Homemade Egg Salad

It’s been a while since I’ve made one of my homemade creations and this one was based in necessity.  I had forgotten to pull anything out to thaw for dinner and I didn’t know what I was going to make, but I realized I had eggs, mayo, mustard and pickles so therefore I could make egg salad!

First I had to do a little research, I had to refresh myself on how to hard boil eggs, something I’m not sure I’ve ever done before to be honest, and then to find a simple recipe that I could adapt to what I had on hand.

Here is the recipe I used as my springboard – Chow Egg Salad and then made the following changes:

  • No celery – I don’t like it and I didn’t have any anyway.
  • Yellow mustard since I didn’t have any whole grain (and I’ve always had it with yellow anyway)
  • Chopped up dill pickles instead of relish
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder to season

I only had 5 eggs instead of 6, but I figured it would still turn out mostly the same.  So first things first, I hard boiled the eggs.

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(Funny how the bright red coil looks purple in the picure).

I pulled the eggs out to cool when they were done and whipped up the sauce to go with it.  Pretty simple, just chopped up the pickles and then tossed in the mayo, mustard, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  I meant to add paprika and forgot, but may add that to the leftovers.

After the eggs had cooled for a while I set about peeling them, which didn’t go exact smoothly but I got it done.  Not sure it if was the eggs or maybe I cooked them wrong.  They were a little soft when I cut them up, so possible didn’t cook them long enough or let them cool long enough, but I was hungry man! Coming home from the gym is not the time to try to make something time intensive. Chopped up the eggs and tossed them in the sauce and TADA!

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Based on how much I used to make my first sandwich this will end up being about 3 servings worth.

According to MyFitnessPal this recipe is about 300 calories per serving.  Of course all of the calories are from the eggs and mayo.  The yellow mustard has like 5 calories and the pickles have none. Here’s the layout.

293 Cals – 1 gm carb – 27 gm fat (only 6 grams saturated fat) – 12 gm Protein – 440 mg Sodium

High fat as you would expect, but a lot of it is “good” fat.  You can cut a lot of sodium by leaving out the pickles, but I really like them.

Verdict: This turned out well, the sauce was thin and messy because I didn’t let it sit in the fridge before I served it.  The eggs may have been ever so slightly undercooked but still turned out well. Had good flavor, but of course if you like things like onions and celery those are good additions.

Doesn’t this look good?

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Seattle Restaurant Reviews

I’ve been without access to my blog for a while, so I’ve got some serious catching up to do.  Starting with my trip to Seattle which I just realized was a MONTH ago.  Wow, time flies.

I don’t often do restaurant reviews (in fact, this may be the first one) but a couple of the places we ate in Seattle I thought deserved special mention because they really blew both Lisa and I away.

The first night we were in Seattle we drove out to the Fremont Neighborhood to visit the Fremont Troll and also hunt down some dinner.  As we passed through the streets nothing really caught our eye until Lisa spied a joint with a large red neon sign proclaiming “WHISKEY”.  Being an aficionado of the brown stuff Lisa was intrigued.  We circled around a second time and again nothing jumped out at us so we decided to give the “Whiskey” a shot.  As we walked up we discovered the name of the place was actually 9 Million in Unmarked Bills.  We stepped inside and the theme was Prohibition era speakeasy with nods to bank robbers and ransom artists which included a drink named after the famed Northwest robber D.B. Cooper. (*Side note: I looked up DB Cooper, and his ransom that he requested was only in the neighborhood of 75,000$.  That was a lot of money for the early 70’s, it’s about a million and a half in modern dough, but it still seems like a paltry sum of money to hijack a plane for, but as Lisa noted, it’s a small enough amount that he could live comfortably and yet not draw attention, although it is presumed he did not survive his parachute jump from the airplane).  Being a whiskey bar the first thing we looked at was the drink menu.  Lisa’s first drink was an Old Fashioned which included bourbon, orange and a brandy soaked cherry, she said it was good but wasn’t too terribly impressed with it.  My first drink was a Mint Julep made in the traditional fashion with bourbon, sugar and mint.  It was fantastic.  Next came food and it was incredible! Lisa got a little skillet steak cooked with peppers and onions and was on the happy hour menu.  We also split an order of the truffle fries which were served with truffle oil, Parmesan cheese and herbs and they were divine.  I got a small pizza with fresh mozzarella, wild mushrooms and truffle oil and I was astonished at how good it was.  After eating we ordered a second round of drinks so we could try some different things.  Lisa got the aforementioned DB Cooper which was made with bourbon, sour mix, lime and frothed with a shaken egg white.  She really liked this, and I was a little iffy on the egg white, but took a sip and it was good.  I got a drink called Red Sky at Night which was a nod to sailors and included (appropriately) rum and was served hot and garnished with a cinnamon stick.  It was really really good.

The second day in Seattle we spent the majority of the day at Pikes Place Market, and of course being right on the waterfront the goal of the day was to find some good seafood.  After wandering around and looking at menu’s we decided on the Athenian. Lisa had seen several things she liked right away, while I had to search for a little while.  I didn’t want to just get something fried, and also I wanted something local.  Several things with the large prawns looked good but they were from the Gulf of Mexico.  I was going to have to step out of my comfort zone if I wanted to have an experience of the local flavors.  Lisa had decided on the Seafood Saute which included whitefish, salmon, clams, mussels and those giant prawns (which were HUGE) cooked up in a white wine sauce with peppers, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes.  It looked amazing, and she said it was.  I tried one of her fries which had soaked up some of the broth and it was amazing.  I ended up ordering the seafood fettuccine which came with mussels, clams, those huge prawns and “seafood selections”.  I know for a fact it had salmon, and I assume it had the same whitefish that Lisa’s dish had.  I like oysters, and I had tried fried clam strips when we were at Mo’s in Cannon Beach, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to like clams and mussels from the shell (essentially steamed and then tossed with the pasta).  Turns out, it was really incredible.  I also wasn’t sure about the salmon, but it also was very good.   The atmosphere couldn’t be beat either.  Up on Pike “street level” which is about 3 stories above the waterfront streets which gave us an amazing view of the piers which included shops and the Seattle aquarium as well as the ferry boats coming and going.  After lunch we would take one of those ferries out to Bainbridge island and get a view of the city from the waterside.

If you’re ever in Seattle I highly, highly recommend these two places.

 

Portland Food Scene

Portland is a food lover’s haven.  Whether you are looking for something healthy like grilled fish and veggies, or something decadent like poutine (french fries with cheese curds and gravy), Portland has you covered.  Any sort of special dietary needs, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, kosher, halal, nut allergies etc and Portland has you covered.  Any kind of ethnicity you can think of, to the standard Greek, Chinese, Mexican, to some that I have never seen before like Peruvian and Lebanese and ironically enough even “Southern” and Cajun/Creole.  I’ve yet to try the “Soul Food”/”Southern” to see how it stacks up to the real thing.   Here is just a slight taste of some of the good eats I’ve tried in the two weeks I’ve been here.

Food Carts:

There are food carts/food trucks EVERYWHERE in Portland serving everything from Crepes to Cajun.  I’ve been to three so far.  The first two were in the same place off of 12th Avenue.  We couldn’t decide what we wanted so we got some different stuff to try.  First from a cart called Potato Champion we got an order of Poutine which I’ve always wanted to try. It was really good, but the gravy was a little thin, I would have been perfectly happy with just the fries and cheese curds.  The fries were some of the best I’ve ever had.  Then, from a cart called Pyro Pizza we got a wood fired four cheese pizza with a paper thin crust.  It was amazing, and totally worth the 20 minutes we had to wait for it (we were eating our fries anyway).  The third cart we ate at was in Downtown at the Saturday Market and it was called A Taste of Poland, and that’s exactly what I got.  They offered several different sampler platters and the one I got came with pirogis, potato pancakes, a kielbasa link, and chicken meatballs.  My only complaint was they forgot to put the applesauce on my potato pancakes but they were good with the sour cream that came with it.  It was amazing!

Burgerville:

Burgerville is a fast food burger chain here in the Northwest, most of their locations are centered around Portland.  What makes them different from your typical chain is that they source everything locally.  They use local grown beef for their burgers, Tillamook cheese and local veggies.  They offer seasonal specials based on what’s in season, which right now is strawberries.  They also offer some special items such as a turkey burger, a veggie burger, and a gluten free bun is available.  They also compost and recycle most if not all of their waste.  (Commercial curbside composting is available in many places in Portland alongside trash and recycling which is something I had never seen before).

McMenamins:

McMenamins is another chain, if you can call them that, of casual restaurant/bar locations here in Portland.  The reason I hesitate to call them a chain is, while they have many locations, they are all different and have their own flair.  They’ve taken over several old theaters, one that plays movies where you can eat dinner while you watch the movie, and one that hosts live music concerts.  They’ve turned several old buildings (including a former school) into hotels that they run along with their pubs.  In true Portland fashion, they also have several breweries and they brew their own beers.  The different locations will stock different beers as well as rotating seasonals so it certainly behooves you to visit as many of the locations as you can.  So far Lisa and I have been to two different ones.  One in Clackamas off Sunnyside road, which is a standard strip mall restaurant location, and then the one in Oregon City which we’ve been to multiple times.  I don’t know what the Oregon City location used to be, but the porcelain in the men’s room is dated 1919 (which is a copyright date and may not be when it was actually made, but it’s still old!).

Coffee:

If you love coffee, Portland is the place to be.  Sure they have chains like Starbucks and Seattle’s Best, but who needs those?  There are HUNDREDS of independent coffee shops around town.  There is quite literally one on every corner.  Portlanders, like those in her sister city of Seattle, love their coffee and are damn serious about it.  I’m honestly surprised the mega chains like Starbucks stay in business but I guess enough people go there to keep them afloat.  Lisa loves coffee and so we’ve already stopped at 3 or 4 different spots while we were out and about.  I’m not a huge coffee drinker, usually just a cup in the morning, but I’ve always dressed my coffee up with cream and sugar since (like beer and other things) the bitterness of coffee takes some getting used to.  Since I’ve been here there’s been several occasions where I’ve drunk my coffee black since getting actual fresh coffee that was roasted 3 days ago and ground that morning is such a HUGE difference to coffee that has sat in a grocery store shelf for 6 months.  The coffee is mild and even slightly sweet, with almost no bitterness at all.  Also, if you are in a hurry (as most people are) dotting the roads everywhere (even out in tiny Canby) are drive through espresso stands.  There’s one in the parking lot of pretty much every grocery store and strip mall and some just on a pull off on the side of the road.  I used to make fun of the people who would pay 4 to 5 bucks for a coffee drink, but I have to admit, every once in a while I have to get a mocha because they are just SO good.  Now I get what the fuss is about.  And the mocha’s here, even with the chocolate you can still taste the coffee, unlike the “warm chocolate milk” mocha I got at EPCOT, or as Lisa would say “Around here we call that hot chocolate.”  A lot of the local shops carry either Stumptown Roasters coffee or Portland Roasters coffee, both of which are very good, and sometimes you stumble into a shop (like we did at the Water Avenue Coffee Co.) that roasts their own in house!

Grocery Store Produce:

I haven’t done a whole lot of grocery shopping yet but I’ve noticed a few things in the produce aisle that has caught my attention.  Lisa and I were discussing some of the things and it makes sense, but it’s still shocking to see the major differences.  Bananas here are about twice as expensive as in NC (still only 64 cents a pound, but I’m used to 35-40 cents a pound), but offsetting that, the apples are WAY cheaper.  The “plain” varieties like red delicious, granny smith, etc are 99 cents a pound, and fancy varieties like Fuji and Gala are $1.49-$1.99 a pound.  Lisa got some organic Fuji apples for something like $2.49 a pound which is cheaper than I’ve paid for non-organic apples back in NC.  I’ve never seen apples for under 2 dollars a pound much less under a dollar a pound! Considering most of the apples come from Washington state, this makes perfect sense.  I’ll probably never have to worry about running into apples from Chile around here! Strawberries here are also way cheaper.  The 8oz packs are about two dollars, which would have run 4-5 dollars at home unless they were on special.  The strawberries come mostly from California, so this also makes sense as being close.  The Williamette valley is home to berry central, so they have a huge variety of berries grown locally including raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and local cultivars of Boysenberries and Marion berries which only grow around here.

Beer:

Of course, it wouldn’t be Beervana without beer right? There are so many micro/small brewers around here it will make your head spin.  There’s quite a few brewpubs where you can only get the beer on tap at the place it’s made, there’s also a few that are big enough to ship nationwide (Rogue Ales and Full Sail to name two) but are still independently owned.  So far I’ve tried beer from Full Sail (which I got back in NC), Portland Brewing Company (Brown ale and McTarnahan’s amber), McMenamins who make their own I’ve tried several off, had a taster tray at Rogue Ales which included a hefewiezen, brown ale, amber ale and nitro stout.  Lisa, Lexie and I went to a place called Roscoe’s which had a very cool set up.  They had 16 beers on tap, but they only had one keg of each so once it was gone it was gone, and they tapped a new one, so the beer selection is constantly rotating. The happy hour food is great and dirt cheap.  The beer I got there was a belgian Dubbel and I recognized the brewers name, but now I can’t remember it.  Next up on the list of places I want to try are the Hopworks Urban Brewery which makes organic beer (and from what I hear amazing food), Sasquatch Brewing company just because it’s cool and several others.

So there you have it.. come visit Portland and Eat, Drink and Be Merry!!

Crazy stuff I eat now.

Ok.. so it’s not really crazy.  In fact most of it is pretty mundane.  I’ve written on this blog before about changing the way I eat and how I changed a lot of my diet, but I got to thinking about stuff that I eat a lot of.  These are my staple items, things I almost ALWAYS have in the house.

Bananas: I’ve always liked bananas, and we always had them in the house growing up, but now I eat a whole lot of them.   I have one every morning with my breakfast and if I get in the mood for a peanut butter and banana sandwich (which is often) that will be my second one of the day.  Great source of calcium and potassium, and compared to other fruit, dirt cheap!

Peanut Butter: Speaking of peanut butter, this is something else I always have on hand.  My go-to long run/race morning breakfast is toast with peanut butter, something to fill me up and give me energy without sitting heavy on my stomach.  I just restocked my peanut butter supply with the two pack of 48 jars from Costco… Jif Extra Crunchy only please.  Great source of protein, healthy fats and minerals.

Apples: Like bananas, I grew up with apples in the house and would have one occasionally, but now I always have a bowl full of them and bring one with my lunch to work every day.  I like a lot of the “new hybrids” that have become popular recently (growing up we had two apples… red and green), I prefer Gala’s the best, but I also love Honeycrisps (expensive and hard to find) and Pink Lady’s and Fuji’s are also good.

Ground Turkey: I won’t lie. This was a tough transition.  I don’t know why, but something about ground turkey just seemed…. strange.  Once I got used to it though this was a no brainer.  It’s healthier than beef by a long shot, and oddly enough for something healthy, it’s CHEAPER. At 3.79 a pound the 93% lean turkey is about the same price as the nasty 70/30 beef. I mostly use this to make tacos, but sometimes brown it up for spaghetti sauce.

Frozen steam in bag corn: This is a recent discovery that quickly became a staple.  I had tried steamed frozen peas and green beans and just didn’t like them that much, but I had heard that frozen was better, and also as soon as I started watching my sodium intake, canned veggies were out right away.  I discovered the Lowes Foods brand of steam in bag whole kernel corn is REALLY good, and I’ve never even really liked corn that much.  It has one ingredient… Corn.. which is always nice to see, and no sodium (or a negligible amount of natural sodium like 20mg).  Even though I usually add a little bit of salt and pepper, I am in control of what goes in it, and it’s not a million mg’s like canned veggies.  Plus a half a bag (2 servings) is only around 120 calories.

Tilapia: I’ve started eating a lot of fish, and I knew I liked tilapia from when I had it at Bahama Breeze in Raleigh (of course anything would be good pan fried in butter with a shrimp cream sauce) and so when I found it at the store I decided to give it a try.  I used to coat it in breadcrumbs the way my Dad used to make baked catfish, but now I just bake it in the oven with a healthy shake of lemon pepper and that’s really good.  This has pretty much become my protein of choice, since I buy chicken when it’s on sale, but often enough chicken is way too expensive.  I buy it frozen in individual little packets, so I can pull out two fillets and thaw them and then bake them up quickly in the oven.  Quick easy, low cal dinner.

Drastic Diet Change

Throughout this weight loss journey which includes losing 100 pounds, I’ve gotten off easy, MyFitnessPal opened my eyes to what my normal daily calorie consumption was like, which I quickly reduced and weight started melting off.  I have made a few changes to my diet, and there are certainly things I don’t eat anymore, but for the most part I eat a lot of the same stuff I used to, just less of it.  As I continue to struggle in this four month long plateau that I thought I had broken out of only to be dragged back to reality, that’s about to change.

MFP sets the default macro-nutrient values to get 55% of your calories from carbs, 15% from protein and 30% from fat.  It’s pretty much accepted across the board that this is way too low of a protein target, especially for those of us who are working out 7 days a week (not just weightlifters need protein).  I had never messed around with the values, but I didn’t worry if I “went over” on my protein goal.  Well today I finally decided to make an adjustment, in a way to force myself to change my eating habits and try to break out of this eternal slump.  It’s finally time to change WHAT I eat.

I increased my protein and in the process reduced the carbs by the same amount.  So my new targets are 45% carb, 25% protein, 30% fat.  I was going to switch to 40-30-30, but I have enough trouble hitting 15% protein, 25% is going to be a struggle.

Of course I decided to switch my numbers while I’m at work, my lunch is already packed, and based on what I have on hand at the house, dinner was pretty much decided in advance as well.  The hard part of changing your diet on a budget is using up what you already have on hand rather than just tossing it out, so this will be a bit of a rocky transition to say the least.

For today, I have 500 calories left for the day, but I’m already over my carb target 272/271.  My fat looks OK at 70/80.  I had peanut butter for lunch and a turkey burger for dinner, and yet my protein WAY under the target, 71 out of 151.  I’m about to mix up a double batch of my protein shake powder, which will add another 60 grams of protein (along with 340 cals and 16g carbs, pushing me further over on that macro) and I will STILL be under my goal.  Wow.. this is gonna take some adjustments for sure.

The first adjustment will probably be to add lean chicken and fish back into my diet so I can load up on protein without carbs and very little fat.  I’m not going 0 carb by any stretch, and 45% may not even be “low” but I will have to cut down on some things.  Less starches, less potatoes and certainly less sweets.

This should be fun……….

My take on “organic”

I’m not a huge proponent of the “Organic” movement.  I don’t particularly see the need for it.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with organic farming per se, but here are a few things that I’d like to point out.  I’ve been mulling on this for a while and I finally wanted to get around to putting it to words.  This is merely my opinion, based heavily on my food science education.

Organic farming is designed to be good for the environment:
Ok, while this in of itself is not a bad thing, look at what is missing from that statement.  Organic farming is not designed to improve a food’s quality, quantity or nutritional value.  “Quality” as far as no pesticides or whatever, is debatable, but also a very personal thing, but a tomato is a tomato.

Organic farming is lower yield:
Just by it’s very nature.  You don’t use pesticides, insects eat your crops.  You don’t use fertilizer, your plants don’t grow as big.  Organic farming is slower, less efficient and more wasteful.   This is why they cost more.  Not because it’s more expensive to grow.  And also because it’s trendy and people will pay 12$ a pound for apples.

Organic is not “better for you”:
You can argue all you want about “pesticide residues” and “chemical fertilizers”, any presumed health benefits of organic foods is purely anecdotal and not yet supported by any hard science.  Since pesticides tend to be the battle cry, even conventional raised foods have pesticide residues well below the limits of safety.  Also, these pesticides are designed to kill or deter one specific insect leaving other insects and larger animals unharmed.  It’s very easy to disrupt the simple systems of an insect, but this is not going to have any impact what so ever on a more complex mammal such as a rabbit, a deer or a human.

Organic farming is a luxury:
Let’s be honest.  There are 7 billion people on this planet that need to eat.  Regardless of the farming methods, 10 tons of rice per acre is better than 4 tons of rice per acre.  Countries that have a food surplus (US, UK, Japan, Australia) can have regulations to throttle down and restrict food production.  Other countries can’t afford to do this. They have to produce as much food as they can by any means necessary.   Organic farming produces as low as 50% of the yield of conventional farming, and that doesn’t bode well for starving people.

One caveat I will add is there is benefit to buying local, organic or not.  I’ve made it a point to buy more things sourced locally since even if they are conventional, they will be better than organic shipped in from South America.  And I buy things from North Carolina as much as I can, but also just things from the US.  I buy apples from Washington State.  I did not buy the same apples (Galas) that were from Chile.  Why should I?  Yes, some things don’t grow in the US at all (bananas come to mind) and other tropical fruits that grow in Hawaii (pineapples, mangoes) and no where else.  So some stuff still has to get shipped on a plane/boat/train.  But buy local when you can.

Feel free to read and educate yourself as well.

Wikipedia link with information and sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_food

USDA Website on Organic Regulations:
http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/ofp/ofp.shtml

Turkey Kofta

Kofta is a Middle Eastern/Indian/Mediterranean meatball.  Traditionally made with beef or lamb, I decided to try to make them with ground turkey, since I’ve switched to that almost exclusively for everything so it was what I had on hand.

This is a dead simple recipe.  Of course I’m using a premade Kofta spice, available at a middle eastern or mediterranean store.  I looked at a normal grocery store and they didn’t have any, so luckily I still had some on hand.  I was pretty sure I had some when I bought the other ingredients to make it.

Mix the kofta spice with the ground meat of your choice, form into small balls or patties and cook in a skillet with a little bit of oil.  Since this is ground poultry (of course the same goes for ground beef) you want to make sure they are good and cooked all the way through.

I started out on fairly high heat and then cranked it down a little when I realized they were going to burn on the outside before they were cooked in the middle, so ended up at about medium to medium low heat.   After a few minutes, flip them over and let them cook on the other side until done.  They will get fairly browned, which is good.

When they are done, drain on a plate with some paper towels like most fried foods. My batch made 12 of the little meatballs.  I ended up eating 2/3s of the batch (8 meatballs) since it was a long run day and I had plenty of calories in the bank to use up.  These would be good with a Greek style yogurt sauce, like tzatziki, but I like to serve mine with sour cream, lettuce and feta cheese.  I love feta cheese.  LOVE IT.

Not very photogenic, but it is yummy.

The nutritional info for what I ate tonight is as follows (courtesy of MyFitnessPal) and this is essential 2 servings.

835 calories, 70g carbs, 32g fat, 76 g protein.

You could certainly cut that in half if you weren’t refueling from a 6 mile run.  The picture above is half what I ate, so add two more pita’s to that.

  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.