Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The CSA begins!!

Today was a big day.

BTW, that's my boyfriend, not a Target employee, in case you were wondering.

Today we picked up our first box of food from our CSA!!!

Look at the awe over the beautiful lettuce.  He's been hanging out with me too much.

Our box contained the following:

Now we really wish we got the bread share, too...

A CSA is buying a share of a farm.  You pay a bunch up front, and then receive boxes of food at scheduled delivery times throughout the season. The math whiz figured out that splitting it was about the equivalent that we each spend on fresh veggies each week anyway (which is a lot), and this way, we're supporting a local farm while eating the freshest food possible.

[I like vegetables and routine.]

The real fun is in the mix. It's a bit of an eclectic mix, as you can see.  You get whatever is ready to harvest that week, which will vary week to week, with the weather, with the season.

Tonight, in my enthusiasm, I had to try a little bit of everything, so right off the bat we started with some fish tacos.  I was inspired by the cilantro.  Just add haddock, lime, and tortillas. (Everything on that board is from the box, except the lime, of course.)

Seriously, amazing.  You could also add to it, but we were keeping it simple, letting the flavors shine. I didn't even add cheese, and when I don't need to add cheese, you know it's good.

Next on the menu: scallions omelet (using farm-fresh eggs from Cottonhill Farm!), great salads, garlic scape pesto, and scallion-garlic hummus.

So many food experiments to come!!  We'll let you know how it all turns out :)

For information about our CSA, read here: Denison Farm


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Where's the Beef?

Monday was a Meatless Monday, yesterday was a Totally No Meat Tuesday, and today I'm already off to a fruity and bean-alicious start.

Okay, I'm being silly, but I really haven't eaten any meat for the past few days!

And honestly, besides my atrocious salad at lunch yesterday (apparently, the romaine at Price Chopper was on sale for a reason....), I really haven't missed it.

Take my amazing salmon dinner from Monday night... a bed of fresh organic pea sprouts.  So spring!

It's not that I'm really all that interested in being a vegetarian.  But some things have been weighing on my mind lately (in order of importance):

1) I find meat hard to digest.  I've noticed over the past year or so that whenever I eat meat, it sits like a rock in my stomach for at least a day or two, I don't feel well that night, and my already overly-sensitive digestive system gets out of whack.

2) I've watched too many food documentaries to not worry about catching some weird disease from traditionally processed meat, and I'm too cheap to buy local farm meat for a regular weekday dinner.

3) I like animals and I feel a little bad about eating them.  But only a little bit.

Notice the selfishness in my prioritizing.  I care mostly about how I feel. Because, carnivores out there, I feel your pain. I still really love a good steak or burger.  And tacos.  And my grandma's meatballs (ohh, the agida).  Although, I'll give it to my veggie friends, animals are pretty cute.

So much cuteness on one little futon.

I have plenty of friends who are vegetarian, vegan, used-to-bes, and almosts.  But I've still yet to be convinced that all that processed soy is really better for me than meat. (And I've yet to have a decent black bean burger, even at a restaurant.)  I also have a few friends on the Paleo Diet, which is tempting because they look fantastic (and I definitely agree that cutting back the grains and cheese would make me feel great), but I feel really good about my yogurt, and clearly don't do well with all that meat, so I don't think it's for me.

For now, I think I'll just watch my carb and meat intake, and see how that goes.  As Dad always said, "It's all about moderation." We'll see how long my experiment lasts.  I sometimes run out of ideas when it comes to vegetarian dishes.  And if you haven't noticed, I get major Food ADD-- I get bored of things fast.

(In fact, I'm already craving this burger.)

So feel free to share your meat-free recipes!

Until next week... <3

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cake Vs. Veggies (Asparagus Risotto)

In case you are wondering, I'm still eating cake.

The chocolate cake mailed from Boston.  I never received anything in dry ice before!

In this week's battle of Cake vs. Veggies, Cake has won by a landslide.

Besides my birthday (three celebrations worth), it was also Mother's Day and my friend's bridal shower.  Cake, cake, cake.

So midweek when the sugar was actually starting to make me sick, I decided I needed a good, home-cooked meal that involved a vegetable.  But since it's been mostly rainy this spring, I also wanted some comfort food. A salad wasn't going to do it.

This arborio rice-- a "gift" from my mom-- has taunted me from the pantry for months.

That jar is definitely leering at me...

But risotto is so... hard.  There's so much... stirring.

Look at those little rascals.  Just waiting to be stirred into some broth. And stirred. And stirred.


But I had bought my first bunch of spring asparagus, and the idea of asparagus risotto was beckoning.  So I tried this recipe, even though I didn't have all of the ingredients.

And it came out like this:

It wasn't that hard at all (I only had to stir, like, a handful of times).  It was really tasty and comforting.  And it wasn't cake.

In the future, I would prepare to have the appropriate ingredients and follow the recipe exactly.  I didn't have any white wine, so I used deglazed the pan with water, as recommended, and used shredded swiss instead of parmesan.  I think those two correct ingredients would have deepened the flavor.  I also overcooked the risotto a smidge because I didn't know what "done" should look like.  Now I think I do.

If you have some asparagus lying around, try this recipe, or this or this.  It's almost veggie season (and bathing suit season), so I'm going to try to lay off the cake....


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Birthday Edition

Monday was my birthday.  The big 2-8.  Monday is not typically an ideal day for a birthday.  So basically, I not only claimed the weekend, but the whole damn week.  Why not?

I say, as long as there's still birthday cake in the fridge, it's still my birthday.   (There's also a birthday cake in my freezer- thanks, Adrienne!- so I might stretch this out for quite a while....)

Cake courtesy of Bella Napoli in Troy, NY.  I could eat that chocolate frosting with a spoon.

I spent Cinco de Mayo at Il Mariachi with great friends. I think it's now a birthday tradition, since it's here that I've celebrated 3/5 of my Capital Region birthdays.  The three best birthdays, definitely.  What can I say?  Mexican is festive. (Wow, I've been here for five birthdays??)

Is it the colorful chips? The spicy food?  Or the delicious margaritas? (A little too delicious...)

We finished the night at Cheesecake Machismo, right next door.  Next time, I'm getting my own piece.

Monday, my actual birthday, I went on a bike ride, followed by steak on the grill.

Because steak is always classy.  Even if it's under $4 and from Price Chopper.

And then somebody really nice bought me a cake.  A WHOLE cake.  For just the two of us...

One of us is running a marathon, and it's not me.  Who wants to roll me back to Schenectady?

I had another great birthday, thanks to some great people.  And I still have more birthday fun to come, thanks to my family, who I haven't celebrated with yet.  (The Mother's Day/ Danielle's Birthday Party is another tradition I like to keep intact, especially if it means I get to stretch out the birthday fun even longer.)

Thank you to everyone who celebrated with me, and to those who couldn't but still made me feel special.  Thank you for the kale chips, the tequila, the birthday cakes, the target cards, and all the love. And thank you for reading this right now.

Until next week.... XOXO

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Time's Up!

Where does the time go?  Last week when I clicked "publish," I felt like I had all the time in the world to come up with what I was going to write next week.

Now, next week is this week.  Next week is RIGHT NOW.  What am I going to write about??

My thoughts about three hours ago: "I didn't do anything green, or local, or healthy this week! AH!" followed by, "Blogger fail." :(  I barely even cooked this week.  It was just one of those weeks.  Double frowny.

But I committed to restarting this blog, so I'll find something to write about, darn it!

 So, I back-tracked through my week...where DID the time go?

I had a lovely movie date with a boy I really like :) The Spectrum Theater is my favorite place for a movie date. I don't know exactly what it is that I find so romantic: it's small, usually too warm, and always a bit dirty.  But that's why I like it.  It's the theater-next-door. (You know, like the girl-next-door that you fall in love with because she's normal and not fancy and pretentious? ) Am I making sense?  Anyway, it's romantic.  Go there.  Then go to Emack and Bolio's down the street, but get a cup of chai instead of ice cream.

I rode my new bike on the path in Watervliet/ Cohoes.  The Capital Region has a really sweet bike path, and I can't wait to be able to explore it further!  Monday I rode six whole miles after not riding for a year! (OK, I know I'm not going to win any bike races. Just be proud of me, don't judge.) It was beautiful, and I loved it, even though two days later my quads are still tight.

They make a cute couple, don't they?

I took a breather with some yoga. I realized that I've been practicing yoga for about three years now, which isn't super long, but it's the longest I've personally ever stuck with a work out regimen.  In fact, recently I've decided that I'd like to dedicate additional effort into learning more about it.  I think I've found it to be the most natural fit for my body.  Part of it is its simplicity-- no extra machinery or products are really necessary, it's just me and my body.  I look forward to doing it, and enjoy the challenges it presents me - I feel strong when I get grit my teeth and hold that warrior! - rather than hating every minute of it and feeling like I'm suffering.  In times of stress, the breathing and meditation soothes me, and forces an otherwise impatient me to slow down.

Tee-hee. [credit]

So, I guess I did some good stuff after all! Time flies... seriously.  The days turn into weeks, and I know I was busy that whole time, but can't remember what the heck I did. Writing helps me to reflect, to not lose track, to stop and think and appreciate.

I hope you had a good week too :) Notice my frown is now upside down. Yup.