Papaya, Papaya, Paya

This is an iPhone photo, taken very late at night to ensure maximum graininess.

I am sincerely nervous about showing the inside of our refrigerator. I really have no idea why, it’s not like there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just…private? I’m telling you, I possess some weirdness.

Moving on…

I am not a big snacker. I have never felt a desire to eat much between meals. However, I’m trying to remember to snack more, as a method of helping to keep my portion sizes down. The problem is, I’m lazy. I love strawberries, but if I’m feeling a little hungry after lunch, the idea of preparing them will often keep me from grabbing any. Preparing them means washing them, popping the leaves off, and all that strenuous effort that would require I take a nap afterward. So, I decided to order some of these adorable ceramic berry baskets, to organize our refrigerator a bit more, and make grabbing a handful of fruit a little easier.

Those perfectly over-exposed orbs in the white baskets are grapes, by the way. Also in the baskets are cherries, strawberries, and grape tomatoes. It’s been really nice to open the door, grab a handful of something healthy, and have it already washed and ready to eat. We even bought a set of grapefruit spoons, because peeling grapefruits makes me sticky and the only thing I hate more than being sticky is being stickier. It’s all about making the fruits more convenient, which is why we’ve shoved the dried fruits waaaaay in the back, where you can reach in and knock all the berries and grapes out of their baskets, as you drag the bulky bags over top. Can I interrupt myself to say how annoying I find the position of that one apricot? Speaking of apricots, I do not like them. I love them dried, but we’ve had two fresh varieties now, and both taste like nothing at all.

Even though we eat homemade meals six out of every seven days of the week, and almost all our stuff is organic, non-GMO, and fairly healthy, I feel like I could do better. I’m leaning toward going one week mostly raw vegetarian. I can’t do vegan, or completely raw, because I like milk. Could you tell? I don’t want to do it as a cleanse or a lifestyle change, I just think it might be interesting to see the effects a raw diet would have on my body.

We’ll see. The last time we tried to eliminate meat from our diet, it lasted one long, disappointing, grumpy day. I’m not sure no meat or heat is going to go much better.

Note: I did not turn the brand name side away on purpose and now that I see they’re almost all like that, I’m going to have to go rearrange things. More weirdness.

Title From:
The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane*
by Dean Martin

* I do not know if the ladies actually say “papaya,” but that’s what I hear when I listen to the song.

I Spread It on Bread, on Crackers, and Toast

Marmite. A product so known for having a love it or hate it flavor, the company has it written on their website.

I’ve never been more nervous to try something.

I once had dinner at a tiny Chinese restaurant, let’s assume it was called The China Wall, since most of them are, in a strip mall between Lancaster and Mountville, Pennsylvania. It’s not there anymore, I checked. They had a little buffet where I had my first encounter with egg drop soup. I wasn’t quite as adventurous with food back then but eggs and broth didn’t seem like a gigantic leap out of my comfort zone.

That egg drop soup is the only food I have ever tried that I could not convince my throat to swallow. I actually had to go to the bathroom to spit it out. Somehow I managed to consume a vomit flavored Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Bean, which was disturbingly realistic, but my body would not allow me to injest the soup.

After that experience, I was understandably hesitant to try egg drop soup again. However, I’ve learned, because my family is chockablock with terrible cooks who are extremely fond of canned foods (asparagus, peas, potatoes, etc.), that you can’t always depend on one tasting. Canned asparagus is like salty asparagus flavored baby food, molded to look like wilted asparagus stalks. Fresh asparagus is delicious. If I hadn’t given the vegetable another try, it wouldn’t be a regular staple in my diet today. In fact, if I had formed my final opinion after the first taste of anything I’ve had, I’d probably be eating nothing but funnel cakes, whoopie pies, raw carrots, and sweet bologna.

So, years later, I braved another tasting of egg drop soup and it was extremely okay. I’m still not a huge fan but, when it’s not prepared with millennium eggs, it’s much more tolerable. Not even that second attempt, after having to spit out the previous, made me as nervous as Marmite.

I’ve read reviews that have referred to it as fishy, some that have likened it to a moistened beef ramen seasoning packet, and others who have called it “salted tar.” It’s no wonder I’m nervous. But, I am determined to give it a go.

I’ll let you know which side we’re on.

Update: I made some toast, spread the thinnest layer of Marmite I possibly could, spread cream cheese on top of that, added some halved cherry tomatoes, and topped those with freshly ground black pepper. It was delicious, but I couldn’t taste the Marmite at all. So, I made more toast, spread the Marmite just a touch thicker, added some cream cheese, and opted to leave the tomatoes off because I had already thrown the little cutting board into the sink where it will swell from water and proceed to break apart. Gross. Absolutely disgusting. There was definitely a yeasty flavor and salt is less salty than Marmite. The verdict seems to be, it’s delicious if you can’t taste it. When it’s there to lend a savory quality but you’re unable to identify where that savoriness is coming from, it’s fantastic.If you have a choice between Marmite you can taste and one of those BeanBoozled jelly beans flavored like rotten egg? Choose the Marmite. Those things are awful. But in any other situation, go with the not Marmite option.

Title From:
Marmite Song
by Jamside Up

Only Ripe Vegetables, Fresh Fruit, and Whole Wheat

There have been a few times in my life when I’ve weighed more than I liked. Once, I tried my aunt’s collagen drink, which was touted as an extremely healthy way to shed weight. I don’t know if it was or wasn’t but I can tell you that the product I tried was vile and I knew, if that’s what it was going to take to lose a little weight, I’d rather work out. So that’s what I did; I cut my calories and increased my exercise. There are a lot of “secrets” to dieting but burning more calories than you intake seems to be a no-brainer strategy and it’s always worked for me.

Brian and I have been trying to get back into the shape we were in a few years ago. With all the moving and stress (from Louisiana to Iowa to Connecticut to homeless in Wyoming to Montana in four years), we’ve let things fall by the wayside a bit. We’ve always tried to use fresh, healthy ingredients when cooking so there hasn’t been much of a change in what we’re using but rather a re-balancing of ratios.

We’ve also started to include smoothies. Last night we made a modified version of this kale smoothie. The flavor was amazing and for the first 1/3 of the glass the texture was tolerable. I even enjoyed the bits of kale that cut the sweetness of the berries. But! As I got closer to the bottom of the drink, the settling of the raspberry and blackberry seeds, along with the tiny bits of kale, made it rather unpleasant and I honestly worried that if I didn’t stop to chew it, I’d choke. I don’t want to chew my drinks.

Until I can find a way to mince the kale a little finer, I think I’ll stick with fruit smoothies (sans seedy berries) like the one pictured here. This was made with bananas, pineapples, strawberries, pomegranate juice, and water. Because Brian likes his smoothies a little thicker than I do, I’ve blended a large serving of the fruit and pomegranate juice mixture with a tiny bit of water, stored it in a large mason jar, and mix most of the water into individual pint servings so both of us can have the consistency we prefer.

It’s a great way to start the day and it saves me having to go through all the work of getting a bowl, pouring cereal, pouring milk, and grabbing a spoon. Obviously the increasing my exercise portion of this healthy kick is a little delayed.

Title From:
Be Healthy
by Dead Prez

All That Meat and No Potatoes

Two days before Thanksgiving we usually start all the prep work for The Big Day. We wash and chop every vegetable and prepare everything that can be prepared because, if we did everything on Thanksgiving day, we’d be eating in December. Unfortunately, this year our water decided to drop to a dribble and we were unable to begin as usual. Despite the setback, we’ll be celebrating this evening.

In addition to all our normal dishes, this year we decided to attempt our own brine. I both hope it’s fantastic and hope it’s not that impressive since I failed to write down what exactly went into the pot and how much of everything was used. I definitely know two lemons went into the mix, along with what appears to be a plethora of tiny seed pods, and some yard clippings.

Title From:
All That Meat and No Potatoes
by Louis Armstrong