Monday, March 31, 2014

Adventures in Dixie (Part One)

Joey and I went down to Nashville to visit his family last week.  His family has always been very kind and welcoming to me, especially in regards to my strange (or childish) eating habits.  His father does most of the cooking and always asks if I am willing to eat a certain meal.

But now they know that I'm trying to eat different foods.  So when we pulled in Wednesday night, Joey's dad said, "Do you like Barbecue Pork, Kayla?"

"Uh...," was my eloquent response.

"I'm going to make macaroni and cheese, too."

"Sounds good!"

So Joey and I took off our shoes and settled into the couch.  I had just lost my sense of smell to allergies, but Joey told me dinner smelled great.  When his mom got home from work, we were all ready to sit down and eat.

You will notice the generous portion of macaroni and cheese.  That's just how I roll.

Despite my not-very-supportive olfactory senses, I think I can safely say that I liked the Pork.  It was less Barbecue and more Teriyaki, which definitely worked in its favor.  I actually wish there had been more sauce!

And I managed to limit myself to three helpings of mac and cheese.  It was a successful start to the trip.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Another Small Step in the Grown-Up Direction

March is one of the best months for food.  We can thank St. Patrick's Day for that.  I believe it is a well-established fact that corned beef is the best culinary invention humans have ever created.  People love to eat corned beef on St. Patrick's Day, so corned beef is dirt cheap in March.

After St. Patrick's Day, you get to have a week or so of Corned Beef Hash.  This is the best breakfast in the world (besides banana bacon pancakes).  I just finished up our leftover corned beef, and simultaneously made another step toward real adulthood.

Corned Beef Hash, the way we've always made it, involves onions.  They lend the dish a good flavor, but are generally kind of nasty.  Usually I leave them in a pile on my plate.  I then throw them out and go about my day.

But not yesterday.  Yesterday, I ate the onions.  But I made sure to cook them in butter for a while first.  And I made sure that I had a lot of carrots and corned beef to balance out the onion.

New phone takes much more narrow pictures than old phone.  Good to know....

As the human race discovered millenia ago, butter makes everything taste better.  Probably because it is pure fat, something humans love more than anything.  It has such a reassuring taste.  Butter says, "Yeah, I know you have to eat this disgusting vegetable, but I'll be with you the whole time."  Of course, put too much butter on your vegetables and you're negating the health benefits of vegetables.  But the meal will definitely taste delicious!

So I fried up my Corned Beef Hash in butter.  And I ate an onion.  And it was pretty good!  Thanks to the magic of butter, I joined a club I don't often qualify for: The Clean Plate Club.

 Behold!  A plate clear of all onions!

Thanks, butter, for making this all possible!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

If You Eat Enough Fruit, Can You Make Spring Happen?

In case you have been hibernating, I want to make sure that you know what this winter has been like.  It's been cold.  Like stay-inside-if-you-want-to-live cold.  Chicago has gone through multiple polar vortexes.  Snow sat on our lawns and piled up in our alleys for months.  Even the schools were closed for a few days!  That last one is definitely more impressive the more familiar you are with the Chicago Public Schools.

But finally, the snow is starting to melt.  Emphasis on starting.  We still have insane amounts of snow piled up in our alley.  So does this mean it's finally spring?

Probably not.  This is Chicago, and it is March.  I'd be foolish to be so hopeful.  But even though it's currently 27 degrees outside, I can eat hopefully.  And adventurously.

I recently bought my runner boyfriend The Runner's World Cookbook.  So last night he decided to make a runner-minded burger.  (Check out his blog for the results!)  I opted for the Almond Butter and Pear Sandwich.  Because I want it to be spring already, gosh darn it!

The ingredient list looked super tasty: almond butter, cinnamon, honey, vanilla, pear.  Even goat cheese is pretty tasty.  But there it was.  The lone gross factor.  Chopped dried apricots.

Look at them.  Pretending to be candy.  Pretending to be a tasty fruit.

Apricots are gross.  They're not quite oranges, not quite nectarines, not quite something I want to eat.  But I'm an adult.  An adult who is trying really hard to eat foods she wouldn't normally eat.  There had to be a reason dried apricots were included in this otherwise tasty sandwich.  So I put them in my sandwich.

The finished product minus the second slice of bread.  Look at all those little bits of gross.

How did those little bits of gross taste?  Pretty inoffensive.  The other ingredients were more pronounced than the apricots.  They provided a chewy texture, which I liked combined with the smooth texture of the almond butter and goat cheese.  I really liked this sandwich, apricots and all.  I'm glad I made the choice to include them.

It was too many dried apricots, though.  I'll cut the amount in half next time.  And I'm still not going to eat them on their own.  I'll stick with pretty much any other fruit.  I just don't see why you would choose an apricot over another type of fruit.

Also, I don't know why I didn't just spread the goat cheese on the other slice of bread.  That would have saved me a lot of trouble trying to make everything evenly spread.

Hopefully my willing consumption of apricots will prove that we are more than ready for spring.  Hey, tomorrow it's supposed to be 35!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lycopene for the Lycanthropically-Challenged

I don't like tomatoes.  They are super gross.  One of my earliest memories involves tomato sauce fighting its way up from my stomach.  I lost the battle, and tomato anything and I have been mortal enemies ever since.

Tomatoes are also very healthy, digestive pyrotechnic episode aside.  They are filled with lycopene.  Lycopene, sadly, has little to do Remus Lupin other than Remus Lupin had a prostate.  I have already cited my lack of prostate as a very good reason for me to never consume tomatoes.

But what if Remus Lupin came to my house for dinner?  As a lycanthrope with a prostate, I would want to make sure I was looking out for his future with his child.  This is, after all, my hypothetical situation.  Remus is suddenly starting to focus on his health because life isn't just about marauding anymore.  It's about his family!