Shamleless Plug

I'm embarking on a new part of my life that is happier and going in a direction! It's really refreshing.

I was married May 19th, 2012 to a great guy I met at the C.I.A and we're go excited to embark on a life together. He has as culinary degree to match my baking and pastry degree. It's going to be a Good life.

I hope you enjoy my thoughts on food and cooking. I am but a humble baker, who happens to love cooking and embraces the joy of food.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Saltines

Saltines hold a special place in my palette. Cheap, crispy, bland and available everywhere. I wasn't one for Ramon noodles, so saltines became my cheap source of sustenance my last year or two of college. I'd buy boxes of them and eat sleeves at a time with store brand root beer or a water bottle filled with juice pilfered from the dining hall.

I don't know what their appeal is. They are a simple carbohydrate with a nice salty and crackery flavor. They have a slight flake in their layers and are drier than most crackers. The only real appeal is cheapness and saltiness. Nothing but soup goes particularly well with them, can't really serve it at parties and they crumble.

But I like them. When I pick up my mother from work (Admin of a elderly living facility) I'll head straight for the kitchen and shamelessly pick a few small packages of saltines from the massive box. I get this uncontrollable craving for carbs. I start off with two or three, and then all of the sudden I'm on my fourth and fifth package and drinking cranberry juice and shoving handfulls of garlicky croutons in my mouth as well. I like this brand of saltiness in the kitchen; they have this slight cheese taste that I can't exactly identify.

Maybe I shouldn't be investing in a few boxes right now. I've been going on eating binges as of late (McDonald's double cheeseburgers, bags of candy and the aforementioned Saltines).

When I went to Shaws today I got Nature Valley crunchy oat bars, baby carrots, cukes and honey mustard dressing, so hopefully that, and developing a taste for bananas (or at least getting to the point where I don't deeply gag when I eat one), will make me feel healthier and not feel like a big fat Tina.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Broccoli Stir Fry, Take Two

A few weeks ago I tried to make my own broccoli lunch. I went out and got all these Asian sauces with high hopes that it would be delicious as the take out stuff. And much, much cheaper.

But it was a disaster.

The sauce was god awful (bean sauce which was thick and smelled funny) and my broccoli was undercooked.
So this weekend I decided I'd have another go at it. I would buy a standard Teryaki this time and make it right.
I ended up buying Ken's Steakhouse Sesame and Ginger Asian Salad dressing. Which smelled amazing. I reduced it a little and after I steamed my broccoli, I added it to the pan with the sauce in it to let it coat and reduce.

What I got was overcooked broccoli in deeply acidic sauce. Very disappointing. I could only eat a few bites before I couldnt' eat anymore.

Next time I'm going to buy the sauce my boyfriend and I used when we used to cook stir-frys. It's bright red and mostly full of fake stuff, but at least it's sweet and tasty.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gimmie a break!

I'm a little addicted to Kit-Kat bars. I don't eat them very often, but when I do, I could eat twenty of those wafer sticks coated in chocolate and it wouldn't be enough.

I bought about 9 bucks worth of candy at CVS today (I had a $7 Extra Care Cash coupon, and thought 'What the hell?'). Two bags of fun sized Kit-Kats, a bag of Rolos and a bag of Yorks.

And I plan on buying more.


I think I've eaten half the bag of Kit-Kats already. You only get two sticks per wrapper, which no longer accommodates my 23-year old sized mouth (as a child, those fun size bars or candy in general took ages to savor). Two sticks can be stuffed in my mouth and gone in 30 seconds. (Damn American who doesn't enjoy her food! In Russia, we don't even have food!)

Kit-Kats are another of the extremely palette pleasuring foods. We all adore that mouth feel of opposite textures (and flavors), and Kit-Kat combines creamy with crispy. Genius.


I'm a big fan of crispy. Any kind of crispy. Chicken, fries, onion rings, veggies, candy. I'd be interested to see if that's some very deep Caveman instinct (much like gaining weight in winter and avoiding bitter tastes), or just because it's so damn pleasurable. I can barely describe it.

"Crispy" is associated with "Deep fried, golden brown and delicious", another one of my favorite things. But is that the real reason why I so love it? Deep fat fried crispy goodness of well done fries? But I love Nestle Crunch Bars, too. And Butterfingers. And anything else with layers of wafers or otherwise.

But why? I'm baffled as to why all these mouth feels bring such pleasure. We love creamy, crunchy, gooey, soft, hard, tender, crispy, smooth, sandy....Do they spark feelings of nostalgia? Do they release Happy Chemicals to your brain?

I think eating in general makes you feel happy inside. Especially good food. Or things you love to eat despite its quality (like my weird eating habits post). I don't think it matters if it's crispy like a Kit-Kat, creamy like Risotto, tender like a steak, or gooey like a Valo-Milk. I think pleasure from eating is one of those Ancestorial instincts that came about when humans realized that some foods tasted good and made you feel good.

There's no real reason for it. I think food just makes us happy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

91st post (!!!)

Post 91!? Really!? Wow. I'm kinda impressed with myself.


So, I brought my smoothie to work today. But I left it in the car, and by the time I realized it, it was down pouring rain outside. But I wanted it!! So I ran out there, splashing in puddles and getting damp rapidly and then back to the bakery, rain dripping from my hat.

My smoothie actually came out pretty good. I used almost all frozen fruit: blueberries, a few mango chunks, a little pineapple, and a fresh banana. I added orange juice and in the morning I put in some Instant Breakfast. Since I didn't feel like getting a blast of fruit at 5 am, I ate one of those Fiber One toaster pastries (they were tasty, better than a normal pop-tart)

All I could really taste was pineapple, with a little banana in the background, as well as something I could only identify as tropical.

Although I probably got in about three servings of fruit, a packet of instant breakfast (full of good stuff) AND a multivitamin, all before 8 o'clock, I sabotaged myself throughout the day: a small snickers bar, a blt for lunch, a few swallows of Pepsi and eating one of the new cookies I had made today (pumpkin with cream cheese icing[which are delicious]), also, when I returned home I ate a a small package of cheese and crackers.
But I'm kind of okay with that. I'll make another smoothie tomorrow. Maybe every day. It would keep me on track: fruit smoothie, multivitamin. My mother brought home a very nice looking stationary bike that I'll try to use a few times a week, and that'll help too.

I'm not really looking to loose weight. Since I began working (which goes doubly when I hit the 9 hour+ mark), I eat what I want. For the most part. I don't (usually) inhale fast food, chips, soda and other fried foods, I do that once in a while. But if I want a cookie, a burger, a few chips or something, I eat it. I'm on my feet not eating for so many hours, I think it balances out.

I'm just looking to feel healthier. Not so tired. Not so cranky or short tempered. Not so easily susceptible to getting sick. Just a general feeling of betterness. So we'll see what happens.


PS- I'll be 23 in ten days. Just throwing it out there. =) I REALLY hope I'm not working the day after my birthday, but I'll just have to wait and see, and possibly negotiate something with a
co-worker.

[Update: I am going to end up working my birthday. We're probably going to be pureeing pumpkins two Mondays in a row- this coming Monday and the 13th. And I'm on for the 19th. There really is no point for the boyfriend to come allll the way down for that. So I plan on switching with someone, which means I'll be working the 12th, and the 13th, but not the weekend my boyfriend is coming, so I don't mind.]

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Being Healthy Re-revisited

I need to be eating better. I pretty much eat crappy most of the time. I know if I even hope to scrape by this holiday season, I'm going to need to build up my body now. I have to stop eating bad processed food and bad frozen food, and switch to better processed food.

I decided my main problem is breakfast, where I try to eat whatever the hell I can scrounge up to keep me somewhat fueled until I get the chance to eat again. Usually this entails leftovers, mac and cheese, burgers, pizza or some other fatty thing.

This is going to get me nowhere fast.


Usually I make something the night before (chicken cutlets, or something), but I always knew that I could make something healthier.

So today I did. I ended up making a smoothie. Tomorrow I'm gonna add some Instant Breakfast.

You need to pick your battles with most things in life. Checks and balances, maybe? It's like the environment. You probably can't wire solar panels on your roof, but can buy those reusable bags, recycle, and turn off lights.

I think being healthy is the same thing too. You can't get 5-8 servings of fruit, on top of whole grains, drinking water, getting calcium and vitamins and minerals and fiber, exercise, sleep. Low Cal, Low Fat, Low Carb, High Fiber, Vegatarian, Vegan. On top of eating organic sustainable AND LOCAL and....it's just too much!!!!!

But you can make a reasonable effort. Drink a smoothie, trade soda for water/milk, eat an apple instead of chips. Take a multi-vitamin. Fast food/fried food once in a long while. Go to a Farmer's Market. Walk around the block. I think it helps.

I can't always eat healthy. But I'm going to make a reasonable effort. Today I made a smoothie, but I also bought peanut butter crackers and cheese crackers in little packages for work for around the time at about 8 o'clock, when I'm famished and my only options are day old bread toast or a cookie. In that case, I think I'm better off with the packages of crackers. But I also bought "Whole Grain, High fiber" toaster pastries (I didn't even know they MADE those!). They're from that Fiber One brand, and I think that helps too. It makes me feel like I'm doing something halfway decent for myself.

I think getting three servings of fruit is better than no servings of fruit. And 20% of my daily need for fiber or calcium is better than none, too. I think doctors and nutritionists would agree with me, too.

It's impossible to get 100% of every SINGLE NEED in your dietary life. You'd be eating ALL DAY and that isn't healthy either.

Every time I think about what I need and how much of it I get and how much of it I don't, I tend to panic a little and feel overwhelmed, but to avoid ending this on a doom and gloom note, I offer you this: winning tiny battles in your war of good intentions is better than nothing. Buying reusable bags does help a little bit. Taking a multi-vitamin helps a little bit. Drinking water over soda helps a little bit.


So I guess I can't get so hard on myself. And you have my permission to not be so hard on yourself too.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Marshmallow Junkie

For those who don't know me, and for perhaps some of you who do, I am a marshmallow junkie. Anything with marshmallows in it, from Mallowmars to Peeps to homemade to those tacky marshmallow filled cones, catches my eye. From the cheap bag of store brand marshmallows for the $5 for a package of 16 at Trader Joes, I'm thoroughly hooked on the spongey white stuff.

I don't think I'm a full flegded addict yet; I don't rush to buy peeps on holidays, or anything that I see with marshmallows. To tell you the truth, I think I've grown out of peeps (unless they are stale).

I went to Tj Maxx today, with the intention of buying a bag for work (one to accommodate a travel mug, lunch, snacks, a hat, my wallet, and a reliable place to put my work key), and ended up wandering there for almost an hour, debating bathrobes, fleeces and work pants.

It was the clearance table that caught my eye near the home goods section. A whole table of clearance food items. I browsed it with no intent to buy anytihng, when I saw a package of what I could identify as marshmallows.

They were novel and brightly colored. Shaped into squares and ropes. The tiny label said "The Marshmallow Castle" And upon further search, I saw another package of triangle marshmallows.

I snatched up the quirky package of marshmallows skewered on plastic kabobs immediately, after seeing the $1 price tag. The novelty of colored marshmallows on a skewer was well worth the price that I would usually pay for a bag of regular marshmallows.

No sooner had I stepped off the curb (with only a travel mug, said marshmallows and a purse) did I dig out the package and rip open the crinkly plastic with my teeth, tear off the white/pink/ and blue roped marshmallow off and pop it into my mouth. It's very chewy, like there's too much gelatin- which I suppose, if you're making a marshmallow castle, you'd need a strong, chewy foundation.

Before I even start my car I've eaten 4 of them. And decide to save the rest to display here. But even that didn't last long. I managed to eat about half the package before I arrived home.

The flavor of these marshmallows of pink, green and blue are the artificial 'vanilla' I've come to expect from marshmallows. But it was different than the conventional brands, it's deeper and more distinct. But it isn't vanilla. It's 'vanilla'. It's a bit like how when you eat fruit flavored candy, you can identify 'cherry', 'grape', 'strawberry' and 'watermelon', as such, but it really isn't like biting into the fresh fruit. Vanilla in every candy is no different. I know what real vanilla tastes like, as does probably most level-headed people do. But real vanilla and 'vanilla' cater to two totally different things.

I'm considering going back to Tj Maxx this week, to buy more of these marshmallows.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Dirty Little Eating Secret

You know how the food you eat as a child don't always taste as good when you get older? Some stuff is like that for me: Chicken Mcnuggets, Cadbury Creme eggs....other things I can't recall. I remind you of my shameful little secret here .



Yes. I did make my rice bowl. My mother had made Crispy chicken, my top ten in favorite foods, for dinner on Monday....But we were low on ketchup.

The chicken was great, and I was thinking about leftovers. Then it hit me. My dirty little secret eating habit: Rice, corn, chicken and ketchup. How would I hide this, you wonder?
I remembered how early I wake up for work, and it clicked. Who the hell would know what I ate that day? Duh! Eat it in the morning!

The next day, I went to work a few minutes early to allow time to quickly eat. I heated up the tubberwear, eagerly waiting,wondering if it would taste as good as it used to.

Let me tell you....it did. With that first mouthful, it was as good as I remember it. My palette was not above eating weird dishes of my childhood. I scarfed it down, torn between 'enjoying' and 'getting to work before too much time went by'

So my readers, some things really ARE as good as you remember. So I encourage you to eat that weird food combination so loved by yourself as a child that has been

Friday, September 19, 2008

Blog

My blog is disorganized. I know. I'll work on it when I have the time. I'm back at work, and we've been BUSY! So I'm tired. I'll fix this soon for the 4 people who read this blog (which I deeply appreciate, even if it is only a few of you)


~~~~~~

Just wanted to say sorry if this blog doesn't meet your expectations (and that came out sounding rude, so I'm sorry again). I promise one day I will be much more precise and careful about how I type. If you'd like a list of REAL blogs (since mine is pathetically amateur), here they are. I read these daily and I find something of value in all of them, in their own special ways. =)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Skipping Over Long Recovery Post and Moving Onto.....

My infection. Yes. I got an infection. A week or so after my appendix had been taken out. (I refer you to here to catch you up ) A particularly nasty one, actually. To me at least.

I was feeling pretty great Thursday. I was up and about and felt pretty fine. Friday I went to into town, just to get out of the house, but not too far away. I went home, I made lunch, I cleaned my room and even showered (if anyone has had their appendix out or a similar surgery, you know what a small victory this is- to get up, walk and stand long enough to shower). I felt like I could go out the next day and go to work for a few hours on Tuesday.

But my body had other plans. That Friday my side felt sore and tender, it was a bit pink. I didn't really think anything of it. Maybe I over did it the other day, maybe I slept it wrong by accident. I told my mother, who thought it looked pink and wanted to go to the ER. But since I felt fine and was just a bit tender, I didn't think there was much that can be done. I figured they'd look at it, tell me to take it easy, and send me home. And since my insurance would probably just slide under as it was, I didn't want to push it with another ER visit.. But I'd keep on eye on it.

So that night I didn't sleep great. When I woke up I felt stiff and sore. And awful. My mother wanted to go to the ER...I didn't (I'm so stupid!!!!!!!!! >.<) But we negotiated down to a Doctor's visit. The on-call doctor prescribed antibiotics on the phone, and I spent several hours watching a marathon of House in the dark of my room, trying to lay comfortably. The antibiotics either didn't do much, or made me feel worse. I just felt crappy. It hurt to walk, roll over or move too much. I didn't feel this lousy since the day I was out of surgery.

By dinner time I managed to crawl downstairs and eat a few bites of pasta, still laying down. I felt horrible, still in pain. I watched "Uptown Girls" feeling miserable, by 9, I crawled back up to my room and finished watching the movie, feeling wretched, and teary. I was still in pain: nausea, tenderness, soreness,elevated temperature, headache since before I took the antibiotics, I was tired. I just felt awful and I couldn't take it.

I figured these were all side effects from the pills (which were many), and I was just overtired and recovering. Along with the infection. So I really didn't think that it was too big a problem. I figured this was how it was supposed to go and I'd feel much better once I had 24 hours of pills in me. Somehow I managed to doze off. I woke up, feeling much, much worse. It took me forever to get the will to sloth myself out of bed and into the bathroom, where I felt disgustingly nauseous. I got back out of the bathroom, and my parents asked me if I was alright, which I wasn't. My mother took my temperature, brought up tea and toast, which I could scarcely nibble, and we waited. I had a fever- 101.7. Crap. And hour later, at about 3 am, my mother took me to the ER, we were admitted quickly and I found myself in an ER bed, getting three vials of blood drawn and on some pretty amazing heavy duty IV drip pain killers. Not Sit-com hospital stay heavy duty (You've seen it. The protagonist gets their tonsils or appendix taken out and they have this "hilarious" bit of song singing or love confessions) , but it made me feel pretty good. They sent me to to ultra sound, and back down to drink awful contrast, and up two hours later for a CAT scan, which confirmed an abscess. The ER doc explained it to me, and it made me feel better. Something like a surgery. I had the impression that I'd be put under again, put into ER for about a 30 minute procedure, and everything would be fine. I was admitted to the hospital. Again.

I was numb with misery. I managed to doze uncomfortably on and off, it took me half and hour to get the will to get up and use the bathroom. I felt like I did a day or two after my last surgery. The doctor who prescribed my antibiotics came in and spoke to me, about what was going to happen. He gave me the idea this was no big deal, I'd be heavily drugged and it wouldn't "hurt", as in, yes, it would hurt a bit, but it'd be okay( lying bastard). So, fine. I'd rather have been in the OR, under, and in no pain, but I guess this would do. But I've been wrong before. The Physician's assistants came in and also insured me it would be okay(because girls around my age have given me SO many reasons to trust them in the past). What ensued at about 12:30 that day was so disturbing, traumatic, excruciatingly painful, that excruciatingly painful, that I can't.....I can't type, let alone relive them in my mind ever again....I'm thoroughly traumatized, shell shocked and whatever textbook word you can come up with.

I screamed, I sobbed, nearly hyperventilated, begging them to stop, telling them I can't go on, that I was scared, hurting. I've NEVER in my entire life have had pain that has made me scream like that. Or sob like that.

I can't go over the details. I don't want to think about it. All I can tell you was my stitches were reopen, bedside and a scalpel was used to open me a bit more. My abscess was drained and gauze was out inside me. My wound remains open, but covered.

It was horrific. I wish they knocked me out. I wish I had surgery. I wish it had gone DIFFERENTLY. This is 2008, not the Civil War.

I'm not exaggerating. Exaggerating is cheap writing and speech. I never knew pain where I screamed before. Begged. I was under a double dose of my pain killer (given with a needle, and not an iv or pill) but it didn't do anything. They had to stop to give me a break halfway through so I could sob and calm down...

........Anyway............after that I slowly felt better. By mid-afternoon I was able to drink water, various stages of watered down apple juice and ate graham crackers.

By evening, my mother came back with my sister, who came with her laptop and a gigantic fruit smoothie. They went to grab some dinner at the cafeteria, and brought me back some soup.

The rest of my stay was uneventful. I watched too much TV, dozed, received heavy IV antibiotics and got shots of pain meds. I had wonderful nurses and my own room on a floor that made me think I was in Geratrics. I got better and better and now I'm home. I wish, wish, wish that I had gone the hour I felt a tiny bit worse, when my infection was low, manageable, non-painful. Not 3 am Sunday morning, with a 24,000 white blood cell count (higher than what it was when I had appendix problems) and feeling awful.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Spent A Month There One Night, Part Two

Warning! there's a picture of my scar at the end. It isn't graphic or disgusting,but if you don't want to see my stomach, then I'd be careful.


A transport came to wheel me up to surgery a bit after 9. I begged my nurse to let me go to the bathroom before that happened, and lucky for me, she seemed pleased that I even thought to think to use the bathroom...but how could I not? I was so pumped full of fluid I'd probably be going till the next morning....

Anyway, so after that was taken care of, I gingerly slid back onto the bed, and my parents, whom I must admit had been getting on my nerves slightly,( my mother had been fussy all night, and my dad was on my case about work medical insurance- which working at a small business, most normal people have the understanding and common sense it wont happen, but my dad seemed to be too...optimistic...or do I mean 'pushy'?) came with me. I had been hoping I'd take care of the rest of this myself.

I went slowly through hallways, and into an elevator, which a elderly man who looked like he worked there, asked me if I was nervous, which I gave him a friendly reply of "Nope, not really." my mother added I was more anxious "Yeah, about missing work." I thought.

They brought me into a new section, and I saw someone who looked familiar, who turned out to be my aunt's sister, who seemed very surprised to see me. And then I was into a room to speak to the anesthesiologist, an older guy who had a German accent. He briefed me, and left me with my parents till the surgeon came. A nurse came in, and helped me take off my earrings and get my stuff together. "Is your bra on?" She asked. I gave her a guilty look. "Yes." I said, and struggled to take it off, which I made into a much more difficult process than necessary. "Is your underwear off?" Another guilty look, and an indignant (and silly) exclamation of "My underwear too!?" So now I was pretty much nude in a hospital gown, waiting to be sliced open.

Finally, the surgeon came, and I was parted with my parents. I felt oddly calm as we went down the hall. She chatted me up about the bakery, and what I did there, and I felt I was being very well behaved and calm, like this was just another day at the hospital.
They put me into a bright white room and I looked around with curiosity. People were around, lights above me, a operating table, standard stuff.

They put me right up to the table and scooted me on, I tried to simultaneously move my IV'd arm onto something next to me, figure out what to do with my other arm, and keep whatever dignity I could muster in a thin gown intact.

They began to slide these cuffs on my legs and I was introduced to people who would be assisting my surgery..who's official terms I can't recall.

"Oh wow! You have Cafe au lait spots!" the girl exclaimed, fascinated (as if she'd never seen one before, which is true for most people, even in hospitals, probably) touching one on my calf. "It's a coffee color with softer skin!" I was taken by surprise, and had no other response but "Yeah, I do!" How socially awkward. But I was about to get surgery, so I think it's the best I could do.

That's the last thing I remember. That was slick and terrbily clever....distracting me with my spots while they drugged me up.

The next thing I know, I'm gasping, dry throated, with an oxygen mask half off my mouth, while many voices called "Jennifer! Jennifer!" Ugh. What? I'm in pain and trying to sleep! My eyes slid open with immense effort, and I'm in a yellow room, with monitors, and other people around me. I groan again, and my eyes heavily slid shut. "Jennifer!" They call again insistently. "What!?" I think.

I'm hurting, my throat is dry, and I'm tired. I struggle with my oxygen mask, pushing it off my face. I can breathe just fine. I don't need a mask. I don't remember if the nurse tries to put it back on, but I push it off again. Then a comment is made about putting in ones for my nose, which I guess I could settle with. I gasp, raspy and hurting. Surgery sucks. My only coherent thoughts were "What the hell is going on here? When can I get drugged and when can I sleep?"

I decide the nose plugs simply will not do, and push them off. The nurse, firmly, sternly, but kindly, tells me they need to stay in. I groan, feeling difficult. She asks what's wrong. I don't remember if I asked for water or pain killers first.

But I remember ice chips, and later, (what an embarrassing thing I'm about to admit) I get some kind of pain shot in a fleshy area. And I don't even care! Moon me to whoever the hell you want for all I care! But for the love of God, drug me up enough to make this pain go away! I feel difficult. I note the time, which is sometime after noon, and take note of people around me. Some kinda good looking guy in some kind of blue scrubs and a clip board-who I remember seeing being wheeled in before, an old person near by also in recovery, nurses in bright scrubs.

They wheel me out into the hallway, I think I saw my parents at some point, and they take me (I think) in an elevator going up, and wheel into what I thought read "Pediatrics"

"What?" I think to myself, "I'm 22-years old, do they know that?" But it sounded calm and quiet. I'm almost all the way down the hall and into a room with a bed, in which I have to get onto myself, they tell me.
"Nooo." I rasp and whine, feeling difficult again "I don't want to move." But they insisted. So slowly inching, I got onto a bed, and was able to not move. A nurse came in, Nurse Mellisa, who asked me a lot of standard questions, and told me if I needed anything to buzz, how often she'd be in to check vitals (which she did as she talked) and put on the pressure leg cuffs on me again. I again fought the oxygen plug, and Mellisa finally pulled it off of me. She left and I was alone with my mother. I don't really remember what was said other than how I felt. She also mentioned going home for a bit, which I insisted on. I just wanted to sleep anyway. Not even TV was luring enough.

I dozed on and off, and my mother left around three. I kept dozing, Dr. Phil or King of the Hill not even being enough to keep me awake, and I woke up again. "Crap" I thought, "I need to PEE." Crap. I considered my options (trying to get up on my own, buzz the nurse, or hold out till the nurse gets back), and finally buzzed the nurse. Who came on intercom and I asked her if I "Could please use the bathroom." She came in, and helped me out of bed and into the bathroom, and saintly gave me my privacy. I honestly can say that I don't remember needing to pee this much this often in my entire life as I did during my hospital stay.

When I finally got myself out, Mellisa was there to help me. I sheepishly asked her if I could please put on some underwear, which she let me, and helped me get back into bed. I dozed on and off for about 20 minute intervals for the next several hours, waking for vitals, water and lame attempts at tv.

When my mother came, she made me attempt to eat, which I really didn't want to, but tried Italian ice, saltines and graham crackers.

The rest of my night is more of the same:dozing, getting up to pee, nausea, pain, and attempts to eat and drink.

I felt lousy, even on medication. I was surprised I wasn't doped up and loopy (and why wasn't I? I hear that stuff is great). I texted and called my boyfriend now and then, to see what was up and when he'd be here, and was pleased to hear he managed to catch and early train. He'd be here by 8:00.

He came to visit, along with my brother and father, and stayed for a bit. It was nice to see him. He didn't say much, but it just felt nice to have him there. He didn't stay very long, which i wish he did, but about the time he left I needed to use the bathroom, again.

The night was the same cycle. I'd sleep for 90 minutes, wake up, use the bathroom, slide into bed, get pain pills and repeat. It was horribly inconvenient. I had to wake up my mother every time and needed her help unplugging the iv and bringing it in with me. I only threw up once or twice the entire night, and it was all water, luckily, so it wasn't too bad.

I finally woke up at about 5 or 6. And knew that I was done sleeping for the night. My mother was up too. I spent some time watching Family Matters before switching to my book on tape on my ipod. I managed to eat yogurt, cherry Italian ice, and apple juice. The new nurse who came in thought that was a very good sign.

Eventually, my iv was pulled out, and I put on real clothes and deodorant, and brush my hair. I felt "better" in the sense that I wasn't groggy or in intense pain. I would be discharged soon and home by noon.

While we waited, we watched "I love Lucy" and made a few attempts at walking up and down the hallway. Which made me exhausted.

When the surgeon came in, I was apprehensive, but ready to go home. She checked out my scar, and told me what I can and can't do, when to make an appointment for a check up and to keep watch on certain other things.

Then she had to take out my iv. Which meant she had to pull the loads of tape that had been on since 2 am the previous day. This is where I was most childish and difficult, shamefully. I wouldn't let her! It HURT! I insisted that I do it, but finally she took it over, leaving me to wince and wither in pain.

I finally got to sink into a wheel chair and start to go home. My mother ran me right into a door frame. x.x I tried to wheel myself around my room before we left, but that movement alone made me sick to my stomach, so I let my mother steer.

My brother and boyfriend eventually pulled up and I eased myself into the front seat and we were on the way home, I was ready to lay downstairs and simply not move for a very long time.


All in all I thought I was a very well behaved patient. I was calm and complacent. Told them everything they needed to know and did it without melting down or becoming too upset. I let them stick me with needles without flinching, crying or fighting. I was friendly, polite and chatty.

Don't get me wrong, the whole experience was bizarre, but not all together "terrible"....well, it was. The pain and nausea was unbearable at times, but I'm alive and healing, and there are worse reasons to be in the hospital.
Recovery time is coming up, sooner or later.

EDIT> I got an infection.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I Spent A Month There One Night, Part one.

Got my appendix out. More later.
......

So it's "Later" Almost 5:30 on September first. It's been about four days and about 6 or 7 hours since surgery. I've graduated from whatever pain killer they prescribed, and am now on a few aspirin and the occasional pain killer, which is far superior than whatever I was on. The large amounts of Tylenol I'm on will probably make my mouth bleed, but at least I can eat and walk/sit upright.


So it all started about 7pm Thursday. It was very nearly dinner, and I had this very dull pain in my right side. I didn't think much of it; cramps, dehydration, pulled muscle from being off from work for so long (since I returned to work that day after being closed for vacati0n). I ignored it until I went to bed at about 9 that night, to get myself back into the work schedule. My right side was too tender to lay on. Again, I didn't think much of it, but was mildly concerned.

Sometime in the middle of the night, amidst dreams of outlet malls and the two main characters of "In Her Shoes" I felt this constant, nagging pain in my side. It woke me up. It's 11:30. Now I'm worried.

"Crap." I thought, and texted my boyfriend, telling him I felt weird. No response. Two gradually frantic messages later, and he called me, and asked me a lot of questions; what hurts, where, how much, how far from your bellybutton exactly is the pain, how long has it hurt. The answers sounded a lot like appendix problems, even I couldn't deny it. But I still did.

"It's Labor Day weekend!!! I don't have time for this!" I whined, wincing at the pain I felt when I prodded my side. He convinced me to take an aspirin and wait an hour (well, he let me wait, he wanted me to go right away). And to call him later.
I slowly got out of bed, wanting a second opinion, and WebMd'd "Appendicitis." I fit the description. "Crap!" I thought to myself.

Two short MSN message conversations and an hour later (I wanted second opinions, both people expressed concern and said stuff to the effect of "I'd be sad if you died!" , I knocked on my parents door and my mother and I were off to the ER.

The ER took a long time. About an hour wait. 1:3o, 2:30, every hour reaching closer to work.
"Crap." I thought. Wondering that if it were nothing, would I get to work on time? Make it through the day?

Finally, a doctor that looked a bit like Dr. Kovach and Sylvester Stallone called my name. I was given a gown, which I refused to take my pants and bra off for, and was incredibly relieved I had remembered to shave my legs that night (because every girl knows to even be seen in the ER, you must be properly shaved and have on non-holey underwear). He took vitals and inserted an IV (Oh. Dr. Stallone Kovach told me I had 'very nice veins' as he gave me the IV, which I don't think I've ever heard before in my life), chitchatting causally and comfortably while another young doctor poked and prodded my stomach, reaching a tender point.

"Well," he said "If I had 20 bucks, I'd say your appendix is going to come out this morning." I groaned. I did not have time for this. He told me they'd need to do a CAT scan two hours after drinking some contrast liquid; Dr. Stallone Kovach assured me that it wasn't too awful, now that it was made in lemon flavor.
The other doctor asked me a few other questions, which I'd been asked before by the ER main area, and jokingly said "So, you're pretty medically boring." (aside from the NF, which I still don't know if any of them know anything about, even if they had the good sense to pretend they did)
They left, leaving me to wonder if doctors took some sort of class that trained them to be causal, outgoing and talkative enough to make the patient feel comfortable enough to revel any information they were looking for. I'd have to ask one of my med student friends.

The contrast came, given to me by a petite, bubbly, blond, youngish looking nurse, who called me "Kiddo" which made me think if you were allowed to call someone that if they were less than seven years younger than you (I highly doubt she was under 27).

She also gave me morphine.


Which made me want to laugh. A lot. And made my head lull back heavily into my pillow. I tried to keep it under control, lest I accidentally let slip secrets of my life to my mother, which is pretty low key, anyway.

The contrast wasn't bad. It tasted like watered down lemon crystal light. But there was a lot of it. About a quart. It made me have to pee a lot, too.It felt like two bladders full. Orange you glad I shared? Which was a pain, because I had to wait for bubbly blond nurse to come check on me to unhook me so I can go wobble out, iv needles in arm, nearly naked under an ill-tying sheet, in hospital footies no less, to the bathroom.

The pain wasn't too bad, to tell you the truth. The waiting and peeing part was annoying. I had to wait two hours for the CAT Scan. I read my book (Joy Luck Club), trying to make it last, and finally, after 5:15, after being in the room for a few hours, I was wheeled up to CAT Scan, where I was given this weird injection that the tech told me "You'll feel warm from your throat down all the way to your groin, and you'll feel like you're going to the bathroom, but you aren't."

The sensation was in fact, warm. And very pleasant. It made me giggle and stupidly exclaim "It's really warm!!" When that was finally done, I was sent back, and 20 minutes later the same ER doc walked in (Not Dr. Kovach's American twin): "So, you got that $20?" Did he look smug?

Great. Oh, did I mention he came in somewhere in the middle of the 2 hour wait to inform me my white blood cell count was over 15,000? Well he did. Another great sign.
So I thoroughly had appendicitis. With mounting pain. He sat down next to me, and got on the phone with the surgeon on call, apparently someone my mother knew, and explain to me what was going on in the simplest ways possible.

To be honest, I was more concerned with how long I'd be out of work than anything else. We'd called my boss at 5 that morning, and she was more concerned about me being okay than anything else, but I was still worried. We had just been written up in the NY times the weekend we closed, and had been recently got an article about us in a local magazine. We'd also been closed for over a week and it was labor day weekend. Did I mention that? I don't think I did.


At this point it was nearly 6:45 and the surgeon, an older woman, came in and explained what would happen. It would happen a bit after 9, and would take less than an hour. I'd be off from work for at least a week, and we'd have to see how I felt after that before I would go back.

So, two hours before surgery, it really occurred to me how surreal this was. How bizarre this felt. My sister came and left, my dad came, with my ipod, so I got to listen to one of my books on tape. And passed the time before I was to be sent up to surgery. I was staring at the iv in my arm, baffled, that the night before I had went grocery shopping, made a peanut butter sandwich, put my clothes out. All ready to go to work. Now I was sitting half naked in a gown, with an iv, in an ER, waiting for surgery.

PS- If I didn't say so, fifty points to the person who can identify the line from the movie where I got the title from.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Halloween Candy

So, I had this epiphany driving through Darien today.


I had just been to Shaws, and I had passed by the Halloween Candy display with an interested glance, but decided to wait till the common and predicable dip in prices sometime in Mid-October. After leaving, my mind still dwelled on the Mellow creme pumpkins, by far my absolute hands down favorite Halloween Candy, quite possibly my favorite holiday candy of all the holiday candies.
It then hit me: I had finally reached one of my long time fantasy goals in life: buying enough of my favorite holiday candy to last me nearly the whole year till it comes back again. I'll buy a bag here, a bag there, accumulating roughly twelve bags of candy (or twelve each, depending on what I'm after), which hopefully would last me until next Halloween (or holiday), when the process would start again. This fantasy brought to me by a job and a consistent cash income.

I remember doing this once in high school. I had just gotten my license, this brought about the realization of being able to go out and buy holiday candy at will. It was Spring, and Easter candy was everywhere. I bought Cadbury creme eggs (which tasted a lot better when I was a child) by the threes, until I had about 15. I ate one, sometimes two a month, and it did, in fact, last me until the following March.

I love Mellowcreme pumpkins. The melt in your mouth, grainy sugary texture, plump pumpkins are addictive. I eat them till my teeth burn. They have no distinct flavor, they don't taste quite like candy corn, more like its cousin, which I suppose they are already. Candy corn I like, but if I can't get my eager hands on the mellowcremes, Indian corn would do. Eaten by the threes or fours or biting off one section at a time (or eating sections off three or four at a time, leaving the chocolate behind to be consumed all at once), Indian corn offers a better version of Candy corn, it's the chocolate that sells me on it.

As much as I love the shrunken version of my favorite candy bars, I prefer the season specific Halloween candy: chocolate covered marshmallows in shapes of cats, ghosts and pumpkin, said various candy corns, bat pops that turn your tongue(?) black......that's all I can think of right now, but I'll add more if I think of them.

And now it is the end of August, meaning all things Halloween went out sometime in Mid-August. Come mid September, it will all be on ALL be on sale, come the end of October and it will be on CLEARANCE. (Candy on clearance is better than finding shoes or clothes on clearance...well, maybe not) I can't wait.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Third Attempt at "What I Ate on My Summer Vacation."

I've been trying to write this post for about an hour, and this is my third attempt.

I think I've lost the knack for describing perfectly cooked meals. I feel like a small child describing what she did on her summer vacation: "And then we went to the beach and it was good. The weather was good, I got knocked down by a wave. My mom lost her glasses. The food was good. Annnnnd, ummmmmmmm, I likeded the part where I got to stay up late."

Insufferable.

But the thing is, I really did have a fantastic time. The weather was better than I could have asked for: sunshine, warmth, a breeze here and there, big waves. It was nice to sit in a beach chair all day and read while the waves and breeze carried a mist to us. I have at least five different shades of skin tone in varied stages of "tan" and "white computer nerd". Sexy.


I guess this is the time where I should mention that we went to my uncle's beach house, which is the only way we could even get to Rehoboth, or even get the idea of going there.

The touristy strip boasts eateries ranging from "Crappy Family Food", "REALLY Crappy Family Food (I'm looking at you, Grotto's), "Decent Quick lunches" "Greasy, 50+ years old, delicious burger shacks" and of course, your seafood/breweries and your high class restaurants where not a child is to be found. There are places to eat EVERYWHERE and anyone can find something they like.

Our first night out, we went to this Cafe on a sidestreet, where the drinks menu is longer than the food menu. I didn't know what to eat, but I knew I wanted something good to drink. My mother told me a beer would not do, because I had brought a dress I insisted on wearing and (to be perfectly honest and not the least bit modest) looked fabulous on me, and a beer simply would not match. So I got a Bellini. And the penne with a tomato coulis and pesto with some kinda parm like cheese. It was huge and delicious. The tomato coulis and pesto tasted fresh and the cheese was strong and made everything taste better.
My uncle's partner let me try a but of his Yellowfin tuna, which was perfectly cooked; meaning it was barely cooked along the black and white sesame seeded edges and the middle was only just warm. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. The seeds rounded off the soy-ginger with its nuttiness and the fish tasted clean and fresh, nothing like the canned stuff (which I eat shamelessly with mayo and crushed potato chips).

I didn't try the other meals: pork tenderloin, crab cakes and various apps, so unfortunately I have nothing to report other than it all smelled and looked wonderful.

The next night we cooked dinner at home. I had planned to make strawberry shortcakes for dessert, but by the end of the day I was so tired from the sun and mildly cranky and agitated from all the confusion of lost glasses, and things being made more difficult and confusing than it had to be. My mother and I had done some outlet shopping, so by the time we hit the grocery store, we were so tired and hungry from the days events, I decided to nix the shortcakes and cop-out with home made chocolate sauce with premium ice cream. And store bought bakery cookies.
We decided to just buy some premade stuffed burgers at the store, and eat it with fresh local corn and potatoes. Dinner was delicious, my burger was nice and pink like a burger ought to be and moist with bacon and cheddar chopped and mixed inside the burger, the corn was tender and sweet, and the potatoes properly crisped. Which is the most I can really do in describing a dinner of burgers.

The chocolate sauce could have done with better chocolate, but like I said, I was tired and in no mood to find the candy isle to grab the good stuff, and it was just the four of us, so Hershey's chocolate chips would have to do. If you'd like the ratio, I did about 1 and a half cups chocolate chips to a half cup half and half. After heating the half and half to a steam, a poured it over the chips and let it sit to melt for about a minute, before carefully stirring it together. A pinch of salt and a teaspoon of vanilla (or liquor, if you'd prefer) is stirred in, along with a tablespoon of butter, and you have chocolate sauce. It's runny at first, but once it cools a bit, it'll thicken.

Anyway, our last night there we went to Dogfish Head, one of my most favorite restaurants, namely because they brew their own beer, whiskey and vodka. Oh, and the food is pretty great, too. I had a marinated Ahi tuna on black bread with some sort of aoli. I would have liked it cooked a bit less (because I love tuna as undercooked as allowed by food laws), but it was moist and flavorful. And I had five beers!! In a beer flight, of course. Which included a Lawnmower light, India Brown Ale, 60 Minute IPA, Raison D'Etre and Chicory stout. I preferred the darker ones to the light, but my hands down favorite I think was the Raison.....It was dark and unique tasting. We bought some beer to bring home to my brother and sister (Raison, Mida's touch and Festina) But I worry that it isn't unique enough for them, because they wanted something they wouldn't find easily....but outside of DE and DC that's pretty much everything minus the IPAs and seasonal beer. But some is findable, but difficult. I just hope they like it. If they don't, more for me and my father.

For my boyfriend, who is picky about his beer and other tasty drinks, I got the Blue Hen Vodka, which is, as far as I know, distilled right in their building. Which, if anything else, my boyfriend will appreciate. He's into that local, small batch stuff. I haven't tried their vodka, but it is supposed to be very tasty, especially the infused ones, which I bought him in Blood Orange and Pomegranate.

Anyway, I'll probably look at this tomorrow and tweak and make better, so please don't judge this yet! I'm tired from a long car trip and a good vacation so I'm currently lacking proper verbal skills.

Rehoboth

Just got back from my uncle's beach house in Rehoboth Beach. I have much to say, but no interesting way to present it. Post pending.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I can't seem to stop eating. (Edited and added to)

... I really can't. When I'm off from work, I can't seem to stop myself. I see something tasty, or something that can be cooked that is tasty (preferably, and shamefully chicken patties) and covered in ketchup.

For lunch, I had a "salad"; romaine with sliced red onions, a sprinkle of some kinda green small beans (possibly edamame or lima) with stovetop cooked frozen chicken patties, dipped in a honey mustard/bbq dressing.

And after that I inhaled a 7-layer bar. Oh yeah, and three iced sugar cookies. And probably stuff I can't remember

It doesn't sound like very much, but I'm about ready to go down to eat more.

At work, our choices for food is limited and unhealthy at best: frozen waffles, toast slathered in salted butter, breakfast sandwiches, turnovers. Sometimes I'll devour the broken cookies from the trays.
My breakfast choices are vastly limited. I aim for a bare minimum of 15 grams of protein, not taking much regard to fat, calorie or nutrient content.

I care about my weight, and I'm trying desperately hard to stay healthy, but it's pretty damn hard. Too hungry for a salad, not enough protein in half the crap workout magazines tell you to eat, too early in the morning to make a smoothie. What's a girl to do?

I'm trying to take these multi-vitamins, the size of horse pills, that I cut up into uneven fourths, and taking them isn't a pleasant thing. At least one piece gets stuck in your throat, or doesn't go down the first try, and it's incredibly disgusting.

I may have to start drinking canned protein shakes, or some kind of instant breakfast, along with forced vitamins. It's something. I'd rather eat the fruits and veggies, but at 4 am, who wants to take the trouble? I know it's something I must do, but it's nearly impossible. I'd love to make a pure fruit smoothie for breakfast, I wonder if making them the night before, right before bed, would be okay?

I think if I could (meaning, I had the money, time, and I wouldn't gain a pound or suffer health consequences) , I'd be one of those people we see on Dr. Phil (not to make light of their situation), who we see video taped going from fast food drive through to another, ordering enough food for a family with extra extra mayo in some cases and eating in large bites, for all of us gaping Americans to see, before going to their next food destination. Wouldn't we all want that? I'd love to sit here and eat burgers, fries, chicken tenders and onion rings from various chains. All day. Every day...I don't think I'd get really sick of it.

There are just days when I want to eat all the time. Always bad food, junky food, fried food, anything crispy and delectable. No salads, no fresh fruit, not even my favorite steamed broccoli with a spicy brown sauce. Just the worst kind of food, in large amounts, as much as I can.

But I think I have some self-control. I don't want to spend a lot of money on junk food, so I choose my splurges wisely. I'm not one to go to town buying packages of cookies, chips, dips, candy or delicious convince foods. So I suppose I'm not lost yet.

I just want to eat!! I think if I just had one day of non-stop junk food, fried food, stuff your face junk fest, it'll hold me over and I'll be so sick of bad food I wont touch it for months. Keep on holding on to that dream. Because it'll never happen.

All I can do is find that balance. A day of junk food here or there along with that healthy stuff. I'll figure it out. I need to figure it out quick though, or I'll be soon faced with a cold winter of constant sickness and awful sluggishness.

It just makes me feel bad. I do enjoy well prepared food. School has spoiled me with the good stuff. I enjoy a nice meal of braised veal cheeks, or barely cooked Yellowfin Tuna, or some homemade tomato soup with a BLT on a cold night. I appreciate the good stuff. I adore the good stuff. But I, like many Americans, just can't stop eating processed cheap crappy food. At school I was hardly ever like this. I craved the bad food, but would prefer the beef stews, the stir fries, the chicken from France day in Meds, trout Almondine from Skills. I never went to junk food because I had limited acess to it. But now I'm home, graduated with a job and some form of a car; with indepenance to cook and eat what I want, I'm going a little overboard with this newfound freedom.

Better going overboard on junk food with my freedom than more reckless things, I suppose.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I need to start eating better.

Weird fatty breakfasts of mac and cheese, hot dogs, and other various sources of protein, paired with coffee, bagels and other refined carbs just aren't cutting it.


Guess it's time to bring on the salads.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Macaroni and cheese

Sorry for not posting...whoever you are. Guess I'm a little tired after work.

No one is really around at dinner anymore. My sister is in Japan, my brother is house sitting and my mother spends every minute of daylight and some of what comes afterward outside planting and gardening, my dad is around, somewhere, but it usually just ends up being three of us or less, so I've done what I liked for dinner.


I wasn't exactly hungry, nor did I feel like copping out with a sandwich or pigs in a blanket. I wanted something with just enough effort to make me feel like I had cooked. So I settled on scratch mac and cheese. I used Trader Joe's multi grain pasta, so I'd feel healthy.

It turned out to be easier than the boxed stuff, actually. And much tastier. I used a sprinkle of cheddar, a slice of American, and a tablespoon each half/half and butter- added in reverse order until melted into a cheesy sauce. The cheese sauce was smooth and creamy, and turned out to be just enough to coat the pasta well without having scarce bits clinging to pasta, or to have it drowning in sauce.

To make me feel less guilty and to utilize leftovers, I cut some corn off the cob and threw it in to add a sweet texture and flavor contrast.

Turns out kid meals aren't too bad. I cooked Trader Joe's chicken nuggets to add a touch more protein.

I ate my meal a little guiltily, feeling like a child eating something a babysitter might make, sans scratch mac and cheese. But it was genuinely a decent meal; well rounded and good. Best you can hope for when you cook for yourself.


I feel badly that my boyfriend is on his own for meals, cooking for one can be un-motivating. When we were together at school we'd cook every weekend, all kinds of meals. Burgers, steak, pork, all kinds of chicken, braised, fried, baked, roasted and stir-fried. It was nice to have someone to cook with and for. Cooking for two is more friendly than mac and cheese for one.

I worried about what he might eat on the weekends; rec center food? Take out? THE VENDING MACHINE!!? I would have none of that. I sent him back to school with frozen pigs in a blanket, hot dogs and Annie's Mac and Cheese (more wholesome than Kraft by far) . This also includes all the stuff I left behind back at school: grainy pasta, brown rice, an assortment of spices and dry ingredients and snacks. It makes me worry less, and I know he can get hot dogs at the rec center, but I feel better knowing he's preparing them himself.

Eating and cooking alone can feel both lonely, but a chance to let you indulge in bizarre eating habits. I don't usually eat chicken nuggets in mixed company. Too many questions, justifying, and weird looks. Same with tuna. I only eat tuna when I'm home alone- that goes double for when I crumble chips directly into the tuna itself.
You can let yourself eat peanut butter out of the jar or put ketchup on rice. But then again, you won't be as motivated to slow roast beef or prepare a chicken stir-fry when eating for one.

I see these diets and ''lifestyle changes'' on tv and it makes me wonder how long they last. How lonely must it feel eating a vacuum sealed meal alone in the kitchen while everyone else you know is eating something they like with people they like? Eating can be largely a social experience and if you take that away, you're just eating to fuel your body- something nutritionists and ''trainers'' are telling people with weight problems to do. It just seems weird to me.

When I think of enjoying a good meal I don't just think of my favorite foods or indulging in guilty eating habits, but who I'm with and my surroundings. You can do that when you eat alone, you can enjoy your time and surroundings, but.....I'm talking in circles. I don't mind eating alone and sometimes I prefer it, but I just remember eating alone for months on extern, and when you're forced to do it, every day for months in a miserable situation, it can make you sour on the experience.

I guess the point I'mtrying to come to is if you cook alone, don't be unmotivated and cop out with easy frozen food. Stir-frys, pastas and pizzas are cheap and easy to cook from scratch and make you feel like you did something productive. Trust me, I work a lot of hours too and I understand how some days you'd sooner microwave soup than THINK about boiling pasta, but sometimes it feels good to go outside a routine and do something nice for yourself, like cook a good meal.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Crispy Chicken

Like any fried and crunchy food loving person, one of my favorite things to eat is Crispy chicken. My mom's crispy chicken has such an addictive crunch and crispiness to it, I could eat plates and plates of it until I am unable to move. The part in my brain that tells me to stop eating seems to irk to a halt with crispy chicken, as if it is drunk with happiness of crispy pan fried food, and as long as there is some freshly made I'll be tempted to devour it all.

Growing up, this was one of my favorite things to eat (but every good kid loves a version of this, from fried chicken to chicken nuggets, it's truly a staple in the kid diet). The smell of breadcrumb coated chicken cutlets cooking in the pan, bubbling on top of a thin layer of oil to a perfect dark brown made my mouth water and me impatient.

When I was quite young I remember evenings spent on my favorite Winnie-the-Pooh bear blanket with a pilfered piece of freshly cooked crispy chicken, dribbled in ketchup, nibbling on the moist chicken with the light crunch coating while watching shows like "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers" or "Saved by the Bell" right before dinner.


As I grew older and my awareness for cooking developed, my love for crispy chicken didn't wane, but "expanded". I had an aversion of leftovers, because they never tasted as good as they did the day before. But as I got older, I discovered tasty (and incredibly strange) ways of eating the left over chicken.
My first favorite thing to make was quesadillas, but in a bastardized American way: tortillas filled with corn, cold quivering slabs of velveeta cheese and cubed cold crispy chicken, cooked to a tasty golden brown. Yum. I can still remember the orange "cheese" melting over the other ingredients and volcano-ing lusciously over the edges. I didn't use salsa, or sour cream, or anything remotely related to the culture of quesadilla's origin. But to me, this was the best utilization of such leftovers.

The second dish is just a bit unorthodox, but back then was another way to use leftovers in a deliciously new way.
I hate to admit that this particular dish still appeals to me a little still, as well as the "quesadilla", but it's just another one of my many embarrassing eating habits from my youth I try desperately to shake but its appeal is just far too tempting, but indulging in it is just too humiliating (I swear when I move out, these two dishes will be first on my list).
My rice bowl consisted of leftover white rice, corn off the cob and cubed chicken.

After it's heated well, I added my favorite "Sauce"....ketchup, and mixed well. (I refer you to my New Year's post to revisit my love for ketchup). Honestly, almost anything that was once crispy and pan fried is delicious covered in ketchup. Truly, this meal was delicous. The crisp of the corn, the bland of the rice coated in ketchup, coated chicken with clumps of everything stuck to it. My mouth waters at the very thought.


But being older, and a little less picky, my tastes have changed. Or maybe I've just learned to be a little more embarrassed of my eating habits.

I still love fresh crispy chicken with ketchup (but with less, as my love for ketchup as been toned down considerably over the years). But now I like it with honey mustard dressing, cubed and tossed in a salad as well. Or just with spicy honey mustard on good bread. But I think given the chance and the privacy to do so, I would make a rice bowl again, or at least indulge in my velveeta quesadilla.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bee Keeping

The bees are here!

My dad is taking up bee keeping, and the bees, about 3 pounds of them, has arrived today. I was reading the "Bee Keeping for Dummies" book, and came across interesting bee keeping facts:

  1. Drone bees eat a lot, are lazy and are there to mate, 200-300 feet in the air, and then die. At the end of the season, they are literally kicked out of the hive
  2. If a good water source is not kept, bees will raid the neighbor's birdfeeders, hose faucets and pools
  3. Bees can produce about 100 pounds of honey a season
  4. Honeybees are usually "sweet and gentle" away from their hive
  5. Making mead takes about 32 pounds of honey
More as this story develops.


Updates.

So the Bees are here....unfathomable amounts of bees.

I am officially terrified and paranoid.

The crates above house about 12,000 bees. Twelve thousand. Which means, minus bee deaths, we have about 24,000 of them.

The idea of that many bees, along with the idea of more over the summer makes me panicked and paranoid at the very thought.

I watched my dad shake out one of these crates into the built hives and it was, as my brother put it "like shaking out a box of cereal." Thousands of bees poured into the hives in enormous clumps.
It was enough to make a person run in the other direction. As a person who's been terrified of things that sting her entire life, I'm surprised I got close enough to take these pictures. Dozens of bees buzzed around the area as they acclimated to their new homes. All around. Everywhere. Terrifying.

"Bees can smell fear." I pointed out, when I was told I needed to get closer to get a better picture. I would have none of this. (A random Simpson's quote came to mind, which roughly goes: Oh, yeah, what are you gonna do? Release the dogs? Or the bees? Or the dogs with bees in their mouth and when they bark, they shoot bees at you?")

The loud hum of buzzing was enough to make me run away, and as a bee flew by close enough to buzz in my ear, I jumped back, declared I had enough of this, and went inside, twitching and slapping my arms and neck at the phantom bees.

On the plus side, my brother said we should be getting about a cup and a half of honey a day when things really get going, so, I guess, all things considered, that isn't too bad.

So now I'm inside, obviously, after a second journey out, when I watched my dad pour in the bees into their hives. He dropped the crate! A big no-no. So I'm here, writing about my paranoid experience waiting for them to calm down, because I'd be pretty miffed too if someone dropped my temporary home, when I was hot, tired, and hungry after a long journey in a crate.




Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fruit Snacks

Fruit by the foot, Gushers, fruit roll ups. The most fruit an average kid saw in my day was usually limited to fruit snacks (and probably still today). Addictive, sweet, fun to play with, these snacks had it all. They were the "it" snack, trumped only by the elusive snack cake.

Who among us didn't roll the fruit by the foot out, and put the rolled half into your mouth, making it look like you had a long tongue? Who didn't press gushers together to ooze the syrupy filling out? I loved to carefully peel away the designs in fruit roll ups and arrange them on the filmy plastic before eating each one by one before pressing the remaining peels into a ball and eating it all at once.

I loved the strawberry flavor, tropical (I remember a bright yellow of "tropical" flavors"), and the most popular of them all- tye dyed, with indistinguishable flavors and usually passed off as "berry" with a marbled tone of red and blues. Fruit-Roll Ups stuck to your teeth at times like taffy, but something as silly as dental issues can't deter a child from such delicious lunch box treats.

Gushers could do no wrong. They could feature colors non-existent in conventional fruits of bright greens, neon yellows and turquoise. They could, like most fruit snacks, have fruit combinations and names that only live in a child's world of bright colors and weird names (ie- "G Force Tropical Rage, and "Rockin' Blue Raspberry to name two of the strangest. But I can't be too picky....Blue Raspberry as far as I know, doesn't exist in the produce world, and is a standard in every candy and fruit snack. ) Gushers are an original fruit snack, and have that amazing kid pleasing contrast of opposites and novelty. Squeezing them brought out a kind of joy, watching them slowly break and the inner juice dribble out over your fingers, or if done too hard, over your cartoon themed lunch box.

Fruit by the foot has all the elements the fruit snacks above has and all fruit snacks should have: a gimmick, weird colors, real and make-believe flavors (ie- Razzle Blue Blitz, Color by the Foot and Tropical Tango), wrapped up into three feet of fun. Little bits of trivia and jokes graced the waxy thin paper strips. You could measure with it, trade lengths of foot with it for other treats, you could swing it around. It was multi-functional. It was soft and chewy and didn't stick to your teeth as frequently as Fruit roll ups. It wasn't as sticky and you got more fruit for your inches. This was probably the best of them all. Clearly, you get more snack for your fruit with this snack. It wasn't as flashy as Fruit Roll Ups, not as big a novelty as Gushers. It wasn't fussy. Fruit by the foot was zen in the sence that it just was.

I miss fruit snacks. I recently bought some for my boyfriend as a surprise since we'd talked about them the week before, and felt a little sheepish looking at all the choices, and putting them in my basket. But sharing a pouch of Gushers with him, smelling the familiar artificial scents, tasting the "flavors" brought me back to Formica cafeteria tables of a vague time when being friends with someone meant sharing lunches and a swing set, where .50 cents bought you an ice cream sandwich from the lunch line, and school lunches packed by a parent meant the mystery and surprise of what might be.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ice Cream

I don't think I'm that big an ice cream fan. I know. Blasphemy. I like ice cream, sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, but I don't like it too often, or in too high quantities.

Sometimes I like ice cream, but it has to be the right moment. I can't just eat a bowl of ice cream, covered in Hershey syrup on a whim (like I used to as a child, but maybe my palette has become more particular) . I have to really want it. My favorite ice cream dish is at the Eveready Diner, in Hyde Park. It's this enormous sundae- three scoops of vanilla ice cream and Reese's pieces, Heath bar and M&ms. Topped of course, with whipped cream, draped with hot fudge and a cherry. My favorite spoonful is one with a bit of each candy, a dollop of shiny hot fudge, ice cream that has melted slightly and whipped cream. The contrast of creamy, quiet vanilla, showy chocolate, warm, cold, melted and shelled candy is mouthwatering. I love M&ms with soupy ice cream that has been marbled with hot fudge.

It's a mammoth dish of ice cream. Enough for two determined people and possibly one picker. I love letting it melt a little before it's finished, allowing me to fish out the candy I want from the bottom of the glass. Candy fragmented ice cream soup is even more delicious than the sundae itself after the tongue thaws out.

I'm thinking about ice cream tonight because the co-founder of Baskin-Robbins has died. There isn't anything on the site, but the dark side of me is wondering how the corporation is going to exploit this. 90 cent scoop night anyone?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Baking Cookies

I just finished making an enormous batch of cookies. I like to bake chocolate chip cookies, but at the same time, I find them finicky. It seems like when I make them, too much depends on exact cirumstances: the exact amount of flour and leaveners, butter temp going into the bowl, how much of what kind of sugar, mixing time for each step, baking time, how many times you turn the pan, how many pans are in the oven. It all determines how the cookie will turn out. Too much white sugar and the cookie will be crunchy, too little baking soda and they wont spread very well.

I find that I like my cookies soft and chewy, so I add more brown sugar than I do white sugar, as well as add a bit more flour to prevent excessive spreading. Sometimes I add too much flour, so they barely spread at all. It's a little frustrating. I've been assisting with and baking cookies since I've been old enough to stand on a chair. I haven't perfected this yet?

I'm trying to see what works. So far, I've found that pre rolling the dough into balls and chilling between each baking batch slows the spread, but lengthens the cooking time, but you end up with a nicely baked cookie, that's usually a bit softer than crunchy. More brown sugar than white also helps, but the ratio is delicate.

Now the best part, the chocolate chips, is a delicate balance too. You want to have a nice ratio of cookie to chocolate, without going overboard or looking too skimpy. This may or may not take a while to perfect. I've been baking these so long it lacks needing measuring (the idea that baking is so exact makes me wonder about the things I've been baking my whole life, and all the mothers and grandmothers out there who scoff at measuring and turn out the best food imaginable) I don't know the exact amount of chips I use, I add and add until it looks right to me,but I like to think anyone with any eating sense would do the same, and the probably do.

This batch made a ton of cookies, over sixty. I made a batch and a half so my boyfriend could take some back to school with him, but I just hope they'll remain fresh until then.

I had one or two, and they are a little inconsistent in coloring, but overall good. They have a brown sugary crisp on the outside with this tiny hint of sea-salt in the background, and chewy on the inside. The bottom bake is nearly perfection of the color of darkly toasted coconut. Many of them are thick and puffed, while some deflated and are a little more crunchy than I might like. The chocolate chips are still melted and are scattered throughout each cookie, lending a perfection of chocolate and dough with each bite.

Chocolate chip cookies really are simple to make, but getting them just the way you like takes time, practice and patience. There are so many different ways to make it, so many different fillings to add in, but whatever your version may be, the chocolate chip cookie is the closest thing I've found to the perfect cookie.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Store bought cake

There is about a quarter of a small store bought cake left in the kitchen. My sister had her last day at a school for her internship (I believe) and she came home with this cake. Now the dilemma...I have a weakness for really bad for you icing...or any kind of icing. The way it doesn't melt in 90 degree heat, how it coats the tongue, how it pipes and spreads. We all know it's shortening, cheap sugar and flavoring, but is that really such a bad thing if you only eat it once in a while? It's so addictive. This particular icing is especially good. It's so airy. The flavor can only be described as "white icing- light vanillian flavor. It is good in the most evil way- the kind of good you only find in food you know is terrible for you; fast food, canned icing, deep fried delights at state fairs. The kind of "crap food" you hate to admit you think tastes good.
I'm really not supposed to like this stuff. I was raised in a house that only saw boxed cake mixes for Church coffee hours. The extent of store bought cake was from an Italian bakery (a chocolate mousse cake), but once or twice I recall getting an ice cream cake from Carvel, and my sister's watermelon roll cake from Friendly's.
The only time I had cakes like this was when mother's brought cupcakes in for birthdays, or at a birthday party at someone else's house. So for me, it was a rare treat of inches of icing mounded on moist cake. To a kid, that is possibly the ultimate indulgence of pure sugar you can get, especially if you get a rose. To an adult, this is such a guilty pleasure you have to try to open the container as quietly as possible so it doesn't rustle and sound the alarm that you are actually thinking about eating something like that.

For a store bought cake, this particular one is good. The cake itself is moist and falls apart in your mouth, the ratio of cake to icing must have come from the expertise of someone who does these cakes hours a day continuously. It was neither too much or too little, smooth tops and bottoms.

I could never do that. Not without a lot more practice. The first cake I've iced decently was my boyfriend's birthday cake. It was perfect, if I do say so myself...well..almost. The sides were straight, the top was flat. No crumbs. The icing was pure white, fluffy and airy...which makes for a great icing, but not so much for decorating. It was near perfection and possibly one of the best icing jobs I've ever done.


I'm a little envious of these cake decorators. I lack the hands but not the skill or know-how, so my effort ends up sort of in the middle..so cakes look like that of an under skilled home-cook. Which isn't a bad thing for family, but if you want a job, it makes things a little more difficult. But honestly, I don't think cake decorating is for me.

Hopefully things will turn around with practice and patience. Until then I'm happy to try my hand at cakes for my family, and secretly indulge in the occasional store bought cake the rare times they come around.

Hot Dog Dinner

We, meaning my siblings, we on our own for dinner last night. I had no idea what to have. I had homemade tomato soup and a turkey sandwich for lunch, so I wasn't really in the mood for that again.
I had no idea what to have. I've had this compulsive need to eat healthy, since most of my family is on a healthy eating thing (to the point where my sister will exclaim "Why are there cookies in the house!!?"), so I feel obligated to eat healthy or justify an unhealthy thing. How neurotic.
I finally settled on a hotdog and cheddar sunchips. After chipping off a frozen hot dog bun and hot dog from their frozen packages and thawing them slightly, I threw the bun under the broiler and a hot dog in a hot pan with melted butter, and let it turn around and sizzle.

The smell of pan cooked hot dogs was familiar,and made me think of chili, diced red onions and cheddar spilling over an overstuffed hot dog. It reminds me of hot summer days when my mom would come home from work with a large vat of freshly cooked chili after deeming it too hot to cook. Now I was craving red onions with chili.

The hot dog's skin cooked and blistered slowly, turning alone by the heat and popping of the skin. The scent of savory cured beef with melted butter wafted up into the kitchen. The hot dog bun was toasting too slowly for me, and I worried if I let it go unchecked I would forget about it and end up with a charred bun, so I removed it before that could happen, and filled the bun with diced red onion, relish and mustard.

As I sat down with my finished dog, I popped a cheddar sunchip in my mouth, enjoying the cheesy flavor and grainy crunch of the chip. I was tempted to crumble chips on top of my dog, but I haven't done that in years and it felt a little juvenile. The filling stayed in the bun and was consistant throughout the dog; the mustard wasnt' overwhelming and absorbed into the bread, the pickly relish mixed with the onions and everything stayed together in an unusual twist of hot dog fate; because so many hot dog buns fall apart midway through.

It was a reasonably satisfying meal. Better than a sandwich, not quite as good as a burger with well done fries, or a tuna melt with Cape Cod Chips. But it was tasty and something I don't eat very often. I guess hot dogs are one of those things that you can have in a pinch or have standard at a cookout.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jobs

I didn't get the part time baking job. I'm okay with it. I went for a walk today and it took me three passes to finally get the nerve to walk in. I knew I didn't get the job when they didn't call the week they said they would, but this would at least appease my mother so I can take the job I'd rather have, at least for now. Although a small part of me reminded myself how busy they were with their expansion, and possibly didn't get the chance, but even that was a weak excuse.

I have no hard feelings or bitterness though, I feel like I should, but I really don't. But the wife of the owner was nice, and even recognized me, and told me they'd gone with someone with more experience. Understandable. They'd keep me on file, which would be nice. Even if it's for volunteer work it'd be fun.
Anyway, how can I be mad at an Ice Cream store that I've been going to since I've been old enough to eat ice cream? Impossible. Now with their recent food menu in the past year or two makes it even more appealing.


That's about it over here for now. I'm sending out more letters and portfolios this week. I'm trying to send out four at a time, but come to think of it, I ought to do double that at least.
I'm just painfully shy and don't really want to bother anyone. I don't like to be an inconvenience or in the way of anyone. You only get one chance at a first impression, and I don't want mine to be "Great, another person to bother me."

But I know I need to get my name out there, so I'm trying. I just hope some of my work is good enough for these Alumni, who seem to have gone so far, and I know how much work it had to have taken for them to get where they are today. I just hope my work will be good enough one day and I can work as hard as they do.

Before I close this, I found a neat webpage when I was cruising the food news scene on Aol.com (sad, I know, every now and then you find something semi-worthwhile) Smoothie recipes, in a neat little format, too! How appealing. And I promise that is all I will say about said beverage for a few posts.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fruit Smoothies

Well, it finally happened. I've entered the first circle of hell of healthy eating. In the middle of my walk, I was thinking about how if I want to shape up and be a little healthier, I can't sabatoge my 3-4 mile walks with big meals and snacking. I wanted to eat fruit, but to get 5 servings, I'd be eating it all day, and honestly, it takes commitment and remembering to do so. I thought about the massive oranges in the fridge, and how intensely juicy it was, smoothies, and how easy it would be just to drink pureed fruit, and how healthy it would be.

When I returned home I carefully sliced the over-sized orange, being careful to remove all the white from it, chopped up big red strawberries and sliced a banana (a fruit I severely dislike, but I figured the flavor would be in the background with the other fruit) I was excited, because it turned out to be several cups of fruit.

It blended fairly quickly and nicely with a splash of orange juice, and was a nice hue of light maroon, it looked good, but was a little thick, like cottage cheese.
It tasted pretty good, fruity, and right in the middle of sweet and tart that I like in fruit.

How manageable! A world of options opened up to me. So many combinations and such potential health benefits. I could make a four cup fruit smoothie and drink it all day. What could be more easy than that?
I always think about eating healthy, and such an arduous battle it seems to be. How impossible it feels to get all you need in one day. Even multi-vitamins aren't good for you anymore (according to a newspaper in London)
So to try to feel better about how I eat during the day...well, all the time, I'm trying to do one good thing a day. When weather permits (today it's pouring, sadly) I walk most days of the week for either a minimum of 30 minutes or 2 miles. But usually I manage at least double of both. So drinking 4 out of the 5 servings of fruit I need in a day is probably better than the average person.


I've been keeping up with it, too. No eating A.D.D here. I've been doing it for a few days and it's kinda nice. Very easy. I'm trying to make it less thick by adding more orange juice, but so far I haven't been adding enough. Right now it's just fun to play around.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cookie Catering

I've been asked via my mother if I could do some baking catering for an upcoming event my mother's friend is doing in early May. Nothing fancy, just some cookies and such. But how many? The number, of course, is very important.
Am I obsessive compulsive or just instinctive on platter presentation? The number of items determines the type and shape of cookie. I have a compulsive need for evenness and balance in things like food and plating. One night when we had burgers, it bothered me a little that my mom's cheeseburger was on the bottom of the burger, while everyone else's was right side up.
I need balance, patterns and continuity for such things. For this particular event, I'm aiming for four items (but five would be good, too), so the pattern and choices are obvious; two round, two bar. Chocolate, nut, fruit based and miscellaneous: brownies, pecan sandies and lemon shortbread.

But I'm not sure about the pecan sandies. The method feels obnoxious and high maintenance. Browning and then chilling the butter into a hardish palpable mass, a food processor, constant chilling of the dough? I love to bake and try new recipes, but to have a cookie that is so needy leaves room for much error, so we'll see if I actually end up using it. I don't like needy cookies. Perhaps I'll swap it for another pecan based cookie.

The rest seem reasonable. My gripping fear for cutting bar cookies is only ever more heart pounding when it is for someone else, so maybe I'll just skip the bar all together and use round cutters to cut the cookies. I'm not sure how all round cookies will look on a plate....my compulsive sense is uneasy. But I'd rather have all round cookies that are perfect than badly cut (but well intentionally cut) bar cookies.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Broccoli

I have a mild obsession with broccoli- as long as it's drenched in an Asian sauce. Something about that garlicky, sweet, soy sauce, or Hosin, or any combination of tangy savoriness is addictive.

We ordered Chinese Takeout from this place in Darien. It's a very nice restaurant, but I think it's too nice for takeout. I have a certain expectation of Chinese Takeout, and to order it from a place that sells expensive sushi seems a little...weird to me.

I wasn't very hungry and not in the mood for anything over $12. So I got Broccoli with ginger-soy sauce. The pleasing palette sweet and savory combination washed over my taste buds. The ginger was in the background, not an over powering flavor, enhancing the other ingredients in the sauce than over-whelming it. I could have sat there with the bitty container of rice poured over the take-out plastic bowl of broccoli and eaten it all night. Or just eaten the broccoli with my fingers.
I can't describe the flavor of broccoli other than I hated its very "stench" at a young age, the smell of over-steamed and over cooked broccoli is enough to send waves of nausea to even the most dedicated broccoli eater (and who wants to eat water logged boiled broccoli?). Now I know better. I currently love it in exclusively Asian dishes, and under very precise conditions; not too over cooked, not too undercooked, and just the right amount of sauce and I'll eat it by the peck.

I think kids would eat vegetables if they were cooked right. I know I would have as a child. It's easy to sneak veggies into kid food, and to make it good. Had I known vegetables were so good in stir-fries, mac and cheese and pressed in sandwiches, I would have been eating them a long time ago, not discovering them in my teens and 20's. But that's the way things are sometimes. I was a close minded, stubborn picky eater, I think I had this coming to me.

But what do we know when we're young anyway? We think the tooth fairy exists and our lives revolve around candy, and how to obtain more of it. We can't be bothered with things such as nutrition when we're set on finding hidden candy and watching cartoons.

Hopefully now we all know better and kids today will grow up knowing better. Fruits and vegetables aren't this thing that we were all suspicious about growing up, but this delicious array of color that just happens to be good for us. It's all about preparation, and as the old Culinary Institute of America slogan went, "Preparation is everything."

Deal Breakers

I'm printing out pages of cover letters, articles and resumes and putting them together like little press releases of my potential career. Everything looks professional and organized. However, as I try to write the names and addresses on the large manila envelopes I start to worry; is my handwriting going to be a deal breaker?
The school has burned professionalism and the need to have perfection on every inch of anything you send to anyone- especially alumni- into my brain and very psyche. I can understand the need for it, however, does handwritten address fall under this spectrum? My handwriting looks childish and even my best efforts can't help that. My poor fine tune motor skills makes everything difficult to have high proficiency in. Will my handwriting be a deal breaker? Will they simply see how it looks and toss it aside?

I hope not. I hope they look past my hand writing and at my written words. I'm a lot smarter than I look or my handwriting might show.

Maybe I just worry too much and am too hard on such things. Are these things really as big a deal as the school makes it? Probably not, but that extra inch of insane professionalism is what might get you hired. That little edge might be just enough, so I obsess.

I like to think the alumni whom I'm writing to still have the CIA professionalism, but are relatively easy going and understanding. All the Alum I've met have been incredibly nice and professional, and have that same mutual, joking eye-rolling of "Yep, they did that when I was there, too." It's nice. It makes me feel like I belong to this big club.

So I hope my hand writing won't be my deal breaker. I hope they look past the outside, and see what is inside.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

This healthy eating thing

So, I've been thinking more and more about this healthy eating thing. Considering my bad genetics of various debilitating diseases like cancer and dementia (factor in this lovely thing called NF, which causes a multitude of things), I really ought to be taking it more seriously (when thinking in length about such things, it's almost enough for me to transfer over to vegan territory. Almost). This weekend I was cooking breakfast with my boyfriend: egg sandwich on a cheddar cheese bagel, and I remembered the fruits in the fridge, namely, massive oranges.

I'm very particular about my fruit. The inner child pickiness stubbornly refuses to let go of some psychological blocks of un-palate pleasing things in my mouth. My fruit can't be too tart, too cold, too soft, too hard or too off colored, depending on what I am eating. Too tart or sweet and my teeth burn with pain, too hard and crunchy and my mouth aches, too mushy and I want to gag. But as my boyfriend put the large orange segments into a bowl, I wondered what it would taste like. But then I thought: "What's a little tooth pain or discomfort now? Eat the fruit! Now!" I scolded myself; Eat it! Eat it now! Segment after segment went into my mouth as I hoped this would pay off later. The orange wasn't too bad. My ideal orange is one of juiciness and full bodied orange flavor. This one fell a little flat on orangeyness.

But it's a start. This healthy eating thing will take work and dedication, but I'm 22, and if I want to live for a long time with minimal health risks, I have to suck it up and eat all this stuff. What's a little gag reflex of a too soft grape if it'll keep me going?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Egg Whites and dieting

Who in their right mind eats only cooked egg whites? Are the nutritionists aware of the nutrient content of it? Egg whites are mostly water and have far less value than the entire egg. One egg has roughly 70 calories, So what's the harm in having one whole egg with a slice of toast?

Cooked egg whites look like gunk on a plate, and probably taste the same. You need the yolk, not only for nutrition and a little flavor, but for color too. We eat with our eyes as much as our mouths and are more likely to be willing to eat foods with color appeal and presenation than anything else: think about a typical school lunch circa decades ago- a ice cream scoop of mashed potatoes, a ladel of something you hope is beef stew-some cuts of meat, mushy veggies stuck in there and over cooked, dull looking frozen peas.

Yum. Now think of the same meal, but piped mashed pototoes in the center of a braised beef stew, with vibrant, tender vegetables, colorfully placed within the rich, brown sauce. Doesn't that sound better? It's all about how the food looks. Egg whites look terrible. Why are nutritionists telling people to just eat egg whites? I'm don't think it's right to tell people that. When you make people eat things like this on a diet, they are most likely to fail.
Why not tell these people: eat one egg, one slice of toast and 100% juice. That sounds much healthier and appealing to me. When people are given a little slack on a diet, they are most likely to succeed. A diet isn't a temporary thing, it is a life style change and to be able to stick with it, you need options, delicious food and a little slack now and then- and not 100 calorie snack packs.

All these limitations just remind people that they are on a diet. It's not healthy. Sooner or later, they'll fail, so whats 70 calories in an egg? Nothing! If you're worried about 70 calories over something as nutritionally sound as a whole egg, theres' something wrong with what we're being told about diets.