Archive for June, 2013

Spaghetti Squash (and other veggies-in-disguise)

Posted in Recipes/Food with tags , , , , , , , on June 30, 2013 by Dena

I’ve decided I like it!

I originally tried it back when I was on South Beach Diet a few years ago. I had tried to use it as a replacement for pasta and … I dunno, it didn’t do too much for me at the time. Maybe I just don’t like it with spaghetti sauce, or maybe it was seemingly everyone claiming it was exactly like real spaghetti which caused me to be disappointed that it wasn’t.

In any case, I gave it another chance today–told myself, “Okay, this is SQUASH, deal with it” and tried some with just butter, salt, and Parmesan cheese … and I like it! I think next time, I’ll add cooked chicken. Would probably be good with garlic too. Hell, maybe I’ll even try adding spaghetti sauce again sometime to see if I’ve warmed up to it.

I only ate about a third of it, and put the other two thirds in the freezer so I’ll be able to have some again soon with less effort. I also kept the seeds (also in the freezer) so I can roast them some time–I read somewhere that you can roast the seeds of just about any squash and it’ll taste about the same as roasted pumpin seeds, and I used to love those. I just feel so resourceful right now  =P

I’ve also decided that I like grated cauliflower “rice”, also with just butter and salt.

I tried making turnip “fries” not too long ago–they didn’t turn out very good, but I think they were under-cooked, so I’m definitely gonna give that a shot again sometime.

Y’know, I think I just like vegetables that don’t look like vegetables  XD

Some of the more “hard core” members of the Paleo community frown on this sort of thing–it’s the idea of making primal food mimic “standard American diet” (I love that the acronym for that is “SAD”, BTW, very fitting) food rather than keeping it the way it is–like you’ll be more likely to go back to the old food or something. I do kind of see the point, but I dunno … I just think stuff like this is kind of fun to make sometimes.

Maybe it’s the challenge.

Cool Whip vs. Reddi-wip

Posted in Musings, Recipes/Food with tags , , , , , on June 29, 2013 by Dena

Just thought I’d share something interesting I came across.

Something about summer is making me crave fruit (preferably strawberries and blueberries) and whipped cream–in fact, it sounds like a nice thing to have on July 4th. Now of course, ideally, if you want something like whipped cream, you should just make it yourself so that you know what’s in it, and I am trying to cut down on pre-processed stuff because it’s almost always loaded with junk–but, due to my living situation, I don’t always get access to the kitchen when I want it, so I started thinking about what I read about Cool Whip recently, that it’s vegetable oil based–ick.

So I looked it up and, sure enough, the first three ingredients are water, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and high fructose corn syrup (you get down to 5th place before you see a dairy product and it’s skim milk).

So, I immediately thought, “Well, uh … how about Reddi-Wip, the stuff in the spray can? Yeah, that’s probably worse”. But actually the first three ingredients are cream, water, and sugar … no HFCS even.

Yeah, ironically, the stuff in the aerosol can is the lesser of two evils–who knew? I’m not saying it’s a good option (it’s list of ingredients is just as long as Cool Whip’s), but at least it has actual cream in it. As an occasional thing goes, it could be worse.

Hopefully I’ll lose the craving by Monday, but if not, I may just end up getting some.

Not eating as many veggies as I probably should

Posted in Recipes/Food with tags , , , , , on June 24, 2013 by Dena

This is something I’ve noticed recently. And … surprisingly it doesn’t seem to be too big of a deal, at least in the short term.

It makes sense–paleolithic people probably occasionally had to survive on just the animals they killed  if it was during the winter or edible plants were otherwise unavailable. Not to mention people like the Inuits who thrive on eating that way all the time.

It’s not that I don’t eat ANY veggies, but it’s mostly just a small helping of steamed carrots and the lettuce I use in my lettuce wrap for lunch … at home I go straight for the meat and cheese, or the “paleo bread” with peanut butter or cream cheese on it, whether it’s dinner or the weekend (other than something like garlic-stuffed green olives, I probably go the whole weekend without ever even looking at a vegetable XD).

I’m probably missing out on nutrients that I should be getting, but I’m not suffering any ill effects right now. It is something I hope to correct in the near future, especially after the move, when I’ll be able to cook more often.

But, for right now, I’m not gonna sweat it.

EDIT – This post was inpired by a forum post on MDA that I figured I’d link to–rather than having me try to regurgitate what was said in it, it’s better to just point whoever might be interested to the original material: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread88510.html

Step 1 of the move is nearly done

Posted in Moving, Musings with tags , , , on June 17, 2013 by Dena

The first thing we needed to do was move all of the stuff we had in the cheap outdoor storage unit to our nice new climate-controlled  indoor storage unit.

There are a whole lot of reasons for this–aside from the obvious: the fact that we can put delicate things in there without having to worry about heat ruining it or bugs getting into it–the company who owned the old unit had been bought out by a bigger company who promptly fired the nice old lady who was running the place, plus they’re overly aggressive when it comes to reminding you about rent, yet they seem to conveniently always not be there when you show up to pay said rent (so at best they’re unreliable, at worst they try to screw you). Anyway, short version is that the new company sucks. We were gonna get an indoor unit anyway, but the change is inspiring us to do it faster–screw those people.

We also need to give them 10-days notice, so if we wanna be out of there by the end of the month, we need to have all our stuff out of there by the 20th, which is a Thursday.  Fortunately, there are only about 2 car-loads left–one of stuff we’re gonna move into the new unit, and one of stuff we’re gonna donate, then we’ll be done with all that nonsense.

Step 2 will be packing up everything we won’t need access to for the next few months, and putting that into storage as well.  Not really sure what to pack, tho–I guess a lot of my books could go into storage.

BTW, I recommend Extra Space Storage if there’s one near you. Just keep in mind that their prices vary depending on location–there are 3 in Memphis that I know of. One was super cheap but in the ghetto and the place looked nearly deserted (honestly, we didn’t even go in, just saw the little building with one little window that looked like it was closed, so we left), another was in a nice area, but it was out of our price range–the people at that location helped us find a third one that was in a less ghetto-ish area than the first one but was a lot more affordable.

Anyway, not looking forward to having to deal with moving after work during the week, but at least it’s only twice, then it’ll be over with.

Deer

Posted in Musings with tags , , , on June 14, 2013 by Dena

Interesting timing, I saw a deer when I was out walking.

The reason it’s interesting timing is because I had just been thinking about my last entry and how I talked about “all that wildlife” and started to wonder if I was just romanticizing it. “two thirds of the route is in a parking lot, for god’s sake”, I thought.

Next thing I know, I see something peeking through an iron fence across the street–my first thought was that it was a dog of some kind, but it didn’t take long to realize it was a deer. Apparently it found a gap big enough to fit through, because a second later, I see it bounding across the street where it disappeared. It was a ways away from me, so it wasn’t close-up by any means, but it was still a pretty neat thing to see.

My workplace is fairly close to Shelby Farms Conservatory (that’s where I see the bison every day on the way to work), and I do see deer every once in awhile in a heavily wooded area close to the place I currently live. But the area where I work is kind of industrialized and I’d never seen anything big like a deer there, nor would I ever have expected to.

Speaking of said heavily wooded area, we once barely avoided a deer that was sitting in the middle of the street, just past a hill, so we were nearly on top of the thing by the time we saw it and had to swerve to avoid it. I fretted about it all the way to work thinking that it was wounded and wondering what would happen to it, etc.. So after Lee dropped me off, he took the same route back and called me to let me know that the deer was gone–no evidence that it had been hurt or anything, no blood, it was just gone. So apparently this deer decided to just sit in the middle of the street and troll people.

Walking

Posted in Exercise, Musings with tags , , , , , , on June 12, 2013 by Dena

One thing I’ll miss about working at my current job is being able to take a 30-minute break to take a walk during the work day.

I go out the employee entrance, through the parking lot, then along the sidewalk until I get to the other employee entrance, then loop around again. I think it’s about a mile combined (way too hot to go outside today, so I went on the treadmill in the gym for about the same amount of time, and it said I did 1 mile, so …).

I work for a big company that has a nice building with lots of interesting landscaping around it, including a pool with fountains that attracts ducks and Canadian geese. Also, I’ll usually spot the odd chipmunk before it runs off (OMG, they are so teeny and cute!). I listen to my MP3 player, so it’s just me, my music, and all that nice scenery and wildlife. Not exactly a nature walk, but it’s closer than I ever got in Sacramento.

I’ll still be able to walk after the move, obviously–definitely right after then when I’ll be unemployed for awhile. It won’t be the same, tho.

I’ll have to remember to take some pictures while on my route one of these days, while I still have the chance.

Oh, off the topic of exercise, but we also drive past a herd of bison on the way to work in the morning–I am DEFINITELY gonna miss those bison!

Gardening?

Posted in Musings with tags , , , , , on June 11, 2013 by Dena

This is very out-of-character for me, because I’ve always been an indoor person who hates bugs with a passion … but I’m toying with the idea of taking up some form of gardening in the future.

I read in The Primal Connection that having plants around is therapeutic and healthy–like even just house plants. Then recently I’ve gotten to thinking that it’d be convenient, and cost-effective, to have a vegetable garden … so I’m thinking I might try going that route sometime in the future.

Of course, a garden can’t happen until after we actually buy a house, and who knows when that’ll be. But once we get our own apartment, I might try getting a house plant or two just to see how that goes, then maybe go from there. I know I want to at least have some pots of herbs, like basil. I love basil, but the store-bought stuff turns black and mushy way too fast, I’ve just stopped buying it.

Really, my only issue with the outdoors is bugs–maybe I could get around that tho. It’s something to think about.