Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 10: Splurging

I did it! I went on a 2.5 day work trip to Wisconsin and managed to stick to the Engine 2 28-day challenge, and it wasn't that hard. I won't say it was easy as I sometimes found myself at lunch time with my food not in reach, but I bought a banana or a lara bar at the coffee shop to tide me over until a break that allowed me to go to the car and get my hummus and veggie wrap. I will also admit I was hankering for a piping hot, substantial meal when I got home, so I made a hearty marinara and whole wheat pasta. My fiance whipped up his special walnut, nutritional yeast and garlic faux parmesan and life was good. Sorry no photo of the meal because I devoured it.

That's the thing that is working for me with this challenge. If I want to splurge, I can. I just need to make it a healthier version of the food. I've had pizza, spaghetti, chili dogs, sorbet on this challenge. But now my pizza is really a pita with veggies and tomato sauce baked in the oven instead of a greasy and salty cheese slice.

Some tips to making healthier pastas:

* Ax the oil and salt. Substitute in more spices (garlic, basil, oregano, black pepper) and a dash of balsamic vinegar to deepen the tomato sauce.
* Go nuts with veggies. Double up on the standards you like (onions, bell peppers, mushrooms), but don't be afraid to try kale, spinach, carrots. Carmelize your veggies in a pan (no oil) and use a little water or wine to get the tasty bits stuck to the pan.
* Treat yourself (sparingly) by adding in some rinsed black olives or artichokes.
* Whole wheat pasta. Check the bag to make sure the ingredient is whole wheat flour, not just wheat flour.
* Try some vegan parmesan (come on, you  know that Kraft parmesan powder has a bunch of non-cheese things in it and you like it.)

Vegan Parmesan Recipe
.25 part nutritional yeast (often available in bulk, by the spices or in the health section of the grocery store)
1 part unsalted walnuts (some people use toasted sesame seeds or almonds)
garlic powder and/or onion powder to taste

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