Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pumping Iron

Been feeling a little tired lately, and since I tend towards anemia, I thought I would eat a big dose of spinach tonight and try to get some iron in me.

I ate a whole bag of spinach.

Granted, an entire bag of spinach steamed down doesn't equal a ton of spinach. It's especially good with fresh nutmeg grated over.

I haven't been posting much on this blog lately because with this whole-food thing, recipes haven't been that interesting. But I've just got through the weekend (or so) and then I'll start making stuff again. But I have actually enjoyed eating more fruits and veggies, and surprisingly, I don't miss sugary sweet stuff that much. So I'll continue on the healthy eating kick, but just add in a little more variety. And post some more here.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Apple Berry Crisp

I got a new toy! It was on super-sale at Macy's, and I had some credit on my Macy's card so it was finally time to acquire this longed-for gadget missing from my kitchen: a food processor.

I had to try it out, so I made a healthy apple-berry crisp. Instead of a buttery, floury topping, sweetened with regular sugar, I made these substitutions:

Instead of flour = oat bran and ground flaxseeds
Instead of white or brown sugar = maple syrup
Instead of butter = canola oil

It turned out wonderfully (and my new toy took care of those 12 apples in no time).

Polenta Fries and Chili

This was a very successful combination, if I do say so myself. The chili had many 'sweet' spices: cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and cocoa powder (plus sweet corn, fire-roasted tomatoes and red peppers). It was very smoky, with lots of depth. The polenta fries were a bit of an experiment, but they were sooooo good. Sliced polenta (from store-bought tube), lightly pan-fried, tossed with sugar and spices and baked a little in the oven... they were perfect with the chili. Yum.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Back To Basics

I've been so blessed with wonderful food outings in the past month; however, it's time to swing back into the other spectrum -- simplify -- try to get back into balance. I've worked really hard at figuring out what exactly is my tummy's deal. I have a better idea, now -- but I've been in a deprived state of mind about things, and have been sort of eating the wrong things in an attempt to make myself 'feel better' (and, in doing so, have often actually made myself feel worse).

Since Monday's bacchanalia of overindulgence, I've been feeling kind of mixed up about things, food-wise. Strange how one dinner can push you over the edge. So, after much thought, I've decided to do a couple weeks of simple, whole-food eating. I'd call it a detox, but I don't plan on being very strict (well, not very strict as opposed to, say, drinking only lemon water for a month). It'll be a detox of sorts (I guess), but I'll actually eat plenty of food: fruits, veggies, some grains (obviously not wheat), lots of water, some assorted other things. I just really have this urge to kind of simplify, start fresh, get some new habits. I've been meaning forever to eat more fruits and vegetables, more regularly -- and I love vegetables -- so maybe this will help form some new habits.

So for the next week and a half, I'm going to be moving toward this detox-not-a-detox diet. I don't drink much caffeine, but I'll just quit it completely. Start getting in the habit of buying fresh fruit and vegetables every day or so. Dig out those vegan cookbooks and find some recipes. Etc. And then next Friday, start in earnest, for two weeks -- and see how it goes. I'm actually excited. I love experiments like this.

I decided to practice, tonight. Here is what I had for dinner:
  • Fresh boiled corn (light sprinkling of salt)
  • Sauteed red pepper, broccoli, and garlic
  • Sauteed spinach over pan-fried polenta
  • Canned peaches (in water and juice, not syrup) and Nancy's low-fat plain yogurt

Um, hello?! Yum!! The spinach over the polenta (I just used the kind from the tube you can get at the store) was especially wonderful - the spinach was silky and played off the heartier polenta. I'd recommend it anytime, not just not-detox time. And peaches over yogurt was a snack I used to eat all the time when I was a kid.

So, in adddition to May being I Love My Job Month, it's also going to be Whole, Unprocessed Foods Month. Without being too strict with either one, of course. There's no need to be a food (or positive-thinking) Nazi.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Upon Further Reflection...

I wasn't sure whether to post this here or my other blog, but thought since it was food-related, I"ll post here.

As you know if you read my other blog, the other night I had a HUGE, over-indulgent, too-rich, fabulous dinner. It was so, so delicious.

However, I'm continuing to pay the price for it today, in odd ways. I don't feel too bad in general (tummy is pretty much fine), but I feel oddly kind of sick about the whole thing today, the foie gras in particular. I've been trying to figure out why. I think my body just wasn't used to so much rich food, so I'm feeling sluggish and tired and kind of sick today. But I just keep remembering the foie gras, and it kind of makes me want to throw up (just being truthful here). Both from the taste (WAY too meaty and rich) and also I know what it is, and I just feel kind of bad about it. I don't know why it's any different than beef or chicken or anything else. I didn't feel too bad about eating the quail, although I cringe if I think about it too much. I don't really have any 'reason' for feeling bad -- I just do. Not exactly guilty -- just bad. Uncomfortable. I'm not sure why I'm having a such a strong reaction.

And, while I loved loved loved the cheese course and was positively giddy over it, I think it was too much of a good thing (as was the whole dinner). It was a lot of cheese. Don't get me wrong - it was fab, but I think I ate two or three bites too many. It's like, I can almost feel my cells protesting. The funny thing is, I really don't even feel guilty - it's not like I'm saying to myself, I shouldn't have eaten all of it. I'm just noticing how I am actually feeling today.

So this makes me think about how I've been eating the past couple of months. I've been doing some experimenting with my diet. Nothing too extreme, just trying this and that to try and pinpoint the tummy upsetters. I've come to the conclusion that wheat is a culprit. Also, raw vegetables, and excess sugar. And, strangely, gum.

But I realize that once I figured out that wheat was really hurting my stomach, I went the other direction in trying to soothe myself and have been eating a lot of dairy products (as in, "I can't have wheat, but goddammit, I can have dairy!"). This also doesn't feel too good, but in a different way. My head is a little stuffy, I've been having a harder time sleeping, I feel a little more sluggish overall. I just feel kind of... murky. Internally. That makes no sense, but it's kind of how I'm feeling.

All this brings me to that tired old conclusion: moderation in everything. Even with wheat -- I had a half-piece of bread (spread with amazing butter) last night, and it was okay. I know that when I eat things like cottage cheese and low-sugar yogurt, I feel good (I even feel fine about full-fat yogurt). I can feel good about really great cheese now and again. I actually prefer soy and rice milk for smoothies, soups, etc., but soy cheese? Why bother. I love chocolate and jelly beans... but again, too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the excess of last night makes me realize how much I really do want to practice moderation in my everyday diet, and really observe how I feel about what I eat. It really is important, what goes in your body. I'd like to continue to increase things like fresh fruit, whole grains, colorful veggies, low-fat dairy and soy products. I'm not going to worry so much about decreasing things - I really don't want to trick myself into feeling restricted, and then start to feel deprived, and then the whole thing goes to hell and I'm back to where I started.

But what about just making sure I have yummy yogurt for snacks at work? And nuts and dried berries? And making extra dinner so I have a healthy lunch the next day? Stuff I already try to do, but I like the idea of being more conscious about it.

And then, every once inawhile, I've got to have that Roaring Forties blue cheese. Because life is too short to miss out on the good cheese.

Lemon Meringue

I had some fresh lemons from Nicki, so decided to make a lemon meringue pie.


Fresh lemons, home-farmed eggs (from Dad), piles of meringue. I ask you, does it get any better? No. No, it does not.