Archive for July, 2010

Anatomy of a Damn Good Meal

On Wednesday, Matt and I had the extreme pleasure of dining with our good friend and professional Chef, Randy Rabney of The Conscious Plate (Visit her website and sign up for her amazing newsletters–I always learn so much from her!)

I just wanted to show you some pics of our dinner that Randy made.

First, Randy and Matt:

They are posing so beautifully with our appetizer: grilled flatbread with 2 different cheeses (Don’t remember the type, but they were delish!). One was topped simply with arugula and drizzled with truffle oil (swoon!) and the other with basil and a beautiful red and white heirloom tomato that just tasted like summer.  Randy also offered us truffled honey to drizzle on top, although my darling Matt ate it straight from the jar with a spoon!

Here’s a close up of the appetizer:

Looks good, right? It was. And so simple.

Next up, dinner…steak (grass-fed, naturally) cooked to perfection, a simple summer salad (arugula, sweet corn, grilled zucchini, scallions, and a simple vinaigrette) and grilled potatoes.

Are you hungry yet?

But don’t forget about dessert! Randy’s next door neighbor is The Able Baker who made rockin’ mocha cupcakes for us. They were amazeballs.

All of this was paired with a Brunello di Montalcino that Matt and I bought on our honeymoon….it was 10 years old and simply the greatest wine ever.

I wanted to show you this meal not only to make you jealous, but also show you how a good, wholesome, memorable meal need not be complicated. In fact, simplicity rules….and that’s what randy lives by. High quality ingredients will stand alone.

Thanks, Randy!

July 30, 2010 at 5:37 pm 2 comments

This is not A-mooooo-sing

mmmmmm, chocolate.

What animal has a diet of gummy bears, chocolate cake, and feathers?

Stumped?

If you guessed cattle raised by our mega-sized slaughterhouses, you’re correct!

Alex, tell them what they’ve won!

Thanks to some great reporting from fellow blogger Andy Bellatti at Small Bites, I have learned of a recent document which has been released that sheds some light on the diet of the cows we are eating.

Did you know that  blood meal, hydrolyzed Feather meal, and candy are part of that diet?

Gives new meaning to the saying, You are what you eat.

Seriously, though….you might want to think twice about eating meat (our poultry) that is not organic and/or grass-fed. Who the heck wants a butterfinger in their meat?

July 28, 2010 at 12:56 pm 1 comment

When you want it bad…

That's me!

I was having a conversation with my mother last weekend and I was talking to her about my weight. If you recall, I wrote a post on weighing 134 pounds, a higher weight for me, yet not having any emotional attachment to it (which is HUMONGO in my world).

She asked me how did I do it? How did I break through all the negative, self-depricating voices, the sabatoging binges, the victim-mentality to arrive to where I am today: Positively happy and glowing in a slightly bigger body.

Cheryl Richardson, in her newsletter this week, summed it up perfectly:

You have to want a deeper, more conscious relationship with yourself more than you want to be comfortable or thin.

Ok people, this is so important that I’m going to say it again:

You have to want a deeper, more conscious relationship with yourself more than you want to be comfortable or thin.

It took me many, many, many years of being so nasty to myself bring me to where I am today. But there came a point when I said, Stop the Insanity! The negative self-talk tapes began to wear thin (no pun intended) on me, and it was a struggle to keep up a lower weight that wasn’t meant for me during this time in my life. Through the help of workshops, therapists, dietitians, friends, family, and LOTS, and I mean, LOTS, of self exploration, I realized that my relationship with myself and my body was more important than being thin.

I know this sounds cliche, but I still can’t believe I can utter the above sentence. I’m not going to lie–accepting yourself (and not even LOVING yourself, but just merely being OK with where you are now) can be an uncomfortable, tough place to be. When the rest of the world and your friends are dieting away, and you’re just trying to figure out if your body wants ice cream or just tired, it’s uncomfortable. And when the scale creeps up instead of down, and your skinny jeans no longer fit, it’s uncomfortable.

But that moment when you decide, You know what? I don’t give a fuck, is worth it. Believe me, it’s so worth it.

I just took some headshots this weekend and when I looked at the photos, the first thought was: Damn, I look good! Not: my thighs look big, and oh-my-god, do I have a tricep-waddle? Ok, maybe that creeped in a bit, I am only human, after all. But it feels so good to celebrate myself and my beauty.

If you’re not ready to give up on your attachment to being “thin,” whatever that means to you, that’s OK. But I promise that one day you’ll want to change that tape in your head. And when you’re ready, come talk to me, and we’ll start you on the right path.

July 27, 2010 at 1:12 pm 5 comments

I heart my rice cooker

My latest kitchen gadget is my rice cooker.

In the past few months I’ve taken to making a boat load of grains on Sunday night for the week, making lunch preparation a snap. I take 1/2 cup of rice, toss in a multitude of veggies (I’m into steamed broccoli, lemon broccoli, steamed carrots, and collard greens), toss in some beans, drizzle with pesto or hummus and I’ve got an amazeballs lunch.

Anyway, back to the rice cooker…this baby makes all types of rice perfectly. I tried short grain rose brown rice. I threw in 2 cups, the right amount of water, pressed the button and forgot about it. Fifty minutes later…perfect rice! No more watching the pot!

This gizmo also cooks dry beans to perfection (I made adzuki beans last night) and also steams vegetables. It also does the laundry and tells you “I love you.” OK, obviously that’s not true, but it still rocks.

Lucky for me I got my version on sale for $60 at Bloomingdales…it’s a smaller 5 cup version, but I can’t ever picture myself making that much rice in one sitting.

And, I am very happy that I can tell Matt “I told you so!” as he thought I would NEVER use it. I TOLD YOU SO!

Perhaps a rice cooker is just what you need!

PS. Check out my new photos on the “About Me” page…courtesy of the incredible Sheila Williams

July 26, 2010 at 1:28 pm 2 comments

Let It Go. See, don’t you feel better now?

When something’s on my mind, I hate keeping it inside. I use my journal/blog/therapist/husband/friends as a way to talk about what’s going on with me.

But perhaps you’re feeling something particular that you don’t want to share. Or, there’s a habit that you want to give up, and you need a little catharsis.

Enter the site Let Something Go where you can anonymously get what ever it is off your chest.

For example, I wanted to let go the need to be perfect all of the time. I typed it in into a pretty little balloon and then watched as it floated away. It was peaceful, and oddly satisfying.

You’re also given the option to see what others have written for inspiration and the hopes that seeing what people have let go will help you to let go as well.

What are you holding on to that no longer serves you? Go ahead and let it go!

July 23, 2010 at 3:24 pm Leave a comment

Baked Indonesian Tofu–OMG!

Friends, you HAVE to make this recipe, courtesy of Meatless Monday. It is a gift from the tofu Goddess!

It’s so simple to make…Matt was the chef of this dish last night and he did an excellent job. The sauce was SO good I felt like I was eating in a restaurant–but this was WAY better.

If you’re afraid of tofu, don’t be. It’s so easy to prepare and takes the flavor of whatever you cook it with.

Let me know how you like it!

Baked Indonesian Tofu

Serves 4

  • 1 12 ounce block firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or cashew butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced

Spear the cubed tofu on skewers. Brush the tofu with 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the 1 remaining tablespoon soy sauce with the peanut or cashew butter, honey, maple syrup, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, chili powder and sesame oil. Stir the chopped green onions into the blended sauce.

Bake the skewered tofu at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, turn over, and bake for 10 minutes more.

Brush the baked tofu with the peanut honey sauce and enjoy.

July 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm 2 comments

Healthy Blueberry Crisp (a la mode, of course!)

This weekend I was up in the Berkshires and went blueberry picking with Matt. It was SO much fun, and I seriously ate an entire blueberry bush. No joke.

I came home and made this incredible blueberry crisp, which is a LOT healthier than other recipes. I also added a mix of 8 organic peaches and nectarines (yellow and white) and it was perfect. Top with vanilla bean ice cream and you’ve got heaven in a dish.

I apologize but I have no idea where I got this recipe from, so I can not give credit…

Healthy Blueberry Crisp Recipe a la Mode

Serves: 8
Ingredients:

  • 6 cups blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour(I used brown rice flour to make it gluten free!)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup regular oats
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinammon
  • 4-1/2 tablespoons chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinammon
  • 2 cups vanilla low-fat frozen yogurt Note: to reduce calories and fat even more, serve without the frozen yogurtDirections:
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; spoon into an 11 x 7 inch baking dish. Lightly spoon flour into a measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine 2/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon, and cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over the blueberry mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Top each serving with 1/4 cup frozen yogurt.

    Nutrition facts for Healthy Blueberry Crisp:
    CALORIES – 288, FAT – 8.3 G, SATURATED FAT – 4.8 G,
    CHOLESTEROL – 22 MG, SODIUM – 96 MG, CARBOHYDRATES – 52 G, DIETARY FIBER – 3.8 G, PROTEIN – 4.2 G

  • July 19, 2010 at 1:32 pm 1 comment

    Search Optimization

    I was doing some looking around my blog stats last night and came across an interesting area: searches people made that led them to my blog.  Meaning: what phrases or words did they use that led them here. Well, now, that’s very interesting!

    There were some “recipes” searches, a “zumba cake”‘ search, which I have no idea what that means, and some other nutrition searches. But do you know what the most searches were for? Guilt around eating. One search was: “I feel guilty for overeating.” Another was “I eat standing up the kitchen and I feel badly” and “Is overeating more than two days in a row bad?”

    Whoever typed these words in the search box, this is for you: I hear you loud and clear. Trust me.

    And now let me add: You should never, EVER feel guilty when it comes to food. In fact, the taste of guilt is so awful that it ruins every food or meal you eat, even if it’s a Jaques Torres chocolate chip cookie (and that is as near perfection as you can get).

    What these searches tell me is that women (and men, too) are asking for help, for someone to tell them that it’s OK to feel how they are feeling, to not feel so alone behind their computer screen. People, it’s OK. I’ve feared food for over 15 years of my life…so much so that one time when I was alone in my apartment, I ate a cookie and then started hysterically crying because I felt so ashamed, and called my husband to tell him I was a bad person for eating a cookie. He thought I was nuts. Perhaps I was, but at the time it felt so real.

    I’m not sure where this is going, honestly. But for all the wonderful people out there searching for an answer to their war with food, eating, and body image, my message to you is to keep working. The solution to your problems lies not within a potato chip but within yourself.

    Once you learn to ask yourself, “Why am I turning to food,” and “Why is food such a big part of my life? What else in my life brings me joy?” and “What emotions am I feeling now that I hope this cookie will solve” only THEN will you begin the true road to peace with food.

    My journey is just that…a journey. I’m still walking my path, working every day on healing my relationship with food…I came from a pretty desperate place for many years, too. And I still have my moments, my days, my weeks even, when everything I know flies out the window and I eat foods that don’t agree with me, or shove organic dark chocolate down my throat at such an alarming rate I even scare myself. It happens, and it might always happen for me.  However, have found so many places and people to turn to for support which has been priceless for me.

    So, to the person who wanted to know, “Is it bad that I overate 2 days in a row,” the answer is unequivocally “NO.” It’s not bad at all…and throw out that word!

    My purpose of this blog, after all, is to share my story, my nutrition tips, and yes, smiles and laughs, so that others can learn and therefore begin to heal themselves. You are not alone. I’m right here with you.

    July 16, 2010 at 1:25 pm 2 comments

    WTF Friendly’s? Apparently you are trying to MURDER us.

    Look at that monstrosity above. Seriously, just look at it.

    It’s a burger sandwiched in between 2 grilled cheeses. I kid you not. This is REAL.

    AS my dear friend commented, “Make sure you bring a defibrillator, wheel chair, and TUMS with you.” Mind you, this is coming from the guy who had a McGriddle for breakfast.

    Here are the nutritional stats, according to Friendly’s website:

    1500 Calories
    870 Fat Calories
    79g Total Fat!!!
    38g Saturated Fat
    180g Cholesterol
    2090mg Sodium
    101g Carbs
    9g Dietary Fiber
    4g Sugar
    54g Protein

    BARF. VOMIT. HURL.

    America, it is up to US to stop eating this crap and tell restaurant chains that we want to eat REAL food, NOT Frankenfood!

    July 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm 1 comment

    Dude, I just customized my own trailmix!

    My personal mix!

    Don’t I sound excited?
    It’s because I am, I am!!!

    Check out this awesome company, You Bars, which allows you to make your OWN custom protein bars, shakes, cookies, cereals, and trail mix. In an age where we bow down to individuality (you know I adore Lady Gaga), You Bars allows us to feel special, too.

    Creating my custom trailmix was super easy.  Choose from a large selection of nuts, dried fruit, seeds, crunchy grains, and my favorite, tasty additions (like cacao nibs or chocolate covered raisins). the dietitian in me loves that as you add ingredients to your mix, the nutritional breakdown of your creation is adjusted. So, if you see the calories getting too high, you can nix one ingredient, etc.

    My final creation, called Amma’s Mix #1: Almonds, Pecans, Pistachios, Walnuts, Organic flaxseeds, Organic pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, dark chocolate covered raisins, Organic cacao nibs, goji berries, and organic coconut.

    The trailmix is them portioned out and sealed in little pouches, each stamped with the title of the mix, the ingredients, and the nutrition label–mine is 260 calories of goodness.

    The company is a DREAM to work with. I accidentally entered in the wrong shipping address and the Director of Sales and Marketing, Joel, fixed my mistake and couldn’t have been kinder. Plus, my order was expedited rather quickly, arrived wrapped up on a pretty red ribbon, plus a coupon for 10% off my next order. Is this one classy company or what?

    Go ahead and check out the site and create your own trailmix. I’ve stashed pouches in my desk drawer, purse, and home. No longer will I be ravenous on the subway after a workout.

    Let me know what you create!

    July 14, 2010 at 1:59 pm 1 comment

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