foodfoodbodybody

lovehateagonyecstasy

Rocco Rocks the Comfort Food February 28, 2011

I was excited to win a (signed) copy of Rocco Dispirito’s brand-new cookbook Now Eat This! (150 of America’s Favorite Comfort Foods Under 350 Calories) from Ryan over at NoMoreBacon. I’ve loved watching Rocco on the Biggest Loser as well as on Top Chef, and one of his special skills has been “lightening up” normally calorie-heavy dishes. And I am a person who certainly enjoys comfort food. In fact, Comfort Food is practically my middle name. When I got the book in the mail, Juniorette flipped through it and put a Post-It note on the page of every recipe she wanted me to make. Fried chicken! Mac and cheese! Brownies! All under 350 calories? For real?!?


Tonight I decided to make Rocco’s Tortilla Soup with Avocado and Cilantro. (<— sorry, we do not like cilantro in our house) It was awesome. Delicious. Fast. And EASY.  I cannot even begin to describe how easy. That, my friends, is a combo that cannot be beat. And under 350 calories per serving? Yow. We are going to be dipping into this book OFTEN.

I have to admit I fiddled with the recipe a teeny bit. I took out the cilantro. I added some black beans (fiber can’t hurt, right?). It was YUMMY. The whole family gave it a giant thumbs up.


Thanks, Ryan! Thanks, Rocco! TOTAL WINNER.

 

Book Review: Cakewalk May 31, 2010

What business does a diabetic Weight Watchers leader have reading a book that is so filled with butter and chocolate and sugar that it almosts wafts from the pages? I don’t know, but I do know that I could barely put this book down. Thank goodness for the ankle injury and the 3-day weekend that allowed me to finish  it this morning.

I loved this book, Cakewalk, by Kate Moses. I LOVED THIS BOOK so much. It’s going on my Top Ten list. And for people who have seen my house and my miles of bookshelves, you’ll know this is saying a lot.

Where do I begin? Well, for one I loved it because it brought my childhood back to me, and in the sensual food-memory way that the madeleine brought Proust back to his. Only it wasn’t anything as delicate and refined as a fancy French cookie, it was her unabashed love for 1960s junk food that made my heart beat faster. And it was the way that she described the Ding Dongs and the Baby Ruths without an ounce of embarrassment or remorse: just, this is what we ate, and it gave us pleasure. She loved the badger Frances books like I did, and especially for the food descriptions: not only the bread and jam, but also ode she sings to Lorna Doone cookies.

Kate Moses is roughly the same age as I am, so reading this book was like a tantalizing time-travel through my own life. It was shocking to squeak out, as I was reading, “Me too!” even down to a bizarre coincidence involving rubber alligator toes. Reading this book was in so many ways like a channeling of my own life.

Each chapter of the book chronicles a different era of Moses’ life, her annual moves to yet another new state, new town, new school. Early on she learns to use her baking skills as a way of making friends, or of comforting herself through some new familial trauma (and there are some doozies). Every chapter ends with some amazingly droolworthy recipe: Chocolate cake, homemade It’s-Its, homemade pink and white animal shortbread cookies (which she brought in a basket to her reading: SO delicious! and exquisite), pecan birthday cake and jam tarts. I swooned and sighed over all of these recipes. (um, except the moose turd “candies”)

Although she mentions being called “fat” by her classmates in a particularly poignant fourth-grade chapter, she doesn’t dwell on this. It’s not about that.  So many memoirs of overweight childhoods are drenched in shame and guilt, and this book was refreshingly free of guilt. Which I appreciated so much.  It’s about an often terribly painful and confusing, chaotic childhood and youth that is sweetened and soothed by the pleasure of food. It’s about food as a means of connection and community. It’s about becoming a writer, which made my heart pound as much as the cake recipes. It’s a moving chronicle of family and how people change and don’t change, about forgiveness and honesty and redemption. The writing is so, so, good, and I found myself sighing over individual sentences and paragraphs. Like this:

…we bought boxes and boxes of donuts, baker’s dozens, all different flavors. Then we drove up and down the empty streets for hours, fast past the houses of everyone we knew, past our own, all night long, in our high heels and our new high-school graduate outfits, the convertible top down and our hair flying loose and tangling across our faces, eating just one bite of each donut before flinging the rest out of the car. When there were no more donuts, we reached for our silky blue graduation gowns, pulling them out from where we’d tucked them, and we threw them out, too, letting them catch in the wind we were speeding through, sailing them out into the bright lasting night, the northern lights spraying ribbons of color above us, waving like handkerchiefs as the ship leaves its anchorage.

 

thanks thanks thanks November 27, 2009

Yesterday was a wonderful Thanksgiving. I had both of my daughters home, and other friends and family. The food prep felt almost effortless, and everything was delicious. I gave some friends a few WW recipes and was amazed and pleased at how yummy and undietish it tasted. We had a creamed spinach that was absolutely decadent: and only one point!

I woke up early and went to a Turkey Trot organized by some other local WW leaders.  Around 60 people showed up and we took a lovely trot down the shoreline. The weather was chilly but sunny and really perfect. I think the course was around 5k. I walked out, enjoying a nice chat with one of the members from my Mon night meeting. When we got to the turnaraound point, I was feeling nicely warmed up and was really in the mood to try to run. I told myself, I’ll go until it doesn’t feel good. Well it felt GREAT the whole time! My ankle did not hurt or feel the least bit unstable. (I was wearing my brace) This made me very happy and something good to feel thankful for (among many).

The rest of the day was wonderful. Great food, laughing and a hilarious game of Apples to Apples.

This morning, though, I woke up and had a very sore throat. Wah. I haven’t been sick in so so so long. But here it is. I’ve had a regular flu shot but not an H1N1. I am hoping for the best. I hope I am well for my WW meeting on Sunday morning –this is not a good time to try and find a sub!

I crept out to a Nia class at 9am and took it easy- I felt like I needed to stretch and move, but when I came back that was definitely the big energy expenditure of the day.

Can you believe we had NO – I mean NO turkey leftover? 15 lbs for 15 people, and it just vanished. This made me feel bereft. All that stuffing (pans and pans!) and gravy and potatoes and EVERYthing — but NO TURKEY. So I stopped at the grocery and bought a 5 lb turkey breast and just roasted it. YUM. (why don’t I do this more often? It’s so easy! and yummy!) It was even better than the big turkey yesterday.

Is it starve a cold, feed a fever? Whatever it is, I am in eating mode.  YUM TURKEY.

And then… nap. Ahhhhhhh.

PS. Anybody have any ideas for leftover shrimp? We had shrimp cocktail as an app yesterday, and there’s about a pound leftover. I thought… shrimp salad, for sandwiches? Any other ideas?

 

Beautiful Guiltfree Dinner March 29, 2009

I soooo enjoyed my dinner last night.  We had company over – my husband’s cousin and her hubby – they are wonderful people, and I was really looking forward to hanging out with them. I decided to make our family favorite teriyaki/wasabi salmon, this asparagus and brown/wild rice salad someone pointed out to me on Twitter (I love Twitter! It’s like a recipe box at your fingertips!), a big mache salad with avocados and feta, and a lemon tart with real whipped cream. YAY. Oh, and they brought some amazing wine they’d procured during their weeklong trip through Napa.

I didn’t worry about the points or calories of any of these items. I had had a good run/walk in the morning. I had gone to Weight Watchers and had lost 2.6 lbs since last week. I knew that everything I was eating was super healthy (except maybe the lemon tart!).

I enjoyed every single bite of my dinner. I didn’t overeat, I didn’t obsess over “going over” (which, had I counted, I probably did) I know that today I’m doing another Couch to 5k AND I’m going to be rowing in a “parent row” for my daughter’s crew team. THAT should be interesting!! And I’m going to resume my regular good eating today. It’s all good.

Is it possible that I’ll gain weight from this one dinner, at the end of this week? Somehow I really don’t think so.

 

How Much Does that Food Weigh? March 3, 2009

I never, ever thought I would buy or use a food scale. I had many reasons for this: the scale seemed expensive, it seemed like an excessive/obsessive thing to do, I was afraid that the scale would tell me I needed to eat much, much less than I wanted to, and so on.

But this week I got to the point where I was actually curious. About what my food weighed. And I felt like this was a reasonable reason to go ahead and buy a scale.

I used it for the first time tonight. We were having flank steak. To stay within my points range for the day, I was allotting myself 3 ounces of steak. First, I eyeballed it, using the visual “deck of cards” estimated size. Then I set up the scale and weighed. Hah. My portion weighed FOUR ounces. I was all, “How about that.” It looked like a very small amount. I was not upset, but I was surprised. Hmph. No wonder.  I started substituting and taking away until it read 3.0 oz. What I ended up with was two strips of steak.  Normally I can easily put away eight strips, no problem. So yeah. Portion control has definitely been my Achilles heel.

But my dinner was great. I had the steak, plus an extremely delicious mache salad with blush wine vinaigrette and slivered almonds and feta crumbles. Mache is a very delicate, round-leafed lettuce, almost like clover. It’s delicious.  I also had a fancy-shmancy shrimp and avocado cocktail that I got from Biggest Loser trainer Jillian’s book. It was yummy. All very yummy. And in the end I was quite satisfied, almost fullish.

How about THAT. I actually used a food scale, and the world did not come to an end.

 

Food That Works January 20, 2009

Today was overall a good food day, after my bad start with the scary numbers (I haven’t re-tested). But I did have a bit of an internal tantrum when I went grocery shopping later in the morning. I almost cried when I saw a magazine cover with a luscious photo of macaroni and cheese (“the comfort food issue”). I found myself gazing longingly at the bread. I ended up buying a loaf of artisan olive bread to go with the soup I was going to make for company.

I made Brazilian black bean soup for friends who came for lunch. It disappeared INSTANTLY and we all agreed it was the best black bean soup EVER.  I topped it with nonfat sour cream and it was just so good. I did have a slice of the olive bread with some olive/walnut tapenade I got at the farmers market yesterday. I have no idea if this was a terrible thing to do, or not so bad.

For dinner, I made this sundried tomato/goat cheese/basil chicken from Kalyn’s Kitchen. I was a bit nervous about trying something new, and a little worried about Picky Eating daughter, but everyone in my family LOVED it. I also stir fried some asparagus with lemon/artichoke pesto. It was gooooood.

So everything tasted delicious today. My only “slip” was the olive bread. I felt grateful to find things that I could really enjoy eating.

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,082 other followers