Beware, this is a monster post. In fact, I'm going to split it in 2 so I don't overwhelm anyone!
Well, I finally got washed back into NYC at 2am on Tuesday via air (San Fransisco -->Atlanta --> Baltimore) and car (Baltimore --> NYC). The original plan was to get back Sunday morning via air (SF --> NYC) and minimal fuss. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene ruined all of that and we spent $500 (!!) between accomodations for 2 extra nights in San Fransisco (but only 1 extra vacation day!) and a car rental. Luckily we had a hitchhiker of sorts to split some of the car cost with us. I even made it to work, missing only 1 day.
For the readers who live on the East Coast, I hope everyone and their families and belongings are safe and in one piece!
Anyway, now that everything has gone more or less back to normal, I will have to start cooking again. SIGH!! Man, spending a week eating amazingly fresh, local, organic, real whole food has been absolutely wonderful. The scale did not even object this morning. No surprise there of course, since our vacation featured enough walking, hiking, scaling and biking to make my daily workouts seem tame in comparison. Yes, we need a vacation from our vacation!
Our week started by a drive through San Fransisco and straight out to Sonoma on Monday. We went right to the first pretty winery that was described in our guidebook and just inhaled two wine tastings and this wonderful lunch. An antipasto plate with cheese and pork (for Boyfriend) and some really fresh artichoke salad and a delicious baguette. Along with a shared glass of Chardonnay.
A note on the wine tastings: when we didn't get 2 for the price of 1 (this happened twice) or had free wine tastings (once) we either had 1 tasting each and shared each taste (thus tasting many more wines for the same price and volume) or just shared one tasting (especially useful when biking/driving).
We then walked all around the little village of Sonoma, bought some trinkets and had a small dinner at a Portugese place. We shared a little plate of tapas (these are spiced almonds, sardines, anchovy pate, chorizo and roasted octopus)
And a sea bass filet. Mmmmm..... Just the garnish (corn and kale?) under the fish tasted fresh and straight from some nearby farm. This is an actual picture of our plate, no google-imaging this time!
Then we went to Sonoma Market to shop for our next adventure: Yosemite!
The market was absurd. I could have literally lived there. Besides the intense selection of cheeses (esp the local ones!) there were olives galore, increadibly cheap wine and bulk bins full of delicious trail mixes and dried mangos that put anything I've bought in NYC to shame.
We then drove out to the middle of nowhere where we spent a night before heading out to Yosemite National Park. It was a 2 hour drive right through the most breathtaking scenery as the morning fog was lifting. We wanted to be in super-early in order to start our Practice Hike (9.4 miles!) up to Yosemite Point. It was a straight 4.2 mile climb up narrow little rock stairs to the top of a waterfall. Once we got to the top there were big pools there where people were swimming. We were NOT wearing bathing suits =( =(
We brought with us 1/2 lb turkey + a block of locally made Jack cheese and a REALLY buttery Dutch crunch bread as well as a roasted pepper tampenade. Here they are, heading right into my belly atop of Yosemite Falls! We then proceeded upwards to another summit and got a view of the Half Dome (actually more like 3/4 Dome!) which we would be climbing the next day.
Here's me, looking at what we are going to be climbing the next day (upper left)
Actually to climb this thing you need a permit. These get completely sold out months ahead of time and our only hope was to get one when they started putting out cancellations at 7am the previous morning (we managed to snag one!). The other thing you need is a lot of cajones because it's a 14.2 mile hike (7.1miles straight uphill) with some majorly steep stuff and the cables that are simply terrifying. But we definitely did it.
Hmmm....it's a LOT steeper than it looks in the picture!
This is more accurate.
When we finally got up 6 gruelling hours later we saw the most incredible views and got to perch with our lunch (too sad to take pictures of: super processed stuff that we figured would hold up best for 6 hours of hiking in the sun) on top of these crazy cliffs. we had to fight off some squirrels though, who would have thought they'd be up here?
I think Boyfriend nearly had a heart attack with some of my antics! That tiny little dot on top of the rock is me.
We even met some girls from Boston who were kind enough to share some champagne with us when we got DOWN the cables (this was actually much scarier and I even took a slip which really got my heart pounding!).
After the Half Dome hike we got some wine, some hummus, cheese, carrots, some crackers (cheddar cheese and pumpkin seed crackers were ahhh-mazing!), more jerky and mustard and had a picnic under the stars. Of course, living in the city that never sleeps we almost never get to see real stars, so this was just fantastic. It looked like someone had sprinkled powdered sugar up there!
Day 3 was an "easy" day. We started by climbing all over the Bridalveil fall to the amazement of some families down at the bottom who ogled Boyfriend and I while we scrambled the boulders up to almost the top of the falls.
We finished up our day by seeing the huge sequoia trees (seeing=hugging) and taking a look at El Cap, the most absurd climbing wall ever. Lunch continued to be a sad little affair of left over cheese/meat/jerky/crackers. Clearly our culinary adventures had to wait for Sonoma/San Fransisco again =)
I will leave those for the next post also. There are fewer pictures because we spent our time on bikes and then walking through foggy, gloomy, flipping COLD San Fransisco. You hear that West Coast? Your weather isn't all that after all!
Tonight I am defrosting my dad's cod, baking that up along with some microwaved Bird's Eye Chef's favorites risotto for an easy dinner after my first workout in 8 days. I have full confidence that we will be going to sleep before 10pm tonight.
Hope everyone had a great (and yummy!) week!
Yes, week. Russians love birthdays and they love to make big deals out of them, so I've had myself a looong birthday celebration =) Before the birthday celebration, there were many salads. Kind of a slim-down before the fattening-up.
The mushroom salad:
3 rehydrated giant shitake mushrooms, sliced, sauteed
Handful of baby carrots, chopped
1 piece of toasted whole wheat bread, torn (poor woman's croutons?)
Wasaabi Dijon Dressing Lite (mmm, tangy!)
Also on salad: hot salt. Salt with a kick. =)
There were also some scavenging lunches. We are heading out to San Fransisco, Sonoma Valley and Yosemite Park tomorrow so there were some efforts to clean out the fridge. Here is a charming little lunch of a tomato, the rest of the baby carrots with some BBQ sauce as dip, two wasa crisps with the last of our salsa, a little cup of kidney beans (in the middle) with nutritional yeast on top and finally the remainder of some kale chips I made one night. For dessert: the last yogurt-strawberry cheesecake.
A note: nutritional yeast is amazing, I don't know why I didn't buy it sooner or use it more often now. It's kind of cheesy, kind of bready....kind of delicious when sprinkled on top of stuff!
Here's a really messy ugly egg-white omelet (remainder of egg-beaters), rehydrated shitake mushrooms, last of the turkey bacon and some salsa. Sitting on the bottom there is actually a piece of bread that was supposed to add crunch but just added 40 calories and a some taste.
Actually, this was completely delicious and only came out to about 250 cals! Very filling.
Also, it helped that it was on such a pretty plate! =)
And finally, when the food ran out, and my willpower to eat healthy did too, there was the deli lunch. Sushi, cauliflower, kim chi, fake shrimp, calamari and some bean sprouts. Maybe this was healthy, but it's doubtful. It was certainly tasty though!
And now, for the birthday festivities. I chose Morimoto, the yummiest Japanese Modern Cuisine restaurant run by Iron Chef Morimoto. I went with the Parents and the Boyfriend, who better to spend a birthday with? The decor is amazing and the food was spectacular! I started off with a cucumber/wasabi saketini and we got some tempura rock shrimp, a salmon ravioli (the picture with the foam) and I got a roll of Uni for apps. Uni is sea urchin and while I've been told on numerous occasions that I had to try it, I was completely unimpressed.
I was, however incredibly impressed by the sea bass, shown here. It was buttery and served on a delicious broth. Unfortunately, 1/4 of a bottle of wine later, I couldn't remember what the vegetables underneath looked like.
We also got the famous Morimoto Duck Duck Duck. A trio of duck with a duck confit (?), a duck breast sliced on a roll with foie gras (not apparently) and a duck egg. It was tasty, but not overwhelming.
But oh my goodness, the star of this meal was the dessert. This is surprising since it's not a dessert restaurant but this was so delicious and rick and beautiful that it was perfect. Served with a candle for me to blow out =)
This is a good shot of it, it had popcorn, the rich dark chocolate cake, ice cream, fruit and ours even had some flowers on it to make it look just like an exotic garden.
All in all, a wonderful birthday =)
The birthday week did continue with a dinner at El Paso Taqueria (medium upscale Mexican) for my friends and party time for a joint birthday party on a rooftop. It rained cats and dogs right before the dinner and everyone arrived soaking wet. By the end of dinner (lots of sangria, a fish taco platter and bites from everyone else's dishes later) the rain had stopped and we enjoyed a beautiful night overlooking harlem. There were lots of people, lots more sangria and mini-cupcakes. I had 4. It was decadent. That was two days ago. I've been doing some serious calorie cutbacks for the weekend in anticipation of a delicious vacation. Hopefully I'll either blog from there or come back with great pictures of food, wine, hiking etc etc. Expect a very picture heavy post coming up!
As part of Foodbuzz, I get emails now and then asking if I'd like to receive a sample of food from a company, try it and blog about it. One of the companies I signed up for is Bird's Eye. If that doesn't sound familiar to you, it should. Probably up to half of the frozen vegetables and steamed sides you see in your grocery store freezer come directly or indirectly from them.
The sides were of the Lightly Sauced variety: Creamed Spinach (90 cals/2.5 servings per bag), Green Beans and Potatoes in Garlic Parmesan, Primavera Risotto and Mushroom and Green Beans Risotto. I was pretty excited but kind of figured they'd want to see something a little more than just using them as a side.
I had just recently had a meal of sushi with my dad and so, not being in the mood for rice, I chose to use the potato and the spinach packages.
I got the packages right before I headed to the gym so I had plenty of time to figure out what to do with frozen sides and came up with this: Bird's Eye Creamed Spinach (with turkey bacon) on top of Cauliflower Pizza. Pretty simple, folks. I used the Cauliflower Pizza Recipe
(though I used 3 servings of fat free cheddar and 2 servings of reduced fat Weight Watchers Mexican Cheese blend (this stuff is so good!). Also I think it took longer to bake this time, and I broiled it for longer too!
While the crust was cooking I microwaved the Lightly Sauced Cream Spinach according to the package instructions (5 minutes? 4?) and set it aside to taste. Pretty good, guys at Bird's Eye! Still I added just a bit of salt, a bit of pepper and some garlic powder. Sorry for the picture, but I challenge you to show me an appealing picture of creamed spinach! At least the paisley bowl is pretty =)
I did decide at the last minute to microwave 3 slices of extra lean turkey bacon (at 25cals/2 slices!) and chop it up into the spinach. Bacon makes EVERYTHING better!
I stirred it all together and tasted again. Mmmm......
Since the pizza crust took a little longer than I thought it would, I also decided to microwave the Lightly Sauced Potatoes and Green Beans with Olive Oil and Parmesan Sauce to serve as a side. I would have loved to do something fun with this too, but it's one of those sides that just does best as a side.
All together, these 2 slices of "pizza" came out to 210 cals (70 cals/slice + 72 cals or so for 1/3 of the spinach packet) and the side of potatoes (split unevenly, of course) was about 120 cals for mine? So this plate of food came out to under 400 cals.
Most unfortunately, despite the fact that these Lightly Sauced Steamer Sides are right up my alley (less than 200 cals/serving, 2 servings/bag), they arrived at my door completely thawed and at room temperature. I knew that before I cooked them and certainly before I served them to Boyfriend, I would have to be extremely sure that they were still viable. So, Bird's Eye, if you are reading this, the sides look great, but next time, send them with an ice pack.
Unfortunately, while the Creamed Spinach was pretty great, and I forsee it having a place in my freezer, the Potatoes and Green Beans had a somewhat tangy taste that I could not be sure wasn't attributable to it's thawed state upon arrival. Therefore, this side went largely uneaten. =(
As for the risottos, because they are cream based, I do worry about them but will give them a go in the microwave and see if they're ok in the near future!
Thanks, Bird's Eye for sending me these sides. The Spinach was great but I can't give my opinion on the Potatoes and Green Beans. I will say this though, I really like the idea of these Lightly Sauced sides. In fact, while the calorie count remained fairly low (and the portion size relatively large!) there was more than enough sauce to go around and I didn't feel deprived at all!
The pizza only required half of the giant head of cauliflower I had and I almost regretted buying a head instead of a bag of frozen florets. That was until I made the simplest, easiest and oh-so-yummy cauliflower puree!
Ingredients: 1/3 head of cauliflower + 1/4-1/3 cup vegetable oil (no salt added) + S+P + cumin.
Directions: Steam cauliflower. Blend it with remainder of ingredients. Done.
I topped it with dried Nori (seaweed) which is not a common ingredient. I ate half of it without the nori (it didn't fit in the ramekin, so I ate it with a spoon from the blender!) and it tasted just fine. Probably with the simple addition of a bit of egg white or some bread crumbs (?) this would make a great dip! Anyway, it was delicious and perfect for eating slowly on a rainy afternoon!
Lastly, this week has been insane and I've been going out a lot (and therefore, sleeping very little). I'm excited that I've now spent 3 nights in a row at home and in bed at the reasonable hour of midnight. It's actually my birthday today, so tonight will include a fancy-schmancy dinner with the Parents and the Boyfriend and I will be throwing a party on Friday. Soon after, we will be flying out to San Fransisco to visit Sonoma Valley and Yosemite National Park. We will spend a total of only 1 day and 2 evenings in San Fransisco, 2 days/1 night in Sonoma and 3 full, glorious days in Yosemite Park! I fully intend to get one more post in before I leave (will feature some salads and some
That should have been the title of my last post!
Well, since this post contains cooking with egg whites and grocery shopping, it still works!
Actually, I'm pretty proud of myself lately, I've been working with the groceries/freezer items on hand a lot lately instead of buying more stuff. A few weeks ago BFM (Boyfriend's Mom) dropped off a couple frozen tilapia filets and I haven't had a chance to use them since we've had plenty of FRESHLY CAUGHT FISH (!) to work with.
Anyway we were all out of fresh fish and sick of eating poultry, so I defrosted these 3 tilapia filets in a shallow dish with egg whites.
To add flavor: 1 part balsamic vinegar, 1 part low sodium soy sauce 1 good squirt wasabi mustard.
I whisked (spooned?) this together to create a nice thickish liquid which I poured in the marinade. I swirled the fish around in it and let it stand for another twenty minutes.
While the fish was defrosting/marinating I put together our rice side.
Ingredients (from 12 oclock)
1/2 cup wild rice
1 small shallot, chopped
6 rehydrated shitake mushrooms (stems removed), chopped
1 cup liquid that the mushrooms had rehydrated in.
First, I sauteed the shallot until it was translucent and beginning to brown. I added the mushrooms, sauteed for a bit and let stand.
Then I brought the mushroom liquid to a boil and dropped in the rice. I closed the lid on the pot and let that simmer for a while. Eventually I had to add up to a 1/2 cup water. I added it a little at a time as I saw the rice drying out.
A few mins before the rice was tender, I dropped in the mushrooms and sauteed shallots.
The rice was well underway so I started to swirl the tilapias in a shallow dish filled with panko bread crumbs and black sesame seeds.
The coating didn't stick THAT well so sometimes I used my hands.
I cooked the fish on a pan with Pam, 3 minutes on each side. Medium heat. Easy peasy.
The most important thing to remember when cooking a white fish is that you have to sometimes break apart the filet to see what's inside.
What you want: a flaky, super-white flesh
Raw: tan glistening flash. Doesn't come away easily
Finally, they opened up a supermarket near us called Fairway. It's supposed to be all the range with organic this-and that but honestly, I'd rather it be a Trader Joes.
Anyway I did go and picked up all this: kale, two types of shredded cheese, 4 yogurts, 4 "100-calorie cheesecake yogurt" snacks, liquid smoke, bunches of lettuce, string beans, carrots, a shallot, lavash bread, grapefruit and I"m sure something else.It all came out to $40. Maybe this place is more awesome than I thought!
Ok time to sign off and head for bed!
This came out so dark!!
It translates to Breakfast of Champions. This breakfast hit all the major things I look for in a breakfast. It was 1) easy to make (10-15 mins? Ingredients can even be mixed before hand to save 5 mins) 2) took care of protein, carbs and even a little fat and 3) used leftovers from last night.
It actually started out more like this -->
I had leftover portabello mushrooms from my Colombian dining experience and decided to throw them on top of some egg whites (with S+ lots of P).
I sprayed a pan with Pam,
waited until it got hot (this is SUCH a key step, one that I didn't follow before and always ended up with scrambles!) and threw on the egg whites (actually this was 1 full egg and 1.5 servings of Egg Beaters 100% Liquid Egg Whites)
I also tossed this La Tortilla Factory huge 100 calorie tortilla
in the oven at 400 degrees for as long as it took for the omelet to cook. When it came out, the omelet stood in the pan to cool and I spread a Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedge
on top of the tortilla and then eventually slid the omelet right up top. Finally, I topped it with some arugula
, folded it over and cut it into 3 (big mistake
, if you cut it into 2, the tortilla stays together!) This was AMAZINGLY satisfying and warm and so so tasty!
It was soooooo good, that I decided to do it again! This time, I made a his and hers (Sunday morning!) and Boyfriend was as big a fan as I was!
These quesedillas hit all three points too! Here's a shot of a chicken breast I marinated and quickly sauteed on Wednesday night (still in the marinade so I guess it was part sautee part steam!).
I had been having the chicken breast in 1/3s in big salads I was taking to work (arugula, 1/2 bell pepper, 1 small cuc, 1/2 big beefsteak tomato, 1/3 chicken breast, 6 Saltine crackers-stolen from the cafeteria and crumbled).I took a salad like this (there's greens on the bottom, I promise) for lunch on Thursday and Friday.
Saturday morning was a light breakfast before a workout and BBQ, so the remaining 1/3 chicken stayed in the fridge.
On Saturday evening I threw about 8 dried shitake mushrooms I got in a huge bulk bag at an Asian store downtown in a tupperware of water.
**These are such an amazing deal, I would recommend that anyone buy a large bag of dried shitake mushrooms**
When I got up in the morning the mushrooms had expanded in a big way and smelled SO GOOD. They even turned the water into what appeared to be a mushroom stock!
(Stay tuned, the mushrooms become leftovers used elsewhere too!)
I love the beefy taste and the hearty texture of these things. I had to cut off the stems because they were just a little too chewy.
Anyway, I took 4 and chopped them up and just heated them up a bit in a pan before combining them with the leftover chicken breast.
This turned out to be quite a lot of stuffing for two quesedillas, but we made short work of them anyway =)
Final Products: His and Hers Breakfast Quesedillas (25-30 minutes total)
His Quesedilla (left)
1/6 chicken breast
2 large chopped rehydrated shitake mushrooms
1 slice munster cheese
2 eggs + 1/2 serving Egg Beaters
1.5-2 tbsp Black Bean and Corn Salsa
Handful of arugula
All on top of an 8" tortilla (10"?)
Her Quesedilla (right)
1/6 chicken breast
2 large shitakes
1 Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedge (spread underneath)
3-3.5 servings Egg Beaters 100% Liquid Egg Whites
2 tbsp Black Bean and Corn Salsa
On top of 8-10" tortilla
Eventually I also put a handful of arugula on top and folded it over. This time I cut it into 2 and it was much neater (though with the salsa and chicken it was a little less solid!)
Calorie damage? 100 (tortilla) + 100 (chicken+mushrooms+cheese) + 100 (eggs+salsa) + 50 miscellaneous?
350 calories total. Huge omelet brunch. If I was really serious, I would have put down some sort of potato or grilled veg side and brought it up to 500 for a HUGE brunch! If we were to go out to brunch (in addition to spending a lot of cashola we both would have wound up taking in at least 800 cals for the same amount of food and same level of tastiness!
Great success. The Breakfast Quesedillas will be coming back again and again. The best part is, depending on what you have as leftovers this can change flavors and textures every time you do it!
Finally, that morning I had big plans to do a little workout after a running-heavy week (more on this later too!). Then, halfway to the gym I was convinced to go for a run in the park by Nurse, one of only two people who can tear me away from the treadmill. Well, she's a LOT more hardcore than I am and I wound up following her through 6.5 miles of central park trail. Good grief, I can't believe I actually made it through!
I came home after the run and made this -->
6oz Vanilla Dannon Light n' Fit yogurt
4-5 frozen stawberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 tbsp chia seeds
Blended and garnished with two handfuls of Kashi Twigs and
Nurse, meanwhile, having plenty of energy left to spare after 6.5 miles went grocery shopping with me then went to an hour of yoga! Unbelievable!
That's it for me tonight. Stay tuned for the results of the grocery shopping and Sunday night's dinner (posted hopefully by Wednesday!)
On The Beautiful Dish Boyfriend's Mom Got Me!
Back from a two weekends and one week of splurging with good food, easy rotation and less exercise than usual. I've got several interesting things to share, including a second attempt at Black Bean Brownies, spiked with chipotle, that were better than the first batch, but still are really just palatable.
I'll save the running-related chat for later because I just finished a book called Born to Run that I thought was going to be quite boring but turned out to be educational, inspiring and really quite well written. Instead, I'll tell you about my guilty guilty week and weekend! A friend of mine was in town from California so we went out for dinner in Brooklyn to a Columbian place where I had an empanada and a salad, both of which were fantastic. I also garnished those with 2 glasses of sangria, a good handful of plaintain chips and finished it all off with a Churro (covered in sugar and dipped in a LOT of caramel sauce). The next day involved an amazing grilled peach salad with blackberries, greens and carrots and a panko crusted goat cheese. I didn't leave the table without trying some of Boyfriend's melted brie salad, some of OutOfTownFriend's lobster ravioli and spoonfuls of both tiramisu and profiterole! Yesterday was a barbeque with a friend and his family where I had a burger AND a chicken drumstick, corn and loads of salads. All this topped off with a few Corona Lights and an ice cream! I was hurting this morning from all the decadence of the weekend!
I've definitely been having a lot of jar-based breakfasts this week!
I bought a container of Fat Free Plain Kefir which I've been doctoring with caramel and chocolate syrups from the Walden Farms line.
This one is 3/4 cup kefir, 1/2 cup nonfat vanilla (unsweetened) yogurt, probably about 3/4 cup blueberries.
This guy got chocolate syrup and a spoonful of chia seeds!
According to Born to Run these things are HUGE superfoods for running. I know they're super-foods so I'm not overly surprised, but happy that I have a good stock of them in my pantry =)
Finally, I decided to give the Black Bean Brownies another go.
Sugar free maple syrup - 3 tbsp
Cocoa powder - 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp
Black beans (salt free)
Egg whites - 1 serving
Vanilla - 1 tbsp
Agave nectar - 2 tbsp
Sweet and Lo-1
After pureeing everything in a blender you get a nice dark brown mix with a lump or two (that's ok!).
It tasted soooooooo good in raw form, the bowl licking that took place afterwards was almost worth all of the trouble!
Baked at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes on some parchment paper (makes for easier cleanup) in a casserole dish and you get something that looks like this: it's a bit cracked on top and it feels all gooey inside until it cools, but just let it cool and you'll be ok!
The mix made 10 servings at 100 calories apiece.
Not bad, not great. I think I'm going back to the drawing board, maybe back to the dried cherries from before. The chipotle was definitely nice in giving it a kick but I think chipotle-laced chocolate needs to stay in chocolate. The black beans just aren't intense enough to make the chipotle worth while!
Putting it in a little bowl of yogurt and mashing it up DOES give the yogurt a nice kick though. So once again with the BBBs, minimal success, but still good enough to eat =)
Sadly, in addition to coming back to reality in the form of watching what I put into my stomach, it turns out my easier rotation is over after just one week. I'm being pulled in to substitute for another resident who was in the middle of the tough rotation I had just left behind. One more week of hell rotation, here I come =(
See you next time.
Teaser: Breakfast quesedillas!
It's come time to talk about the fishing trip from the weekend. Clearly I'm still behind, but I'm catching up!
My dad is a very avid fisherman and to prove this, I have a freezer stuffed full of frozen fish: cod and other fish whose species are unknown to me. Every now and then, I am convinced to join my dad on a trip on the boat because it DOES seem fun to spend some time with my dad doing the thing he loves, being out on the boat in the sunshine, having a shot of rum with breakfast... (that last one might be just a Russian pirate thing...).
This time my dad forgot his backpack at home. The backpack had a lot of essentials in it, but the most important thing was a hat! Hours spent in direct sunlight means headwear is a must! Lucky for him, there was a 7/11 nearby and we drove straight there in search of scalp protection for dad. Luckily for ME they only had one hat available. Yes, it was a bright orange hat with pink letters: Jersey Girl. I couldn't have imagined something more amusing. Here's a great shot of me and my dad with our respective hats. =)
Several hours into the fishing trip and I had been the only one in our family to catch a fish. I caught a pretty nicely sized Striper! It wasn't my first time out on the boat, so photographic evidence wasn't taken. Then my dad caught a Link. Also not photographable. Then Boyfriend caught his first fish ever! He fought valiantly with his rod and pulled up THIS beauty!
His next catch was a little more impressive =)
But mine was bigger. =)
Sadly we had to rush home immediately after the trip. We were SO rushed, in fact, that my dad forgot to gut the fish for me! Yes indeed, it was almost as if I was bringing my work home with me. I won't go into detail about what that entailed!
Anyway, if you're getting a nice fresh fish at the market or the butchery (fishery?) sometimes I feel like there's really no need to even mask the taste of the fish behind a sauce or strong seasonings. I feel differently with a frozen salmon chunk or a tilapia fillet. With these though, I want the taste of the fish to come through!
Probably what you'll get looks something like this. My strategy is to throw a bunch of olive oil, S+P, lemon pepper seasoning, lemon juice (and zest if you want!) and some garlic powder into a ramekin and mix it together with a pastry brush. Brush the olive oil seasoning liberally on the fish and bake it at 350-375 degrees for about 6-8 minutes on each side (for a thinnish white fish) or more if your fish is thicker (or heavier). It's beautiful and flaky and easy to take right off the bones.
I happen to like eating the skin but you can take it off if you want!
And, for my dad, who requested that his fish be FRIED because it tastes better that way, I did indeed wipe a piece with olive oil and throw it on a non-stick pan with some Pam. Yes, it did taste SOMEWHAT better, but it wasn't as moist and it was a bigger pain to cook (higher maintenance).
As a side note, I only got to eat the tails pictured way up above because all three of these steak-style pieces were devoured by Boyfriend. (That's 2 baked, 1 fried!)
And, as someone who loooooves leftovers (and apparently blurry pictures) I had to make myself some fish tacos.
I've been able to come home for lunch lately (I live only 4 blocks away from the hospital and my easier rotation permits real lunch breaks!) and have made 2 of these great fish taco meals.
I like to divide my tortilla into 4 (this is probably a 10") and load each piece with protein (fish), greens (arugula), a vegetable (cucumber) and a condiment (mustard). I roll them up and eat something in between each piece (a few sunflower seeds, a few pieces of cuc, some bean sprouts, etc). Yummmm!!!!
And for dessert after a SUPER organic fish meal: a mini-apple-pie bowl (Fiber One Honey Clusters cereal on top, probably 1/3 cup plain, unsweetened Kefir, a nice tbsp of Walden Farms caramel sauce and a tbsp of sugar free apple sauce.
Thanks for the pretty pink mini-bowl mom!
I have one more cooking post to put up (black bean brownies, round II + breakfast jars) and then I'll run a post about a great book I've been reading about ultra-running and ultra marathons. It's been really awesome and inspirational and hits a lot of the aspects of nonfiction I love: gripping personal story, science and biology, a relatable topic and pretty impressive writing.
See you soon!
This is my last post from the hell-rotation days, so hopefully the pictures and quality of instructions will get better from here on out! These were the most amazing stuffed peppers I've ever made. This isn't saying a lot since these are the only stuffed peppers I've ever made! Still, at
Ingredients (makes 2 big servings or 4 little servings)
2 bell peppers (any color, though I suspect actually red would be tastier and prettier!) - 80 cals
2 turkey sausages (I like the spiced sweet ones)- 300 cal
** You can also use any kind of ground meat!**
1.5 or 2 servings of the Veggie Cous Cous (from last post!) - a little less than 300-400 cals
4 slices of lite deli cheese (I used the lite Jarlsberg) - 200 cals
Halve the pepps like so and take out the seeds inside.
Bake these at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes (or until tender)
While the pepps are baking, spray a pan down with Pam, take the sausage meat out of the casing (or just toss in your ground meat) and break it up as it browns. 4 mins?
Just after the meat begins to brown, toss in your premade Veggie Cous Cous and toss to warm the cous cous.
Now, if you didn't pre-make a giant batch of this like I did (though you should, it was so versatile!), you can go ahead and make it at the same time and then you can just toss the meat in with the cous cous instead. Either way, make sure to really mix the two parts so you get even meat/carb distribution.
If making my Veggie cous cous fresh, use 2 servings cous cous, 1/2 large cucumber, a few handfuls of chopped fresh basil and some little tomatoes halved or cubed. Cook the cous cous as directed but in 1/2 cup unsalted chicken or vegetable stock. Season as you like with S+P, garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, etc. I never add oil/butter to mine and it doesn't come out light OR fluffy and is kind of rissoto-y but still tastes great.
*Other ideas to try: ground-anything, using rice or any other grain (bulgur?) instead of the cous cous. Any veggies would do.
Want all vegetarian? No problem. Beef up the grains with tofu or tempeh or portabella mushrooms. Whatever your fave filler-upper is works best here**
Once the protein/grain mixture is warm and the bell peppers are just getting soft stuff them (I mean REALLY jam that mix into the peppers) with the carb/protein mixture until it just peaks over the rim of the peppers. The firmer you pat down the stuffing, the easier it will be to eat (i.e. it wont fall apart!).
Next, put the peppers back in the 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes to really let the flavors marinate (but watch out that the peppers don't get TOO soft)
Finally, take them out, top each pepper with a slice of deli cheese and stick them into the broiler for that little crisp char (or just wait till the cheese melts in the oven!)
I just wish I had a better shot of what these look like inside. 3/4 of these are beautiful enough to serve to company.
The one on the upper right got a little too burnt in our weirdo oven, but it tasted great. =)
Finally, the damage? 880-980 calories for the whole thing, making each one of these under 250 cals. They were so filling and so delicious and made a very conveniently portable lunch the next day!
As for the pics, well, I guess it just means I'll have to make them again!
Finally, a quick shot of breakfast from later that week.
The Apple Pie Bowl
1 serving Fiber One Honey Clusters (3/4 cup)
4-8oz (I used 6oz) Dannon Light and Fit Vanilla Yogurt
2 heaping tbsp sugar-free apple sauce
2 tsp Walden Farms Caramel Sauce
Tastes JUST like an apple pie but for about 200 calories for a huge bowl (as opposed to over 400 calories for a slice) and amazing nutritional value: dairy (calcium), fiber (cereal), fruit (apples). Chemicals? I imagine the apple sauce and caramel sauce can't be all natural but what the heck, this is YUMMY!
This post actually starts on Tuesday (see I'm sooo behind!).The crazy heat finally broke and it was a little cloudy but with a very welcome breeze. So, I decided to bring the heat back by going to hot yoga! It was great, I sweated out all my toxins and afterwards, I made plans with a co-worker to put them back in.BXL East (also on the west side as BXL Cafe)
is my hands-down absolute favorite mussel place in the city, and I've tried them all over the place. It helps that this great little Belgian place also has a nice draft beer selection, a nicer bottled beer selection and very reasonable prices. We shared a Moules Provencale (tomato, garlic, fresh basil) and each had one Maredsous (8% ABV) and another beer each (I had the Gulden Draak at 10% ABV)
. This tasted sooooo good but sent me home with a tiny headache. Totally worth it!
And, when I got home I made a big pot of Veggie Cous Cous.
1 cup cous cous
1 cup vegetable stock (unsalted)
1 long seedless cucumber
Handful of little tomatoes (cherry, grape, whatever) cut into small pieces
2 rounds red onion (left over from gazpacho night)
Bunch of basil
Seasonings: S+P, vinegar, lemon pepper seasoning, Italian seasoning. Whatever you usually like.
Instructions: Chop all veggies, bring liquid to a boil, season, cook cous cous for about 3-5 minutes before adding the raw veggies (point is to just get them warm).
This giant bowl represents a little over 1.5 servings of this for about 300 cals.
Unfortunately, I must go because I'm exhausted from the fishing trip with my dad (more on this later!) and am looking forward to an easier month with much much more food blogging.
Have lots of good stuff for you guys. Stay tuned.