Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Manfriend Approved: Updated Shepherd's Pie

There was nothing meatless about Monday dinner last night, but it was the first time in many weeks that Johnnie Bud and I have been able to have a real dinner at home together, so I felt compelled to surprise him with something he had recently pointed out as looking tasty: Kraft's Updated Shepherd's Pie.

Kraft Recipes Shepherd's Pie
Image and recipe via KraftRecipes.com

I made very little modifications to this recipe - I left the skin on the potatoes and added a bit of the beef broth to the potatoes. (The ketchup probably could have been left out entirely as the broth provides a good deal of seasoning to the meat and vegetables.)

As a vegetarian, I obviously didn't indulge in this comfort food dish with the manfriend, but he enjoyed it so much he's planning on having leftovers tonight for dinner - and this is a man who rarely does leftovers.

One of the best parts about this recipe is the ease! While the potatoes were boiling, I browned the beef and the frozen vegetables went right from bag to the saute pan before baking - and then the whole thing went right in the oven alongside carrots I had quickly cut, tossed in EVOO, salt and pepper, and put in a roasting dish.

This dish could have easily served a whole family. Johnnie Bud's two servings at dinner last night barely made a dent in the casserole dish we baked it in.

Not too bad for a Monday, friends! Enjoy.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Life Experiment: Humdinger Juice Three-Day Cleanse

The background: My manfriend won a three-day Humdinger Juice cleanse for me at the Rex Gala a few weekends ago. I really like cold-pressed juice and have earmarked November to get a little bit healthy and in-shape before the holidays, so the timing worked out well. I ordered the three-day cleanse online, set Sunday as my delivery date so I could start today (Monday), and the nice guy from Humdinger showed up at my house yesterday and walked me through the pacing of the 18 bottles of juice. The retail price is $144 for the three-day cleanse. The manfriend, Johnnie Bud, conveniently left this morning for a three-day work stint in Wilmington and Fayetteville. A few friends told him that crankiness would ensue without carbs... we'll see. :-)

My goals: I haven't set any in particular, but last month I got a little irritable with myself about how I looked in a bathing suit this past summer, so I decided to commit November and December to getting back into the gym more regularly and keeping a keener eye on what I'm eating. If I lose a few pounds during this, great -- but the numbers on the scale don't bother me nearly as much as being constantly tired and "less than tone" in my midsection.

Day 1: Ok y'all - it's Day 1, Juice 1. As I said earlier, I already liked juice before this and I especially like the green ones with leafy vegetables and apples. Great start to the day. Drank it in no time... it's now 11 a.m. and I'm a little hungry so going for the next bottle of juice. (PS: We had Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas for dinner last night... had to go big before going clean for three days.)

I'm on my second bottle of the day - "Glow", made of pineapple, apple, water, lime and mint - and it reminds me of a craft cocktail... minus the booze. Yum. Nicely tart. I still want a sandwich for lunch though :-) (And can't believe I scheduled Day 1 of my cleanse on National Sandwich Day. Fail.)

I was super hungry at 2:30 p.m. so I went for my third bottle of the day at 3 p.m. - "lift", made from carrot, water, beet, apple, lemon, ginger. It's got a bit of bite to it from the ginger, and that's awesome. I'm wearing a white shirt today, so I'm drinking very, very carefully. I definitely still feel "hungry" though.

I got home from work around 5:45 p.m. and as I fed my dogs dinner, I was opening my fourth juice of the day - a repeat of of the first bottle of the day - "balance", which included celery, kale, spinach and more. It wasn't as good as this morning because I forgot that the top shelf of my fridge tends to freeze the very top of things and as I've been told by friends who juice, "it doesn't freeze well". It definitely lacked some of the flavor. But no big deal. At this point I also had two slices of dried peaches and a handful of multigrain chips because I'd had a bit of a headache all day and wanted to go to yoga with more than juice on my stomach. (Yup, already fell off the wagon. Sigh.)

For scientific reporting purposes, I weighed in at the gym at 115.4. We'll see if that fluctuates at all during this three-day cleanse.

When I got home from yoga, the headache was gone and I did two more juices before crawling into bed to write this recap - the "glow" and the only "calm" of the day, which was distinctly different because it's made from cashews, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. It definitely has a "milky texture", but is dairy free. Not a bad end to the day, but certainly a departure from the five previous juices. I also don't feel hungry at this point! Good night, y'all - can't wait to see how I feel on day two.

Day 2: I'm on my first juice of the day - a little behind schedule, but not feeling super hungry, either. I'm repeating the schedule of juices (Balance - Glow - Lift - Balance - Glow - Calm) for the entire three-day cleanse, so I'm going to try to get the Glow in during the 11 a.m. hour and the Lift around 12:30 p.m. or 1 p.m. as Colin from Humdinger suggested having about one every hour and half.

Speaking of Colin, he sent me some great pointers via email last night after my first day's recap:

Those headaches are a result of toxins escaping. Keep it up! It gets easier each day. Promise. Drink plenty of water as well. That helps with hunger. You could also have an herbal tea in the afternoon. Just make sure it's caffeine free.
Today was tough. I ended up having a rush project on my desk I wasn't expecting and was late getting to my third and fourth juices of the day because I worked straight through without thinking of lunch (happens too often!), but got them in while I was running around before the event I was setting up and staffing from 4 pm until 9 pm. Speaking of which... it was torture being at the Red and White Food and Beverage Festival and not sampling everything in site. I cannot believe I had the will power to hold out, while being super hungry, until I could get home to my last two juices.

And before I got home I stopped by the Y to weigh in on the same scale as last night: 113.8 pounds.

I've got my "calm" juice left to go tonight and then I'm hitting the sack early (for me) so I can hit the ground running earlier than normal tomorrow. Last day is in sight.

I'll update more as the three-day experiment continues... stay tuned!

Day 3: Alright, made it to day three here kids! I'd like to say I feel markedly different, but I don't. I had a long work day yesterday, so that definitely contributes to not feeling on my a-game today. But what I also don't feel is bloated and sluggish - so that's awesome. I talked Tara into trying the juices I brought into the office today and I have a feeling she'll be grabbing a few bottles of Humdinger in the coming weeks, too. She was a big fan of the "Glow" flavor, like pretty much everyone else who tries it and thinks it tastes like a cocktail without the booze. :-)

I've made it to my last two bottles of juice. Today was another busy day, so I wasn't totally on a three hour schedule - but not too bad.

I weighed in at the Y again tonight before yoga... down to 111.6 pounds. That's almost 4 pounds down in three days. Like I said earlier, the number doesn't really both me. I haven't noticed too much difference in my stomach, but I also didn't expect to shed any excess fat during a three-day juice cleanse.

I am hoping to use the discipline of the last three days to jump start my commitment to eating better and exercising several times a week. So far, so good. It's been a commitment, and I made it. No stopping here, right?

Day 4: The first day after the cleanse! I woke up and felt the same as I had most other days, but within an hour of starting my day, I was hungry and craving a juice. I had a busy morning and the first meal I had was at lunch around 12:30. I could tell an immense difference in the way I felt after having tomato and avocado sandwich with sauteed spinach at a restaurant. I likened it to what people with gluten sensitivities must feel like. I think I should have started lighter with a simple salad and eased back into things!

At dinner, I had a grilled asparagus and grilled mushroom salad. I asked for dressing on the side, but it came way over-dressed and I dreaded sending it back, so I only ate about half of it. The one glass of wine I had, though? Woah, Nelly! I had a buzz. Probably should have not splurged with that. Things I'll know for next time.

Day 5 Summary: With all of yesterday's experiences, I'm definitely going light and easy and heavy emphasis on vegetables and fresh fruit through this weekend to ease back into the life of eating solid foods again.

I can absolutely see myself swapping out bottles of juice here and there for meal replacements, but I hope to stay on my path of healthy eating and regular exercise for the next few months until I've saved up for another cleanse for pre-summer bikini goals. I do feel like a healthier person for having done it and I'm absolutely more conscious of what I'm putting in my body.

Cheers, y'all! If you have any questions about my cleanse, feel free to leave comments below or email me at lisa.jeffries@gmail.com privately.

Disclosure: Humdinger did not compensate me in any way for this post, but I do sincerely appreciate their donation to the Rex Gala, where Johnnie Bud bid on and won this item!