Since my last post, many days ago, so many completely food-unrelated things have occurred that I almost don't know if I can accurately account for all of them! I guess I'll start with a piece of good news. Last Friday I received an offer for the fellowship position I went to interview for. It was unexpected because usually there's some waiting time between the interview and word of acceptance but they made me the offer on the spot so now I know what I'll be doing for the next 2.5 years of my life! =)
Immediately after, I began my weekend on call. My calls are usually pretty tame, but this time, despite my desire to celebrate my new job offer, I got chained to the hospital until 9pm, only to return at 11pm and I only got home at 1 in the morning. The next day I tried Bikram Yoga for the first time. It's 1.5 hours instead of my normal 1 hour hot yoga class and it is much more than 50% more miserable. I hated almost every one of those 90 minutes but the next day when I saw what my body looked like, I made a resolve to return. That day I got paged in a few more times and went to a darling little french restaurant with my parents to celebrate the job offer. The food was mediocre, though I had my first beef bourguignon which tasted remarkably like any other beef stew I've had. Later that night we saw a movie about extreme skiing which was pretty good, though long and got me excited about the upcoming ski season. That ended at midnight and I got called in again at 2am and wound up sleeping at the hospital, only to go home at 7am and be paged back again at 9am. Came back in around 6pm and finally Boyfriend and I had a delicious feast of sushi. I didn't take pictures because I was euphoric/exhausted. I did take the time that weekend to buy myself an extravagant pair of boots as a gift to myself. Later this turned out to be a less-than-stellar decision.
Why? Because the final billing came in for my root canals and it is going to be unaffordably expensive even though I have dental insurance. Floss people! Don't be like me! So that was bad news. Then my phone got stolen, AT THE DENTIST'S OFFICE, which was more bad news. It had some pictures of food-related stuff on it that I hadn't uploaded into my computer yet. So I finally got a new phone (more hemorrhaging of money). This weekend was phenomenal, more on that later. Lets talk briefly about food.
I decided I wanted some more hummus for the week before thanksgiving, something tasty, versatile and healthy. I also decided to switch up the chickpeas, so I suppose what I really made was a bean dip.
1 can (15oz) pinto beans (drained, but pour about 2-3tbsp of the bean water into the blender)
2 servings (2 oz) fat free feta cheese
3 or even 4 servings of roasted red peppers (to taste)
1 lemon: zest and juice
Optional: 1 chipotle pepper, seeded
Once blended it had this really great orange color to it and the consistency was just a tiny bit more liquidy than traditional hummus.
For something thicker, just omit the bean water.
For less sodium, use low sodium beans and use low sodium stock instead of the bean water.
I wound up putting this onto cous cous, as a dressing in a falafel salad and onto chicken breast in a wrap. Definitely a multi-purpose item!
I also cooked up another batch of spaghetti squash, which I am quickly learning is an obsession!
This bowl has the spaghetti squash with a splash of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray and a 1/4 tsp of red chile sauce (you can sub in sriracha or any other hot sauce). Be careful though, a lot of traditional hot sauces are loaded with sodium. The chili sauces are practically calorie free and sodium light.
Another picture of the bowl. I promise the next post will be much more interesting since I have a new phone (read: camera) now!
Finally, I went home for a day before my interview with Yale University and my mom made this vegetable soup with a super melt-in-your-mouth meatball for me because she knows I'm having problems chewing.
As for this weekend, I'm going to keep the teasers going. Lets just say there was a lot of looking back and also looking towards the future. Instead, I'll talk exercise! I switched up my regular routine of ~3 monthly hot power vinyasa yoga sessions with a month of Bikram Yoga that I had a super-great coupon for. Groupon.com? Livingsocial.com? Best stuff ever!
Anyway, Bikram Yoga is 90 minutes long (as opposed to the 60minute power vinyasa) and while the activity is easier, it's also a lot hotter. Frankly, in the first 4 classes I hated every one of those 90 minutes but have since learned to only hate 80 out of 90 minutes (today was the 5th class). But...as much as I hate it, I love how happy it makes me with my body, and with multiple weddings and other events to go to in the upcoming months (not to mention a super-romantic ski vacation!) I'd better keep it up!
Anyway, I'll admit that this post kind of sucked but I promise to do better next time, and now with my fellowship sorted, a new phone in hand and a few cool dishes I've come up with in the past few days, I'm ready to unleash a better quality of blog post!
Well folks, before all this root canal business began, I signed up for a FoodBuzz Tastemaker Challenge (?) with a Heinz Classico Light Creamy Alfredo pasta sauce. The good people at Heinz sent me a free bottle of the sauce and wouldn't you know it, my teeth were so damaged I couldn't even "chew" pasta!
But, the deadline was looming (and has loomed past me already) so I had to improvise.
I realized soon after getting sooooo sick of paying for small bowls of creamy soups in restaurants that I had to branch out. Recently I decided to spring for a baked potato. Sure enough, I was able to get through it with minimal pain and rushed out to buy some for home.
So I got home, opened my fridge and came face-to-face with the Alfredo Sauce. At 60 cals for 1/4 cup, I thought it was a pretty good deal. I also thought it might go really well with baked potato.
It DID! I microwaved this baby for about 7 minutes (being careful to puncture it with a fork before heating). After slicing it open and pushing out the meaty insides, I put in about 1-2 tbsp of the Alfredo Sauce and mixed it up with some S+P. Not only did it taste great, but how pretty is this potato?!? It was cheesy, creamly and oh-so-satisfying! =) Great success Heinz!
Two days later, after singing the praises of the Heinz Light Creamy Alfredo sauce to Boyfriend, he finally made some us of it on a pasta dish. I even managed to get through some that day (see the little cup at 11 o'clock?)
He smothered the penne with the Alfredo sauce, tossed on some salt and topped it with a liberal helping of real parmesan cheese. My little cup had a liberal helping of the sauce with a sprinkle of reduced-fat parmesan.
Here's a closeup of Boyfriend's first serving of pasta. Not seen is the turkey kielbasa slices hanging out on the bottom of the pasta.
The second serving was sans-kielbasa.
The star of my dinner that night was half of this potato (the turkey kielbasa helped with the protein content!).
This is a Korean Sweet Potato.
It's not quite a yam, definitely much sweeter than a potato. It reminds me, if anything, of acorn squash. It was really nice and starchy but had some sweetness to it too.
It's made with some salt and some I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spread.
Also featured: orange water.
My now-bankrupted yoga studio had these pitchers of ice water out before classes that had orange slices floating in them. I was oh-so-pleasantly surprised that the orange taste was not-too-subtle and definitely welcome.
I marinated (?) this water with the orange slices for about 1 hour in the refrigerator and it definitely went pretty fast at dinner. Neither one of us drinks orange juice, but this was a hit.
Here's a shot of the whole dinner along with the branches of red berries that are our late-fall coffee table decor of the year =)
Finally, a note on the personal side. First of all, I began my fellowship interviews with Yale University Hospital. They have a great program...maybe even more than great because of the some of the unique opportunities in tumor genetics. But if I did wind up there, I might have to move to Stamford Connecticut. While I've been yearning for suburban life for a little over a year now, I'm not sure I'm truly ready to make that transition before I begin my career in full. Furthermore, moving to Stamford would still leave both Boyfriend and myself with a 1-hour commute each way. Tomorrow I begin the interviews with the New York programs, where I hope to be as impressed as I was with Yale.
I also decided to begin my month of Bikram Yoga (after the disgraceful bankruptcy of my regular hot yoga studio) and went to my first 1.5 hour class yesterday. It was hot, it was difficult, but I just barely survived. I missed a few postures, but overall, I felt like it was a minor success. My skin was not thrilled and neither was I when I saw all the little red spots in the mirror =( =(
So, thus ends my foray into the truly mushy foods, as I am beginning to tolerate semi-solids now. I have eaten some poultry, salmon and risotto (most notably an amazing salmon/creamy rissoto they served me at Yale). This weekend I truly hope to finally have what I've missed the most: Sushi. =)
I will also be gearing up for thanksgiving. What's everyone's favorite thanksgiving foods?
First, I promised (and didn't deliver) photos of the salmon dinner from the last post. This was pretty fast, but really delicious. In fact, having paid for a salmon dish while out at a restaurant the night before, we both felt that this meal was far superior.The asparagus (courtesy of Boyfriend) was grilled on a grill pan (a very very worthwhile purchase) after being sprayed with some olive oil (my olive oil mister is also one of my favorite kitchen gadgets!) and generously seasoned with S+P + some lemon juice.The salmon was also sprayed in oil and sprinkled with S+P (both sides) and baked at 375 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. I actually cut up an onion and put the salmon on a bed of sliced onion rings and put a few on top too. Unfortunately, by the time the asparagus was ready to come out of the pan, the salmon was still completely raw in the middle, so I pulled it out of the oven and stuck it on the hot grill pan (re-Pammed) for about 8 minutes on each side. The oions, which went all around the salmon on the grill pan after baking, were amazing! They had salmon juices on them which just made them so flavorful!The sauce was
a hastily whipped up cilantro-yogurt sauce
(click for recipe) that I had made and loved before.
I guess it's about time to discuss why I've not posted for so long. The meal pictured above actually happened 2 weeks ago (so I've been REALLY bad at posting!) and can be considered my "last supper" of sorts. My friend Nurse Z came over for a girls night that consisted of too much wine and stinky cheese (our respective Boyfriends don't appreciate stinky cheese so we figured we'd have it without them). We also rounded the meal out with some healthier options. Though it's safe to say the wine and cheese were the main staples.
My staple for healthy entertaining is, of course, chips and dip.
This is the baba ganoush
(halved recipe) made just a little bit extra-special with the addition of 1/2 of a sweet yellow onion, sauteed in a non-stick pan until brown and transluscent. Blended with the eggplant it gives the dip a sweet, oniony taste that is just fantastic.
Also featured: Kale Chips
, made with some nutritional yeast sprinkled on top most of the way through cooking. Yum!
Also, my third attempt at acorn squash
went over quite nicely. Not surprisingly, the secret is to NOT UNDER-COOK IT!
This time I seasoned with a healthy dose of cinnamon, ginger and just a sprinkle of ground cumin, which made quite an impression on Nurse Z. Cumin is always amazing.
Finally, some chopped grilled zucchini sprayed with EVOO and seasoned with some S+P (maybe even a little too much). Grilled until super soft. Tasty and healthy. Took away the guilt of eating soooo much cheese and drinking soooo much wine. Well, at least until I saw the scale in the morning =)
So....why was this my last meal? Well, the day after I got a raging tooth-ache, scheduled an appointment with a dentist and found out that I had to have a root canal. Then I found out I had to have a second root canal because the damage had occurred between two teeth. Finally, the day after I began my root canals, I developed a toothache on the other side, necessitating a third (!!!!) root canal.
For the past three weeks my diet has consisted of homemade soups like this pumpkin one right here (not geat): In a saucepan heat and stir 3 servings canned pumpkin, 1 cup chicken stock (added more and more until desired consistency was achieved). As the mixture gets warm and begins to bubble I added about 3 tbsp greek yogurt and some cinnamon, ginger, cumin and salt. Finally a little white vinegar. It was only ok. I am just glad I was able to dip some bread into there.
I ate a LOT of cauliflower. You can see the cauliflower mash recipe from a recent post or head over to Recipage
if you're catching up, hopefully the recipe will be posted by then.
I found that the best thing was to add in some sharp cheese (fat free is most calorie-friendly, full fat or part skim is tastier and gooyer) and use a veggie stock as the liquid. It also goes well with a dash of cumin.
I went shopping and bought myself this pretty blue ceramic bowl and matching tiny ceramic spoon at Crate and Barrel in anticipation of a looong period of eating things out of bowls. This bowl is small but it's gotten a lot of mileage for cottage cheese and yogurt. They've been mixed with raspberry preserves (pictured), pumpkin and various other sweet goodies. Most importantly, you don't have the chew yogurt or cottage cheese. =(
Finally, the very vast majority of my meals have consisted of Campbells Soup. I prefer the Healthy Choice, 98% fat free cans because they are low sodium and are calorie friendly. I skinny these up by A) spooning out 2 tbsp (and sometimes 3) of the soup mix out of the can and flavoring it up by adding veggie/chicken stock instead of water. I think it's silly that the soups come in servings of 2.5, as if you are making a Campbell's soup for a family meal. I go ahead and eat the whole can/pot but at least I know some of it is gone. I'm a big fan (or at least I was two weeks ago!) of the cream of chicken, mushroom and cream of celery soups.
I actually have a post in the works right now for a baked potato (other foods I can eat) and will discuss a recent trip to an upper east side wine bar that is so fantastic I just have to rave about it a bit.
Until then! Ciao!