Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Pasta With Creamy Mustard Sauce

April 20, 2017

Here’s the key to a healthy pasta dish: Don’t focus on the pasta.

Make the star ingredients veggies or protein, and toss in a little pasta along the way, as opposed to the other way around. For this dish, my star ingredients are two vegetables, and you’ll be shocked at how little pasta is actually used. Read the rest of this entry »


Weather, Nancy Drew, Pop, and MORE!

September 8, 2011

It was wonderfully rainy yesterday in Michigan.  It was wet all day, ranging from drizzly to a few occasional downpours, and I loved it!  The rain wasn’t so severe that it’s prohibited me from going about my business (although the power did go out for a minute in one of the buildings I was in), and it’s nice to have weather.  There’s not much variety in Los Angeles.  It’s consistently hot and dry (not a bad thing), so to be somewhere where’s actual rain falls for longer than 10 minutes is a nice change of pace.

There’s a few odds and ends that I want to get to today, and since I’ve already mentioned the weather, I thought I’d start by talking about… more weather.

1) Cedar Point Weather Update.  My big Cedar Point trip is the day after tomorrow!  Yesterday I bought discounted admission tickets at Meijer, and I checked to see if the weather forecast had changed.  The last time I looked (at the end of this post), there was a 40% chance of rain.  Here’s the update, courtesy of The Weather Channel:

CRAP.  Now a 50% chance of rain, and not just rain, scattered thunderstorms.  But it’s not going to rain.  I’m willing it not to happen.  The park doesn’t open until noon on Saturday, so if it does rain, maybe I’ll all be over by, say, 11:45am.  Yea, that’ll work just fine!

2) Nancy Drew.  I found this book on the shelf in my parents’ house:

It’s “The Mystery at the Ski Jump,” a vintage Nancy Drew mystery, copyright 1952.  I opened it randomly to page 12, and found this paragraph, which introduced Nancy’s friend Bess:

“I’d rather stay inside,” said Bess, blond and pretty.  “Maybe we can make some fudge,” she added hopefully.  Bess loved sweets and worried little about her weight.

Oh, Bess, you and I are nothing alike.  Except that we both love sweets.  And staying inside.  And we’re both pretty.

3) Pop.  I had another fun reminder that I’m back in Michigan the other day, when I had lunch with my friend Laura, and a word showed up on the bill that I’m not used to seeing anymore:

Michiganders, like most midwesterners, use “pop” as the generic term for soft drinks.  That’s the term I grew up saying.  Sometime during the past 9 years, though, I switched teams, and started referring to soft drinks as “soda,” like everyone else in California.  It wasn’t a conscious switch, it just happened, so it was fun to see “pop” on a restaurant bill. What do you call soft drinks?  Check out this fun map that breaks down who says what in every county in the country.  I don’t drink soda or pop anymore – it was Laura who ordered the pop, and it was Vernors, an amazing ginger ale that was created in Detroit in 1866.

Laura, by the way, is a huge Cedar Point enthusiast who goes every year (she gave me some great park-navigating advice). She’d totally be there screaming alongside us this weekend, except for one little snafu: she’s 7 months pregnant.  It would’ve been fun for Laura to join us at the park, but it will be more fun (if that’s possible) to meet her baby the next time I see her!  Cedar Point isn’t going anywhere – Laura and I can always go another year.  We’ll just leave the baby in the car, with the window rolled down a crack – he’ll be fine!

4) Amazing Super-Local Dinner.  The other night I went to Ann Arbor, my college town, and spent the night with my friend-since-sophomore-year Jim and his husband Aric.  Shortly after I arrived, we sat down to a very impressive and delicious meal that Aric put together.

I’m so amazed at how Jim and Aric eat.  Being healthy and eating well are very important to both of them, as is eating organically, eating seasonally, supporting local farmers, and knowing where their food comes from.  My plate (and bowl):

I can’t remember the specifics of everything on the plate, but the meal included tons of vegetables that came from a variety of wonderful sources:

  • Their backyard.  They have a garden and grow all sorts of things, including the tomatoes and lots of herbs.
  • Farmers’ market.  They go every week and personally know a lot of the vendors.
  • CSA box.  They participate in Community-Supported Agriculture (sometimes called farmshare).  Basically, they pay a fee at the beginning of the summer, and every week, a box is delivered to their door with all sorts of just-picked produce from the fields outside of town.  Sound like something you want to try? Learn more and find a CSA near you here.

A couple more fun things:

  • In the lower left of the plate is homemade kimchi, a Korean dish of fermented vegetables.  This was the second time in a week I’ve eating Korean food (here’s the other time), a new record!  Aric made the kimchi, and I visited on a good night, because I got to see the kimchi get unveiled.  Aric has a fermenting crock (similar to this one), and this batch has been fermenting for a couple weeks in their basement.  The kimchi was delicious, and now I’m toying with the idea of getting a fermenting crock for myself.  Maybe.
  • Two of the dishes had fresh mushrooms in them, and Aric found them, himself, in the woods.  There’s a whole underground culture of people who go looking for wild edible mushrooms, and Aric’s a pro at it.  What’s funny is that mushroom foraging is very hush-hush and top secret, because you don’t want to give away where you’re finding the good stuff!  Aric’s a mushroom expert: he knows the scientific names and can identify tons of mushroom varieties, and has found all sorts of varieties in the woods around Ann Arbor.  He just found this beauty, called Hen-of-the-Woods, which is the size of a football:

My god, I have such interesting friends!

I spent the night in Jim and Aric’s guest room, and before leaving in the morning, I grabbed a peach:

Where did the peach come from?  The peach tree in their backyard, of course!

5) Chart/Exercise Update.  It’s been slightly over two weeks since I’ve updated my weight loss chart, mainly because it’s on my wall in California, and I’m in Michigan (see my two-weeks-ago update here).  I actually don’t even know how I’m doing, weight-wise, because I don’t have access to a reliable scale.  My parents’ scale is way off-base – the last time I used it, I weighed myself 3 times in a row, and got 3 different weights in a 30-pound range, none of them in the ballpark of what I should have weighed.  The gym I joined for these 2 weeks in Michigan has a physician’s scale where you slide the thingamajigs back and forth until the lever-thingie balances, but it’s not accurate either – I used it the other day, and the thingie stayed perfectly balanced for every pound in an 8-pound range.  Not helpful.

I don’t need a scale to know that I’m doing well, however, and it kinda liberating to just live without feeling tethered to a number (although I know my curiosity will get the best of me and I’ll jump on my scale the morning after I get back).  I’ve been eating well and making good choices, and my exercise has been strong.  I took a rest day today, after 7 workouts in a row, and on Monday, I started weight training for the first time since I hurt my lower back.  All went well, and it felt great!  I’ll be hitting the gym again today – I’m looking forward to it!

Keep it up, David!