Archive for the 'food' Category

Crab cakes with Tangerine-Pecan salad

Since I like to cook, it surprises some that I don’t blog about food.

I made these crab cakes recently, and the presentation was pretty enough to take a picture of.  The recipe I used wasn’t my usual one – which I prefer but is seriously high in calories.  This one had some spices in it (Chesapeake Bay seasoning) that tasted a little off to me, but the recipe itself was lower-calorie.  I’m thinking of combining the best parts from both recipes to see if I can come up with a low-cal, good tasting version of crab cakes.

Salads are pretty easy to make interesting – I add:

Some sort of green. Buy “real” lettuce instead of lettuce in the bag – it’s crisper and it lasts longer. Green-leaf, red-leaf, butter lettuce as well as mesclun and spinach greens are some of my favorites.

Some sort of fruit. Oranges, apples, strawberries or raspberries are my standbys.

Some sort of nut. A small bit of walnuts, pecans or sliced almonds gives a salad a satisfying crunch.

Some sort of cheese. There is a low-cal or fat-free feta that is really tasty, or try goat cheese (yum).  Too much and your salad gets really high-cal (and expensive) – luckily a little adds a lot of flavor.  If you prefer more traditional cheeses, blue cheese gives the same sort of effect.

Some sort of meat (optional, if you are making your salad into a meal). A little chicken, pork or turkey on top or maybe a slice of crumbled turkey bacon (or real bacon) can make your side salad into a meal.  Use just a bit or else you are just using your lettuce as an excuse to pile on as many calories as you can, which sort of defeats the purpose.  Don’t use lunchmeat – meat leftovers will greatly improve the flavor.

A tablespoon or so of quick homemade dressing. A little balsamic and olive oil mixed with dried herbs (try oregano or thyme) and salt and pepper is my standby, but there are many possibilities.  Personally I prefer the taste of homemade dressing greatly over the globby, paste-like grocer varieties.  Also I can control the amount of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup that goes into them.

My week in Seattle

The things I’ve learned about myself this last week:

– I’m developing a wrinkle crease betwen my eyebrows.  I couldn’t stop staring at it in the rear view mirror.  I’ve embraced my laugh lines around my eyes and the smile lines around my mouth.  I’ve earned them.  But this one?  It only proves how many times in my life I’ve been pissed off or confused (and if you make a dumb blonde joke here I will hunt you down and slap you).

– My city driving habits have worsened since I’ve left.  My invisible bubble has shrunk and I’m not as good at noticing cars trying to merge.  A few years ago, I would have hated me.

– Food choices are better in Seattle than where I live.  Surprise, surprise.  I ate almost no meat for five days and felt happier and healthier than I’ve been in a long time.

– No matter how great my parents are at babysitting, I miss my kids like crazy when I’m away.   And I do not do well as a bachelorette even in a big city with tons to do.  The bed is too big without Rich in it beside me.

– If you are curious about how my doula training class went, go here.

What the World Eats (in Richland)

As promised, I have a photo of our groceries for this week. Sorry about the quality of the picture – Rich hastily took the snapshot from outside our kitchen window in between helping me arrange groceries on the dining room table and keeping the kiddies from crawling all over them and we didn’t have time to arrange for better lighting. Because of the obvious logistics of getting a photo with the entire family without a professional photographer (and a bigger kitchen/dining room), I hadn’t planned on being in the picture at all – but Rich insisted. So there in the shadows behind the pre-grilled chicken for atop our salads (a new thing we are trying this week), there I am. Ignore the layer of sweat glistening on my face. It’s due in part to the mad rush of arranging groceries with only a small window of available time between a kid meltdown and another part that I am dressed for winter on a 85 degree day. (Grocery stores are cold!)

Yes, we really do eat this healthy. Although I admit that this is on the healthier side of our food parabola, it still represents a fairly “normal” week for us. We are hanging to the healthier side of normal these days because swimsuit season is hanging upon us, as are ten or so extra pounds from our sedentary winter. Even still, I see things that are there to poke fun at. Yes, as an American family we really do eat Macaroni & Cheese and Skippy peanut butter.

Another thing that should be said is that these are our groceries but not necessarily the be-all and end-all of what we will eat this week. We usually go out to eat about twice in a given week – once for lunch and once for dinner – and almost always the dreaded Red Robin both times. Connor has to have his macaroni and cheese and chocolate milk, you know. In fact, when he found out that there wasn’t a Red Robin where we were going to be moving to in England, he lost his optimism about the change. Also – there are probably a few things left over from last week in the refrigerator, pantry and freezer that we will be using this week. No – that doesn’t include any Oreos or ice cream. Dammit. And no, we will not be consuming that entire container of salt in seven days’ time.

Anyone want to join me in revealing your groceries naked for all to see? I’ll link to you here!

Food around the world

Cheeky pointed me toward Time Magazine’s photo essay on what typical families around the world eat in a normal week.  It’s quite interesting.  What family’s groceries do your grocery bags most resemble?

I think when I go grocery shopping next, I’ll take a photo of our groceries spread out similarly for all of you to see.  If anyone cares to join me, let me know and I will link back to you here.

News from across the pond

No, still no hard news on if we are moving or not, only to say that as of yesterday we’ve confirmed it is still a possibility. To cut the pain of uncertainty I’ve enjoyed reading the British news lately – my favorite (no suprise here) is the very liberal Guardian.

So, since we have no news ON England, how about some cultural commentary FROM England?

Apparently it isn’t just the United States that suffers from puritanical ideals when it comes to breastfeeding.  A woman was told to leave a restaurant when she was inconspicuously breastfeeding her child because, according to the cafe owner,  “I can’t have someone breastfeeding while another table is next to them eating.”  What, you can’t have someone EATING next to other people EATING?  In that case, sir, it’s time to close your doors.

Slate has a hilarious essay up on nursery school admissions in London to which I can totally relate. Of course I was looking for schools in the lazy, hazy countryside of Somerset, which although I like to play off as a low maintenance gal, apparently I’m even more high-strung on some things than most Americans. Oy.

This explains some things about the British diet. My problem besides the lack of items on any given menu and almost complete lack of restaurants can be summed up in four words: where are the veggies? And no, potatoes do not count. I suppose I’m a veggie nut and am not typical but I’d love to have a fresh greens salad that wasn’t drowned by a mayonnaise-like substance or a meal that wasn’t primarily light brown. Before you rail on me, keep in mind, again, I was in Somerset, where things are generally much more traditional. In my experience London itself has amazingly delicious dining options which rivals any I’ve ever tasted. By the way, articles like this with references to shops, brands and other British cultural self-evident assumptions that go completely over my head is part of the reason that I feel like a fish out of water “over there”. I’m even more of a dork in England than in my own country, which says a lot.

And a little insight on why housing is so darned expensive in England. Even in Somerset.

Day 6

I’ve still been preoccupied with school stuff so I’m going to hand the reigns of the website over to the hubby, Rich.  (Let me just tell you how thankful I am that he has the day off tomorrow and will be around to help make the school decision).  Anyroad, here he is:

Cheerio all from Mr. Mum!

I guess am to write my first ever blog entry today, which as you can guess goes against most of my manly beliefs.  Work goes smashing over here in the U.K.  The wide range of people I work with makes the work day a lot of fun.  The Scottish accent is my personal favorite.  They sound so excited and interested in every topic mentioned. 

Now, as for the English cuisine.  It does leave something to be desired……most meals come with two servings of ‘vegetables,’ but this really means two different forms of potatoes.  And for someone who is trying to eat a low carb diet, this can be very difficult.  And as gross as it sounds, the black pudding (blood sausage) is acutally quite good! 

So for the question that everyone is asking, “Are we going to move to England?”  Good question.  Still don’t have a good answer for you all….. sorry. 

Cheers,

Richard


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