Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Diva on a Diet

So, You may have noticed that I have been missing in action in 2010. At least, I hope you’ve noticed. Anyway, my lengthy absence can be fully attributed to my recognition in mid-January that my increasing girth necessitated a conversion from being the Dining Diva into a Dieting Diva. As it turns out, the change from Dining Diva to Dieting Diva was a direct result of too much Dining and not enough Dieting. Kind of ironic, don’t you think?

Though I may not have been a frequent visitor to many local restaurants in the last few months, I have nonetheless continued to consume a wide variety of, shall we say, interesting meals. Some have been interesting in a pleasantly good way, others – well, let’s just say the mishaps have made for some significant additions to the compost pile and some pretty happy canines in the Light House. One of whom may soon need to join ranks with me in our quest for sveltitude.

But, we shan’t dwell on the negative. Nope. Instead, for those of you who may have found yourselves in a similar weighty predicament, here a few delectables available at local restaurants that are both delicious and calorie friendly:


Ceviche: Thank goodness for Cacique, Mexicali Cantina, and La Flor de la Canela! This medley of fish, shrimp and scallops is enhanced with two of my favorite flavors: Lime and Cilantro. Light, refresting and good for you. Smack my hand if you catch me ordering the guac.

Gazpacho: I have spent more than a couple of afternoons with the hemp-wearing patrons of the Orchard. Smack my hand if you catch me ordering the veggie tempura

Ahi Tuna Sashimi: I know it’s a chain, but darn it Bonefish Grill has some mighty fine fish and pours a strong and briny dirty martini. Smack my hand if you see me reaching for the Bang-Bang shrimp.

Green Papaya Salad: Any Thai, and most Vietnamese restaurants make this salad – but in Frederick, Bangkok Thai kitchen does it very well! Smack my hand if you catch me ordering Drunken Noodles.

Zoë’s Chocolate: Oh, I don’t care - just go ahead and Smack me now –it’s worth it! This candy is so amazingly fabulous, I REFUSE to give it up entirely.

There are times, however, that I do actually stay home and cook. This is not nearly as much fun as it sounds. My biggest challenges have been increasing my tolerance for unexciting food and adopting a regimen of portion control. What the heck? THAT’s a portion??? .

I am now a fan of high fiber low fat flat breads from Costco. Fresh out of the bag, they can be used to wrap a variety of fillings. And everything you eat will taste like you wrapped it in a giant rubbery piece of high fiber low fat cardboard. My tolerance can only sink so low. Not one thing was enhanced by wrapping it with this flabby sheet.

But, if you take that same flabby sheet and bake it in the oven for a few minutes – it transforms into a great big giant cracker that can be topped like a tostada and covered with a multitude of toppings that will effectively kill the taste of the bread.

Now, that’s what I call cooking!

My favorite toppings :

Poblano Peppers and red peppers sautéed with Sliced Onions, sprinkled with reduced fat cheese and baked until the cheese melts. Top with a mountain of pico de gallo and cilantro. Squeeze lime over the top.

Mix up some Fat Free cottage cheese with some sugar free jelly. Spread the mixture over the top and put a plump blackberry right in the middle. Pretend this is a pastry.

Cook up some eggbeaters with mushrooms, onions and fresh herbs (I like tarragon, but basil is also good). Spread over the cracker, and top with one of those little 50 calorie containers of broccoli with cheese sauce that you can buy in the frozen food section of the grocery store. Somehow, eating all of this together minimizes the fake-butter, fake-cheese flavor of the broccoli.

If I’m feeling really virtuous and rested, I will actually cook. Here are a few things that I have made that managed to bypass the compost pile:

Grilled scallops with assorted grilled vegetables

Red Thai Vegetable Curry made with Light coconut milk

Fish Poached in a Sweet & Spicy Asian broth

Singapore Poh Pia

Hawaiian Ginger Chicken Stew

I must now sign off because I am weak with hunger. I hope to report back soon with more reviews that you can actually use…