Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bike, Eat, Bike Some More

I did the NYC Century Bike Tour this weekend.  That's right.  I rode my little ol' bicycle 100 miles around the Big Apple.  Boy, was I hungry.  I packed this:

  • Turkey bologna sandwich with low fat provolone and mayonnaise on a sandwich thin
  • Luna bar
  • Half a bagel with peanut butter and jelly
  • Banana
But, that was not my first meal of the tour.  I had to have a traditional New York breakfast.

I was lucky enough that Mandi, a/k/a The Bike Writer, let me ride along with her and group of friends.  She is the one who took that awesome picture of me triumphantly lifting her friend's bike.    

They also thought an early morning Coney Island hot dog was a well deserved treat after biking 20 miles to Brooklyn.  But after another 30 miles it was time for some real food.

That sandwich really hit the spot and I guzzled about a gallon of water after that.  Back on the bike, fed, and watered.

It was a great ride and I can't believe I actually accomplished it.  Last year I did only 35 miles of the course and I had planned to only ride 55 miles this year.  But when I got to the start at 6:00 a.m. I just figured I'd go for the full Monty.  It also helped immensely to ride with Mandi.  I would have been bored and sad and lonely without someone to talk to through the long flat stretches of road in front of us. 
Photo by Mandi
Until then, I'll just keep on riding.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Good Ideas and Very Bad Ideas

I thought I was so smart. Healthy chocolate in my lunch. Monday I had a somewhat familiar lunch with a volatile twist:
  • turkey salami (the best find ever!), low-fat provolone, light mayo on Trader Joe's sandwich thin/round/flatbread thingy
  • mini salad (mixed greens & bell peppers); I used the dressing I keep in the office fridge
  • fat-free Greek yogurt
  • cubed fart bars
That's right! Stupid fart bars that I bought on a whim in an attempt to make tangy/gritty/sour Greek yogurt more palatable. I've been trying to like Greek yogurt for over a year now and the only way I can stomach it is if there is something super sweet with in in each bite. I usually pour about a gallon of honey on it but loading up on all that sugar kind of defeats the "healthful" benefits. So I saw these:
and thought I'd beat the system. Only 90 calories and all that fiber! Well, friends let me tell you, I fought the law and the law won! These things are so weird and chemicalized that as soon as you eat them your stomach starts to give you what for. There was a rumble in the jungle for HOURS after I ate this thing. And it's not that it's too much fiber in one item because I eat broccoli and oatmeal and other real/natural foods that have at least 5 grams of fiber (the amount in 1 fart bar) and I never feel like a windbag with those. It's the weirdo synthetic fiber they put in these things that make them so awful for human consumption. I bet they just pour heaps and heaps of Metamucil in a big vat of processed oats and chocolate and then shape it into little rectangles and release it into the public. Anyway, rant over. Don't buy these. Breezing on...
I'm still trying to ween myself off the salad habit. Tuesday I indulged in one again. Pretty basic:
  • mixed greens
  • yellow bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans
  • 3 Tbsp fat-free feta (another great find)
  • balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
Not much to say about this guy. Filling, delicious, and crunchy.
Today I went back to the drawing board and gave up on Greek yogurt all together and snazzed up an old stand by:
  • sugar snap peas
  • turkey salami sandwich (like on Monday)
  • watermelon
  • fat-free vanilla yogurt with cocoa powder
So the vanilla yogurt has a lot more sugar than the stupid Greek yogurt, but at least I can swallow it without gagging. But, I decided to gild the lily a bit by trying to make a sort of chocolate dessert with this stuff:
It worked! No extra sugar and it's a nice little treat after eating pretty healthy lunch. I'm liking the sandwich lunches this week. I'll probably stick with them. Unless, that is, I come up with some more brilliant ideas.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Kid On The Block

I have totally succumbed to my salad obsession. This week I ditched all my other usual lunch components and made a "big salad" every day thanks to a fancy new bowl.

As you can see, Ricky had to assure Fred that I wasn't going to abandon my beloved bento all together. Consider this sort of like a summer fling (that came just slightly after summer).
My salads were meatless this week since I've been kind of going overboard with fattening foods lately. I don't really miss meat when I eat salads anyway because I think I'm starting to develop a texture issue/food aversion to "wet meat" so it's better that I keep it out of any potentially wet environments. Basically, I don't like it when my chicken/fish/beef slime gets on my crisp fresh lettuce. I know, I'm weird. I'm working on it!
The basics of these salads are, well, basic:
  • mixed lettuces
  • red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
  • sugar snap peas
  • broccoli florets
  • feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans
  • balsamic vinaigrette dressing
I cook the sugar snap peas and the broccoli for a minute and half in the microwave and then spread them out on a plate and pop them in the fridge for a few minutes to cool off while I chop up the pepper and measure out my salad dressing.

Oh! So, I bought the bowl from this lunch spot called Just Salad because I saw someone else in my office with it. I forgot to bring my lunch one day (it happens) and decided to order one of these fancy NYC salads and have it delivered straight to my office. Ooh la la! Needless to say I was sorely disappointed. The lettuce was all manky because they chopped it up so much that it started to wilt. The vegetables were all soupy and droopy and it cost almost $10! So, I guess I paid for the bowl and the lesson: Don't forget your lunch anymore!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

End of Summer Lovin'

I guess summer is officially over since it's freezing cold today and raining cats and dogs. Last week was glorious and perfect weather and I rode my bike to work every day plus every day on the weekend. Anyway, enough reminiscing on to the food:

This represents another week of daily salads and a little innovation courtesy of a visit to a fancy hotel:
  • mixed greens with canned wild salmon, yellow peppers, and sugar snap peas
  • crispy red grapes
  • fat free Greek yogurt
  • mini pot of strawberry jam to go with the yogurt (genius!)
I had salad so often this summer that I started keeping a bottle of my favorite salad dressing in the refrigerator at work. I also started keeping fresh berries in that fridge to add to my oatmeal packets in the morning. This cut down on me having to carry so many things to work every day.
My fella made a small batch of his awesome barbeque pulled chicken. He normally makes a big pot of it in the slow cooker but he figured out a way to do it on the stove with just 3 chicken breasts that were rattling around in the freezer.
  • sugar snap peas
  • bell pepper with balsamic vinaigrette dipper
  • barbeque pulled chicken
  • watermelon
  • whole wheat sandwich thin
That barbeque sandwich was probably one of the best lunches of August. So much flavor! Hot and hearty!

Here we have an example of a very dull week of lunches. This was last week, that is, the week after the weekend we were cooped up in the apartment waiting for Hurricane Irene to sweep us away. All we did was cook every bit of food in the fridge. I stewed/roasted/canned about 25 pounds of tomatoes from our CSA and we chopped up a whole bunch of other vegetables that were about to go off and I made 2 quiches. Well, we ate quiche every day, twice a day last week.
Oh! We are still doing the CSA and I realized I never took any good pictures of our weekly haul. In the one above we got lots of tomatoes, corn, green bell peppers, little plums, summer squash/zucchinis, a red onion and a leek. That's a lot of fresh food for just 2 lonesome souls. And even though we love cooking and do cook a lot, it's kind of overwhelming and burdensome to have to come up with new ways to cook this stuff up. We kind of end up making the same things over and over again. I think we cook anything that uses the most vegetables in one dish (soups, stews, chilly, quiches, omelets, etc.)

Last week we got a whole bunch of peaches. Now, normal people would just eat fresh peaches and say, "Hooray, fresh peaches. Viva summer!" But I have developed ANOTHER allergy and can't eat any stone fruit unless I want my eyes to itch and my throat to close. So, poor me. The weird thing is that I can eat frozen peaches once they thaw out. So I read up on this allergy and it has something to do with the chemical composition of the fruit being the same as certain pollens and...blah blah blah. The point is, I can't eat the fruit raw. Again, for normal people this wouldn't be that much of big deal because they can just put the fruit in a pie. For me, cooked fruit is the stuff of nightmares. It's so slimy and sloppy and mushy and just plain gross. I still, to this day, have never eaten so much as a sliver of apple pie or cherry pie. It's also the combination of cooked fruit and "wet bread" together that gives me the creeps. I know pie crust in not really bread, but the part that touches the cooked fruit gets soggy and mushy and makes me want to cry. Ok, I was trying to make this a short, sweet, triumph of the will story so here is the payoff:
I made and ATE a peach crumble!!! It is cooked fruit and a crispy crumbly topping that does, indeed, touch the cooked fruit and get a little soggy. But I ate it. It helps that there is a ton of sugar and melted butter in there. Anyway, the point is that I lived to tell the tale. I have been to the mountaintop!!