What have I been doing and how is it almost December?

Um...what the hell happened to autumn?

Um…what the hell happened to autumn?

Basically this is my apology in case you’ve noticed I’ve been a bit behind in the world of WordPress. Life has been so hectic it’s kept me from reading and writing as much as I would have liked these past four weeks.

One of the reasons for the madness is because a month ago I decided to embark on the “Whole 30.” If you’re unfamiliar with the program it’s essentially a thirty day eating plan/elimination diet that helps participants rethink their food choices, overcome cravings, heal their digestive track and eat 100% clean for thirty days. (I don’t want to bore you too much with specifics so if you want to read more about the Whole 30, click here.)

Basically from Oct. 23 through Saturday, Nov. 22, I abstained from all sugars (natural or otherwise), grains (even whole grains), legumes (except green beans and peas), alcohol and dairy. That sounds like an overwhelming list of “can’t have’s” but I did eat plenty of meat, seafood, eggs and vegetables with a limited amount of fruits, nuts and seeds added in for good measure.

For someone who eats lots of grains and is known to indulge in a few pints of delicious beer, I was very worried I wasn’t going to complete the challenge. In fact, I vowed not to mention my mission on this blog until it was over — just in case I threw in the towel. Not very confident sounding, I know, but hey, I’m realistic. I work in the food industry, my husband cooks everything with cream, butter and cheese, and the holiday stress level at work usually has me and my co-workers doing mid-morning shots by now.

But I made it and it feels really good to say that. I do eat fairly well in general so my cravings weren’t too bad and I didn’t suffer a lot of the detox pains that many people do the first week. What made it difficult for me was the struggle of time. On this program you have to make every meal — there is no convenience eating on days when you’re feeling overwhelmed. No English muffins for breakfast or ramen for dinner. Instead I would make huge batches of soft-boiled eggs, curries and roasted vegetables just so I wouldn’t be caught hungry and off-guard.

I could talk on and on about the results from the program and how I feel about it (and maybe I will in another post) but this was just to let you know what’s been monopolizing my time lately. I love to cook and I relish time in the kitchen, but I am really  happy to be able to heat up a frozen burrito after a late night at work!

But don’t think I ate in misery for thirty days. Check out all the good things I scarfed down:

A typical Whole 30 breakfast: eggs, kale and sweet potatoes

A typical Whole 30 breakfast: eggs, kale and sweet potatoes

Continue reading

Advertisements

Gluttony in Portland: The Best Bites of FEAST 2014

Awesome after party ice cube

Awesome after party ice cube

A few posts ago I talked about Feast, a huge culinary celebration held here in Portland. Every year it brings big names in the food industry (the likes of Chris Cosentino, Paul Qui, Edward Lee, Brad Farmerie) to our town for four days of non-stop chaos. There are seminars, special dinners and tastings being held all over the city, followed by after-parties and after hours after-parties.

Since the company I work for is a sponsor, we get in to a lot of the events for free. Which meant food, food and more tasty, fabulous food, all washed down with local brews, wine and liquor. Let the good times roll!

First up, Friday Night: Night Market. I love the Night Market. The setting is gorgeous and the food is crazy good.

Night Market 2014, Zidell Yards, FEAST

Continue reading

Scenes from an Urban Garden Dinner Party: Part II

DSC_6542

Last week, I showed you the appetizers that I helped put together for a dinner benefiting the Portland Fruit Tree Project. My husband, the chef for the event, didn’t just stop at creative snacks. He prepared a five-course dinner as well, one that was so delicious we converted a 10-year vegetarian into a carnivore for the evening. I’d call that a massive success!

Here’s what we served after the passed appetizers were done.

Course 1: Salad of roasted beets, plums, goat cheese, mung bean sprouts and crispy quinoa.

Course 1: Beets, plums, goat cheese, mung bean sprouts and crispy quinoa

The beets were roasted, the plums firm but juicy, the cheesy was tangy and the fried quinoa added a happy crunchy texture.

Course 2: Homemade tomato leaf strozzapreti with Connie’s tomatoes and fresh basil in a  Parmesan brodo.

Continue reading

We didn’t just stuff our faces in Texas (and evidence to prove it)

Austin Motel

In case you couldn’t tell, when my husband and I travel, our trips revolve around food. When we each made our lists of “what to do” in Austin, my husband’s list was fine-dining focused (Qui, Uchi, Barley Swine) while my list was mainly beer (Craft Pride, Hops & Grain) and food carts. But at the very bottom of my list was a separate (tiny) category called “Things that don’t involve eating.”

On that list, there were three items: visit the Barton Springs Pool, walk down 6th Street and hike around Lady Bird Lake.

I am happy to say we did all of those things and more — which is kind of shocking considering how much time we spent eating!

We checked out the Texas Capitol Building, which sprawls across the metro area.

Everything really is bigger here in Texas and the Texas Capitol Building in downtown Austin is no exception!

Everything is bigger here in Texas and the Capitol Building in downtown Austin is no exception!

Continue reading

Street art with a side of street food in Austin, Texas

"Never give up" -- seen while kayaking on the Colorado River, Austin, TX

“Never give up” — seen while kayaking on the Colorado River, Austin, TX

As soon as I spotted this Pac-Man on the side of a bridge in Austin, I had a wave of inspiration.

I’ve been trying to cook a recipe from a favorite blog of mine each month as a kind of homage, but with this vacation and the crazy weeks leading up to it, I didn’t have time to get my culinary act together. But when I took this photo, I knew immediately what blog I wanted to mention this month — Waterfalls and Caribous.

Waterfalls and Caribous is a blog that I happen to come across long ago — I honestly can’t when I discovered it — but I was hooked immediately. While they post frequently about food, the main focus is their adventures while traveling, and seriously, they travel. I have followed them through India, Korea and into China. Their adventures can be as simple (and hilarious) as trying to find a great cup of coffee in Xi’an or as crazy as visiting the Haesindang (penis) Park in South Korea.

But I also really love that they love street art.

I’ve always enjoyed graffiti — when it’s done well — perhaps because I can’t draw at all. It’s really impressive what talented people can do with the side of a building (or bridge!) as their canvas.

So here’s some of the fun art I saw while wandering around in Austin last week:

Who doesn't love beer?

Who doesn’t love beer?

Continue reading