Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Healthy Obsessions


Whole grain with what seems like a made up name. Actually, a lot of the whole grains and their derivatives have odd names. Polenta, funky name and all, is made from corn and corn is...a whole grain!

(Remember the whole popcorn thing).

Corn's high sugar content and low supply of vitamins and minerals (low when compared to other grains) lets it get second billing. It's like that underrated opening act for a headliner. Sometimes, we just want the main event, and it's years later before e see the talent in the other acts. Polenta is just like that. Been around for some time, but during the whole "peasant food is chic" phase, it gained some hype.

I'm here to hype it further.

Polenta can also be sold as cornmeal, or as I call it, yellow grits. (Whenever I have to explain what it I'm eating to a co-worker, as soon as I call it yellow grits I see a light bulb appear over their head.) This makes it very affordable, and easily available. I tend to get the tube of organic polenta from Trader Joe's, but the cornmeal also can be cooked, and then cooled to use the same way.

Lately, my fav thing to do with polenta is to flavor build pizza to it. So, basil & tomato veggie burgers and chicken sausages have been my background. Then I've added baby spinach, low-fat cheese, fire-roasted tomatoes, and heat the sucker up. Sooooooooooooooooo good. No cooking required either. Home made can also be made at home, if you ask me, and sometimes it's just as good.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Foodprint: Dishing

DessertTruck Works.

I have to confess. There's highly likely there's nothing nutritionally beneficial about dessert truck works.

Whew. I feel so much better.

Firstly, one must hike down to DessertTruck works, one of the standing, erm, stands of NYCs infamous food trucks (Wafle & Dinges, TacoTruck, Etc.), if the truck's not about. Or, if you want to sit somewhere whilst desserttrucking. I went for the bread pudding. Mmmm. Bread...mmm........pudding (insert further Homer Simspon drool here) because it has BACON CUSTARD SAUCE.


Each word deserved its own line break, okay?

You can request the sauce on the side, so you don't feel quite so bad about yourself. The portions are also tiny. But, I like tiny because it's indulgent without overindulging. Strong flavors, and great ingredients really don't need sparklers, noisemakers or huge portions to be great. Although, the bacon custard sauce wasn't as bacon-y as I would have liked. Also, the staff behind the counter were very friendly, it didn't hurt that the place was empty for a spell, but nevertheless, friendly. The coffee, is also good and they have skim milk. Often, smaller non-chain places tend not to have skim, and I end up going sans milk. But, at DTWorks, you don't have to. You can have your cake, and skim too. And your...


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Healthy Obsessions: Blueberry Coffee

A little while ago, I yapped about 7-11 and it's flavored coffee. Well, I've gone past 7-11 and just straight to full-blown blueberry flavored coffee addiction! Dunkin Donuts has blueberry flavor and New England coffee sells a ground blueberry cobbler version. If Starbucks rolls one out, no coffee place will be safe! I will drink at you allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll.

Why do I like it so much? It tastes like blueberries, and it's like drinking syrup. But, without drinking actually syrup. That way, there's no worrying about tooth decay, or skyrocketing blood sugar and you can avoid general social weirdness (who drinks syrup straight???). Also, it's a good way to downplay craving for foods that are energy dense without major deprivation, The flavor has elements of a good blueberry pancake breakfast all in a nice cup of java. Drink it straight or sweetened with a touch of almond milk.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Foodprint: Dishing

Rev'd Up Pi:

Rev'd Up Pi is great. With that said..two bad things about it...1. it's so out of the way for me, and 2..kind of pricey, considering the recent influx of 99 cent pizza places around town. But, I love it. It's guilt-free pigging out.

For a healthy pizza place, they had a pretty diverse menu. The have their own version of pizzeria pizza that I did want to try, but again, funds were limited. All the more reason to go back another time.

I had the mac & cheese, garlic knots and the Wake Up personal pie. The Wake Up personal pie is just heaven on a plate. It tastes like the bacon & egg sandwiches my mommy would make for on a Saturday morning. Hot, crispy, egg fully cooked yet fluffy -- you could even get all whites -- but I err, forgot. And the bacon! It's turkey bacon! Fooled me!

Mac & cheese, kind of on the tangy side, but very gooey. I like gooey mac & cheese. I didn't know that the cheese was reduced fat until I re-read the menu.

Garlic knots. At first, I wasn't too keen on these. They're cooked to perfection, crispy on the outside, yet chewy and tender. I figured 2/3 three of my order was good..so if the knots were bad, no real loss. Then, I opened up the marinara sauce -- real tomato flavor, schweet -- the sauce definitely makes the knots.

And, the staff was so nice to me. Brought my food out and packed up my what was on my plate after I finished. My leftovers almost didn't make it home.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Foodprint: Dishing

Mapo Tofu.

A Szechuan dish and a decent Chinese restaurant that's a mere leap, skip or hop from Bryant Park. Mapo Tofu doesn't do anything in particular that's extraordinary, but what they do is Chinese food, and they do it well. Food has a good flavor, but elevated from your neighborhood Chinese take-out. There's no charm or gimmick: it's good, hot, wallet friendly food. At first glance, the prices seem pretty steep. But, that's pertaining to specialty dishes, and the entrees are nicely sized. And easy to health it up.

You can request many items steamed, I went for steamed veggie dumplings, steamed bok choy and chicken breast. (The steaming does take a while, as they use bamboo steamers, so don't go starving if you're steaming.) The bok choy was cooked excellently, crisp, but not overdone. They have brown rice upon request, in which they don't charge you extra, and you can ask for sauce on the side. The portions are nicely sized; I ate 1/2 my entree, with the remainder serving as lunch 2x for the following week.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Healthy Obsessions: Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

Happy new year! 20 something days in....anyhow...I won't torture you with a knock-knock joke. The punchline title is cutesy enough.

I've had a major renaissance with orange veggies. They're loaded with beta-carotene & vitamin A. They're also mildly sweet and in season (or was in season when I was really obssessed). And cheap. A small acorn squash will run you 79-99 cents a pound, and can yield 2-4 single cup servings.

Case 1: I had a large sweet potato left from thanksgiving, I forked that bad boy, microwaved it on the baked potato setting and had about 4 1/2 c serving from that tuber. Cheap, easy and nutritious.

That's right; most of the orange veggies are microwave friendly. (At least the squash varieties; I wouldn't microwave a carrot -- they tend to spark.) The high starch and water content allow them to blend effortlessly into soups, smoothies, puddings, pastas and other things that can be blended without he addition of energy dense ingredients.

Case 2: fat free Greek yogurt with canned pumpkin and a tablespoon of honey. Great for breakfast, or a snack, or an orange pick me up.

Case: Acorn squash. Split it in half, microwave until tender and hit it with some spicy spices. Or slice it up and put it into sandwiches. Or soups. Or your mouth. It's tasty!