Switching Up My Meal Prep Because I’m So Sick of Salads

February 14, 2021

Let’s get things started with a few updates. This Wednesday will mark 12 weeks of constant headache (residual pain from my shingles outbreak in the fall). The good news is that it’s been extremely mild, and I’m used to it, so I barely notice it anymore. It’s been weeks since it’s flared up to the point where it’s caused any significant inconvenience in my life. Hopefully this means it will go away soon – I feel like I’m 97% of the way there!

In other news, I’m hitting the stairmaster with a renewed vigor. My current plan is to use it twice a week (Mondays and Fridays), and while I’m only starting my second week of that plan, I’m excited by it.

Working out with a mask on is Read the rest of this entry »

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Produce, Produce, Produce!

February 22, 2012

Yesterday, I had a fruits and veggies situation – I was running out of them. It wasn’t quite as dire for veggies, but I was precariously low on fruit. I was down to two oranges in my fruit bowl, and I picked one up yesterday and discovered this on the underside:

GROSS. I hate throwing away food, but I had no other option. That left me 1 other orange, which looks mold-free, but I will examine it thoroughly tomorrow morning before I make it part of my breakfast.

It was time to go to the store. In recent months, I’ve begun frequenting the Whole Foods in Beverly Hills. There are three or four other Whole Foods (at least) that are technically closer to my house, but this location is literally blocks from Slimmons, and I’ve gotten in the habit of stopping by after leaving Richard Simmons’ classes. And that’s what I did last night.

My produce procurement actually started at Slimmons. Before class started, my friend Joanne offered me a couple oranges from the tree in her backyard. I love backyard produce! She had brought in a big bag of oranges to share, and I got the last two (next time I’ll have to arrive earlier, I guess!):

Thanks, Joanne!

It was a fun class – my dear friend Vikki, whom I haven’t seen in forever, came for the first time and had a ball. Afterward, I threw a hoodie over my sweaty workout clothes and went to market. Curious what a Richard Simmons’ aerobics class is like? Read this recent post.

I kinda like the Beverly Hills Whole Foods. It’s not a huge store, but their produce section (my favorite section) is sizable. Plus, it’s never that crowded, and parking is a breeze (maybe because I’ve only gone on Tuesday or Thursday night around 8pm).

Sometimes I breeze through the produce section, filling my cart and moving on, and sometimes I linger and really examine the offerings. I’m not afraid to fondle the melons, stroke a banana, caress a peach, or tickle some plums. Sorry, couldn’t resist! (But please note I’m an equal opportunity molester.) Today I must have wandered around each display 2 or 3 times, because it seemed like I was in that produce section forever – and that’s a feeling that I don’t mind at all!

Here’s what I came home with:

  • Top Row: mushrooms, bananas, baby carrots, blackberries, green beans.
  • Middle Row: lettuce (more on this in tomorrow’s post), zucchini, a container of pre-cut celery, yellow cherry tomatoes, comice pears, black seedless grapes, kiwis, apples (a variety called Lady Alice, which I’ve heard of before).
  • Bottow Row: pineapple, baby bell peppers, broccoli florets.

This is where this post will sound like an informercial, because that’s not all! I also picked up a few other things, including…

Rainbow Carrots! I’ve bought them a few times before – here’s my favorite post about them – but I’ve never bought them with the greens attached. Pretty, aren’t they? They makes me want to eat them Bugs-Bunny-style, which I suppose would be pulling them out of my pocket, chewing with my mouth open, and asking “What’s up, Doc?”

I also bought…

Starfruit! It’s been nearly a year since I’ve had one of these suckers, and even though they weren’t my favorite fruit, I thought I’d give it another go.

Lastly, I stumbled upon a vegetable that is so stunning that it quite literally makes me weak in the knees. I’ve seen them before, at farmers markets, but I’m pretty sure I never bought one before. Ladies and gentlemen, take a look at this:

It’s called romanesco broccoli, and I could stare at it all day. It looks like it shouldn’t belong on this planet – like aliens left it behind when they left behind E.T., or built the pyramids, or covered the planet with all those thetans. I don’t know yet what I’m going to do with it, but in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy looking at it. Is it not the coolest produce item you’ve ever seen?

I seriously can’t stop looking at it. I’ve opened my fridge twice in the past half hour just to stare! Once I do eat it, I’ll be sure to share the pictures with you.

And, in my next post, I’m going to be quite literally putting a new spin on salad!

KEEP IT UP, DAVID!


Starfruit

April 1, 2011

Remember this guy, that I picked up at Whole Foods the other day?

It’s a STARFRUIT!

Vanessa, one of my Twitter followers who lives in Australia (do you follow me on Twitter?  Go to my Contact page for the link!), started suggesting months ago that I try a starfruit, so I’ve been keeping my eye out at the store, but it wasn’t until this week that I saw one, held one in my hand, put it in my cart, and brought it home.  This starfruit was imported from Taiwan – that’s a long journey for a piece of fruit – and cost me $2.15 (they were $4.99 a pound).  I’ve read the best places to grow starfruit in the US are south Florida or Hawaii (I suppose they like a more wet, humid environment than southern California), but maybe they’re not in season in the U.S.

It’s not completely random, either, that the starfruit came all the way from southeast Asia – starfruit (which are also called carambola) are very popular there.  They’re native to the Philippines, although they may have first been cultivated in Sri Lanka or Indonesia, and Malaysia is currently the world’s largest producer and exporter of starfruit.  I’ll take my starfruit from wherever I can get it!

Here it is on my cutting board, getting to know Mr. Knife.  The starfruit thinks they’ll be best friends, but Mr. Knife knows the starfruit’s destiny.

I looked around a little bit on the interweb, and found this helpful guide to starfruit consumption.  Turns out it’s pretty easy to prepare and eat, so bonus points for the starfruit!

First I trimmed off the brown edges along the starfruit’s ridges:

Then I sliced off the end where the stem was attached:

Then I started cutting it into slices, and it turns out the fruit is aptly named, because each slice looks like… you guessed it… a star.  Ta-da!

I love that picture of the starfruit slices on a plate – pretty!  I should remember, next time I make a big fruit salad, to get a starfruit – a few slices would make a kick-ass garnish!

The entire starfruit is edible – there’s a thin skin, like an apple, and I did find one seed, about the size of a hulled sunflower seed, that I popped out.

Here’s the big question: What did it taste like?

It’s kinda crispy, like an good apple, but not as flavorful.  The juice reminds me of watermelon juice – there’s a lot of it, and it’s on the watery side – like someone’s already taken the juice and watered it down before serving.  As for the flavor itself, it’s pretty unique – slightly sour, like a lemon, and slightly sweet, like a pear/apple hybrid.  I think the best comparison I can make is from when I was growing up, and my mom would cut up an apple for my lunch box, and dip the slices in lemon juice so they wouldn’t brown – and then, hours later, at lunch time, I could still taste the lemon, but it’s still very apple-like.

Nutrition-wise, starfruit are fantastic:  A serving size, which is 100 grams, has 31 calories, and that entire starfruit weighted .43 pounds, and I ate the whole thing, so that works out to only 60 or so total calories!  A serving size also has less than 7 grams of carbs (about 4 of which are sugars), and 1/3 of a gram of fat.  They’re great sources of Vitamin C and a bunch of antioxidants.  Oh, and here’s a fun fact: starfruit have oxalic acid, so don’t eat them if your kidneys are failing or are on dialysis, because if you do, you’re subject to “hiccups, vomiting, nausea, and mental confusion,” and, according to wikipedia, starfruit-based fatalities have been reported.  Yikes!

So would I buy one again?  Probably at some point, but I don’t think I’ll be racing through the produce section to find them.  I didn’t dislike my starfruit, but I’m not swooning, either.

More importantly, I’m proud to add to my list of fruits and vegetables that I’ve tried for the first time!  (You can see the list if you click on My Favorite Posts)

Keep it up, David!


A Much Better Monday

March 29, 2011

Just as so many of you predicted in your comments, emails, tweets, and messages, today turned out to be a whole new day.  Go figure!  My really shitty Sunday ended, and was followed, as Sundays often are, by a Monday.  While many Mondays can stink for their own reasons, mine turned out to be pretty good, and a vast improvement over my Sunday.  Here are the things that contributed to my much better Monday:

1) You. So many of you came out of the woodwork to offer support and guidance, and sent love and good vibes my way.  I read every comment and email, and appreciated every one of them.  So, thank you.  What a network I have!

2) Richard Simmons. He never fails to make me laugh, and while I didn’t see him in person today, I watched his new video.  Earlier this month, he flew to New Zealand, and shot the new in-flight safety video for Air New Zealand, and it’s the funniest safety demonstration I’ve ever seen.  Have you seen it yet?  Take a look.  Fans of The Amazing Race, keep your eyes peeled for the Phil Keoghan cameo!

3) Scream 4 Trailer. I love the Scream movies, and in a few weeks, the fourth one will be released.  I can’t wait!  Today I watched the trailer for Scream 4 for the first time – it looks terrifyingly fantastic!  As an added bonus for me, it was filmed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I lived for 5 years, so I’ll be on the lookout for familiar locations.  Have you seen the trailer yet?

4) Batman. A good friend of mine (I’m going to protect his anonymity, as he’s rather private) read yesterday’s post and emailed me a quote from, of all places, a Batman movie:

Alfred Pennyworth: Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up.
Bruce Wayne: You still haven’t given up on me?
Alfred Pennyworth: Never!

Although I’ve seen all the Batman movies, I couldn’t remember which one it’s from, and my friend had to remind me it’s from Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan’s 2005 movie that featured Christian Bale, for the first time, as the Caped Crusader.  Then he sent me the clip from the movie that features the quote (it’s at the very end):

I muttered “Never!” in my best Michael Caine accent under my breath for the rest of the day.

5) New Music. I bought a song for my workout playlist that I love.  It’s “Stereo Love” by Edward Maya and Vika Jigulina.  It’s not brand-new music, but it is brand-new to me.  I’d embed a video here, since I’ve already embedded three others in this post, but I couldn’t find one on YouTube that was embed-able (is that a word?).  But go to Youtube, after you finish reading this post of course, and search “Stereo Love,” and it’ll be the top result.

6) Me. I saved the best for last.  The thing that most improved my attitude today were my own actions.  I ate really well.  I went to the gym after work (and listened to the above song about 3 times on the elliptical) while yelling out the answers to the Wheel of Fortune puzzles.  Then I indulged in a little retail therapy, at Whole Foods.  It’s been a while – months, perhaps – since I’ve shared my produce purchases, but I lined it all up on the counter tonight.  Check out what’s new in my refrigerator!

Let’s see – starting from top left, and going clockwise, there’s celery, a cantaloupe, baby carrots, a mini-watermelon, mushrooms, bananas, asparagus, a container of pre-cut broccoli and cauliflower, strawberries, a starfruit, zucchini, green grapes, cameo apples, yellow carrots (read more about them here), Persian cucumbers, red bell pepper, roma tomatoes, red bartlett pears.

Here’s a closer look at the starfruit.  I’ve never bought one before, and have no idea how to eat it, but that’s what the internet is for.

Don’t you worry – I’ll definitely share my thoughts on this guy when I eat it!

OH – and that’s not it!  There are two items I didn’t include in the photograph, because I’m so flippin’ excited I just had to keep them a secret for now.  I’ll let you in on the secret soon enough.

Now to figure out what I’m going to eat tomorrow!

Keep it up, David!