Sundae in the Park

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    Ventura County, CA
  1. Thanks, guys! Yes, I'm pretty motivated so learned a lot last time that I'm putting to good use this time without having to go back to the (rather useless) nutritionist (at least the knowledge wasn't wasted!!). If only I could keep up the motivation to keep to this kind of diet when not pregnant!!! It's ridiculously effective for my body type, but alas, I can't keep this strict when I don't have the proper motivation. There are certain recipes/approaches that have stuck with me afterwards, though, like roasting All The Vegetables and these mini turkey garden loaves (when I'm diabetic I mess with the bread crumbs and sugar proportions, and when I'm not I make them as is). Thanks for all your suggestions! I think they'll all make it into my rotations. The cucumber salad prompt, in particular, is great because I've always meant to learn a good Chinese cucumber salad (a la the A&J spicy garlic cucumber dish) and now is an excellent time to try it! Yes, I eat lots of avocados, mostly with my morning hard-boiled eggs as a sort of egg salad (v. easy to take to work several days' worth at a time), and could absolutely incorporate them in other meals. We made fajitas the other night, with some grilled marinated steak; a sautéed vegetable medley of mushrooms, peppers, and zucchini; cheese quesadillas; salsa; and guacamole. We and our guests all loved it (I ate 1/4 quesadilla so wasn't totally deprived), so that will definitely be gracing our table again. Because we (used to) eat tacos out fairly often, we almost never think about making Mexican food at home and this was a good reminder that it's tasty, easy to make, and great for a crowd with fussy palates (in this case kiddos, gluten-free, diabetic, and pregnant). A bit back, we went out to all-you-can-eat KBBQ for dinner, and that was decadent without a sense of deprivation. MEAT! and pickles and salad mostly, with a little bit of jap chae on the side. Nothing to complain about there!!
  2. Hahahaha, have you ever looked at the ingredient list for "light" juice (e.g., grape juice)? Mostly the same stuff, just with water as the first ingredient. It's literally diluted juice with extra sugar/additives to make up the flavor. Quite remarkable from a marketing perspective!! So yes, I'd expect that air is a main component of the light versions of fatty stuff like ice cream. The trick is whether they can keep up a decent mouthfeel, even with all the air whipped in. I actually find that Dreyer's/Edy's slow-churned ice cream is decent tasting for light ice cream, though they have lots of junk as ingredients. The net carb counts and ingredient lists for Halo look really promising so I'll have to try some!
  3. Whelp, I'm gestationally diabetic again, so back to the low-carb drawing board. It's been a month-ish so I'm looking to branch out from the mainstays thus far: Meals: everything egg (very) stuffed shells eggplant parm (so far with breading, but later on will be without) curried chicken salad (eaten over salad or with cucumbers, or even plain) roasted chickens and pork loins Cuban or Hawaiian pork pan-fried fish and chicken roasted veg (mostly cauliflower!! but also some carrots, a few potatoes, and various squashes) curries without the rice (or a very small amount) pureed vegetable soups (squash, broccoli, mushroom) beef stew meatballs, sausages salads Snacks and treats: almonds and cashews berries string cheese Crystal Light "lemonade" and seltzer (thanks Squidsdc!) Breyers CarbSmart vanilla and almond bars dark chocolate edamame 15g carbs or less of any cookies or sweets. I can typically have 1-3 small cookies (I stick with packaged cookies because they are easier to count - usually Trader Joe's speculoos or butter almond thins), so it's portion control rather than avoidance. This is not a lot of cookies, but it's better than nothing!! I take a similar approach to ice cream, which I have every night to pump up my base level of carbs before bed. I pick a flavor with fewer carbs (usually the more chunky add-ins, which I love, the more carbs ) and then have about 2 small spoonfuls to come in at <1 serving. **** I'm probably going to make tortilla-less fajitas and zoodles soon, and I see some sugar-free jello in my future. Once we start grilling again, I'll probably be doing meat/eggplant/zucchini/mushrooms with Vietnamese fish sauce again. We've been getting a lot of Chinese takeout (usually szechaun eggplant and tofu, sauteed greens, and fried fish) and when I skip the rice, I'm fine. Ideas are welcome, but I'm mostly documenting here in case others find this info useful.
  4. The tempura green beans are great! Lightly seasoned, crispy, tempura coating, without too much batter, makes for a tasty, lower-carb choice than fries or onion rings (which have a much heavier batter). The steak salad (sub tri-tip in for chicken - I think the price differential is about $0.50 and that specific option is not on the menu) is decent (they ask how you would like your steak cooked!) but obviously doesn't compare with getting a burger. OK, this line of thought piqued my curiosity and all the nutritional info is online so here are the calorie and carb breakdowns for the sides: french fries w/ salt: 440 calories and 60g total carbs onion rings w/ salt: 500 calories and 62g total carbs sweet potato fries: 374 calories and 50g total carbs tempura green beans w/ salt: 250 calories and 34g total carbs Interesting, right??!! So onion rings are actually the worst choice for both calories and carbs by a little bit and the green beans are a more virtuous treat, though they still have a significant carb load (so I was right to get the salad instead of trying to eat a burger with half the bread, like I was contemplating) and having them with the ranch sauce obviously doesn't help the calorie count (120 calories, 2g carbs). I wonder how the fried stuff at other chains/meals compare with these #s.
  5. The double-double is on the menu, so you would think ordering a triple-triple from the "secret menu" would make sense when you want a 3 X 3 (3 burger patties and 3 slices of cheese). Not so; instead, they will smile and gently correct you. It comes prettily displayed like all other burgers and is a BIG bite. Since I was eating mine with only half the bun and lots of extra lettuce and tomato, like a burger salad, this was an appreciated but unnecessary nicety. It's a really hearty meal - low-carb but definitely not healthy or low-fat. I don't really care for the fries here so that wasn't much of a loss but I was really wistful about not getting a shake (the chocolate flavoring is rather gentle so I usually get the vanilla). While the In-N-Out website features a few items from the not-so-secret menu, here are a couple fun articles I found with much more comprehensive discussion of "secret menu" items: The Ultimate In-N-Out Secret Menu (and Super Secret Menu!) Survival Guide The Ultimate In-N-Out Burger Secret Menu (Some of Which Will Save You Money)
  6. From batch cooking on Sunday: White pizza with mushrooms Red pizza with salami Chicken and wild rice soup Should hold us another day or so.
  7. We went full Thanksgiving last week for 2.5 people, which has resulted in a LOT of (planned) leftovers. Still working on Tday re-creation plates since we only finished the first dishes (green beans, cranberry sauce, and gravy) last night, but tonight we'll actually transform some turkey into a couple of pot pies. Oh, also, fried eggs over sausage dressing is pretty much an ideal breakfast.
  8. I've been meaning to try 101 Noodle Express for a while, since it specializes in some of my favorites items in Chinese cuisine - noodles and dumplings. I had passed it over in favor of trying other places because the flagship item, the Shangdong-style beef roll, isn't my favorite. BIG MISTAKE. Turns out I didn't like them as much at other places simply because they weren't as good. Here, they are the highest expression of the snack, consistent and omnipresent at every table for a reason. The crepe-like bing is thin, flaky, and rich, but not oily. The beef is high-quality and sliced uniformly thin. There is just enough cilantro, scallions, and salty-sweet bean sauce to bring balanced flavors and textures. In case you aren't familiar with the beef roll (I think A&J recently put a version on the menu, but I never tasted it there), here's a nice description. The balance and uniform thinness of the layers, as well as tight wrapping, is key. We ate most of our roll at lunch and promptly ordered another to go (they travel really well!). We also got some dan dan noodles, which had a tiny kick but weren't particularly spicy (which we were expecting, since this is decidedly not a Szechuan place) and the hand-torn noodles were pleasingly chewy. We didn't have room for dumplings, but the many plates of pan-fried dumplings we saw scattered about the room were plump and had golden, crunchy-looking bottoms. We were at the Alhambra location, which is a casual strip-mall spot serving budget-friendly, simple, snacky food until late night (1 AM). They have a few other locations in Arcadia, Culver City, and Irvine. I learned one thing about their operations from their website that I find very promising for visiting other locations: 101 Noodle Express boasts a central, factory-like kitchen to secure quality control of its franchises.
  9. Thanks everyone for your input! It's gonna be a Wusthof Classic. Almost everything else I tried felt too light! I knew my old knife was a bit of a beast but wasn't aware how heavy it was compared other knives. Everything but the Calphalon felt like a toy. The Shun knives are gorgeous but too light and I don't like the long handles.The Globals are also too light and the metal handles are bound to get slippery. The other Wusthof knives didn't feel substantial enough and/or I didn't like the handle materials. Same with the the Henckels I tried. Plus, it turns out I like a raised bolster that goes all the was to the cutting edge. Just personal preference developed from my old knife, and this was the final detail that prevented me from just going with the Misen, which, even sight and touch unseen, presented a mighty temptation and bargain. I went to Williams Sonoma to try out the knives and received SUCH attitude from the (older, male) associate about proper grip (yes, I know about and use the pinch grip but also use a handle grip a lot so want to know how it feels, thankyouverymuch) and how they don't have any Henckels in the store, who then rolled his eyes and audibly sighed when I said I wanted to try more brands before buying on the spot. Ugh. Even if the same knife weren't $40 less online, he would have totally lost the sale!!! Note to folks looking to try/hold a Henckels knife and also lack access to a good kitchen store - Macy's carries them, though they might not have a great selection to hold in the store since most products are packaged. Now, price - I mentioned the price discrimination in the store, but was honestly astonished, since I'd already done my homework online before I went in. I realize that most are not people of the internet like us, but still found it rather shocking that the markup was so large. And I'm not even talking about a comparison with Amazon or the like - the $40 differential is between the W-S brick and mortar store and its own online store! Way to make people feel like schmucks for buying in person…
  10. Great, will have to try, thanks!!! Interesting that you don't use onions.
  11. Care to share? I haven't tried to make it in a while...
  12. The last day or so of being hunkered down in misery at home reminds me of another value of making/eating good food at home - you don't have to put on pants/get dressed at all. Which, sometimes, is a very attractive incentive. And yes, frozen leftovers from batch cooking are a godsend when you want something homey and good and are too sad to leave the house or cook.
  13. Like many others, we find ourselves mostly going out for certain dishes/cuisines, because it's really difficult to swallow paying others to make food that you can prepare nearly/as well at home and tailored to personal taste. Fried foods, Neopolitan pizza, most fish dishes (my parents had a saying about fish stinking up the house that I've carried with me ever since), Thai, Szechuan, KBBQ, ramen, pho, sushi, breads, certain Indian dishes…(I was never able to get my baingan bharta to come out; on the other hand, we like my chana masala better than just about all restaurant chick pea curries except for Ravi's - anyone got a recipe for those?) are all eating out foods. But we almost never go out and get soups and stews, stir-fries, salads, Italian, simple grilled or roasted foods, or most basic curries. The time savings in eating out is definitely factored into our decisions, but we are still mostly going out for things we don't/can't make at home. Plus, I enjoy cooking and stocking our fridge with homemade foods for the week.
  14. Ooooh, thanks for you suggestions, all! We'll see what fits best and go from there. I've been really curious about the Misen knife ever since Kenji's glowing review. What do you think? How would you say it compares with the big deal German knives?
  15. Sounds like jian bing to me. Scroll down to day 3 in Beijing in Kenji's great Asia adventures and the picture of jian bing actually shows it in a two-fisted hold.