September 14, 2008

What a day. I recently introduced Matt to the The Spoon Theory, which is a really interesting and, to me, pretty apt metaphor for day to day life with a lame chronic illness. We’ve been using it a lot around the house. Basically, I have a limited number of “spoons” every day. So, this morning, I used up all of my spoons doing four loads of laundry and then running a few other errands, got home at noon and immediately had to get back in bed. I’m going to blame it on the change of season we’re experiencing, but my fatigue has been out of control for the past few days, and nothing seems to help it. I was in and out of bed for most of the day, but miraculously managed to go to a class at the gym, which helped temporarily.

I wanted a really carby dinner so that I could help convince my body that sleeping all the way through the night was an awesome idea. Mondays are hard enough without waking up six times the night before. So, we had spaghetti with eggplant and zucchini marinara. The most exciting part: I finally got eggplant to taste like food instead of, I don’t know, shoes. I did some research and had Matt do the prepwork while I was at the gym. He diced the eggplant and salted it for 15 minutes, then rinsed. It cut the bitterness way down. And brought the deliciousness level way up.

Donna taught me how to make marinara back in the spring, and I should’ve written down her method because it was really good. Now, I kind of improvise based on what I remember. Tonight, I cooked the zucchini and eggplant pieces until soft over medium-high heat. Then I added tomato paste (~1 tbsp, I think) and stirred that around for a minute or two. Then came a can of crushed tomatoes. When that heated through, I added a few tablespoons of dry white wine, cooked until it evaporated, added some rosemary and called it done.

I also had a salad with mixed greens, a Cherokee Purple tomato, about 1/4 of a big cucumber (thanks, Livia!), some feta, and a quick lemon vinaigrette.

I took the pictures on the stove, sorry they look extra weird.

Oh, this nut butter discovery of mine is going to be a problem. Today I found some raw cashews in the refrigerator, immediately made cashew butter, and it seems to have mysteriously disappeared. And I feel extra full. SUSPICIOUS.


Eating local

April 28, 2008

We’re lucky to live in a state that is so heavy on the agriculture, because we can buy local produce, dairy products, baked goods, etc. And by baked goods, I mean cookies.

So, at the first farmer’s market of the season, I picked up some spinach. I buy those plastic containers of baby spinach all the time, but I’ve never cooked regular fresh spinach. It was much easier than I expected. Also, even more awesome. I made “Garlicky Spinach” from Joy of Cooking.

Now, I’ll admit it. It could have been the cheese that made it so good. But Matt had his sans cheese and he liked it, too. It’s always exciting to find a vegetable that I can effectively cook, especially when I only paid a dollar for a basket of it.

We had it with some pasta topped with a sauce I made to use the rest of the zucchini balls.

I was really hungry so I just snapped this picture before inhaling my dinner, but maybe you can appreciate it for its representation of the gritty realities of my life. Yes, those are our recyclables. And, yes, that is a pink heart-shaped tablespoon (it was ON SALE). Also featured is the top of a juicer. I don’t know where the bottom is so I just… leave it on the counter. Next to the tofu.

I’m going to continue working on the assumption that we all live this way. Please don’t ruin it for me.

I’m going to go clean up now. Something smells funny in here. I can’t help but think it could be related to an incident that occurred on Saturday night in which our upstairs neighbors broke the tank of their toilet and water suddenly rushed into our shower and light fixture and shot out of our electrical sockets. You haven’t lived until you’ve had to create a makeshift indoor umbrella to use in your own bathroom, just in case someone else’s refuse happens to rain down on you.

Actually, just writing about that makes me tired. Maybe I’ll go to sleep instead. I’m experimenting with my work schedule and I worked an extra hour today. Once you factor in cooking time, a few episodes of The Wire, and a good chunk of time spent thinking about what I should be doing (dishes, ironing, investigating the stink), you’ve got bedtime.

Something new

April 12, 2008

I’ve never made eggplant parmesan before, and I’m not even 100% sure that I’ve ever had it. But for whatever reason, I was resolved to make it tonight. I read a few recipes and got a little overwhelmed, so I just made something up. I sliced up a small eggplant into 1/4 inch slides and let them soak for 30 minutes. Then, I dipped each one in egg whites and then in a mixture of whole wheat breadcrumbs, parmesan, basil, and garlic. Then I baked them on a cookie sheet at 400 for about 20 minutes, flipping after 10. I pulled them out and added a little mozzarella and a little more parmesan and stuck them back in for about 5 minutes.

I also made a really simple garlic and basil marinara to top the eggplant, along with some lemon garlic baby brussels sprouts. And Matt made some garlic bread. Do you see the theme? Luckily, I’m not leaving the house.

I ate more eggplant than this, I just kept my first serving small because I wasn’t sure how it would taste. My eggplant was good, but Matt’s wasn’t. I gave him larger slices, and they were super bitter. I thought that soaking them would cut the bitterness, but I guess I was wrong. The smaller rounds tasted fine, but the larger ones were majorly bitter. Any suggestions?

I was having breathing problems again today, and after running a ton of errands, I’m pretty much ready to crawl into bed and get a solid fourteen hours of sleep. Plus, Matt just changed seized control of the remote, and there’s no reason to stay awake if I can’t watch the America’s Next Top Model marathon on VH1.

Oh yeah. I also had something new with lunch:

That’s right, I’ve never had a sandwich.

No, just kidding. This sandwich was new, though. At People’s this morning, I picked up some agave nectar for a recipe I want to try sometime soon. I keep reading about it and how awesome it is, so I decided to give it a shot for lunch, and I made a grilled almond butter and agave sandwich. It basically looks like honey, but it’s muuuuuch sweeter. I’ll have to remember to cut down on the amount next time. Anyway, there it is with half a pear with cinnamon. I left the cinnamon out and later accidentally sprinkled it in the marinara sauce. And by sprinkled, I mean, dumped. Oops. Matt didn’t even notice.

Squashta (like pasta – but squash)

March 19, 2008

I was at a conference today (technically, an unconference, which is just a conference, but free, and even chattier), which means that my social anxiety kicked in and I ate a lot more than I wanted or needed. Chips and such.

Even after I got home, ran errands, and went to the gym, I still wasn’t that hungry (read: I filled up on a bunch of the Trader Joe’s trail mix that my mom sent me), so I decided to make spaghetti squash, which takes awhile. Matt, who was scarred by an undercooked spaghetti squash incident a few years ago, was at work, so I took advantage of the opportunity to make it for myself. I’d bought ingredients to make my own marinara for the first time, but I got nervous and Donna had to come over to supervise me (and watch Top Chef). It turned out delightfully well:


For the spaghetti squash: cut it in half with a gigantic knife (I only cut myself once!), scoop out seeds and pulp, roast with flesh side up in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. When you can poke at the fleshy part and your fork/knife goes in easily, it’s done. When it’s cool enough, scrape out the insides, which will look like spaghetti. Mmmm.

The marinara had zucchini in it, so this was a super squash meal.