The Challenge: Day Fifteen

This afternoon, my sister popped in for lunch.

“I’m thinking fish for dinner, ” I say. “Tilapia, baked, with a pineapple-chile glaze. Basmati pilaf with parmesan. Salad. Nutritious, lowfat, tasty. What do you think?”

“I’m not in the mood for fish,” she says, as she eats the last of the salad from last night.

“Well, what would you like?” I ask, ready to change the menu.

“Fish is fine.”

Fickle, I swear.

So I made the fish.

And the rice.

And got rave reviews from that very same sister, who was a bit grouchy in the evening. A swim and then dinner cleared that up for us all.

The (large) church down the road had a “family freedom fest” tonight – the wording of which I almost strained my eyeballs at rolling them every time I read the sign this past week – and started a fireworks show around 9:30. We stepped right out in the backyard, looked over the treeline, and saw their show. Not bad. I sipped some hot tea while my mom and sister drank coffee and we stood out in the cooler evening under a sky so clear even the faintest stars could be seen opposite the half moon hanging at our backs.

Tomorrow is going to be another weird kind of eating day, as one of my aunts, as I mentioned, is having a gathering and grilling. I haven’t decided if I’m going to head over there yet. Some holidays I prefer to avoid the multitude of weirdos and drunks and just hang out around my homestead.

Anyway, back to tonight’s meal. Here’s the breakdown.

Tilapia (two huge filets, which the three of us did not finish completely, including the glaze): 11.63
Rice: 1.00
Salad: 1.00

Total meal: 13.63
Total per diner (3): 4.54

I even have nutrition information for the fish and pilaf!

Fish (based on a full filet)
Calories: 206
Protein: 30.7 g
Carbs: 10.1 g
Cholesterol: 9.9 mg

Calories: 260
Protein: 8.1 g
Carbs: 42.2 g
Cholesterol: 10 mg

Not a bad evening, I must say. Now, time for some ice cream…

The Challenge: Day Fourteen

Has it been two weeks already?

My original plan for the day went something like this the night before: get some sleep to recover from the party at my aunt’s, go to the farmer’s market early, cut the lawn (desperately in need of it due to all the rain last week), then cook something healthy and lowfat for dinner. I was kicking around ideas for dinner and asked my brother, who was up from Orlando with a friend, what he’d like. His answer? Steak. Broccoli with cheese sauce. Potatoes with garlic and parsley. Salad.

Not exactly lowfat, and not exactly wholesomely nutritious. Still, it’s a holiday weekend and he’s not up that often, so special requests can be granted.

I agreed, and shortly thereafter, went to bed, hoping to get some sleep in order to get an early start. Alas, my sleep was interrupted just after 4 AM for a trip to the NOC. When I returned just before 6, I was tempted to stay up but decided that was a Bad Idea indeed, and went back to bed for a couple of hours. Once up, it was time to get things started before the day turned into our usual inferno, but the schedule had to be rearranged slightly, so the first job was to cut the grass. I managed to do this relatively quickly, all things considered, and then took some heat from a friend for doing it myself instead of making someone else do it. From there, a quick shower, to the farmer’s market, and then to Costco for steaks.

Where, I will say, I found quite a pretty whole boneless loin for ribeyes, which I then proceeded to slice into 16 very nice individual steaks.

The marbling is fantastic.

We planned on nine for dinner, so I pulled nine steaks and rubbed them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. The rest went into the freezer to await another day.

Of course, people can’t live by steak alone.

Yukon potatoes with garlic and parsley.

Broccoli and cheese sauce.

The steaks? On the grill until medium rare. Except for two: one more well done, one rare as hell. Heathens. We wound up two people short, so had several steaks left over. These will go home with my brother, since he’s perpetually broke.

As an added bonus, I cooked up a couple pounds of shrimp.

Happy people.

They all took a swim and horsed around in the pool after dinner. I made cookies. Yummy.

So, what’s the breakdown for this grand fiesta?

Ribeyes, boneless – 9 x 3.64* = 32.76
Shrimp – 12.60
Potatoes – 4.99
Broccoli and cheese – 4.00
Salad – 2.50
Cookies – 3.20

* This is calculated based on the number of steaks I cut from the whole portion. If the steaks had been thinner, the cost per steak would be less; if thicker, the cost per steak would be more.

Total for the food: 60.05, with leftovers
Total per diner (7): 8.58

One of our more expensive meals, to be sure. If I’d had my way, I’d have replaced the broccoli with something that was in season, like zucchini or okra, and this would have lowered the cost a bit. However, it is a holiday weekend combined with special requests. It’s also incredibly reasonable for the type of food we had, which I suppose could be classified as luxury items, since we had both steak and shrimp. Finally, it’s also very affordable in the amount per person, since a good, already cut steak would run more than eight bucks a person on its own – not to mention the sides you’d have with it. Overall, I would count this as a success relative to The Challenge, but I’d also caution that it would be imperative to find a good place to buy bulk in meat (like Costco) and do the cutting yourself. Picking up nine ribeyes at Publix would have easily increased the food bill substantially.

With our final hurrah for higher fat food out of the way, beginning Monday we will refocus on lowfat meals, as my mom, both my sisters, and a dear friend are always complaining about their weight, need to eat healthier, and so on. Yours truly does not complain about that particular issue right now, as you might imagine (and today’s weigh in at Publix: 108 pounds). So tomorrow – or, rather, today, as I type this, since it’s now 3 AM because I kept watching a movie with the boys instead of finishing this – I’ll be working on menus that will fit in with the goals the women in my life happen to have. But it will still be tasty. Because what’s the point of eating healthier meals if you can’t stand them?