Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Meatball Marinara with Carrot "spaghetti"

So, veggie noodles are all the rage, I'm sure you know. I've had a spiralizer on my wish list forever.  Haven't bought one yet, but someday.  Need more kitchen space first.

In any event, a few months ago, I found carrot noodles in the freezer section at Trader Joe's, and put them in my cart.  They went in to the freezer.  And sat there.  And stared at me, every time that I opened the freezer.  One of the reasons I bought them is because I thought they'd go well with marinara and meatballs, or Asian style dishes.

I'd seen bolognese with carrots on Stone Soup, and it got me thinking.  But not doing.

Fast forward a few months, and I decide to cut out wheat.  I haven't been feeling all that well, and from the google, and friends, and relatives - I start to suspect that my issues are either with wheat (gluten), or dairy, or both.  I've never had an issue before, but I realize that these things can develop as you age.  Anyway, I decided it was worth a try.

Given the choice between giving up wheat or dairy, well, I don't really want to give up cheese.  So I started with wheat.  This has caused some difficulties.  Namely: no pizza, no regular pasta, no bread.  Some of our regular meals are easy - beans & rice, tacos, lentils & rice, meat and veggie stir fry.  I can always skip pizza night, but pasta became a problem.

My husband makes a lot of one-pot pasta in the Instant Pot.  My option on those nights was polenta.  I buy the tubes and fry them up.  That is kinda of messy, and it adds a difficulty in that we can't make the pasta in one pot.

Today I decided to dig out those carrot noodles and give them a try.  So I made a 3/4 batch of one pot pasta - basically, I set aside 1 cup of the marinara for myself and used the rest for the family dinner.

Today's sauce recipe:
1 T olive oil
1/4 c chopped red onion
1/2 c shredded zucchini (leftover from making muffins)
1 cup marinara
8 meatballs
a handful of sun dried tomatoes
salt, pepper, dried basil, garlic powder.

Cook up the onion and zucchini in the oil until soft.  Add spices and cook 30 seconds more.  Add remaining ingredients, bring to boil. Reduce heat, and simmer till warm.

The carrot noodles recipe called for heating in olive oil in a pan on the stove.  4 minutes covered, 4 uncovered.  It took me a bit longer.

It was delicious!  I topped a cup of the "noodles" (which were very mild) with meatballs and sauce (half) and parmesan.  It felt like eating spaghetti.  I saved the rest for later this week.

I may  have to either get myself a spiralizer to make my own carrot noodles, or buy more of these.

This is what they look like:


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Exercise Goals Update

Since I need to update my totals for the year so far!

1. Exercise: as of  Sunday 8/6/17

Running: 300 miles: To date: 243.2 miles  So, I'm training for this crazy race.  I'll definitely blow past this goal.
Biking: 500 miles: To date: 48.44 miles (been mostly running)
Swimming: 50 miles: To date: 12.51 miles (the morning swim crowd probably don't remember what I look like).
Walking: 150 miles: To date: 147.13 miles (going to blow past this too)Weights/ yoga: 30 minutes a week (1560 this year): 603 minutes - way behind here

So, I joined a (paid) running training group for this crazy-ass uphill half marathon.  Boy, it's gonna suck.  My challenges are:
1. nutrition. I bonk.  Need to figure out how often to do the gu
2. hydration.  How much water to carry and how often to drink.  Did I mention that it's going to be fucking hot?
3. hips.  7 miles is when it starts.

I'm hoping to beat 4 hours.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The cost of eating out

I recently found this link on a message board (MMM), about Americans and dining out:


The graph shows that for the first time, Americans are spending more eating out than on groceries.  This doesn't surprise me at all.

I'll demonstrate:

I just got back from a week of vacation in Colorado.  We were in 2 hotels in 2 different cities.
- We got free breakfast at the hotel every morning.
- We had a mini-fridge in one hotel, and an efficiency kitchen at the other, so we had fruit, veg, and sandwich makings.
- We ate out 1 meal/ day or fewer.

- So meals out: 1. takeout pizza dinner.  2.  food truck Middle eastern sit-down lunch.  3.  Dinner out tacos/ burgers (only thing cheaper was the pizza)  4.  Dinner out pizza with friends.  5.  Very late lunch at a bistro.  6.  Ice cream.  7.  Burgers on the drive home from the airport

- Meals in: lunches: 6.  Dinners: 4  (there were 2 days we didn't eat out at all, had sandwiches for lunch and met our child-free friends at a park for a potluck so the kids could play).

So: 8 days. 6.5 meals out (ice cream is more of a snack), 10 meals "in" (groceries) and 7 meals free (breakfast)

Cost for 6.5 meals out: $292 = $45 each
Cost for 10 meals in: $100 = $10 each

That's more than 4x the cost to eat out than to eat something in the hotel room.  It doesn't take very many meals out for the cost of eating out to surpass the cost of groceries.

Total cost for the week for food: $400

The question is: what percentage of meals are "out"?