Tag Archives: diet

A Salad A Day

Here we are months away before we dig through the bottom of our closets for those bathing suites we shoved back there just a year ago. Another year older another year wider. The best we can do is take advantage of the beautiful spring time vegetables and eat a salad. Yes that’s right a salad. That stale word on every dieters list of acceptable meals, right next to tuna fish and cottage cheese. I personally used to hate salads until I met Salad of the Day by Georgeanne Brennan. The book has 365 recipes divided into seasons. And the layout and photography are quite intriguing as well.  Nothing is more annoying than a cookbook with bad pictures. I’ve also discovered that it’s really easy to add little creative touches to salad recipes. Can’t really mess things up too bad!

My recent favorite is The 25th Day of April – Artichoke & White Bean Salad

Serves 8

For the Dressing

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (add more if you are a spicy freak like me!)
1 tsp ground fennel seeds (always toast your seeds first to release the aroma, then grind)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I thought this was a little much so I cut it back to 1/4)
I also felt it needed a little more acid so I added a splash of white wine vinegar

For the Salad

1/2 lemon (if using fresh artichokes)
I can’t let lemon zest go to waste so I put the zest of half the lemon on top for garnish
6 baby artichokes, or 1 package (8oz) frozen quartered artichoke hearts, thawed and brought to room temperature
2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 small red onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
2 Tbs chopped fresh oregano

1. To make the dressing combine all of the ingredients adding the oil in a thin stream and whisk. Or you can do what I do and put everything in an air tight container and shake really well.

2. If using fresh artichokes, squeeze the lemon half (make sure you get the zest off first) into a large bowl of cold water. Trim the artichoke stems, leaving about 1/2 inch. Cut 1/2 inch off the tops.  Peel off the tough outer leaves (if you’re like me, you are probably sensitive to waste, but really those tough outer leaves have to go) until you reach the tender, pale green leaves. Cut each artichoke lengthwise into 6 wedges and put them into the lemon water pool. Bring a pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil.  Add the artichokes and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Its always good to taste test one first. Drain and let cool at room temperature.

3. Combine all the ingredients in to a large bowl. For best results let everyone get to know each other for about 30 minutes before serving.

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A Caloric Journey

It wasn’t the six-week pastry class, or the Christmas feast, or the drinking on New Years, no ladies and gentleman is was the Superbowl weekend that took me over the edge.  Very unexpectedly but to no surprise a weekend of drinking, deep fried food and more than a taste of two different cakes left it’s mark.  But, after about two weeks of ‘dieting’ I was reminded about how unproductive and depressing putting yourself on a diet can be.  From a person who lives each day from one meal to the next this is a partial death sentence.  Not to mention I really believe that once you are off the diet you are at risk to gain it all back!

I think my diet was more about pushing myself to get to the gym, eating tuna and salad more frequently, and a reminder about portion size and over indulging.  Not to say that I’m about to go off the deep end again, but I think I learned my lesson and I’m okay to enjoy an oatmeal cookie and a happy hour.

Conveniently, Ed Levine founder of Serious Eats just posted about a similar experience and I can totally relate to his dilemma and I have adopted his outlook on dieting as a ‘caloric journey.’

From now on I am not going to refer to my weight control efforts as a diet. What I have embarked on is a series of choices and an overall attitude about eating and living. What I am laying out is a way to eat for pleasure without losing control of my weight. It’s something a lot of serious eaters can relate to, I think. I’ve come to think of it as a caloric journey.

I needed these two weeks to set myself straight, but now I will listen a little more closely to that skinny angle on my shoulder when the fat one is tempting me greasy fatty goodness.  She will remind me of how hard it was to reach 150 calories on the treadmill and if that 300 calorie bag of chips is worth it.

The term journey seems fitting.  An adventure that is likely to have steep hills of fried chicken, wrong turns of cannoli cream and detours of never ending kegs of Palm Ale, but all will eventually surpass and I will refocus towards the path of overall health and wellness.  

 

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