Mmm…mmm…good!

We’re having some crazy cold weather here in our nation’s capital. Apparently it is the coldest it has been in four years. I am not wired for cold. Since I can’t hibernate, time for more soup.

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Here we have a lovely concoction that includes almost homemade kale-artichoke ravioli (I bought fresh noodles and made the filling) in a spicy broth with carrots, butternut squash, and spinach. I feel a cold coming on so I wanted the ginger-garlic kick and the extra veggie vitamins to give me a boost. I have two congressional briefings next week and I’d rather not snuffle through them.

(Did you notice I’m up to 5 consecutive core days? Even better – no days off included in that count!)

Bon appetite!

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De-sluggification step dos

I’m making progress on the eating front. I hadn’t realized how much I’d been eating out or grabbing semi-prepared meals. You know how you think you are cooking because you are in your kitchen and using knives, pans, or whatever only to realize that all of your so-called ingredients have already been processed in some way? That. I’m trying to grab better inspiration from the interwebs and my cookbook/magazine collection. I’m also going to check out a class or two. Got to kick start this kitchen mojo.

In the meantime, I’ve been kick starting the exercise mojo. Recent walks were giving me hip issues. Had a fantastic session with my chiropractor doing some active release. He also recommended I ditch my sneakers for a new pair. There is a great shop across the street that put me up on the treadmill to watch my pronating and help pick new kicks. I brought them back across to the chiropractor and he pronounced them good.

new shoes, new start

new shoes, new start

I’ve also returned to core work. I get the value of core work, I just can’t stick with it. Early days are easy. Go through one set each of a handful of motions. Takes about 10 minutes. I can find 10 minutes in a day. But then you build up to more repetitions and sets and suddenly you are talking more than 30 minutes. That’s real time. And it is pre-exercise time. And since by then I’m feeling great and faced with the choice of what I think of as rehab exercises or actual exercise, I skip the core.

I had a heart to heart with the chiropractor about this. He told me that I’m overthinking things. Big surprise. He said while it would be great to do core every day, he never tells people that because it is too easy to stop once you miss the¬†occasional day. Also, if I don’t have time for the full series of over 30 minutes then drop back to the basics that day and think of it as a tune up. So I’m going to try. I’m adding a counter at the side of the blog to show the number of consecutive days I’ve done some core work. I’m going to count the 2 days off per week because that fits within the guidelines. If I go more than 2 days in a week or 2 days in a row, then I’ll re-set the counter.

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Dinner

Last night’s dinner concerto. Roasted eggplant, zucchini, and tomato with carmelized onions tossed in a bit of chicken flubber and winter wheat/spelt pasta. All from things found in my fridge/freezer. Love it when delicious inspiration strikes.

mmm, mmm, good

  • Flubber (formerslug.wordpress.com)
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Apparently you like soup as much as I do

I got a few comments about the soup I made last night. Here it is in all its glory. Squash and parsnip soup with lime-yogurt drizzle (I love the tangy contrast) and spicy pepitas.

soup is definitely good food

soup is definitely good food

Since I’d roasted the squash and parsnips previously, this came together in no time. And I got to use the Vitamix blender I picked up before getting my wisdom teeth removed. It makes the absolute smoothest soups that have a creamy texture without the use of actual cream. Really, really delicious. I’m freezing the rest of the squash and parsnips since I don’t like eating the same thing two days in a row, but I’m betting I have this soup again later this week.

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Desluggification step 1

Over the last few decades, I’ve gotten to know myself fairly well. That happens when you spend that much time with a person. In that time, I’ve learned that if I try to do too much at once that I will do none of it well. In trying to get my non-slug rhythm back, that means I can try to change all sluggy behavior at once. Rather than a nice rhythmic sway it would be full on spaz attack. You should seriously listen to that. It is a spaz attack anthem.

That said, I was suddenly impatient to get going. I decided focus on food first. I’ve spent the last few days updating my pantry so that I have access to some things that have always helped me eat a little better. First order of business was making a nice batch of chicken stock. This makes soup and pan sauces a snap. I reduce it down and freeze it using a silicone ice cube tray. Each cube is perfect for sauce – add herbs, mustard, shallots, jelly, spices, etc. and a simple sauteed chicken cutlet gets a delicious new life. Next up was a batch of caramelized onions. Slice up 4-5 onions and cook them slowly and you’ll have a transformative condiment. You can spread some on a sandwich, add to an omelet, mix into veggies, or as a the base for a sauce or salad dressing. It adds a depth of flavor to just about anything.

Since I was on such a cooking roll, I tackled a few more things. I’d picked up a butternut squash at the farmers market a couple of weeks ago. It has been sitting on my counter since then. Mocking me. Now peeled, cubed, and roasted, it has featured in a delicious salad I brought to work for lunch and will be combined with parsnips, ginger, and chicken stock for soup.

I’ve never liked planning meals for the week. I’m definitely more of a what am I in the mood for kind of person. That means shopping a little more often. In summer, there are 3-4 farmers markets that I can swing by during the week to see what luscious produce calls my name. This time of year, the one year-long market outside my building is pretty slim pickings. I prefer eating locally produced fruit and veggies. They tend to be picked closer to prime and are bred for flavor, not uniform looks and ease of transport. The mid-atlantic has a great growing climate for many things and the markets are just wonderful to wander through. Winter means having to find inspiration elsewhere. I have a fair number of cook books, magazines, and websites I frequent for inspiration. While the chicken stock was simmering and onions caramelizing, I browsed through a bunch to refresh the information kicking around my brain. It’ll make it easier to keep things interesting.

I feel like I’m getting off to a good start.

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