Friday, May 28, 2010

My First Swiss Chard

I love being a part of a CSA!  As you all know, I’m trying lots of things I normally wouldn’t – this time it was swiss chard!

swiss chard

Not too long ago, I saw an episode of Martha Stewart dedicated to greens, and I bookmarked the Citrus Chard with Raisins recipe to try when I got my hands on some chard.  After washing it several times, I removed the ribs, chopped it up, and cooked it in boiling water with some salt for a minute or two before immersing in an ice bath.

swiss chard cooking

swiss chard in ice bath

Then I transferred the chard to a pan I had sautéed some garlic in, added dried cranberries (substituted for raisins), then finished off with orange juice.

citrus chard with dried cranberries

I didn’t follow the timing on the recipe exactly; everything was supposed to happen really fast – a minute here, two minutes there – but I added too much orange juice and let it simmer awhile in an attempt to reduce it.  The end result was still kinda “greeny” but nowhere near as bitter as my turnip greens were.

I had been craving salmon, so I marinated a couple of pieces in lime juice, cilantro, and garlic for a few hours before baking them and topping with Bronco Bob’s Roasted Mango Chipotle Sauce I got from World Market (the Greek zucchini also made a reappearance!).

salmon and citrus chard

Are you a big risk-taker when it comes to trying new recipes?  Do you like attempting new recipes with ingredients you’ve never had before?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

All-purpose secret weapons

I had my regular weigh-in/check-up today and lost 3lbs in the past 2 weeks; it’s not huge, but I’m excited to be getting back in the game!  Mom had the day off and went with me to my appointment, and I’m so glad she did – I went over lab work with my doctor and was able to ask questions about family traits like insulin resistance and reflux with Mom asking her own questions.  We’re wondering if a bunch of these quirks are related, so we’re going to do some research and diet tweakage.  My doctor recommended Mom try a gluten-free diet and see how it impacts her reflux.  Have any of you radically switched your diet based on various symptoms or overall ickines?  Gone gluten-free or dairy-free?  Were you diagnosed with a disease that made you alter your diet or did you just try it on your own?

So what does one do upon leaving her bariatric physician?  Eat a ginormous Greek salad with chicken from  Zoë’s Kitchen!

Zoë’s Kitchen Greek salad with chicken

And to round out The Best Meal in the Entire World, we split two cupcakes from Cupcake on Lincoln St.Creamsicle and Cinnamon Swirl.  I might’ve shed tears over my half of the cinnamon; that cupcake was damned amazing.

Cupcakes

We sat out on the back patio at Cupcake for the first time – isn’t it cute?

Cupcakes patio

Cupcake patio

I friggin’ love that place in an unhealthy way.  I’m so glad it’s far from my beaten path.

For dinner tonight, I busted open something I haven’t used in awhile – Cavender’s Greek seasoning.

Cavender's Greek Seasoning

I bought this stuff after having some particularly amazing “Greek zucchini” from a restaurant I’m now wracking my brain to remember…I don’t know if this is the stuff they used on their zucchini, but it’s pretty dang tasty.  I haven’t yet broken free from the confines of experience by trying it out on something other than zucchini, but now that I’ve “re-discovered” it, I can’t wait to try it on chicken.

Greek seasoning on zucchini and onions

Lately I’ve been on a roast beef + horseradish + mustard kick…no clue where cravings like this come from.  Tonight for dinner, I did a bastardized version of a lettuce wrap by taking a slice of roast beef, slapping these on it…

Horseradish and Blue Cheese Herb Mustard

…and wadding it up on a piece of bibb lettuce.

Roast beef on bibb lettuce

Add to that the Greek zucchini with parmesan and some simple steamed cabbage, and you’ve got one random-ass meal.

Wednesday night dinner

Do you have any all-purpose seasonings that you’d consider your “secret weapon?”  Any you could (or do) put on everything? 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lowcountry Lost Party

I feel hungover as crap today, but not because of alcohol.  Because of these:

Coconut lime cookies with smoke monster sprinkles

Luscious buttery, sugary, carby, limey, coconutty cookies.  With smoke monster black sugar sprinkles.  I had seen the recipe on Tastespotting awhile back and bookmarked it for later (Coconut Lime Chewy Sugar Cookies from Rock Recipes), and what better occasion to make and eat a crap-ton of tropical cookies than for a LOST finale party?

This weekend I headed down to the Lowcountry to my friends Staci and Josh’s house to watch the show with other like-minded Losties (I haven’t watched it with other people since Season 2, so it was nice to be around people who knew what the hell was going on!) The entire night – save for the show itself, IMHO – was awesome.  Check out some of the amazing decor at their house:

Charlie’s handprint in the bathroom “porthole”

Bathroom "porthole"

Oceanic flight 815 ticket

Oceanic flight 815 ticket

Names on the “wall”

Names on the "wall"

Oceanic 815 marquee

Oceanic 815 Marquee

Jacob’s ashes

Jacob's ashes

Dharma initiative food drop protocol manual

Dharma Initiative food drop protocol manual

Cupcake island (and lotto ticket with The Numbers in the background!)

Island cupcakes 

Smoke monster cookies

My contributions were the smoke monster cookies and Malibu Rum + pineapple juice (Dharma-issued of course  )

Malibu + pineapple juice 

Staci served fruit with an awesome dip…

Cutting fruit

…and Josh grilled up some amazing chicken and pork kebabs.  I wonder if he’d share his secret marinade recipe with me….

Shish kebabs

I wasn’t the only one to slap a Dharma label on my libations!  And check out “Jacob’s decanter” on the right!

Dharma-issued drinks 

Dharma beer

There was a smoke monster on the porch, complete with freaky sound effects.

Smoke monster

Almost looks real, right??

Smoke monster

Claire’s Aaron 2.0 (I keep calling it a Turdbaby.  I’ve been saying “turd” too much lately.)

Claire's stick baby

Another Dharma protocol manual

Dharma initiative manual

This was the coolest thing ever – someone picked up prepackaged sorbet (I think from Costco?) that came in hollowed-out coconuts and pineapples!  I had the coconut flavor in a coconut shell, the pineapples had pineapple sorbet, and there was a lemon-pomegranate flavor that someone said came in a lemon rind.  Is that not the neatest thing ever??

Sorbet in a pineapple

Sorbet in a coconut

I stole the rest of these pictures from Staci:

Character koozies

Character koozies

Desmond’s command prompt.  I never did see what happened when you entered the sequence properly.

Desmond's command prompt

Strewn-about luggage, each with an Oceanic 815 tag

Oceanic 815 luggage

Oceanic 815 luggage 

A bunch of happy/sad/confused/peaceful Losties.

Losties 

I had a couple of fruity island drinks, a couple of kebabs, way too many Arnold’s Thins ham + pineapple pizzas, one coconut sorbet, and way too many cookies.  Today, I drove home, promptly PTFOed soon after I walked in the door, and have been battling the achies and the hungries ever since.  I see a carb detox in my immediate future.

Do you watch Lost?  What did you think of the finale?  I’m an answers person, and I’m frustrated I didn’t get all of them that I wanted.  What’s the most fun theme party you’ve ever been to?  Staci and Josh DEFINITELY know how to throw a theme party!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wardrobe regrets

I’m embarrassed.  

When I start losing weight, one of the mistakes I often fall prey to is dressing ahead of the game.  I get excited with my progress and subsequently more daring with my wardrobe, wearing things that are too tight or too revealing.  I forget that while Current Me looks much better than Old Me, people in public are only seeing Current Me and can’t see Old Me for comparison.  Just because I look better than I did doesn’t mean I look good now…I still have a long way to go.

Me Me

These were pretty much the most flattering pictures I got at my friend Kate’s graduation party on Friday night (note to self: shut thine yap when there’s a camera around).  I love that I had confidence to get up on the deck and dance with everyone instead of being a wallflower, but I have major regrets about being so exposed in that dress, because I was easily the biggest person there by at least 50 pounds.

This kind of parallels a quirk neurosis of mine that I might not’ve expanded on before.  I don’t look in mirrors when I’m out in public, I can’t talk while I look in a mirror, and you’ll probably never see a vlog of me (or if you do, it’ll be in the far distant future).  When I’m in the moment not thinking about how I look, I feel free, unburdened, and I’m able to let go of the self-consciousness I carry around with me 24/7.  When I see myself in a mirror in public, I get jarred back to reality and realize, “wow, that’s what all these people are seeing right now?” and I’m usually not happy with it.  I’m terrified of seeing myself on video because I just don’t want to know exactly how others see me.  Effed up, right?  That little quirk probably greatly contributed to the denial that led to me weighing 270 pounds.

When I make wardrobe choices now and decide I look ok when I’m standing still in the mirror at home, I don’t always think far enough ahead to “how will this be received by other people who might see you?” or “will you regret this outfit if you see a picture of yourself from behind later?”  When I was at the party on Friday, I felt good, almost confident.  When I got home and looked at the pictures, it embarrassed the hell out of me to see that how I felt I looked and how I actually looked were so vastly different.  Blaaaahhhhh.

On a positive note, it was nice to spend some time with some childhood friends!

Us

Next year, I’m jumping in the pool fully-clothed with them!

Does anyone else out there with (major) self-esteem issues share this quirk with me?   I don’t know if I should start dressing like a nun or stop looking at pictures of myself!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Like dirt-covered corn

I’m not a hugely picky eater, and there aren’t many foods I dislike.  Having said that, I’m not a fan of beets.

Beets

These little bastards may be good for me, but if I have to pinch my nose to get them past my taste buds, it ain’t worth it.  I’ve tried pickled beets before, and tonight I tried them roasted.  Still tastes like dirt-covered corn to me.

I made Guy Fieri’s Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, making a few minor changes according to my limited supplies.

Beet blood

Looks pretty morbid, right?  I roasted the beets in EVOO with salt and pepper in a foil packet…

Beets

…then took them out to chill while I made un-kabobbed Caribbean chicken and veggie kabobs in the oven.  Random dinner, I know.

Un-kabobbed kabobs

So once my beets were chilled and my un-kabobs were cooked, I built my salad.

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese 

Even dousing the salad in dressing didn’t make me love the beets. 

They still tasted like dirt.

I ate it all anyway because it’s good for me, but I’m not seeking out beets anytime soon.  (I got our CSA delivery today but haven’t inspected it – who wants to bet there are beets in there?)  There goes my dream of marrying a Schrute.

A Brief History of the Schrute Family

Beets aside, I RAN FOR 25 MINUTES TODAY WITHOUT STOPPING!!  The weather has SUCH a huge impact on my performance (which doesn’t bode well for my running in the the nasty hot, humid summer ahead), so I’m glad to know it’s not just me.  I didn’t eat anything the hour before I went, I ran slower-ish so I wouldn’t burn out, and I had Maddy and my This American Life podcast with me to keep me motivated.  On the downside, I had a small binge hunk of cake afterward in some jacked-up expression of entitlement.  Just because I ran far doesn’t mean I get to A) “make up” calories, especially since I’m trying to lose weight, and B) reward myself with food.  I could’ve rewarded myself with something inedible instead.  Grr.  My excitement and pride about running outweighs the regret and guilt I have over eating that piece of cake, though. 

Do you like beets? If so, how do you prepare them?  Are there any foods you hate unless prepared one certain way?  I still can’t bring myself to like brussels sprouts, no matter the means of preparation.