Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Feed Me

What feeds you, besides food? Something that makes you go Mmm, like food, or Ahh, like drink.

Besides that!

You need pleasure in your life. Food is a pleasure, so you eat. A few things happen:

1. Eventually, you gain weight. Gaining weight is not a pleasure, so...     a. you diet, which is also not a pleasure.     b. or you still eat, but now there's guilt involved. Not a pleasure.

2. Besides that, eating isn't so much of a pleasure if you're not hungry & you're not hungry because you're always eating.

3. But besides that, eating isn't so much of a pleasure if you're eating to fill up a place that can't be filled by food.

So either you take away the food, which takes away pleasure. Or you take away the pleasure of food, which also takes away pleasure. If you remember, it wasn't food that you wanted. You might not realize this. You might grimly throw yourself into a diet. You might guiltily chow through another sleeve of girl scout cookies. Now you're far away from what you wanted.

What you wanted was pleasure. Something that's a pleasure like food. Something that feeds you, that makes you go Mmm or Ahh. If you do realize this, you take another slow bite of oatmeal and ask yourself What is that thing?

If you can figure out that thing and feed yourself that thing, then you can forget about food. You can forget about how much you weigh. I can't just forget about food or how much I weigh, I'm not that kind of Buddha mind. I have to give myself something else to think about, something else to be happy about—

Happy weight isn't a weight problem, it's a happy problem.

ETA: But do you know what else I think, that "something" is just like food. It's a graspable thing to grasp the ungraspable with, and everything graspable gets worn out eventually. Systems don't last forever; so don't get yourself in a death grip on the graspable, let go of that. Get on a new pair of gloves, put your hands out for the ungraspable over and over again.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pasta Carretiere alla Poppy

1 Tbsp olive oil
two 5 oz cans Genova Tonno solid light tuna in olive oil

I have no idea if this is cheap tuna or fancy tuna. It's very tuna. It's salty. It's weirdly addictive as tuna salad with buttered toast, not to get off the subject nom nom nom. Anyway if you use this tuna, you can just drain the oil from the tuna into the pan and use that.

2 chipotle peppers
1 lb mushrooms, cleaned
2 15 oz cans of Jewel chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 jar of mushroom sauce*
1/2 lb short pasta

Heat oil in a saute pan over low heat as you mince the chipotles and slice the mushrooms. Turn up the heat to medium-high & saute minced chipotle and sliced mushrooms until softened or slightly browned, about five or ten minutes. Add tuna and break it up in the pan, then add mushroom sauce. And I forgot to tell you last time that you can rinse the jar with a little bit of water to get out the last of the sauce; just pour that over everything in the pan. Stir it all together and simmer until heated through and slightly thickened, about twenty minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, put water on for pasta. When the water comes to a boil, dump in the pasta and cook for ten minutes. Drain the pasta and dump it into a large bowl. Pour the sauce over, and stir it all up.

* I.e., Red sauce that says it has mushrooms, though not necessarily detectable to the human eye. You can use whatever, though.

Per 1/6 recipe, 482 calories

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Curried Vegetable Stew

olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 chipotle peppers, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1-2 lbs potatoes, diced
1 15 oz can Jewel diced tomatoes
1 cup Swanson's chicken broth or homemade chicken broth
16 oz Jewel frozen cauliflower, peas, or spinach

Opaa! whole wheat pita bread

Heat oil in a saute pan over low heat as you prep the vegetables. Turn up the heat to medium and saute the diced onions until almost browned, about ten minutes. Stir in the minced chipotle peppers and the curry powder until fragrant, about a minute. Then add the diced potatoes, stirring until potatoes are well coated with oil and spices. Stir in the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan and let simmer for about ten minutes. Stir in the frozen vegetabes; cover the pan and let simmer until vegetables are well cooked, between ten and twenty minutes.

Toast the pita bread, and serve with the stew.

Per 1/4 recipe plus one round pita bread: cauliflower, 415; peas, 471; spinach, 424 calories.

Spring Cooking Plan

Sunday morning, I make most of my food for the week:

Oatmeal with Fruit Bits To Go
1. Measure oatmeal into takealong containers and add fruit bits.
2. Fill bottles with silk.

Creamed Vegetable Soup To Go
1. Put rice on.
2. Make creamed vegetable soup.
3. Eat creamed vegetable soup for lunch with pita bread.
4. Divide rice into takealong containers and ladle soup over rice.
5. Put the rest of the soup away, if any.
6. Cook vegetables in the soup pot and divide into takealong containers.

Or Curried Vegetable Stew
1. Make curried vegetable stew.
2. Eat curried vegetable stew for lunch with pita bread.
3. Put the rest of the stew into takealong containers.
4. Put pita bread into snack bags.

Apple with Peanut Butter and Baby Carrots with Hummus
1. Spoon peanut butter into takealong containers.
2. Spoon hummus into takealong containers, and throw baby carrots into snack bags.

Though I am about to burn out on baby carrots, there have been several incidents involving entire sleeves of girl scout cookies in the last two weeks; perhaps I will try kale chips this week.

I trust you to know what things go into the fridge.

Friday, March 27, 2009


This is what I wash down the aforementioned peanut butter sandwich with, and I also drink it during practice. It's better than any food because it converts immediately to blood sugar and because I wear a mouthguard. I'm down with food in my mouth, I'm not down with food in my mouthguard.

Tropicana no pulp orange juice

Mix one part orange juice with three parts water, I marked the parts on the sides of a bunch of empty seltzer liters—

Per liter, 110 calories

Peanut Butter Sandwich

Really, Poppy? A recipe for a peanut butter sandwich? Not just a recipe for a peanut butter sandwich! Rather, the results of my extensive and ongoing research into the best food before skating practice disguised as a recipe for a peanut butter sandwich!

Giant haystack of pasta bolognese, too much. Gatorade, not enough. Chocolate silk was good, until it blooped. But a peanut butter sandwich is also good, you get protein from the peanut butter and carbs from the bread. I like:

Jif creamy peanut butter
Natural Ovens Right Wheat bread
   or Brownberry 100% Whole Wheat bread

Though Right Wheat bread used to be just regular bread and now it's Weight Sense bread, basically which means thinner slices. I'm down with the thinner slices, I'm not down with it being called "weight sense" bread. In any case, I think it's just shy of enough calories for practice. I will be having bread trials in the near future.

I don't actually make my own peanut butter sandwiches, that's handled by my pit crew. I mean, I know how...

BULLETIN FROM POPPYLABS 4/2/09: Brownberry 100% Whole Wheat bread performed adequately in trials and is an acceptable alternative to Natural Ovens Right Wheat bread.

ETA 3/10/10: I started eating jelly again, I need the sugar.

Per sandwich with Brownberry bread, 2 Tbsp peanut butter and 1 Tbsp jelly, 460 calories

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pasta Marinara alla Helsa

Adapted from Helsa Wayton, blocker for the Manic Attackers and trainer for Derby Lite. And also, actually, my ice skating instructor from way back. Helsa says, "it provides a good balance of clean protein and carbohydrates, especially good for controlling blood sugar levels prior to athletic performance. (I eat this almost every meal for 3 days before every bout.) Plus, the peas are a great source of potassium to replace that lost during exercise!"

This is probably not as clean or balanced as Helsa's original recipe, but I think it's not bad.

For those of you interested in etymology, the first instance of "alla" in the Poppyverse appeared in this recipe. I know it's a lot of you, interested in etymology—

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 lb frozen corn
1/2 lb frozen peas
1 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jar of marinara sauce
1/2 lb short pasta

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Saute leftover bits until softened, about five minutes. Add turkey and break it up in the pan until lightly browned, about five minutes. Add corn, peas, beans, and marinara sauce; simmer until heated through and slightly thickened, about twenty minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, put water on for pasta. When the water comes to a boil, dump in the pasta and cook for ten minutes. Drain the pasta and dump it into a large bowl. Pour the sauce over, and stir it all up.

Per 1/6 recipe, 459 calories

Pasta Alfredo alla Helsa
Use 1 jar of alfredo sauce instead of marinara sauce.

Per 1/6 recipe, 485 calories

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happy Weight

I'm doing the Happy Weight Calculator.

Height: 5'4"
Frame: Being that my bra size is 30B, I'm going to guess small. You didn't think that they made 30B bras. They don't.

Oh, here's the happy weight chart to determine your frame size. Wrap a tape measure around your wrist and use this chart to determine your frame size. Okay, 5 1/2 inches. Small Frame - If you're 5'2" to 5'5" - Less than 6. I told you, small.

Do you have an obese sibling or parent? That's mean. If I say yes, do I get to weigh more? Then yes.
Age: 41.
Do you have children? No. If I say yes, do I get to...

That way lies madness, Munt. (Munt is my other kayfabe name.)

How often do you exercise and weight train? Three times a week. Ish.
Recently quit smoking? No.
Do you allow yourself a treat now and then? You mean like an entire sleeve of do-si-dos in one sitting. Yes.

My Happy Weight is... 124.6 pounds.

I guess that's right, I weighed 125 pounds this morning. I probably would have been happier if I'd weighed .4 pounds less. So I should lose five (.4) pounds, then I'd be five pounds under my happy weight. Then I'd be happy!

I'm kidding, I'm not totally missing the point.

I'm .4 missing the point, though.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kale Chips

Adapted from G. Hurtcha, requested by K. T. Ripa.

1 lb kale
olive oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash, stem, and tear kale into about palm-sized pieces. Toss with a tiny bit of olive oil, like less than 1/2 teaspoon. Then sprinkle with a teeny bit of salt, less than a pinch. Spread on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Put them in the oven for five minutes. Take them out and turn them over with your fingers, then put them back in the oven for five more minutes.

After you've eaten the entire batch, think to yourself that you just ate a pound of kale.

Per batch, 232 calories

Baby Carrots and Hummus To Go

baby carrots

Have some baby carrots in some snack bags in the fridge. Spoon hummus into some takealong containers, also in the fridge. Grab a bag of carrots and a container of hummus for your lunch bag.

At work:
Dunk the baby carrots into the hummus.

Baby carrots are okay. I mean, they're good. I pack extra pretzels on carrot days, though. Like a snack safety net—

Per 3 oz carrots and 2 Tbsp hummus, 120 calories

Apple and Peanut Butter To Go

Jif creamy peanut butter

You know what to do. You have some apples in the fridge. You spoon peanut butter into some takealong containers. In the morning, you grab an apple and a container of peanut butter for your lunch bag.

At work:
Slice up the apple and dunk the apple slices in the peanut butter.

Per apple and 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 306 calories

Monday, March 23, 2009

Creamed Vegetable Soup To Go with Rice and Beans & Vegetables

In addition to the soup ingredients:

1 cup Riceland long grain brown rice
1 15 oz can Jewel black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
16 oz Jewel winter vegetables, also known as broccoli and cauliflower

Bring rice, beans, and two cups of water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Turn heat down as low as possible, cover the pot, and let simmer until water is absorbed and rice is cooked, at least twenty minutes. Turn heat off and let rest at least ten minutes.

When the rice is on, make the soup. And as long as you're making the soup, you might as well eat some for whatever meal is nearest. And by the time you've eaten, the rice will be rested. And actually, I don't time my rice; I just put it on the low heat & sort of forget about it, so it burns sometimes. But I figured out a trick for rice and really everything else that burns: just turn off the heat and let it sit for maybe ten minutes & the liquid in the dish softens the burned bits, and you can scrape them right up. This is an excellent metaphor for actual rest. Softening your burned bits.

Okay so, divide the rice into four takealong containers. Ladle a half cup of soup over each portion of rice, and put away any leftover soup in the fridge; it will keep for about a week.

Now cut open the bag of vegetables and empty them into the soup pot. I don't even wash the pot. What, it was just soup. Add a very little bit of water to the vegetables, cover the pot, and bring to a boil over high heat until the vegetables are just about cooked, about five minutes. Drain any water from the vegetables and divide them between the four containers. Pop on the tops, and you have four totally healthy lunches ready to go.

At work:
Heat in microwave, add a little bit of salt.

Per 1/2 cup soup and 1/4 recipe rice and beans & vegetables: broccoli, 368; carrot, 371; cauliflower, 366; corn, 403, peas, 388 calories

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Meal Plan

The spring meal plan is basically the winter meal plan. Because spring basically is winter, still.

Every day, pretty much - Oatmeal and Fruit Bits

But I also love me some Sunday breakfast at Hollywood Grill.

Sunday - Creamed Vegetable Soup or Curried Vegetable Stew
Monday through Thursday - Creamed Vegetable Soup To Go or Curried Vegetable Stew
Friday and Saturday - whatever else is leftover in the fridge

Almost every day - Apple with Peanut Butter
Except Tuesday and Thursday - Baby Carrots with Hummus

I would eat apple with peanut butter every day, but I eat peanut butter sandwiches Tuesday and Thursday before practice & I know this is kind of friend of Ana, but I have a thing about eating the same food twice in the same period. Though I have stooped to counting creamy and crunchy peanut butter as different foods. I totally need peanut butter delivered to my house like Hinckley & Schmidt delivers water—

That leaves:

Sunday is Choppers night!
Monday - Pasta Marinara alla Helsa or variations
Tuesday and Thursday - Peanut Butter Sandwich & OJ2O
Wednesday is LOST night. Which means I eat chips and salsa. And drink beer. For dinner.

I love being an adult.

I'm still playing with recipes for Friday and Saturday nights. Friday night I think is going to be baked potatoes or pizza, and then Saturday night I have some longer recipes with actual fresh ingredients. Right now, I have beef goulash in the oven.

I know, it's Sunday and it's supposed to be Choppers night. We had Choppers last night.

You can take advantage of a system's natural tendency to break down to avoid getting stuck in a rut.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Creamed Vegetable Soup with Toasted Pita Bread

1/4 cup "butter"
2-3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup flour
1 can broth
16 oz Jewel frozen broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, corn, or peas

Opaa! whole wheat pita bread

Melt the butter in a soup pot over low heat as you chop the celery and onions. Turn up the heat to medium-high & saute the chopped celery and onions until softened, about five minutes. Stir in the flour until the butter is absorbed & then stir in the chicken broth; bring to a strong simmer, about five minutes. Stir in the vegetables, as much water as broth you used, and about a teaspoon of salt; bring back to a strong simmer until the vegetables are cooked, about ten minutes.

You can also add a pinch of nutmeg along with the salt, good with broccoli or peas. Or I should mention, spinach. I had to stop making this soup with spinach, too Exorcist—

Puree the soup with whatever you have, like a food processor or a blender will work. What I have is the Cuisinart SmartStick Hand Blender, which is awesome and also as easy to wash as a spoon.

Eat with toasted whole wheat pita bread.

What I do is eat a little bit of this soup for Sunday lunch, with the pita bread. The rest gets packed into lunches for the week with rice, beans, and vegetables... don't wash the soup pot just yet.

Curry Creamed Vegetable Soup
Add 1 tablespoon curry powder with the flour. Good with carrot, cauliflower, or corn.

Chili Creamed Vegetable Soup
Add 1 tablespoon chili powder with the flour. Also good with carrot, cauliflower, or corn. You can also add 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped, with the celery and onions, very good with corn.

Per 1 cup serving plus one round pita bread: broccoli, 330; carrot, 336; cauliflower, 325; corn, 399; peas, 370 calories

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Jewel Frozen Vegetables

I should tell you this early on, I pretty much only eat frozen vegetables. If you don't want to be my friend anymore, would you get serious. Would you really not be friends with somebody over frozen vegetables.

Really now, does food have to be another trope for asserting one's superiority over others?

In my previous life, I was all about fresh vegetables. By the way, I don't mean that I believe in reincarnation. I just mean, you know, before I got divorced. We used to get a vegetable box every week from a CSA farm, all in tune with the seasons.

I think getting divorced turned me from a hippie into a punk.

Or maybe turning into a punk got me divorced...

Wow, I am off the subject of frozen vegetables. Well nowadays, I couldn't keep up with a vegetable box. I can't keep up with one vegetable at a time. I'm serious, I tried buying one vegetable a week & it always ended with throwing that vegetable out. Taken together, the picture of the vegetable in my head and the actual vegetable in the fridge, moldering, were the plot of a horror movie. Like the vegetable version of The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Wait no, Dorian Gray doesn't get old. So like Dorian Gray, but the other way around. Which is a normal vegetable.

I'm not going to be a pod and tell you that frozen vegetables are as good as fresh vegetables. Better than vegetables in the garbage can, though. I mean, they're much better than garbage!

I just made myself feel bad about people who have to eat garbage.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Oatmeal and Fruit Bits To Go

BREAKING NEWS FROM POPPYLABS 03/20/08: You can totally use quick-cook oatmeal just the same as instant oatmeal. Who knew.

Per takealong container:
two packets Jewel regular flavor instant oatmeal
   or 2/3 c Jewel quick-cook oatmeal
about 2 Tbsp Sunmaid fruit bits

about 1/4 c plain Silk soy milk

Put oatmeal into takealong containers, and add a handful of fruit bits to each container. Pop on the tops, and now you have however many breakfasts ready to go.

I also fill small bottles with plain silk; and to be totally honest, they're breast milk bottles. What, they were just the right size!

At work:
You roughly want twice as much water as oatmeal, but don't worry too much about that. All you have to do is add enough water so that the oatmeal is pretty well covered. Like you want there to be standing water in your oatmeal. Cover the container and walk back to your desk. You can also check your email. Uncover the oatmeal, stir it up, and pour some silk over.

If you were wondering what this blog is about, this blog is about giving you a recipe for instant oatmeal. And also about getting real on what planet is one packet of instant oatmeal enough breakfast—

One serving per container, 285 calories

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rubbermaid TakeAlongs

Due to eating the below recipe every day for two years, I had the world's largest collection of yogurt containers. Why not, they're totally reusable. You could open my refrigerator, and there would be twelve or so yogurt containers inside & I knew what was in all of them, by location. Like how croupiers know whose chips are whose by where they've placed them.

Systems don't last forever, though. Remember that!

My new favorite thing is Rubbermaid TakeAlongs. Which I realize are nothing new. I will tell you anyway why I think they are great. They're totally cheap! They stack perfectly!

I am all about non-miscellaneous containers.

Anyway, I mention this now because a lot of my recipes are to go —now that I'm working, you know— and takealong containers do feature in them.

You will see.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Yogurt and Blueberries

32 oz Stonyfield lowfat plain yogurt
16 oz Trader Joe's frozen organic wild blueberries, thawed

To thaw the blueberries, you just cut open the bag, empty the blueberries into, say, an empty yogurt container, and put them in the refrigerator; they stay good for about two weeks.

[NOTE FROM POPPYLABS 6/27/09: Nevermind thawing the blueberries, just empty them into a yogurt container and keep them in the freezer.]

blueberry compote

For compote, you just use 16 oz Jewel frozen blueberries or any other frozen berries. Cut open the bag and empty half of the berries into a saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons honey and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the berries have started to break down. Add the other half of the berries and cook for 10 more minutes. Cool and put in a container; these also keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks.

All right now, stir up the yogurt and scoop about two-thirds cup into a bowl or into some takealong containers. Scoop a good amount of blueberries or compote on top of the yogurt.

Eat every day until the yogurt and blueberries are eaten up.

Per 2/3 cup yogurt and 1/4 cup blueberries, 100 calories
Per 2/3 cup yogurt and 1/4 cup blueberry compote, 167 calories

Friday, March 13, 2009


I can't go through a half gallon of silk before it spoils. I didn't even know that soy milk spoiled. It's normal for about seven days, then then it starts to ...thicken. In fact I used to be obsessed with chocolate silk, which was perfect with a peanut butter sandwich before practice. Until I tipped up my bottle and bloop-bloop-bloop something like chocolate pudding blooped into my mouth. Not that I don't love chocolate pudding, just not when I'm expecting chocolate milk. In my mouth.

Milk does not bloop.

So chocolate silk and I are taking a little break.

Anyway. The little bit of silk left in the carton looked like it wanted to be bechamel; but I brought it to work, poured it over my oatmeal, and ...blargh. Sour. I didn't even know that soy milk soured. So I dumped it out and went downstairs to get a blueberry muffin.

Hooray, a treat! A blueberry muffin and a coffee! The last time I worked downtown, I used to have a cranberry-orange muffin and a coffee every day for breakfast.

Mein gott, this is not food. This is cake. Not that I don't love cake, just not when I'm expecting breakfast. Seems that I've gotten a lot healthier since the last time I worked downtown—

This is my blog, alla Poppy! I didn't mean to start with a story about how I screwed up my breakfast, but that's what happened.