Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Caffeine, Races, Ice Cream, Paella

I haven't updated about my caffeine and other food recently. I've kept a good equilibrium for half-caf coffees this week. I did slip up a bit on Saturday. We went to a different farmer's market and I was kind of cranky so decided to have a coffee. But it was a bit larger than I expected. However, it was really good, and I intend to go back to the store (they had a table at the market even though they are across the street).

Saturday, we had a pretty tasty lunch of hot dogs (well, veggie dogs for me) and homemade ketchup we bought at the farmer's market the week before, plus some couscous and a salad. For dinner, we made a beet, asparagus (from farmer's market) and egg (again, from farmer's market and SO GOOD - the yolks were bright yellow like they should be!) salad from the best salad cookbook, plus some quinoa and cabbage (thanks Bittman!).

Sunday morning I got up REALLY early to run a 10 mile race. It was my very first 10 mile race and I was really excited and happy how I did. (I did it in 1 hour, 44 minutes! Go me!) The race ended in Old Town Alexandria and The Pedant met me at the finish line (he also cheered me on in the last leg). They had some food at the finish line - bagels (which were NOT real bagels, just bread products), bananas (yuck) and chips. I'm not usually hungry immediately after I finish a big race, so I had a bottle of water and we started to walk to the Metro. TP was a bit hungry, so we stopped by Le Pain Quotidian, a great chain, for some breakfast. TP had a mochachino and a croissant sandwich. I ordered 2 soft-boiled eggs (TP ate one of them) and it came with lots of tasty bread. It was perfect, although the server got a little annoyed that's all we were ordering. I did make myself a mocha with coffee and light chocolate soy milk when I got home.

We made a carrot and cheddar salad for lunch from the salad cookbook. It was fair - but not something we'll do again (although we amended the recipe a bit). We both ended up eating a bit too much of it and by the time dinner rolled around we didn't feel like making paella, which we planned to eat. We did, however, have a new Ben and Jerry's flavor of ice cream for dinner. Which is the only reason I run.

Last night TP made the paella. It was a Bittman recipe (of course) and had mushrooms. It came out really, really well.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Less Caffeine, Day 4

So now it's day 4 of less caffeine. Yesterday I was working late so I actually slept much later than I normally do (yet another sleepless night...) so lots of caffeine wasn't as big of a deal. I did make my new favorite coffee drink: in a double mug (mine is very much like this and a good friend got it for me a few years ago - I do LOVE the slogan!) mix 1 part coffee, 1 part light chocolate soymilk. Add one sweetener packet (mostly because I have a sweet tooth). Enjoy.

I did manage to not eat anything when I got home last night and slept ok. Today it's another mug of half-caf. It's going well this project. I do want to devour an entire bag of chocolate covered espresso beans. Is that normal??

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Less Caffeine, Day 2.5

Short update. I broke down and got coffee from the cafeteria. I had full intention of getting half-caf (I swear!) but I was thwarted because the decaf coffee was no where to be found. And, since they're closing up shop for the day I figured it wouldn't be making a reappearance. So I was forced - forced! - to get a cup of regular coffee. I used my reusable mug and I didn't fill it all the way.

Maybe it's a sign this is a silly goal?

Less Caffeine, Day 2

What I neglected to say in my post yesterday is that I will be limiting my caffeine intake over the next few weeks. It's something I've been thinking about recently since my life has been busy and I haven't been sleeping well. Well, I have NEVER been a good sleeper. Many of the stories from my childhood revolve around me not sleeping. I have never been an insane coffee drinker - my father drinks about 8 cups a day of STRONG coffee and I have never been that bad - but I always take a spill proof mug worth of coffee. I will sometimes get another small coffee or latte int he afternoon or even a diet coke. But they seem to not work at waking me up. Which defeats the purpose.

Plus, I've been reading that bad sleepers shouldn't drink too much caffeine.

Also, I think it's screwing up my body and making me more tired at night. And I've been eating way to much at night. Yes, I've been running a lot lately - but not on the weekdays - and I come home at 9:30 after a 13 hour day but I have been snacking a bit too much. Because I'm tired. Which isn't a reason to eat. So I'm hoping to limit my caffeine intake over the next few weeks. I'm not going to cut it out completely. I just don't want a crutch. Plus, I want a cup of coffee or a soda to actually effect me. Also, I like diet soda too much for it to be lost completely to me. And decaf coffee does have a lot of caffeine. And tea is boring.

The Plan:

Start with half-caf coffees for the time being. Why? Because stopping cold turkey at this point in the semester is scary AND I have a lot of coffee still. (Dad, you may be getting a donation of Costco coffee soon!)

The Goal:

By Julyish be on fully decaf coffee in the AMs. Try to get decaf coffees when I need a pick me up. Sleep through the night (something I don't think I ever do unless I take a Tylenol PM or Benadryl).

Yesterday was day 1. I could not realize why I was still REALLY tired at 10 AM. Then I remembered. By 3 PM I could barely stay awake. I was unhappy. THEN I woke up about 3AM and had a lot of trouble falling back asleep.

Today is day 2. I have already decided I will likely buy some coffee about 2pmish. Not sure if it'll be half-caf or not. It depends on how badly I want to tear my eyes out. It is also day 2 of no snacking after 9PM. (I think one of the reasons I woke up at 3 AM is I had a little too much to eat for dinner last night. The cheese from yesterday kept calling my name...) We'll see if it works. Day 1 was a bust.

More updates tomorrow.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Food for the Week

Yesterday was Sunday which means I did some cooking for the week, since between work and school I have little time for cooking. And also little money and little caloric needs for going out 2 meals a day. (However, I am probably treating myself to Subway for dinner tonight. I do love Subway. And laziness. But in fairness, I'll be passing Subway on my way home from picking up a packet for my 10 Mile Race this Sunday, so I get a pass, right?)

Regardless, back to food for the week.

I made a pasta dish with shells (they were supposed to be Whole Wheat, but The Pedant couldn't find so we have white wheat pasta which is luxurious after whole wheat...) with asparagus, peas, basil, mint, scallions, lemon zest and feta cheese. It's from Vegetarian Times and I made it last year but kind of screwed up (like, it was supposed to have "garlic oil" so I used garlic powder, which was fine, but not great and I didn't have 1 cup of fresh basil so I used waaaay to much dried and it tasted kind of funky). I fixed my mistakes: lots of fresh basil and I put 2 whole garlic cloves in the measured out oil to flavor it, but not too much. It came out really well. It's totally fresh tasting and delicious. It will be great for lunch. Plus, we got the asparagus at the farmer's market, which is always fun. We also got apples and some really amazing cheddar cheese from a new vendor. I had my book club over so we had a cheese plate - plus meringue cookies which I made for the first time and were great - and it was really great.

I also made granola from scratch (well, from Bittman) which TP and I have gotten into lately. It's incredibly easy to do and really much healthier than the stuff we could buy. I messed it up slightly so the dried fruit got REALLY hard and crunchy, but it came out well.

Although I didn't make it for the week, TP and I had some great food for lunch. We had friends over last week and made a pizza with fresh mozzarella, but had 2 small balls of mozzarella left over. So we sliced that up and put it with some of the fresh basil on chibatta rolls. I added avocado and TP had tomato. I drizzled the rolls with EVOO and balsamic. It was amazing. We had a side salad with a poached egg for protein. Very tasty.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The "Hard Ways"

So, inspired by my sister, for breakfast this morning I made the vegetarian kosher version of the KFC Double Down:

I call it the "Hard Ways," because I wanted to keep with the gambling metaphors, and I like craps.

What is it? Two Morningstar Farms "Chik" Patties, Morningstar Farms fake bacon, Haolam jack cheese, and a smear of light mayo.

How does it taste? Eh. Not bad, but really sort of one note - meaty/salty, with a little tang from the mayo. I'm glad I didn't try the real thing; I had a bad experience with a "famous bowl."

Monday, April 5, 2010

Passover Foods

A very quick update since things have been busy.

It's been Passover, so The Pedant and I have eaten lots of leftovers and made some of our own food. We've managed to eat really well.

Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls

TP made a really good soup. It had lots of veg and the matzah balls were nice and hard - not light and airy. Blech. He makes a mean soup.

Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes

Ala Mark Bittman that we've made before. A real winner. I want to make (and modify) it again after Passover the southwest version with avocados, cilantro and lime juice and add some corn for more guts.


Actually, not a great success. Mostly because I forgot to ask TP to get tomato paste. I love shakshuka, mostly because it's really forgiving and is so tasty. (It's even better with warm pita and chumus...) However, it came out REALLY watery this time, which was my fault. Sad.

Matzah Lasagna

This was a real winner. We had lots of veg and store bought tomato sauce (mostly because we saw it in the Teet - last year we made our own) and lots of cheese. Also, only 3 boards of matzah so it was light on the matzah. It came out really well. We may replicate the recipe with lasagna noodles to make it after Passover with lots of veg again.

Parve Brownies

Mostly because the store was out of good passover chocolates. Turns out, not horrible. Also tasted really great after a 10 mile (!!!!!) run.


TP found kosher for passover bisli. It has been utterly amazing.

Although I'm ready for pizza tomorrow night.