HoydenSeek’s Weblog

hoy·den: a boisterous, bold, and carefree girl; a tomboy + seek: to go in search or quest of

Tasty Snack: Jerk Tofu! May 28, 2008

Filed under: Food — suzanne turner @ 1:35 pm

I’ve made tofu before, but as I mentioned, I never had good luck with it. The last tofu I made went straight from the oven to the “boof bucket” as my dad would say. 🙂 It was either tasteless (I didn’t press & marinate it long enough) or too salty! (too much soy sauce in the marinade.) So this time, I got extra firm, pressed it for almost an hour, and then marinated it while we all went out to dinner. The soy sauce it called for wasn’t much and I used the low sodium version. I wanted to make it for the next couple days to snack on, but alas, it is already gone!

Joel introduced me to jerk spices. We were at California Pizza Kitchen when I tried a jerk chicken pizza and immediately fell in love with the sweet-spicy blend. Its the carribean answer to a curry I suppose. I love the complexity of flavors I’m discovering from other countries. 

Anyway, I probably wouldn’t have made this, except I already had a lot of barbeque sauce leftover from the night before. I love making barbeque sauce now! It turns out a little different each time, as I just dump stuff in, but its always great. So I already had a good base sauce from tomato, cider vinegar, garlic, onions, molasses, honey, brown sugar, mustard (dry and deli), cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, chili powder, a dash of tobasco… so it already was a process before preparing and simmering. Then I added more cayenne, more chili powder, and then cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and lots of fresh lime juice. The house smelled of sweet, savory baking. Everyone wanted to know what it was. (I was also making a lemon curd, but that ended up a flop. I wanted to send it up to the glacier for Joel, but I’ll try again when he’s down and follow the directions to a tee.)

So I may or may not feel like adding all the jerk ingredients from the beginning. I’ll probably try it with pulled chicken and try to replicate that CPK pizza. I still eat chicken from time to time, especially now that I’m trying to add protein. Tofu has more carbs, so its good on a heavy workout day becuase it has the protein too.

Next fun snack will be carob balls when my mom sends me her recipe. Everyone used to balk, but when they were done, they would chow down on those things. John Moss & Ryan McBeth even requested more, and those were tough critics. So my new store items will be carob and wheat germ. I also want to make barley. I love it when it’s in soups and stuff, but never think to buy it in bulk like rice or quinoa. So all that, but when I get paid! 🙂

 

New food finds, secrets and switcheroos May 27, 2008

Filed under: Food,Health & Beauty — suzanne turner @ 6:08 pm

Sometimes the simplest answer is the best, but you’d never think of it. Yesterday at work, someone brought popsicles which was weird but cool. And I really wanted one, but I’ve been really good about cutting the extra, refined sugars and so I resisted. I also started thinking about a healthy alternative, because finding a substitute really helps you feel satisfied. A really good site for that I found is hungrygirl.com. I really like that one because she develops ingenious substitutes all the time. While I’m thinking about it, the other sites I’m loving right now are happyfoody.com and the post punk kitchen (theppk.com). Really great recipes! Anyway, the popsicles- when I got home, I decided to try the simplest thing I could think of and it worked. I already had some frozen mango and strawberries in the freezer waiting for smoothie time. Instead of trying to make frozen yogurt sorbet like I did a couple weeks ago (which wasn’t bad either but takes longer) I just took a few chunks of mango out of the bag and threw them in a bowl & sucked on them like a popsicle piece. Totally satisfying, refreshing and sweet just as they are! They last longer and aren’t messy either. 🙂 Another tip I read in a magazine from some celeb is to freeze grapes and suck on those instead of dessert. To me, fruit is dessert. Strawberries need no more sugar than nature gives them. Neither does anything else. A baked apple with just cinnamon is awesome. Figs, dates, raisins- they have sugar but a decent kind. You only need a few to satisfy that sweet tooth. I really don’t have a huge sweet tooth to begin with, so that’s easy. I used order onion rings at Dairy Queen. 🙂 Hmmm, I’m sure there’s a substitute I can come up with for that, or just make it my cheat meal for the week. Damn Twisted Fish- it’s so goood. But this reminds me: eating small meals all throughout the day is really helping me not overeat, and avoid bad stuff. I used to go in a cycle of nothing for hours, then I’m starving let’s hit the drive-thru fast! So now, I never get overly hungry and cranky and so I don’t crave terrible things. Well, it’s going to take vigilence and effort to keep up on it. I had one slip up at Twisted Fish, which was my cheat meal, but I want to cut out even the cheat meal, or make it just one cheat item or so a week. I know what happened: I was very hungry when I got home from work, so I probably hadn’t had enough to eat that afternoon. Then we waited a bit for people to get ready and decide where to go. Then they seated us pretty quickly which was suprising because it was a busy Friday night at the docks. But then, I got shakier and crankier as they took no less than 30 minutes to bring us any food. By the time I even ordered, I went straight for the onion rings, halibut sliders again- which come with curly fries and, tartar and watermelon. THEN Joel and I had dessert. Instead of sharing, we EACH had a Turtle pie thing. Then we both felt gross. Same thing a few nights later. Waited too long, walked around trying to pick a place, settled on Canton House. I love Asian food, but Asian food out always sounds like a good idea, but the MSG or whatever chemicals and crap they use makes me unbelievable bloaty and fat feeling. So I really have to make sure to get enough protein, carbs, and water steadily so that my mind doesn’t go to the bad stuff. We decided if we go out here, we should just go to Subway, and most nights we should just make something at home. When I want chips, I have a few Terra chips- they are exotic vegetable chips baked with olive oil. I also found Annie’s Sour Cream & Onion, or Cheddar Bunnies. These are awesome for little snacks. Then there’s Pirate’s Booty, Pirate’s Cannonballs, and Veggies Booty. Instead of having salsa with chips, I eat a chunky salsa with a spoon or fork. When I want something hot and buttery, I have edamame in shells, just like Kim & I would share on sushi nights. Or baked sweet potato chunks with a little olive oil, paprika, cayenne pepper and seasoned salt and pepper. Soooo amazing.

The new veggies I’m going to grab next grocery trip are acorn squash, lima beans, and maybe an eggplant. I haven’t had good luck with eggplant or tofu in the past, but I’m not quite ready to give up yet. I’m also going crazy with making my own marinades and salad dressings. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar are new must-haves for my Meditteranean diet kick.

I was considering doing the “master cleanse” I’ve read about for a few days. That is where you make a lemon-water drink and add organic grade B maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. Then you have nothing but that concoction for a number of days. The more I read about it, the more I’m inclined to change my mind. I may do it for a day or two, but not 7-10 like they suggest. It’s not a diet, but a detox process. The idea is to give your system a break from digestion in which the systems cleans out and resets. I know that fasting a day or two now and then is very good for the body, but then on the third day, I will be adding yogurt and smoothies. I want to keep good bacteria and I think you need some protein too. I don’t think I have too much that needs serious detox. I haven’t had beef but a few times in the last few years, which is the main colon culprit. I avoid processed foods and sugars and stopped absolutely all soda about a month ago. I used to only have soda when I went out, but now I just have water. I don’t really miss it. And if I do want it, it’s never laying around for me to grab because I don’t buy it. If I need caffeine I have green tea. I have learned to love pomegranate juice, and green superfood smoothies. Joel got me an awesome aluminum sigg bottle which fits right on my purse caribeaner and goes with me everywhere. So as long as I drink enough water, and get protein, good carbs, and exercise, I’m doing fine. I’m glad I discovered the organic grade B maple syrup though. It is absolutely delicious- smoky, woody, sweet. It has a lot of vitamins and minerals. I love it.

After cutting the soda, I had to cut the duck farts out. Sad but true. I was enjoying a little “dessert” here and there when I first got here. It’s the true Alaskan drink and it combines all my favorite liquors: Baileys, Kahlua, and Crown. It’s creamy, choclatey and delicious. It’s like a white russian which I also love, but am not indulging in either. Then Robbie, one of our roommates here introduced me to the brave bull, a mixture of Tequila and Kahlua. Intersting indeed. It tastes like… Kahlua and tequila. Strange. But I’m not having any more. Major calories sneak onto the belly through drinks. I’ll only have a duck fart when at the Red Onion in Skagway, I’ve decided, which may be a while. Now about once a week I have a shot of port, slowly enjoyed with a square of 70% cacao dark chocolate. Very nice. Also, I break off the square, and put the rest of the bar away right away so its not sitting in front of me. Even better, you can get the pre-packaged Ghiradelli squares which you can take to work as dessert too.

When those times come at night especially when I just want to eat, eat bad stuff, and a lot of it, I have a bit of something, wait and drink some water, a little bit more and repeat. And when its just time to stop eating, I brush my teeth and/or put on some lip gloss. Sephora has new glosses with FUZE juice flavors that are supposed to curb appetite. I haven’t noticed a huge difference, but I sure feel like eating less when I’m wearing gloss at all. Burt’s Bee’s lip balm has minty oils that give you that teeth-brushed feeling and signals time to quit the binge. So I keep those very handy. And my lips are very healthy! Just drinking more water will make your skin look and feel better. When I need SPF for the glacier, I love Juice Beauty’s 3-pack of tinted lip moisturizers, which smell like popsicles and are around $15. From Sephora of course.

Today, I did 40 minutes of Pilates and then only got through about 30 minutes of Plyo, but I feel great now. Nearing my limit during Plyo, I got that sick, hot feeling you get when the gym teacher made you run too far. But it was nice to feel again. I just took it easy cooling down a few minutes and then had some water. I feel so loose after Pilates. I tried my old favorite yoga video the other day, but didn’t get all the way through. But I remember when I first started it before that it only takes a few days to get back into it. So I’ll keep at it. I just need some handweights to start on my arms. So far, I’m just working up to more push-ups.

If I do end up doing the cleanse, I’ll keep you posted. I made the drink today in my thermos, and I think it will be great for sipping through the day. I used less maple syrup because I’m still eating food- don’t want to add too many calories. There are so many reviews on the web, good and bad. I want to see for myself. 🙂 We’ll see! Bye for now.

 

What I’m Eating…what I’m trying not to, and what’s eating me May 22, 2008

Filed under: Food,Health & Beauty,Travel — suzanne turner @ 1:33 am

So I have been trying new things lately because it perks up my day and broadens my horizons, culinary and otherwise. And in my search I have found a few staples that now I don’t know how I lived before without. I’m trying to add protein, fiber, and good fats while cutting sugar, bad fats and chemicals. I’m eating small meals frequently with tea or water in between each. Each time I shop, I try to pick up something I’ve never had or seldom buy. So far, I’ve grabbed a daikon radish, pasnips, red radishes, garbanzo beans, and bok choy. Next I’m going to try tomatillos, textured vegetable protein and tofu. I’ve also been doing plyometrics, pilates, dance aerobics and walking a few miles a day. Though the pounds aren’t falling off, I’m reminding myself they didn’t fly on overnight either. Both ways, they creep. I feel much better already; now I just want to really firm and tighten, and have lots of energy. (I already see a significant improvement both in my energy and my mood and attitude.) I would also like to define the muscles in my arms. Even when I was playing a lot of tennis, these muscles were fairly big and strong, but never as cut as I would have liked. Mind you back then, I was prone to get into eating contests at fast food joints and fell into many a pizza and red vine movie night. Then dating Joel is a foray into our shared love of food night after night. We tried to eat well, but boy was it hard when we love to sit, eat and talk- especially out. And especially late night Any-bertos drive thrus. He even got me eating dessert(s!) after an already over-the-top dinner. We love to share food, but right now were sharing a body-conscious guilt that doesn’t feel good. We love each other no matter what, of course. But loving ourselves is often not quite as easy. Ergo, vis a vis- time to put some extra effort into it.

Nobody really likes being a .5er. A “point fiver” at my job is what we call a person who takes up a seat & a half in the helicopter, hence they are 1.5 rather than 1 in the books. It’s also generally used to speak of a person who’s obviously overweight. Sad but true- every job has its ascenine ways of passing the time, and so often its gossiping about the customers. In the hospitality/tourism industry, its like shooting fish in a barrel, making fun of the tourists. Its usually not mean-spirited, but just silliness among coworkers stuck in an office while others are vacationing. It’s like Office Space, or Waiting, or sometimes…Clerks. And there are quite a few point fivers. Some are tall and muscular, some are just plain overweight, and some are stout, muscular, and with a little of the soft stuff. (Just goes to show that the body mass index is useful, but not a real tool when measuring health.) Men generally don’t mind and don’t give a second thought to writing or telling their weight. But women! Oh, the women. It’s rather curious: whether on the phone, in front of me thinking about how much they can lie without getting caught, or standing on the scale and writing while covering the card, they are always embarrassed and secretive. At any weight, at any age, they do NOT want anyone seeing that helicopter manifest. Like I give a flying eff- it’s a small aircraft that needs to be balanced- do you really want to lie about that? And we will make them get on the scale if its iffy- a point fiver is charged 1.5 fare, which adds up! They just LOVE that. They’ve lied up to 90 LBS to try to avoid the charge before! Anyway, its a funny thing I witness on a daily basis.

As my adorable friend Debbie Dow-Howard used to say, “Um, okay, back to me?!” It probably doesn’t help that I show extra love through cooking and baking lately. I made a carrot cake for Joel (which because of scheduling shenanagans turned into everyone else’s cake) for his birthday, but luckily had a key lime cheesecake recipe given to me by one beautiful newlywed, Brenda Turner! (Congratulations, Lovebirds!) And it came out rather nicely! (Though because of that crazy schedule, it got crumbled and stuffed into party cups, covered in foil and sent up to the glacier, some cups full of raspberry sauce, some just cheesecakey goodness.) Hopefully he enjoyed it nonetheless. For his birthday dinner during his 12 hours down with me, I splurged on BBQ ribs, and he on filet mignon at The Hangar, a nice but casual (as everything in Juneau is) steak & seafood joint overlooking the cruise ships docking and leaving, turning on their pretty little twinkle lights at dusk. 

I made Cecile’s amazing lasagna recipe, which was awesome. Not as good as hers, of course. He was happy, but not as much as if she’d made it. Which I’m ok with. ‘Cause she’s magical. I made hummus for the first time the other day, which is such a wonderful, easy protein-packed snack. And so much fresher, better and more economical than buying the little container at Vons.

Last night I invented a pizza-bake in which I threw all the veggies & stuff I love on pizza (I used red onions, green peppers, pineapple, olives, three italian cheeses, and my first homemade marinara) all in a Pyrex dish and baked it for a while. It really was pizza without the guilt! There’s a gooood pizza delivery place here which people grab for lunch and get you really wanting it. So this is a nice craving squelcher to have at the ready. And cutting the fresh pineaaple was pure delight. I was dancing and singing to oldies and savoring each little last bit I could get off the core. I was as happy as I could be, without my Prince Charming around. Today one of the girls at work laughed as I enjoyed my snap peas, and said “with you, everything’s ‘delicious!'” And I smiled and took it as a compliment. I do try to enjoy and appreciate little things. To share a favorite quote of Joel & mine from the quirky film Eagle vs. Shark, “some people in the world don’t have sleeping bags.” It’s what we say to each other to gently remind: We have everything we need. We are warm, and fed, and we our health, we have each other. And it makes us smile and puts things in perspective.

This is a good mantra for me right now. When I got to Alaska, I realized I’d packed in organized chaos- I tried to bring the right stuff, but its hard to know exactly what that is before you go there a time to two. The lack of a lot of my favorite clothes mixed with a lack of favorite stores to pick up a girly pick-me-up drove me to an online shopping spree, the likes of which my bank account had never seen. My closet here is secretly filled with shipped boxes full of tissue paper and ripped off tags. (Now the cat’s out of the Sephora satchel.)  Every day for a while was like Christmas. Packages were literally arriving every day. Once my tax return was blown through and I still was finding things “I needed,” I started to wonder what I’m trying to compensate for. What void am I trying to fill, really? Well, I really like stuff is the easy answer. Which is true. I love Sephora, Express, Victoria’s Secret (clothes, not lingerie) and REI. I dreamed of being at Sephora the other night. A super-knowledgeable, fun & yet somewhat bitchy gay man was helping me pick out one of those new brushes with mineral powder inside. But when I got it home, the bristles all started falling out. When I woke up, I though nothing of it and reveled in the thought of shopping. But then I started to dissect it, as I do everything. And I started to wonder if its not a symbol, a lesson: I like buying new, quality things. I like the experience, opening it, smelling & feeling it, and folding the packaging. But soon, I often find something imperfect about it. Or I rarely end up using it, or I tire of the scent. I bought a shirt before we left at REI which I loved so much, I then bought a second in another color. And the other day, I was searching the net for a thrid. Why would I not go downstairs and get the ones I already own out of the dryer and be done with it? Its something I’m overcoming slowly through logic and self-inflicted guilt trips. Those two favorite shirts for instance- there are some people who only have one or two shirts and they appreciate them. These particular shirts are also NIKE, and so were probably made by overworked, underpaid people forced to take a factory job or risk starvation. Buying two was too many. Counseling myself in this way is keeping me in the middle road- somewhere between overindulgence and self-deprivation. I’m limiting myself to $50 a month at Sephora.com. 🙂 Hey, I’m working my butt off. A girl’s got to keep some fun in her life. They really get me with the samples- spend $50 and not only is shipping free, but you get to choose 3 samples! How I adore them! And every hundred bucks and you get a deluxe sample- a bigger version or a super spendy product they want to hook you on. Plus, I like putting on a little cologne before bed and pretending Joel’s head is on his pillow as I breathe. Current fave: Ralph Lauren Polo: Double Black. And for me: Kenzo: Amour. Creature comforts. Small luxuries.

I’ve made sweet potato fries twice, upon popular demand. They are deeelish. And good for you. I love sweet potatoes!!! And Joel hates them, so I get my fill while he’s up on the ice. 🙂 These veggies are packed with vitamin A, and way less starchy than the white ones. They need absolutely nothing added to make them wonderful, and toting one to work and popping it in the microwave at lunchtime (though it makes you look like kind of a weirdo) couldn’t be easier. I love having something warm and comforting, and boy does this hit the spot time after time!   

I tried a green smoothie as I found a recommendation for having one daily on a great raw website. Feeling adventurous, I blended blueberries, bok choy, and an apple. When you put an apple in, it doesn’t matter what elase is there, it tastes pretty good! It tasted very fresh and “green” – a little like very sweet wheatgrass. I love wheatgrass and miss it a lot. So discovering I could sort of make my own green was really nice. It’s not nearly as good the next day from the fridge, so next time I’ll make less. The produce here, like everything else is really expensive! The blueberries were $5.89 for a VERY small plastic container. The smallest container for berries you can picture. But I guess you’d probably pay that for a big mac & supersized fry here too. I’ll definitely experiment more with that. I like blending the smoothie a lot more than juicing- it leaves a little pulp & stuff, but that way you still get the fiber and all the nutrients in the skin. I’ve read that one of the drawbacks of an all-raw food diet is that people may have dental problems later (because of too much fruit I suppose.) But studies found that when more greens were added to the smoothies, there was hardly any trouble. I also try to brush right after- which you may as well do while you make sure there’s no bok choy bits in your chompers.

As for Alaska, it’s very different. We’re surrounded by water, mountains PACKED with trees, and the spirits of animals and natives of years past. The fog is dense and low, hanging heavy in the treetops, obscuring the mountains completely. And then it may lift, and it may not. When it does, it is so crystal clear and sparkling and green, its unbelievable. One day walking home from work, I almost cried at the beauty of it. I think I’d like to experience other parts of Alaska after this; one’s that have no cruise docks. Juneau is certainly small compared to San Diego, but it’s way too bustling for a lot of Alaskans to consider true Alaska. It’s so small for so many people. If you drive in any direction, you’ll reach the end of the road or a bridge to another island all too soon. But it’s very fun in a way. Whether you want to or not, you’ll probably see a few people you know on the way to anywhere, and then the rest of the people you know are there when you get where you’re going. There are only so many places to go here. There are a few motels, and one overpriced pretty B&B I’ll maybe try once. I definitely want to start kayaking. I can see that being our next big spend when we’ve got the dough. I’ve always wanted to live near a lake and go out on the water all the time. It’s been in my ultimate picture in my mind for a while. Now I want to start painting that picture. A house off the beaten path, but now too far from town. A nice yard we can till together, and eventually a baby or two. Staying happy, active, adventurous and continuing to travel some even after a baby comes; that will be the ultimate. Having a house would be the ulimate. A place to get away that we can fix up and really make our own.  That’s the dream. I’m going to be 27 in a few months! I’ve got to really start working toward it. But I already have a good deal of it figured out, which I’m super happy about. I’ve graduated college, and met the man of my dreams which is more than I had dreamed could really happen. The rest is icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned. Mmmm icing. 😛 …. No, no icing! Bad Suzy!