Tag Archives: pumpkin

Caring About Sharing

It seems that sudden changes bring on a whole lot of noticing.  Maybe it’s the data-nerd I was brought up to be by my father, or just that I notice food-related things, but changing how I operate food-wise has made me think a lot about how I would be operating if nothing had changed.

This past week contained my birthday, and so there was more socializing.  It is a well-established social phenomenon that human gatherings center around food more often than not.  On this elimination diet there is nothing that prevents me from eating when I gather with friends and family.  However, I am often not eating the same dishes as everyone else, and it feels different.

There is something about having the same foods that you have chosen to nourish your own body be the same foods that are nourishing those you love.  If we want to get symbolic: it is as if the building blocks that I am consuming to become a part of me are the same building blocks that are becoming a part of you, and so by sharing the same food we are building a (hopefully) delicious bridge between us.  We are becoming closer together not only in this experience we share, but in the very material we are made of.  If this is too hippie (or creepy?) of a concept for you, let’s just back up and imagine the difference between a lunch table where each individual brings their own brown bag filled with food that only he or she will experience, and a lunch with dishes of food being passed around and shared, where nourishment comes from a common source.  The intimacy of sharing not just the space you are eating in, but also the food you are eating, cannot be denied.

I am grateful for this time I have apart from the communal eating experience, to appreciate the role it plays in the non-elimination life I normally lead.  It has also added another dimension to the culinary challenge — can I make things that my friends and family, who can generally enjoy any taste they please, would be happy to share with me?  Not pity share, but share because it’s just as good as the cheese they could be eating.

For my family birthday celebration, I made a roasted cauliflower dish with a pumpkin sauce my housemate, Meredith, made up during our first week as a ‘cheesy’-sauce-substitute for (quinoa) noodles.  It is velvety and savory, and while no one would mistake it for cheese, it fills the creamy comfort shoes quite well.  I roasted cauliflower, then topped it with the sauce (made of sautéed onions, thyme, salt, pepper, pumpkin puree, and olive oil), chopped parsley for brightness, and toasted pumpkin seeds for crunch.

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And then, the ultimate challenge – a birthday cake with no chocolate (or gluten or eggs or refined sugar…).

I decided to base it on a sticky toffee pudding, since it already features dates, which are allowed in the elimination diet.  I found a recipe that was already gluten, dairy and egg-free, and altered it so that the only sweeteners were the dates and some honey (instead of maple syrup), substituted almond milk for the coconut milk, and un-dairy-freed it a little by using ghee instead of ‘buttery spread’ (ghee is okay on the ED because the milk solids have been removed).  Mer used her gluten-free baking expertise to replace the tapioca flour/potato starch combo with a tapioca flour/arrowroot powder combo, and lo and behold it was good.

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Super good.

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It may not be quite in line with the ‘honey (in moderation)’ specifications we should be aiming for, but if there’s any time to not really break the rules but kind of nudge at them a little, it’s your birthday.  At the end of the day, I had a cake I could share.  AND I didn’t even notice I wasn’t eating chocolate =)

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Marathon Day

A first marathon is something that can only happen once.  Okay, obviously.  But it was a significant first for me, a milestone (haha?) that has been at the back of my mind for the past few years.

I usually imagined it like the pictures in the running magazines: roads, crowds, costumes, Gatorade, bagels…  What I got yesterday, though, was a simpler and perhaps more pure incarnation of the event.  We ran next to trees on a trail that used to be a railroad bed, the view occasionally opening to a small river.  There were about 450 people running, and it seemed like even fewer to me, but I’m not a good judge of quantity.  It was an out and back course, which was very useful mentally; once you hit the turn-around it feels like counting down the miles rather than adding them on.

I actually found the first half more frustrating than the second half.  I was trying to pace myself because I had no idea what to expect for miles 20 through 26.2.  My stride didn’t feel totally smooth and I actually started to get a little ache in one of my hip flexors, which has never happened before.  But as soon as I turned around and felt like I had license to start moving, the kinks started to work themselves out and the juices started flowing.  At that point, I had also just finished my caffeinated gel (chosen for the flavor variety it provided rather than its caffeine content… gel-picking gets complicated), which might have helped with the juice-boost, but it lasted for the 2nd two hours, so I’m thinking it was more runner’s high than caffeine high 🙂  I actually felt absolutely fabulous from mile 14 through 21, and then just a little less than fabulous from 21 to 26, when the quad-pounding came into play.  I think the tightness in my quads actually helped me keep the pace up, because it forced me to think about my form and the movement of my legs.  If I pictured myself moving efficiently and aligned my body according to that image, my legs hurt less and I ran faster.  Or at least, that was what I told myself, which is all that really counts because it kept me pushing!    By mile 25 I was ready to be done, but at that point what’s another mile?  It really was a rush, and I loved it.

Okay, enough with the runner gushing. I promise this is still mostly a food blog.

I didn’t take any pictures of the food I ate.   Bonnie and Chris came and met me at mile 20, then stuck around for the finish, and we went to California Pizza Kitchen with my parents after.  It made the day at least 7 times better to have them with me, probably more… Thank you so much for being there!  And of course my parents… the most enthusiastic and supportive long-distance-running-event-spectator parents I ever did see 🙂  Chris left after lunch, and the rest of us got gelato.  In the restaurant I had been watching some close-by kids eat sundaes and thus developed a need for one of my own.  I got a 2 scoop sundae with bacio (chocolate hazelnut: SO good) and tiramisu (which tasted chemically to me; I don’t know if it was due to their attempt to mimic some sort of marsala flavor in there?  It didn’t work for me, though…) which totally hit the spot, even after splitting it with my dad.

I have lots of pictures of food from today, including a Butternut Squash, Mushroom, and Sundried Tomato Lasagna my mom and I made… but I’m done in front of the screen.  My brain is making a very convincing case for sleep.

To prevent a photoless and minimally fooded post, here’s today’s breakfast:

Pumpkin oats, cranberry sauce, pear, walnuts, Toasted Almond Squares (crushed), and coffee flavor Brown Cow yogurt.

With a simple green smoothie: spinach/banana/pear.  I especially like to have green smoothies the day after a long run because I feel like the antioxidants and vitamins are going into my muscles and doing repair work.

And here’s what happened after I finished the first layer of toppings…

Peanut butter and pomegranate seeds.

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Sneakfast

What’s this?

If you answered a jar of  peanut butter, I don’t blame you.  But it’s just a confusing coincidence that my soaked oats with pumpkin are the exact same color as peanut butter.

Why am I eating my pumpkiny oats out of a peanut butter jar?

Well, this jar isn’t just holding my breakfast, it’s contributing to it!  The best thing to do with a jar of nut butter when it’s down to the scrapings (or almost scrapings) is to eat cereal out of it.  As you eat, you get little randomly-sized smears of nut butter in the bites where your spoon encounters the surface of the jar.

I first tried this in college when I read about making oatmeal in a jar of nut butter scrapings (add oats, water/milk, and whatever else and microwave), but the jar gets really hot and it can get messy.  Not that you shouldn’t try it, but I prefer soaked oats in my scrapings jars.  This one has oats, pumpkin, banana, hemp milk (I like to vary my milks and “milks” (as in cows milk vs soy “milk”) for the variety of tastes and nutrients… hemp milk is an interesting  taste that takes getting used to), water, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little vanilla.  And of course there’s peanut butter in there, it’s just camouflaged!

Topped with honey Greek yogurt and raisins.

But wait!  What’s that lurking down below??

 

Someone’s tryna share.

Sorry… you already had your rather disgusting compressed cat salmon.

I’m hoping the rain is done for a while; today is an 8-mile run and I’d rather not get wet.  I was thinking of running yesterday, but it was raining and both my legs and I were tired.  Even though I wasn’t sore from Saturday’s long run/wedding, my legs were pretty tired on Monday’s run.  Then on Tuesday I was the closing server and we were super busy, so I didn’t get home until after midnight… went to sleep just after 1, then got up at 7:30 to open the bakery.  After my bakery shift it was pouring, and I hadn’t taken 2 rest days in a row for a while, so I thought I might as well go for it.  I’m thinking I needed it since last night I proceeded to sleep from 10:30 to 9:00.  So now both my legs and I should be well-rested and ready to go.  And now it’s just lightly misting… perfect!

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Marriage and Porridge

Weddings are such a great time.  I’m running out of engaged friends… who’s next??? 🙂  It was a beautiful evening and everything was swell: happy couple, happy friends and family, fabulous celebration.  One of my favorite parts of weddings is witnessing how much my friends’ chosen partners love and appreciate them.  I know they deserve it, and I’m just so pleased to see that other people recognize it too.

I thought that I’d be super sore yesterday, given the combination of my long run and running around/dancing in heels for hours, but I’m actually experiencing close to zero aftereffect.  Last weekend it took a few days for my calves to feel normal, so I’m pleasantly surprised by the lack of tightness in my muscles.  I suppose it’s because my body is adapting.  Good job, body.  When I got back from my run I was rushing around to get ready for the wedding, but I did make time for this  recovery smoothie, based on the Banana Tahini Cardamom Maple smoothie I had in California.  It’s a variation using honey instead of maple syrup.  It was so good.

Here’s what I blended:

  • Half a banana
  • ~1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk (but any milk will work)
  • ~1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • ~1 tsp honey
  • ~2 tsp tahini (If you don’t have/like/are allergic to tahini, I’m sure peanut butter would be delish.  I’d probably then use cinnamon or nutmeg as the spice.  Though cardamom could still work, I’m sure!)
  • ~2 tbsp oats (They add texture and a subtle, earthier sweetness.)
  • ~1 cup ice

Sorry for all the ~, I wasn’t measuring.

Last night I had work, but today I am completely free!  I’m going to use the day to get some odds and ends done, go for a run, and then cheat on Growlers with Dogfish Head for dinner with my family (we have a coupon!).  I started the day with some pumpkin oats.  Pumpkin has been playing a big part over at KathEats (one of my role model blogs), given that she had 4 pounds of it to finish, and she has been tempting me to open a can of my own.  So here is this morning’s result:

I cooked up some oats, then stirred in pumpkin puree (equal to the volume of dry oats I started with), a little maple syrup, and some cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.  It’s topped with raisins, sunflower seed butter, and some of a pear ginger muffin my mom made yesterday.  If I’d had cranberries, I would have done those, and while I was finishing I decided the perfect topping would be some toasted pecans.  Next time.

Pumpkin!  Autumn!  October!  October is my favorite month.  I’m excited for the more seasonal weather we are supposed to get at the end of this week… bring on the cool and crisp 60’s!

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