Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Foods Worth The Cheat

Gone are my weekend cheats. Everything now is about focus and getting through the weekend without cheating…something I have not had to do for years.

I’ve stuck to it but I must confess - there are just some things worth cheating for.

I exercise portion control now and when I really want to cheat, I only eat one or two bites. That’s right. 6 months ago I would have wolfed down the entire thing. Now I take a bite or two and quit.

Where do I get all of this self control? When I acknowledged the fact that I needed to lose a few pounds, I committed myself to doing it. It was that simple. Like I’ve said before, there is no middle ground for me.

Is it easy? Absolutely not – I love sweets too much to deprive myself totally so that’s why I only do it sometimes. Trying to stick to a staunch routine will not work for me. In fact, that’s the first thing I think you need to do when you want to lose weight – figure out a routine that is realistic.

For instance, if I am going to cheat and eat a hamburger, I not going to eat an ordinary run of the mill burger. I’m going to have one worth cheating for.

So, in no particular order, here are some of the things that I think are worth cheating for…

1) Bacon Long John from Bennisons – 1000 Davis Street, Evanston
Thank goodness they make this cheat available only on the weekends…when I am usually NOT in Evanston.

2) Double Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache from Wimsa – 24 East Scranton, Lake Bluff
Hands down, WIMSA’s takes the cake on this one and puts every other restaurant and bakery in the game of trying to play catch up.

This cake is for anybody who thinks too much chocolate is never enough!

I love this recipe because it is simple. It’s not as rich as WIMSA’S but I’ll work on that and keep you posted. Almost there…


1 1/2 cups sugar

5 tablespoons cocoa

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups flour

1 pinch salt


4 eggs

2 cups sour cream

Mix ingredients together.

Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.

Bake in 9 x 13 pan in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes

When you make the Ganach, watch the ratio of cream to chocolate. It takes a little bit of practice to get it right but when you do, you’ll not use any other topping for a cake because this one contains only two ingredients – chocolate and cream and is twice as delicious as any other frostings I’ve had.


6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

¾ - 1 cup heavy cream

Chop chocolate into small pieces, and place in a medium bowl.

Heat cream until bubbles begin to appear around the edges (scalding)

Pour over chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes, then stir until smooth.

Refrigerate until cold but not solid, stirring occasionally.

Note: Some people add a teaspoon of rum to this recipe.

3) Kimchi Burger from BopNGrill – 1903 Church Street, Evanston
Take one bite of this burger and you’ll swear their Triple Bypass Burger has got to be your second helping.

4) The “Killer Combination” from Etzos – 1571 Sherman Avenie, Evanston
Truffle Fries, An 8 ounce Tall Grass Fed Burger with bacon and cheese and a Maple Malt…just like when I was a kid except I weighed 70 pounds back then.

5) The Chardog from Michaels – 1879 Second Street, Highland Park
On any given Sunday, the line at Michaels in Highland Park is long…but totally worth the wait! This dog is one of the best in Chicago and doesn’t even bite back.

6) Point Reyes Blue Cheese
When did I suddenly find out that I can eat Blue Cheese on anything…including breakfast?

7) Duck Liver Pate
I lived on it in Paris and could absolutely do it again.

8) Truffle Butter
A sure sign that the cheat is serious.

Bon Appetit and make sure your cheat is worth it!