Thursday, January 28, 2010

Eating Clean....75% Of The Time

As January comes to an end and Valentines Day approaches, Sweetheart candies start showing up in our office kitchens and almost 80% of us have already already failed in pursuing our New Years Resolution.

The reason why most of us give up on these idealized goals is not because we are not ambitious, but because we are setting ourselves up for failure. While it's possible to "give up chocolate", "work out everyday" or "not eat carbs", it's certainly not realistic, or fun. The stricter the resolutions are, the faster we are doomed to fail.

So continuing with my personal resolution (and lifelong goal) of eating cleaner (avoiding trans fat, added sweeteners, artificial colorings, flavoring or preservatives, pesticides, and processed foods), I do so with adding "75%" of the time" to the end.

While food rules like "avoid food products that contain more than 5 ingredients" and "avoid food products containing ingredients that a 3rd grader cannot pronounce" (by Michael Pollan) are excellent guidelines to follow, I would absolutely miserable if I followed this rule 100% of the time. How would I survive without my 100 calorie La Tortilla whole wheat tortillas! The ingredient list is certainly long, but I just don't want to give it up. And I shouldn't have to.

With most anything concerning a healthy living, it's all about balance. Whether it's balancing your daily caloric intake with your calorie expenditure, or balancing eating clean with eating your favorite Sweetheart candies...long term success is with positive lifestyle changes, and not extreme rules and quick fix answers.

* Some people have asked about me only posting 1 recipe a post. I certainly wish I could post them all, but with my current work/school situation, the time just isn't there. BUT, if you want to know the recipe of a particular dish that I have posted, please email me and I will forward it on to you!*

Last Week's Eats:

"San Diego" Style Breakfast Burrito with bacon, ham and hash browns - 258 calories

Brie, Artichoke, Apple and Bacon Salad - 260 calories

Pomme Lambic - 140 calories

Torta Rustica (not from the On The Rocks Kitchen, but too pretty to not post)

Cheesy Bierocks - 217 calories each

Turkey Burritos - 289 calories each

Pizza Chicken Bake - 462 calories

Recipe of the Week:
Horseradish & Fried Egg "Patty Melt" - 440 calories

2 eggs
8oz ground turkey
2oz sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
4 slices of whole wheat bread
2 tbsp prepared horseradish
1 tbsp deli mustard
pinch of salt, pepper, and chili powder

1. Combine ground turkey and seasonings. Form into 2 round, semi flat patties. Cook on non-stick skillet for 6-8 minutes, or until cook through.
2. In separate non-stick skillet, cook eggs over medium (with a dash of salt and pepper).
3. Layer bread with with mustard, horseradish, turkey patty, cheese and egg. Reheat in skillet for 3-5 minutes until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.
Makes 2 sandwiches, serves 2.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Last Week's Eats And "In Defense of Food"

Going forward with the new year, not only will I be posting my Dinners Under 500 Calories every week, I will also be trying to implement, address and criticize particular "rules" proposed by the James Beard Award winner and highly celebrated Michael Pollan, from his books "In Defense of Food" and "Food Rules".

If you are not familiar with Pollan and his work, he is not just a author and journalist, but is a active critic of the Western diet and lifestyle, corporate farming, and nutritionism. According to Pollan, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Cancer and Obesity can all be directly link to:

"the rise of highly processed foods and refined grains; the use of chemicals to raise plants and animals in huge monocultures; the superabundance of cheap calories of sugar and fat produced by modern agriculture; and the narrowing of the biological diversity of the human diet to a tiny handful of staple crops, notably wheat, corn, and soy".

Pollan isn't stating anything that we don't already know. But he presents his "food rules" in a simple, clever and direct way that we all can understand, and most of us could benefit from implementing many of these rules.

Though I am a fan of his work, I do believe that at times his elitist attitude and sometimes extreme political stance
stands in the way the practicality of his some of his rules. Not all of us can afford eating all organic or locally grown food, have the time to "do all your eating at a table" (most of us renters don't even own kitchen tables) and certainly many of us don't have the means to buy an extra freezer so that we can store pastured meat or even a "whole hog".

So, while I still HIGHLY recommend reading "In Defense of Food", I suggest taking all of Pollan's rules with a grain of salt. In the end, we all could benefit from eating cleaner: avoiding trans fat, added sweeteners, artificial colorings, flavoring or preservatives, pesticides, and processed foods
; and Pollan certainly didn't invent that idea. So as I continue to post Dinners Under 500 Calories , I will also continue to keep the dinners as "clean" as possible, yet still attainable by us "average" folk.

On to last week's eats:

Spicy Philly Steak (344 calories)

Apple Cinnamon Delight (120 calories)

Buffalo Chicken & Cheese Bake (388 calories)

Apple, Horseradish and Ham Grilled Cheese (260 calories)

Turkey Chili (223 Calories)

Dirty Martini ( I'm fully aware that this is not a meal...or at least it shouldn't be)
(150 calories)

Pear and Bacon Salad (333 calories)

Corned Beef with Roasted Potatoes and Cabbage (382 calories

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Cordon Bleu w/ Bacon and Brie - 377 calories
2 5oz chicken breasts
2 slices bacon
1 1/2 ounce brie
2 slices light ham
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp egg whites
2 tbsp honey mustard
pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder

1. Place chicken breasts on cutting board and wrap (loosely) with sarran wrap. Pound chicken breast until thin and flat.
2. Place 1 slice of bacon, 1 slice of ham and 3/4 oz of brie onto each chicken breast. Roll and wrap tightly. Secure with either toothpicks or string.
3. In one small bowl, mix flour and breadcrumbs and all seasonings. In second small bowl, mix egg whites and honey mustard.
4. Dip each wrapped chicken in egg and mustard mix, then coat with flour and breadcrumb mix.
5. Bake the chicken cordon bleu in 350 degrees oven for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy ...New Year?

Yes, I am a bit behind. But after the holiday travels and fiascoes, I needed a few days to cleanse my body and mind. I'm a big believer in ridding rid of all toxins that bring you down, being anything from too much sugar and alcohol to people with negative energy.

I definitely feel much lighter!

But the end of 2009 was still a time to celebrate and was filled with:

1. Home-cooked meals
2. Many of these
(peanut butter, caramel and chocolate covered pretzels)

3. Vodka. Champagne. Vodka.
4. Peanut butter puppy kisses.

5. Visiting our numerous families across the state
6. Recovering from visiting our numerous families across the state
7. Coping with vodka from visiting our numerous families across the state

I think you get the idea.

The end of last year's eats included the beginnings of my new blog project of "500 Calories and Under Dinners". Here is a preview of dinners to come:

Braised Garlic Chicken with Root Vegetables

Soy Meatball Whole Wheat Pizza
Mediterranean Beef Stew
Cream Cheese Sausage Stuffed Peppers

Sweet Potato Turkey Chili
I will be back later this week to feel you in on more On The Rocks eats, recipes, and puppies.