Friday, March 20, 2009

More Experimenting in the Kitchen, and Other Stuff

I was craving a particular salad they serve at our local pub called Firecracker Chicken Salad. It's got this spicy dressing. But we'd already gone out for lunch (on our way to the local nursery, as a way of celebrating the first day of spring) so I didn't want to eat out again. I just wanted that spicy dressing. I steamed a few things, roasted a jalapeno, mixed and blended, chopped and sliced - and voila! Doesn't it look delicious? It was! And bonus, it used some ingredients in the fridge and freezer I wasn't sure how I was gonna use.

I've been busy chipping away at the mess that is our backyard, breezeway, and yard. To clear out the backyard in preparation for some work, I need to make space in those latter two. They're all sort of log jammed together. I've taken advantage of Hubby being home to do some work that requires some muscle or at least an extra pair of arms. There's a long way to go, but we're making progress.

Before we got to work this afternoon, I wanted to do something to recognize Ostara. With no kids to help celebrate, I tend to let holidays slip by these days. Hubby suggested a trip to the garden nursery. Great idea! We couldn't really buy much, as we can't garden until the middle of April when I'll have my backyard back. But we bought a couple six packs of pansies to plant in a basket or perhaps along the border of the front steps.

We also stopped for lunch. I decided to try a popular local breakfast/lunch place that I never frequent. I tried it when they first opened, years and years and years ago, and the grill fan was so loud it drove me out never to return. But I was feeling like making changes, so we gave it a shot today. We couldn't assume that the fan would still be there after such a long time, or if it was, if it would still bother me. (Maybe I was just in a bad mood that day)

The fan, or a close fascimile, was still there, but it didn't bother me. The problem turned out to be the menu. It was a typical Western Americana tasty and greasy menu. It wasn't a BAD menu. The problem it was a menu where I couldn't find much of anything that was "allowed" in my current diet.

I'm not a vegetarian, but I'm mostly a vegetarian. In fact lately, cutting almost all the dairy and eggs out of my diet, I'm mostly a vegan. In the last few months I've discovered that restaurant eating can be tricky. I've become pretty good at finding something not only "allowed" but also delicious pretty much every where we've been out. But sheesh, this menu looked like it might completely stump me. Even the salads were just lettuce covered in assorted cheeses and hard boiled egg slices. No egg substitutes. (The waiter, in fact, didn't even know what I was talking about!) No soy. No whole grain breads. No vegetables except a few things in omelettes.

The only thing I probably could have ordered was the oatmeal, but I didn't want the whole milk or sugar condiments. And the salads, but after removing the aforementioned ingredients, I'd be paying $7 for ..... iceberg lettuce. Uhm, no.

I must have befuddled the waiter (a young guy) because he left and sent back the young woman manager. I asked if I could order an unbreaded chicken breast grilled and a side of grilled mushrooms that they usually put in the omelettes. And an iced tea. It turned out to be a slightly odd but delicious meal and they didn't charge me an arm and a leg for it.

This is all to say, I already found a lot of places difficult to find a decent meal. Fast food restaurants aren't my friends. Some restaurants love to smother everything in melted cheese or drippy (albeit delicious) butter sauces. But I'm learning how truly, truly, truly bad most of us eat that it's so difficult to find BASIC foods when eating out. Fresh vegetables. Whole grains. Basic alternatives for people who can't eat bread or dairy or meat or.... it's been an eye opener. Or rather, an eye widener, since I think I already saw some of the issue, particularly since I've eaten out quite a bit with my friend who suffers from Crohn's Disease (no glutens).

That's all - just more food talk.

Tonight - Dollhouse is on - Yay! The previews tell us this is an episode we wont want to miss. I think the plot thickens. Perhaps twists.

Oh wait - speaking of food - the First Family is putting in a First Garden (Second Garden? Eleanor Roosevelt had a White House Victory Garden). How awesome is that!


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