Snow. Just the thought of being snowbound makes me want to make a hearty stew and scones. What is it about winter that triggers a nesting instinct and for me nesting means a big thirsty fisherman's sweater, a cup of hot tea (or hot chocolate but I've been cutting back so I drink tea now) and creamy butter melting on the inside of a freshly baked breakfast scone?
So now since I'm living healthy I still make stew but this time I use less chuck, canned diced tomatoes, low sodium chicken stock and more beans (kidney and black beans) and I've discovered the joys of spice. Here's my trick to keep me from eating an entire vat of stew: I toss in half a scotch bonnet chile, plenty of chili powder, black pepper corns and crushed red pepper. Salt to taste and throw in all of the vegetables you can find -- I favor butternut squash, cilantro and onion.
The result: hearty and triple-threat hot. This stew dances off my tongue, the heat makes me hit a note (much like an opera singer) and then I act like the spice doesn't bother me at all. Can you say capsasin? A dollop of sour cream (low fat if you so choose) cools things down and just a sprinkle of cheese makes this dish hard to resist. I made a weeks worth and stored it in the freezer. Now, about the hot theory -- its not original and I didn't come up with it but if its really spicy I'm less likely to eat a large portion at one time. I supplement the meal with a huge green salad -- lime juice vinaigrette finishes the salad perfectly.
Citrus is also my friend. I buy lemons and limes to flavor my water because other than tea, that's all I'm drinking these days. I don't want to drink calories. I use an artificial sweetener for the tea. About the scones. I do indulge in a homemade scone for breakfast occasionally but then again I have to have something to look forward to and the scones don't have much sugar and often I use fresh blue blueberries. A word about butter: Long ago I began using butter substitutes. Then a health enthusiast told me my body doesn't know what to do with the polyunsaturated margarine but it does know what to do with butter. I don't use that much and honestly it tastes much better than the fake stuff.
I'm revving my metabolism now both with hits of spicy food and with a beginner's exercise regimen. The Billy Blanks Tae Bo video I've been using is an advanced dvd however I do the low impact version of the moves. How am I feeling? Better with the exception of night-time hunger pangs. I'm hanging in there and I'm hopeful.
That's the best I can ask for right now in this health conscious journey. While we're on the subject of hopeful, I can't help but think about the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. So, as a gift to myself I will celebrate Valen-dooms Day (Valentine's Day doing one of my favorite olympic activities instead of watching. I'm going ice-skating. I haven't been in years... I'll let you know how it goes.
Published On: February 08, 2010