A Clean Bite - Cooking Outside The Box Blog at Allrecipes.com - 217457

Cooking Outside The Box

A clean bite 
Jan. 15, 2011 7:45 pm 
Updated: Jan. 16, 2011 8:11 am
Like so many people, the excesses of the holidays leave me bloated and sugared-out. Every year, like a preordained rendez-vous, I meet January first with the same resolve to detox and return to a more sane approach to food - an approach that does not elevate flour, butter and sugar to food-group status.

Like most people, I start off with a bang. January first, no coffee - green tea, today. Looking good so far. Breakfast? Who needs that? Knowing the day of reckoning was coming, I ate enough last night that a full 10 hours later, I am still full! This is going to be easy, I think. I am excited by the healthy, happy, 2011, me! Then lunch...a salad, of course. My simple resolution was to make that other "green" commitment - one salad a day, everyday...more tea and lots of water. After all, this is a detox. 3:00...the time of day when chocolate really satisfies...more tea, more water...an apple. Dinner...A steak, some fantastic potato and cheese concoction, sauteed brussel sprouts with parmesan cheese...of course dessert. The hell with the tea, pass the Shiraz!

Okay, maybe it didn't go down quite that quickly, but it sure felt that way. Don't get me wrong. I am not one to back away from a treadmill. After all, my moniker is "fitmommy". My gym membership card gets swiped so much that it's lost its barcode, and nothing pleases me more than leaving that punk frat boy in my spin dust.  But the nasty truth is, that no matter how hard you train, how long you run and how limber your down dogs, all of that will never cancel out an entire season of indulgence and carelessness. So even the fittest person, has to work out in the kitchen.

Admittedly, being a self-described foodie and a bonafide gym rat can, at times, be conflicting. I have developed scores of strategies in my attempt to bridge this divide. I have had subscriptions and read cover-to-cover every health and fitness magazine. I devour every worthwhile book on nutrition and even a a few that weren't (I literally threw my copy of "skinny bitch" in the trash at Newark airport making sure I tore it up first. I didn't want any other unwitting female to pick it up and think it was even remotely worth their time or effort).
The funny thing is, these well-read publications end up on my coffee table under "bon apetit."

Every now and again, though, something clicks... something works. I decided this evening, with the memory of January first, no longer in my rear-view mirror, to try something new. I made a lovely dinner - as usual, tweaking my plate, so that it was a bit healthier than the plates than my husband and children would accept. I poured my glass of well-paired oaky chardonnay... filled a tall glass of water and sat down. One bite...one, small bite...put my fork down. Taste the wine... delicious....sip of water...cleaned my palate.  Picked up my fork and began the pattern all over again. This continued for 12 minutes. One slow, thoughtful, clean bite at a time. My children had inhaled their meals - more interested in the gelato we had prepared for the ice cream maker and were already cleaning their places. Five minutes pass...I'm still tasting my meal. My husband finishes and cleans up the dishes - what a guy:). I'm still sipping my wine... A full 35 minutes pass, and I have at least forty percent of my plate still covered with food. Here is the revelation - I'm full!! Not completely, but mostly. It was a wonderful meal, but I am finished. As Gru says in "Despicable Me", "Lightbulb!" I really don't need those magazines or the guilt. I just need to remember the joy that is a good meal, a wonderful glass of wine and the smiles of my happily fed family. Of course, AFTER spin class.  
Jan. 16, 2011 5:40 am
excellent blog..we have simular attitudes. I love yoga & food :o)The para about "skinny bitch" & "bon apetit" made me literally LOL.
Jan. 16, 2011 8:11 am
I like the reference to the Skinny Bitch stuff too. In our house, I am the cook and my wife sometimes struggles with the indulgences I prepare. To that end she occasionally will look to the trends if I stray for too long outside the healthy cooking zone. Skinny Bitch books 1 & 2 were the results. She had ordered them online so hadn't really had an opprtunity to look at them closely. Both of us were horrified. What an assault on food! Anyhow, good luck to you on the balancing effort. It can be daunting!
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About Me
I began my love affair with the kitchen when I was in Junior High School - I figured out how to make the perfect crepe for french class.I put myself through college working in restaurant biz. Whether I was serving Japanese, Continental, Fusion or even breakfast faire, I was excited about the food and always intrigued by the process of serving a great meal!
My favorite things to cook
These days, it's all about whole foods for me. I want to have a working knowledge of where my food comes from and how it gets to me. My favorite preparations usually have a hint of the exotic. I love the challenge of emulating unique restaurant finds at home. I am perpetually intrigued by the limitless combinations of flavor and continue to draw influence from great food cultures from around the world.
My favorite family cooking traditions
For the better part of my childhood, McDonald's was usurping the family table. But there were some traditions that held fast - Corned beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick's Day, traditional Green Thursday offerings, breaking a triduum fast with pickled eggs... I love food traditions that have a sense of heritage and symbolism. I am always proud to share the Pennsylvania/German and Irish-American food heritage that peppered my childhood and eager to create a culinary legacy for my own children.
My cooking triumphs
No matter how many successful holiday spreads or elegant dinner parties I complete, nothing trumps the feeling of seeing my toddler eating indian-spiced lentils or simple steamed edamame.
My cooking tragedies
I have an ongoing battle with my bread machine. It seems like a crapshoot everytime I load it:)
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