Saturday, August 27, 2016

Shred #2, with a recipe for Nut and Seed Brittle

I am now on day 6 of a 10 day shred.  I first did a shred at the beginning of summer; it seems appropriate to be doing another shred in these ending days of summer.  The first shred launched me into some healthy habits, along with some weight loss.  But as the summer has progressed, I've gotten a bit sloppy.  I thought another shred would help me recalibrate--plus some friends from the gym were interested.

What is a shred?  Simply put, the original shred, an elimination diet of sorts, went this way:  No gluten, no dairy, no alcohol.  Lots of veggies, fruits, and lean protein, plus nuts and seeds.  One or two protein shakes a day.  Start the day with a detox tonic:  1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar, 2 T. lemon juice, 4 T. cranberry juice.  Only one caffeine drink a day.  This time, we're eliminating all grains.

I haven't been doing the morning tonic, and I've allowed myself a bit more caffeine, although most days are only one caffeine drink days.  I never brought milk back into my diet after the first shred, although cheese quickly found its way back.  I've been successful with 5 days of no alcohol, and yesterday was not as difficult as I thought it might be.

We've been trying to quit eating after 7 p.m., and I'm not doing a great job.  I'm getting home and wanting a treat--why must the end of every day include a treat?  This week, I'll experiment with having my treat be a mug of hot tea.

Often my treat at the end of the day is a glass--or 2 or 3--of wine, along with a hunk of cheese, from which I carve slice after slice to eat.  One benefit of a shred is that it illuminates where I still have work to do--and some solutions I might try.

Just before my shred, I checked out this book from the library:  Bowl: Vegetarian Recipes for Ramen, Pho, Bibimbap, Dumplings, and Other One-Dish Meals.  It is not a grain-free cookbook, and frankly, many of the recipes, at least at first glance, looked like more trouble than they would be worth, in terms of time.

But I made a recipe for seed brittle last night which might make me give the book another chance.  Here's my variation--and if you're interested, the whole batch has 1400 calories, along with 100 grams of fat, 17.4 grams of fiber, 54.9 grams of protein, and substantial amounts of iron, magnesium, and B6.  It's easy and tasty--perhaps too tasty . . .

Keep in mind that you can vary the nuts and seeds.  The original recipe called for sesame seeds and cumin seeds, which I couldn't easily find.  Spices could be varied too, if you want a more savory blend.

Nut and Seed Brittle

1 C. pumpkin seeds
3/4 C. sunflower seeds
1/4 C. pecans
1/4 C. flax seeds
2 egg whites
4 tsp. maple syrup
2 T. sugar
2 T. salt
1 T. pepper
1 T. cinnamon

Heat the oven to 320.  Whip the egg whites until frothy, and then add the spices, the maple syrup, and the sugar.  Stir in the seeds and nuts--then take them back out with a slotted spoon and place on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

The original recipe called for stirring part way through--to prevent sticking?  I did stir, but I wondered if it was necessary.

The brittle tasted great by itself, but I'm planning to try it with salads and other melanges that might need a zing.

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