I just had to ask Matt what day it was.

November 5, 2008

Obviously I couldn’t post last night, as I was very busy getting a television headache from watching history happen.

In order to stave off my election anxiety, I went to the gym after work to run AND go to Rep Recycle. I don’t know how I did both, except that I may have blacked out halfway through the third set of lunges, ultimately making the time pass more quickly. I came home starving and Matt wanted to take me out to eat because he is nice like that, but I couldn’t bear to go out in public because of the potential for political crying, so I threw together a fast dinner of pasta, turkey sausage, and veggies:


With cheese, obviously.

I was up way past my bedtime last night, waiting with bated breath to see if my beloved home state of North Carolina would go blue. I’m glad I didn’t stay up until they called it, like I planned to, because I’d still be up now. And in December, when they’re done counting all of the provisional ballots and such. They’ve unofficially called it, though.

Anyway, so today was a bit of a blur of sleepy me going to meetings and making webpages and hopefully I made sense in all of my verbal interactions. Though, reading back over this post, I have some doubts. Anyway, cooking was basically out of the question because it was stormy and I was paralyzed on the couch and our dishwasher (Matt) has been out of commission (tired), so there was nothing to cook with anyway. Which was all leading up to:


The return of the cheeseless pizza! I started small, because I was starving after work and mindlessly ate granola until Matt finally said “You know you have been eating out of the bag for five minutes, right? I thought you wanted to have dinner.” This would have been plenty of food after the dent I made in that Udi’s bag, but I just can’t say no to cheese sticks. So multiply the cheese bread there by about four, and I think I had another half slice of the pizza.  I have to say, it wasn’t as good as it used to be. And I think they had trouble finding our apartment, because it was cold.

Can I tell you about how there is a chance of snow showers overnight tomorrow? I mean, honestly. It was 78 earlier this week.

I may be taking a short break for a few days. I’m not sure. I kind of decided that as I was typing it. I have a lot of stuff to do and a limited amount of energy these days. I’ll be back soon!


I’ve got a new attitude.

November 2, 2008

I’m working on cultivating a positive attitude about Sunday nights. Right now, for instance, I am congratulating myself for doing about half of the things I so boldly claimed to the internet that I would do today. Good job, self. I blame it on this book, which I stayed up late reading and woke up early to finish, leaving me in some kind of sleep-deprived haze on the one day of the year when I am supposed to be extra well-rested.

After a long afternoon of errands, I did some grading and then started dinner. I made chicken cacciatore (Ellie Krieger’s recipe), which, for the record, I don’t recommend if you’re really tired, have a swollen knee, and/or feel like eating anytime soon. What I’m saying is that it took forever, and it was all up and down, up and down. I need to really focus on finding less active recipes for those kind of days. Or, I don’t know, actually reading the whole recipe before I get started. I’ll file those under 2009 resolutions.

I had a pretty small bowl because I was still full from lunch. We went to Wamego on a whim to eat at Toto’s Tacoz, only to find that the restaurant, along with much of Wamego, was closed. We ended up eating at a diner where I had a delicious omelet with a few home fries and some toast. Good, but greasy, and I’ve been full ever since. I didn’t even eat an afternoon snack. This is unprecedented.

Because of my knee being a little puffy and painful, I skipped my “run” today, but I’m hoping to get back on it tomorrow. I think the best part of my “training” is that, even though the 5k is two weeks from today, I still haven’t actually signed up for it. I think I’m afraid I’ll jinx myself. I should probably get on that, as I’m supposed to be raising money for it. Oops.

Curry up

November 1, 2008

Clever, right?

Tonight we had Cauliflower and Potato Curry from Vegetarian Times. Five stars for this one. I kept going back to the pot. Now I might explode.

The recipe was really easy, and I mostly stuck to it. I didn’t measure my cauliflower, because that seemed like nonsense, and I didn’t put in a cup of peas, because I hate peas.

I’m so excited to fall back. Seriously, it’s like someone is giving me a present. I need to grade, clean, do laundry, get groceries, and run tomorrow. But, hey, I’ll get to do it all on an extra hour of sleep.

This is a long one.

October 26, 2008

The conference went pretty well, and, of course, since it was in Lawrence, I got to eat all kinds of awesome things: Falafel salad and baklava at Mad Greek, Phad Sea Eaw at Zen Zero, and ice cream at a real Ben and Jerry’s!

Yesterday I had a weird fatigue flare-up, which hit me on my walk home from the mall, where I did such strenuous things as: returning pants and avoiding all shopping opportunities because I just spent an insane amount of money on a pair of boots. At some point on my 3-block walk home, though, I was just totally exhausted and had to find a place to sit down. Weird, right? I spent the rest of the day in bed, getting up only to help with dinner. Matt made double-cheese grilled cheese sandwiches, and I decided to throw together some soup on the side, because it just felt right.

Swiss and Sharp Cheddar Grillie Cheesie

Swiss and Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Let's call this half-grain soup

Let's call this "half-grain soup"

The grilled cheese was delicious, of course, and the soup was good, too. Here’s what I did:

  1. Brought 4 cups of broth to a boil (I used chicken, but whatever would work)
  2. Added about 1/3 cup quick cooking barley (the whole grain) and cooked for two minutes
  3. Added about 1/3 cup Farfalline (orzo or any other small, quick cooking pasta would work – this was the non-whole grain, hence the “half-grain soup.” GET IT??)
  4. Simmered over medium for about two minutes
  5. Added 1 cup of frozen chopped spinach to the mixture and brought back to a boil
  6. Simmered over medium for about seven or eight minutes
  7. Added salt and pepper and some crushed red pepper
  8. Ate it (it makes 4 servings as a side, probably 2 as a whole meal)

See? Simple. And good. It would be more of a meal with more stuff in it. Like a protein, maybe an egg? And a little cheese on top would have been great, but I decided to cut myself off with the double cheese sandwich. Restraint: apparently it’s a virtue.

Tonight I tried something new: stuffed acorn squash.

This was a big hit – we both really liked it. Here’s what I did for the squash:

  1. Preheated oven to 375 degrees
  2. Sliced (read: had Matt slice, because I am clumsy with large cutting tools) a medium acorn squash in half and scooped out the seeds
  3. Put squash halves, skin side down, in a baking dish with a little water, and baked for about 40 minutes, until the skin was soft enough to pierce

For the filling, I just cooked some bulgur, added a can of pinto beans (drained and rinsed), grilled a turkey sausage and added chunks of that, threw in some chili power, garlic, and cayenne, and called it done. When the squash was cooked through, I stuffed the halves with filling and sprinkled on some cheese, then broiled for about 4 minutes, until the cheese was melted.

On the side, we had some multi-grain french bread and amazingly good fresh brussels sprouts from the last farmer’s market of the season, roasted at 375 for about 30 minutes.

Since I was out of commission yesterday, today was super busy and I seem to have totally worn myself out. I’m going to see my rheumatologist in a month, and I’m hoping he’ll have some kind of miraculous answer for why I am So. Exhausted. All. The. Time. I know that, at least lately, I haven’t been making the healthiest choices, and that does play a role, but this time the tired came first. A big thing for me in the next month is basically going to be motivating myself to exercise through the fatigue. Last week, I only managed one day of cardio (unless you count a 3 mile round trip walk to and from dinner, which I probably would have if I hadn’t eaten 486 tater tots at said dinner), and this week I’m aiming to get back to my usual 4-5, though my week is packed full of work things and my run at the gym today was incredibly hard. It was really easy to slack off when the only consequence was that my pants didn’t really fit right. But yesterday’s flare-up was really alarming to me, and it forced me to refocus on the fact that, while I can’t control whether my body is healthy, I can control whether the way I treat it is. And so, my goals this week are: more exercise (even if it’s light), less sugar, more sleep, and more water (I read recently that dehydration is the #1 cause of daytime fatigue, and we all know that I believe anything I read).

And I’ll be getting on that just as soon as I eat a giant frosted Halloween cookie. I may even have some water on the side.

Bon appetit

October 21, 2008

I took a break from bok choy to try out a recipe that a co-worker, Antoinette, shared with me a few weeks ago after seeing my failed attempts at eggplant preparation. This was her healthier version of a Bon Appetit recipe from 1994, and it was excellent!

Pasta with eggplant and tomatoes

Pasta with eggplant and tomatoes

I think I inadvertently selected some sort of strange setting on the camera, because I couldn’t get a normal-looking picture. Anyway, for this I used some skinny little farmer’s market eggplants, diced tomatoes, parm, and a mixture of whole wheat penne and rotini. The recipe called for rigatoni, but grocery store sales dictate my eating life, so we had this pasta instead. I think it probably came out about the same. The only sad part was that we didn’t have any fontina cheese, which the recipe also called for. We just subbed extra parm, which was good, too.

Looking around the Bon Appetit website for the original recipe, I stumbled on this article about Durham and Chapel Hill. I got all caught up in it, and I never found the recipe. It’s a good article, but it makes me feel like I missed a lot in the six years I spent living there. I’ll chalk it up to a learning experience.

I’m feeling better today, but, in an effort to get a head start on my self-care New Year’s resolution, I think I’ll be heading to bed early tonight. Like, about now. I’m halfway through a good book and I need to rededicate myself to it.

More like Yum-bo.

September 30, 2008

Get it?

I am about to fall asleep on my keyboard but my self-evaluation is almost done. Matt is proof-reading it for me as I write this. He should be great at it, since he always finds and points out typos in my blog entries. Cut me some slack, Matt. I compose these gems without a fully functional space bar. There’s only so much I can do.

Tonight I decided to try my hand at gumbo, since we had lots of okra from the farmer’s market on Saturday. I’ve never made (or actually eaten) gumbo, so it was a real experiment. I checked out a few recipes, but none of them really seemed right for me. Magpie sent me her recipe, which sounds delicious. I’ll have to try that one soon; I just need to get my hands on some butternut squash. I used some of her techniques, the traditional gumbo ingredients, and a little bit of whatever was in the kitchen and came up with this:

Sorry for the semi-weird picture. I had to keep the camera far away because it was really steamy. That’s Matt’s bowl next to mine, by the way. When I want two bowls, I get seconds. Anything else is just plain wasteful.

Since I didn’t have a real recipe, I had to wing it, and I was quite proud that it turned out the be so delightfully edible. Here’s what I used:

  • 16 oz lean turkey sausage
  • A ton of sliced okra
  • A yellow onion, diced
  • Garlic
  • A red bell pepper, diced
  • A green bell pepper, diced
  • A can of crushed tomatoes
  • A can of diced tomatoes (for the liquid, mostly)
  • Fresh thyme
  • A pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

And here’s what I did:

  1. Cook the sausage until brown. I removed the casing so that it would be crumbly. And because the casings gross me out. Remove from pan.
  2. Add a little olive oil and cook okra over medium heat for 7-8 minutes. Remove from pan.
  3. Add onion, peppers, garlic, and a little more olive oil if needed. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add sausage, okra, tomatoes, thyme, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Stir. Simmer for 12-15 minutes.

We had it over brown rice, which was good, but the options are really endless.

Okay, I am going to go to bed and try not to cry that it’s only Tuesday.

I think it’s pretty obvious that I need my own show.

September 17, 2008

I had every intention of making one of the delicious meals from the carefully thought out plan that I devised on Sunday, but then I got home and it all fell apart. I’ve had a headache since yesterday, and I was so tired, and I just wanted a snack. First came some crackers, and then I moved to harder stuff like half my weight in peanut butter, some trail mix, and handfuls of Skittles. I blame the cake I had at work at 10am. I’ve had the sugar sweats ever since. Anyway, in a valiant attempt to salvage the evening nutritionally, I made a smaller than usual dinner of quinoa and steamed brussels sprouts:

Oh, and at the last minute, I threw a little leftover chicken tender on there. I know, I know. It is just too gourmet for you. Sometimes, I pull out all the stops. I do it for the readers.

Now I have to go make an epic decision between doing what I should do (clean), what would be good for me (taking a walk), and what I’d like to do in an ideal world (read until I fall asleep, no later than 8:15 pm).

I think we all know where this night is headed.