A Chip on My Shoulder

Remember how last night I posted about my concerns about pigging out on tortilla chips? The fiesta is over and the results are in. Did I win my battle against the siren song of freshly fried tortilla chips? Read on to find out!

Sad for a lack of chips in my life.

I did not eat a single chip. Not a bite, lick or taste. Zip. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

Nary a chip crossed my lips! Not gonna lie, it was hard. I was starving, the food took forever to come out, but I didn’t do it. Because I knew once I went into that territory and even one salty, sumptuous corn triangle crossed my lips, I’d be done for. I’m like an alcoholic around three things: tortilla chips, movie theatre popcorn, and sourdough bread. Sometimes avoidance is best.

I’m pretty proud of myself. It’s kind of dumb to have to think, “Wow, I can’t even eat a tortilla chip without getting all bingey”, but that’s the American way. The average basket of restaurant size tortilla chips is 500 calories. And I’ve totally eaten like two baskets on my own – and I know other people do it too. Why do we eat before we eat? Weird, right? In this case, it’s better to just refrain. Tonight, I have no chips on my conscience and happily, no chip on my shoulder.

Steak Salad!

 

Tortilla Time

Tortilla making has a certain amount of allure behind it, and if you are like I am, you like to imagine apple-cheeked Abuelitas standing over hot coals patting out paper thin tortillas with their soft, wrinkled hands, instead of scary metal machinery cranking out tortillas en masse. The closet I can get to making a tortilla is ripping open the package and throwing them in the microwave, so I was delighted when my friend Monique offered to make me authentic Mexican tortillas. Here’s what you need:

  •  2 Cups of Self Rising Flour
  •   3/4 Capful of Corn Oil
  •  3-4 Shakes of Salt
  •  1 Cup of Hot Water – not boiling, but as hot as your delicate hands can stand
  • A rolling pin or if you’re very fancy, a pelote
  •  A cast iron pan
  •  A clean dish towel and large zip lock bag

1) Set the cast iron pan on medium.

2) Put two cups of the self rising flour into a large mixing bowl.

3) Slowly add a cup of hot water, mixing the water into the dough as you go. SLOWWWWWWLY. If you get excited and dump it all in, you’re going to have a mucky, floury mess that doesn’t mix well.

Slowly add hot water

4) Keep mixing with your hands until the dough feels like bread dough – soft and pokey and mostly together, like this.

Just the right consistency

5) Once you’ve made a well-formed ball, press your thumb into the center of the dough ball to make an indentation. Pour the 3/4 capful of oil into this hole, and leave the dough to rise for five minutes.

6) Waited your five minutes? Good. Now, knead the dough again with your hands, making sure the oil is well mixed into the dough. Separate the dough into 5 separate lumps on a lightly floured cutting board.

Roll!

7) Using your rolling pin or pelote, roll the ball upward once, then downward once. Roll from side to side until the tortilla is quite thin.

8) Throw it on the hot pan. It will bubble up immediately. Don’t be alarmed if you smell smoke, that’s normal. Using your fingers (‘cmon – be daring), flip the tortilla over on to the other side. The tortilla is done when it looks like a tortilla. Don’t over cook or it will be hard and yucky. This may take some time to get right, so don’t cry if your tortilla crisps up like a critter on the fourth of July.

Brown and bubbly and delicious!

9) Wrap the tortilla in the dish towel and place it inside the ziplock bag while you cook your other tortillas. You want them to stay steamy and warm inside.

10) Serve with other yummy things. We did shredded rotisserie chicken, el pato salsa with tomato, onion and cilantro, cheese and fresh cabbage. SUPER YUM!!!

11) Enjoy fat food coma and unbutton jeans. You did it!

Yummy

Starve a fever, feed a cold?

I’m interrupting recaps to post a whiny and timely entry about being sick, and what weight loss/eating is like when you’re sick. You know how it starts. The little tickle in your throat, the slight stuffiness in your ears… and then, the one nostril that starts to leak a little bit  and before you know it, you’re a sneezing, sniffling snotty mess. I stayed home from work on Friday and remained largely bed-bound, and all day yesterday I pretty much laid around trying to recover.

The little chicken that I was hoping would save the day after being made into a pot of chicken noodle soup. It didn't work.

The past two days I’ve had NO appetite – none – not for the tiny cupcakes I got with a groupon, not for my usual weekend love affair with homemade popcorn. I had to force myself to eat a frozen entree and a bowl of HOMEMADE chicken noodle soup yesterday (Yes! The kind with a whole chicken!). Each bite felt gummy, unsatisfying and frustrating, especially because I couldn’t taste anything. I always know that I’m sick when my appetite goes away, because I am normally ALWAYS hungry. I can easily out-eat my husband. I’m not the type of person that would elect to take a “food pill” instead of eating, because I derive an almost obsessive pleasure from a big bite of a heaping sandwich or creamy spoonful of ice cream.  I missed my two familiar friends, Taste and Hunger.

The yummy Mexican food that saved the day

I knew things were lookin’ up today when I met my lovely friend Julie (Read about her adventures in Israel!) for a study session at a coffee shop. Halfway through our work, I felt the familiar rumble of hunger in my tummy – and I thought, Ah! At long last HUNGER has returned to me! We took a lunch break at a delicious little taqueria where I annihilated a cheese enchilada with rice and beans and a basket of chips. Not only did my appetite return with a vengeance, but so did my super-human taste buds. The sharp tang of onion in the pico de gallo danced on my tongue, while the salty tomato seasoning on the rice mingled with the sweet refried beans. Ah, Taste and Hunger, how I have missed you. As someone who desperately needs and wants to lose lots of weight, I admit – even though my weight loss goes much more smoothly when you’re not around (Yup – this cold helped me knock out another 3 pounds), my life would not be the same without you, Taste and Hunger. Despite our issues, I’m so glad I have you in ample amounts.

You + Me = Satisfied We Shall Be.

SlimCado – When “lite” just aint right

Matt and I live near a 99c Only Store, which is pretty much one of my favorite stores EVER, ‘cuz on a weekly basis we find things like organic spring mix vegetables (Reg price at least $3), full-sized bottles of Dial Soap (reg price at least $1.50), and random, awesome things like O.P.I. Nail Polish (Reg price: $9!) and decorative gourds (Priceless, in their lack of use). And if you couldn’t tell by the name, everything is ONLY 99c!

Last week, Matt brought home another interesting 99c store find: the SlimCado! Could it be? An avocado that’s 50% less fat and has 35% fewer calories? It is. The SlimCado has a much more smooth, shiny skin than the traditional California Haas, and it’s a lot bigger. Reminds me of a dinosaur egg. It came all the way from Florida!

SlimCado before I cut it open!

It looked the same as a regular avocado when I cut it open, though the texture was slightly less creamy and a little more watery.

My, what a big seed you have.

I used my handy avocado slicer to create nice, thin slices and popped one in my mouth. Verdict? Sadly, the SlimCado is like most “light” things… disappointing. It was bland, watery and like the depressed version of the pebbly Haas – there was no buttery aftertaste, no smooth, creamy tingles dancing on my taste buds.

Slim N' Sliced, but the taste was not so nice.

However, I’m no food-waster and I know people are starving in India, so I made do with what I had. I crushed one huge clove of garlic, added three drops of Tapatio, cracked some pepper and stirred in some Himalayan Pink Salt – and it made all the difference in the world. Bland SlimCado? You were just been reborn as slightly-less-awesome-than-usual guacamole.

"Hey, I never asked you - Do you like Guacamole?" 10 points if you get that movie reference!

All in all, I’d use the SlimCado for guacamole, but probably not for salads or garnish. It’s a little too ho-hum to stand on its own. Sure, regular avocados are fattening, but they’re loaded with Omega-5s and lovely antioxidants. Plus, it’s the type of fat that makes your hair shiny and your nails strong, so in my opinion, it’s worth porking out on the full-fat version… and avocados are so damn expensive it’s not like you’re going to be eating them daily anyways!

Have you ever tried the SlimCado? Would you? What other freakish vegetable or fruit mutations have you tasted?

PS: It’s Matt’s birthday today! Happy Birthday, husband… <3

PPS: Due to my crazy work/school/life schedule, I’m probably going to be blogging 2-3 times a week. So you don’t waste your time popping by on days when I’m away, please subscribe (you can find the link on the right hand side of the page) or check in on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays. Those are the days I’ll try my berry best to post! Next week might be a little silent as I’ll be on VACATION!!! WOOHOO!

Tangy Tomatillo Salsa

I’m a fan of zero point recipes, and I’m also a fan of trying new things. On Saturday as I was cruising the farmer’s market, I noticed these beautiful purple tomatillos. I asked the vendor why they were purple and she told me purple tomatillos are very sweet. For $2, I was sold, and threw them into my bag to be made into a tangy salsa. (FUN FACT: Tomatillos are part of the GOOSEBERRY family and come from the family of nightshade plants, like tomatoes. (Have you heard of deadly nightshade? it’s what Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas slips into her vial. I love that movie.)

Purpliscious

Here’s what you need:

1 Pound-ish of Tomatillos, purple or green
1/4 large onion, cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves if you want to keep the vampires away (1 will do fine if not)
1 large handful of cilantro (the more the merrier if you’re feeling lean and green)
1 lime (lemon will do in a pinch)
Sea salt (a staple in every kitchen!)
Pepper (also a staple in every kitchen!)

No feet funk here!

1) Peel the paper husks off the tomatillos and rinse. Notice a strange aroma? Peeled tomatillos kind of smell like feet, in my humble opinion. A nice shower under the faucet fixes ’em up just fine. The paper skin is also kind of sticky. Like an artichoke, these aren’t the most glamorous vegetables, but they pack a tasty punch.

 

 

Mmm, tomatillo salsa thus far the color of vomit

2) Throw just the tomatillos into the food processor and press the button. Watch as you make salsa! Blend them up nice and smooth, and then stop the food processor and add your chunks of onion and garlic cloves. Squeeze in the lime juice. Press “GO” or “Blend” again and watch the chunks turn into puree. MAGIC!

 

 

3) Now, add your bunch of cilantro. I
love cilantro. This will help get rid of some of that gross barfy color, but if you’re using green tomatillos, yours won’t be so vomitous looking. Add in a few generous shakes of sea salt (like really generous, maybe more like 2 or 3 pinches), and lots of fresh cracked pepper.

And Voila! You’ve made tomatillo salsa! Easy, right? Despite my many comparisons to stinky feet and barf, tomatillo salsa is a wonderful accompaniment to tortilla chips, eggs, burritos, or even as a dip for veggies. It’s got a slightly sweeter and more tangy taste than tomatoes, and I think the little seeds are adorable… like polka dot salsa.

Yummy!

Are you a fan of tomatillos? Have you ever tried them? If not, will you? Or is their stinky feet skin stench too unappealing?