Let's Talk about Food (Baby)

In case you thought the title was implying I had a food baby, or just a baby, let me refresh your memory:

I don't feel like writing about books tonight (my mind is too caught up in Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann to function), so let's talk about food. I always try to follow the whole "eat to live" adage, but when push comes to shove it's a load of shit. I like good food, and lately since I've jumped back on the calorie counting wagon after almost nine months off, I'm definitely working to make sure what I put in my mouth counts. Quality in terms of nutrition and taste are important- I'm not going to waste my daily allowances on crap (at least not always).

I think in lists (seriously):

- I believe in putting in some effort and making a delicious dinner Sunday nights that's either a little bit complicated or features a new recipe. It's the perfect day for it- I grocery shop Sunday morning and I'm usually caught up with everything else. Tonight was Mac and Cheese from scratch with Gruyere, Blue Cheese, and Fontina, topped with bread crumbs and parsley. 

- While we're on the topic, I'm a bit of a Mac and Cheese connoisseur. Unfortunately, most of the ones I've tried fall far short of my expectations- they're too dry, too oily, to mushy, or are obviously from a box (ahem, Panera). It has to be homemade- it just has to be. And it's so easy! Make a roux out of 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp flour and then slowly dump in 2 cups of milk. Throw in the cheeses and spices of your choice, add noodles, pop in the oven for a half an hour and there you go. Far better than anything else (and worth the 600 calories...). 

[upper right was a husband-less yoga night]
- Thanks to my mother, I'm a firm believer in cleaning up as much as possible before you sit down to eat so that the happy feeling you get from a home-cooked meal doesn't completely go to shit as a result of loading the dishwasher and wiping up counters. 

- I don't care what the experts say, I think unless you are 100% sure that you take in all the necessary vitamins and minerals you should pop a few pills at some point in the day. Personally, I take a prenatal multi-vitamin (no, I'm not pregnant...), a B-complex, C, and Omega-3s. I make sure to pay a few extra bucks for the "non-fishy burps" Omegas.

- I've been eating quinoa and tabbouleh for lunch everyday (plus an apple) and if I could I'd eat it for every meal I would. 

- Actually, I take that back- these days I can't live without my peanut butter/apple butter sandwiches on English muffins for breakfast. At only 30 calories a serving, where has apple butter been all my life?

- I think if you're going to splurge you should go big and find something worth it. This is definitely a philosophy that's evolving- I've stopped buying almost all sugary, fattening treats (with the exception of Trader Joe's Hold the Cones- one tiny little ice cream after dinner and then the kitchen is closed) and look forward to the occasional cupcake or frozen yogurt.

[Diddy Reise, best cookie recipe ever, poser Hostess cupcake in Phoenix]

- Caffeine is evil. Sometimes it's a necessary evil, but for almost nine months I've gone from 3 Diet Cokes and 2 cups of coffee per day to maybe 4 Diet Cokes a week. I'm far more rested and am better hydrated.

- I am so incredibly tired of chain restaurants. We try to avoid them, but unfortunately, there aren't a lot of independent, upper-ish scale places out where we live, which means driving at least a half hour. We only eat out twice a week- something super quick on Friday and than an actual sit-down place on Saturdays. We're back to trying one new place a month, which I'm excited about. 

- I hate it when people use the excuse of "it had too many ingredients" as a reason to shy away from a new recipe. Fine, if the ingredients include lobster, caviar, and truffle oil I can see where you're coming from. But chances are you already have a lot of it in your kitchen or can make substitutions. 

- I can't make the same meal two weeks in a row. Or usually even two weeks apart. Variety is the spice of life.

- I have a really complicated relationship with being vegetarian right now. I'm not sure if my body is appreciating the lack of meat and getting enough protein without relying too much on dairy is just plain hard. It's a really, really tough issue that I spend a lot of time thinking stressing out about. I've talked to my doctor and she's supportive either way, which frankly isn't helpful. 

And now back to Colum McCann. I hope this book lasts forever...


  1. I love trying new mac & cheese recipes -- I recommend trying this Pumpkin Mac & Cheese one. Don't skimp on the sage or the seasoning and I think the roux could use a little garlic in it, but it really was delish! It's also plenty rich without the heavy cream -- half and half, light cream, or whole milk would work just as well -- I'm pretty sure I used light cream when I made it... just a suggestion :)

  2. I'm with you on the cleaning before eating. I try to clean as I go so that my piles don't get too out of control. For some reason, my piles grow big when I'm baking. That's when I get a crap load in the sink. (that didn't sound pretty)

    Kudos for getting off the caffine. I'm scared to and I've been full on addicted to my daily cup. Atleast it's only one cup a day. Good job on eating quinoa for lunch. That's more than your usual apple and granola bar! What do you mix with your quinoa to make it a filling lunch? I need ideas because so far I'm not a fan at all. I want to be converted because I have a big bag sitting in my pantry.