Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Grecian Garlic Turkey Burgers

I got this idea from The Best Life Diet's Greek Turkey Burger recipe. I was hesitant to try it, but I went ahead and added in some extra ingredients for flavor. If you really want to impress people, or more importantly yourself, make your own Greek Seasoning Mix using fresh herbs (spearmint, parsley, oregano, along with onions and garlic)

Grecian Garlic Turkey Burgers with Yogurt Sauce in Whole Wheat Pita

· 1 package Ground Turkey
· Greek Seasoning Mix (McCormick makes this) – to taste
· Roasted Red Peppers - dice about three
· Fresh Ground Peppercorn – to taste
· Fresh Ground Garlic Sea Salt – to taste
· Chicken demi-glace – about 1 TB mixed 2 TB hot water to make a paste
· Balsamic Vinegar – about TB or to taste
· Breadcrumbs – to soak up the vinegar and demi-glace
· Garlic Paste – Trader Joe’s has a good one. About 2 TB – more to taste
· McCormick Grinders Garlic Sea Salt

Mix all of the ingredients. Form Patties. Coat in breadcrumbs. Spray pan – I use a non fat butter flavored spray. Cook!

Yogurt sauce: Mix nonfat yogurt, diced cucumbers, diced onion, salt, and pepper.

Toast pita and fill with sliced patty, yogurt sauce, and fat free feta. This turned our really well. It was flavorful and filling. It almost tasted like a gyro, I may even use ground lamb next time. This will definitely be put in my meal rotations.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

If you've ever said...

"I'm not a salad person," I say to you the same thing I say to my students who claim they don' t like books: "You just haven't met the right one."

Salads are BY FAR the best diet food and the opportunity for creativity is endless. Salads are no longer the boring iceberg combo with ranch. In the past couple of years salads have had a makeover--become trendy even. Now, instead of going to a restaurant to get a variety of lettuce and toppings, its all available in your local grocery store.

In my mind, the basics of salad building include GREEN, PROTEIN, CHEESE, and COLOR, and of course you need dressing. So here are a couple of suggestions for each category. The key is to buy high quality and FRESH ingredients that you intend to use within 2-3 days. I keep a lot of these ingredients on hand and just throw them together when I’m in a hurry.

Green: (<---Click for a guide and recipe suggestions) Lettuce is the basis. Your greens must be fresh and must compliment your accoutrements. Varieties include: romaine, mesclun, spinach, boston butter, cabbage, etc. Check out Epicurious' "Screening the Greens" for an illustrated guide.

Protein: salmon, chicken, nuts (almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews, honey glazed walnuts)

Cheese (use sparingly): fat-free feta, blue cheese, gorgonzola, goat, etc. If you really want to surprise yourself buy a gourmet cheese to add to your salad. Whole Foods has a fantastic cheese selection. Just go and tell the sales person your salad ingredients and even wine accompaniment and s/he will pair your food masterfully.

Color: dried fruit, fresh herbs, bell peppers (raw or roasted), carrots (shave to add texture), red onions, avocado, mandarin oranges, blueberries, peaches & apricots (they’re in season - go to the farmer’s market for a special treat), strawberries (also in season), the list goes on and on.

Dressings: My current favorites are Raspberry Vinaigrette and Honey Lime Chipotle. The latter I had at a restaurant and I am intent on recreating that sweet goodness.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

School's Out...

For the Summer!

Hence, a new entry appears. I have learned so very much in the past six months of teaching. I've tried to verbalize this experience to numerous people, but I always feel that I can't quite communicate all that I am experiencing. I want to include every detail so the person can understand, and I end up feeling like I'm prattling. This is particularly frustrating because I want to share this with my friends and family. I need to share this because it is such an important time in my life. I expressed this frustration to my mentor teacher whilst on the phone this morning: "Unless you are a teacher, you can not truly understand the internal effect of this craft" ("They don't really feel this sh*t son!").

The most important lesson that I've learned is that teaching is my gift and I feel complete when I fully express it. However, I am also excited to have a much deserved break from these heathen children ("Children of the Corn" is my pet name for my kids. They're too young to understand the reference. The review "frightfully entertaining" is a perfect description my first 1/2 year of teaching.)

I am refocusing on my diet. I have not gained any weight, but I haven't made progress in losing weight. I could lie and say I am at a plateau. I'll sacrifice pride for honesty and admit that I've had neither the time nor the commitment since April.

Living a healthy lifestyle is a part-time job. When I first began my commitment in January, I swear I put in at least 15 hours a week in to planning, exercising. cooking, and convincing myself not to have that second glass of wine. Once I began teaching / working full time, I could not commit as much time as I needed. If you're thinking those are excuses, I'll say they are damn good ones. Now that I have a couple of weeks off, I can refocus on shedding these last 20 lbs. The goals for this week are as follows:

Step 1 - Eat

Weight Watchers is back. I enrolled again for a refresher course on planning my meals and watching my portion sizes.

Step 2 - Exercise

Working out 3x a week

Step 3 - Document

Document everything: inches, pounds, food, workouts.

This is really the hard part. I am not a record keeper. To further elucidate my point I will make confession. I'm a hard worker, borderline workaholic, so I have always received stellar performance reviews on my jobs. Unfortunately, when it comes to turning in paperwork on time I ALWAYS receive a "needs improvement." I always resolve to work on it, but paperwork always seems to fall to the bottom of my to-do lists. Therefore, I realize that this goal is going to be a b*tch on wheels, but I need to be able to troubleshoot any errors and measure my success. It's too easy to forget that 10th chicken wing at happy hour.

I also want to really focus on strength training, and the only way you can do that effectively is to document your routines.

I'll hit you off with a recipe later on this week.