But at least you wouldn't know it if you knew me in person! 

Let me explain. I'm not battling issues of self-worth. Obviously, I'm battling issues of blog-worth! I love writing this thing but for whatever reason, whenever I block off a bit of time to do it, the concept seems sooooo unappealing =( I don't know why. But be that as it may, I am going to quit my whining and finish this post!

*Readers should note that this dinner was made sometime after Chanukah was over (so the menorah represents my laziness elsewhere in my life) but at least sometime before New Years Eve, so it's not THAT bad!

Above is a dinner a deux, I made a similar version that I'll show below that became dinner a trois (?) when my friend came by. Still works. 
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First, as promised, the Kale and Apple Salad. 

This turned out really well again and I couldn't be more proud! 

I almost NEVER cook with nuts and unfortunately when I made this without nuts a few weeks later, it's worth declined significantly.



Nutty Kale And Apple Salad With Honey Mustard/Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients
1 bunch kale (torn into bite sized pieces, use your hands!)
1/3 sweet white onion 
1 large apple (or 2 tiny apples)
1 handful walnuts
Spritz of white wine, chicken stock or water

Dressing: equal parts greek yogurt and honey mustard (not really the spicy or the seedy kind) with a dash of any sort of clear vinegar and a pinch of salt

Directions
1. Chop onion into whatever sized onion pieces you enjoy eating and sautee in a BIG pan (preferably with high edges). I tend to just sautee it in some Pam, but use whatever you like. Once brown, set aside

2. Throw all the kale into the same giant pan (it will look like a lot, but it will wilt into 1/5 of the size) and pour in a small glug of the white wine you'll have with dinner, or whatever liquid you choose. Turn stove on medium heat, throw a cover over the kale and let it settle down.

3. In the meanwhile (or before, which will make the process more relaxing)  chop your apple into your favorite shaped pieces and crush the walnuts (almonds, and probably peanuts also work)

4. Once the kale has decreased to about half it's size, throw in the apples, nuts and onions. Stir. Keep reducing.

5. Put in a bowl, our over dressing! 

**A great tip is to make the dressing in a small jar and shake to combine the ingredients**
**An even better tip is to use a jar
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I am especially proud of the turkey burgers (7o'clock) which are sort of my own invention.

I know they're good because I have served them to several turkey-burger haters, and I always have way less leftover than I would expect. This particular dinner a deux had 1 burger left over, and I only ate 1 myself! 

Juicy, Spicy, Tangy Turkey Burgers


The star of this dish is UNCOOKED turkey sausages. The ones that come pre-seasoned are the best. The ones I use are called "Sweet" or "Spicy". They taste exactly the same, so I have no idea what the difference is supposed to be. They are 150 calories apiece.


Ingredients
1 package turkey sausages 
3-5 tbsp a REALLY chunky salsa (I prefer the Black Bean and Corn Salsa from Dessert Pepper)
Salt, pepper, hot sauce if you're a real spicy food junkie. I am.

That's all, folks!  

Directions: REMOVE TURKEY SAUSAGE MEAT FROM THE CASING. Mash up the meat, add 3-5 tbsp salsa (3 if you're using 4 sausages, 5 if using 6 sausages) and get in there with your hands to mix it up. Don't overmix**. Shape into patties and toss onto a Pammed non-stick pan. Cook about 5 minutes each side until cooked through. Don't be afraid if they start to look a little blackened. Be more afraid if they aren't, because that means they are raw and dangerous inside!

**A side note on overmixing. I keep hearing not to do this with ground meat. I have no idea why or what will happen if I overmix. My burgers have never come out tasting bad, so I can probably assume I have never overmixed, but then, I don't ever want to spend any extra time with my hands wrist deep in freezing cold ground up animal so the incentive to overmix is small**

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Lastly, the Mushroom and Zucchini Quinoa "Risotto". I made this for my last "Dinner A Deux" and actually used that as the title of the post. So the recipe is there. Go look, it's fabulous. 

Like the turkey burgers, this dish is practically guilt free. 

Unlike the Kale salad, which, while nutritious, is not all that low-cal since it has the nuts. 

Next is Breakfast for One! Basically, this is Dunkin Donuts sandwiches made at home and maybe healthed up a tiny bit with some spinach and extra veggies. Have you ever had the DD Turkey Sausage Egg White Flatbread? 300 cals, totally yummy, rather convenient. NOT cheap. And probably not too heavy on the meat or veg. 
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Ingredients


2 servings of Egg Beaters (the kinds that come in liquid form in the carton)

2 tbsp salsa

1 leftover turkey burger (or 1 leftover cooked turkey sausage)

1 sandwich thin (or lite English Muffin)

Spinach

Optional: Chheeeeeeeessseeee

Note: While I always consider nuts optional, generally feel that way about butter, oil and sugar, I almost never feel that cheese is optional. Though, I do love fat free feta cheese so at least I can skim off a few cals there! Importantly, on these, laughing cow wedges work really well and those are also pretty lite. 

Directions
Take a ramekin, really wide base coffee cup/soup bowl or any small flat bottomed vessel and pour in 1 serving Egg beaters, 1 tbsp salsa, 1/2 of the meat and add S+P (and hot sauce!). Microwave for 2 minutes. Detach solidified egg from the cup and plop onto the bread (toasted and topped with cheese and spinach).  Repeat.

Basically this is a simpler, less messy version of my Breakfast Quesedilla. Much easier done when you're working with half a fridge and what is likely a quarter of a real kitchen!
And...since I missed the boat on New Years....Cheers!!! 
(View from the rooftop of my NYE party)
And since you've gotten this far, you probably deserve something more amusing than just recipes (hopefully that will come as I realize that these posts are NOT THAT HARD!! 
Last words...I promise. WTF is up with these New Years Resolutioners at the gym?? It's February, isn't it time to fail the Resolution already? Not that I want people to stop healthy activities, I just want them to stop doing them at the same time and at the same place as me!

XOXO
Jules
 
 
I wish I could pretend that I'm keeping up to date on my blogging and just haven't made many photogenic meals. This is, unfortunately, true on both counts =( This meal is dated in the picture, since you can see the two Chanukah candles burning...and Chanukah has been over for a while! But this was a delicious meal with two creations that I'm not going to lie, were awesome. All 4 dishes on this table were successful (as evidenced by the extreme lack of leftovers!!). The panko crusted cod was showcased in a previous post, and the dish at 1 oclock over there has some baked sweet potatoes in it that my mom actually showed me how to make. I will share this "recipe" with you folks because it's so good and easy, how could I not? Here it is: slice the sweet potato (peeled, unpeeled, go wild) and stick it into an oven (or a toaster oven) and bake at 450 degrees until it looks tender enough to eat. You could poke it with your finger to test. That's it. And so good. Yum!
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But the real crowning glory, sweet potato-wise were by HEALTHY sweet potato LATKES! Yes, that's right, healthy. Tasty? Yes... Probably not as tasty as the real thing. I mean, hey, I know my limits. If I cheated and used butter, oil, etc....they'd be better. But that's not what this blog is about. Happy Chanukah people!

Healthy Sweet Potato Latkes!
1.5 really really huge sweet potatoes, grated (I don't know how much this is in weight, sorry...maybe next year)
1/2 onion, chopped really really finely
3 servings of egg white substitute
2 tbsp flour
Few pinches of salt and pepper
Directions: Mix all together. Let sit for a while to drain in a collander (it did NOT drain much!)
Heat oven to 450 degrees
Place big tbsp size blobs of this onto a WELL SPRAYED piece of foil. It will be wet, it wont be that sticky, don't worry. Spread them out into latke-shapes with the back of your spoon
Bake for about 10-15 minutes then.....try to flip them. If they flip, good for you! If they fall apart, that's ok, if you're not a food blog writer/photographer, everyone will forgive you. If they look like they're still watery, keep bakin'.
Bake on the other side for 10-15 minutes too.
Serve. Hide a few for leftovers! Consider using apple sauce.
Look at how pretty they are!!!

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Next up: Kale and apple salad with honey mustard/yogurt dressing.

Wooowwweeee this is so good. I will actually share this with you on my next post. It was so good I made it again. The first time, I had no leftovers at all....sad face. The second time, my dining partner wasn't that into it (kale hater!) so I got to eat it again the next day....happy face!!

The problem is that there's no prettying this up. It's an ugly dish. But then again, I pay good money for pretty food in NYC all the time. That food is made with butter, sugar, oil etc. It is delicious. But...if I'm home, I'm making ugly, healthy, low-calorie food that tastes pretty darned good.

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Also, a little update on my ankle issues. Seriously, WTF?? The new situation is that it hurts (kind of like that feeling when you've leaned on your arm too long and it goes numb?) for about 2 miles of running, and then it just magically stops and I can run forever. I suppose technically I shouldn't complain and someone should really play me the worlds smallest violin since I ran 9 (!!) miles today, but why is the ankle bugging out on those first two miles? Ok, I realize I'm a doctor so I can puzzle out what the physical problem is...essentially tightened, inflamed ligaments....but how to fix it? And more importantly, will it eventually become some sort of debilitating handicap? Unfortunately, orthopedics is a surgical specialty doing AMAZING things in the OR, but when it comes to pain that can't be fixed with a knife or a saw, the answer is always, stretch it, ice it, ibuprofen. Actually ibuprofen is magical as a drug in general, but in this case, it doesn't help. I'm very frustrated with this because it makes me a) dread working out and b) have to REALLY fight with myself not to give p a workout after only the first few miles. Does this happen to anyone else?

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Lastly, I will leave you with some very food blog-inappropriate thoughts. Seriously, don't read this if you're squeamish. But if you have read up to here, leave a comment, I can't figure out if anyone is really reading!

My rotation this month is 4 weeks at the NYC Chief Medical Examiners Office. What's that? Not quite like CSI since we don't go to the crime scene, but it's forensic autopsies. That's right, we cut up people who died in unobserved settings. There's a lot of unglamorous deaths at home, some deaths at home with decomposition (yuck) but the coolest are the homocide autopsies. They take a loooong time and involve a LOOOOOT of cutting, but isn't that cool????? It's stinky, but I kind of love it! I tell everyone that nothing grosses me out, and that's about 90% true. I guess cutting up about 40 dead bodies in 4 years will do that to you! I'm on call this weekend for biopsy work (much less gross), which explains the long blog post. I have a few more in the works though, with another Chanukah meal, the explanation of the kale salad and a medium-hassle, completely great egg breakfast.


XO,
Jules

 
 
I brought out something from the vault today. Omelet muffins (of the sausage egg and cheese variety!). Of course I've posted these before, but I happened to have made them again and I just cannot say enough good things about these. They're so great for breakfast the first 2-3 days after baking (2 days room temperature, third day refrigerator!) and you can freeze the rest, especially if you're like me and need variety. I probably ate about 5, gave 1 away for review (positive!) and froze the remaining 6, split up into 3 little ziplock bags. Make these! They are perfect little bundles of healthy, on-the-go breakfast joy. I think I will reiterate the recipe even though it's hanging out on my Recipage as well (if you click here, you'll also see some variations, like Salmon-Cream Cheese). 
Ingredients (makes 10-11 muffins) at less than 100 calories/muffin
2 eggs (160 cals)
3 servings All Egg Whites (75 cals)

**You can use any combination to make 5 "eggs" total**
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour, or any flour (260 cals)
2 small chicken/turkey sausages, chopped (180-200 cals)
3 servings turkey bacon, chopped (90 cals)
1/2 cup Fage 0% Plain Greek Yogurt (55 cals)
1/2 medium sized sweet onion, chopped
Handful (3 servings?) fire roasted red peppers, chopped
2tsp S+ 1tsp P 
1/2 tsp baking powder


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
2. Sautee onion in pan (non-stick spray, oil, whatever makes you happy) until carmelized
3. Mix all other ingredients into a bowl, raw (remember to make sure you chicken/turkey sausages are *fully* cooked, almost all are, but any other meat may need to be precooked)
4. Pour batter into muffin tin (I love my plastic muffin mold because it doesn't need cups, only spray). Fill almost to the top, they don't rise THAT much.
5. Bake until nice and cooked through (test this by running a toothpick into the muffins and seeing it come out clean)
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This recipe is both something new *and* something borrowed. It is NOT, however, something I executed correctly. 

I adapted this recipe from The Fitnessista for Pumpkin Amaze-balls but put my own spin on it (which did not work out for me). Kath, of KERF also tried these, also with greater success! Buuuut, mine were still tasty, so I will go ahead and post! 

2 tablespoons old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons cocoa flavored protein powder (I got a single serving packet because I don't use it normally and wasn't sure if this would work)
2 tablespoons pumpkin from a can
2 tablespoons honey almond butter
A tiny splash of vanilla extract
A tiny pinch of salt
1 packet Sweet N Low (or whatever sweetener you wish)

Mix all ingredients together and they will form a VERY tough, dense paste. Not ideal. So I decided to add a little under 1 tbsp of water. Big mistake. =( I thought by letting it sit for a while the oats would eventually just absorb it? Nope. Anyway, I was still able to just barely roll this wet nonsense up into 6 teensy ballz and quickly wrapped them in saran wrap and stowed them away in my freezer.

As it turned out, these were actually not bad at all, and are able to be consumed directly from the freezer, which is super convenient. They kind of melt in your mouth and are kind of tasty. But importantly, they are also a ~50 calorie protein powerhouse. Did I ever manage to eat one at a time? No. So they must have been pretty decent. I think I will try to make these again, this time, perhaps adding extra pumpkin instead of water! I can't believe I didn't think of that the first time. Silly me!

Here are a few other things I should mention. Right before thanksgiving, my right ankle started to HURT when I ran (and even, eventually when I walked). And after allllllll of the whining I had done over the past many blog entries about how much I hate exercise and only do it because I have to, I REALLY missed running. I missed it EVERY DAY that I was in the gym, whirring away on the elliptical and that crazy cross trainer thing. Hot yoga helped break it up but it's cold and yoga is far away (inconveniently, the yoga studio near me decided to end it's "donation based" weekend classes, gah!). I had been doing 1-1.5 mile stretches over the course of 3 weeks but always had to stop after 1.5 miles maximum. You can imagine my surprise when just this past Thursday I got on the treadmill and raaannnnnn. One whole 6 mile run, complete, without too much pain! Imagine MY surprise when it felt SO good. I've since run another 11 miles over the course of 2 days and I just can't get over how good it feels to run compared to the other machines at the gym! I hope this ankle thing doesn't come back =( =(

In other news, the girl who normally hates Italian food (me!) went to Eataly (the Italian gourmet food mecca in NYC), ate at a restaurant and LIKED it. To be fair, what I had is cheese (what's not to love???), soft white bread dipped in olive oil and vinegar (I <3 balsamic) and a kale salad (not what you normally consider Italian, is it?). The salad had grapefruit and pomegranite seeds as well as some sort of nice tangy dressing. The beer you see there is a cask aged beer served at room temperature. It was ok, but not great. Mysterious alcohol content seemed to be very high however, since I definitely REALLY needed a nap when I got home, despite having 3!! slices of bread. 

Time to go, enjoy the week everyone! Hope your weather is better than our misty, rainy, ickyness!

Xoxo
Jules

P.S. quick addendum to last weeks post: while the Brussels sprouts tasted amazing when burnt just a bit, okra does not stand up well to burning. So that's the lesson. If you're going to cook a Brussels/okra mix, put in the sprouts first, then top with okra about 10-20 minutes in!
 
 
Better late than never?
The Chepovetsky-Zaretsky family thanksgiving spread! We are Russian (note the smoked salmon and the mushroom pastry!) but we are also fiercely patriotic. After all, we are living the American dream! My parents came here with nothing from a crumbling nation that no longer exists (USSR!) and now we have freedoms my family never imagined. My father, who has a PhD in physics started in the US as a cab driver and eventually became a computer programmer. My mother was an engineer in the old country and kept that job when she came here, but eventually also learned to be a computer programmer. Imagine changing fields completely in middle age, in a foreign country. Learning a computer language, as well as English? This is a big deal folks. I'm so proud of my parents and family. Every year, when we go around the table and give thanks (yes, we actually do this, no matter how large the gathering, everyone says something) I hope I never forget to mention this. Obviously, in relation to the blog, I have to thank my mom, whose creativity in the kitchen has indirectly inspired me countless times! And now....for dessert!
This thing, Kievsky Tort is a cake made in a factory in Kiev called the Karl Marx Confectionary factory. They've been making it since 1956 and apparently NO ONE can make what they do. It's a combination of megangue, some sort of hazelnut stuff and buttercream. It is rich and light, creamy yet airy....I have no idea how to describe it. But, the thing must actually be imported from Kiev into stores in the US. Crazy huh? I eat it so slowly, layer by layer.....yummmmmmm! I can't believe I'm sitting here now, in my jeans, actually fitting into them. Oy! What did you all do for thanksgiving? Is anyone reading this? Beuller....?

Ok, on to some other stuff. First of all, I am going to compose more than one post tonight and hope to put them out all during the week in an effort to actually post more regularl. So, this post will be kind of cooking light. It will focus on roasted vegetables. Because I've been able to go home a few times in this past month or so, I've stocked my fridge full of cheap-o vegetables. I'm sure they're not even actually cheap, just relatively cheap because everything in NYC is unbearably expensive.
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Brussels sprouts again! You remember this, the worlds easiest salad? Take a bunch of Brussels sprouts and shred them (so irritating.....), in a pan toss in some finely chopped turkey bacon and a can of diced/crushed roasted tomatoes....sautee until soft. Then season with balsamic vingar, salt, garlic....voila! Instant nutritious lunchx3.

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And hey, the one night I got super lazy and didn't want to bother shredding the sprouts, I put them in the oven at 400 degrees, spayed (MISTO!) with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and "vegetable seasoning" (or you can use garlic, italian seasoning, etc) and left them in there....too long. Or so I thought. Turns out when these babies get a little charred they taste SO good. And are super soft. Turns out this is not a secret, but it's news to me, so now it comes on the blog!

And my new love....okra. How simple. Spray with olive oil, season with anything you like (I use the same stuff I put on the roasted sprouts) and pop in the oven at 400 degrees. I use my toaster oven for super convenience. Call it 20-30 mins. It comes out semi crunchy on the outside and all gooey and slimy on the inside. What's in that bowl, you ask? It's the best veggie dip EVER. Greek yogurt with Thai Chilli Garlic sauce/paste. If you don't have this, mix in whatever liquidy/pasty spicy stuff you like. The yogurt cools it down and makes it absolutely yummy! Seriously. That's not a joke. Go home and try this.

Ok, that's all for now because it's Chanukah and I am making a really nice meal for a friend featuring baked sweet potato latkes. In case this invariably fails, I have sweet potato chips baking in the oven right now!

Tata!
 
 
Back after a little hiatus! There's been some action here and there but mostly I haven't had a lot of time to cook and even worse, have cooked a few things here and there that haven't turned out so well. THIS dinner, though, was fantastic! It was a dining a la deux experience and both diners were quite health conscious. So, this is all real food and all healthy!
The bean dip is my standard: Roasted Red Pepper "Hummus" and never fails to impress =)

The fish is a panko and black sesame crusted cod (caught by my dad, so talk about fresh, wild caught fish!!). Click here for technique!

I have to admit, I really love this and it adds a lot of texture/flavor to white fishes!
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The quinoa dish is my only new dish of the night, but even still, pretty simple.
Ahead of time, I rehydrated about 6-8 big shitake mushrooms in boiling water. After an hour or two, I removed the stems (woody but fun to chew on!), reserved the liquid and diced up the caps. I sauteed the mushroom caps with about half a giant zucchini (or just 1 small one would do!) and some diced onion until all veggies were tender.

Then, 1 cup of quinoa cooked in 2 cups liquid (I used the mushroom rehydrating liquid and reduced-sodium chicken stock to make 2 cups) as directed. About 4-5 minutes before it was done, I tossed in the veggies and stirred them through. In the end, once the quinoa was already done, I added a few tbsp (this was a big pot) of Fage 0% greek yogurt to give it a creamy "risotto" like texture. Served with some yummy red vino, this made for a fantastic weekend dinner for 2!! For seasoning I added a bunch of salt, garlic powder, itlian seasoning and onion powder. All to taste.

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Several things are important to note for this week. #1 is that I saw Sleep No More earlier, which is something really special. It is set in a warehouse with 100 rooms (each impreccably decorated with each of 4 floors representing a hunting lodge, a hotel, an asylum and what I assume is some sort of small shopping area all set in the 1920s). The audience is given masks and actors (not wearing masks) silently perform scenes from Macbeth in various rooms. The audience members are given free reign to go room to room as they will. You can follow around the actors, explore the scenery or find various scenes that interest you. Without really going into details, let me just say this was amaing! #2 is that I went to see 7 psychopaths, the new movie by Martin McDonough, who is my absolute favorite amazing playwright. The movie was exactly what I had hoped it would be. A dark, macabre comedy with lots of dry humor and also Christopher Walken. He is also responsible for In Bruges and his brother (a similar writing style) made THe Guard. Sleep No More is an expensive luxury, but these movies are cheap and wonderful. I would highly reccomend!   

Also notable is this brussel sprout salad I've created. I'm sure none of this is terribly inventive, but man is this simple dish amazing, delicious and super healthy (I think?). It's definitely not pretty.
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This is as simple as it gets once you get past the PAIN of shredding the brussel sprounds. Ack! I think maybe these were even bought pre-shredded. But still, I've shredded them myself plenty of times before!

So, this was a bunch of sprouts (you know, use however many you want for as many servings as you like!) shredded and thrown in a pan along with about 6-8 pieces of turkey bacon (chopped) and a can of diced fire roasted jalapeno tomatoes. How simple is that? In the end I added some balsamic vinegar, which is what made it particularly unfortunate looking. But still. Amazeballs in terms of health, convinience and importantly, how long it takes to eat =) Especially with chop sticks! =) I think what always suckers me into this salad is that it's 1 pan, probably at least 3 big servings and essentially no more than $10 for the whole thing. Depending on, of course, where you live and how many sprouts you buy! I live in the most expensive city in the US, so probably my brussels sprouts are pretty pricey! 

Finally, on the exercise front, I have mysteriously hurt my ankle and can't run. This is insanely bad, especially since we've just done thanksgiving....ack! I'm doing a lot of elliptical, getting back into hot yoga and trying my very very best to avoid eating too much! Wish  me luck!

Next post, hopefully without a hiatus, will be thanksgiving recap! I hope everyone (anyone?) who reads this had a wonderful thanksgiving filled with lots of food and family love!

 
 
I was very fortunate with this hurricane. I didn't get stuck in the Bronx hospital in which I was working (my specialty of medicine is not essential to emergent patient care) and my apartment didn't get hit with the storm at all. This was not the case for my neighbors only 1 block east of me. Many of those buildings are older and they got flooded. This left quite a few east siders without power or hot water. That was nothing compared to the huge area of Manhattan below ~30th street that spent almost a week without power of any sort! My heart went out to everyone I knew who had to go without power for so long! I wish there was more I could have done to help but my apartment is small, but at least I was able to give one neighbor access to my power and hot water for a few days. The day after the hurricane we made a little family dinner out of things that I had on hand and some stuff he was able to pick up at the super market. Even more incredibly, he made me go on a run and I got to see some of the more major damage on the East side. Unfortunately last night was incredibly cold and my friend had no heat, so I also shared my apartment for the night.

I also want to give my sympathy to Staten Islanders, who got hit really badly. My parents only recently got their power back and unfortunately many people in their neighborhood were left homeless or with extreme amounts of property damage. There are huge gas shortages and I've heard that looting has begun. I wish there was something I could have done but there was no transportation below 42nd street until today! And by now, my parents tell me it's almost dangerous =( =( =(

I am truly hoping that the city will pull together and help out everyone in need during this time.
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Buuutt....this is a food blog. So I will at least share some of the things I whipped up during this time.

One of the things I had was that zucchini and eggplant I bought from the Bronx. Boy were they delicious!

I cubed up the zucchini and the eggplant (as evenly as possible with mixed results) and sauteed them with S+P, Italian Seasoning, garlic powder and finished with some balsamic vinegar. Well I made about 4 batches of this and it went into everything from omelets, to just plain in a bowl, to a base for dinner and lunch! Below are the dishes from the hurricane dinner. Hers: bed of steamed bok choy (steamed for ~5-6 minutes?), topped with the balsamic veggies and finished off with the pasta/tomato sauce/sausage mixture we made. I used minimal pasta (all you see is all I have) and had probably one of the chicken sausages of the 3 we made. His: bed of pasta/sauce/sausage, topped with balsamic veggies =) He went back for a nice big second portion! I went back for a tiny one. Eek. Anyway, this was hearty and delicious and we shared a nice bottle of white wine, chilled with a few frozen berries plopped in.

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Also, I know I've sort of posted this last time, but I'd just like to do it again. This was "salsa-jar salad" which was amazing. Basically I had about 2-3tbsp of salsa left in a jar AND 2 tbsp plain greek yogurt left in my fridge. So I plopped the yogurt into the salsa jar, poured in a bunch of super finely-chopped white-meat chicken and gave it a big ol' mix. The next day, I took it to work, bought this giant container of spinach (I'm sure it was supposed to be 3 servings, but who ever heard of having too much spinach??). It was so easy and perfectly portable.

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But really what I wanted to share was that I'm obsessed with eating my chicken/tuna salad with spinach in a deconstructed fashion!

Dip with the fork into the jar, poke up a few leaves of spinach and eat. It doesn't taste any better than just mixing it, but it doesn't require a big bowl and...I don't know, I like interactive food!



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But...probably owing to a smaller than normal breakfast (less breakfast=more sleep time under warm blankets??), this salad and apple didn't hold me over. So I added these Special K cracker chips that were cheap at the hospital store.

Meh.

PopChips are significantly superior.

The end for now.

<3
Jules

 
 
I am currently living in what's designated as Zone B (which means, roughly, that flooding is expected but will probably not be too bad, so no evacuation). I have to say, I was really unimpressed and kind of dismayed at all these PREEMPTIVE subway/bus closures. Come on, New York, it's rain and wind! Anyway, here's my little hurricane story, coming at you right in the middle of it all.

My original hurricane plan was a pretty social one. But that fell through when hurricane buddy #1 got stuck in another state. Hurricane plan #2 was the most unfortunate. This involved me going into work (I am currently working in the BRONX!) and getting stuck there overnight. They had big plans to shuttle us all in but no big plans to shuttle us out! Luckily this plan also fell through as they evacuated me before noon and I got home safely just in time to decide that I wasn't about to leave my apartment, so hurricane buddy #2 was out too (she wasn't about to leave hers either). But, as it turns out, the hurricane got a little more impressive and with 4 feet of water east of 2nd avenue, hurricane buddy #3 has no power and I am hoping will canoe/raft/kayak his way over to my place 2 blocks away.
Interestingly, as much as I thought everyone was CRAZY for going to the supermarkets and getting crates of water and stocking up on giant boxes of cereal and other non-perishables, I unwittingly stocked up myself. But that's because I walked by a grocery store in the Bronx with prices I simply couldn't turn down. All that up above for $15! This includes that giant kabocha squash (love!), bok choy, carrots, TOMATOES, zucchini, eggplant, okra and brussel sprouts. This would have definitely been at least $30-35 in the city!!


I will be feasting a la vegetarian for ever!


These are coming in handy quite a bit for the hurricane though!
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Today's "dinner at home alone, sadface" meal was sauteed eggplant and zucchini. But kids, this wasn't pretty. Tasty though!

So simple....cut up some zuc, some e-plant and put on some salt, pepper, garlic and top it all off with a really nice balsamic vinegar. I also sprinkled some nutritional yeast on there, which I think made a big difference. I'm stuffed but I don't think there were too many calories? I wonder what the scale will think tomorrow.

By the way, the new apartment doesn't lend itself well to photography :-(

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But there are a lot of things I wanted to cover in this post, all sort of related to being stuck at home while the wind rages outside.

First, my gym is closed. And honestly, at this point, I need to work out every day =( So I downloaded the much talked about p90x video. I decided to attempt an at-home workout and tired out their CardioX video (45 minutes) and also did the Ab Ripper (17 minutes).

The cardio made me break a tiny bit of a sweat but nothing to write home about...less than elliptical, definitely less than running. And I don't know how much of it to attribute to being in my apt and wearing a long sleeved shirt....

The Ab Ripper workout was just TOO DAMN HARD! That or maybe my hiatus from regular hot yoga has resulted in a really bad loss of core abdominal power! Likely the second. But now that I have the tapes, I'm going to keep doing a workout at home every now and then. I am guessing that my favorites will wind up being Plyometrics, Core/Synerystics, Yoga and Kenpro. Don't ask me what some of these actually are yet, I have no idea. It'll be like a surprise.

Also, as promised, here's a little post on the home-sweet-home situation. Very appropriate since I am stuck here for at least a good 24 hours!

As you can see, my kitchen is QUITE small. One counter top, a MINI FRIDGE!! and not a huge amount of cabinet space (these are all pretty shallow). But the bonuses are the really nice microwave and the rather modern oven that preheats like a dream (the last two places I lived in had ovens from the middle ages). But I make do, and I did buy a small cube freezer that holds all my frozen stuff. Annoyingly, the freezer portion of the mini fridge is tiny and ineffectual while the fridge portion sometimes freezes my vegetables. But only sometimes, and I can never figure out why. Grrr! To the right is my brown leather couch, which used to be my only couch when I was first starting residency, and became an axillary couch in my 1 bedroom apartment. Thankfully I never got rid of it, since it's now my primary place of sitting once again. Note the painting: this is my mom's work! She made me a Renoir! She's amazing, no?
The "bedroom area" is enough to fit a bed, couch, bookshelf and dresser. The "kitchen" area does fit a small dining room table, and that's been pretty great. The loft storage up top (see upper right!) is really nifty though. I have two large-ish closets but nothing beats being able to just toss things up into the loft. The ladder gives it a fun touch too...I think (also it's useful for hanging scarves). Another thing to note (aside from my mom's other painting, my absolute favorite) is the exposed brick walls. Man did I think those were cool. But it turns out in the summer, it's like living in a brick-oven! You know, the kind they cook pizzas in? And in the cold weather...well those bricks just turn into ice cubes! The bills are kinda high!
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But arguably, one of the coolest features is the breakfast bar! Yup, I have a little breakfast bar and these two bar stools were a holdover from the 1 bedroom apartment, where they stood, unused for a year and a half. They were never sold, even during the craigslist phase and now I am loving them. As you can see I have my laptop there and it makes it easy to watch TV while I eat and also blog!

On the right you can see that I did not decide to part from my wine bar =)

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So that's it for today's blog post! PS, I also ate an apple and a little yogurt/berry snack. I think probably this wasn't a hugely successful day, although my lunch was pretty darned light (roasted okra and brussel sprouts, also on the menu tomorrow) and my breakfast was small in anticipation of a low-cardio/low calorie burn day.

I guess now it's just going to be me, some studying and a LOT more TV. Hopefully hurricane buddy #3 will manage to make it over here.

 
 
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Folks, as much as I love yogurt (and if you look back on the archives, you'll see just how much yogurt I eat!), I have never ever ever found anything in the US that compared to my yogurt experiences abroad. Pasteurization? Complete disregard for nutritional status? Whatever the case, breakfasting during my travels was something I looked back on with supreme fondness. The highlight of all was the passion fruit yogurt+Meusli breakfast combo I used to indulge in while I backpacked through Australia. I'm sure there were about 900 calories in every bowl I ate but I definitely didn't care! Anyway, what brought these memories flooding back was a sighting of Muller yogurt at my neighborhood Fairway market. Muller is a European staple and pretty much dominates the dairy shelf at any respectable european market. It's thick, creamy and delicious. The American version is....well....pretty darned good! Well done Quaker! Probably if I could bring myself to get the full fat version, I'd be transported back to my days as a poor student backpacking through France/Switzerland/Germany, breakfasting on thick yogurt, lunching on doner kebabs and dinnering on breads and cheeses (read: cheap cheap cheap eats!).

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On a more traditional note, I'm certainly trying so so so hard to move away from the single-girl eating habits I've accidentally acquired over the past few months to combat the few single-girl pounds I've gained too!

Not sure how successful I'm being, but this month, as I spend 4 weeks working (marooned in!) a hospital in the Bronx, I will at least be avoiding the post-lunch snack as often as I can. This was a great bit of economy (monetary and dietary!) that I put together for lunch. This was 1/4 of a small rotisserie chicken (white meat) chopped up super fine after de-boning and deskinning (lets call this 6 minutes) and a heaping tbsp 0% Fage Plain Greek Yogurt. I also added another heaping tbsp of black bean and corn salsa, because I was too lazy to defrost some veggies! Served with spinach. 

 

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The full lunch (I added a lot of spinach to this in the end!), along with a delicious green apple and agua.





My breakfast was neither photogenic nor particularly nutritious. Will work on this...

And, as promised, snipets from life...the new his and hers! Thai food =)

Left is the shared appetizer of a sunny roll (this is a summer roll with tofu instead of shrimp) and left is my mango salad (skimpy!) and his gigantico fried snapper! It was delicious. I sorely regretted not getting the green papya salad that is my favorite. 
That's all for now. I really hope to do better with the posting soon, but I figure this is a start! =)

<3
Jules
 
 
I guess I should begin by stating the obvious-I haven't written anything on the blog in a LONG time. But things have been pretty tough and you'll notice some pretty big changes around here.

On the personal front, Boyfriend will no longer be in the picture. I've moved apartments (and will now be working in a smaller kitchen) and I will also be generally cooking only for one. Unfortunately, these past 6 months have also been fraught with poor eating habits and worse, poor drinking habits. My renewed blogging enthusiasm (hopefully!) partly stems from the fact that I really would like to be a little more responsible towards my body again.

Hopefully the new focus of eating healthfully and mindfully while being a single girl in the city will interest some of my readers! In the next post or two, I will put up some photos of my new digs with some pretty explicit views on just how little space I am working with (think mini fridge!). I'll also try and post some general thoughts and musings on living on my own again and will attempt to share, without oversharing, the social experience that necessarily accompanies that.

Through all this, it's important to note that my parents and friends have been extremely supportive. From things like helping me move, keeping me company, helping me with stuff that I'm hopeless with (hello, technology!), people in my life have stepped up and really showed me a lot of kindness. For those of you that do read this, even though it's been on hiatus for so long, thank you very much, you know who you are!

Down to business!

My mom, who has just been amazing with making sure I'm well stocked with food (and advice!), has come up with this very simple, very healthy, very LIGHT recipe for soup. I have now made two pots of this stuff and I think it's a great success. The ingredients and technique are simple

Ingredients (chop all veggies into bite sized pieces and pile in on top of each other)
**You can vary these ingredients depending on how much you like each thing**
3/4 package of prechopped cole slaw mix (see picture on left)
1 bunch celery
3 medium tomatoes (or 4 vine ripened or 2 giant beefsteaks)
2-3 carrots
2-3 peppers (red/green or combo of both)
Dill
Cilantro
Bay leaves (3)
2 lemons (juice and zest)
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin
Water or vegetable stock
Optional: vinegar

**I think maybe adding some onion to this would be great**
**For a heartier soup, consider adding beans or potatoes**

Directions
Toss cole slaw into the bottom of the pot
Chop all veggies into bite sized pieces (time consuming)
Shred/chop/cut dill and cilantro
Zest and juice of lemons
Toss in at least a teaspoon of salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Dash of cumin
1tbsp of light-colored vinegar (whatever you have on hand)

Throw all chopped ingredients into a LARGE soup pot.
Cover all  your vegetables with water and make sure there's about another inch of water to work with.
Turn on heat, boil then let simmer. Taste the soup every now and then and cook until the vegetables are to your liking.

This is not a short process. It takes about 30-40 minutes to prep and simmers for about an hour. Remember to keep tasting in order to get the seasonings to your liking. But it does generate at least 8 big servings of soup.


Here's another shot of the soup as it simmers (left). Unfortunately, it doesn't stay quite so bright (right). Still bringing it to work is like having a warm lunchtime salad. So healthy and light but sooooooo nice on a cold day!

I have no idea what the nutritional value of this soup is, but since it's pretty much all vegetable, no oil and no beans/potatoes/meat/rice, I can assume it's likely to be rather light.

But, of course, now that I'm no longer coming home and making dinner for two, I'm occupying myself with other pursuits! This summer was really heavy on outdoor activities and having food/drinks with friends. And now that the warmer months are coming to a close, I'm excited to begin to dust off my ski gear and hit the slopes for what I hope will be a very snow-heavy winter! Here's a short recap of my summer:
Up for this weekend is my good college guy-friend's wedding. I will be sitting at the table with all the groomsmen because I've known all these guys since my freshman year of college! We still get together and I consider them pretty close friends! The goals will  be to a) enjoy myself fully b) attempt to avoid eating anything for filler** and c) to try out Spanx for the first time ever!

**Explanation of b): On previous occasions I've thought "well if I fill up on zucchini, eggplant and other veggies, I'll avoid the cheesy lobster mac n' cheese goodness and the fried rice balls". This turns out to be completely worthless, as in the end, I wind up filling up on "healthy foods" and then eating all the treats anyway! So this time, I will try to keep myself to small portions of "treats" but avoid anything for the sole purpose of "filling up on healthy stuff".

Wish me luck, and I'll let you know how both me, my dress and the Spanx handle the evening =)

 Back with a vengeance,
<3 Jules
 
 
Every now and then, you get to the point where you WANT to go grocery shopping but you KNOW that you have enough stuff in the fridge/freezer to make something tasty. I have no idea where all my reluctance comes from but I finally went for it and used my instant oats, my Bisquick pancake mix, my frozen blueberries and my egg whites. Blueberry pancakes! I made 2 batches, one for me, one for Boyfriend. He prefers the regular pancakes and I prefer the oatmeal ones (they are less sweet, but more filling) so why not hit two birds with one stone. After all, I didn't use another bowl and really it was just an extra 5 minutes of mixing.
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1 cup instant oats
1 cup Egg Beaters
1.5tsp baking powder
1.5tsp vanilla
1 packet sweetener

This recipe is under 400 calories (about 380) and makes 4 large oatmeal pancakes. 

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Keeping a bowl of microwaved berries on the side. This was probably about 1.5-2 cups frozen berries, microwaved for about 1.5 minutes. They release all their juices that way =)

These lasted their way through 4 oatmeal pancakes and 2 servings regular pancakes (2 pancakes each) 

Spray a pan with cooking spray and ladle in 2/3 of a ladle of the oatmeal/egg whites mixture. Sprinkle the heated berries on top and drizzle some of the juices around.
Once it starts to move by itself...FLIP!

**The dough really looks like it will NOT form a pancake. It kind of spills over the sides and sizzles but...trust me, it totally works!**
The underside of this thing is not pretty =( But the top looks nice and toasty and they're not greasy in any way, so go ahead, use your hands to grab one in the morning. Eat it on your way, take a paper towel and eat it at work...super easy.
But that wasn't all! For lunch, I started to dig around my freezer. I took this frozen steamer vegetable pack (2.5 servings at 50cals/serving) that had veggies in a tomato basil sauce to work. I volumized it by getting some lettuce from the salad bar in the cafeteria (what's cheaper at a pay/per/lb salad bar than lettuce?!?), grabbed some crackers and vinegar (free) and made this really really satisfying salad.
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Very unfortunately, I also finished lunch with something else that was free.

These are the bane of my existence. Free pastries in "mini" sizes. Because then I feel ok with having a whole one but this "mini" pastry packs a caloric WHALLOP. Arg.


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And now, I'm upstate, skiing with the fam. I managed to eat a VERY reasonable breakfast, a rather small lunch (with a beer) and blew it all hard core with a huge, buffet, russian-style dinner with at least 1 main course per person. I didn't eat a lot of anything but I ate a little of everything. This tends to be the worst for me, portion control totally takes a backseat when I can taste endless things. Grrr.

Check out that ski chair!! I want one for my future patio! (Yes, it's tacky, I know)

Hopefully I can refrain from eating all the crazy breakfast things we have here and stick to my oatmeal and apple!

 
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    Author

    I'm a recent graduate from medical school and a pathology resident living in New York City. Like most girls living in the city, I've found that a lot of my social life revolves around the regular consumption of high-calorie food and alcoholic beverages. I've decided to start a blog about how I am trying to beat the bulge by eating and cooking defensively between social engagements and how even a busy girl can fit exercise into a busy life.

    Foodbuzz
    All recipes are on Petitchef

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