Something Different

Foodie Friday: Something Different

Hello People!

Before I began my blog, I always loved to cook and collect cookbooks.  Amazon really knows what kind of cookbooks I’d be interested in too; so the collection is quite large and ever growing.  Before I began this blog I also enjoyed just reading about food and how chefs interpret food for their customers. Some can be quite passionate about texture, flavor, color, ripeness, etc.  imagesOne of the books I stumbled upon during this food-reading-frenzy was Tamar Adler’s “An Everlasting Meal.”  OMG…this book is the bomb diggity of food reads!  I read a page out of this book every night before I go to bed just to calm myself down and remind myself that there are still good things left in this world.  Her prose is astonishing.  The way she weaves words and sentences together to describe what she likes to cook is mouth-watering.  It is nothing less than inspirational.

It’s not like a normal cookbook that only contains recipes matched with large high-def photos, which are highly styled. (It has no photos for the record)  It contains long written passages about food and different ways of preparing one type of food depending on what you are feeling or just what happens to be lying around in the fridge/counter/pantry. She teaches you how not to waste anything either.  Don’t throw out your water that you boiled your cauliflower in! It can be used as the basis of a flavorful soup that may or may not contain cauliflower.  Save excess oil that you sauté vegetables in as well.  That oil is now double flavored.  She says her fridge is loaded with little viles and jars full of mysterious contents dueUnknown to her “saving” technique. Making your food taste scrumptious is her goal.  No dry boring sandwich for her.  Load it up with melting mozzarella cheese and “garlicky greens.”  Never heard of that before? There are so many more creative ideas that frankly sound down-right delicious.

Why am I featuring this on a weight loss blog? Because it is all healthy food that she is recommending. Healthy food made to be out-of-this-world fabulous!  Losing weight or not, eating healthy, tasty food is a good idea.

Some quotes I like:

“Let the stock sit in the refrigerator overnight to give its fat time to rise to the top.  The following day, scoop the fat off with a spoon.  Save it in a jar.  Use it as you would butter or olive oil.  Once you have stock, you will have already half cooked a number of meals.”

“I taught a class in butchery one spring, instructing students in how to take apart chickens and remove bones from legs of lamb.  At the end of each class, because nearly everyone rejected my suggestion that bones go home with her, I took them home myself.”  Personal note: I have done this at friend’s homes where I take the bones home while being stared at like I’m a maniac.

A typical “recipe”: “Warm some garlicky sautéed cooking greens in a pan.  Find left-over roasted squash and season it with a little red wine vinegar, dig out some olives and a wedge of Parmesan cheese.  Put grits or polenta in a bowl, assemble your leftovers on top, drizzle with balsamic vinegar or olive oil, or broth, and grate it all heavily with Parmesan cheese.”

“Most of us regard beans with suspicion, as we do stale bread and cooking in water.  Prejudices are always best dispatched, but not always unfounded.  When food is boiled badly, it’s fair to turn away from it, and if stale bread isn’t cooked with, or toasted, but served dry and harsh, it’s awful.”

What to do if you overcook something: “Mash overboiled vegetables with a little butter and herbs and warm them slowly in a little pot, and call it mashed turnips, or mashed potatoes, or whatever it is you’ve mashed.  Or after mixing in butter and herbs spread it all into a buttered casserole, bake it until it starts to bubble, sprinkle the top with toasted breadcrumbs, return it to the oven until they brown, and serve it as a gratin.”

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Change in Plans

Exercise Monday: Change in Plans – The Ballet Beautiful Body

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Hello People,

When I started this blog, about my third post in, I talked about not wanting to develop muscles like a teenage mutant ninja turtle, and I still don’t want to do that. Unfortunately (for people like me), this seems to be the type of training that is extremely popular today with exercise.  Or, at least if you really dedicated yourself to being consistent with those types of workouts, that is the type of body you will develop. Look on YouTube; most of the workouts are squats, presses, pushups, lunges, etc., etc.  These are all well and good, and please don’t confuse my statements for thinking that I am against building muscle!  Creating more muscle tone  is the only way to develop a more shapely physique.  Otherwise, a dieter risks losing weight/fat, along with muscle, and becoming a much smaller version of their former fat self only just, well, smaller.  No way man!  I want muscle definition in my legs and butt.  I want to have the look of a race horse in the heat of the gallop. I just don’t care for that that stocky line-backer shoulder look that some of those popular trainer gurus (and I have featured a few here) have.

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For clarification, I am not speaking of the physique of a competition body builder.  That is an entirely different animal and I will never go there because it requires the use of illegal drugs, and, not to mention, hours in a gym everyday. It doesn’t matter if they claim they don’t take enhancements, there is no images-2possible way on the planet that a woman can develop muscles like that and not be half a man.  The testosterone levels in these gals is through the roof.  It comes at a cost too, it messes with fertility and all kinds of hormonal stuff. But, I’m sure you already knew that.

You know when you go to hug an old lady and she feels like a marshmallow pillow?  Or, if she doesn’t have a lot of plush on her, like one of my grandmas, she is bony and feels almost hollow to the touch?  Yeah, well that’s the effect of a person losing muscle tone as they age. It has been said that after around age 30 humans can lose up to a pound of muscle every year until we die.  No wonder these women feel like you are hugging a down comforter!  They literally don’t have any muscle in their bodies. In order for one to not have this happen and look like a misshapen rag doll, one must do weight or resistance bearing exercises to build and keep muscle.  It will help in your older years for balance as well, and I’m sure we allimages-3 know an old person who fell down and broke a hip because they have lost all sense of balance.

Well, back to the workouts.  You see, I sing in a trio and one of the people in the trio is a trained ballerina who now owns her own dance studio and teaches dance for a living.  She has been griping about having to go to a physical therapist to heal her broken knee (long story – it involved her falling off of a parade float) and the therapist doesn’t understand why she refuses to train her legs to move parallel to the floor (squats).  Her legs have developed over the years, through ballet, into a certain shape:

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This is not to be confused with this:

giant quads

giant quads

She is complaining (due to the healing process) that her legs don’t match anymore and wants to develop the lame leg to match the normal leg.  This can only be done with movements done for development in ballet – lateral motion, or side to side.  And it got me thinking, ballet dancers do have the best bodies around, in my opinion.  Do I want to look like this?:

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Or this?:

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So, my point is, decide what kind of physique looks good to you.  Research it.  Don’t just go to the gym and hop on the machines.  What do you want to look like for reals?  Cut some pictures out or print them out and design workouts that will get you that look.  For me, it is a lot of barre work, floor exercises, and tons of lateral movement with nary a squat in sight.  All movement in ballet has the feet “turned out” from the hips:

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This develops those dreamy long thighs dancers have.  What do you think?  Do you like this type of look? If not, what then?

What to Eat?

Inspirational Sunday: What to Eat?

Decisions, Decisions...

Decisions, Decisions…

Hello People!

Well, it is that old day of rest, Sunday, and usually it is a day for planning out what will be happening in the week ahead.  One thing I try to do is to plan out each and every meal and snack that enters my mouth for the entire week (read: 7 days) on Sundays.  I also write those meals/snacks down on a chart and hang it on the refrig so I am not tempted to eat out.  The other trick is to not have any other option lying around to eat.  If I have multiple options for lunch, I will want to go for the easiest option that tastes the best.  Planning and preparing my meals ahead makes this easier and not having another choice of lunch staring at me in the cooler makes it a no brainer.

Just to give you some inspiration for making healthy meals (and you should be MAKING your healthy meals, not buying them) may help give you (and certainly me) the push to plan and create them.

Veg/Chix Stir-Fry w/ Brown Rice & Cherries

Veg/Chix Stir-Fry w/ Brown Rice & Cherries

Grilled Fish w/ Lemon

Grilled Fish w/ Lemon

Rice Cakes w/ Hummus

Rice Cakes w/ Hummus

Omelette w/ Veg & Herbs

Omelette w/ Veg & Herbs

Grilled Chix w/ Potatoes & Raw Veg

Grilled Chix w/ Potatoes & Raw Veg

Tzaziki Sauce (Yogurt)

Tzaziki Sauce (Yogurt)

Bean Soup

Bean Soup

Fruit Smoothies

Fruit Smoothies

Turkey with Fall Vegetables & Brown Rice

Turkey with Fall Vegetables & Brown Rice

Grilled Pork Loin Skewers

Grilled Pork Loin Skewers

Poached Salmon w/ Corn and Zucchini

Poached Salmon w/ Corn and Zucchini

Black Bean Soup w/ Corn Bread & Salad

Black Bean Soup w/ Corn Bread & Salad

Apple, Cheddar & Walnuts

Apple, Cheddar & Walnuts

Healthy Burrito & Oranges

Healthy Burrito & Oranges

Sourdough Toast, Hard Boiled Egg & Plum

Sourdough Toast, Hard Boiled Egg & Plum

Oatmeal w/ Cinnamon

Oatmeal w/ Cinnamon

Roasted Chix & Veg, w/ Brown Rice

Roasted Chix & Veg, w/ Brown Rice

Fruit for Dessert

Fruit for Dessert

Rotisserie Chicken

Rotisserie Chicken

Kitchen Sink Salads

Kitchen Sink Salads

Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail

Pan-Seared Fish w/ Mango Salsa & Salad

Pan-Seared Fish w/ Mango Salsa & Salad

Are you hungry yet?

I’m Back….!

Hello People!

So sorry it took forever to get back here. Uhhh! Too much was happening, but that is over now.  My computer is fixed and I am back from a stressful 2-week trip back east (Jersey Shore/Cape May area) singing.

So I weighed myself yesterday thinking that, due to my stress on the trip, I would have gained a ton of weight due to some not so amazing food choices I made a few times.  Well, I did ok, and for that I can be proud.  I am down 5 pounds from my initial weight and have 21 more to go.  I also re-measured myself and wrote down those numbers on a chart that I keep in a binder.  Everyday I am reading an “Agreement of Resolution” that I wrote to myself making myself promise, on a daily basis, that I stick to my goals.  I have my goals clearly written in it and it is signed and dated.  Here is a pix of it:

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I borrowed/used this idea from Brenda Leigh Turner’s online book that I bought directly from her on her website http://www.leansecrets.com.  I encourage anyone who needs a major kick in the pants for a re-boot on losing weight to buy it (it’s only $27.00).  There is valuable info in there.  It was my reward that I promised myself that I would buy when I returned from my trip.  I love her ideas, especially drinking a gallon of water a day…that’s right!  It helps with cravings like nothing else.

I hope you are on your weight-loss/healthy lifestyle way and not letting anything stop you.  Keep going, and when the going gets tough: pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again!