Monthly Archives: August 2013

Food Challenges

Last year i lost almost 40 lbs.  And sadly, i have since gained back over half of it.  The winter killed my running and studying for the PE took up a lot of time (and created a lot of stress eating).  Aimee’s pregnancy meant i lost my running partner and hit some tough emotions, as my primary drive had been to get healthier before getting pregnant myself, something which seemed unlikely during Duncan’s unemployment.

But i’m trying again.  I’ve purchased a FitBit One, having killed my old FitBit a while back, and am just tracking right now.  I’ve also started to document what i eat on a Tumblr, just a photo and description.  The act of “broadcasting” what i eat is helping me make better choices, as well as resist giving in to easy temptations.  Do i want the world to know i ate a giant pile of cookies? No, ok then, how about i don’t eat them?  Since many of my ‘guilty’ foods are highly processed snacks and sweets, i’ve been trying to focus on (mostly) eating things I’ve prepared.

I’ve also been writing when i’ve had a craving.  What it’s been for and what is triggering it.  Sometimes it is about hunger, but i’m finding it’s also about feeling tired, sad, lonely or bored.  When i acknowledge i want food to soothe my emotional or physical state, it’s easier to redirect myself to some water or seltzer.  Cheese and crackers really won’t fix my relationship issues.  Chocolate will not make work less taxing.

I’m using my Laptop Lunchbox for work and it’s great.  Making an effort to choose healthier foods is also helping me to ensure my CSA items are getting used up!

I’m hopeful doing these things will help me lose weight, but in a more general scheme learn to be more aware of my habits and change them for the better.  Wouldn’t it be great at some point if i was able to re-train my brain?

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Modern Families and the Label of Homemaker

I give you The Families Project, from Betty Crocker.

This hit me hard.  As a queer woman, as a person who spends a lot of time in a multiple adult household, and as a person who does care a lot about food, family, home and heart.  The word ‘homemaker’ is a loaded one, and does bring images of women in the 1950’s, strange casseroles and perfectionism.  That Betty Crocker (and so in a way, it’s parent company, General Mills), a company whose name itself represents that gendered stereotype coming out and saying no is kind of awesome.

Don’t rain on the parade and point out it’s all marketing.  It is.  But it’s awesome it’s forward looking marketing, not encouraging women back into the kitchen on some false nostalgia trip or idea of what we ‘should’ be.  Anyway, Betty Crocker has had progressive moments, like the Betty Crocker’s New Boys and Girls Cookbook from 1965.

If you scroll through the slides on the website, one title says “But what we really want isn’t to be old-fashioned, it’s to be together.”  This is so incredibly true!  Families may look different than 50 and 60 years ago, but the heart of it all is the same.  It isn’t just a queer thing –  single folks, single parent households, blended families, multi-racial families, multi-generational families, adoption, how we distribute work (home and career) across those families.  The diversity in what a family looks like is a great thing!  And i have no desire to go back to a time when, because of my gender, I was expected to ignore my own needs and wants to follow social norms.

That said, i also love taking care of my home, cooking, baking, organizing and caring for my family – biological, by marriage and by choice.  That a company is encouraging that passion in a way that respects families of all sorts is touching.

The attempt to change update the word homemaker is also wonderful.  Why can’t homemaker be  another label, after all, i am not always engineering, but it’s a word I use to describe myself.  Because i am not a full-time homemaker does not mean I am not the person responsible for making our house a home!  So thanks Betty Crocker, for encouraging me to take on a new label, homemaker, because i do help turn our little house into a real home, for my husband and our families of birth and choice.

 

Busy night

One of the areas where things are disorganized and play havoc on my daily life is the kitchen. I have the intention to cook healthy dinners for my husband and i, but then i get a migraine, he stays at work too late or decides that vegetables are not really food. And the next day is a date with friends, or I’m home alone. No sense in making ‘real’ food for just me! The night after that, well, I was tired. And then it was girls night. And 2 weeks later the chicken has gone uneaten, i’ve wasted that money (plus the money on higher priced prepared foods) and likely ate food that was not particularly healthy.

With a CSA this actually is even harder. I get veggies that are unfamiliar, even on my second year with this farm, and not a lot of control about it. I don’t want to be wasteful, but i admit to having fed the compost full bunches of radishes and chard due to my own negligence.

BTW, i feel i ought to give the compost, or at least the bin, a name. Hmmm.

Last night i had a little temper tantrum.

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This week’s CSA share – squash, zucchini, garlic, pickling cucumbers, plums, tomatos, beets, eggplant, and a bag of yellow and green beans.

This week’s CSA share had been quite impressive.  We’re in full harvest season here in CT, with a lot of veggies ready to go.  Last week was the second week in a row we had 6 ears of corn (some of which became chowder).  I’d let the summer squash linger over the last few weeks in the fridge.  And that eggplant?  It’s the size of the toaster.  OK, slight exaggeration, but still huge.

The fridge was still full of last week’s foodies, including a GIANT amount of basil.  I couldn’t even count the stalks to be honest, that bag was bigger than the toaster.  I’d had it.

First up, i made pesto.  With my itsy bitsy food processor and pine nuts from the freezer, garlic i had bought last week for the occasion and remnants of cheese i found hiding in the cheese/meat drawer.  This took about 2 hours because tiny food processor and lots of basil.  I ended up with two sandwich bags and one small jar full.  I obsessed, wiping the counter and tools off regularly, afraid if i slowed down or didn’t follow the rules things would take off and become disasters.

Next was dealing with the 6 ears of corn.  That was actually easy – boil, cool and chop off the cob to put into baggies.  Last year almost all our corn ended up frozen and used later on.  It was nice to be able to just grab a little for a recipe.  We don’t often eat corn alone, but i like to throw it into dishes.  Next i did the same with three giant bags of beans.  Fair Weather Acres‘ thing is beans, so we get a lot of them!  Again, not hard, but all the chopping and such was tiring!  I hope i can use the beans similarly to the corn.  Last year i pickled a lot of my beans only to find out i was the only one who liked them.

Then came the pickles.  I wanted to try a new recipe this year and happened to get my large mason jars in the mail, so that’s what we went with.  I’ve got some work to do with them, but they’ve been started at least.

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Cucumbers pickling, pesto made, bags of beans and corn for the freezer.

But still!  I wasn’t done!  There was the squash, zucchini and eggplant to go!

I grated the squash and zucchini to make fritters, although i forgot to squish the water out, so they are not as delicious as last time i made them.  Still, they freeze well and make great lunch food.  I also fried the eggplant, so i can make eggplant parm-ish for lunches or dinner.  I’m excited to try it with the Melville Cheese i picked up at the farmers market.

This all took about 5 hours of non-stop work.  I was multi-tasking, which i’m trying to avoid, but when i realized how deep i was there was just no turning back.  While this happened I also cleaned out the fridge, including purging a lot of junk food we just weren’t going to eat.  I feel as if i made it a little easier to grab something healthy and saved a lot of my CSA veg.  It was a LOT of work, and today i’m paying for it with a sore throat and feeling sluggish, but I am still so happy with myself.  I got rid of clutter, used what i had and created a lot of yummy things!  The best part? I didn’t buy any additional ingredients.  In fact, i used a bunch of things up!  So go me!