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Posted on Sep 5, 2012 in Food | 9 comments

Eating Out, In

You guys know that one of my biggest struggles in terms of my weight loss is how much I love to eat out. I do love to cook, but I also love restaurants. Trying new ones, revisiting my favorites, being social with my friends and family… I just really like to go out to eat. Of course, as I’ve mentioned (and as we all know anyway), going out to eat with such frequency is not good for my wallet OR my waistline.


There are just too many variables when someone else is preparing your food for you. Even nowadays, when more and more restaurants are offering nutritional information up front, you can never be 100% sure of what you’re getting. Plus, even if you KNOW what the calories are, it doesn’t mean you’re getting the most bang for your figurative buck (we KNOW you’re not getting the biggest bang for your literal buck, since eating out is expensive, hahahaha).


So part of my Act II weight loss game plan is to cook at home as much as possible. Of course, given all the restaurant-eating that went on this past weekend, I’m kind of already failing, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

Sometimes curbing the urge to splurge (can I get that on a t-shirt) is as simple as upping the ante in your own kitchen. Last night I fixed myself a gourmet meal that I feel any fine dining establishment would have been proud of! And for half the cost AND half the calories. Win-win-win.


I picked up the most gorgeous tomato at the farmer’s market on Saturday (probably one of my last farmer’s market tomatoes of the season! Cry!) and a GIANT thing of basil to accompany it. Then I zipped over to the regular supermarket to pick up a ball of fresh mozzarella and decided to make myself a super schmancy caprese salad.

I mean, seriously. Do you SEE how huge these basil leaves are!?

I chiffonaded (can “chiffonade” be used as a verb? Ahaha) the basil to make it look nice. For those of you who don’t have a tried-and-true method of doing so (chiffonade = slicing herbs into long, thin strips), this is just how I get ‘r done:


After you’ve stacked the leaves on top of one another like in the first pic, roll them up lengthwise into a little bundle. Don’t wrap it TOO tightly or you’ll bruise the herbs, but hold it tight enough so that they won’t slip out from under you.


Then using a SHARP knife, just slice through the bundle using quick, thin slices. You don’t want to “saw” through or press down with the knife, because again, you can bruise the herbs and that’s what makes them look wilted and unappealing.


Ta-da! Easy peasy.


While I was doing that, I was also letting some balsamic vinegar reduce on the stove (with the flippin’ sweet guitar spatula that I got my brother Ben for Christmas).


And heating up some corn. As always, I like to make a lot more food than just for me because I like to be able to have the leftovers for lunch. Leftovers > sandwiches! I had already broiled up some rosemary-marinated pork chops the night before, so I just reheated one of those and added it to the plate. I drizzled some balsamic reduction on top of the caprese with just a splish of extra virgin olive oil and some salt & peppah, and there you have it!


Ooh, pretty.

And that’s how you get one beautiful plate of deliciousness. And the total nutritional damage of my dinner was (drumroll, please!) approximately 550 – 600 calories. Not bad considering how decadent it tasted! And a whole lot less than it would have been at a restaurant. Granted, fresh mozzarella is not necessarily the best weight loss food, but hey, when the craving strikes… better to nom on a few slices of delicious cheese now than an entire box of Cheez-Its later, amirite?


Oh, and just of note: I stored the extra tomato, mozzarella, and basil together in little individual piles so they’re easy to grab and eat. Cute, non?


  1. Can we talk about that spatula? I love it! And eating out is one of my biggest problems too. I’m such a sucker for going out. Sigh.

    • I got it on Amazon! It’s pretty much the awesomest.

  2. UM HOLY SHIT. This looks amazing. And a spatula shaped like a guitar?? (and I said that like this _ geeeeetarrrr) awesome. Invite me over next time 🙂

  3. Delicious and nutritious!

  4. Yum! So sad about tomatoes and corn. I have two gorgeous tomatoes on my counter now. I’m drooling thinking about it!

  5. Now I need to wipe the drool off my keyboard, YUM!

    Eating out is a huge thing for me too. When I’m stressed I just want to say screw it and pick something up or go somewhere nice.

  6. Looks delish! Love caprese salad SO much. Also if chiffonaded isnt a word yet, it has to be. I’m going to use it from now on as much as possible. Hahaha

  7. I came over to say how much I love caprese, but then I saw your freaking spatula. winning.

  8. If I’m really craving something from a restaurant, I like to try and create it at home but in a healthier version. It always satisfies my craving!!! Except sushi;)


  1. Pesto Presto|Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen! - [...] pretty quickly (as fresh herbs tend to do). Having already exhausted my creativity in the form of caprese salad…

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