Tag Archives: chicken

Special Order with a Smile

7 May
Sally special orders her food

In “When Harry Met Sally,” Sally special orders everything to suit her personal tastes without any hesitation when making the requests.

When you’re dieting, it can be tough to have fun going out with friends who aren’t dieting. Instead of staring at a restaurant menu feeling guilty, get creative. If you’re polite and kind, pretty much any restaurant will let you special order something to suit your needs. (Check out this great scene from “When Harry Met Sally” when Harry first hears how Sally special orders everything. Love it!) Here are some ideas to help you special order when you’re out so that you can keep losing weight:

  • Order a combination of small items from the appetizer and side dish sections of the menu. For example, you can get an appetizer of shrimp or small pieces of chicken and combine that with a small side of a favorite veggie. This way, you’re not getting the huge entree-size portion and you’re only eating one side dish instead of also having a roll, soup, potato with butter, etc. Continue reading
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5 Reasons to Grill Everything!

30 Apr
teriyaki and pineapple chicken

Grilled chicken with teriyaki sauce and pineapple slices. Delectable.

It’s mid-morning on Monday and I’m still full from all of the BBQ we ate this weekend at my folks’ house a little over an hour’s drive from our home. I didn’t overeat. Everything was cooked beautifully on the grill. And now I’m reminded that BBQ can be incredibly filling. I know it’s technically spring, not summer, but we’re having such beautiful weather lately that it feels like summer already…or maybe that’s my sunburn talking.

While my mom’s husband grilled–he’s extremely talented at the grill–my mom, my husband, and I spent most of our time in the pool working up an appetite. When the weather turns warm like this, it’s impossible to not be outside running around, gardening, swimming, or just enjoying the sunshine. All of those activities require good food to keep you going and lots of water to keep you hydrated…between these gorgeous strawberry daiquiris, that is.

robert strawberry daiquiris

My mom's husband made these perfect strawberry daiquiris for us while we were lounging in the pool. Life is good these days!

[Side note: Most, if not all, diets and nutritionists will tell you to not drink alcohol when you want to lose weight because it’s nothing but “empty calories.” This is one of those diet rules I’m dropping–and I think it’s safe to say that Vita is with me on this one. First of all, pretty much anything in moderation isn’t going to affect long-term weight loss. Secondly, diet-related restrictions tend to bring out the rebel in us; and I want my diet choices to be things that I can maintain in the long-term (I know I’m not going to give up all alcohol forever). Thirdly, you can choose to have an alcoholic drink instead of a high-calorie snack and still be within a healthy daily calorie-intake amount. And finally, I know I was burning calories while swimming around so I’m not worried about the calories in a drink.]

Grilling is an excellent cooking method for several reasons, especially if you’re trying to lose weight without boring your taste buds. Here are my five reasons to grill everything:

1. Food tastes better outside. Haven’t you ever noticed how great food tastes at a picnic or in the backyard on a summer evening? Maybe it’s because all of the senses are heightened and stimulated by the outdoor environment. Whatever the reason, I know that those meals are special and worth repeating as often as possible.

2. Fat drains off. Regardless of how you like your meat cooked, grilling offers a way to drain off excess fat that other cooking methods can’t match. Think off all the fat that sits in your broiler or the oil that you put in a frying pan when you cook on the stove or even in the oven. Now think of how wonderful the grill smells as the fat burns off and your meal comes to the table perfectly cooked with those grill marks.

3. Total control. When you cook at home, you are in total control of what goes into the meal and into your body. When you grill, you are assured that your meat is cooked exactly the way you want it (I like mine extra well done) and that any sauces or marinades you use are in line with your personal tastes. I’ve had teriyaki chicken at restaurants that was just awful because they used a crappy marinade. Grilling also provides such a unique flavor on its own that you don’t need to rely on a lot of oil, salty seasonings, or additives because the right taste is seared in by the flames.

4. You can grill almost anything. Our weekend was filled with burgers, steaks, chicken, corn on the cob, and more, all cooked on the grill. It was so efficient and tasty. My mom and her husband use their grill all the time and we were more than happy to help this weekend. It kept us all outside enjoying the weather and each other’s company. Corn grilled in its husk is so delicious. My mom’s husband does a great job balancing and cooking everything to perfection. He even toasted the burger buns on the grill, which is an amazing flavor-enhancing touch! The only things we didn’t grill that we ate this weekend were the baked beans, veggie toppings for the burgers, and popcorn. (My mom’s husband even reheated some leftover pizza on the grill because it was efficient and made the crust nice and crispy without burning it.)

5. It’s budget-friendly. We felt so spoiled eating all those delectable, grilled meals because the cost of eating steak, giant burgers, and teriyaki chicken like that in a restaurant day and night would be way beyond our budget. Think of the cost of steak dinners for four people at your favorite steak restaurant (plus the gas to get there, the wait time, sales tax, and tip). Now, think of the four pack of steaks you can get at the grocery store, some potatoes, corn, and salad fixin’s, and the fun of grilling with the family. It’s an easy choice, in my opinion. Plus, clean up is easy too. There are no oily pans to scrub. Take care of your grill and it’ll take care of you.

The only non-healthy foods we ate were the macaroni salad, potato salad, and BBQ potato chips. However, I was so content and full with dinner that I didn’t have seconds and I didn’t have any dessert. I think that those choices, combined with the physical activity, balances out pretty well in my favor. I’m not worried about it. By the way, a perfect low-cal snack for a summery evening after BBQ is homemade popcorn! My mom pops the yummiest popcorn on the stove with just a little oil and some salt and it tastes better than anything you can get at the store (and it’s not bad for you).

Have a wonderful grilling season, everyone! What’s your favorite thing to grill? Let us know in the comments section.

–Michelle

“The Best Ever!” Russian Borsch Soup Recipe

25 Apr

If you were to ask me to name three traditional Russian dishes I would say, without any hesitation, they are pelmeni, blini (blintz), and borsch. Pelmeni are a variation of dumplings and usually made with a meat inside; blintz are very thin pancakes and are exactly like french crepes or Brazilian panquecas. So  even though any Russian person would say that these two dishes are truly from Russian cuisine, there are still variations of it that can be found throughout the world. However no matter how hard you try to find any dish resembling borsch, I bet you, your search would give no results. Therefore, I can definitely say that borsch truly has a Russian origin and actually is made in Russia very often on an everyday basis.

So what is borsch? Continue reading

Vacation Eating: East Coast Edition

10 Apr

We only get to go to New Jersey to visit my husband’s family about once a year because it’s hard to budget for the airfare these days. But when we get there, it’s a whirlwind of house-hopping to see each of his FIVE brothers, his mother, his aunt and cousin, and our friends in the area, all set to the sounds of merengue, salsa, bachata, and hip hop, and the smells and tastes of Peru, Brazil, and Newark. It’s always an amazing time. I fell in love with Newark when I moved out there to go to college…and then I fell in love with my husband, whom I met there. His family moved to Newark when he was a little kid. Being from the west coast, it was a crazy culture shock at first

Newark bridge

A Newark bridge on a cold, overcast morning.

to move to Newark, but after the first week, I knew I’d found a new home. I spent nearly five years there before we decided to move to Los Angeles for a while. It’s an area that has a little bit of everything from nearly every part of the world…with a distinct New Jersey attitude about it. Plus, it’s only a 15-minute train ride from Manhattan, which is awesome, of course.

Newark sunny

Newark on a bright sunny day during our trip. Beautiful springtime.

I can imagine us moving back there someday, but LA is my home too, so we envision a life of living in several places in the future. As long as we’re together, home is where your heart is, right? Anyway, my point is that we have a blast when we go there. And a lot of the fun and visiting is centered around food, which is a terrific, bittersweet problem to have because everything tastes great but I’m trying not to eat too much. When you’re around family and on vacation, it can be extremely difficult to not over-indulge or even feel pressured by others to eat more, as I described in this previous post. For example, practically the first words out of my Peruvian mother-in-law’s mouth were, “Estas rellena. Toma, come,” which, loosely translated means she told me I looked like I had filled out (was a little heavier) than when she last saw me and then she told me to eat the huge plate of food she was handing me. She cracks me up. I love her to death and she’s an awesome M-I-L, but how am I supposed to eat after being told I look ready-to-have-babies heavy? Ha! Because she raised six boys, bless her heart, she typically overloads a plate for me–even if I tell her it’s too much, she insists I eat it–so sometimes, when my husband finishes his plate before me, I’ll switch my half-eaten plate with his empty plate when no one is looking. :) He happily eats more, I sit there happily stuffed.

I noticed a few general diet-saboteurs that occur when traveling:

Continue reading

Holiday Weekend — Passover Dinner

9 Apr

This wonderful weekend started for us with an invitation from my husband’s best friend to celebrate Passover this Friday at his family’s house, and knowing his mom’s amazing cooking in no way possible could we refuse it. Simi has such a strong personality, full of positive energy, that it seems like she’s filling everything around her with it, her beautiful bright home, people around her, and especially her cooking. I have never been at a Passover dinner before, thinking that it would be just a festive version of Sabbath, that they usually invite us to. If only I would have known just how exactly festive it would be, I wouldn’t have eaten for a whole week in advance. The holiday of Passover commemorates the freedom of Jewish people from the enslavement of Egyptians. It lasts for seven days, during which no food that contains leavening agents is allowed. A symbol of the Passover holiday is a Matzah, flat bread made solely from water and flour, that looks and tastes just like a big cracker.

Continue reading

The Snack Monster

5 Apr

Late at night, when a hush falls over the city and the moon rises high in the sky, a throaty howling screech pierces the calm. Ripping, shredding, gnawing noises cause people to wake from their sleep, cats to arch and hiss, and the sirens of the police start blaring.

I wish I could say it was an attack. A single, isolated event in which I was the victim. But the  dark truth is that last night I was not mauled by a monster, I became the monster…the snack monster. Just past midnight, I felt my hair frizzing, my eyes widening, my stomach grumbling, and my mouth salivating for anything I could find that was salty or sweet.

The Snack Monster

Late last night, Michelle became...The Snack Monster! Illustration by Michelle.

 

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