HoydenSeek’s Weblog

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

Asian Acorn Squash Bowls & Banana-berry Muffins June 4, 2008

Filed under: Food,Health & Beauty — suzanne turner @ 4:09 pm

I had never made squash, though sometimes I like it when I have it out. I know that when it’s in tempura, I love it… but anything fried is usually good! So I tried it yesterday, and was pleasantly surpised! Acorn squash is really beautiful, especially when open and filled- its like a natural bowl. One less dish to wash too! 🙂 So I looked around online and tried to figure out what kind of flavor would go well inside, but all I could find suggested was sweet stuff like brown sugar and butter. Now I understand the idea, as it would produce a Thanksgiving marshmallow & sweet potato type combo. But I decided to go spicy, as I usually do. I used red peppers, green onions, mushrooms, carrots and cashews as the filling. Even before it was dressed at all, this simple filling was amazing. I’ll make it again for sure. But it got even better with a little soy sauce, grade b maple syrup, sesame oil, chinese five spice, and crushed red and black pepper. The cashews- yes! Such a perfect touch. I don’t even know how I came up with this idea, but it worked. I want to experiment more with combining the filling ingredients in many different ways now.

Cutting the squash open was the hardest part. You have to scoop out the seeds, like a pumpkin, and it smells like one too. That worried me a little, but it doesn’t have that taste in the slightest when cooked. The texture and taste are somewhat like a sweet potato which was a great suprise. Next time I will probably use the sweet potato fries seasonings I usually use and fill after baking with carmelized onions and maybe steamed spinach.

I also want to experiment with spaghetti squash as a pasta or sort of asian slaw with my new secret weapon salad mix. Today I don’t feel like going to safeway and spending even more. So tonight I plan on making some new sweet potato creation. Maybe a hash…? Hmm. That is if everyone doesn’t convince me to go out. Did I tell you about the balsamic portabello mushroom cap with smoked cheese that we had at Zephyr? Wow. I have to learn how to make that!!! It was unbelievable. That got me really into Balsamic vinegar for a few days too. I love all vinegars though.

So after the squash, the oven was already at 350, so I decided to try a muffin recipe I found which didn’t seem as unhealthy as the one I used last time to make banana bread. Given that banana bread was wonderfully sweet and buttery, an alternantive was badly needed. The healthy recipe was pretty good! It had wheat gern, oat bran, buttermilk and a mashed banana. They came out very moist, and very blue! But everyone loved them.

I’m trying to make better choices now, even if we go out. I’ve been really blowing it when Joel comes down and we go out. This time, I’m planning a picnic at the beach. They have covered table areas right at the shore, so we can go even if it rains. I want to make something with rosemary for sure, as it will recreate the first camping trip we took where we made rosemary red potatoes. I don’t think I’d ever smelled anything so wonderful. Then we have to grill pineapple for dessert like we did that night. I’m craving a little extra romance, and I think that will be the perfect way to get out of the house and into nature. I miss him so much right now, I almost just called the glacier phone to tell him I love him. But it’s sort of only for emergencies. I find it urgent, but that’s probably not what they mean.

That camping meal reminds me: I love cooking with foil, whether camping or at home. You can roast things for a long time without them burning and it really keeps the moisture and flavor in. That’s what I did with the squash. So I want to get a lot more recipes for that method. I still haven’t ventured into the fresh fish available here, which is rather silly. So that’s on the menu soon too. I could do that in foil!

I’ve been thinking of things I used to really enjoy and remembering what the essence was, and what could be taken away. For instance: I used to live on Togos sandwiches- cucumber, avocado, turkey, mustard & mayo on honey wheat. I think I could make this into a great lettuce leaf or spinach tortilla wrap with sliced turkey, cucumber slivers, red onions, greens, and an herbed buttermilk/cream cheese dressing.

I’m in a stage right now in my working out where I feel almost fatter. I know that this is something I’ve had before where it gets worse before it gets better. I feel smaller, my clothes fit better. My boobs are definitely smaller! But I still have to dig for my abs. I hate that. I want to get through this stage this time! So I’m trying everything until something works. I’m trying several smaller workouts throughout the day, along with the smaller more frequent meals. Gillian from BBC’s “You Are What You Eat” (whom I admire and adore) has a strict regimen when she helps people lose weight which includes 20 minute workouts before each meal, which I think is genius. So yesterday I did 40 minutes of aerobics, 30 minutes of pilates, and about a 20 minute evening walk/run. It was actually about 10 o’clock but totally light out still. I’m not a runner, but I think I could get there. I think I could learn to really enjoy it. And I know it works. The most ripped girl I’ve ever met was a runner. She also happened to have incredible style, and was the smiliest, kindest person I think I’ve ever known. I ran into her at Barnes & Noble a few years ago, and she was still with the same guy from high school, whom I never really knew, but always seemed extremely nice also. I was very happy to see them so happy together. Some people have it all. I call it the Carrie Underwood phenomenon. 🙂 Anyways, Lanelle Cox was absolutely ripped. She had these ridiculously muscular thighs, but she was still so feminine. I mean there’s Jennifer Anniston and all those people who can pull it off, but Lanelle was a real person who I actually knew. So I know runninng makes you very fit. And I know its possible to enjoy it immensely. She loved it and did it every day, so that’s what I’m going for now, though I know it will take a while. I think it would be a great way to get out and relax alone, but also it would be great to be able to take a nice jog together with Joel, or my dad. My mom & I really enjoyed our brisk walks. You end up talking about all sorts of things that you probably wouldn’t have if sitting on the couch watching TV. 

Sorry I jump around so much, and that this had turned into a food blog/personal health diary. I thought it was crazy that I was writing so much about food, but I’ve found so many great blogs just about food lately that I know I’m not the only one who obessesses over food. At least I’m starting to get into healthy foods and a bigger variety at the same time as exercise. They have never really aligned before.

Bear reminded me that I should find a tennis court or even just a wall to hit against. Hitting on a wall is very aerobic and fun for me. I can get out so much agression hitting as hard as I can, it really makes me want to move. So that needs to happen for sure. The gym here is super expensive, so hopefully I can find a high school or something instead.

Oooooh, I just learned a new word on Top Chef which is very intriguing: gastrique. That could be a restaurant! It’s a reduction usually with fruit. Sounds amazing in more ways than one! A must-try. Well, I’m determined to watch Jeopardy today, so I better get my chores done before it starts! I’m moving to the other side of the duplex today too! Better get going!

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This week’s weapons: Willpower & Water…. and eff Wal-Mart! June 3, 2008

Filed under: Food,Health & Beauty,Rants (Politics) — suzanne turner @ 3:18 am

I’m finding lots of challenging opportunities to test my willpower. Eating, shopping- it takes focus. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes… not so much. But I know right after and think of a way to overcome it next time. There’s no use in beating yourself up- just do your best. So a couple days ago a few of the expeditors brought back a tip that was given to everyone and it was decided that we should celebrate by getting 20 spring rolls from Peter’s, the Chinese place down the road. Grrr. They reminded me of lumpia I had many years ago- and never forgot. So maybe its not even Chinese. I don’t know. But these things came in smelling amazing and I knew I had to have one. So then of course I had another one. There was still one there taunting me after everyone had some, and so I ran to find Samantha to give it to her. But she wasn’t there! I was tempted to eat it right there. But I ran until I found someone. And Ron in maintenance was very happy when I found him. Still, I felt yucky after eating the greasy things. So when today another challenge arose- tons of food from Peter’s wafting about, I had none. Then Dan the expeditor noticed I was practicing my willpower, and decided to leave his Maui onion chips lying about for hours, telling me to eat some. I had none. The secret to my success was actually two-fold. I pictured how I would feel after each course of action- guilty and bloaty, or proud of myself and feeling slimmer. Then the real savior was that I have been bringing tons of snacks to have to grab instead. Apples, tea, dark chocolate squares, tricuits, nuts, soyjoy bars, turkey jerky and instant soups have been getting me through. Variety is definitely a big help.  And eating and drinking more rather than less keeps me from that rock bottom where I crave the worst. I have been tempted to buy gadgets lately in order to help me monitor exactly what is happening as far as blood sugar, body fat, lean mass etc. But I resisted that too. 🙂 I read reviews that say they aren’t as accurate as everyone had hoped. Instead, I ordered a few dance & cardio DVDs to add variety to my workouts.

I also stopped buying bottled water, which is purportedly not as clean as I thought, and also wasteful- especially in Juneau where there is no recycling!!! Arrg! So Joel got me that fabulous Sigg bottle and I got a Britta faucet filter. Easy! And the bottle is bigger than the old Aquafina, so I drink more. Plus, those bottled waters are made by practically all sold by Pepsi and Coke, so you can’t get away from them even when you try. You have to think outside the box, but then it clicks. I was sad to see that even the Odwalla juices I enjoy so much are made by Coca Cola. Have you ever googled Coca Cola and seen the staggering number of smaller names they have created and/or engulfed? Do you even want to know?

The trademarks listed below are owned or used under license(*) by The Coca-Cola Company and its related affiliates, as of May 31, 2007. These trademarks may be owned or licensed in select locations only. 
 
A&W Ades Alhambra* Ali
Alive Ambasa Andina Fortified Andina Fresh
Andina Frut Andina Nectar Apollinaris Aqua
Aquabona Aquactive Aquarius Aquana Aquarius
Arwa Aybal-Kin    
Bacardi Mixers* Bacardi Premium Mixers* Bankia Barq’s
Beat Beautia Beverly Bibo
Big Crush Big Tai Bimbo Bimbo Break
Bird’s Nest* Bistra Bistrone Bjare
BlackFire Boco Bogadera Bom Bit Maesil
BonAqua/BonAqa BPM Brazzi Bright & Early
Bubbly Burn    
CAFE ZU caffeine free Barq’s caffeine free Coca-Cola caffeine free Diet Coke/Coca-Cola light
Calypso Canada Dry Cannings Cappy
Caprice Carioca Carver’s Cepita
Chaqwa Charrua Chaudfontaine Cheers
cherry Coke Chinotto Ciel Citra
Club Coca-Cola Coca-Cola Black Cherry Vanilla Coca-Cola Blak
Coca-Cola C2 Coca-Cola Citra Coca-Cola with Lemon Coca-Cola with Lime
Coca-Cola with Raspberry Coca-Cola Zero Cocoteen Coke II
Cresta Cristal Crush Crusta
Crystal      
Daizu no Susume DANNON* DASANI DASANI Active
DASANI Balance DASANI Flavors DASANI Nutriwater DASANI Plus
Delaware Punch diet A&W diet Andina Frut/Andina Frut light diet Andina Nectar/Andina Nectar light
diet Barq’s diet Canada Dry diet cherry Coke Diet Coke/Coca-Cola light
Diet Coke Black Cherry Vanilla Diet Coke Citra/Coca-Cola light Citra Diet Coke Plus Diet Coke Sweetened with Splenda
Diet Coke with Lemon/Coca-Cola light with Lemon Diet Coke with Lime/Coca-Cola light with Lime Diet Coke with Raspberry diet Crush
diet Dr Pepper/Dr Pepper Zero diet Fanta/Fanta light/Fanta Zero/Fanta Free diet Freskyta diet INCA KOLA
diet Kia Ora diet Krest diet Lift/Lift light diet Lilt/Lilt Zero
diet Master Pour diet Mello Yello diet Nestea/Nestea light* diet Oasis
diet Quatro/Quatro light diet Schweppes diet Sport diet Sprite/Sprite light/diet Sprite Zero/Sprite Zero
diet Squirt diet Tai/Tai light diet Vanilla Coke Diva
Dobriy Dorna Dr Pepper  
E2 Earth & Sky Eight O’Clock Eight O’Clock Funchum
El Rayek Enviga* Escuis Eva Water
Fanta Far Coast Finley Fioravanti
Fire Five Alive Flavor Rage Fontana
Fresca Fresca 1 Frescolita Freskyta
Fress Frestea* Frisco Frugos
Frugos Fresh Fruit Solutions Fruitia Fruitopia
Fruktime Frutina Frutonic Full Throttle
Full Throttle Blue Demon Full Throttle Sugar Free    
Georgia Georgia Club Georgia Gold Gini
Godiva* Belgian Blends Gold Peak Gold Spot Golden Crush
Goulburn Valley Grapette Groovy Guaraná Kuat light
Guaraná Kuat Zero      
Hajime Hawai Healthworks Heppinger
Hero Hi Spot Hi-C Hires
Hit Horizon Hot Point Huang
Ice Dew INCA KOLA Ipsei Izvorul Alb
Jaz Cola Jericho Jet Tonic Jolly Juice
Joy Joya Just Juice  
Kapo Karada Meguri-Cha Keri Kia Ora
Kilimanjaro Kin Kinley Kiwi Blue
KMX Kochakaden Kola Inglesa Koumi Soukai
Krest Kropla Beskidu Kuat Kuat light
Kuli Kyun    
Lift Lift Plus Lift Plus light Lilt
Limca Limelite Limonade Linnuse
Lion Love Body    
Maaza Mad River Malvern Mare Rosso
Marocha Master Chill Master Pour Matusov Pramen
Mazoe Mello Mello Yello Mer
Mezzo Miami Mickey Mouse* Migoro-Nomigoro
Minaqua Minute Maid Minute Maid Antiox Minute Maid Deli
Minute Maid Duofrutas Minute Maid Fresh Minute Maid Heartwise Minute Maid Juices To Go
Minute Maid Light Minute Maid Mais Minute Maid Nutri+ Minute Maid Soft Drink
Minute Maid Splash Mireille Mone Montefiore
Morning Deli Mother Mr. Pibb Multivita
Nada Nagomi Nalu Namthip
Nanairo Acha Naturaqua Nature’s Own* Nectarin
Nestea* Nestea COOL* Nestle Choglit* Nevada
Neverfail Next Nico Nordic Mist
Northern Neck      
Oasis Odwalla Olimpija Orchy
Paani Pampa Parle Pearona
Peats Ridge Pibb Xtra Pibb Zero Piko
Pilskalna Planet Java* Play Energy Drink Pocket Dr
Poiana Negri Poms Ponkana Pop
Portello POWERADE POWERADE alive POWERADE AQUA +
POWERADE light POWERADE OPTION Powerplay Pulp
Pump      
Qoo Quatro Quwat Jabal  
Ramblin’ Real Gold Red Flash Relentless
Rich Richy Ripe N Ready Riwa
Rosalta Roses Royal Tru Royal Tru light
Safety First Safia Sahtain Samantha
Samurai San Luis Sarsi Saryusaisai
Schweppes Seagrams* Seltz Sensation
Senzao Shizen* Shock Signature
Sim Simba Simply Lemonade Simply Limeade
Simply Orange Smart Sobo Sokenbicha
Solo Sonfil Soonsoo Southern Sun
Sparkle Sparletta Sparletta Iron Brew Splash
Splice Sport Sprite Sprite 3G
Sprite Flavors Sprite ReMix Spur Squirt
Stoney Ginger Beer Sunfill Supa Surge
Sweecha Swerve    
TaB TaB energy TaB X-Tra TADAS
Tai Ten Ren The Wellness From Coca-Cola Thextons
Thums Up Tian Yu Di Tiky Toka
Top Toppur Top’s Tropi
Tropical Turkuaz    
Urge Urun    
Valpre Valser Valser Viva Vanilla Coke
Vault Vault Zero Vegitabeta VICA
Vita Vital Vital O Vitingo
VIVA!      
Wilkin’s Wink Winnie the Pooh*  
Yangguang Yangguang Juicy T Youki

Amazing, huh? I just think its crazy that these companies sell water. They don’t just sell it, they SELL it. Dasani, Aquafina, Evian… it’s WATER. So, yeah, this has quickly turned from “food” file to “rant” file as well. But come ON! I’m glad Safeway has a decent real health food and bulk section. Marketing has turned health food into a joke. I take my mom’s advice and avoid the middle of the grocery store altogether. The only think you need in the middle is frozen stuff, and even then, you must be careful. I get frozen mangos, edamame, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. The fruits are great for mixing your own yogurt. Yoplait? No way! Yucky sugar. Activia? Umm, yogurt already has good bacteria, “Activia” did not suddenly originate it. Its sad how they prey on us, and still lie so much to make a buck.

Enlightening sites I now feel I should share:

http://www.mcspotlight.org/beyond/

http://www.amnesty.org/

http://www.corporations.org/corplist.html#apparel

http://www.ethicalshopper.com/issues/human-rights.html?page=4

http://www.karmabanque.com/

http://www.knowmore.org/

I haven’t been able to find the one site I was getting a lot of good info from- I remember it being badcorp.org or .com or something, but those are both bogus now. The corplist one is pretty much that same site, it just looked better then. 🙂 It is still very informative though! But anyway, as I’ve shared recently, I’m not always all over it when it comes to strict boycotting, but I’m trying to get there. Correct discipline in every area if life brings abundance in other places I believe. So little by little, it will happen.

 

 

 

Maybe my new favorite meal June 1, 2008

Filed under: Food — suzanne turner @ 1:01 am

Actually, easily my new favorite!!  I just whipped up a fantastic, quick light meal I just had to share. I found a great recipe for pesto online, and then made a couple tiny tweaks. I’ve always been a little afraid of pesto being way too garlicky or too herby. This was absolutely perrrrfect. Here’s my modified version:

Broken Lasagna Pesto with Greens

  • 1 cup pine nuts or walnut pieces (I used pine nuts)
  • 2 cups lightly packed basil leaves
  • 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 T milk (I used soy milk)
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese or Italian Blend 
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound whole wheat lasagna noodles, broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 big handful fresh, chopped watercress, arugula or spinach 
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Coarsely chop nuts, garlic and greens.
  2. In a food processor or blender, pulse the nuts with the basil and garlic until finely chopped. With the machine on, add the olive oil and then milk in a thin stream and process until the pesto is almost smooth. Add about half the cheese, then salt and cracked pepper to taste and pulse just until mixed.
  3. Add the broken lasagna noodles to the boiling water and cook until al dente, adding a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Drain the pasta and return the drained pasta to the pot. Add the pesto, greens and toss well. Transfer the pasta to serving plates, sprinkle with cheese, nuts and cracked pepper and a tiny extra squeeze of lemon juice (if you love lemon like I do.)

If you really love garlic, you may want to add more. With one clove, its a very nice, mild flavor. This tastes so fresh, wonderful and authentic. The color is just lovely, and it would sure go nicely with a big salad with a creamy buttermilk dill dressing. If I were feeling really indulgent, I’d add some good bread for dipping in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and herbs and/or whipped butter, and a nice bottle of wine. Bellisima! La dulce vita!!! Joel was up on the glacier today, so I guess I’ll just have to make it again in a few days! Now my mind is running amok- candelight picnic, dark chocolate & port… hmmm. I’ll have to look into this carrying out this plan now. If you’ll excuse me, I have to go research where I can go in Southeast Alaska without mosquitos eating us faster than we eat our dinner.