February 01, 2008

Recipe: Apple Cake Redux

This recipe makes a lot of cake with very little effort - since the apples are chopped rather than sliced, once you peel them you can just cut the chunks off the core. 5 medium-small apples suffice for the 3 cups. I used McIntoshes. The cake is a bit homely, but it's moist and tasty. The topping makes a good caramel dipping sauce for raw apples too!

It was a hit at the office, at the parents' house and at Martin and Fiona's house with Jen and Dan. (well, as in, no leftovers, anyway).

The recipe comes courtesy of Recipezaar, where really good recipes are easily found - just look for recipes rated with 5 stars and lots of reviews! I got a moister texture the first time I made it. The differences may be (moister vs drier):
olive oil instead of veg oil (olive oil is a better emulsifier)
325F with convection instead of 350F without convection
apples chopped finer vs chopped more chunky (though I like chunks of apples)

Preheat oven to 350F, or 324F with convection, middle rack.
Line a 9x13" pan with parchment and spray lightly with cooking spray (or butter and flour the pan)

Whisk in large bowl:
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon (optional)

Whisk in medium bowl:
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups finely chopped apples
1/2 cup apple juice

Fold the liquid mix by hand into the dry mixture until no flour remains. Don't overmix.
Pour into the baking pan and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes.

Sauce:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup whipping cream

Put it all in a small sauce pan. Heat until bubbly then pour over the slightly cooled cake.
If you're serving it immediately, you can cut the cake and pour it over the pieces. Otherwise, pour it over the whole cake and it'll help keep the cake moist as it's being stored.

Posted by JAY at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

Dinner at the Parents'

Had dinner with Mom and Dad tonight - I arrived at their place to find that Mom had done a full rib roast dinner with all the trimmings! The small prime rib was perfectly cooked to a medium rare, the veg had been roasted with leeks that got nice and sweet and her yorkshire puddings puffed perfectly - as good as I've ever gotten them!

Afterward we baked an apple cake. Mom really liked it, but it wasn't as moist as the one that I baked earlier this week. I'm not sure exactly why.

The only thing I forgot was to get some leftovers to take home with me! Also, weigh-in day is tomorrow, and I'm thinking it'll be baaaaad news!

Posted by JAY at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2008

Games!

Tonight Melanie and I went to Jen and Dan's house to play games. I narrowly lost the first game due to some crappy mistake (darn!). Then I badly lost a couple of games of my new favorite game, a card game called Ivanhoe. Sigh. I won when I first tried it earlier this week - beginner's luck I guess.

I was only slightly redeemed by totally owning at Wii Tennis (hee, that's a challenge, Dan!). But I swear there's a way to move the net player and baseline player independently in doubles but I couldn't figure it out. Melanie and Dan insist there isn't . Sean? Am I hallucinating?

Posted by JAY at 01:18 AM | Comments (0)

Scaling It Down: Week 5 - Milestone!

I've officially lost 5.2 lbs since re-starting this endeavor! Judging by the numbers body fat percentage and water percentage, it looks like it's mostly water weight that I lost this week (boo!) but since we're going on weight, I get to award myself $100! It's hopefully not to be spent on food... the slush fund is for big ticket items, and there's only one food item in there! The kitchen scale might make more sense - though since it's more for baking than portion control, I doubt it would help!

I didn't do as much exercising this week as I did in previous weeks - will have to work on that.
DateWeight lbsBody Fat %Water %
Dec 29 171.6 25.2 54.1
Jan 5 170.0 24.7 54.4
Jan 12 169.2 24.7 54.3
Jan 19 167.6 23.5 55.0
Jan 26 167.0 23.1 55.3
Feb 2 166.4 23.6 54.9
Posted by JAY at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2008

Wii at Jen's

Went to Jen's to play with Naomi and make dinner... since Jen's watching what she eats (and me too, supposedly), I tried cooking with an eye toward a low calorie dinner:

-roasted veg with very little oil
-fat free bread (well, it's always fat free...)
-prosciutto wrapped stuffed chicken breasts (will post the recipe)
-fresh pineapple for dessert

After Naomi went to bed, Jen and I played various games on the Nintendo Wii. She totally killed me at everything... but tennis ;-)

Posted by JAY at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)

Recipe: Prosciutto Wrapped Stuffed Chicken

Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of this. When the deli slices the prosciutto, insist that they put plastic wrap between each slice so that the slices stay whole. This recipe is actually fairly low in calories and fat - even though we're wrapping the chicken in ham and stuffing it with cheese! The prosciutto slices are about 40 calories each, and about 70 calories worth of cheese is going into the breasts, so it's not too bad! You can omit the cheese if you want. Note that the recipe doesn't have any salt - the cheese and ham are taking care of that. You can prepare the dish ahead of time and then bake when ready (be sure to adjust cooking time if the chicken is cold).

2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
4 wedges of Laughing Cow cheese
5 thin slices of prosciutto
1/2 tablespoon black pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme
1 tablespoon garlic powder
mustard

Preheat the oven to 400F
Cut a slit into the chicken breast (if the tenders are still attached, you may not need to do this.
Sprinkle the seasoning all over the chicken
Brush lightly with mustard
Stuff with the cheese wedges (you can use less for small breasts)
Wrap with prosciutto, overlapping slightly. Secure with toothpicks if needed.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until internal temperature reads 160F.

Let stand loosely tented with foil for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Posted by JAY at 12:39 AM | Comments (1)

February 06, 2008

Superbug

I think I'm culturing the superbug.

Had dinner with my sick parents, then spent most of the weekend with sick friends, and I just got back from kidsitting my neighbor's sick kid while she took her other sick kid to the clinic! And I'm sick too - I warned her, but she really didn't want to drag both kids to the clinic. I suppose with me, he just got exposed to 2 sets of germs and the clinic would've been more.

On top of that, a foot of snow fell outside - I think I'm going to take tomorrow off. My neighbor cavalierly offered to have her husband shovel tomorrow. I don't feel too bad, cuz I'm sick and I got the last big snowfall. (Plus, payback for babysitting!) I seem to be running out of toilet paper (tissues ran out a loooong time ago).

Posted by JAY at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2008

Helping Out

Still sick. I took Thursday and Friday off of work to rest. Mom and Dad passed by with very welcome food (roasted pork and steamed buns - yum!) and Dad shoveled the mountain of snow off my driveway. My neighbor was going to do it, but apparently he strained his back. Thanks!! I was going to leave it till Sunday, when hopefully I'd be feeling better.

Feeling achy and congested doesn't seem to have affected my appetite at all, sadly! All it's done is prevent me from exercising (or an excuse not to?).

Posted by JAY at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2008

Scaling It Down: Week 6 Failure!

Ugh, I actually gained almost 1/2 a pound this week! And my body fat percentage hit 24 percent for the first time in 2 weeks! I was sick and not exercising, and sleeping in so I was skipping breakfast as well. Even though I wasn't hungry, I still ate a bunch for comfort. So yeah. Not a good week.
DateWeight lbsBody Fat %Water %
Dec 29 171.6 25.2 54.1
Jan 5 170.0 24.7 54.4
Jan 12 169.2 24.7 54.3
Jan 19 167.6 23.5 55.0
Jan 26 167.0 23.1 55.3
Feb 2 166.4 23.6 54.9
Feb 9 166.8 24.1 54.7
Posted by JAY at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2008

Daniel and Amelia

My neighbour's kids love me. *slightly smug look*

Now, whenever I'm visiting with them, Daniel starts asking "Jason sleep in my house/bed/couch?" Heh, I've gotten away without having to sleep over, though. Which, really, I'm right next door! Daniel has an obsession with monsters - he likes to run from them and chase them and pretend to be knocked down by them. My imagination has a really hard time keeping up (especially when there are adults around - it's kinda embarassing).

Amelia (it might be Emilia), his younger sister, is a very very shy little girl - her mom warned me that she doesn't like visitors. But with me, she'll toddle over and raise her arms to be held. Yesterday, her mom kept trying to read a book with her, but she kept yanking the book away and closing it, then handing it to me to open for her, saying "Do! Do!" Her mom was pretty incredulous.

I was like "infant mind control... it's one of my talents!"

Posted by JAY at 09:49 PM | Comments (2)

February 16, 2008

Scaling It Down: Week 7 Oddity

Hmm, crazy weight loss this week and a bit flaky on the scale. I'm usually a bit lighter on Saturdays compared to Fridays because I wake up later. But I do usually break rules and eat late on Friday which I didn't do yesterday - went to bed a bit hungry! Anyway, according to the scale, I lost TWO lbs this week! Granted some of that may be delayed weight loss from when I was sick. Differences in fat percentage and water percentage probably take care of the rest.
I didn't eat a lot this week, but what I did eat was pretty high calorie. Pasta with vodka sauce (easy and yummy and vegetarian - I'll have to post that), haagen daz ice cream (on sale!) and my first Swiss Chalet meal in over a month (so I got a double leg with fries!). But mostly, portion sizes were small, so maybe that's it.
I haven't noticed many physical differences, except that I think my double chin is gone and my pants are a bit looser. The man-boobs, however, aren't going ANYWHERE. (Too graphic for ya?)
DateWeight lbsBody Fat %Water %
Dec 29 171.6 25.2 54.1
Jan 5 170.0 24.7 54.4
Jan 12 169.2 24.7 54.3
Jan 19 167.6 23.5 55.0
Jan 26 167.0 23.1 55.3
Feb 2 166.4 23.6 54.9
Feb 9 166.8 24.1 54.7
Feb 16 164.8 24.1 54.7
Posted by JAY at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2008

Wii (more!)

Melanie and I went to Jen and Dan's to play games on the Wii (and also Ivanhoe, but Melanie's kid woke up and she had to go...). We played tennis - I had fun, but was really starting to lose focus at the end and was really sucking. But everyone got to play with everyone, which was nice. We also played a couple of games of this trivia thing which was pretty cool and I barely managed to eke out a win in one game.

Jen told us a really funny story - apparently her girl Naomi will spontaneously break into a song where the only lyrics are "Holy fuck!" All I can say is, they haven't REALLY heard it until I've rehearsed it with her for a couple hours! Heh.

I brought over some cake, but people didn't like it as much this time (or maybe too many people concerned about their weight)? Same thing at work - each time I went there were tiny slivers gone off the pieces of cake. So I just polished off two of the four leftover slices. Rules? What rules?

Posted by JAY at 11:22 PM | Comments (2)

February 22, 2008

Friday VIsits

I went to the parents' house for dinner after and cooked some nice strip loin steaks that my dad picked up and a whole bunch of roasted veggies - mushrooms, cauliflower, eggplant, garlic, broccoli, onions, sweet potato. It was good!

Then I passed by Trev and Rucell's place to play with Riley. He's crawling all over now and can stand unassisted (when he wants to) We had fun chasing each other around and spinning toys on the laminate flooring in the kitchen. He's very physical. He's firmly in the "likes Jason" camp now - heh, he's been one of the slowest kids to get used to me... it took 3 visits! Granted the first time he was only a few months old.

Anyway, T/R are buying a Mattamy house near my house. The 'Mattamy experience' is very different from mine! They have so many upgrade choices and it's all laid out with pricing and diagrams in a thick book! The different cabinetry configurations for the kitchen alone are dizzying. Everything seems fairly reasonably priced too! It looks like a lot of fun. Too bad I can't afford to get one! It would be a lot of fun to choose the various finishes and configurations.

It would be waaaay too easy to spend twenty thousand plus on the various upgrades. 9' ceilings, glass shower, maple staircase, a couple of cabinet tweaks, some upgraded carpet (doable by room!), a quartz countertop, potlights... all stuff I'd like but very expensive when put all together! T/R are getting most of them ;-)

I can't wait to see it!

Posted by JAY at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2008

Scaling It Down: Week 8 Back to Awful

Lulled by my weight loss last week, I relaxed on the rules a bit - figuring that I could gain a pound and still be on track. However, I guess that was a false sense of security, because I gained 1.6lbs this week! Wiping out last week's loss and more! (Or it could be delayed reaction from all the ice cream I ate last week... Lisa insists it takes about a week for exercise/eating to show up.)

On the negative side: skipped a bunch of exercising, ate a tub of Haagen Daz, ate a whole bag of chips and ate late a whole bunch of times, including last night! Not to mention cake.

On the positive side: not much, only that I ordered salad at Swiss Chalet yesterday for lunch instead of fries.

DateWeight lbsBody Fat %Water %
Dec 29 171.6 25.2 54.1
Jan 5 170.0 24.7 54.4
Jan 12 169.2 24.7 54.3
Jan 19 167.6 23.5 55.0
Jan 26 167.0 23.1 55.3
Feb 2 166.4 23.6 54.9
Feb 9 166.8 24.1 54.7
Feb 16 164.8 24.1 54.7
Feb 23 166.4 23.1 55.2
Posted by JAY at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2008

Sh!tstorm

I use solitaire games on the computer like a magic 8 ball... yesterday, I 'asked' how productive my day would be today. The answer? The most unequivocal NO I've ever gotten. (Stop making fun of me, it's just a harmless little ritual that I don't take seriously!)

Shortly after I was seated at my desk this morning, I heard cataracts of water crashing down around me. Then, a bit of a sprinkle on my head. I grabbed my laptop and flung my chair backwards, breaking some dishes that were on the desk that were brushed aside by laptop cabling. I was just in time to avoid several liters of water crashing down right where my chair had been and over my desk. Argh.

Apparently, a toilet overhead had overflowed. EW! I stuck around to make sure that my entire area was hosed down with bleach by the cleaners, who also tossed everything I had on the upper shelves (forced tidying!). That took about an hour and a half.

Then I headed home to take a leisurely long shower and toss my clothes into the washing machine. (They weren't wet or anything, but I'm sure some droplets hit them.) When I got back to work, I spent the rest of the afternoon re-arranging my office furniture to another corner of the room to avoid future problems.

So yeah. I got absolutely nothing done.

Posted by JAY at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)