Friday, July 31, 2009

My Favorite Yogurt

Fage. It is the only yogurt I like. It's Greek yogurt, and actually tastes nothing like yogurt as we (Americans) know it. I'd even say Fage is the best Greek yogurt, even in Greece! It's a bit dear (at $1.89 for a 7oz. pot at Trader Joe's) but I only eat about one a week and don't have it all at once since I'll use a spoon full of it here and there in things like tuna salad, etc. It's great before a long workout since it's seriously high in protein at 17g for a 7oz, 130cal serving. I'm not even so sure that it's accurate.
At any rate, it is 100% natural (only raw milk, raw cream, and live active cultures) and their cows are not given the growth hormone rBGH. Whether or not they're grassfed, I have no idea, but given that it's produced here in The States I think you can bank on it not being. Baby steps.
This morning I mixed mine with 2oz. of blueberries, 1/4 cup of raw Trader Joe's Multi Grain cereal, and a hearty shake of cinnamon. I also swapped my almond milk (which made my coffee taste sour and mank) for rice milk, which I like much better. It's nearly double the calories, however at 130cal/cup vs. almond milk's 70cal/cup. You can't go drinkin sour coffee though, so sod it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Looks Aren't Everything (and polenta does not equal cornmeal)

I had high hopes for tonight's dinner: Corn and Scallop Johnnycakes with Green Onion Sauce, with grilled zucchini and a roasted beetroot and arugula salad. But I failed to recognize the difference between polenta and cornmeal in time (continue reading to discover how)...

For the salad, I roasted a massive beetroot for around 45 minutes at 400F. I then peeled, sliced, and sprinkled it with white wine vinegar and fresh ground black pepper. For the salad I tossed arugula with some leftover fresh lemon juice, half a tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon white wine vinegar. These leaves were then served atop the sliced beetroot with shaved parmesan reggiano. The sweetness of the beetroot serves a nice contrast to the pepperyness of the arugula and the tartness of the dressing.

The zucchini was muy simple: just sprayed with olive oil and thrown on the grill pan with some salt and pepper. Served with a light squeeze of fresh lemon juice because, well, it was there.

Now for the headliner debacle. I got this recipe via and of course, made some modifications. For the sauce, I substituted plain Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise and sour cream and cilantro for the parsley, because that's what I had on hand. I also used twice as much crushed red pepper in place of ground red pepper. As for the "johnnycakes" I made the fatal mistake of thinking polenta and cornmeal are the same thing after reading the ingredients on the polenta package. What I failed to reduce from the ingredient list was that cornmeal is ground much finer than polenta, and therefore holds together in a batter much better. Oh well, live and learn. They still tasted nummy. Just...grittier. Oh and I used whole wheat flour for all purpose, but doubt that made much difference. I'll definitely have to try this one again with proper cornmeal. Live and learn!

The recipe yielded 15 johnnycakes, at around 90cal each; the sauce was about 95 calories for the entire lot (so 20 cal/serving); zucchini about 30 calories/serving; and the salad around 100 calories. So a meal with 3 johnnycakes (I love saying that in my head - johnnycake. Quit acting a johnnycake! He has a melon the shape of a johnnycake. Jesus johnnycake! Okay, enough.) is about 430 calories.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Run For the Border

South of the border that is! For dinner I prepared soft tacos with grilled zucchini and green bell peppers, which I tossed with sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil, black beans, fresh cilantro, and lime. In San Francisco, we're blessed with a plethora of fruit&veg markets so produce is always cheap and yummy. On the side there is some left over cilantro-parsley pesto I made with my friend Val over the weekend for a Vegetable Couscous with Moroccan Pesto recipe courtesy of the Food Network ( I've been using it as a spread on everything since! This meal was around 370 calories (2 tortillas=120, veggies around 100, spreads & salsas around 50, and black beans=100).

Muffin Mania Breakfast

This morning I started off the thrilling foggy day with a homemade bran flax muffin (, which I made some alterations to. I substituted whole wheat flour for all purpose and 3/4 cup white grape juice concentrate for 1 cup of brown sugar (then reduced the milk by 2 tablespoons), and omitted the nuts. This yielded 12 muffins at 210 cal/pop and about 5.5 grams of fiber. I'm obsessed with Trader Joe's Zen Bakery muffins and am trying to replicate them to save some moolah now that summer session is over and I have a bit more time on my hands. These weren't quite there but I'll keep working on it. I complemented my muffin with 3 oz. fresh blueberries (the season is waning so I gotta get em in while I can!) at 48 calories, several glasses of water (per usual), and two Americanos made with Tully's French Roast and almond milk. I usually use soy milk but after reading about the potential dangers of non-fermented soy I've decided to give almond a go. Definitely not an immediate winner but maybe I'll shop around and try other brands. This particular one is Trader Joe's vanilla flavored.
God I love muffins.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back To Basics

I just finished reading Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food and, as a result, have decided to strive toward the abandonment of processed foods. This will neither be an easy, nor thoughtless task, and most likely cannot be fully achieved within reason. However, I have decided to make a conscious effort toward making better food choices, favoring "real foods" over the "food-like" items that are a mainstay of today's Western Diet.

Currently, I am studying to become a registered dietitian, and therefore am not new to an obsession with food and how it affects our bodies and overall health. Furthermore, it is generally acknowledged within my circles that I have a slight obsession with calorie counting and a fixation with fiber to boot. Calorie counting has become second nature to me, and I have given up on trying to abandon the habit. I now accept it as part of who I am. Moving on.

What has happened to the major food groups in America scares me. Crops are grown to make money, instead of facilitate a healthy population. They are genetically modified and sprayed with poisonous chemicals. They are fed to cows, chickens, and pigs, in addition to us humans. They are making all of the above sick. We (yes, all of the above, again) are fed antibiotics by farmers and doctors, respectively, and perpetuating a cycle of sickness and ill health. Nothing is untainted. The crops are tampered with, the animals eat the crops. The animals are also tampered with (think chickens with 8 breasts, living in their own excrement), we eat the crops, the animals, and the animals' produce (eggs, milk, cheese), and wash it all down with a few bags of factory made, nutrient-deprived, over-processed, well, junk. It's time to make some changes.