Boltwood: a new restaurant with some interesting offerings

My wife and I recently tried a new restaurant in our suburb of Evanston that has been getting a lot of positive buzz because its owner is a well-known local restaurateur. My top-line review is Boltwood is good, with touches of great but with some work to be done. I, as always, would like to see more low-salt and low-fat options, plus more creative flavoring in what is available.

But I did have some wonderful surprises there, especially when I allowed myself to splurge on a side dish I knew would be salty by its very nature (it includes anchovies).

photo 5

We started with a beet and grapefruit salad that sounded like an interesting combination but basically tasted like beet salad with the grapefruit pickled as well. It also has nuts in it, which is a turn-off for me but not for most people so ignore my personal taste on that. Continue reading “Boltwood: a new restaurant with some interesting offerings”

Naf Naf Grill: finally some fast food that isn’t loaded with salt, fat

I’ve ranted here before about fast food and other restaurants these days that tout selling “healthy” food when in fact their offerings are still loaded with salt, fat and sugar. Some, like the Protein Bar, in Chicago are growing rapidly with these false health claims, basically pushing salt on unsuspecting patrons.

So it’s nice to be able to write about one new chain in our area, the Naf Naf Grill, that actually has new, tasty variations on familiar foods using low-salt and low-fat recipes. A Naf Naf lunch once a week has become a special treat for me. The menu has Midwestern-inspired offerings, but Naf Naf makes its own low-salt pita bread and uses extremely lean beef and chicken for its pita sandwiches while keeping them tasty and filling!

The menu board from a Naf Naf Grill location in Niles, Ill. Other outlets have slightly different offerings.
The menu board from a Naf Naf Grill location in Niles, Ill. Other outlets have slightly different offerings.

This past weekend I visited one of the chain’s original three locations in Niles, Ill., and tried something it doesn’t offer at its outlet on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue near my office, a chicken kabob sandwich in a pita. Continue reading “Naf Naf Grill: finally some fast food that isn’t loaded with salt, fat”

Tilapia, zucchini and corn, a wonderful summer meal

I normally do most of the cooking in our house but recently my wife surprised me with a wonderful cookout meal one Saturday.

She made zucchini and corn on one of our Weber grills, basting the zucchini with a truffle olive oil we bought in Italy last summer.

Our tilapia, zucchini and corn dinner.
Our tilapia, zucchini and corn dinner.

I whipped up a main course of tilapia loins, purchased frozen at Costco, done with salt-free spices from the Spice House, which has outlets here in Evanston, Il. and in Chicago. Continue reading “Tilapia, zucchini and corn, a wonderful summer meal”

King Prawn & Pineapple Stir Fry

I’d substitute salt-free teriyaki sauce from Mrs. Dash, and leave out the chili powder because I can’t eat spicy dishes.

Stacey in the kitchen


Serves 1, multiply everything x1 to make more except the lime juice, multiply that by 1/2

Cooking time 30 minutes including prep

10 king prawns, shelled (if you’re lazy you can use pre-cooked)
1/3 cup fresh pineapple, cubed
1/2 red chilli, seeds removed, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh corriander, chopped
1 small carrot, shaved into ribbons
1 cup sweet heart cabbage, sliced
1/2 cup brocolli, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, grated
1/4 cup lime juice, fresh or bottled
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
1/4 cup reduced salt soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Low calorie cooking spray


Pre-cook the prawns by blanching in boiling water until white all the way through, take off heat and drain.

Prepare a sauce with the soy sauce, sweet chilli and lime juice – set aside for later.

Heat a heavy based frying pan or…

View original post 161 more words

Salmon with Pastrami Rub

I might be tempted to try this with no salt and half the sugar.


Bold flavors are the thing in my house. I cook salmon as often as possible, therefore I am always trying new ideas for flavoring it. I came a cross a recipe for pastrami rub for a meat, and thought why not tweak it a bit for salmon. Typically bold flavors go well with fatty fish like salmon, and this was no exception. The salmon had a nice flavorful spice crust.

  • 1 salmon filet

For the rub: Mix well together

  • 1 1/2 tbs crushed black peppercorn
  • 1  1/2 tbs ground coriander seeds
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard

Rub both sides of the salmon with the seasoning mix. Place in an oven dish. Bake in 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.


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High Protein, Low Carb & Low Fat Foods

A good list of some low-fat protein options. I’ve found a 96% lean ground beef as well.

Eating an effective amount of protein while staying within your allocated carbohydrates and fat for the day is extremely tricky. My best advice is to plan your meals around a high protein source and add carbs once your protein source is set. The following are the best high protein-low carb/low fat protein sources:


  • Hamburger patty 95% lean ground beef, 6oz = 36 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs, and 8 grams of fat


  • Chicken breast 6oz = 54 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fat


  • Tilapia 6oz = 42 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fat
  • Salmon 3oz = 19 grams of protein, 0 rams of carbs, 10 grams of fat
  • Cod 6oz = 30 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs, 6 grams od fat
  • Canned Tuna(in water) 6oz = 44 grams of protein, 0 grams of…

View original post 186 more words

Swordfish: a great, meaty fish option

I’ve been eating a lot more fish since my angioplasty in 2012. Salmon is my favorite and, so far, still considered healthy, although some disparage farm-raised salmon, which most salmon sold in the U.S. is.

Another meaty, fleshy fish that can remind me of my steak-eating days is swordfish. Trader Joe’s sells it frozen for $8.99 a pound, so about $4.50 a portion if you eat half a pound at a sitting as I do.

Trader Joe's sells swordfish in its frozen fish section for $8.99 a pound.
Trader Joe’s sells swordfish in its frozen fish section for $8.99 a pound.

Cook it through, unlike salmon which can be enjoyed relatively rare, swordfish needs to cook. Continue reading “Swordfish: a great, meaty fish option”

Outer Spice: a tasty low-salt approach to spicing up your food

A food blogger friend recently told me about Outer Spice, a brand of spices that offers no-salt and low-salt varieties. I’m always searching for low- to no-salt ways to give some taste to my post-angioplasty diet these days, so I got in touch with the Texas-based company and asked for samples to review.

Two varieties of Outer Spice, which offers no-salt and low-salt blends.
Two varieties of Outer Spice, which offers no-salt and low-salt blends.
The Outer Spice nutrition label for the salt-free spicy mix.
The Outer Spice nutrition label for the salt-free spicy mix.

I received the no-salt Outer Spice Spicy blend and Outer Spice original with sea salt — 95 mgs per half teaspoon. Tasting them straight out of the jars, the spicy variety tasted perhaps more spicy than I normally eat while the other tasted fine, if a bit salty to my palate which is largely devoid of salt these days. Continue reading “Outer Spice: a tasty low-salt approach to spicing up your food”

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