Roast Pork Loin with Apple Bacon Compote

I went to the dr. today for the first time since stopping metformin.

I started the drug about two years ago and had terrible side effects, including heart problems, anxiety and upset stomach. It also occurred to me that while on metformin I was actually in a state to conceive a baby, which totally blew my mind and I panicked. So I stopped taking it and instantly felt better and gained back all the weight I had lost.

The dr is a little older than I am, which one of the reasons that I like going to her. She recommended acupuncture (I live near Boulder, so this is not such an off the wall idea for the area). She prescribed Metformin but at a lower dose and encouraged me to eat 6 small meals a day and to actively try for 6 months before we revisit the topic.

I have had acupuncture in the past, and I can say that it helped with what was bothering me, so I am not against the idea. I am willing to go back on the Metformin and try to balance out my blood sugar and lose some weight. I will try to come up with some snacks I can take to work so I can eat a few meals there. Ha what a laugh, I have no idea how I will manage that, but you all can follow along as I put my ideas up here.

But the main obstacle I think I might need to overcome is the actuality of wanting a baby. I don’t think I am there yet. I don’t have a bone in my body that feels like it “needs” a baby to complete my life. I need to get my head in the game, and that’s a sports reference for a girl that doesn’t watch sports.

Roast Pork Loin with Apple Bacon Compote (adapted from Martha Stewart and The Girl and the Fig)

  • 1 bone-in pork loin roast (3 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons Maldon sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh, coarsely chopped marjoram leaves
Apple Bacon Compote
  • 3 Gala apples, peeled, cored, and each cut into thin slices
  • 2 tablespoons + ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 onions sliced thin
  • 2 slices of bacon cup into small bits
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  • ¼ cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Using a sharp knife, score fat that covers the top of pork. Rub pork fat with salt, garlic, and half of the marjoram leaves. Set a roasting rack in a heavy-bottomed roasting pan; set pork on rack. Transfer to oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  3. Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees, and continue roasting the pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the pork reaches 140 degrees, about 45 minutes more. Transfer pork to a cutting board, keep warm, and let rest 30 minutes.
  4. Pour any pan juices into a small bowl and whisk together with remaining marjoram; cover to keep warm and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, render bacon in a medium saucepan until crisp. Remove bacon leaving the fat.
  6. Add onions to bacon fat and cook stirring often until carmelized (20 min)
  7. Toss apple pieces with the 2 tablespoons of lime juice in a bowl.  Set aside.  Simmer cranberries cherries, water, the remaining lime juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, onions, bacon and mustard seeds in a sauce pot for 10 minutes.  Add apples and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  8. Thinly slice pork and drizzle over reserved pan juices and serve immediately with apples and carrots.
(I fully realize that compote is a dessert, but I took liberties)

Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps

Today I went to the grocery store, and as I was picking up my receipt the coupon machine spit out a coupon just for me: Pamper Diapers. Now I have never ever bought anything close to a baby item, not even baby powder. So my nose did a scrunch as I tried to figure out just how they think they can pin me so well. We live in a strange time.
Originally this recipe calls for a pork loin that you cut into chucks and process in a food processor. But this summer J. and I bought a quarter of a cow and with it came 37lbs of ground beef. So I am always looking for interesting and fun ways to incorporate the large amount of ground beef we have. There is a tad bit of sugar and rice, but it is nominal and necessary. I also included Cellophane noodles (made from mung beans) to give it some texture . You can omit this if you want. This recipe was quick, easy and had just enough heat to spice up this cold January day.
Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
  • 1lb of ground beef (preferably grass fed organic)
  • 2 1/2tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 oz. package of dried Cellophane noodles
  • 1tablespoon white rice (see note)
  • 1/4cup low-sodium chicken broth (or water)
  • 4 scallions sliced
  • 3tablespoons juice from 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1head Romaine lettuce , washed and dried, leaves separated and left whole

Instructions

  1.  Heat a sauce pan of water until simmering. Turn off heat and drop in noodles and let set for at least 20 minutes. Drain noodles.
  2. Heat rice in small skillet over medium-high heat; cook, stirring constantly, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool 5 minutes. Grind rice with spice grinder, mini food processor, blender or mortar and pestle until it resembles fine meal, 10 to 30 seconds (you should have about 1 tablespoon rice powder).
  3.  Bring broth to simmer in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, stirring frequently, until about half of beef is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon rice powder over beef; continue to cook, stirring constantly, until remaining beef is no longer pink, 1 to 1½ minutes longer. Transfer beef to large bowl; let cool 10 minutes.
  4.  Add remaining 1½ tablespoons fish sauce, remaining 2 teaspoons rice powder, shallots, lime juice, sugar, red pepper flakes, mint, and cilantro to beef; toss to combine. Serve with lettuce leaves.

Zucchini and Bacon Frittata

Am I the only one that doesn’t like eggs? I swear I must be the only person on this planet that just can’t support a plate of eggs. I used to like them when I was small. There was a funny story of how I really wanted to eat something and I knew what I wanted  but I couldn’t remember the name of it. So my little three year old self tried to explain what it was… “ok, it’s white and then it is still white.” My wonderful grandmother finally figured out my toddler riddle: Hard Boiled Egg, because the shell is white and then when you peel it , it is still white. Around the age of 5 I made the decision that I did NOT like eggs, much to the chagrin of my bewildered parents, who probably figured I would grow out of it. But I didn’t.

My husband does like eggs, he likes them so much that we have backyard chickens. So far we have had 9 chickens in the span of a year and no eggs. I repeat, 9 chickens no eggs. Our first experience with the chicken world almost (I am convinced) killed us, I believe the chicken rangler we bought them from might be a serial killer. But it turned out he cheated us and purposely sold us two roosters, and one died. Then one of my students asked if we would help raise chicks, on the week that we were most likely to receive our first egg, Ms. Matilda Ann Justice (dog) killed both of them. So now we have 4 new chickens braving the winter and not producing any eggs.  Sounds a lot like me! Get it? Lame PCOS joke! I always joke that maybe this spot in the world is a black hole for fertility.

So what do I eat for breakfast if I don’t eat carbs and I don’t eat eggs. Long story short…nothing. I don’t have time on weekdays to eat breakfast, but on the weekends I usually put together a healthy snack to tide me till a regular meal. But being that someday soon I will be swimming in about 4 eggs a day… and that everyone in the world seems to like eggs……

Zucchini and Bacon Frittata

  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash, sliced
  • Salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • ¼ lb. smoked Canadian bacon or ham, diced
  • 6 eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar
Directions

Combine the zucchini and 1 teaspoon salt in a colander and toss well. Set aside to drain for 30 minutes.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a large, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or ovenproof nonstick skillet. Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, flipping and stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent. Remove the onions and return the skillet to the stove.

Transfer the zucchini to a clean kitchen towel and pat dry. Add the zucchini and Canadian bacon to the skillet and sauté over medium-high heat, until the zucchini is just tender, about 4 minutes. Remove the zucchini and Canadian bacon with a slotted spoon. Keep the skillet over the heat.

4. Beat the eggs and pepper to taste in a medium bowl until well blended. Fold in the potatoes, zucchini and Canadian bacon, and cheese.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil to the skillet as needed to lightly coat the bottom. Pour in the egg mixture, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook without stirring until the bottom is set, about 10 minutes.

6. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the top is set, 5 to 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes.

Place a serving plate on top of the skillet and carefull invert. The frittata should fall out of the pan. Cut into wedges and serve.

Turkey Barley Soup

The drive home on Friday afternoons is always glazed and unfocused. Some where at the end of the week during the hours of 3 or 4, my brain just shuts off. I left school feeling a bit  sick, tired, sore throat, spacey. So when I got home all I wanted was to sit on the couch and eat soup. So I present to you Turkey Barley Soup, the answer to the Friday Afternoon Blahs. Barley is a great grain to use while dealing with PCOS, it is low on the gycemic index and can actually help with insulin resistance.

 

Turkey Barley Soup

  • 2 to 3 cups of cooked turkey
  • 1 Tbs of olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup of diced greens (kale, collard, swiss chard)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup medium pearl barley
  • 1 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Directions
1. Heat oil in dutch oven or large pot. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until softened.
2. Add turkey to vegetables. Then add broth and water. Heat to a simmer.
3. Add barley, greens, bay leaf, spices and salt to taste.
4. Cook at a simmer for half and hour.

Snacks

We had left-over Coq Au Vin for dinner, so I have no new recipes. But I can tell you what my go-to snack is.

 

I am a teacher, which generally means I eat and pee on a bell schedule. I need to be up, dressed, functioning and at school before 7 am. I am not a morning person, and no matter how hard I try to rewire the system I just can’t seem to manage. Ever since I was in high school I get a twinge of morning sickness (maybe PCOS related?) so I generally shy away from breakfast. So my mornings look like a mad rush and a quickly made espresso shoved into a travel mug.

When I finally do get a chance to eat something there are usually at least 3 or 4 students in my room…ALWAYS. So I never have a chance during the day to sit down to a proper meal. But stuffed in my desk drawer is my pre-made snack bag, and I manage to munch on that whenever I get a chance. Nuts have been shown to actually help with PCOS and they are high in protein so they made the perfect snack for that satiated feeling.

Mrs. Clemmerbottom’s Snack Attack:

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup raw walnuts

1 cup raw pecans

2 cups roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (the green ones)

1 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup peanuts or cashews

1 package of Craisins or raisins,

1 package of dried apples or dried cherries.

So I just put them all into a big ziplock bag and have it ready at all times.

Occasionally I will have the foresight to bring something to eat, or if I squeeze my way between the giant hulks of teenage lunch-eaters I can find a salad. But most of the time I can’t be bothered and this at least can get me through the majority of my day.

Hungarian Goulash

Day two at school, the kids came in today. I already feel behind and overwhelmed, but I guess that is how it goes. My student won a contest, but I had to go get a W-9 and notarize my signature. But I made it home in time to make dinner. This is one of my husbands very favorite. You can serve it with a bit, and I do mean a bit, of whole wheat egg noodles but not too many if your are trying to watch your carb intake.

Hungarian Goulash (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

  • 1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • cup sweet paprika (we use spicy paprika, but it is REALLY spicy)
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 large onions, diced small (about 6 cups)
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch-thick rounds (about 2 cups)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup beef broth, warmed
  • ¼ cup sour cream (optional, although I double it because we like the creaminess)
  • Ground black pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Sprinkle meat evenly with 1 teaspoon salt and let stand 15 minutes. Process paprika, roasted peppers, tomato paste, and 2 teaspoons vinegar in food processor until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down sides as needed.

2. Combine oil, onions, and 1 teaspoon salt in large Dutch oven; cover and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften but have not yet begun to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. (If onions begin to brown, reduce heat to medium-low and stir in 1 tablespoon water.)

3. Stir in paprika mixture; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions stick to bottom of pan, about 2 minutes. Add beef, carrots, and bay leaf; stir until beef is well coated. Using rubber spatula, scrape down sides of pot. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Cook until meat is almost tender and surface of liquid is ½ inch below top of meat, 2 to 21/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Remove pot from oven and add enough beef broth so that surface of liquid is ¼ inch from top of meat (beef should not be fully submerged). Return covered pot to oven and continue to cook until fork slips easily in and out of beef, about 30 minutes longer.

4. Skim fat off surface; stir in remaining teaspoon vinegar and sour cream, if using. Remove bay leaf, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, and serve.


Dinner in Half an Hour

New York Steak with a garlic, scallion sour cream
Oven baked sweet potatoes
Salad with Oranges and Citrus Tarragon Dressing

Today was the first day back at school. I had a meeting until 4:30 which meant that dinner needed to be fast and nutritious. It is always good to have reliable recipes well memorized in such cases.

In our house we use some virgin coconut oil. You can find this oil in most natural food stores. Coconut Oil has a bad reputation and the jury is still out on it health benefits, but it seems as with most things, a little moderation is a great thing.

Sweet Potatoes (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

1teaspoon coconut oil plus 1 additional tablespoon
2pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), scrubbed
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place 1/2 teaspoon of the oil on each of two rimmed baking sheets. Use a paper towel to spread the oil evenly over the entire surface and place both sheets in the oven.
2. Cut each sweet potato from end to end in eight thick wedges. Toss the sweet potatoes and the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large bowl to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss again to blend. Carefully remove one baking sheet from the oven and place half of the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet cut-side down. Spread them out so that they do not touch each other. Return the baking sheet to the oven and repeat the process using the second baking sheet and the remaining sweet potatoes.
3. Bake until the cut side of the sweet potatoes touching the baking sheet is crusty and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove each baking sheet from the oven and carefully turn the sweet potatoes, using a thin metal spatula. Bake until the second cut side of the sweet potatoes now touching the pan is crusty and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Use the metal spatula to transfer the sweet potatoes to a platter and serve the oven-fried potatoes immediately.

In our house we never ever buy salad dressing. It is too easy to make your own:

Citrus Tarragon Dressing

a little bit of orange juice
olive oil
salt
pepper
tarragon

Mix all ingredients vigorously

Steaks with garlic scallion sour cream

Salt and Pepper the steaks

Fry the steaks in coconut oil, and make the sour cream.

A few scallions diced, and a bit of diced garlic, add to sour cream.

Cook steaks to desired doneness, serve on a plate.

Coq Au Vin

This recipe is a bit labor intensive, but the results are satisfying. The meal is a one-pot, vegetables include carrots,celery, onions. Recipe was adapted from The Girl and Fig Cookbook

Coq Au Vin
Marinade:

1 1/2 cups red wine
3 sprigs parsley
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp soy sauce
6 chicken legs
3 chicken breasts (or 6 thighs)

Braise:
1 carrot, peeled and roughly diced
1 onion, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
6-8 black peppercorns
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 cups red wine
4 thyme sprigs
4 parsley sprigs
6 cups chicken stock

Saute:
1 1/2 cups flour
salt & pepper
8 oz bacon, diced
16 oz button mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and quartered
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp cognac (I used Calvados because that’s what I had)
2 cups red wine (or the rest of your 2nd bottle which will be about a cup and a half)
20 pearl onions, blanched and peeled or defrosted if using frozen

 

Marinade the Chicken for at least 24 hours.

Saute the vegetables in oil till soft. Add all the remaining ingredients from the Braise and cook until it is reduced to at least half.

Dry and coat chicken in flour and salt and pepper. Fry bacon, remove and saute mushrooms. Remove mushrooms and add dredged chicken to remaining grease. Place mushrooms, bacon and chicken in braise. Deglaze the pan with remaining wine. Pour into Braise. Cook in oven or on stove top until chicken registers 175 degrees.

 

Serve Hot. Traditionally it served over egg noodles or mashed potatoes, but since we are PCOSing I left them out.

 

A word about this blog

I, like many out there suffer from PCOS. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome afflicts a wide variety of women. One of the ways of managing the symptoms is to control what you eat. Studies have shown that a low GI diet can help. In searching for my own answers I have been collecting recipes and would like to share them with you. Having PCOS doesn’t mean you cannot eat well. Please join me!

 

PCOScookbook on Pinterest