Thai food

Netflix and Chill

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That’s what Portland looks like these days–except more rain and it’s often sideways. So much for a mild autumn! But I can’t complain too much because we got super lucky with a mild winter/spring this past year and honestly, Mt. Hood needs some snow this winter!

Since the weather has been crappy and I’m feeling less and less motivated to do things (I’m blaming the pregnancy nesting), I’ve been catching up on TV shows. First, Bones. I had watched some of the TV show when it was first on TV years ago but never kept up with it and this summer when I was suffering from¬†morning sickness all day long and just not feeling good at all…I spent a LOT of time laying in bed watching Bones. I started from the beginning and grew to love the show.

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It took me about 5 months to watch 10 seasons. I’m now caught up but haven’t started season 11 yet. I like the show and the characters, even though Brennan annoys me at times, and I was super bummed out when they killed off a character I liked. ūüôĀ I’m taking a little break from the show and then will try and find the current season online.

Second, Longmire is back! Once I finished Bones I was able to catch up on Season 4 of my favorite show (also another good book series). Longmire is so great. It’s similar but different from the books so the stories feel fresh when reading or watching. I LOVE the main characters. Growing up I had a huge crush on Lou Diamond Phillips and I’m happy he’s a more prominent character in Season 4.

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Season 4 is also¬†dealing with some serious issues regarding rape on reservations and jurisdiction issues and how prosecutor’s hands are often tied in these issues when white men attack American Indian women on reservations. So infuriating and sad, but I’m glad they brought the issue up in the show. I’m sure it happens a lot more than anyone ever hears about. ūüôĀ

I’m super excited the show will be back for Season 5!

I mentioned a bit ago about starting to read the Wallander series¬†and enjoying it. I had watched an episode of the TV show on Netflix but for some reason didn’t get into the show and gave up. I decided to give it another try since I’ve read and liked a few of the books in the series. I’m glad I did because I like the TV show much better now! It’s really well done. It’s gritty and dark and kind of reminds me of Luther (another fantastic show you must watch!).

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Fat Kitty loves it when I have veg-out-watching-Netflix days:

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I need some suggestions for TV shows to watch on Netflix. What are your favorites? Anything new and fantastic I must see?

Speaking of chilling, I had a really nice dinner date with my friend Robyn this week. I’d been craving Pad Thai lately. Robyn was sweet to indulge my craving and suggested we go to¬†Sivalai, a Thai restaurant in SE Portland. I’d never heard of it and was happy to check it out. The restaurant was kind of hidden in a residential area but it was pretty easy to find.

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The prices were super cheap! Robyn got one of those Thai bubble teas for only $1. I got some hot tea and ordered Tofu Pad Thai. They brought out a little roll for us to share while dinner was cooking.

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The food came out really quickly. The portions were not obscene, like most Thai restaurants. It was more of a serving and a half instead of huge family-style 3 or 4 servings to a plate.

pad thai

The Pad Thai was decent but not my favorite. It wasn’t greasy and I liked the tofu. It just wasn’t spicy, like I wanted it, and that made it¬†average. But I ate all of it (hungry!) and it definitely satisfied my craving.

It was nice hanging out and catching up. It had been way too long since we’d gotten together and had lots to chat about. Robyn said she’s going to the newly opened Warrior Room in SE Portland. I’m excited to check it out–someday. It’s a second location and in the old Yoga Union studio space.

Last year I was going to the Warrior Room on a pretty regular basis–2 or 3 times a week, but around January needed a little break. I was starting to have some aches and pains and wanted to avoid potential injury or tendinitis so decided to take a month off. Then a month came and went and I realized I wanted a little more time off. Then I got sick. Then I hurt my back. Then I got sick again and once all that was FINALLY over with and I was ready to get back to the Warrior Room, I got pregnant. I didn’t think that was a good idea since I’d taken 5 months off from it. Had I been going the whole time, it wouldn’t have been an issue. But…yeah…so I am waiting until next year and then I’ll try and get back to going!

Anyways, I got an order of the fresh veggie spring rolls appetizer to-go and I’m having that for lunch today! Looking forward to it. Robyn and I spent a few hours catching up and then I went home and pretty much went to bed right away. I was so tired!

What to Order When Out

Ordering out is a landmine. Sometimes what you think is the healthy choice, turns out to be not-so-healthy. Remember that time I found out that salads were most definitely not the healthiest option to order? That “Safe” salad I was about to order had more than 1000 calories in it! What?!?! A salad is lettuce and veggies! Astounding.

So what happens when you get a craving and want to go to a restaurant? I usually crave sushi or Mexican food. Those are my go-to¬†cuisines. Sushi is usually a safe bet because it’s healthy and I only need a little bit of it before I feel full. Mexican food is a little trickier.

Below I have some tips and suggestions on what to avoid, or consider, the next time you’re in a restaurant.

Chinese, Thai Food and Vietnamese Food

Chinese food is something I don’t eat often (maybe once a year if that) now that I know what a calorie is! Seeing the reality of the sauce-slathered food options and how many calories I was eating in them really turned me off.

I recently went out to dinner with my friend Robyn at an Asian cafe. They had Indian food, Japanese, Chinese and Thai options. One of the dishes we ordered was NOT a healthy choice–it was slathered with peanut sauce. But the “lightened up” dumplings and the hot and spicy broth I ordered were definitely healthy options.

dumpling

So what can you order at a Chinese food restaurant? Your best best is steamed veggies that aren’t drowning in rich sauce. Steamed veggies with rice are healthy and relatively low in calories. You can ask them to give you some sauce on the side and dip the veggies into it –just don’t go overboard.

Learn to eat with chopsticks‚ÄĒthey help you eat less and savor your food.

Soup is an easy choice. Most of the soups I’ve had at Chinese restaurants are broth-based and not cream-based. It’s delicious and fills you up, too. I¬†love the hot and spicy soups they have! (Now I’m craving Won Ton Soup.)

soup

Stir-fry vegetables are good. And don’t think you’re just going to eat veggies, you can get noodles or brown rice, too, just be mindful of serving sizes. Maybe have a little bit and save the rest for leftovers.

Seafood.¬†Shrimp is super low in calories. I think it’s 9 pieces of shrimp for 100 calories. As long as it isn’t deep fried, it’s a good choice.

PHO.¬†It’s vegetarian friendly, or you can get meat (of various types) in the soup. The serving sizes are usually pretty big and I’ve never been able to eat it all at once. The leftovers are just as good, too.

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Avoid: anything fried, “crispy”, “battered” or “smothered” in sauce. Fried rice is tasty but so high in calories and carbs. While sweet and sour sauce is delectable, it’s also packed with sugar and calories.¬†Ditch the deep-fried spring rolls, go with steamed dim sum.

Japanese Food and Sushi

Japanese food is kind of a general term and most of the Japanese food I eat is sushi. Most of my recommendations are sushi. But a lot of the same rules for Chinese food apply here–avoid sauces, get steamed veggies, etc.

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Sashimi¬†(no rice) and nigiri are good because it’ s less rice than the rolls and a big hunk of fish on top. Vegetable rolls are usually low in calories.

Your best bet: Edamame, cucumber salad, tossed salads, miso soup and seaweed salad.

Avoid: anything fried, “tempura,” pot stickers, anything with cream cheese in it (sadly, the Philly roll is my favorite!).

Mexican Food

Mexican food is my favorite. Slathered with sour cream, cheese, spicy, crunchy, guacamole-covered goodness. Unfortunately, the diet can go so awry at a Mexican restaurant. You don’t have to deprive yourself, though, there are better options.

Choose bean burritos instead of cheese/beef ones. Ask for soft tacos‚ÄĒthe crispy ones are deep fried (which didn’t occur to me until recently–duh!).

Enjoy tons of salsa‚ÄĒit‚Äôs mineral-rich and good for you, without the calories. Sour cream, cheese topping and large helpings of guacamole are all high in calories, which is why I love them I guess.

burrito

My favorite things to order are fish tacos. As long as they aren’t fried and dripping in sauces, they’re relatively low in calories.

Dishes with black beans in them will fill you up with the fiber. While black beans are very nutritious, refried beans are often cooked with fat.

Try a taco salad–as long as it’s not in a fried taco shell. Gazpacho soup, pozole soup or black bean soup is a good choice too.

Fajitas.¬†Meat, vegetables, minimal “extras” = perfect Mexican dish while watching your waistline.

Avoid: The chip basket!!! So many empty (and tasty) calories. The crunchy taco shells are fried, so try soft tortillas instead. Other calorie-bombs are quesadillas and nachos.

Italian Food

I don’t eat a lot of Italian food because of the calories involved. When I do go I want the super amazing ravioli stuff with cheese and oozing in sauce, or thick lasagna with tons of cheese. None of the options *I* want are going to do me any favors on the scale. Thus, I avoid it. I know that Italian food is one of people’s favorites cuisines, so it’s not ideal for me to say “just skip it!”

I seem to like soup, right? Well minestrone is a great one! Super low in calories. Seafood is low in calories unless it’s fried or breaded. Same with chicken.

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Marinara sauce isn’t too bad. ¬†It’s definitely a better option than¬†Alfredo. Pick a pasta that is tossed with veggies, garlic and olive oil to save some calories.

I’ve seen healthier menu options on menus that include seafood (shrimp and pasta is good), steamed vegetables included, and a green salad is always a good start to a meal.

Avoid: the bread basket, creamy white sauces, anything fried (like mozzarella sticks).

Your Turn

What are your tips and tricks for eating out? Do you have a few “safe” things you order at restaurants?