Monday, February 7, 2011

I tried to read it.

I tried to read Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.  I checked it out of the library - twice!  The second time I had it for 6 months.  No lie.  I'm just really not much of a reader.

Taubes explains two major things in his book - why fats have been vilified even though they're not bad for us, and why carbohydrates have been glorified even though they're not good for us.  And he does it in magnificent detail with lots and lots of sources.  He's an excellent science writer.  (This is why I feel so guilty for not reading more of it.)

If you're interested in the material but don't want to march through so many hundreds of pages, there are now two new options for you!

1. Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It
Gary Taubes has written another book - a shorter, easier book.  I've heard it described as Good Calories Bad Calories for the layman, or a watered-down version.  It's lighter on the science, and lighter in mass -- it's only 272 pages.

2.'s Complete Notes to Good Calories, Bad Calories
A blogger has written up a concise outline of all the information in the book, which seems to be very thorough!  The one disadvantage is the lack of citations, but if you wanted more information about any of the topics, you could go back to GCBC and find the relevant citations pretty easily since the notes are organized by chapter.  Supposedly this won't be posted forever, so go there and download the PDF or e-reader version if you think you'll ever want to read it.  (And if it's already been taken down by the time you're reading this, feel free to leave a comment and ask me for the PDF.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fast, easy, lettuce-less salads

I've been eating salads for lunch a lot lately.  They're quick to throw together, it's a good way to eat a lot of vegetables (unless that's not important to you), and there's virtually no limit to the combinations you can create.

Here's the thing: I really get sick of chopping vegetables... so I'm minimized the chopping needed.  And I don't really like lettuce... so I don't eat it.  (It goes bad so quickly anyway, too much pressure.)

I'm eating the salad pictured below while typing this.  I didn't think to blog about my salad until I had already eaten part of it, but then I realized it was pretty and I wanted to show it off.

So here's what's in it:
  • Uncured herb-crusted salami (the whole line of Wegmans salamis are great - I think I've tried all but the "pepper" one)
  • Goat cheese
  • Rainbow Salad (I wish there was an organic version of this)
  • "Zesty" sprouts mix (maybe baby bean plants aren't strictly paleo/primal, but they're pretty healthy from what I've read)
  • Celery
  • Green bell pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Dressing: olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and spicy brown mustard
The process involved chopping the celery, cucumber, pepper, and salami, but otherwise just throwing everything together.  For the "dressing" I haphazardly poured/squirted random amounts into one of those tiny tupperware containers and shook it up a bit.  I did this while cooking my bacon and eggs for breakfast, and had time to spare.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm back! And a list of things I like.

Giving myself restrictions or deadlines or "I'm going to do this every day"s never works.  I'm good at following other people's rules... just not my own.  So while I'd love to start blogging again, I'm going to go forward with the knowledge that it will be inconsistent, disjointed, and often poor quality.  Because who the heck cares?  Only a few people read this anyway.  =]

I've got some scientific papers to discuss, photos of salads to post (I haven't been cooking much lately), and posts on other blogs that you should check out... but for my first day back I'm keeping it simple.  Here's a list of things I have recently discovered that make me happy:

1. Mendeley
This.  Is.  Amazing.  It imports all your scientific journal article PDFs (parsing the titles and authors and whatnot), lets you organize them with folders and tags and whatever else you could imagine, AND it syncs them all to their web site so you can access your library anywhere.  And it's FREE.  There's some sort of paid membership, too, but I haven't done any research on that yet.  I credit Andrew from Evolvify with finding this - I hadn't heard of it until he posted about it a few days ago.  It's an extra big help now that one of my major hobbies is studying nutrition for fun - which meant I had both work papers and personal papers cluttering my computer.

It also is a sort of geeky social network, so if you use it, click this button to go to my profile... I think if you add people as contacts you can really easily share papers with them:
<a href=""><img border="0" src="" alt="Research papers by Amanda Strassner"/></a>

2. Mitchell and Webb 
All I've ever seen are their clips on youtube, but these guys are FUNNY.  Check out some sketches about vegetarians, homeopathy, and hesitant nazis.  

3. Maybelline SuperStay 24HR Makeup 
 I'm not sure how helpful anyone will find this, since I feel as though this foundation were made especially for my skin, so it might not work for many people.  It gives full coverage (I've stopped using concealer!) while feeling really light (no heavier than a powder)... it lasts a long time, almost all day... it's very, VERY matte and keeps me from getting oily for a couple of hours.  

4. Playstation 3
My husband was going to buy me a fancy new watch for Christmas, but we couldn't find the one I really wanted in any of the stores nearby, and I wanted to wait until after the holiday madness to worry about ordering it.  Before we got around to it, our DVD player broke.  So I decided, screw the watch, we're getting a PS3.  If you weren't aware, PS3 plays Blu-Ray discs as well, so I'm looking forward to buying one, some day.  The only game I have so far is Little Big Planet 2.  My Playstation Network ID is Mayness, so hopefully you know what to do with that information, because I have no freaking clue how to add friends or whatever.  We also got Netflix (finally) so that we can stream movies and shows through the PS3 (and because the husband promised one of our best friends that he'd stop downloading movies illegally).  Which brings me to my next item...

5. Arrested Development
A new friend of ours has been hanging out at our house a lot lately.  What can I say?  We're super fun.  (Yes that was facetious.)  She's usually busy trying to convince us to watch old horror/thriller movies (I saw "Rosemary's Baby" last night - what a frustrating ending!), but she also turned us on to the TV show Arrested Development.  It was on for 3 seasons but I never watched it back then.  It's packed FULL of stars, including a lot of stand-up comics.  The writing is really smart and funny.  Michael Cera plays a teenaged Michael Cera, so if you've only seen him play adult Michael Cera, you're in for a treat.  Stream it instantly on Netflix (or obtain it in whatever other manner you choose), and if you like comedy, you won't be disappointed.  Except maybe disappointed that it didn't last longer.  But hopefully not the same devastating, soul-crushing disappointment you feel about Firefly (and if you DON'T feel that way about Firefly I'm not sure we can be friends anymore). 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Stuffed Delicata Squash - dedicated to my mom

When my mom came to visit last month, it seemed like every stall at the Farmer's Market was loaded with delicata squash, which neither of us had ever tried before.  She commented that I'd have to figure out what to make with them, and let her know.  A few weeks later, I got two of them from my CSA, and looked up some recipes for inspiration.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Divisive Crock Pot Curry

Nov 3: Clearly I'm terrible at posting every day, since the only thing I posted yesterday was the one I attributed to Monday.  So this post is technically posted yesterday, ok?  (Speaking of time travel...)

Last week I made a beef curry dish in the crock pot that came out NOTHING like I planned it, but I still found it delicious.  My husband, on the other hand, couldn't even eat it, and used the words "burnt rubber" at one point in his description.  *shrug*  The measurements probably aren't perfect, since I didn't think I'd be posting it, but it's close.

  • Beef chuck roast (about 2lb)
  • 3.5 cups chopped winter squash
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cups stock (mine was chicken because that's all I had)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp thai red curry paste
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (I find it turns out better in the slow cooker than real garlic)
  • 5 oz frozen spinach (half a bag)
Put vegetables on the bottom of the slow cooker, top with meat, throw all other ingredients over top.  Cook for about 8 hours on low.  Add the spinach at the end, and cook until heated through.

If your slow cooker runs at a lower temperature than mine, maybe you will end up with the result I expected: chunks of squash, and meat that can be broken into pieces.

If you've got one of these lovely new Rivals that boils on the "keep warm" setting, your squash will have disintegrated, and the meat will shred apart, giving you a very thick, almost chili-like consistency.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm gonna post every day in November!

I just learned about NaBloPoMo, and I've decided to sign up and post every day in November.  Except, of course, that I failed on day 1.  My excuse is that it was my birthday...and as a birthday gift, I'm postdating this so that it LOOKS like I posted every day in November.  Muahahahaha.

I've got a few old food experiences to post about, but chances are, I won't be cooking or buying enough interesting things to fill a whole month - so be prepared for some informative posts about nutrition, random ranting and raving, and maybe a bit of science.

I also wanted to point out that I've joined the Real Food Media blogroll!  You can see the widget in my side bar over there ---> and discover other blogs about cooking/eating quality food.

Friday, October 22, 2010

One more contest!

This one is from Nourishing Days.  They're giving away a $25 gift certificate to Actual Organics.

I've never tried any of their products, but they have a lot of health & beauty stuff.  Skin care, toothpaste, hair care, perfumes... anything you could want, really.  All made from organic, natural ingredients.  I personally use all sorts of chemicals on my hair and skin, but I know going natural is important to a lot of people.  Also, they have lots of travel/sample size products, so that $25 could go a long way!