there should be a song of joy about new computers…

February 24, 2009 at 11:28 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

…but I don’t know of one. 😛 Got my computer back early this morning with 300% more memory than before and WOW it is so much faster! It’s like a brand new laptop. I’m very, very, happy.

Last night I could not sleep, even though I’d been tired all day. I think I was overtired, plus I had a very busy night at work and it’s hard to wind down from that sometimes. I laid on the sofa with my cat purring on my chest and watched some tv. I saw the end of the movie Bull Durham, which I used to love but hadn’t seen in years. I know Kevin Costner doesn’t look so great these days, but man, seeing him in that movie last night was a vivid reminder as to why I used to think he was so hot. Mmm hmm. Then I watched most of Good Will Hunting, which is also a great movie I hadn’t seen in a long time. I had forgotten that most of the soundtrack was by Elliott Smith, too, amazing music. Finally went to bed right before 3 am and even then tossed and turned a lot.

Got up at 8-ish and went to collect my computer. Stopped by to visit my parents since the tech-place was near their house and hung out in the sun with them and their cats for a while. Today was my day off and I was still craving something Mexican-ish – my little healthy burrito yesterday didn’t do it, I guess – so I stopped at the drive-thru place near my house called El Taco (I know, such an original name) and got a bean tostada for brunch.

el-taco-tostada-2-24-09

That’s how it looked straight from the place, although I put it on a plate because I don’t like eating out of styrofoam containers – just seems really…undignified or something. But I added a little taco sauce from my fridge before I ate it.

el-taco-tostada-with-sauce-2-24-09

As I was eating it, I was kind of laughing in my head at how I put it on a plate to be “dignified” but then picked it up and ate it like some kind of not-very-dignified-and-in-fact-very-messy person, lol. It was yummy, simple and good. I don’t know why refried beans always taste so much better from restaurants than they do at home, even from restaurants that I know use canned beans.

Had a lazy-ish morning after that – nice long shower, made some phone calls, etc. Around lunch I decided to try this soup that I made last night…okay, this is a long and maybe not very interesting story.

So I bought this instant soup from the bulk bin of the natural food store a while ago. It’s called Curried Lentil and you just add hot water, so I thought it would be nice to have on hand for when I had no food and was in a hurry. Tried it last night when I got home and it was so…completely boring. No curry flavor, and the lentils didn’t reconstitute well and tasted freeze-dried. I had a few bites and just gave up and didn’t eat dinner, but I put it in the fridge overnight thinking maybe it would improve as it sat. So I tasted some today and it was still super-boring. I hate wasting food, though, so I looked in the pantry and found this can of tomatoes with herbs and thought I’d try adding that to it. Now I should add that I had another can of these same tomatoes a while ago and they were really weird and super salty, so I have been reluctant to use them again. But I thought, well, the soup is incredibly bland, so maybe it will dilute the salty-ness and…yeah, you can probably see this isn’t going to end well, right? But I tried it, and threw in a little fresh spinach as well while it heated up.

lentil-soup-fail-2-24-09

Looks good, right?

Ugh. Just…FAIL. I normally don’t throw out food just because it tastes bad – like I’ll only toss it if it’s gone bad or something, but not just because I’m being picky. But a few bites of this and I said, forget it.

Lesson learned: Combining two bad-tasting foods =/= one good-tasting food, hehe.

So I threw it out and actually didn’t feel too guilty about it. I have this new saying/mantra in my head lately that I tell myself when I make mistakes – as I normally beat myself up a lot in my head – and it’s what I told myself: This is how we learn. It makes me feel better when I say this to myself. Sounds cheesy, I know, but it works. 🙂

So I decided to go grocery shopping and come home and make some good food! It was a gorgeous sunny day and I went to WalMart for some boring stuff but also picked up another pair of corduroy pants. I bought a cute pair of black cords there a few weeks ago for $13 and I like them so much that today I bought them in grey as well. I really like corduroy.

Then I went to Trader Joe’s, which I just love so much. Got loads of nice things there, including more Greek yogurt, spinach, some chicken & basil pesto sausages, breaded eggplant, Clif bars, and…I don’t remember what else. And I went to the regular grocery store, too, for more regular stuff.

Came home and cooked up a storm! I randomly decided when I found some ham on sale at Albertson’s to make Red Beans & Rice. Got home and sort of just threw it together without a recipe. It came out really good! I love it when that happens. I wasn’t sure if brown rice would be good with it – I used to always have it with white rice when I was growing up – so I looked at all the grain options in my pantry and went with quinoa instead. It worked really well – nice and light.

red-beans-and-quinoa-2-24-09

Pretty meat heavy (ham and salami) for me, and certainly not very authentic New Orleans-style with all those added veggies, but super yummy! Good thing, too, because I ended up with a lot of it so you’ll be seeing this all week.

I also made a big pot of my Turkey Meatball and Barley soup, but didn’t eat any of it tonight…another one you’ll see as the week goes on. I love this soup. I’ll post some of my favorite recipes soon.

And I decided to try an experiment in cooking. I can’t remember where I found a recipe for making falafel in the crockpot, but I tried it tonight. I used a box mix of falafel because I’ve had it for at least a couple of years but have never made it because I’m kind of freaky about frying foods in a lot of oil. The crockpot recipe only uses 2 Tbsp. of oil on the bottom of the crockpot and seems to have worked fairly well, although it was kind of tricky turning the little patties over on the bottom of the pot so some of them crumbled a little. But it’s amazing how nicely they browned up and with no supervision – just mix up and throw them in there! I need to buy pita bread and hummus tomorrow and will report then as to how they taste.

Here’s how they looked in the crockpot after I turned them – a little crumbly…

falafel-cooking-2-24-09

But don’t they look lovely and golden-browned? I didn’t know you could brown things in a crockpot.

falafel-cooking-closeup-2-24-09

The boxed mix has instructions for baking them, which I might try next time, but this was an interesting experiment nevertheless. If anyone knows where I got the crockpot falafel recipe (I’m sure it was off a food blog but I have no idea which ons), let me know so I can give credit where credit is due!

This is how we learn, right? 🙂

I have had a lot of thoughts lately about balance, portion-size, learning to recognize hunger and satiety, learning to eat “normally”…but I think I’ll wait until these thoughts are a little better formed to post them. And also this is already a really long post.

Thanks for reading, anyone who does.

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