Tag Archives: dieting

the rewards of refuse: my culinary revelations

My husband is big on throwing things out in the kitchen. If the ketchup, mustard or mayo gets low enough that it takes a bit of work to get the last few servings out of the container-he’ll throw the whole thing in the recycling, remaining food and all.

I am the exact opposite. I’ll spend far too much time and effort to get out every last drop. I’ve even poured the hot tea water into the bottom of the honey jar, then poured that into my tea to get every last morsel of honey out. What can I say? I don’t waste. I have a father who was raised by a single mother during WWII. I grew up hearing the stories of rationing and how there was no real butter. I guess that stuck with me.

So when I saw that mustard container sitting on the windowsill waiting to be carried to the recycling bin at the curb, I took back the mustard! I’m involved in this Romance’s Biggest Winner weight-loss challenge, and I knew I’d be having lots of salads over the next few weeks. I saw that mustard and thought what a perfect way to make some homemade salad dressing. I poured into that mostly but not quite empty mustard container some red wine vinegar, olive oil, a dash of water, a pinch of grated parmesan cheese, some fresh finely chopped garlic, a single dash of Worchestershire sauce, a touch of salt and pepper . Then I closed the lid and shook it all together.

I’ve been enjoying that dressing over romaine hearts. Sometimes I add grilled chicken breast. Last night for dinner I added garlic shrimp. That mustard dressing has lasted me all week long and the silly man almost threw it away! But I have to forgive him because he’s also the one who went out Sunday and returned home with bags of real wood Barbecue chips. Oh. My. God. Plain old boneless skinless (tasteless) chicken breast grilled over a combination of mesquite and apple wood chips is AMAZING! It’s unbelievable what simply cooking over these chips rather than with gas or charcoal can do to the flavor, all without adding any calories or fat. I’m ready to cook all our food like this. Fish. Steak. Everything! I daresay these woodchips may be my new favorite thing. Crazy thing is, my father probably disposes in the compost pile buckets of similar chips from his sawmill and we’re paying to buy it in tiny bags. I’ll have to investigate this…

So those are my two culinary revelations this week–cooking with stuff that could have been thrown out. LOL Let’s see if I can keep up both the diet and the food discoveries for another week. Fingers crossed because beware, it’s Girl Scout Cookie season.


sexy dieting?

I know being on a diet doesn’t sound sexy at all, but let me try to sway your opinion.

First, and most obvious, I know I will personally feel a lot more sexy once I take off these 10 pounds of winter/holiday weight I somehow mysteriously put on. Jeans that are snug to cup the booty are one thing, but jeans that are too snug because you gained weight are quite another. So there’s that, but there’s also this…when I’m on a serious diet I actually eat well. It sounds very strange but it’s true. When I’m not on a diet, I don’t take care of myself. I’ll eat last night’s dinner leftovers of spicy fried Chinese dumplings for breakfast while I’m checking my emails. For lunch I’ve been known to eat a handful of nuts, also while at the computer working. But when I’m consciously on a diet trying to lose weight, I eat like a princess. I food shop. I cook. I sit at a table. I plan menus. I make homemade soup and eat green salads with tasty and creative homemade dressings. Total turnaround.

Yes, being on a diet is a lot more work, and more money, and more time, with shopping for the fresh ingredients rather than scouring the old cans in the closet looking for whatever is the least amount of work. But eating right, and on a plate at a table, almost makes me feel like I’m out at a restaurant, out on a date.

That’s why I’m not too worried that as of March 1st, I am part of Romance Biggest Winners 2. It’s a weight loss competition comprised of romance readers and authors placed on teams to support each other to lose whatever amount of weight they want/need to over the next 6 months. Some of the girls are blogging their experience and I thought I might pop in here with an update or a recipe once in awhile. It’s a nice concept to have us band together in teams, since both reading and writing can be very solitary occupations.

Today, I’d thought I’d include the instructions for my new favorite quick healthy food, Arugula Salad. When I used to try to eat Arugula as if it was regular lettuce, I hated it. It tasted a bit like grass clippings when I tried to use it instead of Romaine Hearts in a salad with dressing. Then I saw a recipe on ABC’s The Chew for Arugula and tried it, and it made all the difference in the world.

Maybe the strong flavor of the Arugula needs the tartness and the acidity of the lemons. I don’t know, but my mouth waters just thinking about this salad. Give it a try. It’s so green and fresh tasting, I feel healthier just from eating it.


Put a generous couple of handfuls of fresh Arugula in a bowl. Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons good quality Olive Oil. Squeeze in the fresh juice of one half a lemon. Sprinkle with coarse salt (Kosher or Sea Salt, I hate using fine salt on food) and fresh ground pepper. If I have grape tomatoes I’ll add a handful of those. That’s it. Perfect with a steak, or a crab cake for a light lunch or dinner.