Discovery of the day: Hhhhhotttttt!

It hit the upper 80s this weekend and we all thought we were going to die. I know that will seem ridiculous to most of the country, but it's true. We don't do heat well up here. No air conditioning.

Sat. night we had egg salad pitas with baby carrots and marinated cukes (or what we used to call refrigerator pickles*) on the side. But Sunday was tough. It was even hotter. Had errands to do and while we were out and about my son campaigned successfully for McD's for lunch. I got my usual, a regular old hamburger, although I did have to eat some fries.

By the time we got done finishing up the chores around the house that afternoon, we were soaked! Even the thought of throwing together a BAS was too much. So we went out to a restaurant with cold beer and a deck overlooking the water. The steak salad I ordered was adequate, but you know, sitting outside on the deck with a beer it wasn't nearly as disappointing as it would have been had we eaten inside.

The dessert menu was uninspiring so we stopped for a pint of Ben & Jerry's on the way home. My boyfriend wanted to cut it in half with the electric knife and just go for it but I managed to talk him into accepting the suggested serving size.

(Besides, that leaves dessert for tonight.)

I'm trying not to get too panicky about slacking off on the weekends. As long as I don't go nuts every weekend, I should be able to keep things under control.

*BTW, here's how I make Refrigerator Pickles.
Refrigerator Pickles

3 cukes, peeled, sliced into 1/4" or thinner rounds
1 onion, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (optional)
1 T salt
3 T sugar
1 t dill (I used dried)
1+ c white vinegar

Place cukes in a glass or plastic storage container. Sprinkle with sugar and salt, stir a bit, and let sit for a few minutes. Just barely cover with vinegar and sprinkle with dill. Give it a couple of stirs.

Cover container and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour.

They get better as they sit. I'm not sure how long they keep -- mine are usually gone in a week (or less).



Discovery of the day: ISO the perfect peanut noodles

Took another stab at the 'peanut noodles w/tofu & veg' thing last night using this recipe as a base.

Results were mixed but it's not the recipe's fault. I finally got the baked tofu thing* figured out (yay!) but I learned that 100% buckwheat soba noodles are not my favorite, and the peanut sauce from the recipe just wasn't quite what I was hoping for.

Instead of salt I added some soy sauce but it could have used more. The vinegar component seemed almost too noticeable. I'm not sure it was actually too much vinegar as much as the complete absence of a sweet component, which I kind of expect in a peanut sauce.

Also, instead of dressing the noodles en masse while they were warm, we dressed them in the serving bowls after they had sat and cooled off. Results were uneven at best.

After dinner I added some agave nectar (a post for another day) and a little extra soy to the sauce and it helped quite a bit. I think I under-pepper-flaked it too.

Between the lackluster noodles, less-thrilling-than-expected sauce, and my botched assembly, it was a little disappointing. I think if I get some real soba -- or even whole wheat angelhair pasta -- to use with the modified sauce it'll all go much better.

I am bound and determined to come up with a go-to version of peanut noodles! I think I'm getting close.

* Here's my new favorite method for preparing tofu. I should probably take another look at that sauce. I tried the coconut extract last time and for some reason the taste bothered me. But I bet I could combine elements from both recipes and get something that works for us.



Discovery of the day: Comfort food

None of the ingredients are related to my native (read: Hoosier) culture in any way, shape, or form, but I am about ready to nominate quinoa, cannellini beans, and avocado as one of my favorite comfort foods. Throw it on top of a BAS and I'm a happy girl.

I'm not talking some exotic preparation here. I'm talking a half cup or so of the plain quinoa I cooked last night w/just a little salt, about 1/3 a can of drained cannellini beans, and half a smallish avocado diced. All thrown on the romaine and stashed in the office fridge until lunchtime.

If I was the imaginative sort, I could probably have added some sort of splash or drizzle of something and turn it into something magical. But I'm not, so I didn't.

Although a grind of black pepper might be nice....



Project Weeknight: Broccoli Soup

I made my first official Project Weeknight recipe last night. My son loves the broccoli and cheddar soup from the deli at the grocery store but I don't even want to look at the nutritional information -- I'm sure it's a complete train wreck. If I could generate a homemade broccoli soup he'd tolerate and didn't blow my food plan, that would be a total victory.

I pulled out Mark Bittman's 'Quick and Easy Recipes from the New York Times' and found a recipe for Creamy Broccoli Soup. Bittman's recipes appeal to the simple, real food fan in me, but sometimes I have trouble with simple recipes being under-seasoned. Not sure if it's my over-saturated palate or what, but if it tastes like broccoli sitting in chicken stock, I'm not going to like it. I was thrilled by the brief ingredients list and simple directions, but skeptical.

I got home around 5:45 pm and got to work. Bag of frozen broccoli florets in the freezer? Check. Container of decent-quality chicken stock? Check. Clove of garlic? Check. Milk? Check. How easy is that?

The frozen broccoli cooked in about half the time of fresh, plus no veggie prep. Score! I pulled out my stick blender instead of messing up the food processor. I did reserve some of the florets to chop and add back in, just to replicate the Evil Corporate soup my son is used to. I thought it looked a little thin at the end after I added the milk so I tried to thicken it up with a little cornstarch but that didn't work. Oh well.

Fixed the seasonings (salt & pepper) and threw some shredded cheddar on top of each bowl. Done! I'd made sandwiches while the broccoli was simmering, and we were ready to eat at 6:15.

Verdict: Success! My son loved it. Quick, simple, good; can it get any better than that? It's not a heavy cream-based soup (although you can make it that way) but the flavor was still just right.

  • I did use cow's milk for this. I had a three-pack of 8 oz UHT 'milk boxes' (think juice boxes) on hand. They were pretty expensive but I haven't been able to think of any other way to keep small quantities of milk on hand for the rare times I really want to use it.

  • The cheese was a ploy to get my son to buy in. It worked and it was tasty but not necessary.

  • A spoonful of sour cream stirred in to each bowl might be nice.

  • I may try this with alt.milk; probably half soy, half rice since that worked well for cereal.

  • I bet this would rock with homemade chicken stock. Someday....
I found the recipe here, in case you want to play along. Even better, the online version gives a general formula for generating creamy veggie soups. I love formulas like that.



Discovery of the day: Project Weeknight?

I'm having a hard time coming up with a list of go-to recipes for nights when I can't get away with a BAS. I have a few, but most are hearty dishes for cooler weather and there are only a few that I'm in love with. Many were eh... the first time I made them and I really don't want to have to spend a lot of time tweaking them to get them right, potentially eating a lot more eh... -- or even blech... -- in the process.

My criteria for weeknight cooking are pretty tough: recipes gotta be flexitarian, the ingredients need to have a reasonable shelf-life (i.e. they won't rot two days after purchase), the food can be on the table in 45 mins or less, they don't involve things that I think are nasty (I'm looking at you, tempeh and TVP), and the results need to be reasonably tolerated by an 8 yo. And I can't do a lot of pasta; I'd like to keep pasta a once-a-month thing.

Gee, I'm not too demanding, am I?

OK, I'm going off on a tangent here, but stick with me. It's related, I swear: My newest blog, Cooking the Books, is a blogroll of 'cook-through' blogs, where folks pick a cookbook (usually a challenging one) and blog while they cook through the entire thing; good, bad, and scary. That's the kind of nutty thing that really appeals to me but I know myself way too well to let myself do it.

However, it got me thinking about a different kind of project: cooking one new potential weeknight recipe each week. I actually am kind of doing that now, for the most part, but if I make it an Official Project it might spur me to work a little harder at finding new recipes.

See? I told you it was related.

I'm going to ponder it a bit and come up with a list of candidate recipes. If I decide to go for it, I'll do a 'recipe review' here each week.



Discovery of the day: Magazine rack full of issues

I managed to escape the popcorn bomb Friday -- my son was full enough from dinner to pass on the snacks at the theater. That, to me, is amazing. I swear, when I was his age, I'd've taken the popcorn in a heartbeat, even if I was full-to-bursting.

Gee, any food issues here, ya think?

That's something that amazes me about my kids, both my son and my daughter (can't remember if I've mentioned her -- she just turned 25). These kids won't eat treats just because they're treats. In contrast, I don't remember ever knowingly turning down candy or dessert (excepting licorice -- ick!) even if I had just eaten Thanksgiving dinner. Hmm...

That contrast in behaviors makes me think a little harder about my relationship to food and why I've been on the weight rollercoaster for my entire adult life. And why food is my go-to drug of choice when things don't go well. Can't say as I understand it, but the fact the my kids might not inherit my tendency in that regard makes me happy.



Discovery of the day: Another Flagging Enthusiasm Alert

Not sure if it's because I'm tired (for no good reason) or because I haven't run this week or what, but I just am plain out of mental energy today. And mental energy is what I rely on to keep me straight. It's a good thing that my pig-out options here at work are limited.

Tonight we're taking my son to the movies. Getting through the movies without the Big Bucket O' Colon Blow (Now with more oily discharge!) is going to be impossible. I just have to be careful -- I have running class in the morning. Yikes! Yeah, movie popcorn hits me kinda hard, IYKWIM.

We'll grab fast food for dinner and hopefully make it to the 6:40 showing. If I can get the guys to go for TDM, that should give me a good enough base to keep me from hurting myself.

I hope.



Discovery of the day: Corndog Love

Three hours into my 4.5 hour mission to pick up my (slightly sedated = preternaturally calm) boyfriend from the hospital and get him back home, I found myself in the cafeteria on the ferry staring at what would become my dinner.

Yes, I ate a corndog. And I am not ashamed.

Typically I prefer the hand-dipped artisan corndogs, but those are getting harder and harder to find in these parts, even at the county fairs. But the thawed-and-fried Foster's (motto: Fun on the run!) will do in a pinch.

My colon made me pay for it this morning, but it was worth it.

Corndog. Mustard. Fun on the run, indeed.



Discovery of the day: I >heart< Skillet Gardener's Pie

I am thrilled to report that the Skillet Gardener's Pie last night was great. I followed the recipe as written... almost. I used chicken stock, added some high-quality beef bouillon, used frozen spinach instead of fresh (I drained, squeezed and chopped it a bit first), and sauteed the vegs in a tablespoon or so of olive oil. And I used two cans of kidney beans, drained. I forgot to save some of the potato water which kind of bummed me out. But otherwise, mine looked just like the photo!

Acceptability factor was high. It's rare for my son to buy into a (mostly) vegetarian recipe. The mound of mashed tatties on top didn't hurt. :) Next time I might add a zucchini. I do love me some zucchini.

I get home about 5:45 on weeknights and I try to get dinner on the table by 6:30. It took an hour of fast and furious cooking to put this together; we didn't eat until 6:45. That's a little later for me so this won't go into the quick-and-easy weeknight file. But I would definitely cook up a big batch of the vegs over the weekend to freeze then cook up the mashers fresh as needed.

I have some left for lunch today and I am totally looking forward to it. This is one of the few veg recipes I've found online that I know I will make again.

This eve promises to be dicey, food-wise. I'll be leaving work early to trek over to the hospital to pick up my boyfriend then turn right around for the 1.5 hr trip back home. If we're lucky we'll be home by 8 pm. It'll be catch as catch can for dinner and I know he'll be starving since he's been NPO since midnight.

That'll be fun, huh?



Discovery of the day: The results are in!

My boyfriend got his cholesterol screening results today. Not only has he lost nearly 25 lbs over the past 6 months, but his total cholesterol dropped 100+ points since Feb! Full disclosure: his doc did put him on statins in Feb. because his numbers were not so good. But the doc also said that if the numbers came down enough, he might be able to wean off the statins. I'm guessing that's what'll happen. Yay!

It was so warm yesterday -- over 70 deg! -- that I switched to sandwich mode. We had cheddar, tomato, and sprout sandwiches (yes, with mayo) on whole wheat pitas with baby carrots and marinated cuke slices on the side. Man, that was some good stuff. We probably had less than 2 oz of cheese each so I'm counting it as not too bad. Next time I may cut it back a little more on the cheese and spread the mayo a little thinner.

Tonight the temps are cooler :( so I think I'll try the Skillet Gardener's Pie from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. Not sure how well it will be received by my son, but he's young. He'll get over it. Hopefully I'll have a rave review tomorrow.



Discovery of the day: Nothing new under the sun

As in: I learned nothing new this weekend and the sun finally came out. Ha! I'm so clever.

OK, I'm not being 100% honest here. I did try a new recipe on Sunday, Sushi Bowls, and unfortunately we were fairly underwhelmed. It seemed like such a good idea at the time! I mean, look at this ingredients list: brown rice, avocado, fried tofu, nori, toasted sesame seeds... what's not to love? But for some reason we just kinda felt bleh about it.

I think the orange-lemon dressing was too sweet for me, and the large amount of zest was a little off-putting. I don't know why. I added edamame beans and that was fun. I was rushed and didn't read the tofu prep all the way and winged it, with my usual lackluster results. I need to find the recipe I made recently with baked tofu and prep it that way -- that came out really well.

I think if I can find a more savory dressing and do the tofu right it holds great promise.

In other news, I've been fixated on the concept of 'cook-through' blogs, where someone picks a cookbook and blogs about working their way through it. I read the Julie/Julia book awhile back and have recently fallen in love with Carol B's French Laundry at Home blog/project even though probably less than 1% of the recipes work on my flexitarian plan.

I know myself well enough to realize that this is just the kind of nerdy project thing I would get caught up in then abandon halfway through. But I am daydreaming of just picking a vegetarian cookbook or whole-grain baking book and going for it. Worst case, I'll find a few keeper recipes and generate a few blog posts in the process. Stay tuned for more on that. Maybe.



Discovery of the day: Crusty bottoms rule

The Colcannon came out very well last night. Next time, after I pack it all into the skillet I'll lower the heat and let the bottom caramelize much linger. I was afraid it might burn so I didn't let it go as long as it could have. Still, even the hint of fried potatoes was enough to make me very, very happy.

While cooking the Colcannon I popped a chunk of boiled potato in my mouth to test for doneness (isn't that how everyone does it?) and promptly burned the shit out of the roof of my mouth, huge blister and all. The skin came off this morning and now I'm trying to eat my lunch without wincing. Sorry, that's gross. But ouch!

Tasty as dinner was, overall I did not get a gold star yesterday for my food choices. Pizza and cake for lunch, potatoes and bacon for dinner. The kale did help a little, but not as much as a BAS would have.

Here's a bit of bittersweet news: It appears that Starbuck's no longer carries their chocolate-covered graham crackers. I'm sad, 'cause I loved them, but not having them available will save me some hundreds of calories over the next year.

(Hey! Bittersweet... chocolate-covered... I made a pun! But I'm only laughing on the outside....)



Discovery of the day: Monster mash
(The sun! It just came out! I haven't been outside to check the temps yet but the weather report says mid-50s. It might even break 60 today!)

I got on the scale this morning to see another .5 drop but that's because I never did get around to eating dinner last night. That's one advantage to an evening running class: you can't really eat a big meal before, and by the time you get home at 7:45, there's really not much point, is there?

So I snacked a little and ended up eating a bowl of shredded wheat. I haven't yet figured out how to keep a small amount of cow's milk around for those cereal emergencies, so I improvised and used part soymilk, part rice milk.

You know what? It was all right. I think that pretty much solves my cereal problem. Yay!

Tonight I'm thinking of taking a second stab at a Colcannon recipe I'd tried before. It's mashed potatoes and kale, purportedly based on an Irish dish of potatoes and cabbage. Maybe, but it's suspiciously similar to a recipe I got many years ago from my MIL (who was in no way Irish) called 'spinach potatoes'. Family lore is that it was a Depression-era dish. Her version was mashed potatoes, bacon, onion, and spinach. How can that possibly be bad? We used to grate parmesan on top. Mmmm....

Last time I made the kale version, it was a little... meh. Therefore I am planning on using a slice of bacon for flavor this time. I'll sauté onion in the bacon fat, rough-mash the potatoes with a little alt.milk, and throw it all together with the steamed chopped kale. Then I'm going to try something different; pack it all in to a hot skillet and brown the bottom until it's nice and crusty, like a potato pancake or hash brown.

I'll probably up the kale content quite a bit, too, to make up for the non-BAS-ness of it all. There will be parmesan on top, of course.

Today we had another office birthday lunch. I ate a piece each of pizza and cake. I feel like I need a nap. I brought a BAS that I was going to eat beforehand but never quite got to it. Maybe I'll eat it later to push the pizza through.

Thank heavens there are only 7 of us in the office....



Discovery of the day: June-uary?

It's almost mid-June. The high temps for the last week (or two? Seems like forever.) have been in the 50s. The sun has been glimpsed only briefly. It's been alternately rainy, windy, drizzly, and damp.

The good news: I can still make soups and stews and other cool-weather-type foods.

The bad news: My brain thinks it's March and I am slipping back into my winter coma. Which means that cooking takes altogether too much effort. Even chopping romaine and opening a can of beans is pushing it.

Rumor is that we may approach 70 tomorrow, and possibly see the sun. I'll see it when I believe it. sigh....



Discovery of the day: State of the state

I got on the scale today and I think I may have seen a number I haven't seen in awhile. And if that is indeed the case, I think that puts me at 13 lbs lost since I started.

The first 10 lbs went pretty quickly: 6 lbs in Jan and 4 lbs in Feb. I was stuck in Mar and Apr. That was very discouraging. May ended with a 2 lb loss, and so far in June it looks like 1 lb, although I may be celebrating prematurely. Sometimes it takes a while for these things to "stick."

My guess is that it's the running. I'm sure regular walking or any kind of exercise would have done the trick, since I wasn't really moving through space at all before.

Ideally I'd like to lose another 5 lbs, but I'm happy with the amount and types of food I'm eating now. I'm not sure how much harder I'm willing to work to make that 5 lb loss a reality. It's been a l-o-n-g time since I've been down at that weight. It's going to be hard to lose that 'old' fat, much less get my almost-50yo body to change its setpoint.

But if I manage to get running well-integrated into my routine and I keep eating well, who knows?

And did I mention my boyfriend is somewhere around the 25 lb mark?



Discovery of the day: RBR for everyone!

Had my body fat measured (again) at my running class on Saturday. No, I'm not going to tell you what it is, but I will tell you that in the last month I've lost 3%! So even though I haven't lost any weight -- in fact, I might be up a lb -- I apparently have gained muscle mass. Yay! That's really motivating. Almost motivating enough to make up for the remaining soreness from the push-ups, squats, and leg lifts she made us do.

Food-wise, I did not earn a gold star this weekend. We went out Saturday night and I ate some delicious fried food. Somehow, Sunday ended up being completely green-leafy-veg free. I'm sure my bowels will make me pay for that today.

I made my red beans & rice (RBR) last night. It's free of leafy greens, but it's one of my favorite go-to meals even though it always takes longer to simmer than I think. The beauty is that it freezes well so a huge batch made on Sunday can produce many, many meals for the three of us.

I don't have a lot of original recipes (BBBAS aside) but I'll gladly share the few I have got.

Flexitarian Red Beans & Rice
Makes a lot -- use a large skillet

Time: est. 1 hour?

Cooked brown rice, 1 cup per person (I use brown basmati)

1/4 lb (1 link) sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing (optional)
1 Tblsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell peppers (I use red, yellow, orange 'cause I hate green)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tblsp ground cumin
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 cans red or pink beans, drained
3 - 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes (don't drain)
2 bay leaves
1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
Ground black pepper, to taste
Hot sauce or pepper flakes, to taste (I use Thai chili garlic sauce)


If using sausage, cook it in 1 Tblsp oil over medium heat until the pink is gone and it's nice and crumbly. Leave the grease in the pan.

Add the onions, celery, peppers, garlic, and cumin; cook until everything is really softened and starts to caramelize. The finer you chop your vegs, the faster this will go.

Add chicken stock, beans, tomatoes, and remaining seasonings; heat to boiling then reduce to a simmer. Gently simmer, uncovered, until the tomatoes are broken down and the mixture is nice and thick.

Serve over brown rice.

As with most things like this, it is always better the next day. Freezes & defrosts very well.

p.s. A cup of it on top of 6 oz of romaine makes a great BAS.


I should be able to get back on the wagon today. I have a BAS standing by for lunch and I don't have to cook tonight so I'll veg out again for dinner.



Discovery of the day: Cold cereal case

About that cold cereal thing... I don't eat it often, but the few times I've tried, I've discovered that I can't quite handle it with one of the alt.milks (rice, soy).

Oh, sure, I can rationalize it; I've been eating cold cereal with cow's milk for over 45 years. No wonder I can't quite make my peace with the unfamiliar taste and texture, right? But understanding it doesn't solve my problem.

Like I said, I get around it mostly by just not eating it. Which is fine, since grains, even whole ones, are not something I allow myself unlimited access to on a daily basis anyway. But you know? Sometimes there's nothing like a big bowl of shredded wheat... yeah, cold cereal is a comfort food for me. I miss it.

I've been toying around with different possible solutions, and I've finally decided that keeping some 1% on hand for those special occasions ain't going to kill me. If I could find some of those little juice-box-type cartons of the shelf-stable UHT milk, that would be perfect.

Funny thing is that I can handle oatmeal with alt.milk, no problem. Go figure.

(Damn! Now I can't stop thinking about shredded wheat....)



Discovery of the day: The meaty bits

I was talking to my sister awhile back about the difference between vegetarianism/veganism and what I'm doing, flexitarianism, which to me means consuming less than 10% of my calories from animal protein. (I totally stole that term from somewhere -- can't remember where -- sorry!)

My rules are pretty simple, based mostly on the Eat to Livebook with a few modifications, mostly around how I consume my animal protein.
  • I eat meat when I'm eating out or at someone's house. When I'm eating out, I try to make sure it's worth it!
  • I use chicken stock in my soups. I don't like the way vegetable stock tastes.
  • I occasionally use bacon and sausage for seasoning, although I've been known to eat a strip or two if it's under my nose. I have a red beans & rice recipe I've made for years. The original calls for a lb of sausage -- now I use 1 link, maybe 4 oz at most, and I double the beans. Tastes marvelous!
  • OK, sometimes I eat cheese, even though it's nutritionally pretty much equivalent to butter. I just try to keep that in mind.
  • And I do use butter once in a while, although not often. Only when it makes a difference.

I do have a hearty disdain for fat-free dairy so I eat what I like, only rarely. I figure it all works out.

Otherwise, I stick pretty close to the pyramid. Speaking of the pyramid, I thought I'd posted it here early on but it looks like I forgot so I'll post it in the sidebar.

And there you have it; my version, anyway. I have some issues surrounding pasta and cold cereal but I'll save those for another day.



Discovery of the day: Working on the long view

Sometimes I go and get all philosophical and stuff. Not sure if it's because I'm well into mid-life (and all its associated hormonal delights), or maybe it's a sign I don't drink enough. Regardless, I've thought lots about my yo-yo dieting (and other less-than-stellar behaviors) over the past 20+ years and the lessons I've learned.

I'd thought about writing it all up for y'all, but it looks like Kris over at Cheap Healthy Good has already gone and done it. And much better than I would have.

This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson is probably my favorite part of that post. And surprisingly enough, it's the part I still need to work on the most:
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered by your old nonsense.

Cool, huh?

While you're over there, check out some of her other posts. It's good stuff; cheap and healthy, to boot! Go on, I'll be here when you get back.

p.s. I'm not her sister L. Really. Off by about 20 years.



Discovery of the day: Day in the life

I know my loyal readers are reader is dying to know what it is that I eat on a good day. By 'good' day, I mean a day where I feel like I'm on track. So I will indulge myself by listing the contents of my stomach at the end of a good day.

Breakfast: About 1-1.5 cups of fruit, usually some combo of fresh pineapple, mango, grapes, and banana. Optimally with some ground flaxseed and chopped walnuts on top. If I'm behind in my fruit prep, I'll grab an apple and a banana. If I'm really behind on shopping, peanut butter toast. Also, a "cup" (read: probably 12-16 oz) of strong decaf coffee with soymilk and a Splenda.

Snack ~10 am, to counteract the acid from all that coffee: Two Wasa crispbreads with 1-2 tablespoons of natural crunchy peanut butter. Or a banana.

Lunch: BAS, about 6 oz of romaine with some combination of beanage, avocado, hummus, cherry tomatoes, sliced cukes, shoestring beets, and/or quinoa on top. Or it may be topped with 1-2 c of leftovers from dinner, most likely a rice & bean thing.

Snack, mid-afternoon boredom setting in: A banana if I didn't eat it already, apple, a small handful of raw almonds, or a larger handful of edamame. Maybe two snacks if I'm really bored. Often I'll succumb to a tall decaf drip with cold soy from Starbuck's. On a good day, I can pass on the dark chocolate grahams.

Dinner: If it's just me, another BAS. It's the new sandwich, you know. If I'm cooking for son & boyfriend, it may be a rice & bean thing or other vegetarian entree, or a simple soup (egg drop with kale or spinach - mmmm!) or 'Taco del Mom', cheese quesadilla served with rice and refried beans and guacamole. I throw mine on romaine. If I'm cooking just for my son, we'll play Mom's Diner. He can have whatever he wants (usually mac & cheese or scrambled eggs w/cheese + toast) and I have a BAS.

Dessert: If I need it, an ounce of bittersweet chocolate. I buy Callebaut in bulk from the fancy-pants grocery. It's pure perfection, and the taste is strong enough so that an ounce is plenty. If we have Skinny Cow mint ice cream sandwiches on hand, I can't resist them. They're pricey but damned good.

And there you go. A day in the life of my stomach. I just finished my afternoon decaf and am about to hit the edamame and maybe the banana. Tonight's dinner will be gallo pinto and the 5 ears of sweet corn I bought at lunchtime. First sweet corn of the season - yay! And since it's PMS week, there will definitely be chocolate.



Discovery of the day: Climbing back in the saddle

The trip Back East with dinners out every night and visiting with friends, etc. took a smaller-than-expected toll on my progress, which made me happy. However, for some strange reason, the rest of last week (after we got home) was worse. And this weekend was pretty much a disaster.

OK, maybe not the whole weekend, but I'm hoping that the Thai food we had for lunch Sunday was particularly laden with MSG, etc. because I did not like the number I saw on the scale this morning one little bit.

After that scare, I'm ready to get back to work. Yesterday I cooked up a big batch of brown rice (in the oven!) to freeze for the week. Today at lunch I hit the grocery store to re-stock the rest of my go-to ingredients. I cooked up a bag of edamame and packed my lunch last night. I'm hoping that's enough to get me back on track.

Fingers crossed....