to make full meals. AND almost nothing takes too long to make. Yum. I need to start cooking again... ;-)

Shauna said...

It just so happens that I have a brand new bag of Splenda brown sugar. It is actually 50 percent of the calories of real brown sugar. Normally, this would be an awesome find but I gave up sugar for Lent. Now I have a brand new bag of brown sugar I cannot use for another 5 wks. Hope it works out for you--the recipe sounds awesome!

Grumpy Chair said...

Thanks for posting the recipe. Going camping next week, and I'm gonna make to take.