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food: larabars, chickpeas and oil. not together.

hi friends. the last week has been busy which has led to some serious food-time lazies.
i did get my homemade larabars done and they are quite a delight.

i know they don’t look that exciting, lol…

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but they are honestly really tasty.
and very filling.  i’ve been eating one for my mid-morning snack or breakfast and its been keeping me full until lunch.  and since making my own was so damn economical, i feel okay with this.

i ended up using a base of just dates which i had to do in batches in my new mini food processor.
and i used walnuts, almonds and cashews for the nuts.  and coconut, natch.
and that was basically it.

i did add a spoonful or chocolate almond spread just because i had it around and it seemed logical… but also because that stuff is so damn sweet, like eating icing, and i don’t know what to do with it.

i wouldn’t add it again.  it made the bars crazy sweet and the dates alone add loads of natural sugar.
but honestly, i wouldn’t buy that spread again either.  so, ya.  needless to say, i need to stop shopping at trader joe’s before lunch.

but besides that learning lesson, i was damn happy with the results.
and this weekend i’ll be making a trader joe’s run and will stock up on other dried fruits to try out some new combinations.

my other culinary adventure this week was roasted chickpeas.
this was born of some late night munchies and the absence of popcorn which would normally fill this void.

see… i think i’m being clever when i don’t buy snack food because then i won’t be able to eat it… but really, it just means i end up cooking or baking something different.  which i guess is an okay trade off too…

anyways, i wanted a snacky salty carb.  and right now, the pickin’s are pretty slim for that in my house.
so after about half an hour of opening the cupboard, opening the fridge, opening the freezer, opening the cupboard again, back to the fridge… you know how that goes…
i finally came up with the idea to roast the can of chickpeas.

i knew i’d seen it online somewhere, so i did a quick google and came up with some ideas and a temperature guide.
i drained and rinsed the chickpeas and dried them off.  then i tossed them in olive oil, fresh garlic, rosemary, paprika and sea salt.

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and then roasted them for about 20 minutes at 400.

they turned out pretty delicious, but the garlic & most of the rosemary burned.
after some further google research, it seems that a lot of people will dry roast them and then toss them in an oil/butter/herb/whatever mixture after they’re cooked to avoid this issue.
next time i’ll try that.

but, at the end of it all, my salty carby snack was achieved and all was well with the universe.

the absence of carby snacks is my paleo downfall.
but, i figured that somehow, eating a chickpea seems better than eating a corn chip.  and i stand by my logic.

i read a really interesting and scary article about eating vegetable oil last week and its stuck with me.
Why you should NEVER eat vegetable oil

this article was very WOW for me.
it’s long, but it’s very thorough and i appreciated that.  it sites real references and just plain made sense to me.

it also made me go to my fridge and assess exactly how many products we own with vegetable oil in them.  because we don’t buy bottled salad dressings, thats not a worry… but we do use mayonnaise.
and there’s a few sauces & such that we have in the fridge that contain vegetable oils.

so my project for this upcoming week is going to be making my own mayo and seeing how we like it.
my husband uses mayo on his daily sandwich, so he gets to make the ultimate decision, but he was down to ditch the veg oils too if possible.
it seems that i can make mayo out of any oil, but olive oil is the most common choice… so that will probably be my first try.  but i do have this lovely hemp oil that has a great grassy flavour… and my walnut oil might make a nice add in too.  so i’ve got some ideas.
i’ll try this mayo thing and report back.
also, its a great excuse to play with my cute new mini processor

which is filling the void until this KitchenAid architect series food processor magically shows up in my kitchen.

sooooo… if anyone can make that happen, that would be super….

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learning: back to basics

about a month ago, i came across this book; the back to basics handbook.

it was at costco (ironic?) and when we flipped through it, we were instantly interested.

my husband has a dream of owning a farm.
to be honest, i find this dream slightly hilarious, because as much as i love him, he’s never farmed a day in his life and doesn’t really have a green thumb or a lot of patience.
but, his life aspirations definitely culminate with a plot of land away from society.

for me, its not so cut and dry.
part of me loves that idea and part of me knows i would hate my life if i wasn’t close to the city.
so, i picture more of a centrally located moderately sized house with land to grow stuff on.  and a lot of making my own food and endeavoring to cut out the grocery store.

so this book, i guess i you would call it life porn.

they cover EVERYTHING.  from finding a plot of land (checking for natural sources of water, the proper slopes for crops ect) to building your own house from wood found on the land… and then raising various types of livestock, growing crops, cold storage of crops, preserving ect.

this book is absolutely fascinating to me.
it literally chronicles the “need to knows” for a dying lifestyle.
this is true sustainability.

naturally the front half of the book, about land and farming and raising animals isn’t really applicable to me at this stage in my life…  but the second half of the book is all things that i could use today.
they call it “household skills and crafts”… its a mixture of some skills i know like canning and preserving, but also cheese & sausage making, preserving all kinds of food for long term storage without chemicals, making fermented foods…
and then basket weaving, candle making, tanning leather, natural dyes, soapmaking and more.

and what i love is that it really guides you from the start.  like, for natural dyes, there’s a chart of plants, pictures of the plants and a guide on where to find them growing so you can forage for them.
at no point in reading this, do you scratch your head and think “where the heck do i find X?” because this book has already shown you how to grow it or make it from something else.

i have a huge soft spot for this kind of thing.  clearly.
when i was a young girl, i was absolutely obsessed with laura ingalls wilder books.  i had them all memorized by age 7 and read and reread them voraciously trying to fathom this lifestyle that she described so vividly.
my mom was a little helpful on the matter because she was born and raised in saskatchewan with no running water.  so a lot of things could be explained by her.  but i’ve never forgotten the descriptions of the mill used to grind wheat to flour or churning butter and the soaking of the salt beef.  the things you just don’t see today.

this book made me nostalgic for my childhood visions of frontier life.
and while i’m still very firmly a city girl in many respects, i have an unabated interest in this simple country life where everyone worked their balls off just to keep alive.

maybe its just because i’m super stressed at work lately, and maybe its what happens as you get older… but i find myself dreaming of working hard.  not for a paycheque at an office… but for my household.  raising and growing my food, making my cheeses and soaps and whatever i could.  running away from society and being self sufficient.
these days, that seems like bliss.

the supermarket seems like a scary place to me.  full of poison masquerading as food.
stocked to the brim with faux-foods designed to deceive your body and re-write your natural rhythms.
sometimes i wander the aisles at the “heath food” store next to my office on my breaks.  its row after row of pre-packaged foods and supplements and substitutes… there’s little to nothing that my brain naturally recognizes as actually being healthy.  but yet, its what we accept as health food as a society.
to me, the farm market that sells only produce next door is the real health food store.

these are good reminders to myself.  if a lifestyle of ultimate sustainability is my goal, then it has to be carried out in daily life.  and i have much work to do.
it means that bag of cheesies or chocolate bar that i was craving needs to be forsaken.  and that hangover meal of macaroni & cheese out of the box needs an overhaul.
its a slow process… tough to break a lifetime of addiction… but i’m working on it.

food: more lazy eating & making it better

remember how you start your day/week/month whatever with delusions of health and all the conviction in the world?  and then you have a crap day at work and it all goes to shit?
yes, this was me last week.

but, all is not lost.  i’ve read my paleo books and decided to test drive it.
my work does this cool 12 week challenge thing where you sign up and upload terrible fat pictures of yourself and alllll your measurements, strength test ect… and then you commit to being all around better in 12 weeks from now.
if you’re the winner, then you get fabulous prizes including some really amazing trips.  so it’s a pretty cool thing.

i did it my first year with the company… but never finished it.
and last year, i was full of excuses and was in a cast.
but now that i’m starting my 3rd year with the company (wow – REALLY? – time flies!) i’m ready to rock the shit out of this challenge.  i’m also considering starting a new blog in addition to this one thats focused on daily updates for the challenge.  not so much because i think it’ll be interesting, but because the judging is 30% based on a written essay and i think that will help my chances.

so, the first thing i’m going to do is try full on paleo for 12 weeks.  there’s a couple reasons why… first off, i think it absolutely has to make me lose weight.  and while this isn’t a “biggest loser” competition… losing a visible amount of weight would definitely help my chances of winning.  also, i’m frankly curious about how this will change my body.
it won’t be a forever change (well, i say this now, but you never know) because there’s just some things that i’d like to keep in my life, even if it is in moderation. (cheese, i’m looking at you)

the second thing is an actual regular commitment to exercise.  moonbeam and i had a sobering moment at rock climbing last week.  where we were forced to accept that aquafit, while getting us off the couch and making us move, isn’t necessarily making us strong and fit.  it’s a step in the right direction, but it’s like step 7 of 100.  so we should really be pushing ourselves a little more.
the weather is the biggest obstacle/excuse right now… i hate exercising outside in the rain or worse, the snow.  infact, if its icy, that’s just stupid and dangerous.  BUT, i do have a free gym that i can see from my window.  and exercise dvds and such. so basically, i have excuses, not real obstacles.

the third thing i’d like to achieve is some sort of really quantifiable thing… like maybe signing up for and actually running a race… or something like that.  something that can not be faked or excused or whatever.  this is to be determined, but i love suggestions.

anyways.  goals, they exist and i’m gonna slay them.

 

and now, witness my shame of the last week.  lol.
here’s the thing about getting your mind all worked up about “something big on the horizon”… it somehow excuses yourself to make crap decisions in the meantime.  like i have to “get in all the shit i can before i’m not allowed to eat it anymore”.  because, you know, that’s logical.

so… i ate a few things.
first shame: boston pizza’s gluten free pizza crust.
this is my delicious little ‘za below.  definitely better than the me & ed’s experience.  this guy was about $9 and i got it with peperoni, feta (no mozza) and mushrooms.  it was really good.  one of the better, if not the best, gluten free product i’ve had while eating out.
it was small, but a perfect size for a meal.  i’d buy it again.

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second shame: my ongoing quest for a good mac & cheese… and we have a winner!
thank you trader joe’s.

not only was their rice mac & cheese only $1.99 for the box, but it tasted like delicious kraft dinner-esque garbage fake cheese and i loved every minute of it.
the search is over, the king is crowned.  all bow down to the winner.

(also – who are they kidding with this “serves 4” garbage?  a box of mac & cheese is a meal for one.  always has been, always will be.)

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and my final shared shame…
the soda pop.

i have a mad lust for root beer.  proper root beer.  don’t try and give me that barq’s crap.
for me, when i read the bottle, it must be made with pure cane sugar.  no high fructose corn syrup, thank you.
but really, i love all the craft brewed soda pops.
and the other day, i found this…

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remember the pop shoppe?
my husband waxed poetic over this for an hour, i swear.
apparently there used to be an actual pop shoppe by his house and they used to buy crates of them and $.25 a bottle.
sadly, i paid $2.50 each for these fuckers, but it was definitely a taste of my childhood.

resolutions for 2012

well, we’re 4 whole days into 2012 and i have yet to give myself resolutions for this year.  but i’ve been pondering them for the last few weeks.

i’m a big lover of “goal setting”, but not such a “goal achiever”.  i set huge lofty goals because i believe that easy to achieve goals aren’t really achieving anything other than self congratulations, and then my lofty goals never get met causing me to abandon them altogether.

so, issues; i has them.

there’s a lot going on right now that is causing me to stop and have perspective on my life.  watching someone i care about slowly lose their life and fighting it every step of the way has been incredibly harrowing and irrecoverably changed me.  the reality of this has really hit me in the last 24 hours and it’s stirred up some intense desires in me to be better at living my life.

i’ve basically just come to the conclusion that i’d sure as hell better start making the most of my days on this planet and count my blessings whether they come in the form of huge life events or just a good cup of coffee.
every moment matters. there’s no time to waste.  start today.

my words aren’t any more meaningful that anyone else that’s come to this conclusion… the internet is full of people on their paths towards better lives and preaching of living for today and seizing every moment.  but like much of life, these things don’t resonate until they touch you personally.

so, consider me touched, changed and changing.

i’ve already been on a journey for years now to better myself in various ways… but the one thing that holds me back, time and again is simple fear.
i’m scared to do somethings alone. there’s oodles of things i want to do… classes, hobbies, learning… but i don’t.  under the excuse that i don’t have anyone to do these things with me.
i’m exhausted by this.
so in 2012, i resolve to stop this fear and do things by myself.  banish the excuse of needing a companion and just do it. simple enough to say, but incredibly hard to change as a behavior pattern.  so it’s an official goal, resolution or whatever you want to call it.

next up… the “good stuff”.  smoking.  i love smoking.  i absolutely love doing it… and i’ve stopped.  on december 20th i finished my last pack and was smoke free for 10 days… new years eve i smoked 2 cigarettes.  since then – none.
quitting smoking is one of those things that most smokers plan on doing eventually, but when that day comes, you’re full of excuses to not do it.  i still go outside with the smokers and look longingly… but i think i’m done for good this time.

general health goals…
i resolve to continue on my wheat-free journey… and my ongoing quest for local & sustainable choices for my food. i will eliminate processed goods and “food-like substances” and only eat real food.  i will continue to absorb knowledge and never put back on my blinders about what is going into my body.

i will learn to love exercise again.
i will swim, i will run, i will bike, i will hike, i will paddle.  and i will do them all alone if i must.

i will learn to drive a car.
yup, there it is.  the fear of driving has held me back for 15 years. but in banishing fear, i need to tackle these things. so this is a big one for me.

i will be happy.
i read a great article this morning called 12 things happy people do differently and it made me reflect a little on my own behavior.  while most of those things are things already on my mental to-do list, there’s some things i can work on.

i will see places i’ve never seen and experience things that scare me.
in september my husband & i are planning a trip to munich & italy. i’ve never traveled anywhere that does not predominately speak english. this scares me. i very much like to control my surroundings, so venturing out of that “safe zone” for me will be exciting and challenging and i’m really looking forward to it.

i will appreciate my friends more than i ever have before.
for some reason that i have yet to solve, i know some pretty amazing people that love me. and i think i have room to love these people back even harder than i did in 2011. so, i resolve to be better about phoning and communicating and visiting with all the people that make time for me. i will be there for my friends when they need me. always and without fail.

i will be better at being me.
i will be positive, i will grow, i will be respectful, i will be forgiving and i will be humble.  or at least i’ll try my best.