March 16, 2008

Eating well and feeling great

Whining about American fast food is just not going to cut it. I've got to just buck up and decide; this is not the food I want to eat. And truth is; I don't. Being alone at home and eating cereal on my couch at 5pm after class gets a little depressing after awhile. I want to be out and about; some human interaction would be nice for a change.
Here in Orlando; the fast food chains seem to have legs. They stalk me at every bend. Driving home alone during the week, tummy grumbling and mind exhausted, I'm proud to say I've yet to succumb to temptation and drive through any of the 10 quick fix windows I go past. I think to myself; if I'm not going to eat that; where am I going to go for food?
I'm tired; my fridge is empty and 'cuisine' is really not an option at $20 an entree. What's a girl to do? Will it really be worth all that trouble grocery shopping and cooking for 1? Have I found healthy and affordable alternatives to eating out?
The answer is yes!
I've been eating well; visiting the gym regularly and feeling radiant inside out. There's nothing like a balanced, delicious and guilt free meal to make me feel better about my day. Plus; summer is coming; I need to start looking good! *giggle* With all those beautiful day dresses what's a girl to do~ Pastry school isn't helping much with my sugar intake either! Before I signed up to bake luscious goodies daily; I also signed a personal deal to keep myself in shape and in line with the goodies. It's not easy I tell you. I share most of it with a fair range of friends... I don't intend to make others overweight either! Too much of a good thing can't be healthy for anyone.

Sweet Katie discovered this little organic gem downtown called Dandelion on Thornton Ave. The place serves up everything that's good for you. It's a little hippy on the inside; but interesting and quirky nonetheless. On my first glance of the menu; I raked through the list desperately trying to find something with meat in it! To my dismay; the "M" word is a no-no at Dandelion.

I settled for a cup of chili, and an interesting rice paper roll with a rich peanut sauce. I was pleasantly surprised with how the food planted a smile on my face. It was just something about this quaint little organic tea house which made me happy. In less than 30 minutes; my tummy was full and satisfied. It's amazing what a couple shreds of flavourful veges can do for you.
On other times when I need to be outside and communicating with fellow humans; I like the idea of a sushi bar. I frequent this particular Japanese-Korean joint close to the NotterSchool for early dinners before I head home. It definitely beats sitting alone at a table.At Izziban on SandLake road, I never have too much to eat; and the price of a satisfying roll of maki isn't too hard to stomach either.I enjoy watching the chefs make sushi as I have my dinner. I love how an effort is made with little intricate details on my plate to make the sushi eating experience so much more fun. It's often snap-frenzy with my camera for me before every meal. I joke sometimes that my camera has to eat; before I eat. *wink*

With my weekends off; I cook in bulk and freeze in small serving portions. I shop for freezer
friendly ingredients and share my healthy meals with my darling neighbours downstairs.
This morning; I made 6 slices of pizza's with a bread base twist. One large loaf of freshly baked ciabatta often does it for me. Toppings can really be anything you like. I usually empty out my refrigerator leftovers when I make these. There is a rule of thumb to follow though; it's not how much you can load it up with; but it's what you should load it with. Try not to make these too thick; it can get a little soggy in the middle if the layer of toppings are too thick. Here are my favourites.

Spicy sausage, basil and capers.Hawaian classic Pineapple and Hamand a Chunky Vege delight full of crunch and roast vegetables.Try other add-ons such as sliced tomatoes; a good sprinkle of mozzarella and chopped up herbs. A good dash of pepper or Tabasco often helps it too.
At school; Chef Mary whipped out an excellent gluten free carrot cake with a tasty cream cheese frosting for our class to try out. Many perceive anything 'gluten-free' to be a health food. It really isn't the case. The phrase gluten-free just means a diet completely free of ingredients derived from cereals containing gluten such as; wheat, spelt, rye, barley or oats. Unfortunate individuals with celiac disease and wheat allergies with systems incapable of digesting gluten have to live without the many beautiful foods we enjoy everyday. With new methods of baking and exotic new starches and gums, gluten free isn't too hard to achieve these days. The cake turned out pretty light; moist and delicious too! It isn't like the ol' days when gluten free cakes meant thick and dense anymore.


Po said...

My husband was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue last year, we're still adapting and I'm a keen baker. The carrot cake you made looked so yummy! I am so glad they are including GF in your course!

Anonymous said...

i'm so glad they've shown you how to do a gf cake :) there's quite a few gf things that are really tasty!

Anonymous said...

Before I got married, I always cook for 1!!! I love to make "Shabu-Shabu" for 1 ... you can just get the stuff you like ... even expensive ingredients ... since you are cooking for 1 ... you'll need only a little!!

Anonymous said...

The cake looks absolutely fantastic, but I'm trying to picture (er, taste) it gluten free. Must google it to find a recipe and try it.

Your food photography is great!

Cakespy said...

Oh, this place really does look like a treasure! I had to comment after checking out the chili and the cake. Everything looks so tasty.

Su-Yin -D├ęcorateur said...

there really are many gluten free items out there which taste pretty good these days. It gets lots easier when we understand how the substitute ingredients work with it's original recipes. Thanks for leaving comments guys.

tricia: thats a great idea! I'm definitely going to try it out. TOo bad im not a big fan of beef though.


Dandelion Cafe is terrific! They sometimes have vegan brownies that are incredible!