Monday, February 27, 2012

The Joy of Eating.

It's been a little while since I wrote, and Erick is changing something or another on his truck tonight, so I figured I'd give the internet world a slice of what I've been thinking lately. You want to know what I've been thinking? First of all, I have been thinking of about a million different things, and all of them all the time. But to get slightly more specific, I tend to think about FOOD. Yes, as a pregnant person, I have been reduced to the lowest common denominator. FOOD. I have almost no will power any more, and since I always struggle to gain weight in pregnancy, I pretty much have the green light to go for whatever I want!!! But seriously, I do feel pathetic about it. I like to think that I have self control, and that I can make wise choices, but last week, after an hour of swimming with Cora, I realized after we pulled out of the parking lot that I was so hungry, I was literally shaking. I didn't know if I could make it home ( especially not to the sad sight of something like a plain sandwich), and all of a sudden, I knew exactly what was going to happen. Cook Out. Hush puppies, grilled chicken, french fries, corn dogs, Coke float, I wanted it all, and you bet your bottom dollar I went right through that drive through and had about five puppies to tide me over till' we got home. Cash and Cora are loving my new-found obsession with food. Normally I actually never eat fast food, or do so very, very rarely. But these days, I've just got to have what I want right away, and I've got a pretty good is the one thing I like about pregnancy. Food tastes good, and I get to eat what I want.

After Cash was born, I felt so busy and overwhelmed that I literally only ate when I realized I was starving and could not continue folding the endless loads of laundry, or spending 45 minutes nursing, or cleaning up puke or whatever. I was soooo tired all the time, and did not enjoy food at all. Slowly, as I started to put my life back into balance, I began to enjoy my life again (along with food), and began making my own yogurt, bread, tortillas and all that good stuff. I truly felt like I was flourishing. I love to flourish by the way. That's how I feel when I am truly happy; like I am flourishing. So then I had to go and get pregnant again, and the flourishing thing has gone out the window, but now I am creeping out of the sick-pregnant lady stage/tired all the time to a lesser degree of flourishment, but flourishing all the same. I've actually been thinking a lot about the word of wisdom (our church's dietary guidelines) and trying to figure out exactly how I can live them to the fullest extent. I think it is a real journey, and different for each person. Sometimes I feel like some people have had extreme (or what I considered at the time to be extreme, but I actually feel like I understand now) views, and they try to force them on me, but as I've slowly pondered what I think I should do, I've decided to make some changes to my diet, and have actually had so much fun over the last couple of months trying some new things!

First of all let me state: If I want cook out, I am getting cook out. If I want a burger, I will get one, but I am trying to consume less meat over all. I decided to limit our menu plan to one week night entree including meat per week about six weeks ago, and am proud to say, I have stuck to it (with a lot of help from pinterest!). I think it is actually a lot easier to cook without meat because it just takes less time and one less step. I am so shocked that after 28 years of being a regular meat eater, I have not missed it in our meals at all. That is not to say I only eat meat at one meal per week. Erick will sometimes bring home lunch that has meat, or we'll make a big meal with meat for our one night and it ends up making tons of leftovers that I eat for lunch for a few days, so it's definitely less meat, but meat still ends up in my diet more than one time a week most weeks. Either way, I am not sure if I want to eliminate it totally or not. I am comfortable with this, and will continue this way as long as I feel that way. The neatest thing has been trying new things and in new combinations. Just yesterday, I made my favorite curry and instead of chicken, I used cashews. It was DELICIOUS. I mean, I wanted to cry it was soooooo good. My kids gobbled it up too. Also, I have finally learned how to make pizza! I realized pizza is a super easy way to have a meatless meal ( and seriously, I don't really count the one and a half pieces of pepperoni that end up on my slice as being our "meat meal" of the week...I said I'm not strict!). I tried this recipe for pizza crust and am now in love. My kids think I'm a rock star now that I can make tasty pizza. I hear things like "Mom! This is the best night Evarrrrrrr!" when I make pizza. So without further adieu, I am going to share my curry recipe, and then my pizza topping favorites, so maybe you can enjoy the bliss that is this deliciousness (if you are pregnant, you will probably enjoy this even more):

Mango Cashew Curry

1 can coconut milk
1 (or two) mangoes
2 potatoes cooked and sliced (optional)
1 cup frozen green beans thawed (this is how we use all of our green beans we freeze from our garden)
1/2 cup to 1 cup chopped cashews
1-2 tsp red curry paste or other curry paste of your choice
1 tsp salt

Your favorite rice

First, get the rice going. If you are lucky like me, your rice cooker has a steam basket, so I peel and chop my potatoes and put them in the basket, and when the rice is done, my potatoes are as well

Next, peel your mango and cut all the fruit off the big pit/seed thing. Pour coconut milk into blender and then add your mango. Puree this. I like mine chunky so I can get nice chunks of mango, but if you don't like a lot of texture, puree until smooth. Pour the puree into a pan, then simply add green beans, cut up, cooked potatoes, and cashews, and salt. IF YOU HAVE KIDS, go ahead and dish theirs up before you add the curry unless they just love curry. The curry is pretty spicy and mine won't eat it, but they love the sauce without it. Okay, now add your curry.

Serve over your favorite rice (I choose jasmine for this dish) and then top with coconut and if you have a second mango you can slice it up and add to the top for added flavor. I am unfortunately allergic to fresh mango and don't do this, but can eat it when cooked! Store any leftovers separate from the rice (if you combine them the rice will kind of soak it's gross, just trust me), and it is honestly better the next day!

Pizza awesomeness~

These are the three pizza combos I did after following this recipe pretty much exactly for the crust. Just a tip to people that don't love making their own bread, the dough is ready when it has JUST reached the point of when you touch it, it doesn't stick to your finger, but bounces back. It should not be super sticky! So as soon as you get to that point, you are done! Don't add any more flour! Okay, her recipe says it makes two pizzas, well the only stone at target was pretty small, so I make three pizzas. Here is what I did tonight:

1: Plain jane pepperoni
-pizza sauce
-mozzarella cheese

cook for 10 minutes on my stone that has been waiting for me in a 500 degree oven. Perfect.

2: Garden veggie
-about two TBL basil pesto-spread thin layer over dough
-then top with mozzarella cheese
-I cut up a tomato, about four mushrooms, and a small zuccini, tossed them in a bowl with a little olive oil and salt and poured it over the cheese.

same baking instructions as above.

3: Baked potato pizza
-When I was a teenager we would sometimes order pizza from a gourmet pizza place and this was my favorite. It is now out of business, but I never forgot it, and tonight, I finally recreated it! It was delicious!!!!

-alfredo sauce-I have had a jar of this stuff in my pantry for who knows how long because I think it tastes gross on pasta, but would be just the right thing for this pizza. I was right. You could use home made if you really want to be a super star though. Spread liberally over pizza dough.
-sliced cooked potato. I just boiled a small pot of water and cooked three small potatoes, for 15 minutes, then halved them, then sliced them. I put a layer on over the alfredo sauce. How many you use will be a matter of taste. I put a lot, but definitely left space in between each one.
-cheddar cheese: Apply liberally over the potatoes!
-bacon!!! I buy precooked bacon from sams club (not bacos! But actual precooked, crumbled bacon). Sprinkle liberally over cheese. If you have to, you can cook some bacon, chop it, and sprinkle that--do what you have to do!

Now, bake on the 500 degree stone for 10 minutes and you're good to go! Serve with sour cream for dipping! I LOVED all three of these pizzas-especially the potato one. The only problem I ran into was getting the pizza from my preperation area to the actual scalding hot stone. The recipe I used suggested using corn meal, but that did not go so well for me. I tried plenty of flour and a big spatula to get it to slide and that worked okay, but was still a little scary, so anyone with any tips, please share! And, if I were a real blogger I would have taken pictures. But I am not, so just use your imagination, and I'll try and remember for next time!