VII.

15 February, 2011 Leave a comment

This is a post in two parts: what I ate for most of yesterday, and what I made for dinner last night!

Part 1, the boring part. I started out my day with the usual bowl of weetabix and light soya milk. Since it was Valentine’s Day, I asked my boyfriend to make it for me. I’ve heard that other couples have nice Valentine’s breakfasts, but he had to leave the house at about 8 so a bowl of cereal was all time allowed.

After my extra-long run – extra-long for me, ok? – I had a big spoonful of crunchy peanut butter. I don’t know if 5 miles is enough of a run to need extra protein, but I was hungry and we didn’t have much else in the house.

Lunch was an oatmeal concoction: 1/2 c oats, 1 1/2 c water, 1/2 c soya milk, 1 T muscovado sugar, 1 T cocoa powder, 1/8 cup dried coconut, 1/2 t vanilla extract, 1/2 t almond extract, and a sprinkling of slivered almonds and a few chunks of chocolate of the 70% cocoa variety. The calories in dried coconut always terrify me, but its one of the only ways I can get myself to eat oatmeal.

Part 2, the fun part. Now, it was Valentine’s Day, after all, so I didn’t feel too bad about going a little crazy with food. Not feeling guilty about eating is one of my long-term goals, and I don’t know if I’ll ever attain it, but I can almost eat one meal without having any negative feelings. So, of course, we had wine. White wine to start, paired with scallops and cauliflower puree. I only had one glass of the white, since I’m more of a red wine drinker – we finished the bottle of that one! Along with a few cheeses (manchego and camembert, nothing fancy) and some straight-out-of-the-oven chocolate mini-cakes that I baked in individual ramekins and served with a dollop of cream and some berries. It was delicious.

Yes, I know. “Aren’t you a vegetarian?” No, I don’t identify as a vegetarian. I so rarely eat any kind of flesh that, for almost all intents and purposes I can be considered one – except the purpose of “not being ostracized by the vegetarian community.” So I say I’m a vegetarian if I’m going to a dinner event, and I ask if things are vegetarian when I go to restaurants, and I don’t generally cook meat or seafood or whatever. But sometimes I do. Like when I have scallops for Valentine’s Day.

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VI.

14 February, 2011 Leave a comment

Ah, home. It sure is nice. Traveling is fun, but weekends in foreign countries really do tire a girl out.

And it’s Valentine’s Day! (More about that later.)

But first let me tell you about my run this morning.

I am notoriously inept when it comes to reading maps, knowing what direction I’m facing, and so forth. However, I thought I had found a pretty clearly marked 2.5 mile loop on one of those online run-mapping tools. I usually don’t bother with things like that, because I don’t worry too much about exact distances or anything, but I’m not too familiar with the area and didn’t want to get lost. But get lost I did, and pretty spectacularly at that! I actually had to stop and ask for directions. My 2.5 miles turned into 5 miles, and while I didn’t run the whole thing, and the parts that I did run were pretty slow, I’m still proud of myself.

I am also slowly getting less self-conscious about being seen running, which I’m even more proud of. I still don’t think I’ll ever want to go running on a busy street or in a park full of other runners, but I ran past a few other people today and didn’t worry (too much) about what they thought of me – even if they saw me walking, not running. One girl looked to me like one of those “real runner” types – real running attire rather than my Victoria’s Secret sports bra, college-logo’d shorts, and fraternity tee-shirt – and we crossed paths on my way out. But since I ended up turning around after 2.5 miles rather than continuing to look for a loop back (which I have learned does not actually exist), I passed her again on my way home – and she was just standing in one place, pacing a little. It reminded me of, well, something I’d do. And bit by bit, I’m coming to the conclusion that nobody’s out there to judge other runners, we’re all just out there to run. And that’s a nice feeling.

Now, some tea, relaxation, and prep for Valentine’s dinner…

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V.

13 February, 2011 Leave a comment

Another quick update, since I’m still off on a grand adventure.

Yesterday my marvelous boyfriend and I went to a nice (and by that I mean “expensive”) dinner for the first time in many months. We hadn’t spent this much money on a meal since I took him out for his birthday in the fall! But you know what? It was worth it, even as poverty-stricken (well, almost) graduate students. I had a fantastic onion tart as a first course that was served with gorgonzola ice cream, believe it or not. And the cheese selection for dessert was, if not as novel as the blue cheese ice cream, just as delicious. And cheese is a good way to end any meal.

Today, though, I must rely on convenience stores and airport food courts for sustenance, since we’re on our way home. The weekend was fun, but I am excited to go back to my own bed and sleep all day tomorrow. (Not all day, I guess – I have to cook Valentines dinner!)

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IV.

11 February, 2011 Leave a comment

Hello from somewhere very cold! I am on my Valentine weekend getaway to, well, I won’t say exactly where (because my life is top-secret, of course), but suffice it to say that it used to be part of the USSR.

A nice hotel, dinner reservations at a nice restaurant…and then back to the usual on Monday. Bah. I do have a nice dinner planned for Monday, of course, since I am a very sappy person and love my boyfriend very much.

Just a short update today – I have exploring to do!

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III.

10 February, 2011 Leave a comment

Today I have a real confession. Last night, I intended to sample lots of wines, plural noun, which I did, but then I also ended up drinking lots of wine, mass noun. And it was great! I haven’t had a little too much to drink in a long time. Or ingested such an abundance of cheese! It made my boyfriend and I feel like undergraduates again. (Because, as graduate students, we are very far removed from that life, of course.) When you live with somebody, things can fall into a comfortable routine – I suppose the alternative is a never-ending series of passionate altercations – which is really, really nice most of the time, but doing something novel and crazy once in a while is a welcome change. And if the craziest thing I ever do is have half a wheel of camembert for a bedtime snack, I still qualify as a boring person.

I was a little thirsty this morning, but otherwise unscathed. I had my usual four weetabix for breakfast, with a few raspberries for added oomph. (And vitamins.) In addition to my wine habit, I’ve developed quite a tea habit, so I also had a few cups of rooibos.

Then my run, my longest in a while. I mentioned before that I sort of hibernated for the darkest and most depressing parts of winter, and this week is the first that I’ve been racking up any significant mileage. I stayed out for 30 minutes today, which is a very nice amount of time, I think. I’m happiest with a 30-45 minute run about five days a week, and I’m confident that I’ll be back at that point in a week or two. If I had nicer places to run, an hour would be great, but I think I’d exhaust all of the scenic roads in the area in an hour, and I don’t like repetition or doubling back. Well, we’ll see.

For a post-run snack I had some delicious rhubarb yogurt, a sprinkling of my homemade granola (all that was left), and a few more berries.

We’re a little low on food, so lunch was a bowl of oatmeal with a bit of sugar, some cocoa powder, and vanilla and almond extracts. I have to trick myself into thinking oatmeal is something else or I can’t eat a whole bowl of it.

Dinner was the only “fun” meal of the day, since I got to cook it! I was a bit mad at myself, though, since I forgot to save half of the onion I used yesterday for today. Still, inner was delicious anyway – a sort of aloo channa chaat to which I added some carrots, just to use up our bounty. I prefer all of my foods carrotless, certainly, but if you make the curry flavorful enough, those darn carrots can disappear. Almost. (I learned to cook when I lived in the West Indies, in case you’re curious about why a white girl like me does so much Indian-inspired cooking.)

No late-night wine-drinking or cheese-eating today – I have a long day tomorrow. Details to come.

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II.

9 February, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, I’ve made it to day two as a blogger. (Do I count as a blogger if I don’t have any readers?)

Today was a more eventful day than most for me, since I’m pretty much a stay-at-home girlfriend these days. It’s a little like I hit the pause button on my life – I went from working 40+ hours a week, or going to uni, or both, to doing none of those things. The funny thing is, I’m all set up to resume my old life next year. But yes, back to today.

I began with a bowl of oatmeal, only because I was out of soy/rice milk to go with my usual weetabix. I love plain weetabix, but can’t stand plain oatmeal, so I made a few additions: half a banana, a few raisins, a bit of cinnamon, a spoonful of muscovado sugar. It was…pretty good. I still prefer my oats in non-porridge forms, like the absolutely stellar oatmeal-cardamom pancakes from the Minimalist in the NYTimes. Let’s pause a minute to mourn the Minimalist column. Oh, Mark Bittman, I just want to see you cook, not emulate Michael Pollan.

Then I went off running through my newly-discovered field. It wasn’t as foggy as it was yesterday, so I was able to see all sorts of things: various farm buildings, a flock of fat white geese that I at first mistook for sheep, the busy road I live on, the nearby park-and-ride. There was also traffic on my little farm road. Two trucks passed me, and I kindly stepped off the path for them. I checked a map and apparently went somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.04 miles, but who’s counting? I’m still a little sore, and that two miles drained me more than it would have last fall when I was more active, but I’m pretty happy to be back outside, getting all sweaty and mussing up my hair. In a week or so I’m going to try to get back up to 3 or 3.5 miles a day, 5x a week or so, which I know is still a terribly small amount for some people – the people I like to refer to as “runners” – but is a good amount for me.

Lunch was a few eggs from the nearby organic farm, with some cherry tomatoes also from that farm and a few basil leaves plucked from the plant on my windowsill.

I did some grocery shopping in the afternoon in preparation for dinner on Monday (which is Valentine’s Day) because I have a big weekend planned. More on that later.

Dinner had to be early and quick because, well, I have a confession. I drink a lot of wine. Or should I say, a lot of wines. Today was wine tasting night, so while I sampled 8 wines, I probably only drank a couple glasses-full. (I’m not a spitter!) In order to make it to our tasting on time, we had a simple pasta dinner. Spaghetti with a sauce made with tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, onions, anchovies, a bit of red wine, and some capers. I would have thrown in olives if we had any.

I guess that’s all for now.

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I.

8 February, 2011 Leave a comment

Hello, world.

And by that I mean, “Hello, blog world.” I’m ellis. What what? I am destined to be a very bad blogger.

This will not be a photo blog, because I do not like to take pictures, and I certainly do not like to take pictures of my food. I will primarily be posting about food. However, this is not a ‘healthy living’ blog, nor is it a moving chronicle of my journey to better health or a lower weight. I have no advice for you, and should I slip and give some, it is in your best interest to ignore it.

Maybe somebody will find my photo-less blog amusing. But probably not.

Moving forward – as I much prefer it to moving backward. Today.

Breakfast today was my usual bowl of four weetabix and some rice milk. Four weetabix, you say? Q: Isn’t that a lot? A: No, it’s not.

I had to wait for it to warm up before going out for a run, because I cannot and will not run when it is below freezing. My pampered lungs will not stand for it. By the time it reached a toasty 33 degrees F, it was nearly eleven and so I had to have a pre-run snack: leftover polenta cut into cubes. Yes, plain. Also cold – I was in a hurry.

I tried a new running route today, venturing onto some roads that may or may not actually be public. Regardless, they took me through some pretty scenic farmland (sorry, no pictures) and I had a gay old time, until I heard some loud banging and saw many birds flying away. Gunshots, probably not, but at least a bad omen. I made it a grand total of two miles. And boy are my legs sore. I’ve run two days in a row, after several months of winter hibernation.

Lunch was ants on a log, artfully assembled. Three stalks of celery! Yet it did not keep me full until dinner (which has not arrived.) I was forced – absolutely forced – to have an afternoon snack of homemade granola and raisins.

This is what goes into my granola: 1/2 cup veg oil, 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup dried coconut, 1/4 cup chopped pistachios, 1/4 cup slivered almonds, 4 cups rolled oats, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp almond extract.

Dinner is next on my agenda, since, as you can see, I do very little besides eat. I have some parsnips waiting to be mashed, two beets destined for roasting, and that’s as much as I’ve thought through thus far. Perhaps some dal. I have plenty of red lentils, and I can make it extra-spicy because my other half is at a dinner event which he is professionally obligated to attend, partners unwelcome. His absence is the reason for my dreadful lack of dinner planning, which is actually kind of refreshing for a change.

But tomorrow, tomorrow, will be a grand meal, which I will recount in some detail.

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