Friday, March 20, 2009

I am a blogger!

I am now a blogger!

I've been fantasizing about a food blog for awhile, but my main reasons for not doing so were

1. My camera sucks

2. I didn't want my food to get cold while I took pictures of it.

But I've decided that I really want a blog! So if you don't like sucky pictures, feel free to not read this. As for the food pictures... I'm not promising to photograph everything!

Today seems like a good day for a food blog because... ugh I feel like SUCH a tool discussing the concept of a "goal weight", but to the extent that I had one, I hit it. Er... I hit it while wearing sweatpants after eating breakfast and lunch. So likely I'm actually half a pound under. That means I have lost a LOT of weight. I’ve been somewhat in denial about this. Part of it is that I don’t think my brain has caught up with my body. Part of it is that I really my friends/family going “you look so great!” because of the implicit comparison. Is it nice to know that my loved ones admire my trim new bod? Of course. Do I kind of wish I didn’t know that people paid attention to my body, especially because I know there will be future days that I’m PMSing and bloated and want everyone to ignore me? Uh… yeah.

Basically I am entering a challenge. The state of my body post-puberty can roughly be divided into two phases- weight gaining machine (long phase) and weight losing machine (short and recent phase). Weight gaining machine was partly due to bum hormones (adjusted thanks to medication) and partly due to the fact that I have a HUGE sweet tooth and was then let loose in a college dining hall with huge portions. Weight losing machine is a lot harder to explain, and this blog is hopefully a way to access that.

My goal now is to be a maintainer. This thought is kind of frightening to me. I am hoping that this blog, while satisfying my creative side and letting me share the, frankly, often awesome recipes I make up, will also help me escape from this cycle of calorie-counting I've been in and let me just... enjoy food! I love food. I love eating food. I eat, as the wise Michael Pollan said. I eat, not too much, mostly pants.

Let's start with tonight's dinner. It is meatless, as will the next month or so of meals, because I’m Greek Orthodox, and we don’t do meat during Lent. Technically the fast is supposed to be totally vegan, but I worry about being a woman and getting enough calcium (and yes, I know vegans can get enough calcium. I just don’t personally have enough skill and dedication to pull it off at the moment).

So tonight I made two things that I like to eat out, but are all too often found at overpriced restaurants: miso soup (expensive sushi bars) and lettuce wraps (expensive Asian-fusion type places).

The miso soup, crab flavored came from a packet in here:

miso packet

I got it at Super 88, which for anyone in the Boston area, is a FANTASTIC grocery store. You can get really great deals on fresh produce and ethnic foods. I consider myself pretty adventurous, so every time I go there I try to get something new.

Actually, though, the miso soup was kind of uninspiring. The directions on how to make it were in Chinese, so I just dumped some boiling water on the mix (there was one packet with a jellylike miso paste and one with green onions and faux crab rings, which were DISGUSTING) I may have added too much water. In general, though, the broth was just salty. Less complex and subtle than that found in restaurants.

The lettuce wraps, however, were FAB. I got cabbage for $0.25 a pound because it was on sale for Saint Patrick’s day (and my oh my is that a big day in Boston). I based the technique roughly on one I’ve made before from Cooking Light:­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Tofu Larb. The flavors, however, were different and quite tasty!

cabbage wraps close up

Sweet n Tangy Cabbage Wraps

1 GIANT clove garlic (you’d want 2 medium ones), minced

1 tsp vegetable oil or whatever neutral colored oil

½ tsp or so fresh ginger, minced

1 tsp or so chili paste

3 cups or so finely sliced cabbage from the inner part

8 oz. firm tofu (if you have time, press it on a slanted cutting board, wrapped in paper towels, under a heavy pot)

1.5 servings cooked rice (I used Trader Joe’s brown basmati, my faaaaaaave)

3 tbsp. hoisin sauce

1/3 or so cup finely diced carrot

2-3 green onions, finely diced

6 outer leaves of cabbage, cleaned

Heat a large frying pan on medium to medium high heat (my stove is insane, so I went for medium). Add the oil, let heat, and add the ginger and garlic. Stir fry until golden. Then add the chili paste. Throw in the cabbage, and stir fry that until it has wilted down. Crumble the tofu in your hands and add that, stir frying it for two minutes or so. Add the rice and the hoisin sauce, and stir to combine. In my case this only took a minute or so, but my rice was still hot. If yours is leftover and has been refrigerated, toss for longer. Throw in the carrot and green onions, and adjust seasoning to your preferences. Serve with the cabbage leaves as your wrappers.

serves 2, approx. 340 calories per serving (I’m having the other half some other day this week)

cabbage wraps and miso soup

I ate about half the miso soup, since like I said, it was just okay (just as well, since the whole one had 40% of the daily recommended sodium serving!) and all of the luscious wraps, as well as a glass of water.

For dessert, I am planning to have another banana-shredded wheat muffin I made last night.

banana muffin

For some reason (probably reading too many other food blogs) I had a major craving to bake, and I kind of wanted to get rid of some shredded wheat I’ve had since it’s getting stale, so I kind of threw together this recipe from various things I found on the internet.

Shredded Wheat Banana Muffins

1/3 cup shredded wheat ‘n bran

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp milk

1/3 cup flour

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp honey

2 tsp oil

1 tsp applesauce

1 tsp water

½ a banana, mashed (I had some in the freezer, I thawed this it in the microwave)

½ tsp baking powder

heaping ¼ tsp salt

shake of cinnamon

Soak the shredded wheat in the milk. Meanwhile, combine all the other ingredients. Then add the shredded wheat mixture. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or so (this really depends on the size of your muffin tins—mine are MASSIVE- that is why my muffin is kind of stupid looking. I got it at Target, which I love, but you look at size of modern muffin tins and go “yep, I know why there’s an obesity epidemic”) in a greased muffin tin (because it only makes 3 muffins, put water in the other muffin cups so they don’t scorch). The muffins should be browned and spring back when poked.

Makes 3 muffins. Approximately 150 calories each.

I am definitely planning some variations on these, as the shredded wheat made for a really nice, intriguing background note. I think it would go well with, for example, carrot.

I think I will have it with a nice cup of tea (Celestial Seasonings Coconut Thai Chai- mad overpriced, but it was on sale for $2.50, and it is so delicious). I think tonight I will also top my muffin with some peanut butter for extra protein (and calories!), since I had a proper workout at the gym today for the first time in awhile. While home for Spring Break, I did a lot of morning yoga on the deck (wonderful!) and 3 mile walks in the park (beautiful!). Since I’ve been back in Boston, I’ve been walking home from work every day, since we’ve had “good” weather (always a relative term in Boston). I have a nice walk, though… it’s about 3.14 or 3.41 (ugh temporary dyslexia) miles, according to, my favorite thing ever. I get to cut through the Boston Common! Gorge. But today it was nice to actually put on my sweatpants, go to a gym, listen to my iPod, hop on my Stairliptical (you know the machine I’m talking about?), and just… SWEAT!

No comments: