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Dinner Deliciousness + Food Philosophy Update

I like to think that most of the dinners that Brandon and I prepare are pretty up there on the delicious scale but the past two nights have been extra special. I love cooking at home and get really excited to try new recipes and ingredients – especially when the results are outstanding! Do not ask me to draw, paint or craft (seriously, don’t!) but put me in the kitchen and I find creativity and passion.

Monday night (July 4th) we decided to stay in and grill. Unfortunately, severe thunder storms put a bit of a damper on outdoor dining buy my all-star grilling husband braved the rain to cook our dinner.

After an afternoon at the pool, we were starving so we had a cheese plate while we worked on dinner (and no, we didn’t eat that entire hunk of cheese…about  half!).

I think the reason why this dinner was extra delicious was due to our grocery shopping experience. Brandon was in the mood for steak and I wanted grilled fish. I headed over to the seafood counter and ordered my usual, wild caught Alaskan salmon, when a fish I had never heard of caught my eye. I began chatting with the guy who was helping me (who is always so helpful when I’m there) and he told me it was wild-caught, never frozen kingklip. It was a thick, white fillet that looked similar to grouper. He ended up giving me a free fillet to take home so I could try it. How awesome is that? And Brandon ended up getting a $40 dry-aged ribeye steak for $11. He just happened upon a killer special…his lucky day!

Given its firm texture, I knew the kingklip would do well on the grill. We seasoned it with olive oil and Dizzy Pig Shakin’ the Tree. The result? Awesome! A mild white fish with a great texture similar to grouper or monkfish. I will definitely be on the lookout for this fish in the future. We had grilled purple potatoes and salad on side.

And then this happened…I made an apple crisp. Brandon convinced me that it was completely necessary to make an American dessert like apple crisp on the Fourth of July. Admittedly, I didn’t need much convincing. ;)

Fast forward to tonight’s dinner because it’s possible that it was even more delicious than last night’s.

It all started with two green tomatoes from my brother in law’s garden. Brandon suggested making fried green tomatoes. Now guys, I think it’s pretty clear that I fry things pretty much never but I just couldn’t say no to a fried green tomato BLT.

Toasted sourdough, herb mayo, organic mixed greens, crispy thick cut bacon and fried green tomatoes. YES. I “mmm’d” my way all the way through this one.

Corn on the cob and salad on the side. A perfect summer dinner. And for the sake of honesty and total disclosure…see apple crisp picture above and apply to tonight too. :P

And now I think this is a good time to revisit my food philosophy. If you’re a regular reader you’ll notice that I have a particular fondness for pizza and ice cream (well, all dessert if we get right down to it). In general, I eat pretty clean. Breakfast and lunch are typically clean and meat-free eats. I love food and enjoy cooking, baking and going out for dinner.

I am very, very active and require a pretty high daily caloric intake. So while I keep it healthy 90% of the time, when I feel like having pizza, ice cream, a glass (or two!) of wine or something like a fried green tomato BLT, I don’t beat myself up about it! This is what works for me and I feel happy, healthy and balanced!

What are some of your favorite “splurge” (a.k.a. ridiculously delicious!) dinners? How do you balance it all out?

{ 40 comments… add one }

  • Matt @ The Athlete's Plate July 5, 2011, 10:52 pm

    What store did you find that fish at? I need to try it!

    • Jen July 6, 2011, 8:43 am

      at our flagship harris teeter – they have a rocking seafood department!

  • nathalie July 5, 2011, 11:09 pm

    you know, i’ve never even HAD a fried green tomato, but i think i’m going to have to make this sandwich ASAP. it looks delicious.

    • Jen July 6, 2011, 8:43 am

      you MUST try!!!!! life changing! ;)

  • Maddy M. July 5, 2011, 11:24 pm

    everything looks delicious!

    my splurge dinners would definately be whole-wheat pasta with homemade pesto + chicken meatballs, with a side of toasted garlic sourdough bread…. yummm. but i also love burgers! haha

    i usually balance everything out by eating ‘clean’ and inituatively 90% of the time, and then the other 10% of the time i splurge on whatever i feel like having (usually any type of dessert) :)

    • Jen July 6, 2011, 8:43 am

      maddy – it sounds like we have pretty similar outlooks! and your splurge dinner sounds ah-mazing!

  • Q. July 6, 2011, 12:07 am

    I LUUUURVE fried green tomatoes. I made some in the oven the other week and they were amazing! (It took a lot of willpower not to get out my cast iron skillet and start fryin’, let me tell ya’. And I never fry anything!)
    I so admire your food philosophy and you look amazing!

    • Jen July 6, 2011, 8:44 am

      i actually googled oven baked recipes yesterday but thought my husband might revolt if i tried that! ;)

      maybe next time. i would love to avoid the “fried” smell in the house too!

  • Kristy@RunTheLongRoad July 6, 2011, 8:23 am

    Pizza is my absolute favorite. I eat it once a week and I eat A LOT of it. I figure it could be worse – I could be eating a Big Mac (ewww)! I never feel guilty about it either…not after all those miles!

    My ultimate dessert though is a DQ Blizzard. I (try) and reserve them for post-marathon or on 20-miler days so I don’t feel too guilty!

    • Jen July 6, 2011, 8:45 am

      kristy – glad i’m not alone in my pizza addiction (really, i didn’t think i would be!).

      i LOVE blizzards. i had a reeses cup blizzard on the way home from MCM last year! ;)

  • Clara July 6, 2011, 8:43 am

    Jen- your perspective on food and balance in what you eat, is one of the main reasons I read your blog! You are so incredibly active, and I like to see that you reward yourself. I also appreciate your truly “clean” diet. So many people think they’re eating healthy food, when in reality they’re eating a heavily processed diet.

    Also, I took a “Sculpt” class last night night, which I think it pretty similar to body pump. It kicked my butt, but it was awesome! Wish I could take one of your classes.

  • Alaina July 6, 2011, 8:44 am

    I’ll have to try that fish! I’m a big fan of monk fish so I’m sure I’ll like the kingklip.

    My splurge would definitely have to be ice cream. Because when I want ice cream, I go full fat baby! :-)

  • Emily Zimmerman July 6, 2011, 8:44 am

    My splurges usually are associated with my boyfriend’s Italian mother’s cooking. She makes the best tiramisu, fried shrimp, pasta, braciola, etc. I also have a big sweet tooth that I try relentlessly to tame. My weakness is ice cream and cake! ;)

    • Jen July 6, 2011, 12:29 pm

      so it’s lunchtime…and this comment just made me SO hungry. that food sounds amazing!

  • Sarah Z. July 6, 2011, 8:45 am

    I think your food philosophy is spot on and that many people could (and do!) take a lesson from you. Everything in moderation has always been the smart way to live and as a daily reader of your blog, I find it inspiring that you aren’t afraid of dessert (I am an ice cream fiend too!) or the occasional splurge. Some of your contemporaries on the healthy living blog circuit scare me with their eating regimes that are anything but healthy so please know you are a true model when it comes to setting the right example.

    As for what I splurge on, I think it’s totally acceptable to eat dessert for dinner sometimes and nothing else :P

    • Jen July 6, 2011, 12:31 pm

      sarah – thank you so much for your comment! i know that my eating style is a little different than some other bloggers but my hope is that it feels real and attainable to my readers! :)

      i think i shall never give up dessert!

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) July 6, 2011, 9:14 am

    I looooove fried green tomatoes, and BLTs (especially in summer). We had BLTAs (+avocado) this weekend and it tasted like summer perfection!!

    • Jen July 6, 2011, 12:25 pm

      MUST add avocado to my next BLT. you know i’m an avocado addict! :)

  • Jen July 6, 2011, 9:19 am

    I completely agree with your food philosophy! I love healthy foods, but I also know I need to indulge when I’m very active or else I won’t keep enough weight on to be at my “happy weight”.

    And how awesome you got to try the fish for free! What a generous employee!

  • Lori July 6, 2011, 9:56 am

    Jen

    I am going to TRY going gluten free for a few different reasons. I know you have a blog roll of healthy living/recipes blogs. Is there anyone in particular you would recommend for gluten free recipes?

    • Jen July 6, 2011, 12:14 pm

      Hi Lori!
      Good luck with your gluten-free experiment! There are TONS of gluten-free blogs out there but here are a couple that I follow.

      http://jenncuisine.com/ (and check out her blogroll – lots of suggestions: http://jenncuisine.com/blogroll/)

      http://fitnessista.com/food/ – gluten free healthy living blog. she has some pretty creative/crazy eats!

      • Stephanie @ extremebalance.net/blog July 6, 2011, 9:06 pm

        Do you feel like you’re being judged sometimes? Is that why you updated your philosophy? I see absolutely nothing wrong with putting it into words, of course, I was just surprised by this post… unlike other commenters who read you for your food philosophy, I actually follow along because I think it’s awesome how active you are, and it reminds me that we all have 24 hours in a day, and we all make choices about how to spend them. I used to give way more of them to activity and want to go back to it—so I find your commitment inspiring. And, like Lindsay said, life’s too short! If the sometimes cheese, wine, or ice cream is wrong, who wants to be right? :D

      • Lori July 7, 2011, 10:20 am

        Great thanks! I am just doing a 21 day cleanse so we’ll see how it goes!!

  • Mary-Heather July 6, 2011, 10:51 am

    I made fried green tomato BLTs last summer and seriously, they are game-changers. Absolutely delicious! My hands-down favorite awesome but not super healthy food is chiles rellenos. The combo of spicy + cheesey + battered and deep fried = heaven! Also, they are too much of a pain for me to make at home, so it’s especially nice to eat them when we go out to a restaurant that does them well – someone else can take the time to make them (and wash all the dishes). ;) I had a place in NY serve me a bell pepper “chile relleno” once, though – that ain’t right.

    • Jen July 6, 2011, 12:24 pm

      i agree that some foods just aren’t worth the hassle of making at home! i think that makes them even more delicious to eat out though – special occasion! :)

  • Brittney July 6, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Yum, I dream about fried green tomato BLT’s… I had a great one in Beufort, SC once. Drooooooooooooool :)

    • Jen July 6, 2011, 12:29 pm

      i’ll invite you over next time i make ‘em! ;)

  • Emily@RunningPerspective July 6, 2011, 1:21 pm

    wow that fish look sooo good! i am going to my WF and asking if they have it ASAP
    ps you have such a wonderful food philosophy!!

  • Cailin July 6, 2011, 1:41 pm

    I usually don’t get a chance to comment, but I read your blog everyday.

    One thing I really admire about your eating habits, that I am working on in my own life, is you never seem to snack (especially mindlessly). You eat healthy and well balanced meals. I tend to graze a bit too much (especially with two babies under three!) and miss paying attention to what I am putting into my body (since I have had kids) when I do this. Just because I am snacking on organic stuff (Annie’s bunnies from the box)- doesn’t mean these snacks are healthy or low calorie. I love healthy, real food, but need to take more time (haha) to make sure I eat it. I need to be careful in that 3-5 pm time frame when we tend to snack around here. Also my favorite indulgences are pizza, Chipotle burrito and ice cream (which I eat too much of in the summer!). I lost the baby weight of 2 really easily with nursing and running and being able to eat like a horse. But now as I wean the baby and have less time to run, I need to refocus on my eating habits!! I notice you are so good about just eating meals and what your body wants and I think that is great.

    sorry for the long comment.

  • natalie (the sweets life) July 6, 2011, 1:56 pm

    My food philosophy is very similar to yours which is why I love reading your blog so much. It drives me crazy that some of the other healthy living bloggers are seemingly restrictive…you demonstrate that it is possible to indulge (regularly!) and still be active and healthy and vibrant! thanks for setting a good example :)

  • lindsay July 6, 2011, 2:37 pm

    fried green tomatoes, my favorite. and Yes, life is too short not to enjoy a good glass of wine, pizza, ice cream, etc. I think do that at 1-2x a week, for sanity.
    ;)

  • Stephanie @ Food and Fitness 4 Real July 7, 2011, 10:57 am

    I totally agree with your food philosophy – balance is key. I try to make sure my family eats clean and healthy 90% of the time, but we still allow the occasional indulgence (ice cream, pizza, cupcakes). My rule is 1-2 sweet treats a week, because I do have a huge sweet tooth.

    Btw, apple crisp with ice cream is my FAVORITE dessert, so I am drooling right now. Also, I just had fried green tomatos for the first time on vacation last week and they rocked. I never thought about making a BLT with them. Great idea, I am looking forward to making my own now.

  • Becky July 7, 2011, 2:31 pm

    I never skimp when it comes to dessert! I eat pretty well and really do enjoy healthy foods at mealtime, but I love a sweet treat at the end of the day.

  • Katie July 7, 2011, 4:24 pm

    I think life would be miserable without daily dessert and feeding your cravings. I was hooked on your blog once I saw that you were eating good size meals full of wonderful food pairings. You have given me so many great ideas and have helped me become a more intuitive eater. I still struggle with restricting and past ED thoughts, but going back to blogs like yours and a few other bloggers who I follow reminds me that I need to be fueling my body to keep it strong! I am training for a half-marathon and sometimes I think I forget that I should be taking in a good amount of calories. I also struggle with accepting my natural weight. I believe that right now I am around that and I am scared to be eating more than I am (I should be eating more than I do!). It’s a huge struggle, but like I said, blogs like yours ARE helping me!

  • Jessica July 11, 2011, 3:49 pm

    Jen – I love your enthusiasm for food, your creativity, and how balanced and indulgent your meals are! We don’t need to skimp on taste to be as healthy as can be. Thrilled to see I have some serious backup on this! :)

  • mike@truelifefitness.ca January 3, 2014, 8:40 pm

    apple crisp and ice vanilla ice cream. one of my fav cheat meals….

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