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eG Foodblog: mizducky - The Tightwad Gourmand turns pro


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MizDucky! We have the same  korean pot! Lookee here from my blog:

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Great minds brew/sip alike.  :biggrin:

Cool! I did miss that connection when your blog was going by. Have you ever used it to brew coffee, or only tea? Somehow, from the way mine is behaving, I think it would work better for tea ...

I've been looking back over this blog so far, and I think I've caught up with any questions that have been asked so far, but if any of you out there have posted a question and I missed it, please let me know. Meanwhile, it's time to sing:

"Fish heads, fish heads ... "

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"... rolly-polly fish heads ... "

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"... fish heads, fish heads ..."

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"...eat 'em up ..."

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"...YUM!"

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That made a great light dinner to round off the day's eating extravaganza. And believe it or not, all that stuff y'all saw me eat fit just fine into my food plan. Including the beer--a pint counts as two carbohydrate exchanges. Part of the secret is the ratio of veg to protein and carb--small amount of protein, modest amount of carb, party hearty on the veg. Another part of the secret is how much of that was soup. Brothy soups are great for weight reduction--lots of nourishment and flavor, very filling in terms of volume, but low-impact in terms of calories. I mean, yeah, you could certainly turn a serving of broth-based soup into a diet torpedo if you loaded it with, say, a ton of pasta or a pound of rich fatty meat. But if you keep the protein/carb/veg ratios the way I've been doing, you're golden.

Not that I leave that ratio to chance. Over a year into this process and I still write down everything I eat. I've got months worth of Excel files on my hard drive, containing little daily lists of foods eaten, and tallies of how many servings of protein, vegetables, fruits, starches, and fats that all equates to. And I have another spreadsheet recording every week's weigh-in, plus a graph of that data. Yes, it's mechanistic as hell. But I know from years of past experience, attempting to "diet" and failing, that if I don't keep track, the Lizard Brain wakes up and starts persuading my rational self to forget a little here, lie a little there, go "oh, just this once" a few hundred times more than once ... and pretty soon, the whole danged diet is down the tubes and I'm frustrated and depressed and, oh, what the hell, as long as I've blown it, might as well hit the nearest buffet and really blow the whole thing out of the water...

On one level, it's definitely gotten easier with time--it's become routine. On another level, it's reaching new levels of challenge, specifically because it's become routine. Way too easy to take for granted. Much more difficult to keep the motivation up, the fire in the belly burning, so to speak. Blogging about my process this way is actually a great help with that. All alone in my head, it's easy for me to take for granted how far I've come. But having you all reflect back at me the objective enormity of my progress so far reminds me that it is indeed a big deal, that it is indeed something I have every right to take some pride in. And for that I offer you all major gratitude.

Edited by mizducky (log)
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MizDucky made sinigang soup! *round of applause from all Filipino readers alike. With the cold and drizzly day that we're having right now, I'm craving for a bowlful of that wonderful soup.

PS. my Korean teapot specifically for brewing tea. I am banned, I mean, off regular coffee. *sob* I drink nasty instant decaf coffee to get my fix. :(

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Meanwhile, a bunch of my favorite ingredients live up here:

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Pearl River Bridge! It always warms my heart to see their products...I had to hunt for sources for them out here!

And let me add my congratulations on your weight loss. I know how the changes make many things different, but it's great that eating delicious food (and sharing it with us) is still the same!

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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Oops, spotted a couple more posts I meant to respond to:

Oh yeah!  Balboa Park... near downtown SD.  Of couse!  I remember that area well.  Very nice!  I have never learned of the name Golden Hill of the 4 years I lived in SD. :sad:    I loved the wonderful dessert and coffee at that what-daya-callit place in the area...  I am sure you would refresh me of the name.  :raz:  5th and around Upas?  Something like that?

Oh yeah, you mean Extraordinary Desserts. I hear they're fabulous. :smile:

Meanwhile, a bunch of my favorite ingredients live up here:

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Pearl River Bridge! It always warms my heart to see their products...I had to hunt for sources for them out here!

Even better, it's their dark soy sauce. I love this stuff to pieces. It's like liquid umami.

I'm about to crash, but first, what I have on tap for tomorrow (or more accurately, later today): a friend of mine is coming by, and we're going to take a little trip to the South Bay area, for yet another side of the greater San Diego cultural and culinary mix.

And tomorrow night: I really need to do something with all the produce I've bought so far. Or several somethings. I'm not sure how many of the following I will get to, but some simple stuff I'm thinking of: the beets I want to roast off, and their greens I could combine with some spinach I bought before the blog started. The big shrooms I really like braised with meat; I've got a few likely varieties of pork in the freezer, or I could see what looks good at the market I'll be hitting tomorrow. THe weather's been uncharacteristically rainy, cloudy, and chilly, at least by SoCal standards, and some warming comfort food is in order.

(edited to fix at least the one grammatical error I caught)

Edited by mizducky (log)
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Wonderful blog! I wish I'd seen it before I went to San Diego around, oh, 2001. I had a hard time finding places to eat, although I stayed in the Marriott hotel and enjoyed a damn fine and fairly cheap pastry that seemed to be some kind of almond cake soaked in honey and covered in chocolate.

And I think your weight loss is a tremendous achievement. I've been trying to follow WW on and off, and have definitely fallen OFF - I know what you mean about a slip here, a slip there, and then, whoops! suddenly I'm eating everything I can get my hands on.

Looking forward to reading the rest....

Jennie

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[...]I have this recollection of reading somewhere an item that basically boiled down a bunch of ethnic and national cuisines to one or two key ingredients.  Cilantro?  Mexican.  Ginger?  East Asian.  Curry?  Indian.  And so on.  The article was a sort of culinary equivalent of the hip-hop music practice of "sampling."  In this fashion, one could theoretically replicate the entire United Nations in a single dish, which would in all likelihood be nearly inedible.[...]

Not to hijack this great blog, but there are some problems. First of all, cilantro is used a great deal in certain kinds of Indian food, as well as in Cantonese food, etc., etc. Ginger is used in South and Southeast as well as East Asian food. And "curry" is not an ingredient in Indian food, but rather, essentially a catchall term to describe various kinds of dishes -- many of which we'd think of as similar to stews -- using a masala (blend of spices, but one which isn't normally bought already blended in a store).

And while we're at it, curries are a staple of Caribbean cooking too. At least the article didn't toss in "jerk seasoning" -- which is a blend of spices -- for good measure.

Blog on, Ellen....

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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[...]I have this recollection of reading somewhere an item that basically boiled down a bunch of ethnic and national cuisines to one or two key ingredients.  Cilantro?  Mexican.  Ginger?  East Asian.  Curry?  Indian.  And so on.  The article was a sort of culinary equivalent of the hip-hop music practice of "sampling."  In this fashion, one could theoretically replicate the entire United Nations in a single dish, which would in all likelihood be nearly inedible.[...]

Not to hijack this great blog, but there are some problems. First of all, cilantro is used a great deal in certain kinds of Indian food, as well as in Cantonese food, etc., etc. Ginger is used in South and Southeast as well as East Asian food. And "curry" is not an ingredient in Indian food, but rather, essentially a catchall term to describe various kinds of dishes -- many of which we'd think of as similar to stews -- using a masala (blend of spices, but one which isn't normally bought already blended in a store).

And while we're at it, curries are a staple of Caribbean cooking too. At least the article didn't toss in "jerk seasoning" -- which is a blend of spices -- for good measure

I think I've seen the original of the text you are discussing, or at least something similar, as a brief quote in the signature of somebody around eGullet. Maybe I'm wrong, but for whatever it's worth, I had always assumed the quote was meant to be taken tongue in cheek. I can't remember exactly how it goes, either, but the way it was written, it had a certain wittiness to it that to me implied the author knew there was more to these cuisines than the culinary soundbite they were giving each one. Maybe whoever has that quote in their sig will happen by and give more info about where it comes from.

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"This is no social crisis

This is you havin' fun

Gettin' burned by the sun

This is no social crisis

Just another tricky day for you."

--The Who, "Another Tricky Day"

Anyway ... good morning all!

Sitting here with a cup each of coffee and low-fat plain yogurt, getting ready to be up and at 'em ...

I don't want y'all to think I do this much running around during a typical week. I'm definitely upping the travelogue activity for the benefit of the blog. And a good thing, too--if I did this much running around every week, I'd be exhausted! But for one week, with all of you along, it's sure a helluva lot of fun.

No getting burned by the sun today, though, I expect. Instead, it's another drizzly chilly day here in SoCal. And my knee is continuing to act up for no very good reason ... except it finally struck me: duh! weather shift to chilly and humid, of course my joints will be acting up! It's just that we really do get so little real "weather" around here, I've gotten a little spoiled about it.

Because I've been so busy blogging over here, I haven't gotten around to doing my weekly weigh-in post over on my weight management blog. But I did weigh in, and discovered that I'm plateauing again--still at 220 lb. like last week. But that's totally okay as far as I'm concerned. For one, at this point I'm slowly and asymptotically creeping up on my tentative goal weight, and I was expecting my weight loss to decellerate as I neared my goal. Note that some traditional dieting pundits might have advised me to decrease my food intake to keep the rate of weight loss up. I refuse to do that--for one thing, much below the amount of calories I'm eating is simply unhealthy. For another, I treat the number on the scale solely as a metric to keep track of my progress, not as a goal in itself. As long as I'm eating healthily, and keeping an average calorie intake/expenditure that is less than I would need to stay at equilibrium, I am content that the weight will come off sooner or later, and otherwise I'm in no all-fire rush to push my bod just for the sake of speed.

And about my goal weight: it is only tentative, but one thing I can tell you: pushing onward all the way down to what those actuarial tables say should be my "ideal" weight is strenuously NOT a goal for me. For one thing, I'm convinced that the data in those tables are set artificially low. For another, I know from (painful) previous weight loss experience that the "ideal" weight in those tables is way too low for me to maintain healthily for any period of time. Right now I'm looking at getting to 200, seeing how that feels, and then maybe gently pressing towards 180 and seeing how that suits. My real goals, actually, are all functional: for instance, being able to walk a mile without a blink of an eye. Whatever number on the scale does that for me, is fine by me.

Meanwhile, my co-conspirator for today's rambles will be here in just under an hour, so I need to start making myself presentable. I'll be checking in here until it's time for us to hit the road. Any requests or questions?

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A run to the South Bay today...How far down? I'm imagining a tour of the Filipino restaurants in National City. Or Mexican in Chula Vista or IB?

Thanks for the tour of the Del. As great an experience as it is, it's even better at Christmas time. They really go all out with their decorations.

I'm enjoying your blog quite a bit. I grew up in Linda Vista and Serra Mesa (Birdland) so it's great to see familiar ground once again.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Actually, while we're on the subject of light cheese, you might want to see if you can find Cabot 50% Light Cheddar out your way.  It actually has a distinct Cheddar sharpness and decent mouthfeel, though you can tell the difference between it and their full-fat product.  Still, I've tried it, and it's not too shabby at all.  (I don't know whether Tillamook makes a similar product.  As I consider Cabot and Tillamook roughly equal in quality, with Tillamook having the edge on flavor, if you do happen to find something that calls itself "Tillamook Light Cheddar," try it.  I know I haven't seen such a creature over on this coast.)

Thanks for the tip--I'm pretty sure I've seen the Cabot light cheeses in some store or other; now I'll make a point of it to seek them out.

ellen,

congratulations on your slow and steady progress towards health. the cabot light is good but if you like swiss cheese the best low fat i have found is heavenly light swiss from finlandia. it is the only one johnnybird and i have found that has good mouth feel but is low enough in fat that he can tolerate it.

any chance you are hopping across the border for some cocktails or fish tacos?

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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mizducky - what a pleasure to have you blogging again. I'm in the midst of the pre-Passover craziness here, but I'm trying to catch up with you at least once a day!

Were those beets at the farmer's market white? (or was that something else that I missed?)

And thanks for the the fish-heads song . . . I remember the video well, and will continue to hum it all day long. :blink:

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Have you tried kelp noodles? They're essentially calorie-less, almost tasteless, crunchy, and filling.

Here's a link to a site for a brand I don't buy, but it's got a good description: Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles

They've got a different name at the Asian food store I frequent--something generic like "seaweed paste."

Life is short. Eat the roasted cauliflower first.

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Coming in here a little bit late, Ms. D. That's some provocative title for your blog! Turning pro, are ya?

Congratulations on all the good things happening in your life. I really admire you for putting yourself out there for all of us to see.

(oh, geez. Fish heads, fish heads ...)

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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Hi, I'm back--and not only do I have photos to process, but I'm feeling in need of a little nap! :wacko: But before I go off to regather myself, let me respond to a few posts:

A run to the South Bay today...How far down?  I'm imagining a tour of the Filipino restaurants in National City.  Or Mexican in Chula Vista or IB?

Ding ding ding ding ding! We have a winner! My main destination was in fact National City, to check out some more Filipino food and culture. And we wandered a few other places, but not, today, as far as Chula Vista or the Mexican border.

Were those beets at the farmer's market white? (or was that something else that I missed?)

And thanks for the the fish-heads song . . . I remember the video well, and will continue to hum it all day long. :blink:

I was guessing that the big round white root vegetables in one of my farmer's market photos were turnips--not 100 percent certain by any means, but that's what the greens looked like. The beets I wound up buying are the conventional dark-red ones, from the vendor with all the strawberries (though their beets did not wind up in that shot). Heh. Sorry for getting the Fish Heads song stuck in everybody's heads--especially yours, Pam, as you churn out all that gefilte fish in time for Passover! :biggrin:

onehsancare, thanks for the tip about kelp noodles. I don't think I've ever seen them before, but now that I know they exist, I'll make a point of looking for them. Speaking of which, I have become very fond of shirataki (konnyaku) noodles, which is another virtually calorie-free product. In fact, I might wind up making something with shirataki tonight ... we shall see.

Okay, there will now be another brief intermission for napping and photoing. Back shortly...

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Whoa, did I ever crash hard! The bottom really fell out of my energy bucket, there. This blogging stuff is serious work! :biggrin:

There was also a little battle with photos, but I think I've got that licked now.

Now I've got to get a post together to show you what-all I was up to this afternoon. Back shortly ...

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So today, my buddy David drove so I could take photos while we were en route.

There are many ways to get from San Diego down to National City. If you simply jump on the freeway, provided it isn't rush hour, you can be there in fifteen minutes flat. But then you'd miss all sorts of slices of multicultural life. Instead, I directed David to take us down Euclid Avenue, a street the runs south from El Cajon Blvd. in San Diego all the way down through National City, passing through all sorts of neighborhoods and their eateries and groceries:

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A humble little neighborhood market

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The local Food-4-Less shows its cultural sensitivity

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There must be bazillions of taco stands all over San Diego that look something like this--I think of them as being equivalent to that really "sincere" pumpkin patch that Linus was always waiting for the Great Pumpkin in. This taco stand looked especially "sincere" to me--I need to check it out one of these days.

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Ditto this barbeque joint. Especially since it also advertises soul food. My buddy David hails from Texas, and while he doesn't feel qualified to judge soul food, he felt this place had the right look to possibly be a great BBQ joint. "What makes it look right?" I asked. "It's grundgy enough!" he answered. :laugh:

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Finally, we started seeing signs that we were entering the Filipino neighborhood

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And here is our destination. In this shopping center is Seafood City, a huge supermarket catering to the Filipino community, plus ...

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Goldilocks, one of a half-dozen US branches of a restaurant chain based in the Phillipines. A Filipino friend recommended this place to me, so we're here to check it out.

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Awwwww ... I wanna teeshirt! :laugh: (I'm sort of holding off on unnecessary clothing purchases until my size stabilizes a bit more, though...)

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Goldilocks is primarily a bakery, doing everything from simple bread and buns to these outrageous cakes. Fondant and airbrush city! :biggrin: But they also have table service with a full menu, which was what we were here for.

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Over David's shoulder you can see folks enjoying dessert drinks, plus a video screen that was running non-stop ads for various Goldilocks products.

And here is what we ordered:

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Siumai (sp?) -- looked and tasted pretty similar to the Chinese dumplings of the similar name.

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After Doddie's demonstration of how to make garlic rice, of course I had to get some.

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Lechon paksiew (sp?), and a sauerkraut salad whose name I'm forgetting at the moment.

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Barbeque pork skewers--my Texan buddy approved! :biggrin:

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Cucumber salad.

All of the above food, plus coffee for two, came to something like $27. Incredibly reasonable.

To be continued...

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Now how often do you see a supermarket with a statue out front honoring a national hero? David and I thought this was incredibly cool. (For more info on Jose Rizal, look here).

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Like I said, this place is huge.

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And so is the seafood department for which it is named.

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Look! Pocky! :laugh:

I couldn't leave after gallivanting all around this store without buying something, but mindful of the backlog of veg I still need to do something with, I restricted myself to a half-dozen salted duck eggs and a bag of bean sprouts.

National City has a long and fascinating history, including a period in the late 1800s when it was bidding to be, and lost out on being, the major railroad terminus of Southern California. There are some lovely examples of 19th century architecture left, including this carefully preserved block of brick rowhouses that look like they'd been dropped in from some East Coast city:

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And speaking of history: remember yesterday when I talked about the Coronado Bridge? When it was first constructed, a bunch of the support structure on its mainland end obliterated several blocks of a Mexican-American neighborhood known as Barrio Logan. The residents protested, and the eventual upshot was that they claimed the land under the bridge as a people's park. Chicano Park is now a well-loved neighborhood park sporting some gorgeous mural art, mainly on themes of politics and cultural identity:

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Reassessing the late hour, my big lunch, and my still-wavering energy level, I decided to forgo any major cooking projects this evening, and instead made a light supper of leftover sinigang soup (boy, did that fish head produce a well-gelling broth!).

On tap for tomorrow: got that dinner at The Linkery planned. Before that ... well, I really need to get some more paid work in--my schedule's flexible, but not that flexible!-- but I'll also do some puttering about in the kitchen in between puttering around on the computer.

Actually, I've been doing some work right along ... we've got several writers for Eats.It, and every night I get a new recommendation edited, uploaded to the site, and placed on its front page. Production, bay-bee! :biggrin:

Even though I'm winding down, I'll be awake for a few more hours here, so if you have any questions or comments, fire away. I did get a PM or two with questions, so I'll start a separate post to address those.

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Finally, we started seeing signs that we were entering the Filipino neighborhood

Lutong-Bahay means Home-cooked Food in Tagalog, MizDucky. If you want to know what that means. :biggrin:

Goldilocks, one of a half-dozen US branches of a restaurant chain based in the Phillipines. A Filipino friend recommended this place to me, so we're here to check it out.

gallery_28660_4357_292635.jpg

Awwwww ... I wanna teeshirt!  :laugh: (I'm sort of holding off on unnecessary clothing purchases until my size stabilizes a bit more, though...)

gallery_28660_4357_239384.jpg

Goldilocks is primarily a bakery, doing everything from simple bread and buns to these outrageous cakes. Fondant and airbrush city! :biggrin: But they also have table service with a full menu, which was what we were here for.

Oh my you have a Goldilocks there???? I would have asked you to try their polvoron. It's a sweet snack made basically with milk powder and sugar. You gotta try it!

And here is what we ordered:

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Siumai (sp?) -- looked and tasted pretty similar to the Chinese dumplings of the similar name.

gallery_28660_4357_38712.jpg

After Doddie's demonstration of how to make garlic rice, of course I had to get some.

gallery_28660_4357_25444.jpg

Lechon paksiew (sp?), and a sauerkraut salad whose name I'm forgetting at the moment.

gallery_28660_4357_159806.jpg

Barbeque pork skewers--my Texan buddy approved! :biggrin:

Siomai is our Filipino version of the chinese siumai (pork dumplings). We usually eat it with soy sauce, kalamansi juice + chili oil dip. The Lechon Paksiw is a favorite Filipino fiesta food made out of leftover roasted pig simmered in vinegary-sweet sauce. Those pork barbeque is a common Filipino sidewalk snack served all over the streets of Manila. I really miss those.

And now that you's had garlic fried rice - how did you like it? :smile:

Edited by Domestic Goddess (log)

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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And now that you's had garlic fried rice - how did you like it?  :smile:

It was quite nice, but ... not as garlicky as I was hoping (I adore garlic!). Looking at the amount of garlic you put in your garlic rice, I think I probably would have liked yours a lot better! :wink:

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Nice pictures of Hotel Del, Ellen! Makes me a little bit home sick. Last time I was down there, I went sailing in the San Diego Harbor with my college roommate. About 4 years ago now.

San Diego is quite a dynamic place. Many of the restaurants which we frequented back in college days are long gone. Change over is quite rapid. There wasn't a population of Chinese/Filipino/Vietnamese as big as today 20+ years ago.

In the late 70's, reading a school catelog from SDSU in a library in Hong Kong. Saw a black and white picture of some students playing volley ball. An adobe wall with small bells and palm trees around (the Aztec shot). I was intrigued. The rest is history. Funny how the significant turn of one's life may start from something so innocently simple!

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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I've had a few people PM me asking for my tips, tricks, suggestions, and observations about healthy reasonable weight loss for food-loving people. I've sort of been dropping them in randomly here and there, but here's a whole bunch of them at once off the top of my head:

1. The most fundamental thing for me is having my mental game in order. Motivation motivation motivation. I can't just think of it as a "diet" for a short period of time, that I'll then stop when I've reached goal. I have to think of it as a way of life I can comfortably and happily maintain for the duration--i.e. theoretically, for the rest of my life. In my case, the final kick in the pants was watching my dad die a few years ago, of kidney failure resulting from type 2 diabetes, after a lifetime of eating outrageously despite all his doctors' warnings. It was a miserable and totally preventable death, and for a long-lived family like ours it was way too soon, and it made me look really really hard at ways I had also been ignoring doctors' warnings, and my own body's distress signals, for years. It took me a year after Dad's death to get myself totally committed to doing something about that, but once I made up my mind, I bid fond farewell to the old way of eating and have (mostly) never looked back.

2. Second most fundamental thing: do not underestimate the degree of difficulty of this life change you'll be making. I was essentially attempting to reprogram myself after a lifetime of dysfunctional learned behaviors around food, including some major angst about overweight and food behavior (almost literally) beaten into my head from way early in childhood. This is major, and so I have given it the attention and resources appropriate to the humongous effort it requires.

3. Another part of my mental game: you may have noticed me occasionally joking here and there about The Lizard Brain. It's no joke, really: many brain scientists observe that we humans have a triune brain, consisting of three evolutionary layers: the neocortex, seat of rational thought and consciousness, is evolutionarily the newest; the limbic system, a.k.a. the "Dog Brain", is older, and tends to be involved in processing such emotional bonding behaviors as love and loyalty; and the oldest layer, the so-called Lizard Brain, is the seat of basic survival instincts such as lust, hunger, and territorial aggression. I love the way this article explains this, especially this quote:

Have you ever wondered why you reach for that pile of hot greasy fries while you tell yourself you are on a diet? The answer is that you have three brains, and the older brains were wired to put on weight long ago when food was scarce. Your old brains are not easily controlled by your fancy new brain hardware that reads diet books.

So--do NOT underestimate the Lizard Brain! 'Cause it'll gitcha when you're not paying attention! The best ways I've found to cope with it, is a combination of keeping close track of my food intake with all those lists and charts I mentioned previously, the better to prevent it convincing me to cheat; not letting myself get too hungry, tired, or emotionally upset--all conditions in which the rational brain is at a disadvantage and the Lizard Brain can rush in and say "ARRRRR! EATTTTT!!!"; and simply staying aware of my inner lizard, understanding its moods and its functions, so it can't sneak up on me.

4. Having said all that, there is indeed an important place for little tips and tricks, so that you'll be cheerful about eating this way for the rest of your life. My favorite tips:

a. "You can have it all--you just can't have it all right now." As far as I'm concerned, there are NO foods that are absolutely verboten, no foods that are "bad". There are, however, foods that are so nutritionally dense or high in calories that it's best to have them only for very occasional splurges. So--treat them like the splurges they are, and make choices wisely. Yes, I can still enjoy my beloved red-cooked pork belly--but to keep from blowing my daily food allotment out of the water, I only have it occasionally and in small servings. Yes, if I really wanted to, I could have a fast-food burger and fries--but I'd have to make proper room for it in my food plan, and I early on resolved that if I was going to have a splurge, I damn well wasn't going to blow it on a crappy fast-food burger! Somehow, knowing that I could choose those foods if I really wanted them, but that I was choosing not to because I wanted to spend my splurges on worthier things, has successfully mollified my inner lizard's lust for fast food crap. Like I said, the majority of this game for me is mental.

b. Party on the vegetables! Vegetables offer such huge variety in taste, texture, versatility ... it's a shame, really, how often even good restaurants, even in this day and age, still treat them as also-rans, or act as if the only way to make them interesting is to dump a lot of fat on them. (No, I'm not anti-fat--we need fat for health, after all--but even healthy fats are a big caloric hit and need to be used with care). I have really made an effort to improve my vegetable cookery and move beyond the "just add fat" solution. Roasting, broth braising, steaming, stir-frying; flavoring with high-flavor/low-calorie condiments such as soy sauces, mustards, hot sauces, vinegars, etc etc etc ... the possibilities are really endless.

c. For those of us who, like me, were meat/fat addicts, maximizing the meatiness of non-meat foodstuffs is a great boon to happy healthy eating. That's another reason why I like roasting vegetables and flavoring them with soy sauces, both of which add lots of umami; roasting also contracts and evaporates moisture from vegetables, making their texture a little more meatlike. And cooking with meat-based broths obviously is adding meaty flavor with low caloric impact. Plus some vegetables are just naturally more meatlike--mushrooms, for instance, are great meat-simulators both in texture and in naturally-occuring glutamates.

d. The Asian cuisines, in my opinion, are some of the friendliest to those who wish to lose weight. They tend to have some of the healthiest ratios of meat to carb to veg, plus they really have a way with those vegetables. eGulleteers who have lived in Vietnam for any length of time have commented that they lost weight almost effortlessly on a steady diet of pho and other such dishes; the first few months of my regimen, I ate pho for lunch almost every single day. Now obviously, if I ate big hunks of pork belly every day I wouldn't be faring so well! But I already covered that earlier, right? :smile:

e. Spread your day's food across several small meals rather than two or three big ones; don't go more than five hours between meals. The human metabolism works more efficiently if its continually processing modest amounts of fuel rather than cycling up and down as it wades through one big chunk of fuel followed by several hours of nuthin'. And the blood sugar level stays more even, too--nothing wakes the Lizard Brain up in full effect like a low blood sugar hunger attack.

f. Fluids, fluids, fluids. When you lose weight, that weight has to go somewhere, and that somewhere inevitably involves the kidneys and GI tract. Help your body do that processing efficiently by giving it plenty of fluids to help wash the weight loss byproducts away.

g. Eating right is only part of the equation. Exercise is the other part. Not only does it burn calories outright, but it also revs up the basal metabolism so that it processes more efficiently; more efficient processing means easier weight loss. I confess I still have a long way to go with the exercise part of my program, but as my physical condition has improved, physical movement has become a whole lot more enjoyable.

h. Wise use of selected diet-industry products. The vast majority of diet foods I find, frankly, disgusting. But there are a few I find benign to indispensible. The artificially-sweetened beverage powders, to make sure I get in my daily fluids. The non-stick cooking sprays--I saute with them, and then use small quanitities of high-quality fats for flavor. And we've already discussed the quest for lower-fat everyday cheese that actually taste good -- high quality high-fat cheeses are not banned, but they do fall in the "occasional splurge" category.

I'm sure I'll think of more stuff, but that's probably plenty for right now!

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