Monday, December 24, 2012

How to Lose 10 Pounds Before Christmas

Want to drop a few pounds? Have I got a tip for you!

Schedule a tonsillectomy for December 5th.

I lost 10 pounds in just one week.

My jeans fit better. I can tighten my belt another notch. It is awesome. And, there was one point where I would have killed for a cheeseburger.

Before the procedure, several people, including one of my nurses the day of the surgery, shared their painful horror stories of recovery. Thankfully, mine wasn't that bad. The surgery was quick and uneventful. In just over an hour, I was back in my hospital room eating jello and chatting. Another hour or so, and I was on my way home. Unfortunately, a little motion sickness set in during the drive, but soon, I was settled on the sofa with Hubs and the pups watchful for my every need.

I actually even ate very well while my poor throat recovered. We had my husband's famous potato soup, Cheesy Grits with poached eggs, jello, baked potatoes mashed with butter and sour cream, baked sweet potatoes creamed with butter and cinnamon, jello, Pumpkin Pudding, a thrown together creamy sweet potato soup, oyster soup, jello, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts boiled in salted water until tender, jello, homemade chicken tamales, Spinach and Potato Gratin, jello, homemade pear sauce (like apple sauce), Poached Salmon (minus the tartar sauce), homemade mango ice cream (from a friend), jello, beef and homemade noodles, Egg Drop Soup, runny Malt-O-Meal, and more jello. I learned that throwing a Capri Sun juice drink in the freezer for a bit made a great impromptu slushie that felt good on my sore throat, and I tried to time my meals around the optimal effectiveness of the pain meds. I couldn't eat a lot at any one time, limited to about one-half cup portions for most of the first week, and therefore my energy level was pretty low. But, I had all of my holiday decorating done, and took advantage of the down time to enjoy the sparkling lights and complete my Christmas shopping online from the comfort of the sofa.

As long as I was careful with my food choices and faithful to my medication, I didn't have a lot of pain; it was uncomfortable, but not horrible. But after a few days of soup and jello (and more jello), I was craving the cheesy crunch of nachos, a crispy thin crust pizza, and most of all a cheeseburger stacked tall with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. I tried making a pot roast, and while Hubs thoroughly enjoyed it with mashed potatoes and the accompanying onion gravy, it was a little rough on my throat. Likewise, most bread was difficult to swallow. Therefore, my usual standby sick meal of toast was off limits.

My biggest surprise was how much my teeth and gums ached (supposedly a side effect of the anesthesia?). For the past couple of weeks, I have been brushing my teeth at least 5 times a day because they feel better when clean. My dentist will be happy.

I also learned how many muscles in the throat are involved in a yawn. All I can say is, "Ouch!" Everything doesn't like to be stretched after a tonsillectomy surgery. I took that as a sign that naps were a requirement of recovery.

But, back to that craving for a cheeseburger. It was the first real food that I attempted after a little healing. I ate it all and enjoyed every tentatively swallowed bite, even if it was a little scratchy. The way my mouth watered, you would have thought it was filet mignon and lobster. Now, I am ready for more. Maybe lamb burgers?

I made these Greek inspired lamb burgers several times this summer and really appreciated the contrast of the cool and creamy tzatziki with the garlicky burgers. Crumbles of feta, thinly sliced red onion and tomatoes, and shredded lettuce take this burger over the top of any plain old cheeseburger. Meal-sized burgers are stuffed into the pocket of a pita, but they are perfect bite-sized appetizers when stacked as little sliders with mini pitas. I am so glad that my troublesome tonsils are gone, my throat is on the mend, and I can enjoy Greek Lamb Burgers On My Plate. (But let's hope I don't gain back those 10 pounds.)

(adapted from Once Upon A Chef)

2 slices whole grain bread, crusts removed and cubed
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon mint, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground lamb
olive oil

Preheat grill.
Moisten bread with milk in a bowl.
Mash to form a paste, and combine with shallots, garlic, min, oregano, salt, and pepper; mix well.
Add the ground lamb and carefully combine. Do not over mix, or burgers will be tough.
Form into 4 to 6 burgers patties
Drizzle patties with olive oil and rub to coat.
Grill patties, about 4 minutes on each side.
Serve in a pita pocket with crumbled feta, thinly sliced red onion and tomato, shredded lettuce, and tzatziki. (serves 4-6)

2 cups sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1 seedless cucumber, grated and squeezed dry
2 cloves garlic, grated with Microplane
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients. 
Cover and chill for about an hour for flavors to blend.

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