Here's the story. I haven't really been up to writing the blog for a while because my mysterious hip injury, compounded by a mysterious reaction to medicine, compounded even FURTHER by this whole fellowship application business has made me sedentary and not really into cooking. Not only that, but for some reason, I've not even had any good successes in the kitchen lately. Maybe barring my acorn squash, which will be the star of this post. First though, let me start by recapping a few yummy lunches.
I made apple pie for the people at Montefiore hospital as I was leaving. I figure they'd remember me sweetly and maybe offer me a fellowship position? =)

This will have been the last thing I really made before I got benched.

With the cake I also took a jar of baba ganoush
which I ate with a batch of kale chips. This was an AMAZING idea. The wet, thick baba ganoush went SO WELL with the crispy, crunchy kale chips! I just dipped my fork into the jar, then used it to spear a chip. Perfection! And super low cal and healthy. =)

So after this packed lunch above, I definitely started to hibernate a bit and eventually went into total inactivity for about 2 weeks! It felt AWFUL. Who knew I was so addicted to the endorphins of exercise. Ugh. Not to mention I found it almost impossible to change my eating habits to reflect the decrease in activity, especially since I spent a lot of time sitting around, surrounded by food and bored. I'm sure most girls know exactly how that tends to turn out!

So I began to pack breakfast/lunches like this one. PB+J, grapefruit and a frozen meal. I'm really glad I keep at least 3-5 <300calorie frozen meals in my freezer at all times. The Lean Cuisine Chicken Enchilada Suiza is one of my favorites. It takes a nice long time to eat and combines my 3 greatest loves: meat, cheese, rice.

The lollipops are Dum Dums which are a nice, light snack.

Here's what's "special" about the PB+J. It probably wasn't as good as a typical one (which can run to almost 400 calories) but it hit every spot a normal PB+J would.
Bread: Bakery Lite Whole Wheat (40 cals/slice). It's a good bread, definitely worthwhile.
PB: Better N' Butter (at 100 cals/2 tbsp). I used 1 tbsp split between the two slices (I prefer to eat my sandwiches open-faced always. It's OKAY. Not the best, but if you are someone (like myself) who has real issues with portions and self control, this is probably a pretty good substitute.
The J: Actually a Trader Joes Superfruit Preserves that has a whole bunch of healthy stuff in it and is low in sugar and somewhat tart (25 cals/tbsp). I used 1 tbsp of this too. Total damage: 155 cals. Satisfaction? 75% of what it would have been if I just went with all the regular stuff.

Finally, I did decide to cook SOMETHING while doing nothing. Not pictured is the spaghetti squash I made, but only because, lets face it, I've been there and done that and you can click here if you want to see how it's done.

This is an acorn squash I brought home from Trader Joes. I have had them in the cafeteria for the past month, where they've been appearing once a week. I had to guess that they were roasted and drizzled with something somewhat sweet.

Calorie counter puts these at 172 cals/430 gm.
Now, they say that each squash should be about 430 gm but I took a fairly medium looking one and it came out to a little over 800gm! (food scale in back of above picture!)

It was NOT easy to cut, however (still, easier than other squash varieties) and I did not bother saving the seeds. Or rather, I did but then they took too long to dry out and I threw them away.


So anyway after coring it out (much easier than coring out other squashes, by the way!) I figured I'd round down to 800gm, 320 cals for the whole squash.

Of course I then poured about 1-1.5 tsp sugar free maple syrup (this stuff is so good!) into each half and used a pastry brush to spread it along the "meat".

I placed the squash halves face down on a piece of foil in a metal baking dish. In the future, I will spray the foil with Pam. The squash halves wound up sticking a little bit. Nothing too terrible.

I baked them at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes and turned them over when I could easily stick a knife through the outer peel.

P.S. I also "glazed" the outside of the squashes with the maple syrup that was kind of pooling in the center. This was a GREAT move!

I finished the halves off with 1 tbsp I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (or you can use Smart Balance, or even just spray the halves) and sprinkled on a liberal helping of cinnamon, ginger and just a tiny pinch of salt and cumin.

They were soooo good and tender. Not exactly like I had in the cafeteria but close. Here's the thing though, these halves (for just about 200 cals/half when done) were CRAZY filling. I tried to eat a whole one once and couldn't get throguh it. Two thumbs up!

Finally, I guess it's about time to explain the title. As some of you might know, the Jewish Holidays are here. First it's Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) which occured earlier last week. I hosted a dinner at my apartment for my parents (and Boyfriend, who is a reluctant observer).

On this day, we eat challah bread dipped in honey and apples (also dipped in honey) to symbolize the sweetness of the upcoming year. We also drink a lot of wine.

For this dinner Boyfriend brought home the challah (like bringing home the bacon, but distinctly more Jewish) and I prepared a batch of baba ganoush (in which I dumped too much cumin) at 3 o'clock, a batch of kale chips (which steamed instead of baked because the pan was wet) and made two acorn squashes (which wound up being completely undercooked).

So while this meal looked good, it was a huge failure on my part. To be fair, I was totally on narcotic painkillers and was pretty out of it!

Not shown is actually the star of the dinner, the Pio Pio Chicken that we ordered as our main meat dish. I don't know what kind of crack the Pio Pio people put into their dipping sauce or what kind of Devil's fire they use to roast their chickens,  but holy cr*p, those chickens are AMAZING. So for $20, we were able to feed 4 people and have another meal leftover for the next day. Whhhaaatttt?

So, what have I learned from these three weeks of not posting and barely cooking?

1) You CAN mess up acorn squash, but if you don't, it's really great
2) You CAN mess up kale chips, but even soggy instead of crunchy they're actually quite tasty
3) I'm addicted to exercise
4) Cumin should be used in moderation
5) I need to do a better job with blogging more regularly

As a side note, my mom made a brussel sprouts and mushroom salad (seen above) that was delicious (but probably cooked in more oil than I would ever use myself!) and a salsa which is out of this world delicious and totally up my alley. The issue is that she uses this little chopper thing that I don't have and also, fresh vegetables are pretty expensive in Manhattan. So maybe I'll just have to have the salsa imported from home.

On another side note, Yom Kippur is also approaching (in a few hours, in fact). This holiday is one of atonement. In the week prior, Jews must apologize to those to whom they've done wrong and later tonight, G_d will supposedly forgive us the sins we have commited against His laws. I particularly enjoy this holiday because of the implicity of forgiveness for minor rule breaking (eating pork, meat+cheese, working on the Sabbath) but responsibility for sins committed against others. I really appreciate that in Judaism, G_d will not take responsibility for wrongs committed against other human beings and you must recieve THEIR forgiveness. What a great idea.

As a last side note, Yom Kippur is a fasting holiday. So tonight, I will rush home to Staten Island and scarf down as much food as possible before sundown, head over to the synagogue for about 2 hours and spend the whole next day/afternoon attempting to move as little as possible but remain entertained before heading BACK to synagogue for 2-3 hours. That second trip is really tough though because everyone is cranky, smelly and you can literally hear people's stomachs grumbling. THEN of course, we all go home and put ourselves into SERIOUS food comas as we eat and drink way more than we normally would. Dinner on Yom Kippur should look similar to Rosh Hashanah as I believe my mother's brussel sprouts will be making another appearance.

Finally (ANOTHER side note, I know...this is getting ridiculous) I am back on my feet after all this downtime. I started early this week by various cardio (yessss!) on Day 1 followed by a 1.5 hour hot yoga on Day 2 (very miserable, but so good!) then back on the treadmill on Day 3 (very painful, only 2 miles). I took a day off on Day 4 then headed back into the gym for 6 miles (VERY slow pace, somewhat painful, getting better) then went back to yoga (1 hour, very wonderful). Finally, yesterday I completed 8 miles at a slow pace and am super sore today. I'm hoping to get in a yoga class before heading home to Staten Island. My whole mind set is improved with all this activity. =) =) =)

See you later!


10/13/2011 17:11

so glad you're back and back on your feet! happy holidays. i have been wanting to try acorn squash a long time and think i will now. and kale chips, too, finally. glad you're getting back into your beloved yoga. good luck with the fellowship. fall is coming which makes me want to cook up a storm.

10/13/2011 20:13

Hi Serenity,

If you try the acorn squash, make sure to really cook it thoroughly, it makes it taste so much better. I ate it with the skin on, it gave it a little bit of crunch! Hehe, make sure to let me know what you're making =) Holiday food is the best!

Have a great weekend!


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    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.

    All recipes are on Petitchef


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