photo of Kelly

The beginning and end photos from my 30-day DietBet. You can’t see much, if any, difference, but I can feel it!

Like so many women–and you know what? It’s not even a woman-thing. Like so many people, it is always my desire to just drop a few pounds. A month ago, I got back on the horse. I began going to the gym again three or four times a week. A couple of weeks ago, I figured out an alternative bike route to my office that is a little further but which I can ride in the same amount of time. I toned down some of my consumption habits. I joined a 30-day DietBet game.

Let’s start with the DietBet. For those of you unfamiliar, it’s a website where you pay money into a multi-person game to bet that you will be able to lose a certain amount of weight. You win by meeting the target, and the pot is split by everyone who made it. For the 30-day game I just completed, the goal was to lose 4%. For me, that was 8 pounds (3.6 kg). I’m not going to lie–I joined that particular DietBet because Karina Smirnoff was the host. You know how much I love Dancing with the Stars!

I went to the gym regularly for the first few months of last year and it felt great! I dislike running, but trotting on the treadmill has kind of become my thing since I discovered the Couch to 5K business two or three years ago. It only takes a couple of weeks for me to begin seeing and feeling the difference, so that’s my approach every time I start over. I fell off the wagon (er, treadmill?) when I went on vacation last July and spent the next three-quarters of a year subsidizing other people’s memberships. But my weight also crept up to the highest it’s ever been, and so finally last month I started going again and have managed to get back in the good habit.

Feeling the inspiration on foot, I also try to bike a little more, too. From about March through about October, or for as long as the snow holds off, I bike commute to work every day, a 15-minute ride through the heart of downtown. I don’t really think of it as exercise, even though it is, and so have been trying to go out for a long ride at least once on the weekends, and a medium ride in the evening every now and then if it’s not too hot.

Perhaps you are a fan of the NFL (National Football League) and know that the Minnesota Vikings are building a brand new stadium where the Metrodome stood until last year. I guess it’s going to resemble a giant, glass Viking ship. All I really know is that they didn’t spring for bird-safe glass. We’ll see how that plays out. The area of downtown adjacent to the stadium site is also going through a major redevelopment, and shiny new office buildings are rising from the backhoed rubble of a number of former surface parking lots.

Well. All of this construction activity has wreaked havoc on the very streets that I use every day in my commute. There are closures and detours which, unless I want to go significantly out of my way in one direction or, in the other direction, ride on a busy artery with cars only thinking about the freeway access a half mile ahead. Even the quieter alternative a couple of blocks beyond that is under its own construction of a sewer project. There is no good way to bike that particular vector.

Thus, I finally broke down and tried the route that takes me along the Mississippi River bike path to a bike commuter trail to the western suburbs. I can enter and exit within blocks of home and the office. I had balked at using it because it is a longer distance, and when I’m commuting, I’m all about not wasting time. But it turns out that, even though it’s 3.25 miles versus the 2.5 miles (5.2 km vs 4 km) of the downtown route, it doesn’t take me any more time because there are only a couple of interactions with streets and I don’t usually have to stop even once, and I can just go. Riding this route for the first time was an epiphany! It’s easier, it’s so much less stressful, it’s scenic, and the longer distance fits in with my increased activity desires.

photo of several meals

These are a few of the quick (usually about 30 minutes to prepare), delicious, home-cooked meals I’ve been making.

The final component of the last month has been to be more mindful of when and how much I’m consuming. For me, the largest part of that is to cut back on the beer. Instead of three or four, I try to keep it to a couple. And instead of my favorite double IPA or big stout, I often choose ones with lower alcohol content. Along with that is the realization that it also helps to eat a lighter supper earlier rather than later. Gorging on a burger at the bar is a whole lot different than freshly preparing a meal of more sensible foods (that I actually like better anyway). A staple has been a few ounces of salmon, a pile of asparagus, and one-half cup or less of a whole grain, such as quinoa or my new favorite, farro. I have resumed documenting everything that goes down my gullet in the Lose It! app. I don’t necessarily try to meet the calorie budget that it suggests, but the act of tracking eventually causes you to more carefully consider your choices.

So doing all of these things consistently for the last five weeks paid off. I surpassed my DietBet target and lost 8.8 pounds (4 kg), and won $49.68 on my $30 bet! My stamina has increased so much from the treadmill trotting and wobbly bits are coming a little more under control. Mainly, I just feel better and that is very satisfying. The knowledge that this happens when I keep up with things is what gets me through the afternoons when I’d rather just go home (okay, that, and that I’ve been watching 30 Rock while I trot to distract myself).

But it’s my desk-neighbor at work who put the extra little spring in my step today. She’s 23 and just out of college, where she was a competitive swimmer and is still someone who you would call an athlete. A couple of weeks ago I was moaning about being sore from my first session of strength training the day before and we had a brief conversation about my activities at the gym. Well, today she asked me how it all was going and was astonished when I said I had gone fourteen times last month. We talked a little more and I mentioned that I had lost about 7 pounds (3.2 kg). In response she uttered the five words at the top of the page and that is the most gratifying and motivating thing of all!


Addendum: Because I want to keep the momentum going, I joined another DietBet game. This one goes on for six months with a final target of a 10% loss. There are monthly official weigh-ins with their own mini-targets, and you can win those, too. I tried one last year with little success, but I feel like I have a better attitude now. Stay tuned!

Every now and then I come across a meal that is, to my palate, a masterpiece. There have been two recently.

Beer & Beast at the Acadia: smoke Scotch egg and Oskar Blues Reeb Rye'd ale

Beer & Beast at the Acadia: smoke Scotch egg and Oskar Blues Reeb Rye’d ale

The first was a smoked scotch egg at one of my neighborhood joints, Acadia. Once a month they have what they call “Beer & Beast” for which they make a special meal, which usually involves the smoker out back, that they pair with a special beer. I was a little skeptical about a smoked scotch egg because breaded, fried food isn’t my bag, but they have a few hotshot young cooks in the kitchen and one bite in, my fears were allayed. The egg was excellent, the Oskar Blues Reeb Rye’d beer was excellent, and the two together sent me into nirvana.

Not too long after that, another neighborhood establishment, Town Hall Brewery, had their annual Barrel Aged Beer Week. They made some crazy and delicious fancy beers, releasing one per day throughout the week. I went in right away on Monday and learned that they developed some special food items to pair with the beers. I chose the seared scallops because I have a soft spot for scallops.

photo of scallops dinner

This was one amazing plate!

I’ll admit that I gave the plate a quite the side-eye when it arrived. The scallops with bacon-onion jam, farro with fire-roasted tomatoes, and grilled zucchini floated on a pool of white sauce. Okay. Maybe they wanted to visually fill out the plate or something. I reread the menu card. “Beurre blanc,” it said. “French for white sauce makes it sound fancier,” I interpreted.

My white-sauce snobbery quickly melted away as I tasted what an excellent carrier it was, helping to blend all of the the flavors together in a most excellent way. The tastes and textures balanced each other nicely, from the salt and crisp of the scallops and the sweet and smoke of the bacon-onion jam to the savory and chewy of the farro. Once again I found myself in my happy food place.

I had already been thinking that I’d try to return later in the week once more of the beers had been released. After eating I knew I would return, if only to have that delicious plate again!

In the meantime, I encountered a chef friend to whom I raved about this meal, including recounting my attitude about the “white sauce, well, beurre blanc.” What comes around goes around. He gave the side-eye right back to me without further explanation. After we parted, I became curious about this unfamiliar cooking term and looked it up. I stood corrected and publicly apologized to beurre blanc on social media. It is not white sauce. It is white, that’s true, but it’s actually an emulsification of butter in white wine that results in a sauce-like entity that is particularly complimentary to fish and seafood.

photo of beer flight

Town Hall Barrel Aged Week, flight 1: Foolish Angel, Buffalo Bock (2015), Twisted Trace (2015)

I went back to Town Hall on Thursday. That evening, there were enough of the special beers available so I ordered a flight. In case you’re wondering, the Foolish Angel was my favorite of the beers I tried. The general manager, Scot, who I got to know last year in a bowling league at one of Town Hall’s other locations, was flitting around so I was able to compliment him on it. He was pleased because it was a new beer this year.

photo of beer flight

Town Hall Barrel Aged Week, flight 2: Project 3106 (2015), Czar Jack (2015), Duke of Wallonia (2015)

But more importantly, I had the scallops dish again! Somebody different must have been in the kitchen, though, because the plate came out with at least twice as much beurre blanc, which was twice too much, and maybe a third less farro, which was a third too little. It was still as delicious as I remembered from three days earlier, though I did not come close to finishing all of the sauce. Then I decided to take the rest of it home with me for use at a later date, an endeavor made much easier by having exactly the right sized plastic container in my bag from my breakfast. (I always pack my breakfast and eat at my desk. Saves me fifteen to thirty minutes in the morning. Fifteen to thirty more minutes of sleep. But I digress.) I long ago got over feeling embarrassed about pulling out my own container at a restaurant in order to stow leftovers. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

That night as I lay in bed I had the ultimate brain wave. Along with the leftover beurre blanc, I had half of the ingredients necessary to recreate this meal at home. I had a zucchini, onions, bacon pieces, brown sugar, and sun-dried tomatoes. My mission was clear!

I located a recipe for bacon-onion jam that used only basic ingredients, read about how to pan-sear scallops, learned some more about beurre blanc, and purchased scallops and farro. I was ready to begin. The jam recipe is not at all fussy, it just needs and hour and a half of prep and cook time to get the reduction. I got that going first and enhanced the recipe with some dried currants for good measure. The farro was next. It needed about thirty minutes, and I included chopped sun-dried tomatoes. When the farro was done cooking, I finished it by frying it for a few minutes to crisp it up a bit; there had been something a little crispy about the Town Hall plate. As the jam and farro were finishing, I heated the pan for the scallops, getting the butter and oil nice and hot. While the scallops were searing, I reheated the leftover beurre blanc in the microwave, stirring frequently. I know, I know, I can hear you laughing from here. It was a visual disaster. The fat from the butter immediately separated into yellow oiliness, and the remaining part turned into a gloppy, viscous mess. But it still tasted heavenly and it all gets re-blended in your mouth, right?

photo of scallops dinner and beer

It doesn’t look the same as the professional version, but it tasted just about as delicious.

It was only after I had carefully plated my homemade meal with the goal of downplaying the physical appearance of the beurre blanc that I realized I had completely forgotten to make the zucchini. Oh well. With six rather than four scallops, it was plenty to consume.

The meal was delicious! I paired it with Summit Great Northern Porter. The bacon and the beer really brought out the smoky characteristics of each other.

I was very pleased with the effort!

photo of scallops dinner and beer

No Town Hall brews at home, but Summit Great Northern Porter was a fine stand-in.


This is one of those wonderful recipes that comes out fantastically no matter how hard you try to wreck it. If you broadly generalize, you only need three ingredients—2 cups cooked grain, 6 cups chopped/sliced vegetables, 3 ounces grated cheese—well, and seasoning. The beauty of it is you can use whatever you have lying around, as you will see below when you compare how I made it tonight with the original.


As are many of my favorite vegetables, tomatillos are currently in season and I wanted to get some at the farmer’s market this afternoon. I found an excellent tomatillo soup recipe (by the way, disregard the photo of the red soup that is the default and click through until you find the lovely photo of green soup in a square white bowl—that’s how it really is, and I pulled the chicken rather than diced it) but since we’ve been in the depths of the summer sauna for the last week, soup is kind of the last thing on my mind, delicious though that recipe is. Then I remembered the Cooking Light (magazine) roasted vegetable tart that I’ve been making for years and knew I could make a Southwestern version based around the tomatillos. I trotted over to the market and filled my bag up with the fixins, then quickly retreated back to the subpar air conditioning in the office.

Thursdays during the non-winter season (this is Minnesota, we were still having snow in April and May this year) the market happens downtown on Nicollet Mall. It’s an offshoot of the larger, daily market on the west edge of downtown. It’s pretty good, though I’d estimate that about half of the vendors don’t grow anything and peddle the B- or C-string commercial produce that stores and restaurants reject. I’m a little skeptical that those bananas were grown here in the northwoods.


For actual farmer-grown stock, it is my impression that the best bet is the stalls on the north end between 5th and 6th Streets. And if they don’t grow what they sell themselves, at least they have the courtesy to hide the commercial waxed cardboard boxes and remove the stickers from the items. But I’m confident that their offerings are homegrown. I remembered from a couple years ago that the one family had tomatillos—big, giant, fresh tomatillos. Tomatillos are one of my favorite, newer ingredient discoveries. I gave them a shout-out three years ago. You should try them if you are unfamiliar with them. My favorite way to use them is in my “Mexican” pizza—you can get the scoop on that under the third photo in this post.

Anyway, I’ve kept you long enough. Here’s the original recipe, and below is how I made it tonight. For simplicity’s sake I copied and pasted some of the instructions but that doesn’t mean I’m a plagiarist (erm…). I’m just lazy. You don’t be lazy and make this!


Southwestern Summer Vegetable Pie
(adapted from Cooking Light)

1/4 cup regular quinoa, cooked
1/4 cup red quinoa, cooked
1/4 cup black rice, cooked
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 cup Swiss cheese, grated
1-1/2 cups sliced red bell pepper
1 cup sliced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed/minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups sliced tomatillo
1 medium tomato, sliced
salt, pepper, oregano, crushed red peppers to taste
1/2 cup pepper Jack cheese, grated

Cook the grains according to package directions. Combine in a medium bowl and let cool.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°F. Toss the bell pepper, onion, garlic, and olive oil together in a bowl. Place mixture in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes.

Because the tomatillos and tomatoes cook down and get watery, I did the following. Place the tomatillos in a second baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes. You can do this concurrently with the peppers and onions. At the same time, sauté the tomatoes until their liquid is reduced, about 7 or 8 minutes. Combine all cooked vegetables in a bowl. Stir in seasoning.

Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F.

Combine the egg white and Swiss cheese with the quinoa mixture. Press into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup pepper Jack cheese over quinoa crust. Top with vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup pepper Jack cheese. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.


Make this soup, I command you

November 27, 2012


I’ve been eyeing up this recipe of Andrew Zimmern’s, ever since he posted it a day or two before Thanksgiving last week. And I thought, wouldn’t that be delicious as soup? Wild rice soup, in fact. Tonight I finally had time, well, took time because it was 7:30pm when I got started, due to working late. I thought, I’ll whip up the soup in no time (because it’s chopped and sautéed vegetables, white sauce, and meat), have a beer while I’m cooking, then have more beer while I’m eating and watching the last performance show for this season, 14, of Dancing with the Stars*. It will be a perfect evening. And it has been (other than the fact that none of the three different beers I enjoyed managed to get above 5.5% ABV, but at least I drank the tastiest one last). Okay, so the soup took an hour and fifteen minutes from the time I started boiling water for the wild rice until the time I was ladling the finished product into my maw but all in all, that was pretty quick, as cooking from complete scratch goes.

So here’s the link to AZ’s recipe on which I based my creation, and my version is below. I used what I used because that’s what I had lying around. Bon appétit!

Turkey Ham Wild Rice a la King Soup

4 Tbsp butter
1 cup each, chopped: red bell pepper, celery, zucchini, onion
1Tbsp dry tarragon
1Tbsp dry thyme
3 Tbsp flour
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup half and half
1 cup cooked turkey, diced
1/2 cup cooked ham, diced
1/2 cup dry wild rice, cooked
salt and pepper to taste
3 dashes of cayenne pepper

In a medium Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the chopped vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Stir in the herbs and flour. Stir to mix well, then stir constantly and cook, for 2 minutes or until the flour starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the chicken broth, stir to mix well, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, until starting to thicken, about 2 minutes. Add the half and half and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Add the remaining ingredients and cook until heated. Serve and be amazed!

Makes 6 cups.

*DWTS performance finale thoughts (no spoilers):
1) Is Derek Hough the secret sixth member of the US Olympic gymnastics team? Splits, flips, drops into summersaults, crazy! And with a nagging neck injury.
2) Of course we all want to know if Kelly and Val are doing it. And I hope they are, because she’s about my age** and twice his, and that gives me hope!
3) But when it comes down to it, I want Melissa and Tony to win, because I want Tony to FFFFIIINNNNALLLLYYYYYY win.

**I stand corrected. Kelly is thirteen years younger than I. Oh well.

Zucchini zaniness!

July 17, 2012


I joined a CSA for this summer and I will eventually write about that specifically, but what that participation has done for me generally is reinforce my decision to go organic and local whenever possible and when I’m not too out of money at the end of a pay period. Following my farmers on Twitter and interacting with the outgoing Karla—from her updates about what’s going on at the farm to twitversations about issues related to all aspects of food—my appreciation for “know your farmer” has really grown. I’ve received four boxes thus far (I’m on the every other week plan) with recognizable things and, because I signed up for the “booyah” version rather than basic, many things that I haven’t had before, which was the idea.

This is a long-winded way of saying that on the off-weeks for the CSA I have been availing myself of the many excellent farmers markets in town. At the farmers market, I don’t necessarily try to buy weird stuff. In fact, I prefer to get things I know I like. I brought home a lot of zucchini last week.

Zucchini is just about my favorite vegetable. I love it any way there is. When I was a kid, my mom would slice it and sauté it with onions until it was well-done and carmelized. Sometimes I still make it that way. She also used to make a casserole that included ground beef, corn, tomato, and cheese. Ever so occasionally I try to recreate that. But most often these days, I just slice the zucchinis in half and broil them gently.

Today, though, I wanted to make a meatless main dish, with my goal being to use up most if not all of my current supply. I found this delicious-sounding zucchini pie recipe on It was pretty easy to make—and even harkened back a bit to my mom’s casserole—but unfortunately, it didn’t even take half of what I have on hand.

Here’s the recipe as I made it. You can find the original version here. Okay, it’s not so zany, but it is amazingly delicious! And proudly made with local and regional ingredients, except for the quinoa and the olive oil.

Cheesy Zucchini Pie

1-1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 egg whites
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp non-fat dry milk plus enough water to make 1/4 cup milk
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp chopped basil, divided
3 cups thin sliced zucchini
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1 cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. 

Gently beat eat whites. Mix in quinoa. Spread around a pie dish coated with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes; remove and set aside. 

Reduce oven to 375°F.

Whisk together the egg yolks, milk, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Place the half of the basil and the zucchini slices into the bowl and toss to coat with the milk mixture. 

Place one third of the zucchini into the prepared crust. Sprinkle on one third of the cheese. Repeat the layering, finishing with the last third of the cheese. Toss the tomato halves with the olive oil and spread on top. Sprinkle with the remaining basil.

Bake at 375°F degrees F. for 45–55 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Pro tip: Pair with your favorite tasty beverage!


Important breakfast news

July 16, 2012


I just made a delicious breakfast for supper and that’s exciting! Not because I’m so clever for mixing up meals—I’m not, I know plenty of people who eat non-traditionally—but because it solves two “problems” I’ve been having.

I firmly believe that breakfast is, as is commonly touted, the most important meal of the day. I must eat it, particularly on workdays. On those rare mornings when I don’t eat something, I am pretty distracted until I can reasonably get an early lunch.

I don’t ask much of my breakfast. It involves an egg or two and some other stuff. And there’s the first thing I must deal with. No matter how delicious something is or how go-to a particular combination of ingredients is, every now and then you need something different. Variety is the spice of life.

I have a few go-to breakfasts that I employ. I used to always make the South Beach Cheesy Frittata, though these days, it’s more of a weekend treat because it takes a little more effort to prepare. Another standard is what I fondly call Egg McBread—a lightly scrambled egg, folded, put between the halves of a piece of toast with some sliced cheese. These days, it’s two lightly scrambled eggs topped with chèvre. I’m getting bored with that. I get a bagel and cream cheese more mornings than I should (because I try to limit my carbs).

I do have some favorite breakfasts out that I enjoy from time to time, especially when my beer intake the night before requests some carbohydrates the morning after (I am not consistent in my shunning of carbs). I love my everything bagel and cream cheese, and there’s a skyway deli that makes an economical and delicious scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast special. Bacon.

A particular favorite breakfast out that I used to enjoy was huevos rancheros—authentic huevos rancheros from the Mexican restaurant that used to be on the ground floor of my office building. And therein lies the second thing that thwarts my breakfast efforts. The restaurant went out of business half a year ago.

I really miss those huevos rancheros.

But what I did tonight for supper will, I believe, humor me on both counts for a while, because I made—wait for it—fake huevos rancheros. Fake for three reasons: there were no tortillas, there was no rice, and I used way too much of the wrong kind of cheese. Oh, and the egg was lightly scrambled, not over-easy. Four reasons. But it incorporated my favorite things about huevos rancheros and man, was it tasty!

I made one lightly scrambled egg in its usual small sauté pan, then spread 1/4 cup refried beans over the top and sprinkled it with 1 ounce shredded pepper jack cheese (Monterrey Jack with jalapeños and other hot peppers, fyi). I wrapped the pan handle in foil and put it under the broiler long enough to toast the cheese a little. I have found my new favorite breakfast, for a while anyway.

¡Muy delicioso!


Meatless March* was largely a success. I had intended to update weekly with what I ate, but what I ate turned out to be far less exciting than I hoped. I had had visions of amazing homemade creations involving quinoa and tofu, but in the end I was lazy and let someone else do the cooking most of the time.


Going into the month, I knew I would make an exception for the Lagunitas beer dinner that I had prepaid $65 for before I made the meatless decision. I also had prepaid for a sushi-making lesson. But fish and shellfish is a grey area for a lot of people (and even poultry), so I didn’t feel as “guilty” about that one. That was a lot of fun (sushi in the first two photos MADE BY ME!), except for what I should have realized would be the forced social, introduce-yourself-to-your-neighbor aspect, which I should have anticipated as it was a Living Social Adventure, but that’s a whole other tangent.


Anyway, other than the above two situations, my only “cheats” were with Smack Shack food truck Lobster Mac & Cheese mid-month (it’s my very favorite thing that they make), and a salmon burger a couple of days ago that was a photoshoot prop for a recipe book my work colleagues are producing.

I gave myself those two fish/shellfish items because at the Lagunitas beer dinner, I sat next to a self-professed “non-meat eater’ who does, in fact, eat birds and fish. Other than the welcome charcuterie (which involved beef tongue and pork “balls,” the content of which to this day remains ambiguous), the main courses were tuna and duck. So according to some sources, that was mostly not a cheat either. My mom never served asparagus or peas for texture reasons when I was a kid (asparagus is now just about my favorite vegetable), but we often had beef tongue and I view it as a treat.

But I digress.


Breakfast was usually two eggs, cheese (usually chevre), greens or tomato, and an orange. A couple of times a week, I got a Bruegger’s bagel and cream cheese, with my orange.


Lunch was more diverse, and yet not. Other than a few salads that I packed, some regulars developed. Chipotle veggie burrito bols appeared several times, as did the tasty Greekish concoctions from Trieste Café on the ground floor of my office building. Falafel Friday became a favorite theme, and Omar also makes the best chocolate cake in the world!


Supper often involved pizza because it’s easy to do meatlessly and still feel like you’re getting enough to eat. Supper also often involved black bean burgers. Let’s add this up, I think I had five different ones altogether. Republic, Acadia, Groveland Tap, Longfellow Grille. Hmm. Maybe there were only four. Acadia wins far and away, no competition, for best black bean burger. The right combination of moist, holds together, and flavor. Republic’s mushroom open-faced sandwich came in second, though I’d like to see about twice as much of it.



Honorable mention goes to Kieran’s Irish Pub, where I had some amazing wild rice and cheese stuffed mushrooms. The salted tofu was and wasn’t what I was expecting, and was really good with the spicy tomato jam.


I also survived a visit by my mother, who would never consider not having meat for the evening meal. I was a little disappointed that she only ate one of the Bruegger’s Everything bagels that I got specifically for our breakfasts. I, on the other hand, did not avoid the bagels. Lunches, I kind of sidestepped. Suppers I got through by going half-and-half on a pizza, and then by making a hotdish into which it was easy to add chicken and pasta for my mom and tofu for me, with plenty of leftovers for a subsequent meal.

So today, April 1st, I had initially thought I’d go out (to Butcher and the Boar, then to Saffron) to break my meat-fast. Then, the weather was supposed to be outstanding, so I thought I’d just grill a steak at home. Then my new stove was delivered and I decided to broil rather than grill, just to use it for the first time. I still included salad and vegetables. 

However it happened, I ate a chunk of meat today!

* I decided to do Meatless March for one reason which followed another: I often don’t eat meat for days at a time, unintentionally, because I like beans and tofu and stuff. When I heard some other people talking about giving up meat for March/Lent, I thought, Oh, I can do that, no prob.

Maybe I mentioned this already in my Meatless March introductory entry. Because I have decided to deprive myself, ALLLLLLLIWANTISMEATMEATMEATMEATMEAT. But for once in my life, I am actually engaging in some willpower. I know it doesn’t happen often, so don’t fall off your chair.

Here is the accounting of the first full week. I was hoping to have had time to prepare food at home more but I have eaten out a lot, and kind of made the same thing or a variation thereof when I did manage to make it myself. Oh well. I make the things I make because I like them. I’m really diggin’ the quinoa at present.


Folded over egg thing w/quinoa et al
Baja Sol veggie tacos
Pizza Lucé tri-pepper pizza


Folded over egg thing w/quinoa et al, grapefruit
English muffin, orange
ww tortilla tofu quinoa pizza thing


eggs-chevre-sunflower shoots, orange
Real Meal Deal veggie sub, chips
refried bean pizza


eggs-chevre-sunflower shoots, orange
Acadia black bean burger*, orange
quinoa pizza


eggs-chevre-sunflower shoots, tomatoes, orange
Acadia veggie melt
Republic black bean burger w/mushroom, Swiss
Sawatdee tofu pad tai, cream cheese wontons


Sawatdee tofu pad tai (leftover)
salad w/tofu and orange
ww tortilla+pepperjack
Groveland Tap veggie burger


Bruegger’s Everything bagel+cream cheese, orange
D’Amico fresh mozzarella salad, caprese panini (more toasted than the one last week), chips
Longfellow Grill garden burger w/salad

*Due to this whole Meatless March thing, I have been trying everybody’s veggie burger. Acadia Café, you hands-down have the best with your amazing Black Bean Burger. None of the others come close! Republic, you have good flavor but it doesn’t hold together. Longfellow Grill, yours was pretty tasty, too, but it all squished out of the bun by the time I was half-finished.


I just got back from a meet, greet, and get informed session about volunteering at Kitchen in the Market, the commercial kitchen space within the Midtown Global Market. If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time you know I love to cook, and while I don’t have any delusions that I’ll suddenly become a chef or anything remotely close, I thought this opportunity to be support staff for cooking class events (both public and private) would be an interesting something different to do.

It was billed as an information session to enlighten us as to what they look for in volunteers and what we as volunteers might expect. It turned out to be a little mini-class in its own right.

As soon as we arrived at the space, we were offered KITM’s “signature” champagne cocktail—glass drizzled with liquor, champagne poured, a few drops of bitters—after showing proper ID—”I don’t care if you look 112 or 12”—before anybody even said a word (an informational word, that is). Champagne? Okay, this is already fun!

There was presented actual information for a few minutes before we broke into three groups to prepare snackens for immediate consumption.


I was in the vegetables dipped in vodka then dipped in flavored salt group. I chopped the radishes with, I have to say, surprisingly, a rather dull knife (ahem). White=sea salt, orange=spiced/hot salt, grey=smoked salt.


Another group prepared delicious guacamole, which also contained a bit of the smoke salt and smoke something else which I don’t remember what.


The final group prepared a pomegranate-quincekumquat salsa. Well, I didn’t hear its official name but that’s what I’m calling it. And I think those orange, citrusy but bitter slices are quince, right?


All accompanied by a glass of wine whilst we chit-chatted amongst ourselves and with the KITM folks.

Volunteer duties include patron interface, food prep assisting, wine carafe and glass filling, clean-up (dishes and mopping), and the like. You know, I’ll give it a whirl. It seems like something that could take me down some unexpected path that jolts the routine of my life, and that would be exciting.


As you may remember, my Christmas coping strategy was to keep myself busy in the kitchen. I did so with gusto the entire long weekend, and here, finally, are the photos and recipes I said I’d post. I realize that you’ve probably forgotten all about my promise but I haven’t, and in that collection of twisted wires I call my brain, I will not be able to move on and write new posts until I take care of this outstanding business. I seem to have tidied-away my menu plan for the week, but fortunately I sorted my photos into a Christmas Week 2010 folder.

If you care to print any of the recipes, I have inserted a page-break at the beginning of each recipe so that it can be on its own piece of paper.



*Denotes a deviation from the original recipe.

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