Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chicken Sate with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Those of you who have been reading my "What a Dietitian Eats" posts all week know that I love this recipe and have eaten it 3 days in a row. So glad The Tortefeasor chose this as the CEiMB recipe of the week!

If you have never had sate (or satay) before, you are in for a treat. Marinated meat or poultry (in this case chicken) is skewered, grilled, and then served with a spicy peanut sauce. I'm not sure which part I like better - the chicken or the sauce? They are both delicious! The marinade is made with lime zest, grated ginger, coconut milk, soy sauce, garlic, brown bad can that be?

As could be expected I turned this into a salad with romaine, red bell pepper, carrots, snow peas, scallions, and cilantro. So that I could use if for a dressing, I made the sauce a little thinner by adding a little of the coconut milk leftover from the marinade (I used the rest in coconut-mango smoothies).

You should all make this really soon (or beg...someone to make it for you!)

  • Per serving (Ellie's version...not my salad) - 263 calories, 10 g fat (3.4 g saturated), 12 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 31 g protein (exchanges: 4 protein, 2 fat, 1/2 starch; WW points: 6)
  • Notes - Some changes I made: 1) I didn't pound the chicken, I just made sure to cut the strips really thin, 2) to make the sauce thinner I added a little less peanut butter and about 1/4 of a cup of coconut also needed to be a little sweeter so I added more sugar, 3) I used a teaspoon of curry powder instead of the paste, 4) I left the shallot out of the dressing, 4) I let the chicken marinate for about 4 worked better with my schedule, and 5) I didn't buy any chopped peanuts, but I really wish I had them for the salad; if you don't have fish sauce just add a little more soy sauce...but I think it really makes a diffence and it will last FOREVER in your fridge
  • Tip - If the chicken is slightly frozen it will slice better/thinner

What Does a Dietitian Eat? (Day4)

Thursday, August 27th
  • Pre-run snack - peach
  • 4 mile run
  • Post-run breakfast - strawberry apricot smoothie (1/2 cup apricot nectar, 1/2 cup skim, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup cottage cheese, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 2 tsp sugar, lots of ice); handful of walnuts
  • Lunch - Mozzarella, tomato, pesto panini; eggplant dip with cucumbers
  • Snack - Iced latte (CC's...grande, skim, splash of half&half, pkt of sugar)
  • Teach from 4:30 - 10:30 pm (had an apple around 9 pm)
  • Dinner - chicken sate salad; carrots and eggplant dip
  • Snack - foldover cream cheese & banana sandwich! (1 slice whole wheat bread, 1 oz light cream cheese, 1/2 mashed banana, sprinkle cinnamon sugar...of course pressed on the George Foreman); skim milk
All I'm going to say is today was a LONG's 11:00 pm and I just got home and just ate dinner! Good thing I had healthy food ready to go in the fridge...if I hadn't no telling what I would have devoured!

I'm sure you've noticed I eat the same things several times during the week, but next week these will be completely different. I try to have variety from week to week...not day to day. When I cook something I do the whole recipe, even though I'm only cooking for me. So I always have leftovers. But they are really yummy leftovers so I don't mind eating them again and again. Sometimes I freeze things too.

As for my last snack, that was a spur-of-the-moment, I'm-craving-something-sweet idea. And it was so GOOD! Spread the cream cheese on 1 slice bread; mash 1/2 a banana and spread it over the cream cheese; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar; and grill. What a treat!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What Does a Dietitian Eat? (Day 3)

Wednesday August 26th
Today was my day off from running and I had a few errands to run plus a marathon hair appointment (I'm literally there for 3 hours), so I knew breakfast needed to hold me over until 2pm. A smoothie would definitely not do. I decided to have a filling bowl of oatmeal with a little fruit/nut combo. I decided to add a little cream cheese to up the creaminess factor.

I finally had lunch around 2:30 and I was pretty hungry...should have packed a snack! Around the same time I made the ice cream. I had a surplus of peaches that were on the verge of going bad and buttermilk left over from the cupcakes I made on Sunday. It's really good right out of the machine, but it gets a little icy once it goes in the freezer. Still tastes good though and it's a low-cal fruit based dessert...gotta love it!

Dinner was at a friends house for a little girls night get together. I was in charge of the wine, Jackie the salad, and Jennifer everything else. The pork chops were unexpectedly good! And I don't know if I've ever really had turnips...they were good too. Jennifer and her husband sort of do the "low-carb" thing, hence the absence of starch with the meal. I jokingly fussed at one point when she was adding a 1/4 of a stick of butter to a pot of green beans that were already cooked with bacon and butter...they were really good though!

This is a perfect example of normal healthy eating. I always eat what someone else is reason to not eat something that isn't up to my "everyday nutritional standards". I had 2 servings of the butter/bacon coated beans! I figured I had eaten well all day, so what if there was a little extra fat in the meal. It's all about balance!

And double dessert?!? Must have been the wine!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What Does a Dietitian Eat? (Day 2)

Tuesday August 25th
  • Pre-run snack - a peach and fig
  • 4 mile run
  • Post-run breakfast - same mango coconut smoothie as yesterday (it was that good!)
  • Lunch - turkey sandwich (whole wheat bread with avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, and Laughing Cow Cheese ...all pressed and crispy on my George Foreman); carrots and baba ghanouj (eggplant dip)
  • Snack - iced latte from CC's...grande, skim, splash of half&half
  • Teach dance 4:30 - 9:30 pm (um try 10:30...long Saintsation practice!)
  • Dinner - chicken sate salad (romaine, snow peas, red bell pepper, cilantro, carrots, chicken, and the spicy peanut dip as dressing)
  • Snack - watermelon
Notice how much I eat! My dad always says that I must eat like a bird to stay thin, but I don't! I eat a lot! However it is mostly low-calorie/nutrient-dense food...meaning I get the nutrients I need to be healthy from fewer calories.

There is something called the "volumetrics eating plan" where you fill up on foods that are high in volume and low in more for less! Foods that are mostly water fit into this plan perfectly...fruits, non-starchy vegetables, skim milk, brothy soups, etc.

I try to eat like that most of the time. Today my smoothie, snacks, and dinner were very nutrient-dense, filling, and also low-calorie. But I also make sure that all my meals have some protein (today - cheese, milk, yogurt, chicken, turkey) and a little healthy fat (today - low-fat cheese, avocado, dressing). Fat and protein have a long-term fullness effect! Fiber does too.

And by the way, my dinner salad was so's this weeks CEiMB recipe, turned into a salad (my favorite thing to do!). I'll be posting the recipe with pictures some time tomorrow.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What Does a Dietitian Eat? (Day 1)

Yesterday the kids at dance were all asking me: "Miss Blair, how do you stay so skinny? What do you eat?" And then they started listing all the things they like to eat, followed by "Is that good for you?" "Are Fruit Loops?" "What about chicken?" "Salad?" You get the picture.

One of the reasons I love teaching dance is that I get to be around kids everyday to model good eating habits. And I'm the one they go to when they have a nutrition question (so they don't have to rely on whatever they read in Seventeen Magazine). I get to help them lose (or gain) weight in a healthy way. I love my job!

One girl said "tell us what you eat everyday" here goes! Another week of everything I eat (& do to stay active).

Monday August 24th
  • Pre-run snack - 1/2 a peach, a few figs, and a couple of walnuts
  • 4 mile run
  • Post-run breakfast - 1/2 a peach and a mango coconut smoothie (1/2 c light coconut milk*, 1/2 cup skim milk, 3/4 cup frozen mango, 1/4 cup cottage cheese, 1/4 cup yogurt (mix of Wallaby Vanilla and FAGE 0%), 2 tsp sugar, lots of ice)
  • Lunch - small tomato basil panini (homemade pesto, roasted tomatoes, and mozzarella on whole grain bread); cucumbers with hummus
  • Snack - iced coffee made with 1/2 cup skim milk, 1 tbsp condensed milk, and splash of half&half
  • Teach dance from 3:30 - 9:00 pm
  • Dinner - Mexican salad (romaine, corn, tomatoes, green onions, red bell pepper, jicama, avocado with a lime/cilantro/honey vinaigrette) and a bean tamale
  • Dessert - watermelon
This is pretty much my breakfast pattern during the summer...a little fruit so my stomach doesn't growl during my run, followed by a smoothie afterwards. The coconut milk isn't something I usually have on hand, but I used it in another recipe and had some good!

I try to have veggies at lunch and dinner...but it doesn't always happen at both. Today it did. My snack is usually dairy (in the form of a latte or yogurt) or fruit.

It was a meat free day...Adam (my brother) will definitely disapprove! But I did get lots of protein: milk, cheese, yogurt, beans/hummus. And don't worry Adam, chicken is on the menu tomorrow!

One thing someone said at dance was that they heard salads are bad for you. I'm guessing she heard that salads can have just as many calories as a high fat/calorie meal such as a hamburger and fries. And its true; these days many restaurants think that in order to make a salad taste good, they need to add lots of high fat items - cheese, dressing, nuts, fried crunchy things, fried chicken...this all adds up!

I see salads as a chance to eat lots of veggies in a convenient and delicious way. When someone tells me they had a salad with their lunch and it was made with iceberg, cheese, croutons, and dressing...I say skip it! It's a waste of calories and a missed chance at good nutrition.

As you can see above, my salads are FAR from boring. And I always add as many veggies that "go" with the salad theme. So of course with a Mexican salad, corn, tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, and avocado work. And I've never bought jicama before, but have had it in Mexican salads, so I bought my first. It adds such a great crunch (it has the texture of an apple, but it's not sweet).

Someone also asked "what if you don't like any veggies?" My response? Learn to! They are essential to good health!

But remember, if all of this healthy food wasn't in my kitchen I wouldn't be able to eat it! You have to buy healthy food in order to eat healthy food!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Curried Egg Salad

Egg salad reminds me of Bernadette, my second mom (did you know I have 3 "moms" real one, Bernie, and lucky am I?). Growing up Bernie was our babysitter/housekeeper and occasionally she would cook for us. My favorite Bernie dishes? "Bernie burgers" with smothered onions, fried chicken, and lima beans. I still love all of them today!

On some days at lunch, she would make egg salad for herself...I didn't eat it though. Her egg & mayo only version was not appealing at all! Kind of ruined egg salad for me.

Skip ahead to last year when I was living in Houston. 101Cookbooks posted a recipe for Curried Egg Salad and my egg salad aversion was broken. I had to try it! It wasn't your average egg salad. This version included toasted pecans, chopped apples, and curry powder! Three of my favorites! And instead of mayo, the recipe used Greek yogurt as the binder.

Over the years, eggs have gotten a bad rap. I get asked all the time whether or not I eat the yolks (that is where all the fat and cholesterol are after all). My reply? Yes and no. When I make an omelet I use half whole eggs and half whites...for a one person omelet I use 3 eggs - 2 whole and 1 white. For this egg salad recipe, I modified the original by using 3 whole eggs and 2 whites. This helps slightly reduce the overall calories and fat grams, but still keeps some of the good nutrition found in the yolks including the healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

One reason many people avoid eggs is because they are high in cholesterol (212 mg in a large egg) - and science used to say that dietary cholesterol raised your blood cholesterol. But now it is believed that saturated fats and trans-fats are what have a greater effect on blood cholesterol; eggs are relatively low in both of these nutrients (0 g trans and 1.5 g saturated in a large egg).

So my advice? Don't eat eggs everyday, but when you do, have one or two of the yolks...if you like them! And don't pay extra money for omega-3 fortified eggs if you don't eat the down the drain!

101Cookbooks is also where I learned to boil eggs so that they don't get that gray coat around the yolk (my mom's hb eggs always had that...I thought it was normal!). I've included this method in the recipe.

How do I eat this incredible salad? Either on toasted whole grain bread or in a lettuce wrap (I think butter lettuce is the best for this). Perfect for a quick lunch! And if you don't like curry, here is a plain version.

Curried Egg Salad
adapted from

makes 4 servings

5 eggs
2 teaspoons curry powder
3 - 4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 big pinches of salt
2 shallots or 1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 medium apple, diced
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
*optional: something green...for visual appeal!...chives, green onions, celery leaves

For the eggs: Place the eggs in a pot and cover them with cold water by about an inch. Then bring them to a gentle boil, turn off the heat, cover, and let them sit for 10 minutes. After that cool them in cold (ice) water to stop the cooking...and then crack them open to find a sunny yellow yolk with no gray!

While the eggs cook and cool, combine 3 tablespoons of yogurt, curry powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Crack and peel each egg, discarding 2 yolks, and place in a medium bowl. Add the onions, apples, pecans, "greenery", and the yogurt mixture. Mash the entire thing with a fork until your desired consistency is reached. If you need to add more yogurt, do so. Taste and re-season with salt if necessary.

Per serving - 136 calories, 8.5 g fat (1.7 g saturated), 7.5 g carbohydrate, 1.7 g fiber, 8.6 g protein (exchanges: 1 1/2 fat, 1 protein, 1/2 veg/fruit/dairy...some type of carb; WW points: 3)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chicken al Mattone...

Al mattone??? With a Brick of course! The cover recipe of the September edition of Bon Appetit magazine immediately caught my eye. The chicken looked incredible and when I flipped through to find the recipe, I realize it was cooked in an unusual way...under a brick!

I have NEVER cooked an entire chicken (although I have cooked a whole turkey for Christmas dinner with great success) and it has been something I've wanted to do for a while. So I bought an organic chicken from the farmers market and then set out in search of a brick.

I remembered seeing a random brick on the side of my house one day while I was cutting the grass (yes, I cut my own grass!) and sure enough it was still there. I scrubbed it really well and covered it with foil. Ready to cook!

The whole process is really simple...assemble a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, and garlic; rub it all over the chicken; let it marinate overnight (or not!); season with S&P and cook!

There is a little prep work involved with the chicken have to cut the backbone out. And to do this it really helps to know the difference between the backbone and breast bone...and apparently I do not! I cut the breast bone out and then realizing my mistake went ahead and cut out the backbone too. It actually ended up working out better in the end. The chicken halves fit much better in my pan.

As I implied above, I didn't let the chicken marinate overnight or at all for that matter. I imagine doing so would only improve on the flavor, but if you don't have time, don't bother! One thing to note, you must use a skillet that can go from stove top to oven. My 14" All-Clad fry pan worked perfectly.

The results were incredible. The brick pressed the chicken onto the pan, creating a deliciously crispy skin. The meat was juicy, tender, and flavorful. It was wonderful by itself, but I also added the chicken to salads and sandwiches all week.

This recipe is a keeper...I'll definitely stick with the method but play around with the flavors in the future.

Chicken al Mattone
adapted from Bon Appetit

makes about 5 5-oz serving

1 4 pound whole chicken, backbone cut away and discarded, rinsed, and patted dry
4 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
salt and pepper
brick wrapped in aluminum foil

  • Place butterflied chicken, skin side down, on rimmed baking sheet or dish. Mix 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoons oil, rosemary, and garlic in small bowl. Rub mixture all over both sides of chicken and under skin. Cover and chill overnight (or not!)
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
    Sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 7 minutes (do not turn chicken over). Place foil-wrapped brick (or cast-iron skillet) crosswise atop chicken; roast in oven 30 minutes. Remove brick and turn chicken over; return brick to chicken and continue to roast until juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced, about 15 minutes longer. Remove brick and transfer chicken to platter. Drizzle chicken with remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

    Per serving (5 oz of white meat, no skin) - 278 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated), 1.5 g carbohydrates, o g fiber, 42 g protein (exchanges: 2 fat, 6 protein; WW points: 6)
    Notes - Obviously, if you eat the dark meat and/or the skin the calories and fat grams will increase; try to stick with a 4 - 5 ounce serving...about the size of an iPhone

Friday, August 14, 2009

Shrimp Summer Rolls

About 2 months ago I was out running errands and decided to stop into a little Asian grocery store that I'd been wanting to visit. I love exploring new grocery stores! The 2 things that I ended up buying, I probably could have found at any grocery...but it was more fun getting them there, more authentic! Panko and rice paper were my 2 purchases, although I was really tempted to buy sushi rice, wrappers, and mats...homemade sushi is on my "to make" list.

Like I said, this was a while back and these items have sat untouched in my cabinets...until now. This week's CEiMB recipe was turkey burgers...but I just wasn't in the mood (I really don't like eating burgers before I have to teach or afterwards when I get home at 10pm). And boiled shrimp were on sale at Whole Foods. And Ellie has a recipe for Shrimp Spring Rolls that calls for rice paper...PERFECT!

I have never worked with rice paper before, but it really wasn't difficult at all. Just a few seconds in warm water and they are ready to go. And the filling possibilities are endless! The ones I made were filled with shrimp, avocado, carrot, rice noodles, cilantro, and lettuce. I wanted to add mango but couldn't find a ripe one.

The dipping sauce was easy to make...I added a little soy sauce to Ellie's version to make it a saltier. And look how healthy all this is! Lean protein, lots of veggies, hardly any fat (besides the healthy fat from the avocado)...does it get any better?

Other versions to inspire you:

There is a video of Ellie making her version on the FoodNetwork website. Watch and see how easy it is! Or just follow along with my photos.

Next time I make these I may try different filling combinations and a different dipping sauce...the hoisin one above sounds does the peanut sauce.

  • Per serving (1 roll) - 90 calories, 0 g fat, 18 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein (exchanges: 1/3 protein, 1/2 vegetable, 1/2 starch; WW points: 2)
  • Notes - My version was a little different...I used ingredients I liked/had on hand...avocado and cilantro are 2 of my favorites; to give yourself filling ideas, think about your favorite sushi; each sheet of rice paper has only 40 calories; once you have softened the rice paper in water, move it quickly to the work surface or it will start to stick to is a good site with more tips on rolling; if you don't have fish sauce substitute soy; some type of lettuce or slaw is a good thing to add to give the roll a "stuffed" look...I left it out of a few and they looks so skinny!

Happy Birthday to Mel and Caroline!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Last Friday, I had promised to make my Jr Company ballet class cupcakes...they worked so hard in class and I felt they deserved a treat. Friday morning I woke up sick and didn't go to the studio, so needless to say they didn't get cupcakes.

When I saw the kids again on Sunday the first thing out of their mouths was not "How are you feeling?", but "Where are our
cupcakes?". They were obviously really concerned about me!

Well this CEiMB recipe could not have come at a more perfect time (good choice by Enjoying My Favorite Things!). I made the cupcakes last night, frosted them this morning, and brought them to class tonight...and they were a hit. I think a lot of people assume kids won't eat a "healthy" dessert (and healthy food for that matter)...if its not loaded with sugar, butter, and chocolate they won't eat it, right? WRONG!

They devoured the cupcakes...some must have eaten 2, because I brought 22 and there were only 15 in the class. Someone fess up!

  • Per serving - 236 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated), 34 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein (exchanges: 2 starches, 2 fats; WW points: 5)
  • Just for fun...compared to the Barefoot Contessa's version - 507 calories, 32 g fat (10 g saturated), 56 g carbohydrates, 1.4 g fiber, 4 g protein
  • Notes - I doubled the recipe and made 24 cupcakes; I used a 1 pound bag of carrots that I shredded using the finest grating disk in my food processor...but after shredding them I chopped them into shorter lengths; whole wheat pastry flour is a baking staple for me...I always keep it on hand to replace part of the AP flour; I left out the walnuts, so my version actually has fewer calories and fat grams (but I didn't leave them out for that reason, it's just my preference); natural applesauce has NO ADDED sugar or artificial sweetener, so don't get confused and buy the wrong thing...I buy the little snack size cups, which don't have to be refrigerated
  • My thoughts - They were so good! Kid tested, dance teacher/dietitian approved!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

I Love This Quote!

"There's a difference between deprivation and discipline. Discipline means being aware of our needs, and being able to identify true needs verses things that we're simply craving at the moment."
I love that! It was on one of the many blogs I follow. Mark Bittman, who is quoted, writes a column for the NY Times. He was being interview on his new semi-vegetarian life style and whether or not it is difficult for him to stick with it.
I think it can be applied to healthy eating in general. If most of the time you eat foods that are healthful (those things you "need") and save foods you "crave" for special treats, 2 things will happen:

1. your overall diet will become more healthful (which could help you lose weight if you are trying), and
2. you will probably start to "crave" foods that are more nutritious.

I also think that sometimes you "need" to eat a food that you are "craving" a piece of cake, or some ice cream, or a bacon cheese burger...but only occasionally so that you really enjoy it! For a special treat! If you treat yourself everyday then it's not special anymore.

So next time you pass on ice cream after dinner and have a piece of fruit instead, you aren't depriving yourself, you are showing discipline and having what your body "needs"!


A few weeks ago Mark Bittman wrote an article, 101 Simple Salads for the Season and alot of the recipes look really good! Actually, they aren't even recipes, just ideas to inspire you!