Thursday, December 31, 2009

My New Year's Experiment

Since I'm spending this NYE on my own at home, after just getting home from my holiday travels last night, I wanted to make myself a fun dinner to celebrate. Well, the Giant had a terrible selection of steaks, so I headed over to the seafood counter. On an impulse, I decided to pick up 2 catfish fillets. I don't know if I've ever had catfish before, but I thought this would be a fun night to try.

So I consulted the Internets and found some pointers on how to cook it. I used this recipe for a low-fat oven-fry as my base, but since I didn't have any of the specific spice mixes mentioned here or recommended by friends I made my own blend based on Google's advice.

I used:
- about 1 cup of flour
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt

I had all these spices in my pantry, since Dad was always good at supplying me with any spice you might imagine. I really like making my own little blends and using some of those up, and the bonus was that as the fish was cooking in the oven, these spices smelled FANTASTIC.

Important tip: I skipped the no-stick spray step since I was using foil. Bad move. Definitely spray the pan/foil cuz the breading sticks.

The result? Pretty good! It's very messy, because of the sticking problem, and I think I would use less flour in the future to get a better balance in the breading. But the seasoning is tasty and the fish is substantial and yummy. I'm eating it with a side of a Green Giant lowfat broccoli and cheese thing, and it's a pretty darn successful dinner!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's the little things - Yoga mat

My exercise life just got a zillion times easier. On Sunday, when my sister and I were at Target, she chose a yoga mat for me. We were talking and I said it was a pain having hardwood floors because you couldn't do sit ups on them. She recommended a yoga and mat when we were at Target doing errands, she pointed out the one she uses. So this $10 invest has totally changed my workouts. I am back to my pre-move schedule of doing my sit ups and push ups at home and my cardio at the gym. It's made life SOOOO much easier because its shaved 20 minutes off of my gym workout. That's huge!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Another Great Thing About Cooking

Here's another great thing I've learned in the last year or so of cooking more... Cooking is social. Sure, I am cooking by myself in my apartment most of the time, but I'm finding there are many ways to build community around cooking.

This new hobby of mine is a great new topic of conversation and yet another way to bond with people. It was a perfect subject for me and Dad to bond over in those last few months, and I'll treasure that forever.

Friends are a wealth of information, with cooking tips, recipes, and lessons learned to share. I myself have handed out several of my favorite recipes to friends of mine in the last few weeks, and it feels great to be able to be a resource on something that's still fairly new to my life, too. Facebook and its instant community have been great for that, as now I'm trading recipes and ideas with people I've known in every stage of my life.

And, cooking can add to your social life. I'm taking 2 more new classes in the New Year, and having a shared interest is an immediate ice breaker in a room full of strangers gathered to learn together.

There's so much more to cooking than just tasty things on a plate... but that's nice too!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Easy and Elegant weeknight dinner

So B, our favorite restaurant serves these awesome California style pizzas. V, our favorite server always makes a recommendation to add arugula and a fried egg on top of their mushroom pizza and truly it's sheer heaven. Being diabetic, I can only have one slice, although I totally poach more than my share of yolky arugula.

Color be delighted when J found an Alsatian tart with bacon and caramelized onions at Trader Joes. For some magical happenstance, there's only 11 grams of carbs for 1/4 of a decent size tart (bigger than a personal pan pizza). That means I can eat the whole damn things and only ingest 44 grams of carbs. Now with bacon and cheese and onions the fat content is off the charts but that's why I run 18 miles a week.

As an experiment this weekend, I decided to top the tart with arugula and a fried egg. My twist was to toss the arugula in a meyer lemon vinaigrette. And OH MY GOD. Arugula salad and Alsatian tart is a better flavor combination of chocolate and peanut butter. The sharp pepperiness of the arugula and the tang of the vinaigrette are in perfect harmony with the salty sweetness of the tart. I've had this twice this week and could have it every night if I had my druthers. This is a total cheap eat because the tart is like $3.99 and the arugula is like $2.99.

And the Meyer lemons come from my tree.

crossposted at:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Squash

Another rainy pj's Sunday.... another good day to explore my new veggie options courtesy of my friends at Washington's Green Grocer.

Today, it was time for a new butternut squash adventure. My friend Jane Austen had sent me this awesome recipe for Butternut Squash Sage Orzo, and it looked so divine online I had to have it for myself.

This stuff is delicious! I agree with the blogger that it would make a great Thanksgiving side, or a side to any good turkey dinner, though it tastes just fine as a dish on its own. Try it!

Here's my diced squash. It came from a squash a little shorter and much squatter than the one remaining. I guessed it's about 4 cups or a little more... that bowl holds 4 cups of liquid. Close enough.

The squash making nice in the pan with onions and garlic. This is before I added the wine and the broth. Note, I used lowfat/low sodium chicken broth rather than veggie, cuz I have a ton of it. Worked great.

Mmmm sage.

Here it is! This is the whole bowl, that I spooned out into 3 large servings for lunches. It was delicious! Warm, comforting, with a little tang from the parmesan. I didn't use salt and I forgot to add pepper, but it was seasoned enough for me with the sage, parmesan, and onions/garlic/wine. So tasty.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Media Fail

New York Magazine has some major fat hatred. You see, I think it's a great idea for cities to offer free gym classes. If we want healthy choices to be accessible, this is a great way to do it. But New York magazine blows it big time by tying it to fatness. Healthy living isn't necessarily a war on fatness. Nowhere did Mayor Bloomberg say that this was to address obesity. After all, will you refuse someone with a "normal" or "below normal" BMI from attending one of those free classes? Across the board, people in the U.S. need to exercise more - fat or thin. Stop hating on fat people.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Giving Thanks for Running

The theme for this Thanksgiving should be the Olympian - stronger! higher! faster! because I ran my ass off that weekend. Along with eating a truckload of food.


On the eating side of things, I did a sorta stupid/sorta smart thing - I barely ate anything leading up to Thanksgiving dinner. You see, I would be having real food professionals over for Thanksgiving. We picked up a maple and rosemary-brined turkey from Cheffie Mark. We would be having a cheese plate selected by the cheesemonger at the wine bar where Bellisima works. And a trio of soup shooters. And that's before we even sit down for dinner. So leading up to the big meal (and I mean BIG meal), I ate a grand total of 30 grams of carbs. 15 grams from a roasted pepper frittata and 15 from an apple. I also had a salad during the day. While I am sure it was playing havoc with my body and my metabolism, I wanted to eat my Thanksgiving meal with abandon. And I did. It was spread out over the course of six hours and all of it was delicious. The great thing about this meal (where we had a summit to plan the menu!) was that we all floated in an out of the kitchen. Noone was slaving over anything because we all contributed.

So yes, we started with the cheese and pate (homemade!) platter with onion jam, fig and raison compete and a red currant gelee. That was followed by soup shooters of tomato soup with a quark dollop, beet and carrot soup with a coriander sour cream, and a cauliflower soup with a bagna cauda drizzle. And then everything settled in our stomachs and we were already full. But we plowed on to eat mashed potatoes, mashed acorn squash, the aforementioned turkey, green beans, homemade rolls, and a kale and sweet potato casserole. We sent everyone home with dessert bags because noone could touch the pumpkin tarts or the apple cobblers. We spent the post dinner part of Thanksgiving nibbling on J's homemade truffles and cheese and pears.

The great thing about this was the bounty of vegetable dishes and the fact that J made truffles with dark chocolate which are intrinsically low-carb (although high fat). by the next morning my glucose level was a surprisingly low 97.


Thanksgiving weekend also entail a good amount of running. On Thanksgiving day, Muffin and June actually found out about a 5K that was within walking distance of our house. It was a great way to start the day. This was a totally informal race set up my a neighborhood gym. No big clock or starting gun. To keep my ankles and knees ok, I run on a gym treadmill. It was definitely different (and more exhausting run on cold, hard concrete. And definitely exhausting to run uphill for a quarter of the race. But all in all, I ran strong and had a good time.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, I ran the Run Wild for a Child race in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. It was very interesting to run because I thought there were part where I was running pretty slowly. But in the end I ran the entire 6.2 miles in 51:41 minutes which is an 8:19 minute pace. This is well ahead of the 9:11 pace I ran for the Presidio 10K in March. Yay me! It's interesting to see how much I hate running up hills and how badly I am about gauging my pace.

I'm very Thankful I have this disease under control and am I very thankful I am in a position to get stronger, higher and faster. And, of course, thanks to all of you out there, especialyl stef, who's been an invaluable sounding board.