Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Cleanse (Day 5 & 6)

Day 5: Nothing really spectacular, feeling a bit better, getting the hang of this & feel like I've been doing it forever. Frankly I'm on a bit of a high, I'm spaced out & a bit tired half the day but on the flip side I don't have the energy to get cranky.

Strange & possibly horrible happening today, the coffee my husband made today smelled very very bad for some reason, no longer that aromatic attraction seducing my nasal cavity --- somehow it just smelled wrong.

After looking at how long it's going to take to get back to eating "normal" food again, I think I'm gonna call it quits tomorrow. I've got to start packing in earnest for our coming move. I'll need to back out the same way I got into this. By going back to freshly squeezed juice for 2 days & then wrapping up day 2 with a vegetable soup. (I'm scheming already)

Day 6: Good thing I'm stopping tomorrow because I'm out of lemons & frankly don't have the energy to get up & go walking in the rain for some more. The girls came home from Camp tonight & their energy level is making my lack of it painfully obvious.

Today I made cookies with the kids (to give to my friendly friends who took Mr 3# for a few days). This must've been the first time I've done it without snitching. Seemed odd, but then....really....all cookie batter practically tastes the same, doesn't it?

Did my last SWF tonight....Glory be! I feel the pain of some of my sibs who suffer from IBS. You poor poor things! I lova lova you!

As you can see my ability to post a string of intelligent sentences is slipping quickly from my grasp so I'm just gonna bail & see you when I'm a "normal" again!

3 Cheers for Detoxing!!!

(a tinsy part of me just can't wait to drink beer & see how cheap of a drunk I'll be NOW!!)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Cleanse (Day 3 & 4)

Day 3: Being busy all day with your kids doesn't leave much time to really notice that you're surviving on about 900cal of fluid. I'm not sure if it's the freedom from a lack of preoccupation with food (not that I think about it all day long) or it could be that I don't have much energy but I find that I'm spending a lot more time just hanging out with my kids instead of running around like crazy doing.....stuff. (let's you & I pretend that laundry doesn't exist)

Today's moment of massive food tease came when I made my husband a ramen. All my craving was thrown into the making of that baby (dang, he better have loved it). Miso lamen with two eggs, pile of moyashi, 4 sheets of nori, plie of negi, and 2 garlics sliced & fried crisp in goma oil with freshly ground black pepper. "Sigh no more lady, Sigh no more!"

I'm noticing a kind of achy feeling in the bones of my upper back when I walk up the stairs & frankly by the end of the day I had a naaaaasty head ache but somehow exhaustion took over.

Day 4: I woke up & made waffles, cheese omelets & tomato/basil salad for breakfast and somehow survived.

An unexpected intense craving came upon me suddenly when I had to feed my 1 yr old an onigiri & I so very much wanted to have just one bite of that white white rice.

My DH's mixture of amusement & curiosity has it's annoying moments. He's taken to calling me "Maple Syrup Lady". And repeatedly forgets & asks me if he should make me a plate at meals. His morbid fascination with the SWF has lost it's humor by day 4. Boys will be boys!

In researching today is supposed to be or begin the peak of physical discomfort as your body is seriously flushing your body of toxins. And I concur....that ache in my bones is jarring every step I take now, I'm all stuffy like I have a cold, my tounge is white (grosso), and I'm expecting pretty much anything awful right about now.

Considering stopping the Cleanse earlier than 10 days as I don't think I'll have the energy needed to keep track of the kids & start packing in earnest. Plus I'm not wanting to loose too much weight & it seems like it's going pretty fast. Might settle for 6 or 7 days, in time for the girls coming home from their camp.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Cleanse Day 1 & 2 (Lemonade time)

Day 1: Today wasn't as hard as I expected. Frankly it might be the "morbid" factor of me but I was mighty curious about how the Salt water flush (SWF) would go so I did it in the morning. Piece of cake....well....not really. Worst part is chugging a whole liter of salt water but now I know what they mean when they say drinking ocean water will make you sick. :) Any one living near the beach want a clean digestive tract you know where to go.

Most trying moments...dealing with left over food & feeding the little guys. I have come to realize I am the human garbage disposal any food that needs to be taken care of automatically ends up being eaten by me.

Day 2: I feel like the impulsive "hunger" is leaving though I can't believe how distinct each food's aroma is to me. One whiff & I can systematically categorize the memory of taste, texture & palette of that one piece of food. When I get through with this I know I'm going to savor each bite of food so much slower.

I'm starting to notice that I'm suffering from that syndrome that has no name but strikes me often when I'm preggo.....SPACE CASE BRAIN FREEZE -- I think it's called? Forgetting basic words has caused one too many incomplete incoherent sentences.

Physically, I feel OK but a bit slow & tired for sure. But I'm taking into account that I'm not drinking any coffee & home alone with 6 kids & trying to help my 3 oldest get ready for camp & staying over at friends -- what did I expect.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Cleanse (Ease in Day 1 & 2)

So...the time has better time than the present

I personally find it easier to just jump into things that are unpleasant & just get it over with. (Case in point: Poo diapers! Why let it simmer while you get up the know?)

Apparently, though it seems to be easier to sorta slide into giving your digestive system a break instead of doing that "last supper" routine where you gorge yourself on your favorite Jumbo cup lamen wash it down with a tall beer or two & your favorite crunch munchie snack from the 100Y store. Thus the term "ease in". Which frankly still gives me a bit of the heebies....but whatever.

In case you're into this sort of thing, a lurker, a faithful follower (bless your gullible hearts) or you naughties who simply wanna see me crack like a watermelon over this. I'll try to put up a little something about each day.

Ease in Day 1:

This was basically a vegan diet for a day, raw fruits & veggies. Not bad because I had a lot of variety due to DH's shopping the day before. Bad news was he happened to be feeling in the mood to bring home a load of snackies. I wonder how much of a problem it's going to be to see them in the cupboard everyday & a couple of chu-hi's in the fridge.

To be honest, I had a NASSSTY head ache nearly all day but since I'm pretty sure it's from not drinking any coffee I just ignored it all together. I deliberately made a massive salad & ate to my hearts content but making dinner wasn't as easy as easy as I thought it would be honestly. I'm in the habit of being very generous with the term "TESTING" the food. I think it could border on grazing. And when I'm spaced out my right hand doesn't seem to know that my left hand is about to pop a piece of dinner in my mouth.

Ease in Day 2:

Today I'm just drinking 3 l of orange/grapefruit juice & as much water as I want. It's actually quite interesting that I think I can already tell the difference between hunger in my stomach & craving in my soul. Unfortunately there seems to be more of the latter. But as long as my stomach is full it's not too bad. Being in the kitchen is actually not that bad since I make myself look at cooking pretty scientifically, each item of food is just an object needed to complete the process.

Thankfully I only had a hint of a headache today & feel a lot less hopeless feeling than yesterday. Tomorrow is Day 1 on the 'real deal' & I'm actually feeling quite positive about it.

That's it for now.....catch me if I don't shrivel up into a little lemon tomorrow! Ciao

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Benny was a Pup!

In loving memory of Benny/Bean/Mr. Fern/Friendly Fern/Stinky Bean

Benny was a pup
And a little pup was he
With fuzzy yellow furries
As cute as he could be

He lived down the road
In a house not far away
And when we'd go to see him this is what he'd say

Ruff Ruff (ruff ruff)
It seemed he always knew
The way that I was feeling
His love was always true

And when I was feeling sad
He always made me glad with a ruff (ruff ruff)

He was like my best friend
And after school or play
Benny would be waiting
To sniff me every day

I'd take him in a sanpo
And I'd give him a snack
I'd tell him all my secrets & he would answer back

One day Mr. Fern-guy got sick
And though I tried
To make him feel better
Mr. Benny died

But I see my Mr. Benny
When I go to bed & pray
He's playing up in Heaven
I'll be with him there some day

We love you Benny....we're glad you're happy now.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cookie Time: Pistachio Cookies

Been awhile since I actually took the time to photograph something I made. Perhaps it's just the soon coming adjustments I'll be making but I've been itching to make something with pistachios for awhile now. It's mainly because of this wonderful business:

This my friends is pistachio butter, given to me by my fantastic friend, Kari. I'm slightly ashamed to say all I've done with it until now is snitch from the jar & spread a little on some left over tortillas (don't ask me what possessed me to do that!) It's very much the same consistancy of goma paste. And it has the most unbelievable nutty flavor almost like.....I dunno......say....PISTACHIOS, maybe! (Been a long day & I'm running out of adjectives!)

So....I scrounged around & threw all hopes of finding a reliable recipe to the wind & do what amaturs do best....totally freaking wingin' it. I took from a little of this & a little of that. And if you must know, the product wasn't half bad.

Here's what I did:

Creamed together 1/3 c of shortning, 3 tbsp of pistachio butter & 1/2 c of both brown & white sugar.

I put together my "drys" in another bowl & whisked them to mix: 1 c flour, 1/4 tsp b. soda, 1/2 tsp b. powder & a few shakes of salt (I could've stood to add more salt in hindsight)

I then proceeded to add a tbsp of my much loved & cherished sexy friend Disaronno. (aww-ka-pooow!)
Mixed the dry in with the wet & it kneaded with my hand till it was well blended. Rolled into a log. :) (Sorry, can't type that, w/o getting a bit pre-schoolish) Wrapped in wax paper & set it in the freezer for 1/2 an hr. Meanwhile I preheat the oven to 200c (400f).

Cut the dough into 1/4" slices & topped with roughly chopped shelled pistachios. Loaded them onto wax paper and start handing over the snitches of cookie dough to the kids for dear life before there's an ugly "Kitchen coup".

Baked for approximately 6-8 min & cooled immidiately on a wire rack.

And there you have it. Not half bad tasting if I do say so myself. The consistancy was closer to shortbread than cookie but that's fine for me. I probobly could've stood to put....I dunno an egg yolk? But then maybe that would've turned it a bit too cakey. And I'm sure if I had used butter instead of shortning the texture wouldn't have been as flakey. Call me old school but the little brown sugar lumps that wouldn't be smashed were like little drops of caramel goodness in there & I was a happy camper. (even though my 3 year old dumped my ice coffee in the sink so she could drink water from my glass!!)

Yes Sir, somethings put a smile on my face & make my little world go round!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Can I?

There are a million and one things I could say to preface this but let's just say it's what I gotta do.

I've always wanted this blog to be a happy food loving place. Somewhere I could post my findings, record my favorite recipes & kitchen successes & failures & a little of my daily life too. (though a little less of the latter).

Let's be honest, I'm all about the foodies! Could it be a byproduct of needing to keep a family of 6 active kids & one DH with a voracious appetite fed? Maybe. Could it be that I have an inclination to be indulgant? I've never been one to skimp on the goodness if a recipe says slather with butter, I'm it's ALL about the butter!! If it says, "will go great with Naan bread" I'm gonna go build a clay tandoor in my backyard. Whatever the reasons, I'm glad I love to be in the kitchen & I'm not ashamed of it.

There is another facet of my foodie life that I need to stop & ponder for a moment. Face the facts with me for a moment if you will: I've been pregnant & or nursing since I was 17. There has been the occasional 1 month break between stopping nursing & getting pregant but that's about 11 years.

What this means is that for 9 months I'm eating what I want (or get outta the way for an angry preggo), and then the next year & 1/2 I'm nursing I'm eating what I want & defying every law of gravity & everything they told you in Health class about metabolism. I was a Snacking Superhero. My super-power being, I could eat non-stop ALL DAY LONG! (I know some of you nursing mom's know what I'm talking about closet snackers, you!!) choosing the heighest in carbs & protien foods & sadly at times not the healthiest food choices either, and all that would happen was that the weight would come off. (repeat this process 6 times & we end up here!!)

I've realized now that I am neither nursing nor preggo that I have a sad & somewhat addicted lifestyle of eating almost soley for pleasure rather than for nutritional value. And it doesn't stop at the food, I don't think so. I'm not too trusty with the drink either...alcohol & caffine are both old buddies of mine. And though I've found that my body has balanced itself out to a pretty normal weight, my eating habits are a bit of a concern to me. I have to face that my eating rules go a little something like this: "EAT IT ALL......NOW.....BEFORE THE KIDS WAKE UP......YIPPIE!!" or equally sad, "DRINK IT NOW........BECAUSE THE KIDS ARE ASLEEP...YIPPIE!!". Yeah, I know, not the coolest.

So, not surprisingly the thought of doing some kind of "detox" has been more & more appealing to me over the last few months.

Now, hopefully without offending, I must be clear and say that I've never been one to think much of diets or dieting. Also since I've always easily lost weight I've never been interested in weight loss either. Don't get me wrong, I'm always shocked with the self control some people have. But I've just never found it within myself. Besides, looking in the fridge over & over again is just too much fun of a habit to give up. (hmmm) But the thought of toxins building up in my body after years & years of virtual carefree grazing is just too horrible a thought to ignore. The thought of having a clean digestive tract just seems sooo wonderful. Doesn't it? Come to think about it, it's something I love about sqeaky clean newborns, their breath is clean because their whole body is free of any food & polutants. Sigh!!

So I'm a little mortified to be saying it but I'm going to be doing the what's come to be known as the "Master cleanse" or "lemonade diet". For anyone who doesn't know that's basically consisting of only drinking a mixture of lemon, cayanne pepper, maple syrup & water throughout the day for 10 days. Along with doing what's called a salt water flush daily(consisting of drinking a liter of salt water in one shot & you can imagine the

I'm not sure if I wanna be posting my experience but hopefully it'll be a good one. I'm really not in anyway trying to advertise or condone fasting, dieting or detoxing. I know it's just right for me right now for a few reasons: 1) I'm not nursing, 2) It's not "birthday season" 3) My TMJ syndrome has flaired up so badly that it's painful to eat anyway.

I'm planning on starting sometime around the 25 or 26th of May. I'm imagining it's not going to be the easiest as if you know me at all....I'm a real wuss when it comes to self control. And since I'll still have to be shopping & cooking I'll be facing a lot of yummy looking opposition.

So...that's it. We'll see how it goes & if I'm capable of posting anything related to food w/o munching on my screen. Catch you later!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

For the love of Breaky!

Been awhile since we had a big breakfast truth is the oldest 3 kids have been making breakfast basically every morning. And it seems to be a much coveted job. (They do it in pairs). This morning I decieded I started making breakfast & enjoyed it thoroughly. After all there's something to celebrate.

The harvesting of the first basil & Italian parsely. Glory Be!!

Hey you should try this one. Serve your eggs with tomatoes heavily drenched in EV olive oil, dash of red wine or sherry vinegar, & generous amount of course ground sea salt. Now pair the two together in a bite & you can practically believe the egg is a soft mozzarella. Don't forget to soak up your tomato sauce with some hot toast. Go on & try it.

Hope you enjoy your cool mornings now before summer comes & steals it away.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Proof of life...there's a point (wait for it)

So, thanks to my DH & self sufficient gang of "naughties", tonight I've given leave & been marching around old stomping grounds (like places I hung out when I was 11) with a beer in one hand & a permanent smirk affixed to my face & honestly I can't help but wonder what all the fuss is about "Mother's Day".

I hope it's not offensive to say, I always get a little creeped out by corny poems & flowery business as the primary way to express affection for one's mother. Doesn't it kinda send the wrong signals? Are you supposed to like poems & flowers when you become a mother? Similar to when you go to a maternity clothing store & see hidious knee length dresses in ugly pokadot patterns. Does being pregnant suddenly give you a raging desire to wear the ugliest clothes ever?? I'm hoping this is just a "Japan" thing.

As for me, I'm perfectly happy with a night off and a good beer or two.

OK, so point being this. As far as I'm concerned mother's day should (in my opinion) be renamed "Universal Belly Button Day"! Yeah, you heard it here first. Spread it like wild fire.

I mean, really what is a belly button but proof that some lady somewhere was in pain for you. And no matter what your relationship to that lady might be presently....I think anyone who goes through something like that for you deserves their own "day", don't you think?

So take a moment if you will to pull up your shirt & take a look at that funky looking thing probably need to clean out a little lint anyway. Chances are if you have have a mother and if nothing else take a moment to contemplate what kind of crazy person would grunt out something like you? You & I both know, only your mama would!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Peanut Butter Torte

I finally got a chance to try out this torte at our birthday party for all the little Aries kids.

This tasty was for the mommies & the daddies who nursed a coffee in one hand, nursed a baby in the other & stuffed a bite of THIS baby in between.

The best thing about making this was the fact that Peter (a genuine French man) grabbed my arm & muttered to me in his soothing French accent about how his "Mama" would make him a similar Chocolate Torte & this took him back, "Ow, did you make iiit?". That just warmed my heart!

This has all the elements of adult tasty goodness, it's rich, creamy, nutty & certainly got a bit of an edge with the bitter chocolate ganache. So if you want something new to try for a birthday, try it!!

So, Peter, this is how I made it. Though I didn't follow the recipe word for word (I'll show my changes in Blue) it still turned out great for me. For anyone who cares this is another Dorie Greenspan recipe.

Thanks for the pics Merch!

PS. If anyone thinks this recipe doesn't make very many servings (it says 6-8), you've got to be kidding. It's much too rich for more than a small slice with a good cup of coffee.

Peanut Butter Torte

1 ¼ c. finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping) I only ended up using about 3/4 a c.

2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ c. mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi sweet chocolate)

24 Oreo (or other brand) cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender (I just used cookies from the 100Y store & added 3 tbsp cocoa to give it more color)
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt (I skipped this)

2 ½ c. heavy cream (Don't skimp on the cream, I did accidentally & mixed 1/2 milk 1/2 cream for the ganache....BIG BOO nearly curdled!)
1 + ¼ c (114 g + 28 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted (I don't remember now, but I didn't use quite that much sugar at all I believe I only used 1/4 c for the cream & 1/2 c for the cream cheese)
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ c (385 g) salted peanut butter –- crunchy or smooth (not natural; I use Skippy) (So DID I!!)
2 tablespoons whole milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (The bitter, the better!)

Getting ready:
center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Springform pan and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. (I just buttered my springform pan, gotta keep it simple)

Toss ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chops together in a small bowl. Set aside. (I ended up not adding any peanuts to this partially because I didn't read the recipe correctly but also I was using crunchy P.B. so I figured we could do w/o the extra crunch)

Put the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape the cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl, fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment if you have one, or continue with the hand mixer, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, ¼ cup of the chopped peanuts and the milk.

Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Scrape the mouse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.

Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.

Bring the remaining ½ cup cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and , working with a a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.

Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining ½ cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, about 20 minutes.

When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the Springform pan; it’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel damped with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.