Sunday, October 11, 2015

Surviving the Big Family Sunday Dinner

Sundays, like any day of the weekend, can be problematic while trying to eat healthier and lose or maintain weight.  You've likely got  more family around than on school or work nights. Several of us have grandchildren that like their "treats" and there may be a family meal where no one wants your low fat tofu croquettes.

If you take little portions SOMEONE is always going to say "you need to eat more - I didn't bring the mega cheesecake so you could pick at it" unintentionally sabotaging your efforts.

Though I still laugh at the time, while dieting and eating at my Dad's house with family, my Dad said "you're picking at your food, you eat like a bird!"  to which my big brother grinned and said "yea, RODAN!"  which cracked us both up. I really miss him.

What is working for me is to have just small servings of the higher fat, higher calorie "good" stuff, , make your treats or baked items smaller sized so the little ones can enjoy one without you eating a piece the size of a brick and filling up your plate with fruits and veggies so you, and those around you have a sense of a hearty meal.

For breakfast - eggs, sausage and mini scones (served on salad plate).  I made some bacon for my husband but I was satisfied with the nibble of sausage (provided I stayed upwind of the bacon cooking)

The scones -

In bigger bowl

2 cups self raising flour (in the UK, I believe it's "self-raising")
1/4 sugar
mix and cut into the flour 5 tablespoons of well chilled butter, cut into small pieces.

In small bowl:
1/2 cup  plus 1 teaspoon buttermilk or plain keefer (if you don't have buttermilk, add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or vinegar to the measure - fill with milk and let sit 10 minutes).
splash of vanilla
1 egg all whisked together

Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix just until holding together (will look very shaggy) and knead 10 times on a floured board. If the mixture looks too dry, add another teaspoon of liquid. Handle as little as possible or you WILL have a brick.

Pat out on pizza or cookie sheet sprayed with non stick spray until about 7-8 inches wide and about an inch high.  Dip a serrated knife into flour and cut the scones into 8  to 12 pieces, depending on how small  you want them (regular or mini) separating them slightly with the knife.

Bake  in preheated 450  F. degree oven 15-17 minutes. (check and rotate at 12 minutes)

I knew evening supper would be fairly heavy so my third meal was a smoothie with a handful of spinach, 1/2 banana,  a cup of berries and a cup of keefir with the usual cup of water and ice. That makes a LOT of smoothie for about 250 calories. I'll drink one glass as a meal and have the rest as a snack later with a little dish of baby carrots.

Dinner was a chicken and biscuit style casserole I made up.  I replaced half of the chicken with steamed broccoli, used reduced fat cream of chicken soup, non fat sour cream, fat free soup stock, and replaced the buttermilk in the biscuit topping with 2% milk soured with  lemon juice.
But the biscuit-like crust was REALLY buttery (as was the intention to get the fluffy texture and flavor I wanted) so I knew I needed a small portion to keep the saturated fat content down.  
As for the portion size, I just sort of winged it to be about a cup of food.  I went back and got  a little more, but honestly, in the old days I would have filled my plate, so even with "seconds" I feel like I was improving.

It was a huge hit with family and I was asked to write down what I put in it to make it again.

As far as portion size - some folks recommend using the plate method ( a little less than 1/4 for protein, a little less than 1/4 for starch,  a little more than half  to be vegetables). I bought one of those plastic divided plates a while back to get an idea of how much is a serving.
You can't stack the food up like a high rise, it has to fit in the dish.  It was a helpful tool but I think it should have been labeled like this.


  1. Hari om
    LOL a well balanced plate! Over here that type of scone top on casserole is called a cobbler...very tasty... You are so right about the folk who throw spammers in the diet!!!
    Eyes-on... YAM xx

    1. Indeed. Here in the US we tend to think of Cobblers just as fruit - but you're right - it's the same thing. Tomorrow will be meat-free day so I'll have some vegetarian and/or vegan recipes. (I have the day off due to Columbus Day)

  2. That casserole looks bomb.
    And oh I know about the old "um is that all you're eating!! I made a huge cake, eat more" routine. Haha.

    1. This was an experiment that turned out great.

      Cook two large chicken breasts, chop and add a small "steamer" package of broccoli florets, steamed JUST until it's not frozen.

      In a bowl mix:
      can of cream of chicken soup
      1/3 cup sour cream
      1 and 1/2 cups chicken stock
      4 tablespoons cornstarch
      a nice handful of sharp cheddar
      1/4 teaspoon each of thyme and sage
      1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
      seasoning salt to taste (I use Jane's Krazy Salt)
      three to five grinds of black pepper (to taste)
      a dash of onion salt

      Blend by hand until smooth

      Place chicken mixture in 1`2 x 8 or 13 x 9 pan (either works, the 13 x 9 is just thinner)

      In a bowl mix 2 and 1/4 cups SELF RISING flour and 1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk (or milk soured with lemon juice)

      When blended add in 12 Tablespoons (yes you heard me right - TWELVE) of melted butter. Spread over top of casserole

      Bake in preheated 400 F oven 45-50 minutes, until the top is gold.

      It was the bomb.

  3. Looks good. I try to eat my biggest meal in the mornings. That's when i have my bread and milk etc.
    My family were over last night and brought weakness.

    I too eat on a smaller plate and smaller portions.
    Keep up the good work



Thanks for visiting. Having been fortunate enough not to have to diet as a young woman - hitting middle age to find my Metabolism moved to Aruba and didn't even send a postcard was a rude awakening. Thanks for sharing the fun and the pain of getting back in shape. Note: If you are a stranger and include a link in your comment - it will not be posted, to ensure no SPAM or viruses are shared. Any link I post is tested first.