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Archive for the ‘Dining Out’ Category

I woke up with so many things on my mind today, things related to this blog and the reasons I started it, that I just had to share. 

On the food front, I am still very much guzzling the purple kool-aid of the organic “real food” movement.   There is a difference between organic and non-organic food, and I think it’s important to avoid chemicals, hormones and other awful things in food.   I think the thing that makes it hard for people to embrace the “bad food” idea is that nothing bad happens to you immediately when you eat bad food.  Any ill effects will be later in life, like cancers.  And since you can’t point to it and say “Oh, I got that pancreatic cancer from eating _______ for 10 years,” then it just goes on and on.   A friend of mine (to whom I’ve been talking about bad food for six months) said a couple of weeks ago (about some food evils), “This is really bad, these companies need to be held responsible, the government should be involved, people need to be told what’s going on!”  And then I told him, people ARE being told what’s going on.  But until having a healthy dinner becomes more important than getting to the kid’s soccer practice on time, no one will care.  And then he said “No, I mean they need to REALLY be told, it needs to be all over the evening news and in the papers.”  Well, guess what?  It is!   All of the bad meat stories, e-coli stories, food recalls, health issues, good documentaries, websites, groups — how many times and ways do people need to be told something before they HEAR the information?   So then we concluded it does come down to taking care of your own family and conscious purchases/lifestyle.  When enough people are doing that, then it becomes a real movement and creates real change.

So, I continue to beat my friends over the head on Facebook and Twitter, and use my dollars to vote at the checkout stand – my small way of trying to make change.  

A fun thing I’m getting to do this week is to revamp a friend’s pantry.  He’s finding it complicated to sort out his diet, and I’ve accepted the challenge.  So I first assessed what he normally buys for home, and I’m going to have him replace his unhealthy choices with healthy ones as he needs to restock.  I’m pretty excited about it for a couple of reasons:  I can blog about it and help others do the same thing with their food, and it helps me document exactly how I eat.  I’ll end up with a very good view of my exact food choices, something I’ve sort of internalized lately as it has become habit.

On the fitness front, I’ve joined a gym with a friend where I do stationary bike, rowing machine, a couple of arm machines, and a crunch machine that is KILLER.  It’s a pay-as-you-go place, perfect for me when I just don’t want to work out at home or outdoors.  I’m also still walking, my usual five mile walk a few times a week.  I bought a Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred dvd and it punishes me regularly.

I have also signed up for a couple of challenges through Twitter this month, both for dieting and losing weight, to try to keep on track for a month at a time.  Here’s what I’ve learned from that:  if I think someone else is making me do something, or even paying attention to my success at all, I won’t do it.  It’s a personal flaw, seems like.  So, while I have slowly lost a few pounds, and while I am weighing on the scale more often which I think is a good thing, I think I am more successful when left to self-monitor and not report to anyone. 

Which leads me to my next idea:  I think I am reverting to only fruits and vegetables for the next seven days.  Those of you paying any attention to me at all will remember I’ve done this before.  My reasons are 1) it’s easy to remember what to eat and grab whatever I want, whenever   2) I get plenty of nutrition, while eating no wasteful calories  3) I LOVE fruits and vegetables, and I care less for grains and nuts and legumes.  I have always been a bit of a hobbyist dieter, and evidently if I’m not manipulating, restricting, or otherwise jumping through some kind of food hoops, I’m not happy.  This will keep me entertained for a while, and I hopefully will see some quicker weight loss.  I only want to lose around 10 to 15 pounds, and you would think that would be the easiest thing in the world to do, but as I add muscle (just go along with it) my weight has reached a true plateau.  So seven days of fruits and veggies it is!

And lastly, please friends, do everything you can to be more GREEN.  Cut back on packaged products, try to use recyclable packaging, no plastic, and use responsible home and body cleansers.  Bicycle and walk places with your friends and families.  Buy local food to save on the transportation energy usage.  Read, read, read online about being green and really implement the things you read about.   The environment is not outside of us, it IS us. 

And now I bid you adieu – I’ll be back in two weeks to pick up my regular blogging schedule.  I hope you and yours are well.  Big hugs to you all!

(Forgive any typos or nonsense, I’m on an 8″ netbook in a very cold coffee shop. )

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Bushel of PeachesImagine you are watching a movie and the scene takes place in a small southwestern town, at the annual festival.  Local musicians are on stage:  young girls with violins and guitars, men trying their hand at singing to a recorded track, little girls in frilly dresses singing broadway tunes.   Politicians are out en force, with their signs and bumper stickers, manning booths.  There’s an auction going on, bushels of peaches going to the highest bidder.  Announcements are being made about the winners of the cook-off from earlier in the day.  People cool themselves with handheld political fans while they stand in line for homemade ice cream and fried pies.  Toby Keith plays over the sound system while signs are everywhere giving Jesus all the glory.  Dogs and babies are having a day out.  It’s hot and sunny.  Men wear cowboy hats; women stroll with umbrellas. 

And there you’d sit in the movie audience, thinking “Man, this is really over the top.”   And I would have to agree with you.  But on July 17, 2010, at the Stratford Peach Festival in Stratford, Oklahoma, it was all of that and more. 

And my friend Lise and I did just as we were supposed to do as visitors:   we strolled and looked at the vendors selling homemade food and crafts, bought snacks and eyed fresh produce.  I bought an apron that a nice lady had made.  Then we each got a peach fried pie, and ate while waiting in line for peach ice cream and peach iced tea, all the while commiserating with a stranger on how hot it was and how the line should be in the shade.  We mosied over to the pavilion to catch some talent and watch part of the peach auction.  Lise visited with another stranger about her daughter selling pies and snowcones in another Oklahoma town.   Little kids were dancing and some boys were fanning their dog to keep it cool.   We had to revisit a roasted nut stand so I could get cinnamon almonds to take home.   Then off we went to purchase our share of the delicious fresh peaches. 

Looking back, I would say it was just about as perfect as a small town festival could be.   It was one of those days when you feel lucky that you got to step into the scene and experience it — entertaining while you are there and nice to remember when you eat your warm peaches at home.   So, to you Okies, if you ever get a chance to go to the Stratford Peach Festival, I can recommend it.  Oh — and the peaches are good, too.

Fresh Watermelon for SaleBoys fan their dogGirls playing violinHomemade Peach Ice Cream

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TODAY I’VE THROWN TOGETHER this new recipe from Real Age for Sweet Potato and Cabbage Slaw.   I followed the recipe fairly closely, but I did use green onions instead of shallots, since I had some on hand and I did use half an anaheim pepper left over from another recipe instead of the serrano or jalapeno pepper.   And I have to say, it’s still a very delicious slaw!  I love the smoky nutty flavor of the sesame oil.  The flavor of the sweet potato is so similar to a shredded carrot that I really can’t tell the difference and when I made it last time I even had to tell people that it was sweet potato.    I’m taking a bowl of this to my friend Tracy’s house tonight to have with some tilapia she is making.   She doesn’t realize it, but she’s just begging to write a guest post for this blog!

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Today is my first “Friday with Friends” post!  Each Friday (or most), I hope to tell you about a dinner with a friend where we cooked a good healthy meal.   I’ll be able to share my friends’ recipes with you and hopefully you can get some ideas for meals and entertaining. 

Last week, my friend Tracy allowed me to take photos while she prepared a delicious Grilled Tuna with Rosemary using this recipe from “The Sonoma Diet Cookbook” by Dr. Connie Guttersen.   The recipe calls for capers, but because I’m super special, capers taste like perfume to me.  Tracy is such a good friend, she left the capers off the finished dish.  She also cooked it on a George Foreman grill instead of the conventional grilling.   The rest of the recipe was followed to the letter, and the herb of choice was dried rosemary, crushed.   Tracy served Butternut Squash Whole Wheat Fusilli made by Archer Farms on the side and I brought some asparagus to steam. 

Halfway through the prep of the meal, I thought I just had to have some coffee.  Tracy’s household is currently between coffee makers, but she very graciously found me a drip cup thingy, the filters for it, and pulled out some delish organic free trade coffee.  I sprinkled some cinnamon on top of the grounds and the flavor was so perfect when it was brewed up!

I like cooking with friends (harassing them with my camera and questions) and hope to have many more dinners to blog.   I will happily take my show on the road and come to your kitchen!   So let me know when I may stop by.  ; ) 

This meal was delicious — thank you, Tracy!  Let’s do it again sometime. 

(Funny quote:  I said to Tracy “Isn’t it fun hanging out with me while you cook and I photograph it all?  Tracy replied, “It’s different.”  LOL!  See how nice she is? )

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This is part of turning 50 - juggling glasses (AND I wear contacts)

I HAVE HAD A VERY INTERESTING 3 months.   What a ride!  I started out on a diet and exercise plan and have ended up mostly vegetarian, almost vegan and raw, and completely wrapped up in agriculture, organics and going green.  But like a friend said who was at my house for a viewing of Food, Inc., one thing leads to another and another and before long, here you are. 

I am so glad I started this “get healthy by 50” plan as early as I did.   A slow evolution takes place on the road to health.   I have so many aspects I want to control along the diet/exercise/healthy living spectrum.   Just the eating and food aspect has taken up most of my time so far.  Only in the last couple of weeks have I truly started to exercise regularly.  I’m still wondering where my diet will end up, as I work my way through foods that make me feel good and are beneficial. 

Right now I eat vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts.    I don’t eat anything processed (if I do I guarantee it has few ingredients and only good stuff)  unless it’s a whole grain organic product, and grains are proving difficult for me, even though an occasional whole grain pasta is very satisfying.   I eat oatmeal with maples syrup and cinnamon.   And I eat eggs every morning.  That will never change – I love my eggs, they give me strength.  I don’t use any butter.  I eat vegetables plain and the flavors are so good!  I do eat organic chocolate occasionally, peanut butter, apple butter, and juices.    Lately I’ve tried some very high quality canned tuna and canned salmon.  When I eat out, I make concessions but I try very hard to be true to myself, knowing my body won’t react favorably to most restaurant processed foods. 

Lifestyle changes in the kitchen have been the result of reading about food contaminants such as plastics and BPA.  So I eliminated plastic from the kitchen, removing plastic cooking utensils and buying things in glass containers.  I stopped drinking water bottled in plastic and buy it bottled in glass.   We have high levels of arsenic in the water where I live, so the water is a concern.  

I stopped drinking diet coke, totally and permanently.  I still drink coffee in the morning, but not every morning.  I use evaporated cane sugar in my coffee and vanilla almond milk.  I also drink hot tea with honey or iced tea unsweetened.  I can’t give up caffeine — it’s my drug.  My brain goes crazy when I can’t have it. 

Exercise:  I walk an hour every two days.  I plan on increasing that to an hour every day (starting today? lol).   I want to get back to biking by the end of the year – love it.  Can’t wait to go on some long rides.  I used to do around 18 miles a trip, three times a week.  And that wasn’t even really pushing myself too much.  I look forward to being back at that level and maybe beyond.    I also found a good gym to go to, and that’s next on the list.  I think it’s important to keep the options open for variety.  I get bored soooo easily.  I hate routine.

This summer I want to grow food on my patio.  In fact, I need to get that going this weekend.  I’m going to go visit some gardens of friends and family for inspiration.  Naturally, I’ll share with you what I find.  I’m already behind for gardening here in Oklahoma, but it IS only April, for Pete’s sake.  I think I can still grow a tomato by October. 

I guess that’s about it on the update.  Not much to talk about — just living.  It takes a lot of planning and a lot of thought in the beginning,  but I enjoy making these changes.  I do feel better, I sleep better and I have more energy.   So, the odds are good for me reaching a great level of health by 50, but I do have 11 whole months to go . . . I could snap any minute.  We’ll see.

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THIS POST IS NAMED IN honor of the fab piece of art (above) in the children’s art show at the Crystal Bridge in The Myriad Gardens.  I wasn’t able to get the artist’s name.

Today I went to the OKC Festival of the Arts downtown.  It was a lot of fun, ran into a couple of friends there, and took a lot of pics.   Luckily Gopuram (Gopuram Taste of India)  had a booth at the food court, so I was able to eat lunch.  Yay!  Had a delish vegetable platter and a mango lassi.  I was happy.  

I was able to attend the Rethink Recycle Redesign show, which was set up in a room they dubbed the “Six Day Cellars.”  The art was all made from recycled material.  I wasn’t able to photograph it all, but I did get pics of my favorites.  Wine was served from a little bar, but sadly not Oklahoma wines.   Pics from the show are below, along with miscellaneous other shots from the day. 

A very nice artist let me take pics of her recycled glass art and even stood up to move out of my way.  I told her that another artist had reacted unkindly to me asking to take pics of his ceramic pears, and she said “we have different attitudes.”  Nice way of putting it.  The artist is D. K. Solomon and her website is Fused Glass Online or Fused Glass Jewelry on Etsy

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Dr. Oz plays undercover waiter at a restaurant today, and the entire show is about healthy choices when eating out.  

Dr. Oz Show Restaurant Episode   

Dr. Oz Show Best Restaurant Choices

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