Balsamic Kale and Fine Dining Calorie Counters

Don’t hate me, but I’ve been a little off my blog reading circuit. Mainly, its hard to read about peoples fun life when I feel mine is in a hellish limbo. But I suppose the upside to this is that I’ve been more interested in current events and news. And what did I dig up???

Fine dining calorie counting.

We all know calorie counting manifests beyond the obsessive minds of those struggleing with eating disorders. There are hundreds of websites, gadgets, books, and programs dedicated to calorie counting. And call me crazy, but way back, say in the 1950’s or 60’s when there was no nutrition facts on foods, people were slimmer. Hmm….could labels and calorie counting make us “fat”?

Restaurants are now beginning to display calorie counts. And i’m not talking just Dunkin Doughnut and Subway. Fine dining, fancy shmancy places. Although this may not be a terrible thing, somehow, knowing a delcious gourmet cookie or whatever has X number of calories takes away the pleasure of going out to get a cookie in the first place.

And what more, we tend to have a nervous meltdown when we find out a calorie count is off. I have yet to share this in the “share your story section”, but when I was pretty deep into my own issues, I bought a regular root beer and drank it (thinking it was diet) and flipped out when I went to toss the bottle to find out it was regular.

So here is my proposal: rather than bashing us over the head with numbers, the healthy-living Reich needs to employ more creative means. This is what I came up with:

-Hooking every chair in every restaurant up to a weighing machine. Having instantly gauged how disgusting you are, a computer prints out a menu with the most gluttonous items removed.

– Lets save some tip money and  do away with the waiters entirely, and replace them with a food pipe. You sit down on the weighing chair and shove the pipe down your gullet, and a nutritionally balanced river of mulch is pumped directly into your stomach from a giant processing unit in the kitchen. Lovely and economically friendly!

-Install funhouse mirrors specifically angled to reflect your own wobbly bits, bloated face, and your muffin top in the most unflattering angle as you shovel your dressing-less, naked salad into your piehole.

-Or maybe, lets just do away with food altogether?

Dont get me wrong, as some who has had to gain weight and now maintain it, its not like I dont care about calories. I’d be lying if I told you that. I care, but I’m not anal and I just have a general sense. But when I go out (which is rather rare anyhow) I want to enjoy myself having a number (other than the price). I already have a good sense of the how much calories are in things anyhow (not proud of this but its a sad byproduct of my ED days). So on the rare occasions I do got out somewhere swank, I’d like to eat without the “energetic value” of my food.

Anyhow, on to food. To be honest this kale dish was made my dad’s whole hemorrahge debacle started. I made it before I called him and found out he was disoriented and confused. Since I’ve been busy lately, I havent had the chance to whip up creative concotions, hence I dug this one out since it never got posted.

Anyhow, I actually don’t think I ever used kale before, but I thought I would give it a try with this recipe:

3 big kale leave bunches, stemmed and cut into large pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt or real/imitation bacon bits

Set the kale in a colander, rinse well and chop through the bunches. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat until it ripples. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes (be careful not to burn, burnt garlic can be icky). Add the kale leaves.
Turn the heat to medium and cover. Braise until tender, 10 to 15
minutes. The water on the kale leaves should provide enough liquid
to braise them; however, check the kale occasionally and add more
water, or some sort of stock (veggie, chicken, beef, hell even “turducken” stock would probably do). Remove the lid, raise the high to heat, and cook off any excess liquid. Remove from the heat. Pour on the vinegar and toss well. Season to
taste. Serve immediately. You can add imitation bacon bits (I dont actually buy these but they were left over from a cooking class I taught. And lord knows, I’ll use up everything eventually. Cheap Jew I am indeed).

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20 thoughts on “Balsamic Kale and Fine Dining Calorie Counters

  1. Eden, my dear. Blog reading is your personal right and freedom. It’s not homework. So don’t apologize, okay? I totally wouldn’t be reading much if the same thing happened to me.

    But Eden, if you read carefully, there are many people who aren’t exactly happy either. We all have our own problems, in different degrees and ways. But we do what we can to preserver and come out the stronger from our ordeals. And you, I see, are doing a good job keeping up your humor.

    Oh, and day in and day out of pumpkin oatmeal and spelt muffins and kale smoothies aren’t exactly what I call “fun life,” either. 😉

  2. It isn’t your job to read everyone else’s blog, so don’t feel bad. We still read your blog. I do, because I care about you, and you always manage to make me laugh. A lot. I have had a similar experience with a smoothie I bought. I drank the whole bottle thinking it was one serving. Then I realized that I just ingested double the calories. It ruined the rest of my day. Logically, I know this is stupid to worry about. So stupid. I honestly wish I was still “ignorant” about calories.
    When I was about 13, my favorite mcdonald’s meal was the 2 cheeseburgers with fries and a milkshake instead of a soda. I remember my friend (also 13) asking me how I could eat so many calories, and I just laughed. I honestly had no idea what she meant.
    I wish I was still an innocent.

  3. Great post Eden. Even under duress, you shine.

    I totally flipppppped out one time when I was at a fat farm aka health spa in mexico. I was drinking- no- chugging huge trough after trough of iced tea only to find out later that it had been sweetened with agave or something caloric. HELLO idiots, we’re at a FAT FARM!!!?? I feel your pain.

    I have to disagree with you on something: burnt garlic can be ever so yummy b/c it gets all sweet! 🙂

    I’ve also dug out old photos/recipes when I don’t have time to do new ones (or if I’m traveling). my last post was an example. I have some that are 6 months old!

    Hope Dad’s doing better day by day. I think he had a CT scan this week- let me know how it goes, ok?

    • your right about the garlic, but when it gets super black the sweetness goes away. Hmm, lets put it this way, singed is good, burnt to a carcinogenic crisp, not so good!

      And I can’t believe that fat farm thing!

  4. One of the reasons I love buying bulk foods because I really hate seeing calories. I love the idea of eating what I want, when I want, until I’m full, not until my f-ing 100 calorie pack of doritos is done. I’d rather have the really good bbq chips from the big bag and not count, or my beloved chocolate covered almonds I buy in bulk, along with tons of nuts and other delicious calorie filled treats. The 100 calorie sized portions of anything piss me off for many reasons: they are not satisfying, they are a waste of packaging, I need to eat five of them to feel satisfied, and it becomes about counting, not pleasure.

    I’m lovin the bacon bits on this one.

    • I have a big beef with he 100 calorie packs, besides, what 100 calories supposed to be? a quarter of a snack? and I’m totally warming up to bacon bits on everything.

  5. I love your sarcasm! I had a similar experience with diet pop a few years ago…I freaked out about the extra 150 calories or something. Glad those days are (mostly) done for.

  6. I’m actually not against chain restaurants having calorie postings, because the food is so processed that it really goes against physical perceptions.

    I remember one time I was at Tasi D-Lite to visit a friend who worked there. I walk in and some customer is arguing with her about two flavors because they had the HUUUUUGE difference of 10 calories. Damn lady, take the long way back to your car if you’re so distressed. Or go eat real ice cream.

    Kale is my absolute favorite dark leafy green! It tastes amazing with olive oil and lemon juice.

  7. “Somehow knowing a delcious gourmet cookie or whatever has X number of calories takes away the pleasure of going out to get a cookie in the first place.” <– I totally agree. I struggle with checking numbers and always wanting to know… but I've realized that once I know it kind of ruins the experience for me. Especially when it's something like a dessert. I'm getting much better at not trying to figure it out all the time, but it's getting harder now that restaurants are starting to post everything on their menus. An anorexic today in a restaurant with nutritional info is like putting a kid in a candy store!

  8. When I do go out to a fancy schmancy restaurant, all bets are off on calories and uber clean eating. I try to just enjoy the meal as a rare treat. If I want dessert, so be it and please never ever tell me how many calories were in the white chocolate bread pudding I devoured! 😉

  9. I totally understand about how hard it is to ready blogs when your life is crazy!! I hope everything turns around for you soon!!!

    I agree counting calories and labels just might be making us all crazy 😉 I wish people would just enjoy their food and eat a balanced diet. I used to count calories all the time but a few years ago I stopped and been much much more happier 😉

  10. I think in my worst days of an eating disorder, all of that would have been highly preferable to going out and eating with nothing to reference at all and no one to tell me what to get! But now? I don’t go out to eat that much, but if I do it better be cheap (if I’m paying) and it better be worth it (as in better than something I can make myself). Wow, I sound like a 70 year old woman! Haha! And I don’t think 70 year olds give a rats a** about calories! 🙂

  11. I count calories so what you sayin’ girl? Haha..yeah I know I have some obsessive tendencies and I’m cool with that. I think I might be okay with knowing my cals at fine dining. It’d probably make me enjoy the food more!

    • I totally have nothing against calorie counters, but in those fine dining establishments, I highly doubt those chefs are weighing and measuring each ingredient, and we all know how pissed we can get when the counts are way off 😉

  12. You know, I really need to eat kale soon. I love me an easy recipe ; )

    I totally hear you on the calorie count thing. It’s really off-putting to walking into a place and being bombarded with numbers and stats. I just want a bagel, please!

  13. I am impressed that given everything, you are blogging…and with substance! You go girl!

    Your dad has been in my prayers…tons. Aruba is often called A-Jew-Ba and I so wish you and your dad could get down here for a little fun in the sun and a holiday…you both could use it!

    At a fancy restaurant when I am paying top dollar, I would just eat what I wanted…then again, I am cheap and dont dine out like that anymore!

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