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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 90 Three Months Down Nine To Go

THREE MONTHS without fast food or soda! My mission continues, three months is only a trimester, if I were having a baby, I wouldn't even be past the morning sickness yet. I mean it's not even a third of a year yet, it's nothing in the grand scheme of things. Still I'm proud of myself for holding out this long, even in the face of meetings set in fast food joints, birthday parties, and the cruel, cruel slurp of soda straws all around me. My next few months will be all about garden food, tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans...it's not like I don't eat these things every day anyway, but these will be uber fresh and pesticide free. OK, so it's not like things are changing really at all, but I think that digging for my food will make me appreciate what I eat in a more significant way.
I can't tally until this weekend, because I do not own scales and I will have to borrow my mom's, but I'm curious to see if I've dropped anymore weight or if I've leveled off. I'm pretty sure the initial soda ban, brought on most of what I've lost so far, dropping 1000 calories a day will do that I think. I'm also curious to add up my grocery bills for the month and compare it to my previous habits, it's too bad I've spent most of what I've saved on car repairs for three months in a row. Oh well, this is life, at least I'm not hungry!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 89 Doing The Water Cooler Dance

Today, I am thrilled, overjoyed and happy beyond belief, today my life became easier and a tad more hydrated. For almost two years, I have spent my days in an office made of aluminum, with no water, no bathroom and until recently, windows falsely believed to be un-openable. Well, today, my dry little corner of the world received a little rain storm called Culligan. That's right, jugs and jugs of cold, accessible water and cups! Oh, the tiny, tiny cups! Yesterday, the Culligan guy came to find a locked office, he left a note and I was on his trail, early this morning. I re-arranged my schedule to receive our precious water cooler and waited and waited.....and waited. I purposely did not make my daily trek, over to the clinic to sip out of their supply, no I waited, because I knew he would roll up, as soon as I left the office. By the time he arrived, I was parched and withering away from dehydration. I waited, while he found an outlet, I was patient, while he found the paperwork for me to sign, I listened carefully to his directions on how to peel the sticker off of the water jug before placing it on the cooler. Finally he was finished, I heard the sweet gurgle as he dropped the jug in place, I was getting antsy. Mr. Culligan left the office, with a good day and a see ya next month, but something was amiss, there were no cups! I raced out the door, like a track star, WAIT!!!!! WAIT!!! WE NEED CUPS MR. CULLIGAN!!! He had cups, he had sleeves and sleeves of cups, we were saved. I was so thirsty, I almost just put my face underneath the spigot for a long cool drink, but I didn't I sipped it like a lady who's been roasting in the desert for 40 days. I never thought water would make me so happy, having it nearby will most certainly help me in my mission to stay hydrated and to stay away from soda....tomorrow will be 90 days! Go me!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 88 Special: Kitchen Floor Sandwich or Spoiled Milk?

Well, I am approaching 90 days here, I haven't weighed in a while and it's time to tally up the savings in the next couple of days. These last three months have been really hard work and I've had a pretty long day so I'm just going to leave you with the mental picture of my day. I ate half of a cheese sandwich I dropped on the kitchen floor for breakfast, because I left the milk out overnight and ruined my chances for cereal. Next, I walked allllllll the way across the parking lot to the clinic at work, for water, walked allllllll the way back and spilled it in front of my office door. When I got home, I dropped my SECOND hoagie roll of the day and then decided to make blackened tofu for dinner....it was not supposed to be blackened, but I did have a really spectacular can of corn as a consolation prize. Right now, I would punch someone for some Fettuccine Alfredo and bread sticks from Fazoli's and maybe a 2 liter of Coke. Throw in a Sonic blast for dessert, six, warm, Crispy Creme doughnuts, aaaaand some curly fries from Arby's . I need to cook something fun this weekend and I need some ideas for motivation, I have 9 months to go!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 87 Fakers Never Win

Today, I was tricked, scammed, bamboozled, and hoodwinked by the ol' dirty Warehouse market. I bought avocados this week at the grocery, for only .49 each, the reason for the cheap deal, was because they are nowhere near ripe. I'm waiting and I'm waiting for them to soften from rocks to maybe like a tennis ball, so no avocados for lunch, here's where ol' dirty market comes in. Around noon, I boogie on over to the market across the street for a little guacamole love, I find it in the produce section, a big container of green stuff. The guacamole was only 2.99 for like a 16oz. I should have seen this as a warning. I be-bop back to the office, happy with my cheap eats, sit down with my tortilla chips and dip into the impostor that is called guacamole to find.....green ranch dip, with a guacamole inspired costume. First of all. I don't even put ranch on my salads, I am just not a fan, now here it is impersonating my favorite food, it's just shameful! If you want to be a salad dressing, be a salad dressing, just don't dress up as a vegetable and sneak into my mouth.
That's all I have to say about that, I have to watch my avocados ripen now.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 86 Steal This Vegetable

Sunday is usually the day when my Grandmother makes me lunch, today, I made lunch for her, my aunt, and my cousin, because she wasn't feeling well. Grandmother sent me to the store with instructions to bring back stuff to make lunch, along with her credit card. I expected to come out with a few things, under 15.00, but apparently grocery prices have gone up since last week! I bought bread, tabbouleh, bean salad, chicken salad for my Grandmother, ham for my aunt, brownies for the kid, and milk, which came to 35.00! I am going to eat slowly and frugally until gas prices go back down or until the farmer's market starts up again, which could mean cheap eats for a very long time. My food plan for the next few days at least revolves around the black beans I have soaking right now. I bought tortillas, cheese, and .49 avocados for burrito lunches this week. I'm thinking about joining a vegetable co-op this summer, as everything is local and will not have heavy transportation costs added in, of course what my mom grows in her garden will be free aside from the manual labor of harvesting it, I don't mind slinging dirt for my dinner. I think, also I'm going to plant some things on my back porch in pots. Maybe some tomatoes or something, if people steal them, they steal them, in fact, maybe I'll put a sign on them, encouraging people to take them, everyone deserves a good tomato!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 85 Happy Dump Cake To You

I wasn't going to make a cake for the double birthday celebration, but I changed my mind. I'm making a dark chocolate cherry dump cake at this instant, very moment for my grown up brother and my mom. That was seriously the easiest thing I've ever made, I just dumped some cherry pie filling in a pan, dumped a dark chocolate cake mix on top, and dotted it with butter, it smells pretty good and it looks like a cake so, I'll take that as a success. I'm not sure if I should cover it with the remaining cherry filling, we'll just see how it goes when it comes out of the oven. This is not my most creative cake, but it will do. I once made a three layered, homemade, from scratch, strawberry cake for a boyfriend. It had strawberries and cream between each layer, it was topped and surrounded by strawberries, the icing was from scratch, it was perfection and it weighed about 10 pounds and cost me about 30.00 and 4 hours. I presented the boyfriend with the cake, who told me that he liked the kind from a box with the pink icing and promptly took the cake as a sign to take off for Hawaii the next day to marry someone else. Lesson learned, all boyfriends will now recieve a plain white cake and will have to provide their own frosting and or sprinkles, candles, and present.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 84 You Gonna Eat That Can Of Peas?

Ahhhh, Friday is here! I love Friday even more than Saturday, because I still have a full day in between the week and dreadful Sunday, the day before Monday. Even a terrible kitchen tragedy cannot dampen my weekend spirit. Earlier I was in the process of making dinner, when I dropped a pan of french fries on my foot, this may not sound like a tragedy to some, but it fell on my pirate foot, the one I almost left in the road a couple of years ago in a car accident. I'm fine now, but I lost the fries. I made Portabella "burgers" and another round of taters and I am stuffed like a chicken.
OK, I have a challenge for anyone who may stumble upon my words, I'm asking kindly that you go to your pantry, cabinet, or garden, and choose a handful of things, two or three or more and give it to your local food bank. The food pantries in my area are woefully short on food and I have no doubt that this is the case elsewhere. Some offer little more than pastries and some limit families of any size to choose between either a chicken or a package of hot dogs for their meat options. Think about what you would buy for your own families and buy accordingly. Many families are stretching their paychecks but make too much for food stamps, so if you are blessed, help someone out. If your town doesn't have a food pantry, donate to a church or make dinner for a lonely neighbor, come on you know you're dying to share the love and the sloppy joes you're having for dinner, go do it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 83 I Don't Need Your Fancy Pants Subway Sandwich Anyway

Today, I was again completely ill prepared, I sat in two different restaurants, one for a meeting, one for a celebration and I ate nothing. First of all, I didn't eat breakfast this morning, because of time and spent the better part of the morning, trying to hide the jumbo jet hunger noises, coming from my tummy. The first meeting was in a Subway, everyone had big fluffy sandwiches and chips and soda, some of the dirty, rotten eaters actually moaned as they ate. I watched tiny bits of vegetables fall to the paper, a sliver of cheese here, a little drizzle of dressing there, all on fresh baked bread, so wrong. Afterward, I forced my co-worker to stop so that I could get some crackers and juice, she did and I was fine, until dinner at least. My brother's chosen birthday dinner was a place called Coney Connection, a place so full of greasy goodness and fried righteousness, that I almost gave in. My mom offered to buy me an iced tea, I'm proud to say that I also turned that down as well. We're having a real celebration this weekend, with homemade desserts and whatever else my mom whips up, I'm psyched to be a part of this multi-day, double bonus, home cooked, birthday salsabration.
In other gastronomical news, I may or may not have been poisoned yesterday, perhaps on purpose or maybe on accident. All I know is that I was really digging some homemade banana bread someone brought to work, when all of sudden, it turned bitter, like aspirin bitter. I spit it out but was still not convinced that I had ingested enough of the tainted treat and took another bite, which was even worse. I'm not dead, but if it's a slow working poison, the remains are in a wad of aluminum foil in the trash can underneath my desk...just so you know.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 82 Nothing Says Jolly Like A Brown Rice Birthday

Today, I got my car back and finally made it to the grocery store, it was getting down to slip pickins in the kitchen, with two pieces of bread fighting for territory and one last egg eyeballing me from the carton. So, I live to fight another day and to griddle another flapjack. This week's recipes are going to be simple, fast, cheap, and healthy, I have some brown rice which will be the basis for all of my ideas this week, brown rice and vegetables, brown rice and Tofu...you know you want some. Basically, I'm using Abbie Hoffman's cheap chow recipes from Steal This Book, everything is basically just that, brown rice and vegetables, he also has a recipe for yogurt, but I'm not so sure on that one. This week is about living cheap and stretching a noodle, maybe I can be one of those people who manages to eat on like less than a dollar a day.
Tomorrow is my brother's 18th birthday and my mom's 55th, I was going to go all crazy with the cooking and the baking and the buying, but it looks like my transmission dollars trump gifts and food. Plus, my mom is making my brother two desserts already, he couldn't decide if he wanted cheesecake or some weird dessert bars made from Peanut butter cups, so he ordered both. My celebration contribution may have to be beans and rice and a lighter flame for a wish, I think everyone should have a thrifty sister like myself.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 81 Bean Pie Making Tulip Farmer

My car is almost ready and I'm so happy, I truly do not prefer depending on other people for rides. Today, I left my office, with the intention of walking to Warehouse Market, which is a little bit across the street, only when I got to the end of the sidewalk, the distance seemed really far to walk on my pirate leg so I turned back around and asked one of my co-workers for yet another lift. I could only buy certain things due to time between store and fridge, so I ended up just getting a squash, two avocados, some salsa, and tortilla chips. That is what I had for dinner. It's funny how something as stupid as losing transportation can affect everything else, including how and when I eat. This is a lesson for me to be more understanding when someone has several obstacles in the way of something that to me should be easily overcome. I'm lucky, my co-workers live close by and are able to help me out, what if I knew no one, what if I had no resources to get my car fixed? What if that meant, I couldn't get to work, lost my job, and became homeless and hungry? I'm not being funny, most of us are only a paycheck away, every month from this very situation. It's kind of scary how dependant we are on people, on cars, on a paycheck for our survival. My dream is to someday become self sufficient or at least enough so that I can get through a season, without having to grocery shop for food. Car's broken? It's OK, dinner is in the garden and dessert is in the orchard, no toilet paper? No problem, I'll knit some from that sheep in the yard! Lost your crappy job? No worries, we can sell bean pies and tulips by the roadside, people with real jobs will buy, I'm sure of it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 80 Drop The Remote And Pass The Peas

 Today, I am really grateful for simple acts of kindness, on a day, when I really needed kindness and  was more than happy to accept it. Tonight, I'm short on words and long on emotion, so I won't wax poetic about carrots and cabbage, beans and chard, I will just say this, In honor of family, turn off your television, your laptops, your Ipods, and your Blackberries and eat dinner with the people who mean the most to you. Tell your kids and your parents and your obnoxious brother-in-law that you're honored to share a meal with them. Compliment the cook, offer to wash the dishes, and thank your dinner companions for their company. Sharing food is an essential part of bonding with family and friends. When we spend our evenings mindlessly shoveling food into our faces, while we stare at some stupid reality show, we are cut off from those around us, we are isolated and unaware of lost opportunities, lost conversations, and lost moments with the most important people in our lives. When we share a common meal, we are sharing an experience and creating something permanent, which will outlast that ridiculous re-run you're watching, no matter how many times they show it. Your kids will remember when you shushed them during a good commercial or they will remember that you had dinner together as a family every night and that you cared enough to cook for them or even to make them a sandwich. They will remember the times you cooked together in the kitchen better than they will remember tonight's episode of Family Guy. Get it together people and share some vittles.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 79 This Search Party Deserves A Whole Jar Of Cookies

This has nothing to do with food, but everything to do with my state of mind at the moment, as I sit here, in my living room, listening to Spring outside my open window, I hear several little children discussing my note regarding my missing pooperscooper. The note reads: "To whomever took my pooperscooper: I'm sorry that you felt the need to steal from me, I probably would have given it to you, had you asked. I'm having a really crappy week and I really liked my pooperscooper, please return it so that Karma does not rain down upon you." The kids thought the crappy week part was funny and they decided to form a search party to look for it, I even heard one of them tell his dad that I was having a crappy week to justify, leaving the yard to join the party. I have to say that I have been more upset about my missing pooperscooper than about my car but this little gesture makes me smile. I wish I had something to give them as a reward, at the moment, I have nothing, so I went outside and thanked them for looking, we have to encourage these kinds of things.
Tonight I made a dish that started out as one thing but evolved into something else. I started with butternut squash, baking in a pan, I added water, oil, and garlic, as well as the frozen vegetables I have been using this week, chipolte style. While the vegetables were cooking, I added rice and some other spices. The end result was pretty good and I have enough for lunch and dinner tomorrow, not very exciting but good stuff none the less. Perhaps I'll have to make some cookies or cupcakes for the little darlings who bring my scooper home.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 78 My Dirt, My Sandwich What Else Do I Need?

Well, my car has been hospitalized and probably won't make it, we may have to pull the plug on Monday. Luckily, my mom came by today to take me to the grocery store for a few essentials. I can't say that I'm really hungry, earlier, I picked all of the raisins and M&M's out of the trail mix and I ate some tortilla cheese wrap thingies. That may not sound like much, but it all took place AFTER the grilled PB&J. So, anyway, I'm not making dinner tonight, I'm all comfort fooded out. Any other night, pre-challenge, would have been way worse, Mazzio's would have been at the door hours ago and I would have been feeding dollars into the soda machine in my backyard for the soothing fizz of brown sugar water. At the moment, the world spins out of control but I can at least control this and I'm not spending money I may need to bury my car next week.
On the gardening front, my mom's dirt patch is all tilled up and ready for planting, tomorrow, I'm going to make a list of everything we're going to put in. We always start with snap peas in May, which we usually mostly eat off of the vine for fun and maybe make a couple of pots with the rest. This year, in the interest of not being wasteful with the food we grow, I'll have to come up with some recipes that use snap peas, maybe some stir fry dishes, with curry ooooooh yeah! Gonna make those peas work for us. I'm really going to push for pie pumpkins too, I love them stuffed and baked in the fall, soooo good with Gruyere cheese. Anyway, these are the things I control, dinner and planting, maybe tomorrow, I will be able to add something else.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 77 Among Theives And Chaos An Eggroll Was Born

Today, in the middle of chaos, I made a very yummy little something. I'm not sure what to call this little something, but it started out with scrambled eggs and mushrooms; I added the chipolte vegetable mix of corn, sweet potatoes, black beans, bell peppers and onions in a pan. All of the forks were in the dishwasher, so I had to find another route to my belly that didn't involve utensils. Miracle of all miracles, I found egg roll wrappers in the fridge. There was too much mix for the number of wrappers so, I had to stuff it all into just three. The stuffage did not allow for proper wrapping so, I just kind of folded them up like presents and rubbed some oil on them. I baked them until they were crispy and I have to say, they were pretty darn good! The next couple of days will be a little dicey as I'm running out of groceries and I can't get to the store, being sans car at the moment. I have plenty of peanut butter and lots more eggs, so I'm sure I won't starve, but I may need to get a little creative...peanut butter omelet anyone? I also have a ton of trail mix, perhaps I could make cookies, it has everything a good cookie should have, nuts, M&M's, and raisins....there should never be a debate as to my collection of survival skills.
I have to believe that tomorrow will be much better than today, here's hoping for a full pantry, a running vehicle, and the return of my stolen pooper scooper.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 76 Breakfast In A Van Down By The River

Well, I really didn't have to worry about whether or not the food at the retreat fit into my little challenge here, because there wasn't much of it. It wasn't restaurant food, that's for sure, when we rolled past the Yoga barn at 8:30, I had high hopes for fresh, organic, spa food as the website would lead one to believe. In fact, the quality of this non-existent food and the fact that it was free was the reason I chose to allow this food into the challenge. No health concerns, no financial concerns, fresh, wholesome, organic, those were the words. Instead, "breakfast" was a van full of rice crispy treats, goldfish, Gatorade, and water....and we had to dine outside in the cold and the mighty, mighty wind. Lunch was like 5 hours later, inside this time, but no vegetarian options and no room at the table (I balanced my junk on my lap). I had a cheese sandwich on white bread, which I had pulled the ham off of, a bag of sunflower seeds and nuts, and some dried up old packaged cookies. This sad excuse for lunch also managed to offend me with an orange, which I gave to my co-worker in exchange for a granola bar. (If you'll remember, I have that table rage for citrus). I was still hopeful for dinner, which I thought was going to be in an actual dining room, and I had been promised a vegetarian option, no such luck! It wasn't even on site, it was some greasy spoon burger joint about 10 miles away. Someone had ordered me a salad and a baked potato, which I cancelled as soon as I walked in the door, I was a jerk, I didn't want a salad and a baked potato. If I wanted a salad and a baked potato, I wouldn't eat it in a restaurant, I would make it fresh in my own kitchen and it would be prepared within my control in regard to salt, butter, salad dressings, and ingredients. So, I give two bit fat thumbs down to the Canebrake resort, you can take your pitiful excuse for a catering gig and send it on down the zip line.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 75 Local, Fresh, Seasonal Does Not Spell Fast Food

I'm too busy to cook, I'm too busy to eat, I'm really too busy to be sitting here in the blogosphere, but I'm loyal if nothing else. I still have not decided what to so about the retreat food tomorrow, Perhaps I'll look at the menu online to determine the health factor and since it's free, it's not an issue of spending money I don't have. How different is this from a potluck? I don't know, it just depends on the fresh factor, the type of food, and the preparation. Am I being silly? I just don't want to ruin 75 days of hard work, by eating something that doesn't jive with my philosophy and my challenge. OK, so if I eat the food or not, I'm most definitely taking snackage for myself, my co-worker, and the kiddos. Maybe some fruit, some trail mix, cookies, crackers? I'm sure that since they will have the kids swinging from vines and stuff that they will have water for the sweaty little beggars, I would hate for them to waste away from dehydration before I get them home to their parents. I just took a break to look at the menu and it says local, wholesome, and natural, they have a seasonal menu too. I don't know if the three meals are already chosen or if they have vegetarian options, it all sounds really doable, so I'll just have to follow my judgment and my gut as to the rules of this challenge.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 74 BBQ Slug Anyone?

Before I get to my dilemma, I have to tell a story, it's a true story. Lots of people all over the world eat grubs, I am not yet one of those people, nor do I intend to become one anytime soon. I do wonder though if there may be something to grub eating? My mom and dad burned off their garden last week to prepare for plowing and in the process stirred up a whole army of grubs scratching for survival. My parent's Border collie immediately went for the "cooked" grubs, while their Jack Russell went for the raw ones. Today, while planting blueberry bushes, my mom pointed out a lone survivor to the Jack Russell and he ate it like a bacon treat. Maybe I don't know what I'm missing, maybe grubs are better than Tofu, who knows!
So, on to my dilemma, on Thursday, I have to take some of my work kids to an adventure retreat type thing, way out in the sticks. This place, the Canebreak is a really swanky place, with an excellent restaurant. The restaurant will be serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's free, it's all day, and I don't know what I should do. It's not fast food, but I have sworn off all restaurant food, thus my dilemma. Do I take my own food, alter my rule, or what? My instinct is to take my own food, but then, I will have no place to store anything, as we will be outdoors all day. I'm so confused, I don't want to break my stride, but I don't want to be ridiculous either. I need some help in deciding, ideas are welcome.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 73 This Pizza Needs A Diagnosis

Tonight, I am using my cousin's suggestion for a black bean pizza, well, I started with black beans and it has become something much much bigger and weirder with my additions and ideas about what it's supposed to be. Like I said, I started with refried black beans instead of pizza sauce, I just didn't think the two would go together. I added Serrano peppers, red bell peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, and cheddar cheese. The sweet potatoes are very, very small don't judge. So, it kind of started out a little bit Cuban but then I added mushrooms and olives and it lost all evidence of nationality. It's a very confused pizza in the midst of an identity crisis, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be really good. I'm counting on edible product, as tomorrow I will be in an all day training and am bringing my very special lunch. This experiment can get a little awkward during times like these, when everyone decides on a dime to have a working lunch at the Mexican restaurant across the street and I have to politely explain, that I'm not able to join everyone else. I'm not whining, I chose this ludicrous plan and I must stick by it. So, as I was saying, if I bring a fabulous lunch, I can just say, OH! Sorry, I have this fabulous lunch here, wouldn't want to waste it, see you suckas later. See, that's how it's done, take notes and apply to your own lives, my pizza is done, so buzz off while I eat.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 72 Cook It Up Granny

Well, the raw plan went out the window today, but I still managed to feed myself pretty well. I should have remembered that Sunday is "lunch with Grandmother day" and there will never be a raw movement in her house. We had bell peppers stuffed with rice and cheese and a coconut cake, delicious but not part of my original plan, oh well, moving on. She told me today that she is leaving me her recipes, which makes my day. Tonight, I made my Grandmother's squash casserole, nothing raw about that, also nothing slimming about it either, lots of butter and cheese. We also talked about the way my Great-grandmothers used to cook, they started dinner right after breakfast and cooked all day long, they may have cooked every bit of nutrients out, but it was Southern cooking at it's best. When I would visit them as a kid, Nanny Ruby and Granny Minnie used to unload the fridge the second we pulled into the drive, pies, fruit, green beans, cornbread, fried chicken, potato salad, whatever they had. This was in addition to whatever was already cooking on the stove or in the oven, we ate good and we ate a lot, I'm sure I still have a biscuit or two on my butt from those days. My Grandmother told me the best story, I've heard it a million times but it's always funny. Once, back in the 60's my Grandmother made a brandied fruit cake and had some left over brandy marinated fruit in a jar, which she gave to Granny Minnie to make her own cake. About a week later, my Grandmother inquired about the success of the cake, Granny Minnie hung her head and confessed that she ate the whole jar of brandied fruit by herself, it never made it into any cake but I'm sure she wasn't feeling too bad about it.
I love those women and I'm happy to have whatever recipes are passed down to me, whether I use them or not.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 71 A Berry Berry Good Deal

Today was the Home and Garden show and I was solidly prepared for the day with healthy snacks and drinks, while away from home. I started off my morning at whole foods, in the fruit section, apples for everyone, bottled water, dried snap peas, and sesame spelt trail mix. I actually stepped outside of my healthful ideology and bought my mom and brother a couple of cans of Blue Sky. It is soda and I did buy it, but I did not partake, it was solely for them, knowing their thoughts on anything healthy. So, I have broken no promises in my attempt at good family relations. Needless to say, no one was impressed by my efforts and my brother promptly bought a foot long hot dog at the show, while my mom made faces at the snap peas. Oh my, who knew convincing the world to follow me, would be this difficult? Healthy snacks aside, I found blueberry bushes 2/10.00 in the garden section! I bought two to plant at my parent's house and we are going to have a blueberry planting good time tomorrow. I can't wait until they produce, I'm thinking blueberry jam, blueberry muffins, blueberry pie, cobbler, smoothies, I don't even know, I just know I'm excited! The herb show is in a couple of weeks also and I think I'm going to buy raspberry and blackberry bushes too, I'm ready to garden! As for my raw plans for the night, boring again, salad with portabellas and avocados, I think if I were to embrace the raw food diet, I would just end up eating guacamole every single night, I like to cook too much! I like to smell things in the oven, nope, not a good rawist.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 70 Raw Emotion In The Produce Section

OK, I'm boring and a little lazy, after working a super long day, I began my raw weekend with a salad. It was a very diverse salad, lots of stuff in it, but yes, it was just a salad. So, I decided to check out a website, suggested by a friend for some ideas. Apparently, the site is managed by a local woman who teaches uncooking classes! She teaches how to prepare raw food and she has a lot of recipes on her site. Some of the stuff, I'm not too sure about, like the eggless egg salad, I've had egg salad made with tofu before, but never made with just vegetables and cashews, we'll see about that one. I did see two definites for this weekend, marinated stuffed mushrooms and avocado spinach soup. The mushrooms are stuffed with avocado, I think I can dig that, I love mushrooms and I love avocado, together, what could go wrong in my mouth? There was also a recipe called a berry brownie crumble, it seems like a lot of work for something sweet, with the soaking of nuts and what not, but maybe worth a try, if I get the old sugar tooth. I can most certainly get on board with the smoothies and she has a couple of recipes for those, I just need to find a new, non leaking blender first. I would not be opposed to taking the uncooking class, I don't think I will ever live the raw food life, but it's nice to try some different things, and who knows, maybe I'll go raw every weekend, it's gotta be better than clown food.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 69 Veggie Match Raw Let's Get Ready To Rumble

I have to say that I felt a little patched together, nutritionally speaking today, I didn't eat breakfast or lunch, instead, snacking on leftover trail mix in the car. (I've been eating this damn trail mix since Monday) I was in the car and out of my surroundings all day long and felt the pull of fast food world all around me. I can really tell a difference in my mood and how I approach my day, if I haven't eaten well. I was focused on food the entire day, but never really addressed it, so when I had a few hours between appointments, around dinner time, I stopped at the grocery store and bought a frozen pizza, which is just as bad if not worse than fast food.  This is what happens, when work and life become unbalanced. Tomorrow, after everything is done, I'm going to make myself a really nice dinner and I'm thinking about having a raw food weekend, I think a little re-energization is just what I need, because really, I'm only on day 69, I have a long way to go, and I cannot flake out now. I need variety, I need novelty, I need another vegetable to dominate. I've only made a couple of raw recipes in the past and one was just a lettuce wrap, with veggies and guacamole inside, I'm sure I can come up with something interesting and "alive" I'll just have to look around and use my imagination. If I had a juicer, I would do a juice fast, that would be fun....and uh cleansing (results which would need no blog post)
OK, I'm game for raw recipes, please share......anyone? anyone? anyone? This will be an adventure to help me stay in the game, let's rumble.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 68 If I Had A Camel This Never Would Have Happened

Today, I am sadly disappointed in my new water bottle. My new stainless steel answer to buying bottled water or making a trip to another building for a drink, has gone south. This afternoon, I reached into my purse, where my water bottle was renting space and came out with a wet hand. I panicked, flinging papers, money, and my phone out as fast as I could, I literally poured about 4 oz of water out of my purse. I'm really confused because the seal safe top was screwed on and the bottle wasn't even upside down, but I somehow managed to flood everything I own, pursewise. The other problem I discovered was that it doesn't stay upright in the cup holder and twice, it lept out and rolled into the floorboard, in an attempt to lodge itself beneath my break pedal. Stupid water bottle. All of this to prove a point, all of this just to make a healthy statement and to reduce my soda consumption, Jeez who's idea was this anyway? Why did soda have to be so convenient, so refreshing, so solidly adept at following the rules of placement in a vehicle? Maybe I should use an old soda cup for water, why do I need to get all fancy and high falootin' about it? I'm sure I can find a 40 oz travel savvy cup for ice and water somewhere in my kitchen. It's really hard being healthy and responsible, in such circumstances but I must keep moving forward.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 67 All I Need Is A Recipe And A Passport

I'm always up for something a little different than a typical Betty Crocker creation, so as I flipped through a Saveur magazine, I was mesmerized by a cake I've never ever heard of. It was a beautiful Sicilian cake with about 1000 steps and 16 different ingredients, from start to finish, it's called a Cassata or a ricotta cake. The picture of this piece of work, though simple, looks like a jewelry display, with several fruits on top. I can't think of anything that does not taste good with ricotta in or on it and to put it in cake, well that's just a carnival waiting to happen. This is it, this is the cake I want to make for my brother's 18th birthday in a couple of weeks, I think he'll dig it. So that's 1 cake for little bro and a flower themed dinner and dessert for momma, that's a lot of cooking, just to convince the family that an at home birthday is more fun. I love Italian food and I love making it for other people. I wish I could live in Sicily for a few years just learning to cook all of those amazing old recipes. Tonight, staying with the Italian theme, I had rigatoni , spinach salad, and garlic bread, simple, good, and filling, can't beat it!
On a broader note, I realized tonight, that the biggest lesson I've taken away from this experiment, is patience. I have never had to wait on anything, I get what I want, when I want it, I have no self control, when it comes to instant gratification and now I have to take the time to cook. This is the most surprising development for me, as my previous self centered habits, were my prime reason for my reliance on fast food and convenience. Who knew, I would pick up a virtue on the way?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 66 Old Navy VS. The Value Meal

Today, I discovered that my former expenditures on fast food and soda, have been replaced by Old Navy. I'm so excited that I can buy smaller sizes that I now have smaller sizes in many different colors and prints. I have pants, I have shirts, I have more pants, and lots more shirts. Trading in cheese fries for 2 pairs of cords is totally worth it. Why didn't I think of this before? One week of sodas adds up to five 5.00 t-shirts and a pair of jeans is about 7 days worth of egg and cheese breakfast value meals at McDonald's. I feel rich, I feel slightly thinner, and I feel pretty flipping great right now. Sigh.....I also found a great new water bottle today, so that I don't have to schlep from one building to another, filling tiny cups with Culligan water (my office does not have a sink). I like my water habit, it's pretty much always free, I don't have to stand in line to get it, I don't have to exchange germs with fast food employees to quench my thirst, it just works out really well for me! Not to mention, water won't cause a sugar stroke, allowing me to drink till my heart is full without going blind or losing a kidney. Since giving up soda, I've cut about 1000 calories a day by drinking water,  diet soda is worse for your body health wise, so I would not event think of switching, water is safer. I think everyone reading this should look at what you're drinking right now and trade it in for some aqua.....do it!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 65 Two Thumbs Down For Potato Eggrolls

Well, the vegetable fritters were not the miracle I had hoped for, the form was a ten but the taste was a five. First of all, there was way too much potato and not enough vegetable, so next time, I plan to shred the potatoes raw instead of forming them out of the smooshed kind and adding red and green bell peppers, more zucchini, and maybe mushrooms. Second, garlic and salt are a must, they were a little lacking in anything resembling flavor, blah, blah, bland, even with the curry! Today, I tried to redeem the leftover fritter mix, by inserting it into egg roll wrappers, brushing them with oil, and baking them, that was a big fat fail as well. My Grandmother didn't even finish her eggroll and I saw her sneak it into the trash later, good thing we had a big fat salad to save the day. I will keep working on the fritters until they're presentable and edible and I'll find other appropriate egg roll ingredients, because potatoes are not it. This is what happens when I do not follow a recipe and just make stuff up as it pops into my head......a house made of Rye bread, yep that sounds good, where's the yeast?
My amazing food discovery of the day was White Stilton cheese with cranberries at Whole foods, I LOVE CHEESE SAMPLES! I'm definitely going back to get some when I go grocery shopping next week. I'm not quite sure what to do with it except to eat it with crackers, so I'm going to look for recipes I can create around it. I love looking at cheese, smelling it, eating it, maybe someday I can be a cheese farmer...or a goat farmer, who makes cheese.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 64 Never Before Seen Tanzanian Movie Fritters

At this very moment, there is a miracle taking place in my kitchen, the vegetable fritters are in the making and I am muy emocionado, that means I'm flipping ecstatic...I think. This recipe is a rework of the Tanzanian potato balls, I've never made veggie fritters before and I'm making up the ingredients, but I think they will be fabulous. The potato balls didn't work as well as they would have, if I had flattened them out and added something to firm them up, so I'm starting with potatoes again and adding fresh corn, onions, and zucchini, as well as corn meal, eggs, and a tiny bit of red curry and coconut. I was feeling a little unoriginal today, until I  returned to the bankrupt Border's store to find some more closeout swag and I found two Saveur cooking magazines for 50% off. One of the articles was about the world's most original chefs and I found myself daydreaming of a midlife career change from social worker to world famous food artist. So, I'm trying out the fritters, hoping that they live up to my lofty expectations of completely original recipe and career changing inspiration. They're also my movie snack food for later, as I'm going to see The Black Swan with friends....that's kind of original, I bet no one else will have movie fritters.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 63 If You Can Read This Make Me A Sandwich

Today, I had to turn down Chinese food, with my new community drug task force kids. They asked me if I wanted to join them after the meeting and sadly, I had to decline. Next time, perhaps I'll bring food for our gathering...I have no idea what kids like to eat, animal crackers, glue? I don't know, it's been a long time since I was a child. I'll have to think of something good, because food will keep people interested in the meetings and in the project.... I wonder what kind of recipe represents an anti-drug initiative?
New, convenient food  find of the day, bakeable taco shells. Tonight my mom made taco salad, I had mine with no lettuce and no meat, they were super good, with guacamole, cheese, and tomatoes, but I'm sure I could make them without a "kit". The shells come with a little folded cardboard shaper, which you use to drape the shell over....really? How about a bag of flour tortillas and a bowl from your cabinet? Get creative people, must the folks in the factory do everything for you?! While we're on the subject of lazy ideas, how about Smucker's peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? How lazy do you have to be, to buy a box of already made PB&J sandwiches? How much energy does it take to remove two pieces of bread from a bag, a knife from the drawer, and to spread the PB&J on the bread? I think I'll start a get off your lazy butt and make yourself a sandwich initiative, once I solve the world's drug problem.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 62 The Promised Land Has A Salad Bar

So, after 3 years on the lookout, I finally found my perfect grocery store, my search has been fraught with peril, disappointment, and inconvenience, but I never gave up the dream. Before I even begin to list everything that makes a good grocery store, let me just say what its not. A good grocery store does not have wilted lettuce, expired yogurt, dirty floors/employees, or an in store bank with bars on the teller window. A great food market will not require me to dodge gunshots or muggers in the parking lot and will have a full array of vegetable available for purchase, not just potatoes, onions, and the aforementioned wilted lettuce. On the other hand, the store should not be guilty of pandering to the upper crust, trendsetters, who pay 6.00 for a lb. of grapes (I'm looking at you Whole Foods). I don't need olives in Romanian apple brine, I just want the green ones, the black ones, and sometimes the purple ones, for less than I would pay for a new Mustang, I like choice, I just don't need the most expensive ones. I also have an issue with the grocery stores, located in small towns, who refuse to sell ANYTHING but white bread and Kraft in the blue box, would it kill you to sell hummus or tofu? These are not specialty items, like the grand olive bar, you will not be considered a traitor of the American dream if you sell these items. There has to be a balance between all of my expectations. So, let me recap, I want a grocery store, which falls into my route, on the side of the street, where traffic flows homeward, with a complete collection of vegetables and tofu, no muggers, and maybe a fresh salad bar. Tonight I found that holy place in Jenks, Oklahoma, America. The new Reasors is clean, so very clean, not one tweaker asked me for a ride in the parking lot, the produce was fresh and affordable, and there was....a salad bar. It's not too far off my route and when I left, the traffic was pleasant and the parking lot ample for maneuvering, I think we have a winner, I wish the whole world had a grocery store like mine!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 61 Somebody Toss That Girl A Cracker

Wow, all I can say about today, is that if I had known what kind of day I was stepping into, I would have brought along provisions or at least a scrap of bread. I thought I was being proactive, eating an egg sandwich for breakfast and bringing a bottle of water to court. It's almost 7 pm and I have yet to eat lunch, which would usually mean a call to Domino's on the way home, but even in starvation mode, I will not break! Many times today, I drove past the pizza buffet, each time telling myself that I would be back in my office soon, to retrieve my abandoned hummus, each time was a lie. I was so hungry, I'm pretty sure my stomach thought my throat had been cut. So here I am, finally home, a homemade goat cheese pizza in the oven, a peaceful night ahead, and a cute new haircut to go with my new smaller clothes, not a bad ending to a questionable day.
On a gardening note, along with a plethora of vegetables, my mom and I plan to get into the ground, we have also decided to plant gourds...for the county fair. That's right, I'm gonna take on the blue haired set in vegetable presentation. I don't know if gourds are edible, but I will soon find out! If I can't eat them, I'll just have to decorate the hell out of  them. I'm also thinking of entering my homemade salsa if there's a category for heat, yes there will be fire and maybe blisters, judges beware and bring your chapstick.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 60 Hummus On The Mountaintop

Today, I had a work meeting in a What-a-burger restaurant, if you are not familiar with this classy establishment, let me educate you. What-a-burger has onion rings comparable to golden rings of sunlight and soda cups as big as a Chihuahua. Before the conversion, I used to enjoy such deliciousness as fried pumpkin pies, fried cherry pies, fried apple pies, big fat egg and cheese biscuits, potato, egg and cheese burritos, and of course french fries and hash-taters. It was a veritable smorgasbord of every food with a warning label, and smelled like the state fair, half of my left thigh and part of my chin came from What-a-burger. Back in the day, I would sit in the drive-through, which took on average 7-60 minutes longer than any other joint on earth, for my giant early morning soda. So, today I sat in this fine establishment, amidst the smell of grease and pie, quietly pondering how far I have come, it was so quiet, I could almost hear the arteries hardening around me. I comforted myself with an ice cold cup o' Culligan from the office water cooler and eventually reached a Zen state of oneness with what What-a-burger had to tell me. The fried pumpkin pies would always be here to smell, in fact sometimes when the wind shifts just right, I can almost catch a whiff from my office across the street, and that's OK. It's OK because What-a-burger is no longer the snack time king of greasy mind control tactics and their giant soda kegs are too big for the cup holders anyway. For lunch, I went back to my office and had a hummus and jalapeno sandwich, you can't get that kind of fiber from a greasy spoon burger dive. Here's to better habits and the drive through I call my kitchen.