stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Today a few friends came over and we experimented with my stovetop smoker1. The first thing we learned was that the woodchips included in the smoker kit were tiny little bits of sawdust, of which we were supposed to use 1.5-2 tablespoons worth, while the woodchips purchased at our local Kroeger are bigger chunks I would call 'kindling'. Naturally we put too much of that kindling in the smoker and the first batch of tomatoes as well as the Portobello mushrooms came out tasting like... campfire. Rather pungent campfire at that, which was a shame since we were using apple wood. Luckily we caught on to our mistake after that and the alliums came out quite nice (they will be pureed into a nice paste) while the leeks were heavenly on top of a slice of rye/pumpernickel bread with butter. I had wondered about the wisdom of using the leek greens - I shall not soon forget the absolute mouth-joy that came afterwards. Yum. Young Matt-the-rapier-fighter is a very gifted cook.

Unfortunately, the other thing I learned was that three and a half hours of playing with a stovetop smoker results in one's mouth tasting of smoke no matter what one eats or drinks afterwards. Or how much gum one chews. And that smoke-flavored cinnamon toothpaste is really nasty. Ugh. So from now on, there will be no more than two batches smoked in a day. Even with the house doors open and the fan going.

Tomorrow we are meeting up again to re-try the mushrooms and to smoke the various bell peppers brought over by my soon-to-be protégée. It seemed unfair to force her to go home without trying them but we were all pretty tired of smoke flavorings and the evening was growing late. I have yet to try my garlic, either. The too-smoky tomatoes have been saved to be combined with the second half of the batch, simply stewed, to create a ketchup that is supposed to be wonderfully tangy (and smoky) and totally unlike any commercially available ketchup. We shall see. It calls for 'pumpkin pie spices', fructose, and a cup of diced bell peppers along with a half cup of minced onions and some chopped garlic. I am looking forward to trying it. And this time, I shall measure out 1.5 Tbsp of wood chips, weight that, and use the weight to determine how much of the chunkier wood to use in the pan.

I've firmed up plans for taking a new protégée - between her work schedule and Bossman's chemo schedule, it has made finding a mutual event weekend tricky. Nonetheless, we've found one and if all goes well will be holding the ceremony at Ruby Joust. Not that it will be a Big Thing - I'm not much on hype so we'll have a quiet ceremony and sign our contracts among friends.

1http://www.rakuten.com/prod/gourmet-stainless-steel-mini-smoker/223880859.html?listingId=252508513&scid=pla_google_TheGrillLife&adid=18172&gclid=CIynhZqK1b0CFc1cfgodDWYAEA
stitchwhich: (Default)
I need meat in my life. No, really. This last week has brought that home to me... I've spent the week eating, pretty much, all the time I was awake. My calorie counts were high - not excessive for the average woman, but far higher than my norm, and my carb counts really exceeded what they should (in the 200g-range for a day's ingestion. Not good.) And I was hungry. HUNGRY. I'd go to bed craving food, even when I was full, and wake up in the middle of my sleep cycle thinking about getting a snack. And on top of it, I was constantly tired and unable to think clearly, like a person who is decrepitly ill. Dishes & laundry were piling up and the SCA-stuff I was enjoying last week seemed suddenly uninteresting and (or) too difficult to wade through.

Today, when I woke up exhausted again after (again) chasing sleep for hours, there was nothing easy-to-hand left in the house which wasn't mentally labelled "Bossman's, not yours". And I was, as was becoming usual, hungry and desperate to eat something that could relieve the feeling... but there was nothing that didn't require a great deal of preparation and I couldn't think clearly enough to try, so tired, grumpy, and groggy, I forced myself to the store and picked up fruit (my normal snack, as opposed to the carb-heavy stuff I'd been eating) and swung by a Tex-Mex shop for 'breakfast'. I ordered twice as much as I normally would eat and then came home and almost ate it all.

And the food-craving was gone. Poof! As if I'd imagined it. Most of what I'd eaten was meat, cheese, and beans - high protein items. I've gone 5 hours, now, since then and it just occurred to me that I might want to consider eating a meal again - which is a more normal state of affairs.

That got me to thinking and the follow-up to my cogitation was a quick leafing through my food log. Yup, data supports my theory - I'd not eaten a goodly amount of protein in one setting for more than a week. After a couple of protein-lean days, the hunger craving set in and the days following were a blurred fog of rest&food cravings unfullfilled no matter what I did while my energy level was bottoming out.

So now I know. Start each day with a good serving of protein - not just an 8-oz package of yogurt, and keep an eye on that wobbly food pyramid. This also means that when the stores open tomorrow, I'll be making a bee-line for the deli department to get some more slices of "Healthy Ones" meats, as they had been the highlights of my previous week's meals (we were eating a lot of quick foods) and the meat selections were really tasty. Not to mention low-calorie and satisfying. We haven't tried the pre-packaged offerings but the deli-sliced ones are sure good.

So note to self: Do Not Run Out of Meat & Cheese. Ever Again.

In other news, I'm down 45 pounds since I started changing my dietary habits in February. I'm still wearing the same clothes but they've getting loose enough that I foresee a size switch when the cold season starts. And an emptier closet, as there will be no reason to hold on to the too-large spring/summer wear. I won't be needing it again.
stitchwhich: (Default)
I am mildly annoyed. Atkins has apparently discontinued their "Daybreak cranberry & almond bars". I know they are having financial trouble but why* continue the cruddy drink boxes and the sixty-billion chocolate flavors (it seems) while cutting the fruit-flavored breakfast bars down to just one - "Apple Crisp"?

If I want dessert, I'll eat something like fruit. And occassionally I will eat one of the chocolate-slathered snack bars they offer. But for breakfast or lunch I want something like a granola bar, one with fruit and nuts in it, of which the cranberry & almond was so good that I'd eat it for dessert sometimes. The apple-crisp one tastes like frosted cardboard sprayed with apple scent.

---
*Yes, I know that economics fuel supply discisions and the possibility exists that only chocolate-covered stuff appeals to dieters so when down-scaling their business, that's what they went with. But one has to ask - does anybody ever drink those 'milkshake' things? And really - no one else likes cranberries and almonds in a breakfast bar? I haven't been this food-grumpy since Oregon Chai decided not to market "chai nog" this winter!
stitchwhich: (Default)
This won't be interesting to anyone else (except for maybe other folks thinking about high-[protein diets). I got my non-fasting blood test results back today. Everything is normal and cholesterol was at 165/ HDL 41. So those worries about the Atkins Diet? I'm not seeing it. Although I do need to step up my exercise to raise that HDL number. Not to mention that I want to spend some time moving and being active, especially now that the winter is passing and the birds are chirping outside more and more.

Now remember, this is a result for a 52-year-old, 309 pound woman who barely spends an hour and a half at the gym in a week. So you all should be looking better than that, right?
stitchwhich: (lantana)
And it's Wendy's for the win!

I've been trying different fast-food places to see which ones work best with my low-carb lifestyle - when we're on the road, Arn and I just don't stop at sit-down restaurants and ya know, a beef hot dog from 7-11 can only be faced so often. So. I've learned that Hardee's hamburgers are null - no flavor at all, which is disturbing, McDonald's seems to have rules against serving a burger without a bun, which means that most of your cheese ends up on the [unedible] bun but the burgers have flavor. I haven't tried Burger King yet but I suppose I will. But Wendy's - well. They are just fine with serving a burger without a bun in their baked potato container (stays hot), that you can eat with a fork (McDonald's didn't have forks, they said, which meant I had to eat my burger with my fingers). It could be better with a little extra salt and pepper but I found it tasty nonetheless*. Instead of fries I got a side salad (scrape the carrot bits out, give the tasty (says Arni) cherry tomatoes to the hubby) with ranch dressing and a MinuteMaid sugar free lemonaid = 4 carbs and a happy tummy.

So now I have a plan for long trips and hot-food cravings.

In other news, we hit up Sam's Club for supplies today and greedy me now has fresh raspberries and a bag of macadamia nuts for those 'tired of everything else' moments. Mmmmm... raspberries. 9 countable grams of carb per cup. It's worth it. Especially after [livejournal.com profile] mmcnealy's suggestion of dousing them with cream...

*I also note that I found the amount of grease gathering at the bottom of the container rather alarming.
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