Wednesday, January 27, 2010

the Fail is strong with this one

Now comes the self-berating, naughty-blogger, why-does-anyone-bother-reading-this-crap post. I feel like being sicker than I've been in over a year probably warrants a five-day absence from the blogosphere, but that doesn't mean I like it. My husband held a career for the first several years of our life together that required him to stay in front of people's eyes and minds - to be absent too long meant to risk being forgotten, which would result in failure. I'm no rockstar, but I know my own tendencies and when I notice a blogger start to post less and less and updates come less and less frequently, I am less interested in that blog than I once was. I don't want to lose the 6 people who do bother reading my mumbo-jumbo, so I'm just a little mad at myself for going so long without posting something.

Great - now that we've gotten that out of the way, I can move forward with the fun part of this post.

As I might have mentioned, I've been kind of sick. Nothing serious, just The Plague. People at work (aka, the Carriers of Disease) are absolutely boggled when they learn that I am not completely doped up with OTC drugs, cough suppressants, vitamins and other various supplements. Our culture has become so focused on quick fixes and distracting ourselves from reality that it doesn't seem to occur to anyone that it is actually possible to get all of the vitamins and nourishment your body needs to heal itself through our food. I realize you probably weren't expecting that, so I'll give you a moment to grab the dust pan and collect the tinier bits of bone and gray matter that may be littering the floor right now.

You all back together?

Good. Let's keep going before I lose my momentum.

So, when you live on a diet of Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast, something from the Cafe of Death or a vending machine for a snack before you run to Burger King or Wendy's for your lunch, and God only knows what happens after you get that soda and bag of Doritos from the vending machine before you leave for the night, I guess it could be hard to figure out how to help your body recover from a bout with germs. I guess that's why there is more hand sanitizer at my office than there is whiskey at an Irish pub. [Funny side note: two of my colleagues cannot be dissuaded from the opinion that the hand sanitizer we stock smells like margaritas. I couldn't disagree more, but I'm not a tequila-hound.]

After completely astonishing one of my team members today by explaining that I wasn't taking medicine, sucking on an endless supply of lozenges, drowning myself in vitamins, or any of the other things that she thought were normal and I found utterly repellent, we came to the "staring contest" part of the conversation. At this point I took it upon myself to explain that if you are vigilant about the things you use to fuel your body and actually make the effort to eat clean, less-processed, nutrient-rich food, you can actually take care of yourself and anything that ails you....naturally. She stared at me, presumably looking for the second head about to sprout from my neck, and I proceeded to explain to her that the only actions I was taking to banish The Plague related to eating foods that were even more nourishing and dense in the vitamins and other nutrients your body needs to rebuild itself at times like these. I thought if I said "dark, leafy greens," her head might explode, so I walked away.

Before I allowed myself to wallow completely in my germs and misery, I made one of my dinners - what I considered to be the "most healthful" of the menu, not to mention the most comforting. I started the week (Thursday) by making the Tofurky and Kale Minestra.
If that doesn't scream healthy, I don't know what would.

I served it up with a big bowl of fruit salad (admittedly from the precut bowls at Superfresh - sue me, I was already feeling like crud). I can't think of a way to pack more things my body needs into one meal: we had kale, a hearty bit of protein from the Tofurky slices, honeydew, cantelope, strawberries, and blueberries, just to name the power players! The fruit was perfectly ripe and sweet and I had been craving the melon, which is slightly unusual - I'm not normally a melon gal, but recently I have been. Maybe it's especially good this season?

The soup actually lasted me about three days, since we each only had one (big) bowl on Thursday. When I say me, I assume Mister didn't have more because he either wanted me to have it all or because he thought I had contaminated it with my germs (probably), but I'm glad I had it all. It was just like chicken noodle soup, except without the chicken or the noodles. Seriously, though, if there was a perfectly vegan alternative to chicken noodle soup, this is it - the Tofurky ended up with the right taste and texture and there was something noodle-y in the slurpiness of the kale ribbons. I am in love with this soup.

Also, I am in love with the sensory effects of hot, savory soup with cold, sweet fruit. Absolutely perfect combination.

I was out of work Thursday though Sunday and finally forced myself back on Monday for no other reason than that it was Monday and I felt obligated to be there. I felt like death, but I made it through the day to everyone's surprise. I had intended to make dinner when I got home, but Mister thought I should sleep, so I did that instead - I was exhausted! So, another reason for my recent silence is that I didn't have any fun food stories (and didn't spend a lot of time upright). I finally got to make dinner again on Tuesday night, so I made Braised Broccoli Rabe with Orecchiette.
Actually, that's Rotini. The strangest thing about the recipe was that despite the title, it did not call for orecchiette pasta, not even shells! So, I figured rotini was more fun than penne, and there you have it.

Cooking the pasta in broth didn't actually do a whole lot for its flavor, but braising the broccoli rabe with the pasta in the broth did amazing things to reduce the acute bitterness associated with this nourishing green. A review of the recipe that I read commented that there was too much broth, and I thought 5 cups sounded a bit much, so I kept it to an even quart. I think it worked out just right, though the pasta was definitely swimming in a pretty little puddle of it.

Tonight was No-Cook Wednesday, so I had a kimchee-like cabbage salad and a piece of peanut butter toast. Unexciting and not the most nourishing thing I've had all week, but it beats McDonald's.

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