Archive for the 'gluttony' Category

21
Jul
12

tagine, badminton, and Bologna.

Greetings from foggy London town, where the Summer is scarce and the condensation oh so prevalent. It’s been just over two months since I relocated from NYC to the Land o’ Scones (official name), and it seems as though I timed my arrival to coincide with sheets of rain and blankets of clouds (going with a bed theme here..just go with it). I can assure you I didn’t. Luckily, the absence of Sun is prolonging my youth! If I can’t find the Sun, then I’m guessing it can’t find my wrinkles. Right?! That’s pure logic.

I’ve been indoors lately far more than my former self dared, so it’s given me ample time to cook and decorate. I’m almost positive I’m turning full-on adult. Proof: today, I bought a small bunch of orange daisies! Who does that?! Adults. That’s who.

While I’ve been getting all domestic, I’ve also been cooking my face off. A few weeks ago, I made a Weight Watchers recipe of Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds:

tagine

Ingredients:

4 halves apricots, dried
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c chicken broth, fat free
1 tbsp flour, white
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp honey
1/4 c almonds, whole, blanched
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 c whole wheat couscous, cooked

Start by bringing apricots and chicken broth to a simmer in a small saucepan, and then set aside. Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and cook over high heat. Toss chicken in the flour and saute about 5 minutes, and then stir in onion. Reduce to medium low and cook 10 minutes more. Stir in cinnamon and honey. Stir in apricots, broth and almonds, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Serve over couscous.

Weight Watchers recipes sometimes come out a little lacking in flavor, and this turned out to be no exception. I always feel like I need to add something citrus-y (i.e. lemons) or yogurt-y (i.e. Greek) or oily (i.e. extra virgin olive) on top. This time, I added some extra virgin olive oil for flavor. This turned out to be the right call, although I still feel the recipe needed more. Next time I’d maybe add olives or capers to give it some complexity or something.

A few nights later, I made another Weight Watchers recipe of Mushroom Barley Burgers. I know – I’m a glutton for bland punishment. This one was actually the exception, though. It was all kinds of delicious:

Ingredients:

1/2 c uncooked barley
2 sprays cooking spray
1 1/2 lb mushrooms, portabella caps, sliced
1 egg
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 c sour cream, fat free
1 tbsp horseradish sauce

The barley takes a lifetime to make, so I actually made it the night before. You bring it to a boil with 2 1/4 cups of water in a saucepan, reduce to low and simmer, covered for 40 minutes. That’s way too long for me post-work, since I’m always thisclose to gnawing a hand off while I cook, so I made the barley the night before.

Coat a skillet with cooking spray and add mushrooms over medium-high heat. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until tender and transfer to a bowl. Mix together with the barley, egg, sage, salt and pepper and mash with a fork. This recipe also gave the option of blending with a food processor, but I’ve yet to buy one since I keep de-prioritizing it. Never-you-mind, though — forking is great for the biceps.

pasta bolognese

Once the mixture was all decently combined, I formed it into about 6 patties. The recipe said I’d find 4, but for some reason I found 2 extras! Win. I put them on a plate, covered them with aluminum foil, and refrigerated for 20 minutes.I then watched some Friends. Brits looove Friends.

I took the patties from the refrigerator and placed them under the broiler for about 5 minutes per side. I then mixed together the sour cream and horseradish in a bowl. You serve the burgers with the horseradish sauce on top. Delicious. I had never before taken an interest in horseradish, but this recipe converted me. I’m, like, dying for Passover 2013.

All this cooking and domesticating has driven me further and further from the gym, and I’ve neglected to even join a proper gym since I’ve moved. Instead, I’ve taken to the iPad workouts for yoga and pilates. I’m pretty into it, since the workouts are as short as 10 minutes yet there are enough to where you can get a full hour-long sesh just by combining a few. I’ve converted to primarily stretch workouts, and when I want to get my cardio on I’ve been going to dance classes. I’m kind of in love with this new philosophy, especially since I can take it with me when I travel and work it around my schedule.

On top of the yoga, pilates and dance, I joined a slightly ghetto gym for its courts and plethora of pilates classes. I was just introduced to badminton on said courts, and I just may have found my sport. I loved every minute of our 45 minute “game,” and even amongst the government-subsidized rafters I felt just like Maid Marion. And that feeling is just beautiful.

I went to Bologna last weekend (hence the Italian-dubbed Robin Hood clip, for those who clicked), which marked my grand return to Italy since I studied abroad in Rome in 2005. During the trip, I ate pappardelle bolognese (pictured left), spinach and mascarpone gnocchi, ricotta flavored gelato (unreal), chocolate flavored gelato (more real, but still bene) nutella crepes, and proscuitto and melon (pictured below). I’m pretty sure there will be more travels and fitting that much rich and delicious food into my belly, so I’m going to continue with the yoga and pilates and weekly dance and badminton. Cheers!

proscuitto e melone

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09
Dec
09

savory roasted veggies with maple agave syrup.

I’m having the hardest time eating socially acceptable portions these days. I was in my element on Thanksgiving when everyone was eating monstrous, heaping plates of food and returning for seconds and thirds, but Nov. 27 hit and suddenly I look greedy. To be fair, those baked goods were not going to eat themselves. I usually budget for one or two sweets a day, but that week was lady balls to the wall. Chocolate peu de creme? Hit me. Pumpkin ice cream? You only live once. Now I’m feeling all kinds of tubby. Thanks, Thanksgiving.

I ran around my favorite lake a handful of times during my week-long stay, but a few miles weren’t much of a match for the lady balls on the wall. Gross imagery? I’m just trying to prove a point here.

Upon my return, I’ve been attempting to shed the excess with some healthy foods and way too much gym time. Running has been my main/only source of cardio these days, so I’ve been forced to up the ante with the treadmill. This past week, I’ve been increasing the incline for the last half mile on each tenth of a mile. By the time I get to .9 of a mile, I have increased the incline to 5 until I reach a mile. It’s considerably harder than it seems, and when I’m done my skin is a pretty shade of fuschia and my quads have had it. This has been going on for a couple of weeks already, so eventually I’ll be running on an incline for the whole mile(s). Believe it.

In the hopes of fast-tracking a Miss Fitness America-worthy body, I’ve decided that vegetables are my world. This past week, I loaded up on cauliflower, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, mushrooms and parsnips. My dad made this roasted vegetable dish with many of those for Thanksgiving, and he actually used maple syrup to flavor. Amaazing. I had about three helpings the first time we met.

I started my version with the aforementioned veggies, which I cut into pieces that are roughly the same size. You want them to cook evenly, so as not to confuse the toaster oven:

I tossed them in some olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper, and then roasted them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees in the toaster oven. I then opened it, tossed them around some more, covered them in maple-agave syrup, and then roasted for another 20 minutes. They were insaaaane. Repeat for two nights.

On the third night I was a little bored with the formula, so I decided to make it more savory. I left out the rosemary, and instead used cumin and curry powder with the salt, pepper and olive oil. It’s pretty much the easiest recipe of all time. Maybe this is my 10 p.m. dinner speaking, but it really fills me up until breakfast. Also, there’s so many veggies that I can eat for days until they rot. Best poor man’s food ever.

See below:

07
Jul
09

risotto.

Every time I go home to Florida, I make it a point to borrow a car from the fam and go for a run around this three-mile lake. The length is just challenging enough for a half-glute runner like myself, and the scenery makes me so damn Zen. Really, I start using words like “sun-dappled” in daily conversation, and everyone thinks I’m majorly cracked out. It’s a good thing I’m 1,200 miles north of the lake for the majority of the year.

Now that it’s nice out, I totally want a little Zen in the northeast. Considering my gym addiction, I can’t handle the impracticality of outdoor workouts, and my vocab is not in the market for more “sun-dappled”-like words, but sometimes I need a fix. I’m talking just the tip. Lately, I’ve been putting the treadmill on “all terrain,” and walk/jogging on extreme inclines. I’ve taken half-glute to the extreme.

Today, my roommate came in from an hour long run outdoors, and my jealousy was visible. I was, like, radiating inferiority. Point being, I’m going to try this whole “running outdoors” thing on for size.

Meanwhile, I made my first ever risotto while my roommate was out being superior. It was the antithesis of a light summer meal, but it came out all delicious like. I started by chopping a yellow onion, and sauteeing it in a tablespoon of butter. Then, I added fava beans, a teaspoon of thyme, and some shitake mushrooms:

shrooms

shrooms

Aren’t they kind of hideous? They really are. I heated some vegetable broth on the stove top, and then I added it a cup at a time. The rice has to absorb the liquid, so when all was said and done it was about 30 minutes of stove top time and 3 cups of broth. The rice got a little bloaty from the broth, but I’m pretty sure it was supposed to look even less hydrated.

I added a little bit of cream and grated some white cheddar cheese up in there, and then stirred until thickened. I then added some rock salt, and it was time to photograph.

I’ll preface this by saying that one really shouldn’t judge food at face value. If that were the case, what reason would any of us have for eating coconuts, hmmm? Those are downright grotesque, but they taste pretty ok. I wouldn’t kick them out of bed.

I’m not sure what I expected, since I had the aforementioned shitake shrooms and fava beans to work with, but see below for the end result. I had a much too generous portion while my roommate did lots and lots of crunches, and then followed with an extensive free weight routine. The risotto did not disappoint, though. See below:

risotto with shitake mushrooms and fava beans

risotto with shitake mushrooms and fava beans

06
Jul
09

Ahi tuna.

My roommates and I hosted a rooftop bbq yesterday to celebrate 303 years of freedom from the Brits. Good thing we don’t have high tea and all that dry comedy, right? It’s such a relief. We made the most adorable patriotic foods. For instance, we had red cole slaw, blue terra chips, and I made a red and blue mixed berry dessert with homemade whipped cream. It was my first time whipping, and I must say, I whipped it good. It’s really the easiest thing in the world; mix 2 cups of heavy cream with 1/4 cup of sugar and a little vanilla extract, and whip with a hand-held mixer until stiff peaks form. People were pretty into it. I tend to behave like a fat kid at the school dance during dinner parties, so once everyone had their fill, I scooped up the remaining cream onto Baked Lays and really enjoyed myself. Don’t knock it.

True to form, I took not one picture of the event. I’m useless during group things. Due to my sub-parĀ  photojournalism, I’ll have to focus on last week’s meals for the purpose of this entry.

It started with a massive Ahi tuna steak I bought for like $3.30 at Trader Joe’s. The only downside to TJ’s cheapass seafood is that it’s always frozen, so I had to defrost it in the microwave pre-searing. When I went to sear it in olive oil, the insides were pretty much cooked through. The end result was about 85% cooked tuna, 15% raw interior. So not ideal.

On the side, I chopped a couple of cloves of garlic and 1/4 a red onion, and sauteed in some butter. I chopped a bag of brussels sprouts in half, and tossed those into the mix. I was pretty brazen with the butter, so the apartment refrained from reeking of – for lack of a better word – butt, while I sauteed the sprouts. It was impressive. I added in about 1/4 cup of bread crumbs about midway through the sauteeing. About 10 minutes later, I served my tuna and sprouts alongside honey mustard and a slice of ciabatta bread. It looked like this:

tuna and brussels

tuna and brussels

It tasted like love, and also a little like Belgium. Weird.

Although I got up early today to work off my whole “eating with reckless abandon” thing I called the Fourth of July, I was still feeling guilty come dinner time. Actually, I hate to gloss over the morning after.

I woke up at 9ish and made some espresso, and I denied myself the little piece of bread and butter I usually eat to fuel the morning workouts. I headed off to the gym, and proceeded to run two miles, all the while watching Ina make some amazing looking buttermilk cheddar biscuits. I then did every arm and back machine ever, like, including the rowing machine which I kind of loathe. Then, I did CRUNCHES. Lots of them. Gross.

I thought about making risotto for dinner, but I decided that’s a dish best earned with good behavior. And I have basically been the kid who never does her homework and disrupts class, like, daily. No one rewards that kid. Instead, I made a little salad with some of the leftover tuna from the night prior. I started with spinach, and then added the tuna, some marinated artichoke, and white cheddar cheese. I then added balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and served with a teeny piece of baguette. It was no risotto, but I was actually pretty impressed with how it turned out. See below:

Ahi tuna salad with artichokes and white cheddar

Ahi tuna salad with artichokes and white cheddar




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