Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Becoming (a little more) Paranoid

For seven days, I have committed to chronicling all of my meals here. This is Day Two.

For genetic reasons, I suffer from mild paranoia. And this little project is only feeding into that. I mean, you try it some time. Keep a public food diary and see if you don't start looking over your shoulder every time you take a bite.

Big Brother is watching.

Honestly, it makes your food taste different. And to cap it off, I miscalculated my veggie needs when I was at the market on Saturday, and I am going to run out of locally-grown produce by dinner tonight. The same thing happened last year immediately following the end of the CSA season. After becoming accustomed to receiving such a vast quantity of veggies in each week's box and supplementing that with a few things from the farmer's market, I found it difficult at first to get back into the habit of buying a week's worth of produce solely from the market. Well, that, and I didn't take quite enough cash with me last Saturday. And we have an extra four people at the dinner table these days. So yeah, excuses, excuses.

I realized early Tuesday that I was going to run out of produce, so I jumped on the computer to make an order with Athens Locally Grown, essentially an online farmer's market whereby you place your order on their website from what is listed as available and then pick it up a few days later. Orders are taken on Monday and Tuesday, and pickup is a small window of time late on Thursday afternoon. This was my first time ordering from them, mainly due to the inconvenience of the pickup time, and I committed a major error in waiting until Tuesday when many items had already been snapped up by people who plan better than I do. So I missed out on the Swiss chard that I wanted, along with eggs and apples (grrrr). I won't make that mistake again next week. The variety of offerings is vast and downright lovely, and I was even able to order some dairy products. If this works out for us, I can see doing this on a weekly basis in addition to the farmer's market during the CSA off-season. Details to come, of course...

Anyhow, what this does mean is that I had to go to the supermarket yesterday and buy organic mushrooms, bell peppers and spinach from much further away than I would have preferred. Now where did I leave that wet noodle I flogged myself with last time?

For those who want to hold me to a higher standard, here is Tuesday's food diary:

BREAKFAST: 2 cups Cafe Choco Andes coffee with organic vanilla soymilk; big bowl of Heritage whole grain flake cereal with unsweetened soymilk. I'm beginning to see a pattern here.

MORNING SNACK: Cherry-banana smoothie (recipe below)

LUNCH: Leftover orzo salad from Monday

LATE AFTERNOON ADDICTION: homemade cappucino made with Cafe Choco Andes coffee and organic vanilla soymilk

DINNER: Baked macaroni and cheese (recipe below), crispy flattened potatoes (speaking of patterns...), and brussels sprouts cockaigne (made with frozen mass-market brussels sprouts)

EVENING SNACK: Stove-popped popcorn (creature of habit, I know, I know)

LATE EVENING ADDICTION: 2 (okay, 3) Edy's strawberry fruit bars


SMOOTHIE (makes the perfect amount for one adult and one small- to mid-sized child)

  • 1 cup yogurt - we prefer to use Silk vanilla soy yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen fruit
  1. Put all 3 ingredients in a blender and whir away until everything has been pureed. You may have to stop the blender a time or two and shake things up so that all the fruit can get to the blade. Under no circumstances should you take off the lid and start poking at the mixture with a metal knife while the blender is running (like my mother did).


MACARONI AND CHEESE (adapted from Joy of Cooking, serves 4 or so as an entree)

  • 8 oz whole-wheat penne
  • 1 large or 2 small leeks, sliced thinly (I got this idea from an episode of Bones, of all places)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 1/4 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (note: cheese is not yellow by natural circumstances)
  • 2 Tbs salted butter (not margarine, not oleo)
  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour (I have tried using whole-wheat flour with disastrous results; stick to the plain old white kind)
  • 2 cups whole milk (soy milk adds a very off flavor to the dish; stick with regular cow milk)
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp whole-grain mustard
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (made from stale baguette or from a few slices of whole wheat bread that has been cooked at 200 degrees for a couple hours until crispy; run bread through food processor until crumby)
  1. Cook noodles in large pot of heavily salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Add the olive oil to a small skillet and saute the leeks over medium heat until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt 2 Tbs butter.
  4. Whisk the flour into the melted butter and cook, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes.
  5. Gradually whisk the milk into the flour-butter mixture.
  6. Stir in the leeks, onion, bay leaf, paprika and mustard.
  7. Simmer gently, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes, until thick and bubbly.
  8. Remove from the heat and stir in 2/3 of the cheese.
  9. Season with salt (about 1/2 tsp) and pepper (about 1/4 tsp). Taste and adjust if necessary.
  10. Stir in the cooked pasta.
  11. In a greased 1 1/2 quart baking dish, pour in half of the mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 remaining cheese.
  12. Top with remaining noodle mixture, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  13. In a small skillet over medium heat, melt that last Tbs of butter.
  14. Add breadcrumbs to melted butter and toss to coat.
  15. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over top of macaroni.
  16. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until breadcrumbs are lightly browned and casserole is bubbly at the edges.


monica said...

Just curious. Does your baby eat much of the same things you eat? I am a vegetarian, and I have a difficult time getting my fussy 15 month old son to eat many different things. I'm still nursing as well, but table foods are a nightmare.

Sarah Beam said...

Monica, I have been fortunate that both of my children were adventurous eaters as babies. Last night, the 10-month old gorged herself on a frittata and then shoveled handfuls of orzo salad into her mouth. However, my four year-old became very finicky sometime around his second birthday, and it has been a struggle. I had to get very creative with him, like letting him dunk his green beans in ketchup (green bean fries) and buying dried strawberries and calling them gummy fruits. It can be frustrating, to be sure. Hang in there, and don't forget that annoying old axiom that it can take 10-15 exposures before a child will accept a new food.