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Healthy Eating: Two Weeks In

Two weeks into my intention to eat healthier food and I feel really great.  Don't roll your eyes at my predictable evangelical zeal....I really do.  I have really only felt somewhat deprived on two occasions.  The first was having my mom over for dinner and offering her a glass of wine and not having one myself.  The second came at my husband's birthday dinner (okay, I confess, I cooked ribeyes) when it came time for dessert.  I really wanted some of the chocolate cake....just a mere morsel, but I resisted.  

I resisted because the benefits I have received from cleaning up my diet are worth suffering the momentary pangs of desire for a bite of chocolate cake.  Big benefits.  Longer and sounder sleep.  I've lost 3 pounds.  My skin and hair look better.  And the biggest benefit in my books is the increased energy.  I feel stronger during my workouts and seem to be recovering faster.  

As for my cooking, I have stocked my pantry with a number of great flavour boosters that I would like to share with you.  

Chicken Glace:  This is basically highly reduced chicken stock.  When reduced, the flavour of the stock intensifies and thickens.  Great for glazing vegetables and making quick pan sauces.

Dijon Mustard:  both grainy and regular varieties add a great punch of flavour and a hint of acidity.  I use them in almost all my salad dressings.  Whisk it into warm chicken glace for a quick sauce.  Also good in mashed potatoes with fresh herbs.

Soy Sauce:  Wonderful in salad dressings and in brothy soups.  A must for fried rice.  Great on steamed Asian greens with sauteed garlic.

Anchovy Paste:  Want a big hit of umami (savoury flavour)?  Add this to chicken glace for a quick sauce.  Perk up oil and vinegar dressings.  Add to soups and stews for another layer of flavour.  Just be sure to remember "a little goes a long way".

Orange juice:  I use a lot of lemon and lime juice, but when I need a hit of sweetness, its oj to the rescue.  I also reduce it to a third of its regular volume to use in recipes that require a little sugar.  It is wonderful in curries and for glazing veggies.

Herbs:  Fresh and only fresh here.  Chop mint and basil and toss them with peas.  Parsley goes with just about anything, mashed potatoes, salads, soups.  Make a pesto without the cheese and add it to mashed potatoes, eggs, soups.

Spices:  Too many to mention them all.  The top five hit list, cumin, smoked paprika (great for adding a meaty quality), cinnamon (adds a perception of sweetness), chile flakes, coriander.

Off to make a Tom Yum for dinner.

Dana's blog