Madness, mayhem and mayonnaise

So, that broccoli salad I was going to make last night? It took me an HOUR AND A HALF to make. There was a time when I considered myself to be efficient in the kitchen. I could whip up anything, no recipe could possibly intimidate me. But then this thing happened where I started reading a lot of nutritional discoveries, and decided it would be a Good Idea to avoid soy products as much as possible. So I make our mayonnaise now. No more Hellmann’s, which is sad because it’s delicious. But for some reason I can’t explain, I have had the WORST time getting my mayo to emulsify the last several times I’ve made it. It used to be a cinch; I had the recipe memorized and in a matter of two minutes I’d have a fresh batch whipped up. But last night was one of those nights where the mayo gods were against me and I was afraid for my hair (I might pull it out, you see,). Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally I figured out that the egg yolks left over from making angel food cake for Easter dinner were Not Happy Yolks, and started with a fresh yolk and that made all the difference. Fortunately with mayo, once you get it started properly, all the eggs and oil you’ve messed up earlier will incorporate, no problem, so the whole lot was saved. At 10 pm I staggered to bed in disbelief that I had JUST finished making the salad. And then I went and shared it with my co-workers today – what was I THINKING? I’m pretty sure I should have horded it all to myself after the trouble I went through.

I’m not going to put up a recipe for mayonnaise… there are oodles all over the internet, just google it. Besides, I’m apparently not an expert at making it. I do, however, stick to it until I get good results. And don’t let anyone tell you home-made mayo will end up runny, they are WRONG. See?The yellowish color is because I used farm-fresh eggs from a guy up the road, and the yolks are practically orange.

IMG_2704If you do decide to try homemade mayo (It really is easy… I don’t mean to scare you off. Just small things can make it go wrong, but once that’s ironed out it’s easy and worth it.) don’t expect the flavor to be the same as Hallmann’s. It’s made with soybean oil. I assume yours would not be. And what I’ve come to realize is that a great part of the flavor is soybean oil flavor. I don’t know why that came as a surprise to me, but it did. So if you make it with light olive oil, as I do, it will taste mostly like light olive oil. Or you can use grapeseed oil, or avocado oil… and it will, well, taste like those oils. Go figure.

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Today

My day so far:

Woke early because a spider was crawling up the side of my torso. Flicked him off and rolled over, but the birds were singing, so I didn’t get back to sleep. In case this anecdote hasn’t informed you already, spiders don’t freak me out… which explains my affinity for the Wizard Howl.

Baked these grain-free vanilla cup-cakes.

Frosted them with this home-made nutella.

But first I blanched a bunch of hazelnuts… which is ridiculous. Spend a little more and buy them blanched. I tell you what.

Ate two cupcakes. I justify it that by the time everything was done it was nearly noon.

Then I mowed the lawn and puttered a bit in my garden.

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Spent some time petting and crooning love songs into the ear of my beloved Oliver. (He’s a cat, btw.)

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Picked great mounds of plantain leaves (yes, the yard weed), washed, chopped and covered it  in olive oil in a jar. After several weeks, it’s supposed to be useable for an amazing skin salve for bug bites and i know not what. We shall see.

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And the day’s not over yet. 😉 I have great plans for more gardening and working on a painting later this evening. My aunt has commissioned two paintings from me, the cost of which almost exactly covers the amount I still owe her on my car loan. Perfect! I love that even though I am not waking up to an alarm and groaning my way out of bed to head to work every morning, I am still able to earn my keep while I’m home. I’m not growing rich by any means, but my time is my own and I love it.

Hey, you. It’s YOU.

On a similar topic, but not exclusively Whole30, I have been toying with the idea (yet again) of getting trained as a health coach. I have helped a number of people to change their eating habits and loose weight (and quite frankly, they do a better job of keeping it off than I do… the curse of being a snacker who can’t figure out how to break the habit…) and I love being a part of that and seeing people’s lives changed for the better. There’s an online course that I would love to take, it looks marvelous and has a good reputation compared to other online schools I’ve looked at… but alas, the ever-present problem of I-don’t-have-money-right-now keeps me from even applying. Maybe in a could of years, after my car is paid off. We’ll see. In the meantime, I read books (a new one on balancing hormones is currently in the mail heading my way – so excited!) and blogs and try methods out on myself, and cringe and squirm when I read conventional health magazines. Uuuggghhh. I used to get a couple of health magazines when my interest was budding, but I ended up cancelling them, because they are seriously full of lies. I’m a first-hand witness to the effectiveness of many things they call quack solutions, and I’ve seen the damage done by the ‘healthy’ eating habits they promote. Continue reading

Whole30 FINISHED: recap, and sundry.

My Whole 30 was finished nearly a week ago. There was no huge burst of relief, because my eating habits haven’t changed much since then. I still haven’t touched a bit of dairy, and I don’t intend to for a long time. It’s just not worth it! I did, however, try a couple of different grain-based foods one two different occasions, just because they sounded good and I wanted to test my reaction, even though I had a preeeeetty good idea of what would happen. I was a little surprised.

Sunday, I went out to lunch with a friend, and we had ‘breakfast’ for lunch. I got eggs, ham, and two pancakes. Here I was imagining two moderate sized pancakes, but nooooo, they came on a separate platter, yes, PLATTER, and were each the size of a dinner plate and nearly and inch thick. I laughed outright and made exclamations that amused the waitress. I managed to eat one. Allllll the rest of the day, I felt like there was a weight in my brain, and I so desperately wanted to take a nap. At church that night I had small-group, and during the discussions I didn’t say a word. I just kept yawning and rubbing my eyes and really wishing I could go find  a place to lay down and sleep. Anywhere. Cement floors wouldn’t have bothered me too much.

Then, Tuesday my church streamed the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye (which you can still watch here, and I highly recommend that you do.) , and I chose to eat some of the whole grain tortilla chips that someone had brought. Yum. They were really good. And my stomach then felt like it was full of nails and sharp, pointy rocks for the rest of the night.

So, I’ve had enough of ‘reintroducing’ foods that make me less healthy. They might taste good, but not THAT good. And there are other foods that taste just as good that don’t harm me, so… it doesn’t make sense.

 

 

Whole30 week 3 check-in

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21 days in, no grains, no refined sugar/sweeteners, no dairy, no legumes.

It’s actually not hard. Easier than I was expecting. I thought for sure my cheese cravings would come crashing down and turn me into a crazy person, but I find most ‘cravings’ for anything pass in a matter of minutes and I’m fine.  The hardest part is STILL vegetables. I started out well, but I’m finding if I don’t take time to prepare a meal, I’ll just grab protein and fruit and skip the vegetables, which is a no-no.

What I miss the most, surprisingly, is Continue reading

Mini Chocolate Truffle ‘Cakes’

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This recipe has nothing to do with the 4th of July or BBQs, unlike all the other food posts the blogging world is producing the past few days.

This has everything to do with chocolate. And friends. I used to make these regularly, before I was stricken with health-consciousness *cough*, and I made them for the first time in a few years to take to a friend’s house recently. They were well received.

The original recipe is from Martha Stewart (or her food editor, or whoever), who makes them in standard sized muffin tins, but honestly, these are so intense and fudgy and rich (yes, I said rich… I’m turning into my grandmother.) that I feel they are best enjoyed in small bits, so I use mini-muffin tins. Anyhoo, on to the goodness.

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Strawberries and sisters.

My sister Fauna and I went berry picking today. She utterly shocked me by stating that she’d never been strawberry picking beside when we grew our own eons ago. She DID grow up in the same house I did, so I’m not sure how she missed out on that. It’s true, mom doesn’t care for it because even though they are fresh and ‘real’, farm berries still are not the same as home-grown*, so I guess she wouldn’t have taken us, but I’ve been a number of times with our aunt or friends.

We got enough to freeze some, eat loads fresh and I also want to experiment with chia-seed jam. I keep seeing very interesting recipes, and since I am not a sugar-user in this time of my life, I have hopes that this stuff might be amazing. IMG_0009

There’s a farm in VT with great strawberry beds, not to mention a great view across the lake of the NY mountains. We alternated between being fried by the sun and hearing thunder in the distance the entire time we were there.

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As I was saying… it was hot… and very sticky. Kneeling in the straw was a bad idea.

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I think the heat is getting to her…

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The fruits of our labor! The picking was good, and we had nearly 30 lbs of berries in about 1 1/2 hours. Now… we are enjoying the cooler temps. that a thunder storm has brought us, and we’ve planned a Bleak House marathon while hulling strawberries the rest of the afternoon.

Have a loverly Monday, all.

*I wish I could remember what variety we used to grow, but they were soft and sweet and had so much flavor, and would practically melt in your mouth. Most varieties available now focus more on being firm so they are easily transported. Basically, strawberries as I knew them growing up, did not crunch. At all. They were incapable.

Green Juice #1

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My apologies for the horrible, horrible photo. It’s 11 pm and I just realized about 20 minutes ago that I wanted to have green juice ready for my breakfast in the morning, on the fly to work. So, I made a batch of what has become my personal favorite juice, bottled it, (dotcha like the bottle? Isn’t it adorable? T.J. Maxx. $4.) and wanted it share it with you. I just stuck a pad of newsprint paper behind it to block the other, more hideous clutter from view. I wanted to illustrate just how GREEN this stuff is. I love it! This is what The Jolly Green Giant drinks for breakfast, I’m pretty sure. He sits around with The Hulk, discussing how to get more kids to eat their vegetables.

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They told me this would happen.

About two weeks ago, I started juicing. Mostly vegetables. Not major juicing, not the juice-fast thing by any means. Some mornings I have juice for my breakfast, some nights I have it with my supper. Still eating more than plenty of my regular food. I wanted to see how many veggies I could get in there after months of knowing that a small handful of spinach in my fruit smoothie wasn’t cutting it. The handful o0f spinach is great for what it’s worth, but when weight is a problem and sugar is killing several members of your family, having too much fruit is a very real problem. Likewise not enough vegetables.

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My Christmas season

I have several friends who are attempting the 365 thing this year… you know, where you post a picture of something from your day every day for a year. It is so much fun to keep up with when someone actually does it. I know a few who have; I love the idea, but we all know by now that I’m not good with staying true to a course like that. I might last a week, maybe. So I decided, hey, I can still put up pictures when I feel like it, of whatever I’d like to share with you.  Duh.

So, to start with, here are some highlights from my Christmas season.

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I made sugared rose petals for our Christmas dessert. It was Jubilee Cake, in honor for the Queen’s Jubilee. Two layers of s moist almond cake with clotted cream and raspberries in between. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right kind of cream to make clotted cream, so I ended up with sorta-thickish but still runny, lumpy cream. Hey, it still tasted good. But it did make me angry at the FDA or whoever it is that thinks we need to have everything ultra-pasteurized. But that’s a different topic…

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