A Few Goals

‘Ello eaters!

I spent all New Years day lying in bed with the second or third worst hangover of my life. It included the never ending precursor to a migraine that never actually started and a good bit of nausea whenever I lay on my back.

Aren’t you glad I told you that?

To make up for that TMI, here’s a picture of my brother in a suit. 

So while it wasn’t the most awesome way to spend the first day of 2013, it did give me a lot of time to think.

2012 was a phenomenal year for me.

I lived in London.

I had a great internship.

I went to Ireland with my boyfriend where I did NOT propose to him. (Oh, I never told you that funny story?)

I went to Paris twice.

I moved in with my boyfriend and started figuring out what kind of house person I am. Spoiler alert: not the obsessively clean kind.

I got the cutest, greatest, most wonderfully snuggly and adorable puppy in the world that is currently curled up in a little pretzel ball between Leon and I in bed.

I started doing Crossfit.

I hosted Thanksgiving.

Yeah, it’s been a big year. A stressful, crazy, trying, exciting, amazing, weird as fuck year.

And now I’m preparing for this new frontier year where I’ll be graduating from college and … doing other things.

And while I’m doing all these other things, I also have a few goals that I want to accomplish.

Side note: I’m calling them goals instead of resolutions because resolutions have a negative, stressful connotation. And because as Caitlinsaid far more eloquently than me, I don’t need another stressor. It’s not always about “doing more things more efficiently.”

One of my many plates of appetizers that I ate at my friends' paleo NYE party.

Anyway, my goals this year are simple.

First and foremost, I want to give more to charity. There are several causes that I’ve felt particularly drawn recently — a lot of pet rescues and childhood hunger charities. I want to donate to those causes, which means that I need to restructure my budgeting to allow for that. I want to volunteer, which means that I need to restructure my time to allow for that.

Second, I want to go on a vacation. Leon and I started a little savings jar with the hope that we’ll eventually be able to go on a vacation. We don’t know where. It won’t be extravagant. But it would be nice to go away for a few days.

Third, I want to read more. I’m not going to quantify this goal, because it’s kind of hard to read too much during the semester. But it’s just something for me to keep in mind.

Fourth, I want to drink a little less. It’s not that I drink all that much now, but I could always stand to drink less, right? Right!

Fifth, I want to eat more donuts. They’re one of my all time favorite foods and I think I can count on two hands the number of donuts that I ate last year. That’s less than one a month, which I deem despicable.

So there you have it, all the things I wish I were doing today instead of trying not to throw up and simultaneously wishing I had a big, juicy bacon cheeseburger. It’s a wild and crazy life I lead.

Your turn, eaters:

How did you spend the first day of 2013?

Do you have any goals or resolutions?

Later eaters!

That Awkward Time

Hello m’dear dear eaters!

I took last week off from blogging to hang out with my family. And then I drove back to Greensboro, picked Leon up from the airport, and we spent a lot of time cleaning and organizing the house, which was so messy it was annoying.

I didn’t know annoying was a level of messy until I walked in my front door.

But a few hours, a few Rubbermaid tubs, and a mail sorter later, my house was organized and livable.

And I was in the mood to get the rest of my life in order.

So Leon and I gave Charlie a bath. I did some serious work on my thesis. I’ve already got the healthy eating on lock thanks to my friends from Crossfit who are hosting a paleo New Years Eve party. I ordered a few books (Bitches on a Budget and 20-Something, 20-Everything, which I’ll tell you about if your interested) that will help get my life in order in the future.

And now, I think it’s time to get my blog in order.

From here on out, FoodBaby won’t be a Sunday through Thursday blog. It’ll be a two or three times a week blog.

Ya see eaters, it’s not that I’m losing steam. It’s not that I’m burning out on blogging. And it’s certainly not that I’m tiring of you. (Because you’re amazing and I want to hang out with you and braid your hair and we can tell ghost stories and get glamour shots taken at Sears.)

It’s that I’ve been writing a lot of crap. It’s that dinner comes every night and my meals have been repetitive and less than inventive. It’s that I’m starting to feel like this blog is a chore and a stressor, except for that one or two times a week when I write something I’m excited about and proud of.

So instead of writing five times a week and feeling guilty when I don’t, I’m only writing what I’m proud of and excited about.

And now, for this awkward time between Christmas and New Year’s, here’s a bunch of photos from my life. Enjoy.

My mom's Socialist Pancake.

I LOVE dedicated water bottle fillers in airports.

My father pretending to treat my grandfather like the Godfather.

Learning the ancient art of napkin folding.

My second favorite Italian bakery in New York.

Actual authentic New York pizza, I love you.

Totally nailed an unsupported headstand, thank you very much Crossfit.

A really delicious wine for under $10.

My brother, ready for work.

Thanks to my new LifeProof case I was able to take this picture of myself in the shower.

A new thing I made up: save your mismatched dangly earrings to turn into Christmas ornaments.

And here are a bunch of cute pictures of Charlie laying on my mom's furniture.

Your turn, eaters:

Grammar people, is it New Years’ Eve or New Year’s Eve?

How was your holiday?

G’night eaters!

A Food Manifesto

‘Ello eaters!

I hope you enjoyed my pictures from last night. As you can tell, I’ve very proud.

Hell, I’m very proud anytime I can do something on the computer. I’m a bit of a Luddite, don’t ya know.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about my views on food. They’ve obviously changed over the years, especially since I’ve had this blog. And while I’m absolutely positive they will change more over the years, I figured it was worth tacking them down as they as now.

Kind of like a manifesto time capsule, if that makes sense.

So, without further ado, here’s my food manifesto as it stands today, December 11, 2012.

Sprinkles don’t have calories. Or carbs.

Eat one serving of fruits or vegetables at every meal.

Bacon should be thick cut and crispy.

Food becomes exponentially better when you eat it with your hands.

Condiments make food exponentially better.

Any cut of BBQ pork is the right cut as long as it’s saucy.

The more colorful the food the healthier it is, with regards to fruits and vegetables.

Tofu is not just for vegetarians.

Salads are the best packed lunches.

Eat at least one snack a day.

Dessert isn’t healthy. If it’s healthy than it’s not dessert, it’s an after dinner snack.

Never skip meals.

Nuts should be roasted and salted.

Donuts are a perfect food.

When you don’t know what to say, bake a cake.

Smoked paprika is the best spice, second only to pepper.

Cheese.

Strawberry banana is a very over used flavor combination.

It’s always worth it to make it from scratch. At least once in your life.

Eat locally and seasonally; it’s cheaper, among other things.

Never turn down crusty bread.

Pizza is also a perfect food.

Sausage is not just for ball games and barbeques.

Wine should be dry and shared.

I’m sure there are plenty of other things that I have lots of other views on food, those are all I can think of.

Your turn, eaters:

What are some of your views on food?

Any of my views that you disagree with?

G’night eaters! 

Tightening Up The Dough

G’evening eaters!

It’s Monday, right?

I keep forgetting what day it is because I keep thinking about Thursday, which is when I have a HUGE presentation for my major. Does that ever happen to you, where you’re thinking about one day so much that you forget what day it is?

Anyway … let’s get serious, shall we?

Lately I’ve been feeling a little…doughy.

Between Halloween and Thanksgiving and then having to take down my training a few notches for the weeks while my back was healing, the only intensity I’ve been showing is in my ability to eat pie.

This pie lasted more than a day and less than a week.

No seriously, let’s not talk about how long this pie lasted.

Or how long the half a pumpkin pie and half an apple pie that Leon’s family sent us home with lasted.

And because of a lot more homework (because of this HUGE presentation!) and a lot less meal planning, I’ve been eating a lot more bars.

I like bars well enough and they’re awesome in a pinch. But it shouldn’t be a pinch every single day when I need a snack.

Oh, and I also recently bought two big bags of M&Ms — almond and pretzel varieties — because I had coupons and I’m an idiot. If I buy food I’m going to eat it, duh.

And in this case those two sharing bags of M&Ms lasted about 5 days (with a little of Leon’s help, of course).

Yup, I’m feeling doughy.

And since I’m not a bear and thus don’t need to fatten up for winter, I’m looking to shed a bit of this warmth that I’m carrying around.

For me, with everything that I’ve got going on right now, that means that I don’t have the time or energy to do some big cleanse or reset or diet overhaul. It means little tweaks to tighten up my diet and re-intensify my workouts.

So here’s what I’m thinking:

First, re-committing to the Zone.

I did a post a while back after I went to a nutrition lecture my Crossfit box help. The lecture was pretty much teaching us the Zone with some Paleo ideas sprinkled in. I’m not too interested in going Paleo, but the Zone ideas of balancing carbs, fat, and protein (by eating them in 9g, 3g, and 7g “blocks,” respectively) really hit home with me. And for the bit of time that I was pretty diligent about it, it really worked.

So I’m going back to being diligent about the Zone. Well, diligent except for counting fat grams because I’m a “more the merrier” kind of girl when it comes to fat.

Second, I’m committing to going to Crossfit at least 4 times a week.

Since my back started bothering me I’ve been going to Crossfit 3 times a week. Before then I was going 4 or 5 times a week and really kicking butt. Part of my slacking is that I’ve gotten busy and pack of it is that I’m lacking a little mojo since my injury. But I’m sick of those excuses. So hopefully that extra day will help bring back my warrior spirit.

Third, I’m going to drink at least 2L of water every day.

This is another thing that’s been falling off lately. And frankly, I’m sick of getting 1.5L and calling it good (not to mention that my lips and skin are feeling a little too dry).  So that’s another thing that will soon be hitting the mark. (Which means that I need to get chugging because I’m not even at a full 1.5L yet.)

And that’s it.

Like I said, this is not the time to do a major dietary overhaul or a cleanse or cut out gluten. I’m busy with school. I’m busy with work. I’m busy with feeling guilty for procrastinating cleaning the house because it makes me feel like a bad woman that Leon has to come home to a mess. And I’m busy trying to figure out why the hell my internal monologue is a Stepford wife.

So as you can see, I’m pretty busy.

And even if I wasn’t busy, those three tweaks would usually be enough. They are minimal enough to be doable but getting me consciously thinking about making healthier decisions.

I can almost feel the dough melting off already.

Your turn, eaters:

What’s the first thing you tweak when your habits have gotten a little unhealthy?

What’s your favorite food to indulge in?

G’night eaters!

Honestly, Soup

Hi eaters!

It’s Tuesday, right? I have been so bad about days lately.

Anyway, I didn’t blog last night. I think I’m losing a bit of my blogging mojo because I had time to blog, I just didn’t have anything to blog about or any desire to pull something out of my ass. I was tempted to put up some stupid meme about how I was doing other things or just something funny, but then I realized that producing bad content dilutes the good content I produce.

So I didn’t.

Because I do occasionally write something really good and worth reading or worth making and when I do, I really want you to read it and enjoy it and be happy you spent those five minutes with me.

So, there’s my two cents. And like two actual pennies, it’s not worth much.

Upward and onward to…more honesty.

I once read a blog post somewhere about staging food for photos. Maybe it was an article, not a blog post.

But that’s irrelevant.

The relevant thing is that it said to set two places and make two plates of food because then the photos look like a real, inviting meal and if you want to get people to make your recipes you had to make them seem inviting rather than just you eating them alone in your pajamas.

That got me thinking. My first thought was “eff no” because that meant I not only had to own sets of matching dishes (something I certainly didn’t have then and barely have now), but that I then had to wash those extra dishes.

My second thought, though, was why did I need to fake eating meals with someone?

At the time, I was cooking solely for myself and generally eating by myself while watching TV (because all my friends had meal plans) or eating while hanging out with someone who wasn’t eating.

And now, I eat dinner with Leon. The other two meals of the day are still solo. And I sure as heck am not going to bust out fancy dishes and attempt lighting and make Leon wait while the food gets cold as I attempt to get all the right angles on a piece of chicken.

That all sounds like lunacy to me.

So, as you may have noticed over the past couple of months (if you’ve been reading that long), my photos have become significantly less staged. Sure, some things, like muffins or cookies or other tepid, non-time sensitive creations still get staged, but for the most part my pictures are taken on the big wooden cutting board that sits atop my yellow prep table that used to be a baby changing table. I try to get most of my pictures during the day because the light from the windows in my kitchen are lovely, but even that isn’t something I strive for.

I guess I strive for honesty.

So honestly, my recipes aren’t the greatest things in the world. Honestly, they are not in any war gourmet and I don’t even pretend I know what I’m doing. They probably won’t wow your friends at a dinner party (except maybe these crostinis) nor will they earn you any friends if you don’t already have some.

But honestly, they’re cheap and easy and don’t ever require more than two pans (because I only have two) or any extra funky ingredients or use big, hard to pronounce words.

And I can honestly say that while neither of us will be appearing on Top Chef anytime soon, my recipes do the trick. They feed you. They nourish you. They make me happy and hopefully they make you happy, too.

So, while half the country is cold and buried in water, I think we could all use a little soup. With bacon. And cheese.

Baked Potato Soup

¼ onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

6-7 small-medium russet potatoes, skin on and cubed

3 c chicken/vegetable stock

3 T butter, dairy or non dairy

1 ½ c milk, dairy or non dairy

1 egg

salt and pepper, to taste

oil

water

toppings

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Sauté onion until fragrant and then add the garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant pour in the stock, butter, and potatoes. Stir everything together, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and leave it to simmer for ~15 minutes.

Add plenty of salt and pepper, stir it all together, and then add the milk. Cover the pot and leave it to simmer again for ~10 minutes.

At this point the potatoes should be plenty soft and starting to break down. Once the soup is creamy stir in the egg. Continue stirring the soup for 5 minutes and then cover again for ~10. Stir some more.

The potatoes should almost all break down to leave a thick, chunky soup. Feel free to puree/smash some of the chunks to make a smoother soup. Add some water if it has gotten too thick.

Prepare your toppings, ladle up a few bowls, and top away.

Leon adding his cheese.

Leon and I went with bacon, cheddar, and sautéed asparagus because we had all those things on hand.

Jalapenos, salsa, sautéed greens, and the like would also make good toppings. But like I said, we used what we had on hand. No need to spend extra money to try to make you think this meal was actually planned or that we actually keep a thoroughly stocked fridge.

Left: His. Right: Hers.

Leon said this soup was “really good for a first time without a recipe,” which is how most of my recipes turn out. And let’s be honest, if I don’t have time to wash an extra dish do you really think I have time to remake and re-remake recipes all day?

Nope. And neither do you, so trust me when I say this is honestly a good soup.

What do you think, eaters:

What’s your favorite kind of soup?

Tell me something honest about yourself.

G’night eaters!

A Weekend

‘Ello eaters!

This weekend has been a little all over the place. And frankly, I feel a little worse for wear right now.

Not worse for wear because I did a lot of hard partying and partook in lots of debauchery.  (Is “partook” the right verb to use with debauchery?)

No, worse for wear because I did a lot.

I attempted to pull my weight (pun intended) in a partner WOD on Saturday. AND I didn’t throw up once (though I sure felt like it during some of those toes to bar, my poor partner).

I flexed my brain muscles on Friday night with a take home test. Yes, I did spend my Friday night doing homework while shoving animal crackers in my mouth. But really, finishing that test (which was kinda huge) felt so ah-maze-ing.

#YOLO is right, eaters.

I decided not to stress about coming up with a pre-Halloween costume for Saturday night. And if anyone asked, I said I was British.

Riding boots, colored denim, and faux fur vests were actually big in London when I lived there.

I may or may not have lip synched to Spice Girls while doing some kind of skipping back-it-up dance move that also involved my arms at work. Yeah, days when you have to essentially re-arrange the entire store and unwrap and label hundreds of Christmas ornaments might sound sucky, but the people I work with are fun. Oh, and I ate four Halloween cookies, so the sugar helped.

And then I ended it all with a really splendid dinner cooked by Leon.

Horseradish crusted catfish, sauteed Swiss chard, and quinoa.

So my weekend may not have started all that great (Catfish For One, anyone), but it ended amazingly. And this is me having AND doing it all.

What do you think, eaters:

Do you ever stay in to do work/homework on the weekends?

What were you/are you going to be for Halloween?

*Bonus question* What candy should I pick up for my trick or treaters?

G’night eaters! 

WIAW: Without A Fridge

Hiya eaters!

I didn’t blog last night because yesterday was a thoroughly crappy day. And now you get to hear all about it.

Yippee?!

It all started on Monday morning when I realized that our fridge wasn’t as cold as it normally was. So I cranked the thermostat down and went on my merry way. Late in the afternoon when I went to reach for a snack (read: peanut butter), I realized it was a little warmer than it had been in the morning. So I cranked the thermostat even further down and went on my merry way. Sunday night when it came time to make dinner I realized that not only had the green beans that I’d bought just days earlier go completely, white-fuzzy-mold bad (a sign of things to come), but that the fridge felt nearly room temperature.

How nearly room temperature was the fridge? Well, we did a little experiment to find out.

We keep our house at 78 degrees. Coconut oil is a solid below somewhere in the 74-76 degree range. So I put the coconut oil that I keep in my pantry in the fridge. I checked back right before going to bed and…surprise surprise…it was almost exactly as liquidy as before, meaning that our fridge was no more than 3 degrees colder than our house.

Awesome.

As you can guess, that negatively impacted my day on Tuesday.

Breakfast:

A Really Extra Awesome Smoothie with pb instead of avocado and no greens.

I was going to add spinach to this smoothie, but it had all gone limp and slimy.

Snack:

A nectarine (which I now realize I don't like as much as peaches), string cheese, and pb.

Have I mentioned that I kind of hate room temperature fruit? And don’t even get me started on room temperature cheese sticks.

(FYI, we did put our ice bucket from the freezer into the fridge, but that didn’t do much good.)

Snack:

My favorite flavor of Balance bar.

It was easily 2:30pm by this point. I’d barely eaten anything. I hadn’t done anything with my day except try and fail to read for class and buy new fabric for my pillows. (I’ll show you the finished product once I’m done.) AND despite calling my landlord’s office exactly 11 minutes after they opened in the morning, there was still no repairman in sight.

Oh, and every time I opened the fridge I found more things that had gone bad. So I bought a 10lbs bag of ice, threw it in, and vowed not to open the fridge for the rest of the night.

Snack:

A flavor of Balance bar that I only kind of like.

Yup. Again.

Dinner:

I left for class in quite a mood. Leon said he’d pick something up to cook for dinner, but even that bugged me. So I texted him later asking if he wanted $1 tacos, and luckily he said yes.

I got a chorizo “Mexican style” taco (which means a corn tortilla, cilantro, radish, raw onions, avocado, and lime) and a pastor Mexican style taco. I also ate my weight in chips, queso, and salsa, and washed it all down with a beer.

Dessert:

Sprinkles to the face!

After a day like yesterday, all I wanted were sprinkles. We didn’t have anything to put the sprinkles on (our yogurt went bad), but that didn’t stop me.

So moral of the store is: Don’t sell your mini fridge when you move from a dorm to an apartment.

Also, sometimes things suck. I did the best I could without making it another point of stress, so I don’t feel too bad about the amount of junk and processed crap I ate yesterday.

And today’s another day. Hopefully the repairman will finally come.

Your turn, eaters:

How do you stick to or deviate from your healthy habits when shit hits the fan?

What’s your favorite taco filling?

Later eaters!

All Over Sunday

Hellooo eaters!

It’s Sunday and unfortunately I don’t have tomorrow off.

Oh the joys of going to a Quaker school where they believe celebrating holidays is favoring one day over another.

Oh well. I really don’t mind Mondays because I kind of love getting back to my routine. And I also can’t complain about starting a new week when the old one ended like mine did.

As I’ve mentioned before, Sundays are my day. I am guaranteed to have them off (and so is Leon). It’s a lazy day where most places are closed, so I can’t really waste it doing annoying errands. And as of recently, Sundays also include zoning out in front of some Law & Order while clipping coupons.

Yup, it’s a lazy, yet oddly productive, and overall wonderful day.

And this Sunday was no different.

I started the day with a complete balanced breakfast.

Half a Devil's food cake donut with sprinkles and eggs with spinach and Texas Pete.

FYI, I blame Holly for the intense donut craving that set in on Saturday, prompting a nighttime trip to Donut World (on West Market St by Guilford College Rd for all you Greensboro/Triad people), where I can never ever get just one.

(This time I got three. Don’t judge. They have an amazing variety.)

I then proceeded to laze around the house, hanging out with Leon and Charlie, and wasting time on Pinterest.

It’s amazing how much time you can spend looking and pinning and how many ideas for things you can’t possibly do/eat/own/see you’ll find.

Once I had my fill of dreaming, I got to doing. And today that “doing” included buying picture frames from Goodwill for a decorating project, buying fabric and a few other supplies for a pillow project, and going to the gym for the first time since I started Crossfit.

FYI, the gym is super boring.

Once I got home I got down to business. And in no time flat I had two pillow covers sewn and filled.

My plan was to then iron on a black deer head silhouette to make something akin to these pillows. Except for the fact that the couch is new so I remembered the upholstery wrong when I was buying fabric and ended up with pillows that just don’t look right.

These two fabrics just don't work, right?

I can move the pillows to another room in the house and make new ones with new fabric, but I’m bad at picking colors. The living room has the couch, a Kelly green/avocado green vinyl recliner, and a couple of gold accents. The living room is openly connected to the dining room, which has dark blue walls and light pink chairs. There’s also lots of dark stained wood. And I’m locked in with the black deer heads.

Thoughts?

While mulling over new fabric colors and discussion options for what to do with Charlie while Leon and I are at a wedding in Vermont in a few weeks (we don’t want to board him for fear of him having Vietnam flashbacks of being in the shelter), we ate an easy stir fry.

Sunday night always used to be “brown rice and vegetables” night growing up — a scoop of brown rice and a scoop of stir fried vegetables and chicken in some brown sauce while we watched “60 Minutes.” As I got older the two scoops were allowed to touch and eventually the stir fry was served on top of the rice.

That’s a sign of maturity, right?

Anyway, this post has been all over the place tonight, but it’s kind of been a segmented, all over the place day. I hope you don’t mind.

What do you think, eaters:

 PleasepleasePLEASE tell me what color fabric I should choose. I don’t know if you can tell, but the couch is grey with threads of brown running through.

Did you/do you have any set meals based on days of the week?

G’night eaters!

Single Lady Stuff

Hellooooo eaters!

All I can say is “D’oh!”

I totally spaced last night and forgot it was Sunday. Hence the missing blog post.

But I know today is Monday, so let’s do things.

Yesterday was a day. A long, busy, productive day, but a good one.

Ya see eaters, on Saturday Leon left to spend a week up in Vermont with his family. I’m pretty jealous, because Leon’s family is hilarious and wonderful and I need a vacation. But because of work, that didn’t work out.

Oh well.

I’m choosing to look on the bright side. I’m choosing to think about all the wide open possibilities this week holds. I’m choosing not to focus on the fact that I’m now solely responsible for walking Charlie and washing dishes and that I never remember if trash gets picked up on Tuesday or if it gets put out on Tuesday night.

So to kick off my week of single lady stuff I bought a glue gun and made a wreath for our front door.

I was going for something that could last through at least early fall. This works, right?

Yup, I’m wild and crazy.

And I took advantage of Leon not being here (because we learned quickly that we shouldn’t go to the hardware store together), and bought a bunch of flowers at Lowes.

These have since been successfully planted. Hopefully they won't die.

I also bought a cactus, because I love them and they’re just low maintenance enough that I can’t kill it.

Isn't it cute?

Because with all the dishes and dog walking and laundry, I really don’t need any more responsibilities, right?

But the single lady fun didn’t stop at just prettying up the house. Nope, it extended all the way to meal planning and grocery shopping.

Yes eaters, I am a fun, vivacious college student. Why do you ask?

Loot:

Local eggs, organic spinach, organic bell peppers, organic zucchini, organic eggplant, organic sweet potatoes, ciabatta, local pork bratwursts, local fresh catfish, Colby jack cheese, organic green leaf lettuce, mozzarella, baby bella mushrooms, 365 brand Greek yogurt.

I still have to pick up a couple of things from Teeter, but once I fill in the holes I’ll be more than ready for a week of fun single lady eating.

And as you can tell from my shopping list, my version of single lady eating doesn’t include berry parfaits or smoked salmon finger sandwiches.

Yup, it’s going to be a good week.

Your turn, eaters:

What do you do when you have time to yourself?

Do you eat differently with friends/significant others than you do alone?

Later eaters!

Anti-Label Mac N’Cheese

Hello eaters!

Aside from a last minute doctor visit (because my leg stitches/wound is healing weird), this weekend has been lovely.

And I have tomorrow off, so my weekend is still going.

What more could you ask for from a weekend, really?

Nothing. Well, maybe except some of these leftovers.

Mac n'cheese.

Yup, I’m at it again — making unseasonal recipes.

And not only is this unseasonal, it’s not vegan, paleo, Zone-friendly, gluten-free, low fat, soy-free, low carb, or raw.

There has been so freaking much talk around the blogosphere lately about Paleo this and low carb that. Every recipe (and person!) seems to need to have a half dozen labels attached. And then if — deities forbid — they change something in some way they have to go all out and explain why suddenly they’re eating meat or eating less bread.

And then there’s the “loyalty” that people have for other people that share their labels and how quickly that loyalty fades when those labels change.

It’s tiring — keeping up with it all, figuring out your labels. And frankly, I’m getting beyond sick of it.

This may seem like a weighty topic to breach with a mac n’cheese recipe, but really, I think it’s very fitting. Because this recipe is so label-free — so almost anti-label, if you will — that I bet a bunch of people aren’t going to read this post after seeing the above picture.

But for those people that are brave enough to venture outside their labels and keep reading despite the carb-tastic, dairy-filled, visible protein source-free picture above, they will be rewarded.

With mac n’cheese.

Almost Dairy-Free, Anti-Paleo Mac N’Cheese

4 c (~1/2 lbs) whole wheat mini pasta shells, spirals, or elbows (plus water)

8 oz silken tofu

8 oz SHARP cheddar cheese*

¼ c nutritional yeast

2 cloves garlic

~1/2 T whole peppercorns

½ leek, chopped**

1 ½ c broccoli, chopped**

~2 T almond meal/bread crumbs***

salt, to taste

oil

*This is the only cheese you’re adding, so you don’t want to go weak on the flavor. Sharp is the only way to go.

**You can really use any green vegetable you want. I love leeks and broccoli, so that’s what I went with, but choose as you wish. Anything covered in cheese is good, right?

***This is for sprinkling on top if you want to bake it for a few minutes. You can leave this off if you don’t intend to bake it.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and then add the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, add the tofu, cheese, nutritional yeast, garlic, and peppercorns to a food processor. Pulse until everything is well combined and there are no visible large chunks of garlic or pepper. Taste and add salt, if needed.

A few minutes before the pasta is al dente add the broccoli directly to the pot. Once the pasta is done, drain it off in a colander.

Leave the pasta and broccoli in the colander for a few minutes while you drizzle a little oil in the bottom of the pasta pot. Once the oil is warm add the leeks and sauté for just a couple of minutes. Once the leeks are soft add the pasta and broccoli back into the pot.

Dump the cheese sauce into the pot and stir until everything is coated in delicious, creamy, cheesy, goodness. If you’re going to bake the mac, scoop it into a pan, sprinkle with almond meal/bread crumbs, and bake it in a 350F oven for 5-15 minutes, depending on how baked you like things.

Leftovers!

If you’re not going to bake the mac, dig in.

I sure as heck did.

And I enjoyed every label-less bite. Don’t even pretend you wouldn’t.

Your turn, eaters:

What labels do you use to define yourself?

Do you like baked or non-baked mac n’cheese?

G’night eaters!