Thursday, January 29, 2009

New in My Kitchen: Fennel

Weight Watchers has been the way I'm living since about 5 months ago. As such, Raquel eats a lot of what I eat plus other stuff that she loves. She is being exposed to some semi-sophisticated ingredients while also enjoying her macaroni and cheese in the blue box. For the most part, she likes what I cook.

My diet consists of foods from a specific list which excludes added-sugar, bread and alcohol. It forces me to try new things and try to present the same-old-same-old in new ways. Avoiding boredom is super important to sticking to this lifestyle. The newest item in my fridge is fennel or anise (not sure why it has two names). I think it's pretty. If celery and onion were to have a baby, this is what it would look and feel like but the taste is completely in a class of its own. Tastes like black licorice with a refreshing hint of citrus. When the oranges in my yard are ripe I'm going to prepare them together, maybe in a salad. But for now, I sautee or roast the fennel with carrots, salt and pepper. You should try it!
Since I gained a little weight last week, this week I'm making up for it, cooking strictly healthy foods for myself and whoever else feels like eating what I cook. I consider this week a big success in regards to losing weight and being a creative cook.

Homemade sushi is really fun to make and it's pretty simple. I make up my own recipe and put whatever I happen to have in the fridge inside the roll. I use brown rice, which isn't as tasty as sticky white rice *drool* and it also makes it more difficult to cut clean slice as the rice kinda falls out a bit but it's still managable. Nori is a staple in my fridge. It is easy to find at a regular grocery store in the Asian foods section. No need to locate a specialty store. Raquel loves it when I make sushi. Although I love to eat sashimi at Japanese restaurants I do not use raw ingredients in my homemade sushi as I have not found a trustworthy source yet.

My favorite vegetable is brussel sprouts. I was buying them frozen and cooking them in the microwave but have recently discovered how delicious they are when bought fresh and sauteed with fresh garlic, salt and nutmeg. The nutmeg really brings out their spiciness--something you don't taste in the frozen variety. Raquel likes them, too!
My strategies for eating healthy...

  • Prepare a big pot of brown rice in the morning. Zap portions in the microwave for meals the next 2 days.

  • Buy only whole grain pasta if you want pasta. Don't buy "multi-grain" because that does not necessarily mean whole grain. My favorite brand is Heartland.

  • If you like ground beef (burgers, tacos, meatloaf) make sure it has no more than 7% fat.

  • Buy frozen veggies when they're on sale. Stock up. You can keep them a long time while you figure out how best to prepare them and make them flavorful.

  • Pretend sandwiches don't exist. (no bread, no deli meat)

  • Search the internet for recipes first, then go get your ingredients at the store.

  • Be aware of expiration dates on fresh meat and store them in the fridge accordingly (stuff you should eat within the next day or so should be right in front while stuff that can wait 6 days should be towards the back)

  • Nonfat sour cream isn't half bad. Try it on a baked potato with I Can't Believe Its Not Butter Spray.

  • Stock up on frozen fruit when it is on sale. You can use it in so many ways: mixed in oatmeal (the heat makes them soft), homemade fat-free parfaits, homemade smoothies.

  • Dennisons Turkey Chili is delicious and it is on sale for $1/can at Vons right now. I melt a slice of fat-free cheese on top of it.

  • Eat eggs. Figure out ways to make them different every time you eat them.

  • When you're hungry at night before bed time, drink a big glass of nonfat milk.

I could keep going! If this post bored you, sorry :)

1 comment:

Iris said...

All great advice!!!!