Today is the 2nd Day of the Rest of My Life: Exercise and Swordfish

Blogging about what you eat and having a doting mother who reads everything you blog about what you eat is a dangerous combination. Lately, mom’s been on my case.

“I can’t believe some of the stuff you’re eating!” she said to me this weekend. “Chocolate chip muffins in the middle of the night! And those cupcakes! All that butter! It’s not even that you’ll get fat, it’s your arteries. It’s so not healthy. Even Oprah tells you not to eat at night!”

This health intervention in combination with the vast amount of food we consumed this weekend (scroll down to see the carnage) plus the fact that spring’s approaching which means SPEEDO TIME, I decided yesterday to turn over a new leaf. Here is what my new leaf entails:

* Exercise!

* Better eating habits!

Specifically, I’m going to return to my Body for Life routine. Two summers ago, Ricky turned me on to Body for Life. The concept is 12 weeks to Ultimate Fitness. You exercise 6 times a week (alternating cardio and muscle training) and eat 6 small meals a day. Well I never did the 6 small meals a day thing, but I did do the 6 days a week of exercise. I actually enjoyed it because at most each session is 45 minutes and doing it every day helps you build it into your lifestyle easier than twice a week where it’s easier to skip.

So yesterday I did 30 minutes on the eliptical and burnt 330 calories! (Is that a lot? I have no idea.) And today I worked my upper body while listening to The Clash’s “London Calling” on my iPod. (Yesterday it was The Scissor Sisters–which is awesome to work out to.) (What’s your favorite workout music?) While at my parents hotel, I weighed myself and I weighed 160. I just went to an “ideal weight calculator” online and apparently for someone of my height (5’7) I should weigh 148. So I have to lose 12 pounds!

Now, for anyone who has been reading this site, I don’t think it’ll be hard to point out what habits have to change. No more burnt butter cupcakes at 2 in the morning! No more endless feasting when my parents come to town! I’m not going to change my diet to the point of being unhappy or hating food. (Oh, and Body For Life gives you Sundays off, so I can eat whatever I want!) I’m just going to be smarter about how I eat. Which is where Kathleen comes in.

Meet Kathleen and her book, “Cooking Thin”:

[If you follow that link and buy it I make mucho dinero! But I’m not urging you to buy it, I’m just saying that if you are going to buy it anyway do it through that link.]

I bought this book for my mom after watching her show on the Food Network. Even though she betrays a Rachel Ray like cheesiness, I liked her message and her method. She basically tries to maximize FLAVOR and visceral enjoyment out of food while still keeping it healthy.

Naturally, my mom never lifted the book–she doesn’t cook. So when I was home most recently, I swiped it off her night stand and took it home. Tonight I cooked from it. I made swordfish and the recipe was simple and everything came out dynamite.

First you need swordfish:

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Kathleen says to buy 1 lb but I think that’s if you’re feeding more than yourself. I bought 1/2 lb which was plenty.

She says it should be 3/8ths of an inch thick (what kind of measurement is that!) and as you can see from the photo above, this is way thicker than that. So I butterflied it–yielding two pieces that were about 1/2 an inch thick. Make sure to sharpen your knife first.

Now then: the flavorings. It’s really simple but it comes out delicious. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. (Make sure to get enough on there, it makes a difference.) Then grate a lemon and sprinkle the lemon zest over both sides of the fish. Take a quarter a cup of flat-leaf parsley and press that into the fish too. It should look something like this:

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Here’s where I overdid it a bit. She says 2 tsps of olive oil in a skillet. I did a little more than that and it was TOTALLY not necessary. (It’s just that the 2 tsps wasn’t covering the bottom.) You heat the olive oil on medium high heat until it’s hot but not smoking. Then add the fish. Cook for 2 minutes on each side and you’re done! It turns a beautiful golden color. (I should tell you here that cooking this fish set off my smoke detector, terrified Lolita, and forced me to leap into the air to hit some kind of button to turn the screeching noise off. We were all ok, though.)

Here’s the end result. I served it with Amanda Hesser’s Arborio Rice salad (Recipe Here):

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I know it looks oily in this picture, but I wanted to show you how beautifully golden it got and how crisp the edges are. It had amazing flavor—the salt, pepper, lemon zest and parsley really worked their magic. And it tasted so buttery: and there was no butter! I can’t believe that THIS is dietetic.

I also set out to make pumpkin cranberry bread tonight. (That’s in Kathleen’s book too.) I purchased the cranberries, the dried cranberries, flour, etc. I preheated the oven. I prepared the pan. I sifted the flour. Then I realized: no pumpkin. Brings to mind the great proverb: “It is difficult for one to make pumpkin cranberry bread without the pumpkin.”

Let’s hear it for the newer, hotter me! Will I stick with it? Stay tuned…

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16 comments

  1. For the record, 330 calories is like half a chocolate chip muffin, or a tiny crumb of burnt butter cupcake. Still, it’s a good start! And if you exercise regularly, you’re metabolism will get used to burning calories even when you’re at rest. But let’s not get all obsessed about those stupid units…

  2. Kathleen has a second book titled “Cooking Thin and Loving Food” which is also great. I like her ideas about eating well too — she’s all about keeping flavor. I’ve just started to explore cooking light(er) fare, so I’ll be watching your adventures with interest.

  3. Eating Well is another great magazine you should look into.

    One thing about height-weight tables: they do not always take into account muscle mass. If you do weight training and build muscle mass while losing fat, you may end up with the same weight you started with, or even become slightly heavier. This is because lean muscle mass is much heavier than fat.

    I just thought I would mention that, just in case you didn’t know it. Having done weight training for years, I weigh much more than I look like I do, and it always confounds nurses at the doctor’s office until I tell them how I exercise.

  4. Somehow that doesn’t seem dietic. But all the same– better you than me. Good luck being dietic and picky and skimping and scrooging. I’ll be looking forward to your accounts of good healthy eating.

  5. I’m sure I’m going to get some slack for this – but I recently saw an episode of 20/20 that was all about myth-busters. Apparently it’s a myth that if you eat late at night you will gain weight. So long as you stay within your daily dietary caloric intake, it doesn’t matter whether you consumer calories during the day or late at night. Typically people eat their daily amount of calories during the day and then snack late at night, which puts them over their daily limit, therefore they gain weight. If you are going to be eating late at night, just make sure you don’t consume too many calories during the day.

  6. the eating late at night also depends on the rest of your eating habits. in spain, many restaurants don’t even open for dinner until 8pm, often as late as 9:30 even. lunch is the large meal, eaten around 2, followed by siesta (my favourite part). dinner, or extended tapas, goes until well into the night.

  7. AG, you’re such a FoodTV addict. I love it! Kathleen is a genius. Hope you’ll enjoy lots of her recipes. And possibly share them with us. Guess this means ix-nay on the giant doughnuts, too?? Sigh.

  8. You should try cooking with Pam non-stick spray instead of olive oil. It cuts the fat and calories tremendously. Good luck with your health kick; you can do it!