Posts Tagged ‘food’

(personal/writing/depression) It’s been a long winter.

snowpocalypse.jpg

I know, it’s still a long way until spring, but seriously, I feel like I’m trapped in George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones world.  Between the depression and the SAD and the god-awful snow (seriously, there’s been like 60 inches of snow in the past month!), I feel like I’m smothered in cotton.  So what have I done?

 

Retreated.

 

I have totally been sleeping when I haven’t been at work, and eating all the foods that aren’t good for me (darn it, gluten!  Why are you in all my comfort foods?) and not writing.  Well, not really writing.  I did get some words in February, but I didn’t finish Secrets, and I haven’t finished the first draft of Deep Waters, both of which I wanted to do.  I haven’t lost any weight.  I didn’t make it to the gym.

 

But that’s in the past.  And I can’t change the past.

 

What I can do is focus on the future.  The days are getting longer (finally), and spring is coming.  I now have trackers that work for my sneakers, and I have my FitBit, which lets me see how I’m doing.  I have a new desk at work, and dammit, I have a birthday coming up.  I don’t want to be unhealthy any more.

 

I know it’s hard.  I know I’ll backslide sometimes (movie theatre popcorn, you are my kryptonite!), but going forward, I’m going to keep myself accountable here on the blog, on Twitter (I’m @vg_ford there), and on Facebook.  I’ve got modest goals for March:

1. 250 words a day

Not just on the blog, but on actual stories.  I need to keep writing every day.

 

2. 8 hours of sleep

Seriously.  I’m sleeping more, so that on the weekends I don’t spend until noon in bed.  And I’m going to try and stick to my weekday sleep schedule on the weekends, so I don’t screw everything up.  End result: if you see me online after 11 pm and I’m not out somewhere, tell me to go to bed!

 

3. 6 lbs gone

That’s the physical goal.  6 lbs will bring me under 300 lbs, and that’s my first goal.  I can do this.  No more soda, no more gluten, no more crap.  It’s going to be interesting, as my gut is not happy with raw veggies and fruits right now, but I’m going to try some smoothies, and more steamed/cooked veggies.  And real food, not processed food.  And water.  And tea.  (Glorious tea)

 

So there’s that.  I’m off now, to get my 250 words (at least), and then over to Mom and Dad’s for a roast lamb dinner.  I’ll see you all tomorrow!

(personal) Upheavals and changes

I love summer.  I love getting out in the sun, swimming, picking berries, going to farmer’s markets, reading on the beach, camping, summer events…. summer is my favorite time of year.  It’s what I look forward to all year.

 

I do NOT want to spend my summer on crutches with this knee of mine.  However, I think that might be my fate.  We find out Monday.  Yes, I hurt it again.  No, I don’t want to talk about it.  (For the record, I was over helping my mother out, and stepped wrong on the stairs.  Not out being wild or anything.)

 

However, the biggest thing I love about summer is all the fresh food.  Everything tastes better in the summer, when it’s been freshly picked, or bought at the farmer’s market.  And although we’re eating pizza for lunch today, I’m getting ready to make some seriously fresh foods for the week.  Tonight we start with a ham steak and steamed broccoli with bacon and garlic.  And probably mashed potatoes, although we’ll see.  Nom.

 

I’m also going to make another batch of Chex Mix (maybe I’ll make that tomorrow over at Mom’s, since I’ll be at Mom’s for the day), and some marinaded chicken.  I need to get salad stuff too – I’m on a serious Caesar salad kick for some reason.  I think it’s time to pull out my cookbooks and see what kind of seasonal recipes I can find.  Also, I need to bake something.  I’m craving baked goods, and the good GF ones are expensive.  Maybe I’ll do biscuits?

 

I need to sew too.  Palio is next weekend (eek!) and I promised a friend I’d have her sari hemmed.  I need to go and get the thread for that, and then do it.  And finish my skirt.  And pants.  And go to work.  And write.

 

Good lord, what a life.  I love it.

 

Oh, and now we can officially announce it – my hubby started his new job this week!  So yay!

(health/personal) Happy first day of Spring!

To celebrate, I got up early and christened my new swimsuit at the Y.  It felt SO good to be swimming, in a swimsuit that FIT and didn’t feel like  I was going to have a wardrobe malfunction if I breathed wrong.  (I really needed a new swimsuit, let me tell you.)  And it felt really, really good.

 

I like the first day of spring – for the last few days, I’ve been able to smell the first scents of dirt and the promise of growing things in the air.  I got tender, narrow shoots of asparagus yesterday at a farm stand, and they tasted fresh this morning with my scrambled eggs.  When I pulled into my driveway from my Remicade treatment yesterday at 7 pm, it was just turning to full dark from twilight.

 

Spring makes me happy.  It reminds me that I’ve survived another winter, and that better, warmer days are on hand.  I’m already looking forward to camping (yay, Pennsic!!!) and being outside.  I’m going to throw an outdoor tea this year.  I’m going to go to the ocean.  I’m going to spend at least one of my Wednesdays on the beach with a good book.

 

And I’m going to continue my healthy lifestyle.  Not a diet.  Not a “phase.”  A lifestyle.

(food) Bread! Gluten-Free bread, even!

I love bread.  No, trust me, you don’t understand – I REALLY LOVE BREAD.  And now I’m gluten-free.

 

Sadness.

 

Except that I finally found a bread recipe that works and tastes like BREAD.  So here it is.  The original recipe came from Food.com and was done by GlutenFreeGirl in 2006 – I’m giving you my tweaked recipe, which I found works better.

 

Ingredients:

3 tsp ground flax seed

3 cups rice flour

1 cup tapioca flour

3 tsp xanthum gum

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

2 tbsp fast rise yeast

2 tbsp melted butter

2 whole eggs

1 tsp vinegar

Olive oil for the top

 

Directions:

1. Proof the yeast with the sugar and warm water for about 5 minutes.

2. Mix together the butter, the eggs, the vinegar and the xanthan gum, then add the yeast mixture.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat for about 3 minutes.  It’s a VERY sticky dough.

4. Put on a greased cookie sheet and slash diagonally every few inches, if desired.  Or put in a regular greased bread pan.  Let rise for approximately 20-25 minutes in a warm place.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bake for 40-45 minutes (45-50 for the bread pan option).  If you are doing the French loaves, cover with tin foil after 20 minutes.

 

SO good!

(Personal/writing) Getting to a new normal

Tomorrow starts my new schedule.  For those who don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I’m going to what’s called a 4×10 schedule.  I’ll be working Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30 am to 8 pm, and have Wednesdays off.  Now, I still have an hour commute each way, but that day off in the middle of the week is huge.  The last time I had a 4×10, I was the healthiest I’ve been in years.  I’m really looking forward to getting back to that state.

 

Part of doing that is getting back to making my own food.  Yes, I talk about cooking all the time (or so it seems) but the truth is, for the past month or so, I’ve gotten away from really cooking.  Most of the stuff has been premade by the grocery store, or (sadly), bought at work.  Now, don’t get me wrong – my work has a lovely cafeteria with an emphasis on natural and locally-sourced foods.  But it’s expensive, and not free from cross-contamination from gluten.  And it’s expensive.  So today, as I take it a bit easy (because I haven’t done a 10-hr day in about 3 years), I’m going to be taking stock of my freezer and fridge and figuring out what to make for the next two days.  Wednesday night is a return to dinner WITH MY HUSBAND!!! So that will be a special one too.

 

I also want to write today, but I’m not going to push it.  250 words would be great.  Just enough to start my streak again.  I need to start brainstorming a February story (I may not do a full publication on it, but if nothing else, it will go out on the blog).  I also need to keep working on FTP’s worldbuilding/plotting and I need to write a plot synopsis for Into Thin Air.  I’d like to get that out the door for queries by the middle of February, so I can start working on other things.  I’m also going to start editing Advent #1, since I’m going to be releasing that at Balticon.  Gotta get moving on that!

 

(Also need to look at other things for Balticon, such as cards for Cassandra and tea blends for Molly.  And cards for Schrodinger!  He wants some.)

 

And no, not watching the Superbowl.  Might watch the Puppy Bowl, though.  Or not.  We’ll see.

(personal/writing/resolutions) It’s a new year

And with the new year, I love to do resolutions.  Usually I do wildly optimistic resolutions that fall (mostly) flat after a month.  So this year, I’m going to do what I consider to be realistic resolutions.

1. I resolve to take care of myself.

This sounds like it should be a no-brainer, but it’s something I’m surprisingly bad at.  I love to stay up late, I hate getting up early, I love to read but not to exercise, I suck at taking my medications on time, and quite frankly, I tend to be lazy in terms of cooking good food for myself.  I’m not going to fix this overnight, or even in one year, but I’m going to get better on this, especially on the meds, the exercise and the food front.  With my issues (including Crohn’s Disease, degenerative arthritis and gluten allergies), these are the big ones.

2. I resolve to enjoy life more.

Life is far too short to be unhappy.  I don’t want to be unhappy.  So part of taking care of myself is doing things that I enjoy, that bring me happiness, and that make my life and the life of those around me better.  Which may  mean less going out and more time around the house, but that’s okay.  I want to make my house a place that both hubby and I can love to come home to.

3. I resolve to write more.

This is a definitely.  I’m looking forward to blogging on a regular basis, writing and self-publishing some short stories (12 this year), finishing the first draft of at least 3 novels, and editing and polishing at least 3 more.  I’ll do another blog later that’s just the writing schedule for the year.

 

Those are my resolutions for 2014.  What about yours?

(health/food) Slowly getting back to it

Cons screw me up – even when I go in trying to be healthy, I always seem to end up sick.  Bleah.  This last week has been super busy as well, so it’s no wonder I ended up with con-crud and all sorts of headaches.  That’s why I went to bed early last night, with lunch already packed.

 

We had rotisserie chicken for dinner Sunday, and we had one left over, so that’s what lunch is today: rotisserie chicken, the last half of a stuffed apple (thank you, Mom!) and roasted sweet potatoes.  In the refrigerator is garlic and cheese sausage that’s thawing and will be stuffed into butternut squash that I’m going to roast tonight when I get home.  And there will be homemade chicken soup later in the week.  I love fall.

 

 

(health update) Day three of completely no gluten

and it’s official – I have a cold.  Gluten does not cause green snot to come out of my nose.  *sigh*  Just what I needed before Capclave.  I’m alternating tea and juice and hoping to kill it dead.

 

Bah.  I hate having a depressed immune system.  However!!!  I resisted Panera this morning! (Managers brought us in breakfast – they brought me a fruit cup, since I requested that, rather than gluten.)  Go me!

 

I’m getting this under control.  Tonight, we swim.

(health) When will I learn?

My nephew got married this weeked.  Yay, weddings!  Except for the fact that most weddings are full of gluten, and I am finding that I am really, really weak when it comes to gluten.  This is no one else’s fault but mine.  I had rolls and wedding cake and cookies…and I still feel crappy this morning.

 

My head hurts, my nose hurts, I’m bloated and sluggish, and I want nothing more than to take meds and go back to bed.  Unfortunately, I don’t have that option.  So I’m going to be pounding the antihistimines today (they help with the reaction), and the tea, and I’m going to push myself to walk on my lunch break.   Lunch itself is whole foods – a yogurt, some pepper strips, peanut butter and apple butter on rice cakes, and more tea.  I have a con coming up, and although I was planning on some things that had gluten in them for it (because let’s face it, it’s easy), I’m changing my plans.  I think instead of american chop suey, we’ll do chili  – still able to be done in the crockpot, but gluten free.  I think we’ll also bring some gluten-free biscuits, and apples.  I’ll be bringing rice cakes too.  I’d forgotten how easy they are to top and use.

 

Wish me luck.  I’m feeling really awful today, but I can’t stop my life just to recover.  There are things that I need to do, and dammit, I’m going  to do it.  Live and learn – I just hope I can remember this lesson this time.

(food/personal) the smells of autumn and memory

My kitchen smelled like memories this past weekend.  Apple kugel, cinnamon-raisin french toast drowning in maple syrup, roasted butternut squash, honey bbq chicken tenders.  It’s amazing, how much smells can bring back memories of my parents’ and my grandparents’ kitchens, and it’s times like this that I wish I had kids to pass these smells and recipes on to.  The good news is that my sister-in-law is doing just that for my nieces, so they won’t be forgotten.

 

Food is such a family thing, I’ve found.  Eating healthy hasn’t been as hard for me (although the gluten-free part has been a bit of a struggle – I love bread!) because my parents encouraged us to eat healthy.  I love me some ice cream (yes, there is a pint of Cherry Garcia in my freezer right now – I’m human!), but even more, now, I’m realizing how much I love things like a crisp apple from the fridge, or the natural sweetness of roasted butternut squash with cinnamon.  The bite of cheddar cheese with that apple.  Creamy peanut butter and apple butter on top of a rice cake.  Fresh popped popcorn, with fresh melted butter.  Homemade Chex Mix.

 

I eat these foods, and I remember: making Chex Mix, before a family holiday party at Gram’s.  Or getting to “try” the popcorn balls she always bought for Halloween.  Kugel for Christmas morning, if Mom had a chance to make it.  Or for breakfast out on the field, cold from being in the cooler, as we camped.  Apple picking when I was younger, and we’d take over an orchard.  (Four kids – trust me, we took it over).  Hulling strawberries for Mom after we picked in Uncle Charlie and Auntie Marion’s fields, so she could make strawberry jam.

 

I really didn’t know how to cook before I got married.  I didn’t need to – there are SO many good cooks in my family (including one pro! ) but once I was out on my own, I went the boxed route and realized very quickly that no, most things that come in a box are NOT food.  (I’m looking at you, macaroni and cheese.  Shudder)  So I learned.  And trust me, if I can learn to cook, you can too.  I was SO bad.  I burned water.   And jello.  Seriously.

 

No real food plan this week.  I’m heading into a remicade treatment on Wednesday, so food is going to depend on what my tummy is up to.    I made sure to stock up on yogurt, nut butter, and rice cakes, and tuna fish.  Mild stuff, so my tummy doesn’t rebel too much on me.  We’ll see how it goes.