Monday, December 31, 2012

You do your chores, I'll do mine

Usually my fiance and I do just about everything together; cooking, cleaning, shopping, running errands, laundry, and even a bit of car work (handing him wrenches and paper towels counts, right?). But today is a "you do your chores and I'll do mine" kind of day.

One of the best things I learned from an etiquette column was in response to a woman whose husband refused to write thank-you notes for birthday gifts he recieve. The columnist answered "Whatever happened to 'You do your chores, I'll do mine' ?" Suggesting that this woman should write the guests of the party she threw for her husband, thanking them for attending and also dropping a line in about how much her husband loves the gift. After all, there are different things that men and women are expected to do.

Now don't get me wrong, I consider myself progressive! But after carefully observing and reading about the differences between men and women, it has become clear that there are certain things that women are more inclined to do--like the dishes--that men will most definitely forget. Then there are certain things that would drive a woman nuts if she had to deal with that a man can tackle with a little crumbling and cursing but will feel so amazing after it's over; like fixing the car (which is precisely what Garrison's task is today).

So my plan for today is to write thank-you's for our Christmas presents, clean the apartment and then zone out on some piece of cardio equipment whilst watching a tv movie.

In other news, I tossed my charred toast and didn't feel too sorry about it. And yes. I ate way too much crap at the party anyhow. I've also mapped out my Master Cleanse ease-in. Today my diet shall be "normal" but I'm basically cleaning up the leftover perishables and procuring raw fruits and veggies for the next couple of days. The day before the cleanse, I plan to drink smoothies and juices.

Saturday, I will start the Master Cleanse or "lemonade diet," as some call it. "Diet" is somewhat of a dirty word to me. It makes me think of punishment and a lot of low-calorie, yet highly-processed foods. Diets are meant to help you lose weight but not become healthy. Cleansing is meant to rid your body of toxins and thereby help you become more healthy. Weight loss is an inevitable side bonus since what you consume in the cleanse is limited to your "main course" of a lemon juice, water, maple syrup, cayenne cocktail plus herbal laxative tea, a salt water flush, and all the filtered water you can drink. 

I did this cleanse last year in February and blogged about it. I'm interested in seeing the similarities between 2012's and 2013's. I didn't ease-in last time so I hope to see some major differences.

I'm using these two days off to get some cleaning done. I started with the fridge and now it is immaculate! But alas I don't have a picture to share because the camera went with my fiance to document some car work. I will put it up later so stay tuned! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Away from my kitchen!

For Christmas, my fiance's family decided that we needed to be ripped away from the comforts of our kitchen for an entire seven days filled with outdoor winter activities and tons of processed food. Also, that my desire to eat whole foods needed to be mocked.

Wow, that sounded a little harsh didn't it?

Okay, I'll admit not all the food we ate was processed since a lot of it was from classy restaurants. I wasn't mocked either. It was merely suggested by the future Physician's Assistant that antioxidants could help undo the damage caused by the free radicals released by the heat treated vegetable oil that inevitably makes its way into foods we eat. And I did my fair share of dishing it out when I suggested my future father in law could attribute his hair loss to the rapeseed oil in his beloved Skippy peanut butter.

So let me try again.

In your own kitchen, you very much have control over the methods in which your food is prepared. In someone else's kitchen, even if you're given a touch of free reign, not so much. In your own town you also know the right place to shop in order to find the foods you prefer to eat. I've never appreciated Wegmans more! Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say.

But I have returned home to my lovely canisters filled with brown stuff and my cute little Frenchy in which I meticulously brew delicious coffee meant for the sophisticated addict's taste buds.

This is what wooden spoons look like when they haven't been used for a week. WHO KNEW!?!?!?

I won't rehash every detail of my trip but I will tell you I'm excited for my extreme recovery after the period of moderate indulgence.

My man's youngest brother bought two bagels from the grocery store the other night and after two days of them sitting in a paper bag and a 3.5 hour car trip, he decided he didn't want them. "I'm wasteful," he said. I appreciated his honesty. I, however, am not wasteful. Alas. I don't eat white bagels. Or at least I declare I don't until I accidentally do.

It just so happens that I'm attending a party this afternoon so I thought I'd put these bad boys to good use. I cut through their stale crusts and made small bruschetta toast size pieces. I figured they would be tasty to the average palette if I tossed them with herbs and oil and toasted them. So I did like I did when I make bruschetta. Well not quite. I usually brush on dried herbs, fresh garlic and olive oil. But this dish is for a party, not for me.

So I dumped on about 2/3 cup of canola oil (because it needs to be removed from my cabinet but I HATE wasting things I mistakenly spent money on) over the slices and added a spice blend I never use.

Maybe I'm recalling incorrectly. I thought when I did the brushed-on olive oil method that I left my toasts in a 450 degree oven for a good 10-15 minutes. Well since these slices were, like, totally soaked in canola oil...

is what came out of the oven after 8 minutes. No, those darker ones are not a pumpernickel variety. Now I'm going to see about salvaging the ones which were not burnt and supplementing my dish with something else.Oh! I almost forgot to mention that these are intended to be topped with a hot pepper jelly whose first ingredient is sugar. Gotta get rid of it somehow, right?

I've yet to work out all the details of my recovery but I know at least it will involve an all-organic, vegan ease-in to the Master Cleanse and a similar ease out with some (hopefully) permanent changes.Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I was given a gift. A very large gift. A large round, orange gift that probably weighed a good 12lbs or more.

Finally! I get to accomplish my goal of making a pumpkin pie! Like... you know, from a real pumpkin instead of a can!

Ok, so it's not a "pie pumpkin" as they say...the smaller round looking ones are better for pie because of the fibers or something. Pshaw. A pumpkin is pumpkin to me. If Cinderella's fairy Godmother can turn it into a carriage, I'll turn it into a pie.

So also bought myself a new camera and took some pics of said pumpkin. I don't have my card with me so I'll upload pics later. I didn't as many progress pics but I'm working on the whole food-tography thing.

Anyhow here are the steps I used to process my pumpkin.

1) Sharpen knife for a few minutes.

2) Have your fiancee slice the damn thing into 12ths.

3) Scoop out the stringy things and the seeds and set in a bowl. An ice cream scoop worked very well for this.

4) Arrange the sections of pumpkin on a baking tray and roast in a 300F oven for one to one and a half hours.

5) While that's roasting, add water to your seed and string bowl play in the slime, pulling the seeds (which should float) away from the strings (which kind of sink).

6) Pour the strings and water into a pan on the stove and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain and reserve your PUMPKIN BROTH!!!

7) The pumpkin meat slices in the oven should be tender. Some of mine had pools of what looked like water on the surface. So I dragged my finger through it and took a taste. It wasn't water, it was oil! And it was sweet! I picked up the slice and there was all this gorgeous oil resting at the bottom of my baking sheet! What I didn't lick up stayed in the pan.

8) After the pumpkin slices cool, get the ice cream scoop back out and scoop the cooked meat into a food processor or blender. Wear earplugs.

9) Puree until smooth.

Our pumpkin yielded about 21 cups, including the raw meat. We were definitely cycling the oven for a few hours with slices, one tray at a time. This is very much a weekend project.

I also tossed the seeds with the oil plus salt and pepper and toasted them. I ended up having to add olive oil but still I thought it was pretty friggin cool that I could the pumpkin's own oil to cook its seeds!

Now I get to cook with all my puree! So far I've made pumpkin pie oatmeal and a pumpkin smoothie. More on those with a later post!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I accepted a challenge to go 3 days out of a week without consuming any form of sugar except for fruit. I was successful for ONE WHOLE DAY! I had intended to do 3 consecutive days but by day 2...well, I folded.

I realized that I probably haven't gone too many days in my life without some form of added sugar (including, honey, maple, etc). Even in the days of yore when I was eating as healthy as I knew how to, I was still consuming tons of sugar-in my daily "healthy" Slim Fast shake and in my daily yogurt and granola parfait. Plus I was eating Peter Pan peanut butter by the pound and had a pb&j sandwich (not the kind I make now) pretty much daily.

So even at my skinniest, I've been a sugar-monger.

My wonderful Fiancee reminded me this morning of a memory I shared with him while ago. Back in 6th grade, I used to make a box mix of brownies every Friday night for my school lunches the following week. I'd package one for each day, set one aside for my mom who was teaching piano in the front room and then the rest would come to the family room at the back of the house where I'd gobble them up while watching teenybopper sitcoms. By the time I was done, my dad would come back from work. I may have saved one or 2 for him as well. Because you know...the consuming carbs in front of the tv was a habit I picked up from him after all!

Why he decided to bring this up over a steaming hot bowl of steel cut oats seasoned with nutmeg, cocoa powder, raisins and peanut butter baffles me. And made me sad. Why did my parents allow me to do this? Sure I was thin but I was eleven and a dancer!

Friday nights when I was in 7th and 8th grade were my choreography nights. I'd brew up a huge pitcher of orange tea into which I'd dump like a cup of sugar and dance until I was too tired or making too much noise for my parents to sleep.

My sophomore year of high school, after dance team practice I'd come home and help myself to a plate or two of cookies from the freezer left over from my mom's piano recital. Ah yes this was accompanied by a diet pop (I grew up in Ohio, ok). This is when it really started to catch up with me. By then end of my sophomore year, I was not skinny anymore!

Not to get all boo-hooey over my adolescence but I recall thinking that I was fat when I was 10. I looked at a 5th grade class photo when I was in high school and I said to my mom "I was so skinny! I thought I was fat!" Truth is I told myself I was fat because that was the negative self-talk I heard from my own dear mommy. I was always told I'm more like my mom and my brother was more like my dad. I do look a lot like my mom. I'm good with kids and a natural teacher.

But I love adventure! I like doing things outdoors- not all the time but occasionally. I love cooking, baking, and trying new things! I used to rip snails out of their shells and give their wriggling bodies to my grandpa to use as fishing bait. I enjoy (to some degree) helping Garrison work on the cars. I love raunchy humor and thought provoking theatre.

I'm really not exactly like my mom. I don't have to be! If/when I have children of my own, they don't have to be like me either but I HOPE HOPE HOPE I don't pass my bad habits down to them. I want to raise them to eat healthy and make good choices. Sure they might not follow everything I teach but I just want to know that if they turn out to be 25 and struggling with weight or body image that they can't turn around and point their finger at their mother.

Monday, November 12, 2012

For health or vanity?

I took a journey through Facebook last week and browsed a bunch of photos of me from my freshman year of college. Doing so made me feel terrible. How dare I torture myself so?

From my senior year of high school through my first summer after college, I lost 20-some pounds. I wanted to be thin because I thought a skinny figure was the missing piece of my success as a triple threat. In high school, I worked SO HARD to get the role I wanted. I made it my only ambition. I figured that since I was doing everything in my power to achieve my goals, I better lose some weight since I probably just don't have the right look.So I completely gave up all sweets and fried foods and had a Slim Fast shake for breakfast every day. I also exercised 5 days out of the week; Pilates, running, and light weights.

I got to college and kept up the habits whilst improving them some. I was still probably getting sugar and other processed ingredients but I was eating as healthy as I could to the best of my ability. I was also walking everywhere--on campus and off and never took the elevator to my 4th floor classes or my 4th floor dorm room.

I was looking HOT. But I started to take in my surroundings...people indulging in high fat or sugar foods....people taking the elevator or driving places...or not even bothering to get the Rec center for a regular workout. Yet these were theatre colleagues of mine who had no trouble landing a leading role in a play or musical. Or someone who was just a little chunky seemed well-liked by people anyway. This confused me.

I changed my habits in order to change the shape of my body in order to be a successful actress and be liked. When I look back on these days I have mixed feelings. I was thin but I certainly wasn't healthy- mentally or physically-- and I was looking for validation in all the wrong ways.

Right now on my diet of mostly organic whole foods, I haven't been sick in 9 months. I'd say with the exception of my occasional sugar or highly processed food binges (a different issue to address some other time), I'm pretty healthy! Well then why the obsession? I'm not thin.

When I was thin I had the vanity but not the healthy. Now I'd say I mostly have the health but not the vanity.

Forgive the lack of clever writing. I guess I've been mulling over this idea. I did not get what I wanted from being thin and engaging in behaviors that I thought were healthy. Since I know that such validation isn't available, even if I wanted, then why all the headache?

Plus I couldn't possibly duplicate the habits I had in college. I didn't drink alcohol at that time. I'll be damned if I'm going to deny myself wine and beer! The only dessert I ever ate was an espresso fudge brownie every other week from the campus Starbucks and now STARBUCKS DOESN'T EVEN HAVE THEM ANYMORE!! Everywhere I go is too far to walk, there aren't 4 flights of stairs at my leisure and DAMN IT, I go into work 8am Monday through Friday. There's no such thing as a 9am workout before my 11am class.

Sorry for the pity party...this weight loss thing is just too hard.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I'm posting all my food and commentary HERE. I don't feel like being the Head of the Deparment of Redundancy Department Head today so I actually will not be repeating myself today, actually. Plus the thoughts floating in my head today are not for public consumption. Till next time!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Package, restaurant, the ground

I visited my future in laws this weekend. They were powering their house on a generator and the  internet was down until about 5pm on Saturday so I couldn't update as much. Here's my food Friday through Sunday as I can best recall:

Breakfast: Oatmeal as usual.

Lunch: I had a turkey and black bean chilli for lunch with a few organic blue corn tortilla chips and hummus.

Afternoon: I DID NOT HAVE ANY CANDY!!! I’m so proud of myself. Except something very strange happened– I was very emotional/ angry. I started to think maybe the sugar has been like a drug for me and I was experiencing withdrawal symptoms. I believe I had a Larabar some time in the afternoon which is still a sugar because there's fruit in it but the nuts should slow down the they say.

Dinner: A natural pb and organic fruit spread (no sugar added) sandwich on 100% whole wheat Wegmans  bread (which has a pretty lengthy ingredient list). On the car ride down to the in laws I caved and had a handful of trail mix my fiancee made with nuts and candy.

Breakfast at 10am: Organic 100% whole wheat waffles ( my wonderful man did not add any sugar to batter) with real maple syrup and a slice of bacon and about 2oz of strawberry apple juice. I usually only eat 3 of my waffle squares but they were so light and fluffy this time and I ate all four. I was more than full.

"Lunch" at 3pm: A slice of cheese pizza we grabbed after buying a new car for me! I was starved! Oh and before we left the dealership, our sales guy Pete gave me one of those Quaker chocolate chip “granola” bars.

Dinner at 7 or so:  We went to a fantastic restaurant called Settler's Inn for my FMIL's birthday. It's a bit of a drive (relatively) from their house but well worth it for the amazing food. I had 6 pot stickers over Asian slaw as an appetizer. My meal was braised lamb shank over potatoes with some pepper strips and covered with some sort of reduction. I had one glass of pinot grigio and 2 glasses of zin. I did not order dessert but everyone gave me a sample of theirs: bites of flourless chocolate cake, toffee pudding, some caramel covered grain (I forget what it was called) and a homemade chocolate ice cream.

Breakfast around 10am: Two white tortillas filled with scrambled cage-free eggs, sausage, black beans, peppers, onions, and garlic  topped with salsa and tobasco sauce.

Snack around 1pm: A salted caramel hot chocolate from Dunkin Donuts. Again I employed the tactic of not ordering any sort of sweet so I got to mooch off my fiancee’s pumpkin muffin and my FFIL’s coffee cake muffin.The 2 Labradors had a couple of munchkins. I had never seen dogs eat donuts before!!

Dinner 5pm: I got to make a meal I would usually make during the week but to my FMIL, it was something special- chicken curry over brown rice. I don’t think the chicken was organic. The sauce was coconut milk and tomato paste that I seasoned with garlic, onions, salt, pepper, curry powder, cumin, cinnamon, and ginger. We also had a salad of organically grown farm fresh lettuce and spinach that we plucked from the earth THAT DAY (can we say yum?) topped with carrots also from the garden and store bought peppers, avocado, and a balsamic vinaigrette made with olive oil. 

If no drinks are noted, you may safely assume I drank water or black coffee.

We were also sent home with a pretty big zucchini and a GINOURMOUS pumpkin that I get to do great things with. Also, my FMIL doesn’t like quinoa (I have no idea why) so we also came home with a 3lb bag! Score!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

I noticed something...

I stopped blogging around the time I began counseling and also not long after my asthma flared up. Not sure if one or the other was the stronger influence. I wish I could draw some conclusions about what and why caused the lack of food tracking but since I have no record of my thoughts...I can't.

Anyhow. What I ate yesterday:

Breakfast: A half a cup of steel cut oats cooked with a sprinkle of chia seeds, raisins, natural pb, and a banana.

Lunch: Steak chilli, carrots and hummus.

Snack attack disaster: uncounted candy. There's two huge bowls sitting on the counter in the breakroom. I helped myself a good many times, almost brainlessly.

Dinner: Organic chicken fajitas on a highly processed tortilla that has some whole wheat flour in it. Odd that I mentioned my asthma flare up from June in this post...I made the same mistake I did the day before my attack; throwing diced raw pepper in a hot cast iron skillet. It makes a pepper vapor fill your entire kitchen. Then you inhale it into your lungs and proceed to cough and cry for 6 hours. This time it wasn't habanero, it was jalapeno so I thought it would be okay. Wrong. Well anyhow, we endured the pain so we could finish making our dinner, adding some veggie broth, garlic, onions and organic bell pepper and honey to the skillet. The result was delicious with just enough heat, a surprisingly endurable amount of spice.

I went to the OA meeting yesterday. Even though I was nervous again, I had a very good experience and I think I'm going to continue to attend. I don't know how much I'm allowed to talk about it publicly since I need to honor the "Anonymous" part of what I agree to by attending meetings.

Non-Food Thought of the Day: Lately, the sound of paper rubbing against paper or highlighter on paper has been giving me a weird headache. This is not helpful when I work in an office. Do you have any strange annoyances?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Plan

I am participating in The Healthy Apron's Fall Weight Loss Plan.

There, I'm sharing my food and exercise but I figured I can be a little redundant and add my commentary on my actual blog.

Yesterday I ate:

Breakfast: 1/2 cup of steel cut oats with cinnamon, raisins and natural peanut butter.
     I eliminated almonds from my diet for a couple weeks to figure out if I had an allergy that was causing my asthma issues. Eliminating almonds meant switching from smoothies to oats. Well I'm not allergic to almonds but I've been enjoying my oatmeal in the morning. Very yummy and warm for Fall and as a bonus, it keeps me from reaching for the snacks until about 11:30am.

Lunch: Maybe 6 oz of a steak chilli with about 6 carrot sticks dipped in homemade hummus, and a clementine. A half hour after lunch I had a Larabar.
      I didn't really need the Larabar. I just wanted something sweet. I always have sweet cravings after lunch and I usually give in since eating only takes me about 20 minutes of my mandatory hour- enough time remaining to drive somewhere and buy something terrible for me. Reaching for the fruit and nut snack seemed a little more virtuous than noshing on six mini Kit-Kats. However, I was already full from lunch and did not need to eat it. Excess calories are excess calories- healthy or not.

Snack: 1 green pear at about 4pm.
       I'm proud of this one since my afternoon snack attacks are usually the worst.

Evening Consumption: I didn't exactly  have dinner.
       I went to my friend's house after work to show her my costume and had a  glass of some sweet white wine there. Then I ran to my fiancee's place to grab the chilli I needed to bring to Chris (which I forgot anyhow) and ate about an ounce each of cheddar and pepperjack cheese with a handful of rice-almond crackers.
       By the time I got to the house where Chris and I were handing out candy (7:15pm-- I usually eat dinner by 6!), I was not only ravenous with hunger, but also stressed from the drive over. I was so nervous about running into the copious trick-or-treating pedestrians hogging both sides AND the freakin' middle of the road. Seriously. I'm never driving on Halloween again! Unfortunate stress relief: Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.
       Then I had a heated up lean-pocket and maybe 1/4 cup of frozen mixed veggies. Other things that made it into my stomach that night- a mini Hershey bar, a mini Whoppers packet, one mini Twizzler, another Reese’s cup, and a few nibbles of my fiancee’s frosted sugar cookie.

I'm pretty sure I didn't get enough water in the evening and I have and no exercise to report. Overall I think I had an ok day. Even though I noshed on candy, I feel better about having recorded it because it seems like so much less than it would have been in my mind...if that makes sense.

I'm going to another OA meeting tonight. Maybe this time I'll a little more relaxed.

Non-Food Commentary of the Day:
I got an email whose subject line promoted one particular Presidential candidate but the contents of the email was just bashing their opponent. I think that's tasteless. And I also hate that people assume that I want to be fed a bunch of Republican BS just because I'm a Christian. I also hate that just because I don't want to vote for Mitt Romney, people think I'd vote for Barack Obama. Most people suck. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012



Wedding world has a way of sucking a bride away from her blog! Being so excited about getting married has distracted me from my healthy foodness...which actually served pretty well as a distraction from the pre-engagement frustration. So essentially, I've been distracted from my distraction.

In more ways than one, food provided relief while I anxiously awaited a proposal. I'd either research recipes or read about how other people are cutting out processed food, healthifying desserts, becoming vegan, going raw, etc. or if the mood struck...I'd binge.

See, I've struggled since Day 1 of my current employment situation. There seems to ALWAYS be some sort of treat or simple carbohydrate splayed out for anyone to grab. At the beginning it was simply an indulgence. After I settled into my position, I ate out of boredom. While I was dying to get engaged and doubting my self-worth, I gnawed on whatever was available until my mind is was longer on my dissatisfied heart but my uncomfortably full stomach.

After I got engaged, I was still eating after I felt full, noshing on all the most unhealthy things. At this point it was habit. Bored? Eat. Sad? Eat. Even when cookies and bagels weren't sitting out on the breakroom tables, I still felt the need to get my sugar fixes. I'd go out on lunch and buy extra food or I'd sneak into coworkers empty offices to reach into their candy jars.

To top this all off, the idea I had in my head that having a ring on my left hand would make all my problems go away turned out to be false. Surprise, surprise! Wedding planing has surprisingly been an emotional time. I'm actually very shocked-- I thought I'd be extremely busy and tired but I there have been a number of things popping up that make decision-making very difficult! Stressed? Eat.

I had been seeing a counselor since early July. Also, my asthma has flared up recently. Between therapy sessions and doctor's appointments, I've been having to take a lot of time away from the office which made me feel insecure about my job. So I took a break from therapy and tried to see if I could find a free support group during weekends and evenings.

This past Saturday I finally attended an Overeaters Anonymous (OA) group that I found a couple months ago. It's the same format as AA where there's a 12-step program and before you speak you have to say, "Hi my name is ___ and I'm a compulsive overeater." I don't like that because I really don't want to be declaring that on a regular basis. What I do like about the meeting is that God is involved. Hallelujah! I sometimes forget that I have help even if no person is around. So the reminder to pray is nice. It was suggested to attend 6 meetings before you decide whether or not OA is for you. So I plan on going to 5 more before I make a decision one way or the other. God help me.

My latest upset was last night when I saw our engagement photos. The ones that my photographer posted on facebook weren't so bad but there were a number of them in the online gallery displaying my ugly stomach rolls and chunky arms. Barf. Now I'm realizing that while I'm really scared to get on some sort of drastic weight loss plan before the wedding, that I really need to regardless. I do not want to look at my wedding photos and feel that way!!

That's about all the verbal vomit I feel like sharing today. I plan to track my food and exercise on my blog starting now. I'll probably also share wedding planning woes and success also.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Sundaes on Sunday. But not for me!!

10am or something: Blueberries, peaches and pb and J wrapped inside pour-tillas rewarmed on the griddler. 1 blueberry, 1/2 peach with maple, 1/2 a pb and j.

I woke up and the pourtillas not dry. I figured if I didn't want moldy flatbreads in my fridge, we ought to eat these things as so as possible. So we pretended they were crepes.

12pm: Uhhhh a few nibbles of my whole wheat vegan brownies (I think). I definitely did not have lunch.

2pm: After Fellowship there was an ice cream buffet. I was asked to bring brownies. I'm like YES! Two things I can actually eat. So I made two varieties of honey sweetened brownies; gluten free (with eggs and butter), and whole wheat with coconut oil and a chia egg. Ohhhh delish! I had been prepping myself for this for a good 5 days so I entered with a firm resolve to only eat my whole wheat brownies and my organic strawberries. There were peanuts there too so I nabbed some of those. Everything else was sugar or high fructose corn syrup laden. I figured I just work too damn hard to blow it all on a damn ice cream bar when I haven't even had lunch. And even if it meant my waistline wouldn't suffer, I'm sure my sugar frenzy would have put me in a bad mood later.

Well...I was, kind of. Because someone was getting on my nerves and I never do well when that person is around. But if I had sugar loaded beforehand, I'm sure it would have been worse.

So anyhow.

Uhhh 6:10pm? Some chilli pepper triscuts (4 I think) with nut cheeze.
 I was starving but we were going out to dinner with friends so I had to have something to tide me over. I was hangry until they brought the food out at...

7pm: A "black and bleu" burger complete with bleu cheese and bacon topped with onions and tomato on a fresh baked white bun beside fresh cut fries and a pile of pickles and peppers from the toppings bar (at Zebb's). None of this food was according to my guidelines but we were at a burger specialty place. If I had gotten a salad, I would have been disappointed and jealous of my burger eating friends. I had already spent my food-jealousy earlier at the ice cream social so I had enough and I got a damn burger. I did not get a beer, though! See? Balance. I had a beer the night before.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I'm sick of store bought tortillas. The "whole wheat" ones we get are ChiChi's brand and aren't 100% and have a loooooong list of ingredients that I have a tough time pronouncing.

Wegmans does have a store brand 100% whole wheat tortilla which is nice...but it's "burrito style" so it's gargantuan! I don't want to make burritos at home- just tacos and fajitas. Plus it's really tough to wrap up. Oh, and it has a ton of ingredients, some of which sound too scientific for my liking.

I am not about to give up eating tacos. Before you tell me to just wrap it with a leaf of iceberg lettuce, let me tell you--that is certainly no substitute for the comfort of a soft flour tortilla wrapped around warm, delicious well-seasoned filling. No offense to raw foodists intended.

I've attempted to make whole wheat tortillas before. I combined the dough ingredients in a food processor, formed balls, covered  and "rested" my balls, rolled them out and THEN cooked them on a skillet one side at a time. Too many steps for me. Don't get me wrong, I love cooking and baking, especially making dinner! But when it comes to staples like tortillas, I wanted a simple recipe, a short amount of prep time, and to not have to get out the rolling pin and flour my counter, get it all sticky and then have to clean for an hour.

I couldn't find anything that fit that description so I did what rational person who can't find a satisfactory recipe would do. I came up with my own.

Garrison has a Cuisinart Griddler. This thing is comes with a set of Teflon plates. One side is flat for pancakes, the other side has ridges for making panini's or indoor pseudo-grilling. You can also buy waffle plates! I like playing with this a multifunctional and space saving kitchen appliance.  I decided  to test it out as a tortilla maker.

Here's what I did:
1 and 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups of water PLUS some extra to get a really thin batter

I headed the griddle to 450.
After spraying with evoo, I poured tortilla batter onto the bottom.
The oil on the top plate didn't go anywhere so I'm under the impression that the top plate never really touched the top of the tortilla so not much "pressing" happened. Once the green temp light came back on I took my tortilla off.

After a few rounds I stopped using the non stick spray. The result was fewer bubbles on the underside.

They aren't really like tortillas. They're more like pancakes. I think next time I'll leave the baking powder out and maybe make the batter even thinner plus leave the non stick spray in the cabinet. The flavor is definitely plain. I know tortillas aren't meant to be eaten alone but maybe I'll add honey next time for flavor and preservative benefits.Oh and they're still moist. I should have left them on the griddler longer to dehydrate them some. I don't want moldy homemade flatcakes in my fridge! I hate it when I let food go bad, especially homemade food. Sadness.

They seem to wrap really well though! I might try to use them as breakfast crepes this morning or eat more quinoa tacos with Garrison for lunch.

QUESTION: What are your easiest homemade staples? Or do you enjoy taking your delicious sweet time in home cooking and baking?

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Friday lunch didn't happen till about 3:30pm at a cafe called Jo-li-me setup very much like Panera but owned by a local who also has an ice cream shop, a bar/restaurant and big ass greenhouse. I ordered a Bella Basil sandwich with portabellas, roasted peppers, a little mayo and the tomatoes and onions from Garrisons sandwich. Weird though... it didn't have any basil on it. It came with a nectarine. Oh. And. I....had a rootbeer too. It had been a long day. Either way, I was full after finishing my soft drink and half my sandwich so I bagged the rest to go.About an hour later I was hungry for the rest of it so I chowed down. Dang those fizzy drinks!

Then what happened....

Oh I was left my myself watching Hulu. I was going to go to bed at 9pm but....I ate dinner instead. Left over whole wheat farfalle with celery pesto, the remains of Wednesday's skewer and a pit of parmesan cheese. Ah and maybe like 1/4 glass of wine!

Then I proceeded to embark on the very odd journey of dehydrating almond pulp in a 170 degree oven which took like TWO FLIPPIN HOURS! It was well after midnight when I ended up in bed.


Now I just pulled a pan out of the oven in which are the brownies that I just made this morning with said almond pulp. It shall be part of my breakfast :) I made it with egg and butter so it makes my day not vegan but I can at least aim for a vegetarian day.

12:45pm Haven't had anything besides, water, coffee and 8 square inches of these almond brownies whose texture I'm not a fan of...but the fact that they only have 2 tbsp of honey in them makes me feel pretty good.
I'm about to work out so I'm going to eat a my left over nectarine from yesterday.

1:30pm WORST WORKOUT EVER! I hate my gym and I'm quitting. I know they recommend eating right after you finish a workout but I'm just not hungry. I'm working on making sure I don't eat when I'm not hungry so I'm not gonna eat.

1/2 cup of quinoa
some chopped carrots and celery
some black beans
some apple butter bbq sauce which probably has more sugar than I'd like to admit. But I do like barbeque sauce!! Maybe I'll try to make some without sugar sometime. Actually I just looked at the ingredient list and it has butter, eggs, and anchovies. So this day was not vegetarian.

5pm: I was still hungry after my late lunch but I didn't really do anything about until 5 when the hunger cranked up a lot. I was looking at tacos on Pinterest and I REALLY wanted a taco. I wasn't about to wolf down some crazy amount of meat and cheese though so I got creative.

I took my quinoa that was in the fridge and threw it in my liiiittle saute pan with some coconut oil, garlic, chilli powder and chipotle powder. To juice it up, I added a few drops of my veggie broth to the pan. I wrapped my quinoa taco "meat" in a terrible ChiChi's whole wheat tortilla (which is vegan but also HIGHLY processed) along with some avocado, sweet onion and shredded organic greens.

I had two quinoa tacos and that kept me full for the rest of the night. I had about 2/3 of a beer when Garrison returned and sneaked a few nibbles of almond brownie while he sampled them and then had one bite of a home made whole wheat tortilla after I made it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Stew Beef... rather chewy. But I didn't tell you that yesterday because I was in a funk. Now I have to outline Wednesday night, all day yesterday and today so far.


For dinner, we grilled skewered onion, yellow zucchini, crimini mushrooms, organic green pepper, and organic grass-fed stew beef cubes served over organic quinoa. I was proud of myself for stopping the moment I realized I was full but then a couple hours later I was hungry again. Damn grains.

So around 9:45pm Garrison and I shared half a Hershey bar and peanut butter sandwich.


My breakfast smoothie was a little over 8oz almond milk, 1/2 a banana, a few frozen peach slices, a small handful of greens, and a tablespoon of chia seeds. As I poured it into the glass I got really nervous because it only was half as full as yesterday (insert glass-half-full joke). So I supplemented breakfast with a toasted (homemade) whole wheat waffle spread with crunchy natural peanut butter I ate that first because it tasted good with my coffee. Before I could finish my smoothie, I was FULL! Like nearly stuffed! But I kept slurping because I knew a full stomach now meant I'd be more resistant to the snacks at work.

Let me tell you...there was a flippin' buffet when I arrived. Muffins, donuts and warm white Italian bread. I didn't touch a thing...

...well not till lunch when I caved in and sliced some butter topped bread to go with my salad. Three slices. The Real Food Police have a warrant out for my arrest. But at least I stayed away from the more sugary options for the rest of the day. I almost grabbed a strawberry. I could tell me looking at them and knowing they were purchased at Wegmans that these were locally grown strawberries but not organic. They were definitely all small and shriveled. I did not eat it.

But 4:50pm was nectarine time.

5:30 Dinner- Black Bean Huevos Rancheros.

I heated a little bit of coconut oil in the cast iron skillet (coconut oil is supposed to do better with high heat so I'm trying to convince my wonderful boyfriend to switch to coconut instead of olive oil when we use the high-heat retentiveness of cast iron). I had soaked then boiled dried black beans. I added chopped sweet onion, organic green pepper, minced garlic AND a minced habanero pepper! These little buggers are small but mighty! After sauteing my vegetation a little all of a sudden my eyes started watering and I was COUGHING! Through the trauma I managed to add a cup of the beans. I felt like I was breathing straight up pepper gas. The fan was cranked up but we were still dying in the kitchen! I got so nervous we'd eat this and be breathing fire the rest of the night.

I whisked up 3 eggs (only one of which was cage-free, organic) with a splash of cow's milk (boo. I mean moo) and poured that into the skillet. This was when Garrison decided to join the cooking party (he was working on something before) to flip the egg mass.

This fearful mixture was wrapped up in a ChiChi's "whole wheat" tortilla whose ingredient list is longer than my hair...but what can I do? I tried making 100% whole wheat tortillas before and the results were not ideal. Oh yes, and they were topped with taco cheese.

My next endeavor will be getting Garrison away from yellow and shredded cheeses because of the artificial coloring and wood pulp additives. It's fun for him to shred block cheese anyhow.

I ate two of these without turning into a dragon, thank God! I was definitely sated by the end of the meal and I did not get hungry again that night until about 11pm when I was lying in bed unable to sleep. Ugh.


7am Black coffee and a smoothie: 10ish oz of almond milk, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, a WHOLE banana this time, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, about 8 leaves of various greens, a dash of stevia, and maybe a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder (I didn't measure). It filled my glass AND me all the way up!

Oy, that was long.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Hump Day

Last night I made my eggplant parm but it wasn't vegan this time as I used egg for dredging. It worked soooo much better!

I had maybe a total of 3/4 ww farfalle topped with 2 eggplant disks dredged in whole wheat flour, egg, and then whole wheat bread crumbs then baked in the oven (I skipped the deep frying). Then I topped it with about a half cup of sauce I made from a can of organic crushed tomatoes and non organic seasonings. A glass of wine was served with dinner :) I was not stuffed when I took my last bite. YAY! So I wasn't hungry later...but I wanted food. WTF? I had to empty the almond pulp out my mesh strainer because I had needed it for my veggie broth.In the process of doing so, I dipped a triscut in to see how it would taste. Too grainy. Not enough flavor. So that ended that. I had another ounce (maybe) of red wine and went to bed.


7:20- Smoothie with more enhancements. I usually use 8oz but I had about 10oz left so I dumped that in. I usually just sprinkle a touch of chia seeds. This time I measured a whole tablespoon and threw that in along with one banana, 3 tablespoons of natural peanut butter and perhaps 8-10 baby leaves of whatever is in my mix. IT WAS DELICIOUS! So thick and jelly from all the chia seeds and the greens blended with the room temp banana so much better than it does with frozen fruit. It's about a quarter till 9 and I'm still sated. I'm hoping that the giant smoothie staves off irrational mid morning hunger that drives me to eat some glaring members of the dirty dozen sitting on the kitchen tables.

I made it until Lunch! Wahooo!!
I didn't snack at all nor was I tempted to until about 11:45am so I knew I just needed to hold out another 15 minutes for lunch.

Lunch was eggplant parm leftovers with two slices breaded eggplant. I stopped eating when I was sated, not full. But now I'm sitting at my desk and I feel full. This tells me I could stand to eat less. And slower. 

Tonight's dinner plan is organic grass fed beef skewers with onion and an organic green pepper. I picked up the beef from Wegmans when it was marked down for quick sale and froze it.

I have a class I'm going to tonight and I'm not sure if there will be food or snacks but if there are, I'm staying away from the table. If there are just drinks, I might have some brewed tea but it's so hot here I probably won't want to.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Rest of Yesterday and Today

I didn't end up eating the greens but I did drink my defrosted smoothie. I made it a while ago with avocado, banana, peanut butter, chia seeds and *I think* some sweetener like stevia or honey. Or was it apple? I don't remember. Anyhow that was sipped up during breaks from dance.

I got home around 9 and ate an uncounted amount of chipotle Triscuts topped with cashew and almond cheeze (pulp leftover from making milk plus spices and a touch of olive oil). Damn that was good. Well a salty pseudo-dinner-more-like-large-late-night-snack called for some dessert. Garrison declared that he was craving Guinness and peanut butter.

At the same time?

I wish I had a working camera so that I could have photographed what followed this. I was up for dessert too. Not like I hadn't eaten enough sugar during the workday but nonetheless, I'm easily convinced and very innovative.

Hershey bar. Split down the center. Spread peanut butter on one half. Place the other half on top. Take a bite. Close eyes and utter low, satisfied noises.

Now for the Guinness. Those who know me are aware that one beer is enough to make me unable to drive and I still had to go home for the evening so we split a can. The half-beer sized glasses were in the dish washer so we used a different beverage receptacle: champagne flutes. Yes, people who read this person who reads this, I drank Guinness out of a champagne flute. It was terribly classy, I wish I had a picture :(

  • 7am morning smoothie: almond milk, blueberries, greens chia seeds.
  • Mid morning snack attack: fresh blueberries, a nectarine, one banana.
  • Lunch: Jar salad with extra dressing this time and a clementine. 
  • Post lunch dessert craving caving: 2 small peanut butter cups, a little york peppermint patty AND a small Carvel Resse's Pieces Sundae (shoot me now).
  • I've also been popping fresh blueberries (probably not organic) in my mouth whenever I cross through the kitchen.
The meal plan for tonight is eggplant parmesan battered with whole wheat breadcrumbs over whole wheat farfalle topped with my tomato sauce that has been steeping all day with red wine and other goodies.

I think I'm also going to attempt to make a whole wheat chocolate cake sweetened with applesauce. Or maybe I should attempt to play with my bread maker. We'll see how ambitious I get.

Monday, June 18, 2012


I  facking sahk.

"But Juli, that negative self talk is not helping you. Cut it out!"

Yes, I know but really now.

I went over to Garrison's office on my lunch hour because this thing called Mobile Market was going to be set up out there--something advertised as "Farm-Fresh Food delivered to your workplace!" or something like that. As we're walking, he says, "This better not be underwhelming." And it was. It was just your basic grocery store selection of imported fruits and vegetables from warmer US states and Mexico splayed out on the length of a table. None of it was organic. Thank you, goodbye!

Before I went over there, I had eaten maybe 1/4 of my Pinterest inspired jar salads which I just didn't make juicy enough. I was light on toppings and dressing because I thought 2 tablespoons of dressing was too much so I decided to try just one tablespoon. I didn't buy red onion or tomatoes. I didn't feel like peeling and dicing carrots last night and the only pepper I bought at the store was an organic green pepper because it's on the cheap end of the organic peppers (since I found out about peppers on the dirty dozen, I just can't justify paying money to pump pesticides into my bloodstream). Since I already topped my salad with broccoli and celery, I couldn't bring myself to put MORE green on my bed of greens (too monotone) I just sliced some peppery cheese on top for a liiiiiiitle color.The result? One boring non-juicy not exciting salad that I didn't finish.

Coming back from the uneventful mobile market thingy, I was craving fried chicken from the bottom of my stomach. I wanted deep friend chicken tendons I could dip in gooey ranch or honey mustard. I WANTED IT!! I didn't get it though. I got 2 small snack size chicken salad wraps on a whole wheat tortilla (probably not 100%) from Tim Horton's. The chicken salad wasn't mayo based which seemed odd. But it tasted a little like Ceasar dressing. I think it had red peppers and a nice big green lettuce leaf. Well see how that worked out? Might as well have gotten the damn sweet bell peppers with bug-killing chemicals and eaten my whole salad than consume something from a fast food restaurant doused in soybean oil! Sigh. I ate both. They weren't bad. Honestly I'd rather have that than something from taco bell in a white tortilla.

It gets worse.

I then proceeded to spend the boring part of my afternoon popping peanut M&M's into my mouth whenever the urge hit to sneak into Dan's office. And when I got bored with that I switched to the fruity life savers that someone stuck on my desk in candy dishes. Sigh. My job makes me fat.

I'm going to dance class tonight. I plan on maybe shoving the rest of the greens into my mouth while I drive and slurping a defrosted avocado smoothie right beforehand.


This will be incredibly boring unless you're a food voyeur like me.

I gotta log what I eat. When I don't, I'm no good at figuring out when it's okay for me to have a treat. So here goes.


8ish- Breakfast
Raw almond milk, frozen blueberries, baby red leaf lettuce and chia seeds. Blend. Slurp. Yummm!

10am: Natural PB and polaner fruit spread sandwich on Wegmans 100% whole wheat. Not a perfect meal because the Polaner has a few additives and so does the store bought bread. But hey. I was starving and needed something before we hit the road.

When I visit Garrison's family I ALWAYS get fatigued and a little moody.  I'm still trying to figure out if the what throws me off when I visit is the fact that I drink their ion treated water or if it's just the sum of environmental factors and mostly processed food. For example, his mom will cook meals complete with fresh veggies but it seems like a visit isn't a visit (to them at least) without a breakfast of Bisquick waffles or pancakes and bacon. Lucky for me, the maple syrup there is real.  But I know I do feel very different when I visit the (hopefully future) in-law so I was nervous about going this weekend because my prior week's eating wasn't exactly ideal. I did my best to combat it. 

1pm: Lunch at the Moseley's
 The offerings were sandwiches with deli turkey, ham or roast beef and deli cheeses on sandwich rolls or store-bought multigrain bread. After my lack of positive response to any of this, I was offered a salad! YAY! The spring mix was organic but probably not the other vegetable toppings. I had carrot, pepper, avocado and...uhhh... I don't remember. I topped it with balsamic vinegar. Then I started eating Tostitos "natural" blue corn chips with organic salsa. I don't think I'll ever be able to give up corn chips. Lisa at 100 Days of Real Food doesn't recommend tortilla chips at all since they're deep fried, usually in a highly processed oil. This one had only 3 ingredients: Whole organic blue corn, expeller-pressed sunflower oil and sea salt. I didn't think that sounded too bad. At least it wasn't canola oil! I think I ate a little past the feeling of being sated but I felt good for the rest of the afternoon.

Probably 7pm
We out to this totally swanky small plates style restaurant with my boyfriend and his family. Garrison's uncle Frank, the wine connoisseur ordered us a total of FIVE bottles between the 7 of us. The wine kept flowing all night long and I ate WAY too much food. I barely remember everything I ate but I loved every delicious morsel.


7:30am- Black coffee and some water--probably not enough.

10:30am- Brunch.
I was starving before we ate but I survived on coffee. I might have popped a few salted peanuts in my mouth while cooking. Garrison and I decided to force our choices on the family so we went out the night before to purchase whole wheat flour for the waffles we made Sunday morning. We topped them with pure maple syrup, butter, and bananas. Ah yes, there was also bacon. I ate past the sated feeling but only by a little. The advantage was not really being hungry two hours later.

I felt really energetic after. It was nice. I helped Garrison power wash his car. But then around 2pm I hit a slump and all I wanted to do was SLEEP. So I took about a half hour nap which felt more like 3 hours.

3:45pm- Early Dinner
New York bacon wrapped sirloin, an ear of yellow corn and about 1/4 cup of cooked organic quinoa with diced carrots and peppers. I definitely stopped when I was full but what was to follow sort of cancelled out the benefit of such.

Dessert: frozen bananas processed with cocoa, natural peanut butter, a splash of milk and a bit of chocolate temptation. Gosh...probably 3/4 cups worth of this "ice cream." It was delish. I ate till my bowl was empty.

So since all the eating was over by 5pm  I figured starting my nightly fast would be good but I was up for a snack by the time we returned from Wegmans at 10pm. As I was doing the dishes, Garrison was feeding me chipotle triscuts topped with isreali feta cheese. I don't know how many I had, maybe five. But after that I was thirsty because that particular cheese is super salty. More so on top of a triscut! Then I went on to prepare my week's worth of jarred salad complete with organic celery, some left over broccoli, homemade greek dressing, local habanero and jalapeno cheese and organic spring mix. After chopping my celery, I made pesto from the leaves with garlic and some cashew and almond pulp. Spread some over a rye cracker. OH YUMMERIFICA! That was it though. Bedtime happened around 11:30. I was not a happy camper in the morning.


7am- Breakfast; Almond milk smoothie with chia seeds, greens, blueberries and peaches.

9:30am-Snack; A ripe banana. I was dying to grab the sausage egg mcmuffin that was left on the kitchen counter at work but I talked myself out of it for 3 reasons 1)It's highly processed and I was a very bad girl last week, 2) It was cool so I would have had to reheat it and 3) Elaine put it there and I don't like Elaine. So I ate the banana and dealt with the rest of my hunger by trying to stay busy and drinking filtered water.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Before I delve into this allow me to affirm that I don't claim to be an expert. I didn't go to school for this stuff. I'm just a person with a lot of downtime at work who wants to be healthy, feel awesome, live long and look good. I don't have any certificates or accreditation but I do have a curious mind and access to Google.

My coworker (one that I like) told me she stopped drinking cow's milk.After some thought, it makes sense. Cows feed their young from their bodies with their milk the way we do as humans. When babies and calves grow up, they don't drink their mother's milk anymore. Cows' milk is not intended for human consumption.

Even if it were, the dairy industry messes with it so much; adds hormones, antibiotics, pasteurizes and homogenizes to the point where the cartons we buy in the grocery store are so far removed from what actually comes out of the cow's udder. Buying organic milk sounds like the next logical step but at my grocery store the only thing that separates the conventional milk from the organic milk is that the organic milk isn't treated with "synthetic growth hormone." Why should I pay more for this again? I don't want to.

So I thought okay hmmm if I buy an organic non dairy milk I can pretty much guarantee I won't get any added hormones or pesticides so I grabbed some soy milk. Silly me. I didn't read the ingredient list. Until my second round of purchasing this fluid (which cost me about 1 cent per ounce less than organic cow's milk) I had been blending my daily smoothie fruit with a processed food fortified with vitamins whose second ingredient was sugar!

Now. I HAVE to have milk in my smoothie. If I don't, it's a slushie and that's not okay. I gotta have that creamy texture or I'll be sad. Determined to find an unsweetened non dairy milk that hadn't been so highly processed that they'd have to make it vitamin fortified, I looked at every single carton at Wegmans.No dice.Organic does not mean unprocessed!

I decided the only way to find a smoothie base with less than 5 ingredients was to make it myself on my own kitchen counter. A lot of recipes I found for Almond milk required soaking, whirring and straining. I wanted fewer steps so here's what I did.

[Picture here]
Oh yeah that's right I don't have a camera! Well if I did, this would be a picture of a 1/4 cup of blanched almonds sitting in 1 cup of water in my blender. They sit over night.

The next picture would be me whirring my almond and water mixture in the blender.

The next picture is me adding 2 handfuls of mixed greens, some chia seeds and frozen cherries.

The next picture is me taking a drink of a green-brown mixture that's way to grainy and leafy and making a disgusted face.

The next few pictures show me adding honey and bananas and stevia and even the wretched forbidden cow's milk to the mixture to try to get it drinkable. Finally I succeed and I suck it down in time to leave for work.

The next montage shows this morning's endeavor to perfect it.
Soak almonds over night. This time I poured off a little water before blending. Then I added the chia seed and let them do their jelly thing. Then I added frozen strawberries and half a room temp ripe banana, a little coconut oil and blended. I left out the greens so I could have a control in my experiment.

The results! Tasty! LOTS better than yesterday. The texture is a little grainy because of the little almond chunks I didn't strain because...well I want as few steps as possible. And I'm sure that if I threw out the pasty almond pulp, I'd be throwing out some nutrients too. I want to keep the nutrients, they're my friends.

Tomorrow I shall add the grreens back in and see what happens!

Monday, May 21, 2012

If at first you don't succeed... are indeed a human being.


Tracking helps me. I hate tracking. But since it helps me I might as well do it.

Before I get into it, I've already started to get crap from people who I don't see everyday (I've already experienced the daily teasing from coworkers who see me with my vegan lunches) about my "Hippie ass eating habits." So Sunday when I started to not hear the end of it, I ordered a burger. Eh, I wanted one anyhow. I mean we were at Red Robin where burgers are their specialty. It's nice to have an express route to iron fulfillment so beef was what was for dinner. I subbed out a "whole grain" bun (highly unlikely that it was 100%) and got a side salad with oil and vinegar. 

I don't let this teasing bother me too much. I'm not at all insecure about eating the way I do especially since I know the direct benefits of doing so. What does get annoying is the persistence and regularity of these remarks. I can understand people who wish they had the willpower to eat healthy meals on a regular basis may feel like poking fun at someone who does. But is it so bad that they need to say something every day?

Moving on, I had a total dry spell this weekend and I mean that literally. I could not stay hydrated! I was thirsty just about all weekend so I sucked down water constantly and for some reason didn't eliminate much of it. It was kind of annoying...feeling like a withered flower all day long but on the upside, it set me up for today very well.

I decided snacking is the devil and I need to stop cold turkey. The French don't snack and they are thin. Mechanical Engineer Boyfriend (let's call him MEB) and I eat the same food for at least 2 meals together pretty much every day. He gorges himself on big portions of ice cream and cake when the occasion presents itself and has a much more relaxed attitude about processed food than I do. He is sexy skinny and I'm...well...not there yet. The difference between us? He has such a busy job he doesn't have time to snack at work. I'm bored all day and work at a company where donuts and bagels are presented once or twice a week and fruit bowls are always sitting out in the kitchen. Snacking has to go.

This morning I had a cup of black coffee followed by a soy milk smoothie with black berries, chia seeds and spinach. I ran the blender until the spinach seemed shredded and incorporated but the result was a REALLY seedy smoothie! It was like...chomping on small beads. Not very pleasant. I moved onto making MEB's smoothie with cow's milk, fewer berries and skipped the chia seeds so his wouldn't be as grainy. Well it was still a little seedy and tasted more like berry flavored milk with a "vegetably" taste as he described it after I told him I snuck some spinach in there. Booooo...Never using black berries in a smoothie ever again :)

I felt hungry about an hour and 20 minutes later at work. SERIOUSLY? But since I'm never snacking again (we'll see how long it lasts, okay?)  I decided to drink some water. Lots of water. At least 5 12oz stemmed beer glasses (I work for a funny company) full of water. Didn't eliminate any until an hour later. Dehydration, yay!

For lunch this week I prepared some pinterest-inspired jar salads with homemade greek dressing on the bottom. Yummeroni! I was surprised how many greens and toppings I could fit into a reused 16oz peanut butter jar!

I was full by the end of the meal but the lingering notes of vinegar and olive on my tongue told me otherwise. I expected this so ate a tangerine to cleanse the palate and tell my taste buds the salad meal was OVER.

I had a real strong chocolate craving hit me HARD upside the head at 3pm. I'm combating it with vegetable broth in a cup. What? I was going to hold out but I figured I should have some sort of nourishment before 5:30pm when I'm attempting to make dinner. Don't want to pass out into my white bean Alfredo with broccoli over organic 100% whole wheat linguine do I? No, no I don't.

I plan on having dessert in some form this evening. I need dessert.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I was a high school freshman when America suffered the terrorist attacks on September 11th. I was not changed by this. I did not suddenly bust out my red, white and blue to show my support for the country. I didn't scream out,  "God Bless America" at any given chance or stand for anthem in informal settings...well, until I was pressured. I didn't want to be patriotic autobot like the rest of the country.

It's not that I'm ungrateful for freedom of religion, that goes without saying. It's just that it wasn't necessarily cool to fly a flag until September 12th, 2001!

I like the fact that I was born in country that allows people to choose but I don't like living in the end of the millennium and beyond yes, you're what you own (Jonathon Larson). Now. Don't get me started on materialism and debt.

I don't like how we came to be a nation. I don't like the stupid traditions we've established in so little time. I don't like the industrialization of food. I don't like that our food-centered traditions don't revolve around truly enjoying every delicious morsel and naming every flavor note our taste buds detect. On the contrary, our food centered traditions involve overeating mostly processed food.

Cake is a like a nonreligious communion. Everyone partakes of something that was once one big piece. If you don't eat any cake, that's like saying you don't care to celebrate or honor the reason the cake was baked. And it isn't seasonal either. There are reasons year-round to have cake: weddings, birthdays, retirements, graduations, et cetera and if you are hosting such a celebration, your guests will think you're terrible if a cake is not provided. And then there's the nights where someone bakes or buys a cake because they say, "I just felt like having cake."

Thanksgiving is the day we eat nothing until about 4pm and then gorge ourselves on a very specific set of foods that are supposed to represent the Fall harvest. However, we procured all of our ingredients from the grocery store and while they may have been in season, we COULD get them year round. In fact the canned pumpkin from which you baked your traditional pumpkin pie is not likely from this years' pumpkin harvest anyhow.

This was supposedly (I'm not a history buff) done in remembrance of the first meal the pilgrims and the people of "Native American" (I have a problem with that term) tribes shared together. Uh, yeah, because the Pilgrims didn't have dominion on the land nor did they plant anything earlier in the year. They didn't have anything to eat. What this shows me is how the people of the tribes, who lived on this land before the English came over to take it over and tell the indigenous people how bloody unsophisticated they were, decided to make peace with these white folks and feed them.

Okay so maybe we're on the right track when we call it Thanksgiving. It's about being thankful for what you have because it could be a lot worse. I'd like to suggest however, instead of eating "Fall Harvest" food with our families on Thanksgiving,  we should give of our abundance to someone who doesn't have abundance but deserves it. Or if we're going to have a day focused on eating, why kill our bodies by knocking it out with one huge meal? I can imagine this land's natives eating until all they wanted to do was nap. I'm sure they ate like normal so they could have energy to dance around the fire later.

Another suggestion I have about new Thanksgiving traditions: teaching our children how to harvest. The fact that some people have to work for their food. They have to go out and catch their meat running through the field rather than picking it up frozen from the poultry section. What about learning WHERE the green beans came from, how the pumpkin grew, etc.

Christmas is quite another messed up holiday. It's not the day Jesus was born anyhow so why do we still exchange gifts? We should give gifts on Pentecost because that's when it was made available to receive the gift of holy spirit! That'd be a perfect time to teach children about the gift and all of its manifestations.

I would love to start a movement (at least within my own sphere of influence) of questioning our own traditions, especially the ones that revolve around food, and replacing them with ones that make more sense.

Tis all.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ok fine that didn't work

Not that it didn't work but I stopped tracking over the weekend and then I just sort of let myself fall off the horse.

Anyhow, I've decided for the next 4 days I will be doing the following things in preparation for my friend's wedding this coming Saturday:

1) Not having ANY sweeteners probably until Saturday morning when I have my honey-sweetened granola. I will help myself stick to this by eating some banana ice cream maybe one or two evenings.

2) 100% whole grains.

3) 2 fruits and veggies with every single meal.

4) Go to the gym every day except Tuesday (dance).

5) Lean proteins and limited animal proteins.

6) Consciously drinking more water and green tea.

7) Snacking on apples at work.

8) Drinking veggie broth at work.

9) No eating after dinner (except the couple of nights for banana ice cream)!

10)  Reminding myself that I can do this for 4 straight days and that it is only temporary. Once wedding weekend has arrived, I have 2 six-hour car rides to get through, a rehearsal dinner, and the wedding itself to get through. I'll be allowed to have cake then.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 4 of Real(ish) Food

After having a craptastic day, I woke up with a little more resolve to eat real. I hadn't had a smoothie in a long time. They make me feel so good-- I'm not sure why. Garrison was ready for breakfast and said "yogurt" I'm like "NO! Smoothie!"

I made his with cow's milk. Mine was 8oz of rice milk, 3 frozen strawberries, half a banana and a sprinkling of flaxseeds. Oh yum.

I came into work and (no surprise) in the kitchen there's a loaf of Panera's honey wheat bread to which I stuck up my nose and walked on by. Sadly now, I'm dreaming of a slice slathered in butter. CAN'T DO IT! I didn't do well yesterday and I'm going out to a restaurant tonight so I have to be real all day today.

Well temptation took care of itself! The bread disappeared within an hour so I didn't have to stand in the face of temptation. 

For lunch I had my chipotle black bean salad on organic whole rye Wasa crackers, 4 of them. After lunch I had a clementine.

I think 3ish was when I had a teaspoon of peanut butter. Not because I was hungry but because I had a chocolate craving. That seemed to take care of it and I'm good now.

Copper Top Tavern tonight! I will be surrounded by some friends of mine-- All married ladies 30 or older whose weight issues are a bit more serious than mine. The easy part is already over-- I snuck a peek at the menu online and called the restaurant to ask whether or not I will receive a huge dose of sugar in my meal (I won't, thank God I still can't get over the 2 cups of brown sugar on the kielbasa last night). The hard part is yet to come. The shared appetizers. Everyone getting dessert. The "Juli, want some?"s. The "oh come on, it's okay to have a treat now and again."

I plan to order a glass of Rex Goliath (red wine is on the approved list!) and sip it slowly while telling stories or jokes. I hope it works out.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 3 of Real(ish) Food

Breakfast was the usual: black coffee, homemade yogurt, homemade granola.

For my mid morning snack I'm noshing on my 2nd (huge) slice of whole gran bread. I think it's from Panera. If it is, I'm certain it isn't 100% whole wheat/grain. But I used to LIVE on this stuff when I worked at Panera and it's delicious! Toasted and buttered and I'm over the moon :)

OKAY so if I'm doing the real food thing 100% I can't have this but it's so nutty and flavorful! Too bad they didn't make it half white whole wheat. I would think that would accomplish their goal of less dense, more light and fluffy bread yet still retain the healthiness. Oh well.

Kate walked in after going for a butter run (yay we have butter now!) but she was also carrying 2 boxes of baked goods or donuts. They were out by the time I got to inspect what was in the boxes. PHEW! I didn't have to withstand temptation for oil and sugar soaked empty carbs.

But I had some Panera half-whole-half-white bread :(

Now I'm ashamed to tell you what happened with the remainder of the day; it turned out to be a very FAKE food day.

Well 12pm rolled around but I was still full on the toast. At work we had a visitor so the people in meetings with him had lunch provided; chicken wings and antipasto salad (iceberg lettuce drenched in oil, basically). Well the leftovers were brought out about 10 minutes before my lunch hour was over so I ... well...ate the wings and "salad."

Oy. At least it tided me over until the end of the day (give or take sneaking an olive now and again) but by the time Garrison picked me up from work, I was HANGRY! He was too. It didn't help that our task then was to go home and cook a dish to bring for our fellowship dinner we were having. I threw together some pasta with garlic, red pepper, olive oil and parmesan and some green beans sauteed in a touch off butter and fresh minced garlic.

I popped a cookie ball in my mouth before the prep began. These were the cookie dough balls I made Wednesday night with nuts, oats and maple syrup. YUM! Real food (except for the chocolate chips).

I think it was 7:15 before we actually ate. I had aforementioned grains and veggies along with 3 farmers market pierogies. The pierogies were white flour (fake) filled with spinach and ricotta (I think), garlic smashed potatoes, and buffalo chicken. What delayed the start of dinner was the peeling, dicing and sauteing of some turkey kielbasa Chris brought. I had already planned on not eating meat that night but I REALLY got dead set on not having any when I saw Amber get out the bag of brown sugar.

At first I thought oh okay she's just adding a dash-- that might be okay. UM THEN she started scooping the sugar into the pan by the ladle! After I thought she was done I stepped into the other room. Then I looked over my shoulder and she was still dumping more on!!!! I was appalled! A good 2 cups of sugar made it onto 4 cups of diced sausage.

I did end up having a couple bites. My pasta dish was spicy so someone suggested throwing the meat ontop and eating them together for the sweet and spicy combo. I tried a morsel. It was actually okay but that kielbasa was way too sweet for my taste.

After dinner, little plates were dished out with store-bought raspberry danish slices and chocolate chip cookies. Chris, Amber, Garrison and Kat dug in right away. I was at my spot waiting for Joe to join the table and take a bite. I wanted to see how long I could wait. I do love chocolate chip cookies. Finally Joe took a bit so I picked up my cookie and nibbled. Garrison ate my danish slice (plus 2 more from the pan) after I finished my cookie, I needed 3 more.


What a terrible day of (mostly not) real food.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 2 of Real(ish) Food

Breakfast at 7am was a bowl of steel cut oats cooked in water, combined with flaxseeds and Schmucker's natural peanut butter (let's call it SNP from now on). I topped it with a banana.

By 8:45am I was starving so I caved. Someone brought in what looked like fresh home baked bread. It looked like it was made with white flour. Might have been unbleached but white flour is still white flour. People were toasting slices and it smelled delicious. I imagined slathering a slice with butter! MMmmmmm...wait, there's no butter. Damn.

I did it. I toasted a slice of the non-real bread. I topped it with some sliced banana and LOVED EVERY BITE! And of course in an hour and a half, I was starving again.

Lunch was 4 Wasa rye crackers (100% whole rye, found in the organic section at Wegmans) topped with a veggie-bean salad I made by unmeasured spoonfuls. As I did yesterday, I ended my meal with a small amount of natural peanut butter that I licked straight off the spoon. It's so rich and decadent that it makes a great dessert substitute.

A weird craving hit me about 20 minutes ago. I made green tea instead.

Then around 4 I had a banana with peanut butter.

For dinner, Garrison had fajitas in 100% ww homemade tortillas. I ate mine out of Avocado skins. Filled them with ground turkey seasoned with habanero; peppers and onions; and topped with mashed avocado.

I was ambitious last night too. I started a batch of yogurt and make raw cookie dough balls with Hershey's dark chocolate chips (Sugar. Not real). Then I whipped up some chocolate with coco, coconut oil, stevia (not real I guess?), raw honey and rice milk. THEN I decided it was time to TRY SOMETHING NEW!!

I have made ice cream out of frozen bananas before but this time I thought instead of milk, I'd add a bit of Bailey's to the mix. So I did about 1 banana sliced and frozen, 1 tbsp of cocoa (too much), a dash of Stevia (not "real food"), and a few splashes of Bailey's hint of mint. It must have been the banana and mint didn't go well. I had to add some maple syrup (real! yay!) to make it go down easy.


Day 1 of Real(ish) Food

In the morning I ate homemade yogurt with homemade honey-sweetened granola. I drank some black french press coffee.

I'm sure I had a mid-morning snack but I can't remember what it was it may have been 1 or 2 clementines.

Lunch was a home made 100% whole wheat tortilla  filled with a black bean and veggie salad plus some apple slices. I was going to saute them in butter but we're out of butter at work. I ended my meal with about a teaspoon of Schmucker's natural peanut butter.

Afternoon snack was a banana with aforementioned peanut butter.

Dinner was a small green salad topped with chicken breast sauteed in herbs. Pretty real so far...until I added Kraft Greek dressing which has way too many ingredients to be good and sugar.

Then I ate an access bar. It's crappy. It's supposed to help you burn fat while you work out. Whatever. I think I may use the rest of the box as a pre gym snack until they're gone (who knows how long they'll last, I don't get to the gym much).

I wasn't sated after these items. I was really hungry. But I made it through two hours of dance without collapsing. When I got home I popped a couple olives in my mouth and heated up a cup of home made broth (scraps of otherwise wasted vegetables, fruit and meats that I boiled in party tap water and part starch water from boiling pasta).

During this night time nutrient drink, Garrison was feeding me small forkfuls of homemade (with white flour and white sugar) apple pie topped with Redi Whip.

Ok. Little bits here and there were not "real" so we shall continue on this journey together you and I-whoever you are--if there's anyone out there.

Ok loveyoubye.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

10 Days of Real(ish) Food

I have no desire to be a vegetarian, vegan or become a raw foodist or do the paleo diet thing. But I've been gleaning a wealth of knowledge on the benefits of each theory. I love my raw cookie dough balls and some of the awesome desserts I've made using unrefined sugars. I've long since switched to whole grains and learned to eat yogurt and drink coffee without sugar but the blogosphere has helped me push myself to the next level.

But's the problem. I love a lot of the authors' philosophies, especially the ones who say that you shouldn't deprive yourself of chocolate or whatever you crave but that you should indulge mindfully and with moderation.

I became really into the raw foodists and their desserts but they make me feel SO BAD for not being a vegan. I love my homemade yogurt, eggs, chicken and the occasional steak. I just wanted to find a blog or philosophy to follow that would allow me to heat things, use meat, dairy and eggs but be free of refined sugars and honest about which "health" product was actually going to be good for me. procrastinating day...pinterest guided me to REAL FOOD! The blog 100 Days of Real Food, to be exact. I have to say that this is the happy medium I've been looking for!

Ok so "Real Food" huh? As opposed to imaginary food like at the feast/food fight the lost boys had in the move Hook? Basically food that is it is most whole form and hasn't undergone a lot of unhealthy processing like hydrogenation of oils or stripping the brand, germ and endosperm off of wheat before it gets milled.

Why is this hard? Because the food industry is just that, an industry. They want to make money off of the fact that people want to eat so anything to increase profit (like increasing shelf life) is done to our food when all of us poor innocent Americans JUST want to eat!

I'm not as good of a writer as these other people.

On this nice lady's blog, there's a pledge you can take to do 10 days of Real Food and you'll get a wristband when you complete it. I want to sign up but I'm just not ready. I have weddings coming up in May and I have a freezer stocked up with quality, yet not specifically non-HMO, Organic, grass-fed, local chicken, turkey and pork.

BUT! For the next 10 days I'm going to track my food consumption to the best of my ability and evaluate its Real Food content. I'm hoping to gain at least some of the benefits. I'll start with yesterday.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Good Mornings and their Source

I'm a morning person. That doesn't mean I always jump out of bed with bright eyes ready to conquer the day. That just means that when I have had enough sleep, I can get out of bed and make a cup of coffee. The next thing I do is always going to be done well. The problem is, by 10am, that prime is over and self-discipline has to (but doesn't always) kick in.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Epiphany

I’m having an epiphany. 

Everything I’m struggling with in my relationship has very little to do with my relationship and most everything to do with my internal conflicts. 

I’ve been reading a book called Women Food and God,  a work intended to deliver emotional eaters from their compulsions. Binge eater or not, the author Geneen Roth challenges the readers to delve into their feelings when hit with the “inclination to bolt." We desire to escape ourselves, to flee from our emotions, fears and insecurities by running to the nearest source of solace whether it is chocolate, pizza, TV or web browsing. For me, looking up recipes and new things to be learned about food preparation and making healthier choices is my way of escaping what I don’t want to deal with. 

But now that I am three quarters of the way through the book, I have learned about the practice of inquiry. When the inclination to bolt hit one night, I asked myself questions. I asked myself what I’m feeling, where in my body, what its color is, what shape and texture it is.

I’m unsettled.

I have a swarm of vibrating thoughts like little red, orange and yellow dots vibrating together in a tightly packed school. Each dot is trying to get across the board like in a game of Chinese Checkers. But the dots just keep bumping into more dots and no one can get anywhere. What do I do? Do I calm down?  I take a deep belly breath. In through the nose. Out through the mouth. I am calm. The dots have stopped vibrating so maybe they can get somewhere. No. They just move slower and hit one another more softly. 

I have the false notion that marriage will settle me. That if all of a sudden everything I own is under the same roof with my intended spouse that I will suddenly feel settled and that I can see a thought through to its intended resting place. That somehow I will have fewer conflicting intentions. Or that I won’t have to pack all my feelings up so densely! 

I also am hanging my self-worth on whether or not I’m marriage material. That if someone doesn’t desire to marry me tomorrow that my youth with expire. I’m already scared of hitting the 25 year mark in my life in about a month but even more terrifying is trying to settle with the likelihood of not walking down the aisle until I am 26! Twenty-six!? Twenty –six is when adulthood is undeniable. Twenty-six means no more fun. It means responsibility, off-white walls, taxes, and no more youthfulness.  The pretty girls don’t get married at 26, they get married at 22 or 23. They are young, beautiful, they have vivaciousness in their eyes.  I wanted to be a young blushing bride. I wanted a flawless face and wide eyes to be revealed at the removal of the veil. I didn’t want to uncover the beginning of wrinkles in the outer corners of eyes that have seen harsh realities. I didn’t want the salt of commitment placed on the lips that have spent more time frowning!  How can a lady be a blushing bride at age 40?

I want to be a princess. A princess has youthfulness to be snatched by a handsome dashing man before she starts turn older. If I am not wanted as a bride at age 24 then I’ll never be wanted because my feminine charms only descend with age.  

You’re reading this right now, shouting “That’s not true!” It’s not. But it’s what I believe. I’ve seen the beautiful young girls in the ministry get married young and the reason is because they are virtuous and feminine and perfect. The women who have gotten married later in life are not perfect. They’ve struggled with their weight, their career, their emotions. I remember a woman in my fellowship when I was  around the age of 12 who always seemed to be crying. I thought why is she crying? What is it that constantly sets her off? Her and her husband-to-be were so in love. This woman was dying to make her nest; to settle down in a home with her love and raise children. I see it now. I see why she was so teary eyed during the least expected times. She desperately wanted to be married but circumstances stood in her way. 

Who is to be blamed for me believing this lie that if I don’t get married now when I’m under 25 that I will never have my beauty and feminine virtues to offer anyone? May I blame Walt Disney? The countless movies and love stories I’ve seen of beautiful maidens whose waist is tiny enough for their prince to wrap just his hands around. Their eyes, pools of crystal blue or green looking up at their prince in wonder. Their strands of hair delicately resting on their thin necks. This ideal of beauty played out in front of me as far as my earliest recollection! I watched a beautiful yet unique girl fall in love with a man, overcome one big challenge at the climax of the film and, all within two hours or less, they are at their wedding sealing the deal on unending love and happiness. 

Sure, I hit my feminist phase once I was in my teens. I didn’t want to be a wounded bird who needs saving.  I never dreamed of the day I could be a stay at home mom and bake bread for my family. That might have been when I changed my mind about wanting the fairy tale but it was too late to erase what I learned at my most impressionable age.  
Who else can I blame for the way I’m feeling? Mike who got my hopes up, made me feel like the princess I always wanted to be, and then abandoned me without warning? Marshall who threw scriptures at my problems and retreated at any sign of emotion? My mother whose negative self-talk weaseled its way into the depths of my heart and now I can’t believe anything other than I’m a horrible human being who needs fixing, a makeover and outside approval to make a move?  

It’s too late for the blame game.  If I’m to think about the issues I have with a clear head, I need to deal with what life throws at me responsibly. How can I deal with it if I’m treating the symptom and not the disease? 

I think I’m in the middle of breaking through something and I will finally be free soon. But before that, I just can’t make any honest evaluations of my relationship.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Granola Topped Banana

Since my yogurt turned into cheese (and I am not complaining about that--the cheese is AMAZING!) I don't have any venue for my home made granola. It's just sitting in the cupboard. Also sitting around are somebananas I bought a week ago. Now remember: brown spots=ripe=sweet!


I wondered what it would be like if I ate some of this granola over a mashed banana. So I peeled it and put it into a bowl, mashing it with the tines of my fork. Then I poured a scoop of granola over the banana mash. I bet you're wondering how it tastes too. UH-MAZ-ING!!

I'm on my 2nd one for breakfast. Yogurt is the farthest thing from my mind right now!

My Recipe for Homemade Granola
6 cups of steel cut/old fashioned oats
Seasonings to taste (I sprinkled generous amounts of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice)
1/4 cup of extra virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup (or more) of honey
1/4 cup of slivered almonds
1/4 cup of raisins
3 tbsp whole flaxseeds

1) Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Place oats in a high sided pan such as a roasting pan. Don't use a cookie sheet or you'll lose your granola.
3) Sprinkle spices over oats. Toss with a wooden spoon to distribute.
4) Meanwhile, heat coconut oil and honey in a small butter warmer until both are melted and combined. Pour oil/honey mixture over oats in a thin stream. Toss to coat.
5) Place pan in oven for 10 minutes, keeping a close eye on the oats.
6) Remove from oven and mix the oats around. You might find the ones nearer to the edge of the pan toasting faster.
7) If needed, place back in the oven to toast until the oats are golden-light-brown.
8) Remove from oven. Add nuts, raisins and flaxseeds.Toss and let cool for 30+ minutes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Yogurt! Errr... cheese.

I have been making slow cooker yogurt with my boyfriend for a few months. I procured very detailed instructions from this blog. Earlier this week, we started a batch and I went home before the process had ended so I could rest my exhausted self.

Now. In short, you heat some milk to 180 then cool it to exactly 110 or 111. Then you're supposed to add your starter culture.


Our thermometer beeps when it it reaches whatever temp we set it to but it does not alarm for falling temperature. My dear got a little distracted and ended up adding the starter at 106 degrees. So upon my arrival in the morning, there was nothing more than warm milk in the crock pot. yogurt for breakfast today.

We've rescued uncultured milk before so we heated it back up last night. We noticed how the whey was separating from the white mass and had a GREEN tint (he was a little disturbed by this). When the probe read 112 we wrapped the stoneware in a towel to sit overnight and see what would happen.

In the morning as I was pouring off the whey, I discovered a round blob of ricotta cheese! I strained the mass through a sieve and plopped it into a bowl to refrigerate after taking a taste. Quite good!

Now I have to figure out what I'm making with it for dinner tonight.

Also on my list of things to do is get a camera so I can capture these moments and call myself a "real" blogger.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Stir Fry...I'm doing it wrong!

So...I attempted making stir fry. It did not turn out terribly but one would think that such a common dish would not be hard to perfect. Ughbughlandulphi...

Last night I came home and felt not-hungry enough to survive a quick grocery run. So I made it through the abbreviated trip and returned to the abode to start the stir fry. I already had made some brown rice the other day so all I had to worry about was the pork, vegetables and sauce.

Usually I make stir fry like so:
  • Brown my meat in the wok but don't cook all the way through.
  • Take meat out of pan, place on plate.
  • Add vegetables and sauce ingredients to pan. Cook until sauce is almost as thick as I want it.
  • Add meat back to pan to finish cooking (without overcooking-- I HATE overcooked meat) while sauce reduces.

PROBLEM! I'm a terrible judge of when I think something is almost done. I'm going for a nice thick sauce here so when I think I'm on my way, I add the meat back in but the sauce still takes another 10-30 minutes to reduce!! By that time my veggies are mushy and my pork is terribly dry. Or I just get frustrated and eat it before my sauce has properly thickened but my vegetables are the crip-tender texture I want! Somehow though...the meat is always over cooked.

SOLUTION...or so I thought. Last night I decided my sauce was going to thicken independently of my veggies and pork. I put my broth, vinegar, seasonings and corstarch in my highly conductive Royal Prestige butter warmer pan with a spout. Turned the heat to HIGH so I could get the little sucker boiling right away and started heating my paella pan (it's not really a wok but who cares) while my wonderful boyfriend sliced our pork chop.

"OH NO IT'S GOING TO BOIL OVER, TURN IT OFF TURN IT OFF!"  Did I mention my butter warmer is highly conductive? It's times like these I really miss cooking with a gas stove. The heat retention on these electric burners makes it so difficult for me to judge how much is too much or not enough to get these sauces to reduce. Therefore, I'm blaming the electric stove for my failure--at least partially.

Phew! I caught my sauce before it boiled over and didn't have to move it off the burner. I moved onto the rest of my preparation, vegetable julienning and such. Then I catch a glimpse of my sauce. It's not moving in any fashion. Oh joy. I did forget to turn the burner back up to medium once the threatening boil calmed. It's just sitting there. It is not simmering therefore it is not reducing. You can't just increase the heat to get a still liquid to simmer so I brough it back up to a boil.

Guess what? The process repeated itself.

I had it at a semi decent simmer (maybe) and added my veggies and pork back into the paella pan. I cooked them to a satisfactory texture and removed them from the heat of the burner.

My Sauce. Is not. Thick. Enough. Yet. Waiting. For This. Cornstarch. To do. Its JOB!

I give up. I'm hungry. Let's eat. What did we eat? Overcooked veggies and overcooked pork over brown rice covered in a sauce that was way too thin.

Any advice for me?

One idea I had was to pre-make a big batch of my own sauce, allowing it to reduce as long as it needs and then bottling it to save in the fridge and pour over my completed dish.

I don't just wanna buy bottled preservative and sugar/corn syrup-loaded stir fry sauce at the store. The goals here are:
  1. Healthy
  2. Frugal
  3. Delicious

But I guess if it really came down to it and I have to blow 5 hard earned dollars for a pint of organic sugarless delicious Wegmans Asian Classics...healthy and delicious would be the factors that would Tip the Scale.