Monthly Archives: March 2008

A picture and a menu

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First I have to say, Oh my goodness, but Whole Foods is expensive! Partly it’s me stocking up on several things, and partly it’s the rising cost of food these days, partly it’s their great selection of vegetarian products, partly it’s the awesome prepared foods they have. Lots of partlys adding up to a big bill. But, it should be worth it in healthy, delicious food this week.

First a picture from a while back:

This is the gnocchi I made after my kids spent a day at my parents’ house eating nothing but junk. It’s gnocchi with lots of tomato sauce and spinach. On top, and lurking in the background of the picture, is Parma! vegan parmesan. We had to buy this, because it has raw organic walnuts, red star nutritional yeat, celtic sea salt, and love. With an ingredient list like that, how could we pass it up?

Now the menu:

Tonight: Carribean Beans and Quinoa–so incredibly good! The girl even liked it. I am so glad that she is finally more open to more complex flavors.

Tuesday: I am making a Rachael Ray Curry in a Hurry recipe with the new Trader Joe’s chickenless strips. Plus rice, and some kind of vegetable (maybe salad, or broccoli).

Wednesday: Fried rice. I threw some together on Friday, and it was so good, I am making it again. I heated up some coconut oil, pressed some tofu (just between my hands), diced it and fried until golden. Then, I added some onion and garlic, and when the kitchen started smelling really good, I added some frozen spinach and peas, and two cups of cooked brown rice. After I mixed all that together, I poured about a third of a jar of Trader Joe’s Chinese 5 Spice Chef Sauce on top, and heated it all up until the flavors were blended and it was all hot. I couldn’t believe how good it turned out, for something just thrown together!

Thursday: West African Peanut Stew

Friday, the girl is going to sing at the Cardinals game with her choir! I have no idea what we will eat, but I am sure we will have fun.

That’s as far as my planning has gone, but I am going to do more planning next week. We eat so much better when I know what we are going to have (not counting that serendipitous fried rice).

You learn something new every day…

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Like, my last post? I posted that on Wednesday, March 19. But I started it on March 6, like the publish date says. I did not know that Blogger could pretend like that…

Anyway, a camping update:

Not totally vegan this time, so I’ll skim over the first night, when we had salmon and sugar snap peas cooked in a foil packet with teriyaki sauce.

The second night, I went with the best kid-pleaser, beanie weenies, made with soy hotdogs. My friend made new potatoes, carrots and onion roasted in foil, and the kids devoured grapes with the beans.

The third night, it rained, so we had Taco Bell. Oh, for a larger town nearby with a Qdoba!

Breakfasts were largely fruit and whole wheat bagels with tofutti cream cheese, and lunches consisted of a lot of general snacking. I brought a bunch of guacamole this time, and whole wheat tortillas, and the boy ate some leftover hot dogs. Oh, and we had leftover beanie weenies. Hmm, we weren’t very organized this time.

We did get some beautiful hiking in before the rains hit. We went down on a Saturday and stayed until Tuesday, so we were practically alone on the campground after Sunday morning. Monday night, when it was raining, we were the only camper there. We saw a lot of wildlife, though–probably 6 or 7 deer, some of them fairly close up. We saw a beaver on our way back from town on Monday, which was pretty cool. We played a lot of Trivial Pursuit and got a lot of reading done.

Wednesday night we had friends over and I made Curried Stir-Fried Noodles with Vegetables. Andrea requested it last time she came for dinner, but I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I got it all when I went to the store to buy some supplements after returning from the campground.

Last night we went to my parents’ house for pizza, and I got to feed S something other than plain cheese pizza. She eats too much plain food, so we are experimenting with more complex flavors. We had pineapple pizza, and it was a big success! We used rice milk cheese, and it was very good, melty and delicious.

Now the kids are at their dad’s so I expect some eating out this weekend, but I am going to try to make some healthy stuff this weekend to prepare for next week.

Health reading

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I wrote these two paragraphs at separate times, obviously. I think I may be just about ready to move on from the diet books this year, although I am sure I will be dipping into all of them throughout the year to keep my motivation levels up at a high level.

19. You: On a Diet by Michael Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz

Are you seeing a trend here? This is my third book on food and diet this year. I think I have it down now. I have actually even lost a little bit of weight. I am doing this weird thing: eating less food. It sounds simple, but it sure has taken me a long time to figure it out. I’m also focusing on the healthy stuff and doing more cooking at home. This book helped to solidify my new habits from the previous two books this year (In Defense of Food and Does this Clutter Make my Butt Look Fat?).

20. Ultrametabolism by Mark Hyman

Obviously I was wrong last time when I said I had this diet thing down. This was yet more good reinforcement, with good information on specific issues that might keep someone from losing weight, and how to address those issues. Also, a lot of good information on why people aren’t just fat because of a deficiency of willpower, but that there are things you can do to re-train your body. This was an expensive book for me, though, because I ended up buying a bunch of supplements at Whole Foods this week!

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I am nearly halfway through War and Peace now. I really do enjoy the book; the main reason it is taking me so long to read it is that it is just so darn heavy. Lugging it around is some real work. I did bring it on the train with me this morning, though.

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Number of books purchased in 2008: 32
For reference, number of books read in 2008: 20

This is not a good ratio. I must stay away from the bookstore! Must! Must! Must! Unfortunately, I cannot even pretend to blame my friend, it is all me this time. I just can’t seem to stop myself. I suppose there are worse addictions I could have, but I need to buy new furniture, and I want to go on vacation, and I don’t even have enough shelf space already. I am keeping an eye on this, but we’ll see how long I can stay away this time.

Oh wait, I need a new book to study for my PMP certification. There is not much hope for me.

A new picture

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…to go with my new living room furniture. I have to share it because not only did I come across completely by luck, when I was shopping for something else entirely, but I got a fantastic deal, too. I was at Bed Bath and Beyond getting some things for the house, and I had already paid when I spotted this picture near the door. It was marked at $49.99, and I decided to think about it for a bit. I am trying not to rush into so many expenditures. I decided it was so perfect, though that I had to go back and get it. When I did, it rang up at $12.49! What a deal! So, I had to share.
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Update on my plan, new week

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I just found this post hanging out on my blogger dashboard. I am not sure what I was planning to do with it when I saved it and walked away, but I am just posting it as is and I will come back with something more updated later. Something with more camping thoughts, as we did that again this past weekend….

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I did pretty good on my plan from last week. Monday through Friday was just what I planned. I did go out on Tuesday, but that was my tentative plan anyway. My friend made a delicious veggie chili on Friday with all kinds of good veggies in it–much healthier than I usually make mine. I just do a basic bean chili with tomato sauce and salsa, but not much else in the way of veggies (well, onions and garlic, but that’s a given). She had carrots and eggplant and zucchini and all kinds of good stuff in there. Very good!

The weekend was all right. Saturday we just had Tofurkey Italian Sausages (hallelujah, the girl likes them! They have flavor, and she eats them!) and hashbrowns, because I didn’t feel like going all out and making falafels and tahini sauce and all that, when I was pretty sure the kids wouldn’t eat them, or not much. Sunday, we went out for Vietnamese food. The girl was so picky and rude about it, I decided no more eating out for her for some time. She will learn to like more foods at home, or no eating out. I am tired of buying her chicken fingers and french fries.

This week, we have only been home two nights so far. Tuesday, we had a Match crab and cabbage stirfry with some kind of pineapple teriyaki sauce and sliced carrots. Yum! The kids ate theirs with only minimal complaining. I am wearing them down, ha ha.

Last night we had friends over and made pizza. No arguing for a change, everyone was joyful.

Re-visiting an old friend

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18. Thornyhold by Mary Stewart

I came across this book a long time ago, I don’t even remember when. It wasn’t great literature, and I would have to make a pretty long list of my favorites before this would occur to me, but it was a really nice book. I’d call it a comfortable read. It didn’t change my life, but I remembered it, and I read enough books that remembering large parts of the book 15 or 20 years later is actually quite a testament to the book.

I came across a copy of this at one of the periodic used book fairs different groups at work hold to support some charity. It seems like a great deal for the charities and the groups supporting them—they solicit donations through emails and bulletin board postings, then organize all the books and sell them in a conference room for a day or two. I am sure it is time-consuming, but all of the money goes to the charity, so it’s a nice deal. I love browsing through these fairs, seeing what people have donated, and finding books to try. Books are generally $1 or less, so it isn’t that risky to try something new. But occasionally, I come across an old friend, like this book.

I snapped the book right up, thrilled to have come across it by chance. I haven’t been looking for it, I just recognized it. I didn’t read it right away, though. As usual, I had several books that I was excited about in my TBR stack (mountain…), so I put it aside. It made me happy to have it, though. Last week, I was looking for something light and quick to read while the kids were at their dad’s for the evening, so I picked up Thornyhold.

It was just as good as I remembered it. Geillis is an amazingly strong character, glossing over her very difficult childhood with a no-use-crying-over-what-can’t-be-changed attitude. Even when describing highly emotional events, her common sense shines through. When she falls in love with her handsome neighbor, and he smiles at her, she makes a comment about the sun coming out and all the birds bursting into song in a way that pokes gentle fun at her own out of control emotions.

The witchcraft plot was a little silly, but nothing too outrageous. As a whole, the book was so charming, I am willing to overlook a few minor faults. And, I am inspired by Gilly’s can-do attitude to make her home her own—my own home is in better shape because of it! I hung a picture and some curtains (see post below) and cleared out some clutter this weekend. So, that’s a definite good effect of the book.

Highly recommended, but remember, don’t have high expectations of great literature. That’s not what this book is meant to be.

What I did while taking a break from War and Peace this weekend…

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War and Peace really is good so far, but my arms needed a rest from holding it up, so I broke out the power tools (well, just the drill and the hammer and screwdriver) and started hanging stuff in my bedroom. I got the picture at World Market on Saturday, and the curtains from Target quite some time ago. I have been putting off hanging them for no good reason, but I am glad to have them up now. The whole room looks different! I don’t have any tall furniture in there, so there was no color in the top half of the room. The ceilings look higher now that the color draws the eye up.

This picture looks so nice, I want to hang more and more pictures! I am going to get some nice frames and put up pictures of the kids, along with some of their artwork. I’m also keeping my eye out for artwork that I like. It is so much fun making my home look nice, but this is yet another thing pulling me away from reading. On the positive side, though, I enjoy being home and sitting around and reading more now. When my children are at their dad’s house, I don’t feel the need to leave all the time. So, maybe it isn’t hurting my reading time as much as I fear.

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