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Archive for February, 2009

I read in Self or Women’s Health (which I am getting only because I agreed to pick 3 magazines for a trial 3 months – I just have to remember to cancel!) that people who photographed every single thing they ate for [some time period] ate less/lost more weight than people who did not.  I thought about it -and my occasional food photos here – and decided even if it was a statistically significant result, it does not sound worth it for me.

Taking pictures of my food was fun, but hot stuff would get cold, or I would feel removed [Foucault’s modern gaze, anyone?].  I don’t want my food to be objectified, I want to enjoy the process of making it and eating it. I feel I am already pretty aware of what I eat and portion sizes, and photos would not be a positive motivation, where positive means enjoyable or worth it.*

I also have decided that loud, fast music may not be the best motivation for me when running. As I mentioned, I got a Nike+ system. I did a few runs where I set the distance I want to run, then chose a playlist, and got to it. Every 0.5 miles a nice voice would report my distance, up to my halfway point, when the voice would count down (0.5 mi to go).  My “running” playlist on my ipod is your typical pop/rock loud fast music.  

One day I decided to mix it up and chose to do a basic workout (not for a set distance or time) and I accidentally selected Cake for my playlist. While Cake has some faster songs, several are slower.  Result: a faster and more enjoyable run.  Now, this was not a controlled experiment and perhaps I was faster because I had been running more consistently in previous few weeks. But, since then, I have selected “basic workout” and a “folksy” list and set out to try to enjoy running. And, it has been working. Am I a speed demon, running at every opportunity? No.  Does it still take determination to get out there and start running? Yes.  But, lesson learned: for any activity or process, you need to find the reason and motivation that works for you in a positive, fulfilling way.  Our bodies know what is good for them, why waste time being miserable. 

Liz, thoughts?  

 

*This also encourages a tangent on food marketed to women. *I think* from a social science book on food and women by Carol Counihan -she has several-, there is a reflection on the small chocolates marketed to women. The perfect way to control your body wrapped up in capitalism.  While I enjoy my chocolate, almost every time I eat a piece or 4, I think of this:  I am performing the “good woman”.

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Tree nut free cookies!

Okay, so I am still working on the official status of my tree nut allergy.  My blood test was negative for cashews, walnuts, almonds, and pecans.  Which is bad.  Because now I think it’s all in my head.  But my doctor was convinced I’m allergic to tree nuts based on what I told him, so I’m making another appointment to get the skin test.

Anyway, my wonderful sister and co-writer of this blog, Katherine, was very thoughtful to send me a box of Divvie’s cookies for Valentine’s Day.  

0219092005Not only are they delicious, but they are also made in a tree-nut free facility!

0219092005aThanks, sissy!

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Whoops – I forgot to post these pictures yesterday.  I made these cookies on Tuesday, but I had to wait until Michael got them in the mail before I could share them!

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I say “experiment” because my results are inconclusive. I ran across this recipe -more like instruction guide- for making fruit leather. Fruit leather is another item to which I used to have unlimited free access, but now am not willing to pay $0.99 for (vs just buying fruit). But, the store had small packages of blueberries for $0.98 so I thought even if I got 3 or 4 strips out of it, it would be okay – and fresher than the others.

The instructions are pretty basic: blend fruit to an apple-sauce consistency, add sugar if bitter, spread on heat-safe plastic wrap in pan, bake at 150 until dry. I was concerned about the plastic wrap so I used parchment paper. This may be mistake #1 because some of the liquid seeped into the paper. It didn’t leak into the pan, but I think it contributed to the dryness of the final product.  Possible concern #2 is that the lowest temp on my oven knob in 200, and after that is WARM.  So I set it it to between WARM and 200. Looking at other recipes online, which suggest 150-125 degrees (whose oven really goes that low?) or using the sun to dry the fruit or cookie the fruit first, it seems this most basic recipe has the most chance for disappointing results. On to the pictures and my final review:

Mmm blueberries.

fruitleather-before

This might be a mess to clean up.

fruitleather-mess1

Apple-sauce consistency? Mine wasn’t really bitter so added just a bit of sugar.

fruitleather-mix

Into the pan. Getting a uniform thickness was challenge.

fruitleather-in-pan

Finally dry, after 4 or so hours.

fruitleather-done

Final product.

fruitleather-final-product

The center, where it was thicker, resembled fruit leather with its dry flexibility. The edges, however, were completely dried and baked out, and flaked into crunchy pieces as I cut them.  Would I try this again? Maybe next time fruit is cheap at the store and if I use plastic wrap. But, in the end, the cost + time for homemade was the same as buying it individually packaged at the store.

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Today I went on a very pleasant walk.  On this walk, I saw…

The front of a house with no house!:

pic10A funny sign:

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A flea market that made me feel like I was in Oakland:

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Ben’s Chili Bowl (I must go sometime! Is there ever a short line?? I guess waiting in line is part of the experience. Sissy, want to go when you visit?):

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Some neat graffiti:

 pic4And an adorable chocolate and coffee shop.  Too bad (or good thing!) my tree nut allergy prevented me from trying any chocolate.  They had bacon flavored chocolate!

pic9pic72pic6In the future, I will definitely be doing more DC exploring to get my exercise in!

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Yes, in my usual fashion, I am copying my sister.  But, I was super excited to try making my own Lara bars – especially since my free supply (via Chris’s work) ended.  I stopped by Trader Joe’s to get dates, dried cranberries, and candied ginger (–I went with the least expensive dried fruits). I already had oats, pecans, crunch fruit, and cocoa powder.  Below I photo-document the process. The end result: so good! I had the basic dates-cranberries-oats-pecans and it had intense flavor like the cherry Lara bar but with a little crunch. I am curious how they will be after refrigeration. 

Before picture:

datebars-before

I started by pre-grinding the oats, although toward the end it occurred to me that might not be neccessary. Next I cut my dates in half and took out the seed. Then I was ready to blend. 

For each bar, I measured ~33 g dates and the rest cranberries or ginger. I dumped that in and chopped for while.  Then I measured 5-13 g ground oats plus pecans/crunch fruit up to 20 g, added it in, and ch0pped some more.  

Chopped dates, before mixing with dry ingredients.

datebars-preprocessing

After processing.

datebars-processed

Ready to be pressed into a bar. I didn’t have wax paper so I used parchment paper, which worked well.

going-to-be-a-date-bar 

The finished products!

datebars

After picture. I don’t think I was quite as messy as Liz because I used fewer ingredients. Also, my dates were just past their printed date, so I suspect they were a bit drier than hers – because I didn’t end up with date juice everywhere.

datebars-after

p.s. By using this chopper twice in a month, it may mean I have to keep it after all.

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