Food

Cookbook Review: Skinnytaste Cookbook

Posted by on Nov 17, 2014 in Feature, Food, Reviews | 0 comments

Cookbook Review: Skinnytaste Cookbook

THE BACKSTORY:

Along with my newfound love for cooking has come a love for cookbooks. Prior to learning to cook the only cookbooks I owned were a 1970s cookbook on how to microwave anything (microwaved steak anyone?) and another 1970s cookbook devoted entirely to fondue. I mean those are both amazing in their own right, but one could not terribly useful. Or appetizing in the case of the former. Something had to be (fon)done.

The newest cookbook to arrive at my doorstep is the Skinnytaste Cookbook*, written by GinThe Skinnytaste Cookbook- Light on Calories, Big on Flavora Homolka, author of Skinnytaste.com. I chose this book more out of curiosity than anything. I’m not terribly calorie conscious when it comes to meals whatsoever. And I don’t believe in diets or this whole “low-fat” mindset. I eat full fat everything – yogurt, cheese, butter. And I try to use fresh, local ingredients (farmer’s market forever!) when available and try to stay away from processed food as much as possible. As long as a recipe adheres to those basic tenets, I’m all for it.

 

However, recently I’m been becoming more and more aware of the fact that there are two things in my diet that there definitely should be less of:

  • sugar
  • sodium

I’m a sugar junkie. I have been since I was a kid. My mom always called me a “junkfood junkie.” Luckily, she kept me in check. However, as an adult I suddenly realized,

I CAN EAT AS MUCH CAKE AS I WANT TO AND NO CAN STOP ME. AND IT CAN BE A MEAL. OR ALL MEALS.

Followed by,

I CAN TOTALLY EAT FROZEN PIZZA OR PASTA WITH CHEESE FOR DINNER EVERY NIGHT.

Those two things pretty much sum up how I ate through most of my 20s. Now that I’m (ugh I can barely type this) nearing 30, I’ve realized it’s probably not the best idea to eat as much salt and sugar. And when I started looking up how much sodium and sugar are in so many unexpected things, I was a floored. So, when I saw skinnytaste, I thought it interesting to try out some lighter recipes and mix them in with copious amounts of avocado toast eaten regularly. MODERATION, MAN. MODERATION.

THE REVIEW:

The Good: It’s a gorgeous cookbook. It’s absolutely enormous and has recipes for every meal. I was really excited about that – I like to play around with breakfast on weekends especially so I love cookbooks that cover everything. It also has a sandwich section. I love sandwiches. I love sandwiches as much as Liz Lemon and Joey Tribbiani combined. Sarah’s favorite food: SANDWICHES.

I also really dig that every recipe has all the nutritional info on the bottom of the page, including sodium and sugar. This saves me an exorbitant amount of time throwing my recipes into a recipe calculator to try to get nutritional facts for sodium and sugar.  And I was excited to see that most of the recipes contain really reasonable amounts of sodium, instead of 1000s of milligrams!

Also, the recipes are all easily to understand – there is nothing in there that is so complicated that you want to toss the cookbook into the garbage disposal. And the ingredients are all accessible – you won’t have to hunt various grocery stores for that special type of cheese. And she also uses a ton of fresh ingredients – lots of vegetables!

The Not-So-Good: I had assumed the cookbook was going to be healthy recipes. Which in my mind doesn’t necessarily mean light on calories – it means fresh ingredients. I was wrong. A lot of ingredients I wouldn’t use: light mayo, fat free yogurt, fake peanut butter, canola oil. Like I said, I’m not about cutting fat, but I guess I should’ve known that “skinny” was going to be cutting calories however possible. On the flipside, I do appreciate that she advocates for real sweeteners and real dairy products (butter, cream.)

While the recipes are decent, none of them are terribly imaginative. My favorite cookbook (which I’ll be going into detail about soon!) has recipes that I see and think,

OH GOD I CAN’T LIVE ANOTHER DAY WITHOUT HAVING THIS IN MY MOUTH.

While a lot of these sound good, like the Chicken Pasta Caprese or the Butter Squash Lasagna Rolls, a lot of the recipes are just common meals “lightened” up, like chicken parm, spaghetti and meatballs, mac and cheese etc Don’t get me wrong – I like a new spin on an old classic, but these aren’t really new spins as much as classics with less fat. I was hoping for new, inventive recipes.

I’m going to try out a recipe or two this weekend and I’ll document the journey, so check back for updates! (It will probably include a sandwich, FAIR WARNING!)

Have you picked up any new cookbooks lately?

 

*This book was provided to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review!

 

Read More

Domestication.

Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in blogging, Feature, Food, Life | 1 comment

Domestication.

I find that when you hit the late 20s of your life, you have a variety of crises that often manifest in strange ways. In 2013, it was the year of the fitness crisis. I went from sedentary-Sarah eating pasta with butter and cheese while watching Gossip Girl,  to running 7 days a week and training for a series  of (READ THAT: MORE THAN ONE) 5K races around the county.

Me, or Robot Me, finishing the Fall Foliage 5K while wearing my 1980s running leggings..

Me, or Robot Me, finishing the Fall Foliage 5K while wearing my 1980s running leggings..

Once running lost my interest a bit, I dove into my next fitness/spiritual venture: YOGA. 10 pairs of yoga leggings and many expensive classes later, I was getting myself into shoulderstands and other precarious poses and feeling pretty peaceful in general.

But then we bought a house.

Hi House!

Hi House!

Besides all of the obvious reasons your life completely changes when you buy a house, YOUR LIFE COMPLETELY CHANGES WHEN YOU BUY A HOUSE. You suddenly have all this space. And a yard. And stairs. And several porches. And a pool that needs a new liner and FUN FACT has the remains of two dead squirrels embracing one another in it. (I am so sorry squirrels, it was before my time here, it won’t happen again. And please, stop going in our attic space at night as revenge, you’re really, really upsetting Ham.)

And if you’re me, when you buy a house. YOU NEST. Oh, lord do you nest. And while a lot of my nesting is scouring Goodwill and used furniture places for things to DIY, the other major part is COOKING. I started out with Plated, which I’ve since ditched because I now own these big strange things called cookbooks. And I have 4-5 types of flour, at least 5 different vinegars, several types of sugar, and enough spices to fill the entire middle shelf of one of my cabinets. I cook! REAL FOOD! I make things like tofu stir fry! Tikka masala! Baked oatmeal! Peanut butter and Nutella brownies! AND THEN I EAT THEM.

For some reason it took me years to understand that once you learn how to cook, you can make delicious things that you really like…and then eat them. It took until 2014 for me to understand this and begin my food crisis. I’m not quite sure why I had such a disconnect. But now I cook things and then I get the enjoy the hell out of them. Who knew this was a thing? I’m currently pretty obsessive with making sure we aren’t eating a lot of processed food. A and I both came from bachelor & bachelorette lifestyles – cooking for me was the microwave and for him was the toaster oven. It’s taken a while, but we’ve got this down. We rarely eat out, we don’t have any frozen or quick meals, and we usually cook dinner together 5 nights a week.

These are the current two blogs I’ve been cooking from HEAVILY:

  •  How Sweet Eats (and her cookbook Seriously Delish – if you don’t own it, JUST BUY IT) Jessica’s recipes are always delicious, creative, full of flavor, and easy to make. Her blog is fun to read and A and I have been amazed by every single thing I’ve made. He made me the vanilla funfetti cupcakes from her cookbook for my birthday – I ate them for breakfast. For a week.
  •  

  •  The Kitchn was an accidental discovery – one of those weird things that pops up in your feed that someone you know liked a link of a boyfriend of their second cousin on Facebook. They lured me in with slow cooker recipes (burrito bowls anyone?) and I have been hooked since. Latest dish: sausage and blistered tomato gnocchi skillet. Simple and delicious.

 
So, I’m going to start talking a lot about cooking. And experimenting with recipe, ranging from simple to a bit more complicated. And of course, DIYing, decorating and my true love, thrifting. I hope you join me again, because it feels really nice to be typing on my laptop and not doing something for work.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So, tell me, what are you cooking?

Read More

Hey I can cook! (Sorta.)

Posted by on Dec 17, 2013 in Feature, Food, Life | 1 comment

Hey I can cook! (Sorta.)

Since A moved in and I ceased my bachelorette lifestyle after 3 glorious years of eating over the sink and spooning my dog, I’ve started cooking. Well to be fair, WE have been cooking, as A is a very good sous chef. Unless you ask him to chop something. He’s an incredibly slow chopper. Like so slow it’s almost painful. But he’s always more than willing take on the raw meat, which is my least favorite activity.

So A also came off of the life of bachelor – except where as I was eating yogurt sundaes over the sink, he was eating frozen chicken from the toaster oven.  Combine a bachelor and bachelorette and he began eating yogurt sundaes (except he defiles them with peanut butter) and I was eating frozen pizza (because I refuse to eat frozen chicken.) Overall, it was a bit of a disaster. Enter Plated.

A Facebook ad was constantly advertising Blue Apron, which is a food delivery service that delivers all the ingredients for 3 recipes a week. No grocery shopping, no recipe hunting…so I sent A the link and we tried it. As lazy people that have no experience cooking, we LOVED the concept. But the food was mediocre at best, and the options were limited. I started googling similar services and we found Plated – and have been hooked ever since.

Every week we pick out 3 meals for the following week, everything arrives on Tuesday and we cook together three nights a week. My friends like to tell me that I’m not cooking, that I’m cheating, but we still have to prep and cook every meal – we just have all the ingredients at our finger tips, down to pats of butter. We joined in August and have only skipped one week – so according to plated we’ve plated 84 dishes (or 42 meals!) I mostly like plated because they have really innovative recipes – we’ve made everything from sliders to chicken en papillote. A lot of the other services I’ve looked at seem pretty boring or lack options.

So, tonight we made salmon burgers (slideshow below!):

If you want to check out Plated, you can get free plates with your first order and it’s totally worth it! It’s $12/plate (though we’re grandfathered in at a lower price point because we’ve been doing it for so long now) and you can do it with or without a monthly membership. The membership gets you the cheapest price per plate, which is what we do.

Have you tried Plated or a similar service? What did you think?

Read More

Cheerio!

Posted by on Dec 6, 2010 in Food | 0 comments

Cheerio!

Hey guys! Check out Cinnamon Burst Cheerios! ;)

Read More

Food, glorious food.

Posted by on May 17, 2010 in Fashion, Food | 6 comments

I love food. I always have. So does my boy, and he works at a fabulous restaurant where we REALLY love food. But I guess I’ve had food issues. I suppose. From the time I was in 6th grade I was the chubby girl. I was tall, had glasses, was incredibly awkward and smart – a terrible combination. My food troubles probably began when a girl in my 6th grade class got all of my friends to pretend the earthquaked whenever I walked by. I found a journal from that time, and it says “I am so fat, I am 5’6″ and weigh 130 pounds.” and my jaw nearly dropped. I don’t even remember what skinny was like! And I don’t remember when I didn’t feel guilty about food.

I have TREMENDOUS food guilt. If I eat anything that my brain deems “bad” I feel guilty the entire time, and the time thereafter. So, for example, if I had a Cadbury egg, while I was chewing it’s chocolatey goodness, my brain is sending guilt feelings to my gut, so I scarcely enjoy it because the whole time, running through my head is

“BAD FOOD! UNHEALTHY FOOD! SHOULDN’T BE EATING THAT, FATTY!”

And it’s not just straight up “junk food,” it’s if I have a bagel, put a lot of cheese on my pasta or put a lot of peanut butter on my sandwich, or use a lot of half & half in my coffee in the morning. It’s terrible. Absolutely terrible. So, you’d figure I’d just eat only super healthy foods, right? OF COURSE NOT. Why? Because they don’t taste as good. How could I give up cheese? And chocolate? Sometimes I assuage my guilt by eating perfect portions instead and counting calories and becoming obsessive, but it’s not long until I have too much of something, and the guilt comes back.

The longest I eliminated my food guilt was when I was on my super diet in college. But I’d still binge and feel awful at times. I’d eat perfectly all week and wait anxiously for my “cheat day” and eat ANYTHING and EVERYTHING I wanted on that one day. And then feel awful and disgusted with myself. I also developed grocery shopping habits around my guilt. I’d buy only “healthy” things – low fat cheddar even though it doesn’t taste as good, same with yogurt, bread, cereals. Get all things that didn’t really taste as good, but hey, they were lower in calories and fat! And even after I stopped all the dieting nonsense – I STILL have guilt shopping habits. I still grocery shop like I’m on a diet.

Until yesterday.

I’ve been eating delicious food with my bestie lately. We haven’t been counting servings or calories. But we’ve been putting together good, interesting foods, that aren’t just crap. Veggie burger quesadillas, lentils and brown rice, cheese, crackers and apples – all absolutely delicious and satisfying but not artificial. So yesterday we walked to the grocery store and I went grocery shopping and for the FIRST TIME, I just bought things I LIKE. Herbed brie, garlic baguettes, frozen veggies, veggie burgers, stuff for veggie tacos, falafel mix, juice, greek  yogurt, carrots, apples, wheat thin crackers, multigrain cheerios….the list goes on forever. And you know what I noticed about my grocery list? It’s filled with delicious, satisfying, healthy foods. HEALTHY FOODS.

Once I let go of my guilt and just consciously thought as I shopped, “What do I LIKE to eat?” the choices were easy. I like good foods. I like satisfying foods. But the guilt has stopped me from just eating what I enjoy.

And I enjoy nourishing my body, who knew?

So, last night I sat down with my bestie, and eat ate grapes and herbed brie on wheat thing crackers. And it was delicious. Probably the best thing I’ve tasted in a long, long time.

Do you have issues with food? Or have you in the past? How have you overcome them?

Read More

I am NOT a HEADLESS FATTY!

Posted by on Apr 14, 2010 in Fashion, Food, Life | 21 comments

I am taking over the FATosphere!

This past 3 weeks have been INSANITY! I can’t wait to share all of the exciting things I have coming up with you guys – it’s going to BLOW YOUR MINDS! Or maybe just mine…

I found a website through Fatshion and it made me giggle, but it also depressed me. Over at Charlotte Cooper’s website she wrote an entire entry about HEADLESS FATTIES.

What is a headless fatty? A headless fatty is a picture of fat person where the head is not shown. They are CONSTANTLY used in news reports and articles about the doom of the OBESITY EPIDEMIC (dun, dun, dunnnnnnn). They are nearly always fat women, that are not dressed well, eating something or about to eat something – those are the most popular shots.

After all aren’t ALL FATTIES  ugly women that are ALWAYS eating?

So, I Googled obesity for images – just as Charlotte Cooper did, and what did I find? TONS

Headless Fatty

AND TONS OF HEADLESS FATTIES! It’s disgusting! Do I have to be careful there is not a camera man following me when I am out in public, waiting to capture me in all of my fatshionista glory, to only cut off my head and sell me to an article about obesity or weight loss? I mean, I don’t mind if I am getting followed by the paparazzi for my fatabulousity (did I just make a new word?), but not to make an EXAMPLE out of my rolls. (Unless you are saying, “OMG look how she ROCKS those rolls!”)

FACELESS Fatties!

And to get to the most offensive part of headless fatties is the symbolism of it. Taking off heads is taking off the brain, the mouth, and what people look at everyday to see someone. Instead of being people that have intelligence, a voice, and a FACE, we are turned into just bodies to use as examples of what is “bad.” Why is this allowed?

Would this be acceptable for any other group of people – to post pictures of a group of people but cut off their heads to make them examples?

Of course  not – so why is it okay to plaster anonymous fat bodies all over the internet and television? The fact is these pictures are used by news outlets to show that fat people are the embodiment of this “epidemic,” that they are unhealthy, have no self-disclipine, are dependent on food, cost the US tons of money, are going to die an early death…yadayadayada…it is DEHUMANIZING.

So, this is what I propose. I would like to make a page of….

FATTIES WITH HEADS!

So e-mail me your pics – whatever pic you want of yourself, I’ll add a link to your blog on the picture and create a whole separate page on my website of fatties with heads – that does not talk about OBESITY or HEALTH. Just how amazing we all look, ok? Send ‘em over to sarah@tabayag.com and I will get to work!

Read More