May 25, 2007

5-Day Core Report

So it's been 5 days on Core, and things are going... mostly well. My usual routine has been oatmeal for breakfast, leftovers from dinner and an apple or some other fruit for lunch, some more fruit for a snack when I get home from work, dinner, and then a sweet snack/dessert. For the last two days I've found myself hungry just an hour or two after my oatmeal, which is weird, but I think it has more to do with, erm, upcoming female events than anything diet-related.

I like not counting. Or, you know, limited counting. It makes me feel less like I'm "on a diet" and more like I'm just making better choices. What I don't like is the complete and utter ban on bread. You can have it, of course, but you have to spend your points on it. Most of the time I'm okay with that, but it limits my lunch options a little bit. I can't just throw together a sandwich or take a pita and hummus, because I'd rather not spend my discretionary points on bread when I could spend them on, say, a delicious bowl of the carrot cake rice cream that is calling my name from the freezer. But then you have a situation like tonight, when I decided to make flatbread, have one, and put the rest away for use over the next few days. I ended up eating two, for a total of 6 points, because I was really hungry and I'm running low on veggies and I didn't feel like making a big effort for anything else. And now my stomach kind of hurts. Bleh.

So basically, I wish one serving of some wheat bread-like product was on the Core list. It would make my life easier. Also, this plan is much better for people who earn a lot of activity points. There was a time when I was exercising every day and getting 3 or 4 extra points, but right now I'm getting up at 6 am and spending 8 hours a day painting murals outside in the very hot sun, and when I get home I want nothing more than a shower and a comfortable chair in a cool room. I don't know if it's the heat or what, but I've had very little energy of late. Everything takes a lot of effort. It's a little distressing, but I'm too tired to do anything about it.

I'm going into the weekend with less than 5 flex points, and I'm having dinner at my favorite Indian restaurant tomorrow night. I'm not sure how I'm going to swing that. I may just get something bean-based and call it trying my best. On Flex this would probably send me into a spiral of junk food and badness. What's nice about Core is that even if I don't have any flex points left, I can still eat. And even if I go out to eat and I'm eating stuff that might not be Core, I'm not trying to count points for everything I put in my mouth, so I don't feel like a failure if I can't assign a number to something. So far this plan has led to much less obsessing about food and points and more enjoyment of my food. I like it.

And now, some pictures:

Lemon-Herb Seitan (the tofu recipe in Vive le Vegan, but with seitan instead), brown rice, sauteed yellow squash, steamed broccoli. Delicious. After reducing the oil a bit, the lemon-herb seitan is Core enough for me. Meaning that there's a tiny bit of agave (seriously, like 1/2 tsp), I'm not worrying over things like that. Seriously, it's 10 calories worth of agave spread over 2 servings (I halved the recipe). Not a big deal. The seitan is the last of Joanna's awesome chicken-style seitan that I had frozen; I'll have to make up another batch soon.

Joni's 50/50 Flatbread. Easy, and really tasty too. I halved the recipe and made them larger; I got 4 instead of 8. In retrospect, I wish I would've stuck with the little ones, because then eating two wouldn't have cost me so many points. But otherwise, the only downside is that I set off my fire alarm while making these and couldn't get it to shut off for like 3 or 4 minutes, during which time I thought my eyes were actually going to start bleeding. Awesome.

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May 21, 2007

the state of the blog address

Okay, so it's been well over a month since I posted. A lot has been happening in my life in the last few months.

My boyfriend of 6 1/2 years and I broke up about 2 months ago. I think it was the right thing to do, but it was still the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life. So now I'm cooking for one and looking for a smaller, cheaper apartment. My emotional state is perhaps not the best it's ever been, and while for the most part I'm okay, I've had little motivation to cook extravagent things when I'm just going to eat by myself in front of the tv. Also, I'm totally guilty of "eating my feelings" over the last few weeks. As if stuffing my face with junk will somehow make me feel better. Yeah, okay. In reality it'll just make me fatter, which, as I'm sure you can imagine, is less with the cheering up. It's a vicious cycle, really.

On the plus side, I started a full-time mural-painting internship almost immediately after school let out 3 weeks ago, in addition to some other freelance work that came my way, and some work that I already had lined up. It's been a good year for me, art-wise. I had a piece make it into the Society of Illustrators student competition; it hung in the gallery show there for most of this month. Another piece was chosen to be the poster artwork for this year's Lancaster Art Walk. It hung up all over the city, which was pretty freakin' sweet. All of this is wonderful, of course, and I'm very thankful for it all - but it's keeping me pretty busy. Which, given the current state of things, is probably good. But it does get in the way of all things food bloggy.

The basic gist of things is that some shit happened, and is happening, and life just keeps marching on, and I'm trying to keep up. And in doing that, I've neglected this blog terribly. Which I feel pretty bad about, I'm not going to lie. I don't like to see things sit and stagnate. But I'm sort of at a crossroads here. I'm not focused so much on cooking new things anymore. I still do, every once in a while, but I can't remember when the last time I opened a cookbook was. So I have no food to blog about, really.

My focus in life has shifted, and in an attempt to keep this blog relevent, I'm going to shift focus here as well. I need to get my eating and my weight under control. It's a source of a lot of negativity, stress, and depression for me, and I'm tired of doing nothing about it. Today I started following the Weight Watcher's Core program. I am going to blog about it. In an odd twist, this will make my blog name actually match the subject for once. Neat. I'll still post about food, and recipes, and I'll still do candy reviews occasionally. But the scope of the blog, if it's not completely different, has effectively shifted.

(I was going to say "expanded," but it reminded me too much of how my ass is steadily expanding, and I'd like to start this new endeavor on a positive note.)

April 15, 2007

Chili, Cupcakes, Cake, and a Cat!

Joanna's Better Than Basic Veggie Chili, a tester recipe. It's pretty fantastic. I made some cornbread to go with it, and the combination made for several days of enjoyable meals.

Pink lemonade cupcakes! Well, that's what they were supposed to be, anyway. I pinked up the batter, but it didn't bake that way. Very annoying. The cupcakes are the basic golden vanillas from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World with some lemon extract thrown in, and the frosting is the lemon cream cheese recipe from the same book. That frosting is AMAZING. Seriously, it's worth typing in all caps for. I took these to my family's easter shindig and they were a big hit. Even my dad liked them, and he's been known to have heart palpitations at the mention of soy.

A pink lemonade mini cake made from leftover cupcake batter and frosting. For some reason these little cakes baked up a lot pinker than the cupcakes. Maybe because I used silicone pans? Who knows. Either way, it was cute and tasty. Forgive the shoddy frosting job. I was pretty tired of it at this point and there wasn't enough frosting left to do it up right.

And finally, this my kitty getting her stare on. Obviously she is not food, but I thought I'd post it anyway. Her eyes stare directly into your soul. Can you feel it? I know I can. What you probably can't get a sense of from this picture is how damn annoying she is. For real, she drives me crazy. Crazy, I tell you! It's a good thing she's cute.

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April 04, 2007

life interferes with blogging, and ABC cookies suck

So you may have noticed that the candy review hasn't been posted this week. It's terrible, I know. I'm such a bad blogger. But I have 3 weeks left in the semester and the proverbial shit is beginning to hit the fan, if you know what I'm saying. Things are getting hectic, with deadlines and projects and tests and trying to line up internships and whatnot. Plus I don't have any fun candy at the moment, which I can assure you is more disappointing for me than it is for you.

As soon as I get a chance I'm going to get a few different things and I'll post several reviews at once to make up for my blog neglect. So if you have any suggestions, give 'em to me now!

One thing I can say is that Alternative Baking Co.'s peanut butter chocolate chip cookies are not good. At all. I went in wanting Liz Lovely's mochadamia cookies, which are delicious pieces of heaven wrapped in cellophane, but when they weren't there I settled for an ABC cookie. It pretty much tasted like peanut butter-ish playdough with the occasional chocolate chip. I still finished it, because let's face it, I'll pretty much eat anything where the primary ingredients are sugar, fat, and flour. I'm basically a sweets-whore. And I'd been craving a cookie all day. But it was bad. Really bad. In fact, the only ABC cookie I've ever liked is the pumpkin spice one. I'd be willing to give the lemon poppyseed a shot, but otherwise I think I'll hold out for the Liz Lovelys in the future.

March 26, 2007

Candy Review Monday: Mazapan De la Rosa

This week's candy is Mazapan De la Rosa, described on the package as "the authentic Mexican-style marzipan candy." And the candy is indeed made in Mexico. I found it at Wal-Mart, which I know is evil and I shouldn't shop there, but whatever, I've accepted the fact that I'm a horrible person sometimes.

The package contains 8 little individually-wrapped circles of candy. Each one weighs 1 ounce. The plastic wrapping has a rose on it and the whole thing is really quite pretty. I like that they're individually wrapped. If they weren't the whole thing would just be a mess of peanut crumbles.

Mazapan has just three ingredients: sugar, peanuts, and the ever-nebulous artificial flavors. The candy itself is in a smooth circle, and each one I've eaten has broken in half when I opened the plastic. It's very dry and crumbly overall, and the texture is a bit paste-like when you dissolve it in your mouth. There are little flecks of peanuts every once in a while, which is nice. It's very sweet and peanutty, but not like peanut butter - it actually tastes like peanuts. It reminds me of a dry peanut butter fudge more than any kind of marzipan I've had. However, like peanut butter, it sticks to the roof of your mouth like crazy. This candy requires a beverage to go with it.

I like it. I bought it on a whim because it was cheap (I think $1.99) and vegan and kind of pretty. And because I love peanut brittle, peanut butter, peanut butter fudge, peanuts themselves, and any derivative thereof. I'm going to give it an 8/10, because it's a unique product here in the states, and because it's something I'd actually buy again. Each little circle has 134 calories, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein, and 14% of the RDA of calcium. I thought the calcium part was especially interesting. Not bad for candy.


March 20, 2007

Belated Candy Review Monday: Simpsons Fruit Snacks

I was at Five Below a few weeks ago, looking for interesting candy, and I had to get these. I love me some fruit snacks, but often they have gelatin in them. Plus: Simpsons! And only a dollar. You can't lose.

Or so I thought.

Straight up, these are foul and disappointing. First, they aren't shaped like Simpsons characters. I totally thought they would be, and that made me pretty sad. I wanted to eat a little vegetarian Lisa. What they are shaped like is fruit. There are six kinds: orange, lemon, cherry, grape, green apple, and strawberry.

They taste like waxy nothing. Honestly. Here's the run down:

Cherry: It's like someone put a single drop of cherry cough syrup in a vat of fruit snack mix and called it a flavor.
Green Apple: The best texture of all of them. It's plumper, softer, and not as waxy. However, it tastes like a watered down jolly rancher.
Lemon: Lemon things are always my favorite, so I was hoping this one would be okay. It's not. Before I went vegan I used to get those honey-lemon cough drops, and I guess this kind of tastes like that. If you're tasting it from 3 months ago.
Orange, Grape, and Strawberry: These should all be shaped like some kind of magical nothing-fruit, because seriously, they are so non-flavored that the only reason you can taste any difference at all between them is because you brain sees something shaped like a strawberry and tries desperately to create a strawberry taste for you so that the universe doesn't collapse into itself

I'm calling it a 2/10. I'm throwing the box away. And I totally wasted that dollar. The only reason these don't get a 1 or a 0 is because I wasn't actually dry heaving afterward.


March 12, 2007

Candy Review Monday: More Ritter Sports!

Ritter Sport Peppermint

I've heard so much about these, but I could never find them anywhere. So after last week's review, when Lindsay from vegan chai offered to send me one, I jumped at the chance to try it. And now I can say with complete convinction that this is the most fantastic chocolate mint bar I've ever had and that it's a damn shame it's not widely available in the US.

Inside those little squares of chocolate is a smooth, fresh, delicious minty paste of some kind that I would like to eat entire bowls of. It's a generous amount, too; when I broke the bar apart and only saw those little stripes of white, I was a little disappointed. But then I bit into one and found a big well of the stuff, so I was happy again. Honestly, it's just like a peppermint patty - only so much better. Whoever is responsible for importing Ritter Sport products needs to remedy this situation, stat.

This one gets a 10/10 from me. I may cry when I finish this bar, just for lack of being able to get another one. Plus the german name is really fun to say. Pfefferminz!

Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate

This is a really mild dark chocolate. It almost tastes like milk chocolate to me, actually. It's very smooth and sweet, but still has more depth of flavor than the milk chocolate that I remember. I don't have much else to say about this bar; it's simple and very good. It would be a good "starter" dark chocolate for people who aren't crazy about the really dark stuff, because it's not bitter at all.

This one gets a 10/10 as well, because even though it's not breaking any new ground in terms of flavor or novelty factor, it's a really good, highly munchable chocolate bar that I will definitely get again.

I am officially a big fan of Ritter Sports. They rock. They're cute and delicious, and the square shape and little chunky nuggets of chocolate make me feel like I'm playing with edible blocks. Go Ritter Sport!

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