Archive for August, 2011

Produce and Protein Fail

I’ve officially decided that I fail the P&P challenge. It was never meant to be, although I might do my own, personal challenge later on.

Strike One: There was a hurricane. I lost power for 26 hours and had to resort to what was left in the fridge plus some shelf-stable foods. Got enough protein, but not a lot of fresh produce.

Strike Two: With power out, I couldn’t shop for groceries until yesterday evening (no fridge), so the no-fresh-produce situation was extended through lunch yesterday.

Strike Three: My husband is out of town, so I’m not terribly motivated to cook. I’m still doing it, mind you, but I’m being a little looser about the whole thing.

So there you go. I’m not really doing the produce and protein challenge, although, now that I have fridge full of healthiness, I am going back to big salads for lunch and meat/fish/eggs + veggies for dinner. So kind of sticking to it, but not being regimented about it.

P&P plus Preparing for the end of the world

Tomorrow starts off the 10-Day Produce and Protein Challenge, hosted by Kimi at The Nourishing Gourmet.  I’ve signed on, and I’ve already been tuning my mindset into the P&P idea.  Tonight’s dinner, for example, uncured sausages with tomatoes, red pepper, and zucchini, all served over kale.  Yum.  And my lunch salads will come in handy.

My plan for the 10 days is to add an egg or two to my breakfast, along with maybe some veggie, then eat a huge salad with lunch, and add more veggies than usual to dinner.  I’m cooking for myself most of the time, so it should be easy to make simple, P&P-focused meals.

Produce and protein and yum.

Of course, there is the little matter of the hurricane.

So, I’m in the path of Irene, which means I could be without power for a day or two this weekend.  My plan for that involves phases.  Phase one was going off to the store to buy jugs of water and non-perishable food.  I got Muir Glen tomatoes and Eden beans, since they’re packed in BPA-free cans.  Plus, I got a spaghetti squash and some sweet potatoes, plus a bag of mixed nuts.  Eggs can stay out of the fridge for a bit, as can the butter.  Yeah, I might not get in 4 cups of fresh produce every day for a couple days, but I can tack on some extra days at the end to make up for it.

The other part of preparing for a potential power outage is making sure to consume all the perishables, as much as I can, before the storm hits.  No, I’m not going to worry about the freezer, since it’ll stay pretty cold for a while if I don’t open it, but I am going to make sure to eat all my salad and dairy.  Which means salad and cream for breakfast today.  Maybe with some local cheese.  How’s that for a real food breakfast?

How are any other real-foodie East coasters prepping for the potentially annoying weekend?

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.

Quickie: Pasta-less Carbonara

This is a quick meal hack: making carbonara without pasta.  Generally, I don’t eat a lot of pasta anymore, but occasionally, I just say “screw it” and make a bowl of the real stuff.  None of this shirataki/squash BS; I have real rice sticks with my pad Thai and real spaghetti with my tomato sauce.  But this week, I flat-out forgot to buy a box of pasta, and my pantry is such that pasta just isn’t a staple I keep stocked.  So I’ve come up with a quick, easy, grain-free way to enjoy the eggy-creamy-cheesy-bacony goodness of carbonara without pasta.

Potatoes.  Yeah, not low-carb, but they’re delicious and I find them far easier on my digestion than gluten grains anyway.  I mixed in some diced zucchini as well, since I’m starting the produce and protein challenge tomorrow and also because I overbought zucchini at the market (easy to do this time of year).

Potatoes alla Carbonara

Potatoes alla Carbonara

3-5 small red potatoes, cubed

1-2 zucchini, diced

1 egg + 2 egg yolks

2-4 Tbsp. cream

1/2 c. grated hard Italian cheese (I think I used Romano)

6 strips of bacon, baked and chopped, grease reserved

Start by steaming the potatoes until just tender.  While the potatoes steam, whisk together eggy goodness, cream, and some pepper if you want.  Add the zucchini to the steamer about 5 minutes before the potatoes finish.  Remove your steamer basket and empty the water out of your pan and put the veggies back in over medium heat.  Add 3-4 Tbsp. bacon grease and stir to coat.  Add in the egg mixture and 1/2 the cheese.  Stir until a creamy sauce forms.  Add in the bacon.  Serve over a bed of kale and top with the rest of the cheese.  Makes 2 generous servings.

This post is part of Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet.

And then, the Earth moved

Yeah, we had an earthquake yesterday.  Kind of scary, definitely unexpected.  I even entered it in my fertility chart in the “notes” area because there’s a specific example in TCoYF where a woman misses her ovulation because of an earthquake.  Funny that.

Since we’re all sharing them, my story:  I had just sat down and cracked open Boneshaker to read for a bit while my simulation finished, when I noticed the floor quivering.  Hmmm, that’s not right, I thought.  So I got up and started to go see if anyone else felt it.  Then, the whole building started shaking and rattling and I saw people fleeing my advisor’s office, so I figured, I’d better leave, too.  We all got outside and noticed lots of other people outside, so someone checked a smart phone.  Earthquake, cool.

And then we all went back inside and went about our days.  Yeah, we’re none too impressed with day-to-day catastrophe.  Maybe the hurricane this weekend will change that, but I doubt it.

Weekend Shenanigans

My coworker overuses the word “shenanigans,” so I’ve picked it up.  Here’s my brief recap of the weekend, mostly documented by the food I ate.

Started Saturday morning well, with a spiced oat porridge.  I added cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, almonds, and flax to it.  Delicious with some cream and honey.  And I had a raspberry-yogurt-cream smoothie on the side.  That was after a 5-mile run in beautiful sunny weather.  I went dancing and then got a book (Boneshaker) and a pot of tea (Dragon Well) downtown while waiting to meet my husband for a dinner date.

Post-run breakfast

We went to Nora’s in Dupont Circle, which was fun.  I like the idea of an all-organic, local restaurant, but I have to say that I was a little disappointed that their “Bellini” was made with pineapple juice, rather than peaches, which are a.) traditional, and 2.) in season locally.  Seriously, all you can get at the fruit stand is watermelon and peaches.  And you go and make a cocktail with pineapple?  But the dinner was delicious, despite the killer migraine I developed earlier in the day.  Pretty much the only effect of the migraine was that I only had a few bites of dessert and had peppermint tea with it instead of coffee.  I probably wouldn’t go back on my own dime (we had a gift certificate), but it was a nice dinner.

Sunday, I made more porridge, for me and my husband.  Almonds, coconut, Rapadura, and raspberries cooked into it, with butter on top.  Yum.  Went to the market, saw the new MOM’s Organic Market in College Park, fresh and renovated.  They’ve moved everything around, but it’s worth it because they’ve got so much more now.  I sampled some local cheeses, and even got a mini quiche off a farmer who made them with his fresh, local, pastured eggs.  Wow.

And I got a bottle of bitters, which I’ve discussed earlier.

Cucumber, ginger, and shallot salad (i.e., lunch)

Home again to make lunch, make almond power bars, and do my yoga.  I worked through the whole Primary series, which was fun.  Still not doing any jumping, since my wrist is healing, but there was no pain at least.  I have to say, I’m probably going to stop at Bhujapidasana for a while before trying to get through the whole series again, but it was nice to feel how it flows through to the end and into the finishing sequence.  And since it’s my first practice since finishing my moon time, I thoroughly enjoyed inverting once more.

Black bean burgers? Yum!

Dinner was black bean burgers with salad.  My husband even said “Ooh, black bean burgers?  Those are yummy!”  It’s nice to be with a guy who appreciates delicious, healthy food.  And then we ended the weekend on a sweet note with peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  Yum.

This post is part of the Weekend Gourmet Blog Carnival at Hartke is Online.

The Bitters Project

As anyone who spends time around me on a daily basis knows, I’ve been having some issues with acne and breakouts recently. After reading The Nourished Life’s post on the root causes of acne, I started thinking about adding supplements to improve my digestion and/or hormonal balance.  Now, I know I’m hormonally unbalanced, but the idea of hormonal supplements, even traditional things like Vitex.  So when I noticed a new display at the store, I made my choice.  I would add herbal bitters to my routine and see if a couple weeks on this would produce an improvement.

from the Urban Moonshine website

The display featured Urban Moonshine‘s three herbal bitters preparations.  They each come in three sizes.  I went with the original formula, in the smallest size, a 10mL spray bottle.  The directions say to spray directly on the tongue before or after meals.  I’ve started today by spritzing my tongue twice after lunch, though in the future, I’ll try to remember it before meals.  I’m going to take the bitters three times a day, before each of my three main meals.  The only changes to my skin care routine is that I’ve finally bought a cleanser to take to the gym so I can actually wash my face after I lift twice a week.  Other than that, I’m using the same Earth science clarifying cleanser, Thayer’s witch hazel, and Burt’s Bees moisture cream that I always use.

Having taken my first dose, I can give my opinion on the taste of the bitters.  Well, they’re really, really bitter (duh).  But it’s not a bad taste.  It’s not a “ack, that’s so bitter it must be poisonous” bitter, but more of an herbal bitter flavor.  I could definitely taste an anise flavor, probably from the fennel seed.  It’s not bad.  The recommended dose is 4 sprays before every meal, but I only did 2 this time.  I’ll try to work up to 4 sprays before every meal.

Salad and Fat

I had an interesting exchange with a coworker the other day.  He was complaining that he was starving because he just had salad for dinner the night before.  I made a joke about how salad isn’t a meal, which is funny because I bring a giant salad for lunch everyday.  The coworker pointed out this humor and then said “Well, I guess your salad is more filling because you eat, like, a half a stick of butter with it.”

Well, excuse me for liking butter with my bread.  And also, um, yeah.

That’s why fat-free salad dressings are pointless and adding cheese/eggs/olives/meat to your salad is such a good thing.  The fat helps, both in terms of satisfaction and in terms of nutrients absorbed.  Take my lunch salad today for example:

Delicious, right?

Looks super-healthy, what with that variety of veggies and heart-healthy salmon.  But that’s so not a full meal.  I’m going to add a generous helping of homemade, olive-oil-based dressing.  And, of course, my “half a stick of butter,” which is really just a homemade, soaked, whole-grain roll with a couple tablespoons of pastured butter.  Delicious, and very nourishing.

I’ve decided to participate in The Nourishing Gourmet’s “Protein and Produce” challenge, and challenge myself to eat 3 servings of quality protein (eggs, meat, fish, or raw cheese) and 4 cups of veggies, at least, every day.  My lunch salad goes a long way towards this, but it only counts if I eat it with plenty of fat to absorb those nutrients!

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.