Thursday, October 30, 2008


Sometimes, this is all just way too much. I am trying to conquer so many giants in my life. I feel like a minuscule version of David--without his sling, or like Joan of Arc without her sword.

I always vowed that my marriage would NOT revolve around money. Being in Sociology, I know the statistics. Money stress is the number one cause of divorce. It grays your hairs, blackens your heart. I realized tonight that my mind has been filled with budgets, credit card payments, how to be a frugal wife to save money, apartment renting, etc. I've felt so much pressure because I desperately need a full time job, and right now, I've had my doubts about acquiring one.

A couple years ago, I have this naive and ideal image in my head conjured up by fiction books and Hollywood movies. It was the romantic story of a young couple, poor as can be, probably artists or something, and they didn't know where the rent was coming from or how long the electric would stay on, but it didn't matter. They were happy, and it was as if financial issues could never touch them. They were the young, indie couple surviving on love. Maybe it's the whole "RENT" philosophy.

As much of a swooner as that story may be, it's not nearly as easy as you may think. I called Josh tonight, crying and freaking out. I told him that I was scared, because we've been preparing to be married in the worldly aspect SO much lately! Our time has been consumed with budget spreadsheets, apartment hunting, job searching, trying to figure out where the rest of our furniture needs will come from... And that's all good, responsible, and extremely necessary. But I felt scared because I felt like the relational aspect of our lives was suffering. We were preparing for married living, yes, but I felt like we stopped preparing to be a married couple! The development of the relationship, the most important part of a marriage, had stopped amongst growing dollar signs.

I expressed all of this to him, and he said, "You're right." So, he said that as soon as we can next week, we should have a "Josh and Kelly night." For one night, we get to lay aside all talk of wedding planning, me trying desperately to get my school projects done, finances, and moving into the apartment. Oh praise Jesus! When he said that, my tears were a mixture of relief and joy, but also still filled with stress and fear of the future. Such a mixture of emotions I can't fully explain. For the first time in quite a while, I will simply get to bask in the joy of having a soul mate. We will get to enjoy each other's company for who we are and the relationship we've built. As important as everything else is, for one evening, we get to TRULY build our home--our relationship. It makes me cry again out of utter happiness and appreciation for my man.

I know we'll make it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

supper = fail

Josh and I set out to do some wedding things this evening at his apartment. I wanted to cook dinner for us just to make it a bit more special. I experimented again. It faaaaailed. lol

I bought some sushi rice and cooked it up. I also bought some tofu. I got this great idea of flavoring it with lime juice and ginger. The flavor was actually quite good, however.... I forgot and bought the wrong kind of tofu. I don't know why, but there's this one brand of tofu that no matter how I prepare it, it falls apart and feels too soft and even slimy. It doesn't keep a firm texture or hold. So, the flavoring concept was great, but the tofu...... bleck. But then, I was thinking about the lime. I thought, "What could I do to the rice to spice it up and go with the lime flavoring?" The correct answer was NOTHING. But what did I do? I searched the Internet for recipes that included ingredients similar to what I'd already used. Somehow, through a long time of recipe searches that got more and more abstract, I came up with the "brilliant" idea of vodka. Yes. VODKA. I thought I would put vodka in the rice to simulate vodka sauce. But without the tomatoes. Or the sauce. Uh-huh. Yeah.... it was SO BITTER. Never doing that again.

But I swear, I am getting the best husband EVER. Because get this: HE ATE IT! haha! He admitted to me that it wasn't very good, but he still ate it. He ate more than I could handle! And then.... my darling even ran out after dinner and brought us back some Dairy Queen. :-) I haven't had dairy queen in over a year, I believe. He was sweet enough to bring me some--even after my horrid dinner.

Monday, October 27, 2008


It snowed tonight. The first of the season. :-)

possible flu???

Well, there seems to have been a sickness coming around, and it has finally reached me. I thought my steady stream of vitamins, walking, and healthy food would make me invincible to the evil virus, but I was wrong.

This morning, I ate a delicious breakfast of oatmeal, some vanilla yogurt, and peanut butter. It didn't stay in my stomach. :-(

So, I've been sitting on the couch with the heat turned up abnormally high and a couple of blankets spread over me. I watched "The Importance of Being Earnest" in the morning after a failed attempt at going back to sleep. Recently, I discovered the amaaaaazing blog VeganDad, and I've been sifting through his food recipes to write down in my recipe book. I'm starting to build a collection! Maybe I won't be as stumped on what to cook for Josh and I after all!

I did manage to eat a small lunch. I cut a piece of bread in half to make a small sandwich. I made a grilled apple peanut butter sandwich. All you do is slice the apple thinly and lay it onto the bread and spread the PB onto the other slice and then I grilled it in my panini maker. It's actually reeeeally delicious, and then you just eat the leftover apple!

Hopefully I feel better this evening. Josh and I are supposed to have our first premarital counseling session, and I really don't want to cancel!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Apple Lentil Stew

For the first time in awhile, I have an original recipe to share with you! Tonight I threw together something I'll just call Apple Lentil Stew. But FIRST! A poem! By Robert Frost.


O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes' sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost--
For the grapes' sake along the wall.

Josh and I were sitting on a bench swing by the river this afternoon as the wind was blowing and the leaves were swirling around us, and I read this poem to him while we were sitting there. I thought it was perfectly appropriate for today. And now... my recipe for Apple Lentil Stew. (I warn you, my spice measurements are approx., because I don't actually measure it!)

(makes 2 servings)

1/2 c. green lentils
enough water to make soupy lentils (maybe 3 cups???)
2 tbs olive oil
1/8th onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 apple, peeled and cut into cubes
a few shakes of garlic (1/8 t???)
1/4-1/2 t. curry powder
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. cinnamon
salt to taste

Bring water to a boil and add lentils and chopped carrot. Cover and let cook. Meanwhile, in a small pan, saute onion, garlic, curry, allspice, and cinnamon in the olive oil. When the lentils are about half way cooked, add the apple cubes. Then, add the onion and spices mixture to the lentils. Add salt to lentils according to taste. Lentils should still have some water in it--enough for a stew consistency. Pour into bowls and enjoy!

Mmmm.... the apples make a nice sweetness to the stew and pairs with the spices really well. This is a great main dish, and it's vegan!

For dessert, I had a bowl of vanilla yogurt with three sliced strawberries. (It could easily be made vegan through soy yogurt.)

My mother walked into the kitchen and said, "You remind me of a hippie--cooking all this natural food and wearing long flowy skirts like that." I smiled and laughed at her. I'm just trying to be comfortable and healthy!

Hmm... I'll let you guys decide:

(And because I get asked this all the time--yes, that is my natural eye color)

My "song of the day" -- You Don't Have to Move That Mountain by Nickel Creek


So here's the pictures from Saturday's canning!

Mmmm.... a whole bushel of apples! And they were ALL peeled and cut by hand!

I've always liked the look of Ball and Mason jars. Such a homey and country feel...

A batch of apples ready to be cooked!

Can you see how tired my eyes are??? Canning is exhaustive!

This is my friend Anna--seeming very excited about her apple slice!

The jars are sealing!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Canning and Cookies

I spent almost ALL day making and canning applesauce for Josh and I to have for the winter season. At 10 am, I went to Shelton's which is a local grocery store that sells produce and such from the local farms in our area. While I was there, a really nice older man showed me the apples they had available. He showed me their "utility grade" apples, which are basically apples that have blemishes on the skin or a small bruise, but are still good for eating or cooking. They're also half the cost of the "perfect" apples! So I bought a 1/2 bushel of Mcintosh and a 1/2 bushel of Crofton apples for 6.99 each.

I decided not to add any sugar or cinnamon to the apples, so I just cooked them in a large pot. I like more chunky applesauce, so I mashed them with a potato masher. I'd never canned anything before, but I'm proud to say that ever single jar sealed!!! It was such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment to make the applesauce and can it. I think that home cooking and canning is such a lost art in America today. My mom told me that hearing the popping sound of the lids was a comfort memory to her because her mother used to can goods all the time and they would listen for the pops. Some of the jars I used today were my grandmother's, which is also kind of a neat thing. :-)

(I love vintage advertisements! This reminds me of when I was a kid with my mom!)

It took me till 4 pm to finish everything! I was exhausted by the time I was done, and the kitchen was so hot from all the steam and boiling water! Anna came over in the afternoon and she helped me with some of the peeling and cutting, and my mom helped me out too. I was so grateful!

I'm really glad that I have a friend who likes to "be domestic" with me. :-) After dinner, Anna and I also made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but we both agreed that what made them so good was adding cinnamon to it. The chocolate and cinnamon together reminded me of a cookie version of Mexican hot chocolate. (Mmmm.... one of the best winter treats!) They were quite addicting--I won't say how many I had!

We put the jars of applesauce in a box, and now they're just waiting for a pantry to be stored in! I hope Josh and I can get the apartment fairly soon. I'm thinking of also canning some butternut squash while it's still in season. It would be so convenient for making soup in the wintertime.

I'll post pictures of the canning process soon!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Food Project

In doing research for my independent study, I ran across two really cool organizations. One of them is the Red Hook Community Farm project in Brooklyn. They created a miniature urban farm right in southern Brooklyn to help their community gain access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and they also employ teenagers to work their farm for them.

The Food Project is a similar and slightly larger operation in a town just outside of Boston. They own several urban farms and a great big suburban farm just outside of the city. Half of the food they produce are donated to the local food pantries, and the other half is sold through CSAs and Farmer's Markets at more affordable prices. They also employ local youth to work the urban farms. Another interesting project of theirs is the backyard gardener mentoring--they teach those living in the urban area to grow a backyard garden and offer free lead testing for their soils.

Organizations like these are really amazing because they help deliver healthy foods to people who have less access to it, they employ teenagers to give them a productive activity and it helps them gain useful skills, and it is also an advancement towards sustainable and environmentally helpful agriculture.

Here is a video about The Food Project that goes into greater detail about their organization and mission:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Discouragement and Hope

Friday was such an interesting day for me. I woke up extra early to go into my job at the bank. It was going to be a full day and a Friday at that. Fridays at bank are like hell--for the customers and for the tellers. As I was inching my way along with the traffic in downtown South Bend, eyeing the time, I just had this random thought of, "What on earth am I doing?"

As a sociologist, I know all about the Industrial Revolution and the Protestant Work Ethic, and I can spout off to you reasons why America became a work-obsessed nation. But the day to day human inside of me still can't understand how a whole people could get sucked into this terrible lifestyle. I thought about how I am starting to live my life to work, how my soon to be husband practically lives his life to work. I thought about how my parents see each other about 5 minutes total in a day because of how much they both have to work. Struggling to turn into the parking garage, I suddenly burst out, "HOW PATHETIC!" I just could not understand WHY we allow ourselves to live like this--no matter if this is the cultural expectation or not.

Then I finally got to walk into the bank and I looked at my coworkers and silently thought, "You're nice people, but I'm getting tired of you!" It wasn't them personally, it was just the concept of how much time I spend working. I looked at my manager and thought, "I will see you today more than I will see my fiance. There is just something dreadfully wrong about that."

I'm not saying these things as a lazy person or someone trying to get out of work. I thought about Europe and that sacred tea time or siesta where the businesses shut down and families get to go home for about 2 hours and just rest and be with their spouses and children. As my day droned on with cash counting and explaining overdrafts, I thought about how wonderful it would be if America was more like Europe. I think my days would be so much less stressful if I could hug my Josh and share a cup of tea with him halfway through. But then I also thought about how far away everything in America is now. It's not like the nice segmented villages where you can walk to every house and business you need. I take a 20 minute drive to work and a 30 minute drive to school into another state every day. How desperately I wish it was a 20 minute walk instead.

I've spent my morning looking at various job openings in the area. I'm about ready to graduate, and although I don't have 3-5 years experience, maybe some compassionate soul will let me into a professional position to get that experience. I actually submitted a resume to a local social service agency. There's a couple positions that I might be qualified for (minus the preferred experience.) It would be nice to work in a social service position. You never know--anything could happen.

On the upside, my weekend in Ft Wayne was really really wonderful. Josh and I were really blessed by a wonderful shower from his side of the family. Once again, I felt humbled by the generousness of family and friends helping us prepare for our marriage. Aunt Julia and Jodi decorated the shower so cute too--all in pink! I'll post pictures of it later. We also went out for Jeremy's (my future brother in law) birthday to this great Thai restaurant where I had this fantastic rice/tofu/coconut milk/peanut sauce dish that was sweet, but also so hot it made my mouth and lips BURN.

Mmmmm I cant wait to go apple picking. I want to can homemade applesauce for Josh and I to have through the winter.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mobile blog

I'm actually writing this short blog post from my BlackBerry phone. Its not that I couldn't grab my new laptop (thanks Josh!!!!) From the living room, but I'm already snuggled into bed and don't feel like burrowing out of my mountain of blankets.

Blogging may be few and far between the next 8 weeks. Work has been killing me with their hourly demands and my body and spirit is quite worn out. Most of my leftover energy is going towards trying to stay on my schoolwork and wedding stuff.

Josh and I are currently in the process of addressing invitations and making out picture slideshow. I'm also planning on making my own veils (a ceremony veil and a birdcage veil for going-away), so I'll be shopping for those materials soon. We are also on the hunt for living room furniture. I've been scoping out Craigslist lately.

This Saturday, Josh's family is throwing me a shower in Fort Wayne, so I will be there again this weekend.

Well.... That's about it!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Spinach Strata

This evening, my mother and I decided to make Spinach Strata. For my birthday, she and my dad bought me a cookbook called Vegetarian Meals by Good Housekeeping. I was thumbing through the recipes this afternoon and decided this one would be a good dinner to try. It's sort of an interesting twist between a sandwich, quiche, and french toast.

We cut the recipe down from 6 servings to 2 servings. Here is the original recipe:

8 slices firm white bread
4 oz. mozzarellas cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 T. butter or margarine, softened
2 c. milk
6 large eggs
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground black pepper

1. Grease 8x8 inch glass baking dish. Place 4 bread slices in dish; top with 1/2 c. cheese, all spinach, then remaining cheese. Spread butter on 1 side of each remaining bread slice; place in dish, buttered side up.
2. In a medium bowl, with wire whisk, beat milk, eggs, basil, salt, and pepper until blended. Slowly pour egg mixture over bread slices. Prick bread with fork and press slices down to absorb egg mixture. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350. Remove cover from baking dish; bake strata until knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Each serving: Aprox. 290 calories and 17g. protein

The things I changed in the recipe:

I used more cheese than what was called for--I sort of just sprinkled on there what I thought was good.
I don't think I used enough spinach. I also sprinkled on there what looked decent, but it ended up not being enough.
We used soy milk instead of regular milk.
I used whole wheat bread since we don't buy white bread (I didn't feel it made any difference anyway)
We didn't have fresh basil leaves, so we only used 1 T. of the dried basil flakes

We both felt like you could REALLY taste the basil in here. It had a nice, smooth taste to it--probably from the cheese and egg. Despite the basil, we still felt like it could have used a bit more flavor. This could be because we're so used to using lots of herbs, but the two things we thought could be good were either garlic or some rosemary.

The shininess you see in the picture is actually the strata still boiling since it had just come from the oven. Because we had a smaller amount, we used the toaster oven to bake it. Maybe this is from being in a smaller area like the toaster oven, but about 15 minutes into the baking, we felt like we should put some foil over it so the top wouldn't get too brown. Perhaps this would be different in a conventional oven. It also took a bit less time to bake. We uncovered it for the last 10 or so minutes so the top could get more brown. It's not quite as neat and pretty as the cookbook oven, but it looked and tasted really good!

We paired the strata with a grilled peach with cinnamon on it as our dessert. Everything was so good! The strata was pretty filling--I couldn't eat all of mine. I think this is a definite make-again!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Maple spice cooki... erm... scones!

So I've determined that I'm much better at cooking than I am at baking. Which is sad, because in theory, I like baking so much better! I can't make bread for the life of me, and apparently, my cookie talent is getting worse too! I've had a craving for traditional "fall foods," so I set out to make some maple spice cookies. Somehow, they ended up tasting exactly like maple scones instead! So, if I just pretend that I intended to make scones, everything is ok then! Right? Hmmm....

Anyway, here is my recipe for maple spice SCONES!

1/2 c. margarine, softened
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. white flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream together margarine, maple syrup, vanilla, and the egg. Add flour and spices till combined. Bake 15 or so minutes at 350 degrees till bottoms are slightly brown.

Mmm.... the batter had a nice texture to it, and even before I began baking, the house had a nice, crisp, spicy smell to it!

I formed the dough into little disks, thinking they'd flatten out like cookies do. But no--these aren't cookies--they're scones! So they stayed relatively the same shape, but it did end up being nice little pieces.

Because the syrup was the only sweetness in the scones, I made a glaze to pour over them.

1 T. butter
1 c. powdered sugar
1-2 T vanilla soy milk
some drops of maple extract.

I poured the glaze on the scones directly out of the oven. Then I topped each one with a walnut. They're actually quite delicious! They make a great breakfast snack and go really well with tea.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Eventful weekend

Friday evening was quite eventful! My dear friend, Anna, came down from St. Joe to meet me at my place, and I cooked dinner for her. I made a chickpea based veggie burger with chickpeas, onions, carrots, parsley, and a host of herbs and spices. I set it open face on a whole wheat slice of bread accompanied by a side of Havarti cheese and some grapes. (Sorry, it didn't cross my mind to take a picture!) I'd never made this recipe before, but we both thought it was delicious! I personally thought it was a bit too salty though, so I would cut that down next time.

Then we headed out to Trio's in South Bend to listen to the jazz music and relish in their great appetizers. We ordered the baked Brie, and it was fantastic! Personally, I like the baked Brie better at Indigo on Seventeen, but Trio's was still very good! It came with a size of strawberry preserves, granny smith apples, and a variety of crackers. The flavors were their fullest when you combined EVERYTHING together.

The atmosphere of Trio's is really nice, because the Jazz Club area and the regular sit-down restaurant are in two separate areas, however, they're both very open, so the sound can spill out from the club and into the restaurant. I thought that was a nice touch to separate the two, yet keep them together.

This morning, Josh and I went shopping for my wedding band. I've looked around over the past several months for a wedding band, and the way my ring is designed lends for a difficult like. The prongs on the sides of my ring mean that a regular circular band won't fit well next to it. But lo and behold, today we found a beautiful, petite guard wrap that really accentuated my engagement ring nicely without taking away the attention of the e-ring. I just love it! I told Josh that we didn't need to go anywhere else--this was the one I wanted!

Friday, October 10, 2008

From one book to another

Well, I've finished "French Women Don't Get Fat." My final review is that it's an EXCELLENT book with a lot of helpful advice. A lot of it is common sense, yes, but the vast majority of Americans don't eat with common sense. I think it's also a good book for people who want to be healthy and slim but have an abhorrance for gyms or a dread of giving up chocolates or other indlugences. What's nice is that the author shows how French styles of eating allows for these indulgences in moderation and how to get your exercise (walking) in a non-intrusive or intimidating way like the StairMaster (the author's personal abhorrance.)

Last night, I started another eating/food lifestyle book called "Skinny Bitch." (Yes, there is a swear word in the title.) And although the "potty-mouth" and sassy style of the book IS likely to turn a lot of people off to it, the content is still very much true. Despite all the sacrcasm, there is a lot of backed-up scientific information about health, the food industry, and body chemistry. Some of it is the same information I've already learned because I've been reading more extensively lately, but there's still new things to learn, and you can also learn the same thing in a new light or with an added concept.

They are avid vegan proponents and give details of the modern meat industry. I've already know these things, but it's worth reading again. Eating meat may have been ok in the 1800's when you or neighbor Farmer Joe raised it, but today's meat industry IS very shady in letting conditions get extremely filthy and diseased and supervisors fail to follow testing procedures on the meat. Not to mention that slaughterhouses are the number one most dangerous job for workers and there's pretty horrific accidents that occur daily on account for more and more production at a faster and cheaper rate.

However, there's one downfall to the book. What is supposed to be meant as witty sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek attitudes can be a bit dangerous to people with low-self-esteem. It's not a language to be taken seriously--only the facts laced within them. I can see how, if someone took the attitude of the authors too seriously, it could lead to a poor self esteem and a fear of food. That's been the main controversy surrounding the book through other reviews I've read. That being said, I think it IS possible to read this book and learn something from it. But there are far better ones that can be read. This book isn't a necessity to a good food lifestyle like I would say of the previous book I read. Therefore, I wouldn't DIScourage someone from picking it up, but I would give a word of caution that there is language, there are sarcastic put-downs about what you eat, and it has to be taken lightly with a grain of salt.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I've had an extremely eventful last several days, so I think I'll just give a summary of it all since there's so much!

Thursday Josh and I rushed out of work to meet up and head to Chicago. We were meeting Stephanie and Andrew for a Weezer concert. The concert was absolutely amazing. Now, small confession on my part, I've never been to a real "rock concert" before--I was pretty much raised on stage theater and symphonies. So this was a new experience for me! I definitely did some strength training that night in holding my own through pushing and shoving crowds! We were only about 4 or 5 people deep from the stage. And of course, Weezer gave an amazing performance.

We didn't get home till about 3 am, and then I had to be up at 6:30 the next morning for work. Three hours of sleep, working a full day at a bank, on a Friday, during the beginning of the month. I think my concept of customer service died that day and I just ran everybody through my window like cattle. lol

If that wasn't kinda crazy enough, when Josh and I got out of work Friday evening, we then ran off to Fort Wayne for a BEN FOLDS concert! Ben was playing with the Fort Wayne symphony, and I really enjoyed it. He even played some of the older stuff from Ben Folds Five. I wished he'd played a few more songs off his latest album--he only did about two or three. But it was a good concert, and I bought the tour shirt.

We stayed the weekend at Josh's mother's house. Josh's mom is really good at making the American "comfort foods." It's soooo delicious, but it's the kind of food that's already not good for you in the first place, but you can't help going back for more! My health-food mentality and I had several internal wars over the weekend!

I also went to the Vera Bradley outlet sale over the weekend. I like their purses and stuff, but I'm not nearly as into them as Josh's mother is! Nevertheless, I still had a really good time and I got some amazing deals there too. I don't think I'd ever pay full price for any of their items ever again. I think my favorite purchase would be their belts for a dollar a piece.

While we were in the Fort, we absolutely HAD to stop at De Brand's. I pity anyone who never in their life gets to experience De Brand's chocolate. It makes the South Bend Chocolate Company seem as cheap as Hersey's. They make these exquisite fine chocolates in all of these exotic flavors like Aztec with chili powder, or candied jasmine flower chocolates, or even a Mayan chocolate that actually has gold flakes sprinkled on top the chocolate. I'm telling you--it's absolutely DIVINE.

This is there connoisseur collection. Just one of these little squares are above 2 dollars a piece, but I would pay every cent--they're absolutely worth it.

We got back into South Bend on Sunday afternoon just in time to meet my parents for a birthday dinner at Papa Vino's. As soon as I sat down I began to indulge myself in their Italian bread and herbed olive oil. I don't know what it is about olive oil, but I absolutely adore it. I had an amazing tri-colored tortellini dish. (No picture, sorry.) Our waitress was very nice, and she even sent home with me a raspberry cheese cake with homemade raspberry sauce for my birthday.

My parents gave me a VERY lovely gift for my birthday--they have me an earring and necklace set of solitaire brown pearls to wear for my wedding. They're so elegant--I can't wait to wear them for the first time! I wanted something that I'd be able to wear again after the wedding was over, and these are absolutely perfect. I'll put up a picture of them later for everyone to see.

Last night when I came home from working out, I had a bit of a scare. I found my mother in a panicked state, and she told me that her brother has in the hospital and was having a heart attack. This particular uncle of mine (because the Lord knows, I have many) is really young--still in his 50's. We waited around to find out how his surgery went, and it appears that he'll be alright. They put stints in the arteries, and my mom is going to go visit him this afternoon. I know there were a lot of prayers for him that evening.

Today is my actual birthday and I kicked off my celebration with oatmeal mixed with 1/2 banana, yogurt, and a spoonful of peanut butter. Yumm... I'm going to keep on celebrating at the Secretary of State in a little bit because my license expires today! Yippee! Tonight, Josh is taking me out to dinner at Indigo on 17 which I am extremely excited about! I've never been there, but I've heard many good things about it. Then, if the rain holds out, we're going to go to a corn maze where you try to get through it in the dark! (I love how Josh and I ALWAYS do a random and unconventional mixture of something fine and sophisticated and then something more casual and silly. What a blend!)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

From one book to another

I have finished "In Defense of Food," and my review is that it should be required reading for every American. I learned a lot about science through food chemistry, natural science, and even biology through this book which greatly helped me understand food, nutrients, and the like. I think one of the biggest lessons I took from the book was his mantra that "A food is greater than the sum of its nutrients, and a cultural cuisine is greater than the sum of its foods." Basically, reductionist science doesn't work in the culinary world of diet and health, and it's not necessarily about the solitary nutrients like protein, fats, etc etc. I liked it.

In his "food principles," I think my favorite suggestion of his was to "never buy anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food, and that includes never buying anything with INGREDIENTS your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food." I liked his funny example of how "Go-gurt" is NOT yogurt.

And now, my new book to read is "French Women Don't Get Fat." I'm three chapters into it, and I ALREADY consider it a "required reading" for every American--woman OR man. I'm incorporating it into my independent study bibliography because it gives insight into French culture, and it's also the perspective of a French woman on the topic of American food habits. It's really great, and easy to read. Plus, I'm excited about all the recipes she includes. I think her basic premise of the book is that you really can eat whatever you want--it's a matter of when, how much, and of what QUALITY you eat it. Thus far, my favorite sentence of wisdom is based on indulging in chocolate. To paraphrase, she says that, "A small piece of fine, dark Chocolate will excite and satisfy your palate far more than twenty Snicker's bars ever could." Indeed, how true. I'll let you know my final review of the book once it's finished. (I'm anticipating that shouldn't take *too* long.)

My mom came to the gym with me today, and she even signed up--she liked it that much! We did some cardio together, and then I did some killer weights, and then we basked in the pool, the hot tub, and this amazing steam room that smells like eucalyptus. That room REALLY clears out your sinuses, and one woman in the room said it was also great for headaches. Nice! I'm excited to have a workout buddy when I get married. I've been trying to get Josh to work out with me ::crosses fingers::, however, the Fitness USA gym is segregated except for a few cardio machines in a small room, so even if he joined that particular gym with me, we couldn't REALLY work out together. But that's ok, because my mom and I both agreed that this would be a great way to get together after I'm married!