Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A reason to garden

Honestly, I don't need much of a reason to get my hands in the dirt and plant some lovely little things that will grow and bring me yummy food or pretty flowers. However, if you were ever wishy-washy on the idea of plants or gardening, I guarantee that this story will change your tune. My friend Elena sent this to me, and I'm so happy I will be seeing her tonight and digging in our garden.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Healthier choices for healthier Claires

I like food, but sometimes food doesn't like me. When one is an adventurous eater and follows a lifelong mantra of "Live to eat, not eat to live", there are times when logic must supercede one's food id gone rogue. I've always been the type of person who depletes my spice drawer more quickly than anyone else I know. I am generous with the hot sauce. I am a "second helping of raw oysters on the half shell, please" kinda lady.

In fact, I am a second-helping of everything girl. Recently, this particular eating habit has caused some issues. Pants issues, specifically. The issue being, I am having trouble fitting into mine. And sometimes, my tum hurts - a lot. Hm.

I thought that getting the CSA again this year would help my waistline by virture of just having vegetables around the house. However, I've also kept things like ice cream, beer, and sausages around the house, which seems to have offset the weight-loss properties of all the salad I've been eating.

The only way I know how to purposefully lose weight - and I have about 10 lbs to lose - is through Weight Watchers. So I'm putting myself back on as of today. Hopefully, over the summer, I'll manage to shed some extra weight, and get my not so happy tum back in shape.

One cookbook that I'd like to recommend to anyone looking to eat healthier without sacrificing flavor is the Canyon Ranch Cookbook. My husbands cousins gave it to us for our wedding, and I cook from it several times a month. Two of my favorite recipes from the book are for zucchini bread and Israeli cabbage rolls. I'll post the recipes for each of those when I get home from work and can have my trusty cookbook by my side.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wascally wabbit!

This summer, I am working on a small, organic garden with my friends Elena, Brian, Michelle, Tisha, and my husband, Dan. The garden is located in Brian, Elena, and Michelle's backyard in Ukrainian Village, and hopefully will be filled with a multitude of fruits and veggies by July. That is, if we can get control of what has now been dubbed as Situation Sneaky Bunny. Last weekend, it became apparent that we were not the only ones with a great deal of interest in our garden. For your reading pleasure, let me share the email chain on the subject:

On Thu, May 27, 2010 at 6:57 PM, Brian wrote:

I just stepped out on the back porch and watched a rabbit come into our yard and go straight through the hole in the chicken wire into the garden. They've detected the one flaw in our security and are exploiting it to the max! I chased it away but we should get that repaired asap. Do we have any more fencing? I have temporarily put a lawn gnome in there to mind the gap, but I am not sure how effective he will be at deterring intruders.


On Thu, May 27, 2010 at 8:31 PM, Brian wrote:

Gnome down! Gnome down!

I am sad to say that my suspicions were correct. After only an hour guarding the hole in the fence I found our dutiful little gnome face down in the dirt. We need a more effective solution to our security breach stat.

On Thu, May 27, 2010 at 8:36 PM, Elena wrote:

AHHHHHHHH!! *running in circles in the house* AHHHHHHHH!

From: Elena
Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2010 8:45 PM

ok I've calmed myself down. I just put up a fence of bricks in the unsecured area. The gnome is guarding the fence like a good little soldier.

Hmmmmm....Sounds like this might be a job for Wallace & Gromit's BunVac 6000!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Oh Lucy....You have some 'splainin' to do!

When I'm making roast poultry, I always have to remind myself to brush on the fat after trussing. The reason is fairly logical: tying up a bird is infinitely easier when it's not coated in olive oil or melted butter. Yet, if I'm not mindful of this step, I get ahead of myself, and inevitably wind up with chicken sliding out of my hands and on to my floor.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, sometimes, life can be a little slippery too, especially if I'm not mindful of it. For instance, 6 months of time has just slipped through my grasp. I'm not necessarily beating myself up over it. However, this situation is about as frustrating to me as an oily chicken on the floor - not irreparable, just unpleasant and annoying.

It's not that I don't have anything to show for the past 6 months. I have written pages and pages of original research. I've created numerous presentations, budgets, and grant applications. I've read at least 15 books, and I've lost count of the number of peer-reviewed journal articles I've scoured. Oh, and I've cooked. A lot. And thought about my few gentle readers who might like to hear about it.

But I've not posted a thing. And that will be remedied. Starting in early June, I will have more time to actually do what I love to do - write about food, eating, restaurants, travel, and gastronomy. I'm working on an urban organic garden this year with my husband and some of our friends, and I'm so excited to share our challenges and (hopefully) successes. I will be making pies. Glorious, glorious pies. And grilling yummy meats and veggies from our CSA. And I will be forced to go out to fabulous Chicago restaurants to use up the plethora of Groupons that I've purchased. Dan has put me on a Groupon hiatus until I've used the ones we have. I know....my life is sooooo difficult.

I'm going to try to post at least once a week from June - September. That's my goal. And I'm very excited to have something new to look forward to.