Discovery of the day: Oops, did it again

OK, I lost Thursday. But this time I have a reason. Let's just say that there are still cookies in the house. This is extremely unusual and will illustrate exactly how 'not myself' I am feeling this week.

I'm taking a few days off to extend the Labor Day weekend so I probably won't be posting until next Weds. or Thurs. I should have lots to share by then --- I know you can't wait!
Have a safe and jolly holiday weekend.



Discovery of the day: Minor success

So far I have not eaten any cookies today. This is a big deal.

The boxes for the service members are all packed up, I sent some home with the Ex, and I brought some into work today hoping they would be quickly devoured (and they were). I have only a few -- less than a dozen total -- left at home, and I am honor bound to have most of them on hand Thursday evening when my boyfriend gets back from his trip. That should keep me honest.

I ate my BAS for lunch today even though my appetite still isn't great. If I go home hungry this afternoon I cannot guarantee the safety of the remaining cookies.

If I eat a reasonable dinner I may eat one for dessert, but to tell the truth, after being up to my elbows in dough most of yesterday afternoon, the siren song isn't that strong.

Here's hoping I'm not making that up....



Discovery of the day: The virus among us, again

I was side-swiped by a stomach virus Monday afternoon. It reminds me a lot of the one I had last spring. Nothing violent, just enough to kill my appetite and make me feel like crap.

I'd already planned to take the day off, although I hadn't planned to feel like crap. My son & I baked cookies for Operation Baking GALS. So even though my appetite was nil, I spent most of the afternoon feasting on cookie dough and the unfortunate cookies that 'accidentally' fell apart. I had some leftover minestrone for a late lunch/early supper. Now I'm completely sugared out and ready to crawl into bed.

I'm not even getting on the scale tomorrow. I tell you, I'm the only person I know who gains weight with a stomach virus.



Discovery of the day: Minestrone Redux

It's weird to be making a big pot of soup in August, but that's the kind of weather we ended up with yesterday. It was cold and rainy. I wanted soup.

This is a recipe from my former life. It was in regular rotation during soup season for years. This time I made a few modifications, tweaked proportions of veggies, etc. I admit, I was kind of worried whether it would 'hit the spot', but it did. Yeah, I could have made it strictly vegetarian if I wanted, but as a flexitarian I don't have to!

Almost Vegetarian Minestrone
Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook

2 Tblsp olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
3 med. carrots, chopped
2 or 3 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1/4 cup red wine (opt.)
6+ cups stock (I used chicken)
1 - 28 oz can tomatoes, crushed or diced
2 Tblsp tomato paste
2 or 3 med. zucchini, diced
1 lrg waxy potato, diced (I used some new potatoes, unpeeled and quartered. See notes)
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
2 or 3 - 15 oz cans beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
2 Tblsp fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
1 to 2 tsp ham soup base (opt.)
Chunk of Parmesan rind (opt.)
Salt & pepper to taste

To garnish:
Freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in soup pot over med. heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and a good pinch of salt, stir well. Cover and let vegs soften for 10 mins or so stirring occasionally. Add garlic, stir for a minute until fragrant. Add the red wine and stir to deglaze the pan. Let the wine cook down for a minute or two.

Boost the heat and add the remaining ingredients. The liquid should be just barely covering the vegs, so add more stock or water if needed. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the heck out of it, at least half an hour, longer if you can. Garnish and serve. Goes great with crusty bread or cornbread.

  • This makes a lot, and I usually freeze the rest in dinner-sized portions. But potatoes don't freeze well -- they usually disintegrate. If that bothers you, pick them out before freezing.

  • The original recipe called for kidney beans, which is what I usually use. But cannellini beans, red beans, and even chickpeas would be fun.

  • I have a nice ham soup base (think high-quality bouillon cube) from Penzey's that I used instead of the chunk of salt pork called for in the original recipe. It worked out nicely, although I don't know if I would have missed it if I left it out.

Don't think I'm ready to embrace full-on soup season quite yet, but at least I've got my frozen bags of Minestrone just in case.



Discovery of the day: Waste not

One thing that does bug me about the plant-based lifestyle is the amount of garbage. I doubt it's really any more than I produced before, but now that I'm trying to be more conscious of what I use and what I discard, shoving all of that plant matter down the garbage disposal and into the trash makes me feel wasteful.

Ha! Waste full -- get it?


In my former life we had a compost pile. At the time it was mostly yard waste, which turned out to be a super way to gather and plant billions of weed seeds directly into the garden beds. But the pile was all the way at the other end of the yard (and I am lazy) so incorporating kitchen waste never really became part of the routine. Plus we weren't eating many vegs anyway.

But now I live in a zero-lot-line house with nowhere to compost. I think Seattle has a program where you can put kitchen waste into the yard waste can but we don't have that here. My SO has a yard, but we do most of the cooking at my house.

However, we are planning on eventually combining households and when we do, I want to do this:

I apologize for Ciscoe. Sometimes he's kind of hard to take, I know. Stick with it -- the good part starts about 1 minute in.

Cool fact: My SO used to be on the board of Seattle Tilth and knows the woman in the video.

I figure since each can takes 9-12 months to 'digest', we'll need two (maybe three?) cans. I already have some potential spots in the back yard picked out.

Now if my Ex ever reads this, I know he'll start laughing uncontrollably. And he'll mention the worm composting (I killed them all) and the dog poop composting (you don't want to know). OK, so I'm not known for my follow-through.

But this time it will be different, I know it!



Discovery of the day: Color me green

After yesterday's whine about the romaine I scored some really nice stuff at the store.

I also realized that I have had BAS for lunch and dinner almost every day this week. OK, Monday was a l-o-n-g time ago and I can't really remember dinner, but as far as I can recollect I've had five -- possibly six -- BASs so far. I'll probably do one for dinner tonight and one for lunch tomorrow, although we're planning to go out Friday tonight. That'll bring my work week total to seven or eight over five days.

I think that's pretty darned good.

As of next week I'm back to cooking for the two or three of us on weeknights. Having a mostly-green, low-cooking-effort week is a nice way to finish up the summer.

BTW, I think I'm consistently holding at about 14 lbs lost since January, counting from my 'official' starting weight. If I include the few extra lbs that came and went (and came) last holiday season, it's closer to 16 lbs. And I know I've gained muscle mass (lowered my % body fat) to boot!



Discovery of the day: State of Romaine

I'm getting a bit concerned about the romaine I've been buying lately. It must be getting to the end of the season. The heads have obviously been trimmed of the outermost (rattiest) leaves, but what's left isn't looking much better.

I just checked the archives and the last time I ran into this was late March, not quite 6 months ago. I guess that makes some sort of sense.

So it looks like I may hit another dry spell before the next growing season kicks in wherever.

Next year I am so trying to grow my own!



Discovery of the day: Oops!

Where did Tuesday go? I completely misplaced it. Sorry!



Discovery of the day: Nine bucks a pound?!?

Yes, I paid $9/lb for pasta. Actually it was a few months ago. We were at Pike Place Market and someone had a stall selling this stuff. I saw the whole wheat orzo and lost all self-control. I'd been looking for ww orzo for over a year so I only slightly blanched when I saw the price.

I finally cooked it up this weekend, and you know what? It was OK. But probably not $9/lb worth of OK.

Now generally I am a big fan of whole wheat pasta. I love the ww angel hair I buy at the store, even more so than regular spaghetti. But for some reason the texture in the ww orzo just didn't do it for me.

To be fair, a good part of it may have been unreasonable expectations on my part. My ex makes a risotto-like dish using regular orzo (orzotto!) that I was quite fond of and was hoping to duplicate. If I had thought for 30 seconds, I would have realized that ww orzo was not going to produce similar results.

I think the remaining half pound will be used in soups this fall. And if I want orzotto, I'll just have to make it in the traditional manner, with the butt-ton of parmesan cheese. Because it will be so worth it.



Discovery of the day: It's over

And not a minute too soon. Last night I had my Thai food craving satisfied with some lovely spicy fried tofu w/green beans and a few bites of my pal's wonderful caramel beef. That officially marked the end of Fend for Myself Week, and I'm pretty relieved. Tonight's Mac & Movie Night with my son, then my SO comes home tomorrow. I'll be back in the kitchen biz, baby!

It's hot here this week, in the mid-80s, which is hotter than we usually prefer up here in the top left corner. My son has developed a fondness for BLT (or even better; BLTA, using avocado in lieu of mayo) sandwiches which will cover Saturday dinner

(Note to self: Get more BACON!)

Looking ahead, the week after next the Ex and I revert to our usual 'sharing schedule' in preparation for the school year. I'll have my son on weeknights again, thus returning to my original motivation behind Project Weeknight. As we head into fall, I'll be able to start testing soups for said project. I love soups! And soup screams for whole-grain bread, of course. I haven't done any bread baking in a few of years... definitely not a weeknight task, but a fun project in its own right.



Discovery of the day: Surviving an unintended vacation

Wow - I just realized that I'll get through almost a whole week without having to cook. My Significant Other (we really are too old for me to be calling him my boyfriend, y'know) is Back East on business, and my son is with his dad most evenings.

Monday I picked up my son for dinner and since I had errands to run, we decided to go for Thai food. Unfortunately our favorite place is closed on Mondays (grrr!) so I ended up at Jack In The Box stuffing a Jumbo Jack in my face. And fries. But I only drank maybe a quarter of my son's Oreo shake.

Tuesday I had a haircut right after work, and by the time I got through that and stopped at the grocery store, I was starving. Somehow a package of bakery brownies ended up in my basket and you know what happened next.

Last night was running class. I had a pretty tough run -- forgot to drink enough water during the day and really didn't eat enough in the late afternoon. But I stuck with my beloved shredded wheat, so I didn't hurt myself too badly.

Tonight I'm meeting my best pal for dinner and I'm finally gonna get me some Thai food. Tomorrow night my son and I will enjoy our traditional Friday Night DVD and Blue Box. If the planets align and I remember to buy more lettuce I'll have a BBBAS and all will be well.

When all is said and done, it looks like I'll be two for five in the respectable dinner department. Not my best week ever.

I have been eating my regular breakfasts and BAS lunches so it's not like I've totally lost my mind. But I'm not getting a gold star for the week, either.



Discovery of the day: WTF?

I ate brownies and ice cream for dinner last night. Not a lot, just a small bowl. But still! What the heck is up with that?

I'm pretty good at producing something reasonable when there are others around to cook for. Maybe I just can't be left to my own devices.

Gotta... get... a... grip!



Discovery of the day: Surviving Denver

I got really lucky this time. Denver, at least the area around the Convention Center, is extremely survivable in the flexitarian sense. There were two Starbuck's within walking distance, and I was only two blocks down from the 16th Street pedestrian mall which houses a wide variety of do-able food.

I packed apples, bananas, and peanut butter in my luggage (Note to self: bananas don't pack well!) and that covered me for all four breakfasts. One day for lunch I hit a salad place, reminiscent of the place I found in Tucson, and another day I found a small city market with some upscale produce and bulk foods that provided both lunch and dinner.

On our last evening in town, my co-worker and I found a vegan restaurant within walking distance. It was mobbed, even on a Tuesday night. I was puzzled by that until I realized that Denver is a college town. I ordered tamales, refried beans, and rice then kicked myself when I realized that I could have had that anywhere. I should'a ordered something unusual. But it was fun.

Overall, other than getting my butt kicked by the altitude, I weathered the trip pretty well. I didn't feel like I hurt myself, like I often do on travel.

Yay, Denver!



Discovery of the day: I'm here! I'm here!

I made it back from Denver in one piece, enjoyed a weekend visit from my sister, saw my boyfriend off on a week-long business trip, and am just now starting to catch my breath. I hope to have a real post for you tomorrow.



Discovery of the day: Duty calls...

I'm headed out of town tomorrow for work and I'll be gone most of the week. I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to manage the food thing, but I'm going to try to squirrel some apples and bananas and a jar of peanut butter in my luggage; checked, not carry-on, of course. Thankfully, it looks like there's a Starbuck's nearby -- that's some small comfort.

The Avocado Abatement Project is going well. I did not bring avocado for my BAS today, although I was sorely tempted.

I hope to post next Friday, maybe even with a Surviving Denver post. In the meantime, happy eating!