Posts from the ‘Food’ Category

No running here!

It occurred to me as I sat down to write this post that my blog totally shows my current obsessions.

When I wanted to go vegetarian and needed recipes and ideas, the blog was all about food and recipes and… ideas.

When I had first begun my journey and was struggling with identity issues, food issues, and with changing my lifestyle… well… the blog was about all those things.

And now that I’m running my butt off to get ready for the Hot Chocolate 15k, the blog is all about running.

Apparently I am a girl of limited brain capacity… I can only focus on one thing at a time.

I have done other stuffs though!  I also have photos to prove it!

Finally having both red lentils AND yellow split peas to make my favorite soup: Coconut Red Lentil Soup. I’ve made it with regular lentils and green split peas and, while it comes out a crazy color… it tastes just as good.  The texture is much better with the red lentils though.

Roasting up two more pie pumpkins to get some pumpkin puree. Man oh man do I love the color orange.  Autumn is my favorite time of year!  I think the orange colors are what make me love roasting these little buggers so much.

Into the new food processor you go!  I previously had one of those little mini ones which was smoking every time I made almond butter (and wasn’t getting the job done anymore to be honest) but was holding off on a larger food processor as they’re lots of money.  Found this gem for 30 bucks and figured what the heck.  Can I just say how nice it is to turn it on and walk away?  (Previously I had to hold the button down.)

Your own pumpkin puree too watery?  No problemo.  Some coffee filters and a bit of time and that excess water is bye bye bye!

I decided to turn some of the puree into pumpkin butter using Angela’s recipe. Yes, I am super messy in the kitchen.  Seriously.

This post has been approve by Bailey who scuttled around my feet the entire time hoping I’d drop something.  The cat will literally eat anything as long as it falls from the sky…. this includes rocks.

I also made vegan bacon but that is a post for another day!


I just realized there is no “end”

An interesting thing occurred the other day.

I went to a conference with 5 of my coworkers and we headed out to lunch afterwards.  Two of them picked the place as they wanted somewhere they could look up the weight watchers points on their meals.  This is fine by me.  I spent a lot of time figuring out where I could eat based solely on the availability of calorie counts.  I totally get it.

As the six of us sat down and perused the menus the two started talking about weight watchers points, one started talking about some other point system and tried to figure out how the two compared so he would know what to eat.

The woman I wrote about here started talking about how everyone should order something low fat.  (Some things never change.)

The guy next to me ordered a salad and got in an argument with the weight watchers girls about whose order would have more calories.  And then in the end… those two girls ordered what they wanted anyway and said “screw weight watchers.”

I was pretty amazed at how much kerfuffle went into ordering food.  I couldn’t help but say “Wow, are you guys all on diets?”  And you know something?  They all denied it.  The weight watchers girls said “well it’s a lifestyle change”  (and I agree) and the guy with the points said it’s “just something my wife does”, the woman who toted low fat is always on a diet and the guy next to me didn’t respond.

Throughout it all, I just can’t help but think it should all be easier.  Eating well should be second nature and we shouldn’t have to try so hard to eat well when dining out.  However, for any variety of reasons (and woah are there many) this isn’t the case.  It’s tough.  Six people sitting around a table at a restaurant each with their own method or trick to preventing weight gain and each of us struggling between ordering what we really want to order and what we know we should order.

Me?  I ordered what I wanted, nixed the fries for veggies and ate half.  In the end I was the only one to leave food on my plate despite gargantuan portions and I left with a feeling that, despite all of their hard work and preparation and counting points… none of them really “got it.”

How can any of us really find a normal and healthy balance with food, society, weight, our bodies, nutrition, health and exercise when there are thousands of diet plans, thousands of special diet foods and products, produce which is more expensive than band-for-you processed and refined foods and no clear method of how to teach proper diet and nutrition to the masses?

How are any of us ever really going to get it?

How are we ever going to break the cycle of dieting, weight gain, reliance on frankenfoods and general ignorance of healthy eating?

How are any of us really meant to have a healthy relationship with food when I am beginning to doubt that having a healthy relationship with food is normal? (Or at least a healthy relationship with healthy food.)

Sometimes, it all seems…impossible.


Where is the ice cream?

You might remember me proclaiming I’m quitting ice cream a while back.

Wondering how I’m doing on that?

For the most part, really good.  The beginning was rough.  I still had ice cream here and my thoughts reminded me of what I said to myself when I attempted  to quit smoking ages ago…”Well, I’ll finish after this pack is gone, no sense in wasting money.”

And so it became “I’ll finish when this ice cream is gone, no sense in wasting money.”

The thing is, the real moment which matters isn’t at home, it’s at the grocery store.  Being able to NOT put the ice cream into my cart is all that matters.  If I don’t have ice cream at home, then I won’t eat it very often.

So I didn’t buy any.  I instead chose a mango sorbet which is lovely and which doesn’t cause me to enter some sort of eating contest mode where I shove as much into my mouth as possible.  The sorbet took the edge off, but it wasn’t ice cream and boy oh boy did my body know it!

I swear to you I went through a sort of withdrawal.  I didn’t get the shakes, but I certainly went through a period where my mind tried to convince me I NEEDED it.

And then one day I just forgot about it.  Magically.  I even forgot to eat the mango sorbet.  I even forgot to walk longingly past the ice creams in the grocery store.  I forgot to replenish my  mango sorbet.

All this has happened in the past three weeks and I’m quite pleased with the progress.  I have eaten ice cream while out (a scoop comes free with my meal at a restaurant I frequent nearby which is literally the best deal around, soup, salad and a meal and ice cream for like 6 bucks.  I eat the soup and salad and box up the meal for the next night…. anyway).  I ate that scoop and it was ok.  I didn’t have any more ice cream available to me so it wasn’t a major issue, but I did crave more and that tells me ice cream at home is likely a no-no for the foreseeable future.

I will always wonder what it is about ice cream that makes my body go crazy with cravings, but I’m totally going to work at maintaining a distant (but loving) relationship with the stuff.

Pumpkins…pumpkins everywhere!

Seriously, I’ve been dying to get my hands on some pumpkin.

Everyone seems to be talking about pumpkin overnight oats, which just about makes me shiver with glee.  I mean, I love pumpkin… or at least, I love pumpkin pie.  Hmm, maybe that’s not quite the same thing.

I’ve tried for two weeks in a row now to get my hands on some canned pumpkin at the grocery store.  No luck.  I swear.  I’ve searched the entire store from top to bottom.  I can find pumpkin pie filling (you know, it’s got loads of goop already in it and is sky high in calories I certainly don’t need) but not actual pumpkin.  I know they make it, I’ve bought it before!  It’s simply nowhere.

As I walked through the produce aisle this week I saw some baking pumpkins.  They’re so small and adorable that I couldn’t help but pick one up… and doing so jogged a memory of reading a blog post somewhere (the danger of reading so many blogs) about making your own pumpkin puree.  And this is how I walked out of the store with a $0.99 baking pumpkin.

It turns out, making your own puree is just as easy as it sounds.  You bake the thing, take the baked pieces and put them through your food processor.  (There was a lot of babble about taking out excess water from the pumpkin and I worried about this as it’s totally the type of step I usually omit because it’s tedious work… Some may want to do so if they’re using it for pies or something but for my purposes, it wasn’t ridiculously watery or anything.)

You know how some people can effortlessly cut open a huge object like a pumpkin or spaghetti squash without it being a huge production?  I am not one of those people.  I think those people have better knives than I do.

Scraping out the innards…. not as fun as I remember it being when carving pumpkins as a child… though the goo is just as slimy and squishy as I remember.

See how little this cutie is?  Seriously.  Soo cute.  Into the oven at 350 for an hour.

I didn’t even check on them at all.  I just baked them for the entire hour and then took them out when the timer went off.  They’d turned this gorgeous deep orange color and I had to taste a bit of baked pumpkin as I couldn’t remember if I’d ever had it before… and it turns out… I genuinely enjoy pumpkin; just plain pumpkin, nothing on it, no sugar or spices… it’s good stuff!

After the pumpkin cools enough (naturally I refused to wait) you peel the skin off, using a knife to aid the process (I now have burnt fingertips  because of my impatience).  Then you chunk it up and put it through a food processor.

And then you have pumpkin.  It’s not as dense as in the can (mostly due to the water issue) and apparently the water issue isn’t hard to resolve.  Simply place some coffee filters in the bottom of a strainer, put the strainer in a bowl, put the pumpkin in the strainer and leave in the fridge overnight.  As I’m not making pie, I’m skipping this step.

First thing I did?  I made up some pumpkin overnight oats complete with pumpkin pie spice, extra cinnamon and a tiny bit of maple syrup.  I’m pretty sure it’s going to be epic.

I also decided to roast the pumpkin seeds, fishing them out of the goop is… interesting.  I’d never done it before.  I felt like a kid playing in slime.  🙂

All in all I got 5 cups of puree from one tiny pumpkin for $0.99.  If I like the pumpkin overnight oats, I may buy quite a few more, do them up and freeze them…. no more searching for canned pumpkin.

Fewer Choices = Staying on Track

Every once in a while I actually glance over the hot posts on the page.

There’s usually some good stuff there and even if I don’t necessarily read the entire post (I skim, I skim) it’s fun to get outside of the weight loss/healthy living blog world in which I’ve immersed myself and take a gander at what the rest of the planet is blathering on about.

This led me to read this post. And while it may not initially seem relevant to what I talk about here… it totally is!  Allow me to quote the pertinent bit:

Dr.  Haltzman shared some research with me about the negative effects in our consumer society of having too many choices—which may lead to increased expectations and lower satisfaction. A book called The Choice Paradox by Barry Schwartz shares research that flies in the face of conventional wisdom. (I will have another post about this topic soon, because there is much insight to glean.) I’ll cut to the chase and reveal that people are happier with the choices they make when there are relatively few choices from which to choose.

This reminded me of something my sister once said to me which went along the lines of (and I loosely quote) “I just do much better with my food when I don’t have a lot of choices.”

So the two of these things together got me thinking and I totally do the same thing with my food choices.  I limit myself as to my options, and as a result, I’m pretty happy with the way I eat… most of the time.

I literally eat the same thing for breakfast every day.  I also eat the same thing for lunch every day.  It’s a nice routine and I’m definitely not the sort of person who gets tired of things easily (obviously).

Plus, when I do want to switch things up a bit… I can.  I do actually have a couple of options of what to eat for breakfast.  Similarly, I have a couple of options as to what to eat for lunch.

The key word there is couple.

The key result there is this:  I rarely, if ever, feel dissatisfied with my breakfast or lunch.  In fact, I am unable to think of an incidence where I actually found myself dissatisfied with either.

What do I find myself dissatisfied with?  Dinner.  Hands down.  Dinner is where I change it up.  Dinner is where I try to be creative.  Dinner is where I usually slip up calorie-wise.  Dinner is where I could claim to be unhappy after a meal.

When I have fewer choices, I stay more on track and I feel happier/more content with what I’ve got.  Apparently it works with relationships too.

Who knew?  There apparently IS a recipe for success in life…. and it’s not a complex equation.. it’s simple subtraction.

A party over here… a party over there…

Ok so it’s not actually a party; it’s a gathering.

Don’t I sound incredibly grown up when I say I don’t party?  No?  Ok, it was worth a shot.

Anyhoo, I’m planning a gathering; a girl’s night in if you will.  It’s going to be fantastic.  Some girlfriends, some food, maybe a little wine (mmhmm, I just might have a glass, shocking as that is) and some great conversation make for a great night.

Sounds fun, yes?

Welcome to me being a crazed lunatic.  See, I never do things like this.  I never have people over to my house.  I never invite people to do anything.  I don’t talk on the phone… you could say I’m a bit of a recluse.  I just get focused on my own thing and I tend to forget the rest of the world until it’s time for bed or something.

Anyway… since I’ve sent out the evite, I’ve been completely psychotic.  I check the evite pretty near every half hour.  Why?  Beats me, I have opted in to the option where it lets me know via email if anyone RSVP’s.  I think I’m checking to see who has looked at theirs and then freaking out when they haven’t responded yet.

You know, like a sane person would totally do.

So, aside from my evite insanity and weird highschoolesque fear that no one wants to come to my party… I’ve begun to think about food.

You know, one of the main things girls like to do when they get together and gab is eat.  Everyone is bringing a little something so I’m not responsible for all the food, but I am responsible for something fairly substantial….. and I’m at a complete loss.

Back in the day I could throw down a party food favorite with the best of them.  Something naughty.  Something fattening.  Something laden with both grease AND bacon and possibly even something a little sweet along with some salt to make it that to-die-for dish.  (I might possibly be off a bit on the ingredients there.)

The problem?  I sorta want to figure out how to entertain AND stay with healthy, vegetarian dishes.  I have a lot of stuff I eat which just doesn’t really scream “gathering of girls approved.”

So now?  Now I’m scared they won’t want to come to my party and even if they do?  I’m scared they won’t like my food.

Completely ridiculous?  Yes.

Doesn’t mean I’m not out for a great recipe I can use which is healthy, vegetarian and yet will still get the job done.

Anyone out there got that?

I Scream… You Scream….We All…Say Goodbye?

I knew this day would come.

My love affair with ice cream has lasted a long time.  My first day at Curves, when asked what food I couldn’t live without… my answer, immediate and decisive was “ice cream.”

And the look on Ms. Size Zero’s face when she peered over her chart at me said “Hmm I hope you don’t wonder why you’re overweight.”

Ice cream and I go way back.  I remember college pity parties spent with a friend and a couple of pints of Ben & Jerry’s.  I remember celebrating fantastic events with blizzards or sundaes from Dairy Queen.

What’s not to like about ice cream?  It’s been so controlled during my diet.  My 150 calories of ice cream a day… the thing I claimed “kept me sane” and on the straight and narrow.  I eat my ice cream every day and then I don’t have the urge to binge on it.  (You know, like I did after Atkins when all I wanted in the world were some sugary goodness carbs?)

Only… ice cream is currently betraying me.  My little cone after dinner?  My 150 calories of super yummy goodness?  It’s begun to turn on me.  What once satiated my need for the creamy goodness now causes something a bit more sinister to occur.  Lately, I’ve been having my ice cream and then feeling something like this: omgomgIwantmore!  MORE!  Iwantanother!  Gimme Another!  I need more!  I deserve more!  I. Must. Have. More!

And, you see, I’ve given in a couple of times.  And, well, I know that’s not right.  And so, I’m beginning to wonder if maybe my ice cream isn’t triggering some sort of over-eating mechanism inside of me.  Or perhaps it’s making me crave stupid stuff (like more ice cream).

I don’t know precisely what it is.

I just know it’s got to stop.

And so I’m saying it right now… the words I never thought I’d utter (willingly, anyway).

I think I’m going to try to take a month off ice cream.

I just can’t justify eating something which makes me go so crazy.  There are alternatives.  I’ve got mango sorbet which makes me squeal with delight and which I seem to have self control around.  There’s chocolate, of which I have gobs in my freezer and seem to go days without thinking of touching.

And then of course, there’s the notion of having no sweets after dinner and breaking that stupid habit.

Whatever the case, there are alternatives and I know it.

I feel a bit like I did when I decided to quit smoking.  Something about it was making me feel dissatisfied and so I went with the feeling and maneuvered myself into quitting.  I may be far more addicted to ice cream than I ever was to cigarettes, but I think the concept is the same.  I need to run with this feeling of “woah, this isn’t right and I should do something about it” while I still can.

Besides, it’s just a month.  It’s not forever.  It’s a month.  If after a month I decide to eat ice cream again, that’s fine.  Hopefully I’ll be a less frequent ice cream connoisseur but if it’s daily again, well I hope I’ll at least have freed myself of the crazy craving for more which suddenly seems to be coming with it.

I can do this.

I can do this.

I can do this.

I can do this.

Screw you ice cream!