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Brussels sprouts are a frequent side dish to the fish, chicken, veal and pork in Jerry's Meals To Go. They are a low $7.99.
As I drove past Balthazar Bakery in Englewood the other day -- without lifting my foot off the accelerator -- I reviewed how drastically my diet has changed, and the benefits I've received.
When Balthazar opened a retail store in its production bakery just before Thanksgiving in 2002, I lived around the corner.
I'd walk over to pick up a wonderfully crusty baguette or a dozen dinner rolls and, once in a blue moon, an extraordinary fruit tart.
Even after I moved to Hackensack, Balthazar remained my main source for bread, and I'd stop in every couple of weeks to stock my freezer with dinner rolls and cut-up baguette for sandwiches.
I supplemented that with pocket bread, za'atar bread and spinach pies from the Syrian bakeries in Paterson -- I always had them in my freezer or refrigerator.
But I gave up bread more than a year ago to lose weight, so on Monday, I kept on driving until I reached Jerry's Gourmet & More in Englewood, where I bought a $7.99 Meal To Go -- a multi-course, restaurant-quality dinner.
And because this month marks the 2nd anniversary since I stopped eating meat and poultry, I bought a Jerry's meal with blackened fillet of sole, rather than one with pork, chicken or veal.
The side dishes were a half-dozen grilled shrimp in the shell, Brussels sprouts, vegetable frittata and a small block of macaroni and cheese. All I needed to complete my dinner was a home-made salad and a glass of wine.
The next night, I prepared green-shell mussels from New Zealand I had purchased at H Mart -- they are blanched on the half shell and frozen. I sprinkled on some grated cheese and dried herbs and baked them in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Tonight, we're having fresh wild-caught haddock fillets from Iceland that I picked up today at Costco Wholesale ($7.99 a pound).
I went to Costco after meeting friends for lunch at the Grant Street Cafe in Dumont. I had a Greek salad and black coffee, and they had sandwiches or an omelet with lots of bread and french fries.
At Costco, I also purchased 4 pounds of frozen, cleaned U-15 farmed shrimp from Vietnam (13 to 15 shrimp to the pound) for $36.99 or about $9.25 a pound with a $5 instant Costco coupon.
By giving up bread and meat, and going to the gym five days a week, I've lost a lot of weight. I weigh 190 pounds, compared to a high of 228, and my cholesterol is around 140 -- much lower than before, when I ate meat and took a cholesterol-lowering pill..
Balthazar Bakery, 214 S. Dean St., Englewood; 201-503-9717.
Jerry's Gourmet & More, 410 S. Dean St., Englewood; 201-871-7108.
Costco Wholesale, 80 S. River St., Hackensack; 201- 487-5471.