Monday, June 22, 2009

June 22, 2009

As I write this I'm watching Run, Fat Boy, Run, which is kind of reminiscent of my own running training. Slow, out of shape person, often in ineffective and/or ridiculous-looking workout clothing, tries earnestly. I don't have a pudgy old Indian landlord or a chain-smoking reedy gambling addict pushing me along, just my own need for personal validation and lack of recognition of the probable long-term impact this is all having on my joints.

Anyway, despite the comedy of errors, or whatever it all is, I'm supposed to be running in a race this weekend, a 7.5 miler in Cambridge, Mass. What I didn't think about when I signed up for the race was the fact that my homecoming/graduation party is on the day before the race. My dad has already bought a case of wine, a million bottles of beer, and enough cheese to kill me 10 times over. So, there is a significant likelihood that I am going to be unable to run due to post-cheese coma or hangover. Also there's the fact that I've hardly run at all in the past year. However, I've done two 5-milers on the treadmill in the past couple weeks, along with a few shorter runs, and I feel generally good. The t-mill is obviously not as high-impact as pavement, but for me psychologically, being able to bust out 5 miles on the thing means I've broken through a huge barrier. The variety of cable TV watching options at my new gym is probably to thank for that.

So, that's happening. I'm running a bit, and I love it despite the awfulness of treadmills. Must find outdoor routes, probably over on the rail trail a couple towns over so I don't get hit by cars while running. I just got back from a couple days in NYC that were basically an orgy of bagels and martinis, followed by a massive Father's Day brunch yesterday, so I'm trying to recalibrate myself here and eat a lot of veggies today.

In other big fun food news, I finally got around to trying this recipe for cold-brewed iced coffee that I've been meaning to make for ages and ages. I mentioned it to my mom yesterday and magically she pulled the necessary equipment out of a cabinet. I hadn't even thought to ask if she had a non-electric coffee maker stored away somewhere, since I'd never seen one, but she did, so I was able to throw it together immediately. I ran out to Trader Joe's and picked up some fresh-ground organic sumatra and mixed 1/2 cup of that with 4 cups of cold water in ye olde coffee pot. Stirred it around and put it in the fridge overnight to brew.

And this morning, this is what I ended up with, after straining the grounds out twice. It smelled fantastic, but tasted slightly weak to me at first. But as I had more of it, I decided it was not too weak. Plus, I have a bit left over so I can add that to the brewing water for tomorrow and it'll just get stronger and stronger. Too bad it's freaking freezing here and not iced coffee weather at all! I was wrapped up in a shawl at class today drinking this stuff from an insulated mug.
Before I ran off to class this morning I also had my now-usual breakfast of soy yogurt with Kashi Go-Lean Crunch. This isn't my favorite breakfast of all time--I really miss my banana-spinach smoothies, but I haven't bothered putting the olllld blender here to the test with that. Plus bananas go so fast in this house that I have only bothered trying to buy them once. We'll see what happens with all that, and maybe the veggie smoothie breakfast will return since it does make me feel more alert and vitamin'd-up all day.

And I packed up my morning snack: a scrumptious organic apple and pack of almonds. I've been listening to Jillian Michaels podcasts like it's my damn job (available here, under the Sunday column) and she is all about the organics, and she's got me mostly convinced. I think I'm probably going to end up buying her new book which is all about maximizing/controlling your metabolism by cutting out food and environmental chemicals that cause bad side efffects.
Packed lunch, too, which I usually chow on in the car on the way home. A hummus, tomato, parsley, and sprouts sandwich on Trader Joe's flourless sprouted wheatberry bread, and some organic baby carrots on the side. This bread is the best bread of all time. It isn't for everyone, I guess, since some friends I've recommended it to have really hated it, but I started buying it like 4 years ago and I honestly don't even like non-sprouted breads anymore except after I've toasted the hell out of them. They're too squishy and sugary.

Back to the compulsive listening to Jillian Michaels podcasts, though, she is a pretty awesome motivator. Really, I've been kind of struggling with stress management since I left NY, and listening to her makes me feel more grouunded. Truly, taking the bar exam is not going to be the worst thing that's ever happened to me, and the shitstorm of my law journal editorial board transition is going to be ok and is not all my fault. I'm going to work on being more present and not engaging in escapism (hello, binge drinking and all-day tv-watching). And dealing with this crap so that in a month and a half it will really ALL BE OVER OH MY GOD.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back! (sort of) With Rhubarb!

Oh jeez.

So I've been in crazypants suburbia for 2 1/2 weeks now, and I keep buying groceries (seriously, buying and buying and buying, at like 5 different stores) but mostly I haven't been cooking very much. I've been hanging out with the wee siblings, reuniting with friends, watching the Red Sox, attending my college reunion, working out at the so-much-better-than-stupid-Columbia gym, and oh yeah sort of studying for the bar exam. Oy.

Look, it's Maddy! She is one of my all-time heroes, and she gave a freaking amazing talk at S'Wellesley Reunion. Definitely the highlight (well, ok, basically the only part I went to).

ANYWAY, the point of all this is, I am trying, sort of, but I'm not going to make blog posts about how tasty Kashi frozen dinners are (they really are--why is Kashi so much better than everyone else at everything?).

This little bowl of deliciousness is a work in progress, but basically you can't go wrong with a pile of strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, and oats.

Strawberry & Rhubarb Crisp
Based loosely on the recipe for Double Crunch Bumbleberry Crisp, at
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lb fresh rhubarb, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp arrowroot (could substitute cornstarch or tapioca for this)
  • 1/4 cup canola margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  1. Toss the rhubarb and strawberries with the sugar in a large bowl and leave it alone for 30 mins to a couple of hours to work its magic.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350*
  3. Put the now-syrupy mix of rhubarb and strawberries into a 9x9 in baking dish, sprinkle arrowroot powder on and mix around. You could add the arrowroot before or after you put it in the dish, but I forgot to add it until it was into the baking dish and it wasn't a problem.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the margarine, oats, flour, and brown sugar with your hands or a wooden spoon until it's crumbly and relatively homogeneous. Then sprinkle it evenly over the fruit.
  5. Bake for 45-60 mins, until the rhubarb is tender and the whole house smells like amazingness.

Lessons learned: rhubarb takes a super long time to cook. I sort of knew this, but for some reason I was still following a non-rhubarb recipe in part and only cooked it for 30 mins originally. Big mistake. The bowl of stuff I had at that time was amazing but some of the rhubarb wasn't done so I threw the rest back in the oven.

Also, more thickener! The 1 tiny teaspoon of arrowroot I put in was definitely not enough. I didn't want it to be too starchy, but I think syrupy-ness is an asset here so probably more like 1-2 tablespoons would be ok.

They still have good rhubarb at the supermarkets around here, so I think there's a pretty high probability that I'll make this again very soon so I can try to improve it.

I failed to make it to class this morning so now I'm trying to work out a plan to get to a night class in a couple hours, and I just devoured a (microwaved) sweet potato with black beans and Trader Joe's plain salsa.
And I still had some photos on my camera from the last time I made pizza . . . I brought my remaining packets of yeast home so I think there has got to be some pizza in my future. If I'm feeling extremely ambitious, I may do a few vegan pizzas for my graduation/homecoming party in a couple weeks. Now, off to hunt for a BarBri class and a parking place! I am really sick of having to ride in with my parents at the crack of dawn, so I think I may go check out several other locations this week and next week. It is an exciting life I lead, for reals.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Returning soon, and good news!

The blog I mentioned a couple weeks back when I was making garlicky tofu, which had previously been taken down off the internets, it lives! Here is the original garlicky tofu recipe: Tofu con Mojo de Ajo. I can't wait to make this again with the real guidance that I could only barely remember from 3 or 4 years ago when I read this recipe.

I've been at Chez Mom&Dad for something like 4 days now, and I've done shockingly well at eating healthfully, but haven't cooked anything interesting so far. Mainly I've been having a bit of what my mom cooks (whatever's vegetarian, which generally means a wee bit of a veggie and a wee bit of some pasta) plus some additional item like a Sunshine Burger or Trader Joe's Thai Dumplings. I've been reacquainting myself with the concept of microwaving, after many years without one. (Lesson learned: it's convenient but tends to ruin nearly everything.) And one of the memory cards to my camera seems to be busted, so my attempts at taking some photos have not worked out. But I'm thinking by this weekend I should actually be operational with a bit of cooking and some photos. Mainly I really want to make THIS. And pizza, and kale, and something interesting with beets. I have gone a little bit overboard with the grocery shopping since I've been here. It's the combination of needing to nest in my temporary home and the extreme joy of being able to go grocery shopping with a car. You can take the girl out of the suburbs, but well, you know the rest.

And now I'm up too late looking at recipes and about to crash out on the couch which is theoretically verboten (the parents don't like it when I sleep on the couch, but I'm sharing a room with my sister, which is wildly inappropriate at our age, and I am approaching my limit with that).

One last thing -- I haven't had a drink since Friday! That's practically a week! How about that. I half-expected to go through physical withdrawal from not drinking after the intense celebration and goodbye drinking over the last few weeks I was in NYC, but thankfully it seems I did not actually become chemically addicted to the large amount of beer and vodka I consumed during that time. I did dig my martini shaker out of a box tonight though, so the week of drying out may be coming to an end relatively soon. Summertime!