Thursday, March 24, 2011

Entertain (if you will) This Possibility: I Simply Do Not Want It.

Hisashiburi, ne?*  

This will undoubtedly also be a long post.  Grab your coffee and tuck in!


Pre-roasted tomatoes and thyme.  I'd been doing this
for a while now over eggs (but using grape instead of
plum and dried instead of fresh).
I apologize for the long absence from the blogosphere (or what does one call this?) as there are many things lately that have sucked up a lot of my general internet leisure.  Mainly, a lot of time I spent eating a quick meal while surfing the net has been spent just eating the meal.  I've found that I really enjoy eating away from any type of social media, working or playing computer games; it's given me time to not only think about what I'm consuming, if I enjoy the flavor and texture, the warmth and the nutrition, but also given me time to think about life and what I want to do and where I want to go.  Time to think about my friends, family and life.  It's become quite Zen actually, and I think I've really needed that.

It's helped a bit on my search for happiness and inner peace.  As I continue to quest toward a good place for my weight and physical fitness (finally and officially changed the blog header from 150+ to 160+, go me!), I'm now looking toward the (seemingly endless list of) other things I can improve about myself.  One glaring area is attitude, which has grown increasingly negative over the past few years.  I am trying very hard to look on the bright side of things, or actually become the person who hates everything (which really is meant to be a joke or shrug off, though sometimes it gets scarily accurate...)

I try to smile more, and not get too-too stressed or worried.  Right now, it's far from perfect, but it's a start.  The oatmeal in the morning as I stare out my window and think about my day certainly helps.


A couple of weeks ago, my department at work had a quarterly meeting.  For me, this becomes a little scary unknown food-wise as (kindly!) food is provided but I also get anxious as to exactly what that food might be.  I try not to be too stressed and worried about these things, but then again... I'm me, so I do.  I packed some reasonably light things just in case.

I am unable to take an attractive picture of
cooked meat.
Of course, I could have skipped the lunch piece entirely, brought my own, ate away and just do the meeting bit.  Unfortunately, despite my social awkwardness that has plagued me since age three-months, I didn't want to pursue that route.  I'd see what was there and eat accordingly and with my colleagues.

Lunch was pretty straight forward (and paper bagged even!).  The contents of my selection (there were a variety) was a turkey and swiss sandwich on whole wheat bread, a bag of Utz potato chips, and a macadamia cookie.

I decided the sandwich was workable, though I didn't want the full of it.  I did take half the sandwich, half the turkey, and all of the lettuce and tomato (seriously, I've turned into a veg-aholic... The Husband has witnessed me in the produce section and has likened me to a kid in a candy store at this point).  Left out the cheese as it wasn't worth it to me.  As far as the chips and cookie went, I decided I could do without and asked if anyone else wanted those items.

There was an enthusiastic taking of the cast offs, but then something I didn't want to happen did happen.  One of the folks at my table looked at me almost forlornly and sighed, "I guess that's forbidden, huh?"

I don't think I could have prevented the half snort/disbelief/anguish look on my face as I sputtered, "No!"  I quickly regained composure and reiterated, "Nah, I just don't want those."

And it's true.  I did not want those!

But how could I not want chips or a cookie?

It's a strange thing, but I sometimes think or feel that folks think I'm very pious when it comes to this weight loss thing.  The truth of the matter is, I'm not.  These past two years have not been about being on a "diet", because I am not (and I tend to get myself in trouble when I slip into that mentality).

Granted, a lot of what I choose is based on the food being nutritionally sound; fuel for the body and things that keep me full so I don't have to reach for chips or cookies or the endless fields of pizza...
I should have added more spinach, but then
I would have hogged the whole thing for myself.

(One moment, drooling over this last thought.)

Another thing that the last two years have been about is choosing my indulgences wisely.  If I am going to have chips, I'd love for them to be chips I love.  If it's going to be a cookie, it's going to be the cookie of my dreams.  So had I opened that bag and found a small bag of Doritos (despite my 2 in 3 chance of it giving me digestive problems afterward) and an oatmeal raisin cookie, I'd've been hard pressed not to go for it, or at the very least saved them for a later time or date.  The chances were extremely good those items would not have been given away.

As for Utz and macadamia cookie... while they are good things that I've enjoyed from time to time, they do not sing to me, and given the myriad of other things I could eat that would sing to me later that day... it turned out that (truly and I promise this is true) I simply did not want them.

It can be hard for others to understand, especially if it is something they'd themselves want.  It can be hard to explain (alas, I thought it would be quite easy to explain here, but I'm seeing that it is not), but my choice is not one of deprivation or piousness... sometimes, I just really don't want something.  I tend to want the things I really, really want.  Added bonus: if I don't want it, then someone else will usually happily take it.

It's a good thing!


I really love food apparently, as this last item is also about just that.

I'd looked at several of the last cookbooks I purchased and noted with amusement that I'm apparently very likely to purchase one if there is a picture on the cover involving a) pasta and b) cheese.  Macaroni and Cheese or some Italian-style pasta.  The second amusing thing is that I almost never wind up cooking that dish from the book (at least, not without a lot of modification in the end).

This week, The Husband and I have been making our way through one such book that I picked up more recently, WeightWatchers Just 5.  While I wish each dish was "Just 5" PointsPlus (those are in there, but also things that are less and things that are more), I do appreciate the ease with which these dishes can be thrown together.  Simple foods are indeed a great thing.

So far, we've eaten four dishes from the book.

Things I love include The Husband,
Spinach, and gaaaaaaahlic
Monday was Smoky Greens and Beans with Polenta (to kick off my jumping on the Meatless Mondays band wagon).  This was quite possibly my favorite dish of the ones I've made so far from the book, tasting rich and flavorful and confirming that not only can a dish do with less meat, it can do without meat at all.  I blame the chiles en adobo... ah, I have fond memories of this one.

Tuesday was The Husband's turn at bat with Pork Medallions with Marsala and Mushrooms.  I found it tasty, but he was a little grumpy about the recipe, thinking the pork and the mushrooms were cooked too long and the dish entirely too peppery.  I thought it was tasty.

Wednesday saw us tucking into Rigatoni with Spicy Sausage and Beans... which was quite like Monday's dish (Kale and Beans being heavily featured in both) but replacing tomatoes with chicken broth, chiles en adobo with replaced by hot italian sausage (which was not very spicy at all), and polenta replaced with Rigatoni.  Ultimately, I did not find it very satisfying and kind of wish I'd made Monday's meal again (which is destined to be a repeat in my kitchen... it was very good!)

Friday should be reserved for being in love, but I found tonight's dish was worthy of such an occasion.  I kind of modified this one, which was two dishes:  Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme and Olive oil (and that's the ingredient list... I served this over some Ronzoni with spinach as I continue to be spinach obsessed... and truly, this was the before-mentioned mod), and Filet Mignon with Garlic Cream Sauce.  I worried as the cream sauce involved using Laughing Cow cheese.... but it worked.  It was truly an enjoyable gaaaaaaahlicy, cheesy experience.  The Husband also approved, which was nice, since this was again very easy to pull together.

All in all, I enjoy the simplicity of the book, and I am sure there are many hits (and likely also some misses), but I recommend it to any of my health-conscious friends who are are looking for quick and easy meals.  The only failing (and I think a lot of WW books are like this) is that vegetarian and less-meatatarian dishes are grossly under-represented.  However, for someone like me, I will start thinking about making some of the meals using an inspired by approach.  This Saturday I'll attempt the attractive cover dish, but using a lot less meat than called for and much, much more veg.  It likely will wind up being... I don't know, 6 or even 7 ingredients... We'll see how it goes!

I can also appreciate a cookbook that allows for a
romantic meal on a random Thursday night.  The Husband
almost worried it was our anniversary.

* It's been a while.

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