food issues

This morning twitter has been awash in food issue discussions people hating MELONS (I just don’t understand) to BANANAS and various other food items. Even though I am a vegetarian, which makes my loving most all vegetables good for me, I honestly don’t have many food issues by choice. I’ll explain what I mean by that below.

Foodstuffs what I cannot stand:

-Cilantro: TASTES LIKE SOAP! UGH. It’s awful and it’s genetic. This is not my fault, obvs, and if there are huge pieces, I will pick them out. I avoid foods that have it listed in the description unless I know the other components are spicy enough or pungent enough to cancel out the soapy taste.

-Shellfish:Anaphylactic reaction. This stuff equals death to me without my epi pin and even a little tiny bit of cross-contamination means my lips and eyes swell which is totally not pleasant, so even the smell of seafood makes my stomach turn. I agree with Drop Dead Gorgeous “Don’t ever eat nothin’ that can carry its house around with it. Who knows the last time it’s been cleaned.”

-Mushrooms: I always thought this was a texture problem for me or a smell problem or taste thing? I don’t know but I have never liked them and then I found out I was allergic. So mystery solved then, NO FUNGUS, thank you.

-Beets: Taste like dirt.

-Raisins: These are little sticky dried works of the devil.

-Milk: It’s like drinking snot.

I think that’s pretty much it. I miss meat but I don’t miss my stomach constantly cramping and me feeling awful, so while I loved it, it didn’t love me. Same goes for most milk products. I haven’t fully given up cheese yet, but it looks like I am headed that direction.

Growing up we didn’t have a choice in what we ate, period. You ate what was in front of you and that was that. So I grew up eating “weird” things like fennel, kumquats, broiled artichokes, spaghetti squash, liverwurst, avocado with russian dressing and red pepper, fresh coconut and sugar cane, stuffed bell peppers, goat cheese, and homemade teriyaki beef jerky. We had a garden in our back yard and a greenhouse at one point.

Sprog has ALL the food issues and it makes me crazy.

kinda sorta meal planning

During the week I cook nearly every night of the week. Even “Pizza night Monday” I am usually the one popping the frozen pizza in the oven for the boys (note the usually there honey, I know you do it on occasion as well). I have tried and usually have failed to meal plan more times than I can count…because on any given day I can’t tell you what I am going to be in the mood to eat and if I am not in the mood to eat something, I am not going to bother cooking it and I definitely am not going to eat it. The whole cooking two meals (one veg, one meat) every night has taken a lot of joy out of the kitchen for me and honestly I rarely am “in the mood” for anything lately.

This week has seen a sudden change. I am on day three of “planned” meals and when I say planned I totally mean that I plan something in the morning or maybe even the day before and see it through at dinner time. Ish. Pretty exciting stuff.

I moved pizza night to Sunday because the boys were deep in geek building new computers and I didn’t even feel close to wanting food.

Monday I made homemade marinara with some fire roasted tomatoes, boiled up some linguine, roasted some veg and followed it with some homemade strawberry shortcake (I added Meyer lemon zest and some juice to the berries as they macerated)
Homemade strawberry shortcake

Tuesday I was going to use the leftover roasted veg in an Asian stir-fry but during the day I changed my mind and decided I wanted soft tacos. So I made my own tortillas after seeing Elizabeth rave about a recipe on twitter and filled them with black beans, spinach, rice, corn and avocado. The boys had salsa chicken in theirs.
Homemade tortillas

Tonight, I’ll finally use that leftover veg in a stir-fry which I am going to put over the top of some Soba noodles with baby spinach for me and over some rice for the boys. I am either going to serve the boys potstickers or Bao, for their main, not sure which yet…probably will let them choose.

Thursday we’ll be having Tortellini with Field Roast sausage and Friday we’ll be having the chickpea salad melts on homemade bread. If Sprog is home on Friday, he’ll be having a ham and cheese melt.

For lunches so far this week I’ve had left over pasta on slices of homemade bread (with flax added) with cheese melted on the top and some fruit, but I finished the last of the pasta today, so we’ll see what the rest of the week brings as far as lunch.

Not exactly rocket science or high culinary art, but I like that I have been able to cook things from scratch and make easily doctored meals that have worked for all of us.

if only Mr. Darcy was here making the eggs*

Recently I came into possession of a large quantity of Meyer lemons from Elizabeth in California. They are gorgeous

Lemons!

but I have rather a lot of them and I don’t want any of them to go bad before I can use them so I thought I should make some marmalade. I figured it would use all of the fruit and probably rather a lot of it and hey it would be something I have never done before and I am all about doing complicated and probably crazy things.

I can (and have) canned before but it was for apple butter which was a relatively uncomplicated procedure with excellent results…so I’ve got the canning bit down at least but the rest…the whole pectin and jelling and all that rot? Not so much, as it turns out.

I chose two recipes because WHY NOT make it even MORE complicated on myself and went to work. Which I mean cutting 6 large lemons into teeny tiny slices and saving all the seeds and then soaking the whole lot in a bunch of water overnight.

I’ll be sharing the recipes on Food Lush this is mainly telling y’all about the experience.

So the next day we moved on to the actual jam making portion and well…this did not go as planned. In the end I dropped a jar as it was canning so the inner lid bent and that jar was sacrificed. I scorched the shit out of my fingers and generally wanted to give up on the whole damn thing BUT, I carried on and even went on to make the second batch which is made with actual bought pectin and everything.

Marmalade!

I figured the seed pectin one would fail and the bought pectin one would win and it has turned out to be just the opposite, except for ONE FREAKING JAR of the seed pectin one. It’s still watery whereas all the rest set? I have no idea what that is about but since I have to cook down 8 jars of the other stuff AGAIN, I am just going to re-can that jar and the dropped jar (after I re-sterilize them of course) and see what happens.

I was the most excited for the bought pectin one because it’s SWEET! It has vanilla in it and the syrup tasted divine, I was essentially drinking the excess from a ladle over the pot…but the straight is good too, tart but not overly so because I added a hint of honey (RECIPE BREAKER) it reminds me a lot of the orange type you see in English teas so often.

If only bloggers lived here, I’d have you over for a brunch of blue soup, eggs, green gunge and marmalade.

*Thanks to Reading and Chickens for the Bridget Jones reference for my adventure

in the baking spirit

Yesterday we made time to do our annual baking and decorating of Christmas cookies with the fam.

We went over to mom’s armed with a bag of cookie cutters (thanks for the snowflakes Alice!) decorative sugars, sprinkles, sugar cookie dough, Santa hats and reindeer antlers and I proceeded to roll out and cut many trays of cookies. Connor cut out one tray of cookies but everyone else mainly waited for the decorating bit of the program.

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Sprog looks so thrilled to be wearing this thing, does he not? He did amazing with his cookies though! Kid’s got a real talent for cookie decorating.

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Course, he took his seriously and didn’t do things like putting dead eyes on Santa…or worse.

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Like the shit cookie my bro made. Doesn’t it look delicious?

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Connor went the route of putting all the shit on the cookie. He of course couldn’t finish it.

My sister, twisted in her own way, posted this on FB with the caption “candy cane, or?”
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She also got my brother while he was passed out in a chair in the living room
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and posted it on FB too. HAHA.

One of the best parts of cookie decorating for me is that we leave them all at mom’s and that I am never even tempted to eat any so I don’t feel like crap later with a sour over sugared tum, I just have fun with the decorating :-)

Projects and cookery

Over a week since I posted last? I would love to say it was because I was off on some fabulous vacation, or hell ANY vacation, but that isn’t the case. I’ve just been spending my days doing chores, babysitting the nephew
Nephew playing the Wii
making stuff for the shop

(but then not actually getting it really photographed and posted-feh)

making yummy foodstuffs
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and working on some small projects around the house
Our song, for the gallery wall

I’ve also been trying to swim daily. It seems like so much stuff but really I’ve been fighting head and allergy problems again so I feel like I could/should be doing so much more. Plus we had a huge problem last week with Sprog’s dentist and it really messed a lot of stuff up (still not resolved unfortunately) so I’ll need to get on that this coming week.

Tonight we are going to Pasadena for a niece’s b-day and I need to get her gift situation sorted. Her party is actually tomorrow but it’s being held at 3 pm OUTSIDE in TEXAS in JULY and there is no freaking way with all my head issues that is going to happen. I think I would probably just pass right the eff out from heat stroke. Plus we FINALLY have Sprog for our whopping two whole days this month and we want to get to spend time with him doing what he wants to do. Going tonight instead is hopefully a good compromise, I don’t want her to be disappointed.

I hope everyone is enjoying flip flop shopping! Have a great weekend.

I missed an anniversary, I say I deserve a cupcake

It’s been over a year since I went veggie. I totally should’ve demanded a cupcake on the 16th to toast to my good health (choices).

I still struggle, sometimes, with a bad tum but it’s SO MUCH BETTER than it ever was back when I was ingesting large portions of meat protein.

Lately I’ve been eating fresh blueberries, as a snack, every day. I started doing that in London and really wanted it when I got back.

I’ve also become addicted to an aubergine dip, because of a meal in London, as well. I eat about an entire eggplant’s worth of dip at a sitting so I call it a meal.

I have a bunch of plants for my container garden but I still want more. I would love to get a lot of my produce from my own yard.

I have Sprog eating more fruits and veggies too, which is a huge coup because that kid is all about skittles, taco bell and pizza.

the first week of the new year

Let’s do a wrap up shall we?

~Scarf swap: Everyone should have received their matches and contact e-mails by now. If you haven’t, please let me know. Reminder posts will happen next week on Monday and Friday.

~Style Lush: Post this week was about some candlesticks I have and am not sure how to handle.

~Food Lush: Post this week was about re-creating my fave Starbucks drink “Dirty Chai” at home

~The Vanity Resolution: Is going strong, so strong in fact that I have started a flickr group (please feel free to join btw one person does not a group make) and put together a collage of this weeks looks

Week 1
Maybe I’ll get all fashion blogger-y at some point and actually take pics with my “real” camera and tripod, I might even add it as a separate section once we get my site overhaul done but for now, I am proud of myself for sticking with the whole posting and dressing thing every day. Of course you notice there are only 6 looks and that’s because it’s 6 freaking am right now, thank you allergies. *sigh*

~I made my bed yesterday!
I made my freaking bed!
Which I probably shouldn’t admit for being the big deal that it is, but our room is usually a disaster area. Mainly because our dogs like it that way. Here is something that i wouldn’t allow my poor husband to admit on facebook but our dogs are freaked the eff out about the bed being made and my side of the floor being completely cleaned. See they LOVE to sleep on our clothes, mommy and daddy nests we call it and if they don’t have that? They don’t know what to do with themselves, like it’s the end of the freaking world. I might have to go buy them kennel beds today just to calm them down, because I intend to keep the mess away and this year we are going to give my sinuses WOOD FLOORS, so they’ll need multiple baby beds anyway. Spoiled? Our little princesses? NEVER.

~I also went on with that whole “If I see something cute I want, just buy it when I see it” resolution the other day at Costco where I bought two awesome new sweaters because 1) the only two left in those colors and my size 2) we are supposed to be getting an arctic blast next week and I don’t have enough sweaters anyway and 3) I was severely pissed and holding my tongue is easier when I shop. Hello emotional buying.

~I also received my very first cashmere item EVER in the mail yesterday. OMG. Where have you been all my life?

~In the kitchen: I made the very best Red Lentil Soup I’ve ever had in my life and I could eat it every single day. I need to get some more spinach so I can make it again. I also made a Tortilla and Black Bean Pie last night and it was soooooo freaking good. Go make it, right now.

take this stuff and shelve it

I might have a small addiction to Costco. Like, I treat it as if it’s a regular grocery store, small addiction. In my defense, I am raising a growing teenage boy that has shot up 6 inches over the past however long and is still growing, so food is very important in our house. We recently were gifted a chest freezer which has helped immensely in my Costco shopping excursions, it’s freaking hard to fit bulk sized freezer items into a side by side freezer space but the other problem is the pantry.

When we bought this house I sacrificed A LOT in terms of space. I had a HUGE walk in pantry in my rent house, a pantry of dreams. A pantry I could tear up about, I miss it that much. In this house, I have barely a coat closet sized pantry, it’s pathetic, it’s also not conducive to bulk shopping or frankly shopping at the Indi-pak (Indian Pakistani market where I get all my spices and such for the huge amount of Indian cooking I have started doing). So the back half of my kitchen, also known as the breakfast nook, has turned into cluttered horrible looking storage. It’s been a nightmare and it’s been driving me nutso. Having a cluttered house has a none so good effect on my person but we haven’t had the funds to get what I really want to put along the back wall for storage so it’s just been a compounding problem. Over the weekend we just decided to suck it up and buy an interim solution, a rack shelving system, it’s not pretty but at least it would be functional, or so we thought.

We bought it at Target it, with its 350 lbs of support claims and it’s black powder coated finish to mimic the cabinets that are opposite so at least it wouldn’t be as heinous. Putting it together was a disaster, none of the support cups are straight, I am pretty sure none of the poles are straight so you can imagine they wouldn’t slide together properly which meant that “gentle tapping with a mallet” didn’t get the shelves to settle, proper tapping with a mallet meant bending…so much for that 350lbs. Instead of returning the cursed thing we opted to muscle through and just deal with the bends, the chips and the craptasticness of it all so we would at least have something to get the shit up off the floor and out of our way and then when we can afford something nicer, that piece of shit is going out to the curb. We have a similar system out in the garage but it’s a proper heavy duty system from a restaurant supply and there really is no substitute.

For now, I am ignoring all the flaws, the fact that it looks very college dorm-esque and reveling in my free from clutter floors, my open traffic path, my ORGANIZATION. OH HAPPY DAY.

the weekend is over

and the weather is changing. I am so happy that we are finally getting morning and evening cooler temps; I have had enough of Houston this summer and am so tired of being cooped up all the time. Of course now we enter the fall allergy transition but whatever I have to suffer for the heat to start dissipating? I’ll do it. Of course I say that now, I’m sure I’ll be whinging later. Haha.

Anyway, I survived the weekend of people what annoy me with only minor anger…probably because I just avoided talking as much as I could and distanced myself as much as I could. *sigh*

I made awesome garam masala spiced sweet potatoes last night and mixed them with black beans and cheese for some “breakfast” tacos. Super yummy and filling. For Wills and Sprog I made eggs, herbed baby red potatoes, morningstar sausage (kid has no idea it wasn’t really meat) and cheese to go in their tortillas.

I also figured out headbands
Headbands
and added 3 of them to the shop for sale (the peacock one is mine, I kinda had to keep it). I have one more headband in my mind, that I will create shortly and get added. I also need to create some more barrettes…hopefully in the next couple of days.

I was woken up again last night at 3:45 am and kept up until 7 am (when I went back to bed for a nap) but the disruption was enough to trigger a monster headache so I haven’t done much today other than the dishes and take lots of medication and coffee (medicinally of course).

top priority of the morning

ICE CREAM

The ice cream maker is about to be utilized. I am so freaking excited it’s not even funny!

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon making these
Two!
Which you know already if you are on my FB or Twitter (I couldn’t help myself, I was so excited about them).

Clearly I have gone off the crafty/domestic goddess deep-end over here.