Archive for February, 2012

Food Revolution Crispy Chili Polenta Cupid Cubes

February 29th, 2012 No Comments Tags: ,

I made this for my funny Valentine who goes mad over polenta. Yes he is very funny….. For years polenta has been an elusive dish I have likened to the holy grail of cornmeal…until now. I found this recipe while travelling. The twinkle in his eye tells me that it will become a regular item in our home!!

3 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp butter or soft tub margarine
1 tsp chili flakes
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Combine the chicken stock, butter and chili flakes in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the cornmeal while whisking constantly. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes or until the cornmeal has swollen, softened and thickened.

Spoon into oiled 8-inch square baking dish, smooth top and refrigerate until completely cold.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Turn polenta out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place about 1/2 cup more cornmeal in a flat dish. Add cubes of cooked polenta and toss to coat. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, turning occasionally, or until golden and crunchy on the outside.

Top with favourite combinations like goat cheese, sautéed mushrooms and sprouts; tapenade, tomatoes and thyme; and arugula, smoked trout and lemon zest. Makes 64 yummy pieces.

This was one easy recipe. Cupid surely shot an arrow into my funny valentine’s heart and mine because it was oh so simple. Ahhh polenta is truly a food that binds…. It’d also work great to fill cracks in your plaster :-)

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Trade-off Turnaround – Weekend Free for All

February 28th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Do you allow yourself limitless food-loving eating days? You know, the ole “it’s the weekend, we can eat what we want and we won’t stop for nobody!” Ya, those kind of days.

Oh for the love of the free for all eating frenzy. Well folks, listen up because all calories count, even on weekends, stat holidays, vacations, birthdays, anniversaries and wait, even leap years too. So, following the “trade-off” series theme I started back in November, 2011, here’s a weekend eater’s free-for-all scenario, so listen UP:

  • For some reason you have the all-or-none approach and gorge with gusto every weekend from TGIF to Sunday evening. Good grief! After the weekend you find yourself singing “Monday, Monday, da da, da da….” These uncontrolled binges can result in having an additional 3,000 calories/week (at least) along with a food and drink hangover and upset stomach to boot that’ll wear off by Wednesday. NOT good! Let’s say you decide to put a lid on this nutty noshing and drinking and splurge less to say 1,000 calories/week extra. Live it up, but not like it’s 1999 though….
  • Doing this regularly for the balance of the year can save you ~2,000 calories/week.
  • Doing this over an entire year can result in a 29 pound weight loss each year!

There are many ways to enjoy the weekend, for which eating is one of life’s joys of many. Mix it up a little and take the focus off overeating and onto something else. You may even feel good on a Monday morning too when you do!

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On a Roll Again…..

February 27th, 2012 No Comments

Well it’s been almost a month now of staying true to my mat routine written about February 1 and 6. I must say if I need to skip a day or so in the week, I certainly miss it. Yup you heard that right, I miss it…

I outlined generally what my routine was comprised of with the moaning and groaning that went with it. I’m surprised now how much easier it is to complete all of the repetitions I was doing previously. All that in a measly 7-11 minutes, I feel embarrassed to admit it, but it’s true.

It feels great to get back on the exercise bandwagon. I love my walks and try to squeeze them into my schedule by hook or by crook in addition to that mat routine. When I’m outside I can almost taste spring it’s so close. The chirping birds are chirpier the squirrels seem squirrelier and I feel the same way if I’m unable to fit each part of my routine in.

I was talking to my Auntie Ang a short while back and she told me that she does 10,000 steps a day. Wow-ee she’s in her 70′s and is committed to staying fit. What an inspiration her walking is for me as I’m sure she is for many!!

So if you’re rounding this month as we’re about to pull up into springtime still stuck in a rut, I say find a role model, any role model, get off your duff, bend and stretch and reach for the stars already. Cause nobody’s gonna do it for you and you’ll be better off when you do. Are you going to live life making excuses? Or are you going to create solutions? What’s it gonna be now?

Yes it sure feels grand to be back on a roll again……”de de, da da da, la la la la la, on a roll again….”

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Got Another New Drug – Burn-Off-Alot 2

February 25th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , ,

I heard that the FDA just approved a new anti-obesity drug. Perhaps it’ll be called Burn-Off-Alot 2! Because we live in a land where anything seems possible, we assume someday someone else will solve our dilemmas. The proverbial “they”….. Alas, “they” and we already know the solution to this Rubics Cube problem – burn more calories than you consume, repeat day after day, month after month until your weight is where it ought to be? It’s reality, albeit a harsh one for some.

Look, we can compare life to a game of Snakes and Ladders. Remember that one?? You roll the dice, hit a good tile with a ladder on the game board and move ahead a bunch of spaces…get a bad roll and you hit a snake and fall behind a bunch of spaces. Well a drug like this is like hitting the tile with the snake that really looks like a ladder, which eventually turns into a snake. Got it? Every miracle weight loss solution is the same. Not a ladder to success but a snake of a deal wrought with failure….eventually.

I find the most unfortunate part of this is that the user bares the brunt of the problems and feels something’s wrong with THEM when they yo-yo to lose then regain weight. The only thing wrong with this notion is the search for a miracle solution when there isn’t one.

The other thing we need to remember is we live in a land where ultra-slimness is idolized. I’m not sure if we even know what “normal weight” looks like if we bumped into it. I don’t know about your TV set or magazine advertisements, but mine are chocked full of images of skinny wenches. Aren’t yours? Anorexia nervosa is NOT in, nor has it ever been. If a Martian came down from outer space and took a look around, they might have a good argument on their hands on this topic. We’d all be better off finding a realistic comfortable weight to shoot for then stay there. Check out what the range of weight for your Body Mass Index is at the link in the right margin.

Now when this drug comes onto the market I can hear the laundry list of disclaimers already:

Burn-Off-Alot works best when you follow a 1,200 calorie/day diet and exercise 30-60 minutes/day. Avoid all fast food drive thrus while using Burn-Off-Alot. Avoid eating pillow sacks of junk food in front of the TV, especially after midnight or any serving the size of your head while taking Burn-Off-Alot. Drink enough fluids while taking Burn-Off-Alot. Jumbo Slushies do not qualify as one of these fluids. Burn-Off-Alot may cause sensations of satiety (i.e. feelings of fullness) so stop eating when you feel this sensation. Keep out of reach of children, especially the skinny ones….

The next thing we know the competition will launch False-Hope-to-Slim then Skinny-Genie-Tonic with the claim “magic in a bottle”. Whatever you do, don’t fall for it….

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Nan’s Food Revolution Roast Chicken in Orange Juice

February 22nd, 2012 No Comments Tags: , ,

I came home later from work the other day, yet again. I took 5 minutes to prep this to roast in the oven for the duration of my after work walk. By the time I got home, presto, dinner was almost ready!! My Mom used to make this super fast and easy dish when I was growing up. I’m not sure why I waited so long to try it myself. But I sure am glad I did! Give this recipe a try. Nothing can be easier and of course, it’s delish!

4-6 chicken pieces (legs, thighs, breasts with or without the skin)
season with salt, pepper, paprika and fresh Rosemary
3/4 cup orange juice
canola oil

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a 9×9 glass baking dish place all pieces of chicken spread out evenly in the dish then season each piece. Drizzle each with canola oil, then with the orange juice then roast in the oven for 40 minutes or until cooked through. Baste the chicken with the orange juice mixture at various intervals. Serve with a veggie or two and side salad. Enjoy!

I love trying out a new recipe that takes so little time to prepare yet tastes terrific. It brought back fond memories of my Mom making this during busy weeks while I was growing up. Happy 79th Mom!!

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Eating Out While On a Diet – Few Quick Tips

February 21st, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

A study conducted on eating out showed you CAN still manage to lose weight in the process. Ahhhh yes, something I have written about on T & T again and again. It’s catching on…..

Eating out has become a way of life for many given the many demands put on our time plus regular enjoyment we plan into our weeks. Gone are the days we say that it’s a mere treat and I can order what I want. Because when you go in without a plan too often you’ll come out with some unplanned weight gain to boot.

We already know the laundry list of strategies to use when eating out, from planning ahead, to looking up the menu and deciding your choices, to having a snack before you go to take the edge off, to ordering smaller portions and bringing home a doggie bag.

Watering Hole – I thought it would be helpful to highlight a few key strategies that can put your good intentions on ice in no time. The first is starting with the alcohol, such as wine before you even order – nay nay I say!! It’s way too easy to get that loopy, hap-dappy feeling if you down an icy glass of pinot gris way too quickly. I suggest you start with some sparkling mineral water and order your meal before you utter the words “bottoms up”.

Plan Your Limit, Stay Within It – Next is to decide ahead of time how many glasses of alcoholic drinks you plan to have before you go. I know it sounds like I’m a drill sergeant but if you don’t intersperse water with your happy-dappy hour bevy’s it’s too easy to double down that bottomless glass for which you’ll pay in spades in the morning with a not-so-sweet hangover and too many calories than you originally intended.

When you eat out regularly it helps to retrain your robot and remind yourself of these tips before you go and enjoy. A little bit of planning goes a LONG LONG way, that’s for sure and can keep you on track!

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UP Your Eating Satisfaction by Slowing Down

February 20th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

If you find yourself humming the tune “I can’t get no satisfaction” after eating you might want to shuffle the tune to “Slow down you move too fast”. I just read about a paediatrician who has joined the “Mindful Eating” bandwagon with a side order of mediation that Dr. Brian Wansink started a while back.

Life has become oh so fast where we zoom through life barely experiencing it, from eating, to working, to driving, to simply being – good grief. This seems to be the hallmark of this era in time, that’s for sure, hmmmmm.

I have written many times that it’s as important to focus on how we eat as what we eat and I continue to stand by that today. Too many diets zero in solely on the food when in the grand scheme of things we need to focus on our behaviour too, in spades. Eating more slowly is certainly a cornerstone to a holistic diet that focuses on the entire experience of eating, especially jacking up our experience of taste bringing more joy.

Take this past weekend for example. I was out for dinner and ordered soup and ravioli. When the waiter delivered my plate with 6, count ‘em 6 ravioli, my first thought was that I was going to leave dinner hungry. Then I tuned my attitude in and took my time. I cut each one into quarters. Douced each in the zesty sauce and turned down the speed to a crawl. In time my satiety cue registered “satisfied” in concert with my taste buds. Yes I got some satisfaction that’s for sure!!

Call it mindful eating or zen tasting; upping the joy of our food and the eating experience is surely one of life’s simple pleasures that many of us miss when we’re in living life on “fast forward”. So slow down, slow and steady wins the race!!

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Watch Your TONE – Stealth Routine to Healthy

February 19th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Whose Mom didn’t tell them to “watch your tone”?? In this context, however, adding stealth moves to your repertoire can help make you more toned, bringing a whole new meaning!!

My changed work routine has shaken up my usual habits and I have found ways to move in a few new moves all for the better. Given traffic is more stop than go, I take transit. Walking up and down stairs is a fine way to get your circulation moving when all you’re going to do is hurry up and wait when you get to the next station.

Walking to someone’s office and discussing work face-to-face ups the ante on connecting and getting your point across rather than flooding their e-mail box with yet another message.

Take the stairs if all you’re going is a few flights either way.

Avoid getting sucked in to the office eating vortex. If catering is ordered for a meeting, stick to your plan and zero in on the fruit and forgo the Naomi bars “just for today”.

Once you retrain your automatic robot it’s a perfect way to make it easier on yourself to be healthier. After all is said and done you’ll be more toned in the long run.

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Food Revolution Pasta Limone with Ricotta Cheese

February 16th, 2012 No Comments Tags: ,

Gotta love the pasta prima change up. This is a great idea if you’re planning to have a meatless night. You know that ole flexitarian change up??!! Give this pasta recipe a try and you’ll revitalize your meatless meal with no moaning from the peanut gallery.

1/4 cup butter or soft tub margarine
2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 Tbsp crushed garlic
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups 35% whipping cream
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh or frozen small green peas
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 finely chopped fresh basil or mint
1 lb fresh pasta
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet combine butter and sage. Heat over medium hight heat, stirring constantly until butter melts and sage starts to sizzle. Add garlic and sauté until it starts to slightly brown. Gradually pour in broth, cream and lemon juice for about two minutes or until it comes to a boil. Add the peas and return it to a boil for about 3 minutes or until it slightly thickens. Stir in the Ricotta cheese and cook stirring until it combines. Remove from heat.

In a large pot of boiling water cook pasta to the desired doneness. Add the drained pasta to the cream sauce in the pan and toss to coat noodles. Season with salt pepper and sprinkle parmesan cheese. Enjoy!!

Oh boy, I’ve got that lovin feeling for this recipe. I love a tomato sauce on pasta, but move your cheese and try a white sauce WITH cheese. I’m having my bella familia over to celebrate my Mom’s birthday this Sunday!! This is fit for a queen!!

Give this a try and let me know how it goes!!

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Slumberin’ to Slimmin’

February 15th, 2012 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

For the love of a weekend’s slumber! It got me thinking about the importance of getting enough sleep as part of your artillery to manage your weight. For many in this squeezed economic time, we try to burn the candle at both ends by working more making our To-Do list’s get longer. The last time I checked we’re not living on Jupiter where it’s revolution in 1 day is probably more than 24 hours. Here on planet earth we still only have 24 hours in each day.

Compounded to that are our not so bright strategies to artificially jump-start our energy levels with caffeine. Whether we’re doubling up on coffee, caffeinated soda-pop or energy drinks an accumulation of too much of the caffeinated stuff can wreak havoc on our sleep as well, for adults and kids alike.

I find when I travel through different timezones I’m adjusting to my new daily routine. When I feel drowsy I find my cues in a haze as I try to figure out what my body’s mumbling about – am I tired, am I hungry am I thirsty or what’s the story?? It’s easy to simply fall in the snack trap, mindlessly eat and hope for the best.

If you’re having trouble losing weights while you’re not getting your zzzz’s, start counting your sheep and make getting enough a higher priority. Trust me, you’ll be more productive when you do.

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