Brown Rice and Pickle Juice

February 25, 2010

The Leader at Bunny’s Weight Watchers meeting talks a lot about mixing foods. Adding healthy but filling foods to meals and snacks, to fill you up and avoid bored taste buds and slipping motivation.

A great idea.

One problem.

Bunny has no idea what to mix with what.

Bunny is no cook. She manages (somehow) to feed 30 people Thanksgiving dinner, and so far no one has been poisoned, but it takes her 4 weeks to get ready and 2 weeks to recover.

Bunny has no natural cooking ability, and never really had any guidance. Her Mom only cooked on Christmas. Her Dad did the day-to-day cooking, but he’s no Julia Child either, and his primary base ingredient was pickle juice.

Seriously. Pickle juice.

Any wonder Bunny finds herself in this dietary, well, pickle?

Cooking for Buff has done nothing to improve her skills. He likes everything plain-plain-plain (seasoning? ugh!), and has a penchant for eating one of three boring microwaved meals every night. Plain hamburger patties on the George Foreman Grill. Chicken breast microwaved in tomato sauce, no seasoning please. Once and a while he’ll go wild and have spaghetti (pasta and ground beef topped with plain tomato sauce). Oh, and he almost always starts off with a bowl full of sliced cucumbers with…you guessed it…pickles.

What is it with these men and their pickles?

OK, Bunny, this isn’t so hard. Mix some broccoli with a Lean Cuisine. Sounds like a no-brainer, but does she cook the broccoli first or mix it with the Lean Cuisine and then cook them together? She’s not sure.

See what we’re up against?

Weight Watchers suggests making a vegetable soup using filling foods.  She tried it once. It was nasty. She’s sure she did it wrong. (Anybody have a new one that won’t make her want to feed it to her worst enemy?)

Chicken broth seems like a nice, helpful food. Bunny got ambitious one day and baked chicken in chicken broth, with a few mushrooms tossed in. She sprinkled in some poultry seasoning she had left over from Thanksgiving, and threw in some fresh garlic cloves. Sounds yummy, right?

It was pretty bad.

Next time, she browned garlic in olive oil. When she added the chicken, the pan sizzled and spat grease all over the stove and the kitchen filled with smoke. Deciding she needed liquid, and fast, she tossed in some chicken broth, covered it and turned it down to low. It seemed to be cooking calmly, so she tossed in some mushrooms and let it do its thing. When she came back,  the broth had evaporated, the chicken was stuck to the pan, it smelled otherworldly, and the chicken tasted oily, singed, and not much like chicken.

Again…not pretty.

And what about brown rice? Bunny has a package of brown rice in her cupboard, but doesn’t know what to do with it. She can follow the directions, but she still doesn’t really know what to do. What does she eat it with? Is she supposed to season it or mix it with something? Why isn’t it more clear? Are people supposed to be born with this knowledge? Is Bunny the only idiot on the planet?

As we said, Bunny is no cook. It’s so much easier to nuke a Lean Cuisine than to cook. Not very satisfying, and not good in terms of variety or long-term motivation, but easier.

And then there’s herbs. Herbs confuse her tremendously. Bunny is never sure about them. Are the stalks they sell in the market the same as those chopped up things in the little glass jars? Does she need to grow her own? What about that 3-pound vat of dried oregano they sell at Costco? Why is it dry? Does she need to do something to it to make it un-dry? Do you do something different with dry herbs than you do with the ones you grow yourself? What happens if she grows herbs in her kitchen window and her cat eats it?

Nobody tells you this stuff, or puts it on the back of the box, because everybody assumes that any moron knows what to do.

This one doesn’t.

Bunny would love to be able to toss this into that and whip up a delightful and healthy concoction to tantalize her taste buds, but she has been discouraged by her past efforts to combine and cook and create. Discouraged because her concoctions usually taste as bad as the word “concoctions” sounds.

Bunny’s idea of combining foods is spooning cottage cheese onto some grape tomatoes and adding half a handful of Kashi Go Lean Cereal. (And yes, she uses the real cottage cheese. Not the low-fat. The yellow container. You know the one. She doesn’t care if it’s more points. Some things are simply not negotiable, and that’s right there on her list with full-fat bleu cheese dressing.)

Do you have any ideas for simple recipes that are easy to prepare that don’t require any fancy seasonings or special pans or complex instructions or any kind of decision-making whatsoever, that can be done quickly and simply, and don’t involve fish or beans or veal or nasty internal organs or anything that smells bad while it cooks (Buff has a very sensitive nose)?

Did we mention that it needs to be simple?

Really simple.

Like…your cat could make it.

THAT simple.

Let us know.

The Results Show

February 22, 2010

Bunny had to go back to Weight Watchers for her post-vacation weigh-in tonight.

Despite her good efforts since her return home, she was not expecting the best. Nor were we.

She walked into the Weight Watchers center, checked in, and bravely approached the scale.

She put down her purse. Took off her shoes. Her sweater. Her glasses. Her watch. Her earrings.

She considered taking off her wedding ring, but she was afraid she couldn’t get it off. That would be just TOO depressing.

She stepped onto the scale. She considered trying to hold onto the edge of the desk, but figured they were probably onto that one.

Ready?

(We’re going for Ryan Seacrest on American Idol here. Go with it, OK?)

The results are in….

(dramatic pause)

America voted…

(another dramatic pause)

Bunny.

(yes, another)

You are...

(we’re almost done)

SAFE!!

Despite the chocolate PancakesWafflesBananaBreadMuffinsMartinisCookiesCake

Despite the steak, the lobster, the steak AND lobster…

Despite the dinner rolls, the cinnamon rolls, the fat rolls (no, that’s something else)…

Despite the passionberry duo, the apple pie, the a la mode, the pizza, the eggs benedict and God knows what else…

And despite various and sundry Potable Potentates (no, that’s not it…what’s that category they use on Jeopardy? … oh poo … hold on … google google google … AH!

Despite various and sundry Potent Potables…

Despite all that…

Bunny gained on her vacation…

LESS THAN A POUND?

What?!

Zero Point Eight.

Eight-tenths of a pound.

That’s ALL.

THAT’S ALL???!!

THAT’S ALL!!!

Bunny’s collateral damage on her vacation was PRACTICALLY NOTHING!

Less than a pound? ONE pound? LESS? Not even ONE pound?

ARE THEY KIDDING!???

She can get that back by next week!!!!

OH YEAH!!!!!!!!!!

CUE THE BUNNY DANCE!!!!

It’s On!!!

February 18, 2010

Bunny’s back home from her vacation.

She has returned with fresh motivation!

She wants less, not more.

She is tired of big, heavy meals, and wondering what she’s actually eating.

She is tired of being full.

She’s tired of wondering if she’s going to be the next Kevin Smith, booted off a plane for overfilling the seat.

She wants to remember what it feels like to be a little hungry. (Just a little.)

She wants to count her Weight Watchers points, and stick to it!

She wants to button that button on those pants she bought a couple of weeks ago!

She wants to fit into the carrots in her closet!

She wants to melt her muffintops!

She wants to fit into a bathing suit this summer that’s not made by GoodYear!

She’s revisiting all her reasons to lose weight!

She remembers how good it feels to lose weight, and she wants to feel that way again!

Bunny is focused on her goals!

She has her eye on the ball!!!

She’s even seriously thinking about going to the gym!!!!!

IT’S ON!!!

Chocolate Pancakes?!

February 14, 2010

One morning on the cruise, it was chocolate day at breakfast.

A chocolate-themed breakfast. Whose bright idea was THAT? Some damned skinny person, that’s who.

But we digress.

Chocolate banana bread. Chocolate waffles. Muffins. Parfait. Croissants. Hot chocolate with chocolate-flavored whipped cream.

You could, if you were so inclined, even get a chocolate martini.

For breakfast???

What was she going to do when faced with this booby-trapped breakfast? Order oatmeal? Scrambled eggs?

If she could do that, she’d be a size six.

Bunny ate two chocolate pancakes and had half a piece of chocolate banana bread.

She tried to be good. Or at least not terrible. Sometimes she succeeded.

When presented with a choice between fettucine alfredo and baked chicken, she went with the chicken.

She chose veggies over baked potatoes.

She had one roll with dinner instead of four.

One cinnamon roll with breakfast instead of twelve. (They make really good cinnamon rolls, and they’re kind of small…)

She tried to avoid dessert, but if she did order it, she tried hard not to finish it. (But, oh, the warm chocolate cake and passion berry duo were possibly the best desserts she has ever had.)

A couple of times, she ordered an appetizer and salad and skipped the main course.

She didn’t go looking for cookies, and only ate them if Lucy brought them to the room.

They were calling her. What could she do when a chocolate chip cookie was sitting on the counter in her room calling her?

Bunny….oh, Bunny…come get me…you know you want to…MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

She isn’t being extremely good, but she isn’t being extremely bad either.

However, she will certainly be returning with more than she had when she left.

The good news is, Bunny seems to be on food overload. She’s had it. She’s actually looking forward to coming back and starting back on the path to righteousness.

She’s one stuffed bunny.

Bunny on the Move

February 11, 2010

Bunny’s vacation with her friend Lucy started, predictably, at the airport. The flight left at approximately sunrise, so she dragged herself out of bed and spent the next hour making strange whimpering sounds was up and at ‘em at o’dark-thirty.

 Since they knew they would have to jump out of bed and dash off to the airport with no time for breakfast, they had planned ahead and brought protein bars to eat in the car.

Actually, the label said they were cereal bars. Is that the same thing? We’re thinking no.

All she knows is she didn’t get the one made by CinnaBun, on the theory that the health benefits of anything made by CinnaBun was highly suspect. This cereal bar thingy at least used the phrase “whole grain.” It was ok, cinnamony, probably not the best choice, but not the worst either. It put something in her tummy before the flight, which is important. Since they had three take-offs and 3 landings and 8 hours on a plane ahead of them, Bunny didn’t want her tummy upset. Oh, dear, no.

Once they made their way through airport security, were all checked in and sitting at the gate, it was finally time for coffee.

Ah, morning coffee. The cure for those early-morning whimpering sounds.

Oh look! There’s a Starbucks!

 Danger! Danger!

Bunny is now standing before a display case full of muffins and scones and all kinds of yummy pastries, and it’s so early that her defenses and most of her rational mind are still sleeping. There is serious potential for diet slippage here.

May I take your order?

Bunny thought: venti frappawhozewhatsis with extra whipped cream and 4 blueberry muffins, please.

Bunny said: grande drip, a banana and a bottle of water, please.

 All right, Bunny!!

Grande drip. Ingredients: coffee, blessed caffeine, water. The girl even drinks her coffee black (thank goodness for small favors).

Banana. Ingredients: a nice collection of vitamins and minerals, potassium bananarama, antioxidoodles and other nice things.

The banana was for the flight. Bunny planned to eat it when they came around to offer to sell her a prepackaged preservative-ridden overpriced pseudo-breakfast to serve breakfast.

She was a bit worried about the peel. What would she do with the peel on the plane? Tuck it into the seat pocket? No. Hold it? Leave it on her tray? Shove it in her purse? Bunny decided to worry about that later.

Bottle of water. Ingredients: Water and a few electrical lights. Or something. Hydration for the flight. Very important to avoid swollen ankles and other awful things.

On the plane, Bunny ate her banana and tucked the peel neatly into her empty coffee cup. When the beverage cart came around, she went with black coffee on the first 2 flights, but gave up and went for merlot on the afternoon flight. She felt she should keep Lucy company while she sipped the last of the Bloody Marys she bought with her stash of drink coupons.

So Bunny is off to a good start on her adventure! Many challenges await. We’re anxious to see how she meets them.

Stay away from the buffet, Bunny. We’re watching you.

And so is the scale.

Have fun!

Lucy in the Sky with Bunny

February 9, 2010

Lucy is Bunny’s friend and sometimes travel companion.

Lucy is a wonderful person. She’s lots of fun. She doesn’t have the weight challenges Bunny has, in case you were wondering since that’s the focus of this blog.

She is, however…

how shall we say it…

nicely?

well…………………..

Frugal.

Since Buff’s staying home, Lucy is making the travel arrangements.

She has frequent flyer miles.

And a coupon.

She managed to obtain travel reservations at some very nice prices. Bunny thought that was great. Until she heard the details:

Bunny, we got a great deal, and we only have three stops as we’re flying most of the way across the country!

Stops?

We only have to change planes once, though.

Change planes???

And the airport is only a four-hour drive from the hotel…It’s so much less expensive to fly into an airport that’s a little further away…

A little further? Four hours????

Well, it’s not exactly a hotel, but it’s clean…

What is it, a clean roach motel??????!!!!

But we only have to pick up our luggage from baggage claim and move it to the next plane once…

We have to WHAT??????!?!!??

And I have drink tickets left over from my last flight…

HAND THEM OVER!!!!!



Hopping Off the Beaten Path

February 6, 2010

Bunny has encountered another roadblock along the path of her weight-loss journey.

Bunny is going on vacation.

Specifically, a cruise.

In other words, a floating buffet table.

We have been down this path before. Bunny cruises quite a lot. Sometimes she and Buff go together, and sometimes–like this time–she leaves Buff at home and goes gallivanting around the high seas with her friend Lucy.

Even though she is still in thinking-about-getting-ready-to-go-on-vacation mode, and hasn’t yet even entered getting-ready-to-go-on-vacation mode, it has already affected her eating habits.

Well….I’m going to have to start over once I get back from vacation, because even though I’ll try to eat well while I’m on vacation, I can’t help but gain a little weight, so it’s kinda sorta pointless to keep track of all my points since it’s all going out the window when I’m on vacation, so maybe I’ll just not write it down…

and maybe I’ll just have fries with that burger…

and I had to buy that chocolate bar from my assistant’s son for his school drive, no harm in having just a bite or nine…

and isn’t it Girl Scout Cookies season…?

And so it begins.

Please be assured this is a temporary bump in the road, and we’ll get Bunny back on track as soon as her not-shrinking-at-the-moment buns get back home.

Let’s see how well she does.