Carbs-A Love(less) Story

Carbs. A love affair from long ago.

You wooed me and I loved you in return.

Pffffhhhhht. But now just don’t like me anymore, you cad. I turned 40, some demon out there flicked a switch and now you have become the enemy.

I can remember, clear as a bell, being 17 in France, walking through the streets of Paris. And Monaco. And Cannes. And Nice…with freshly baked baguettes. For lunch, for snack. For no reason. Just get me one. And I had never been thinner (granted, I was 17, but still). They aren’t kidding when they say that youth is wasted on the young. IT IS! If I had known this was coming, I would have stocked up, brought them home with me on the plane, then ordered some over the non-existent internet.

I’m trying to still have somewhat of a working relationship with carbs…as in I’ll eat just a wee bit of you and then please, just don’t treat me so frightfully, ok? That said, I have my ears perked for non-carb-laden meals. On a serious note, you realize how many of them you eat when you are trying NOT to eat them, or at least, eat less of them. Or the good ones, not the bad ones.. Ugh. It’s cruel, I tell you, simply cruel.

*I’d give my eye teeth for a crusty piece of Brooklyn baked Italian bread right now*

Whatever. Don’t gorge on the bread of the Italians, just eat like the French instead, or so the books say. Teeny plates, no seconds, laughing with each bite, red wine in hand…I can handle parts of that. I think.

No one said anything about carbs being like this when you hit…eh-hem….certain ages. These little, delightful surprises that no one in the club tells the other soon-to-be club members about for fear that they will not join the club. Had I known this about carbs, my membership may have been in serious jeopardy.

So, I will do what I must do. Have just wee bits of you and try to be elated by them. Oy. This should be humorous, considering that the Sicilian side of me wants to have bread with every meal. But my fear of my Sicilian side becoming a rather *large*other side propels me to follow the French ways. Or die trying.

I tried this recipe the other night and shock-of-shocks, everyone at my table enjoyed it. Hubby even gave it the “put it in the rotation” good review. Score! And score two more points for it being sans carbs (for me and husband, the kids put the filling in tortillas). I sound pathetic and I’m laughing at myself or even writing this post.

The Carb-less Wonder

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken, courtesy of Cooking Light
*I left out the Thai chili and skipped the Spicy part of this recipe. Certain family members wouldn’t dig it if it were present. Was still delish.

4 tsp. canola oil, divided
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
4 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1 lb. ground chicken
*2 Tb. Thai or serrano chilis, minced
1 Tb. fish sauce
2 tsp. dark brown sugar
2 tsp. lower-sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup basil leaves (chiffonade or whole, your choice)
1 Tb. fresh lime juice
4 lime wedges
one head Boston lettuce

Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp. oil to pan. Swirl to coat. Add shallots; saute 2 minutes. Add bell pepper; saute 1 minute. Add garlic; saute 30 seconds. Remove shallot mixture from pan.

Add remaining 2 tsp. oil to pan. Swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes or until browned. stirring to crumble. Drain well. Return chicken to pan over medium heat. Add chiles, if using. Cook 1 minute. Add shallot mixture to pan. Stir in fish sauce and next 3 ingredients (through black pepper); cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove pan from heat; stir in basil leaves and lime juice. Depending on size of washed and dried leaves, pile enough meat mixture to be able to gather up lettuce leaf and eat as a gently-folded wrap.

Serve with a side of coconut rice. Ok, so that’s not totally carb-less…but it’s tasty. Enjoy!

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