GINNA PARSONS: New Year’s resolutions start early with more healthful choices

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Well, here we are, on the brink of another year. And I am a full 15 pounds heavier than I was at this time a year ago.
What happened, you ask? Mostly poor choices on my part, including larger-than-life portions, a return to regular Cokes and frequent trips through the drive-throughs where I was happily handed burgers and fries.
My trips to the Wellness Center dropped from 20 visits a month to eight.
Was there stress in my life that contributed to my backslide? Well, sure, but isn’t everyone stressed? Did I run short of time some nights and opt for the pizza delivery man? Yes, but that’s just an excuse.
And, unfortunately, none of my excuses are valid. I simply got lazy and bored and I returned to my old high-fat, comfort-food ways.
When I went to get dressed Saturday evening for Christmas Day dinner and I had to change shirts four times to find one that fit comfortably, I told my husband, “That’s it. Tomorrow, I go back to my healthful ways.”
And I did. I spent Sunday munching on whole wheat toast and turkey sausage links at breakfast, chicken noodle soup at lunch and baked turkey with green beans and low-fat potatoes at supper.
Monday I ate well again and even added a trip to the gym.
I’m particularly upset with myself because I remember how hard I worked in 2007 and early 2008 to take off 56 pounds.
And while I’m motivated to take this added weight off, I need to find a way to stay motivated and to remain motivated long after the goal has been reached.
I’ve got a couple of friends who are on board to get healthier in 2011. Perhaps, together, we can keep one another on track.
Meanwhile, here’s a recipe I discovered in 2007 that was healthful and delicious. I plan to make it a staple in my diet once again.
This recipe calls for 11⁄4 cups of Parmesan cheese. I use only 3⁄4 cup of it in the sauce and I don’t sprinkle the final 1⁄4 cup on at the end, and mine is still plenty rich. If you follow the recipe as written, each serving has about 13 grams of fat and 400 calories.

Fettuccine Alfredo
1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
13 cups 1 percent milk
14 cups grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons
13-less-fat cream cheese
12 teaspoon salt
4 cups hot cooked fettuccine (8 ounces uncooked)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Cracked black pepper

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in flour. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook 6 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, cream cheese and salt, stirring with a whisk until cheeses melt. Toss sauce with hot pasta. Sprinkle with remaining 1⁄4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and chopped parsley. Garnish with black pepper. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.

Click video to hear audio