Friday, March 21, 2008

insert interesting title here

Well good morning everyone! I haven't posted in a while, it's felt very busy this week-I'm on every day this week with Easter coming up and while it's only about 45 hours, it's been knocking me out. I don't feel it too much until I get home at night and I'm ready for bed at 8:30. I've been holding out until 9 or maybe 10 at the latest because I want to spend some time with Erich at night, but I'm hoping I adjust to this new schedule soon.

Smoothie-land has been going well, but this morning I listened to my body and switched it up for a bowl of weetabix with kefir and a handful of raspberries, and it hit the spot! Mmmm...yum. I'll probably have half my smoothie yet this morning (it's usually about 3-4 cups depending on what's in it) and have half later tonight or tomorrow. Making them the night before has been helpful in the morning as well. I've also been increasing the veggie:fruit ratio since I want to have some of my fruit servings later in the day. Except for today, really, because I'm coming to the end of the week and running out of greens. Today was 1 small apple, 2 small oranges, a large handful of spinach and a handful of beet stems. Earlier in the week I'd been adding kale, swiss chard, beet greens, cilantro, or parsley.

Also, in case anyone is wondering, I'm eating big salad or sandwiches for lunch at work and having a fairly normal dinner with E. at night, so I'm not just drinking smoothies all day. On new recipe days I've been having whatever salad I tried (see below) with some of what Erich's made.

By the way, when shopping for my kefir I had two options- the plain, regular kefir vs. the lowfat strawberry version. You'd think the lowfat strawberry version would have fewer calories and less fat, right? Nope- more fat, more calories per serving and whopping twice as much sugar (due to the 'strawberry' flavor). So I am once again reminding people to read the nutritional labels when shopping! How is that possible? The plain version didn't have anything added, and originally used lowfat milk. Not to mention that the fresh fruit I added today tasted great.

Anyway. Enough of that soapbox. I tried a couple raw dishes this week, a spicy broccoli/nut salad and a marinated kale salad. The broccoli was good, I'll probably make that again, but the kale salad was just ok. Both use salt to wilt the vegetables to take on a softer texture, which requires a lot of salt, and then have a sauce to toss with. To the point where I couldn't eat the kale salad until I'd effectively quartered the salt by added TONs more veggies and making the dish much, much larger. The broccoli dish had the salt right in the avocado/pine nut/garlic sauce (which was quite tasty) and so was better, but I'd used half the salt right off the bat. Next time I'd even half it again. So, about now a simple salad is looking pretty appealing.

The other dish I really liked (Erich even liked it!) was a sunflower seed pate (from Ani Phyo), which consisted of blended sprouted sunflower seeds, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, cumin, chili powder, and then had chopped green onions/tomatoes stirred in. 1 scoop on a bed of spinach with some grilled salmon and steamed asparagus.

Well, I have to get to work. Have a lovely day everyone!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

damn car keys

Well, today was a bit of a trial, but it didn't really upset me so much as slow me down for a few hours. Today was my day off (so tomorrow will be pink bandana day) so I slept in (8:30-late!), did my yoga and went for an apple/banana/swiss chard smoothie. My blender has been getting louder after only 1 1/2 weeks of daily use, so I may have to get a new one sooner than I thought. Maybe a vita-mix, since that seems to be the blender of choice by raw foodies (who use them a LOT, in case you were wondering). Any suggestions?

Okay, so far so good-gave the new place it's first good scrub and made some fudge balls with almonds, unsweetened cocoa powder, a few dates, and a generous drizzle of agave nectar. I'm in love with agave-fantastic natural sweetener with a very low glycemic index, so it's not going to spike your blood sugar like honey or syrup would. Mmmm...fudge balls (insert unnecessary dirty joke _____ here) . Anyway, throw the aforementioned ingredients in a blender (chopped up a bit first) and blend until fairly smooth, and roll into little balls. Chill and yum! I also pressed a bit of it into a small creme brulee dish to act as a crust and topped with chopped pear (sort of an inadequate one-person adaptation of -this- I wanted to try it before I used up half my produce making it. I think the whole recipe with the orange-fig sauce would be better, but it was still pretty tasty.)

So, yummy morning, clean apartment, I scoot off to do a load of laundry only to discover that the clotheswasher is not working where I usually go, so I run a few errands with a basket full of clothes in the backseat (artfully drizzled in blue clothing detergent-ever wonder why it is blue? I do) and head home just in time to lock my keys in my car. Which is parked on the street. With a bunch of my little flowered panties in all their glory proudly displayed (blue streaks included) in the back seat. Great! It's like one of those ads for menstrual pads on tv, where they always use some mysterious blue liquid, even though we all know what color they really end up. (So misleading!) I have also conveniently forgotten my cell, so I had to borrow our downstairs neighbor's phone, who was quite gracious about it.

Unfortunately hubby was unable to answer my call until after work, so two and a half hours and many tiles counted later, I finally got into my house. Woo-hoo! Off to finally do that load of laundry elsewhere and then home for dinner, steamed asparagus and wheat pitas stuffed with avocado, red pepper, arugula(rocket), and a creamy raw vegan thai sauce that is AWESOME. (blend soaked pine nuts with basil, red pepper, garlic, shallot, lemon/lime juice, miso, jalapeno and maybe something else I'm forgetting.)

So a good day overall with some minor setbacks. I also am testing making my smoothie for tomorrow ahead of time and keeping it in the fridge overnight since the blender is really loud and might be a bit obnoxious for our neighbors at 6 am. Two bananas, 1 honey orange, ground flax, and lots of kale. I'm looking forward to it already.

Sweet dreams and good food everyone!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

new job!

Well well it's been a bit since I posted, things have been busy! I started a new job as a kitchen assistant a week after we moved in. I get up at at about 5-5:30 am, do some yoga, make myself a green smoothie, and get to work around 6:45-7:00. What's a green smoothie? Simply some chopped fresh fruit (e.g. an apple and ripe banana, orange, or pear), a generous handful of leafy greens (e.g. kale, spinach, parsley, or just some romaine among many others), and I like to add a small source of healthy fat like a tablespoon of ground flax seed or flax oil. Sometimes a dash of lemon juice. Blended in a blender, the smoothie turns bright green but tastes of the fruit, unless you put too many greens in, but it's kind of hard to do. (Careful with parsley, it's really strong....must be a small handful paired with a strong fruit like a very ripe mango or pineapple.)

At the same time (about 3 days before I started my new job) I gave up coffee and soda. I got a bit of a headache (as to be expected) but not nearly the type I've gotten in the past from caffeine withdrawl. I'd like the think the smoothies and the yoga helped. Either way I feel pretty good, but getting up early than I'm used to has been wiping me out around 8 or 9 pm. With time I hope to get used to the hours and stay up a little later so I can spend more time with Erich in the evening. However, I do like getting done with work between 12-2 pm and having a sunny afternoon to enjoy. :)

Here's my new job: Alpha Delights

Granted it's only been a week, but good so far: I'm a kitchen assistant, so I have done mostly prep work and preparing dishes for the cafe, but eventually I will learn some cake decorating and some bakery work. The best part? I get to resurrect my old scarfs to wear in the kitchen, since I need to have my hair covered. When I graduated school and got an "adult" job I thought I'd lost them to weekends I can go find some fun fabrics and make some more! So far I have learned how to supreme an orange (cut it out of the pith for pretty decorations), make a roux (water/flour mixture to thicken soups), hollandaise sauce, how to assemble almost all of the meals (not too hard) and have locked away a few recipe ideas to try at home. Also how to rolls croissants, but that's easy. The hard party will be making the dough, which involves 27 layers of butter/dough. Ever wonder what makes them so flaky? It is the butter. Mmmm.

I can't remember who I filled in on my little plan in review: in December I quit grad school and my job, and decided to pursue a career in food. Good food for the soul and for healthy bodies, and a happy katie. That means a little of everything: healthy veggie-centered meals and the occasional homemade bagel or pastry, and even some homemade ice creams and cakes. The bakery seems like a great place to learn a lot and use as a springboard to future opportunities in a few years when I've learned some things. I'm done trying to be happy following the formula (lots of school, lots of student loan debt, job you don't really like so you can pay for all the stuff you want). From now on I'm doing what makes me happy, not trying to climb a social ladder on which I never had solid footing. While the pay cut stings, I'm in the fortunate position that some good budgeting and cautious spending will (hopefully) keep us caught up with the bills for now.

So. Here I am. I think tomorrow I will wear the pink bandana.