logo 9/28/10 Twin Cities’ Eats

I’ve never been a health food junkie.  I try to follow along with what we’ve been told is good for us….eat as many fruits and veggies as you can, more protein is better than more carbs, avoid trans fats, etc.  But I just haven’t paid much attention to it.  Well, until lately at least.

Obesity is nothing new to us.  We’re much heavier than we used to be.  A few weeks ago, a study came out about our health and how we eat.  I was helping Michele Tafoya with a story on how bad certain foods were for us and I spent some time digging up info online that we could link to on our website.  It led me to a few things that spooked me.

In the few weeks since then, I’ve been trying to change what I eat (at least thinking about it before I just pick up and eat).  I also joined the gym which I haven’t done since my early 20’s (I’m in my mid 30’s for the record).  It was time to change a few things.

Now, none of this has really altered my habits.  It’s not like I’m living off broccoli and tofu.  But I’ve made it a point to make sure I get plenty of veggies and cutting out the regular fast-food stops.

And it’s this is where I share a few scary things.

To preface this, I’m not opposed nor am I ripping fast-food.  It’s there for a reason and serves a purpose.  We are on the run constantly now.  Ordering by number and eating in the car is just the way we live our lives now.  There’s no reason you shouldn’t ever go to McDonalds or Burger King or Wendy’s and on and on.  But there are ways to do it smarter.  And if you’re doing this six times a week, it may be time to reevaluate!

When you have a few minutes to kill, go to this website: DietFacts.com.  Listen, there’s probably no reason to ever order something called an Angry Triple Whopper from Burger King (I don’t like my food to be prefaced with the word “Angry”….nothing will end well when angry food is involved).  The thing has 1,360 calories, 819 from fat!  This is not ok for lunch, considering that’s over half the calories you should eat for the day (and way more fat).

angry whopper1 9/28/10 Twin Cities’ Eats

What about a Whopper Jr. with no mayo?  A very reasonable 290 calories and only 108 from fat…this is right where you should be.

Just don’t supersize it and get a large French fry with a large Coke…500 calories in a large fry plus 290 more in a large Coke!  And we’re back to 1,000 calories again.  You’d have to jog for an hour and a half to burn 1,000 calories.  How often does that happen?  Straight to the gut on that one!

gut 9/28/10 Twin Cities’ Eats

This isn’t rocket science.  There are just some thoughtful choices to make.  Like salad.  Oh, wait.  Maybe that doesn’t work either.  Check this out.

The McDonald’s Southwest Salad with Crispy Chicken and Southwest Dressing is 500 calories.  You’re better off getting a Double Cheeseburger!  Better yet, skip the cheese and you actually are eating something that’s relatively ok.  Want a salad?  That’s great.  Just make sure it doesn’t have fried chicken and they always have a low-fat dressing.  You’re honestly not going to taste a big difference.

I was at Dairy Queen a while ago and was thrilled to see that they added a “mini” size for Blizzards.  I love Blizzards.  But even with the small size, you just knew you were doing some damage.  Now you can get the mini and not deal with the guilt.  It’s about time we have some options.  For the record, a small Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard?  Yep.  720 calories.  Yikes.  If you eat large Blizzards regularly, you might as well start prepping your house for Oprah to show up and do a show around getting you out of bed.

rs cookiedoughbliz6x6 9/28/10 Twin Cities’ Eats

Here’s one more for you.  It’s a Healthy Dining Finder.  You enter your zip code, how much you’re looking to spend and it gives you ideas on what/where to eat.  Great idea!

None of this is meant to be preachy.  I mean, I ate at Arby’s for lunch today.  But, for the first time ever, I ordered the chicken sandwich without mayo.  Put Arby’s sauce on instead (15 calories compared to over 100 with mayo).

Little things like that take you from wheezing at the top of the stairs to feeling good about yourself again.  It can work.

OK, now that we’ve established that, let’s talk about comfort food.  Hmmmm.  Worst, segue, ever.  Anyway.

I bought a Dutch Oven last fall and I love the dumb thing.  I feel like such a superstar cook when I braise something.  Here’s one of my favorites.

  • Start with a chuck roast.  2-3 pounds, depending on how much you’re trying to make.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Get the Dutch Oven screaming hot (open the windows!) and add some olive oil.  Brown the roast on all sides.  This is key!  Get a good crust and it will taste that much better.
  • Remove to a plate and let it rest.
  • In the meantime, add 2 sliced onions, 2 chopped carrots, 2-3 chopped celery ribs (you can also do rutabaga, parsnips, brussell sprouts, etc).  Sauté until the veggies are tender.
  • Add Bay Leaf, Thyme, Rosemary and Tarragon, and minced garlic (or whatever other herbs you’re into)
  • Place the roast back in the Dutch Oven.
  • Add a cup of good red wine.  I like the Spanish reds (a Tempranillo is a good place to start).  But just make sure it’s a wine you like to drink.  Remember when you cook with wine, the flavor concentrates as it evaporates.  So, if it doesn’t taste good when you drink it, it definitely won’t after you reduce it.
  • Add enough beef stock (or water) to cover half the roast.
  • Put in a 350 degree oven for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until it’s starting to fall apart.
  • Remove the roast and let it rest
  • Strain the liquid into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Let it reduce by about half.  Add salt and pepper if needed.   Serve the sauce either on or on the side of the roast.
  • Serve with oven roasted Carrots/Celery/Onions/Mushrooms or whatever else you like (chop them put on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and cook in a 425 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until starting to blacken on the edges)

roast 9/28/10 Twin Cities’ Eats

One of my favorites.  Healthy?  Not so bad.  Lots of veggies and plenty of protein.  Just make sure if you need ice cream after that you order the mini!


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