The Amazingness That Is The Grill

I never really had a reason to grill in the past, but I feel like it’s worth knowing and that I should at least learn…espeically if it means I can be more helpful every so often.  (That said, I’m always admittedly a little nervous about ruining the food – if it’s for anyone other than myself, I feel petrified of messing it up!) My husband is incredibly good at it.  I don’t think there’s anything he can’t make because everything he’s ever cooked, I’ve enjoyed immensely. (And if I like it, you know it’s good.)  

One of the key reasons I am so finicky, though, is that my system is ultra sensitive – I have to stick to basics, and keep my food free of the “extras.” In that case, I feel like cooking a good meal is even more of a task (no sauces to come to the cover-up rescue!)

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Truth be told, though, I think food tastes better without the extra jazz.  I definitely love various sauces but I remember when I had them more frequently that those were all I tasted – I missed out on the flavors of the foods themselves.  Shrimp for one thing are delicate – I love how mild and sweet they are (scallops are another favorite!) bust as such, they are easily overpowered.  My hubby grilled some the other day with nothing more than Old Bay and salt and pepper – amazing.  

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He grilled fresh bell peppers too (the red, orange and yellow are the sweetest varieties) which were incredible. 

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I feel like you don’t really need much – beyond knowing how to grill properly of course (and he definitely has that down!) It’s always a nice treat because I’ll generally stick to a skillet, an oven or broiler, or the microwave if left to my devices. The grill gives a tiny bit of blackened char, which you just can’t get any other way, and a little bit of crisp that makes the softer insides even more delicious.

 

Healthy Father’s Day

Whenever a holiday or special weekend comes up, I always see people the following Monday in the gym dragging themselves and lamenting about how much they overdid it.  Family gatherings and summer get-togethers don’t HAVE to be bad for you, guys!

I think one of the biggest saving graces is staying in control of your shopping – you absolutely can stock up on unhealthy options while at the store (especially if you are shopping hungry!)  But you have control over what you put in your cart and end up with at home…so stay focused from the get go and you will avoid having leftovers or unopened boxes of cookies that you really don’t want around as a temptation later on!

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For us, the goal was to get a good, heathy variety that would keep everyone filled up…even the kids.  Surf and turf always works, giving everyone a few options for the bulk of the meal.  Corn on the cob is a fun, summer veggie, that is totally okay to have also – I have some friends who avoid corn completely but it isn’t going to kill you once in a while, so don’t stress.  

The benefit of the foods we grill primarily is that we don’t layer on sauces and dressings – Montreal Seasoning, or salt and pepper does the trick – it gives you a little kick, but still allows you to actually taste the food itself (which I always think is the point, no?!) 

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We didn’t actually buy desserts so we didn’t’ end up with them.  Instead, we had some sweet red grapes laying around – which definitely worked! – and later we took a walk to get some ice cream for the youngest of the group.  Adding a walk is always helpful, as is not having the extra goodies left over, so it worked out perfectly.  

I was definitely full after dinner but it wasn’t a feeling-guilty kind of full…which no one – truly – has to feel after a shindig.  Just remember that you have full control over what you buy and serve…and also what you eat!  

(PS – Don’t forget about having breakfast and regular meals during the day, prior to gatherings where food is served – if you go out hungry, you might set yourself up for a binge!)

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Keeping it CLEAN. . .

Feeding A Raptor

My hunnie and I have a joke that feeding me is like feeding a momma raptor (if you saw Jurassic Park, you might have a fun visual.)  I eat like a horse, basically, although mostly my choices are relegated to the vegetable and protein categories.  

The other Night he brought home a HUGE assortment of “surf” (shrimp, sea bass, salmon, lobster tail) and turf” (red meat for him, poultry for me, as I don’t go red) for dinner – I was incredibly thankful, and my tummy was jumping for joy!  

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He’s quite talented with grilling – I’m afraid I’d have trouble keeping track of one item, let alone several!  He did an amazing job with everything – perfect as usual.  

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We generally go light, steering clear of sauces and marinades (you can always add condiments later if necessary.)  So typically, we stick to seasoned salt, pepper, lemon, and Old Bay – you really don’t need more than that and with the richer, fattier fish, it’s not necessary anyway.  If I am desperate for something more, I might use a diluted teriyaki sauce or salsa.

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The raptor was fed, and terribly happy about it all, I must say (though our two feline boys were a wee bit jealous, admittedly!)

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Last Week’s Deliciousness

I sometimes want to say I’m blessed that I don’t get bored with my nutrition…

The funny thing is, I actually get bored in about 2.5 seconds with everything…but never my food!  I know “clean food” may not seem as exciting as having a sundae with sprinkles, but broiled or grilled chicken and roasted vegetables is incredibly fulfilling.  Salt and spices can bring out the flavor and kick it up a notch (let me be clear, I DON’T do bland!  Clean food does NOT = no flavor!)

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Old Bay and Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt are two of our favorites!  I also use Gold’s Cocktail sauce because it’s a lot lower in sugar that some of those out there – it’s worth checking the labels.

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My nutritional choices are generally clean, straightforward, and simple…but they aren’t boring.  

I eat a ton of poultry, seafood and eggs, which accounts for a lot more than it looks like because of the varieties (chicken and turkey can be roasted, smoked, broiled, baked, grilled… And then you have shellfish, white fishes, fattier fishes…all of which can be healthily prepared a multitude of ways as well!)

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I also love smaller pieces of chicken – I like to think of it as the browned-outside-to-moist-inside ratio.  I love chicken breast but…I get really exited about the nubs!  I know, I know…it’s appallingly geeky.  It’s to the point that I’ll jump up and down like one of my cats (Keku, the ravenous one, who basically wolfs his meals like he’s not eaten in days!)  I get an “okaaayyy…” from my hunnie, who deals with my silly shenanigans, albeit with a look of slight concern. 😉 Good thing I’m not a zombie – I’d be jumping up and down in the streets!

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I also LOVE my vegetables – steamed and roasted are my go-to preparations, but I also love having chicken over baby spinach (it packs a more solid nutritional punch than many lettuces, plus there’s a bit of a peppery flavor to it.)  I don’t use dressing but a spray olive oil or dash of balsamic is great when I need “something.”

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We ran out for lunch on the weekend to a new Asian restaurant and since I tend to avoid sauces I’m not sure about, I got the steamed chicken and vegetables.  Easy, straightforward, hard to mess up!  The nice thing in a place like that is that you typically get a LARGE portion – and when we are talking steamed poultry and vegetables, you are looking at a meal that will fill you up for sure, and not derail your fitness efforts.  Water, fiber, protein…CHECK!  A little bit of soy sauce on top, and it was devoured!

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As many of my posts can attest, I could go on and on (ad infinitum!) about healthy foods being enjoyable – I feel like for as many people who say it’s humdrum, there are as many of us who say the opposite!  We aren’t trying to pretend away a reality, or insist a view because being healthy is trendy, or “the thing to do.”  We honestly DO enjoy clean meals, and know that we can feel satisfied without the added junk that can derail us.  Little changes can pave the way for huge results, and the process of discovering food can be truly fulfilling!

Surf And Turf

Last night my hunnie made a veggie Surf & Turf stew – SO GOOD!  

The dish was made with the following:

  • Rao’s tomato sauce (one that has a lot less sugar and added “junk” than many others)
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 box of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 bag of sweet mini peppers
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 3 bags of broccoli (which is probably 3 large heads, chopped)
  • 1 lb or so of Argentine shrimp
  • 1 lb + of chicken tenderloins
  • Salt and spices

He’s quite the chef, and I am always impressed with how much he keeps track of at once!  The chicken was broiled separately, and the shrimp done towards the end – both came out perfectly. ❤ 

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It’s such a healthy meal and honestly, it was so good I couldn’t stop eating it – I had it for breakfast and lunch! 😀 It’s filling, and good for you – lean protein and veggies?  It doesn’t get much better!

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I’m not a big “sauce” person because I don’t like to add calories to my meals that aren’t particularly necessary.  But this wasn’t the kind of thing that will break your bank, so to speak, unless you are using way too much, and / or having it all the time!  We usually have grilled or broiled chicken, shrimp or fish and keep condiments to a minimum.  With the right spices, you don’t even need sauce!  I never understood the whole “smother” phenomenon…  

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If you love the idea but DON’T want sauce, use a little bit and cut up whole and cherry tomatoes to lighten up the nutritional stats. 

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The only fat in the meal (or in the sauce) was derived from olive oil, and that’s always a good thing!  I don’t have a ton of fat in my nutritional scheme (not on purpose at all!  I eat salmon, almonds, pistachios etc to add it in, as it is vital to proper function of the body!) so I like to have “good” oils here and there.  Also keep in mind, that’s where some of the calories are coming from – it wasn’t a sugar-laden dish at all!

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Something fun, especially as the colder winter moths are coming. I’m so thankful and appreciative of his cooking, and it’s fair to say, so is my tummy!!

 

The Seefood Diet

I remember when I was younger seeing a Garfield Cartoon about a “seafood diet.”  I’m sure you know the one… “When I see food, I eat it?”  

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At the time it resonated because I was, fair to say, a complete pigface.  I’m not sure if I’m the only person using that word, but there it is...pigface.  

Yes…I would effectively inhale anything within a several foot radius, particularly if it was chocolate!  I was also, in my defense, a growing girl and a full-time athlete outside of school…so I needed the sustenance.  (I’m not sure my macros and micros were stellar, but…“we know better now.” 😉 )

For some years now I have been on a seAfood diet…although I’d like to remove the “D word.”  I don’t actually use the “D word” when speaking about my nutritional habits because I think it’s more negative than not – a word that has been watered down to mean “a-non-sustainable-appraoch-to-food-under-the-guise-of-a-magic-bullet.”  I eat a ton of protein, but for good fat in particular, seafood is my go to.

No, Sir...there ARE NONE.  No magic bullets.  Eating clean and healthy is work, it requires dedication, but it IS absolutely achievable, and incredibly delicious!

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I’m incredibly thankful for my man because he is a wonderful cook – sad to say, I contribute about next to nil in that department!  He always makes something I love.  Roasted veggies are a “must have” (and can be devoured in one sitting if I don’t pace myself!)…and the evening about was seared scallops.  Scallops are what I call “sea candies” – Sweet and succulent!

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I’m a huge salmon fan, as my many former posts can attest!  Grilled, baked or broiled is how I ask for it…minus oil or butter (which it definitely doesn’t need!)  Perfection!

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And then there is the shellfish!  Shrimp is a wonderful meal or snack – high in protein, low in calories, and absolutely delicious.  They can have a lot of sodium (so keep that in mind if you have to watch your intake), but they are an excellent choice to change things up.  If you aren’t into them plain, cocktail sauce low in sugar is a great option, or even a tomato-based dip.  We prefer them with salt, pepper and a little bit of old bay…but everyone is different! 

Healthy nutrition isn’t as painful as some make it sound…and you CAN eat a lot.  These foods fill you up and provide necessary macronutrients for your body to function optimally – it really IS a win-win!