Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Name That Craving

Recently, I’ve realized that I don’t necessarily know how to accurately identify my cravings. I still have cravings but since I haven’t been eating a lot of the stuff I used to eat, I don’t know how to accurately identify what exactly I’m craving!

Last night, I seriously spent 20 minutes spacing out to TV while trying to identify what I wanted to eat- I knew it was cold, creamy and sweet. For the life of me I couldn’t figure it out! Milk? Cantaloupe? Gazpacho? I wandered to the fridge, the freezer, and for some reason, the pantry- which isn’t cold. It wasn’t until I looked in the garbage (don’t ask) and saw the empty tub of light non-dairy whipped topping (aka Cool Whip) that I realized I wanted ice cream- specifically, one of those rectangular graham-cracker ice cream sandwiches the ice cream truck sells. Duh! Alas, I had no ice cream in the house, so like a good weight watcher, I went to bed.

Tonight, I wanted something smooth, hot, and voluminous- the kind of food you take BIG mouthfuls of at one time. Again, I stood in the living room, spacing out while watching Farbrengiton practice until DH took me by the elbow and led me into the kitchen, where he asked me- ‘what do you want to eat? I can help make anything you want.’ (ain’t he sweet?) I looked at him with the most confused face and said, ‘I can’t believe it, but I don’t know! I can’t remember what this craving is for!’ So I finally ordered French onion soup and a burrito-like (8-point) dish from the local dive… Now, as I’m blogging, I realize I wanted a bowl of pasta- either mac & cheese or pasta with melted margarine and salt (an old-time low-income favorite of mine).

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Biggest Loser: Spoiler Warning!

Ok, it was bound to happen- someone asked for my opinion on the new 'reality' show, The Biggest Loser. I watched the first (and only, so far,) episode and really didn't feel that it was as offensive as I expected it to be. **tangent warning** For example, there's this other 'reality' show about this woman who supposedly wins $5 million from Ed McMahon, but she is supposed to be real mean and selfish about it towards her friends and family- if she succeeds in alienating everyone who means something at all to her, they get to share $25 million. Come on! What ‘reality’ is that?! **end of tangent**

The Biggest Loser is a game show about 12 overweight/obese people who are challenged to lose more weight than each other. There are initially two teams of 6 people each, and the team who loses less each week has to vote off one of their own members. The person who remains in the game the longest is ‘the biggest loser’, and wins, besides a new body/lifestyle/etc, $25,000.

The contestants’ weights ranged from 167 to 436 at their initial weigh-in. (Please remember that no heights were announced during the show, and 167 can be a completely healthy weight for some people). Each team has a diet to follow, and a personal trainer. Basically, it seems that they work out all day, and are provided with healthy food options. Note, healthy options… there are some not-so-hot options on the table, also. There was one ‘reward’ challenge the teams competed in- though I think they would have been better to call it a ‘penalty’ challenge. The team that won the challenge got to add 5 pounds to the other team’s weigh-in. (Why couldn’t they just have said they get to take 5 pounds off their own weigh-in? That’s a reward, rather then essentially penalizing the other team. Whatever- 6 of one, ½ dozen of the other- sorry there was no tangent warning.)

In the end, the team which lost the least weight during the first week voted off their smallest member- mostly because she had less to lose and therefore less to offer the team in a competitive sense. It’s a game, people- and these people are playing to win. Get over the offensive innuendos- it’s a freaking game!

So, do I think it’s offensive? Some people have said they’re just parading fat people around on TV. I don’t think so- Jerry Springer parades half-naked fat people around on TV; This show parades people losing weight on TV… I feel there’s a difference. Some people have suggested that it’s unfair to put people in front of the foods they love, when they’re trying to lose weight… In that regard, this show is reality. Life does not hold back- McDonald’s is around every corner, there’s a vending machine in every office, and there are twice as many junk food options which are kosher than there are healthy ones- get over it, temptation is in your face no matter what. If these people were not tempted and were only fed what they should eat, once they left the sheltered environment they’re currently in, they’d go right back to their previous habits without having learned anything.

The one thing I can concede even a bit is the team thing going on… Being a big Survivor fan, I know that sometimes the ‘wrong’ person gets voted off because of strategic alliances. Contestants will bring someone along because they’re stupid, they’re predictable, they’re not a threat, etc. In Survivor, so be it! In this game, however, I just don’t know how fair it is to people who earnestly are trying to lose weight. It’s a bit more personal. I’m just kinda holding onto the fact that this is a game show. I don’t think three more weeks will go by without there being at least one voting alliance based in strategy formed. Honestly, the ‘kindest’ player never wins these games- the person who wins The Biggest Loser, I predict, will not in fact be the biggest loser- he/she will be the person who played the game best, and that involves strategic voting, not weight loss.

I’m in for the next episode (Tuesday)- if I get disgusted, you guys will be the first to hear it!

**UPDATE** I just read the recap on the show's website- now that's offensive. The show in itself isn't, but the hyping of the show is another story. Sheesh!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I'm sorry, I'm simply not available...

I have to practice saying those six words when it comes to my exercise time. Just like I wouldn't be available to have coffee at 9:00 am on a Wednesday morning because I have to work, I simply cannot be available for anything else during exercise times. Something always comes up, and something always will, unless I make an uncompromisable appointment for exercise. And that's just what I'm going to do.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Core Golden Grahams

In my search for additional cereals which are core, I spent some time with my complete food companion and discovered Back to Nature's Hi-Fiber Multibran cereal. At first, I was skeptical- I keep picturing this fake commercial that was on Saturday Night Live probably 10 years ago where Phil Hartman was eating a stalk of wheat. But, seeing as Jewel was out of puffed wheat, and I'd already finished a box of shredded wheat that week, I threw this one in my cart to try it out. Lo and behold! It's like Golden Grahams! Kinda. Add some spenda and think golden-grahamy thoughts, it'll work! Anyways, it's O-U, D, and has 8 grams of fiber in a 1/2 cup serving. Try it out, it's going to become a staple in my kitchen.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Shabbat Shalom!

As is evidenced by my lack of posts, the chagim took a lot out of me this year. They added a lot on a spiritual level, but I started this week physically exhausted and near-completely off program. I steadied my eating, but still haven't caught up on sleep and work. Shabbat is a welcome respite, and tonight DH and I will be hosting friends from the old neighborhood in our new home. I'm not just excited- I'm geeked!

Dinner will be 100% core (with the usual exceptions for challah and wine). As a note to anyone in Chicago who reads this blog, check out the new kosher options at Jewel on Howard street between California & Kedzie. They have a deli, butcher, fresh fish & sushi, and a bakery. I picked up a pull-apart whole wheat challah at the bakery that looks amazing! The entire menu was purchased at Jewel- for under $100! Here's my menu- with flavors from the world over:

Challah (2 pts/slice)
Wine (2 pts/4 oz)
Teriyaki Salmon **recipe at bottom of post**
American Vegetable Salad
Mexican Guacamole
Israeli Salad
Moroccan Chicken
Provance Chicken with red potatoes **recipe at bottom of post**
Italian stewed Zucchini
Southwestern BBQ Tofu **recipe at bottom of post**
Frozen Banana-Strawberry Cups (~1 pt each) **recipe at bottom of post**

Teriyaki Salmon
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp brown sugar (I used brown sugar Twin)
2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 1/2 pound filet of salmon (or adjust the rest of the ingredients to match salmon)

Whisk 1st four ingredients. Place salmon on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Spread sauce evenly over salmon. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until fish is flaky inside. I prefer to serve cold with horseradish sauce on the side. Goes great on green salads, too.

Provance Chicken with Red Potatoes
(courtesy of Mark Bodzin)

2 1/2 - 3 lb chicken, or equivalent of bone-in chicken pieces.
2-3 lbs red potatoes, skin on, halved
1 cup white wine (only cook with wine you'd drink with dinner)
~3 Tbsp Italian seasoning (or use fresh herbs for best flavor- Rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, or any mixture of these)

Spray deep baking pan with olive oil spray (or brush with olive oil). Place chicken pieces in the pan, surround with red potatoes. Don't crowd the pan. Spray chicken and potatoes with olive oil spray. Pour in white wine (enough so the bottom of the pan is covered). Sprinkle seasonings on to chicken and potatoes. Cook uncovered at 350 for about one hour, or until chicken juices run clear.

Southwestern BBQ Tofu
1 package extra firm tofu, pressed, and cubed in 1/2 inch cubes
1 green pepper, diced
1 jalapeno (optional)
2 medium onions, diced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 16 oz. jar BBQ sauce, any flavor you like
1/2 cup water salt and pepper to taste
spike seasoning (optional)
2-3 tsp olive oil
cooking spray
1 cup white rice

Spray pan with cooking spray. Saute, peppers and onions, till onions are slightly caramelized (about 7 minutes), add garlic. Remove from pan and set mixture aside. Add 2-3 teaspoons olive oil, heat oil and add cubed tofu. Saute tofu till most pieces are lightly browned (about 5-7 minutes). Season tofu with spike seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Return onion, pepper mixture to tofu. Add jar of BBQ sauce and 1/2 cup of water. Stir, reduce heat to simmer. Allow sauce to reduce by half. Serve over steamed white or brown rice.

Frozen Banana-Strawberry Cups
2 bananas (very ripe)
1 cup strawberries
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tub light whipped topping (or 1 cup Rich's Whip before whipping)
1/4 cup almonds

1 cup fruit juice (I used orange-strawberry-banana. You can use any juice that would complement the flavors above)
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp sugar

Place bananas, strawberries and honey in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Empty into a med-large bowl. Fold in whipped topping. Line 12 muffin cups with tin foil liners. Place almonds in the bottom of each. Pour (or ladle) in the fruit mixture. Freeze until set.
Sauce: Bring all three ingredients to a boil over low-medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture boils and thickens. Cool.

Serve the frozen cups with sauce drizzled over and a dollop of whipped topping on the side. Fresh mint would be a great garnish if you want to get all fancy-shmancy!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The WI Routine

All Weight Watchers I know have a weigh-in routine. I have my routine. The most important aspect of this routine is the WI outfit. Temperature and weather notwithstanding, the WI outfit remains the same: just-below-knee-length khaki skirt, little short-sleeve t-shirt, beret. Today, the t-shirt is covered by a sweater and the skirt is augmented with knee-high leather boots as a nod to the cold, which will both be removed before stepping on the scale. My work ID and watch will also be removed lest they add 0.2 lbs to the readout.

The WI routine actually starts approximately 18 hours prior to the actual weigh-in, because a sodium-filled dinner the night before can reek havoc. Last night's dinner was couscous and sautéed mushrooms with garlic, thyme and balsamic vinegar and a banana. Water is key. The WI morning starts with a large coffee (or latte), because caffeine wards off hunger. Breakfast is delayed as long as possible, and is as light (in weight) as possible thereafter. Water is now limited. WI is at 12:30 p.m., and is immediately preceded by a trip to the washroom. I remove my vestments, stand on the scale with my hands on my hips, and take one deep breath. My weigher reports. I step down. The routine is complete, only to be repeated one week hence.

I weigh in today...

Monday, October 04, 2004

Core Recipe Forum

Sorry for the lack of posting lately- the chagim tend to exhaust me, and we still have one more three-day yontif to go! Oy, no more eating...

I did, however, find a new forum. So, for all you yahoo searchers looking for core recipes, check out the Core Recipe Forum at DWLZ. That is, if you don't like my recipes, of course.