Thursday, February 23, 2012

What the hell happened to me?

Well its been quite a while since I posted anything food related. I guess my biggest problem was that I was eating way too much and not saying or doing much else. It started about 9 months ago. A kickboxing accident cause my already bad knee into a worse situation. Thankfully I already knew the solution to this problem. Sit on the couch and keep eating. Oh yeah and do some exercise to strengthen the muscles around the kneecap. Well, the eating part went fine. I continued to eat like I was training for a kickboxing tournament and because it was summertime, didn't realize the subtle change that was happening in my body. I say subtle because I didn't notice it. My wife on the other hand certainly did. I couldn't understand why she kept saying, "Hey Fat Ass are you ever going to get off the couch?" Well things got progressively bigger, but I couldn't see it until that one fateful day. I tried to get into a suit for a meeting and the pants were in no way fitting. Not even close. I thought what the "F", these fit not long ago. I stepped on the scale and nearly had a heartattack. Not only was the number so much higher than I thought it would be, the standing was making me light headed. I knew something had to change immediately. I immediately did about two weeks of heavy (literally 30lbs more than 6 months earlier) rehab on my knee. I got it back to the place where I felt I could get back to kickboxing again. The other issue was food. Thankfully, Tiger Schulmann Mixed Martial Arts runs a 60 day Challenge and I didn't even have to look at Sensei Holland or Sensei Querido to know what they expected me to do. I joined the challenge. The biggest issue would be how do I go about healthy eating. I get tired of eating the same foods over and over again. My family is small so I end up with a lot of leftovers. It dawned on me, if I am in this position, so are pretty much everyone else on the challenge. I started bringing in my leftovers. It forced me to make new food and so far in a 5 weeks, I've lost 21 pounds. I have 33 pounds to go to be truly fit, but its a start. Here is the recipe that started the weightloss program into overdrive.

Moroccan Meatballs with Couscous.

This is a slow cooker recipe, but can be done in heavy cast iron pot with a lid.

for the Meatballs:
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs (I make mine from stale whole wheat bread)
1/4 cup dried currants (subsitute black raisins if you can't find currants)
1/4 cup finely chopped onions (smaller is better here)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon each of ground cumin and dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 lbs lean ground turkey
1 large eggwhite
Cooking Spray

1/4 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind (microplane zester works well here)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (start with the smaller amount and add additional to taste)
2 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes

Other Ingredients:
1 box (approx 4 cups cooked) whole wheat couscous prep according to instructions on box
Parsley for garnish (optional)
Meatball prep:
Combine the first 9 ingredients in a bowl. Mix gently but firmly to incorporate all ingredients. Form into 30-35 meatballs. I prefer slightly smaller to slightly larger. Using a non stick pan, give a quick spray with your cooking spray. Brown the meatballs in batches and set aside when done.

Sauce prep:
Add tomato paste and next 7 ingredients to slow cooker. Stir to combine. Add meatballs to sauce and stir gently to coat each meatball. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Serve over couscous. Each portion should contain 5 meatballs, 1/2 cup couscous and 1/2-1 cup sauce.

Calories are approximately 300 per serving.

Optional additions to the sauce: Canned or fresh cooked Chickpeas, Zucchini cut into half moons.

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