Virtuous vegetables the slattern’s way
Recipe: One-pan roasted veg (per “The Plan”)
As I may have mentioned, I’m not one for complex, time-consuming, fiddly cooking. In fact, if I had my way, I’d never make another meal again. The bank balance being what it is, however, neither permanent-guest status nor live-in domestic help appear to be in my future, and as such the evening meal must be slapped on the table one way or another. Night after night after night.
Regular readers will recall that my dieting struggles are legendary, even in Hell, as they say. So what I try to do is leverage my aversion to all tasks culinary as a useful weight-loss strategy. Most days, Mr. Slattern arrives home to an exciting supper of grilled fish or chicken accompanied by a large salad, which, through the miracle of ready-washed greens, is as easy to prepare as it is to clean up. Fine. Of course when followed by half a cherry chocolate cheesecake and washed down with a bottle or two of white wine, even the most blameless of meals tends to lose its slimming properties. Still, labor has been saved and vegetables consumed, which counts for something.
Now, where was I? Oh yes, healthy meals, easy to fix. So the salad meal is great for summer; however, often, as the warm weather wanes, the body yearns for more substantial fare, and a cooked veg can be just the thing. Now I hate screwing around with vegetable prep, I won’t lie. The washing, peeling and chopping wreak havoc with my manicure, and you really do have to be careful when working with knives, which puts an unwelcome damper on the mid-afternoon cocktail hour. I have, however, partially solved this little dilemma by buying butternut squash and broccoli already cut up. These I mix with a chopped onion, a red pepper and some garlic (all of which have to be prepped, but really it’s not that bad). Just drizzle the whole mess with olive oil, salt and pepper and a couple of pinches of dried oregano, fresh basil or herbes de Provence, pop the pan in a 400 degree oven for half an hour or so, et voila, Lyn Genet’s Italian vegetables as detailed in The Plan, the latest diet I have failed to follow, but which I am certain would have wondrously transformed both my life and my figure had I but been able to choke down flaxseed granola rather than Boston cream donuts at breakfast for more than a week.
So anywho, what I do is make enough of this stuff for about forty people and just reheat it in the ‘wave all week or throw it into rice or pasta. If you have higher culinary standards than me — and really, except for Sandra Lee, who doesn’t? — this may not work for you; however, for the sufficiently slatternly this system can really take the sting out of being a hausfrau and put the zing back into sundown…speaking of which, I believe the portable bar is calling my name.
The Slattern gets with The Plan
Day 1: In which one desperate, overweight, middle-aged urbanite attempts to make and consume flax seed granola. Welcome to “The Plan.”
Regular visitors to my little literary lock-down unit will know that when it comes to dieting and weight loss, my “suffering is legendary even in Hell,” as the infamous Pinhead so aptly put it.
In recent months, my quest to reduce has become something of a forced-march, and my struggles to rein in my intake are now the stuff of legend. OK, maybe not Legend in the biblical or Arthurian sense, but I think it’s fair to say that this challenge looms large on my personal horizon. And by that I mean, it has begun to consume my every waking hour, haunt my dreams and even impinge on that most sacred of rituals, cocktail hour.
I have consulted with (and subsequently eighty-sixed) Dr. Feelbad, diet doctor to the stars, on the basis of his poor bedside manner, his obvious supplement scam and complete lack of interest in important details like stress levels, sleep patterns and whether I’m going to have a nervous breakdown in the next ten minutes. These, you see, have an enormous impact on weight, as any reputable doctor/nutritionist worth his
salt Maine Coast Organic Kelp Granules (salt is fast becoming a war crime in my house) will attest.
Now, having tried the many small meals approach and failed in a spectacular fashion, I was becoming rather desperate. Always ravenous, constantly panic stricken from hunger and never within reach of an approved high-protein, low-carb, non-pizza food, I was haunted by the desire for a cookie, piece of fudge or entire cheesecake, pretty much night and day. When I say I was powerless in the face of these cravings, you can believe it. Picture an aggressively peckish Honey Boo Boo gazing upon a truckload of pork rinds or Bill Clinton peering through the window of a jello-wrestling marathon, and you get the idea.
Sure I was down ten pounds, but that happened two months ago. I had, as we in the diet-as-second-career business say, plateaued. The problem: twenty more to go, no idea how to get up the mountain and not a crampon in sight.
Enter “The Lyn-Genet Plan.”
So yesterday I flicked on the tube and caught a few minutes of an interview with the oddly-monickered Lyn-Genet Recitas. She claims that the key to successful weight loss and abundant good health is not calorie counting or the banishment of wine, chocolate and cheese; rather it’s the elimination of specific foods that we cannot tolerate. So I was in — all over IT.
Straightaway I bought the book and headed out to provision. Unfortunately, all of New York City is apparently in with me, so finding the necessary food items was more like a scavenger hunt with the cast of Survivor than a zen-like shopping trip as prelude to radiant good health. The required dandelion tea was scarcer than hen’s teeth, while the mandatory flax seed granola was nowhere to be found. As such I have been forced to concoct my own flax seed granola from the vague recipe in the book. In fact, all of the recipes are quite vague. Luckily I do have a certain skill in the kitchen, and was able to create a semi-palatable iteration to keep body and soul together until the store-bought version arrives in the mail. And I will share; I’m a giver.
- To 1/2 cup of water, add 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves and a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
- Add 1 cup of whole flax seeds to the water and spices and mix it up.
- Refrigerate the mixture COVERED overnight.
- The next morning scoop it out and spread it in a baking dish (metal, not pyrex) or cookie sheet. Not too thick, just enough to cover the surface with no gaps. As pictured:
- Use a spoon to press it down (this is important because it holds together better when you do) and bake it at 300 degrees for 45-55 minutes or so. About half way through, you may need to flip it over so that it crisps up. Just break it into big hunks.
- You can add dried fruits and nuts when you’re ready to eat it.
Is it delicious? No, but it’s BULKY, and if you cover it in blueberries and coconut milk, it’s not half bad.
Now, since the three-day cleanse portion of The Plan includes the dreaded kale, I’ll need a strong stomach, but I am resolved to go forward, and will let you know how it all shakes out.