Friday, February 17, 2012

Restaurant Review: Native New Yorker, Show Low Arizona


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As you may know, I started a diet in January. It was my New Year’s resolution to make 2012 the year I would lose weight. After getting off to a slow start (I’ve only lost 5 pounds total so far!) I decided to gradually add back in some foods with a bit more fat and calories. I think one of my mistakes was to almost completely get rid of all the fat in my diet and stick to a low (1,200) calorie diet. My body went into shock and storing up fat because it didn’t know when the next good meal was coming.

Consequently, I’ve gone with my husband to the Native New York in Show Low the past couple weekends. It’s in a convenient location for us and has a nice, well-rounded menu (unless you’re dieting…). We went into the bar and played the trivia game while we enjoyed a beer and a glass of wine and then ate. The service was great (most likely because we were sitting right in front of the bartender) and the ambience typical of a sports bar.

Review of Native New Yorker, Show Low February 4 and February 11, 2012

The first time we went, my husband ordered the fish sliders and I opted for NNY Bruschetta. My husband enjoyed the sliders, which came out hot and moist along with a large helping of French fries. These are nicely seasoned home fries, with a good mix of thick, chewy pieces (my husband's fave) and thinner, crunchier ones (my faves). My bruschetta was quite good, topped with spinach and artichoke chunks and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. The garnish was a mild salsa which was kind of an odd choice, but went pretty well with the bread. My husband and I both finished our plates (and I even sneaked a fry or two off his plate).

The second time we visited Native New Yorker, my husband ordered the boneless Native wings in both medium and hot versions (this is the dish NNY is best known for), which were served with the ubiquitous celery strips garnish and a side of ranch dressing. He liked the hotter wings best and easily finished his plate. I tried the spinach and artichoke dip this time, which is served with tri-color tortilla chips. I’ve had this appetizer at NNY before and I remembered it to be better than it was this time. I don’t know if this was just an “off” day or if the recipe has changed, but the dip was almost tasteless. As for the spinach and artichokes? The spinach was nowhere to be seen and the artichokes were pathetic, which to me means they were either chopped really, really small or perhaps it was just a dehydrated seasoning packet that was added to the cheesy base. Because I was hungry I finished it all, but I had to add salt and pepper to the dip to make it palatable. Even the chips were barely salted and tasted like a lot of nothing.

The lesson here is that if you’re going to a restaurant like Native New Yorker, be prepared to ditch your diet and go with one of the house specialties, such as a sandwich or pizza or wings. Even the salads are full of calories so there’s really no low-fat or low-cal choice on the menu. If you’re looking for a family-friendly, comfortable place to watch the game and have a beer, Native New Yorker fits the bill – but don’t expect fine dining or great food.

The scores for Native New Yorker Show Low are as follows (on a scale from * to *****):

Food: ***
Service: ****
Ambience: ****

Native New Yorker on Urbanspoon

Chocolate Crackers Bars Recipe

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Here’s an update on my weight loss journey – during this week of Valentine’s Day, I’ve completely blown my diet. Yep, I made beef filet and lobster tails for my sweetie on Valentine’s Day, we had a potluck at my women’s Bible study group, and then I made this recipe for a yummy dessert to share with my husband.

The worst part of all that? This yummy dessert. It’s deceptively simple to make, with only 4 or 5 ingredients, but I’m addicted to the bars (I got the recipe from the Spark People website so I thought it would be somewhat healthful and not bad on calories). I mean literally, I just can’t muster enough self-control to stay away from them. So…I’ve gained back 1 pound, which isn’t too bad, overall. My goal now is to get rid of the remaining chocolate bars and get back on track. And I will never, ever make these bars again while I’m trying to watch my weight!

Try making these bars and tell me if they are addictive as I think they are…

Chocolate Crackers Bars

20 Saltine crackers
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Powdered sugar or finely chopped nuts (about ¼ cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 13 x 9 inch rimmed baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Lay crackers in the bottom of the pan. Melt butter in the microwave; add sugar and still until well combined. Drizzle evenly over the crackers.

Bake for 10 minutes, until sugar caramelizes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Pop the pan back into the oven for about a minute, just until the chocolate starts to melt. Remove from oven and use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly across the top of the crackers. Sift powdered sugar over the top and/or top with nuts.

Makes 20 pieces with about 100 calories each (that is if you can eat only one piece... I dare you to try!)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tuna Salad Nicoise Recipe

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If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I try my hardest to get my husband on the healthy, veggie eating bandwagon. He’s pretty good about trying things although sometimes strange colors upset him (he thought purple potatoes, for instance, were just “wrong”). However, knowing that he likes tuna salad sandwiches, I decided to try this recipe for dinner one night. Success! Although he didn’t say he’d ask for this dish again, he cleaned his full plate, which is good enough in my book.

For the ultimate in fresh color to tempt your vision as well as you palate, use different varieties of the base ingredients. I’m not adding specific measurements because with this salad, you only need to pile the ingredients on the plate so use whatever you have or whatever ratio is most delicious to you and your family. The recipe below makes one full plate of hearty salad.
This salad is a feast for the senses and sure to tempt even the pickiest veggie eater.

Tuna Salad Nicoise

Mixed baby greens and/or herbs
1 packet of tuna in olive oil (or 1/4 pound freshly grilled tuna steak)
3 baby potatoes, boiled (use purple, red or yellow or a combo)
1 hardboiled egg, peeled and cut into quarters
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted (use a cherry pitter)
1 green onion, white and green parts sliced on the diagonal
Green beans or asparagus spears, cooked and tossed with Italian dressing
4 Baby heirloom tomatoes, halved and tossed with strips of fresh basil
Your favorite oil and vinegar salad dressing

To assemble salad, place greens in center of plate. Top with tuna. Surround salad with remaining ingredients. Grind a bit of black pepper over the top. Drizzle with salad dressing.