Food Fight

Yesterday was the longest day ever!  After we last “spoke,” I went to class, prepared for my discussion section, had discussion section (went really well for the first time yesterday woo!), went to class again, met with a professor, worked on the demographic forecast from hell and went to see Food Fight!

Ok, let me tell you a bit about Food Fight.

It was an interesting documentary about local/slow food.  The documentary centered largely around the local food movement started by Alice Waters in Berkeley.  Watching the documentary was sort of exciting since a lot of it took place in Berkeley and a lot of the interviews were done in Chez Panisse (remember when I went in January?).

Basically, the documentary critiqued the federal government for promoting industrialized agriculture through the use of agricultural subsidies for specific products and consequently degrading the quality of our produce.

I thought this was really interesting.  It really got me thinking about who to “blame.”  I know some people don’t agree with this, but I have a hard time blaming the federal government or specific people for things.  I think things need to be looked at in the context of a larger system.  While this film promoted local farming, which I agree is great, I was torn because I understand the rationale for industrial agriculture.

In economic terms, I understand that industrial agriculture creates economies of scale which are more efficient.  However, there is a disregard for quality.

I guess what I took from this documentary was nothing particularly new: our food production system needs to change.

For me, the larger understanding I gained is that it’s easy to assign blame to the federal government or particular people (yesterday in my discussion section, a girl said she “hates Earl Butz,” which I think is a little crazy), but I think it’s important to understand the underlying assumptions and motivations to what people do.  I understand that lobbyists are an important part of this mix, and I’m not saying that this is okay.

Local food is a little elitist and expensive.  A lot of chefs in the documentary admitted it, which I thought was quite refreshing.  While they talked a bit about poverty and accessibility, I would like to see an entire documentary on access to good food by the poor.  Local and organic isn’t cheap, I’d be interested to know how we can change that.  Is “voting with your fork” enough?

Anyway, I recommend the documentary.  Unlike, Food Inc. and other documentaries on local/sustainable food, this documentary is centered on the idea of good tasting food, as in eat local/organic because it tastes good.  I thought this was an interesting approach.

Have you heard of Food Fight?  Any interests or thoughts?

Have a fantastic day!!

Advertisements

Game Face

Hi all!  Happy Monday!

Thanks for all your supportive comment about my last post!  I really appreciate it.

This morning I woke up feeling on the ball.  I was up at 6:20, had some coffee, packed a lunch and headed to the gym 20 minutes before I usually do.

It felt great to get my work out over with earlier than usual… even though a ridiculous girl kicked me off the elliptical because she had signed up for the one was on after me.  There were 6 other ellipticals open… ridiculous!  Oh well, I didn’t let her get to me!

I wanted a change from plain old oatmeal so this morning I had Oats in a Jar using Bob’s Red Mill Hot Cereal! Delish!

My lunch is packed and ready to go:

Flatbread sandwich with a Morningstar veggie patty, hummus, tomato and kale

Along with some cantaloupe, an apple and a granola bar.

I’ve got my game face on to conquer the work load!

Another tip I didn’t mention: just do it! Get work done and stress will be reduced.  So that’s my goal for today.

Have a wonderful Monday!

P.S. Lovely Fella will be here in 2 days!!!!

Stop Stress Eating

I mentioned earlier this week that I’m under considerable amounts of stress.  No where else is this more evident than in my eating patterns.  I’ve been a Snacky McSnackerson literally to the point of feeling ill many times this week.  I want it to stop. Not only is it causing weight gain (I was down 5lbs on my new leaf challenge.  I don’t want to ruin that), but it’s just not healthy (physically or mentally).

There are some people who don’t eat when they’re stressed.  I wish I could be one of them.  I’m the exact opposite.  I can’t stop.  I’m not talking about an extra cookie here or there.  I’m talking about a lot of extra eating when I’m not even hungry.

Honestly, this is a little embarrassing for me to write, since so many people I know in person read this, but I keep reminding myself that I write this blog for myself, not for anyone else.  Lately, I haven’t been posting healthy recipes I like, because I simply haven’t made any.  I want that to change.

I was reading a few articles on stress eating and a lot of the problems/solutions don’t really apply to me.  I don’t keep junk food in the house.  Whole wheat toast, almond butter, peanut butter, cheese, fruit, granola bars, beans and green monsters aren’t unhealthy, but too much of anything is not good.  Sure, I have junk food occasionally but for the most part, I eat very healthy foods.  After reviewing many suggestions for reducing stress eating and finding solutions that don’t really meet my needs, I’ve decided to devise my own.

Here are a few problems and solutions I have in mind for how to stop stress eating:

  • Exercise: One common recommendation to reduce stress is to exercise.  Working out isn’t an issue for me.  I exercise 5-6 days a week, but I’m still stressed (and still stress eat).  I’m going to keep exercising but when I’m feeling very stressed, I’m going to try to do some yoga.  I’ve never gotten into yoga as it’s been terribly boring each time I’ve tried it but on Netflix watch instantly there are a few yoga DVDs.  Worth a try right?
  • Balanced Meals: A lot of people recommend eating 3 meals and 2 snacks throughout the day.  I think every person is different.  For some, 3 meals works best but not for others.  Recently, my snacking problem has been after lunch.  I come home and have a snack simply out of habit, even if I’m not necessarily hungry.  This results in me snacking the entire night and never actually eating a balanced dinner (today was a perfect example of that).  Instead I’m going to try to eat 3 meals a day and only have a snack if I’m really hungry.  Expect to see more healthy recipes I try!
  • Schedule: Being in grad school means I have a very irregular schedule.  While I start class everyday at the same time, there after, each day is different.  This makes it difficult to get in the rhythm of a schedule.  I need to have regular exercise, study, eating and relaxing times.  I want to re-form all the healthy habits that I used to have.  I’m working on devising a daily schedule for myself, which I can share if anyone is interested.
  • Obsession:  I admit it.  I’m obsessed with the scale.  This is just my personality.  I’m not very good at half assing things (except maybe math…).  Am I okay with it?  No.  Am I trying to fix it?  Yes.  I started counting calories again in January, as I had successfully done before.  This time it backfired.  The more stressed I got, the more I ate and the more guilty I felt.  I would eat very few calories one day (around 1200-1300) then I’d be ravenous the next day only to overeat!  The following day, I’d try to make up for it by eating very few calories again… see the cycle?  I lost weight but was terribly unhappy.  I still think calorie counting is an effective tool for weight loss, but obsession is not.  I need to check myself and reassess the deeper issue: stress.  So for now, I’m concentrating on eating 3 healthy, balanced meals a day while avoiding mindless snacking.  I’ll worry about weight loss and calories once I’ve gotten this one down.
  • Finding Alternatives: I’ve realized that a lot of times I eat to put off work.  Instead of eating, I need to find healthy substitutes.  I mentioned yoga above, but another one I’m going to try is cleaning.  Every time I feel like eating something when I’m not hungry, I’ll clean/organize something.  If I really want it by the time I’m done cleaning, I’ll have it.  Cleaning should be a good enough break 🙂

I’m writing this because I want to be healthy.  Not just physically healthy but mentally healthy.  I’m sure there are a ton of people out there who don’t struggle with this and simply don’t understand, some may even think this is flat out stupid.  But I also know there are a ton of people out there who face the same issues I do. I’m not going to let a stage of my life control my happiness. I’m going to take control, overcome it and succeed!

Do you have any other suggestions to put an end to stress eating or to manage stress?

I’ll keep you all posted on my progress.  Have a great, relaxing night!

Post-Valentine’s Day Peanut Butter Blossom

Last week, I baked Vegan PB cookies for my class.  Kim commented on how much she liked Peanut Butter Blossoms.

Last week was also Valentine’s Day!  On Monday, I went to Target to find Valentine’s Day goodies on sale!  I got a Valentine’s Day bowl for $0.44 and a few bags of Valentine’s Day Hershey Kisses.  I knew Peanut Butter Blossoms were in my future.

These aren’t your average Peanut Butter Blossom.  I kicked these up a notch with Raspberry Hershey Kisses and Caramel Hershey Kisses.

Post-Valentine’s Day Peanut Butter Blossoms

adapted from Hershey’s Kisses Peanut Butter Blossoms

~40 Hershey Kisses (any flavor), unwrapped
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/3 sugar
1/3 brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
extra granulated sugar for rolling

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees (I did this after I made the dough, while I was unwrapping the chocolates, just to save energy!)

Cream together the PB and butter.  Add the sugar and blend with a hand mixer until fluffy.  Add the egg, milk and vanilla.  Add the flour, salt and baking soda.

Form dough into 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar.  Bake for about 8 minutes.  Immediately press in the chocolates.  Allow to cool and enjoy!

Makes approximately 40 cookies.

Peanut Butter Blossoms are delicious, but these were OUTSTANDING!  Great flavor combo!

The worst part about making these… aside from their addictive qualities…

Unwrapping all the chocolates.  This can be remedied by the use of a loved one (i.e. significant other, sibling or child).

I have a few ideas for different types of blossoms:
-Mexican Chocolate blossoms.  Use regular chocolate kisses but add cinnamon and cayenne to the rolling sugar.
-Snickerdoodle blossoms with butterscotch kisses (I think Hershey’s makes these) and rolled in cinnamon sugar)
-Almond Blossoms with Almond butter instead of PB and Hershey Kisses with Almonds

Any other ideas?

Well today is another study day!  Not excited for it but it has to happen.  I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday!

Are you ready for this jelly?

Happy Saturday everyone!!

This morning, when I got back from spinning, look what was in front of my door!

Last week, I won a giveaway at The Actor’s Diet and it arrived today!!

I got 4 jars of Crofter’s Super Fruit Spread!

Of course, I had to try one, so along with my salad for lunch (I’ll spare you the picture of that), I had a piece of toast with some of this deliciousness on it!

I tried the Europe flavor (Pomegranates and black currants blended with red grapes and morello cherries).

Not gonna lie, it’s pretty tasty.  I loved how tart and sweet this was all together.  Definitely recommend it.  I can’t wait to try the other flavors, but I’m going to try to work my way through one at a time.  Sadly, one of the North America jar was cracked so I won’t be trying that one.  I’m deathly afraid of glass shards! Oh well!  The other two I have left to try I’m sure will be amazing!

Today is a study day!  I need to get as much done as possible this weekend since the lovely fella will be here on Wednesday! I’m even missing Ithaca’s Chili Fest!  Oh well, I’ll survive!

I might need to make something super exciting for dinner to make up for it 🙂

Have a great day!

Zucchini Stir Fry

Hi everyone!

I hope you’re having a great day!  Mine is better than yesterday!  I seriously think the weather here is getting to me!

Today I tried two new things!

Remember WAYY back when, when I tried Amazing Grass for the first time and absolutely hated it?  Well I still had a packet of the chocolate superfood powder from when I ordered that sampler.  I decided to give it another try!  However, this time I decided to try less.  So instead of dumping the whole packet in my green monster, I sprinkled about a fourth of the packet in.

It was delicious!  The gritiness that I hated the first time around wasn’t there, and the chocolatey-ness was great!  I’m not sure I’ll keep buying it just because it’s expensive… when I’m rollin’ in the dough, I would definitely consider adding it to my smoothies more regularly.

Are you a fan of Amazing Grass?

The second new thing I tried was Kikkoman Ponzu, which is a citrus seasoned soy sauce.  I got this a few weeks ago as part of the Food Buzz Tastemakers program.

I’m running low on groceries so I pulled together a bunch of random ingredients to make a delicious stir fry!

Zucchini Stir Fry

1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 tsp chopped ginger
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 zucchini, diced
1 tsp Trader Joe’s Soyaki
2 tsp Kikkoman Ponzu
Pepper to taste

Add the onions to a nonstick pan (sprayed with olive oil or any oil you prefer) and cook for a few minutes.  Add garlic and ginger, cook for 1 minute.  Add zucchini, sauces and pepper, cook for a few more minutes until tender.  Serve with noodles or rice.

This would be great with some pineapple chunks in there too!  Maybe some nuts?

I enjoyed mine with Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Mix that I’ve had since about August… Finally time to use it up! And a Morningstar Veggie Patty for some added protein.

Delish!

The Kikkoman sauce was really good.  Since I didn’t try it on its own, it tasted somewhat like regular soy sauce but with a tiny kick.  Worth a try!

Now I’m off to read and then head to class!  Have a great afternoon/evening!

Tomorrow is Friday!!! WOOO!!!

Lent

Thank you all for your very sweet comments on my post earlier!  I really appreciate the support!

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.  The past few days, and today in particular, I’ve read about a lot of people “giving something up for Lent.”  Most of these things included things like chocolate, baked goods, pastries, candy, etc. I’ve commented about this on a few blogs and thought I should write my own post on this.

Now, I am no hard core Catholic.  I did First Communion, but I don’t go to church and I’m not observing Lent.

I’m not entirely sure what I believe but I do have respect for religion.

I’m a little irked that so many people are taking a sacred 40 day period in anticipation of the resurrection of Christ and turning it into an excuse to diet.  Lent is supposed to be about sacrifice and redemption, not a guilt trip into putting down that cookie so you’ll look better at the end of 40 days.

What about the rest of the Lenten requirements: not sinning, abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays…?

Obviously, bloggers don’t post their entire lives on their blogs so some may be very religious/spiritual.  I don’t mean to judge, but I’m a little concerned that this is a serious sacrifice for some while it is merely a tool for others.

*Stepping Off Soapbox now*

What are your thoughts on “giving up” things for Lent? Am I being a little unreasonable?

On to food…

I try not to eat frozen food too often, but I like to keep a frozen meal in the freezer for those days when I just absolutely don’t feel like cooking.

Today was one of those days.

Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake (image from kashi.com)

Oh goodness.  If you haven’t tried this, you should.  It’s AMAZING! Slightly spicy and has a great texture.  Also, if you love plantains and sweet potatoes, this entree is for you!

It was the perfect dinner after a loooong day!

Off to do more reading.  Have a great night!