Friday, March 13, 2009

Let's Talk Yummy!

For a couple of days I've been craving latkes. Don't ask me why. These craving moments just seem to pop into my head of their own accord, sort of like The Great Gazoo who used to pop in on Fred and Barney. Anyway, I've been trying to ignore this particular Gazoo, as potato latkes also means the syrup and yogurt that have to be there up on top. At least, atop my latkes.

And then I had an idea. I could invent a healthier latke that I wouldn't need to smother with sweet extra calories. Even though an attempt at a pumpkin soup creation the other night turned out to be an obvious disaster (well, it was okay as a sauce, and it tasted fine, but it had a yucky texture for a soup), I still thought I'd give my new idea a whirl.

It was delicious! And sweet! And satisfying.

Here it is on the dinner plate, served with dollops of nonfat Greek Yogurt and a big green salad. This meal was just a wee bit over 200 calories.

Doesn't that close up look delicious? I'm not sure if one would still call it a latke. Although there's not enough egg in it to call it a frittata. How but a latttata? Or a frittatka?

It's a combination of shredded potato, yam, zuchinni, white and green onion. Mixed with water, yeast, and one egg. It made nine pancakes and I figured out that each pancake was only about 65 calories. 75 calories with the yogurt on it. And, most importantly, delicious. The yam gave it a hint of sweetness that satisfied perfectly.

A couple nights ago I made another delicious meal and took a photo to show you.

Baked cod with mushrooms, zuchinni, and salsa. Served with brown rice and steamed brussel sprouts. This looks like a small meal but keep in mind these are 11" plates, so this is a fairly satisfying amount of food. It's about 200 calories.

While I was enjoying this particular meal, I thought of how much healthier and tastier it was than the equivalent "diet" meal that one might find in the frozen food section. I found the closest equivalent I could find (a Lean Cuisine offering) and it was less food for a lot more calories, around 300, which was undoubtedly from added breading on the fish, less vegetables, and more rice (which was white instead of whole grain). Of course if I wanted more calories, I could have larger servings of my home cooked meal, or add some healthy oil or nut additions, or add a side salad or slice of whole grain bread. I'd get a lot more vitamins and minerals, fiber, etc. good stuff, for the same amount of calories.

I've known all this eating healthy info for a long while but it still surprises me how easy it is to eat healthy and still eat better than the typical dinner offerings. I'm also surprised at how less expensive it is to eat well. How come we (the collective "we" meaning people in general) complain we can't afford to buy the slightly more expensive bread or organic vegetables, but then we throw a bag of chips or box of cookies into our shopping carts that easily cost more than the difference?

And that's not even counting the cost savings when you get really serious about food. I'm finding the ingredient lists on most storebought processed foods so frustrating that I'm thinking of dragging out the old bread making machine to make my own bread again. Thinking of making my own sprouts again. Possibly trying my hand at baking my own crackers and granolas. There has to be healthier and cheaper alternatives.

All sorts of benefits to these possibilities but another benefit, after many years of having lost my interest, I'm having fun in the kitchen again. In these struggling times, it's the perfect time to fall back in love with cooking as a hobby.

I'm hoping my next rediscovered passion will be working in the dirt. Only a few more weeks, if things go as planned, before we'll have the backyard torn apart and the plumbing mess finished, and I can have the space back for my cook's garden.


Anonymous kathy savage said...

Wow, I am jealous and inspired. With some more planning, I will try to beef-up (without beef), my 30 minute meals. I am not going to focus on presentation (your meals look almost too good to eat!), but rather on seasoning variety. Thanks for a push in this direction!

9:50 AM  
Blogger Jana said...

I look forward to seeing what you end up making. I have been trying not to buy processed foods (minus ceral). It has been hard to find an alternative my family will eat. I recently bought a nice dehydrator and have been making green apple & cinnamon chips, banana chips, etc. Everyone loves it and when I get produce on sale, I can really make it go a long way.

7:41 PM  

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