Monday, April 23, 2012

The First Meal

Let's talk breakfast.  My absolute favorite meal of the day.  Eat the right thing and you feel balanced up until the time comes to wrap yourself in the covers before bed.  Eat the wrong thing and you're groggy, guilty, and uncomfortably queasy.  True story.

During the week I tend to split breakfast into two meals.  This helps me from feeling too full and it keeps me awake to snack during class :)

I'll start off with a yogurt or ricotta cheese with honey.  Then, about an hour later I might eat a little granola bar or half a banana.

Or some gorgeous grapefruit.  Grapefruit is one of my favorite things to have in the refrigerator.  It takes a while to peel and de-seed, but it's totally worth it because it has tons of Vitamin C, is hardly every sour, and fills me up during those times when I want a little more to eat but don't want to go back for seconds (i.e. around 9 at night when I know I'll be up for another 2 hours studying).

On the weekends I usually eat something a little more indulgent for breakfast...but I start eating much later in the day.  If I wake up at 9, I wait till 10 or 11 and have some granola or a breakfast burrito (filled with eggs and maybe a little cheese).  Nothing too sweet and nothing too strong (like a cinnamon bun or cilantro).

If I know I'll be eating a heavy meal in the morning - for instance, a brunch at Perly's - I have a small piece of fruit an hour before going and eat only half of the meal.  You can always eat more LATER.  Most of us are fortunate enough that we know the moment we get hungry, we can open the cupboards and find something to eat.  Why do so many people treat every meal like it's the last one they'll ever have?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Story to Share

I wanted to share something with you. Take what you want from it - but it's something that happened a couple days ago and really stuck with me. It made me remember that even though I lost 80 pounds, I still haven't quite shaken the feeling of having those extra pounds packed on.

The other night I went to a friend's birthday (no, not Lauren's) and there was a plate of cupcakes in the center of the table. Everybody was digging in so I took my fork and tried two bites of cupcake. Then - at the end of the table I heard a voice. "Wow," it said, "Sheila is really sampling aaaaalllll those cupcakes." I don't know if I was supposed to hear this statement, but I did. And it stung. Pretty bad. Badly enough that for the next two days I felt nauseous after swallowing. Badly enough that I would heat up a plate of food and set it back in the fridge, no longer hungry.

I don't know what about this particular statement hurt so bad. Was it the thought that the person who said it thought I was fat? Was it the fear that she had voiced what others were thinking. After a lot of soul searching, I came the conclusion that it actually had nothing to do with my weight. It had to do with the fact that this person, who I have always gone out of my way to be nice to, had chosen to say such a thing. Maybe she didn't know my weight is something I am still sensitive about. Maybe she did. Sometimes I am amazed at the things that come out of people's mouths; the uncouth behavior that society accepts (no one at the table even blinked after she said this to me). But something about that moment will forever stand still in my mind. Not as one where I felt small and insignificant - but as one where my eyes were opened to the true nature of how a human being can treat another human being.

You know, I am really proud of myself. I'm proud that I no longer wear a size 16. I'm proud that I workout almost every day and that I don't do crash diets and binge eating. But I'm even more proud that I have never, ever said something that horrific to a person. I've never singled someone out for the sole purpose of hurting them. My mom put it best when she said, "Why be mean when you can be nice?" I don't know, mama. But your little girl is trying hard to put this aside and remember that a) she isn't fat and b) she needs to let go of petty comments said by unhappy people.

Weekend Photo Mash

As I said, Weston came in for the weekend and lots of tasty meals were eaten. The first night he came in we went to one of our favorite restaurants: Sensi. I ordered the New York Strip instead of the Ribeye by mistake (I was just too excited) and found that I actually prefer the Strip - it's a much leaner cut of meat so I didn't have to waste a bit. I ordered mine on the lamp chop dressing - meaning they use the same spices as they do on the lamb dish. Typically, good restaurants will let you do this since you're just switching combinations, not the main dish itself. I was really happy with the result. Weston got the fish special which was also quite divine. I have to say, the service was the best it's ever been. Although that might have been because Weston had a glass of prosecco waiting for me at the table when we got there...

The next morning I took my leftover meat, sliced it up, and made some quick scrambled eggs for a "steak and eggs" brunch.

We also went back to Frostings to sample a few more cupcakes.

Red Velvet, German chocolate, French Toast (with sugared bacon), Mexican Hot Chocolate, and Strawberry. All were incredibly good and I was impressed with the fact that each flavor actually tasted different - something I found lacking at Georgetown Cupcake

The Strawberry and Red Velvet were my favorites - especially since the strawberry cupcake was filled with some yummy concoction of rhubarb (I think). I'm a sucker for rhubarb and a sucker for filled cupcakes.

We also went to Maggiano's for a birthday dinner for my friend, Lauren which was a blast because I got to spend some time with classmates outside of the lab - and I was finally able to introduce Weston to everybody :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Guess Who's Been a Bad Blogger?

That's right, sono io (it's me). I know, I know, the lazy blogger syndrome happens to everyone. It's like you wake up one day and realize it's been a week since your last post but it's a Saturday and people aren't out reading blogs on Saturdays, so you have to wait for Monday and...well, you get it. For me, it's just been that classes have been hectic and all my free time is spent in lab practicing for a practical, or at home, studying for a test.

Weston is coming to visit this weekend, though, so I should have some restaurant reviews for you. And I haven't been to the grocery store in (gasp) a whole let's just say it's been slim pickins' in the FD Cooking kitchen. I might do a review on a few Trader Joe's items, though, since they've been keeping me alive.

Anyway, I haven't forgotten about by blog - actually I've been brainstorming for a new look because this one isn't as clean as I'd like it. And maybe even getting a domain name so I can have a "dot com." We'll see.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Nawab Indian Cuisine in Norfolk

This weekend I had the pleasure of representing the Virginia Dental Association as a judge in the State Science Fair. I have to say, those high schoolers know their stuff! Some of them were even working with folks at the NIH. If they continue in the sciences, we'll have some brilliant STEM leaders headed our way. The VDA awarded $100 prizes in each of about 13 categories, and a grad prize of $1500. Side note: the candidate I interviewed ended up winning the biggie and (even though he doesn't know this), I spoke to the group on his behalf and changed a lot of opinions leading to his win. It was so rewarding to know I was able to be a part of this moment in his life.

The VDA was kind enough to pay for my trip down and so I was able to drive in early and spend the night at a hotel. Jeremy was a judge as well, and he actually had a friend in Norfolk who showed us around for dinner. We were craving Indian and so Nida took us to this establishment, which, I must say, had some of the best Indian food I've had in while.

We started off with some papas (pronounced "papar") - a spicy, crispy, very thin bread with sesame seeds. The mint chutney was tangy and slightly spicy - but the papas took center stage. I was really impressed with how flaky they were.

The garlic naan was something special - nicely charred and sprinkled with a little masala and cilantro. I've been craving me some cilantro and this hit the spot.

Jeremy got the chicken tikki masala and Nida got the paneer murgh makhini (they looked about the same). I wasn't able to try Jeremy's entree (seen below), but Nida's paneer was THE BEST I've ever had. Anywhere. The cheese was incredibly tender and not chewy of overcooked. The sauce was rich, creamy, and flavorful. I would have loved to be a fly on their wall while they made that entree.

I ordered the goat byryani. If you're not familiar with this, it's a rice dish with lots of spices, peas, and meat. If you cook it right, it takes a while to make. They served me enough for 3 meals, no joke, and I was a happy camper. It was a tad hot, so I had to "dilute" it with white rice. They serve it with raita, a yogurt sauce, to help cool the palate, but even that wasn't enough for me. When I got home, I ate my leftovers with spoonfuls of plain Chobani.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pad Thai

If you've been following my blog, you know I've been in search of a great Thai establishment in the great city of Richmond. I've asked around and gotten a few different answers - no one seems to agree on a good place. That's a sign y'all: there isn't one.

Then one day in physiology somebody suggested a place called Pad Thai. Their description was every foodie's dream: out of the way, near a mechanic's station, small and locally owned. I was super excited to try it.

Pad Thai is out of the way for actuality it's only about 15 minutes away but since you go through many turns and twists along the way it seems like a lot longer. The place is actually much larger than I'd pictured and it was completely full of patrons. The smells coming out of the kitchen were divine: lemongrass, chili, coconut. Nummy Nummy.

Now here's the thing: a lot of the reviews I read had two themes: 1) the food is VERY spicy and 2) the service is not polite. Here's a little mythbuster for you: 1) Yes, it is very spicy! a medium is equal to a spicy 2) We found the service to be excellent. I had a great conversation with the gentleman at the front desk when I placed our takeout order - he helped me decide what level of spice would be best for each dish. And I forgot to ask for my Thai tea in advance but they got it for me no problem.

The Thai tea was unlike any other I've had before - it actually tasted more like tea than sugar which was a refreshing change since excessive sweetness is a problem I've run across a few times. I need to know what makes the tea orange: after looking it up I saw the yellow/orange can be due to crushed tamarind or food coloring. Somehow I think food coloring is a more likely story. Still good once in a while :)

We ordered our two staple dishes: green chicken curry and pad Thai with chicken.

The chicken curry we ordered medium spicy and boy was it! There was a lot of bamboo shoots in it which I love - and full of chicken. It wasn't really fatty either - something I discovered the next day after refrigerating it and not finding that orange gelatinous stuff covering the top. There were no potatoes in their curry (as there is in the Thai place we go to in Ann Arbor) - but every recipe must be different.

The Pad Thai was really wonderful - Weston said it didn't have enough peanut but I liked how they tucked the crushed peanut in the corner. I liked it so much so that I might have eaten a couple spoonfuls before we sprinkled it over top. The addition of fresh bean sprouts and scallions was a nice texture changer and I found the dish overall a little sweeter than I'm used to. I suspect this is the type of place where every time you order the same dish it'll come out a little different, just like when you make it at home, so I'll see what it tastes like next time.

If you haven't been here, I'd say give it a go.