The Washington Post

Inspired by Pinterest to change my cooking habits for the better: 32 before 32

It’s Election Day, and I have a looooooooong day ahead of me. So what will I do when the newsroom most likely orders Chinese or pizza for those of us working late? Resist temptation of course! I’m going to pack an arsenal of goodies that will keep me energized and kill the urge to splurge on bad nom noms at 1 a.m. Thanks to Pinterest and yet another harebrained idea of watching what goes in my mouth, eating healthy will be cake. Figuratively, not literally.

Leilah Reese modifies her eating habits to lose weight. (Leilah Reese/For The Washington Post)

Pinterest, oh how I love thee. If you’re not familiar with the popular site in which you can search for everything from fashion inspiration to funny sayings to decadent desserts, then stop what you’re doing right now and sign up. It is here that I found two recipes that made me drool just by reading the ingredients.

Experiment 1: Fried “rice” (with quinoa instead of rice) stocked with some of my most favorite veggies, such as broccoli, mushrooms and zucchini. Experiment 2: Brown sugar rubbed salmon. Can you say to die for? I almost did by the way. Figuratively, not literally.

In case you don’t know, quinoa is a very versatile grain which can be used in place of rice, as cereal, in salads and in just about everything if you ask me. Last week I used it in place of oatmeal. Throw in Craisins, raisins, chopped ginger, honey and cinnamon, and you just might devour it in 4.5 seconds. The fried “rice” recipe is too much to post here, but the short of it is you use the veggies I already mentioned, plus onion and garlic (sauteed in olive oil), corn, carrots, peas (I used snow peas), green onion, egg, ginger and soy sauce, low sodium of course. That pretty much sums it up.

The brown sugar rubbed salmon is a bit time consuming. It’s suggested that you let it marinate in the fridge in soy sauce and Mirin for four hours or overnight. (But I’m impatient. Mine sat for about two and a half hours). Then, you pat the salmon dry, rub it with olive oil, then rub it with brown sugar (I used light brown sugar) and bake it at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until the salmon flakes. I wish I could use expletives to describe what I’m feeling right know by just typing about it, but this is a PG-rated blog.

I know what some of you are thinking: “You’ll get tired of leftovers after a few days.” I don’t plan on eating salmon for the rest of the week, but the fiber, protein and calcium packed quinoa fried “rice” will be a part of lunch and dinner. I got a little out of hand and cooked a giant pot of it.

As for the harebrained idea of watching what goes in my mouth, my friend Carla and I are keeping tabs on each other. Everyday we e-mail each other a food log of what we ate. On Mondays we weigh in and whoever lost the most weight gets five bucks from the person who didn’t. Ten dollars goes to the other person if you gained, even if they didn’t lose an ounce. It’s not too much pressure because our main focus is to be healthier, not super-model thin. So far so good, although we both veered off the path a bit over the weekend. I made cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Shoot me. No worries though because the beau will most likely eat 95 percent of them. Literally!

In conclusion, the Internet is your friend when you need to be inspired to try something different in the kitchen. I felt like I could have been on Chopped or some other competitive cooking show on Sunday. It feels good to know that what you prepare is good for you and tastes good, too! I strongly encourage those of you who use the stove to store sweaters to actually use it for what it’s made for: cooking. Go sign up for a Pinterest account, search for recipes and have at it!

Leilah Reese is a news aide at The Washington Post. For more updates on her fitness goal of losing 32 pounds before turning 32, follow her on Twitter and check here each Tuesday for a new blog post.

More from The Root DC

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Erika Nicole Kendall of ‘A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss’: Working out without losing your curves

Kick starting my weight-loss journey

Are some people just meant to be fat?

Maintaining your hair and your health

Riding on two wheels to a healthier life



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