Stellar Review: Lost River Pizza Company

This post feels more like a restaurant meal in photos post, and it really is (although VERY photo-light), but I haven’t cooked anything that I felt was worth documenting in photos this week.

Saturday night, Tina and I were invited to go to Lost River Pizza here in Bowling Green, Kentucky, as one of her best friend’s fiancée was performing live that night.

Lost River Pizza is a small pizza place that has live music a few nights a week.

Saturdays are my weigh-in day, so I had plenty of points for the week, but I wanted to eat sensibly but enjoy myself. So, rather than order the super thick deep dish cheeseburger with bacon pizza, we decided to share a thin-crust Margherita pizza.

And the verdict?

*drool sounds*

Oh, it was so good. I don’t know what cheese or spice blend they use, but it was amazingly good. And honestly – I think I like their thin crust more than their deep dish.

I realize that the only people who read my blog in Bowling Green are probably people who I already know, but if you are a Bowling Green person who I don’t know (or are in the area), check out Lost River Pizza. Amazingly, unbelievably good.

I’ll be reviewing them again. Their food is just too tasty not to enjoy more than once.

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Stellar Recipe: Sauteed Scallops

On our recent trip to San Diego, we went to a restaurant called The Fish Market. They would change their menu daily, depending upon what was caught fresh. Both times I went, I got scallops, and both times, I left very, very happy.

When I used to think of scallops, I pictured that tough, rubbery piece of white meat that came in perfect circles and was breaded and fried on the Chinese buffet. Hey, even tough and rubbery, I thought it had a decent taste. Now granted, I would probably think a pencil eraser was good if it was breaded and fried, too.

The first time I ate them at The Fish Market, I actually got them fried. They were one of the most amazing things I had ever eaten. The only taste I can compare it to was a more buttery corn on the cob, if anything. They were tender and melt-in-your-mouth good. The next time we went, I got them grilled, and they were just as amazing.

I came home to Kentucky and figured I wouldn’t have scallops that good again until my next trip to the ocean.

On my most recent trip to our local butcher, the Fatted Calf, I happened to notice that Sea Scallops were listed under his seafood section. I asked about them, and he said that they were flown in fresh from Massachusetts. They were also $18.99 a pound, but I had to try them.

I bought eight scallops, and they were gigantic! (And ended up costing me about $22. Yikes!)

I knew I couldn’t fry them (for one thing, while I love the taste of food that other people have fried, if I fry it, it always tastes unpleasant and gross to me, and two, I’m doing great on Weight Watchers and I didn’t want to count the points for the frying), so I decided to sauté them in a little butter and garlic.

How were they?

Well, they did NOT taste as good as they did in San Diego.

But they were still pretty freaking awesome. Tina and I had them with some sirloin (grass-fed, locally raised, and locally butchered), so we had our own little Surf and Turf. Next time, we’re going to get significantly fewer scallops, but they will definitely be making an appearance on our menu again. Oh, and on the plus side? They’re extremely low in calories, high in protein, and high in B12. Triple win!

To prepare, melt some butter in a pot. I added a little olive oil to make them a bit more heart healthy.

Throw in some minced garlic.

When the garlic has browned slightly, put your scallops in the pan. Cook on each side for about four minutes. Turn. They are done when slightly browned.

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Geeked Out Weight Loss Review: Hatchet (the book, not the horror movie)

I had planned to do an episode of Clarissa Explains It All, a key show from my youth that aired on Nickelodeon, but I ended up going a different direction at the last minute. I’ll save Clarissa for next week.

Today, I’m doing my first book. I’m doing the novel Hatchet.

Hatchet was written by Gary Paulsen. It describes the story of Brian, a young boy who was going to visit his father in the oil fields of Canada after his parents’ messy divorce. His trip there should have been on a small Cessna 406, but tragedy befalls him on the way there. The pilot dies, and Brian, the only other person on board, can only manage to keep the plane flying until, long after the pilot’s death, he makes a safe crash landing in a lake.

This begin’s Brian’s harrowing adventure, where, in the Canadian wilderness (fortunately during summer), Brian only has his intelligence and a single hatchet to keep him alive.

Weight Loss Connection

First of all, if you haven’t read Hatchet, you should. Immediately. Go to the library and check out a copy. They’ll have one. Every librarian on the planet has read and loved Hatchet. Yes, it’s a kid’s book, but it’s so well-written, you won’t care. Promise.

So, what’s the weight loss connection? This one is easy and direct, but it is oh-so-powerful.

Brian is trapped in the wilderness for weeks upon weeks. He changes in the wilderness. There is actually a passage about how he goes from your typical out-of-shape thirteen year old into a lean, tanned, muscular youth.

But his changes weren’t just physical. He saw everything differently.

While reading the book most recently, it was this passage that struck me as so powerful, both in terms of life and weight loss.

“…he had learned the most important thing, the truly vital knowledge that drives all creatures in the forest – food is all. Food was simply everything. All things in the woods, from insects to fish to bears, were always, always looking for food – it was the great, single driving influence in nature. To eat. All must eat.”

Food IS the most important aspect of weight loss. People who know far more about fitness and nutrition than me swear that having a set of six-pack abs is 90% nutrition and 10% exercise.

Think about it this way – you can go to the gym HARD for an hour, and burn off two slices of pizza.

In the past, I’ve tried to out-exercise bad eating. It can’t be done. You could do a biggest loser eight hour workout and destroy that in a ten minute meal.

I’m not saying to not exercise. Quite the contrary – I enjoy exercise, and if I have to miss it for whatever reason, my day feels “off.” I just know that, at the end of the day, eating healthy, nutrition food, a few treats here and there (or I’ll go freaking nuts), and counting my points/calories is what is going to get me to my goal weight. Not just exercise.

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Stellar Recipe: Easy Taco Seasoning

Taco seasoning is something that you don’t ever have to buy again, IF you have a well-stocked spice shelf. Best yet, by making it at home, you can be 100% certain of everything that goes in. (Some taco seasoning pre-mixes have MSG in them, along with other preservative chemicals. The homemade version is 100% clean, assuming your spices are clean.)

The best part about making taco seasoning? It’s almost impossible to mess up. Add spices you like. Eliminate the ones you don’t. Tina and I like our taco mix to have a little heat, so we include red pepper, but if you don’t want it spicy, then omit it!

This recipe includes:

1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

You use this just like you would regular taco seasoning. Once you have browned the meat of your choice (we’re using ground beef), mix the seasoning into the meat, add ¾ cup of water, and let simmer.

Eating suggestions include tacos, salad toppings (taco meat with spinach, tomatoes, black beans, salsa, and sour cream is unbelievably good!), or baked white or sweet potato toppings.

For me to eat healthy, I have to enjoy what I am eating. If I get bored, I will not stay on my diet. That’s why I could never eat low-carb. I got tired of just meat and cheese. But there are a plethora of food choices for us to eat that are healthy and nutritious. I plan to keep bringing one to you every Tuesday!

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Stellar Recipe: Grilled Corn

Once I discovered this method for making corn on the cob, I don’t like to make it any other way. I cooked these on my grill, but they can be cooked just as easily in the oven.

You’ll need ears of corn, butter, smoked paprika, and salt. Regular paprika won’t give it the same flavor; get smoked if you can.

Peel the husks back from the corn, but don’t pull them off. Remove the silks from the corn.

Take about a teaspoon of butter. Okay, this is the most awkward step. Take the butter and smear it all over the exposed kernels. It isn’t difficult, but I would recommend you do this step alone, or at the very least, without Tina in the kitchen, or you’ll hear comments like these: “Did you take that corn out before you started doing that to it?” “Are you trying to relax the corn before you grill it?” And my personal favorite, “I’ve never seen corn get a happy ending before.” *sigh*

After you have buttered the corn, sprinkle liberally with salt and smoked paprika.

Now, fold the husks back over the corn. It doesn’t have to cover it perfectly. (Note: if you are cooking indoors in the oven, I’d go ahead and pull the husks off and just wrap it in aluminum foil, or you’ll get a smoke-filled kitchen.)

Place on the grill. My grill has a rack that sits above the actual grill, and I find that works better. Come back in twenty minutes.

That’s it. Pull the husks off (be careful, it’ll be hot) and serve! We ate ours with steak and baked potatoes from the local farmer’s market. Absolutely amazing! Happy eating!

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1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)