Introducing #NOD’s!

Introducing #NOD’s!

Today’s #NOD: @MatthewCStamp

Today marks a very exciting day in human history – and by human history I mean my history, so really it just marks an exciting day for me.  Today I am officially making my second blog post ever! You may think that I am being a bit toolish by patting myself on the back for making two measly blog posts but there is actually some legitimate significance here.

I would be doing myself a serious disservice by ignoring the fact that I was in a severe depressive state not six months ago.  Just because I have more energy than I have had in nearly 10 years; just because my connection to the creative spirit is operating at a very high download speed; just because I feel invigorated and far from depressed as I write these words, does not mean that I should consider myself entirely healed.  For many people, like me, depression is a constant companion but it can be managed and it can be alleviated. Although I believe that the human mind and body have healing capabilities beyond our current understanding and may actually be able to rid itself of depression, I also think it is important to acknowledge that biochemistry plays a role here and you cannot “think your way out” of biochemistry.

So back to the significance of this blog post: If you struggle with depression I believe it is important to take small steps (like this).  Last night I observed something very interesting.  I noticed that thoughts of self-doubt were creeping into my brain like a nosy neighbor poking their head in your window saying, “Hey there buddy! You know you won’t be able to maintain this blog with any regularity right?  Yeah you couldn’t possibly come up with something interesting to write about every week, you should just quit. That way we’ll have more time to hang out.”

It is the fight against the slippery slope that is so very important to maintaining those pesky biochemistry levels.  Exercise, nutrition and getting the fuck out of your own head.  That’s why this, my glorious second blog post, is an occasion to be proud of.  Instead of defaulting to television and emotional eating I took the dog on a walk and sat down to pound out this little gem.  Without further adieu I give you the inaugural installment of NOD’s (Nuggets of Deliciousness):

NOD’s is intended to be a fun little installment where I share a Twitter post (or the like) and relate it to a little tip, factoid, recipe, etc.  I will likely fall short, on occasion, with providing you all with a lengthy introspective blog post about the human condition, but I think I can post NOD’s with some regularity. Geez, did you expect me to bare my soul on every post or something? Whatever!

Long story short: I will occasionally be posting random little caramelized nuggets of information that I think might be interesting or helpful.

DID YOU KNOW? The caramelized bits of food on the bottom of the pan after you cook something is most commonly referred to as the “fond” (You have to pronounce that like you are French, and sexually liberated). Fond means “background” in French but in the culinary world it means so much more.  I have also heard those delicious little morsels referred to as “suc” (French for juice), but my 2 minutes of Googling failed to come up with a definitive answer (and we all know that if you can’t find a definitive answer to something in 2 minutes then your original assumption is correct).  Maybe some of my “chefriends” (New word!) can weigh in. If you disagree with this factoid you can “suc it”!  The Wiki-Monster thinks it’s called suc though so click here to learn more about the wonders of deglazing.

That wasn’t the NOD, this is the NOD:

@MatthewCStamp posed a question:


In the case of Matt’s meal: it isn’t terrible by any stretch, but it is heavy on the starch; the Rice-A-Roni likely contains some preservatives that – while the FDA may give them a thumbs up – may be causing little issues with how your body functions and it is lacking a little nutritional balance. Even if the jury is still out on preservatives you simply do not need them, they provide no nutritional advantage, so why eat them?.  Let’s transform this meal using whole foods and eliminating a few carbohydrates.

Something Fishy

Fish is good for you, just accept it people!  I personally have some mysterious genetic predisposition that causes me to gag just a tad at the thought of eating fish but there is no denying that it is generally good for your health.   I would start off by suggesting that you look into buying some traceable, sustainably fished cod like this.

Preparing such fish is very simple: If frozen, thaw your filets and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Then squeeze about a quarter of a lemon on them (both sides), dust them with salt & pepper, brush them with oil and toss them in a 350° oven for about 13 minutes then turn the heat off and let them enjoy a nice 10 minute sauna.  Boom!  Deliciousness! (Breaded fish is not the devil but if you must have breaded fish you should try breading it yourself.  You can do this ahead of time and freeze them just like the one that Matt posted.

Like White On Rice

So Rice-A-Roni has vermicelli in it, which is a pasta. So you have the starch from the breaded fish, the starch from the long-grain white rice and the starch from the vermicelli. So instead of a box of rice and powder let’s step up our pilaf game:

Pick up a wild rice pilaf mixture or medley (bulk is best!) toast it in some oil or butter in a large, deep, “lidable” saute pan. Just like you would the Rice-A-Roni.  Toss in some vegetable, ideally fresh and organic but a frozen vegetable medley is perfectly acceptable.  Add about a teaspoon of each of the following: onion powder, garlic powder, ground thyme and ground pepper.  Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over it all (about a wedge worth) then cook and stir for a couple more minutes. Then add some veggie or chicken stock (2-1 ratio, liquid to rice), toss in a bay leaf, bring it to a boil, cover it and let it cook for 20 minutes. And I swear to god if you lift that lid before the 20 minutes is up I’m going to…well…you won’t like what I’m going to do that’s all.

Now you have added vegetables to your rice which means you actually eat less rice with your meal. You get a broader spectrum of nutrients from your rice and it really hasn’t caused you any inconvenience.

Couch Potatoes

So my official suggestion would be to nix the potatoes from this meal entirely.  The rice has covered your carbohydrates for this meal and adding more is just asking for your body to convert those simple sugars into fat while you watch your post-meal episode of The Biggest Loser.  Plus potatoes are poison! Don’t be alarmed now, you probably aren’t going to die but the fact remains that potatoes are the only member of the Nightshade family that humans actually eat and they can contain dangerous levels of glycoalkaloid. (Click here for a helpful list of foods that are technically poisonous)  The glyco-business aside, potatoes are also high in starches so they can make you sluggish if you’re body doesn’t have all the other nutrients and metabolism levels it needs to process everything.  Couch potato truly does have a double meaning.  If you must have the potatoes then toss them in some dried herbs and a touch of olive oil and roast them in a 400° oven for about 20-30 minutes.  You tend to use far less oil when you roast something as opposed to pan frying it.

However, I suggest you replace dem taters with some Brussel Sprouts or even this awesome new freak of nature on the market called Kale Sprouts. Just do the same thing, toss them in a little oil and seasoning, bake them at 400° for about 7-10 minutes (Brussel Sprouts may take longer) or until they start to get brown and crispy.  Transfer them back to your tossing bowl and drizzle some balsamic vinegar and honey over them and give them a nice toss.  A fairly liberal amount of salt also helps make these things pop! They are highly addictive, like French Fries!

Feeling Saucy

While a meal tailored to weight loss should probably omit this, I do think that fish would benefit from a nice White Wine Paprika Buerre Blanc But hey that’s just me. I don’t really subscribe to the “sacrifice everything you love” theory of healthy eating.  Diets don’t work! (More on this in a future blog post)

So there you have it. My official NOD to @MatthewCStamp has reached it’s conclusion.  If you want to get a NOD from The Enliven Guy then just head on over to the right side of this page to follow me on Twitter and then start tweeting at me, and I mean right at my face!  To see future NOD’s make sure to subscribe to my blog using the trusty old right side of this page again, and don’t forget to like, subscribe or just check in on my YouTube channel from time to time.  I won’t be as active on that to start out but there may be some pretty entertaining programming coming down the pipe at EnlivenTV.

Feel free to comment with any questions, comments, clarifications or clever trolling you might think of.  Thanks for reading.