Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Audible antidepressants

Today, like most days in the past few weeks, I woke up depressed.  I’ve been tired, achy, sad, angry for so long.  Over the past few days when I’ve thought about running, I couldn’t imagine doing it again – I’ve felt too heavy and drained.  However, when I took the dogs out earlier in the day and felt how cool it was outside (for the first time since summer, pretty much), I decided to try.  I made myself a semi-moody, semi-feel-good playlist called “lose yourself running” and went to the park.

moody playlist

On the way there, I listened to “Let Go” by Frou Frou and just sobbed.  It’s my favorite “I need to purge my tears but can’t quite start crying on my own” song.

When I first got there, I listened to a couple of random songs while walking to warm up.

When I started running, I listened to “Kiss with a Fist” by Florence + the Machine and ran HARD and FAST until I couldn’t go anymore.  It made me feel so ALIVE.

I kept listening to random songs on the list as I ran/walked down the trail.  At around the turnaround point, I listened to one of my favorite songs, “Prime Minister’s Love Theme” from the Love Actually soundtrack, and it helped push me along.  It’s such a powerful piece of music…I kinda want to walk down the aisle to it on my wedding day, if I ever have one.  smile_regular

I kept running and taking a couple of walk breaks, and the last song I listened to (twice) was a new one by Sara Bareilles - “Gonna Get Over You,” to which I half-danced, half-ran.  Seriously a fun song!

At the end of my run, I could breathe, I didn’t feel half-dead, and I almost felt OK.

Now, can I keep this up?  I’m so bad at making the right choices in the moment.  “Yeah, the cookie will taste amazing, but that’s X number of calories you don’t need;” “you’ll feel better physically and mentally if you can drag yourself out of your room and go running/biking/to the gym.”  Instant gratification has started ruling my life again, and it definitely shouldn’t.

Got favorite running music to share?  Favorite moody music?  Ways to overcome the need for instant gratification?

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Weekend in Charleston

I didn’t get to go to the beach this summer, so when we found out my friend Lindsey was getting married on Sullivan’s Island this September, Mom and I planned to make a vacation out of it. Of course, all rational ideas about food flew out the window on the drive down I-26…

The wedding ceremony was Friday evening on the beach, and the weather was perfect.

Sullivan's Island

beach wedding

I grew up with a really tight-knit group of people, so any occasion to get together always results in a whole bunch of fun.

buddies

us kids

I still can’t nail the picture jump.

At the reception, I had a couple of vodka tonics, some lowcountry boil/frogmore stew/Beaufort stew/whatever you prefer to call it, half a pulled pork slider, and a slice of amazing almond cake with coconut icing. (low light = no pictures) Isn’t this cake gorgeous? Sand and sea!

Wedding cake

After the wedding, several of us hung out in a hotel room until the wee hours of the morning, eating chips and drinking beer and wine out of plastic cups.

chips

Girlies

Things started dying down around 2am…we’re getting old.

hotel party

The next day, Mom and I did the tourist thing in Charleston, visiting the Market and not buying much; it has lost its appeal over the years. Now that I understand the difference between class and kitsch, keepsakes and knickknacks, I’m disillusioned by it. They’ve renovated the facilities since I’ve been there, though – it’s much nicer now!

Charleston Market

Mom and I did get souvenirs – mine was this sterling silver key necklace.

key necklace

We ate a late lunch at a vastly overpriced and underwhelming restaurant, A.W. Shucks – a seafood joint right next to the Market. We’ve been here a few times before, and I don’t remember being so disappointed – maybe because I’ve got some food snob in me now? Blogging has ruined me. smile_regular

A.W. Shucks

I did have a couple of S.C. beers; a Palmetto Amber brewed right there in Charleston, and a BottleTree Blonde ale from Tryon, NC.

Palmetto Amber BottleTree Blonde

Instead of getting entrees, Mom and I split a couple of appetizers. We had the crab dip, which was cold (I had hoped for a baked dish), 50% mayo-like filler, and served with packaged crackers…

crab dip

…and a sampler with 2 stuffed/wrapped shrimp, 2 slices of fried green tomato, and 4 buffalo shrimp. It was good, but neither dish was worth its price.

appetizer sampler

We split a bourbon peach bread pudding for dessert. Now THAT was good.

bourbon peach bread pudding

Later that afternoon, we made our way back to Sullivan’s Island where we had some adult juice boxes and enjoyed the beach. Really the whole weekend was a string of occasions to drink, but isn’t that what a good vacation should be about?

wine boxes

Kat in the Atlantic

Sullivan's Island

For dinner, we headed to Vickery’s Bar and Grill at Shem Creek.

Vickery's

This is another place we’ve been to several times over the years, and all I could remember was the neato inlaid design in the sidewalk made from found objects like spoons and bottles.

mosaic compass

I wanted something in a martini glass, so I got a cosmopolitan. It was PERFECT.

cosmo

For dinner, I started with a caesar salad;

caesar salad

…and of course, I got the shrimp and grits with sausage. Definite Charleston fare.

shrimp and grits with sausage

We split a piece of key lime pie for dessert.

key lime pie

On Sunday after checking out of our hotel, we drove to North Charleston where my cousins live and went to brunch with them at this awesome Irish Pub, Madra Rua.

Madra Rua

Fun fact: my dog’s name is Madigan which stems from the word “madra” – Gaelic for “dog.” Madigan apparently means “little dog” (I’m so clever), and “madra rua” means “red dog.” Don’t say I never taught ya nothin’.

I had a “bloody Jerry” – a bloody Mary with a shot of Guinness – and an andouille sausage and cheese omelette with hash browns. Both were DIVINE.

bloody Jerry omelette

Also involved this weekend were some muffins and cookies and pumpkin spice lattes…oh my. My body is exhibiting signs of gluten intolerance today – I’m sluggish, congested, headachey, my stomach has that fake hunger/churning thing going on, and my skin is crawling. I need veggies and protein, STAT.

When you go on vacation to the same place, do you go to the same restaurants or try new places each time? If you’ve been to Charleston, what’s your favorite restaurant there?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

“Thin” as a bad word

The word “thin” and all the bastardized hybrid words made from it irk me when referring to weight loss.  “Thinspiration” is a word used by pro-ana communities and therefore has an unhealthy connotation.  I don’t watch weight loss “reality” shows (read Bridget’s “Biggest Loser” post on Hollaback Health – it pretty  much sums up my feelings exactly), but have heard of a new one called “Thintervention” – wouldn’t it make more sense if the show were about eating disorder interventions?  I admit, it’s a catchy term…”healthervention” just doesn’t have that same snappy ring to it.

To me, a word containing “thin” means an extreme – gaunt, unhealthy, disordered.  I hear “oh she looks thin” and think “sickly.”  I imagine someone being described as “thin” to be skin and bones, malnourished, painful-looking.  I expect “thin” to be on the opposite side of the spectrum than “obese,” nowhere near the happy medium I hope to find.

Are we doing damage to people, fat and “thin” alike, by using this word as an ideal?

How much power does a word have?  Does everyone have that knee-jerk reaction to the word “thin,” or am I bringing too much baggage to it?

Butternut Squash Soup

Lizzie has ruined me.  She told me a few days ago that she tried to re-create the squash bisque I got at our first blogger meetup.  Even though that particular bisque was made with summer squash, I haven’t been able to get the idea of butternut squash soup out of my head.

I had these teensy little things from our CSA that I needed to use up…

baby butternuts

So I searched the Food Network website for a recipe and found this gem.  In addition to the two puny squashes (seriously…look how tiny:

baby butternut cross-section

Looks like sushi, right?), I used two packages of frozen squash from Publix (and next time, I’ll ONLY use the frozen stuff…so much easier than peeling and de-seeding and chopping), and I used a can of diced tomatoes instead of whole.  I’ve been disappointed before with the blandness of homemade soup, but this recipe taught me a trick that will hopefully work for other recipes:

balsamic vinegar

BALSAMIC VINEGAR!!1!!!!11  Seriously, I could drink this stuff by itself – why haven’t I poured it in my soup before??  It added some mad depth of flavor.

A giant orange mug, some parmesan cheese and extra balsamic vinegar, and I was good to go:

butternut squash soup with parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar

This mug is the Cafe Au Lait mug from Pier1, and it’s my professional opinion that everyone needs one.  It holds all 4 cups’ worth of coffee from my little coffee maker, and I haven’t used another mug since I’ve gotten it.

In addition to the soup, I made chicken in the same vein as the pork with apples and onions I made a couple of weeks ago, but I covered it in foil for the first 20 minutes and then uncovered it for 10…aaaaand it was still undercooked so I nuked it for 5 minutes.

chicken with apples and onions

And then I exploded.

What’s your favorite fall or winter soup?

EDIT:  I hadn’t read Lizzie’s latest post about butternut squash when I wrote this…how insane is that coincidence?? 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bachelorette Debauchery

Friday night was Catherine’s bachelorette party, and I think overall it was pretty successful!  *Warning: extremely immature, anatomically incorrect pictures ahead*

We went to Miyabi, a hibachi place, where I had my only alcohol of the evening – sake and wine – which is probably why I didn’t take quality “here’s the food” pictures.

Hibachi grill

Hibachi grill

Our chef made our giant slab of rice into a heart…

Rice heart 

…and then crudely tweaked it into a slightly different but wholly similar shape.

Rice phallus

For dessert, we had cake

Phallic cake

…and debauchery.

Chocolate phallus

Isn’t she purty, y’all?

Catherine

The rest of the night was spent bar-hopping…

Shots

…where lots of people wrote lewd things marital advice on her “Willie.”

Marital advice

(Staci, thanks for the idea!)

The gals 

The night lasted well into the morning (seriously, some of the gals stayed up for breakfast at the hotel before crashing for a few short hours), but I’m an old lady and bowed out early. I need my beauty sleep.

On Saturday, Lofton and I went to Columbia’s Greek Festival, an event I’ve always wanted to check out but have never made it to before. 

Lofton and Kat
(Photo from CarolinaNightlife.com)

I wanted only three things on Saturday: a beer, a gyro, and baklava, and I was very happy to get all three.

gyro

baklava

Saturday night, I was able to make the goat cheese, fig, prosciutto, honey, and arugula pizza I wanted to make last week.

goat cheese, fig, prosciutto, honey, and arugula pizza

goat cheese, fig, prosciutto, honey, and arugula pizza

I made the changes I proposed last week (baking the crust a little first and adding more honey).  It was all I had hoped for and more.

I’ve had wicked bad allergies lately, and after a whole lot of anxiety last week, I think everything has finally snowballed into full-blown sickness.  I was out of commission Sunday and today, so it’s my goal this week to get back on track with blogging AND EATING VEGETABLES.  I’ve felt so out of touch lately, with the blogging world and with my body!

Does your city have any international festivals you like to go to?  What are some of your favorite foods you MUST have when you go?