Long overdue, I have decided to start watching my (our) intake and try to get a handle on the slow but steady weight gain that’s been getting the better of us both. I’m not a diet kind of guy — self-restraint is hardly my strong suit — and I despise all those fad diets that involve either categorically eliminating or overconsuming one thing or another. Atkins? Feh. Carbs are food, people.
The other reason to cast such a critical eye on our food is that DPaul has been given two new medications for his back problem. One gives you a false sense of hunger, specifically for carbs. The other can cause unexplained weight gain. Great combo.
So the two-pronged approach is simple: Firstly, I am back to tracking points on Weight Watchers. It’s not perfect, but it does help you make decisions about where to put your caloric investments, and it’s worked for me in the past.
The thing is with Weight Watchers is that, the less you weigh, the fewer points you get. Now, I’m a man of small stature, and though I want to drop a few pounds I am hardly obese. So I am allotted a mere 20 points a day. Tuesday I went to the Farmers Market and got a lamb sausage at Prather Ranch. Hm, lessee … 12 points. Good sausage, bad diet food. Good thing I didn’t have a Coke with that sausage.
The second thing is moderation of alcohol. Now, DPaul and I like the occasional drink, and lately there have been a lot of occasions. So we’re setting boundaries, what we call company rules, or alcoholiday. Basically, it means that if we are home alone, just ourselves, no alcohol, period. If there’s company, or we go out, then we can drink. And of course, at least for me, those drinks have to fit within my points limitations.
(There is a bylaw to company rules, and that is vacation rules: All bets off when you’re on vacation, and pick up the pieces when you return.)
And there you have it. Two days in so far, and we haven’t killed each other yet.
And so the wrap. I am mildly embarassed to say that the inspiration for this came from a dish I had at the clubhouse of the resort where my father’s wedding was held. The menu was funny — there were groupings of salads, sandwiches and entrees, and if you looked carefully they were basically repeats of each dish in each category, just composed differently. Those crafy Coloradans.
So I pulled out a flank steak from the freezer (and I think there’s maybe one or more left in there yet), and I had gotten some cracking good, peppery arugula at the farmers market. OK, we’re halfway there. Reminds me of a fantastic salad I had in Florence — arugula, grilled steak and shavings of parmesan.
But I had a wrap in mind, and a wrap I made. This is where it goes all Olive Garden. You know, how they take traditional Italian, or at least Italian-sounding things, recombine them with other Italian or even non-Italian things, and derive a dish that is somehow new but familiar (if not appetizing). Like Chicken Scampi Penne Alfredo, or whatever. Let’s call this the Southwest Tuscan Rancho Wrap. Catchy, no?
Steak, grilled. Lovely Ella Bella dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes, sliced and seeded. Magic sauce for which I could not possibly recount a recipe, done. Arugula at the ready.
I only wish my wrapping technique were better than it is. My plan was to make neat, tight little wraps that I could lightly griddle to crisp up the outsides, but in the end I got kind of awkward, wide wraps that wouldn’t stay closed too well. But what matters is that they tasted good. And at by my reckoning about 8 points, I can swing it at dinner. As long as I don’t have a lamb sausage at lunch.