Someone get me a spatula, stat!

Here we are, a month into our kitchen remodel, and I have a confession: I miss cooking.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no Betty Crocker, Betty Draper, Suzy Homemaker. Although Mikey and I cook a lot, the food we make is very “by the book”. In other words, everything we make follows a strict recipe. Take away the recipe, and we’d probably do something ridiculous. Like put butter in everything.

And aside from the act of cooking, I also miss eating home-cooked meals. Yes, we do have a stash of frozen casseroles in the freezer that we purposely prepared for dinners during the kitchen remodel. But those are getting kinda boring. Then, there’s the fact that casseroles really aren’t healthy. At all. So me and hubs are feeling the chubs. And when we aren’t eating the casseroles, we’re eating out. Double chubs.

So I’ve been making an effort to order off the diet menu when eating out. A few examples below.

Taco Bell  Every five minutes, my husband gets a Taco Bell craving. It’s hands down, his favorite fast food restaurant. He always gets a #6 chalupa meal and a bean burrito — no onions. I usually go for a chili cheese something or other. But earlier this week when I made a Taco Bell run in the pouring rain, I gave their Drive-Thru Diet Menu a try.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Because I thought the same thing. Taco Bell has a diet menu? That’s like an oxymoron. Taco Bell and diet don’t belong in the same sentence. But I found that the items are actually pretty decent. The ingredients across all seven options are pretty much the same — onions, beans, ground beef, chicken, steak, pico de gallo. But I’ve found that when pico de gallo is in the mix, anything can be tasty. I ordered the bean burrito and chicken soft taco (the two items on the far right) for a total of 500 calories and under $5 for both. Therefore, I approve.

St. Louis Bread Co. (or Panera, for any non-St. Louisans reading this) If you haven’t been to Bread Co., it’s a fast-casual cafe with baked goods, sandwiches, salads and soups. But eating a sandwich from Bread Co. is like an act of betrayal. You think you’re eating healthy with their fresh ingredient offerings and artisan everything. But something as simple as a roast beef sandwich is 700 calories! If I’m going to eat 700 calories, I would rather eat something worthy of 700 calories. Like lasagna or a gooey butter cake. (No silly, not an entire gooey butter cake.) Luckily, Bread Co. has some healthier options to balance out the high-calorie menu items. This Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad that I had last week was pretty decent. Tasty, filling and 340 calories. Therefore, I approve.

It's also advertised with the strawberry limeade frozen drink. Which I didn't count the calories on. Smart marketing on Bread Co.'s part.

Photo courtesy of FinanceFoodie.com

Nadoz at The Boulevard  Mikey and I eat here often.

Photo courtesy of Java Journeys

It’s a European-inspired cafe located right down the street from our house. And it’s because of things like their Fit-4-U menu that make me happy to know I can still eat there without feeling the love handles from their delicious Nutella crepes or iced mochas. Yesterday I ordered a 356-calorie buckwheat crepe with grilled chicken, mushrooms and spinach. And I didn’t feel like I was missing out on my usual Avocado Chicken Club Crepe. It’s a good thing when you can keep your mind focused on the healthy meal you’re eating. If your mind is wandering to Steak ‘n Shake or cheesecake, you know there’s a problem with your current entree. Therefore, I approve.

I’ve probably said the word “calories” in this post more often than I would like. Which tells me strange things are happening to me due to our lack of kitchen. Despite finding some healthier food options, I’m ready to get the spatula back in my hands. And I can only imagine how much more exciting it will be to cook in a kitchen that we (and Steve) actually built!

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