Sunday, August 28, 2011

Polenta Party...take 2.

A few weeks ago I had one of my besties visit from Kansas.
Having seen the original Polenta Party published on this blog (Oh yeah! I got followers woop woop!), she was excited to be a part of another. Here are some of our creations and some great ideas for party food. The next person to visit and request a Polenta Party will get the honor of deviating from the pre-made packages of polenta (which are still delicious and very convenient) and graduating with me to a baked home made dish.

Obviously not all these versions are hypo/Swank friendly, but the best part of a Polenta Party is allowing people to make versions that they like and can enjoy.

Polenta cream cheese, ham and dill pickle
Polenta, ham, dill pickle, pepper jack and spicy mustard

Polenta, cream cheese, chicken and jalepeno

Polenta, cream cheese, bacon and cheddar

Polenta, chicken, pepperoni, cheddar, pizza sauce, parmesan

Polenta, chicken, mango salsa and jalepeno

Monday, August 15, 2011

Breakin' the rules

When is it ok to break the rules? Is it ok to cheat on your diet occasionally?
I've convinced myself that enjoying a toasted marshmallow, or allowing portion control to fly out the window occasionally is ok.
90% of the time I follow the Hypo Rules but I allow myself that 10% to enjoy special occasions. Is that wrong? I'm really not sure what to think at this point.

This weekend we stopped at a Mexican restaurant before our long drive home, and a friend made a comment that really stuck. After reading every item in the 6 page menu I was very frustrated. I signaled to the husband that I needed help finding something "safe". That's when the friend chimed in with "Why don't you just cheat like you did last night with the marshmallows?"
Wow...what do you say to that?  I know it was meant to be "You are on vacation, relax with all the rules." But it really got me thinking. Obviously cheating is bad. The rules that I follow are there for a reason, but here's how I look at it:

1) Some rules are more important than others. If I don't eat my required veggies and fruits at each meal it will not effect me the way that Pop Rocks and a can of Coke will.

2) Occasionally portions can be thrown out the window. If 90% of the time you follow the strict 1200 calories a day, allowing yourself to splurge is ok every once in a while. Sitting in a restaurant and portioning out food leaves me feeling deprived and jealous and angry. If I go into the meal thinking that I am allowed to eat until I am full like everyone else...well I feel better about my situation. That does not mean that overindulging is ok, however I am guilty of that this weekend as well. (Lesson learned after the most uncomfortable 4 hour car ride ever!)

3) Hypo rules and MS rules are not equal. Both sets of dietary restrictions are important. But if given the choice between a marshmallow (can you tell I love marshmallows) and buttery popcorn. I will choose the marshmallow (I love them sooo much). Breaking a hypo rule will have me feeling different right away...and I know how to fix it. Breaking an MS rule, with red meat, or butter or other fatty food isn't something I feel right away. I avoid those things actively because I do not want to have another MS episode, and because I believe that these changes will make a difference in my long term health. 

4) Use small cheats to avoid big binges. Let's talk about marshmallows again. My willpower could allow me to resist the deliciously toasted gooeyness, but I promise you that my mind will stay on them for weeks. You might be talking to me about family, boy drama or work woes but all I see is a giant talking marshmallow in front of me. It won't take much longer for me to bust out the Weber grill at home and toast till the bag is gone. Same with hand full can prevent me from sneaking the bag out to the garage for some solitary snacking.

I guess this is all boiling down to tracking and accountability. After the most disappointing weigh-in since starting this new lifestyle I feel the need to prove to people that I follow the rules. I'm aware that I don't need to literally show people what I eat constantly, but it would be nice to say "I am allowed this treat and I can prove it." I was once great about documenting everything I ate, but as I got comfortable with my food choices, I stopped. So back to the tracking I go...but I'd love to know your opinions on diet cheating.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Grilled Swordfish

It was a case of the confused dinner. He thought I said grilled chicken for dinner, I said grilled chicken for tomorrow night (duh, it has to defrost). How we ended up with a swordfish fillet is a mystery...

Ok, it isn't a mystery. The husband was picking up milk after a phone call revealed our confusion and on a creepy walk-by of the meat department he saw it was on sale.

It all worked out in the end, and it turns out swordfish is pretty darn good.

There are a few reasons why I sit here in adoration:
1) Tastes like chicken, but is super moist.
2) Absorbs flavor very well.
3) Low in calories, high in protein.

Here's what the magician whipped up:
 Grilled Swordfish
1 tablespoon garlic
1/4 tablespoon basil or 1 tablespoon fresh, finely chopped
1/4 tablespoon dried mint or 1 tablespoon fresh, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup lemon juice
2 swordfish fillets (about 12 ounces total)

Heat the grill to a nice medium-high heat. Whisk garlic, basil, mint, oil, and lemon juice together in a medium bowl. Brush the swordfish steaks with the mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper, put that side face down on the grill. Brush and season the remaining tops and flip once while grilling. This takes about 3 minutes per side. Enjoy!

By the way, the FDA recommends that young children, pregnant women, and women of child-bearing age not eat swordfish because the high levels of mercury.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Vegetable Mind Games-Eggplant

When I picked up my CSA basket and saw purple I wasn't sure if I should be excited or bummed out. Eggplant was something I had been hoping for... but I didn't think that through. What on earth do you make with this stuff?!? So after several days of staring at the alien looking bulb that hid in my fridge and scouring the internet, I devised a plan. Ratatouille. Not knowing what eggplant would taste like on it's own, I figured hiding it in with other veggies I already liked would be smart. (Aka; I could pick it out if it was nasty and eat the rest of the veggies.)
Now, I'm not the type of person to carefully layer veggies and wait while it bakes so I knew that I needed something easier. In fact, if I was gonna make ratatouille, it needed to be quick enough to make during the week, and tasty enough that I would want to. After consulting a co-workers wife, Regana, who is not intimidated by alien looking vegetables, the Weeknight Ratatouille was born.

Weeknight Ratatouille
1 eggplant
4 zucchini (or 2 zucchini and 1 large yellow squash)
1 onion
3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
1 package sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 tomatoes (depending on size)
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Chop the eggplant and zucchini into bite sized pieces. Slice the onion into strips.  Add olive oil to a very large skillet and add the eggplant, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, garlic and seasonings. Saute until the eggplant is brown. Chop the tomatoes into bite sized pieces. Add those tomatoes and the can of stewed tomatoes to the pot with the veggies. Cook another 10-20 minutes. I personally like to eat this over rice, couscous or on a piece of whole wheat toast, but it is really good on its own.

There is nothing in this dish that is considered a starchy veggie, all the veggies in this dish actually count as veggies! One word of caution though... it is REALLY easy to overeat on this because it's so good. One serving is 1/2 cup. If you have it for dinner you can get away with 1 cup to fulfill the 2 veggie requirement. If you manage to eat 1 1/2 cups don't beat yourself up...just count it as your carb for that meal.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...