Friday, June 20, 2014

Sometimes the only way around becoming crazy is to act crazy

I am nose deep in moving preparation, even though there is a TINY (is it contradictory to post an adjective for 'small' in caps?  I hope so.) chance things may not go through.  This has been the story of my life for the past eight years.  Hurry up and wait, and when you become comfortable waiting, we'll give you three days to do everything that should have been spread out over six months.  Thanks, government dudes!  The biggest current problem is allotting the funds for the move, which we plan to do on our own - no contracting movers, aka taking the easy way out, this time.  So much of my life is dictated by the right piece of paper with the right signature.  My body started falling apart before my delicate sense of sanity started to unravel, so we'll say that my mind is a little more resilient when it comes to stress.

I've started stockpiling easy foods, since I assume when July rolls around, I won't have a kitchen, or even a home, for about a month.  I just need access to a microwave, or a spoon at the very least.  Dr. Mcdougall's prepackaged junk to the rescue!

Self-portrait in split pea-soy curl minor
If there is anything that life has taught me, it's that when I take things too seriously, I end up with a migraine and a need for lots of TP.  Instead, I do what I do best - act goofy and completely ridiculous.  It eases my stress, and lightens the mood for those around me.  It may not be the best philosophy during a funeral, but no one criticized me for it (RIP, Grandma).  Laughter is the only thing that keeps us out of the mental institution. Until it turns maniacal.

One quick question for any folks wasting time reading this - what do you do to manage stress during particularly challenging times?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Snack Attack - A quick review of Lesser Evil's Super 4 Roasted Red Pepper White Bean Bites

I can't stay away.  I said "so long for now", then I see I'm posting two days in a row.  I'm so so so soooo tired of sorting, packing, and cleaning.  I've shifted my priorities and have decided procrastination is at the top of the list.  Snackin' and 'crastinatin'.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll wake up refreshed and with a new found sense of responsibility.  A little hope doesn't hurt...

H'okay, so, it is known that I have a relentless sweet tooth, and I'm sure I've already mentioned that I have voracious appetite for all things salty.  I have no control when it comes to savory, crunchy snacks.  These crispy little fellows were lucky to survive more than one day in the pantry, but unlike a bag of greasy-fried spuds, I could have blasted through the entire package without feeling too badly about myself.  Sadness they're gone, but zero guilt from gluttony.

The crisps are shaped like macaroni noodles, and have a well seasoned appearance.  They sort of remind me of combos without the cheesy filling.  To me, the flavor is very pizza-esque, and I had a difficult time putting the bag down.  The chips are salty, but not too salty, so if you're watching your salt intake and can stick to a serving or two, you won't break the NaCl budget. My breath smelled like roasted red peppers and garlic for the rest of the day.  Mmm, dragon breath.  They're positively delightful.  Would I buy them again?  Heck yeah.  Now if only I could find them in a store so the UPS man can take me off of his hitlist.

Not pictured, but sampled, is the Kale & Garlic variety which wasn't my favorite, but still good in its own right.  If you're a fan of the flavor of pesto, you'll probably be smitten with them.

Nutritional stats, ingredients, and blurbs.

When you have a hankering for a snack, do you go sweet or savory?  For me it's about 50/50, or sometimes both at the same time!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ode to Mulberries - Cacao-Mulberry Espresso Almond Butter Cookies

Yummy, chewy Mulberries.  I frickin' love them.  My first mulberry experience was in a cup of Vigilant Eats cereal that I received in one of my Vegan Cuts snack boxes.  I was so fond of it, I bought more.  Then I got to thinking, what is it about the Espresso Maca Mulberry stuff that I found myself addicted to?  Answer: Mulberries, closely followed by cacao nibs.  I procured a one pound bag of cacao nibs, and a pound of dried mulberries.  I've been adding them to everything.  One of the benefits of mulberries is their ability to regulate blood sugar.  I have some serious problems when consuming sugar and large amounts of carbohydrates.  When I started adding mulberries to my oats, I noticed a less pronounced crash.  The same is applicable when I top my Almond Dream ice cream with mulberries.  I'd say this is just a placebo effect, but I didn't actually research the benefits of mulberries until after I had started eating them.  I love sweets, but I don't love feeling like death afterward, so this discovery is quite exciting for me!

One thing I miss the most is cookies.  I made bombtastic ginger cookies for a baby shower, and assorted cookies for the holidays.  Always for other people.  Never for myself.  Not this time!  These babies are aaaall mine.  They're a good source of fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and joy.  They're also gluten free when gluten free oats are used!  To me, the texture is absolutely perfect.  A little crispy on the bottom, and chewy on the inside.  I'm in cookie heaven.  Now excuse me, while I retreat to the closet with my arms wrapped around the cookie jar.

Cacao-Mulberry Espresso Almond Butter Cookies
makes about 2 dozen small cookies

1 T flax meal +3 T warm water
1 C creamy almond butter*
1/4 C rolled oats
1/2 T molasses
1/2 C sugar**, or more if you like super-sweet cookies (option 2: omit molasses and use brown sugar-didn't have any)
1 t instant coffee
1 t baking powder
1/8 t salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped, or  1 t vanilla extract
1/4 C unsweetened cacao nibs (or chocolate chips)
1/2 C dried mulberries broken into smaller pieces, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, then drained

Make 'em:
1. Preheat oven to 350, line two baking sheets with parchment
2. In a medium bowl, mix ingredients flax through vanilla and stir, stir, stir, until well combined.
3. Fold in nibs and mulberries.
4. Drop tablespoon size dough balls onto the parchment and flatten slightly with the back of a spoon
5. Bake 10-15 minutes on center rack of the oven.  Less time=a softer cookie
6. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and allow cookies to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cookie topped parchment from the baking sheet and place directly onto the rack.  Allow to cool completely before man-handling.

*I used MaraNatha roasted no-stir creamy almond butter for the first batch, and found it to be too oily and the cookies spread out like amoebae.  They were delicious, but sort of homely.  I made a second batch using Barney Butter smooth, and the end result was much more appealing.  Homemade almond butter would probably work just as well, but will require a lot more elbow grease to get the dough mixed.

**I also made these with erythritol, but the 'cooling' mouthfeel was a bit too much and overwhelmed the flavor.  I intend to work on the erythritol/stevia version to make a truly lower-carb alternative.  As is, the glycemic impact of these cookies is much less than a standard chocolate chip cookie
, but I still can't sit down to a dozen of them :p

Friday, May 16, 2014

New News - Yet Another Temporary Hiatus

In October, my husband received orders to Alaska.  I got myself all psyched up and ready to spend another four years as an ice cube, but no, those orders were canceled shortly thereafter due to medical circumstances.  Two months later, he received a new set of orders to South Korea....unaccompanied.  For a year.  Ugh.  Since that news came, we've been sitting around like two anxious, cracked-out squirrels, waiting to hear news of where our new base will be AFTER he returns.  Four months after, and three days ago, they updated his junk (I'm sure there's some acronym for the actual term, but I don't speak government) and it said Andrews AFB, Maryland.  As of right now, he's trying to get paperwork pushed through to get my happy ass moved up there by the beginning of July, rather than August of 2015.  Oh my goodness, so much paperwork.  This means I have less than two months to sort, clean, paint, pack, garage sale, and find a suitable place to live.  I'm so excited, but incredibly overwhelmed! Things are about to get quiet around here.  D.C., Here I come!