Monthly Archives: June 2009

A Realization, About 12 Years Too Late

Two of my co-worker friends and I made plans to go to Willy’s for lunch. I love getting the Willy’s Salad with Tofu. It’s tasty and filling and I think around 400 calories since I don’t get cheese on it. When we got there, however, there was a line out the door. So we scrapped the plan and went to Einsten Brothers instead since it was next door and we wouldn’t have to drive somewhere else.

An hour or two after eating my lunch, I felt so sleepy. I looked up the nutritionals of what I had (I can’t help it) and although what I had, the Veg Out sandwich, was one of the lower calorie items on the menu, it still had like 70 grams of refined carbs. No wonder I was so tired.

So here comes the realization. When I was in high school, we were allowed to leave for lunch. There was a shopping center next door that had amongst other things, a bagel place. I used to go there and get TWO plain bagels. By plain I mean without any toppings. I thought I was being healthy. I was still very much stuck in the fat = bad mentality and didn’t pay any attention to calories or ingredients or anything else. In my mind, if it was lowfat, it was fine to eat as much as I wanted. And, because it was lowfat, it didn’t fill me up, so I ate a lot. I also drank regular soda every day. And then I would fall asleep. In class. I was known for sleeping during class in high school. And now, years later, I realized that the sleepiness was me crashing from eating mass quantities of refined carbs and sugar for lunch. If only I knew then. I guess that’s just so it goes.

For dinner tonight, I planned on having a greek salad but I was starving when I got home so I threw together some other stuff and made the salad to have for tomorrow’s lunch. Leaving it in the fridge for a while will allow the flavors to meld anyway. Isn’t it pretty?

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This was simply 1 green pepper, 3 roma tomatoes, some artichoke hearts, a container of low-fat feta, 1/2 cup sliced olives and piece of toasted pita dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and basil.

I don’t know about you, but the mosquitos are driving me insane this summer. I am particularly sensitive to mosquitos, I think. My mother used to tell me that it was because I was so sweet. Although, I’m sure everyone’s mother tells them that! Check out my face. Itchy!

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Interesting Day

Today was very interesting for a couple reasons. I’ll give you the non-food one first because I have less to say about it.

I normally work 8:30-5:30. Some people in the office are 8-5 and others 9-6 but everyone has a 9-hour day with a 1 hour lunch. Today the CEO sent out an email saying that effective tomorrow office hours will be 9-5 with a one hour lunch. We are all really confused. I mean, I’m happy; I can sleep longer and leave earlier but why did they do it? Everyone is salary; nothing is changing monetarily. They just shortened the day by an hour. I would understand if they were cutting pay because they were cutting time worked, but they’re not. Very, very odd.

Okay, here’s the food related interestingness. (That’s a word? It didn’t highlight it as a mis-spelling.) My friend Emily and I went to a raw foods seminar at The Living Foods Institute. It was actually her idea but being that I’m interested in pretty much everything having to do with food and health, I readily agreed to come along. I really didn’t know what to expect and, for whatever reason, was a little scared. We got to the place about five minutes late and there were already about 50 people sitting in chairs. The first thing that they did was make a smoothie. I know it had celery, apples and coconut oil in it, I forget what else. It was okay. I wanted to love it, but I didn’t. It had a weird, grainy consistency.

After the smoothie, they handed everyone a small plate of food. Score! I hadn’t eaten dinner so this was much appreciated. It had a marinated kale dish, raw hummus, flax crackers, some sort of banana-coconut thing and something else that I wasn’t really sure of. Everything was pretty good. I really liked the kale.

Besides feeding us, they also talked about raw foods (duh). I was actually sort of surprised about how much I already knew about this type of lifestyle. I guess an addiction to reading food blogs and scrounging for healthy recipes will do that for you. I have mixed feelings on the subject. Some of it makes a lot of sense. When you’re eating raw, you’re eating whole foods that have more nutrients and you aren’t putting chemicals in your body. I get that. It’s great; I totally agree. But then there were some things that I was skeptical about. They told a story about a man with a face tumor. According to the speaker, he did this 12 day class (which btw is $5000) and the tumor went away. Things like that I have much more trouble buying into.

There was also a lot of talk about positive affirmations and how your thoughts can harm you if they are negative. At the end of the class, the speaker had us say a bunch of affirmations out loud. I felt silly doing it. I’m not sure if it was because I was with my friend and she wasn’t really saying them? Aside from feeling silly, it actually did hit a chord because I have been trying very hard, and succeeding somewhat, at eliminating negativity directed toward myself. I read When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair: 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But) about a month ago and it really helped me realize that being so down on myself and expecting such perfection (for me it was/is food related, but I guess it could apply to anything in life.) just leads to a lot of guilt because a lot of what I was down on myself for was inevitable. So it was interesting that they incorporated this emotional aspect into a discussion about ways to heal your body.

I’m not making any attempt to change the way I eat except what I said at the beginning of the month which is to focus on non-processed, whole foods. I’m fine if they’re cooked, I’m fine if they’re raw. I just want them to be healthy and tasty.

Polenta Pie

I’ve had a log of polenta in my fridge for a few months now. It seemed like every recipe that I found used the instant kind and not the roll so to the back of the fridge it moved. Until today. I finally found a yummy sounding recipe and I even had more than half of the ingredients on hand. Funny thing is, I found this recipe in my saved recipes file on my computer. Guess I should have looked there first. I have a little habit of saving too many recipes and then getting so overwhelmed by the choices that I don’t make any of them. Maybe I should stop looking for new ones until I make some of the ones I already have. I have the same problem with cookbooks.

Anyway, I present to you, Polenta Tamale Pie.

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I’m pretty sure that this recipe comes from Vegweb. I didn’t exactly have the correct amounts of everything and, oddly enough, what I used worked even though I used the correct amount of some ingredients and less of others.

Polenta Tamale Pie

Ingredients

    1 lb. ground soy meat (I used 12 oz of Quorn)
    1 16 oz. jar salsa (I used 11 oz)
    1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed
    6 oz. (~half a can) vegetable broth (I used 4 oz of some onion soup that I had in the fridge)
    1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (I didn’t use this)
    1 1 lb. roll prepared polenta, sliced into 1/3 thick rounds
    12 oz. soy cheese (I used roughly 6 oz of part-skim mozzarella
    cayenne pepper, ground cumin and garlic salt, to taste
    safflower oil, for sauteing (I sauteed in cooking spray)

Directions:

Defrost and saute soy meat in a bit of safflower oil for around 5 minutes or until heated through over medium heat.  Add salsa, black beans, broth, cayenne, cumin, garlic salt and half of the cilantro and simmer until mixture thickens.

Oil 9×9 glass baking dish.  Place approximately 1/3 of polenta in bottom of dish.  Cover with 1/3 of soy meat mixture and then 1/3 of soy cheese.  Repeat layering twice more (at least this is what I ended up with – a total of 3 layers), top with remaining cilantro and bake for 40 minutes at 350F.

You may choose to broil for 30 seconds or so in order to crispify top layer of soy cheese.  Serve with a light salad.  Yum.  Very tasty.

Serves: 6

Preparation time: 45 minutes – 1 hour

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch She’s Just Not That Into You which I have from Netflix. I heard it’s not that good, but I’ll give it a shot.

New Hair

Of course, it’ll be curly when I wash it, but here is my new haircut and highlights.

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Fries: Take Two

I had fries for dinner again but this time they were healthy, baked sweet potato fries. I bought a sweet potato the other day thinking that I’d take it to work for lunch last week. The potato was sitting on my counter looking sad and wanting to be eaten, so I figured I’d do a burger and fries type meal. Hey, it’s Friday night, right?

I googled Black Bean Burgers and perused different recipes until I came up with one that I had the ingredients on hand for. I did make a few modifications. Not to healthify it, actually, but just to use what I had in the house.

Cooking:
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Cooked; with fries:
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Ingredients:

1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs (I used oats)
1 large egg, beaten (I used egg beaters)
2 Tbsp dried onion flakes (I used a sprinkle of garlic powder)
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil

Preparation:

1. Place the black beans in a medium-sized bowl. With the back of a fork, partially mash the beans until they are able to be shaped into a patty. Add the breadcrumbs, egg, worcestershire sauce, and black pepper, and mix together well.

2. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

3. Use 1/4 of the bean mixtue for each patty. Shape each portion into patties that are about 3/4-inch thick.

4. Place the patties into the skillet, and cook on each side about 4 mintues, or until the patties becomes lightly browned and are firm.

Serves 4

They tasted good but didn’t really hold together that well. I blame the egg beaters. A whole egg probably would have helped but I didn’t have one. Still, they tasted good.

I’m having a major craving for expensive, fruity vinegar aka Kombuca. I might have to make a little trip to WF. I don’t know why I like that stuff so much, but I do.

You Want Fries with That?

I feel like I’ve been in celebration mode for the past week and a half. First the engagement and then going to New York. Suffice to say, there has been a lot of eating and drinking (more of the former than the latter) and not a lot of exercising.

Last night, I met up with two girlfriends at North Highland Pub. One thing that I really like about Atlanta is that, for the most part, the bars have a lot of healthy options. Almost every single place has a veggie burger and a hummus appetizer. Two reliable standbys to chose from in a land of burgers and fries. Some bars even have a more diverse menu. The Earl comes to mind. It’s a dingy kind of indie/punk bar with a big music venue in the back, but they have the most bestest marinated tofu pita in the world. So good that I feel justified in saying “most bestest.”

I digress. So, I did the “healthy for a bar” thing and ordered a veggie burger, asked for no butter on the bun and got a side of black beans. But then my friend Erin ordered a plate of fries for the table. Foods for the table are my downfall. Serious. I have no trouble whatsoever finding the healthiest thing on the menu and ordering it. I usually get a salad or some sort of veggie for a side if I’m having a sandwich. But when someone else gets something to share, all bets are off and I can’t help myself. Maybe it’s because I don’t normally let myself have it? Could be. Anyway, my friends, one of whom is a financial analyst and the other a financial lawyer, started talking about financial jargon which went in one ear and out the other and I spaced out and went to town the fries. Oopsie. My stomach was not very happy with this choice and let’s just say, I got some extra reading time in this morning. You think only men read on the toilet? I think not.

I’m officially declaring my honeymoon week over. I’m going to try to make it to a 6:45pm spin class tonight and then cook something for dinner afterwards. Honeymoon is a weird word, huh? I can’t wait for my real honeymoon though, when and wherever that may be. We haven’t picked a wedding date yet. For those of you who are married, how long was your engagement? Ours is looking to be about a year and that just seems so far away.

New York Weekend

Here’s my weekend in NYC in pictures.

We got into the city around 1pm. We were starving, so we went to the Stage Deli which was right down the street from our hotel. I really don’t like this type of food at all and struggled to find something on the menu that I would eat. Jason, on the other hand, found plenty that he liked and settled on a corned beef sandwich. This was only the half size, if you can believe it.

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I settled on eggs, which came with french fries.

After our bellies were filled, we walked around Times Square.
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And Central Park.
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We had dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant called Ali Baba. I had a chicken salad which was grilled chicken atop tomatoes, peppers and some other veggies in an olive oil dressing. It was delicious. We thought about going out afterwards but were too tired.
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On Saturday, we woke up early and went to the MOMA.

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Then to a Broadway show which was excellent.

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Then met up with some relatives for my mother’s 60th birthday dinner. We went to an Italian restaurant near the theater. They had a prix fix menu that we chose from. I had mussels, salmon and a cappicino ice cream dessert. I only ate about half the dessert as I’m not a big coffee flavor lover and they only had coffee-flavored dessert choices. They made my mom a special dessert.

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Jason and I tried to go out afterwards but were so tired that we ended up back at the hotel crashing at around 10:30. My mom, on the other hand, went out with an old friend and was out until midnight.

On Sunday morning, we woke up early and went out to Ellis Island. They have a database where you can look up relatives that came through Ellis Island. My mom had several names that she wanted to look up and we were able to find some old relatives. She found her grandparents and an aunt and uncle. It was pretty cool.

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Last, but not least, a slice of Ray’s Pizza. I had several bites as well.
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So, that was my vacation in a nutshell. Lots of fun, but not relaxing in the slightest! Now it’s back to real life, I suppose.