Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Get back in the kitchen and make me some pie!"

I've had a head cold and one of my ears is clogged so I'm pretty much hearing out of one ear today. It feels weird. It needs to pop or clear or something, but at least it hasn't effected my equilibrium yet. I'm just normal klutzy, not super klutzy, no tipping over or saying "Uh, could you repeat that, dear?" This all may just be a glimpse of what I have to look forward to when I'm in my eighties.

But this head cold and the generally cold miserable weather has sent me into a bit of sloth mode. I haven't worked out in about a week and a half which is bad. I've remedied that today but still, off my game. But I haven't gained or lost any weight either so it could be worse I suppose. As I was telling a friend this week, this whole weight loss thing is a life long battle for me and I'm just coming to terms with that fact. It's not like I'll magically stop wanting to eat cupcakes one day. I think I'll always want to do that, and I plan to let myself occasionally.  But having the control and structure to pick fruit over cupcakes most days is my goal in this whole thing. Setting myself up for success on a daily basis, and trying to make the best decisions 95% of the time. I want an A on this project. I think I've earned a B- these last two weeks.  But this weekend has been really productive.

In the process of developing a healthier relationship with food I've been trying to cook at home more. Now I like cooking, I'm a decent cook.  I don't cook at home as much as I'd like though. I love going out to eat. Tracking down and testing out new restaurants is a hobby. Sharing a meal with friends and family is usually filled with laughter, delicious food and no dishes to clean at the end of the night. I like the atmosphere and the general merriment that comes with sharing a meal with people I love.  But eating out is expensive and fattening and generally too tempting. And I long to develop my skills as a cook.

Kitchen Before

So I signed up for the Kitchen Cure 2010 from this great website that I follow, The Kitchn.  This site is packed with recipes, cooking techniques and tips, design and layout ideas and general ways to improve the place where you cook and the meals that you create. The Kitchen Cure is basically just a motivational way to clean out and freshen up your kitchen in preparation for spring. With all the crap weather we've had this winter I've desperately needed a shot of spring energy. And you get to be voyeuristic and peek in other people's windows and see into their kitchens.  Or just look at the photos they've posted on their Flickr accounts.

Fridge and Freezer After

Seeing other people's kitchens generally makes me appreciate mine. It's fairly small, not exactly granite countertops and Viking appliances, but it's mine. Joe and I have made some improvements to take away its previous '80's flair and bring it into the current decade at least. And we have great equipment and tools. Joe has a bit of an addiction to kitchen equipment, particularly Oxo. So we are stocked. Stocked up good, believe me. In full Kitchen Cure mode yesterday, I spent a few hours emptying out the fridge, freezer, pantry and spice/tupperware cabinet. I don't think I've done such a thorough cleaning and purging job since we moved into this house almost seven years ago. It was satisfying. I reorganized a few things and just felt rejuvenated. I'm a bit of a neat freak so I need this kind of day occasionally. And it was good. Maybe that makes me boring and domestic, I don't really care because it makes me happy too. Because then today I just got to cook.

I made apple spice cupcakes with brown butter frosting with Bethany's recipe. The frosting is so simple, smooth and decadent and caramelly (I had to use your word, Bethany.) Butter is versatile and perfect. I made chicken salad with dill, almonds and cranberries. I made creamy garlic pasta soup.  The chicken salad was great for lunch on toasted wheatberry bread with a cup of the soup. The soup was too thick and garlicky, but I added some chicken stock to the rest of it so we'll see how it tastes tomorrow. Wow, garlicky. But we have plenty for a few meals and that makes life easier when we have less time during the week.

And I haven't had a cupcake yet. Can you believe it? These lovely little guys are sitting in my kitchen just waiting to go to dinner over at my parent's house. And I haven't touched one yet. I might have had a little of the frosting. Maybe. But just a little. The cupcakes are strictly for dinner, I'm having one. And then Joe is taking the rest to work. Will power, right?

So what do you need to tackle for spring? Cleaning out your closet? Digging through that pile of crap in your basement? What project is whispering in your ear that it needs to get done? Because I say go for it. You'll feel lighter, open and ready for new ideas and inspiration to come your way. And that always feels like spring to me.


bethany actually said...

I have to warn you: You WILL want two cupcakes. Have some fruit sitting nearby so when you finish the cupcake you will immediately have something healthy to eat so you won't be tempted by cupcake #2.

I know exactly what you mean about eating out. As much as I love to cook, eating at restaurants is easier in so many ways, and more fun because it requires less thought and planning. But then when I do cook I remember, hey, the thought and planning are part of the fun!

What recipe did you use for the garlic-pasta soup? I'm intrigued.

Finally (I swear this comment is ending soon) I had a really bad cold a couple of years ago where my ears were both clogged, and the doctor told me it was just swelling of the sinuses, that the sinuses are connected to the ears somehow, and that drinking lots of water and using saline nasal spray and/or decongestant nasal spray would help prevent the cold from turning into an ear infection. My two cents. Feel better soon!

Bravely Obey said...

The cupcakes and frosting were perfect. They make a great breakfast as well, of course with a piece of fruit. The soup was from a mix that I had bought at a craft show. It was way too garlicky even after toning it down with some chicken stock. I don't recommend it. And the head cold thing, yeah, I called my doctor on Friday, she suggested the nasal spray and a decongestant. And Tuesday its still clogged so it might be time for a doctor's visit. I don't feel sick at all anymore, just the ear. So irritating. Can't wait to see more pics of your new house by the way!