Showing posts from November, 2009

Something I Hadn't Thought About

We do not watch television.  Sometimes we watch a movie or a documentary--in fact I normally have the television on for about 30 minutes before going to sleep every night so I can knit & unwind and it helps me transition to sleep (I have always suspected that it has something to do with a study I read in college that says your brain has the exact same wave pattern when you're watching television as when you are sleeping).  Occasionally we get a wild hair, locate all the remotes, and figure out how to get the digital signal box to work with our bunny ears so we can watch something on the 4 PBS channels we now get.  Nor do we listen to the radio except for NPR or PRI.  Normally for me it's audio books--Andy does podcasts.

But every December, one of the radio stations plays all Christmas music, so we listen to the real broadcast radio in December....or until the "Dehlila" show comes on--then we sprint to the radio and shut it off.  Not that there's anything wron…

"Julie & Julia," Again

Today we went to see the movie Julie & Julia at the dollar theater--which incidentally is now a $3 theater, or $4 theater if you want junk food & beverage....which you know I wanted but I think the carpet might have been closer to being legal on our diet than any of the movie theater food, so $3 in our world.  Andy had not seen the movie yet, and enjoyed it so much he is downstairs in the kitchen making THE pizza crust (Julia Child's cornmeal pizza crust--sooooo recommended)

It's hard NOT to be inspired by Julia Child.  She had what I can only describe as "infectious happiness."  She seems to have approached everything--life, love, food--with a full heart and no reservations.  Is it any wonder the world loved her?

Thanksgiving--The Aftermath

I guess it was too much to hope for to have no ill effects after Thanksgiving dinner, but I did hope for it all the same.  My optimism runneth does indigestion.   I think the roll, turkey, and the green salad with no dressing was all fine, and while we know that my stuffing didn't contain any processed ingredients, stuffing is still incredibly rich, so that might have been a bit of a shock to our mostly low-fat diets, but I think the real culprits might have been the other salads which all sported copious amounts of mayonnaise.  I don't actually care for mayo in general, and I haven't checked to see what's actually in the commercial variety (note for next trip to grocery store), but I'm guessing it's quite far on the "illegal" scale.

So....yesterday I made a broccoli soup for dinner, today for lunch I had a very large bowl of steamed peas and a few nuts for lunch, and tonight for dinner we had spaghetti squash (first baked, then sautéed wi…

Black Friday

Yesterday we spent Thanksgiving with a large group of friends, and one of the traditions of this particular group is to go around the table (and as there are usually around 30 people, so this is a major part of the day) and each person says what they are thankful for.  Considering so much of what is being said and done lately, I took special note of things that WEREN'T mentioned:

*  No one gave thanks for having a large television, or an expensive car

*  No one gave thanks for the hours and hours they had spent in front of television sets in the last year

*  No one gave thanks for television commentators spreading messages of hate and advocating violence

*  No one gave thanks for the internet

*  No one gave thanks for all the time spent gossiping about others

*  No one gave thanks for giving abusive or hurtful relationships "just one more chance"

*  No one gave thanks for having said, "Not now, maybe later"

While in college, I received the best advice I have …

Thanksgiving Eve

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in America, which is supposed to symbolize the time when the Pilgrims and their Native American neighbors who had taken pity on the ill-prepared new arrivals and helped them figure out how not to starve, got together and feasted for three days.  Now, of course, with the aid of refrigeration and microwave, we can stretch the feast out even longer--usually until the very sight of turkey and stuffing makes everyone shudder.  Of course, no one ever minds having pumpkin pie for several days in a row.  Amazing how that works out......

Some things I've wondered about Thanksgiving:

*  The traditional Thanksgiving day is spent with women cooking a big feast, everyone eating, then men retiring into the living room to watch football for the rest of the day while the women do all the dishes.  WHO THOUGHT THAT PROGRAM UP????? 

*  Is it the fact that the main character might be eaten that stopped Rankin-Bass from making Thanksgiving cartoons in the 1970s?

*  If ret…

Gearing Up For Thanksgiving

This year we are joining a large group of friends for Thanksgiving, and I have volunteered to bring stuffing.  Besides being the only traditional "Thanksgiving" food that I'm truly confident of, it's probably the only one we can make "legally."  Since we're going to someone else's house, the actual meal will fall under our "when in Rome...." exception, which is basically that we can eat what is served at someone else's home, provided we don't abuse it--such as having a soda or something.  However, I do feel obligated to make sure that what I take is legal, so I have been making bread in the bread machine

to use as my stale bread, and it's now sitting out getting "stale"

And incidentally, 3 pounds of bread is a LOT of bread.

To be honest, I usually make the bread to use for stuffing as it's such a HUGE percentage of the end product.  Not that I have ever made the bread by hand--let's not get stupid here.  But some…

Along the Food Lines.....

I thought this was worth sharing:

Ten Foods That Thankfully Flopped

He's Home!!!!!!

Andy arrived home safe & sound late Friday night, and I am slowly adjusting back to non-survivalist cooking.  Aside from the leftover Indian food we had for breakfast, that is.  By Wednesday night the casserole was thankfully gone, so Thursday a friend and I went out to lunch at one of the few "legal" places around--a Mongolian Barbecue place.  I would guess some of the sauces are off limits, but I picked the simple ones, so I think I did okay.  Since we ate lunch late, I just skipped dinner entirely--which isn't really good for me, but I figured as healthy as we've been eating this year, my body could probably cut me a little slack one night.  I think the real low point might have been Friday, when I had popcorn for lunch (the real popped stuff, not microwave, and sprinkled with herbs).  I did graze on pomegranates and other fruit all week, and a few nuts whenever I got to feeling a bit light-headed, so not quite as unhealthy as it probably sounds but probably m…

I Have Been Good!!!!

Lazy, but good.

Monday I fixed a totally-legal casserole so I could have easy leftovers and not be tempted, but 7 meals straight of the same thing will get to anybody I think, so tonight's plan was to move on to peanut butter & banana, to be followed by peanut butter and apple tomorrow

which might have worked out well if I could get the darn jar open.  Obviously, I could make my own peanut butter, but would blow the whole "as little involvement as possible" diet I seem to have adopted while Andy is gone. 

Luckily, it's a new fruit season, and two of my favorites are on--red globe grapes and

pomegranates are here!  Andy isn't a big fan as he doesn't really like any foods that are really difficult to eat, so there may or may not be some still around by the time he gets home.  But, I CAN promise him peanut butter!

Questions For The Universe

*  Why can the smoke detectors only decide they need batteries at 3:00 AM?

*  How many sweaters can I own before it becomes "obsessive?"

*  Do I do anything as fast as I seem to think I can?

*  What do cats without owners do for entertainment and why don't my cats do it?

*  How many film adaptations of Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" are there?

*  How is it possible that I found THREE matching shoes when cleaning out my closet--not just two?  Do they breed or were there two pairs and the laundry's Sock Black Hole has decided to up the ante?  

*  How many people do I have to talk to before NOT shaving one's legs becomes fashionable in America?

*  If they completely rewrite the story when converting a book to a movie, why do filmmakers even bother keeping the original title?

*  Would one find more items in a grocery store WITHOUT any unknown ingredients, or without any KNOWN ingredients?

Five Days Without a Witness.....

So......10 1/2 months into our "no processed foods" experiment, I'm fantasizing about the strangest stuff, AND I'm without a witness for 5 whole days.

Uh oh............

Sunday Night

Tonight I'm making pizza, using the Julia Child cornmeal pizza crust recipe as usual.  I haven't yet just baked a crust and eaten it plain, but I'm not going to rule that out--it really is THAT good.  Of course, what else could one expect from Julia Child?  And.....brace yourself for a great shock.....there is no butter involved!  Who would have dreamed it was possible?  

For the sauce I have some home-canned tomatoes simmering on the stove with some spices, dehydrated bell peppers and tomatoes, and an insane amount of garlic.  Think of the craziest amount of garlic you would ever put in something and add two cloves.  I don't think anyone will want to sit next to Andy on the plane in the morning.  If garlic really does have any health properties, Andy and I will live to be 100 at this rate.

....and might end up with lots of elbow room on airplanes...........

47 Days Left!

Yep!  Only 47 more days until we can totally & completely make ourselves ill.

Actually, we're going to have a bit of a preview next week.  Andy will be on a business trip for 5 days, and this will be the longest either of us have had to negotiate "bad" food since this experiment began.  Even my week in McCall allowed me to be pretty healthy--while not strictly "legal"--because I stayed in a condo with a kitchen.  So, And is packing antacids and raisins, and he's hoping there's a grocery store nearby. 

Eating in restaurants this year has mostly become an exercise in bravery.  There are two good, locally-owned restaurants in this area that we feel pretty confident about and which haven't caused any sort of stomach upset, but all the rest--most obviously the chains--have become a waste of calories & a cheat.  Knowing one is likely to end up in some serious pain probably doesn't do much for any restaurant, but there is a processed-food TASTE…


(Tuesday:  head out to a nearby farm to help a friend vaccinate her horses and haul back a load of horse manure for the garden)

Manage to sleep until 7:00 AM, in spite of the best efforts of two cats.  Jumping out of bed with eagerness is not possible when a large load of horse poop is waiting.

7:30:  suck down coffee while wondering if it wouldn't be best to not be fully awake

8:30: notice it's supposed to rain later.  Not sure what that will do to a truckload of horse manure, but bet it won't be pleasant.

8:31:  Sigh heavily, get dressed, grab the shovel and wheelbarrow.

8:35:  Feel very "empowered" to be doing the physical labor while my husband works to support us

8:40:  Secretly hope that the neighbors who keep letting their dogs out to poop on everyone else's lawn without cleaning up after them let their dogs out TODAY, thinking that having a nice smelly dog might be adequate repayment

8:45:  Wonder why, if everyone is so "into" organic garde…

A Salt By Any Other Name....

I have long been in the habit of buying roasted sunflower kernels from the bulk bins--usually mixing salted and unsalted--to sprinkle on salads or whatever, and we've been doing it this year as well.  Sunflower kernels and salt--that's legal, right?

Turns out, it isn't.  This week the label was changed slightly to:

sunflower kernels and salt (salt, tricalcium phosphate, yellow prussiate of soda)

Now I vaguely remember from chemistry that there are a whole bunch of things that can be labeled as "salt," but I rather assumed that the food industry had largely agreed that salt is sodium chloride, or perhaps calcium chloride in a bit of a stretch.  Time for a bit of research.

It turns out that tricalcium phosphate is an anticaking agent used in spices, and yellow prussiate of soda is an anticaking agent used in road & food grade salt.  So we've probably been consuming yellow prussiate of soda all year, and I'd guess we've had a fair bit of tricalcium ph…


So 10+ months into this, and it has become my considered opinion that if it involves homemade bread, toast really is a meal in itself.....even if it IS for 5 meals in a row........

What Happens to Health Insurance Premiums? - ABC News

What Happens to Health Insurance Premiums? - ABC News

Hm......I wonder why the insurance industry is spending so much to defeat health care reform.....

Bake Us This Day Our Daily Bread

At the risk of being labeled a food heathen, I didn't think the Julia Child bread really had much flavor--and I swear I'm not just sore that it took almost the whole day.  Well, maybe a little....

Julia does, however, explain a lot about making bread so I decided to take my new knowledge and apply it to my favorite bread recipe--Sourdough Honey Oatmeal.

I have been working on this recipe for about 10 years, and I had arrived at a really great flavor but I was still having trouble with the texture.  Time to bring in....JULIA.

As normal, I mixed a cup of starter

from the dreadful-looking sponge that lives in my fridge.  Sourdough is just a live yeast culture, and by mixing a cup of the starter with warm water & flour and setting it in a warm place to ferment overnight

otherwise known as a food dehydrator in our house, a new sponge is created and ready for use the next day.  To replenish the starter, you put one or two cups of the new sponge into the old one & it can last i…

"High spending but lagging quality"

This is an interesting article that came out today:

According to this article, the US spends TWICE as much as other countries such as the United Kingdom, France, and know, those countries with that "dangerous" socialized medicine.

Real Porn For Women

Today's mail just arrived, and it seems that our postal carrier has figured out TRUE porn for women:

catalogs for pajamas, wine & chocolate, and yarn.

And they say men don't understand women......

Needing To Get My Act Together

Toni, last night:

Feeling on-top of everything, decides to mix up some nonfat yogurt and dehydrated dates for a breakfast dish she discovered a few months ago.  Mixes thoroughly, and puts it in the fridge.

Toni, this morning before coffee:

Totally forgetting everything, she opens the refrigerator and sees a Rubbermade bowl with white stuff.  Takes it out, asking, "What on earth is this muck?"

Lesson number 1 learned today:  My night & morning selves don't communicate at all, and forcing them to leave notes for each other might not be a bad idea.

Lesson number 2 learned today:  food tastes better if you haven't just referred to it as "muck."

We've Got Garlic!

Next year's garlic crop has been planted!

Last year I ordered the planting stock (as garlic that you can actually plant seems to be called) very late so my order was basically "whatever you have left that would be easy to grow."  That translated into Polish White and Susanville varieties.  It turns out both are "softneck" garlic types, which didn't make sense to me until I was planting this year's "sampler pack."  This

is a "hardneck" garlic--which means it has a big stick-thing in the middle of the head & cloves growing around it.  As it also turns out, only hardneck garlic grows "scapes," which I'll show you pictures of when they actually grow.  Other bloggers were talking about all the things they were doing with their scapes last year (my favorite being Rachel's idea for garlic pesto--doesn't that just sound wonderful?), and I kept checking my garlic and wondering what the heck I was doing wrong.  (With g…

Happy Halloween from Chateau Sutton-Goar