Thursday, December 29, 2011

Meal Plan

Well, I'm not quite in the swing of things yet, but I am cooking.  I keep forgetting to take pictures.  But really, how many pictures of roasted chicken on a bed of veggies can a girl take?

We arrived home late Monday night (I walked in the door at 11:30 pm and was asleep on the couch at 11:35), and I did the grocery run on Tuesday.  No farmer's market, the CSA doesn't start until the 12th of January, so I made do with Trader Joe's.

I got a kindle for Christmas and read a good book by Mark Bittman about cooking and food, and I don't remember what it was called.  It was pretty anti-processed food.  I have to admit, I've been hitting up the pre-prepared foods more lately, but nobody is perfect.  So I endeavored to cook more this week.

Tuesday lunch: cantaloupe, pork tamales (they were at the tasting station at TJ's, and son begged for them), snap peas with hummus.
Tuesday dinner: baked breaded chicken (from TJ's).  Carrot-ginger soup (my son's favorite).
Weds lunch:  salad with apples, leftover chicken, sharp cheddar, macadamia nuts, and raspberry vinaigrette.  Spouse was home sick and had PB&J.
Weds dinner: pasta with pesto (from a jar) and broccoli mixed with sauteed onions and sausage.  Now, this felt like cooking, even though I didn't make the sausage or the pesto.  But I did overcook the pasta and broccoli a bit (not quite at the top of my game), so the pasta got mushy and the broccoli fell apart.  Family loved it, tasted good, but not photo worthy!
Thursday lunch: my spouse's salad lunch from the day before.  He was home sick again.
Thursday dinner: baked organic chicken legs on a bed of potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions. Carrot soup.
Friday lunch: leftover chicken and veggies, snap peas
Friday dinner: leftover pasta with broccoli and sausage
Saturday lunch: more of the pork tamales
Saturday dinner: NYE with friends, potluck style.  I'll probably make something with potatoes and sweet potatoes.  Not sure what.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Time to go grocery shopping

We are back from our 11 day trip back east to visit family over the holidays.  Our fridge is empty except for some take-out boxes from our house-sitter.

It was a very sad trip - my mother passed away the day after I arrived.  I didn't cook a lick.  I ate a lot of bad food the first half (people bring food when someone dies, and it's not vegetables).  I mourned with my step-dad and siblings.  I got pampered by my mother-in-law during the second half.  My father died on Christmas Eve 4  years ago, so I can officially say that the holidays sometimes really suck rocks.

And now it's back to the real world.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Last weekend, I bought ground beef at the farmer's market (Rancho San Julian), and my husband made meatballs.  But one lb of  beef doesn't make a lot of meatballs, especially when  you are me and you are trying to eat paleo for lunch (any kind of grain whatsoever at lunch makes me fall asleep an hour later, which is when my boss wants to discuss projects and strategy.  Yawning is not an option.)
So this week, I bought 2 lbs and made meatloaf.  I was inspired by an episode of Diners Drive-Ins and Dives that I happened to catch - where an Italian place made meatballs with sofrito.  It made me realize that I could add cooked celery to my meatloaf (I never can finish up my celery).  I really like the "Triple D" show.  As much as the food is usually over-the-top in calorie counts, the restaurants featured really do make their food from scratch, and that is inspiring.

So I found this recipe.  Made it a little larger because of the 2lbs of beef.  And there are enough leftovers to last most of the week.  We served it with the last of the Thanksgiving cornbread stuffing (don't worry, it was in the freezer), some TJ's vegetable samosas, and roasted broccoli.  Delish!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Roast chicken and vegetables

It looks a lot like what we had for Thanksgiving, except with chicken parts.  The veggies were sweet potatoes, onions, and carrots.  Served with broccoli.  I wasn't hungry, so I ate it later, cold.  Had it for lunch today too.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


No turkey sandwiches actually need a turkey.  But I did make chicken sandwiches for lunch the day after Thanskgiving.  This one had mayo, chicken, aged gouda, avocado, and fresh sliced tomatoes.  YUMMY.

I also have been on a bagel kick (sadly, a 6 pack only lasts 2 days with 3 people).  I had bagels with cream cheese and MORE tomatoes.

These are my garden tomatoes.  I realize that it's November, but apparently our tomato plants don't realize it yet.  The beauty of So Cal!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a low-key chill Thanksgiving.  With a cold, I just wasn't feeling up to being social, since our first set of plans fell through.  I declined other invitations so that I could nap.  We ended up watching way too much TV: Madagascar, then back-to-back Willy Wonkas (both versions).
Our dinner was simple, but still not ready on time (1/2 hour late).  Figures.  We did my favorite Ina Garten chicken recipe on a bed of vegetables.  I'm going to say it: how come the chickens at the farmer's market don't come with giblets anymore??
We started by chopping onions, carrots, yukon potatoes, and sweet potatoes and putting them in our roasting pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Then you put the chicken on top and roast 1.5 to 1.75 hours.  Remove chicken, and let rest before carving.  The veggies get all caramely and delicious.

My husband made his grandpa's famous cornbread stuffing.  (It was missing something this year.  We aren't sure what.)

We weren't feeling up to homemade rolls, so pillsbury to the rescue!

Here's my plate before:
And here's my plate after:

I just wasn't that hungry.  Of course, I passed out at 8 pm, woke up at 1 am.  I've been awake for an hour, so I finished off my plate with a glass of milk, and I'm hoping it will put me to sleep soon.  Ugh.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quick and Sick Lunch

So what do you eat when you are home sick, and have been sick for more than a month?  Good question!  I finally kicked the bronchitis and came down with a cold.  My boss essentially ordered me to take today off.  In fact, I even went home early yesterday.  I missed my company's status update, which apparently also included the fact that I won an award, missed out on free Indian food, and have to wait until Monday to get a $25 grocery store gift card given to all employees.

I don't feel too bad about missing it (except for the excitement of winning an award, which I found out when my engineer congratulated me by email).  I got home, put on sweatpants, and immediately fell asleep for 2 hours, sitting upright on the couch.

I spent the rest of the day tired, and spouse and I had tickets to see Blue Man Group.  We even hired a babysitter for the first time!  (Yes my son is 5.5.  Sad.  We've swapped with friends, hired a nanny for a week - but she's not local during the school year, but that's it.)  It was an awesome show, but I almost fell asleep during it.  I woke up at 3 am again...this insomnia is killing me.

For my day off, I sent my kid off to day care anyway (such a bad mom thing to do, but I am going to pull the "sick" card here).  Got some grocery shopping done and now I'm about to take a nap.
So this was my lunch today after my trip to TJ's.  Annie's Teriyaki noodles, with extra frozen veggies tossed in, and a couple of tangerines from our tree.  The tree is laden this year.  I don't buy much fruit now, I just go outside and start picking!

Later folks.  Turkey day is tomorrow.  We aren't hosting this year, nor are we going anywhere.  A couple of coworkers kindly invited us over, but with my sickness, I really just need to be somewhere where I can nap on demand.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Grass fed Tri tip

I seem to be on a once-a-week trend of posting.  Considering my bronchitis and lack of sleep, I think that's to be expected.  Luckily, I do have a general menu plan, so I can be brutally honest about what's cookin' in the FHS household.
Last Sunday was tri-tip.  My friend Kelly is my source - she is 100% paloe/Atkins, and she and her hubby buy it in bulk.  That means I get some too at a bargain $8 a lb.  Each package usually has about 3.5 lbs and two small tri-tips.  This is easily enough meat for us to eat all week.  (Truly, it's more than we would normally eat.) 
This week's menu started with tri-tip, rice with veggies from the CSA, and kale chips.

The rest of the week involved more tri-tip and rice, skillet pasta (with or without the meat), burritos, more tri-tip with see the trend here.  Thursday night I made more rice and quinoa to go with the meat for lunch on Friday while I was cooking a dinner of chicken, salad, and cornbread.

Friday night was pizza (ordered in).  Saturday lunch was a friend's birthday party, where we ended up with leftovers.  And Saturday night was pizza.  So, the illness means we are cooking less for sure.  I just haven't been feeling like eating vegetables either.

On that note, the CSA is over for the year.  They extended the season for four weeks, but since we'll be gone that last week, we didn't sign up.  We do need to sign up for next year though.  I should check on that.  So my haul at the farmer's market was larger to make up for it.

This year we're not having turkey (long story), but I am roasting a chicken on a bed of delicious root vegetables.

Poor hubby.  He was supposed to play tennis today for the first time in weeks.  I awoke at about 5 am to a tinkling sound of rain.  No tennis for him.  We've both been slacking on our workouts.  With the inability to breathe, I haven't been swimming in four weeks.  My exercise involves 2 days a week at the gym, 30 mins elliptical, 15 min weights.  And one day walking 2-3 miles on the weekend.  It's gotta be enough to keep me going until I am healthy again.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A brief week in pictures

The blog has been winding down lately, as I'm sure you've noticed.  There are a few reasons for this: work craziness (I now have four people working for me, and it's crunch time), husband traveling, and bronchitis.  Yay for me.  I find myself passing out between 8 and 8:30 in the evening (many times before my child), waking up at 1 am with insomnia for a couple of hours, and then awaking again at 4 or 5 in the morning.  Lovely.
So my energy level isn't that great, and the whole family is ready for the bronchitis to be over.  Here's a bit of what's been going on:

Last weekend a really great friend of ours came by for a visit.  He was in our wedding, and my hubby was his best man.  He's from Santa Fe, and he was on a business trip in San Francisco, so he swung by for a weekend.  His wife wasn't able to make it.  We had such a great time.  You know how you've got old friends (we've known him for...19 and 21 years I think) who, no matter how long you've been apart, you go back seamlessly into a great fun relationship?  Yeah, it's one of those.  He's a vegetarian, so we did a combo of cooking and eating out while he was here.
Friday night (I had the day off): homemade pizza
Saturday morning: eggs and toast
Saturday lunch: farmer's market, went wine tasting, ate sandwiches at a great deli
Sunday dinner: made black bean burritos and kale chips
Sunday breakfast: out (we love breakfast out).  Tried a new place.  It was "meh".
Sunday lunch: veggie burgers
Sunday dinner: skillet spaghetti and salad
Monday breakfast: scones.  See below...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Beef Stew-fry

That is not a typo.  We got a LOT of greens last week from the farm.  And I didn't even eat all of them yet.  Hopefully the tatsoi is still good.  But we had a big bag of "braising greens" and some mizuna from the week before.

My son doesn't like "stir-fry", so I made a stir-fry in the stew pot and called it stew.  It has local grassfed beef, greens, onions, peppers, tomato, a soy-sesame sauce, with some of our home canned tangerine marmalade to give it some sweetness.  It's almost paleo (except for the marmalade), and it was tasty.  I made it last Thursday and have a teeny bit left for lunch tomorrow.

On the health front, I still have an awful cough...I think I may have bronchitis.  So I will be heading to the doctor's office tomorrow and see what they can do for me.  Ugh.  I get winded just trying to walk more than a mile (I still do it), and I am coughing up lots of phlegm.  It's been 2 weeks!

The beef, onion, and peppers

The braising greens (kale, chard, etc)

The finished product

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I didn't really cook this weekend.

Monday, I started feeling somewhat sick.  Chills all day, so I went to bed early.  Then I started sweating at night.  I then had a sore throat most of the week.  But just the hint of one.  I figured, this isn't so bad.

But of course the weekend hits and I go down hard. 

I made it through Friday night's YMCA Halloween party just fine.  But there was a long line for food, and about 30 minutes into it, we ditched it to get burritos.
Saturday was my son's school's Fall Festival.  I volunteered for food prep.  Which I figured was a bad idea since I was sick.  So I made my husband go instead.  I ended up working a booth for 45 mins, chasing tennis balls and picking up milk bottles.  In the 80C heat, wearing jeans, with no water.  Then my replacement did not show up. So my neighbor and friend wandered around and begged people to take over for me.  Then I got food and water and felt much better.

The kiddo caught my cold, and he fell asleep on my lap during a drum performance.

I spent  much of the night coughing.  Spouse was smart and slept on the sofabed.  Kid crawled into his spot.  Where the two of us proceeded to cough on and off during the night.  I have been suffering from insomnia a lot lately, and was up for 2 hours in the night.  I did get to sleep in until 7 am though.

On to Sunday.  I have probably been drinking gallons of hot tea and orange juice from our tree that I defrosted.  I had a little boat trip scheduled with my triathlon team.  We didn't feel like passing our sick child onto our friends, so I went alone and spouse stayed home.
Being a good wife/mom, I did make split pea soup before I left.  Spouse burned it on reheating (it's really easy to now it tastes...smoky.)  I ate on the boat, chicken, rice, beans, and tortillas.  And a couple of sodas (HFCS, ugh), but wasn't feeling like alcohol with a cold.

But that's all I've cooked this weekend.  And tomorrow is a potluck at the neighbor's before trick or treating.  We'll be taking salad.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Life of a Chicken

No, not really.  Just the progression of a chicken.

Step 1: chop vegetables.  Here we have delicata squash, sweet potato, onion, bell pepper, broccoli, carrot.  Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, put in a roasting dish.

Steps 2-4:  Stuff a chicken with lemon, thyme, rosemary, and garlic.  Salt, pepper, and butter the outside.  Place on top of vegetables and roast.

Step 5:  Carve pumpkins with your family (and roast the seeds!)

Step 6: Take the chicken out of the oven and admire.
Step 7: Enjoy! With Kale chips!  But feel bad that you bought a free range chicken that was fed corn and soy feed.  Not fit for chickens.
Step 8: Throw the carcass (along with a second one from another chicken made elsewhere...maybe Costco) with some bay leaf into the crockpot and let it cook on low all night to make stock.  I got about 14 cups of stock.

Step 9:  Make a big pot of cream of broccoli soup from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook with your chicken stock (you'll still have some stock leftover).

Step 10:  Enjoy your soup with some chicken tacos from leftover chicken.  That's home-canned salsa on there.

Step 11:  A couple of days later, think: "oh crap, what are we going to eat for lunch, we are out of vegetables, and soup does not travel well by bicycle".  Throw some brown rice into the rice cooker with 2 cups of chicken stock.  When done, add in a can of black beans, the last bits of freezer bags of corn and peppers, some cumin, garlic powder, salsa, and oregano, fresh cilantro, and the last of the chicken.  Enjoy for lunch for 3 days.  Store in the rice cooker pot to decrease dish washing.

Step 12:  Remind yourself that you still have 6-8 cups of stock in the freezer.  Take a deep breath and realize that you aren't cooking at all for dinner this weekend due to various events.  Start planning daytime cooking anyway so you don't starve next week.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese Week...and...when life gets in the way

You know how you sometimes have those weeks that are SO busy you cannot even think of blogging?  Well, this week was like that.  Who am I kidding.  Every week is kinda like that.  This was no exception.  But I remembered to take pictures!

So what I have for you, my friends, is not recipes.  It is photos and descriptions, so you can see what is seasonal and delicious in Southern California in October.
Scrambled egg with chicken and homemade salsa and cheese, with Martha Stewart's Soda Biscuits on the side (this was breakfast):

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I did make the promised stir-fry this week, using up the leftover veggies from the friend's kid's birthday party.  It was fast, easy, and delicious.

We also had roast chicken (from Costco), salad, and lots of chili and lasagna to eat this week.  On Friday, we went out for pizza and to test out our Axxess card (local discount card).  We tried a new pizza place, and the pizza was soggy and greasy.  Won't be going back there!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekly Plan and What I'm Using UP

Saturday was a good day for free food.  We went to a birthday party at the zoo.  There was too much food.  The party-throwers were prepared with Ziploc bags and tupperware and send people home with food.  At times in the past, I would have felt weird about taking food from a casual friend's party.  Once you have a kid's party and are left with sandwiches for 20, you get over that.  So we came home with small sandwiches, melon, raw vegetables, and cheese.  The sandwiches will be gone by lunch time, the melon will be great for snacking, the vegetables are destined for a stir-fry and the cheese will end up somewhere I am sure.  A lot of different places likely.
Saturday's lunch was the last of the CSA lettuces, canned beets, blue cheese, sliced turkey, toasted walnuts, CSA pomegranate seeds, and an avocado from my boss's tree.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I feel so spoiled

So, this Friday was a little different than most.  My husband decided to take 1/2 day off to hang out with our son after kindergarten (we are trying to do this more often).  I told him Thursday night "You are responsible for dinner."  Now, I wasn't specific.  But grilled cheese sandwiches or ordering in would have been fine with me.
I used the opportunity to work a little bit late - I find it incredibly stressful to rush out of the office early every day, then pick up the kids, go home, and cook dinner.  Actually having the time to plan out my work and the work of my employees is sometimes a luxury.

In any event, I got home and I smelled...lasagna.  Lasagna is my husband's specialty.  He took our son grocery shopping, and actually made two trays.  He gave one to our neighbors, and they traded us some homemade rolls (my son ate 3 rolls).

On TOP of that, he did a really good job using up items in our fridge and pantry (which isn't normally how he cooks).  He used some of our onions, all of the cherry tomatoes (I have SUCH a hard time using these up), some red bell peppers, and carrots.  He also added the last of the grass fed beef and some bison sausage.  I was SO impressed and it was crazy delicious.  I ate WAY too much.

So that's what we'll be eating for dinner tonight too.  I think my "use it up" for the weekend will be to use the found tri-tip and more sausage and some dried beans and canned tomatoes and frozen peppers (mild and hot) to make chili.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pantry/Freezer meals, week 1

I made a serious effort to eat foods out of my freezer(s) this week.  My small freezer in the laundry room doesn't have much in it.  Some popsicles, some bread, a steak, and a piece of liver I bought at the farmer's market.  And a bunch of chicken stock.

The above-the-fridge freezer is a different story.  Bread crumbs, frozen fruit, frozen veggies, bread heels, and some unidentifed items wrapped in foil  (turns out, these were pancakes and cooked tri-tip, but not together).

My pantry is not much better, with rice and pasta and beans and things that I stopped eating when I went low-carb.  I've kind of drifted away from the low-carb thing, and I'm actually not feeling all that healthy about it.  Ah well, it's a process.

Last weekend I made another loaf of no-knead bread.  This time it was rye bread.  I used up some rye flour and caraway seeds from the pantry (well, I didn't "use them up").  The Cook's Illustrated bread recipe calls for beer.  I found one dusty beer a few weeks ago in the laundry room, and have been using it for the no-knead breads.  I just stick a wine cork in it and put it back in the fridge.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's clean out the freezer week

I am feeling overwhelmed with life in general, and the inability to find stuff in the freezer is a big part of that.  I wonder how long I could eat without shopping?  I didn't make it to the farmer's market this weekend (elected to walk with my friends instead).
So what's on the menu from the freezer?
Sunday, we grilled up the last two chicken breasts, and used them for burritos and salads.  We also grilled some sausage...

which will be served with leftover pasta from the freezer.  I put that in there...probably before our last vacation, which would be ... June?  Don't judge.  I mean, it was frozen solid, so it's probably okay.  Maybe not terribly tasty but...

I also defrosted homemade refried beans (see the burrito part, above).  And a few tortillas for the boys.

I also made  homemade no-knead rye bread, and will be serving that with homemade leftover caponata, from the freezer.

I did add to the freezer this weekend - I made chicken stock from last week's chicken.  I also roasted a bunch of red peppers and a couple of poblanos, and put them in the freezer too. step forward, two steps back.

Other things I'd really like to get taken care of:
make bread crumbs from the bread heels
make something with all those frozen bananas
make beef stock from that steak bone I've got in there
use up more of the frozen vegetables, to make sure there's not too much lurking in the back

I think it's time to just refuse to buy any frozen food until I get through everything that's in there.  Same with the pantry.  Okay, clean out the pantry challenge.  Who's with me?  (I am saved somewhat by my weekly CSA...)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Crockpot Pot Roast

This was pretty good.  I was looking for a good thing to do in the crockpot, that would provide plenty of leftovers during the week.  Cooking after a full day of work is a bit much these days, when I'd rather spend my time playing with my kid or helping him with his homework.

I stretched this meal even further by adding a can of Dinty Moore beef stew later in the week, and also some canned beans.  I had the stew for our camping trip, and it never got eaten.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Roast Chicken and Vegetables

This is, perhaps, my favorite meal ever.  Ina Garten is pretty awesome, and this recipe never steers me wrong.  Since I am doing the "Primal 30 day challenge" (albeit badly at times...I cannot seem to give up the bread or beans 100% -  maybe 90%), I thought it would be a good choice.  One of the carbohydrate heavy vegetables that are recommended in moderation in the Primal plan are sweet potatoes and winter squash.

Well, it's sweet potato season, so I thought I'd give that a try.  I don't think I've ever seen them at our local farmer's market.  Potatoes must not grow well here.  But after scouring the big market on Saturday, I found one guy in the last aisle with sweet potatoes.

So I followed Ina's recipe here, and for the vegetables, I used a bed of sweet potatoes, onions, and carrots.  I was disappointed that the particular chicken vendor I chose at the market has stopped giving the giblets with the chicken.  The livers are my favorite part.  Next time I'll try the other person (we get our turkey there for Thanksgiving).

I roasted two chickens, which is just as easy as one.  My neighbor has a lemon tree and wasn't home (and lest you think I am a thief, has told us many-a-time to help ourselves).  I kept one chicken for dinner and leftovers and sent one over to the neighbors' (a different neighbor).  We both have kids, and we both have two working parents, and we both know what a chore cooking every night can be.  I got soup in return. :)
The best part about this recipe is that the chicken fat and butter run down the chicken while it roasts and coats the vegetables.  They get all carmel-y and fatty and delicious.  Best is that there are leftovers for tomorrow's lunch, and maybe another lunch after that.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Roast Vegetable Soup and an Omelet

Sorry for the fuzzy photo on the soup - whoops!  I made this soup again this week...still tasty!  Although I went a little overboard on the celery.  So this recipe has the CORRECT amount of celery.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A couple of meal pictures

Last Saturday's breakfast: apple with almond butter, cheese, summer sausage.

Last night's dinner, mostly Primal, pork, cheese, sauteed onions and peppers, sour cream (all in lettuce wraps) turnips and turnip greens with bacon, avocado, and some cooked beans.  The beans aren't "primal/paleo".
Tonight's dinner: kale chips and salmon.  I also made a veggie dip with roasted veggies and ate it with carrot sticks.  I also had a few tortilla chips and potato chips.  I have PMS.  I am trying this primal/lower carb thing.  But sometimes you just shouldn't fight PMS.  It was so bad today, that a coworker had to take me out for a walk and another one (both women) had a chocolate bar for me when I got back.
On a plus note, I've lost between 11 and 12 lbs, only 3 or 4 to go until my goal.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Menu Plan Tuesday

As I was eating my lunch today, my coworker (who visits my blog) asked if I was going to blog about it.  I said "no", mostly because I've been busy and didn't remember to take pictures.  Oops.  But the food was pretty good, so I decided to do a "menu plan" list, so you can get an idea of what I've been eating and feeding my family.  This heavily features food from my CSA and farmer's market.  My family and I eat the same stuff, but I've been cutting the carbs, so I just leave the grains out.

Sunday (had friends over): Baked chicken pieces (farmer's market), pasta with marinara and roasted vegetable puree (cherry tomatoes, peppers, garlic, onion), and salad with avocado, carrots, radishes, walnuts, and dried cranberries.
Monday: ground beef (local) stir-fry with broccoli, onion, and red bell pepper.  The veggies were fresh from the farmer's market or CSA.  Family had this with brown rice.  The sauce was rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and fresh orange juice.
Tuesday: baked chicken (Trader Joe's), and steamed cauliflower with  homemade cheese sauce.  I used some of the sharp colby/jack cheese from the farmer's market in this.
Wednesday: Bean burritos with pork, radishes (CSA) and a side of turnips and turnip greens (CSA) sauteed with bacon.  The dry beans are cooking right now.  I will leave off the tortilla and just eat the filling.
Thursday: roasted veg dip (CSA - cherry tomatoes, onion, garlic, peppers) with carrot sticks to dip in it (and tortilla chips for the family), and salmon, and kale chips.
Friday: leftover burritos and roasted vegetable soup (tomatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, and peppers).  I made this soup last weekend - kinda winged it- (see, I've been slacking, no recipe and no pic!) and it was AWESOME.  To pull this off I will have to roast the vegetables on Thursday night.
Saturday: Not gonna be at friend is getting MARRIED!!  At my CSA farm!!  :)  We're taking cookies for their dessert table.  And a gift.  Probably something related to composting.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Yummy.  I'm not going to bother posting this recipe - it's from Betty Crocker.  An oldie but a goodie.  I used local, grassfed, free-range beef that was on sale at Whole Foods awhile back.  Part of my attempt to get more fat in my diet.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rosemary Olive No Knead Bread

This recipe originally comes from Cook's Illustrated and I love it.  It's so easy.  But you have to remember to mix the dough up a day before you are going to bake it, that's the only problem.  I also experimented a lot with my pot and my oven and have adjusted the baking temperatures and times to work for me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today I said "no"

I am a yes-man (or woman).  No, not really.  I am much better at saying no than my mother, for example.  But I tend to bite off a lot.  It's a type-A engineer thing.

Today, I had planned on going to the first PTA meeting for my son's school.  What's wrong with that? Nothing, right?  Except, in the last year, I've found myself the group leader for my quilting group, a manager, a triathlon-doer, and a person doing a host of other things.  That all make me really really tired.

Today, after trying to leave work on time, then remembering that I have to pick up the CSA veggies first, I picked up the veggies and then... I got on the freeway and...stopped.  In traffic.  Because of an accident.  As I sat in traffic, pissed off...sat in traffic that took me an extra 20 minutes to pick up my kid. I started thinking.  "How did I get here?"  I used to be happy.  I used to work 30 hours a week, pick up my kid early, go to the park, cook a leisurely dinner.  And here I was...running late, ticked off about an accident, thinking about getting home, cooking dinner, and getting to the 1.5 hour PTA meeting by 6 pm.

And I decided to say "no".  I picked up my kid and went  home.  I put away the veggies, then succumbed to my child's desire to play chess.  He just started playing last night.  Daddy wins.  He beat me 2x.  I decided that I did not need to spend 1.5 hours in a PTA meeting.  Now, maybe it wouldn't be that bad.  I go to the quilting meetings, and man, some of those women can go on and on about stuff when you just want to say "get to the point".  (One reason why I don't go to the meetings.)  I would, in fact, love to be involved in the PTA.  To support our local public school, to sell Axxess books to raise money (while I'm not really into coupons for various meals out and things, many of my coworkers are.)  But.  I just know that if I go, I will be roped into more things that I don't have time for.

So maybe I didn't say "no" to anyone but myself.  But it's time I start.  Why DID I go back to full time?  I pretty much spend 90% of my life pissed off.  Mad at people at work who waste my time.  Mad at traffic.  Tired of cooking and packing lunches.  I mean really.  I have a food blog.  I love food.  Can you believe I'm so tired that I am tired of cooking?  I used to take so much joy in cooking and quilting.
So.  What's next?  I don't know.  We'll just have to see.

Good Calories, Bad Calories

I've been reading Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes.  I'd heard a lot about it.  Now, I have a lot of vegan cookbooks.  I've been eating mostly vegetarian for years, and have been on the low-fat train for decades.  However, I like to keep my options open. I visit Mark's Daily Apple and recently borrowed The Primal Blueprint from the library.
While I don't think carbohydrates are evil, and I wonder about the sense it makes to eat like a caveman when cavemen didn't live very long, it got me thinking.  The two sides are so polar.  Both have studies that support their views and both are very vocal (The China Study, and some of Atkins' work).  And you've got followers in both camps that say they've never felt better, been healthier, or been able to maintain their weights easily.  Of course, that's probably easy when you are eliminating entire food groups.  And both sides really emphasize lots of fresh fruits and veggies and real food. I read lots of vegan blogs. However, I've got some friends who have had much success on a health standpoint by going low-carb.
I'm not sure I could ever give up my grains, but I have been cutting back.  And the last several days, I have been increasing my fat intake.  (It's that Good Calories, Bad Calories thing again.)  That whole low-fat diet thing?  Total hoax.  No definitive studies that ACTUALLY link a high-fat diet to cardiovascular disease.  At least, I'm about 1/3 of the way through the book, and that's still the case.

Today I woke up with a killer hangover.  Gave blood last week, then had 3 glasses of wine = not a good mix.  For breakfast, I ate high fat (remembering what worked during my college days).  2 eggs, a piece of toast with butter, and cheese.  I wasn't hungry for 6 hours, when usually I need to eat every 3 hours.  I decided to continue the trend for lunch, and got a Cobb salad.  Only 440 calories (Trader Joe's), but a lot of fat.  Again, did not need an afternoon snack.
Dinner was a slice of homemade pizza and some broccoli.  All in all, I haven't been hungry today, and I only ate 32 points.  Which is pretty low for me.
So, I'm going to be testing out this higher-fat thing for a bit longer.  See how it works out for  me.  Nuts, avocados, seeds, eggs, meats...if it  helps me maintain my weight without hunger, it can only be a good thing.
Have you read Good Calories, Bad Calories or The Primal Blueprint?  Any thoughts?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tomatillo Salsa

Yep, we got tomatillos from the farm.  I made the salsa recipe that came with them, adjusted by what I had.  For example: no hot peppers because we didn't have them, and I don't want to burn my kid's mouth.  It's sweet and tasty.  But I'd prefer more heat.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
1 lb tomatillos
1 anaheim chili
1 sweet pepper
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
oil for pan
juice of one lime
Remove the husks from the tomatillos.  Peel the onion, cut in half, and cut each half into quarters.
Place all veggies on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet.  Toss with oil.  Roast at 350F for about an hour.  Let the veggies cool.
Squeeze the garlic out of the skins.  Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers.  Place all veggies in the food processor and pulse until desired consistency.  Add S&P and juice of the lime.  And cilantro, if you've got it, but I didn't.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Holy Mackeral

So, my coworker likes to fish off a local pier.  And he catches a lot of mackeral.  And he gave me a bag, when I said I like fish.  "Are you sure you like mackeral?  It's fishy."  Dude, I don't care.  Isn't fish supposed to be fishy?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fruit - smoothie and juice

Man, this was a good smoothie.  Blueberries, strawberries, banana, milk, and Amazing Grass.  Yum.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Bread calculations

Remember that delicious bread?  Still delicious.  Here's the math:

1.25 cups 7-grain cereal: 0.39
2.5 cups boiling water
3 cups all-purpose flour: 0.56
1.5 cups whole wheat flour: 0.28
4 T. honey: 0.75
4 T. butter: 0.25
2.5 tsp yeast: 0.05
1 T salt: 0.01
3/4 c. sunflower seeds: 0.75
1/2 c. oats: 0.10
Total: $3.14 for two loaves of bread.  Can't beat that!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Multi Grain Sandwich Bread

I have wanted to try this recipe for a very long time, ever since I found it in my issue of Cook's Illustrated.  And I never did.
And for a couple of years, my friend Jean would bring this delicious multi grain bread to our quilting potlucks.   Yummy.

This year, I asked her for the recipe, and lo and behold, they were the same.  I aimed to try to make it two weeks ago, but life (triathlon, husband traveling) got in the way.
So Friday, I took a day off work to be mom, and I used the morning while my son was at kindergarten to try it out. 

Wow, it is so delicious.  A multi-step process, but still pretty easy.  My loaves didn't rise quite as much as I'd have liked, but I was pressed for time to pick up my child from school.  I baked them early.
This recipe is a definite keeper.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I am no longer overweight

My official weigh in isn't until Monday, but the last several days' weights have been below 139 (which corresponds to a BMI of 25).

Yay for me!  And yay for Weight Watchers!  I was overweight for about 6 months (since mid-March).

Even with my husband's travel, I've managed to stay on plan and stay off the chocolate.  5 more lbs to go!  I am having to dig through my drawers to find shorts/crop pants that don't fall off.  I still have a pair or two that are too small. (They may never fit, since your hips widen as you age.  If I hit my goal weight and they don't fit, they get donated.)

Weight watchers isn't magical, it's just counting.  Being aware of everything that you put into your mouth.  But I do have some tips that I think have helped me out.

1.  Plan everything ahead.  This means the night before at least.  This also prevents you from wasting food.  Sadly, my husband was out of town this week and I lost TWO beautiful heirloom tomatoes from the CSA to mold because I just couldn't eat them fast enough.  I'm still bummed.  That's food and money right down the drain.  Or in the compost.

2.  Use all of your points.  For me, that's 29 per day.  I also get 7 flex points (on average) per day, and I've been earning 3-9 activity points per day (though that goes down when spouse travels, and will also decrease now that my triathlon training has ended).  I make sure that I have AT LEAST 30 points of food, and if I am doing a hard workout that day (biking to work or running), then I have at least 34 points per day.  I generally eat all of my regular points and the flex points.  And some of the activity points.

3.  Unless you have a get-together planned.  This goes without saying, but if you are going to a party or potluck where the food is unknown, plan for low points the rest of the day.  Those things always get out of hand.  I generally plan around it if possible (eat before I go).  Or make sure there is a lot of salad available to eat.  I let myself choose one or two higher-calorie items to indulge in.  Last night, at the CSA potluck, I chose red wine and tri-tip.  I passed on the pasta.  Tonight, I will probably also choose red wine and tri-tip :) and pass on the bread.

4.  Don't be afraid to eat weird foods for breakfast.  One of the ways that I've been able to "use up" yummy foods like tomatoes or apple crisp is simply to eat them for breakfast.  I made apple crisp this week with lower amounts of butter, sugar, and oats, and walnuts.  Topped with some yogurt, and it makes a fine breakfast.  I've also been eating tomato sandwiches for breakfast.  Just not fast enough.  These choices allowed me to have a "dessert-like" or "appetizer-like" food, without adding a dessert or an appetizer to my meals.

5.  Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.  Why is this number 5 and not number 1?  Because it's obvious.  I generally get 3 fruits and 4-7 servings of vegetables per day.  Your body needs the nutrients.  I've seen people fail on losing weight before, and it's often lack of portion control or lack of vegetables.

6.  Give up the bad food.  Fried food.  Dessert.  White bread.  These things are okay to eat now and then, once in awhile.  "Once in awhile" is once a week, (or once a month!) not every day.

7.   Don't snack at night.  This is just an easy habit to get into.  And a hard habit to get out of.  It's such a mental thing to desire something right before bed.  Then you eat something one night, the next night, then you get used to it.  To avoid this, I drink water before bed.  And I try to make myself a delicious dinner with something really satisfying.  It may be nuts and avocado on a salad, or a grilled cheese sandwich, or a delicious small potato with real butter.  It has to satisfy me physically AND emotionally.

The other thing that I have been doing is try to watch my carb intake.  Now, when husband is out of town, I just eat what I feel like (pasta, bread), and count the points.  It's too stressful to do otherwise.  But when he's IN town, I take extra time for cooking and prepping, and tend to do more Hugh Jass salads with some protein for at least one meal per day.  They are more work to prepare, though, with the washing, chopping, etc.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Roasted Summer Vegetable Pasta

Well, I've made this so much the last few weeks that I thought I'd share the recipe.

Roasted Summer Vegetable Pasta
1 lb whole wheat pasta (I like penne): 1.39
1 pint cherry tomatoes: 3.00
1 onion, chopped into large chunks: 0.60
4 cloves garlic, whole unpeeled: 0.25
1 oz shredded gouda: 0.70
1 oz grated parmesan: 0.40
1 Tbsp olive oil: 0.10
4 oz soft goat cheese: 0.80
S&P to taste
Total: $7.24 for 8 servings, $0.91 per serving

"extras": diced canned tomatoes, fresh basil, dried basil and oregano, cooked chicken or pepperoni (none of these are necessary, but if you've got 'em, throw them in)

Preheat oven to 400F.  On a baking sheet (I line mine with parchment), place the cherry tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a layer.  Spray with cooking spray or toss with some olive oil.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  Roast, stirring once, 20-40 mins (this will depend on your desired level of doneness).  Let the vegetables cool.  Squeeze the garlic out of the skins.  You can either leave the vegetables whole or puree them into a sauce.  I've done both.  I prefer whole, but my son will pick some of the things out, so pureeing prevents that.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente.  Save a cup or so of the pasta water before draining.

Toss the pasta back into the pot with the vegetables.  Add the cheeses and stir well.  Add enough pasta water to get desired consistency.  I usually have the heat on low at this point.  Add more S&P to taste and any other extras you want in there.

This is quick, relatively easy, and makes 8 servings.  That's 3 days of meals for us, more if spouse is traveling.  Sometimes I eat this with a salad, and sometimes I top with a cooked vegetable.  Broccoli is pretty good, as are green beans, peas, and carrots.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Single Mom Food

Yep, several days as a single parent again.  What with getting up, trying to work out, making breakfast, packing lunches, cooking dinner, doing dishes 2x a day, giving my son a bath, taking out the recycling, doing puzzles, reading books, playing with legos, dropoff and pickup at school...I'm beat.

I made a whole pound of whole wheat pasta with roasted vegetables, cheeses, and tomatoes on Saturday, and have been eating it for lunch and/or dinner every day this week.  Sometimes with salsa and avocado, sometimes with frozen or fresh veggies mixed in.  We got corn from the CSA yesterday, and I couldn't face washing lettuce, so carrot sticks it was.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Post race meal

Turkey sandwich, melon, and I already ate the green beans.

Pre race meal was toast with peanut butter and banana.

Time was 1:02:58, a full 45 sec. faster than last year.  Splits aren't up yet, but I can tell you I lost time on the bike-run transition.  My spot on the rack was taken, I knocked someone else's bike off while trying to squeeze mine back in, then had to put theirs back on, and mine back on, all the while trying to ignore my coworker yelling my name from the sidelines.

Updated to add splits:
Swim: 1:05 faster than last time!  Next year: try to break 14:00 mins (this year was 14:13).
T1: 30 secs faster, even getting on the Vibrams.  Not sure if I can break 3 min getting those on.
Bike: 32 secs slower than last year.  Short of getting a road bike instead of a mountain bike, or getting pedals with the straps on top, not sure what I can do here.  Not interested in spending $600-1000 on a bike to get faster here.  I mostly use my bike to ride to work.
T2: 5 sec faster, even with the problem getting my spot back.
Run: 23 sec slower.  Last year, I'd just come off a half marathon.  This year, I had a side stitch and kinda felt like puking for half the run.  I was a hair slower than a 10 min mile.