Friday, March 30, 2012

5 days of food tracking...

That's how many I've gone in a row so far. It's going well. I've stayed on my target every day without too much trouble. I'm using this iphone app called MyFitnessPal which I'm really happy with. Over the years, I have experimented with a LOT of different food tracking software, and I think this is probably about the best I've come across. One of the coolest features is that you can scan the UPCs on packaged foods (even things like bunched cilantro, it turns out-- anything with a barcode!) and it'll pull the info from their database. Awesome.

That means that when I made this Pad Thai for dinner tonight:

Pad Thai

It only took about 5 minutes to enter the ingredients for the recipe into the program, as opposed to the, I don't know, half an hour it would've taken if I'd had to type in all of the 30-some ingredients, then choose the right one from a list of similar options, etc. For someone who cooks a lot (me), this sort of time saving feature could be the difference between whether or not I keep using the program or give up food tracking.

Oh, I wanted to briefly note an interesting development re: the Emperor. When I went on maternity leave, we cut back on his preschool hours-- first dropping him down to 2 days, then back up to 3 for a while, and now down just to one (Wednesdays). I had noticed that on days he didn't go to school, he tended to be more open to trying stuff I made for dinner even if it wasn't his favorite. This week? I think he tried dinner every night, despite the fact that I made a lot of (to him) weird stuff. Tonight he tried EVERYTHING in his dinner-- noodles, bean sprouts, tofu, broccoli, peanuts-- and ate a ton.

I don't know if it's that I feed him less during the day (maybe? we do 2 snacks & lunch, just like his school) or just that he's resigned to eating my food when he's with me or what. But it's a pleasant change and I hope it lasts!

He also finally went up a shoe size for the first time in about a year. Here he is modeling his new shoes:

Gigantic shoe

And here's the little one, modeling his cute face:

More smiling!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My triumphant return! (Return to... Normalcy?)

Okay, my hell cold is finally abating. I am pleased to report that (knock on wood) no one else in family seemed to get it. Maybe the Emperor, but even with his reduced preschool schedule, he has a cold more often than not so it's hard to tell where one ends and a new one begins.

Anyway, I've been cooking through it mostly, just not finding the energy to post. So here is a photo blast of the stuff I've been making:

Today's lunch - Sesame tofu (Isa recipe) with a pound of steamed asparagus. Yes, I ate a pound of asparagus for lunch by myself. It was great.

Sesame tofu

Dragon Noodle Salad... last night's dinner, a big success.

Dragon Noodle Salad

Tamale Shepherd's Pie from the weekend.

Tamale Shepherd's Pie

Creamy garlic scallion bowl.

Creamy garlic scallion bowl

Korean BBQ Portobello sandwiches.

Korean BBQ Portobellos

All good stuff. Josh also made tofu buffalo wings at some point in there, and we must've eaten something else I'm forgetting. Oh, and I made muffins last Friday with the Emperor (Maple Blueberry, so good!) and cookies with him on Monday (healthyish thumbprint cookies) and forgot to take pictures of either. So yeah.

Now that the yummy pictures are over, a brief announcement: now that I am approaching 3 months postpartum and am back in the general swing of having an infant and still functioning, I am feeling ready to start purposefully losing the 18ish lbs of baby weight that I still have. (I lost about 35 lbs right away. Human bodies are amazing. Not another pound has budged in the intervening months.) So, to that end, I am doing food tracking again. Yaaaay, what fun.

I'm not going to post calorie counts here because I feel like that's triggering for a lot of people (myself included), but I think that the theme for next month is going to be photographing and posting what I eat daily, along with (maybe) talking about what exercise I'm doing. Wish me luck!

Also, cute baby photos will continue because no matter what size my butt is, these guys are always adorable:
Tree dweller

Wren relaxing

Friday, March 23, 2012

Not so normal after all...

Oh, I know, I know. I just missed two days in a ROW people.

But I have an excuse. I'm actually finally sick after trying to outrun this cold for 2 months. My throat is like sand paper and bleh. Food is the last thing I want to think about.

Anyhow, I'll be back with updates as soon as I feel better, if not sooner. In the meantime, please enjoy this photograph of the Emperor doing what he does best: being silly:

Boy in box

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

2 months and risotto (Return to Normalcy #20)

1. The Magician is 2 months old today! To celebrate his month-day, here he is first:

2 months old

2. I made risotto for dinner. Awesome. Here it is too:

Pesto Risotto

3. Tonight I biked to the store to get a can of coconut water because I was so thirsty for something other than water. Is that weird? Shouldn't one want water when one is thirsty? Sometimes I get into this mindset where I feel like: I am so thirsty. I must drink ANYTHING BUT water. Weird.

It was a great coconut water. I really need to find somewhere to buy coconut water by the case or um cut it out though because it is an expensive treat.

Monday, March 19, 2012

No food! It's Monday! (Return to Normalcy #18)

Nothing to blog about today (no pictures, anyhow) but I'm posting anyway.

Monday is a lazy food day... whatever passes by my mouth tends to fall in. Today I had PB&J for breakfast (sometimes I fall into a weird PB&J breakfast rut... I don't really like peanut butter, except for breakfast), leftover baked ziti with greens for lunch, a slice of pineapple upside down cake, a tiny orange, some pistachios, a piece of chocolate, a sandwich of leftover tofurky (Josh and the Emperor ate another one while I was at my class). And 2 big cups of coffee.

I think one of these upcoming months, I am going to photograph and blog seriously everything I eat in a given day... I think it might have the consequence of making me eat better or at least more thoughtfully, which has got to be a good thing.

Two more little good things:

Morning boys

I'm sad that this picture is so blurry, because they're both making great faces.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Aaaah! I missed a day! Also: pasta. (Return to Normalcy #17)

Well, damn. I missed a day of blogging this month. I've felt a cold coming on literally since the Magician was born and yesterday I thought it'd finally caught up with me. Felt achey and worn down all day and I ended up falling asleep on the floor in the evening. Doh.

Anyway, I'll try to catch up with a double-post later in the month. We'll see. Keeping up momentum this week has been hard for some reason.

Here's what we had for dinner tonight:

Baked ziti w/baby greens

Baked ziti. Yum. The Emperor called it pasta with tofu scramble on top. (He's not super far off.) He actually ate a ton despite the fact that there was SAUCE on his NOODLES.

What exactly is ziti? I was trying to figure this out at the grocery store. I checked at 3 different stores and none of them had anything marked ziti. Penne, penne rigate, rigatoni, "smooth" penne, etc... lots of variants with names like that. But no ziti. What gives?

I read the wikipedia article on the subject and I still don't understand what separates ziti from penne. Oh pasta, there are way too many types of you for me to keep track of.

Okay, cute baby pictures and then I'm off to fall over:

Windy hair day

It was crazy windy out today, as you can see above.

Saturday evening pt 1

And here you can see that the little one is plumping up nicely.

Friday, March 16, 2012

On Friday, we bake! (Return to Normalcy #16)

One thing I really enjoy about the Emperor being this particular age is that he's actually quite fun (if somewhat messy, slow, and prone to interruption) cook things with. He has great enthusiasm and can discuss the process, and occasionally he actually does something helpful like take out ingredients for me or remind me where I've put down a particular measuring cup.

I've dedicated the afternoons of the past few Fridays (and today) to baking something with him. It's sort of a deal we have. You take your nap, and when you get up, we'll bake something. Today he couldn't fall asleep at nap time but made an excellent effort... he stayed in bed paging through books quietly for about an hour and a half before asking if he could get up. Fair enough.

When he got up, we made this:

Pineapple upside down cake

Pineapple upside down cake. I don't know if I've *ever* eaten pineapple upside down cake before-- certainly not since childhood. For some reason I recall that it's my dad's favorite cake, but I can't remember ever seeing him eat it. Weird. Anyway, the Emperor loves pineapple and this showed up as another of Isa's test recipes so we jumped on it. Delish.

Other things we've made together recently include raspberry brownies (he ate a ton of the frozen raspberries and half an ounce of baker's chocolate, but wouldn't touch the finished product) and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (again, wouldn't touch the finished product). He *would* eat the cake, which was a pleasant surprise... I think the slices of pineapple sold him on it.

Oh: we also really needed a baking activity this afternoon because it was rainy. It's been raining all week and is supposed to continue for approximately forever. It's great, we need the rain, but ugh. Here's a picture of the Emperor all rain geared up at the park earlier:

Rainy day at the park

We spent an hour there and didn't see another living soul.

And here's the Magician on the diaper bin... compare to earlier pictures to see just how much taller (longer?) he is at 8 weeks old:

Getting taller

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Salad and stew (Return to Normalcy #15)

Halfway through the month! Wooooo! I may not be saying much of consequence, but I'm managing to squeeze blogging in, and that makes me happy.

Here's tonight's dinner. First thing's first, salad. AGAIN! Two salads in two weeks. Crazy.

Arugula salad w/raisin vinaigrette

And here's some stew:

Some stew

Both test recipes for Isa. It's actually the second time I made the stew but I didn't take pictures the first time. Rain makes me want non-stop stew.

And of course, the young men. Here is a horrible picture of the Emperor that he demanded I take and upload:

"take my picture!" he said.

And a slightly better picture of the Magician smiling. He's not smiling at nothing, I was actually off to the side looking at him while holding my phone out at an odd angle.

Smiling again

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rainy day... (Return to Normalcy #14)

1. Happy Pi Day! I didn't make pie for Pi Day this year, did you? I'm still kind of baked-out after January.

2. It rained all day today and is supposed to keep going for the rest of the week. I shouldn't complain because we really need the rain... but ugh. It sapped all of my energy and drive to do anything. I went for a walk to the grocery store at one point but other than that, I really just stayed in the house and made silly faces at the baby all day, and did some homework when he napped. Not the worst day, but there was a lot of stuff on my to-do list that didn't get done.

Because of the rain, I didn't end up going to the farmer's market but sent Josh instead. Here are the goodies he came back with:

Farmers market 3/14/12

He got everything on my list that was actually there (no garlic! you never know what is going to be missing on rainy days!) as well as a bag of kumquats.

Oh MAN guys, I had a kumquat for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I'm hooked. They're the perfect sensory experience... the firm texture of the skin, the way they kind of pop when you bite into them, and the way that the peel is sort of bitter-sour and well, peel-y, and then the innards are so sweet and juicy. Oh, they smell amazing too. And unlike oranges (which I love but sometimes avoid because yes, I'm THAT lazy) you don't have to peel them.

So yeah, kumquats. Totally in love with them.

I also really loved dinner tonight, another of Isa's test recipes:

Roasted red pepper Mac

It's mac'n'cheez that tastes like pizza. Pizza mac. You heard me! Yum.

The rain sapped the Magician's energy too. Here he is taking a snooze:

We all look like this when we're asleep

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

That's a lot of kale... (Return to Normalcy #13)

Tonight I made a soup that contained an entire pound of kale. A pound! Of kale! Now I have vegan superpowers or something. I didn't get a picture of this amazing bunch of kale I bought (it was over a pound and cost me $1.50... that is a steal) but here's the soup:

Lotsa Kale Stew

Not much else to say today. I was going to make bread (rainy days always make me want to make bread; why is that?) but ended up having a day full of social commitments instead. Not a bad thing-- I got to visit with a friend who I don't see nearly often enough, and then had a long long phone conversation with my sister (who I also don't get to talk to enough these days). But I was too engrossed in all of that to have the time for bread too. Maybe tomorrow.

I spent the rest of my day, when I wasn't lazily making soup or socializing, trying to catch the Magician's smile on camera. Pure folly, I assure you, but here's a short video of him looking kinda cute anyway:

Monday, March 12, 2012

No food today... (Return to Normalcy #12)

Seriously, I've eaten a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, two huge cups of coffee, and leftover falafel. Nothing to show you pictures of!

Except these guys, who have definitely kept me on my toes today:

Scruffy smiler

He's eating a rice cake (that's food).

It's a trick...

He's tanked up on (human) milk. (That's food too.)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Falalalalalalafels (Return to Normalcy #11)

Okay, I totally failed at taking a picture of dinner yesterday, which kills me because it was great... a sort of "beefy" stew using some leftover red wine we had, a lot of carrots and celery, and some TJ's beefless strips. Oh, and 3/8s lb of shiitake mushrooms that I had from accidentally overbuying for another recipe. (Doh.) Yummm.

Since I don't have proof of it though (pics or it didn't happen!) I'm just going to go ahead and post tonight's dinner since we've already eaten anyway:

Falafel Burgers

Falafel Burgers. Another of Isa's recipes. They're as good as they look here... which is to say... pretty good.

Man I can't wait until tomatoes are in season this year. Hopefully it will happen before September, unlike last year. Grocery store tomatoes are so bad by comparison. This one today smelled okay at the store, and it looked great, but flavorwise, it wasn't worth the 70 cents I paid for it. Alas.

The Emperor didn't quite pick up on the fact that the falafels were made out of chickpeas (his deadliest foe of late) but wasn't into them anyway. Instead, he ate a BIG pile of cucumbers dipped in tahini sauce. And a little bit of whole wheat pita. Here he is looking for more cucumbers after he ran out:

More cucumbers?

And this has nothing to do with dinner, but here's the Magician after his bath today. Yup, he's still pretty cute.

After another bath

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Scrambles I have loved (Return to Normalcy #10)

Well, if there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that this month is really testing my resolve to post every day. Josh went to a tank museum today (long story, ask him about it!) which meant that the Emperor and the Magician and I had a Saturday alone together. And boy did they make a point of making it clear to me that my weekend is only one day long this week.

The Emperor's off to bed finally ("finally" at 7 pm-- yes, one of THOSE days) so I'm going to write briefly about last night's dinner and a thing I love dearly... tofu scramble!

Here's last night's:

This is a Thai themed scramble, one of Isa's test recipes. Really yummy. I made the bread too. It's a whole wheat olive oil bread.

My Thai Scramble

Close to indistinguishable visually from another of Isa's scrambles I made last week:

Mediterranean Overnight Scramble

Though they're totally different in flavor. That one was kind of Mediterranean. I didn't make that bread.

Tofu scramble on jaggery dosa

That's one from 2011's Vegan MoFo. Weird that we had tomatoes still in October! (Actually, I think we had tomatoes FINALLY in October.) Good lookin' scramble.

Tofu scramble, again

Here's a sort of grotesque one. No idea what the deal is with this. Looks like it had potatoes in it? I don't usually like potatoes right in my tofu scramble, so I must have had some leftover or something.

Big Fat Greek Scramble

Big Fat Greek Scramble from just a couple of weeks ago. Yum.

I do love me some tofu scramble but looking back through these has taught me something... tofu scrambles: they're not so easy on the eye, heh.

Two things that are easy on the eye, if not easy on the nerves:

Wild one

The Emperor pouncing out of the curtains to surprise me earlier.

Hope you didn't need that finger.

And the Magician gnawing on Josh's finger during a fussy spell this evening.

Phew. Tomorrow, I am looking forward to a quiet (I hope) day of doing homework. WOO.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Too tired... here's some soup. (Return to Normalcy #9)

Yup... that's about what I've got in me tonight. We had a great day, but very intense, and now I'm ready to fall over go boom.

Here's soup from last night:

Roasted Potato & Fennel Soup

Roasted potato & fennel. Possibly one of the most appealing food pictures I've taken in months.

And here's the Magician looking about how I feel right now:

Trouble in dreams


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rigatoni and referrers... (Return to Normalcy #8)

Last night I made another of Isa's test recipes, Creamy Sundried Tomato Rigatoni with Broccoli. It turned out looking like this:

Creamy sundried tomato rigatoni w/broccoli

Pleasing on the palate. Quite tasty, and I say that as someone who doesn't really love sundried tomatoes. (I WANT to like them, but mostly they taste sweet and gross to me.)

So I go to Flickr this morning to see if anyone had left a comment on my photos since yesterday, and I notice that this rigatoni picture has gotten a LOT of views since I uploaded it. Almost 40. What? I check the referrers and Flickr has 36 of the views listed as "unknown." Not Google or other search engines, not internal hits from Flickr, not hits from here and not hits from the message board I posted it on. Is that weird or what?

Makes me wonder what other ways there even ARE of ending up at a photo on Flickr. Hm. Well, I hope those 36 viewers (or that one person who refreshed 36 times, ha ha) enjoyed their peek at Isa's rigatoni.

Nothing much else to say today, but here's my farmer's market haul from yesterday too:

Farmer's market 3/7/12

And here's my farmer's market companion, showing off one of his only skills (smiling):

One small smile

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Harira and habits (Return to Normalcy #7)

First, a picture of some delicious food:


That's harira, a Moroccan stew thing. Last night's dinner and another of Isa's test recipes. It was really excellent and I ate more of it for breakfast. (Breakfast is the only meal I really care for leftovers at. Fun fact.)

While prepping dinner this afternoon, I was thinking about kitchen habits, good and bad. We all have them, right? I was reading a thread where people were saying that they usually don't peel eggplant even if a recipe says to. Not so for me-- I almost never care for the skin on eggplants-- but it got me started inventorying my own weird kitchen habits.

The bad: I almost never pick the green germ out of garlic unless I'm making a test recipe (or am really concerned about the outcome of the meal). I know it takes like 3 seconds per clove of garlic, but I'm really that lazy. Actually, I'm pretty lazy about garlic overall... my mincing technique would probably make most people who've ever cooked anything cry. What else? Oh, I often don't wash measuring devices while I go along... if I measure a teaspoon of cinnamon, I'll then measure a teaspoon of ginger with the same spoon, just wiping it on a towel in between.

The good: I've gotten very good at washing dishes as I go along, so that the kitchen's not much dirtier at the end of a cooking session than it was when I started. Definitely a positive habit. I'm in a great habit of actually doing all my mise/prep before I get started cooking things. Far fewer kitchen disasters/oh crap I don't have all the ingredients for this when I do it that way. Plus it just leads to fewer moments of panic, which is always good.

Speaking of kitchen habits, the Emperor is at the age where he picks up on basically everything I do... no fooling that kid. He has noticed that I take pictures of dinner basically every night. Lately I've been managing to take pictures right before he gets home from school (while there's still a little daylight left) and he gets kind of riled up about that. "Mama, take a picture of dinner. You need to take a picture. Don't eat, you need to take a picture!" Really funny. I imagine him some day going to eat a friend's house and finding out not everyone's mom does this sort of thing, heh.

Two for one special on daily photos today! Or um, maybe one for two? I don't know. They're both in the same picture, in any case. Here they are just before the Emperor's bedtime tonight:

Shock and awe?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Logistical Error... (Return to Normalcy #6)

So on Mondays, I go to this class in the evening, right? Josh has been staying home with the boys, eating dinners of Tofurky that I have lovingly baked ahead of time for them. (Yes, we are STILL working through the Tofurkys he bought after Thanksgiving!) Which is great... I get a little sandwich of leftovers when I get home and it all works out nicely.

But! It means that if I'm blogging the past day's dinner... ... ... then I don't really have anything to write about/post photos of on Tuesdays. Oh noooooooo! How will I get my daily blogging in? What will I write about?!

I don't really have a good answer, but I thought it might be fun today to hop in the wayback machine and look at some food photos I took when I first went vegan in 2007.

Here's one that makes me laugh:

sriracha = love

Just a dinner. Something I made for myself when I was in grad school and Josh was working late nights. So much has changed. 1. I no longer have time to artfully arrange anything on any plates. 2. I don't eat white rice basically ever. 3. THERE IS A PLACEMAT ON THAT TABLE! Oh, what a life of luxury I must have led back then.

Tiramisu cupcakes

Tiramisu cupcakes... ah, still looking good across time and space. These are out of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. That is seriously the book that got me into veganism... I wanted to be able to make desserts for a vegan friend of mine. Another friend of mine bought me this book as a Christmas present and jeez, look at us now.

And hey, look at me THEN:

Binary tree

This reminds me why I stopped cutting my own hair. (Which I started doing again last week. Doh.) Man, I loved that shirt so much. I wonder if I still have it somewhere?

$14 of produce

I've been taking these farmer's market pictures basically since I started going. Not a lot has changed there, except I supposedly only paid $1.50 for those carrots and I regularly pay $2 a bunch now. Oh, and those guavas must have been cheaper too... Sort of surprising prices haven't gone up on anything else in the picture. (But I do love cheap vegetables, so.)

So funny to look back and see that my enthusiasms have really only shifted a bit since then... more whole grains, fewer cupcakes, still plenty of trips to the farmer's market and lots of delicious things being eaten.