Sunday, January 25, 2009


To turn a phrase of Dr. Oz's, "Me on a Diet" is the name of the game. It's not my first attempt to shed some weight and will likely not be my last. It may, however, be my smartest since at the ripe old age of 59, I finally believe that it won't come off as fast as it went on. has been a wonderful (free) tool to analyze what I eat and how and when I exercise. My own common sense and large collection of cookbooks enables me to cook and eat delicous food while shedding pounds.

Losing weight doesn't have to be painful if you stay away from processed and pre-packaged food. My attempt to jump start my weight loss a few years back lead me to what I affectionately called the dog food diet. That's because I wanted to howl and bark each time I opened one of the packets. I never ate the soup packets as soup; rather, I made "chips" out of them. The "delicious" shakes were like chocolate snow cones--yuk! The chili truly smelled like canned dog food. It called to mind the scene in The Prince of Tides when mom, chastised by her brutish husband for her high-falutin food, opens a can of dog food and heats it up and Voila! hash.

With pre-packaged food firmly behind me, I decided to try a recipe I had seen prepared on the Food Channel in combination with a recipe from Weight Watcher's New Complete Cookbook. I'd never seen the show Ask Aida before and probably won't tune in again, but she was preparing shoyu chicken, something I lived on each time I visited Hawaii. I cut her recipe in half since I'm only feeding 2 and I still have plenty of leftovers. For the vegetable fried rice, I made a few substitutions and added a shot of low sodium soy sauce.

Both recipes are very straightforward. There is prep work, which is typical of any Asian meal, but the actual cooking time was minimal. Both recipes got a "10" (and, yes, I do score each new recipe I try and write down my comments and scores; it helps me remember what to put in the rotation and what to ditch permanently).

Recipe for Shoyu Chicken
3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/8 cup mirin
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and smashed
3 tbs corn starch dissolved in 3 tbs water
3 thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

Combine all ingredients except cornstarch and water and scallions in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Turn occasionally.

Remove the chicken to a serving platter. Remove the garlic and ginger and discard. Bring the sauce to a boil, skim off any excess fat, and cook about 10 minutes, until slightly reduced. Mix the cornstarch and water together, then whisk into the pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, dd the chicken, and turn to coat. Serve with the sauce and the scallions.

Recipe for Vegetable Fried Rice - 6 servings (3/4 cup each)
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup water chestnuts, sliced into small matchsticks
3 cloves garlic, minced
12 scallions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups cooked and cooled brown rice
1-2 tbs low sodium soy sauce

Spray a large nonstick skillet or wok with nonstick spray and heat over medium high. Stir-fry the carrots, mushrooms, water chestnuts, garlic, and scallions about 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Transfer to a bowl.

Spray the skillet with more nonstick spray. Add the eggs and cook, stirring until eggs are set, about 2 minutes.

Add the vegetables, rice, and soy sauce to the eggs and toss to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, until heated through.


  1. Looks yummy and a winner. Certainly beats regular "diet" foods. Never saw that Prince of Tides film but I love your dog food snippet. My dog eats dry food, because I used to live near Suffern, NY where my school bus drove past a wet dog food factory every morning and afternoon and it was gut-turning, even in winter.

  2. Dieting can be so much fun when you prepare healthy meals, like your Shoyu Chicken. Then it's not really a diet; it's a way to eat well, enjoy it, and lose weight in the process.
    There's an award for you on my blog. :)

  3. Hello Arlene. The chicken looks good, but what caught my eye was the fried rice. I love rice. Any way you can prepare it, I know it's good. I'm definitely going to try this recipe. Thank you my friend.

  4. Good luck with your weightloss journey. It's never an easy road but you seem to be taking the right path. Thanks for the healthy recipes. It all looks great!

  5. Have you ever heard of the national body challenge? It's put on by the Discovery Channel and is on their web site. Some of the tools can be a little slow and clunky, but the daily exercise videos and menus are great. I don't always use the meal they suggest, but so far all of the recipes I've tried have been wonderful.

  6. Hi Arlene! I love the idea of using Mirin, I don't know why I didn't think of substituting the regular vinegar for that, I have a ton on hand and chicken broth would be way better than water! I am going to make these changes next time I make shoyu, thanks so much for the ideas and for visiting my site!


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