Category Archives: Food & Drink

I Lost 30 Pounds Using Nutrisystem

In late June, I watched mom and dad try Nutrisystem and both had outstanding results. So, I decided to try it and, after following it meal for meal and snack for snack with no exceptions for two months, I’ve lost right around 30 pounds – down to 183 from 211. My initial goal was 182, which was my weight when I started at the University of Michigan in 2000 (see reference picture to the right, of me standing on my doorstep at 1518 Golden Street).

Over the years of working, law school, and more working, the pounds had slowly added on. It was a combination of lack of exercise and poor eating (like downing some Cinnamon Toast Crunch each evening, where “some” was limited by the bottom of the box!).

As a result of my weight loss, I’ve recovered a few suits, some other clothes, and most importantly, my Christmas pants (see picture). And, I just feel must better. I would recommend the program to anyone. After a couple weeks of adjusting to the smaller portions, I had no issues with the plan. The food was varied and generally good. My favorite breakfast item is the waffles, on which I put peanut butter, fresh blueberries, and a little sugar free syrup.

I have about one month of Nutrisystem food left, and hope to get to a range between 175 and 180 (a little below the upper end of my BMI calculation). I’m also trying to dedicate more time to working out (both lifting and cardio), as that will continue the good habits.

Just wanted to write and share this, so that I remember that it’s possible to try to loose weight, and actually do so!

Side note: today is my 36th birthday, 17 years after the start of college!

Harvest Weekend

We had a unique opportunity today to help a friend harvest his family’s Riesling grapes for processing into wine. We started mid-morning. The cold wind cut through the bare vines as we nipped clusters of grapes with pruning sheers. Most of the grapes were within three feet of the ground – the perfect height for Harvey to pluck one grape after another. He must have eaten fifty!

At home in the afternoon, we harvested leaves and thousands of acorns and deposited them deep in the woods. Mother nature can transform them into rich soil. The number of acorns is astonishing. With each gust of wind, they rain down on the roof of the Hielands House.

The weekend ended with my first trip to Beers n’ Hymns at Right Brain Brewery. I’d never been to either Right Brain or BNH, so the evening was double-fun. Lindsey’s co-worker, Rick, was playing keyboard and the place was packed full of folks singing away. (And, the chips and guacamole was excellent!)

Have a great week! Here’s some pictures of our weekend fun.




Paella Night

Grandma and Grandpa R gave me a paella pan for my birthday, so we tried it out tonight. The end result was tasty, but a little too smokey. We’ll have to tone down the spices and maybe raise the pan out of the fire next time.

# 4 Spinach Potato Casserole

DELICIOUS! Ok I have to apologize right away … I forgot to take a photo. But I love this dish.

Boil a big pot of water and peel a few potatoes and then boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes

Pour a little olive oil in a pan and saute a whole chopped up onion and a few garlic cloves, also chopped.

Add spinach (I had un froze a frozen kind), and then add chunks of sausage (I had cut up sausage links) .

Drain the water and mash the potatoes with a dash of nutmeg, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup of skim milk and 1/2 cup of swiss cheese.

Mix it all together with the onion/sausage/spinach combo and place in an 8×8 baking dish. Cover with a 1/2 cup more of shredded swiss cheese and cook at 400 for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly!


Chris’s Rating – 8…I think, he said “add it to the rotation”, which is a good sign.

Lindsey’s Rating – 9…I initially gave it a lower grade, but after having it for lunch the next day, it was even more amazing so it gets bonus points for left over ability.

# 3 – Apricot Chicken

Success! This dish was divine.

Ingredients – chicken, 12 oz jar of apricot preserves, 1 onion chopped up, little bit of crushed red pepper flakes, 1 tsp soy sauce, and a little squeeze of dijon mustard. It was wonderful, flavorful and a little spicy.

Super easy to make and we heated it up the next day and it tasted just as amazing.

Chris’ Rating – 9

Lindsey’s Rating – 8

# 2 – Cranberry Roast

One Word. Yuck.

Ingredients – 2 lbs stew meat, 1 can whole cranberries, 1 onion chopped, 2 table spoons soy sauce.

I think I overcooked the crap out of this…10 hours on low in the crockpot. The flavor was great but the meat was chewy. It was so disappointing because the house smelled out of this world when we got home from work.

In the future I would use less soy sauce, another can of cranberries and maybe some chopped up celery.

Lindsey’s Rating – 4

Chris’ Rating – 6 (I think he was being generous).

#1 – Applesauce Delight

Today marks WEEK ONE! of my latest and greatest idea (and endeavor too a. cook more, b. become a better cook, and c. eat at home more!) 52 WEEKS, 52 CROCKPOT RECIPES!

Today I made Applesauce Delight!

Ease of making – 9.5….basically the only thing I had to do other than get the ingredients out of the fridge and toss them in the crockpot was chop up the onions and garlic.

Ingredients – 1 and 1/2 cup applesauce, cinnamon (I just poured some in), red pepper flake (same as cinnamon), pepper (same), 1 yellow onion chopped, and 3 garlic cloves chopped up, 3 frozen chicken breasts. Put it all in the crock pot – I was kind of behind after a long hike with yogi, so instead of 8 hours on low, I cranked my baby up to HIGH! 4 hours later, the house smelled amazing, kind of sweet and I was pleasantly surprised. In all fairness, I borrowed some ingredients from last night’s meal at Terry and Robbi’s (Mashed Potatoes and Corn Bread) and served it all up on a plate.

I LOVED IT! Chris liked it until he found a little piece of paper from the frozen chicken that I had forgotten to remove, but he ate seconds. It was a little spicy and really sweet at the same time and the chicken was divine and tender…yum yum yum.

Lindsey’s Rating – 9

Chris’ Rating – 8

Moroccan Mint Tea

One of the stops on Lindsey and my honeymoon was Morocco. It was an interesting cultural experience. One of the few highlights of our day trip to Morocco was our meal, and particularly, for me, the mint tea that we were served afterwards. It was strong and sweet. Our guide explained to us that mint tea was a popular and common part of Moroccan culture. It is consumed in large quantities for health benefits such as rejuvenation and clarity.

Naturally, I’ve been eager to adopt the “Moroccan way” into my own daily routine. Today I purchased one ounce of Marrakesh Mint tea from the spice market down the street from my office. I’m on my second mug (I don’t have a proper Moroccan tea cup). It is a nice change from my standard coffee guzzling, however, the local stuff isn’t quite as good as what we had in Morocco. This is likely because I’m using pre-mixed tea (green and mint) and not green tea with fresh mint leaves. I’ll try that another day.

Here is a proverb regarding Moroccan mint tea, which is traditionally steeped three times:

The first glass is as bitter as life,
The second glass is as strong as love,
The third glass is as gentle as death.

Here’s to life, love and even death! (Raises mug of tea carefully above desk as a gesture of toasting the world.)

Four-Pound Lobster

It’s important to note that I ate a four-pound lobster for dinner yesterday and it was tasty.

We went to this shack of a place Thurston’s in Bar Harbor. You walk up and order your lobster while he or she is still alive. The brave high school kid at the ordering window plucks a meaty red beast from the small tanks, weighs it, and then drops it in a sack with corn… to be boiled to death. The whole process made me think of David Foster Wallace’s essay, “Consider the Lobster,” which calls out to the reader to empathize with the lobster as he or she takes his or her bath of eternal rest.

But, really. It’s lobster and it’s good and there is butter right there to dip it in and that makes it even better. Maybe I’ll write, “Consider the Fact that I’m Craving Lobster,” and mail it to David.

Cart Food In China

Cart food typically costs less than 3 RMB, which is equal to 42 cents. I overheard the following conversation in class yesterday:

You got some cart food, eh?

Yeah, right by the subway.

What’s in it?

Pork, I think.

You know you can get that for 1 RMB across the street.

Faced with the decision of whether to pay 3 RMB on your side of the street or 1 RMB on the other side, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth crossing the street to save twenty-eight cents.

Can you think of any 14 cent meals in the US? I can’t think of anything bigger than a single stick of gum that I could get for 14 cents.

Michigan Wine

“Michigan’s Wine Country Grows Where the Cherry Is King” – a NYT article about what great wine Michigan has to offer. The focus is on Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties in the northwestern part of lower Michigan. (By the tip of the pinkie finger is you look at the palm of your right had.)

I’m not a big fan of the cherry wines, which are very sweet. But both the white and red wines I tried at the Leland Wine Festival in early June were delicious.

It’s always fun to see your home area highlighted for good products.

Super Foods

In trying to get fit, I’ve been paying closer attention to what I eat and drink. Here’s a list of super foods that I should probably incorporate into my diet:

* Beans
* Blueberries
* Broccoli
* Oats
* Oranges
* Pumpkin
* Salmon
* Soy
* Spinach
* Tea
* Tomatoes
* Turkey
* Walnuts
* Yogurt

For help using these foods in a meal, try Google’s Base Recipe suggestions. Insert the ingredients you wish to you and it will suggest meals. Or, alternatively go to