My first successful experiment in days. Hurrah! And I didn't resort to using butter/sugar/oil to create taste as I thought I might have to.
I give you....Grilled Watermelon.
So simple: spray a pan down with Pam and plop down the watermelon. Clearly I used a grill pan but if you don't have one, I see no reason why a regular non-stick wouldn't accomplish the same purpose.
Of course, grill pan schmrill pan, if you have an actual grill, PLEASE try this!
Now I want to say, without any undue pride or pomp, the smell that came from this was AMAZING. It brought Boyfriend into the kitchen sniffing everywhere, sure it wasn't the watermelon. But it was. Carmelization baby!
Anyway, I got these nice grill marks onto it and chopped it up for a salad for the next day (yesterday afternoon). Unfortunately, the salad was extraordinarily unattractive since I just threw the ingredients in a tupperware for work. So I will not be posting photographic evidence of this.
Notes: The watermelon needs to rest. Put it in a tupperware or a bowl and a LOT of liquid will come seeping out of it. Save this, it's REALLY tasty.
The watermelon itself tastes a lot like a super-sweet squash. I paired it with fat free feta cheese (FFFC), baby spinach, cherry-flavored vinegar (though I think that any sort of sweet salad dressing will do) and put some crackers on top. I've noticed a lot of chefs pairing the grilled watermelon with goat cheese, which I'm sure is delicious, but FFFC is...well...FF. And I always have it on hand.
Clearly, since I will be making this again, and often, I will make it prettier for the general public. Then I'll post photos and a real recipe.
Sorry for the boring posts!
The big graduation formal is on Thursday (that's T-2 days!) and my dress is NOT forgiving.
I made some panko-sesame crusted tofu last night that turned out pretty nicely, I'll have to post on that too.
Toodles for now.
P.S. I think the doughy smoothie will be given one more shot tonight. I am planning on purchasing chia seeds (this means another trip to the health food store, ugh!)
Just as a quick FYI, these are the kale chips that I produced in 20 minutes one morning. The picture I have on the recipe now is a google-image shot. Will change soon.
Onwards. I went to the health food store (not very like me) to look for sugar-free dried fruits. Looking at hte package of mixed raisins I bought for the original granola, everything was "dried" in sugar or oil. So I found (clockwise from 12 o'clock) dried apples, puffed rice, gogi berries, dried cherries and puffed wheat.
2 servings each of the rice and puffed wheat (comes to about 2 cups rice, 2.5 cups puffed wheat) and 1.5 servings each of the dried fruits.
The wet ingredients: Cocoa powder (unsweetened!), chocolate almond milk, sugar free maple syrup and egg whties in the carton.
I added the egg whites very spur-of-the-moment and will probably leave them out next time!
Here it is, beautiful and colorful in the parchment paper in my baking pan.
Sadly it came out a little mushy, and VERY dark! Not pretty. And only somewhat tasty. What gives? My job is slamming me and I'm having one kitchen failure after another =( Could it be that my food is more likely to be tasty when I cook it out of enjoyment instead of obligation and while in a bad mood?
I'm still going to eat the granola. It's tasty enough to pop in my mouth while sitting at the microscope.
On a final note: I did NOT wind up drinking twice on Saturday. I wound up drinking not at all! I was pretty proud of myself...until Sunday. In celebration of a friend's upcoming birthday we went to the new wine bar in our area. 1.5 glasses of wine, one ostrich burger slider (ostrich is AMAZING and so lean and tasty!) and some other snacks later (including dessert!) I went home one tipsy and satisfied customer. But I did work out and the scale acknowledged that this morning =)
I continue to recommend calorie logging. It's SUCH a pain but it helps. Working out is a pain too. So is packing lunches. This, in a nutshell is the source of America's obesity epidemic. Overall, it is just easier to be unhealthy.
That's a sad note to end on, but there it is. I'm grumpy because work sucks and I can't seem to come up with anything yummy.
As promised, I have continued to attempt to incorporate wheat germ. My first unsuccessful attempt in the previous post was homemade granola. The first batch-Recipe#1-was half grudgingly consumed and half spilled on the floor accidentally (maybe?). Recipe #2 (sans wheat germ) was noticeably tastier, though I used currants in my fruit mix and those didn't pan out either. Turns out the wheat germ gave the granola kind of a bitter taste. I half hoped it was something about high-heat baking that made the wheat germ do that. It tastes pretty bland when it's raw. So....smoothies!
This smoothie came out with such a beautiful color and consistency I just had to spruce it up a bit for the photo-op. It looked so amazing and refreshing and seemed so lovely and thick. But it just goes to show, beautiful food is not always good food.
Apparently, it's not COOKING the wheat germ, it's simply USING the wheat germ that makes food taste somewhat bitter. Grrr.
Nevertheless, here's the smoothie ingredients:
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup greek yogurt (0%, Fage Total)
1/2 cup milk (still using the almond milk!)
1/2-2/3 cup frozen blueberries (or whatever berries you like)
1 tbsp Walden Farms Chocolate Syrup (back to that, mmmm!)
Put all ingredients into a blender and refrigerate overnight.
Why? I don't know, I got this idea from Kath
(who uses different ingredients and calls it the Doughboy Smoothie-now I know why!)
Altogether for just under 300 calories. It was pretty filling but tasted bitter. And kind batter-y (Doughboy smoothie it is!). Kind of the feeling you get when you're licking a bowl after baking stuff: good, but a whole bowl of it is a bit much. I'm not crediting this to Kath who uses different ratios, different fruits, toppings and chia seeds. Hers probably taste better.
Experiment #2 with the smoothie (sans wheat germ) was significantly improved, though still batter-y. No plans to experiment further at the time.
But it's soooooo pretty!!!!
Tonight's plans: Lobster Dinner at Nino's
(Three Course Lobster Dinner for Two With Wine-$79-courtesy of LivingSocial.com). I have no illusions of what will happen here. I'm only going to set 2 goals for myself. 1) No butter sauce-cocktail sauce instead. But only because I actually prefer it. 2) No potatoI will have my share of the bottle of wine, certainly a piece of bread and my share of whatever the other courses are. To be honest, weighting my food and logging my calories has helped me get back to my goal weight and I've not fluctuated from it for a couple of days. While a small part of me wonders if my scale has malfunctioned, another (bigger) part of me is proud of this and feels that a reward is in order. Also, Boyfriend is working all weekend so a decadent dinner seems like a reasonable thing to do. The remainder of the weekend contains only plans that require alcoholic beverage consumption (two plans, both on Saturday, grr) so I'm hoping I can lose whatever I gain by next Thursday (graduation formal day). I do have a dress, it is tight, I must be careful after Friday. Does anyone else do this or am I really going nuts?7AM: Defensive Eating Plan for this afternoon: Eat 2 400 calorie meals (breakfast/lunch), no snacking. Gym before dinner. Walk there and back (2 miles)-Off to a good start with smoothie (see upcoming post) and 2oz dark chocolate
Beginning to fail....Just before leaving the apt: Extra 150 calories with breakfast in the form of a sneaky chocolate rugula that is sitting in my fridge being ignored by Boyfriend. NOT worth it.12
PM: Lunch of kale chips
(click for recipe), mango and 1/2 cup of Homemade Granola1PM: 6 saltines dipped in honey mustard (extra 100 cals). Totally worth it and necessary. 1:10PM: Huge cup of coffee for warmth. Also necessary. Would hospitals function without 24 coffee spots??3:30PM Lull at work means I can put up this blog post. Still planning on getting in 1 hour of workout.
Upshot to all this: I do NOT expect to be proud of myself tonight.Stay tuned for: further adventures with wheat germ, smoothies and grilled watermelon salad!
According to this article
and this one
, wheat germ is some sort of miracle powder. Protein, good fats, good carbs, vitamins, minerals etc. Ok, I buy that. I also went out and bought wheat germ.
Experiment #1: Homemade Granola
Normally, this kind of thing would be a little out of my range. Usually there's no way to avoid the high calorie count and the high ingredient number in homemade granola. But a few days ago I caught an episode of 5-Ingredient fix while at the gym and was inspired. Granola in 5 Ingredients? I'm in!
I went home and googled the original recipe
. YIKES!! It's 1840 calories for 2.5 cups! That's what, 5 servings? Maybe 10 if a 1/4 cup serving is enough for you. But 180 cals for a 1/4 cup of ANYTHING sounds absurd. So I modified to varying degrees of success. It helped that I was in a grocery store RIGHT after watching that episode and saw puffed rice and puffed wheat on sale. These both taste a little boring to awful so I wondered if I could spruce them up. My first effort was only mildly successful.
Julie's Granola Recipe #1 (needs refinement)
1 serving (1 cup or 14g) puffed rice-50cal
1 serving (1.25 cups or 16g) puffed wheat-50cal
1 serving wheat germ-60 cal
1/2 serving reduced sugar maple syrup-50cal
1/2 cup skim milk (but I'm LOVING my almond milk lately!)-20-50cal)
Liberal dose of cinnamon and ginger
1 pack sweetener (optional)
1/4 cup of whatever dried fruit/nut mix you like.
Mix all dry ingredients together
Mix wet ingredients in a little bowl (mix thoroughly!)
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through
It's done when you think it's crunchy enough (but beware, it gets crunchier when it cools!)
Note: I like to use dried fruits only as it keeps the calories down and adds more sweetness. Note2: Agave nectar also works but then you need more milk to dilute it
This wound up making 3 1/2 cup servings that I take to work as a snack.
Refinements: the wheat germ is less than successful.
Recipe #2: Same as #1 but without wheat germ. Much tastier.
Things to consider:
1) My fruit mix has currants in it. Who would have thought such a tasty fruit would wind up doing so poorly with drying?? May have to customize my own fruit mix.....good for the oatmeal breakfast bars too....
2) Is there a GOOD way to use wheat germ?? (Soon to come, in a smoothie) Please comment if you know something.
3) Turns out wheat germ has to be refrigerated. I did not know this but if mine goes bad, I will use that as an excuse to quit using it in my food.
4) I eat red meat, chicken and fish. Do I really need to get my protein from a grain? No.
Not a bad looking little snack right?
This is day #3 of a challenging 4 weeks at work. I'm already tired, I'm already cranky and I'm already almost, but not quite cheating on logging my food. The fact that I'm getting back to pre-move-in weight again is encouraging, but also demotivating!
To avoid a) junk food at work and b) a cooking rut I've decided to do a lot of nightly prep work for good snacks and breakfasts/lunches. My recipe sharing has been delayed as I'm not cooking every day (prepping instead!). I do have quite a few coming your way though!
On Monday night, I prepared homemade baba ganoush and granola for a few days. I still also had a few oatmeal bars and some spreads left from Mothers Day. Unfortunately, I didn't take the best weights/measurements or pictures, so you'll have to wait until I do this again to really get good stats.
2 small dark purple eggplants (about 500gm total)
1/2 cup yogurt
Salt/Pepper/Lemon Pepper seasoning
Herbs/Cayenne/Red Pepper Flakes?
1. Begin by taking two small eggplants (about 230gm each), cutting off the green portion and slicing them down the middle.
2. Give these a LIGHT spray of olive oil (I bet cooking oil would do too). If you don't have a sprayer, consider using a pastry brush.
3. LIBERALLY salt and pepper the eggplant tops.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes until they start to look a little shriveled. By this time, you can take them out and see if the middles scrape away easily from the skins.
5. Scrape all the middles out of the skins and put into a blender.
6. Combine eggplant insides with 1/2 cup o% Greek Yogurt and add whatever seasonings you like.
**I used lemon juice, lemon-pepper seasoning, paprika and a hint of cayenne**
*Next time I might go with some tomato and basil? roasted red peppers?*
Breakdown: This whole mix comes out to about 220 calories and I portioned it into 2 servings (about 3/4 cup each) to take to work. Regular baba gaonush comes in at about 80 calories/2 tbsp and this 3/4 cup portion is only 100 cals. I dip rice crackers in it or just eat it with a spoon! Yum!
Eggplant is a pretty heatlhy hearty food and has low cholesterol/saturated fat content and packs in a ton of vitamins/minerals and fiber.
I would also reccomend using this on a salad or a grain.
Soon to come, making an easy, snack-worthy granola. Disclaimer: the granola isn't for energy or nutrition. It is purely a snack food that is going to come in handy for me at work when I'm getting sleepy!
After losing my darling laptop to a cruel computer virus, I've had to take my posting down a notch. This coincided with my blog getting verified on Foodie BlogRoll
, Petit Chef
and even FoodBuzz
: all great sites showcasing food blogs. ALSO, the calorie logging has worked like a charm, but today was a baaaadddd day at work that culminated in a big slice of cake at home. Gym in T-40 minutes I guess!Ok, on to the good stuff. Regrettably, I was unable to post the photographic evidence of how well Mother's Day Brunch went so here's a couple of shots of the table.
We started off with "homemade" Bloody Marys (made with 1/2 can V8/pp, celery salt, lemon pepper seasoning, worcestershire sauce and some lemon zest/juice. Obviously each one had a personalized amount of vodka as well!
Honestly, what an easy cocktail to make in a big punch bowl and served up to look super pretty with the stick of celery. The bottoms of the celery are gonna be great for dipping all week!
We also had a shrimp ring, plates of fruits, courtesy of Boyfriend (he was the aesthetics specialist that day), a plate of smoked salmon (leftover from muffins), the salmon muffins
(recipe to follow).
The savory portion of the brunch was topped off by a plate of mini-breads and two dips (store bought hummus and homemade ricotta/honey/rosemary dip)
The recipe for the ricotta dip will be posted hopefully tomorrow. I'm backed up guys, made lots of good stuff this week!
Ok, now for the real omelet muffin post!!
Salmon Muffins Simple Ingredients (12 muffins)5 eggs (I was missing an egg and added 1 serving of egg beaters from the carton)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour1/2 cup Fage Total o% Greek Yorgurt4 servings
fat free cream cheese4oz (120g) smoked salmon (they come in packages of 4oz and 8oz)Dill*Note: You can use any combo of eggs/egg beaters you like*
1. Chop salmon pretty finely
2. Add cream cheese
3. Mix mix mix. Put some muscle into it!
4. Add all ingredients except baking powder. Put in lots of dill!
5. Add salt and pepper to taste (don't be afraid to take little spoon licks, don't be afraid to salt and pepper liberally!)
6. Add baking powder.
7. Mix mix mix. The final product is pretty liquidy like this -->
8. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes until they start to rise and turn brown on top.
You can also stick a toothpick into them. They're done when the toothpick comes out clean.
Are these beautiful or what?? And guess what, with no oil or butter to be seen, these guys come in at 83 calories a piece! Seriously. These are a great to-go breakfast but hey, I enjoyed microwaving a muffin and eating it slowly before I went to work on Monday. All 12 muffins were gone by 9am Monday (I only got to have 2!!)
Ok, not everyone loves dill. Use whatever herb you want. Or none at all.
Not everyone loves salmon. Use whatever fillings you want. The MAIN ingredients are the flour, eggs and baking powder. The yogurt is also a "main" ingredient but you can also substitute fat free cottage cheese.
Alright, I must go to the gym to work off the piece of cake I had. Grrrr!!!
Something has come in and attacked my computer. It is alive but has suffered severe memory loss. Stroke? Nope, just some virus coming in and erasing my hard drive. WTF? Grrr. The internet appears to be functional, so though this post will be without pictures, I will share the Mothers Day Omelet Muffins recipe.
The Mothers Day Brunch went well. My parents and Boyfriend's parents met, socialized and broke bread. Good times. Not quite as monumental as I had made it out in my head. I did adhere strictly to my goals, with the exception of having 1 or 2 extra pieces of mini breads. Unfortunately, all the beautiful pictures I took of the spread are trapped in my computer. I hope to post tomorrow with pictures from a hospital computer!
Mothers Day Omelet Muffins (with Salmon/Cream Cheese)
Ingredients (for 12 muffins....use only half this recipe for 6 muffins-->3 breakfasts)
6 eggs (can do 4 eggs + 2 egg whites/2 servings egg beaters)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup 0% Greek Yogurt
4oz/120g smoked salmon (it's sold in packages of 4oz and 8oz), chopped
4 servings fat free cream cheese
lots of fresh dill (eyeball it)
3/4 tsp baking powder
Mix finely chopped smoked salmon together with cream cheese. Put some muscle into it!
Add all other ingredients together (baking powder last)
Mix mix mix!
Separate into muffin tins (each hole should be just over 3/4 full)
Bake at 375 until tops just begin to brown.
These come out at 83 calories each, with 1/2 egg per muffin. Obviously they're not huge but with no oil or butter, I think that by weight/size they are at least twice as healthy as an egg sandwich. They were a great success and disappeared by Monday morning.
As a last note, hunger was hard to come by later that day so even though I ran 6 miles, I really just wanted frozen yogurt for dinner. Surprise surprise, after getting my yogurt at 16 handles (what I thought was a pretty medium sized portion!) I calculated it out to be just under 500 calories! And I thought Tasti-D-Lite was better but I came home and googled it and sure enough, the same portion size for Tasti-D is close to 400 calories. Darn! I really thought it wouldn't cross the 300 calorie threshold and I really felt disapointed. =( =( Not as disappointed as today, obviously.
Lastly, my blog has made it onto FoodBuzz as well as the Foodie BlogRoll. Yay! Keep reading, keep commenting. Espe
YesterdayWalked ALLLLL over the city yesterday enjoying the sunshine and looking for a dress for a formal (Boyfriends graduation from residency) on May 19th. 5 miles of walking, 1 hour of hot yoga, 1 dress found, 1 trip to Whole Foods for Mother's Day stuff. 1 set of goals for Saturday night's birthday party (3 alcoholic beverages, unequally sharing 2 apps/1 main with Boyfriend).I DID it! We went to Soy and Sake, a vegan place in Grenwich village. It was cheap, it was vegan, it was ok.I had one sake/vodka/cucumber martini (SO good), then we shared a bourbon chicken (grilled soy), a tempura rock shrimp (fried soy) and a duck w/mushrooms (sauteed soy). Then I had about 3 oz of hot sake and we headed to Vol De Nuit for a nightcap. I had a La Chouffe (8% ABV). I was REALLY proud of myself.TodayI am NOT proud of myself. My scale is NOT proud of me. The only thing I've managed to accomplish is a hangover that is certainly quite impressive. I have no idea what made me think I could have 3 drinks without consequences. It didn't help that I came home, rolled into bed and didn't even have any water. Ugh ugh ugh. Now I get to host the Mother's Day Brunch. Ok, enough whining from me, I totally did it to myself.Menu
(1pm kickoff)Salmon/Cream Cheese/Dill Omelet MuffinsAssorted Breads with Ricotta/Rosemary/Honey "Dip"/"Spread"Shrimp cocktailOatmeal Breakfast BarsFruit PlateAssorted tea cookiesBloody MarysWineCoffee/TeaGoalsThey WERE snack at 9am, gym from 10-11am, cooking until 1pm then 1 Bloody Mary, 1 wine, 1 muffin, 1 bar, 2-3 mini breads with "Spread", 1 cookie, assorted fruit. Now that it's 9:30 and all I've managed to do is be awake and miserable since 6am, I'm thinking more along the lines of coffee, cooking, all that food minus wine, gym at 5pm. Sorry there are no pictures or recipes in this post. I will definitely post the muffins and "spread" recipes as well as pictures of everything soon!Wish me luck in 1. maintaining my goals and 2. having a successful meeting of the two families.
Hi Everyone,First of all,
I'm going to go into some personal details and then I will share with you something I think is pretttyyyyy amazing. Actually based on how little of this I actually get to eat before it totally disappears, I'm guessing I'm not the only one who feels that way!Personal StuffOur apartment will again be the stage for hosting a holiday meal. Mother's Day. But not just ANY Mother's Day, a joint Mother's Day with Boyfriend's parents. Now, it's true that we live together and have been dating for over 1.5 years, but our families have not yet met. This seems a little strange to me since they are from the same background (Russian Jewish) and are both pretty social people. Well this will all change now, so needless to say, I'm going all out. I'm preparing a few things, but since I don't expect to be doing a ton of cooking (and therefore less posting) in the upcoming month, I will split up the recipes between posts. I do expect these all to be pretty picture heavy, so I hope you all have good browsers!On to Cooking!
Last night was supposed to be a musical with my family and a girlfriend that ended in a night of debauchery. Well my girlfriend didn't make it and so my night ended with....baking. Yes, I felt like a loser, but to be fair, not drinking was probably good for my self image anyway. So I began prep for Mother's Day, thus reducing my stress on the actual day, I hope.I prepared and finished my Oatmeal Breakfast Bars.
These are a great little snack or more that you can always take with you or serve at a brunch. I've cut this batch into 12 pieces, making each 125 calories. Also though, these are quite nut-heavy for me. For myself I would probably put in more seeds or even soynuts for crunch, but these are more family friendly.
Topping Ingredients (user's choice)
*I used a 3/4 cup : 1cup ratio of dried fruit to nuts for this batch*
1/4 cup raisin/cranberry mix
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped (7-8?)
1/4 cup dried fig, chopped (4 figs)
1/2 cup mixed nuts (from purchased medley), pounded.
Note: I put the nuts into a ziplock bag and pounded them with a pan...mmm....therapeutic!...
Base Ingredients (I wouldn't fluctuate these...)
1.5 cups oatmeal (5-grain is just as good)
1.25 cups milk (I use 1%)
Note: Vegans-I'm sure soymilk would work here. I'm excited for the chocolate almond milk I'm saving for the next batch!)
Mixture before baking
Throw all the ingredients into a bowl together.
Add sweet spices: I use a liberal amount of cinnamon, maybe a tsp of ginger, and a tsp or 2tsp of almond extract + 1 packet sweeter.
I would bet that nutmeg, vanilla extract, honey, agave nectar would all also be great. I completely intend to try cocoa powder in here too.
Let sit for 10-15 minutes then pour into a casserole dish or brownie pan (anything with sides). Make sure to use parchament paper for this. You don't have to oil it/spray it or clean up after it!
Bake this for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Again my oven seems to be a little slow on the uptake, so maybe in yours it will be shorter. Keep an eye on it, it's done when liquid doesn't seep out when you press on it or when a toothpick comes out clean.
This is pretty thin, maybe about the thickness of a thin magazine. You can make them as thick and thin, large or small as you like. My mom has tried these before and makes them really thick. I find that it increases the calories and makes it "look" smaller.
Here's a closeup of my Mother's Day Oatmeal Bars. You can see apricot, fig, nut, raisin, oatmeal.....
Depending on what you put in here, these can be SOOOOO healthy. Add dried blueberries/cherries: antioxidants! Use a predominance of almonds: monosaturated fats can lower cholesterol! Soy nuts/peanuts: these will up the protein content. Pumpkin seeds: iron. Chia seeds and flax: omega-3 fatty acids!
You get the point. These can really be pretty good for you. They're already chock full of fiber as I have them here.
Ok, time for me to end this post because we are heading out for my sorority sister's birthday that will feature vegan food, sake and Belgian beer. Yes I know, sake and belgian beer don't really go together but they are two of my BIGGEST alcohol weaknesses! Here's my plan for tonight:
3 alcoholic beverages (only 1 of the three will be my favorite highly alcoholic-and highly caloric!-belgian beers. The other 2 can be sake or sake+lighter beer)
Sharing 1 (maybe 2) apps and 1 entree with Boyfriend, hoping he eats 2/3 of each portion himself.
Will tell more about today and more about last night tomorrow. There may or may not be recipes in tomorrow's post. Maybe just teasers!!