Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Usual Suspects

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

I like to think of myself as being well-rounded and interesting, but I'm beginning to think I've been fooling myself all this time. Honestly, I'm as predictable as they come. Like clockwork every day, I drink my two cups of coffee (not one, not three, but two - exactly two). Most mornings, I have cereal for breakfast. Sure, sometimes I throw caution to the wind and, you know, have cheese toast. Then I'll have the previous night's dinner leftovers for lunch, and follow that with a mid-afternoon cappuccino. I'm not at all sure why I thought keeping an online food diary for seven days would make for stimulating and fascinating reading. Frankly, I could just cut and paste each day's breakfast and lunch and save us all the trouble.

Maybe I can find redemption in the dinner menus (and hope that no one notices I served yet another grain with feta and garbanzos and fresh herbs).

Oh, to be fair, I suppose this was a most absurd week to embark on this project anyhow, since I'm being much less creative in an effort to please the palates of the houseguests, and not all of my usual menus work well with such a crowd. Or I could just break down and admit that we eat a lot of garbanzos around here. They're delicious really, in case your household doesn't cook a pound of them a week, and they serve as an ideal source of "meaty" protein for vegetarians. I toss them into green salads and grain salads, chilis and other bean soups, make hummus with them, and even snack on them by themselves (Little Miss Piggy loves them plain). And, if you haven't tried garbanzos before, obviously I have a plethora of recipes this week that use them.

Here is Day Three's thrill-a-minute food diary:

BREAKFAST: 2 cups of Cafe Choco Andes coffee with organic vanilla soymilk (a shocker, I'm sure); big, huge, ginormous bowl of organic Banana Nut Rainforest Crisp cereal with unsweetened soymilk

MID-MORNING NERVE CALMING RITUAL: cup of organic Mother's Milk herbal tea (to promote healthy lactation - just bear with me here)

FIRST LUNCH: leftover Crispy Flattened Potatoes (can you believe there were leftovers?) and Brussels Sprouts Cockaigne

SECOND LUNCH (it was one of those days): leftover Orzo with Garbanzos (there they are again)

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

DINNER: Frittata with wild rice, feta and pecorino romano cheeses, organic mushrooms, peppers from my mother's garden, and garlic and onions from the farmer's market; and Spicy Couscous with Garbanzos (recipe below)

EVENING SNACK: Stove-popped popcorn (like clockwork)

LATE EVENING ADDICTION: Edy's Strawberry Fruit Bars (of course)

Does anyone want to guest blog tomorrow's food diary? I'm sure it's fairly obvious what I'll be eating. Maybe we should just cut this little exercise short and go back to our regularly scheduled programming...


SPICY COUSCOUS WITH GARBANZOS (serves 6 as a side dish)
This is a nice variation on the usual rice side dish, and can be made ahead of time.
  • 1/3 cups slivered almonds
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 oz white wine
  • 2 cups whole wheat couscous
  • 1 Tbs olive oil, plus 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups garbanzo beans
  • 2 tsps fresh parsley or basil (or a combo of the two), chopped
  • 3 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tsp or so of hot sauce (like Tabasco, Texas Pete or Valentino)
  • salt, to taste
  1. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast in a 325 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth and wine to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in couscous and set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. In a skillet, heat 1 Tbs olive oil over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic, and saute for about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent and pepper is tender.
  4. In a large serving bowl, combine the almonds, couscous, sauteed vegetables, garbanzos, herbs, feta, hot sauce and 1/4 cup olive oil.
  5. Taste and add salt if needed, more hot sauce if desired, and more olive oil if texture is too dry.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Morgan's Mom said...

Don't sell yourself short! I'm getting great new ideas for garbonzo beans :)

Tudu said...

I am finding this very interesting. In fact, I have decided to make an appointment to see the doctor b/c I eat about a third of what you eat and consider myself fairly active but am not skinny by any stretch of the imagination. I have been steadily gaining weight for years. The kids commented just a few weeks ago that I hardly eat, there has got to be something wrong.

You and your Mother have inspired me to eat less meat and grow our own fruits and veggies.

Sarah Beam said...

Morgan's Mom - I'm glad to hear someone is interested in these garbanzo bean recipes. I had no idea I ate so many of them until I started writing it down.

Tudu - it is wonderful you are eating less meat, and downright fabulous to hear you are growing your own produce. I have no education in nutrution science (other than reading up on it for years on my own), but I hold a pretty firm belief that diet sodas and other processed foods with artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain. It is counter-intuitive, for sure, to think a diet product would actually sabotage a diet, but I think it has been proven enough times now that eating whole foods helps to maintain weight, while eating processed foods and other "fake" food items leads to weight gain.