Monday, June 16, 2014

Week in Review (Monday to Sunday) 6/9 to 6/15

Week in Review (Monday to Sunday).

Had a quick and tasty Father's Day brunch in PV this morning to celebrate the three dads in the family.  Keith and Mo are on a new Paleo-esque diet and I was the first to criticize their new fad diet.  The criticism is auto-response when it comes to interactions with Keith.  Note to self: Stop that!  Rich is not keen on partnering up with me to do any of the various cleanses or dietary restrictions I've wished to embark on, and I've failed to fully commit to any of them too. It's tricky when your list of food allergies and intolerances is so long it has to be saved as a google doc and shared with friends before dinner parties.

After the breakfast, we headed for a little hike in the area to work off some of those glasses of wine and sausages wrapped in bacon from last night's event.   We ended up in the backcountry of PV, saw goats and horses, wild peacocks and wildflowers. We came across a little league baseball field and reinforced some of the baseball concepts (like running the bases) that we've been doing at home.  It was a reminder that realia works when teaching something new!  Oliver loved every second of it, from standing on the pitching mound to running the bases, to throwing the ball into infield and outfield to sitting in the dugout and so forth.  He is going to love playing sports, I think.

We watched a decent world cup soccer match between Bosnia Herzegovina and Argentina, snacked on popcorn and water (again to recover from our night out), and I ended the weekend with a non-traditional father's day dinner -- salad.  The beauty of the moment was how much Oliver ate of the salad.  Here is what was in it:

red leaf lettuce
roasted cauliflower
blanched and sauteed broccoli with lemon juice, garlic and feta
heirloom tomatoes
toasted pine nuts
feta cheese

After dinner and after Oliver went to bed, we feasted on these fig bars, which I made Rich friendly by subbing quinoa for almond flour, soy for almond milk, and sunflower butter for almond butter. I bet I would like the almonds in the recipe, but these were so good, they couldn't be missed.

It was a great day overall.

Other highlights
-Saturday night Camerata singers Broadway show and silent auction with Amy and Sarah followed by drinks at the Factory
-Oliver not wanting to take off his Team Luca hockey shirt despite wearing it at the party, sleeping in it, and wearing it all day the next day.
-Work end of the year party at Debbi's
-the courtyard at the Ayres hotel for the seniors' dinner
-dinner and REALLY expensive wine at Terranea that I didn't have to pay for!

More to come!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


My mom and dad came over for a visit today, to help us kickstart a project in our backyard.  She has this way of coming over to dig out drywall and then cleaning my stove at the same time. Oh yeah, and she brought over lunch for all of us.

She's an amazing lady.  And I am so lucky and grateful for her.

Dad's great, too, don't get me wrong.

So today, in my quest to return to doing more of the simple things that I love, I made yogurt. This is the second time this week I made yogurt.  Since unsweetened soy yogurt has gone off the shelves, I made a batch earlier this week for Rich which was pretty yummy, pretty successful.  A while back, I realized that making yogurt saves us 50% over buying yogurt and it is so simple.   So today, I went back to it and made a batch of 2% unsweetened yogurt.  I've heard that "we should eat whole fat dairy because low fat has more sugars" and while that argument is SO true for low-fat foods generally (READ: processed food), really, the 2% is really tasty and given the amount of yogurt I eat, it seems like the right thing to do to go for the 2%, for the lower fat and the less cholesterol. Sugars, yes, I'm watching those, cutting out sugars except for fruit (and booze...sigh), but I haven't made the leap to full-fat yogurt yet. Here's an article from Huffington that I'll have to take a look at.

In the meantime, I will work to perfect my homemade yogurt and get my gut healthy.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Getting Back into it

I fancy me a writing project, or perhaps just a project. My brain is often feeling rather mushy these days and anxiety sets in, reminding me that I'm going to die of dementia if I don't keep my brain active and keep creating new neural connections.

So naturally I turn to food and language. neural connections. I'm supposed to make new neural connections.  Oh well! Enjoy it, right.

I don't often search blogs - she who has the time for that is not me since I teach and don't spend my days in front of the computer -- but I do sense that a real look inside the kitchen of a working mom is not as pretty as some may think. Let's be more specific.  A working mom with what most people would say are stringent ideas as to what food actually is and what I buy and serve to my spouse and 3 year old bundle of precious joy, Oliver.  Food philosophy post holds for now, but here are a few things.

I strive to all my produce from farmer's markets and have just signed up for a local veggie delivery, Beach Greens. eat largely vegetarian and whole foods. organic as much as possible. the carbs, but not eliminate them
...sugar, ditto.

So what does the home of two full-time teachers with a 3 year old look like? Well, it's dirtier than I'd hope, but there is almost always a homemade meal on the table.  Tonight's meal

Summer squash, roasted turnip, and carrot pureed soup with a little brown rice added in for the hubby to fill him up. Some organic tortilla chips for dipping and glasses of water with slices of lemon from our neighbor's lemons.

The soup was cooked on Monday, in a large batch, and has served us well for two dinners thus far.

Keep it simple and light.  With all the temptations from the day including my first (and last) krispy kreme donut and really, all we needed is a bowl of vegetables for dinner.

Friday, February 04, 2011

List of Favorites, Aberdeen

1) Nature's Larder:  Just about the only independently owned place in Aberdeen city where you can get whole grains, spices, gluten and lactose free alternatives, natural beauty and cleaning products, awesome teas.

2) Bridgefoot Organics weekly organic veggie box, delivered directly to my door.

3) The Belmont Picturehouse: place to see quirky films be they independent, oscar worthy or even old classics. They have an excellent members deal well worth the money, and a lovely bar downstairs (10% off with membership) with artichoke wallpaper!

4) Heath and Heather teas:  I've especially been enjoying their Apple Cinnamon

5) LoveYoga for ashtanga yoga and the day long Yoga of Birth class with Judy

6) Trips to Malta and visits, especially visits with my little nephews

Friday, January 07, 2011

Eating Well Before Vacation

It's a common dilemma.  You're heading out on holiday in a few days so you don't want to fill your kitchen  with a new batch of perishables, so you try to turn what is left in your vegetable drawer and on your pantry shelves into a healthy, wholesome meal.

That's the scenario in our house at the moment.  We're going to Malta in two days for a week long visit with my relatives.  We know we'll be treated well, spoiled with amazing and rich Maltese food (which I hope to document this time around!).  We'll definitely get our fair share of butter from the countless  tarts and savory pastries we'll be enjoying, and refined flours from the homemade lasagna we'll enjoy for the first course of Christmas lunch and  the pasta suppers we're bound to be invited to.

Even when it's a hotel holiday we're heading out for, I try my best to eat well before we embark because of the indulgences we'll enjoy on our holiday meals out and cafe and pastry stops.

Thus, before we leave for our holidays, I turn my attention to getting a good dose of fruit and vegetables into our bodies, while at the same time trying to clear out the pantry of all the foods which will spoil if we don't use them.

So...pre-holiday cooking is the perfect time to prepare some freezer meals.  We can eat healthy before we go and also have a warm supper waiting for us upon our return from the journey.  Soup is a perfect option.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Quick delicious breakfast or snack smoothie

I just realized the granola I've been eating for the past 2 weeks has close to 500 calories a serving!  Holy moly.  And I don't even like it that makes my belly hurt a bit, perhaps because its so heavy or maybe a result of the amount of sugar in it.  It has raisins in it, fair enough, but also extra cane sugar.  That's why I like to make my own granola at home, so I can control the sugar level, but I haven't perfected it quite yet.  Oh how I miss the low fat granola @ the Berkeley Bowl.
Anyway, I've been super into smoothies for a while and managed to get myself to abandon my date, almond, raw cocoa powder favorite for something new.  This was really simple and delicious.

Tropical Smoothie

1/2 - 1 banana to your preferences
2 tbs dessicated coconut
1 cup frozen mango chunks
about 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk

Blend and serve. The coconut and soy provide some protein and help to fill you up.  I like to serve mine in a wine glass to make it a little extra special.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Steel Cut Oats vs Rolled Oats

We all know whole grains are good for us.  They contain more fiber.  They make you feel fuller faster.  They don't convert to sugar as quickly as more processed foods and therefore help keep our sugar levels more steady throughout the day, which can help keep energy levels more even (as opposed to highly refined flours which lack much in nutritional value and can cause our energy levels to the low you get after a sugar high).  

They can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.  This is what WHFoods has to say about whole grains:  

"Eating a serving of whole least 6 times each week is an especially good idea for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure.  A 3-year prospective study of over 220 postmenopausal women with CVD, published in the American Heart Journal, shows that those eating at least 6 servings of whole grains each week experienced both:
  • Slowed progression of atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque that narrows the vessels through which blood flows, and
  • Less progression in stenosis, the narrowing of the diameter of arterial passageways."

My mom is an incredibly healthy eater.