Wednesday, March 9, 2011

On Easy Lunches.

Weekday lunchtime is no time to be gourmet. My 6am daily gym session combined with my not-a-morning-person nature means that packing lunches for work tends to be an afterthought, which means that I'm either forgetting to bring anything and paying out the butt for a meal out somewhere, or I'm eating leftovers. Of course, I don't eat bread, so the ever-popular sandwich is out of the question, and you're not about to catch me heating up a Lean Cuisine at the last minute. Blech.

I stumbled on this recipe for mayo-less egg salad on some blog or another. If I find it, I'll link it. I feel like you can make this as complicated or as simple as you want. I'll take simple, thanks.

Ingredients:
As many hardboiled eggs as you want
1/2 - 1 ripe avocado, depending on how many eggs you picked
About 1/2 cup onion *I overdid the onion today, whoops*, chopped very finely
Salt/pepper to taste

The best part about this recipe is that you can throw it in your bag in pieces and deal with it at work. Once the onion is chopped all you have to do is throw everything into a bowl and smush it with a fork. Delicious and easy.

Your coworkers will love the scent! Bwah hah hah.


A few things are happening here of note.

1. It's Lent. I gave up Facebook. And bacon. I don't wanna talk about it. ::weeps:: 
2. Meaning I'll be on here more, I hope, with workout logs, recipes, and things to share. My point in giving up Facebook wasn't because I think it's evil or sinful (of course, yeah, it can be) but because it's a time-waster that has been creeping around, preventing me from doing stuff I SHOULD be doing more. Like blogging! And cooking! And taking pictures of stinky food at work! 

Speaking of bacon, I want to make a road trip to Montreal for the SOLE PURPOSE of eating at this restaurant next year. It's a "sugar shack" in the woods of Canada called Pied au Cochon, and their tasting menu just made my head explode. 


Monday, January 17, 2011

A Success Story.

Hi, Mom! Be proud of yourself. I love you.

My mom at my little sister's high school graduation - June 2006.

At my wedding - October 2010. She started following a loose Paleo diet (without being neurotic) in 2009.

More on her story soon!

Wisdom.

This post by Jezwyn at Girl Gone Primal is so thought provoking, I had to repost it. I'm currently thinking over how my body and my mind are reacting to being a little more controlled about my eating, and I'm feeling so much better about sustaining this for the long term than I did last year. More on that soon. Til then, if you're struggling with your paleo challenge or your new year's resolutions, head over to Girl Gone Primal for a fresh perspective.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Perfect Kitchen

....Will never be. Because, let's face it, most of us are poor college students, or poor newlyweds, or poor 30somethings. Or maybe you bought a really cute set of plates from Target and somehow managed to break every bowl that went with the set over the last year (seriously, how did I do that?). Or you might have inherited this really great house to live in, and you're wondering WHY ARE THE ONLY ELECTRICAL OUTLETS IN THE KITCHEN ON THE SAME WALL WITH APPROXIMATELY ONE FOOT OF COUNTER SPACE IN FRONT OF THEM.

Pant.Pant.Pant. Serenity now.
Thank God one of us in that house is relatively sane.
I have lived in the following places over the last holycrap eight years: a college dorm with a mini fridge (beer!), a sorority house with a full kitchen (brownies!), Italy (pasta! And hey, nice to meet you, what's your name? NUTELLA? YOU ARE DELICIOUS), a college apartment (kegs for furniture!), my first Philadelphia apartment (tofu! seitan!), my second apartment (flooded kitchen drain!), third apartment (life collapse!), fourth apartment (scarily intelligent mouse friend!), and finally...drumrolll...THE HOUSE.

For the record, I think I just wrote the chapter titles for my memoirs, at least up til now. I want to write a lot more about the house - a lot more in general. It's surprisingly hard, as most of my blogger friends will know, to write when things are going pretty well. The words come quickly during adversity when you're a writer, and I've seen a lot of bad shit happen to people around me over the last few months. Which means I sometimes feel bad about saying wow, the two year shit storm that began in September of 2008 for me actually peaced outta town last year, I spent some months cleaning up the rubble and reconstructing my life, and I Am Very Happy right now. This is a beautiful thing.

SO. Not too much adversity here, but a lot of humor and a quirky house that needs a lot of work in a crazy neighborhood.. As always, trying to live the way my body wants when you're smack in the middle of the most modern and oppressive of human creations - the city. Bright lights, noise all night. Cubicle dweller by day in a slightly prison yard style office in the Most Dangerous City In The World (hi, Mom!). Car commuter (blech!). Crossfitter. Paleoish eater. New, big fan of cooking. These are my stories and the rest, as they say, is history.

.....

OH RIGHT. This is supposed to be a post about the perfect kitchen. Funny. It was going to be short. I'm blessed now to have some kitchen space. It's not terribly beautiful or well designed, but dammit I have ROOM (except for the above mentioned outlet idiocy). As I've moved from shoebox to shoebox over the last few years, I've had to keep my utensils and cooking gadgets to a minimum. Now that we have Space, I can have fun things like a paella pan and multiple pots! Just...multiple pots of the same size for no reason! I love this, and anyone who's ever lived in a studio apartment will appreciate why it's singularly awesome to have more than one of something just because. But this isn't an ode to the crap I own, it's supposed to be helpful, so here we go. A list of the things I am currently using most in the kitchen right now. I've starred next to the things that I think are essential no matter how big or small your kitchen may be.

A big-ass crockpot. Preferably with a meat thermometer.

Gigantic frying pan with a lid (13 inches or more). I only have nonstick, but plan to upgrade to cast iron soon. This is for all those awesome things like sauteed vegetables and bacon.

Teeny frying pan (eggs for one?)

A big ass saucepan with a lid (I stole/borrowed mine from my Grammy. Just kidding, she was downsizing and getting rid of it)
Spatulas that can withstand heat and won't melt.

Wooden spoons. Dear God, I love wooden spoons.

A Really Cute Apron. Because splattering sauce on your hot little office outfit? That shit is not cute. 

A 9x13 casserole dish and a 9x13 or larger roasting pan

All together now, a GARBAGE DISPOSAL. I am currently in a love affair with mine. I haven't had one for YEARS, ours was broken when we moved in, and now it is fixed. All is right with the world.

A dishwasher. Oh wait. That's still on my wish list. 

French Press coffee maker. Giant. And a bean grinder. Yes, I will totally advocate getting the grinder. It makes a huge difference in coffee yumminess. Although, full disclosure, we still have a regular Mr. Coffee because, let's face it, sometimes I don't have the energy to be that cool.

Knife block. Any decently priced one from Target will do just fine, although you might want to supplement with super duper expensive ones one at a time as you get room for Stuff. I am currently craving Rachel and Dan's knives, and since one of them costs approximately $12,000, I'll be saving up. Consensus is that if you have to buy one, an 8 inch chef's knife is it!

A few mixing bowls. Plastic is okay....metal is just as cheap (IKEA) and looks really cool in your cabinets.
A meat thermometer. Because I hate guesswork, and I hate salmonella more. 
Tupperware. So much tupperware. As I've become more into cooking for 1 or 2, I've become aware of the beauty of big batch cooking. This, in my opinion, is key to being a successful healthy eater - cooking in a way that doesn't sacrifice your entire night, every day of the week. My upgrade would definitely be Pyrex containers to avoid nasty microwaving-in-tupperware-plastic-in-your-food.

A vacuum wine stopper. Because finishing the entire bottle of wine* while you're cooking on the stove can result in unpredictable outcomes. And a good wine stopper makes that wine last forever. Or three days. You know.  *Please note that I don't think wine glasses are necessary. 

My water carbonater-er
courtesy of Rachel and Dan. This is, without a doubt, the Crazy Wedding Gift Kitchen Gadget that I NEVER EVER would have bought for myself, but now that I have it, I am obsessed with it. OBSESSED. Sparkling water for free! Anytime I want! And it makes a funny noise, and humor in the kitchen is always a good thing.
So this is my essentials list - and the rest is just gravy. What's in YOUR kitchen, and what crucial things have I forgotten? 


 Some suggestions for spicing up your cooking, courtesy of Shakira.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

it's beginning to look a lot like...



 our first holiday season as a married couple has been blissful so far. besides the usual insanity of work, getting settled in the house, and planning for our wedding celebration extravaganza, we've made sure to take a moment to appreciate the little things like decorating our tree and figuring out what crafty thing we're making for everyone this year. and experiencing the joy of a new baby, of course - congratulations, Rachel and Dan, and welcome to baby Ethan!


thanksgiving was a chaotic whirl of family, delicious food and wine, and brand new recipes. the pecan bites were a hit, the pastured turkey was worth every penny, and we ate ourselves senseless. 


life, my friends, is good.


Very politically correct celebration. Our Pilgrim and Native American are Puerto Rican and proud.

Antique flea market jewelry makes beautiful, one-of-a-kind Christmas ornaments.

Because my tree wouldn't be complete without a bejeweled peacock.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh HEY remember me?

So, so much to write. There's been some kitchen magic of late, now that I'm actually semi-settled and all of my possessions are under one roof for the first time since college. Much to be caught up on (upon?). 

After three weeks of unapologetic wedding bliss and food indulgence, I'm tightening the belt (literally) for the next couple of weeks. Lighter food options, ditching the sugar and grains, and generally keeping things on the straight and narrow. Case in point, white potatoes. Totally bland unless they're loaded with spices or cheese and butter, eating them always makes me feel totally heavy and stuffed. Plus, scientifically speaking, they're not all that great for ya.

"While it’s common knowledge that carbs from refined sources like sugar-filled processed foods and sodas are a poor source of both nutrition and energy, the common “complex carb” substitutes – whole-grains, rice, white potatoes and beans – also have plenty of issues. These issues range from anti-nutrient content, phytates, lectins, and glycoalkaloids – all of which block effective digestion, absorption and nutrient utilization. Beyond that, these Neolithic foods have suboptimal nutrient content when compared to carb-dense vegetable sources."
Source: My homie CaveGirl over at Steve's Original             



Tonight's light, nutrient rich awesomeness is a delicious substitute for boring old mashed potatoes. We'll call it...

BACON MASHED CAULIFLOWER
or, Meghan needs to get back into the pun-ny food name flow

Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower
raw, pastured butter*
2-3 slices bacon, crispy
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Cut cauliflower into manageable pieces and steam til very well done.
Put steamed cauliflower, butter to taste, bacon, salt & pepper in food processor. Process until smooth.

This took about 20 minutes from start to finish, including steaming time.
*I imagine this would be good with all sorts of fats. Bacon fat? EVOO and fresh rosemary instead of bacon? Coconut oil and curry powder for an Indian theme? Yummmm.

I'm embarrassed to say that I ate all of this too quickly to take any pictures.

But HERE'S a picture everyone will love. HEY HUSBAND!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Life as we know it.

I've never been this excited for fall. A sweltering, oppressively hot summer (with no AC in the car) coupled with some Very Exciting Life Events coming up are making me pretty giddy with anticipation for cool weather, sunshine, changing leaves, oh yes PUMPKIN ALE, orchards, many roasted root vegetables and soup, and everything else awesome that goes with fall.


Things are changing and the weather this weekend is a pretty appropriate backdrop. My mom sold the house we lived in for 10+ years in one day and bought a smaller condo in the next town over. Angel and I are moving into our new-to-us fixer upper house (oh snap, yes I'll be blogging about it!) in Kensington/NoLibs. With moving comes oh so much purging of crap, which I firmly believe is good for the soul. And no, my shoes do not necessarily count when we discuss necessary purging, ahem. Lots of boxes opened, pictures looked at, reading embarrassing stories that I wrote when I was 10 and realizing that my mom saved pretty much everything I did in school in my elementary years. Seeing my face reflected in old pictures of my dad in high school and college and the bittersweet realization of what it means for my mom to leave the home they shared and forge out in a new place. I miss him. A lot, lately. Talk of wedding celebrations, of walking down the aisle, of first dances will do that. September will always be a poignant month for me, I think, and I'm glad that this year we have the excitement of a wedding to help ease the sting.


Speaking of excitement, my mom's new condo is a hop skip and a jump away from the Palmyra Real Food Emporium, whose mission begins with this. "Our food supply is extremely vulnerable due to a number of factors. Poor farming practices and food processing have been draining food of its natural nutritional value. We bring you food direct from local farms. Shopping with us, you choose to enjoy fresh, health-sustaining food."

How refreshing.