Saturday, June 27, 2009

Retreat menu/party fun!

It's taken me a few days, but here's the menu from my retreat with Tracie:

Start up: 8 a.m. Warm chai tea with milk and a little coconut oil (This is kind of like having a smoothie, but cozier).

Breakfast: 9:30 a.m. An egg and some watermelon

Snack: 11 a.m. carrot salad

Lunch: 12:30 p.m. Veggie broth soup and watermelon

Snack: 2:30 p.m. egg custard with raspberry sauce

Dinner: 5 p.m. (this was on my own) Chicken breast with a sauteed mesclun salad topped with onions and fresh strawberries and a little olive oil and raspberry vinegar.

I went to the best birthday party last night: my friend Patti's 50th and all of her appetizers were from the 50s. The food was fun (gherkins rolled around coldcuts that had been smeared with cream cheese, wieners wrapped in croissant dough "pigs in a blanket" and cheese whiz and green olives on Ritz crackers), but it was also a showcase of how food got "bad" right about 1959. The snack was a bunch of Hostess cupcakes, Twinkies and Hohos. We drank Harvey Wallbangers (o.j., vodka and Galliano) and Cosmos.

I had a couple of everything, but fortunately it all tasted so bad, my favorite treat was the cucumber slices and the fruit Kabobs with really yummy pineapple and watermelon.

We did have a terrific time dressing up. My expensive beehive fell before the party even started and my friend Tori saved the day by pinning it up.

I hope you like the photos. The one on the left are two very good friends who love to dress up (and do a good job) and the one on the right is my "greaser" guy, Tim.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A retreat with my nutritionist!

Today, Tracie and I are in a writing retreat all day. I'm working on the writing and she's going to work on my diet. All day, I'll be eating what she says I'm to eat (and she has to say what I write). Fair trade, right? I'll post later to let you know what we ate. Right now we're enjoying a filling cup of hot chai tea with a tablespoon of coconut oil in it. She says it will set me up for the morning!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Heat drives the drive right out of me!

The heat is so dense and moist that the thought of working in my garden makes me itch. I have broccoli that needs cutting and eating, however, and the carrots and the salad needs weeding. I also have lots of greens that need picking.

Tonight, believe it or not, I'm making a lovely grass-fed pot roast with taters and a big green salad with sauteed broccoli on it.

Oops. Gotta go. Tim wants to take the kids fishing! More later.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Best dinner ever!

I love it when it's high fresh food season! Tim and I had the greatest dinner on Thursday night as follows:

Roasted free range chicken breasts with organic lemon pepper seasoning, salt and a speck of butter.
Sauteed spring greens in onions and red peppers
Steamed asparagus with salt, pepper and a tiny drizzle of hazelnut oil.

It was so delicious. Then, last night I had a similarly terrific dinner with free-range chicken breasts grilled with herbs and a huge salad of mesclun greens and buttercrunch greens with radishes, steamed broccoli and purple young onions -- all from our garden. I also sliced some organic tomatoes on top. Tim and the kids had brats, but I was thrilled with my chicken. For dessert we had some all natural ice cream (Hagen Daz) and some strawberries from our garden. Yummmy! I just had a little ice cream, but it was the perfect ending. I felt so great. I had one glass of wine and some lemon water. It was a great dinner. The kids were busy with happy chatter to their Dad and I, we all loved what we were eating and no one felt yukky after dinner from eating too much. The kids tried the salad and although it was a bit different than an iceberg lettuce salad with a ton of dressing, they still liked it a bit.

My latest happy discovery is Pellegrino water. I just love it. When I feel like a soda, I just buy that instead and I'm always happy and refreshed.

I'm finding that I'm feeling really good lately. I can tell my stomach is getting smaller and I'm definitely having more energy. I played soccer last night with Colin (he's pretty impressed with my scoring ability), and ran all over the backyard. I dasn't step on a scale because I'm starting to do the hop-on-hop-off thing and that can get hairy. I did have to wear a bathing suit on a boat on Sunday and it was scary. I have a pretty full-coverage suit and a large coverup. I always remember feeling that my legs were my best asset if I covered up everything else. I want to feel more comfortable in a suit!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another pound bites the dust!

Happy, happy, happy day! I'm down another pound. I love that I am hopping on the scale now and looking down to see another pound gone. It's fun! That's 7 total so far and I'm really happy to be close to getting into a lower weight decade.

(BTW: I can tell I've not been a newspaper reporter for a while, by the way, by the drastic increase in the number of exclamation marks I use [almost used another one there]).

At any rate, today I'm going to stop eating all leftovers and focus once again on eating fresh foods. Lately, it's been a festival of eating leftovers that are "almost right" or "not at all right."
Below is a recipe I'm going to try tonight as I also want to get my Tim some healthy foods as he is working so darn hard around here. I think I'll serve it with lamb chops.

Asparagus Citrus Salad (from The Daily Green recipe list).

1 bunch fresh asparagus spears, ends trimmed
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
small block Parmesan cheese (optional)

3-4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
zest of half a lemon
3/4 tsp Dijon mustard
extra virgin olive oil
1 blood orange, peeled and segmented (leftovers reserved)
1 orange, peeled and segmented, (leftovers reserved)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drizzle asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place asparagus on a foil-lined baking sheet (for easy cleanup), and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until bright green and tender-crisp.
2. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, honey, lemon zest and mustard in a bowl and slowly whisk in olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Plate asparagus and drizzle liberally with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Top with orange and blood orange segments and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette, to taste. Garnish with thin ribbons of Parmesan cheese.

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Diet Help - Baby Raccoons

No, you don't eat the baby raccoons. But if you have them in your house, the smell will gross you out to such an extent that you won't want to eat. Just thinking about them will make you go off your feed, although alcoholic beverages will seem more appropriate as the duration of their stay goes on.

I haven't eaten much since Friday, at least not while at home, except for a delicious fish feed put on by Tim last night, but even then I didn't have more than one small serving. On Thursday evening, my oldest stepdaughter, Isabel, called to report that our dog was playing with a baby raccoon in our backyard. I was at a picnic with Eden, the 7 year old, so I told her to find her Dad, who was outside gardening. When Eden and I got home, there were two baby raccoons in our dog kennel and Tim was up a tree rescuing a third. At first, they seemed cute, but they quickly became stinky. And the smell is so funky (kind of like the smell of bad dog food) that you don't want to be anywhere near them. The neighbor dog had already killed one who had wandered out of the tree and the mom had been killed more than a week ago by the neighbor after it attacked his dog (and a second baby would be killed by the dog later). So there were really no options for the tender-hearted Meidl clan.

They seemed fine on Friday morning when we got up, but by Sunday morning, Jasper (Isabel named them Jasper, Monkey and Bandit) seemed quite ill and barely alive. So Isabel began to valiantly use a straw to feed him watered down milk every couple hours-even through the night. Not the right formula for a baby raccoon, but it was all we could do. They are taking them to the Humane Society Wildlife Center this morning hoping to drop them off to be "rescued." Poor little, stinky critters.

In the interim, the mud room where they have been staying has become so funky, stinky and noxious that one must hold one's breath while scuttling through as quickly as possible to avoid any of the stinkage clinging to one's clothing. The damage to appetite, however, will already be done.

I've called about a thousand numbers trying to find someone to take them off our hands. No one returned our calls, thus we are doing the dropoff at the Humane Society's Wildlife Center. I hate to contemplate their fates.

To partially quote Churchill, "nevah, nevah, nevah, nevah" take in a baby raccoon. Much less three of them. It is, however, an excellent supplement to a diet.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Seasonal Notes: Rhubarb, Morels and Asparagus

With May each year comes the gardener's delight at once again having fresh veggies and fruit available for their dinner table. Yay I say! For me, lettuce and radishes pale in comparison to rhubarb, morels and asparagus. I eat asparagus almost every day in May and June: in my eggs, steamed with a meat or fish, sauteed with rice and pureed for soup (which I freeze)! Here's a terrific article form the New York Times listing a few recipes and praising the yummy flavor of asparagus.

Sure, it's delicious, but I also have such fond memories of hunting asparagus with my Grandpa and Grandma Schwenn along fence lines in rural Dane County. Walking carefully so you don't inadvertantly snap off a stalk in a less-than-optimal spot, you would push aside the tall grass. The hunt made it seem all the more precious. If anyone had asparagus gardens back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I sure didn't know them. Now, of course, my parents have a large asparagus garden and everytime I head out there, they load me up.

The same is true of rhubarb (I love it, eat it a ton and get it from my parents). My honey Tim's favorite is a rhubarb custard pie, which I've finally mastered to the approval of my stepchildren. They have even asked me to make it over their Grammy, who is the state champ at making rhubarb custard pie. Here's the recipe:

3 slightly beaten eggs
2 2/3 Tablespoons milk
2 cups sugar
4 Tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups rhubarb
Mix all together and put into a pie crust (I use Pillsbury in a box when I'm in a pinch--it's the only frozen or refrigerated that's any good.) and then bake at 400 for 60 minutes. I've also made the custard without the crust and then put ice cream on top. Yummm.

Finally, morels are another favorite. I want to learn how to forage for my own since they can cost anywhere between $10 and $20 a pound. I only like them one way: sauteed on their own with garlic, onions, butter and salt and pepper. The kids even ate them and liked them -- although one waited until they were cold. Not a good time to try them.

I also want to share a very cool Web site my friend Amanda posted on Facebook today. has some of my favorite local businesses on it. Put in your zip code and you'll find all of the best local, sustainable businesses (restaurants, farmers markets, co-ops, farmers, etc.) in your area.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Weight, weight go away (and don't come again).

Well, another two pounds has left the building! Yay. It's clear to me that my renewed sense of energy and commitment is paying off! More later, but it's a kids week and I'm swamped!