Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wedding Season Bootcamp

It's that time of year folks! Wedding bells in the air + bridesmaids dresses + destination weddings = time to burn off all those Christmas cookies! In my quest to get into swimsuit shape (which by the way is no longer the same swimsuit shape as when I was 19, sadly it took me a few years to realize that it's physically impossible, short of anorexia, for my body to ever look like that again!) I have learned that I can't just hit the gym and run until my legs feel like jello...or until Oprah starts. Usually the latter. I've realized that my body responds better to what I'm putting in it (and in most cases NOT putting in) than the agony I'm putting my body through on all these complicated gym machines. Not that the exercise doesn't get me there quicker, it does, but I feel better physically when I eat well.

One minor problem...fat, cheese, pasta, & fried food all taste amazing!! I've discovered that although it may not be a piece of triple layer chocolate cake, or cheesy chicken enchiladas and yummy empanadas dunked in queso there are quite a few healthy alternatives that I actually enjoy eating, so I thought I'd share my food love with you over the next couple of days.

We'll start with the potato! Mmmmmm......... taters.

Potatoes get a bad rap- every potato is a bad potato unless it's a sweet potato. And the way I choose to enjoy them I can see why they'd say that. My personal favorites are the loaded baked potato, mashed potatoes, and of course the all-powerful french fry.

Now let me just get this out there. I understand that baked potatoes are not great for helping achieve your weight loss goals. I also understand that sweet potatoes are better for you and often recommended as a healthy "substitute" for the evil Idaho spud. I don't know about you people, but there is absolutely NOTHING enjoyable about force-feeding myself a burnt orange baked potato with a dab of butter. And forget trying to trick me by adding low fat sour cream, cheese and turkey bacon bits. IT'S A SWEET POTATO!!! It doesn't go well with all the delightful toppings that compliment the classic spud. Not to mention when I consume a baked potato the skin gets tossed. As far as I'm concerned it's just the bowl for the starchy inside covered in buttery, cheesiness! But of course the skin would have to be the healthiest part.

The potato is still however, a veggie and pretty good for you in moderation, and of course provided that you don't smother it in calories or toss it in a fryer.

I found a way to get my tater fix while enjoying several other veggies at the same sitting. This limits my portion of potato, involves no butter, sour cream or bacon and is nowhere near a fryer. Win win!


Here's what you'll need:
1 sweet potato cut into large chunks
3-4 new potatoes, quartered, or 3 fingerlings cut into decent sized chunks
1 red bell pepper cut into large slices
1/2 large onion, quartered
1-2 cups baby carrots
4 cloves garlic whole but peeled

Salt & pepper (about 1 tsp each)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme

(The key is keeping things similar in size so you don't end up with some overcooked and some undercooked veggies)

In a large bowl mix oil, vinegar, herbs, salt & pepper. Add in the veggies and toss til coated, then dump coated veggies into a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Cook for 40 min at 450 degrees stirring every 15 min.

**I like adding a yellow squash but toss it first and set aside and only add it for the last 20 min as it tends to get too squishy of you put it in the whole 40**

It makes several servings and reheats well so I have veggies all week & it's a tasty side for any main dish.

I'm still trying "healthy" mashed potato recipes and have yet to find one I like, when I find it I'll share the love.

Next stop pasta.......


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