So maybe I have been overdoing it a little with the salads. Although, it’s Friday morning as I type this, and I’m thinking about how nice it would be to have a salad for lunch, so at least I haven’t gone completely crazy in the other direction.
I have been thinking a lot about my sister’s wedding this winter. Last night I dreamed that the bridesmaid dress arrived (fortunately in the dream it fit, so I’m taking that as a good omen). Over the past decade or so, I can’t tell you how many times I was planning a trip to see the family for the holidays or for some event and was just desperate, DESPERATE to lose weight ahead of it. To walk in the door 30 pounds lighter and have everyone fuss over it. To be thinner than my mom and sisters and know that I was superior because of it. Isn’t that a dark thought? I can’t believe I thought such things about my own family.
It never worked anyway. I was never able to lose any weight in that spirit of jealousy and competition. I found myself thinking this morning, it would be nice to lose some more weight, but if the wedding were tomorrow, I would not be ashamed to wear that dress in front of the whole church. At the least, standing up there, my appearance won’t be what I’m thinking about. It’s not like it’ll be what anyone else there is thinking about, right?
In other news, I woke up this morning to a delicious savory smell, Niles started a stew last night, of goat meat and parsnips and carrots and whatever else was going on in the fridge. It’s in the slow cooker, and will probably be cooking at least until I get home from work tonight. It’s going to be SO GOOD. I’m also picking up our half of the veggie CSA we share this afternoon, and I have heard rumors there’s another acorn squash in there. I might just roast them both tonight, and refrigerate them until I figure out what I’m doing with them.
In other, OTHER news, if you are in Chicago you have a chance to hear me play accordion tomorrow (Saturday) night, at the Small Bar in Logan Square. We go on at 10pm, and it’s completely free!
Maybe this much green will make up for how little green there was over the weekend?
This salad recipe is also very good with mango, or probably almost any fruit. It’s also good with goat cheese. I know, you’re saying, but Sarah, I have been told never to mix shellfish with cheese! Well, firstly never say never. And secondly, goat cheese is good with almost anything. Oh! It’s also delicious with Mango Wasabi sauce, which I found accidentally in a Jewel-Osco one day. I really need to get some more of that stuff. But in the meantime, you can mix a little bit of olive oil, honey and wasabi together to make a good impromptu dressing.
(WHOA I just noticed the Pineapple Wasabi on that page, I’m going to need to get me some of that)
So it’s been a lot of salads lately! I’m surprised at how it doesn’t feel like I’m depriving myself of anything, but I am getting a little bored. I actually wanted to make chili tonight, but I was just too tired after yoga. And I’ve got plans tomorrow so… Friday? Maybe? I also have a cute little acorn squash in the fridge that wants to be made into something soon. I’m thinking risotto right now. Unless you guys have some ideas? (there’s a sweet potato in there too, and some parsnips, I’m open to suggestions…)
Nothing like harshing a good mood by thinking it into the ground.
Once, when I was in college, they brought a hypnotist in to the campus for a performance. I didn’t go up on stage at any point, but a few times during the performance he offered to hypnotize anyone in the audience who wanted it. A group hypnotism, of sorts. I tried to go under, I tried to get hypnotized, but every time I started to sink into it, the wheels in my brain would start turning: “OH so THIS is what it feels like to be hypnotized,” I thought, and immediately woke up out of it. The brain, she is a chatty organ.
What I need to find is a way to shut her up sometimes. There’s no need to hyperanalyze a good mood, to dissect it and rip it apart until it’s dead. It should just be allowed to be a good mood, for as long as it wants to be.
Interestingly, the taco salad at Rocking Horse is significantly different from the taco salad at Small Bar. Not in materials, but in construction and arrangement. Still delicious though.
HEY, do you guys know Corinne Mucha? She is an awesome talented artist and a good friend and we often try to get booths next to each other at comic conventions. Her roommate Kate is one of the finalists to live in the Museum of Science and Industry for 30 days!! Doesn’t that sound like fun? She has to win first though, so if you have a moment go and vote for Kate here!
So, I work in a very very small office, and we eat lunch together. It’s very, very rare that we ever eat lunch separately. Which means that what I eat for lunch is not always up to me. Just being determined to eat a healthy salad for lunch doesn’t mean we won’t go to Indian buffet, or Thai, or Cuban sandwiches. And, at the risk of sounding like a robot, I value the social gains I get from eating together more than I value a low calorie count. Plus, La Unica’s Cuban sandwich is super awesome. I have no regrets.
Besides which, I think I made up for it with dinner. I’m very pleased with my improvised dinner tonight. I didn’t have a whole lot of lettuce left, not enough for a whole salad anyway. I ran across the street to my local bodega, but their salad was pretty cruddy looking. So I came home, roasted a bunch of garlic in the oven, and grilled up some sweet onions and a catfish burger patty I found in the freezer, and drizzled the whole thing with just a touch of spicy Japanese mayonnaise. It was really amazingly tasty.
Anyway, the point of it all is, I think I’m getting better at a few things. Notably: not beating myself up over bad choices. If I wish I had eaten a little better, just do better next time. Had a Cuban sandwich for lunch? Have fish and greens for dinner. There’s no point in dwelling on it, especially since that usually just makes me try to drown my sad in more food.
HEY! So. If any of you are in Chicago, I am in a band. I play accordion in that band, because just making comics wasn’t QUITE nerdy enough for me. Anyway, the band is playing a show this coming Saturday at my local watering hole, the Small Bar in Logan Square. It’s free! You should come!
Ah well, another weekend where I’m not crazy about how it went. Many moons ago, towards the beginning of this project, I was telling someone that when I got to the end of the day and was coloring my page, I would get disappointed if I wasn’t using any green. And here we are, a full three days of no green. Ok, to be fair, there was some lettuce on the shrimp tacos, but still. Just a series of choices that could have been better ones. I’ll take it as progress that I’m not beating myself up about it, at least. And I’m already making my grocery list for office lunches this week; we’ll get back on track right away.
Also, I spent some time this weekend working on an upcoming Sauceome Recipe book for you! Drawing my brother’s (nearly) vegetarian chili recipe made me really, really, really want some chili. I might have to make some this week. :)
I love it when I have my page written before I leave work. Sometimes I even have it blocked and sketched by then too. Unfortunately, those days the comic is usually pretty sad.
So clearly the lack of progress is starting to get to me a little. Or maybe it’s not, but I feel like it should be? Either way, it’s been in the back of my mind lately. Shouldn’t I be wanting to lose more weight? Is it a cop-out, am I taking the easy way out, to say that I’m ok with where I am? I know I’ve improved my diet considerably, but couldn’t I stand to eat even healthier?
Or am I just really depressed today because I didn’t get any sleep last night, so everything’s making me cranky? Maybe everything will feel better in the morning.
Ok, it’s the next morning, and things do feel a little better. I caught up on sleep last night and I feel significantly less grumpy.
That said, I’m left wondering why my instinct is to be so hard on myself. The other day I was biking to work along the lakefront path here in Chicago, and I passed a jogger. She was probably around 60 (although I’m a terrible judge of age), and she was wearing a tank top and capri-length jogging pants, happily plodding along. Her arms weren’t incredibly toned, she wasn’t skinny, she was hardly a model, and the first thing I thought when I looked at her was how beautiful she was.
I look at myself and that’s absolutely the last thing I think.
Basically, I’m sitting there thinking, I have lost 15 pounds, and I have reliably kept it off. Sure, I’d like to lose some more, but shouldn’t that 15 pounds be a victory in itself? Why can’t I just enjoy my accomplishment? Why is my instinct STILL to beat myself up about this?
The Small Bar, my local watering hole, has a taco salad and a southwestern chicken salad. Both are pretty great. The taco salad has some cheese and a spoon of sour cream on top; the southwestern chicken salad has neither of those, but it does have black beans and corn. Last night, the new cook “accidentally” put corn and beans on my taco salad, effectively making it the best of all possible salads. Nice try new guy, I see you trying to curry favor with me. (it’s working, more please)
My yoga class is now on Wednesday nights, and Marianna came with me, and we went to the Small Bar together afterwards and met up with my brother, and we sat outside under the lights and the hops vines. It was a very pleasant evening. I didn’t give much thought to the comic, so I apologize if it’s a little dumb and boring. I feel like there might be a small flood of some more emotional stuff coming very soon, it’s just taking me a little while to process it.
So, here’s a pretty typical office salad for me. Thank the gods for that office hot plate, huh? You’d be surprised what you can do with one of those. I made scallops on it last week.
A few notes:
1) I don’t know why anyone feels candied walnuts are necessary, because walnuts are awesome on their own.
2) GOAT CHEESE RULES. It is the best. Although, I made today’s lunch salad with avocado instead. AVOCADO ALSO RULES.
3) Portobello mushrooms are pretty great raw too, but if you sautee them lightly they get all smoky and meaty.
4) RE: Champagne vinaigrette. I spent 10 minutes at the store the other day staring at the salad dressings. The low calorie ones all have high fructose corn syrup and multisyllabic chemical thinges in them, and the non-low-calorie dressings seem like I might as well be pouring melted butter on my salads. It was a puzzle, so I decided to just make my own vinaigrette. Champagne vinaigrette is super tasty and pretty easy to make. I use about 1 part vinegar – you can use champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, or even rice vinegar – 1 part olive oil, 1 part Dijon mustard and 1 part honey, plus some ground black pepper. You can adjust any of it to taste. The only problem I usually have is making just the right amount instead of way too much. Anyway, it’s hardly fat free, but at least I know what all the ingredients are.
Niles’s Aunt Claudia is in town, and we met her and her coworker at Revolution Brewing for dinner. I wasn’t crazy hungry, so I got the mussels, but they defeated me anyway. I think I managed to eat all but one. They were delicious! They have a more traditional mussels option too, but I picked the blue cheese and Fuji apples one, and I have no regrets.
You know, for someone who loves seafood as much as I do, I sure live far from any ocean. Sigh. Heavy, heavy sigh. Still, tonight’s mussels were fantastic.
I used to really dread going out to eat when I was trying to eat better or watch my weight, because it seemed so hard to eat out and eat healthy at the same time. But restaurants are getting better at offering healthier options, and I certainly have access to some of the best restaurants living where I do. Claudia got an amazing looking bowl of lentils and winter veggies, with asparagus, parsnip, and roasted carrot ginger sauce. I nearly got the goat cheese croquette arugula salad, but the mussels sounded better to me at the time. And sure, they’re in a tasty butter sauce with some blue cheese, but for the most part it’s just a bowl of low-fat, low-cholesterol protein, and the sauce is thin enough that you don’t eat much of it. I think my point is, there are always some healthier things to choose when you’re dining out.
Hey, quick little plug: I put some original pages up for sale on the Shortpants Press site. Including some original Sauceome pages! I am working diligently on a little recipes mini for you guys in the meantime. :)
So many tasty things this weekend! Ciao Napoli pizza (The shrimp and pesto pizza was amazing. The only reason the pizza the next day is only “pesto” is because I picked all the shrimp off the entire pizza the night before.), Manchester style “C ale” (my brother’s new homebrew, which he claimed was a “lost” beer recipe, and no one remembers what the “C” stands for anymore), fig cookies from Marianna, swordfish steak, and barbecue lamb bao! How spoiled am I to have access to this kind of food?
I kind of butchered the lamb buns, unfortunately. They’re tasty, but ugly as sin. I have a tendency to try to overstuff them.
Also, my neighborhood is apparently just like Dune, only instead of the spice melange, it’s active dry yeast. (nerd reference! Oh self, I think you just lost half your audience for being so unspeakably nerdy.) I had to walk to four different stores before I could find any yeast, and when I finally found some it’s a huge vacuum-wrapped bag of it, more yeast than I can possibly ever use. So there might be some baking in Sauceome’s near future.
Interesting note: I was sitting on the couch tonight, playing video games, and kind of dreading scanning and uploading this, because I felt like I had eaten too much this weekend. But you know what? I’m looking at it now and it’s not that bad. I mean, it’s not the healthiest weekend ever, but it hardly merits this level of dread. I mean, the pizza was Napoli style, thin crust, light on the cheese, sparse on toppings. The swordfish steak today was huge, but it’s swordfish, high in protein and low in fat. I probably drank too much Friday, and maybe even Saturday too, but I didn’t have anything to drink tonight. Why is my base assumption always that I overdid it?