Monthly Archives: February 2011

Alphebruary Recap

Alphebruary Recap:

A:

Amaranth

B:

Bok Choy

C:

Chia Seeds

D:

Daikon

E:

Enoki Mushrooms

F:

Fig Preserves

Farro

G:

Goji Berries

H:

Hoisin Sauce

I:

Israeli Couscous

J:

Jalfrezi Simmer Sauce

K:

Kamut Berries

L:


Lemon Pepper Seasoning

M:

 

Mochi

N:

Napa Cabbage

O:


Orange Marmalade, Orange Extract

P:

Pecan Butter

Q:

Quick Sip

Quinoa, Red

R:

Rhubarb

S:

Swiss Chard

T:

Tamarind

Teff

U:

Ume Plum Vinegar

V:

Vanilla Extract

W:

Wildflower Honey

X:

Xanthan Gum

Y:

Yautía

Yuca

Z:

Zucchini Bread

What letter would you choose for Alphebruary, if you had to choose one?

The Tough Letters

Namely… X, Q, and Z.

For the X, I intended to get my hands on some Xagave… never mind that I’m not even sure I can have it.  I went to the only store around here that supposedly carries it… and wouldn’t you know, I forgot to even check for that.  Oh, well.  My Alphebruary, my rules: I can use xanthan gum, because even though I have used it before, I’ve never found a way to use it that didn’t totally gross me out.

So I blended up a smoothie… a banana, special dark cocoa powder, whey protein, crushed ice cubes, and the tiniest bit of xanthan gum.

You know what I hate about xanthan gum?  I can taste it.  It’s kind of … slimy.  Maybe if I used it in bread or something, it wouldn’t be an issue, but I still can’t stomach it in smoothies.  Neeeext.

I saw this in the grocery store a couple of weeks ago, and I got all excited because it starts with a Q.

That excitement was moronic, but I’ll get to that in a minute.  First, these straws.  I stuck one into a glass of Almond Dream.

It was fine, I guess.  Just slightly chocolate-flavored, and I would have preferred it stronger.  And I’m not big on drinking things other than water (and crack, but that’s a category all its own).

The misplaced excitment was moronic because it completely slipped my mind in the moment that I had an unopened box of red quinoa at home, which I’d just never gotten around to trying.  And for my purposes, it is hereby known as quinoa, red.

Stir-fry!  I know, I know, shocking.  There are always random bits of vegetables that I need to finish, and that’s just the easiest way.  On a bed of steamed baby bok choy leaves and red quinoa: baby bok choy stalks, shredded cabbage, baby peppers, baby bellas, and edamame, stir-fried with peanut oil.  At first, I thought that the red quinoa tasted exactly the same as any other quinoa I’ve ever eaten… but then I decided it was a little sweeter.  Not really the right word, but… you know how quinoa has that slightly bitter taste, even if it’s rinsed?  This didn’t have that.  Now, personally, I don’t mind that in regular quinoa; but for someone who does, this would make a good substitute.  And, hey — it looks pretty.  😉

And, finally, the Z… I decided that since I’ve never made it before, zucchini bread qualified.  I made two mini loaves — one for me, and one for my brother to thank him for resuscitating my mini.  (He’s a miracle worker; everything is still on there!!)

Except that, um, I kind of invented the recipe as I went along.  So I obviously had to taste it before I gave it to him.  Just to ensure I wouldn’t indavertently kill him… he is my favorite brother, after all!  😉

There was a little too much ginger in it.  Which isn’t a problem, I suppose, if you like ginger.  I don’t hate it, but I’d definitely cut back on it next time!

Since my senioritis is getting worse by the hour, I’m probably going to just end up watching the Oscars tonight.  Even though I don’t really care about it, since I haven’t seen any of the movies.  But… pretty dressesSparkly things!  The magpie in me likes to come out to play.  😉

Sort of related to play… I heard about on the radio last week that Wonderland is coming to Broadway!  I wanna goooo… then again, considering that I’ve been wanting to see Wicked for years, I’m guessing that won’t be happening any time soon.  I have a talent for honing in on expensive things, apparently.

Happy Everyone’s-Favorite-Day-of-the-Week (well, not mine)!

“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” 
~Frank A. Clark

…and um, yeah… I kinda signed up for a 5K today.  I’m clearly insane.  But we’ll discuss that some other time.

Sodium Overload

There were some files I had to download at home, since the school’s server apparently couldn’t handle the job — “the file is too big,” saith the professor.  Yep, I pay you $20K a year so that I should have to waste my time at home doing this crap… which then slows down my computer.  I’m pretty frustrated, in case you can’t tell.  So let’s get right to it…

This seems to be the same thing as the eggplant rollatini… minus the protein and a little salt.

Seriously, I can’t wait until I have time to replicate something like this.

It was actually pretty decent.  Too salty, of course; but I was rather expecting that.

I was not expecting it in my “U” for Alphebruary… had I bothered to check the nutrition panel, I probably wouldn’t have chosen ume plum vinegar.

I’m sure it is not too difficult to imagine just how salty this might taste.

Yes, that is 1,050 mg of sodium… in one teaspoon.

I paired this salt attack with my Alphebruary “N”:

Napa cabbage.

It tasted pretty much like regular cabbage… maybe a bit “lighter,” if that makes any sense.  And I guess it looks prettier.  I stir-fried chick’n strips (from my dwindling stash; they’re not kosher anymore), baby bellas and peppers in peanut oil, then added the chopped cabbage and put the lid on the pot while it simmered.  I added a small amount of vinegar, and some other (salt-free!) seasonings.  I couldn’t really taste the vinegar, but I think that’s probably a good thing in this case.

Weekend frozen product review…

I found three new-to-me flavors!  We tried the wild blueberry this week.

Now that I look at the ingredients, it’s not all that surprising that it didn’t really taste much like blueberries.  It was nothing special… which is good news for me, because I don’t feel like dragging out there to buy more of it.  😉

And oh, I did a lot of dragging yesterday.  I took the day off work to go here.

I spent a lot of time sitting in front of a mirror with foil on my head and nothing to do but stare at my own reflection.  There is a reason I avoid mirrors, as a general rule.  Bad things happen.  I rapidly deteriorate into ripping apart every single one of my features, and I really don’t need to hate on myself more than I already do.  I decided to try and teach myself to fold my ears (hands free!) instead.  I must have not been sitting there long enough, because I still can’t do it.

This was before I went out into the wind and rain, which totally destroyed my hair.  Because of course it rained — it always rains when I get my hair cut!  Scientific fact.  I was able to rescue it, though.  Lovely, because we had such important guests last night.

My niece and her husband.  My personal feelings about it aside, it was a totally awkward situation.  Anyway, I was sort of stressing since I found out about this, which is partly why I didn’t post for a couple of days.  I’m selfish, and I like to keep the misery all for me.

And some new fish, just because it’s been a while.

Four painted tetras… which are now three, because the orange one has died, been half-eaten by the other fish, and subsequently flushed down the toilet.  Lovely, I know.

And my senioritis is, if anything, worse than ever.  If one more person expresses unbridled enthusiasm for my total genius and belief that I will come through this with flying colors, I will scream.  Okay, I might not be a complete drooling moron, but I’m not as brilliant as everyone seems to think.  And even if I were — papers don’t write themselves!  Projects don’t do themselves!  Is this not obvious?!

Rhetorical question.  But I guess it’s not obvious.

Have a lovely Sunday.

“Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.” 
~Jonathan Kozel

Fifteen Hours

Wednesdays are fifteen hour days.  Plus.  By “fifteen hour day,” I mean that it’s about that long from the time I leave the house in the morning until I get back home again.  Then there are other things to do… see why it’s impossible for me to get eight hours of sleep a night?!  Also, that explains why this post probably is sort of incoherent — I doubt I make much sense when I’m not overtired, but it sure doesn’t help.

I also don’t like wearing heavy earrings on such long days; they tend to start to hurt after a while!

These are supposed to match the glittery, sparkly letters on my sweatshirt.

This, by the way, is from the girls’ department. I vastly prefer the guys’ fit… they’re roomier in a different way than the next size up in the girls’, and the sleeves are longer.

Doesn’t this look rather… boring?


It’s more exciting than it looks.  I was going for a semi-tropical vibe, so I cooked the quinoa flakes in coconut milk with cinnamon and Truvia, then stirred in some dried pineapple.  (Since I keep saying I don’t like coconut, it might seem weird that I voluntarily used coconut milk… but I don’t think this has a coconut taste.  It just makes things creamier.  Works for me!)  The pineapple absorbed some of the liquid overnight, so it wasn’t like chewing on desiccated morsels — can you tell I’m not a major fan of dried fruit?  😉  Anyway, the most exciting part of this is the cinnamon sprinkled on top.  Because it’s not just any cinnamon…


It’s roasted Saigon cinnamon!  Quite possibly the best cinnamon I’ve ever tasted… after all, everything is better roasted, right?!  But this is going to be reserved for special occasions (as in, I’m not going to toss this in a banana bread), because it is ridiculously expensive… I could get five bottles of regular cinnamon, double this size, for the same price.

Here is evidence that the universe needs to make decisions for me, since I am incapable of making them on my own.  When I was in Trader Joe’s on Monday, I couldn’t choose between snow peas and sugar snap peas.

romaine, cauliflower, baby peppers, tofu, snow peas

You think I chose snow peas, don’t you?… Well, I didn’t.  I actually threw one of each into my basket.  And then I came home and found that my shopping bag only contained snow peas.  I really didn’t feel like going all the way back to the store… but then I looked at my receipt and realized that I was never even charged for the sugar snap peas.  I have no idea where they went, because the basket was empty after the cashier rang up my purchases, but… I guess weirder things have happened!

You know what happens when you’re cleaning out your freezers?

You end up having to eat PBJs on germinated wheat bread, because you won’t buy more mini pitas, even though that’s what you really wanted.  Sad face.  Double sad face to the fact that I had to gulp it down; seriously, do these professors think we have nothing to do in the few moments between classes?!

Oh, yes, classes.  Those of you who saw my Facebook status earlier are (again) aware that I hate group projects.  I especially hate them when you have to choose your own group… because someone is always going to be the “odd man out.”  Figures that that someone is usually me.  Also figures that I don’t really care where I end up or what I end up doing, because I have senioritis so bad that none of it matters anymore.

But I did end up in a group.  And that class is going to be taking a field trip next week, which is also unfair, because I have another class after that, but… oh, never mind, I’m not going to get into it.

In random news, it is surprising that more than one person has found my blog by searching for “hissy fit blue jeans.”  I have no idea what that’s about, since I don’t think I’ve ever even used the word “jeans” before on my blog.  And it also made me feel oh-so-good that someone’s search for “hideously ugly” led them here.  Yup, you got the right place!

And on that note, I did want to address some things re: my last post, but I think sleep is a better idea right now.

Happy Thursday!

“Some people can stay longer in an hour than others can in a week.” 
~William Dean Howells
(I bet they’re in class)

Pathetic Little Girl?

Well.  At least the day began with something exciting.  (For me, anyway.)

I love this new processor.

But, as you can see, I’ve really missed my banana whey pancakes; I’m out of practice and some of them burned a bit.  Never mind; I like them, anyway.  Which was good, I suppose, because it was “that kind of day.”  Verbal vomit in the purple font below.  Feel free to avoid it.

On my way to see my therapist, I was very rudely awakened to the fact that this mouth guard apparently will not prevent me from getting migraines.  I had drugs with me, but no water, so I dry-swallowed two pills… and it felt like they were stuck in my throat for hours after the fact.  But if I have to choose between that and a full-fledged migraine, I’ll take the former, thanks very much.

And this therapy session was frustrating.  Actually, I came into it feeling frustrated, because I feel kind of “deceived” … see, there’s a “range” I’m supposed to stay in in terms of weight.  I don’t know what it is, and I don’t want to know.  But as long as I’m in it, I don’t think it’s fair to tell me I have to increase if I drop a pound or two — weight fluctuates!!  I have a feeling that if I went over this range, nobody would care but me… anyway, that’s what I was referring to earlier when I said it was “that kind of day.”  I sort of felt like I was being told yes, you’re fat, but you’re not fat enough.

But that all happened yesterday.  Today was a different story.  Speaking of stories: when I was little, my family went upstate in the summer.  Pretty much everyone did.  There was one girl there who, for whatever reason, did not like me.  I was all of five years old at the time, so I have no idea what I ever could have done to her to make her hate me as much as she did… not to mention the fact that she was a year younger, so it’s not like she could have had some residual resentment from the school year.  Anyway, it’s bad enough to have one person hate you for no reason.  You know how some people are able to convert others to their way of thinking?  I’m not one of those people.  She was.  Let me tell you that spending a summer — multiple summers in a row — with a bunch of girls who don’t like you, and not for any reason over which you have control, is not much fun.  And my mom actually blamed me for this whole situation — she said I shouldn’t let it bother me, because, quote, “She is younger than you are.”  Hello!!  I was five!

I hate talking about this, actually.  Not only because it’s just pathetic — which in turn I feel reflects on me — but because I hate “playing the victim.”  And I also hate knowing that every summer, I would hope it would be different than the one before, and every summer, I’d be crushed all over again.  And I still do that.  I keep expecting a different outcome… and I’m never going to get it.

I really must be insane.

Aaaaaand… moving on.  Quickly, because I need a post-migraine sleep.  If all the caffeine coursing through my veins allows me to fall asleep, that is.

I’m determined to make some major headway in cleaning out the freezers, so this made an appearance:

Interesting…

But would you look at the amount of sodium in there?!  Provided you eat the entire package, that’s nearly an entire day’s worth!  I don’t worry too much about sodium (ahhh, the benefits of having low blood pressure), but I’m sorry, that’s way over the top.  I assume most of the salt is in the sauce, of which there was an excessive amount anyway, so I didn’t use all of it.

It was surprisingly pretty good — but it was still so salty!  I’d love to try and re-create this on my own… when I have a few spare seconds.  Check back with me in May.

And, on the side, the Alphebruary contribution, this time for L:

Lemon pepper seasoning, because I couldn’t find lotus root to save my life.  A bit unorthodox an application, perhaps, but you do what you gotta do… and there are a lot of Steamfresh vegetables in my freezer.

And I had to use a lot of seasoning so that you’d be able to see it.  😉  It had a  lovely lemon-y tang.  I liked it… but this brings my collection of Mrs. Dash seasoning blends to four.  That’s excluding my mom’s original blend, which I never use.  Hmm… I think I have a problem.

Also in the freezer: cranberry orange mini muffins.  I just needed to eat one, because this video has been stuck in my head for days.  (Warning: if you click on that link, it will likely be stuck in your head for days, too.  And it is super annoying!)  Those muffins are not fit for consumption unless heavily toasted and disguised, because they’ve been in the freezer… forever?  My solution:

Vanilla yogurt, crumbled toasted orange cranberry mini muffin, orange marmalade thinned with water, and dried cranberries.  It worked.  It worked quite well, actually.

About as well as I hope my mini will be when I finally get it back.  My brother resuscitated it, but I’m sacrificing the possibility of having it to take to school tomorrow so that he can upgrade the antivirus for me, lest the same thing happen again.  I’d rather not have it blow up in my face two weeks in a row.

Bedtime for me!  Okay, that was an hour ago.  Oops.  But everything was delayed by an hour tonight — because I got to swim in a pool that was actually pretty warm.  That’s an overstatement, but it wasn’t ice cold, so I’m happy.

Happy Hump Day!  Can’t wait until I can say that and mean it… May 16, please arrive!!!!!

“Just like the butterfly, I too will awaken in my own time.” 
~Deborah Chaskin

Proposal

I hereby propose that the birthday of every U.S. President be celebrated as a legal holiday.  Heck, let’s observe the dates of their deaths, too!  (Can you tell that I really don’t want to go back to work tomorrow?!)

I woke up to snow this morning, too.  Joyous.

My plans for the Alphebruary O were foiled when Whole Foods decided they were out of Oro Blancos. Which didn’t upset me too much, since my body doesn’t like fresh citrus fruits, even though I do.  So, Plan B:

Orange marmalade and orange extract.  The latter was actually an impulse buy — I have so many extracts, it’s not even a joke — but it turned out to be a wonderful thing… because it means I can get all the citrus flavor, but none of the agony caused by the acid!

Because Operation Clear Out the Freezers, Version 2011, has arrived, I used some of the bread I have in one of them to make French toast… dipped in a mixture of egg white, almond milk, sea salt, Truvia, and orange extract.  (Yes, I am aware that it just looks like… bread.  It is French toast, I assure you.)

Topped with a “sauce” made by whisking some marmalade with a bit of water to thin it out.  It was kind of weird having shavings of orange peel in there, but I guess that’s what makes it marmalade.  I was actually very excited that I was able to eat something sort of resembling citrus and not have to be in pain afterwards.  :p

But can I just say that I am not at all excited about having to clean out the freezers again?!  It means that Pesach is coming… and we all know how I feel about that!  (In a nutshell: not a fan.)

Also coming out of the freezer… one of those seven muffins my mom bought.

A blueberry muffin the size of my head.  I actually tend to want to get rid of the bigger ones first, so that I’m not stressing myself out over them.  Yes, I have issues.  Is this supposed to be news?… Anyway, it was still a little frozen inside… just the way I like it.  😉

And then I actually did some schoolwork.  Completely shocking!  Though, of course, I didn’t complete a fraction of what I should have… sometimes I get into a there is so much to do that I will never finish it all, so why bother doing anything? mindset.  And then I was interrupted by the UPS delivery man bringing me a package, which is as good a reason as any to stop toiling away.

Actually, the poor guy went through quite the ordeal to get the package to me.  One thing about me (and evidently, my brother, since he was home too): I do not answer the phone if I don’t know who is calling, and I don’t answer the door if I’m not expecting someone.  I don’t have to answer the landline, actually, because it’s never for me; if anyone wants to contact me, they can call my cell phone.  And if I don’t know that someone is supposed to show up at my door, why would I bother answering it?!  I just happened to go to the window to see who was being so persistent, and I caught him just in time.  (Because I know you’re so curious, the package contained Redken Radiant Sea Spray.  Apparently, I won it.  I love when that happens — something shows up and I had no idea it was going to do that!)

I’m a little confused about how I’m supposed to “stuff” anything into mochi, since it’s basically just a gooey mess.  So… it’s a mochi waffle!

Actually, it was kind of weird to have a waffle be so chewy on the inside.  But it’s cool, nonetheless.  😉

The second pair of earrings which I bought a couple of weeks back made their debut today.

I know it looks like there’s a stone missing, but there’s not… it’s just scratched.  😦

And now I am off to face more nutritional fun.  *sigh*  I like my nutritionist, and all.  I just don’t feel like going!!

Happy Tuesday.

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” 
~Mark Twain

Nobel Procrastination Prize

I’d hereby like to nominate myself for this award.  Guess how much schoolwork I got done today?… The answer should be obvious.  None whatsoever.  I have never, ever had such bad senioritis before.  Ugh.

But I had something so much more exciting to do!


Yep, indeed.  However, for reasons that shall become clear in the future, I am not going to be trying it out tomorrow; in fact, in order to avoid the temptation, I used up my last banana (well, my last yellow banana; the red ones still aren’t ripe, believe it or not) making banana oat muffins.

Notice anything missing?… Yes, that’s right.  I made banana oat muffins… and I forgot the oats.  I realized it as soon as I started to scoop the batter into the muffin tins, but I was not in the mood of scooping it back out again, so I just left them as they were.  Doesn’t seem to have had any negative affect!

I also decided to be environmentally friendly, and instead of chopping my vegetables on paper plates that get thrown out, I bought this.

I like to make my life easier.  :p

Some Alphebruary: M and P!

First, something that I’ve been wanting to try for a very long time, but I kept waiting for it to go on sale.  It never did, so I’m guessing it probably never will, but… mochi.

Since I’ve never tried it before, I went for the original flavor… and I just followed the package directions, cutting some squares and sticking them in the oven for about ten minutes, until they started to puff up and brown.

It doesn’t look like much, I know, but it was delicious — chewy and slightly sweet.  I just wish it came in a smaller package!!  I hate that I have to eat the same thing for a few days in a row because the package has so many servings; I get burned out on things that way.

Anyway, next up: pecan butter.

I spread some of it on a spelt flat bread.

Full disclosure: I have never eaten a pecan in my life.  But I don’t think this tastes like pecans.  Primarily because I could taste the cashews.  Which, if you ask me, isn’t a bad thing… (I am going to buy cashew butter.  Once I get rid of another jar or two of nut butter.  Check back in a couple of years.)

And then I tried a recipe from Appetite for Reduction, because the delicata squash I’d been hoarding really needed to be used.  It was my last one.  😦

I think that’s supposed to read sweet potato squash.  Anyway.  I was a little confused about the recipe directions, and I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to wrap the squash itself, or the entire pan… so I tried both ways, one for each half.

The one on the left was in the wrapped pan; the one on the right was wrapped completely.  They tasted exactly the same; the only difference was that the one on the right was a little charred on the bottom, which is fine with me, as I love crispy squash.  Oh, who am I kidding, I love all kinds of squash, all ways!

As it works out, I’m going to have a three-day work week: tomorrow is President’s Day, so my office is closed, and I’m taking a personal day on Friday because my hair is in desperate need of some TLC.  (I was talking about that with someone at my gym today; she said that she always thought that curly hair was easy to care for, and that you just got out of bed in the morning, shook out your curls, and went about your day.  Um, right.  I wish!  I was thisclose to getting my hair permanently straightened when I discovered Ouidad.  And thank goodness, because I look rather like a witch with straight hair.)

Seriously, now — anyone want to write a paper for me?!  Ahhhhhh!!

Happy Monday… when I hopefully get some work done.

“Any philosophy that can be put in a nutshell belongs there.” 
~Branch Rickey