Saturday, August 30, 2008

Slow Food Nation

Today we walked into my comfort zone - The San Francisco Slow Food Nation 2008 Tasting Pavilion event. This movement/organization is a fantastic idea - getting people to rely on themselves and home cooking, knowing the source of their food and doing it all in a way that is sustainable, rather than fast food and over commercialized production of food. You can check them out on the web at
The tasting pavilion event we chose to attend is a collection of artisan food makers and educators that align with these Slow Food values. Let me walk you through our day:
Started at the fermented booth (they call it something cuter like Pickles and Chutneys...but it was fermented stuff) and I was re-inspired. A number of them rely on Sandoor Katz's "Wild Fermentation Book" which I myself have not purchased but might after realizing that their stuff tasted a lot better then mine - salt was the big one to actually add flavor. They had about 6 types of kraut, kimchee and one other thing I can't remember, and an amazing rye bread. Similar to the rest of the event each item at the tasting table is served and explained to you by people from all over the U.S. who make it. Adds a real nice touch.
Second we went down to Honey and Preserves - fantastic little vanilla cupcake with rose cream icing and a pistachio. Then a cheese roll with sweet potato butter (which is like apple butter but with sweet potato). This was tasty. They also had some nice jams and bread - tasty but nothing super exciting.
Then we headed over to the fish - they had a really cool display to show all the different types of local fish, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium was there talking about sustainability and sound practices with fishing. The food was interesting - smoked salmon on toast, marinated calamari with tomatoes and basil, tuna with white beans and dill and parsley and a herring wrapped around mozzarella, tomato and basil. This was nice because it all tasted fantastic and except maybe the white beans I would not have done this on my own.
Next in line was the spirits section. This of course was my husbands favorite (until we got to the meat section or 'Charcutiere'). There were about 6 bartenders and/or spirit makers present to let you taste ingredients separate, or mix you a drink. All were extremely tasty and our favorite was that we learned about this other style of gin (Dutch Gin vs London Gin which is what you usually have here in drinks like Bombay or 209). It was something I had never given any thought too, and the taste was pretty amazing - best of all we can visit the distillery here in San Francisco.
After that was coffee, which my husband didn't want to do, but he thanked me afterwards. We were greeted by a perky woman (dipping into the company yummies perhaps....) and a very chill red haired man who gave me a high five when I stopped at his station. He proceeded to tell me all about coffee processing techniques, where this one was from and then let me enjoy it in a nice little espresso cup. It was a nice break in my day for just a moment to sip on that loveliness (I generally don't drink coffee, but I do love the taste and flavor so I indulge here and there).
Then we hit up the ice cream booth which was not terribly impressive. There were some really good ice cream sandwiches that I hope to find in a grocery store soon. The guys are from Portland who make it.
Next was Indian - 3 types of naan (Indian bread) one was garlic, another chilies and the third was a sweet one with raisins and walnuts. They gave two chutneys with it and this was a fantastic snack while we waited in the long line for meats.
Meats were great. It may not be fashionable to be a woman who loves cured meats as much as my husband does for example, but I attribute it to my German heritage and growing up with a Dad and Grandmother who had an appreciation for the Old World connection to it. Anyway, point is I was pretty dang excited about this station. My husband wants to start curing his own meats and making more of his own sausage and everyone on this line was really helpful explaining to him where to start and what to look for. The people in line might have been mad because they just wanted to plug through, but thank you for waiting and thank you to the meat dudes who took the time. Here we had mortadella, sopprasata, pork confit with pepper jelly on toast and salami - all without nitrates/nitrites, all natural meat. It was a good moment.
We skipped cheese, chocolate, wine and olive oil because the line was around the corner and out the door for cheese, and the lines were long for the others and we just didn't see anything compelling to taste. Lines were the biggest problem at this event. Otherwise, so worth it. Pretty kid friendly too I would say.
We ended the day at the American Indian food booth - where I asked a woman in front of me if the Cheese booth was waiting in line for because I saw she had a plate. She looked at me and said 'oh yes, and actually we got two plates would you like the other'. THANKS! yes yes yes yes. And it was worth it. So although I skipped that booth, and although the chili and wild rice cakes at the American Indian booth were tasteless, I got some great cheese. After the American Indian booth we walked right across to the beer booth. Both full as heck by this time, we picked two each and that was the end of what our stomachs could handle. My favorite was this ale aged in pinot noir barrels- really unique.
All in all, a great day and I would recommend going next year. Definitely take the time to ask questions at the booths and the people standing around - most are working for a really great cause that you make want to take part in.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Phelps and the Corn Flakes

Another TV at the gym story....
It was a basic interview with some reporter and a spokesperson from some national obesity society. They were talking about how this society opposes Michael Phelps signing with Corn Flakes to be their new spokesperson. The basis of the opposition is that Phelps should be encouraging children to eat broccoli and not corn flakes, and that parents already have a hard enough job and he is going to contribute to the obesity problem getting worse.
No. I don't think so. To be more specific, yes I would have liked to see Phelps promoting something I believe in more, like broccoli, but this is America and these are the behaviors of basic economics. Furthermore, this is not a new concept for any of these large food conglomerates. They know how to sell and it works.
Luckily, I was on the bike when I was watching this so at least I got a really good workout in, but I was fuming when I heard this spokesperson raging on about how terrible the Corn Flake deal was with Phelps. The truth is, the responsibility is on the parents, educators, and other support figures that are involved in the everyday life of our children. There are parents out there successfully keeping their kids away from junk food and high sugar cereals like corn flakes. Maybe not everyday, but they have a way of managing the manipulated food dilemma in our country. So it begs the question that if some have done it, why are we pinning the problem on a third party for the growing population that is not addressing this issue in their home.
Quite simply, Phelps cannot be held accountable for that. Nor can Kellogg's. Everyone has a choice and everyone has the right to raise their children and provide an education - whether it be about books, finances, food or love - they have the right to do it how they want and it is up to them to get the message across.
Also, if you don't want your kids eating corn flakes, and they ask in the store, you can always say no. Phelps is not in the store telling you that you have to.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Quinoa for Breakfast

I made an amazing quinoa cereal for breakfast. I got the idea from the Bauman recipe exchange (thank you JamieL). Before I give you the recipe though, I thought I should talk a little bit about what quinoa is (besides amazing).
Quinoa (pronounced 'keen-wah') is just about one of the most amazing grains. It is non glutinous, meaning it does not contain gluten and which also means it is not as inflammatory to our bodies as wheat is for example. It is the only grain that contains all 9 essential amino acids (meat also contains all 9 essential amino's on its own, but all other grains have to be combined with something else to make a 'complete' protein).
It tastes somewhat nutty, and it's texture can be a bit like couscous meets rice. It takes no more than 15 minutes to cook, and you always follow a 2 to 1 ratio of liquid to quinoa to cook it. It makes a great salad, cereal, side dish, and main dish. It absorbs whatever you put into it.
About 1/2 cup on it's own is one serving and that packs approximately 12 grams of protein!

Here is the recipe for the cereal. If you have 15 minutes in the morning to make this, it would be best fresh. Otherwise, you can make a batch and re-warm with a bit of almond or rice milk.

This would serve about 4 people
1 cup Quinoa
2 cups almond milk
1 medium apple, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup goji berries
4 tbsp golden flax seeds
1 tbls agave nectar or honey

Bring quinoa, almonds milk, spices, agave or honey, goji berries and apple to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in flax seeds and top with a bit more almond milk if you want.

The flax seeds really should be stirred in at the end as the extreme cooking heat is damaging to flax. You can use regular milk, rice milk or something else in place of almond milk of course, but I encourage you to just try the almond milk - for some it may sound too alternative, but you never know if you will like something and your body might just be waiting for the right recipe to come along - and HERE IT IS!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekly Menu

Here is this weeks menu. Trying to savor the last few weeks when it really feels like summer.

Monday - Chile verde casserole (using leftove chile verde from this weekend)
Tuesday - Turkey meatballs and whole wheat pasta with Nonnie's sauce and a salad
Wednesday - Grilled chicken with brown rice and grilled radicchio salad
Thursday - Panini night (grilled vegetable and pesto sandwiches - using leftover veg from Wednesay)
Friday - Napa inspired appetizer and a movie night - olives, wine, cheese, bread, steamed artichokes and a salad

Something this menu utilizes is reusing ingredients in different forms. For example on Wednesday, the grill will already be fired up for the chicken so I will do some extra vegetables on the side because they reheat well, and use them in panini's on Thursday. This helps cut down on cooking time, but makes sure I have the components to assemble a fresh meal for myself each day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Title: Dang Good Potato Peeler

That is me at about 7 years old in my Omi's restaurant. She owned it for 21 years - it was an authentic German restaurant and she made the best. People still run into me and talk about her food today. She passed away last year. I loved her, and her food very much.
I grew up in that restaurant and I can't express how valuable it was to me, and how much I wish to share that love of food with everyone, and hope to pass a similar experience onto my own children someday. I was put to 'work' starting when I could walk practically. My first job was peeling potatoes -and I was dang good at it. I 'washed' dishes (more like played with bubbles in the sink), made what I called 'kinky' cookies (basically sugar cookies that are fed through a meat grinder like device to make a tube shaped cookie and we would arrange them in weird shapes), and I dusted and vacuumed. Eventually I took orders, cooked apple streusel with her, learned key techniques like keep the stove on medium heat and don't rush pan frying of breaded meats!
So I learned some valuable restaurant and home management techniques, but I also learned how to make things from scratch, how to appreciate that effort, and how to express myself with food. I look back on it now and I think wow, I was so young when I started running around in that kitchen. I got yelled at for getting in the way don't get me wrong (Omi wasn't exactly the sweet southern kind of grandma ;) ) but imagine how important I felt being able to have a job in the kitchen and participate in bringing all that joy to people.
My heartfelt story comes to you because I wanted to share that the kitchen is a place where big things can happen - for kids and adults. It is a place of expression, sharing, love, satiation. It's just a dang good place to be. I don't know if my Omi or parents ever thought growing up in the restaurant would impact me like it did, but I can tell you that my friends who had similar experiences share the same healthy love of food I do, and I will go on record saying it has a huge impact.
By the way, thanks Mom for cutting my bangs....using scotch tape as a guide.....kidding, they don't look that bad :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Super Snacks

I think snacks are often overlooked when packing a lunch (assuming one even packs their lunch). Snacks help regulate your blood sugar, keep your metabolism going, and keep you from overeating. A well thought out snack can be really easy and does not require a ton of effort. Here are some ideas:
  • Plain yogurt with an ounce of almonds and dried cranberries
  • Almonds or walnuts and cranberries
  • Hard boiled egg and a handful of raw vegetables like carrots, celery and bell pepper
  • Hummus and raw vegetables
  • Brown rice cakes with peanut butter
  • A piece of fruit or veg
  • 3 slices cheese on ak mak with celery or carrots

Snacks can also be a little more fancy. Here are some ideas:

  • Mini tofu, lettuce, tomato and avo sammy - 'Marinate' 2 slices of tofu in soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Pan fry or grill to get a bit of carmelization on it. Toast 2 slices of Ezekial bread (sprouted grain bread), spread 1/2 avocado over the two slices, layer the lettuce, tomato and tofu. Could also add sprouts.
  • Nori-Romaine boats - Take 2 whole romaine leaves and layer in a sheet of nori (toasted, dried seaweed) in each. Spread a dollop of hummus and top with more veg or slices of roast chicken.
  • Spinach salad - take spinach and toss with a bit of balsamic, garbanzo beans, walnuts and cranberries.
  • Fruit smoothies - I have a number of favorite combinations but here are a few: frozen cherries and blueberries with almond milk, banana and strawberry with soy milk, strawberry, blueberry and banana with rice milk or there is also the Orange Julius style with orange juice, banana and egg white protein powder.
  • Not really a fruit smoothie, but I love 1/2 banana, with rice or soy milk and 1 tbls peanut butter with vanilla protein powder (we primarily use a pure egg white protein powder with no weird ingredients in it)
If you have kids many of these can be adapted. Try separating the ingredients out and letting them assemble. Or try making fun shapes. Many of these involve various colors so it can turn into a learning game too. And if they are going through a phase where they don't dig on veg, don't worry - just focus on good quality and wholesome ingredients so you feel good about whatever it is you are giving them. Meaning, choose brown rice cakes over white rice, or organic/natural vegetables and fruits and organic dairy products.

Imagine Food 50+ years Ago

About a week ago I was having a conversation with a couple who are family friends - they are in their early 70s. We were talking about food, cooking, meal planning and eating throughout the day and I was so pleased to find that they never touch convenience foods that so many people couldn't imagine a vocabulary without. For example, we were talking about snacks, and one of my favorites is sliced turkey or chicken with a dollop of hummus on a romaine leaf with a sheet of nori (what they wrap sushi in). I immediately assumed convenience and said 'an all natural deli turkey could work' and they both looked at me and said 'Oh no honey, too salty and I can make it so much better'. THAT ROCKS!
(shame on me too for assuming convenience)

This is why I love thinking about food in the same way several generations ago treated it. You know, simple stuff like the idea that chickens have legs and should run free. Or you really should only eat what you need to and get it fresh from your own garden - not from a shelf with stabilizers and additives and other weirdness.

The original idea behind convenience foods might have been good - food that you can grab quickly and prepare without much effort so the now hard working man and woman in the house can be extra productive. But the food that comes pre-packaged is largely manipulated to only slightly resemble real food when you look at the actual ingredients (try actually reading the ingredients from time to time and see if you can pinpoint exactly what each is - I guarantee it will be a difficult exercise). We have gotten so used to the idea of having foods so readily available, and not reading the packaging, that we have also forgotten what real food is!
Times are different now and while both men and women work full time most of the time, and run a family and household etc, our economy, our accessibility, awareness - it has all changed since these foods first came out. So let's adjust our eating habits to re-align with traditional choices in a modern manner.

I won't say don't ever reach for the convenience foods - that is not realistic. But take the time to shop the farmers markets and eat seasonally. Take the time to prepare at least 4 dinners a week at home, and pack your lunch half the time when you go to work. Instead of buying a cake for your sweet craving try to make a new recipe from your favorite baking book. Just pick one thing to add each week and in a year you will have added 52 good habits!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Kombucha Update

This is my first time making kombucha and the process has been really interesting. I know it is a SCOBY (see my earlier post, but the whole thing is still so surreal to me. Let me walk you through it.

Here is a picture of the kombucha after a week. It has been sitting in a ceramic bowl in our cabinet covered with a paper towel to keep bugs and such out. Let me tell you, the smell is not light. This stuff is good, but there has been a faint vinegar smell in that part of the kitchen. Kind of freaks me out, but I am willing to sacrifice some things in the name of food and traditional eating!

So what happens is the 'mother' SCOBY I started this with last week has now duplicated and spread to the size of the vessel I put it in. This SCOBY started out as only about 3x3 inches - and grew to the full size of this bowl. Underneath this white mass is the kombucha liquid.

What I did today since it appeared to be ready (smell was right - fermented (NOT rotten), taste was mostly un-sweet as the SCOBY used the sugar we brewed with the tea to feed itself), and jarred the liquid and put it in the fridge. The liquid not being sweet is what you look for because it shows that the sugar has been consumed by the SCOBY. Here is a picture of our kombucha for the week:

By tomorrow, because I put a lid on this jar, it will have some natural carbonation forming and we can drink it. You really should have no more than 8 oz a day (more if you are sick, stressed or had some trauma).

I then took some of the liquid, plus part of the SCOBY (it grew too large for the new vessel I bought for this) and put it in a jar. I brewed some organic oolong tea, mixed it with organic turbinado sugar, and let it cool to about body temperature. Then I mixed the tea and the SCOBY from my original batch in the jar and put a new paper towel on, put it in the cupboard and there is going to be another batch ready for me next week.
What is so odd to me about this beverage is that it starts with something, the SCOBY, that just about can't be killed. You want to keep the process sanitary, but basically, that SCOBY will just keep replicating and producing as much kombucha as you choose to make. The kombucha itself then has these amazing properties of other fermented products such as aiding in digestion, providing good bacteria and promoting good cleansing.
Fermented food is actually pretty easy to make (with the exception of the coconut kefir -that is best done with a group because of all the work). I think when people hear that term though, they think rotten and gross. When I say people I don't mean all on earth, because the Russians love kvass (fermented beet juice which is a great blood tonic and was often drank more frequently instead of water because water was tainted), and the Koreans love kimchee (fermented cabbage with carrots and radish and chilies), and the Germans love sauerkraut - just to name a few. Making the kombucha looks disturbing, I know this. But, it is producing an amazing beverage and like other fermented foods deserves a try.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weekly Menu

Sundays are my big day to cook and we started it off right this morning! Here is a picture of breakfast

Simple and Delish - it is my take on perhaps a hash equivalent except cleanse style (meaning no potatoes). We took some ground turkey yesterday and mixed it with some thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne, onion powder, and garlic powder. We usually just bake or pan fry with a bit of olive oil into little sausage patties to be able to make a tasty breakfast on busy days.

So the mock hash is 3 sausage patties chopped up, sauteed with 1 artichoke heart (leftover from this week), 1 tomato and 1/4 roasted red onion. Then fry 2 eggs and serve on top. Delicious way to start the day with good vegetables and protein.

Lunch was also tasty and the leftovers will be lunch for the next few days for each of us. It was a delicious roast chicken which we brined before roasting this time, with a HUGE medley of veg roasted along side it (brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, onion, garlic and summer squash). We had an arugula salad with avocado and balsamic vinegar on the side.

Here is the menu for this dinners this week:
Monday: Ground turkey kebabs with stewed okra in tomatoes and onion and grilled radicchio
Tuesday: Quinoa salad with basil, baked chicken, tomatoes, and zucchini
Wednesday: Roast chicken with brown rice, salad and roasted cauliflower
Thursday: Meatball soup with kale
Friday: Lentil soup with kale, tomatoes and zucchini

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Quick Chicken Soup

This is a great recipe for weeknights when you need something nutritious but don't want to spend an hour and a half making chicken soup. It is also a good way to clear out the fridge which I love. More than a recipe it is a technique - so feel free to swap any of the ingredients. This has been a cleanse staple for us this past week. Enjoy!
Serves 2
4 cups homemade chicken broth
1 cup roast chicken chopped up
1 cup brown rice already cooked
1/2 cup each chopped of onion, celery and carrots
2 tbls olive oil
1 cup large pieces of chopped napa cabbage

In a pot saute the onion, celery and carrots with the olive oil over med-high heat until just softened. Put the broth in and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and rice. After 3 minutes add the cabbage. Serve in large bowls and savor.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Easy Does It

I was working out at the gym today and this commercial came on for some dieting product where you 'eat 35% less without even trying' by eating their supplements with your meals or something. The tag line at the end was 'dieting is hard and our product is easy!'. Nevermind that the whole thing was animated and showed this cartoon who was a little pudgy going to impossible and unhealthy skinny.
It reminded me of two things:
1 - I don't advocate 'dieting'. Atkins, South Beach are all good in their own way, but none are sustainable and none advocate a wide spectrum of wholesome and nutritious foods that work for your body (because remember, we are all unique in how we digest our food based on genetics, toxic exposure, tastes and physiology). A well balanced diet is what helps maintain weight, good health, immunity and happiness. Not to mention, depriving yourself of a fabulous glass of wine, or a piece of cake to celebrate with friends is just plain wrong and will drive you nuts to the point where you binge and ruin your mindset and weight management goals.
2 - Food should be about more than just key words like 'easy'. Eating is something that keeps you alive and healthy and energetic. You do it at least 2-3 times a day, EVERY DAY! I really feel that on the whole, our culture has lost sight of how much of a direct impact food has on your health, your skin, your mood, your hormones, my list goes on. I will talk a lot about food quality and that is part of it, but really what I am trying to address here is that it is not always about getting a meal done in under 30 minutes, or picking up to go food - you have to feed yourself properly! And don't get me wrong, I love the 30 minute meal uprising in the last few years, but I also have a significant appreciation for a slow cooked roast, or stews that cook for hours and I love to shop for that meal, plan it out and feed myself and those around me with it.

Some people don't share this same opinion, and I admit, food and food quality are very high on my priority list in life. I have some core values about food, and I just simply stick to it.

The next three weeks are going to be interesting. We are doing a cleanse (a program through Standard Process (a vitamin company) ) and it basically does not allow sugar, alcohol, dairy, and caffeine. Vegetables are unlimited, fruit is ok (twice as much veg as fruit though), meat and eggs are ok but no more than 8 oz a day and the only grains allowed are brown rice and lentils and quinoa (the non glutinous ones for their properties of being easily digested). Good fats are allowed so flax, olive oil, grapeseed and coconut - in moderation. There are shakes and supplements along with this program to aid in the cleansing and re-mineralizing process. Great program. Cleansing is something good to do seasonally, and at least once or twice a year. It gives our drainage organs (kidneys, liver, etc) a break, lets our digestive system regenerate, and gives us an opportunity to add back to our mineral and vitamin reserves.

Monday - Baked chicken bites tossed with heirloom tomato, quinoa, zucchini sauteed with leeks

Tuesday - Roast chicken with roasted brussel sprouts, zucchini, carrots and red onion

Wednesday - Chicken soup with veggies and a salad and a steamed artichoke

Thursday - baked salmon or halibut (plan to go to fish market that day) with sauteed brussel sprouts and leeks and quinoa

Friday - roasted eggplant with onion marinated (grate the onions) baked chicken kebabs with quinoa tabbouleh

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Kombucha and Coconut Kefir!

I briefly mention in my profile that I could not eat dairy (more specifically the milk protein, casein) for about 8 years. And with some changes in my diet including better food combining, and cultured foods, I was able to turn my digestive wellness around and can now eat dairy again. It was a sweet day when I figured that out.
The key to the whole thing I am convinced, were the cultured foods. I made cultured vegetables out of cabbages, kale, carrots. They are good, and I still make them occasionally, but they are not really convenient for bringing into work (and actually, don't do this if you make it - it can be mistaken for sewage or something totally rotten). And you may ask why eat these things that smell so bad - but I tell you, they taste great and when you eat anything that has been cultured you feel amazing. It takes away sweet cravings, aids digestion and just balances you out. Truly, truly amazing stuff.
The other thing I cultured was young coconut juice and the meat inside. I got this from The Body Ecology Diet This book changed my life (Thank you Donna Gates!). Now this stuff is amazing for you, and tastes fantastic. It does not have a strong coconut flavor, but has a light essence. And because it is fermented, it has a bubbly champagne like mouthfeel.
Culturing I think is a job best done with a group. First of all, it is a bit cumbersome so it is nice to split the duties. Second, food and health are about community and I have found a great group of friends to share in this culturing exercise with me about every 6-8 weeks.
This weekend was all about culturing. We always do coconuts, and then one new thing. And I finally found a kombucha mother to make our own kombucha (You read my posting about limiting the budget to no more than $120 - and $2.50 bottles of kombucha are not in the budget but I love it dearly and so does the hubby!).
So many people have asked me 'what is kombucha'. I looked it up and it is a 'SCOBY' - Symbiotic Colony of Bacterial Yeast. It is so, so simple to make. Really the hardest part is getting a mother from someone (the mother is the starter - kind of like what you do with sourdough bread). And I found someone in Alameda (thank you again Melissa).
Basically what you do is boil some water, dump some sugar in and brew tea (pure black tea or green tea - no herbal, oils, flavors, etc). Let it cool and then add the kombucha mother. This should be done in a glass container. Cover with a paper towel and let sit for a week in a dark, 70 degree-ish area. After a week, the mother will have split and created 'babies' and the babies can be made for a new batch, composted, or shared with a friend. You drain the liquid out, put it in the fridge and brew a new batch with the mother or babies.
So every week you can continue to make your own kombucha, and the mother just keeps regenerating. Makes for some interesting symbolism.
It seems odd. But let me tell you, it is only in the last 50-75 years that we as a society stopped culturing our food. We have lost this part of our relationship with food and it is sad because cultured foods are so amazing for you - vitamins, digestive aids, probiotics.......the list goes on. It takes a little bit of work, but this is your health and well being - take the time to invest a little extra in it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Friday night we had just sat in a reasonable amount of traffic on the Bay Bridge and were driving along 80E - preparing to sit in more traffic in Sacramento on our way to our favorite lake. I was sitting in the passenger seat - zoning out and getting to a happy place. Then out of nowhere, comes what I will call the McObsession car. It was a late 80's ish sedan with McD red, and McD yellow stripes, Ronald dolls hanging inside and "Supersize" me stickers on the outside.
It fired me up and made me yell "I have to write about this on the blog!".
So here I am. What the heck is the obsession?!! Just two days before I was sitting in the lunch room at my regular office job the other day and overheard two co workers talking about breakfast the next morning.
Co worker 1: Ooooo before I come in do you want me to get you a McD breakfast sango?
Co worker 2: hmm yeah that might be a good option
Co worker 1: OMG yay?! They are so good, like the best breakfast ever.

And there was no sarcasm there. It was a serious conversation. I don't really know the point of this posting other than to point out that real food, made with love, real ingredients and with a conscious in mind not only make sense and make for good health, but they just down right taste better.
I get the idea that it is convenient. I get that it is cheap. But for Pete's sake it takes less than 5 minutes to assemble a sandwich, or pour a bowl of cereal and scramble an egg!

Like any habit it takes time to break. So if you have a McObsession (or something similar), try spending an extra 5 minutes a day or 20 minutes a week preparing your own food. I imagine you will feel better about the mindful choice and have more energy!

Meal Planning and Vacation

We went up to the lake this weekend and I am always reminded when I go away for a weekend how well my meal planning works to make sure I eat food I make, and that we eat balanced meals. However, weekend getaways always muck that schedule up because I do everything on Sundays. Keeping a well stocked pantry and freezer helps when we get back, but I am now determined to figure out a more improved plan for when we go away - perhaps cook a few meals on Thursday or Friday before we go (that doesn't really sound appetizing or realistic), make fully frozen meals (more chili, stew, etc), stop at the store on the way home for just a bit of produce to hold us over until we can catch up. I don't know yet.
What do you do to make sure you eat wholesome meals when you get back from vacation?