WIAW: Good Groceries

G’day eaters!

This week is kicking my butt a little. As in, I fell asleep as soon as I climbed into bed at 10pm last night. I tried so hard to stay awake, but I failed miserably.

(Side note: my mind is in such work mode that I almost typed “10p” instead of “10pm,” because that’s how we write times at work. And I spend a lot of time writing out times.)




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So here’s yesterday’s food.

Breakfast:

Scrambled eggs with bell pepper and cheese, with an apricot on the side.

Scrambled eggs with bell pepper and cheese, with an apricot on the side.

I felt the need to eat somewhat healthy yesterday since I barely even thought about vegetables while at the beach. Also, I was dying to eat an apricot.

Apricots are one of my favorite fruits, but I never buy them because they’re so expensive. And because half their weight is air and a pit.

WIAW702

Sadly, these apricots weren’t too great, which only reaffirmed my thought that I like them dried better than fresh.

Lunch:

Nachos made with tortilla chips, TJ's black bean dip, avocado, Wholly Salsa, jalapeños, Cabot cheddar, and hot sauce.

Nachos made with tortilla chips, TJ’s black bean dip, avocado, Wholly Salsa, jalapeños, Cabot cheddar, and hot sauce.

As I was unpacking groceries on Monday I was dreaming up this lunch. I love breakfast nachos and having fresh avocado, homegrown jalapenos, and black bean dip from Trader Joe’s makes them all the better.

Dinner:

Bean and chicken bake.

Bean and chicken bake.

I got the idea for this recipe from Kath’s blog. I was drawn to it because it’s so versatile and we always have chicken in the freezer. Here’s my scaled down version with white kidney beans, grape tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar, and a bone-in skin-on chicken thigh and leg.

Bean and Chicken Bake

Yields 2 servings

1 can beans, drained and rinsed

2 c vegetables, chopped

2 T fresh herbs, chopped

1 T oil, plus a little extra

1 T acid

2 chicken pieces

salt and pepper

Mix the beans, vegetable, herbs, oil, and acid in a baking dish with salt and pepper.

Rub oil over the tops of the chicken and add salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the baking dish on top of the bean mixture.

Bake at 425F for 35-45 minutes, depending what parts of the chicken you use.

This dinner ended up being delicious, without being too wintery. And it was a great way to use up our small stash of tomatoes, since neither Leon nor I eat raw tomatoes.

Snacks:

Throughout the day I kept dipping my hand into a tub of Trader Joe’s animal crackers and sipping some of my homebrewed kombucha.

And there you have it — a pretty normal day of eats. If I was more sensible about my snacking I would have kept my hands out of the cookie jar and instead made myself a solid afternoon snack, but that didn’t happen. Not yesterday. not today. And I won’t have time for it tomorrow, either.

Maybe Friday?

Your turn, eaters:

What are some of your favorite groceries that you rarely buy?

Are you a snacker/mini-meal person or a grazer?

Later eaters!

Frittata Formula

G’day eaters!

Ya know how last week I said that I thought I was losing my blogging mojo?

Well, this week I realized it’s not that I’m losing my mojo. I just don’t have enough time for my mojo to flow.

I have been endlessly bombarded with homework all week. I have to clean the house in preparation for the family coming on Friday. I should probably wash some linens before Friday, too. I haven’t gone grocery shopping because I’m doing a big shop for Thanksgiving tomorrow and it appears that I’m just not capable of two shopping trips in one week. Oh, and I have Crossfit, work, class, and the chiropractor, too.

Oh, and Charlie ate my camera memory card and USB card reader so I need to find time to go buy new ones.

I think that’s it. Hell, I hope that’s it.

All of that stress is making blogging sound very unappealing, not to mention that I have nothing to blog about. It’s also making dinner my least favorite time of the day because, let’s be honest, in a situation like this take out ALWAYS sounds way better than scrounging for somehting in the fridge.

But in an effort to save money and my gut (because I’m trying to tighten up my eating just a hair to make up for my considerably scaled back Crossfit WODs), I do scrounge. I make meals that aren’t exactly thrilling and certainly aren’t blog recipe-worthy in an effort to scrape every possible penny out of my fridge food and not eat Chinese food every night. (Though a big box of Mongolian beef sounds so damn good right now.)

And on nights like this, frittatas are my best friend.

I’ve probably blogged about frittatas before. (And spelled them every which way before, too, because in this post alone I’ve spelled it three different ways.) Deities know I’ve made them often enough. So I’m not going to call this a recipe. Instead, it’s a formula.

Vegetables pre-saute plus HOMEMADE bacon.

Chop and saute whatever vegetables you have on had.

Whisk together 5 eggs with a bit of whatever seasonings you’re feeling.

We love smoked paprika in this house.

Spray the bottom of a pie pan or oven-safe pan with oil (if you didn’t saute the vegetables in the pan you’ll be using, because, oh yeah, that’s a good idea).

Bake it in a 350F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the middle doesn’t jiggle.

1/3 of the frittata plus cheese and hot sauce.

And really and truly, eaters, that is it. Sometimes I serve it with a grain. Sometimes I just eat a little extra dessert to make sure I got enough carbs. Or sometimes, like tonight, I have a beer or two or three.

My beer on the right: Sweet Water Festival stout.

Because let’s be honest, eaters. I really freaking need a drink right now.

And a Guinness, because I love them so freaking much.

Your turn, eaters:

What’s an easy, formulaic recipe you fall back on a lot?

What’s the first life-thing to fall by the wayside when you’re stressed and busy?

G’night eaters!

PS — Sorry for the crappy iPhone photos. I JUST bought a new memory card and reader so Thursday’s post should be better (because I already took the photos for WIAW).

Clemson Football

‘Ello eaters!

It’s still early in the evening, but I’ve already made tomorrow’s lunch. Yup, the weekend is definitely over.

BUT it’s been a pretty fantastic weekend, so I don’t mind all that much.

Ya see eaters, Papa managed to get a bunch of tickets to the Clemson vs Duke game this Saturday, so Papa and co, Brady and his girlfriend (who both go to Clemson), Leon, and I all drove to Durham early Saturday afternoon for the night game.

There was Whole Foods pre-game food — beef jerky, spicy sweet potatoes, ribs, bean dip, and lots of Halloween candy with nuts (because Maddie, my sister, is allergic).

There were beers in the parking lot because apparently they don’t sell beer at college sporting events.

A sea of orange.

There was a stadium at least a third full of orange and purple (Clemson’s colors), despite it being an away game.

There was our clan, decked out in orange and purple…except for Leon who wore a Duke shirt.

My purple knees, not my blanket.

They can’t all be winners, right?

I kid. Because he made up for the Duke shirt by intuiting that I wanted nachos in addition to my hot chocolate during the halftime food run.

Seriously, stadium nachos are so horribly good.

There was a score of 17-48 Clemson when we left after the 3rd quarter.

And there was brown rice spicy tuna and avocado sushi for post-game food.

So despite the fact that my back was hurting pretty bad (I have a chiropractor appointment tomorrow that I’ll tell you about) and that all in all we spent less than 24 hours together, it was a pretty awesome little weekend.

And now, m’dear dear eaters, I’m going to drink hot tea in an effort to not eat more candy.

Your turn:

Do you have a team, college or professional, which you root for?

How much Halloween candy do you still have left to eat?

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!

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!

WIAW: Scattered, Sporadic

‘Ello eaters!

All this Olympic talk I’ve been hearing has got me really missing England.

Oh, I want to go back so bad.

But that’s neither here nor there. (Actually, it is there.)

Breakfast 1:

Homemade cherry muffin with a schmear of sunflower butter.

Leon made cherry muffins the other day. With AP flour. I forgot how tender and soft things baked with not whole wheat flour can be. Maybe not the best pre-Crossfit fuel, but it was early and I wasn’t thinking clearly. Oh, and it was tasty,

Protein!

I also drank my usual pre-Crossfit (GNC chocolate egg) protein out of my ghetto blender bottle. My last blender bottle had to be thrown out after I accidentally left it dirty for a couple of days and the smell from opening it nearly killed me.

Does anyone know how to keep those things from absolutely reeking?

Crossfit:

We did “Diane”: 21-15-9, deadlifts and handstand pushups. Instead of handstand push-ups I did dumbbell presses with 20# weights.

Breakfast 2:

A slice of leftover pepper and onion pizza topped with two fried eggs and hot sauce.

The way I see it this is like the fried eggs-toast-salsa breakfast I used to eat, but more fun.

Work:

I only worked 5 hours yesterday, which felt like a dream. During work I ate a Vanilla Almond Pure Protein bar because that’s one of the only Zone-friendly bars I’ve found.

Do you know of any other Zone-friendly bars that taste good and don’t cost $2 each?

Lunch:

Does this count as lunch if I ate it at 4:30pm? The bar held me off through the rest of work, a little shopping, and a quick “it’s about to rain” walk with the pup, so I wasn’t ravenous.

Leftover tempeh curry made using Trader Joe's Thai Green Curry simmer sauce.

And in case you’re wondering, eating leftovers out of the container they’re stored in is the most dish-economical way to do it.

Dinner:

After finding a recipe for homemade chorizo in a magazine, Leon and I were all set to have our own Taco Tuesday.

"Chorizo" tacos.

Unfortunately, the recipe was nearly flavorless. How something with a ton of smoked paprika, plenty of hot Mexican chilis, and as much garlic as I put in could be that flavorless is beyond me.

Luckily, margaritas made with fresh lime juice (made with my juicer) saved the meal.

Tequilaaaaa!

And that’s it. My meals were all over the place, but I’m a busy girl. I don’t see either of those things changing anytime soon.

Your turn, eaters:

Do you have set meal times or do you eat when you can?

What’s your go to margarita recipe?

Oh, and please do hit me with those blender bottle cleaning tips and Zone-friendly bar recommendations.

G’night eaters!

Half A Carrot Cake

Hiya eaters!

I’m happy to say that I survived my 9-hour workday yesterday and the heart attack of researching and writing a 9 page paper in under 5 hours today because I originally thought it was due Thursday.

It really is a wonder I’m not more stressed more often. But now that all of that is behind me, let’s talk cake and what goes one behind the scenes computer screen.

For bloggers (and other food creators) there’s this thing called “recipe development.” This is the process from which they take an idea for a new recipe and turn it into a reality.

This process usually looks something like idea->plan->make->taste->tweak->remake->taste, with the last few steps repeating as many times as it takes to yield a successful recipe. Sometimes they hit success with the first go, other times it takes them a half dozen attempts. Either way, they generally start and finish the process with no breaks for other recipes or things like that.

I feel the need to explain this process to you because I don’t in anyway follow it.

My process is more recipe idea->plan->make->taste->write down possible tweaks and remake at a much later, undecided upon date.

My process goes like this for several reasons.

  1. I don’t have the time, money, or dishwashing ability (seriously, someone give me a dishwasher) to make and remake and remake the same recipe over and over and over.
  2. I would get so freaking bored of eating the same thing. I don’t know what other bloggers do with their failed attempts, but I hate throwing out food, so generally I eat them. And eating four batches of anything, even if it’s great, is difficult, so I don’t want to think how it would be eating four batches of mediocre food.
  3. I’m not that much of a perfectionist. Sure, I don’t post a recipe on the blog until it’s perfect, but that doesn’t mean I have to work relentlessly to get it perfect right that very second. I don’t mind taking my time.

Except when I make stupid little mistakes that could be easily fixed. And I have a bowl of leftover frosting in my fridge.

Then, I embrace the process and bake a (half) cake just days after baking the first (full) cake.

Okay, maybe that’s not quite as strict as most “recipe development” plans, but come on, who needs 1 ½ cakes in a 2 person household? Really?

It’s-Healthy-Because-It-Has-Carrots-and-Yogurt-In-It Cake

FYI — This recipe yields a whole 2-layer cake, not a half a cake.

1 2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour

1/3 c AP flour

2 t baking soda

1 t salt

2 t cinnamon

½ t nutmeg

1 t ground ginger

1 c sugar

2/3 c coconut oil*

1 c minus 1 T plain yogurt**

4 eggs

3 c grated carrots

*Coconut oil is GREAT for baking (if all the other ingredients are room temperature so the oil doesn’t firm up from the cold), but any mild flavored oil, like vegetable or canola, will do.

**I used 365 brand organic low fat plain yogurt.

Mix the first six ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), mix the sugar, oil, eggs, and yogurt together. Once those are thoroughly combined, gradually mix in the dry ingredients. When everything is just barely thoroughly combined, gently fold in the carrots.

Pour the batter into two 9-inch round cake pans and bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the sides have just barely begun to pull away.

Let the cakes cool for about 10 minutes before removing them from the pans and leaving them to cool completely on a wrack. Then frost with whatever cream cheese frosting you want.

I made my own, but I didn’t really measure how much milk or sugar went into it and we have a ton leftover, so I can’t tell you exactly how much of anything really.

Mmmmmnot overly sweet cream cheese frosting.

It sure was tasty, though.

And this cake, the second time through, was near perfection.

Well, less than half a cake after I sent Marisa home with a slice.

It was dense and moist and full of carrots and spice.

It wasn’t overly sweet, so you can (and I did) eat it for breakfast.

It was just plain good. And now, not even three full days after I made it, there’s only one thin slice left. There’s over a 1/3 of the original cake left. That should say something.

It says, “If you come over I’m feeding you mediocre cake.”

Your turn, eaters:

Do you make and remake a recipe until you get it perfect or take your time?

Really, who has any ideas of what I can do with 1/3 of a mediocre frosted carrot cake?

G’night eaters!

WIAW: In The Zone

G’afternoon eaters!

I’m feeling less doped up than yesterday, but boy, do stitches hurt. I’ve never had stitches before so I really didn’t know what to expect going into this, but now I know that I definitely don’t want stitches again.

But that’s enough of me complaining! If you wanted to hear complaining you’d babysit a 5 year old.

But since you’re here, let’s talk food. And fitness. And the area in the venn diagram where they intersect — footness.

Umm, that word might still need some work.

Anyway…here’s a day of Zone-tastic meals, though, I’ll warn you ahead of time that it’s not the best.

Breakfast:

2 scrambled eggs with kale and a few thin slivers of cheese, a small carrot, a peach, and a serving of TJ's sunflower seed butter.

This was a 3 block breakfast. The peach, carrot, and kale made up the carbs. The eggs and sunflower seed butter made up the protein. And the sunflower seed butter and the few tiny slivers of cheese made up the fat.

Crossfit:

O’m’gah! I loveloveLOVED Crossfit yesterday. Part of the warm up was running 400s and for once I felt really strong doing it. The skill work were double squat wall balls, which were tough (and I ended up hitting myself in the head a few times with the wall ball), but they were fun. And then the WOD — oh the WOD!

We did 10 thrusters on the minute for 20 minutes. A thruster is like a push-press except that you squat all the way down. They’re tough, but not too complicated, so I really like them.

And this WOD was a total ass kicker. I thought my trainer was going easy on me when he told me to do it with a 30lbs bar, but after about the 6th minute I knew anymore weight would have been torture.

Anyway, this whole Crossfit session was crazy tough and crazy fun and a great session to end on before my little break to heal.

Lunch:

2 bison tacos on WF's blue corn tortillas with avocado, zucchini with Annie's sesame dressing, a couple of cherries.

This was a 3 block lunch and I promise I’ll post the taco recipe tomorrow!

Afternoon:

I had my little surgery thing around 3pm, was home by 4:30pm and then spent the next hour practically drooling into a cup in bed. Then I went to class.

I SHOULD have eaten a 1-2 block snack, but between the half a Xanex the doctor gave me, the half a pain pill afterward, and the general uncomfortableness, I was far from hungry.

Dinner:

A ~3oz pork chop with red pepper spread and onions, steamed broccoli, and 1/3 sweet potato with chili powder.

Can I just say that m’man is ah-maze-ing! Not only did he drive me to and from the doctor and class after my surgery, but he then went to the grocery store and planned (a very Zone-friendly) dinner. And he cooked it perfectly, using our new favorite schmear.

TJ's most awesome Red Pepper Spread.

I think this was a bit light on the fat side, but I wasn’t really in a state to care at the point. I also decided to forego my usual dinner beer in favor of something lighter and less alcoholic.

A big glass of kombucha from our second batch — cranberry raspberry flavor.

Dessert:

Later, while Leon and I were laying in bed watching our new favorite show — Justified — Charlie and I ate some Trader Joe’s animal crackers. (I decided to ignore how many grams of carbs and how few grams of everything else they had.)

And now, as we speak I write, I’m using those animal cracker to bribe Charlie into snuggling with me in bed.

It’s working pretty well.

Your turn, eaters:

What’s something you and your pet like to eat together?

What’s your favorite schmear at the moment?

Later eaters!

I Heart Grilling

Hiya eaters!

So, it’s July.

This probably should have hit me a week ago, but I only really realized this fact a couple of days ago. And when I did, it was a little unnerving.

Where has half my summer gone? What have I been doing with my time? Why was I so behind on schoolwork and picture hanging?

And why haven’t Leon and I grilled more?

Yes eaters, grilling food is by far one of my favorite summer pastimes.

We set up the grill in the yard and bring the dog out. We sit on the steps and drink good beer while the coals heat up. Sometimes we sneak in a bit of reading. Sometimes we just people watch and wonder what the heck our neighbors do in their house all day.

When the coals are ready we throw something that’s probably been marinating all day on the grill and drink a bit more. By the time I’m done with my beer the food is usually about ready. I go inside and stir something on the stove or chop up a salad. Leon slices the meat. We open more beers and dinner is served.

It doesn’t get much better than that to me. And while there are few things in the world better than a well grilled piece of chicken, all summer Leon and I have been talking about playing with vegetables and tofu and marinades.

So the other night we did just that.

I sliced a zucchini into planks and marinated it in 1 t oil, 1 T apple cider vinegar, 1 t smoked paprika, 1 ½ t chili powder, salt, and pepper.

I pressed the heck out of a block of (black soybean) tofu and cut it into planks. I added a few splashes of soy sauce, a drizzle of oil, salt and pepper. I then baked them in a 375F oven for 5 minutes, to insure they didn’t fall apart on the grill.

Like a burst of freshness.

I chopped off two quarters from a head of romaine lettuce. I brushed it with a bit of oil and cracked pepper.

Then everything hit the grill.

The tofu for ~ 5minutes/side. The zucchini for ~3minutes/side. The romaine for ~2minutes.

The tofu got finished off with a schmear of Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (with eggplant and garlic) and the romaine got a drizzle of Annie’s balsamic vinaigrette.

And to drink we cracked open a bottle of Rogue Chipotle Ale (which was lacking almost any hint of spice and was thus severely disappointing).

So promising, but so disappointing.

It was a pretty perfect meal and a pretty perfect night. Made only more perfect by the after dinner s’mores we made on the barely hot coals.

Can you tell why I like grilling so much?

Your turn, eaters:

What’s your favorite thing to grill?

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever grilled?

G’night eaters!

WIAW: Pictures of Peaches

Hi eaters!

I’ve got good news! I finally know what day it is!

Yeah, since Saturday I’ve been thinking a day ahead. I blame the fact that I went out both Thursday and Friday night instead of my usual Thursday and Saturday, so I felt like I’d had my weekend by Saturday night and thus that Sunday was Monday.

Confused?

Yeah, I’ve been obsessively checking my phone and iCal to make sure I’m doing the right things on the right day.

But now I know what day it is — it’s Wednesday!

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but sometimes I track my calories and macros (which are ratios of protein: carbs: fat). I don’t do it often because I don’t have that kind of patience, but I think it’s helpful every now and then to make sure that everything is as balanced as I think it is and that I’m getting the right number of calories.

This week I’ve been tracking calories and macros, so I’ll post the totals at the bottom.

Breakfast:

Scrambled eggs with kale, red onion, and cilantro, and half a peach.

I got a little fancy with my eggs and it made a big difference, so did the dash of nutmeg I added to my peach.

I’m telling you, peaches and nutmeg are an ah-maze-ing combination.

Crossfit:

After a pretty grueling warm up (FYI — any warm up is grueling if it includes both running and knees to elbows), we did a workout called “Linda.”

This was a pyramid workout, which is a circuit where you do everything for 10 reps, then 9, then 8, etc, etc. In the circuit I did deadlifts with 75 lbs, bench presses with 45 lbs, and cleans with 50 lbs. I finished in 26:30, though I really could have/should have pushed harder.

Lunch:

The makings of a salad.

I forgot to take a picture, but imagine that kale massaged and dressed with that carrot-miso dressing and then topped with some steamed cauliflower and almost exactly that much quinoa.

Snack:

365 low fat, plain yogurt with a peach, chia seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

My lunch felt protein-lite, so I had a snack not too long after.

Dinner:

While I was in class, Leon was cooking up a big bowl of steak niscoise, per a recipe from Fitness magazine. I absolutely LOVED this dinner.

Steak niscoise.

I loved the butter lettuce, the cold potatoes, the extra mustard we added to the dressing. And the (local, grass-fed) flat iron steak (from Whole Foods) was so dang tasty.

I’m actually eating the leftovers now as I write this.

Things you didn’t see:

A small spoonful of pb. A few small handfuls of carob chips.

So plugged all of that into the My Plate section of Livestrong and here’s what I came up with:

Obviously, I’m pretty dang happy with the balance of my macros. My protein could be a little higher than my fat, but considering almost none of this was too intentional, I’m jazzed.

I’m less jazzed about my calories, though. From wearing my heart rate monitor, I know I burned just over 500 calories from Crossfit alone. Then when you add in the more than a hour I spent walking Charlie, and I realize that I need to up my calories a wee bit.

Now that doesn’t mean I’m going to start pounding cake like I bought stock, but it does mean that I might need to work in another pb spoon or avocado slice here or there.

What do you think, eaters:

Do you track your food?

Or do you trust your body to tell you what it needs?

Later eaters!

PS — PleasepleasePLEASE don’t compare yourself to me. What you need for your body and your energy levels is apples to oranges compared to what I need. I’m not saying my balance of macros is best for you, nor am I saying you’re unhealthy if you eat less or more calories than I am. I’m simply saying that for some people, myself included, occasionally checking in with those things via a food tracker is helpful. If it’s not helpful, I hope you at least enjoyed the pictures of peaches.