Thursday, July 29, 2010

Death to Cupcakes

Well, Yahoo! has proven to be a great source of inspiration for this blog already.

Shine from Yahoo! posted a headline that read:

Cupcakes and 6 Other Food Trends that Have Lost Their Cool

Besides cupcakes, the other 6 offenders to make the list are:

-Tuna Tartare
-Bubble Tea
-Truffle Salt
-The Communal Table
-The Chipotle Chili
-Lava Cake

Now, let's dissect

The boom of cupcakes just recently struck me. I think cupcakes are a great idea - sometimes you just want a little taste of a sweet and these will fulfill that craving while allowing you to limit your intake. With shows like "Cupcake Wars" and "DC Cupcakes" rising up, I find it hard to believe that cupcakes are on the downward slope already... but I guess only time will tell.

Tuna Tartare:
Shine is definitely giving too much credit here - call me an inexperienced eater if you like, but I don't see tuna tartare as this booming trend... unless TLC has produced a show called "Top Tuna" or "Tartare Wars" that I didn't know about...

Bubble Tea:
I never liked this stuff. Not that I eat boogers, but the bubbles always remind me of slimey boogers creeping up the straw - totally ruined the flavor of the tea for me, regardless of how delicious it was.

Truffle Salt:
I don't even know the difference between truffle salt and iodized salt so I can't comment on this one.

The Communal Table:
1. This is not a food trend
2. If this "trend" fades, how else are restaurants going to seat large parties so that people can fight over the how much they owe on the communal check?
3. Aren't all tables for more than one communal? Are we going to get rid of tables all together then?

The Chipotle Chili:
I enjoy spice and chilis, but I can get behind this one. This chili has boomed recently and has been used in a lot of trendy dishes. A lot of chefs on TV (like the ones from Top Chef) have used this a lot recently, and I wouldn't be surprised to see this one go to the back burner for a while.

Lava Cake:
For the health of Americans, let's hope this trend dies, and dies hard. An order of lava cake can cost you up to 1500 calories and 74 grams of fat. 74 GRAMS OF FAT! Even if you split this with a friend, that is just too much! Luckily, restaurants have moved on to the dessert shooters which still pack a caloric punch, but are easier to regulate and definitely don't pack in nearly as much fat and calories.

Are there any other food trends out there that you think are going to die out soon? Any trends you see on the rise?

To read the full article from Shine, click

Nuts About Nuts (sort of)

As I have gotten older, I have definitely become a less picky eater. I will eat almost anything...except olives. I know it's strange. One of my recent discoveries has been chickpeas. I always liked hummus and falafel, but not plain chickpeas. (I know it's weird - like when I used to eat oranges but not OJ, and then switched and would drink OJ but not eat oranges ... hey, I never claimed to be normal)

Anyway, CHICKPEAS! They are delicious and high in fiber! If you crave salt a lot, keep these chickpea nuts on hands for a super healthy (1 ww point per* 1/2 C.) and yummy-in-your-tummy snack.

1 can chickpeas
seasonings/spices of your preference

Pre-heat oven to 450

Drain chickpeas in a collander - pat with a paper towel if necessary.

Spread chickpeas out in a single layer on a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam.

Bake chickpeas on top rack at 450 between 45 minutes to an hour (keep checking to make sure they are crispy - they may look done, but often times they still haven't dried out fully in the center).

Once crispy (and cool enough to bag), place chickpeas in a large freezer bag, spray with 0 calorie olive oil spray and spinkle on the spices!

My personal favorite spice to put on is old bay - but after living in Maryland for so long that doesn't come as a surprise.

I am also interested in tossing them in some ranch seasoning (found in the dressing/condiment aisle in the grocery store). If you try this, let me know how it comes out.

Happy Snacking!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Grill Thrills

So my Yahoo! homepage just featured a headline that read:

Grill Your Way to a Flat Belly

Naturally I was intrigued, so I read through the 15 recipes and picked out a few good ones that I am definitely going to try in the near future.

What do you think?

Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken Breast

Season a chicken breast with salt and pepper, wrap in thin slices of prosciutto, and grill over low heat until the prosciutto is crisp and the chicken breast is firm. Also works with a fillet of halibut.

Grilled Watermelon Salad

Cut watermelon into half-inch squares. Rub with olive oil and grill until lightly caramelized. Toss with arugula, goat cheese, more olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Herb-Grilled Haloumi Cheese

Place a hunk of haloumi cheese (found at Whole Foods or in Greek markets) directly on the grill. Cook until lightly charred on the outside, about 2 minutes a side. Top with olive oil and fresh herbs and serve with toasted bread.

Chopped Summer Salad

Toss zucchini slices, eggplant planks, onion slices, and asparagus spears in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill until lightly charred, then remove to a cutting board and give them a rough chop. Toss with cooked bow-tie pasta, plus olive oil, the juice of a lemon, and grated Parmesan.

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich

Marinate a chicken breast in teriyaki sauce for half an hour. Stick it on a hot grill, and when it’s nearly cooked, melt a slice of Swiss overtop. Serve it on a whole-wheat bun with pickled jalapenos, rings of red onion, and a grilled slice of pineapple.

Go here to view all the recipes!

Take a Little Dip

I have been doing weight watchers for a little over 5 months, and let me tell you sometimes I find it really hard to satisfy my hunger and still remain within my points. I try to eat a lot of veggies, but sometimes plain celery sticks just don't cut it. Below is a recipe for homemade tzatziki which is a great dip (or spread) that is low in calories/points and can really satisfy some of your cravings.

Tzatziki Dip

3/4 C. non-fat greek yogurt (can substitute fat free sour cream, or create a mixture of both)
2/3 C. peeled, seeded, shredded cucumber
1/2 tsp. minced garlic (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
dill (to taste)

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

Adds a great greek twist to sandwiches ... also tastes really delicious on top of some grilled salmon.

Black Beans and Brownies?

Black Bean Brownies!

The last two ingredients you would want to mix are chocolate and black beans, but trust me on this - if no one told you these brownies were made with black beans, you would have no idea! They are so simple to make, delicious and WAY better for you than normal brownies.

I like to use the Betty Crocker dark chocolate brownie mix, but of course you can use whatever brand/kind you like.

1 box Betty Crocker dark chocolate brownie mix
1 can black beans

Keep beans in can and rinse in cold water until water runs clear when pouring out.

Fill can (with beans still in) with water and pour contents into a blender -blend mixture until smooth.

Mix bean puree with brownie mix until no dry mix remains.

Pour into a greased baking dish, and bake according to brownie box directions.

Check the brownies about 5 minutes before the suggested time on the box is up. These brownies are very moist and will stay that way for several days. Don't be fooled when looking at them in the oven - they might look undone, but double check with a tooth pick to make sure.

Cut brownies into about 24 squares- each serving is around 2 ww points!