I’ll miss….

ALL OF THIS.

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I made a lager

While out of the house for 8 weeks, we wanted to use our fridge to lager a beer. Lagers have to be held between 32 and 50 for about 6 weeks, which is pretty hard to do unless you have the right kind of garage, or a dedicated lager fridge.
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So I made a batch (all by myself!!) and put it in the fridge in mid-May.
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It bubbled over the airlock many times, and I had to problem solve that a bit.  I went with a foil cap for a couple weeks until the pressure died down, then put the regular airlock back on and hoped for the best while we were gone!

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Summer Detox, part 5

1. Our stuff

Our apartment is pretty bare bones.  We thought about renting furniture, but just haven’t.  We now realize that we’ve never fully appreciated a nice chair.

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inflatable chairs travel better

We brought a very bare-bones kitchen arsenal. We are very glad to have our mini cuisinart, especially since we’re making lots of salad dressing. Aside from having to do the dishes more often, I’m surprised how little I miss having all of our pots and pans and various baking dishes. We brought a 2qt pot, a 6 qt pot, and three cast iron skillets. We also brought one pyrex (used once) and a cookie sheet (never used).

The huge thing missing in my life so far is internet.  I do have limited data on my phone, but I miss sitting down at my computer and frying my brain for a couple hours a day.  I really hope I am broken of this habit this summer.  We’ll see if we can go another 6 weeks without purchasing internet service.

4. Eat no added sugar

This has certainly been an exercise in label-reading.  While I’ve decided that I’m not willing to give up bread which usually needs some sugar to get the yeast going, we’ve been eating many fewer carbohydrate-rich foods so far this month.  If there’s one thing I take out of this experiment, it’s that controlling your blood sugar is a good thing.  Eating a slice of pie after a balanced meal seems so much more attractive to me now than grabbing a piece of toast or crackers when I’m starving with an empty stomach.

But just to give it a try, I’ve been looking for sugar-free breads, and it is not easy.  I did have luck at the co-op and at TJ’s.  IMG_20140610_223623I’m no rocket scientist, but it seems that sprouted grain breads may not need sugar!  Also they’re delightfully substantial.

Say what you will about Trader Joe’s, but I wish we had one in Lansing.  They are a very cheap source of natural and organic meats, and reliably have breads, crackers, frozen foods, packaged meals, etc. that have only necessary, real ingredients.  Until I am able to make 100% of our food at home and never purchase processed food again, I will love TJ’s.

Paleo vegan gluten-free chocolate pudding!

Warning: this post will probably offend you.

We’re 11 days into our month of no sugar, and several days ago I found myself wanting chocolate.  Not a Hershey’s bar, not even sweet chocolate.  I wanted dark, smoky, grainy, CHOCOLATE.

I do not have a gluten sensitivity, I do not have a child with a nut allergy, and I happen to think that we can digest meat and dairy just fine.  Also I am not a dietician or any kind of medical professional.  So I am obviously in a position to judge others’ eating habits.

Let me clarify — If I am an adherent to any diet, it is the Pollen – Bittman school of thought, which says that whatever you eat, make it real food, and appreciate it for what it is.  None of this crap:

did cavemen have stand mixers?

did cavemen have stand mixers?

A friend is doing this diet and I went to the website and read the rules.  This one was great:

No Paleo-ifying baked goods, desserts, or junk foods. Trying to shove your old, unhealthy diet into a shiny new Whole30 mold will ruin your program faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” This means no desserts or junk food made with “approved” ingredients—no banana-egg pancakes, almond-flour muffins, flourless brownies, or coconut milk ice cream. Don’t try to replicate junk food during your 30 days! That misses the point of the Whole30 entirely.

THANK YOU!

But back to my problems.

I really wanted chocolate.  I considered having some baking chocolate, but after eating some of a Lindt 99% bar one time, I knew this was a bad idea.  And yes, I could have just listened to my own advice and just sought out something else appropriate that would have filled that chocolate-shaped hole in my tummy.  But we brought one appliance to our summer apartment in Knoxville, our mini cuisinart, and it was calling my name.

IMG_20140609_173929Inspired by the banana “ice cream” recipe out there (which I’ve made and I recommend — you just put frozen bananas in your food processor), I somehow thought I could make chocolate pudding with bananas.  First I tried a ratio of 1/2 oz : 2 bananas.  The result, despite the color, tasted like a big bowl of bananas, such as you might have eaten when you were 4.

IMG_20140609_175531So I waited a couple days for my other bananas to ripen, and tried again, this time with 1 oz : 3 bananas.  It made a pretty good chocolate-banana pudding!

Say hi to Bucky, our betta fish

Say hi to Bucky, our betta fish

This whole sugar thing is certainly changing the way I taste food.  I could never do it for the rest of my life, but I hope that it will make me more vigilant about knowing what I eat.

Summer Detox, part 4

3. Eat leaves every day

Here is salad #3 on that list.

IMG_20140524_151123I love lentils in any form, so this one is a WINNER!

And this is salad #6:

Benefits from salt and/or chicken.

Benefits from salt and/or chicken.

4.  Eat no (added) sugar.

June 1 was our first day of no sugar.  Here’s what we ate that day:

Brunch:
Red pepper-green onion omelette
Coffee with cream

Snack:
About 5 dried figs

Dinner:
Black bean burger with avocado on top*
Salad with home made vinaigrette and tomatoes

Snack:
Home made crackers with smoked salmon*

*We did not think to check the black bean burgers, or the salmon that we bought on impulse because it was on sample at Costco….The BBBs have 2g sugar, not negligible; the salmon has sugar listed as an ingredient but has 0g per serving, probably only used in the curing process, so I’m gonna allow it 🙂

So if anything, this is going to be really enlightening in terms of closely examining ingredients on foods. It’s not always obvious to me what’s going to have sugar. From our pantry:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA