Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reclaiming My Health

Well, the impossible has happened. I have gained weight whilst living in NYC (something I thought to be impossible b/c hello, you walk everywhere here!) When I first moved, I was eating some of the richest foods around and drinking like a fish and yet still found myself getting lighter and leaner. Pourquoi? Because I was also walking everywhere, all day, every day. Now? I'm eating (somewhat) healthier, cooking more, and yet my pants are getting tighter and tighter. Now, my ravenous appetite is partially to blame (it's been a little ridic for the past couple of weeks - ask my sister, she'll tell ya!), but it's also a combination of a lot of other things, including but not limited to...

- not walking every where (except maybe to Trader Joe's to get more food)
- TJ's vintage root beer (helloooo liquid satan!)
- spending an entire day inside (b/c hello, it's raining!), laying in bed avec laptop and in front of TV
- staying up uber late and snacking into the wee hours of the morning
- eating crap

Well this morning I woke up and felt like... crap. And after a quick glance in the mirror and a step on the scale, I knew my diet needed a major makeover. Now, I'm not going to pull a Carolyn circa 2002-2005 (aka go on a fad diet), I'm just going to do a little tweaking so that I feel better. Eating more fruits and vegetables, laying off the morning croissants, nixing soda (I'll miss you, vintage root beer...), and walking my arse off in addition to running at the gym.

So today, after a morning spent at the Ace Hotel Lounge, sipping insanely good coffee and doing some work, I begrudgingly walked in the rain to the gym and nearly died. Afterwards I headed to TJ's (a reward I'll only allow myself if I visit the gym first) where I picked up asparagus, spinach, watermelon, grapes, mushrooms, celery, carrots, hummus, and COMPLETELY ignored the siren songs of the root beer - woo hoo!

And then I came home and made myself what is quickly becoming my favorite weekday dinner: polenta. Oh polenta... how I love thee. A close sister to grits, polenta is incredibly versatile, filling, and healthy. It's very quick-cooking (huge plus when you're hungry!) and can be topped with just about anything. Here's how I do it:

{Image credit: lemonpi}

Carolyn's Easy Peasy Polenta

Make 1-2 servings (2 if you're moi) of polenta following package directions (takes mere minutes). Like pasta, you'll want to salt the water when it's boiling and right before you add the polenta.

After it's thickened, stir in some butter (I use Earth Balance) and LOTS of freshly ground black pepper. (You can also add cheese! Cheese and polenta go together like bread and butta.) Pour into ginormous bowl.

Top with whatever tickles your fancy: sauteed mushrooms, roasted asparagus, steamed broccolini, garlicky spinach, tomato sauce, caramelized onions... the possibilities are endless. Need some protein? Throw on a fried egg! Feeling more indulgent? Add another slab of butter and sprinkle with parmiggiano! (It only makes it more delicious.) Have nothing in the fridge? Then just eat with a little butter, salt and peppa. It's still delicious! If you're feeling really adventurous, you can pour it into a baking pan, wait for it to cool, cut it into squares, and then fry it. Top with marinara and cheese and hello yummy!

What I love about this meal is that it's quick, comforting, and all fits in one bowl. Also? It's cheap! Seriously, if you've never tried polenta before, I highly suggest you pick up a bag today. It's kind of rocking my world right now.

7 comments:

Globetrotting Cacti said...

I have tried cooking with polenta a few times and it has been an absolute disaster!!! I have printed your recipe out and may give it one last go... wish me luck!!!

I head you on the lack of exercise. I am a fair weather runner and the weather is yukky in the UK at the moment so have been sitting in rather than getting moving and I am feeling it. Thanks for the inspiration and the realisation that things need to change...

Carolyn said...

Alison - I think one thing that's key with polenta is never leaving it. It looks SO quickly that you have to constantly stir it and watch it. Also immediately turn the heat to super low once you add the polenta to the boiling water. :)

Vanessa said...

You're a girl after my own heart. Anything even remotely resembling grits has my vote. I love polenta topped with sliced sausage and sauteed mushrooms!

Valerie at City|Life|Eats said...

Good for you! The recipe sounds awesome by the way :)

Ellecubed said...

Your Polenta looks absolutely delicious. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com said...

I am still on a hummus kick, and I'm experimenting because I have been just making it with water and some oil rather than all oil and tahini...

Megan said...

I have been going to the gym constantly for the last two weeks and eating healthier. This morning I jumped on the scales and have apparently put on 2kgs, augh so confused.