Monday, August 25, 2008

I Feel Boring and Tired, and Newly Inspired

I haven't prepared any food worthy of note in quite a while. I was on vacation and then when I got back, I was tired, busy and lazy. Last week, many of our dinners were extracted from a box. Sad, but true. It's also been tomato season, so I've been very happy to munch on garden tomatoes, sometimes several times a day. I just eat them solo, or slice them up and put them into some yummy bread for a sandwich. There's only a short window of opportunity each year to do this, and I usually take full advantage of this. The result of this type of binging often results in canker sores from all the acid.
I'm wondering if my tomato frenzy could currently be causing a different issue: tiredness. I just came from eating at a macrobiotic restaurant in Greenwich Village while I'm in NYC on a business trip. My meal was fantastic: seitan cutlets in a mushroom gravy with brown rice, a yam salad, and some steamed veggies, including kale and kombucha squash. Everything was delicious, but I was most excited about the kombucha squash. It looked like acorn squash, but tasted sweeter, and it was steamed instead of baked. I must try this at home.
So, anyway, I was reading about macrobiotic diets a little, and one of the things omitted from this kind of diet are nightshade vegetables (ex. green peppers, potatoes, eggplant and tomatoes). I already knew some people had a hard time digesting these foods. They are called "nightshade" because they do their growing at night, and contain toxins that are meant to keep bugs away. The minimal research I've done so far includes mixed opinions, and it looks like particular storage and preparation may help reduce the potentially negative effects of the nightshades.
Either way, it caused me to give pause and think about my diet. I've allowed a lot of dairy to creep back in, for one. Last week, while eating from boxes, we had white pasta a couple of times. Then, my tomato binge along with some other random things I've been eating while traveling. While I think, any of these things are fine in moderation, I also think I've overdone it with a mix of not great things over the last couple of weeks. So, I plan to clean up my act a bit and do some more investigating of this macrobiotic diet. There were so many tasty things on the menu tonight I was having a difficult time choosing just one dish.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Pineapple Preparation

Last night, I cut and peeled a whole pineapple for the first time in my life. It seems like this is something I should have experienced prior to now, given my 39 years on this earth. Then again, there are a lot of things I probably should have done by now, yet haven't. I have yet to purchase a couch, or a house for that matter. Most people my age have done that. I have never had my eyebrows waxed or had a baby, and these are popular activities amongst the 2o and 30 something female set. Yet, I am sure there are a couple of things I have done that many of my peers have not, so I guess it balances out. ( I am now wondering what some of those things might be that could set me apart from my peers, but am drawing a blank. Hmm. There must be SOMETHING. I'll need to ponder that and get back to you. Fortunately, nobody actually reads my blog, so if I don't follow up on this particular item, no one will be looking for an answer. And, anyway, "should-shmud". I don't really believe in any kind of prescribed life formula. I would like a comfy couch though.)

So, as I've been conscious of utilizing fruit in salads more, I have also been thinking of using fruit in other things. The other night I made a stir fry with seitan, veggies and a thai peanut sauce, and thought to myself, "this would be darn good with some pineapple in it". Then I started thinking about other rice dishes that would go well with some pineapple added to it. While fulfilling my grocery list in Whole Foods the other night, I first checked out the already cut and peeled pineapple. I normally do not buy fruits or veggies already prepared, but I was intimidated by the pineapple so thought I'd explore my options. For the most part, I am de-senstitized to the prices at "Whole Paycheck", and have no idea what groceries even cost in regular supermarkets anymore. But I must still have a little sense of reality left because I did feel shocked when I looked at the price of the tiny containers of pineapple pieces. When I saw whole pineapples were actually on sale, I decided to go for it.

What I found is that cutting a pineapple is really not bad at all. I think I was anxious because I anticipated it was was going to be similar to cutting and peeling butternut squash, which I HATE doing. I have never figured out a good or efficient way to go about that task. Pineapple is much softer. It's pretty juicy and messy, but easy and fast to cut. I have a friend who works at Crate and Barrel and she tells me there is a special gadget to core pineapples, but you already know how I feel about having lots of special gadgets...

There is now a large container of chopped up pineapple in my fridge just waiting to be used and it only required $2.99 and a little chopping effort! Let the fun begin! I'll be sure to report back on any exciting dishes.

On a side note, I saw a bumper sticker I thought was cute while riding my bike today. It said: "Good Planets Are Hard to Come By". How true. Let's take care of this little one that we already have.