Archives for category: Food

Day 3 – Saturday, Oct 4, 2014

Breakfast – leftover zuke soup with pork roast

Lunch – leftover Day 2 dinner of pork, parsnips, yam, carrots, green beans

Dinner – cold pork and broccoli dipped in sunshine sauce

Snacks: zuke soup, nuts

There seems to be a pattern here. But it doesn’t surprise me, as I do this normally – eat the hell out of my leftovers. I don’t know how people can NOT eat leftovers. Usually, they taste better the day after.  I’m the Queen of making extra and eating them for several days. Even ask my college roommates. Anything is edible when reheated and salsa is tossed on top. Read the rest of this entry »

Day 1 – Thursday, October 2, 2014

Breakfast – eggs, onion, kale, avocado, homemade tomatillo sauce, black tea

Lunch – yams and beef on spaghetti squash

Dinner – broccoli dipped in sunshine sauce and cold shredded pork roast

Snacks – sunflower seeds and apple

It went reasonably well and felt great. Felt like my normal routine, with some new flavors added. However, since it was a field day for work, and my usual routine is to stop for ice cream halfway between Port Angeles and Kingston, it took some conscious thinking to walk past the ice cream bin at the shop. Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 3, 2014:

4 foot 11 &  3/4 inches
128 lbs.

Goal: 120 lbs., improved skin, more energy, attempt to fight genetics

Most of my close friends know that for the past few years, I have been “eating Paleo.” It’s been before Paleo became the latest fad “diet” or “eating lifestyle.” Before it’s current 15 Minutes of Fame, it’s been a way of eating primarily known among climbers and lean athletes who need to feed their body healthy things so they can continue to operate and perform at their best.

In 2008, in an effort to trim down for my best friend’s wedding, I followed an eating plan that had me go from eating cereal for breakfast and pasta for lunch and dinner to eggs/cheese on whole grain english muffins or yogurt/fruit/granola for breakfast and chicken and veggies for lunch and dinner. I lost weight and felt great. I was also in the midst of starting the Bremerton Farmers Market and learned about eating better quality vegetables, fruits and meats.

In 2011, through climbing friends, I heard about Paleo and was interested in changing my eating habits again. I like a challenge and I love to cook so this seemed like it would be fun.

Within a few months, while I’d only lost about 5-7 lbs, people complimented me on looking great. I noticed I felt better too when I ate “clean.”

So, I think there’s something to be said for this “fad.” In an effort to get back on the Paleo wagon, I’m starting the latest eating plan through Whole30 – basically, eat strict Paleo for 30 days, no cheating whatsoever.

So, what exactly is Whole30 and Paleo and what are my goals?

Story: My friend Don walked into my disaster of a kitchen on the evening of Day 1 as I was whisking away a bowl of spices, olive oil and chopped cilantro for a Moroccan dipping sauce/dressing. Next to me was a dirty crock pot from the Italian pork roast, a food processor bowl with leftovers from the “Sunshine Sauce” (a paleo version of soy sauce, dear god SO MUCH BETTER THAN SOY SAUCE), and my dinner consisting of broccoli dipped in the Sunshine Sauce and a bowl of cold pork roast.

Because it’s Don (one of my dearest friends here in the PNW), I didn’t apologize for my mess and just looked up and said, “Doing Paleo.”

He said, “OK, what does that mean exactly? You talk about it but I don’t get it.”

So, here’s my elevator speech:

Paleo means eating just meat, veggies, fruits and nuts. No bread, legumes or dairy. On Whole30, it means no sugars whatsoever for 30 days. I’m bored with my usual eggs/chicken/veggies and wanted to try some new recipes. I’m viewing this as a “Paleo Cleanse.”

Also, paleo refers to the way our Paleolithic ancestors ate and followed a similar diet – meat, veggies, fruit, nuts, whatever was available.

(Yes, I know, tea and coffee and today’s fruits weren’t eaten by our ancestors and this “diet” is ripe for ridicule. But come on – the whole point is to eat healthier. In our day and age of obese children, skyrocketing healthcare costs and corporate marketing selling us processed crap that our sheep mentality has managed to accept as “food”, everyone could stand some healthier eating habits. And people apparently need labels, so “Paleo” it is. This may result in another blog post regarding eating seasonally, farmers markets and food co-ops and how it’s absolutely reasonable for EVERYONE to eat this way. You’ve been warned).

I’ve noticed since I’ve been eating mostly clean the past few years, when I DO eat bread, legumes or dairy, I feel a definite change in my body. Rice, beans and lentils have never agreed with me. Bread is just instant gratification at first but then I feel gross afterward. As for dairy, I won’t deny, I LOVE CHEESE. I LOVE MILK. I used to drink a gallon a week as a kid. I LOVE cream cheese and taco dips and smearing creamy savory things onto crackers. But I’ve noticed how I feel after eating all those things and it’s not always good.

Example: Last week, I was doing really well eating clean, with eggs/veggies in the a.m. and huge filling salads for lunch and dinner.  Then I got my favorite ice cream and had some for dessert after dinner, ironically while planning my first week of Whole30. Sure enough within 30 minutes, I felt blah and sluggish and felt like I’d put on five pounds. All the more reason to cleanse the system.

So, pretty simple, really.

Trying to convince The Boyfriend is another story though. He’s a flatlander who just moved from the East Coast and grew up on starches and meat and processed foods. My meals with him the past four months have consisted regularly of sausage and veggies and some carb (rice, pasta), his amazing potato soup, amazing hash brown/cheese/egg burritos and frozen Reese’s Cups for dessert. And beer… introducing him to our local craft beers.

I ain’t complainin’ – it’s been good eatin’ the past few months. But oy, I’m feeling it.

After I explained what Paleo is, he had some choice words about it. I just shrugged my shoulders and thought, oh well. He’ll miss out on some pretty spectacular meals. Like that Italian pork roast. Herbs de Provence-roasted yams. Coconut curry and beef.

But I THINK he’ll be supportive. On Thursday morning, he made my breakfast and said, “Oh, you’re starting Paleo! No cheese for you!” And I was grateful.

And tonight, I’m going to cook some type of meat, steam green beans and make a baked potato for him and a yam for me. I think it will work. And if this means cooking more for him, that’s fine. He’s been generously feeding me on a grad school student budget and I think it’s time for some reciprocation.

So, the final bit:

The “inspirational” emails I have for each day from the Whole30 plan (Thanks T2!) include writing down my goals and motivations:

  • I hope to lose some weight – I’m topping out at the heaviest I’ve ever been for the second time in my life, plus I turned 35 this year, so my metabolism came to a screeching halt at the same time I had to cutback on my workouts due to injuries.
  • With the results I’ve read from other people, I hope my skin clears up and my foggy mind clears up too.
  • I’m bored with my usual eating routine, so I hope this adds some easy new recipes to my palate.
  • My genetics have me predisposed to heart disease, stroke and high cholesterol (which I’ve had since checking it regularly since I was 18). After I went Paleo for a year in 2011, my doctor reported that my cholesterol was finally in a healthy state. So, there’s a good reason right there.

SO….here goes.

It’s been a slow and sluggish winter. The gray of the long winter is hitting, as it should because it’s March and I’m not super inspired to do much during the week. The weekends are skiing or OMR training or annual events, such as Sunday’s St. Pat’s Dash with friends. That day involves an early morning ferry, a 4-mile run, a couple beers in the beer garden at Seattle Center while dancing to a live Celtic band, the Stout Pounders, then food. After that, the options open to whatever, and this year it was watching Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom at Patrick’s, then rushing to go catch Anderson’s latest release, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was, indeed, grand.

A slow mosey back to the ferry, catching every overpass and sheltered pathway possible, as a squall had hit Seattle at 8 p.m. Feeling defeated, dejected, no, DRAINED, we got on our ferry and sloshed back to our homes.

Today was a thankfully quiet and slow day at work, with no deadlines but plenty of busy little projects. I told myself it was a week of Spring Cleaning The Office. It stopped raining and sun filtered through the trees throughout the day outside my window. I knew I needed to get out into the gardens this evening, with light until 7:30 now, but I just couldn’t muster even thinking about the mental or physical energy required. Knowing that the rain would be coming back tomorrow helped some but not enough.

Then there was Shannon. My co-worker Shannon, an effervescent bubbly dark-haired woman who loves gardening and growing her own food like me. She has acreage and animals, including chickens. Her gardens are wild and uninhibited, from years and years of tucking away all sorts of plants she’s collected. She brought me a bouquet of forsythias last week that are still blooming their yellow clusters on the tan lean branches, with a few green buds starting to pop.

She showed me pictures of her greenhouse today after lunch and the starts of her spinach and other greens. Deep down inside, I felt a little flicker of spring and energy but at the same time, pangs of guilt. The leaves from last fall that I used to mulch the ground over the winter were still in my front and back yards, thick and slick from the season’s rains. My hoop house was still covering the garden and weeds were really starting to take over everywhere.

I mentioned just as much to her, and as I exhaled a sigh of defeat and dragged back to my office, she called after me, “You know, you just gotta get out there and start, because once you do, something switches on in you, and then, you know, you’re there.”

I knew what she meant. It helped some. I talked myself into not going to yoga this evening and that working in the yard would have the same meditative effects.

Still, I dragged my feet when I got home, slowly changed, slowly picked up the keys to the garage then grabbed the beer I promised myself I could drink while I worked in the front yard.

That first pull of Elysian Immortal IPA tasted like summer. That was a good start.

I pulled a few weeds, retrieved some tools from the garage and started raking the leaves in the front yard. Eh. Not as meditative or refreshing or invigorating as I’d hoped. But my mind started to wake up a little as I carefully worked around the hot pink stems of the Bleeding Hearts and tested the hardiness of my ferns with my rake. Are those primroses that have made their way to the front yard? I was happy to see my Rhodies made it through their first winter in my yard. I cut back the dead grass on my Japanese Forest Grasses and told myself I finally need to buy new Corra Belles for the East Gardens. I eventually dragged the yard waste bin to the front and began tossing in piles of wet brown leaves. I made a mental note to start thinking about buying fresh mulch for the front gardens, since barely anything survives there but it looks nice with fresh mulch.

I soon decided to call it an evening and started putting tools away in the garage. On the way there though, I paused by the hoop house, thought for half a second, then started unclipping the inch-and-a-half binder clips that secure the three-mil plastic to the hoop structure. I hung the slightly rusted clips in the garage and went back for the plastic, wrestling with a sheet that is twice as big as a queen-sized bedspread. I peeled it off from one end and walked it down to the other, letting it rest on the plastic adirondack chair. I walked around to inspect what had happened all winter under that opaque layer and found myself inhaling a huge breath.

It was almost like sucking in air for the garden, breathing for it. I’d taken a layer off, allowing it to breathe for the first time since November, and for myself for the first time in a while. At the same time, I just was really excited to suck in all that amazing garden air that had been trapped and working wonders.

My cover crops are thick, with only just a few weeds that were easily pulled. My chives are a foot tall. My swiss chard plants are short but are sprouting wide thick leaves, ready for their second season. The kale is going to seed but that’s OK. And whereas I thought the squirrels got my broccoli, lettuce and spinach seeds, there’s one sprout of spinach and a couple lettuce leaves. The green blades of the garlic and leeks are lined up like toy soldiers, just like I sowed them last fall.

It took a few moments to realize how good it felt taking off that layer. I felt like myself again and reenergized. Spring is really coming. Warmer weather is on the way. It may be a little chilly at night this week and the plastic may need to go back on just overnight, but my hands have been inaugurated with dirt for the season.

Like Shannon said, it definitely flipped the switch.

I don’t enjoy thin brothy soups, except when I am sick. I like stews – thick liquids with lots of vegetables and meat. Something I can chew on.

So tomato soup, especially from a can, has been out of the question.  It seemed like a watered down version of tomato sauce. I love me some spaghetti and sauce but thickness is key.

A few years ago, I tried a tomato bisque at a cafe near the office. The server described it as creamy and thick with lots of herbs, including basil. I was surprised by the texture and the flavor – hearty and savory.

But it forever changed my opinion about the salmon-colored soup. The flour and cream adds the texture I like, plus it leaves an interesting dry after-feel in the mouth, much like tannins on the tongue after drinking wine.

Earlier this fall, I had a hankering for tomato bisque, so of course I want to make it from scratch.

Pioneer Woman's Hearty Tomato Soup

Pioneer Woman’s Hearty Tomato Soup

I first started with a recipe from Food Network. Then I heard Tom Douglas’ simple recipe on The Splendid Table radio show. A Facebook cooking group posted one from Cooks Illustrated. Then I perused my Pioneer Woman cookbook and found hers. Over the course of four weeks, I made each of these. Here are my notes. Read the rest of this entry »

Excuse me while I close down the many web sites I’ve opened and run through the pictures from Rockfest 2011 (June 25-26).

Charlie, Me and Sara, after two days of "summer camp."

Cool bags on, oh and Feathered Friends, I’ll pick out my color and size for my new vest soon. Hmmmm, Google Images – was that local route setter Bryan Burdo who worked out the knots on my back after I kiddingly mentioned how Rockfest 2011 needed a sports massage chair? I was sunning on a bench on my belly, waiting out the pancake coma that I just put myself into and next thing you know, there were very strong hands on my back! Before I got up, he had scurried off before I could say thanks! OH and what WAS that awesome route I climbed on Saturday afternoon at Fun Wall that kicked my butt but felt amazing? (Still need to research that one).

On the grass at Goat Wall View in Mazama, there is Eddie making rounds, sporting his 15th outfit of the weekend, each with a different hat while Jackie sports her bright blue  new OR hat. She, Sara and Graham are teaching Charlie how to do cartwheels in the grass. Mark’s 2.5 month old puppy golden retriever steals the show, as every conversation is stopped immediately as people drop to their knees to cuddle with this rambunctious ball of fur.  Read the rest of this entry »

In our family, my father is known for his smoked turkey. So much so that even his ex-wife/my mother won’t turn down a chance for a bit of the juicy hickory-smoked meat. Being a man who grew up in Mesquite, Texas and barbecues weekly, if not monthly, he seems to know what he’s doing. And each year, I appreciate that damn turkey more and more.

The Bird.

Dad has been involving me in the process the past few years and I decided this year to get some video of the process, Classic Dad/Former TV Personality Commentary included. This four-part segment goes from putting it on the smoker to the first taste test, over a course of 18 hours. Dogs, snow, fire and bad Star Wars music included.

Putting the Bird on the smoker (it’s a little long; the first 1/3 of the video is prepping the grill and the last 1/3 talks about prepping the bird):

Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve never hosted Thanksgiving before. I’ve always headed to someone’s house for a potluck, bringing the Midwest staple of Green Bean Casserole and my family’s Texas Pecan Pie. Or I’ve actually gone to Texas to celebrate with family, lugging some vegetable from the PNW to cook up as my contribution.

This year will be no different – I’ll be headed to the immediate homestead of Cincinnati, Ohio, where the Vetrano Family reunion will be held, instead of Houston.

But as I was listening to a cooking segment on the radio this morning, I started thinking about all the amazing yummy things I’ve come across over the years that would make up an amazing Thanksgiving table, with a take on some traditional staples. Here is my list of what would be on my table: Read the rest of this entry »

I’d never been one for mushy foods. Applesauce, maraschino cherries and oatmeal make the top three. Maraschino cherries just never tasted good. Oatmeal bothered me because my mother would eat it super soupy and it grossed me out. Applesauce disgusted me for the same reason. A little too mushy. Never ate it out of a can, jar or little cup; it just never appealed to me.

Until my friend Liz brought her homemade sauce to a party a few years ago.

A tablespoon and I was a changed woman. I never knew applesauce could taste SO good.

Read the rest of this entry »

12:36 p.m. Sept 23, 2010

I figured it’s a good time to replace that old (*closing door, turning up Passion Pit on Pandora*) post about how girls pee like guys and where I sleep in the woods. My belly is full of a whole wheat wrap with black forest ham, swiss cheese, tomatoes, dijon mustard and avocado. Earl Grey tea sits in snug in my Hershey Kiss-shaped blue/green mug that I cherish. I purchased it at the Kingston Farmers Market a few years ago. I think. I just know it’s locally made. And heavy.

Speaking of, the Bremerton Farmers Market is today! It’ll probably be rainy and drizzly, but who cares – the market is over in THREE WEEKS PEOPLE! Get your fresh fruit to nosh on and freeze for throughout the winter. The veggies haven’t been as abundant this year as most would like. I don’t want to hear your bitching about it – it was hard, cool summer for our farmers. Typically, we should have zucchini growing out of our EARS but even that we haven’t had this year. That REALLY means it was a bad year for our farmers. Read the rest of this entry »