Thursday, May 28, 2015

Time for a Recipe: Crunchy Tilapia

I started this blog a little over five years ago when I moved across the country.  I was excited about my new adventure, but I was also really afraid of being on my own without my boyfriend and my family nearby.  This blog gave me a hobby that was all my own.  I experimented with new recipes, I explored Washington DC, and I had a place to document everything I was experiencing.

I used to use this blog mainly to share healthy and adventurous recipes.  Side note - sadly, and for the wrong reasons, my most popular recipe post is titled "Meaty Balls." So I am hoping that if I get back into posting recipes, I can top that post sometime in the near future.

Although I don't post as many recipes anymore, I still cook almost every single night for me and Travis, and I thought I would share one of our favorites here today.  This recipe is a new spin on tilapia, which I find kind of bland and boring most of the time.  But tilapia is a really affordable and healthy fish, so I finally found a way to make it super flavorful and borderline decadent. 

Okay, so it is kind of half eaten in this picture...I am a terrible food-blog-picture-taker, I just can't justify putting more effort into the photos because then it starts to take away from the relaxing experience of cooking.  And when the meal is finished, I always start devouring it and forget to grab my camera.

Oh another reason - I often don't plan to take pictures of my food for this blog.  What happens is, I take a bite and I think "OH WOW, SO GOOD!", and I want to share that with people.  So I then jump up and grab my iPhone to take a photo.  Anyway, I digress...

The recipe for Crunchy Tilapia:
2 fillets of tilapia, more if you're really hungry :)
Cooking spray
Panko breadcrumbs (already seasoned, or season yourself with dried Italian seasoning)
Store-bought pesto
1/2 lemon
Splash of water or stock

First, all you do to make this delicious fish is take your tilapia fillets and pat them dry. Season them with salt and pepper, then spray them lightly with cooking spray and set them aside.  Mix a bowl of breadcrumbs.  I buy Italian-seasoned panko breadcrumbs, but you could use plain and just add your own seasoning like garlic, oregano and/or basil.  Then just dip the tilapia fillets into the bowl of breadcrumbs and make sure they are coated completely.  Add some canola oil to a pan at medium-high heat.  Sear the tilapia for about three minutes on each side - they cook fast!

While the tilapia is cooking, I always make a simple no-cook sauce. My go-to lately has been with the following ingredients: Pesto, lemon, and chicken stock mixed together - just taste it until you get the right balance of flavors.  As soon as the fish is cooking, I pour a small amount over top of the crunchy fish.  The lemon and pesto compliment the flaky, crunch tilapia perfectly.

This elevates tilapia to a whole new level, trust me.

How do you spruce up plain meals?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Don't Listen!

I was exercising excessively and maintaining a slight frame.  I was able to say no to snacks and always order the lightest meal on the menu.  I was proud of my "willpower." I was the result of hard work; hours in the gym and a strict caloric deficit.

I looked like a fit woman was "supposed to" and it was the saddest I have ever been. It was the worst I ever felt about myself.  Every day was a battle with myself, every day was a constant struggle to maintain the way a looked... because the way I looked wasn't really me. 

Remember that its okay to be you. There is nothing wrong with your size, whatever it is.  Society tells us we need to look a certain way.  Choose not to believe it.

I know it's hard.  Just yesterday, I thought to myself - wow, these jeans feel tight, I'd love to lose some of this extra weight.  Question those thoughts!  Why do I need to change my body if I am perfectly healthy? Why don't I deserve to eat what I crave? Who says that I am not perfect as I am now?
Remember who you are and what makes you special, and remember that it has nothing to do with how you look.

Don't count calories, listen to your body, eat what sounds good and gives you energy.  Do the exersice that makes you feel good.  Cut Shape Magazine and US Weekly from your Facebook and Twitter feeds.  Add Real Life RD, Isabel Foxen Duke, and The Militant Baker instead.

Make a conscious choice to live your life fully.  Love yourself at any size.  You have the power to decide what to believe.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dressing Room Breakdown

I had planned to write a post today called "Waiting for the Guilt."  A week ago, I spent the day wine tasting in celebration of a good friend's birthday.  The event was a blast and we continued the celebrations at various parties and bars in DC later that evening.  In the past, a day like this would have given me serious guilt and anxiety.  I would have shamed myself into thinking I had no will power and consumed way too many calories in the form of alcohol and carbs.

But to my surprise...the guilt never came.  I was waiting patiently the next morning as I layed in bed.  Waiting for the urge to exercise off the regret.  Waiting to fight back against the voice that tells me I am disgusting.  Waiting for the urge to eat only vegetables for the rest of the day.

I felt... good?  I felt like eating pancakes and coffee with cream and sugar and laying on my couch.  I hadn't felt this way in a really long time and it was weird.  My mind was quiet and I felt like a normal person.  Had I turned yet ANOTHER corner? 

Right when I think I am in a good place, I realize that I have the potential to make even more progress.  Could I really escape the guilt and anxiety around calories completely?  It seemed possible on that Sunday.

Then...exactly a week later, I had a breakdown.

In a fitting room.

It all began with a casual trip to my parents jacuzzi while Travis and I were in California last weekend.  I put on my new-ish swimsuit and to my surprise I was exploding out of it.  It was borderline inappropriate.  I covered myself embarrassed as I removed my towel to get into the jacuzzi. I guess I didn't realize I had gained more weight...just in my chest apparently.  I know, I know, a blessing you say.  Trust me, you wouldn't feel that way if you had to carry those things around every day.

Considering I am going to need to wear a bathing suit again for a trip in just a couple of weeks, my first task the following day was to get a new one.  My mom and I went store to store and nothing fit me quite right.  About 20 swimsuits later, under the florescent light of the Nordstrom fitting room, something in me broke.  The tears came pouring and the defeat set in.  I wanted so badly to have my old body back.   Then the frustration came.  I thought I was doing so well and now I am crying in a fitting room imagining how happy I would be if I were thinner.  Will I ever be truly happy with myself, will I ever accept myself completely as I am?

I wiped my tears and took some deep breaths.  I pulled myself together and walked out of that fitting room.

I guess what I learned from this is that it is important to appreciate how far you've come and to be proud of that. And it is also okay to feel like crap every now and then.   But you have to pull yourself together.  You have to remind yourself that you are worth it.

The truth is that I know that having a thinner body is not going to make me any happier.  And skipping the ice cream that night after dinner was definitely not an option.

 I ended up finding the perfect bathing suit at the next store :)