“You’re Just Tall”

August 1, 2011

(The post is all over the place… sorry)

“You’re just tall.” is the response given to me when I complain about being fat. You can’t blame a person for tip-toeing around someone’s feelings, though. It really is my own fault. “You’re just tall” was true 10 years ago when all of my friends were a size zero and I was a size 10 and it was physically impossible for me to be a size 0, 2 or even 4. But now? Now It’s not true.

This is reality:

Me: Gosh, I really need to lose weight. I am so fat. Bla Bla Bla

Random HONEST Friend: Yes, you do need to lose weight. You are getting a little on the hefty side.

I do have honest friends, but even they have good manners and don’t want to seem down right rude! Besides, even if someone was honest with me, it would just hurt my feelings and we all know I love to eat my emotions.. so I would. I would say to myself, “That girl was a brat to me, I deserve some chocolate!” So then I would go eat an entire bag of peanut butter m&m’s and watch Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy would like me.

I swear I sound like a broken record. I’m sorry… but I think a lot of women battle with their weight and I’m here to make you feel better about that. (I know it would me feel better to know I’m not the only one!)

I was talking to my brother today and mentioned trying low-carb again. It was one of the only diets that I didn’t go hungry on. I also had plenty of energy. Well, as I was talking about it, Matt, my oh-so-wise husband, said, “It’s not a diet it’s a lifestyle.” (Which, is true.. but honestly, I’m tired of hearing that cliché’) To which I replied, “Maybe my “lifestyle” is dieting for 3 months, eating badly for 3 months until I gain my weight back and start over again.” My brother laughed. So far, that is my lifestyle. I kind of want to change.

The truth is, nothing is going to change until you CHANGE YOUR MIND. Your way of thinking about food. I’m not going to pretend I know anything about this, because CLEARLY I don’t… but I do know that when I talk about starting a diet again, or a “life-style” change, I have to get that mindset or it won’t work. I really have to get into the “zone”. It’s like I must have a “parent/teacher” conference inside my head before I commit to… “making straight A’s”. But.. in the end I want to “talk” to my “friends”, Krispy and Kreme too much and then I become a failure! I have to start the 9th grade all over again! Here we are! School is now in session! (Sorry, not sure where that school analogy came from)

I think me confessing my short-comings helps me start over. I haven’t blogged about anything because, well, I haven’t wanted to. I’ve been embarrassed. I keep SCREWING up… but… we all gotta dust ourselves off and try again. A COONA MA TA TA.

I’m also going to commit running again. I’m going to start Couch to a 5-K. I did it last year and it gets you on the perfect track. It really does work and it gives you a plan… and I like to be told what to do when it comes to exercise. I haven’t run since January… I know I can do it, though and am even excited about it. I’ll let you know how that goes.

So here’s to starting over… again.

<3

Hello Taste Bud readers, if you’re still out there!  I apologize that it has been FOREVER since we last posted.  The good news is, we are BACK!!!!  (not that we ever really  left) And we have lots of good info on foods and restaurants that we still intend to share.

This is a short post but I know you’ll love it if you try it.  I recently caught a clip on the food network showing a sandwich that was made using eggplant.  Since I do love a sandwich but don’t eat bread, the wheels began to turn figuring out how I could recreate this dish.  After much procrastination, I finally tried it today.  It was so delicious that I couldn’t wait to write about it and share.

Here’s my dilemma:  To substitute eggplant in place of the bread it needs to be fried.  But I felt that using bread crumbs or flour would defeat the purpose of the substitution.  Realizing I probably wasn’t the first person in the world to ever face this issue, I went to the internet for help.  After reading through many posts, I complied a method that I thought would work easily and taste good too.  I have to say that I thought it would take  a few tries to get it right but believe it or not, it was super easy.

What you’ll need:

Eggplant (Obviously!)

2 eggs

1 tablespoon of milk

1 container of Parmesan cheese (for coating)

Sliced turkey meat

fresh tomato

dijon mustard

How to:

I know it sounds weird but I read this on a blog and it sounded brilliant to me so I tried it… trust me, it was… heat a waffle iron.  Using a waffle iron to “fry” your eggplant is super easy and really a great idea because it grills both sides at the same time.  Who’s against making something faster AND easier?  Not me!  So heat your waffle iron and spray it with non-stick spray, if it doesn’t have a coated surface.

Now, I have to admit that I tried my first 2 slices and realized that it would be much better without the peeling.  I am not eggplant savvy so this may be an obvious assumption but it certainly wasn’t for me.  So, I found my potato peeler and… done deal.  Peel your eggplant and slice it up.

Beat the eggs with the milk and fill a small plate with Parmesan cheese.  Dip the eggplant slice in the egg mixture and heavily coat with Parmesan cheese.

I did 2 at a time and placed them on the waffle iron to close and cook

Cook until they start to turn brown and remove.

At this point, add your favorite sandwich toppings and ENJOY!  I put a little Dijon mustard on one side, a salted tomato slice and some smoked turkey meat.  Thanks to the Parmesan coating, no need for cheese.  I can’t wait to use this method to make an eggplant parmesan casserole.  Don’t be intimidated to try this even if you’re a little on the fence about eggplant.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Happy eating and thanks for reading!

Kelly

West Mobile is an area of Mobile that is experiencing rapid growth. This is great for westerners because we can drive less to reach a few good dives. A recent restaurant that Matt and I finally decided to try is Wemo’s. I can’t believe we ever waited so long to try it! It is a westside’s wing treasury!  With their generous portions, flavorful sauces and lowwwww prices, this places is a wing connoisseur’s dream!

 

 

Wemo’s is located at the intersection of Schillinger’s and Air Port Blvd in the same shopping center as Dirt Cheap. When you walk into wings, you are greeted by a friendly staff. There is plenty of seating but many people order their wings to go. I think this is because when most people eat wemo’s wings, they don’t want to hold back. Their wings are so delicious that you just want to scarf them down, getting sauce all over your face, fingers and down to your elbows! So, most patrons just eat them in the comfort of their own home so they can get eat with reckless abandon.  Matt and I have great manners, so we eat them in the store. Which is convenient if you need extra dipping sauce.

Don't judge me.

Manners!

Speaking of SAUCE… when you order, you will be faced with many decisions to make. 1) Whether or not you would like traditional wings (with bone) or boneless wings (without bone),  2) which side and 3) which sauce!? There are SO many delicious sauces to choose from:

  • Mild
  • Medium
  • Hot
  • We-Hot
  • Mo-Hot
  • Spicy Ranch
  • Buffalo Garlic
  • Golden Garlic
  • BBQ
  • Honey BBQ
  • Spicy BBQ
  • Honey Mustard
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Teriyaki
  • Sweet & Sour
  • Cajun
  • Caribbean Jerk

    My favorite is Spicy BBQ. Oh my goodness, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. The tantalizing spices mixed with the sweet barbecue sauce dipped in a cool homemade ranch sauce. It will change your life. The Spicy BBQ sauce is just that…spicy, but it’s also sweet. The sweetness complements the spicy in the BEST way! Of course, if you don’t like spice, they have plenty of other choices and NOW they are offering the Wemo Wing which is battered, dipped in the buffalo sauce, lightly battered again and then fried. BAM!  I don’t usually like Buffalo sauce, but because this wing was re-breaded, the vinegar flavor that I usually taste in buffalo sauces, was not as prominent. The Wemo Wing had just enough bite to it and their chicken is just sooo tender! Matt LOVED them!  They were very flavorful! The Wemo folks are so generous! They let us try some on the house! They are also very patient with Matt while he chooses a sauce to go with his wings. He never can decide, so they always let him try the sauce before he commits. 



    Wemo’s has many other offerings. They have great curly fries and I especially love their baked potato salad! If you are feeling extra naughty, try a milkshake! It would be the perfect complement to a Mo-Hot Wing, or any wing for that matter! If you are behaving yourself, they also offer salads. I’m sure they are delicious.

    Don't judge me again.


    Buffalo

    Spicy BBQ!

    When I first tried Wemo’s, I was under the impression that the boneless wings  (I don’t like bones in my chicken) would be like boneless chicken nuggets. Thinking this, I went ahead and got the combo that came with 10 boneless wings and an order of fries. When it came out I was shocked! The size of a Wemo’s wing is more like a chicken finger. They are HUGE! One Wemo’s Boneless wing would be equivalent to 3 and sometimes 4 of it’s competitors boneless wings. Not only that, but they are constantly having great deals! For example, Tonight is 2 for Tuesday! Matt and I sometimes go on Tuesdays and get 20 boneless wings for 7.99. Wemo’s allows you to split them and get two different sauces, too! I usually have leftovers so that’s lunch for the next day! Tonight would be a perfect night for you and your honey to try Wemo’s! DO IT! Support Local business! The quality service, and delicious food will not return void.. it might return heart burn, though. :)

     

    GO THERE TONIGHT!

    For More information on Wemo’s Wings, Check out their new website here. Also, be sure to like them on facebook!

    Happy Eating!

    ~Amanda





Blues Brews and Birds

May 26, 2011

The Mississippi Delta graces Alabama’s Eastern Shore and the combination is DELICIOUS! It comes in the form of “Champy’s” whose slogan is “Blues, Brews, and Birds”. There’s no doubt I couldn’t wait to try what was described to me as “the best friends chicken in town… HANDS DOWN”. Now, I write to you each week about eating healthy and let’s not assume I’ve fallen off the deep end here. But I also remind you that cheat days and cheat meals are important as long they are spread out over the span of a week and as long as you’re comfortable with how you fit into your favorite pair of jeans. (That is the only healthy eating disclaimer I’ll give you –I promise) Something I didn’t know until my visit to Champy’s is that tamales were originated in the Mississippi Delta. So if you’re a stranger in a foreign-non tamale land, you have to try Champy’s!

The outside of the restaurant looks casual and family friendly which I would say is the perfect description for this restaurant. And notice the hours listed on the sign shown below. On Friday’s and Saturday’s they are open until the last person leaves. So if you’re not an early bird (no pun intended), this is good news for you.

I love that half of their seating is outside on their patio. They have fans and its covered well, so on a breezy day it’s perfect. If you are not an “eat-outside” kind of person, they have plenty of seating inside as well.

I must confess that I didn’t really read the menu at all. As I told you before, I was so excited to try the best fried chicken in town that I was sure it would somehow find its way to my plate. Although, this is one of those restaurant that leaves you with very little choice other than delicious fried chicken!

We were starving when we arrived so we ordered three appetizers between the six of us, well seven including 3 year old Evan. Not to be left off the list were those famous-from the Delta tamales and I must say I was pleasantly surprised! They were spicy and delicious. The waiter said he like to eat them with crackers and coleslaw so I took his advice, minus the crackers, and was not disappointed.

When I saw on the menu the smoked sausage cheese and pickles appetizer, I’m going to be honest with you; it didn’t jump out and grab me. But, oh my! It was really good. I have no idea what kind of sausage this was but even with Chad’s spilled ice tea in the basket, it was so good! Our other appetizer was hot wings and I missed that picture. I also didn’t eat them since I was trying to save room for my finger lickin’ chicken.

Now for the main dish and the very reason to visit Champy’s, the FRIED CHICKEN! Consider this your warning that you might have to wait because every piece of chicken is marinated for 24 hours and cooked to order. So your chicken doesn’t hit the grease until the ticket hits the kitchen. But this guarantees fresh juicy chicken that is HOT when it arrives to your table. It has delicious flavor and it’s so tender and juicy. If you love fried chicken, please check it out.
Matthew ordered for us and a friend to share so we got the family platter with cole slaw and baked beans. We didn’t know until after we had ordered that you can substitute your sides and they are southern classics. The mashed potatoes and gravy are supposedly delicious so I’ll have to try that next time I visit. The cole slaw and beans were delicious but it’s just really hard to get past the goodness of that fried chicken. This picture really doesn’t do it justice. This plate was piled high and the sides were huge! I don’t think Matthew touched these sides but believe it or not, not a single piece of chicken was left on this plate. That’s got to tell you something!

Their chicken fingers are no exception to the “marinated 24 hours and made to order” rule. They are served hot and fresh and it’s full of good tender white meat. I particularly loved their French fries. I love a well seasoned-crispy on the outside-homemade style French fry! This is a picture of Evan’s kid’s meal. Their chicken fingers are pretty big so 2 are plenty for a child.

Not to be left off the list is a healthier choice and that is, a salad. Their salad’s are large and plenty of yummy toppings. It’s topped with those awesome chicken tenders I just told you about so in this dish, you kind of get the best of both worlds.

Champy’s is located off Hwy 98 in Daphne. Just type in 27080 Hwy 98 in your GPS and let it take you there. Take some friends to chat with while you wait on your cooked to order chicken and just enjoy the laid back atmosphere as the Blues music plays subtly in the background. You won’t be let down!

Make sure to like them on Facebook!

Champy's Famous Fried Chicken

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again? That’s how I feel! Sometimes I get so Ja Ja Ja Jaded. Ok. Enough with the (bad) song lyrics. Seriously, though. I am not perfect and I feel like I have been on a roller coaster when it comes to eating. I feel bad because I am writing a blog that is based on healthy eating but I’m not really eating as healthy as I should. During the week, I’ll eat perfectly but then the weekend rolls around and I splurge! I haven’t been exercising and last weekend I partook in about 5 cinnamon rolls (THEY WERE SO GOOD) Sometimes I feel like I’m just dieting for the weekend.

How do we (I) correct this problem? I hope that voicing my sturggles via Taste Buds may help with the accountability that I’ve been lacking. I need to be held accountable and I need be encouraged.

What I really want to know is why do we (I) fall off of the wagon so often? This year I have tried about 3 different diets. My own version (Low-Calorie) in which I was keeping count of my calories. Well, I ended up NOT eating enough calories (about 1200 or less a day), and I think my body began storing fat thus causing me to flat line in my weight loss. Then, I tried low-carb. I thought I was doing it correctly, but I guess not because I only lost 7 lbs in 6 weeks. SO I began Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers supposedly allows you to eat whatever you want and lose weight but because of that freedom, I find myself eating worse and worse! Something’s gotta give!

Do I need to just go to a nutritionist and have them give me some strict guildines? Do you think having stricter guidlines will better guide me into eating the right foods and not waver? Is there possibly another “diet” out there that would work better? I realize it’s not about a diet.. it’s about eating healthy. I say that over and over again, but lets face it: I LOVE FOOD and if I want a milk shake, I want a milk shake. I’m human and when I really think about it.. I realize that life is short, food is good so enjoy it.. but I guess it’s all about moderation.

I just want to know WHY! Why do I go on this roller coaster of food consumption? So when in doubt, I Google:

It’s nice to know that this has been googled before. Of course it has. Tons of people struggle with this! In fact, according to eHow.com, “It has been estimated that nearly 50 million Americans go on diets each year. More than 90% of those diets will fail. Dieters regularly admit that they have trouble losing weight because they can’t stop cheating on their diets.”

Ehow.com goes on to give you INSTRUCTIONS on how to prevent cheating on your diet and since they have all of the so-called experts, I think I’m going to include those here. I’m curious to know what they have to say:

1. Determine why you’ve cheated on diets in the past. In order to free yourself from the urge to cheat, you must determine the root of the urge. Write those things down in a journal, and then brainstorm about ways to overcome those hurdles in the future. For instance, if you determine that you are an emotional eater, you may enjoy reading books on how you can overcome the desire to eat for emotional reasons, or you may benefit from attending an emotional support group. If you’re a woman who cheats on her diet during her menstrual cycles, you might write about ways to cook low-calorie versions of the foods you crave.

(I guess I am currently participating in number 1. Am I an emotional eater? Yes. I guess I need to buy a book about that (har har).)

2. Excluding your favorite foods will leave you feeling deprived and will ultimately set you up for failure. In order to avoid feeling deprived, try a low calorie diet, which will allow you to enjoy starches, sugars, breads, milk, and even desserts in moderation. Low-carb diets are difficult for chronic cheaters to follow because they miss the foods they love. Diets demanding that their participants eat only their brands of food, (Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig) can be difficult to stick with because it’s hard to make choices when going to restaurants. If this has been the case for you, try Weight Watchers or another calorie-based diet. You’ll learn about portion control and your options will be more broad.

(Perhaps, TOO Broad? I find I’ve cheated more on Weight Watchers than low-carb. BUT WW has worked for SO many people!)

3. If portion control is a challenge for you, then divide your meals in half to help conquer the urge to eat extra food. Leave one half of the meal on your plate, and place the other half in a to-go box. You will be suprised at how easily the urge to eat the extra food will seem to fade away. If you feel hungry when your meal is complete, order a salad or an additional side of steamed vegetables. The food remaining in your to-go box will make a delicious lunch or dinner the next day.

(I know someone who did this and really did lose a lot of weight!)


4. Treat yourself to a decadent dessert once or twice a month. Dieters who binge on desserts do so because sweets are treated as forbidden foods. If you allow yourself to enjoy them every once in awhile, they won’t seem so taboo. When we remove the dangerous, forbidden elements from things, we don’t want them as badly. Take the time to slowly enjoy a small piece of cake or a scoop of your favorite ice cream every once in awhile. Subtract the calories for it from your daily allowance and continue on your journey to a healthier you without the guilt and cravings.

(I like this step!)

My "Accountability Partner" needs to crack the whip!


5. Find an accountability partner. Diets and exercise regimens are more fun when they’re shared with a friend. We are also less likely to cheat on our diets when we know a caring friend is rooting for us. Find someone to listen to you when you need to vent about your diet, or when you need someone to celebrate those important weight-loss milestones.

(This is VERY true and I have a friend like that. She just needs to yell at me when I cheat!)

6. Have fun! Dieting can be a wonderful, educational journey. Find ways to keep your diet and exercise journey both fun and interesting. If you need more variety in your food, go to your local bookstore or visit http://www.Amazon.com to search for low-calorie or low-fat cookbooks. If your exercise regimen is giving you the blues, then try something more daring like hiking or cardio striptease classes.

(Guilty. I do get bored and lazy when it comes to exercising but I DID try a crazy pole dancing class to mix it up a bit. It was fun but I wouldn’t do that on a regular basis)

So according to ehow.com, these steps will help you get out of your yo-yo dieting and stick to it and lose weight. I suppose these are all good recommendations, but I still feel like there is something more to the problem and I want to figure it out.

The more I read, the more I realize that I have just got to get my thoughts together to get a handle on things. I know what I NEED to do…. I just need to DO it. Now I need to research “Making yourself do something”. Ha. Any advice would be appreciated. Maybe I’m just burnt out? But I don’t want to be burnt out on a way of living that should exist. LORDY!

I’ll keep y’all posted on my progress.

Love,

Amanda

How many times have you passed by a little “hole in the wall” restaurant and wondered what it’s like? This was certainly the case for me with the Ashland Pub. It is very close to where I work and I pass it nearly every day. I guess the idea of a “pub” just turned me off. I had envisioned burgers and chicken fingers and that’s just not my menu of choice. But I overheard a coworker speak one day about an Ahi Tuna salad that they had for lunch and this certainly peaked my interest. I love a seared Ahi tuna steak and there aren’t many quick spots near me where I can enjoy this during lunch. So one day I had no plans and, having this salad in the back of my mind, I decided to give it a try. Man, I am so glad I did!
The Ashland area of midtown is super cute! I love the beautiful Ashland Place church, the cute fire station, quaint little neighborhoods, and NOW a hip new pub. Pubs are open late but thankfully this one is open for lunch as well. They also have a Sunday Jazz Brunch, which I have heard is phenomenal, although I’ve never had the chance to try it. But the idea of music and a delicious menu in a chill atmosphere is just my style, so one of these days we will go.
I visited Ashland Pub for lunch today because frankly, it had been too long. Every now and then I need my tuna fix and there is just nowhere else in Mobile that can serve up a salad as yummy as Ashland. The restaurant is very small. They have a few outside tables but today was too hot to sit there. However, don’t think small means crowded, rather I would describe Ashland as cozy. I don’t know if it’s the wood grain bar, the wooden farm tables in the dining room, or the big china cabinet behind the bar but this place has such a homey feeling. And this, in my opinion, fits the Ashland neighborhood personality perfectly.

The back wall is usually filled with paintings by local artists but, judging by all of the empty spaces today, they must have been sold.

They have a chalkboard menu, which is always filled with yummy selections, but I’m never able to venture away from my favorites on the menu. However they always look tempting. I love that it’s actually the wall of the kitchen and they have cut out a window so that you can see the cook and know when your food is ready. Check out the special they had that day. Crab Lasagna!! That sounds amazing and if I weren’t so concerned about my pants size right now, I would have given it a try. Of course the bread pudding is calling my name but I’m always too full for dessert.

I couldn’t help but notice on the board behind the bar that they offer a gluten free beer. Call me sheltered but I didn’t even know that exists! I’m not sure how many places in Mobile offer this but here is one that does.

Enough about the cool atmosphere, let’s get to the main dish… the FOOD! When I visited this pub for the first time, I was alone. But I couldn’t wait to call Matthew and tell him about a new favorite hotspot, that I was so sure he would love. I didn’t get a picture of the menu but you can find it by visiting their website. You will see that they have a variety of choices, one of which is pizza. Due to our diet, pizza is something that we reserve for a weekend item and it’s not very often. But when we have the craving, Ashland Pub is where we go. They have my favorite pizza in town and possibly my favorite pizza anywhere; it’s called “The Hookup”. You have to try it. When I had it the first time, someone ordered it for me so I didn’t even know what all was on it but I knew it was delicious. The ingredients are: red sauce, Italian sausage, pepperoni, house roasted garlic cloves, vidalia onions, finely chopped jalepenos (not too much), mozzarella & parmesan cheeses. Even if this list of goodness doesn’t sound like the best pizza you’ve ever tasted, trust me and try it anyway. It’ll soon become your favorite too.
I told you earlier about the Ahi Tuna Salad and that is usually what I order at lunch. Matthew is NOT a salad fan and even he loves this dish. It’s a spring mix salad with avocado slices and seared tuna that’s seasoned perfectly. It sounds so plain, but the house vinaigrette used to coat the salad is the perfect flavor combination with the tuna. Not only does it TASTE amazing, but the way they plate it looks so pretty. They decorate the plate with a soy glaze and sirachi. As I said before, this is the best Ahi Tuna salad in Mobile. I never have a problem cleaning my plate.

Other menu items I can recommend are the meatballs, the cheesy bread, and the lasagna. But basically, you can’t go wrong at Ashland Pub. I can’t wait to one day try the Sunday Jazz brunch and when I do, I’ll tell you all about it.

You can tell that I love the Ashland Pub but don’t just take my word for it. Check them out for yourself and I’m sure you’ll have the same experiences. Follow them on Facebook and stay in the know about specials and fun events they might host. I’m sure they would love to hear YOUR feedback as well.

Thanks for reading!
Kelly

Ashland Midtown Pub

I made these tonight and It was hard to stop eating them! They are so fresh! The perfect summer treat. The cool avocado spread complements the blend of spices that the chicken was seasoned with. Annnnd lets not forget about the tangy lime-cilantro slaw! These little tacos are so flavorful and fresh that it’s hard to believe they are only 319 calories per serving. If you are like me and LOVE mexican but are also trying to eat healthy, try these. They are cheeseless, but you won’t even miss the cheese! Pair them with a side of fruit or black beans and you’ve got a great dinner! They are also quick! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 3/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder (I didn’t have Ancho so just used regular. Ancho is spicier, I think)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk (I didn’t have low-fat milk so used low-fat half & half)
  • 1/2 ripe peeled avocado, diced
  • 2 cups packaged angel hair slaw
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
As you will see, if you don’t have certain ingredients, a few of them are easily substituted.
Directions:
I like to measure everything out first to make my kitchen look like a Food Network test kitchen. It makes me feel special.
1. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with chile powder, garlic salt, and cumin. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove chicken from pan.
2. Combine rind, 1 tablespoon juice, and next 3 ingredients (through avocado) in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.

Before mixing....

after mixing

3. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon juice, slaw, onions, cilantro, oil, and salt, tossing to coat.

Green Onion

Cilantro

Shredded Slaw

4. Heat tortillas according to directions. Divide chicken mixture evenly among tortillas. Top each tortilla with about 1 tablespoon avocado mixture and 1/4 cup slaw mixture.

Pretttyyyy Foooooodddd

The finished product!

I got this recipe from the May issue of Cooking Light magazine but you can find this recipe and all of their recipes on their website. The great thing about Cooking Light is that they include the nutritional information! PLUS the recipes they have are VERY good! Everything I’ve made from Cooking Light has been delicious AND nutritious!
Thanks for reading and happy eating!
~Amanda

I’ve made it very clear that my diet is important to me.  I fully believe that we should contemplate every decision for what goes into our body.  While I love food, I also must understand it’s role in my life.  We eat to live, we do not live to eat.  It’s nutritional value gives us energy to sustain ourselves but it can also be a source of pain or sickness if allowed. However this does not mean that we can’t ENJOY it. But, we shouldn’t expect more out of food because it is just that.

I used to hear people talk about emotional eating and “the real meaning” behind being fat but I honestly wrote it off as being a load of crap.  It wasn’t until I took a closer look at my own lifestyle that I understood the reality of this concept.  I thought I was chubby because I liked to eat, because it was genetic, or because I was lazy. But requiring of myself to give up sugar, made me realize just how important a role it played in my life. Nobody has a bigger sweet tooth than I.  I could eat an assortment of baked goods, chocolate truffles and, let us not forget, ICE CREAM every day.  Seriously, when people say “that’s too rich” I hear “I’m trying to SOUND skinny”.  The richer it tastes the more I want to eat.  For this reason, giving up the freedom to eat every ounce of chocolate that came in plain sight was the hardest part about becoming healthier.  I can’t tell you the number of times I tried to make an attempt and caved when I came within 10 feet of something sweet.  But when I FINALLY made up my mind that it was going to happen it was one of the hardest weeks of my life.  Looking back now, I’m very surprised my husband didn’t move out of our house or leave me all together.  The scene of a 2 year old throwing a temper tantrum on the toy isle in Walmart would describe me perfectly.  I’ve always passed judgment on alcoholics or drug addicts as it’s something that I just couldn’t understand.  But as silly as it sounds, removing sugar from my diet helped me to understand the uncontrollable need to put something in my body and achieve a certain sense of relief.

In the early stages of choosing a healthy diet, I gave up sugar completely. I went a full 7 days with no sugar.  In case you haven’t already picked up on this, it was very hard. Very…. HARD!  I didn’t think that I was an “emotional eater” until I was mad and whining but thought that ice cream would make it better…. Until I was super grouchy and wanted a doughnut…. Or until I was in tears and looking for a bag of double stuffed Oreos to make it all better. So after a few days of feeling that way, I realized what was happening. The “emotional eating” that I so frequently made fun of, had become a reality to me.

Working through that first week with zero sugar let me know that I could survive without it.  Sure, the science behind it was greatly beneficial since my body began to burn my fat cells for energy and my blood sugar became more regulated. But the psychological benefits were, for me, enough to make all of that whining and complaining well worth it. I began to think about food differently and, while I still love good food, I realized that I CAN be in control of what goes into my body.  What a powerfully freeing experience!

I said all of this to prove how big of a sweet tooth I have and to encourage you that if I can do it, you can too.  Please understand that my message is not “in order to obtain a healthy lifestyle, you have to give up sweets all together.” Instead, I want to inform you of some tips that I use to ward away the sweet tooth without jumping ship on my diet plan all together.

DARK CHOCOLATE!!

Recent studies have shown that dark chocolate has some health benefits.  It is lower in sugar than milk chocolate and has some good antioxidants. Now, 2 pounds of it at a time… bad for you!  But in small doses it’s actually healthy and can easily be used to satisfy sweet cravings.  Ghiradelli makes a bag of 72% cacao chocolate that they call “Twilight Delight”.  I must warn you that it is DARK chocolate so it certainly has a bittersweet taste.  But if you break yourself of sweets completely, for a period of time, you might be surprised to find that the bittersweet isn’t so bad after all.  The good thing about these little bags is that the chocolate squares are individually wrapped.  When I feel the need for something sweet, I eat one square slowly and find that it usually does the trick.  Don’t allow yourself to scarf down more than 1 quickly because before you know it, you’ll have destroyed the entire bag.  Usually, if I eat it slowly and wait a few minutes, the feeling will pass.


COFFEE!!!!

I love coffee.  But I understand that overdosing on caffeine can be a real problem.  I usually drink one cup in the mornings and one in the afternoon.  I have realized that the time of day I usually want to binge on sugary goodness is in the afternoons as soon as I get home from work which for me is around 3:30/4:00.  I see this as the perfect time to hit the gym because it distracts me from that craving for sweets.  But on days when I can’t make it to the gym, I will have a cup of coffee when I get home.  It helps me to relax after a long day and makes me feel full so I’m not digging in cabinets for anything sweet I can find. If I have already had my 2 cups for the day, I will drink decaf so that my caffeine intake isn’t extremely high.  It may be only a distraction but it’s something I enjoy and leaves me without that longing to cry until someone shoves a cupcake in my face.

FRUIT!!

Okay, so fruit isn’t bad!  It’s considered a healthy food and rightfully so because fresh fruit has tons of health benefits.  But some of the most delicious fruits are very sweet and contain massive amounts of fructose.  You determine your own restrictions and needs but if you’re trying to remain lean, you are going to want to monitor your sugar intake, especially fructose.  This might mean that you limit the amount of fruit that you eat or for a period of time you might remove it all together.  I love fruit but the truth is, I don’t eat it often.  If we ever buy fruit, it will most likely sit in the refrigerator until it spoils because I forget about it and it’s just not something that I feel like I can’t live without.  However if you are a fruit lover with a huge sweet tooth, you can save those few servings of fruit for the times in the day when you’re really craving something sweet. Of course you want to stay away from any added sugars so your best bet is fresh fruit that you cut yourself.  But start with small servings and wait to see if the craving is satisfied before you eat too much and regret it later.


CHEAT DAYS!!!


Yes, I said cheat days.  But don’t get confused.  This doesn’t mean that you eat something sweet whenever you want and call it a “cheat day”.  Set small goals for yourself and then enjoy a cheat day or a cheat meal once you reach it.  When I first began my quest for a healthy life, I had a lot of weight to lose before I could even be considered healthy.  So I didn’t enjoy so much as a cheat meal until I had reached a weight that I was comfortable with calling healthy.  But only you know what your long term goals are and where you want to be physically.  You set the standards for yourself and you must hold yourself accountable.  Make the decision to have a cheat meal or a cheat day and hold yourself to it.  By reaching a goal in order to enjoy a cheat meal, you will decrease those feelings of guilt that soon follow indulgence. Occasionally overeating can actually be beneficial by increasing your bodies production of a hormone called leptin. Plus, I have a much easier time resisting something sweet if I can remind myself that a cheat day is coming.  I never say or allow someone to tell me “I can never eat (fill in the blank) again…”.  Talk about jumping ship!  This statement will make you want to hoard up every little Debbie Cake on the shelf and eat it while you can. The truth is, you CAN eat whatever you want but it just might not be as much or as often as you have in the past.   So keep in mind that something you love, but may not enjoy as often as before, is coming and the rewards are much greater. Eating healthy doesn’t give you gas, bloating, indigestion, love handles, muffin tops, or a wardrobe in a bigger size.  I think we can all agree that tastes better than ice cream, cookies, candies and pizza everyday!

Thanks for reading!

~Kelly

I’m in route to Fort Worth, Texas to visit my Brother and his family. Before I left, Matt and I wanted to have lunch together downtown since I was leaving him for a week, so we went to Rollin’s Deli. I had heard good things about Rollin’s and their colorful store front beckons me every time I pass by so I just had to try it!

Rollins is located downtown off Dauphin Street. It’s exterior is very colorful and provides an immediate focal point on the street. Identity Signs, a local sign shop was responsible for the branding and I LOVE it! It really makes them stand out amongst all of the other restaurants downtown that relied on their own abilities for branding. I think that that is one of the biggest mistakes that mom & pop shops make. Branding is SO important and I’m not just saying that because I’m a graphic designer. I think other restaurants downtown should definitely take a cue from Rollin’s Deli and consider their store fronts. Are they luring customers in? If not, you may want to think about a makeover. Identity Signs would be a great company to help you with that. Or you can use me for graphic design and I’ll be happy to send the artwork to them for them to install :)  BUT we’re here to talk about food.. not design, so I’ll move on.. (Sorry about that little plug)

When Matt and I walked into Rollin’s we were thinking it was a self-serve kind of restaurant but it’s not. You sit down and they take your order.  Well, the shop was really cute. It was painted in fun colors and they had a large chalkboard menu at the register where they used brightly color chalk to write the menu down. Because it was so cute, I wanted to see what the bathroom looked like so I went to go wash my hands. It was clean and I really appreciated that they did not leave a single detail out. Even the sign that said, “Employees must wash hands..etc..etc..” was in the same type face as their Logo. I, the graphic design nerd that I am, really appreciated that.

As I was walking to the bathroom, I saw two picture frames with pictures in them. They were portraits. The men looked like writers to me. Well, I later found out that those are the pictures of Rollin’s namesake. Rollin is the name of owner Jason McLendon’s grandfather, “Papaw”, and his uncle, Rollin Jr. Rollin’s Deli was founded in homage to both of those great men. So that’s savory… but not as savory as their steamed sandwiches!

It didn’t take long for me to decide what I wanted because I saw, “Grilled Chicken with Avocado, Pepper Jack Cheese, crisp Romaine Lettuce, Salt & Cracked Peppered Tomatoes, Red Onion, & Raspberry Dijon.” but I was torn between that sandwich (The L.A.) and the Jackson Philly with “Grilled Chicken or Seasoned Filet Roast Beef with Natural Swiss, sautéed Peppers and Onions, crisp Romaine Lettuce, Salt & Cracked Peppered Tomatoes, with our “Sweet Home” sauce. Well I asked the waitress what she thought, and she said go with the L.A. and I am SO glad I did! The flavor was so delicious!

The roll that the sandwich was on was steamed and very soft! The flavors were tantalizing and while I couldn’t really taste the raspberry vinaigrette, it didn’t matter because there was a party going on in my mouth from the other flavors on the sandwich. I love the combination of ingredients that were on the L.A. sandwich.. especially the avocado! I just don’t think having avocado on a sandwich is offered enough as it should be! It’s packed with antioxidants and healthy fats and it’s green, which is my favorite color.

Each sandwich comes with a side. For my side, I got mashed sweet potatoes. They were pretty tasty but I kind of longed for the brown sugar and cinnamon. BUT they are healthy.. and it’s probably better that I didn’t fatten them up! :)

Matt loves anything with “Philly” in the title so he decided to try the Jackson Philly with the Boar’s Head roast beef. It was composed of “Seasoned Filet Roast Beef with Natural Swiss, sautéed Peppers and Onions, crisp Romaine Lettuce, Salt & Cracked Peppered Tomatoes, with their “Sweet Home” sauce.” I had a taste and really enjoyed the flavor of the roast beef. It had the ingredients of a Philly but was definitely a different take on the classic. It tasted very fresh and it wasn’t as heavy as most Philly cheese steaks normally are. That’s something I appreciate. Especially at lunch time.

For Matt’s side, he got Rollin’s Beer Cheese Soup. I know that beer is commonly used in cooking. I’ve never liked the flavor of beer, but I have seen many people use it on Food Network and figured it must be really flavorful. So I made some chili with beer to see what all the fuss was about….. GROSS! I did not like it one bit! For some reason, the “flavor” of beer in cooking tastes rotten to me! Well, I tasted this beer cheese soup and liked it immediately! It did not have that “rotten” taste that I normally associate with soups that use beer. It was cheesy and delightful in every way! Matt really liked it, too. It was a comfort and would definitely be a great soup to cook around tailgating season. I also think it would be a great “sauce” to use for a fondue! Skewer up some Hawaiian rolls, toast them and dunk em’ in this yummy concoction! Now that would be yummy!

Did I mention how sweet our waitress was? At first, I got a diet coke (I know, I’m not drinking those but I did that day) and it tasted like it was out of a can instead of a fountain (I’m weird), so I changed to raspberry lemonade. Well I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think I was supposed to get a free refill on the raspberry lemonade but the waitress gave me one anyway! So that was really nice. I don’t think she had the heart to tell me that they weren’t free.

Overall, I thought Rollin’s Deli was a really nice place. The food was delicious, the people were sweet and the environment was hip and fresh. It is a great addition to the downtown area and I am certain that it will be very successful! For more information on Rollin’s Deli, check out their website here and be sure to “like” them on facebook!

Happy Eating,

~Amanda

Rollin's Downtown Deli on Urbanspoon

Cinco de Mayo

May 5, 2011

Cinco De Mayo means a couple of things to me. First, it’s my friend Kristy’s birthday (Happy Birthday Kristy!!!).   Second, all Mexican restaurants in America will be packed! As I’m sure most Americans don’t know what the day means, and for the ½ that do they probably don’t care, it’s still a great opportunity to feel festive by enjoying a night of tacos, burritos, chips & salsa, and who could forget the REAL reason… margaritas. But
one thing is NOT true about Cino De Mayo, it doesn’t have to ruin your diet plan. And I recently visited one of my FAVORITE Mexican hot spots to do just that. Confession: although I write to you about Cinco De Mayo,
this experience did not take place on May 5th. But if you can get past that, I think you’ll be able to learn a little about how you can enjoy this “holiday” (and Kristy’s Birthday) and not pop the button on your favorite skinny jeans.

I could eat Mexican food everyday and I don’t think I would ever get tired of it. But there is a new local restaurant that exceeds the typical Mexican cuisine. Fuego has been open for a couple of years on Old Shell Rd at Upham Street. It’s almost always busy and there is a good reason why, the food is extremely fresh and the salsa is some of the best I’ve ever had. But even with top quality ingredients, you still have to think out of the box sometimes in order to stay on track with your diet plan. I would love to encourage you to visit Fuego’s because it is so good, but if you plan to visit another of your favorite Mexican hot-spots tonight, don’t write me off. This post is intended to encourage you to get creative and stay on track.



I recently visited Fuego’s with my friend Alicia for her birthday. Even though it was a Thursday night, they were still crowded. But this wasn’t a problem for us because Fuegos has the BEST margaritas in town. So, we sat at the bar to enjoy a drink as we waited on our table. Here is when I ran into obstacle numero uno, the diet killer and the dreaded but delicious margarita. But that night at Fuego’s the bar tender set me up nicely with a low sugar treat and it was actually good! Simply ask for tequila, club soda, TONS of lime juice, and if you like it pretty sweet, ask for a little Splenda. You’ll barely be able to tell the difference and you have not ruined your diet just yet.

Now on to the main dish! If you like fajitas, then you’re in luck. Just order corn tortillas instead of flour and ditch the rice. What an easy healthy meal. The fewer corn tortillas you can eat, the better. Although corn is a vegetable, it does have a pretty high content of sugar. With fajitas you get grilled meat, peppers and onions, plus a selection of fresh items on the side to add on. Just ditch the rice and stay away from the beans as much as you can and not too much damage has been done. Then there is of course the obvious, taco salad. There aren’t too many ingredients that sneak up on you when you order this. But make sure you order it on a plate or in a bowl, rather than the fried tortilla shell. You aren’t nearly as tempted to eat something bad if it’s not sitting right in front of you. I’ve noticed that a lot of restaurants even offer a fajita taco salad which is even better because it’s topped with the delicious grilled meat, onions and peppers.

Since Fuego’s isn’t your typical Mexican restaurant, they have a great selection of salads. But when I go I am tempted to get my favorite thing on their menu “the Burrito San Diego”. I could have asked for the burrito in a corn tortilla instead of flour and cut out a lot of empty carbs but since we’ve already discussed that corn is high in sugar and it’s been proven to be a little rough on your digestive system, I wanted to cut it out all together. (not to mention that if you eat any chips at all, that’s more corn) So I asked our sweet waitress if she would mind putting the contents of my favorite burrito on a bed of lettuce. She did give me a strange look but she quickly said “Sure!” Since the burrito comes with sour cream and super fresh guacamole that is out of this world, I did not need dressing. Plus I had some amazingly fresh and delicious salsa to pour on it as well. When my food was brought out, the waitress said “that actually looks really good!” I was able to enjoy all of my favorites of Mexican cuisine but did not go home with the bloated “why did I do this to myself” feeling.


So no matter what you love to eat on Cinco de Mayo, get creative and make it as healthy as you can. If you have a favorite dish that is wrapped in something carb-filled or fried, ask for it on a salad. Just because you care about nutrition doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your favorite foods. Those are 2 things that you don’t have to separate. Think outside of the box a little bit and you can enjoy the affects of a healthy lifestyle as much as you love delicious foods.

Fuego Coastal Mexican Eatery on Urbanspoon

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