Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2 ways to pre-game Friday

Today is kind of like Friday Part One.  I took tomorrow off from work because Mister and I have big plans.  Well, actually, Mister's and my big plans could have been accomplished by taking a half day, but I decided to take advantage of the fact that PIFA is still going on and avail myself on some free arts stuff.

Some women go to a salon/spa to pamper themselves.  I go to museums and live music with food carts.

Today was also an interesting food day.  It was Hot Dog Day at work.  It never fails to completely astonish me how much crappy food we serve our employees at a weight loss company.  This year's Hot Dog Day was only more civilized than last year's in two small ways:

1. We managed to avoid polluting Earth Day with our little tubes of nitrates and leftover skin.
2. We managed to avoid the novelty of a fat and toothless man serving hot dogs from his little cart.

Apart from that, it served as a reminder of two more things:

1. Just because we work for a company trying to establish itself as a total wellness solution and just because we aim to teach overweight and obese people how to establish healthy eating habits while losing weight on our program does not mean we feed our employees healthy food.

2. If there is something novel available, like, say, veggie dogs, people will choose that over their pink tubes of manipulated meat out of pure curiosity.  Unfortunately, this can end with no food for the people who can only eat the veggie dogs...people like me.

I'm trying to "be the bigger person" (not literally, obviously) and look at this from a generous and enlightened perspective, but there are two points at war within me:

1. I really, really want to focus on how awesome it was that so many meat-eaters voluntarily chose to eat something that was not dead.  I want to be happy for their excellent choice of a [albeit processed] vegetarian protein over their usual choice of rotting, preserved flesh.  I want to believe that running out of veggie dogs before the event was half over will indicate to management that there is a larger interest in good, non-meat options than they originally thought and that this revelation will result in more veggie choices in future events.

2. I wish they had "reserved" at least enough for the known vegetarians, and allowed omnis to eat "extras."  I mean, really.  I, like everyone else, had believed the company was feeding me today, so I did not bring lunch.  Them running out of veggie dogs resulted in me having to buy my lunch at the cafe, who, fortunately, had vegetarian lentil soup for me to dunk my naked hot dog rolls in.

In any case, I was happy to head home at the end of a very busy and hungry day and find that Mister was actually awake and alert.  I had nothing to say last night because when I got home, Mister was passed out in the dark in the bedroom, got up for about an hour and a half before giving up and going back to bed.  In the absence of a formal, cooked dinner, I had a grilled peanut butter sandwich and a plate of strawberries.  It was a nice little dinner, but nothing to blog about, especially since the strawberries could have been a lot closer to in season.  Speaking of seasons, I know Mister and I are quite ready to wave Allergy Season goodbye.

So, despite Mister's ambivalent hunger, I set about making Mediterranean Chickpeas and Vegetables, from the July 1998 Cooking Light magazine.  Click the meal name for the recipe - and you should - it's tasty and very easy.  If you have precooked rice, or use a faster cooking rice like Basmati or Jasmine, or even a fast-cooking grain like bulgur or couscous, you can easily get this on the table in 30 minutes, which was exactly what I was aiming to do.

It has been such a long time since we've had this that I'm pretty sure I've never served it in those bowls...which we got the first Christmas after we were married (2007).  See, it took me quite a long time to find my cooking "wings" so for the first several years of our vegetarian lives together, I just kind of made the same things in an ever-widening rotation.  I was always trying to learn new recipes, I just hadn't become confident enough in my ability to cook to take as many chances as I do now.  So, before I learned how fun it is to be adventurous in your menu selection, even if it leads to disaster from time to time, we would generally do a rotation of pizza, pasta, veggie burgers w/fries, pizza, rice and beans, my own weak version of veggie lo mein, pizza, and rice cooked in vegetable broth with whatever vegetables I found palatable that day sauteed in some olive oil with not quite enough garlic.  And pizza - did I mention that?  Yeah, Mister and I ate a lot of pizza when we stopped eating animals.

Anyway, this had a high priority in our rotation because it was the first time I thought to combine canned tomatoes with the sauteed veggies and definitely the first time I realized you could have beans (chickpeas) and rice AND veggies - I know, it blew my mind at the time, too.  So, I probably overdid it a bit, so when I started building my cookbook collection, it fell away.

I'm glad I made it and I'll probably try to remember to make it a little more frequently than once every 3 years or so, because it's really good and simple.  I always enjoy the recipes that involve bay leaves because they lend such a bizarre flavor to dishes; smoky, like I mentioned.

Anyway, I have some French wine to drink in preparation for my day of French fun tomorrow.  I'm so glad I decided to take the day off - I so enjoyed the PIFA gala and I've wanted to attend far more than I have, but alas... that whole pesky working-6-days-a-week thing gets in the way of a lot of things I want to do.  I plan to enjoy every moment of tomorrow and hope to capture as much as I can on film so we can have a little picture party tomorrow night in preparation for Real Friday.

Bonne nuit et Beaux rêves, mes amis, à demain!


  1. I hope your French wine is a Louis Jadot Beaujolais (my fave!). Enjoy your day off tomorrow!

  2. seriously, Jackie - get out of my brain. As a matter of fact, it WAS Louis Jadot and I thought about putting that in, then I thought "No one cares which beaujolais." :) You're awesome.