Archive for October, 2009

Better than mashed potatoes

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Mashed cauliflower makes a fair imitation mashed potatoes - but for any potato lover, it’s a little disappointing, so I decided to try to have the best of both worlds, by combining potato (just a little bit) with the cauliflower (a whole lot).

The result is awesome, and only about 10 to 20 more calories per serving than the instant cauliflower alone.

1 large head cauliflower

about 2 cups of chicken broth (a 14 to 16 oz can or 2 cups water and a bouillon cube)

1 small potato, or 1 serving’s worth (1/3 to 1/4 cup dry, I believe) of instant mashed potato flakes

liquid for mashing (reserved hot cooking broth and skim milk) 

In a roomy dutch oven, I steam a whole large, trimmed cauliflower in the 2 cups of broth (the broth doesn’t cover the cauliflower) and cover the pan and simmer until the cauliflower is tender. I drain out any of the broth into a cup (in case I need extra moisture). I microwave the potato in the meanwhile (if I’m not using flakes). Then I mash the cauliflower with a potato masher (I mash the potato with it, or add the flakes as I mash) with a little bit of skim milk (maybe a quarter cup) and a little bit of the reserved broth. Sometimes I toss in green onion (the white and an inch or two of the greens), sliced thin right before draining (they’re also good tossed in raw during the mashing instead).

Personally, I like them better than the typical mashed potatoes. They have a lighter, creamier texture and just melt in your mouth - Almost a cross between colcannon (and if you add the onions) champ, two irish mashed potato dishes (recipe link below), without the calories of all the potato and the added butter.

http://fall-recipes.suite101.com/art…_champ_recipes

Writer - Write!

Friday, October 16th, 2009

November is National Novel Writing Month (http://www.nanowrimo.org/).   I’ve been planning for weeks, that this will be the month I start, and make real progress on my novel (one of the six or so I have started).

I love writing, especially fiction (though I have ideas, notes and starts for many nonfiction books as well)   For the past 20 years, Besides the half dozen novels, I’ve started countless short stories, nonfiction book ideas, and have several binders filled with ideas and character sketches, and bits and pieces of dialogue, setting, plot ideas…….

But over the years, I’ve found more excuses not to write than reasons to write.  It’s a bit like weight loss in that regard.  I “want” to do it, but I find so many reasons not to. 

Housework tend to be my main reason for not writing.  I just feel guilty writing when there’s housework to do - and there’s always housework needing to be done.

Except today!

On October 1st, we moved into a lovely new apartment.  During  the moving process over the last couple months.  We’ve downsized considerably, even though we moved into a much larger place, half-again as large as the apartment we left from about 750 square feet to just under 1200.  Before, during, and after the move, we cleaned and organized all of our belongings.  The unpacking is finally done (only about 20 minutes ago, I finished unpacking my craft room/computer room/writing office), and everything is in it’s place and the house is spotless.

So, I am essentially as ready to write as I will ever be.  Hubby’s willing to do all of the cooking and housework while I write (he’s always been willing to do this, and in our old apartment he would tell me to “forget the housework” and write - the problem was that if I forgot the housework, so did he.  His standards of cleanliness haven’t been mind… until now.  This apartment is absolutely new.  Neither of us have lived in a house or apartment that was new when we moved in.   The floor plan, especially in the kitchen is awesome.  It’s very open, beautiful, and has lots of storage and workspace in the kitchen.  Even the bathroom is huge.  And suddenly, Hubby has become a clean freak, which is great (but a tiny bit annoying, but I’ll gladly live with it).  He vaccuums every morning, and we’ve agreed not to wear our outdoor shoes indoors to keep the pale beige carpet pale - and beige.

ISo NOW, I have no excuse not to write.  So, as of tomorrow morning,  I can write essentially full-time.  I have no excuse not to.  I’m excited and intimidated at the same time.   

First on the agenda tomorrow morning is a writing schedule for myself for the week. 

 

 

Egg Trivia

Monday, October 12th, 2009

On a lark, I researched the calorie counts in various eggs (hmm, wonder how many calories lark eggs have).   At any rate, just for fun -

ostrich egg - 2000 calories

emu egg - 1000 calories

goose egg - 265 calories

turkey egg - 170 calories

sea gull egg 140 calories (said to taste of fish)

duck egg - 130 calories

alligator egg - 90 calories

turtle egg - 75 calories

hen’s egg - 60 - 80 calories

guinea fowl egg - 45

quail egg - 15 calories

To a nice girl, who is always on a diet.

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Tonight, while unpacking and sorting some of the storage boxes from the move, I came across my school yearbooks - from junior high and high school, and started reading all the notes left by classmates.

I know I’ve said here before that I’ve been dieting, more often than not, since I was in kindergarten, but it really didn’t strike me how much of an impression it made - especially to not-so-close friends and aquaintances.

Reading the notes, several recurring themes emerged - good grades, despite sleeping and/or being inattentive in class (I’d forgotten how bored I was in school), boys (which boys I liked, and which liked me), comments on how I was nice to everybody (sometimes with almost derogatory tone - as if I wasn’t picky enough - pretty typical puberty pecking order stuff to me).  There were also comments about my extra, or always changing weight (mostly joking or not meant meanly), and comments about my dieting.

It did strike me that I had more friends than I remembered (I was second-tier popular - no a chance of becoming class president or prom queen, and not always invited to the “best” parties, but far from being a social outcast).  Some of the comments from boys were kind of flirty, and I don’t remember if I ever realized that at the time.   I did have two serious boyfriends in high school, and went to every school dance, so it wasn’t as if I thought I was doomed to be dateless in high school - but with some of the comments in the yearbook, I wonder if I was oblivious to some male attention (a couple were from boys I remember having crushes on - so I’d think I would have picked up on flirting FROM them, but maybe I brushed it off as a joke, or didn’t pick up on it, out of self-defense).

Aside from the positive male attention that I appeared to be oblivious to at the time, I was most surprised by the number of notes referencing dieting, especially those that occurred in JUNIOR HIGH 6th through 8th grade.  

The title of this thread is from a classmate in my 6th grade yearbook.  There were several similar notes from boys and girls in every yearbook from 6th grade through highschool, either commenting on my dieting or wishing me luck with my dieting.

You know, I always have known that I have been diet-obsessed most of my life - but I guess I never realized how apparent it was to the people around me (not just close friends, but casual friends and acquaintances too).

I was most surprised at how supportive some of the notes were.  Like many teens, I often felt alienated and sometimes even harassed - and it’s true that the bullying and harassing events rarely makes it into to yearbook reminiscences (I never offered my yearbook to my enemies and frienemies to sign).

At any rate, it rereading the notes, gave me a new perspective on my life, and the person I was at that time, and how it influenced the person I am now.  It’s a bit like self-anthropology/archaeology.